updated 9/10/2004 12:43:20 PM ET 2004-09-10T16:43:20

Guests: Jeb Hensarling, Marsha Blackburn, Malik Zulu Shabazz, Karen Russell Tony Perkins, John Zogby, Glenn Smith

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, Bush passes Kerry in the latest swing state polls.  The “Real Deal,” Kerry‘s camp fights back with a new attack ad on Vietnam.  Tonight, the head of Texans For the Truth enters SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, claiming George Bush was missing from action in the National Guard. 

And more bad news at the polls for John Kerry.  With less than eight weeks to go, George Bush is on the verge of nailing down some of the most critical swing states. 

And then, blacks bash Bill Cosby for lecturing parents on how to raise kids, while Capitol Hill leaders blackball yours truly for telling the dirty truth about how Congress is bankrupting America. 

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

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, welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Sorry for—I‘m not having trouble reading.  I know I‘m from the Redneck Riviera.  I had a little trouble with that intro.  I had feedback in my ear.  It sounded like a Led Zeppelin concert.  So we have got that all straightened out.  So we‘re coming straight to you here live from Washington.

We have got a great show tonight.  We have got Pat Buchanan on set.  That‘s always exciting.  We‘re going to be talking about Texans For the Truth.  We‘re going to be talking about Bill Cosby.  A lot of great stuff ahead, so stick around.

But I want to start by telling you about Capitol Hill, where we are, because, on Capitol Hill, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, two days ago, HarperCollins released my Washington tell-all “Rome Wasn‘t Burnt in a Day.”  And, as Rush Limbaugh says, the book tells Americans the dirty truth about what really goes on in Congress and how professional politicians have rigged the system to always get reelected while wasting trillions of your tax dollars. 

Two nights ago, Pete Peterson, Governor Mark Sanford, Pat Buchanan and several other conservatives told you just how dire the situation has become, with Republicans and Democrats spending more than ever and giving Americans the biggest deficit ever, the biggest debt ever and the biggest financial crisis for the United States and for all of us to contend with. 

Now, the situation is so bad that few on Wall Street or on other world markets believe the United States can avoid bankruptcy over the next decade unless our leaders dramatically change their ways.  But they‘re not going to do that unless you make them.  You know, when I was in Congress, my conservative friends and I were always attacked by party bosses and lobbyists for telling the truth about pork-barrel spending and spiraling deficits.  We were threatened.  We were intimidated and punished.  Some of us were even bribed. 

And whenever we spoke out, the congressional leaders would always come to us and try to punish us.  Fortunately, you know, I came into Congress with 73 fellow freshman who by and large protected each other.  But those days are gone.  Now members who dare to speak out are left to fend for themselves.  Maybe that‘s why we started getting calls earlier today from staff members across Capitol Hill whispering to us into the phone that they can no longer come on our show and talk about this growing scandal on Capitol Hill. 

As one congressional aide told us, your book has got people scared. 

It‘s way, way too hot around here.  We can‘t come on your show right now.  So what‘s new?  The fact that these same congressmen and these same congressional leaders are responsible for the biggest debt ever, the biggest deficit ever and the most reckless spending spree ever is known by everybody on Capitol Hill.  But only in Washington, D.C. is telling the truth considered radical and treasonous.

But you know what?  These Potomac princes have been put on notice by the book and by the show.  You can run, but you cannot hide.  You and I together are going to stay after them until they start representing us, instead of their own narrow special interests.  And if that means using this program to expose them for who they are and to ultimately drive them from office, then that‘s what we‘re going to try to do. 

Tonight, we‘re also going to bring you members of Congress who are daring to stand alone against their own party leaders and a corrupt and out-of-touch Washington.  We‘re going to be talking to them and getting a report card on how bad things have become.  And we‘re also going to tell you how you can fight back to change Washington and how we can all get our government back.  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”

But first, joining us is Glenn Smith.  He‘s with Texans For Truth.  He‘s also the author of “Politics of Deceit,” which examines how our political process is being subverted by lies. 

Glenn, thanks so much for being with us. 

I want to start by playing everybody your group‘s ad. 

GLENN SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, TEXANS FOR TRUTH:  Certainly. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, TEXANS FOR TRUTH AD)

RET. LT. COL. BOB MINTZ, ALABAMA AIR NATIONAL GUARD:  I heard George Bush get up and say I served in the 187 Air National Guard in Montgomery, Alabama.  Really?  That was my unit.  And I don‘t remember seeing you there.  So I called, friends, you know.  Did you know that George served in our unit?  I never saw him there.  It would be impossible to be unseen in a unit of that size. 

ANNOUNCER:  Texans For Truth is responsible for the content of this advertisement. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Glenn Smith, why did you find it necessary to run that ad in this campaign season? 

SMITH:  Well, you know, I‘ve been traveling the country promoting the book, if you want to know the truth, so I was talking to Americans all over in all walks of life.  And everywhere I went, I was hearing concern about the swift boat attacks on John Kerry.  And I wasn‘t hearing much about Bush‘s own checkered past.

And I thought it was time that Americans were informed about the nature of Bush‘s military service, the gaps in his service record, his apparent decisions to walk away from the National Guard whenever he so chose.  And I just thought it was time to raise the issue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Glenn, but what do you say to those people in John Kerry‘s own camp that says this race shouldn‘t be about Vietnam, it shouldn‘t be about George W. Bush‘s war record, it shouldn‘t be about John Kerry‘s war record?  Aren‘t you going against what John Kerry himself said how we should conduct ourselves in this campaign? 

SMITH:  Well, like yourself, Joe, I guess I‘ve always been somewhat of an iconoclast.  In my opinion, because President Bush has developed a martial presidency, more than any other president in my lifetime—and that includes Eisenhower—I was little-bitty then—but he has sort of become a military president, more a military president than a civil president.

And because he uses such military imagery, aircraft carrier landings, I‘m a war president statements, I think he‘s called attention to his own military service.  And it directly relates to the job he‘s doing as president. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Glenn, I‘m going to show you something that our staff put together.  It‘s some of the other groups and people that you‘ve worked with.  This isn‘t quite as extensive as that “New York Times” vast-right wing conspiracy chart they put in the paper a couple of weeks ago, but we‘ve done our best.  This is what we found out. 

You‘ve been a consultant for MoveOn.org. Incidentally, your promotions for Texans For Truth calls the group a Texas group of MoveOn.org.  You‘ve worked with Paul Begala, who is now a Kerry adviser, Ann Richards, who obviously George W. Bush defeated to become governor of Texas.  You also worked on a movie called “Bush‘s Brain,” which is based on book of the same name, which claims that Karl Rove is actually George Bush‘s brain. 

This doesn‘t look like this was a grassroots movement on your part,

where you were just driving across the country promoting your book, saying

gee, whiz, I need to put this movie together.  Pat

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  By the way, Pat and I are both laughing at that George Bush‘s brain thing.  I always thought that was a funny title, whether you agree with it or not. 

SMITH:  It‘s kind of an oxymoron.

SCARBOROUGH:  This sounds like, though, that this is very orchestrated, that people in the Kerry camp are behind this and trying to help you out.  Is that true or not? 

SMITH:  Well, I‘ve got to tell you two things.  You‘re going to make my mother real unhappy because you spelled my name wrong.  There‘s two N‘s in Glenn.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, no.  Sorry, mom.

SMITH:  Another thing, you left out of your list the fact I was also partners with Mark McKinnon and Matthew Dowd for years and years.  But besides that, it‘s a pretty accurate list. 

Listen, I‘m proud to be a partisan.  You know, Thomas Paine was a partisan.  There‘s nothing the matter with holding political beliefs and speaking up for them.  And that‘s what I‘m doing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Absolutely nothing at all.  We just want to know tonight, are you denying that there‘s any connection between you and John Kerry‘s campaign in any way? 

SMITH:  No, there‘s no connection whatsoever.  I didn‘t even whisper to anybody that I was about to do this.  I had a feeling that they would want to tuck me inside some other campaign strategy or other.

And I wanted this to be an independent movement that expressed the voices of real Texans, ordinary Texans.  They‘ve contributed their dollars, hard-earned dollars.  And I‘m putting it on the air in that advertisement.   

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, where did you get your money?  You say from Texans. 

Are these Texans that are also funding John Kerry‘s campaign? 

SMITH:  Well, you know, we sent an e-mail.  I have an organization called DriveDemocracy.org.  It has 20,000 members.  We sent them an e-mail.  MoveOn.org also sent an e-mail to their Texas-based membership.  And we got a lot of contributions back.  I think they averaged $35 or $40 from everyday, hardworking Texans. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And what about those big, though—you and I both know

·         and there‘s nothing wrong with this at all—but you and I both know and Pat Buchanan knows, when you get the big check, baby, you look to see who wrote it.

And chances are good there are some big check writers for your organization that‘s also writing big checks for John Kerry.  Nothing wrong with it, but just tell me, is that the case here? 

SMITH:  Well, in fact, I did get a large significant contribution from a gentleman in California named Dan O‘Keefe (ph).  He got the e-mail and he called me when I was leaving Austin to come to Washington and said:  I got the e-mail.  I would really like to be a part of this campaign.  I would like to send you a significant contribution.  And he apparently has. 

And he‘s a citizen that made let‘s say above the average contribution for an e-mail. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is he a Kerry supporter? 

SMITH:  I read in the newspaper today that he had given to Kerry in the past, yes.  I don‘t know the gentleman. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Well, that‘s fine, Glenn.  Listen, thanks for being on.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  We just, obviously, like to ask all these questions because there have been a lot of questions about the other ads, questions about this ad.  I think we‘re going to be seeing a lot more of this in the coming weeks.  We appreciate you coming on tonight. 

SMITH:  I‘m going to go by your book now. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  God bless you, baby.  God bless you.  Hey, buy one for your mom and I‘ll spell your name and her name right. 

SMITH:  That‘s beautiful, Joe.  Thank you.  

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you, Glenn.

Now let‘s bring in Pat Buchanan.  He‘s the author of “Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency.”  And Lawrence O‘Donnell, MSNBC senior political analyst, is also with us.  Unfortunately, tonight, we feel really sorry for him.  He doesn‘t have his own book to hawk. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s start with you, Pat Buchanan. 

PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You heard it.  I‘m curious.  He seems like a good enough guy, doesn‘t like George Bush.  It‘s America.  That‘s his right, but do you think this is going to move many voters? 

BUCHANAN:  You know, I really don‘t.  I‘ll tell you why.  I don‘t think the issue has got any electricity. 

I started laughing because is there anybody in America that doesn‘t

know that George Bush might not have

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Where was he? 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  We‘ve been talking about it for years, that George Bush was dogging it and everybody—he was in a cabaret or something.  Everybody knows this.  I don‘t think it‘s got any electricity. 

Secondly, when the thing opens up with Dan Rather and Ben Barnes on “60 Minutes,” this is a big...

SCARBOROUGH:  Can you believe that?

BUCHANAN:  It‘s a big media hit on George Bush.  It is, A, payback for the swift boat ads.  And, B, the big media sees their boy sinking and they have thrown him a life...

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, now, you‘ve been very critical of this president. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘m laughing about it because it is so transparent, but they felt so dirty about the swift boat ad.  Oh, this is beneath contempt.  And then this stuff comes out.

BUCHANAN:  This stuff is laughable.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s laughable.  And then Dan Rather jumps on it immediately, like a hyena jumping after raw meat.  It‘s a joke. 

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  In a newspaper—one diligent genetic newspaper really is digging into this, “The Boston Globe.” 

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  They should have outsourced it, Joe, to some—Houston or something like that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, they‘re owned by “The Times,” aren‘t they?  They should have just funneled it down to “The Times.”

BUCHANAN:  “The New York Times,” quite frankly, has been—“The New York Times,” Carville and Begala, have joined up officially to change the direction of this campaign. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

BUCHANAN:  This whole thing is just—it really is laughable.  I don‘t think it has got any legs.  It‘s got no excitement, no energy. 

Whatever you say about the swift boaters, that came from the bottom up.  Here were these guys put this thing together.  It thing moves up to cable.  The big networks ignore it.  Kerry has ignored it.  All of a sudden, the thing goes to No. 1 on the best-seller list.  It was a blazing, blazing issue.  We did it night after night after night.  I don‘t think if you and I sit here and talk about, did George Bush dog it down there in Alabama, the ratings are going to be very high, Joe. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Lawrence O‘Donnell, what are we going to do next?  Are we going to have a debate on whether George Bush really deserved to get into Harvard Business School?  I don‘t think, Lawrence.

But tell me, are we missing something here? 

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC SR. POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, yes, one small point you‘re missing.

But let me start by agreeing with Pat on I don‘t think there‘s going to be much traction here, because I think most people do know the Bush National Guard story.  However, to the extent that undecided voters are movable at this point in the campaign, there may be elements in this ad that reach them in a certain way.  I doubt it.  I don‘t think it has the capacity to move the voter. 

There‘s a huge difference between this story and the swift boat story.  And “The New York Times” has done this story.  They‘ve done it today and they‘ve done it exhaustively.  And what you have in it is a story using official records at face value.  No one in this story and no one in the Bush administration is saying that anyone is lying.  The Bush administration is not saying, this is how George Bush got into the National Guard.  Listen to his story. 

He didn‘t use any—there‘s no counterstory coming up.  On the Kerry swift boat stuff, there was a huge amount of contradictory information that mostly disproved everything the swift boat people had to say. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence, stick around.  We‘re going to be right back with you.

And again, to tell you the truth, I don‘t think George Bush remembers where he was back then. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  And we‘ll be back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY talking about some polls that aren‘t good news for John Kerry.  That‘s when we return.

Stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  New polls out showing that George Bush is moving way ahead in some critical swing states.  Is it time for John Kerry to give up? 

We‘ll talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Now, new polls by “USA Today”/CNN/Gallup have President Bush taking the lead in some key battleground states.  Polls of likely voters taken over Labor Day weekend have Bush ahead in Missouri by 14 points, in Ohio by eight points and in Pennsylvania by one point.  John Kerry is ahead by eight points in Washington state. 

Now, of course, things can change as we head toward Election Day, but, historically, the candidate who is ahead on Labor Day usually wins the election. 

We‘ve got Lawrence O‘Donnell with us, of course, Pat Buchanan still here.  And we also are joined by pollster John Zogby. 

I want to start with you, Pat Buchanan.  We were talking about this during the break, a 14-point lead in Missouri.  At what point does John Kerry say, enough is enough, I‘ve lost that state, it‘s time to move out?

BUCHANAN:  I think it‘s probably fairly soon.  You cannot keep putting ads into a state and spend your money there where you‘re 14 points behind. 

Joe, what these numbers show is, John Kerry needs some big positive hit nationally or some negative hit on the president nationally which will raise all the votes in all the states, if you will.  But state by state, frankly, if you‘re that bad off—and he‘s got to have Pennsylvania—if I were him, I would go for Ohio and Florida. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

Now, let me ask the same of you, Lawrence O‘Donnell.  I mean, this is just—this is amazing, a 14-point lead in Missouri, an eight-point lead in Ohio, one point in Pennsylvania.  What do you suggest John Kerry does?  Does he get out of Missouri now and start focusing on Pennsylvania? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, actually, I can‘t wait to hear John Zogby‘s analysis of these polls, because I know that he‘s been polling the candidates in a much tighter race using his analysis.

But if those numbers are real, then it does look like you would want to pull your resources out of Missouri at this time.  By the way, those numbers are also an indication possibly of why Dick Gephardt was not chosen for the vice presidency.  They probably had indicators months ago indicating at that time that Missouri was probably going to be unwinnable for them.  So there probably isn‘t that much surprise in the Kerry camp.

And I agree with Pat.  You have got to move those resources.  You have got to concentrate on Pennsylvania heavily.  The Kerry campaign has actually been doing very well on most of the polls out of Florida.  So there‘s bright spots on this map for him, too. 

SCARBOROUGH:  John Zogby, of course, earlier this week, “TIME” and “Newsweek” both showed Bush up 11 points over John Kerry.  And the “USA Today” poll shows Bush ahead by seven, 52-45, with 3 percent saying neither. 

I want to ask you, John Zogby, is that what you‘re seeing in your polls?  Are they pretty consistent with the “TIME” and “Newsweek” polls and the “USA Today” poll? 

JOHN ZOGBY, POLLSTER:  Neither. 

Actually, we‘ll have a poll out tomorrow.  It‘s not entirely done.  But preliminarily, we‘ll show Bush with a lead, a tighter lead, bigger than the two-point lead I had last week, but smaller than the six- or seven-point lead, somewhere in between, that Gallup has. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about this issue—because when we talk about issues, I want to show you what “USA Today” found, that likely voters in the “USA Today” found the economy important and terrorism at the top at 31 percent each, Iraq 20 percent, health care 15 percent.

And, of course, when you ask who you trust more on the issue of terror and the war on terror, George Bush actually wins 62 to 35 percent.  John, do you see that kind of gap on these national security issues in your polls? 

ZOGBY:  Absolutely.  We‘re right on target with the Gallup poll. 

However, the flip side of that is that the economy still is slightly ahead of the war on terrorism as the No. 1 issue.  If the issue is the economy or health care or the conduct of the war in Iraq, then what you have is a double-digit lead by Kerry.  So the issue then becomes can Kerry refocus this campaign on those issues that are obviously important to the American people, but also that he is stronger on? 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Pat, what makes this race so fascinating, as I‘ve always said, Bill Clinton would never have gotten elected in the 1980s during the Cold War, but he could get elected in the 1990s, a year after the Soviet Union fell.  This is the first election after 9/11. 

George Bush ahead 62 to 35 on who will keep you safer in the war on terror.  Is that the issue?  Is it game over? 

BUCHANAN:  It‘s—for the—look, for the first time, you‘ve got foreign policy, security, defense of the homeland a major issue.  And if George Bush is leading by those kinds of numbers there, what he and Cheney have to do is two things, keep Kerry as an unacceptable alternative and make sure when voters go into that voting booth, they‘re thinking of, is the nation secure, are we safe, and we‘ve got to be safe.  And that‘s what‘s on their mind.

And Bush has got a good break here, because unemployment numbers are only coming out once more in October.  And you could say it‘s a fluke.  So I think Kerry needs some event or he needs to do something dramatic in these debates or to change this or otherwise I think he‘s going to go down to defeat.

But let me ask—can I ask John Zogby a quick

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sure.

BUCHANAN:  John, I understand the “Newsweek” and “TIME” polls overweighted Republicans, underweighted Democrats in both polls.  And that‘s why we got have these dramatic 11-point rises for Bush post-convention, and that you weight them more the country weights the two parties? 

ZOGBY:  That‘s exactly right.

And given the fact that the overwhelming percentage of Democrats vote

for Kerry, the overwhelming percentage of Republicans vote for Bush, any

loss in points -- 31 points in the “Newsweek” and “TIME” poll are

Democrats, 39 in my poll.  That‘s eight points right there that Kerry

loses.  Add three more points—they have three more Republicans than I do

·         add three more to Bush.  There‘s your 11 points right there. 

I would like to make a couple of additional points, though, if I could, No. 1, that there is economic anxiety in this country.  And what Kerry has to do is refocus.  I am trying to force people to recall that it was two issues of “Newsweek”—the second issue of “Newsweek” after the Democratic Convention in 2000 had as its cover story, “Can Anything Stop Al Gore?”  Al Gore was in the ascendancy.  George Bush was reeling at that point in time.  And we saw the lead change back and forth several times between Labor Day, when that issue came out, and the general election. 

I think you‘re going to have a tightening here.  I think you‘re going to have a tightening in fact in some of these states, perhaps not Ohio, but some of these states.  And I think you‘re looking at a very, very close race right down to the wire. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Lawrence O‘Donnell, do you say—in closing here, do you say John Kerry sticks with the economy, because that‘s the issue that can help elect him president? 

O‘DONNELL:  Having listened to John Zogby, that‘s exactly what I would say to do.  And it makes it very clear when you listen to John explain it why that‘s what the Kerry campaign is trying to do.  They‘re trying to wrestle this whole thing over to the economy. 

It‘s very hard for the challenger of an incumbent president to be the one who sets the agenda for these final weeks.  That was the great achievement of the Republican Convention, was setting the agenda as national security.  Kerry has to try to pull it that way.  The debates will help, because the debates will very deliberately focus on the economy, as well as national security. And Kerry‘s hope has to be that those debates are sampled adequately by the undecideds in a way that can pull them up. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Lawrence O‘Donnell, John Zogby, Pat Buchanan, thanks so much for being with us. 

Pat, we‘ll try not to laugh so much next time when we talk about George Bush‘s National Guard service. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Stick around, because, when we come back, got much more.  Bill Cosby is at it again and you‘re not going to believe what he‘s saying now. 

And later, $7 trillion and counting.  Our national debt is skyrocketing out of control, so why are the folks in Congress doing nothing about it? 

We‘ll have more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY coming up live from our nation‘s capital with two members of Congress who say they‘re fighting back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Cosby blasts black parents.  And the African-American community is not amused.  We‘ll talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

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:  Hey, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Now, Bill Cosby speaks his mind and he‘s at it again.  And this is what he said last night at a conference sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL COSBY, ENTERTAINER:  When a mother brings in three different men in the course of about 12 years and all of the men coming from some low form of life, when a child witnesses helplessly the mother being battered and then making love to the man and then being battered and then putting him out and taking him back in, then this child is helpless and scarred forever. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Needless to say, once again, those comments are causing an uproar in the black community. 

With us to discuss it are Malik Zulu Shabazz.  He‘s—Black Lawyers For Justice.  We also have attorney Karen Russell, and also Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. 

Now, let me start with you, Karen Russell.  You‘re a civil rights attorney.  Those sounded like pretty harsh words.  What did you think of them? 

KAREN RUSSELL, TRIAL ATTORNEY:  I think we should be holding a parade for Mr. Cosby.  He keeps pushing this issue.  I think Mr. Cosby loves black people and wants kids to be educated.  And we should applaud his efforts to hold parents responsible. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Malik, let me ask you the same question.  What did you make of Bill Cosby‘s speech last night? 

MALIK ZULU SHABAZZ, BLACK LAWYERS FOR JUSTICE:  The reason why I disagree with Mr. Cosby is because he may have some genuine concerns, but he uses so many stereotypes.  Not all black people and mothers are sleeping with three men in the black community.  Not every black man that gets with a black woman comes from a low form of life. 

There are many black children that come out of impoverished areas and ghettos like berry farms that have gone on to get their degrees.  So I really think that sometimes Bill just has sipped on a little bit too much Remy-Martin and may have had a little bit too much Jell-O pudding.  And he just gets up there.  I‘m starting to call him big-mouth Bill.  Sometimes, he doesn‘t make any sense to me. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Are you saying Bill Cosby is playing into racial stereotypes? 

SHABAZZ:  Absolutely.  He‘s broad brushing and overstereotyping the conditions in the black community.  And he‘s taking them out of context, out of the context of racism, oppression and their legacy of slavery. 

Now, in terms of doing something for ourselves and taking care of our community, our children, I can support that, but I think Bill is on another sense hypocritical. 

(CROSSTALK)

SHABAZZ:  Bill Cosby has kids out of wedlock.  Does he see them and take care of them? 

RUSSELL:  He does take care of those kids. 

(CROSSTALK)

SHABAZZ:  How do you know? 

RUSSELL:  Well, actually I know Mr. Cosby. 

But I disagree.  I think that Cosby is using powerful language to make a point.  And I think the fact that we are back on the show—and I appreciate Joe continuing to focus on this issue.  I think he‘s keeping the dialogue alive, but he‘s also shifted his dialogue a little bit.  He does now concede that there are injustices in the criminal justice system and that there is systemic racism.

So I think he‘s actually listened to people like Malik and has shifted his message a little bit. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s listen to more of Bill Cosby‘s speech from last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COSBY:  You think your child can be managed with a cell phone.  My call is for more, tighter reins, know what your children are doing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tony Perkins, respond to that message and all the messages you‘ve heard from Bill Cosby over the past several months. 

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL:  Well, Joe, I think it‘s a message that white and black parents need to hear.  I think he‘s speaking truth. 

He does use colorful language I think at times to get people‘s attention, but it‘s a message that rings true.  I mean, if you look—if you control for all other factors, income, race, other environmental factors, the most single important issue in the life of a child, whether or not they succeed, is the fact that they have a mom and dad that are involved in their lives. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And it has nothing to do with the race.  In fact, I understand that out-of-wedlock pregnancy for white teenage girls exploding right now, correct? 

PERKINS:  It is. 

This is not just a problem in the black community.  This is a problem across the board in both the white and black community.  Now, I will say it‘s greater in the black community.  And I think he‘s addressing it and others should be addressing it.  But I think his message crosses racial lines.  And I think white parents need to be listening to him, too, all parents. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Karen, you‘ve known Bill Cosby for quite some time, is that right? 

RUSSELL:  Yes.  Yes, I have. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, the thing is, I remember, again, when he was talking to Martin Lawrence back in the early 1990s and I remember hearing him telling Martin Lawrence, hey, you‘re playing in stereotypes.  You‘re hurting the African-American cause.  I saw him do it again at an awards ceremony when Wanda Sykes came up and did some of the jive-talking stuff.  I like Wanda Sykes, but he said, I don‘t understand you.

Has this been an issue for Bill Cosby for some time, even before he speaking out on it? 

RUSSELL:  Yes, I they are separate issues.

I think he thinks you can be funny without having your routines laced with profanity.  But I also think that‘s the artist‘s choice, what works for them.  But I think now he really—he has spent so much time and so much energy on education and going to the Negro Colleges and raising money and giving money to schools that he thinks that parents should be closely involved in the school life of their kids. 

(CROSSTALK)

SHABAZZ:  I think, again, how closely is he involved in his children out-of-wedlock school lives? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on, Malik.  I just—I got to stop you for a second. 

Karen, Malik has said that now twice.  You know him.  Is that true?  And I don‘t want to get into details.  I just don‘t want anybody being slandered here tonight. 

RUSSELL:  Yes, you know what?  I don‘t want to discuss Mr. Cosby‘s personal life.  I do believe that he‘s a great parent. 

I think the issue is, whether or not he‘s a great parent or not, his message still has a resonance.  We need to not phone in—be cell phone parents. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Malik, you can go ahead and continue.  But let‘s stay out of the personal stuff.  I don‘t know what‘s true and what‘s not.  Go ahead.  Let‘s talk to the issue of parenting. 

SHABAZZ:  Well, we have to look at the message and what messenger is bringing it. 

I think that the do-for-self and take-care-of-our-community message is relevant, due to the impending defeat of John Kerry.  When Bush gets back into office, unfortunately, we‘re going to have no choice.  Now, if Bill Cosby had the knowledge to come now and tell that young black child or young black man that you are the son of the fathers of civilization, that you are an African king, and tell that young black woman that you‘re the mother of civilization, an African goddess, if he had a positive message to tell black people that they are in fact from God almighty, then I could accept his criticisms.

But it‘s too stereotypical and too unbalanced.  I think he‘s just bitter.  So maybe I can talk to him and help him a little bit and I believe that he could go a little further along the road. 

(CROSSTALK)

RUSSELL:  Look at the image of Mr. Cosby—you know, “The Cosby Show,” of a doctor and of a professional, as somebody who has achieved a lot.  I disagree.  I think that Cosby is sending a positive message. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I think he‘s sent a positive message for years. 

Tony, I‘ll give you the final word.

PERKINS:  Absolutely.

Regardless of external factors that may question the messenger, his message is right on target.  And people need to believe—you know, listen to the message.  It‘s truth.  And it‘s applicable to parents across the board.  It‘s a great message.

SCARBOROUGH:  I agree.  I agree with you, Tony.  Thanks for being with us. 

Malik, thank you.

Karen, thank you.

And we‘ll be right back when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  In my book “Rome Wasn‘t Burnt in a Day,” this is what I write: “No Republican swept into office in 1994 could have imagined the spending orgy that his own party would launch in 2001.  The party of small government quickly morphed into the party of big pork.”

Now, you‘re looking at the consequences of that party of pork on the national debt clock tonight.  And we actually have some people that are fighting, finally, to turn things around in Washington, D.C.

We have Marsha Blackburn.  She‘s from Tennessee.  And we have Congressman Jeb Hensarling.  He‘s from Texas.  We also have Stephen Moore of the Club For Growth and the Cato Institute. 

Steve, let me start with you.  By the way, very dramatic lighting in Tallahassee for you.  You look like sort of a “Meet the Beatles” pose there.

(LAUGHTER) 

STEPHEN MOORE, PRESIDENT, CLUB FOR GROWTH:  I hope to get out...

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s that?

MOORE:  I hope to get out before the hurricane comes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We hope you do, too. 

MOORE:  It‘s coming our way. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, we spoke earlier, probably a couple of months ago, and we made the “Animal Farm” analogy. 

MOORE:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  How the revolutionaries came in, but pretty soon it was hard to tell the pigs from the farmers.  Can you believe what‘s happened over the past 10 years in Washington? 

MOORE:  No.

And the problem is that this class of 1994 came in and we did—we were committed to balancing the budget, to making government smaller, to cutting taxes.  And what you‘ve got today is exactly what you just said, a spending orgy.  And I think here‘s the problem.  You know, I work hard for my money.  The people who watch your show work hard for their money.  And this dollar bill is what we‘re working for.

And the problem is, the government is sticking their hands into our wallets, spending our money.  And what‘s infuriating the taxpayers is that they‘re spending the money on these turkey projects that are embedded into the budget, whether it‘s the Lawrence Welk Museum and whether it‘s the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.  And people are sick of seeing their dollars misspent, because we work hard for these dollars. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, talking about 1994, of course, Newt Gingrich was the central figure in the revolution and this book.  And this is what he said in 1994: “It‘s time to force the government to live within its means and restore accountability to the budget in Washington.”

When Newt Gingrich said that, the deficit was $280 billion.  Now, as you all know, $430 billion.  What‘s gone wrong? 

REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN ®, TENNESSEE:  Well, one of the things that we‘re beginning to see is a need to go after the system, not just after the specific little projects, but, Joe, to look at the entire system and the policies and the processes, how the agencies work.

And our Government Reform Committee is really hitting at all of this agency reform, at financial management, at how government spends its money.  And that is—we have to change the system.  And it can‘t just be this project or that project or a simple cut.  It‘s got to be across the system. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Jeb, talking about changing things, I was on Government Reform and Oversight also.  We were talking about getting rid of the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce.  I mean, we wanted to burn it down.  And that‘s what the book title is about, “Wasn‘t Burnt in a Day.”

But let‘s take education.  I put on a bill on the floor to get rid of the federal education bureaucracy, send the money back to the states, back to the classrooms.  Since Republicans took control of Congress, the Department of Education has grown by 120 percent.  What‘s going wrong here? 

REP. JEB HENSARLING ®, TEXAS:  Well, Marsha has it right. 

I mean, if Congress had set up a machine—we‘ve set up a spending Monday and it‘s been finely honed over about 40 years since the Great Society.  And not many people in America understand it.  But if Congress went away, the spending would keep going on.  And so I believe that if you ever want to get to a concept of limited government, and you cannot have unlimited government and unlimited opportunity, you‘re going to have to change the system and do a couple of things. 

No. 1, not one in 1,000 know that today, when we pass a budget, it doesn‘t even have the force of law.  At best, it‘s a strong suggestion on what Congress does.  Second of all, we have automatic spending increases, this thing called baseline budgeting, that only in Washington could you increase a budget and people up here call it a cut. 

I mean, we have 1,000 different sprockets in this machine, all that are finely tuned to spin.  We‘re going to have to go back and retool that and turn it into a family savings machine.  And to me, the two most important steps we can take is make the budget have the force of law and ensure that the federal budget doesn‘t grow faster than the family budget.

And that‘s why Marsha and I and several others combined to push a piece of legislation called the Family Budget Protection Act, because it‘s time to protect the family budget from the federal budget, and we have got to cap the growth of the federal budget. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Steve Moore, right now, I mean, there just aren‘t that many Republicans doing it.  And Jeb says that you take politicians away, government would keep spending money.  That may be right.  But over the past three, four years, it seems like under these Republicans, not these two here, but the Republicans in Congress, the appropriations chairmen in Congress, that the spending is exploding at record rates, even the domestic spending. 

MOORE:  That‘s right. 

The big problem here is that we have two big-spending parties in Washington.  When Republicans came into power, they were replacing the big-spending Democrats and it was time for them to go.  And what‘s evolved over time is, the Republicans have become a big-spending party, too. 

Here is a sad commentary on how bad the spending problem is.  Jeb Hensarling and many other of his classmates had this bill that he was just discussing that would have reformed the budget process, line-item veto and passing budgets that are responsible, that don‘t spend more than the family budget, and you know how many votes it got in the House?  Eighty-seven. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, about 87. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you, baby...

HENSARLING:  There‘s 435 in the House.  And we only had 87 people who voted for fiscal responsibility. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve, does it not sound like 1998 all over again?  Newt Gingrich‘s last bill, he gets it on the floor.  He calls 87 of us the perfectionist caucus—I mean, the biggest spending bill of all time.  It‘s just unbelievable that Republicans are doing this. 

We‘re going to talk a little bit more with our guests when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.  So stick around.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The deficit is over $7.5 trillion and baby boomers are slouching towards retirement.  All in all, it‘s a big financial mess. 

We‘ll talk about it when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Financial scandals, conspiracy, intrigue.  No, it‘s not a Tom Clancy best-seller.  It‘s not a thriller.  It‘s my new book, “Rome Wasn‘t Burnt in a Day,” my account of how you are getting the shaft by beltway barbarians.

And we‘re back with our panel, no barbarians here.

But, Jeb, you know what “The Wall Street Journal” reported about your bill that would have actually forced a lot of these pigs—and I can call them pigs now that I‘m out—chairmen for the Republican Party—you know, you got like 120, 125 co-sponsors for your bill for reform, but yet, when it came on the floor, “The Wall Street Journal” reported you that lost like 40 of those people because all of these chairmen were breaking arms, threatening members, saying, you better not vote for the bill or else. 

HENSARLING:  Yes, I think I set a record for losing votes between sponsors and the actual vote. 

But, listen, I think something good came out of this.  We forced a debate in the United States House on limited government. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you showed that a lot of Republican chairmen are hypocrites, didn‘t you?  You can say it.  It will make you feel better.  The truth will set you free, Jeb. 

HENSARLING:  Let‘s just that say not all of my colleagues share our vision of limited government.

But tomorrow is another day.  And our majority leader committed to us after this vote that budget enforcement will be a priority in the next Congress.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, I like your majority leader.  I like your majority leader. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Aren‘t you ashamed, though, aren‘t you ashamed, because you believe in limited government, that, under Republicans, the deficit has reached a record high? 

BLACKBURN:  You know what I am proud of, Joe, is the fact that...

SCARBOROUGH:  But aren‘t you ashamed of the deficit? 

BLACKBURN:  What I am proud of is the fact that our Republican leadership is making government reform and agency reform an issue.

And I think we have to remember, we are in a time of war.  We have grown.  We have grown.  And you know what?  It is time for us to talk about priority government.  Homeland security, economic security, those are at the top of the heap. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

BLACKBURN:  And we need to address them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve Moore, are you ashamed of the Republicans? 

MOORE:  Yes.

The discouraging thing, though, Joe, is, if you look at John Kerry‘s

agenda, he wants to spend an additional $2 trillion over the next

(CROSSTALK)  

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s worse.  He wants to socialize medicine. 

MOORE:  Yes, above, over—so what you have got is, the Republicans are Tweedledee and the Democrats are Tweedledum. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Well, you know, and just for everybody here involved, you look at the party platforms, you look at what John Kerry talked about in Boston, you look at what George W. Bush talked about in New York, I am whacking the Republicans because the Republicans are supposed to be the party of Ronald Reagan.  John Kerry ain‘t no bargain.  You add up all that he wants to do, with socializing medicine—he‘s talking about universal health care, with adding 40,000 new troops.  It‘s a lot bigger deficits. 

I want to thank all of you for being with us tonight.

I am not being hard on the Republicans.  You know, this is how we make our side stronger, right?  Right. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I shouldn‘t have called your chairmen pigs.  I‘m very sorry about that. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve Moore, thanks a lot for being with us.  You are a real champion.

MOORE:  Thank you, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you‘ve been fighting this fight for years.  Keep it up.  And say hi to Jeb for me, Jeb Bush. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Now, remember, you can check out excerpts from “Rome Wasn‘t Burnt in a Day” at our Web site, Joe.MSNBC.com.

And make sure to tune in to Imus tomorrow morning.  He has got some great guests, including our own Tom Brokaw. 

I will be back here tomorrow night in the nation‘s capital.  We are going to keep talking to these champions.  And these Republicans with us tonight were champions, talking about the way that we can educate Americans on how we can get our government back. 

We‘ll talk more about that tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

END   

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