updated 6/4/2004 10:54:27 AM ET 2004-06-04T14:54:27

Guests: Howard Leach, Christopher Hitchens, Lanny Davis, Betsy Hart, Mark Brzezinski, Peter Brookes

J.D. HAYWORTH, GUEST HOST:  After seven tumultuous years leading the CIA, Director George Tenet steps down.  With its crucial role in the war on terror, the agency must be fixed.  But how? 

Then, former President Clinton uses the opening night of his book tour to reshape his legacy and take shots at his enemies.  Will John Kerry get lost in his shadow? 

And Michael Moore‘s Bush-bashing film got rave reviews in France and will be released in the states later this month.  But is it chock-full of lies?  You can decide for yourself, because we‘ll show you a sneak preview tonight. 

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

HAYWORTH:  Good evening.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  No need to adjust your set.  I‘m Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, filling in for Joe.  He‘s in Normandy for MSNBC‘s special coverage of the 60th anniversary of D-Day.  We‘ll hear from Joe later in the program. 

But first, today was D-Day for CIA Director George Tenet.  He quit, saying he‘s leaving for personal reasons on July 11, the seventh anniversary of his taking the reins of the CIA.  But Tenet‘s been under fire for a wide variety of intelligence failures, including the CIA‘s handling of 9/11 and the war on terror. 

Here‘s what he said about that in his resignation speech today. 


GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR:  For many years now, we have been at war with a deadly threat to the United States and its values, the threat of terrorism.  Like other wars, it has been a struggle of battles won, and, tragically, battles lost.  You have acted with focus and courage through it all before and after 9/11. 


HAYWORTH:  Joining me now, Peter Brookes, senior fellow for national security affairs at the Heritage Foundation, and Mark Brzezinski, former member of the National Security Council under President Clinton. 

Gentlemen, thank you for coming in. 


HAYWORTH:  Peter, personally, I thought it was time for Tenet to go. 

Do you agree? 

PETER BROOKES, HERITAGE FOUNDATION:  I think it was.  And my concern was that the timing now wasn‘t good.  I wish he would have left much earlier.  We‘re right in the middle of a political season in a run-up to major elections.  And I‘m concerned about leadership for the intelligence community and what sort of distraction this will take from the White House because he‘s decided to leave at this time. 

HAYWORTH:  Mark, what say you? 


Unfortunately, the politics of intelligence rise higher than the CIA director. 

The credibility of the United States has diminished over the last several years, precisely because of the claims made by our top political leaders in terms of what our intelligence allegedly revealed about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about yellow cake being acquired from Africa.  And there are many other questions that rise much higher at a political level than just the CIA director. 

HAYWORTH:  Well, Mark, you mentioned politics.  And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi thinks Tenet‘s resignation may not be enough.  Here‘s what she had to say today.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER:  There are many more people who are responsible for the mess that the Bush administration has gotten us into.  But if Mr. Tenet thinks there should be a change of leadership at the CIA, for whatever reason, including, you know, taking one for the administration, then so be it.  But I think that the responsibility goes far beyond George Tenet. 


HAYWORTH:  Well, surprise, surprise.  Leader Pelosi won‘t be pleased until George Bush is packing his bags and leaving the White House. 

The political dimension of this, Peter, we heard it in the exchange with Mark, who I know will have more to add.  The political timing of this, you say, is the big problem with summer coming on. 

BROOKES:  It potentially is, because what it does is, it draws attention to a lot of the intelligence failures that we had.  It puts the president in a very tough position. 

Most senior officials agreed to stay on through the elections, Cabinet-level officials, so that there‘s no distractions, we can deal with the issues that are important to the election and not be focusing on these personal sort of things. 

HAYWORTH:  Mark, what about the timing?  Could you envision a situation where George Tenet might end up campaigning for John Kerry? 

BRZEZINSKI:  Well, the timing of the resignation is bad for the administration and good for Tenet. 

Look at what‘s coming down the pike in the next couple of months, the 9/11 Commission report, which will excoriate I‘m sure the use of intelligence or the lack of use of intelligence by political officials, the Senate report on intelligence in the lead-up to the war with Iraq, the potential indictments related to the Joe Wilson affair, the Chalabi fiasco. 

These are all things now that the Bush administration will have to deal with without Tenet.  In fact, Bush today left for Europe, and so we have the president on a foreign trip without his chief intelligence officer in place. 

BROOKES:  And, J.D., the other problem is that George Tenet could become a Richard Clarke.  He‘s a lifelong Democrat, served on the Hill with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, was the political point in the Clinton administration.  And he could join the Kerry campaign, if he wanted to, like Richard Holbrooke and Jamie Rubin have.


HAYWORTH:  If I could just—let me bring up this point, too, Mark, and then we‘ll get back to you.

Here‘s my view of George Tenet‘s biggest problems.  No. 1, 9/11 attacks and the aftermath, no way to get around it.  It looms large as the defining event of our age.  No. 2, the political fallout from the leak of the identity of Ambassador Joe Wilson‘s wife.  Mark, you talked about that in the fact that Joe Wilson‘s wife works for the CIA.  No. 3, Tenet‘s claim that it‘s going to take five years to fix the agency. 

Here‘s what Tenet told the 9/11 Commission about rebuilding the CIA back in April. 


TENET:  We‘ve spent an enormous amount of time and energy transforming our collection, operational and analytic capabilities.  The first thing I would say to the commission is that the care and nurturing of these capabilities is absolutely essential.  It will take another five years to have the kind of clandestine services our country needs. 


HAYWORTH:  Mark, is it going to take another five years? 

BRZEZINSKI:  J.D., there‘s two important questions that pertain to American security... 


BRZEZINSKI:  ... and our intelligence reform.

First, are we too narrowly focused today?  In our hyper-focus on Iraq today, are we neglecting or have we neglected problems elsewhere?  Are foreign nations exploiting our hyper-focus on Iraq to pursue national agendas inconsistent with our own?  And, second, indeed, and I think Peter mentioned this, and I think you mentioned this earlier as well, our intelligence organizations aren‘t geared to the current threat.  In many ways, institutionally, they‘re geared to the previous Soviet threat.

And it will take time, resources and energy to transform our institutions to deal with the more elusive threat of terrorism. 

HAYWORTH:  But, Peter, we don‘t have that kind of time. 

BROOKES:  No, we don‘t have five years.  And George‘s been in office for seven years, and there‘s been failures before the Bush administration.

Going back to 1998, two of our embassies in Africa were bombed, the USS Cole bombing in the year 2000.  And he should have recognized this.  We‘ve been out of the Cold War, by 1997, when he came into office, for five years already.  We don‘t have another five years to get ourselves around to dealing with these problems from an intelligence perspective.


HAYWORTH:  Quickly, what needs to happen, guys?  Let me just get your perception on something, just very quickly.

Porter Goss serves with me in the House, former head of the Intelligence Committee, retiring from the House this year.  His name‘s been mentioned.  He‘s a former CIA agent.  Will it take someone who‘s been part of the agency, or will we have to have a new face at the Central Intelligence Agency? 

First to you, Mark. 

BRZEZINSKI:  J.D., you asked for a prescription for the future.  First, let‘s not make George Tenet the fall guy for larger political decisions that have put us in a bad place abroad. 

Do we need someone who is a true institutional expert on intelligence and the threats that we face today to lead the CIA?  Absolutely.  We haven‘t really had that over the last several years.  And Peter I think correctly pointed out some of the problems that have resulted. 

HAYWORTH:  All right, Peter, what about the situation?  A guy who‘s been in the institution understands it or really a fresh face and a reformer?

BROOKES:  Well, you could have both.  You could have somebody who‘s been on the outside for a while, like Porter Goss.  There‘s other people that are capable.

But I think what Tenet‘s leaving gives an opportunity is for a fresh start.  There‘s been a really touch history for the Central Intelligence Agency over the last couple of months, WMD, 9/11, Ahmad Chalabi, Wilson, all of these sort of things.  It‘s time.  Somebody‘s got to lead this intelligence agency into the 21st century to deal with weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and rogue states. 

HAYWORTH:  Can anybody do that job, Peter? 

BROOKES:  Somebody‘s got to do it.  It‘s critical.  Intelligence is our first line of defense.  We need good, solid intelligence for our national security.  Otherwise, we‘ll repeat things like 9/11. 


BRZEZINSKI:  But our intelligence processes have to be honored by our political leaders.  One important point to your listeners.  America cannot lead if it misleads.  And if we misuse our intelligence for political gains, we result in the loss of credibility that we have today. 

HAYWORTH:  Well, Mark, I think I would politely take issue and tell you that there‘s one thing between deliberately misleading and trying to take portions of intelligence reports, some of which were accurate, some of which were not.  But I appreciate your perspective.


BROOKES:  And Tenet‘s slam dunk comment, remember that one from Woodward‘s book.

HAYWORTH:  That‘s right.  That one is tough.

BROOKES:  And that was with the president.

HAYWORTH:  Thank you very much.  Peter Brooks, Mark Brzezinski, you guys were great to come in tonight. 

BROOKES:  Thank you. 

HAYWORTH:  Coming up, tonight, Bill Clinton took center stage and began the press tour to promote his memoirs.  Sounds like he likes being back in the limelight. 


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  You have to be careful treating me that way.  You‘ll have me thinking I‘m president again. 



HAYWORTH:  Will Bill Clinton overshadow John Kerry?  “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens faces off against one of President Clinton‘s biggest defenders.

And then, we‘ll give you a sneak preview of clips from the Bush-bashing Michael Moore movie “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  Al Sharpton joins in to debate just how damaging the movie might be to the president‘s reelection campaign.

Stay with us.


HAYWORTH:  Did you think Bill Clinton would fade gracefully into history?  Think again.  Tonight, he launched a book tour promoting his 900-page memoir and made it clear he had no intention of giving up center stage.

More on that in just a minute.


HAYWORTH:  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I‘m Republican Congressman J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, filling in for Joe. 

He‘s back.  Tonight, President Bill Clinton plugged his upcoming memoirs publicly for the first time.  And it wasn‘t just any speech. 

Organizers were calling his appearance at a Chicago publishing convention -

·         quote—“the most special event in its history.”  And this convention dates back to 1901, when the keynote speaker was Mark Twain.  Here‘s the former president from earlier tonight. 


CLINTON:  I don‘t settle a lot of scores in this book.  I explain—I think you will find my relationship with Newt Gingrich, for example, quite interesting.  And you will see that I like Bob Dole a lot.  And I like my predecessor, President Bush, a lot, and that we had these honest disagreements and what they were and what the fights were. 

You will see why Kenneth Starr really believed it was OK to apply a different set of rules to me and all the people that knew me and all the people from Arkansas than he applied to everybody else and why the Congress thought it was all right to apply a different set of rules to me than they applied to Newt Gingrich. 


HAYWORTH:  Joining me now, Christopher Hitchens, contributor to “Vanity Fair,” Betsy Hart from the Scripps Howard News Service, and Lanny Davis, former White House counsel in the Clinton administration and Betsy Hart. 

Christopher, your former book about former President Clinton when he was in office, I believe the title was “No One Left to Lie To.” 


HAYWORTH:  The speech tonight was an interesting type of rambling discourse where on one hand the president was diplomatic, on the other hand, seemed to be embracing the whole notion of victimhood again and they did this to me. 


HAYWORTH:  Your thoughts.

HITCHENS:  And everyone laughed at everything he said. 

He had a wonderfully easy-to-please audience.  But it is, in a way, a new Clinton.  He‘s forgiving everyone.  He‘s being furry and warm and sweet about his predecessors, his rivals, some of them bigger men than him, some of them you might say smaller, even generous to those who, perhaps through no fault of their own, thought that he was a scumbag. 

This is a tremendous breadth of mind and warmth of character.  And I can‘t praise it enough. 


HITCHENS:  I can‘t think why I ever disliked the guy to begin with or thought that he was a liar or a creep or anything of this kind. 

HAYWORTH:  We have sarcasm from Christopher Hitchens. 

HITCHENS:  Oh, no, that‘s the lowest form.  No, I‘m trying to get back into his tent.  Who wouldn‘t want to be there? 



Well, let‘s talk to a guy who has been one of his defenders, Lanny Davis.

We heard from the former first lady, now senator from New York, talk about a vast right-wing conspiracy.  It seemed tonight that the president mentioned it, but in a kinder, gentler fashion. 

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL:  Well, he‘s becoming the stereotypical elder statesman.  He‘s lost a lot of weight.  He‘s never been happier. 

He is being now used by the, I think, Democratic Party the way he should be, as the greatest campaigner that we have.  But this is about his legacy and the writing of history that I think begins with his book and certainly the first lady‘s book as well.  And the legacy is very important to those of us who worked for him and defend him, because that‘s what we hope will be carried on by John Kerry. 

HAYWORTH:  Betsy Hart, very interesting...

HITCHENS:  Why did you say not carried on by Al Gore? 


HITCHENS:  Why don‘t you say Gore should carry on his legacy? 

HAYWORTH:  Let‘s let Betsy get in on this. 

HITCHENS:  Gore was given the job of doing his legacy.  Why didn‘t  you say Gore?

BETSY HART, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE:  He‘s really quite brilliant.  He‘s carrying on as, of course, me having done anything wrong?  How dare anybody say that.  What a silly idea. 

And as Christopher said, he‘s sort of putting forth this, I have compassion on those who didn‘t understand what a great and honest president I really was.  But also the timing, let‘s not forget, can‘t help but overshadow, of course, John Kerry.  And deep down, do we really doubt that he and Hillary are concerned that John Kerry might possibly win and get rid of her chances to win the presidency in 2008?

So I can‘t believe there‘s not some interesting timing here to make sure that, once again, Bill and Hillary suck the air out of the room when it comes to the Democratic Party. 

HAYWORTH:  What about that, Christopher? 

HITCHENS:  No, it‘s not the Kerry factor that‘s important. 

Here‘s the thing.  Have you seen the former President Clinton say anything against former President Bush on Iraq lately?  Not a word.  Al Gore‘s been making speeches that make him look and sound completely nuts. 


HITCHENS:  Clinton was president when it was said that Osama bin Laden was mixing chemicals for Saddam Hussein in Sudan.  That was the Clinton policy, that there was a weapons of mass destruction connection, as well as a terror connection between the two. 

Clinton was the one who took out the H.Q. of Saddam‘s secret police in Baghdad for trying to murder President Bush.  Clinton is the one who had the Iraq Liberation Act passed.  A lot of Democrats would like to forget it now, but all the groundwork for the intervention in Iraq, for region change, was laid by the Clinton administration. 

Gore may act as if he doesn‘t remember or doesn‘t care.  Clinton hasn‘t said a single word against it.  And you know what?  And I don‘t say this just to gratify Mr. Davis.  I actually think this is a statesmanlike position on Clinton‘s part.  And believe me, I hate saying so. 

HAYWORTH:  And yet it presents a real conundrum for one John Kerry.  Betsy mentioned the fact that, Lanny, that here comes President Clinton sucking all the air out of the room.  President Clinton becomes the focus now in June, as this book tour continues right on up probably to convention time, presumably. 

John Kerry has a very difficult situation.  He drops in terms of news lineups in many cities and towns down to a place of maybe third on the list, maybe way on down the list, mired in the back pages of the paper. 

DAVIS:  Well, first of all, both Senator Clinton and President Clinton are strong supporters of John Kerry and will both be campaigning for him, something that Vice President Gore, I don‘t think, was wise enough to do, was to use Bill Clinton to campaign.  I think Gore would be president had he done so. 

Secondly, the real big legacy for me of Bill Clinton is the repositioning of the Democratic Party in more of the center.  I know, compared to you, Congressman, he will never look like a centrist, but for those of us who are Democrats, we believe he ran against his base on NAFTA and defied his base on welfare reform and defied his base on balancing budgets.  That‘s the legacy of a repositioned Democratic Party. 

HAYWORTH:  Let me translate that for you.  In other words, he went with the Republican Congress on welfare reform and balancing the budget and these other important issues. 

Betsy, you talked about sucking the oxygen out of the room.  It was very interesting to listen to President Clinton tonight be very complimentary of President Bush. 

HART:  Yes, exactly.  I think he is trying to position himself. 

And what‘s interesting is, Lanny‘s absolutely right.  Bill Clinton did reposition the Democratic Party.  For instance, he was never one to play the class warfare game.  He always talked about the middle class, and he always even talked glowingly to some extent about the upper class, the contributions they‘ve made to American society.  He was very careful. 

Successful presidents, successful Democratic presidents, don‘t play the class warfare game.  What‘s interesting is how much the Democratic Party now has departed from what Bill Clinton has done.  In many ways, they are very angry at him.  Don‘t forget, they lost the Congress after 40 years under Bill Clinton.  They are furious, in many ways, at that legacy that he left them.  They want to go back to the left and say, hey, under Bill Clinton, we lost the Congress.  Let‘s move further to the left because that‘s the problem, is that we let him have the center of the party. 

So now you‘re seeing that debate a little bit within the Democratic Party right now.  But, clearly, it‘s moving to the left with John Kerry.  So you‘re seeing sort of a reaction, I think, against Bill Clinton. 

HAYWORTH:  Well, in his own words, former President Clinton said tonight that President Bush is keeping his word. 


CLINTON:  If you don‘t support President Bush, one, if you go back and read what he said in the campaign, he‘s just doing what he said he‘d do.  And you have got to give him credit for that.  You don‘t have to say he‘s a bad person.  If you don‘t support him, you should say, I think he‘s wrong and here‘s why. 


HAYWORTH:  Well, Christopher, here‘s the elder statesman. 

HITCHENS:  That happens to be flat-out wrong, because, in the campaign, President Bush, Governor Bush, I should say, campaigned against Vice President Gore, saying:  I‘m against nation building.  I‘m against using American troops overseas.  I‘m against this international promiscuity. 

That‘s one way you can tell that it isn‘t a deeply laid reactionary plot to take over the world.  Bush wanted a quiet life for the United States.  I don‘t know why Clinton would make such a blundering, idiotic, hypocritical mistake, except that it‘s in his nature to do so.  He may still not want to be reminded that what is the case, that the policy particularly about Saddam Hussein is entirely taken from his tenure.

And he was right in saying that Saddam Hussein was a deadly threat on

·         in point of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.  And he knows now that he‘ll be called on that if he tries to make trouble. 

HAYWORTH:  Lanny, revisionism or charitable statesmanship? 

DAVIS:  This is what‘s interesting. 

Bill Clinton practiced the politics of civility as president.  He had a hate machine that was oriented all the time with hate towards him.  And here he is saying you can disagree with President Bush, who, full disclosure, is an old friend of mine, who I feel is a sincere man and a good man.  And here you have Bill Clinton saying exactly that.  You can disagree with the president for being wrong, as I do, but you don‘t have to engage in the politics of personal venom, which I think we saw too much of during the Clinton years.

HITCHENS:  Or accuse the critics of being members a conspiratorial right-wing cabal.

DAVIS:  That was a fact.  And, in fact, that‘s been proven that there was. 


HITCHENS:  That‘s civility?

DAVIS:  No, that‘s factual.  That‘s not


HART:  I‘m still waiting for the apology from Hillary.  I‘m still waiting for my apology from Hillary Clinton in the wake of the revelations about Monica Lewinsky.  I‘m still waiting for her to apologize to me. 

HAYWORTH:  Well, I don‘t think you should hold your breath, Betsy.

DAVIS:  Don‘t hold your breath.

HITCHENS:  He also libeled you.  Look, the president also publicly slandered a lot of women who were telling the truth by accusing them of gold-digging, fabricating, selling book contracts.  All of this was—he told dirty lies about clean, truth-telling women.  And that‘s not to be forgotten.  And I‘m sure you won‘t forget it. 


DAVIS:  Of course, as usual, not one single thing that Mr. Hitchens just said is factual. 

HITCHENS:  Don‘t you dare say


DAVIS:  Not one single thing that you just said is factual.  Bill Clinton never said any of those words anywhere. 


HITCHENS:  No, he got other people like you to do it for him. 

DAVIS:  You didn‘t say that.  You said Bill Clinton. 

HITCHENS:  I‘m sorry. 

DAVIS:  So thank you for taking back what you just said.


HITCHENS:  I‘m happy to accept that you took it on yourself.  Now we have the shame of passing on his slanders on truth-telling females.  You deserve better.

DAVIS:  Thank you for proving my point. 


HITCHENS:  You‘re welcome to that correction.


HAYWORTH:  Thank you, gents.  Hang on just a second.

From domestic affairs to foreign affairs, President Clinton tonight said he‘s up for anything to get al Qaeda. 


CLINTON:  I‘m all for whatever we can do to eradicate the al Qaeda and other terrorist networks.  If the president said tomorrow he wanted to double or triple or quadruple or troop presence in Afghanistan, I would cheer.  But I think it‘s important that we do this in a way that doesn‘t compromise the character of our country or undermine the future of our children. 


HAYWORTH:  The future of our children, we hear that time and again from both former President Clinton and Senator Clinton. 

Betsy Hart, that is a talking point that never leaves any focus group, any rhetorical exercise by the Clinton couple. 

HART:  Yes, I‘m really sick of the whole future of our children thing. 

That is just so old.  They just keep reusing that.  What does that mean? 

HITCHENS:  Well, it means the children are our future.

HART:  Well, what about the future of protecting our children from terrorist attacks?  He had an opportunity to do that, but because he is so risk-averse, he was unwilling to actually commit American might to do so when he had an opportunity, whether it was going after Osama in the Sudan and in other occasions where he had a chance, instead of delivering a pinprick, to actually go after the nerve center of al Qaeda. 

He didn‘t want to do that because he feared the repercussions, the political repercussions of losing American lives.  You cannot do that when you‘re president of the United States.  You have to do what is right.  And because he didn‘t, we are now left with this situation today.  And that‘s at least part of it, of what we‘re facing now when there‘s terrorist threats. 

So I think again that hypocrisy, that wanting to have it all ways and make it sound so nice by talking about the children. 

HAYWORTH:  Betsy Hart, Lanny Davis, thanks for coming on our program tonight. 

Now, don‘t go away, because Christopher Hitchens stays with us, and we‘ll also be joined by Al Sharpton next. 

And we‘ll show you a sneak preview from Michael Moore‘s controversial new film that bashes President Bush. 

Then, a special interview all the way from Paris.  Our own Joe Scarborough sits down with the United States ambassador to France to ask him whether President Bush and Prime Minister Jacques Chirac are mending the strained U.S.-French relations. 

That‘s still to come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


HAYWORTH:  Michael Moore‘s new hit piece on the president finally got a distributor, but it looks like what he really needs is a researcher.  We‘ll show you just how wrong Moore gets his facts with clips from his new movie. 

But 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.

HAYWORTH:  And we welcome you back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I‘m Congressman J.D.  Hayworth, filling in for Joe tonight. 

Filmmaker Michael Moore has just released the trailer for his new Bush-bashing movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  It‘s on his Web site now and will be in theaters tomorrow. 

Here‘s a sneak peek. 


NARRATOR:  ... of power to the streets of smalltown America, to the front lines. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  This is an impressive crowd, the haves and the have-mores. 


BUSH:  Some people call you the elite.  I call you my base. 


NARRATOR:  Comes the true story that will make your temperature rise. 


HAYWORTH:  So, is it a documentary or a political hit piece?  It depends on what side of the movie aisle you‘re sitting on. 

I‘m back now with Christopher Hitchens.  And joining us is MSNBC analyst Flavia Colgan. 

Christopher, what do you think, documentary, mockumentary, political hit piece? 

HITCHENS:  Here‘s a guy—you could just see it in the trailer—who takes a George Bush joke, not a terrifically funny one, dead literally, says, here‘s the president telling his people they‘re the elite.  And how funny is that?  How ironic and beautiful is that?

Later on, he suggests that a lot of Saudis were allowed to leave the country in a sinister manner.  And I wrote columns about this myself at the time, saying how on earth were these guys allowed to leave the country on planes?  And I certainly think that the president should have mentioned the word Saudi and the word terrorist somewhere in the same sentence somewhere in his life. 

But Mr. Moore is suggesting that that proves collusion.  And this is, as you may or may not know, a favorite thing among the anti-war people: 

Bush knew 9/11 was coming.  He took advantage of it. 

Obviously, the evidence, even as presented by Moore, proves that‘s not true, because, if he knew it was coming, he wouldn‘t have them trapped in the country and have to fire them out.  But, yes, the impression stays.  The mud stays.  And Moore will try anything once.  He‘s a complete cynic.  He‘s an absolutely cold fish.  He doesn‘t care himself about any of these things, but he‘ll try anything that works for him. 

HAYWORTH:  Flavia, the presidency is a job that is rife with criticism, and now we‘re the political season.  In terms of political atmospherics—and you‘ve been involved in campaigns—do you welcome the theatrical release of “Fahrenheit 9/11”?  Does it supplement, in your view, the Bush-bashing books that seem to come out weekly, if not monthly? 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I guess I somewhat disagree with the whole premise of this.  Just because you don‘t agree with Bush‘s policies doesn‘t mean you hate him.  And it‘s not unpatriotic to criticize him. 

I would suggest that a lot of things that Bush and his administration have done is unpatriotic.  Sending our troops in there, as Michael Moore point out in this movie, without the right equipment, with being undermanned, without a real plan for peace, that‘s just as unpatriotic. 

Look, Michael Moore is a provocateur.  There‘s no question.   Is he a promoter?  Absolutely.  I don‘t really know if this is a true documentary.  It doesn‘t pose itself to be a front-line documentary.  And editing is always the highest form of commentary.  But I think it‘s enormously important some of the things that he shows in this film, first of all, Bush and his lack of gravitas, and how lightly he takes this issue, a lot of these situations, is enormously important. 

And as Christopher pointed out, and it reminds me of Mondale‘s quote that you can‘t quote Reagan verbatim because then you‘ll be accused of mudslinging.  And he points out a lot of the civilian deaths that are happening in Iraq that don‘t make their way over here, except for the wedding bomb story, even though there‘s been thousands of claims against the CPA over there. 

And he points to the amputees, the many injuries that have happened.  The people coming back from Iraq, they may be dead, but they‘re changed for life, either having lost a limb or the emotional damage that they‘ve suffered.  And, look, if people don‘t like this movie, they don‘t have to go see it.  But I don‘t want someone else telling me what movies I can see or not. 

People are dying in Iraq every day. 


HAYWORTH:  Nobody is suggesting that.


HITCHENS:  After that long burst, who on earth is threatening you with that?

COLGAN:  “The New York Daily News.”  “The New York Daily News” just reported last week that there are tons of Republicans trying to lobby the FCC that they should shut this down.  Apparently, they want to distract them from Janet Jackson‘s boob for a moment so they can silence free speech. 

HITCHENS:  I‘ve said it before and you‘re going to make me say it again.  The chance of living in a world where you won‘t have to see Michael Moore movies is just so slim.  Don‘t be self-pitying about it on top of that long rant you just gave. 


HITCHENS:  His stuff is going to be distributed, don‘t you worry.  And lots of very simple-minded people will also think that it was a big sacrifice and big bravery on their part to go see it.  Don‘t you worry about any of that.   

HAYWORTH:  Let‘s get back to the trailer.


HAYWORTH:  Hold on a second, Flavia.  We‘ll give you a chance to talk more about this.

COLGAN:  And that‘s he is a dissident, they‘ll say that, too.            

HAYWORTH:  Thanks, Christopher. 


HAYWORTH:  Let‘s take a look at some more of this, as “Fahrenheit 9/11” claims the administration let bin Laden‘s family escape the U.S.  after 9/11. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You can make people do anything if they‘re afraid. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The FAA has taken the action to close all of the airports in the United States. 

MICHAEL MOORE, DIRECTOR:  All commercial and airline traffic was grounded. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But we had some airplanes authorized at the highest levels of government to pick up Osama bin Laden‘s family members and transport them out of this country. 


HAYWORTH:  But Richard Clarke—yes, that Richard Clarke—told the 9/11 Commission it was not the president‘s decision.  The FBI made the call and told Richard Clarke, no one on the plane was worth detaining.  It‘s interesting to hear the charges. 

Christopher, you talked about writing about this earlier. 

HITCHENS:  I wrote about it several time.  I don‘t believe the FBI claim.  How could they have known in that amount of time that these people, that number of people weren‘t worth detaining?

I saw the smarmy figure of Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador, whose credit, I‘m glad to say is pretty much destroyed in Washington now, smirking to Larry King how easily he had arranged private planes to round these people up and take them out of the country.  I couldn‘t move at that time.  I was stuck in Seattle.  These people had much too much influence before then, and so did the FBI and CIA, who were covering for them. 

The CIA, the late Mr. Tenet, I‘m glad to see he‘s gone, could only get

·         John Walker Lindh was the only American who was inside the Taliban and al Qaeda.  But the Saudis got anything they want in Washington.  This is a disgrace.  The fact that Richard Clarke doesn‘t know anything about it doesn‘t surprise me.  He doesn‘t know anything else about anything else either. 

HAYWORTH:  Flavia, here‘s some criticism from Christopher Hitchens.  Again, criticism is legitimate.  Disagreements are legitimate.  They predicate society.  But, in the wake of the FBI denials, the wake of facts, at least the perceptions being otherwise, does this make the documentary more of a mockumentary? 

COLGAN:  Well, first of all, I think this is done in Michael Moore style.  It‘s more impressionistic.

HITCHENS:  Innuendo.

COLGAN:  And I think the viewer can take their own opinion.  Innuendo, whatever. 

But I think Christopher has certainly researched this a lot.  And

there is a deep stench in terms of our relationship with Saudi.  I would

still love to see the tons of pages that were blacked out of the 9/11

report in terms of our relationship with the Saudi government and what they

may or may not have done in terms of funding terrorists.  But we won‘t

because of Bush and a lot of his buddies‘ relationships over there.  And I

think it‘s clear


HITCHENS:  But the Saudis were completely against removing the Saddam Hussein regime.  Bush went against what the Saudi lobby wanted in this case.  It was one way of punishing the Saudis and reminding them that we knew what they were up to and they were going to lose their client state in Iraq. 

So the innuendo that Moore doesn‘t mind leaving people with, that if you worry about this, you should be against the war in Iraq, it‘s exactly the other way around.  By the way, Moore is not that smart, but he‘s smart enough to know this.  He‘s just playing to a certain gallery of people who are paranoid about the war and who have the view of Bush that the extreme right used to have about Roosevelt, that he fixed all this up in advance. 

This is criminal irresponsibility at a time like this.  We‘re not kidding around here.  This is serious stuff, OK?

HAYWORTH:  And it is serious.  And it is to be continued.

Thank you, Christopher Hitchens and Flavia Colgan.  We appreciate the time.  We‘ll get you back, Flavia.

Straight ahead, our own Joe Scarborough sits down with the U.S.  ambassador to France for a special one-on-one on whether the recently cool U.S.-French relations might be warming up soon and this weekend‘s celebration for the 60th anniversary of D-Day. 


ANNOUNCER:  Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge:  What does the D in D-Day stand for?  Is it, A, doom, B, departure, or, C, day?

The answer coming up.


ANNOUNCER:  In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked: 

What does the D in D-Day stand for?  The answer is C.  The D in D-Day simply means day.  It‘s used to signify the day of an attack against enemy force.

Now back to J.D.

HAYWORTH:  And we welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Congressman J.D. Hayworth of Arizona, in for Joe. 

With this weekend‘s 60th anniversary of D-Day, our often frosty relationship with France is in the spotlight.  Joe is in Normandy with more on that.  He‘ll also have highlights of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s coverage over the next three days, part of MSNBC‘s “Living History” event, “D-Day at 60:

A Celebration of Heroes.”



I‘m standing in the American Cemetery at Normandy.  I have got to tell you, it‘s unbelievably moving the first time you come here, over 9,000 American soldiers buried in this cemetery alone. 

Behind me, of course, Omaha Beach.  Unbelievable stories of heroism told there of American solders that came on to this beach, under fire, scaled the walls, came up and basically helped begin the liberation of the European continent from the grips of Adolf Hitler. 

Earlier this week, I actually spoke to America‘s ambassador to France‘s, Howard Leach.  And I not only asked him about the current state of U.S.-French relations.  I also asked him exactly what the 60th anniversary of D-Day was going to mean as we moved forward together as an alliance. 


HOWARD LEACH, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO FRANCE:  Well, the 60th anniversary is a good opportunity for us to remember the dedication that both the Americans and the French have to liberty and how we do have the same values, we do work together. 

And it‘s a particularly appropriate time for us to remember that as we beginning to repair our relationship from some of the differences we‘ve had. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ve had—obviously, we have had quite a few differences over the past year.  Would you say that the Iraq war and the aftermath of the Iraq war has led to some of the poorest relations that the United States has had with France, possibly in our country‘s histories? 

LEACH:  Well, France and the United States have been great friends for 227 years.  On the other hand, we have had many disagreements.  That has not destroyed our friendship.  As a matter of fact, I think it‘s probably brought us closer because we realize that we do need to work together, because, when we don‘t work together, I don‘t think it helps either country. 

Right now, I think that the two countries are putting the Iraq differences behind us.  We both want Iraq to succeed for the sake of the Iraqi people, for the sake of that region and for the sake of the world.  If we don‘t succeed there, our countries both run the same risks.  And we want success there.  And I believe the French do, too. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And that certainly is something that Jacques Chirac understands and that the French leadership understands, that a failed Iraq, while it may—a failed Iraq policy by the United States, while it may harm the United States, it‘s also obviously very bad for France and the entire civilized world.  Do they understand that? 

LEACH:  President Chirac has had some very supportive statements about the importance of success in Iraq and what the French country and French people will do to help success there. 

At the moment, they‘re being very constructive as the Security Council works towards a new resolution to support the new government of Iraq.  And I think that‘s an important time, and we look forward to the successful completion of that resolution of the Security Council, with the help of the French and the other members of the Security Council. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, talking about the relationship between the United States and France, over the past year, you have seen in “The New York Post” and other publications the term weasels applied to the French, the axis of weasels, as “The New York Post” said.” 

And many Americans just have open contempt for the French people.  And we‘ve been told that it‘s the same thing.  But I just wanted to tell you, when—I have been over here for two, three days and I‘ve been struck by the kindness and the graciousness that the French people have shown myself and my family and other Americans.  There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the hostilities between governments and actually the way the French people have been treating me and other Americans that have been with me. 

LEACH:  Joe, I think you‘re right.  The French people have demonstrated that they‘re very supportive of the United States.  They like Americans.  They welcome Americans here.  And many of the French people have said to me that they believe that their government went too far in its opposition, not that we always agree on everything, but they felt they went too far. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, how long have you personally known George Bush, George W. Bush? 

LEACH:  I‘ve known him since his father was president and think very highly of the president. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s probably a good thing, since you‘re an ambassador here. 

But you know George Bush.  George W. Bush is a very personable, relaxed, down-to-earth guy.  And yet, you hear Europeans call him a cowboy, say he‘s arrogant, say he‘s overly religious, say that his world view is simplistic, a lot of the same things the Europeans were saying about Ronald Reagan from 1980 to 1988.  Do you think George Bush talking about how the terrorists are wanted dead or alive and saying, bring it on, and sounding like a Texan, do you think that has—that personality conflict has caused problems between our relationships? 

Do you think there‘s a bit of a cultural disconnect between George Bush, who is this sort of consummate all-American politician, and let‘s say Jacques Chirac or a Gerhard Schroeder? 

LEACH:  Well, President Bush loves the United States.  And his first priority is the United States and our interests.  And I think he has demonstrated that with courage. 

He and President Chirac have a very good relationship.  It‘s cordial.  They‘re able to talk.  On June 5, just before Normandy, a recognition of the 60th anniversary, President Chirac has invited President Bush to have a working dinner.  They will do that.  They will be together again a few days later at Sea Island in Georgia for the G8 Summit.  And then, a few weeks after that, they‘ll be together in Istanbul, Turkey, for the NATO summit. 

So they will be spending considerable time together.  And I think that that‘s constructive for the relationship. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you think that Jacques Chirac and the French government will step in at this critical time for the United States and assist us in reconstruction now and come to the table and help put together an international force to help in the transition in Iraq? 

LEACH:  I believe the French understand the importance of Iraq being successful and taking control of their own country, and I believe they will be supportive of that.  We are certainly encouraging them.  We are inviting them to participate.  And we are hopeful that they will step up to the plate. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Mr. Ambassador, are you going to see the president out in Normandy? 

LEACH:  I am looking forward to seeing the president here in Paris and then in Normandy, as we both remember the veterans who came here to free Europe 60 years ago. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Ambassador Leach, thanks a lot for being with us. 

LEACH:  Pleasure to be with you, Joe. 


HAYWORTH:  And we‘ll be right back. 


HAYWORTH:  Welcome back. 

Let‘s go back to Joe Scarborough for a preview of this weekend‘s special D-Day coverage. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, thanks a lot, J.D.

You know, obviously, over the next couple of days, we have some very special things planned, as MSNBC begins its 48-hour coverage of the 60th anniversary of D-Day.  Of course, I‘m going to be talking to preeminent historians, people that know what happened 60 years ago, as well as anybody.  We‘re going to be walking up and down the beaches. 

We‘re going to be seeing what kind of obstacles were faced by those U.S. soldiers and allied solders that came on Omaha Beach, also going to be looking at it from the German perspective, actually visiting bunkers, actually going into these pillboxes, seeing what the Germans were looking at as the United States, Great Britain and the rest of the civilized world came on shore in Normandy and tried to liberate an entire continent from the grips of Nazism and Adolf Hitler. 

And we‘re going to be reporting on the arrival of George Bush, Jacques Chirac and also world leaders from 16 other countries who are coming here to commemorate D-Day, and talk about what it meant not only to America and France and Great Britain, but also to the rest of the world—J.D., back to you. 




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