Guest: Jack Burkman
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline: Has Kerry‘s vote run aground? The “Real Deal,” “The Boston Globe” writes a new chapter in media bias.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.
The battle for the White House gets ugly, the swift boat veterans standing by their claim that John Kerry was anything but a war hero in Vietnam. And then John Kerry says he is proud that his wife speaks her mind. Teresa Heinz Kerry shoots from the hip, but is it cutting the candidate off at the knee?
Plus, MSNBC terror expert Steve Emerson joins us with an update on the latest rounds of arrest in the war on terror. And guess what? There may be an Iraqi connection.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We have got a lot of great guests tonight.
But let‘s start with the “Real Deal.” John Kerry‘s Vietnam vets continue waging war against one of their own. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, last night we showed you an ad by the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth claiming that John Kerry lied about his wounds, his heroism and his service in Vietnam. This morning, “Boston Globe” writer Mike Kranish claimed that one of those Kerry critics backed off his claim that John Kerry lied to get a Bronze Star.
By mid-afternoon, captain George Elliott issued a statement calling the Kranish column extremely inaccurate, according to a press release posted by the group on “Human Events.” The Swift Boat Veterans For Truth they also attacked the “Boston Globe” columnist for casting questions on whether sailor John Kerry ever shot a wounded Viet Cong soldier in the back, when Mr. Kranish cited the same story in a book written about John Kerry=s life.
Mr. Kranish‘s reputation was further called into question by the group this afternoon when it was reported that he will be writing an introduction to a book soon to be released by the Kerry-Edwards campaign. Now, if Mr. Kranish is allowed to do that while covering the Kerry campaign, it will certainly cause many readers in Boston and across America to question his credibility as a reporter on that same campaign, especially in light of this latest Kerry controversy.
The battle of Vietnam vets continues and expect the verbal barrage to carry through election night, as both sides battle for the heart and soul of the veteran community. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
I want to welcome all of you again to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Joe Scarborough.
And I‘m joined tonight by our panel and Ron Reagan, who has actually agreed to stay on this vast right-wing conspiracy show as a panelist.
I welcome you for being here.
RON REAGAN, NBC CONTRIBUTOR: I have never been to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY before. I just thought I would check it out.
SCARBOROUGH: Come on in. Everybody is welcome.
REAGAN: Is Hidden Valley Ranch anywhere near here?
SCARBOROUGH: As I‘ve said, Pat Buchanan, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is not a geographic location. It‘s a state of mind.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, good coffee.
Pat Buchanan, let me start with you.
SCARBOROUGH: A lot of screaming and yelling again about these swift boat veterans. Do you think we are going to basically see a campaign by Republicans over the next three months to try to paint John Kerry as this Jane Fonda-loving, 1971, anti-war demonstrator? And then you are going to have the Democrats trying to paint him as the 1969 John Kerry who was a hero over in Vietnam?
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: My guess is the Republicans, especially the president, will stay away from the battle.
But I do think this. This whole effort—and I think it‘s go to grow
· could tarnish the really ace of trumps that Kerry has. The whole convention was about, this man showed great courage in battle and he is fit to lead the country. Secondly, it is fair game to raise and discuss Kerry‘s role, which was much longer, as an anti-war, anti-Vietnam person who made allegations of war crimes against the fellows with whom he served, that he was very left-wing, anti-war in that era.
That is the part of him which brought him the national attention and which is legitimately debated and argued and should be put to Kerry, as well as the war service. But what is interesting about this, Joe, is, this is really—this is it. This is the heart of Kerry campaign. It‘s why he is different. And these fellows who are putting out these charges, depending on what‘s in the book, they may tarnish, if you will, the medals on John Kerry‘s chest.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re joined now—and let‘s bring in the man who actually wrote the book on John Kerry, Douglas Brinkley. He‘s the author of “Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War.”
Now, Doug Brinkley, you have got to be one of the preeminent experts on John Kerry. What went on in Vietnam? What went on when he came home? Please, help our viewers out there that haven‘t had a lot of time, but they read these reports on Drudge and they see this commercial they see these volleys going back and forth between different veterans groups. Help us dissect it.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, NBC ANALYST: Well, first off, I think John McCain probably did the best job yesterday when he told the Associated Press that that particular ad, which the Bush administration is claiming they had nothing to do with, is dishonorable.
For McCain to say that, a Republican, I think it tells you that that ad doesn‘t have a long shelf life. It‘s mean. It‘s cruel. And it‘s taking away I think the true heroism of John Kerry. He did win the Silver Star. He did win the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. And I think to question his service in Vietnam the way that it‘s being questioned is wrong.
The part where you touched on, the anti-war John Kerry, when he came back, I think, as Pat Buchanan said, is fair game. Kerry became a leader of VVAW. He had strong views about Vietnam and voiced them. He talked about atrocities that were being committed there. He still has many veterans angry. Remember, this isn‘t new news today suddenly because The Drudge Report or “The Daily News” coverage.
A lot of veterans have been angry about Kerry for that testimony in April of ‘71 in front of the Fulbright committee. So I think it is an issue because it gets to Kerry‘s biography. On the other hand, the American people want to talk about jobs, the economy, the war in Iraq. And I don‘t think we‘re going to be hearing swift boat, swift boat, swift boat, Jane Fonda, about the way to Election Day. I think it will be a back-burner issue.
SCARBOROUGH: Again, Douglas Brinkley, you have studied this man‘s war record as much as anybody in the America or in the world. Is there anything that you have ever unearthed in all of your investigations that would lend any credence to any of these claims made by the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth?
BRINKLEY: Well, there‘s so many of them being thrown out there, dozens of them in the political season.
But the one that rankles me is that a man, Jim Rassmann, who was a Los Angeles sheriff for the county who was a Green Beret special forces, Kerry saved his life. And there are charges this week that he really wasn‘t under fire. In other words, they are calling Jim Rassmann, who is an extremely honorable man, a liar. And I think when things like that happened, that‘s why John McCain enters the fray and says, this is dishonorable. This is a bunch of bunk. And it‘s a gone to far.
I say, discuss Kerry‘s anti-war record. But to start begrudging a man whether he deserved a Purple Heart, one of the great things people—they are saying is Kerry‘s wounds weren‘t big enough. Well, my goodness. I find that to be a very craven perspective to take on, the size of somebody‘s wounds. That‘s not how Purple Hearts are given. You can get a concussion and get a Purple Heart.
So there‘s a historical distortion going on here in the political season. I think the sooner that commercial is off the air, the better.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Ron Reagan, I have been saying for weeks that I thought—actually, for couple months now—that I thought Michael Moore‘s movie “Fahrenheit 9/11” would excite the base, but would turn off a lot of people in the middle. It would actually blow up in Moore‘s face.
Do you think the same thing may happen here, that this campaign might be seen as being so personal that it might actually end up turning off people and making John Kerry a more sympathetic figure?
REAGAN: It‘s possible.
If the public perception becomes that these men are lying, as Douglas Brinkley say—and he makes a very good point in saying they‘re not just calling John Kerry a liar. By implication, they are calling Jim Rassmann and all those other men on that swift boat liars. And they are by questioning the medals John Kerry got, because you don‘t get your own medals. They give them to you.
They are calling into question many of the medals that other people who were heroic over there in Vietnam got, too. So this could backfire on the Bush campaign indirectly, I think.
And Joe is nodding over there.
JOE TRIPPI, FORMER HOWARD DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think this is silly season for them to go after—not after just Kerry, but the other folks on that swift boat.
I take the word of people that were there in the fray. They say he was heroic. They say he saved lives. And a lot of these people at Drudge Report, they weren‘t there. A lot of these guys throwing these bombs weren‘t there. And I just think the American people are going to be offended by it. And I agree with something else Doug said there. I think right now people, with the economic numbers and all the other things wrong, you know, right now in the country, are much more worried about that than, you know—we‘re having a debate about whether a guy won medals or not.
He was there. He said, send me. And we do have a president who, yes, was in the Guard, but he wasn‘t there. Whether the bullets were flying over—they were never flying over his head.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Jack Burkman, that may be one of the problems. George Bush, if we have a debate about John Kerry‘s war record, doesn‘t that also draw attention back to George W. Bush‘s war record and bring up a lot of uncomfortable questions that were asked six months ago?
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There‘s no question, Joe.
I agree in part and disagree in part with the discussion, in that I think it would be positive if we could bury both the discussion of Kerry‘s Vietnam service and Bush‘s war record. However, there‘s one thing we‘re forgetting about. John Kerry, to borrow from the legal terminology, opened the door. The entire convention was about Vietnam. He chose to put this on the table. He made that entire convention about national security and more specifically his Vietnam record.
I think that justifies a thorough and complete examination of every detail of his Vietnam service. I would have agreed with Doug and I think Joe that, had that not been the case, we could have bypassed that. But I don‘t think you can.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me just say, in my experience, I ran as an untested 30-year-old kid basically for Congress, one of the biggest military districts in America, the most military retired vets, most military retirees. They are all over the place. I ran against a guy that served in Vietnam—during the Vietnam War in the Marines. And I beat him 62 percent to 38 percent.
Everybody is talking about, oh, so and so did this in Vietnam, so and so did that in Vietnam. I just don‘t think, in the end, voters really care.
BUCHANAN: But this is—there‘s a couple things here. This is the heart of John Kerry‘s claim to be the strong, tough, decisive leader to be president of the United States, because, otherwise, he has got a very liberal, Teddy Kennedy voting record.
I agree on the ad. I think the ad—not a single charge is substantiated. A number of statements just say, he is an awful, untrustworthy person. So I think the ad is wrong. But here is one thing I would say. These fellows who are making the charges in this book, “Unfit to Command,” let‘s take a look at what their credentials are.
Are they combat veterans who served? Did they serve honorably? And do they know anything? And would you normally give them the benefit of the doubt? Let‘s see what they say. I think it‘s wrong simply to say, you have got a bunch of disgruntled people.
REAGAN: This idea that somehow Kerry is building up his record and
it‘s the central part of the
BUCHANAN: The whole convention.
REAGAN: OK, that‘s fine, but I‘ll guarantee you, if George Bush had fought in Vietnam, had volunteered to go over there, got onto a swift boat, had gotten Purple Hearts and Silver Star and Bronze Star, we would hear no end of that from the White House.
SCARBOROUGH: Ron, I am shocked that you would suggest such a thing, just absolutely shocked. Politics going on in a presidential campaign? Shocked.
Coming up on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, what‘s going on with Teresa Heinz Kerry? Is she helping or hurting her husband‘s presidential campaign?
Stay tuned for the latest.
Plus, MSNBC terror expert Steve Emerson joins us with an update on the latest round of arrests in the war on terror.
Plus, I‘ve got issues with John Kerry. He thinks we can wage—I‘m not making this up—a sensitive war on terror. What‘s that, pastel camouflage and lavender-scented gunpowder?
Stick around. We‘ll tell you about it coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: The debate rages in political circles. Will Teresa Heinz Kerry help or hurt her husband in this run for White House?
We‘ll talk about that and much more when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back.
And we‘re back with our panel. And with me here is Ron Reagan. We‘ve got Pat Buchanan, Joe Trippi, Douglas Brinkley, Jack Burkman and Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.
And I want to go back to you, Douglas Brinkley.
Tell me, how to you think Teresa Heinz Kerry is going to play out in the campaign? Obviously, first ladies have played key roles throughout American history. What kind of candidate‘s wife is she going to make over the next three months in the crunch and what type of first lady would she make?
BRINKLEY: Well, first off, one had to judge her work so far. And she has been extraordinary in helping John Kerry. It was really her visits to Iowa during the time of the caucus, along with the support of the firemen and the veterans, that made a difference.
Howard Dean‘s wife only up until Election Day really never came once to Iowa, while Teresa Heinz Kerry came something like 30 times to the state meeting people. So nobody can accuse her of not being participatory. She sort of works nonstop around the clock.
I think she is helping him a great deal with women in America on women‘s issues. And, you know, the danger with her is the “Shove it” quote. That is, is there another one of those coming? Is something lurking around the corner that is going to create a tabloid headline and get people talking about it in a negative way for a day or two? But so far, her record has been—she has been an extraordinary asset.
SCARBOROUGH: Jerry Brown, 1992, in a debate, you were the first that went after Hillary Clinton, talking about Whitewater. Bill Clinton said, shame on you, Jerry Brown. But in modern political life, first ladies are fair game. Do you think Teresa Heinz Kerry is going to help or hurt John Kerry?
JERRY BROWN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, particularly when they represent people became the corporation commissioner.
But I think the wives play a role. But having seen my own mother and my father through 25 years of campaigning, elections are won or lost by the mood in the electorate about the candidate personally and the issues, the context that surrounds that candidate. So you have got a lot of time to fill, so the wives play a role. The kids play a role.
But people are worried about the big issues, about the country, about whether they have got a job or we‘re overextended in Iraq, doing the wrong thing, bogged down, how do you feel about that, not what, you know, Mrs. Kerry said or what Mrs. Bush is going to read to kids in Texas. I really think that‘s just filler in for all the media that covers this stuff.
But it doesn‘t go to what are the independent voters and those who haven‘t made up their minds—unless somebody, you know, makes some strange, you know, anti-Semitic remark or reveals some corruption or something. But I think that‘s highly unlikely. These are all good people. And John Kerry‘s wife, she is very smart. She comes over as authentic.
She‘s a breath of fresh air in an otherwise totally scripted environment.
And, if anything, she will be a plus, although I think the election is going to go off on how people feel about the two candidates and the war in Iraq.
SCARBOROUGH: Ron Reagan, 1980, 1981 especially, your mother seemed to be used by opponents of Ronald Reagan as trying to make the family seem elitist. I know they were talking about her gowns and the china and everything else. Talk about that, how first ladies are pulled into this. And do you think it has any impact?
REAGAN: It may have an impact.
I don‘t know where all this started. I don‘t know if it was with the plastic Pat stuff. I don‘t know if it was with Jimmy Carter‘s wife attending Cabinet meetings or my mother being accused for the china or the gowns or all that. Hillary Clinton, certainly, it escalated with her. She was being accused of murder by the time they left the White House. That‘s a big step up from gowns, being accused of murder.
SCARBOROUGH: Gowns, china, murder.
REAGAN: It‘s true.
But there is something that disturbs me about this. And there is a streak of misogyny in a certain segment of our electorate, let‘s say, that is very ugly and very disturbing. And they seem to be very upset by a strong, independent woman who speaks her mind and says, yes, shove it every once in a while.
SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, Joe Trippi, they were also upset by a strong independent woman who said, I‘ve got my own life. I‘ve got my own doctor‘s practice. I‘ve got my family to raise. I don‘t want to campaign.
Tell me about your experiences in Iowa trying—and I know, you know what? You never said this, but I have been in campaigns. I know people are on the phone yelling, we have got to get her up here. We have got to get her involved in the campaign. We have got to get the team shot.
TRIPPI: Well, we were doing two things.
Paul, the governor‘s son, was a great hockey player who kept getting further and further in the finals. And the governor went to the games. And so we were trying to figure out how we could break the kid‘s leg so that he wouldn‘t get to the next game.
TRIPPI: So here was a family that I thought—I have worked for a lot of people for president. This was the most loving, normal political family I had ever met. They really carried about each other. The governor, Governor Dean, supported her career as much as she supported his.
And the press wanted to know what was wrong with them. They looked at this as somehow it was wrong that she wouldn‘t leave her practice, leave her patients and go on the road. I think that‘s what I worry more about with Teresa, is that she may say something. And it‘s not her. I mean, her saying it is going to be fine. It‘s going to be whether, just like with the Dean scream speech, the press goes into 933 times playing whatever that moment is over and over and over and make it into something that it‘s not, somehow create something that is not there.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan.
BUCHANAN: First, I wonder if Ron would identify where this little locale of misogyny is located on the political spectrum, Ron.
SCARBOROUGH: He probably thinks right of center, at least.
REAGAN: Out of consideration for you, I did not
REAGAN: But I think we know where it is.
BUCHANAN: Yes. I‘m sorry.
TRIPPI: There was a moment, Pat, where Bush was talking, President Bush was talking a few days ago and he made a point of saying one of the most important reasons to elect me, reelect me, is, you will get Laura Bush for four more years.
BUCHANAN: Four more years of Laura.
TRIPPI: And it was clear to me in the tone and the way he delivered it that there was, in my view, an underhanded, sort of under-the-elbow at Teresa Heinz.
BUCHANAN: That points to the problem now.
I think Teresa Heinz is an attractive woman. She‘s intelligent. She‘s articulate and all that. But, look, I saw a poll coming out of the convention. And the most prominent phrase that came out of there was not, hope is on the way by people saying what they heard. It was, shove it. It was the most prominent phrase coming out.
Then you have got Bush‘s four more years of hell. Your point, one more of these jobs, honest, that will be up there public. It will be like the Dean scream. And she will become a focus of that. And people start looking for it. It‘s like George Romney making one mistake, one gaffe, and then everybody is looking for the next one, next one. Real problem.
SCARBOROUGH: Douglas Brinkley, of course, when Pat talked about four more years of hell, that‘s what Teresa Heinz Kerry said. When somebody said, four more years, she said, yes, four more years of hell.
But I have talked to people close to Kerry‘s campaign saying that they are concerned that she may make a statement that‘s going to be seized by the press and that it may actually hurt the campaign. Do you think that‘s an overstatement? Do you think that may be staff worrying too much? Or, again, historically, is this where we have come?
BRINKLEY: Well, remember the great cost when Hillary Clinton claimed that she didn‘t like making cookies. And suddenly it dominated the news. Between now and November, the Kerry camp wants to make sure they don‘t get any bad spin.
And when you have an unscripted character—the reason that people like Teresa Heinz Kerry is her unscripted character—there is a danger that she is just going to go over the reservation at some point. I don‘t think she will. I think she has been hit a little bit now. I think things are sticking to her. And I think she is smart enough to know not to do that and jeopardize the chance of her husband winning the presidency.
REAGAN: He makes a good point. It‘s not what Teresa Heinz Kerry says. It‘s what we say about what she says.
BUCHANAN: But, you know, I‘m no Tammy Wynette, stand by your man—
Tammy Wynette on TV that night, remember when Hillary cut loose with that?
BUCHANAN: And everybody is talking about that, baking cookies. They were sending them cookies. It became an issue for a week.
SCARBOROUGH: It really did.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m going to ask everybody to stick around, because when we come back, we‘re going to be talking to our terrorism analyst. And he has got the very latest on the arrests in London.
And, later, we‘re going to have Paris. And I have issues with a hotel heiress. I will tell you why. Plus, more to come. You know what? We‘re just going to—we‘re going to have a lot of stuff when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
So stick around.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re going to give you the latest breaking news on all the terror arrests and the developments that are happening on the war on terror.
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: I will tell you what. It has been an active week in the war on terror, from heightened terror alerts to arrests around the world.
Here to update us and to help make sense of all the new information is MSNBC‘s own terror analyst, Steve Emerson.
Steve, I‘ll tell you what. It seems like we have more news every day about arrests that are going on around the world. What‘s up?
STEVE EMERSON, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, Joe, the system is working now. Evidence, intelligence is percolating upwards. They are following up on it quickly. It‘s a domino chain reaction.
People are being arrested because the U.S. government, together with allied countries and other intelligence agencies, are following up on leads on hard drive, e-mails, and wrapping up people, either getting them to talk or getting other people connected to them. It‘s really a phenomenal success story in terms of wrapping up major cells from somebody arrested based in Connecticut, those in London, from Pakistan, as well as other parts of world, including Saudi Arabia.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. and do you think a lot of this has to do with the hard drive that was captured in Pakistan and it‘s leading to a lot of these arrests? Again, we‘re just—it seems like we‘re getting a flood of new information every day.
EMERSON: Well, I think that the arrests that occurred in Pakistan, Joe, that occurred about—in the last six weeks because of the collection, retrieval and exploitation of the hard drive and the e-mails and the cell phone numbers really allowed the U.S. government, together with the British government, and to give credit to the Pakistani government where credit is due, to follow up on those leads to make those arrests in London, those people, including one person believed to have done the surveillance in the United States.
The arrest in Albany, New York, was sort of a confluence here, no connection there, but certainly something that was in the working for the last two years and something that the government gets a lot of credit for breaking up.
SCARBOROUGH: Jack Burkman, I think one of the best magazine out there is “The New Republic.” They reported a couple weeks ago that there was actually—the Pakistanis were pressured to make a high-level arrest at the end of the July, which, of course, was coincidentally the same time that John Kerry was wrapping up his Democratic campaign.
And it seems like we‘re getting one bit of great news after another in this war on terror. Democrats are saying that this is all timing. They are accusing me of having Osama bin Laden in my basement. I‘m going to pull him upstairs like October 20 or something like that, hand him over.
Why are we seeing an increase of activity like this as we‘re leading up to an election? Is it all politically motivated?
BURKMAN: I don‘t think so, Joe.
I think it‘s the president and Tom Ridge and an administration that is doing its job. These guys are damned if they do and damned if they don‘t. Could you imagine the criticism if the Prudential building or the Citibank building or the Capitol or the World Bank had been hit? They‘ve got them covered.
I can tell you. I worked closely with Tom Ridge and his staff. These guys work 14, 18, 21 hours a day. The notion—I mean, the accusation from John Kerry and his surrogates—and I would remind people that Howard Dean spoke in prime time at the Democratic National Convention.
For them to suggest—I heard Dee Dee Myers on your previous hour trying to distance herself, distance the Kerry campaign. And I heard Ann Lewis today on the air saying, oh, no, Howard Dean doesn‘t speak for us.
Howard Dean does speak for John Kerry. He has been a surrogate all over the place. He is a commissioned surrogate. And more than that, I have not seen John Kerry come out and denounce Howard Dean‘s comments. Howard Dean virtually came out and accused the president of treason. He accused him of a crime. He suggested that the president of the United States and Tom Ridge and the national security team would use the Department of Homeland Security and would use these terror alerts for political motive.
SCARBOROUGH: Jerry Brown, let me get your response.
Do you think that the president of the United States and his Cabinet officials are using these terror alerts for political purposes?
BROWN: Yes, I have no idea.
We don‘t like to think that. We know Nixon did things. We know Johnson, you know, did some things that were not true about the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. We know Kennedy invented a missile gap. What I think is the more fundamental point is, yes, the job of president and Ridge is to get as many terrorists as quickly as possible.
But the true story is that there are enough terrorists and there is a big enough country with enough targets that it‘s going to be very difficult to prevent a determined enemy or set of enemies who want to cause trouble. And because our economy depends so much on public confidence, all this emphasis on the power, the danger of these terrorists could create the very thing we‘re worried about, which is a body blow to our economy when some explosion goes off.
If the state of Israel, which has far fewer constitutional inhibitions
than the United States and is a far smaller land mass, cannot stop
terrorist attack, how in the world can we? And yet we‘re debating
SCARBOROUGH: I need to actually go to Pat Buchanan, because Pat had a point to make.
And Pat, again, Jack Burkman said before, the president is damned if he does, damned if he doesn‘t. Still, that “New Republic” article was striking, predicting actually an arrest during the Democratic Convention.
BUCHANAN: Well, it was—frankly, it was striking. But I don‘t know if—I don‘t have any knowledge that the administration or these guys are just delivering stuff up.
I do agree with Mr. Burkman on the issue—look, Tom Ridge, you and I
· you have been in meetings in the White House, I will tell you. And I‘m sure what these guys are saying, Ridge. Somebody is saying, look, Tom, if we announce this orange alert, they hammered us last time. They are going to hammer us again. And I‘m sure Ridge and these fellows are saying, look, if we‘re going get hammered, let‘s get hammered for saying the right thing. We are deeply concerned about this, and go out and do it.
BUCHANAN: I think they are doing the right thing, whether people like it.
I‘ll tell you, I would like to ask Steve this.
Steve, a quick question. Steve Emerson, all this activity and information—we had this woman Congress across the border, I guess, down there. They caught her in Texas with wet clothes and a bag and supposed to be a courier giving orders. Is it your sense, talking to all these sources, that there is something imminent about to happen?
EMERSON: Listen, Pat, I have no way of knowing. And people in the field, agents in the field, intelligence and law enforcement, really have no way of knowing.
There is definitely an increased amount of activity. And they here the ubiquitous chatter. But there is also more movement in the United States. And the reality is, the fact that they interdicted these terrorists in London may have prevented—and I say may have prevented—what now looks like could have been a catastrophic attack in the United States.
No one really knows. These guys are hidden in the United States. They have cells here. There are organized cells throughout the United States. Militant Islamic groups still hide under the veneer of being part of the body politic. And we still don‘t recognize that it‘s a major threat to our civil liberties.
BURKMAN: Let me throw out a question here, Joe, for the Democrats, Joe and Ron.
Does anybody give George Bush and Tom Ridge credit for preventing attacks since 9/11? I heard every Democrat in the country today day Tom Ridge was sworn in, saying we‘re going to judge Ridge, we‘re going to judge Bush, we‘re going to judge DHS, Department of Homeland Security, strictly on its record, strictly on its merit. It‘s now three years later.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, let‘s ask Ron.
Let‘s start with you.
REAGAN: First of all, Jack, I‘m not a Democrat. So I can‘t speak for Joe on that matter.
I can‘t judge Tom Ridge. We don‘t have the information sitting here
to know. I will point out
BURKMAN: But do you give him credit? That‘s not what I asked you.
REAGAN: Is somebody yelling in my ear? Is that Jack that is yelling in my ear?
REAGAN: Hang on, Jack. Settle down.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you give him credit, is the question.
REAGAN: Well, I don‘t know whether I should give him credit or not, because I don‘t have all the information.
But I would point out that the arrest that was announced during the
Democratic Convention, the one that “The New Republic” predicted, as you
pointed out, my understanding is, that arrest actually happened weeks
before and they held that information in order to release it
TRIPPI: I think they actually held it for weeks.
SCARBOROUGH: Joe Trippi, do you give Tom Ridge credit, the Bush administration credit, not a single attack since 9/11?
TRIPPI: I think a lot of people think they have taken their foot off the real war on terror by putting—deflecting attention to Iraq.
BURKMAN: But answer the question.
TRIPPI: The point I want to make, though...
BROWN: There is no way to prove this. There is no way to prove this.
TRIPPI: You can‘t prove it one way or the other.
BUCHANAN: The government, frankly, has done a good job. So has John Ashcroft.
BUCHANAN: But we haven‘t been attacked.
REAGAN: But we don‘t know that that is because of what they have done.
BUCHANAN: They were arresting all kinds of people who were going to attack us.
REAGAN: But they were in the planning stages.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, everybody. Joe Trippi is going to make a point and then we‘re going to go to break.
Go, Joe. Go.
TRIPPI: I think what‘s really important here is, it‘s not damned if you do and damned if you don‘t.
The one mistake they make is not alerting us. In other words, if they have got anything that says there might be an attack, they have to go out and put that alert out, because what ends the Bush administration is an attack happens and, after all these alerts, they don‘t alert us to that one. So they have now gotten to the point where they have got to alert us almost every day between now and the election.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second.
I‘m going to have to ask everybody to stick around, because up next, we‘re going to continue this debate.
Plus, I have got an issue with a very close friend of Paris Hilton.
I‘ll tell you who really needs therapy.
And, also, why wasn‘t this shown on every TV sports show in America? Did John Kerry teach him to flip-flop like that? We‘ll tell you tell when we return on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
Did you like that tease, Ron?
REAGAN: That was John Kerry.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that was.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge: Teresa Heinz Kerry could become the second foreign-born first lady. Who was the first? Was it, A, Louisa Adams, B, Lucy Webb Hayes, or, C, Rachel Jackson? The answer coming up.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked:
Teresa Heinz Kerry could become the second foreign-born first lady. Who was the first? The answer is A. Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, was born in London.
Now back to the show.
SCARBOROUGH: I never trusted her.
SCARBOROUGH: Anyway, welcome back to our show.
And, as you should know by now, I still have got issues.
You can roll it. I‘ve got issues.
Now, call me crazy. Go ahead, Ron. Call me crazy. You already have.
SCARBOROUGH: But I love the traditional sports, baseball, football, croquet. But I have got issues with that Chuck Carothers and the fact he wasn‘t on the cover of every sports section in the country this morning.
Who is Chuck Carothers? He is a motorcycle rider competing in the X Games. And last night, he won the best trick competition for this fancy work. You might not know what X Games are, but your kids certainly do. Now, look at this again, up in the air, gets off the bike entirely, flips around, grabs the bike, climbs back on and sticks the landing.
Chuck Carothers sums it up and sums up his strategy by saying: “My trick is all or nothing. I‘m either going to stick it and win or I‘m going to hit the ground and hopefully only be a little sore.”
Well, Chuck, you just earned yourself a lifetime SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY driver‘s license.
And good news today. One of the Hilton girls is getting much-needed therapy. But, instead of it being for Paris Hilton, star of “The Simple Life” and homemade pornos entitled “One Night in Paris,” the Hilton headed for therapy is her pet chihuahua, Tinkerbell. “The San Francisco Chronicle” is reporting this important story tonight, that the tiny dog snapped at Paris and is suffering from stress. Tinkerbell is also prone to hiding and tucking her tail—leg between her tail. I thought, actually, Paris got videoed performing that same trick.
As for Paris, after stalking red carpets to no avail for year, after the porno, after the reality series and a racy Guess ad campaign, she has finally grabbed her 15 minutes, only to break up with a boy band toy and then find her image splashed on tabloids adorned with bruises and a swollen lip. Given that her own behavior has been a little less than reasonable, was Tinkerbell really the right Hilton girl to send to therapy? I don‘t think so.
And, by the way, speaking of super freaks, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY remembers the passing of funk master Rick James, one of Pat Buchanan‘s favorite artists in the 1980s. The troubled music star hit the top charts in 1980s with his song “Super Freak.”
And, finally, in case you‘ve had your head in the sand for the past year, the Kerry-Edwards campaign would like to remind you, John Kerry served in Vietnam. And judging by the fact that the word Senate appeared just once in his convention speech, I‘m guessing the campaign is going to use his experience in Vietnam and not the Senate to bolster Kerry‘s image as a tough-on-foreign policy sort of guy.
Unfortunately, the senator, who voted for the war on terror, but against funding of the troops, gave us a glimpse yesterday of his foreign policy and the softer side of waging the war on terror.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values and history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: All right, hey, Steve Emerson, are you still out there, buddy?
EMERSON: I‘m still out here, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you think about running a more sensitive war on terror?
EMERSON: A sensitive war on terror? You mean the touchy-feeling war on terrorism?
Look, the bad guys only understand one thing. If they get caught, they are going to get put away or we‘re going to put them away one way or another. The reality is, militant Islam has declared war on the United States. And we‘ve got to declare war on those that are violating our laws and those that intend us harm. We either capture them or try them right after they have been caught doing something or we try to interdict them.
We‘ve got to understand, this is a war for survival. It‘s not going to end just because we are playing the touchy-feeling type of, let‘s all get around the campfire and play kumbaya.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Very well put.
Speaking of John Kerry, it‘s time to take some of your e-mails. No, John didn‘t write us.
But Chris in Pennsylvania wrote in: “The swift boat vets‘ ad is too cynical to be believed. Kerry went to Vietnam. He fought. And he was wounded. And when he came back, he wanted to prevent the deaths of more young soldiers.”
Kevin in California loves KISS‘ Gene Simmons and writes: “How refreshing it is to finally hear a Hollywood millionaire who isn‘t down on this country. Gene Simmons‘ support of Bush is a breath of fresh air.”
SCARBOROUGH: Ron Reagan, what to you think of that? Did you find Gene Simmons to be a breath of fresh air last night?
REAGAN: I was a little disconcerted that it took me three tries to get him to understand that Bush is actually a recruiting tool for Osama bin Laden.
And on Steve Emerson‘s point there, if in fact militant Islam is the one that we‘re fighting here, maybe we shouldn‘t have gone into a secular Muslim state like Iraq looking for terrorists. Maybe we should be in the hills of Pakistan looking for Osama bin Laden.
SCARBOROUGH: Jerry Brown, do you agree with that?
I want to make the other point, though. Sensitive in that sentence did not mean touchy-feeling. It meant precise. It means policy that is pinpointed, that doesn‘t waste a lot on rhetoric, but gets allies, gets the terrorists. Nobody is saying you can be in any way soft on terrorists. We have got to get them by whatever means. And we have got to bring as many people in the world to our cause. And we have to also promote our values, so that we can win the minds and hearts, while we are interdicting and doing everything we can intelligence and military-wise.
So—and I think this thing is real clear. I want to repeat again, though, no matter what we do, from the example of Israel, we‘re going to get some event here and then we have to be able to say, our country is going to go on no matter what they do. And our economy, we have got to keep it moving and growing despite some of these terrorist attacks, which are probably inevitable, no matter how great a job Ridge does.
Can he do better than Israel? I hope so. But even after having said that, we have to figure out, how does this country promote our strength in the face of this enemy that only takes one attack and we have got a whole economy to keep going?
SCARBOROUGH: Jerry Brown, we‘ve got to go to break.
We‘re going to have some final thoughts after this. And I‘m going to be asking Pat Buchanan how Republicans have effectively portrayed Democratic presidential candidates as being weak on defense and whether George Bush is going to be trying to do that over the next three months.
We‘ll talk about that right after this short break.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, Republicans, since 1972, I guess, have been running against Democrats as being weak on defense. Tell me about it. Are we going to see it again?
BUCHANAN: Well, I was with Nixon in ‘68. And we were going to take a stronger line than Humphrey, and did, and took that line. But you had Wallace right there.
But by the time, Joe, we got to ‘72, McGovern captured the Democratic Party. The Democratic establishment, which has been hawkish. And so we welded together, under Nixon and Agnew, the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party with the Republican base and, frankly, the Wallace vote, and you rolled that right through to victory after victory after victory.
And the one time when it broke was in 1992. And the reason is, after the Gulf War, foreign policy was off the table. Clinton put the economy front and center. It‘s what people were concerned about.
SCARBOROUGH: Helped him get elected.
Now, Ron Reagan, obviously, there‘s a split in the Democratic Party
between pro-war, anti—war, but most anti-war right now. Do you think if
John Kerry comes out and is forced to say I still would have supported the
war had I known then what I know now, do you think that‘s going to hurt him
with his base or is everybody going to stay on board
REAGAN: I don‘t think it would make much difference, because I think his base is going to be with him. They just want Bush out.
But I have to make a semantic point here. War on terror is an oxymoron. What, are we fighting a noun, an emotion? War on terrorism isn‘t much better. What we should have done was declare war on al Qaeda and we should still be fighting the war on al Qaeda. And their leader is in the mountains of our good ally Pakistan still.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Joe Trippi, final thoughts?
TRIPPI: You know, new polls are coming out showing Kerry has actually grown on eight points on who would be a better commander in chief, and the president has declined six points. So this differential that Pat‘s talking about that the Republicans usually achieve, Kerry is rolling on that right now. There‘s no signs of it abating.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
BUCHANAN: His whole convention was directed at that.
SCARBOROUGH: Gentlemen, we‘ll have to leave it there.
We‘ll see you Monday night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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