updated 5/27/2004 1:05:26 PM ET 2004-05-27T17:05:26

Guests: David Bossie, Gina Kelly, Leslie Sanchez, Dave Migoya, Bill Curry, Lisa Bloom, Mindy Tucker

ANNOUNCER:  And now a message from Vice President Gore. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This is a disaster for our country!

(LAUGHTER)

GORE:  And they are responsible, along with the president and vice president. 

(LAUGHTER)

GORE:  We may have to wait to get rid of Bush and Cheney, but we ought to call on our Republican friends to join us in getting the rest of that team out right now. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  LIVE FROM SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, it‘s Wednesday night!

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Well, Al Gore is at it again.  He just can‘t help himself, breathlessly attacking the president in a speech today.  But will hate speech like this backfire on the Democrats? 

And corporate America is selling low-riding pants, feeding into a culture that some say is sexing up our preteens.  We‘re going to be debating that also.

And then, the attorney general says al Qaeda is almost ready to attack the U.S. again.  Is Bill Clinton to blame because he let terror leader Osama bin Laden slip away? 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m Joe Scarborough, not Jimmy Fallon. 

You know, Al Gore adds to the global warming threat today with his very own thermonuclear meltdown.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”

You know, there was a time in politics when politics stopped at ocean‘s edge and when former vice presidents and presidents of all parties worked together with the current president for the common good of America.  Unfortunately, those days are long gone.

And today, Al Gore followed in the disappointing path of Jimmy Carter by making blistering partisan attacks aimed more at aiding the fortunes of one political party than assisting American troops overseas.  But for many liberals, this is the season to hate.  Here is more of what Al Gore said today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE:  He promised to restore honor and integrity to the White House.  Instead, he has brought deep dishonor to our country and built a durable reputation as the most dishonest president since Richard M. Nixon. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And earlier this week, Democratic Senator Tim Johnson compared Republicans to the Taliban, yes, the same Taliban that beheaded women for learning to read and chopped off the ears and noses of boys who committed the crime of listening to music. 

Long regarded as the most impressive terror regime on the planet, the Taliban embodied evil.  But that Democratic charge was no more shocking  than Ted Kennedy‘s claim that American troops were as evil as Saddam‘s butchers of Baghdad.  For too many on the left, this has been the season to hate.  And fortunately for the party, John Kerry has not followed this pathway to his own destruction. 

But as somebody who personally saw the Democrats wrap Newt Gingrich around every Republican plan we had in the 1990s, I can assure the Democratic nominee that if these Democratic days of rage continue, voters will turn on the party of Al Gore and Ted Kennedy this November, just like they turned on Howard Dean last fall and they‘ll reelect the Democrat‘s person that they love to hate, and, of course, that would be Texas‘s own George W. Bush.  They need to watch their step. 

And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Republican strategist Mindy Tucker and MSNBC senior political analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell are here. 

Lawrence, let me begin with you.  Obviously, it‘s your party that we‘re talking about.  I want to play you something that Al Gore also said today in naming those people that he wants out of office. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE:  We simply cannot afford to further increase the risk to our country with more blunders by this team.  Donald Rumsfeld ought to resign immediately as the chief architect of this plan.  Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, the intelligence chief, Stephen Cambone, all ought to resign immediately. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  When Al Gore today was calling the president a liar, saying it was the most dishonest White House since Nixon‘s, really made some pretty personal broadsides, it reminded me of some attacks by Republican extremists in the 1990s against Bill Clinton.  But what we‘re seeing now, is we‘re seeing some of the Democratic Party‘s leaders, like Al Gore and Ted Kennedy, really, really digging in and launching some pretty personal attacks.  Doesn‘t that always end up hurting the attacker in the end? 

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC SR. POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Joe, this stuff would, especially if you played a lot of the rest of the speech. 

Listen, it‘s been almost 10 years since I worked in Democratic politics, but I spent a bit of time on the phone with my old pals today.  And nobody really knows who Al Gore is.  The Democrats that I know who used to work with him in the Senate, they just don‘t recognize who this character is in this speech today. 

What he was trying to say, though, the fundamental point he was trying to make, Joe, he says the abhorrent acts in the prison were a direct consequence of the culture of impunity, encouraged, authorized and instituted by Bush and Rumsfeld in their statements that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. 

What the former vice president was trying to do was attach culpability to Bush and Rumsfeld, something that the press has not yet been able to do.  Everyone‘s wondering how far up the line does responsibility for the prison abuse go.  Gore today just decided to assert it.  And what you see in the audience of New Yorkers who were there at that speech is an awful lot of approval for this.  He probably is speaking for about 35 percent of the public, Joe, on the gist of what he had to say, once you pull out all the attack stuff. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, and Mindy Tucker, again, let‘s talk about the Republicans in the 1990s, made some pretty sharp attacks towards Bill Clinton.  And I‘m sure that those making those attacks spoke for about 35 percent of the country in their very personal, very volatile attacks. 

But are you surprised at the personal animosity, again, of the leaders of the Democratic Party, the Ted Kennedys, the Al Gores, people like that? 

MINDY TUCKER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, we said continually through the primary that this was a very angry and negative Democratic Party, and it‘s coming out again. 

They‘re showing their true colors.  There‘s not a lot of vision.  There‘s not a lot of positive ideas.  If you look at, what is the Democrats‘ philosophy of how to fight the war on terrorism—which I‘m not sure they have one.  The only thing they have done, the only thing I can glean from what they‘ve done is, they open up the paper every morning, figure out what Bush is doing, and they do the opposite in a very negative and angry way.  And I think absolutely it‘s going to come back to hurt them, because, in the end, what people are going to care about is, are these people are responsible enough to run the country?

And if you have people that get up every day and sort of irreverently call for the resignation of this person or that person because they think it‘s funny or because it‘s going to make news, they forget there are a lot of people out here in the country who that affects their lives.  For me, I look at it in terms of, my husband is in Iraq.  When they stand up and do something like that for political reasons, they‘re sort of saying, I really don‘t care about his life.  They don‘t care about the lives of the soldiers that are over there. 

I think the irreverence and the irresponsibility of it is definitely going to come back to haunt them and the people are going to realize, that‘s not who we want in charge of our country. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence, I want to read you a quote of another Democratic senator.  He was campaigning for a fellow Democrat and he predicted victory.  And he claimed this. 

He said: “How sweet it‘s going to be on June 2 when the Taliban wing of the Republican Party finds out what‘s happened in South Dakota.”

Lawrence, I know you are an extraordinarily reasonable guy.  If I were in your position, if I were a Democrat giving money to John Kerry right now, I would be climbing the wall.  Isn‘t there a party leader that can stand up and say, enough is enough? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, John Kerry is that party leader.  There‘s absolutely no goodwill at all between John Kerry and Al Gore.  John Kerry is probably still angry, and I know he was angry for a long time, about the way Al Gore treated him on the vice presidential selection in 2000.  John Kerry came in second in that selection process.  He didn‘t like what he went through on the way to getting there, and he didn‘t like the way the word was given to him at the end. 

And Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean in this campaign.  John Kerry is not going to give a speaking part to Al Gore in this campaign.  Al Gore had to seize it, as he did today, because the Kerry campaign will never be featuring Al Gore anywhere, and Ted Kennedy won‘t be highly visible either.  Ted Kennedy is not a leader of the Democratic Party.  He‘s one of the fringe players in the Democratic Party. 

So, if Al Gore is given a platform as big as we‘re giving him right now throughout the rest of the campaign season, I would expect he is capable of doing some serious damage to John Kerry.  But I don‘t think that‘s going to happen. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mindy, you know, Lawrence brought up Ted Kennedy, and a lot of people do look at Ted Kennedy as one of the leaders of the Democratic Party and especially in the Senate.  He‘s one of the most effective Democratic legislators in Senate history.  You remember Ted Kennedy‘s response from prison scandal on the Senate floor?  Let me play it for you. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  On March 19, 2004, President Bush asked, who would prefer that Saddam‘s torture chambers still be open?  Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam‘s torture chambers reopened under new management, U.S. management.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Ted Kennedy is talking about your husband.  He‘s talking about soldiers over there.  And this is the guy, he may not be a major player in Lawrence‘s eyes, but this is the guy that introduced John Kerry in Iowa, New Hampshire.  He‘s been right beside him the whole way.  Are Republicans going to try to wrap Ted Kennedy around John Kerry this fall? 

TUCKER:  I don‘t think we‘re going to have to.

We‘re consistently reminded about the fact that John Kennedy, much like Ted Kennedy, is a Massachusetts liberal.  He is of the same cloth.  So I don‘t even think we have to spend a lot of time reminding people.  That‘s what John Kerry exudes, that sort of Northeastern attitude and liberalism from the state of Massachusetts.  So we‘re not going to spend a lot of time with it. 

But you bring up a good point, in that there are all of these people saying these ridiculous things, and I don‘t think being held responsible for them an appropriate manner.  And, secondly, I would point out, it disturbs me that they don‘t get upset about what the terrorists do, as they get upset about one instance of something that happened in a prison, which everybody in America, all the way up to the president, has said shouldn‘t happen and doesn‘t represent our values.

They spend a lot less time getting upset about the fact that the head of the Governing Council in Iraq was killed, that Nick Berg‘s head was chopped off very violently in a video by al Qaeda members.  And that‘s what I think frustrates people the most, is that we‘re not—there‘s not the outrage about what there should be outrage about. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Mindy Tucker, thanks so much. 

And, Lawrence O‘Donnell, thank you. 

And, Lawrence, I hope that you actually get appointed by somebody in the Democratic Party to teach them not so much what to say, but what not to say.  They are killing their candidate.  But I‘d like to thank both of you for being with us tonight. 

O‘DONNELL:  Joe, Al Gore used to have much better writers. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, thanks a lot. 

Now, in tonight‘s media watch segment, I want to show you a correction that appeared in today‘s “New York Times.”  It was extraordinary.  On page two of the paper of record, “The Times” editorial ran this small bit under the corrections section which said the editors have actually looked into their Iraq war coverage and have something to tell readers about it on page 10. 

So let‘s go to page 10 now and look at this lengthy message from “The New York Times”‘ editors.  Unbelievable, actually, 1,100 words in this correction, where, of course, they apologize for printing incorrect information they gathered from government officials and Iraqi exiles.  Ironically, the apology was aimed at the few articles they published over the past year and a half where “The Times” actually supported the president‘s position on the war. 

But if they want to play Lady Macbeth, why don‘t they scrub their hands clean of these editorial missteps, like R.W. Apple‘s commentary just 12 days into the war, where he talks about a quagmire and says: “With every passing day, it is more evident that the allies made two gross military misjudgments in concluding that coalition forces could safely bypass Basra and Nasiriyah and that Shiite Muslims in southern Iraq would rise up against Saddam Hussein.”

And, of course, it wasn‘t a quagmire.  They won the war in less than a month.  Or this reporter, who wrote a week later: “As the war has dragged on”—remember, we‘re a couple weeks into the war—“the war has dragged on longer than expected, and the Iraqis have put up stiffer resistance, the security of the members of the Americans in Baghdad has become a more urgent matter.”

Come on.  I mean, they said it‘s drug on longer than expected, a two- or three-week war?  I think not.  But I want to tell you this.  When you see media bias, we can tell you about it.  But you return the favor to us, because, if you see examples of it in your hometown paper or your local newscast, just shoot me an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC com and we‘re going to talk about it on the show.  Just because the bias isn‘t only the national media doesn‘t mean it‘s OK.  So send it to me at Joe@MSNBC.com

And coming up later on our show, John Ashcroft‘s press conference today warned Americans of new terror threats.  And I‘m going to be joined by one terror expert who says they shouldn‘t have done it that way. 

And kids these days are exposing more and more flesh.  Is Madison Avenue to blame?  We‘ll debate that, too. 

Plus, a football coach accused of using sex and alcohol to lure recruits to the University of Colorado is keeping his job.  Should he?  We‘re going to be talking about that straight ahead. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  University of Colorado Gary Barnett is going to reinstated tomorrow, despite allegations of using sex to recruit players.  Has he done anything to change the culture in Colorado?  We‘ll talk about that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Women have come forward claiming they‘ve been sexually assaulted by University of Colorado football players.  Among the allegations included claims that the university had used sex and booze as recruiting tools. 

The team‘s coach, Gary Barnett, was suspended in February, but reports say he‘s going to be reinstated as the head football coach in a press conference tomorrow.

With me now, ESPN college football analyst and former head coach of Alabama—roll Tide—Georgia Tech and Kentucky—go, Big Blue—Bill Curry.  We also have Dave Migoya, who‘s been covering the Barnett story for “The Denver Post,” and victims rights attorney Lisa Bloom of Court TV.

Lisa, let me begin with you. 

Gary Barnett is back.  What‘s your opinion? 

LISA BLOOM, COURT TV ANCHOR:  Well, I think it‘s shameful. 

Apparently, there‘s no accountability anywhere at the University of Colorado.  Nine women have come forward with rape charges in the last seven years.  Three of them have filed lawsuits.  The university had a commission that did a study that found that there was a lack of accountability, there was lax oversight.  And yet, people are throwing parties because the coach is reinstated. 

This is the same coach who made highly insensitive statements when one of these young women came forward, saying that she was a terrible player, going after her, as if her playing ability had anything to do with it.  And I think it‘s unfortunate for all of these women who are not getting any kind of legal vindication on their claims. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Lisa Bloom, what about the argument that boys will be boys; these are college football players; the coach can‘t be responsible for absolutely everything they do?  What do you want them to do?  Do you want them to follow them into strip bars?  Do you want them to go to these parties?  What could he have done to stop these parties? 

BLOOM:  Well, what he could have done is gotten rid of the environment of using sex and alcohol to recruit players.  I think we can all agree that that‘s wrong, using women as commodities to recruit young men, some of them under the age of 18 when they‘re being recruited, to come to the University of Colorado. 

People at the top do need to be accountable, Joe, and this boys-will-be-boys attitude certainly would not apply to a rape case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, former Colorado coach Bill McCartney, who is a legend among fans, wrote a letter urging the university president to keep Barnett.  McCartney wrote this—quote—“President Hoffman, don‘t be deceived by the politically correct crowd.  Don‘t be deceived by the politically correct crowd.  They are the first to claim innocent until proven guilty when accused without substantiation.  Yet, they scribble guilty until proven innocent when it when it involves those who have  outdistanced them.”

Let me go to Bill Curry. 

Bill, I don‘t know that this is really about any outdistancing.  Do you think it‘s political correctness, or do you think, like Lisa is saying, the buck has to stop somewhere?  If this is going on, if it‘s been going on for a while, then whoever is in charge, just like a general in charge of a prison, that person bears responsibility. 

BILL CURRY, ESPN COLLEGE FOOTBALL ANALYST:  Well, that person does indeed bear responsibility.  And Lisa is absolutely correct in that regard. 

But in this case it‘s really an odd situation.  Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com has written a really balanced account.  He‘s been out there the last week.  And it is on ESPN.com right now.  And if you want to understand all the variables in a most unusual situation, a situation that‘s really unique in my experience—there‘s no excuse if any of these things did indeed happen.  But no charges have been filed of a criminal nature. 

That‘s the part I don‘t understand.  I would certainly want to protect the young ladies.  The remarks about Katie Hnida were unconscionable.  Gary never should have done a thing like that.  But how do you fire somebody for things that have never been proven?  Having said that, the sound you hear from the last three months of flacks across the nation are two-by-fours going to the foreheads of college presidents, athletic directors and head football coaches and coaches of other sports, who are understanding you better know what‘s going on around your campus. 

There‘s a very adversarial relationship between the D.A.‘s office and the athletics department at Colorado.  There‘s a very adversarial relationship between academia and the athletics department.  And in all of that, there still have not been any charges that have been brought forward and even filed.  So that‘s the part I really don‘t understand.  That just is beyond me. 

But I‘ll guarantee you, somebody has sat Gary Barnett down and said you better know exactly where those guys are going.  You better be sure that they‘re not in those places anymore.  Whatever caused all this, there was something there that caused it.  And if you want to keep your job, you better not only win, but this stuff had better not happen at all ever again.  That‘s the kind of thing that‘s probably going on in that university. 

Dave Migoya, you‘ve been covering this story from the very beginning, and, of course, the coach just talked about how when confronted about the allegations that this female place kicker was raped by a member of his team, this is what Barnett had to say. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARY BARNETT, COLORADO FOOTBALL COACH:  Katie was a girl.  And not only was she a girl.  She was terrible, OK?  And there‘s no other way to say it.  She couldn‘t kick the ball through the uprights. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Has Barnett really contributed to his own potential demise with statements like that and basically being insensitive?

DAVE MIGOYA, “THE DENVER POST”:  Well, it surely didn‘t help his case. 

I think, when the coach said that and it was kept within the context of what his explanation was about Katie Hnida, it brought out an element of the story that hadn‘t been touched on yet, and that was the degree of insensitivity, the culture of the athletic department and the football program toward women.  So it sort of fueled into this problem that had been festering for quite some time. 

And it became quite literally the focus point of the story, and the allegations of sex and alcohol took a little bit of a back seat for a time and then eventually made their way back in front, as they should have been. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dave, is this going to cause basically a social civil war on the University of Colorado campus?  And did they wait until most of the students went home for the summer before they brought the coach back?  I mean, what are you hearing out there as you‘re covering this story?  How angry are people going to be on the campus, especially those center, left, that this coach is coming back? 

MIGOYA:  I think we‘re going to see a wide range of reaction to this decision.  And mind you, the decision has not been made official.  The president, Elizabeth Hoffman, hasn‘t spoken yet.  There‘s still some indication that perhaps Barnett‘s immediate supervisor until now, Dick Tharp, the athletic director, may not have his job for one reason or another.  That‘s still up in the air.  We‘re hearing all different things.

But how the campus reacts to this, first of all, I don‘t think there was an initial decision, an intentional decision, to hold off announcing what their finding was going to be until the campus was empty.  I don‘t believe that.  I think what they were waiting for was all these findings from the reports, from these different committees and task forces to be in their hands, so Elizabeth Hoffman, the president, again, could make her decision. 

When folks come back to campus for the fall semester back around August, I think we‘re going to see a widespread, diverse array of attention on this, one side, of course, demanding his head and the other side saying it was the right choice, if in fact Barnett has his job tomorrow morning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lisa Bloom, let‘s go back to what Coach Curry had to say when he said, hey, none of these women have stepped forward and filed any charges.  What‘s that about? 

BLOOM:  Well, that‘s just not true.  Three of them have filed a federal lawsuit under Title IX bringing these exact charges, and nine of them have come forward and said that they were raped.  But they can‘t file criminal charges.  They need the DA to do that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And why isn‘t the DA doing that? 

BLOOM:  Well, that‘s the $64,000 question, Joe.  It looks to me like the local folks are circling the wagons to protect the people at the highest levels, rather than doing what they‘re supposed to do, which is protecting alleged victims of crime. 

If you‘ve got nine women, Joe—how many women do you need to come forward to accuse people of rape?  I would think nine women together should be pretty sufficient for a DA to file some charges. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m not a DA, but it certainly sounds sufficient to me. 

Coach Curry, I want to give you the last word.  Again, if they‘re having these recruiting parties with strippers, if these rapes are going on, what does the head coach do?  You‘ve been there.  In the short time we have, how do you stop that? 

(CROSSTALK)

CURRY:  Yes. 

Let me clarify something that Lisa just responded to.  There have been no charges filed.  There have been three lawsuits filed under Title IX.  And there‘s some question as to whether Title IX was intended for such lawsuits.  And we‘ll wait and see.  That‘s got to be adjudicated. 

But there have been no charges filed.  That‘s the part that‘s baffling to me.  The DA has been very forthright.  She‘s a female.  She‘s very much a women‘s advocate.  So I just don‘t understand that.  That‘s beyond me. 

As for what you do when you find out that your team has been doing some things that are just absolutely the wrong things, first of all, somebody‘s got to go.  If anybody has even spoken improperly to a female, they go from the team.  That‘s made clear from day one.  If you touch a female improperly, you‘re gone.  You don‘t play football in this program.  You don‘t come to this school. 

When you lay down the law that way and you look the man in the eye and you talk to them about it every day, that doesn‘t mean you never have a problem.  But it means everybody understands the consequences when you do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Coach Curry, thanks so much.  We greatly appreciate it.  Dave Migoya and Lisa Bloom, thanks for being with us tonight. 

And up next, how low is too low?  Well, when it comes to your daughter‘s pants, one legislator tried to bar so-called low-riders.  And who‘s to blame for these fashions that some are saying are just too sexy for our kids?  That‘s next. 

Then, a new book blames Bill Clinton‘s weak stance on al Qaeda for the events of 9/11.  I‘m going to be joined by that author later in the show. 

So stick around. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A Louisiana lawmaker says the clothes you see kids wearing are so bad, he‘s got to ban them legislatively.  Is that going to work?  We‘re going to talking to two experts. 

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

(NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing):  I‘m too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy, it hurts.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Too sexy for my tie.

Now, recently, an 11-year-old girl was compelled to write a letter to retail giant Nordstrom‘s asking them to sell jeans that didn‘t ride below her underpants.  And a Louisiana legislator actually sponsored a bill hoping to make it illegal to wear so-called low-rise jeans.

Now, from Britney Spears to Abercrombie & Fitch to MTV to sex bracelets, the sexualization of our youth is everywhere.  And most experts agree the problem can‘t be solved by lawmakers.  But who can solve the problem, parents, teachers, retailers, corporate America?  Or should we just let kids be kids? 

Here now to answer those questions are Gina Kelly of “Seventeen” magazine.  And we have Leslie Sanchez of the Independent Women‘s Forum.

Leslie, let me start with you.  I want to read you what an expert said.  This is a youth expert, a culture expert from Michigan State University, said this about the clothes that our children wear.  She said:

“They give the message to young girls that it‘s OK to be sexual at a young age.  They serve as a clarion call for older men and possibly for pedophiles.”

Now, that‘s pretty strong statement.  Do you agree with that? 

LESLIE SANCHEZ, INDEPENDENT WOMEN‘S FORUM:  Absolutely. 

I mean, sex sells, Joe.  We know that.  But the question is, do you really want 14-year-old boys exposed to girls in these low-rider pants with their thongs showing?  I don‘t see how that‘s conducive to getting an A in algebra.  These are young women who are really drawn to this type of appeal, because that‘s the apparel that‘s in the stores right now.  And it‘s really a challenging struggle for parents, parents that don‘t want to see their children grow up too prematurely.  And they‘re not ready for the consequences they‘re going to face by wearing those types of clothes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Gina, I want to read you what an 11-year-old girl in Washington state wrote to Nordstrom.

She said: “I have tried shopping at your store for jeans, but all of them ride under my hips.  I see all of these girls who walk around with pants and show their bellybutton and underwear.  Your clerk suggests that there is only one look.  If that‘s true, then girls are supposed to walk around half-naked.  I think you should change that.”

And, of course, you know, you look at preteens even, and what they‘re wearing, and it‘s pretty darned shocking for a generation of baby boomers raising kids, who thought they had seen it all in the ‘60s and the ‘70s.  Have we gone too far as a culture? 

GINA KELLY, “SEVENTEEN”:  I don‘t think so. 

Teenagers love to example experiment.  It‘s the only time in their life where they can have fun.  They can dye their hair blue.  They can try out new fashions.  And you have to remember that fashion in this market comes and goes so quickly.  That‘s why it‘s a trend.  So we‘re seeing low-wasted jeans now.  But next season, they‘re rising a little bit.  So I think we‘re just making too much out of nothing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But aren‘t the looks, aren‘t the fashions becoming a bit more permissive?  I don‘t think we‘re going to go back to like neo-Quaker or anything like that. 

KELLY:  No, no, no.

SCARBOROUGH:  I think, you know, look at Britney.  I don‘t think Britney is going to be like wearing a burka any time soon. 

KELLY:  No, I don‘t think so either.

But they‘re a new crop of young stars, like Mischa Barton from the show “The O.C.”  And when you see her on the red carpet, she‘ll wear a miniskirt, but she won‘t pair it with a sexy stiletto heel.  She‘ll wear a flat or she‘ll wear a jacket.  There‘s a big trend in the teen market going more towards Ms. Modesty. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

SANCHEZ:  That‘s great.  That‘s great. 

KELLY:  Yes. 

SANCHEZ:  I will agree with that.  That‘s probably what a lot of parents are looking for.  And the reason you see that is, there‘s such a cry and a demand from parents, who are so concerned about what the options that their children have in terms of buying. 

That is really suggestive clothing when you‘re talking about low-rise pants.  And we‘re not talking about nose rings or other things.  We‘re talking about selling sex with young girls.  And that has a lot of consequences, not only in the schools, but also in their environment.  And it‘s a dialogue I don‘t think many young girls are ready to have.  I don‘t know 25-year-olds that are ready to have that dialogue. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to read a quote that TV Bill Maher said.  And is of course not exactly an innocent himself.  The guy hangs out at Hef, at the Playboy Mansion.  He has been notoriously photographed with scantily clad women, not girls, women.  But he said this over the weekend about MTV.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  “MTV teaches our kids to be narcissistic, greedy and shallowed.  It‘s all about the bitches, the hos, and the bling-bling.”

Gina, you‘ve got to agree, when you turn on MTV, when you turn on some of these other channels, again, that are aimed towards not teenagers, not 17-year-old, but to preteens...

KELLY:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Very disturbing stuff on there that has got to lead along with these fashion trends to young girls doing things earlier than they should. 

KELLY:  Oh, definitely. 

I mean, there are going to be girls out there who want to push the envelope.  Let‘s face it.  Girls grow up faster than boys and they want to experiment more.  But the letters that I get, the reader mail that we get, girls are definitely wanting to see more of the Ms. Modesty trend, and that‘s what we‘re showing in “Seventeen,” at least.  We don‘t push it.  We don‘t show a lot of skin.  I think a girl can look fashionable and cute without exposing too much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Leslie, I want to have you look at this interesting poll that was taken by “Elle Girl” magazine.  Almost 70 percent of girls polled preferred the sweet and innocent-looking Britney Spears, whatever that is—oh, there it is.  She looks almost sweet and innocent there—to 33 percent of the girls who liked the party girl Britney shown in the past couple of years. 

And there also seems to be this mixed message.  We hear that teenage pregnancy rates are going down, but at the same time, girls are—I hate to be too graphic here—young girls are talking about oral sex and other things that were absolutely shocking and unheard of from preteens and teenagers just a few years back.  What‘s going on? 

SANCHEZ:  The reality is, it‘s the same problem that I think young girls and boys have had with their parents.  There‘s a communication dialogue that‘s not taking place.  I mean, you still have a lot of teen pregnancy.  You still have sexually transmitted diseases with young kids. 

You still have young kids using drugs.  There are lot of things that are happening in American schools today that parents are not aware of.  And to have these kind of messages, these conflicting messages, have very dear consequences when you‘re talking about our youth.  So you‘re right.  Magazines like “Seventeen,” it‘s great to see they‘re moving the manners. 

They have a social responsibility.

And I think many parents are glad.  It‘s a sign of relief.  But I think there are many other retailers that need to take heed of this message. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Gina, I‘ll give you the last word. 

KELLY:  OK.  I agree. 

I think there has to be a balance.  It is confusing for young women to grow up, and I think it‘s up to the parents to give them the right guidance and—but being a teenager is all about experimenting.  So eventually they‘ll grow out of it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Gina, thanks a lot.  For a second there, I was worried that OK was going to be your last word. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, OK, Gina Kelly and Leslie Sanchez, thanks a lot for being with us tonight.

SANCHEZ:  Thank you. 

KELLY:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next, John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller named seven people that Americans need to watch out for in a press conference they held today.  What should we do with this new information, go out and buy duct tape?  That‘s coming up next. 

And then, I‘m going to be joined by the author of a book that places the blame of 9/11 squarely on the shoulders of one man, former President Bill Clinton.  The author is going to tell us why in a minute. 

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Now here‘s some Hotwire travel trivia.  If you travel to the oldest baseball stadium in the U.S., where are you?  Stay tuned for the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  In today‘s Hotwire travel trivia, we asked you, if you travel to the oldest baseball stadium in the U.S., where are you?  The answer is Birmingham, Alabama.  Rickwood Field, built in 1910, was home to the Negro League‘s Birmingham Black Barons.

Now back to Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  According to government warnings today, al Qaeda cells are in the United States and may be preparing for a major strike this summer.  Potential targets, the World War II Memorial ceremony this weekend, the Republican and Democratic conventions, and the economic summit in Georgia, among others.  Attorney General John Ashcroft issued this warning earlier today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL:  Credible intelligence from multiple sources indicates that al Qaeda plans to attempt an attack on the United States in the next few months.  Now, this disturbing intelligence indicates al Qaeda‘s specific intention to hit the United States hard. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  With me now is Christopher Whitcomb.  He‘s a former FBI special agent and the author of “Black.” 

Well, Christopher, tell me, should Americans lock down for the summer, buy duct tape, tape up their windows and go into hiding, or should they just dismiss this warning? 

CHRISTOPHER WHITCOMB, NBC ANALYST:  Well, I think you can‘t dismiss it, Joe, because America needs to share a role in this.  This is a war we‘re all involved in and I think we have to pay attention to whatever the FBI and the attorney general tell us. 

On the other hand, did you hear anything today whatsoever that you haven‘t heard on numerous occasions in the last 2 ½ years?  I can think of at least six occasions where we‘ve stepped up the terrorism threat level, where we‘ve had these specific warnings and we‘ve seen nothing come of them.  I think the FBI does a phenomenal job keeping us safe, doing these investigations.  I think they‘re not as good with public relations.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, so why did they do this today?  Was this all about

P.R.?  Was this a CYA operation, were we‘ve got a lot of events coming up

this summer and they‘ve just decided

(CROSSTALK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead.

WHITCOMB:  No, I don‘t think you can say that.  But I think you have people with the best of intentions sitting around tables saying, look, we have this information.  Our job is to protect the American people.  Our job is to make the American people feel protected, and that we have these symbolic targets, the Democratic National Convention, the Republican National Convention, Memorial Day, all of these things, and they see symbolism as one of the goals in al Qaeda attacks. 

But I think, at the end of the day, you have to say that they are just trying to get everybody involved and that it doesn‘t have any specific information whatsoever on any specific target. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Christopher, some Americans may ignore these warnings, since they have been given before in the past and there haven‘t been domestic attacks since 9/11.  But this is what John Ashcroft said when he described the suspects. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ASHCROFT:  They all pose a clear and present danger to America.  They all should be considered armed and dangerous. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  A clear and present danger, I mean, that‘s fairly specific, is it not? 

WHITCOMB:  It‘s very specific.  You could say that about dozens, if not hundreds of people that FBI know about.  And I can say that for a fact. 

I can also say this, Joe, that I can tell you that Adnan El Shukrijumah and Aafia Siddiqui were both mentioned by the FBI eight months ago when I did the story for another MSNBC show.  They are people the FBI has been looking for for quite some time.  There‘s only one person that we haven‘t seen before on this list.  And some of these, we‘re going back as many as seven years the FBI has been looking for.

There‘s nothing new in this list of these seven people.  They‘re all people the FBI‘s been looking at for some time, and none of them are known to be in the United States.  So I think that a lot of what we saw today is rehashing information we‘ve seen, and a lot of it is very, very unspecific.  They said it has been corroborated, but we don‘t see any specific information.  I think you‘ve got to sit back at the end of the day and say does the FBI go out with this sort of information and tell the American people we really don‘t know what‘s going on? 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Christopher Whitcomb, thanks a lot for joining us tonight.  We greatly appreciate it. 

And speaking about of war on terror, could 9/11 have been prevented if the Clinton administration had taken terrorism more seriously?  Now, according to our next guest, -- quote—“President Clinton never dealt with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.  Rather than acting in the interests of national security, his actions repeatedly jeopardized national security and encouraged bin Laden and other terrorists.”

David Bossie is here with us tonight and he‘s the author of “Intelligence Failure: How Clinton‘s National Security Policy Set the Stage for 9/11.”

David, thank you for being with us tonight.  Those are some very serious charges.  Back them up for us. 

DAVID BOSSIE, AUTHOR, “INTELLIGENCE FAILURE”:  Well, what I do in my book, Joe, is lay out an entire case over the eight years, the decay and the negligence that the Clinton administration set forth towards the Central Intelligence Agency and towards the U.S. military. 

And, Joe, you‘ll recall while you served in Congress, the Clinton administration slashed budgets at the CIA and at the Defense Department year in and year out.  And Speaker Gingrich had to go and trade a dollar in social spending for a dollar in military spending all the time.  What I say and what I prove in my book and why I call the book “Intelligence Failure” is very simple.

The policies that they set forth from 1993 on, including two major policy decisions in 1995, the John Deutch guidelines at the CIA, then the DCI, the director of central intelligence, and then Jamie Gorelick, now 9/11 commissioner, then deputy attorney general when she built the wall between intelligence and the criminal side of the Justice Department. 

So Director Deutch, he put forth a policy of a human intelligence scrub, which eliminated all the bad guys, all of the murderers, rapists, robbers, hooligans around the world that the CIA used as sources, whether they were known terrorists or murderers.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, David, that‘s basically what we were hearing after 9/11, that sometimes we have to play tough and have to talk to some unsavory characters to get the human intel we needed. 

And, David, you know, the thing is, I‘ve got to tell you, obviously, you were known as a member of the vast right-wing conspiracy when you were in Congress.  But I want to read you what this month‘s “Vanity Fair” has to say that actually backs you up.  According to this month‘s “Vanity Fair,” Clinton missed at least three chances to get bin Laden from Sudan years before 9/11.  And “Vanity Fair” is claiming that they simply let him get away.  Explain. 

BOSSIE:  Absolutely. 

Bill Clinton missed opportunity after opportunity to deal with the Sudanese government, and including an opportunity where the Saudi Arabian government was going to act as an intermediary in handing over Osama bin Laden to the United States.  But Bill Clinton in his infinite wisdom decided there was not enough to indict, in a U.S. court, indict Osama bin Laden.  Therefore, they turned down the deal offer. 

It was a tragedy of major proportions, and that is why I say Bill Clinton‘s legacy is 9/11. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Richard Clarke obviously testified on Capitol Hill, and there‘s this big blame game going back and forth.  And really the media never reported what “Vanity Fair” is reporting now and what others have reported in the past, that, actually, Bill Clinton had Osama bin Laden in his grasp and then let him go. 

BOSSIE:  Oh, absolutely.  It‘s one of the major tragedies of the Clinton administration, that he did not—look, in 1993, the first World Trade Center bombing occurred, in February 1993.  And Osama bin Laden issued fatwas, declarations of war against the United States. 

All throughout the ‘90s, you had the Khobar Towers explosion, the dual embassy bombings in East Africa, and the USS Cole.  Bill Clinton did not change policy from dealing in a law enforcement manner to dealing in a military manner and declaring war on those that declared war on us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, David Bossie, thanks a lot for being with us.

BOSSIE:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The book is “Intelligence Failure: How Clinton‘s National Security Policy Set the Stage for 9/11.”  Thanks a lot, David.

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tomorrow night, we‘re going to be talking to the director of the new movie on Dwight Eisenhower.  And it‘s all part of the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY kickoff to D-Day coverage.  We‘re going to be in Normandy all next week for the celebration, so join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You ought to know by now John Ashcroft issued a warning today about a massive terror attack this summer.  Residents of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY may be wondering, how does the FBI get vital information to police department around the country?  And what should concerned citizens do when they see suspicious activity? 

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY contacted the FBI and a very hopeful agent gave us this explanation.  The FBI actually sends out weekly intel briefings to police department nationwide.  And, occasionally, the contents of these bulletins are leaked to local media, such as last week‘s warning about suicide bombers, or homicide bombers, as I call them.

And if there‘s an emergency and information has to be transmitted quickly, the FBI is going to send text messages to pagers, to BlackBerrys and to cell phones of senior police officials wherever that threat may be.  The FBI also told SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY that information moves from citizens to special agents pretty quickly.  If a truck driver or a tourist sees suspicious activity near a dam or other structure, they can call their local FBI bureau. 

If danger is more imminent or if you see one of these guys, the FBI wants you to dial 911 and tell them about it.  The FBI also wants you to know that they follow up on every lead.  And why is this important?  Because if we‘re going to win the war on terror, citizens, as well as soldiers, have to remain vigilant and prepared.  You can find out more about this on MSNBC.com. 

Thanks a lot for being with us.  We‘ll see you here tomorrow. 

END   

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