Guests: Bobby Goldstein, David Vitalli, Patrick Stethem, Joe diGenova, Jeanne Wolf, Sue Rozdeba, Peter Beinart, Dee Dee Myers
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: And right now on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, feeding frenzy. The vice president‘s hunting accident gets the White House press corps fired up. Even one reporter is asking, will Mr. Cheney resign? Did the White House hold back information or do the president‘s enemies just smell red meat?
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to the show.
Tonight on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the best in the business here to talk about the vice president‘s hunting accident. We have got former Clinton Press Secretary Dee Dee Myers, House—White House communications director for Ronald Reagan Pat Buchanan, presidential speechwriter for President Carter and “HARDBALL” host Chris Matthews. Peter Beinart, he‘s the editor of “The New Republic”—and Tucker Carlson, hunter and host of “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.”
Also, tonight, “The New York Daily News” prints a report that Jennifer Aniston may have worked a deal to get “A Million Little Pieces” into Oprah‘s book club. We are going to be talking to the source of that report live.
And, later, police going a little too undercover to bust a suspected prostitution ring. We will explain later.
But, first, John Lennon once sang that happiness is a warm gun, a sentiment shared by millions of Americans across Middle America, if not Mr. Lennon‘s family or one Harry Whittington, Texas millionaire attorney and hunting partner of Vice President Dick Cheney‘s.
Whittington was sprayed by a .28 shotgun -- .28-gauge shotgun from the vice president himself this past weekend in an incident that has launched a media feeding frenzy.
Today, White House spokesman Scott McClellan found himself in front of the media firing squad, grilled by reporters baffled as to why news of the vice president of the United States shooting a man in the face would be buried for about 24 hours. An indignant White House press corps asked just about every imaginable question, short of whether there was a second shooter behind grassy knoll, or underbrush, as they say in Texas.
Enjoy a slice of life from the vantage point of White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Scott, do you think that the shooting accident involving the vice president on Saturday should have been disclosed to the public on Saturday?
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think you can always look back at these issues and look at how to do a better job.
QUESTION: The vice president of the United States accidentally shoots a man and he feels that it‘s appropriate for a ranch owner who witnessed this to tell the local Corpus Christi newspaper and not the White House Press corps at large or notify the public in a national way?
QUESTION: Saturday night, you didn‘t know, the White House did not know, that Vice President Cheney...
MCCLELLAN: I‘m sorry?
QUESTION: When did the president know that the vice president had shot somebody?
MCCLELLAN: He was learning additional details into that evening on Saturday.
QUESTION: ... vice president that pulled the trigger.
QUESTION: It also sounds as though your suggestions about how to handle this were disregarded by the vice president‘s Office.
QUESTION: Is it appropriate for a private citizen to be the person to disseminate the information that the vice president of the United States has shot someone?
MCCLELLAN: That‘s one way to provide information to the public. The vice president‘s office worked with her. I should say the vice president. The vice president spoke with her directly and agreed that she should make it public.
QUESTION: You‘ve repeatedly said that the Vice President‘s Office will share this information with us. Will you tell us—will you now ask them to share this information with us, because they‘re not?
MCCLELLAN: Share what information?
QUESTION: Details of what happened...
MCCLELLAN: I don‘t know that the way you character...
QUESTION: ... and more information.
MCCLELLAN: Well, Mrs. Armstrong provided that information. She was the eyewitness to what took place.
QUESTION: Can we get someone from his office in here...
QUESTION: Why can‘t we get someone from his office?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I don‘t know why they are making such a big deal about it. I‘m sure, when Aaron Burr, then vice president, killed Mr. Hamilton, it probably took more than 24 hours to report it to the press.
But let‘s get insight from our all-star panel, and bring them back in here.
I want to start with you, Dee Dee Myers.
You have been in the position of Mr. McClellan. Don‘t rate Mr. McClellan, so much as the White House operations. Here‘s the situation. I don‘t think it happened in the Clinton administration, where a vice president shot a man in the case. But, had that happened, would it take 24 hours to let the media know it?
DEE DEE MYERS, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, one would hope not, and certainly not in the fifth or sixth year of a presidency.
You would learn that what seems like a private mistake is obviously a tragic thing. Everyone feels very bad for Mr. Whittington. We are glad that he‘s OK. But the question comes up really quickly. This is obviously going to become public. There are so many people intersecting with this story, from the agents on the scene, to the medical personnel at the hospital, to the people that they speak to in their lives.
This was obviously was going to become public and become public quickly. So, why not take control of the story and put it out there? You have to know, at this point, you are working in the White House, this is not an ordinary guy with an ordinary hunting accident.
This is the vice president of the United States. And not only that, Joe. What we saw today was this story becoming a proxy for the press‘ frustration about everything from the war in Iraq and the failure to find WMDs and the feeling that the press was mislead about that, to what is happening with Hurricane Katrina and the congressional investigation that revealed all kinds of miscommunications on that, to now this simple hunting accident, which I think the American public sees as an accident, but the way it‘s been handled makes it seem like, what were they trying to hide?
SCARBOROUGH: Tucker Carlson, that‘s a good question. They wait 24 hours to let the rest of us know what happened down at the hunting ranch. Was there a cover-up here? And is it something we should be concerned about?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON”: This administration is far too secretive about the public‘s business in general. It frustrates me. It bothers me. I think it‘s wrong, maybe even immoral.
This is a private matter. If the vice president winds up shooting one of his pals on his own time, that‘s not necessarily our business. The outrage—and I always defend the press in these kinds of things. And I know a lot of people who were complaining today in the White House press corps.
But the outrage is very revealing of the White House press corps. They are mad because some dippy little paper in Texas that they have never heard of got the news first, as if that‘s somehow unconstitutional.
It‘s whining. It‘s totally wrong. Moreover, you see a cultural divide here. Some of the reporting on this—I mean, I literally, earlier today, heard the gun that the vice president used referred to as a .28-caliber shotgun.
Well, there‘s no such thing as a .28-caliber shotgun.
CARLSON: But I think the press looks bad in this case. Why don‘t they display this exact same kind of outrage when the White House is secretive about Iraq? I haven‘t seen them this mad in a long time. And it says everything about everything. It‘s just pure vanity. It‘s embarrassing.
SCARBOROUGH: You go out hunting. You hunt, right?
CARLSON: I went this weekend. Yes, I hunt a lot.
SCARBOROUGH: I have got—we have got our resident redneck, producer Rick Santo (ph), who tells me he goes bird hunting all the time.
And he says, this stuff just happens. People get sprayed.
CARLSON: Are you kidding?
SCARBOROUGH: It that correct or not?
A Democratic lobbyist in Washington leveled a shotgun at me when we were pheasant hunting a couple of years ago. I actually went on the ground.
CARLSON: I mean, I‘m not excusing it. And, in fact, there‘s no excusing what the vice president did. They‘re trying to spin this like that Whittington was in the wrong place.
If you have a loaded gun in your hand, it‘s your obligation to make certain there are no human beings in your line of fire. It‘s Cheney‘s fault. But it does happen a lot, as anybody who has ever done it knows. It‘s very hard to kill someone with a shotgun at 30 yards, especially a .28-gauge. But, again, this is Cheney‘s private business. This is the one thing you can say, it is kind of up to Dick Cheney if he wants to shoot his friends or not.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Pat Buchanan, that‘s a very libertarian take on it. But I kind of disagree with him on that point.
If you‘re vice president of the United States and you shoot a man in the face, I want to know about it. What about you?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think so.
Joe, I think Dee Dee was very right about, the White House press corps is frustrated, angry at a lot of things. And they took it all out on McClellan, made him a punching bag in their gymnasium today.
But, clearly, the vice president—what, it must have been about 5:00 in the afternoon. She shoots this guy in the face. He does the right thing. He goes to the hospital and everything. Apparently, he had no staff there, no chief of staff, no press guy. Somehow, Card learns at 7:30. Rove learns at 8:00 by calling Armstrong.
My guess is—and this is a guess, Joe—Cheney probably called his folks in Washington and said, what do we do? And they say, Mr. Vice President, wait until you get back up here tomorrow and we will put out something then.
And that‘s a mistake. They let all this time go by. But I can see it. It‘s Saturday night. He‘s got nobody with him. And he decides, what the devil. Let her put the word out, and we‘ll work it out when we get to D.C.
SCARBOROUGH: Peter, is the bigger problem what Dee Dee Myers suggested, that there‘s a culture of cover-up? At least, the press believes there‘s a culture of covering things up in the White House? And so, now, they have a personal incident like this, and they are going to get a pound of flesh out of Cheney, if they can, and the White House?
PETER BEINART, EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: Yes, and, as it happens, the press is absolutely right.
Let‘s remember, this is Dick Cheney, the guy who didn‘t want to testify before the 9/11 Commission. This is the White House that tried to spin on 9/11 why George W. Bush didn‘t come back to the White House, then admitted it was totally phony, this claim that there was a threat against Air Force One.
These guys have a pattern of really showing contempt about the public‘s right to know. And whatever you think about the press, they are the conduit between the government and the public getting things out there. So, this may have been a small story, but there is a larger pattern. And you can understand why people are suspicious.
BUCHANAN: Well, wait a minute, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead, Pat.
BUCHANAN: Well, look, it‘s not the people suspicious.
Look, I saw it on Drudge in the afternoon Sunday. How was I hurt that I didn‘t known it at 8:00 Saturday night? The public wasn‘t hurt. The media are all ticked off because they were not told immediately. But I don‘t think the vice president is under any obligation to do that, although, there‘s no doubt about it, if you don‘t let the folks know for about 18 hours that you just blasted somebody in a cornfield, and you are the vice president, you are going to have a problem on Monday morning.
MYERS: Yes. So, why do that to yourself?
MYERS: And I disagree with Tucker.
I think that the vice president, this administration has made the case that this vice president is the most important vice president in history. He‘s crucial in the line of succession. He‘s standing there, poised at the ready to take the helm if something happens to the president, and the war on terror, yada, yada, yada.
And then they want to tell us that he‘s a private citizen at the same time. So, you can‘t have that one both ways.
MYERS: And, given the world we live in, why not take control of the
story, and put it out, and control it, as opposed to letting this feeding -
this was so predictable.
CARLSON: But they are—you are absolutely right that they are reflexively secretive and reflexively contemptuous of the public‘s right to know. And it‘s something I complain about all the time, and I think is wrong.
However, there is some private sphere left, even for a vice president.
The guy is hunting on a private ranch.
MYERS: Not when it comes to shooting somebody.
CARLSON: I would like to hear someone explain in calm, rational tones why it‘s a matter of national security that this guy shot his pal? It‘s not, actually.
MYERS: I don‘t think it‘s a matter of national security, but I think Dick Cheney‘s whereabouts become a matter of national interest because of the importance that this administration has placed on him.
And, more than that, though, Tucker, just as a commonsense question, Tucker, you know, all these people are coming in contact with this story. It‘s going to become public in a matter of hours. Why would you, as the administration, put it on the ranch owner, this poor woman, to put out the story and to spin it?
MYERS: It‘s insane.
CARLSON: And you know, Dee Dee, as well as I, that the reason the press corps is mad is because they told this podunk paper...
MYERS: I totally disagree with that...
CARLSON: ... and not some...
CARLSON: Actually, they said that. In the briefing today, you heard people say, well, I don‘t care if they told the local paper.
I mean, maybe we have all arrogant feelings like that about...
BEINART: It wasn‘t just that they told...
BEINART: It was who told the paper.
BEINART: It was the fact that they allowed the woman who ran the ranch, who was not even—who saw through her window, to tell the...
MYERS: But that‘s insane.
BEINART: That was very suspicious. And knowing what we know about this administration, it‘s not crazy to think that there was some reason for this delay.
CARLSON: What do you mean suspicious? Do you think they shot him on purpose?
CARLSON: Are you saying they tried to off this guy or something?
SCARBOROUGH: You all stay right there.
We are going to come right back.
When we come back, we are going to talk about a bumper sticker that is going to be seen in Washington I‘m sure in the coming weeks: “Guns don‘t kill people. Dick Cheney kills people.” Well, not quite, but it may be the left‘s favorite new bumper sticker. More on cool-hand Dick when we are joined by “HARDBALL”‘s Chris Matthews coming up, along with our all-star panel, and the White House press corps, in all its glory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Is it proper for the vice president to offer his resignation or has he offered his resignation?
MCCLELLAN: That‘s an absurd question. I‘m...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: D.C. reporters shooting from the lip—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
And, later, “The New York Daily News” adds another piece to the Oprah book scandal. What in the world does James Frey have to do with Jennifer Aniston? We will hear from the reporter who makes a connection when we return.
SCARBOROUGH: Did Jennifer Aniston and Oprah strike a deal that had Jen dishing dirt on Brad on return for Oprah pushing the Frey lie book on “A Million Little Pieces”? “The New York Daily News” says yes. But Jen and Oprah say no. We will sort out this tale of Hollywood back-scratching and see if there‘s a there there—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Chris Matthews worked in the communication department for the Carter White House and ran legendary Speaker Tip O‘Neill‘s operation in Congress.
Well, tonight, I asked the host of MSNBC‘s “HARDBALL” if the Bush White House bungled the Cheney shotgun story.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”: We don‘t really know what happened, but if it had been the other way around, Joe, if the vice president had been shot, the same degree of damage, the same kind of incident, only he had been the victim of it, we would have heard about that within 20 minutes. The president would have been on the phone with Dick, the vice president, in the hospital.
It would have been a cheerful discussion. There would be no mystery the all about this thing. The police would have been told immediately what happened. Whoever shot the vice president would have talked to the sheriffs. It would have been over with.
Why doesn‘t it—why wasn‘t it handled the way I just described? Because it was the vice president who had done the shooting. And, therefore, everyone went into different aspects here. The chief of staff to the president, Andy Card, got some kind of news from somebody at the scene, but it didn‘t tell him that it was the vice president who was the shooter.
Some time later, Karl Rove discovered. Apparently, he made a call and found out what had happened. He told the president. But they decided not to put it out to the press.
The sheriff deputies apparently were kept by the Secret Service from talking to the vice president. Everything went haywire because the vice president was the shooter, rather than the victim. As I said before, to get clarity about what should have happened, I would suggest, think about it having happened the other way around, and then you see how it should have happened.
SCARBOROUGH: Chris, a lot of people that have gone hunting have told me, this is not a big deal.
But, if you look at it politically, could it be that there‘s more political significance to this story, because it reinforces an existing impression of a White House that is just not very open with the American public and the American press?
MATTHEWS: Well, I think it‘s really early to try to draw implications.
I will just go back to the questions. I mean, here you have a vice president who shoots somebody accidentally on a Saturday and doesn‘t talk to the president until Monday. Well, that‘s an odd thing to do. I mean, he works for the president. The president gave him that job, put him in that position. He reports to him, in effect, even if not under the Constitution. He reports to him, in effect.
The president is the boss. And he didn‘t talk to him until today about something that happened on Saturday which has caused all these headlines and all this stir. That‘s a strange way to report to the boss.
SCARBOROUGH: You were involved obviously in the communications outfit in the White House, also worked, obviously, as Tip O‘Neill‘s right-hand man on Capitol Hill.
SCARBOROUGH: How important is it, when you are playing at that level politically to get this type of information out immediately?
MATTHEWS: Well, it‘s not much different than the great movie “The Godfather,” when Robert Duvall says, I work on for someone who insists on getting bad news immediately.
And the hardest news to tell the boss is the bad news. And, clearly, since it was an accident, he was responsible for the accident, it probably is hard to call up the guy and say, I just blew it. I can‘t believe—I thought there was a pheasant behind me or a quail or whatever the hell it was, and it was a guy, my hunting partner.
It is an embarrassing telephone call. But he didn‘t make it. And that‘s the question. If I were the president, I would say, Dick, why didn‘t you call me? You had all day Sunday to call me. Why didn‘t you call me? So, that—I think it brings into question exactly what their deal is. I think that‘s fascinating.
And, by the way, I have no idea what their deal is. He‘s a very strong vice president. He‘s very—he‘s a vintage model of a politician. He knows the way the game is played. And he played it this way. Keep it from the press. Don‘t talk to the boss. Don‘t talk to the police until Sunday. Those were his decisions, apparently. And I think they are going to have an impact. As you suggest, they are going to have an impact.
This story will not be over today or tomorrow or this week.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s extraordinary. You‘re the vice president of the United States. You shoot a man in the face, and you don‘t tell the president you work for, for some time.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s a different type relationship than I‘m aware of between vice presidents and presidents.
MATTHEWS: I think it‘s not like hitting somebody with a golf ball, if you are Spiro Agnew.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, “HARDBALL”‘s Chris Matthews, best in the business.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much for being with us tonight.
MATTHEWS: Thanks a lot.
SCARBOROUGH: And, sometimes, it‘s best to just sit back and keep your mouth shut.
Now, my mom told me that and gave me that sage advice. And it served me well until—well, until I learned to talk. Unfortunately, some members of the White House press corps also ignored their mother‘s advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone.
I‘ll be glad to go to your questions.
QUESTION: Wait. Wait. Wait. He knew Saturday—Scott, he knew Saturday night?
QUESTION: Was the vice president immediately clear that he had accidentally shot his friend or not? Or did that information become available later?
QUESTION: Was it Cheney‘s gun? Is that his gun, that shotgun?
QUESTION: Under Texas law, is this kind of accidental shooting a possible criminal offense?
QUESTION: Is there some thought about maybe this is too dangerous an activity for such an important person?
QUESTION: Would this be much more serious if the man had died? Would that change the equation...
MCCLELLAN: Of course it would, Connie (ph). It would have been terrible.
QUESTION: I mean the vice president knew immediately: Oh, no, I‘ve shot somebody accidentally. And it takes 22 hours to...
MCCLELLAN: You know what his first reaction was? His first reaction was: Go to Mr. Whittington and...
But—hang on. Can I finish? OK.
QUESTION: Is it proper for the vice president to offer his resignation or has he offered his resignation?
MCCLELLAN: That‘s an absurd question. I‘m...
QUESTION: Has he taken a hunting safety course in Texas?
QUESTION: Few different time figures, at what point Saturday...
MCCLELLAN: You all, not me.
QUESTION: Well, you seem to have some—anyway.
QUESTION: Scott, isn‘t the Corpus Christi paper that‘s reported, aren‘t they a member of...
MCCLELLAN: You want an answer to that?
QUESTION: ... the AP?
MCCLELLAN: I‘m sure they are, having come from Texas.
QUESTION: Why didn‘t the AP pick it up?
MCCLELLAN: Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you, Scott.
MCCLELLAN: Have a good afternoon.
QUESTION: Have a good afternoon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s bring back in our all-star panel.
Tucker, I will throw the loaded question to you.
Don‘t times like these really make the White House press corps look small?
CARLSON: You know, I have never, ever taken the side of this or any other White House against the press corps. But, watching that, I mean, what a bunch of losers.
I mean, inflating this pretty minor, very amusing incident, vice president blows his friend away—I mean, it is pretty funny, in a way. But turning this into this—into Watergate, the self-righteousness, the misplaced anger, the stupidity of the questions. I mean, truly, what a bunch of dorks.
MYERS: But, Tucker...
CARLSON: And I hate the fact that the American public hates the press. It personally bothers me, what low esteem the press is held in this country. It really does. But, watching this, you can see why. It‘s...
MYERS: Well, let—I think one of the things that was missing from that reel was some of the answers. And part of the press corps‘ anger was in response to some of the answers.
Yes, we know the vice president was very concerned about his friend. I don‘t think he had to spend the next 12 hours, like, in surgery. The one thing I‘m sure that Mr. Whittington didn‘t want was the vice president involved in his medical care after he had been shot by him.
CARLSON: McClellan is infuriating. I totally agree. McClellan is awful, but, still...
MYERS: You have been in that room, Tucker.
CARLSON: Many times.
MYERS: I mean, look, the press corps doesn‘t look—does not cover itself in glory.
But it was a feeding on itself. The answers were ridiculous. And, so, the press corps ramps up in trying to get information.
CARLSON: I‘m just saying, get some perspective.
And McClellan is enough to drive anybody crazy. Listening to C-SPAN Radio, I almost drove into a bridge abutment the other day just listening to him, because he‘s that infuriating. I agree with you.
But step back from yourself for just a second. This is a hunting accident. We have a war going on in Iraq. I would like to see them bring the same level of intensity to those questions. And they don‘t.
MYERS: That‘s the point. They can‘t even give a straight answer about a hunting accident.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, you dealt with a White House press corps for quite a while.
SCARBOROUGH: Talk about this.
BUCHANAN: Well, I disagree with Tucker in this sense. I don‘t mind at all that their prestige is down where it is, Joe.
BUCHANAN: Look, I think, these guys, I agree. The White House press corps went bananas, feeding frenzy. They are beating up on this guy again and again. They don‘t realize they are on television.
But there‘s no doubt this is an interesting story. I would like to know why Andy Card, how he found out there had been a shooting incident, chief of staff, but didn‘t know Cheney was in on it. Rove doesn‘t call the vice president. He calls Mrs. Armstrong. The sheriff is told, get lost by the Secret Service when he wants to talk to the vice president.
The vice president comes home. I think I understand it. I mean, as vice president, you might say to him, sir, get back here to D.C. We‘re going to have to figure this all out and put it all out at one time. I understand that.
But, look, they have got to realize, given who Cheney is and given the way the press corps is after this administration and after him, that they are going to go bananas on this thing.
SCARBOROUGH: Peter, I will give you the last word. Go ahead.
BEINART: Pat is suggesting what might turn out to be the truth here, which is that McClellan or someone else tries to get some information.
SCARBOROUGH: You sound shocked.
BEINART: And they‘re told to buzz off by the vice president or his office. That would not be surprising at all, given what we know about the way the vice president operates. That‘s a question to be looked into.
SCARBOROUGH: Peter, is this story going to have—does it have legs or is it going to go away quickly?
BEINART: It depends on whether we find out more about why it took them 24 hours. It may well be we found out that McClellan was trying to get this out there, and he was shut down by the vice president‘s office. Then it is a bigger story.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s the question—that and, of course, why does Tucker Carlson think this is a funny story?
CARLSON: ... funny. I mean, let‘s be honest.
BEINART: That‘s compassionate conservatism for you.
SCARBOROUGH: ... know, and when did they know it?
All right, thanks a lot, Dee Dee.
You are a real man, Tucker.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks, Dee Dee.
Thank you, Peter.
Thank you, Tucker.
And, Pat, as always, greatly appreciate you being here.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, coming up, more results into our efforts to get justice for murdered Navy diver Robert Stethem. His family gets a meeting they were after with Condi Rice.
But, coming up next, is it another piece in Oprah‘s book controversy? “The New York Daily News” reporting that Oprah went for James Frey‘s book in exchange for big get with Jennifer Aniston. Others say that‘s complete garbage. We are going to be hearing from the reporter who says it‘s true, though—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: “The New York Daily News” is reporting today that Oprah had Jennifer Aniston on to dish dirt on her relationship with Brad Pitt, in exchange for putting a book that Jennifer Aniston had financial interest in on her book club, that book, “A Million Little Pieces.” We will see if the story is true when we return.
But, first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: A new tool kit aims at helping suspicious souls catch their cheating spouses just ahead. And is it time—and it‘s here just in time for Valentine‘s Day, a CSI kit to stop cheaters dead in their tracks.
And (INAUDIBLE) boys are charged with dunking more than just doughnuts in the coffee.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY—those stories and more in just minutes.
But, first, “The New York Daily News” is citing reports that claim Jennifer Aniston may be to blame for Oprah‘s James Frey book fiasco. “The Daily News” cited “Star” magazine‘s report that Aniston only agreed to the exclusive Oprah-Aniston sit-down if Oprah agreed to promote James Frey‘s “A Million Little Pieces.” “Star” magazine says Jen and Brad‘s production company optioned “A Million Little Pieces” to Warner Brothers back in 2004, and had a reason to push “Pieces” on Oprah and her book club.
Here from the magazine is Sue Rozdeba, and also Jeanne Wolf from Movies.com.
Sue, tell me about your story.
SUE ROZDEBA, “STAR”: Well, it‘s quite an interesting story.
As you said, Plan B, the production company that Jen had once owned with her now ex-husband Brad Pitt had gotten the movie rights for James Frey‘s book, and rMD-IT_Warner Brothers would produce the film. Now, Jen was so enthused about this book. She had read it. She had said, it really changed her. But Warner Brothers was getting cold feet about producing this film, because it was an unknown book. The script had to be changed so many times, and they were really worried about it.
So, Jennifer had a little heart to heart with Oprah in September. Oprah had been dying to get Jennifer on the show to talk about her divorce from Brad Pitt. And Jennifer really wanted to promote this book. So, our sources said that they had brokered a little deal, in which Jennifer would go on Oprah‘s show and talk about her divorce if Oprah promoted this book.
SCARBOROUGH: And who are your sources?
ROZDEBA: We have sources who are very both close to both Jennifer and Brad who stand by this.
SCARBOROUGH: So, I guess my question is, what doesn‘t seem to make sense to me is, Oprah Winfrey is so popular. She‘s so powerful. It seems to me she wouldn‘t have to strike a deal with anybody. Why would she let Jennifer Aniston dictate who was going to be her book of the month club selection?
ROZDEBA: Well, a lot of women watch Oprah‘s show. A lot of people absolutely love Jennifer Aniston and were really into...
JEANNE WOLF, COLUMNIST, MOVIES.COM: I am, but not great. It‘s going in and out.
ROZDEBA: You know, really going—everything that was going on with Jennifer‘s divorce, they wanted to know everything about it.
And Oprah and Jennifer are very good friends. And Oprah really wanted Jennifer to tell her story.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and, of course, we‘re hearing from Oprah‘s camp that this never happened. They are completely denying it and saying it‘s a complete fabrication. What‘s your response to that?
ROZDEBA: Well, you know, Oprah has been saying all along about—you know, in the beginning, she was standing by this book.
Then she went on “Larry King.” And, then, finally, she was saying on her show that, you know, she made a mistake about this book, that she was deeply sorry to her fans. Jennifer has a very close relationship with Oprah. Oprah is very close to Jennifer. Obviously, I don‘t think that Oprah would now come out and say, oh, and try to blame anything on this on Jennifer.
I think Oprah is really done with this. I think she just wants to say, this is over. I‘m moving on. We actually had some on-set sources on Oprah‘s show who said that, when people ask her about James, she says:
“James who? James Taylor? Oh, I love his music. “
Jeanne Wolf, do you buy this story? Do you think that Oprah would strike a deal with Jennifer Aniston to get this exclusive on Jennifer and Brad?
WOLF: Well, here‘s the part of the story I do buy.
I buy the part of the story that says Oprah and Jennifer are friends. I buy the part of the story that says Jennifer was a very good get for the “Oprah” show. And that‘s where it stops.
I think that they are good friends. I think Jennifer was passionate about this book, fascinated by the book. I think Oprah became passionate about this book, fascinated by this book, stood behind it in anything that could—that wouldn‘t even match a deal.
SCARBOROUGH: You don‘t think there was a quid pro quo, though, right?
WOLF: Oh, I think it‘s nonsense. I think it‘s the kind of thing friends do.
If I have a book I love, I will tell you about it, Joe. I will tell anybody who I care about. I will tell them, you have got to read this. And people who are very angry at the author, including Oprah, still say that the book was fascinating and beautifully written. They got conned.
And maybe Jennifer Aniston got conned. And maybe Warner Brothers got conned. And there are legal remedies for that. But there‘s no...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, a lot of people...
WOLF: And there‘s nothing but a friendly agreement that Jennifer would go onto her show as part of the publicity plan.
WOLF: Believe me, Jennifer would have made any deal she could not to go on anybody‘s show. She was getting tired of talking about all of this.
SCARBOROUGH: Jeanne, just—let‘s expand this out a little bit. So, you don‘t believe that there was any deal done between Oprah and Jennifer. But are these type of deals done, though, commonly in Hollywood and also in the media?
WOLF: I think there are all kinds of things you could call deals.
I think there are trades. I think there are—but I they‘re generally much more informal, much more based on trusting relationships than something that‘s written down: I will give you the interview, you know, if you promote my book.
Oprah Winfrey could make a deal with anybody in the world to promote their book. The power of her connection to a book is well documented. The power of Jennifer Aniston to draw an audience on the cover of a magazine or a TV show is quite evident.
I think Jennifer Aniston—I mean, if Oprah made a deal, she made a bad one. Jennifer went on her show, spoke as frankly as she could, never mentioned Brad‘s name, didn‘t go beyond what she had given in the interview to “Vanity Fair.” I have interviewed Jennifer several times this year.
And though I know she has been reluctant to talk about her personal life, I think it has changed her for the better that she‘s been forced to talk about her personal life. I think she‘s easier and funnier and more comfortable with the whole thing. I think common sense and the facts just don‘t support this story.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Thank you so much. Greatly appreciate it, Jeanne.
And thank you, Sue. Appreciate you coming to our show.
SCARBOROUGH: Now an update on our SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY campaign to get justice for Robert Stethem. He‘s the 23-year-old Navy diver that you see here who was brutally murdered by a terrorist simply because he served America in the armed forces.
Now, Stethem was killed during the hijacking of that TWA flight back in 1985 that so many Americans remember. And now his killer is walking free in the Middle East, and he‘s been walking free for the past three months. Now, we have been demanding answers about what our government is doing to bring that terrorist thug to justice.
One of our demands was that Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, meet with the Stethem family. Another was that they issued a formal question to Lebanon, where that terrorist is hiding. It turns out, the State Department was watching.
With me now, Patrick Stethem, one of Robert‘s brothers, and former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us.
PATRICK STETHEM, BROTHER OF MURDERED NAVY DIVER: Thank you, Joe.
Let me ask you, Patrick, about the meeting with Condi Rice. Was it productive? Do you feel like you got what you needed from her?
STETHEM: Yes, Joe, I did. It was productive. It was a positive meeting.
We learned last week that the State Department did issue a formal diplomatic request to the Lebanese for not just Hamadi, but for all four of the terrorists.
SCARBOROUGH: Joe diGenova, is that enough? Or does our government need to do more here?
JOE DIGENOVA, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, they certainly do need to do more.
And I can—and I sense from my conversations with the Stethem family and from what I know about Condi Rice, that more will be done. I‘m quite sure that diplomatic and intelligence pressure will be put on in the Middle East to find Hamadi and to either bring him back to the United States, or he‘s will be dealt with on the ground by special forces.
SCARBOROUGH: Joe, why did it take the State Department so long to act?
DIGENOVA: I think that—I think our government has been distracted by some pretty important stuff. And I think, sometimes, things that are equally as important don‘t get enough attention.
But I applaud the secretary of state for personally meeting with the Stethem family. And I think that‘s going to make things happen from now on, Joe.
And you deserve a lot of credit yourself for keeping this on the front burner. It‘s a well-deserved issue.
SCARBOROUGH: Joe, if the only way to bring this terrorist thug to justice was to kill him in Lebanon, do you think our government would be willing to do that?
DIGENOVA: I think they would prefer to bring him back to the United States for trial, which is—which would be a great result, especially during this war on terrorism.
But if he goes into Syria or goes into the Bekaa Valley and he is pursued, you never know what‘s going to happen on a battlefield.
SCARBOROUGH: Patrick, what did the secretary of state say to you, and did she apologize for the way this has been handled?
STETHEM: She did. Actually, that was one of the first statements that she gave, is that she apologized for someone in her department not contacting us immediately, and for the fact that no administration, up until this one, issued this request. And now those discussions are being held.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, that‘s great news. And I‘m glad this story is moving forward.
Thank you so much, Patrick.
And thank you, Joe.
Greatly appreciate both of you being here.
And, just ahead, an undercover investigation into Virginia prostitution rings has officers going literally undercover. But not everybody is impressed with the deputies‘ dedication.
But, first, some of the same tools used to solve murders are now helping to fight a different type of crime. And cheaters, beware. DNA doesn‘t lie.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s the latest tool in the war on adultery, a home DNA kit that lets you test your spouse‘s clothes, or even their car to see if they are cheating on you.
Recently, I spoke with David Vitalli, creator of that kit, and Bobby Goldstein. He‘s the producer of the show “Cheaters.”
And I asked David to tell us on, on Valentine‘s Eve, how the kit works.
DAVID VITALLI, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Say your wife goes out, your husband goes out. She comes home. He or she comes home late.
You got the idea that they might have been doing something. Next thing that you do is, you grab their clothing, or your grab whatever. You turn it inside out. First, you want to see if you see anything with the naked eye. If you can‘t see anything, that‘s when you use the U.V. light.
Now, what that does is, that lets you see trace elements of things, of bodily fluids that you can‘t normally see. So, that will make it glow. The next step is the protein enzyme test. Now, what that will do is, that will let you know if it‘s from a man, a woman, or the two mixed together.
Now, it only reads men and women‘s fluids. We will put it like that. The third step is the DNA collection kit. Now, you swab yourself. You swab the sample. You go up to your significant other‘s hairbrush, toothbrush, what have you. You take a piece of it, and you put it in the tubes, and you send it back for true tests for DNA analysis.
SCARBOROUGH: What‘s the strangest thing that you have ever had sent to you to be analyzed?
VITALLI: You know, we have—we have had some wild stuff.
You see, most of the time, you get clothes. You get shoes even. You will be get socks. We had a guy who bought his wife a BMW. She went out late one night, came home a little bit later than she said she was going to. He went out the next morning and saw something on the passenger seat that wasn‘t there when she left.
He brought the car over to BMW on a Monday morning, had the seat taken out and sent to us for analysis.
SCARBOROUGH: Was she busted?
VITALLI: Oh, she was busted.
VITALLI: Yes, she was just cold-hearted busted.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Bobby, if—some people out there may be asking, if a spouse is doing this to another spouse, sort of a CSI sex test, should this couple even be together?
BOBBY GOLDSTEIN, PRODUCER, “CHEATERS”: If a couple has these kind of issues, they have got a lot of problems to sort through. They are going to either get it fixed or they‘re not going to get it fixed, in which case, they‘re going to go their separate ways.
But love is a mystery. And, so, a lot of people stay together during all during all kinds of—of crazy things.
SCARBOROUGH: What are the telltale signs that your spouse is cheating on you?
GOLDSTEIN: Samples in clothes is certainly one way, late hours, different cell phones patterns, inavailability from the office, those kinds of things, you know, receipts in credit cards, things that can‘t be explained.
And the best thing, really, is the intuition that a person has about a spouse. Somebody knows. It‘s just like a barometer or mercury in a thermometer. We just pick up on it.
SCARBOROUGH: So, do you recommend that somebody takes these extraordinary steps? Or what‘s the best way to—to confront your spouse with concerns about this?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, I think this testing is a great idea. You certainly don‘t want to disturb the environment in which you seek to capture your spouse‘s misconduct, or your lover‘s misconduct.
This is a great starting point. And, in fact, I‘m disappointed your man there didn‘t call me for some money to throw in with him. I think it‘s a great idea.
VITALLI: Thank you. Thanks a lot.
SCARBOROUGH: David, how successful has this been? I‘m sure it‘s not going to be a really big Valentine‘s present. But how successful has it been?
VITALLI: Well, before you buy the diamond, buy the kit.
GOLDSTEIN: Yes, exactly.
VITALLI: We‘re cheaper than a divorce lawyer.
VITALLI: You see, it‘s gone over—we released this product October of ‘05, but we really didn‘t start pushing it until January of ‘06.
We have sold thousands of these things internationally. This has turned into an international company in literally less than a month.
SCARBOROUGH: Tell me, Bobby, what—why do people cheat on their spouses?
GOLDSTEIN: Frankly, I think that people are just horny, and they can‘t get enough. That‘s the bottom line.
VITALLI: Wow. I can‘t even argue with that.
SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say, can you add to that one, David?
VITALLI: Well, you know, the thing about it is, is that over 60 percent of couples cheat.
That was a study. That was not something we made up. It was something. It‘s a study that was done from the ages of 18 in to their 40s, that over 60 percent of them agreed that they have cheated. So, how many of them aren‘t cheating—that are cheating, should I say, that haven‘t admitted to it?
It‘s just human nature. It‘s just something that we do. And you can‘t hold it against the person for doing these sorts of things.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Thank you so much, David. Greatly appreciate it.
VITALLI: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Bobby.
GOLDSTEIN: You‘re welcome.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m joined now by a man who, really, these kits are not required.
Mrs. Tucker, he was with me.
Tucker Carlson, host of “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON.”
Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight, buddy?
CARLSON: A cheating segment, what a way to ring in Valentine‘s Day.
CARLSON: Good booking, Joe.
CARLSON: We‘re doing a CSI segment, too, amazingly enough. We think alike.
CARLSON: It turns out homicide detectives—some of them, anyway—believe that program and programs like it are, in essence, a tutorial, helping criminals commit crimes, helping murderers get away with murder.
We‘re going to talk to the head homicide detective of the LAPD. He‘s going to explain exactly how it works.
SCARBOROUGH: And we did that also for cheaters, which I guess the lesson is, burn your clothes before you go home, right?
CARLSON: Yes. Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Tucker, tell—you have got to tell me very briefly, why did you think the Dick Cheney shotgun blast story was funny? I love it. I mean, that‘s such a real-man approach to take.
CARLSON: It‘s just Dick Cheney, trigger man. He bagged his limit.
The guy mouthed off about Iraq, and he blasted him.
CARLSON: I mean, it‘s just—it‘s just a riot.
SCARBOROUGH: Just like that.
CARLSON: I‘m sorry. I mean, the guy is going to be OK, so we‘re allowed to laugh. I just think it‘s funny as hell, Dick Cheney blowing somebody away. It just cracks me up.
SCARBOROUGH: You are a true conservative, Tucker Carlson, a conservative...
CARLSON: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks for being with us.
SCARBOROUGH: And make sure you tune into “THE SITUATION,” coming up next at 11:00.
Now, when we come back, police in Virginia are getting very hands on in their crackdown of massage parlors. But some people aren‘t happy.
And customers at a doughnut shop were getting more than just a jolt in their morning cup of joe. Now two employees are facing charges, accused of adding an extra ingredient. We will tell you what that is when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s time for another flyover of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Of course, those are the stories that may have fallen under the mainstream media‘s radar, but not ours.
First up, Massachusetts, where two Dunkin‘ Donuts employees are under arrest. Rodrigo Rodrigues and Junior DaSilva are charged with spitting in customers‘ coffee. Local police began their investigation after another employee overheard them threatening to spit in customers‘ coffee.
Dunkin‘ Donuts said, don‘t worry; the employees are no longer working for the company.
Next stop, Spotsylvania County, Virginia, where several local sheriff‘s deputies went into a local massage parlor as undercover detectives and left satisfied customers. According to court papers, detectives had been receiving sexual services as part of an undercover sting to root out prostitution in the county.
And the taxpayers were picking up the tab. But it‘s all in a day‘s work at the office. The local sheriff says it‘s nothing new and stresses that only unmarried detectives got the undercover assignments.
But not everybody thinks it‘s the best use of police time. And they really didn‘t appreciate that $350 tip that one massage parlor expert was given.
And, finally, Durham, New Hampshire, where hockey fans are “Ram Jam”-ing no more. The University of New Hampshire is banning Ram Jam‘s “Black Betty.” The 1970s rock song is used to rally the fans at the school‘s hockey games, but school officials say the song is—quote—
“theoretically racist” and out of tune with the current climate on campus.
We will be right back, when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
And “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” just minutes away, so stick around, bam-ba-lam.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Bam-ba-lam. She really gets me high.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You can take SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on the road with you wherever you go. Just go to iTunes to get your free podcast.
We will be right back with much more.
SCARBOROUGH: Finally tonight, a reminder about an important MSNBC project to help our troops.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is on a mission to help complete construction of a state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for severely injured veterans. Now, friends, the goal is raise $10 million. And, to do that, we have to have your help.
For more information on how to make a donation—I talked to a member of the board this weekend, James Kennedy (ph). He told me, this is a great project. Go to www.fallenheroesfund.org, or call 1-800-340-HERO.
That‘s it for our show tonight. Stick around, because “THE SITUATION WITH TUCKER CARLSON” starts right now.
Hey, Tucker, what‘s the situation tonight?
CARLSON: Hey, Joe, thank you. And thanks for a great show.
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