Guests: David Bossie, Howard Kaloogian, Adam Ruben, Mark Kennedy, G. Gordon Liddy, Larry Sabato, Craig Unger
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, Bill Clinton gives a tell-all interview to launch his book tour. The “Real Deal”, he proves once again he still doesn‘t get it.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
Just when you thought Bill Clinton could be repairing his reputation, he comes out and calls one of the most embarrassing chapters in presidential history a badge of honor.
And the “Fahrenheit 9/11” debate heats up as one activist groups tries to bilk seats from Michael Moore‘s new Bush bashing film while another supports a ban. Both sides are squaring off in a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown you‘re not going to want to miss.
Then, did Ron Reagan lash out at George Bush during his father‘s funeral? Well, MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews had an exclusive interview with Ron Reagan and we‘ll show you that later.
ANNOUNCER: From the pressroom to the courtroom to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to our show.
You know Bill Clinton‘s back and he is still provoking rage. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
The Clinton book victory tour is just getting underway, but the former president is already showing that when it comes to recognizing his most fatal flaws, he is still flying blind. As one of Clinton‘s toughest critics while he was in the White House, I‘ve given 42 high marks for unifying America during our time of crisis. Certainly he‘s been supportive of President Bush since 9/11 and for that, America owes him our thanks.
And other Americans have been welcoming images of presidents sitting together at Ronald Reagan‘s funeral, as well as Bush and Clinton‘s cheery demeanor during the unveiling of Bill and Hillary‘s portraits at the White House last week, but last night the Bill Clinton attack squad roared back with a vengeance. Appearing at the New York premiere of his friends‘ anti-Republican movie, President Clinton launched personal attacks against Ken Starr, then he embarked on a media blitz, promoting his new book, which gets a celebrated sendoff on CBS‘ “60 Minutes” this Sunday.
Now in that interview, Bill Clinton actually says that he considered impeachment a—quote—“badge of honor.” That‘s right. Bill Clinton is telling us that he is proud to be only the second American president to be impeached. I wonder if he was also proud when he was found guilty in the People‘s House of obstructing justice and lying to a federal grand jury or if he was proud that a federal judge found him in contempt of court for lying under oath and fined him $90,000.
Did it make the former president‘s chest jut out to know out that the Arkansas Supreme Court moved to disbar him for—quote—“serious misconduct involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud and misrepresentation” or that the Supreme Court in his home state also said his actions—quote—
“damage the legal profession and demonstrated a lack of fitness to hold a license to practice law in Arkansas.” And was the former president proud that he had to resign from his practice before the U.S. Supreme Court before the Supreme Court disbarred him forever?
You know the impeachment of Bill Clinton brought out the worst on both sides of the political spectrum. But as one who was there during the trial, I know that the sooner we forget all those bitter days, the better. But that‘s simply not going to happen so long as Bill Clinton declares that one of the sleaziest moments in modern American history was his personal badge of honor.
And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal”.
Because I could—that was Bill Clinton‘s excuse for having an affair with his intern and dragging this country through one of the most embarrassing sex scandals in history. Here is Bill Clinton‘s “because I could” justification that you‘re going to see this Sunday night on CBS‘ “60 minutes.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think I did something for the worse possible reason just because I could. I think that that‘s the most—just about the most morally indefensible reason that anybody could have for doing anything, when do you something just because you could and I thought about it a lot. And there are lots more sophisticated explanations, more complicated psychological explanations, but none of them were an excuse. Only a fool does not look to explain his mistakes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: David Bossie has been a long-time critic of Bill Clinton. He‘s also a member of Citizens United and he‘s the author of “Intelligence Failure: How Clinton‘s National Security Policy Set the Stage for 9/11”.
David, thanks for being with us tonight. Your group Citizens United has an ad that‘s actually going to come out and going to air this Sunday night during “60 Minutes.” Let‘s take a look at that ad right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: William Jefferson Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a sense in Washington that Clinton was not their kind of person (UNINTELLIGIBLE) presidency.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like a trophy to Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you ask Paula Jones to come up to that hotel room?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once he is under oath (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and that turns the case...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: OK, actually, David Bossie, that‘s something else. We are going to get your ad loaded back up. But I want to ask you first of all, why is your group launching a 30-second attack ad against Bill Clinton during his “60 Minutes” interview that is simply trying to promote his book? What do you have to gain by attacking the president?
DAVID BOSSIE, CITIZENS UNITED: Well, Joe, I think that is an excellent question. What we are trying to do is not allow Bill Clinton 900 pages to rewrite history. What we are trying to do is make a statement to the American people to remind them that over eight years, al Qaeda built their terrorist network and the September 11 attacks were a direct, direct result of Bill Clinton‘s inaction over eight years.
SCARBOROUGH: David, how do you know he is going to be trying to rewrite history with this book?
BOSSIE: Well clearly, as everything you‘ve been talking about, Joe, and the material that‘s come out in the press, we clearly see from Dan Rather‘s own words in the papers the last couple of days that Bill Clinton doesn‘t deal very much at all with terrorism and al Qaeda.
SCARBOROUGH: David, I want to you watch this ad now that, again, that you guys are going to be running on “60 Minutes” Sunday night. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is what you might miss in Bill Clinton‘s new book. When terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, what did Clinton do? They bombed our military in Saudi Arabia. U.S embassies were hit. The USS Cole attacked. Americans died all while Bill Clinton was president. So who is responsible for leaving us vulnerable to terrorists? You don‘t need Clinton‘s book to know winning the war on terror demands a president who is willing to fight it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Again, David Bossie, I just don‘t quite yet understand why your group is spending all of this money to go after Bill Clinton and attack him as if he is running for president this fall instead of John Kerry?
BOSSIE: Well, he is not running for president, but he‘s clearly out there and part of this enormous machine that is attacking President George W. Bush. He is at the epicenter at the moment of all of the public relations machine that goes on in publishing his book, which is preprinted 1.5 million copies. It‘s everything anybody is talking about in Washington or on television.
What we are simply trying to do, and the 9/11 commission made this point today, the 9/11 commission came out and said—and this is very important—that the 9/11 attack was not supposed to take place on September 11. It was actually supposed to take place in April because al Qaeda, Mohamed Atta, Osama bin Laden, had been planning this all throughout the Clinton years and actually in 1999 hatched this plot. So, I believe it‘s important, very important to make sure the American people understand that George W. Bush is leading the war on terror. He was given this problem. He didn‘t cause the problem. Bill—all this happened on Bill Clinton‘s watch and none of them want to accept responsibility for it.
SCARBOROUGH: You know one of the most remarkable things about this, while we are staying on this subject for a second longer is the fact that Richard Clarke, of course, during a White House briefing in 2001 said the Clinton administration did absolutely nothing on terror from 1998 all the way until the time they left the White House in December of 2000 and then he conveniently changed the story when he decided he wanted to go on “60 Minutes” and sell a lot of books by bashing George Bush.
But let‘s fast-forward and talking about the news of the day, it came out earlier today. It was posted on “The Drudge Report” that Bill Clinton called his impeachment fight this—quote—“a badge of honor.” Then he went on to say—quote—“I don‘t see it as a stain because it was illegitimate.” What does Bill Clinton mean by saying that? What should we expect to hear from Bill Clinton when he says that this impeachment, where he was only the second president in the history of the United States to be impeached, was illegitimate? Were you part of that vast right wing conspiracy that Bill Clinton always talked about that brought about impeachment and somehow made it an illegitimate impeachment battle?
BOSSIE: I am honored to say that I absolutely was, Joe. Look, I for many years, led investigations into Bill Clinton‘s activities, whether it was down in Arkansas in 1992 during his initial campaign or in the Whitewater case or the campaign finance case, which I got to work with you on. And so, I am telling you right now that Bill Clinton is once again using his bully pulpit to try to undermine and minimize all of the people who worked so hard, including the media. The press is not part of the right wing, you know, or part of the conservative movement at all, let alone right-wingers. The liberal media helped him out at every turn and those are the ones who were the most critical of him in those years.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what‘s remarkable is Howell Raines, actually when he was the editor of “The New York Times” editorial page came out and said that Chinagate, the campaign finance scandal was actually the biggest scandal since Watergate and I agree with him. Certainly, it was a lot more scandalous once you dug in and saw exactly what was happening and who was funding American political campaigns. It was a lot more disturbing to me the people who investigated that on Capitol Hill back in the 1990‘s than what happened even during impeachment.
If he were going to be impeached, I think he should have been impeached for that first. But I want to review for you and our audience very quickly what Bill Clinton considers to be his—quote—“badge of honor.”
He was impeached on two counts. One for grand jury perjury and one for obstruction of justice with the full half of the United States Senate thinking he was guilty on the obstruction charge.
Clinton was also suspended from the Arkansas Bar for five years and suspended from practicing law before the United States Supreme Court.
Now, David, of course, we wouldn‘t be bringing all this stuff up except for the fact that Bill Clinton is now out there trying to pass this off as some, again, vast right wing conspiracy. Respond to that.
BOSSIE: Well, look, you made the point. These people are judges, federal judges, Supreme Court judges in Arkansas, people that have known him for years that disbarred him. This is not part of some Republican cabal. Look, Joe, I—you know this—I served as the chief investigator for the campaign finance investigation in Congress. I wish that he had been impeached on those counts, on those issues, but he wasn‘t. So I worked very diligently on those financial crimes that I saw and so I get frustrated that he tries to illegitimize all the work that all of us did in the ‘90‘s by using this propaganda movie, the hunting of the president, where he goes out and tries to do these personal attacks on Ken Starr, which are old.
These are old attacks. They are bringing back the same people. You‘re going to see Bruce Lindsey, Dee Dee Myers, and all the friends of Bill out there attacking all of these good public servants who...
BOSSIE: ... worked so hard to bring him to justice.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, David Bossie, we appreciate you being there. Also want our viewers to know that we asked David Pollack (ph), who has been an adviser of Bill Clinton‘s for sometime to come on the show tonight. He was supposed to be here, but didn‘t make it. Hopefully we‘ll get him next time.
Now coming up, Michael Moore‘s last movie was the highest grossing of its kind. This time people are protesting. Will it hurt or help Mr. Moore at the box office? We‘ve got both sides coming up in a debate.
And then, Ron Reagan made a powerful statement at his father‘s burial and you might be surprised at what else he has to say. We‘re going to share a preview of Chris Matthews‘ exclusive interview with the former president‘s son later in the show tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Moore says he supports our troops, but he‘s comparing terrorists in Iraq to the Minute Men of the American Revolution. We‘re not making this up. We get the full report next.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Moore”s “Bowling for Columbine” was the highest grossing documentary film ever, if you want to call it a documentary. It won an Oscar and it made $21 million domestically and $58 million worldwide. Now, on the eve of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” some groups are protesting. MoveAmericaForward.org said this about the film, quote: “It‘s time to take action to stop Michael Moore‘s ‘Bash America‘ film “Fahrenheit 9/11.” It should be shown as a recruiting video for al-Qaeda, not in our movie theaters.”
Now, will these protest keep people from going to the movie theater and watching the movie? Or will it make the box office blow up in Michael Moore‘s favor? With me now is Howard Kaloogian, he is from MoveAmericaForward.org, and we also have Adam Ruben; he is from MoveOn.org, which is promoting “Fahrenheit 9/11” to all of its members. Sir, let me begin with you. You said that this movie is un-American. Why?
HOWARD KALOOGIAN, MOVEAMERICAFORWARD.ORG: Every elected official, Joe, takes an oath of office, and that oath is very clear. It says that we will defend the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now, most people know what a foreign enemy is, but few people thought about what a domestic enemy is. I believe a domestic enemy is somebody who aligns himself with the foreign enemies. And in this case, what Michael Moore‘s stated intention is, is to demoralize the troops in order to remove the support the American people have from our troops and to defeat the current commander in chief.
And just today, Hezbollah—it was reported in “The Guardian “ newspaper in England—is supportive of this movie. Now, if you align yourself up with Hezbollah, then you‘re the domestic enemy. It‘s not.
SCARBOROUGH: Howard, Howard, you said that Michel Moore is actually trying to demoralize American troops. What evidence do you have of that?
KALOOGIAN: Well, it‘s his stated intentions, and he‘s been quoted as saying that he hopes that more American soldiers come home in body bags from Iraq, and the purpose of the movie is—in order to drain away support from the troops, and it shows the troops in a very bad light, as if (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Vietnam, like “Platoon” did. Dazed and confused and uncertain of their mission, when that‘s really not the case here. I think that most of the troops are people who know what their mission are, they know why they are there, they‘re doing a good work, and we should point out the fact that they‘re bringing food and water and electricity to parts that have never had it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, certainly, Howard—certainly, Howard—and I agree with you on all those points, and we make those points here repeatedly. I talked to a lot of guys and women that are over there. They tell me all the great things they are doing. I agree with you there. Let‘s bring in Adam Ruben. Adam, Howard says this movie is un-American.
What do you think?
ADAM RUBEN, MOVEON.ORG: Joe, thanks for having me. The first thing that I‘d like to say is, Fox News in its review—Fox News isn‘t known for begin unsympathetic to the president. Their reviewer said that this film is, quote, “a tribute to patriotism.” They said that people of all political parties and persuasions should go see this movie and make up their own mind.
It‘s ridiculous to say that because Michael Moore shows footage of the war in Iraq he is un-American, he doesn‘t support our troops. I think this film is very concerned about the welfare of our troops, and he asks reasonable questions that in a democracy you are allowed to ask, about why they are there, and what ticket it takes to bring them home. So, the question that it—it makes me wonder why Mr. Kaloogian is so upset about this film, is what are they afraid of? What is that they‘re afraid people are going to see in this movie, if people go ahead and see it?
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Adam, you know Michael Moore has said that he supports the troops overseas, and many of the supporters.
SCARBOROUGH: . many of his supporters call him a patriot, but this is what Mr. Moore said about terrorists in Iraq. He said, quote: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “the Enemy.” They are the revolution, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow—and they will win.” And today, as Howard said, “The Guardian” newspaper reported that organizations related to the terrorists group Hezbollah, they‘ve offered to help promote the movie. Adam, that sort of makes Howard‘s point, doesn‘t it, that this movie actually is out against American interests and is out—is aiming to really hurt our cause over in Iraq.
RUBEN: I think whatever you think of Michael Moore—and some people think he is brilliant, and other people disagree with everything he says—that‘s reasonable, that‘s the debate we‘re allowed to have in America. But the thing you can‘t deny about this film is, it‘s not actors, it‘s not reenactments or dramatic footage; it‘s just real footage of what happened. It‘s the footage of the president, it‘s footage of our troops in Iraq, it‘s footage of their parents back home, a woman who lost her son in Iraq. People should see the movie and make up their own mind.
SCARBOROUGH: And Adam, I‘m looking forward to doing that, because I hear it is, I hear it is a very, very, thought-provoking movie. But I want to go back to that quote before, where there we were talking about, where Michael Moore is comparing the terrorists that are carving off Americans‘ heads—of course, we had Nick Berg, and Mr. Johnson tomorrow night—that gets executed, and gets his head carved off. Michael Moore in this quote is comparing those terrorists to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers. Doesn‘t that cause you some concern?
RUBEN: I think there are plenty of people who say outrageous things in our society.
SCARBOROUGH: Does that cause your concern?
RUBEN: . and that‘s certainly one of them.
SCARBOROUGH: Does that cause you personally concern? Does that concern you?
RUBEN: I would not characterize it that way, no. But I‘ll tell you this: When Roger Ebert...
SCARBOROUGH: Does that cause you concern—I know, I don‘t want to talk (UNINTELLIGIBLE), I want to talk about the man whose vision this movie was and who made the movie. I‘m curious, does that concern you that Michael Moore, the guy whose vision was laid out on film, says that the same people that chopped off Nick Berg‘s head on video basically is the moral equivalent of George Washington? Or that he hopes that more Americans come home in body bags, so America can learn its lesson in Iraq.
RUBEN: I don‘t agree with that, but I think one of the interesting things about this movie in particular, according to several reviews, is that unlike some of his earlier movies, it‘s not a Michael Moore story, it‘s not all about Michael Moore. Roger Ebert called it “subdued” and said that there is very little Michael Moore in the film, and in fact he really lets the footage tell the story. You know, you see the footage of the president on the morning of September 11, being told about the attack, whispered in his ear, and that footage we‘ve all seen, of him reading a children‘s book, but then what you see in this film that you have not seen elsewhere is he sits for seven more minutes, reading “My Pet Goat” to preschoolers. Everyone did something when they heard about these attacks. They called their family, they watched TV, they went home, they did something.
And while the president‘s advisers ran around, for seven minutes he read “My Pet Goat.” You‘ll never see that on television in this country, but it‘s I think an incredibly revealing moment. People should be able to see it and make up their own minds.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, gentlemen, stay with us. Personally, I don‘t think it‘s that revealing of a moment. I think when the world‘s blowing up, you sit there, you try and figure out—you talk to the Secret Service, you talk to the people in the White House, you say what‘s our next move, where do we go to make the president of the United States safe, that‘s our number one concern.
But we‘re going to be talking much more about this movie. We‘re going to be talking about Michael Moore‘s past history of lies and whether some of those lies are filtering over to this new movie.
And later, terrorists in Saudi Arabia are still counting down the hours, threatening to kill an American hostage if their demands aren‘t met. His terrified family is asking for help, and we have the latest on that moving story coming up next.
Plus, looks like I‘m not the only person that‘s fed up with media bias. I‘ll tell you what some members of the administration had to say about it today. That‘s coming up. So stick around.
SCARBOROUGH: His critics say Michael Moore has some problems telling the truth. We‘re going to have a United States congressman here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY saying that Moore lied about him also in his new movie.
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 back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, we‘re back with our guests. We‘ve got Howard Kaloogian and Adam Ruben, and we also have Congressman Mark Kennedy, who is going to be with us in a minute.
Let‘s go back to you, Howard. Now, obviously, you heard the questions that we were talking about, the quote, I mean, the quote, who do we have, Hezbollah that‘s actually promoting this movie now because they believe it‘s good for the United States. How do you separate a filmmaker and his product from the man behind it all who has said—and Michael Moore has said that—I mean, he hopes more American U.S. troops—more Americans troops die to teach Americans a lesson? He also goes out there and then again says a quote that we mentioned earlier, that the same people who are cutting off the heads of Americans and blowing up women and children and killing people that go to religious services are the moral equivalent of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. How do you separate the two?
KALOOGIAN: I don‘t think you do. This is not a documentary. It may be entertainment, it may pull at some heartstrings, but it is not a documentary, even though it purports to be. In fact, this is a political propaganda piece.
Michael Moore has also said that he is going to do everything he can to unseat President Bush, and that this election is too important to leave it up to the Democrats to “f up this time again,” unquote. And so this movie has a political agenda behind it.
Which is fine. You have a lot of political agendas in America, and frankly most people who see the movie are probably going to have their previously conceived—previous notions confirmed. If you hate George Bush already, you‘re probably going to have evidence for why you hate him. If you support the war on terror, you‘re probably going to come away convinced that we ought to fight that war well.
It‘s for those few people who haven‘t yet made up their minds that I‘m trying to reach to say, look, this is a man who has a political purpose, and if you know that then you can be inoculated from its effects.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t mind people having a political purpose. I do mind, though, people coming from either extreme, from the left or the right, spewing hatred, saying you hope that American troops die, saying that terrorists are the equivalent of American founding fathers. Very disturbing.
I‘ll tell you, somebody else who‘s disturbed by what‘s been going on is Congressman Mark Kennedy. He‘s a congressman from Minnesota, and I understand that you had a run-in with Michael Moore, and actually made it into the trailer of his movie. Let‘s take a look at you in this trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: Congressman.
MOORE: . members of Congress to get their kids to enlist in the Army and to go over to Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: I understand that you claim that he misrepresented what you said to him and took it out of context. Tell me how he did that.
REP. MARK KENNEDY ®, MINNESOTA: Well, yes, Joe, he asked me the question, would you help me recruit more members of Congress to have their families involved in the military, but he didn‘t include my answer. And my answer was that, you know, yes, I do have a nephew that has just been called up. So that is an example of how he takes little snippets here, little snippets there in order to create a distorting picture.
SCARBOROUGH: Are you concerned, again, the comments that he‘s made in the past about—about hoping that more American troops died over in Iraq, the fact that today Hezbollah saying they‘re out there promoting the movie. I mean, what do you think Americans should do regarding this movie? Do you encourage them to go see it, do you encourage them to stay away? Do you support Howard‘s theaters, to actually get theaters to ban this movie from coming into their theaters?
KENNEDY: Well, I do not encourage anybody to watch it. I think that it is total distortion. You are profiting somebody who is out against America, part of the, you know, the hate America crowd, blame America first crowd if you go and watch it. And certainly, this is not something that we want to reward, and you know, to boycott the film is something I would certainly encourage.
KALOOGIAN: If we were to compare the greatest generation ever and the Hollywood of the greatest generation, World War II, to the Hollywood of today, I think you will see a marked contrast. The movies were supportive of the country‘s war effort back then. The movies made you feel good about what the war was about and why we were fighting it and our commitment to it. This is an effort to take us to the Vietnam era of Hollywood production, and it‘s the wrong direction to take the country in. And so I think that Hollywood has showered this man with praise, and he‘s gotten a ton of advertisements through all the TV networks, and he‘s on the cover of “Playboy” this month, he‘s on MTV, he‘s everywhere. He‘s got a $10 million advertising budget or more. It‘s time somebody stood up and said, look, there is another side to this that we don‘t like, and that‘s what we‘re doing.
SCARBOROUGH: Adam, Adam, let me bring you in here. And I‘m going to read you a quick list of some of the things Michael Moore has done in the past and have you respond. So as a supposed documentary filmmaker, in “Bowling for Columbine,” he tried to equate the KKK and the NRA, accusing the United States of funneling $245 million to the Taliban in 2000 and 2001, but actually that money was humanitarian assistance that was administered by the United Nations.
He also staged the scene in the film to give viewers the impression that you could walk into a small-town bank, open an account and walk right out with a gun. The problem was, the process to get that gun actually took months, not the quick in and out that Moore portrayed.
In the movie, just recently, it was revealed that he completely made up an interview with journalist Fred Barnes, and in “Fahrenheit 911” he accused President Bush of getting the bin Laden family out of the U.S. just after 9/11. The problem is, big-time Bush critic Richard Clarke is the one who said he was the guy that cleared the bin Ladens and get them out of the United States, and it‘s the first time to—first the movie was supposed to be released in 1,000 theaters; now actually we find out it‘s closer to 500.
The question to you, Adam, is, when Americans go and see this movie, again, supposedly very thought-provoking movie, how do they know when the filmmaker is telling the truth and when he‘s lying?
RUBEN: Well, I think that people can see the footage, which is just there for people to watch and draw their conclusions. I think that Mr. Kaloogian made a good point earlier when he said probably the people who love the president will come out loving the president and people who hate the president will come out hating the president, and it‘s those people who haven‘t made up their minds that are the most interesting group in this respect.
And one of the things that I really admire about conservatives is they‘re usually reliably standing up for freedom of speech and the First Amendment. But when Mr. Kaloogian says that his solution to those undecided people is to try to make sure that they don‘t even have the chance to see this movie, by having his folks call up theaters and demand that they not show the film, that‘s not freedom of speech. That‘s the opposite, and that‘s not American.
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks a lot. I appreciate it, Adam. We appreciate you being with us, Representative Mark Kennedy, Howard Kaloogian and Adam Ruben from MoveOn.org. Appreciate it. Thanks a lot.
Now, we in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY have been upset for weeks at the elite media‘s treatment of everything from the prisoner abuse scandal to the 9/11 Commission.
Now, even members of the normally restrained and tight-lipped Bush administration are frustrated to the point of speaking out. We want to play for you what Vice President Dick Cheney had to say regarding “The New York Times.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What “The New York Times” did today was outrageous. They did a lot of outrageous things, but the headline, “Panel Finds no al Qaeda-Iraq Tie,” and the press wants to run out and say there is a fundamental split here now between what the president said and what the commission said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The most outrageous part of it is, “The New York Times” has been bashing America because of the prisoner abuse scandal for months now, claiming that if you torture suspects or act a little rough with them, the information you‘re going to get is going to be unreliable. And yet, “The New York Times,” first two or three pages, all had stories of the 9/11 Commission findings. The editorial page, the screaming banners, that talked about the truth being revealed by the 9/11 Commission, and yet all of that information that “The Times” reprinted, all of the information that came directly from two terrorists that got caught and tortured by America a year ago. One, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. All of that information came from these two people that were treated much more inhumanely, if you want to say that, than those suspects that had their clothes taken off at the Abu Ghraib prison. This is unbelievable.
And yet, in this case, because it supports their political agenda, “The New York Times” says, well, we‘ll take that information that we‘ve gotten by what we consider to be torture. Very inconsistent.
Now, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said this today about the coverage of that prisoner abuse scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Editorials: Torture, and—and one after another, “The Washington Post” the other day—I forget when it was—just a great bold, “Torture.” The implication, think of the people who read that around the world. First of all, our forces read it. And the implication is that the United States government has, in one way or another, ordered, authorized, permitted, tolerated torture. Not true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Not true at all. So biased. I‘ll tell you what, we‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: Ronald Reagan‘s son has raised some eyebrows with this thinly veiled swipe at President Bush‘s religion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON REAGAN JR., SON OF FRM. PRES. RONALD REAGAN: He never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians, wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And here‘s MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, “HARDBALL”: I had an extraordinary opportunity this morning to talk for a couple of hours with Ron Reagan, the son of the late president. He talked about how gratified he and of course his entire family, especially Nancy, were by the big turnout last week, and a warm turnout by the American people, on both coasts. He also talked about some current issues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Thanks, Chris. We‘re going to have more of Chris Matthews‘ exclusive interview with Ron Reagan on NBC‘s “Dateline” tomorrow night on 8 p.m. Eastern. And on Monday night, on “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews, at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
We‘ve got radio talk show host G. Gordon Liddy and presidential historian Larry Sabato. They‘re here now. Let me go to G. Gordon Liddy. Do you think the Reagans, from following this spat back and forth, do you think the Reagans believe that George W. Bush is an unworthy heir to Ronald Reagan‘s legacy?
G. GORDON LIDDY, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I haven‘t heard them say that, but remember, Ron Reagan has never been very fond of his party—his father‘s political party. I‘ve seen in print that he allegedly is going to be writing a piece for “Esquire” magazine on I think it is why George Bush should be defeated, and I think at the heart of all of this is stem cell research.
Now, Nancy Reagan, the late president‘s wife, believes deeply in stem cell research, it would help people with Alzheimer‘s Disease, and apparently so does Ron Reagan.
But remember, the issue is not, insofar as President Bush is concerned, stem cell research as embryonic stem cell research. That he opposes on moral grounds, and I think he‘s right. Adult stem cell research is proving to be quite productive, and as far as I‘m concerned, it‘s going to be making embryonic stem cell research not necessary.
SCARBOROUGH: But G. Gordon Liddy, though, I mean, obviously Ron Reagan has not been a big fan of George W. Bush for some time. I want to read you a quote he had to say a year ago. He said, “the overall thrust of this administration is not my father‘s. These people are overly reaching, overly aggressively, overly secretive and just plain corrupt. I don‘t trust these people.”
And the question is, and you alluded to it earlier, is this more about Ron Reagan‘s personal political viewpoints, or do you think it‘s more—has more to do with how the Reagan family views the Bush administration?
LIDDY: Well, the only other person I know in the Reagan family is Michael Reagan. And Michael Reagan is a religious person, I would characterize him as an evangelical Christian, and I doubt that he shares his sibling‘s views of either the Republican Party or of the Bush administration, at least I have never heard him express views like that.
SCARBOROUGH: Larry Sabato, let me play for you Ron Reagan‘s full criticisms of George W. Bush during his eulogy for his father.
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REAGAN: He never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians, wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency, he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate, and there is a profound difference.
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SCARBOROUGH: Larry Sabato, are you surprised by one Republican family going after another Republican family so aggressively? Is this unprecedented in recent political history?
LARRY SABATO, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I‘m not surprised for two reasons. The first is that Ron Reagan and his sister, Patti David, even in the 1980s, during their father‘s administration, were way to the left. I mean, they were very liberal, and everybody knew it. They disagreed with the thrust of some of their father‘s administration, particularly Patti, but I gather Ron was pretty much along those lines.
Second, look, there may be something very human at work here, Joe, and that‘s jealousy. Ronald Reagan‘s namesake, son, Ron Reagan, is, well, I don‘t know what he does, but I remember him mainly for stripping down to his underwear on “Saturday Night Live.” George Herbert Walker Bush was Ronald Reagan‘s vice president. His namesake, George Bush, became president of the United States. That might cause just a little bit of jealousy.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me play for you what President Bush when he reacted to Ron Reagan‘s comments. This is what he said.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘ve always said, I think it‘s very important for someone not to try to take a speck out of somebody else‘s eye when you may have a log in your own.
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SCARBOROUGH: I remember, Larry, a couple of days ago, when I read that, looking at it and I couldn‘t believe that George W. Bush got drawn into this fight. Do you think that was a smart thing for the president to do?
SABATO: No, he should have just ignored it entirely. I rather suspect that just as he is getting bashed by lots of former supporters or presumed supporters, and look at what‘s happening around the country. Everybody is going after Bush, even in the Republican Party. I suspect he‘s got a bashing coming from the Reagans. Not just Ron Reagan, but there is a lot of speculation, apparently well grounded, that Nancy Reagan is going to go after him too, for the issue that Gordon mentioned, stem cell research.
Just one other thing, Joe. You know, what Ron Reagan said—and everyone has sympathy for him and his whole family, having just lost his father. But you know, I have a very different memory of Ronald Reagan. I remember him wearing his religion on his sleeve plenty of times during the 1980s. We all have selective memories, don‘t we?
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, I think we all do. You know, I want to play for everybody—play for you too and everybody else a quick clip from Chris Matthews‘ interview with Ron Reagan that happened earlier tonight.
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REAGAN: He never felt the need to wrap himself in anybody else‘s mantle. He never felt the need to pretend to be anybody else. And I don‘t know what‘s wrong with these people that they have to keep invoking him. This is their administration. This is their war. If they can‘t stand on their own two feet, well, they‘re no Ronald Reagans then.
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SCARBOROUGH: Thanks, Chris. You know, we‘re going to have more of Chris Matthews‘ exclusive interview with Ron Reagan on NBC‘s “Dateline” tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, and on Monday night, with “HARDBALL” with Chris Matthews, at 7 p.m. Eastern.
G. Gordon Liddy, Larry Sabato, thanks so much. We appreciate you being with us, and we‘ll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH: The terrifying countdown continues for U.S. hostage Paul Johnson. Today, Johnson‘s family made another emotional plea to spare his life. Craig Unger is here. He wrote “House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World‘s Most Powerful Dynasties.”
And I want to point for you as we start here, Paul Johnson‘s son, Paul III, was on “The Today Show” this morning. I want you to hear his plea.
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PAUL JOHNSON III, VICTIM‘S SON: Just want to ask the president of the United States and the Saudi officials to please make this happen for Father‘s Day is right here, bring my father home for Father‘s Day. He‘s—this has been—this was taken at this—about a week before he disappeared, and he—he don‘t deserve this.
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SCARBOROUGH: Craig, tell me, what should we expect to happen tomorrow night? Is the United States government and the Saudi government going to strike a deal with these terrorists to get Mr. Johnson released?
CRAIG UNGER, AUTHOR, “HOUSE OF BUSH, HOUSE OF SAUD”: Well, I have knowledge of—and frankly, I would be rather pessimistic. I also think a case could be made that the White House, the Bush White House has been relatively soft on the Saudis, and they‘ve given them a pass again and again. And in my book, I trace the total of $1.4 billion in investments and contracts going from the House of Saud to companies in which the Bushes and their allies have prominent positions. I think after 9/11, they really gave the Saudis a pass, and I have heard nothing from the White House with regard to this tape (ph) either.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think that—do you think that their soft position on the Saudis has actually fueled terrorism?
UNGER: I really do. I mean, if you look at 9/11, I think a strong case could be made it would not have happened without the Saudis. Fifteen out of 19 hijackers were Saudis; Osama bin Laden is Saudi. Al Qaeda was really founded by Saudis and funded by Saudis, and the Bushes have had a very close personal relationship with Prince Bandar, they‘ve been very—they‘ve had close business relationships for more than 20 years, and they‘ve really not cracked down at all. They‘ve called the Saudi response to terrorism superb, when in fact they‘ve allowed plenty to continue even well after 9/11.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thank you so much, Craig Unger, we appreciate you being with us tonight and telling us—giving us insight on this story.
We appreciate all of you being with us tonight. We‘ll see you tomorrow and we‘ll certainly be following Mr. Johnson‘s story. See you tomorrow.
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