Guest: Howard Wolfson, Jack Burkman, J.D. Hayworth
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: From time to time, I have been called the comeback kid. In eight days, John Kerry is going to make America the comeback country.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAT BUCHANAN, NBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That‘s the man himself. Former President Bill Clinton steps out for the Democratic challenger. He says the campaign will help his heart, but will it help John Kerry?
And a week from tomorrow, the American people choose their leader. Dick Cheney predicts it will be 52-47 for Bush. What do the polls say? We will bring you the latest.
And later tonight, some concerns you had about Friday night‘s show and our heated discussion about the swing state swift boat ad will be addressed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
BUCHANAN: Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. I‘m Pat Buchanan, in for Joe.
Eight days until the election, crunch time for both Bush and Kerry.
Our panel tonight, Mike Barnicle, a columnist for “The Boston Herald,” Congressman J.D. Hayworth, Republican of Arizona, and MSNBC analyst Flavia Colgan.
Let‘s get right to the latest polls, folks.
In the Reuters-Zogby national poll, the president is up by a 3-point margin, 48-45. Looking now at the TIPP poll, it is an eight-point gap in favor of Bush, 50-42, while “TIME” magazine‘s poll gives the president a five-point lead. However, the ABC/”Washington Post” poll has the race in favor of the challenger, John Kerry, leading the president by a single point, 49-48.
Let me go to you first, Mike Barnicle.
What is your take on the overall polls? It looks to me as though at the national level, at least, the president is gaining marginal ground, or has gained some marginal ground in the last week, and after the third debate, which a lot of folks felt John Kerry had won.
MIKE BARNICLE, NBC ANALYST: Yes, well, Pat, if you look at the numbers, clearly, coast to coast, the president seems to be picking up a couple of points.
I subscribe to the Tim Russert theory that the three states, battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, whoever wins two out of the three is going to win the presidency. I guess we will get to those states in a while.
The polls, though, you know, I think all of them, the eight-point spread, the 1-point spread for John Kerry, I think it is still jump ball. That‘s the sense I got. I will tell you this, Patrick. It‘s very difficult to get a handle on this election when you live on the East Coast, Washington, New York, or Boston, because you don‘t encounter many people with an attitude of, saying, I‘m taking a look at George Bush. It‘s very difficult to read it from here.
BUCHANAN: OK, J.D. Hayworth, I am going to dissent when we get to the state-by-state poll from the Russert rule, because I think the president could lose Ohio and win this election. And I see Kerry as having a real problem. I think Kerry has got to pretty much run the table.
But what is your take, J.D., on the last week, what has been happening, why the president appears to be gaining marginally on John Kerry?
REP. J.D. HAYWORTH ®, ARIZONA: Well, the bottom line, first of all, Pat, I would agree with you. I think that there are any number of combinations that work for President Bush. And you are right. Kerry is going to have to run the table.
Now, closed-circuit to brother Barnicle, I can tell you out here in the West, a lot of Bush supporters, and also, a tip of the rhetorical cap to the Red Sox and Curt Schilling, the ex-Diamondback, doing job for the Red Sox.
HAYWORTH: But let me tell you, in all sincerity, the bottom line is. George W. Bush has a genuineness and he has a proof of performance that is resonating with the American people.
That is why you are seeing in most of these polls the president open up a margin. But let me concur with Barnicle to this degree. The polls that matter are those that open the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November. Nobody should take anything for granted, and especially those in the Florida Panhandle and especially those of us living out West, don‘t be satisfied with early projections or talk of polls closing. Get out and vote and make your vote count. I think that is something all can agree on.
BUCHANAN: Well, Barnicle is in hog heaven up there in Boston.
BUCHANAN: Six straight games.
BARNICLE: I am.
You know, the one thing that I have in common with both people running for president is we‘re all desperately trying to stay on message. My message, we win in game five Thursday night in Saint Louis.
But maybe the congressman will bear me out. He‘s obviously—J.D., I know you have been very successful running for election, and you had a life prior to election in the periphery of the news business. It would seem to me just looking at this election, that the one thing that George Bush, among other things, has really going for him is his ability to stay on message. He seems to be the kind of candidate you can get him out of bed at 3:30 in the morning, and he is going to be on message.
Senator Kerry somehow in the last three or four days of this campaign I think has to find a way to stay more on the principal message, and I would submit that‘s terror/Iraq.
BUCHANAN: Let me get to Flavia.
Flavia, what is your take on what has been happening the last week, again, in light of the fact that Kerry—and we are going to talk about the Mary Cheney thing—but Kerry appeared, in the media analysis, to have won all three debates, and even to have won the last debate, but it does seem like at the national level, the president is gradually slowly gaining ground.
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: See, Pat, I see it a little differently.
I think when you look at the internals of these polls—and of course, there are a lot more than you put up on the screen—it‘s basically a statistical dead heat right now. I think it‘s troubling for an incumbent president to still be hovering in the low 40s in terms of right track, to still be below 50 percent in job approval ratings.
And what these polls don‘t show is the hundreds of thousands of new voters that have been registering, and the Pew study, of course, showing 8-1, 9-1 that those people registering are Democrats. It‘s also not showing a lot of the young vote, people who are using cell phones as their primary phones. Those are also trending towards John Kerry.
So I think that Kerry looks very good. And if you are looking at the polls, for instance, I am here in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is looking very strong for Kerry right now, as is Ohio.
BUCHANAN: Let me take you up on that, Flavia, because we are going to look right now. Let‘s take a look at some of these battleground states, starting with Florida.
Bush leads Kerry by three points. In Ohio, it‘s five-point edge for the president. In Wisconsin, the edge is three points again. In Pennsylvania, you are right, Flavia. Kerry maintains a two-point gap. But, in Iowa, Bush is on top by two.
COLGAN: Pat, the one point I want to make, though, that you well know is that Republicans really, and especially incumbents, have to have more of a bump than that and have to be up more in the polls, because undecideds historically tend to break for a challenger.
BUCHANAN: All right, let me go to Mike Barnicle.
Mike, here‘s the point I was making earlier. Look, suppose Kerry has got to win Michigan and Pennsylvania. Let‘s assume he does. And he takes Ohio. The president has a fallback position, because he has put Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and New Mexico at risk. The president can take two of those and given the fact red states have more electoral votes, he is still back in command and wins. The one state the president cannot lose, in my judgment, is Florida, with those 27 votes.
BARNICLE: Yes, I would agree with you, Pat.
I mean, the talk of the checker board, if he loses this and wins this, he can still do that, or if Kerry picks up that and loses that, he can still win the thing. That‘s enough to let me—get me to set my hair on fire, which, there‘s very little of it left.
BUCHANAN: But off of what Flavia told us, and I agree with her—the new registration, the unreliability of polling people and cell phones and all that, I buy into that.
But the flip side of that for people who are prone to vote for John Kerry or who would like to see John Kerry be elected president, there‘s a worrisome aspect to that hope in that gasoline prices every morning when we gas up the car to go to work are very high. The war in Iraq is somewhat of a mess. I think most people can see that on TV each and every evening, 49 Iraqi soldiers killed yesterday. And the fact that a challenger, in this climate, with everything that‘s gone wrong for this president, that a challenger isn‘t five points up in these states is kind of a worrisome factor, I think for people prone to vote for John Kerry.
BUCHANAN: He makes a good point, J.D.
The news today, like in “The New York Times,” all those heavy munitions—and I just gassed up my Navigator and I had to take out a second mortgage on my house. The headlines in the news do not seem to be particularly helpful to the president, do they?
HAYWORTH: No, they won‘t be.
And I recall what Ike said about the military industrial complex. I would beware, voters, of the old media-DNC conundrum that we see here, not really a conspiracy, but an alignment of points of view.
“The New York Times” in its story just recycling what we have known about munitions. Listen, when I was in Mosul and Baghdad and in Balad and other areas of Iraq back in March, they were blowing up all these weapons caches. The fact is that about I think six months ago, in the people‘s Republic of China, some six decades after World War II, they were still finding Japanese munitions.
The fact is, hundreds of thousands of pounds of weapons have already been found. And the bottom line is—and Flavia spoke earlier about internals. A couple of points need to be made here. The internals that I have seen credit George W. Bush with being a strong and resolute leader, and the other problem chipping away at Kerry in addition to this kind of frantic let me throw stuff against the wall and see if it sticks is this notion.
Fully one-quarter of Kerry supporters expect George W. Bush to be reelected. With that in mind, it is going to be very difficult—it‘s not impossible—but it will be very difficult for Kerry to climb that mountain. So, at the end of the day, people see the president as a strong and resolute leader. They see the fact that we are a nation at war and Saddam Hussein is much better behind bars than running things in Iraq and stirring up mischief in the Middle East.
BUCHANAN: All right, Flavia, wait a second.
Listen to Dick Cheney. He does his Joe Namath number, I guarantee it, the victory, on “The Today Show” this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From here to Election Day, you will be on the road. John Kerry is bringing out Bill Clinton and Al Gore. I understand your campaign has Arnold Schwarzenegger.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That‘s right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Ohio. Who do you like, Elvis or the Terminator?
CHENEY: I‘ll take the Terminator.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give me a prediction for November 2.
CHENEY: Fifty-two/forty-seven Bush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Give me a prediction for the World Series.
CHENEY: Boy, well, I am going to stay out of that one. That could affect votes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Hey, Mike Barnicle, the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces, huh?
BARNICLE: Listen, I am just so relieved that he didn‘t pick the Red Sox, because then never mind jump ball. It would be a really precarious situation.
BUCHANAN: Put your money on the cardinals.
BARNICLE: No, Red Sox in five Thursday night.
BARNICLE: But, I mean, the vice president is obviously doing what vice presidents do. He is being loyal and supportive and predicting the outcome that he hopes will take place.
It‘s funny, Pat. Watching the vice president just then, the thought has occurred to me more than once in the past four or five days that both tickets, the two men on each ticket, the president, the vice president, and John Kerry and John Edwards, you just wonder why is there this level of contempt for George Bush and this level of disdain for John Kerry? In this great country of our ours, we‘re about to have a national conversation next Tuesday called an election. Where all does this antipathy towards either candidate come from?
I don‘t understand the depth of anger towards these people. They are doing a noble thing, running for office.
BUCHANAN: You know, I‘ve got to agree with you. The animus, the animus toward each candidate in this thing is just extraordinary.
Flavia, I‘m sorry I didn‘t pick up on you. I know we were supposed to go back to you. We will get back to you just as soon as we come back.
Coming up next, folks, fresh from bypass surgery, Bill Clinton is hitting the campaign trail for John Kerry. Is this the star power Kerry‘s campaign needs?
And, as we go to break, take a look at MSNBC‘s new state-of-the-art election facility. It‘s called Democracy Plaza. And it‘s got exhibits and events that are open to the public. Find out more at Democracy.MSNBC.com.
We‘ll be right back.
BUCHANAN: Listen, check out Joe‘s new blog. It‘s called Congressman Joe. And you can see it at Joe.MSNBC.com.
More SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: If this isn‘t good for my heart, I don‘t know what is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: That‘s former President Bill Clinton this afternoon stumping for John Kerry in Philadelphia.
Last week, Kerry had Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg campaigning with him. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is out with President Bush in Colorado. And later this week, it‘s the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Our panel is still here, Mike Barnicle, Congressman J.D. Hayworth, and Flavia Colgan.
Flavia, let me go back to you.
You were up in Philly and you saw the great man come out. I think it‘s only been about six weeks since that heart surgery. Now, I had the same thing as Clinton did, and that is a very tough hit.
Let me ask you, how did he look when he went out there campaigning for Kerry? Did he have the old strength at all, or did he seem to be really working very hard at it?
COLGAN: Oh, no, absolutely. He was working that rope line like the old Bill Clinton.
COLGAN: His voice was powerful. He connects in that visceral emotional way that is so critical. And I have to tell you, Pat, I have never seen a rally in downtown Philadelphia like this ever.
And Governor Rendell and chair of our party said the same thing. They are estimating almost 100,000 people. The energy level was incredible. They also did robo-calls to all the bedroom counties. They had coming in people from Montgomery County, Delaware County, those suburban counties that are so critical that John Kerry is really starting to do very well in. And it was just unbelievable. The energy was incredible.
BUCHANAN: It sounds as though they came out to see the great man himself, Bill Clinton, coming back from heart surgery. Would John Kerry have had a crowd anything like that had Bill Clinton not been there?
COLGAN: Oh, no.
I mean, if I‘m speaking candidly, of course, Bill Clinton is a huge draw. This was his first appearance. And not only was this such a great day for Pennsylvania, but that image, that beautiful image was being beamed in Cleveland, in Detroit, all across this country. And I think it‘s going to really help with single women, 22 million of which did not vote in the last election, that are critical for John Kerry, and also to energize the African-American population across this country, not only in Philadelphia. But I will tell you, it was spectacular.
BUCHANAN: OK, let me mention something. We‘ve got Dick Morris, I guess, wrote something, I believe. We don‘t have it right now.
Let‘s go to Mike Barnicle.
Mike, what do you think of the Clinton performance? And do you think it‘s—the star power of Clinton, does it translate and do you think it will bring people around to John Kerry?
BARNICLE: I don‘t think it translates, Pat. I think what it does is all of the moment. I think clearly the former president is a huge star. He is very charismatic. He knows how to work a crowd, as Flavia just pointed out. He knows how to connect with a crowd, as Flavia just pointed out. He has always known how to do that.
And it‘s further evidence that this is truly a wonderful, charitable country as well, in that there is very little politics in memory. I think when a lot of people see Bill Clinton, they think literally of the last century, before September 11, before terror and violence provided an umbrella to our everyday existence. They remember the economy of the 1990s. All of that, I think, is a benefit to John Kerry.
But I don‘t think that people go into a voting booth, at least the people I know don‘t go into a voting booth and pull the lever for one individual because another individual appeared with him on the platform and endorsed him.
BUCHANAN: You know, that was Richard Nixon‘s view as well when he campaigned for candidates. He said, I can bring them attention. I can raise money for them. And you can get everybody gathered in, get them a crowd, but they have got to win it themselves.
BUCHANAN: That you can‘t—it doesn‘t translate.
OK. In today‘s “New York Post,” former Clinton adviser Dick Morris says—quote—“If Kerry wins, Bill will never again live in the White House, for Hillary won‘t be able to run until 2012, when she would need to beat John Edwards. And Bill Clinton‘s surgery gave him all the excuse he needed to stay in bed. No matter how much the former president‘s head must have militated against speaking out for Kerry, his heart likely drives him to do it, his hunger for a fix of the energy he gets from an adoring crowd. Indeed, campaigning will likely prove a medical tonic to him, as well as a political benefit to Kerry. The crowds, the adulation, the publicity, the spotlight could all jump-start his immune system.”
Your thoughts on that, J.D. Hayworth.
HAYWORTH: Well, a couple of things come to mind, Pat, when you take a look at it.
First of all, on a personal level, aside from politics, I think we all wish the former president well. We are glad to see that he has recovered. Now, it is true—and for purposes of full disclosure, a lot of us involved in endeavors love the roar of the greasepaint and the smell of the crowd. I think, however, it does not translate. Again, I think brother Barnicle has nailed this, under the heading of that was then, this is now.
This is a post-9/11 world. This is not a 9/10 world. And all the good feelings and all the folks who came out today to see former President Clinton, while it gives Kerry some electricity and some interest, I don‘t believe, in the final analysis, it makes the difference to put John Kerry over the top. I think it does mobilize both bases.
And, certainly, it mobilizes the conservative base from coast to coast, to pick up on Flavia‘s remarks. So I think basically, it‘s a wash. And I think the other challenge for Senator Kerry is the fact that Bill Clinton actually comes off so favorably in front of a crowd and there is a charisma deficit that Kerry has to overcome that really won‘t translate in the ballot box.
BUCHANAN: All right, Flavia, let me make a contrary point of a bit. There‘s no doubt that John Kerry, like Dukakis and Mondale and Senator McGovern, they do not have the capacity really to resonate and to bond with the African-American community the way certain Democrats—Hubert Humphrey, I think of him. He could do it. Bill Clinton could do it, certainly.
Even Jimmy Carter, being a Southerner, had that ability. LBJ had that ability. Do you think Clinton being out there can energize the African-American community, which invariably votes almost 90-10 for the Democrats and Philadelphia would be the place to go?
COLGAN: Well, of course, Pat, I think that Bill Clinton can certainly help to energize the Democratic base, but I think that the issues are energizing that base.
And we have seen a couple of polls saying that Bush has gone up with the African-American vote. But if you look at Ohio, if you look at Michigan, if you look at Pennsylvania, Bush is still in the very low single digits. And issues like health care, issues like the rise in Medicare costs, the rise in property taxes because of the underfunding of No Child Left Behind, the working poor, all of those issues, you know, overtime pay, minimum wage, these are the types of things that Clinton not only in such a compact, great speech in eight minutes really framed that debate.
But like Mike was saying, by his mere presence, he answered that question, that Ronald Reagan question: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?
COLGAN: And for a lot of people in the minority communities, they don‘t feel that they are. And that message was driven home today by Bill Clinton, someone who has connected with that community quite some time.
BUCHANAN: All right.
Mike Barnicle, what the Republicans are doing, somewhat under the radar, is, they have these ballot initiatives on gay marriage. And the black preachers out there, many of them very socially conservative, they are energizing them. They are communicating with them and they are hoping to get them to tell their flocks to go out to the polls and vote this down.
And I guess their feeling is that if the president is on the side of that, he can marginally increase his support among African-Americans. If he takes it simply from 8 percent to 14 percent, that can tip states like Pennsylvania in the president‘s favor.
BARNICLE: Pat, yes, you are right.
But you know, the problem here, the tragedy here is that there‘s no community of peoples in this United States of America with greater problems as a community, with greater problems that government uniquely can deal with, with greater potential that has been untapped than the black community in America. And it doesn‘t vote the way it ought to vote in the numbers that it ought to vote.
And President Clinton‘s appearance today in Philadelphia, if he can generate more of a vote in the black community, that‘s a positive sign. But it simply does not turn out in numbers that it ought to turn out in.
BARNICLE: As far as the black ministers go, if the black ministers who live in black communities in every major urban center in America, if their biggest concern is gay marriage, then they are as big a fools as the Catholic bishops are in this country, who think the whole world revolves around the issue of abortion, when people are dying in Iraq.
COLGAN: Yes, Pat, I have to agree with Mike on that point.
I think that people really only have the luxury, if you want to say that, to vote on these cultural issues when their sons and their neighbors aren‘t out of jobs and people aren‘t coming home in body bags.
BUCHANAN: Excuse me, but 72 percent of the people in Missouri came out and voted that gay marriage thing down. It concerns people, because it‘s about the culture. They think the country is headed in the wrong direction. And I think—now, they don‘t have it on the ballot in Pennsylvania, but I believe it is on the ballot in Ohio.
COLGAN: And Michigan.
HAYWORTH: And Michigan. That‘s right.
BUCHANAN: If Kerry loses Michigan, it is all over.
BARNICLE: Pat, I am not saying that gay marriage isn‘t an issue or that it ought not to be an issue. It ought to be, because they are changing definition of a fundamental worth in this country, marriage.
What I am saying is if that it‘s the paramount issue in the black community, there‘s something wrong with that kind of thinking.
BUCHANAN: J.D., let me ask you.
BUCHANAN: Why is it that Republicans—I know—the Republicans, who get 30 percent of the African-American vote in Senate elections or gubernatorial elections, but every time we go to a presidential election, it is back to single digits or at most 10 or 12 percent. Why?
HAYWORTH: Well, again, I would just say keep your eye on what is going to happen this year. The polling I am seeing says that George W. Bush has at least doubled his support in the African-American community, taking him to just under 20 percent. It could very well expand on the very social issues.
And how can I state this diplomatically to brother Barnicle? I would be very careful calling folks who are concerned about social issues idiots.
BARNICLE: No, no, no.
HAYWORTH: Well, OK.
BARNICLE: Congressman, let me clear it up.
HAYWORTH: OK, let‘s clear that up, because I think it‘s indicative of the elitism that...
BUCHANAN: We have already got it in an ad up in...
BARNICLE: No, no. This has nothing to do with elitism.
This has to do with me as a practicing Catholic.
BARNICLE: Listening to cardinals and bishops in the American Catholic hierarchy who chose to turn a blind eye to predators among themselves, who chose to diminish felonies that were being committed by people, priests in Roman collars, and now choose to tell us how we ought to wage our lives, who we ought to vote for based upon a single issue, abortion.
HAYWORTH: I‘m glad you had a chance to clear that up.
Let me just make this point. No. 1, beware of the myth of the monolith for any community, the African-American community, the Native American community, the Hispanic community.
BUCHANAN: All right.
HAYWORTH: And understand that social issues, economic issues, and the bottom-line issue of war and peace defines this campaign. And because President Bush has been decisive, he is going to be reelected.
BUCHANAN: OK. We have got much more with our panel straight ahead.
Don‘t go away.
BUCHANAN: Chief Justice William Rehnquist is being treated for thyroid cancer. Could this news impact the battle for the White House? That‘s 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.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
The chief justice of the Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist, is being treated for thyroid cancer. The court says he expects to be back at work next week. With the election just eight days away, this raises new questions about the future of the Supreme Court.
Mike Barnicle, J.D. Hayworth, and Flavia Colgan are with me.
Let me start with you on this one, J.D. Clearly, William Rehnquist has been on the court ever since he was appointed by Richard Nixon back there, I believe it was 1971. He‘s been chief justice—he was elevated by Ronald Reagan to be chief justice. I think he has been an outstanding justice.
But clearly this raises the issue of the U.S. Supreme Court and what kind of nominees the two candidates, Kerry and Bush, would appoint. Bush has said that his ideal justice, the one he most admires or the one that would be sort of the representative for the type of justice he would pick at one point said it would be Antonin Scalia. And Mr. Kerry said in Saint Louis that he would not appoint any justice who would imperil Roe v. Wade.
Do you see this as an issue in the last week of the campaign?
HAYWORTH: You bet it is, Pat.
And, first of all, let‘s send out a word, best wishes, for the recovery of the chief justice of the United States, who was a lawyer here in Phoenix before being elevated to the court back in 1971 and who has served outstandingly as chief justice since 1986.
Now, if you want to hear some of the interesting theories around D.C., it kind of echoes back to the Dick Morris column of today, because what happens if there‘s a President Kerry and Senator Hillary Clinton is taken out of contingent for national office?
HAYWORTH: Is it within the realm of possibility that John Kerry would nominate Hillary Clinton to be chief justice of the United States, since he has that litmus test for Roe v. Wade?
I am going to tell you that the whole notion of judges and what has gone on in the U.S. Senate, this absolutely motivates the commonsense conservative base from coast to coast, and it underscores the reason why George W. Bush will be reelected and why the Senate will remain in Republican hands, along with the House.
BUCHANAN: All right, Mike Barnicle, I heard the chuckle at the mention of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But, clearly, if Kerry wins, then Hillary Rodham Clinton, I think, for all intents and purposes, is out of it in 2008, and she will be 65 in 2012. Do you think it would be impossible that he would name United States senator, former first lady, chief justice of the United States the first woman chief justice?
BARNICLE: Yes, off the top of my head, having no knowledge of his intent or wishes down the road or even if he is going to be elected next Tuesday, I would say that would be impossible.
I would also say that Congressman Hayworth is very skillful at inserting two local-angle things this evening. He‘s got Curt Schilling in, in the first half-hour, and Bill Rehnquist in, in the second half-hour, both from Phoenix.
But, J.D., I would be interested in your view, because you have been on the ballot. You have run for office several times. And in an election that appears to be as close as this, the issue of the court, it would seem to me, would be enough of a motivating factor for some people in some states to go to the polls and vote for one candidate or the other.
Do you think an issue like this could tip an election in certain states?
HAYWORTH: Oh, I think so. I think that this is something that adds to the entire collection of issues, Mike. And I think it can be something that really motivates the conservative base from coast to coast, not only for the presidential election, but also in terms of the United States Senate and several of those seats in the South that appear to be very much in play tonight.
BUCHANAN: OK. Hold it.
Now, let‘s listen to President Bush at the second debate out in Saint Louis on what type of justice he would nominate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would pick somebody who would not allow their personal opinion to get in the way of the law. I would pick somebody who would strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: All right, Flavia, let me ask you the question. Suppose John Kerry is asked, which is very possible, in the next seven days by a reporter, Mr. President, if the chief justice, who is ill now, and we all hope he gets well, decides that now is the time to stand down from the court, would you rule out appointing Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to the United States Supreme Court? What would you say?
What do you think Kerry should say?
COLGAN: Well, I am with Mike on this one. I do not see any possibility.
BUCHANAN: Do you think he should start coughing and move away from the microphone?
COLGAN: That would be the time to end the interview.
But I think what this underscores more than anything, and I do agree with the congressman that this will generate some interests in the conservative base. I also think that it‘s a huge applause line at Democratic rallies also when people talk about the possibility of the next president putting two appointees on the Supreme Court.
And what it underscores more than anything is what the American people are already telling us in polls. The vast majority of them feel that this is the most important election of their lifetime in how much is really at stake. And I think that this, along with a lot of other things like you brought up, ballot initiatives, the Yucca Mountain one in Colorado, gay marriage, all of this contributes to what will hopefully be a huge voter turnout.
BUCHANAN: Let me go back to Mike Barnicle.
Mike, Nixon in his first term got four Supreme Court nominees. Carter had zero. But there has not been a Supreme Court nominee sent up for 10 years. I think it‘s one of the longest periods in history. And there‘s a real possibility—I mean, Justice Rehnquist is 80. He has indicated he might want to retire. Justice O‘Connor I think has had health problems and has indicated similarly. I think so has Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
And, of course, John Paul Stevens is the oldest man on the court. You could get four nominees in the first term of John Kerry or the second term of George Bush. My guess is, this could get to be a very hot issue. And both candidates are going to have to address what type of nominee they would appoint in this coming week.
BARNICLE: Well, you know, the interesting thing about that, Pat. And you were there, and I might be wrong, but I don‘t think so. Nixon did have four nominees to the Supreme Court, but when you factor in Haynesworth and Carswell, he actually had six.
BUCHANAN: He had six.
BARNICLE: He lost two.
BUCHANAN: Right. Exactly.
BARNICLE: Yes. We are old enough to remember that.
The aspect of that question that you just asked I don‘t think is germane to this election because there‘s a week left, one week left. And I don‘t think it‘s going to become an issue, a public issue. It‘s not going to be on the front of “The Times” or “The Washington Post.”
But back to what Congressman Hayworth was saying and Flavia alluded to. I think, in some areas of this country, it‘s going to be a huge motivating factor for people to go to the polls. Now, the energizing of the conservative base, I would assume, would be huge. I don‘t know that it will be equaled on the left in terms of people who want Kerry to be elected so his appointees would get to the court.
I know I am sitting now in an area near Cambridge, Massachusetts, where that might be the penultimate issue for many people who vote.
BARNICLE: Month so than Iraq, more so than terror, because it‘s a rather cerebral set across the river here. And they would like to see Margaret Marshall, the chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, be appointed to the Supreme Court, which also I don‘t think will happen.
BUCHANAN: I think, even if she were, I think it would be difficult one to get up there, to get approved by a Republican Senate.
BUCHANAN: But I do think—I think it‘s going to be a hot issue for the feminists, because I think they will see Roe v. Wade as in peril, and the Republican base will certainly see gay marriage, Roe v. Wade, and a lot of other issues as the last chance to put a stop to what they consider a social revolution. But, listen...
BARNICLE: Do you see that happening within the next week, though, Pat?
BUCHANAN: You know, I think they might—you know, if I were Bush, if I were President Bush, I would put out—but you make a good point, that the president has been very much on message. He thinks it‘s working.
If I were him, I think I would name, I will appoint constitutionalists who will interpret the Constitution and not write laws to the Supreme Court just to get a headline out there. And I don‘t know how Kerry matches that. But that‘s what I would tell the president to do.
Anyhow, Flavia, Mike, and J.D., thanks for being here tonight.
We will be back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY right after this short break.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, how many presidential elections have been decided by the House of Representatives? Is it, A, none, B, one, or, C, two? The answer after the break.
ANNOUNCER: In tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY challenge, we asked, how many presidential elections have been decided by the House of Representatives? The answer is C. In 1800, the House elected Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr. In 1824, John Quincy Adams won out over three other candidates.
BUCHANAN: John Kerry gave HARDBALL‘s Chris Matthews an exclusive interview tonight. Matthews asked the senator about those 50 Iraqi soldiers who were killed execution-style while off duty.
Here‘s Kerry‘s response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you train people, you don‘t just leave them in an unprotected status in a state of war. You do what is necessary to guarantee that you‘re protecting what you‘re investing in.
They haven‘t done that for the contractors. They haven‘t done that for the people doing the elections. And they haven‘t even done it now for the military.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Senior consultant for the Democratic National Committee Howard Wolfson and Republican strategist Jack Burkman join me now.
Howard, John Kerry is not blaming the president of the United States for the fact that these trained Iraqi soldiers were stopped by people dressed up I guess as police, pulled off their bus and executed, is he?
HOWARD WOLFSON, DNC SR. COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: Well, what happened to these soldiers is a tragedy.
I think what Senator Kerry is pointing out is that all too often, the Iraqi soldiers fighting with us don‘t have the proper training and equipment that they need to defend themselves and their country as well as they could. There was a story a couple of weeks ago in “The New York Times” about the fact that our soldiers, thankfully, have very good equipment, but they are fighting along side Iraqi soldiers who really don‘t have adequate equipment at all. And that‘s unacceptable. And we need to do something about that.
JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, you know, I guess, Pat, they are running out of things to say, because Senator Kerry voted against equipment and supplies for our troops, and now they are complaining about what—the status of Iraqi troops.
Look, it‘s a joke. Kerry has been consistently negative. They have blamed Bush for shortages of flu vaccines. I am surprised they haven‘t blamed him for hurricanes. Now they blame him for missing explosives. They blame him even for the condition of Iraqi troops, which really have just gotten into the fighting. I mean, politically speaking, it‘s a miracle that we even have those troops ready to fight at this point.
BUCHANAN: All right, Howard, let me ask you this.
I talked to Mike Barnicle, and he is a good Democrat. He‘s an old Boston Democrat up there. And he did indicate that Kerry seems to be getting off on to one message after another after another, while, whether you agree or disagree with President Bush, he stays on message all the time. Do you think that John Kerry, seizing upon that “New York Times” headline and, in effect, sort of blaming President Bush for it, do you think that is a wise strategy or a tactic?
WOLFSON: Well, I do think it‘s a wise strategy.
We are pointing out that the president has mishandled the war on Iraq. And, as a result, this country is less secure and safe. When the United States of America can‘t account for 680 tons of explosives in Iraq, that is a problem. And this president wants to blame everybody else. He is the opposite of Harry Truman. The buck never stops at his desk.
We are asking for the president to take responsibility for this and for so many of the other problems in Iraq. We didn‘t have enough troops there. We didn‘t give our troops adequate resources at the beginning of this conflict. The president was warned about this repeatedly and did nothing about it.
BUCHANAN: All right. OK, Jack, go ahead.
BURKMAN: He has got a 20-year Senate record nobody talks about.
If he had had his way, if he had had his way, with all of the votes he has taken, the United States would not have been ready to fight the Gulf War. The United States certainly would not be ready today.
But, look, as I have said many times on this air, I am glad that Howard and John Kerry are talking about Iraq, because if the American people believe on Election Day that Iraq, terrorism, and national security issues are the issues of the day, they will vote Republican.
You know, what Kerry should have been talking about is something like who will fill the next Supreme Court vacancy. Those are Democratic issues. He should have been stressing issues like abortion. He should have been talking about domestic issues. He is not. Politically, the fact that one week before the election, somebody like Howard is talking about missing explosives, that‘s a disaster for the Democratic Party.
BUCHANAN: Howard, let me ask you this. It does seem to me—I have seen polls that say, if the country—folks go in there voting on the economy or health care, Kerry wins. And why is he talking about explosives in Iraq?
Well, the tragedy is that we have 680 tons of explosives that are missing that no one can account for, and they were lost under this president‘s watch. But, frankly, John Kerry is capable of talking both about the economy and Iraq. The president can only seem to talk about one topic. We have got to have a president who can focus on the economy and on keeping this country safe and secure, and John Kerry can do that.
The president can‘t talk about the economy. He‘s lost 1.6 million jobs. We have the largest deficit in our history. We‘ve got 45 million Americans without health care. John Kerry can talk about those things. He has got a plan to fix those problems. But he is also going to keep us safe and secure.
OK, Jack, Howard, thank you both for being here.
Straight ahead, some important words about last Friday night‘s show.
BUCHANAN: On Friday evening, we discussed the latest swift boat ad with “Unfit For Command” author John O‘Neill and MSNBC senior political analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell.
As you know, we often have heated discussions on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
And we welcome a vigorous, but respectful exchange of ideas and debate. Lawrence O‘Donnell is and has been a valued contributor. However, the manner in which he expressed his disagreement crossed a line. MSNBC believes he was disrespectful to you, the viewer, and that his insults did nothing to forward the debate or the understanding of a very critical issue.
We have spoken to Lawrence O‘Donnell, and he agrees. We can assure you that this will not happen again on this program.
That‘s all the time we have.
And be sure to read my book “Where the Right Went Wrong.”
Thanks for watching and good night.
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