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MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript

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SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY 22:00

March 24, 2004 Wednesday

TRANSCRIPT: # 032400cb.471

SECTION: NEWS; INTERNATIONAL

LENGTH: 7014 words

HEADLINE: SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY For March 24, 2004

BYLINE: Joe Scarborough

GUESTS: Yale Galanter; Catherine Crier; D. James Kennedy; Jay Sekulow; Michael Newdow; Paul Kengor; Peter King; Dee Dee Myers

HIGHLIGHT:
Did President Ronald Reagan's deep faith shape his administration and his policies? One man's crusade to oust God from the nation's pledge reaches the Supreme Court. The woman who accused Kobe Bryant of rape was forced to testify about her sex life in court today.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Let me say, I was not that critical-I'm not that critical of the Clinton administration. Let me just say that. I think more had to be done. And a lot of that is with hindsight.

But with Dick Clarke, the reason I am impugning his character, Dee Dee, what he's saying today is totally different than what he said a year and a half ago. It's not a question of nuance. He's saying that President Bush increased covert action by 500 percent. He's saying that we changed our policy to Uzbekistan, to Pakistan, how President Bush continued to do everything Bill Clinton was doing and wanted to more.

If he wants to have honest disagreements, that's one thing. But the way he's on television blasting-you talk about impugning his integrity. What he's saying about President Bush is totally out of line based on what he said a year and a half ago himself.

MYERS: Well, that's one small slice. We don't know about all the bureaucratic infighting.

We do know that Dick Clarke was a hard charger inside. And he's always-he roughed a lot of people up. A lot of people didn't like him personally. But almost nobody who worked with him, including Condoleezza Rice, ever thought that he was doing anything but the best job he could and that he was the foremost expert. And I think he always had questions.

And if you go back to people that talked to him contemporaneously during his time in the Bush administration, he had questions about the policy. He had questions about the Clinton policy. So why shouldn't he bring this out now? Why shouldn't we have a debate about this?

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, though. He's bringing it out now, though, in the middle of an election year.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: He's got a book to sell.

MYERS: Right.

SCARBOROUGH: He goes on "60 Minutes" selling the book, says inflammatory statements that he's never said before. People are saying, it looks awfully ideological and it looks like he's trying to make a quick buck.

MYERS: If he's an ideologue, he's a hawk, OK?

Everyone who's worked with him over the last 30 years agrees with that. If he's an ideologue, he's a hard-charging hawk. Second of all, he couldn't have known what was going to be happening at this moment when he signed his book contract. OK, now, I have nothing against the guy writing a book about an issue that he spent 30 years working on.

He has some disagreements with both administrations. What's wrong with that? And why shouldn't we have a debate about this? Every time someone comes out of the Bush administration and has criticism, their character is assassinated by these folks.

KING: First of all, he's questioning the president's integrity. He's going beyond honest differences. He's questioning the president's integrity. He's questioning the president's commitment to terror.

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS: I don't think he's questioning his integrity. Maybe his commitment to terror before 9/11.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: On "60 Minutes," this is what he said-quote-Frankly, I find it outrageous that the president is running for reelection on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it," which is exactly of what he said in his resignation letter, where he said: "It's been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months. I will always remember the courage, determination, calm and leadership you demonstrated on September 11."

MYERS: That's a polite letter. And September 11 is a specific moment in time. It does not in any way endorse his antiterrorism policy. And that's the one moment I almost interrupted you in your rant.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: But he didn't just limit it to September 11. In the resignation letter, he talked about him having a vision to fight the global war on terror. I just think, again, it sounds awfully suspicious.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Yes, but now he is saying that President Bush ignored terrorism. That is what he is saying. That is a terrible charge to make against the president of the United States, when a year and a half ago he was chronicling all of the things that President Bush had done.

MYERS: But let's look at his record.

He asked to be transferred out of his job in counterterrorism, according to his testimony today, because he said people weren't paying enough attention to him. He was trying to raise the flag and people were not taking his urgent warnings seriously. So he asked to be moved into cyberterror, where he said he thought he could make a contribution. That was what he was feeling inside. Look at the record of-the contemporaneous record of what he was doing.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Yes, there's also a personal change.

What President Bush did was, he did make the CIA director his top person on intelligence. Now, President Clinton did not meet with the CIA director. In fact, Jim Woolsey never met one on one the whole time that he was CIA director. President Bush changed the policy. Rather than meet with Dick Clarke, he was meeting with George Tenet, who was also a Bill Clinton holdover.

So, to me, President Bush was showing his commitment to the war on terror and he decided to deal through George Tenet, who had all of the intelligence, and have Dick Clarke deal with the subdeputy.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Dee Dee Myers, let me ask you-we've got 30 second left. I want to ask you, do you think there is going to be any political fallout from this as we move through the campaign?

MYERS: I think there's going to be a debate about President Bush's handling of the war on terror. I think we didn't have that prospect a couple of months ago. We have it now. This is something the Bush campaign certainly doesn't want. They want to have him as the leader of the free world fighting terror.

KING: As a partisan Republican, I look forward to a debate on the war on terrorism, because President Bush has provided great leadership and I look forward to that debate.

And Dee Myers

(CROSSTALK)

MYERS: We'll meet at the barricades.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH: Meet at the barricades again.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And she will say, King, you were right once again.

SCARBOROUGH: All right, Peter King, Dee Dee Myers, thank you so much for being with us tonight.

And coming up, President Reagan's deep faith shaped his administration and his policies more than we ever thought. We're going to be talking to a Reagan expert about some of the great communicator's statements on his connection to God.

And speaking of the word God, an atheist is trying take the words "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. And he's taking the fight all the way to the Supreme Court. We'll talk to Michael Newdow and his amazing story next.

Plus, I've got issues with "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell. He's famous for being a crouch, but this time he took his irritability a little too far.

Stick around. We'll be right back.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

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