updated 5/20/2005 9:08:39 AM ET 2005-05-20T13:08:39

Guest: Patrick Reilly, Howard Fineman, John Avlon, Natasha Lapiner-Girinsky, Pat Lalama, Paula Canny, Amy Hagopian, Jerry Springer

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline, as the class of 2005 heads into the world, politics and religion clash on college campuses across America. 

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH (voice-over):  America‘s mayor will give a commencement speech to a Catholic college, but Baltimore‘s cardinal is boycotting Rudy Giuliani. 

Meanwhile, evangelicals are protesting a presidential graduation address.  Why is religion and politics making such uneasy bedfellows on college campuses across America?

LARRY KING, TALK SHOW HOST:  Good morning. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The king of talk banned from testifying for the prince of pop.  We‘ll tell you what Larry King told the judge but can‘t tell the jury.  Plus, the latest news from the Michael Jackson show trial. 

And, no DNA test required.  No chair throwing allowed.  No topic off limits, when we give Air America‘s most controversial new host, Jerry Springer, a passport to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome to the show. 

Going to start tonight with “The Real Deal,” and how media wars bring out the worst in everybody is the subject of tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

You know, the ideological battle over “Newsweek‘s” Koran story has grown to hysterical heights.  Those who think the media is too liberal see this as one more example of media outlets attacking the president‘s policies.  Those who see the media as a right wing stooge for George W.  Bush are once again bashing “Newsweek‘s” reporter in question for, get this, going after Bill Clinton too aggressively in the 1990‘s. 

I think it‘s time we all get a few facts straight. 

First of all, there are elements of the media that are too liberal. 

To deny this, to me at least, is laughable. 

Second, there are elements of the media who are craven apologists for George W. Bush, and I know this because they hammered me during the campaign season whenever I said anything nice about John Kerry or criticized the president. 

And third, the reporter at the center of this firestorm is a tough, gritty reporter who doesn‘t go after Republicans.  He doesn‘t go after Democrats.  He goes after stories that he knows matters the most to you. 

One other thing: I‘ve been saying for years that the shadows of Vietnam have been haunting Democratic candidates and news editors, and let‘s face it; you don‘t win Pulitzer Prizes by writing how U.S. troops are offering hope to the hopeless.  You win by writing about military scandals. 

Listen, friends, a bias for conflict is an element that most of us in the press have had since a guy named Joseph Pulitzer was the king of all muckrakers.   That‘s a bias that we all need to guard against, and that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”

First off tonight, Rudy Giuliani, his leadership after the September 11 attacks earning the name of America‘s Mayor.  And there‘s lots of talk about a White House run in 2008. 

Tomorrow, Rudy will give the commencement speech at Loyola College, a Jesuit school in Maryland, but his pro-choice position has a lot of people angry.  Protests are planned, and the cardinal of Baltimore, William Keeler, refuses to attend the graduation. 

With me now to talk about it, we‘ve got Howard Fineman from “Newsweek.”  We‘ve got Patrick Reilly.  He‘s the president and CEO of the Cardinal Newman Society, the group supporting the protest.  And we have John Avlon.  He‘s a columnist for the “New York Sun” and former chief speech writer for Mayor Giuliani.  He‘s also the author of “Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change America.” 

Patrick Reilly, let me begin with you.  You don‘t think, your group doesn‘t think, the cardinal of Baltimore doesn‘t think Rudy Giuliani is fit to be president of the United States.  Why?

PATRICK REILLY, CARDINAL NEWMAN SOCIETY:  Well, I don‘t think that statement in itself was made.  The point here is that this is a Catholic institution, and we believe, as Catholics, in certain fundamental moral issues that Rudy Giuliani is very much against.  And even though he is a Catholic. 

And we believe that a Catholic institution ought to be Catholic.  And especially when it‘s selecting someone to honor and present as a role model to its students, it ought to be selecting someone who is at least consistent with the values. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What issues, specifically, what values, specifically, are inconsistent with Rudy Giuliani‘s political life with his Catholic heritage?

REILLY:  Well, Rudy Giuliani has made it very clear that he is pro-choice on the issue of abortion, which flies in the face of Catholic teaching.  It‘s a very clear from the Catholic Church that abortion is very wrong. 

Rudy Giuliani also has supported civil unions.  He has not gone so far as to support outright marriage for homosexuals, however, the civil unions are simply another means of providing marital benefits to homosexual couples, which is something that‘s also opposed to Catholic teaching. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Howard Fineman, let me bring you in here.  My feeling is this.  Obviously, we‘re not just talking about one speech.  We‘re talking about a presidential run in 2008, a guy who stole the show in the 2004 election. 

My feeling is if the cardinal of Baltimore is not going to even attend a speech of Rudy Giuliani, how can he expect conservative Catholics and evangelical Christians in Iowa, in South Carolina, in the Republican primaries to vote for him?

HOWARD FINEMAN, “NEWSWEEK”:  Well, the simple answer is, he can‘t expect them to, Joe.  And Rudy Giuliani, as charismatic as he is, and as popular after 9/11, would have a hard time in the Republican nomination race, if he makes it, but not an impossible one, for a couple of reasons. 

First of all, if he‘s the only, shall we say, non-faith-based candidate in the race, the only sort of secular guy, then he‘s got a chance to garner some votes, even in a place like Iowa. 

And in a place like New Hampshire, he‘s got more than a little chance, especially among swing voters, moderates, even some Democrats who might cross over to give him a lift in that race.  I think he could get in the race.  I think he could make a race.  Whether he could win the nomination is problematic, but I wouldn‘t dismiss it out of hand. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What about—what about the fact that Rudy Giuliani, when he was—when he was considering a run for the United States Senate, he obviously had a lot of problems.  And he told reporters, “I‘m pro-choice.  I‘m pro-gay rights.” 

And 10 years earlier, while he‘s running for mayor in New York, his campaign issued this statement, saying, “As mayor, Rudy Giuliani will uphold a woman‘s right of choice to have an abortion.  Giuliani will fund all city programs which provide abortions to insure that not woman is deprived of her right due to an inability to pay.”  And it goes on and on. 

Howard, I think as much as anybody over the past 10, 15 years, you followed presidential campaigns very closely.  How in the world does a guy like that, whether we respect him or not, how does he get past Iowa?  How does he get past South Carolina?  How does he win a single vote in the South?

FINEMAN:  Well, I‘ll tell you, Joe, maybe it‘s just my reluctance to use the word “never” in politics.  OK.  You‘ve been in politics.  You know that you don‘t want to say never. 

I think it‘s very difficult, and I think in order to get elected mayor of New York as a Republican, he had to be, you know, stronger than strong on all those liberal issues, and he was.  That makes it very, very difficult. 

All I‘m saying is if he‘s the only one of his stripe in the nomination fight, he can manage to get a few votes in a place like Iowa, enough to carry him into New Hampshire, and maybe get some action there. 

Can he win the nomination?  I think it‘s highly improbable, but don‘t forget there‘s another frame on the election, and that is defense and foreign policy.  And as a tough guy, as a guy who‘s a tough mayor, as a guy who‘s known for being tough on criminals, that translates into the war on terrorism very well, and gives him at least a toe hold in this thing, if he chooses to do it.

And I have—I have to doubt in the end he will, but let me tell you, he‘s been traveling around giving speeches all over the country, under the radar, appearing at Republican state functions in the South.  I know he did one, a couple in Georgia the last couple of years. 

They loved him down there.  Maybe because they weren‘t thinking of him as a presidential candidate, as a celebrity.  But when he gets in front of a crowd, even a pro-life, you know, traditionalist crowd, he can wow the people if they‘ll listen. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He certainly can.  John Avlon, you worked for the man when he was mayor, and people tell me that worked with him also tell me that he‘s had his sights on the presidency for some time.

But do you think the Republican Party is ready to—to select a guy who‘s pro-choice, and I think even more damaging in the deep South, pro-gun control?

JOHN AVLON, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR GIULIANI:  Look, I think it‘s about getting back to Ronald Reagan‘s vision of a big tent. 

Let‘s get some sense of perspective about this—this little brouhaha we‘ve got going on.  Rudy Giuliani was invited to give the commencement address at Loyola by students of Loyola because they were freshmen when the attacks of 9/11 occurred.  And that experience shaped their college experience as it shaped the country.  That‘s why they want Rudy Giuliani to speak. 

And there‘s a bit of irony and absurdity here.  Because two days later on Sunday, Rudy Giuliani is going to be giving another commencement address at Middlebury, where apparently he‘s going to be protested for being too conservative. 

So I think we could all do with a sense of perspective on this.  And we‘ll be better served.  I think that goes to show Rudy Giuliani is squarely in a common sense center of America. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He may be in the common sense center of America, but you‘ve lived in South Carolina.  Can you think of a Republican that‘s won state-wide that‘s pro-choice and pro-gun control?

AVLON:  I think both the governor of South Carolina and the new senator of South Carolina both endorsed John McCain in 2000, which at the time was a very daring and centrist stand.  I think it‘s a mistake to put the Republican Party or the state of South Carolina in a box. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much.  Thank you, Howard Fineman, John Avlon, and Patrick Reilly.  We greatly appreciate you being with us tonight. 

Not trying to put South Carolina in a box, but I can tell you the governor and the two senators, pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. 

Coming up next, a new development in our campaign to protect America‘s kids.  Now a major amusement park chain is doing its part.  We‘ll explain. 

But first, he was supposed to be a star witness for the defense, and he even showed up for court today.  But the jury in the Michael Jackson case won‘t hear from Larry King live or on tape.  We‘ll have those details next. 

And the always entertaining, always controversial Jerry Springer.  What‘s he up to now?  Find out when we give him a temporary passport to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Actually, he can stay as long as he wants.  That‘s coming up.  Don‘t go anywhere.  We just got started.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s called the King of Talk, but he‘s not going to say a word in front of the Michael Jackson jury.  Will today‘s development hurt the defense‘s case?  We‘ll tell you that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The King of Talk, Larry King, today at the King of Pop‘s child molestation trial. 

He was called by the defense, but the jury never heard from him.  King was supposed to discredit a prosecution witness, lawyer Larry Feldman.  King says Feldman told him he didn‘t take the accuser‘s case because, quote, “the mother of a whacko,” and that was the term he used, he said.  “He thinks she wanted the money, and he said ‘wacko‘ a couple of times. 

And he said, quote, ‘She‘s in this for the money‘.”

Judge Melville ruled today that King‘s testimony was hearsay.  Is this a setback for the defense?  The latest on this and all the details and goings-on inside the Jackson circus. 

We‘ve got Pat Lalama first of all.  She‘s from “Celebrity Justice,” of course.  Also, we‘ve got criminal defense attorney Natasha Lapiner-Girinsky, and also former California prosecutor Paula Canny. 

Natasha, let‘s start with you.  Obviously, the Jackson defense wanted to try out as many celebrities in front of the jury as possible.  Do you think this was a setback...

NATASHA LAPINER-GIRINSKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER:  I don‘t think...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... for Michael Jackson‘s defense?

LAPINER-GIRINSKY:  I don‘t think it was a setback.  I think they would have liked to have had Larry King testify and say that he heard this lawyer, this civil attorney say that he thought the mother was out for the money and a wacko. 

But I think the cross-examination of the mother and all the evidence that has been coming in has proven that.  This would have just been a really nice icing on the cake for the defense. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Lalama, why is it in celebrity trials that we can talk about Robert Blake, we can talk about O.J. Simpson, we can talk about Michael Jackson—why is it there always seems to be this circus around—around the trial?

Why do they want the Larry Kings, the Chris Tuckers, the Elizabeth Taylors, all these celebrities?  Do they really think the jury is so dumb that they‘re going to be wowed?

PAT LALAMA, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE”:  Sometimes the jury is, I hate to say that, and I say jury collectively, not any individual person.  But this is an environment out here, and you‘ve got to live here to understand it, where people go gaga over celebrity names. 

However, there‘s two points that are very important.  This is not in L.A.  This is in Santa Maria.  That could work one way or the other.  Either they don‘t get to see enough celebrities, and they‘ll be really wowed, or they don‘t really give a rat‘s you know what. 

But the other thing is, it can work against you.  Look at Martha Stewart, dragging poor Bill Cosby into the courtroom, thinking it‘s going to work, and boy, did that backfire.  So it‘s a gamble. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Paula, what‘s your take on it?  Larry King, out.  You‘re talking about Chris Tucker, Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor, all these celebrities.  Do you think it was a setback today for the Jackson defense?

PAULA CANNY, FORMER CALIFORNIA PROSECUTOR:  Well, I‘m sure the Jackson defense is disappointed, but in terms of all of the celebrities, an effective cross-examination by the prosecution could obliterate the sort of celebrity effect. 

I mean, the irony of this is, is any person who wasn‘t a celebrity, who engaged in the kind of conduct that Michael Jackson has engaged in for, you know, 13-plus years would have already been prosecuted and convicted by this time. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Natasha, what about the report from ABC News that Jackson will not testify in his own defense?  If that ends up being the case, what kind of impact does that have on this trial, on this jury?

LAPINER-GIRINSKY:  If I was his attorney, I wouldn‘t want him to testify, because then he would be cross-examined.  And I think that the tape that the defense put on, that part of the Bashir tape that was never shown, that was as if Michael Jackson was testifying.  He got his day in court without being cross-examined.  The things that he wanted to bring out.

And like Blake, you don‘t need to testify if all of the facts that you want to have come out do come out.  And I think it was good that the tape came in, and I‘m glad to hear that he is not testifying. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Lalama, what are you hearing about Michael Jackson and the possibility of Jackson testifying, and also some of these other names floating around there, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli?  I mean, it‘s a circus. 

LALAMA:  Gee, darn, I‘m not on that list.  I guess I‘m not a celebrity. 

I think some of them you won‘t see.  Perhaps Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minnelli.  I think it would be very silly for the defense to drag one celebrity after another.  You can do overkill, and I think that can back fire. 

Regarding Michael Jackson testifying, I think it‘s probably the best thing the defense can do.  We all know back in covering the O.J. Simpson trial, they did a mock cross examination, and he failed miserably.  And they said, “O.J., I don‘t care what you want to do.  You are not getting on the stand.”

I think the same thing would happen—would happen with Michael Jackson.  If he suddenly started talking about liking to sleep with little boys and Tom Mesereau couldn‘t control him, it would be all over, so it‘s best to keep him where he is. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Paula, what do you say about that?  I mean, do you think it would be a huge—well, let‘s look at it this way.  If you‘re the prosecutor, if you‘re in Tom Sneddon‘s position, do you want Michael Jackson on that stand or not?

CANNY:  You—if I were the prosecutor, I would wish more than anything for Michael Jackson to get on the stand and testify.  The prosecution would have a field day if he were allowed to testify. 

And—and probably if he testified, he would end up getting convicted.  He would be his own worst enemy, because how could anyone offer an innocent explanation for all of the sort of bad things that have been presented by the prosecution at this point?  It‘s better to just sort of sweep it aside and let this sort of aura of innocence continue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I‘m not...

CANNY:  This thing of pop freakness. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Yes.  I‘m not going to ask predictions here, but at this point, obviously, reports are this case may be winding down in the next week or two.  I want some insights from each of you that have been following the trial. 

Pat, we‘ll start with you.  You‘ve been following it closely.  What‘s the sense out there?  Are things breaking, legally, Michael Jackson‘s way or the prosecution‘s way?

LALAMA:  I think the media sentiment has been, and I hear it constantly, “Oh, my gosh, the defense did so well.  They are really tearing apart these prosecution witnesses.” 

Well, I‘m not so sure.  I think if the jury really stops and looks at all of this evidence—I‘ve said it before, I‘ll say it again.  Predators, and I‘ve studied them closely, will tell you all the time they pick on crazy families.  They don‘t go to Mr. and Mrs. Happy USA Family.  They find the vulnerable kid, the kid who needs help, a role model, perhaps the mothers are whacked, because those are the ones—those are the ones they can get to. 

I think 1108 witnesses could help, the fact that those prior alleged incidents were allowed to come in. 

I think there‘s more to this than meets the eye, and I don‘t think that anyone should constantly listen to the media say that, just because they didn‘t hear a bunch of great sound bites, that the defense has won. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Natasha, what‘s your take right now?

LAPINER-GIRINSKY:  I think jurors take their job very seriously, and I really believe when the people rested, they had not proven this case beyond a reasonable doubt.

And I think now that the defense is putting on their case, they‘re adding even more doubt.  And I think it can be easily argued by the defense afterwards that they have not proven that Michael Jackson molested this young man.  Even though they brought in the prior molestations and accusations of molestations and actions that he committed, in 1993, I just don‘t think they proved it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Paula, we‘ve got to go, but is the prosecution facing an uphill battle?

CANNY:  Well, anytime you‘re proving—trying to put a case on against the King of Pop, you‘ve got an uphill battle.  Nevertheless, they knew that they had this battle before they even started the prosecution.  They‘re getting ready to argue the case of cases.

And so if they present a good argument, Michael Jackson could end up being convicted of this, because remember...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

CANNY:  ... under California Law 288, just requires prurient intent and nominal touching. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat and Natasha, Paula, thank you so much for being with us tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Now, as you know, we‘re in the middle of a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign to protect our children from sexual predators.  And yesterday, Congressman Mark Foley, with Senator Orrin Hatch and John Walsh, introduced the introduction of sweeping legislation to overhaul the nation‘s outdated sex offender laws.

And it wouldn‘t have happened, friends, without you, the viewers of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, sending in your e-mails and making sure that your voices were heard.  And it continues. 

Today Katherine wrote in and said, “We need to speak up and fight this battle for the sake of a child.  I have never been proactive on a lot of issues, but I can not and I will not brush off my son‘s safety.” 

And Rebecca wrote in to us and said, “I‘m just a young mother who wants to help do something about sex offenders.  I e-mail you today for any advice on how to contact my congressman or what to say and do.”

Well, let me tell you what, Rebecca, you can e-mail me at Joe@MSNBC.com.  We‘ll do what we‘ve done before.  We‘ll take your e-mail and all of your e-mails to Capitol Hill.  Make sure they get behind Mark Foley‘s bill, the bill that John Walsh and Orrin Hatch are supporting, and make sure that they no longer allow it to be safe for child molesters to roam our streets. 

And great news, as we head into a family vacation season, Six Flags has added an extra level of protection to visitors with a new message on tickets that says the following: “The amusement park reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone convicted of a sex crime or required to register as a sex offender.” 

You know, Six Flags is the first amusement park to state on its passes or tickets that sex offenders can be denied entry or removed.  Hey, keep up the efforts, Six Flags. 

And ask everybody in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, keep up your efforts, too. 

E-mail us.  We‘ll make a difference together. 

Now, there‘s still a lot more ahead in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.  Military recruiters, they‘re voluntarily leaving campus for a day, but one high school is trying to kick them off for good. 

And then Jerry Springer, the former mayor of Cincinnati, has a passport to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, and no topic is off limits tonight. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s been a politician.  He‘s been a TV talk show host.  He‘s had an opera—an opera written after him.  Now, Jerry Springer has got a radio show on Air America.  We‘ll talk to him in just a second, but first, here‘s the latest news you need to know. 

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I‘m Joe, the only pork I like is bacon, and I‘ve got issues. 

First off, as all my viewers know, I‘ve got issues with congressional pork, and this one is a doozy.  Hold onto your wallets.

Republican Senator Ted Stevens has secured a $1.5 million pork project for Anchorage, Alaska, to build—drum roll, please—a better bus stop.  That‘s right.  The $1.5 million bus stop will replace the one currently in front of Anchorage Museum‘s History of Art. 

According to the Associated Press, the $1.5 million price tag is about 50 times the normal cost of—of bus stop improvements.  It‘s Washington pork at its worst, and we can smell it all the way from Alaska down here, Senator Stevens. 

I‘ve also got issues with the stunts being pulled in the New York mayoral campaign.  According to the “New York Daily News,” Lindsey Lohan, the shrieking 18-year-old star of “Mean Girls,” is expected at a fundraiser for mayor hopeful Gifford Miller later tonight.  Lohan is in New York to host “SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE” this weekend, is a native of Long Island and currently lives in Los Angeles. 

My only question is, what‘s next?  Richard Gere hanging out with a bunch of Nobel laureates?  Oh, wait.  He is. 

And finally I‘ve got issues with people distracting the FBI from the real war on terror.  Yesterday, John Lewis, FBI‘s deputy assistant director for counter-terrorism, told a Senate committee that so-called ecoterrorists like the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front are a top domestic terror threat.  The groups employ arson, bombings, theft, and the FBI said they‘re responsible for 1,200 criminal acts from 1990 to 2004. 

To my ecoterrorist friends, I just say, “Bambi” was a cartoon.  Stop distracting the FBI. 

Tomorrow, the U.S. Army is going to be suspended its recruiting for a day in response to allegations of improprieties by recruiters.  Commanders will take the day to remind 7,500 recruiters of proper conduct. 

Now, at Seattle‘s Garfield High School, the Parent Teacher Student Association has taken its own steps on military recruiting, voting overwhelmingly to adopt a resolution against military recruiting on its campus.  However, the law requires that schools receiving federal funds must release names of students to recruiters. 

Some say this is an invasion of privacy, amplified because of the war in Iraq and the military‘s efforts to increase enlistment.  Others say barring recruiters is an infringement of free speech and a snub to the military. 

So should parents of high school students have the right to keep military recruiters off campus?

With me tonight to talk about it is Garfield High School PTSA chair, Amy Hagopian.  She‘s a mother of three whose son is a senior at the school, and she believes schools, public schools especially, are not places for military recruiters. 

Amy, thank you for being with us tonight.  Tell us, why do you think the military should not be allowed to come on to your son‘s high school campus and try to recruit?

AMY HAGOPIAN, PTSA CHAIR:  Hi, Joe.  Thank you for having me. 

Our PTA has been looking at this issue for quite awhile.  We did a number of investigations, and we had a panel discussion before we took this vote. 

You know, our mission as a PTA is to look out for the health and welfare of our kids and to do what we think is in the best interests of all the students at Garfield. 

We‘re a big diverse school.  A third of our kids are African-American; only 40 percent are Caucasian.  Lots of kids on free and reduced lunch.  We‘re a good target for recruiters, and we feel that the PTA has an obligation to defend those kids from what is often a predatory recruiter. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Amy, do you think that the military is bad for the health and the welfare of these students?  I mean, many people in the past have gotten involved in the military, and they‘ve come out saying that it helped build their character, it kept them off the streets, it made them better people. 

Do you all not see any positive result of young men, young women getting involved in the armed services?

HAGOPIAN:  You know, our PTA did not take a stand against the military.  And in my role as PTA chair, all I can tell you is we took a stand against the recruiting in the school. 

There‘s a recruitment station two blocks away.  We‘re right in the middle of the central area of Seattle, where there are a lot of targets for recruitment.  Kids interested could go down the street. 

But we are a school.  We are a school that wants to provide a safe environment for our kids.  We don‘t want recruiters chasing kids up and down the hall, which they do, to try to convince them to join the military. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Is this—is this a sentiment born out of the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, the war on terror, or is this something that—that you would be doing if America wasn‘t involved in military conflicts across the world?

HAGOPIAN:  You know, I didn‘t bring this issue to the board.  Some other parents did.  My guess is that the war was definitely the backdrop for which this action was taken. 

Our thought, I think, of many of the people who took this vote is that the war in Iraq is a rather failed enterprise.  It‘s a rather pointless exercise.  It has nothing to do with the downing of the Twin Towers in New York. 

And furthermore, we probably entered this war illegally.  We are violating Geneva Conventions.  We went in under false pretenses.  And I don‘t understand why they need my kid to go kill or die, for what?

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Amy.  I think you answered my question in part.  We appreciate you being with us, Amy Hagopian.  We greatly appreciate it. 

I‘ll tell you, it‘s a fascinating story.  This is happening obviously on college campuses across America also.  Now starting to happen on high school campuses. 

We‘re going to hear a lot more about it in the coming weeks and months, and years, especially since the Army, the Marines are having trouble meeting their recruitment numbers. 

Moving on, his life story reads like a definition of the American dream.  Born in London after his parents fled the Holocaust, Jerry Springer was 5 years old when he came to America. 

He worked on Bobby Kennedy‘s campaign.  He went on to become mayor of Cincinnati at 33 and then made a move to television, first as a reporter, and then as a host of “The Jerry Springer Show.” 

He‘s now got his own radio show, and he‘s about to tell us if he plans to run for governor or senator in his home state of Ohio. 

Jerry, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, and what‘s the answer? 

Are you going to jump back in politics?

JERRY SPRINGER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Oh, I don‘t know.  Right now, honestly, I‘m concentrating on the radio.  I started the radio program about four months ago, and it was a local program.  But then all of a sudden, it got picked up nationally. 

So I didn‘t realize it would kind of take off, and I‘m really enjoying doing this.  This is a wonderful platform.  I don‘t know that I want to give this up.  So...

SCARBOROUGH:  Jerry, what do you think, though?  You are dodging it.  It sounds like you‘re a politician.  So Ohio voters, prepare for the second coming of Jerry Springer. 

SPRINGER:  No. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to ask you—I‘m going to walk over you on this one, because I think we‘re going to see you running. 

I wanted to ask you, though, you talk about the radio show.  I thought it was very interesting that—that there were some Air America—fellow Air America hosts who had—I wouldn‘t say snotty, but rather snippy things to say about you.  It sounded like Al Franken wasn‘t really happy that you jumped on his network.  Why?

SPRINGER:  Well, you know, I think the reputation of the television show would make one think, gee, is this guy really going to be talking about politics and issues that, you know, concern Americans?

But all of that—that‘s fine.  All that was said before I started this program.  But now that I‘ve been on four months, I think people seem pretty happy with it. 

We certainly had me getting a nice response.  And we‘re not just getting, you know, people left of center listening and calling the show.  I get a lot of calls from conservatives, and I appreciate that.  I think we have to have a more civil dialogue in America.  I think we‘re paying the consequences of the rancor right now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and I‘ll tell you what, I respect when you come on this show, when I talked to you personally, I think at the Democratic convention, you do seem to be somebody that has very strong beliefs.  But you‘re willing to reach across the aisle, not like the people that we‘re seeing right now, but to reach across the aisle and try to, at least, find a way we can compromise. 

Now, there‘s a VH1 documentary that‘s called “When Jerry Springer Ruled the World,” and most of the guests on your TV show come from an area of the country known affectionately as the Springer Triangle.  You‘ve got to tell us—I see that the Redneck Riviera is in there.  What is this Springer Triangle?

SPRINGER:  It‘s kind of like SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, you know.  It‘s—it‘s a slice of America. 

You know, the TV—before we started our television show, which was, what, 15 years ago, American television, let‘s be honest, pretty much was upper middle class white.  That‘s the only thing you saw in American television, upper middle class white. 

If you were of a minority, you were put on one of the side networks.  If you were of color, you had to be a doctor living in the suburbs, like Cosby, but it was just one perspective. 

I think the outrage when our television show first hit the air waves was that we had never seen people like this on television, and yet it is a... 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s fair to say.  I was going to say, that‘s fair to say.  Hey, Jerry, stay with us.  We‘re going to be back in just a minute. 

I‘ll tell you what, it‘s still fascinating, and I know that my family will be pleased to know that we‘re in the middle of the Springer Triangle.

But before we go to break, let‘s play a classic clip from “The Jerry Springer Show.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

SPRINGER:  There‘s another member of the family now that has an opinion of this.  Let‘s bring out Jim.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  You‘re watching SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, part of the best prime time in cable news: Matthews, Olbermann, Scarborough.  MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re back with the man who really doesn‘t need any introduction, Jerry Springer. 

Now Jerry, you and I have a lot in common.  We‘ve both been in politics.

SPRINGER:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  We both have our own TV show, both have our own radio show.  You‘ve got an opera.  I don‘t have an opera yet, but I‘m planning on having an opera soon. 

SPRINGER:  You‘ve got to get on it, Joe.  You‘ve just got to get on it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m a loser.  I‘m a 3-D loser. 

But I think we—I think where we divert is when we start talking about politics, like, for instance, what‘s going on in Washington, D.C., right now with the filibuster. 

I look at what‘s going on up there, and I think people like Pat Leahy, I think they‘re being hypocritical.  In ‘98, they were saying, “Hey, listen, you never use a filibuster to block judicial nominees.”  Now they‘re saying that we‘re shredding the Constitution if Democrats don‘t have the filibuster. 

What‘s your take?

SPRINGER:  I don‘t know that it‘s shredding the Constitution.  I just think here is a perfect opportunity for President Bush to really be the uniter, to really be a national leader, in a sense, to be what I believe Ronald Reagan would have been in this situation. 

What is wrong with the notion of saying, “OK, let‘s find some nominees

·         let‘s find some nominees that both parties, that the whole country really can live with, not someone way to the right, not someone way to the left, but this is a lifetime appointment.” 

If he would reach over and say, “OK, I‘ll give you some nominees that you can live with,” wouldn‘t that—I mean, the whole country would say, “You know what?  There is someone who is trying to unite this country.”  Remember, these are lifetime appointments. 

For the Republicans at this point to say, “We‘re in the majority, so we get to choose whoever we want,” the problem with that is, these are lifetime appointments. 

What happens—let‘s say the Democrats the next election become the majority party or the next two elections.  These guys that are appointed to a lifetime appointment, they don‘t suddenly give up their seat.  They‘re there.

So since we want an independent judiciary, how about reasonableness?  Let him reach out.  People would applaud the president.  They‘d say, that‘s so much like Ronald Reagan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But you know...

SPRINGER:  Country should come before party.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Jerry, though, you jokingly talk about the Springer Triangle.  I talk about SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Most of those people, though, in middle America really like George W. Bush. 

What advice would you offer to Democrats who just—I mean, let‘s face it.  Democrats get—Democrats get routed in the Springer Triangle. 

SPRINGER:  Sure. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Get routed in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  If you had any advice to Democrats right now, what would it be for them to reconnect?

SPRINGER:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s about party.  I don‘t think—first of all, I don‘t think we should get personal with George Bush.  I‘m prepared to say, he‘s a lovely man.  You know, he seems like a nice guy.  I think he‘s hurtful to America in terms of his policies, but I would never personally attack him. 

I think the argument is, look, most Americans really—here‘s what I believe the Democratic Party should stand for.  The Democratic Party should stand for security and then leave us alone. 

Security in terms of not just security in terms of terrorism, but security in terms of economic security, educational security, health security.  I promise you, 99.9 percent of us are going to die one day because of a medical emergency or disease.  Many more than are going to die from a terrorist act. 

So if you really want to secure America, let‘s make sure all Americans have health insurance.  Let‘s make sure all Americans have a decent education so that they can—so that they can compete in today‘s economy. 

If that is the emphasis, and that‘s what Democrats stand for and say to the government, stay out of our private life, give us security, and then leave us alone.  Don‘t tell us who we can marry.  Don‘t tell us what our church should be.  Don‘t tell us what we should believe in terms of personal relationships.  Don‘t tell us what church we should go to.  Leave us alone in our private lives.  Just give us security, that‘s what the government is for. 

If that‘s what the Democrats would stand for, I think the Democrats would start winning elections again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, it seems like Democrats are scared of their own shadow, for the most part.  I mean, they‘re fighting George W. Bush on the filibuster right now. 

But you start talking about national defense—I believe very strongly, and most people in the Springer Triangle believe very strongly that Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terror, they‘re absolutely critical.  People outside of the Springer Triangle don‘t believe that. 

SPRINGER:  I don‘t know. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t.  You don‘t believe that, but I want to ask you a question.  You can respond to that...

SPRINGER:  Joe, I don‘t think the American people believe that anymore. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second, Jerry, and you can respond.  But another part of that, though, if that‘s what Democrats believe, if that‘s John—what John Kerry believes, why don‘t they come out and say it?

SPRINGER:  OK.  Well, first of all, I don‘t think most Americans believe that the war we started in Iraq has anything to do with our national security anymore.  Just look at the poll numbers.  I mean, President Bush right now is not very popular at all, and certainly the war isn‘t. 

Fighting the war in Afghanistan made sense.  That had to do with defending America and going after the people that attacked us.  That made sense. 

But starting a war in Iraq after we had Saddam Hussein stopped was senseless.  And we‘re paying for that, and it‘s made us more vulnerable. 

I do believe that‘s what most Americans believe.  We have to be able to articulate it.  But I don‘t think there‘s any connection now, any connection now about what we‘re doing in Iraq and making America safer. 

We have put a bull‘s eye on the back of every American that travels abroad now.  There‘s a civil war in Iraq.  We created chaos in Iraq.  And when there is chaos, I promise you, a strong leader is going to move in.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.

SPRINGER:  And that strong leader is going to be someone in cahoots with Iran.  That‘s what we‘ve created. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Jerry Springer, that‘s all the time we have. 

I wish I had time to respond. 

SPRINGER:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  I appreciate you being here, as always.  We‘ll be right back in a second.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  If you want to get involved in our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign, you want to find out what‘s going on in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, check out my web site at Joe.MSNBC.com. 

Stick around, we‘re going to be talking about “The Amish Life.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You remember “The Amish Life”?  I think it was on for about a week, maybe three or four days. 

Well, after watching “The Amish Life,” I had some serious questions.  If you‘re anything like me, sometimes you sit awake at night and you wonder, what in the world happens if the Amish need to get something from a super store?  I mean, would it even be possible?  Would there be buggy parking?

Hmmm.  Let‘s see.  Buggy parking for Amish.  Well, my friends, wonder no more, because now there‘s even a Wal-Mart that caters to Amish nation. 

That‘s right, a Wal-Mart has just opened up in Middlefield, Ohio, geared towards Amish.  They‘ve got fabrics, just in case you have to make your own clothes, and blocks of ice, instead of crushed, of course. 

And best of all, ample parking for buggies, with 37 -- count them my Amish friends—wait, the Amish don‘t have TV sets, do they? Anyway, tell your Amish friends they‘ve got 37 hitching posts at this Wal-Mart. 

And you can rest easy, children, and sleep tonight, knowing that Wal-Mart even cares for those in the Amish community. 

Hey, that‘s all we have for tonight‘s show.  Make sure to watch Imus tomorrow morning.  His guest, Pat O‘Brien, fresh out of rehab.  I‘ve got a feeling you‘re not going to want to miss that one.

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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