updated 5/19/2005 11:00:09 AM ET 2005-05-19T15:00:09

Guest: Marc Klaas, Erin Runnion, Wendy Long, Peter Beinart

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN WALSH, HOST, “AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED”:  The only way this bill will stay on a fast track and get passed is if the watchers of this show, the people of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, do one simple thing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  John Walsh joins us our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign to stop repeat child predators.  Tonight‘s top headlines, sweeping legislation to stop the people who are killing our children: repeat sexual offenders. 

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. MARK FOLEY ®, FLORIDA:  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is probably one of the reasons we‘re filing this legislation.

SCARBOROUGH (voice-over):  We took your SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY letters and emails to Washington.  And together, we‘re making a difference.  Tonight, what you can do to help keep repeat sex offenders away from our children. 

And, CBS lowers the boom on 60 Minutes II, but guess who still has a job?  Why is Dan Rather the only one caught up in Memogate who‘s still working for CBS?  We‘ll tackle that one later. 

And, Hollywood box office, way down.  Could it be because they keep churning out dark, depressing movies that Americans don‘t want to see?  How about a good old-fashioned battle, good versus evil?

SAMUEL L. JACKSON, ACTOR:  You are under arrest, chancellor. 

IAN MCDIARMID, ACTOR:  Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s coming to a theater near you in just two hours.  Can “Star Wars” save Hollywood‘s summer?

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Good evening. 

It‘s been a big day on Capitol Hill.  As you know last month, we started our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign to stop sexual predators preying on our children.  Today, a major victory, a new bill was introduced with sweeping bipartisan support that, if passed, will accomplish much of what we set out to do with this campaign. 

And SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY viewers, your letters and emails made a big difference.  Listen to Congressman Mark Foley, who is the cosponsor of the bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FOLEY:  We passed some great laws in this country, protecting our children, but regrettably, they don‘t have any teeth.  So what we‘ve done in our bill is really put some teeth in it, try and bring 50 states into compliance, using a national database to allow each and every community in America to share this information. 

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is probably one of the reasons we‘re filing this legislation, this comprehensive bill.  It does things like DNA testing, finding out who the perpetrators are, have they committed prior offenses, doing the ankle bracelet, which your show has suggested would be a deterrent and a monitoring device.  That‘s incorporated in our bill. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Congressman Foley announced the bill, along with Senator Orrin Hatch, and some of the parents who tragically lost their children to repeat sex offenders. 

John Walsh of “America‘s Most Wanted” is a big backer of Mr. Foley‘s bill, and we spoke to him also right after the congressman introduced his bill.  Take a listen to what he said. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALSH:  There are about 550,000 convicted sex offenders in this country, and estimates are that there are between 100,000 and 150,000 sex offenders, convicted sex offenders, who are in noncompliance with their parole or probation. 

That means they are floating throughout the country, flaunting probation and parole and, saying, “Hey, you gave me this privilege.  I don‘t have to comply with the law.  I‘m just going to be out here, preying upon another child.” 

These sex offenders, according to most of the people in the psychiatric community, are not curable.  So if we can‘t cure them and we can‘t keep them in prison long enough—so many of them get out on early parole or probation—then at least we should do one thing.  We should have the right to know where they are. 

And this law is about parents‘ rights and children‘s rights.  And it‘s about helping law enforcement track these guys. 

The guy that‘s accused of killing little Jessica Lunsford had 22 arrests.  He served only two years of a 10-year sentence, and he was in parole violation.  He was supposed to let police know where he was.  Where was he?  He was 150 yards from Jessica Lunsford‘s house, tracking her, and he‘s alleged with murdering her.  Unacceptable.  Enough is enough. 

This piece of legislation would incorporate so many things.  It would be an ankle bracelet for the first-time offender, until their parole and probation has been served the right way.  There would be ankle bracelet for the second-time offender the rest of their lives. 

There would be stronger penalties.  It would give judges—judges the ability to put these guys where they belong if they violate their probation. 

It would also create a national DNA base.  They estimate that almost 50 percent of unsolved sex crimes would be solved if every convicted felon was made to give their DNA. 

We‘ve got 500,000 DNA rape kits that haven‘t been tested.  What an insult to children and to women that are waiting to find out if that guy is still out there who raped them.  We have 5,000 unidentified dead in the FBI, NCIC, the National Crime Information Computer. 

All these statistics are unacceptable, and I think this bill is going to be on a fast track.  I hope so.  The think the American people—the American people are demanding it. 

The only way this bill will stay on a fast track and get passed is if the watchers of this show, the people of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, do one simple thing: contact their member of the House of Representatives, contact their two U.S. senators and say, “I want the Sex Offender Registry and Child Protection Bill passed.”  That‘s how it‘s going to get passed.  It‘s way overdue. 

And I‘ve been walking the halls of Congress for 24 years, since my son, Adam, was murdered.  And this is one of the best, most comprehensive pieces of legislation, to try to fight the fight and keep our children from being victimized. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, he‘s been fighting this battle for so long.

Marc Klaas and other parents have been fighting this battle for so long.  They lost their children, and they‘re trying to make sure that you don‘t lose yours.  Trying to make sure that your grandchildren aren‘t abducted, trying to make sure that our streets are safer for our children. 

And listen, friends, this is great news, and you, you helped make it happen.  But this is just the beginning.  Together, you can help change the laws in this country to protect our children. 

With me now to talk about this bill and what else we need to do to stop repeat sex offenders are two people who know the pain all too well.  First, we have Erin Runnion, who of course, whose daughter, Samantha, was murdered in 2002.  Yesterday, a jury recommended the death penalty for her killer. 

And also Marc Klaas, the father of Polly Klaas, and now continuing to be a tireless advocate for children. 

Marc, let me begin with you.  You‘ve been fighting this battle now for over a decade.  Does this Foley-Hatch Bill do what needs to be done to start us down the path where we can make sure that Washington, D.C., is finally stepping into this void and doing the right thing to protect our kids?

MARC KLAAS, POLLY KLAAS‘ DAD:  Well, they‘re sending a very strong message, Joe, and congratulations for all the good work you‘ve been doing, as well.  But they‘re sending an extremely strong message that the safety of children is finally a priority over the privacy rights and other rights of individuals who flaunt the law and commit crimes against children.

So, sure, this is a huge, huge step, just as John said, in the right direction. 

I think what we‘re ultimately going to find out, though, as we do with every law, as we did with Megan‘s Law from 10 years ago, that there are going to be loop loopholes, there are going to be ways to fall through the cracks.  And probably in a decade from now, we‘re going to have to tighten it up again.

But you know, these are battles that have been being fought much longer than John has been in the fight, much longer than I‘ve been in the fight.  In fact, I‘ve got an article from “Coronet” magazine in 1946 that makes the case that we‘ve been allowing these guys to do it for decades at that point. 

o you know, here we are 60 years later.  We‘re finally getting a really strong piece of legislation that‘s going to pull the hammer down on these guys, and it‘s going to hopefully result in a lot less—a lot less sex crimes against women and children. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Erin, this has been such a difficult week for you.  Every time—every time something happens, like happened to your daughter, and we follow your story, it breaks parents‘ hearts across the country. 

Let me ask you, what do you think needs to be done?  What is the key ingredient of this bill or any bill that Congress can pass to make sure that what happened to you and your beautiful daughter and your family doesn‘t happen to other Americans?

ERIN RUNNION, SAMANTHA RUNNION‘S MOTHER:  Well, I think the Hatch-Foley Bill is fabulous, and I think it is sending a strong message to Congress and to the rest of the country. 

I think on the other side of that, we have to continue to educate people, and to educate ourselves as parents.  I mean, I‘m just begging people to realize that, you know, we have to change legislation, yes, but we also have to get organized in our own communities. 

This has to—prevention starts at home.  It starts with you and me, and our very own children. 

And so I hope that people will take this as a sign that the problem is so pervasive that it does require this kind of legislation.  But over 95 percent of all crimes against children, molestation, sexual assault crimes against children happen between people that the child trusts, and so does their family, and that‘s why it‘s so hard to catch these people.  It‘s so hard to get them convicted. 

And, you know, that‘s why prevention is really where we have to start.  You have to make sure that these children aren‘t victimized in the first place. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Erin, I know yesterday was a big day for you and your family.  Talk about it personally, if you will.  Obviously, the animal that killed your daughter is going to be put to death if the jury‘s recommendation is followed.  What were your emotions yesterday?

RUNNION:  You know, it‘s hard to put into words.  I‘m losing my voice.  I‘ve been talking about it so much, but I‘m relieved that it‘s over.  I‘m really—I‘m adamant.  You know, I felt like a bull in a pen waiting for this trial to end, just ready to beg people that how many more children? 

I mean, in the course of this trial alone, we had Jessica disappear.  we had several other children on the news.  How many do we have to see disappear before we start to get organized in our very own communities so that we don‘t have to watch one of our own children or a neighbor‘s child?  This affects everyone, and it‘s something that we have got to work together to solve.

So I‘m begging people, call a meeting in your own hometown.  Ask your principal to host a safety meeting.  Start talking about crimes against children and how we can stop them in our very own communities. 

KLAAS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know, Marc, let me—let me ask you, I want—I want to talk about some of the goals that we set forth at the outset. 

KLAAS:  OK. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And ask you to add to anything that you think viewers of this show and this network and other networks, what we need to do to protect our children.  First of all, we talked about a national database. 

KLAAS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you talked about it before. 

KLAAS:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Four billion dollars designated to track sexual predators, longer sentences, also, obviously for repeat offenders.  And how important is that?  The national database first, the $4 billion to track all sex predators, and the third thing, of course, tougher sentences.  Are those three goals enough, or do we need to do something else, also?

KLAAS:  Well, here‘s the thing.  These are fabulous goals.  There‘s no question about that.  And we‘ve all been proponents of these goals, certainly since Jessica—well, before Jessica, but I think it‘s been—it‘s been fast tracked since Jessica‘s—the crime against Jessica Lunsford.

But everything that we‘re talking about here is a back-end solution.  Everything that we‘re talking about here occurs only after the crime has been committed. 

I would suggest that another huge battle in this war for our children‘s future is to create programs for at-risk youth, and to put kinds of prevention programs and intervention programs together so that the children who are currently being victimized are going to be able to grow up into good citizens.  And they‘re not going to turn into the next generation of predators, because then we‘re going to have to continually strengthen these kinds of laws.

So I guess what I‘m saying is, you know, to suggest that we‘re going to stop crimes against children by building more prisons, by putting on ankle bracelets, by creating the DNA databases, by creating the web sites, is like suggesting that we could cure AIDS by building more cemeteries. 

We need to invest in the future, as well as protect ourselves and our children from the predators that exist today. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Marc, sounds like what you‘re saying is what Erin is saying, that, yes, we need to do all of these things.  We need to be very aggressive about this type of funding, about making sure we‘re tougher with sentencing, but it all comes down to educating: educating your children, educating your families, educating your communities.  Is that right, Erin?

RUNNION:  That‘s absolutely right.  I think people—if people realized how pervasive these crimes are, we would all be doing something in our very own lives every day to stop it.

And if, you know—if you‘re already walking your child to the park, if you‘re already walking your child to school, when you‘re doing that, do it for the benefit of all children.  Make yourself very visible.  Let predators know that they don‘t stand a chance in your neighborhood. 

It really is about vigilance on a very personal grassroots level.  If you want to protect your children, you have to protect all children. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Erin.  Thanks so much.  And Marc, as always, we appreciate you being with us also.

And friends, I want to thank all of you out there for what you‘ve done to apply pressure to members of Congress, the House, the Senate, and even the president of the United States. 

We have got to keep those e-mails going to Washington, D.C., to make sure that these goals that we‘ve talked about tonight, that we‘ve been talking about for the past month and for, obviously, what our guests talked about tonight, that these goals can be met. 

The historic battle begins.  We‘re going to continue to fight. 

We‘ve also got the latest fight on the filibuster and a lot more in just a minute.  SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Will Republicans resort to the nuclear option to push the president‘s judicial selections through the U.S. Senate?  We‘ll talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It was a dramatic day today in Washington, as senators moved closer to an angry confrontation over President Bush‘s judicial nominees. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER:  A minority of senators will hold America back just because a majority of senators, a majority of people in this body want to do what most Americans, of all things, expect us to do, and that is to vote. 

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER:  For 200 years, we‘ve had the right to extend a debate.  It‘s not some procedural gimmick.  It‘s within the vision of the Founding Fathers of the country.  They did it.  We didn‘t do it.  They established a government so that no one person and no single party could have total control. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  The results of a talk today of a bipartisan compromise, as 11 senators met to try to head off this extraordinary showdown.  Could there be a last-minute deal to avert the Republican nuclear option? 

MSNBC‘s chief Washington correspondent, Norah O‘Donnell, has been following all the fun up on Capitol Hill. 

Norah, it looks like the showdown is coming.  Is there any chance to avert this?

NORAH O‘DONNELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, they are trying to.  I mean, as you said, they began the debate today, and a second round of very intense negotiations continued among about a dozen moderate senators, who are trying to avert this showdown. 

So yesterday they met behind closed doors.  Today, again, they met behind closed doors.  Senator McCain emerged from those meetings tonight and said, “No deal, but we‘re making progress.” 

Now, the outlines of that deal is that Democrats would agree to some votes on some of the president‘s nominees that they have filibustered.  At the same time, what they want from the Republicans is a pledge that they would not invoke the nuclear option.

They need six on each side, six Democrats and six Republicans, and sources say they believe they have that number in order to sign this particular understanding between the senators.  They‘re just not there in terms of the details.  The devil is still in the details, so they‘re working on that.

But I talked to senators, Republicans and Democrats, who say they‘re getting much closer, and they‘re continuing very seriously about these negotiations. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Norah, I‘ve noticed over the past five, six years, and I am sure you have, too, though you would be—would be more polite than myself in saying it, the Republicans have walked around Capitol Hill with a bit of a swagger.  Very confident, almost overconfident. 

But you talk to some of them on Capitol Hill now, and it seems—I‘m talking on the House and Senate side—it seems they‘re—that they‘re a bit more nervous now, a bit more concerned about 2006.  And there seems to be an understanding they may be in trouble. 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, that‘s why it‘s noteworthy to watch some of the senators who have been there for quite some time.  It‘s remarkable that the chairman of the armed services committee, Republican Senator Warner, doesn‘t want the nuclear option. 

Also, Senator Mike Dewine, who‘s been in the Senate for a long time, doesn‘t want the nuclear option, is engaged in this.  They have joined Senator John McCain, who is sometimes a maverick, as well.  But they want compromise, and they‘re trying to work that out with the Democrats.  They think this would set a bad precedent. 

At the same time, they say what Democrats is doing is unprecedented, filibustering all these judges, but they feel that they could reach some type of compromise, and they‘re still trying to lead the way in that effort. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Norah, talk about the new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll. 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll out tonight, and according to our bipartisan pollsters, they say that our poll shows that a majority of Americans are deeply dissatisfied with the Congress, with the president, with the government in general. 

Take a look at this.  The first question asked whether or not the country is headed in the right direction or the wrong direction.  And a majority said they believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.  That‘s jumped five points in just the last five months. 

Now our pollsters say the really big headline is America‘s attitude toward Congress.  Just 33 percent approve of Congress‘s job.  That is down six points since the last poll in April and eight points since January. 

Our pollsters say that‘s the lowest number since May of 1994, the year when Republicans defeated their Democratic counterparts.  You know 1994 very well. 

Our pollsters say, listen, that doesn‘t mean that Republicans are going to lose the House of Representatives.  That‘s too soon to tell, and our poll doesn‘t suggest that the American people are embracing the Democrats or their ideas.

But still, those numbers suggest that the American people are deeply dissatisfied, dissatisfied with Congress because they think there are other, more important issues they‘d like discussed: the economy, jobs, high gas prices, and those are some of the issues they list at the top of the list. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I laugh, because as you were going through those numbers, I was just thinking to myself, starting to smell a lot like 1994.  And the fact that these numbers are lower for Congress than anytime since 1994 confirms, at least to me, confirms to me that the Republicans have an awful lot—lot of work to do over the next year or so to repair some of these bridges that have been blown up by—by political warfare in Washington. 

Hey, Norah, thanks a lot.  I‘m sorry.  Go ahead. 

O‘DONNELL:  Oh, I was going to say, yes, and that‘s why we‘ve seen in the last couple of weeks, for instance, David Winston, a Republican pollster, who advises those up in the Senate and the House and does a lot of polling, has said it is time now to focus on the issues that Americans are concerned about. 

Many outside strategists have been telling Congress, we‘ve got to do this before we‘re up for re-election again or we will suffer the wrath of the voters—Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Norah O‘Donnell, thank you so much.  We greatly appreciate it. 

O‘DONNELL:  My pleasure. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s keep talking about what‘s going on on Capital Hill.  And let‘s bring in Wendy Long of the Judicial Confirmation Network, and also Peter Beinart.  Peter is the editor of “The New Republic.” 

Peter, you heard the poll numbers tonight, in the new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll.  You‘ve always—I‘ve always respected you, because you‘ve attacked Republicans, but you‘ve also gone against Democrats when they deserved it.  Do you think the GOP on Capitol Hill is in trouble?

PETER BEINART, EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  I do think they‘re in trouble.  Look, if this weren‘t coming on the heels of Schiavo, it might be different, but I think that hurt the Republicans.  It made them look extreme.  It made them look like they were abusing power.  And now for this—and it‘s not what people care about.  As Norah was saying, they want people to focus on the economy. 

If they do this in addition, I think they will really be in a great deal of trouble.  And that‘s why I predict they‘re not going to.  I think it‘s—I think the Republican strategists behind the scenes are not going to let them go off this cliff.  They‘re going to find face saving compromise. 

Frist had to do something for the Christian right, but I think Republicans in their heart know this could be political disaster. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Wendy Long, I always shudder when people are talking about paying off the Christian right, but I‘ve got to tell you, in this case, I don‘t think Bill Frist can back down.  I think Bill Frist, if he wants to get the Republican nomination in 2008, is going to have to hold a hard line on this filibuster debate.  What do you say?

WENDY LONG, JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION NETWORK:  Of course he is, Joe, and it‘s because it‘s a matter of principle.  He doesn‘t want to back down. 

And all this dissatisfaction with Congress, you know, what the American people want senators to do in this case is just to vote.  That‘s what we send them to Washington to do.  That‘s what they‘re supposed to do under the Constitution. 

The Constitution says the president is supposed to pick judges, and then the Senate is supposed to advise and consent.  That just means vote.  And you can vote against them or vote for them but they‘re just supposed to vote. 

And so if you ask voters that question, 82 percent of Americans across the board say they want senators to vote.  And that includes 85 percent of Republicans and 81 percent, even, of independents and Democrats. 

So that principle, I think, is rock hard, behind Senator Frist in what he‘s trying to do. 

BEINART:  That‘s just total nonsense. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Peter.  Peter...

BEINART:  That‘s total—that‘s total nonsense.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll let you—I‘ll let you explain why you think it is, but I got to tell you, if I‘m a Republican senator—and again, I‘ve said Republicans need to tread very carefully on this ground—but if I were a Republican senator, I voted for the nuclear option to end filibusters, I think I could go to any state in America and win votes by saying, “You know what?  It‘s just an issue of fairness.  I want these judges to get an up or down vote.” 

If they‘re extreme, if they‘re right-wingers like Harry Reid says, then the Senate will vote them down.  Don‘t you think that will rule the day politically?

BEINART:  No, because it‘s been failing politically.  You know, despite the poll that our other guest mentioned, the nonpartisan polls, the newspaper polls show that, when you ask a straightforward question on this, people do not want to change the filibuster rule. 

They don‘t know a lot about the filibuster, but they have this deep sense that they don‘t want one party to have too much control.  That‘s what it‘s about.  It‘s about abuse of power. 

The Democrats are not the greatest communicators in the world, but the Republican argument here has not been working.  And as we go through the next few days, they‘re going to find that the polls, I predict, are very bad for them.  And they‘re going to turn away from this, because they recognize they need to save their own political skin. 

LONG:  You know what I think it is?

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Wendy—it‘s always been fascinating, Wendy, when I see people go to the floor, and I saw this in Congress.  People go to the floor, and they‘d be yelling and debating and screaming about rule changes, and a lot of times it was veiled.  An American watching TV trying to figure out what was going on wouldn‘t be able to connect the dots. 

But let me ask if you agree with me in this case.  In this case, this is not about these two judges that the president is sending up to the Senate.  It‘s about the two Supreme Court judges that are going to be selected this summer. 

And it‘s not even about just those two Supreme Court judges.  It‘s about overturning Roe v. Wade.  When you strip away all the debates, all the rules, all the arguments, all the posing, all the posturing, in the end, this is a battle over ending Roe v. Wade, isn‘t it?

LONG:  Well, that‘s part of it, but the bigger picture is judicial activism.  And one thing we know is that voters are unhappy with activist judges who are subverting democracy, subverting the will of the people, and implementing their own wishes from the bench.  So that we do know.

And President Bush campaigned on that twice and he won.  And so what‘s happening now, is we‘re seeing the Democrats saying that they‘re the ones who are changing the rules.  They‘re saying the minority of Senate now gets to pick judges.  That can‘t be right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  All right.  Wendy Long, were going to have to leave it there.  Peter Beinart, thank you.

It‘s all about abortions, friends, trust me.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  The tribe has spoken, and the radical professor, Ward Churchill, has been kicked off the island.  We‘ll explain why. 

And also, can Richard Gere save the world?  Hold your breath for that one. 

But first, here‘s the latest news your family needs to know.

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘m Joe, and you know, I think I‘ve got a little native American in me.  I‘m not sure, though, but I do know this.  I‘ve got issues. 

I‘ve still got issues with the University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill.  And I‘m not the only one.  You may remember Churchill compared victims of 9/11 to little Eichmanns, and he still refuses to take back those comments. 

Now the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, to which Churchill has claimed membership, has released a scathing statement denying his association.  The tribe said this, “Churchill‘s past, present and future claims or assertions of Keetoowah ‘enrollment‘ are deemed fraudulent by the United Keetoowah Band.”

Now, we called Churchill‘s office for comment, but we were told finally, finally he was in class.  We left a message.  Maybe he‘ll call back. 

And you know what, I‘ve got issues with all the world‘s problems being solved by Richard Gere.  The actor‘s currently in Jordan.  He‘s attending the World in Danger Summit, hosted by King Abdullah. 

The greatest minds of the world have been assembled, 25 Nobel Prize winners, the Dalai Lama, and Bill Clinton all attending.  And the group hopes to tackle issues like poverty, violence and disease throughout the world. 

Twenty-five Nobel laureates and Richard Gere, out in the desert, trying to save the world?  Hey, friends, you know what?  This is an interactive issue.  You come up with your own punch line for it.  It seems too obvious for me. 

And finally, Rathergate.  The journalism scandal that CBS says had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the announcement today that they are canceling “60 Minutes Wednesday.” 

CBS also announced Dan Rather is now going to contribute to the original “60 Minutes” and work on special projects.  Yes, like getting lost. 

Here to talk about it now is Bob Kohn.  He‘s the author of “Journalistic Fraud: How ‘The New York Times‘ Distorts the News and Why it Can No Longer Be Trusted.” 

So Bob, OK, if you‘re keeping a score card at home, Dan Rather is really for the most part kicked out of the evening news.  Then he says, “OK, but I‘m going to go to ‘60 Minutes Wednesday‘.” 

Now we hear that CBS is canceling “60 Minutes Wednesday.”  Sounds like CBS doesn‘t want Dan Rather around anymore.  Is that a fair take?

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”:  That‘s a fair take.  The clock has been ticking on Dan Rather for some time. 

But the problem for CBS, and Les Moonves, the president, is the just one tick at a time, one slow tick.  I mean, first they offered him “60 Minutes Wednesday,” then they canceled “60 Minutes Wednesday.” 

Now they‘re giving Dan Rather an opportunity to go on “60 Minutes.”  Not clear whether he‘s going to be one of the four personalities that introduces the show, whether he‘ll be regular. 

And you know, at the end of the day, they may decide to just put him out to pasture.  He‘s—he‘s a real albatross on CBS‘s neck. 

O‘REILLY:  Yes, but Bob, you know Les Moonves, one of the smartest guys in TV, he knows that.  I mean, you know he knows that.  I think this is his way of putting Dan Rather out to pasture, isn‘t it?

KOHN:  It very well could be.  He seems to be, you know—he‘s got to—Les Moonves has to reinvent “CBS Evening News.”  He doesn‘t need a major P.R. flap to occur during this process. 

You know, Dan Rather hasn‘t been very friendly to Andrew Heyward.  He hasn‘t said any nice things about Les Moonves.  So he doesn‘t need P.R.—Moonves does not need a  flap at this critical time, so he‘s kind of giving Dan Rather crumbs as he‘s going along.  But there‘s going to be a point.  “CBS Evening News” has been revamped.  There will be a time when they say goodbye to Dan Rather. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bob, what he‘s doing is Les Moonves is dropping a crumb, Dan Rather is following it, and before he gets there, somebody else from CBS is picking it up. 

Let‘s talk about the one part of this that really still bothers me.  Dan Rather still has his job.  And yet you look at all these other people who worked for him, who got thrown overboard, and they were abandoned. 

And abandoned by Dan Rather.  I don‘t care what he says at the Peabody Awards.  He hasn‘t circled back around to protect any of these people.  It just doesn‘t seem right, does it?

KOHN:  No.  I think if he had any decency at all, he would have resigned at the same time as the other executives were given their pink slips.  You know, it just shows his character.  I think it‘s all about Dan.  I think his reporting over the years has always been about Dan more than about a particular story is NBC‘s—at MSNBC at the Movies, Cadio Falco. 

Hey, Joe, clearly, you are I are in the wrong business, because $20 million in ticket sales have already been sold. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Really?

KOHN:  And it hasn‘t even been in some good journalism but again, you know, his time is up.  And he‘s an anachronism today.  The future of news, people getting their news on the Internet during the day and they turn to television for news analysis.  Well, Dan Rather has really not been someone you can turn to for fair news analysis.  And he hasn‘t been someone you can turn to for fair news either. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, the thing is, it caught up with him.  And I think you‘re right.  I think in Dan Rather‘s reporting, there‘s been a lot of self-absorption.  I think that‘s been one of the biggest problems, and that‘s why Americans abandoned CBS News, and why Les Moonves—and I think he‘s going to do it—he‘s going to have to figure out a way to reinvent CBS Evening News.  As always—hey, Bob, thanks a lot.  As always, we greatly appreciate you being with us tonight. 

Good to be on, Dan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  When it comes to politics, are you tired of personal attacks, bad policy, and outright distortions?  Well, friends, you may just be part of what‘s called the political homeless.  It‘s a growing number of American voters who don‘t feel loyalty to either party. 

Here to talk about it is Herman Cain.  He‘s a radio talk show host and author of “They Think You‘re Stupid: Why Democrats Lost your rot and What Republicans Must do to Keep It.” 

Herman, thanks a lot for joining us.  Obviously, you‘ve got a great big background, CEO Of one of the—one of the better-known corporations in America.  You moved on into politics, talk radio.  Tell me, when you talk about political homeless people, what are you talking about?

HERMAN CAIN, AUTHOR, “THEY MUST THINK YOU‘RE STUPID”:  Joe, they are voters that are disgusted with the Democrats, disappointed with the

Republicans, and a lot of nonvoters who have just given up on the process, and they occupy that space that I call politically homeless. 

They might vote for a Republican, but they don‘t feel endeared to the Republican Party.  Some people may have voted Democrat, but they don‘t feel endeared, because they are tired of the rhetoric.  And they are tired of the fact that the Democratic Party is ideologically bankrupt.

And all they are currently doing, even on the judges, whether you‘re talking about Social Security, whether you‘re talking about the economy, is to obstruct, obstruct, obstruct, and people are sick of it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the difference between the way a corporation is run, like the corporation that you ran, and the way politics are run in Washington, D.C. 

Should politicians run the nation‘s business more like you ran your business?

CAIN:  The answer is absolutely yes.  In politics, you have what I call the politics of politics.  They put politics in the party ahead of results.  In business, it‘s putting results first, and whatever the internal politics that you might experience within your corporation, that will come second. 

Why?  Because executives and people who run businesses are held accountable for results. 

And unfortunately, the reason I wrote the book, “They Think You‘re Stupid,” the American public does not hold Congress accountable enough in between elections.  Currently...

KURTZ:  Why not?

CAINE:  Why not, because they don‘t pay attention. 

Secondly, they have demonstrated that a lot of people just sort of check out after the election.  And thirdly, many of the people in Congress, not all, they know that the public has real short memories.  And that‘s why they get away with it, and that‘s why they think we are stupid. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Herman Cain, you‘re exactly right.  Thanks so much for your insight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We greatly appreciate it and how to have you back again soon. 

The book, “They Think You‘re Stupid,” I‘ve ready it.  You need—you need to do the same.  It has a lot of insight on what really goes on in Washington, D.C. 

Now, we‘re only hours away from the official opening of the latest “Star Wars.”  But can it pull Hollywood out of a major league slump?  We‘re going to have a report from someone who‘s seen the movie.

And also, want to annoy your spouse to no end?  We‘ve simple tips that, you know, could possibly lead to divorce court, or you could avoid doing them and have a happy marriage.  We‘ll tell you about it when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It appears the force is with us Star Wars fans, lined up in New York city, in anticipation of tonight‘s opening of “Star Wars, Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith.” 

The much-awaited mega flick opens in less than two hours, and Hollywood is hoping that it will help the industry rebound from a terrible year with last weekend down 22 percent from the same time a year ago.  And with ticket sales on a 12-week slide, the worst since 2000. 

Here to tell us whether or not “Revenge of the Sith” will be enough to save Hollywood from a very bad year, is co-host of MSNBC‘s at “MSNBC AT THE MOVIES,” Claudia DiFolco.  Claudia, thank you for being with us. 

CLAUDIA DIFOLCO:  CO-HOST, “MSNBC AT THE MOVIES”  Hey, Joe, clearly you and I are in the wrong business, because $20 million in ticket sales have already been sold.  For the movie. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Really?

DIFOLCO:  And it hasn‘t even opened yet.  Twenty-million.

SCARBOROUGH:  Are you predicting—that this Star Wars movie is going to possibly save Hollywood from a terrible year thus far?

DIFOLCO:  A lot of rehab and doctors visits will save Hollywood, but as far as the box office, I don‘t know.  I mean, this is a movie, it has a cult following.  It cost $113 million to make.  It‘s probably going to make close to a billion dollars, like “Phantom” did. 

Is it going to save Hollywood?  No.  I mean, it has the cult following.  People are going to continue—people that are going to go, are usually go to go a couple of times, because they‘re fanatics.  And then the other people I think will just go later on or maybe it wait until it comes out on DVD.  George Lucas is supposed to release all six films in a box set in 3D, so maybe they‘ll wait for that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Claudia, what‘s been the problem with Hollywood this year, as you talk to actors, writers, directors, and Hollywood analysts, what are they saying is the cause for Hollywood‘s numbers being down so much?

DIFOLCO:  I this it‘s the possibility of just—people just looking for a really great story.  I think we‘ve all become really jaded. 

And last night, for example, I saw the screening of “Cinderella Man” with Russell Crowe.  Sure, it‘s based on a true story, but even if it wasn‘t, you know what the ending is going to be.  The guy is going to win, or you know, he‘s going to, you know, live forever and happy with his wife and kid. 

So I people just become jaded, and are looking for a really big story.  A lot of times, promoting films, “House of Wax” expected with Paris Hilton.  I think sometimes overpromotion and knowing about the film so much before it even comes out, we saw this with “Monster-in-Law,” with Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda, and “House of Wax.” 

People just—already know the film.  They see the scenes on TV, and they‘re like, “Whatever, I‘ll wait.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  What‘s the buzz in Hollywood about this new Star Wars movie? I mean, we‘ve heard obviously, that George Lucas should have let—should have given the pen to somebody else and let them write the script.  But what are you hearing in Hollywood about the latest installment, the final installment in the Star Wars series?

DIFOLCO:  Well, I mean, the story basically has always remained the same.  It‘s good against evil.  It‘s a little bit of a love story.  The big guy coming down on the little guy, who‘s good, who‘s bad. 

The dialogue has never been great dialogue for the movie.  It‘s more the action.  This one here promises to be bigger, better, and even darker than ever.  This is the first “Star Wars” film that has been rated pg 13. 

So it‘s going to be a little gross.  Not that I mind, but it‘s going to be, you know, not so much for the little kiddies, and it is going to be with a lot of action.  This movie has over 2,000 special effects.  I think the very first movie had just a little over, I think, 300.  So this is really action packed, and a little bloody. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What was your personal reaction to the movie when you saw it?

DIFOLCO:  I liked it.  You know the story.  I loved the transformation.  I think what did it for me was just seeing the transformation from Anakin Skywalker turning into Darth Vader, the Lord Sith. 

And also, interviewing Hayden Christiansen a few weeks ago, I asked him, I‘m like you grew up with Star Wars.  What did it feel like to actually have them put that mask on?”

And he described that moment not only for him, but for everybody on set.  He said that everything came to a halt.  Everybody stopped eating, drinking coffee, talking on their cell phones, looking at scripts.  Just to wait for that mask to be on his face, and it was pretty surreal for him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I bet it was, and I bet it‘s going to be interesting for a lot of movie viewers in about two hours now.  Claudia, thanks a lot for being us.  As always, we greatly appreciate it.  And we‘ll make sure to catch you on “MSNBC AT THE MOVIES” Saturday at noon eastern on MSNBC. 

Coming up next, advice on keeping your marriage strong, what to do and what not to do.  A new report says it‘s the little things, like telling your wife, oh, wow, she just looks great in that dress.  Great. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Have arguments over big things like finances or religion broken up one of your past relationships?  If so, a new study says you‘re in the minority. 

A University of Kentucky researcher claims that it‘s the little things that drive people crazy and drive couples apart.  Saying that men and women become virtually allergic to the small habits that make each other so crazy.  So, guys, what drives women away?

The good professor says, leaving wet towels on the floor.  Burping, looking scared during horror movies.  Don‘t be a wuss.  And not changing the toilet paper roll.  Oh, no. 

And habits that can send a man packing were found to be, like using babyish terms of endearment like “Babykins, can you pas the salt?”  Over packing for vacations, being possessive, and taking too long shopping. 

Hey, whoever said don‘t sweat the small stuff is shuddering somewhere in a corner, alone. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Thanks for being with us.  I really do appreciate you watching.  And make sure to watch Imus in the morning tomorrow.  His guests include the Donald.

If you‘ve got something to say, send me an e-mail at Joe@MSNBC.com.  Good night.

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

END   

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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