updated 10/20/2006 12:46:52 PM ET 2006-10-20T16:46:52

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY: FDR told Americans in the midst of the great depression that all they had to fear was fear itself.  Four decades later, Richard Nixon wryly observed that Americans caught in the cold war‘s crosshairs always voted their fears, not hopes.  And in this new age of terror, George Bush‘s Republican Party is betting their political future once again on fear.  Take a look at this Republican ad released today.

(VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yesterday, Bill Clinton trotted out his common good theme for the Democratic Party.  But Republican candidates and allies across America have come up with a pithier slogan that aims for the Nixonian jugular: Vote for us or die.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  These people want to kill us.  Whether called al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, they‘re terrorists who want to kill those who don‘t submit to their extreme ideology, submit to a system where women have no rights, where innocent civilians are political pawns.  Many seem to have forgotten the evil that happened only five years ago.  They would cut and run in the Middle East, leaving al Qaeda to attack us again.  Many times before 9/11, al Qaeda attacked America and we took little action—the first World Trade Center bottoming, our embassies, the USS Cole.  But after 9/11, we destroyed al Qaeda terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorists like Zarqawi who want to kill us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  With “Time” magazine reporting that top GOP leaders now expect Democrats to gain as many as 27 House seats, do Republican candidates have nothing left to offer but fear itself?

Here now Peter Beinart.  He‘s editor-at-large for “The New Republic” and author of “The Good Fight: Why Liberals and Only Liberals Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.”  Also with us, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan, and Terry Holt, former national spokesman for the Bush reelection campaign.

Pat Buchanan, your former boss said Americans vote their fears.  Is that the Republicans‘ last play in their tattered playbook in 2006?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, that earlier ad reminded me a little bit of Bill Moyers‘s daisy girl ad in 1964.  It looked like a nice knockoff.  But let me say this, Joe.  Look, the Republican Party clearly believes its strongest suit is it can defend Americans in the war on terror and to remind them that there are terrorists out there that are trying to kill them, and we need strong, reliable, consistent leadership.  I don‘t think it was over the top at all.  So I mean, you‘re right, they‘re going for this issue.  I don‘t know that that—you know, it plays to fear, but it plays to realism, too.

SCARBOROUGH:  Peter Beinart, was it over the top?

PETER BEINART, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  No, I don‘t have a problem with it.  I think the terrorist threat is very, very severe.  It‘s precisely because of how severe it is that this country cannot continue Republican leadership that has led to an increase in terror attacks around the world.

SCARBOROUGH:  But the Republican message—the Republican message, though, in these ads, clearly, just like it was in 2004 and 2002, is, If you want to remain safe, if you want to protect your children, if you want to remain alive, you better not put Democrats in charge.

BEINART:  That‘s true, but Americans don‘t feel safer because they don‘t feel that homeland security has been adequately funded.  They feel that America has gone into this terrible fiasco in Iraq, which our own intelligence agencies say are creating more terrorists.  The number of terror incidents is way up.  This worked for Republicans in 2002 and 2004, but the country has totally lost faith in the Republican Party‘s ability to protect the country.  That‘s the opportunity the Democrats have.

SCARBOROUGH:  Terry Holt?

TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Yes?

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to show you an ad that is running right now across America right now in some selected states like Wisconsin.  And in fact, Wisconsin Republican Paul Nelson (ph) has this ad that he‘s trying to get television stations to run.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Congressman Ron Kind has repeatedly voted to deprive our troops of the funding they need to fight for us, but Ron Kind has no trouble spending your money.  He would just rather spend it on sex.  That‘s right.  Instead of spending money on cancer research, Ron Kind voted to spend your money to study the sex lives of Vietnamese prostitutes.  Instead of spending money to study heart disease, Ron Kind spent your money to study the masturbation habits of old men.  Ron Kind spent your tax dollars to study something called the “bisexual, transgendered and two-spirited (ph) Aleutian Eskimos,” whoever they are.  Ron Kind even spent your tax dollars to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia.  Ron Kind pays for sex, but not for soldiers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Sex, not soldiers.  Is fear the only commodity Republicans have left to sell, Terry?

HOLT:  Oh, that‘s one wild ad, I got to say.

(LAUGHTER)

HOLT:  I‘m not sure that I would have put it up in one of my campaigns.  But let me tell you something.  I think Pat‘s exactly right.  America has been safe since 2001.  It‘s not been by accident.  It‘s been by tough policies and sometimes politically unpopular policies.  And I think that before an election, it‘s extremely important for the Republicans and for the president to remind people that the stakes are so enormously high and that if we turn over the country to Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, who‘s refused to fund the national defense, who‘s refused to support wiretaps for terrorists, who has refused to increase defense spending and would, in fact, have cut defense spending, then we‘re putting our lives on the line.  Americans aren‘t...

SCARBOROUGH:  But Peter Beinart...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  ... something to be scared of.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Terry, Peter Beinart and Democrats, though, say that the world‘s not safer, and it seems that Americans agree with them in polls.  If you look at poll after poll...

HOLT:  And I‘ll tell you what...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Americans‘ support for Iraq, for the war on terror, for the Republicans protecting this country...

HOLT:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... continues to drop.

HOLT:  And sometimes leadership is a tough thing and sometimes it‘s not politically popular.  But if the Democrats had been in power over the last two years, we would have already turned tail and run, and those terrorists would have followed us back to America, and they‘d be here today.  We‘re fighting the terrorists where they live, and that‘s the bottom line.  It may not be popular, but it‘s the right thing to do.

BUCHANAN:  Joe?  Joe?

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, we‘re showing some poll numbers.

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Republicans‘ approval rating in Congress only 16 percent.  George Bush‘s approval rating 38 percent, a full 10 points lower than where Bill Clinton was when we were swept into power in 1994.  It‘s all over.  I mean, the fat lady has sung, right?

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Look—look, what I like about you, Joe, is that confidence and enthusiasm, that fourth quarter, We can do it. Look...

SCARBOROUGH:  They can‘t do it, though, Pat!  I‘m...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Listen, Pat, I‘m an eternal optimist...

BUCHANAN:  Look...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... but these numbers are bleak.

BUCHANAN:  Look—look...

SCARBOROUGH:  Even the Republican leaders are saying they‘re going to lose...

BUCHANAN:  Look...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... up to 27 seats!

BUCHANAN:  Look, it looks to me—I mean, if it were held today, I would tend to agree with you, and it may very well happen, Joe.  But look, national security, security against crime, security in your neighborhood—this has always been the Republican strong suit.  There‘s nothing wrong with going to it.  And you‘re right, Republicans are down on the terror issue, but that‘s because they‘ve sunk on every issue...

BEINART:  Hey, Joe, can I ask Pat a question?

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  Can I ask Pat a question?  Pat, do you think Bush‘s policies have made America safer?

BUCHANAN:  Do I think—in some ways they have, in terms of...

BEINART:  Oh, you don‘t believe that!

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  You think they‘ve been a total fiasco.

BUCHANAN:  I think the policy in Iraq has been a mistake, and we‘ve probably created a terrorist base camp where none existed.  But I do believe airlines are safer and we‘re safer against al Qaeda in the United States.  It‘s a mixed bag, Peter.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the question that George Bush would ask you, if he were...

BUCHANAN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... if he were talking to you right now, Peter, would be, How many attacks have we had on American soil since September 11?

BEINART:  We‘ve had none, and that is because we‘ve done a better job protecting our homeland.

SCARBOROUGH:  And—and—so can George Bush...

BEINART:  But Joe, let me finish.  Let me finish.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... not run on that platform?

BEINART:  Look, there were no terrorist attacks on American soil for the last six years of the Clinton administration.  We know that these guys take a long time to plan attacks on the United States because they‘re very difficult.  But terrorist attacks around the world...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  ... have been foiled!~

BEINART:  Around the world, terrorist attacks are way up.

SCARBOROUGH:  But you know, Peter Beinart—well, let me go to Terry Holt.  Terry Holt, Americans don‘t give a damn about terror attacks around the world.  I‘m just—you may be offended by that, but the truth of the matter is, they care about their home, they care about their family, they care about their community, and the bottom line is, they‘d rather people be dying in Baghdad than in Boston, right?

HOLT:  And I‘ll tell you, the president said it before, he should continue to say it.  If we don‘t fight them there, we will wind up fighting them here.  And with the Democrats in the Congress with a weak will and with the inability to stand up to tough poll numbers, I fear what a Democratic Congress would do.  If the war becomes unpopular, they‘ll cut it off, and I think that sends exactly the wrong signal to our enemies.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think they would.  I don‘t think they will.  They did that in 1974, ‘74, and they paid a price for 20 years.  But Joe, let me say this.  Democrats have got to sweep Ohio, Pennsylvania, Montana, Rhode Island, and then get two out of the three of those southern states, Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri, and then they got to hold New Jersey in order to take the Senate.  There‘s a possibility in two-and-a-half weeks, that the Republicans, who‘ve got money, who do have organization, who do...

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know what happens in two-and-a-half weeks for Republicans?

BUCHANAN:  What?

SCARBOROUGH:  Probably another five of their candidates get indicted! 

I mean, it just keeps getting worse!

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... getting worse for the Republican Party, for my Republican Party, it has been such a bleak fall.  And Terry...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Lift up your heart, Joe!

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s not my job to lift them up.  It is up to them to stay out of jail!  And the president—to talk about how bad things are going for the Republicans, look at this political ad run by the guy that George Bush was campaigning for today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DON SHERWOOD ®, PENNSYLVANIA:  I made a mistake that nearly cost me the love of my wife, Carol, and our daughters.  As a family, we‘ve worked through this because of my deep regret, our love and the fact that the allegation of abuse was never true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Peter Beinart, I didn‘t beat my mistress.  Put it on your bumper sticker, to go to the polls, right?

BEINART:  Yes.  I mean, look, some of these cases are just—are really just amazing, but the larger reality is that the macro numbers, as you said, are worse for the Republicans than they were for the Democrats in ‘94.  And one of the things that I think Pat and Terry are not acknowledging is this is not the Democratic Party of 1972.  Look at Jim Webb...

HOLT:  But it is the Democratic Party of 1972~!

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  I mean, look at the candidates...

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  Please let me finish.  Look at the candidates Democrats are running.  Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Harold Ford in Tennessee, John Tester in Montana...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Terry, Terry, Terry!  If the Democratic Party takes control of the House, who runs the House?  I‘ll give you 15 seconds.

HOLT:  The guys who were elected in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, who have never let go of the liberal basic...

(CROSSTALK)

HOLT:  ... you‘re talking about John Dingell, you‘re talking about Charlie Rangel, who‘s promised to raise taxes!  You‘re talking about...

BUCHANAN:  Talking about Barney Frank!

HOLT:  ... people who would turn around...

BEINART:  That‘s right, mention the gay guy, Pat.  Thanks.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BEINART:  You always got to get the gay-baiting in, don‘t you.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  It‘s getting ugly.  We‘ve got to leave now. 

They‘re having gay-baiting fights.  Peter Beinart...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Where did that come from, Peter?

BEINART:  Ask Pat.  Ask Pat.

SCARBOROUGH:  Barney Frank‘s not ashamed that he‘s gay.  Why are you?

BEINART:  Just totally randomly brought up Barney Frank.  Totally random.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  So we‘ll never talk about Barney Frank again on this program.  Pat, shame on you.  Peter Beinart, thank you.  And Terry Holt, thanks for being with us.

Coming up next—now, this—talking about fear, the story of how an Internet hoax has raised real fears of future attacks on NFL stadiums.  Up next, an NBC News investigation into just how close terrorists are to launching a massive dirty bomb attack on U.S. soil.  Plus, Paul McCartney‘s ugly divorce proves once again that money can‘t buy him love, as the former Beatle fights back against claims that he beat his wife and took drugs, despite offering her $100 million.  And later: ABC‘s “Dancing With the Stars” sinks to reality sleaze with lurid sex charges and cheap ratings stunts.  That and much more tonight in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And now that story about how an Internet hoax has put U.S. security officials on high alert.  Web site postings claimed this weekend that trucks would deliver radiological bottoms to seven football stadiums across America, from New York to Seattle.  But tonight, the FBI and Homeland Security are striking down that threat.  They questioned the 20-year-old in Milwaukee who was involved with Internet postings, and after talking to him determined that the threat was a fake.  One FBI agent said, quote, “I don‘t think it was put out there to be real.  Whoever put it out there is not in a position to actually carry through on it.  It was not a credible threat.”

But regardless, this latest terror scare put the nightmare scenario of a terrorist dirty bomb attack back in the minds of U.S. officials.  It‘s one of the government‘s biggest terror fears, and tonight, NBC News justice correspondent Pete Williams has a reality check on how exactly this kind of attack could happen and how authorities are desperately trying to stop terrorists from triggering one.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  At this restricted government facility in New Mexico, scientists have set off more than 600,000 explosions in closed chambers to study dirty bombs.  Slow-motion video shows how one would work, blowing up conventional explosives to spread dangerous radioactive material.  In the worst case, radiation could contaminate dozens of city blocks, taking years to clean up and leaving people wary of returning even longer.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY:  That‘s the kind of high-consequence attack that would have a real impact on our national economy and our way of life.

WILLIAMS:  Fred Harper (ph), a nuclear engineer at Sandia National Labs near Albuquerque, says his tests have produced some good news.  Building a dirty bomb turns out to be very difficult.

FRED HARPER, SANDIA NUCLEAR ENGINEER:  It‘s more complicated than most people would assume.  It depends on the material properties and the device design, and there is a lot of ways to blow it.

WILLIAMS:  Even so, the fear that a terrorist might get it right is a major worry for Homeland Security, now rushing to install radiation monitors like these nationwide and hoping to set up a ring of detectors around New York and other big cities.  And government researchers are testing more advanced portable detectors, easier to deploy, harder to spot.

(on camera):  Radiation monitors are already working around sensitive sites like the White House here in Washington and the stock exchanges in New York.  But the materials they‘re designed to detect are widely available.

(voice-over):  The U.S. has licensed more than 20,000 users of radioactive materials, from gauges that measure ground moisture at construction sites to medical devices used in cancer treatment.  Government investigators say that‘s a huge shortcoming.  Despite the alarm about dirty bombs, these experts say, those materials are nowhere near well enough secured.

MICHAEL SHEEHAN, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST:  The materials can either be stolen or perhaps acquired by staff members that may be associated with the wrong types of people.

WILLIAMS:  Security experts call for tighter controls on nuclear materials to prevent the kind of attack that Homeland Security hopes never comes.  Pete Williams, NBC, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks, Pete.  And coming up: First “Dancing With the Stars” used Sara Evans‘s lurid breakup as a ratings stunt.  Now they‘re cheating viewers with fake results.  See why fans are angry tonight at ABC.  And next, it‘s all Tyson all the time.  “Iron Mike” is making the rounds and winding up in “Must See S.C.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up, our interview with “Iron Mike” Tyson earlier this week created a lot of buzz around the country, but somehow—and we‘re not exactly how (SIC) -- Jimmy Kimmel managed to obtain some footage from the cutting room floor.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY KIMMEL, “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”:  He did an interview today with Rita Cosby on MSNBC.

RITA COSBY, MSNBC:  Are you worried people are going to say, God, you know, he was the heavyweight champion of the world, and now he‘s doing this?

KIMMEL:  He can only take so much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  The former champ also made an appearance on Conan last night to explain why he‘s launching a new world tour.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O‘BRIEN, “LATE SHOW WITH CONAN O‘BRIEN”:  Mike, why would you fight women?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Conan, I always tend to do better when I fight weak and defenseless opponents.

O‘BRIEN:  OK.  I got it.  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  So I figured I‘d fight everyone who‘s weaker than me—women, children, women holding children, puppies, midgets, midgets holding puppies, or people who are drowning, soap bubbles...

(CROSSTALK)

O‘BRIEN:  You‘re going to fight soap bubbles.  That‘s great.  Yes.  Look, Mike, this is ridiculous.  You can‘t fight women.  Who would even promote such a thing?  You‘d never find anyone...

UNIDENTIFIED:  I would be delighted to promote such an event!

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up next, scandal with the stars.  ABC‘s dance show pulls its second ratings stunt in a week with a fake finish.  How much longer are fans going to tango with the ratings phenomenon?  And later:

Paul McCartney‘s camp fires back after his estranged wife accuses him of beating her up and taking drugs.  We have the latest on the former Beatle‘s messy divorce straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, Paul McCartney is getting vital little help from his friends as they speak out against claims that the former Beatle beat up on Heather Mills in the very latest on their ugly divorce ahead.

And later, she may be one of TV‘s most popular stars, but “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul isn‘t such a hit on the ‘net.  The embarrassing full story ahead in “Hollyweird.”

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories straight ahead.  But first, ABC‘s hit show “Dancing with the Stars” had its biggest ratings night of the season on Tuesday after airing an exclusive interview with former contestant Sara Evans, where she talked about the sleazy allegations in her nasty divorce.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BERGERON, HOST, “DANCING WITH THE STARS”:  These couples are in our bottom two.  Join us after the break to find out their fate, live.

Welcome back to “Dancing with the Stars: The Results.”  On our sixth week of competition, the couple with the lowest score and therefore leaving right now:  neither of you. 

(APPLAUSE)

SARA EVANS, MUSICIAN:  I think right now I‘m just in shock.  If you had asked me when I was a little girl if I thought anything like this would happen in my life, no.  The horrific thing about this whole deal is the fact that it‘s all over the Internet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know some thought producers were exploiting Evans, and now fans are outraged after last night‘s results show which we showed you had actually no results.  Nobody went home.  Come on, it‘s a reality show.  Somebody‘s supposed to get booted off. 

Anyway, let‘s bring in Tom O‘Neil, senior editor at “InTouch weekly.”  Also, Tina Dirmann, editor-at-large for “Star” magazine and co-host of “Planet Gossip” on E!.  Also, Ashlan Gorse is editor-at-large of “Life and Style” magazine. 

Tom, first the sleazy Sara Evans allegations then this show last night where they basically—face it, they just screwed viewers out of an hour of their lives, sitting there waiting for results that never came.  At what point do voters say, “Enough is enough,” viewers, and say, “I‘m not going to watch this show anymore”? 

TOM O‘NEIL, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  It would have been OK if they fessed up early on and said, you know, in honor of Sara‘s departure, we‘re not going to have somebody leave and we‘re just going to have a great dance-a-thon here tonight.  But they didn‘t do that.  They led you to believe that somebody would be voted off.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because they knew nobody would watch the show.  They even let people vote on this thing, right? 

O‘NEIL:  Here‘s what it‘s all about, Joe.  When you have a show where a couple gets voted off once a week, you lose a whole show when something like Sara happens.  This show winds down the third week of November.  Gee, that‘s in the middle of sweeps.  That‘s tens of millions of dollars.  If they lose a show, they lose all that money, so they just bamboozled fans last night. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Tina Dirmann, what do you make of that cheap gimmick last night, again where they not only ripped off viewers, they ripped off advertisers, they ripped everybody associated with that show? 

TINA DIRMANN, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Did they rip them off, though?  They got a great show, didn‘t they?  I mean, people tune into reality TV for the drama, and that‘s what they got, for the real-life drama, and that‘s what they got.  I mean, I really don‘t understand all the boo-hooing about, well, viewers feel ripped off.  They got a good soap opera last night. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They got a good soap opera with no ending. 

DIRMANN:  Well, no, they‘ll just tune in the next week.  Nobody‘s going to be so outraged that they don‘t watch.  We‘re talking about this show.  People are more into this show than ever.  This show has become not really about the dancing anymore, has it?  Week after week, we talk about, yes, the dancing, and we talk about who‘s dating who, who‘s breaking up with who.  That‘s why we‘re watching this show, and last night was a beautiful example of that.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Ashlan, isn‘t that the problem?  I mean, this show was popular last year because it wasn‘t a sleazy reality show.  It was about dancing and just dancing, but now we have this cheap gimmick last night.  We had the Sara Evans allegations break out earlier this week.  All of a sudden, it is sort of a dirty soap opera. 

ASHLAN GORSE, “LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY”:  Well, it‘s almost like the perfect cliffhanger.  You know, at the end of the show, everybody was waiting to see who was going to get kicked off and nobody did.  But a lot of people that just tuned in to see Sara Evans talking about her life.  And, you know, it‘s reality TV.  That‘s what happens.  They want to see reality, and right now Sara‘s reality is her divorce. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Tom O‘Neil, there‘s something so untoward about that entire Sara Evans interview.  I mean, the details, the gross, graphic details and the charges that went out of that interview, again, I mean, I don‘t know that it had any place in this type of show. 

I mean, in the divorce papers, Sara Evans made all of these allegations.  She said that her husband was storing online personal ads looking for sex from Craig‘s List, that he was maintaining pornographic photographs of himself, maintaining photographs showing him having sex with other women, watching porn in the house in front of children, having an affair with the nanny, drinking excessively, verbally and emotionally abusing her, that he withdrew $275,000 from their joint account, put it into an account with his name on it, and on and on and on. 

Tom, this was a clean-cut show last year.  I mean, people could let their 6-, 7-, 8-year-old kids watch it with them, and now it‘s devolved into something completely different.  Are they desperate for higher ratings? 

O‘NEIL:  That‘s what it was.  Initially, this was all Sara‘s fault, because she asked to address the fans at home.  And what she should have done on that show was simply look everybody in the eye at home and say, “Look, mama‘s got trouble at home.  I‘m sorry.  I‘m going to miss you.  Thanks for rooting for me.  I‘ll be back later when this is all taken care of.”

Instead they did this ratings stunt, and this is where ABC really, really screwed poor Sara over, because she‘s emotionally vulnerable, and she went into all this boo-hoo-hooing on the air, making herself look like a victim, which anybody would.  She‘s vulnerable.  Well, what happened today?  The latest charges came out, this time from him, who warned her that he was going to come after her if she did this victims thing which she did.  Now he‘s accusing her of having had an affair with Kenny Chesney when she toured with him in 2000 and 2001, plus many other music associates from the industry.  This is getting ugly, and ABC has played a crucial part in this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Because you think that they exploited Sara, got her crying on the air, again, for their ratings? 

O‘NEIL:  Yes.  And it was right before her appearance on ABC that he had made this threat.  You know, “You watch it out.”  But it had already been taped days before. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Ashlan, it worked, didn‘t it? 

GORSE:  It worked.

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, they got very high ratings by exploiting Sara Evans‘ divorce. 

GORSE:  Look, it worked, but I don‘t think they exploited Sara.  If Sara didn‘t want to do this, she could have said no.  But she was the one that wanted to address her fans, wanted to address the viewers, so she went into this knowing what she was getting herself into. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I‘ll ask you the same thing, Tina.  I mean, while it may be offensive to a lot of people, bottom line is this worked for ABC, so we can expect more of these true life confessionals and in the future we‘ll see more about what‘s going on behind stage than what‘s going on, on the dance floor, right? 

DIRMANN:  Absolutely.  It worked for ABC, and it worked for Sara.  I mean, let‘s just not forget, all this drama is putting her out there in front of people who don‘t her before.  All this drama is good P.R. for her, too, and she was no victim.  She knew exactly what she was doing when she got in front of the camera to do her little confessional goodbye. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And why did she do that if she knew that her husband was going to come out and certainly had to know that he would file a countercharge? 

DIRMANN:  I don‘t know what she was thinking other than, you know, obviously this was a chance to really have this extra few minutes of spotlight, and she took it.  If she was really concerned about those babies, about getting home and taking care of her kids, she should have shut her trap and just gone home and just—you know, we all knew why she left the show.  She didn‘t have to come out and explain it.  We all knew why.  For her to make this extra drama, if her husband came back and retaliated, she deserved it.  She knew it was coming, and she did it anyway. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Tom O‘Neil, in the end, there are children involved here.  Are you surprised that she used “Dancing with the Stars” to tell her most intimate secrets and problems to millions and millions of Americans? 

O‘NEIL:  That‘s where she really crossed a line, when she said, “Well, our family was so traumatized by this.  My little boy, I put him on the phone with our pastor.”  I thought, “Sara, you—go home.  Take care of business.  Don‘t say these things on national TV.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  And because she said she was stunned because these allegations were already on the Internet.  How shocking.  So then she goes out and tells millions and millions of people. 

All right, only in “Hollyweird.”  Thanks a lot, Tina.  Thank you, Ashlan.  And, Tom O‘Neil, stick around.

OK, so it‘s a burning question on everybody‘s mind:  What happens to all those items like nail clippers, corkscrews and lighters that get taken away by airport screeners?  Now, NBC‘s Kevin Tibbles did some investigation as to show how flyers are really getting corkscrewed.  Watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  It happens about once every three seconds at airports around the nation. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Bag check. 

TIBBLES:  A busy traveler passes through security with a carry-on item that is banned and gets stopped.  The item is abandoned, never to be seen again.  But what happens to all those Swiss army knives, manicure scissors, and Zippo lighters?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I often thought they must appear on the streets of New York where those guys are selling things on tables.

TIBBLES:  Well, not exactly.  We set off on the trail of one of those nice borrowed hotel mini-bar corkscrews.  From the time it “inadvertently” finds its way into a carry-on bag, to the time it‘s handed over to airport security, and enters the “no-flight zone.”

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you‘d like to surrender it, I can take care of it for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s OK.  I‘ll just surrender it.

TIBBLES:  It joins the roughly 10 million prohibited items collected at airports every year, where it will be stored, trucked, sorted and sold. 

PAUL CAMPBELL, ILLINOIS CENTRAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES:  It‘s incredible some of the stuff that we‘ve found, everything from knives to a chainsaw that actually got surrendered at the airport. 

TIBBLES (on camera):  But your bad luck is big business for states cashing in on the sale of contraband by the crate. 

(voice-over):  In just three years, the state of Illinois has raked in over $1 million auctioning off pocket knives and other small items in bulk.  At least 16 other states have started similar programs. 

CAMPBELL:  As long as it‘s coming, we‘re going to take it.  We‘re going to sell it for as much as we can, and we‘re going to reinvest that money into something that‘s worthwhile. 

TIBBLES:  Those proceeds go into the state treasury, earmarked for schools, health care and public safety.  So the next time you‘re forced to fork over something at airport security, at least you can take some comfort in knowing that corkscrew is going to a good cause, and someone somewhere will soon be enjoying a nice bottle of Chianti. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  So you can‘t take chainsaws onto planes anymore?  I‘ll tell you what, this Bush administration, so oppressive.  Coming up next, Paul McCartney‘s friends have the Beatle‘s back.  We‘re going to hear from one of them about his bitter breakup. 

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEN AFFLECK, ACTOR:  Why are you covering that up today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s Sunday morning. 

AFFLECK:  It‘s Sunday morning, but that never stopped you before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  A train wreck interview from Ben Affleck‘s past surfaces on the ‘net.  Is it any worse than “Gigli”?  Well, we‘ll show you what the actor had to say then and now. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now to Paul McCartney‘s hard day fight.  The former Beatle is being rocked by allegations of abuse from his former wife, Heather Mills.  And now one of Paul‘s closest friends is coming out to say the claims are crazy.  Nina Nannar from our British broadcasting partner ITN has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NINA NANNAR, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  It‘s two years since Geoff Baker stopped working as Paul McCartney‘s publicist, two years in which he‘s never spoken publicly about that time, his fallout with Heather.  But today, he told me he‘s enraged by what is being claimed about the man he worked alongside for 15 years. 

GEOFF BAKER, FORMER MCCARTNEY PUBLICIST:  I don‘t think the fact that I know him makes me feel differently than people who don‘t know him.  I think people—you know, the public aren‘t stupid.  They can see what‘s going on.  They can see that, you know, this is some kind of absurd, ritualistic tar and feathering. 

NANNAR:  He was there when the couple married four years ago and says even then he was worried about McCartney.

BAKER:  My personal theory is that Paul was in such deep grief after Linda died that he really didn‘t know what he was doing.  I really think that. 

NANNAR:  Today, Heather Mills McCartney has denied claims she leaked the court documents, alleging her husband was violent during their marriage.  But Baker says, whoever the source, the singer needs the public‘s support.

BAKER:  He wrote a song called “A Little Help from my Friends.”  Well, I think he‘s got a lot of friends worldwide, and I think this is a time when that help should come clear.  And I think people should stand up and say, “No, you know, we‘re not going to take this.”

NANNAR:  I supposed, well, none of us really know exactly what happened behind closed doors. 

BAKER:  Well, you know, you can say that, but I mean—anyone who knows Paul knows that that‘s just complete fantasy. 

NANNAR:  Their marriage has disintegrated; now they are fighting for their public reputation.

Nina Nannar, ITV News, in Wilkeshire (ph).

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And here now, Jill Dobson, “Star” magazine‘s editor-at-large.  Jill, this divorce just keeps getting nastier, these charges that she‘s throwing Paul McCartney‘s way.  Hasn‘t McCartney offered her a lot of money? 

JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  There have been—all sorts of things have been leaked in this divorce.  And one of the things leaked is that he offered her $56 million.  And apparently, she‘s not happy with that amount.

SCARBOROUGH:  Fifty six million dollars.  Fifty six million dollars, and she counters with allegations that most people who know McCartney think are just absolute garbage.  So how many years were these two married? 

DOBSON:  They were married about four years, and they have a little girl together who‘s almost 3 years old. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, so they‘re married for four years.  He offers about $60 million.  She‘s being offered $15 million a year to be married to one of the most famous guys in the world, and she counters with these scandalous charges?  I mean, what does she want? 

DOBSON:  There have been some reports that she wants half of his fortune.  And his fortune is hard to calculate, because the Beatles keep selling albums.

SCARBOROUGH:  Because it keeps going up so much, so fast.

DOBSON:  Exactly.  It‘s never ending.

SCARBOROUGH:  I keep destroying all my Beatles CDs, buying new ones, just to help poor Paul out.  Really, I actually feel sorry for Ringo.  But $1.7 billion.  How much of that does she want?

DOBSON:  Yes, some people say he has up to $1.7 billion and that she may want as much as half.  And these papers were reportedly leaked.  They say that she filed these court documents, and they‘ve been leaked to the public, and she has no idea how they got out.  But, of course, only papers that made him look bad were leaked. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It sounds like she‘s blackmailing him here, if she‘s—it seems like they‘re the ones that are getting out.  But that‘s about $850 billion for, I will say it, this bimbo being married to Paul McCartney for four years.  Does anybody out there, other than those people closely associated with Heather Mills, really believe that Paul McCartney beat his wife? 

DOBSON:  People aren‘t buying it, especially in England.  He‘s a hero there.

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, nobody‘s buying it, right?  Because McCartney‘s been in the public spotlight now for over 40 years.  And it just doesn‘t line up with the man that people have come to know for 40 years, right?

DOBSON:  Exactly.  He‘s been in London, and those London tabloids tear you apart.  And there have never been any reports in any of those papers that he‘s been a violent person or abusive or any of these things.  So by all accounts, he‘s a generous, kind guy, you know, a vegetarian. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, God, well, we all know vegetarians can‘t beat up people. 

DOBSON:  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re weak, you know?  Steak eaters like me, we‘re the guys with the guns.  So what happens next?  Do you think McCartney, now that he knows that he‘s being blackmailed by these scandalous charges, will offer more money?  Or do you think now they draw the line down the center and it‘s just all-out war? 

DOBSON:  Well, in the court system, it doesn‘t matter what the court of public opinion holds.  It just matters what the judge decides.  However, what some lawyers are advising, through different columns that have been printed in the papers, is, you know what, Paul?  Just give her as much money as you can to make her stop talking, because it‘s going to hurt his net worth if his image takes a slam.  And even though people aren‘t believing this, if people hear it again and again it‘s going to start to hurt his image a little bit.

SCARBOROUGH:  I think if I were Paul McCartney—and, Paul, I know you‘re a big fan of the show, if you‘re watching—I would offer her zero dollars and maybe sue her, like, for $100 million for slander. 

DOBSON:  Go for it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Thank you, Jill. 

DOBSON:  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  Appreciate you being here.

And coming up next, you, too, can spend the night with Tori Spelling -

ugh—or at least at her house.  “Hollyweird” is coming up next.  I don‘t even want to be in the house.  Oh.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I like the song.  I‘m going to let it go a little bit. 

I‘m letting it breathe! 

Put a Chihuahua in your handbag and hop in the convertible.  It‘s time for “Hollyweird.”

First up, Ben Affleck.  Fans are outraged at a video clip of the actor that‘s making the rounds on the Internet.  Now we should tell you the exact origin of the clip is not known, but we do know it was taped during a publicity interview two years ago for Affleck‘s movie “Jersey Girl.”  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AFFLECK:  They would like it better if you did this show topless at the station one night, because that‘s sort of the idea, right?  If we could do the interview like this...

(CROSSTALK)

AFFLECK:  You usually show a lot more cleavage than this.  What‘s the story?  Why are you covering it up today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s Sunday morning. 

AFFLECK:  It‘s Sunday morning, but that never stopped you before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  My interviews don‘t go like that, maybe because they don‘t do them on crack.  So far, no comment from Affleck‘s people.  But here now to talk about it, “OK” magazine‘s Courtney Hazlett and, back again, Tom O‘Neil from “InTouch Weekly.”

You know, I throw this phrase around sometimes a little too liberally, but Ben Affleck, a runaway beer truck. 

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE:  Well, you know what?  I think it‘s safe to say this is one movie of (INAUDIBLE) Affleck is not going to see.  You know, he‘d just come off of “Gigli.”  “Jersey Girls” was already known to not be a huge hit before it even came out, so this is the pre-rehab days.  This is Ben who‘s known as being kind of a wild guy who didn‘t have it all in check, but he‘s changed.  He‘s reformed.  He‘s a good guy now, and that‘s what he‘s going to want to focus on.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s great.  Just like Mark Foley.  Fantastic. 

Tom O‘Neil, I mean, you look at where this guy started.  You look at where his buddy started.  And, boy, they have taken divergent paths, haven‘t they? 

O‘NEIL:  Yes, they really have.  I sure hope that there‘s an explanation for this.  You know, Ben claims he was sober since the 1990s, but he looks a little looped here.  I hope that excuses his behavior.  By the way, I interviewed him just three weeks ago in a very similar setting that way, and he didn‘t ask me to sit on his lap. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No lap dances or anything like that?  And, of course, he‘s got to watch his friend, Matt Damon, being called one of the great young stars of our time, especially after his movie, “Departed.”  I mean, again, it just keeps getting worse for him, right? 

O‘NEIL:  Things are about to get better, though.  He was just named best actor at the Venice Film Festival for “Hollywoodland,” and he may be Oscar-nominated in the supporting race.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, that would be great for him.  We‘re cheering for you, Ben.

Now, do you ever dream of having breakfast in bed with Tori Spelling?  Ha!  Me, neither.  But you may get your chance.  The actress and her husband are reportedly pitching a reality show that would feature the spoiled couple running a bed and breakfast.  Train wreck TV?

HAZLETT:  Well, you know what?  The whole thing‘s a little bit ironic, because the last time I heard—you know, at the Spelling mansion, you didn‘t get up and make your own breakfast and, you know, service other people, so I‘m not really sure where her experience comes from this.  But Tori and Dean are open to new things.  And, you know, she was kind of cut out of her father‘s inheritance, is the word on the street.  She only received about $800,000 of, you know, the slice of the Spelling fortune, so she‘s got to work.  A girl‘s got to work.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, that‘s a shame, isn‘t it?  And she doesn‘t really get a lot of money now in acting, does she?  I mean, her career‘s kind of down the drain?

HAZLETT:  She does a lot of Lifetime movies.  You know, that‘s not exactly Hollywood blockbuster, but, like I said, she‘s recognized the fact that she has to work.  She‘s been enterprising at least, B&B. 

SCARBOROUGH:  God bless her.

HAZLETT:  No one else has done that really.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, exactly.

Now, Lionel Richie tells “Blender” magazine that he‘s one of the greatest porn stars of all time, at least in his mind.  Tom O‘Neil, I‘m not going to touch it.  You go ahead.

O‘NEIL:  This is hilarious.  He says—and it kind of makes some sense here.  He said, “When I write a song, I‘ve got to imagine myself as the hottest guy in the world, so I kind of, you know, communicate this.”  So he says that‘s the image in his mind.  Well, at least it stays there.  At least he doesn‘t go out on the Internet with this stuff like Sara Evans‘ husband. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, which, of course, explains Nicole Richie, right?

O‘NEIL:  Oh, that‘s good.  That‘s good.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Now, Paula Abdul‘s much-touted eBay auction is over and done with.  No takers for the pop star-turned-“Idol” judge.  What‘s it mean, Courtney? 

HAZLETT:  It doesn‘t mean anything really good, unfortunately for Paula Abdul.  These sorts of junkets where, you know, you bid on something, you get quality time with the celebrity, a shopping spree, first-class tickets, they usually go like hot cakes, and they‘re a hot item.  But nobody really bid on this one.  And eBay‘s yanked it, and I don‘t think Paula‘s going to really brag about it on the next season of “American Idol.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  Nobody wants to spend time with her, huh? 

HAZLETT:  No.  No.  Not so much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tom O‘Neil, that‘s surprising, considering she‘s one of three people that really runs the hottest TV shows in years. 

O‘NEIL:  Yes.  And don‘t you wonder what another one of those, Simon Cowell, would have to say in this situation?  You know, these dates on the Internet really are very, very popular, dates with a star, but what‘s probably the reason behind Paula not getting any takers is it was only $26,000 for the date, but imagine what her bar tab would be. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my god.  I know.  And speaking of bar tabs, David Hasselhoff tonight, there‘s reports from the “National Enquirer” that he started drinking again.  Maybe you don‘t want to jump in this guy‘s car, huh? 

HAZLETT:  I‘ve been trying to get in his car, and it‘s the Hoff‘s world.  We‘re just living in it.

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re just passing through.  And, Tom O‘Neil, we hear the Hoff still very popular in Europe, and his single‘s gone up the charts, right?

O‘NEIL:  Yes, it‘s like one of those weird Europe versus America things, like one of those Jerry Lewis France things.  We just don‘t get it here.  But he better get sober soon.  The allegation is here that he checked out of any rehab three days after going in.

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  Hey, we‘ve got to go.  Thank you, Courtney Hazlett and Tom O‘Neil.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

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