updated 3/1/2005 10:14:01 AM ET 2005-03-01T15:14:01

Guest: Susan Joy, Adam Rapoport, Arianna Huffington, Kellyanne Conway, Jesse Lee Peterson, Todd Tiahrt, Richard Lamunyon

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Michael Jackson‘s private world brought graphically to open court today. 

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

New details about what allegedly went on in the king of pop‘s bed and allegations of death threats against the boy‘s mother.  Tonight, we take an inside look at what went on inside the courtroom. 

And was there a monster living in the heart of America?  Brand new information about the BTK serial killer suspect and the amazing story of how cops finally caught up with him. 

And Hollywood‘s biggest night, the hottest stars.  And were there star after star after star, but why did it end up being so boring? 

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, some shocking revelations today, as the prosecution laid out its case in the first day of Michael Jackson‘s child molestation trial. 

DA Tom Sneddon said Jackson exposed a 13-year-old boy to—quote—

“strange sexual behavior.  He told the jury the private world of Michael Jackson is—quote—“different from what you‘ve seen on video,” that Neverland is a place of no rules.  Instead of cookies and milk, you can substitute wine, vodka and bourbon.  Sneddon says the boy will take the stand and tell the jury the disturbing details of what happened in Michael Jackson‘s bed. 

With me now from the courthouse is the host of “THE ABRAMS REPORT” here on MSNBC.

Dan Abrams, you were in the courtroom.  Tell us about the shocking details. 

DAN ABRAMS, NBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, we learned exactly what this boy and his brother are going to say. 

Now, keep in mind we‘ve known quite a bit of this from the grand jury testimony.  But hearing the prosecutor lay it out in open court in front of this jury was still a reminder about how graphic this is going to be.  And let me give your viewers a warning.  This is graphic.  And what I‘m about to tell people, it‘s pretty graphic, specific stuff. 

All right, so they‘re going to say—the prosecutor say that this boy is going to come out and testify that Michael Jackson was touching him, touching his groin area on a couple of occasions while also touching himself.  They‘re also going to say they say that the boy‘s brother is going to come out and say that he, a couple of times, walked into the room and sees something very similar happening while his brother‘s passed out, that Michael Jackson again touching himself while touching the boy at a time when the boy appears to be sleeping or passed out.

SCARBOROUGH:  Dan, I‘m sorry.  Dan, I‘m sorry.  Just to be specific here, did Sneddon say Jackson was specifically masturbating while he was touching the boy? 

ABRAMS:  He did.  He did.  He‘s saying that he‘s masturbating while masturbating the boy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And what about the drinking?  We‘ve been hearing about the Jesus juice.  Anything come out on that today? 

ABRAMS:  Well, I think the most important thing we learned about that is that—and, again, we knew some of this, is that there are going to be a couple of flight attendants who are going to testify that they poured wine into Coke cans for Michael Jackson while he was on a flight sitting with the boy.

And, you know, the boy‘s mom‘s going to come out and say that on that same flight, she sees Michael Jackson licking her son‘s head.  So they‘re going to be bringing all of this together, the molestation together with the drinking.  And they hope to tell a picture, paint a picture of a very different Michael Jackson than the defense claims. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Are Jackson‘s attorneys nervous?  Do you think Sneddon drew blood today? 

ABRAMS:  You know, Sneddon was not at the top of his game today.  He was distracted a couple of times by the defense‘s objections.  He had technical problems.  I don‘t think this argument really was sort of structured so well.

But he still got to lay out the bottom line of his case.  And no matter what they say, no matter what you hear from both sides, this case is going to come down to the credibility of that boy and his brother.  If these jurors don‘t believe that boy and his brother, I think the whole case is finished. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dan, I think you‘re exactly right.  Thanks a lot for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it. 

ABRAMS:  All right, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now on to a big crime story that‘s gripping the nation, the BTK serial killer, a series of murders that terrorized the state of Kansas for the last 30 years.  Now the cops say they have their man, 59-year-old Dennis Rader, married with two kids, a Cub Scout leader and an active member of his Lutheran church. 

There are reports he‘s confessed to at least six murders and he‘s a suspect in four more killings that took place between 1974 and 1991.  Could this be the face of a monster living in the heart of middle America? 

A short while ago, I talked to former Wichita Police Chief Richard Lamunyon, who tracked the BTK killer for two decades.  And I asked him why he thinks it took so long to get his guy.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

RICHARD LAMUNYON, FORMER WICHITA POLICE CHIEF:  I think, you know, he was one of us.  He was a member of this community, and he functioned normally, at least on the surface, and was able to blend in. 

In the earlier communications back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, you know, he was trying to find himself, trying to figure out who he was, what kind of killer he was going to be.  And then the later communications had a different tone.  And so we were able to put all these different things together and ended up with him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But what was the tipping point?  What led police in Kansas to finally figure out the identity of this serial killer? 

LAMUNYON:  For the most part, he took certain items from the murder scene, from the victim, whether it be a piece of jewelry, whether it be a driver‘s license, items like that.  And he had kept these all this year, and then—all these years.

And then, recently, he started giving part of those back to us, along with a code, along with a puzzle.  And in the puzzle was the code in which we were able to eventually identify him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Chief Richard Lamunyon, thank you so much for being with us.  We greatly appreciate it.  And congratulations. 

LAMUNYON:  Thank you, Joe.  Appreciate being here. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

And with me now to talk about the BTK case are Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt from Kansas and also FBI agent and profiler Clint Van Zandt. 

Todd, good to see you again, buddy.  Let‘s start with you.

I want to read a letter that was published in your local newspaper from this guy.  He says: “I can‘t stop so, the monster goes on, and hurts me, an well as society.  It‘s a big complicated game my friend the monster plays, putting victims numbers down, following them, checking up on them, waiting in the dark, waiting, waiting.”

Todd, what kind of impact does that have on you, on your wife, on your family, and on your community?  How much hell has this guy brought on the Wichita community through the years? 

REP. TODD TIAHRT ®, KANSAS:  Well, for the past 31 years, we‘ve had a whole community that‘s been in fear.  From the very first murder, there were women afraid to go to their car alone at night.  Kids were afraid to let their kids go home from school, latch-key kids.  There was always a certain amount of fear in the community and uncertainty because he was still around. 

And then the fear kind of went away for a while.  And then last March, when he resurfaced, it all boiled to the surface again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Clint, let me ask you, why does a guy—why does this beast taunt police officers with letters like this, and why does he return jewelry, credit card copies?  Did he want to get caught in the end? 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST:  Let me take you behind the mask of a murderer, Joe. 

Whether we call him a sociopath, a psychopath, an antisocial personality, whether you‘re a cop, a lawyer, or a psychiatrist, we‘re talking about the complete absence of a conscience.  Think of yourself functioning in a community where you have no restraints.  Everybody else around you has moral and psychological restraints that stop them from doing things.  But you‘ve got a secret, and your secret is, I am not restrained. 

You like thrills.  You like power.  You like dominance.  You like control.  You like to keep secrets.  That is the exact type of person who does something like this.  And he‘s able to maintain this Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality that lets him hide in plain view for so long a period of time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But do you think he wanted to be caught in the end? 

VAN ZANDT:  I don‘t know wanted to be caught.  I think this guy had got away with it so long that he almost saw himself as teflon, as bulletproof. 

But I think the other issue, too, is he wanted acknowledgement.  As you and I talked on your radio show today, this is a guy who could have slid into retirement, but he chose to reengage the media and law enforcement because he wanted attention.  He wanted people not to look at him as a dog catcher, but he wanted them to look at what he was truly capable of. 

And I think he probably, because of this lack of consciousness—this lack of conscience, this is someone who took pride in what he did and looked down at the rest of us as handicapped. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and wanted people to—like you said, wanted people to know what he was capable of. 

Congressman, I want to read you a list of the grisly murders that were attributed to the BTK killer.  It all began with the murders of the Otero family in early ‘74.  Later that year, a 21-year-old woman, Kathryn Bright, was strangled in her home.  Three years later, BTK strikes twice, strangling Shirley Vian and Nancy Fox, both in their homes.  In the Fox case, the killer actually called 911 to report the crime.

Over 10 years later, Vicki Wegerle is also strangled in her home.  And then the guy goes underground for years before resurfacing in March of last year, when he starts sending evidence of the past crimes to the local police and media.  On Saturday, police arrested him and accused him of being the BTK killer.

I want to ask you, what was the tipping point?  Why did the Wichita community, the FBI, everybody, finally, why were they able to capture this guy? 

TIAHRT:  Well, I think it finally became a community effort, Joe. 

When last fall the police chief came to me and said they were running out of resources and we need additional money, and so I put $1 million in the omnibus bill.  And with that money, they were able to involve the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the technical advice from the FBI.  And, working together, they were able to piece together some of the pieces. 

For example, they recovered a disk from his computer that he had erased and he had embedded in that disk.  It appears that there may have been somebody that led the police.  Now, I don‘t want to ruin an investigation that‘s been going on for 31 years, but it looks like, in the end, that he wanted to reach out and have somebody sort of acknowledge that he was still a murderer and he wanted some more attention. 

And I think he finally just got sloppy enough.  Good police work, good detective work, hard detective work, finally tracked him down.  And the whole community feels a whole lot safer now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sure they do. 

Todd Tiahrt, thanks so much.  Please say hi to Vicki and the family for me.

And also, Clint Van Zandt, greatly appreciate you being with us on radio and TV today. 

Coming up next, Hollywood‘s hottest night with America‘s biggest stars.  And then there was Chris Rock.  My take on his performance may surprise you. 

And, later, with friends like these, Dan Rather doesn‘t need enemies. 

His big-names colleagues like Cronkite and Wallace trash him. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The elite media calls Chris Rock‘s Oscar performance loud, snide and dismissive, maybe the worst host ever.  Hey, wait, not so fast.

We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Chris is rocked by the elite media.  I knew there was something I liked about that guy.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, from the moment the first Hollywood starlet walked Oscar‘s red carpet to the moment the last Hollywood starlet stumbled out of the last Oscar party, America‘s cultural critics kept close watch.  And this morning, the verdict was in.  Oscar was a flop and comedian Chris Rock was the culprit. 

Now, numerous newspapers blasted the Oscars and Rock was as crude, long-winded and not funny.  Now, as you know, I blasted the Oscars and I blasted Rock leading up the Oscar ceremony for saying he feared white men in middle America more than Osama bin Laden.  But a funny thing happened on the way to the Oscars along the red carpet. 

Last night, my wife and I sat back for the show, prepared to be offended by Rock‘s routine, but we both found ourselves laughing.  The bit about President Bush reapplying for his job while a movie ran in every theater across the country saying how bad he was at his job, funny.  The joke about his closing up his register at The Gap $7 trillion short, really funny.  And the line about starting a war with Banana Republic over tank tops and then finding out that, well, they never sold tank tops, funny, funny, funny. 

My surprise about the Oscars and Chris Rock was confirmed when the always dreary Sean Penn found it necessary to get up and defend actor Jude Law from Chris Rock‘s joke. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN PENN, ACTOR:  Forgive my compromised sense of humor, but I did want to answer our host‘s question about who Jude Law is.  He‘s one of our finest actors. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Penn, like so many others in Hollywood, should just walk the red carpet, smile politely and try not to do anything that will embarrass their relatives back in Kansas and Kentucky. 

Now, sure, the Oscars may have been dull last night, but that had more to do with the grim fare offered up by the academy than Chris Rock‘s performance.  I mean, was anybody surprised that Rock‘s visit to a movie theater couldn‘t find an average American who actually went to movies about Kevorkian killers, back-alley abortionists or art house drunks?  I mean, give me “Spider-Man.”  Give me Jesus, and give me a George Bush mockumentary any day of the week. 

They may not be Tinseltown‘s greatest movies, but at least they‘re relevant to Americans‘ daily lives.  That‘s more than I can say, thank God, for Sean Penn and the rest of the Hollywood elite. 

And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

So, does last night prove that Hollywood is out of touch and that the Oscars have become unmatchable?

My next guest says they were the worst Oscars in history. 

With me now, MSNBC‘s entertainment editor, Dana Kennedy. 

Dana, I‘m telling you, the reviews for the Oscars, absolutely dismal, dismal, dismal.  I mean, so many critics said it was the worst they‘d ever seen.  Why? 

DANA KENNEDY, NBC ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR:  That is a really good question.  I think a lot of people in Hollywood wish they knew the answer, and I can‘t say I do know the answer.

But it felt as if all the real movie stars were on vacation, somewhere else last night.  It was as if nothing worked.  I have mixed feelings about Chris Rock.  I don‘t think he was that bad.  I thought he was a bit revolutionary at the start.  But everything else in which they tried to make this Oscars different didn‘t work, including having the presenters in the back of the auditorium.  It made it look like a Des Moines rotary club when the presenters got up in these little groups of categories, would accept their awards and they had people on the stage like the old, “To Tell the Truth.”  It just didn‘t...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Why did they do that? 

KENNEDY:  I think they‘re trying to speed it along.  But it doesn‘t work because the Oscars, it‘s all about being a prisoner of this deadly three-hour telecast, and you rely on the moments. 

Like, you mentioned Sean Penn.  Wasn‘t that a great moment, though?  Comes out swaggering, 30 pounds overweight, humorless, looking for a bottle of Jack Daniels and a fight, you want that to happen.  You want to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sounds like me at University at Alabama.  Yes, I mean, it‘s great TV, but, again...

KENNEDY:  There wasn‘t enough of it.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... it‘s not what you would expect from the Oscars. 

Yes. 

KENNEDY:  There wasn‘t.

And also, you know, where is the Richard Gere and Sharon Stone and Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman?  Even Jodie Foster or Michelle Pfeiffer?  The biggest question I had on that night was, why is Beyonce the only female singer apparently available in Hollywood?  Having her sing three songs, I can‘t get past that.  I cannot get past that .

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s amazing.  You know, it‘s funny you said that, because that‘s what my son said last night.  We were watching it.  He said, hey, dad, why is Beyonce the only female singer in Hollywood?  I said, good question, Joey. 

Now, as I said, a lot of critics knocked the Oscars and Chris Rock today, saying that he was offensive and out of line.   Robert Bianco in the “USA Today” called his performance—quote—“loud, snide and dismissive.  He wasn‘t just a disappointment.  He ranks up there with the worst hosts ever.  But many viewers are most likely to remember Rock‘s lengthy attack on George Bush.”   

Is that fair, Dana Kennedy? 

KENNEDY:  I like Chris Rock, and I felt the first moments were pretty revolutionary.  I think it was—the reason why people were so against him was, he was obviously nervous.  And it makes people so uncomfortable when someone who is tough is also nervous at the same time. 

But I think he was really sticking it to Hollywood.  They were uncomfortable.  I was uncomfortable watching it.  But, at the same time, I laughed out loud and I respected the fact that he wasn‘t a Billy Crystal, sort of Shecky Greene, we‘re all part of this Vaudevillian show folk world. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Dana, stay with us. 

We‘re going to now bring in Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson.  He‘s author of “Scam: How Black Leadership Exploits Black America.”  And also with us is syndicated columnist Roland Martin.

Let‘s start with you, Reverend.

You did not like Chris Rock‘s performance.  Why? 

JESSE LEE PETERSON, BONDINFO.ORG:  Well, first of all, I want to say that the Oscars was very, very boring.  For the first time in my life, I thought it was absolutely boring.  It showed that the so-called actors and actresses are disconnected from the real folk. 

I thought that Chris Rock turned it into a ghetto.  You know, his attack on President Bush was absolutely uncalled for.  They haven‘t—the liberals haven‘t gotten over the fact that the Republicans won, the president won, the elections are over.  Let‘s get past that.  I thought that...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Roland Martin—what‘s your take, Roland Martin, on the Oscars and Chris Rock? 

ROLAND MARTIN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST:  This is called a joke.  Can you take a joke. 

PETERSON:  No.  No.  No.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN:  Joe, it was a great show. 

PETERSON:  Oh, my God.

MARTIN:  First of all, he was much better than David Letterman and Uma, Oprah, Oprah, Uma.  That was a joke.  He was better than Whoopi Goldberg. 

The reality is, he made fun and poked fun of the people sitting there.  I talked to a member of the academy before coming on tonight, and he said the audience was rolling.  When is the last time—when do you even remember Hollywood...

(CROSSTALK)

PETERSON:  When will Hollywood understand that—when will Hollywood understand that, when I sit down to watch a movie or watch the academy, I don‘t want to hear their politics? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Roland, is Hollywood out of touch, Roland? 

MARTIN:  No, Hollywood is not out of touch. 

Look, if Chris—if Bill Clinton had done what he did with Monica Lewinsky and Chris Rock was the host, he would have went after Clinton as well.  It was hilarious.  He went after Michael Moore.  He talked about Jude Law.  In fact, all the folks in Hollywood are saying that Jude Law is overexposed.  And so it was funny.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It was irreverent.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN:  Jesse, just...

PETERSON:  I got the impression that Chris was trying to send a message to Hollywood, especially when he went over to the Magic Johnson and he showed that most black people are not watching—quote, unquote—

“white movies.”

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, let me bring in—let me bring in Dana Kennedy here, because, Dana, I want—you know what?  That‘s a good point.  You know, forget about going to African-American neighborhoods.  You could go to neighborhoods in middle America and ask if they saw “Vera Drake.”

PETERSON:  That‘s right.  That‘s right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  If they saw these other movies.  They would say the same thing.  No.

Dana, does that prove that, if Hollywood‘s not out of touch, that at least the academy is out of touch with America? 

KENNEDY:  Definitely.

But there‘s a big chasm between the movies that make a lot of money and these little art house movies.  They really need to go back to the era of the 1970s, when they made like “Five Easy Pieces.”  Everyone loved that movie.  It‘s not that hard to make those movies. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

MARTIN:  Joe, also, let‘s be realistic.

PETERSON:  That‘s right. 

MARTIN:  Every year at the Grammys, they award folks awards for a lot of music we‘ve never even heard of.  It‘s different than the American Music Awards.  That‘s the reality. 

And so, again, I thought it was a great skit by going to the Magic Johnson theaters. 

PETERSON:  No.

(CROSSTALK)

MARTIN:  And, again, I think Chris Rock should be back next year.  And you know what?  If folks like—and not only that.  The ratings have already come out.  They are up.  The preliminary ratings show that they were up at least a couple points over last year. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Dana, if he‘s trashed so much, Dana, then why were the ratings up last night? 

KENNEDY:  I think everybody was hoping that Chris Rock would just lose it.  He‘s just edgy enough. 

And Chris Rock engineered everything leading up to the Oscars to make everybody think he might really lose it and say something really edgy.  So people were tuning in because of Chris Rock.  It all worked according to his plan, believe me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Thank you so much, Dana Kennedy, Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, and Roland Martin.  Greatly appreciate you being here. 

Now coming up, you‘ve heard what I had to say about Dan Rather, but you‘re not—I promise, you‘re not going to believe what his so-called friends at CBS are saying about him now.  Cronkite, Wallace, they‘re all trashing him. 

And Hollywood‘s hottest stars at the Oscars, I‘ve got issues with just how good they looked.  Sounded like Shecky Greene there, didn‘t I?

Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘m no Joan Rivers, but, coming up, I‘m going to have some fun dissecting what the stars were wearing at the Oscars last night. 

But, first, here‘s the latest news that you and your family need to know. 

(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, time for our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown. 

With us now tonight, Mike Barnicle from “The Boston Globe.”  We‘ve got Kellyanne Conway.  She‘s the president of the Polling Company.  We have Arianna Huffington, syndicated columnist and author of “Fanatics and Fools:

The Game For Winning Back America.”

Arianna, let‘s start with you.  You are not a I would not say a creature of Hollywood, but a lot of creatures in Hollywood like you a lot.  You know a lot of them, count a lot of Hollywood stars as your friends.  What did you make of the awards ceremony last night, the lousy reviews it got.  And does that prove, like many conservatives believe, that Hollywood is out of touch with middle America? 

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, AUTHOR, “FANATICS & FOOLS”:  Well, actually I watched the Oscars last night with a lot of so-called Hollywood people, and they all agreed with what you said. 

They thought that a lot of the award shows are very boring, but the boring moments are interrupted by magical moments.  Chris Rock was fantastic.  He was an equal-opportunity offender.  He criticized “Fahrenheit 9/11” and President Bush and the Washington establishment and the Hollywood elites.  That‘s what a good satirist is supposed to do. 

And my 13-year-old daughter was with me.  And she loved the way that he took on that metaphor, Banana Republican vs. The Gap.  It really worked. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike Barnicle, let me ask you, what was your take? 

MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST:  Joe, I think the only thing more over than the elections is the Oscars, the TV telecast. 

Chris Rock is a funny, edgy guy when you see him in his natural environment, HBO specials.  He caters to a young crowd, a very hip crowd, and he‘s very, very talented.  He was not himself last night.  He was Chris Leno last night. 

(LAUGHTER)

BARNICLE:  And you can‘t transform yourself in front of a massive audience trying to appeal to people eating potato pancakes in Milwaukee when your real set, your real talent is aimed at an entirely different demographic.  That said, I do not agree with the thesis that Hollywood is un-American or whatever—however people want to frame it up. 

Hollywood—and I do some work out there, Joe—is afraid of America, because they don‘t understand our tastes, our culture, our environment, and dangerously so.  They don‘t understand a good story.  The best picture of the year, “Million Dollar Baby,” made by Clint Eastwood, a true talent, an epic talent, it required many, many phone calls and a couple of years for this guy to get the money to make that movie, a great story. 

They‘d rather do a remake of something else that appeals to a narrow band of isolated, insecure, egomaniacal millionaires. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Kellyanne Conway, what‘s your take?  Hollywood out of touch?  Did the Oscars prove it last night? 

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER:  I‘ll go one better than Barnicle.  He says that they don‘t—that they‘re afraid of America.  I don‘t think they even know America. 

Is the irony lost on no one that Hilary Swank and Jamie Foxx, the two lead actor and actress who won the awards last night, come from nothing?  These are actually the type of—these are the prototypes of people who Hollywood is always maligning when they say, oh, the trailer park this and the Bible something, gun-toting Americans who vote for Bush. 

Hilary Swank grew up in a trailer park.  These are rags-to-riches stories right in front of Oscar.  But it‘s lost on the folks in the auditorium.  And you know what, Joe?  The bottom line is, when Hollywood attacks Bush and when Hollywood tries to do politics, not only is it not funny anymore.  It‘s not news.  It‘s not an annual event for Hollywood to attack Bush.  It‘s actually a daily risk. 

So there‘s nothing neat about it.  We‘ve been hearing it for two years out of Hollywood. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s move on and...

HUFFINGTON:  Can I just say something?

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead, Arianna. 

HUFFINGTON:  Just something to what Kellyanne said.

It‘s really absurd to say that because Jamie Foxx and Hilary Swank came from nothing, they‘re not part of Hollywood.  They are part of Hollywood and they came from nothing. 

CONWAY:  I know that.

HUFFINGTON:  And there‘s no contradiction here.  And there‘s some kind of Hollywood caricature that you are portraying, which really has nothing to do with real people who feel passionately about things, even if you disagree with them. 

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY:  No, no, no, Arianna, all I was saying was...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s talk about what‘s going on.  Let‘s talk about what‘s going on across the world right now, because we want to move on.  We got a lot to talk about.  The Bush administration‘s plan to spread democracy throughout the Middle East may be taking hold.

In Lebanon today, the prime minister resigned from office, effectively dissolving the country‘s pro-Syrian government.  The White House says this shows democracy is spreading. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Well, the president has often spoke about how all people desire to live in freedom.  And I think you‘re seeing in other parts of the Middle East that there is a commitment to moving forward on democratic reforms. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  But it‘s not just Lebanon where change is taking place.  As reported on the front page of yesterday‘s “New York Times,” Egypt is talking about holding democratic elections, and many other things happening.

Again, you look at Afghanistan.  You look at Iraq.  You look all over the Middle East.

Mike Barnicle, it seems—and it may take a while—but it seems like George Bush may, in the end, be proven right. 

BARNICLE:  Well, Joe, I‘ll tell you, you know, for all of those who are sitting on the left-hand side of the bus, this has got to be a pretty bad day for them, because regardless of what you thought about how this war began, regardless of the debate that still evolves around that issue, the fact that we‘ve had free elections in Afghanistan, we‘ve had elections in Iraq, we‘ve had a tremendous two months, as we talked about last week, with the assassination of the former prime minister of Lebanon, given the collapse of the Lebanese government today, given Syria‘s backing off a bit in terms of their trying to impose their will in the Middle East, and President Mubarak‘s statement in Egypt over the weekend that they would, indeed, try to have democratic presidential elections, it could be that, down the road, five, six, 10 years, that this president will be proven to be a great president in terms of trying to bring democracy successfully to this region of the country. 

We don‘t know that now.  We speak of the moment in this business, cable TV, talk radio.  We don‘t know what the picture is going to look like five or 10 years from now.  But it certainly looks a lot better today than it did a month ago. 

HUFFINGTON:  You know, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna.

HUFFINGTON:  We‘re definitely in the moment and we forget the past.  And it‘s terribly important to remember that, supposedly, we went into Iraq to make America safer, and that‘s really what should remain at the forefront of everything we say.  We‘ve made America less safe because of the spread of anti-Americanism.  And nothing about the recent developments changes the fact that the region is more anti-American than ever before. 

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  How can you say that?  What basis—what basis do you have to prove that?

HUFFINGTON:  Look at the fact that every poll, every indicator shows that Iraqis want us out of Iraq as fast as possible, no question about that.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON:  There‘s no question about that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.  Please stop.  I‘ll let you respond, Arianna, but the fact of the matter is, the Shia have said—all the leaders of the—the Shia leaders have said they want us to stay there.  We‘re now talking to the insurgents, the Iraqi insurgents, the Sunnis, who are saying, yes, you know, they will negotiate with us.  Talk about ending the insurgency, but they, too, told “The New York Times” they want us to stay. 

It seems like more Iraqis actually want us to stay than Americans want us to stay. 

HUFFINGTON:  Well, there have been polls that have been done.  And there‘s no question, as was said when the government of Lebanon fell, they want the Syrian army out. 

It‘s very natural.  When sovereignty is asserted, you don‘t want a foreign army there dictating how your new democracy is going to be run.  And that‘s the fundamental problem. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Kellyanne? 

CONWAY:  Sure.  Arianna, I‘m so glad that you‘re quoting polls, because you‘ve been such a critic of them.

HUFFINGTON:  Because of you, Kellyanne, just because of you on the show. 

CONWAY:  Thank you, love.  I really appreciate it, because I know you criticize polls. 

But like everything else—mea culpa—we quote the ones that we do like.  Look, Joe, I think today it‘s potentially huge and historic.  And it may not get the kind of coverage that Michael Jackson‘s jury starting will get, or missing children in Florida.  And I think that‘s unfortunate, because you cannot underestimate what it means for this huge Lebanese figure to have been assassinated, and with the course of two weeks, a span of two weeks, for Syria to actually say that they‘re going to withdraw. 

This is what Bush has always said, though.  He‘s always not been a guy who is living in the moment.  He said he‘s building a legacy for a long time, so history will have to judge him outside of his two terms.  And I think today is exhibit A of precisely how not pro-America, pro-Americanism has worked abroad, but pro-democracy is taking hold abroad. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike Barnicle, let‘s move on, some interesting developments in the Dan Rather-CBS case.  I know you‘ve seen “The New Yorker” article.  Man, you talk about kicking a corpse.  Here, you have Walter Cronkite saying that, “I felt like Dan was playing a role of news man, that he was conscious of this, whereas the other two appeared more the third-party reporter.”:

And, actually, Cronkite said he watched Tom Brokaw.  And then you have Mike Wallace, who also said that he preferred watching, well, Tom Brokaw, because he says: “He‘s uptight and occasionally contrite.  It‘s his style.  It‘s been very effective.  God knows I believe him, but I don‘t find him as satisfying to watch.”  Again, it‘s Tom Brokaw or Peter Jennings. 

I mean, what—explain this, Mike.  Is this just kicking a dead horse? 

BARNICLE:  Well, I don‘t think so, Joe. 

I can certainly understand where Walter Cronkite is coming from.  There‘s no way he should have been moved out of that chair when he was moved out of that chair by CBS.  Mike Wallace, Don Hewitt, Andy Rooney, I can understand their feelings as well.  They‘re entitled to them.  They live and they work with Dan Rather each and every day. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They feel betrayed?  Is that what you‘re saying? 

BARNICLE:  Well, I think the initial—the initial move to get Cronkite out of there in favor of Rather, I don‘t think that ever went down well with the people who formed the great nucleus of CBS News, first under Ed Murrow and continuing under Dr. Frank Stanton. 

That said, Joe, I don‘t think it‘s fair or right to indict a guy and jump a guy and beat up on a guy as he‘s walking out the door after a 50-year career based on one incident.  I don‘t care whether it‘s Dan Rather or someone working the assembly line in Detroit or North Carolina making automobiles. 

One single incident, the National Guard—President Bush‘s National Guard service, I don‘t think it‘s right to indict a guy over his entire career for one incident. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, you know what else isn‘t right, Mike Barnicle?  Kicking a guy when he‘s down.  I mean, when I was in Congress, I always kicked presidents when they were presidents.  I always kicked speakers when they were speakers.

BARNICLE:  That a way.

SCARBOROUGH:  I always kicked majority leaders when they were majority leaders. 

BARNICLE:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But when they went down, I shut my mouth and moved on. 

BARNICLE:  Right.  Right. 

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  Light them up when they‘re in power.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why didn‘t these people speak up?  Yes.  Why didn‘t these people speak up when Dan Rather was the most powerful guy at CBS News? 

BARNICLE:  Right.  I mean, you‘re right, Joe. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... cowards.

BARNICLE:  When they‘re standing up there, you want up to him and look him in the eye and say, hey, you got a lot of clout, you got a lot of power, I don‘t like him.  Do it then. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly. 

Well, Mike Barnicle, Kellyanne Conway, Arianna Huffington, greatly appreciate you being here, great roundtable.

Now, coming up, I‘ve got issues with a lot of things, especially with the stars at last night‘s Oscars.  We‘ll tell you about that in just a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe‘s wearing Brooks Brothers, bargain rack, and Joe‘s got issues. 

First of all, I‘ve got issues with some overeager Democrats.  “U.S.  News & World Report” writes that at least five Democrats have already started interviewing for staff and presidential committees for their 2008 run.  Included are ‘04 presidential losers John Kerry and John Edwards.  We also have Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has been dubbed—quote—“the most aggressive of the five.”

Now, speaking of Hillary‘s presidential run, her husband told Japanese television, “If she did run and she was able to win, he‘d make a very, very good president.  I think she‘s at least as good as I was.”  At least as good?  You got impeached man.  You got impeached.  That‘s not quite the ringing endorsement I‘d want if I was sitting in Hillary‘s shoes, yes.

And I‘ve got issues with celebrities who take themselves way too seriously.  But one actress who does not fit that bill anymore, Halle Berry.  The lovely Ms. Berry won a Razzie Award on Saturday for the worst actress in a motion picture for her work in “Catwoman.”  It was well-deserved.  The Razzies honor the worst in film each year and are almost never attended by the stars that win the dubious honor.  But Halle not only showed up.  She gamely poked fun at herself in her acceptance speech.  Take a listen. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS:  Wow.  You know, I‘ve got so many people to thank, because you won‘t win Razzie without a lot of help from a lot of people. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I was a big Halle fan until her Oscar speech.  I had to turn it off halfway through.  But I‘ll tell you what.  That evens the score, Halle Berry a winner once more. 

And, finally, I‘ve got issues with how just good celebrities looked at the Oscars last night.  Now, I miss the days when stars had to pick their own outfits and their jewelry and their own makeup and hair.  I mean, now the worst-dressed lists are hard to fill, because all of the stars have stylists and hairdressers and makeup people that are employed on the big night.  The Oscars just don‘t feel complete without somebody like Bjork laying a red carpet golden egg. 

And with me now to talk about celebrity winners and losers from last night are two of the absolutely coolest industry watchers around.  We‘ve got Adam Rapoport.  He‘s the style editor at “GQ” magazine.  And we also have style editor at “Time Out New York” magazine, Susan Joy. 

Thanks much for both of you being here. 

Let‘s start with you, Adam. 

ADAM RAPOPORT, “GQ”:  All right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Your winner last night.  Who was the winner on the red carpet? 

RAPOPORT:  I thought Natalie Portman looked great, revealing without being, you know, Lil‘ Kim.  I thought Salma Hayek, from a guy‘s standpoint, point of view, looked pretty sexy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Not too bad. 

RAPOPORT:  No. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Salma.

What about you, Susan.  Winners and losers.

SUSAN JOY, “TIME OUT NEW YORK”:  I‘m going to agree with Adam on Natalie Portman.  I thought she looked stunning.  She was gorgeous. 

But also Hilary Swank I thought was a big winner.  I mean, she looked amazing in that Guy Laroche dress.  It really showed all the work she‘s been doing on the body. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Now, why did the biggest stars like Julia Roberts and others, why didn‘t they show up last night? 

RAPOPORT:  You mean not—well, Julia was there. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, they didn‘t walk the red carpet though, did they? 

RAPOPORT:  That, I don‘t know. 

Susan, do you know? 

JOY:  I missed them on the red carpet, but she probably walked it.  I wouldn‘t—I‘d be very surprised if she didn‘t.  She looked quite beautiful, but I loved Julia when she turned up in The Gap turtleneck. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

Now, let‘s look at what the women were wearing last night.  Halle Berry, Kirsten Dunst, Beyonce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Penelope Cruz, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Renee Zellweger, Salma Hayek, Natalie Portman, Laura Linney.

I mean, we could go on and on and on.  Talk about some of the other people that I just mentioned, how they looked, what they did right, what they did wrong. 

RAPOPORT:  I think a lot of the women, whether it‘s Laura Linney or Virginia Madsen or Renee Zellweger, you look at them and they almost look as if they got gift-wrapped at Macy‘s.

(LAUGHTER)

RAPOPORT:  There‘s too much taffeta.  They kind of squeeze into these dresses.  And it‘s just like, you paid a stylist to put you in that?  And there‘s no kind of personally flair. 

And it‘s just like and then the hairdos.  Virginia Madsen looked like Carmela Soprano, just too much hairspray. 

(LAUGHTER)

RAPOPORT:  And she was sexy in “Sideways.”  I thought—sexy in “Sideways.”  I thought she looked great.  And then I see her last night, and it‘s like, are you going to the prom?  What are you doing? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Susan, Adam makes a great point, because they were so made up.  And, you know, it‘s funny.  I commented to my wife.  I was watching it with my wife.  I said, with all the taffeta there, it looks like a 1980s high school prom. 

RAPOPORT:  Exactly. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  What was the deal?

JOY:  They were off all to the prom, definitely. 

And there were so many mermaids there.  Everyone was in those fishtail gowns, strapless fishtails.  They looked amazing, but I thought Renee Zellweger was hilarious, because she looked like she‘d been impaled when she walked. 

RAPOPORT:  She needed a meal and she needed some sun.  And that bad black hair, I don‘t know what was going on.  But, yes, she was having...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  What‘s with the black hair?  I had absolutely no idea what was going on with it. 

We‘ll talk about some more of our stars and starlets.  Actually, we‘ll talk about the men when we return in a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re talking winners and losers at the Academy Awards last night.  Coming up, we‘re going to take on the men.  That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We are back with Adam Rapoport and also Susan Joy. 

Adam, let‘s talk about the men for a second.  Who impressed you last night? 

RAPOPORT:  I thought Don Cheadle looked great.  He had that great black suit with kind of picked stitching on the lapels.  I had to give it up for Clint Eastwood, who—the green bow tie that didn‘t quite match. 

And then, if you noticed, he was wearing—he was wearing a belt with his

tuxedo, which, of course, you are never supposed to do.  But I just thought

·         you know, I don‘t think anyone was going to tell Clint he was dressed badly.  So, I kind of admired Clint for just not even caring, it seemed. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, no doubt.  And when you have the awards that got has, you don‘t have to—now, Susan Joy, what was happening with Robin Williams last night?  Was this a midlife crisis that played out on the red carpet? 

JOY:  It was terrifying., the red shirt. 

He was being—it was him—his individual take, perhaps, and him trying to work with his robot character, but that frock coat was just awful.  It was really—he definitely won worst-dressed for me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, the coolest guy, I think in Hollywood right now, Johnny Depp. 

Adam Rapoport, how did he carry himself last night? 

RAPOPORT:  Not well. 

Johnny Depp always seems to be somewhat of a—it‘s like he‘s dressing in costume when he‘s at awards shows.  He always had that weird neck piece.  And he‘s got like floppy suits on.  And he‘s got amazing style when he is just hanging out, but he‘s always kind of a train wreck when he shows up at the Oscars or at the Golden Globes or wherever.  And he looks like he is in “Edward Scissorhands,” instead of in Hollywood.

JOY:  But his wife, Vanessa, looked amazing. 

RAPOPORT:  Oh, she is hot.  No question about that.

JOY:  She is hot. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Adam and I agree. 

Finally, final 10 seconds.  Is the king of cool Jamie Foxx, Susan? 

JOY:  Jamie Foxx looked fantastic.  He was a winner last night. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, he certainly was. 

Jamie Foxx—I think we all agree, Jamie Foxx was the big winner last night. 

Hey, Adam, thanks for being with us.  Susan Joy, greatly appreciate it. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight, but we‘ll see you tomorrow. 

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

Content and programming copyright 2005 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2005 Voxant, 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 Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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