Guests: Steve Adubato, Brent Bozell, Katrina Szish, Tom O‘Neil, Debra Opri, John Bourlon, Laura Schwartz, Peter Beinart
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, “The View” turns vicious as Barbara Walters blasts a co-host for conservative comments. The Walters wallop brought anger, tears and, of course, friends, in the end, a group hug. But was the Walters attack an example of one-sided views in TV news and talk?
And then Hillary Clinton rips Rummy on Capitol Hill for botching the war and calls for the war leader‘s head. Is Hillary trying to protect national security or her White House run that starts next year? We‘ll debate that.
Plus, Mad Mel Gibson getting posh treatment from California cops and embracing the last refuge of the truly desperate star, rehab. Is Mel really sick or just anti-Semitic?
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. No passport or rehab required, only common sense allowed.
We‘re going to be talking about all those stories in a little bit, but first, the view on “The View.” You know, even without Star Jones weighing down the set, Barbara Walters‘s daytime talk show is still dissolving into catfights, this time over an always controversial subject, the morning-after pill, with Walters once again showing herself to be the dominating diva of daytime TV. Now, this battle began when token conservative co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck gave her opinion on a political issue that Walters opposed. Once Walters heard her co-host‘s view, “The View‘s” host quickly tried to shut her up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you would say that girl, like, 12 years old, who just started menstruating, who‘s been raped by her father or her uncle should proceed to term because that‘s a life?
ELISABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST: I‘m saying...
HASSELBECK: No, listen to me. I‘m saying there is value in that life. I‘m saying this medication should be reserved only for those special situations...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why? Why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... a hole in your argument.
HASSELBECK: I‘m saying this—I wish that it were available. I‘m not saying...
HASSELBECK: ... a right thing, but this is a slippery slope to just eliminating, like—and you know what? For people who want the government to stay out of their business and do what the heck you want with your body and...
HASSELBECK: You want that same government!
BARBARA WALTERS, CO-HOST: Calm down, dear.
HASSELBECK: I can‘t! (INAUDIBLE)
WALTERS: I know, but we all—everybody has strong opinions. And there are many other arguments that other people could give you. I think the most important thing, which is what we see today, is we‘ve got to be able to have these discussions and listen to other people‘s opinions...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Right.
WALTERS: ... and not go so crazy that you don‘t listen to...
HASSELBECK: I heard everything you said~! I just am emphatic with...
WALTERS: One good thing about this show is that we can have discussions that we feel very emotional about...
HASSELBECK: We can. We can.
WALTERS: ... and we respect your opinions...
HASSELBECK: Thank you. I respect yours, as well. I love being here with you guys. I want to be...
WALTERS: And I love your passion.
HASSELBECK: ... be passionate. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Whew! What a—you know, that makes me sicker and sicker every time I see “The View”! Barbara Walters doesn‘t respect her opinion. She doesn‘t want to hear somebody on her show that believes something that she doesn‘t believe, and she made that very clear. So what would have happened if three conservatives told a pro-choice host to shut up? Would there be cries of censorship being shouted from west Hollywood and the Upper West Side of Manhattan?
Well, we‘re going to talk about that, but first, here with a view on “The View,” we‘ve got Katrina Szish from “Us Weekly.” And we‘re going to be talking to Dr. Steve Adubato. He‘s a media analyst and author of the book “Make the Connection: Improve Your communication at Work and at Home,” and Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center.
Katrina, before we talk politics, I want to talk about “The View” and Barbara Walters. Listen, it seems very clear to me, Barbara Walters is the queen of daytime TV. She doesn‘t like anybody to cross her. My belief is that your friend, Elisabeth, still has her job because Barbara knew she can only fire so many people for crossing her in a month or two‘s time period. What do you think?
KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”: Well, Meredith Vieira left to move on to bigger and better things. We all know what happened to Star Jones. And that just leaves two of the original people besides Barbara. So even if she disagrees with Elisabeth, even if they have very different viewpoints, Elisabeth needs to stay for now.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Elisabeth has to—again, Barbara Walters clearly offended. She said she didn‘t agree with her viewpoint, and then this back-and-forth, and she said, Oh, you know—you know, you‘ve got to listen to everybody. She said, I heard everything you said, and Barbara Walters is, like, I just—I mean, again, here we have this catfight again on “The View,” and here you have Barbara Walters basically saying, My way or the highway, right?
SZISH: Well, Barbara is in charge. It is her show. She is in charge of pretty much hiring everybody who comes on, so I think she is allowed to moderate the debate, so to speak. Except to say, OK, dear, calm down, it‘s a little bit—a little bit patronizing.
SCARBOROUGH: A little bit? I thought—Brent Bozell, I thought it was extraordinarily condescending. Everybody was excited about this topic. But when the conservative spoke up, Barbara Walters slapped her down. Was Barbara Walters punishing her co-host for being conservative on a very hot topic?
BRENT BOZELL, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: Well, just consider, there are two of the hosts who are having a debate, an animated discussion, and Barbara Walters lashed out against one of them, not the other one. You should have run the whole clip, though, Joe, because the whole clip had Barbara Walters saying at one point that she had no opinions, and then she called Elisabeth‘s point irrational at the same time. You know, I‘ve seen little cockroaches treated better than this woman was.
STEVE ADUBATO, AUTHOR, “MAKE THE CONNECTION”: Joe?
ADUBATO: Joe, Elisabeth‘s problem is not that she‘s conservative, it‘s that she doesn‘t know how to handle herself in a difficult situation. The embarrassing thing is not that she‘s a conservative and not that they‘re liberal. In fact, there is a media bias. It‘s toward sensationalism. It‘s toward emotional topics. It‘s toward celebrity, which is why Mel Gibson and Oprah and Star Jones are always covered.
The point is, Elisabeth didn‘t handle herself well. She was embarrassing in the way she handled herself...
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, come on!
ADUBATO: She didn‘t do great for conservatives.
SCARBOROUGH: Listen, listen, she wasn‘t embarrassing. She was just as animated as...
BOZELL: Who‘s about to come on the show? Wait a minute. Who‘s about
to join “The View”? Rosie O‘Donnell! Speak of embarrassments!~
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s about as far left as you can get...
ADUBATO: Look, Joe, I‘ve been on with you and Brent many times. We‘ve discussed PBS and other topics. And you‘re there and Brent‘s there, and sometimes you have similar point is of views. And frankly, I don‘t sit there and go, This is a biased conversation. What I argue is, So I‘m outnumbered 2-to-1. Elisabeth Hasselbeck was outnumbered and didn‘t know how to handle it. And if she had handled herself...
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, come on! You got...
ADUBATO: ... better, guys, we wouldn‘t be talking about this right now.
SCARBOROUGH: You got...
SCARBOROUGH: The thing is, though—the thing is, though, Steve, you have Barbara Walters being condescending, basically—like you were saying, Katrina, basically patting her on the head and saying, Don‘t be irrational. Why was she being irrational? Because she believed deeply in this. It‘s insulting.
SZISH: Right. And also, Barbara Walters is a seasoned journalist. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is a new television personality. So when you‘re on live television and you‘re going head to head and somebody who you probably always looked up own to really gives you, as you said, the pat on the head, it would be enough to make you cry.
ADUBATO: Oh, my God.
SZISH: Not that you shouldn‘t be professional about it. Listen—but this is a show that invites women...
SCARBOROUGH: OK, I...
SZISH: On “The View” you do.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, I cry once in a while. But you know, Brent, you and I, we don‘t always agree on the how biased the media is. I think a lot of people in media try to do their best on a lot of topics. They don‘t have a wide-ranging view on a lot of topics. But I‘ll tell you what. On the issue of life, I‘ve been at this job now for three years, I‘ve got to say I have never met anybody in the mainstream media, outside of “The Wall Street Journal” or Fox News, who is pro-life. On these life issues, it‘s about as biased...
ADUBATO: Joe, I can‘t believe this!
SCARBOROUGH: ... as it gets.
ADUBATO: Joe, I know you asked Brent the question, but I have to jump in. What is the...
ADUBATO: What‘s the conservative and liberal point of view on life?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know...
ADUBATO: The fact is, you‘re making this so simplistic...
SCARBOROUGH: ... most people...
SCARBOROUGH: No, I‘m not making it—Steve—Steve, don‘t try to complicate a very simple matter here.
ADUBATO: It‘s not simplistic...
SCARBOROUGH: Name me—name me one major journalist you know...
SCARBOROUGH: ... who is pro-life.
ADUBATO: Joe, see, when we‘re talking about the morning-after pill, you argue that it‘s a pro-life, pro-choice issue...
SCARBOROUGH: Hold it a second. Let me just say this. I‘m going to get in a lot of trouble. You know what? On the morning-after pill, I‘d probably side with liberals on that issue. I‘m talking, though, about that issue, other issues of life that are important to Catholics, to evangelical Christians. Steve, you can‘t name me a single major journalist who is pro-life, can you.
ADUBATO: Joe, here‘s the problem with your argument...
SCARBOROUGH: Name one!~
ADUBATO: Joe, I‘m not going—listen, I‘m not going to get...
SCARBOROUGH: You can‘t!
ADUBATO: ... boxed into that situation...
ADUBATO: Let me just get this out. I know it‘s a short segment. Part of the bias in the media is that you‘ve got to fit into either box, conservative or liberal. What you‘re not accepting, Joe, is my premise, which is that a whole range of us...
SCARBOROUGH: Brent Bozell...
SCARBOROUGH: Brent Bozell, I could name you a lot of journalists, in fact, I could name you hundreds, who are pro-choice. I can‘t...
BOZELL: There‘s no question...
SCARBOROUGH: I can‘t name a pro-lifer out there. And again...
SCARBOROUGH: ... somebody who‘s center-life on this morning-after pill.
BOZELL: It‘s not—it‘s not a debatable proposition. There is no question but that there is a pro-abortion bias in the news media. But that‘s not the issue. I don‘t mind Barbara Walters having the left-wing bias that Barbara Walters have—has. What I do mind is the condescending attitude that she pretends and says she doesn‘t have a bias and pats her guest host on the head, little girl...
ADUBATO: She‘s not a guest host. She‘s not a guest host, Joe, she‘s part of the show. She allowed herself to be patted. The problem her is Elisabeth Hasselbeck did not handle herself—neither did Barbara Walters handle themselves professionally.
SCARBOROUGH: All right...
ADUBATO: That‘s not about conservatism or being liberal, it‘s about bad TV.
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, I‘ll let you have the last word.
SZISH: Oh, you‘re so sweet! That‘s what “The View” is all about.
It‘s women getting together who really are allowed to give their viewpoint. It‘s different from other journalistic forums. This is a place where woman are allowed to get emotional, allowed to express themselves. That‘s the point of the show.
SCARBOROUGH: But you agree in this case, though, the conservative wasn‘t allowed to do that.
SZISH: Oh, she was not allowed at all.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. All right...
SZISH: Whether you agree with her or not...
SCARBOROUGH: All right...
SZISH: ... she wasn‘t.
SCARBOROUGH: And you know what, Steve? I didn‘t know Katrina was going to say that. But tonight, buddy, you‘re outnumbered 3-to-1. But you‘re leaving without a tear in your eye.
SCARBOROUGH: Katrina, thank you so much. Steve and Brent, thank you, as always, for being with us. It brings tears to your eyes, doesn‘t it?
Well, still ahead: Mel Gibson faces jail time for his drunken night out, but is he getting a free ride from California cops? Why police don‘t want you to see a tape which can prove preferential treatment. Plus, Hillary launches an attack on Rummy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Is the senator from New York trying to protect our troops or her bid for president?
And later: Producer Mike Yarvitz, fresh off of trying to match Mel Gibson drink for drink, letting fame, not liquor, go to his head.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, “TONIGHT SHOW”: As I guess you know, there‘s some controversy over Mel Gibson‘s arrest for DUI in Malibu last week. They think he may have gotten special treatment from the police, yes. And (INAUDIBLE) instead of handcuffing Mel, like they usually do—you know, they (INAUDIBLE) -- the (INAUDIBLE) opened the door to the police car and asked Mel nicely to step in. Yes, think about it now. Rodney King‘s going, I should have been an actor! Ow! My head!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Head still hurts.
Mel Gibson still topic number one in the late-night monologues. The mega-star, though, now faces three misdemeanor charges in connection with his drunk driving arrest last week, but Gibson isn‘t expected to receive jail time since he‘s charged with only misdemeanors. And that leaves me asking if it‘s one more case of special treatment for the rich and famous. Or maybe it‘s just payback because Gibson taped this public service announcement on the sheriff‘s behalf. Also today, TMZ.com uncovered a video where Gibson talks about his special relationship with that sheriff‘s department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEL GIBSON, ACTOR: All my friends are cops. That‘s weird. I don‘t understand why. But this guy out here, Rod (ph), I‘ve known him for, like, 15 years, and he‘s—he—you know, I met him when he was in the force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Here again, we have Katrina Szish from “Us Weekly,” Tom O‘Neil from “In Touch Weekly,” attorney John Bourlon and celebrity attorney Debra Opri.
Let‘s go to you first, Tom O‘Neil. Is Mel Gibson getting special treatment?
TOM O‘NEIL, “IN TOUCH WEEKLY”: Oh, my gosh!
SCARBOROUGH: Is that—is that a loaded question or what?
O‘NEIL: It is, starting with the no handcuffing. They didn‘t release a mugshot early on. They drove the guy to pick up his car the next day, which is very rare.
SCARBOROUGH: He tried to run away from them, didn‘t he?
O‘NEIL: Well, that‘s what I was getting up to next. And then they didn‘t—among these charges, they don‘t have resisting arrest. They don‘t have him verbally abusing these officers. We know that—at least the reports are that he was threatening them, saying, I‘m going to hurt you, and he said worse than that, too. So where are those charges? And plus, of course, you can go back to those speeding charges one and three years ago, when they just gave him a pat on the back and let him go.
SCARBOROUGH: And of course, said some terrible things, Debra Opri, to the female police officer that was there. This is special treatment, cut and dried, isn‘t it.
DEBRA OPRI, CELEBRITY ATTORNEY: Sugar tips (ph). Greetings from Hollywood, where celebrities...
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, thank you so much! I guess you can say that in Hollywood.
OPRI: ... where...
SCARBOROUGH: You can‘t say that at MSNBC, but you just did.
OPRI: ... well, where celebrity sins are washed away faster than the Malibu coastline. All I can tell you is I was right the other night. He has personal relationships with the sheriff‘s department and he has used them, and they have bent over backwards to make it easy, where he can just get out with an easy slam-dunk “no contest.”
SCARBOROUGH: John Bourlon, if I had run away from police officers, if I had made anti-Semitic remarks towards them, if I‘d made sexually insulting remarks toward them, I would still be locked up underground somewhere, but Mel Gibson‘s getting special treatment, isn‘t he.
JOHN BOURLON, ATTORNEY: Joe, everyone needs to lighten up on Mel. Let‘s look at the facts. He was drunk. When you‘re drunk, you‘re impaired. But being impaired, he‘s supposed to have that same judgment? The fact that he has relationship with the officers means nothing. The fact that he wasn‘t in handcuffs means nothing.
SCARBOROUGH: So if you‘re drunk, you can do whatever you want. Is that...
BOURLON: ... to not—to not—in their discretion—they could—why did they even arrest him if he has a special relationship? They have the legal right to not arrest him, if they wanted to.
SCARBOROUGH: He tried to...
BOURLON: It‘s obvious to me that he does...
SCARBOROUGH: He tried to run away!
BOURLON: ... not have a special relationship. He‘s arrested. He‘s being abused. If he was Joe Blow off the street, we would not be having this conversation. Mel Gibson is being treated differently. You‘re darn right he is! He‘s being punished incredibly!
SCARBOROUGH: OK, so your message...
SCARBOROUGH: ... clients that get pulled over for DUI, if you want to run away from the cops, that‘s fine, right? Is that your legal advice...
SCARBOROUGH: ... SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY?
BOURLON: ... that are charged with DWI, and they do not have handcuffs on them. The officers weren‘t fearful for their safety, and that‘s the purpose of handcuffs!
SCARBOROUGH: All right...
OPRI: ... three additional charges on him, if he was anyone else.
SCARBOROUGH: Anyone else. Now, Katrina, we‘re talking about Mel getting off light. Let‘s talk about what‘s happening as far as rehab goes. That really is—that‘s the last refuge of the truly desperate Hollywood star, isn‘t it.
SZISH: It sure is. And in Mel‘s case, he‘s not even in a resident rehab program. Many celebrities do go to these sort of country club rehab programs where they actually do have to stay for an extended period of time. Mel is in some sort of sort of outpatient, ongoing therapy.
SCARBOROUGH: But I thought he was going to kill himself! I thought he was close to suicide! Is that an outpatient disorder?
SZISH: I think they‘re leaving that up to Mel‘s discretion, and that‘s where it becomes a little bit sketchy because he‘s making his own decisions, but is he qualified, at this point, based on his rantings, to make his own decisions, in terms of rehab?
SZISH: He does have a disease.
SCARBOROUGH: Tom O‘Neil, it sounds like a disease to me, so what‘s with this outpatient stuff.
O‘NEIL: Yes, this is really the most horrifying thing of all. Remember, this guy‘s problem goes back, we know, at least 22 years, when he rear-ended a car in Toronto. And then when the guy got out and said, Hey, what‘s this all about? He said, Hey, you want to have a drink with me? And he got slapped on the wrist there, too, with a $400 fine—in Canadian dollars—and he was barred for driving for three months in Canada.
And now he—just two years ago, he confessed to Diane Sawyer not only booze problems, Joe, but drug problems. This case is severe. He‘s also confessed to, as you just mentioned, feeling despondent, towards suicide. Obviously, he needs really serious care.
SCARBOROUGH: And Tom, talk about Hollywood, who‘s also given him a very light touch here. I mean, when your last movie makes $600 million, you‘re just not going to get criticized, unless, of course, it‘s Duce Bigelow (ph) taking out ads in “Variety.”
O‘NEIL: Right, right, right. Rob Schneider just did that, of course, is what you‘re referring to, and he said, I would never work with him, even if he offered me a job as, you know, a sequel to “Passion of the Christ.”
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, “I, Rob Schneider, a one-half Jew, pledge from this day forth to never work with Mel Gibson (INAUDIBLE) director, producer and anti-Semite.”
O‘NEIL; Right. This ad ran today in “Variety.” We‘re starting to see more and more, you know, outcry here. The funniest came from Joy Baer (ph) of “The View” the other day, when she said that the whole Jewish community should welcome Mel in with a public circumcision.
SCARBOROUGH: Nice. Nice. Katrina, final prediction. Is Mel Gibson‘s career over, or is he going to make another $200 million, $300 million movie?
SZISH: I think he‘ll make another movie that‘s worth even more than that. We have to remember, with “The Passion of the Christ,” he didn‘t need Hollywood‘s help at all. He did that on his own.
SCARBOROUGH: And $23 million turns into $600 million profit. He proved them wrong before. I think he‘s going to do it again.
Katrina, thanks so much. Tom, John and Debra, greatly appreciate it.
And make sure to stay tuned to MSNBC tonight at 11:00 PM Eastern, an all new “Headliners & Legends,” Mel Gibson, from the actor‘s outrageous drunken behavior to his controversial past. That‘s tonight at 11:00 o‘clock.
But coming up here, fireworks on Capitol Hill as Hillary rips into Donald Rumsfeld over Iraq, and how she‘s demanding his head. Is the Democratic hawk turning into a dove, or is she just looking west down Pennsylvania Avenue to the big house?
And next: this isn‘t your father‘s Boston Tea Party. We‘ll show you how to get down New England-style. “Must See S.C.” straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: Wake up Grandma. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” video you got to see. First up, Aubrey (ph), Texas. Talk about bad luck, this dump car thief chooses the absolute worst car to steal in the lot, an unmarked police car! The thief led the police on a high-speed chase until he crashed and was taken into custody. And yes, they put cuffs on him.
And up next, check out this fireball that lit up the sky across Texas Tuesday night. It‘s video from a police dash cam, which caught a shot of the fireball for a few seconds. Hundreds of people called the cops, but astronomers say it was probably just a meteor.
And finally, here‘s the difference between the “redneck Rivera” and the Upper East Side. In the redneck Riviera, we enjoy good times with a good old hog roast and some lawn mower races. But on the Upper East Side and Martha‘s Vineyard, they take a little preppier approach. Take a watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We play croquet and we go roller-blading, hit the homies on lock for insider trading!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tea part-ay (INAUDIBLE) Ammaganset (ph). We might be vanilla, but our lands (ph) are chocolate!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re chewing (ph) from our heads in white tennis (INAUDIBLE) our toes in a pair of topsiders. So now it‘s time to break. The place we promote (INAUDIBLE) parties, and we‘ll send a thank-you note - - in cursive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: We‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, still ahead on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, he says going to prison is easier than surviving McDonald‘s. Director Morgan Spurlock is out of the clinker, but he‘s back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.
Plus, a scientific experiment gone awry. The surprising side effects of trying to match Mel Gibson drink for drink.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Those stories in just minutes, but first, Hillary Clinton has called for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld, this after the New York senator grilled the secretary of defense in a testy exchange on Capitol Hill earlier today.
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: You are presiding over a failed policy. Given your track record, Secretary Rumsfeld, why should we believe your assurances now?
DONALD RUMSFELD, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: My goodness. Are there setbacks? Yes. Are there things that people can‘t anticipate? Yes. Does the enemy have a brain and continue to make adjustments on the ground, requiring our forces to continue to make adjustments? You bet. That does not mean that we have to spend the rest of our lives as the United States Armed Forces in Iraq.
CLINTON: There is a track record here. This is not 2002, 2003, 2004, ‘05, when you appeared before this committee and made many comments and presented, you know, many assurances that have, frankly, proven to be unfulfilled.
RUMSFELD: Senator, I didn‘t think that‘s true. I have never painted a rosy picture. I‘ve been very measured in my words. And you‘d have a dickens of a time trying to find instances where I‘ve been excessively optimistic.
CLINTON: Mr. Chairman, I would like unanimous consent to submit for the record a number of the secretary‘s former comments.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, just hours later, Clinton told the Associated Press, quote, “The secretary has lost credibility with Congress and with the people. It‘s time for him to step down.”
Here is MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan. We also have Laura Schwartz, former adviser to President Clinton. And Peter Beinart, he‘s the editor-at-large of the “New Republic” and author of “The Good Fight: Why Liberals and Only Liberals Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.”
You‘re singing Pat Buchanan‘s tune, buddy.
Pat, there is something I don‘t understand here. Hillary Clinton supported the war. Hillary Clinton supported Rumsfeld in ‘03, in ‘04, and ‘05, and most of ‘06. What‘s going on now that she‘s calling for him to step down? It looks like there‘s a sea change, at least in Hillary Clinton‘s thinking?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Hillary Clinton is the center of gravity of the Democratic Party, Joe, and I think this is an important move. Joe Lieberman looks like he‘s headed down to a big defeat on Tuesday. He‘s going to get wiped out by that liberal, antiwar fellow. I think Hillary Clinton‘s beginning to move with the Democratic Party to a position...
SCARBOROUGH: And, Pat, explain that, if you will. There‘s always been a disconnect between the Democratic base, the liberals, the MoveOn.org types that wanted us out of Iraq, and the center of the Democratic Party in Washington, D.C., like Hillary Clinton, who has been pro-war. But now they see Lieberman is about to get pasted up in Connecticut by this anti-war guy, and they‘re running scared, aren‘t they?
BUCHANAN: Well, I don‘t know if it‘s “running scared.” Hillary Clinton is a very bright woman, and her husband has got some of the best instincts in politics. You‘re right, Joe.
Look, two-thirds of the American people think Iraq was a mistake. Maybe 60 percent think we ought to start moving out. In the Democratic Party, that is a landslide, though. And so Hillary Clinton has been holding onto the pro-war position. I think the fact that she is moving, that Lieberman is headed down the tubes, means that a pistol shot is going to be heard and this crowd is going to stampede.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it. This party is going to be moving pretty sharply to the left, Pat, I agree with you.
Laura Schwartz, I‘ll tell you what another thing I don‘t understand. Hillary Clinton to get on the Senate floor tomorrow morning and demand that we de-fund the Iraq war in the next six months. But she‘s not going to do it. She‘s not going to set a timetable, Laura. She‘s trying to have it both ways, isn‘t she?
LAURA SCHWARTZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think she‘s been a persistent and consistent critic on the war and the conduct of the war. And, let‘s face it, we do need new leadership. Secretary Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the Congress on both sides of the aisle.
SCARBOROUGH: But she supported the war. She still supports the war.
SCHWARTZ: And you know what? She says we‘ve got to get out of there, but you know what? We can‘t go in open-ended, but we also can‘t set a time line, either. She wants to not leave this undone. You know, she‘s been pretty consistent in the fact that we‘re there so now we‘ve got to deal with it. She explained her vote to her constituents when she made the vote to go—you know, that authorized the president to go to war.
SCARBOROUGH: So what‘s her position today, because I don‘t understand it?
SCHWARTZ: Her position today...
SCARBOROUGH: Is she still for the war?
SCHWARTZ: You know, I don‘t think—first of all, I didn‘t think anybody is pro-war. You know, when you say Hillary is pro-war, you know, she‘s pro-getting this job done, but in a way that it can be done and manageable. I mean, look at this. General Abizaid...
SCARBOROUGH: So how long do we stay? Because I agree—I mean, I agree. Rumsfeld has made horrible mistakes. Bremer made horrible mistakes. This administration...
SCHWARTZ: Abizaid said today we might even go into a civil war.
SCARBOROUGH: ... has made horrible mistakes. But my question is—
OK, she doesn‘t like what Rumsfeld is doing. She doesn‘t like what Bush is doing. She doesn‘t like what Bremer is doing. What would Hillary Clinton do if she were president of the United States? Would we be out now, six months, a year?
SCHWARTZ: She say would say, first, we have to transform to a limited mission in Iraq. We have to focus on counterterrorism and the support for the Iraqi security forces to work for themselves and protect our own.
SCARBOROUGH: But when? How quickly?
SCHWARTZ: Hey, as long as we can get some sort of plan into place, because this Pentagon staying the course is not working. We see that time and time again, even today by the two generals. There has to be a change in the course that we take, both multinationally and from our own Pentagon department, so that we‘re not left vulnerable to other conflicts and we make a move.
BUCHANAN: You know, Joe, let me step in here. Look, what Hillary Clinton is doing today I think is smart, except I don‘t think she should come out for the firing. She‘s doing what Nixon said. Nixon said, “Look, I support the war in Vietnam. I support the troops over there, but Johnson has had four years and now he‘s going to have five years, and if they can‘t win or end this war, and they cannot, it is time for new leadership in the United States.”
If she takes that position and holds it, I think it‘s a winner this November.
SCARBOROUGH: Peter Beinart, is it enough for the Democratic Party to just be against the Iraq war? Is that how liberals are going to win the war on terror?
PETER BEINART, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”: You know, the problem is, when people say to Democrats, “How are you going to win the Iraq war?” It‘s a little bit like putting in the second-string quarterback late in the fourth quarter, down 30 points and with the ball on your own four-yard line, and say, “How are you going to win the game?”
And the truth of the matter is, the tragic truth of the matter is that we have passed so many turning points in Iraq that whether Iraq can save itself is really not a question that America has an enormous amount of leverage in anymore.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. So why doesn‘t Hillary Clinton go on the Senate floor tomorrow and say, “I want Rumsfeld to resign, and I want the Senate to stop funding this Iraq war within the next 12 months”?
BEINART: Well, these are two very different questions. I mean, I think she should call for Rumsfeld to resign. Look, Bill Kristol, who is the biggest war supporter around, has called for Rumsfeld to resign. You can support the war and think that Rumsfeld has done a horrific...
SCARBOROUGH: Does Hillary Clinton support the war?
BEINART: I think Hillary Clinton has said that basically—that if we knew there were not weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we never would have gone to war. I think Hillary Clinton‘s position should not be, by the way, an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
My own view would be that, as long as the Iraqi government is still asking us to stay for a while, we owe it to them, we have an obligation to try to stay a while longer while they try to make some progress on dealing with the insurgency. I think that would be the right position to take.
SCHWARTZ: You‘re right, Joe. We went in there.
BUCHANAN: The important thing, Joe, I think, is this: The Democratic Party now believes that the Rove strategy, make the war the issue, they‘re saying, “Bring it on.”
SCARBOROUGH: OK, Pat, but if they do that, Pat, if they say, “Bring it on,” if they do what Republicans did in 1994, they‘ve got to tell them what they believe. Lamont is doing that in Connecticut. He‘s going to win. Hillary Clinton is not doing that. She is not definite on the war. I don‘t know what her position is on the war. You don‘t know what her position is on the war.
BUCHANAN: Her position is—I do. I‘ll tell you what it is.
SCARBOROUGH: Beinart doesn‘t know, and neither does Laura.
BUCHANAN: I‘ll tell you what it is, Joe.
BEINART: I thought I...
SCHWARTZ: Yes, you know, the thing is...
BUCHANAN: Her position is the war was the right thing to do. You guys have bollixed it up. You‘ve made mistakes. You continue to make them. Rumsfeld should go. We need new leadership, and we need a plan.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, though. Hold on, everybody. Saying, “We need a plan,” is not a plan. Hillary Clinton doesn‘t have a plan...
BEINART: Joe, what Pat said accurately is that, when we‘ve been in this situation two times before historically, Nixon during Vietnam and Eisenhower during Korea. In neither case did they have a plan, nor did they share it with the American people. They simply said they had a plan, and people were so sick of the guys who were in there that they were willing to give them a chance.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Laura Schwartz...
BEINART: That‘s what all the Democrats need to do.
SCARBOROUGH: Laura Schwartz, all the—and I do agree with that. It looks like all the Democrats have to do is attack Bush and they win this fall. Do you think so?
SCHWARTZ: Absolutely. They win this fall, and then they‘ve got the power to make changes. And that‘s where you can really scrutinize what‘s the plan and where it‘s going.
But for the next 96 days, they just have to make the stage that staying the course is not the option. And Hillary has been fighting for these kids overseas to have all the equipment that they need, the correct body armor, so she‘s been supporting the fight. And now she sees that, you know what, it‘s going to take—supporting the fight means changing...
SCARBOROUGH: And you know, Laura, I‘ve got to say, Hillary Clinton, in my opinion, has been one of the most responsible Democrats, probably the most responsible Democrat in the United States Senate since 9/11, and I think that‘s why she‘s built up a lot of credibility. Now...
SCHWARTZ: She was really touched by 9/11, and she‘s going to do what‘s right for the people, not for the politics. She really hasn‘t pandered, and that‘s what‘s great about Hillary Clinton.
SCARBOROUGH: She has not pandered to the worst instincts of her base.
But, Pat, I want to ask you a prediction.
BUCHANAN: Go ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to follow up on what you‘ve said tonight and get a prediction from everybody. Does everybody here believe that Lieberman is going up in smoke? This guy, Joe Lieberman would be vice president of United States right now but for what happened in 2000. Now, six years later, he‘s going to lose his Senate seat.
BUCHANAN: Here‘s what I think, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you all believe Lamont is going to win and the Democratic Party is going to move far to the left and make Iraq the issue this fall?
BUCHANAN: I think this is what‘s going to happen. I think Lieberman is going to get beat bad. And everybody says, “Well, he can run as a third-party candidate and win,” Joe. They don‘t understand the dynamic of winning an election, the impact, the enthusiasm.
I think Lamont, if he wins this election, he is suddenly going to vault to a position where he‘s got a chance to win it all out. There will be pressure on Lieberman, “Don‘t do it, Joe. Don‘t run third party. Don‘t kill our chance.” I think Lamont, if he wins it, wins the primary, is a good bet to win the general.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Peter, once he wins that primary election, Democrats get the message. Let‘s run against the Iraq war and we‘ll win with our base, like Republicans did in ‘94.
BEINART: Yes, I think there‘s no question that the war—look, the war is not just unpopular amongst Democratic partisans. It‘s very unpopular amongst independent swing voters, as well. So being against the Iraq war is not a bad position to take at all.
SCARBOROUGH: Not at all.
BEINART: But taking a position of immediate withdrawal is also, it seems to me, a risky position, because I think—and I think, again, Pat‘s historical analogy is right. Americans, you know, peace with honor was the phrase that won for Richard Nixon. You might say it was kind of disingenuous, but the reality is the Democratic Party has to have an argument about Iraq which is going to try to say how we‘re going to salvage this in the best way for our national security.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, disingenuous, saying you had a secret plan to get out of Vietnam when you admitted later you didn‘t have a secret plan to get out? That‘s disingenuous.
BUCHANAN: We‘ll deal with that later, Joe. That was total...
SCARBOROUGH: I bet that was Pat Buchanan‘s idea.
Laura Schwartz, I need a yes or no: Do Democrats take control of the Congress this fall because of Iraq?
SCHWARTZ: Yes, the House. The Senate, not going to happen.
SCARBOROUGH: Buchanan, you go sit in the corner for a while and pay restitution for your sins against American democracy.
BUCHANAN: Leave Nell (ph) alone. Leave Nell alone.
SCARBOROUGH: Leave Nell alone. You Catholics are all the same.
Thank you, Pat Buchanan, Laura Schwartz, and Peter Beinart.
Coming up next, do you think you could survive 30 days behind bars? Well, maverick director Morgan Spurlock goes into lockup to expose America‘s prison system, and he‘s with us next to talk about it.
And from “30 Days” to 15 minutes of fame, we tried to replicate Mel Gibson‘s wild night out, but it wasn‘t just alcohol that went to our producer‘s head.
SCARBOROUGH: So what if you had to walk a mile in the shoes of somebody you hated? What if you had to do it for a month? Well, that‘s the premise of the FX show, “30 Days,” where people from the opposite sides of track live together.
Now, for this season, creator and executive producer Morgan Spurlock put himself to the test spending 30 days in jail. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN SPURLOCK, “30 DAYS”: The punishment is the monotony. This is it. You don‘t have to think. You‘re in jail. There‘s no thinking involved. You‘re just like—you‘re just feeding the machine, and you feel like that, and you don‘t feel like a person in a lot of ways.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: So I asked the “Super Size Me” star Morgan Spurlock why 30 days outside one‘s comfort zone is a good idea.
SPURLOCK: What it does is at least starts to lay a foundation for us to have a civil conversation, a civil dialogue, where it‘s not just people yelling and spewing rhetoric at one another. You know, we hear all the time how this is a nation that‘s polarized, you know, it‘s the left and the right, and the reds and the blues, and we‘re all on each side.
And, you know, I‘m a big believer that most of us in this country live somewhere in the middle, and hopefully with this show we‘re just going to continue to build a bridge, you know, that will bring these, quote, unquote, “other sides” together.
SCARBOROUGH: You actually got a Minuteman and had him live—a conservative live with a family of illegal immigrants. And you noticed and other people noticed real change in this man‘s heart. Talk about that.
SPURLOCK: Well, I mean, I think, when you see Frank George, our Minuteman, who goes and moves in with this illegal Mexican family. And Frank George himself was a legal Cuban immigrant, you know, you do—you see him start to get affected.
He‘s moved by this family. He‘s touched by their stories. And, you know, he went home—you know, it didn‘t change him completely in 30 days, but I think he went home actually finally seeing the other side, you know, for real people and not just as names or anything else.
SCARBOROUGH: What was your goal when you decided, man, to strap—you know, put on the helmet and chin strap and lock yourself in jail for 30 days?
SPURLOCK: You know, I‘m somebody who really likes to, you know, explore issues from my own point of view and kind of see what‘s out there. And for a long time, I‘ve asked the question, you know, what is the goal of the prison system in the United States? Is it to punish or is it to rehabilitate? And I really wanted to go find out for myself. What is it like to be locked up behind bars?
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think you got the real deal in there, or do you think that it was sort of a B.S. tour?
SPURLOCK: Well, I mean, I think I got the real story from the inmates who were there. I mean, these guys aren‘t pulling any punches. They‘re telling me the real stories. And, you know, the camera crew wasn‘t there all the time. That‘s the other thing.
You know, they were only filming me for about four or five hours a day. So around 19 hours I‘m on my own. And I think that—you know, I think I got a very real glimpse of what it‘s like. But for me, you know, I am still lucky. At the end of 30 days, I get to go home. You know, I‘m not somebody who‘s looking at spending, you know, five, to 10, to 12, to 20 years in jail.
SCARBOROUGH: And you know that through the entire process, which of course makes it livable, but what was the hardest part for you over the 30 days? Being confined in jail, what was the most difficult thing?
And the second part of that question, what did you appreciate the most when you walked out of the front doors of that prison facility?
SPURLOCK: Well, I‘ve got to tell you, probably the hardest thing was
I spent 72 hours in solitary confinement. And that‘s really difficult, you know, to have no interaction with anybody. You‘re there on your own. And I just imagine guys who are doing that for six months, for a year, some people for their entire sentence. You know, it‘s incredibly difficult.
And the only thing that I was thinking about when I was in there, when I was in jail, was what I met on the other side of that door, which was my wife, Alex.
SCARBOROUGH: What was more difficult, being in jail for 30 days or destroying your body, eating nothing but McDonald‘s?
SPURLOCK: You know what? I think jail was probably harder, because at least when I was eating the food, I had Alex there, you know, to somewhat feel sorry for me. Not much, but she felt a little sorry for me.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Hey, Morgan, thanks so much for being with us. Sound like another great season.
SPURLOCK: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: We really appreciate you being here to tell our viewers all about it.
SPURLOCK: Thank you. It‘s always a pleasure, man. Take care.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. You, too.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, we tried a similar experiment here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY in 2003 when I tried to withstand torture for 24 hours. It didn‘t turn out so well. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE VENTURA, FORMER GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: How many people drink and go home and beat their wives up? You know—don‘t tell me that. I‘ve smoked pot, Tom. I‘ve admitted it; I‘ve done it. I‘ve done all of the big three. I‘ve done tobacco. I‘ve done alcohol. And I‘ve done marijuana, Tom.
Guess what? Marijuana is the least of the three, pal. Wake up to that. How many people smoke pot and go home and beat their wives up? How many people drink and go home and beat their wives up?
Look, I‘ve done tobacco. I‘ve done alcohol...
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, no, make him stop.
VENTURA: And I‘ve done marijuana, Tom. Guess what? Marijuana is the least of the three, pal.
SCARBOROUGH: No, make him stop. Help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The humanity. God, the humanity of it all. Thank god that was behind us.
Coming up next, it started off as a scientific experiment, seeing what would happen to our producer if he drank as much as Mel Gibson. Well, I‘m afraid we created a monster.
SCARBOROUGH: And welcome back. Now, for those of you who missed last night‘s show, we put Mel Gibson‘s defense to the test and, of course, his defense was this, that booze was the reason that he had this anti-Semitic rant.
But you know, I didn‘t buy that excuse because he was only blowing a .12. Most of my professors at the University of Alabama at least had double that when they were teaching me in class. So last night, one of my producers, Mike Yarvitz, drank his way up to a .12 blood alcohol level, which is the same level Mel Gibson blew, but the two reacted in a radically different way. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Now, that was Mike‘s experiment last night. He was blogging, actually, throughout the whole show and was not affected at all, passing all the field sobriety tests. And in a minute, we‘re going to show you what kind of state he was in after reaching .12.
But first, we want you to hear Mel Gibson‘s comments that started this whole media firestorm in the first place. These are Mel‘s anti-Semitic words, again, that he‘s blaming on being as drunk as Mike Yarvitz was last night. But his words are reenacted by another one of my producers. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I own Malibu, (bleep) Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew? What the (bleep) do you think you‘re doing? What do you think you‘re looking at, sugar (bleep)?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: What am I supposed to do here? I apologize to all of you. That was Mel Gibson after blowing a .12 on a breathalyzer test. I think we owe Conan O‘Brien some money.
Now, let‘s listen to my producer, Mike Yarvitz, last night working up to the same level as Mel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE YARVITZ, PRODUCER: I‘m at a .08 right now. That‘s, I think, legally drunk in New Jersey, and, you know, I‘m shooting for the .12. That‘s where Mel was.
I‘m feeling OK right now. I‘m definitely impaired. I probably shouldn‘t drive. I‘m above the legal limit in New Jersey for being drunk, but I‘m not at the point yet where I feel like spouting out any anti-Semitic comments.
I feel composed right now. I feel like I still have my cognitive abilities. I‘ve been able...
DET. LT. STEVEN ROGERS, NUTLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT: And I gave him a field sobriety test during the break, and he passed it.
SCARBOROUGH: How many drinks did you have to get to .12?
YARVITZ: That was about four drinks, between four to five drinks, and that got me to a .12.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, we don‘t know if Mike was still hung over when he came into work today or just daydreaming, but we do think the fame of last night‘s experiment—and he had a lot of women writing him, and a few men saying how good-looking he was—we think it may have all gone to his head.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: T.J., have you seen Yarvitz? In whose office?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you like to set up an appointment with Mr.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Mike, I think we need to talk. No, buddy, we‘re going to talk now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s amazing what 15 minutes of fame will do for you. Well, that‘s all the time we have for tonight, but stay where you are because “MSNBC INVESTIGATES: UNDER SUSPICION” is going to be starting in a few seconds.
But also, throughout the evening, of course, there were bomb blasts earlier tonight in Israel. Nothing is happening right now, but MSNBC will be following that story throughout the night. And if there is any breaking news, of course, we will be there first, as we always are.
Hey, have a great night, and we‘ll see you tomorrow night, same time, same Bat Channel, right here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Good night.
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