updated 1/10/2007 11:31:03 AM ET 2007-01-10T16:31:03

Guests: David Caplan, Matthew Felling, Rachel Sklar, Chelsea Handler

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Well, Bill O‘Reilly‘s war on NBC has been taken to its most obsessive level.  Just minutes ago, the angry cable king analyzed NBC reporters‘ body language to sniff out liberal bias.  I‘m not making this up.  Now, coming up, our expert will be analyzing Mr.  O‘Reilly‘s body language.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARYN STARK, PSYCHOANALYST:  He starts flailing his hands around, and that‘s typical primate behavior that shows that, This is my territory, I‘m protecting it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  But first, a surge of congressional activity before the president‘s make-or-break Iraq speech that‘s set to begin 24 hours from now.  Tonight, the White House is finalizing their latest plan—their latest plan! -- for victory in Iraq.  Now, we‘ve learned that the surge of 20,000 new U.S. troops are going to be shipped to the region by the end of this month.  And Reuters is reporting the president‘s going to be calling for security to be completely turned over to Iraqis by November.

But the senior senator from Massachusetts has come out firing away at Mr. Bush‘s new path forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS:  Our bill will say that no additional troops can be sent and no additional dollars can be spent on such an escalation unless and until Congress approves the president‘s plan.  We cannot simply speak out against an escalation of troops in Iraq, we must act to prevent it.

(END VIDEO CLIP

SCARBOROUGH:  Congress having a say in a war?  What a radical concept!~  What would our Founders think?  Oh, wait.  They supported that.

Well, the embattled president is also facing some serious trouble from the latest round of poll numbers on Iraq, with 61 percent of Americans against the Bush plan for a surge in Iraq.  So how can the president convince a skeptical Congress and a weary American public to send even more young American troops into that civil war?  Is it too little too late, or the last chance to avoid a crushing U.S. defeat in that region that so many policy makers say we can‘t afford?

Here now to talk about it, we have Judd Legum.  He‘s research director for the Center for American Progress.  We also have Rachel Sklar.  She‘s media editor for Huffingtonpost.com.  And we have MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.

Judd, 20,000 new troops by the end of this month.  Are you shocked by the speed by which this president plans to deploy even more troops into that region, an escalation, according to Ted Kennedy?

JUDD LEGUM, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  Well, it doesn‘t surprise me they want to pretend like this is a huge and momentous, a bold move, but really, the only thing that‘s momentous about this is just the amount of time it‘s taken to get to this point.  He‘s finally going to announce it Wednesday night.  But the fact is, throughout the war, not only have there been various surges of this level which have had no effect, many times increasing the violence, but many of these speeches, where Bush comes out and he announces the new policy...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... this the president‘s last chance to come forward, speak to the American people, present his latest plan for victory in Iraq.  Is this his last time before Americans finally turn him off for good on the issue of Iraq?

LEGUM:  I think Americans have turned him off on this war for a long time.  They‘ve been way ahead of the Congress, who‘s now acting aggressively.  They‘ve been way ahead of all—almost all the politicians in Washington.  So I think Americans have heard enough from President Bush on this war.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, I want you to take a look at President Bush‘s approval rating on Iraq.  This is about as bad as it gets.  It‘s at an all-time low of 26 percent.  I suppose it could get 26 percent points lower.  But how does such an unpopular president move anybody in Congress with his argument that we need even more troops on the ground, a 26 percent approval rating?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think the—certainly, the approval rating is not going to persuade Congress.  The only thing that‘d persuade Congress to support the president is if the alternative looked far worse than what the president is doing.  I agree, 20,000 troops—we‘ve gone down to 125,000 and up to 145,000.  This is not dramatic.

But Joe, what Teddy Kennedy is doing is problematic for this reason.  Congress can say you can go to war or not go to war, it decides on war, but the president fights the war.  The idea that a Congress of 535 people can micromanage a war and say troops move here and not there is preposterous.  And Congress is marching into a minefield if it does this and assumes upon itself the authority for the outcome of the strategy it has imposed on the president.  So I think a lot of congressmen are going to back away from that one.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, but Pat, I mean, if you look at the poll numbers on this issue of the surge—it‘s not like the Democrats are sitting around in the cloakroom smoking cigars, saying, Hey, you know what, why don‘t we just stand in the way of the president‘s new surge in Iraq?

I mean, let‘s—here‘s another set of poll numbers that came out today.  You can call it the 12 percent solution because look at the bottom, only 12 percent of Americans support George Bush‘s plan for a surge of 20,000 troops.  Now, that‘s, again, not the Democrats micromanaging the war.

BUCHANAN:  It is.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s a hell of a lot of Americans being scared that the president‘s taking us in the wrong direction.  You‘re talking about Democrats, but won‘t Democrats and Republicans alike fight this move if only 12 percent of Americans support it?

BUCHANAN:  Look, OK, Joe.  Look, they‘re opposed to the surge.  The president disagrees with them.  He‘s going to do it.  But look at what—let‘s suppose Congress succeeds, You can‘t send any more troops, but we‘ll fund the ones who are there.  That is imposing on the United States a strategy of “stay the course,” which we all agree is not working, which the president said is not winning, which Powell says is losing.  That is what Kennedy wants to do, to impose—no addition, just stay the course.

Now, if they want to end the war or end American involvement—they can‘t end the war—they can lose it, they can‘t end it—then they‘ll defund it.  But Joe, you cannot micromanage the war by saying, You get this much money for these many troops doing those things.

SCARBOROUGH:  Are you suggesting, Pat, that 88 percent of Americans should be ignored?  I mean, we‘re not talking about 50/50 split.  We‘re not even talking about Vietnam.  As you know, Pat, throughout most of the Vietnam war, Richard Nixon and LBJ enjoyed much higher approval ratings than this president.

BUCHANAN:  What I‘m saying, Joe, is the Congress can declare war, but neither the Congress nor the public can run a war.  They can say, We have had it, we want out.  But they can‘t say, We only want to fight this and not that.

LEGUM:  That‘s not true.  If you...

BUCHANAN:  The president of the United States has the authority.

LEGUM:  That‘s not true if you look back at history.  I mean, you‘ve said that a number of times, Pat, but if you look back—look back in 1970, look at 1973, 1983...

BUCHANAN:  Well, they will...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... 1984, we‘ve gone through...

BUCHANAN:  Congress lost that war!

LEGUM:  Congress has said...

BUCHANAN:  Congress cut off the funds...

(CROSSTALK)

LEGUM:  ... this number of troops into this area.  This funding cannot be used to send more troops into Cambodia.

BUCHANAN:  Right.  Exactly.

LEGUM:  I mean, this is what happened...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Congress—I agree with you.  Congress tied the president‘s hands, said he couldn‘t bomb, and Congress lost the war.  The war was an American military—not an American but a South Vietnamese military defeat followed by a holocaust in Cambodia and a slaughter.  That‘s what happens when 400 people try to manage a war.  Now, if Congress wants to...

(CROSSTALK)

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  That‘s not what‘s happening in this case, Pat.  That‘s not what‘s happening in this case.  This isn‘t a question of micromanagement.  It‘s not a question of managing every single decision.  As Condoleezza Rice said, there have been a thousand bad decisions in Iraq, and that‘s to what Congress is...

BUCHANAN:  Well, wait a minute...

(CROSSTALK)

SKLAR:  They‘re talking about addressing this decision because this decision is an escalation of the war...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  ... stay the course!

SKLAR:  ... and it is not what was authorized in 2003.  It just isn‘t what as authorized.  That was a long time ago, and if—listen, if you want to hang a banner that says “Mission accomplished”...

BUCHANAN:  Look...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Stop the politics...

SKLAR:  ... then in 2007, you can‘t say you continue to be authorized.

BUCHANAN:  Lady, stop the politics and polemics.  Look, if you—if you oppose...

SKLAR:  I‘m just responding to what you said.

BUCHANAN:  If you oppose a surge, what you are saying is, We‘re only going to fund “stay the course.”  But that we all agree is a failed policy.

SKLAR:  I don‘t think that‘s what they‘re saying...

(CROSSTALK)

LEGUM:  Senator Kennedy wants to redeploy the troops, as do many of the Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Why don‘t they cut off the funds?

LEGUM:  Well, I think your views actually reflect what a lot of the thinking is in the White House, principally Henry Kissinger, who‘s been an influential adviser, is that we can refight Vietnam and get it right this time.  We‘ve learned our lesson, and now what we have to do...

BUCHANAN:  But look...

LEGUM:  ... is fix the things...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  By the way, Judd, you‘re talking about Vietnam—I want

because we‘re talking about Ted Kennedy—obviously, he‘s a policy maker that made the most news today, talking about this war.  Take a look at what Ted Kennedy said about Iraq and George Bush today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNEDY:  Iraq is George Bush‘s Vietnam.  In Vietnam, the White House grew increasingly obsessed with victory and increasingly divorced from the will of the people and any rational policy.  The Department of Defense kept assuring us that each new escalation in Vietnam would be the last.  Instead, each one led only to the next.  Congress must no longer follow him deeper into the quagmire in Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, the line there...

BUCHANAN:  Kennedy does not know what he‘s talking about~!

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, again, the line there that I think we should focus on is divorced from the situation with the American public, again, the president supporting a plan that 12 percent of Americans support.

BUCHANAN:  All right, Joe, that—Teddy Kennedy is divorced from history.  In 1972, Richard Nixon, who followed his policy of disengagement and Vietnamization, rolled over George McGovern in 49 states, with 61 percent of the vote and the whole American people approving him.  What happened was, Watergate broke the president.  The idiots in Congress started taking away his power to bomb, and South Vietnam lost the war.  That‘s the true history of Vietnam.

LEGUM:  I think this is actually a clarifying moment because what it says is, if you believe that the problem with the Vietnam war was that we didn‘t fight long enough, if you think that that‘s the lesson, then you should support the president‘s policy in Iraq.  But if you think there‘s a different lesson to Vietnam, that we need to be careful with an entanglement like this...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  There‘s a lot of lessons to Vietnam, and one of them is you don‘t let 500 -- I mean, Congress, which had the bit in its teeth after it won the ‘74 election, to decide war policy, because it resulted in a calamitous defeat.  Six months later, you lost Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos.  After that, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat, are you saying the same thing will happen if we lose Iraq, we‘re going to lose Iran, Syria, Jordan...

BUCHANAN:  No.  I‘ll tell you what.  Joe, here‘s...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia?

BUCHANAN:  You‘re talking—Joe, at least you are—you are now focused on reality.  Look, if you pull out...

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, thank you, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  Well, I mean...

SCARBOROUGH:  I appreciate that.  What was I focused on before?

BUCHANAN:  Well, because we‘re talking about this, that and the other thing, Kennedy.  But if we pull out and this thing goes down, I do believe there‘s a real possibility of a break-up of Iraq, of Iran moving into the Shia area and trying to get dominance of Baghdad...

SKLAR:  That‘s not what Kennedy is proposing, though.

BUCHANAN:  I know it, but let‘s talk about the reality.  “Stay the course” will fail.  We agree with that.  I think the Baker commission, I think McCain is right, that is a recipe for defeat.  If it‘s a defeat, let‘s talk what Joe is talking about.  What are the consequences if we defund this war and get out?  And I think some of them, Joe—I think it could be a total calamity for the American position in the Middle East.

LEGUM:  You know, I think the American position in the Middle East...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let me ask you all very quickly, because we‘re going to have to leave.  But very quickly, Judd, tell us what the president‘s going to do tomorrow?  Is it going to change anything?

LEGUM:  I don‘t think it‘s going to change anything because I don‘t think what he has to announce is that significant.  We‘re dealing with a number of troops that we‘ve seen rise and fall many times.  And every time, it‘s gotten worse, not better.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Rachel, I‘ll ask you the same thing.  Is anything going to change after tomorrow night, or are the president‘s numbers just going to get lower?

SKLAR:  Well, traditionally, the president doesn‘t really listen when people disagree with his policy, so he‘s not going to change.  And yes, the numbers are going to get lower because people are fed up with not being listened to by this president on this war.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat Buchanan, finally, bring a little reality into my conversation here tonight.  What‘s going to happen tomorrow night?

BUCHANAN:  I think he‘s going to put the troops in.  He‘s going to say so, and I think the troops are going to go in.  I‘m not sure it‘s going to work.  My expectation is it isn‘t.  I think we‘re headed for a real disaster in Iraq.

SKLAR:  And why are we headed...

BUCHANAN:  I do think if we turn around...

LEGUM:  It‘s not going to work...

BUCHANAN:  ... and start out now...

LEGUM:  ... but let‘s try it anyway.

BUCHANAN:  I think if we start out right now, the disaster will come for sure and it will come sooner.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  And I have a political prediction about tomorrow night.  I don‘t know what they have up their sleeves, but I bet you that George W. Bush and Karl Rove are going to figure out how to frame this speech and frame this argument in a way that is going to back Democrats into the corner and they‘re going to spend the next month trying to figure out how to get out of that corner so they‘re not made to look weak on defense, despite the fact that 88 percent of Americans are with them on this surge issue.

Thanks a lot, Judd Legum.  Thank you, Rachel Sklar.  And thank you, Pat Buchanan, as always.

Coming up next: Bill O‘Reilly says that NBC reporters‘ body language -

oh, there I go again, right—that‘s my right hand—proves we‘re liberal.  Well, we‘re actually going to break down Bill‘s body language to see what we uncover.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARYN STARK, PSYCHOANALYST:  I‘m obsessed with this point about being a liberal and I‘m going to let you know, and I‘m going to use my fingers for emphasis.  And I‘m going to make a lot of noise and a lot of fury about nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So do O‘Reilly‘s actions prove his attack on NBC is full of hot air?  We‘re going to show you what Bill‘s saying tonight and ask our expert what he really means.  And what do Donald and Rosie have in common?  They both attacked Barbara Walters.  Wait until you see a letter the Donald sent Rosie and why both sides in the war of the Rosie are calling Barbara Walters a liar.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s official, Bill O‘Reilly is obsessed.  The Fox News “culture warrior” has been on an absolute rampage against NBC, MSNBC, and all things peacock recently, claiming that this network has taken a dramatic turn to the left.  He even brought on NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell last week and tried to get her to confess to NBC‘s deep-rooted Bush-hating.  But when one of Washington‘s most respected journalists stood her ground, O‘Reilly continued those attacks, this time by bringing in a body language expert.  Here‘s what O‘Reilly had to say just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, HOST, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”:  I was basically putting forth that NBC News has gone left big-time and there really isn‘t anybody over there who‘s a conservative thinker.  It‘s pretty simple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, we decided to bring our own expert in, psychotherapist Caryn Stark, to analyze Bill O‘Reilly‘s body language and figure out what‘s behind his obsession with NBC.  This is what we learned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARYN STARK, PSYCHOANALYST:  He‘s making emphasis.  He‘s screaming.  And he starts flailing his hands around, and that‘s typical primate behavior, that shows that, This is my territory, I‘m protecting it.  What he‘s doing with his finger right now, if you want to freeze that for a second—that‘s saying, I‘m making my point, I‘m angry.  And that‘s rage.  OK, you can continue.

Oh, I love that one!  If you could freeze what he just did with his fingers and the way that he wiped them across his eyes?  What he‘s telling you there is, I‘m clearing the plate, I‘m really looking at this, but don‘t take me very seriously.

He obsesses about his point.  He mentions liberal.  You‘re going to see it again.  There you go, over and over again.  I‘m obsessed with this point about being a liberal and I‘m going to let you know, and I‘m going to use my fingers for emphasis, and I‘m going to make a lot of noise and a lot of fury about nothing.

So I don‘t think we have to pay too much attention to what he‘s doing because he‘s enjoying himself and he‘s doing a lot of, Here‘s my territory, and I‘m going to protect it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, this is all so new to me.  Very enlightening.  So why is Bill O‘Reilly obsessed with NBC and the peacock, and where will this war lead?  Here now, John Fund, he is a columnist for “The Wall Street Journal,” and MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford.  He‘s the author of the book, “Attack the Messenger.”

Craig, we have been seeing these Bill O‘Reilly teases all day, that he‘s going to look at Andrea Mitchell‘s body language and prove that we‘re all liberals.  What, my friend, is behind Bill O‘Reilly‘s obsession with NBC?  Why are we the latest enemy on “The Factor‘s” list?

CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY,” MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: 

You know, this guy, he‘s like the Evil Knievel of TV news.  I mean, he‘s based everything on stunts, you know, and once you do that, you got to have a new stunt every night.  So I guess we‘ll have ouija boards next.

I mean, look, this is an old formula for Bill O‘Reilly, is to take on a network—he was after CBS for years, and CBS—I guess that got tired and so now it‘s NBC.  He‘s based a show on hating somebody.  I mean, he‘s built an audience of people who want to hear that, and he delivers every night and it‘s all about hate.  It‘s like any other addiction, you know, you got to feed the habit.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, John Fund, you‘ve been on this show a good bit.  You know that I usually side with Bill O‘Reilly.  At least—if I don‘t side with him, at least I defend him.  But a body language expert?  I mean, has this guy completely lost it?

JOHN FUND, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”:  It‘s a slow news period for politics.  I guess you got to fill it with something.

SCARBOROUGH:  It is?

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  A slow—this is about as hot and significant as it gets!

FUND:  A lot of cable news doesn‘t want to cover the significant issues.  That goes for all channels.

CRAWFORD:  Well, Fox doesn‘t want to cover the Iraq war.  That‘s been pretty clear.

FUND:  No, no.  They do cover it.  But there‘s a point to what Bill has to say about bias.  Let‘s look at your last segment, Joe.  You started out by saying that 61 percent of the American people oppose the president‘s plan to increase troops.  Then you went to a multiple-choice poll, and you said that showed 88 percent oppose the president‘s plan.

You‘re a former congressman.  You read polls.  You know that‘s not quite the way you do it.  It‘s like me saying the morning after the president‘s speech, when his support will temporarily go up, that that represents lasting public.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... John Fund...

FUND:  Regardless of whether it‘s 61 or 88, you had three guests, they all oppose the president‘s plan.  You oppose the president‘s plan.  I count that as four to nothing.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, first of all...

CRAWFORD:  You know, here‘s—here‘s what...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, hold on a second.  I need to defend myself.

FUND:  Four to nothing!

SCARBOROUGH:  First of all, John, you don‘t—John, you don‘t know whether I defend the president‘s surge plan or not.  You also...

(CROSSTALK)

FUND:  You know you‘re opposed to it!  It‘s four to nothing!

SCARBOROUGH:  You do not know whether I‘m opposed to that plan or not. 

I‘ll talk to you about it after the show.  Patrick Buchanan actually supports the surge plan.

FUND:  No, he—he just said it would be a disaster!  He opposed...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no.  He didn‘t.  OK, well, John, you need to listen a little more closely.  And look, again, I know you‘re a fair guy.  When you read the transcript tomorrow, you‘ll know what he‘s saying is, pulling out of Iraq is a disaster...

FUND:  No, no!  He said...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... because it‘s going to cause...

FUND:  He said it probably wouldn‘t work...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... problems throughout the region.

FUND:  He said it probably wouldn‘t work and it would be a disaster for Iraq.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, well, listen, trust me...

FUND:  It‘s four to nothing!

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan has been fighting the president‘s fight, even though he opposed this war from the beginning, from the very—at least for the past several months.  But again, John, getting back to the point of Bill—well, first of all, are you saying I‘m biased?  Are you saying I‘m liberal?  You‘ve known me for a very long time.

FUND:  There‘s a point about what Bill O‘Reilly is saying about all of the networks...

SCARBOROUGH:  But you‘re talking about me.

FUND:  ... and Andrea Mitchell—Andrea Mitchell...

SCARBOROUGH:  Do you think I‘m biased?

FUND:  I think you‘re a host with an analytical point of view that‘s trying to get the best out of your guests, so a lot of what you do is stir the pot.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Here are the facts, though.  Hold on a second.  I‘ve got to point...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll get to you, Craig, in a second.  But 12 percent of Americans told “The LA Times” three weeks ago that they supported this surge, 12 percent of the Americans told “USA Today” they support that surge.  Now...

FUND:  You yourself...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Alabama, but that also means...

FUND:  You yourself reported a poll...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that 88 percent...

FUND:  ... that showed 38 percent...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... of Americans oppose it.

FUND:  ... support it.  You yourself...

SCARBOROUGH:  The surge?

FUND:  You yourself showed a poll...

SCARBOROUGH:  There‘s another...

FUND:  ... saying 38 percent supported increasing the president‘s plan for troops.

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re different polls.

CRAWFORD:  Joe, you...

SCARBOROUGH:  There‘s one that says—wait a second.  Go ahead, Craig...

(CROSSTALK)

FUND:  Make up your mind!

CRAWFORD:  Joe showed a poll last night about how the majority of the people, an overwhelming majority, think the Democrats...

FUND:  The point is...

CRAWFORD:  ... have no plan.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  ... point that John‘s making about the equality of results here.  You know, I‘ve always bought the conservative argument in social programs that equality of opportunity should be provided, not equality of results.  That‘s always been the arguments against quotas.  I always find these conservative media bashers want to turn that around when they talk about the press.  It‘s a quota system they want.

FUND:  No!

CRAWFORD:  For every person on this side, you got to have that side. 

You know, the truth is not always neutral.  I mean, many times there is a consensus view, and that‘s what objective journalism is about, finding the truth.  And you don‘t have equal, opposite sides on every single argument.  And in this particular case, the troop surge—it‘s very difficult in this town to find somebody who‘s going to come and actually argue in favor of the surge of troops.

FUND:  I can give you...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, John...

FUND:  I can give you 30 members of Congress.  I can give you the names of them right now.

CRAWFORD:  And they‘re on the air.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, but there are actually 535 members of Congress, though.

FUND:  I can give you 30 names off the top of my head!

CRAWFORD:  But I mean, this is the kind of argument that—you know, I mean, you say that every time we talk about evolution, we have to talk about intelligent design.

FUND:  Oh...

CRAWFORD:  This is what‘s been pushed upon the media now.  They‘ve been bullying the media for so long on this idea that neutrality is the same as objectivity.

FUND:  What you‘re describing is bias!

SCARBOROUGH:  And John Fund, I want to show you this—hold on a second.

FUND:  You‘re describing bias!

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on!  I want to clarify this again because, again, John, as you know, we‘re usually on the same side.  We‘re not on this one.  This is the Gallup poll out today.  How many people support sending more troops?  Twelve percent of Americans.  Twelve percent of Americans, which, if you add up the other numbers again, that‘s fairly close to 85 percent of Americans.

So the suggestion, John, that somehow I‘m being biased because I have the same concerns that over 80 percent of Americans and a heck of a lot of Republicans, a heck of a lot of conservatives have—to somehow suggest that I‘m stacking this against the president or that NBC somehow is on the far left fringe of American political thought just isn‘t accurate, is it.

FUND:  Joe, once again, you showed two polls.  One showed 38 percent support for the president‘s plan.  Then you took that down to 12.  Any poll can be manufactured...

SCARBOROUGH:  I didn‘t take...

(CROSSTALK)

FUND:  Yes, you...

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you mean, any poll—I didn‘t take that down to 12!  That‘s the Gallup poll.  I wish I had that much power.

FUND:  Joe, what was the first poll you showed?  It showed 61 to 38. 

Was that true or not?  That‘s the first poll you showed.

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t...

(CROSSTALK)

FUND:  Then you had this garden-variety poll which broke it up into six different categories and you got it down to 12 percent.  I‘ll make you a prediction.  After the president‘s speech, and it may be a temporary boost, on Thursday morning and Friday and Saturday, the president‘s—support for the president‘s plan is going to go up.  You yourself said he‘s going to pain the Democrats into a corner.  So let‘s not depend on polls as to whether or not we have one person representing the president‘s point of view on these programs.  You had four people on that segment.  None of them support the president‘s surge plan.

SCARBOROUGH:  You‘re wrong.  John, thank you for being with us.  Craig Crawford, thank you for being with us.

CRAWFORD:  You bet.

SCARBOROUGH:  I disagree with you, John, this time, but we will see what happens.

Still ahead: Donald and Rosie finally agree on one thing: Barbara Walters is a liar?  Now, how did this respected journalist get caught smack dab in the crosshairs of the ugliest celebrity feud of the year?  But first: You‘re not alone in breaking that New Year‘s resolution.  Find out how some stars have already broken theirs in “Must See S.C.,” coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you‘ve just got to see.  First up, on the season premiere of “The Apprentice,” the Donald raised a few eyebrows when he introduced the cast.  And if you watch closely, you may be able to tell who was the first to get fired. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, HOST, “THE APPRENTICE”:  ... where are you from, your names.  Give me a little identification.  OK, let‘s start from the left. 

JAMES SUN, CONTESTANT:  My name is James Sun.  I‘m from the University of Washington with a business and information... 

STEFANI SCHAEFFER, CONTESTANT:  I‘m Stefani.  I‘m a defense attorney from Los Angeles, California... 

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, I‘m not good at predicting things, but I predict she‘s out.

And, finally, even celebrities make and break their New Year‘s resolution.  Conan O‘Brien shows us what some of them decide to do instead. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONAN O‘BRIEN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT”:  Nicole Richie‘s resolution on New Year‘s Eve was eat three full meals a day.  One week later, her resolution is, “Dunk my daily lentil in Half and Half.”  That‘s interesting.

Michael Richards‘ resolution on New Year‘s Eve was, “Don‘t scream the n-word at black people in comedy clubs.”  One week later, it‘s, “Lose five pounds.”

Just trying to pull it back a little back.  Paris Hilton‘s resolution on New Year‘s Eve was, “Don‘t have sex in 2007.”  One week later, it‘s, “Don‘t have sex with more than 2,007.”

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next, a backstage brawl at “The View.”  Rosie calls Barbara Walters a blanking liar, and the Donald agrees.  The claws come out, as this cat fight takes a new twist, and the real loser may be Barbara Walters‘ reputation, even though Rosie is sure to be fired from the show. 

And later, behind the scenes of one of the most violent sports around, mixed martial arts.  We‘re going to introduce you to these ultimate fights.  And, man, it‘s dangerous stuff. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  A mansion?  My gosh.

Now, just when I thought the Rosie-Donald feud was simmering down, I awoke this morning to a very disturbing development.  I know it stunned you, too:  Rosie O‘Donnell calling Barbara Walters a, quote, “bleeping liar.”  Well, she didn‘t say “bleeping.”  She said a word that I just can‘t repeat on this esteemed network.

The “New York Post” is reporting the cat fight broke out in the make-

up rooms at ABC Studios over the ongoing feud between Rosie and Donald

Trump.  According to the “Post,” Barbara said, “I did everything I could do

to squash this story, while Rosie screamed, ‘You‘re a blanking liar.  You

didn‘t call me for 10 g-d days, and you didn‘t tell me what you were going

to say on television.‘” 

In a statement, ABC tells us, “Whatever happened in the hair and the make-up room was only a squabble.  It‘s business as usual.  Everyone has moved on.”  Nothing to see here.  Keep walking, keep walking.  Everyone, of course, except Donald Trump, who sent Rosie a letter today, stabbing Barbara in the back, saying that Barbara Walters told him, quote, that “working with her is like living in Hell.  Never get in the mud with pigs, and don‘t worry, she won‘t be here for long.”

So where does it go from here?  Here‘s Matthew Felling, media director for the center for Media and Public Affairs.  Still with us, Rachel Sklar.  Also, David Caplan, deputy New York bureau chief for “Star” magazine.

David, take us behind the scenes.  You know, usually what we like to say in the business is, “What happens in the make-up room stays in the make-up room.”  That didn‘t happen here.  Take us behind the sordid scenes at ABC Studios. 

DAVID CAPLAN, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Yes, this is like an ABC daytime soap opera here.  What happened is, Barbara Walters, Rosie O‘Donnell, they‘re in the make-up room.  Barbara Walters enters the make-up room, back from vacation, wants to hug, embrace Rosie, make amends. 

Rosie is not having it.  She lashes out at Barbara, saying, basically, “Why didn‘t you defend me more?  You know, why didn‘t you just call Donald Trump a liar?”  Rosie is really disappointed in Barbara and just feels that she sort of offered these wishy-washy statements. 

Then, Rosie lashes out at her and says, “So, what, you‘re telling me you didn‘t say these things to Donald about, you know, I‘m not a great host on ‘The View‘ and so forth?”  She‘s like, “You‘re a bleeping liar,” not the best thing to say to your boss. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, probably not.  And, Matthew Felling, we‘ve been talking about Barbara Walters and how her reputation has been battered by Rosie O‘Donnell.  Take a look at what Barbara said yesterday on “The View” when the ladies were talking about former “American Idol” contestant Jennifer Hudson‘s problems with Simon Cowell. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  He was hurtful, too.  He was hurtful.  He had made jokes about her appearance... 

JOY BEHAR, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”:  I think he does it because he thinks that‘s what the show needs or something and, you know, to counterbalance...

(CROSSTALK)  

JENNIFER HUDSON, ACTRESS:  It‘s a part of his job.

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  Well, some people do things because they think it‘s what a show needs, but we won‘t name who they may be.  Anyway, let‘s get back to you. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So tell me something, Matthew.  Is Barbara Walters going to put up with this much longer?  I can‘t imagine she will.

MATTHEW FELLING, THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS:  No, absolutely not.  This is a freight train careening down one way, and the only way it‘s going to end is with Rosie O‘Donnell finding out that her days are numbered and storming off in a way that will make the Star Jones incident seem like kindergarten. 

This is not a soap opera.  This is “Desperate Housewives.”  And people

have been saying, you know what?  Barbara is enjoying the ride, Barbara‘s

loving the ratings.  I‘ve never believed in that, because I think that she

she was OK with it for a while.  But with every DeVito, every Trump, every holding up signs against Bill O‘Reilly, it just—the temperature keeps getting hotter and hotter.  And Barbara‘s about to blow.

SCARBOROUGH:  Matthew, explain to people, if you will, that only know her through “The View” and through those interviews that she does on ABC—

I guess “20/20” she‘s been doing for years—explain to people what a trailblazer Barbara Walters was and how hard she worked for her reputation, that Rosie O‘Donnell tatters every time she does something like this. 

FELLING:  Absolutely.  It has been a shock to me that she‘s been putting up with this for this long.  She is the patron saint.  She is the woman that all female journalists since the ‘70s looked up to and said, “You know what?  She can do it; I‘m going to do, too.” 

She was perfection.  She was the gold standard with regards to female journalists through the ‘80s, into the ‘90s.  And now she‘s doing this Faustian bargain, where she‘s willing to put up with it, but only so far.  And I do really think that Rosie‘s days are numbered. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Rachel Sklar, do you think that she‘s going to put up with this much more or do you think that she will decide, “I‘ve got this reputation.  I‘ve had it for so long.  I‘m not going to let Rosie O‘Donnell come in and try to tear down everything that I‘ve built up over, gosh, 30, 40 years”?

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Well, first of all, I have to disagree.  I don‘t think that Barbara Walters‘ reputation has been tarnished at all.  In fact, I think that she‘s comported herself with a great deal of dignity and authority, through not only the goings on with Rosie, but also with respect to Star Jones.

SCARBOROUGH:  Can you imagine Walter Cronkite sitting through this? 

SKLAR:  You‘re talking about apples and oranges here.  And if we were talking about a situation where Cronkite had to deal with kind of policing and being the camp counselor for an unruly group of people, then, yes, of course, I could see him being authoritative and making a definitive statement. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, but Cronkite would have never allowed somebody like Rosie O‘Donnell on his show, would he?

SKLAR:  OK.  First of all, we‘re talking about different eras.  Let‘s just stick to these facts, because I think that, when you start talking about apples and oranges, really, it doesn‘t do anything to clarify the situation. 

The situation here is that Barbara Walters has tried to dispense with Star Jones in a classy, understated, personal fashion, and Star Jones made it public, so Barbara Walters had to respond.  She‘s tried—you know, she‘s tried to let Rosie have a free hand and kind of, you know, I guess support her freedom of speech without necessarily support what she‘s saying. 

And in this particular situation, yesterday on “The View” in the morning, she came out in support of Rosie.  So here now we‘ve got Donald Trump, who‘s making these statements, and we‘ll see where it goes, but I don‘t think that Barbara Walters has had anything happen to her reputation.  I think she‘s been very classy.

SCARBOROUGH:  I think Rosie is going to be able to practice her First Amendment rights on the street corner outside “The View” studio not too long from now. 

SKLAR:  Well, that may happen in the future, but I don‘t think that has to do with—that may have to do with how difficult she is to work with.  And that‘s actually a point that Jennifer Hudson made. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and probably also calling Barbara Walters a blanking liar.  Matthew Felling, Rachel Sklar, David, as always, thank you so much for being with us.  David Caplan, you‘re the best. 

Coming up, hooray for “Hollyweird.”  E!‘s Chelsea Handler is here with the latest on Paris, Britney, and how they just can‘t dress sometimes, literally. 

But next, it‘s warrior nation.  We‘re going to be introducing you to a group of ultimate fighters, why they‘re risking everything to get ahead, in one of the most brutal and controversial sports around.  You‘re going to be shocked.  You need to see this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Each week, millions tune in to watch ultimate fighting.  It‘s a brutal mix of boxing, martial arts, and pretty much any other sport where you can injure someone without using a weapon.  In fact, the ratings for the controversial sport are so high, they regularly beat mainstream sports, like Major League Baseball and Basketball. 

And as this clip from the new MSNBC series, “Warrior Nation,” shows, those who enter the ring—for those who enter the ring, sports every bit as serious as those American pastimes. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ENOCH WILSON, MMA FIGHTER:  I‘ve been pro for just a little over a year.  I‘ve been doing pretty good, 8-2 record, two world titles, sport fight.  I‘m getting ready to fight Urijah Faber, number-one guy in the nation, number-six guy in the world.  Just ready to battle.  It‘s going to be beautiful. 

I‘m kind of a wily character, you know, don‘t really care what anybody thinks, never really have, I mean, except those that count, my daughter, you know, my family, my very close friends, coach, never really bothered me. 

The ability to persevere, that‘s the difference, I believe, between a good fighter and a great fighter.  A good fighter gets put in a precarious position, might tap out.  A great fighter will know that it‘s just a minor setback, and he can overcome that. 

URIJAH FABER, MMA FIGHTER:  I was born in Santa Barbara.  My parents were kind of hippies, so I never had immunization shots or used conventional medicine, anything like that. 

SUZANNE TASTAD, URIJAH‘S MOTHER:  The thing I don‘t understand about this is why, when you‘ve been taught to be as healthy as possible in every way, yet you‘re out there elbowing people‘s heads. 

FABER:  It‘s not like I‘m grabbing somebody and tackling them from behind on the street and starting to elbow them in the head. 

TASTAD:  But, still, I don‘t get that. 

FABER:  It‘s competitive.  When I‘m wrestling, I‘m picking people up and slamming them on their head.  This is just another sport.

TASTAD:  That last person you fought, I heard that you either knocked his teeth out or made them very loose.  How did you feel about that?  I mean...

FABER:  How‘d I feel?  You know what?  The guy came up to me after the fight, and he came up and gave me a hug. 

TASTAD:  Don‘t you ever become concerned that you‘re going to get seriously hurt? 

FABER:  That I‘m going to get seriously hurt? 

TASTAD:  Uh-huh, or that you‘re going to hurt someone else seriously? 

FABER:  No.  I mean, the thing is about the sport is there‘s rules, there‘s people governing it, there‘s a referee in there to stop it... 

TASTAD:  I just hope that you‘ll outgrow this cage-fighting stuff really soon. 

FABER:  I‘ll outgrow it when I‘m rich.  You wait and see.  I‘m going to get you a house in Santa Barbara, and then we‘ll wait and see. 

TASTAD:  OK.  I want it real close to Oprah‘s house, OK?

FABER:  Deal. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Getting ready, staying loose, getting my head in the game. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) hair stand up on edge. 

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  ... throwing some elbows, transition into a heel hook. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Right here he‘s going for a (INAUDIBLE) didn‘t have it.  I knew he didn‘t, so I wanted to punish his kidneys a little bit, bam, bam.  How does that taste?  Yeah.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(LAUGHTER)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, tell your personal shopper to call you back, because, friends, it is time for “Hollyweird.”

First up, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, now, according to Mr.  Blackwell, these two starlets are at the top of Hollywood‘s worst-dressed list.  And if you want to know who‘s at the top, we‘ve got her on our show, Chelsea Handler.

Chelsea, that is a wonderful brown shade you‘re wearing.  Brown is the new black, of course.  And Chelsea...

CHELSEA HANDLER, “THE CHELSEA HANDLER SHOW”:  I‘m sorry, Joe...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... is the host of E!‘s “The Chelsea Handler Show.”  Hold on.  Let me finish promoting you.  And the author of the book, “My Horizontal Life,” in chocolate colored sheets.

So tell me, Chelsea, you live in Hollywood.  You hang out among the beautiful people.  What do you think of Mr. Blackwell‘s conclusion that Paris and Britney are two of the worst dressed? 

HANDLER:  Well, I think, once again, Mr. Blackwell is way off-base.  I think we all know that, since the time of the caveman, and not covering up your private parts and showing off your hot pockets has been a cornerstone of fashion.  And I don‘t think anybody expresses that better than Britney Spears. 

What I take personal offense to, Joe—let me finish—what I take personal offense to is him putting Camilla Parker Bowles second for wearing like feathered hats.  Feathered hats are totally in style; I just bought six of them, although I do use them for a different part of my body, I am a very big proponent of them. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I bet you are.  So explain to me about the lack of undergarments.  Is there some history throughout fashion—I mean, did that used to be hot in Paris?  Why is that acceptable to you?  Why do you think Mr. Blackwell should overlook the fact that Britney just kinds of runs around town without any underwear? 

HANDLER:  I think that, when we think of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton on a night on the town, we all come up with the same visual, Joe, and that visual is a flower blowing in the wind. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK.  Now, of course, speaking of flowers—and I always called Screech a flower among a garden of weeds—we all remember the Screech sex tape, although, here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, we‘ve been trying to forget it.  But now the man who‘s been peddling the tape is telling the “New York Daily News” he‘s not even sure it‘s Dustin Diamond in the video.  I mean, what are we to think?  Have we been lied to?

HANDLER:  I hope not, Joe, because I was very, very turned on sexually by that video, all seven times that I watched it.  But the funniest part...

SCARBOROUGH:  Seven times?

HANDLER:  ... about it is they‘re saying that Screech may have used an organ double.  Like, is that another term for a vibrator?  What is an organ double?  As if people are doing porn that don‘t have big organs.  That‘s the only reason you do them.  You don‘t do a porn because you have a great personality. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, really?  Oh, OK, well, I guess...

HANDLER:  Joe, you know that as well as I do.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  Let me take that off my list.  All right.  And “Life and Style Weekly”...

HANDLER:  Organ double, are you taking organ double off your list? 

SCARBOROUGH:  The need for one. 

“Life and Style Weekly” is reporting that Tara Conner has something to look forward to when she leaves rehab—no, not an organ double, but actually the beauty queen who almost lost her crown has a role on “Dancing with the Stars.”  Was this a smart move by ABC, Chelsea?  I mean, are they going to put a pole in the center of the stage?

HANDLER:  I don‘t know.  The fact that they‘re giving her—they‘re, quote, unquote, “rewarding her” with being on the show, “Dancing with the Stars,” it‘s like, that‘s great.  Why do they have to punish the rest of us with that program?  That show is so stupid. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I was hoping they‘d put me on there.  Tucker has been on there.  Did you know I watched...

(CROSSTALK)

HANDLER:  I would love to see you on that show, Joe.  I would love to see you on that show in a dress.  That would be badass. 

SCARBOROUGH:  I could cut the rug, or whatever you Hollywood types call it.  Chelsea Handler, it‘s been a wonderful night.  You‘ve really completed it, just like you‘ve always completed me.  Thanks for being here. 

HANDLER:  You complete me. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stick around. 

We‘ll see you tomorrow night.  But stick around for “Warrior Nation.”

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 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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