MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript

By:  Pete King
Date: March 12, 2004
Location: Unknown


MSNBC

SHOW: SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY 22:00

March 12, 2004 Friday

HEADLINE: SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY For March 12, 2004

BYLINE: Peggy Noonan; Dan Abrams; Mike Taibbi; Joe Scarborough

GUESTS: James Hirsen; Rabbi Shmuley Boteach; Bill Donahue; Peter King; Carl Bernstein; Peter King; Christine Iverson; Michael Meehan

HIGHLIGHT:
How will the deadly terror attacks in Spain affect the battle for the White House? NBC uncovers explosive details in the Michael Jackson case. Why do some say "The Passion" is a propaganda film, but others say it has changed their lives?

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
SCARBOROUGH: Peter King, is George Bush a radical when it comes to foreign policy?

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Actually, he might be.

And I think it's time to have a radical transformation of our foreign policy. Let me say, I agree with everything Carl Bernstein said about the trivialization of this debate. Listen, obviously, George Bush doesn't want soldiers being killed in Iraq. And John Kerry does want to defend our country. So we should really get all those issues off the table.

But there is really a large issue as to how we address foreign policy. What President Bush is saying obviously there's intelligence aspects. There's policing aspects. And we're working very closely-this is one issue where we do work closely with the French, the Germans, Spanish. We can go through the whole list of them.

But President Bush would be more willing to take preemptive military action, as he did in Iraq-and we could have a side debate on whether or not Iraq was correct. I believe it was. But it shows that he is more willing to use the military in a preemptive way, because he believes that's essential to this war on terrorism. And it's going to be a war that goes on for five, 10 or 15 years.

SCARBOROUGH: Yes.

KING: And we can't just afford to sit back and wait.

And it's a question really of whether or not President Bush has shown the leadership. I think he has. It's a question of whether or not Senator Kerry would really be willing to take what I believe are the necessarily military actions. And that's what this debate should be about, not questioning motives.

SCARBOROUGH: Peter King, CIA Director George Tenet, as you know, told Congress that future attacks are inevitable.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR: For the growing number of jihadists interested in attacking the United States, a spectacular attack on the U.S. homeland remains the brass ring that many strive for with or without encouragement by al Qaeda central leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH: It sounds like he's saying the attacks are inevitable.

Let me start with you, Peter King.

Can John Kerry protect America from those attacks?

KING: Well, I'm on the Homeland Security Committee. There's no doubt attacks are being planned. They are inevitable. Whether or not we stop them is the issue.

I think President Bush would do a better job. I think you have to wage this war many ways. And one thing is to keep al Qaeda off base, to keep them off stride, off balance. And you do that by the mixture of military intelligence and policing. I think President Bush would do it in a more aggressive way than John Kerry. And that will make more effective in the war against terrorism.

SCARBOROUGH: Peter King?

I'm sorry. Carl Bernstein, respond.

BERNSTEIN: I would respond that the key to Bush's approach is what we saw in Iraq.

And it really is worth debating whether that was the way to attack terrorism. His response immediately after September 11, I think there's agreement on both sides of the political aisle that his immediate response was really very, very smart and able. And I think that there are a lot of people that believe it disintegrated soon after that and that he's been saying things that are not quite in line with the facts.

And particularly the question that needs to be debated is, was Saddam Hussein and his country a terrorist threat? I've been to Baghdad. I spent a month there. It was a Stalinist state. It was not a terrorist state. Was it a terrible place? Was this an awful man? Is there a doctrine of preemption that we ought to be debating? Yes.

But let's have the debate that I think both Peter and I are talking about here and get off this very simplistic train. Let's look at the question of economic security. We need economic security as part of national security. And right now, we have an economic debacle on our hands as a result of the tax cuts that are causing states to raise their taxes.

SCARBOROUGH: All right, thanks a lot, Carl Bernstein.

And, as always, Congressman Peter King, we appreciate you also coming to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

And coming up, last year, the family of Michael Jackson's accuser called him a blessing. But now they say he got their 12-year-old drunk and molested him. What caused them to change their tune?

And then:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, "VANITY FAIR": His sadomasochistic, Leni Riefenstahl-style of directing reminds me very much of fascist propaganda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH: And if you thought "The Passion" was bloody, wait until you see the beating Christopher Hitchens gave Mel Gibson last night.

Stick around, because we're going to show you more of that inflammatory interview and see what SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY viewers think about that verbal assault. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH: Up next, an NBC exclusive. The family of Michael Jackson's accusers tell two different versions of events. Which one is true? And could this kill the prosecution's case against Jackson?

Stick around. That's next.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT