updated 6/24/2004 1:08:59 PM ET 2004-06-24T17:08:59

Guests: Raoul Felder, Ana Marie Cox, David Sheff, Michael Isikoff, Chris Lehane, Ann Coulter, David Bossie

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, he is no Harry Potter, but Bubba‘s memoirs did set sales records.  The “Real Deal,” they may be buying his book, but are they buying his story? 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed. 

Bill Clinton has taken to the talk shows to plug his new book, but instead of helping his legacy, is he reopening old wounds?  Author Ann Coulter is here with her take on “My Life.” 

And then “Fahrenheit 9/11” opened today in New York.  And Michael Moore held a private screening for Washington insiders tonight, as the controversial filmmaker gathers a team of lawyers and fact checkers to defend against his critics.  We‘re going to be talking to one of his close advisers tonight.

And juror No. 5 gets kicked off the Scott Peterson jury.  Then he reveals that he doesn‘t think Scott killed his wife and says pregnant women are—quote—“crazy.”  Is the prosecution‘s case in big trouble?  We are going to be asking our own Dan Abrams about how this is going to shake up the Laci Peterson case. 

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Bubba‘s book is a best-seller.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”

You know, Bill Clinton‘s publisher announced today that the former president‘s memoir, “My Life,” sold a staggering 400,000 copies the first day it hit bookstores.  Sales very brisk in New York and Washington, but newspapers across middle America are reporting that Mr. Clinton‘s 957-page bio drew yawns from readers in the heartland. 

Bill Clinton is still a superstar in New York, but judging from e-mails and calls I have taken this week, he remains unpopular over much of America.  Many express disgust that Bill Clinton is still blaming his problems on other people, Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich, mean news reporters who -- quote—“like to hurt people,” and his stepfather. 

Unfortunately, this soft-core psychobabble doesn‘t sell well in a country that‘s been scarred by September 11 and two wars.  Now, in his defense, sort of, Bill Clinton says that his broken home is not an excuse for his personal failings.  But that doesn‘t stop the boy from Hope from bringing up his daddy every time he conducts a new interview, showing once again why much of America has had such negative feelings about their 42nd president. 

As one viewer of the “Oprah” interviewer rhetorically asked me, does he really think we are that stupid?  The answer, yes, he does.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, Bill Clinton‘s book is racing up the charts and proving that, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  With me now, a big fan of Bill Clinton‘s, Ann Coulter.  He‘s the author of “Treason.”  We also have Chris Lehane.  He‘s a former Clinton-Gore adviser and a current Democratic strategist. 

Ann, let me begin with you.  The former president was on “The Today Show” this morning.  And this is how he responded when Katie Couric asked if he was sorry about the Monica Lewinsky scandal. 


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I feel sorry, because, as she said herself, you know, she was betrayed by her friend and then she got caught up in this big media and Starr imbroglio. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Ann, do you feel his pain?  It looks like this was all the fault of the media, Ken Starr, and Linda Tripp. 

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, “TREASON”:  Right.  And I guess the only one we are allowed to ask him about is the one that was proved with DNA evidence.  How about the many other Jane Does? 


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that‘s the remarkable thing.  Here, you see, he is basically saying, yes, this is the one time I did it and I am really sorry. 

But you sit there and you go, wait a second, if Monica hadn‘t kept the DNA evidence and the blue dress, he would still be denying that one, wouldn‘t he? 

COULTER:  Right.  She would be a stalker. 


Well, from his book to his interviews, Clinton is blaming everybody but himself.  He says his abusive alcoholic stepfather caused him to live a parallel life with behavior that continued through adulthood.  He claims Ken Starr‘s Whitewater probing led him to lie about his affair with Monica Lewinsky.  And he said that his fight to beat back congressional Republicans, which he claims he won, led him to lose his fight with personal demons.

Ann, have you heard anything from Bill Clinton this week that has surprised you or caught you off guard or made you think, hey, you know what, maybe this guy has learned from his mistakes? 

COULTER:  I think that‘s what‘s known as a rhetorical question.  No, there is nothing of any interest in this book.  There was nothing to be learned about Bill Clinton. 

He wasn‘t exactly an enigma.  He is not subtle.  He is an obvious person.  We had his number.  We don‘t need to read the book.  There‘s nothing of historical interest because there was nothing of historical interest in his entire presidency, other than for late-night comedians and perhaps legal history. 

And we have all heard his story before.  There‘s nothing new here.  And he is a liar.  So his take on the impeachment isn‘t particularly interesting either.  I don‘t know why liberals won‘t move on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Chris Lehane, respond. 

CHRIS LEHANE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  You know, if you actually read the book, and I suggest that Ann actually reads the book, you will find that it‘s an extraordinary story about an extraordinary person who came from a very impoverished background in western Arkansas, and rose all the way to be president of the United States. 

And, at the heart of it and at the core of it, it‘s a great American story because only in America and only because of the opportunities that are afforded to people in this country could someone come from where he came from to become president of the United States.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Chris, that is...

LEHANE:  And it‘s a wonderful story and tells you something about our country and tells you something about what an optimist he is.  He believes in America.  He experienced what the American dream is about.  And Ann asked about legacy.


LEHANE:  This is a guy who produced 22 million new jobs.  The country was going the right direction. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  I agree with what you said, that what Bill Clinton did, where he came from, to become a president, a two-term president, is a remarkable American story.

But wouldn‘t he be much better off just coming forward right now, saying, you know what, I made a lot of stupid mistakes, and I am sorry, period?  Now let‘s talk about my policies. 

LEHANE:  The book is very self-reflective.  It goes through the positives.  It goes through some of the challenges that he faced. 

But, at the end of the day, the book does tell you a story from A to Z.  And he‘s very up front about it.  He‘s very frank about it.  And I know that some of the conservative cranks want to focus on one element of it.  But I think you have to take a step back and look at the book in its totality. 

And in its totality, he tells you an awful lot about himself, about why he was motivated to lead our country.  And, at the end of the day, 65, 67 percent of the people in the country approve of the job that he did as president.  Our country was going the right direction.  And it‘s an interesting dynamic.  You compare where our country was under Bill Clinton to where it is today, and it‘s a very sharp compare and contrast.  We were going the right direction, peace, prosperity.  And look what‘s happening today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, we actually have the fastest economic growth in 20 years, Chris.  You‘re right. 


SCARBOROUGH:  We had a good economy in the ‘90s.  We have a good economy now. 


LEHANE:  We have a president, by any empirical economic statistic, who has presided over the greatest loss of wealth in the history of humanity.  That‘s the hard, cold facts.  You guys ought to look at them.


SCARBOROUGH:  Chris, you know what?  The thing is, we will debate economics another night. 

I want to get you no to debate economics, because I would take an 8.2 percent growth in the first quarter of this year any day of the week.  Now...

LEHANE:  And 10 million lost jobs. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Ann, President Clinton uses a lot of ink to go after Ken Starr.  And he had this to say to Katie Couric. 


CLINTON:  And I don‘t think that Starr believes he‘s a bad man. 

I think he believes he‘s a good God-fearing Christian man who was driving an infidel from the temple.  But his goal was to drive me from office, whether I committed a crime or not. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Isn‘t lying before a grand jury and in a deposition a crime, Ann Coulter? 

COULTER:  Yes, of course, but interestingly enough, criminals rarely like the people who prosecute them.  At least O.J. had the dignity to shut up about it and isn‘t out writing books denouncing Marcia Clark. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s have you say something nice about Bill Clinton.  This will be a little exercise, Ann, because I have been trying it over the past several months, and I have actually picked up a pretty good line I say.  And I believe it. 

Bill Clinton, unlike Al Gore, unlike a lot of other Democrats, has

actually seemed presidential about this war in Iraq.  You know he disagrees

with a lot of things that George W. Bush has done in Iraq and across the

world, but he has bit his tongue about it.  Doesn‘t this effort to remain -

·         to seem more presidential has been hurt by him coming back out, going on this book tour, making a lot of the same excuses?

COULTER:  And reminding us of the only thing anyone will remember from his administration. 

Yes, it‘s interesting that he alone among—he and Hillary actually have been very supportive of the war.  They are good poll readers.  But that was true when he was president.  Contrary to what the Clinton apologists kept saying, conservatives didn‘t particularly object to Clinton on policy.  He was probably about the same as Bob Dole would have been. 

Everything Newt Gingrich sent up to him, he signed after the ‘94 election.  The problem wasn‘t policy.  It was that he was a pathological liar, a sociopath, and felon. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, actually, from 1995 to 2000, I have always said, Bill Clinton, probably, was the most conservative Democrat in modern American politics. 

COULTER:  Right, and that‘s not what he is going to be remembered for. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Probably not. 

Ann Coulter, thanks a lot for being with us. 

Hey, Chris Lehane, we are going to ask you to stick around.  We will right back with you, because we want to talk to you about your new job, which is bringing your extensive P.R. experience to Michael Moore‘s war room for his new film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.”

Then, a high-profile sex scandal in the Illinois Senate race, as a judge releases Jack and Jeri Ryan‘s private divorce papers to the media, even though they are asking him not to, to protect their child.  But is the sex allegation about the voters‘ rights to know or just selling newspapers? 


SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Moore‘s movie, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” is hot.  I tried to buy a ticket today and all, all of the tickets were sold out in the New York City theater I went to.  What kind of impact, though, is it going to have on the presidential campaign and why is he setting up a war room?  We‘ll talk about that with Chris Lehane in a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  The countdown to Michael Moore‘s “Fahrenheit 9/11” is over, at least in New York City, where it opened today.  Nationwide releases Friday, but in Washington, D.C., Moore is screening the Bush-bashing film for Democratic leaders and other D.C. insiders.

Michael Moore has actually hired my next guest, Democratic strategist Chris Lehane, to run his war room in response to “Fahrenheit” critics.  And one of those critics, Michael Isikoff of “Newsweek,” is also here.  He says that Michael Moore‘s movie plays fast and loose with some of the facts.  Also here, “Playboy” magazine‘s David Sheff, who conducted an extensive interview with Moore. 

Let me begin with you, Chris Lehane. 

Why is a so-called documentary filmmaker setting up a political war room with a Democratic operative who‘s known for opposition research? 

LEHANE:  Well, this movie comes at a critical time in our nation‘s history.

We‘re obviously on the eve of election.  There is an evenly divided country.  And this movie deals with the fundamental issues of our time, principally war and peace.  And it asks some very probing questions and addresses issues that are going to stimulate public debate. 


LEHANE:  And we recognize and realize that the people who comprise the constellation of the right wing are going to come after this movie because they do recognize it really asks some pointed questions. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Chris, does he consider this to be a political statement, his way to help John Kerry in the 2004 election? 


This movie, at its soul, is really about raising questions about why young men and women from the Flint, Michigans, of the world, or the West Virginia‘s of the world, or New Mexico, are on the ground in the Iraq in a very, very challenging situation, an untenable situation in many respects. 

And the movie is focused on raising questions as to how did they end up there, why are they there, what policy decisions led to them being there?  And it certainly is compelling.  It‘s certainly very provocative.  Also, at the end of the day, it‘s just a really good movie. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I was going to say, it is—although some people would call it a documentary.  But I will tell you what.  The one thing I have heard from people that went to see it—I wasn‘t invited, to the premiere. 

LEHANE:  I will make sure you get a ticket. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Make sure I get a ticket the next time.  But I hear that it‘s very provocative and I also hear that it‘s great entertainment.  Now, that doesn‘t necessarily make it a documentary.

But, Michael Isikoff, you actually wrote an article in “Newsweek” and you reported the following claims were made in “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  Take a look at this, first, that when airspace was shut down after 9/11, the White House approved special charter flights to let Saudi citizens, including some bin Laden‘s, to get out of the country before being interrogated.

Moore claims that that‘s wrong.  He says the movie acknowledges that

most of the bin Laden‘s were interrogated and the flights happened after

airspace reopened.  Second, you reported that Moore accuses the Carlisle

Group, a firm that had ties to the Bushes and the bin Laden‘s, of having

gained financially from 9/11.  Moore still stands by that claim.  And also

he accused you—quote—“of making completely false and misleading

statements about facts and issues contained in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.‘”

Michael Isikoff, have you made false and misleading claims about Mr.

Moore‘s movie? 

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, “NEWSWEEK”:  No, I don‘t think so. 

I actually think he did make a—it is a very provocative movie.  It is worth seeing, regardless of where you come down on a lot of these issues.  And some of the footage in the movie—and I wrote about this in the piece—is pretty gripping.

I think in particular, I don‘t think anybody has seen the footage of President Bush when he first learns about the second attack on the Trade Center, on the World Trade Center, and is told America is under attack and how he reacts.  And, of course, as—the original White House accounts, Andy Card, who had whispered in his ear, had said President Bush had gotten up not that many seconds later.

In fact, as the footage in the movie shows, he sat there for seven minutes, was reading “My Pet Goat” to the second graders in the classroom in Florida.  I think people are going to come out sort of debating a lot and talking a lot about the president and how he reacted and whether that was the right reaction or the appropriate reaction. 

But, that said, I do think some aspects of the movie are a bit over

the top.  The movie clearly leaves the impression that these flights of the

Saudis took place during a time when airspace was shut down.  It shows

Ricky Martin unable to get to the Latin Grammy Awards, unable to fly, and

it says, some people didn‘t want to fly and then did fly, the bin Laden

family, for instance.  In fact, the report from the 9/11 Commission shows -

·         states that the Saudi flights didn‘t begin until after federal airspace was reopened. 

That‘s not made clear in the movie.  There is an exchange which clearly leaves the impression that these people were not interviewed.  Craig Unger, the author of the book called “The House of Saud,” says all that happened at the airport is that they were identified and that their passports were checked.  Well, the report from the 9/11 Commission says that, on the bin Laden flight in particular, which seems to be the one that is the most focused on in the movie, I think 22 of the 26 people were interviewed.

And it says, many were asked detailed questions.  And, thirdly, the whole sort of crux of that passage is that the White House approved these flights.  And we do know who at the White House approved those flights, because there was testimony before the 9/11 hearings on this, and it was Richard Clarke, who actually was a holdover from the Clinton administration who was serving as counterterrorism czar.  The thrust of the movie is that the flights were approved because of some special access that the Saudis had to President Bush and his family. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, Richard Clarke did testify that he was the one that approved it.  And he said, you know what?  I would make the same decision again if faced with that same decision. 


LEHANE:  Can I just jump in here? 


SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sorry, Chris.  We‘ve got another guest.  We want to go to him first. 

David Sheff, you actually interviewed Michael Moore.  Here we have this policy debate brewing about “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  You have got people on the right yelling at Michael Moore.  You have people on the left embracing him, throwing roses.  Everybody is just playing into Michael Moore‘s hands, aren‘t they?

DAVID SHEFF, “PLAYBOY”:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is all he wants. 

SHEFF:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Just like Mel Gibson before and “The Passion,” this is all Michael Moore wants, is for people to talk about him.

SHEFF:  Absolutely.  He has trumped Mel Gibson easily here.  He would love this conversation that we are having right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, tell me about the Michael Moore that you interviewed and tell me about that interview.  What did you learn after talking to him?  What kind of guy is he? 

SHEFF:  Well, I was actually quite impressed by Moore.

He‘s a provocateur par excellence.  He was great fun.  I walked through the streets with him, which really surprised me.  I was amazed how many people came up to him, all kinds of people, and seemed to cheer him on.  I do have some questions about his taste, particularly when he said he has a big crush on Hillary Clinton.  But, otherwise, I was actually quite impressed by him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Chris Lehane, you wanted to respond to some of the things that Michael Isikoff said? 

LEHANE:  Yes.  And I have great respect for Michael.  He is a wonderful reporter.

But I think, if you carefully look at the words that were employed and the facts that are employed in this movie on that particular portion that he is talking about, you will find that it‘s very, very hard to question it.  First of all, we do not say that flights took off when federal airspace was closed. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Viewers don‘t look at a transcript, though, Chris.  You know that.  They are left with an impression by looking at images. 

LEHANE:  Yes, but we are very, very careful.  We make very clear that the flights didn‘t take off until after September 13, which is when federal airspace was opened. 

And the Saudis that Michael is talking about, there were 140 Saudis on those flights, 142.  Only 30 of them were interviewed in a way that was completely inconsistent with usual FBI and Justice Department protocol.  In fact, even in the 9/11 Commission report that Michael is referring to, it raises some issues about the length of those interviews and the fact that the vast majority of folks who left the country after this terrible tragedy were not interviewed. 

There‘s an FBI agent in the movie who personally talks about the fact that this was not consistent with the practices that should have been employed. 



Michael, respond. 

ISIKOFF:  Well, Joe, I think the point you were saying, that the clear impression of the movie is a little different than some of the particular words that sort of slip by very quickly. 

For instance, an example, Chris says that they never say that it was when federal airspace was shut down.  They say it happened after September 13.  But it doesn‘t say in the movie, at least not in any transcript I have seen or what I heard when I saw the movie, that that‘s when federal airspace was reopened. 

LEHANE:  But that‘s not what you wrote in your piece, Michael.


LEHANE:  In the piece that you wrote in “Newsweek,” you specifically said that Michael Moore‘s movie stated that flights left while federal airspace was closed.  The movie does not state that.  Your piece was wrong on that. 


ISIKOFF:  Does the movie say that it—explicitly say that when federal airspace was reopened?  Does it say that?

LEHANE:  Did your story specifically state that the movie did state that?  Is that what your story said? 


LEHANE:  This is important, because you wrote this specifically in your piece.  And, as I said, you‘re an awesome reporter, but you had that one wrong. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, did you have that one wrong? 


One thing, I actually have asked Chris for over a week now for a full transcript of the movie, and I haven‘t seen one. 

LEHANE:  And, Michael, did I provide you a transcript of this portion of the movie? 

ISIKOFF:  A full transcript of the movie would be helpful on this issue. 

LEHANE:  But did I provide you a transcript of the portion of the movie that you are writing about? 

ISIKOFF:  You provided me some—a partial transcript of the movie. 


LEHANE:  And did you write in your story that Michael Moore stated in his movie that flights left while federal airspace was closed, yes or no?


LEHANE:  Simple question. 


ISIKOFF:  As I told you, when we see the full transcript, we will

respond as to whether or not 


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, Chris.  Let me ask the questions. 

Will you provide Michael Isikoff and will you provide us a full transcript of this movie? 

LEHANE:  You can come to us whenever you want about any single fact that you want. 


SCARBOROUGH:  No, no.  Answer the question. 

ISIKOFF:  He‘s not answering the question. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Will you provide a transcript? 

ISIKOFF:  Full transcript, full transcript.

LEHANE:  You come to me with any issue that you have and I‘ll go over it with you. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Chris Lehane, will you provide us a full transcript, yes or no? 

LEHANE:  As I provided Michael Isikoff when he asked, I provided the transcript of the issue that he was looking at. 



LEHANE:  And Michael still hasn‘t answered my question.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much.  I am going to have to take that as a no. 

Chris Lehane, thank you for being with us, David Sheff, and also Michael Isikoff.  We appreciate it. 

Now, tomorrow night, we are going to have former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.  He‘s going to be here.  He‘s actually fighting to get a PG-13 rating for the R-Rated “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  You are not going to want to miss that.  That guy can talk, as we say in the South. 

Coming up, a juror in the Scott Peterson case has been dismissed.  And now that‘s he able to talk to the press, you are not going to believe the things he is saying.  For starters, he believes Peterson is innocent and pregnant women are crazy—his words, not mine, dear. 

Then, a rising political star in a Senate bid gets blindsided by a judge who opens up private documents from a custody fight.  Now he and his wife are embroiled in a salacious sex story and his supporters are running for cover.  So much for privacy and protecting the kids. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Juror No. 5 is dismissed in the Scott Peterson murder case, and now he‘s talking.  And he told our own Dan Abrams that pregnant women are crazy and Scott Peterson is innocent.  We‘ll be talking to Dan in just a minute.

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.

SCARBOROUGH:  Mark Geragos cannot be a happy man tonight.  The judge in the Scott Peterson trial dismissed juror No. 5, a man who clearly identified with Scott Peterson.  He wasn‘t impressed with the prosecution and said earlier that he thinks pregnant women are crazy.  Listen to this. 


JUSTIN FALCONER, FORMER SCOTT PETERSON JUROR:  I know this to be true.  I got a kid myself.  Pregnant women are crazy.  And so, you know, they one minute, one day can be pouch-ridden and not want to move.  The very next day, they‘re up thinking they are fat and want to run a marathon. 


SCARBOROUGH:  With me now is NBC chief legal correspondent and the Host of “THE ABRAMS REPORT,” Dan Abrams, who had the dismissed juror on his show earlier tonight. 

Dan, they don‘t teach you how to deal with jurors like this in law school, do they? 

DAN ABRAMS, NBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT:  I mean, the prosecutors have got to be throwing up their—on the one hand, they‘ve got to be saying, are we doing everything wrong?

And then, on the other hand, they have to be saying, thank goodness this guy is gone.  On the other hand, Mark Geragos probably had no idea just quite how much in his camp this juror was.  And he has listened to 13 days of testimony.  I asked him about many of the key pieces of testimony that had been presented in the case, like where the bodies were found, the fact that they were found 90 miles away from their home, and that Scott said he had gone fishing in that very place that day.

The juror seem to say, well, you know what, I am not focusing as much on that.  I want to know exactly how he got the body into the boat.  I want to know where it was transported.  I mean, this guy is like straight out of the textbook of what the defense wants in a juror. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to play something.  Peterson actually told some people that he went golfing the day Laci disappeared, but he told others that he had gone fishing.  And even though there‘s been testimony that Peterson didn‘t know much about fishing, Falconer seemed to have no problems with the discrepancies in his alibi.  Let‘s take a listen.


FALCONER:  I just wanted to get the boat out.

And that struck me, because, if I have a new toy that I haven‘t gotten to play with yet, I want to get it out, too.  And although there might be an ulterior motive, like with fishing or going out there to kind of use for an excuse, the thing that he said that got to me was that, I just wanted to get it out.  I don‘t necessarily know if he was lying or not, but I think that, if he had gone into like a more detailed story, like, yes, I was at this country club, I was with this person, and then found out later that, no, he was fishing, well, that would have been a lot different. 


ABRAMS:  I even asked him.  I said, is Scott Peterson the kind of guy you would want to go for a beer with?  Because it reached a point where this guy just sounds like, he relates to Peterson.  Yes, you take your boat out.  Yes, you cheat a little bit.  You say things to your girlfriend that you don‘t really mean. 

Yes, you said you went golfing instead of fishing.  Everything this guy says, it‘s almost as if you are interviewing Scott Peterson or his brother or his lawyer.  I mean, he has accepted every single argument made by the defense so far and rejected every single one made by the prosecutors.  I even asked him to look at the evidence together and say, well, at least doesn‘t that make you ask some questions, and his answer was, well, you know, yes, except, and then he goes into another one of the defense arguments.  So, boy, this is really stunning stuff. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How did the prosecution let this guy on the jury in the first place?  Was there any indication early on that he was this much of a loose cannon? 

ABRAMS:  Absolutely. 

This guy has always been considered one of the pro-defense jurors.  I don‘t think anyone knew quite how pro-defense he was.  But there‘s no question that, if you are reviewing the jury selection in this case, and you are on the prosecution side, whoever made the decision to put him on the jury, you know, should be facing some serious questions, if not consequences, as a result of that decision. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you talked about the kind of guy that Falconer thought Peterson was.  When asked that question, what kind of guy do you think Peterson is, would he go fishing with him or have an affair, this is how Falconer responded to you. 


FALCONER:  It‘s what guys do, I guess.  I am a younger guy.  I know what—you are talking about all these things that seem, you know, crazy for somebody, I don‘t know why, but, yes, I guess I kind of do. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Dan, respond. 

ABRAMS:  Guess he kind of relates to him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He kind of relates to him.  That‘s the kind of thing that younger guys do?  It‘s unbelievable that...

ABRAMS:  Because, at the least, Joe, you would expect him to say, look, this guy is not the greatest guy in the world, considering that his wife, who is seven and a half months pregnant is sitting at home, and not only is he having an affair with Amber Frey, he is telling her that his wife is dead and that he is going to be able to spend more time with her in January.  At least, even as a guy‘s guy, you would expect him to say, you know what? 

SCARBOROUGH:  A guy‘s guy?  A guy‘s guy? 


ABRAMS:  You would expect him to say, he is still not a great guy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A guy‘s guy. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, this guy‘s guy has said, yes, after his wife is dead, he is having an affair with Amber Frey.  He continues to carry on with that.  It‘s just unbelievable. 


ABRAMS:  ... make phone calls, yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Where do you go from here if you are the prosecutor?  What‘s your next step?

ABRAMS:  I think that they have to streamline their case, because the one thing he is saying which I think is very helpful to the prosecutors is, a lot of time, I didn‘t know where they were going with the argument that they were making. 

They would have a witness come on, and I wasn‘t sure why.  And the problem is, the prosecutors have been playing defense too much.  Too many of the witnesses they are calling are there to attack possible arguments that the defense will make.  Could Laci have been walking in the neighborhood the morning that Scott said he went fishing?  Of course, the prosecutors believe she was already dead at that point. 

There‘s going to be a big debate about that.  They are focusing a lot of testimony on attacking the defense, as opposed to focusing on the strongest pieces of evidence, then let the defense present its case.  And then they are still going to get a chance at rebuttal.  So, a lot of people, including me, have been saying that we have been surprised at the way the prosecution has been structuring its case.

And you would think either what they are going to say is, well, this guy is a red herring; we can‘t believe anything he is going to say, because he never would have come to our side anyway, or they‘re going to use it in a productive manner and they‘re going to say, he could teach us some lessons about how we can better streamline our case. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks a lot, Dan Abrams.

Of course, looking at those pictures of Laci Peterson, you‘re once again reminded what a great tragedy this is and that you have this clown bouncing around out there conducting interviews the way he is.  It really is—it‘s disconcerting.  It‘s got to be disconcerting not only to the prosecution, but especially to Laci‘s family. 

Thanks for being with us. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up, a judge in a custody fight shares embarrassing divorce documents with the media.  Now a rising Republican star and his Hollywood wife are caught in a media firestorm and his Senate campaign may be at risk.  Do politicians and their family deserve any privacy? 

We are going to be talking about that next. 

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


ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  And in today‘s Hotwire travel trivia, we asked you, if you travel to the windiest city in the U.S., where are you?  The answer is Dodge City, Kansas, which has an average annual wind speed of 14 miles per hour.

Now here‘s Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Who would have ever guessed?  I said Chicago.  You said Chicago.  We all said Chicago. 

So, anyway, so you have heard about this sex scandal in Illinois, right? 


SCARBOROUGH:  The Ryans.  That‘s bad stuff.  I know. 

So, anyway, we got this guest on tonight, and she‘s Wonkette.  She has got this blog.  You know, all the kids look at the Internet, right?  Well, she has got this blog.  And so, two days ago, she trashes me.  You remember we were talking a couple of days ago, we were joking, let‘s get Michael Moore on?  We will play Grand Funk Railroad.  It was just lots of giggles.  We‘re going to get them, right?


SCARBOROUGH:  The next day, she goes on and she attacks me.  She says I am insecure and desperate because I was begging him to come on. 

I have a feeling she didn‘t actually watch you and me going back and forth.  I think somebody just sent her the transcript.  But the good thing is, my bookers, they don‘t actually have to know how to read or use the Internet to get them, because I find out she is on tonight.  So what were they saying?  We are kind of sending that Imus message out that we respond to insults.  I don‘t respond to insults.  What about you, Michael? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do I respond to insults?

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All the time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All the time.

Yes, well, Illinois Republican and rising star Jack Ryan‘s Senate bid could be in deep trouble since a Los Angeles judge unsealed embarrassing divorce documents, against the wishes of both parents.  Included in the files, allegations that Ryan took his then wife, actress Jeri Ryan, to sex clubs in Paris, New York, and New Orleans.  I guess they don‘t have them in Chicago.

Ryan‘s campaign is scrambling to recover from the bombshell.  State Republican leaders are running for cover.  But Jack Ryan says he is staying in the race. 

Here now is the political blogger and Washington insider known as Wonkette.  She is Ana Marie Cox from Wonkette.com.  We also have divorce attorney Raoul Felder.

Ana Marie, give us the very latest in the Jack Ryan scandal. 

ANA MARIE COX, WONKETTE.COM:  I think the only—the latest thing that I have heard is that Hastert canceled a fund-raising appearance with him.  And there were rumors flying around today that there was going to be some kind of press conference this evening, which obviously there wasn‘t. 

But I think—but then I heard that was because someone asked for a little more time, and there might be one tomorrow. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But they are running scared, right?

COX:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is just pure Washington politics.  Everybody is running away.  Nobody is standing by their man. 

COX:  Well, the state or the national GOP congressional board or whatever, they issued a statement when this first started to come out that they were going to stand with him, which I thought was great.  It shows sort of commitment to fidelity that Ryan himself—well, actually, he never cheated on her.  He just wanted to have sex with her in front of other people.  He didn‘t want to have sex with other people. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A very important distinction, I am sure, with voters downstate in Illinois. 

You are hooked in to this.  What do they call you, a potty-mouth vixen or something like that.  You are hooked into the rumor mill in Washington, D.C.  You say you are not a journalist.  That‘s why we are having you on our show tonight.  I want to know, is this what Washington is talking about, this Jack Ryan affair?  Are they consumed by it or is he being trumped by Michael Moore now? 

COX:  Well, it‘s funny, because I just came from the premiere of “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  And what were they talking about in the lobby?  They were talking about Jack Ryan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Were they really? 

COX:  Yes.  People are pretty fascinated by it. 

For one thing, that whole Illinois Senate race, they call some political contests beauty contest.  This one really is a beauty contest.  Both of them are really hot.  And so I think that a lot of Democratic staffers have been caught up with it just on sort of a pin-up basis.  And then to have sex rolled into the mix and sex with a movie star, or at least a TV star, it‘s very glamorous. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and what do they say? 

COX:  More glamorous than Michael Moore, really.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, much more glamorous.

Now, Mr. Felder, let me bring you in here. 

The Ryan campaign is obviously outraged at what they call a privacy violation by this judge.  And their talking points include the following.  They say, what kind of judge rules that the public‘s so-called right to know outweighs the health and welfare of a 9-year-old boy?  Forget politics.  Obviously, this is a sleazy case.  He‘s probably going to lose because of it. 

But I thought that family law proceedings—I have always heard this from family law judges—family law proceedings were primarily to protect the health and welfare of the child.  The judge basically said to hell with the kid here, didn‘t he? 

RAOUL FELDER, DIVORCE ATTORNEY:  There‘s no question about it.

And it‘s rare that they release any information.  And yet, in this extraordinary situation, where there seems to be no good reason—there was an allegation years ago.  It was denied.  And these divorce cases are full of allegations all the time.  And it should have been buried.  And, really, the judge has to take a second look at himself. 

Sometimes, this privacy thing with judges is used to cover up a lot of judicial mistakes to keep the public out of the courtroom.  They don‘t release documents.  We have a case in New York now where a judge is not releasing documents.  But this was gratuitous.  Just, it had no probative value to this man‘s worth as a Senate candidate or anything like that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  And the thing, again, that‘s remarkable is, here you have both parents coming forward saying, don‘t release these documents.  Yet you have actually the wife, ex-wife, supporting the campaign, the in-laws supporting the campaign. 

Again, have you ever seen a situation like this, where both parents want to keep documents locked up to protect their kids, and a judge says, forget it, we are going to hurt the kid, we are going to release these documents? 

FELDER:  Well, the judge, in my opinion, went over the line. 

You see, there‘s a First Amendment.  And if stuff is held in open court, even though it involves children, very often, you cannot keep the press out.  They have a First Amendment right.  But this is entirely different.  This was a sealed proceeding, over, done with, allegations never proved, denied.  And it just comes out.

There‘s no public, overwhelming public good, that cries out why this stuff had to be released.  My guess is the, judge is a Democrat. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that‘s obviously my guess, too.  And the thing is, also, you have to put it in proper context.  We don‘t know the situation.  We don‘t know whether the allegations are true or not.  You and I both know, in these type of proceedings, sometimes people throw out bombshells.

From what I read, this lady got $20 million in a divorce settlement from him.  What can people do in this sort of situation to make sure that these private documents remain private for the protection of their children? 

FELDER:  Well, you know, all over America, there are commissions that sit on the judges.  I am a member of one in the state of New York.

And when a member of the public feels aggrieved, they should file a complaint to these commissions, who are very vigorous and investigate these things.  Now, maybe the judge will come up with a reason.  I can‘t conjure up any sensible reason why this was released, but maybe there was some possible reason.  This is certainty not required under the Fifth Amendment.  There is no Fifth Amendment right that would suggest or mitigate towards opening up these records. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ana Marie, let me ask you the final question.  When Ryan kicked off his Senate campaign, George Will had this to say about him.  I‘m sure you‘ll enjoy this: “If something seems too good to be true, it isn‘t true, something or someone.  But then along comes Jack Ryan.”

Do you think this is the end of Mr. Ryan‘s political career? 

COX:  I would guess so. 

If nothing else, you can argue sort of the merits of like whether or not it‘s moral or immoral to go to a sex club, but I think it does show incredibly bad judgment, if nothing else, for a politician who is even considering a future in politics to do such a thing.  And I think, on that basis alone, people shouldn‘t vote for him. 

FELDER:  Maybe he ought to write a book.  Look at Clinton, $10 million from this stuff. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  Make some money.

We‘ve got to go, but I want to ask you quickly, Ana Marie, you went to the movie.  What did you think?  I think you lean sort of left of center, don‘t you, politically? 

COX:  Oh, I‘m a big fat commie pinko.

And I actually had some problems with the movie.  I felt—it‘s funny, because I agreed with it and I still felt manipulated by it.  I found myself wanting to disagree, so maybe he pushed me to the other side, I don‘t know.  But we‘ll see.

SCARBOROUGH:  I doubt it. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, hey, thanks for being with us, Ana Marie Cox.  And also, Mr. Felder, we certainly appreciate it. 

Now, coming up next, Michael Moore is mad over the new film‘s rating, and his attempt to get it lowered failed.  But just who and what is he mad at?  I‘m going to explain the system behind the movie ratings right after this.  And, remember, Mario Cuomo is on tomorrow night talking about his effort to make it a PG-13 film.

We‘ll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, a U.N. insider calls the oil-for-food scandal the biggest cash cow in the history of the world, and Congress may actually be doing something about it. 

That‘s going to be tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, but we‘ve got more tonight straight ahead. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, on the heels of the publicized “Fahrenheit 9/11” ratings debate, some SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY residents are wondering exactly how the movie rating system works and who determines the ratings. 

Well, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, there are eight to 13 members of the rating board at any time.  They watch entire films.  They consider the film‘s theme, as well as violence, language, nudity, drug abuse, and other elements.  The MPAA requires board members to have a—quote—“intelligent maturity, as well as parental experience and the ability to put themselves in the role of typical American parents who are concerned about what their kids see when they go to the movies.”

Now, a film‘s potential rating is discussed and then voted upon by the board.  An interesting note about the system.  It‘s entirely voluntary.  Filmmakers like Michael Moore choose to take part in the ratings system and it carries no force of law.  It‘s often held up as one of the best examples of self-regulation. 

Now, if you want find to find out what films are appropriate for you and your family, you can log on to MSNBC.com. 

And make sure to tune in tomorrow night, when Mario Cuomo joins us to tell us why he is still fighting the R rating that “Fahrenheit 9/11” was given. 

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


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