updated 1/12/2007 12:03:08 PM ET 2007-01-12T17:03:08

Guests: Rachel Sklar, Tom O‘Neil, Courtney Hazlett, Heidi Bressler, Cristina Gibson; Joe Klein, Ryan Lizza, Tony Snow

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  The president speaks to the nation and bleeds (ph) support in Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D), FLORIDA:  Why should we give you the benefit of the doubt this time, when it appears so evident that so many mistakes have been made in the past?

REP. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D), HAWAII:  This is the craziest, dumbest plan I‘ve ever seen or heard of in my life.

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN:  It‘s time to use the power of the purse to bring our troops out of Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And Republican rebels are calling his plan a disastrous step backward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL ®, NEBRASKA:  I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And along with more troops to Iraq, the president launched more threats towards Iran, as the president‘s speech puts the world on notice war with Iran could be on the horizon.  And still tonight, a developing story as we begin to learn the details of American troops reportedly storming an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq, arresting five Iranians and seizing computers and documents.

Is the United States baiting Iran into a war with America?  The president‘s “new way forward” in Iraq and how it could lead to war spilling across borders and engulfing the entire Middle East.  That‘s tonight.

And here to give us the story behind the story, Joe Klein, who was at today‘s congressional hearings on Iraq, and he writes about the surge in tomorrow‘s “Time” magazine.  Also, MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan and Ryan Lizza.  He‘s White House correspondent for “The New Republic.”

Now, Joe, if the early reviews are accurate, the president‘s speech last night seemed to repel Democrats and cause Republicans to run as quickly as they could for cover.  Was this speech a political disaster for George W. Bush?

JOE KLEIN, “TIME”:  It probably was.  But more than that, as you were just saying, it was a really dangerous speech.  Viewers have to understand that when you—when you invade another country‘s embassy or consulate, that‘s considered their home ground.  That‘s like invading the territory of Iran itself.

It seems very clear to me that what this guy is doing now is trying to get the pretext for—you know, for an air strike on the Iranian nuclear facilities and perhaps on their oil fields.  Now, the Iranians were aren‘t rising to the bait, and my suspicion is, my tremendous fear is that they are going to exact a toll from us not only in Iraq, but they control Hezbollah, which is a worldwide terrorist organization, and they could strike against our assets anywhere in the world.

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe, I‘ve been saying...

KLEIN:  This is a ridiculously dangerous game.

SCARBOROUGH:  Joe, I‘ve been saying for some time, as have you and other people, that this president is standing alone in the world.

KLEIN:  Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s standing alone.  His military generals have abandoned him,  His Republican base has abandoned him.  Republican congressmen and senators are abandoning him.  And yet when things get as bleak as they can be in Iraq, now he‘s talking about the possibility—and really, again, acting as if we‘re going to be going to war with Iran.

I‘m just trying—I‘m grasping here.  I‘m trying to find a modern precedent to this, and I just can‘t find a president so alone on a matter of war in such a dangerous situation.  Again, it seems mind-boggling to me.

KLEIN:  Well, you know, Joe, the presentation of this new offensive in Iraq is such a phony, as well.  They‘re saying that Maliki and the Iraqis, this was their plan.  Baloney.  Maliki‘s plan was to have the Americans leave Baghdad, so that their Shi‘ite government could vamp on the Sunnis.  Then we came in and we said, If you don‘t do it our way, we‘re going to abandon you entirely.  So we‘ve twisted some arms, and it isn‘t nearly as the president proposed it.

When I was at that hearing today, Gates—Secretary of Defense Gates said a really amazing thing.  He said that this surge was only going to last for a matter of months.  When you talk to the people who are counterinsurgency experts, the people who David Petraeus is bringing over with him to run this operation—and these are really among our very best soldiers—they will tell you that this is going to go on for years, years and years.  It‘s not a matter of months.

SCARBOROUGH:  So once again, Americans may not be getting the straight story on this war.

KLEIN:  May not be?  God, that was one of the most dreadful addresses to the nation I‘ve seen in 35 years of covering politics!

SCARBOROUGH:  He—and again, I just—I can‘t remember, Pat Buchanan, a president ever being this alone and being this abandoned by his own party since Jimmy Carter.  And of course, you were around during Richard Nixon‘s darkest moments, but Nixon didn‘t ever seem to be this alone.

I want you to take a look, Pat, at this exchange from Republican senator Chuck Hagel and Secretary Rice from earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE:  I don‘t see it and the president doesn‘t see it as an escalation.  What he sees...

HAGEL:  Putting 22,000 new troops—more troops in is not an escalation?

RICE:  Well, I think, Senator, escalation is not just a matter of how many numbers you put in.

HAGEL:  Would you call it a decrease, and billions of dollars more that you...

RICE:  I would call it, Senator, an augmentation that allows the Iraqis to deal with this very serious problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat Buchanan, of course, Chuck Hagel went on to say this is the worst foreign policy blunder since Vietnam.  Is this Republican revolt turning out to be a congressional equivalent of a vote of no confidence?  When you start adding up all the Republicans that are now turning against the president in the U.S. Senate, at last count, I add it up to eight.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, you know, Joe, if the last election—this had been a parliamentary system, the president‘s government would have fallen.  Thee‘s no doubt about it.

I think Chuck Hagel‘s a good man, but I disagree with him that the speech was the worst blunder in recent foreign policy history.  I do believe the invasion of Iraq was that and will prove to be a horrendous blunder.

But I do think this.  And I don‘t agree with Joe to that extent.  I think what the president is going to do, he‘s going to put this surge of troops in there, and we‘re going to find a test very, very soon.  Will Maliki turn on Muqtada al Sadr, the thug, the head of the biggest, baddest militia in Iraq and in Baghdad—will he turn and fight alongside the Americans to eliminate that threat?  That‘s the key question.

If he doesn‘t do that, I think the president will have said, That is it, we can‘t trust Maliki, and I think he‘s going to turn around and we‘re on our way out.  I do believe the horrendous mistake that was made was the initial invasion, frankly, which an awful lot of people voted for who are now denouncing the president.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Pat, of course, the latest polls show that George Bush is being denounced by an overwhelming number of Americans, and his surge is unpopular with Americans.  Take a look at these numbers -- 36 percent support the surge now—that‘s actually up -- 61 percent oppose it.  And with the public and his own party abandoning him, how does this president still get his way in Iraq and turn his new attention to Iran, and as Joe pointed out, we actually go in and invade a foreign country‘s consulate?

BUCHANAN:  Well, the breakdown in the polls pretty much reflects where the country is now.  It‘s 2-to-1 against the war and against the president.

But you‘ve really touched on something, Joe, and last night we did.  If you notice, the president said he‘s sending Patriot missiles in and he‘s sending an aircraft carrier in.  We don‘t need air power in Iraq—aircraft.  We don‘t need Patriot missiles because the insurgents don‘t have missiles.  And the president said—the most important word is networks that are training and providing advance weaponry.  Those obviously are in Iran.

I think what the president plans to do is to find one or two of these networks, hit them with air strikes, and when the Iranians respond militarily, then the B-2s go after the uranium plants and the heavy water reactors.

SCARBOROUGH:  So you think George Bush right now—you think George Bush‘s plan—and it certainly looks like it—is to bait the Iranians into attacking us and allowing George Bush and the U.S. military cover to go into Iran?

BUCHANAN:  I think—I would guess that is it.  He is certainly

planning that.  He is preparing for that.  If he hits Iran and they respond

I think the president believes in his heart that Iranian—the nuclear program has to be eliminate or smashed before he and Cheney leave office.  He‘s committed to do that.  That is the Bush doctrine.

He is looking for an opportunity, and he may well be preparing the opportunity right now, Joe.  I think that‘s very valid—that‘s not only valid speculation, I think it‘s pretty much what‘s planned.  Why would you need Patriot missiles?  Why would our allies need them?  Who‘s going to fire rockets at our allies?  Who‘s got ballistic missiles?

SCARBOROUGH:  And Ryan, why would you storm the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq the day after you gave a speech that made a lot of people believe that George Bush was focusing on the next war, which could be a coming war with Iran?  Where are Americans going to stand on a coming war with Iran, when they‘re fatigued with the three-and-a-half, four-year war that we‘ve been fighting in Iraq?

RYAN LIZZA, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  Look, I think a lot of people went to bed last night thinking the headline from that speech was an escalation of the war in Iraq, and it looks like we woke up this morning and realized that that speech was really about confrontation with Iran.

And you know, this whole conversation brings to mind that famous memo that Rumsfeld wrote right after 9/11, Sweep it all up, things related and not.  And they weren‘t just talking about al Qaeda, they were talking about Saddam and Iran, and this looks like it‘s of a piece of that.

You know, the culture has changed, though, in Washington.  And one thing I have to say, following up on Pat‘s point, is, Where were some of these Republicans three years ago?  I mean, a lot of Republicans in this town were happy to use the cudgel of the Iraq war vote in 2002 and 2004 to sort of provide air cover for a couple of elections...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I have another question for you, Ryan.

LIZZA:  Yes?

SCARBOROUGH:  Ryan, another question we could ask is, Where were the Democrats?

LIZZA:  And the Democrats, as well.  Absolutely.

KLEIN:  Absolutely.

LIZZA:  It goes to both sides.  And you know, look, you look at a guy like Hagel, and you know in his heart of hearts, he‘s been as passionate on this issue from day one, and you know, we haven‘t really—we haven‘t really seen him speak out the way he‘s speaking out now.  And the same with some of the other Republicans.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Joe Klein, you were sitting in that congressional hearing room, and as you sit in those rooms, it‘s very easy to tell when the worm has turned on a politician.  Does it seem that George Bush is really in a worse position than just being a lame duck president, that he is actually politically a dead duck for the next two years?

KLEIN:  Well, the interesting thing to me at the Armed Services Committee—the House Armed Services Committee hearing, is that only Duncan Hunter, the ranking Republican member, said—you know, delivered what would normally be the party line.  Every other Republican congressman that I was there for—I wasn‘t there for the whole thing—every last one of them had critical questions of Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Peter Pace.

Let me just go back to Chuck Hagel, though.  I think that this is a much different order of magnitude than Vietnam.  I mean, Vietnam had regional implications.  You know, it empowered the North Vietnamese to act in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia.  This case, the blunder has global implications.  And if he is going to go against Iran—these people are not stupid.  They are not going to take the bait directly, even if we do the air strikes that Pat is suggesting we might.  And I agree with him, we may well be heading in that direction.

They have an excellent, excellent covert service, the Iranians do, and they have a lot of different ways to respond that are indirect and covert.  And they have access to Hezbollah, who...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, Joe, they did it this summer.

KLEIN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Look what happened in southern Lebanon.  I mean, Pat Buchanan, I remember talking to you about that.  That entire country erupted and it was on fire for a good part of the summer.  It could happen again, couldn‘t it.

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, I think—well, the Iranians have to know that if they do respond to an attack on these so-called networks, what Bush will do.  And Bush will go after them.  And frankly, Iran is a vulnerable country in this sense.  It‘s only 51 percent Persians.  You‘ve got Azeris.  You‘ve got Kurds.  You‘ve got Arabs.  You‘ve got Baluchis in there. 

They‘re in a real dangerous situation.

But Joe, let me say this.  Where the president is correct—everybody‘s saying, This is a blunder, the surge is a mistake, and it‘s probably not going to work.  But where the president is dead right is what Joe‘s been describing as the disaster that‘s going to occur.  I believe, if we do turn around and march out of there, this government is coming down.  There is going to be killing on an unimaginable scale.  We are going to have a terrorist base camp.  We are going to have interventions.  The country‘s coming apart.  We are going to have the countries down in the gulf threatened by Shias.

The whole Arab nationalist and Islamic radical world is going to be energized because when the Afghans beat the Soviets, they have beaten the last superpower, the greatest nation on earth.  And that enthusiasm, that wild energy will cut lose across that region.  This will be a debacle on a massive scale.  That‘s where Bush is right.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right...

KLEIN:  Well, there‘s a way to deal with that.

BUCHANAN:  How?

(CROSSTALK)

KLEIN:  I think, you know, plan B, this surge, you know, isn‘t going to work.  But people are already working on plan C.  I‘ve spoken to people in the intelligence community and also a couple of enlightened Democrats.  And what it is, is this.  You pull out troops out of Baghdad and let them have their little civil war there, but you don‘t pull our troops out of the country.  You pull them up to the Kurdish areas and you keep on fighting al Qaeda in Anbar province, and you make sure that the borders of Iraq are secure, so that if Iran tries to do something, or Turkey tries to do something, we have troops there to handle it.  That to me seems a reasonable fallback position.

SCARBOROUGH:  Gentlemen, unfortunately, we have to leave.  Joe Klein, Pat Buchanan, Ryan Lizza, thank you so much for being with us.  It certainly sounds like a dangerous situation just got even worse.  We‘re going to be following it, obviously, in the days and weeks ahead.

Still ahead here, though: Is the U.S. government blocking use of a life-saving weapons system so one giant corporation can make millions?  Our exclusive NBC News investigation is next.  And later...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  I feel sorry for Barbara because she‘s just a puppet now of Rosie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Who else but Donald Trump could have Barbara Walters and Madonna bad-mouthing him?  And guess who else is getting involved?  Here‘s a hint.  She was a star who‘s now jonesing for the spotlight.  The latest on the celebrity feud that even “The New York Times” can‘t ignore.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I spoke with White House press secretary Tony Snow tonight, and listen to what he had to say about Senator Hagel‘s comments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I‘m not going to get into a scrap with Chuck Hagel.  We‘ve got our view, which is—a lot of people worked very hard on this.  We listened to views like Chuck‘s.  We listened to views of people all over Capitol Hill.  In fact, we aggressively reached out and tried to talk to them.  So the fact is, we are interested in getting this right.  And if Senator Hagel‘s got a better idea that‘s going to lead to us success in Iraq—and I‘m not being squirrely with him, I‘m being honest with him.  If somebody‘s got a better idea about how to do this, we want to hear it because the purpose—the most important thing is to get it right.

You and I both understand, Joe, that Americans are going to pay a very high cost if we do not have a successful mission in Iraq, not only Americans but people throughout the Middle East and around the world.  So it‘s important to get it right.  And therefore, people who want to criticize—and look, it‘s going to be natural.  We want people to take a good, hard look at it.  Let‘s hear what better ideas we have.  It‘s important, and we welcome it.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m concerned that we haven‘t confronted Iran earlier.  They‘ve been the epicenter of terror since 1979.  How far are we willing to push the Iranians to let them know they‘re not going to be able to interfere with the affairs of Iraq‘s government, they‘re not going to be able to continue funding the likes of al Sadr?

SNOW:  Let me just put it this way.  The American government is making it clear to the Iranians where we stand.  And the other thing is, we‘re going to be very aggressive.  If we catch people transporting weapons inside Iraq, we‘re going after them.  We catch them transporting funding inside Iraq, we‘re going after them.  We see them bringing weapons or personnel inside Iraq, we‘re going to after them.

We‘re trying to protect American lives and Iraqi lives, and the president made that clear.  That is normal in a time of war.  There are any number of other means—you know, you don‘t have to go to war to make a point, Joe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And they certainly went after them today and made a point at the same time, storming a consulate.  That‘s obviously very, very dramatic.  Well, that was my conversation earlier tonight with White House press secretary Tony Snow.

Now, one of the biggest killers of U.S. troops in Iraq is rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs.  In September, NBC senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers told us about how an Israel-made system called TROPHY actually shoots RPGs out of the sky.  It‘s a system one office in the Pentagon wanted to battle test this year because it could save American lives, but the U.S. Army blocked it.  Why?  Because Army officials are paying Raytheon $70 million to develop a similar system from scratch, a system that‘s not going to be ready for at least four years.

Well, tonight Lisa Myers has some startling new information on this exclusive and very troubling investigation—Lisa.

LISA MYERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Joe, this is not just another Pentagon turf battle, there are very real human consequences.  More than 130 American soldiers and Marines have been killed in Iraq and countless others injured in attacks involving RPGs.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  In response to urgent pleas from commanders in Iraq, the Pentagon‘s Office of Force Transformation, OFT, found TROPHY.  Developed over the last decade in Israel, TROPHY—mounted here on a combat vehicle—first detects an RPG, then intercepts it before it hits the target.

Pentagon testers found TROPHY 98 percent effective, and OFT, set up to cut through red tape, wanted to battle-test the system in Iraq this year, hoping to save American lives.  But the Army blocked that testing, arguing in this interview for our first report that TROPHY simply is not ready.

COL. DONALD KOTCHMAN, U.S. ARMY:  The Army is opposed to deploying a system before we are sure that it‘s safe, effective, suitable and supportable.  TROPHY is not there yet.

MYERS:  In letters to Congress since our first report, the Army says the best proof TROPHY is not ready is that the Israel Defense Forces have yet to integrate and field TROPHY.  To check out the Army‘s claim, we went back to Israel.  We found that the Israel military has indeed begun to integrate and field TROPHY on tanks, buying at least 100 systems.  Brigadier General Amir Nir leads that effort.

(on camera):  Some say that TROPHY has not been sufficiently tested, that it‘s not ready to be deployed.

BRIG. GEN. AMIR NIR, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES:  It‘s the most mature, and it can do the job.

MYERS:  So you‘re satisfied that TROPHY has been sufficiently tested?

NIR:  Yes.

MYERS (voice-over):  Last fall, after our first reports aired, Major General Jeffrey Sorenson gave Congress a laundry list of reasons why the U.S. Army opposes TROPHY.  First, 360-degree coverage.  Can TROPHY handle attacks from every direction?

MAJ. GEN. JEFFREY SORENSON, U.S. ARMY:  From the standpoint of providing 360-degree coverage, we have issues.

MYERS:  What does General Nir say?

(on camera):  Will TROPHY be able to engage targets from all directions?

NIR:  Yes, 360 degrees.

MYERS:  360-degree coverage

NIR:  Yes.

MYERS:  You‘re sure?

NIR:  Yes.

MYERS (voice-over):  Second, can TROPHY reload automatically, or would soldiers have to climb out of the vehicle and manually load the weapon, perhaps under hostile fire?

SORENSON:  From the standpoint of an auto-loader that‘s not yet developed, we have issues.

MYERS:  We went to TROPHY‘s manufacturer, Rafael, to see if there is an auto-loader.

(on camera):  So this is the auto-loader?

COL. DIDI BEN-YOASH, RAFAEL:  Absolutely.  This is an auto-loader.

MYERS:  The U.S. Army says you don‘t have an auto-loader.

YOASH:  Well, this is an auto-loader.

MYERS (voice-over):  Third, what‘s the collateral risk to troops when TROPHY intercepts an RPG?  After our first report, the Army told Congress it has serious concerns about soldier safety.  The Israel Army view?

(on camera):  How much additional risk do you believe there is to the troops?

NIR:  As far as we tested, at most, 1 percent.

MYERS:  So not a significant risk?

NIR:  Not a significant risk.

MYERS (voice-over):  In fact, the Israelis argue that TROPHY, while not perfect, will provide much-needed protection for troops and save lives, the same conclusion reached by TROPHY‘s backers in the Pentagon.

(on camera):  We wanted to ask the U.S. Army about all this.  General Sorenson first agreed to an interview, then canceled it.  The Army also refused to answer any of some 30 specific questions we submitted.

(voice-over):  The Army did give us a statement, saying, “The U.S.  Army is dedicated to ensuring our soldiers deploy with the best force protection capability and is working on a system to counter RPGs.”  When will that system, being built by Raytheon, be ready?  The Army previously told us it should get to the troops in four years, by 2011, but now declines to say whether it is still on course to meet that deadline.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MYERS:  TROPHY‘s backers in the Pentagon say American troops simply cannot afford to wait four years or more while the Army develops a new state-of-the-art system.  They claim the Army is putting procurement politics above protecting the troops—Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Unbelievable.  A great report, Lisa Myers.  And it certainly reminds you of when General Eisenhower, then President Eisenhower, in his farewell speech to Americans, warned us all about the military-industrial complex, where they put profits ahead of protecting our troops.  Certainly, this appears to be a terrible, terrible example of that.

Well, coming up, Abraham Lincoln‘s long-lost Bushisms found.  “The Daily Show‘s” surprise discovery next in “Must See S.C.”  And later, what do Star Jones and Madonna have in common?  No, not that.  They‘re both choosing sides in the war of the Rosie.  We‘re going to show you what these two are saying and why the Donald can‘t keep his mouth shut.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you‘ve just got to see. 

Well, last night President Bush gave an impassioned speech to the American people on his new plan in Iraq, but sometimes it isn‘t what you say, actually, it‘s how you say it.  Jon Stewart and David Letterman show us why the president‘s biggest obstacle may be his own mouth. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN OLIVER, CORRESPONDENT, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Perhaps their similar speaking styles will jog your memory. 

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Lincoln is perhaps the greatest orator in American history. 

OLIVER:  Correct, with a style that was pure George W.  Listen to this rare wax cylinder recording from 1858. 

LINCOLN IMPERSONATOR:  A house divided cannot—cannot—if you divide a house, you‘ve got to—you can‘t stand in a divided house. 

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  ...

that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. 

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

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  ... that there be a stable Iran, Iran that is capable of rejecting Iranian influence—I mean, Iraq. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, that hits you just right there.  You know what he means.  I mean, that‘s all that matters. 

Anyway, coming up, Donald Trump attacks Barbara Walters.  Madonna defends Rosie.  And the nation asks:  When is this going to be over?  The latest on the Rosie-Trump feud, next. 

And later, do you ever wonder what really happens when celebrities are away from the paparazzi?  Well, let‘s just say they get a little more animated.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Nothing can stop the runaway beer truck that is the Donald and Rosie feud.  Now, of course, it‘s not just Donald and Rosie any more.  The grand dame of journalism herself, Barbara Walters, is now deep in the mix, trading barbs with the Trump.  And the Donald, well, let‘s just say he‘s not quietly sitting by waiting for it to all to go away. 

NBC‘s Natalie Morales sat down with Trump for round 100 or so of this epic battle. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  What can you say about that guy? 

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  That poor, pathetic man. 

(APPLAUSE)

O‘DONNELL:  Yes! 

WALTERS:  He just can‘t let go. 

O‘DONNELL:  The man is obsessed with me.  And, I‘m happy to say, his show tanked. 

DONALD TRUMP, HOST, “THE APPRENTICE”:  When somebody attacks, I believe in attacking back. 

NATALIE MORALES, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Donald Trump‘s name was never even uttered Wednesday on “The View.”  But the attack on him and his NBC reality show, “The Apprentice,” was clear to Trump. 

TRUMP:  Rosie lies.  “The Apprentice” ratings were fantastic.  It was the most successful show in the last 14 months in that time slot.  And Rosie made the statement, “Oh, the show bombed, it bombed.”

You‘re fired. 

MORALES:  And according to the Nielsen ratings, Sunday‘s premiere of “The Apprentice,” now in its sixth season and this time on location in Los Angeles, showed growth of 5 percent over the fifth season and winning the time slot. 

As for “The View,” the ratings are also up, 24 percent from the same time last year.  And since the war of words with Trump got under way, an average about a half-million more viewers have tuned in, a fact Trump is more than happy to point out. 

TRUMP:  Rosie is a very sad figure, and watch what happens.  After I‘m finished with this, and “The View” goes back to being “The View,” those ratings will tank. 

MORALES:  Trump continues to insist that, when Walters phoned him last month, she did make disparaging remarks about O‘Donnell, no matter what Walters is saying now. 

TRUMP:  Because that‘s what she said.  I hope Rosie is listening. 

That‘s what she said, Rosie. 

MORALES:  And how does Trump feel about Walters?

TRUMP:  Well, I feel sorry for Barbara, because she‘s just a puppet now of Rosie. 

MORALES:  But the women of “The View” are outwardly showing a united front.

O‘DONNELL:  Are you OK, Barbara? 

WALTERS:  I‘m OK, darling, are you OK?

O‘DONNELL:  I‘m OK, too.  We‘re both OK?

MORALES:  Trump, however, is still not OK with O‘Donnell.

TRUMP:  She‘s disgusting. 

MORALES (on screen): Why go there?  Why go with the “slob” and the comments and calling her disgusting? 

TRUMP:  I actually like my hair, but she‘s always, you know, knocking it. 

O‘DONNELL:  There he is, hair looping, going...

TRUMP:  It‘s sort of interesting.  She can criticize my hair, but I‘m not allowed to criticize her.  You want me to comb it back?  We‘ll have a big story.  I‘ll comb it back, right?  You know, I actually like my hair, but she sort of thinks like—because she has nothing else to say. 

MORALES (voice-over):  Natalie Morales, NBC News, New York. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  I wish I could make my hair do that. 

Here now is former “Apprentice” candidate Heidi Bressler.  She‘s now the director of advertising for “Trump” magazine.  We also have “InTouch Weekly” senior editor Tom O‘Neil, who—he was lucky enough to actually work with Rosie on her magazine.  And Rachel Sklar, media editor for the Huffington Post.

Tom, you‘ve worked with Rosie.  I would guess where you side on this.  But do you think Donald Trump has done the impossible, kind of like uniting Sunnis and Shia?  He‘s actually brought Rosie O‘Donnell and Barbara Walters together and made them even closer than they were before?

TOM O‘NEIL, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  And he‘s turned Rosie into a sympathetic character.  Remember, a month ago, we were all talking about Rosie the bully going after everybody else.  Well, when he went after her and went over the top doing it, she was sympathetic.  He was trying to drive a wedge between Rosie and Barbara to get her fired.  He ended up, as you mentioned, making them draw together closer into the sisterhood, that the show was always supposed to be but never was.  The Donald did it!

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, you now have Barbara Walters, who I think most people believe actually did call Trump and trash Rosie O‘Donnell.  But you have Barbara Walters calling Donald Trump “that poor, pathetic man.”  Tom, can you believe that it‘s gotten to this? 

O‘NEIL:  Actually, what—the Donald called Barbara.  You had that sound clip a second ago when he called her a “puppet.”  He‘d called her a “pathetic puppet” before that in a written statement.  So the pathetic was a throwback to what the Donald had said.  But, yes, this is really terrible. 

You know, we all have cranky grandpas that go, “Oh, I don‘t like that Rosie.  She‘s a big, fat pig.”  There‘s a way that people talk in private, and there‘s a way that people talk in public.  And what we‘re hearing is—

I think this is the Tom Cruise syndrome.  We‘re seeing—when Tom was jumping on couches and going off on his Scientology, that‘s who he really was, and it was unpleasant, I think this is really who the Donald is, and, wow, it‘s scary. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Heidi Bressler, do you think that Donald Trump is the 2007 version of Tom Cruise?  Is he out of control?  And is he hurting himself? 

HEIDI BRESSLER, FORMER “APPRENTICE” CANDIDATE:  First of all, he‘s absolutely not out of control.  And let me say, this whole thing stemmed when he, quite possibly, could have saved a life, Miss USA.  And Rosie failed to mention that.  He was giving her a second chance.  And she failed to mention that.

And the bottom line is, if you come after Donald, he‘s going to go after you.  And I have to say, since this, not only the ratings, I was just at a client today, one of the Trump brands, they said they sent Donald—personally they sent him a thank you note, because their sales have skyrocketed.  So this is benefiting him. 

He‘s not the Tom Cruise.  He‘s not crazy.  And we don‘t know what happened between him and Barbara Walters.  They were the only ones that heard the conversation. 

And I will say this:  Donald Trump may exaggerate at times, but he doesn‘t lie.  He is not a liar.  So I find it ironic that Barbara Walters is calling him pathetic now, but last week, when Rosie was on vacation, she really wasn‘t as aggressive as she was this week.  So I question why...

(CROSSTALK)

BRESSLER:  And they did get in this bit in the “New York Post,” they did get in a fight, her and Rosie.  So maybe the producers are saying you need to work together.  They work together, you know, so they have to kind of get along. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It certainly seems like Barbara Walters has been trying to have it both ways.  And, of course, an old foe of Rosie‘s has come out of the woodwork and back to the Donald, backed Trump, and he told “New York Times”—that‘s right, “The New York Times”—quote, “I just got a congratulatory call from Star Jones.” 

Rachel Sklar, I don‘t know if I would actually brag about that, but do you think Donald Trump has played this wisely in the media? 

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  I don‘t think that he‘s played this wisely at all.  I mean, I think that—it‘s like what was said before, he came out a little too strong, a little too aggressively, and he forced—you know, he forced the sisterhood to come into effect. 

I mean, he was thuggish in his comments.  Nobody is going to stand behind those kinds of cheap shots.  And while it‘s true that the comment about his hair was uncalled for, I mean, he really came back with things that were just base and just really thuggish. 

It‘s really hard to be sympathetic for someone like that.  And I think that, you know, he played his hand.  He put all his cards on the table, saying about Barbara Walters, essentially, “Pick me,” and she said, “No, I‘m sticking with Rosie.”  And he got left out in the cold. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Tom O‘Neil, the ratings just keep going up. 

There‘s talk that Rosie may actually get her own show out of this. 

O‘NEIL:  I think that‘s where this is going.  The talk has always been about bringing Rosie back on her own.  And when everyone else was saying, “Oh, no, maybe, you know, Barbara will fire her from the show,” no, no, no, no, each time that Rosie was back in the headlines over the past few months, Telepictures behind the scenes, which is the same syndicator, by the way, that does—the same production house that does Ellen DeGeneres‘ show, has been talking to Rosie.  So if her contract is up in September, she may split. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I‘ll tell what you—and I‘m sure if she does, you‘ll be the first one to line up to work with Rosie again, because you loved her so much last time. 

O‘NEIL:  Absolutely. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, listen, well, I‘m sorry, we had a packed front half because of the president‘s speech.  I wish we had more time, Rachel Sklar, Heidi Bressler, Tom O‘Neil, thank you so much for being with us. 

And coming up next...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘ve got to go out with me. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Vince, I told you, we‘re just friends. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Friends?  Joey and Chandler are friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bert and Ernie are friends.  Like mac and cheese, baby, I‘m mac, you‘re cheese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why do I have to be cheese?

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s celebrities as you‘ve never seen them before, outrageous and animated, literally.  See what may have happened behind closed doors. 

And later, the breakup‘s official.  And Justin Timberlake is wasting no time bringing sexy back to another “Hollyweird” starlet.  The full scoop, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Did you ever wonder what really happened behind closed doors of the latest celebrity feud or when your favorite Hollywood starlet was behaving badly?  Well, wonder no more.  A new show on E! called “Starveillance” uses the magic of claymation to re-enact some of “Hollyweird‘s” most infamous moments.  And our own infamous Willie Geist shows us some of the best clips. 

Willie, what you got, baby?

WILLIE GEIST, PRODUCER:  Infamous, Joe, that‘s not very nice, is it? 

You might remember the MTV show...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, hold on, hold on, the man who brought sexy back to

MSNBC. 

GEIST:  There it is.  Thank you.

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, go ahead, Willie. 

GEIST:  As long as we‘re taking votes for the record, by the way, Team Trump.  I don‘t know about you, Joe, but I‘m with Trump. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, yes, I‘m all with Trump, always with Trump. 

GEIST:  Of course.  Well, you might remember that MTV show, “Celebrity Deathmatch,” Joe, where animated celebrities made of clay fought nearly to the death to resolve their tabloid feuds.  Well, the man who created that show is back spoofing celebrities with his pottery wheel again.  Hope as we might, we‘ll never really know what goes on in private between Tom and Katie or Brad and Angelina or Donald and Rosie, but “Starveillance” offers a few suggestions. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We‘ve wired hidden cameras all around the world in an effort to capture celebrity footage, stuff you never thought you‘d get to see, until now.  This is...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Knock-knock.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who‘s there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, I don‘t know, just “Starveillance.”

ERIC FOGEL, CREATOR, “STARVEILLANCE”:  With this show, we sort of wanted to peel back the curtain and explore situations that we‘ve all sort of read about in the tabloids and so forth.  But with this show, we just wanted to sort of get into it and really have fun with these situations. 

GEIST:  Well, let‘s take a look at what you‘re talking about.  This is the “Starveillance” version of what have might have happened when the Olsen twins went apartment hunting.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right, ladies, this is one of our newest apartments.  It‘s state of the art, one of the biggest apartments in Manhattan. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, I thought that was, like, the lobby of the building or something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, this is small. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s tiny.  I mean, we‘re tiny, but this is super tiny. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Ashley, look, I can fit in this cabinet. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, this is 30,000 square foot. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Numbers, ouch. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, yes, I figure...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Where do our bodyguards stay? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Maybe if you‘d rent another apartment for them? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No, no, no, we‘re normal. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We‘re normal.  That‘s exotic and crazy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you Mary-Kate or... 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  She‘s Ashley.  She‘s perky.  I‘m creative, because I‘m wearing bracelets. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh.  Let‘s just go into the kitchen. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right, let‘s walk out.  Let‘s walk out.  Let‘s walk out.  OK, all right. 

GEIST:  The beauty in this is that‘s probably not that far off from exactly what happened.  How did you pick the celebrities?  There are so many to choose from.  How did you pick the Olsen twins? 

FOGEL:  That was just something we pulled out.  You know, we were in the studio one day, and we were just looking for something fun.  We sort of wanted to try it.  We had two really talented voice actresses with us.  And one of the fun things about the show is that we get to do a lot of improvisation and a lot of that sketch was actually improvised. 

GEIST:  It‘s good stuff.  Let‘s take another look at one.  This clip here, a revealing look at Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston in the early days of their relationship. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, hi, honey.  Bacon cheeseburger, extra fries, chocolate shake, and don‘t gay up my plate with that parsley or sprout-looking stuff.  Baby? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I‘d like to try the rigatoni...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oriental chicken salad for her.  Trust me.  Why are you still here?  We‘re done. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  That was rude. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m not really, baby.  Now, where was I?  Oh, yes, you‘ve got to go out with me. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Vince, I told you we‘re just friends. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Friends?  Joey and Chandler are friends.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Bert and Ernie are friends.  Like mac and cheese, baby, I‘m mac, you‘re cheese.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why do I have to be cheese?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Fine, be whoever you want.  The point is we love each other. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You know, like real love. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t know about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Joanie loves Chachi, the ever-so-popular Siegfried and Roy.  Now, that‘s love.  Lions and tigers couldn‘t keep them apart.  Not some fake tabloid thing like Brad and Angelina. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Whoa, Vince, OK, you know that‘s a sore topic with me.  Can we just focus on my tiny, perfect lips and breasts?                

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of course, beautiful baby.  Consider that topic done.  Over.  Kaput.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Good, fine, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Man, Angelina‘s so hot.  But don‘t worry, you‘re hot in a wholesome way.  She‘s leather.  You‘re lace.  Not that dime store lace, either.  I‘m talking about good, fricking lace, classy lace, but not whore classy.  That‘s Angelina.

GEIST:  That is a dead-on Vince Vaughn, by the way.  That‘s very good.  Do you ever hear from the people you spoof?  I mean, you‘ve been in this business a while with the other show.  Do you hear from the celebrities? 

FOGEL:  We did a few times on “Deathmatch,” and most of it was actually pretty complimentary, believe it or not. 

GEIST:  Well, inevitably, you had to get to Britney and K-Fed, so let‘s take a look now at the moment when they visited their wedding planner. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Britney, Kevin.  I‘m thrilled and, I must say, somewhat surprised that you‘ve hired a wedding planner. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, I‘m real excited to plan one for a change. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes, this wedding‘s going to be the bombity-bomb, yo.  Getting married is going to totally like change my life.  Yes.  Hold on, hold on, I want to document all of this. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Check out my knees, y‘all.  I‘m (INAUDIBLE) I‘m just messing with y‘all.  It‘s my butt crack!

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, sakes alive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GEIST:  Joe, K-Fed is even better in clay.  And we didn‘t even get to Tom and Katie in that interview.  Let‘s say “Starveillance” will be hearing from the church, if you know what I mean. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Very good, Willie.  Thank you so much.  Greatly appreciate it.

GEIST:  All right, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  They need to do you and me next. 

GEIST:  Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Willie, thanks so much.

And speaking of next, “Hollyweird” straight ahead.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, tell your publicist you want to start a celebrity feud.  Friends, it‘s time for “Hollyweird.”

First up, the many loves of Justin Timberlake.  Exit Cameron Diaz, enter Scarlett Johansson.  Both Timberlake and Diaz confirmed their breakup today, but “US Weekly” says Justin‘s casting of Johansson in his music video, “What Goes Around,” was romantic revenge. 

And while Justin‘s bringing sexy back, we‘re bringing back “OK” magazine senior reporter Courtney Hazlett and, from E! Online‘s “The Awful Truth,” reporter Cristina Gibson. 

Justin splits with Cameron for Scarlett Johansson?  Not such a bad trade, is it there, Courtney? 

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE:  Well, I‘m not one to judge, but the situation definitely smacks of when Nick Lachey recently divorced from Jessica Simpson.  His first video after his divorce, he cast Vanessa Minnillo, and now those two are an item and engagement rumors are flying around them.  So it looks like he‘s moving on a little bit quickly, and maybe this will be the real thing for him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Cristina Gibson, is it the real thing? 

CRISTINA GIBSON, E! ONLINE REPORTER:  You know, I don‘t know.  He did do the music video, “What Goes Around Comes Around,” with her, and they have been seen out together at Shag—I‘m sorry, at Social, after his movie premiere, but they were just seen hanging out.  There was no real canoodling or anything like that.  So who knows if this is the real thing?  Maybe they‘re just friends; maybe they‘re just co-workers; or maybe there‘s something more. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And Justin certainly gets around, though.  Let‘s talk about “American Idol.”  “American Idol‘s” Simon Cowell says Bob Dylan‘s music bores him to tears, and he‘ll take Kelly Clarkson over the music icon any day.  Courtney, no accounting for taste with “Idol,” is there? 

HAZLETT:  Not much.  You know what?  That just leaves more Bob Dylan for the rest of us, as far as I‘m concerned. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.

HAZLETT:  If Simon wants to split hairs and say, “You know what?  Bob Dylan wouldn‘t be a great pop star,” OK, I‘ll give him that.  He wouldn‘t be a great pop star, a la Kelly Clarkson.  But it‘s kind of like, hey, Simon, give someone their due when they deserve it.  It shouldn‘t all be about you and what outrageous thing you‘re going to say next. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Give somebody their due when they change the history of Western popular music. 

Cristina Gibson, speaking of somebody who has not done that, Britney Spears.  According to upcoming “InTouch Weekly,” Britney‘s stylist wants to distance herself from the pop princess, saying Britney just doesn‘t listen to her advice.  Embarrassed, huh? 

GIBSON:  I don‘t blame her.  If I was Britney‘s stylist, I would be embarrassed, too.  I mean, the girl goes out of the house looking like a train wreck most of the time.  But if I was her stylist, I wouldn‘t want to take credit for that, either.  I think she probably—you know, the stylist tried to give her outfits and advice and do her up nicely, and then Britney just wants to do her own thing, and makes it her own, and ends up looking like a mess.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, total, absolute train wreck of fashion crime, just like what I do on MSNBC every night.

GIBSON:  You‘re not that bad.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Cristina Gibson—oh, well, thank goodness.  I appreciate the compliment, I think, “not that bad.”  Thank you so much.  Greatly appreciate it, Courtney.  Thank you for being here, too.  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 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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