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Glenn Beck

Is Bipartisanship Possible?; Director Explains Film Portrayal of Presidential Assassination

Aired October 25, 2006 - 19:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST: Buckle up. It`s a run-away, out of control, non-PC freight train tonight. I have the real story behind the Rush Limbaugh- Michael J. Fox controversy. And Madonna speaks about her adoption on "Oprah", coming up.

ANNOUNCER: Tonight`s episode is brought to you by Madonna`s "Material Baby World Concert Tour", where the first 10,000 spectators will receive a brand new baby, hand-picked by Madonna herself. Call 1-555-I-WANT-MY-FREE- BABY for tickets.


BECK: All right, earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh said that actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson`s Disease, was "either off his medication or acting" in a campaign ad for Democratic Senate candidate Claire McCaskill.

Limbaugh almost immediately apologized for those comments, but what a surprise, he still came under attack. Now here is the commercial that was in question.


MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: As you might know, I care deeply about stem cell research. In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hope for cures. Unfortunately, Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research. Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us a chance for hope. They say all politics is local, but it`s not always the case. What you do in Missouri matters to millions of Americans.


BECK: It breaks your heart to see him like that. But here`s the point tonight, Rush Limbaugh was right, well, partially right, but you have to listen to his statement in its entirety. Now before everybody jumps down my throat, here`s how I got there.

When I think of Michael J. Fox, I think -- I mean, you know what? I think Michael J. Fox is a really nice guy. He`s funny. And I hope that we can find a cure for Parkinson`s. This is a horrible disease, and it is ripping him apart. Now, much to the chagrin of Democrats, however, Rush didn`t just say he`s faking it. There was an "or" in that sentence, and sometimes context matters.

It`s the one word that everybody is glossing over, the "or": "or he`s off his medication." Now, where could Rush Limbaugh have gotten that idea? Oh, I know: from the pages from Michael`s J. Fox -- Michael J. Fox`s book "The Lucky Man", where he says about his testimony before Congress in 1999, quote, "I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease and the urgency we, as a community, were feeling be seen as well as heard."

Well, that`s what Rush suggested. That`s what he said.

Look, I watched the ad the same way you did. I had the same reaction. I think that everybody had. What Michael J. Fox is struggling with is tragic. It is so sad. It rips your heart out to see anybody, even somebody you don`t like, let alone Michael J. Fox, who has that condition.

But Michael J. Fox has willingly inserted himself into the political arena. What are you, nuts? So is it -- is it wrong to point out that he may not have been on his medication while that political commercial was taped? He said that`s what he has done before. He basically stopped using one medical advancement in order to promote another medical advancement.

But the real reason that Rush was even talking about this to begin with is not that -- it doesn`t have anything to do with Michael J. Fox. Michael -- Rush Limbaugh was talking about politics and the game of politics. Have we really come to the point in America where, if you`re a Democrat, you want Michael J. Fox to live and Superman to walk, and if you`re an evil Republican, you want them both to die? That`s absurd.

That is as absurd as saying that the Democrats are the party of Osama bin laden. They`re not! Stop it! It`s time for everybody to take a deep breath and just calm down. Back away from the voting booths, will you, people?

I think it`s safe to say that both Democrats and Republicans are anti- disease. It`s just like both parties, you know, they`re both anti-al Qaeda. The deal is, we just differ on how to get to the end game.

It was wrong of Rush Limbaugh to accuse Michael J. Fox of acting. It was shocking for me to here, and I`m a Rush fan. But he apologized before there was a firestorm.

But it`s also wrong for Democrats to imply that Republicans don`t want to cure diseases. Who`s the bigger monster here? The person who wishes Michael J. Fox well, but asks if he took his medication during a campaign ad, or the person who says, "Don`t vote for Republicans because they want Michael J. Fox to always be that way"?

Here`s what I -- here`s what I know tonight. I have said this many times before. It is not about left and right. It`s about right and wrong. There has never been a clearer example of it. The Democrats don`t have a monopoly on diseases and cures.

If the campaign ads are correct, and we`re actually at the point where half the population doesn`t care if people live or die or suffer, than, Jesus, come quickly; it`s time for me to check out of the hotel.

I also know, Democrats are practically in the Capitol building right now measuring for drapes and furniture. And at this point they will do or say anything to finally get that win.

Good Democrats need to stand up and say, "Wait a minute, wait, wait, wait. This is not my party. This is not the way we behave." We all want to cure disease. We just disagree on the ethics of stem cell research. That`s a whole other story.

Just because I don`t want to do experiments on what I believe to be human life doesn`t make me a Nazi. In fact, I believe it makes me the exact opposite of that.

Most importantly, you have to remember the words of Thomas Jefferson. He said, "Every difference of opinion is not a difference in principle." Man, where are those politicians now?

We`re at that point right now in America, both Democrats and Republicans, we have got to look at each other and say, "I respect you. I disagree with you, but I respect you as a decent human being." If we can`t do that, then you know what? We`re in more trouble than even -- even I thought we were. And, remember, I`m the doomsday guy!

Now, here`s what I don`t know: can we ever undo the culture of disrespect that is so pervasive in this country, and if so, how?

Mark Halperin, he`s the ABC News political director. He`s the author of "Way to Win".

Mark, light at the end of the tunnel?

MARK HALPERIN, AUTHOR, "WAY TO WIN": Glenn, first of all, mega dittos. Just need you to know, I`m not doing this segment on my meds, so watch out.

BECK: Well, OK. Look out. You`re cutting loose.

HALPERIN: Look, we`ve always had extreme voices in American politics. We`ve always had celebrities. We`ve always had people preying on our hopes and fears.

What`s different now, as John Harris and I say in "The Way to Win", is our politics now have these voices right at the center of these attacks, countercharges, these lack -- this lack of common ground that you talk about. We`ve always had elements of that. Now it`s right at the center. And these last two weeks are going to see that in spades.

BECK: You now, what is the difference, Mark, between the Democrats using somebody like Michael J. Fox, who believes this. I`m not saying that he`s just a political organ. He actually believes this.

So he comes out and he makes this, and they make an ad for a candidate on this. What`s the difference between that and, let`s say, a few 9/11 victims` families got together and made pro-George Bush commercials, which every Democrat would have been screaming, "How dare you use this tragedy?" What`s the difference?

HALPERIN: No difference whatsoever. And of course, in politics, I think the danger is that people who are victims or have illnesses or suffered loss, often people feel you can`t challenge them. They`re beyond reproach. It should be about the ideas, the human stories.

Humanize it. It brings emotion to it. But I think anyone, including Michael J. Fox, should be challenged on the merits of his argument if we`re going to have a civilized and real debate.

BECK: I find it interesting, because I really truly believe that`s why these people are used. That`s why Cindy Sheehan, you can`t challenge her. If you challenge her, you`re a monster.

Well, wait a minute. I have sympathy for anybody who lost their child. But once you go past the grieving period and you enter into politics, what, I can`t question you anymore?

HALPERIN: No. Glenn, you and I are in what we call rare agreement. And I think the important thing, when somebody like Michael J. Fox offers to make an ad or asks to make an ad, or Cindy Sheehan says I want to go down to Crawford, Texas, they better have somebody in there like telling them, "You`re entering the arena. Strap on the armor." Because our politics is tougher today than it`s ever been. And people have to be challenged on their ideas.

Now what`s not healthy, as you said, is when Rush makes a challenge that is over the top, for which he semi-apologized or when people go after Cindy Sheehan, not on the merits of her argument but on her personal background.

BECK: You know what? Let me say this. You just threw Rush Limbaugh over the -- under the bus...

HALPERIN: That`s impossible. It would take 10 of us.

BECK: Let me -- he`s thin now. That joke is about 15 years old.

The -- the question is, what about Michael J. Fox? He gets up in front of a roomful of people, and everybody starts laughing when he says, let`s not talk about medication. Rush Limbaugh will lecture me about medication. Excuse me, I`m an alcoholic. I have always been told alcoholism is a disease.

He also was a guy who got addicted to painkillers because he has a significant back problem. Can you take one disease and say it`s off-limit and another disease not?

HALPERIN: No, you can`t. But look, there`s two kind of combatants in this system. There are those who are timid and meek and think the rules of the current freak show, as we call it in "The Way to Win", are rules of like Marcus of Queensbury. And there are people like Rush and Ann coulter and Michael Moore on the left who play tough and play to win.

As I said before, in "The Way to Win", we are -- those people are now at the center of our politics and not for the better. Because Michael J. Fox might have something to contribute to this debate, but he`s just here now as a character playing his side of the fence.

BECK: And I also have to tell you that he played by the same rules that Rush Limbaugh was playing when he made those comments.

HALPERIN: Absolutely.

BECK: Mark, thanks a lot.

You know, I really want you to know why I feel so passionately about this issue. I want to play a clip from what happened earlier today when I got a phone call on the radio program.


CALLER: I listen to your radio show. I watch your TV show. I really appreciate your views and respect you.


CALLER: I just think on stem cells, though, Glenn, you`re completely out to lunch. I just finished six weeks of radiation for my 8-week-old daughter. My daughter with -- you have a daughter with cerebral palsy.

BECK: Yes, I do. Yes, I do.

CALLER: You should be sensitive to that.

BECK: And I am.

CALLER: You should be an advocate for stem cell research.

BECK: No, sir, I`m not. Do you know what it was like coming home to my daughter -- coming home to my daughter, my eldest daughter, after my youngest daughter was born, and I saved the cord blood. And to sit down at the kitchen table and talk to my eldest daughter about how I saved the cord blood.

And she said, "Dad, what is the cord blood for?"

And I said, "Well, nothing yet. But, Mary, if there was ever a chance that, you know, she had something go wrong, for instance, someday if she had the brain injury that you have, someday she would have the opportunity to have her stem cells regenerate her brain."

And my daughter looked at me and knows that she doesn`t have the cord blood. You don`t think that tore me apart inside? Of course, it did. Of course, it did.

But we are -- we`ve got to move past the emotion. You have to move past the emotions on this and do what`s right. And you`ll never do what`s right if you just make it about politics.



BECK: All right, look, I love movies. In fact just last night up until 3 a.m. watching all seven "Police Academy" films. Let me tell you, the guy who does the sounds with his mouth, genius.

However, I`m not sure how I feel about the new movie, "Death of a President". Actually, I do. Well, I`m not sure. I`m not sure. We`ll kind of explore this together.

The movie speculates on what the global aftermath might be if President Bush were shot to death during these critical times. It`s touched off a wave of controversy and publicity, because it features a scene that portrays the hypothetical assassination.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, sir, there`s no problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re just rounding up people now. We have probable cause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a major, major security breach.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This time it did seem to me there was real hate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looked at me and then he stepped out.


BUSH: I personally am sick of important movies. But I can`t tell you, I don`t know if this is important or irresponsible yet. Joining me now is the director of "Death of a President", Gabriel Range.

Hey, Gabriel.


BECK: Why did you feel that it was so important to use the actual face of President Bush?

RANGE: Well, the film is fiction, but it`s told in the style of a documentary and it`s very much about the current administration. It`s about the way the events have unfolded in the last five years.

And so it was really very important for you to feel like this was a documentary about the world we live in. It was very important that it was actually President Bush, not a fictional president.

BECK: Uh-huh. I mean, see, my problem is with any president. I would say this if it was about Bill Clinton. We don`t show the shooting of presidents, because there`s got to be some line at some point. Please, let`s not kick down every single line. There should be some things that are left to be shocking.

And that`s the reason, if I don`t misunderstand you, that`s the reason you wanted it there. You wanted it to be shocking. You wanted it to seem real. But that`s exactly the reason why we don`t show it.

RANGE: Well, I would argue that I think the film should be provocative. I think the film should be outrageous. I think that there`s not any -- I think it`s necessary to sometimes stir up a debate. And I think that the film has a serious intent. You know, I want the film to be throughout-provoking.

The film doesn`t take the assassination of President Bush as the starting point for entertainment. The film is, I hope, a meditation on some really important issues that have come to the fore in the course of fighting the war on terror.

BECK: I will tell you that I didn`t see the movie. I don`t watch rated "R" movies. But several on the staff watched the movie and said they were shocked because they expected to be a non-stop Bush bash and that the agenda was anti-Bush, and that is not the agenda of this movie.

But your agenda is anti-Patriot Act. What a surprise. Kind of in the same category. But that`s not the agenda, that it wasn`t a Bush bashing film.

RANGE: Absolutely right. This film is not a personal attack on President Bush. I wouldn`t even say it`s an anti-Republican film. It is a film which I hope raises legitimate concerns about the way the current administration has handled aspects of the war on terror.

And I think there are things which, you know, are really important that we should be talking about. I mean, I think that, you know, in these times, in this particular climate, it`s really important for us not to lose sight of the values that we`re fighting for, as well as what we`re fighting against.

BECK: Do you -- do you think there`s any point that people making movies today will finally hear people saying, "I can`t take political films anymore. Give me a break on political films"? And they always seem to come out, what a surprise, right around an action.

RANGE: Well, I mean, I think that -- I think one of the things that has happened since 9/11 is I think people in America and Britain have become much more -- you know, young people especially, have become much more engaged in politics and much more interested in the political process. And I think that`s something which is laudable. I think we should be very, very pleased about that.

BECK: One last thought, here, Gabriel. I just want to point out, I know you`re anti-Patriot Act. If we -- if we didn`t -- if you guys had our laws, you wouldn`t have caught those guys trying to blow up the 10 planes.

Gabriel, thank you.

Back in a second.


BECK: All right, every day you can hear my program on stations all across the country, including our brand-new affiliate, 830 AM-KLAA in Los Angeles, California, 830 AM.

By the way, can`t find an affiliate in your area, you can sign up to listen online at my web site,

Dave Glover is on 97.1 FM Talk in St. Louis.

Hello, Dave.

DANNY GLOVER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: How are you doing, buddy?

BECK: You guys are at the eye of the storm with this whole political nightmare.

GLOVER: Let me tell you, yes, it really is. It`s all people are talking about on my show. That and the World Series, of course.

BECK: Yes. Which one -- which one are people more passionate about?

GLOVER: Probably the World Series, yes.

BECK: Really?


BECK: So tell me about what people are saying about cheaters? I`m not saying anybody did cheat.

GLOVER: Well, the big cheater right now has to be Kenny Rogers, the pitcher, not the singer. Although I`ve heard similar rumors about the pitcher. He was caught on national television, 20 million viewers, with pine tar on his hands, which is the substance that helps you throw curveballs like crazy and makes it almost impossible to hit the ball.

And really nothing happened. He went in. He washed his hands and came back out. I was watching game with my 11-year-old. And you know, I thought, well, it`s a teaching moment. What did you learn?

And he honestly, he goes, "I learned if you cheat make sure you`re on national television not in sixth grade. I would have gotten in a lot more trouble than this guy."

BECK: Holy cow. Now was it -- do they know for sure? Because last - - I haven`t been following the story. Do they know for sure that it was pine tar?

GLOVER: You know, you better hope. You walk out there with a sticky brown substance on your hand, you about better hope it`s pine tar. Yes, it`s not really in question.

BECK: But hang on. He didn`t pitch it any differently afterwards.

GLOVER: Well, here`s the thing, pine tar, if you ever pick up a pine cone, and you don`t just -- you can watch off the brown part, but the sticky is still there.

BECK: Sure.

GLOVER: I mean, you lick your fingers. You get those spit balls. So he had plenty of stuff left. The real controversy is, is that nothing happened. No so much whether he did it or not. It`s more that nothing happened. No one really did anything about it.

BECK: OK. And we have kind of a related story with peewee football.

GLOVER: Peewee football, here`s the thing. I know you weren`t real into sports. It was my life growing up, and I take it very seriously. And I don`t have my son in sports now, partially because of things like this. Fights breaking out, coaches fist-fighting, being arrested, dragged off the field.

A man in Pennsylvania was just sentenced to about three years because he bribed one of his players on a peewee league $25 to throw the ball at an autistic child, because the autistic child made an out every time, and he wanted to win this playoff. And he was arrested, convicted. And he`s going to do three years for that.

BECK: Good for him.


BECK: Or good for us. You know, actually, I have a theory, Dave, that the reason why we are having, you know, so many problems with sports and fights are breaking out and everything else, I think it`s because we banned cockfighting.

GLOVER: Well, you know, cockfighting is the answer to many of life`s questions to me.

BECK: I think so.

GLOVER: Michael J. Fox and Jim Chandler could just get in a good cockfight now. I mean, we could...

BECK: You think -- you think those two should be involved? I don`t...

GLOVER: It`s done. All right. I challenge you.

BECK: Dave, thanks a lot. I question that whole, you know, last part of the conversation.

GLOVER: I`m going to go take a shower.

BECK: Thank you very much, Dave.


BECK: All right, welcome to "The Real Story." This is where we try to cut through the media spin and try to figure out why a story is actually important to you.

In a delightful change of pace, Iran`s president is taking a break from maniacally preaching about death to maniacally preaching about births. He is urging Muslim couples to have more children in an effort to double the country`s population. He`s even going so far to say that he`ll reduce working hours to allow women to have more children.

In his speech, he stated -- and I quote -- "It is said that two children is enough. I oppose this. Our country has a lot of capabilities. It even has the capacity for 120 million people." Iran currently has a population of over 60 million, already more than double its neighbor to the west, Iraq.

The real story is -- and I think this is quite shocking -- in principle, I agree 100 percent with President Tom, which makes me question myself. We as Americans should follow his advice to the T. We should have more children ourselves.

Without exaggeration, American culture is in danger of extinction unless we bolster our numbers. Our very way of life, our traditions as Americans -- I don`t care what color you are -- our traditions of our parents and our grandparents and their grandparents, our American fabric will be gone forever. You think I`m exaggerating? I want you to take a look at what`s happening around the world.

It is generally accepted that a replacement birth rate is 2.1 children per woman; that ensures that there`s a sufficient supply of people to continue the culture. Look at Europe`s numbers: Greece, 1.3; Italy, 1.2; Spain, 1.1; Russia, 1.1; England, 1.6. Historically speaking, these are fertility rates in which no human society has ever recovered.

Should the current population trends continue, the E.U. population of 375 million could fall to 275 million as early as 2075. How about Asia? Japan`s birth rate is among the lowest in the industrialized world, and its rate of decline is the fastest. Why do you think they`re making robots? Their population is 128 million, and it`s expected to shrink in half in 70 years.

Now, here at home, the U.S. birth rate has been ticking slightly upward over the past 10 years, from 2.0 to 2.1. But here is the real story: That statistic, that increase in birth rate is largely a consequence of the high fertility of a few immigrant groups, particularly Mexicans. Most American women are reproducing well below replacement levels.

We`re just not making as many Americans as we used to. The ones that are already here -- present company excluded -- are getting older. So who do you pass the torch to? Now, listen to me carefully, because I know there`s somebody who`s living in a freaking P.C. world that`s in there, "Oh, but you`re saying that freakin` people coming over here legally aren`t Americans?"

I`m not talking about race. I`m talking about American culture. You want to come from Italy, you want to come from Mexico, I don`t care if you`re black, white, sort of pink like me. When you come here, you become Americanized. It`s the values; it`s the beliefs that we hold so dear. It is.

It is everything that George Washington kneeled down in Valley Forge and prayed about. We`re about to lose it. We are a powerful nation, and we are quite literally dying out.

American immigrants are much less interested in assimilation. Not all of them, some of them. Rather than adopting American culture, they`re holding tight onto their own. If we don`t have more kids or bring in more immigrants that want to become Americans, that will teach their children to cherish their heritage, the American heritage, America as we know it will be gone, and there will be no getting her back.

Plus, I just hate to point this out, guys, it gives you a chance to say, "Honey, we`ve got to do it for our country." I`m just saying.

Tomorrow, President Bush and Republican lawmakers will hold court in the White House`s Roosevelt Room as George W. Bush signs the bill that will build 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The real story is: This is nothing more than politics as usual.

See, the decision to have a public ceremony is a reversal for the Bush administration. They initially wanted a stealth signing but finally caved into the dog and pony show as party leaders felt the bill is a major accomplishment that will help them with their re-election effort. Major accomplishment, really, 700 miles? I mean, it may sound like a big fence, but when you consider the border is actually 2,000 miles long, and we`re not really sure they`re going to spend the money on a fence, it is just yet another ineffectual band-aid on an immigration problem that has this country in critical condition.

And if this is such a giant leap forward in immigration reform, why wasn`t it being trotted out as such from the get-go? Perhaps because they don`t want a video record of signing a bill to build a fence that might not get built? Is that just me, or am I just a bitter, old cynic?

Look, I feel that the -- you know, a kind of almost big enough fence is certainly better than no fence at all, but it hardly feels like a genuine commitment to the cause of stopping illegal immigration. Remember, we`re in an election year, so politicians are eager to do whatever they have to, especially to log a little face time with the president in front of TV cameras to make sure they seem like they`re actually doing something.

It`s not exactly a secret that Congress had held onto the bill in order to guarantee the president`s signature closer to the election when it would have the biggest impact.

Joining me now with his thoughts is Ron Brownstein. He`s a political columnist for the "Los Angeles Times."

Ron, is tomorrow`s signing anything more than just a photo-op?

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, it`s a victory for the side of this debate that has wanted to focus on enforcement. And in a way, it`s a retreat by the president from his original insistence that the only way to deal with this was to couple enforcement with reform of the underlying laws, create some sort of guest worker program, and a path to legalization for people here illegally.

Basically, it says that the side that has wanted to focus on enforcement has been able to push its agenda through now, and we`ll see what happens after the election.

BECK: But do you really think that anybody just wants enforcement on, you know, build a fence? I don`t know a single soul -- and I hang around conservatives -- and I don`t know a single soul that says, "Let`s just build that fence." Nobody says that. Nobody think that`s the solution. That`s a part -- and a small part -- of the solution.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think that -- I don`t know if Jim Sensenbrenner would agree with you. But I think that, clearly, in polling, you`re right. I mean, when you look at -- you know, one thing that`s been striking to me about this debate is that the polling has been pretty consistent that most Americans believe there has to be what the president has called a comprehensive solution, in which we both try to toughen enforcement at the border and then create some pathway to allow the people who are coming here to work to get here legally and not to be crossing the border illegally. Now, it`s been very difficult to move that through the political process.

BECK: Wait a minute. Hold it. Wait a minute. Hold it. Maybe we don`t agree...

BROWNSTEIN: No, we don`t, probably.

BECK: ... because what I`m -- I`m not talking about the illegal aliens that are already here and let`s all, you know, talk sunshine and lollipops and make them citizens. What I`m talking about is that it`s not just a fence. It is making sure that people want to come in here legally and work and making sure that happens and securing our borders through many different angles. Is that what you`re seeing in polling or not?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, actually, in the polling, there is really support for all of the major options. There`s support for tougher enforcement of the border. There`s support for a guest worker program that would allow future flows of workers to come in. And there`s also support for allowing people who are here illegally to have a pathway toward legalization.

Now, that support in the polls, which we`ve polled on this -- we`ve had as high as two-thirds, Glenn, saying they support something with a series of steps, like learning English, and paying a fine, and so forth. But whether you can move that through the political system is another question.

As you know, a bill that would have done all of these things passed the Senate with over 60 votes last year. A lot of resistance, enormous resistance among House Republicans to anything that they saw as connoting amnesty. And as a result, that has been unable to move forward. Now, whether that comes back next year -- ironically it could be one of the things that, if a Democratic House came in, that they might be able to work with President Bush better on than a Republican House has been able to do.

BECK: But I think -- and maybe I`m wrong -- I think that people don`t want to talk about amnesty now because you haven`t fixed the problem. We always do the amnesty problem, and then we leave the problem out. So you got more people here, and they become legal, and then, you know, that`s what happened with Reagan. And then you get more people in again, and you got to do amnesty, but you never, ever fix the problem.

Let me ask you the role that labor unions are playing here, labor unions are a huge culprit in this, are they not?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, their shift has really changed the politics in this. I mean, historically, for most of their history, the unions were a force for restriction on immigration, going back all the way to the 19th century.

And they have moved on this debate in a way that allows Democrats to become supportive of what we`ll call the comprehensive approach here. They have come to view future flows of workers as less a threat to American jobs than as a source of future organizing. Now, that is the position of organized labor.

On the other hand, when you look at polling, there`s probably less support for a guest worker program among blue-collar Democrats than there are among up-scale Republicans, which is the reverse of where you see it politically as expressed in Congress.

BECK: OK, Ron, I`ve only got about 30 seconds. Can you tell me one reason why Bush wouldn`t want this showcased?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think they`re probably worried that it will be seen as hostile to Hispanic voters. They`re worried about what`s happening as a result of this debate. As you know, he made big inroads there in 2004. It`s important in the Southwest, which is the major new area of the country Democrats want to put in play in 2008. And I think the Republicans are a little worried they way this debate has been played out it`s going to cost them to go backward with that vote this year.

BECK: Thanks, Ron.

That is "The Real Story" tonight. And if you`d like to read more about this or if you`ve found a real story of your own that you`d like to tell us about, please visit and click on "The Real Story" button. Back in a minute.


BECK: All right, it`s been a few months. So, you know, Madonna was overdue for yet another media scandal. This time, she decided to adopt a child from Malawi for a cool $3 million. Hey, they`re going fast.

I don`t know, was Brad and Angelina getting a little too much attention, Madonna? Really? Looks like it worked. All eyes are back on Madonna, where they belong, America. Now she went on "Oprah" today, and she gave her side of the story. Here`s a piece of that.


MADONNA, MUSICIAN: For me, that`s what disappoints me the most. And I feel like the media is doing a great disservice to all the orphans of Africa, period, not just Malawi by saying such negative things.


BECK: Oh, that`s just -- yes, "Oprah`s" zombie audience. That`s right, Madonna, the media was the one that took the child from the father and the grandparents and broke the rules of the adoption agencies there in Malawi. You know, I miss the good, old days when you were getting nailed to a cross at the Staples Center calling it art. No, I do.

Katrina Szish, she couldn`t disagree with me more, I`m guessing. She is a contributor editor to "Us Weekly." She joins me now.

You do disagree with me. I mean, you think that you should check me for horns at this point, don`t you?

KATRINA SZISH, "US WEEKLY": Oh, maybe just a little bit. It`s our first time meeting, so I won`t go that far yet. Maybe I`ll wait until the end of the show.

BECK: All right, good. Well, you actually think that Madonna is right?

SZISH: I think that Madonna is right in that I think that she did a wonderful thing. She rescued a child who was near death, who had suffered through various diseases, and who really wouldn`t have a chance at living any life even close to what we`ve been lucky enough to live or maybe even not living past the age of 5. So I think what she did was a wonderful thing.

BECK: OK. I`m glad that you said that the child may not have lived. You didn`t leave it at just as "living just such a wonderful life," because...

SZISH: No, not just living.

BECK: Yes, I find that -- that`s one of the thing that really bothers me about people`s argument on Madonna is they say, "Well, what kind of life would he have in Africa?" Well, I don`t know. One near his grandparents and his father in the country of birth. That`s not so bad. We always make it about money and fame.

SZISH: Sure. I think, in this case, we`re talking a little bit about the fact that, as Madonna had said on Oprah, that what she had been told is that no member of David`s family had visited him there since he had been dropped off when he was 2 weeks old. For all she knew, there was no one looking after his welfare. The orphanage didn`t have adequate money, adequate medicines, so she felt she was literally giving him a life, not just fame and fortune.

BECK: Now, she came in and said, "I just feel this is going to hurt people who want to adopt internationally." And by the way, I`m an adoptive dad. I can`t imagine how that`s going to hurt -- you know, what people like me are saying on television, how it`s going hurt international adoptions.

I think, if anything, all it says is, hey, if you got $3 million, go out and break all the rules in Africa. She was supposed to live there for 18 months. You want to adopt in Malawi, you have to live there at least 18 months. What, does everybody else get you know, the special bonus where Malawi`s going to fly out to her to visit her once in a while?

SZISH: Sure, I think this is where things get interesting, because what Madonna is saying, what she has said that she was told by the Malawi government and by child welfare services was that they really don`t have laws about this so they`re going to make it up as they go along...

BECK: Right.

SZISH: ... whereas if you, you know, check out various adoption Web sites, they do cite what you mention, the 18 months residency period. The one step Madonna perhaps has skipped was, as you mentioned, the 18-month residency period, but she still has an 18-month interim adoption period where she will be visited by a social worker.

BECK: Oh, Katrina, do you really think, though, that her just skipping that 18-month period, do you think that would happen for anybody else who wasn`t going in and buying a child?


BECK: Money doesn`t talk; it screams.

SZISH: I don`t think she was -- I don`t believe what the idea she was "buying a child." And I do think that for what Madonna has been doing with her Raising Malawi Project, for the amount of money she has donated that will service thousands of orphans, and she will continue to build orphanages in Malawi. I think that, if the process was sped up, which I do believe that`s what did happen, I think the bottom line, as I mentioned earlier, it is for the good of this child. Madonna is not a bad person here.

BECK: Well, you and I can spend some time on that one.

SZISH: Yes, I don`t know.

BECK: But in Hollywood, it always seems to be about what`s hot, what`s trendy, Prius. I just read an article about how everybody has got a Prius, and yet they take their jets. You know, they`ll fly...

SZISH: Of course.

BECK: ... 7,000 miles in a jet.

SZISH: Forget the Prius. Take the GulfStream.

BECK: Correct. What is to make the people who are, you know, lead normal lives outside of Hollywood, California, believe that this just isn`t this adopt-an-African-child is not just the hot thing in Hollywood?

SZISH: I do, Glenn, believe it`s sort of sad of a disservice to just chock this adoption up to some sort of trend that celebrities are embracing. I think also celebrities get a bad rap for just doing things to service themselves. And I don`t think this is a case of that, not that that doesn`t exist, because it sure does.


SZISH: But I do believe that -- Madonna had said she`d worked with Bob Geldof for doing a Live Aid concert. She got to know the problems in Africa, and she decided that`s where there was the greatest need, and that`s where she wanted to go. It`s not a trend.

BECK: Good. Katrina, thanks a lot.


BECK: Now, let`s check in with Nancy Grace to see what she`s got coming up on the show tonight -- Nancy?

NANCY GRACE, HOST: Glenn, cover girl Anna Nicole Smith evicted from her Bahamas seaside mansion, on the heels of that unexplained death of her young son and the birth of her brand-new baby girl? And tonight, Glenn, death watch. A Florida serial killer confesses to stalking college coeds, now facing lethal injection. And guess what? Legal battle rages -- Glenn?

BECK: Don`t forget, you can check Nancy out tonight, 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. Eastern.


BECK: All right, there are some people who watch this show and disagree with me. I know, unbelievable. But now you can disagree with me like a man, via video mail, like insider Tom from Columbus. He asked me this question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you realize, when you were talking to the attorney general, John Ashcroft, you actually said, "General"? You called him "General" twice. And I think, if I`m not mistaken, you thanked him for his service. And, well, granted, you know, he was a public servant, but still he`s not a general. I looked it up on Wikipedia. He`s never been in the military. He`s a lawyer, I believe. Yes, well, he`s attorney general.


BECK: "OK, I`m a geek. I`m on the computer, Wikipedia." Come on, man! You know, actually I did have the same thought before the interview. What am I supposed to call this guy? Am I supposed to say, you know, "Mr. Former Attorney General, Mr. John Ashcroft, John Evil Conservative Guy That Listens Into Phone Calls? I didn`t know what to call him.

So we called his office. The correct title to call the former attorney general is General. So, you know, while my foot goes directly in my mouth in about half of the interviews, apparently it wasn`t in there this time.

Kim from Erie, apparently not as creative or maybe not as photogenic, she sends in one of those old-fashioned regular e-mails. She writes, "Mr. Beck, I used to turn the channel after "NANCY GRACE," but one evening, unable to find the remote and too lazy to go look" -- boy, have I been there -- "I tuned into your show. Now I watch it quite often."

"I think you`re not afraid to find facts that may go against your political preference. The thing about most political party people is that they will believe anything their party tells them without really questioning it. They remind me of people who buy the infomercial diet products that proclaim, `Lose up to 30 pounds in five days, results not typical.` They ignore the fact that `up to` means somewhere between zero to 30. Anyway, I find that you accept the facts and not the jargon of politics."

Wow, Kim, thank you for that. Some people accuse me of trying to walk some weird, party line, but my line is so jagged and crooked, only Mel Gibson could stumble around and comfortably stay on it. I am undoubtedly a conservative, which I don`t care which party is right. For instance, I disagree with Joe Lieberman on an awful lot of things, but I`ll be voting for him in Connecticut because he knows security, and that`s the most important thing to me this time.

And, yes, if he would have won the primary and ran as a Democrat instead of independent, I would have voted for him then, too. And if you lived in the same state with Rick Santorum, I would have voted for a Republican and a Democrat. Go ahead. Write in. Tell me I`m lying. They`re coming at We`ll see you tomorrow on the radio.