updated 2/1/2005 1:57:33 PM ET 2005-02-01T18:57:33

Guest: Jane Velez-Mitchell, Steve McMahon, Ann Coulter, Bob Beauprez, J.D. Hayworth, Matt Coppo, James Dobson

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, is there a cultural war in the United States that threatens your family? 

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

“TIME” magazine calls him one of the most influential men in America, and we agree.  But does the Bush White House?  Tonight, Focus on the Family‘s founder, Dr. James Dobson, on faith, on Bush 43, and whether Hollywood is harmful to your kids. 

And new information on a story that we brought you first, the Colorado professor who compared September 11 victims to Nazis who slaughtered six million Jews.  We‘re going to continue to push to get him fired. 

And let the Michael Jackson circus begin.  Jury selection is under way in the bizarre star‘s child sex trial.  We‘re going to be talking to a reporter who was inside the courthouse for hours with Michael Jackson. 

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, the media elites play the fool again.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, a month ago, I was the first cable news host to tell you that the Iraqi elections were going to be a great success.  Of course, that claim drew jeers from many viewers who mocked my assertion that the turnout rate would approach that of Americans in the 2004 election.  I explained that 80 percent of the country strongly supported this election and that a small minority in the Sunni Triangle of death would fail in their attempts to kill Iraq‘s democracy while still in its crib. 

As you know, I was alone in my confidence.  Most other media outlets like “The New York Times” were actually calling for a delay in these elections, a delay that would have played right into the hands of the terrorists. 

How was I able to once again predict the political future?  Easy.  It‘s called common sense.  Just as I told you George W. Bush would win a month before the election, I just looked at all the facts and I didn‘t let my political biases cloud my judgment.  I wish I could say that of others. 

Now, during the campaign, I was shocked by how so many so-called objective reporters on both sides of the aisle let their wishes cloud their vision.  I told you that George Bush blew it in his first debate.  And I enraged Republicans, but I was right.  And I told you that John Kerry bombed in his convention speech, while others lavished praise on the sweaty, rushed delivery.

And I told you how freedom would win out over fear in Iraq on Sunday.  Right again.  Not because I‘m smarter than everybody, but because my job is to give you the “Real Deal,” regardless of whether it suits my personal prejudices or not. 

Now, one final thought.  This election may help George Bush politically at home, but don‘t forget it, that the real heroes here were the Iraqi people who dared to vote, the U.S. troops who defended their right to vote, and an ayatollah named Sistani, who is going to be remembered as the father of freedom in Iraq.  Without him, Iraq would have dissolved into a bloody civil war and the situation would have been hopeless. 

But you know what?  Tonight, Iraq has a reason to hope and we Americans have a reason to thank God that the liberties that he‘s blessed us with may soon be shared by millions of oppressed people throughout the Middle East.  And that‘s not spin, friends.  It‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, when President Bush won his second term, he got a huge unexpected boost from the Christian right.  But now some of the president‘s most vital conservative supporters are raising questions about his domestic policies and priorities. 

With me now, a man that “TIME” magazine rightly calls one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the country, best-selling author and the director of Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson, and the author of “The New Strong-Willed Child,” just in time for my family. 

Dr. Dobson, welcome.  It‘s great to have you back in SCARBOROUGH

COUNTRY. 

DR. JAMES DOBSON, PRESIDENT, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY:  Thank you, Joe.  It‘s always good to be back.  I just listened to your “Real Deal,” and you were right on with your perspectives there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, isn‘t it amazing, Dr. Dobson—and you‘ve been following this for some time—that so many people get on the TV, these so-called unbiased reporters, and they have a world view that‘s shared by their friends on the Upper West Side of Manhattan or in West L.A.  and Hollywood and they have no idea what goes on in between the two coasts?

DOBSON:  You know, that has never been so vividly illustrated to me than yesterday, when the election results were starting to come in.  I was watching Fox News.  I was watching MSNBC.  And at the time that there were people were dancing in the streets and all of this excitement and exuberance in Iraq, what was CNN doing? 

They had a special on and it was entitled “The Long Shadow Over President Bush.”  It‘s just crazy.  They don‘t get it, even yet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Now, you know, another magazine that some people have accused of not getting has been “TIME” magazine, but you‘re actually on the cover of “TIME” magazine this week as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.  But I want to read you a judgment that “TIME” magazine seems to make about you in their cover story. 

They say; “It‘s not certain, however, whether Dobson can translate his considerable influence into political muscle.  White House officials consider his demands too absolutist and impractical.”  Quote: “We respect him greatly,” says a Bush aide, “but his political influence is not everything people might think.”

Now, Dr. Dobson, I remember walking the halls of Congress with you and remember Republicans underestimating your influence and other evangelical leaders‘ influence after they helped them take control of Congress.  Is the same thing happening in the White House when you read a quote like that by a White House aide? 

DOBSON:  Well, Joe, I‘m not the one that said I was all that influential.  I mean, goodness, I think it‘s an overstatement myself, so I‘m not offended by people questioning that. 

We‘re simply trying to do what we think is right.  I got involved for the first time last year in the election and tried to do what I could to elucidate the issues.  And, you know, we did what we can.  Who knows what influence we had.  I think there are an awful let of people that get credit for what happened on November 2.  And I‘m certainly not crowing about it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, let me read you something that you told “TIME” magazine in the interview. 

You said: “We‘re involved in what‘s known as a culture war.  And it‘s aimed right straight at the institution of the family.” 

Who‘s leading that cultural war against the interest of the family? 

DOBSON:  Well, politically correct interests in this country, those that are on the liberal side of the perspective, Democrats typically have favored policies that I think were harmful to the family. 

In 1969, the tax laws that had to do with taxing married families, married couples at a higher rate than those simply cohabiting is a good example of it.  And that existed from Democrats and Republicans.  But in the culture itself, your setup referred to Hollywood.  I think Hollywood is doing great damage to kids and to families, as well as many other aspects of the schools and other things that concern us. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, speaking of Hollywood, obviously, you were involved in a dust-up recently with a video that was sent out to a lot of elementary schools.  You were misquoted as saying that you thought that SpongeBob SquarePants was a gay character, but when, in fact, you were talking about a so-called tolerance message. 

And let‘s show our audience exactly what you were talking about.  It‘s the We Are Family Foundation, who was set to release 61,000 videos to American schools.  That‘s a group that has a tolerance pledge for a differing sexual identity on their Web site. 

Now, do you believe that this group and other groups—like, we talked about PBS last week—have an agenda that are trying to indoctrinate our children to a certain lifestyle, like the gay lifestyle? 

DOBSON:  Joe, I have never, ever in 35 years in public life and in professional life been more misquoted or more maligned than over this silly little thing that you‘re talking about here. 

I didn‘t talk about SpongeBob, except to say that he was included in a video that‘s done by the We Are Family Foundation.  There were 100 cartoon characters, from the “Muppets” to “Sesame Street” to “Jimmy Neutron,” to all of those characters that kids love, and that the video was for the purpose of supporting or promoting the diversity and tolerance. 

And it‘s been sent to that 61,000 elementary schools.  And from that can come all kinds of mischief that we were concerned about.  That‘s what I was talking about. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What kind of mischief? 

DOBSON:  Well, if you look at the We Are Family Foundation or at least if you did, before last week, when they pulled it off their Web site, you see the linkage to homosexual advocacy.  You see linkages to the gay and lesbian organizations, five of them.  You see a tolerance pledge to get supposedly kids and others to sign this pledge, pledging to think differently about sexual identity and so on. 

There‘s a teacher‘s guide that was there that gets kids talking about what would it be like if you changed your identity or if you were homosexual.  And it‘s a guide for how to talk kids through this, to think differently about homosexuality. 

At the very least, Joe, at the very least, if you‘re going to do that, parents ought to know about it.  And that‘s what I was talking about, not SpongeBob. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you shouldn‘t hide it behind cartoons that every 5-, 6-, and 7-year-old look at.  Now, in closing...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sorry.  Go ahead, Doctor. 

DOBSON:  Well, I was just going to say, virtually every newspaper in the country has said that I called SpongeBob gay. 

For your viewers, let me just tell you, I did not do that.  That‘s the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.  I didn‘t say that and don‘t know much about SpongeBob.  My kids are grown.  And I wasn‘t in a position to even talk about SpongeBob.  I was talking about kids and schools. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Dr. Dobson, you may not have called SpongeBob gay, but my wife declared him gay several years ago. 

Now, in closing, I want to read you something that you recently said, and we found it on your Web site—quote—“If Republicans do what they‘ve done in the past, which is to say thanks so much for putting us in power, now we don‘t want you to talk anymore, they will pay a serious price.”

And of course, there are a lot of people that said the president‘s been backing down on his pledge on the gay marriage amendment.  There are other Republicans who are concerned about Gonzales as attorney general, who, while was on the Texas Supreme Court, wrote an opinion that they thought was hostile to the interest of the pro-life movement.  Do you think that there‘s a chance this administration may forget who brung them to the dance, as we say in the Redneck Riviera? 

DOBSON:  Joe, I don‘t believe so.  I believe the president is going to follow through not on the demands of the so-called religious right, but on the campaign promises that he made. 

And I think some people are jumping to conclusions too early.  But what I was saying was that, if he does abandon those promises and if he does not stand up for the family, for marriage and for the judges that he promised to put on the court, if he backs down on those things, I think he will pay a price, or the Republican Party will pay a price in two years, not because somebody‘s going to come after him, but because that‘s never a successful thing to do politically. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Dr. Dobson, thanks for being with us. 

I‘ll tell you what. Our next segment actually involves Colorado.  For everybody that doesn‘t know, you‘re from Colorado Springs.  But can you believe this University of Colorado professor who compared those that were slaughtered on 9/11 to Adolf Eichmann, the mastermind of the Nazi Holocaust? 

DOBSON:  I will tell you, Joe, what‘s going on on some of the university campuses is just breathtaking today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It really is. 

Well, thanks so much, Dr. Dobson.  The headline, SpongeBob—never said SpongeBob was gay. 

(LAUGHTER)

DOBSON:  Never.  Never.

SCARBOROUGH:  Good to have you on.  Glad to have you clear that up. 

And I look forward to seeing you again in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

DOBSON:  Thank you, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Al right. 

Now, coming up, like I said, an update on the story we‘ve been following right here on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the professor who says 9/11 victims had it coming to them. 

Plus, jury selection begins in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial.  But, with all the attention, can he get a fair trial?  We‘re going to be looking at what happened inside the courtroom later today with someone who was there. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  An outraged congressman is calling for the resignation of a Colorado professor who says the 9/11 victims had it coming to them.

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY continues its fight against radicalism on college campuses next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, last week, I told you about an essay that was written by University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill.  Among other things, he said that the terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks were not terrorists and that the victims who perished were not innocent. 

Churchill went on to compare the victims to Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann.  And he claims that he‘s been largely misunderstood.  Churchill had this to say to NBC affiliate KUSA. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WARD CHURCHILL, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO:  What I did say—and I‘ll stand by it—is that if you want to understand—quote—“why they hate us” and why the responses come in the fashion they do, is try putting yourself in their position. 

And what I did basically was turn the tables and used U.S. rhetoric and framing and attitudes to describe what had happened at the World Trade Center. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, students and lawmakers across the country have been calling for Churchill‘s resignation from the university.  And late today, Churchill resigned as chairman of the ethnic studies department, but he‘s going to keep his teaching job. 

With me now is Congressman Bob Beauprez from Colorado, a University of Colorado alum. 

Congressman, good to see you again.  This guy still doesn‘t get it. He compares the people that died 9/11 to Adolf Eichmann, the man responsible for masterminding the slaughter of six million Jews.  Our people want him fired.  Do leaders in Colorado have the guts to do just that? 

REP. BOB BEAUPREZ ®, COLORADO:  I certainly hope so, Joe.  I‘ve certainly been calling for him to be fired.  I‘m glad to hear that he stepped down as chairman.

But, frankly, and you know this, an alligator changes swamps, he‘s still an alligator and he is still dangerous.  This guy is still a professor.  I don‘t think we ought to be turning our tax-funded universities into collegiate madrasas to teach hatred and poison the minds of young people. 

This is some of the most outrageous, hateful, vengeful, over-the-top, wrong stuff that I have heard in a long, long while, and, especially, Joe, the week that we commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, for heaven‘s sakes, this is, again, some of the most absurd things I‘ve ever heard. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s insulting.  And you‘re exactly right.  On the 60th anniversary of the liberation of that death camp, comparing to people that were slaughtered on 9/11. 

And you hit on a great point, Congressman. I support free speech.  I‘m sure you do, too.  That‘s the great thing about America.  Differing opinions, fine.  I just don‘t think taxpayers should support this type of hate speech.  And it‘s what they‘re doing. 

Now, Congressman, the professor said earlier that people like you and me have it wrong.  This is what he said.  Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHURCHILL:  I don‘t condone, embrace, advocate violence in any form. 

I‘ve been in violent contexts.  I fought for the United States in Vietnam.  I know what it‘s like to pull a trigger.  I don‘t care to pick up a rifle again.  And I‘m seriously pissed off, seriously angry that people are trying to twist my attempt to jar a change in consciousness and consequent behavior that would alleviate this kind of thing into an advocacy of it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Congressman, are you guilty of twisting his words? 

BEAUPREZ:  This is bizarre, Joe.  I‘m not that bad at reading, nor at understanding.  He said what he said.

And he likened a bunch of innocent, as innocent of civilians as they could possibly be, who simply got up on a beautiful New York morning, went to work to feed their family, take care of their life, and they get slaughtered, they get slaughtered.  Why?  Just because they happened to be there.  He likened them to little Eichmanns, Adolf Eichmann?  It‘s absurd. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Congressman, it is absurd.  It‘s an outrage.  Taxpayers shouldn‘t pay for that type of hate speech.  And we‘re going to stay on this story, Congressman.  And we‘d like for you to come back and give us an update on it.  We appreciate you being here. 

BEAUPREZ:  God bless you for taking it up, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much for doing the same.

Now, of course, Professor Churchill is going to be under the spotlight again this Thursday.  He‘s scheduled to speak in New York state at Hamilton College. 

With us now is a Hamilton College sophomore, Matt Coppo.  Matt lost his father on 9/11 and is obviously against Churchill‘s upcoming appearance. 

Matt, your father, a great man, a softball coach, involved in your life.  How do you respond to a professor from Colorado comparing him to somebody that helped orchestrate the slaughter of six million Jews? 

MATT COPPO, SON OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM:  I don‘t want to compare him.  I don‘t want to have him put in the same sentence with this man.  My father, he wasn‘t—he was completely innocent.  He went to work every day, got up at 6:00 in the morning to feed me, so that I could come to a school like Hamilton.  And Hamilton comes and hires this guy with the money that he earned and died for and now he was going to get paid with it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you feel betrayed? 

COPPO:  Incredibly.  I absolutely love Hamilton.  I couldn‘t think of about going to another school. 

But it was hurtful.  And the school seems that they‘re putting their principals of free speech before the well-being of their students and me and everyone else who feels completely offended by his comments. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Matt, listen, we know the speech is coming up on Thursday.  We wanted to introduce you to our viewers.  We‘re going to get back to you on Thursday, have you talk about what‘s going on up there.  We appreciate you being here. 

And you can write the University of Colorado board of regents at their Web site at homepage@colorado.edu.  They‘re having a big meeting on Thursday and we‘re going to be watching it very closely.  And, as we mentioned, also on Thursday, Professor Churchill is going to be speaking at Hamilton College in New York state.  You can also write the president of that college, Hamilton College, and tell her how you feel about it.  Her e-mail address, jstewart@hamilton.edu.

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, President Bush‘s battle over security on the border and Lara Flynn Boyle‘s battle to keep her clothes on, on a  transatlantic flight. 

Those stories and a lot more coming up when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news. 

(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:  Is the Bush administration doing enough to protect the nation‘s border during this time of war?  Some members of the president‘s own party don‘t think so.  And they say that he may be making America more vulnerable to another terror attack. 

So, they‘re having their own battle with the president over the border issue and so are commentators like Rush Limbaugh. 

With me now to talk about that is Republican Congressman J.D. 

Hayworth of Arizona. 

Congressman, there are a lot of Republicans that agree with me, that even though they supported the president, they don‘t think he‘s doing what he needs to do to protect our borders because he wants to be politically correct, doesn‘t want to offend the Hispanic vote.  Is that fair? 

REP. J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA:  Well, Joe, simply stated, I believe that most of us agree with the president on nine out of 10 issues. 

We rejoice with the Iraqi elections.  We believe in a policy of sustained economic growth.  We want to protect Social Security for future generations, so that they can build a nest egg.  But the bottom line is this.  When it comes to our national security, national security and border security are one and the same.  And those, along with the president, who advocate a guest worker program, a form of amnesty-light, are putting the cart before the horse.  No to amnesty-light, yes to real border security. 

And there are some real dangers for the nation that we need to deal with, regardless of traditional party labels. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I‘m glad that you talked about the president‘s amnesty-light.  That‘s exactly what it is. 

I want you to take a listen to what the president had to say during the debates this year when he offered up his vision of his own guest worker program. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I believe there ought to be a temporary worker card that allows a willing worker and a willing employer to mate up, so long as there‘s not an American willing to do the job.  I don‘t believe we ought to have amnesty.  I don‘t think we ought to reward illegal behavior. 

There are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen and.  We ought not crowd these people ahead of them in line.  If they want to become a citizen, they can stand in line, too. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, John Kerry was a flip-flopper in the 2004 campaign, but, on this issue, the president sounded like he just contradicted himself. 

HAYWORTH:  The bottom line is this.  If people refuse to obey existing laws, why on earth would we think they would obey any new laws put into place? 

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re talking about coming into the country, right? 

HAYWORTH:  You bet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If they‘re in this country illegally, they got here by breaking our laws. 

HAYWORTH:  And the bottom line is this.  Let‘s enforce existing laws and make sure we have secured our borders and then and only then should we move forward, even considering a guest worker program. 

But let me tell you what I do very briefly, Joe.  There‘s a program right now for employers, strictly voluntary.  It‘s called Basic Pilot, where they can call up and get information on proposed workers.  That program should be made mandatory right now.  Secondly, what we need to do is make sure that, for the 400,000 who have already received deportation orders, for the over 80,000 who are convicted criminals from other societies, we should pass the Clear Act and get those criminals and those who have ignored deportation orders off the street. 

The other thing that we need to do, we‘re moving to do in the Congress, something that Chairman Sensenbrenner has worked on that I agree with, no driver‘s licenses for illegal aliens.  We should go further than that.  We should dissuade the use of the matricula consular, which has become the de facto work permit.  We should also move, as we‘re also going to do in upcoming legislation, to quit gaming the system. 

And the fourth thing we should do is pressure Mexico to move forward...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  J.D., OK.  I‘m just going to say, J.D., these are all great points.  I would actually like to see the Republicans in the House of Representatives step forward and finally challenge the president on this issue, because they haven‘t over the past couple years.  And that‘s what‘s bothering so many other people. 

Let me bring in two others to talk about this issue and a variety of issues in our roundtable.  I want to bring in right now Ann Coulter.  An, of course, is the author of “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must).”  And we also have Democratic strategist Steve McMahon. 

Ann, I want you to take a listen to Rush Limbaugh.  He even got into the act on the issue of border security with this salvo that was pointed squarely at the president‘s proposal.  This is what he said on Friday. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, “THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW”) 

RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST:  We cannot maintain our sovereignty without securing and protecting our borders.  We simply cannot in an era where terrorists around the world seek entry to this country to attack from within. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Ann Coulter, if Rush Limbaugh‘s saying it, a lot of conservatives have to be agreeing.  Why does George Bush seem to be off the reservation when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration?  The law is the law is the law. 

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, “HOW TO TALK TO A LIBERAL (IF YOU MUST)”:  Right. 

No, that‘s a question like, how high is up?  I‘ve wondered that myself.  And, by the way, I commend you for airing disagreements among conservatives.  I think the Democrats have shown themselves to be increasingly irrelevant to public policy debates in America. 

But, no, I don‘t understand that.  I think it goes far beyond terrorism.  This is what a country is.  Who becomes a citizen?  The people who vote and live in a country is what the country is.  And we don‘t even have a choice on what kind of a country that is or will become. 

I am baffled by this.  It goes far beyond securing our borders solely for purposes of terrorism.  But that obviously is incredibly crucial right now.  And, by the way, we‘re an incredibly generous country when it comes to immigration.  This isn‘t an anti-immigration pool.  You can ratchet legal immigration up.  You can ratchet it down. 

We‘ve always had a guest worker program, particularly for agriculture, the agriculture industry, who needs seasonal workers.  It‘s not as if, you know, we are like most countries of the world and are very strict about who can come here.  But when the laws are broken on that, it‘s baffling to me.  And, of course, I think Bush is wrong about this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, unfortunately most of the other leading members of the Senate and the House, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, basically are falling right in line with him. 

Let me read you what John McCain said.  He issued this question to his fellow Republicans who are critical of the president‘s plan.  He said:”I‘d like to know how many of my colleagues want to shut down the home building industry, the resort industry, and the restaurants that we patronize here in our nation‘s capital.”

And I thought that that‘s why Zoe Baird and all these other appointees that Bill Clinton tried to get put in and others that Bush tried to put in four years ago didn‘t get their jobs, because they hired illegal immigrants.  Here, you have a United States senator talking to his colleagues, scolding them, basically saying, how dare you make us apply the law to those that come into our country. 

COULTER:  Right.  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Explain it.  Explain it to our confused viewers, who wonder how conservative, law-and-order Republicans can be talking this way. 

COULTER:  No, I think that‘s a good question.  I always think this phrase, who will do the jobs the Americans won‘t do, I think that is always meant to be a poke in the eye to poor Americans, to minorities in the country who already are American. 

How about cutting our taxes?  How about letting us pay a little less in Social Security, so—if I could clean my apartment and not have to pay 50 percent of it to the government in taxes, I‘d do that for a living instead. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly. 

Now, I want to go to you, Steve McMahon, and talk about the elections and John Kerry.  You can also talk about immigration. 

But, first, I want to play a clip from John Kerry talking to Tim Russert, because despite almost universal praise for the success of the elections in Iraq, this is what the senator had to say when he was on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MEET THE PRESS”)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  No one in the United States should try to overhype this election.  This election is a sort of demarcation point.  And what really counts now is the effort to have a legitimate political reconciliation.  And it‘s going to take a massive diplomatic effort and a much more significant outreach to the international community than this administration‘s been willing to engage in.  Absent that, we will not be successful in Iraq. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Don‘t you think Democratic senators like Senator Kerry, Senator Kennedy, others that seem to be moaning after this remarkable election, are actually hurting themselves in the Democratic Party by not giving credit where credit‘s due? 

STEVE MCMAHON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  Well, Joe, I don‘t think you‘re being quite fair to him. 

What Senator Kerry said was that the elections were an important step, but they were just the first step.  And I think most people would agree with him.  I mean, congratulations to the Iraqi people for having these elections.  The turnout was terrific.  The Bush administration deserves some credit for moving them forward. 

But it is just a beginning.  This country is in turmoil.  It could possibly, depending upon the outcome and depending upon whether or not various factions accept the outcome, it could still fall into civil war.  And we can‘t stay there forever.  We can‘t keep American troops‘ lives at risk forever.  We need to bring in the international community. 

And so far, the Bush administration has been reluctant to do it.  Hopefully, in the days and weeks and months and years ahead, the Bush administration will get around to doing that.  Condoleezza Rice, you know, has indicated that she‘s going to reach out to the world community.  And that‘s at the end of the day what it‘s going to take to stabilize a democratic Iraq, which I think everybody, Democrat and Republican, want. 

HAYWORTH:  Hey, Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  Ann Coulter, let‘s get predictions from you, Ann Coulter. 

What are you going to hear from the president in the State of the Union address?  Fifteen seconds.

COULTER:  I have no idea, but I do want to say Democrats were predicting a few months ago that the first step wasn‘t the election.  They said the election wouldn‘t take place.  John Kerry said the election wouldn‘t take place in January, because the first step was to stabilize the country and it wasn‘t ready for elections yet. 

Well, now we‘ve had elections. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Ann Coulter, thanks for being with us. 

And still ahead, I‘ve got issues.  That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back.  I‘m Joe Scarborough, and I‘ve got issues. 

Now, former presidential candidate John Kerry just doesn‘t seem to understand he lost the election.  Here‘s the Massachusetts senator talking to “Meet the Press”‘s Tim Russert yesterday. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MEET THE PRESS”)

KERRY:  If you take half the people at an Ohio State football game on a Sunday afternoon, Saturday afternoon, and they would have voted the other way, you and I would be having a discussion today about my State of the Union speech. 

TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  And the president will say, if he had half the people at a high school basketball game in New Hampshire or Oregon, he would have carried those states, because he lost them by 5,000 or 7,000. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s see, and one-fourth the number of people at a Cal bingo match—come on, Senator, you lost the race by 3.5 million votes.  It‘s time to move on. 

And speaking of moving on, I‘ve got issues with the things that celebrities do for publicity.  Former “Practice” and “Men in Black II” star Lara Flynn Boyle reportedly stripped naked on a flight from Los Angeles to London and harassed fellow passengers in first class, again, in the buff.

A source told the British “Mail on Sunday”—quote—“People recognized that she was Lara Flynn Boyle and saw her popping pills on board early in the flight.  She was starkers, woke a passenger up, tried to get into bed with him, pulled open the blind and said, we‘re landing, get your clothes on, even though we were more than four hours away from London.” 

Hey, Lara, I know the career has stalled.  It‘s not doing well.  But you know what?  Having sex in first class going to London didn‘t help Liz Hurley revive her flagging movie career back in May of 2003.  And I don‘t think it‘s going to help yours. 

And, finally, no surprise to you, I‘m sure, I‘ve got issues with Michael Jackson.  Yes, the king of pop was in court today for the first time for jury selection in his child molestation trial.  Yesterday, he defended a court-approved videotape on his Web site defending himself, saying this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL JACKSON, DEFENDANT:  Through the years, I have helped thousands of children who were ill or in distress.  These events have caused a nightmare for my family, my children and me.  I never intend to place myself in so vulnerable a position ever again. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Such a wholesome young man.  How could anybody hold anything against him? 

Hey, Michael, maybe you should have stopped putting yourself in a vulnerable position 10 years ago, after they had you pay a reported $25 million to the first boy who accused you of child molestation. 

And now the Michael Jackson circus, already under way in Santa Maria, California, we‘re going to go there because the king of pop did arrive in the courthouse dressed in white and waving to fans.  The judge summoned 300 prospective jurors to the court today, going to have another 300 tomorrow.

And for the lowdown on what happened inside the courtroom, we have Jane Velez-Mitchell, who is covering the trial for “Celebrity Justice” and who just was one of six pool members inside the courthouse. 

Jane, tell us what was it was like inside the courthouse. 

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE”:  Well, it was amazing. 

Michael Jackson had been scolded once for showing up 20 minutes late.  This time, he was early, and the proceedings started more than an hour later.  So we sat inside, the six reporters who were the pool, and watched Michael Jackson for more than an hour.

And he was laughing and chatting with his attorney, Tom Mesereau.  He got up and shook hands with the clerk of the court and another lady standing beside her.  He was absolutely charming, dressed all in white with a gold armband and gold—various gold accessories and spats, not to mention. 

But, in general, he seemed incredibly confident, considering what he‘s about to go through on this first day of jury selection. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, a lot of people thought, again, the first time, when he was playing the clown, that he didn‘t understand the charges against him, he didn‘t understand the gravity of the situation. 

From you looking at him, again, very closely, over an hour‘s time before the judge came in, does it seem that the gravity of these proceedings still haven‘t weighed down on his shoulders?  And how did he act toward the judge? 

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  No, I think the gravity has hit him.  I think he realizes he is fighting for his life, hence, that videotape that he made on the Internet.  But it‘s a little too little too late. 

I mean, as you said, he‘s saying, I will never place myself in this kind of vulnerable position again, but what does that mean?  Is he renouncing now these sleepovers?  If he‘d done that a year ago, we might not be in this position right now.  So his idea of hitting reality and everybody else‘s idea of snapping out of denial are two different things. 

As far as Michael Jackson is concerned, he thinks he‘s acting in a very adult manner, because he‘s not eating candy and doing bizarre things.  But it may not meet the test. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you‘re obviously in a room just right down the street from the courthouse.  This guy, you look on the videotape, he looks like a Martian.  He looks like he‘s an alien from another planet. 

Tell me, as you go through the town, talk to the townspeople, what‘s their attitude towards Michael Jackson?  Is there such a thing as a jury of his peers? 

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  Well, exactly.  What is a jury of Michael Jackson‘s peers?  That‘s the $64,000 question. 

This community up here in northern Santa Barbara actually provides the ideal juror for the prosecution.  They are looking for law-and-order types who are conservative, blue-collar, work-a-day people.  And the potential jurors who marched in today were exactly that.  For example, 66 of them asked to get off.  And a lot of them said, hey, Judge, I‘ll go bankrupt if I can‘t work for six months.  I‘m an hourly worker.

I support my family.  This, we heard over and over again.  But, surprisingly enough, more than 80 people said they were willing to serve.  And they raised their hand and said, six months, I‘ll do it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Six months, I‘ll do it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And six months and one day, I‘ll have a book agent.  And six months and nine days, I‘ll have my first advance for the book about sitting on Michael Jackson‘s jury. 

Listen, we‘ll be right back in a second, Jane, to get some final thoughts from you and also to get a prediction on what‘s next. 

That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  As we told you before, the circus came to town in Santa Maria.

And again with us to talk about the jury selection process that started today in the Michael Jackson case, Jane Velez-Mitchell.

Jane, let‘s talk about why they decided to stay in a very conservative county.  You bring out a great point.  Santa Barbara, very conservative mainstream.  Why wouldn‘t Jackson‘s lawyers try to move this case down to Los Angeles, where he may actually get more sympathy from a jury? 

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  Well, it‘s a big mystery, and a lot of us have been talking about it. 

I think that, in the end, it‘s Michael Jackson and Neverland.  He has opened Neverland to many, many people in this community over the years.  Everybody probably knows somebody who has spent the day at Neverland.  I have been up there when people in this community were there eating free food and their kids were on the rides. 

And I think he feels that some of that goodwill could rub off on the jury. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, let‘s talk about the process.  How long is it going to take them to get a jury?  How long is it going to take before we actually start the trial? 

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  I think it‘s going to take about a month to pick this jury.  It could even be longer.  Some people are predicting two months. 

And then, when the case starts, I think the prosecution is going to start it off with a bang, playing the Martin Bashir documentary that started this whole thing and bringing Martin Bashir to the stand.  And then the defense is going to try to rip that documentary to shreds.  That‘s going to be the first battle. 

And then the family is going to take the stand.  And that‘s going to be the second battle.  And I don‘t think anybody is going to emerge unscathed. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Final question.  Of course, we all know that you have got to go through the trial.  Everybody is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But what are the chattering classes saying out there, those of you that have reported on this trial for a long time?  You talk to the townspeople.  You talk to the prosecutors.  You talk to defense attorneys.  Does it look like Michael Jackson is in big trouble or are they feeling pretty confident right now? 

VELEZ-MITCHELL:  I think Michael Jackson is definitely in big trouble.

But I think anybody who predicts the outcome of this trial is a fool.  A lot of people are saying, with all the chaos and this trial perhaps becoming a runaway freight train, that it might end in a hung jury or a mistrial or something of that nature.

If you talk to the people out there, well, I mean just right outside the courthouse, you have a screaming match between Jackson supporters and Jackson opponents.  And everywhere you go, somebody has an opinion about Michael Jackson.  And that is part of the problem with picking a jury.  Everybody has got an idea on him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much, Jane.  We greatly appreciate it.  We will see you soon.

And we‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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