Guest: John Wilson, Jason Gay, Tony Blankley, Kellyanne Conway, Ric Keller, John Banzhaf, Cheryl Wattley, David Dobbs, Michael Smerconish
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline: Hollywood backs another convicted cop killer.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
Now, Hollywood‘s latest cause celebre, a movie about death row inmates exonerated of their crimes. But prosecutors say it‘s a Hollywood whitewash. We are going to have one of those prosecutors on with us tonight.
Plus, if your kid is fat, blame McDonald‘s, that word today from an appeals court in New York. You‘re not going to want to miss that SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown.
Plus, Ku Klux Klan alumni Robert Byrd takes offense at SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, as SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY takes offense at Catwoman, while cops in Ocala take offense at kids drawing stick figures? Hey, they haul them off to jail in handcuffs.
All that and more in the next hour of must-see SCTV.
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 our show tonight.
Of course, as you know by now, another bloody day Iraq. A lot of people are asking, is freedom worth the blood and the money? That‘s the topic of tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, do you know a loved one or a friend who has lost somebody in Iraq? I do. And I can tell you that it‘s such a painful loss to bury a young father or a husband or a mother or a wife. And there‘s nothing I can say or anybody can say to ease the pain of those who have lost those who have lost their lives fighting in a war overseas.
But unlike so many other foreign policy follies of late, I can tell you that history is going to record that their sacrifices are life-altering for Americans and for people across the world. I want you to take a look at this map. This is the Middle East the way it looked on September 11. Afghanistan was being run by the Taliban and the terrorists who masterminded the bloodiest attack on America in its 228-year history.
The Taliban‘s tyrannical rule bred terrorists like garbage cans breed rats. But today, it‘s free, with the first-ever democratically elected president. And then, of course, there‘s Iraq, a country run by an unstable madman who used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, who pursued nuclear programs several times over the past 30 years and who tried to assassinate a U.S. president.
This week, 80 percent of Iraqi citizens told an international polling group they were excited by the prospects of voting for the first time in their country‘s history. Worshipers inside a bombed-out mosque chanted, we‘ll go to the ballot boxes even if we have to crawl.
And all of this has led to the possibility of a first real breakthrough in the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Because young American troops have dared to make a difference, freedom is sweeping what just three years ago was a region controlled by Stalinist tyrants from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean Sea.
That means freedom for those oppressed people. But for you and for me and for your family and my family, it means freedom from fear in the future. Friends, we all know tyranny breeds terrorism. But democracy breeds hope. And because of these troops that are giving their all right now, America remains the last great hope for a dying world. Whether a liberal elite in the Upper West Side of Manhattan or in Hollywood wants to admit it or not, these troops are doing a great job and making a great difference in the history of that region and the world.
And that‘s it for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, we‘re going to be talking about Iraq a little bit later on in the show.
But, first, the battle between Hollywood and the heartland goes to death row. Tomorrow night, Court TV is going to air “Exonerated.” It‘s a movie that claims to tell the story of six people sentenced to death for murder, but then released after evidence of their innocence came to light. The movie has stirred a lot of controversy in middle America, as prosecutors accuse Hollywood of whitewashing the facts of the cases surrounding these alleged killers.
Let‘s have a look at one of the stars of the movie, Susan Sarandon.
She was on “The Today Show” earlier this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”)
SUSAN SARANDON, ACTRESS: They trust the system so much and then suddenly they find they‘re being represented by a lawyer that‘s never had this kind of experience at all. And they don‘t have the dream team, and the next thing they know, nobody wants to admit they made a mistake. And the prosecution is there to get a conviction, not to find the truth. So the next thing you know, bam.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You know, a few of these stories in “Exonerated‘ talk about cop killers. And, basically, you have Susan Sarandon in the story talking about a case where two police officers were killed.
And, of course, they‘re now coming back and they‘re basically saying these people were exonerated, when the facts seemed to prove otherwise, according to “USA Today.” And Hollywood has a long history of embracing cop killer causes.
And my next guest knows that all to well. With me now, Michael Smerconish, the author of “Flying Blind,” who still represents the wife of the police officer Daniel Faulkner in the infamous Mumia Abu-Jamal case.
Michael, I have got to ask you. I don‘t understand it. Middle America doesn‘t understand it. What is it about cop killers? Our rules say alleged cop killers.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I see that the...
MATTHEWS: That attract Hollywood stars like Susan Sarandon the way they do?
SMERCONISH: Joe, I see that the usual suspects are wrapped up in this, Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover. You‘ve also got Brian Dennehy. And you‘ve got Aidan Quinn.
And you‘re the right. Hollywood has some kind of an attraction to killers, in particular, cop killers. “Exonerated” runs tomorrow night on Court TV. The prosecutors will tell you that these folks were not exonerated. The Susan Sarandon character was responsible for the death of two police officers in Florida and pled guilty to that crime, but now what? We‘re supposed to believe the Hollywood spin that somehow she was innocent?
I‘m not ready to buy into it.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, in your case, it‘s absolutely shocking. I was in Philadelphia in 2000 for the GOP convention. And they had all of these protesters out praising a convicted cop killer.
Of course, I speak of Mumia Abu-Jamal. And it‘s just absolutely sickening. Talk about some of the Hollywood stars, again, who are embracing this convicted cop killer. And what do all of the stars see in cop killers that attracts them so much?
SMERCONISH: Well, first of all, the very quick facts.
The murder was in 1981. So here we are all these years later talking about it. Several eyewitnesses, the ballistics match in the case. Mumia gets shot by officer Faulkner. Unfortunately, he lives. When he goes to the E.R. at Jefferson Hospital that night, he‘s heard to say, I shot the “MF-er” and I hope the “MF-er” dies.
So, you also have a confession in this case. And despite the passage of 23-plus years, he‘s never offered an accounting, himself, for what happened that night. And despite those facts...
SCARBOROUGH: So who are the Hollywood stars that come out and praise him?
SMERCONISH: Joe, I have got in front of me an ad that was run in “The New York Times” in the mid-‘90s in which they took out a full-page ad and it listed all of their names. And I‘m talking about people like Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover, who are whapped up in this project tomorrow night on Court TV.
I‘m also talking Alec Baldwin, Ed Asner, Mike Farrell, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, Tim Robbins. It‘s the whole group of them. Rage Against the Machine and the Beastie Boys held a concert in North Jersey at the Byrne Arena that unfortunately was a sellout. That‘s how sick this thing got.
SMERCONISH: So when I see what‘s going on tomorrow night, they‘re all sucked in by the anti-death penalty argument. I think that it matters little who the perpetrator is. They just all are gung-ho for this notion that innocent people are being put to death. They have got no regard for law enforcement and for cops. And it‘s despicable.
SCARBOROUGH: It is despicable.
Michael, stick around.
I want to bring in two people that have close ties to another case portrayed in the film “Exonerated.” Now, it‘s not a cop killer case, but it is another case that is talked about tomorrow night in “Exonerated.”
We‘ve got David Dobbs. He is the prosecutor in the case against Kerry Max Cook . He‘s a Texas man convicted of murdering his neighbor. And we have Cheryl Wattley, who is Cook‘s defense attorney, who is going to tell that side of the story.
Let me begin with you, David Dobbs.
They claim that Kerry Cook is exonerated. Do you agree?
DAVID DOBBS, PROSECUTOR: Well, they make a lot of claims, Joe.
He certainly was not exonerated. He was given a plea based on the fact that we were unable to use a witness who put him at the scene of the murder at the time of the murder. He was found guilty by two juries and given the death penalty. He stipulated to evidence that a district judge found was sufficient to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. He was anything but exonerated. He is a convicted murderer.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Kerry Cook was convicted in the brutal murder, of course, of a neighbor, Linda Jo Edwards, spent 13 years on death row, and then he was released. And now Aidan Quinn plays him in the film “Exonerated.”
But a recent “USA Today” article raises some interesting things about Cook. A statement from Cook‘s friend placed him at Edwards‘s window near the time she was killed. In statements to reporters, Cook initially denied knowing the victim. After his fingerprint was found in her apartment, he said he had visited her before the slaying. Cook has never given a statement to police and he has not taken and refuses to take a polygraph test.
Cheryl Wattley, there are a lot of people out there that say maybe the prosecution doesn‘t have enough evidence to convict again. But certainly your client was by no means exonerated. Do you agree?
CHERYL WATTLEY, ATTORNEY FOR COOK: I most definitely do not agree.
And, first of all, let me correct something. Mr. Cook did not agree to a stipulation of evidence that the judge accepted as being true. What was stipulated to was that the state had witnesses who would give testimony. We expressly said that we were not agreeing that the testimony was true, accurate or credible.
We contested very vehemently the charges. And the plea was offered by Mr. Dobbs, a no-contest plea. We draft the stipulation of evidence. The morning of trial, we were sitting there looking at a panel, ready to go forward with Mr. Cook‘s vindication in a courtroom, when Mr. Dobbs came forward with an offer to accept a plea of no contest, and Mr. Cook could walk out the door after spending 20 years, not 13, but 20 years under a death row sentence by the state of Texas.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Michael, I want to go back to you for a second here. Tomorrow night, a lot of people are going to be watching this movie. They‘re going to say, oh, how awful, not just about this case, but about all these poor cop killers who were sent up the river unfairly. What do you say to them watching this movie?
SMERCONISH: I say to them that Hollywood is lazy and don‘t trust them.
Ed Asner in the Mumia case was asked by a journalist, well, have you read the transcripts of the trial? And he said, oh, I don‘t think I could stay awake if I did that. I‘m listening to your guest who just said, interestingly, that her client‘s name is Cook. That‘s Jamal‘s real name. And, apparently, like Mumia, that clown has never offered an accounting of what happened that time where he‘s held accountable.
How can Hollywood buy into an argument without saying to the person who has been convicted, hey, would you at least tell me, what is your side of this? That just shows you how willy-nilly they‘re ready to accept whatever they‘re fed by these perpetrators.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s absolutely—I‘ll tell you, it‘s a disgrace. I‘m sorry. It‘s a disgrace the way Hollywood has embrace this Mumia clown.
It‘s a disgrace the way they embrace cop killers. They do. They have got
their reasons. I don‘t understand them. And I know most of middle America
Well, Michael, David, Cheryl, thanks for being with us tonight. We greatly appreciate it.
Now, coming up next, a group of parents say they didn‘t know a Big Mac would make their kids fat. And now they want McDonald‘s to pay for it. That‘s tonight‘s SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Former Klansman Senator Robert Byrd blocks Rice and defends his former Klan membership, saying he did it just to fight communism. Yeah, right.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where the only thing more American than a cheeseburger is a lawsuit.
Yesterday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal in New York offered new hope to parents who sued McDonald‘s back in 2003, claiming the golden arches are to blame for their kids being fat.
With me now to hash this out are Ric Keller. He‘s a Republican congressman from Florida who sponsored a bill in Congress to ban these types of lawsuits. We also have John Banzhaf. He is an attorney who says McDonald‘s is guilty of false advertising.
Gentlemen, welcome back.
JOHN BANZHAF, ATTORNEY: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: This lawsuit arises from the grave? Once again, federal...
BANZHAF: No, no, no, wait a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: ... judges are stepping in and saying—you‘ve got to let me ask at least one question before you start chattering.
Federal judges step in and say that parents were misled to believe that McDonald‘s was healthy. Now, I‘ve been eating too much McDonald‘s for years. I know, if I eat Big Macs and fries, they make me fat. Don‘t you think parents should know that about their kids?
BANZHAF: All right, that‘s not exactly what the court said, Joe. They didn‘t revive a dead lawsuit. They took a lawsuit where the lower court said the theories were valid, but they tossed it out on a legal technicality. They‘ve now thrown out that legal technicality.
The second highest court in the land unanimously says, when you apply the same law, same legal principle that we apply to every other product, from cigarettes to stepladders, we can hold McDonald‘s liable if they misrepresented or they failed to disclose vital facts. That opens the door for us to get the kind of discovery we did in the cigarette cases. And, for example, the court said...
SCARBOROUGH: ... here. Let‘s talk facts. You‘re talking procedures.
Let‘s talk facts.
BANZHAF: Let‘s talk facts. What the court said...
SCARBOROUGH: Let me ask you the question. Parents are saying in this case—tell me whether it‘s the truth or not—that they were misled into believing that McDonald‘s was healthy or at least that it wouldn‘t make their kids obese. That seems to go against common sense.
BANZHAF: Well, that‘s not what the court said. What the court said is that the parents were misled.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I‘m talking about what the lawsuit said. I‘m talking about the lawsuit.
BANZHAF: I‘m telling you about what the lawsuit said, because that is what three judges have just ruled. And maybe you want to trust three impartial judges over a spokesman for the food industry.
SCARBOROUGH: Impartial judges?
BANZHAF: If you want to listen to what the law is, I‘ll be happy to tell you. If you want to listen to his slogans, go ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what concerns me about this? What concerns me about this is the fact that I don‘t know if you knew it or not, but I actually practiced as a trial lawyer. I‘ve seen there are a lot of valid lawsuits out there.
But there‘s always a case like the McDonald‘s coffee case. Somebody spills hot coffee on their lap. They sue McDonald‘s. They get $3 million. Now you have parents stepping forward saying, oh my God, McDonald‘s made my kids obese. Who would have guessed it? And it seems to make all trial lawyers look sleazy. That‘s my biggest concern here.
BANZHAF: No, Joe. As a lawyer, you know that many of our most famous cases, from Brown v. Board of Education to all of the big smoking , were originally called frivolous.
Here, the undeniable fact is that four totally independent judges have all said that the suit is valid, the suit can go ahead. The law is good. Now, who says it‘s frivolous?
SCARBOROUGH: Before I get to Ric Keller, I‘ve got to ask you, are you comparing, then...
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s hard for me to even say this, but Brown v. Board of Education to this obesity lawsuit against McDonald‘s?
BANZHAF: I‘m saying that many of our most famous lawsuits, the ones my law students study and you studied in law school, were originally called frivolous. I can you give a long list of names which you will recognize, which the public will not.
BANZHAF: But, again, the undeniable fact is that four independent judges have said it is serious, it is frivolous, it is meritorious, it is winnable. Who is saying it‘s not? The mouthpiece for the food industry over there. Let him mouth his slogans.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I‘m not a mouthpiece for the food industry, though I eat a lot of Big Macs.
BANZHAF: Not you. Mr. Keller.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I say, though, let bring in Ric Keller here.
Ric—Congressman Ric Keller, I‘m going to read you what the parents are claiming here. “The plaintiff‘s children had eaten at McDonald‘s between three and five times a week between 1987 and 2002 and, allegedly, because of McDonald‘s deception, did not know that its food can cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels.”
Now, I‘ll guarantee you, Ric, 99 percent of our viewers there think that this is a frivolous lawsuit. But I want to get to one point that I think the plaintiffs may succeed in. And that is telling McDonald‘s, if you have got nothing to hide, give us the ingredients for the food. What do you put in your Big Mac? What do you put in your French fries. How do you cook this stuff? Are there additives that could kill our kids or at least make them diabetic? Is that fair?
REP. RIC KELLER ®, FLORIDA: Well, let me—you have got three points here.
First, Mr. Banzhaf‘s point, I actually took time to read the opinion. And contrary to what you just heard from him, nowhere in there does the judge say this is serious or this is winnable or this is valid. It was a procedural thing, where they said let the plaintiff have some discovery before we dismiss it next time. That‘s all it is.
Second, with respect to the kids, we‘re talking about a 14 -- or, excuse me, a 15-year-old boy, 400 pounds. Where was the mom here? Where was the personal responsibility? Second—or, finally, third, with respect to labeling, what you are talking about, I‘m all in favor of labeling, don‘t have a problem with it. But I think we should have some labeling on the people who bring these lawsuits, a T-shirt that says 25 percent junk science, 50 percent greed and 25 percent seeking publicity.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Ric, are you saying tonight that you have no problems with the court ordering McDonald‘s to step forward?
BANZHAF: Oh, wait a minute. He wants to give them immunity.
SCARBOROUGH: Tell Americans that they need to know the ingredients in Big Macs, quarter pounders and all their other meals.
KELLER: Well, no, I do have a problem. And I think the case shouldn‘t be allowed to go for discovery. In fact, that‘s—my legislation passed overwhelmingly in Congress by a two-thirds margin that would ban it. And it will be reintroduced this year. It didn‘t pass in the Senate because it wasn‘t brought up for a vote.
But I talked to the Senate sponsors, and they will try to bring it up and try to pass it this time. With respect to...
BANZHAF: Joe, that‘s the point. He wants to give this industry total immunity. We didn‘t do that with cigarettes. We didn‘t do it with guns. We haven‘t done it with any other industry.
He doesn‘t want a court to be able to tell McDonald‘s provide information about labeling, provide information about the additives. He wants to give them total and complete immunity. He doesn‘t even want us to be able to find out what is in their files that they may know about the dangers of the food.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
KELLER: There is a real reason, Joe, objectively, why they don‘t have labeling. The FDA working group, obesity group, looked at this last year. They said voluntary labeling is fine, but we‘re not going to mandate it for two reasons.
One is customization. There‘s 1,000 different ways to make a Whopper. It‘s too complex. And, second, chefs can‘t change the things on the—that they want to serve without changing the menu. And that makes it cumbersome. And that‘s why Ruby Tuesday‘s used to have labeling and now they don‘t anymore, because it was too cumbersome.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Congressman Ric Keller and John Banzhaf, as always, thanks for being with us. We‘ll invite you back.
Here‘s the bottom line. I think if parents are to stupid to figure out that a Big Mac three to five times a week is going to make their kid fat, then they‘re too stupid to be parents and the state needs to come take them away.
And now a look at some of the other stories in the flyover space between Manhattan and the West Coast that mainstream media won‘t cover.
In Ocala, Florida, they really know how to stick to it kids behaving like kids. When school officials found these primitive stick figures, they found them to be violent and charged the children with felonies. And the 9- and 10-year-old kids were taken from school in handcuffs. Oh, yes, they were also suspended.
And in Michigan, employees who enjoyed a nicotine fix found their jobs went up in smoke. A health care company actually fired all of their employees who smoke cigarettes. Several refused to be tested for nicotine and. As, of January 1, the health care benefits company made it a policy not to employ anybody who smokes tobacco, not even in their off-hours.
And honk if you hate bumper stickers. If you work for the University of Oregon, you may have to. An employee was told that he had to remove a yellow ribbon from his state car. It turns out there‘s a state policy against stickers on all state-owned cars. But come on? They‘re just supporting the troops. It‘s elitism gone amok.
Now, coming up next, Democrats declared war on Condoleezza Rice. But did the racist attacks end up blowing up in their face? You are not going to want to miss that political battle coming up next in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: How kid Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry go from the Oscars to the Razzies? Well, that sad, sad Hollywood tale in just a bit.
But, first, the latest news you and your family need to know.
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: Well, it‘s official, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Now, did the Democrats gain anything by making her confirmation process so ugly or did they lose another battle in the political war?
Here to talk about that, as well as the president‘s comments today on the bloody situation in Iraq, we‘ve get “The Washington Times” Tony Blankley, MSNBC contributor Flavia Colgan and Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company.
Let me begin with you, Tony Blankley.
And I want to show you some cartoons. These are just some, and I don‘t how you call them other than racist cartoons that were published recently about now Secretary of State Rice. We have Pat Oliphant, who drew an unpretty picture as some kind of Bush parrot with big leaps. We have got “Doonesbury” calling her brown sugar. We have got Jeff Danziger giving Condoleezza dialogue that flip-flops between, “I knows all about aluminum tubes” to “I don‘t know nothing about aluminum tubes.”
And, of course, there‘s Ted Rall, who uses the N-word, calls her the N-word, and suggests that Rice uses hair-straighter.
Tony, what is it about Condoleezza Rice that allowed those opposing her nomination to stoop to such low, dirty, personal, racist attacks?
TONY BLANKLEY, EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR, “THE WASHINGTON TIMES”: She is a conservative Republican. And they know they can—the Democrats know they can get away with this sort of racist caricaturing and nobody will call them on it. And they do it intentionally to try to demean her and reduce her effectiveness and her representation to the larger African-American community.
It‘s another example of extraordinary cynicism and hypocrisy.
SCARBOROUGH: I want to show the video of those two cartoons, if we can.
And, Flavia, I want to go to you and ask you, why is it that Democrats and these political—these self-professed liberals, why can‘t they attack her on policy, instead of attacking her on her race?
FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Joe, yes, I mean, I certainly don‘t think that cartoonists represent the way Democratic elected officials feel.
Those cartoons are deplorable. There is no space in American dialogue whatsoever. And, unfortunately, racism and bigotry are bipartisan traits. And I think that the Democrats in the Senate and Congress and certainly all the activists that I know have confined their criticisms to her role in advising the president to go into a war and representing that rationale, which now, with the Iraq Survey Group coming out in addition, showing us that those were a false rationale.
And I think they should confine those criticisms to her role as national security adviser. And I think that this is really disgusting, frankly. And I certainly, as a Democrat, find it outrageous.
BLANKLEY: Let me just hop in. If conservative cartoonists had done such a horrible thing, I know the Democratic congressional leadership would be calling for those strips to be pulled off. There would be tremendous pressure brought to bear on the news outlets that would continue to public such things. But you don‘t hear anything but silence coming from the entire liberal media establishment and the Democratic Party. It‘s just appalling.
SCARBOROUGH: Kellyanne, hold on a second. The thing is, let‘s talk about these people for a second, because it‘s not just wing nuts on the Internet that are doing this.
You have got Pat Oliphant, who of course—I believe he won the Pulitzer Prize, one of the most respected cartoonists that drew what can only be described as a racist picture of Condi Rice. And you have got “Doonesbury,” of course, Garry Trudeau calling her brown sugar. You‘ve got people in the mainstream media that are attacking her for her race. But because she is a conservative, you don‘t here any of outrage. Why?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: That‘s the definition of a racist, though. Anybody who is characterizing her based on her gender or based on her race or based on anything other than her qualifications is a racist or a sexist. And I think should they brought to bear on that.
Look, we should have a letter-writing campaign. We should start e-mailing the people who edit these folks and who are in charge of their paychecks and raise some hay about it. There is a broader issue. The left has a collective panic attack under way, because we now have the first African-American female secretary of state. We are about to have the first Hispanic attorney general. And we may, if Miguel Estrada has the stomach and wants to go back up and be nominated again, we‘ll have the first D.C. Circuit judge and probably the first United States Supreme Court justice one day who is Hispanic, all appointed by a Republican.
This is what Democrats are supposed to be doing. So how in the world is someone named George W. Bush, who has an R after his name, able to make his Cabinet look like a Benetton commercial? And that‘s why the Democrats are in freefall. They gained nothing today, by the way, Joe. They gained nothing today, not even a Pyrrhic victory.
SCARBOROUGH: No, they gained nothing. But I do want to underline a point, though, that Flavia made earlier.
Other than “The Washington Post”‘s criticism of Barbara Boxer for claiming that Condoleezza Rice was nothing more than a parrot of George W. Bush and saying that that bordered on racism, all of these—I haven‘t heard any Democrats on the Hill make these attacks. However, we certainly have heard a conspiracy of silence when it comes to attacking these racist cartoons.
Flavia, let‘s move on from that, though, to talk about another bloody day in Iraq. And I want you to listen to what George W. Bush had to say about the bloody day in Iraq and the upcoming elections and then get your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But they want to vote. They want to participate in democracy. They to be able to express themselves. And to me, that is encouraging. There is a notion in some parts of the world that, you know, certain people can‘t self-govern, you know, certain religions don‘t have the capacity of self government. And that condemns people to tyranny. And I refuse to accept that point of view.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Flavia, we found today the president wants $80 billion more, biggest deficit ever. This is a war I support. But a lot of Americans are saying, like you, it‘s costing us too much money and too many lives. Respond to the president‘s remarks.
COLGAN: And those are exactly the questions that should have been posed and were posed to Condoleezza Rice.
And when 36 people are dead today and when $80 billion more are being asked, then someone like Condoleezza Rice, who is central to that decision, should be questioned.
SCARBOROUGH: Sure, she should.
COLGAN: I mean, advise and consent is a serious constitutional obligation. The Senate isn‘t there to be a rubber stamp.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, I agree with you there. I agree with you. My problem, obviously—and I know you agree with me, also—has to do, though, with the fact that, again, some of these attacks in political cartoons and columns have been racist.
CONWAY: ... disgraceful, given the fact that we are at war.
This is not Alexander Haig, who people just want to send a message to or try to attack President Reagan by embarrassing and humiliating Secretary Haig, giving a little bit of trouble in his confirmation hearing. We‘re at war, everybody. These issues are very serious and grave.
And I think the juxtaposition today of Condoleezza Rice actually being approved 6-1, by a 6-1 margin, and so many troops dying in the name of democracy in Iraq, is really the juxtaposition that should be rung throughout the world, because it shows how peevish and childish those who oppose her are when our men and women are dying over in Iraq.
CONWAY: And, Flavia, guess what? War costs money. And it costs lives. This is what democracy and freedom are all about.
SCARBOROUGH: Tony Blankley, I want to ask you.
Let me ask Tony really quickly, and I‘ll get back to you.
Tony Blankley, I want to ask you to follow up on what Flavia said, that this is all fair game. We have got 34, 35 troops dying today. We want 80 more billion dollars to fight in this effort. Condoleezza Rice was the architect of postwar Iraq. Isn‘t this all fair game and don‘t Democratic senators have the right in a free country to vote against her nomination?
BLANKLEY: Yes, of course. Dissent and dispute is perfectly legitimate. I thought it was unfortunate that a number of—particularly Senator Boxer and others, Senator Dayton—have accused our now secretary of state of being a liar.
It‘s one thing to say we disagree with your policy, to question the details of the policy. But to accuse the secretary of state of being a liar has now given ammunition to our enemies around the world to start quoting United States senators, where next time that Condoleezza Rice is in Paris or in Riyadh or wherever she is going to be around the world, trying advocate for our diplomacy, that she is going to have the quotes of U.S. senators, Democratic U.S. senators, thrown up, she‘s just a liar.
I think that kind of comment, while they have a constitutional right to say it, is destructive and doesn‘t add to the debate on how—what policy ought to be. Obviously, as long as there is a war, there is going to be a continuing debate and there should be a continuing debate on the validity both of the strategy and the tactics.
SCARBOROUGH: Flavia Colgan, give me a prediction on the elections this Sunday in Iraq. What needs to happen for these elections to be a success and make it worth our sacrifice?
COLGAN: Well, listen, I know that I‘m sure that we all hope and pray that the elections go as well as they can. Obviously, there is a lot of skepticism, particularly in the four provinces that are Sunni-dominated.
And most people are saying that, at the most, the turnout there could be 5 to 10 percent, which of course would bring a lot of questions in terms of legitimacy and would further the divide, the chasm between the Sunni and Kurds and the Shia. And also we‘re seeing that because of security reasons there is not going to be able to be the monitoring that there really should be and there‘s 7,000-plus candidates on the ballot and a lot of Iraqis are confused, 40 percent of them saying they don‘t know what they‘re voting for.
So, obviously, I think our greatest hope is that security is as good as it can be, with lots of targets in terms of polling places and that as many people get out to vote, so that the Iraqi people feel that the vote was legitimate. But I‘m looking at it right now. There‘s a lot of skepticism.
CONWAY: Turnout is going to be higher.
SCARBOROUGH: Kellyanne, I‘ll give you the last 15 seconds. Go, Kellyanne.
SCARBOROUGH: Turnout is going to be robust enough. And welcome to democracy. If the Iraqis can‘t name -- 40 percent of them say they don‘t know what they‘re voting on, look, 54 percent of Americans can‘t name a single Supreme Court justice. And the majority of people don‘t know their two United States senators. So it sounds like the Iraqis are fully on their way to being a democratic and free country.
But, for all of the naysayers and wrist-flickers out there about this process, the fact that we‘re having these elections itself a victory. Let‘s let the process play itself out and let‘s welcome freedom and democracy in Iraq.
SCARBOROUGH: All right.
Kellyanne and Flavia and Tony Blankley, thank you, as always, for being with us tonight. We really appreciate it.
Now, coming up next, I‘ve got issues from everything from Senator KKK to Hollywood‘s Catwoman. I‘ll tell you why when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back. I‘m Joe. I dig a pony, and I got issues.
Now, Senator Robert Byrd from West Virginia is mad. He‘s mad because his past racist behavior has become an issue since he decided to block the first female black nominee for secretary of state. Well, with Senator Byrd, this is nothing new. Like we told you last night, the former KKK member is the only member of the Senate to vote against the only two black nominees to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall and, of course, Clarence Thomas.
But Senator Byrd is angry that he‘s been misunderstood all these years. He now tells us that he joined the KKK to—quote—“fight communism.” Hey, that‘s kind of like Courtney Love saying she copped a heroin habit in the 1990s because she wanted to give economic aid to the oppressed people of Afghanistan. Actually, that makes more sense than Byrd saying he donned a white hood to fight the reds.
Now, the folks at OpinionJournal.com tipped us off to a new book called “It‘s Just a Plant,” a book about marijuana for kids. According to “New York” magazine, it‘s the story of a young girl who catches her parents smoking out. Jackie‘s parents then teach her all about “Mary Jane.”
First, they meet farmer Bob, who grows a pot. Then they meet Dr. Eden, the doctor who prescribes it, and also warns Jackie against the perils of drug use. No, friends, I‘m not stoned. I‘m not listening to “Frampton Comes Alive.” This is actually true.
And then, in the end, Jackie comes across a couple of Jay and Silent Bob types who are smoking a joint while standing outside a Chinese takeout place. And, of course, in this age of George Bush, they get busted. Morality wins out in the end. Whew, that was close.
And if this helps parents talk about drug use for their kids, then maybe it‘s a good project. We‘ll keep the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY news team on this story either to get to the bottom of it or maybe they‘ll just swing by the Krispy Kreme, White Castle and Taco Bell for some snacks.
And, finally, I‘ve got issues with Halle Berry. Halle, what happened? After your historic Oscar win, you went from Bond girl to Catwoman. And instead of being nominated for an Oscar this year, you‘ve been nominated for a Razzie on Monday. And “Catwoman” led the year‘s nominations with seven nods. But we are going to have to wait until February 26 to see if Halle beats out Hilary Duff and the Olsen twins for the worst actress award.
And with me now to talk about other Razzie nominations for the worst movies of year is Jason Gay. He‘s the articles editor for “GQ” magazine.
Jason, thanks for being with us tonight.
And tell us about “Catwoman‘s” competition for the worst in film and acting for 2004.
JASON GAY, “GQ”: Well, you really have a two-dog fight this year between “Catwoman,” which has seven nominations, and “Alexander,” the big sweeping sword epic from Oliver Stone.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, good God.
GAY: Which comes in with six nominations.
Also a dark horse, Michael Moore didn‘t get any Oscar nominations yesterday, but he did get a number of nominations for “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
SCARBOROUGH: And I heard that George W. Bush actually is in there as worst supporting actor. Is that right?
GAY: That‘s right, and Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld achieved nominations, too. I wonder if, though, they might have passed over that guy who licked the comb for Paul Wolfowitz. I thought he might get a nod for best supporting actor.
You know, that was a nice moment in movie history. You know, in baseball, you look back at the history of Ted Williams, and Williams was consistent. Every year, if he hasn‘t hitting hit .400, he was close to .400. It seems that these Razzie Awards have their own Ted Williams in Ben Affleck. Every year, you can always count on this guy for getting a Razzie. Let‘s talk about Ben. What‘s he up for?
GAY: You know, Ben is up for “Surviving Christmas” and “Jersey Girl.”
Really, it was a hard choice for the Razzie membership this year.
GAY: He is on pace for the Irving Thalberg lifetime achievement equivalent for the Razzies. He really at a young age has established himself as the man to beat year in and year out.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘ll tell you what. He is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Let‘s bring in right now on the phone the inventor of the Razzie Awards. We‘ve got John Wilson.
John, did you not have enough enemies in Hollywood that you decided to found it? But why did you—I mean, I love it. I mean, it gives us an excuse to show, you know, that long, blond mane of Colin Farrell‘s and all these horrible movies. What, though, what made you do this?
JOHN WILSON, FOUNDER, RAZZIE AWARDS: It was actually a double feature of two movies—and if you know bad movies, you know what I‘m talking about—The Village People in “Can‘t Stop the Music” and Olivia Newton-John in “Xanadu.”
And I paid 99 cents for that. And neither one of them was worth it. And when they wouldn‘t give me my money back on it, as I drove home, I thought, gee, that‘s—those are not the only two bad movies from this year. There‘s lots of them. And the very first Razzies were in my living room alcove on Oscar night, the Oscar night when Reagan had been shot and they postponed the ceremony for only the second time in history.
And it‘s just gotten more and more out of hand over the 25 years that we‘ve been doing this.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s absolutely wonderful. Let me ask you. Did one of the great bombs in movie history, “Heaven‘s Gate,” get a Razzie?
WILSON: Yes, it did by one vote. Michael Cimino won worst director over John Derek for Bo Derek‘s version of “Tarzan.” Yes, it did win a Razzie.
SCARBOROUGH: That was a nice moment.
Let me ask you, we were talking about Ben Affleck before. Is there any actor or actress that really stands out in the history of the Razzies as deserving, as Jason said, a lifetime achievement award?
WILSON: Well, the al-time Razzie champion is Sylvester Stallone.
SCARBOROUGH: Of course.
WILSON: Who has been nominated for 30 different efforts, writing, directing and what he calls acting.
He has won nine awards total, including worst actor of the 20th century. And this year, because it‘s our 25th, we‘re also doing a special category that we‘re calling the worst Razzie loser of 25 years. Those are the five people who have gotten the most nominations without ever winning a statuette. And the leader there is a pal of our president, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, I don‘t know if you saw “Around the World in 80 Days” this year. He made that right before he ran for the governorship.
And I know he‘s trying to be funny, but he just makes a total idiot out of himself in that movie.
SCARBOROUGH: I heard it absolutely was awful.
I will tell you what. We‘ll be right back with some closing thoughts on the Razzie Awards and much more in just a second.
SCARBOROUGH: Tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, how media bias in America is killing democracy in Iraq. That story tomorrow night.
But we‘ve got more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY straight ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: We are back with “GQ” articles editor Jason Gay.
Jason, how do you explain Halle Barry and Angelina Jolie going from the Oscars to the Razzies as quickly as they have? And shouldn‘t this send them a message of some kind?
GAY: Yes, it should.
But think about it. You have got a little bit of artistic credibility, win an Oscar. Then some studio comes around and says, hey, we‘re going to give you eight figures to star in some action film. It doesn‘t really have a he script, but we will work on that. I think they should make these actors go to the Razzies. I think if they have to pick up the hardware themselves, it might cut down on some of the trash we see in Hollywood every year.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s actually happened, hasn‘t it? Somebody has gone and actually picked up their award?
GAY: If I am not mistaken, Tom Green attended the awards a couple years ago for “Freddy Got Fingered,” which I think won best picture, or, rather, worst picture.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, worst picture, indeed.
Well, I certainly appreciate you being with us tonight, Jason.
John, thank you also.
We are going to see all of you tomorrow night, same time, same place,.
And again, remember, Sunday night, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is going to be talking from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. We‘re going to be talking about the elections in Iraq. There‘s so much going on. I know there‘s a lot of bad news out there today. But there are so many good things happening in Iraq, according to the Marines and the men and women in the armed services that write me up and e-mail me and talk to me in person in my district. They say this election is going to succeed.
You can also, if you want to get the latest in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and what‘s going on in Iraq, you can go to Joe.MSNBC.com and pick up my newsletter.
Have a great night. We‘ll see you tomorrow in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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