Guests: Leslie Marshall, Jack Burkman, Luis Gutierrez, Jay Sekulow, Michael Newdow, Kirsten Powers, James Woolsey, Michael Isikoff
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline: The president‘s enemies want Donald Rumsfeld head. The “Real Deal”: He‘s led us to victory in two wars. So maybe it‘s time to step back and take a deep breath.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required, only common sense is allowed.
The secretary of defense is under fire, but President Bush is standing by his man, for now. And it‘s driving his critics crazy.
And the National Day of Prayer is supposed to be a time when politics are left at the door. But some critics say it‘s being hijacked by the conservative right. We‘ll debate that later.
And then, a major development in the war on terror breaking in Oregon, where another American is suspected of being in cahoots with al Qaeda and causing hundreds of deaths. We‘ll get the very latest on this breaking story from “Newsweek”‘s Michael Isikoff.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, he won two wars and he put together the most effective military attack in the history of warfare and now the world is calling for Donald Rumsfeld‘s head. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Well, the chattering classes are hyperventilating, and it‘s reached such a fevered pitch, the breathing on the House floor from the Democratic Caucus today was so heavy that if you closed your eyes for a minute you‘d swear you were listening to an adult video—not that I ever have. But what has the secretary of defense‘s sworn enemies, got them in such a huff that they‘re now seeing these shocking pictures from an Iraqi prison cell and saying he needs to quit?
Well, the House‘s top Democratic, Nancy Pelosi, chirps about a cover-up. Charlie Rangel calls out to his fellow Congressional Black Caucus members demanding articles of impeachment be drawn up against President Bush. Meanwhile, the media mavens up and down the Eastern Seaboard are hyping the story almost as much as they hyped Al Franken‘s radio network a few weeks back.
President Bush let the world know that he was standing by his defense secretary a day after the White House leaked to the world that Bush had taken Rummy to the woodshed. As one who saw his share of weak defense secretaries testifying before the Armed Services Committee in Congress, I know how important it is to keep a strong leader like Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon at a time of war.
You know, our troops are after all still in the middle of a very dangerous war zone. That‘s why Democrats and other Rummy detractors need to measure their words more carefully, before blurting out unproven charges that can only aid our enemies‘ jihad against America. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, President Bush defended Secretary Rumsfeld, as I said, earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Secretary Rumsfeld is a really good secretary of defense. Secretary Rumsfeld has served our nation well. Secretary Rumsfeld has been the secretary during two wars. And he is—he‘s an important of my Cabinet and he‘ll stay in my Cabinet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: It ain‘t Churchill, but I don‘t think Rumsfeld cares tonight.
We‘ve got former CIA Director James Woolsey with us. He says the investigation should run its course before anybody gets fired.
Mr. Director, let me begin by asking you about these charges of cover-up on Capitol Hill. Do you believe that the president or Don Rumsfeld covered up these abuses in this Iraq prison?
JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: No, quite the opposite.
I think there was a political mistake made once he got those reports in March in not going to the president—the president said as much—and to the leadership of the Congress with them. But in terms of cover-up, not at all. They sent two investigators over there, both major generals, one in August, one in September, and they did about a month worth of reviews.
And the one that was still reporting in early November—he was there mainly in October, I guess—he found some things that were going wrong at the prison. And they—based on those investigations, they launched two more in January, one a criminal investigation. And, in late March, that produced six people being referred to Article 32 proceedings, which is the military law equivalent of a grand jury, for looking toward indictments.
And they announced that publicly in late March in Baghdad. And then the other, this report that‘s leaked, civil investigation, that‘s the one that had all the material in it about the sexual abuse and so forth, the descriptions, not the photographs themselves. But I think what he was doing was letting the regular process run. They were running this the way they would a normal investigation of a serious crime, attendant to the rights of a suspect and so forth.
And I think he did make a mistake, a political one, in not seeing the incredibly volatile implications of this in March when this came to him, going to the president and the probably Armed Services Committees.
WOOLSEY: But that‘s a political mistake. It‘s certainly not a cover-up.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I want to bring in Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers.
Now, you say the cover-up could be worse than his crime in this case. And I want to play you what was said today by Nancy Pelosi and Charlie Rangel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Mr. Rumsfeld has been engaged in a cover-up from the start on this issue and continues to be so.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: If the president doesn‘t fire the secretary, if he doesn‘t resign, I think it‘s the responsibility of this Congress to file articles of impeachment and force him to leave office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Kirsten Powers, is there a cover-up at the Pentagon?
KIRSTEN POWERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think it depends on how you define a cover-up. You know, far be it for me to disagree with a former CIA director, but I do think that when Rumsfeld goes in and meets with members of Congress knowing full well this information is coming out on “60 Minutes” that night and fails to discuss that with them, that is a little suspicious.
He also did know about this information. At a minimum, he knew about it in the weeks leading up to it, because we know he was trying to get CBS not to show the pictures. And, more likely, we know that he knew in January.
So the question is, why was there a lag time and why were other people not notified of it and why were steps not taken? And it does appear that he was trying to keep the information from members of Congress, from the president, who he also didn‘t tell, and from the American public.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, I want to read what “The Wall Street Journal” said, Kirsten.
It said: “The Army chain of command reported the abuse last fall and a criminal probe started on January 14. It issued a press release about the probe—a press release—two days later. Then it assigned a general to conduct a separate administrative on Abu Ghraib prison. CENTCOM announced charges against six soldiers in March.
And then “The Journal” wrote this story: “The press didn‘t break this story based on months of sleuthing, but was served up the results the Army‘s own investigation. Unlike the editors of ‘The New York Times‘ or ‘USA Today,‘ the military brass did not dismiss early allegations of bad behavior.”
William Arkin, I want to bring you in.
Now, this cuts both ways for the secretary and the president. On one hand, it shows there was no cover-up, because they were putting this out in the press. On the other hand, it totally undercuts President Bush‘s claim that he didn‘t know about this abuse until a couple of days ago.
BILL ARKIN, NBC MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think, Joe, that the reality is that Secretary Rumsfeld, General Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president, didn‘t really know the extent of the abuse. And they didn‘t really know about it until the media made it clear that they were going to be reporting on it.
When General Myers asked CBS to hold the story for a couple of weeks because of the situation in Fallujah, he thought that the story would be too inflammatory at that time. He had to do a quick study. Then he appeared on the news this Sunday and said, well, he still hadn‘t read the full report. The reality is that the Army is who is responsible for the cover-up, not necessarily Secretary Rumsfeld.
The Army does, as any big institution did, it circles the wagons. It tried to protect its own. And even though there was accountability within the Army up to the level of a one-star general, the reality is, the Army didn‘t particularly want to air its dirty linen outside of its own service. So I guess I would say that the cover-up was that there was no notification of Congress once this report was completed, in contrary, for instance, to the CIA telling Congress quite forthrightly that it had actually killed an Iraqi prisoner in detention, which it did.
And so Congress was less exercised about the death of an Iraqi two-star general who died in January because it had been notified. And, in this case, I think the reality is that everybody was taken completely by surprise, not necessarily by the fact that there had been abuse at Abu Ghraib prison, but the extent of the abuse.
SCARBOROUGH: James Woolsey, you were shaking your head. Why?
WOOLSEY: Well, I just think it‘s stretching a term beyond all reasonable meaning to say it‘s a cover-up when you know something is going to come out the next day in the press and not to tell Congress. It may be politically a bad mistake, but they knew this material was coming out. They did nothing to keep it from coming out, except for that two-week delay which was for a very specific purpose.
The Army covering up—my gosh, the Army had four investigations of this. I just think, you know, it‘s robbing the term of all meaning to characterize it as a cover-up.
ARKIN: Let me say something, Joe.
Look, when General Myers was made—was apprised of the fact that CBS, “60 Minutes II,” was going to do a piece and that “The New Yorker” was pursuing the story, which it had been for weeks, it was the first he had heard of it. And the reality was that the office of the secretary of defense, that was the first they had heard of the investigation. The Taguba investigation report done by General Taguba is damning. It is really sobering.
I have been in this business for 30 years and I have read a lot of investigations, and I usually associate that word with whitewash. This is anything but that. General Taguba should really be commended for the job he did. But nobody in the Defense Department at a high level was privy to the results of that investigation.
SCARBOROUGH: William, unfortunately, we‘re going to have to go.
But, Kirsten, I‘ve got to give you the last word. Charlie Rangel says impeachment. What do you say?
POWERS: Yes, I just think this whole conversation, unfortunately, was focused on whether it was a cover-up or not, which is a separate conversation. The real question is, what‘s being done about this? Who is being held accountable?
The president needs to apologize to the Iraqi people, not to the president of another country. And there needs to be some accountability. I mean, these conversations are going in circles. And Rumsfeld needs to take responsibility for what happened on his watch. Whether there‘s a cover-up or not is a separate conversation.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot, Kirsten Powers.
Unfortunately, it was the Democratic minority leader that was talking about cover-up today. That‘s why we‘ve got to discuss it tonight.
Kirsten Powers, James Woolsey, and, William Arkin, thanks a lot for being with us. As always, we appreciate it.
And coming up next, today is National Prayer Day. And some Americans kneel down. Others protest, saying the day‘s been hijacked by political interests and is biased against non-Christians.
And then, for all of you struggling to send your kids to a good college or are paying off your own school debt, you may want to sit down. The state of Kansas is actually giving tuition breaks to illegal immigrants. We‘ll tell you about that later.
And, plus, an American in Oregon is arrested in connection with the deadly Madrid bombing. We‘ve got the very latest on that developing story from the West Coast from the “Newsweek” reporter who broke it.
So don‘t go away.
SCARBOROUGH: Has the National Day of Prayer been hijacked by the conservative right? Oh, my. We will debate that coming up in just a second.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: For our nation today, the need is great, as young men and women face danger in our defense. For the sake of freedom and for the sake of peace, we pray that God‘s hand will protect them and deliver them safely home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s the president talking about the National Day of Prayer, which was today.
Now, it dates back to the first Continental Congress in 1775. And Congress made it an annual event in 1952. But many atheists think it should be abolished. One of those is with us tonight. He is Michael Newdow, who, of course, recently argued in front of the Supreme Court to have the words “under God” removed from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Michael, thanks for being back with us tonight.
Now, it is a part of our history. We‘re in the middle of a war. Americans, the overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God and believe in prayer. Why try to do away with a National Day of Prayer?
MICHAEL NEWDOW, ATHEIST ACTIVIST: Well, I haven‘t tried to do that, but I think it‘s a good idea.
NEWDOW: It violates the ideals of our Constitution. We have an establishment clause that says that the government is supposed to make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Exhorting the populace to pray to God is a law respecting an establishment of religion.
SCARBOROUGH: Jay Sekulow, do you agree with that? You‘re the chief counsel for the American Center For Law and Justice. I‘ve got a feeling you do not.
JAY SEKULOW, CHIEF COUNSEL, AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE:
You‘re absolutely correct, Joe, because the fact is, as you said, the very first Continental Congress in 1775 put forward a proclamation for prayer. Ben Franklin, when the debate were going on about the founding of our country and our founding documents, talked about the need for reflection and prayer.
This is part of the American experience. No one is compelled to participate. No one is required to attend a National Day of Prayer event. But to say that a presidential proclamation for Thanksgiving, for prayer, for reflections, which is, again, part of our American history—it‘s the tapestry upon which this country is founded—would be a rewriting of the history, really.
NEWDOW: That history, by the way, though, if I might interrupt...
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead, Michael.
NEWDOW: That history that he just referred to is all before we had an establishment clause. Once we had an establishment clause, that changed. We amended the Constitution.
SEKULOW: Actually, at the time of the passage of the Bill of Rights and the First Amendment, there was prayer going on, activities at that time, in fact, some of the provisions that the first Congress dealt with after the passage of the Bill of Rights, even including sending missionaries to the reservations in the West to spread the Gospel to those that were American Indians at that point.
And so, again, this is part of the American history. But to say that our founding generation‘s view of rights, freedom and liberties somehow has now to be removed so that a proclamation for prayer, which, if you‘ll trace our history, has been very common—there‘s been very few presidents that have not done a proclamation for prayer. There‘s been a few. But most, by and large have, as part again of the American experience.
SCARBOROUGH: Jay, I want to read you what “The Washington Post” said earlier: “The event‘s organizers don‘t allow Muslims or people outside the Judeo-Christian tradition.”
One organizer said this—quote—“They are free to have their own National Day of Prayer if they want to. We are a Christian task force.”
Now, that doesn‘t sound very inclusive, does it? Should that be troubling?
SEKULOW: Well, no, because there was a rabbi actually at the White
House today that participated and gave a scripture reading from the Old
Testament. So it has been inclusive. And I don‘t know who made that
particular statement, but it‘s
NEWDOW: That‘s inclusive because it‘s Christian and Jews? How about the Muslims? How about the Buddhists? How about the atheists? How about all the other people?
SEKULOW: They certainly could have a National Day of Prayer.
NEWDOW: We‘re not supposed to have anything there. This is what the Constitution is about. It‘s supposed to include all Americans.
SEKULOW: Well, we both can‘t talk at the same time.
SEKULOW: The proclamation for the National Day of Prayer is based, again, on our heritage and our history. And that history included a proclamation for Thanksgiving and prayer. If you read the president‘s statements today, I don‘t think anybody would be offended.
But, again, nobody is required to participate. No one is establishing a religion. It‘s an acknowledgment. It‘s a proclamation.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael, your turn. Go ahead.
NEWDOW: The president last year, in his National Day of Prayer, said, America welcomes individuals of all background and religions, and our citizens shared diverse beliefs. That was a lovely sentiment that respected the diversity of America.
His very next statement was, in prayer, we share the universal desire to speak and listen to our maker. The next sentence says, forget about you atheists. Forget about you Buddhists. Forget about you people who don‘t believe in the same thing we believe in.
SEKULOW: Actually, Buddhists believe in a creation account.
NEWDOW: They don‘t believe in a God, OK? That‘s why they wrote
SEKULOW: It‘s not the same as the Judeo-Christian tradition.
But, you know, Michael, the fact is—and I know you‘re sincere in your beliefs—but the fact is you don‘t get a veto of everything you disagree with.
NEWDOW: I‘m not asking for a veto. I‘m asking for upholding the Constitution. The fact is, the Constitution says no law respecting an establishment of religion. How much more explicit can you be? Usually, it‘s all the people who are the strict textualists who say, look at what the text is.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, Jay. Let him finish.
NEWDOW: The text says, no law. It‘s very clear.
And you go back to the history, the first act of Congress, the very first act, was to take out the words God from their oath of office. They didn‘t want God in.
NEWDOW: John Adams is the only president of the first five who didn‘t get reelected for a second term. He said the reason was because he tried to get a national fast passed. He says: The national fast turned me out of office. Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion.
SEKULOW: But, know you, after the Bill of Rights, including the First Amendment, were put in place, the first Congress after the Bill of Rights also appointed chaplains for the legislature.
NEWDOW: That was before the Bill of Rights.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, guys, guys, all right. You guys have had your debate about history. The only thing I‘ll say is that, of course, the Library of Congress a couple of years back said the very day the Jefferson wrote about the separation of church and state to Danbury, Connecticut, Baptists in 1803, he then went to Congress to go to church. Now...
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Jay, I want to read you something, though, that is trouble a lot of people who aren‘t atheists.
SCARBOROUGH: Some believe this day has been politicized. And your friend Barry W. Lynn from Americans United For Separation Of Church And State, said this—quote—“It has gradually been adopted more and more by the religious right. And this year in particular, there is such an undercurrent of partisanship because, for the first time, they are broadcasting Bush‘s message in an election year.”
Jay, you‘ve heard an awful lot of people say the evangelical right has taken control of these type of events in Washington, D.C., which troubles people like Michael Newdow even more.
SEKULOW: Yes, but except let‘s deal with facts and reality.
And facts and reality, at that event today that Barry Lynn was commenting on, there was a Jewish rabbi who‘s not part of the evangelical right. And he was participating in this event. There‘s Catholic participation in this event. So to say this is an evangelical event is wrong. These are people of faith that take prayer seriously and chose this president.
And the idea that all of a sudden we‘re going to remove this or to think there‘s some great conspiracy going on I think is ridiculous.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Newdow, I‘ll give you the last word.
NEWDOW: Thank you.
I don‘t think it‘s all of a sudden we‘re going to remove this. All of a sudden, we stuck it in in 1952, when Overton Brooks, the representative who introduced the bill, said, we‘re going to have all denominations, Catholics, Jews and Protestants. That‘s the whole problem.
We are bigger than Catholics, Jews and Protestants. We are all Americans. That‘s atheists. That‘s Buddhists. That‘s everybody. And we shouldn‘t have prayers to God any more than we should have prayers to Jesus or David Koresh or anyone else. Get the government out of this business, like Madison said.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Michael Newdow and Jay Sekulow, as always, we appreciate you being with us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
And still ahead, this week, the Kansas legislature passed a bill approving in-state tuition bill for illegal immigrants. Should people who are breaking the law pay less for college than U.S. citizens? We‘ll debate that.
Plus, Al Gore may have lost an election, but he‘s bought himself a new job, his purchase, a TV network. We‘re going to tell you about his plans to take the media world by storm and his chance of succeeding right after this.
SCARBOROUGH: My next guest just introduced legislation that would actually grant amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. We‘re going to ask him why he did it coming up next.
But first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill for college tax breaks for illegal immigrants in Kansas.
And my next guest, Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, joined Ted Kennedy to introduce legislation to legalize 11 million illegals already in the U.S.
Congressman Gutierrez, you‘re here. You‘re chairman of the Democratic Caucus Immigration Task Force.
Let‘s talk first about the amnesty plan to grant amnesty to 11 million illegals. Why are you doing it?
REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Well, we think they‘ve earned their stay in the United States of America. We have a dependency on their labor. Joe, you and I benefit each and every day from their work and their contributions in agriculture, in the service industry, and many industries, jobs that most Americans, because of their higher skills and higher education, don‘t want to do.
So they‘re fundamental to our economy. And since we do not have the political will and will not place the requisite resources to deport them, then I think it is only logical, fair, humane, to allow them to incorporate themselves completely into our society. And what we‘re talking about is people that have been here five years or more working, paying taxes, have demonstrated that they‘re of good moral character and just like immigrants before them, want to contribute to our great country with their creativity.
Those that haven‘t, we put them in a graduated plan so that they can show us that they‘re committed to this country. And the last thing is, hey, listen, the U.S. Labor Department says that in the next nine years we‘re going to create approximately eight million low-skilled jobs in the United States with very little training needed to them. Who‘s going to do those jobs?
I say instead of continuing the pattern of creating this underground economy, this work force that‘s exploited, that doesn‘t help contribute to the vitality of our country, why don‘t we just have a program, much like Bush, our president, announced and allow us to take those jobs and place them in those jobs? They‘re going to be necessary in the future.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, you and I obviously don‘t agree with the congressman, or, for that matter, the president.
But the congressman made a very good point. He said the United States government does not have the political will to enforce the laws along the border, to deport eight to 11 million illegal immigrants. And because of that, it looks like Washington‘s just thrown their hands up, just like this isn‘t a Democratic or a Republican issue. Ronald Reagan also did this back in the 1980s, didn‘t he?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Ronald Reagan, when I was in the White House, we did offer an amnesty. We thought it would work and we could control the borders after that. The policy was tried and the policy failed.
But you‘re right, Joe, to this extent. The president of the United States and the Congress of the United States are abjured by the Constitution to defend this country from invasion. When you have eight to 14 million illegal aliens in this country, over one million caught each year on the border trying to break in, half a million succeeding, and most of them heading for California, you‘ve got an invasion of the United States.
Overwhelmingly, the American people have said in referenda, in polls, in surveys, for heaven‘s sake, defend our country, defend our community, defend our homeland against this invasion. The president refuses to do it. Senator Kennedy and Congressman Gutierrez wisely have moved ahead, taken Mr. Bush‘s idea, which has caused a huge influx, incidentally, of attempts to cross our border, and said, OK, let‘s legalize it. Anybody who comes in, breaks in, you make it for a few years, you‘re a citizen of the United States, all the privileges, prerogatives, fast track to citizenship.
What it‘s going to do, it means the end of the United States as we know it, as a separate community and a separate country. In Kansas, there are people who are going to be given tax breaks, low tuition for college which are going to be denied to the children of American vets of Vietnam from 49 other states. Now, if that‘s justice, it may be Congressman Gutierrez‘s, but it‘s not my idea.
SCARBOROUGH: Congressman, what do you say to that? Let‘s say there‘s a veteran from California or Texas whose child wants to go to the University of Kansas.
SCARBOROUGH: The way this bill is going to be passed, it‘s actually going to allow illegal immigrants‘ children to go to Kansas and get a tax break, basically, from taxpayers and get in and pay less than that veteran‘s child. Is that fair?
GUTIERREZ: OK. Now, let‘s look at Kansas, California, Texas, Illinois, where Governor Blagojevich has signed similar legislation. Jeb Bush is pushing identical legislation in Florida. New York.
So across the country, what have people come to the conclusion? They‘ve come to the following one, Joe. They say that our Supreme Court of the United States has said that any child must be educated, every child, and that you cannot require statements of their legal immigration to this country in order to enroll a child in our public school system. That Supreme Court decision has been made. We‘re educating them, Joe.
So now we educate them from kindergarten through 12th grade. Now they‘re intelligent. They‘re smart. They‘re not going anywhere because we‘re not going to deport them. Shouldn‘t we continue their education, so that they can continue to contribute in a more meaningful way?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, sure. And, of course, we know that this has been set up K through 12, but this takes it a step further, though.
GUTIERREZ: It takes it one step further, but it‘s a logical step forward, because, Joe, basically, there are those who understand that the son is not responsible for the actions of the father. Children are not responsible for the acts of their parents.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, I‘ll let you respond. But before you—I want you to also respond to this, because I‘ll tell you what bothers me the most about the president, about Congress, about everybody that‘s thrown their arms up and said, hey, you know what, we give up, this isn‘t about Mexicans or others, let‘s say Canadians, whoever people that can come here, the eight to 11 million people that come here because they‘re on an adjoining border.
I mean, what George Bush doesn‘t take into consideration, obviously, is the fact that when he lets these eight to 11 million people come in illegally, he‘s cheating people from Eastern Europe that want to immigrate legally, from Asia, from Africa, from the rest of the world. It just doesn‘t seem fair. And I don‘t know why the president and Congress don‘t get that.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me tell you something.
Let‘s take California. These folks come in. They‘re hard-working folks. Look, they‘ve got a horrible government down there in Mexico. They come in. They work for $6 or $7 an hour. They do drive down the wages of Hispanic Americans, African-Americans, white working-class Americans who have no skills. They hold down the wages.
Secondarily, Joe, somebody pays for their education. Somebody pays their Medicaid. Somebody pays when they get in trouble for a lawyer. Somebody pays for the courts and the jails. You want to know why Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s California is bankrupt? It is because the taxpayers of California, who have got a very generous welfare state, are now providing all those benefits to people.
All you‘ve got to do is get across the Rio Grande, get into America. Your kids taken care of. They are bankrupting California. They will bankrupt America if the president and Congress of the United States, including Mr. Gutierrez, do not demand that the immigration laws of this country either be enforced or be overthrown.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Pat Buchanan, we‘re going to have to leave it there.
Thank you also, Congressman Gutierrez. As always, we appreciate you coming on and sharing your view with us.
Still ahead, network heads everywhere are shaking in their boots, because there‘s a new boss in town. Former Vice President Al Gore has entered the ring and bought his own TV network. Will the lifelong Democrat bring an independent voice for the younger generation, as he promises, or just more liberal spin? My panel weighs in on that and the way he dances next.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: An average U.S. child spends 900 hours a year in school. How many hours are spent watching TV, A, 600, B, 800, or, C, 1000? The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked: An average U.S. child spends 900 hours a year in school. How many hours are spent watching TV? The answer is C. On average, a child in America watches 1,023 hours of TV per year.
Now back to Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s frightening, except, of course, when they TiVo SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and see it the next morning after school‘s out.
Well, insomniacs rejoice. We have found a cure. Former Vice President Al Gore is launching a cable news network for your adults. Al Gore says it‘s going to be irreverent and bold, but not liberal.
With me now to talk about it is Republican strategist Jack Burkman.
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good evening.
SCARBOROUGH: First Franken, now Gore. Should Republicans be concerned that the Democrats are launching this alternative media counterrevolution to Fox News and this show and Rush Limbaugh?
BURKMAN: No, I don‘t think so at all, Joe. Look at the recent experience of Air America. They‘re not paying their bills, in six markets. They‘re almost off the air in a lot of places.
The reality is, there‘s no demand for this stuff. If there were demand for it, corporate America would produce it. It would be everywhere. But the country is trending right. I think the country is gradually becoming more Republican. So I don‘t think there‘s anything to fear at all. I think the media reflects. The reason you‘ve had the rise of Fox News, the rise of yourself, the rise of conservative talk radio is because there is a demand for it.
I think a lot of people think this is some kind of a corporate thing, where guys like Rupert Murdoch are sitting up at the top running the show. But the reality is that it‘s grassroots. It‘s demand-driven. The other thing is, when the liberals finally get the guts to launch their own networks, with whom do they launch it? With Al Franken as the face, with Al Gore as the face?
I mean, Gore, I don‘t know if you saw the Web site for his launch on this, but he‘s still talking about Florida. I was shocked. He‘s got Florida voter registration stuff on the launch for this. I mean, this guy has become to many Americans, even in his own party, a kind of symbol for bitterness. And he‘s not the face for this.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, MSNBC analyst and Democratic strategist Flavia Colgan, one cable executive, who declined to be mentioned, said this. He said—he didn‘t want to be named, but he said: “This will be the biggest flop liberals have seen Hillary Clinton‘s health care plan.”
Do you think we might be selling Al Gore and this new network short?
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You guys are being very pessimistic. I mean, Al Gore invented the Internet. He can certainly run a cable company. Come on, now.
SCARBOROUGH: You‘re not helping the cause.
COLGAN: Look, I think the fact that he‘s going after my demographic, sort of 18 to mid-30s, is fantastic. If you look at news programming across the country, it‘s skewing towards people that are in their 50s and in their 60s.
And if he can create programming that taps into that energy that Howard Dean or Arnold Schwarzenegger or so many other politicians and causes have gotten, he‘s going to have a huge audience to watch this.
COLGAN: As well as an audience, as well as an audience that advertises really want to speak to.
And I think this is an enormously important project, because you have a situation now of consolidation, where five major media conglomerates are controlling 70 percent of prime-time viewing. And I know I‘m not the only one. This is a bipartisan issue that I think it‘s fantastic to have new, different voices. And I think, until we see the type of programming or how well they can get this distributed, it‘s hard to say how successful it‘s going to be.
COLGAN: But Jack is a little wrong on his information about Air America. They‘re actually being added in 15 stations this month and they‘re not bankrupt. And I don‘t know many corporate models that operate in the black from day one.
BURKMAN: If Joel Hyatt had any brains, he would use someone beautiful and smart, like my friend Flavia, not Al Gore, as the face of this.
What really makes this repulsive—they can do what they want. It‘s the First Amendment. It‘s good for the country in the long run. But what really bothers me is that Gore and Joel Hyatt don‘t have the guts to come out and do a liberal talk show framework, probably because they know it can‘t succeed and it can‘t fly. They want to transmit a liberal message, but they want do it obliquely. They want to do it through, oh, quasi-entertainment or music or whatever they‘re going to do. And that‘s really troublesome.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Jack, let me bring in radio talk show host Leslie Marshall.
You know, Leslie, Al Gore said he‘s doing this to provide another voice. And this is what he said: “The trend towards consolidation and conglomerate ownership presents some problems for the American people. Having an independent voice is a very important value to safeguard.”
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think this is about safeguarding those values or is it about secretly launching a liberal network?
LESLIE MARSHALL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Oh, Joe, I love you, but I‘m going to make pasta tonight and I‘m a liberal. Is that liberal pasta or is it just dinner?
Al Gore got a job. Why is everybody on his case? You didn‘t want him to be president. You should be happy that he‘s looking into television. Maybe you might be able to work for him someday. What we‘re looking at is, in the past, historically, people have laughed at people like Ted Turner, Roger Ailes, Joe, even NBC for launching this network. I don‘t think there is...
SCARBOROUGH: Some are still laughing.
MARSHALL: Some are.
But there‘s plenty of room. I mean, there are nearly 1,000 television stations out there. There‘s definitely room for one more. And certainly this is a very smart move, because the future consumers are the 18- to 34-year-olds. And do not mix up the mediums. You‘re talking about radio and television, two very different monsters.
MARSHALL: I certainly know where I‘m speaking from there.
Radio, typically, the reason they have so many conservative talk shows, because they‘re afraid of liberals and females like myself on radio and television that are liberal and female. But, in addition, when you have—you have to look at the facts. And the facts are, in radio—radio listeners, talk radio listeners are predominantly male, are predominantly conservative and predominantly over 35.
MARSHALL: Al Gore is looking to a new audience. There is naked news that‘s working, Joe. This is not a crazy thing. This is adventure.
SCARBOROUGH: But, first of all, I‘ve got to clear something up. I thought you were saying people were laughing at NBC for letting MSNBC launch my show, not the entire network.
MARSHALL: Oh, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. Hold on. Hold on.
MARSHALL: I think you‘re a little paranoid.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what? The thing is, I was trying self-deprecating humor. I think I may have insulted my bosses instead.
SCARBOROUGH: Flavia, you know, Al Gore says he wants to be down the middle. But, listen, these are the people who are supporting him. You have former DNC finance chairman Joel Hyatt, Apple Computer‘s Steve Jobs, Bradley Whitford of NBC‘s “West Wing.” These are all longtime vocal supporters of Democratic candidates.
Now, in 30 seconds or less, come on, this is a liberal network. Why don‘t they just admit it?
COLGAN: Well, first of all, what would be so bad about that?
COLGAN: All the airwaves are being controlled by the right-wing media.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, yes.
COLGAN: And I think that there needs to be other voices out there.
SCARBOROUGH: Dan Rather is a conservative.
COLGAN: They can Bradley Whitford and his wife to be on all day. I would watch that. They‘re both fantastic.
But I think that we have to wait and see what the programming is. I take him at his word that he‘s going to gear it towards young people, which aren‘t being catered to right now by any of the news or issue-based programming. I think it‘s enormously important.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, we‘re going to leave it there, Flavia.
Thanks, as always, for being with us.
Leslie Marshall, thank you. We‘re not afraid of you.
And, Jack Burkman, we appreciate you being here, too.
And up next, do you remember the Madrid terror bombing in March that killed almost 200 people? I hope you do. An American citizen may have been involved. Michael Isikoff from “Newsweek” broke the story. He‘s going to give us all the details on this developing news event right after this short break.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, T.J. wants you to remember to tune into SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. It‘s now Sunday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
And stick around, because we got a lot more straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: There‘s big news today in the war on terror. An American may be connected to the Madrid attacks that killed 191 people.
Newsweek‘s Michael Isikoff broke the story tonight. And he joins us now on the phone from Silver Spring, Maryland.
Michael, tell us about the story that you broke tonight.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, “NEWSWEEK”: Well, it‘s a pretty startling development. There are still a lot of unanswered questions.
But, basically, it boils down to this. Some time ago, some weeks ago, Spanish authorities presented the FBI with some evidence showing that the fingerprints found on a bag containing bomb material connected with the Spanish bombing was, in fact, from a Portland, Oregon, lawyer, a man by the name of Brandon Mayfield. He‘s an American convert to Islam.
He had popped up in connection the case with the Portland seven case. This is the case of the seven individuals charged with plotting with go to Afghanistan after September 11 to fight for the Taliban against U.S. soldiers. Mr. Mayfield had represented the interests of one of the main defendants in that case, a man by the name of Jeffrey Battle, in a custody dispute that arose after Battle was picked up by the FBI.
Mayfield is—not a lot is known about him at this point. He has no other connections that we‘re aware of to any of the activities of the Portland seven case. But to have this physical evidence is a pretty strong piece of evidence.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Michael, when he popped up, when his name popped up in the Portland seven case, did authorities—do you have any information at all that authorities, here or around the globe, suspected that he may have been part of a terrorist organization?
ISIKOFF: Well, they have—clearly, the—prior to this, no, no indication he was on the FBI‘s radar screen other than this one brief tangential connection to the Portland seven.
But this was taken extremely seriously by the FBI. He‘s been on around-the-clock surveillance. And just today, this afternoon, he was picked up, detained, and is being held as a material witness in a grand jury investigation. Material witness is a technique that‘s commonly used by the FBI since September 11 and the Justice Department to detain all sorts of suspects. No formal charges have been filed against him.
And it is somewhat controversial, because material witness matters are not made public.
ISIKOFF: There was a court proceeding today. There was nothing made public about it. We learned about it from law enforcement sources.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. All right, Michael Isikoff, thanks a lot.
And, by the way, MSNBC reached Mayfield‘s wife at their home in Beaverton, Oregon, tonight. And this is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MONA MAYFIELD, WIFE OF BRANDON MAYFIELD: I know he is innocent. Everyone knows he‘s innocent. Everyone he knows, knows he‘s innocent. And we‘re hoping for his release soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
And, again, thanks to “Newsweek”‘s Michael Isikoff for being with us tonight after breaking this very important story.
And be with us Sunday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, when author Maureen Orth tells us about the insanity in Hollywood and what she calls celebrity industrial complex, all that in her book “The Importance of Being Famous”—Sunday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
See you then.
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