updated 5/24/2005 8:41:41 AM ET 2005-05-24T12:41:41

Guest: Mark Foley, Russell Kirshy, Ric Robinson, Mike Allen, Tony Perkins

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Welcome to our show. 

Big news tonight.  Earlier, you had—on both sides, you had Republicans and Democrats coming together in the United States Senate to avert a filibuster showdown. 

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

In a Senate that‘s increasingly polarized, the bipartisan center held

·         those words from Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman.  And “The New York Times” reporting tonight that “Senators reach a deal to avert showdown on judicial nominees.”  I‘m reading from the top of “The New York Times.”  “An evenly divided bipartisan group of 14 senators said tonight they had reached an agreement that would avert a potentially explosive vote on Tuesday on banning filibusters against judicial nominees.”

And this, the lead tonight from “The Washington Post”—“Senators reach deal on filibuster.  Small group reports compromise to avoid showdown over judicial nominees.”

Let‘s go straight now to MSNBC chief Washington correspondent Norah O‘Donnell.  We‘re also going to be talking to NBC congressional correspondent Chip Reid and ask them what happened tonight and why it happened and who the big winners and losers are.  

We go first to Norah O‘Donnell.

Norah, give us the rundown.  What happened? 

NORAH O‘DONNELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, tonight, Senator John McCain and his office brought together these 14 senators, this bipartisan band of senators, who reached a deal.

And Senator McCain, in announcing the compromise, said the Senate won; the country won.  These 14 senators agreed together that it was time to avert a nuclear showdown in the Senate.  And so they agreed to no longer filibuster some judges, except in extraordinary circumstances.  And, in return, the Republicans would not vote for the so-called nuclear option. 

These senators said that the agreement was in many ways built on trust.  Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said that he was disappointed by the deal, made it clear very quickly that he was not party to the deal and, at the same time, said that this deal would have to be monitored very closely in the future.  But, at the end of the day, this may be seen as a win for Senator John McCain, who crafted this deal and is running for president in 2008.

And some may view it as a blow to Republican Majority Leader Frist, who had staked a lot of his reputation on delivering this to many conservative groups who believe that the Democrats have unfairly blocked the president‘s judicial nominees—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Chip Reid, you know, former Senator Paul Simon from Illinois once said, in Washington, sometimes, when you win, you lose, and sometimes, when you lose, you win.  Could John McCain be sorry three years from now when he‘s going through the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire that he struck this deal? 

CHIP REID, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, he certainly could be. 

You know, the announcement has already been made from those locales that they‘re going to be out to get him.  They are very much opposed to anything he‘s going to do down the line as far as running for president, they said, if he actually brokers this deal.  And he did.  John McCain is not one to take threats lightly.  He basically ignores them.

And it‘s something that you could see the determination building in him to do this, as he was receiving these threats not to do it.  But I think Norah is absolutely right that John McCain is probably the big winner here, because I think, you know, he‘s always run on kind of that maverick moderate electoral base, if there is such a thing out there anyway. 

I also think the big winner here is this whole group of 14 senators and maybe even moderation in the Senate itself.  You know, moderation and compromise and reaching across the aisle were all but declared dead in the Senate just a short time ago.  And you now have this shining example of people being able to get things done, at least temporarily, and by reaching across the aisle. 

Now, I say temporarily, because, I tell you, it really is hard to imagine a scenario where the Democrats would filibuster under what they call extraordinary circumstances in the future.  I think that would be a Supreme Court nominee and to have Republicans then agree with that.  So, if George Bush does nominate a very conservative person for the Supreme Court when there is an opening, the Democrats decide, wow, this is extraordinary circumstances, can you really imagine the Republicans saying, yes, you‘re right? 

No, I think it would probably break down at that point and we‘d be right back at the same point we were earlier today and the nuclear option would be very much an option once again. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Norah O‘Donnell, do you have a feeling, do you have a sense that the White House considers this a big loss tonight or are they going to just sit back and wait and see what happens? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, the president‘s spokesman, Scott McClellan, is saying that this is progress being made, that some of the president‘s judges will finally get an up-or-down vote.

But, at the same time, the White House making clear, though, that they expect to continue to push for an up-or-down vote on all of the president‘s nominees, so, at the same time, noting that all the president‘s should get this particular vote.  But I think Chip makes an interesting point, which is that the battle is not over.  I think that there‘s an initial sense from this big victory and perhaps celebration that‘s going on, on Capitol Hill that a showdown has been averted and that all is going to be hunky-dory in the Senate.

And that may not be the case, because, of course, there are still more judges that are going to come up.  There‘s still probably a future Supreme Court nominee.  And, as one senator expressed to me earlier this week, in some ways, this deal, while a good thing, may in fact kick the ball down the road just a little bit further, because, as Chip was saying, when they get to this point about extraordinary circumstances, how are they going to find agreement once again? 

And these senators, they said, well, this agreement is built on trust and other things, but we know it may be difficult for them in the future. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Trust only lasts so long on Capitol Hill. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, we‘re showing a picture of this press conference from earlier tonight.  And we‘re showing—Robert Byrd is on there, by chance.  I‘ve got to tell you something.  There aren‘t a lot of people on Capitol Hill that makes Republicans that vote in primaries in presidential campaigns see red more than Robert Byrd.  Maybe Ted Kennedy. 

And also Harry Reid, he‘s not a guy that, again, a lot of Republicans in primaries are fond of.  Listen to what Harry Reid, the Senate minority leader, said earlier this evening. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER:  We have sent President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the radical arm of the Republican base an undeniable message.  Abuse of power will not be tolerated. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘ve got to say, Chip, on Capitol Hill, if you‘re scoring these things—and I‘ll tell you what.  As you know, everybody scores everything that happens on Capitol Hill every day—this has to be seen as a win for the Democrats and a loss for George W. Bush.  I mean, is that a fair take? 

REID:  It‘s hard to say. 

You know, I mean the Democrats do appear to have won in one sense.  And that is that the right to filibuster is still on the table and they did succeed in blocking a couple of these judges.  But if you wanted to be contrary for a moment, you could look at it a different way.  And that is that the three most controversial nominees, the ones the Democrats really wanted to stop, and that‘s Owen, Pryor, and Brown, all get through under this deal. 

And you have to ask, is the filibuster really on the table here, because the only way the Democrats can filibuster in the future is if there are extraordinary circumstances?  And the only way they would have a successful filibuster, I think, is if the Republicans agreed that it was extraordinary circumstances.  So, it‘s not clear that they have really won any permanent right to keep the filibuster on judicial nominations, and they lost the three nominees they were really trying to block. 

I think the left-wing groups are going to be pretty upset about this.  Now, I did talk to one of the senior Democratic aides a short time ago.  He said, look, we‘ve talked to them.  There are no surprises here.  The left-wing groups knew what was coming.  We don‘t have nearly as much trouble with our left-wing groups as the Republicans have with their right-wing groups, because they‘re going to be very mad at Bill Frist. 

But I think there‘s going to be a lot of anger on both sides.  I don‘t think it‘s real clear that the Democrats or Harry Reid or Bill Frist or the Republicans, I don‘t think it‘s clear at this point who the winners are.  It really depends on what happens down the road, because we may just have postponed this reckoning. 

O‘DONNELL:  Joe, and that‘s an interesting point that Chip makes.  And, in many ways, there are groups saying now that this undermines, in fact, the argument that Senate Democrats have made for some time.

The Committee For Justice, which is led by C. Boyden Gray, has put out a statement tonight where they say, the fact that Senate Democrats are willing now to allow a cloture vote on Owen, Brown and Pryor indicates that conservative judicial philosophy position be considered the basis for a filibuster or—quote—“an extraordinary circumstance.”

REID:  Right. 

O‘DONNELL:  So, their point being that, well, the Democrats have been arguing philosophically they could never vote for these people and yet some of them may have perhaps abandoned that principle.  Expect that to be the argument that we hear from these groups in the coming days. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I think you‘re right, Norah.  I think it‘s a great point.  Thank you for being with us, Norah O‘Donnell. 

Also, thank you, Chip Reid, on Capitol Hill.  Greatly appreciate your time tonight on what we all have to agree is a fairly extraordinary moment in the United States Senate. 

Let‘s move now to Tony Perkins.  Tony is the head of the Family Research Council. 

Tony, thank you so much for being with us tonight by phone. 

I appreciate you calling quickly.  I know there are a lot of people out there that want to know what your take is on this.  We‘ve heard a lot of Republicans saying this is a great day for the Senate.  This is a great day for America. 

Do the conservative groups that, in the end, elect Republicans in primaries, do they see this as a great win for the Republican Party or do they see it as a great win for America? 

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL:  Well, I think, Joe, Chip had it right.  I think this is temporary. 

If I had to characterize this, it‘s justice delayed.  But the American people, and I believe these nominees will ultimately get their day in court.  We‘re going to be right back here when we get before the—when we have a United States Supreme Court nominee before the United States Senate.  But nothing was definitive here in the decision. 

We‘ve got a handful of Republicans who I believe have sold out the leadership and prefer to stay in the land of indecision than doing the work of the American people and the work of the United States Senate by voting up or down on these judges. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Tony, Tony Perkins, you—obviously, you work very close with James Dobson, a man who was named one of the most powerful evangelicals in America by “TIME” magazine a few months ago. 

James Dobson came out and attacked those Republicans that were striking a deal.  I would guess that Dr. Dobson and a lot of conservatives are angry that, tonight, on the eve of a vote where Republicans claim they had the 51 votes needed to pass this bill, that John McCain right now is not looking very strong among conservative evangelicals if he decides to run for president in 2008. 

PERKINS:  Well, I don‘t think he ever did, to be quite honest. 

But I think who really potentially is harmed by this are guys like Lindsey Graham and DeWine from Ohio that were a part of this compromise.  And so, clearly, it appears that these handful of Republicans did not want to did not want to follow the leadership and they wanted to stay in this land of indecision. 

But the flip side of this, Joe, is that there is some positive news, is that, you know, you have Owen.  You have Pryor.  You have Brown, who were the candidates, by the way, who we were most concerned about, because there was a pattern emerging that these were being filibustered because of their deeply held personal beliefs, in particular on the issue of abortion.  They now have passed the test apparently and will get up-or-down votes on the floor of the United States Senate. 

When we get to the Supreme Court nominee, they‘re going to have a hard time filibustering if it‘s a person that is along the same lines. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, in the end, that‘s what this battle is all about, isn‘t it, that George Bush‘s possibly one, possibly two Supreme Court nomination that‘s he‘s going to be able to take a swing at this summer? 

PERKINS:  I think so. 

I mean, this was—this was a dance to set the parameters for what that debate was going to be about.  And I think the Republicans hurt themselves, at least this handful hurt themselves to some degree.  However, I would say the upside of this is, this was not a definitive decision today.  The jury is still out.  We‘ll be back here in a few months, but we have established something that I think is very important.  Owen, Pryor, and Brown are acceptable nominees. 

All right.  Thanks so much, Tony Perkins.  Greatly appreciate it. 

Just let me sum this up for you.  Let me tell you all what is happening here.  And, again, I know John McCain.  I‘ve got great respect for him.  But the second I saw the press conference, the second I saw him come out and deliver his speech talking about how he was above the fray and this was a great day for the United States Senate in America, I knew what it was all about.  It‘s about 2008. 

You‘ve got John McCain, who understands that Bill Frist is running for president of the United States in 2008 and those two are going to be choosing up sides.  Tonight, John McCain decided he was not going to have the evangelical Christian conservative vote.  Make no mistake of it.  Tonight, he forfeited that vote.  If you don‘t believe me, just wait and see what happens in the coming days.  Maybe he never had it, as Mr. Perkins said. 

Bill Frist, he‘s a perfect example of what former Illinois Senator Paul Simon said back upon his retirement, that the one thing he learned in Washington, D.C., is, sometimes, when you lose, you win.  Tonight, Bill Frist is not a happy man, but tonight Bill Frist won big time when it came to those conservative Republican voters who end up picking Republican candidates to run their party. 

We‘ll be right back in a second with a lot more in SCARBOROUGH

COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A historic decision tonight on Capitol Hill.  Is it the start of something new?  Is it the start of a new center that will guide the U.S. Senate and Congress in the coming weeks, months and years?  We‘ll talk about that when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  As we‘ve been talking about tonight, some dramatic developments on Capitol Hill.

In a Senate that‘s increasingly polarized, the bipartisan center held, that coming from Democratic Senator from Connecticut Joe Lieberman.  Lindsey Graham said—quote—“The Senate is back in business.”

And I‘ve been talking about presidential politics and telling you that, as far as conservative politics goes, in the Republican primaries, I personally think this is a loss for John McCain, a win for Bill Frist.  But when it comes to just pure power and statesmanship, there‘s no doubt about it, that, tonight, certainly in the eyes of Washington and in the eyes of the political world, John McCain is the force to be reckoned with. 

Now let‘s go to Mike Allen.  He‘s a reporter for “The Washington Post.”  He‘s been covering this story closely for months.  And anybody that follows Mike and knows what he does, the guy is as wired as anybody in Washington, D.C.

So, Mike, I‘ve been talking about presidential politics.  Why don‘t you talk about what‘s been actually happening in the United States Senate?  Talk about these 14 moderates that stepped out tonight and some would say made history. 

MIKE ALLEN, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Yes, well, good evening, Joe. 

And these moderates did something that the leaders were not willing to do.  And you made a little news there with your interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.  I thought it was quite fascinating that he was looking at the bright side of this agreement or at least some of the benefits of it. 

This came together very quickly.  I think you‘ll agree with me, Joe.  People you were talking to today didn‘t think this would happen.  And over the weekend, there were some conversations among the senators.  But it seemed like the Republicans—Democrats have been saying all along that the Republicans would not bring this up if they did not have the votes, and so that they figured that they would.

Now, I talked to Senator Lieberman, who we just saw on your air a few minutes ago.  I talked to him how this came together.  He said, the last draft that they had, it had a time stamp on it.  It was 4:27.  He said the last—they fixed one typo.  And the last change that they made in it was a phrase where they talked about the spirit of this agreement and what would cause Republicans to resist future rule changes. 

And he said, they changed it to put it in a more positive way.  He said, the language they‘d been using before was too negative.  Now, Joe, you‘ve been watching this debate.  That‘s kind of amusing, right, given the other rhetoric that‘s been going on here, because it was sort of a contest between the two sides to describe how high the stakes are. 

Senator Kennedy has a great sense of history.  He was one of the few senators who was in the chamber when this debate started last week.  He said he just wanted to be there.  And he said that the relevance of the Senate to people‘s lives was at stake, that, if Democrats could not stop this, that they would not be able to do anything against the Republicans. 

So, they finished this last draft; 5:30, there was a vote.  They got together.  They talked one last time.  Now, around 7:30, word got around that there was going to be an announcement.  And, at that very moment, tons of people were at the Ronald Reagan Building over here waiting for Senator McCain to show up there to make a few remarks before the premiere of the movie, the A&E movie about his memoir, “Faith of Our Fathers.”

So, there was a big cocktail party going on there.  And you saw people‘s cell phones start to come out.  And you saw Senator McCain on the screens, but not talking about the movie, talking about this deal.  So, it was clear he was going to be a little late to his premiere. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the thing is, I want to talk about the Democrats that took part in the deal, because I‘ve been talking about the Republicans and how these moderates angered their base. 

Certainly, on the Democratic side, Democrats that came together to put Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, very, very conservative judges, to put them through, have not made any friends.  Let‘s talk about Nelson, Lieberman, Pryor, Byrd, Landrieu, Salazar, and Inouye.  Any surprises there for you, Mike Allen?  I mean, obviously, Nelson and Lieberman have been known for some time as being moderates.

But are you surprised that Robert Byrd was in there, that Daniel Inouye from Hawaii was in there? 

ALLEN:  You put your finger on some interesting names. 

And Senator Byrd—on both sides, they‘ve been saying the people who were going to stop this were institutionalists and people who had been here, the old bulls, as they call them.  That‘s why you saw Senator Warner of Virginia as a part of this.  And, of course, Senator Byrd been here longer than anyone. 

I was in the chamber today when he gave his speech, giving his views about this.  He walked in using a cane.  He had a script, but he diverted from it from some points.  He talked about how the role of faith was increasingly driving decisions.  And he begged the leaders to come back from this precipice, as he called it.  And he invoked the names of some leaders in the past.  And he said that he knows how they would have voted.  So, you can see why he was there.  Senator Nelson...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And he was very—obviously very, very passionate about it, as Robert Byrd always is whenever he talks about the history of the U.S. Senate. 

Let‘s bring in Norah O‘Donnell and talk.

Norah, talk presidential politics in 2008, obviously something that you‘ve been following for quite some time, presidential politics.  How does this play into 2008? 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, there‘s lots of interesting implications for 2008.  The most simple is that Senator McCain is a potential nominee in 2008, as is Senator Frist.  And people may look at this and see that this is a win for Senator McCain and a loss for Senator Frist. 

But, at the same time, many of the conservative groups that help decide who the nominee will be in the Republican Party have been opposed to a compromise, so would largely be angry with Senator McCain for reaching such a compromise.  At the same time, you see groups like Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council, who you just had on, praising that at least some progress was made. 

So, I think this will still have to play out.  But, at the same time, Frist, who has been increasing his profile lately, has largely staked his reputation.  He‘s garnered a lot of press nationally over this particular issue and was unable to deliver on the so-called nuclear option.  At the same time, tonight, on the Senate floor, he made very clear that he believes with this option, with this agreement, all options still remain on the table, including the constitutional or nuclear option and that this could be sort of kicked down the road a little bit, if you will.

If there‘s disagreement in the future between the two parties, for instance, on a Supreme Court nominee, this may come up again. 

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

Mike Allen with “The Washington Post,” appreciate you being here tonight, sharing your insight. 

Coming up next, more news from Washington, D.C., to middle America, an 8-year-old miracle girl buried alive, but yet found by authorities.  Those details—very inspirational story—those details coming up in just a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We were the first to show you the video on Friday, a brutal bus beating, of course, in Florida.  But tonight, we give you the rest of the story and explain what set the bus driver off.  That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns. 

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

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  First to bring you the shocking video of the fight between a school bus driver and two brothers, 13 and 15 years old.  It happened last Tuesday in Punta Gorda, Florida, but now we want to show you more of it. 

The bus driver says the children on the bus were out of control.  He says he tried to get them to behave, and when they didn‘t, he called the cops.  Watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now get up here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

(SHOUTING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey.  Hey.  You better get off him!  Get off him! 

Get off him!  Get off him!  Get off!  Get off!  (INAUDIBLE)  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You are going to hit him. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Sit down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Try me.  Try me.  I swear to God I‘ll knock your glasses right off your face.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, the two boys were placed under house arrest, pending charges.  The bus driver was suspended without pay, pending charges. 

But, earlier this evening, the 13-year-old was released from house arrest.  His brother, who is 15, is still under house arrest.  He‘s the one who punched the driver. 

With me now is the boy‘s attorney.  He‘s Russell Kirshy.  And also Ric Robinson, a former police officer.  And he‘s the author of “Cop: The Truth Behind the Badge.”

Russell, you‘ve been in court all day.  Tell me exactly where we stand right now.  What‘s the latest? 

RUSSELL KIRSHY, ATTORNEY FOR TEENS:  Well, this afternoon, the judge took Corey off of home detention and allowed him to just remain free with his parents.  Mark remains on home detention for, at this point, another 16 days. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Why did they take the 13-year-old off home detention? 

KIRSHY:  Well, on the video, you can see that there‘s some eyewitnesses there.  One of the eyewitnesses testified at the hearing today that Corey never touched the bus driver at any time during this bus ride.  And, as a result of that testimony, the admission of the videotape into evidence and the probable cause affidavit, the judge determined that there was not enough probable cause to believe that Corey committed a crime at all. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The 15-year-old said—used vulgarity, to say the least, used profanity toward the bus driver and some would even say provoked the bus driver.  Is that a fair way to characterize what happened before that videotape started rolling? 

KIRSHY:  Actually, we don‘t know what happened before the videotape started rolling, because the sheriff‘s department has not released it to us.  We have 40 seconds of videotape and that‘s really all we can judge. 

At this point, when you look at the videotape, during the time prior to the bus driver losing his composure, the boys hadn‘t been disruptive.  They hadn‘t been yelling or doing anything wrong. 

(CROSSTALK)

RIC ROBINSON, FORMER STATE TROOPER:  That‘s patently false, Russell. 

That‘s not true at all. 

You see this bus driver having to pull his bus to the side of the road because these kids are so disruptive.  They wouldn‘t put on their seat built, which is a regulation in that district.  Every kid is supposed to have a seat belt on if it‘s a bus that has seat belts.  He pulls over.  He also had already called the sheriff‘s department.  That client of yours, that little slope head, decided that he wasn‘t going to put on his belt.

And the driver did of course what he should have done.  He went to the back of the bus to confront the kid.  And then the older boy got right in that guy‘s face.  And as Albert Taylor, the bus driver, turned around, he‘s got this little guy coming at him cursing.  Now, I‘m not going to defend the actions of the bus driver.  He shouldn‘t have hit him.  I‘ve been a schoolteacher for five years and a state trooper for 25 years.

I hope I wouldn‘t react that way, but to turn around and have somebody coming at you.  And all the bleeping was your client, not the bus driver.  I can understand why he at least took the first action he did, but grabbing the kid around the throat, I think that‘s indefensible. 

(CROSSTALK)

KIRSHY:  I agree with you on the last point.  My only thought is, if you called the sheriff‘s department, you need that intervention, what are you doing getting involved in a physical altercation or even approaching the children? 

(CROSSTALK)

KIRSHY:  Leave them alone.  Wait for the cops to arrive. 

ROBINSON:  Well, the last thing you should do, I think, to begin with is call the police under the circumstances as they were initially.  For him to get up out of his chair and go back there and tell that child either put on his belt or come up to the front of the bus and the kid is defying him, that‘s what we‘re seeing with children all across the country.  That‘s what teachers are seeing across the classroom. 

There‘s a teacher assault every seven minutes in the United States.  I don‘t think it‘s fair for any school personnel, whether it‘s a bus driver or a cook or a teacher, to be in fear for their safety.  Those kids were out of control.  And now, you know, the United States is now seeing what teachers are talking about, little darlings who won‘t do what they‘re told to do, who have no respect whatsoever for anybody or anything.  And that‘s what I saw from your clients. 

They should have been charged with felonies because it is a felony to assault school personnel. 

(CROSSTALK)

KIRSHY:  Except that Corey never touched anybody.  And he shouldn‘t have been charged with a crime at all.  Maybe you want to argue about Mark. 

We can argue about Mark 

ROBINSON:  They committed an offense.  They violated the law.

KIRSHY:  But Corey never touched anybody.  He doesn‘t deserve to be charged with a crime.

ROBINSON:  They did what they were supposed to do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to have to leave it there, Ric. 

ROBINSON:  The police officers charged him because it was a criminal act.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Ric Robinson, thanks so much.

Russell Kirshy, thank you.  We greatly appreciate you being with us tonight. 

KIRSHY:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now to another story that everybody‘s talking about.  And I don‘t know what it is about Florida, but this story also out of Florida, but it ends with an amazing will to survive by an innocent 8-year-old miracle girl,  that according to the AP and also some great police work. 

In Lake Worth, Florida, on Sunday, the little 8-year-old girl was taken from her godmother‘s home, raped and left for dead, buried alive.  Police issued an Amber Alert and launched a massive, frantic search.  Seven hours later, after canine units and helicopters failed to find her, police, doing an inch-by-inch ground search found her, barely alive, stuffed into a 30-gallon recycling container, covered with heavy concrete slabs. 

And when she heard police, she started wiggling her fingers in hopes they would see her and know she was alive.  And they did.  Tonight, she‘s in the hospital.  She‘s listed in good condition.  And certainly our prayers in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY are with her, while her alleged attacker, a 17-year-old man who apparently knew the girl, is behind bars. 

Just before we came on the air, we spoke with Chief Bill Smith of the Lake Worth, Florida, Police Department about this incredible story. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF BILL SMITH, LAKE WORTH POLICE CHIEF:  Well, initially, Sergeant Hall called out that he had found her and he let us know that at the command post.

As the investigators moved up to this actual scene, which wasn‘t that far away, when they saw that finger move and called for that medic unit, of course, we knew that the child was alive at that time.  And you could see the—just everybody‘s mood changed.  And the expressions and the joy of knowing this child was alive was just overwhelming. 

We think she had been in this position of being stuffed inside this large trash can head first upside down, with very heavy chunks of concrete piled in on top of her with the top shut on it.  She‘d been in that condition for seven or eight hours.  And we think her condition was deteriorating and she was in serious medical trouble. 

And, in fact, she‘s still in the hospital this evening. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, maybe I need to go back to law school and take a constitutional law class, because, for the life of me, I can‘t figure out why it would be cruel and unusual punishment to execute anybody that tries to kill a little 8-year-old girl that way after raping them. 

Our thanks to Chief Bill Smith for coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and for the great work his men and women are doing down there. 

Now let‘s bring in Clint Van Zandt.  He‘s a former FBI profiler and the founder of LiveSecure.org. 

Clint, this little girl that the AP is calling a miracle girl.

CLINT VAN ZANDT, MSNBC ANALYST:  Yes, absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Have you ever been involved in this type of story and did it have a happy ending like this? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, I‘ll tell you, Joe, I‘ve seen such unhappy endings.  I‘ve seen where we‘ve found little children who have been missing for days and we find them in bags and they‘re dead.

And I‘ve seen FBI agents and police officers on their hands and knees digging in the ground trying to get a victim out.  And this one, I mean, this is an absolute example of the police going the extra mile.  I mean this is a police officer who said:  I don‘t care if I get dirty.  I don‘t care if it‘s nasty.  I don‘t care if it smells . I‘m going in there because I‘m going to turn over every rock.  I‘m going to do everything I have to because that clock, that COUNTDOWN clock is ticking and this child‘s life is in danger. 

And, you know, we‘ve got to split the story into two, Joe.  One is the absolute success story of the police and this little girl living.  Number two is this 17-year-old sociopath in the making.  I mean, this guy sexually assaulted...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Clint, I wanted to ask you about that, because a family friend—I want to ask you about him.

VAN ZANDT:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Because a family friend says the abductor was—quote -

·         “a good person who went crazy because his parents didn‘t want him.” 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Respond to that. 

VAN ZANDT:  I‘ll tell you what, Joe.  Everybody‘s got something to go crazy about.  You know, it‘s, the school did it to me.  The nuns smacked my hands with a ruler.  You know, I wasn‘t breast-fed as a child.  I don‘t care what it is. 

If you want to know what the problem is, I don‘t care if you‘re 17 or 107, look in the mirror, because this 17-year-old man had a choice, and he chose to kidnap, rape, and attempt to murder this child.  You don‘t stick a kid in that barrel upside down and cover in concrete thinking that, well, maybe she‘ll crawl out tomorrow.  That little girl would have been dead if it wouldn‘t have been for that gutsy, smart, do-the-job-right police officer. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Clint, a lot of people are going to say, it‘s a 17-year-old kid.  He made mistakes.  He had an awful background.  We need to give him a second chance, because, everybody, everybody can be reformed.  Everybody can be cured.  Can you cure sex offenders like this 17-year-old boy? 

VAN ZANDT:  Well, let me tell you, Joe.  In my book—and I know no one has been a stronger campaigner to save children than yourself and your program—and anyone who lays a hand on a child, anyone who sexually assaults a child, as far as I‘m concerned, that person should never see the light of day. 

I‘ll tell you what.  You know, if you want to smoke a joint on a street corner, let‘s find community service or something, but let‘s keep those jails for those predators that are out there looking for our children and doing these horrific things to them every day.  One strike, buddy, one strike and you become a ward of the state for the rest of your life.  You made a mistake.  You would have killed that child if it hadn‘t been for that police officer.  I don‘t want him to ever have a chance to do this to another child. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, taxpayers are going to be paying for this guy to live behind bars for 70, 75 years? 

VAN ZANDT:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  And they‘re going to have to, Joe. 

You know, capital punishment is another big issue we have to deal with.  If we say, well, we‘re not that type of society.  We don‘t do cruel and unusual punishment, as you started out talking, that‘s fine then.  You and I will sit down and we‘ll dutifully sign our state and federal tax checks or whatever we have to do every year to keep these monsters off the street. 

Take the nonviolent offenders, find something else to do with them.  But, predators and someone—you know, this guy probably outweighed this little girl by two or three times her size.  And what he did to her, I mean, that is an absolute “Silence of the Lambs” nightmare that he put her through. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It really is, Clint. 

VAN ZANDT:  And she still lived, Joe.   

SCARBOROUGH:  And she still lived.  Raped, buried, left for dead, and she still lives. 

VAN ZANDT:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Clint, stay with us, because we have got another story to talk about, a stunning story.  Taxpayers, you‘re paying for Viagra for sex offenders, paid by you and your federal government.  We‘ll have that story, plus the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign to stop it—when we return. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now to our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign to protect kids. 

Why

are nearly 200 convicted sex offenders, serious convicted sex offenders in New York state alone, getting Viagra paid for by the government?  It‘s because of a loophole in the Medicaid law.  And it‘s been going on now for five years. 

With me to talk about this outrage is Congressman Mark Foley.  He is, of course, from Florida, who just last week introduced a new sex offender legislation bill on Capitol Hill that we‘re following very closely and urging you to support. 

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us tonight. 

REP. MARK FOLEY ®, FLORIDA:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Taxpayers—Mark, you know, you think you‘ve heard it all, but taxpayers are basically being forced to buy Viagra for serious sex offenders.  How does something like this happen and will you stop it? 

FOLEY:  We‘re going to stop it.  It‘s outrageous.  It‘s playing Russian roulette with our kids. 

I‘ll pay to have them chemically castrated, but I‘m not going to pay to sexually enhance their performance on our kids.  This has got to stop.  I applaud Senator Schumer, Senator Clinton for highlighting this.  I‘m going to go to the House floor and try and stop it in all states.  New York may just be the tip of the iceberg.  I‘m certain other states are doing this as well. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mark, you know what bothers me?  I‘ll guarantee you this.  When a comptroller looks at what‘s been happening in the state of Florida, California, Texas, every state across America, you‘re going to find out, because states are required—as you know, states are required to supply Viagra to Medicaid patients who qualify for it. 

So, we know that, in Florida, in California, in Texas, in every other state across America, taxpayers are being forced to pay for Viagra, again, for these people who have assaulted, who have raped our children.  Now, tell me, how quickly can you turn a bill around, drop it on the floor in the House, get it passed there, and what do our viewers need to do to make sure that this outrage is stopped? 

FOLEY:  Well, obviously, you know House protocol.  You can do a suspension bill that can be brought to the floor within a week or two. 

And I think the outrage, collective outrage, on this issue alone will prompt your listeners, your viewers to immediately call their members of Congress, as SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY has done on my bill on sexual predators.  We‘ve received e-mails from around the country applauding the bill and urging how they can get involved. 

So, once again, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is taking the lead on an issue that I know most of your viewers are saying, this can‘t seriously be happening in our country.  And it is.  We‘ll get a bill ready.  I‘m certain the senators will have one as well. 

We‘ve got to get this practice stopped and stopped now, because you‘re actually—listen to what a defense lawyer will probably say if one of these people recommits a crime:  Well, the country gave me the drugs which helped me participate in my next bad behavior.  So, I was lured into taking the drug by the state, then acted out my sexual urges because of the state. 

Maybe a foolproof defense.  We‘ve got to stop it in its tracks. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Congressman, stay with us right now.  I understand this young girl who was raped, who was buried alive, who was left for dead actually comes from your hometown.  We‘re going to talk to you about that.

But, right now, friends, Mark Foley is going to drop a bill on the House floor.  If you‘d like to find out more about that bill, more about what‘s going on in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, check out our Web site at Joe.MSNBC.com.  We‘re going to be tracking the Foley bill.  And, as soon as he drops it, we‘re going to give you all the information, so you can flood Capitol Hill with your phone calls and e-mails.  And we can end this outrage at once. 

We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  So, Congressman Foley, on the day that we find out about this Viagra legislation, that we are funding Viagra for sex offenders, you find out in your hometown, a little 8-year-old girl raped and buried alive.  Talk about that for a minute, if you will. 

FOLEY:  Well, it‘s depressing, Joe.

We have had so many cases in Florida recently where these young children have been violated so grotesquely and then put away like trash.  People wouldn‘t treat their pets like this.  It really depresses me.  Sergeant Mike Hall of the Lake Worth Police Department deserves kudos for, as Dr. Van Zandt said, digging through the trash to try and find hope for that girl‘s parents. 

It‘s just unbelievable, though.  We have seen so many crimes of this type of behavior.  This 17-year-old I pray never walks again, because, if he could treat an 8-year-old with such disregard, he doesn‘t deserve to live himself.  I would rather not feed him for 75 years.  But, certainly, I think, in this particular case, capital punishment would be exactly what the doctor orders. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, thanks so much, Mark Foley.  We greatly appreciate it. 

And, again, we are going to be helping you out in your bill.  We‘re also going to be helping you out in the bill that you are going to be dropping tomorrow, talking about stopping the funding of Viagra for sex offenders.  Just unbelievable. 

Thanks for being with us, Congressman.

FOLEY:  Thanks, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We greatly appreciate it. 

FOLEY:  Thanks very much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s all the time we have tonight for SCARBOROUGH

COUNTRY. 

Make sure to watch Imus tomorrow morning.  He is going to be talking to our good friend Pat Buchanan. 

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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