Guest: Jane Velez-Mitchell, Michael Brown, Nancy Pfotenhauer, Vincent Morris, Tom Lucero, Bill Owens
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: You‘re looking at a live picture of the Vatican and Vatican City. Just a few miles away, Pope John Paul II lies in a hospital, where he was rushed earlier this evening after suffering from severe breathing problems. Tonight, millions of Catholics and others all over the world await word on the health of the pontiff.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense allowed.
Breaking news today in the case of the Colorado professor who compared 9/11 victims to Nazis. He‘s still getting paid for teaching classes, and that state‘s governor will be here to tell us why.
Plus, your kids at risk. Could drug dealers be using common cold medicine to make a highly addictive drug that they target on your kids?
And the dangers of predators on the Internet, how to protect your children and the little ones you love.
And, later, day two of the Michael Jackson trial. Could some of the evidence against the pop superstar be contaminated? A reporter who was inside the courtroom will give us the lowdown.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Welcome to the show.
As we told you earlier, Pope John Paul II was rushed to the hospital this evening. He reportedly has the flu and is having trouble breathing. Keep it tuned to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and MSNBC. We are going to continue to update you on the pope‘s health throughout the night.
But now, first the Iron Curtain, then the liberal media and now liberal campuses. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
For years, the radical left has owned college campuses, and their liberal allies have dominated Washington bureaucracies and the elite media, but we saw the left‘s monopoly in D.C. destroyed with the Reagan revolution and the left‘s media monopoly melted away over the past few years. Nothing like living in the middle of an information revolution.
But, because of tenure, college radicals have remained insulated from the conservative counterrevolution that rocked the world since Reagan brought down the Soviet Union and bloggers took out Dan Rather. But, tonight, that may be changing, because, over the past week, we in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY have been leading the charge against a campus radical who praised the 9/11 terrorists and who compared the 3,000 American victims on 9/11 to the Nazi who was the architect of the Holocaust.
Now, that radical, Ward Churchill, is angry. He says that he is misunderstood by us. He and his American-hating allies also say it‘s just a matter of free speech. But, friends, therein lies the problem. His speech is not free. It‘s costing taxpayers like you and me money. And as long as he teaches at a state school, his work is funded by hard-working Americans.
Now, if he wants to exercise his free speech, we encourage it in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. In fact, we invite Ward Churchill to defend his radical views in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. And he will be able to get his message out to more people in one night than he ever would by warping the minds of our young students in the relative privacy of his campus classroom.
And, Professor, you will get your say, because unlike other hosts, I let my guests talk. Now, we may disagree, but we won‘t be disagreeable. Why? Because I am a strong supporter of the First Amendment, even when it borders on hate speech. I just don‘t want regular Joes working around the clock to subsidize it with their hard-earned tax dollars.
We will wait for your response, Professor. And we will keep an eye out for other campus radicals whose time behind the protected walls of their ivory towers is rapidly coming to an end. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, a lot to tell you about on this story that we have been following. University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill has not resigned yet, but more people are calling for him ouster.
We have got reporter Paul Johnson our Denver affiliate KUSA. He‘s on the Boulder campus with the very latest.
Paul, tell us what you got.
PAUL JOHNSON, KUSA REPORTER: Joe, you will recall all of this started when Ward Churchill was asked to speak at Hamilton College in New York. That brought to light a very controversial essay that he wrote shortly after 9/11.
In that essay, he compared some of the victims of 9/11 to Nazi sympathizers. He did things like compare some of the terrorists to combat teams. This has unleashed a storm of criticism here in Colorado and across the country. To his critics, he is nothing more than an apologist for terrorism who is funded by taxpayers.
To his supporters, though, he is doing some very important work. They believe that he is trying to explain to Americans the reasons behind some of the foreign hatred of the United States that resulted in the attacks of 9/11. Today, some significant developments on this file. Governor Owens of Colorado today said he is calling for his dismissal and that, if he has any dignity, he will resign from his post.
On campus today, a protest against Ward Churchill, but also a counterprotest in support of him, and then a fairly strange incident late this afternoon. We had expected for some time, because Ward Churchill had been complaining that his comments had been misconstrued in the media, that he was going to address the media in the form of a news conference at 5:30 today. He did not show up for the news conference.
Some of his colleagues, though, from the Department of Ethnic Studies, though, arrived, throwing their support behind him and saying that they are doing this in the interests of academic freedom and freedom of speech.
Probably, the next important chapter of this debate is going to happen on Thursday, when the C.U. board of regents convenes a special meeting to talk about all of the criticism that‘s been coming onto their university because of this—Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Paul Johnson with KUSA in Denver, thank you so much. We greatly appreciate it.
And, again, as Paul pointed out, this all started with a Hamilton College speech. They canceled that speech today, bowing to pressure from you. They were flooded with e-mails that you all sent. We, of course, gave you the e-mail address. You responded. They responded to what you had to say and made a difference, finally bowed to your pressure. And it was the right thing to do and we commend them for doing it.
Now, we have got a lot to talk about on this subject tonight. But, first, I just want to remind you what the professor actually wrote in heinous the essay that has caused this firestorm. Again, he compared 9/11 victims to one of Hitler‘s henchmen, the one that in fact put the Holocaust on, planned the Holocaust. He also called the terrorists soldiers.
And he wrote this about the Pentagon. He said: “The building and those inside comprised military targets, pure and simple. As to those in the World Trade Center, well, really. Let‘s get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Give me a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America‘s financial empire.”
Well, earlier today, I spoke to Governor Bill Owens about these statements, and I asked him if the board of regents would have the guts to fire Ward Churchill. This is what he said.
GOV. BILL OWENS ®, COLORADO: You know, Joe, in Colorado, the board is separately elected by the voters. It‘s not part of, for example, my administration.
I don‘t believe they will. They have put the pressure on to remove him as chair of the department, but my guess is, is that the board will not, in fact, have the courage to force this issue through tenure and take away his position. Ward Churchill should have the right as an American to say whatever he wants, but as an employee of the University of Colorado, he shouldn‘t.
But I am afraid that we won‘t be able to see that happen, given this board.
SCARBOROUGH: So, Governor, there will be no accountability, then, will there? This guy steps down as head of his department, but he is still making close to $100,000. No accountability for comparing 9/11 victims to Adolf Eichmann?
OWENS: It is outrageous.
OWENS: And you know the rules of tenure as well as I do. And you know what goes into these universities. We have tried to change it in Colorado. And, again, it‘s not unique just to Colorado. But you have people like Ward Churchill in virtually any major university in the country, I believe, and there‘s very little you can do about it, because of this system of tenure that higher education has set up to protect itself on purpose over the last 50 years.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Governor, thank you so much for being with us. It is an outrage. We are just glad that we have got somebody like you out there on the right side of this battle. We appreciate you being in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.
OWENS: Hey, Joe, thank you much. Good to be back with you. Thank you.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, now, as we reported, earlier this evening, Professor Churchill called a press conference, and he didn‘t show up. But members of his department did. This is what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMA PEREZ, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: We as faculty in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, to stand in full and unconditional support of our colleague Ward Churchill‘s freedom of expression and First Amendment rights. We as faculty in Department of Ethnic Studies of C.U. Boulder urge the Colorado board of regents to abide by principles and written guidelines of academic freedom and scholarly integrity.
Thank you very much for coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, as I said, the University of Colorado board of regents meets on Thursday. They are going to hear a resolution drafted by this man, Regent Tom Lucero.
Mr. Lucero, give me the bottom line. The governor says the regents won‘t have the guts to fire this guy. Could it happen? Has it ever happened before?
TOM LUCERO, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO BOARD OF REGENTS: Actually, in my time on the board, we have dismissed two professors, two tenured professors. So, at this point, I will take issue with what the governor did say. The board has plenty of opportunity to act. At this point, it‘s a Boulder campus chancellor issue.
And we have called this special meeting in part to hear from the Boulder campus chancellor and to hear what his course of disciplinary action is.
SCARBOROUGH: You have drafted a resolution, Tom, right?
SCARBOROUGH: You have drafted a resolution.
SCARBOROUGH: Calling for his dismissal? Tell us about that.
LUCERO: No. The resolution does not directly call for dismissal. It talks—and it‘s interesting, Mrs. Perez‘s comments talking about scholarly integrity.
The resolution strikes at the heart of what tenure should protect. And that is scholarly work. And Professor Churchill‘s essay is anything but scholarly. It‘s propaganda. It‘s rhetorical gibberish. And I would beg any real scholar to get out, take a look at that, and defend the essay as a piece of scholarly work. So, there‘s a lot of work in front of us.
But the issue of tenure, as the governor has addressed, is not a license to say whatever you like. With tenure comes responsibility, and part of that responsibility is a commitment to scholarly excellence, which I don‘t believe Professor Churchill‘s essay meets.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Tom Lucero, we greatly appreciate you being here. Obviously, we want to hear from you after the meeting on Thursday night, but we appreciate you and the governor being with us tonight.
Now, coming up next, some serious threats to your family may come from medicine for the common cold.
And, later, I have got issues, especially with teen magazines making heroes out of anorexic models.
That‘s coming up, plus much more, on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up, old Europe may not be helping us spread democracy, but they are helping with Valentine‘s Day gifts. We are going to tell you about the perfect gift for your sweetie this Valentine‘s Day.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back.
You know, the pope—so many of us talk about Ronald Reagan bringing down the Iron Curtain and Margaret Thatcher. But I will tell you what. It all started with Pope John Paul II in 1981, when he threw his support behind Lech Walesa and solidarity. And it started a revolution that brought down the evil empire. Our thoughts and prayers are with him tonight.
Now, parents out there, you have got to know that your children are more threatened today than ever before. In a minute, we are going to have an amazing report by “The Today Show”‘s Katie Couric on a threat that every parent should know about, predators on the Internet.
But, first, the dangerous drug meth is becoming a drug addiction for thousands of children across the country. And get this. It can come from an almost unbelievable source, simple over-the-counter common cold medicine. Now, some 20 states and the U.S. Senate are trying to limit where cold medicines can be sold.
And here‘s NBC‘s Leanne Gregg with more on meth and that story.
LEANNE GREGG, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Methamphetamine problem in the U.S. is growing in mathematical proportions in part because many over-the-counter cold medicines contain pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in home-cooked meth.
The drug hit the streets over a decade ago, made in superlabs in California. Since then, it has spread aggressively into the heartland, filling every dark corner.
Authorities have found meth labs in homes, hotels, barns, cars, a judge‘s chambers and even inside a church. And lawmakers want it stopped.
SEN. JIM TALENT ®, MISSOURI: It‘s not just sold and used in our neighborhoods and in our schools. It‘s made in addition in our neighborhood.
GREGG: Methamphetamine is the center of a spiderweb of problems. The chemicals used to produce the drug are highly volatile. The cooking process frequently causes explosions. The byproduct can cause severe burns and ravage the nervous system. Users are subject to psychotic behavior and brain damage.
And there is no know medical model for getting people off it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down on the ground.
GREGG: So Senators introduced the Combat Meth Act. The bill proposes putting common cold remedies containing pseudoephedrine behind the pharmacist‘s counter. Similar legislation passed in Oklahoma last year has reduced the number of lab seizures by 80 percent.
The federal measure would also provide more training and money to law enforcement.
LT. LANCE KOOIKER, MID-IOWA NARCOTICS ENFORCEMENT: When you are fighting one drug exclusively, or almost exclusively, every day, it does put a big drain on your resources.
GREGG: Officers are not the only public servants being stretched thin. Social service workers are dealing with a number of so-called meth orphans, children who are getting caught up in the drug epidemic.
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: About half the kids taken out of meth labs are testing positive for meth themselves.
GREGG: Limiting the sale of over-the-counter cold remedies in the U.S. would be a big step, but supplies smuggled in from Canada and Mexico will likely make meth a permanent battlefield in the war on drugs.
Leanne Gregg, NBC News.
SCARBOROUGH: Meth orphans, so sad.
You know, drug addiction from cold medicine is one growing danger to our kids. But as Katie Couric reports, the Internet may pose the newest and biggest threat of all.
This is her report.
KATIE COURIC, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When it comes to your kids, the most dangerous place in the house can be just a keystroke away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s as simple as literally pressing the spacebar, and it will pop up, graphic pornography, and on an 11-year-old‘s screen.
COURIC: A study released by the Justice Department found one in four children online are exposed to unwanted and explicit pornography.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it‘s infuriating, because even though we keep putting the filters on to keep it out, occasionally, they will still filter in.
COURIC: Donna Rice Hughes is president of Enough Is Enough, an organization devoted to keeping online pornography off kids‘ computers.
DONNA RICE HUGHES, PRESIDENT, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: A child can come across pornography just by misspelling a word, for instance, into a search engine, or typing in something that they think would be one type of site, but in fact, it‘s a porn site. And once they get there, oftentimes, they can‘t get out.
COURIC: Don‘t be fooled. Some kids go looking for it, especially teenagers. Sometimes they just can‘t resist the temptation to simply click on something so forbidden, so easy to access, and so pervasive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just needed to type it into the computer, and click, and it would go right to it. It wasn‘t very hard.
COURIC: Two years ago, Matthew (ph), who was then 13, son of a minister and his wife, became obsessed with online porn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It probably was in the multiplied hundreds of sites, maybe more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that‘s when I thought I was monitoring.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Numbing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extremely numbing, because you just have no idea.
And then you go through all sorts of feelings of, OK, where did I fail?
Where did I mess up? What did we do wrong? How come we didn‘t see this?
COURIC: But experts say the greatest online danger isn‘t in the images, but the fact that chat rooms and instant messaging, known as IM-ing, allows predators direct contact with your children, right under your nose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. He is 38. So now we know that we are dealing with an adult, and we have established that we‘re a miner.
COURIC: Los Angeles police Detective Bill Sweeney (ph) poses as a 13-year-old girl to track down online sexual predators. In less than five minutes, the chat takes a frightening turn, right to sex. And estimates are one out of five kids online may, in fact, be solicited by a sexual predator.
DET. JAMES BROWN, LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT: The goal is to have sex with a child, and the only way that can happen, they need to eventually connect. But, generally, these young people think they have found someone very special to them.
COURIC: LAPD Detective James Brown says there are warning signs your child is being targeted.
BROWN: A child who is generally outgoing and communicative with their friends and other people suddenly starts to withdraw. Excessive amounts of time on the Internet and in chat rooms.
COURIC: Two years ago, Tracey Lamb witnessed a dramatic change in her
rMD-BO_TRACEY LAMB, STEPMOTHER: We put spyware on our computer, so we could track what every instant message consisted of, what every e-mail consisted of, what every chat room conversation consisted of. We were doing all we possibly could. And, unfortunately, obviously, it wasn‘t enough.
COURIC: Cynthia, who was then 16, used a library computer to find a sympathetic ear in an online chat room. She met Douglas French, a 34-year-old convicted sex offender and eventually disappeared with him for 10 months.
LAMB: At one point, she said, you know, mom, she goes, now that I know everything about him, he should have and could have killed me. For all intents and purposes, I could be dead.
COURIC: Here‘s what Internet service providers and experts suggest. Constantly monitor your child‘s online activity. Install service provider controls and filtering software.
HUGHES: Pick what is easiest for you as the parent.
COURIC: Keep computers with Internet access where you can see them.
LAMB: I would rather see a child‘s nose bent out of joint because their parents got a little too intrusive vs. have something tragic happen to them.
COURIC: Warn your children about the dangers and learn the lingo. When your kids communicate online, you need to understand what they are talking about.
BROWN: Well, one of the common things you will see is ASL on a chat question. That means age, sex and location. Well, an unsuspecting child will respond to that oftentimes with truthful information.
COURIC: Never give out personal information. And perhaps the most important thing, according to experts, talk to your children.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn‘t want them to catch me doing that. And then once they started talking to me and told me that it was all right and that we worked through it, I started calming down, and we talked about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Megan (ph), who is this?
Most parents, they want to be aware, but we are naive.
BROWN: This Internet that everybody loves so much and is such a cool thing to have has this dark side, and the dark side isn‘t out there. The dark side can come into their home.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up after the break, our political roundtable.
Plus, I will tell you what these women are wearing and why it‘s the perfect gift from old Europe to your sweetheart.
That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next, our political panel debates college radicals. And we are also going to show you how conservatives are striking back at Hollywood elites. That‘s coming up.
But, first, here‘s the latest news your family needs 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: Welcome back to our show.
Now that Hamilton College in Upstate New York has canceled an appearance by the controversial Colorado University professor, the spotlight is once again on the debate over free speech on college campuses. And the question is, has free speech on college campuses gone too far?
With us tonight to talk about this and some of the other hot topics of the day are “New York Post” political reporter Vince Morris, Nancy Pfotenhauer, president of Independent Women‘s Forum. And we have Democratic strategist Michael Brown.
Nancy, let me go to you.
A lot of conservatives have been saying for years that radicals on college campuses have been given a free pass. It seems that those days may be coming to an end. What do you think?
NANCY PFOTENHAUER, PRESIDENT, INDEPENDENT WOMEN‘S FORUM: Well, I think it‘s been a long time coming, but hallelujah. If there‘s parity here, this is a great improvement.
We have, of course, been arguing for a long time that if a conservative professor stepped forward, that they were frequently penalized. And if you looked at how tenure was awarded, you could see a pretty strong pattern of discrimination.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Brown, I want to read you part of a letter that was written by Colorado Governor Bill Owens. He said: “No one wants to infringe on Mr. Churchill‘s right to express himself, but we‘re not compelled to accept his pro-terrorist views at state taxpayer subsidy, nor the banner of the University of Colorado. Ideas have consequences and words have meaning. Mr. Churchill‘s are not simply anti-American. They are at odds with simple decency.”
Michael, is this one of those 90-10 issues that Democrats and Republicans alike can agree on, that if somebody goes out and compares, let‘s say, the victims of 9/11 to terrorists, then maybe they should lose their job as a university professor?
MICHAEL BROWN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think it‘s one of these things that gets debated quite a bit.
And whether it‘s separation of church and state, whether it‘s separation of public universities and state, it‘s one of those things, I think, Joe, we are going to continue to debate for a long time. It‘s one of those things, if somebody doesn‘t agree with what the professor said, then, clearly, that part of the ideological map will stand up and say, well, I don‘t like it. It‘s one of those things we just have to—it‘s one of those case by case, and obviously the courts will eventually have to decide, if somebody wants to file suit.
But until someone loses their job over it, I think then you will see some things happen and maybe some legislation passed.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Well, in this case, should Ward Churchill be fired?
BROWN: I don‘t know, because you read obviously a piece of it. I haven‘t read the whole—I don‘t know the whole context of his statement, so it‘s tough for me to say whether he should be fired or not without reading the whole thing.
SCARBOROUGH: Vince Morris, let‘s talk about Iraq for a little bit. Obviously, we had you on last week. You were laughing at one of our conservative guests when they were talking about how well things were going in Iraq.
You have got to admit, the election went pretty well, that perhaps conservatives and supporters of George Bush may be getting the last laugh on this one.
VINCENT MORRIS, “THE NEW YORK POST”: I admit it, Joe. I was wrong.
And the early indications are the elections were a pretty good success. It‘s probably the best piece of news that President Bush has had in a year or more over in Iraq. And it‘s a great setup for him for his State of the Union tomorrow night.
SCARBOROUGH: I want you to take a listen to what the head of the Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid, had to say regarding Iraq. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: I think if we all look for the day that they can come home. But as far as setting a timeline, as we learned in the Balkans, that‘s not a wise decision, because it only empowers those who don‘t want us there, and it doesn‘t work well to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Vince Morris, obviously, the Democrats went out and are trying to take some of the president‘s—take some of the glow off the president‘s State of the Union address. Do you think they risk sounding like whiners?
MORRIS: They have to be careful, because I think most of the world, not just commentators in the U.S., but foreign leaders in France and in Germany and elsewhere, have praised these elections.
So it really puts Democrats who oppose the war, like Senator Kennedy and—Senator Reid didn‘t oppose the war, but he opposes letting President Bush get credit for it.
MORRIS: It puts them in a tough position, because if they appear too critical, they will seem like they are just coming out of left field, when the early indications are that the elections are going well and these things are on the right track.
BROWN: You know that‘s not right. One thing has nothing to do with the other. Everyone is for good, fair elections. That‘s not the issue.
And if you listen to the statement, he literally talked about what is the plan to get out, what is the peace plan, what is the plan for giving Iraqis all the control and all the power and us getting out of the country.
SCARBOROUGH: I will tell you what. I object. I have got to tell you something. Ted Kennedy was not for a positive outcome on Sunday. When you have United States senator going on the floor of the Senate, criticizing these elections, when you have him holding press conferences three days before these elections, saying that American troops are the problem and not the solution, that is somebody who is sending a signal to Iraqis, don‘t participate in this election.
PFOTENHAUER: Pardon me, but that is...
BROWN: You must have been watching separate statements, because I never saw him say that. What he was talking about is give us a peace plan.
SCARBOROUGH: No, no. Ted Kennedy said specifically, U.S. troops—he said, U.S. troops are the problem and not the solution three days before these elections.
PFOTENHAUER: Which, by the way, if you have spent any time with people over in Iraq—and we have been working extensively with women leaders in Iraq—you weren‘t surprised at all by the elections, because they had been telling us for months, if not for a year, that things that are happening on the ground there are very positive. It‘s only the news coverage here that was completely negative.
MORRIS: If I can add...
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Nancy—hold on.
I want to follow up with that, Nancy, because it‘s interesting you said that. I was in a forum a month before and—with a lot of people that disagreed with me. I was in Manhattan at a forum. And I said, these elections are going to be a success. And everybody sort of laughed. I said, wait a second.
First of all, I talk to the troops every day. They tell me things are going very well over there from the people they talk to. And, secondly, 80 percent of the population, the Shia and the Kurds, are in the majority, and they want these elections to work.
How did the news media miss it so badly, Nancy?
PFOTENHAUER: Well, because they didn‘t want to see it. They didn‘t -
· they desperately didn‘t want to cover it.
And, again, the more you had contact with actual people on the ground out there, the less you were surprised. These people were grateful for our intervention. The country has been on a diet where we saw all the pain and none of the gain. And the news coverage, the news media was forced to cover the gain here, the upside.
And these are people with courage. Their courage is humbling, and they are very, very grateful for our intervention, which, by the way, is ultimately, I believe, the best defense for this country. You have to go at the root cause of the terrorism and our threat. And that‘s what this president has done. He deserves this day.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Vince, the paper you write for has been fairly positive towards this president and this war from the very beginning. I will tell you, what shocked me the most about these elections over the weekend, because I really did believe they were going to be a success, but I was shocked by Al-Jazeera and other Arab media outlets that actually gave this election a positive spin and said, we are not going to allow the terrorist bombs to distract us from the real story.
That is a real revolution in itself, isn‘t it?
MORRIS: Well, part of it, Joe, is, as you know, there‘s a lot of countries, especially in the Middle East, where people aren‘t really familiar with voting. There‘s not a real tradition of a democratic process.
So simply watching those long lines of Iraqis waiting to cast their ballots and let their voices be heard was pretty inspiring, even to people in the Middle East, who are generally opposed to our presence, which they call occupation, as it is, of Iraq. So there were some pretty strong images.
Again, I don‘t think—you don‘t want to read too much into it, because there‘s a lot of steps that need to happen before you have a transitional government here. But at least from the first stage, what we saw on Sunday, it‘s pretty positive. And certainly, as a political issue, it works very well for President Bush heading into his State of the Union address.
PFOTENHAUER: Well, and not only did they...
PFOTENHAUER: Go ahead.
SCARBOROUGH: Go ahead. No, go, Nancy.
PFOTENHAUER: Well, not only did they vote, but they voted in droves. I think the most recent numbers have the turnout at 57 percent. And it could climb up to 60 percent.
So this wasn‘t just, yes, we had the elections and people stood on line and they voted. It‘s people—this was a tremendous breakthrough. And this country, our country, deserves some of the credit for helping that happen.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael, I want to ask you about the situation the Democrats find themselves in.
You have a president who has had very high disapproval ratings historically, and yet he gets reelected. These elections go well. How do the Democrats handle this moving forward? It seems to me, if they are critical of the president, then it‘s very easy to say, well, they are against democracy in Iraq. What do Democrats need to do so they don‘t sound like whiners after the president‘s State of the Union address Wednesday night?
BROWN: Well, for one, I certainly don‘t agree with the characterization of whining.
Clearly, I don‘t think there has been any whining at all. I think it‘s what the party in the minority always does. Certainly, the Republicans did it when Clinton was in office. And this is one of those things, Joe, that we see all the time, and it‘s about standing up for your beliefs and a lot of people that still believe—and not just Democrats. It‘s so easy to focus on Democrats opposing this war and the peace plan—or what peace plan I guess is the issue.
But there are a lot of Republicans, too, as you know, that have stood up and said, wait a minute. What is the peace plan? Why are we spending so much money? When are we going to get out and let the Iraqis really have their government? So, let‘s be careful about the term whining, because it‘s not just Democrats.
One, I don‘t think they‘re whining, but Republicans are standing up, too.
BROWN: So, a lot of people out in the public that are not agreeing with what‘s going on.
SCARBOROUGH: There are a lot of people who are concerned.
Nancy, I will give you the final word.
PFOTENHAUER: What the Democrats need to do is come up with some proposals of their own, rather than just throw rocks at what the president has come up with.
And that means that they better have a proposal to reform Social Security, for example. That is going to be, I think, the centerpiece of the domestic policy portion of the president‘s speech. And it‘s been acknowledged for years by bipartisan commissions that that system is broken and needs to be fixed.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks so much, Nancy, Vince and Michael.
We greatly appreciate your insights.
Now, coming up, I am going to tell you what these celebrities are going to have in common come Oscar night. Stick around to find out, because I have got issues coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, welcome back. I‘m Joe and I‘ve got issues.
First, I‘ve got issues with independent filmmakers in America. Now, last week‘s Sundance Film Festival treated audience members to scenes depicting bloody sheets hung out on clothing lines for a girl, showing her father she was no longer a virgin, a teenage girl drugging and castrating a men twice her age, and a young child discussing bodily fluid exchanges in an Internet chat room. That was on the top of multiple suggestions of incest and incessant talk of sex in many of the feature films.
Hey, here‘s a general reminder to my independent film friends at Sundance. In the immortal words of Cake, excess ain‘t rebelling. They ain‘t buying what you‘re selling.
And on a lighter note, a much lighter note, I have got issues with “Teen Vogue.” Now, the new issue of the magazine is on stands right now, and it‘s aimed squarely at your daughter. It features a headline that reads, “From Mary-Kate to Beyonce, Who Has Got the Body You Want?”
The problem? Well, Mary-Kate Olsen admitted last year that she suffers from anorexia and that she spent her summer in rehab for all of her eating disorders. The messages being sent to young girls everywhere from our friends at Conde Nast is simple. Starvation is a great way to get that body that you have always wanted.
And, as many of you know, I have had a lot of issues with Hollywood celebrities who went overseas to bash President Bush. Well, it turns out, I wasn‘t alone. Stars walking the red carpet at this year‘s Oscar ceremony are going to be treated to view of several billboards that are going to looming over the Kodak Theatre. They‘re rented out by an organization called Citizens United. And the billboard will feature pictures of some of the outspoken anti-Bush celebrities.
And it‘s going to thank them for help getting President Bush reelected. So, what is my issue? How could they have forgotten to include Susan Sarandon?
Now, just up the coast from Oscar ceremonies, another circus is under way. Today was day two of the Michael Jackson jury selection trial.
And with me tonight, again, is Jane Velez-Mitchell from “Celebrity Justice.”
Now, Jane, Michael Jackson wore black today. Yesterday, he wore white. Yesterday, a few more fans, today, a few less. But, actually, your show broke some new information today. Tell us about it.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE”: Well, we certainly did.
“Celebrity Justice” has learned that some of the key evidence against Michael Jackson may have been compromised. We all know, when they raided Neverland back in 2003, they seized a large stash of pornographic materials, books, magazines. And we have been told that one of those magazines reportedly has Michael Jackson‘s fingerprints and the accuser‘s fingerprints on it.
But we have learned that the accuser handled some of those magazines during his grand jury testimony. And, at one point, one of the grand jurors asked, have those magazines been fingerprinted? And the answer was said to be no. And, of course, that opens the door for the defense to say, when were those fingerprints put on that magazine, at Neverland or during the grand jury?
And it reminds me of the garbage-in/garbage-out argument that was used by the defense so effectively during O.J. Simpson. We could be seeing shades of that now.
SCARBOROUGH: How could the prosecutors be that stupid?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, mistakes are made in the course of these massive investigations.
And one of the things that I thought of when I was watching in court the video of this massive raid on Neverland was, wow, there are so many people going through so much stuff. It reminded me of the garbage-in/garbage-out photos that were taken of the crime scene back in the O.J. Simpson case, where every step that everybody made was cross-examined and dissected. And I think you are going to see the same thing here.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Jane, you were again one of the few reporters that were allowed inside the courtroom. You once again got to see Michael Jackson up close. Was he still relaxed, still acting like he had very little to worry about as the jury was being selected?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Day two of this new Michael Jackson, cool, calm and collected, not fidgety, alert, paying attention, taking notes, making eye contact, smiling.
And the judge, of course, said, hey, we have got our 250. We can jump forward now to next Monday and voir dire. And I think it was a good thing for Michael Jackson, because that was quite a performance he put on for two days. I don‘t know if he was going to be able to sustain it for day three, but he won‘t have to. We are all going to get a break and we are going to come back on Monday with 250 who are going to go through the next stage of this jury selection process.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Jane, yesterday, we talked about how Michael Jackson has allowed a lot of people in Santa Barbara County to come to Neverland, that he thought that may be able to help him out with goodwill around the community.
And yet I understand that there weren‘t a lot of fans that showed up today to see him, that, in fact, he may have been outnumbered by—those fans may have been outnumbered by reporters. Is that the case?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The fans were totally outnumbered by reporters. The reporters are still all over the place, and the fans are long gone. I think a lot of people have moved on. What remains are the hard-core, obsessed fans who dress like Michael Jackson and talk like Michael Jackson.
I think his fan base has totally eroded. But you asked me yesterday, could the people in this community, do you think, be fair? So I started asking around, the lady who was serving me coffee this morning. And I said, if you were chosen, do you think you could be impartial? She said absolutely.
What has struck me about the people who have gone into this jury room is how idealistic they are. We in the media are kind of cynical about this case already, but they are not. I think they take this process very, very seriously. There was no giggling today. These people are really aware that they are doing their duty as U.S. citizens. And even the people who asked off said, I would love to serve, either on a shorter trial, Judge. I would love to fulfill my duty, but I just can‘t because I have five kids or I have got a sick spouse.
But I really was impressed by how much integrity they had as citizens.
All right, Jane Velez-Mitchell, as always, thanks a lot. That is great news in and of itself.
Now, still ahead, I‘ll let you know why these clothes from old Europe make the perfect gift for your sweetheart this Valentine‘s Day.
SCARBOROUGH: It ain‘t a chocolate bikini, but you can get the SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY newsletter by visiting our Web site. That‘s Joe.MSNBC.com.
SCARBOROUGH: And now more proof that old Europe really is home for chocolate makers.
Hungry? Well, the 35th annual International Sweets and Biscuits Fair kicked off in Cologne, Germany, and featured a runway show of models dressed in all chocolate clothing. The chocolate dresses and chocolate bikinis looked absolutely delicious. And they get SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY‘s vote for this year‘s best gift for Valentine‘s Day. I will tell you what, again, once again proof that the chocolate makers do some things right, in fact, maybe some of the best exports from Europe since the Beatles.
Well, thanks for watching. And we will see you tomorrow night on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and “AFTER HOURS” with Ron Reagan. That‘s going to be after the State of the Union from President Bush and after the Democrats, I am sure it‘s going to be their absolutely spellbinding response to his address.
We will see you tomorrow night, midnight. Have a great evening.
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