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MSNBC Scarborough Country - transcript

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MSNBC July 13, 2004 Tuesday


July 13, 2004 Tuesday


BYLINE: Joe Scarborough

GUESTS: Frank Morales; John Timoney; Roy Innis; Julian Epstein; Adam Smith; Duncan Hunter; Craig Unger; Peter King

Should Senator Kerry and company cut their ties to Michael Moore? President Bush blasts Kerry and Edwards on Iraq. Are protesters planning fake terrorist attacks in New York City to disrupt the GOP Convention?

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Tonight's top headline: Michael Moore is infecting the Democratic Party. The "Real Deal"? Kerry and company should cut their ties before it's too late.

Hey, welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed.

SCARBOROUGH: Michael Moore and his Hollywood pals are whipping the anti-Bush crowd into a frenzy. But at home and abroad, it's started to look like it is going to backfire. And we've got some numbers to prove it.

And did the gloves come off? Bush and Cheney blast Kerry and Edwards on Iraq, saying, you shouldn't vote to send troops to war and then vote against funding them. But the two Johns hit back, saying they are proud of their Iraq records. It's a SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY showdown tonight.

Then, can you believe anarchists are planning to do fake terrorist attacks in New York City to disrupt the GOP Convention? They call it civil disobedience. But will their protests aid al Qaeda? We're going to be asking one protester how far they plan to go.

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 to our show.

You know, Michael Moore is a virus that's infecting American politics and it looks right now like he may infect the Democratic Party next. It's time for tonight's "Real Deal."

Now, I have been predicting for weeks that Michael Moore's movie, "Fahrenheit 9/11,' would backfire on Democrats if they were actually seen embracing the radical director. A "Washington Post" poll released today suggests that I may be right. After weeks of Democratic leaders parroting Moore's baseless conspiracy theories on 9/11, on Afghanistan and on the war in Iraq, today's "Post" poll shows that Americans' approval of the president's handling of the war on terror has actually shot up since the release of "Fahrenheit 9/11."

And John Kerry's numbers have gone down during that same time period. The Kerry camp can't say that I haven't warned them. I have tried to be a good friend, but Americans are repulsed by political hate speech and by those who promote it. Democrats flocked to the premier of Moore's movie. And it paints U.S. soldiers as uncaring beasts who brag about shooting at anything that moves while listening to heavy metal in their tanks.

And, of course, Americans are equally concerned that Michael Moore the man has equated Islamic terrorists in Iraq to our founding fathers and even suggested that more Americans need to die in Iraq before God and the Iraqi people can forgive us.

You know, John Kerry, Whoopi Goldberg didn't help your cause last week and you didn't help yourself either by calling her and other movie stars who called our president a killer and a thug, and you called them-quote-"the best America has to offer."

But, mark my words, you will lose the presidency if you continue to condone a filmmaker whose own statements suggests that he may be cheering for our enemy and who is calling for the killing of more Americans for sick redemptive purposes.

Hey, John Kerry, this is your Sista Souljah moment. The only question is, will you be as smart as Bill Clinton to turn your back on radicals in your own party while convincing people like me that you will provide America the type of steady leadership that we so desperately need in times of crises? Saying no to Michael Moore's brand of hate speech will be a great step in that direction. And I personally hope that you take it. And that's tonight's "Real Deal."

Now, Congressman Peter King is a New York Republican. And Craig Unger is the author of "The House of Bush and the House of Saud."

Craig Unger, you and Michael Moore suggest that George W. Bush is bought and paid for by the Saudis. I want to know what your read is on al Qaeda terrorist al-Makky's surrender to Saudi officials today. Why did he it? And should the Saudis have offered amnesty?

CRAIG UNGER, AUTHOR, "HOUSE OF BUSH, HOUSE OF SAUD": Well, I'm not sure whether he should have or not.

I think what you see going on in Saudi Arabia is that they do make concerted efforts to stop terrorism, but for each time they do that, they move in the other direction at once-at the same time. That is, for example, Crown Prince Abdullah recently blamed all the terrorism in Saudi Arabia on Zionists. So you see the whole country being pulled in two directions at once. It's really sort of a low level civil war that's going on there now.

SCARBOROUGH: Congressman King, I want to ask you the same question.

And, obviously, a lot of Saudi leaders have said some despicable things in the past. Are the Saudis our friends here or are they our enemies?

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Joe, I think the jury is still out.

I think the Saudis are getting much better and they're doing it for their own survival. For too many years, they tried to play both ends against the middle. They were allies with us, but they were also funding the madrasas and they were funding bin Laden and they were really again playing both ends against the middle.

But ever since the severe attacks by al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, they have gotten much better. They are not doing it because they have seen the light. They're doing it because they want to survive. And again, you would like real redemption, but if they are doing it just for survival, it's good enough, because right now they are working much more closely with us than they ever have before.

SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, they are making the anti-Semitic remarks that Craig Unger talked about.

But, Peter King, your congressman-your senator, actually, Hillary Clinton, is embracing Michael Moore. She introduced the movie last week. But I want to read to you what Michael Moore said about American troops.

He said-quote-"The majority of Americans supported this war once it began and sadly that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe, just maybe, God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."

Peter King, it sounds like Hillary Clinton is embracing a man who is calling for the death of more American soldiers. Am I reading something more into this statement than is actually there?

KING: Well, I think you are seeing it right. I don't know if Hillary Clinton sees it the same way. And that is part of the myopia that people like Senator Clinton and Terry McAuliffe and Charlie Rangel and other Democrats are suffering from.

They are so obsessed with defeating George Bush that they are losing sight of the fact that Michael Moore is a moral lowlife who has really gone beyond any


SCARBOROUGH: Peter, but I don't understand, OK? I don't understand how anybody can read this statement other than what it says. It says, "The majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe, just maybe, God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."

Shouldn't somebody call Terry McAuliffe, Hillary Clinton, and these other Democratic leaders on the carpet for endorsing a man that is calling for the letting of more American blood so God and the Iraqi people will forgive us?

KING: Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH: Seriously, I have never heard anything like this in American politics before.

KING: No, Joe, I agree with you 100 percent. I agree with you 100 percent.

My only point is, these people are so obsessed with getting George Bush that they lose sight of it. And it's wrong. They are going to end up losing votes for John Kerry. They're going to end up losing votes for the Democratic Party. And they are going really I think undermine democracy in this country to have major mainstream politics aligning themselves in any way with somebody such as Michael Moore. It's disgraceful.

SCARBOROUGH: Craig Unger, let me bring you back in here.

Now, and I told you the other night when I had you on here, obviously, I think you and Peter King and I can agree on many things. We can agree that this administration and past administrations have been too close to the Saudi government while they were playing Osama bin Laden. During the '90s, obviously, they were funding some of his organizations through some of their networks.

But aren't there some things in Michael Moore's movie that embarrasses you? And these statements that I have read, don't they embarrass you when Michael Moore suggests that more Americans need to die so God and the Iraqi people will forgive us?

UNGER: I actually think it's ridiculous to interpret it that way.

I think when he is saying is that, unfortunately, sadly, that's the price we're paying right now and that may be what it takes before America becomes politically aware of the mistake that we have made. When it comes to terrorism, the war on terror is not in Iraq. They went the wrong direction there. The real war should have started with the Saudis.

And to me, the elephant in the living room has been this relationship the Bush family has had with the Saudis. Let's go to September 13. Prince Bandar is in the White House with George W. Bush. And what is not going on is, Bush should have said, hey, 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Osama bin Laden is Saudi. Al Qaeda was founded and funded by Saudis. We have got to crack down. We should had been investigating the people on those planes.


SCARBOROUGH: Craig, I agree with you.


SCARBOROUGH: Craig, I have got to go back, though, because you say you think it's ridiculous to interpret it as Michael Moore calling for the death of more Americans. In his April 24 newsletter on his Web page, he said he opposed the United Nations going into Iraq and helping Americans out because, he said, "The majority of Americans supported this war once it began and sadly that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe, just maybe, God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."

If that's not Michael Moore saying Americans need to die, then what is he saying?

UNGER: He is saying that's what is happening, sadly.

SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no. Yes, sadly, majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe, just maybe God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end."

Now, listen, Craig, I respect what you have done in the past. And I want to respect what you say in the future. I just don't know how you can defend a statement like this. It's OK for you just to say to us he shouldn't have said that. That was irresponsible.

UNGER: I think reasonable people can disagree on this. I interrupt it differently.

I think the real issue here is who is president of the United States and what he is doing about terrorism and that there, you had an episode right after 9/11 when the president of the United States should have been focused on our national security. He should have began a massive criminal investigation. And instead, he waved people out of the country.


KING: That is totally untrue. The fact is, it was Richard Clarke who gave the approval for every one of those people to go.

And it is absolutely disgraceful for someone like Mr. Unger to try to suggest otherwise. We can have honest disagreements about policy. But to suggest that the president of the United States would allow potential murderers of 3,000 Americans to leave this country because of some imaginary financial links that you have conjured up in your imagination is an absolute disgrace.


SCARBOROUGH: You know what else, though? You know the side of the story that is not being told also is, Michael Moore is going out there saying, oh, the president let the bin Ladens leave the country when he should have kept them there, despite the fact we know that's not the truth. It was Richard Clarke.

And yet, a year later, a year after 9/11, in a debate in Telluride, Colorado, with Christopher Hitchens, you know what he said about Osama bin Laden? He said Osama bin Laden was innocent until proven guilty. Again, nobody is calling Michael Moore on these inconsistencies, are they, Peter King?


UNGER: I don't know if I can get a word in edgewise, but the idea that Richard Clarke has more power than the president of the United States is absurd. Dick Cheney was saying that Richard Clarke was totally out of the loop. Suddenly, you're putting him in a position where he's more powerful, has more control over national security


SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, Peter King.


SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. I know you don't want me to get this information out, but I got to get it out because our people need to know the true story.

In an interview in the end of May with "The Hill" newspaper in Washington, D.C., Richard Clarke said: On September 12, September 13 September and 14, it didn't get any higher than me. I made the decision to let the Osama bin Ladens out of the country and I would do it again.

UNGER: Well, I interviewed him on exactly the same subject. And he said he approved it pending approval by the FBI. And I asked him if the FBI vetted the people on the planes. He said he didn't know. And that's in an interview I had with him that was published in "Vanity Fair" and in my book.


UNGER: The question is-I mean, let me ask you this. Do you know who was on those planes? Do you know whether they had ties to terrorism? If they did, is that fine to let them out? Should none of them have been detained as material witnesses?

KING: No, because Richard Clarke himself has said as recently as two months ago that he has not heard of one person on those planes who should have been kept, or there was anything suspicious about them at all.

This is entirely-entire nonsense you are making up and it's scandalous to be saying that about the president of the United States. Dick Clarke, who is the hero of all the liberals in the United States, he has come forward and said this was decided entirely by him. And to this day, he has not heard of one person on those planes who should have been kept.

So this is with the hindsight of almost three years. And he is not aware of anyone that should have been detained. So for you to be keep peddling that nonsense, you should be ashamed of yourself. You really should, but not nearly as bad as Michael Moore.


SCARBOROUGH: Congressman King, thank you so much. Craig Unger, thank you.

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