updated 7/8/2004 12:39:13 PM ET 2004-07-08T16:39:13

Guests: Michael Ware, Liz Marlantes, Jack Kemp, Steve Forbes

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline:  Republican knives are out for John Edwards.  The “Real Deal”:  Bush-Cheney‘s record is plenty to run on, so they need to lay off the cheap shots. 

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

President Bush takes a cheap shot at the Democrats‘ newest golden boy, but will the Edwards attack blow up in the GOP‘s face?  We are going to be asking two men who have been there before, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes and vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp. 

Then, is Michael Moore a big, fat, stupid white man?  That‘s what author David Hardy thinks.  And he has penned a book.  And he‘s going to be here to tell us why he thinks that.

And there‘s a new chilling terror tape out this week that shows suicide bombers preparing for and perpetrating their dirty work in Iraq.  We are going to talking to the “TIME” magazine reporter who got the tape and show you brand-new footage that was just acquired by NBC. 

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, good evening.  Hope you and your family are having a great night. 

Well, the Bush campaign is punching away at John Edwards.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Today, President Bush took a cheap shot at John Edwards, suggesting the U.S. senator was ill-prepared to be vice president of the United States.  Like I said, that attack was a cheap shot.  John Edwards has served the same amount of time in the United States Senate as George W.  Bush served as governor of Texas when he was elected president in 2000.  And the Texas legislature meets only every other year.  And the governorship in the lone star state has long been considered one of the weakest positions of its kind in America. 

Add to that the fact that Edwards sat on the Intelligence Committee on the days before and after September 11, and you could argue that John Edwards has more experience in key areas than George W. Bush did when he ran for president in 2000.  Now, other vice presidents like Harry Truman were dismissed as political hacks and lightweights.  But when the senator from Missouri replaced one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century, Harry Truman exceeded all expectations and ended up being considered one of our country‘s strongest leaders ever. 

This White House will score no political points attacking John Edwards.  This campaign is a referendum on their performance.  And they have a great story to tell, the strongest economic recovery in 20 years, no terror attacks on American soil since 9/11, and a war in Iraq that I still believe will reshape the Middle East every bit as much as Ronald Reagan‘s war with the Soviets liberated Eastern Europe. 

Presidents need not look petty, especially one who is leading America through its most important war since a former haberdasher from Independence, Missouri, led America through final days of World War II.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, Kerry-Edwards dominated the news cycle for a second straight day, to great effect in the polls.  Could this be the beginning of the end for the Bush-Cheney ticket? 

The co-founder of Empower America, Jack Kemp, is here.  He of course served in the first President Bush‘s Cabinet and ran for vice president in 1996.  And he‘s on vacation in Vail, looking relaxed and tan, I might add. 

Thanks for being with us tonight, Jack.  I appreciate it. 

JACK KEMP, CO-FOUNDER, EMPOWER AMERICA:  Joe, thank you.

And thanks for the “Real Deal.”  You were absolutely right.  Harry Truman was considered to be without experience.  He turned out to be one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century.  I went from professional football straight into the U.S. Congress.  I was accused of not—I think we have got to be very careful before we just dismiss John Edwards as someone without experience. 

There are many more reasons to vote for Bush-Cheney than just dismissing John Edwards. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You think the Bush White House may be concerned about this guy?  You know, during the primary, I talked to people in the White House.  They were certainly more fearful of facing somebody like John Edwards than John Kerry. 

You think they may be overreacting?  They have sent out some very negative press releases over the past day and a half, and I think it may blow up in their face.  What do you think? 

KEMP:  I hope it doesn‘t blow up in their face.

I think President Bush‘s original statement, that he wanted a campaign on the issues, on ideas and on the future was the right thing to say.  And I know Dick Cheney believes that as well.  I think some of my friends on the right are just calling them liberal.  You can‘t just run calling someone a liberal without defining the issues, the ideas, the votes, and the future. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to bring up a poll right now.  And right now, we are looking at a picture of Kerry and Edwards in Clearwater, Florida, ending a day campaigning. 

And let‘s bring in Steve Forbes.  He‘s editor and publisher, of course, of “Forbes” magazine and a former presidential candidate. 

Steve, I want to get your reaction to this NBC poll, not only yours, but also Jack Kemp‘s.  An NBC poll taken immediately after Kerry‘s V.P.  selection asked respondents who they would vote for if the election was held today; 49 percent picked the newly minted Kerry-Edwards ticket.  And 41 percent chose President Bush and Dick Cheney.  Nader polled in at 4 percent.  Do you think John Edwards may be bad news for the Republican Party and Bush-Cheney? 

STEVE FORBES, CEO, FORBES INC.:  Not at all. 

When a presidential candidate picks a vice presidential candidate, he gets a big bump.  I remember 1988, it looked like Michael Dukakis had clinched the election with the selection of Lloyd Bentsen.  You remember that.

So it takes more than a pick to do it, and I think that this is going to be an opportunity for the Republicans to point out that, on the major issues, like trade, taxes, tort reform, national security, Edwards is a bad pick, bad for the country.  And I think, at the end of the day, Senator Edwards is not going to help Senator Kerry.  And I think President Bush can still pull this out and win a solid, solid majority. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let me ask you this, though, Steve Forbes.  So they are down eight points right now, according to this latest NBC poll.  Most experts expect eight to 10 points in a bounce from the Democratic Convention coming up at the end of this month. 

That‘s going to be about an 18-point, 19-point lead for the Kerry ticket.  You add to that the fact that George W. Bush has 41, 42 percent approval rating, isn‘t it going to be awfully hard for the president to climb that hill, maybe being down 18, 19 percentage points, when he has such a low approval rating right now historically? 

FORBES:  Well, you have to remember, these poll numbers are fluid.  They are not etched in stone.  That‘s the whole point of a campaign, is to get your message across. 

I believe the White House has done a pretty poor job of getting across a very, very powerful and positive message.  You referred to Harry Truman earlier.  I think, in the fall, George Bush is going to shed his handlers, go out, hit the trail.  The Democrats will fake make fun of him and all that, but he is going to come across as a man with a real program, real principles, real core.  He‘s going to pull a Truman and win a real decisive reelection victory. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack Kemp, let me ask you the same question, the president down eight points today in the latest NBC poll.  You add about the 10-point bounce that most candidates get, this president is looking at possibly a 20-point deficit with approval ratings historically low, I mean, in the low 40s.  Is he going to be able to climb that mountain? 

KEMP:  Joe, relax a little bit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I am. 

KEMP:  You are overstating the negative. 

I think Steve Forbes is exactly correct.  This is a moment—a poll tells you what people are thinking today.  It doesn‘t tell you what people think tomorrow with new information.  And certainly the White House and the Bush-Cheney campaign have to give the American people not only the story of the things that they have accomplished, but what they are going to do in the future.  And therein lies the real rub, I think. 

We have got to have a big idea in 2004, such as Reagan had in 1980, Steve Forbes, who I campaigned for circa 1996 with a flat tax.  I think private retirement accounts could be for George Bush what a flat tax was for Steve, what the Kemp-Roth tax cut was for Reagan.  And I believe that Bush, like my friend Steve Forbes just suggested, is going to be the Harry Truman of 2004. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack and Steve, I want you to look at this “Boston Herald” headline, John Kerry‘s hometown.  It says they‘re to the left of Ted.

Now, let me tell our viewers what this means.  The nonpartisan “National Journal” actually looked at the voting records of John Kerry and his running mate, and they determined the John Kerry was the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate.  And John Edwards is ranked second most liberal.  Compare that with Hillary Clinton and with Ted Kennedy, both of whom are less—ranked less liberal than Kerry and Edwards, and all of a sudden, you have got an argument that these two people would be more liberal than Kennedy and Clinton. 

Do you think we are going to be hearing that between now and the election in November, that this ticket is too liberal for America? 

FORBES:  Well, I think so. 

KEMP:  Well, I want to jump in here. 

FORBES:  Go ahead, Jack. 

KEMP:  OK, Steve.  Thank you. 

I was going to say, I think Zell Miller, the Democratic senator from Georgia, put it best, that Kerry and Edwards have proceeded to put the Democratic Party into the foreign policy of George McGovern, the tax increase policy of Walter Mondale, and the tariff policies of Herbert Hoover.  That‘s not a winning issue circa 2004. 

I don‘t think it wins for the Democratic Party, and I don‘t think we can just say he is to the left of Teddy Kennedy.  We have got to say why he wants to raise taxes, raise tariffs, and actually hurt the cause of changing reconstruction efforts in Iraq. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve Forbes, right now, we are looking at a picture of Teresa Heinz.  She just told this Florida crowd this ticket was going to win the state of Florida.  Can they win the state of Florida with the policies that Jack Kemp just put forward? 

FORBES:  Well, as Jack pointed out, today, they probably would.  November 2, they won‘t, because the meaning of liberal today to the left of Ted Kennedy means you are for higher taxes.  You are for the crazy legal system we have today that is crushing small- and medium-sized businesses.  You are for tariffs, which means trade barriers, which means higher trade taxes.  This means a lower standard of living, like we had in the late 1970s.

And people, when they realize the implications of what these two men stand for, they are going to say, no way.  We want growth, not redistributing income.  We want a bigger pie. 

SCARBOROUGH:  One final question for both of you.  Some people, Al D‘Amato came out today saying President Bush should dump his vice president, Dick Cheney. 

Let me start with you, Steve Forbes.  Quickly, do you think he should? 

FORBES:  If he dumps Cheney, he dumps the election.  That would be a repudiation of what he has done in the last three and a half years.  Dick Cheney has been a faithful vice president, an effective vice president.  And I think he is going to do well in this campaign and his reputation will be higher after the election than it is right now. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack Kemp, should the president dump the vice president?

KEMP:  I agree with Steve. 

Dick Cheney is, in my opinion, one of the finest vice presidents this country has ever had.  It would be ignominious for George Bush—in fact, George Bush will not do it.  No Bush would dump a vice president as effective as Dick Cheney. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much.  We will leave it there. 

Jack Kemp and Steve Forbes, we greatly appreciate you being here tonight. 

FORBES:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, we have got much more on the Kerry-Edwards ticket straight ahead. 

And then, we have been telling you about how Michael Moore distorts the truth for the past few months, but David Hardy has been tracking Moore‘s comments for 15 years.  We are going to be talking to him in a little bit. 

And then, shocking video of suicide bombers in Iraq right before they commit their savage attacks, what does this tell America about the changing face of terror and who is really in charge? 

We‘re going to be talking about that coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Is the president‘s chances of getting reelected slowly slipping away with the selection of John Edwards? 

We‘re going to be talking about that when we return in SCARBOROUGH

COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, we are back.  I‘m coming to you from John Kerry‘s home state, but we are actually looking at John Kerry in my home state, at a rally in Tampa Bay, introducing John Edwards to a rabid Democratic audience.  In fact, he compared Edwards to one of Teddy Roosevelt‘s Rough Riders, who trained near Tampa. 

We have got Mike Barnicle with us, also a man who has been compared to the Rough Riders.  And also, we have got Liz Marlantes.  She‘s from “The Christian Science Monitor.”  And they‘re both here. 

Let me begin with you, Mike Barnicle. 

I am going to show you your hometown newspaper, I am sure the one you read all the time. 

MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST:  Yes, sir. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  “The Boston Herald.”  And they say, actually, that this team is to the left of Teddy Kennedy, which, of course, doesn‘t play too well in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Is that a cheap shot? 

BARNICLE:  No, I think it‘s probably fairly accurate.  I don‘t know

what kind of an impact.  It‘s a great headline, obviously.  Street sales

will probably go up a few points with

(CROSSTALK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  I bought five of them myself. 

BARNICLE:  Well, see, there you go.  Then it works. 

I don‘t think left-right works as much this year with these two guys as things like Iraq and health care do. 

And for Edwards, particularly, I watched him a lot in the primaries, followed him around, not stalking him, Joe, but he has got a great rap.  He really connects with people in middle America.  And I‘m talking people who work for a living.  He always references the factory that his father worked in.  He understands, and crowds instinctively understand, I think, that he knows what it‘s like to be wounded, to be hurt.  And that connects. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is an instinctive thing also, that this guy is not like John Kerry.  He is not like Ted Kennedy.  He wasn‘t raised a child of privilege, that he is one of them.  I mean, he is from a working-class family.  He has got this great, great family himself, his wonderful wife, these kids. 

Don‘t you think the partisan label—when they start talking about liberals, being too liberal, that‘s just not going to stick to John Edwards, is it? 

BARNICLE:  Well, I think the White House has a problem with John Edwards in trying to affix any label to him.  And I base that completely on instinct, having nothing to do with polls.  I base it on seeing him address audiences, and he gets people nodding their heads. 

They listen to him and they sit there.  And you can see them nodding their heads.  And that‘s going to be tough, to knock a guy out of the box by calling him a name or affixing a label to him.  If he can get people in Iowa, New Hampshire, anywhere in this country to nod their heads when they‘re listening to him, that‘s powerful stuff. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It really is.  He gave some very powerful speeches throughout the Democratic primary. 

Now, the Republican National Committee posted this assessment of John Edwards on their Web site today. 

“Who is John Edwards?  A disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal and friend to personal injury trial lawyers.”

And GOP leaders around the country describe John Edwards as John Kerry with an accent, saying—quote—“Edwards delivers his pessimism with a Southern drawl and a smile, but his message of a divided America rings hollow with voters that know our country is united.

Liz, do you think the White House is playing the right card here when they go after John Edwards and attack the man the way they have over the past 24, 48 hours? 

LIZ MARLANTES, “THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR”:  Well, I think what they are trying to do is move as quickly as they can to disqualify him, sort of in the same way that we saw, right after John Kerry—after it became clear Kerry had the nomination, you saw the Bush-Cheney campaign move very quickly to try to affix the flip-flop label on Kerry. 

And to some extent, it worked.  It stuck.  It‘s one of those things when you go out and talk to voters you do hear people say back to you.  And I think they are trying to do the same thing with Edwards.  They‘re trying to get out as quickly as they can to try to effectively disqualify him, to say this guy is not prepared to be president.  He doesn‘t match up to the commander in chief test. 

Of course, Kerry-Edwards, to some extent, are going to have the spotlight over the next month, and so they will have ample opportunity to parry that, but I do think this is a strategic move on the part of the Bush-Cheney campaign. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Liz, you know, that has worked before.  Obviously, in 1988, Dan Quayle was absolutely hammered the first two weeks by the Democrats after he was selected in New Orleans at the convention, and he never really recovered from that.  So should John Edwards expect more harsh attacks over the coming weeks? 

MARLANTES:  I think that‘s probably likely, although Edwards is, as you were saying before, a very talented politician, and I do think that he will defend himself against these charges and probably we can expect that he will conduct himself very well over the course of the next couple of weeks and make a strong impression on voters. 

I was going to add one of the things when I was watching Edwards during the primaries, one of the real strengths I think he brings to this ticket is that he has the ability to deliver an economic message, focusing on the things that are not working in the economy, the ways in which the economy is not working for average people, but to deliver that message in a way that sounds optimistic rather than pessimistic. 

Kerry lately has been struggling to fight off the charges from the Bush administration, from Bush and Cheney, that he has been pessimistic, and Edwards is able to sort of deliver that message in a way that‘s very sunny and optimistic at the same time.  And it‘s a lethal combination.  And I think it is going to be a challenge for the Bush-Cheney campaign to tackle that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Mike, I am a Republican. 

BARNICLE:  You are kidding. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I am. 

BARNICLE:  What am I doing here? 

SCARBOROUGH:  I know.  Can you believe that?  You are a Democrat. 

BARNICLE:  No, I‘m not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  You‘re an independent.  Whatever.  Don‘t give me this journalist crap.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Anyway, but I am usually very optimistic about Republican chances, because I think they understand middle America, and they have.  They have understood middle America, what we call SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, much better than the Democrats, at least since the mid-‘60s.  But right now, we have got a president who is down eight points. 

BARNICLE:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  By the time the convention is over, he is probably going to be down 18 to 20 points.  He has got approval ratings in the low 40s.  You can‘t find a sitting United States president that‘s had approval ratings that low this late in the game and gotten reelected. 

Do you think he needs to do something dramatic, like drop Dick Cheney and reach out to John McCain or Rudy Giuliani to save himself or do you think this is much ado about nothing, that he will bounce back when his convention comes in New York? 

BARNICLE:  That, I don‘t know.  That, I don‘t know.  I certainly don‘t know about the interpersonnel moves that might take place on the ticket. 

I would think the only way that the vice president would not be on that ticket would be for health reasons, God forbid.  I think that would probably be the only reason that he wouldn‘t be on the ticket in August.  I can‘t understand, just as an observer, looking at the president of the United States campaigning, why he doesn‘t revert to the way he was between September 12 and about November 15 in the year 2001, when he had beliefs and he stood there in the rubble of the World Trade Center and he announced that he had beliefs to the United States of America and the world, and he was firm.

He was articulate.  He seems to have lost that message.  He seems to have lost the ability to tell this country, the people of this country, why we are in Iraq.  He fudged it to begin with, why we went to Iraq.  But now we are there.  We can‘t leave tomorrow.  But he can‘t really articulate why it is such a valuable thing in the long run that we are there.  And I would think that, if I were running him, that‘s what you would have to do. 

You would have to get him back on message, that you might not agree with me, but I have beliefs.  I am not like John Kerry.  I am not going back and forth.  I have beliefs.  You probably don‘t agree with a lot of them, but this is what I think. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And the thing is, unfortunately, I think Tony Blair, when he came and spoke before the joint session of Congress...

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  He was great. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... did a much better job explaining to Americans why we are in Iraq than our own president did. 

I am going to ask you—we‘re supposed to go to another segment, but we have got John Kerry down in Florida speaking.  We‘ve got John Edwards.

BARNICLE:  Is he staying at your house tonight? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Probably so.  I need to call down and check. 

We are going to go to that and listen to him as we go to break.  And we are going to come back.  And, hopefully, by the time we come back, John Edwards will be speaking to the crowd.

But, as we go to break, let‘s take a listen to the new Democratic Party ticket, John Kerry and John Edwards.  We‘ll be right back.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Watching presidents, a president, go to schools, go to schools for photo opportunities, and walk away from those schools either knowing that they don‘t have the money they need in order to meet the standards of No Child Left Behind or not knowing, which is worse.  And we need a president who understands we are really going to leave no children behind in the United States of America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The man who may be the next vice president of the United States is about to take the microphone in Tampa, Florida.  We are going to bring you John Edwards‘ first prime-time speech when we return.

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

(NEWS BREAK)

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Right now, we are taking you to Tampa, Florida, where the man who may be the next vice president of the United States, John Edwards, has just been introduced by John Kerry.  He is speaking to a crowd in Tampa Bay.  They are fired up.  He has taken off his jacket, like a prize fighter, Mike Barnicle. 

And here he goes, John Edwards. 

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We are ready to go to work for America.  Are you? 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

J. EDWARDS:  Is Florida going to make this man the next president of the United States?

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

J. EDWARDS:  Before I start, I want to take just a minute to let a woman say hello to you who is important to me.  She has been the love of my life.  We have been married for, this month, 27 years. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

J. EDWARDS:  The mother of my children and one of the few—one of the few people in America, one of the few women in America who can honestly say that when she received her AARP card, she was pregnant with my 4-year-old, Jack.  She is really happy I mentioned that. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

J. EDWARDS:  Please welcome the woman who I think America will grow to love between now and November, my wife, Elizabeth Edwards. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS:  Well, it‘s perfectly clear from the temperature in here, we are in Florida. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

E. EDWARDS:  And I can talk that way about Florida, because I am actually a native Floridian.  I was born in Jacksonville, Florida.  My parents were married in Pensacola.  My parents now live in Sarasota. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Barnicle, obviously, this is a great lady, not just because her parents were born in my hometown, Pensacola, Florida, but they also—talk about the personal tragedy that this family had to endure and how it changed John Edwards‘ life. 

BARNICLE:  Well, two years prior to his election to the Senate in 1988, Joe, his son, then 16, Wade, was killed in a car accident, his oldest boy.

And clearly, any parent can‘t even contemplate the loss of a child like that, but it was particularly devastating to the Edwards.  John Edwards, I think, chose to put his career on hold and obviously thought for a long while after the death of his son what to do next with his life, chose to go into politics.  He and his wife together—I believe his wife underwent fertility treatments in order to have more children after the death of Wade Edwards. 

And this gets to what we were talking about in the earlier segment.  People instinctively know that John Edwards, when they hear him, when they see him, he knows what it‘s like to be hurt, to be wounded, to have suffered such a grievous loss and to continue on with a life and to want to improve the lives around him.  They sense that in him.  He has that in him to transmit to audiences. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And here he goes now. 

J. EDWARDS:  Last night and today, we have spent time with our families.  They have been with us for a big part of today.  We have been with John and Teresa‘s beautiful family.  We have had our own kids, Cate and Emma Claire and Jack, with us earlier today. 

This campaign will be a celebration of real American values.  We are going to have a great time and we are going to do great things for America with you together.  We are going to build the kind of America that all of us will be proud of again. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

J. EDWARDS:  You know, I have to confess something.  When I got the call yesterday morning from John at my house, I thought, here‘s a call from another reporter wanting to know what I know. 

(LAUGHTER)

J. EDWARDS:  Well, here‘s what I know.  What I know is, we are going to win this election.  We are going to build a strong America.  And we are going to make America respected all over the world again when John Kerry as our president. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

J. EDWARDS:  I am here today for one very simple reason.  I love this country, and I love it for a very good reason, which is that I have had such an extraordinary opportunity.

You know, growing up in a small town in North Carolina, and to have the chances that I have had is amazing.  And at the core of this campaign and at the core of this presidency will be to make sure that every single American gets the same kind of opportunities that I have had, a chance to do what they are capable of doing, no matter where they live, no matter who their family is, and no matter what the color of their skin.

We will build one America that works for everybody, two Johns together. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

J. EDWARDS:  And the people I grew up with in that small town in North Carolina and people just like them all across America, all across Florida, they deserve a leader and a president like John Kerry, who understands their lives, who knows about the problems they struggle with every single day, the problems that most working Americans face, the millions of Americans who live in poverty every day, who are trying to enter the middle class.  You know what I am talking about. 

You don‘t need me to tell you that you can‘t pay your bills.  It takes every dime you make.  And then you can‘t save anything.  You know, it‘s the life you live every single day.  If something goes wrong, if something goes wrong, one of your children gets sick, you have a financial problem, you go right off the cliff.  John Kerry understands that.  He is going to lift up and strengthen working middle-class families. 

He is going to make sure that he fights and the White House fights for our jobs with trade agreements and a trade policy that actually works for America and American workers.  He will make sure, he will make sure that we take the greed and the waste out of this health care system, so that people can have affordable health care in America. 

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Looks like he hasn‘t lost anything from the Democratic primaries.  Do you think the vice president—and let‘s not get too excited about it, but can he really make a difference in the outcome of this campaign? 

BARNICLE:  Probably not.  I think he can make a difference in places where it could help John Kerry and the Democratic ticket. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Where are those places? 

BARNICLE:  Those places are in the small towns, in rural areas, I think in industrial cities like Columbus, Ohio, Illinois, places like that. 

He talks about one thing—and you mentioned it again tonight—that Dick Cheney in a million years could never talk about and connect with people, the life you live every single day.  People thinks that he knows what that is about.  And he does know a bit about it.  And he says it in such a way that people say, he knows about my life.  Dick Cheney can‘t do that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Despite the fact that they are both millionaires.  This guy may be worth $50 million.

BARNICLE:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why can he do it and Dick Cheney can‘t? 

BARNICLE:  He doesn‘t sound like a millionaire.  And Dick Cheney looks like a millionaire.  But this guy doesn‘t and he doesn‘t sound like a millionaire.  And as he continues to go to smaller and smaller towns, that drawl will get thicker and thicker. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  And unlike Cheney, he won‘t be wearing the monocle and the top hat. 

BARNICLE:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what?  I don‘t know why they don‘t tell him, take that stuff off. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike Barnicle, thanks a lot.  Go, Sox. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Great talking to you. 

Coming up next, not satisfied with just killing people in suicide bombs, now terrorists in Iraq are filming the attackers both before and during the attacks.  Will this brand-new evil impact our war on terror? 

We‘ll be talking about that the when we return.

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

Now here‘s some Hotwire travel trivia.  Where‘s the busiest airport in the world?  Stay tuned for the answer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

And in today‘s Hotwire travel trivia, we asked you, where‘s the busiest airport in the world?  Give up?  The answer is Atlanta.  Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport handled 79.1 million passengers last year. 

Now back to Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hotwire didn‘t stump me on that one, because I think last year I was like half of those passengers going through Atlanta.  They say, in the South, you can‘t get to heaven without going through Atlanta first. 

Terror on tape.  Too often, we see images from the Middle East in the aftermath of suicide bombings, but now Islamists in Iraq are going further, filming themselves as they prepare to carry out their suicide missions.  A tape originally obtained in Iraq by “TIME” magazine features assassinations, suicide bombings and this terrorist‘s moment before departing for his doom, saying, “In the name of Allah most merciful, this is all about a button.”

New footage obtained by NBC News shows al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Iraq carrying out one of their attacks.  Watch the white car by the side of the road.  The Islamist terrorists allow the first Humvee in the convoy to pass.  Then they set off the explosion, killing three Marines. 

With me now to discuss what we can learn from this footage and what it means for our mission in Iraq and the war on terrorism, MSNBC ‘s terror analyst Steve Emerson.  And we also have “TIME” magazine‘s Baghdad bureau chief, Michael Ware.

Now, Michael, you have lived in Iraq for more than a year.  And you have contacts throughout the city.  And you were given these tapes earlier last week.  How did you get them? 

MICHAEL WARE, BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF, “TIME”:  These came from essentially resistance sources. 

These are the guys out there who are launching the attacks on coalition forces, the U.S. military.  I have been working for over a year now developing contacts among these guys, trying to fathom just who they are, what is it they think they are doing, what is motivating them, and watching the changes that‘s taking place with them.  This war has changed in the last six months right under our noses. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael, explain to us why they are giving you these tapes. 

WARE:  Look, clearly, they are trying to send a message.  They have chosen to use a Western outlet.  They want this to reach the West. 

I mean, they could have put this on the Arab media or one of their Islamist Web sites.  Eventually, we would have picked it up.  For some reason, their information campaign, their propaganda machine is shifting tack.  That in itself is fascinating.  And they have given them to me, directly from Abu Zarqawi‘s network, associated with al Qaeda.

So this gives us an opportunity to really learn things from them as they give us a window into their organization that we have not seen before. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve Emerson, they have given Michael a window into their world, a sick world by many Westerners, certainly my viewpoint, I know your viewpoint also.  Why are they doing this? 

STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  Well, first of all, Joe, this

is recruitment tape.  This is a fund-raising tape.  This is their basically

·         their appeal to basically raise money and recruit supporters from the Islamic world and possibly in the West. 

No. 2, they want to show the West they have no compunction at all about showing their vitriol, their hatred of the United States, of Jews, Christians, and their support for jihad.  Unlike the reaction in the United States, when the photos of Abu Ghraib appeared, we were very apologetic.  It was scandal.  We try to make amends.  We are investigating. 

Here‘s, there‘s no type of recoiling in the Islamic world when these tapes appear.  Unfortunately, what it shows, Joe, is the banality of evil.  This has become so prevalent now and unfortunately instills a level of loyalty among the part of Islamic militants, that they decide even to leak this to a “TIME,” reporter, which is great reporting.  Don‘t get me wrong.  I think it should be required viewing for every single journalist, every single high school student, every single college student in the United States. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve, do you think—is it possible that Zarqawi could actually be competing for leadership of the terror network in the world with Osama bin Laden?  His profile keeps going up.  This obviously only makes it go up all that much more. 

EMERSON:  Without doubt, Joe, he has now almost eclipsed bin Laden. 

In fact, I think the reward for capturing him or killing him is the same or if not exceeded the amount for bin Laden.  So he has now really emerged as the pivotal operational leader of effectively al Qaeda and Islamic militant forces worldwide.  It‘s now centered in Iraq.  This is signature tape.  This is what he wants to make sure the whole world has. 

It brings him money.  It brings fear.  And, unfortunately, what it does in the West is it, I think, unfortunately instills a sense of—we‘re sort of inoculated to this.  We don‘t really take it that seriously any longer, thinking that it‘s just part of the militant terrorist network.  But it‘s far more prevalent in terms of ideology than anyone really wants to believe here in the United States. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Ware, you have been over in Baghdad now for over a year.  You have made these contacts.  Talk about—have you noticed any changes since the new Iraqi government has taken over?  Certainly, “The New York Times” is reporting that the Iraqis themselves are more hopeful that some of the violence is coming to an end, but do you think that may just be wishful thinking? 

WARE:  Look, the transition of sovereignty from the U.S.  administration to this new Iraqi government, there‘s absolutely no relation on the dynamic of the war as it now exists here. 

The men who are fighting now, the men who are conducting these suicide attacks and the attacks on U.S. troops, for them, handing this government back means nothing.  Six months ago, many of these men, professional military officers from Saddam‘s regime, saw themselves as freedom fighters.  They were fighting to liberate their country from a foreign occupier.  This may have had something to sate them in the past, but no longer. 

The global jihad community, foremost led by Zarqawi here in Iraq, has essentially hijacked the Iraqi insurgency.  They‘ve Islamicized it and made it the global centerpiece of the holy war that Osama bin Laden sought to inspire.  This has been a significant shift in the last six months. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Michael Ware, thank you so much, absolutely fascinating work on your part. 

Steve Emerson, we also appreciate you, as always, being with us in

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

And coming up in one minute, we are going to be talking about a little food fight that got out of hand last night on our show.  That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  For weeks, American media has been reporting on Michael Moore‘s movie “Fahrenheit 9/11,” placing him on the cover of “TIME” magazine, “Entertainment Weekly” and other publications, suggesting that the Flint filmmaker is a vital voice in America‘s political debate.

But other than SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, big media has given Moore a free pass regarding statements that he made that would have quickly destroyed the career of any conservative filmmaker.  Of course, as you know, Michael Moore suggested that more American troops need to die in Iraq since most Americans supported this war.  He also compared terrorists in Iraq killing young Americans to the Minutemen.  Moore said they were not the enemy, that they were the revolution and that these terrorists would win. 

Last night, we asked Chris Lehane, a spokesperson for Michael Moore, and “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens to discuss Moore‘s controversial statements that many consider anti-American. 

Perhaps I was naive, but I expected that debate to be conducted in good faith, like our debates were in Congress, where the strongest ideas would prevail in a free marketplace of ideas.  Instead, this is what happened. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS LEHANE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  But did you support the Bush war? 

(CROSSTALK)

LEHANE:  Did you support the Bush war this time around? 

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, “VANITY FAIR”:  I‘ve been in favor of regime change in Iraq longer than...

LEHANE:  So you did support the war. 

HITCHENS:  I think I‘ve just been saying that to you, Mr. Lehane. 

LEHANE:  And so you are...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Stop right now.  Stop right now.  Hey, Christopher Hitchens, please stop for a second. 

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, what a disappointment. 

You know, I regret we all had to sit through that.  And I guarantee you, we are going to continue working to get to the bottom of this story, to see why Mr. Moore thinks more American troops need to be killed, and do it in a way that elevates American political debate, instead of cheapening it the way that I believe Michael Moore‘s spokesman did last night. 

Now, America‘s first vice president, John Adams, complained that the vice presidency was the most insignificant office ever invented.  Sure, the vice president stands one heartbeat away from the presidency, but who takes over if something happens to the president and the vice president?  Here‘s the deal. 

First, it‘s the speaker of the House.  President Harry Truman argued that the speaker should be chosen because he is the leader of the elected representatives of the people.  The next person in line is the Senate, the senator in the majority party with the longest record of continuous service.  Currently, that is Alaska‘s Ted Stevens.  The fourth through the 18th slots in line belong to the president‘s Cabinet.  The secretary of state comes first, then the secretary of the treasury, and then the secretary of defense. 

Why is the treasury secretary above the defense secretary?  Because succession order is based on when each Cabinet office was created.  And to find out about all 18 people in the presidential line of succession, you can log on to MSNBC.com.  That‘s the deal for tonight.

And I hope you have yourself a great night.  Thanks for being with us.  And we will be back tomorrow night in Boston to tell you the “Real Deal” on John Kerry and the election for 2004. 

Have a great night. 

END   

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.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,