updated 6/3/2004 11:20:05 AM ET 2004-06-03T15:20:05

Guests: Warrington Hudlin, Najee Ali, David Pollack, David Bossie, Ibrahim Hooper, Robert Baer

PAT BUCHANAN, GUEST HOST:  Saudi Arabia says they‘ve taken more steps to crack down on al Qaeda today, but are they doing enough to help us win the war on terror? 

And the Clinton spin machine is gearing up once again with an hour-long “60 Minutes” interview with Dan Rather, a pro-Clinton film opening this weekend, and the release of his 900-page memoir.  Bill Clinton is back.  But why? 

And a new comedy called “Soul Plane” has some black leaders enraged. 

Are films like this reinforcing a negative stereotype?  We‘ll debate it. 

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

BUCHANAN:  Hi.  I‘m Pat Buchanan, in for Joe Scarborough, who‘s in Normandy for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. 

Tonight, is Saudi Arabia a friend or foe?  Today, the Saudis said they are shutting down another charity accused of funneling money to al Qaeda, this after Colin Powell said the Saudis aren‘t doing enough in the war on terror.  Still, questions remain after the weekend massacre by al Qaeda operatives that left 22 dead and three of the terrorists escaping. 

Saudi foreign affairs adviser Adel Al-Jubeir claims the Saudi government is doing all it can. 


ADEL AL-JUBEIR, ADVISER TO SAUDI CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH:  The fact of the matter is, Saudi Arabia has taken tremendous steps in the war against terrorism, whether it‘s in going after the terrorists, their finances, or their mind-set.  The fact of the matter is, a lot of the charges that are bandied about with regards to Saudi Arabia, that we‘re lax when it comes to finances, that we are promoting intolerance, that we‘re spreading a message of hatred around the world, are really not true. 


BUCHANAN:  Joining me now, Bob Baer, former CIA case officer and author of “Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude,” and Ibrahim Hooper from the Council on American-Islamic relations. 

Bob Baer, let me start with you.  Saudi Arabia, friend or foe in the war on terror? 

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER:  I think it‘s gone beyond that.  The question is, can these guys survive?  I think we‘re really facing a chaotic situation that today Saudi Arabia would like to put these people in a container, the militants.  But can they? 

We‘re only hearing about maybe 5 percent of the civil disturbances that are going on in this country, and I‘m not sure they can stop it if things get much worse there. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, question, should Saudi Arabia monarchy survive?  And the reason I ask that is, every time one of these kings goes down, Farouk goes down.  We get Nasser.  Idris goes down.  We get Gadhafi.  We got Faisal goes down.  We get Saddam.  Shah goes down.  We get the ayatollah.  Who do we get if the Saudis go down? 

BAER:  Chaos.  There is nothing standing behind the


BUCHANAN:  Then aren‘t we in this together, and shouldn‘t we work together with the Saudis, even though we‘ve got problems with the way they‘re behaving? 

BAER:  We absolutely have to.  We‘ve got to work together.  We‘ve got to start talking to these people.  They have to start being forthcoming with us, and we with them. 

You know, this closing down this one charity is a simple band-aid on a problem.  It‘s not even addressing it.  But the money going to bin Laden today is going in cash and diamonds and the rest of it.  It makes us feel better closing down these charities, but we‘re not doing any good at all. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you, Ibrahim Hooper, what is your take on the Islamic world‘s attitude toward the United States, I mean, overall among the masses of the people? 

IBRAHIM HOOPER, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS:  I think we‘re at a real low level, probably the lowest we‘ve ever seen in terms of hostility towards American foreign policy. 

And it‘s hard to see how we‘re going to come back from that.  We have to deal with the question of Palestine.  We have to get that resolved.  Otherwise, that‘s an open wound that‘s just going to breed resentment and hostility for decades to come. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Palestine is a real problem for the Israelis, but isn‘t the American problem now the perception that we are invaders and occupiers in Iraq, and that we‘re there for oil and it‘s not for liberation? 

HOOPER:  Yes, I think we‘ve so bungled what we‘ve done in Iraq that we‘ve completely alienated even those who were our friends in the Muslim world.  And even in Europe, you‘re seeing people turning against the United States who were very pro-American around the world. 

Once you make that first mistake of going into Iraq, there‘s really no good direction. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Bob, let me play devil‘s advocate.  Why was it a mistake to go into Iraq, get rid of a criminal thug who‘s persecuting Islamic peoples and has been doing so for 30 years, brutal dictator, clean him of there?  Then we‘re going to put a new government in place and we‘re going to depart.  Why are we hated for doing that? 

BAER:  Because we‘re foreigners, first of all.  The Iraqis are very xenophobic.

We made a mistake on the weapons of mass destruction, whether you think it was honest or not.  I think it was an honest mistake.  And we‘re there.  And to control Iraq, you‘ve got to kill people.  We‘re killing Muslims.  American soldiers who are identified as Christians are killing Muslims. 

BUCHANAN:  What is the alternative right now?  Let‘s say it was unwise to go in.  What do you do now? 

BAER:  I‘m pessimistic.  I think you partition the country, put a weak federal government—this current Governing Council cannot rule.  It‘s made up largely of Iranian agents in this council that report to Tehran.  We have to divide this country up. 


BUCHANAN:  The new government is made up of Iranian agents? 

BAER:  The  Dawa Party, the SCIRI, the Supreme Council, they are always—they were in Tehran for 20 years.  They were with Hezbollah in Lebanon for the last 20 years as well. 

HOOPER:  And this is exactly why we shouldn‘t have gone in, in the first place, if we come to a point where we‘re going to have to dismember a country in order to save it.  It‘s really a tragic situation. 

BUCHANAN:  You give me in one sentence or two sentences an answer to the question, why do they hate us?  The reason I ask you this, you see polls where 64 percent of the Saudis and 64 percent of the Iranians despise the United States.  They hate President Bush.

HOOPER:  The truth is the people in the Muslim world don‘t want to hate America.  They generally love the values that America stands for.  But when they see those values violated when it comes to policies that impact their region or their nation, they see a double standard. 

BUCHANAN:  What policies? 


HOOPER:  When you say you‘re going in to liberate Iraq and you have the torture scandal, when you say you‘re going in to bring freedom and you shut down newspapers because they say things that you don‘t like, when you start rounding up people, rousting people in their homes, mistreating them, stealing their jewelry and cash...


BUCHANAN:  It looks to me like—look, we‘ve got about 100 newspapers, and so we shut one down, therefore, we don‘t believe in freedom of the press?  Now, look, there‘s an awful lot more individual freedom.  They can dance on these Humvees after they‘ve killed people, and they show their hostility.  They never could do that to Saddam.  It‘s got to be something more than that, doesn‘t it? 

BAER:  It‘s years of colonialism. 


BUCHANAN:  America is not a colonial power. 

BAER:  I know, but we‘re still identified with them.  This is the problem.  We‘re identified as a colonial power.  And a lot of it has to do with Israel, because they look at this.  They think it‘s unfair.  We‘re talking about their perceptions. 

BUCHANAN:  Look, I understand the Israeli thing.  This isn‘t about the Israeli thing. 


HOOPER:  It all goes back to the Israel-Palestine conflict.  When you say Iraq has to be free, why not the Palestinian people? 

BUCHANAN:  Let‘s agree on that.  But do you really think if Yitzhak

Rabin did a deal and he gave the Palestinians the West Bank and Gaza and a



HOOPER:  He didn‘t do that deal, by the way.

BUCHANAN:  All right, but if Arafat had taken that deal and we had solved that problem, would they love the Americans?

HOOPER:  They would be living in bantustans and they‘d be isolated by settler roads and all of these things.  It wasn‘t what was portrayed. 

BUCHANAN:  If you solve the Palestinian problem, you‘re telling me you‘re going to solve America‘s problem in the Middle East? 

BAER:  No.


BAER:  Corruption in the Middle East.  You have a civilization that‘s extremely wounded after Ottoman colonialism.  Call it what you will.  Call it backward.  They‘re not...

BUCHANAN:  But that‘s not America‘s fault. 

BAER:  I know.


BUCHANAN:  America has given foreign aid. 

BAER:  But once we take an active role, we‘re blamed for anything that goes wrong. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, what you all seem to be pointing to, quite frankly, is, look, they don‘t like us.  They don‘t understand us.  They think we‘re hypocrites.  We‘ve got a double standard.  Maybe in some cases, we do.  Wouldn‘t it be a better thing if the United States strategically withdrew from the region and let them solve their own problems? 

HOOPER:  I think it‘s always good to let people solve their own problems.  Sometimes, nothing will change unless people change what‘s within themselves. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, look, we have not had any contact or communication with Iran in 25 years, just about. 

BAER:  Mistake.  Big mistake. 


BUCHANAN:  Well, OK, big mistake.  But 70 percent of the people are voting against the mullahs and they were pro-American before the war.  Maybe a withdrawal, a strategic withdrawal from the region, get your troops and forces out of there and say, look, you deal with these people yourselves, you don‘t want us there, do it, maybe that would although relieve some of this hatred against us and some of the terror coming over here. 

HOOPER:  Even if you stay in the region, at least apply the standards that you claim to uphold.  When you say you‘re for freedom and justice, apply freedom and justice.  Don‘t say one thing and do another. 

BUCHANAN:  What do you think? 

BAER:  Withdraw. 

BUCHANAN:  Withdraw?

BAER:  The problems in Saudi Arabia are insoluble.  And we can‘t let that country go down.  We can‘t go in there and try to...

BUCHANAN:  If that country goes down, you are going to have to go in and grab the oil fields, aren‘t you? 

BAER:  Yes, unfortunately, because the world economy goes down. 

BUCHANAN:  With due respect, I‘m not a colonialist, but you can‘t let the world economy go to hell in a handbasket. 

BAER:  No, you‘re right.  It‘s a world resource. 

BUCHANAN:  Yes.  What do you think of that?  That would make us beloved over there.

HOOPER:  I think it would be a big mistake to go in and take the oil fields.  Whoever‘s in control of oil anywhere in the world, they have to sell it.  They‘re not going to eat it or drink it.  They sell it.  And they sell it to who needs it. 

BAER:  Well, the Iranians cut it in half after the revolution.  They sent us into a serious recession.  We don‘t know what—if the hate and discontent and this virus continues in Saudi Arabia, they are capable of destroying those—the facilities, which would take oil out for two years. 

BUCHANAN:  Something went wrong, because I‘ll tell you, after World War II, they didn‘t hit us over there.  We were the leading anti-colonial power.  We had knocked down the Germans and the Nazis and the Japanese.  And we helped push the Brits and the others out of there.  Americans were respected and admired. 

BAER:  We are the only superpower.  It sort of comes back.  It‘s sort of like Britain in the 19th century.  It was hated as well, too. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, they were over there. 

BAER:  Yes. 


BUCHANAN:  They were running the place, everything over there. 

OK, Ibrahim thank you.  Bob Baer, Ibrahim Hooper, thanks, both of you, for being with us. 

HOOPER:  Sure.  Thanks.

BUCHANAN:  Enjoyed the discussion.

Coming up, could a dirty bomb strike cripple a U.S. city?  The U.N.  Atomic Agency says nuclear material is being smuggled out of Russia even as we speak.  And are there sleeper cells right here in America waiting to strike?  That‘s next. 

Then, if you thought former President Bill Clinton would fade into history, boy, were you wrong.  We‘ll tell you about the media onslaught he‘s planning and why. 

Don‘t go away. 


BUCHANAN:  The feds stopped dirty bomber Jose Padilla before he struck, but how many sleeper cells remain?  We‘re talking terror on the homeland next.


ANNOUNCER:  We are approaching the 60th anniversary of the great military invasion in history, the allied triumph at Normandy. 

This weekend, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will bring you three nights of extraordinary programming as part of MSNBC‘s special coverage called “D-Day At 60: A Celebration of Heroes.”  Joe will host the show from Normandy this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10:00.  And we‘ll take you to some of the most important sites of one of the most important events of the 20th century.  He‘ll go to Omaha Beach, where remnants of the German bunkers still stand and the Pegasus Bridge cafe, near the spot where British troops and gliders landed in the early hours of June 6, 1944.

And there‘s much more.  So be sure to tune in all weekend at 10:00 p.m. for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, hosted by Joe Scarborough from Normandy. 

BUCHANAN:  Welcome back. 

Radioactive material is being smuggled out of Russia at record levels, according to the U.N. Atomic Commission.  Is a dirty bomb attack likely in a U.S. city?  And how many sleeper cells are waiting to strike? 

Here now, MSNBC terrorism expert Steve Emerson. 

Steve, thanks for coming over on this dirty bomb issue.  I want to give you a quote here on the likelihood of a threat.  One scientist is quoted as saying, I‘m amazed that a dirty bomb attack hasn‘t happened already.  What, in your judgment, is the likely—first, tell us what a dirty bomb is. 

STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  It‘s the use of radiological materials in a low-tech explosion, like using some type of explosive device to basically irradiate the area, infect the area, contaminate people with radioisotopes.  And it‘s basically a device of fear that can spread incredible hysteria.  It doesn‘t cause that much damage, relatively speaking.

BUCHANAN:  In other words, you take a truck bomb and you put all this radioactive material around it, blast it off and it goes off for a couple of miles around and the whole area is contaminated and they have to vacate an entire city or something like that.  Maybe it doesn‘t kill a lot of people, but it will scare the entire city.  It will kill some people.  And then you‘ve got contamination possibility for years. 

EMERSON:  That‘s exactly it and exactly what one of the scenarios that Jose Padilla was planning, as released in the press conference by James Comey last week at the Department of Justice.

The fact of the matter is, we don‘t really know what the chances are. 

We do know that they are planning things.  I can tell you that tonight, I

just learned that U.S. government agents actually intercepted a man who was

selling dirty water on the Internet.  And the purchasers were not people

that are looking to recycle


BUCHANAN:  Dirty water, this is contaminated water from a nuclear facility, right? 

EMERSON:  Yes, well, he was claiming that would have been the product, but he was getting it actually from other sources.  It was spent medical material, actually. 

BUCHANAN:  Give me your assessment.  And you follow this pretty closely.  First, are you astonished we haven‘t had a terror attack since 9/11? 

EMERSON:  I am surprised, and so are a lot of other people.  But this can come back to bite us.  They can strike at any time. 

BUCHANAN:  You say coming back to bite us.  Do you think we‘re going to get one before November? 

EMERSON:  I think that increasingly the chances are better than they were before the Madrid attacks, that they have sort of recalibrated their ability to strike here.

BUCHANAN:  You hear talk about the two conventions, Boston, New York.  My guess is those things are as covered as well as anything can be covered now.  Is it your expectation you might get something at one of these conventions? 

EMERSON:  Look, my feeling is, we probably won‘t get hit, but I can‘t predict something like that.  The reality is that these guys can strike at any time, a suicide bomber or a massive attack. 


BUCHANAN:  Well, let‘s take a look at the Israelis.  They get hit regularly.  Of course, they do a lot better job.  They run down probably eight out of 10 or nine out of 10.

But they get hit in a pizza parlor, you know, a bar mitzvah or something like that, a hotel, a beach.  But why has there not been any low-tech, the bay type attack on a soft target in the United States since 9/11?  Is it your feeling that al Qaeda and these folks are building up for something big and dramatic, having done the most dramatic terrorist attack in history? 

EMERSON:  I think it‘s a combination of things.  First of all, the Israelis had 25,000 attacks last year.  They stopped around 80 percent.  So their track record is pretty good.

BUCHANAN:  Twenty-five thousand? 

EMERSON:  Thousand attacks last year, which subject—in terms of Israel proper in terms of attempted attacks or actual attacks carried out.  And that‘s an amazing statistic in terms of threats. 

The United States doesn‘t have that problem, thank God.  On the other



BUCHANAN:  Why don‘t we? 

EMERSON:  All right, good question, because every single police chief asks this question.  Why don‘t we see either the suicide bomber, the guy that walks into a pizza parlor.  Why don‘t we see a larger attack like we saw on 9/11?

First of all, al Qaeda still hasn‘t been able to reconstitute itself.  We‘ve got to give credit to the FBI, Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies.  They‘ve done a good job.  Two, al Qaeda still doesn‘t have the ability to reconstitute itself.  They don‘t have the street warriors in place.  No. 3, suicide bombers require suicide factories.  They don‘t have the reconnaissance.  They don‘t have the training. 

They have people willing to carry out suicide bombings in the United States, that‘s for sure. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, how many—all right that‘s what I want to ask.  If you had to guesstimate and all the people you talk to, how many al Qaeda do they have in the United States, personnel, not just helpers, but people who would put their own life on the line, Mohamed Attas, people like that?  How many of these time bombs are walking around in our society who you think would probably follow orders if told, today‘s the day? 

EMERSON:  Well, I can tell you this much.  I don‘t know the answer to that.  And I don‘t think anybody does, Pat.

But I can also tell you, based on the number of radical Islamic conferences, groups and cells that still continue to exist, perpetuate themselves by means of the Internet, as well as getting together personally in various cities, I can guarantee you, people, if called upon to be a mujahed or to be a martyr would carry it out.  And the fact is, it‘s Islamic militants. 

It‘s not like some others have contended, like the guest before me, that Islamic militants are the threat.  They are the principal, primary threat to the United States, and as well as primary threat to moderate Muslims.

BUCHANAN:  And how many do you think—or you can‘t say how many are in the United States right now? 

EMERSON:  If I can tell—I gave you a scenario, 10,000 people yelling...


BUCHANAN:  What is Ashcroft—what do they mean when they—the chatter is up, 70 percent possibility.  It‘s now 90 percent.  A lot of people look at that, and of course they‘re very skeptical.  They‘re saying, look, political, they‘re changing the subject.  What is your thought on that? 

EMERSON:  Let me tell you, I was critical of the use of the term 70 percent, 90 percent, because it came from Abu Hafs al-Masri brigade, which really was not more than an Internet address. 

On the other hand, I can tell you, based on chatter, information that I‘ve been exposed to, you hear intercepts and there are other e-mails and intercepts that are saying, we‘re going to strike against the United States.  Suicide bombings are the way to go.  We‘re going to teach them the lesson in the summer of 2004.  That lesson is not explained in the Internet or is not explained on the wiretap, but that obviously means some type of big operation. 

BUCHANAN:  Do you think there‘s going to be attempted suicide bombings summer of 2004? 

EMERSON:  Every single day we go beyond 9/11 without an attack increases the chances for a greater frequency of an attack, absolutely.

Now, the question is, will we get it before 9/11, before the anniversary, the third anniversary?  I don‘t know.  I don‘t think so.  I think the bad guys still have a time to reconstitute themselves.  My big fear is, it will take five years, Pat, before they get a big ability to restrike.  And the fourth year, 364th day, you‘ll have all these Islamic civil rights groups saying, this is racial profiling.  we have to stop the investigations.  And that‘s when the bad guys will strike. 

BUCHANAN:  OK, Steve Emerson, thanks for coming over.  Good talking with you.

EMERSON:  You bet. 

BUCHANAN:  Up next, will Bill Clinton‘s upcoming media blitz eclipse John Kerry, or can Kerry use the former president to reignite his own campaign? 

Then, do movies like “Soul Plane” and “Barbershop” reinforce negative stereotype about black Americans, or are they just good fun?  We‘re debating that next, so stay with us. 


BUCHANAN:  “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman says there‘s a Bill Clinton restoration coming soon.  He‘s here to tell us what he means by that. 

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


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

BUCHANAN:  Bill Clinton is back.  He‘s giving a 20-minute speech tomorrow to kick off his book promotion and you can bet he‘ll be front and center from now until the election. 

I spoke to “Newsweek”‘s Howard Fineman earlier today.  He says to look out for a Clinton restoration.  I asked him what he meant. 


HOWARD FINEMAN, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT:  Well, first of all, Pat, and I‘m sure it‘s good news for you, Bill Clinton‘s big book is coming out in a couple of weeks.  And he‘s beginning the sales tour for it this week in Chicago at the Book Sellers Convention, 957 pages, called “My Life.”

And everybody in the political world is going to be consumed by it.  So that‘s one part of the restoration.  The other part is the Kerry campaign.  John Kerry is out on a tour these couple of weeks talking about foreign policy.  And if you get on the Kerry plane, most of the advisers you see are people from the Clinton administration, led by Jamie Rubin, who of course who was the spinner for Madeleine Albright. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me ask you this.  This thing comes out.  You‘ve got him on “60 Minutes” I guess on the 20th of June or thereabouts. 

FINEMAN:  Right. 

BUCHANAN:  Clinton is going to dominate I would think the media all the way through June, in late June up into July, right way up to the convention.  That pretty much is going to eclipse John Kerry, isn‘t it? 

FINEMAN:  Well, some people think that Kerry does better in the polls the less visible he is, so maybe that‘s part of the Kerry strategy.  I don‘t think so. 

I think it could be a complication.  On the one hand, Bill Clinton and his people said they wanted to try to be accommodating to the party.  They rushed the completion of the book and the publication of the book to get it ahead of the convention.  But it does pose kind of a problem for Kerry.  Kerry is now beginning to winnow down, I think, his possible selections of vice president. 

I think he‘s going to have to wait until the big bow wave of Bill Clinton gets out of the way, which is going to put the selection right up against the Boston convention in July and not give Kerry the few weeks of run-up to the convention that he had hoped for. 

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask you this.  There‘s no question about it, Bill Clinton is a charismatic, fairly electrifying, controversial figure.  In contrast, I remember the two of them gave that speech down here in Washington, D.C.  They went to the same event and he totally eclipsed Kerry.  Is Clinton likely to come off charismatic and exciting, and then we see Kerry come forward and people say, oh, it‘s him again? 

FINEMAN:  I think quite possibly. 

I think even when Bill Clinton is trying to be shy, he can‘t do it.  And I think he‘s just so great on stage, he‘s such a great political figure, and he is so charismatic that it‘s going to make Kerry look even duller by comparison.  The good things about having him around for Kerry—and there are some—are as follows. 

Bill Clinton can raise money for him.  Bill Clinton can excite the base.  They can use Bill Clinton in this campaign the way Al Gore didn‘t do, which is to turn out the base in some parts of the country.  And nobody can get people excited in the Democratic Party the way Bill Clinton can.  The bad part of it is, as you say, No. 1, he makes Kerry look bland. 

And, No. 2, he reminds people not only of the good parts of the ‘90s, the economic growth rates and so forth, but Monica Lewinsky and also the fact that the Clinton administration in part because it was incapacitated by that Lewinsky scandal the last couple years, didn‘t really do much on the terrorism front. 

BUCHANAN:  And there‘s no doubt about it.  Mr. Clinton can excite the Republican base like no one else also.  It should be an exciting race. 


FINEMAN:  Yes.  And he‘ll probably show up in an ad or two from the Bush campaign. 

BUCHANAN:  Talk radio will be geared up. 

Howard, thanks very much for dropping by and reintroducing the subject for us. 

FINEMAN:  Sure.  OK. 


BUCHANAN:  OK.  Is Bill Clinton about to bigfoot John Kerry? 

Here to answer, Dave Bossie, who wrote “Intelligence Failure: How Clinton‘s National Security Policy Set the Stage for 9/11,” and David Pollack, the president of the Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century. 

Let‘s go first to you, David Pollack.

Look, I‘ve got to admit, I hope you saw what we saw of Bill Clinton there with that outfit he had on.  But he‘s very charismatic, there‘s no question.  He‘s very exciting, and he exudes charm, and he‘s entertaining, and everybody—he‘s controversial.  He‘s going to come in here and just tramp all over the parade of John Kerry, isn‘t he? 

DAVID POLLACK, DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP FOR THE 21ST CENTURY:  Well, I think you hit the nail on the head.  He is a legitimate superstar.  He is the closest thing to a political celebrity that really exists in America. 

Let me make this point.  If you think he‘s going to trample on John Kerry, then he‘s also going to trample on George Bush.  And by that, I mean I think the Clinton phenomenon transcends this election.  I think, for most voters, they‘re going to judge Kerry vs. Bush and they know that‘s what the race is about.  Clinton is really in a class by himself, and if he makes Kerry look bad, he certainly makes Bush look bad as well. 

BUCHANAN:  Well, Dave Bossie, I don‘t know about that. 

The president of the United States is always a huge figure.  He‘s going to be over there in Normandy.  He walks out there in the Rose Garden and you have every camera on Earth there.  But Kerry doesn‘t have that going for him, and you‘ve got this charismatic character.  I think it‘s going to be very rough for Kerry.  I think he‘s going to be just—it‘s going to be a blackout almost up until the convention. 


There‘s no question about it. 

Bill Clinton sucks all of the air out of John Kerry‘s parade.  If I was John Kerry, I would be extremely incensed that his book is being timed in this manner.  Clearly, you have bad timing for his vice presidential choice leading right up to the Democratic Convention. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, David Pollack, let me go to this timing.  Now, I thought it through—and I‘ve written a couple of books.

I don‘t think Clinton is doing this to stiff Kerry in any way.  Consider, you know, if Clinton had put his book out in July, that would have eclipsed the convention.  If he had done it in August, that would have eclipsed Kerry‘s nomination.  You do it in September, he‘s in the middle of the campaign.  If he does it in November and Kerry‘s won, nobody is going to buy the book.  They would be interested in Kerry.  So he‘s getting it out of the way as early as he can. 

POLLACK:  I think that‘s right. 

And most political professionals will tell you, for most voters, the presidential race doesn‘t really begin until the summer.  Some say it doesn‘t begin until after the Super Bowl—I‘m sorry—the World Series is over.  And this year, of course, you have the Olympics.  But I think obviously the American people are paying a lot more attention to the race earlier this time, because, between the economy and Iraq and terrorism, there‘s a lot of important issues out there. 

And, quite frankly, David, I think it‘s an enormous insult to the American people and to the American voter to say that somehow Bill Clinton‘s book and the story of his life is going to detract from their examination of the issues that really matter to them. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, well, hold on, Dave.  i know you‘re ready to respond. 

Look, here‘s the movie trailer for “The Hunting of the President,” about vast right-wing conspiracy that tried to kill Bill. 


JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, “CROSSFIRE”:  Many of us have done stupid things in our lives.  None of us have had $80 million spent to try to say what all these stupid things were. 

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN:  The great goal was to get Bill Clinton under oath. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Clinton, did you ask Paula Jones to come up to that hotel room? 

TOOBIN:  Once he‘s under oath, you have the possibility of him making a false statement. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Clinton, did you grab and grope Paula Jones? 

TOOBIN:  And that turns the case into a vehicle for his ending his presidency. 


BUCHANAN:  Dave Bossie, are you starring in this new film on the vast right-wing conspiracy, what they did to Bill Clinton? 


BOSSIE:  I don‘t know.  If it‘s historic, maybe I‘ll have a small part. 

BUCHANAN:  I think it‘s Harry Thomason is doing it.

BOSSIE:  Oh, is that right?

BUCHANAN:  So my guess, if you‘re in it, you‘re not going to come off very well. 

BOSSIE:  I would hope not, actually.

BUCHANAN:  All right. 

BOSSIE:  If I‘m in it, I sure hope that Harry Thomason—he never let the facts get in the way of a good story before.  So I‘m not going to be worried about this movie. 

But Bill Clinton is larger than life.  George W. Bush does not need to worry about Bill Clinton.  John Kerry does.  It‘s the Democratic base that is going to be enthralled with Bill Clinton and his book tour, not knocking on doors for John Kerry.  That‘s what the John Kerry campaign needs to worry about. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, Dave Pollack, I‘ve got a question for you.  You know, I met Clinton up in New Hampshire when we were campaigning in ‘92.  He had great charm and clearly he had intelligence.  And he developed tremendous knowledge.  He knew every street in Jerusalem by the end of his presidency.

And he had a potential to be an excellent, not a great president, because they weren‘t great times.  And my view is that he had a real character flaw and he, if you will, blotted his copy book and forever after it‘s all these bimbos and the impeachment, and that is with him forever,, that and the pardons, and that he really blew it himself.  Is that wrong? 

POLLACK:  Well, there‘s a bunch of things that you said were wrong.  First, there‘s a lot of people, probably at least 50 percent of this country, that believe he was a great president. 

And if you look at whether it‘s the jobs created or economic health,

the paying down of the deficit, putting investments away for Social

Security and Medicaid, this is a guy that accomplished more than George

Bush is ever going to


BUCHANAN:  Warren Harding did that.  He had a great economy and stuff. 

POLLACK:  But to come back to your question, and let‘s relate it to the point you brought up before about the movie that‘s coming out, you guys giggled about it, but most people I know, certainly on the Democratic side, really do believe that millions and millions of dollars were spent to tarnish Bill Clinton in fact because of these great accomplishments. 

And I would turn it around and ask it to you.  What if that amount of money was spent going after George Bush? 

BOSSIE:  It is. 

POLLACK:  Oh, that‘s nonsense.  That‘s utter nonsense. 


BUCHANAN:  Mr. Pollack has got a point here. 

I mean, from day one—of course, “The Los Angeles Times” was doing it.  But “The American Spectator” set off, you have got all these trooper gate, all these things.  It was an enormous amount of money, tremendous focus of talk radio, conservative magazines, frankly, in my judgment, overdone a bit in the sense that conservatism was about more than the Paulas and the Juanitas and all the rest of it, and it got confused with that during the 1990s, didn‘t it?

BOSSIE:  It certainly did. 

Look, I worked on the Whitewater case, the original land flipping, the financial fraud.  It was a white-collar crime case when we started it.  It got—it really got sidetracked with all of the bimbos.  That wasn‘t our fault.  It was Bill Clinton‘s fault. 

POLLACK:  Oh, please.

BOSSIE:  Bill Clinton likes to blame everything that he‘s responsible for on other people.  So his impeachment had nothing to do with Republicans or conservative.  It had everything to do with his actions, and the American people know that.  That‘s how history is going to judge him.


POLLACK:  Pat, I would just point out that result of that was the loss for the Republicans in 1998, the first ever midterm election lost for the party out of power. 


BOSSIE:  In ‘94, we took over the House. 


POLLACK:  Ninety-four was before.

BUCHANAN:  OK, David Pollack and Dave Bossie.

And, David Pollack, I would remind you, the Republicans got it all now.  Thanks, both of you, for joining us. 

And coming up next, Bill Cosby is under fire for suggesting African-Americans should speak proper English and do a better job of raising their kids.  Would their cause be better off with films—without films like “Barbershop” and “Soul Plane,” the new one? 

That‘s next. 

ANNOUNCER:  Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge:  Bill Cosby left high school in the 10th grade to do what?  Was it, A, work at “The Village Voice,” B, join the Navy, or, C, do stand-up comedy?  The answer coming up.


ANNOUNCER:  In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked, Bill Cosby left high school in the 10th grade to do what?  The answer is B.  He earned his high school diploma while serving in the Navy and later earned a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts.

Now back to Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Bill Cosby also ignited a firestorm when he accused some in the African-American community of being uneducated and lazy.  Now some thing a new movie, “Soul Plane,” is reinforcing negative stereotypes.  Here‘s a clip from the new movie. 


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  I don‘t know about all that, but if Denzel walks in, I‘m taking the rest of the day off and getting straight down with the get-down, you know what I‘m saying? 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Girl, let me tell you, Denzel is nice, but I like the young thugs.  Oh, I love me some 50 Cent, baby. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  Oh, Shaniece.  Go, Shaniece.  it‘s your birthday.  We‘re going to party like it‘s your birthday, party like it‘s my birthday. 


BUCHANAN:  Najee Ali, a civil rights activist, and Warrington Hudlin, president of the Black Filmmaker Foundation and founder of D.V. Republic, are joining us now. 

Let me speak with you both, gentlemen.  Thanks very much for joining us.

Najee Ali, let me ask you to comment first on that film we just saw that very minimal clip of.  What are your thoughts on it? 

NAJEE ALI, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST:  Well, thanks for having me, Pat. 

And, first of all, you‘ll shocked and outraged and horrified by this movie “Soul Plane.”  It‘s really a movie that reinforces negative and demeaning stereotypes of black people, black culture and black life.  And it‘s a movie that has really angered me.  And I feel it‘s an attempt by these actors, these entertainers and by everyone involved to take us back to the plantation with this type of buffoonery and cooning and shucking and jiving that goes on in this movie “Soul Plane,” pat.

BUCHANAN:  Warrington Hudlin, doesn‘t Najee have a point there? 

WARRINGTON HUDLIN, BLACK FILMMAKER FOUNDATION:  Yes, but I think the bigger point is that the same day that “Soul Plane,” another movie opened, “Baadasssss” by Mario Van Peebles.  So if “Soul Plane” is the problem, “Baadasssss” is the solution.

BUCHANAN:  What do you mean? 

HUDLIN:  This is a movie that is inspirational.  It‘s heroic.  It‘s about really the person who founded contemporary black independent cinema. 

So one of the problems of African-American people is, we‘ve been historically dissatisfied with the movies made by Hollywood.  But Mario Van Peebles is a person who really started a new tradition.  In fact, you mentioned Mr. Cosby at the beginning of the segment.  Bill Cosby was the person who actually put his personal dollars toward Melvin Van Peebles‘ movie 30 years ago, “Sweet Sweetback.”  “Baadasssss” is the telling of that story, this kind of really self-reliance, entrepreneurial strike for independence. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me talk—Najee, let me ask you this.  Look, you know, white folks, they had Archie Bunker.  It was a caricature of the queen‘s redneck and it was overdone.  And, you know, they made him very stupid.  But at the same time, he said some clever, funny things.  And people loved it, and white folks loved it.  They didn‘t take offense to it.  Do you think you‘re getting overwrought?  This is sort of just a film. 

ALI:  Well, when you look at the state and the condition that black people live in...

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

ALI:  There are more black men in prison right now than there are in college.  There‘s a disproportionate number of black people who are on welfare, as well as unemployed, as well as blacks lead the nation in HIV and AIDS infection. 

So I think the black community needs to focus in on economics and moral conditions that can uplift our race, instead of celebrating these movies that depict us in a negative fashion. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me ask you this.  What did you think of what Bill Cosby had to say? 

ALI:  Well, I think Mr. Cosby has some very valid points.  And I can say that Mr. Hudlin, he is on point with his assessment. 

Right now, there‘s another movie out that stars Mos Def, a black hip-hop actor.  The movie is called “Something the Lord Made.”  And it‘s about a black doctor.  And I‘m wondering why we‘re not talking about these types of movies that black people should be supporting that show blacks in a very positive way, something that black people can say, this is our history and this is our history with integrity, something that we should be proud of. 

BUCHANAN:  All right, let me ask Mr. Hudlin this.  I saw “Do the Right Thing” by Spike Lee.  And before I get your opinion, let me just say, I just thought it was a terrific movie as a film and dealing with the social issue that it did.  And, I mean, it was exceedingly—just exceedingly well done and a very powerful and memorable film.  What did you all think of that? 

HUDLIN:  Well, I think that one thing that is really striking about this situation now is that the black consumer has the power.  We don‘t have access to capital to make our movies, but we have the power to make a movie a hit or miss.  So any movie we don‘t like, the simple solution to that movie is not support it at the box office. 

And a movie we do like, we support it and more movies like that will be made, which is why we‘ve got to go out and support “Baadasssss.” 

BUCHANAN:  OK, Najee, what about “Do the Right Thing”?  What‘s your feeling?

ALI:  Well, Spike Lee is a genius, and “Do the Right Thing” was one of the greatest films I‘ve ever seen. 

But I can say that the black consumer did speak out this week, where they overwhelmingly rejected “Soul Plane.”  “Soul Plane” crashed at the box office.  And I think it‘s important that we do support films that show blacks in a different light, things that we can embrace and support and love. 

BUCHANAN:  What did you think about—I know “Barbershop” had some very controversial jokes I guess about Dr. King and other civil rights heroes.  What was the feeling about that, that these ought to be—there‘s certain things that are sacrosanct and ought not to be touched, or is it fair game, like “Saturday Night Live,” where, say, everything is fair game? 

HUDLIN:  Well, the problem with censorship is that it cuts both ways. 

Once you make a laundry list of what you can and cannot talk about...

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t mean government censorship.  I mean, do you think folks should be doing that?  There‘s a lot of—the First Amendment guarantees us the right to do and say anything.  But should they be doing that? 

HUDLIN:  Well, the black community tradition is a very long traditional and one in which there‘s no sacred cows.

And I‘m very concerned that I don‘t want, as a writer, someone to give me a list of things I can and cannot make fun of.  And I think the whole thing is, do I do it artfully?  Do I give you insight when I do that?  So that‘s the standard it should be measured against. 

BUCHANAN:  Najee, do you think it was insulting, though? 

ALI:  Well, I can say this.  The black community is not monolithic and we do have the right to laugh at ourselves.  What‘s funny to me may not be funny to someone else.  But I do feel that those who are offended have the right to voice their objections, as Reverend Sharpton and Reverend Jackson did voice their objections to “Barbershop,” in the same manner as the Christian community voiced their objections when the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” came out. 

BUCHANAN:  Right. 

HUDLIN:  I think the big challenge for the black community is to move beyond simply moving beyond raising objections and protests.

There‘s the opportunity now in the 21st century to really be proactive, to support what we do like.  And, fortunately, there‘s choices in the marketplace now.  So I think that the biggest challenge for us now is move beyond protest into application of what we want to see, which is why supporting “Baadasssss” is a great opportunity to send Hollywood a message of what we want to see. 


Well, Najee Ali and Warrington Hudlin, thanks very much, both of you, for joining us this evening. 

Straight ahead, we‘ve heard a lot about how the French don‘t like Americans.  But what kind of reception did Joe get now that he‘s in France for MSNBC‘s coverage of the 60th anniversary of D-Day?  He‘ll tell us about it next. 


BUCHANAN:  Our own Joe Scarborough is in France preparing for the 60th anniversary of D-Day this weekend.  Joe says he‘s surprised by the warm reception he‘s getting from the French.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  I must tell you, I‘ve been very surprised by the warmth and the kindness that I‘ve felt from the Parisians.  I came here 20 years ago while Ronald Reagan was president. 

There was an open hostility towards Ronald Reagan and his policies, and that hostility seemed to extend to Americans that were visiting in Paris.  While there‘s a hostility towards George W. Bush, they think he‘s a cowboy, they think he‘s a unilateralist, all of the same charges that you heard about Ronald Reagan, the hostility does not extend to the Americans that come here and visit. 

But, again, what they say is, George Bush has adopted a dangerous policy in Iraq, he‘s been a unilateralist, and if France is needed, France will be there.  They remind me they were there, obviously, during Afghanistan.  They were there on the war on terror.  Their intelligence departments have been working with the CIA, the FBI and other American intelligence agencies.  And they‘ll continue to do that in the hunt for al Qaeda. 

Now, some of the newspapers and magazines have obviously been touting the arrival of George Bush and D-Day.  Here, we have a commemorative edition of “Le Figaro” magazine talking about D-Day.  Also, they have a special commemorative section in today‘s newspaper.  You have other newspapers that obviously are a bit less kind to George W. Bush, “Le Monde” talking about the news coverage of the war, basically, Hollywood goes to war. 

And here, also, “Le Monde,” which is really the newspaper of record for Paris and certainly left of center, here they talk about George Bush‘s tour of Europe, which is filled with risks, and talk about his confusing Iraq policy. 

So, all in all, some great opportunities coming out of this weekend, in the meeting between George Bush and Jacques Chirac.  And, of course, if things don‘t go well at D-Day, they have an opportunity again.  They‘re going to be in Turkey in a few weeks at the NATO conference to meet again.  And, of course, they‘ll be meeting in Georgia in the G8 conference later this summer. 


BUCHANAN:  And while Joe was in Paris, he also talked to the U.S.  ambassador to France, Howard Leach, about French support for the U.S. war in Iraq.  And we‘ll have that for you tomorrow night. 

And don‘t forget, Joe will be back with our special D-Day coverage this coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. 

Good night. 


Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc. (f/k/a/ Federal Document Clearing House Inc., eMediaMillWorks, Inc.), ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.


Discussion comments