Guests: Shandi Finnessey, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Gerald Posner, David Frum, Jamie Rubin, Terry Holt
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight, John Kerry‘s shocking comments about committing atrocities in Vietnam.
You‘re about to enter SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. No passport required, no P.C. police allowed.
Stunning revelations from John Kerry. He says he committed war crimes in Vietnam and so did many of his fellow soldiers. We‘re going to show you that shocking admission and debate what it means for the battle for the White House.
And then Bob Woodward‘s new book rocks Washington with explosive allegations about the Iraq war, claiming that Bush used funds illegally, kept Colin Powell in the dark and made promises to the Saudis so they would keep gas prices low at election time. Is it true? The White House says no. And Colin Powell may be in the doghouse for working with Woodward.
And she‘s “The Apprentice” America seems to love to hate. Omarosa is here to answer questions everybody wants to know about. Did she lie and if so why?
Plus, newly crowned Miss USA visits SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about her support for the troops in Iraq.
Well, John Kerry met a buzz saw yesterday named Tim Russert. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
For an hour yesterday, John Kerry took one hit after another from NBC‘s Tim Russert over inconsistencies ranging from Vietnam to Iraq. But it was Senator Kerry‘s flippant response to an old tape that Tim Russert unearthed that could have caused the most damage. In that tape, the then war protester John Kerry dramatically recounted specific war crimes that he committed against the people of Vietnam, including killing citizens in no fire zones and burning villages to the ground.
When asked to respond, the senator made a joke about his hair and said that his statements were fueled by youthful anger, but true. Now, while John Kerry proved himself to be much more articulate in his meeting with Tim Russert than the president, the liberal Massachusetts senator still seems to be torn between telling Americans what he really believes and what he thinks they want to hear him say.
You know, I learned in my first political campaign that voters will forgive a politician for just about everything, other than flip-flopping. Maybe that‘s why John Kerry‘s still trailing George Bush in the polls despite the fact that America is suffering through one of its worst months in Iraq yet. For John Kerry to win, he has got to find his voice and speak to his beliefs without apology and speak it straight and strong to the American people, because John Kerry‘s learning right now that the American people aren‘t going to let him both ways on the war or on taxes or on homeland security and on 1,000 other issues.
He‘s got to stand up and be counted or else he can count on being swept to defeat this fall. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, a few months ago, President Bush‘s National Guard service said the Vietnam War was under a microscope. But tonight, it‘s Senator Kerry who is facing tough questions about his activities during that time period. As I mentioned earlier, Senator Kerry made some stunning revelations to Tim Russert about his service in Vietnam.
Here he is from yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MEET THE PRESS”)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KERRY: There are all kinds of atrocities and I would have to say that yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed. I took part in search-and-destroy missions, in the burning of villages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TIM RUSSERT, HOST: You committed atrocities?
KERRY: Where did all that dark hair go, Tim? That‘s the big question for me. I think some of the language that I used was the language that reflected an anger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Terry Holt, you‘re national spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign in ‘04. Were you shocked by his somewhat flippant response to these admissions that Tim Russert unearthed that as a soldier in Vietnam, he committed war crimes?
TERRY HOLT, BUSH CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Well, I think, Joe, I‘m more confused than anything else. He‘s a decorated war veteran, three Purple Hearts, in fact, came back from Vietnam early because of the Purple Hearts, and then switched overnight into quite a vociferous war protester.
And these are stunning questions to be asked. And frankly, I‘m not sure that I have the answers. I think that he obviously waffled and changed the subject a little bit. The John Kerry I know doesn‘t really want to get into matters that go to his core values. I think he maybe changed his mind on that point.
SCARBOROUGH: Are you saying that this question about how he behaved in Vietnam and how he‘s responding to it now goes to his core values, not only as a candidate for president, but also as a person?
HOLT: Well, I don‘t want to prejudge. It may be that this is a deeply personal situation. I‘m not sure that I want to assign too much politics to it. But, obviously, John Kerry‘s waffling on other issues before us, strong national defense, whether or not we ought to use force in Iraq, the Patriot Act.
There is quite a bit of confusion about his issues. And I find myself, after listening to that, just a little more confused.
SCARBOROUGH: Jamie Rubin, you‘re a senior adviser to John Kerry. As you know, President Bush a few months back took a beating over his National Guard service and whether he served. Now it seems that this tape that Time Russet unearthed and if “The Washington Post” is correct caught Senator Kerry off guard is now catching a lot of attention.
What do you think the American people should think of a presidential candidate on tape admitting to the world that he committed war crimes in Vietnam?
JAMIE RUBIN, ADVISER TO SENATOR JOHN KERRY: Well, I think and expect the American people to look at that tape and be reminded that John Kerry served his country and, as Terry Holt point out, received Purple Hearts for bravery, that John Kerry served his country very well, that when he came back from Vietnam, he opposed the war, and as you said yesterday, he said things that were a bit over the top.
So this is not about Vietnam. This election is about the future, not about what happened 40 years ago.
SCARBOROUGH: But isn‘t John Kerry making this campaign about the Vietnam War? He‘s brought up obviously in the primaries repeatedly the fact that he served in Vietnam. He‘s even talked about it this past week, saying he served in Vietnam, while Karl Rove and Dick Cheney did not. If he‘s going to bring up Vietnam, it is, is it not, fair to ask how he conducted himself, especially when his own words that he used back then said that he was committing war crimes?
And he did say yesterday that while they were over-the-top statements, they were, in fact, true?
RUBIN: Look, John Kerry has brought up Vietnam because it‘s part of his history, his biography. The American people are interested to know that when the time came, he chose to serve his country and serve it well, that he served in Vietnam. He didn‘t try to avoid it.
But when he came back, he opposed the war, like many other Americans did. And in opposing that war as a very young man, as he said yesterday, he said some things he wishes he hasn‘t. But what the Vietnam experience tells us about John Kerry is that he‘s experienced warfare, he understands its risks, and he‘s in a position as commander in chief to understand the consequences of his decisions.
And although the issue has been raised by you and by others, I believe that this election is going to be decided a lot more about Iraq than it is about Vietnam.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, well, certainly more important to me is the fact that Tim Russert brought it up yesterday. And, again, it was just—it was very shocking looking at those images.
And I think, Terry Holt, we‘re going to be talking about this, again, just like we were talking about President Bush‘s National Guard service a month or so ago. But there‘s another issue that‘s out right now. “The Boston Globe” reported that even John Kerry‘s much-heralded service medals are being questioned.
Here‘s what Kerry‘s superior in Vietnam, Lieutenant Commander General Grant Hibbard, told “The Boston Globe” about one of Kerry‘s Purple Hearts. He said—quote—“He had a little scratch on his forearm. He was holding a piece of shrapnel. People in the office were saying, I don‘t think we got any fire.” And when asked about Kerry‘s medal, Grant said:
“Obviously, he got it, I don‘t know how.”
Terry Holt, is that an issue for the presidential campaign? Is that something that the American people should be concerned about regarding Senator Kerry‘s character or is it just mudslinging election year?
HOLT: Well, I‘m not so sure. I think that “The Boston Globe”‘s going to, you know, carry out their investigation. We know from these stories that there are an awful a lot of things that happened 40 years ago. I think that what we‘ve always said is that John Kerry served his country.
He served it honorably. The question is
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. Hold on. Hold on, Terry. I don‘t mean to cut you off here, OK?
But if he served his country honorably—and I‘m certainly not saying he didn‘t. I‘m thankful he did serve the country. If we all say that John Kerry served his country honorably and then we unearth a tape from 1971 that says that he committed war crimes, and then he admitted in 19 -- or in 2004 that while the statements were over the top, but, yes, they were true, did he serve this country honorably?
HOLT: I agree with you that these are blockbuster questions you‘re giving us tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, give me a blockbuster answer. Did John Kerry serve his country honorably if in fact he‘s admitting now that he committed war crimes?
HOLT: I would apply the same statement to John Kerry that we applied a few weeks back during the president‘s story where, in fact, the National Guard said the president served honorably. I‘m not going to go back—and I‘ll allow—I‘m sure my friends on the other side of the media fence will be looking into that.
But for us, this election is really about what we‘re doing between now and in the next four years in the post-9/11 experience, who is more steady, more experienced, more capable of fighting and winning the war on terror. If this disqualifies him, that‘s something to say, but that‘s really for John Kerry to answer.
SCARBOROUGH: Jamie Rubin, Senator Kerry has talked about the Vietnam issue and, as I said earlier, about members of the Bush administration. And this is what he said earlier this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: I‘m tired of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney and a bunch of people who went out of their way to avoid their chance to serve when they had the chance. I went. I‘m not going to listen to them talk to me about patriotism.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Jamie Rubin, is that a fair attack, saying that Karl Rove didn‘t serve in Vietnam and Dick Cheney didn‘t serve in Vietnam and so they‘re less able to talk about patriotism than, say, those who did, like Senator Kerry?
RUBIN: On the contrary.
What John Kerry‘s saying is that he‘s sick and tired of having Republicans attack his patriotism, put unfair ads, phony, lying ads on the TV set that attack his patriotism.
SCARBOROUGH: Which one specifically?
RUBIN: Time and time and time...
SCARBOROUGH: Which one specifically attacked his patriotism?
RUBIN: Well, the one that suggested that he doesn‘t support American troops. This is someone who served in Vietnam, who spent his whole career working to protect Vietnam veterans, working to protect American soldiers, and in this completely irresponsible way, the ad suggests there‘s been vote after vote, when there was no vote after vote.
SCARBOROUGH: You‘re talking about the $87 billion.
HOLT: It‘s John Kerry‘s words in that ad. I‘m sorry. It‘s John Kerry‘s words.
RUBIN: No, no, but we all know that the ad suggests there are four separate votes. And there weren‘t four separate votes. This is misleading and suggesting John Kerry doesn‘t support American troops and American soldiers.
RUBIN: And Republicans know exactly what they‘re doing. They‘re trying to suggest that his patriotism is in question. And what he‘s saying is, he‘s tired of people who when the time came to serve their country found their way out of Vietnam attacking his patriotism.
HOLT: You don‘t know the story, Jamie, obviously.
RUBIN: I think the Democratic Party is sick and tired of this
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Terry Holt, Jamie Rubin, I want to thank both of you for being with us.
And for those of you at home, obviously, what Jamie is talking about is the Bush commercial that talks about the $87 billion vote that came up to support the troops after, of course, they were over there. Senator Kerry voted against that, but said that, if it was the deciding vote, he would have cast the vote to support those troops.
Anyway, he talked about that yesterday on “Meet the Press.” You can go to MSNBC.com and actually see the transcript from Tim Russert‘s interview with Senator Kerry, if you missed that. That‘s on MSNBC.com. I‘ll tell you what. I‘ve read it several times. I saw it yesterday. It‘s a fascinating interview. You ought to see it. And also check out the president‘s interview with Tim Russert from months back.
Coming up, speaking of NBC, NBC‘s hit show “The Apprentice” was wife with controversy. And at the center of it, Omarosa. She‘s got a passport to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight. And I‘m going to see if we can figure out what makes her tick. You‘re not going to want to miss that one.
But, first, Bob Woodward says his new book is a behind-the-scenes account of the lead-up to the Iraq war. But the White House says it‘s just not true. We‘re going to separate fact from fiction when we come back.
SCARBOROUGH: Bob Woodward‘s new blockbuster book includes word-for-word accounts where only Colin Powell and the president were present. I wonder who‘s been working with Woodward? Is Colin Powell just trying to make himself look good and protect his backside?
Stick around. We‘ll have that next.
SCARBOROUGH: Colin Powell‘s under fire for cooperating with Bob Woodward on his new book. Powell says he was instructed to talk to Woodward and disputes claims that he was out of the loop during the lead-up to the Iraq war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I was included in all of the
military planning preparations. I was briefed on a regular basis. And if
you will read the whole book, you‘ll see that Mr. Woodward makes frequent
reference to the fact that I was in the briefings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, earlier, I talked to David Frum. He was President Bush‘s former speechwriter and the author of “An End to Evil,” and also Gerald Posner, who wrote “Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11.”
And I asked if Colin Powell was more interested in making himself look good than protecting the president.
DAVID FRUM, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: With this book, there‘s something else that maybe we should focus on. And this may be a little bit of a case of misdirection.
The most damaging quotes about Powell‘s role, the most damaging quotes in the whole book seem to come out of the Saudi Arabian Embassy here in Washington, the suggestion that the oil price would be suggested to help George Bush, the suggestion that the Saudis knew what was going on before Colin Powell did.
And the question is what motive, would a Saudi Embassy have for saying those things, whether they‘re true or, as I think, more likely false? And do we see an attempt here by some people in the Middle East who might wish George Bush gone because they oppose what he‘s doing in Iraq to try to use this book-writing process to put a little bit of negative spin that hurts Powell, yes, hurts the president, and maybe helps them.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, David, here‘s actually Bob Woodward explaining last night how President Bush left Colin Powell out of the Iraq war decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “60 MINUTES”)
BOB WOODWARD, AUTHOR, “PLAN OF ATTACK”: So he told Condi Rice. He told Rumsfeld. He knew Cheney wanted to do this, and they realized they haven‘t told Colin Powell, the secretary of state. So Condi Rice says...
MIKE WALLACE, HOST: Are you serious?
WOODWARD: I‘m serious. And so Condi Rice says, you better call Colin in and tell him.
SCARBOROUGH: And, David Frum, that‘s after supposedly they had already told the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C.
SCARBOROUGH: If that‘s the case, how serious of a charge is that?
FRUM: Well, if it‘s true, it suggests that the relationship between the president and the secretary of state has broken down, and that‘s a big problem because it‘s an important job. It ought to be filled by someone who has the president‘s confidence.
But look, most of the rest of the time we read these other books that tell us that, hey, the president—everyone knew the president was going to war, the president made up his mind about it. And I think I would—I see a lot of the news value of this book as this book is very much a flinging down of the gauntlet from some people in the Saudi Embassy who are trying to hurt this president for reasons of their own.
SCARBOROUGH: Gerald Posner, what concerned me the most about the interview last night was the part of it where they were talking about George Tenet. And according to Woodward, after the president saw the CIA intelligence briefing showing the Iraqi weapons site, he said to Tenet, is this the best we‘ve got?
And Tenet said to the president of the United States who was trying to make up his mind on whether to take America to war or not, he said, Mr. President, it‘s a slam-dunk. How bad was the CIA‘s intel to the president of the United States and Congress?
GERALD POSNER, AUTHOR, “WHY AMERICA SLEPT”: I think bad with a capital B.
And I think that‘s the real headline from the book in many ways. When we talk about Powell, for those of us who have been following this, maybe to the general public, they‘re surprised that Powell was out of the loop. But for those people who are watching Washington inside, the headline that Powell was out of the loop isn‘t a headline at all. It‘s almost to be expected.
People were afraid inside the administration that he might go wobbly on us, was the old term that Margaret Thatcher had used on Bush the elder when the first Iraq war had taken place. So they let him in very late in the game. But, as far as Tenet is concerned, I‘ve been a harsh critic on him in the lead-up to 9/11, as you know, harsh on the CIA.
And I‘ve always thought Tenet is lucky that he has George Bush as his president and commander in chief.
SCARBOROUGH: Gerald, why? George Bush has protected this man after 9/11. He protected him on WMDs. Now we find out that he was wrong also in another critical time in the war, at the beginning of the war. You‘ll remember the quote last night when they bombed Saddam Hussein in a restaurant, and Tenet actually called the president of the United States and his exact quote was, “We got the son of a bitch.”
That ended up being wrong also. How long is this guy going to be protected and why is he still there?
POSNER: Well, he‘s a great player of the political game. He‘s very, very adept. That‘s why he survived under two administrations. Even his critics admit that Tenet is very good at sort of keeping his base underneath him.
But I must tell you, I think it has to be very thin at this point. There has been no accountability for 9/11, no accountability for the weapons of mass destruction issue in Iraq. And nobody has even been docked a week of vacation pay on this. We‘re talking eventually the top of the agency must take the blame. Somebody has to fall on the sword.
I‘m surprised that somebody hasn‘t given Tenet a push on the sword. But I think that day may be coming up at some point maybe by the end of this fall.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, David Frum, why is George Tenet still the director of the CIA after he failed on 9/11, after he failed on WMDs, after he failed on Saddam‘s death? Why is this guy still around?
FRUM: Powerful question.
And there have been no firings at the FBI either, whose behavior was, if possible, even worse. The president was persuaded in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, look, if you start firing people, you start punishing these agencies, they won‘t be able to do the job. In those first days, there was a lot—we didn‘t know very much. We didn‘t know whether something was coming next. As bad as these tools were, they were the only tools that the president had.
So he made the decision, OK, I‘ll keep using the tools and fix them later. But he‘s now paying the terrible price for that, because the country is investigating 9/11, is seeing all of the failures. And by failing to discipline the organization that let the president down, the president volunteered for the job of protecting the agencies with his own reputation. And now he is in the firing line, where the agencies deserve to be.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, David, you talked about the Saudis earlier. Another part of this whole puzzle which is very disturbing to a lot of people, including John Kerry, has to do with the fact that the president‘s special relationship with the Saudis could lead to gas prices being lowered.
This is what John Kerry said earlier today on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: If, as Bob Woodward reports, it is true that gas supplies and prices in America are tied to the American election, then—tied to a secret White House deal, that is outrageous and unacceptable to the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You would agree that would be outrageous and unacceptable if the Saudis made that kind of agreement. Are you cynical enough or should we be cynical enough to believe that the White House struck this type of a deal with the Saudi government?
FRUM: I think we should be a whole lot more cynical and ask why is the Saudi Embassy putting out this story? Obviously, gas prices are very high, so if there is such a deal, it‘s not being honored. Why did the Saudis want this story out there?
SCARBOROUGH: Why do you think it is?
FRUM: And I think that‘s—well, one of the things—although John Kerry will periodically strike these tough stances against the Saudis, the fact is, when you look at his record, he is much more circumspect and much more deferential to America‘s traditional relationship with the Saudis, which is one in which they get to do whatever they want and America puts up with it, than George Bush has been.
This Iraq war is a terrible threat to Saudi Arabian power. And they were against it. They have opposed it, and now they‘re frightened by it, and rightly so, because they see—Gerald has brilliantly documented in his book much of the evidence of the intimate relationship between important people in Saudi Arabia and al Qaeda, that the United States has put up with this because it had to.
You change Iraq, you change Iran, you bring Libya into the community of civilized nation, and suddenly Saudi power begins to atrophy.
POSNER: I think David‘s absolutely right. I think the Saudis are petrified that we could succeed in Iraq.
The idea of a fledging, chaotic, somewhat traumatic democracy next door to them just horrifies them, more than Saddam Hussein. They‘re happy to see Saddam Hussein gone. But, at the same time, they hate the idea we could succeed. The only other thing that scares them is a real sort of Islamic radical theocracy tied to Iran. What they want is just to see the country break up, Iraq, into sort of the Balkans of the Middle East.
Let it be like Yugoslavia, no real threat to their northern neighbor. And I do think that the Saudis are great sort of poker players. They hold the cards. The aces here are oil. And they would say something to an American administration. It doesn‘t even have to be a Bush administration, could be Kerry or Clinton or Bush the elder, and say by the way, we‘ll do our best with our recalcitrant cartel members hopefully by election time, but they don‘t deliver on this.
They deliver when they want to. They have the power to do it. They don‘t time and time again. And too many American administrations have kowtowed to the Saudi oil blackmail.
SCARBOROUGH: They certainly have, Gerald.
Well, thanks a lot for being with us, Gerald Posner. Also, thank you, David Frum.
SCARBOROUGH: And next up, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown, it‘s going to be me vs. “Apprentice” villain Omarosa. Some are saying that she shamelessly lied on national TV and ruined Kwame‘s chance to be Donald‘s right-hand man. My mission, to find out if that‘s the truth and why.
That‘s right after this break. So don‘t go away.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up, I go head to head with former “Apprentice” Omarosa—coming up next.
But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
SCARBOROUGH: She‘s been scolded by the Donald, admonished by “Oprah” viewers, and completely raked over the coals by every tabloids known to man She is also a very hot property.
She‘s never been to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY until now. And with me is “Apprentice” castoff Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth. I think I messed up the middle name.
OMAROSA MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH, FORMER CONTESTANT ON “THE APPRENTICE”:
SCARBOROUGH: Manigault. Manigault.
SCARBOROUGH: Exactly. One of these days, I‘ll learn to read prompters.
First of all, obviously, Omarosa, you have been in the middle of controversy now over the past several months. Tell me what it‘s been like.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: It‘s very interesting to watch the show and to see how the character develops. I don‘t know that America was ready for a new type of villain and that‘s what they were presented with, a villain that wears five-inch pumps and four-inch skirts. I just don‘t think that they were ready. It was very interesting.
SCARBOROUGH: When you recognize that you are without a doubt prime-time TV‘s villain, “The Apprentice” that America seems to love to hate, why do you think that is?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Because I think this is the first time America has had a view into the true workings of corporate America.
Corporate America is not a place where you kind of play footsies with your co-workers or with your competitors. It‘s a place that you have to work hard to survive. You eat what you kill in corporate America, and that was the first time that they saw it. And to see a woman to be so aggressive and be focused on becoming “The Apprentice” was I think very unique for America.
SCARBOROUGH: So you think that if a man had done the same things that you had done on the show, nobody would have thought twice about it?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: No one would have thought twice about it. It is that same double standard. Yes, I was aggressive. I‘m a businesswoman who knows what she wants and goes after it without any apologies. And it makes many people very uncomfortable.
And so now you see the backlash of that. People want their women to kind of smile and be nice, but not go after the same contracts or the client bases that they‘re going after. So you see it very clearly, particularly on “The Apprentice.”
SCARBOROUGH: Now, your moment of infamy for some came this past week when they claim that you lied about the handling of transportation for Jessica Simpson‘s band. I want you to take a look at this and respond.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Joe, let‘s put this...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE APPRENTICE”)
DONALD TRUMP, DEVELOPER/BUSINESSMAN: Omarosa received an important phone call from Diane, the head of transportation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I called Omarosa and told her to make sure that Jessica and her band arrive when they‘re supposed to arrive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just get the story straight. You gave Omarosa a call last night at dinner about this issue.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: No, I called her before we ever went to dinner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, I‘m talking about Marc Anthony.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: But I didn‘t get they called me at Marc Anthony. They just told me I need to call back the office. She had already left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Omarosa, you know what everybody wants to know. And I‘ve heard this 1,000 times since I told people you were going to be on the show.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: That is great drama, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on.
They said, ask her why she would lie twice on national TV when she knew the cameras were on her? Why do you lie?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Exactly. Exactly. You know what? That is beautiful drama, and that‘s why 30 million people tuned into “The Apprentice.”
Let me first put this in context, Joe. I was fired as a result of Kwame‘s actions. Kwame took me into the boardroom after I was the only apprentice on his team to sell a piece of artwork. So to be brought back and be under his employ was the first thing that was not reflective of reality. Joe, if someone here was to cause you to be fired, you wouldn‘t go back happily.
So I was back in a situation where I was working for the man who essentially led me to my demise on the show. And, I enthusiastically worked. As you noticed, Troy, nor Heidi contributed at all to the final task. And Kwame put all the responsibility on my shoulders. And I did it to the best of my ability. All you see is storytelling. You see people telling the story of what Omarosa did. You don‘t see certainly Omarosa saying, oh, I‘m going to destroy Kwame.
First, perception drives reality. Everyone perceives that I was untruthful. And I will just say that that wasn‘t the case. And I can‘t battle with the perceptions of America. I will just tell you that that certainly was not the case.
SCARBOROUGH: So it sounded—the first half of your question sounded right. You were admitting to sabotaging the man that you blame for costing you the apprenticeship. Did you purposefully mislead Kwame...
SCARBOROUGH: ... or lie to Kwame to sabotage him so he wouldn‘t get the job?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Oh, no. Come on. Kwame and I have a great relationship. I just talked to him a couple days ago and he certainly has moved on from the task.
And he knows—ironically, he knows first and foremost how very interesting all of the things in the final test seemed to come undone. And without being able to go into great details about how those things came undone, you‘ll notice that we were at dinner and all of the sudden, you fast-forward to breakfast. Well, the last time I checked, Donald Trump doesn‘t allow his apprentices to take a break between 7:00 and 9:00 in the morning.
We certainly worked on those logistics. Kwame knew where Jessica stood. He knew where all of the reservations and everybody was confirmed as of 1:00 in the morning.
SCARBOROUGH: So are you saying they edited the tape to make you look like a liar?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Joe, it‘s much bigger than editing. It‘s much bigger than editing.
This is an unscripted drama. So much more goes into it than just editing. I hear a lot of reality contestants complaining about editing. It‘s bigger than that. It‘s much bigger than that. And because I‘m restricted from expounding upon the details of that, I will just say that there were things that happened.
For instance, you see me dancing around in a hat. And people say, why are you dancing around in a hat when Kwame is trying to pull all those things together? We actually auctioned that hat off for thousands of dollars for Jessica‘s charity. And yet you don‘t hear at all about that. And I just spent time with Jessica and her father on a VH-1 divas concert and they were very disappointed that Jessica‘s charity did not receive the attention that it deserved.
So there were other bigger things and other things that were happening on the show that you‘ll never know about.
SCARBOROUGH: And you said you can‘t expound upon them, but I want you to expound on this, because Donald Trump, as you know, went on “The Today Show” after “The Apprentice”‘s finale aired. And this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
TRUMP: I think she lied twice on camera. So this wasn‘t like, oh, maybe she did and maybe she didn‘t. I think she lied twice on camera. And Kwame knew that. And that was very, very disruptive to Kwame and his whole cause.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And he‘s, of course, talking about you lying at the dinner table, then lying about the phone call.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Well, the reason that Kwame didn‘t fire me, the reason Kwame didn‘t fire me is because he knew I didn‘t lie. Believe me, if he thought I was out to sabotage him, he wouldn‘t have continued to give me responsibilities over and over again. That‘s coming from a man who is probably the greatest exaggerator on the face of the earth.
He has the best apartment in the world, the prettiest girlfriend, the biggest plane. Come on, it comes from somebody who is a great exaggerator.
SCARBOROUGH: So is Donald Trump lying about you? Is Donald Trump lying about you?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: I wouldn‘t call it lying. I said exaggeration, Joe. There‘s a big difference between lying and exaggeration. And that‘s what you see, exaggeration.
SCARBOROUGH: But Trump‘s calling you a liar, though. Do you think he‘s exaggerating? Is that the difference?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: You know what? I signed up for a reality show where I knew that I would have no control how I was portrayed. And Donald Trump is out for making ratings. In fact, on “Oprah,” he looked at the camera and said, do you see what a great job I did in creating these kind of—I think he was insinuating in terms of creating conflict, because there were two of us going back to back.
He knows what he is doing and he‘s creating great ratings and it‘s making him a star. So he‘s doing a great job.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I‘ll tell you what. We‘ll be right back.
We‘re going to talk about Trump. We‘re going to talk about Oprah and all the other things that those of you in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY have been talking about with “The Apprentice” and Omarosa.
Also ahead, we have the newly crowned Miss USA. She‘s speaking out in defense of the troops. She‘s going to be here to tell us why next. That‘s coming up next.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: What was Donald Trump‘s net worth in 1991? Was it, A, $300 million, B, negative $300 million, or, C, negative $900 million.
The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked:
What was Donald Trump‘s net worth in 1991? The answer is C. Trump was $900 million in debt. He‘s worth $2.5 billion today.
Now back to Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re back with more from Omarosa from “The Apprentice.”
I want to talk to you now about a big controversy. And this has probably been the biggest controversy. And it, of course, has been about your claim when you went on “The View” sometime back that Ereka called you the N-word, a racially slanderous word. And I want you to talk about that. When did she call that you?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Joe, unfortunately, we‘re about a month too late. I actually put this to bed on “Oprah,” as you mentioned. And I‘m not going to talk about it anymore. I do hope that that we can all move on from it and I‘m just not going to comment on it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, can you comment on whether she called you that or not?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Joe, unfortunately, I‘m not going to comment on it right now. I‘ve been talking about this for months. You know, you can go pull it. I‘m sure the viewers have seen all of the interviews that I‘ve done about it. But I‘ve moved on, and I‘ve put it to bed, and now I‘m here to talk with you about “The Apprentice.”
SCARBOROUGH: OK, but the big part of “The Apprentice” is that claim. Of course, as you know, I‘m sure, Ereka went on Howard Stern‘s show. She took a lie-detector test. She wants you to take a lie-detector test.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: I will say this.
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: I will say this comment, that I find it very ironic that she would go to one of the most racially charged and sexually charged radio hosts in the country to vindicate her from such very, very serious charges. Wouldn‘t you go to somewhere where there‘s a little more credibility and less racial undertones and sexual undertones?
SCARBOROUGH: So, you think that hurts her cause, that she went to Howard Stern‘s radio show?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Well, that‘s the feedback that I‘ve been getting. Everybody was kind of disappointed that, as we try to move on from this, that she would go to Howard Stern of all people to clear her name. It‘s kind of ironic, don‘t you think?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Robin, I believe, is an African-American, so I don‘t know. But I‘ll tell you what I can do for you.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: So, by Robin being an African-American woman, does that remove them from all of the history that they have on that show, to the extent that the FCC is actually looking to pull them off air because of their racial and sexual antics? So I don‘t know if you‘re endorsing that or not, Joe. I hope not.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Well, I‘ll tell you what I‘m going to do for you tonight. We are going to give you, so you can come to a respectable place, we‘re going to give you opportunity to come here and take a lie-detector test. It will be sort of the battle of the dueling lie-detector tests. Will you come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and take that same lie-detector test?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: No, because, actually, Joe—actually, Joe, as I stated at the beginning of this segment, I‘ve actually moved on. And I thank you for that offer. That‘s very kind of you. If I were going to do it, I‘d of course go to somewhere where, you know, I come from an environment where I‘ve been through FBI background investigations.
I have great friends in law enforcement. I would go somewhere where there is a great level of credibility, not to say that you don‘t, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Right. Right.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: But I have moved on. And I do hope that we can all move on collectively.
SCARBOROUGH: So when you say, you‘ve moved on—I don‘t mean to sound like David Letterman on a Janet Jackson interview—where he just kept going on and on and on and on.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Well, now you do sound like Dave a little bit.
SCARBOROUGH: But when you say you moved on, I missed the last part of
it. I heard you say that you were going to move on, but did you ever
retract the statement
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: You‘re going to make my sound like Janet. And Janet said over and over again, I‘m just not going to talk about it anymore. And I‘m just not going to talk about it, Joe.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: So I hope we don‘t waste the rest of this segment going back and forth. Stalemate.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I also, though, hate, though, that a charge like that was made. And now it‘s out there and we don‘t have any resolution to it.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: And it‘s been out there for a long time.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: Well, actually, there has been resolution for me. I‘ve moved on. And I‘m hoping to move on in this segment, Joe.
But I don‘t want to spend my opportunity sitting on your show sitting here at a stalemate, which is where we are. I hope that you have other questions for me. You said that you had other questions about Donald Trump for me, so bring it on.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, bring it on. Well, I‘ll tell you what. I‘d love to bring it on. I‘d love to have you answer the question, but you‘re not going to.
I‘d love to have you back, too. I want to ask you one final question, because, again, you...
SCARBOROUGH: You have been pursued as the villain of “The Apprentice.” As you know, there‘s some very nasty things that are being written about you all the time. A lot of your fellow “Apprentice” people have said some by bad things. And yet you still have a smile on your face and you‘re getting all of these endorsements. We only have a few seconds. Why‘s that happening?
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: I think it‘s because America has embraced the fact that when there‘s 15 people who are pounding you over the head that there has to be something there.
The advertisers, the executives from the studios, they‘ve all seen the talents that I have. And they know the real reason why I had to suffer so much on that show.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: And I think it has to do with prospective talent and drive. And that‘s what I have, Joe. Thanks for having me.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Omarosa, thanks for being here. We‘re completely out of time. But we appreciate you being here and hope you‘ll come back.
MANIGAULT-STALLWORTH: I would love to.
SCARBOROUGH: And still to come, the newly crowned Miss USA enters SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. And she‘s here to tell us how she‘s going to use her platform to support our troops and also support something that she said is even more important for her.
We‘ll tell you what that is coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Don‘t forget, you can now watch SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY on Sunday night, Sunday through Thursday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. You can also catch “ULTIMATE EXPLORER” Friday night with Lisa Ling, Friday at 10:00 p.m.
Hey, we got more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead with Miss USA.
We‘re going to be talking wrestling pigs. That‘s exciting.
SHANDI FINNESSEY, MISS USA: We can do that.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. That‘s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first runner up is South Carolina.
That means the new Ms. USA is Missouri‘s Shandi Finnessey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The money moment.
I‘m joined now by 25-year-old Shandi Finnessey. She is a graduate student, an accomplished musician and a writer of a published children‘s book. And you can also add to her list of accomplishments the title of Miss USA. She was crowned just last week.
It‘s great to have you here.
FINNESSEY: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: I teased the pig wrestling. You‘ve got to explain to people what that is all about.
FINNESSEY: It‘s not a weekend hobby. It was a one-time thing.
I happened to be touring Knob Noster, the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, which is the home of the stealth bomber.
FINNESSEY: And they made reference to a fair that they were having.
And pig wrestling was there. And that‘s a big family event.
SCARBOROUGH: So you just—you jumped right in?
FINNESSEY: Well, I suggested that I would be interested in possibly doing it, and they held me to it.
SCARBOROUGH: How did you do?
FINNESSEY: Second to worst time overall. But it was fun. It was so much fun and quite a good workout, too.
SCARBOROUGH: Who won, you or the pig?
FINNESSEY: I think it was probably a tie.
So tell us about—obviously we‘ve been hearing a lot about you supporting our troops, not a political thing, just supporting our troops. But you also have some other issues that are very important to you that you‘re going to be promoting this year. What are they?
Well, first of all, I think that, as an American, we should be supporting our troops at a time like this, and supporting the USO. So what I‘m so excited about is, as Miss USA, I‘ve become a national spokeswoman for breast and ovarian cancer research, awareness and education. So that‘s kind of what my entire year will encompass, many charities and things such as that.
May 1, for example, is Bring Your Mom to Work Day. And the places of employment that adopt this will then donate money to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, great.
And let‘s talk about the troops for a little bit. I know you made a small comment and everybody jumped on it for the past week. They‘ve been basically putting you on the Bush-Cheney ‘04 campaign. But when you say you support our troops, it‘s not political. It‘s not about being a Republican or a Democrat. It‘s about being an American.
FINNESSEY: It‘s about being an American. Exactly.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, talk about it a little bit.
FINNESSEY: Well, my father fought in Vietnam. And coming home as a Vietnam vet and being around my father and seeing what the war encompassed with him, I think that we really need to embrace our troops.
And, as we all know, Iraq in some ways parallels Vietnam. And I really think the importance is to stress that we need to support the USO. We need to back our troops. We may not agree with everything that President Bush does, but we should support the troops.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, it‘s a generational thing, isn‘t it? A lot of people during the Vietnam War opposed the war. But don‘t you find—I was about to say people our age, but, actually...
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ve gotten old over the past 15 or 20 years or so. You didn‘t have to laugh that heartily when I said our age.
SCARBOROUGH: But let‘s say people under 42 years old, they seem to be more supportive of the troops, don‘t they?
FINNESSEY: I think so. I mean, people my age have never understood patriotism the way that we do now.
An interesting commercial that I saw about two years ago back showed a street. And it‘s of random houses, and it said that war on America on September 11 was meant to change our world. And then it showed the same street. Every house had an American flag out front. And it said, you know what? They succeeded. And that‘s I think what is so true, is that my generation has never appreciated the American flag, never appreciated patriotism as much as they do today. And that‘s what we need to stress, and, again, supporting our troops in Iraq.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Shondi, well, thank you so much for coming here.
FINNESSEY: It‘s Shandi.
SCARBOROUGH: Did I say Shondi?
FINNESSEY: You did.
SCARBOROUGH: I was so flustered.
FINNESSEY: I have that effect.
SCARBOROUGH: Not only by your natural beauty, but also by the fact that you intimated that I was an old guy.
SCARBOROUGH: But thanks for being here.
FINNESSEY: Thank you very much for having me.
SCARBOROUGH: Talking about the crown, talking about pig wrestling, talking about supporting the troops, and, most importantly, talking about your key issues, which is, of course, breast and ovarian cancer.
FINNESSEY: That‘s right. Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you.
And that does it for SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight. Tomorrow, we‘re going to be talking about the media‘s double standard regarding some racially insensitive comments by Democratic Senator Chris Dodd. When Republican Senator Trent Lott made a similar statement, it was on the front page of every newspaper. So why are they ignoring it now?
We‘ll talk about it tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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