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Any Substance in GOP Debate?; Red Tape Holds up Flight 93 Memorial; Is There Too Much Secrecy in America?

Aired June 6, 2007 - 19:00:00   ET


MICHAEL SMERCONISH, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, lightning strikes of the GOP debate. Literally.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That`s the lightning that`s having an effect on our system.

GIULIANI: For someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing.

SMERCONISH: I`ll have all the debate highlights.

And a controversial documentary showing Princess Diana`s dying moments has the royal family in an uproar.

Plus, Paris in prison. How the hotel heiress is holding up in the big house.

All this, and more, tonight.


SMERCONISH: Good evening. I`m Michael Smerconish from Philly, in tonight for Glenn Beck.

In case you missed last night`s Republican presidential primary debate, here`s the final score: God, 24, Ronald Reagan, 11. Pakistan, Musharraf and bin Laden, zero. And here`s my point tonight.

The real loser in last night`s debate, you, the voter. And here`s how I get there.

Religion was the pervasive theme in last night`s debate, with God himself making a cameo appearance as Mayor Giuliani prepared to defend his stance on abortion.


GIULIANI: Catholic bishop, any (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

BLITZER: That`s the lightning that`s having an effect on our system.

GIULIANI: I know. Don`t leave me alone, John. I guess I`m here by myself. Look, for someone who went to parochial schools all his life, this is a very frightening thing that`s happening right now.


SMERCONISH: At least that moment was unpredictable, enabling us to see a human, an unprepared side of one of the candidates, something that`s been sorely missing thus far from the campaign.

The rest of the debate, it also provided an opportunity for the lesser-known candidates like Congressman Tom Tancredo to distance himself from President Bush.


REP. TOM TANCREDO (R-CO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some time ago, 2003, I think it was, that I got a call from Karl Rove that told me, because of my criticism of the president, I should never darken the doorstep of the White House.

I`ve been so disappointed of the president in so many ways since his - - actually, for the last several years, not just the immigration issue, but several other things, including the No Child Left Behind and the massive increase in government that we call prescription drug -- Medicare prescription drug, that I`m afraid I would have to tell the president of the United States -- I mean, as president, I would have to tell George Bush exactly the same thing Karl Rove told me.


SMERCONISH: Now, listen to this, because this is stunning. Including last night`s debate, the fifth so far, there have been 8 1/2 hours of discussion over who should be elected to the most visible post in the free world.

And yet, incredibly, there has been only one question asked, and that was by an audience member, about Pakistan and President Musharraf, even though the war against al Qaeda is intertwined with his leadership, and bin Laden is still presumed to be hiding in his country. This is disgraceful.

And I`m not excusing the candidates themselves for their reluctance to advance the subject matter. I don`t know what the polling data says about the importance of bin Laden`s capture. But maybe the electorate is worn down by the relentless and depressing images of Iraq. But the simple fact is that a mass murder, an idol to other mass murderers, is still at large. And so far, we haven`t time to discuss how to catch him.

Instead, we get the same questions we hear over and over and over again, the same over rehearsed 30-second sound bytes. That`s why, if you watched the debate last night, you came away with very little.

Joining me now, Amy Holmes, Democratic strategist and former adviser to Al Gore, Peter Fenn.

Hey, Peter, I`m not rapping the "R`s," I`m rapping the "D`s", as well. And you know, I used to be fixated on the people asking the questions. The candidates themselves don`t bring this up. Nobody stands up and says, "This policy with Musharraf, where we outsource the hunt for bin Laden, maybe we`ve got to reevaluate it."

Why not? What am I missing?

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I`ll tell you, you`re not missing anything on this one, Michael. In fact, just yesterday, three members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, wrote a letter to this State Department, saying, come on. This guy is now shutting down, or trying to shut down two of the major political parties, opposition parties in his country. He wants to be elected by acclimation. We know he`s in trouble there. We understand the problems. But for crying out loud, you know -- we talk about democracy. What are we really doing? Are we walking the walk here?

SMERCONISH: And Amy, I`ve got to say to you that I`m no longer willing to accept, you know, the blanket statement from our president where his answer is, well, the hunt continues and we`re going to bring him to justice. And you know, that was fine for year one, it was fine for year two, maybe even year three. Now, I want to know: what are we doing?

AMY HOLMES, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I guess I would ask you what would we be doing? I mean, there`s the devil we know, and there`s the devil we don`t. And even I think it was John Edwards who said -- I`m not sure which candidate -- but if not Musharraf, then who? We could be getting an even more...

SMERCONISH: But see, that`s a canard. That`s a canard. Because -- you`ll get the chance to finish, I promise. Pakistan has no history of electing religious extremists. That`s a canard put out by the administration.

HOLMES: But what we do know is that the Taliban was supported by Pakistani military, and that Musharraf is in battle with those elements, that al Qaeda tried to -- has tried on multiple occasions to assassinate Musharraf, which has actually put him on our team for trying to hunt down these folks.

Now you ask, where has there been any mention of Osama bin Laden? I think if you remember in the very first debate, John McCain said he would chase him to the gates of hell, with sort of a little smirk.

SMERCONISH: Great sound byte.

HOLMES: And you know what? He got attacked for that.

SMERCONISH: Great sound byte. No, I`m looking for -- look, I`ll get off this in a second, but I`m looking for serious dialog about our foreign policy, vis-a-vis Musharraf.

HOLMES: Michael, Michael, let me finish. I think you would -- I think what I saw last night were actually Republicans who were having a much more serious debate about foreign policy, Middle East policy, vis-a- vis the Iraq war and the consequences of a precipitous withdrawal.

What you hear from Democrats is they talk about timetables, and then the conversation stops.


HOLMES: I think the American people can look at the...

SMERCONISH: Eighty million -- 80 million dollars a month to Musharraf to stick that money in his pocket. And why? Probably to fend off India.

Hey, Peter, I`ve got a curveball for you. Ready?

FENN: I`ll take any curveball you can throw.

SMERCONISH: Here we go, my friend. Identify for me on that stage last night, the vice presidential candidate.

FENN: You know, I`ll tell you, I`m not...

SMERCONISH: I got you.

FENN: No. You know who -- I`m always impressed with him, I have to tell you, and he`s got no money. And I don`t think -- you know, he may not get out of that second tier any time soon.


FENN: But I`ll tell you, Governor Huckabee, you know, did come from Hope.

SMERCONISH: Listen, I agree.

FENN: I think he`s an impressive guy.

SMERCONISH: Every time I watch this guy, I`m taken in with his character.

Amy, do you agree that Huckabee is vice presidential timber?

HOLMES: I absolutely -- yes, I think he could even be presidential timber. He has been terrific in each one of these three debates. Warm, sunny, great with -- you know, great with a turn of phrase, but also been very knowledgeable.

And I think last night the question about creationism, I think he turned that question around and made the question seem as if it was unreasonable to be attacking people who believed in creationism, because after all, a lot of Americans do.

FENN: I don`t agree with everything he does, or very much of it, but I`ll tell you. He`s a very natural guy. He believes in what he`s saying. You got a bunch of guys up there who are weather vanes in a hurricane. I mean, Romney reminds me of Eddie Haskell on "Leave it to Beaver". This guy is too much.

SMERCONISH: But you know, Peter, you can`t -- listen, you can`t say that against McCain...

FENN: No, no.

SMERCONISH: ... because relative to the Iraq exit strategy, and relative to immigration, the guy is standing his ground.

FENN: You`ve got it. Listen -- and you know, I`ll quote Bill Clinton on this. Bill Clinton said the American people would rather have somebody who is strong and wrong than somebody who is weak and right.

And what he meant by that, of course, was that the American people are looking for leadership here. They`re looking for taking a stance.

SMERCONISH: Peter, I have to ask you this question.

HOLMES: I have to ask a question. Peter, I would have to ask you if you`re a fan of President Bush, who I`m sure you would describe as wrong and strong.

FENN: Well, I`ll tell you, the trouble with Bush is, he`s just wrong on practically everything.

SMERCONISH: Amy, I want to ask you this question. Amy, do all Republicans who speak in support of pro-choice get struck by lightning? Because if so, I need some protection here on the Beck set.

HOLMES: Well, actually...

SMERCONISH: That was an unbelievable moment.

HOLMES: I actually thought it was a very well-timed moment for Giuliani. Because it sort of lightened the mood, and people laughed. And it kind of -- he got to move off that topic very quickly. So -- and again, it showed what a natural politician he is.

SMERCONISH: I want to show -- I want to show the two of you -- I want to show you a clip of Governor Tommy Thompson being asked a question last night, which leads into our final subject matter. Roll that.


BLITZER: Governor Thompson, is there a need for another Thompson in this race?

TOMMY THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that anybody with the Thompson name should get involved if they want to get involved. It`s a great name, he`s a great candidate and I think he`ll help the Republican Party to have him in.

And if you`re talking about a reliable conservative, it is this Thompson, Tommy Thompson, not the actor, that is the conservative.


SMERCONISH: Peter, can the other Thompson live up to all the hype?

FENN: Listen, I think that will -- that will come in the coming weeks. But, you know, it is funny. If you`re going to cite one winner of that debate last night, it may have been the other Thompson who didn`t have to play in that -- in that playpen.

But he -- it`s interesting, because the conservatives are looking for another candidate. The question really is, is this Thompson the conservative candidate they`re looking for? I mean, there is a real concern, I think, right now that these guys aren`t fitting the bill. And it will be very interesting to see what happens when he gets in this race.

SMERCONISH: Amy, final thought for you. I, as a Republican, am hoping that in this cycle we have our eye on November and not on the primary. In other words, we need somebody who`s going to be big tent oriented. Did I just say that as a Republican? Yes, we need the big tent this cycle.

HOLMES: Well, it was Ronald Reagan who said that as the leader of the Republican Party, that we need a big tent. And the question, of course, is, will evangelicals be willing to put their support behind a potentially pro-choice nominee?

And we saw Sam Brownback answer that question much more clearly in the first debate. But even when he was pressed last night on Giuliani, if he were the nominee, Sam Brownback, who is the pro-life conscience of this tier -- of this slate of candidates, he said yes. So I think Republicans can be a big tent.

SMERCONISH: Well, you and I will be the model. I mean, I`m a man; you`re a woman. I`m bald; you have a full head of hair. All right?

HOLMES: So I`ve been told.

SMERCONISH: There`s our big tent.

Thank you Amy.

HOLMES: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Thank you, Peter.

Coming up, plans for the Flight 93 memorial in Pennsylvania may be on hold because of greed. I`ll tell you about the landowner demanding $10 million for the crash site.

And that`s not the only tragic incident causing controversy. The new documentary on the death of Princess Diana, including photos of her from the scene of the accident, they aired on British television tonight. I`ll have the fallout.

Plus, it`s day three of Paris Hilton`s jail sentence. Apparently she`s not having a good time. I`ll have the latest details. And actor/comedian D.L. Hughley will join me to share his thoughts. And you don`t want to miss that.



GLENN BECK, HOST, "GLENN BECK": The great thing about New York City, it is absolutely the best this country has to offer. And it is the worst this country has to offer. From God to hookers on crack, within a five- block radius, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That is America. You find what you`re looking for. That`s what freedom is. America is neither good nor evil. It just is. It is good if you want it to be good. It is evil if you want it to be evil.


SMERCONISH: A new documentary on the paparazzi`s role in the death of Princess Diana has touched off a major controversy. The pictures of her final moments aired on U.K. television today, leaving fans, and more importantly her children, outraged. Details in just a built.

But first, when you talk about memorials being bogged down in bureaucracy and greed, most people think of the pit at Ground Zero. But there`s another 9/11 memorial that`s just as slow to be built and just as riddled with red tape and controversy that virtually nobody`s talking about. It`s the Flight 93 memorial in western Pennsylvania.

Approximately 1,300 acres are needed for the $58 million permanent memorial and national park that was authorized by the Congress in 2002. So far, planners have only been able to purchase 60 of those acres.

One of the biggest parcels of land yet to be purchased is a 273-acre plot owned by Mike Svonavec. Although he`s agreed to donate the exact area of the crash itself for free, he`s reportedly asking for $10 million for the rest of the land, which planners say is far more than it`s worth.

Svonavec has also angered many people by installing a donation box on his property, which he says is to help defray the $10,000 a month in security costs that he`s currently paying.

Ed Root is the president of the Families of Flight 93.

Ed, I had the privilege of visiting Shanksville with you two years ago. And what I remember is, I couldn`t even buy a T-shirt. And I said to you on our bus trip, it`s amazing to me and a great thing that nobody is seeking to cash in on this. How did things change?

ED ROOT, PRESIDENT, FAMILIES OF FLIGHT 93: Well, things really haven`t changed, Michael. If you go out there today, there`s still only two stores that I can think of that sell any kind of tourist thing or T- shirts or hats.

The community out there has been marvelous. They`ve supported us all along. And Mr. Svonavec is certainly the exception, not the rule.

SMERCONISH: About the -- did the plane actually crash on a parcel of land that he owns?

ROOT: That`s correct.

SMERCONISH: So he`s entitled to fair market value for his land? You`d agree with me on that, right?

ROOT: Absolutely.

SMERCONISH: But is the claim here that he`s holding folks hostage, folks being the government, us, you in particular? I mean, you lost your cousin, Lorraine Bay, on that flight.

ROOT: Well, and it`s, frankly -- it`s not a family memorial; it`s a national memorial. Congress created it unanimously in 2002. The families recently, on May the 18th, made him what we feel is a more than fair offer. And he wouldn`t even discuss it.

SMERCONISH: Well, can you explain to me what the offer was maybe on an acreage basis and what the demand is? You know, what`s he looking for and what was the offer?

ROOT: My understanding is, and the information that I have is that acreage out there is running between $1,000 and $2,000 an acre. The offer that the families made to him was over the high end of that range.

SMERCONISH: Over the high end, what does that mean?

ROOT: Over $550,000 for the 274 acres.

SMERCONISH: Wow, OK. And what`s the deal, Ed, on that donation box?

ROOT: Well, he has security guards there that he has at the temporary memorial. When the federal funding ran out in February, he was told by the park service that security was not necessary any longer. There were no incidents there in five years, no criminal activity, no accidents.

And he went out on his own hook and his own decision to have these security guards there. And now he`s saying he can`t afford it. So he`s created his own dilemma.

SMERCONISH: What`s the problem beyond this dispute with this fellow? I mean, we`re coming up on the six-year anniversary of September 11. And this wouldn`t appear to be as complicated as Ground Zero. I mean, what`s the delay?

ROOT: Well, exactly. You would think this would be a no-brainer, as it was...


ROOT: ... to have this done. But things bog down in bureaucracy.

Mr. Svonavec has had an offer once before by the park service which he`s turned down. The park service is currently working with additional appraisers and different people to come up with another offer. I am quite certain that, when that`s done in November, he will turn that down.

And I think, frankly, a lot of people are kind of waiting to see how things pull out. Not that the other people are greedy. They`re not. But I think everybody wants to see what the first big property owner is going to get.

SMERCONISH: Well, let`s hope that it gets squared away. Ed, I`ll tell you what I remember. I remember driving out the Pennsylvania turnpike with you, and when you actually get to the bowl where Flight 93 -- and you correct me if I`m wrong -- flying upside down at 600 miles an hour, crashes into what was a strip mine, there`s a marked change in the temperature. It`s like a 5- or 10-degree differential as you walk into that crash site.

ROOT: The area there at the temporary memorial, I`ve been told, is the third highest elevation in the state of Pennsylvania. It can be bitterly cold there on a warm September day.

SMERCONISH: Yes. I mean, somehow you know that -- it`s hard to express. I don`t know how to express it. You know that you`re in a location, a place of significance. Sacred ground.

ROOT: There`s an essence to the place, just like there is at Gettysburg, to the cemetery at Omaha Beach. There`s -- there`s an aura there.

SMERCONISH: All right. Well said, my friend. Thank you, Ed. I appreciate it.

ROOT: Thank you.

SMERCONISH: Coming up, rumor is Paris Hilton`s having a tough time behind bars, despite some special treatment. Actor and comedian D.L. Hughley joins me to weigh in on Hilton`s new digs.

And on this anniversary of the D-Day landings 63 years ago, we`ll take a moment to remember the heroes and the sacrifices they made.


SMERCONISH: The guy that you`re about to meet blew the lid off one of the coolest secret places every built. Ted Gup, he discovered that underneath the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, one of the nation`s foremost premier resorts, where every U.S. President since Ike has stayed, was a secret fallout shelter built for members of Congress in the event of an international crisis, like nuclear war with the Soviets.

The underground facility contained a dormitory, a kitchen, a hospital, even a broadcast center for members of Congress. Well, when Gup uncovered the secret in 1992, he published it on the front page of the "Washington Post".

Now the hotel gives tours of the bunker. When I heard that Ted Gup was writing a book, a new book titled "A Nation of Secrets", I figured it was going to be a justification for exposing even more government secrets.

But Ted Gup, that`s not the message of this book, is it?

TED GUP, AUTHOR, "A NATION OF SECRETS": No, it`s not, Michael. I think that I have chronicled and documented pretty clearly one of the great threats to secrecy is excessive secrecy.

There are people that really think that the more secrets we have the safer we are. But I have made a list of casualties from excessive secrecy, and frankly, one of them is national security. One of the great lessons of 9/11 was not that we didn`t have sufficient information, but that we didn`t share the information we had sufficiently. And that problem persists.

SMERCONISH: Potter Stewart in the Pentagon Papers case said when everything is classified, then nothing is classified, which I guess is your point. If everything`s getting stamped in that manner, secret, secret, secret, there are no secrets left. It takes away the value of having a real secret.

GUP: That`s exactly right. And what happens is that you engender, essentially, a culture that`s contemptuous of secrecy, and you see leaks of all time. The Libby case and what happened with Valerie Plame, who was outed as a covert operative. People in government and out no longer respect secrecy, because it`s abused so widely.

SMERCONISH: All right. You document in the book this trend towards secrecy. My question is, what was the trend up until September 10? Not 11, 10.

GUP: That`s a fair question. There was afoot already a movement towards greater secrecy. We had deregulation in the relationship between government and industry which promoted the degree of secrecy, eroded reporting requirements.

When one party controls government, that is the White House and both houses of Congress, you have less oversight. That gives rise to more secrecy. But 9/11 really caused it to explode.

SMERCONISH: Beyond the realm of government -- because only, I think, by my count about a third of your book deals with the government -- there`s secrecy elsewhere, whether it`s the legal profession, whether it`s the pharmaceutical industry. Give your best example of what drives the point home.

GUP: Well, I think that I report on the impact of secrecy on the press, universities and the courts. One clear example is the federal court system has a software program. If you try to find a case which has been settled and sealed, the software program of the U.S. court system is set on a default position which responds with "no such case exists." That simply isn`t true.

SMERCONISH: Not that the case wasn`t litigated; it doesn`t even exist.

GUP: Exactly. It`s vanished.

SMERCONISH: The point being that we need to have more respect for that word "secret" or "secrecy."

GUP: Exactly.

SMERCONISH: Hey, thanks, Ted. Appreciate it very much.

GUP: My pleasure, Michael.

SMERCONISH: Up next, for years American`s been taking heat for not signing the Kyoto Treaty. But what about those nations that did? Have they delivered on their promises?

Glenn Beck joins me next for "The Real Story". Stick around.


SMERCONISH: Coming up in just a minute, Paris Hilton is not enjoying her stay in the Gray Bar Motel. I`ll be talking to actor and comedian D.L. Hughley and get his take on Paris, pop culture and politics.

But first, welcome to the "Real Story." The G-8 summit got underway today in Germany, with global warming and the Kyoto Protocol taking center stage. The U.S., which is not a party to the protocol, has endured criticism from other countries for years over the decision to not take part in it. But "The Real Story" is that it`s time for those other nations to look in the mirror and realize they`ve come up short.

It`s one thing to deflect criticism by signing a treaty; it`s another thing completely to actually live up to your obligations under that treaty. After all, actions speak a lot louder than a signature.

Take Japan, for example. Kyoto mandated that Japan reduce their emissions to 6 percent below 19990 levels by the year 2012. As of 2005, Japan`s emissions have increased by 8 percent. Italy had agreed to drop their emissions by 6.5 percent, but now -- drum roll, please -- they`re up 12 percent. And Canada, oh, Canada, they agreed to drop emissions by 6 percent, but instead they`ve increased them by more than 26 percent. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper says that hitting their Kyoto targets would cripple Canada`s economy, and then he bashed the prior administration, saying they, quote, "committed our country to the Kyoto Protocol, and then they did nothing to achieve this goal."

No doubt this week there`s going to be worldwide griping about the U.S. and global warming, and some of that may be valid criticism. But let`s not overlook the other nations that are getting a free ride simply because they chose to affix their signature and then walk away from their obligation. Complain all you want about the U.S. not signing Kyoto, but let me ask you something: Is it better to make a promise you have no intention of keeping, or is it better to just be honest and work toward a solution that actually has a chance of succeeding?

Glenn Beck is here to weigh in. Glenn, I don`t know how I feel about global warming, I`ve got to be honest with you. I watched Gore`s movie, and I found it convincing. And then I saw your TV special, and my head spun around on a pedestal.


SMERCONISH: I will say this -- I will say this in support of global warming, and the whole notion, and the lather it has worked people into, maybe it`s what the doctor ordered to finally get us off that crack pipe of Arab oil dependency.

BECK: I will tell you this, Michael. This is -- my new kick right now is to find ways to talk to each other and try to get out to America that we don`t hate each other just because you`re a Democrat, and I`m a Republican, I`m a conservative, you`re a liberal. We don`t hate each other.

And I think it is crucial that, when it comes to global warming, that we do talk about this. You`re exactly right. You want to talk about global warming? Whether I believe man can do anything about global warming or not is irrelevant. You can believe that. Great. Let`s agree on this: We need to get off of foreign oil. We need to get off of oil, period, and you can`t tell me that with a moon-shot sort of commitment, we couldn`t get off of oil.

SMERCONISH: Well, I`ll tell you what I found refreshing about what you did. I sat there for an hour watching television and meeting individuals I`ve never heard of. And if they were out there in the public domain, I guess then shame on me for not having been familiar with them. But there`s so much of a debate that`s left off the table.

BECK: I will tell you this, Michael. There is a new list of names that came out of the Senate here recently that are credible scientists that said, "Wait a minute, hang on just a second. I`ve changed my mind on not only global warming, but that man can do anything about it."

Going back to the Kyoto treaty, one of the best parts of the special that we ran was on the Kyoto treaty. It was produced by Kristin Martin (ph), who is -- she`s an environmentalist. She loves the environment. I do, too. But she was a believer in the Kyoto treaty. She came back and said, "Wow, there`s a lot of stuff here I had never even heard before."

The Kyoto treaty, the most important thing I believe on the Kyoto treaty is, you can play the little game that Canada and Italy played and sign on and then do nothing about it. But it will absolutely cripple us if we don`t get in and get everybody involved. It`s like a swimming pool and saying, "Hey, kids are going to fall into the swimming pool, and they`re going to drown," and half of the neighbors saying, "OK, we`ll build a fence around half of it, but the deep end we`re going to leave without a fence."

The deep end, when it comes to global warming, is soon not going to be just us. By next year, it will be China will pass us. It`s Russia. It`s India. If you don`t involve the entire world, it`s worthless.

SMERCONISH: You know, there`s one other thought I want to share with you. It`s actually Tom Friedman`s thought, and I think it makes an argument as to how this all relates, you know, Friedman, "The World is Flat" and so forth. It makes the case as to how this ties into the war on terror.

I`m going to put it on the screen and read it to you, Glenn. He said, "I`m glad Democrats are keeping the pressure on President Bush for a withdrawal date from Iraq. It`s the only way to keep him and the Iraqis focused on the end game. But if Democrats really want to be taken seriously on foreign affairs, they need to recognize that they have only half a policy on Iraq, and it`s the easy half. In other words, we need to get off the Arab oil dependency."

BECK: Yes, you`re exactly right. I mean, there is nothing more dangerous -- I mean, Michael, let`s just look at the storm that`s building now in the gulf. You`ve got a storm barreling in. That storm hits, if that storm was as bad as Katrina, that will change our economy overnight.

This is not just about extremists over there. It`s about funding extremists, and it`s about our economic security, as well. Have you noticed? It`s almost like God gave the oil to all the bad guys. I mean, you`ve got all of the oil in the Arab region. If you want to get off of that oil, you could possibly go to Russia. Let`s help build Russia and Vladimir Putin? Unfortunately, our neighbor down south, Mexico, is having a hard time.

SMERCONISH: It`s unbelievable. It`s a good observation. Hey, thank you, Glenn.

Next, a British television network aired a documentary today about the death of Princess Diana and included photos of the crash scene that night, including some in which Diana is being attended to by medical teams shortly after the accident. Diana`s sons pleaded with Channel 4 not to use the pictures, saying that they didn`t want to see their mother in her final moments.

To me, this is reminiscent of the Schuylkill expressway, a highway that I drive on every morning in Philadelphia. We all hate it when an accident backs up traffic on the expressway, and then, when you finally reach the crash site, you can`t help but take a peek. So, of course, I`m appalled by the idea that these photos will now be placed in the public domain, but I have to admit, I`ll probably take a look.

Since the night of the crash, the paparazzi have been condemned for their role in stalking Diana and causing her drunk driver to speed up to evade them. The paparazzi are contemptible, and they`re surely an easy target. But they may not deserve all the criticism that`s been heaped on them for this incident.

Tonight`s documentary, which shows these ghoulish pictures, has a more serious purpose of fully exploring the paparazzi`s role of what actually went down in that tunnel. That`s my view from this side of the pond.

Sally Cartwright, publishing director of "Hello" magazine, what`s your take?

SALLY CARTWRIGHT, "HELLO" MAGAZINE: It`s not too dissimilar from yours. The princes did ask Channel 4 not to show these pictures of their mother`s last moments, not on the basis that they, the princes, didn`t want to see them, but that they felt everybody in dying deserves privacy and dignity. And that`s a sentiment that everybody here in Britain has enormous sympathy with.

Channel 4 assure us, though, that the pictures do not actually show the princess. They are pictures which have been seen in continental media, but not, I think, so far in this country. What you see is a French doctor inside the car attempting to fit an oxygen mask to somebody, but you can`t see who it is. So you do not actually see Princess Diana. But it is, undoubtedly for her sons, a gross intrusion into their mother`s privacy.

SMERCONISH: Sally, here in the United States, we have the Kennedy assassination. And overseas, I guess both in Paris and in the U.K., you have the tragic death of Princess Diana. I mean, the conspiracy theories abound and will probably never end, will they?

CARTWRIGHT: I hope they do end. Most people actually laugh at the conspiracies here, the conspiracy theories. They`re being kept alive by Dodi al-Fayed`s father, Mohamed al-Fayed, who I think sadly and desperately wants to believe that his son could not have died by accident. That`s an understandable view, but there is very little support for the conspiracy theory in the U.K.

SMERCONISH: And his premise is that certain individuals close to the royal family couldn`t stomach the idea of the boys having an Arab father, or at least stepfather?

CARTWRIGHT: That is the theory, yes. And he has put forward the most extraordinary theories about very senior members of the royal family being involved in a plot with MI-5 or MI-6 to actually set up that crash in the tunnel. But, as I say, they`re not given any credence.

SMERCONISH: And one final question. I`m doing this from memory, but I have recollection that there was one automobile, and memory says it was a Fiat, but perhaps you`ll know, never fully accounted for. In other words, the belief that there was an automobile somehow involved in a collision with Diana`s automobile in that tunnel, but we don`t know who was driving it. Is that accurate?

CARTWRIGHT: There has always been a rumor of a white car that was in that tunnel at the time of the accident. The car has never been traced, so it remains a rumor with no substantiation either for or against it.

SMERCONISH: Sally, thank you very much. We appreciate you being here.

CARTWRIGHT: A pleasure.

SMERCONISH: Coming up next, new reports say that Paris Hilton is having a tough time behind bars. But should she even be there? I`m going to talk to D.L. Hughley and get his take on Paris, on politics, and whatever else people are talking about. Stick around.


SMERCONISH: Inmate number 9818783, AKA Paris Hilton, was reportedly visited at her cell by her shrink, Dr. Charles Sophy, yesterday. Apparently the starlet broke down in tears after only three days in the slammer. Other highlights of her involuntary holiday include a guard helping her make a collect phone call, something she`s never done before.

And while the "New York Post" is saying she got to skip the routine cavity search, TMZ says that`s not true. Either way, I`m sure she`s no stranger to that sort of thing. Who wrote that line?

So how will Paris Hilton hold up? And is she getting special treatment? Joining me now to talk about this, Hollywood politics, and anything else on his mind, actor, comedian and star of NBC`s "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip, D.L. Hughley.


D.L. HUGHLEY, ACTOR-COMEDIAN: Hey, Mike, how you doing, man?

SMERCONISH: Does she come out a Crip or a Blood?


HUGHLEY: You know what? I`ve got to admit that, as much as I like to see rich people kind of get taken to task like everybody else, I think that this wouldn`t be happening to her if she weren`t who she is. I don`t ever recall anybody serving any time for driving with a suspended license. And if that`s true, I better get my driver to take me home from here.

SMERCONISH: You know, she`s getting the shaft because of the wealth?

HUGHLEY: I think that she`s getting -- well, I think that we have -- for whatever reason, we`ve made her a celebrity. And no one can tell me what she`s famous for, because her mother and father own hotels? I don`t see any Ramada women. I`ve never seen them. I don`t ever see the women of Motel 6. So I don`t get what she`s famous for.

But I think that it speaks to a bigger point, which is that America, it just kind of wants to be -- we don`t ever want to know what`s going on in the world. We want to be tickled and played with. We`d rather know what`s going on with Sanjaya than we do with the Sudan. So it`s just -- I think it`s typical of the way that we are as a people.

SMERCONISH: D.L., everything I know about prison I learned by watching "Oz." So I`m just hoping she doesn`t get a shiv stuck in her at some point.

HUGHLEY: First off, she`s not -- I`m sure she`s not in a -- she`s in a jail -- jail is for -- like I`m an expert. Now I`m an expert. But she`s not in prison. She`s in the county jail, which is...

SMERCONISH: All right, I got a new gig for you. You ready?


SMERCONISH: I figure, if Fred Thompson gets into this thing, you`ve got Reagan, you`ve got Thompson, you`ve got Hughley. I mean, apparently, you`ve just got to be an actor, and you`re qualified now to run for the highest office in the land.

HUGHLEY: Well, if you`ve see my work on "Soul Plane," you know I`m not an actor. But I think that it really goes back to the point I was making earlier. Celebrity, it`s all about celebrity. Around Schwarzenegger is the governor here. You know, we had -- the governor of Minnesota. And, you know, Ronald Reagan was the president and the governor of California. So I think that it`s more about celebrity. I think that the reason they`re talking about Fred Thompson so seriously is because he`s been in a lot of movies where he played president.

SMERCONISH: How are you handicapping the D`s right now, Barack and Hillary?

HUGHLEY: Well, I think Barack Obama -- you know, I`ve watched him two times in the political debate, and he seems like a bit of a novice. I think that the idea that people would vote for a guy that they didn`t know where he stood politically was just a further point, that we just kind of want to think that we`re further along than we are.

And I think that Hillary Clinton, despite what anybody says about her, has proven that she`s very capable, and aware of the issues, and seems to be -- like they`ve never asked her a question that stumped here. And I think so -- every debate I`ve watched -- and I`ve watched them all, including the one with Rudy Giuliani almost got struck by lightning...

SMERCONISH: D.L., that`s what happens. If you`re a pro-choice Republican and you say so, it comes out of the sky at you. So I`m not saying anything, because you know my view on that issue.

HUGHLEY: I do. And you know what? I think that, where that`s concerned, you know, I have gone all around this country. I was recently - - Sunday, I was in the capital. And it`s funny, because the capital is in the roughest neighborhood. I mean, it`s surrounded by criminals, drug addicts, and pedophiles, and that`s just in the House of Representatives.

But I think that, you know, we`ve gotten to a place now where we don`t want anybody who is effective, or who might have leadership qualities that we dig. We want them to be mirrors of what we -- of the kind of agendas that we want to forward.

And I just -- I don`t know how -- just like the immigration issue, which I find disingenuous, because this country was built on free labor that was able to kind of extort, whether it`s the slaves that were brought over, or whether it was the Chinese immigrants, or the Irish immigrants, or the Italian immigrants. So this has been a pattern with this country. So to pretend like now, because it`s Mexicans who now have their turn in the barrel, it`s -- we`re at odds with ourselves, because we want the free labor, but we want them to clean our houses and get out. And I think we`re having a problem with that.

SMERCONISH: Listen, I`m all about dialogue in this cycle. I`m all about shattering stereotypes. Look at D.L. Hughley, a cigar-smoking, golfing liberal, right?

HUGHLEY: I don`t know if I`m a liberal, but I do know that we often don`t agree.

SMERCONISH: It`s great to have you here. Throw your hat into a ring. In fact, throw your hat into a ring tonight. You`d give me some props.

HUGHLEY: The one thing I will say about you is that I expected not to like you and have enjoyed you every time I`ve spoken to you. So even though I don`t often agree with you, I do think that you come from an informed position. It`s just not like -- you don`t ever answer the question before you...

SMERCONISH: All right, they`re waving at me now. They`ve waving at me. Appreciate you being here. Thank you, D.L.

Hey, when we come back, it`s considered to be one of the great communicator`s finest speeches. We`re going to mark the 63rd anniversary of the D-Day landings with a look at Ronald Reagan`s 1984 speech at Omaha Beach.


SMERCONISH: Sixty-three years ago today, allied forces hit the Normandy beaches on D-Day. I can attempt to give them a fitting tribute, but there`s no way I`m going to do better than this man did in 1984.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, in their memory, and for all who fought here, we celebrate the triumph of democracy. We reaffirm the unity of democratic peoples who fought a war and then joined with the vanquished in a firm resolve to keep the peace.

Today, the living here assembled, officials, veterans and citizens, are a tribute to what was achieved here 40 years ago. This land is secure. We`re free. These things are worth fighting and dying for.


SMERCONISH: That is one of the great speeches of all time. With us now, Glenn Beck.

Glenn, difficult to follow a great communicator.

BECK: Yes, Ronald Reagan was absolutely amazing. But, you know, I`m watching these images, Michael, and I`m thinking, you know, I really truly believe any generation that stands up and answers the call is the greatest American generation. I believe we have it in us. And I think that, unfortunately, our leaders have failed to heed that call.

SMERCONISH: You know, Glenn, the more I learn about some of those fallen soldiers in Iraq, the more I recognize -- you and I are a part of a great generation. There are some men who are contemporaries who are over there, and women, getting it done, trying to get it done.

BECK: Yes, these guys -- I mean, we are really, truly, Michael -- I mean, we saw at the beginning on September 11th the firefighters that were running in, not out of the building. While everybody else was running out, they were running in.

Americans really are truly amazing. We do answer the call. We are willing to do it. The problem, I think, that we have right now is, you know, when you see that we want -- the polls say we want to get out. It`s not that we want to get out. We want to do what is right, and we want to do our responsibility, but we want to win. Americans are winners. We`re doers; we`re entrepreneurs; we`re dreamers. We can do anything.

And what I think America feels right now is, we don`t have the leadership that is willing to back that up, is willing to tell us, what do we do, how do we do it, let`s do it together. And that`s the one thing that we did have in World War II that I`m afraid that we have been let down by both sides of the aisle in this particular front.

SMERCONISH: It`s a good message on which to end. Good luck, by the way, in Syracuse tonight with "An Inconvenient Tour."

BECK: Thank you very much, Michael.

SMERCONISH: In New York, I`m Michael Smerconish. Good night, everybody.


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