updated 11/22/2006 10:03:14 AM ET 2006-11-22T15:03:14

Guests: Matthew Felling, Steve Adubato, David Blaine, Jill Dobson, Michelle Lee

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  From “axis of evil” to American ally.  Washington is whispering tonight about a stunning White House reversal regarding a Bush alliance with Iran and Syria to free America from the epic disaster that‘s unfolding in Iraq, this despite the fact Iran has been the epicenter of terror since 1979, has been responsible for the killing of American troops from Beirut to Baghdad, and has promised to wipe Israel and America from the face of the earth.

It would be a humiliating retreat for a White House that refused to even let France and Germany into Iraq to reap all those rewards that were supposed to be there for that country‘s post-war reconstruction.  But in today‘s grim climate, the White House is considering allowing in two of the world‘s biggest state sponsors of terror, hoping they will be America‘s last hope to get out of Iraq before that country disintegrates into full-blown civil war.

It‘s getting ugly out there, and NBC‘s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, is at the State Department tonight.  Andrea, what do you have?

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Joe.  Well, many critics of U.S. policy in Iraq think that no matter what Syria has done, with today‘s assassination or past assassinations, that Syria and Iran are critical to any U.S. exit strategy from Iraq.  And it is really uncertain whether the administration, whether this White House, with George Bush and Dick Cheney, will be willing to sit down with Iran and Syria, Iran an original member of the “axis of evil” and Syria now implicated in at least past assassinations, if not this one—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Andrea.

And let‘s bring in Iraq war veteran and former Senate candidate Paul Hackett.  Also with us, Ana Marie Cox.  She‘s Washington editor for Time.com.  We also have MSNBC contributor Craig Crawford.

Paul Hackett, let me begin with you.  You fought in Iraq.  You lost friends over there.  You still have friends over there who haven‘t returned.  What would soldiers and Marines think of Iranians coming into Iraq to share duty with them?

PAUL HACKETT, IRAQ WAR VETERAN:  Well, I‘m not familiar with the plan that the Iranians or Syrians are actually going to come in and, quote, unquote, “share duty,” but I‘m sure that they probably all share the same concern and the desire that I have, as most Americans have, and that is to bring this war to an appropriate diplomatic conclusion.  And I think that most Americans, at this point, realize, as I‘ve said for now going on two years, that the solution is not simply a military solution.  It may be a part of it, but the solution ultimately lies in political resolution, cultural to some extent, and military, as well.  But overemphasis on any one of those factors will not bring this war to a conclusion.  So I...

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

HACKETT:  Yes?

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Craig Crawford, though, I want you to listen to this famous Bush quote that now may come back to bite him.  Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while unelected few repress the Iranian people‘s hope for freedom.

States like these and their terrorist allies constitute an “axis of evil,” arming to threaten the peace of the world by seeking weapons of mass destruction.  These regimes pose a grave and growing danger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Craig, it‘s obviously gotten pretty bad for this White House that they may be throwing Hail Marys to two of America‘s greatest sworn enemies in the region.  What‘s going on here?

CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY,” MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  This would be a stunning reversal.  If this is true, if they really make this move, Joe, I think about Dick Cheney.  I don‘t see how Dick Cheney has any authority, any ground to stand on anymore because he‘s the one who‘s done most of the saber-rattling about Iran.  And if this really is a case of Bush‘s father‘s camp, the internationalists, the nuanced diplomats, James Baker, coming in to save the day, I don‘t see how Cheney stays in office.  I know Bush can‘t fire him.  He‘s a constitutional servant.  But I think Dick Cheney, at that point, wouldn‘t even want to stay around.

SCARBOROUGH:  But you know, Craig, that‘s what this is all about. 

It‘s about James Baker saying, You know what?  We‘ve got to talk to Iran.  We‘ve got to talk to Syria, just like he talked—Baker talked to Syria 30, 40 times leading up to the first Gulf war.

CRAWFORD:  That was the most specific thing that we‘ve heard from James Baker as he launched this task force, this Iraq Study Group.  He said himself, We need to start talking to these neighboring countries.  And Paul Hackett had it just right.  I mean, we are moving from this being a military solution to a diplomatic one, and Dick Cheney is left with nothing, if that‘s where it goes, it seems to me.  And I don‘t—either he‘s just sidelined and becomes a lot more that he‘s the undisclosed vice president, at that point.  I don‘t see how he stays in office with any kind of credibility, if this is where the administration is going.

SCARBOROUGH:  Ana Marie Cox, first this president fired Rumsfeld and then replaced him with one of his father‘s men.  Now he may have to follow, you know, Bush, Sr.‘s uber-adviser, James Baker, and start talking to Iran, start talking to Syria, start moving radically away from what the neocons wanted him to do for the first six years of his administration.  How humiliating could all of this prove to be for a president whose party just got wiped out at the polls?

ANA MARIE COX, TIME.COM:  I think it could be very embarrassing for them.  You know, the thing is, you can bring in new advisers.  You can bring in new ideas.  But you can‘t give yourself a brain transplant or even a personality transplant.

(LAUGHTER)

COX;  And that‘s sort of what he seems to be trying to do here.  You know, I remember having lunch with a White House official—oh, it was about six months ago.  And he explained to me what—the way that he explained his position to his friends back home in Texas.  He said, You know, foreign policy is not as hard as it looks.  It‘s exactly like domestic policy but with harder-pronounced names.

Now, at the time, I thought this was insulting to Americans.  Now I realize it‘s insulting to our, you know, allies, and also to the Bush administration in general.  Maybe he thinks he can just compliment, you know, Iran and Syria on getting some new drapes in their office, the way he did with Nancy Pelosi.  This is not going to be that easy for them.

When “Time” ran a cover about the end of cowboy diplomacy, I felt like one thing that kind of went uncommented upon is the fact that that‘s actually an oxymoron, cowboy diplomacy.  There‘s no diplomacy. He‘s not a diplomat here.  This is going to require a complete change of attitude and personality for it to work, and I am just really doubtful that he sort of has kind of the openness to change that this kind of move would require, although I agree with Hackett—Mr. Hackett and also Craig that this is having to move to a diplomatic solution rather than a military one.  I just don‘t see how Bush internally can sort of stomach that.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Craig, what‘s interesting to me is, if, in fact, the president does move forward and opens up diplomatic relations—like people close to James Baker are telling me, you know, they‘re going to make that suggestion—it seems to me that you may have a president who loses his own party‘s base but is making these type of moves with senators like Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden behind him.

CRAWFORD:  I really think, Joe, what has to happen for Iraq—for any

kind of dignified solution for the United States is a bipartisan solution

that includes Congress and the executive branch.  I think they‘re going to

work toward that, and here‘s why I think it‘s going to happen, is because I

the lesson of the mid-term was not just that Republicans or President Bush were repudiated or—it was that Washington was repudiated.  The elected officials in this city I think understand if they don‘t fix this problem and—get beyond the partisan hackery and fix this problem, they‘re all going to get thrown out of office in the next election.

SCARBOROUGH:  Which, of course, is what disturbs me so much about the fact that Nancy Pelosi is considering passing over the most—I think the most effective person for the intelligence committee because she has an old dispute with her, but that‘s another story for another night.

Paul Hackett, I want you to take a listen to what James Baker told NPR a month ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAMES A. BAKER, CO-CHAIRMAN, IRAQ STUDY GROUP:  You don‘t talk just to your friends, you talk, as well, to your enemies.  You need to talk to your enemies in order to move forward diplomatically and toward peace.  And talking to someone, in my opinion, at least, my personal opinion, does not equate to appeasement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Paul, is that...

HACKETT:  I agree.

SCARBOROUGH:  Is that music to the ears of troops that are over in Iraq right now, that you have some people that are considered, at least in D.C. and around the world, as grown-ups coming in saying, We‘ve got to open up dialogue with our enemies, we‘ve got to do whatever it takes to bring order to the situation in Iraq?

HACKETT:  Well, absolutely.  I mean, one of my favorite sayings is from Don Corleone.  He said, You keep your friends close, you keep your enemies closer.  And I think that that certainly applies in this situation.  The unfortunate part about it is that this principle—the Baker—this Baker principle was not applied three-and-a-half years ago.

And I would go further and say that diplomacy and conversation with allies, enemies or non-committed is not a sign of weakness but is, in fact, a sign of strength because we have the ability and the confidence as a nation—we should have the able and the confidence as a nation to maintain those communication lines, particularly in these dire times.

I mean, to me the most frightening aspect about the Baker group is that it will act as a political escape for our elected officials.  What we need now is leadership, and we need somebody to seize the helm in these confusing times and lead.  And that‘s not taking place.  And if anything is happened in the last year or so of this presidency, there has been an appearance of being paralyzed and the inability of this administration to lead.

Maybe perhaps, hopefully, the Baker group will at least get the initiative and the ball rolling so that we can see some leadership again in Washington, D.C.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Ana, in closing, any chance that we‘ll see leadership from the new Democratic majority?  Do they have a coherent plan yet for Iraq?

COX:  Well, they‘ve been keeping it close to their vest, if they do. 

One can hope.  One can certainly hope that that‘s the case.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Hey...

CRAWFORD:  I think Obama has come as close as what the Democrats will do, which is a phased pull-out that...

HACKETT:  That‘s a sound bite.

SCARBOROUGH:  We shall see.  Paul Hackett...

HACKETT:  Thank you, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Craig Crawford and Ana Marie Cox, thanks so much. 

And make sure you check out Ana‘s blog at Time.com.

Coming up: Did Fox try to give hush money to the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.?  We‘re going to have the very latest on these explosive new claims in the O.J. saga.  Plus, “Seinfeld‘s” Michael Richards learns that saying sorry isn‘t always enough.  Why his strange apology over his extraordinarily just offensive statements on stage a few nights ago may not cut it with his critics.  And later, we talk to “Extra‘s” Dana Devon (ph) about her exclusive interview with Heather Mills as she breaks her silence about her divorce with Paul McCartney and allegations that she‘s a gold digger.  Well, I ain‘t saying she‘s a gold digger, but she ain‘t hanging—whatever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, the O.J. controversy is getting uglier by the day.  Yesterday, Fox was forced to scrap the Juice TV special that actually featured Simpson‘s mock confession, as well as a lurid book that was based on that confession.  But today it took a more bitter turn.  Nicole Brown Simpson‘s sister, Denise, appeared on the “Today” show and she dropped the bombshell that News Corp., the people who own Fox and Fox News allegedly offered her hush money to keep them quiet about that project.  Take a look at what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENISE BROWN, NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON‘S SISTER:  News Corp. contacted us, and what they wanted to do is they wanted to offer us millions of dollars...

MATT LAUER, “TODAY”:  Millions of dollars?

BROWN:  Millions of dollars, for, like, “Oh, I‘m sorry” money.  But

they were still going the air the show.  And that‘s what the ironic thing

is because they said, OK, they‘ve pulled it, they‘re not going to show the

they‘re not going to have the show on.  They were going to pull the book, the whole thing.  But yet offering us millions of dollars, having a statement out there saying, oh, they‘ve done good stuff, and all of a sudden saying, We‘re pulling not the show, we were going to—they were going to continue (INAUDIBLE)

LAUER:  Was this an offer in writing or was this a casual phone call? 

How did this go down?

BROWN:  This was a phone call to a few attorneys, yes.  You will definitely hear more because the outcry is unbelievable.

What they‘re trying to do is trying to keep us quiet, trying to make this, like, hush money, trying to go around the civil verdict, giving us this money to keep our mouths shut!

LAUER:  Well, let me just make sure I understand.  For the record, when this call came to your attorneys from Fox, the family‘s reaction was, Absolutely not.

BROWN:  Absolutely not.  We were not going to take it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  A News Corp. spokesman confirmed that the company had talked to the Brown family about money, but he denied it was hush money.

Here now is Rachel Sklar.  She‘s the media editor for the Huffingtonpost.com.  Rachel, this story just seems to go from bad to worse for Fox.  Could it get uglier before it‘s over?

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  I think it has to get uglier.  There are a lot of details that we just don‘t know.  Denise Brown has come out and said that Fox had offered them millions of dollars.  The details seem a little sketchy.  It‘s not quite sure—it‘s not quite certain what that money was offered for.  But she said that more and more is going to come out, and there just seems to be so many variables here that we don‘t know about.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, but Fox is just saying that it was trying to help the family through this difficult time.  Obviously, it was going to be tough for them to be viewing O.J.‘s so-called confession.  What‘s wrong with that?

SKLAR:  Well, they‘re going to help them through this difficult time that they created by having a special and a book, O.J., “If I Did It, Here‘s How It Happened”?  Thanks a lot, Fox.

I‘m not really sure.  Sue—like I said, she was pretty sketchy on exactly what they were offering it for.  A News Corp. spokesperson confirmed that they had offered profits from the special and the book.  But query (ph) what that means, profits after they pay out everybody who‘s a stakeholder?  From what I understand, Simpson has been paid already.  And again, there‘s a question of how this deal was brokered.  Apparently, there‘s a mysterious go-between who liaised between Judith Regan, the publisher of Regan Books who put this all together, and O.J. Simpson and who made this deal happen.  And so we don‘t know who this person is, either.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s take a look at another clip from the “Today” show this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN:  How can these people actually say yesterday yes to something like this?  And that‘s what the bigger picture is, is that why in our society, why in our country do we have corporations and people that are trying to go behind the legal system and trying to make this OK?

For somebody to offer moneys like this, just hush-up money, just to go away—we‘re not going away now.  Now that makes us even more eager to fight and to find out why somebody would do something like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, they have really angered that family, and of course, a lot of Americans also angered.  I want to ask you, though, whether you were surprised that one of the first people to speak out against this was Bill O‘Reilly, another Fox News host, who attacked their parent company.  Were you surprised by that?

SKLAR:  I wasn‘t that surprised by that, actually.  It‘s in keeping with the stands that he typically takes.  I think that what characterizes this particular situation is the universal outrage, I mean, from all corners.  Hey, it‘s maybe the one issue that Democrats and Republicans agreed on, that this was a horrible and shameful publicity stunt.  And so that being a very universal thing, a universal sentiment to express, I‘m not surprised that O‘Reilly jumped on that bandwagon.

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, O‘Reilly called it a low moment in American popular culture.  And I think—you know, I think, actually, that took a little courage.  Take a look at what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  Here‘s what I‘m going to do as a citizen.  I‘m not going to watch the Simpson show or even look at the book.  I‘m not even going to look at it.  If any company sponsors the TV program, I will not buy anything that company sells ever.

I‘ll put up every sponsor on my program, and I think millions of Americans aren‘t going to watch it, won‘t buy the book, and won‘t buy any product from a sponsor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rachel, I know the Huffingtonpost is not a big fan of Bill O‘Reilly‘s, but that‘s pretty remarkable stuff, calling in an aggressive boycott against his own parent company.  Any other incidences like this that you can recall in recent memory?

SKLAR:  I mean, there was the CBS documentary on the Reagans that was recalled and aired instead on Showtime.  And then, of course, there was the furor over “Path to 9/11.”  There was that—it seemed like it might have been yanked right up until air time.  There was certainly a kerfuffle about that.  But yes, this is—this is an interesting moment, certainly.  I think News Corp. did the right thing.  I think they did what they had to do because advertisers were not lining up for this special, and Without advertisers, they wouldn‘t get paid and they wouldn‘t get rated.  This was scheduled for sweeps for a reason.  They thought they‘d have the audience.  So Fox miscalculated.  They miscalculated.  And they yanked it, and they had a good reason to.

SCARBOROUGH:  Miscalculated in a terrible way.  And what an embarrassment for them and everybody connected with them.  Rachel Sklar, as always, thanks a lot for being with us.

SKLAR:  Thanks.

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next: Bill Maher makes a new rule about Bond, James Bond, and trash, white trash.  And later: “Seinfeld‘s” Michael Richards tries to apologize for his racial outburst.  But will his bizarro appearance on David Letterman do anything to help fans forgive and forget what happened?  And we go to Times Square to see what in the world David Blaine is up to now.  We will interview him later in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Wake up the kiddies, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up: Not even the number one movie in America is off limits for Bill Maher.  The controversial HBO comedian has some new rules for Bond.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL MAHER, “REAL TIME”:  You can‘t tell me you‘re making James Bond up to date when he‘s still wearing a tuxedo to the casino.  Have you been to (INAUDIBLE) Nevada?  You‘re lucky if the player sitting next to you puts in his teeth!  You know how you can tell a high roller?  His sweatpants are clean.  There‘s a name for people that wear tuxedos in casinos: magicians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And finally, President Bush‘s trip to Vietnam may have gotten him out of the country, but that didn‘t stop David Letterman from watching his every move.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  ... that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!

JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!

BUSH:  Anybody here got four kids?  Three kids?  You got four?  Four?  Three?  OK.  All right, all right.  I don‘t know why I asked that.  Oh, I know why I asked it!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh!  It‘s funny because it‘s true.

And coming up next: Comedian Michael Richards tells David Letterman he‘s sorry for his racist outburst, but it may be too little too late.  We‘re going to look at why other comics may already turning their backs on him.  And then, we talk to “Extra‘s” Dana Devon about her exclusive interview with this generation‘s Yoko Ono, Heather Mills McCartney, and she‘s speaking out.  And later: It‘s a bird, it‘s a plane.  No, it‘s David Blaine spinning above Times Square.  We‘re going to talk to the magician about his latest stunt when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Still ahead, was Heather Mills bugged during her first interview about her divorce from Paul McCartney?  “Extra‘s” Dayna Devon is here with her exclusive interview and reveals the wild story of what happened off-camera. 

And later, we‘ll join David Blaine for a spin above Manhattan, as the magician takes to the skies for charity.  Our live interview with him is coming up. 

Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Those stories in just minutes.  But first, before his now-infamous stand-up routine, Michael Richards was known as Jerry‘s wacky neighbor, Kramer.  And that was on the hit TV show, “Seinfeld.”  But now, after that racist tirade at a West Hollywood comedy club, the actor-comedian might be best known for this.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL RICHARDS, ACTOR:  Shut up!  Fifty years ago we‘d have you upside-down with a (bleep) fork up your ass.  You can talk!  You can talk!  You can talk!  You‘re brave now, (bleep).  Throw his ass out.  He‘s a (bleep)!  He‘s an (bleep)!  He‘s a (bleep)!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, my God.

RICHARDS:  A (bleep)!  Look, there‘s a (bleep)! 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Last night, Richards appeared on Letterman and tried to explain himself, but once again the audience seemed a little baffled.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARDS:  I lost my temper on stage.  I was at a comedy club trying to do my act, and I got heckled, and I took it badly and went into a rage, and said some pretty nasty things to some Afro-Americans, a lot of trash talk. 

(LAUGHTER)

JERRY SEINFELD, COMEDIAN:  Stop laughing.  It‘s not funny. 

RICHARDS:  For me to be in a comedy club and flip out and say this crap, you know, I‘m deeply, deeply sorry. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So will that be enough to keep his fans?  Right now, let‘s bring in Matthew Felling.  He‘s the media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs.  And also Steve Adubato, he is MSNBC analyst and the author of the book, “Make the Connection.”

Matthew, a bizarre apology.  This guy is talking about racist comments he made, and the Letterman audience was laughing.  It‘s like they were looking at Kramer and not a man who said some terribly offensive things in L.A. a few nights ago. 

MATTHEW FELLING, THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS:  Yes, the weird thing is, it was a very surreal scene, where you have a funny guy, Letterman, a funny, funny guy, Seinfeld, and we have a funny—or formerly funny, at least—Michael Richards.  And they‘re talking about what happened over the weekend, and there was laughter in the crowd.  And you saw Seinfeld say, “Not funny, not funny.” 

And it was interesting.  Richards actually said, “I‘m not even sure that this is the best place for me to be making this announcement.”  But as far as I‘m concerned, what really wasn‘t important was the where of what happened last night, but the when. 

And Michael Richards had to get ahead of this right away and had to, you know, just stop the bleeding because things were going out of control.  We were talking about—this even beat out the O.J. story last night, for God‘s sake. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

FELLING:  But at the same time, I don‘t know that it sounded all that sincere, because if it was really sincere he would have done this a while ago on Saturday night, the night after.  It reminded me of like when I hit my little neighbor, Bobby Deaver (ph), in the face with a lunchbox when I was young, and my mom walked me over to his house, and she said, “Don‘t you have something to say to him?  Don‘t you?” 

And I felt like Seinfeld was there saying, “I think you should say something to America, because we‘re putting out the DVD of season number seven.”

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.  And the timing is absolutely terrible for Seinfeld and the entire staff because they are putting out a new DVD for the Christmas season.  And, you know, Richards‘ apology on Letterman last night made for some uncomfortable moments that we were already talking about.  Take a look at some of them. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE SHOW”:  You were actually being heckled or were they just talking and disturbing the act? 

RICHARDS:  That was going on, too. 

(LAUGHTER)

LETTERMAN:  And did you...

RICHARDS:  I know—and I‘m hearing your audience laugh, you know, and I‘m not even sure that this is where I should be addressing the situation.  I‘ve already heard you make some jokes about it, and that‘s OK, you know, but, you know, I‘m really busted up over this. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve Adubato, that was just a terrible apology in a terrible setting, wasn‘t it? 

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  Joe, listen, I don‘t want to pile on.  Matthew has said a lot of very thoughtful and articulate things, but I have to tell you, I thought I had seen just about the worst, most embarrassing public moment with Mel Gibson.  And this makes Mel Gibson look like Mother Teresa.  I mean, this is horrific.  And I‘ll tell you why.

Number one, he wasn‘t drunk.  Number two, he was given an opportunity at the Laugh Factory by the owner to come on the next night.  They invited some of the same people on.  He was supposed to apologize.  He didn‘t. 

Number three, he says it‘s not the right venue to do it on “Letterman,” then why did you do it, Michael Richards?  You are this weird character who you say people don‘t really understand, because you‘re Kramer, but you‘re not Kramer.  You‘re an artist.  No one gets you. 

Listen, you have to take responsibility for what you said.  And I know you‘re trying to do that now, but then you‘re kind of backing off, “It‘s not the right venue.”  You‘re too nutty.  You have to be clear in what you‘re saying.  You don‘t need Jerry Seinfeld asking the audience to keep it down.  You‘re a comedian.  You went off.

And, finally, Joe, those of us who perform on public stages—and, by the way, as a former politician, you get it.  I‘m a former state legislator.  I speak in public a lot.  People heckle you.  People say things.  And for comedians, for a stand-up comedian not to know how to deflect and deal with that so that you turn the situation around against the heckler with the audience—instead, the audience went against Michael Richards. 

It is a classic comedy 101 mistake.  And I can to tell you how shocked I am and how poor this guy is on stage.  And I have to tell you, he deserves everything he gets right now, and not a lot of sympathy for me. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt.  Hey...

(CROSSTALK)

ADUBATO:  And, by the way, what‘s with the n-thing?  What‘s that whole n-thing about?  Where does it come from? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, where does it come from?  Exactly.  Let‘s listen to what Jerry Seinfeld had to say about his former colleague‘s outrageous comments. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEINFELD:  I known Michael many years, and I know how he works on stage, and none of that justifies what happened.  But, you know, I‘ve been talking to him today, and I just—he‘s someone that I love, and I know how shattered he is about this.  And he deserves a chance.  And that‘s why I wanted him to come on.  He deserves a chance to apologize. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Matthew Felling, is that enough to rehabilitate him?  Is he going to be able to recover from this?

FELLING:  Well, I mean, I think the question is:  Recover to what level?  I mean, last week at this time he was just one notch about cutting a ribbon at an Arby‘s.  I mean, he is kind of off the radar screen when it comes to Hollywood.  So can he rebound to becoming some guy who shows up at a comedy club once a month? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s talk about the bigger issue, at least for Seinfeld and company.  Does this impact DVD sales at all? 

ADUBATO:  Absolutely.  No doubt about it. 

FELLING:  Automatically.  But I honestly think that Michael Richards -

you know, an apology is what you say, but it matters more what you do. 

And I think, honestly, since he‘s a bit player and he‘s an icon in our national conscious—he‘s one Habitat for Humanity, he‘s one trip to rescue Katrina victims, he‘s got some P.R.—he can do some P.R. and turn this around. 

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ll see.  Matthew Felling, Steve Adubato, thanks so much.  Greatly appreciate it.  It‘s a story we‘ll continue to follow. 

And you know what?  It‘s quickly becoming one of the nastiest celebrity splits in years, Paul McCartney‘s divorce from Heather Mills.  And while the tabloids are full of allegations, neither party has spoken publicly until now.  Heather Mills breaks her silence, speaking exclusively to “Extra‘s” Dayna Devon. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEATHER MILLS, EX-WIFE OF PAUL MCCARTNEY:  I‘m a good mother.  I‘m a good person.  You know, I fell in love for the right reasons.  I loved unconditionally. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Were you surprised by the attention that your interview garnered all across the globe?

DAYNA DEVON, “EXTRA”:  Absolutely.  We kind of knew this was going to happen, because up until the interview, we were getting calls from everywhere, from every corner of the globe.  And then, as we were doing the interviews, my executive producers were answering the phone every five seconds.  And the numbers on the caller ID were from everyone. 

And then, as we were doing the interview, someone actually staked us out, started—they tapped into our wireless microphone frequency, recorded the interview, transcribed it.  Within a few hours, was already trying to sell it to the British tabloids.  So the demand out there for this interview was huge.  I had no idea. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s play everybody a clip from your interview with her. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEVON:  I think the thing that is so shocking to me is 90 percent of the work you do, you say, is for charity and it‘s selfless, and yet people call you a gold digger. 

MILLS:  If I was a gold digger, I would have a lot of money in my bank account.  And why would I do 90 percent of my work for charity?  I would have took all the huge contracts I‘ve been offered over the years.  I‘d be worth millions and millions, which I‘m not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Dayna, you were a foot away from her.  Did you believe her? 

DEVON:  I did actually believe her.  You know, you can‘t talk to Heather Mills without hearing about her charity, without her wanting to help you in some way.  It‘s just she cannot separate that from her person. 

And I do think that that‘s a little bit of a contradiction, that she does give away all of her money, and she does spend so much time helping other people, and people are calling her a gold digger.  I do think that that‘s a bit of a contradiction. 

She also answered other rumors that were out there.  We asked her if she was, in fact, having an affair with her trainer.  She said, “No, I am not.”  We asked her if she was a cold person.  I think you probably have a clip about that.  And she said, “No, I‘m not.  I actually have a great sense of humor, but I deal with serious subjects all the time,” so you can‘t really laugh at, you know, skinning animals and cats and dogs alive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

DEVON:  I know this one to be not true just from the few times I‘ve met you, but people say you‘re cold.  Do you have a sense of humor?  What do you think is funny? 

MILLS:  What do I think it‘s funny?  I think it‘s too rude to talk about them. 

(LAUGHTER)

But, yes, of course I have a sense of humor.  But what people forget is, how can I have a sense of humor when I‘m a charity worker?  How can I make landmines into a fun, humorous things?  How can I make dogs and cats being skinned alive hilarious?  Do you know what I mean?  How can I make seal fur have any humor?  I can‘t.  So people don‘t get to see that side of me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  She obviously came into this interview because she didn‘t feel like she could get a fair shake in the U.K. or across the world.  She thought that you would give her a fair interview.  Do you think that this interview that she had with you will in the end help her image, help sort of soften some of those hard edges that have been put on by the British press and the tabloids?

DEVON:  You know, I honestly don‘t see how you could look at this and not feel a bit for her.  I mean, she did—it‘s just like she said.  “I didn‘t commit a crime; I just fell in love.  And then, you know, here‘s what happened.”  So I understand that divorces get ugly, and I see that, and this one has gotten ugly.  But you can‘t walk away without a little bit of respect for her.  She is so direct; she‘s so honest; she is so giving of her time and her money.  And so I think that you have to see a different side of Heather Mills and have a different respect for her. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  “Extra‘s” Dayna Devon, thanks so much.  Boy, you got the big get on this one.  Congratulations.  Looks like a great interview.  Thanks for being with us. 

DEVON:  Thank you.  Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And you, of course, can see more of Dayna Devon‘s exclusive interview with Heather Mills tomorrow on “Extra.”  Check your local listings. 

And coming up here, from one celebrity divorce to another, we‘re going to have the very latest on Britney and K-Fed‘s break-up, including today‘s shocker that there‘s no sex tape.  Sorry, guys, and all the cameramen at MSNBC weep.

But next, magician David Blaine is taking us on a spin through Times Square, literally.  He (INAUDIBLE) above Manhattan to talk about his latest stunt that‘s for charity.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Daredevil magician David Blaine has a new trick up his sleeve.  This time, he is shackled to a spinning gyroscope that‘s hanging 40 feet in the air, high above Times Square in New York City.  The goal: 

Well, it‘s to lose the shackles in 16 hours by Friday morning. 

MSNBC‘s Rita Cosby is joining David Blaine high above the ground. 

Rita, how are you hanging in there, literally? 

RITA COSBY, HOST:  You know, luckily I‘m not afraid of heights, Joe, because take a look at where we are right now.  I‘m 50 feet above Times Square along with David Blaine, the great illusionist.

Now, David Blaine, as we all know, he was in a block of ice for two days.  He was underwater—I remember doing that interview—he was underwater for about a week.  And now he‘s planning on doing this, spinning inside this gyroscope for three straight days. 

David, how are you feeling? 

DAVID BLAINE, MAGICIAN:  I feel good.  How are you feeling, Rita? 

COSBY:  I‘m doing great.  How do you prepare for this kind of a feat? 

BLAINE:  Just I didn‘t have a lot of time, but I started dealing with spinning a lot and getting used to having a messed-up equilibrium and dealing with it.  But you get good on it.  You learn how to focus on a point, and then it stops the seasickness, you could call it. 

COSBY:  Why are you doing this? 

BLAINE:  Basically, Target came to me and said that I should do something fun for the holidays, and we could bring a bunch of kids from the Salvation Army on the shopping spree of their life.  And then they said that I could go to schools and hospitals across the country, and we set up a tour where I‘m going to spend the next month going to San Antonio, to the Brooke Medical Center, doing magic to people that have suffered burns and amputees. 

And then I‘m going to go to St. Jude‘s in Memphis.  And then I‘m going to go to New Orleans and do magic in schools and hospitals.  And then I get to go to Phoenix.  I‘m going to go to a women‘s prison on a Sunday and do magic to the children of mothers that are locked up. 

COSBY:  So all for charity.  You know, you hear all the fans cheering down here.  How‘s he doing, guys? 

(APPLAUSE)

How do you mentally prepare for something like this, too?  Because you‘ve got to be dizzy sitting for three straight days.

BLAINE:  The spinning actually helps, because in this weather it keeps me really warm.  So the continual movement, besides keeping me warm, when I stop, everything starts rocking, so it‘s better to keep moving for the most part.  And it‘s also very difficult...

COSBY:  Everyone is asking, how do you eat?  Do you go to the bathroom?  What do you do?

BLAINE:  I stopped eating a couple of days prior, and I stopped drinking, so my system‘s pretty empty.  I should be able to hold for the 53 hours total that I have to be here. 

COSBY:  And then they‘re going to shackle you up on Thursday.  Real quick, is there another feat behind this one?  You got something else big?

BLAINE:  Yes, there‘s something good.  Thursday at about 2:00, there will be something very exiting. 

COSBY:  Well, we‘re going to be tuning in.  David Blaine, so good to see you here in person. 

BLAINE:  You, too.  Nice to see you, Rita.

COSBY:  And don‘t ever say I‘m a scaredy-cat, Joe, because here I am, 50 feet up, but nothing compared to what David Blaine is doing.  And you heard he‘s going to be shackled, coming out sometime on Thursday afternoon, and again all to give to underprivileged kids so they can have a Christmas, a very special Christmas, and go shopping this season. 

Back to you, Joe. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much, Rita.  And better you that high than me.  I am scared of heights.  Thank you, Rita.  Thank you, David Blaine. 

And, you know, we‘ve got an open position to fill here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  And when we heard one of the country‘s top radio shock jocks was looking for a new gig, we thought, “Hey, maybe this is the guy.”  But can Opie from “The Opie and Anthony Show” really cut it in the tough world of cable news?  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OPIE, HOST, “OPIE AND ANTHONY”:  Wow, MSNBC.  Sweet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Moving in.  God, you suck. 

OPIE:  What? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Carrot Top sat on it. 

OPIE:  Yes, but he‘s got a body. 

CARROT TOP, COMEDIAN:  No, I‘m making copies. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What did you do to him? 

OPIE:  I‘m Opie, and here‘s what‘s happening right now.  Fire crews in San Ber-nar-dino—now you‘re up to the minute.  It‘s time to take you back to scar—scar—what‘s his name? 

Let‘s take ours, too.  Joe, would you like to get a beer after this? 

All right.  That‘s a wrap. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  A big fan of mine.  A big fan, indeed.  And you can see more of that on MSNBC.com. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, have your people call my people, baby, because it‘s time for “Hollyweird.”

First up, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline reunite, sort of.  The couple wants to put rumors of a sex tape to rest.  K-Fed‘s attorney released a statement today denying it exists. 

Here now, Jill Dobson, editor-at-large for “Star” magazine, and “InTouch Weekly‘s” executive editor Michelle Lee.

Jill, MSNBC cameramen across the studio crying tonight.  It ends up that this sex tape is just a hoax, huh?

JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Well, Britney and Kevin have been saying all along that there‘s no tape.  They, in fact, filed a lawsuit about a year ago against another publication for reporting that there was such a tape.  So this is more of the same.

I‘m surprised they haven‘t come out and said it a little more strongly earlier, and they kind of let these rumors get out of control, but now they‘re coming together, joining forces to say there‘s no sex tape.  Don‘t hold your breath waiting for it.

SCARBOROUGH:  How exciting.  If they can come together, then maybe we and Iran can, also.

And the battle of the daytime divas, Rosie O‘Donnell and Kelly Ripa, boy, it explodes, as Rosie accuses Kelly of making homophobic remarks to Clay Aiken.  And Ripa fired back. 

Hey, Michelle, tell us what‘s going on here.

MICHELLE LEE, “INTOUCH” MAGAZINE:  It‘s getting really ugly.  On the show the other day, Clay Aiken was on “Regis and Kelly.”  And he made this kind of playful gesture over to Kelly, putting his hand over her mouth to kind of say, “Be quiet.”  Well, Kelly took it really seriously, and she kind of pushed his hand away, and was like, “Hey, I don‘t know where that hand has been, honey.”

The whole entire situation really got blown out of proportion from there.  I kind of feel sorry for Kelly, because everybody‘s been picking on her.  Then Rosie O‘Donnell on “The View” today was saying that she thought that the whole thing was homophobic of Kelly, saying that, because Clay—people seem to think that he is gay, because he‘s gay...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Michelle, didn‘t she just out him?

LEE:  ... horrible thing for her to do.  And then Kelly actually called into “The View” and was like, this is outrageous that Rosie is saying this.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Jill, I mean, didn‘t she just in effect out Clay Aiken by doing that?

DOBSON:  Right, that‘s the amazing thing.  Kelly said absolutely nothing about Clay‘s sexuality, gave absolutely no indication that she had any opinions on his sexuality one way or the other.  And all she said is she didn‘t want a hand with a bunch of germs on her mouth during cold and flu season when she has to go home and take care of three children.

And then Rosie makes it about whether or not Clay is gay, and basically outs him, which I think was a big mistake.  And I want to see what Rosie has to say about it tomorrow.  Hopefully, she‘ll apologize to Kelly and Clay.

SCARBOROUGH:  Rosie remains a runaway beer truck.  We‘ve got to go.  Michelle Lee, Jill Dobson, thanks for being with us.  We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

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.

transcript

Watch Scarborough Country each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,