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DRUDGE REPORT 2003®

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XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX WED APR 23, 2003 13:33:08 ET XXXXX

TEARS ON TV: DIXIE CHICKS EXPLAIN BUSH BASHING

In a candid and emotional exclusive interview, ABC's Diane Sawyer talks with the Dixie Chicks -- Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire -- who finally speak out about controversial comments regarding President Bush, made last month overseas during a London concert.

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The on-stage remarks, which many say were unpatriotic, have resulted in a flood of criticism and a backlash that has included a boycott of their music.

The interview will air on PRIMETIME THURSDAY (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC -- but the DRUDGE REPORT can now reveal some highlights:

NATALIE MAINES ON WHETHER SHE IS TRULY SORRY FOR HER ON-STAGE COMMENT ABOUT PRESIDENT BUSH:

MAINES: I think it came down to, it was ... that it was in a foreign country and it was that it was an off-the-cuff statement…And I think the way I said it was disrespectful. The wording I used, the way I said it, that was disrespectful…

DIANE SAWYER: …I hear something not quite ... what? Whole-hearted ...

MAINES: …Really?...

SAWYER: ... when you talk about apologizing for what you said about the President.

MAINES: ….It's not because it's not genuine. It's because I'm on guard now…I feel regret for, you know, the choice of words. Or the non-choice…Am I sorry that I asked questions and that I don't just follow? No.

ON PERSONAL THREATS:

MAGUIRE: …I also believe that yes, some of our fans were upset by it, but… does the punishment fit the crime? How far are you going to go? I think it's rational and totally acceptable for people to write a letter... and say "You know, I was really offended by what you said about the President."… we know some of our fans were shocked and ... and upset, and we are compassionate to that. I totally understand it. My problem is, when does it cross the line? When is trashing Emily's property okay? When is writing a threatening letter okay?...

MAINES ON THE FIRST SIGNS OF THE BACKLASH:

SAWYER: When was the first sign you had that there was sort of a seismic tremor from this?

MAINES: We were going into this hotel…and he [the Dixie Chicks' manager] got a call … he's pacing back and forth. "Oh, no!" You know, we're automatically going "What? What happened?" And then he says, you know, he gets off the phone and I was like, "What? What happened?" "Well, the AP picked up what was said the other night... But don't worry, it's going to blow over in three days." And I looked at him and I go, "No, it's not." He goes "Yes, it is, yes. Don't worry about it." You know, giving the old manager spiel. And I said, "Oh, I don't think so."

MARTIE MAGUIRE ON THE FALL-OUT:

MAGUIRE: …We are pretty tough and we have each other and we stand by each other through thick and thin and we know we're going to make mistakes…But this was colossal. This felt so colossal.

ON THEIR SUPPORT FOR US TROOPS:

NATALIE MAINES: …we support the troops. We support the troops l00 percent. We have said that from day one. People have quoted we don’t support the troops, which is the opposite of anything we have ever said. There is not a correlation between not wanting a war and not supporting the troops who are doing their job…

EMILY ROBISON: Martie and I have family in the military. But it’s nothing more than that we want to do than have our troops be safe, successful…you know we’re very patriotic…

DIANE SAWYER: ...But there are those who say to support them is to understand how much they believe in what they're doing. And it does matter to them that you believe in what they're putting their lives on the line for.

MAINES: …as passionate as they are about their cause, I love that about them, but accept that I am passionate about mine as well…

ON THE LONDON CONCERT:

SAWYER: Why did you say it?

MAINES: Out of frustration. At that moment, on the eve of war, I had a lot of questions that I felt were unanswered….

MAINES: You know we didn't walk off that stage going, oh my God, oh my God, I can't believe I said that.

ON THE FANS' REACTION:

ROBISON: …I think our fans, and I think people who know us, and event the people who don't know us, know that we come from a real compassionate place…mistakes are made…

MAGUIRE: …those are true fans. So I have to believe that they're with us…in spirit and support, no matter what we do. We are bound to make mistakes…we're human beings… Don't put celebrities up on this pedestal. We are human beings.

ON PUBLIC PERCEPTION/IMPACT ON RECORD SALES:

ROBISON: We're ... I think we're dealing with bigger issues than record sales and lost things like that…I'm concerned about my safety. I'm concerned about my safety for my family, for them ...

SAWYER: …You really don't care about the sales ?...

ROBISON: … It's not that we don't care. We just put in perspective as to what is really important…You know, when you're getting death threats... you know, at our concerts this year, we have to have metal detectors, and to me that's just crazy…But we have to take those precautions because this thing has gotten so out of control.

ON WHETHER THEY SEEK FORGIVENESS:

MAINES: Accept us. Accept an apology that was made. Accept that we ... what we're saying right now is heartfelt, full of compassion, and honesty, but to forgive us ... don't forgive us for who we are.

ON PRESIDENT BUSH:

SAWYER: Are you ashamed that the President is from your state?

MAINES: No.. I'm not truly embarrassed that you know President Bush is from my state, that's not really what I care about. It was the wrong wording with genuine emotion and questions and concern behind it…

MAGUIRE: I felt like there was a lack of compassion every time I saw Bush talking about this. I honestly felt a lack of compassion. And I realized ...

SAWYER: For whom? For ... ?

MAGUIRE: …for me…for people that are questioning this, for the people that are about to die for this on both sides…

ON THE WAR:

MAINES: …I just personally felt like why tomorrow? It's not that I don't ever want you to go over there. It's not that I don't ever want you to clean things up and fix things. It's just why can't we find the chemical weapons first…why not tomorrow?

ROBISON: There were a lot of questions that were unanswered. I don't think that's a wrong place to be; I don't think that you have to go I totally agree or I'm totally against it. It was one of those things we wanted more information

ON PATRIOTISM:

MAGUIRE: …at the Super Bowl ... Marilyn and I were talking about the fact that we could barely get through it... it was just so emotional and wonderful. And I won't let anybody take that away from me. No matter what you said, I will not let somebody tell me I'm unpatriotic.

MAINES ON THE APOLOGY SHE ISSUED:

MAINES: …The people who are on our side think I was pressured. They would like to believe that I was made to apologize… They liked me until I apologized. (Laughs) And then the people who didn't like me thought that it was written by someone else and couldn't give me credit for my own apology, and neither of those are true…

MAINES ON HER OUTSPOKEN NATURE:

MAINES: …I ask questions. That's smart. That's intelligent. To find out facts not to just, 'Okay, we're going over here now.' I say, 'Why are we going over there?' And I don't mean to Iraq, I mean across the room. Since I was tiny, you've had to tell me why I have to do something…

ON THE IMPACT OF THIS ON THE PERCEPTION OF COUNTRY MUSIC:

MAGUIRE: …I just remember listening to country music as a young girl and knowing that I wanted to play the fiddle and that's all I ever wanted to do, knowing that I'd get into country music and trying to convert people over to country music and hearing them always say oh, but it's ... no, that's redneck music, no, those people are so backwards and conservative and closed minded and this and that. And I'm always saying to these people, no, just give it a chance, give it a chance…

Developing...

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