Will Berkeley take back Marine snub?

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," February 12, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN GIBSON, CO-HOST: New developments now in a big outrage. Many of us could not believe it when we heard a city in our own country elected to vote against our United States Marines. The liberal Mecca of Berkeley, California, send a note to members of our Armed Forces last month, telling them they were, quote, "Uninvited and unwelcome intruders" in Berkeley if they tried to enlist citizens in that city.

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, GUEST CO-HOST: It's shocking all right. Tonight: Berkeley's is reconsidering it — the anti-Marines stance after the brazen snob ignited an outcry across the nation. BIG STORY correspondent, Douglas Kennedy has been following this controversy closely and he joins us now with the very latest. Douglas?

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John and Kimberly, the city council will decide tonight whether the Marines are welcome or not welcome. It's a controversy that has sparked a major controversy across the country.


KENNEDY (voice over): In 2006, Navy SEAL, Mark Lee lost his life while fighting in Iraq.

DEBBIE LEE, MOTHER OF FALLEN NAVY SEAL: He did that to save his buddies. He did that for you and for me.

KENNEDY: But his mom says, Mark's ultimate sacrifice is now being dishonored by the city of Berkeley, which recently told the Marines, they're recruiting office was not welcome within city limits.

D. LEE: For years, you know, the city of Berkeley and the crowd here have been saying that our troops are not welcome in Iraq, that they don't belong there. But now to have them tell the troops they don't belong here? That's disgusting.

KENNEDY: The city council is now reconsidering that controversial proclamation that called the Marines, quote, "Unwelcome intruders". They put the bayside city once again at ground zero in a war between pro-war and anti-war ideologies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm against war but I think, if we didn't have any Marines, we'd probably all be speaking German.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a symbolic representation of a criminal and illegitimate war. And we're saying that it actually needs to leave and the whole war needs to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, Marines you can get out of Berkeley now. We don't need you anymore.

KENNEDY: California's anti-war group, CodePink wants Berkeley to go even further, prohibiting any military recruitment offices near schools or residential areas. Still, the group maintains the controversy has sparked a much-needed debate.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: We're delighted. We're excited about the whole thing. It just shines a much-needed light on the issue of the war.

KENNEDY: Debbie Lee says, debate is fine, her problem, she says is with the government group going after the very people who are protecting the government.

D. LEE: So, I'm here today to confront the city council, to stand in honor of our troops and that they also need to publicly apologize to our troops, to the Marine recruiting office here and to all our men and women who have served in the military.


KENNEDY: The vote tonight will remove the language about unwelcome intruders, at the same time, it will say that the city of Berkeley emphatically opposes the war in Iraq. So, clearly, John and Kimberly, they are trying to walk a fine line.

GIBSON: All right. Berkeley versus the Marines: Is this a fight Berkeley should never have started?

KENNEDY: Obviously, they think so, because they wouldn't be taking a second vote. But you know, clearly, if you oppose the war in Iraq, you should not be going after the Marines, you should be going after the decision makers. The Marines are out fighting for our country. They're dying. They're just following orders. I think they realize they made a mistake.

GIBSON: We will follow this and see what happens tonight. Douglas Kennedy, thank you, Douglas.

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