updated 6/22/2005 10:28:56 AM ET 2005-06-22T14:28:56

Guest: Robert F. Kennedy, B.J. Bernstein, Julia Reed, Ryan Kelly, Hal Bradley, Marc Klaas, Paul Reynolds, Matthew LaPlante, Boyd Matson, Gary Hanson


JODY HAWKINS, MOTHER:  People say that the heavens are closed and God no longer answers prayers.  We are here to unequivocally tell you that the heavens are not closed, prayers are answered and children come home.   


JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  The heavens are listening.  Little boy saved.  After four agonizing days and nights, Boy Scout Brennan Hawkins is found alive.  Tonight's top headline, miracle on the mountaintop. 

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

Found, hungry and thirsty, but 11-year-old Brennan Hawkins is safe.  We are going to take you through the step by step search-and-rescue and talk about the miracle on the mountaintop. 


BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, MOTHER OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  I really want to put my faith and bring Natalee's heart into the community, because I truly feel they share the pain, as we do. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Natalee Holloway's mom takes to the airwaves in Aruba to plead for help.  We're going to have the latest on that search.  Plus, Natalee's uncle is going to be in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tell us how the family is holding up. 

And then, the runaway bride finally speaks up and speaks out.  We are going to get the down-home reaction to Jennifer Wilbanks big-money book contract and her TV interview.  The question is, though, how are they buying it in her hometown? 

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

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, friends, we always hear bad news. 

It seems, every day, we in middle America are bombarded with bad news, either from Washington, D.C., or Los Angeles or across the world.  Well, tonight, we have got some great news.  Got some great developments, also, not so great developments in Aruba.  But let me tell you something.  If a miracle can happen on a mountaintop, it can also happen on an island. 

Let's talk about Aruba first, where Natalee Holloway's mother appeared on Aruban TV pleading for help in finding her daughter.  We are going to talk about that and have an update from a family member later in the show. 

But, first, let's take you out to Utah, the news we have been talking about all day, that we have been hoping about all weekend, as 11-year-old Brennan Hawkins found alive this afternoon, four days after he disappeared from a Boy Scout camp without a trace. 

With us now live from Utah is NBC's Michelle Kosinski.

Michelle, tell us, how did this wonderful story go down? 

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  What a day out here, and, you know, one of extremes, because they were in fifth—the fifth day of searching this landscape, turning up absolutely no sign of this child. 

In fact, I will tell you, the search was now focused here on the river, and you know what that means, not a good sign.  So, you can imagine the thrill, the electricity that went through the ranks of these hundreds of volunteers and families to hear something was found, and that something was Brennan Hawkins.  And, oh, guess what, he is alive and well. 

The 11-year-old boy disappeared from his Scout camp Friday evening.  This afternoon, a volunteer searcher on an ATV spotted him in a spot nobody ever thought he would be found.  This was several miles and over a high ridge from where he disappeared.  They say he was dehydrated, disoriented, but very happy to eat, drink, and smile.  And, within an hour, this kid was listed in excellent condition and good spirits. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Michelle, we don't like to talk about what is going on behind the scenes during these searches, but I can tell you, I heard—and I know you had to hear on the ground also—not a lot of people giving this young man much hope at all as of last night, when we went on the air. 

In fact, by this time, law enforcement authorities—this time last night, law enforcement authorities were actually looking for suspects, trying to figure out what was happening.  And yet, 24 hours later, a remarkable turnaround.  Tell us, how is he doing tonight?  Is he still in the hospital? 

KOSINSKI:  Yes, he is expected to stay there overnight, but he is smiling.  We have video of him waving from the back of an ambulance, kind of shyly smiling. 

You are wondering what's going through his head.  And, yes, there was a sense of dread out here.  People didn't know exactly what to expect, but you know, we said the river was considered to be the culprit out here.  Nobody wants to talk about it.  Nobody wants to say that they don't have a lot of hope yet, but it was really getting to that point in this rough landscape.

And to hear of this, you know, the question is, how did this kid do it?  Because nights out here are rough.  Even in cold weather gear, after about a half-hour, you are saying, I need to get out of the elements.  And this kid was wearing shorts.  He spent four nights out here, temperatures dropping in the 30s.  Many people did not give him much of a chance.  So, you know, we as much as anyone cannot wait to hear his story. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks so much, Michelle.  We greatly appreciate it.  Michelle Kosinski, we appreciate the live report.

And, earlier today, Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds gave a press conference telling the world about the moment young Brennan was found. 


DAVID EDMUNDS, SUMMIT COUNTY SHERIFF:  As soon as they got there, he ate all of the food that they had on them, all the granola bars and everything.  Obviously, extremely hungry.  Downed a bunch of water.  Just great to see that happen.  And the searchers were beside themselves with joy by the time I got up there.

He immediately wanted—after he got a couple of drinks and water and some food, he immediately wanted to play a video game on one of the searcher's cell phones.  So, obviously, not in too bad of shape at all. 

Everyone that went into the woods believed they were going to make a find, both the volunteers and the search-and-rescue operators, and they always do it.  And this is a testament to them, and their diligence, and their faith in getting out there and doing it, even when it seems dismal. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I'll tell you what.  What about having that faith, faith that can move a mountain, or at least bring a little boy back from a mountaintop, when, again, so many authorities out there, the sheriff I spoke with last night, he wouldn't say it on the air, but I know he had to believe, like so many other people in law enforcement believed, that this young boy was dead. 

Well, let me tell you something.  He wasn't.  And today, his grandmother talked about the remarkable recovery of her miracle grandson. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Thanks for everybody.  It's just—this is the greatest outcome we could expect. 

Now, Brennan, what we know, is doing well.  A little dehydrated and cold, but doing well, and it's the greatest news we could get.  And it's a great miracle. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It's a miracle. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That's all I need to say. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It's a miracle. 


SCARBOROUGH:  What a great miracle.  Of course, the grandfather speaking there about his grandson. 

With me now, let's bring in Gary Hanson and Chris Ivy (ph).  They helped set up this search-and-rescue for Brennan and are part of the Garrett Bardsley Foundation.

Gentlemen, I know this has got to be a great day for you. 

Gary, let's start with you.  What did you think the second—the second you found out that your search had yielded this type of result, what we want through your mind? 

GARY HANSON, GARRETT BARDSLEY FOUNDATION:  Well, obviously joy and elation to hear the news.  You know, what else could you feel?  You just feel so good for the Hawkins family to be able to be reunited back with their—their son, so the news is just wonderful news.  And we are excited for them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Gary, this would have never happened if you hadn't stepped up, helped organize this search.  And, of course, we heard that even churches didn't hold services this past weekend in some areas.  I mean, just thousands of people flooded out.  Talk about this search effort, because let me tell you something.

If this search effort hadn't gone the way it did, if you didn't have volunteers from these communities, this young man would never have been found.  Talk about the scope, talk about the scale of it all. 

HANSON:  Well, really, the focus, we really want to keep on Brennan. 

We are glad to have him back. 

But, you know, the real credit goes to all those that would come out here and just give up their time and put in all the effort, people that don't even know the family or Brennan.  And, you know, that is where the credit really goes to.  And, really, we are just—we are just glad that we can help in any way.

And with—with our search and efforts for Garrett, we were fortunate enough to run into some good people to help us learn some search technique and... 


SCARBOROUGH:  Why don't you tell us about that.  Why don't you tell us about young Garrett Bardsley and how that tragedy may have led to this rescue effort, because of what you learned in that search of young Garrett, who obviously went missing last year and was never found?

HANSON:  Well, look, the ability to mobilize and do the things that we have done here came, it stemmed from the search for Garrett.  And we just were incredibly blessed to be able to find the right resources, find the right people.  People just stepped up and helped us.  We had a company out of Salt Lake that did mapping, mapping software, and GPS service.

And they took the time to teach us in how to do technical grid searching with GPSes, and, you know, at no charge.  They just basically took us in and showed us their software and how it's done. 


SCARBOROUGH:  And I will tell you what.  What a great difference, I mean, what a great difference that made, those people volunteering, the citizens coming out and volunteering.  I will tell you what, gentlemen, thank you so much, Gary Hanson and Chris Ivy (ph).  You have made a big difference in the life of this boy and this family.  The entire community and all of America thanks you. 

Now let's move on to National Geographic's Boyd Matson.  He's expert on survival skills.  And also Matthew LaPlante from “Salt Lake City Tribune,” from “The Tribune,” who was also part of the search. 

I want to start with you, Boyd.

Tell us.  You have been out there.  What is it like to go five days without food and water?  And can you even imagine?  Because you have been through it.  Can you even imagine what it would be like for a young 11-year-old boy? 

BOYD MATSON, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC:  Well, I was in a situation where I went 10 days without food or water, although I was able to find water to get me through the 10 days.

But I knew that I was going to be out there 10 days, and I purposely put myself in that situation.  I can't imagine what it's like if you are 11 years old.  You don't know when the end is coming.  You don't know what is going to happen each day.

So, that adds a whole different complexity to this.  And the fact that he got through this without panicking and doing something really stupid, like trying to cross the river or trying to go down—I saw the river, the way it was rushing.  I thought, what if he had gone down there and tried to get a drink.  It would have been very easy to slip in that and have been washed away.

Or the thing most people do is panic and think they have to get in a hurry, and they just start rushing in circles, which gets them further lost into the woods. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Boyd, does the fact that he was a Boy Scout, do you think that may have contributed to him keeping his head, for the things that these kids learn from a very early age?  Could it have saved his life? 

MATSON:  Well, I think exposure to be out in a camping situation, having been in the woods before, lets you know—it gives you a confidence that things don't necessarily have to go bad, that you can survive the night and that you can get through that. 

And I—remembering back to my own Boy Scout experience, I think I was—I think I was 12 when I was an Eagle Scout, so I know that, by that point, you can have a lot of exposure to the outdoors and to the wilderness.  And if you have paid attention, it can help you stay calm and make some right choices. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  What was the mood up there throughout, Matthew? 

Let me bring you in, Matthew LaPlante. 

What was the mood up there throughout?  Obviously, you went up there as a professional, but this also had to be a very personal story for you to cover. 

MATTHEW LAPLANTE, “THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE”:  Well, I suppose that's true. 

I was deeply involved in covering the Garret Bardsley disappearance.  And when I woke up to read our newspaper, to read “The Tribune” and saw this young man's picture in it, I saw the picture of his mother, who looks amazingly like Mrs. Bardsley, you know, it was like experiencing that whole thing over again.

And so, for the parents of that young man, it was also like experiencing that all over again.  And so, yes, for a lot of people on a lot of levels, this was a very—a very personal story. 

SCARBOROUGH:  So, talk about it.  Talk about the expansiveness of the search.  I had asked some previous guests to get into it.  For some reason, they didn't do it. 

Tell us just about how big the search was and how all the communities around this area came together and saved this young boy's life. 

LAPLANTE:  You know, it's a very Utah story.  I am sure it happens other places in the country, but it just—it really seems to hit home here whenever anybody goes missing.

I think of the Bardsley case.  I think of the Lori Hacking case.  People disappear in Utah and the community rallies.  And so, the expansiveness of the case—of the search in this case, we were talking about on Sunday, Father's Day, there was over 3,000 people out in the woods searching for Brennan.               

And that's a heck of a lot of people in those woods. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It's amazing, an amazing story.  Thank you, Matthew, so much.  We appreciate it. 

Also, Boyd Matson, greatly appreciate you being with us. 

Friends, that really is—that's the story here.  When communities get together, when people decide that they are going to put themselves second and put somebody else's needs first, you can really, really make the difference in people's lives.  A remarkable event happened tonight—or today—on a mountaintop.  And, again, it's all because this community came together and dared to make a difference, never gave up.  And what a great lesson that is for all of us tonight. 

Coming up next, speaking of lessons, but, in this case, a lesson not learned, the runaway bride speaks and her hometown is listening.  What do they think about her prime-time TV interview?  We will find out.  We will also ask what they think about all the cash she is going to get. 

Plus, the mother of Natalee Holloway takes to the airwaves in Aruba, as the search for her daughter enters its 23rd day.  We are going to be talking to a member of Natalee's family about the latest, the very latest, on that search. 

We also have Robert Kennedy Jr. coming up. 

So, stick with us.  We have got a lot more tonight on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We're just getting started.


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, we are going to have the latest on the search for Natalee Holloway and the hometown reaction to the runaway bride's prime-time debut. 

That's coming up next.



TWITTY:  I do know this, that the individuals that are in custody can certainly answer the questions that we are all waiting—we are all waiting for those answers. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, I will tell you what.  We move from a remarkable recovery and rescue in Utah to continued anguish in Aruba.  That, of course, was Natalee Holloway's mom, Beth Holloway Twitty, making plea for help on Aruba TV earlier tonight, as the search for her young daughter Natalee goes on. 

Now, as we told you last night, volunteers from Texas are heading to Aruba to help in the search.  And Natalee's uncle asked them to go.

And Paul Reynolds, Natalee's uncle, is with us tonight. 

Thank you so much for being with us tonight, Paul.

What can you tell us about your sister and her special plea tonight on Aruban TV?  Does she feel like any progress is being made or can be made by this type of plea? 

PAUL REYNOLDS, UNCLE OF NATALEE HOLLOWAY:  Well, of course, we are looking for information, and, you know, we are looking for assistance in every area that we can.  That's why we are particularly happy about Texas EquuSearch that is coming to Aruba to assist in the search. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Yes, talk about them, if you will.  Why did you ask them to come? 

REYNOLDS:  I felt like we needed some outside experience, people that were professionals in searching for missing people and missing children.  I think that Texas EquuSearch and Tim Miller are people that they can come in and accomplish that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Paul, I understand the position that you are in, that Natalee's mom and dad are in.  It's very hard to go after Aruban authorities, especially because, obviously, they are searching for their daughter.

But, at the same time, don't you think they should have let the FBI in earlier?  Don't you think they should have been more aggressive in the early days, so people like you wouldn't have to get outfits out of the United States, private outfits out of the United States, to go down to Aruba and run the type of operation that they have been running in Utah for the past five days? 

REYNOLDS:  Well, the FBI was on the scene early.  It was hard for us to tell how much involvement they had. 

As not much information is released in the investigation, we could not

really determine exactly who was doing what.  But, right now, we are just -

·         we are very happy to have Texas EquuSearch coming in.  Of course, we would have liked for them to have been able to come in sooner, but now is a good time.  We want to get started now and get this done. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And get it done aggressively.  I agree.  I think it's a great move on your part, a great move on the family's part. 

Now, you talked about having trouble trying to figure out how involved the FBI was.  In fact, you don't hear about it much over the air, but, unfortunately, behind the scenes, we are hearing that the FBI is being shut out.  They are not able to move in and work as aggressively as they would like, certainly in the early stages of this investigation.

There's been talk over the past 24 hours that the family may file a lawsuit against Aruban authorities, not to sue them for money, but to just ensure that they can get information on how this investigation goes.  What can you tell us about that? 

REYNOLDS:  It is my understanding that, through the legal process, we can obtain more information.  Again, I am not a legal expert, but that's why that...

SCARBOROUGH:  But it's all about information, right?  You need information from the Aruban government to find out how the investigation of your loved one is going on foreign soil.  I mean, that's what it's all about, right? 

REYNOLDS:  The information will help us focus on what is important, follow the appropriate leads and keep our imaginations from running wild. 


Hey, Paul, let me ask a final question, a personal question.  Talk about Natalee.  What type of person is she?  What type of young girl did you see grow up in your family? 

REYNOLDS:  Well, in the words of her mother, she is an amazing teenager, very accomplished, a straight-A student, a scholarship to the University of Alabama, very focused on her goals in life, and knows what she wants out of life, very dependable, active in numerous honorary and charitable organizations.  Very proud to have her as my niece. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thanks a lot, Paul.  We appreciate it. 

And just like I said last night with the Utah family, I say it to you tonight.  All of us, all of us continue hoping and praying that everything turns out well in this story.  Thank you so much for being with us.  She does seem like a remarkable young lady. 

Let's go now to Marc Klaas, whose daughter, Polly, was found murdered two months after she was kidnapped in 1993. 

You know, Marc, you have been following these stories such a long time.  We had a happy ending in Utah.  Can we have another happy ending in Aruba, or was Utah an exception and not the rule? 

MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION:  Well, certainly hearing about what happened in Utah today makes my soul sing. 

My soul is not singing for what's going on in Aruba.  I can't believe that, first, the authorities were going to allow those two security guards to hang out and dry, and now they are doing exactly the same thing to the family.  I think it's incumbent upon that government to allow the FBI to have—to have a primary role in the interrogation of the individuals who are now in custody. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Marc, again, you have seen these disappearing acts, these tragedies. 

How important are the first few days of a disappearance?  In this case, of course, the Aruban authorities let 11 days go by before they brought in the three young men who were last seen with her.  How important are those first few days that the Aruba authorities so tragically botched? 

KLAAS:  There's nothing more important. 

Every minute that an individual is missing is a minute closer to death.  I mean, that's the reality.  And to let these guys go for 11 days, after fingering these other guys, after putting out this story about her having sex with one of them while the other two watched, having her falling out of the car, this is downright evil, Joe.  It's just absolutely unbelievable. 

They should get real about this.  They should start sharing some information with this poor family.  Look at Natalee's mother.  I mean, her face is hollow at this point.  It shouldn't be about going through the legal system to get the right thing done.  They should be sharing information with this family, so that they don't hear rumors and innuendo on television.  I mean, that is absolutely the worst thing that can happen. 

They hear some rumor, and all of a sudden, everything changes for them, and then there's a retraction.  It is mind-boggling. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It is mind-boggling.  It is absolutely disgusting. 

Marc, as always, thanks for being with us. 

KLAAS:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I got to tell you, Marc has been fighting this fight since 1993.  I first learned about that tragic story when I was running for Congress.  And I talked about it through the entire campaign.

But I will tell you what.  This lesson always tells us, we not only have to worry about our children when they are 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11.  We have got to keep worrying about them even when they go off to college. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up next, she ran.  She made up a big story.  And now she's talking to NBC's Katie Couric.  Through it all, the runaway bride's hometown has been watching.  And, tonight, we are going to find out what some of them are saying about her prime-time interview.

And also, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is going to be in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight to talk about what he says is a government cover-up that puts your kids at risk for autism. 

Stay with us.  That's next.


SCARBOROUGH:  One reviewer said, it was so painful, it made my teeth hurt.  Well, we are going to see what the natives in Duluth, Georgia, said about the runaway bride's prime-time special tonight.

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



JENNIFER WILBANKS, RUNAWAY BRIDE:  You know, guys, behind this crazy, crazy story, there's a person, a person that is hurting, has been hurting for a long time. 

I didn't feel pressure, because it was—I mean, what I want to make clear is that no one, my family, you know, John's family, nor my family were pressuring us into having this big wedding.  It was—my parents gave us the choice, if you want to, you know, go somewhere, have a smaller wedding, we will give you the money.  Or, you know, it was exactly what I wanted. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly what she wanted, that's what she is saying tonight.  The runaway bride finally speaking out.  Tonight, America heard from her and her fiancee during Katie Couric's prime-time special on NBC. 

Now, nobody is more interested than the people of Duluth, Georgia, about that interview, the people who gave their time and tax dollars to search for the missing bride-to-be. 

Let's go now live to Duluth.  And we are going to be talking to Hal Bradley and Ryan Kelly.  They own the Park Cafe, right in the center of town.

And you guys hear it all night and day.  What are you going to hear tomorrow morning? 

Hal, let's start with you.  How did the runaway bride do, and how is she going to be accepted in her hometown? 

HAL BRADLEY, CO-OWNER, PARK CAFE:  She didn't do anything to dispel any of the people's feelings in this community that she is kind of flighty and kind of a dingbat.  And she is going to have to live with that.  She didn't do anything to answer any of their questions, answer any of their objections, and she didn't do anything to firm up people's opinion of her. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, you know, Ryan, when he says kind of flighty, kind of a dingbat, she also is going to be kind of a wealthy dingbat, because she is cashing in on this experience.  Is that what rubs people the wrong way the most down there in Duluth, that here you guys went out searching for her, that the mayor gave her a break on how much money she had to pay back, the judge let her off with a light slap on the wrist, and she turns around and makes money on it on a book deal? 

RYAN KELLY, CO-OWNER, PARK CAFE:  Well, the thing that is most disappointing, at least from my perspective—and I think that the community shares it as well—is that all this does is reinforce bad behavior. 

I mean, what kind of example are we setting for our nation when there are a lot of do-gooders that are about that don't get recognized for anything?  And yet here it is somebody that went out, chose to be selfish, and is now getting paid.  I mean, how does that reinforce anything with our nation?  I mean, you do something bad, and you get paid. 

It just doesn't make sense. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Hal, of course, that is the biggest problem, isn't it, Hal, that, again, she went out, and she did something very bad; she is getting paid for it?

BRADLEY:  Well, I don't know that she did something very bad.  She did something bad, but she paid for it.  Let's not forget that.  She paid the county.  She paid the city.  She was charged.  She was convicted.  She was sentenced.  She's stood by that sentence. 

And to be honest with you, there's a lot of people out there exploiting this and making money off of it.  There are people selling runaway bride hot sauce.  There was a guy on eBay that sold a grilled cheese sandwich that had her image in it.  And nobody gives them any grief. 



BRADLEY:  Nobody is giving them...



KELLY:  Not to mention, don't forget about the action figure. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, yes, the runaway bride action figure.  Yes, that's fantastic, complete with her own arrest record. 

Now, let's go live...

KELLY:  Tearaway scarf. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Exactly.  That's hot.  That's very hot. 

Guys, stay with us.  We will talk about accessories in a second.

But, first, let's go to Julia Reed from “Vogue” magazine.  She's the author of the “Queen of the Turtle Derby and Other Southern Phenomena.”  And also B.J. Bernstein, who is a former assistant district attorney in Gwinnett County, Georgia.

Julia, let's begin with you.

I always read your reviews in “The New York Times” book of reviews.  Here's your review tonight.  “So painful, it made my teeth hurt to watch it.”  That must be a Southern thing, because I always say, so painful, it made my teeth hurt.  Why did it hurt? 

JULIA REED, “VOGUE”:  Well, I mean, it was just 60 minutes of excruciating—she didn't—she says, hey, guys, there's a person here.  We don't know who that is now, except we do know she is a very good actress. 

I don't think she did herself a favor by letting them play those audiotapes to the FBI where she was concocting her story.  It was hard to say which one was the real, real runaway bride.  But what I can't believe is that, you know, she is so worried about her mental health.  She—you know, when Katie listed three or four disorders and asked her which ones she might have been diagnosed with, she said all of the above.  But it was OK for her to get a weekend pass from the psychiatric hospital that she's in and like go on national TV for the first time? 


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, not only that.  Look at this also, Julia, which, of course, I knew from day one, I am sure just like you knew from day one.  You watch these type of people.  And, of course, she never held a press conference to apologize to the city.  She never held a press conference to apologize to the nation.  And...

REED:  No.  And Katie gave her plenty of chances to apologize on the show, and she didn't do it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  But, again, the reason why she didn't apologize, you and I both know, if she speaks to a free press conference, she loses money.  So, this is all looks very, very calculated, doesn't it? 

REED:  Oh, completely calculated. 

And I wanted to like her nice fiancee.  And, you know, he told—on the clip that was aired on “The Today Show” this morning, he said that he asked the lord what to do every morning before he greeted the day, which is an admirable sentiment, I am sure, except, did Jesus tell him to go on national TV and exploit this story of his?  I mean, I just don't get what these people are up to, except to make money, period, full-stop.

And she is trying to learn how to like herself.  It's the same old stuff that we have been listening to for 30 years, the sort of, I want to learn how to like myself first before I can ask people to accept me for what I am.  So, in other words, I can't apologize until I make the half-million I am getting paid for the TV movie. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  That somehow makes people love themselves. 

REED:  But the only good news about this is—the only good news about this is that you can quit blaming this on the South and the pressure of a big Southern wedding. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  She's just a dingbat, as we heard from the cafe. 

REED:  How good was the wedding going to be?  We hear that they weren't even going to serve whiskey. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That's unbelievable.  And if they did serve whiskey, you know, there would probably be a cash bar. 

Let's go to B.J.  

B.J., you said this interview was compelling.  I think the only compelling part of it was Katie Couric.  She, of course, weighed in, stayed after her.  And, again, like Julia said, she kept trying to give her an opportunity to apologize, but she would never just come out and say, I'm sorry.  Why not? 

B.J. BERNSTEIN, FORMER ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY:  Well, I don't know why she didn't do that part, except for one telling part of the interview and the part that I did find compelling, based on having dealt on both sides of the fence, as a prosecutor and defense attorney, with women who get in these—who get maybe not this precise issue, but the shoplifting and this pattern.

And that's where she said she thought about committing suicide, that that is indicative of something far more serious that clearly hasn't been gotten to the bottom of in just a few weeks, particularly when Katie did a good job of putting out her background about when she was a child and then the number of shoplifting arrests that she had, and no one did anything then.  And the problem just compounded and compounded. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I am curious, B.J., do you think they are going to apologize—I mean, do you think they're going to forgive her down there when she's driving around in her convertible Jag? 

BERNSTEIN:  No.  Now, I am going to tell you, that part folks, here don't like. 

I mean, I think had she not accepted the money and she had done an interview explaining everything, she would have been in a much better position in terms of trying to get the world out of her business.  I mean, she gets on TV and says she wants the world out.  She wants—she really wants to know herself.  But so—the money part, even I, who kind of had been an advocate all along for, this was certainly not a felony, I'm not so crazy about a $500,000 paycheck for... 



Hey, Ryan, let me bring you back in here.

We could talk about forgiveness all night.  I want to talk about this guy John Mason.  I mean, what do you think about John Mason standing by her through this entire process?  I mean, he is a pretty good-looking guy.  There have got to be other women down there, other than this person you described as a dingbat. 

KELLY:  Well, first of all, I have to say he is a bigger man than I am, because I am not exactly sure that I would be able to handle it in the same manner in which he has. 

But it is—perhaps it is in following with how he has handled himself throughout the course of this ordeal, if you will. 


KELLY:  He has been very composed and very impressive. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hal, he is impressive, isn't he? 

BRADLEY:  Yes, he is.  He handled himself well.  And he carried on the family name.  He represented himself like a Mason.  That is a good, fine, upstanding family down here. 


BRADLEY:  And I don't think anybody is surprised with his behavior. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No.  He has really handled himself very well through all the crazy stories about the abduction and the rape, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  I mean, he has been a real man about it all.  I would have left her a long time ago. 

Hey, Julia Reed, B.J. Bernstein, Hal Bradley, Ryan Kelly, thanks a lot for being with us tonight.  We really appreciate it. 

Coming up, from the sublime to the serious, he wrote an article that is sending shockwaves through Washington and America.  Is the government covering up a cause of a devastating medical condition, a condition that affects a member of my family?  Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says yes, and he is live in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  That's coming up next.



SCARBOROUGH:  It's as heart-wrenching as it gets, autism and children. 

Six out of every 1,000 kids get it, and nobody knows exactly why.  But my next guest says he has got part of the blame that he thinks needs to fall on government.  And it has to do with a drug called thimerosal.  Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Counsel, and he's author of “Deadly Immunity” in the current issue of “Rolling Stone.”

It's an investigation into the possible connection between thimerosal and autism in young kids. 

Hey, Bobby, thanks a lot. 


SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, you also have a great new book.  Tell us briefly about that. 

KENNEDY:  First of all, let me say that the “Deadly Immunity” piece on thimerosal is also running on Salon.com simultaneously.  The two magazines ran it at the same time. 

KENNEDY:  My new book is “Saint Francis of Assisi: A Life of Joy.”  It's a children's book.  I grew up reading books about the saints, but I couldn't find one that would hold my computer-aged children's attention.

And so, I tried to write a book that had the kind of action and engaging story that would also teach them the values.  And it's done very, very well, and I am very happy with it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, we want to get you back to talk about that.

But let's talk tonight about thimerosal.  There are a lot of people out there—when I was practicing law—in fact, I need to say this—we need we actually practiced in the same firm, no lawsuits regarding thimerosal, so we can get that off the record.  But, still, there are a lot of people, a lot of Americans very concerned about the impact of this drug, which is found in vaccines, and how it causes autism.  Talk about that. 

KENNEDY:  That's right. 

It's a—thimerosal is a preservative that was put in vaccines back in the 1930s.  Almost immediately after it was put in, autism cases began to appear.  Autism had never been known before.  It was unknown to science.  Then the vaccines were increased in 1989 by the CDC and by a couple of other government agencies. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, let me stop you there.  That's an important date. 

And I will tell you why. 

My son, born in 1991, has a slight form of autism called Asperger's.


SCARBOROUGH:  And it seems—but, again, when I was practicing law and also when I was in Congress, parents would constantly come to me and they would bring me videotapes of their children, and they were all around the age of my son or younger. 

KENNEDY:  That's exactly...

SCARBOROUGH:  So, something happened in 1989. 

KENNEDY:  Exactly. 

The generation—what happened was the vaccine schedule was increased.  We went up from receiving about 10 vaccines in our generation to these kids receive 24 vaccines.  And they all had this thimerosal in them, this mercury.  And nobody bothered to do an analysis of what the cumulative impact of all that mercury was doing to kids. 

As it turns out, we are injecting our children with 400 times the amount of mercury that FDA or EPA considers safe.  A child on his first day that he is born is injected with a hepatitis B shot.  Under EPA  guidelines, he would have to be 275 pounds to safely absorb that shot. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And yet, we are just constantly pumping our kids with these vaccines.  Where is the federal government in all of this? 


KENNEDY:  What happened was that, in 1988, one in every 2,500 American children had autism.  Today, one in every 166 children have autism.

And, plus, one in six have other kinds of learning disorders, other kinds of neurological disorders, speech delay, language disorders, ADD, hyperactivity, that all seem to be connected, that are all connected, the science shows are all connected to autism—to thimerosal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Bobby, what we've always found, you and could debate 1,000 different issues, whether it's Terri Schiavo or the environment.  I think we would agree on the environment. 

But, in this case, you have got the federal government coming in saying, well, there's no really—there's no good science.  And, of course, in politics, science always gets diluted.  Why hasn't the federal government stepped up and worked more, because listen, Bobby, I can't prove it tonight.  You can't prove it, but, intuitively, you look at the spike.  You look at what happened with thimerosal.

There's no doubt in my mind—maybe it's two years from now.  Maybe it's five years from now.  Maybe it's 10 years from now.  We are going to find out thimerosal causes, in my opinion, autism. 

KENNEDY:  You know what?  The science is out there today for anybody who bothers to read it.  And I have read it.  Actually, on my Web site this week, RobertFKennedyJr.com, I am publishing an article that goes through all of the science.

But the science is clear.  And what happens is, I read the science at first.  And there's literally hundreds and hundreds of studies that connect thimerosal to these disastrous neurological disorders.  Then I went.  I talked to the scientists.  Then I went and I talked to the federal bureaucrats who are defending thimerosal.

And I said, what are you relying on?  And I looked at the science they are relying on.  And I can tell you, Joe, it is so weak.  And you and I have seen, in the legal practice, junk science.  And we know what these phony scientists are who create this stuff. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It happened in big tobacco.

KENNEDY:  Right.  Tobacco.

SCARBOROUGH:  It happens in big oil.


SCARBOROUGH:  It's happening in global warming.  And now it's happening in a way that is impacting our kids' lives. 

KENNEDY:  This is classic tobacco science. 

It is junk science.  And I was looking at these reports and saying, this is the best?  This is what you are relying on?  They know it's fraudulent.  And now we have the transcripts. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Explain.  Explain it to me, Bobby, OK?  Explain it to me.  If that's the case—I mean, you and I both know about politics, obviously. 

Politicians like to get reelected.  Why are they sitting back and—if our children are being poisoned, if the science is there, why are they sitting back and letting our children be poisoned? 

KENNEDY:  Because the same regulatory bureaucrats that green-lighted thimerosal originally are now trying to cover their tracks. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It's a CYA operation. 

KENNEDY:  Right.  Are they are working with the pharmaceutical industry.  And we now have the transcripts of the secret meeting that they did in Simpsonwood, Georgia, in the year 2000.

And it's the most horrifying thing that you can read, Joe.  There are scientists there from the government who are saying—who are reading the reports and saying, this is undeniable.  There's no way we can ever deny this.  I am not going to give this to my children, but now let's hide this from the American people.  And it's that clear. 

And this is what I write about.  It's this language that I write about in the “Rolling Stone” and the “Salon” piece that is so shocking, where we have the guys who are supposed to be protecting Americans' health who are actually conspiring to keep this stuff in the vaccines. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, and I can't say what lawsuit we were both involved in.  I don't want to say it.  But it reminds me of a lawsuit we were involved in a couple years ago regarding water quality, where you know the people that polluted in our community and then left our community would have never drank the water that our children grew up drinking.  And it's a disaster.  It's a disgrace. 

So, hey, Bobby, thanks for being here tonight.  I want you to—if you can come back, we need to talk more about this.  And I also want to talk about—and I am going to hold up the book now.  We actually lured Bobby in to say that we were going to talk to him about this book.  But, actually, he said he wanted to talk about this instead. 

I appreciate you being here, Bobby, as always.  And let's get you back.

KENNEDY:  Thanks a lot, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And let's get you running for a public office.  I will defend your honor whenever any Republican says anything nasty. 


KENNEDY:  Well, that counts for a lot.  Thanks a lot, Joe. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that and a quarter, right, will get you a cup of coffee. 

We'll be right back in a second in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, don't miss a minute of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in the coming days.  We're going to have Karl Rove, Robert Redford and the Reverend Billy Graham joining us this week.

We'll be right back in a second.


SCARBOROUGH:  I will tell you what.  MSNBC's Rita Cosby has done it again.  She's scored a big interview.  This time, it's with Michael Jackson's mother.  And you are going to see all it tomorrow night on a special edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

Hey, Rita, give us a preview. 

RITA COSBY, MSNBC:  You got it, Joe. 

Well, Katherine Jackson, Michael Jackson's mother, is the rock of this family.  There are nine kids in the family.  But the third youngest is the king of pop, Michael Jackson.   Katherine Jackson, as we all will remember, was by his side every day as he headed into court, every day of that trial.  She believes in him 100 percent.

And I asked her what she thought of those comments that district attorney Tom Sneddon made to me on your show last week, Joe.  Remember, he said he was unapologetic and that he made no mistakes in this case. 



My son is not a pedophile. 

COSBY:  If you could see the boy and the mother, what would you say to them? 

JACKSON:  You know what?  I couldn't even answer that right now.  It all depends on what mood I am in when I see them.  And I feel sorry for them, too.  And from what I hear about their past, I feel sorry for their future. 


COSBY:  And, Joe, we are going to hear a lot more from Katherine Jackson in a full special hour tomorrow night on your show.  And I hope everybody tunes in, Joe.  

SCARBOROUGH:  I hope they do, too, Rita.  Great job.  Thanks again. 

We appreciate you being with us tonight. 

COSBY:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And we will see all of you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH


Good night. 



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