updated 10/31/2006 12:29:56 PM ET 2006-10-31T17:29:56

Guests: Michael Crowley, Amy Sullivan, Katrina Szish, Ashlan Gorse, Matthew Felling, Bob Kohn, Rachel Sklar

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)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, is corporate America pulling the plug on how young voters watch “The Daily Show”?  And are we about to hear wedding bells or whatever they play at Scientology weddings for Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise?  Hey, send to RSVP to “Hollyweird.”

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes. 

But first, Round Two of that late-night smackdown between Bill O‘Reilly and David Letterman.  It picked up right where the two media icons left off earlier this year, but this time Letterman actually began attacking O‘Reilly before he even reached the set. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE SHOW”:  It‘s interesting.  The last time Bill O‘Reilly was on the show, there was a bit of a dust-up. 

PAUL SCHAFFER, CO-HOST, “LATE SHOW”:  I remember that.

LETTERMAN:  He was saying things that were—they didn‘t make sense to me.  I didn‘t think they were...

(LAUGHTER)

I didn‘t think they were true, and of course I‘m not smart enough to be able to prove that anything is true or not true.  So I just said, “Oh, I think you‘re lying.” 

(LAUGHTER)

SCHAFFER:  I remember that.

LETTERMAN:  And then he got—I don‘t know if he got upset or he said something to me, and I said, “Oh, yeah?” 

(LAUGHTER)

And the next thing you know, we had our shirts off and we were rolling around...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And then O‘Reilly showed up and things only got worse. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LETTERMAN:  Ladies and gentlemen, here he is, Bill O‘Reilly.  Bill, come on out. 

(APPLAUSE)

That‘s cute, that‘s nice.  You come out with toys. 

O‘REILLY:  You‘ve never seen the show.  You don‘t watch the network.

LETTERMAN:  I‘ll tell you something, I don‘t even know how to get to your show. 

O‘REILLY:  Right down there—you just go straight down, take a right. 

LETTERMAN:  No, but it‘s on FOX, but I dial up Fox and it‘s always “The Simpsons.” 

Do you honestly believe...

O‘REILLY:  Would you let me answer or...

LETTERMAN:  ... irrespective—I don‘t care. 

(LAUGHTER)

Irrespective of what the—oh, sure, help yourself. 

O‘REILLY:  Thank you. 

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN:  You‘re putting words in my mouth, just the way you put artificial facts in your head. 

O‘REILLY:  All right.

(APPLAUSE)

LETTERMAN:  A reasonable person can‘t believe what you‘re saying. 

O‘REILLY:  No, that‘s ridiculous. 

LETTERMAN:  No, no, it is.  No, no, it is. 

O‘REILLY:  That‘s absurd.  That‘s total absurdity.

LETTERMAN:  Oh, gosh, where has the time gone?  I‘ll just end up by saying I have no idea what I‘m talking about, but I don‘t think you do, either. 

O‘REILLY:  We‘re really friends.  This is all an act. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Here‘s Matthew Felling.  He‘s the media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs.  Also Rachel Sklar, media editor for “The Huffington Post.”  And Bob Kohn, he‘s the author of the book “Journalistic Fraud:  How the New York Times Distorts the News and Why It Can No Longer Be Trusted.”

Matthew, let me begin with you.  We showed clips, some funny clips, there, but it was actually a very nasty confrontation where Letterman really didn‘t let O‘Reilly answer many questions at all.  Why does O‘Reilly subject himself to this kind of abuse when he knows he‘s going on with a man who really does hate him? 

MATTHEW FELLING, THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS:  Yes, I mean, if Keith Jackson, the old football announcer, had called this, he would have said, “Here we have two teams that plain don‘t like each other.” 

These guys—honestly, this is not showbiz.  I‘m a Letterman guy.  I used to tape him when I was in high school and then watch it on Betamax when I got home.  I know when he‘s faking not liking somebody.  And he really has something against Bill O‘Reilly. 

They both come together because it works for their shtick.  Bill O‘Reilly is trying to sell a book.  He‘s trying to talk to his people.  And then he wants to come back on his show and say, “Boo-hoo, David Letterman took out all of his frustrations on me, oh, Blue America!”  And David Letterman, of course, I would suggest, is the host that is most like Blue America and he gets to go on, he gets to speak on behalf of his viewers who just want to see a bully get bullied.  And then he also has—I think we‘re going to be seeing Top Ten list material for like the next two or three months out of this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  And, I mean, I‘m a huge Letterman fan.  I‘ve always been a big Letterman fan.  I have never seen him treat any guest as rudely as he treats O‘Reilly. 

I had somebody tell me before the show that they hated O‘Reilly, but every time he was on Letterman they felt sorry for him.  And if you happened to miss the first Letterman insult-fest, here are the Cliff Notes version of how things went down. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  People make mistakes in war.  Now, Tony Blair was wrong, Colin Powell was wrong, all these people were wrong. 

LETTERMAN:  So that means we‘ve made a mistake in war so we stay there and kill as many Americans as we possibly can?  That‘s the way you get out of a mistake? 

O‘REILLY:  No.  What you do is you try to maximize...

LETTERMAN:  And do you honestly believe—irrespective...

O‘REILLY:  Would you let me answer?

LETTERMAN:  I don‘t care. 

(LAUGHTER)

Irrespective of what—oh, sure, help yourself. 

O‘REILLY:  Thank you. 

We‘re really friends.  This is all an act.  We‘re buddies.  We bowl. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rachel, Letterman hates this guy, doesn‘t he?  I mean, does not let him finish anything that he starts to say. 

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Well, I just found it interesting Matthew‘s phraseology, watching the bully get bullied.  I mean, Letterman tore a page of O‘Reilly‘s playbook, and it‘s an excellent way of kind of disarming your enemy, if I could use such dramatic phraseology. 

But I think that Letterman—yes, Letterman does not seem to like O‘Reilly.  The first time he was on the program, he was reacting strongly to O‘Reilly‘s criticism of Cindy Sheehan.  And this is a woman who lost her son in the war.  And so that was, I think, the focus of Letterman‘s outrage, and it just doesn‘t seem like he‘s a fan. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, not a fan at all.  And doesn‘t let his guest here—and, again, it‘s the first time in all my years watching Letterman that he doesn‘t let a guest actually finish his sentence or answer a question.  Let‘s take another look at a clip and then go to Bob Kohn. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LETTERMAN:  A reasonable person can‘t believe what you‘re saying. 

O‘REILLY:  No, that‘s ridiculous. 

LETTERMAN:  No, no, it is.  No, no, it is ridiculous.

O‘REILLY:  That‘s absurd.  It‘s a total absurdity.  I‘ve had the highest ratings in cable for the last five years. 

LETTERMAN:  Then how come I can‘t find the damn show? 

O‘REILLY:  Well, that might be your fault.

(LAUGHTER)

OK?  I mean, it‘s ridiculous. 

LETTERMAN:  Oh, golly. 

O‘REILLY:  Anyway, did you enjoy “Culture Warrior,” the book?

LETTERMAN:  I haven‘t read the book.

O‘REILLY:  You really haven‘t read it?

(APPLAUSE)

Come on, you‘re going to like—you‘re in the book.

LETTERMAN:  I know.  I looked at it, and I thought, “What is it, a book about sailing?” 

(LAUGHTER)

And then I said, “No, I don‘t—I don‘t need that.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my.  Bob Kohn, Letterman says he can‘t find the

channel, but he‘s alone.  I mean, O‘Reilly—say what you will about him -

he‘s number one every time he comes out in the book, number-one cable show. 

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR:  That‘s right.  Well, I would agree...

SCARBOROUGH:  He crushes everybody that gets in his way.  So is this a Red State versus Blue State fight? 

KOHN:  No, well, to a certain—I agree with Matthew.  I mean, everybody wins here.  You know, this makes for great television.  It‘s why professional wrestling is popular.  You have two titans fighting with each other.

But on the other hand, you can really sense some anger in Letterman‘s voice.  He personally attacks—these were ad hominem attacks.  There was some discussion of the issues.  As a matter of fact, I think the two of them agreed—if you listen to the rest of the segment, they agreed with each other more than they disagreed with each other. 

But for some reason, Letterman was personally attacking O‘Reilly.  I do sense a hatred there.  And perhaps it‘s what Bill O‘Reilly is saying in his own book and on his show that there are elements of the mainstream media that are jealous of his success and don‘t want to see him succeed.  As a matter of fact, they‘d like to take him down.  And I think that‘s what Letterman was trying to do, try to take down...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Bob, it seems as if Letterman is proving O‘Reilly‘s point. 

KOHN:  Exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  That there is a cultural war, and he goes on these shows, and he‘s got people that despise him because he is a Red State culture warrior. 

KOHN:  Exactly right.

SKLAR:  I don‘t think that‘s why—I don‘t think that‘s why they don‘t like him. 

FELLING:  Well, you know who is really jealous who was watching this show the other night?  Who‘s jealous sitting in bed, eating her bonbons, is Rosie O‘Donnell, who had Bill O‘Reilly on “The View” but had completely been bound back by Barbara Walters and couldn‘t do what—I think she would have done exactly what David Letterman did. 

And the Bill O‘Reilly—the chat fest book review tour keeps going on.  And it‘s really interesting to see that Oprah Winfrey, earlier in the day—I mean, we were kind of sandwiched.  It was Bill O‘Reilly-mania—

Oprah had actually laid off and just let her audience feast upon the man. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, Bob Kohn, as Matthew said, though, Rosie couldn‘t go after O‘Reilly because Barbara Walters was there holding her on the leash, right? 

KOHN:  Well, I didn‘t see that particular show, but I think at the end of the day Bill O‘Reilly comes out the winner here.  He goes into enemy territory, and they do exactly what he tells his own audience they‘re going to do to him.  So he can make a lot of hay out of this.

I don‘t think they hurt him.  If anything, his ratings are going to only go up.  So, at the end of the day, you know, they‘re all winners because here we are on MSNBC talking about, you know, an NBC and a FOX News show.  But...

FELLING:  Well, then what Bill O‘Reilly should do, after he does “Bill O‘Reilly for Dummies” and “Bill O‘Reilly for the Soul,” is Bill O‘Reilly should have “Bill O‘Reilly Versus the Mainstream Media,” because I don‘t honestly understand what this “Cultural Warrior” book is about. 

His big bugaboo, his big bad guy in this book is the “secular-progressive.”  It‘s like 14 letters long.  There‘s a hyphen in it, and it requires two minutes worth of explanation as to actually get to what he‘s talking about. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Guess what, Matthew?  Guess what, Matthew?  It‘s number one. 

(LAUGHTER)

Matthew Felling, Bob Kohn, thanks so much.  Rachel Sklar, stay with us. 

And speaking of high-profile feuds, it‘s hard to believe, but Sir Paul McCartney‘s divorce case is actually getting uglier, even after the couple briefly reunited.  And now there‘s allegations against a former Beatles‘ first wife.  NBC News‘ Ned Colt has those details. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NED COLT, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Britain‘s tabloids are feasting on this front-page fodder, with blurry photos of Paul and Heather at the same event, but never together, putting aside their bitter differences for the sake of their 3-year-old daughter‘s birthday.  The pair haven‘t been face to face for two months. 

JESSICA CALLAN, SHOW BUSINESS WRITER:  The Heather and Paul split has now got so messy, it‘s like a living soap opera with every day a new, terrible chapter in the story.  But, I mean, it‘s kind of car crash watching.  You want to know what‘s going to happen next.

COLT:  Britain‘s “Sunday Mirror” reports the couple split on Mother‘s Day, with Heather furious that her husband had sent a staff member out to buy her gifts.  And according to the tabloid, McCartney called her a spoiled brat, and saying of his late wife, “Linda would have never behaved like this.” 

But now, new reports that Paul and Linda‘s 29-year-old marriage may not have been as idyllic as long believed.  A friend who collaborated with Linda on a cookbook apparently has audiotapes of Linda.  Peter Cox says there were moments when Linda would feel deeply unhappy and depressed about her marriage and thought about breaking up, but she immediately rejected it.

CALLAN:  And everyone assumed that they had this perfect showbiz marriage.  They‘d spent one night famously apart, and that was it, raised their children up in this idyllic background in the countryside with animals running round, home cooking.  But, no, it wasn‘t “Little House on the Prairie.”

COLT:  And each though there‘s nothing in the tapes that suggests abuse, Cox may be called to court in Heather Mills‘ defense to play his tapes in this multibillion-dollar divorce battle.  For her part, the scorned spouse has taken to carrying a video camera everywhere she goes, apparently to document anything that might support her in court. 

Ned Colt, NBC News, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  She‘s crazy. 

Coming up, oh, my God, they killed Kenny, from YouTube, anyway.  Why millions won‘t be able to see their favorite Comedy Central shows any more.  That includes “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”

And is the third time the charm when it comes to Michael Jackson getting married?  Wait, there‘s a woman out there who‘d say “I do” to the King of Pop?  Only in “Hollyweird.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Millions of young voters can‘t live without their daily dose of Jon Stewart or “The Colbert Report.”  But now they‘re going to need to set their TiVos, because media giant Viacom is ordering the site YouTube to pull all Comedy Central clips.  Those clips are some of the most popular ones on the Google-owned Web site. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Are we suggesting, though, that any interrogation technique then could be allowed under the president‘s discretion under the right circumstances? 

JOHN OLIVER, “DAILY SHOW” CORRESPONDENT:  What you mean, like affixing a leech to a man‘s eyeball or forcing him to drink horse semen, you know, would those be torture? 

STEWART:  Yes, that would be...

OLIVER:  Wrong, Jon!  They are scenes from the number-one movie in America, “Jackass Number Two.”

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  There were thousands of Comedy Central clips like that one on YouTube, but today fans found this message instead, informing them that the clips were yanked off the site.  So why doesn‘t Comedy Central want you to see their shows on YouTube?  And should you be worried even if you‘re not a fan of “The Daily Show”? 

Still with us, “The Huffington Post‘s” Rachel Sklar.

You know, Rachel, the thing I don‘t get about this is that Comedy Central shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” borrow so generously from other shows on cable news, and yet they‘re not willing to let YouTube do the same for them, right? 

SKLAR:  Well, it‘s just a little bit different.  I mean, it‘s the same way that you‘re using these clips as a source of news and a source of commentary, so that‘s a separate issue. 

But I think this is about the Web site.  I think it‘s about Comedy Central‘s Web site and drawing viewers to that.  It‘s an important property.  Everybody‘s Web presence is enormously important. 

And at some point, I guess they feel like they‘ve reached a tipping point, where now Comedy Central shows like “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” are out there enough that they don‘t need to be on YouTube maybe as much and that they can take them off YouTube and so that people will start making it a habit to come to the site. 

I mean, I haven‘t spoken to anyone there.  I‘m just, you know, guessing. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, but, you know, it could be also because Google bought YouTube.  And after that happened, they decided that there was actually somebody worth suing with deep, deep pockets.  And let‘s—I‘ll tell you what, let‘s take a look at one of the most popular “Daily Show” clips on YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

STEWART:  The president did shrewdly hire an actual celebrity translator, though, to help him get his message across. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Good evening.  Five years ago, this date, September the 11th, was seared into America‘s memory. 

LITTLE RICHARD, MUSICIAN:  Whew, look out, look out!

BUSH:  Today we are safer, but we are not yet safe. 

LITTLE RICHARD:  Help me!  Somebody help me!

BUSH:  For America, 9/11 was more than a tragedy; it changed the way we look at the world. 

LITTLE RICHARD:  Mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce, woo-hoo!

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Rachel, a lot of young—we‘ve talked about this over the past couple of months because it‘s really become, not only a pop culture phenomenon, but also a political phenomenon, that young voters out there get their news from “The Daily Show,” but not just “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central.  They get it from YouTube. 

Are you concerned that they‘re not going to be able to have as much access to these shows that do educate a lot of young voters?

SKLAR:  A little.  I mean, I think that YouTube has provided an amazing, amazing service, and it‘s an extremely worthwhile entity, and that Google probably got themselves a bargain.  But, I mean, I think that ultimately—and Jon Stewart made this point, as the “New York Times” quoted him in “Wired” magazine 2005 -- make sure to credit every source—that the show gets made because someone‘s making money.  And if the people are not making money off the show, then the show doesn‘t become made. 

So if those are the financial considerations, then, yes, I‘d rather

see the show get made.  I would, though—I would like, in a perfect world

information wants to be free, and you want to reach as many people as possible with the best quality of work as possible.  And so in that respect, I do think it‘s kind of sad that those clip won‘t be on YouTube.

I mean, it‘s sad for me.  I post them on my blog all the time, “Eat the Press.”

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, and it‘s so easy to access them also.  And other clips that are on from Comedy Central come from Stephen Colbert, just, you know, one of the funniest men, not only in Comedy Central, but one of the funniest men in America.  Let‘s take a look at one of his clips right now that‘s been the most popular clip of his on YouTube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  I got a mad e-mail from some nut job in Oregon today.  Apparently, the city of Portland does not put hashish in their baby formula.  My mistake. 

Any way, while crafting my scorching reply, I forgot whether I usually call Oregon “California‘s Canada” or “Washington‘s Mexico.”  So I went to the Internet encyclopedia Wikipedia to check their extensive entry on this show.  I love what Wikipedia.  Any site that‘s got a longer entry on truthiness than on Lutherans has its priorities straight. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rachel, what do you think the future is of sites like YouTube?

SKLAR:  I think the future of sites like YouTube is either going to be monetizing the clips in some way—if they can continue to be more useful for viewers than the original Web sites, then somebody is going to work out a deal. 

The alternative, of course, is that the Web sites will become more user-friendly and make their technology more like YouTube.  A lot of the Web sites, the complaints are that you have to download a specific browser in order to view the clips or that you just have to keep on clicking. 

People are a little lazy, and there‘s a threshold for certain things.  If you really, really want to see something, you‘ll go the extra mile.  But for things like, you know, that extra clip that you might see from “The Daily Show,” you‘ll, you know, take some extra minutes.  Sorry. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And like you said, with YouTube, it is so easy, you just point, click and watch.  Hey, Rachel, thank you so much for being with us.  Great to have you back. 

And we‘ll be right back with “Hollyweird.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, tell your doctor that‘s enough Botox already, because it‘s time for “Hollyweird.”

First up, sad news.  Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillipe announced their splitting up.  Here to talk about it, from the left coast, “Life and Style Weekly‘s” Ashlan Gorse and, from the right coast, “Us Weekly‘s” Katrina Szish. 

Katrina, sad news out of Tennessee.  What‘s up? 

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  It‘s so sad.  Reese and Ryan, the remaining golden couple of Hollywood, have officially announced their separation.  They‘ve admitted to marital counseling and problems in the past, but they are officially going their separate ways. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And could it be, Katrina, that she just—her star went too high and he just never quite could keep up with her? 

SZISH:  Maybe a bit.  I mean, it reminds me a little bit of the Hilary Swank-Chad Lowe experience, where Hilary and Chad met when they were both starting out.  They both had big careers ahead of them, and then Hilary‘s star just took off and Chad‘s sort of didn‘t.  And even though Ryan‘s very successful, Reese is just that much more successful, and that could be part of the stress. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, just she‘s such a huge star.  And, Ashland, let‘s go from a divorce to a wedding, TomKat‘s Italian wedding, apparently the hottest ticket in town.  They‘re all preparing for the event, and they all want an invite.  Talk about how hot that ticket is. 

ASHLAN GORSE, “LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY”:  This is the biggest thing to hit Hollywood pretty much all year.  Everybody has been waiting for TomKat‘s nuptials.  We know Giorgio Armani is doing Katie‘s wedding dress, all her clothes, and Tom‘s outfits.  And then we now have on the guest list, we have people like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are supposedly getting an invite.  Even Nicole Kidman went out and bought the pair a wedding present, which I think was pretty nice of her.  It was almost a $3,000 vase. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wow.

GORSE:  So this is just—everybody‘s looking at this, supposedly going to be at this beautiful home, it was a private home that Mussolini had used as a hideout during the war in Italy, and security, of course, is going to be top-notch. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, I‘m sure it will be.  And let‘s talk about another wedding, Katrina, Michael Jackson preparing to walk down the aisle again?  Britain‘s “Daily Star” reports that Wacko Jacko plans to marry his kids‘ nanny.  How strange is that? 

SZISH:  I have to say I think—yes, I think it‘s so strange that it‘s something that perhaps we shouldn‘t be believing just yet.  I think that if—I‘m hoping that Michael has finally learned that he might just not be marriage material.  He just paid his former wife, Debbie Rowe, lots of money annually in order to give up custody of the children they had together, so my guess is he probably isn‘t going to be marching down any aisles anytime soon. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Ashlan, what‘s your prediction?  Will he or won‘t he?

GORSE:  Well, I hope he won‘t.  But the last time we heard from Michael, you know, he‘s been dressing up in very feminine wardrobe and wearing sun hats.  Yes, if he does get married, I think it would actually be interesting to watch.  But I hope that it doesn‘t happen for the sake of everyone involved. 

SZISH:  Who‘s going to wear the pants in that family?  I don‘t know.

GORSE:  Exactly. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my God, I know.  Well, we‘ll keep our fingers crossed.  Hey, thank you, as always, Katrina.  Thank you, Ashlan, greatly appreciate it. 

SZISH:  Thanks, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  And we appreciate you all being with us.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  But coming up next, “Vegas Homicide: Four Shots Fired” starts right now.

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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