Guest: Harvey Levin, Karen Hanretty, Paul Levinson, Ann Coulter, Peter Brookes, Bob Kerrigan, Gloria Luttig, John Luttig
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight‘s top headline: Christian missionaries murdered by a CIA operation. Now comes the cover-up.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. No passport is required, and only common sense allowed.
American missionaries shot down over Peru with working with the CIA. After a three-year investigation, the DOJ drops the case. Was there cover-up? We are going to be talking to the parents of the murdered missionary.
And then, the Colorado professor who compared 9/11 victims to Nazis apologizes for his anti-American rhetoric. Oh, wait. No, he didn‘t. In fact, he says he is not sorry and he is not going to apologize and he doesn‘t want anybody else to apologize for him. And, oh, yes, he also says that more 9/11s are necessary. We‘re going to be asking author Ann Coulter what she thinks of that.
Later, America loves comedian Bill Cosby. But now allegations that he drugged and groped a woman are reportedly backed up by taped phone calls.
And John Kerry defends himself on “Imus,” but Imus doesn‘t think he defended himself very well.
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.
You know what, I haven‘t seen it all, because I haven‘t seen what‘s happened in this case that I am about to tell you about.
An American missionary and her 7-month-old baby are shot to death in a CIA operation, and now they are having to deal with a cover-up from the feds. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, in 2001, on clear day in Peru, Veronica Bowers, a Christian missionary and mother of two, was killed while she and her family were flying from one camp to another. Somehow, the CIA mistook the missionaries inside their small, slow Cessna plane for drug runners. Bullets ripped through the small plane, killing Ms. Bowers and her 7-month-old baby, Charity. After the plane crashed-landed in the river, Veronica‘s 6-year-old son, Cory, and her husband managed to swim to safety.
After the incident, CIA agents became the subject of what “The New York Times” called the most serious investigation involving the CIA since the Iran Contra scandal. Agents were accused of lying to Congress about their activities, and the Justice Department launched a criminal inquiry. But according to “The Times” and other sources, outraged CIA leaders pressured the Congress to drop the investigation.
Apparently, the intimidation tactic worked. This week, the Justice Department announced it had dropped the investigation. And a Bush administration official was quoted as saying—quote—“A criminal investigation such as this breeds a risk-adverse culture in the CIA.”
Oh, really? Well, even if you were to assume that George W. Bush is unaware of the details of this case, ask yourself this question. How would the president respond if one of his two daughters decided to become a missionary and then that daughter and her baby girl were shot to death in a CIA operation gone terribly wrong, and then the federal government covered up possible criminal conduct by dismissing top secret investigation because of pressure put on it by the same offending agency?
Now, I know that, under those circumstances, George Bush and any father would feel angry and betrayed by his government, and for good reason. Terrible accidents occur. We all know that. But, when they do, there has to be accountability from the top down. That‘s why President Bush must immediately investigate this incident, release the Justice Department findings to the family and the public, and make sure those responsible are held accountable for their terrible, terrible mistakes.
If these agents are innocent, fine. But no one is being served by a federal cover-up that does nothing but bring more pain to a family that‘s already suffered enough. Justice must be done. And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.”
Now, with me to talk about this story are Roni Bower‘s parents. We have Gloria and John Luttig.
It‘s so good to see you all tonight. I feel so terribly for you.
Gloria, I want to start with you.
How do you feel about the federal government just sweeping this under the rug and closing down the investigation?
GLORIA LUTTIG, MOTHER OF KILLED MISSIONARY: Thank you, brother Joe, for having us on.
I want some answers. I want to know why that, at this point, that the Justice Department did a criminal investigation, why has it taken all this time, and why—we knew absolutely nothing about this, nothing. There‘s just so many questions. What is this deal about them lying, lying to the Justice Department?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Ms. Luttig, that‘s the thing that‘s so troubling. They hold this investigation. These four CIA agents go before the United States Senate. Apparently, the senators believe they are lying to them. They conduct an investigation, and then they just dismiss it because the CIA is angry.
I want to ask—John, let me ask you a question.
JOHN LUTTIG, FATHER OF KILLED MISSIONARY: Yes, sir.
SCARBOROUGH: What would you like to say, father to father, to George W. Bush tonight?
J. LUTTIG: I would just like to ask him to sit down with me for just a few minutes and answer some questions that I have. Nobody has ever notified us of anything. We had one phone call right after the incident that President Bush called us and told us he was sorry, that he just can‘t understand how we hurt, because he has two daughters.
SCARBOROUGH: And yet, John, tonight, again, we are talking about a case where your daughter, and your 7-month-old granddaughter were murdered, shot down.
J. LUTTIG: Yes, sir, they were.
SCARBOROUGH: Shot down while serving God.
Four CIA agents reportedly lied to the Senate. The CIA pressures the Justice Department to drop this investigation, according to reports out of “The New York Times,” and you are still here. You haven‘t heard from the Justice Department, the CIA, anybody investigating this. The missionary board hasn‘t heard. How do you conduct an investigation without talking to the principals?
J. LUTTIG: Good question. You tell me.
SCARBOROUGH: And that‘s the question that you want George Bush to answer.
J. LUTTIG: Yes, sir. I would like to ask him that.
G. LUTTIG: And I would like to know why some of the CIA agents, some of the top agents are still serving. And one is in CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thanks so much, Gloria and John. We are going to stay on this story. We appreciate you being with us. And we are going to ask you back.
I want to show you some footage taken, remarkable footage of the day that the plane was shot down, and Roni and her beautiful 7-month-old baby daughter were murdered. This—it was a landing on a river deep in the jungles of Peru. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane is talking to Iquitos tower on VHF.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell them to terminate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don‘t. Don‘t shoot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell them to terminate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: God.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... land back here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. There. You got (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, OK, OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, let‘s just circle over—hang on. Just hang on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They‘re smoking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING SPANISH)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s smoking. Oh, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. He‘s smoking.
SCARBOROUGH: With us now to talk about why the Justice Department dropped the case are renowned Florida attorney Bob Kerrigan, who also follows human rights closely, and also Peter Brookes from the Heritage Foundation.
Bob, a mother and baby are gunned down in the middle of a CIA operation. Apparently, the agents lie to Congress. Pressure is put on an agency, the Justice Department, to drop it, and they drop it. Is that justice?
BOB KERRIGAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ATTORNEY: It‘s not justice. However, there‘s an obscure provision in the Defense Authorization Act of 1995 that actually grants prosecutorial immunity to anybody involved in shooting down one of these planes.
The real gravamen of the wrong, I think, is lying to Congress, and Congress needs to do something about it.
SCARBOROUGH: But they are—the CIA, according to “The New York Times,” the CIA was offended by this investigation, where you have a young mother and her daughter basically blown out of the sky, bleed to death in front of a 6-year-old boy, and yet we have the Justice Department saying, you know what, we are just going to drop it. What can be done?
KERRIGAN: Well, something can be done, and something is odd. Within six months of this event, the United States Senate found culpable negligence by United States officials.
And then Colin Powell within a matter of two or three months said they are going to resume the shootdown. And then two and a half years later, nothing has happened until we get this announcement other than resuming these shootdowns in Colombia just a few months ago.
SCARBOROUGH: Robert Brookes, what‘s wrong with this picture? A young American mother and her 7-month-old baby girl are shot out of the sky. The CIA reportedly lied to Congress. The CIA got offended by it, and the Justice Department dropped the investigation. Something is terribly wrong here.
PETER BROOKES, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Joe, it‘s a terrible tragedy.
There‘s no doubt about that.
But I think—I am curious to know all the facts. I don‘t think we have all the facts yet. This was a very short article in “The New York Times” today. I think we need a full airing of what happened. I agree with you that, if there were, people need to be held accountable. This is very important in our intelligence business. We know this. We know this from Iraq. We know this other issues. But I think we need to know more.
All I saw is the same article you saw in “The New York Times” today, and I don‘t know that anybody was successful in getting this dropped. I think we need a full public airing of what‘s been going on with this case, other than just a very short article in “The New York Times” this morning.
SCARBOROUGH: Robert, I agree with you.
And, Bob Kerrigan, you are from the area where this missionary‘s family is from, where she is from originally. Could it be that the reason why we don‘t know what‘s going on there is because the four-year investigation has been top secret?
KERRIGAN: Well, they ought to bring the family into this top secret involvement.
Joe, the families of the church women killed in El Salvador 25 years ago still have no answers from the United States government on the death of those women serving their church in El Salvador. This is going to get stalled and covered up indefinitely from now on, no question about it.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, gentlemen, we need to blow the lid off the cover-up, if it is going on.
Bob Kerrigan, Peter Brookes, thanks for being with us tonight. We look forward to having you back to talk about this issue. We are going to stay on it until we get answers from the federal government.
Coming up next, Ward Churchill‘s latest outrageous statement. You are not going to believe it.
That‘s when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: More shocking comments from Colorado Professor Ward Churchill, who attacks America and says—what does he say on the taxpayers‘ dime? That we need more 9/11s.
That story next.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, as we told you last week, University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill faces possible firing for comparing 9/11 victims to Nazis and for praising al Qaeda terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans. He called them heroes. The university has 30 days to read everything that Churchill has written. And they may want to read this interview from 2004.
He said—quote—“One of the things I suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary. This seems like such a no-brainer that I hate to frame it in terms of actual transformation of consciousness.”
Now, Denver radio talk show host Peter Boyles spoke to Churchill and the father of a 9/11 victim last week. Let‘s listen to that exchange.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
FATHER OF 9/11 VICTIM: My son was an assistant trader at Cantor Fitzgerald. He was 23, his first job out of college.
WARD CHURCHILL, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: Well, I would like to do something here. I would like to engage you.
PETER BOYLES, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Let me ask him, if I could, before it gets away, Ward, would his son have qualified as one of the little Eichmanns?
CHURCHILL: Yes, he would have.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That is unbelievable. That is just unbelievable that this guy, after this controversy breaks, this guy is telling the father of a dead 23-year-old son that he would qualify as an Eichmann, again, Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi that was the architect of the Holocaust, six million Jews killed. The guy seems like a beast.
Well, author and now DVD star Ann Coulter is with us. It‘s a great honor to have her back in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We also have Fordham University media Professor Paul Levinson.
Ann, let‘s begin with you. And I just got to ask you—again, here‘s the quote. This guy says in 2004: “More 9/11s are necessary.” We hear time and time again that this is about free speech, but I say, if it‘s public university, it‘s about taxpayer-funded speech. What is your take?
ANN COULTER, AUTHOR, “HOW TO TALK TO A LIBERAL (IF YOU MUST)”: Right.
Well, more than that, don‘t call yourself a radical if you have tenure. Everyone else in the world suffers consequences for the things they say, if they said something as outrageous as this. These guys want to go around acting like big radicals, getting laid by coeds with hairy armpits, who probably don‘t like men, by going to conferences and saying, oh, yes, I‘m the one who said that.
And they can say more and more outrageous things because they are never at risk of losing a job, unlike everyone else in the universe. Whatever you say about any of the crazy things professors say, maybe they are right. Maybe they have a very good point. Maybe it‘s worth listening to them. But the one thing you can‘t say about them is they are courageous. Other people are putting their jobs on the lines. So, if you want to be called a radical, then give up the tenure before you start going around shooting off your mouth like this.
SCARBOROUGH: Ann, I have been asking this question of conservatives and of moderates and even some liberals who are offended by this type of talk on campus. Why is it that everybody can be held accountable, but our Republican president, our Republican Senate, our Republican House, our Republican governors, our Republican state legislators all say the same thing, which is we can‘t do anything about it, academic freedom, when, again, we are not talking about free speech? We are talking about speech, that, just like an NEA so-called art display where you put a crucifix in urine, that is subsidized.
It‘s not art, and this is not free speech.
COULTER: No, and it‘s especially preposterous coming from probably the least tolerant of free speech institutions in America, college campuses, where they have speech codes on hate speech and people—students at risk of being expelled for jokes or inappropriate laughing.
I mean, of all places in the world where—and Larry Summers, look over that the furor over that a few weeks ago, when he opined that there might—we might want to have some scientific research into whether there are innate differences between men and women. He was nearly driven out of town, fainting, whining, screeching.
So of all places to be talking about academy freedom. But as many people who engage in free speech for a living know, there are consequences and you could lose your job. You could lose your show. People could not buy your books. You could lose a radio show. This is the one industry where you can‘t be fired for what you say.
And they have the audacity to walk around with the long hair and the shades acting like he‘s a radical. I mean, I really find that more offensive than anything else. This is a little craven chicken who can‘t lose his job squealing about the fact that his tenure is even being considered for revocation right now, show that he knew he had absolute job security, and he would just shoot off his mouth. And it‘s like farting in a church. It‘s just, what‘s the most outrageous thing I can say?
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. And the most interesting thing is, again, for these people at these college campuses to talk about free speech, they have obviously never been a conservative trying to give a speech at a campus, where you are booed and hissed and not allowed to continue.
Paul Levinson, let me bring in here. And I want to ask you to explain to Americans why somebody that speaks, a professor that is paid by the government, by taxpayers, why that person can‘t be held accountable for hate speech, whereas, if somebody works at a private institution, like Fordham, such as yourself, you know, it seems to me that institution should be isolated from taxpayer revolt.
PAUL LEVINSON, DIRECTOR OF MEDIA STUDIES, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, I think you and Ann don‘t understand how tenure works. No one is saying that this obnoxious, disgusting person has some kind of immunity from being fired. And, as a matter of fact, the last I heard, his university is looking over his record, and will make a decision.
SCARBOROUGH: How many tenured professors have been fired at Fordham in the past five years?
LEVINSON: I don‘t know. I have no idea.
SCARBOROUGH: Because they...
LEVINSON: But that‘s not the point. Tenure is not an absolute immunity.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s about as damn close as you can get.
LEVINSON: As a matter of fact, one reason why tenured professors have been fired over the years is there aren‘t enough students in their courses. And for an economic reason, they can‘t be continued at the university.
So there‘s a sort of public myth that university professors with tenure can do anything they want and they can‘t be fired. That‘s just flatly not true.
SCARBOROUGH: I will ask you again, when is the last time that a tenured professor got fired at any institution where you worked?
LEVINSON: The last time a tenured professor got fired at an institution where I worked, I can‘t give you an answer, because I am not an expert on when people get fired.
But I can flatly guarantee you that, if you look over the last, say, 50 years of American history, you will find that there are any number of tenured professors who have been fired, for a variety of reasons.
SCARBOROUGH: Ann Coulter...
LEVINSON: So this is a myth, which it may make you and Ann Coulter happy to imagine it‘s the case, but it‘s not the case. And furthermore...
LEVINSON: To show you that you are wrong, why, then, is the University of Colorado considering whether or not to continue...
SCARBOROUGH: I will tell you why, because for the first time...
LEVINSON: Because tenure is not an absolute guarantee.
SCARBOROUGH: For the first time in 30 years, since radicals have taken over campus, it‘s taken a clown like Ward Churchill to wake Americans up and say enough is enough.
LEVINSON: It‘s nonsense to say that radicals have taken over campuses.
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, good God. What are they, conservatives?
LEVINSON: There‘s a very vibrant Republican Party. One of my students by the name of Lara Hanson organized a debate between Democrats and Republicans.
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m not talking about Fordham specifically.
LEVINSON: Then don‘t say radicals have taken over campuses. That‘s just not true.
SCARBOROUGH: Are you suggesting that there‘s an equal conservative presence on campus?
LEVINSON: Yes, I am suggesting that if you look at the last election...
SCARBOROUGH: You are suggesting that?
LEVINSON: Yes. I think that there are conservatives. There are radicals.
SCARBOROUGH: Among professors?
LEVINSON: It‘s a continuum. Conservatives like to put up as sort of a boogeyman...
SCARBOROUGH: College professors? Are you saying there‘s an equality among college professors in America between liberals and conservatives? Because if so, and I fat Fordham..
LEVINSON: Have you done a survey? Do you know that there isn‘t?
SCARBOROUGH: Well, actually, there was a survey out six months ago that said seven out of eight—it was reported in “The New York Times” that seven out of eight, tenured professors, interviewed said they leaned to the left. But I‘ll tell you what.
LEVINSON: Nobody asked me in that survey.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I will tell you what, though. You know what? My son wants to go to school in New York. And he‘s looking at Fordham. If it‘s that split down the middle, I am going to order him to go.
SCARBOROUGH: Ann Coulter, am I—listen, I respect Paul Levinson, but there‘s a part of me that says he is kind of like Dan Rather when Dan Rather said, “The New York Times” biased? Wait a second. “The New York Times” is in the mainstream of American politics.
COULTER: No. In fact, I think I can tell you the last time a professor in the United States of America had his tenure revoked. My law firm defended him here in New York, Professor Levin—I think it was at CCNY—for academic articles he had written on ethics that were not P.C.
SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say, he must have been a conservative.
COULTER: Yes. It was a major investigation into—it was directly on free speech.
And I think the point that Professor Levinson doesn‘t understand is that in industries other than teaching with tenure, it doesn‘t take 17 TV shows featuring your comments every night for you to have your job at risk. You can be fired a lot faster.
SCARBOROUGH: We are going to have to leave it there.
But, Ann Coulter and Paul Levinson, thank you so much. I have always loved Jesuit institutions. I think my son is going to be going to one in a year and a half, whether he likes it or not.
Joey, return the card to Fordham University.
Still ahead on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, female soldiers just having fun in the mud find themselves in military quicksand. Now, that‘s a tease. We will talk about and much more with my political roundtable coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next, from Bill Cosby to the Super Bowl to Britney Spears, plus, female soldiers mud wrestling. Well, let‘s just say you would be wise to stick around. That‘s coming up.
But, first, let‘s get the latest news that 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: Hey, we are back here with Ann Coulter. She‘s got a new DVD coming out. And “The New York Post” today calls it a behind-the-scenes look at Ann‘s life.
And sort of—they were a bit snide, Ann. Tell me about it.
COULTER: Well, I didn‘t see the “Post” item. Apparently, they claim I am behind this and, actually, you just implied by saying I have a DVD coming out.
It wasn‘t my idea. I didn‘t do any of the editing, the participation in the content, the merchandising, the packaging. In fact, I haven‘t even seen it. It was someone else‘s project. I merely cooperated.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, so “The Post” wrote that.
COULTER: And I thank you for asking me. Usually, when nasty, untrue things are said about me, you get the bust. You never get the counterbust. This is not my DVD. It‘s a DVD about me. I haven‘t seen it. Maybe they have, so, apparently it‘s a good DVD, but I think I still want to watch it.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Let‘s talk.
I want to bring in Karen Hanretty right now.
But, Ann, I want to talk about the president‘s budget today. The media‘s take on the budget has been mixed. “The New York Times” said that it cuts veterans‘ benefits and cuts benefits to grandmas and kids and furry barnyard animals. “USA Today” and others say it doesn‘t cut enough. We have talked about how this president and this Republican Congress have spent money irresponsibly.
Do you think George Bush and the Republicans in Washington have backed themselves into a corner it‘s going to be hard to get out of now that we‘ve got the largest deficit, the largest debt ever, and Republicans acting like big spenders?
COULTER: I hope so.
There is a good complaint, that we are supposed to be the party of smaller government. Well, we have the House and Senate now. It is Congress that is responsible for the purse. So, I think they will have something to answer for if they don‘t cut the budget.
Most of all, I want to see if liberals are as concerned about the deficit as they were when we were cutting taxes.
SCARBOROUGH: Karen Hanretty, you‘re a Republican strategist also. How could the Republicans have acted so irresponsibly over the past four years and led Americans to the largest deficit and the largest debt ever?
KAREN HANRETTY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, you know, Joe, there was an interesting report that came out today that says that, with regard to education spending, $66 billion went unspent by states across the country.
So, while Democrats are out there complaining about spending cuts to education and all of their pet projects, I think it‘s important that finally this president is stepping up, looking at how money is being spent. And is there wasteful spending? And I think, if you ask just about any voter, certainly in California, but throughout the country, if they think that there is waste and abuse in government, they will unanimously agree, regardless of blue state, red state.
So I think that the spending is certainly long overdue. And I think it‘s a positive signal for Republicans.
SCARBOROUGH: It could be positive if they do it.
OK. So let‘s say that all voters say that there is waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government. Well, the Republicans have controlled the White House. They have controlled the Senate. They have controlled the House of Representatives since 2001. And now John McCain is even saying he is afraid that members of Congress won‘t even go along with the president on these budget cuts. What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to spending?
HANRETTY: Well, I think that John McCain is right to raise this issue.
I think that there are a lot of Republicans across the country who have been very concerned about how fiscally conservative this administration is, although granted, the spending in this administration has gone up due to homeland security and the military.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, everything, farm subsidies. You name it.
HANRETTY: Well, and I think it‘s...
SCARBOROUGH: If you want money from the federal government, this president has given it.
HANRETTY: Well, and I think that he is in an interesting position right now, and we‘ll see if the Republicans—I hope the Republicans have the courage to stand up and support this president, who is saying, you know, maybe we need to cut back on some of our farm subsidies and Amtrak and some other pet projects that, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, and you are looking to get reelected, these are the issues you run on.
And I am hoping that the Republicans have the courage to stand up, support this president and say, moving forward, we have got to get spending under control.
SCARBOROUGH: Let‘s hope so.
HANRETTY: We know what happens when that doesn‘t happen. We have seen what happens here in California when spending is out of control.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Let‘s hope so, because spending is out of control everywhere.
Now, Ann, today, the French said they want to make nice with America. The French foreign minister said his country wants a fresh start in relations with the United States. And his comments come one day before Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visits Paris. But it‘s a little late, isn‘t it? They obviously read the headlines from the Sunday elections. And they don‘t mean it.
COULTER: No, but it‘s interesting that the French are ready to start being nice about America. Liberals aren‘t yet. Maybe Chirac should run the Democratic National Committee, instead of Howard Dean. They are sounding a little warmer toward Bush than liberals are.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Bush is also, though, sounding warmer to what Rumsfeld called old Europe than he did in the first term. Obviously, he and Condoleezza Rice have been stressing that they need to reach out to Europe. They need to bring this alliance back together. Do you think that‘s going to work or you think...
COULTER: It must be the influence of that magnificent new secretary of state we have, Condoleezza Rice, whom the Democrats opposed.
Karen Hanretty, what is your response? Should we reach out to France or should we tell them, too late?
HANRETTY: Well, you know, this has got to be a very difficult day for France. And I am sure that it was not without a little bit of trepidation that they made that statement.
And the thought of France surrendering to America has a bit of a nice ring. But I am sure that people like Condoleezza Rice would be much more gracious than perhaps myself or Ann Coulter. But we‘ll see what France does and what their true motives are. And I think a lot of us suspect that they have ulterior motives. So I guess, in the coming months, we will see if they actually cooperate with the United States or not.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, women, ladies, I want to ask you a question.
Ann, I will start with you. It‘s a tough question. OK. So you decide you want to serve the United States military. You are in Iraq for, I don‘t know, a year or so. People are shooting at you. Your life is on the line. Right before you are about to come home, you and your company go out. You have a little fight in mud. And after dodging bullets, after risking your life, because you are in a mud wrestling contest, you get demoted. And the American media seems to be making it an international incident.
Do you think that‘s fair treatment of these women that have been demoted?
COULTER: I think you got the wrong girl here. You lost me the moment you said, I am in the military.
COULTER: I would like a United States military capable of winning wars, which will not involve sending girls to do fighting. No, from the moment you start sending women in to do the fighting, you have lost me.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Karen, Hanretty, I will ask you the same question.
HANRETTY: I am not going to argue the military‘s criteria for demoting soldiers.
But I think that, once again, the media has proven that, on a slow news day, they can turn women mud wrestlers into a major international incident. All the while, they ignore stories of schools being built and all of the improvements in Iraq. They don‘t want to tell those stories. They want to sink to reality TV, but, increasingly, that‘s what the media does.
COULTER: Well, apparently, it‘s also what these girls did.
HANRETTY: Well, you know what? If men were mud wrestling, would this be a story all over the Drudge Report and the Internet and television?
COULTER: No. No, it would not.
HANRETTY: No, it wouldn‘t.
COULTER: And I think you can check with Larry Summers on whether there could be an innate difference between men and women. And, yes, I think it‘s appalling that these women are mud wrestling, but I think it‘s appalling that they are in the military.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring in Jim Warren right now with “The Chicago Tribune.”
HANRETTY: Well, I would not agree with that.
SCARBOROUGH: Jim, I want to ask you a question that I asked Ann and Karen before regarding the president‘s budget. I know you have been fighting traffic. Thanks for being with us.
SCARBOROUGH: Do you think George Bush, who is now getting attacked from both sides for his new budget, do you think he has backed himself into a corner with the largest deficit and debt ever that he is not going to be able to get out easily?
JIM WARREN, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, “THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE”: No, although I have to first put aside this discussion of mud wrestling.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, no, but, well, please...
WARREN: I just had this image of Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard...
SCARBOROUGH: Mud wrestling.
WARREN: ... being involved in mud wrestling in Iraq.
I think, if you put aside the facile and certainly the easy criticisms, this—what he presented today does not take note of the cost of Iraq, of Afghanistan, of whatever his Social Security plan is. I still think you can argue that it is quite notable. He is taking, attempting to take a whack, as you know, former Congressman, at some truly politically sensitive matters, which include agricultural subsidies.
It also includes something like medicines for vets. So I have got to hand it to him for having the nerve to try to do that and also in taking a whack at discretionary spending. For those whose eyes glaze over, that‘s the stuff that folks like Joe Scarborough‘s old colleagues in Congress actually have a chance to take a shot at.
SCARBOROUGH: That you can actually control, right.
WARREN: That you can actually control.
SCARBOROUGH: Outside of Social Security, outside of Medicare, outside of the mandatory spending.
Well, Jim, what...
WARREN: The real question...
SCARBOROUGH: Are Republicans going to follow him, for instance, let‘s say Republicans in red states, on farm subsidies?
WARREN: Well, you know, you tell me.
Tell me about some Republicans in Florida who might be very sensitive to sugar subsidies. Tell me about some folks in other parts of the South who might be very sensitive to cotton subsidies. I think the devil is in the details. And the devil is who is going to be lobbying for the most powerful force, as you know, in that town, which is the status quo. They are going to get a lot of Republicans on the Hill who are going to say, no way, don‘t want you to go after those veteran benefits, no way, don‘t want you to go after those ag subsidies.
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, as a representative of Florida, I saw people voting for the peanut subsidies, voting for the sugar subsidies. I voted against them, but I am not in Washington anymore.
WARREN: On the surface, this does hint at being quite serious about the deficit. Now, it‘s not in the same ballpark as one of those Clinton budgets, which you well remember, which, by and large, was DOA, dead on arrival, when it got to at least the Republican-controlled House.
It‘s a little different here. It will be a little bit more interesting here.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Jim, Ann and Karen, thanks so much for being with us. We greatly appreciate it.
And I have got to tell you, I am going to be watching the House and Senate Republicans, who got elected to Congress talking about how conservative they were on fiscal issues. And the second they got up there, the second Republicans got in control of everything, they decided they wanted to stay in control, so they started spending money at a rate that even Democrats never spent.
Now, that makes a lot of my Republican friends angry, but you know what? It‘s the facts. Don‘t be mad at me. Be mad at your Republican so-called conservative Republican senator. You write them a letter and tell them it‘s time to get the deficit and the debt under control, or else you and your children and your grandchildren are going to pay for it.
Now, coming up next, I have got issues with John Kerry. He tried to defend himself today on “Imus,” but Imus doesn‘t think he did such a great job.
I‘ll tell you about that coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Just another manic Monday, and I‘ve got issues.
First of all, I‘ve got issues with Senator John Kerry. This morning on the “Imus” show, the senator responded to the Cheney family‘s complaints at Kerry‘s mention of Mary Cheney being a lesbian during the third and most important presidential debate.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, “IMUS IN THE MORNING”)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: They had talked a number of times themselves publicly about their daughter with considerable pride. And I thought I was doing it in a constructive, decent, gentle way. It was intended, and we made it very, very clear, as nothing more than affirmation of their own family‘s love for her.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: An affirmation of love. I feel like getting with the senator and singing “We Are the World.”
Senator, are you serious? In the most important debate of your life, you bring up the fact that the vice president‘s daughter is lesbian, and you want to pretend that you were doing the vice president and his family a favor? You know what? If they had wanted that out there publicly in that forum, you know, you should have let the president say it. Or John Edwards, when he brought it up also, should have let the vice president say it. Not good.
And I have got issues with last night‘s Super Bowl ads. Now, I thought the funniest ads of the night belonged to CareerBuilder.com—or .net—which featured a man surrounded by monkeys in the workplace. I just love monkeys. I don‘t know what there is about them.
But a more controversial ad mocked last year‘s wardrobe malfunction. So, did I find that ad offensive? Well, absolutely not. At least not as offensive as I found the ad for Cialis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CIALIS AD)
NARRATOR: Cialis is the only erectile dysfunctional tablet clinically proven to not only work fast, but also work up to 36 hours. Side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backup for muscle ache. Erections lasting longer than four hours, though rare, require immediate medical help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t want to see it. I just—I don‘t want to see it. Thank you, Cialis, for ruining that song for me forever. I‘ll no longer be able to hear the Ronettes without hearing a voice-over speaking of glory of overwhelming erectile dysfunction.
Again, thank you, Cialis. Now, leave. Go home. No mas.
And, finally, I have got issues with forgetful pop stars. Britney Spears is suing eight insurance companies for $10 million for failing to pay up after a knee injury forced the diva to cancel last year‘s summer tour. The insurance companies say they are not paying, and for good reason, because Britney told them she had no previous injuries, when in fact she already had knee surgery once.
But Britney claims she forgot about the surgery and the injury because it healed up. Hey, Britney, you are 22 years old, and this ain‘t like marriage. You should be able to remember having a knee surgery four years ago, when you were 18 years old. I think you‘re out of luck. The insurance companies win on this one.
And now one from “Celebrity Justice.” Two weeks ago, a female acquaintance of Bill Cosby claimed the sitcom dad drugged and fondled her in January of 2004. Mr. Cosby‘s publicist has called the charges categorically false.
And with me now to talk about it more, from “Celebrity Justice” is Harvey Levin.
Harvey, give us the very latest on what you know.
HARVEY LEVIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, “CELEBRITY JUSTICE”: Well, we know that there‘s an ongoing police investigation.
We also know that Bill Cosby has told the cops in Philadelphia he did have a sexual encounter with this woman. The difference is, he says it was purely consensual. And here‘s what‘s really interesting about the case. This woman maintained a cordial relationship with Bill Cosby all last year. And, in fact, seven months after this incident, we know that she actually called Bill Cosby and said, look, I would love to go to your concert near Toronto, your performance. Can you get me tickets for myself and my parents?
And Cosby actually got them tickets. It wasn‘t this woman who complained. Last month, it was her mother that contacted Cosby and got really upset. And we are told from sources connected with Cosby that the mother made overtures about getting some kind of money from Cosby.
SCARBOROUGH: I was going to ask, is there any proof out there that this mother, again, not the daughter who was involved in the incident, but this mother actually saw an opportunity to shake down a public figure like Bill Cosby and thought, hey, I am going to milk this for all it‘s worth?
LEVIN: Well, Joe, that‘s exactly what Cosby‘s people are saying happened. We are told that she didn‘t make a specific money demand. She merely talked around it and said it would be nice if you would help with my daughter‘s education. It would be nice if you would help her out. They never really talked about a specific amount.
But we know that Cosby actually called her at one point, called the mother and basically said, look, what can we do to work it out? Not that he was worried about any kind of criminal allegation, because he had no idea at the time. He just didn‘t want the embarrassment of this happening. So, before she went to the cops, we are told these conversations occurred where there were these overtures about dough.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, Harvey, thanks for being with us. We are going to ask you to come back as we follow this story. Again, it sounds like a pure shakedown operation to me. Thanks for being with us.
And we will be back with some amazing footage of a multimillion-dollar home being ruined by rain. That‘s coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: My blog today talks about media bias in covering the president‘s new budget. You can read that and much more on my Web site at Joe.MSNBC.com.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, there‘s some very unhappy homeowners in Southern California, as several multimillion-dollar homes are sliding off their foundations and down hills.
After last month‘s torrential rain, this home in Anaheim Hills, California, has been one that‘s been declared unlivable and is literally sliding away. Witnesses say they can hear windows popping and the house slowly ripping apart. Ugly scene out there.
Now, if you can, send us an e-mail. Tell us what you think about the show and what you want to see. You can do that by e-mailing me at Joe.MSNBC.com. We will be reading your e-mails as we move forward on a lot of these stories we have been talking about, whether it‘s eradicating radicalism on college campuses or whether it‘s about the CIA cover-up of these Christian missionaries being killed. Whatever it is, e-mail us at Joe.MSNBC.com.
Hey, we appreciate you being with us tonight. Thanks so much.
And you can catch Senator Joe Lieberman tomorrow morning on “Imus in the Morning.” And, of course, that‘s “Imus in the Morning” live from MSNBC world headquarters.
See you tomorrow.
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