SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY For February 10, 2004
BYLINE: Pat Buchanan; Flavia Colgan; Jack Jacobs; Chris Matthews; Joe Scarborough
GUESTS: Jake Goldenflame; Joe Tacopina; Bo Dietl; Donna Rice Hughes; Anka Radakovich; John Shadegg; Rick MacArthur; Peter King
Democrats duke it out in two Southern states, as President Bush remans under heavy fire this week over his military service record. Congress holds hearings on Janet Jackson's Super Bowl stunt. Could one Iowa judge's decision put children at risk?
SCARBOROUGH: Congressman Peter King, are we talking about something that's just about politics, or is this about a military deserter?
REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: No, I think it's entirely about politics.
The first is that service in the National Guard is honorable service. People forget that one of the most decorated Army units in Vietnam was an Army National Guard unit. In the year that President Bush joined the Air National Guard, there I think there were over 10,000 Air National Guardsmen who were activated during the Vietnam War.
So the fact is, this is honorable service. As far as whether or not he was at meetings, he received the honorable discharge. And this is one of these things where the Democrats are saying, he has to prove that he didn't do something, when the fact is, there's no evidence that he did in any way violate his oath. There's no evidence at all that he was AWOL.
The fact that he was from the Texas National Guard serving in Alabama, you can see why all the records aren't there. But no one can prove anything. No one can say that he wasn't there. The person who was in charge of determining whether or not he was entitled to a discharge back then said that he was. So I think this is a totally phony issue. It's a wrong issue.
Listen, I give John Kerry tremendous credit for what he did. But to be going after President Bush to me is really disgraceful. And to me, it's a bit of a sign of overreach by the Democrats. And they think, right now, they're getting favorable treatment from the media, so they can afford to pile on. I think it's going to catch up to them.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Flavia, 12 years ago, Democrats fought to keep Vietnam from becoming a campaign issue. And this is what John Kerry said-quote-"We do not need to divide America over who served and how."
Who's right, John Kerry in 1992 or John Kerry in 2004?
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, Peter King, let me bring you in here, because, you know, some family members of the 9/11 victims don't think the commission is getting enough access to the president's intelligence.
And one widow said this: "It sends a dangerous signal to all future presidents if 3,000 people die on your watch and you can still stonewall, prevent a full investigation and escape any accountability or responsibility."
Peter King, you represent some of the 9/11 victims. Don't you think we owe it to them to get to the bottom of this by releasing all the information the president has?
KING: Well, certainly we have an obligation to the families. We have an obligation to the country.
But it's absolute insanity to be subjecting, somehow, that President Bush or President Clinton had anything to do with 9/11 or they're covering up for the Saudis. This is just crazy conspiracy thought.
MACARTHUR: I didn't say they had anything to do with 9/11. Wait a minute.
KING: I'm not talking to you.
MACARTHUR: I said that they're worried about things coming out about connections with the Saudis. We've already seen Clinton embarrassed. And Bush is also afraid of being embarrassed.
KING: Listen, I didn't interrupt you.
First of all, nobody is afraid of being embarrassed. And I'm glad to see you reminded me that you know what's on President Bush's mind. The fact is, I do know quite a bit about September 11. I've looked into quite a bit. And I'm sure there's-more can come out as to who did what going back 10 or 15 years.
But to suggest any bad motives or evil motives or any talk of cover-up is absolutely disgraceful.
KING: Let me finish. Let me finish.
This issue is much too serious for that. The fact is, the president has turned over every document that's been asked for. What we're talking about as far as some of these intelligence briefings to the president, they were made available to a number of people on the commission, but not all of them, because there was so much sensitive material in it.
Now, apparently, it's going to be made available to the entire commission. There's reasons why, never in history, has the daily briefing of the president been made available like this, because there are reasons because of the sensitive sources.
KING: And even suggesting that there's anything with Saudi Arabia, that somehow President Bush is worried about that, I don't see any need to worry at all.
He's shown great leadership. And to suggest that President Clinton let bin Laden go because of some kind of dealing with the Saudis, obviously, our relationship with the Saudis, as with any country in that area, is very sensitive. But to suggest somehow, I think you said before dirty secrets or dirty dealings is absolutely disgraceful. You and "Harper's" should be ashamed of yourself.
MACARTHUR: Congressman, don't you want to know, for example, why all the members of the bin Laden family were allowed to leave the United States who wanted to leave the United States, what, within a week of 9/11? Don't you want to know that?
KING: Wait a minute
Colin Powell has addressed-that's no secret. Colin Powell has discussed that often. The fact is that that was a diplomatic decision made. It was done openly. No one's ever tried to hide it. No one's ever tried to duck it. It's out there.
MACARTHUR: But why was it done? Why was it done?
KING: It was done because they felt that there was nothing on the family, that there was no reason to keep them here. And, again, are you suggesting that something was
MACARTHUR: They weren't properly interrogated.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring Pat Buchanan in here.
MACARTHUR: They weren't properly interrogated by the FBI.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat Buchanan, what's your take here? Is the White House trying to cover up the Saudi connection?
BUCHANAN: I don't believe that.
What I believe is this. Look, the 9/11 Commission, when it comes in with a report, if they sift through all of the intelligence the president got, all the reports, everything coming from everywhere, I'm sure they're going to find hints and suggestions and people saying, look, al Qaeda might do. It will be in this huge pile. And when that is pulled out, Joe, and that is put in the press, the headline could well be, warnings came to White House of 9/11 which we don't know about.
They may not have been specific. But I think that the president is correctly concerned, and the White House, about the way the media will play this report, because the report is certainly got to say there were at least some hints that we had not heretofore known. And when the media gets ahold of that, I think it's going to be pretty big stuff if it comes out before the election.
MACARTHUR: Pat, we already know that the CIA warned Bush of the possibility of a 9/11-style hijacking. We already know that.
KING: That is totally untrue.
KING: That is not true. That is totally untrue, absolute lie.
MACARTHUR: You're going to contradict the CBS report from two years ago?
KING: You're saying that CIA told President Bush
MACARTHUR: There was the possibility of a 9/11-style hijacking, yes.
KING: You're talking about the briefing on August 6 where a lower-level person listed 10 possible things that could happen.
MACARTHUR: Right. Right.
KING: One of them based on a 1998 British intelligence report said that hijackings were possible. So were attacks on the New York subway system. So were attacks on banks. So were attacks everywhere.
MACARTHUR: We've got pilots being trained in flight schools in Florida and Arizona and an FBI agent saying, hey, what's going on here in Minneapolis?
KING: You are right now proving what a phony you are. The CIA never told President Bush the pilots are being trained. They never told him that at all.
MACARTHUR: No, no, no. The FBI-the FBI was suspicious of it.
KING: When did the FBI tell that to President Bush? Give me the date. Give me the date.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, hey, gentlemen, I'll tell you what.
SCARBOROUGH: Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen.
SCARBOROUGH: Congressman, I'm going to have to cut you off there. I certainly hope both of you gentlemen are available tomorrow night, because I want to invite you back. Thanks a lot for being with us, Congressman Peter King, Rick MacArthur, Pat Buchanan. And somewhere in that mix was Flavia Colgan.
And coming up, Congress is getting serious about cracking down on obscene TV. We're going to tell you what to expect from tomorrow's tough hearings on the Hill.
Then, a judge in Iowa says convicted sex offenders should be able to live next door to schools. We're going to ask a recovering sex offender if he thinks these judges are being too lenient in putting your kids at risk.
But first, let's get the very latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT