IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

'Scarborough Country' for March 29

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guest: Lawrence O'Donnell; Peter Beinart; Karen Hanretty; John Burness,

Wendy Murphy, Mickey Sherman, Bernadine Healy, Christine Gorman

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have been listening to Vice President Dick Cheney at the radio and TV correspondents' dinner there in Washington, a big annual event for the different reporters and all the members of the cabinet as you can see.  And Dick Cheney showing he has a wonderful sense of humor.  We are now going to go to Joe Scarborough and SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY which is already in progress.  Let's join Joe.

KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: agree upon, which is prevention. If we could start at the foundation of preventing additional illegal immigration on our borders. You know, Dianne Feinstein is a Democrat and I find myself siding with her these days.  Since the 1990s when she first ran for U.S. Senate, she has been arguing in favor of putting 2,000  additional border patrol along the. 

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC ANALYST: The president is in favor of that. 

The president is completely in favor of that.  (CROSSTALK)

PETER BEINART, EDITOR, THE NEW REPUBLIC: The Senate bill includes that. 

O'DONNELL: The Senate bill includes it. It includes building the wall and doubling the border patrol.  (CROSSTALK)

HANRETTY: in their communications effort because that is an issue that has broad bipartisan support.  It doesn't have the support of maybe the AFL-CIO and some of these labor organizations and the more radical ethnic organizations that are out protesting in the street but it has broad bipartisan support in mainstream America. 

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY:  Peter, let me bring Peter Barnard in, Peter, the president is not leading with that, which would be a very smart thing to do with your base and say we have other parts of the bill, too.  But the number one thing we want to do is we want to protect the border. We want to keep illegal immigrants out.  We want to make sure that this country is safe, also from terrorists using the Mexican border to smuggle terrorists in here.  But the president doesn't seem to have a lot of leadership inside the White House right now.  For a White House that has been so ruthlessly efficient for the first four, 4 ½ years of the administration, what's happened to the Bush White House are why are they fumbling up al these big issues, whether you want to talk about Iraq, whether you want to talk about the port deal or whether you want to talk about illegal immigration that's being fought out right now?

BEINART: It's not the management of the White House.  President Bush has been saying exactly what you want him to say.  He has been going on and on and on about how they want to be tough on the border.  But ultimately, the only way of solving this problem is recognizing that this country depends on very low wage labor that Americans won't do and no America wants to pay double for his tomatoes or his visit Wal-Mart, because we jack the price up double to pay people to get them to do these jobs. That's the reality and what George W.  Bush -- 

SCARBOROUGH: Wait, wait, hold it a second Peter, I got to ask you this, Peter, because this is where the argument falls apart.  If we give these 12 million people amnesty—

BEINART: It's not an amnesty bill.  It's not an amnesty bill.

SCARBOROUGH: Whatever you want to call it.  We let these 12 million people  become citizens, then employers are going to have to pay them legal wages, are going to have to pay them OSHA benefits, are going to have to pay unemployment insurance for them and they they're going to have to hire more illegal immigrants to keep the price of the vegetables down. 

BEINART: You have to pay some benefits, but you're also going to get more back in taxes from these people.  The wage is being determined by the market and by the fact that the United States, the consumer is king and Americans want to pay less for the things they buy and that benefits all Americans. It's an amazing thing I think about conservatives.  They tend to believe that the market is good in general and the Federal government tends to screw things up, except in this case where we have a vast demand for cheap labor and Mexico has a vast supply.  And conservatives should be the first to recognize that the Federal government is not going to be able to stop that unless it starts with recognizing the market reality.  (INAUDIBLE) And they will become like the Republican party of the 1930's. 


SCARBOROUGH: Peter, we are going to have to take this to the other side.  We'll let Pat respond.  I personally would rather have an America where people obey the law than cheap tomatoes. We'll be right back.


SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back. Before the break, Pat Buchan, Peter Beinart said the Mexicans have the supply, we have the demand.  Why don't you understand like, why don't you understand the free market system here?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC ANALYST:  Well, Mr. Beinart works for that little “New Republic” whose politics and economics are equally bad Joe.  In 1953, Eisenhower came in. There were a million illegal Mexicans in the country.  He had something called operation wet back and sent them all home.  1964, the (INAUDIBLE) program was shut down. Somehow the tomatoes got picked.  If you start sending illegal aliens back to Mexico, what will happen is the labor market will tighten, wages will gradually rise for working class folks. Black kids who have dropped out of high school, the working people who used to vote Republican and that's a good thing.  We can do any job in this country with Americans.  There is no profession or occupation where illegal aliens are a majority today.  Who does Beinart think is doing all that work besides illegal aliens? It's Mexicans for whom - excuse me it's Americans for whom these illegal aliens are unjust, unfair competition. 


BEINART: Can I respond here?

SCARBOROUGH: You can Peter in one second.  I just want to ask Karen first, Karen, you obviously, you're employed and you try to get Republicans elected to  different positions, but this year in 2006, isn't it getting more difficult by the day to make the claim that Republicans are different from Democrats and they should maintain  control of Congress? It could be very ugly in 2006, this fall, couldn't it?

HANRETTY:  Yeah. Political apathy is really spreading through the Republican party.  I see in California first hand, t is a very real danger.  Everyone keeps talking about well, is there going to be a political shift in 2006? No, there's not a political shift. It's not like Republicans are going to wake up in November and say hey, I think I'll vote Democrat today because Democrats are offering such great ideas. They're not.  The problem that we are facing is that Republicans I fear are not going to go to the polls in November because they are frustrated with their own leadership.  There is no Republican voice for the voters and the activists right now.  And just mainstream America, no one is standing up in favor of reduced spending, reduced government and prevention at our borders and protecting our borders.  Without that, Republicans look and say, what's the point? Why bother? Why should I go walk precincts? Why should I make phone calls? Why should I donate $25, $50, $100 donations to candidates who don't represent me? 

SCARBOROUGH: And Karen, they are not going to do it.  That's what I'm hearing time and time again from Republican activists across America. It's not that they are going to vote for Democrats.  They don't want Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the House.  They are just not going to go out and work for candidates.  They're not going to give any money to candidates and they're not going to go out and vote. 

HANRETTY: And it's not just the House races that we should be looking at. It will effect gubernatorial races throughout California. I think it will affect Governor Schwarzenegger's chances for reelection in California.  And it's going to affect a lot of the statewide constitutional races that are happening throughout the nation, this Republican apathy is going to hurt Republicans broadly. 

SCARBOROUGH: Let me go to Peter. 

O'DONNELL: Republicans will be running on tax cuts. 

SCARBOROUGH: Tax cuts. That ain't going to cut it this year.  Peter, go ahead and respond. 

BEINART: Look, we have drastically increased spending at the last  border in the last decade, drastically increased.  All it has done is divert people across—we can't stop illegal drugs from coming into this country.  We can't stop illegal immigrants from coming into this country.  What we need to have is a rational program which recognizes.  What Pat Buchanan is saying is a total fantasy.  You listen to employer after employer after employer and they say, even at double the wages, Americans will not do these jobs and it is also... 

BUCHANAN: Let me talk about the security fence. 

BEINART: Lower prices is also (INAUDIBLE) social justice for Americans to shop at Wal-mart. It's a total fancy what Pat Buchanan is talking about. 

BUCHANAN: Peter, we don't need lectures from your little Marxist magazine.  As for security fence, I don't recommend it, but look at what the Israelis did on their border.  Security fence will stop it cold.  It did 14 miles from Imperial Beach all the way into the valley, the so-called Buchanan fence of '92.  They don't come across there anymore. 

BEINART: Talk to any serious economist Pat.  You are living in a fantasy land. 

BUCHANAN: Listen, the serious economists (INAUDIBLE) Look, you've got all you need is to cover the main transfer points in the urban areas. 

O'DONNELL: You got to cover the whole thing. 

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second.  I want to take you to Lawrence O'Donnell here. Lawrence, I want to go back to a point I was making before to Karen, the fact that usually when you have these years where things turn 1994 for the Republicans, 1974 for the Democrats, 1966 for the Republicans.  It's not always the Republican voters who rush to the polls or Democratic voters.  It's that their own people stay at home.  Do you think that's going to be a real problem for the Republicans this fall and do you think the Democrats are going to take over the House and possibly the Senate?

O'DONNELL: I would bet on it for the Democrats this year.  Look, if they don't win it back this year, they're not going to win it back in my lifetime.  This is their big shot and everything's going their way and it is true that the disarray on this subject within the Republican party helps the Democrats.  Democrats aren't saying much about it because they don't have the bravery to take real positions on it.  So they're just going to watch this and hope it helps create an atmosphere of Republican disarray and Republican incompetence.  I'm very impressed with the president's position on this, not least of which because it's actually as Pat Buchanan knows what we have written in the west wing for our Republican candidate for president.  It's an identical position and it's the one that makes sense the longer you look at the subject.  The trouble is the public is only going to look at this subject for about a week or two and it's going to turn away from it when nothing happens or if we get a small border patrol increase. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We are going to have to leave it there unfortunately and Lawrence, you should know that if Pat Buchanan ever saw your Republican candidates saying that on the West Wing,” you'd call it a little Marxist TV show.  (INAUDIBLE)

BUCHANAN: Lawrence has told us why the Democrats were unanimous in the committee voting for this program. It is a good liberal program.  That's why the Democrats voted 100 percent for it. 

SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks so much. When we come back, the college rape case causing shock waves.  New details tonight on what police are looking for and whether there was a cover up from the university.  We get the latest from the Duke campus, next. 

And later, a secret memo outlines what kind of guest the show “Extreme Makeover” is looking for. The question is, are they exploiting people's problems for money?


SCARBOROUGH: “Extreme Home Makeover,” one of TV's hottest shows. But a secret memo builds disturbing exploitive practices even by reality TV standards.  They target kids with cancer. We're going to have that story straight ahead.

Plus, we're going to ask whether America is ready for the next pandemic. That and much more straight ahead, but first here's the latest news you and your family need to know.

COLETTE CASSIDY, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening everyone. I'm Colette Cassidy. Here's what's happening. President Bush arrived in the Mexican resort of Cancun tonight for two days of talks with Mexican President Vicente Fox and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen (ph) Harper.  Among the issues expected to be discussed, trade, terrorism and immigration. 

Disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced in Miami to five years and 10 months in prison for fraud stemming from his purchase of a fleet of gambling boats.  He'll remain free while helping prosecutors in the vast bribery investigation involving members of Congress. Abramoff has also pleaded guilty in Washington to defrauding Indian tribes.  Another lobbying client got millions of dollars, but no sentencing date has been set in that case. 

Jury deliberations resume in the morning in the death penalty trial of confessed al Qaeda conspirator Zaccarias Moussaoui.  The jury got the case this afternoon. 

And a Russian Soyuz rocket blasted off tonight carrying a U.S., Russian and Brazilian crew to the international space station.  It will dock in two days and return April 9 with the current U.S., Russian crew.  Those are your headlines. I'm Colette Cassidy. Now back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH: How do they select people to be on “Extreme Makeover, Home Edition”?  Well, there's a stunning list of qualifications revealed in a secret casting memo that will disturb you. Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. That story in just minutes, but first shock waves continue to ripple across the campus of Duke University tonight.

With us from the campus of Duke University is NBC's Donna Gregory. 

Donna, get us up to date with the very latest. 


There are new developments since the announcement that the lacrosse season will be canceled until some serious allegations are forthcoming and are dealt with.  These are allegations that there was a possible gang rape at a party involving the lacrosse team.  Well, that lacrosse season has been suspended.

And the president, Richard Brodhead, spoke privately with students this morning.  So, that's new. 

Also new is some court documents that show that the condition of the alleged victim is consistent with that of a rape victim.  She was examined the night of the alleged incident. 

Here is what she says happened.  She and another woman were hired as exotic dancers to perform at a party for the lacrosse.  She says she was raped by three men in a bathroom.  She says the incident lasted for 30 minutes, and then called police later.

Because of the police investigation, 46 members of the lacrosse team have submitted DNA samples.  Keep in mind, they deny that any sexual activity took place at this party.

They do admit there was underage drinking, and they do confess that they did hire women from an escort service. 

Also new, the racial aspect of this case is drawing a lot of tension here on campus.  Most of the lacrosse players are white.  The two women they hired to dance for them are African-American. 

Now, two African-American women not involved in this case also report that there were racial slurs aimed at them from the same house the night of the alleged incident.  They were so upset, they called 911.  And police have released that tape.  Let's listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It's right in front of 610 Buchanan Street.

And they came—I saw them all come out of, like, a big frat house.  And me and my black girlfriend are walking by, and they called us (EXPLETIVE DELETED)

And they didn't harm me in any way.  But I just felt so completely offended, I can't even believe it.


GREGORY:  Other students confirm there are significant racial tensions here on campus.  And they hope this incident opens some dialogue to talk about that. 

And one other thing—there are more concerns about Duke's response.  The administration has gone on record, saying they were investigating this incident within 24 hours of the report.  And, yet, there was no public comment by the university, Joe, until nearly two weeks after the party, when Duke was forced to suspend—or forfeit—two games last Saturday—back to you.  

SCARBOROUGH:  There seems to be a lot of conflict. 

Thank you so much, Donna.  Greatly appreciate your report. 

There certainly does seem to be a lot of conflict in this case.  There are people very concerned at Duke University that that university did not respond quickly enough, some people even suggesting a cover-up.  We certainly know that there was a cover-up, appears to be a cover-up, by members of the lacrosse team, who are telling police that no sexual activity occurred at that house.

And yet, we now have evidence, physical evidence, from police investigators that, when they checked out the woman with a medical exam, her story was certainly consistent with what they found—some—some very graphic details we are not going to get into right now. 

But I do want to bring in John Burness.  He's senior vice president of public affairs for Duke University. 

Thank you so much for being with us tonight. 

I want to...


UNIVERSITY:  Glad to be here.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... start by asking you about—talk about the university's response, that you all did not make this public quickly enough. 

BURNESS:  Yes.  I'm—I'm happy—I'm happy to have a—an opportunity to clarify that. 

We learned from the Durham police, who are the investigators on the case, on the 14th that the alleged incident had occurred.  Immediately, a representative of our student affairs staff met with the students, urged them to cooperate completely with the police. 

The students told her and have consistently said since that there was no sexual activity, consensual or otherwise, during the time that the young women were at—at the house.  They—as far as I know, and as far as they have told us repeatedly, they have been in—in contact with the police and provided different information at different times. 

It is also true that they did get a lawyer, and their lawyer has advised them not to talk.  And—and, since that came through, that—that has been the case.  The issue of when the university knew and then when the university talked about it, it was not until the 23rd that there was really discussion about this, whether it was from the police or anything else. 

If you look at the local media coverage of this, there were stories that might two inches or maybe three inches long, all—all relatively small, with no names, with no sort of information.  And it wasn't until the 23rd that the police issued a public statement saying that the students, in their view, were not cooperating, and they had invited 46 of the 47 students in to provide DNA testing...


BURNESS:  ... to be photographed, etcetera.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, what does the university do about the fact that the police are saying that members of Duke's lacrosse squad are not cooperating?  This is a lacrosse squad, of course, I'm sure you have seen, that one out of every three members had already had a previous arrest record. 

Do you all, instead of just suspending the entire season, suspend these players until they start cooperating with police, especially since physical evidence...

BURNESS:  Well, I—I...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... has come in saying that there was, in fact, a...

BURNESS:  OK.SCARBOROUGH:  ... rape that occurred? 

BURNESS:  The physical evidence was known on the 23rd, when the police issued the initial warrant.  So, there is nothing that is just now coming in on that.  That has been out there for some time.

It was part—as I said, it was part of the warrant.  And all one needs to do is see that to understand it. 

I think the issue is, in terms of the—the players, based on information we could confirm, we actually suspended two games.  And that information was that the students acknowledged to us that they hired exotic dancers and that underage drinking was occurring at the house. 

And we felt that alone, given the fact that they represent Duke as—as a team, and we hold them to a higher standard, that behavior was inconsistent and incompatible with what we thought was appropriate.  And those two games were immediately forfeited. 

The decision yesterday by the president to suspend the remainder of the—the season until there is clarity on the legal issues—and I need to emphasize that no one has been charged of anything by—by the police at this point, or the district attorney. 

There are lots—the allegations are out there.  And there is a lot of reports in the paper.  And one of the dilemmas that we have to deal with is that we have one set of information from the students, which have totally denied the other side.  We don't know the version—which version of the events is true or not.  And it's why the police investigation is so important. 


BURNESS:  We are all awaiting...

SCARBOROUGH:  And it is an important investigation.  I mean, the police and—again, the police are saying they don't believe that these members of the team are cooperating.  I know that they're...


SCARBOROUGH:  I know that everybody needs to be afforded due process. 

I do want to ask you...

BURNESS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... something that we do know about, though.

We do know that...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... one-third of the Duke team, this Duke team from your university, had a previous—had previous arrests. 


SCARBOROUGH:  How—how does something like that happen?

BURNESS:  Yes.  Let me—let me speak to that.

SCARBOROUGH:  And—and—and who is responsible...

BURNESS:  Let...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... ultimately for that? 

BURNESS:  Let—let me speak to that. 

The—the arrests in—in this case and every case were citations for either underage drinking, obnoxious behavior, those kinds of things.  They are not things we condone in any way, shape or form.  The students were cited for it.  They're—our judicial process dealt with each and every one of those, as I understand it, through our judicial process. 

That is a very different level of claim of behavior...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well—well, certainly, it is. 

BURNESS:  ... than allegations of...



BURNESS:  Let me finish.  Please, let me finish.

SCARBOROUGH:  You have got to be embarrassed, though...

BURNESS:  Please, let me finish—than allegations of a rape.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that one out of three of your lacrosse players have an arrest record, whether it is a misdemeanor...

BURNESS:  Yes, we are.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... or a felony. 

BURNESS:  Yes, we are. 

But I—but I think it is important to stress that there is a difference between someone going out and drinking and acting obnoxiously, which might be at a misdemeanor level, and someone accused of something as horrific as sexual assault...


BURNESS:  ... and rape, which cannot be tolerated.

SCARBOROUGH:  There is a big defense .

I will ask you again.  Who—who bears the responsibility?  Is it the athletic department?  Is it the coach?  Is it the president of the university that you have thuggish behavior?  Whether you are talking about underage drinking, whether you are talking about public disorderly behavior...

BURNESS:  Well, I—again—again, I...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... whether you are talking about public urination, where...

BURNESS:  I want to distinguish between....

SCARBOROUGH:  ... where does that burden fall? 

BURNESS:  I want to distinguish between something like thuggish behavior, as you characterize it, as people drinking in excess, and someone accused of something far more serious, where no charges have yet been filed...


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you have done that three times now.

I—I understand that...

BURNESS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... public drunkenness is in a different league than rape.  I'm just asking...

BURNESS:  Right.  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  ... how do you have a university with a reputation of Duke having a sports team that has one out of three guys with an arrest record? 

BURNESS:  Well, right.

I think—I think the way that this issue will—we were asked this question, the president was, at the press conference last night, which is, how does this affect, you know, the university's image in the world?

And the issue for us is not the image.  The issue is how will we handle the situation, and, if it turns out that we have very serious charges that turn out to be true, the—the way we then respond to that.  But it—it is really difficult for us right now to be responding, in the absence of clarity about the facts that the investigation is designed to produce. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  And, John, that...

BURNESS:  We are cooperating completely with the police. 


And, John, obviously, that clarity is going to come in the form of DNA tests in the coming weeks.

BURNESS:  Right. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I appreciate you being with us tonight and explaining Duke University's position that—you all are in.  You are in a very difficult position. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks for being here.

BURNESS:  One—one of the things I would—one of the things I would urge all of your viewers to do is go to the Duke Web page, because it has all (AUDIO GAP) It has chronological information.  It has articles that have been written about this, so people can get full information. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That sounds great.  Thank you so much, John.  Appreciate it. 

BURNESS:  Thank you. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now let's bring in our panel. 

Wendy Murphy is a former prosecutor.  And Mickey Sherman is a criminal defense attorney. 

Wendy, I would call it thuggish behavior, if you have one out of three athletes that have arrest records.  I certainly understand what John was trying to—to say: big difference between public urination or public drunkenness and rape.  But, at the same time, there seems to be a culture, at least on this lacrosse team, that encourages thuggish behavior. 


I mean, I'm not sure there is a crime called being obnoxious.  I think he was soft-pedaling something that was probably at least more serious than being obnoxious.

And, you know, this idea that people should go to their Web site to get the true story, let me make one point here.  If you want to get the truth, don't go to Duke University's Web site, because colleges are notorious at sweeping this stuff under the rug, not telling the truth. 

Go to  They tell the truth about what colleges are very bad at doing, which is...

SCARBOROUGH:  So, you...

MURPHY:  ... telling the truth about crime.

SCARBOROUGH:  So, you think Duke is covering this up? 

MURPHY:  Well, look it, colleges do it.  Duke is not the only one. 

Colleges do it, because they care most about reputation. 

I almost fell off my chair when the guy said:  We don't care about our reputation.

It's the only thing they care about.  That's why they didn't say anything for however many weeks it was.


MURPHY:  They were hoping it would all go away and the media would soft-pedal it.  Thankfully, that's not the case.  The truth probably will come out.  And they shouldn't trust Duke to tell the truth, because they care...

SCARBOROUGH:  Wendy, let's talk...

MURPHY:  ... about their reputation most.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... about this case specifically.

You have got three people, this women alleges, three people that gang-raped her, did everything imaginable to her, violated her in—in the most horrific of ways.  And, yet, you have got 43 members of the team that were there that night that aren't talking.  Is there a possibility, if it comes out that the rape occurred like this lady says it occurred, that those 43 people could be held up on charges, whether lying to police, or obstructing this investigation, or aiding and abetting this rape? 

MURPHY:  Possibly.  It really depends on their involvement. 

It's not a crime to be around, but it is a crime to know and to see and to assist and to cheer, for instance, because that is enough for aiding and abetting. 

And I will tell you something.  It's pretty ...

SCARBOROUGH:  What about lying to police? 

MURPHY:  Lying to police could be a crime, too.  It's not a very serious crime, but it could be prosecuted. 

And, you know, we have all heard about the thin blue line, when cops band together and cover for each other.  Well, we can call this whole new idea the—the—the thin blue and white line at Duke.  That's their colors. 

And I will tell you, Duke should be ashamed of itself for not punishing the students' cover-up activity in banding together.  Forty-six of them, and saying, we saw nothing, we know nothing?  That is actually worse than what he said he punished them for, which was underage drinking. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Underage drinking.

MURPHY:  That...

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Exactly. 

MURPHY:  That—it's far worse to cover this up.  They should all be kicked off campus immediately for the cover-up activity alone. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Mickey Sherman, I want to ask you about what happens once the evidence comes back in, this DNA evidence.  And it certainly looks like it's going to come back in and look bad for at least three of the athletes at Duke. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Let's say that happens. 

If you are a defense attorney, is the first thing you are going to do is go after the victim, because she is an exotic dancer, basically say she put herself in that position; it's her own fault?

SHERMAN:  I wouldn't do that.  And I don't think most experienced defense attorneys would do that. 

Oddly enough, the people who vilify her more than the lawyers and the public are female jurors.  And I know Wendy is probably—smoke is coming out of her ears at this point.


SHERMAN:  But I'm telling you, if—when you have a rape case where the issue is consent, and where you have a woman who has put herself, allegedly, in a position where she has made some bad decisions, or bad judgments—and I'm not saying that's what happened here—but in a consent rape case, a la the William Kennedy Smith case and several others, Kobe Bryant, women...

SCARBOROUGH:  So, women—women are toughest on their own? 

SHERMAN:  Totally.

MURPHY:  Not always.

SHERMAN:  Women jurors hold other—hold these—hold victims to a very, very difficult standard.  And they are very harsh judges. 

So, I don't think you are going to have the defense people saying, the...


SHERMAN:  ... that—that the victim invited it.  That would of course—that—that's silly.  I mean, you can rape a prostitute and be charged, as—as well you should.

The—one of the problems I have here is, you know, the last I checked, Durham, North Carolina, the Duke campus, is still part of the United States.  These guys, whether or not they are jerks or not, still enjoyed the Fifth Amendment rights. 

And the whole thing about canceling the lacrosse season, who cares?  I mean, this—that, to me, seems such a silly issue.  We should be trying to find out whether or not a rape occurred and who did it.  And who cares whether the lacrosse season is canceled or not?

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.              

Mickey Sherman, thank you so much.

And, Wendy Murphy, we appreciate it. 

We are going to be following it.  And I'm going to ask both of you to come back as this—as the DNA evidence comes in and this case continues developing. 

I'll tell you what.  It is a real black eye, not only Duke, but for the entire college athletic system. 

The coming bird flu epidemic, a lot of people are asking whether we are ready.  I have got some experts here that say no way. 

We will be right back for that story—when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.


SCARBOROUGH:  Turning now to bird flu, could it pose a catastrophic threat, on the magnitude of the 1918 flu?  That pandemic killed more than 20 million people across the world and close to 700,000 people here in the United States alone. 

There's no doubt that the bird flu is spreading.  Forty-eight countries now have confirmed birds infected by the virus.  So far, only nine countries have reported human cases of bird flu.  And 105 people have died over the past three years. 

With me now to talk about it, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and Christine Gorman.  She's senior science writer for “TIME” magazine. 

Doctor, let me begin with you.

As I told you before, my wife has been trying to get me to do this segment for some time...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... but, just like I said when Hurricane Ivan was coming to hit Pensacola, it's like, oh, you have nothing to worry about.

But the more I read about this, though, the more concerned I get.  Is America in danger of facing a new deadly pandemic? 


Well, the first thing, Joe, is listen to your wife. 


HEALY:  The second thing is...

SCARBOROUGH:  Of course.


HEALY:  The second thing is, the answer is yes.  And it certainly is the most serious threat we have had facing a pandemic in the past 50 years.  And where I say the risk is something we should really sit up and pay attention to is that we are looking at a virus which seems to disproportionately affect people in the ages of the teens, 20s, early 30s.  We are talking about not just our children, but our nation's seed corn that is at risk. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Are we ready?  Is the government ready?  Is America's medical community—community ready for a pandemic like this? 

HEALY:  We are—we are—we are not ready at all.  And I'm not the only one who is saying that.  The secretary of HHS has said it repeatedly.  We have a long way to go, in terms of community preparedness, our hospitals' readiness, and, also, within our families, whether or not our families are ready.  And there are things that each one of those components must do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Christine Gorman, I saw an ad—I believe it was in “The Wall Street Journal” yesterday—as we were preparing for this segment, where you—you had a broker saying that their clients needed to prepare for the economic impact of this pandemic. 

I mean, that's pretty serious stuff.  What would the impact of a 1918-style pandemic be on America's economy? 

CHRISTINE GORMAN, SENIOR SCIENCE WRITER, “TIME”:  Oh, I think it would be devastating on America's economy. 

I think, you know, when you look at the fact that we have a just-in-time economy, you have all kinds of disruptions in, let's say, chlorine water supply, you know, the chlorine being trucked into water treatment plants, in—in the drugs that are delivered.  If you don't have a three-month supply of certain heart medications or whatever you are dependent on, that—that could be disruptive, because so much—I mean, for example, Laurie Garrett at—at the Council on Foreign Relations has talked about masks, simple face masks that are mostly made in China. 

If there is a—a disruption there, you—you won't be able to even get them in—in the United States. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I'll tell you what.  Stay with us, because we are going to have more on this when we come back. 

We will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Healy, what do people like my wife and others who are so concerned about this, what do they need to do? 

HEALY:  Well, first of all, we have to realize that you have catch this.  And, usually, it's respiratory contagion, so, simple things—hand-washing. 

Have a lot of those little alcohol bottles available that you keep in

your purse or your pocket.  Get into the habit of washing your hands,

keeping your hands away from your face and your nose.  Masks will probably

be in order at the time, and normal preparedness, stockpiling a supply of -

·         of food and water, future medicines, because there may be problems in transportation.

And—and some of the economic issues, like pharmacies that maybe have empty shelves, are to be considered.  So, there are things you can do.  The government has to do its thing, but every family needs to think about what it is going to do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Christine, I will ask you the tough question.  What's the likelihood that we get hit by the bird flu in the United States on an epidemic or pandemic level? 

GORMAN:  Well, I think it's—it's clear there will be a pandemic at some point in the future. 

What we don't know is if it will be mild or severe.  Most people alive in 1968 weren't even aware that they were in the middle of a pandemic.  But you were aware of, certainly, if you were alive in 1918.  I have a friend who caught the flu in—in 1919.  And—and she tells incredible stories about it. 

Whether or not it's severe or mild, we don't know.  Whether or not it's the H5N1 virus, we don't know.  But it certainly pays to prepare.  It's a topic that has been very popular when I have written about it on—on my Global Health Blog on 

I think it—it—as Dr. Healy was saying, it pays to prepare. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Dr. Healy -- 15 seconds left—do you agree that this is inevitable? 

HEALY:  I think it is inevitable.  We don't know the timeline.

But I think the key thing is, public health officials shouldn't hide the facts because they're afraid the population—population will panic.  The reality is, we have to be honest.  We have to get people thinking about this, and, when it occurs, handling it in a smart way. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

Thank you so much, as always, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and Christine Gorman.

We will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You can take SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on the road with you wherever you go.  Just go to iTunes and get your free podcast.

We will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, I want to thank you for being with us tonight.  I always appreciate you coming. 

I want to apologize, also, for not having that “Extreme Makeover” story that we have been talking about throughout the show tonight.  We ran out of time.  But we will have that for you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. 

That is all the time we have for tonight.


Tucker, what's the situation tonight? 




Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.'s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET