updated 1/25/2007 12:59:56 PM ET 2007-01-25T17:59:56

Guests: Michael Crowley, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Pat Buchanan, Wayne White, Matthew Felling, Steve Adubato, Katrina Szish, Jill Dobson, Marc Malkin

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY:  Tonight, secret plans for a coming war with Iran.  Tonight we talk to a former State Department official who says he‘s seen the battle plan for Iran, and he‘s going to talk about how the Pentagon pushed back on the president‘s plan for a full-scale attack.  That‘s right.  Not selected bombing targets, but a full-scale attack.

But first, just hours after President Bush asked the country and Congress to give his plan to escalate the war in Iraq a chance, top senators of both parties declared the president a failed military strategist.

And perhaps the most strident criticism came from a Republican.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL, R-NEBRASKA:  We‘d better be damn sure we know what we‘re doing - all of us - before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder.  We‘d better be as sure as you can be.

And I want every one of you - every one of us 100 senators - to look in that camera, and you tell your people back home what you think.

If we don‘t debate this, we are not worthy of our country, we fail our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Here now to talk about the full-scale revolt on Capitol Hill we have Michael Crowley.  He is the senior editor of “The New Republic.”  Katrina Vanden Heuvel - she‘s editor of “The Nation.”  And MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan.

Michael, the Chuck Hagel remarks today were simply brutal.  And, of course, it leads to the question of whether this president has lost his own party in the Senate and the House.

MICHAEL CROWLEY, SR. EDITOR, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  Well, Joe, it‘s moments like that that really move public opinion, I mean, these things that stand out like the Jack Murtha speech, these really impassioned words that we hear from people that can have a big impact.

But at the same time, a lot of Hagel‘s colleagues on that committee did not vote for this resolution urging the president not to do this surge.  So there is still some reluctance among a lot of Republicans that .

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I was going to say, they didn‘t speak out, though.  We‘ve been hearing for some time that you‘re going to have a lot of Republican senators come out and oppose the president.  And yet today, Chuck Hagel was the only guy out there standing alone.

CROWLEY:  Yes.  And so, it‘s sort of an interesting dynamic.  I mean, the people who break, they do it in pretty dramatic fashion.

But, you know, apparently the White House is really working some of the other members behind the scenes, and there might be some residual loyalty.  I think there‘s a lot of discomfort among Republicans in, you know, seeming like they‘re open to the accusation that they were undercutting the commander in chief of their own party during wartime.

But, you know, moments like, again, moments like that Hagel speech I think really impact public opinion, because it just seemed impassioned and heartfelt.

You know, you do have to note that the guy voted for the war.  Hagel kind of hemmed and hawed beforehand, and he ended up going for the war resolution.  I think some people might say, you know, it would have been nice if he had said some of these things a while ago.  But still, I think it‘s going to have an impact.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, let me show you another clip from Chuck Hagel‘s remarks from today‘s hearings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAGEL:  I think all 100 senators ought to be on the line on this.

What do you believe?  What are you willing to support?  What do you think?

Why were you elected?  If you wanted a safe job, go sell shoes.  This is a tough business.

But is it any tougher us having to take a tough vote, express ourselves and have the courage to step up than what we‘re asking our young men and women to do?  I don‘t think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I‘ve got to say, Katrina, we differ, you and I have, on this war from the very beginning and probably differ on how to get out of it, but God bless Chuck Hagel for coming out and showing the courage he did, at least to say, tell us what side you‘re on.

And for the Republicans, Katrina, you only had Chuck Hagel actually speaking out against the president‘s plan.  You had nobody, other than David Vitter, speaking out for the president‘s plan, which leads to the question: How unusual is it for the commander in chief‘s own party - a guy like Chuck Hagel - to be striking out at the commander in chief‘s military plans?

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, EDITOR, “THE NATION”:  I think Chuck Hagel is a profile in courage.  I think he speaks to the need for Congress to reassert authority over this president.

“The Nation” magazine published a cover story a few months ago called “The Generals‘ Revolt.”  I think we‘re seeing, with Senator John Warner and other Republicans, an expression - from also within the military - of anger against this president‘s failed war.

But I do think, Chuck, we‘ve seen this at other points in American history.  I don‘t discount the possibility that as 2008 nears, you have a delegation of Republicans - senators, congresspeople - who go to speak to Bush in the Oval Office, forcefully urging him - as Senator William Fulbright did at another moment in our history, Vietnam with Lyndon Johnson - to end this war, because this is a taint, a stain, not only on America‘s honor, a disaster, but on the Republican Party.

I think Bush‘s failures have tainted this party more than Nixon‘s in the throes of Watergate.

SCARBOROUGH:  And Katrina, how interesting is it that so many of these Republicans that are talking about being against this surge are Republicans who are up for re-election in 2008?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  I think that‘s right.  But you know, Chuck, I was on a radio show this afternoon and a Korean war vet called in.  And he talked about a president who has blood on his hands, and the anger was so visceral.  It was stunning to hear a war veteran, a man who had served this country.

It was comparable to the real State of the Union we heard last night from Senator Jim Webb, a man of the military, who spoke about the military opposition to this war and described the realities of this country, not only the need to end this disastrous foreign policy, this war, but also the need to understand the realities of a country which is spending $8.4 billion on a failed war while neglecting economic reconstruction and working people at home.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Katrina, you bring up a great point about Jim Webb.

Pat Buchanan, for months, it seems - and we‘ve talked about this on the show every night - the Democrats have attacked the president, but they‘ve offered very little in the way of a united voice against the Iraq plan.

But last night they allowed the newly-elected Virginia senator, James Webb, to get out there and deliver a blistering Democratic response.

Let‘s take a little bit of a listen to what he had to say last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM WEBB, D-VIRGINIA:  The president took us into this war recklessly.  He disregarded warnings from the national security advisor during the first Gulf War, the chief of staff of the Army, two former commanding generals of Central Command, whose jurisdiction includes Iraq, the director of operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many, many others with great integrity and long experience in national security affairs.

We are now as a nation held hostage to the predictable - and predicted

disarray that has followed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, Pat, at the end of that speech he said, Mr. President, if we have to, we Democrats will show you the way out of this mess.

Does it seem that with Jim Webb‘s remarkable address last night and the Democratic resolution in committee today, that maybe the Democrats are beginning to find their footing and figure out a way to have a unified voice against the president‘s Iraq plan?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I‘ve got to say no.  I think Jim Webb has the courage of the Democrats‘ convictions.  But the Biden resolution - the Biden-Hagel Resolution - while it does say, in effect, it‘s a vote of no confidence in the president, it is non-binding.  It has no effect, no .

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, what can they do, though, to bind this president?

BUCHANAN:  Well, the only thing they can do is vote for a cut-off in funds for the war.

SCARBOROUGH:  But they‘ll never do that, will they, Pat?  That would be political suicide.

BUCHANAN:  Well, that‘s why you‘re asking me if they‘re really moving against the president.  What I‘m saying is, no, in my judgment they are not.

And here‘s what the other Republicans are doing.  I think Hagel‘s taking a courageous stand here.  But what the other Republicans are doing under Warner is moving away from the president‘s position wanting a surge.

They‘re saying, we‘re not so much for a surge.  At the same time, they don‘t want to vote no confidence in the president.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I was just going to say, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  They‘re moving to a .

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, look at that vote today.  And, of course, David Vitter was the only Republican on that committee that spoke out for the president.  The rest of the Republicans voted for him, but they refused to even open their mouth and support this surge.  How about that for profiles in courage.

BUCHANAN:  Right.  They‘re moving away from the president, but they want to be in a parking place and not be totally against him.  That is a purely political position.

I think that, as I say, well, I agree with Jim Webb.  I think the original vote was reckless by both parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.  But when Jim Webb says that, he is also laying down the gauntlet to Edwards and to Hillary Clinton, both of whom voted for the war, as well as Biden and a lot of others who are running for president of the United States.

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Crowley, let‘s follow up on Pat Buchanan, what he was talking about regarding this resolution.

I‘m curious whether you think today‘s resolution has any practical impact at all.

CROWLEY:  Well, I mean, in the sense of legally or legislatively binding, no.

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I mean politically.

CROWLEY:  But politically, yes.  I mean, I think that - I think that it pushes the president more and more into a corner of isolation.  I think it drives home to the public, look, we had this election.  It sent a pretty clear message, I think, about the war.

Now Democrats are sort of acting out the message they got from the voters.  And I think it drives the president on the defensive.

There‘s a kind of official sanction to it now, you know.  It‘s kind of trickled up from the voters to Washington.

And I think that it increasingly looks, I guess, almost a little eerie that we have a president who is now just kind of clearly going to be defying the stated, expressed will of the Congress.  So, even if it‘s not binding, even if Democrats are not .

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, at a time of war, especially, Michael - I mean, we‘re not talking about welfare reform.  We‘re not talking about crime control.  We‘re not talking about tax cuts.

We are talking about the single most significant decision that our lawmakers in Washington, D.C., can make.  And, of course, that is the decision to send young men and women possibly to their deaths in a foreign land for a reason that the president, that the commander in chief and that our congressmen and senators believe is worthy of those deaths, to forward an American interest.

Here we have, though, of the most important of issues, the president of the United States, the commander in chief standing alone against the Congress.

That seems to me to be deeply disturbing on several levels.  I‘m not saying the president doesn‘t have the right to do this.  I‘m just saying it is unsettling at best, is it not?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  But he stood against the Congress, Joe, on many occasions in his six years, which makes it a joke to think he came forward yesterday, however charming and calculated his graciousness toward Nancy Pelosi, to offer bipartisanship.  But you .

SCARBOROUGH:  You don‘t think that came from the bottom of his heart?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  No, I don‘t.

But I do think what‘s important to understand is that the people of this country have been ahead of not only the politicians, but the pundits, who were for this for this war .

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘ve been ahead - they‘ve been ahead of the Democratic politicians, haven‘t they.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  They have.  There‘s no question.  There‘s no question. 

And “The Nation” magazine, which stood against this .

SCARBOROUGH:  But of course the Republicans, especially.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  “The Nation” magazine is not a Democratic Party organ. 

We stood against this disastrous debacle from the very beginning.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Pat Buchanan would say it‘s a Marxist Party organ.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Well, I would argue that Jim Webb, who wrote “Class Struggle” for the “Wall Street Journal,” is understanding of the problem that we live in maybe two Americas today.

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  But not (ph) - more seriously, the Congress has to take a role.  Bush owns this war.  This is Bush‘s debacle.

But now it is also up to Congress to craft more than nonbinding resolutions, to use its power to protect the troops and bring them home expeditiously, while finding regional and international diplomacy to contain a civil war that can metastasize, if this president decides this is the generational war of his time, because we need a smart counterterrorism strategy.

This is not a war.  This is a fight, not a war.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat .

CROWLEY:  Joe, if I can just add .

SCARBOROUGH:  . you want to .

CROWLEY:  . one other very quick point.

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

CROWLEY:  I think the more Congress goes at (ph) it (ph), to some extent the more Bush digs in.

Cheney gave an interview today to CNN where he said something like, “They can‘t stop us.”

You almost get the feeling, the more Congress tries, the more they say, “You‘re not going to stop us.  Well, who are you?”

And there‘s something alarming about that.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  A showdown (ph).

BUCHANAN:  But you know, Congress is pathetic.  Congress is pathetic.  They‘re not leading the country.  The election returns came in.  They said, holy smoke.  The people are against this war.  Now they‘re moving gingerly with nonbinding resolutions to oppose it.  Nothing heroic here.

Jim Webb was out there long ago.  He was right out front on this war.  But as for the rest of them, Joe, I don‘t say a great deal - I agree with what Hagel is doing - but I don‘t see any great courage up here, do you?

SCARBOROUGH:  But, well .

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Pat, there is.  There are resolutions.  You have Jack Murtha trying to craft a resolution.  You have Jerry Nadler.  You have the Progressive Caucus.  There are good (ph) people.

BUCHANAN:  But they‘re following (ph) public opinion.

SCARBOROUGH:  But their resolutions, though.  I think that .

VANDEN HEUVEL:  You begin.

SCARBOROUGH:  I think Pat‘s point is - it‘s a beginning - but I think Pat‘s point is, and I‘ll guarantee there are a lot of members of the Democratic base that elected Democrats to take control of the House and Senate for reasons other than passing nonbinding resolutions.

They want this war over.  They want these troops home.  They want America out of Iraq.  Do they not, Michael?

CROWLEY:  They absolutely do, Joe.  But, you know, it‘s complicated, because I think a lot of them realize what‘s happening now is horrific, but what happens after we leave could be slaughter, mass chaos.

I mean, it‘s not - you know, Democrats I think understand that there are certain things, just because Bush says them, are not necessarily wrong.

BUCHANAN:  You know, Joe .

CROWLEY:  And so, it makes it very difficult.  I mean, this is - we‘ve

said this before on your show, but there are no good options.  And I think

BUCHANAN:  But, Joe, let me .

CROWLEY:  . there are Democrats who hate the war, but still feel a little queasy, I think, about really pulling the plug.  I think are some of them, they hate the war, but they think, gosh, it really, maybe could get worse.

BUCHANAN:  Joe, Joe .

VANDEN HEUVEL:  It‘s a false choice, though.

BUCHANAN:  Let me ask a question.  Let me ask you a question.

Why should we elect a president of the United States in 2008, who committed what is the greatest strategic blunder in American history, virtually, by giving the president of the United States a blank check for this war, which we all agree is a disaster?  Why would you vote for somebody like that?

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina Vanden Heuvel, I‘ll let you answer that before we go.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Pat, the greatest strategic blunder is that Bush misled us into this reckless war.

If a Democrat will come forward and say, I regret my vote, and lead the country - we desperately need leadership - I would not hold that against a Democrat .

BUCHANAN:  But Katrina .

VANDEN HEUVEL:  . at this stage.  Someone needs to come forward .

BUCHANAN:  I know.  But Katrina, why would you trust someone, who in the highest responsibility a senator or congressman can have, gave his war power to the president of the United States to get the issue off the table in the election of 2002?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  Because they are going to be held accountable by the people.

BUCHANAN:  How?

VANDEN HEUVEL:  And if they move, they move, they show that they are listening to the people and understanding that this was such a disaster .

CROWLEY:  The darling of the party right now doesn‘t have to answer that question.  Barack Obama has nothing to apologize for.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  It is not too late.

CROWLEY:  So it may be a moot point.

VANDEN HEUVEL:  That‘s right.

SCARBOROUGH:  The darling of the party, of course, the darling of the party wasn‘t even in Washington, D.C., when the Iraq war was launched.

CROWLEY:  Lucky for him.

SCARBOROUGH:  He was - yes, he was mowing lawns, possibly, somewhere in Springfield, Illinois, while voting on pothole resolutions.  I don‘t know if that‘s an out for him.

Michael Crowley, Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Pat Buchanan, thanks so much.

Hey, Pat, stick around, because coming up - oh, boy, this is explosive

as the White House warns Iran not to go nuclear, many are asking what a war with that country would look like.

We‘re going to talk to a former State Department official who has seen the Bush administration‘s battle plans for Iran, and it is full-scale warfare and reportedly warfare that the Pentagon had to push back on the president about.

That‘s next.

And later .

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, TALK SHOW HOST:  What are we supposed to do?  Where do you want to move on to?  Where do you want to go?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  My goodness.  Rosie and Barbara at it again.  This time over impeaching George W. Bush.  Is “The View” big enough for those two egos?  Or will Barbara Walters fire Rosie?

All that and much more straight ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, America‘s plans to unleash war on Iran have been revealed.  In a minute we‘re going to be talking to a former government official who has seen some of the plans for a possible coming war with Iran.

This revelation comes as Iran‘s president tells Syria‘s foreign minister today, “the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives.”

Meantime, British reports today suggest North Korea has agreed to help Iran with its nuclear testing.

So, is war with Iran inevitable?  And if so, what‘s it going to look like?

Here now to talk about it, Wayne White.  He‘s a former Middle East analyst for the State Department‘s Bureau of Intelligence and Research.  And still with us, Pat Buchanan.

Mr. White, let me begin with you.

We‘re not talking about a neat, surgical strike here.  Tell us what you‘ve seen.

WAYNE WHITE, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT ANALYST:  Well, things have been oozing out since early 2006, and a lot of people have seen bits of this thing and pretty big chunks of it.

And when you‘re going after a huge set of nuclear targets in Iran, if that‘s what you want to do, you‘ve got to clear a path to the target.  You‘ve got to take out the air force, air defenses.

And then most of all, you‘ve got to prevent Iran from retaliating - as she would - in the Gulf.  And that means taking out anti-ship missiles, her submarines, her speedboat fleet, which has been using maneuvers to swarm against ships in mock attacks.  There‘s a lot that has to be taken care of if we‘re (ph) going in.

I don‘t think we‘re talking boots on the ground.  Nothing I‘ve seen indicates that.  We‘re talking about aviation.  We‘re talking about cruise missiles.

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the president‘s response to this plan.  Have you gotten any information to suggest that at any point he was seriously considering moving forward on the plans that you have seen?

WHITE:  It‘s my impression that earlier in 2006, he was.  And basically, he asked for plans.

And when the military gave him plans, part of the intent was to show what would have to be done in order to get at those targets and prevent Iranian retaliation.

And one of the big factors here is that, if you knock out Iran‘s ability to retaliate in the Gulf, then Iran‘s easiest route of retaliation is inside of Iraq.

SCARBOROUGH:  What about the end game here?  Was there a military end game to the Bush plan to go into Iran?

WHITE:  Well, that‘s the devil in all these plans.  No, there isn‘t an end game.

In fact, the last person who tried to teach the Iranians a lesson was Saddam Hussein in 1980.  And he ended up in an eight-year war with the Iranians, losing a quarter of a million people.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, are you surprised by what you‘re hearing about these war plans to go to war with Iran, and the fact that the president looked, was considering plans, and that the Pentagon may have pushed back on him?

BUCHANAN:  I‘m not surprised at all.  I think the president made a solemn, solid commitment not to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and they are at least in the process of enriching uranium now.

And the president of the United States has got the unanimous vote in the Security Council not to let them continue doing that.  He‘s got his commitment on the line.

He‘s got Ahmadinejad saying we‘re going to continue with this process. 

He‘s got a February 23rd deadline.

He‘s got the Israelis and the neocons at the Herzliya Conference talking about holocausts and atomic bombs on cities, and military options being on the table.

I think the Congress of the United States, which, you know, gave the president a blank check to go to the last war ought to be thinking about stopping the next one, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and you, of course, have the president of Iran not helping matters when he‘s talking about the obliteration of the United States and Israel today.

Pat, though, forget all the rhetoric.  I think you and I both agree that this president does not believe that Iran should have nuclear weapons, and he will not allow them to be developing nuclear weapons when he leaves office, will he.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t think he will.  And that‘s why, unless the - you read, Joe, about activity in Tehran.

The ayatollah is trying to - his newspaper says Ahmadinejad should get out of the nuclear process.  Other ayatollahs are saying he should get out of it.  There‘s a lot of people resisting him.  They want him out of there.

Iran has got to make a step here, step back and suspend uranium enrichment, Joe, or they‘re going to be headed down the road to what Wayne White is talking about.

And I think they‘re going to do it, because they cannot want this kind of war with the United States any more than we would want that kind of war with Iran.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wayne, let me ask you.  From all the information that you‘ve seen, all the documents you‘ve looked at, all the people you‘ve talked to behind the scenes, is there a feeling in the State Department, in the intelligence community, that this president will move on Iran before he leaves office in January of 2009?

WHITE:  Well, I think that‘s the $64,000 question.  And I don‘t think you find it in the places you mentioned.  You find it right in that close circle inside the White House.

And I think Pat said it just right, that the president himself, people around him like Dick Cheney, are very committed to this.  Remember, he made - he said it again in the State of the Union address.

He said the world will not let Iran have nuclear weapons.  And he meant that.  And so, between now and January of 2009, we‘ve got to really worry about this whole possibility.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wayne, is it your belief, from everything you‘ve seen, that the president will actually move on Iran before he leaves office?  What do you think?

WHITE:  Well, you know, there are two possibilities we‘ve got to consider, that if he doesn‘t move, the Israelis might move.  And in the fog of war, if the Iranians get hit by the Israelis, they may think either we did it, or they may think we helped, and cut loose on us just as they would have if we attacked.

BUCHANAN:  But the Israelis - I don‘t think the Israelis have the capacity - and that Wayne White has described what is going to be needed if you‘re going to take out all of these sites - I don‘t think the Israelis have got that.

I think the Israelis want to push us into doing it, and I can‘t blame them.  But they want to push us into doing this thing, for sure before George Bush leaves office.

And some of them, Joe, have openly said so.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, let me read you this full screen.  It‘s from Israel‘s prime minister.  He warned today, that if the world will not stop Iran, the Israeli people will do so.  He said this.

“The Jewish people, with the scars of the Holocaust fresh on its body, cannot afford to allow itself to face threats of annihilation once again ... we have the determination and capability of defending ourselves ...  with all the means at our disposal.”

Is he bluffing, Pat Buchanan?  Or is he telling George W. Bush, either you take care of Iran, or we‘re going to do it?

BUCHANAN:  I think that is exactly what he is saying, but I do not - I do not believe that Israel would, in the near future, launch an attack when the president of the United States, or the Americans have said, don‘t do this.

I don‘t think it could succeed, and I think they would isolate themselves from the Americans, so I don‘t think they would.

I think they want the Americans to do it, Joe, because they know we have the capability to do it, and they don‘t.

SCARBOROUGH:  Wayne, I‘ll ask you the same question.  Do you believe that if George W. Bush doesn‘t move on Iran before he leaves office, that the Israeli people will do it, if you have the president of Iran continuing to go out there talking about how he‘s going to obliterate the Zionist regime of Israel?

WHITE:  I don‘t think we can count the Israelis out.  I agree with Pat.  I think most of the game is to try to get us to do it, because we can do it a lot better.

And, in fact, because the Israelis have such a limited capability, this is where you get into this discussion of nuclear weapons being used to take out this targets and make sure that they‘re done.  There are about three or four key targets that they need to take out to really slow the program down.

But in effect, they are trying to push us.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you so much, Wayne White.  We greatly appreciate the information you brought us tonight.

Startling information.  Very important.

Pat Buchanan, thank you for being with us, also.

Coming up next, Barbara Walters puts her foot down after Rosie goes on her latest tirade about impeaching George Bush.

Is Barbara finally getting tired of Rosie bossing her around?  We‘ll talk about that ahead.

But first, it‘s history in the making as Jon Stewart comes after Democrats running for office in 2008.  Must see S.C., coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up, even though the presidential elections are over a year away, the Democrats are already having an interesting string of candidates go out there.  Jon Stewart shows us why they‘re all unique in their own special way. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  The Democrats are fielding a veritable rainbow coalition.  A win for any of these candidates would make presidential history:  be it the first female president, the first African-American president, the first Latino president, the first leprechaun president, or the first mimbo.  Now, obviously, I left out Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut. 

OK, with such a crowded field...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  And, finally, Hillary Clinton will have to face tough questions on the campaign trail.  But how is she going to deal with the criticism?  A recent interview may have those answers.  Take a look. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW”:  This is just at the start of the campaign.  She got a little testy with Katie.  Take a look.  Watch what happened here. 

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  ... recommending the kind of bold, but practical changes, like universal health care, like energy independence, that were not possible in the first Clinton administration. 

KATIE COURIC, CBS “EVENING NEWS” HOST:  That was a disaster when you headed that very committee. 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, come on. 

Coming up next, Barbara blows her top after Rosie calls for the president‘s impeachment live on national television.  Will Walters finally take back control of her own show and stop being pushed around by Rosie?  And will she make Rosie the next Star Jones?  That‘s coming up.

And later, how thieves are using sites like eBay to sell your stolen goods.  We‘re going to expose the tricks of this illegal trade in a hidden camera investigation and tell you why you are probably buying goods that have been stolen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome back.  More daytime drama for the ladies of the “The View.”  Today, Barbara Walters—of course, that esteemed journalist, a trailblazer herself—and Rosie O‘Donnell went at it on live television to see who really runs the show.  Take a look at this heated conversation over the president of the United States. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  But you know what I think the Congress should do?  And this I‘m sure will make me in some sort of celebrity feud or AOL poll.  But someone, I believe, should call for the impeachment of George Bush. 

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  It‘s called “The View.”  What am I supposed to do?  Where do you want to move onto?  Where do you want to go?

(CROSSTALK)

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  ... and we do this every day. 

O‘DONNELL:  But it‘s the State of the Union just happened.  We‘re supposed to talk about it, right?

WALTERS:  Keep talking. 

O‘DONNELL:  I‘m just saying that it‘s an interest—this is what America‘s talking about. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So is it just a matter of time before there‘s a total Rosie and Barbara meltdown?  Here‘s Matthew Felling, media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs, Katrina Szish from “US Weekly,” and Steve Adubato, MSNBC media analyst.

Steve, it looks like Barbara Walters is getting less and less patient with her political—with Rosie‘s political screeds every day.  Is Rosie on her way out? 

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  Yes, I‘d bet the ranch on this one, because even though the ratings are up for “The View,” and I‘m sure short term the folks over at the network are thrilled, the problem is Barbara had to know that this is not someone, Rosie, who works well with a team. 

She has to have her own show.  It‘s almost like it‘s Rosie and three props, if you will.  And I have to tell, one of the props being Barbara Walters, an icon, as you said before, a trailblazer, it‘s embarrassing for her to go out like this, because how many more years does she have in the industry?  She picked Rosie.  She should have known better.  And to be embarrassed by Rosie like that on your show?  No one talks to you like, Joe.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, no doubt about it.  And, you know, Katrina, Barbara Walters did an interview with “The New York Times” in September, the month Rosie arrived on “The View” set.  Let me remind you and viewers what she said, “I had to be very careful.  Rosie‘s opinions are her own.  They‘re very strong, and I don‘t mind opinions, but I don‘t want us to be bashing anybody.”

Katrina, Barbara Walters just has to be embarrassed by this performance.  Ratings are great, but her reputation is more important to her.  Do you think Rosie‘s on her way out? 

KATRINA SZISH, “US WEEKLY”:  I agree with Steve 100 percent.  I think she‘s definitely on her way out.  I think Barbara has to push her out very carefully, because Rosie is certainly not going to bow her head and walk away like Star Jones did.  So it could be a battle royale between two women who are very strong and very opinionated.  And they‘re probably the most mismatched co-hosts in that respect that daytime television has ever seen. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, it seems that things have really gotten so bad between Barbara and Rosie that Rosie just assumes Barbara is always trying to rein her in.  Take a look at what happened yesterday while the ladies were discussing spanking children.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)  

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  I really think this has gone too far. 

(CROSSTALK)

WALTERS:  Well, I know you don‘t.

(CROSSTALK)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  That‘s why it‘s called “The View.”

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

WALTERS:  I mean, I think at a certain point it‘s enough...

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Matthew Felling, it seems that Rosie likes to put Barbara Walters in the position where she‘s like some nagging mom.  She just keeps pushing this legend, this TV legend, just hoping that she‘s going to say, “OK, Rosie, enough is enough.  People don‘t want to hear this.”  And then Rosie can say it‘s “The View,” it‘s the “The View,” which she says every night. 

MATTHEW FELLING, THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS:  Exactly.  No, I think America is sitting on the edge of its seat wondering if the bigger bomb is going to go off on “24” or on “The View.”  And I think “The View”—“The View” is always about Rosie.  Steve nailed it with that.

I mean, you saw in the very first clip, when she said, “I‘m going to say something, and it‘s going to be a poll question, I‘m sure.”  I mean, Rosie—I make the sports comparison.  Rosie is not Dennis Rodham, who got affiliated with Michael Jordan and really, you know, toned himself down.  She‘s more like T.O. with the Cowboys, where everybody thought, you know what?  He‘ll behave with Bill Parcells.  But he went absolutely nuts. 

And I think that Rosie is going to be great for the ratings.  But I disagree with the “Us Weekly” reporter, when I think that what Rosie‘s going to do—Rosie‘s going to see the writing on the wall.  And she‘s never going to be a shrinking violet.  She‘s not going to go quietly, softly into that, you know, graveyard of ex-co-hosts.  She‘s going to make a huge scene the moment she thinks she‘s on her way out. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  And, Katrina...

SZISH:  That‘s what I said.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, when she goes out, though, Rosie O‘Donnell, I mean, she‘s not stupid.  She knows that the more offensive she is to a lot of people in Middle America, the higher her ratings are, and that means she can launch her own show, right, Katrina?

SZISH:  Well, it‘s interesting, because we‘ve sort of seen her go through that evolution.  She already had her own show, and people got really tired of her, so that she—you know, that got canceled.  Then she had her magazine.  People again said she was impossible to work with.  So the idea of her having her own show again at this point would be quite interesting to see.  And I do want to point out that I did say she certainly would not go quietly.  Obviously, she is...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina, can you take us behind the scenes on this show, what‘s going on? 

SZISH:  Behind the scenes, I think everyone is saying, “We have to make nice.  This is a morning show.”  I think Barbara is saying, “Listen, I‘m in charge here.  I own half of this show.  I hired you.  You at least need to keep yourself reeled in.” 

The more she tells Rosie that behind the scenes, the more Rosie pulls stuff like this on live TV.  And I think the live TV element is what makes Rosie able to pull this off. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Steve, and there a lot of people that would watch this show and put up with Rosie so they could see Miss Hasselbeck.  Go again. 

ADUBATO:  I knew you were going to get that in.  She‘s terrific.

FELLING:  Yes, she is terrific.

ADUBATO:  But here‘s the thing.  I have to say that—I‘m going to repeat something I said before.  Barbara Walters, if he didn‘t know that this was clearly going to be the outcome that Rosie would try to take over the show, that Rosie would actually embarrass Barbara Walters, if she didn‘t know, shame on her.  If she knew, if Barbara Walters had a sense of this and did it anyway just because Meredith was going to leave, and this was going to be good for the show short term, then, frankly, Barbara does deserve everything she got or she‘s getting here. 

And for this trailblazer, this icon, this giant in broadcasting, I‘m stunned at how poor her judgment is, because, no matter what, Joe, in the end, ratings or not, Barbara Walters is going to be judged by how she looks in this situation with this bull in a china shop.  And she‘s not looking good.

SCARBOROUGH:  People will remain Barbara Walters for long, long after Rosie O‘Donnell‘s been forgotten. 

ADUBATO:  That‘s right.

SCARBOROUGH:  Katrina?

SZISH:  Absolutely.  Yes, I mean, I think that Barbara didn‘t think, “I‘m going to pull Rosie in, and she‘s going to make a fool of me.”  I think she really thought, “If anybody can handle Rosie, it‘s me.  I‘m Barbara Walters.”  Barbara Walters is nothing but confident and strong and professional.

ADUBATO:  She overestimated herself and underestimated Rosie. 

SZISH:  Clearly she did, but she didn‘t do this intentionally, so I don‘t think she deserves, so to speak, what she might get with Rosie.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And what do I know, Matthew Felling, because I thought Bill Parcells was going to be able to handle T.O.

FELLING:  Fortunately, it‘s Chan Gailey‘s problem now. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  Matthew Felling, Katrina Szish, Steve Adubato, as always, thank you so much for being with us. 

And coming up, are you buying stolen merchandise from eBay?  Our NBC hidden camera investigation shows you how thieves are using the popular auction site to make quick, easy, illegal money and sell you stolen goods. 

And later in “Hollyweird,” is Tom Cruise the chosen one?  Why Scientologists believe the actor will one day be worshipped like Jesus.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Millions of Americans turn to eBay to sell their old junk.  But while your Aunt Edna is bidding for a great deal on that designer handbag, what she doesn‘t know and what you don‘t know is that it could be stolen.  CNBC‘s Scott Cohn explains in this hidden camera investigation how the hot deals on eBay may really be hot deals. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT COHN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  You‘re watching 21st-century shoplifters at work.  In less than a minute, this band of thieves swarms the shelves, making off with $14,000 worth of handbags.  This guy bags 10 suits in a matter of seconds, while his accomplice tries the block the camera. 

It used to be that thieves like these would unload stolen merchandise at pawn shops, flea markets, or right on the street.  But today they have a much more profitable way to fence stolen goods:  Internet auction sites like eBay. 

(on screen):  Could you have made as much money were it not for eBay? 

JOHN, CONVICTED SHOPLIFTER:  No, because pawn shops are local; eBay is at least nationwide.  It‘s becoming worldwide.  If you were selling at a pawn shop, you would be doing it a lot less volume.

COHN (voice-over):  We‘ll call him “John.”  We agreed to conceal his identity in exchange for a rare look at the shadowy world of e-fencing.  An unlikely criminal, a graduate student in his mid-20s who e-fenced his way through school. 

(on screen):  How much money did you make?

JOHN:  Close to $40,000, $45,000.

COHN:  Forty-five thousand?  That‘s a lot of money for a college student. 

JOHN:  Yes.

COHN (voice-over):  Before John was arrested and charged with multiple counts of felony theft, he made off with hundreds of headphones, shavers, rechargeable batteries, and GPS devices from national chains like Target and Best Buy.  He‘d alter the barcodes on the products so, at checkout, the scanners would ring up prices far below what the items really cost.  He‘d then sell the merchandise on eBay for closer to retail, getting, say, $400 for an item he paid $30 for, almost pure profit.

Rob Chestnut, a former federal prosecutor, is eBay‘s senior vice president for rules, trust, and safety. 

(on screen): The National Retail Federation told us that criminals are using eBay as a national fencing operation, which is a pretty strong charge.  Is that going on? 

ROB CHESTNUT, EBAY SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT:  Whenever stolen property is put on eBay, it is, to some extent, national fencing.  And there‘s no question in my mind that eBay gets abused by people who‘ve got stolen property. 

COHN:  I‘m going to ask you to respond to I guess kind of the cynical view of all of this, which is that eBay makes money on every transaction, eBay doesn‘t lose anything, so why should you lift a finger?

CHESTNUT:  It‘s a cynical view, but I think it‘s one that misunderstands, you know, eBay‘s business model and what we‘re based on.  EBay is based on trust; eBay is based on trust between buyers and sellers.  And what happens, in eBay has crime on the site, if stolen property became a significant issue on eBay, buyers simply wouldn‘t trust, and they would go elsewhere. 

COHN:  Do you ever worry that eBay would catch you? 

JOHN:  No.  I wasn‘t worried about eBay.

COHN:  EBay didn‘t catch this thief; store security did.  But plenty of others remain, lurking in the shadows of the most successful auction site in the world. 

JOHN:  The more I sold, the more they made. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COHN:  That was CNBC‘s Scott Cohn reporting for “Business Nation,” which premieres tonight on CNBC.

And coming up next, Tom Cruise superstar.  Is the top gun the Christ of Scientology?  They think so.  Beam me up, Tommy.  “Hollyweird” is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, tell your stylist no more wire hangers, baby.  It‘s time for “Hollyweird.” 

First up, the definition of “Hollyweird,” Tom Cruise.  “The Sun” reports that the Church of Scientology considers the superstar actor to be their faith‘s version of Christ.  Here now to talk about the star, editor-at-large for “Star” magazine Jill Dobson, and from E! Online‘s Planet Gossip, Marc Malkin.

I start with you, Jill Dobson.  Tom Cruise, Maverick as a Christ figure? 

JILL DOBSON, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  That‘s the report coming out of London today, that this Church of Scientology says that he is like Christ, in that he has been criticized for his views while he‘s here on Earth.  But in the future, people will look back and realize he was right and that he is the leader that everyone should follow. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Marc Malkin, does Tom Cruise strike you as a Christ figure?  Do you understand what the Scientologists are getting at here? 

MARC MALKIN, E!‘S PLANET GOSSIP:  You know, I don‘t find Tom as my savior, but, you know, no matter what you think about him, you know, he is promoting Scientology.  I‘ve been told by people that he has been told, “Go out there, spread the word.”  So whether you hate him or love him, he‘s getting the word out there about Scientology. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He is spreading the crazy out there, no doubt about it.  But while he‘s spreading that—I won‘t say crazy stuff, because I might get sued—it‘s get killing his movie career, isn‘t it? 

MALKIN:  You know, not necessarily killing his movie career.  He definitely—you know, he still has his foreign audience.  You know, we‘ve seen one movie, the Mission Impossible, like, 3, it‘s doing OK.  So I don‘t think it‘s necessarily killed his movie career. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Jill, let‘s talk about Britney Spears.  Her career is certainly on the skids, and more controversy.  Britney took her 1-year-old son lingerie shopping this weekend to a trashy lingerie store.  Tell us about it, Jill.

DOBSON:  Britney was shopping, out with her little boy, and she was looking at trashy lingerie at a place that was actually called Trashy Lingerie.  You can‘t write this stuff.  And that‘s why we love Britney.  She gives us so many good headlines.  But, you know, her son is young enough.  He doesn‘t know the difference.  And I‘m just glad to see she‘s out there buying underwear. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Marc, I‘ll ask you this same thing about Britney.  I mean, is that appropriate for Britney or should everybody just lighten up? 

MALKIN:  I think everyone should lighten up.  I think, you know, the days when she put the car seat in wrong, or drives with the baby in her lap, that‘s a problem.  Buying underwear, the kid probably thinks like, you know, the lingerie is just a toy.  The kid doesn‘t know.  I think this is OK.  I think we can give her a pass on this. 

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, we‘ll give her a pass on it.  Should rehab doctors for Lindsay Lohan give her a pass on attending the premiere of her new film?  Because apparently she‘s been banned from doing that—Marc?

MALKIN:  You know, she was suppose to be in Sundance tomorrow for the premiere of her new movie, “Chapter 27.”  Her people said, “You are not going.”  But I just learned that the doctors have given her the clearance from her appendicitis to go back to work on her new movie that she‘s been shooting.  So she‘s going to shoot during the day, and then have her treatment at night. 

SCARBOROUGH:  My goodness.  Jill Dobson, are you surprised that she can‘t go to Sundance?  Is that punishment, the ultimate punishment for drug use or what? 

DOBSON:  Well, you know, we love Lindsay Lohan, and we‘re glad to see she‘s on the path to recovery.  And I think going to Sundance would have been a very bad idea.  We all know that that‘s a big party scene, and all the A-listers are there having a good time.  So I‘m glad she‘s going to be staying put, spending her nights in rehab and her days, as Marc mentioned, working on her latest film, “I Know Who Killed Me.”

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Well, all the A-listers are out there.  That‘s why I‘m in Washington, D.C.  I‘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   

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