August 18, 2004 | Broadcast

American Morning


COLLINS: And Cliff May, former RNC Communications Director, now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Cliff, hello to you, as well.


COLLINS: Welcome to you both.

Bottom line, Cliff, let’s start with you. Should Governor McGreevey resign effective immediately?

MAY: Well, if he did nothing wrong, then he — if he’s being victimized only because he’s gay, he should fight for his job and I would support him in that. But if any of the allegations are true — allegations, for example, that he put somebody on the payroll with a six-figure salary who had no qualifications, allegations that he sexually harassed that person, other allegations of corruption — he should be out as soon as possible. That’s clear.

COLLINS: Victor, your thoughts?

KAMBER: Well, I agree. If he’s guilty of improprieties in terms of criminal activities, he should be out. The bottom line: The appointment of somebody unqualified for the job, we’ve known that three years ago, and I didn’t hear any outcry for his resignation then. And he’s no different than a number of politicians who put people in office for their own personal reasons, whether it be sexual or financial reasons.

They appoint people to offices. Let’s look at the cabinet of President Bush. Let’s look at the ambassadors. They’re all pioneers who have given hundreds of thousands of dollars for President Bush. I’m not putting this in the same category, but I am saying politicians use appointment processes for their own reasons.

And one other — and one other…

MAY: Not for the objects of their affection, Victor.

KAMBER: Well, that’s what I am saying, sex — you’re just putting sex at a different level than money.

MAY: Yes, I am.

KAMBER: You’re making sex more — more interesting than money…

MAY: If I hired somebody because I thought they were cute in order to have a sex toy in the office, my board of directors would grumble a little bit.

KAMBER: But if you hired somebody who could — who could give you some financial gains and had no qualifications but could just put money in the treasury, that’s OK. I’m sorry, they’re both equally stupid reasons.

But let me say one other — let me say one other…

MAY: Businesses are about making money, not scoring.

KAMBER: … one other thing: All these people claiming for democracy here, let’s get them out of office for democracy, you’re going to have a small room of five or six people on both sides of the party, they’re going to choose the nominee.

The people of New Jersey will not get to choose their nominee to run for office, and the only people clamoring for an election right now are people who, again, have personal gain. They either don’t like the incoming governor, they have contracts that they are afraid they’re going to lose if certain people win, or they think they have aspirations to run themselves.

COLLINS: Cliff, last word on this.

MAY: If he did something wrong, he should be out of office. If he didn’t do anything wrong, he should keep his job.

COLLINS: All right, let’s move on then to the 9/11 Commission. As you guys know, by the end of the week now, Congress will finish 20 hearings on the 9/11 Commission’s final report.

Are they getting anywhere here? Cliff, go ahead.

MAY: Well, look, I think it’s important to have a serious discussion of this, and it’s long overdue. A lot of the problems we have in the intelligence community today are, frankly, the fault of Congress, which has the job to oversee in the intelligence community and has hobbled and handcuffed the intelligence community for many, many years.

But let’s understand this: The main thing that’s wrong with the intelligence community, according to the 9/11 Commission, is a lack of intelligence. How do you re-create a bureaucracy to have more intelligence? It’s not simply rearranging the box on an organizational chart. It’s not simply moving money from one pocket to another.

Frankly, I wish we had somebody like Bill Gates looking at the bureaucracy, looking at the organization saying how do we give people enough imagination to understand that if terrorists have attacked us with truck bombs and with boat bombs, maybe they are going to do it with airplane bombs, as well.

COLLINS: Victor, this process takes quite a while, doesn’t it?

KAMBER: Well, it shouldn’t take quite a while. I mean, this again — it’s ironic. We had a conversation about how quickly we should throw a governor out of office for having sex, and we can’t have a quick process, or a relatively quick process, to deal with 9/11 after hearings after hearings after hearings.

It’s a show right now. That’s all that’s going on. These Congressmen and Senators that are having hearings are doing it because it’s an election year. If there was a serious intent by Congress to take action, they’d be back in session right now. The Speaker of the House would have called them back in to session, the president would have demanded they come back to Washington in August and deal with this.

And the fact that there are committees that have to deal with it, the others could sit and listen to those committees. I don’t disagree with Cliff that we need discussion, that we need a thorough investigation, that we need more understanding, but that doesn’t happen while they’re on vacation out in the hinterlands campaigning for offices.

It happens here in Washington now.

COLLINS: Gentlemen — gentlemen, we’re going to have to leave it there. My apologies, but I certainly appreciate you being with us, and nice to see the both of you this morning.

Vic Kamber and Clifford May. Thanks again, guys.

MAY: Thanks, Heidi.