updated 3/13/2007 1:24:07 PM ET 2007-03-13T17:24:07

Guests: Ryan Lizza, John Fund, Rachel Sklar, David Caplan, Lisa Gastineau

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight, Fox News under attack as the Democrats boycott the network of Bill O‘Reilly.  Wait until you hear what O‘Reilly said (INAUDIBLE) show just minutes ago about that.  Details coming up.

First, another bloody weekend in Iraq and another troop surge from George W. Bush, as Democrats push forward this week with their first plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.  But despite losing support of Congress, his generals and an overwhelming number of Americans, Mr. Bush seems more determined than ever to escalate, confirming his plans to send 8,000 more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan on top of the 21,000 surge troops already under way over there.

Tonight, the president again stands alone against the world, begging the question of whether he‘s Churchillian or delusional.

Here now to talk about and whether this surge plan will work, “Congressional Quarterly” columnist Craig Crawford, and Ryan Lizza—he‘s White House correspondent for “The New Republic”—and MSNBC political analyst Patrick Buchanan.

Craig Crawford, yet another surge.  Why?

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

Well, of course, the White House doesn‘t want to call it that.  They say these are support troops for the troops—the surge that was already there, so it‘s sort of surge-plus.  I don‘t know what exactly all that means, but that‘s how they want it spun.

And it is a possibility, Joe—I‘ve been saying this—that either it might work to some degree or they‘ll be able to make it look like it works.  Those who are supporting the surge are arguing that some of the blogs coming out of Iraq and some of the signs that the bad guys are getting out of the way indicate that the new plan is working on the ground.  My guess all along has been they‘re going to find a way to, at least in isolated places, say that the new plan and the surge is working and...

SCARBOROUGH:  Craig, you know...

CRAWFORD:  ... that would be the pretext for getting out.

SCARBOROUGH:  What is so fascinating to me, though, Craig, is the fact that you‘ve got a president who, when he tried to push his first surge and he tried to get 21,000 troops over there, he had his generals against him.  All the Joint Chiefs were against him.  He had the American people, an overwhelming number of American people against him.  He had Congress against him.  And of course, the American people voted to put Democrats in charge of Congress in November.  And yet this president just keeps barreling straight ahead.

Listen to what the president had to say when he was explaining his plans for this latest surge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Combat troops are going to need, you know, some support.  And that‘s what the American people are seeing in terms of Iraq is support troops necessary to help the reinforcements to do their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Again, it‘s another surge.  Why don‘t you say right up front that you‘re going to send up to 8,000 new troops over there?  I guess my question is this, Craig.  How long can this president of the United States continue to ignore the will of the people, his Joint Chiefs and members of Congress in matters of war and peace?  We are not talking about...

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  ... would be the answer, my guess is.  I mean, so long as the Constitution gives him the power to do this and he holds the office, he can do this.  And you know, the Democrats will have to get a lot tougher than they have been, and they‘re having trouble finding the votes to do that, but...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Craig, what‘s the historical precedent of a president of the United States, the commander-in-chief, being in the minority like this and ignoring his generals, ignoring the American public, ignoring members of Congress, again, in the middle of a hot war?

CRAWFORD:  Well, the historical precedent has been presidents have ultimately backed down, going back to the Korean war, the Vietnam war, Lyndon Johnson basically shutting things down.  This is the option the president is not going to choose, I don‘t think.  Anybody understands this president I think knows that is just not going to happen.  He is determined to proceed.  I think if we pull out of Iraq, it‘s going to be because George Bush decided to.  And he may just well do that before he‘s out, not pull out but maybe retreat to the borders and something along the lines of, you know, declaring victory and—and shuffling aside.

SCARBOROUGH:  I do not see it.  Ryan, again, you‘ve got Congress, the Joint Chiefs, the American people, who were against the last surge.  I‘m sure they‘re against this one, but none of that seems to matter to this commander-in-chief, does it.

RYAN LIZZA, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  No, no.  He‘s, you know, standing fort (ph) the world.  Look, I will say this.  I don‘t want to defend the surge one way or another, but you know, there are a lot of folks that sort of came up with this strategy of sending more troops over there who thought that 20,000 troops weren‘t—weren‘t good enough.  And I suppose if you‘re going to—if you‘re going to ignore everyone and decide to send more troops, you might as well send the number that the folks who actually believe this is going to work say—you know, say will make it work.  So if 20,000...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and Ryan, let me say, I count myself as one of those.  I had always said if you‘re talking 20,000 troops, it‘s a waste of time.  If you want to talk about 50,000, 75,000, 100,000 more troops, then you may actually be able to secure the location.  But Ryan, we don‘t have that many troops, do we?

LIZZA:  Look, I don‘t know.  I don‘t know—I don‘t—what the experts that I‘m reading in the paper...

SCARBOROUGH:  The answer is no.

LIZZA:  ... every day...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m the expert, Ryan.  I will tell you...

LIZZA:  If Joe Scarborough says no...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... we don‘t have those troops.

LIZZA:  No.  And if we don‘t, then we‘re not going to be able to send more.  All I‘m—all I was saying is, if you are going to try and send—the worst thing to do is to send—is to call it a surge and say we‘re sending all these troops over there and then not send enough.

But look, what‘s going to—you know, the Democrats need to step up here and do something about this.  The only institution in this country that can actually get—you know, they have the power of the purse.  They have control of Congress.  And you know, if they don‘t think this is the right thing to do, they need to step up and move beyond...

SCARBOROUGH:  They need to step up and do it.

LIZZA:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s exactly—you know, Pat Buchanan, that‘s what you‘ve been saying all along.  If the Democrats don‘t like it, they need to step up.  But I‘m really curious to get your take on this second surge, or this surge-plus.  We talked about the first one, and I think you and I both agreed that if you‘re going to surge, send enough troops to make a big difference.  But what do you think about this second surge?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, probably—I agree it probably is support troops, and they want to send the troops that are needed to make this a success.  I agree with Craig to this extent.  This could be a perceived success on the part of the president because Moqtada al Sadr and the Mahdi—the Mahdi Army seems to have gone to earth.  The Shia are being murdered and massacred in considerable numbers by the Sunnis, but the Shia are not retaliating as they did.

But Joe, look, the Democratic Congress is beginning to look ridiculous.  They can—they can denounce the war.  They can deauthorize the war.  They can defund the war.  They can‘t run the war.  General Petraeus is in charge, and either—you just say to them, Look, fellows, fish or cut bait.  I mean, go ahead and defund it, if you think it‘s a bad war.  And you don‘t think we ought to spend any more lives or any more money and it‘s not worth it, stop it.  You‘ve got the power to do that.  Otherwise, shut up and go back to your business because all they‘re doing, running around trying to pass resolutions which will satisfy their political base and are not getting them through and they‘re going to accomplish nothing...

LIZZA:  No, that‘s not right, Pat.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  That‘s not right, Pat!

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  ... don‘t have the power to do it if they don‘t have the votes!

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  ... pulling the plug on funding for the troops, Pat.  You‘re wrong.  If they were just trying to satisfy the base, then they would be pulling the funding for the troops.  Isn‘t that right?

BUCHANAN:  No, look—look—do they believe the war is lost and wrong and a mistake, as Joe says the majority of the Americans believe?  If you do, then stop it.  But don‘t try to run it!

LIZZA:  Look, they‘re trying to do that in a responsible way.  One thing is just to pull the funding on the troops.  Another way is to try and slowly, gradually make it more difficult for Bush to send more troops over there.

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, why would you bleed—that is the slow bleed strategy.  What you‘re saying is, We don‘t have the guts to stop it cold, and so we‘ll cut the troops gradually, which will...

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  ... nobody thinks you should stop it cold.  Does anyone really think you can...

BUCHANAN:  Well, then, if you‘re not going to stop it cold...

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  ... pick and pull 130,000 troops out of Iraq tomorrow?

BUCHANAN:  Ryan, if you‘re not going to stop it cold and it‘s going to go on, who should run it, General Petraeus or 535 guys on Capitol Hill...

LIZZA:  Oh, that‘s...

BUCHANAN:  ... deciding on the troop levels?

BUCHANAN:  But if you look at what the House Appropriations is going to be marking up probably Thursday, and what they‘re talking about is putting a deadline on the money that they‘re going to give to the war.  I mean, they‘re not running the war, they‘re...

LIZZA:  Exactly.

CRAWFORD:  ... saying, OK, Mr. President, you can have what you want, but we want to put a deadline on it.  Is that really running the war?

BUCHANAN:  Well, what are the deadlines...

LIZZA:  They‘re not micro-managing it.

BUCHANAN:  Well, look...

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  They‘re putting down some broad makers...

BUCHANAN:  You know...

LIZZA:  ... on how it should be done...

BUCHANAN:  And they don‘t have a single Republican vote in the Senate for the nonsense they‘re pulling off here, and they don‘t deserve a vote.  Look, I would understand them if they came in and said, The investment was a bad investment.  We got to cut the arm off right here and get it over with.  Fine.  But to sit around there and talk about—you know, what (INAUDIBLE) talking about, they‘re saying, Look, we will -- - we will skim (ph) more—we will keep the troops there longer if we‘re succeeding, but if we‘re failing, we‘re going to pull the out!  That is the opposite of what you want to do!

LIZZA:  Look, the deadlines they‘re talking about are, I think, March of next year and August of next year.  The House and the Senate differ (ph) on this.  But I just don‘t understand who—I don‘t—I don‘t see any credible people out there saying that we should pull 130,000 troops out of Iraq tomorrow.  To me, that sounds like the most irresponsible course, far more...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The question, though is—hey, Pat, though, I want to -

let‘s get Dick Cheney in here because, of course...

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I think one of the reasons...

LIZZA:  The voice of sanity!

SCARBOROUGH:  ... why the Democrats are afraid to move is because you have people like Dick Cheney that are going after Democrats who are opposing the White House on this war.  Take a listen to what Dick Cheney had to say about this “slow bleed” strategy that you were discussing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  When members of Congress pursue an anti-war strategy that‘s been called “slow bleed,” they‘re not supporting the troops, they are undermining them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCHANAN:  OK.

SCARBOROUGH:  That‘s harsh.  I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  He‘s laying it right out on the line there, Cheney is. 

He‘s saying, Look, you start—you know, you start this process of pulling troops out and not giving us what we need, what we want, we‘re going to accuse you of a “slow bleed” strategy and losing the war, and the Democrats...

SCARBOROUGH:  And Craig Crawford...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... scared of?

CRAWFORD:  The actual legislation that‘s coursing through the House—they‘re actually—they‘re talking about adding more money to the supplemental bill than what the president asked for.  So I don‘t know how that‘s a “slow bleed.”  All they‘re talking about is putting a deadline on...

BUCHANAN:  Well, but Craig...

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  ... the president to certify certain levels of success.

BUCHANAN:  What you‘re saying is you‘ve got 535 mice up there, and they‘re not going to bell the cat, are they.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  So Ryan, what type of impact does Dick Cheney coming out, accusing the Democrats of engaging in a “slow bleed” strategy have on the Democrats?  Does it scare them into inaction?

LIZZA:  Look, it‘s the same kind of rhetoric that Cheney‘s been using for the last six years.  The difference is that the terms of the debate have completely changed.  There‘s an AP poll out today that shows that the 60 percent of the American public, the highest that—for this question, believe that the war in Iraq was a mistake.  So the bottom line is the American people are on the side of Democrats in Congress right now, so coming out and using the rhetoric that Cheney‘s been using for six years...

BUCHANAN:  But Ryan...

LIZZA:  I think he‘s going to the well one more time...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold it a second, guys!  Pat, I need to follow up.  Hey, Pat, I need to follow up with you because something else that‘s changed from 2003, 2004, 2005 is you‘ve got a lot of the military establishment, military men and women that I‘ve spoken to, that have serious concerns with the way this president‘s been running the war and where we are right now.

I want you to take a look at what a general in charge of training for the Iraqi military in 2003 and 2004 had to say this weekend about Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have got to get a message through to every soldier, every family member, every friend of soldier, that the Republican Party, the Republican-dominated Congress has absolutely been the worst thing that‘s happened to the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps...

(APPLAUSE, CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat Buchanan, when you have generals talking that way about the president and his party, it sort of takes some of the sting out of Dick Cheney‘s comments that Democrats are actually hurting our military, right?

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me say this—look, is that general an active-duty general, or is he someone who‘s retired and now saying it?  And if the active-duty generals believe...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, he‘s retired, Pat...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... because as you and I both know, if he‘s active duty, he can‘t speak out against the president and the war.

BUCHANAN:  Well, Joe, what is the matter?  Are there no MacArthurs in the United States military...

CRAWFORD:  God, I hope not!

BUCHANAN:  ... who stood up and said...

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN:  Well, he stood up and said, The strategy is wrong.  You‘re getting my troops killed, and I want a change in strategy.  He took the heat.  He was fired for it.  He‘s a great man.  Where are the generals, if they believe that...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Pat, you know what?  Pat?

BUCHANAN:  Yes?

SCARBOROUGH:  The generals are the same place now that they were when Bill Clinton was president, that say nothing to the Armed Services Committee, and then they‘d come whisper to us in the cloakrooms, talking about what a terrible president, what a terrible commander-in-chief he was.  You and I both know the Joint Chiefs unanimously were against this surge, and they...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  Look, Joe, the guy we got in charge now—just like

Lincoln changed his generals, the guy we got in charge now, Petraeus, he

obviously believes in what he‘s doing.  He got a 100 percent vote of

confidence from the Senate.  They were delighted with him.  He said, This

is my strategy.  It‘s Bush‘s strategy.  All the—what are the Democrats -

Joe, you got to admit, the Democrats are just running around, trying to figure out a number of months to get out that‘ll satisfy the base, not win the war or not end the war!

SCARBOROUGH:  I think what‘s fascinating to me, Pat Buchanan, is—and it is fascinating—the number of Americans who are actually siding with the Democrats right now and against the president, and yet it‘s the president who‘s having his way because he knows in his mind that he‘s right.  And it seems like the Democrats right now don‘t have the courage of their convictions, and if you have people like Brian Williams continuing to report that the surge that the president has pushed through against the advice of just about everybody in America and across the world—you‘re starting to hear that some people believe this surge is working.  And if that, in fact, is the case, that gives Democrats one more reason to be afraid to stand up to this commander-in-chief who knows exactly what he wants to do.

Thanks a lot, Ryan Lizza.  Thank you, Pat Buchanan.  Craig Crawford, stick around because coming up next: GOP family values?  Why horrors of the past may come back to haunt two of the biggest Republican hopefuls in 2008.  And then: Democrats versus Fox News.  The feud is out in the open and it‘s ugly, as Democrats pull out of a Fox debate, and then things get really personal.

And later: Speaking of personal, is Paul McCartney really giving his ex $56 million?  Paul, say it ain‘t so!  And wait until you hear what the former Beatle‘s saying about Heather Mills‘s upcoming stint on “Dancing With the Stars.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Tell you what, it‘s the GOP wedding bell blues.  Two of the Republicans‘ top picks for president could have their hopes derailed as secrets from their past hit the headlines.  GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani and House speaker Newt Gingrich are both battling claims of hypocrisy as details of their past marriages and lurid affairs splash across the tabloids.  And tonight, a new AP poll shows character as the biggest issue among voters, with 55 percent listing it as the most important quality in a presidential candidate.

So will Rudy‘s and Newt‘s pasts come back to bite them?  Still with us, Craig Crawford.  Hey, Craig, I want to start by showing you a list of horrors, political horrors, from Newt‘s past that could cause real problems with conservative voters.  And that‘s what we‘re talking about here.  How will evangelicals see these people?

First he divorced his first wife while she was in the hospital allegedly recovering from cancer treatment.  There were accusations at the time also he was refusing to pay child support.  And also last week, it was revealed that he was having an affair at the time he was working to impeach Bill Clinton.

Craig, I think Democrats have already proven they can be a bit more expansive in their outlook when it comes to candidates or politicians having affairs.  But I just don‘t see evangelicals turning the other cheek when it comes to those type of issues with Newt Gingrich.  Do you think it could derail his campaign?

CRAWFORD:  You know, Joe, I‘ve been thinking about a phrase I remember all the way back to my Orlando Heights, Florida, high school days, with Campus Crusade for Christ and so on, which is “moral relativism.”  What the supporters of Gingrich and Giuliani are arguing for with evangelicals is something they don‘t like.  They call it moral relativism, the idea that, you know, morals matter when they don‘t—they don‘t matter so much when other things are more important.  And that‘s essentially the argument of the Giuliani camp, and probably will be of Gingrich, that, you know...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well...

CRAWFORD:  ... these things don‘t matter so much...

SCARBOROUGH:  Right.

CRAWFORD:  ... because we‘re with you on abortion and we‘re with you on some of these other issues.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Craig, and you know, we‘ve talked about it before.  Newt Gingrich is an extraordinarily gifted guy.  And I‘ll tell you what, if you hear him talk—I heard a James Dobson interview for the quotes of where he admitted that he had affairs in his first two marriages.  But I also heard what else he had to say about the war on terror.  And it struck me after about three or four minutes, there‘s just not another politician in America that can talk the way Newt can and can really get some people excited.

But every time they get excited, they‘re going to see quotes like this from Newt‘s enemies that can come back and haunt him.  This is former campaign treasurer.  He said he talked to newt about the divorce from his first wife, and Newt told him this.  Quote, “She‘s not young enough or pretty enough to be the wife of the president, an besides, she has cancer.”  That quote appeared in “The LA Times” and “The Washington Post” more than 10 years ago, but Newt Gingrich denies ever having said it.  But it seems to me Newt‘s problem and Rudy‘s problem is a lot of politicians get divorced, their divorces, though, were ugly.

CRAWFORD:  And in particular, their problem is they‘ve got families who might turn on them.  We‘ve already seen Giuliani‘s son making trouble.  That‘s a big problem because if you can‘t unite your own family, how are you going to—no matter how many families you have—how can you unite the party?  So that just means those are ticking time bombs that could go off anywhere down the road.  The other problem I‘m hearing from Republicans analyzing this, debating it, is, How are we going to run against the Clintons on morals issues, which they want to do, many of them, if we have these kind of candidates at the top?

SCARBOROUGH:  And it doesn‘t get any easier with Rudy Giuliani.  Of course, his past has already created problems for him and his campaign.  Among his list of family problems, his second wife learned of his plans to divorce her through a press conference he gave during a nasty divorce.  That same ex-wife tried to ban his girlfriend and current wife from Gracie Mansion, where she was still living.  And his official campaign Web site doesn‘t even list his children on his biography page.

You know, I‘ve heard a lot of evangelicals talking about—again, just like with Newt—loving Giuliani because he‘s going to be tough on the war on terror.  But Craig, in the end, they‘re just not going to be able to overlook a lot of this, are they.

CRAWFORD:  In addition to his position on issues like abortion and gay rights, which is the complete opposite of where they stand.  I think there‘s a possibility, Joe—and the only hope I would see for Giuliani as the Republican nominee is that evangelical Christians just do not any longer form a major part of the Republican base.  If he can expand that...

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, but...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  The thing is, though, that‘s not the case.  I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You and I both know, being from where we come from, evangelicals, whether people in Manhattan or Washington or LA, like it or not, evangelicals are—continue to be the core of the Republican Party base that goes out there and votes in primaries.  They can‘t be brushed aside.  And John McCain learned that in 2000.

But Craig, let‘s say Giuliani, you know, has a “Come to Jesus” meeting with them and explains all that away.  How does he explain this to religious voters?  Take a look.

Oh, I‘m sorry.  Religious voters—this is what he said.  “I‘ve had”

OK, wait.  This is not the quote that I was looking for.  I‘m sorry. 

There‘s a quote—just—Doug (ph), take that down.  There‘s a quote 10 years ago where Rudy Giuliani said that he supported the funding...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... public funding of abortion.  Do we have that SOT?

CRAWFORD:  It‘s...

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re loading this SOT.  I want you to...

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  It‘s easy to get on YouTube these days.  It‘s all over YouTube.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, it‘s all over YouTube.  We just can‘t get it here.  But the thing about this is it is so damning for Rudy Giuliani when an evangelical sees this.

Let‘s go to run that clip right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI (R-NY):  There must be public funding for abortion for poor women.  We cannot deny any woman the right to make her own decision about abortion because she lacks resources.  And I have also stated that I disagree with President Bush‘s veto last week of public funding for abortions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Craig, it just doesn‘t get worse than that for evangelicals, does it.

CRAWFORD:  Yes.  And do you know where I that today first was on a religious conservative political Web site that...

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  That‘s where I first saw it today.  It‘s out there.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Craig, a lot of people are talking about Rudy Giuliani as being the frontrunner.  I think just think when push comes to shove, evangelicals aren‘t going to be able to vote for him, and because they can‘t vote for him, I don‘t think he‘s going to get out of the primary.

CRAWFORD:  I think Giuliani would like to take them back to pure Goldwaterism, but in those days, without religious conservatives, Republicans didn‘t win.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly right!  Craig Crawford, thank you so much for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it.

And coming up: The Democrats take on Fox News, refusing to take part in a Fox-sponsored debate.  Why this “fair and balanced” feud has both the left and the right fired up.

And later: The president and the podium, another great moment in speechmaking coming up in “Must See S.C.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up, things are heating up between Hillary and Obama, but as Jon Stewart shows us, she might just have to grin and bear it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Before the march, the senators spoke at separate, but clearly equal, churches just three blocks from each other.  Senator Clinton spoke on how grateful she was for the Voting Rights Act. 

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK:  It is the gift that keeps on giving.  Today it is giving Senator Obama the chance to run for president of the United States. 

STEWART:  “Which I think is just super.” 

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And, finally, the president is running into opposition in South America, but his toughest critics are still here at home.  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  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:  My kids can‘t read. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Still ahead, Dems going on the attack, pulling out of a FOX debate.  Bill O‘Reilly responds just a short time.  Is it just the beginning of a fair and balanced smack down?

And later, $56 million in Paulimony.  Is a settlement in the works or are things going to get even nastier?  The latest on the bitter divorce battle from Sir Paul and the gold digger, coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Coming up, is Beatle Paul McCartney really going to pay Heather Mills $56 million?  And what‘s he saying about her upcoming gig with “Dancing with the Stars”?  Well, here‘s a hint:  It ain‘t nice.  The latest on that bitter custody battle, coming up.

But first, Democrats on the attack, as they dump FOX News.  Now, the Nevada Democratic Party is backing out of a presidential debate that FOX News was co-hosting.  Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, says it‘s because this comment FOX News President Roger Ailes made about one of the Democratic presidential candidates. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER AILES, PRESIDENT, FOX NEWS CHANNEL:  And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move.  I don‘t know if it‘s true, but President Bush called Musharraf and said, “Why can‘t we catch this guy?”

(END VIDEO CLIP) 

SCARBOROUGH:  But even before Ailes said that, one Democrat had already dropped out of the debate because FOX News was involved with it.  John Edwards‘ campaign e-mailed a liberal Web site and said this.  Quote, “We won‘t be participating in the FOX debate.  We‘re definitely going to debate in Nevada, but we don‘t see why this needs to be one of them.” 

So is it just the beginning of a feud between the Democrats and FOX News as the ‘08 campaign gets heated up?  Here now, Rachel Sklar, media editor for the Huffington Post, and John Fund from the “Wall Street Journal.”

Rachel Sklar, why have the Democrats declared war on FOX News? 

RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  I don‘t think it‘s a question of declaring war; I think it‘s taking a stand against a network that they just don‘t see as an unbiased news source.  They see FOX as being inhospitable to liberals.  They see it as, you know, promulgating smear campaigns and just not being an appropriate forum to have a legitimate and neutrally hosted debate.  And I think that‘s really what happened.  The Roger Ailes joke was sort of the straw that broke the camel‘s back.  This has been brewing for a while.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, of course, Bill O‘Reilly responded angrily to what Democrats in Nevada did.  This is what he said about an hour ago about George Soros and Peter Lewis, Democrats O‘Reilly says influenced Nevada Democrats to drop out of this FOX News debate. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST:  The Soros-Lewis mob despises FOX News because we have their number and report on them accurately.  They used the Moveon Web site to smear this network and others with whom they disagree.  These people use propaganda techniques perfected by Dr. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi minister of information.  They lie, distort, defame all the time. 

So it was not surprising that Moveon objected to a debate sponsored by FOX News and the Nevada Democratic Party.  Moveon immediately tried to boycott the August event and persuaded John Edwards to drop out.  That was simply stupid!  FOX News has sponsored a number of debates in the past, all of them fair and balanced, and Edwards has appeared on this network more than 30 times with no complaint. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  John Fund, Bill O‘Reilly just compared Democratic allies that stopped this debate to the Nazi propaganda minister.  That‘s a little over the top, isn‘t it? 

JOHN FUND, “WALL STREET JOURNAL”:  There‘s harsh rhetoric on both sides, Joe.  One of the Nevada Democratic officials said that working with FOX News is like dealing with the devil.  So, I mean, you can find excesses on both sides.

The real interesting thing, though, is it clearly was not the Roger Ailes joke that really was the reason for this, because if you listen to the joke carefully enough, he‘s basically implying Bush is ignorant enough and confused Barack Obama with Usama bin Laden.  So the joke was on Bush, not on Osama—on Obama.  And Obama is not offended.  So the real issue...

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s the joke on all of us, John, that he wasn‘t making fun of Democrats.  He was making fun of George Bush. 

FUND:  And Obama is not offended, so that‘s just a pretext.  And the more interesting thing here is, every single Democratic presidential candidate has appeared on FOX News over and over and over again.  Al Sharpton practically camps out in the green room. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and let me ask Rachel Sklar about that, because, Rachel, Democrats act like there‘s no way they‘d ever debate on FOX News, but John Edwards has been on that network, as I think O‘Reilly said, 30, 35 times, been on “Hannity & Colmes” over and over again. 

SKLAR:  Sure, and that‘s not what this is about.  This isn‘t coming—with the exception of John Edwards and then Bill Richardson, this isn‘t coming as much from the candidates as really a reflection of Democrats, of voters, of people who are involved. 

You know, the netroots campaign, that‘s not about just a few lone fringe bloggers; it‘s about people galvanizing a huge amount of people who are actively interested.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, it was MoveOn.org, right, Rachel?  It was MoveOn.org? 

SKLAR:  Sure, Moveon, you know, various blogs, DailyKos, MyDD, and to a certain extent the Huffington Post, where it‘s a forum for posting on those matters.  I think the point is that there was concern about having this event occur on FOX and giving an imprimatur of it being a legitimate news source and not being...

SCARBOROUGH:  And let me ask John Fund this question, because, John, you know there have been times when I was growing up, and Dan Rather might be part of a presidential debate, and I would be sitting there going, “Why would a Republican ever submit himself to Dan Rather?”  A guy who was clearly biased throughout his entire career.  That‘s what I was saying as a conservative. 

Now, if I had a choice between having Dan Rather moderate a debate or, say, Bob Schieffer, I would insist on Bob Schieffer any day of the week, because I still can‘t tell whether that guy‘s a Republican or Democrat.  Why don‘t Democrats have that same right?  I certainly wouldn‘t let Katie Couric do it, that‘s for sure, speaking of CBS anchors.  But why should I submit myself to Dan Rather or Katie Couric instead of a Bob Schieffer or somebody that I considered fair?  And don‘t Democrats have this right to do the same thing? 

FUND:  Because I think a lot of people have the self-confidence that, despite who the moderator is, they can get their message out.  If they have confidence in their ideas, they‘ll prevail.  I find it amusing that liberals, who always talk about being tolerant and being open to diverse points of view, now don‘t want to have a debate.  They‘re literally running away from controversy; they‘re running away from having an exchange of ideas. 

SKLAR:  I think it‘s about making a point about the forum. 

FUND:  Let me finish.  National Public Radio is clearly biased against conservatives.  In fact, you have national polls taken from the Pew Center that have shown that in the past.  So if Republicans were to boycott National Public Radio, I can assure you liberals would say they were chicken and liberals would criticize them.  So I cannot imagine the spectacle of liberals talking about, “We want to have open discourse and debate.”  They‘re running from debate. 

SKLAR:  I think there‘s a big difference between NPR and FOX News. 

FUND:  What is it? 

SKLAR:  Well, how long do you got? 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, actually, I must say—but, you see, here‘s the difference, though, Rachel.  I grew up listening to NPR, and I can tell you, as a matter of fact, I think it‘s gotten more fair of late.  But I‘ll tell you what, in the ‘70s and ‘80s and a big part of the ‘90s, NPR was every bit as liberal as FOX News is conservative. 

And yet I listened to it everyday.  It didn‘t scare me.  In fact, I thought it made me a lot smarter for sitting there and listening to what other people believed.  What‘s the problem with Democrats doing the same with FOX News? 

SKLAR:  I think what we‘re talking about is we‘re talking about the situation right now, and this clearly reflects some dissatisfaction on the part of Democrats.  Look, I fully think that it would be great to have a platform to reach all voters.  And that‘s my personal opinion.  However, the Democratic Party clearly are—you know, the constituents of it clearly have a problem.  And at what point do they say enough?  And I think they reached that point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And you know what?  And, again, as a politician, I would say that‘s their right.  John Fund, we‘ve got to go.  But I‘ve got to ask you really quickly, would you be saying the same thing to Republicans if they were being moderated in a debate by MSNBC‘s Keith Olbermann?

FUND:  I haven‘t seen Keith Olbermann moderate any debates recently, and I certainly don‘t think you‘d see Sean Hannity moderate the FOX debate in Nevada.  So they clearly would have—both sides would have to agree on a moderator that would be somewhat objective.  So that‘s not an issue. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, I disagree, but, John Fund, thank you for being with us.  Rachel Sklar, thank you so much.

Coming up next here, is Heather Mills going to become the $56 million dollar woman?  Is the marital misery tour coming to an end?  And why is Sir Paul on the attack, with some nasty words about “Dancing with the Stars”?

And later, did Cruise try to convert the King?  We‘ll talk about Larry‘s brief run-in with Scientology.  Hello, for the hour, we‘re in “Hollyweird.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Paul McCartney may not be able to buy love, but apparently he can buy a divorce.  After months of nasty allegations, a British tabloid reports that the ex-Beatle and his soon-to-be ex-wife Heather Mills have settled.  Now, we should say this is just one unconfirmed report, but according to the paper‘s sources, Mills will receive $48 million in cash, one McCartney‘s homes, and she‘ll drop her bid for sole custody of their daughter, Beatrice.

So is the marital misery tour over?  Or is there still more to come?

With us now, the “Sun‘s” U.S. editor, Emily Smith, and “Star” magazine‘s deputy New York bureau chief David Caplan. 

Emily, what‘s the story?  Is it over?

EMILY SMITH, “THE SUN”:  Well, it‘s not over yet.  It‘s not over until the papers are signed.  Heather originally wanted $100 million, and now they‘ve gone to the high court, and they‘ve had a series of big dust-ups in court.  And now she‘s said that she may accept around $55 million and joint custody of the child. 

There‘s a long way to go, though,  They haven‘t agreed on terms.  They haven‘t agreed to full custody.  We could still see a lot more nasty fights yet. 

SCARBOROUGH:  David Caplan, about $50 million for a few years of marriage?  Not a bad gig if you can get it. 

DAVID CAPLAN, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  Definitely not a bad gig, but keep in mind what she wanted before initially, it was going to be $6.6 million a year, and now this would be a flat cash settlement of $48 million.  So if you sort of do the math, you know, $48 million would have just really lasted her seven or eight years.  So it‘s great, but she wanted a lot more, but she‘s going to have a great life, and she‘s hoping to make lots of money here in the U.S.

SCARBOROUGH:  And she‘s going to be trying to do that by going on “Dancing with the Stars.”  But, you know, Paul McCartney apparently had some nasty things to say about her appearing on “Dancing with the Stars.”  The papers claiming that he told her it was tacky and she‘ll become a reality TV freak like Anna Nicole Smith.  Talk about that.

CAPLAN:  That‘s right.  You know, Paul had some pretty harsh words for her.  And I think, to be honest, he‘s a little bit correct.  You know, Heather Mills, she may come here.  She‘ll be a hit as a reality TV star, but I don‘t see her really achieving much more than that.  She doesn‘t have the acting chops, and I think she‘s the type of person who‘s destined for the likes of “The Surreal Life” and all these other reality TV shows which embrace D-list celebrities.  So I don‘t know if this is the type of fame though that she‘s envisioning, though.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Emily, though, of course, she‘s going to be better off in the United States than in Great Britain, right?  I mean, she‘s probably almost universally loathed in Great Britain, isn‘t she? 

SMITH:  Yes, she‘s not liked at all in England.  She‘s seen as a gold digger.  She‘s seen as somebody who‘s, you know, taken advantage of her marriage with Paul.  And she wants to come to the U.S. and launch herself as a businesswoman here.  And she‘s hoping that “Dancing with the Stars” will be a good platform for her to get huge fame over here and make a lot of money. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Don‘t see it happening, though.  But in the end, when should this divorce wrap up, Emily?

SMITH:  Well, the arguments could go on for at least another six months, so there‘s a lot more hearings to take place.  Paul is hoping that she‘ll sign a gagging order so she won‘t reveal anything about the marriage.  She hasn‘t agreed to that yet, and that‘s going to be a big sticking point. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We‘ll see what happens.  Emily Smith, thank you so much.  David Caplan, stick around, because coming up in “Hollyweird,” is it exit stage left for Rosie?  Or is she sticking around to enjoy “The View”?  The details coming up in “Hollyweird.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up, Tom Cruise.  Larry King tells the “Palm Peach Post” Tom Cruise took him on a personal tour of the Scientology facility.  Is the talk show host Cruise‘s latest recruit?

Here now to talk about it, Lisa Gastineau.  She‘s co-creator and star of the GSpot celebrisodes on ManiaTV.com.  And also, “Star” magazine‘s David Caplan.

David, Larry King a Scientologist for the hour?  What‘s up?

CAPLAN:  That‘s right.  Tom Cruise is like the Scientology missionary here, trying to get everyone to convert.  He took Larry King on a tour of an anti-psychiatry museum that the Church of Scientology has in Los Angeles, because he‘s heard Larry King talk about his use of antidepressants for depression.  He really wanted to convince Larry King, hey, it‘s not that bad.  Larry King took a tour of the museum, and he‘s still not having it.  He said it was, quote, “incredible” the anti-psychiatry that the stance that the church has, but he‘s not buying it.  So, you know, Larry King is a non-Scientologist, and he‘s going to stay that way.  Sorry, Tom. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, sorry, Tom.  Tough luck.

And, Lisa, my gosh, who would follow Tom Cruise onto that couch?  I mean, it‘s just—the guy is not exactly—it seems Scientology has helped his career out, right?

LISA GASTINEAU, MANIATV.COM:  Well, Larry is a consummate professional, so before he goes on and talks about something, he wants to know what‘s happening. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And so, of course, he wants to go in and talk to Tom Cruise.  But apparently he wasn‘t too swayed by it. 

I want to move on.  Let‘s talk about the “New York Post” reporting that Rosie O‘Donnell is going to stay at “The View” for another year.  And, Lisa, we‘d heard for some time that Rosie was going to possibly be heading on and starting her own show, but this formula is apparently working, right?  The ratings are way up. 

GASTINEAU:  Well, the ratings are up, and the fans love her, viewers love her, as she gives it a little bit of spice or controversy.  And people want to tune into something where they‘re going to see some sparks going.  And I think Rosie gives that.

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you think of Rosie?  Do you think she‘s great for Barbara Walters‘ career?

GASTINEAU:  I love it, you know?  It‘s the unexpected.  You don‘t know what she‘s going to say.  You know she‘s a little bit on the edge or a lot on the edge.  And I think it‘s exactly what morning television needs.  It‘s kind of balances out the whole shtick.

SCARBOROUGH:  And, David Caplan, apparently balancing out that whole shtick, that sort of saccharine shtick is really working for ABC.  What have you heard about this back-and-forth between Barbara Walters and Rosie?  They love each other; they hate each other; they love each other. 

Apparently, this marriage is going to last another year, huh?

CAPLAN:  Yes, I mean, things are great between these two I‘m hearing now.  That whole Donald Trump fiasco we had late last year has really calmed down.  Rosie and Barbara are great.  And what does Barbara not have to like with Rosie?  She‘s adding 75,000 viewers a week since she took over the show. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wow.  So she‘s around for a while, right? 

CAPLAN:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  She‘s going to finish out her contract at “The View” for a year, and then ABC wants to give her, her next show, for September 2008. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Wow.

And, finally, Angelina Jolie is telling “Newsweek” that, when she approached the U.N. about doing charity work, they thought she was crazy, but apparently not.  She‘s crazy for helping the kids out.

Lisa, maybe her movie career has not been as active, but she really has become a real U.N. star, hasn‘t she? 

GASTINEAU:  She has.  Well, she always was known as the wild child, you know, with the vial of blood, and now she‘s come out and raised the platform and raised awareness about adoption and issues that are really relevant to what‘s going on in the world today, other than just, you know, walking around looking beautiful. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly, which, of course, is what David Caplan and I do all the time, David.  But, I mean, has it hurt her career?  Or is she still doing OK?

CAPLAN:  Yes, this is great for her career.  I feel a few years ago, we really considered Angelina almost peripheral to Hollywood.  But just because of her good work, all of her Africa, Asia, everyone‘s talking about her, and she‘s writing articles for “Newsweek” and the “Washington Post,” you know, she‘s writing for.  So she‘s all over the place. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  We got to go.  Lisa Gastineau, David Caplan, thank you so much. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  We‘ll see you tomorrow 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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