Guests: Jim VandeHei, Laura Schwartz, Anthony Weiner, Conan Nolan
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Bush‘s brain bounced from the CIA leak investigation. He‘s in the clear and fighting back. Memo to Democrats: Duck. And speaking of bounces, two 500-pound bombs, a terrorist‘s death and much more lifts Bush‘s poll numbers. Is it a short-lived lift, though? And why do 69 percent of Americans now believe America can win the war in Iraq?
Then: They want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot, but Hollywood stars say no. They get arrested, fighting back to save that LA park from being flattened and paved. Daryl Hannah will be here to talk about her cause and her arrest.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. No passport required, only common sense allowed.
But first: Bush‘s brain can breathe easier tonight. Karl Rove will not be prosecuted, at least in the CIA leak investigation that‘s already snagged the vice president‘s top man. Now, while the White House cheered today, DNC chairman Howard Dean smeared.
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HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: If Karl Rove had been indicted, it would have been for perjury. That does not excuse his real sin, which is leaking the name of an operative during a time of war. He doesn‘t belong in the White House, and if the president valued America more than he valued his connection to Karl Rove, Karl Rove would have been fired a long time ago. So I think this is probably good news for the White House, but it‘s not very good news for America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Rove meanwhile wasted little time going on the attack against a Democratic Party that he would love to spend its time in the majority over the net two years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Like too many Democrats, it strikes me they are ready to give the green light to go to war. But when it gets tough and when it gets difficult, they fall back on that party‘s old pattern of cutting and running.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And speaking of Iraq and that troubled land, the president‘s trip to Baghdad will be sure to lift his sagging poll numbers a little more, which are already on the rise. Now, 38 percent of Americans support the job President Bush is doing. That‘s up 7 percent from last month. And a staggering—at least, staggering to me—a staggering 69 percent of Americans now say that we can still win the war in Iraq. What a difference a corpse makes, especially when that corpse is the most wanted terrorist in Iraq.
So what does Rove‘s revival, Bush‘s Baghdad journey and the White House‘s modest bounce in the polls mean for an administration that‘s lately been taking on more water than the Poseidon? Let‘s ask “Hardball‘s” Chris Matthews to weigh in on Rove‘s reprieve—Chris.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”: Joe, it‘s hard to remember how this whole leak story started back three years ago, in July of 2003, when Bob Novak, the famous columnist, wrote that article which outed, basically, Valerie Plame, the wife of Joe Wilson, and said it was she, an undercover agent for the CIA, who had sent her husband on that fact-finding trip that led to his blowing the whistle in the WMD case and arousing so much excitement and anger from the White House.
Well, we now know, after the all the smoke has cleared and that Karl Rover is not going to be indicted and Scooter Libby, the chief of staff to the vice president, is being indicted and is facing the courts, that there were four leaks out of the White House. One of them was Karl Rove, who talked to Bob Novak. He was the second person who talked to Novak. He confirmed the identity and the undercover nature of the role of Valerie Plame. We also know that he talked to Matt Cooper of “Time” magazine about her identity. We also know that Scooter Libby talked to Matt Cooper and talked to his friend, Judy Miller of “The New York Times.” So we know where all the leaking was done, pretty much. We know how it started. We know the basis of the story, to a large extent.
The question is, how did this all become a big criminal case? And where‘s it going to end politically? Well, it looks to me like Karl Rove not only got off, but I think he‘s got an even tougher reputation now as the guy who really did leak, who really did play political politics here very—and a very ruthless way, but basically got away with it. And that, of course, is the great sort of standard, the acid test of tough political hardball, when you can get away with being really tough with your opponents.
And boy, was he tough because I think Joe Wilson and his wife were hurt by this. They got a lot of publicity, but they were hurt. And in the end, the White House played hardball very tough with them and it looks to me won out. The only big loser here is Scooter Libby—Joe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks so much, Chris.
So how did Karl Rove and the White House dodge the bullet? “Washington Post” White House reporter Jim VandeHei has been reporting on the case now since the beginning. Jim, what are you hearing inside the White House about Rove getting off the hook?
JIM VANDEHEI, “WASHINGTON POST”: Oh, they‘re absolutely ecstatic. They wanted this news for some time. Remember, there was always this cloud of uncertainty hanging over this White House, and it really hurt the president and hurt the White House. He was distracted because he had to prepare for those girlfriend appearances, and those around him just didn‘t know if Karl Rove was going down. So now that he‘s in the clear, he‘s back doing what the president wants him to do, which is masterminding a plan to figure out how to keep the House and Senate in Republican control this year, and also reviving this presidency.
SCARBOROUGH: Jim, you know, a lot of conservatives, a lot of Republicans had started to believe that Karl Rove and this White House could get away with just about anything, do just about anything and still get reelected in ‘04 -- started blaming some of the mistakes, some of the missteps on Karl Rove being distracted. Do you believe, or at least, is that what you‘re hearing inside the White House, that these five grand jury appearances, the fact that he may be facing jail time, all these other things that have been piling up over the past six months to a year, may have, in fact, distracted Rove, distracted the White House and caused Bush‘s political pain?
VANDEHEI: Undoubtedly it distracted Rove. And there‘s no way that you can have a possible indictment hanging over your head and not be distracted, not be thinking about your defense and not preparing for those five grand jury appearances.
But listen, President Bush‘s problems were much bigger than Karl Rove‘s. There were so many things. The Iraq war became less popular. They had the poor response to Katrina. And you just had so many bad political events in a row for this president. And they‘re still—it‘s still not the best standing for the president. He‘s still below 40 percent in the polls. He‘s got an immigration bill that he‘s going to—it‘s looking virtually impossible to get done this year. But they‘re getting good news, and that‘s what this White House wanted.
They‘ve had two weeks of pretty darn good news. If you look at the progress made with Iran neighborhoods, then you have this visit to Baghdad and the slight turnaround in the polls, and now the Rove announcement, this is what they wanted. They wanted a breather so they could start to focus their fire on Democrats.
SCARBOROUGH: I heard whispers that some people in the White House don‘t trust Karl Rove the way they have in the past. What are you hearing?
VANDEHEI: Well, there‘s certainly senior White House aides who don‘t trust him (INAUDIBLE) they felt like they were misled in the beginning. And remember Scott McClellan, who‘s no longer there, he was the White House spokesman—he was the one that Rove sent out there to say that he had no role whatsoever in the leaking of Valerie Plame‘s name. That‘s patently false. It‘s now been proven true by the investigation that he was involved, even if he didn‘t do anything illegal. So his credibility is certainly scuffed, and it hurt him maybe in that 18-month period where the investigation was hot and heavy.
But going forward, I think he regains that mantle of being the political guru for the White House. He‘s certainly a champion of conservatives, probably one of the favorite Bush White House members with that conservative movement. He‘ll be involved in a lot of these political campaigns, and candidates know that he knows how to win races. And he won back-to-back presidential victories in very tough political environments, so now those House and Senate candidates are turning to him for advice on how to win in what is another very difficult political environment for Republicans.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. And once again, overnight, he becomes not only one of the most feared men Washington, D.C., but certainly one of the most powerful, possibly just behind President Bush. Hey, Jim, as always, thanks so much for being with us. Really appreciate it.
VANDEHEI: Thank you, Joe. See you later.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, you, too. Let‘s bring in Tucker Carlson. He‘s the host of “The Situation With Tucker Carlson,” and MSNBC political analyst and “Big Love” star Lawrence O‘Donnell. Lawrence, five trips to the grand jury, constant predictions that Rove was going down. Was this all a waste of taxpayer dollars?
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. We‘ve discovered a lot in this investigation. And you know, Joe, on his last trip to the grand jury, I said on MSNBC that it looked like he would not be indicted because the key was that Fitzgerald was asking him to return to the grand jury, he wasn‘t asking to return to the grand jury. That indicated Fitzgerald did not have enough to indict him. So this doesn‘t surprise me at this stage.
But we have learned that Karl Rove was lying publicly for the better part of a year or more that he was not involved in this leak case. That was a lie that they needed to tell in the White House in order to get past the election. The whole objective, from the White House perspective, on this investigation was to get us past November 2004. Libby and Rove and their conspiracy of silence succeeded in doing that. Libby‘s going to lose his career over it. Rove is not.
But it is not a good thing for the White House that your big news of the week is someone did not get indicted, that the most famous person working in the building, other than the president and the vice president, did not get indicted. The public is aware that this guy‘s been under investigation for something he said he did not do, that he has been proven to have done, and is now publicly admitting...
SCARBOROUGH: But I...
SCARBOROUGH: Listen, I got—I got to say this, though, Lawrence. If I‘m Nancy Pelosi, I got to believe that the odds of becoming Speaker of the House have just gotten longer because now that Karl Rove is solely focused on keeping the House and the Senate for Republicans, there just isn‘t a Democrat out there that can match wits with him, is there?
O‘DONNELL: I don‘t buy the distraction case, Joe. Karl Rove has nothing to do with the progress in Iraq. That is what controls the president‘s poll numbers. Karl Rove—no one can make anyone believe that Karl Rove did not know there was a hurricane in New Orleans because he was studying his grand jury transcripts.
SCARBOROUGH: But it‘s the response, though! You and I both know it‘s not the events that are occurring but how a White House responds.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, the president—the president couldn‘t have done—the president couldn‘t have stopped the levees from breaking when they broke, but certainly, if Karl Rove were not worried about a grand jury investigation, he could have gotten Bush out of Crawford, Texas, a lot faster and said...
SCARBOROUGH: ... you‘re not going to fly over that area, you‘re going to get your butt on the ground, you‘re going to—you‘re going to respond to Katrina the same way you responded to 9/11.
O‘DONNELL: I don‘t think so. I think Rove knew about the hurricane. I think he did nothing about it. I am not a fan of Rove‘s actual—you know, the “Bush brain” concept. I don‘t think he‘s smarter than the president, and I don‘t think he‘s done is a great job as a political operative for the Republican Party. He has squeaked out two Bush presidential wins, and he has not done anything else that makes him an asset to the party.
SCARBOROUGH: But—but—I—boy, Tucker Carlson, let me bring you in here. I couldn‘t disagree any more on that one. I think what George Bush did in 2000, beating Al Gore with peace and prosperity on Gore‘s side, was remarkable. The fact that he gained all the seats that he gained in 2002, historic gains in an off-year election, remarkable, the fact that he beat John Kerry in 2004...
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, “THE SITUATION”: Well, of course.
SCARBOROUGH: ... despite the fact he was in the middle of a nasty war, remarkable. I think Rove has done an extraordinary job...
CARLSON: Well, I mean, obviously...
SCARBOROUGH: ... and if I‘m a—and if I‘m Democrat, I am very nervous tonight.
CARLSON: Look, they‘re two separate questions. The first is, Is Rove good for America? Is he a moral man? Is he a decent person? Has he made the country better? You know, that‘s an argument.
CARLSON: The second question, Is he a capable political tactician? No argument. No argument at all. I mean, the—I mean, it‘s not even worth arguing...
SCARBOROUGH: Who‘s better than Rove?
CARLSON: No, nobody. I mean, would you want to run as a Republican this year? Of course not! It‘s a terrible year to run as a Republican! If you were, would you want Karl Rove‘s help? Of course. Let‘s stand back for a second, though, and contemplate what just happened today, kind of like the case itself. This is a case about a very simple question. Who leaked Valerie Plame‘s name? Is it a crime? No, it‘s not a crime, it turns out. No one‘s been indicted for that. No one will be. I think this is yet another reason to keep investigations like this within the Justice Department. It‘s a lesson we learned during the Clinton years, when this...
O‘DONNELL: ... this one is in the Justice Department.
CARLSON: No, no! I mean...
O‘DONNELL: He‘s not a special prosecutor. John Ashcroft...
CARLSON: There are no special prosecutors.
O‘DONNELL: John Ashcroft started this investigation...
CARLSON: I‘m fully aware of how it unfolded.
O‘DONNELL: ... at the request of the CIA.
CARLSON: I‘ve been watching every second of it.
O‘DONNELL: John Ashcroft believed he had a conflict of interest, so he asked someone else, who is an employee of the Justice Department, to do it.
CARLSON: But not...
CARLSON: ... conventional channels within the Justice Department...
CARLSON: ... as you know. I mean, this—he is—he is—he is operating with autonomy that Justice Department prosecutors don‘t operate with, period.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Tucker? Tucker...
CARLSON: And that‘s why he‘s gone off on these weird tangents.
SCARBOROUGH: Tucker, you‘ve never thought much of this investigation.
Do you think...
CARLSON: I thought it was a joke from day one!
SCARBOROUGH: ... Fitzgerald—do you think—do you think it‘s been a political investigation or...
CARLSON: I don‘t know. Look, he...
SCARBOROUGH: ... a political hit job?
CARLSON: Look, here‘s—I‘m not willing to say Fitzgerald is pursuing it for political reasons because I don‘t know that. I do think that people are very mad at Karl Rove and George W. Bush for the invasion of Iraq. I count myself among them. If you want to indict them for invading the wrong country, go ahead. But indicting people for tangential reasons stemming from a case that turns out not have a crime at the center of it, this case, I think is wrong. I mean, indict people for crimes they committed, not for, you know, stupid questions of perjury that may or may not be perjury. I mean, this is...
SCARBOROUGH: And Lawrence O‘Donnell, now that we may—Lawrence, now that Karl Rove is not going to be indicted, there‘s a possibility that Plame and Joe Wilson may actually sue him in civil court. Do you think they‘ll probably drop that lawsuit right before the mid-term election, to make the biggest headlines to help Democrats, who they‘ve always supported?
O‘DONNELL: I think it‘ll be a tough case to make, but they could have a lot of fun in the discovery process, and they could keep him tied up for years with it. But it‘d be a very difficult case to make on exactly what the damages were and what his intent was. That was the problem Fitzgerald had, was what was Rove‘s intent? And he couldn‘t find the intent that he would need to present to the jury, especially when Viveca Novak essentially became a traitor against her employer, “Time” magazine, and told Rove‘s lawyer that Rove was “Time” magazine‘s source and that that was going to be revealed. So Rove then went into the grand jury to correct his testimony...
SCARBOROUGH: All right...
O‘DONNELL: ... that did not include any of that.
CARLSON: Can I just make one very quick point...
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to have to go.
CARLSON: Leaks are good for America. It‘s good to have more information. Journalists ought to support leaks. We ought to.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Tucker, actually, journalists do support leaks...
CARLSON: Well, good, and...
SCARBOROUGH: ... when the people—hold on a second—when the people leaking the information are actually from the left and hate George Bush...
CARLSON: Well, I know. That‘s...
SCARBOROUGH: ... and hate this war!~
CARLSON: Information is good for all of us.
SCARBOROUGH: You win Pulitzer Prizes if do you that. But if you leak from the right, you get indicted. Thanks a lot, Lawrence O‘Donnell and Tucker Carlson. Make sure to tune into “The Situation” tonight at 11:00.
We‘ll be right back with much more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: What a week for W! Two 500-pound bombs, one dead terrorist and a top-secret trip to Baghdad appear to be paying political dividends for the troubled president. First came the death of Zarqawi, the most dangerous man in Iraq. And then today, Mr. Bush made a surprise visit to that troubled country, while the polls at home are breaking Mr. Bush‘s way, for a change. A new “USA Today”/Gallup poll shows the president‘s approval rating at 38 percent, still modest but up 7 points in the last month. And then there‘s this shocking number: 69 percent of Americans now say America can win the war in Iraq -- 69 percent! That‘s up almost 10 percentage points since April.
For more on the president‘s five hours over Baghdad, let‘s go to NBC‘s Richard Engel in Baghdad. Richard, what do you have?
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Joe, the timing of this visit couldn‘t have been better. Several factors have come together all at once. Last week, Abu Musab al Zarqawi was killed by U.S. special forces in an air strike. Nuri al Maliki, Iraq‘s prime minister, now has a full government with a defense and interior ministry. Tomorrow, his government will begin what‘s called the “Baghdad security plan,” a long-awaited Iraqi offensive involving tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police setting up checkpoints, tightening curfews here in the Iraqi capital.
Throughout the visit, which lasted about five hours here in Baghdad, President Bush was treated pretty much like a rock star. He met with U.S. troops. He was signing autographs. He was shaking hands. He was posing for photographs. But he got his biggest applause when he talked about that raid that killed Zarqawi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our military will stay on the offense. We will continue to hunt down people like Mr. Zarqawi and bring them to justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ENGEL: President Bush said he also came here so that he could look Maliki in the eye. He said he was impressed with the new Iraqi government and would do everything he could to make sure it‘s a success—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks so much. Richard Engel in Iraq.
So is the president‘s bump, well, just a temporary bump or the start of a troubling trend for Democrats and a reason for hope for Republicans? Here to talk about it, Laura Schwartz. She‘s a former adviser to President Clinton. And also Brad Blakeman, former deputy assistant to President Bush.
Laura, let me start with you. Has Lazarus arisen?
LAURA SCHWARTZ, FORMER ADVISER TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: Hey, I would have recommended that President Clinton do the same thing, if we were in his position. Today was a great day of photo ops for President Bush. But I really do believe that this is a short-term gain to the long-term problem that we‘re in because we had no post-invasion plan. We created a farm team for al Qaeda in Iraq. And I am so thankful we got al Zarqawi. No one disagrees with that, Democrat or Republican, and we should commend our armed forces and our great intelligence community that did that.
But we have to look to the future, and with no stable plan in place, no benchmark, no actual strategy that we can have an open and honest debate about, this is not going to change the way things are going to end up in the fall. And you know, the poll numbers, 39 percent? Isn‘t that great. I bet he‘ll be riding this for about another week, but we‘re going to see it drop back down again as soon as everybody...
SCHWARTZ: ... goes on their vacations and sees those (INAUDIBLE)
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, he‘s up 7 percentage points, so that‘s, like, a 20 percent increase when you‘re sitting at 31 percent.
SCHWARTZ: Well, yes.
SCARBOROUGH: Laura, the number I can‘t—I can‘t get my arms around is this number now that 69 percent of Americans think we can win the war in Iraq. We‘ve had years of bleak news, and yet today again, God, over two out of three Americans think this war is winnable. That‘s certainly good news for the president and bad news for Democrats, isn‘t it?
SCHWARTZ: I think it‘s good news for everybody. You know, the Democrats, even Joe Biden, everybody‘s saying, We‘ve got to win, we can win. We‘ve got the resources to win. We‘ve got to allocate it to our troops so they have it. We‘ve got to listen to our commanders on the ground as to how many troops that they want and want and need to have to win this.
But you know, in that same poll, I think it was 53 percent of Americans still believe that we shouldn‘t have gone in. And when the go tot he polls, they‘re going to remember who went in and that it‘s George W. Bush and the Republican-led Congress that went in.
SCARBOROUGH: Brad Blakeman, there have been three historic elections in Iraq. After every election, the president‘s numbers have gone up. After the capture of Saddam Hussein, the president‘s numbers skyrocketed. After, of course, the initial invasion, the president‘s numbers skyrocketed. After Zarqawi‘s death, it‘s gone up again about up 20 percent. But they always go down. Republicans don‘t really have a good reason to believe that these numbers are going to stay up, do they?
BOB BLAKEMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, I think they do. I think the American people are starting to see some real progress in Iraq, and President Bush‘s words have come home to roost. As the Iraqis stand up, America will stand down. We‘ve seen three successful elections. We now have a government in place. The prime minister has a cabinet in place. We‘ve killed the number one terrorist in Iraq, who‘s, incidentally, not Iraqi.
SCARBOROUGH: But Brad, there‘s...
BLAKEMAN: So I think there‘s a lot of good news.
SCARBOROUGH: ... Brad, every day—and I mean, Americans can‘t walk down the street without getting shot at or kidnapped. The security situation is deplorable, is it not?
BLAKEMAN: No, it‘s not as bad as you say it is, Joe.
SCHWARTZ: Two American soldiers were killed today!
BLAKEMAN: I talk to people who are there, both civilian and military, and they wish that the good news that‘s happening in Iraq would get out. And I think President Bush is starting to see some of that good news get out by the—by the Iraqis standing up. We wouldn‘t have caught Zarqawi if it was not for the Iraqi intelligence.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s a great point, Laura, that Iraqis now are tired of being blown up by these foreign terrorists, and even domestic terrorists, and now they‘re turning on the terrorists and coming to us. Isn‘t that good news for America? And again, doesn‘t that bode well for the president politically?
SCHWARTZ: It bodes well for the Iraqi people and the Americans, you know, knowing that they‘re going to stand up. But they‘re standing up with all of our logistical support, all of our physical support. I mean, if Iraqis are really standing up, why aren‘t we sending troops home? Wasn‘t that the plan?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, that is the plan, and I would predict, Laura, that by the time of the election, thousands and thousands of troops will be coming home.
Laura Schwartz, Brad Blakeman, thanks so much for being with us, as always.
And now it‘s time for another “Flyover” of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. These are, of course, the stories that the mainstream media doesn‘t report but we do.
First up, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where wild weeds outside the local courthouse turn out to be more than a few dandelions. City officials have discovered several marijuana plants sprouting from the courthouse‘s lawn. A local developer claimed responsibility for the pot, saying the seeds were mixed in with dirt brought in for construction. Dude, that explains that funny smell hanging over City Hall for the past month.
Next up, California, where local high schools‘ choice of mascots remains under attack. First, PC police took exception to an Indian, which had been the school‘s mascot for 80 years. School officials then promptly sent the chief packing, but it seems the new mascot, a medieval knight, isn‘t making the PC police any happier. PC parents are arguing that it‘s too war-like and insensitive to women. If you ask me, it‘s time to go medieval on some of these whiners.
And finally, we go to Melrose, Massachusetts, where one of the greatest American speeches didn‘t pass the sniff test with PC police there. Organizers of the Civil War memorial parade were concerned that President Lincoln‘s Gettysburg address may be offensive to women in the audience, so they edited Lincoln‘s masterpiece by changing the word “man” to a more generic “people.” Editing Lincoln? Come on, man, that is weak!
Coming up next, speaking of weak, the Coulter controversy, this frenzy, just keeps going. And tonight, angry calls for Ann to apologize. Is it hypocrisy from the left? I‘ll talk to one anti-Coulter congressman coming up. And what‘s so special about a Los Angeles garden that has police warning (ph) and celebrities risking arrest? We‘ll go there live with Daryl Hannah.
SCARBOROUGH: Ann Coulter‘s number one on Amazon and number one on the Democrats‘ hit list. Now, congressmen are demanding an apology and urging a book ban. We‘ll talk about the simmering controversy when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
But first, here‘s the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Some of the Hollywood‘s biggest names trying to save a slice of land in Los Angeles. Daryl Hannah taken down from a tree and arrested. We‘ll talk to her live and ask her what it‘s all about.
And this college kid has the moves and she‘s made it all the way to “Must See SC.”
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Those stories in just minutes, but first, in tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown, should Ann Coulter apologize? Tonight, a group called the New Democratic Majority is joining the chorus of Coulter critics, and they‘re demanding she apologize for her recent comments about 9/11 widows cashing in on their husband‘s deaths.
They join the growing list of Dems launching public assaults against Coulter, from Senator Hillary Clinton to Congressman Ron Emanuel, to 9/11 Commission member Tim Roemer, and the two New Jersey Democrats who called for Coulter‘s book to be removed from the state‘s bookshelves.
New York Congressman Anthony Weiner also had some harsh words about Coulter‘s comments saying, quote, “Even for someone like her, who crawls along the sordid bottom of the media world, this is a new low.”
Tonight, I asked the congressman where his fellow Democrats were when Michael Moore seemed to attacking American troops.
REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: There is no parallel between criticizing you, criticizing me, criticizing the president of the United States, and saying to someone that you don‘t have a right to speak because your husband was killed in 9/11 and, furthermore, you seem to be happy about it.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, though. I disagree with you there, Anthony. Wait a second. What about the parallel of American troops who were being killed in Iraq and whose parents have to see Michael Moore being praised by, frankly, a lot of members of the Democratic Party for saying that we need to spill more American blood over in Iraq so maybe the Iraqi people and God will forgive us one day.
WEINER: Wait a minute. Hold on a second.
SCARBOROUGH: Don‘t you think that...
WEINER: No, here would be the parallel. If he came on your show and said, “I am glad that those troops died” or that somehow “I think they brought it on themselves,” there is a difference here. Joe, just—you know, I don‘t understand. Can‘t we just agree to say that Ann Coulter is a despicable bottom- feeder and she went passed the line this time? That‘s the fact. And then go on to debate about what we should do in Iraq.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Anthony, hold on a second. I can—certainly, I can agree that there are extremists on the right and the left. I‘ve already said for the past several days that these were very unfortunate comments. I would have never made them. I think she does need to apologize.
But why can‘t you just come on and say, “You know what? Michael Moore shouldn‘t have been cheering for the death of American troops when he said, ‘What we need is the spilling of more American blood so the Iraqi people and God will forgive us‘ or when he says that the terrorists who were sawing off Nick Berg‘s head are the liberators, the Minutemen, the people who were right, the people who will be victorious.” To me, that is equally shocking.
WEINER: You really believe it‘s equally shocking to be critical of what we‘re doing in Iraq and saying that 9/11 victims are like charlatans or harlequins in some way?
SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no. Anthony, no, that is an intellectually dishonest approach to make. If you were a parent and your son is over in Iraq and Michael Moore is saying that your son or your daughter needs to die so the Iraqi people or God may forgive us, I would suggest that would be just...
WEINER: If he ever said that to a parent, I believe that would be outrageous. That didn‘t happen.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s what he said.
WEINER: What Ann Coulter has done—Ann Coulter is the media version of a prostitute who will do anything to get attention. She will sell herself at any price. And I think people like you, frankly, and other conservatives should say, “You know what? We may agree with her on stuff, but what she has done here is too far. She took aim at the wrong place simply to sell books.” There has to be some price that—there has to be some level you will not drop to, in order to make a buck. Ann Coulter proved she doesn‘t have that.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Anthony, I‘ve said that. You understand I‘ve said that. I mean, you‘re lumping me in with conservatives that may be apologizing for her.
WEINER: No, but actually you‘re drawing a false parallel here.
SCARBOROUGH: How about generalizing this? And, again, this has nothing to do with Ann Coulter. This has to do with me and you, again, friends who have worked together, talked together, reasoned together, trying to come to an agreement that there are extremists on the right who do this to sell books. There are extremists on the left who do this to sell books. Would you agree with me?
WEINER: I would agree with that 100 percent. We live in this moment now that apparently there is this race to see who can say and do outrageous things. And I think our obligations as public servants, as protectors of the airwaves, is to say, “You know what? There are lines we‘re not going to cross.”
And I think, in this case, the way we deal with Ann Coulter is to relegate her to the dustbin of American life and to keep her off the MSNBCs of the world. And I‘m going to do my best to make sure that people don‘t go out and buy the book out of curiosity.
But what we all have to do, especially conservatives—you know, you make a legitimate point. When progressives stand up, and say, and do outrageous things, I should call them on it. You and your friends who are intellectually honest conservatives should stand up and say Ann Coulter is not one of us after this.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you so much, Anthony. I greatly appreciate you being with me. And, as always, I enjoyed talking to you.
WEINER: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m joined now by Rita Cosby. She‘s, of course, the host of Rita Cosby “LIVE & DIRECT.” Rita, what do you have coming up tonight at 10:00?
RITA COSBY, HOST: Well, Joe, tonight there‘s an all-out manhunt for a well-known businessman now suspected in two brutal crimes. We will have some new details.
Plus, a man who was bitten by an alligator on his head and lived to talk about it, he‘s going to share his story with us live. You have to hear this one.
Plus, we will have the original supermodel, Janice Dickinson. She‘s going to talk with us live about what it takes to succeed on her feisty new modeling show. We‘re going to have that and a whole lot more, Joe, “LIVE & DIRECT” at the top of the hour.
SCARBOROUGH: She is feisty, Rita. Thanks so much for being with us.
Greatly appreciate it.
Coming up next, she is a California star that got up in a tree to try to save property, but the LAPD didn‘t play around today. We‘ll show you why they went up that tree to arrest Daryl Hannah.
And later, if it implodes, you can find it on “Must See SC.”
SCARBOROUGH: More than 40 protesters were arrested in Los Angeles today as sheriff‘s deputies, some in riot gear, evicted people from an urban community garden to make room for a warehouse.
Former “Splash” actress Daryl Hannah was taking into custody after climbing up a walnut tree and refusing to come down. Police actually had to cut away branches and use a fire truck to get her down.
With me now live from the garden in South Central Los Angeles is Conan Nolan, a reporter with KNBC, NBC‘s station in Los Angeles.
Conan, tell us...
CONAN NOLAN, REPORTER, KNBC TV: Joe, a little bit of background here. Several years ago, almost 10 years ago, this property, 14 acres just south of downtown, was taken by the city by eminent domain for a power plant. They never built it. The previous owner sued in court to get it back. He won, and now he wants to sell it for that warehouse.
Now, the people in the meantime, 300 families, 300 different individuals, started to garden in this 14 acres. They want it to stay; the owner wants them out.
NOLAN (voice-over): To those protesting, it was paradise lost; to the property owner, justice delayed; and to law enforcement, a not your run-of-the-mill eviction of a 14-acre urban farm in the middle of the urban jungle.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Much beauty is being destroyed and hope for the community is being stifled.
NOLAN: After years of cultivating fruits, vegetables, and a celebrity-studded grassroots movement, the so-called South Central farm was cleared out. L.A. County sheriff‘s deputies moving in early this morning, armed with a court order that sided with the property owner who has plans to sell the acreage for development of a warehouse.
Seventeen people found on the property were arrested for trespassing. Celebrities Joan Baez and Danny Glover, who had lent their support in the effort to preserve the farm, were not around, but actress Daryl Hannah was, perched in a walnut tree, along with John Quigley, a long time environmentalist and tree-sitter.
L.A. County Fire had to bring in a ladder truck to pluck them from the upper branches. Ousted from the property, protesters took to the street, blocking traffic on Alameda, as well as Long Beach Avenues. LAPD ordered them to leave; they didn‘t.
Officers moved in, at times using force to hold protesters back while making over two dozen arrests. There was displeasure voiced at the police and at Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we talk about a mayor who is for greening of L.A., and this is what you get.
NOLAN: At City Hall today, the mayor argued he had brokered a deal that would preserve the farm, purchased at its fair market value, but the owner had moved on.
MAYOR ANTHONY VILLARAIGOSA (D), LOS ANGELES: He says that he‘s been vilified by them for years, been stuck in court battles, and that he wants to see them removed before he‘ll consider any offer.
NOLAN: Now, the mayor previously had asked the owner of the property to sell it for about $9 million, which is what it was valued at several years ago. The owner was able to sell it for $16 million. The mayor says the Annenberg Foundation said they would step in and provide that $16 million, but again the owner believes he wants everybody off the property before he negotiates any further.
I‘m Conan Nolan, reporting live from South Central, Los Angeles. Back to you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Conan, could you tell us, why is this garden so special? Why have Hollywood stars taken this on as their cause?
NOLAN: It‘s the perfect environmental movement, if you think about it. This is an industrial warehouse area, miles and miles of concrete, few residential areas close by. And you have this green pasture of 14 acres.
And then you have people, low-income residents of the nearby communities, who come here to garden and eat fresh fruits and vegetables. So it was a perfect place for the environmental community in the Hollywood neighborhood, including, you know, a few others, we were talking about just a little while ago, coming out here, Ed Begley, Jr., one of them, to talk about the importance of greenery in the urban jungle, in South Central, Los Angeles, a low-income area.
Free fruit and vegetables for people who need better nutrition. And the last thing you want is a warehouse. That was their argument. Others point out that the warehouse will provide more jobs and income for the community than the farm ever would.
SCARBOROUGH: And you, of course, had Daryl Hannah, I guess, the highlight for the TV cameras out there. Was Daryl Hannah actually being pulled out of a tree? Talk about what happened there.
NOLAN: Well, she was in this walnut tree. And the folks that had camped out on the property early this morning, they had no idea that this would be the day. The judge‘s eviction order came down several weeks ago.
And so we understand that she was on the property when they came. She made her way up into the tree, this walnut tree. There‘s a fellow, John Quigley, who is known in these parts because he sat in many other trees before, same kind of circumstance, to keep them from being chopped down.
When sheriff‘s deputies came, they asked her to leave. She wouldn‘t; she said she would stay until the very end. They had to bring in the ladder truck at great expense, no doubt, to L.A. County Fire, and it took about an hour and a half before she was on the ground. She was arrested, we understand, for trespassing, failure to disperse, and she has since been released.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much, KNBC‘s Conan Nolan.
And coming up next, we hit the Internet for tonight‘s “Must See SC.”
But first, heroes and villains of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Tonight‘s villain: None other than former President Bill Clinton.
Now, President Clinton was never one to let the facts get in the way of a good political punch line, so the former president used Florida‘s first hurricane scare to take a shot at the Republican Party.
President Clinton claimed it is now, quote, “generally recognized” that he and Al Gore were about right when it came to global warming, and he then said more hurricanes will result because of environmental policies pursued by the Republican Party.
Yes, right. Now, if he had done his homework, the president would know that hurricane activity was actually far worse in the first half of the 20th century than it is now. And good luck finding a single credible meteorologist who agrees with the former president‘s assessment. They just don‘t; it is bad science.
For ignoring the facts to score quick political points and mislead the public, President Clinton is tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY villain.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” video you‘ve just got to see this.
First up, hey, it turns out Americans aren‘t the only ones who know how to blow stuff up. This implosion comes to us from our neighbors up north. Crews took down these four smokestacks that had dominated the Ontario skyline for almost 40 years.
Now, the chimneys were known to the natives as the Four Sisters. And all four came down today.
Up next, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Carnegie Mellon scientists just pumped these robots off the assembly line. What‘s so special about the robots? Color commentary for robot soccer matches. They‘re off to compete in the RoboCup 2006 World Championship in Germany. We‘re not making that up.
And coming up next, they say you shouldn‘t cry over spilled milk, but these Maryland commuters must have been on the verge of tears today when this milk tanker overturned on the Washington, D.C., expressway and nearly swept away a few cars. About 4,800 gallons of milk spilled out of the truck creating a traffic nightmare for a few unlucky drivers.
And finally, from the land of the Internet, our newest contestant for “Internet Idol.” And all I can say, the girl‘s got moves.
Hey, we‘ll be right back with tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY mailbag.
SCARBOROUGH: Wake up Aunt Mildred. It‘s time for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s mailbag.
First up, Paul in Michigan writes in, “Dear Joe, as you said, nearly 80 percent of the American citizens oppose amnesty. Now, the president can use his bully pulpit and the Senate can look down its nose at the house, but in the end the American people and their vote will determine the outcome.” Let‘s hope so.
And we got a lot of mail on the Dixie Chicks. Shirley in West Virginia wrote in, “Dear Joe, I love the Dixie Chicks. I think they‘re one of the greatest acts and best singers in music right now. Why is it when some people say things it gets stretched out of shape? Other people can say terrible things and no one makes an issue out of it.”
Finally, we get a letter from Jeff in Missouri. He writes in, “Dear Joe, I was shocked when I went out to buy tickets for the Dixie Chicks tour. Tickets start at $95 and go up to $335. Talk about an insult to the fans! The Chicks are telling me that I just can‘t afford to be their fan anymore.”
And finally tonight, I want to leave with you a clip—I think it‘s of a former colleague of mine drinking on Capitol Hill.
This is Banno (ph). He‘s monkey, actually, and he‘s got a drinking problem. Locals say it started more than 20 years ago when truckers would give him half their empty beer bottles, but now Banno is getting the last laugh. He starts every morning with a few swigs from the old bottle.
That‘s all the time we have for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Now let‘s turn it over to Rita.
Rita, what you got tonight?
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