updated 10/27/2006 11:20:47 AM ET 2006-10-27T15:20:47

Guests: Michael Crowley, Amy Sullivan, Bill Maher, Jill Dobson, Courtney Hazlett

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight, Michael J. Fox fires back at Rush Limbaugh.  And from Nevada to New York, Americans prepare to throw the bums out as campaign 2006 gets downright vicious, with Republicans being slammed for mocking sick actors, playing the race card in Tennessee and using fear tactics to save their own skin.  Are we in the last days of the GOP?

We‘re coming to you live from Las Vegas, where what happens in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY stays in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

ANNOUNCER:  From Las Vegas, here‘s Joe Scarborough.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s right, we‘re in Vegas, baby, with more of my showdown with Bill Maher coming up tonight, his tough take on Republican and Democrats and the moment Maher believes George Bush proved he was too incompetent to be president of the United States.  Plus, the new Vegas, where sex is big business, CNBC gives us a behind-the-scenes look at why vice adds up to dollars and cents in Sin City.

But first up tonight, Hollywood star Michael J. Fox continues his political battle against the king of conservative media, Rush Limbaugh.  It all started after this political ad featuring Michael J. Fox first hit the airwaves in Missouri and Rush Limbaugh suggested Fox was either acting or not taking his medicine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tonight, Michael J. Fox is fighting back at Rush Limbaugh for suggesting that the actor is being exploited by Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL J. FOX, ACTOR:  I could give a damn about Rush Limbaugh‘s (INAUDIBLE) don‘t resort to name calling or inflammatory language or mocking or whatever you need to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  But Rush Limbaugh refuses to back down in the face of this political firestorm, continuing attacking the actor and Democrats who backed the ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH:  These are every bit as much Democrat ads as the ad back in 1960 that depicted Barry Goldwater blowing up the world, a little girl who was picking daisies!  They are scripted by Democrats.  Democrat campaigns hire the directors.  They worked with Michael J. Fox on deciding how he will appear in the ad, make no mistake about this, because he has a choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Here now we have Michael Crowley—he‘s, of course, the senior editor for “The New Republic”—Amy Sullivan from “The Washington Monthly,” and MSNBC political analyst Patrick J. Buchanan.

Michael Crowley, Michael J. Fox is fighting back.  Is this rapidly turning into the Republican Party‘s worst nightmare when it comes not only to the state of Missouri but also to controlling the United States Senate?

MICHAEL CROWLEY, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  Sure.  I mean, this is a critical seat in the Senate campaign, and Republicans are in huge trouble if they lose it.  I think that ad is devastating, and I think that Rush Limbaugh really seems bizarrely mean-spirited here.  I just don‘t see that, you know, Rush‘s counterattack—I just don‘t see it doing very much good.  And I think that the more that you play these images that I think are on the screen right now, with Michael J. Fox and his condition, the more it drives home—it gives people a way to access a very complicated subject, which is the debate over stem cell research.  So I think this is a fiasco for Republicans.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know what, Amy Sullivan?  Tonight, Michael J.  Fox, which we showed you, went on Katie Couric, “The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric.”  This has been on our show.  It‘s been on every show.  It was on the “Today” show, reaching seven, eight, nine million people.  All of a sudden, you have a single ad and a controversy which Rush Limbaugh—he‘s defending himself every day, but every day he does, he gins up the controversy more and more, and that‘s bad news.  That mean Republican candidate Jim Talent is having to answer this on the campaign trail.  Quite likely, he‘s going to lose Missouri because of it, and many political analysts have long said Missouri could be the tipping point to make Harry Reid the next leader of the U.S. Senate.  What do Republicans do, if anything, to turn this terrible controversy around?

AMY SULLIVAN, “WASHINGTON MONTHLY”:  Well, maybe this is proof once and for all that Rush Limbaugh is not working from Republican talking points because I think they cannot be happy that he is continuing to keep this as a story.

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘ve got to be horrified, right?

SULLIVAN:  Yes.  I mean, you would that he would just apologize and shut up and let it go away.  But now he‘s just taking it one step further, saying it‘s not appropriate to try to personalize an issue, which seems to be the first time we‘ve ever heard that in politics.  I mean, whenever George Bush brings up the so-called “snowflake children” with him to the stage, he‘s personalizing stem cell research.  And this is just doing that on the other side.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, I‘ve always hear from Democrats that Republicans are supposed to be shrewd, evil geniuses.  But if you look at this Missouri compromise (SIC), you look at the Michael J. Fox ad and the way that we have seen Republicans and conservatives react to it, plus the Harold Ford ads down in Tennessee, suddenly Republicans look like they‘re the gang that can‘t shoot straight.  This is terrible timing, and it‘s terrible timing and terrible logistics that could end up costing the Senate and the U.S. Congress, right?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, look, I‘m not sure.  I think Michael J. Fox is now making a mistake cussing out Rush and getting into a battle with them because then it descends to a case of politics, left wing and right wing.  Secondly, I do not know, Joe, how Talent has handled this, but what he ought to do is cut himself loose from the Michael J. Fox-Rush battle, the way the fellow in Tennessee, Corker, has effectively said, I wish they‘d pull down the ad, it‘s got nothing to do with me...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  So are you saying Talent needs to attack Rush Limbaugh?

BUCHANAN:  That who needs to?

SCARBOROUGH:  Does Rush Limbaugh—does Jim Talent...

BUCHANAN:  No, no, no!

SCARBOROUGH:  ... the Missouri candidate, need to attack Rush Limbaugh?

BUCHANAN:  No.  He just says, Look, I don‘t think he should have said that about Michael J. Fox.  Let‘s move on.  Get out of the argument and let Rush and Fox get in the argument.  This is what Corker is doing in Tennessee.

And let me say this.  I think Harold Ford did a bad thing when he went down there and ran into that guy and deliberately disrupted, if you will, you know, confronted him going into a press conference.  It looked—the Tennessee folks are very civil, and you don‘t do that sort of thing, get in somebody‘s face and disrupt his press conference.

I‘ll tell you, I think Corker will win Tennessee, and I was not sure of that when this first ad started out, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Michael Crowley, I want to play you part of this ad that the Republican National Committee after the NAACP slammed it as racist.  And I got to tell you, the first time I saw it, I was aghast also.  Take a look at it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I met Harold at the “Playboy” party!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So he took money from porn movie producers.  I mean, who hasn‘t?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Harold, call me!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Crowley, races across the Southeast for years have always talked about how white men couldn‘t trust black men on the streets because they may do harm to white women.  And you‘ve hear it from Klan members for decades.  And it‘s an old, tired refrain that is always used.  And can you believe the Republican Party stumbled over this type of controversy in Tennessee?  And do you think it‘s going to end up hurting the Republican candidate Corker there?

CROWLEY:  Well, you know, you would like to think that the idea that one party had run a racist ad, an allegedly racist ad, would hurt them.  There‘s a school of thought that says that a debate about an ad that injects race into a campaign, which had happily been fairly free of it, is actually good for the conservative candidate.  I don‘t know if that‘s true.

But I don‘t know if race actually is the issue here.  I mean, it‘s not

that much nobler, but there is a sort of Republican attack against Harold

Ford, I think, that says, you know, he‘s a single guy, you know, he doesn‘t

he‘s not kind of a family man, you know, the way—you know, the way we like them here in our part of the country.  And whether or not you think it‘s a racial ad, a racist ad, I think it goes to his character in just a kind of irrelevant, sleazy way.

BUCHANAN:  You know, Joe...

CROWLEY:  And I think it‘s a desperate attempt to avoid...

BUCHANAN:  Joe...

CROWLEY:  ... talking about the Iraq war.

BUCHANAN:  Joe, let me say this.  I—I agree with Michael here.  I don‘t take this as racist.  Look, the Terrell Owens thing—you remember that?  You had the girl stripping right down in the locker room in the Super Bowl ad for some beer or something, or whatever it was.  But look, I don‘t take this as racist at all.  I think Michael is right.  This is an attack on character.  Harold Ford is a guy that likes “Playboy” bunnies.  Almost all of them are white.  He takes money from porn kings.  You know, he‘s against repealing the death tax.  And it causes us all to start talking about this.  We‘ve been showing this ad.  You keep watching the whole ad.  And Harold Ford is arguing about the ad.  He‘s not gaining ground with that.  And I think Corker has cut himself loose from this thing and he‘s moving on.  So I think...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Pat...

BUCHANAN:  I think it‘s obviously a mixed bag, but it could—go ahead.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  You know, I was just going to say I agree with you.  I think this Missouri controversy definitely breaks the Democrats‘ way.  I think the Tennessee controversy definitely breaks the Republicans‘ way because Ford had to explain that, well, no, he hadn‘t been to the “Playboy” mansion, but he‘d been to the “Playboy”...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But I wonder about a New Jersey ad that...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I wonder about a New Jersey ad that‘s been running.  And I want to play this because it certainly has got a lot of Italian-Americans angry because it suggests that Mob—the Italian Mob somehow supports New Jersey Senator Menendez.  And then Amy, I‘ll have you respond.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Then start looking at these fixed contracts.  Ba-da-bing.  We‘re in it but deep.  And worse, this guy Tom Kean, he wants to clean things up, even cut taxes!  Hey, where‘s our take in that?  We need to get bosses to fix this thing, like they did for Torricelli.  You got Lonberg‘s (ph) number?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tell Bob Menendez his high tax record is a crime.  The Free Enterprise Fund Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  God!  Amy Sullivan, if a county commissioner in Pensacola, Florida, showed me this ad, I would slap him across the face and say, You are too dumb to run a campaign and you are too dumb to govern the citizens of (INAUDIBLE) party.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  And yet, Amy, We‘re seeing some of the stupidest ads this year from the Republican Party.  I just don‘t know what‘s going on.  But that ad definitely has got to backfire, right?

SULLIVAN:  It‘s kind of amazing.  I mean, it says something when we‘re in a year where you can‘t tell the difference an ad that was made for “The Daily Show” and an ad that‘s an actual political campaign ad running on national TV.  But I think we‘re in some sort of bizarro universe this year.  I heard an ad earlier today with a Republican congressman bragging about the fact that he voted against going into Iraq, and then heard another radio ad for another Republican congressman bragging about how close he was to Bill Clinton.  I mean, I don‘t think we can go back to the 1980s...

BUCHANAN:  You know, Joe—Joe...

SULLIVAN:  ... and find a Republican who ran against Ronald Reagan and with Jimmy Carter.

BUCHANAN:  Well, Joe, let me just talk about this ad.  I don‘t see this as insulting Italians.  Good heavens!  Italians are an enormous vote in New Jersey.  I think this is an ad aimed at about a 12-year-old mind.  This isn‘t aimed at the Mensa folks.  And it‘s a funny ad.  And you know, it‘s funny, at the same time, it makes the point that this guy‘s a Hudson County alleged crook of some kind.  And so I‘m not sure that‘s not an effective ad.  I mean, clearly, there—as I say, it‘s aimed, just like that Harold Ford thing, at someone of a—you know, not of—on the other side of the bell curve.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know what?  I don‘t know what side of the bell curve I‘m on, but I‘m telling you, I think that there are a lot of Italian-Americans who will have found that ad very offensive in New Jersey, and that is a big voting bloc.

Michael Crowley, Amy Sullivan and Pat Buchanan, as always, thanks a lot.

Coming up, Bill Maher blasts back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL MAHER, “REAL TIME”:  I think that‘s impeachable, that the president would go to war in a country and not know the first thing about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And the caustic HBO comic is as politically incorrect as ever.  He‘s going to tell us why the biggest scandal this election is about Iraq and not Mark Foley.  Plus, a CNBC special report that goes inside one of Vegas‘s most popular casinos, The Palms.  You‘ll see how one tycoon is using sex and star power to keep the crowds coming back for more.  And later, we‘re going to show you why the (INAUDIBLE) in Las Vegas (INAUDIBLE) trip to one of the hottest clubs on the strip.  It wasn‘t a pretty scene.  We‘ll take you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The Palms Casino is one of the hottest hotels here in Las Vegas, thanks in part to its young, sexy image.  CNBC “On Assignment” took a behind-the-scenes look at just how well sex sells here and at The Palms in Sin City.  Here‘s CNBC‘s Dylan Ratigan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DYLAN RATIGAN, CNBC “ON ASSIGNMENT” (voice-over):  Welcome to The Palms Casino, ground zero for pop culture in Las Vegas.  In a town with a tag line tailored to make you feel free, George Maloof, the owner of The Palms, wants to take that freedom to a whole new level.

(on camera):  I understand there is a slightly different phrase that applies at The Palms.

GEORGE MALOOF, THE PALMS CASINO:  Yes.  What happens at The Palms never happened.

RATIGAN (voice-over):  While Gary Lugman (ph) wants his technology to know you, George Maloof wants his casino to seduce you.  A 40-year-old bachelor (ph), Maloof is credited with making Vegas young and hip again.

MALOOF:  I think you can create something that you can understand.  I‘m not married.  I‘m single.  It‘s kind of a whole ‘nother world.  I want to go after that market that‘s a little younger, that wants to come here and have fun.

RATIGAN:  It all began just three years ago with MTV‘s reality show “The Real World.”  Maloof, a fan of the show, spent more than $1 million to redo a suite and invite television cameras inside his casino.

MALOOF:  At that time, you know, reality TV was just getting real hot, and I just saw it as an opportunity to help create a brand that nobody knew about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You know, Patrick...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, Juliana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  ... the Palms hotel is the party place in Vegas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, I know.

RATIGAN:  Maloof uses the media like no other casino owner in Vegas.  From “Party at The Palms” to the “Celebrity Poker Showdown,” if you‘ve got a TV show, George has got a room.  Building on the real world buzz, Maloof stacks his deck with celebrities, creating a scene at The Palms reminiscent of the 1960s, when casinos were identified by the men who ran them and the stars who sought them out.

DEAN MARTIN:  I like the wonderful words of Mr. Joe E. Louis.  He said, You‘re not drunk if you can lay on the floor without holding on.

RATIGAN:  But instead of Frank, Dean and Sammy, Maloof has cornered (ph) America‘s power blondes (ph), Britney, Paris and Jessica.  A new generation is following the celebrity trail, and all the Vegas power brokers are benefiting.

Women, they‘re everywhere you turn, from chips and elevators to every Palms party.

(on camera):  How important is sex to your brand, George?

MALOOF:  Mom, are you watching?

RATIGAN (voice-over):  The subject of sex brings surprising pause to this magnate whose casino embraces all things that revolve around just that.  Boyish coyness aside, George Maloof is using sex appeal more effectively than anyone in Las Vegas.  Earlier this year, Maloof entered a partnership with “Playboy,” linking his brand to the bunny icon.

MALOOF:  If you want to come to the party, you come to The Palms.

RATIGAN:  Nowhere is a bunny worth more than with the man Maloof put in charge of another prong in his business plan, getting high rollers to gamble at The Palms.  Meet director of player development Jimmy Tipton (ph).

(on camera):  What defines a high roller?

JIMMY TIPTON, THE PALMS CASINO:  It‘s all relative.  You‘re at The Palms, then $10,000 a hand or more, then you would be a high roller.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you want a drink, sweetheart?

RATIGAN (voice-over):  Tipton draws players from around the country, offering them perks like partying with those bunnies.  At the heart of Tipton‘s operation, like everything else in Vegas, numbers.  He crunches them in this unglamorous office just off the casino floor.

TIPTON:  Michael, you usually stay at the MGM, right?

RATIGAN:  He‘s fielding phone calls from high rollers, trying to convince them to gamble here at The Palms.

TIPTON:  All right, here‘s what we‘re going to do.  On this one here, I‘m going to—I‘m going to take care of you, Rupert (ph), because I want you to come see The Palms, enjoy the experience of The Palms.  And I‘m going to comp your room.  I‘m going to put you in a nice grand suite.

RATIGAN:  Tipton‘s software keeps track of how much you‘ve bet and how long you‘ve played.  It helps him calculate what freebies he‘ll give a high roller.  Bet $1,000 a hand four hours a day, you‘ll get a penthouse and free meal.  Bet $10,000 a hand, you‘ll get a private plane to fly you in.  Chartering a private plane could cost The Palms as much as $50,000.  Fear not.  Maloof isn‘t giving away the house.

MALOOF:  If you stay long enough, we will end up with your money.  You sit there long enough, the odds will get you.

RATIGAN:  Indeed, they will.  The house take on some games, like Keno and Caribbean Stud, approaches 30 cents on every dollar gambled.  Here‘s how much casinos keep from some of the most popular games.  For every dollar spent on roulette, the house keeps about 20 cents.  For baccarat, they keep about 13 cents, craps 12 cents, blackjack 11 cents.  And slots, one of the lowest takes for the house.  For every dollar played, only 6 cents stay with the casino.

(on camera):  But don‘t let that seemingly small take fool you.  No game is cheaper to operate or generates more revenue than a slot machine.  It‘s a cash cow so large, it accounts for the majority of every casino‘s revenue.  It generates more money than all the other table games combined.  The clubs, the celebrities, the restaurants, they make it easy to look past this core of Las Vegas gaming.  For George Maloof, sex may sell at night, but during the day, it‘s locals on slot machines, much like those at Harrah‘s, that are driving his bottom line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Huh!  Wow.  Fascinating.  I wonder what they‘d give for all the nickel slots I play over at The Palms.  Hey, my business can be all yours if the price is right.  That was CNBC “On Assignment‘s” Dylan Ratigan.  Fascinating report, Dylan.  Thank you so much.

And still to come, the mid-term elections in “Real Time.”  Bill Maher is back with why he thinks Democrats may end up being their own worst enemies in November, especially if they stay moderate, and more on why he thinks President Bush should be impeached for 9/11.  Our red-hot interview coming up ahead.  But first, we take you to one of Vegas‘s world-famous buffets.  Sometimes what happens in Vegas really should stay in Vegas.  It‘s “Must See S.C.” coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, wake up, Vito!  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  Hey, since we‘re coming to you from the Strip, you‘ve seen the TV ads, What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  Well, here‘s one of those commercials you may have missed.

(VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, God, I think I ate there this morning!

Coming up, the always controversial, always smart Bill Maher is here. 

He‘s going to tell us why he thinks President Bush botched 9/11 and why he should be kicked out of office because of it.  Our heated debate straight ahead.  And later, an eye-opening look at the world‘s oldest profession, which is actually legal in most of Nevada.  MSNBC was given unprecedented access inside the world famous, or should we say, the infamous Bunny Ranch.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘re, of course, coming to you live tonight from Las Vegas. 

And coming up, drive up the freeway from here.  Prostitution is not only legal, but it‘s also a thriving business.  MSNBC was given a rare and disturbing look at life inside the Bunny Ranch. 

And later in “Hollyweird,” Pamela Anderson tries to get in on the game with her very own gambling Web site. 

We‘re going to have those stories straight ahead.  But first, more of my conversation with Bill Maher.  The HBO host of “Real Time” and I talked politics, of course, and the famously political incorrect comedian gave us his opinions, as he always does.  Specifically, why moderate Democrats can‘t seem to get elected no matter whether they‘re Hillary Clinton or an unknown.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL MAHER, HOST, “REAL TIME”:  The Republican Party is the party that is more fiending for moderates than the Democratic Party.  In your party, when people like Lincoln Chafee or Olympia Snowe stick their head out of the ground, they‘re as likely to get it shot off by people in their own party as by the Democrats.

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re not embraced like people like Joe Lieberman, because we know the Democrats love Joe Lieberman right now, jackass.  Come on!

MAHER:  That‘s a single issue.  That‘s a single issue you‘re talking about.  Joe Lieberman is a supporter of the war, and what the Democrats should do, if they were smart, is run every campaign this fall on the idea that, if you vote Republican, you enable—you enable—President Bush to keep this immoral war going. 

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:  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. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, God. 

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:  And, Bill, 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‘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”?  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...

(CROSSTALK)

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. 

MAHER:  Always a pleasure

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And it is always a pleasure.  You know, Bill Maher and I have been on several shows together.  I was on “Politically Incorrect” probably 10 times and been on his HBO show quite a bit.  And the guy is always provocative whether talking about politics or whether talking about politics.

And while he does lean to the left in most areas, he‘s a very provocative thinker and independent.  It was great having him on, and the response was just absolutely overwhelming, so we wanted to play you every last bit of that interview.

You know, here in Las Vegas, the casinos aren‘t only popular with gamblers but also with criminals, sophisticated ones.  But the casinos are now fighting back, and they‘ve got security cameras that track every move on the casino floor.  And MSNBC‘s cameras caught some of the cheaters in action. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

JOHN SEIGENTHALER, MSNBC HOST (voice-over):  Up in the surveillance room, the cameras are not only looking for cheats, but for actions that foreshadow cheating. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Every move, he has a tell, and it‘s so important for each one of our surveillance people to understand those tells. 

BURNEST DAWSON, SURVEILLANCE MANAGER, HARD ROCK CASINO:  If an observer is watching a monitor, and we have what‘s called JDLR, which stands for “just don‘t look right.”  If something just doesn‘t look right, they call over their supervisor or whomever else is in the room, and say, “Hey, take a look at this and tell me what you see.”  And at that point, the second person should be able to spot the same deviation from the norm as the first person did. 

SEIGENTHALER:  Here‘s one of the tells that is a tip-off to surveillance. 

DAWSON:  See, that‘s something that we would want to keep an eye on, because he could have a chip cupped in his hand.  And as soon as the dealer is not paying attention, he can slide it on top of it.  And that‘s called pressing his bet and also pressing his luck. 

SEIGENTHALER:  Another sleight-of-hand trick is called capping a bet, adding a chip on top of an already placed bet.  Now watch this man‘s hand.  Hidden inside are several chips.  As the dealer gives him his hand, he looks at his card. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  After he determines what he has, he puts more chips down into his betting circle. 

SEIGENTHALER:  While it appear he‘s just arranging the chips he had bet, he has just added chips to the pile since he thinks he may have a winning hand. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So essentially what he‘s doing is he‘s going to get paid more than what he should have got paid.  There are a great number of eyes upon them.  The surveillance is all over, and they never know when they‘re being watched or when they might not be watched. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, that‘s fascinating.  And you know what?  You can catch the full report, “Vegas Eyes,” right after our show tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. 

Coming up next, MSNBC cameras go from casinos to inside the Bunny Ranch for a provocative and controversial look at Nevada‘s legal prostitution business.  And later in “Hollyweird,” we‘re going to show you how you, too, can date Jessica Simpson, simply by logging onto the ‘net. 

But first, my producers and I are working very hard in Vegas.  And last night after the show, we decided to check out the town.  And we went to Pow (ph), one of the hottest clubs for VIPs like me.  But it didn‘t exactly go as I had planned.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is Pow (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s where Paris Hilton hangs out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s going to be really cool. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re on the list, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He‘s a congressman.  We‘re on the list.

SCARBOROUGH:  Are we on the list?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘re on the list.

SCARBOROUGH:  Awesome, man.  That is cool. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, I‘m good.  Congressman Scarborough here. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Joe Scarborough, the show on MSNBC. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I think we‘re on the list. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You guys aren‘t on the list. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, I think we‘re on the list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s just a mistake.  They say you‘re not on the list.

SCARBOROUGH:  Half of Las Vegas has already walked in.  What‘s the deal? 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... guest list is about as exclusive as like the crowd at a NASCAR race.  I mean, you don‘t know who I am? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) girls, I‘ll let you guys right back in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s a Wednesday night. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You said we were on the list.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re on the list.  Trust me that you‘re on the list.

SCARBOROUGH:  This is embarrassing.  What are you doing embarrassing me like this? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Joe, every congressman is on the list.  I‘m telling you.  It‘s a rule in town. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m in Congress. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I apologize.

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s a pretty exclusive club.  Do you know how many people are in Congress? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Four hundred and thirty five. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.  Pretty damn exclusive, right? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I understand that, but if you‘re not on the list, there‘s really nothing I can do for you guys tonight. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Play the Tucker card.

SCARBOROUGH:  I know Tucker Carlson.  Do you know Tucker Carlson, “Dancing with the Stars”? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “Dancing with the Stars”? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you guys with him? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Show him your I.D., Joe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, you may want to send the kids out of the room for our next segment, because here in Nevada there are lots of things people can do that they wouldn‘t be able to get away with in most other places, including legalized prostitution.  It‘s illegal here in Las Vegas, but further north in Reno, some are saying Sin City should follow their lead and open places up like the Bunny Ranch.  Are they right?  Well, we‘ll let you decide. 

Libertarians have been saying prostitution should be legal for years now, but we‘ll let you decide as MSNBC‘s cameras went in for a rare look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Welcome to the Moonlite Bunny Ranch.  I‘m Madam Suzette.  Won‘t you come in?

DENNIS HOF, OWNER, MOONLITE BUNNY RANCH:  It‘s us projecting an image.  It‘s us promoting the girls.  It‘s us doing things like we‘re doing right now, to let the world know that the Bunny Ranch is the party place of America. 

BECCA BRAT, PORN STAR/BUNNY RANCH PROSTITUTE:  I get a lot of fans here and just porn fans, you know?  They know the Bunny Ranch has porn girls or, you know, “Penthouse” pets we have, “Playboy” playmates, stuff like that. 

HOF:  I am very pro-legalization.  Everyday of my life, I push that issue, because it‘s the right thing to do.  It eliminates the exploitation of these women.  It eliminates the disease factor.  It takes the criminal element out of the terrible disgusting business on the illegal side and makes it legal. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How are you doing, ladies? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, I‘m Shellie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘m Emily.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, I‘m Francesca.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hello, I‘m Vanilla.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, I‘m Eden. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, I‘m Angela. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, I‘m Tracy. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi, I‘m Candy. 

HOF:  A lot of the guys, their time is work too much.  They don‘t want to date.  They don‘t want to go through the terrible experiences.  A lot of people don‘t want to be married and raise families.  They just want sex. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you see a lady here you might be interested in? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I see quite a few, but I think I‘d like to maybe hang out with you, Vanilla. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hi. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How are you? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Good.  I‘m Jesse. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Nice to meet you. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Nice to meet you, too.

HOF:  The average working girl at the Bunny Ranch comes in here and works a week to 10 days a month and has a six-figure income.  That‘s the average. 

Now, on the high side, there are girls that work a lot and have years of repeat clients and a clientele, like Air Force Amy, people like that, that have these big clienteles, they can make a substantial, substantial amount of money. 

AIR FORCE AMY, BUNNY RANCH PROSTITUTE:  The most I made in one event was in conjunction with five other ladies and one really nice guy, 1.75. 

HOF:  A girl can make $250,000 to $400,000 a year.  We‘ve had girls make as much as $500,000 in one year. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Even an hour, you know, $2,000 an hour can be charged in the house. 

HOF:  The Bunny Ranch is the largest taxpayer in our county in Nevada.  The girls are independent contractors that work for themselves.  We supply the place, the license, the bar, and everything they need to ply their trade.  And, in turn, we get 50 percent of the money that they make. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Well, my hour party is $2,000.  That‘s a full-service party. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, that sounds good. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK, do you want to use cash or credit? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, I only got about $1,700 on me. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Seventeen hundred?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Is that OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I could forget about $300 for you. 

HOF:  We don‘t give them health insurance.  We can‘t give them the benefits of an employee.  They have to handle that all on their own. 

To paint a working girl as coming from a troubled family or something is not correct.  A lot of these girls have good educations, college degrees.  They‘re business women that don‘t want to work for what society will pay them. 

KANDI, BUNNY RANCH PROSTITUTE:  I was raised in a Methodist, you know, upbringing.  And my family were all very, very close.  I never knew that anything existed like this. 

HOF:  We have girls from all walks of life, from lower socioeconomic to highly educated, wealthy families, and everything in between. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘ve never told my children what I did.  And my older son finally confronted me and said he knew.  I did tell him I worked at the Bunny Ranch, but I had moved them here from Oklahoma.  They didn‘t know what the Bunny Ranch was.  They thought it was kind of like the “Playboy” mansion, that mom was a model and an actress.  That‘s all they knew.

HOF:  In the summertime, you get a lot of college students working their way through college.  They can come in here and make a lot of money, so during the college year they don‘t have to have these menial jobs.  They can study like they should. 

You have airline stewardesses that can fly in and out free.  They‘ll come in and work a few days here and there.  We‘ve had many, many girls work their way through law school at the Bunny Ranch.  We‘ve had five girls that I know of that have gotten medical degrees. 

BRAT:  I want to be retired, you know, by a certain amount—you know, a certain point in my life.  And there‘s, you know, places I want to be, and I don‘t want to have to depend on anyone else for it. 

HOF:  People here spend a lot of money, but, you know, we‘ll have 400 or 500 people coming hear and spending $300 to $500 before one will come in and spend $50,000 or $100,000. 

BRAT:  I‘ve made quite a bit of money in the adult business.  And, unfortunately, half of it was probably partied away, you know, because I was young, and just there‘s always money the next day.  That is what‘s bad about this business but also what‘s good about this business. 

HOF:  There‘s 500 girls licensed with us.  It takes that many to keep 40 or 50 girls working at all times, because they come in and they work for a week.  You don‘t see them for three months. 

The Bunny Ranch is the model of how Las Vegas should be.  They need to follow the model of northern Nevada, Reno, Lake Tahoe, where the Bunny Ranch is, and do the same thing.  Legalize it.  Control it.  Put money into the city‘s coffers.  Instead of spending $5 million policing prostitution, put $1 million back in the coffers. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s amazing that‘s legal.  We‘ll be back with “Hollyweird.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, stop dancing on the tables.  It‘s time for “Hollyweird,” Vegas-style.  First up, some serious news tonight.  I understand that Nicole Richie is taking a break to get some treatment.  Let‘s bring in now “Star” magazine editor-at-large Jill Dobson and “OK” magazine senior reporter Courtney Hazlett.

Jill, what‘s the breaking news here? 

JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Well, it sounds like Nicole Richie, according to reports that just came out this evening, is going to take some time off shooting the next installation of “The Simple Life” with Paris Hilton and is going to go to a treatment center.  She‘s not admitting to having an eating disorder, but she‘s going to a center to look at her weight and to find out why she‘s not gaining weight.  And we‘re glad to see her getting some treatment.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Courtney Hazlett, yes, Courtney, why she‘s not gaining weight.  Do you have any ideas why that might be? 

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE:  That is the burning question.  And you know what?  Nicole‘s reps are being really adamant, that people understand that it not an eating disorder, per se, but she‘s really trying to gain weight, but she can‘t.  A lot of people are wondering why this, because everyone knows she used to be a lot heavier.  So at one point she was able to, and now allegedly she can‘t.

SCARBOROUGH:  What is it, a tapeworm?  Come on.

And Jessica Simpson is on eHarmony.  Could be.  Britain‘s “More” magazine (ph) is reporting Simpson‘s addicted to Internet dating.  I‘ll tell you what, Courtney, that whole John Mayer thing has set her on a skidding path.  What‘s going on here? 

HAZLETT:  Well, the John Mayer thing was definitely a debacle.  Jessica Simpson did just tell “OK,” however, that she has not been on a single date since divorcing Nick.  So if she is online, I‘m pretty sure she‘s just sort of scoping it out. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You have any idea, Jill, what her MySpace site is?  I‘m just curious, that‘s all.

DOBSON:  She says it‘s under a fake name.  And I‘m just wondering if Jessica remembered to put a picture of someone else. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

That‘s awful.  And, Courtney, what about the Hoff?  He‘s angry apparently some nasty divorce settlements have come out—I mean, divorce details have come out?

HAZLETT:  That‘s absolutely right.  The Hoff and his lawyers are saying that they‘re mortified and angry that these horrible allegations against him and how he treated his wife while they were married came out.  What divorce papers aren‘t leaked?  I mean, that‘s sort of the question. 

Well..

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I mean, if you‘re in Hollywood, Jill, these things happen, right? 

DOBSON:  Well, exactly.  With the Paul McCartney-Heather Mills divorce, all sorts of details have come out and have all been reportedly leaked.  And you wonder if one side or the other purposely leaked them or if it was an accident.  I‘m leaning toward probably someone wanted it to all get out to the media. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Courtney, we have to go, but some breaking news. 

Apparently the “Borat” film not going to be doing as well, is it? 

HAZLETT:  Well, the people behind the “Borat” film are a little nervous that not everyone gets Borat, so they have scaled back a number of theaters where you can find the movie.  Sad, sad.

SCARBOROUGH:  Courtney, that is very shocking to Borat fans like you and me. Kazakhstan‘s best may get executed.  Courtney Hazlett, Jill Dobson, thank you so much for being with us.  We appreciate it.  And we appreciate you visiting us in Vegas.  We‘ll see you next week.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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