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MSNBC Scarborough Country - Transcript

Location: Unknown



August 3, 2004 Tuesday


BYLINE: Steve Emerson; Lawrence Kudlow; Mike Barnicle; Pat Buchanan; Joe Scarborough

GUESTS: Bill West; Tamar Jacoby; Jon Meacham; Peter King; Douglas Brinkley; Dennis Hastert

After nearly three years and despite the recent terror threats, tourists and New Yorkers alike can once again visit the Statue of Liberty. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert discusses whether America is safer today than it was three years ago.



SCARBOROUGH: Peter King, what does it mean to New Yorkers, this symbol of liberty?

REP. PETER KING ®, NEW YORK: Joe, when I was growing in the '40s and '50s, everybody in New York City was first- or second-generation American, so all of our parents or grandparents came to Ellis Island. The first symbol they saw of the United States was the Statue of Liberty.

So for us growing up in New York, this was like the White House. This was the Capitol. This was Mount Rushmore. This was our symbol of what America was about. And, as Doug said, since the terrible attack at ground zero, the World Trade Center, it really even stands for America more than it ever did before. That's why it's so important, as you mentioned, that this week, where there's the worst terror threat since September 11, that the Statue of Liberty is reopening.

It means so much. This really is in many ways the heart and soul of New York. It overlooks New York. We consider it us. We consider this really our symbol of America.

SCARBOROUGH: And yet, over your shoulder is a city right now that's not under siege. That's overstating it. But certainly it's on its highest alert since the 9/11 attacks. What about the irony that the gulf that separates this island of liberty and that island that tonight is living in fear?

KING: Joe, actually, it's an irony, but it's also symbolic.

The people of Manhattan Island, the people of New York City are not living in fear. They're very defiant. I was in Manhattan today. Yes, there's a large presence of police out. Ray Kelly has the police everywhere. They're doing their job.

But the people aren't quitting. The people aren't staying away. They're going to fight back and they're going to fight back by being there, by showing the same spirit that Rudy Giuliani showed after September 11. So, in many ways, what is happening in Manhattan right now is the spirit of fighting back. The defiance of New Yorkers really reflects the spirit of the Statue of Liberty.


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