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Glenn Beck

CIA Plans for Iran; Critics Question Immigration Bill; Al Gore: Voice of Reason?; Reagan Diaries Provide Glimpse at Man Behind the Presidency

Aired May 25, 2007 - 19:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, it`s immigration, stupid. I`ll tell you why immigration will make or break the race in `08.

Plus, Al Gore in the spotlight, again. He`s got a new book, you know, which I didn`t read, but that hasn`t stopped me before.

And fat people unite. How one Massachusetts lawman is hoping to make it a crime to make fun of the short and the fat.

All that and more next.


BECK: Hello, America.

It is the economy, stupid. That`s what everybody has been shouting since the `92 presidential campaign. Well, you know what? Many politicians have used that to stay focused on the issue to what`s most important to viewers, but things are about to change. And here`s the point tonight.

In the 2008 election, you can swap out economy for immigration, and here`s how I got there.

After playing nice for two whole debates, the Republican candidates have finally loosened their little red ties and put up their dikes. The first bout was between Mitt Romney and John McCain.

Romney called the Kennedy immigration bill nothing more than amnesty, the dirty "A" word of American politics. Then McCain took a poke at Romney, saying that he should get out his varmint gun and chase the Guatemalans off his lawn.

While, political name-calling is certainly good for my business, I`d like to remind John McCain, a man I really have the utmost respect for, that it`s about immigration, stupid. As a soldier he should understand how intimately connected illegal immigration and national security are.

The McCain-Kennedy bill, you know, is in good spirit, because it shows, you know, a cooperative effort between the Republicans and uber- crazy Democrat like Ted Kennedy. After all, it is going to take the joint effort of both parties to solve a problem as big as this one.

But the rest of the problems facing our country, yes, they can be on hold for just a few minutes. Let`s take this one first.

So here`s what I know tonight. McCain`s bill would grant amnesty to millions of immigrants who snuck into our country illegally, whether they want to call it that or not.

Senator McCain, the right to live here and work here in America shouldn`t be gained by jumping a fence, forging documents and falsifying tax returns, and generally ignoring the law.

What I don`t know is how anyone, from a politician to a dopey talk show host like me, can disagree with the simple logic that legal status as an American must be earned, and any immigration bill that suggests otherwise, or puts the rights of illegal aliens ahead of national security, doesn`t deserve approval, nor does the candidate who supports it.

Michael Graham is a talk show host for 96.9 WTKK in Boston.

Michael, I understand you have battered voter syndrome.

MICHAEL GRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I am suffering under battered voter syndrome, no doubt about it.

In 2000, I was a talk show host down in Charleston, South Carolina, a very George W. Bush friendly place during a state that mattered, the 2000 primary. It was the big shindig. And I stood up for John McCain. He was my man. And I was there for him, man. And now I -- he`s just broken my heart.

I mean, what do you say, you know? You think you know a guy, and you look up and he`s got his arm around Ted Kennedy. I should have seen it coming. I should have noticed the liquor bottles in the back of the car, the car in the water. I should have noticed.

BECK: Michael, here`s what the problem is. Because I supported McCain for a while, too, because I liked his independence. I liked the fact that he`ll reach across the aisle and work, but not with the insane. You know, he had the McCain-Feingold Bill, and he has this.

I mean, he`s just -- he`s beyond independent. He`s darn near crazy on some of these things.

GRAHAM: Well, this is certainly bipartisan. Democrats and Republicans in the Senate working right now to screw over every blue collar person in the United States. They`re working together to really hurt you.

And I have to be honest with you. I noticed at one point during your monologue, Glenn, that I was asleep. But at another point I noticed that you said that the "A" word in politics is amnesty. And I mean, when you can`t be honest about what it is you`re doing, you`re doing something wrong.

When you have to jam a bill through before Memorial Day that you didn`t introduce until Thursday before Memorial Day, you`re doing something wrong. And they know that the American people don`t want it.

And I`m just trying to figure out what John McCain -- from a political standpoint, as a guy who ran campaigns in South Carolina and who`s covered campaigns in it for the Republicans, I don`t understand what it is he thinks he`s accomplishing.

BECK: Well, you know what? I think all of them just think they can get away with it. I mean, I think every single one of them, because they`re -- I think it`s almost like -- they haven`t, but it`s almost like they`ve gotten together: "What choice do the American people have? We`re all screwing them." You know?

GRAHAM: The American people have lent -- lent credence to that idea. We have got to hold people responsible. One of the reasons why I started the web site is because I kept hearing from people who dumped McCain. And what they`re saying was, "I`m just not going to vote or I`m going to get out" or whatever.

I`m like no, no, no, no, no. You need to let everybody else running for president and for Senate and governor and anything else understand important immigration is to you. If they can see publicly that it`s costing Senator McCain support, it`s going to cause people to do the right thing.

I quite frankly don`t care if Mitt Romney is sincere or insincere when he says he opposes this amnesty as long as he opposes it. He can sit up all night fantasizing about turning us all into one great Mormon empire, as long as he stops this bill.

BECK: I`ve got to tell you, that`s the -- that is the hardest thing with this election, is for the American people, at least for me, to sit there and watch them go, "I don`t know. Does he really believe this? Is he -- I mean, is he going to get into office and screw us over, too?"

It`s almost like they become zombies when they get in there, on both the left and the right. They get into Washington, and I don`t know what happens.

GRAHAM: Glenn, let me give you a little tip. If you`re voting for somebody when he gets into office, he`s my promise. He`s going to screw you, at some point, just because of the nature of the beast.

But let me say this. The Founding Fathers were brilliant. The Constitution turns self-interest into public interest because of the checks and balances, because of the power we have at the ballot box and then the power of the different parties all working things out.

The American people, though, are letting -- we`re letting our nation down by not screaming and yelling and loudly enough and not by pledging to people, "Look, John McCain, I`m never going to vote for you ever as long as you abandon our borders and abandon our national security."

BECK: We should be saying that to all of them. Thanks a lot, Michael.

Now, there are 12 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States, and they -- they`re important to new D.C. policy-makers.

New poll shows the illegals are not that big of a deal for most voters. What a surprise. Twenty-six percent favor the new Senate immigration plan -- 26 -- but 72 percent say what really matters is border security.

Lawmakers and presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle need to realize that the American people are not isolationists; we`re not racist. We just want honest enforcement provisions and serious commitment to an overall reduction in illegal immigration. Our safety depends on it.

The immigration poll I`m talking -- I`m talking about was conducted by Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports.

Scott, what else does the poll tell us here?

SCOTT RASMUSSEN, RASMUSSEN REPORTS: Well, the poll tells us, first of all, this is not a partisan issue. Michael Graham said it well just a few moments ago. It is an issue where the politicians are on one side of the debate, where they want to focus on these 12 million illegal aliens.

The American people, Republicans, Democrats, and unaffiliateds, are unhappy with the bill; and they`re saying the first, second and third priority has to be to secure the border. After that, we can discuss what we do with the people who are already here.

BECK: Scott, why is it that -- I mean, I felt like such a freak this week. I think it was maybe on Wednesday`s show, Tuesday`s show. There was a guest that insisted, "No, Glenn, no, no, no, they care -- the American people care about the illegal immigrant, too."

And I said, "Yes, they do, but nowhere anywhere -- nowhere near the security issue."

Why is it that message just can`t ring through in the media or with politicians?

RASMUSSEN: Well, I think in terms of the politicians sometimes you just hear what you want to hear.

The reality is only 29 percent say that resolving the legal status of these illegals is a very important issue.

There is something going on here. The American people are being very pragmatic. They`re saying we have a very important priority. Whatever it takes to get that done -- we`re not sure if that means building a barrier, putting employer sanctions, putting landlord sanctions on...

BECK: All of it.

RASMUSSEN: ... putting more Border Patrol agents, we want something done.

And if we believe the politicians are serious, and if we see progress, well, then we can talk about revising the other rules. But until the existing rules work, what difference does it make what other rules you pass?

BECK: I had the head of homeland security on the radio show yesterday, Michael Chertoff, and he said to me -- I said, "Do you not hear the American people? We don`t believe you. We don`t believe that you`re actually going to do anything. We give you the candy, and you`ll end up screwing us. We`re not -- we don`t believe you."

And he said, "Glenn, the American people, we`ll do it. You just have to hold the politicians` feet to the fire."

I said, "Michael, we`ve already thrown the Republicans out of office because they screwed us. We`re screaming about it in the polls. What else are we supposed to do? Grab our guns and start a civil war?"

RASMUSSEN: And that`s really where the frustration is. Twelve years ago the Democrats were thrown out of office because people were fed up. Now they`ve thrown Republicans out of office. Where else do people turn? What are you going to do about an issue like that?

I think the fact is that the uproar about this issue in the last week has changed the debate. And it is looking very problematic for that bill to pass, something that I think the grand bargainers weren`t counting on when they passed -- when they proposed this bill a couple weeks ago.

BECK: When you`re looking at this, you`re saying it`s non-partisan. Is this going to hurt the Democrats as much as it`s hurting the Republicans?

RASMUSSEN: Well, ultimately it hurts both parties. Right now it hurts Republicans more, because President Bush is out there promoting this as the immigration reformer in chief.

BECK: Stupid.

RASMUSSEN: It also hurts Republicans more, because they`re struggling under other issues. George Bush`s approval ratings are at the lowest level ever.

The Democrats have an issue that unites them. It`s Iraq. And while they`re squabbling over the details, they are very unhappy with the way Iraq has played out. That`s the reason the Democrats are in office. As soon as that issue goes away, immigration will hurt Democrats as much as it hurts Republicans.

BECK: Great. Scott, thanks a lot.

Coming up, Al Gore`s new manifesto, "The Assault on Reason", pretty much blames the Bush administration for everything wrong in the entire world. Clear thinker, sore loser? We`ll see.

Plus, according to at least one report, the president has signed off on a covert action in Iran just as the military increases war-gaming in the Persian Gulf. Is this preparation for war? That`s tonight`s "Real Story."

Plus, a sneak peek at "Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World`s End." It`s a guaranteed blockbuster, and its creator, Jerry Bruckheimer, stops by to tell us all about it. Coming up.


KEIRA KNIGHTLEY, ACTRESS: You`ll never forget me.





BECK: The new Al Gore book is out today. Stop asking him if he`s going to run for president of the United States. I think he`s going to run for God.

Has anybody noticed that the press is painting this robot into God? If he`s not God, he certainly, certainly is Sir Lancelot: "I shall slay those dragons. Quick, my lady, stand behind me. I`ll save you."


BECK: All right. Al Gore has written a new book. It`s called "The Assault on Reason". describes it as, quote, "a visionary analysis of how the politics of fear, secrecy, cronyism and blind faith has (sic) combined with the degradation of the public`s fear to create an environment of dangerously hostile to reason. Al Gore has written a far- sighted and powerful manifesto for clear thinking."

Wow. Does the Bible even get that kind of write-up?

I`m not exactly sure how it`s happened, but these days Al Gore has been seen as -- less as a reasonably smart politician and more like some all-knowing guru, a yogi for the NPR set.

Didn`t this guy do little else than spend eight years in the White House, essentially going to funerals of dead foreign leaders, keeping a lookout, you know, while Al -- while Bill Clinton was tutoring the interns? And then he lost an election to -- who`s supposedly the dumbest guy on the planet. He put on 60 pounds, made a slide show.

How is he now writing manifestos on clear thinking?

It is amazing how we can mythologize somebody in this country. We take their public losses and celebrate them as symbolic victories and the embodiment of virtue.

But before anybody, you know, takes out the old, you know, thorny crown for Al, let`s look at the facts of him as a man, not the God that he surely is.

I mean, let`s be honest: would God use as much electricity in one month that most Americans do in a year? I`m just saying.

Peter Fenn is a Democratic consultant and advisor to Mr. Gore during his 2000 campaign.

Peter, here`s the thing. I mean, I`m really trying to hold my temper here on this, because this drives me nuts.

I read his manifesto, and I read -- I read part of it where he`s talking about how you we`re polarizing ourselves, and you know what? Before I knew it was Al Gore, I called my producer in and I said, "Look at this. This is absolutely dead on."

And then I realized it was Al Gore, and blood was shooting out of my eyes, because he`s partially responsible for what we`re seeing.

PETER FENN, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: Look, I think it`s based on substance, is what I think. I mean, look, here`s a guy who spoke out early and often on this subject of global warming, who from when he first entered Congress as a House member and then in the Senate and then as vice president.

BECK: Sure.

FENN: And so, you know, he has a certain degree of credibility on this.

BECK: A certain degree.

FENN: And I think come over to his side on this and whether you call it global warming or climate change, as this administration now calls it.

BECK: Sure.

FENN: You see folks coming around. And I think -- I think...

BECK: Here`s -- here`s the thing. You know, he says that, you know, how have -- how have we gotten in a place where we can`t even talk to each other?

FENN: Right.

BECK: And I`m reading it, and I`m like, "Absolutely right. You know, absolutely right."

But he`s the guy who leads the charge that there is no debate on global warming, and you`re demonized if you stand up and say, "Wait a minute, wait a minute."

I can talk to you about climate change, global warming. I`ll even talk to you about what we`re going to do about it, but you can`t have that debate here and still, you know, walk away with any kind of credibility in Al Gore`s world.

FENN: Well, I`ll tell you. I`m not sure he`s saying that.

BECK: Oh, really.

FENN: I think he`s -- he`s making his argument very strongly that we`ve got a crisis, and we`ve got to solve that crisis. But what he`s saying is, "Look, let`s have this debate, let`s have this discussion."

When he goes out and speaks to 10,000 people in Boise, Idaho, he`s getting some blowback from folks all the time, but he wants to have that debate.

I think, look, where you and he are on the same page, it sounds to me like, Glenn, is that you want to see a real discussion of issues, whether it`s global warming or health care or immigration, you know, retirement security. I mean, there are big problems out there, big issues.

BECK: Look, you know what? I`m -- I`m just as angry with the people on -- some people on the Republican side, because they`ll -- I just railed on John McCain for doing the same thing, trying to make the immigration thing into a racist thing. We`ve got to be able to sit down and talk to each other, but we don`t.

For instance, with Al Gore, he`s made this big thing that, you know, George Bush has made the biggest mistake. I heard the speech: "He played on our fears. He lied to us!"

Really? Then explain this for me. I`ve got a couple of quotes for you.

Al Gore, 2002: "We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country." That was 2002.

Bill Clinton, "If Saddam rejects a peace, then we have to use force. Our purpose is clear: seriously diminish the threat posed by their weapons of mass destruction."

Ted Kennedy: "We`ve known for many years Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."

Hillary Clinton said the same thing. I`ve got the quote right here.

Now they`re all saying Bush lied. If you`re going to be intellectually honest, shouldn`t you on that case say, "It wasn`t a lie. We were all misinformed by our own intelligence."

FENN: Absolutely, no question about it. And I think a lot of folks have said, "Look, you know, this is the intelligence we had in the `90s. This is..."

BECK: Al Gore is not saying that.

FENN: Well, you know, I think if you asked Al Gore on this program, you know, were you wrong about this?

BECK: Yes.

FENN: Did you -- was that statement wrong, he would totally agree with that.

I think what he`s talking about is the lead up to the war, is the fear that`s been created after the war. In his book and in the section that I read in "TIME" magazine today, he, of course, is extremely critical about the use of fear.

BECK: Fear.

FENN: Right, and the link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

BECK: This is when television sucks, because I`ve got to cut this short. I`d love to continue and say, isn`t that what the global warming thing is doing?

Peter, thanks a lot.

FENN: Thanks.

BECK: Coming up, a closer look into the mind of a very skilled leader. "The Reagan Diaries", filled with wisdom and honesty and his personal thoughts, and they may truly astound you.


ANNOUNCER: Is your in-box yearning for some special attention? Then sign up for the free Glenn Beck e-mail newsletter. Just go to and look for the entry form on the right side of the screen.


BECK: I find it amazing all the Republican candidates who are out there vying for president, they`re all saying the same thing: "I`m the next Ronald Reagan."

But to me it seems that they`re missing something. Ronald Reagan wasn`t a magician. It wasn`t his slick dialogue, his ability to connect with the camera, you know, a great group of political consultants whispering in his ear.

It was his values, and those values were not Republican. They were not Democrat. They were American values. I haven`t seen them yet.

Now we get a glimpse of those values in Reagan in his new "Reagan Diaries" book.

Joining me now David Gergen, an advisor to four presidents, professor at Harvard`s Kennedy School of Government.

David, what were the values that made Reagan the man he was?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: He was very much a man who believed in freedom of the individual, in a smaller state, but he also believed in the importance of civilized dialogue, of reaching out across the aisle and reaching out to your enemies, like the Soviet Union.

BECK: Yes.

GERGEN: He was -- you know, he strongly opposed what the Soviet Union represented, but he also wanted to see if he couldn`t make this a safer world.

And it was not just Nancy. People say, well, Nancy was one who pushed him into it. What comes out in these diaries is a man who talks a lot about peace and almost nothing about war.

BECK: I`ve been thinking about him a lot lately. I`ve been thinking about where we are as a country right now.


BECK: And my grandfather was a diehard, until he dead -- until he died FDR Democrat. And yet he had the same values of Ronald Reagan. And he could never get past the fact that Reagan became a Republican.

And, you know, I`ve been thinking that it`s the values that don`t change. The parties do, back and forth, but the values are what we should be connecting on now. Am I wrong?

GERGEN: Well, that was certainly true -- well, no, you`re right. It was certainly true of the World War II generation, and I think that stretched all the way back to the World War I generation that FDR represented.

It`s important to remember, Glenn, that Franklin -- that Ronald Reagan growing up, first time he had a chance to vote was 1932, and he voted for Franklin Roosevelt.

BECK: Yes.

GERGEN: He voted for Roosevelt, `32, `36, 1940 and 1944. It was only in the `50s that Reagan felt that the Democratic Party started moving left. He moved farter to the right.

But the values that he held all through his life are consistent with many of the values that Franklin Roosevelt held.

BECK: Right.

GERGEN: And I think there`s also -- what you see in this, too, and it -- there`s a -- you have to -- you can`t help but notice how big a contrast there is between Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

There is a lot of -- not only just warmth, but there`s a lot of desire to work with the other side, no matter who that might be, to see if you can`t work it out, to see if you can`t find common solutions.

BECK: There is -- there is a quote, and I don`t know if I have time to do the whole quote, but he`s talking about -- in the book about getting shot and how it hurts. And then he realized he couldn`t ask God for help to heal him unless he forgave the guy.

It`s amazing how much -- I mean, it -- really the destruction of the Soviet Union came from Pope John Paul and Ronald Reagan. These two had a lot in common in this regard.

GERGEN: They did. I mean, they were believers in human freedom and the desire for freedom, but they didn`t want to go to war. They wanted to do it more through sort of negotiations.

And Reagan, by the way, was very tough. He was not -- and he understood exactly where he was going when he proposed the so-called Star Wars or SDI, Strategic Defense Initiative. He understood what that was about.

And what comes out in his diaries is, he was -- he was not going to -- he was not going to give that away.

But can I say one other thing about these diaries?

BECK: Yes.

GERGEN: It also reveals -- it puts a lie to the notion that somehow Ronald Reagan or any other American president is a hostage to the Israeli lobby. It really puts a lie to that.

BECK: OK, great. Thanks, David.


BECK: Coming up in just a couple of minutes, "Pirates of the Caribbean" opens up, it`s "Pirates 3." I`ll give you a preview of it tonight. Plus, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a guy whose movies have made $18 billion, is going to stop by. I`m most interested -- I want to know how much he`s pulling down a year. I`ll ask him in a couple of minutes.

First, tonight`s "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. And for the last year, I`ve been saying we need to identify Iran as the head of the snake in the Middle East and do what we can to stop the evil that is the leadership of Iran.

The "Real Story" is, President Bush is doing just that now with a new approval on non-lethal covert operations against Iran. It`s not really so covert anymore, is it, if I`m talking about it? One of the reasons so many politicians invoke the name of Ronald Reagan is that he knew a little something about defeating evil and an evil empire.

Reagan brought down the Soviets without any bloodshed. Instead of utilizing the resources of the military, he used the U.S. intelligence community, deadly effective tactics of propaganda, disinformation, and economic pressure. Now, while it didn`t always work -- let`s not forget pesky Nicaragua there -- it was a plan that worked more often than not, and President Bush seems to think that it might work again. Apparently, he`s just ain`t the dummy the Democrats and most of the press would like to believe he is.

With the president giving his approval to the CIA to mount a covert, non-lethal operation against Iran, we now may have a chance at destabilizing the Iranian government and avoiding an all-out war. If we can put a stop to Iran`s insane plans while sparing the lives of many American soldiers and Iranian civilians, as well, then the president just might go down as one of the shrewdest political thinkers in recent memory. We`re a long way from there.

Peter Brookes is a senior fellow in national security affairs at the Heritage Foundation. Hello, Peter.


BECK: First question, if this is so covert, why do I know about it?

BROOKES: Well, actually, what covert means, Glenn, here is that there`s plausible deniability that the United States is not involved in these actions. Now, clandestine means, well, clandestine means secret.


BROOKES: Covert means that we`re not involved. It`s not the United States. Our fingerprints aren`t on it. Now, clandestine is a different meaning, and that means that it`s secret. In this case, you know, it could be that they know these operations are going on, but they don`t know who`s behind them.

BECK: But didn`t we just come out and say what we`re doing?


BECK: I mean, I saw the plan in the paper today. We`re doing something with their currency. What are we doing with the currency?

BROOKES: Well, we could go after their bank accounts. We could try to devalue their currency around the world. The idea here, Glenn, is that things are going to happen to Iran -- if this is true. We don`t know that it`s true, but if it`s true, things are going to happen to Iran that are not going to have our fingerprints on it.

BECK: Peter, hang on. Wait, I`ll just help you out here. If anyone from the Iranian government is watching, we`re definitely not devaluing your currency, and it ain`t us.

BROOKES: Well, there`s going to be propaganda. But the idea here is that they`re not going to be able to point the finger at the United States government for the things that do happen to them. It`s different than, you know -- if it`s different than if you were using soldiers or something, and you were invading a country, there`s no -- you can`t deny that. But in this case, there will be actions that will happen to Iran that they will not be able to finger the U.S. government with.

BECK: Does this tell you anything about us ratcheting it up? Does this tell you anything that we`re getting nervous that they`re getting close? Is this a last step? Is this a first step? What is this?

BROOKES: I think the important thing, Glenn, here is that it`s not just about the nuclear program. That is part of it, but this is about the Iranian regime and all the things they`re involved in.

Look, they`re involved in Afghanistan. They`re supporting the Taliban. They`re supporting everybody against us in Iraq. They might be behind some of the troublemaking that`s going on in Lebanon today, I mean, terrorism, Hezbollah, Hamas. I mean, the idea here is to keep them busy at home and keep them from getting busy abroad.

BECK: OK. You say they might be involved in Lebanon?

BROOKES: Well, OK. Fair enough.

BECK: I mean, well, maybe that`s a covert operation for them.

BROOKES: That`s right, that`s right, it`s a clandestine operation.

BECK: That`s right, that`s what it is. I always mix those two up.

Do you see us making any steps in preparing for any kind of hot war with them? I know we`re out and doing military maneuvers out there. Are we at all in a position as a nation with our credibility now to even scare them?

BROOKES: Well, you know, we always have war plans. I mean, when I worked at the Pentagon, we were always updating these sort of things. We`re always ready to go at a moment`s notice. Of course, the big question now, would we have the political will to do it? And you`ve touched it perfectly.

I mean, look what`s going on with Iraq today. There`s a lot of political questions. Remember, war is fundamentally political. What would we do? We have the capability. And, remember, the Air Force is not that busy in Iraq today, nor is the Navy, and if we went after their nuclear program, for instance, these would be the main players, and they`re certainly capable of doing it.

BECK: OK. As always, Peter, thanks.

Now, nuclear attack on America, it has been a scary plot device in movies since the 1950s, and here we are. "The Real Story" tonight is that, here in 2007, it is a scenario based more in fact than fiction. Fortunately, up to now, terrorist attacks have only employed conventional weapons, you know, bullets and bombs, and they are quite capable of taking life and wreaking havoc, but they don`t pose the same catastrophic threat as a nuclear device.

Our military and intelligence forces are doing everything they can to prevent such a terrorist plot, but the cold, hard truth now is that most experts agree that we can`t just focus merely on preventing a nuclear attack on our nation. Instead, we have to devise a plan for how our society and how our government can function if and when that attack should occur.

A joint study by Harvard and Stanford Universities is developing that plan. I`m joined now by a man who knows it very well. His name is Charles Ferguson, a fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations.

Charles, I read about this in the "San Francisco Chronicle" this last weekend. This is frightening stuff. We are talking not about just 100,000 people dead; we`re talking about ramifications that ripple all across the world.

CHARLES FERGUSON, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: That`s right, Glenn. I mean, the consequences in terms of the economic damage could soar upwards of $1 trillion. Some experts believe it could spark a global economic depression. And I`m concerned that it could spark, actually, a global thermonuclear war.

We could be back in a nightmare scenario that we were in during the Cold War. Imagine if nuclear material leaked out of Russia, and we traced the bomb back to that Russian material. What do we do? Do we nuke Moscow? I mean, it`s sort of a scenario from the movie "Fail-Safe," when we kind of trade New York for Moscow.

BECK: But let`s -- you know what? Before we go to global nuclear war, because that`s what would happen -- I mean, if we would bomb -- let`s say we found out that it was from Iran, we bombed them, somebody else is going to bomb. I mean, it`s going to get ugly.

I want to go back to the point, if they destroyed just a large section -- let`s just say they destroyed all of Wall Street. The economy here in New York, the real estate prices alone, between New York and Connecticut and New Jersey would just collapse, because no one would -- nobody would want to live here. What does that mean to the economy? That would collapse at least the American economy, most likely, and thus collapse the entire world, wouldn`t it?

FERGUSON: It could, but in terms of attack on Wall Street, it`s my understanding that the financial network is backed up. Every day...

BECK: I`m not saying...


BECK: Yes, I`m not saying that. I`m saying just from the real estate market. You have a 1,000-square-foot home here in New York City. It`s over $1 million.


BECK: Who wants to live or work on this island if you`re thinking there are only six exits, if you`re thinking somebody could drop a nuke here? And somebody does, what happens to the real estate market and, how does that ripple across the economy?

FERGUSON: Oh, exactly, and a similar event could play out in Washington, D.C. I live on Capitol Hill right within a mile of the Capitol, and, you know, the way the wind patterns blow, my house would be covered in radioactive contamination. So, you know, whoops, there goes the housing market.

BECK: You know, we sent our cameras out to the fallout shelters here in New York City. They`re completely dismantled.


BECK: I mean, if I`m not mistaken, Bill Clinton got rid of the Geiger counters, because they weren`t necessary anymore back in the 1990s. What are some of the plans that you guys are saying, "You`ve got to do right now"?

FERGUSON: Well, even this Harvard-Stanford study is considering recommending bomb shelters in some places, but what`s interesting, about the same time that that group was meeting, there are two engineers from the Carnegie Mellon University who published a report saying, oh, bomb shelters aren`t necessary. We just need to communicate the right information to the public.

Yes, good luck. I mean, this is a very complex issue. We need to have an adult conversation with the American public about what they need to know.

BECK: What is the part of the study that I read that says that the government may not be able to continue or that it would be a disrupted government for quite some time? They were talking about transportation would be shut down and the government would fail, at least for a while. Is that overstating it by the paper, or what is that?

FERGUSON: I don`t think it`s overstating it. Even after 9/11, you`ll recall that Vice President Cheney was hiding out away from Washington. We put forward a continuity-of-government plan. At that point, I was working in the State Department. You know, some government officials were hiding out in northern Virginia. So we`re already thinking along those lines, but I think we need to think even more in depth and broadly about what we need to do to ensure that this country can move on.

BECK: And the average person, what can they do? I mean, they hear stuff like this, most of America -- the president -- I mean, homeland security already has said, "Prepare for these kinds of things." Most Americans don`t pay attention. What should they be doing?

FERGUSON: Well, I think Americans should develop their resilience for not just this type of terrorist attack, but for catastrophes, for natural disasters, have adequate stocks of bottled water and non-perishable food, hand-cranked radios, simple things like that, enough cash on hand to last for several days. And if you are near a nuclear blast and you`re not killed, you know, from the blast, try to seek shelter as immediately as possible. Get underground as quickly as possible.

BECK: OK, great. Thanks, Charles.

That`s "The Real Story" tonight. 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 do. Visit and click on "The Real Story" button. Now, back in a minute with the head of the "Pirates of the Caribbean," I mean, the real pirates, the actual guy, Jerry Bruckheimer. Oh, he`s loading the gold into his ship, coming up.



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.


BECK: Summer movie season is in high gear, and one of the biggest movies to hit the screens is the latest chapter in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series, "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World`s End," starring Johnny Depp. Here`s a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lookie here, boy. A lost lad that never learned to fly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To my great regret, but never too late to learn, eh?


BECK: The movie opens worldwide May 25th. Joining me now, uber- producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Here you have the last one in the successful -- after the first two. Do you sleep at night worried that the last one you`ve got to get right?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, FILM PRODUCER: You always worry about, you know, fear of failure. I do. That`s what motivates me more than anything else. The creative stuff is fantastic, but this movie is so fantastic. The second one was an hors d`oeuvres for the third one. The last 40 minutes off this movie is some of the best filmmaking I`ve ever been involved in. It`s during a maelstrom. It`s a storm. There are so many things that are happening constantly. The plot keep twisting, and you never know where the picture`s going. It`s romantic. It`s funny. It`s got all the things we go to movies for.

BECK: Hard to make a middle, like "Back to the Future 2"...

BRUCKHEIMER: Yes, it`s very difficult. And if you remember, the second was a cliffhanger. What happened? Johnny is gone. You know, Captain Jack disappeared. And so now they`ve got to go find Captain Jack, so it`s the quest to Davy Jones` locker.

BECK: Johnny Depp, an amazing actor. We were talking in the green room before we went on, and I think Tom Hanks is the Jimmy Stewart. Where would you put Johnny Depp? Who could you compare him to? He is really a fantastic...

BRUCKHEIMER: You can`t. You can`t. He`s a little bit of everybody. He could be Gary Cooper. He could be whoever you want him to be. He could be Clark Gable. He`s that handsome. So he`s that strong, romantic lead who can play a character actor.

BECK: And he modeled his character after Keith Richards, right?

BRUCKHEIMER: Keith Richards, and some cartoons, and a lot of other things.

BECK: And Keith is in "3"?

BRUCKHEIMER: Keith has got a small, little cameo. He shows up.

BECK: No makeup or a lot of makeup with Keith Richards?

BRUCKHEIMER: With Keith Richards, it`s Keith Richards, you know? We got him there. He looks like a pirate, doesn`t he?

BECK: So the first two made over $2 billion worldwide. Your career, your movies have made $17 billion. What are you pulling down a year?


BECK: Yes.

BRUCKHEIMER: Oh, talk to my accountant. I have no idea. I can still pay my rent, which is good.

BECK: Is it amazing to you that this started with an amusement park ride?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, you know, when Disney called me and said, "We want you to do this picture called `Pirates of the Caribbean,`" and I said, "Well, that`s the end of my career." And, you know, they sent me a script, and it was a good script, but a by-the-numbers pirate movie, which we`ve seen in the past. And I said, "I don`t know how to do this."

I gave it to two writers, Elliott and Rossio, came up with the idea to make the pirates cursed, and they turn to skeletons in the moonlight and have to return a treasure rather than steal a treasure. Fresh idea. I wanted to see that movie. I wanted to make that movie, and that`s how it all started for me.

BECK: I was reading some place about the movie industry now is debating whether or not to allow, on the day of the theatrical premiere, pay-per-view at home. So I think they were suggesting $50, and you could get the pay-per-view at home. And the big controversy is the movie theaters wouldn`t like that, et cetera, et cetera. Where do you stand on that?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, I think it came from the cable companies who said that. I don`t think movie studios said that. They would love that to happen. Certain films you can do that with. Certain films that are not going to get the kind of release that "Pirates" get. You can release the DVD, you can release -- because they don`t have a huge audience. They`re smaller pictures.

BECK: Do you think there is a -- because you`re right on -- and your movies are a prime example of it. You need the big, huge screen. But, you know, people have big huge screens -- not that large, but they have it in their house. Do you see way in the future that there is -- that the movie theaters go away, that it is beamed to your house, some way or another?

BRUCKHEIMER: Do you have a kitchen in your house?

BECK: Yes.

BRUCKHEIMER: You do? Do you go out to dinner? Same thing. You want to get out.

BECK: Yes.

BRUCKHEIMER: You want to get out. You want to have that communal experience. I can`t see a 15-, 16-year-old kid taking his girlfriend into his living room...


BECK: ... 15- or 16-year-old to take his girlfriend to the living room with mom and dad in the kitchen.

BRUCKHEIMER: I don`t think so. I don`t think it`s going to happen.

BECK: Is this the last one? I mean, you`re a spin-off machine, man.

BRUCKHEIMER: We`re done. This is the end of the trilogy.

BECK: This ship will never sail?

BRUCKHEIMER: We tie up all the characters. It`s a very satisfying ending, with a little twist, of course.

BECK: Yes.

BRUCKHEIMER: So it`s a wonderful experience. And we`ve told the story, and it`s so great, because we pull the string from the first one. There is -- when you first meet Orlando Bloom, he`s making the sword, and this sword ends up in the third movie at the very end of it. So, I mean, it`s all that kind of fun stuff, because you`ll follow it through all three pictures, too. You don`t have to see the first two to enjoy the third, but it certainly helps.

BECK: That`s great. Jerry Bruckheimer...

BRUCKHEIMER: Thank you so much.

BECK: ... thank you very much. Premiere of "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World`s End" opens in theaters worldwide May 25th. Don`t miss it.



BECK: Last week, there was a bill that was introduced in the Massachusetts state legislature making it illegal to discriminate based on weight and height. According to the bill`s sponsor, "You can be a shock jock on the radio and talk about fat people for a solid week, and no one would ever think of you losing your job." So who`s to blame for the rampant discrimination against fat people? Oh, I think the answer is clear.


BECK (voice-over): America, land of freedom, land of opportunity, a land where man is judged by the strength of his character, not by the size of his waistline. Indeed, many of our greatest heroes have risen from the ranks of overweight, great patriots like Franklin, Taft, Garfield -- no, the other Garfield. Yes, that one. Sports heroes like the Babe, the Fridge, and every single guy on the pro bowler`s tour. The entertainers, the ones who made us laugh, not only because they were fat -- oh, yes, they were -- but because they were funny.

BUD ABBOTT, COMEDIAN: You throw the ball to first base.

LOU COSTELLO, COMEDIAN: Then who gets it?

ABBOTT: Naturally.

COSTELLO: That`s what I`m saying!

BECK: Ah, that still kills me. Now, for a long time, there was no shame in being fat. In fact, Americans embraced fatness. It was the golden age of fatness. Fat faces plastered across TV and movie screens everywhere. The names, they even said it all, "fats," "fatty," "fat."

But then came the arrival of something that would forever change the landscape of fat people forever: the birth of 24-hour cable news.

DAVID WALKER, CNN HOST: Good evening, I`m David Walker.

BECK: These once-proud fat people soon were transformed into a legion of anonymous, headless, faceless torsos, forced to wander the Earth for all eternity. Our admiration towards these people now turned to shame. Oh, occasionally, a fat head might pop up by accident.

But for the most part, today, this is all we see, this person here. Yes, he may be the next Ben Franklin, but to the rest of America, he`ll always be the guy with no head, who just doesn`t know any better than to not wear stripes.


BECK: Don`t worry, America. There`s a fat man in me screaming to get out. From New York, good night.