Guest: Larry Pozner, Drew Pinsky, Catherine Crier, Christopher Hitchens, Hugh Hewitt, Robert F. Kennedy Jr
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline, a new book by fellow Vietnam vets blasts John Kerry‘s war record. The “Real Deal”? It‘s about to get nasty out there.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
“Unfit For Command” is the latest in the line of books blasting the presidential candidate. And publishers on both ends of political spectrum are trying to fix the election. Will it work?
And then, the latest in the case of Lori Hacking. A new surveillance tape shows what police believe are the final images of her alive. And there are reports that her husband has confessed to murdering his pregnant wife.
And Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accuses President Bush of crimes against nature and he is here tonight to defend that claim.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, war may be politics by other means, but these days, the publishing world is political warfare itself. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, for a year now, Bush bashers have been busy writing books that attack the president as a lying liar who likes to lie. These publishing attack have been infected even in movie theaters of late. But now prepare for the Republican counteroffensive, as Vietnam veterans and Kerry critics like John O‘Neill prepare to release blistering attacks on John Kerry‘s Vietnam record.
Today, the Drudge Report posted a link to a commercial produced by Swift Boat Veterans For the Truth. Now, this is a group of vets who served with John Kerry in Vietnam and say he is unfit for the position of commander in chief. Meanwhile, bloggers, moviemakers, rock stars and comics promise to fill our airwaves in the coming months with more political propaganda.
With authors, actors and singers on both sides of the political divide vilifying the other side, it leads me to believe that somebody should create a Web site dedicated to Republicans saying nice things about John Kerry and Democrats saying positive things about George Bush.
Now, with apologies to all the pollsters and pundits out there, Boston convinced me that we are not two countries. I believe we‘re one country strong and united by those who want to make the United States of America a better place for their children. It‘s time that we look to those who do not fully understand our political views and try to understand once and for all that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.
Let the politicians run their political race as hard as they want, but the rest of us have a responsibility as Americans to have an open and honest political debate on the future of our country and do it with malice toward none.
And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, “Unfit For Command” is going to be in bookstores on August 10 and it joins dozens of books trying to pick a fight with George Bush and John Kerry in the battle for the White House. Are those books telling us what we need to know about our candidates or are American bookmakers trying to fix the election?
With me now is MSNBC senior political analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell. And we also have Hugh Hewitt, syndicated talk radio host and author of—and this is appropriate tonight, Hugh—“If It‘s Not Close, They Can‘t Cheat:
Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends On It.”
Hugh, you may have made my point for me. Why did you write a book like that?
HUGH HEWITT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Joe, cheating is in the genes of the Democratic Party. It has been since Tammany Hall was founded in 1789, right through the Daley machine, right through the Torricelli option two years ago.
This is a book about how important this election is. It‘s a serious book about foreign policy and about participation in the election aimed at independent voters and 9/11 Democrats to persuade them that they really have to look seriously at a Michael Moore-infected Democratic Party and make a choice based upon who is going to fight and win this war effectively.
I think that‘s George Bush and I got tired of seeing all the Bush bashing, so I put it out there. It‘s objective. It‘s honest. It‘s through. And it‘s fact-checked, something we can‘t say about a lot of books on the other side of the aisle in the bookstores.
SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence O‘Donnell, respond.
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I‘m sure the Democratic Party has a history of cheating. It‘s an old history. Tammany Hall has both a noble history and a questionable history when it came to playing with ballot boxes.
Richard Daley was accused of that as mayor of Chicago. The Irish mayors of Boston were. But I guess we‘re going to have to—Hugh, do you have much of a chapter in there that‘s entitled Watergate in your book? There must be a chapter on Watergate, isn‘t there, Hugh?
HEWITT: Oh, absolutely, Lawrence, because I think Republicans when they came to see what Nixon had done in the White House ejected him from the party, forced his resignation.
HEWITT: On the other hand, in Florida, 2000 when Gore-Lieberman attempted to suppress the lawfully cast ballots of military serving overseas, not one Democrat stepped up and certainly not John Kerry, who now wants to be the commander in, and said stop that cheating. We have got to respect the ballots cast by the military.
It‘s a long and very cherished history in the Democratic Party and it‘s not old. Just think about the Torricelli option in New Jersey, where a lawfully primarily elected candidate for Senate simply bushwhacked the electorate there in New Jersey after ballots had been cast and put Lautenberg into office. It‘s not old. It‘s new.
O‘DONNELL: Well, wait, Hugh, they did—just so you follow the story through, Frank Lautenberg‘s name got on a ballot.
Now, you can argue and call it cheating, but his name got on a ballot. But once his name was on a ballot, more than two-thirds of New Jersey voted for him. What was the crime against democracy in that?
HEWITT: Lawrence, not a crime at all. Cheating is not always illegal. It often is. The Daley machine acted at the periphery of legality, as did the South Texas machine of Lyndon Johnson, as did Pendergast and as did Tammany.
But, in Florida, for example, the Gore-Lieberman memo that tried to get rid of all the military absentees, they said, just confuse the election judges. Just attempt to throw dirt into the air and confuse people. And I think that‘s cheating. It might not end up with people going to jail. It just might end up with elections being fraudulently decided or candidates being fraudulently replaced on ballots, but it‘s part and parcel of the Democratic Party.
And I think we have got to pay attention to it. If this election isn‘t close, they can‘t cheat effectively. That‘s why I write the book and that‘s why we have got to crush Democrats this time around, because there is a war to win.
SCARBOROUGH: Lawrence O‘Donnell
O‘DONNELL: I have this one
O‘DONNELL: I would also hope that it‘s not close enough that there can be accusations of cheating by either side. I hope it‘s not close enough, so that no one is susceptible to accusations of cheating.
SCARBOROUGH: Boy, I agree with you, Lawrence. As somebody that was in Florida for 35, 36, 37 days afterwards, that was an ugly, ugly scene. And I hope it‘s not repeated again for another 100 years.
Now, I want to read you something. Matt Drudge got an advance—a copy of a new book on John Kerry called “Unfit to Lead.”
And in it, he reports the following. Two of John Kerry‘s three Purple Heart decorations resulted from self-inflicted wounds not suffered under enemy fire. And all three Purple Hearts were for minor injuries, not requiring a single hour of hospitalization.” Kerry‘s Bronze Star was issued for—quote—“a fanny wound. He filed a false report about involving a Vietnamese fishing boat and the deaths of a father and child. And Kerry entered an abandoned Vietnamese village and slaughtered the domestic animals owned by the civilians and burned down their homes with his Zippo lighter. Kerry‘s reckless behavior convinced his colleagues that he had to go, becoming the only swift boat veteran to serve only four months.”
And, Lawrence, I also want you to take a look at this ad that was posted tonight on the Drudge Report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you ask any questions about what John Kerry is made of, just spend three minutes with the men who served with him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served with John Kerry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served with John Kerry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is lying about his record.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry lied to get his Bronze Star. I know.
I was there. I saw what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His account of what happened and what actually happened are the difference between night and day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry has not been honest.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he lacks the capacity to lead.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the troops were down, you could not count on John Kerry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry is no war hero.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He betrayed all his shipmates. He lied before the Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry betrayed the men and women he served with in Vietnam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He dishonored his country. He most certainly did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I served with John Kerry. John Kerry cannot be trusted.
ANNOUNCER: Swift Boat Veterans For Truth is responsible for the content of this advertisement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Lawrence, I usually—I think like you, I usually give politicians the benefit of the doubt, especially presidential candidates that reach this level. I want to believe in the best of them.
And so when I saw those veterans standing behind John Kerry, I said you know what, those guys were there with him. If that‘s what they are saying about him, I trusted them. Forget all these conspiracy theories.
What should Americans think now that other veterans are coming and it looks like we‘re going to have the battle of dueling veterans over the next three months? How do we separate which veterans are telling the truth about John Kerry and which veterans are lying?
O‘DONNELL: Well, in that ad, Joe, only one of them said, I served with John Kerry. None of the rest of them did. And they are just making general assertions behaved on their own experience in Vietnam and what they believe he says his experience is.
Right now, all we have is Matt Drudge‘s report, which I believe is 100 percent accurate, about what the contents of a book are that I haven‘t read and I don‘t think anybody has read yet and I would love to read. So what we don‘t know is what are the journalistic standards used in the presentation of fact or argument in that book.
So when that book comes out, we can have a stronger and wider discussion about it. The one person who we know is not in there is Jim Rassmann, the guy who tells you the story about being in the water, in that river, getting shot at with John Kerry‘s boat having overrun him, left him behind. John Kerry orders the boat turned around. John Kerry goes up on the bow of the boat, gets shot at while he‘s on the bow of the boat, exposed, reaches down, pulls that man out of the water and saves his life, according to the accounts of every one there and everyone involved.
So, in that story, which I believe is his Silver Star story, his highest award story, there is absolutely no dispute about what happened.
O‘DONNELL: Joe, heroism is something that occurs in an instant. If John Kerry had done nothing else in Vietnam, if he had not been in one other day of combat, that was a heroic act and that established him as a war hero.
I don‘t know a about what details are being quibbled about in the other aspects, the other parts of his awards and his ribbons and his medals and that stuff. And we‘ll have to wait to see the book.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. When the book comes out, we‘ll have both of you back.
Thanks a lot for being with us, Lawrence O‘Donnell, also Hugh Hewitt.
We appreciate it.
And make sure you are watching next Tuesday night, because the author of “Unfit For Command,” the man who took over John Kerry‘s swift boat in Vietnam, is going to be visiting SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. And you are certainly not going to want to miss that. That‘s Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
And coming up tonight, polls say John Kerry didn‘t get the expected bounce he needed from the convention. In fact, his numbers went down. And “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens is going to be here to tell us why.
SCARBOROUGH: In a minute, we‘re going to be talking about the latest details of the shocking twists in the Lori Hacking case.
Stick around. SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY will be back in a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I‘m proud to be running with Dick Cheney. I admit he is not the prettiest one on the ticket.
BUSH: But I didn‘t pick him for his looks. I picked him for his judgment and his experience. Dick Cheney is a great vice president.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That was President Bush on the stump today. He is enjoying what some are calling Kerry‘s negative bump. No, that‘s not a rash. It‘s a result of the Kerry-Edwards ticket failing to get a significant bump in the polls after their convention last week.
Here is to tell me what‘s going wrong with the Kerry campaign is “Vanity Fair”‘s Christopher Hitchens.
Christopher, thanks for being with us.
Now, in your latest column on Slate, you took issue with this line from John Kerry‘s convention speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We shouldn‘t be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in the United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Christopher, I think that would play very well in flyover states. What‘s wrong with the line?
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, “VANITY FAIR”: Well, I think you are wrong. I
think anyone in any state, let alone what you call—what, are you turning
into some kind of beltway, metropolitan
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m just playing to the Georgetown
SCARBOROUGH: ... crowd.
HITCHENS: ... call flyover state. We all know what we‘re talking about, the heartland.
Anyone from any such state would be able to see, that‘s a very cheesy remark. The idea that, as Jesse Helms used to put it in his not very nice way, we are pouring our money down foreign rat holes is a stupid and reactionary thing to say, and very shortsighted, too.
Do we not think that it would be useful for us, to say nothing of the Iraqis, if they were properly functioning fire brigades in Baghdad? Do we think we are, so to speak, safer, to use the current vernacular, if they don‘t have this, than if they do? Everybody knows that failed states and rogue states, or a combination of the two, tend to export their violence.
We have an interest in making sure that Iraq doesn‘t become another failed state. Should I go on? It was a very ungenerous and cheesy thing for the nominee to say.
HITCHENS: ... deliberately, because it‘s timed for an applause line.
SCARBOROUGH: What‘s interesting to me, you say it was cheesy. I thought it was a remarkably isolationist type comment that you would have expected from somebody in my class in 1994, 1995, and particularly somebody like me.
HITCHENS: Well, I don‘t know if it‘s as bad completely as that, Congressman. But, as I say, it reminds me of the way Helms used to talk and the way some uninstructed people do speak about foreign aid. They think of it as a giveaway program.
I don‘t think it takes very much reflection to realize that it‘s an all-around bargain to make sure that other countries are prosperous and secure and able to trading partners and so on. And, by the way, we owe something to the Iraqi people. They suffered under our sanctions for a long time and under our bombing. These were directed at removing their dictator, but we can‘t complain that—excuse me—we can‘t claim that they weren‘t hurt by it as well.
So the very least one can do is to say, look, we‘ll help you rebuild. And though neither Senators Kerry, nor Edwards voted for it, the Senate and Congress did vote for quite a large sum for that purpose, which I think is money well spent.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, let me read for you the poll that was taken over the weekend right after the convention.
The “USA Today”/CNN/Gallup poll found that John Kerry lost two percentage points among likely voters, while George Bush actually gained five points. That‘s obviously a historically result. No candidate has actually ever lost points coming out of a convention. What is happening here?
HITCHENS: Well, the question I have been asking people for some time is, have you ever met a Kerry supporter? I mean it seriously.
During the whole primary campaign, I met people who were Kucinich—sorry—Kucinich—for Edwards, for Moseley Braun, of course, a lot who were for Dean at one point or thought they were. I never met anyone who says, John Kerry is my man. He was the fallback position. He was everybody‘s second or third choice.
Therefore, people are a little weary of that kind of result. They knew it was conditioned by the party machine as well. This is the way Mr. Terry McAuliffe wanted it to come out to get a respectable front-runner early. But no one has any enthusiasm for him. That‘s the first thing.
The second is, he talks as if you have to have been a veteran to be president of the United States. First, that is not true, as anyone can tell you. Second, it doesn‘t really enthuse his party. They will clap when the cameras are rolling, but it doesn‘t really cheer them up to think that. They can see where the trap is laid for them on that point. And it doesn‘t impress people who really do take the military seriously either. So he kind of bought himself the worst of both worlds with that stupid salute.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, it‘s interesting. When I was up in Boston, I spoke with close to 1,000 people. I was there for five days, constantly walking the floor of FleetCenter. I never found one person that told me that they were excited about voting for John Kerry. I found all of the people I spoke to were very excited about getting rid of George W. Bush, almost at a fevered pitch.
But nobody was excited about John Kerry. Does that sound a lot like Bob Dole and Bill Clinton in 1996? Or are the negative feelings towards George W. Bush so strong among the Democratic left that it may be enough to sweep him out of the White House?
HITCHENS: Well, of course, Senator Dole could have said, and he often did say, he knew what it was like not just to be in combat, but to feel a wound and to actually very nearly lose his life.
That year, as a lot of people who are still able to remember, the Democrats didn‘t say that being a serving soldier was a qualification to be the president. They hadn‘t said it in ‘92 rMDNM_either, when it was Bush Sr. vs. Clinton. So there is a hollowness to all that, don‘t you think? And the people say anybody but Bush, ABB, they are quite entitled to say it, but that means they would have cheered just as loud for Al Sharpton or Kucinich or John Edwards or Dick Gephardt, because all of them, if your rearrange their names, add up to ABB. But this is hardly politics, is it?
HITCHENS: It‘s not enough to keep the mind alive.
SCARBOROUGH: And that‘s exactly what happened. In 1996, it was ABC for the Republicans, anybody but Clinton.
Now, as you know, over the past couple of days, Washington, New York, Newark all are on high alert after the government some specific information about possible al Qaeda attacks. But I want to play you what Howard Dean said. he Accused President Bush of using these terror alerts as a political tools.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am concerned that every time something happens that‘s not good for President Bush, he plays this trump card, which is terrorism. His whole campaign is based on the notion that, I can keep you safe. Therefore, in times of difficulty for America, stick with me. And then out comes Tom Ridge. It‘s just impossible to know how much of this is real and how much of this is politics. And I suspect there‘s some of both in it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Conservatives have been whacking Governor Dean, but aren‘t a lot of Americans saying that?
HITCHENS: But until he is sure, he will say the propaganda, paranoid thing.
That is all taken almost straight word for word from Michael Moore‘s movie, by the way, as is a lot of the fantasy world of Dr. Dean.
SCARBOROUGH: So, what do you say, though, to many Americans who by now are no longer listening to these terror threats? They believe they are politicized. They think Tom Ridge doesn‘t know what he is doing. They think the color codes are meaningless.
HITCHENS: Well, I‘m actually—I‘m a member of that majority myself. I don‘t adjust my behavior according to these things, because there is no way you can do so.
It‘s like driving along and seeing a sign saying, beware falling rocks. You must have seen that. Well, what are you supposed to do?
SCARBOROUGH: Or beware leaping dear. Those are put there, I think, to prevent people from being sued later on for not warning you.
And, actually, if you think of it in that way, that is what happening now. The administration has just been through a tremendous pounding for ignoring apparent warnings that it got before September 2001. Well, it‘s not going to be caught that way again. It‘s as simple as that.
I personally think, though, that putting extra people on the Washington metro doesn‘t make me feel any safer to again use this idiotic vernacular. But it actually isn‘t intended to do so. It‘s only intended to reassure me. And I would feel reassured if I thought I don‘t know where the counterterrorist people are. I can‘t see them. I would like them to be where they can‘t be seen and where we‘re not telling our enemies what we know about their intentions. Surely that would be a more intelligent strategy.
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, as always, Christopher Hitchens.
And, straight ahead, a newly released surveillance video shows what police believe are the last images of Lori Hacking just before her murder. Court TV‘s Catherine Crier bring us the latest.
And the man who created big media is now attacking big media. I have got issues with big Ted Turner.
That‘s coming up, so don‘t go away.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up, we‘ve got the latest on the murder of Lori Hacking. Going to be talking with Court TV‘s Catherine Crier and Dr. Drew Pinsky.
Stick around. SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is coming up.
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: You know, the search for Lori Hacking‘s body is continuing as newly released surveillance video from a convenience store shows what police believe are the last images of Lori just before her heard. Her husband, Mark, has been charged with criminal homicide.
And, earlier, I asked Court TV‘s Catherine Crier, Drew Pinsky, and criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner how can the horrific stories of Lori Hacking and Laci Peterson be explained?
SCARBOROUGH: Let me begin with you, Catherine Crier.
It‘s deja vu all over again. What can explain the spate of these cases where a seemingly middle-class couple, normal couple with a happy married life, ends up in this sort of situation where the husband kills, or allegedly kills, his pregnant wife?
CATHERINE CRIER, COURT TV: Well, horrifically, this happens more often than we like to believe, but these two cases have become very high profile.
While there are many, many similarities, certainly, the deceptions on the part of the spouses, there are differences. I don‘t know that the pregnant condition of the Lori Hacking, five weeks into the pregnancy, had as much affect as it possibly did in the Laci Peterson murder. In the Hacking case, I think this man‘s deception was about to come to an end. Everything was collapsing around him. He was about to be revealed as not only not a medical student, but not even a graduate of college. All sorts of other deceptions were crumbling.
I‘m not sure that the pregnancy was as much of a trigger. In the Scott Peterson case, I do believe the fact that she was about to have this child—She had quit her work. She wanted a bigger family. He wanted to continue his man-about-town sort of ways. He wanted a free lifestyle. He didn‘t want the financial encumbrances that he had. I think these are the distinctions between the two cases.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, what‘s the latest in this case? I understand there is a confession. Is this case just about over?
CRIER: Well, yes. There is an old saying in Texas. Stick a fork in him. He is done. I think he confessed in the interim—while the police were waiting to get him out of the hospital. Whether it was an employee or a patient, we‘re not sure. But he did apparently confess in the hospital.
And with Scott Peterson, obviously, the case is still ongoing. A lot of people are debating as to whether or not the prosecution can obtain a conviction in that case.
SCARBOROUGH: Dr. Drew Pinsky, let me bring you in here.
And I want you to respond to these disturbing statistics. The leading cause of death among pregnant woman is homicide, not complications during pregnancy or labor, but homicide. And when murdered, the killers of pregnant women are most off the father of child. Of the more than 14,000 pregnant women murdered in 2002, more than 32 percent of them were killed by their husbands or their boyfriends.
You know, Dr. Drew...
DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, “CRACKED”: Wow.
SCARBOROUGH: This just seems unfathomable to 99 percent of the population.
PINSKY: It really does.
SCARBOROUGH: Please help us explain—help us understand what‘s going on here.
PINSKY: Well, I‘m not sure understanding can be really achieved, because these are staggering statistics. Anybody who is healthy looks at that and thinks, oh, my God, how could this possibly be?
The kind of man that typically does this is someone with profound self-esteem issues. And in the case in Utah, for instance, there was even the issues of brain injury, head injury, where the capacity for having empathy for the other is somehow incapacitated. So there are issues of how people function interpersonal.
You add that to profound low self-esteem, more than not, these men are not premeditated in their attempts at killing their wives. These are acts of passion when—the mental health professionals that I interviewed, in fact, said that, typically, when the wife is going at those esteem issues over and again and finally the guy blows and has no capacity to understand empathy, for various reasons. And you have a problem.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, what about—and, again, why is that problem seemingly triggered during pregnancy?
PINSKY: I‘m not sure that we could really talk about—I‘m not sure anybody knows that, the fact is.
Certainly that—when a woman is pregnant, her needs are far greater.
She feels very vulnerable. She may put increasing demands on her partner.
The man may be completely bewildered by the possibility of being a father. He may not understand the biological changes that affect a woman‘s mood and irritability associated with the early parts of pregnancy. He may be unprepared to deal with this.
And all those things add to a man who is already very fragile to the possibility of a violent outburst.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring in right now criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner.
And, Larry, it sounds like the Hacking case may just about be over. We of course hear about this confession. What is the impact of Mr. Hacking giving his confession to a hospital employee or a fellow patient vs. a law enforcement officer?
LARRY POZNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: If he gave it to a fellow patient, it‘s open season. That patient has no privilege and can repeat it. If he gave it to a health care worker in the hospital, there would be a privilege problem.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think that, if he gets a criminal defense attorney that wants to take this forward, even with a possible confession, that that is what we‘re going to be looking at, that possibly him running through the parking lot the night after the murder without any clothes on may be a setup for a possible insanity defense?
POZNER: I find that truly bizarre acts are seldom setups. They are what they are. They‘re bizarre acts.
The problem that any defense lawyer is going to have is that we have learned over time, no matter how sick, how diseased the state of mind, some cases are so sad that jurors cannot get past the tragedy and they don‘t care if the law recognizes insanity. They won‘t.
SCARBOROUGH: Catherine Crier, do you think that is what we‘re going to see here, where you have a situation where a beautiful young lady is murdered—she is pregnant. Do you think any jury in Utah or anywhere else in America is going to allow somebody to be found to be not guilty by reason of insanity?
CRIER: Well, it‘s a very difficult defense to pursue.
But it‘s also—it‘s very difficult to look at something and say, did this man have a disease or a defect that would prevent him from understanding the difference between right and wrong, which is the standard in most of the states across the country? He may have had some sort of psychotic break after the murder.
But when you look at the activity itself, he planned to some extent. He went out and bought a new mattress. He concealed the mattress. He concealed the body. All these sorts of behaviors are not the behaviors of someone who is having some sort of psychosis, but is someone who is capable of planning out an activity.
POZNER: That‘s really not accurate.
We see psychotics, people that everybody in society agrees are psychotic, they can drive cars. Some of them can hold jobs. They can do math. They can balance their checkbooks. Just because somebody can engage in meaningful conduct does not mean that all of their acts are the acts of a sane person.
SCARBOROUGH: Dr. Drew, this may be an impossible question to answer, but I‘m going give it to you, because I know a lot of people out there are thinking it. What should people like the Hackings, what should others look to for possible red flags in situations like this?
PINSKY: Really, it‘s a pattern in relationships of problems maintaining intimacy or having violent outbursts or being contained aggression and anger.
If somebody has a long history of difficulty on even—I think everyone knows the red flags of hurting animals and these sorts of things earlier in life. But, listen, it‘s very hard to protect yourself from sociopaths. They make you feel good. They tell you stories that make sense.
And you really have to be skeptical about people whom you don‘t want to be skeptical about. So the main thing I would say is, trust your instincts. If somebody has certain kinds of outbursts that seem out of character for them, particularly given who they present themselves to be, just keep your eyes open. Be careful. Trust those instincts, because they can lead you to information that may be important and may, as we hear and see in cases like this, may potentially save your life.
All right, Dr. Drew Pinsky, as always, thanks a lot for being with us.
Catherine Crier, we also appreciate you being here.
SCARBOROUGH: And criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner, thank you so much.
POZNER: Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: And coming up, I‘m going to be asking Robert F. Kennedy why he thinks George W. Bush is our country‘s worst president ever when it comes to the environment.
Much more of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead, so don‘t go away.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome back.
I‘m Joe Scarborough. I‘ve got issues. Everybody knows I‘ve got issues.
Mike, I have got big issues. Look at my hair. You see my hair?
SCARBOROUGH: Look at this. I‘m like a Marine here. Not that there is anything wrong with that, mind you, but for me, I just don‘t carry it very well. But it‘s like, I go in today and I tell the lady, I want—you know, I have got helmet hair. See, the stuff sticks straight up, up here. I said, cut it short. I want you to cut it short.
So what does she do?
SCARBOROUGH: I know. Look at your hair. It‘s the same thing.
So, anyway, I tell them, cut it short, so what does she do? She cuts it short on the side, right? I‘m G.I. Joe now. And look at this. I can still do this. You know how your carve stuff out of like—people around Christmas will make deer out of their shrubs. You could still do that with my hair. You still can.
SCARBOROUGH: You don‘t feel sorry, do you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Poor thing.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, mop top Joe, Beetle Joe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you get a lollipop?
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, exactly. Mike, just get back in the shadows and shut up. I‘m being Don Imus now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome back.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, welcome back, baby.
Anyway, you know what? John Kerry passed his speed-reading final exam during last week‘s Democratic Convention speech. And after he did that, he was joined by John Edwards and their wives at one of Kerry‘s campaign‘s first stops after the convention. Guessed where they stopped? At a Wendy‘s in Upstate New York for a photo opportunity and autograph signing.
But, today, “The New York Post,” the mean “New York Post,” reports that while John and Elizabeth Edwards each ordered a combo meal, God bless them, the Kerrys opted for a rather small lunch. Teresa was spotted sipping a Frosty, while her husband got a cup of chili. Why such a light lunch? Because the Kerrys had already arranged to have a gourmet lunch delivered to their campaign bus from, where else, the local yacht club.
SCARBOROUGH: Kerry was chilly toward Wendy‘s because he and lovey were saving their delicate palettes—we‘re not making this up—for grilled sea scallops, shrimp and prosciutto-wrapped chicken, leaving the rest of us Wendy‘s fans to ask Mr. Kerry, where‘s the beef? Ba-doom-boom.
And I‘ve got issues with Ted Turner complaining about media conglomerates. That‘s right. This is the same Ted Turner who once launched and controlled TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, CNN, CNN Headline News, the Cartoon Network, complete with “Captain Planet,” and CNN International between 1976 and 1993.
Now, in 1995, Ted Turner sold his media conglomerate to the really, really big media conglomerate Time Warner. And, of course, in 2000, he approved that wonderful AOL merger deal with Time Warner that made the media giant even bigger.
But now Ted Turner is telling had “The Washington Monthly”—quote—
“We have to do more than keep media giants from growing larger. They are already too big. We need a new set of rules that will break these huge companies to pieces.”
You know what? Ted Turner is an American original and he‘s a trailblazer whose entrepreneurial spirit forever changed America‘s culture. But, on this issue, Captain Courageous is wet, all wet.
And Bill Clinton, speaking of being wet—How is that for a segue, huh? -- appeared on “David Letterman” last night and he was greeted like a rock star. Bill Clinton was there to promote his book, “My Life,” and he took a moment to explain the actions of his former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, who of course is accused of stealing classified documents just before he was to testify before the 9/11 Commission.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will say this. Anybody who ever saw Sandy Berger‘s office at the White House would not be surprised that he would get the papers mixed up and take the wrong ones away.
CLINTON: He has got a well organized mind and a disorganized desk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Where did—look at the nuclear secrets. Mike, look.
I just got this from the CIA yesterday. We‘re going to build a nuke.
Anyway, yes, you can be disorganized. I can be disorganized, too. But while I may misplace my car keys, I never walked out of any of my top secret briefings on Capitol Hill with classified documents stuffed in my clothes.
Nice try, Bill.
Now, my next guest wrote an article for “Rolling Stone” magazine in March and this is what he claimed—quote—“George W. Bush is going to go down in history as America‘s worst environmental president.”
That article was the impetus for a new book, “Crimes Against Nature:
How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy.”
And its author, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., joined me earlier.
SCARBOROUGH: Bobby, good to see you again.
ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR., NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: Good to see you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: You don‘t kill Hamlet in the first act. You do away with him in the title of your book. Tell me, why do you believe that George W. Bush will go down as the worst president in American history on issues involving the environment?
KENNEDY: Well, first of all, I want to say this, Joe, that I am like you. I am nonpartisan about these issues. I don‘t believe there‘s any such thing as Republican children or Democratic children.
I think the worst thing that can happen in the environment is if it becomes the province of a single political party. But if you asked any of the leaders of the environmental movement a couple of years ago what‘s the greatest threat to our national environment, they would have told you a range of answers, from overpopulation, global warming, habitat destruction. Today, they will tell you all the same thing. It‘s George W. Bush.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m curious whether you ever spoke to anybody in Al Gore‘s campaign in 2000 when they told Al Gore you need to back off the environment and he acquiesced.
KENNEDY: Well, Joe, I did talk to them about that. And I had many conversations with Bob Shrum at the time and with Al Gore at the time and they denied that. And I don‘t know whether it‘s true or not. You may have information I don‘t have. But I had heard that.
SCARBOROUGH: He didn‘t talk about it. He stopped talking about the environment aggressively.
KENNEDY: No, no.
This is the thing, is that they deny that they stopped talking about the environment for any strategic reason except this, that they said the press would not cover those issues. And this is my experience, too, that the press today is interested in Kobe Bryant. They are interested in Michael Jackson. They are not covering issues of national import.
And the Gore people said that, every time they gave it—and, in fact, Paul Krugman wrote an article about this in the Sunday “Times” this week in which he said that the media is not covering the issues of this campaign. They are covering the fistfight and that‘s all.
SCARBOROUGH: Bobby, as you know, on a lot of environmental issues, I‘m standing side by side with you.
KENNEDY: And that‘s the heart and soul of the Republican Party. Our greatest environmentalist ever was Teddy Roosevelt.
KENNEDY: But this administration has taken the conserve out of conservatism.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s face it. This problem of corporations dominating politicians extends to leaders in both parties, doesn‘t it?
KENNEDY: Absolutely, 100 percent. You are not going to get me defending the Democrats‘ record on these issues, although they‘ve been slightly better. But they‘re no good.
All I say is the Democrats are 60 percent corrupt and the Republicans are 99 percent corrupt.
KENNEDY: And you are the exception, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m that 1 percent exception. God bless you.
Well, you had a bit of a fistfight with one of my friends last night, not a real fistfight. But I‘m going to give you boxing gloves next time you are on. Sean Hannity took exception with something you wrote in your book. I want to read you the quote and ask you the question about it.
This is what you wrote: “It‘s a simple matter to drag people along, noted Hitler‘s sidekick Herman Goering. Whether it‘s a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a parliament or a communist dictatorship, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked, denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism, and expose the country to danger.”
Sean Hannity believes that you were comparing this administration to the Nazis in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s. And it certainly does sound like you are drawing comparisons. Are you?
KENNEDY: We have to understand as a nation, not to compare the people in power now to Hitler and Goering. And I never did that. And nobody has accused me of doing that.
But we have to understand that we should all fear the power of government. But corporate power is even worse. And I was raised in a milieu where I was taught that capitalism—that communism leads to dictatorship and capitalism leads to democracy.
But it‘s not as simple as that. Communism is the control of business by government. Fascism is the control of government by business. Each one of them restricts our freedom. Each one of them is to be equally feared. And we have to—Joe, we have to sail that difficult center course of trying to maintain our free market capitalism and our free market democracy without veering too far to the right, which is corporate control of our government, which is where I think we are now, or too far to the left, which is government control of our businesses and our day-to-day lives.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Bobby Kennedy, we will have to leave it there. I wish we could talk more. But I do agree with you on one point. And that is that big corporations controlling government is—that‘s just as dangerous to American democracy as big government controlling individuals‘ lives day in and day out.
Bobby Kennedy, thanks so much.
SCARBOROUGH: It sounds like a fascinating book. And love to have you back. And thanks a lot for saying I‘m that 1 percent that‘s reasonable and rational in the Republican Party.
KENNEDY: It‘s true, Joe. Thanks a lot for having me. It‘s always a pleasure.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks.
SCARBOROUGH: And don‘t go away, because there‘s a lot more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to be serious tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, because we‘ve got General Tommy Franks with us to talk about his new book, “American Soldier.” That‘s tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
But stay tuned for more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: The Associated Press is reporting tonight that Illinois Republicans are asking Alan Keyes to jump into the race against Barack Obama for the United States Senate seat that‘s been vacated by Senator Fitzgerald in Illinois. Of course, Alan Keyes is a former ambassador, former radio talk show host, former MSNBC host.
I think he signed, Mike, like this five-year contract or something, so he‘s still being paid. So what else are you going to do? I think he‘s still getting paid. Such a deal, such a deal, I should have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should have.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, but anyway.
So, anyway, but Keyes is—what a race that would be, Alan Keyes may be jumping into the race in Illinois. He‘s going to take a couple of days to consider it. Maybe he has to count his money, talk to his accountant, whatever. I don‘t know.
But anyway, thanks for being with us tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Now, if you were with us last week at the Democratic Convention in Boston, you know that “After Hours” with me and Ron Reagan was the must-see show of the week. Well, tomorrow night, “After Hours” returns. That‘s right, Joe Scarborough, Ron Reagan and a great panel for one hour talking about the battle for the White House. Now, that‘s tomorrow night, a special edition of “After Hours” at 9:00 Eastern.
And if you miss it, we‘ll see you at 10:00, after “After Hours,” SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. Figure that one out.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘ll see you tomorrow night with General Tommy Franks.
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