updated 4/13/2005 12:57:03 PM ET 2005-04-13T16:57:03

Guest: Hank Hanegraaff, Paul Levinson, J.D. Hayworth, Kellyanne Conway, Peter Beinart, Frederick Schmidt, Thomas Ice, Gavin Polone, David Seltzer

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight, the sun will turn to darkness and the moon will turn to blood, for, in this hour, my judgment cometh, those the opening lines from an explosive new TV miniseries on the end of times.  It‘s also the opening salvo in a new cultural war between blue state elites and red state Christians. 

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

A young girl zapped by lightning on a Florida golf course briefly awakens from her coma to recite biblical prophecy in Latin.  The time is short.  The world will pass away.  Then comes plagues, famine, pestilence, and war.  That‘s only the first act in the network miniseries that says the end is near.  “Revelations” follows the wildly successful “Left Behind” series that sold over 50 million books.  Why is pop culture playing to Christians who believe the world is coming to an end, and why are media elites lashing out at people of faith? 

Plus, Hillary Clinton under attack, but Bill Clinton fights back, attacking a gay man for opposing Hillary‘s White House run. 

And, also, we‘re going to have a special edition of media watch, that and much more on tonight‘s edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome to this special SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Earthquakes, hurricanes, a tsunami, all of these hit the world this year, wreaking havoc, and making some wonder, were they nature‘s wrath or signs of the end of the world? 

With that in mind, tonight, we start with a look at the Book of Revelation and a new NBC mini series called “Revelations” that asks the question, is the end near? 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH (voice-over):  The end is near.  And, if you don‘t believe it, just look at what is being sold in bookstores, in movie theaters, and on your TV screens this week. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “REVELATIONS”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  All the signs and symbols set forth in the Bible are currently in place for the end of days. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Starting tomorrow, NBC will be running the apocalyptic miniseries “Revelations,” inspired by the work of God, but infused with dark elements from the same creative force that brought you the ‘70s horror classic “The Omen.”

Then there‘s the “Left Behind” series.  They have sold a staggering 50 million books, while launching a media empire that would make most giant media companies envious, launching movies starring Kirk Cameron and comic books and study guides. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  People are confused about what is happening in the world.  They‘re bewildered.  They‘re ready to grab on to an idea which seems to make sense of things. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All this end-times fare seems to have had an impact on a generation of Americans.  A recent “TIME” magazine poll found that six in 10 Americans believe that the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation will come true. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And some point to the end of the millennium for inspiring such dire talk, but others go straight to the words of Jesus, who said in Luke Chapter 21, there will be great earthquakes, famines, and pestilence.  On the Earth, nations will be at anguish and perplexity at the roaring and the tossing of the seas.  And that time, they will see the son of man coming in a cloud with great power and glory. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH (voice-over):  Christians point to recent events such as the devastating tsunami in Asia, hurricanes in Florida, and earthquakes across the world, including a recent one in Iran that killed 50,000 people, and a Chinese earthquake that killed half a million. 

All signs, they believe, that the end days are drawing near. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  We are going to be talking about some of those signs a little later in the show.

But, first, let‘s talk about “Revelations.”  It is a five-part series that airs tomorrow night.  At least the first installment does. 

And with me now, the executive producer of “Revelations,” Gavin Polone, along with the writer, David Seltzer, who also wrote the 1976 apocalyptic classic “The Omen.” 

Let me start with you, Gavin.

GAVIN POLONE, PRODUCER:  Why this miniseries?  Why now? 

Well, we didn‘t really look to the current times when we were deciding on what we wanted to go out and sell the networks in program in the upcoming years.  We just wanted to do good television.  In my company, we try to look for projects that are dissimilar from everything that‘s on the network currently.  And right now, you see a lot of cop shows.  Almost everything seems to be a cop show or a medical show or a lawyer show or a medical cop or a medical lawyer or a lawyer cop kind of show.

So, in trying to search for different topics, I went back to when I was younger.  And I had read Hal Lindsey‘s “The Late Great Planet Earth,” which deeply affected me as a boy and thought it would be really interesting to try to approach that topic of biblical prophecy for television.  And having worked with David Seltzer, who is probably the best writer I had ever worked with before, I went and talked to him about it and was very fortunate enough to get him to jump on board. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, “The Late Great Planet Earth,” in fact, that‘s what we have this segment titled.  I remember also not only reading the books, but also looking at the movies, and that was pretty frightening fare in the 1970s. 

Americans flocked to the movie theaters, read Hal Lindsey‘s book.  They, of course, did the “Left Behind” series starting in 1995.  There seems to be such an appetite for this type of story.  Why? 

POLONE:  Well, I think that we all think about what is going to happen in the future, and what our place in the world is.  And, at the same time, we live in an extremely religious country, and it always has been a religious country, and our country is predominantly Christian.

And so, ultimately, thinking about something as personal and important as what is going to happen in the future and how it relates to the Bible, which most Americans hold dear, seems very natural. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Seltzer, you had experience.  Obviously, you wrote “The Omen,” the 1970s, a very big movie based on the Bible.  And there are a lot of people that went to that movie, though, went to the three movies, that weren‘t necessarily Christians, certainly not evangelicals.  What about nonbelievers that may be tuning in to watch this tomorrow night and through the next five weeks?  Do you think nonbelievers are going to be as interested in it as believers? 

DAVID SELTZER, WRITER:  I think so.  I think everybody who tunes in is going to get a really fascinating ride, somewhat challenging as well.  It‘s not just about religion.  It‘s about how we live our lives, our responsibility to what is happening to the planet, socially, politically, physically, and what we have done, really, to create the scenario that looks like what is described in the Bible as the end of days. 

We have a character who believes that man still has a responsibility, and that it is conceivable that mankind can step in and find the way before that happens. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Did you have any resistance making this project?  You all—I have read articles in papers saying that, you know, you mention Jesus and Jesus Christ, and it isn‘t sort of universalist approach, very specific, whether it‘s a Christian film or not, very specific about Jesus Christ.  Did you get any resistance from any of the networks or anybody in making this film? 

POLONE:  Well, we originally went out and called all the networks to see who would be interested in hearing the pitch that we worked out.  And a couple of them did not want to actually hear the pitch because they were afraid of the subject matter, but four others did.  And when they heard the tremendous tale that David had spun, they couldn‘t resist, and all four of them made offers on the show, and we chose to go with NBC. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Gavin, why did you choose, why did both of you choose to mention Jesus and Jesus Christ explicitly, instead of taking a safer approach, like, for instance, “Touched With an Angel,” where you just sort of generally talk about a Santa Claus type of God that makes everybody smile and feel good about themselves? 

POLONE:  Well, because the statistics show, and just everybody knows that Americans don‘t believe in a very general kind of idea of God.  They generally believe in specific representations that correspond to religion. 

And people generally believe in a Christian God in this country.  And so being a little more specific about it is more real.  When you watch shows like “Touched By an Angel” or “Highway to Heaven” or “Joan of Arcadia,” where people are talking to God, but you don‘t really know what God or whose God or how it relates to any specific religion, that automatically just becomes false to the viewer, and I think that our show will seem a lot truer to what your average person believes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I read Frank Rich‘s column in “The Times” this past weekend.  A lot of people believe that this is geared for right-wing religious fanatics.  But I was surprised to find a “TIME” magazine poll that said 60 percent of Americans, 60 percent of Americans believe that what they read in the Book of Revelation will actually come true.  Does that surprise you?  Does that number surprise you, too?

POLONE:  Forty percent -- 40 percent believe it will come true during their lives. 

SELTZER:  When I wrote “The Omen,” the biggest shock I had was how many people actually believed that what I was writing was true.  And it really gave me license to write more about it and deal more with the truth and the interpretations of the Bible. 

I didn‘t know, for instance, that, when I spoke of the devil, that he existed in people‘s lives as an actual persona, in the way that we depict him.  The Book of Revelations at that time and the mention of religion was something that was widely accepted by people, and I was even given all kinds of awards from Christian organizations for popularizing the scripture. 

We live in a different country today, and I think religion is so much more personal and volatile, that there will be all kinds of reactions to this show. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Gavin, do you agree with that?  You think it may launch a—I mean, if you look at Frank Rich, it‘s already sort of launched a new culture war.  Do you think some people are going to look at your miniseries and become angry? 

POLONE:  Well, you know, if you are doing anything good, there‘s going to be controversy, because you have gone ahead and taken a side and taken a little bit of risk. 

I read Frank Rich pretty regularly.  He was blasting President Bush all the way through the election, and President Bush managed to get reelected.  I think it‘s probably a sign of our impending success that Frank Rich has taken a stand against but.  But I think—I welcome it, and I think that it‘s good to talk about religion and it‘s good to talk about controversial issues and bring them into the public discourse. 

And I really hope that “Revelations” does that, and I feel very confident that, even if you don‘t necessarily agree with the theology or little points of view of the individual characters in our show, you are going to think that it‘s a really well produced show, great production value, brilliant acting and, as I said before, the best writing that you are ever going to see. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David, final question.  When you were writing this, were you writing to entertain or to inform? 

SELTZER:  I am always writing to entertain, but I don‘t take a project that I can‘t learn from, and what I hope is that that spills out of what I write to the audience as well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much, David Seltzer and Gavin Polone.  Greatly appreciate you being here, and best of luck. 

Coming up next, tsunamis, tornadoes, mudslides, and earthquakes, oh, my.  Fluke natural disasters or a sign of the end times?  That debate coming up straight ahead.  We are also going to be talking about “Revelations” and what these biblical scholars think. 

And now new reports tell of a tell-all book on Hillary Rodham Clinton that‘s due later out this year.  Its contents are top secret, but the sources say the revelations inside could torpedo Hillary Clinton‘s chances at a run at the White House. 

That story straight ahead. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It looks like Hollywood has figured out that religious movies and books and prophecies that the end is near are big money-makers, but have some gone too far?  That debate straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “REVELATIONS”)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  She is talking. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  That‘s impossible.  They said she was brain dead. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS:  (SPEAKING IN LATIN)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  It‘s Latin.  The mystery (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is already at work.  The time is short.  The world will pass away. 

She is quoting scripture. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, I will tell you what, that looks like that is out of like “The Omen” or ‘The Exorcist.”

Welcome back. 

That was a scene, of course, from the new thriller “Revelations” that is going to be on NBC tomorrow.  Got to ask you, do you think the bizarre weather and massive earthquakes that caused the Indian Ocean tsunami, could they be proof that Armageddon is around the corner? 

Here it is—here they are who help us figure it out.  We‘ve got Thomas Ice.  He‘s the author of “Charting the End Times: A Visual Guide to the Bible Prophecy and Its Fulfillment.”  We also have Hank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute and the host of “The Bible Answer Man,” a daily radio show heard across North America.  Also with me, we‘ve got Frederick Schmidt.  He‘s the director of Spiritual Life and Formation at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.  He‘s also an Episcopal priest and the author of “Conversations With Scripture:

Revelation.”

Let me begin with you, Frederick Schmidt.

Do you believe these stories that we are reading, whether it‘s the “Left Behind” series or we are watching on TV, like “Revelations,” is that good, solid theology or is it just pulp fiction? 

FREDERICK SCHMIDT, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY:  I would opt for pulp fiction, frankly. 

What this kind of reading of scripture really represents is a sectarian and fairly narrow approach to the Book of Revelation in particular.  And what it invites the reader to suppose is that someone in the 1st century wrote a book that was unintelligible to the people of the 1st century, but would be intelligible to people of the 20th century, which is just not a plausible reading of the book. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Thomas Ice, do you agree? 

THOMAS ICE, AUTHOR, “CHARTING THE END TIMES”:  No, I don‘t. 

I think that the Book of Revelation is prophecy.  It‘s God looking

ahead and predicting in detail what will happen.  And he uses symbols that

·         for example, a symbol of a beast represents a person, but it is going to be fulfilled literally, in the same way that the prophecies of Christ‘s first coming occasionally used symbols and were fulfilled literally of Christ‘s first coming. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hank Hanegraaff, you know, a lot of people remember Jesus talking about reading about Jesus talking about, in the end times, there would be earthquakes; there would be floods; there would be tsunamis.  A lot of people are looking at what‘s been happening over the past five, 10 years and saying, you know what?  Maybe the people that wrote the “Left Behind” series have a point.  What do you say? 

HANK HANEGRAAFF, CHRISTIAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE:  Well, they don‘t have a point.  What is going on here is a complete failure to understand how to read the Bible for all it‘s worth. 

The Bible is literature, and, therefore, the Bible uses similes and metaphors and various kinds of figures of speech.  “Revelations,” the actual series itself, starts out with, the sun will be dark and the moon will not give its light.  The stars will fall from the skies.  The heavenly bodies will be shaken. 

This is hyperbole that comes directly out of the Old Testament, the same kind of language that was used when the Bible predicted that the Babylonian kingdom would be overthrown by the Median Kingdom.

So, Jesus uses the language of the Old Testament prophets and now applies it to a near future event, which is the fall of Jerusalem.  So, he uses final eschaton language and applies it to a near future event.  In fact, if you read the Book of Revelation, it‘s the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show him, his servants, the things that must soon take place.  Soon means soon.  Soon does not mean far. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, but, at the same time, forget Revelation.  You can go to Luke; you can go to Matthew.  Jesus talks about, in the end times, there will be earthquakes.  You will see—you know, you will see natural disasters.  You will see floods.  You will see the oceans rise up. 

HANEGRAAFF:  Joe, that‘s not what is going on.  Jesus is talking about what is going to happen.  He said, this generation will not pass away until all these things have been fulfilled.  This can only with great difficulty be taken to mean anything other than the generation to whom Jesus Christ was speaking. 

So, again, Jesus is using final eschaton language and he‘s applying it to a near crisis event.  And, indeed, he is talking about the fall of Jerusalem.  And he is also saying, I am coming on clouds.  And when he says, I am coming on clouds, he is using metaphorical language, which talks about the fact that he is going to be coronated and exalted.  It‘ the same language that he used before cabbie and the court that condemned him to death.  He said, you will see the son of man coming on clouds and seated at the right hand of the mighty one. 

He was saying, you are going to see my vindication and exaltation.  What I prophesied would come to pass will, in fact, come to pass exactly as I said it would. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And let me ask you, Thomas Ice, when Jesus was talking, when John was writing in Revelation, was it all metaphors?  I mean, a lot people believe that it was literal word of God, and they believe every single word.  What do you say? 

ICE:  Well, there are metaphors used, just as we use metaphors in everyday language. 

But metaphors, for example, when Jesus said—they said, behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and, in the context, he is pointing to John the Baptist, a person, then that metaphor is used to describe the characteristic of that person.

And so you have the same metaphors that are used in the Book of Genesis, or used all throughout the Bible.  And just because the Book of Revelation has a greater volume of symbols and a greater amount of metaphors than maybe many portions of the early parts of the Bible doesn‘t mean that you come up with some special interpretive approach, as people who take it nonliterally do. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Thomas, do you believe, though, do you believe that we are having more hurricanes, more tornadoes, more natural disasters, and that that is pointing to the end of times, as many believe that read your books, that read Revelation, that are going to watch this miniseries? 

ICE:  Well, I have never taught that.  I don‘t believe that, because I think the passages that talk about earthquakes and hurricanes refer to the tribulation period, which we are not in.  It‘s a seven-year period that will take place after the rapture of the church.  And it‘s very precise in when these things will occur, and I don‘t think the things we are experiencing now have any specific prophetic significance.  I think what...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t—so you don‘t think—you don‘t think we are there yet. 

ICE:  No. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Frederick Schmidt, let me ask you, why is it that so many Americans are so enthralled by Revelation, by the “Left Behind” series, and I am sure by this miniseries that‘s coming up? 

SCHMIDT:  I think there are a number of reasons. 

One reason is, is that Americans are really struggling to understand the world around them.  And the chaos of recent years has really led Americans in a search for some kind of explanation of why we are facing the historical circumstances that we face today. 

We had a reporter call our department asking, do the events of 9/11 represent a sign of the end, the death of some 3,000 people?  Neglecting to consider the fact that 40,000 children die daily.  What you see is Americans struggling to make sense of the world around them, make sense of their own mortality.  And that‘s been a recurrent pattern in religious history.  Spikes at the turn of millennia is very obvious at times like this, when there‘s a good deal of political and social chaos, and people use the book of Revelation, unfortunately, as a kind of way of understanding the circumstances around them and trying to make sense of what appears to be senseless. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thank you so much. 

Gentlemen, we greatly appreciate you being with us. 

Coming up next, Hillary Clinton exposed?  Well, a new biography out as soon as August promises big bombshells about the New York senator.  Insiders are saying it could be the end of her White House dreams.  But her husband has something else in mind. 

And then, Sandy Berger admits to stuffing documents down his pants and even destroying some stolen from the National Archives.  So, why is the media blowing off his confession? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Watch out, Republicans.  She‘s coming, Hillary Rodham Clinton getting ready to run for president.  But will a new book force her to say goodbye to her White House dreams?  That‘s next.

But, first, here‘s the latest news 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:  Well, it‘s time for tonight‘s Hillary watch. 

While Senator Hillary Clinton continues to move to the center on social issues and tries to position herself for 2008, her foes are already starting to line up.  A lot of people believe a new book which promises to be a tell-all about Hillary Clinton will stop her in 2008.  The book, entitled “The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She‘ll Go to Become President” is  Ed Klein‘s.  And it‘s out in September, but it‘s already raising eyebrows across the country. 

With me now, we‘ve got Kellyanne.  She‘s the president and CEO of the Polling Company.  And the editor of “The New Republic,” Peter Beinart. 

Peter, you know, you have been writing about the future of the Democratic Party.  And I am curious.  Do you think Hillary Rodham Clinton - - and I don‘t know if I am talking about Hillary 1994, Hillary 2004, or Hillary 2008.  But whichever one of those steps forward in 2008, do you believe Senator Hillary Clinton is the future of the Democratic Party? 

PETER BEINART, EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  I think she has probably handled the post-9/11 era about as well as any Democrat out there.  Her statements on foreign national security, which is the No. 1 issue I think today and will be for a few years in the future, have been very steadfast, very strong.  She voted for the $87 billion, which I think was an important character vote for Democrats. 

I think her criticisms of the Bush administration have been tough, but she has consistently supported an aggressive policy.  So I think so far, her record, as even many Republicans, like Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina have recognized, has been very impressive. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I am curious about whether she is going to be able to outrun her past.  I can tell you, though, I believe personally Hillary Clinton has done everything right.  She has moved to the center on social issues.  She has talked about faith in the public square. 

You can even look.  Like you said, Peter, most importantly, on military issues since 2001, she seems to be making all of the right moves, and very rarely steps out and criticizes this president, unlike so many other people in the Democratic Party, very bad thing to do at a time of war, whether it‘s Republicans criticizing Democrats or Democrats criticizing Republicans. 

Let me ask you, Kellyanne, do you believe Hillary Rodham Clinton is the future of the Democratic Party, and do you think Republicans better watch out? 

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER:  Both of the Clintons have a bright future in the Democratic Party, but mostly for their Rolodex and fund-raising prowesses.

The fact is that Hillary Clinton could not stand up to a cheating husband, so how in the world would she stand up to North Korea and some of our other enemies around the globe? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, come on, Kellyanne.  Is that fair? 

CONWAY:  That‘s the truth, though.

Well, Joe, regardless of what people want to say, you know all the polls, when you asks them in open-ended fashion, what springs to mind when you think of Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton, everybody goes back to the scandals.  The fact is that her greatest asset is also one of her chief liabilities, her husband‘s record as president. 

And even though people will be polite to pollsters and say that they

would reelect a woman and they would reelect a Clinton, folks are actually

·         I think, when the rubber hits the road and they need to put theory into practice, they will resist doing that. 

The irony for Mrs. Clinton‘s is that her entire political fortune to this point has been anchored to her husband‘s career.  That is very untraditional for a feminist icon and someone who...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Kellyanne, let me ask you a question.  Hold on a second.  Hold it a second.  Let me ask you this question, though.  Name for me the last Hillary Clinton scandal. 

CONWAY:  Oh, look, there—of all the talk about Tom DeLay, the fact is, 20 people connected to Whitewater were indicted and three are actually serving jail time.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Hold on.  Hold on.  Hold on.  Wait.  Wait.  Now, listen to my question.  Hold on a second.  I am going to ask it again.  Name for me the last Hillary Clinton scandal. 

CONWAY:  That is a chief one.  In other words, are you talking about the last one meaning it has to be close in time? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The most recent.

CONWAY:  Wait a second, but when you run for president of the United States...

SCARBOROUGH:  The most recent. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  I am going to ask you a third time.  Hold on a second. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no, listen.  Here‘s the deal.  I ask you to come on my show.  Hold on a second.  I ask you to come on my show.  I‘m making a point.  I want you—you are a political pollster. 

CONWAY:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You have been following Washington politics for year. 

You are very intelligent.

(PHONE RINGING)

SCARBOROUGH:  Even though somebody has a cell phone on right now. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  The question is this, though.  If you will, what is the most recent Hillary Clinton scandal?  Answer my question. 

CONWAY:  The most recent Hillary Clinton controversy, if you will, is her inability to help John Kerry get elected president and the fact that the Clintons seemed to want to...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You call that a scandal? 

CONWAY:  No.  Scandal was the word you used.

But I think, if you run for president, Joe, that it‘s not how close in time or how remote are the controversies swirling around you.  It‘s how much of a stench is following you around after your law partner, Web Hubbell, Jim and Susan McDougal actually faced jail time for something you, Hillary Clinton, were involved in. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.

Peter, before you comment, let me just tell you what the point I‘m making is.  The last scandal that really hurt Hillary Clinton was the Marc Rich scandal.  It was a scandal that came right after Hillary Clinton was sworn into office as a United States senator on her own.

And the thing is, that was a scandal that was her husband‘s scandal. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All of these—hold on a second.  All of these scandals seem to attach to Bill Clinton.  Since she has been in the U.S. Senate, Peter, hasn‘t she played it pretty clean? 

BEINART:  Absolutely. 

And, you know, the idea that Hillary Clinton is going to lose the presidency in 2008 because of Whitewater, something most Americans can barely remember and amounted to not very little and never stopped Bill Clinton from being enormously popular, seems to me ridiculous.

And to say Hillary Clinton has only gotten where she‘s gotten because of her husband ignores the fact that she won a Senate seat in New York that many people thought she was going to have a lot of difficulty winning.  And she looks like she is going to cruise to a very big reelection win, including with a lot of support in Republican parts of Upstate New York.  It‘s a very impressive political accomplishment from a woman who has a very loyal, disciplined political operation, who is very smart. 

And one more thing.  Everyone says she is moving to the center.  I want to see people show me evidence on something like foreign policy that she was so radical left to begin with.  I have seen none of it. 

(CROSSTALK)

CONWAY:  Peter, she...

SCARBOROUGH:  Go ahead.

CONWAY:  She won the Senate seat when her husband was president of the United States.  You act like she pulled herself up from the bootstraps and really toughed it out, like a welfare mom.  Her husband was the president when she won.  

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  That doesn‘t—in some ways, that is as much a liability as a help.  And the conventional wisdom was hardly that she was going to walk away. 

She beat Rick Lazio, who was a pretty strong candidate in some ways, by much more than people expected she would.  And most Republicans admit she is cruising to reelection. 

CONWAY:  But how does that translate into a 50-state strategy?  I understand the dynamics New York, but how does she win in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in the heartland? 

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  The truth is, we don‘t know that. 

And no one can, I think, honestly tell you that they know what the dynamics of a woman presidential candidate will be, because we have never seen one before.  What we do know is that she has beaten the odds and been a much more formidable president—politician than almost anyone thought she would have in the Senate.  And I think she will maybe continue to move up. 

CONWAY:  Well, that may be true, yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Kellyanne, let me play you a “Today Show” clip.  Katie Couric asked former President Bill Clinton whether he believed his wife would be a good president.  This is what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”) 

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I want her to do what she wants to do.  I have said 1,000 times, I will say again, I have no idea if she is going to run.  If she did run and win, the country would be well served. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, this guy is amazing.  I will tell you why he is amazing, because he comes out today and he actually bashes a gay Republican. 

I know Arthur Finkelstein, a gay Republican consultant, got married I think this past week in Massachusetts.  Bill Clinton actually comes out and says, he must hate himself.  There must be self-loathing because he doesn‘t support Hillary Clinton. 

Respond to that, Kellyanne. 

CONWAY:  I wouldn‘t even know how to approach that.  It has so many different dynamics.  It‘s crazy, Joe, isn‘t it? 

You know, I don‘t know why Bill Clinton is picking on a Republican consultant or otherwise, but I am not surprised he is going to support his wife‘s bid for president.  It‘s good to know that she has got her husband‘s support.

But Peter was the first one to point out that maybe her husband is also a liability.  I hope that the major media, including Peter and including this show, don‘t spend an awful lot of time on what Mrs. Clinton is wearing and what her hairdo looks like, because that has been a chief liability for all female candidates. 

There is so much ink spilled over whether their hat and bag and their hair match.  And that is something—I can‘t believe that we are going to go from that to a woman being president at a time when national security is the No. 1 issue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Peter, Peter, if you look at that brown hat and look at that coat...

CONWAY:  See?

SCARBOROUGH:  ... she is absolutely fabulous. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, I will tell you what.  You know what?  Nobody talked about Margaret Thatcher‘s clothes, what she wore, her hats. 

Peter, I don‘t think they will say that about Hillary Clinton either, which I think in the end is the mark of a true political force, when you look at somebody and don‘t think, gee, that‘s a woman politician.  You just think, that‘s an effective politician. 

BEINART:  Yes, I think Kellyanne is right.  I think it will be a test to see whether we can judge a woman presidential candidate by the same standards that we judge a male presidential candidate, which is the content of what they have to say, the kind of leadership they have exhibited.  And I think, so far, Hillary Clinton, by the accounts of many Republicans, has done a pretty good job. 

Let me just say one thing about Arthur Finkelstein, by the way, for—

I think Arthur Finkelstein is a tremendous hypocrite.  For this man to turn around and get married—and I am very glad he has the right to do that—but to have made his career working for Jesse Helms, who I think can be fairly described in his political actions as an anti-gay bigot, seems to me the height of hypocrisy.  I‘m glad Bill Clinton called him on the carpet for it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wait a second, though, Peter.  Are you saying or is Bill Clinton saying that, if you are gay and a Republican...

BEINART:  No, not at all. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that you hate yourself? 

BEINART:  No. 

I am saying if you are gay and you made your career working for Jesse Helms that you are hypocrite, because Jesse Helms was not only a racist politician for most his career.  He was a deeply, deeply anti-gay, bigoted politician, no question about it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what do you call somebody who is African-American and works for Robert Byrd? 

BEINART:  Robert Byrd has—if Robert Byrd had a history like Jesse Helms did for decades and decades and decades of winning elections based on racist political appeals, I would think there was a real problem with that.  But he doesn‘t. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Peter...

BEINART:  He was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes. 

BEINART:  He was a member of the Ku Klux Klan about a half century ago, and I defy anyone to show me that he has used race as a major part of his political campaigns in the past couple decades. 

SCARBOROUGH:  This is a guy—OK.  Well, we will debate that on another night. 

All I know is, this is a guy, when he was an adult, said he would rather see the American flag trampled in the dirt than serve alongside an African-American. 

Peter, thanks for being with us. 

Kellyanne, as always, we appreciate it. 

Coming up next, why is the press ignoring the Democrat who confessed to stealing and destroying privileged, confidential information, when they just can‘t stop talking about poor old Tom DeLay?  Another story of media bias?  We‘ll check it out right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, I‘ll tell you what.  Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with Peter Jennings.  I watched him throughout the 1980s and a good part of the 1990s, and just a great reporter.  I don‘t always agree with him.  I thought sometimes that he wasn‘t right down the middle.  But you know what?  I always trusted him.  I trusted him, and I thought that Peter Jennings was reporting it straight and fair, in his mind, at least.

And we—certainly, our thoughts and prayers are with him and also with his family in his ongoing battle. 

For weeks now, the flagship of the liberal media, “The New York Times,” has been running a story about the alleged misdeeds of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.  The problem is that, so far, DeLay, you know what, a lot like Rush Limbaugh, hasn‘t been charged with anything.  Now, compare that coverage—and I say it‘s a feeding frenzy—to the almost nonexistent coverage of Sandy Berger. 

Now, Sandy Berger, of course, the former Clinton national security adviser who pleaded guilty to stealing five top secret, classified documents from the National Archives, not once, but twice, and also destroying—and I mean it—he destroyed, he shredded up three of those documents.  And yet, where is the coverage on that? 

Here to tell us why Tom DeLay is under attack, while Sandy Berger gets a free pass, at least it seems to me, is Congressman J.D. Hayworth from Arizona.  And we‘re also bringing on Paul Levinson in a minute. 

J.D., I got to tell you something.  You got 16 major newspapers that have assigned individual reporters to track down Tom DeLay.  The guy is under constant attack day in, day out.  And yet, he hasn‘t been charged with a crime.  What is going on here? 

REP. J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA:  Well, it‘s the great sport in Washington, D.C., which is, let‘s get the Republican.  Let‘s get the Republican leader, especially if he is effective in the House of Representatives, especially if, with apologies to Chris Matthews, he plays hardball.

But the bottom line is effectiveness.  And this is something we have seen this before.  And you find a couple of Republicans who will go wobbly.  Or, if you are one who is inclined to believe Bob Novak‘s column, as I am, “The New York Times” editorial page goes out and tries to find a former member of Congress to try trash DeLay, as they tried to do with former Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, who declined to write a column critical of DeLay.  And they said, oh, well, thank you very much.  We will look elsewhere.

(CROSSTALK)

HAYWORTH:  It is the agenda setting of the media.  And let‘s face it, Joe.  You have been on both sides of this, as have I, as a former television reporter, albeit a sportscaster.  The sport is going after Republicans, and that is part and parcel of what we have seen here for the better part of a decade. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, J.D., you know, a lot of Democrats would say that “The New York Times” and other newspapers went after Bill Clinton with a vengeance in the 1990s.  We can talk about that in a second.

But, first, let‘s take people inside the process.  With Newt Gingrich, we were on different sides during that battle.  I thought Newt Gingrich had become a liability.  I thought it was time for him to leave.  You stood by him.  You thought that Newt needed to stay.  We had a disagreement, but there was a split, especially among the freshmen Republicans.  What is it like?  Take us inside the Republican Caucus room now, because, as you know, when two, three, four members of your own party start peeling off, things start to get pretty hairy hairy. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Other than Chris Shays, anybody else turning their back on Tom DeLay? 

HAYWORTH:  See, here‘s the thing. 

And close-circuit to Rahm Emanuel and DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, folks, keep it up, because what you are doing is, you‘re solidifying the Republican base.  You are solidifying the Republican conference, except for one errant voice that has a different constituency.  You are actually bringing the conference together.

And you couple that with their widely announced notion of obstruction.  It‘s real interesting.  With apologies to the Fox series “The O.C.,” what you have from the left, from Rahm Emanuel and Nancy Pelosi, is O.C., not Orange County, but obstruction and then charges of corruption, never substantiated, just the questions, and recycled stories from their accomplices in the media. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Give me names.  OK.  We‘ve—give me names.  If you are keeping score at home, you‘ve got Chris Shays coming out saying DeLay needs to resign.  Any other Republicans breaking ranks right now?  Because, as you know and as I know, when two, three, four start breaking ranks, it spreads like an infection.  Anybody else out there?

HAYWORTH:  No, no, no, I don‘t see it out there. 

And, in fact, just to take you back to the whole Newt situation, the bottom line was, for former Speaker Gingrich, how he became the former speaker, was in wake of the midterm elections in 1998.  And that wasn‘t the Republican conference.  That was the verdict of the people.  When you lose seats when you are projected to gain seats, that‘s an electoral loss.  And the guy at the top takes the blame for it.  So, that‘s what happened in that situation, sure.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, stay right there, J.D.  We are going to be coming back talking to you.

Also, Paul Levinson is going to be coming in, taking the other side, right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  we‘re Back With Congressman J.D. Hayworth.  And let‘s bring in Fordham University Professor Paul Levinson.

Paul, explain to me, if you will, how you have Sandy Berger, top national security guy for the Clinton administration, steals five documents, classified documents, shreds three of them at the height of the 9/11 hearings, and we don‘t hear about it in the press?

PAUL LEVINSON, DIRECTOR OF MEDIA STUDIES, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY:  Well, the answer is simple.  Sandy Berger today is yesterday‘s chop meat, in contrast to Tom DeLay, who currently holds a very important position in Congress. 

The media are watchdogs.  We don‘t want them watching George Washington‘s administration or Franklin Roosevelt‘s or Bill Clinton‘s.  We want them watching people who are currently in power in government.  So, it‘s completely appropriate that “The Times” covers Tom DeLay and only rarely covers Sandy Berger. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But don‘t we—don‘t you want to know why Sandy Berger, at the height of the 9/11 hearings, destroyed documents, stole documents from the National Archives? 

LEVINSON:  Sure, I want to know.  I am curious.  That‘s really, though, historically interesting.  Tom DeLay is in a position to do danger and harm right now, if the charges are...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

LEVINSON:  Well, I‘m glad your guest is laughing.  But the fact is there are...

HAYWORTH:  It‘s just so absurd, Paul. 

LEVINSON:  There are serious allegations.  And “The Times” is reporting...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  One at a time.

LEVINSON:  “The Times” is reporting the allegations.  Your saying that they are not true doesn‘t prove that they‘re not true.  “The Times” is doing their job by letting the American people know about these ongoing charges. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You got a couple seconds. 

HAYWORTH:  Yes, just, the important thing, Joe, is this. 

Buried in the story the fact that Tom DeLay has committed no crime.  In the meantime, Sandy burglar has stolen documents from the National Archives, committed a crime.  It‘s true.  He lied to the press after he was caught.  And it has an important perspective on what is happening today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Thank you, J.D. 

Thank you, Professor.

We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

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