updated 10/26/2006 11:05:18 AM ET 2006-10-26T15:05:18

Guests: Lawrence O‘Donnell, Steve Adubato, Bill Maher, Ashlan Gorse, Tom O‘Neil

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  A raging political firestorm over a diseased-ravaged Hollywood star and the king of conservative media.  It started over this ad, which, of course, drew a controversial retort from Rush Limbaugh.  A political storm ensued, with Democrats and Fox‘s friends demanding an apology, but Limbaugh remained defiant today.

Add to that, much more coming up on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY live from Las Vegas.  And what happens in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, friend, stays in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I‘m Joe Scarborough coming to you live tonight from Las Vegas.

ANNOUNCER:  Live from Las Vegas, here‘s Joe Scarborough.

SCARBOROUGH:  We are live from Las Vegas, and Bill Maher is back with us with his critical take on the Sin City and why he thinks George W. Bush should be impeached.  You‘re going to want to hear the controversial HBO comedian‘s no-holds-barred interview.  We go at it.

But we begin tonight with the battle over the control for Washington, D.C., with the crucial mid-term elections less than two weeks away.  But today‘s biggest battle was not a political battle between parties or senatorial candidates, but rather between an established Hollywood actor and a talk radio host.  Of course, they‘re not just any actor, and the talk radio host, he is certainly no talk radio host.  They‘re Michael J. Fox and Rush Limbaugh, who‘s more like a conservative institution, and he‘s taking issue over this ad.


MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR:  In Missouri, you can elect Claire McCaskill, who shares my hopes for cures.


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, this ad drew a controversial retort from Rush Limbaugh yesterday.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  In this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease.  He is moving all around and shaking, and it‘s purely an act.


SCARBOROUGH:  A political storm ensued, with Democrats and Fox‘s friends demanding a apology.  But Limbaugh remained defiant today, saying this.


LIMBAUGH:  Stand by what I said.  I take back none of what I said.  I wouldn‘t rephrase it any differently.  It is what I believe.  It is what I think.  It is what I have found to be true.


SCARBOROUGH:  And the gloves are off and the brass knuckles are out.  Only 13 days until the mid-term elections.  Is it fair for people to question Michael J. Fox about using his illness to support political candidates and not just a cause?  And did Limbaugh and the Republican Party step over the line not only in Missouri but also in a Tennessee race that has taken on very controversial race-baiting overtones?

Political analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell is the former executive editor (SIC) of “The West Wing.”  Media analyst Steve Adubato is also here with us.  And also Pat Buchanan, who‘s an MSNBC analyst and also presidential candidate, and of course, communication director for several presidents.

I want to begin with you, Lawrence O‘Donnell.  Was it fair game for Rush Limbaugh to go after Michael J. Fox, since Michael J. Fox stepped into this political arena, trying to determine the outcome of a Missouri race and quite possibly the outcome of who controls the United States Congress in 2006?

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Joe, Michael J. Fox‘s entering into this arena was very effective.  I saw that ad last week.  Claire McCaskill put that ad out.  And it is the most powerful political advertisement I have ever seen.

What Rush Limbaugh has done is raise it about 100 times more powerful than what it was already.  This ad was played in full this morning on the “Today” show to millions of viewers.  All of the analysis includes this videotape of Rush Limbaugh doing his own gesticulating, imitating Michael J. Fox.  Rush isn‘t raising questions about this.

Rush is saying that he knows with absolute certainty that Michael J.

Fox is faking his symptoms.  Now, I don‘t know Michael J. Fox.  I don‘t...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, he said he‘s either faking his symptoms, Lawrence...

O‘DONNELL:  No, no, no, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  But he‘s saying he‘s either faking his symptoms—hold on.  Let me finish.  He said he‘s either faking his symptoms or he‘s saying that he went off of his medication to have a more dramatic impact.  And Limbaugh quoted Michael J. Fox‘s 2002 memoir, “Lucky Man.”  And let me read you what Fox wrote.  He said, quote, “I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication.  It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease and the urgency we as a community were feeling be seen, as well as heard.”

If he did it before Congress, Lawrence, he certainly could have done it before this ad.  And there‘s nothing wrong with that, is there?

O‘DONNELL:  Joe, Joe, I‘m going to let your audience decide what they heard Rush Limbaugh say at the beginning of this show.  What Rush Limbaugh just said on MSNBC is that Michael J. Fox was exaggerating his symptoms.  That‘s what he said.  He then said he knew it with virtual certainty.

All this has done, Joe, is make this ad a national campaign ad for Democrats.  It is now by far the most effective ad nationally for Democrats.  No one is going to sympathize with Rush Limbaugh on this...

SCARBOROUGH:  And—and Pat—Pat Buchanan...

O‘DONNELL:  ... and Michael J. Fox is probably the most sympathetic character in America during this campaign.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, let me bring in Pat Buchanan.  Pat, do you agree that, basically, what Rush Limbaugh has done is, the most powerful voice on the conservative right has elevated this ad to a level where we‘re talking about it, the “Today” show is talking about it, and Michael J. Fox and the Democrats come out on top?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, no question.  This ad is certainly the dominant issue in Missouri.  It‘s probably the dominant political issue of the day.  Let me try to break it down.  First, I think it‘s legitimate to question whether Michael Fox should be using his illness to advance a political cause and be on the other side there because the issue of embryonic stem cell research is a deeply moral and emotional issue which many believe amounts to farming human beings for spare parts.  So I think Rush is dead right to question that.

I think where he went over the line is in the imitations of the gesticulations of Michael J. Fox.  That looked like mockery of a sick person.  Now, I don‘t know whether he‘s on medications or off, or things like that.  But Rush is certainly correct, I think, in bringing up the fact that Michael J. Fox did say this, that, look, he goes off in order to dramatize his illness for political effect.  That‘s legitimate if Michael J. Fox has brought it in to politics.  But overall, I got to agree with Lawrence in the last analysis.  I do not think the Republican candidate in Missouri likes this fight.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me—listen, I‘ll tell you, if I were—hold on a second.  If I were running in Missouri, if I were Jim Talent, I would be absolutely horrified at the way this race has shaped up over the past three, four, five days, having Michael J. Fox not only playing in the World Series on ads, which everybody in Missouri that‘s going to vote is watching, then seeing it on this show and other shows night after night, and then seeing it on the “Today” show with seven, eight, nine million people watching—it is a horrible scenario for him.

Break it down for us, Steve Adubato, from the media take.

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  Well, let me say this.  My home state, New Jersey, there‘s a race in the U.S. Senate between incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez and Republican Tom Kean, Jr.  The same spot was done by Michael J. Fox for Menendez on the issue.

I‘ll tell you how bad it is for Limbaugh.  I‘ll tell you how embarrassing—and by the way, I do not believe he represents conservative Republicans on this.  I think he represents mean-spirited people who are insensitive to other people‘s pain.  Tom Kean, Jr., yesterday denounced Limbaugh, said he is embarrassed by what he said.

So let me ask you.  If, in fact, this is the most powerful talk show person on radio on the right side, and Republican candidates in tight Senate races in New Jersey, like Tom Kean, Jr., are running away from him, it has backfired on him.  And I‘ll tell you what else.  In the media, we‘ve all learned that when you blow it and you make a mistake, Joe, the first thing you do is to apologize.  The fact that Rush Limbaugh is exacerbating the situation by saying, I stand by what I said, I know it for a fact, makes him a fool.  He is embarrassing, and those who support him ought to be embarrassed.

SCARBOROUGH:  I want to show you Michael J. Fox on “Boston Legal.”  It‘s a show I love watching.  And I saw Fox—and we‘re looking at him here.  I saw Fox—this aired a couple of weeks ago.  And you can understand why some conservatives would say, My gosh, that‘s a completely different Michael J. Fox that appeared before Congress, a different Fox that appeared before—that obviously appeared in the commercial against Jim Talent.

Lawrence O‘Donnell, what would you say to those people?

O‘DONNELL:  That everyone knows that with this disease, you have good days and bad days.  You have good hours, Joe, and bad hours.  And for anyone to suggest that Michael J. Fox is faking this—it‘s just a crazy thing to raise.  The guy has the disease.  His career has been stopped by this disease.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Lawrence, let me bring up for you—because we only showed one part of the Limbaugh clip.  Limbaugh did also say that he thought he was either faking it or went on to say that he went off of his medication to have a more dramatic impact.

Are you there?  Do we have it?


O‘DONNELL:  Joe, let me just say this about Rush.


O‘DONNELL:  I remember the day—I remember the day Rush came back on the air after he came out of rehabilitation for drug addiction.  And that was a humble Rush Limbaugh.  That was a Rush Limbaugh who sympathized with the illnesses and the health problems of everyone out there, especially a self-induced health problem like drug addiction.  It stunned me to see Rush Limbaugh doing this a few years after he came out of drug rehab himself.  As a drug addict, as an oxycontin addict, to talk about someone‘s medication raises the question of what medication is Rush on or off these days.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan do you think...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... look back and—go ahead, Pat.  Could this be the deciding ad of this campaign?

BUCHANAN:  It very well could.  And the very fact—what are we talking about?  We‘re not talking about—I think—I think—I‘m sure Talent and I think I could make a good case that embryonic stem cell research is marching down a road to a horrible end we don‘t want to go to.  But what are we talking about?  Whether a guy who‘s pretty sick and who‘s got a real problem with his Parkinson‘s disease, whether he‘s been abused or not.  And so I don‘t think that can be—I mean, that‘s just not a good end to this thing from the standpoint of the candidate who Rush is trying to help.

SCARBOROUGH:  And What that means is, Democrats could quite possibly, will most likely win Missouri, and very well could win the control of the United States Senate, and it could all go back to this ad, as Lawrence O‘Donnell said, one of the most powerful ads he‘s seen this year.

Lawrence, Steve and pat, thank you so much for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it.  Apologize for the mix-up there with the satellite.

Still ahead on this Vegas edition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, Bill Maher is back and we‘re going to be asking him what he thinks about Sin City and why he thinks president George Bush should be impeached.  Plus, we‘re exposing the seedy side of Vegas.  “Dateline‘s” hidden cameras shows you what happens when the sun goes down and the city‘s sex underworld comes out.  And next: If you think Vegas is all about gambling, you‘re wrong.  We‘ll show you how this city‘s become the entertainment capital for middle America and the world.


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, you may think people come here to Las Vegas just to gamble, but more and more tourists are skipping the casinos in favor of shops and shows.  CNBC “On Assignment” takes a look at some of the other businesses bankrolling what was once called Sin City.  Here‘s CNBC‘s Dylan Ratigan.


DYLAN RATIGAN, CNBC “ON ASSIGNMENT” (voice-over):  In the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, Las Vegas had a near monopoly on gambling.  Now there‘s a casino within 100 miles of almost every major American city.  But Vegas is striving for a new monopoly, its ever-growing arsenal of stage shows, four-star restaurants, high-end shops and performances from world-renowned entertainers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Entertainment with a small E, which means all forms of it, is the lifeblood of the city.  Take that away from this city and you‘ve got a box of rooms and slot machines, and you‘re in trouble.

RATIGAN:  Last year, non-gaming revenue in Las Vegas‘s home county reached $25 billion, the largest it‘s ever been.  Every year, tourists are spending less time on the casino floor gambling, today, on average, less than four hours per day during the average four-day stay.

DANIELE LAMARRE, CIRQUE DU SOLEIL PRESIDENT:  In the past, people were talking about London.  People were talking about New York City.  Today, this is the capital of the world of entertainment.

RATIGAN:  Cirque du Soleil is the biggest earner of the Las Vegas stage shows.  In two decades, the Montreal-based traveling troop has gone from a small band of street performers to 11 shows across four continents.

(on camera):  Five nights a week, two times each night, Cirque fills more than three million seats every year in Las Vegas.  Consider then an average $100 ticket price, do a little simple math and you‘ll find Cirque is bringing in $300 million in ticket sales alone.

And once the show is over, another cash infusion takes place, as thousands go out of the theaters and onto the casino floor, ready to place more bets.

(voice-over):  Like Cirque, Celine Dion sells out.  And every time she does, more than $150,000 is pumped into Cesar‘s casinos, shops and eateries.  Spectacle is everywhere in Las Vegas.  Here at Aureole restaurant, “wine angels“ scale a four-story tower that houses 10,000 bottles of wine.

ANDREW BRADBURY, AUREOLE WINE DIRECTOR:  You know, you‘re looking at nearly a $2 million structure before a bottle of wine is into it.  Believe it or not, we probably have more people coming to this restaurant to look at the wine angels or have heard about the wine angels than any other factor.

RATIGAN:  Last year, visitors spent almost $9 billion on dining in the Las Vegas area.  Shopping comes next, approaching $5 billion.  High-end shops from Chanel and Dior to Louis Vuitton and Manolo Blahnik add prestige and glamor to the resorts.  Victoria‘s Secret is trying to capitalize on the shopping boom, building a new flagship store in the Forum shops at Cesar‘s Palace.  They‘re turning this retail store into an entertainment show of sorts.


We‘re going to take the customer on a ride as they come into the store, taking them from behind the scenes right out onto the runway of a fashion show.

RATIGAN:  These Forum shops are no Boise strip mall.  They boast one of the highest revenues per square foot of any shopping center in the country.  Billions of dollars, millions of square feet, thousands of restaurants and shops, and all of it riding on one thing, getting people in the door.  Vegas pitchman Billy Valsilietis (ph) knows this town, with increasing traffic and spiraling cab lines, has never had more to lose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The biggest risk we have, honestly, is if we‘re not careful and we somehow make the experience burdensome.  If we do that, then we‘re not the escape anymore, and then we‘re not free anymore.

RATIGAN:  But any casino mogul in town will tell you doubts don‘t build empires.  Imagination does, something Las Vegas has never had a shortage of.

(on camera):  Can Vegas keep topping itself?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, absolutely, and we will.  And it‘s not necessarily bigger.  We always strive to get better.  And so Vegas will always top itself.

RATIGAN:  There‘s no limit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Only the limits of imagination, and I don‘t think the imagination has limits.


SCARBOROUGH:  When you live in a town with wine angels, yes, imagination doesn‘t have limits.  That was Dylan Ratigan for CNBC “On Assignment” reporting.  Thank you so much, Dylan.  Really appreciate it.

And coming up next, it‘s “Must See S.C.” with scoop on some new “Mc”cast members coming to “Grey‘s Anatomy.”  And later, HBO‘s Bill Maher tells us what he thinks is President Bush‘s biggest mistake and why he should be impeached for it.  (INAUDIBLE) debate straight ahead.


SCARBOROUGH:  Wake up Vito, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you got to see.  First up: “Grey‘s Anatomy” is one of TV‘s most popular shows, but that‘s not stopping ABC from adding new characters to its wildly successful cast.  Take a look at this promo, courtesy of David Letterman.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  This Thursday on ABC, don‘t miss television‘s hottest medical program, “Grey‘s Anatomy.”  Catch all the action between McDreamy (ph) and McSteamy (ph) and the new crop of heart-pounding characters coming this season, such as McLumpy, McDumpy, McJowly, McDummy, McChilly, McChokey, McWrinkly, McDrinky, McNevershutsthe(DELETED)up and McCreepy.  Grey‘s Anatomy.”  Be there, McLosers!


SCARBOROUGH:  Whoa!  I‘ll have to tune in for that!

And finally, all late night shows have their signature skits, like, of course, “Jaywalking (ph).”  But on the “Rather Late Show” with Prince Charles, it‘s called “Princewalking (ph).”


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Halloween is coming up, all right.  So here‘s a question.  What sleeps all day and goes out at night and has really scary teeth?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I have no idea.  I‘m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right.  Well, they don‘t really do anything.  They sort of just live off of everybody else.  They‘re parasites.  They suck the very blood from you, you know, and they‘re really creepy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, I‘ve got it.  I‘ve got it.  It‘s the royal family, isn‘t it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No.  No, it was vampires is kind of what I was thinking.


SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up next, Bill Maher stops by SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY to talk about his controversial views on why he thinks George W. Bush should be impeached, and it all goes back to 9/11.  And later: It‘s called Sin City for a reason.  We‘re going to show you just how big the sex business is here with NBC‘s hidden camera investigation.


ANNOUNCER:  Live from Las Vegas, once again, Joe Scarborough. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back to this special addition of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, live from Las Vegas.  Coming up, we‘re going to take you inside Vegas‘ sex underworld in an NBC investigation and show you why adult entertainment is big business in Sin City, an undercover “Dateline NBC” investigation. 

And speaking of sleaze, we have video of Vegas‘ most famous pole dancer.  Paris Hilton?  The whole scoop ahead in “Hollyweird.”

Those stories in just minutes, but first, my conversation with Bill Maher continues.  The host of “Real Time,” which airs Friday nights on HBO, is, of course, no stranger to Las Vegas‘ lifestyle.  So I asked him what he thought about Vegas, and then we moved on to talk about President Bush.  It turns out he‘s not a big fan of either.  Take a look. 


BILL MAHER, HOST, “REAL TIME”:  I‘ve actually never been a big fan of Las Vegas.  For maybe a night at a time, but I find it to be a very cold city.  Everybody in that city, you know, is out to get money out of your pocket.  And that‘s OK; that‘s what it‘s there for. 

But years ago, it used to be a little more personal.  They used to know how to take care of people better.  Not everybody was just a number.  They certainly knew how to take care of the entertainers better.  I think it was better when the mob ran it.  I really do. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What are you going to do when Democrats take control? 

Who are you going to make fun of? 

MAHER:  Well, I guess whoever screws up.  I certainly didn‘t lack for material when Bill Clinton was in office.  It‘s just that the things he was doing that I didn‘t agree with didn‘t rise to the level that they do in this administration. 

And let‘s not forget that the biggest scandal of all is the war in Iraq.  The biggest scandal is that we have a president who—we won‘t even go there about lying to get us into the war, although that certainly is an impeachable offense, but who didn‘t study about the war. 

You know, when we learn as we have in several books that he didn‘t really know before the war began that there was a Shiite and a Sunni sectarian issue going on over there, to me that‘s an impeachable offense.  And I had a conservative on our show recently. 

And after the show—you‘ve been on our show, we have a little dinner for our guests after—and I said this to the person.  I said, “You know, I think that‘s impeachable that the president would go to war in a country and not know the first thing about it, not know that there were Sunnis and Shiites.” 

And this person said to me, “Well, come on, Bill, five years ago, did you?”  And I said, “Well, first of all, yes, I did.  And second of all, I‘m not the president.  I‘m not taking my country to war.”  It doesn‘t really matter if I knew about the Sunnis and the Shiites, but when you‘re the president and you‘re sending people to die, yes, I think that‘s something probably you should have studied up on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You talk about impeachment.  Obviously, John Conyers is in line to be the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee.  Do you think that John Conyers, and Nancy Pelosi, and other Democratic leaders should pursue articles of impeachment if, in fact, voters allow Democrats to take control of the House and Senate? 

MAHER:  I do, even though I think it‘ll be a terrible distraction for the country, and even though he‘s only got two years left in office.  I don‘t think you can allow the president—of a president not only blatantly ignoring the Constitution and breaking constitutional law, but bragging about it. 

Arlen Specter, who is not exactly a flaming liberal, came out against the habeas corpus bill that the president just signed, and he said, “I‘m not going to support a bill that‘s blatantly unconstitutional and that goes back to Magna Carta in the year 1215.”  He‘s pretty witty. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s Arlen Specter‘s opinion, though.  Are you suggesting, like others have suggested, that with a stroke of a pen George Bush has somehow abolished habeas corpus? 

MAHER:  Well, he sort of has, yes.  Yes, you can disappear.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, no, he—no, he—no, he hasn‘t.  Did we provide habeas corpus...

MAHER:  Well, if you read the bill, he...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... well, but did we provide habeas corpus to Nazis that were captured in World War II, or to Japanese imperial fighters in World War II?  We have never extended habeas corpus to enemy combatants, have we? 

MAHER:  Yes, but this goes well beyond enemy combatants.  Bush is the person who decides who‘s an enemy combatant, and he doesn‘t have to tell anybody.  He doesn‘t have to report to anybody about anything. 

And, you know, again, the Democrats didn‘t stand up to him on this, didn‘t stand up to him on the torture bill.  They said to John McCain, “You go in there.  You talk some sense into him.”  And they thought John McCain would...

SCARBOROUGH:  But how do you impeach though—how do you impeach a Republican president for passing legislation that Democrats signed onto in large part, whether you‘re talking about the habeas corpus bill, or whether you‘re talking about the wiretapping?  And you know I‘m more libertarian than conservative.  I oppose most of these bills.

But you can go back to the war.  How do you impeach a president for starting a war that John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and the Democratic majority supported? 

MAHER:  Well, I wouldn‘t impeach him for that.  I‘d impeach him for sitting there for seven minutes on 9/11 when he was told the country was under attack. 


MAHER:  Seriously.

SCARBOROUGH:  You would impeach the president for sitting there, waiting for direction from his security people? 

MAHER:  Waiting for direction?  What direction was he waiting for? 

He‘s the president, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What did you expect the president of the United States to do, jump up and run out of the classroom?  “Oh, my God, we‘ve been hit, we‘ve been hit!”

MAHER:  Listen to yourself.  Listen to yourself.  This is through the looking glass, Joe.  Excuse me.  Take out the equation of whether this is a Republican or a Democrat or George Bush or anybody else. 

Just in a hypothetical.  A president in the nuclear age, Joe, the nuclear age, when missiles can reach us in an hour or less, is told the words, “The country is under attack.”  He‘s not told what kind of attack, whether it‘s nuclear, who the attacker is.  You‘re saying, in that situation, it‘s acceptable for a president to sit there for even seven seconds? 

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re telling me you‘re going to impeach a president for sitting down for seven minutes after his chief of staff...

MAHER:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... came in and whispered, “It appears a second tower has been hit, Mr. President”? 

MAHER:  No, no, no.

SCARBOROUGH:  If I had come onto your show in 1999...

MAHER:  No, no, no, no.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and told you that we should impeach Bill Clinton for what he did or didn‘t do in seven minutes, you would have told me I was crazy, and you would have been right. 

MAHER:  No.  Excuse me.  Please don‘t put words in my mouth or thoughts in my head.  I would not have done that, never.  And I‘ve made the point many times:  Yes, Bill Clinton was a draft dodger.  I‘ve said that many times.  I don‘t protect Bill Clinton.  That‘s why he he‘s probably never done my show.  If I kissed his ass, he would have done my show.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I don‘t protect George Bush.  That‘s why the—I don‘t protect George Bush.  That‘s why the White House won‘t talk to me.  But in seven minutes, you‘re going to impeach him? 

MAHER:  But, Joe, let‘s...

SCARBOROUGH:  Come up with a better reason to impeach a president, I might agree with you. 

MAHER:  There is no better reason; that‘s my point.  There is nothing George Bush has done before or since that rises to this level.  And let‘s get our facts straight:  They didn‘t say to him, “The second tower has been hit.”  The words he heard—this is from Andy Card himself—were, “The country is under attack.” 

But when a president hears those words, at that moment, he‘s not sure of the extent of the attack and, again, whether it‘s a nuclear attack, whether what went on before that his staff knows about is just the beginning of something.  For you to defend a president to sit there for even, as I say, seven seconds, let alone seven minutes in these circumstances, tells me that you‘re blinded as to who this man is and where your loyalties lie. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Blinded?  I‘m not blinded by who George Bush is.  I‘ve been harshly critical of George Bush.  I‘ve written op-eds saying as much.  I‘ve written op-eds saying the Republican Party should lose the majority.  I‘ve said that this guy has been horrible for libertarians and conservatives. 

MAHER:  But, Joe, what could be—but let me ask you:  What could be more important for a president of the United States to do than to react at that moment, when he hears the words, “The country is under attack”? 

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Bill Maher, you and I...

MAHER:  There is nothing more important.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... do not know—and, now, listen, I‘m not one of these people that say, “Listen, we should bow down to the Wizard of Oz because we don‘t know what‘s going on behind that curtain,” but you and I don‘t know what presidents, be they Republicans or Democrats, would be going through in that sort of situation. 

The first thing they‘re trying to figure out, if two buildings have been hit, if they‘re concerned about the president‘s own safety, is how do they secure the premises?  So...

MAHER:  Joe, we‘re talking about—we‘re talking about getting up and acting at the very moment we need the commander in chief the most!  Even Sean Hannity agrees with me on this.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, well, I...


MAHER:  I think that gives you a little perspective. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That is.  That gives me all the perspective I need.  Thanks so much for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it, Bill Maher, as always.

MAHER:  All right, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Look forward to seeing you in L.A. sometime soon.

MAHER:  Thank you.


SCARBOROUGH:  Seven minutes?  I tell you what, Michael Moore is writing articles of impeachment. 

Coming up, you know the slogan, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” but next, we‘re going to show you the darker side of Sin City and NBC‘s hidden camera investigation of the Vegas adult entertainment business. 

And later, we‘re heading to “Hollyweird” where Paul McCartney is getting by with a little help from his daughter‘s friends, none other than Kate Moss.


SCARBOROUGH:  Elvis Presley sang that the bright light city going to set my soul on fire.  But as you know, Las Vegas has a dark side.  “Dateline‘s” Keith Morrison lets us in on some of Sin City‘s dark secrets in this exclusive undercover NBC News investigation. 


KEITH MORRISON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  If you hide your camera, you can see the other Las Vegas, the one we all know is here, but don‘t talk about in polite society.  Tonight, we‘re going to enter this world. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Two hours for $800.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, it‘s two for $800?  Oh.

MORRISON:  The city of Las Vegas isn‘t actually promoting this sort of behavior, or is it?  Sin City is returning to what many people call its “roots.”

Las Vegas got to be Vegas because of the dark characters who invented it, Bugsy Siegel, mob guys.  Now that was adult entertainment.  Plenty of secrets around when Sinatra played here when the Rat Pack misbehaved in ways they were only too happy to hint at. 

DEAN MARTIN, ENTERTAINER:  I like the wonderful words of Joe E. Lewis. 

He says you‘re not drunk if you can lay on the floor without holding on. 


MORRISON:  Ah, but then, as Billy Vassiliadis has come to know all too well, Vegas lost its biggest draw, its exclusivity. 

BILLY VASSILIADIS, DEVELOPED VEGAS ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN:  Fifteen years ago, everybody knew from west of Atlantic City that this is the place to gamble.  We lost that competitive advantage as being the only place, and we‘ve been gradually losing it. 

MORRISON:  And that is where all those roller coasters came from, and the Picassos in casinos, and the pirate ships out front, all very well until they couldn‘t help but notice kids don‘t gamble.  And thus, now this and this.  This place, Sapphire, boasts that it‘s the biggest strip club in the whole world.  Guilty, darkened, seedy girlie parlors are a thing of the past apparently, apparently. 

The roller coasters do still race around a few of the strip hotels, but on the new Vegas strip titillation is everywhere you look, certainly more blatant than the old Vegas, more overtly sexual.  Nude revues, beefcake, erotic enticements, and tourists seem to be catching on. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s like the adult Disneyland, the city of sin. 

But that‘s why people come here, just because it‘s so dirty and...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There‘s no rules.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You know what?  It‘s just the same with guys and girls.  What goes on in Vegas stays in Vegas.

MORRISON:  The idea that Vegas could be sold as a family destination, say longtime Vegas-watchers, has been written off as a marketing goof.  In fact, according to the ad man, it never really happened. 

VASSILIADIS:  Las Vegas never positioned ourselves as a family destination, so this isn‘t really a going back.  I look at it, frankly, as a going forward.  It‘s an evolution of Las Vegas. 

MORRISON:  But wait a minute, isn‘t this about sex, about misbehaving and getting away with it? 

(on camera):  The clear implication your ads is leave the kids home and don‘t tell them what you did when you get back. 

VASSILIADIS:  I don‘t think that‘s it at all.  I think it‘s preserve the mystery.  What happens here stays here is not a dictate; it‘s a choice. 

MORRISON:  How much of this is about sex? 

VASSILIADIS:  It depends on where you come from.  It‘s in your mind. 

The stuff you see in the streets here about topless clubs, what have you, is no different than what you see in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami or anyplace else. 

MORRISON:  Come on.  This is Las Vegas.

VASSILIADIS:  You know what?  I knew you were going to get into this, so here‘s the escort yellow page ads from Los Angeles, from Manhattan, from Chicago. 

MORRISON:  And where‘s Las Vegas?

VASSILIADIS:  Oh, I didn‘t bring in here.

MORRISON:  Of course you... 


VASSILIADIS:  That‘s your job. 


MORRISON (voice-over):  So we decided to find out about the world of Las Vegas escorts. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How are you doing? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m doing fine.  How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m drunk tonight. 

MORRISON:  Just how easy or not is it to stumble on one?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What‘s your name? 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nice to meet you, Richard.  I‘m Angel.

MORRISON:  Our guide into the Las Vegas sex underworld is Richard Barbieski (ph), though when he‘s here, he calls himself Cheese Whiz.  Tonight, he‘s wearing our hidden eye to show us how easy it is to find what a lot of men are looking for.  This place, the Excalibur, is considered one of the most kid-friendly hotels on the strip, and sure enough, within minutes, Richard is propositioned by a woman he‘s never seen before. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So do you take out ladies?  Are you wanting some company?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Two hours for $800. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, it‘s two for $800?  Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So you‘re not going to go play?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re getting very tempting. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Give me a call.  Nice meeting you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nice meeting you, too. 

MORRISON:  Richard would never make that call.  Instead, with our camera, he headed straight for the Mirage, where he got propositioned over and over...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Are you ready to get naked now or what?

MORRISON:  ... and over. 


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you want some company tonight?

MORRISON:  ... and over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I was saying we should go get a room.

MORRISON:  Remember, this was just two casinos in less than two hours.  The Las Vegas police and the hotels say they do their best to discourage both the working girls and the Johns.  But then it‘s nighttime in Las Vegas, and the strip crowds up with temporary refugees from more straight-laced lives for whom the city slogan, “What happens here, stays here,” will mean anything they want it to. 


SCARBOROUGH:  I tell you, there‘s a MSNBC cameraman coming out to Vegas.  They looked at that fat guy getting out of the car, and said, “If he can lucky, so can I.”

Hey, stick around.  I‘m talking MSNBC cameramen, not the guys out here in Vegas.  Total pros out here in Vegas.  But, my God, back east?  You know what?  Keep them with Fredo and the gang.  You don‘t want them out here. 

Stick around.  “Hollyweird” is coming up next.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, book the high-roller suite, because it‘s time for “Hollyweird” Vegas-style.  First up, Paris Hilton.  You know, she may not be welcome in top New York and London clubs, but she‘s big business here in Vegas. 

Paris hit the strip last weekend and treated club-goers to a little pole dance and, yes, she‘s pole dancing to her own song.  Talk about a soul-crushing experience for those in attendance.

Here now with all the details on how you can party with Paris for a price, editor at large of “Life and Style Weekly,” Ashlan Gorse and also “InTouch Weekly” senior editor Tom O‘Neil.

Tom, that is a soul-crushing experience.  So why do they embrace her in Vegas when they don‘t touch her in New York or London? 

TOM O‘NEIL, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  Well, I think we‘ve seen, you know, reality shows like “Dancing with the Stars,” here we have “Pole Dancing with the Stars.”  This could be a big hit.  But if Paris gets in a competition with the pole, she might lose, you know?  That pole is not only smarter than her, it‘s got more talent, and it‘s about the same shape. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s cold, baby.  That‘s cold.  So do you think that maybe they‘re accepting Paris in Vegas because, unlike New York and London, they haven‘t spent much time with her in the clubs? 

O‘NEIL:  I think you‘re probably right, yes.  And she‘s agreeing, by the way, to party with you for a mere $100,000.  Isn‘t this interesting?  This is a real price.  She‘ll do your New Year‘s Eve party.  Of course, it might cost you $200,000 to keep her away if you have a photographer at the front door. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Ashlan, what‘s that about?  Paris Hilton‘s selling—talk about Vegas and the big business here, she‘s selling herself for $100,000 on New Year‘s Eve. 

ASHLAN GORSE, “LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY”:  I mean, what exactly is she selling for $100,000?  But, yes, right now she‘ll come and host your party, but I think she can only show up for 10 minutes.  And that‘s pretty much all you get for $100 grand is 10 minutes with Paris.  I don‘t know if that‘s worth it or not. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, for $100 grand, and yet they don‘t even let her walk into some clubs in New York and London. 

Hey, let‘s move onto the King.  You can blame it on General X‘ers, but the late Kurt Cobain is now beating Elvis as the top earning dead celebrity.  Ashlan, what‘s it mean?  The King is dead, long live grunge? 

GORSE:  Well, the King‘s been dead for a long time.  Let‘s look at it that way.  But here‘s the thing:  Kurt Cobain is the one that actually started the grunge era.  He is my generation‘s hero.  He really just started this whole new wave.  So the reason why he‘s making so much money is because his widow sold 25 percent of his stock and now some people have rights to his music they‘re looking to put in advertising, which I think Kurt Cobain probably wouldn‘t be too happy with himself. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, probably not.  And, you know, Tom, Kurt Cobain around for two or three years on the music scene, really released two albums, and he‘s outselling the King?  I mean, what‘s that all about?

O‘NEIL:  Well, that‘s just one year, Joe.  I‘m on your side:  The King will be back next year.  This is just as a result of the $50 million that Courtney Love got for the sale.  But this brings up the question of dead celebrities being worth more than live celebrities, so let‘s go back to Paris Hilton.  What does this mean for Paris Hilton dead?  Does this mean, if she comes to your party dead, would it cost you nothing or would it cost you a million?  And how would you know?  Viewers of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY have seen what‘s in her purse.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s getting ugly.  It‘s getting ugly.

Hey, let‘s talk about another rock star, Paul McCartney.  He‘s got a new ally in his nasty divorce, model Kate Moss.  Tom, what‘s the connection there? 

O‘NEIL:  Well, Kate, who has testified in many legal cases, of course, has agreed to come to the rescue of Paul McCartney.  She‘s going to tell everybody what a lying hussy that Heather Mills is.  That whole business about how she had  to crawl to the bathroom on one leg, that can‘t be true, because really Kate says she has seen her jumping like a gazelle on her one leg.  And don‘t you want to just know, where did she see this? 

GORSE:  Oh, and I want to see that video, is what I want to see.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, it keeps getting uglier.  Hey, Ashlan, thank you.  Tom O‘Neil, appreciate you being here.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night live from Las Vegas.



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