updated 3/27/2007 11:35:26 AM ET 2007-03-27T15:35:26

Guests: Joan Walsh, John Nichols, Ryan Lizza, Steve Adubato, Matthew Felling, Kerry Kennedy, Kim Serafin, David Caplan

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight, Couric‘s cancer cross-examination suggesting that John Edwards is exploiting his wife‘s cancer for political gain.  Did the CBS anchor hit below the belt?  That story is coming up.

But first: George W. Bush is the loneliest man on the planet.  This according to conservative columnist Robert Novak, who says, quote, “With nearly two years remaining in his presidency, George W. Bush is alone.  In half a century, I‘ve not seen a president so isolated from his own party in Congress, not Jimmy Carter, not even Richard Nixon as he faced impeachment.”

Now, Novak cites GOP members who are calling the president and his administration incompetent, while one Republican senator and presidential hopeful is even suggesting that Mr. Bush‘s arrogance could lead to impeachment, while others say his attorney general can‘t be trusted.  This during a time when the president‘s troop surge actually seems to be working.  And yet as Mr. Novak writes—and as I‘ve been saying for some time—George W. Bush does stand alone.  Is he determined or delusional, a latter-day Churchill or a poor reflection of his father?

Here now to talk about it, Joan Walsh—she‘s editor-in-chief of Salon.com—John Nichols from “The Nation” and MSNBC contributor and “Boston Herald” columnist Mike Barnicle.

John Nichols, let me begin by reading you what Republican senator and possible presidential candidate Chuck Hagel said involving the impeachment of George W. Bush.  He said, “You can impeach him, and before this gets over, you might see calls for his impeachment.  It depends on how this goes.”

Now listen, John, to what Chuck Hagel said this weekend when pressed on the topic of impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL ®, NEBRASKA:  No president can dictate to this country, nor should he.  Any president who says, I don‘t care, or I will not respond to what the people of this country are saying about Iraq or anything else, or I don‘t care what the Congress does, I am going to proceed—if a president really believes that, then there are—what I was pointing out, there are ways to deal with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  John, should we expect to hear more talk of the president‘s impeachment as Democrats start consolidating power, Republicans start to get antsy as we move to 2008 and as we move into a long, hot summer?

JOHN NICHOLS, “THE NATION”:  I think it may be a real tough spring, frankly.  Look, impeachment always happens toward the end of a term.  The discussion arises when a president has made a lot of enemies not merely in the opposition party but also in his own party, and thus the base of defense starts to fall apart.

There‘s no question we will hear a much more aggressive discussion of impeachment as the spring turns towards summer.  I‘m not saying we‘ll reach the impeachment moment, but I have no doubt that in coming weeks, you will see an article of impeachment submitted by some probably more renegade Democratic member of the House, and with that, a growing discussion.

And I have to be blunt with you.  The Gonzales circumstance is really central to this because while it certainly doesn‘t go to the core of what most Americans object to with President Bush, it does sum up a lot of their concerns.  And you hit it right on the head.  It‘s the arrogance in the refusal to cooperate with Congress.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, actually, you know, that was Chuck Hagel that said that.  I‘m trying to think back to the Clinton administration.  There were a lot of Republicans suggesting that Bill Clinton should be impeached starting in 1993, 1994.  I never heard a Democrat say anything about it, and that was way before Monica Lewinsky.  That was the China scandals.  That was the fund-raising scandals.  But no Republican ever came out and said what Chuck Hagel‘s saying right now.  And Hagel‘s not some left-wing lunatic...

NICHOLS:  No Democrat.  No Democrat...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m sorry.  Yes, no Democrat ever said that about Bill Clinton.  What‘s going on?

NICHOLS:  Well, there‘s a subtlety here that‘s important to understand, and that is that Bill Clinton always practiced the care and feeding of fellow Democrats.  He was very conscious of them, even as he tried to triangulate with Republicans.  George Bush has lost a lot of his connections to his Republican allies, and you see that not merely in Chuck Hagel, but watch what you saw over the weekend with Orrin Hatch and Arlen Specter and Lindsey Graham coming out and saying incredibly aggressive and negative things as regards Alberto Gonzales.

SCARBOROUGH:  Very harsh. And Mike Barnicle, you know, Democrats bring up impeachment.  Bob Novak is suggesting that Republicans may not rally to his cause.  Novak says Mr. Bush stands alone in part because his own party thinks he‘s incompetent.  Read what Novak said.  “The ‘I‘ word for incompetence is used by Republicans in describing the Bush administration generally.  Several of them I talked to described the trifecta of incompetence: the Walter Reed hospital scandal, the FBI‘s misuse of the Patriot Act and U.S. attorney firing fiasco.”

And Mike, I‘ve been hearing Republicans, heck, since I was back in Congress in 2001 speaking angrily about the Bush administration‘s arrogance.  Do think the arrogance and the incompetence may be why this president does stand alone and would stand alone even in the worst of political crises from his own party?

MIKE BARNICLE, “BOSTON HERALD,” MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR:  Well, I think what you have going on here, Joe, is you have almost a perfect storm of ingredients that lead up to a groundswell in both parties of discontent toward this president.  He‘s isolated.  The administration is arrogant.  As John just pointed out, at least Bill Clinton—I mean, they were very sophisticated in terms of their dealings with Congress.  They always kept talking.  And yet, this administration, when they do talk, they tend to anger people.  No matter what you have to say about the war, if you stand up and you have any, any, any sense of an opinion against this administration on the war, for years now—not months, for years—they say, Well, they don‘t support the troops.  They‘re basically...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike, I can‘t—you know what?  I want to underline something that you‘ve said because you‘ve touched on something very important here.  I cannot tell you how many Republican senators and congressmen have told me that they were shocked that they were treated with more dignity and respect by Bill Clinton than they have been by George W. Bush.  Is it all coming home now to George W. Bush?  Is this what...

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  Joe, you‘re a former member of the House, a Republican member of the House.  I mean, you probably have much more—I know you have much more insight into this than I do.  But can you imagine carrying the load of this administration, if you‘re up for reelection, whether it‘s in the House or the Senate next year, and you‘re carrying the load of the war in Iraq?  You‘re carrying the load of his absolute incompetence in terms of dealing with things like Hurricane Katrina, Walter Reed.  You‘ve got the attorney general, who you wouldn‘t hire to do a house closing.  He‘s basically a gofer for the president of the United States.  He can‘t explain himself.   People get this, and...

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  ... Republicans out there in the country having to sell this?

SCARBOROUGH:  And Mike—and that follows up on Harriet Miers.  You have this pattern of people...

BARNICLE:  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that George Bush wants people around him.  And you‘re absolutely right.  I think, you know, a lot of Republicans that are just absolutely fed up by it.  And you know, Joan, while George Bush was never loved by his own party, he‘s in a more dangerous position than that, not being loved, because he‘s not feared.  And Bob Novak writes this.  “Republicans in Congress do not trust their president to protect them.”

And this, Joan, is of course because the president was not able to protect them in 2006.  And again, I hear what Novak has been hearing, whether it‘s about Walter Reed or whether before it, it was about the handling of the war, or whether it was Hurricane Katrina or all these other crises, these Republicans in Congress feel abandoned like (ph) this administration‘s incompetent and that the administration can‘t protect them.

So what does that mean for the president?  Is that the kiss of death for a president‘s effectiveness, when you lose your own party?

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  I think what it means is that you have all of these Republican Congresspeople, as well as pundits like Novak, who are feeling really desperate because they believe that Bush is in danger of turning them into a long-term minority party.  This man has squandered the political capital he had.

I mean, there are really interesting differences with Bill Clinton.  I think Bill Clinton got better at the care and feeding of members of his own party, as well as the opposition party, as his terms went on, as he learned from mistakes, like the health care mess, like gays in the military.  He started to consult people and let them know his plans, telegraph his plans.  This president has gotten worse and worse.  And you know...

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, and Joan—and let me tell you really quickly about Bill Clinton, and then I‘ll let you follow up.

WALSH:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  Funny thing.  One time, I was walking out of the Capitol, and one of the people that worked for President Clinton said, Hey, Scarborough, take it easy on my boss.  I said, Oh, your boss, he doesn‘t watch TV.  This was back when I went on cable news a good bit, criticizing the president.  I said, Your boss doesn‘t watch me on TV.  He doesn‘t even know who I am.  And he—but if he did, he‘d hate me.  And the guy said, Well, actually, Congressman, he knows who you are and he hates you.

And yet he always kept calling me back to the White House.  The people always stayed engaged.  Bill Clinton constantly was working with the opposition and his own party members.  And yet with this White House—and I know you‘ve heard it from Democrats.  I‘ve heard it from Republicans.  They just have—they‘ve never reached out.  They‘ve always made congressmen and senators feel like they were beneath the White House.

And so is that what—you think that‘s what Novak‘s hearing now?

WALSH:  I think that‘s what he‘s hearing.  I think that the president, you know, is reaping what he‘s sown.  He is allegedly very loyal to people close to him, but we both know, you know, he stood up with Donald Rumsfeld and then he dumped him the day after the election.  There were so many Republicans who were furious about that.  Either they had come out and supported Rumsfeld or they had opposed Rumsfeld and wished that he had done what he did before the election and given them a fighting chance.

I mean, the other really kind of funny tragic story from this weekend was John McKay, the U.S. attorney in Washington, talking about the way Harriet Miers kind of scolded him, like, Do you know why people in your party might have a problem with you, Mr. McKay?

You know, Novak talks about incompetence.  They have married incompetence with corruption, and that‘s what‘s really going to be intolerable, in the end, to the American people.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, I don‘t know if I agree with that.  We might have a disagreement on marrying arrogance...

WALSH:  I think we do.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... incompetence with corruption.  I think it may be a marriage of arrogance and incompetence, which politically is deadly.

Mike Barnicle, I want you to look at this clip from “Saturday Night Live.”  You know, Ronald Reagan was considered less than engaged all the time, but he was very, very successful in many areas.  Not so with George Bush.  Look at this clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If I believed for one minute that anyone on my staff acted in an unethical manner to fire these prosecutors, I can assure Alberto would be the first to go.  The buck stops here when it comes to any wrongdoing in this administration.  But there hasn‘t been any wrongdoing.  Alberto will not step down.  He‘s my guy.  He‘s loyal.  He‘s honest.  And he‘s a hard worker.  He‘s doing a heck of a job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Mike Barnicle, Ronald Reagan was always called, basically, a lovable buffoon by his critics, and of course, Ronald Reagan always beat the pulp out of his critics.  Not so with George W. Bush, though.  This is sticking with him, isn‘t it.

BARNICLE:  Well, you know, Joe, the president is a baseball guy, and the job he probably would have had, the job he really wanted was to be commissioner of baseball in 1996.  But forces prevented him from getting that, unfortunately for the country.

But when you look at the baseball metaphor, when you look at Reagan, when you look at Clinton, when you look at George Bush, Reagan and Clinton for staffs had a major league ballplayers.  This particular president has surrounded himself consistently with AA players from the get-go, from Brownie to this attorney general to the secretary of defense, who was so arrogant, he wouldn‘t listen to anything.  And he‘s now reaping the rewards of the poor staff that has surrounded him since he arrived in Washington.

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, John, so when do the Republicans finally throw the president overboard?  Or the president‘s attorney general overboard.

NICHOLS:  I think that there‘s going to be immense pressure on the White House to have the attorney general step down before he testifies before the Senate.  If he goes there and testifies, it will be a national, you know, 24/7 story.  This will be one of the first stories of a real crisis within the administration that has gone to this level, and I don‘t think they want that.

Frankly, I think they‘re very concerned about the coming days.  I think they have real fears about members of Gonzales‘s own staff who might turn in Senate testimony.  And I believe that‘s why one of them decided to take the 5th today.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  ... not a good sign when you‘ve got someone in your administration having to take the 5th on a matter...

NICHOLS:  Well, and if I...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... that could have been handled simply by just telling the truth.

John, Joan and Mike, thank you so much for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it.

Coming up: Iran and the West square off after Teheran captures 15 British soldiers.  Will this standoff escalate into an all-out war with Iran, or at least military strikes?  It‘s sounding like it.  The very latest on this dangerous situation next.

Plus:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATIE COURIC, “60 MINUTES”:  Some people watching this would say, I would put my family first always and my job a second, and you‘re doing the exact opposite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  CBS‘s Katie Couric under fire for very tough questions with John and Elizabeth Edwards.  We‘re going to show you what her critics and John Edwards are saying tonight and ask the question, Why did she ask those tough questions when Katie Couric kept working at the “Today” show while her husband was dying of cancer?

And later: The paparazzi‘s trouble with Harry.  Did the prince get into a royal rumble with photographers after his wild night on the town?  The story behind those photos next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, “THE VIEW”:  There were 15 British sailors and marines who apparently went into Iranian waters, and they were seized by the Iranians.  And I have one thing to say.  Gulf of Tonkin.

(CROSSTALK)

O‘DONNELL:  It‘s very interesting, too, that, you know, these guys, they went into the water by mistake right at a time when British and American, you know, they‘re too—they‘re pretty much our biggest ally—are considering what to do, whether or not we should go into war with Iran...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Rosie O‘Donnell, comedian, actress, foreign relations expert.  But it‘s no joke.  Iran‘s seizure of 15 British sailors and marines could be the last straw for a White House that‘s made no secret of its disdain for Teheran.  Tonight, London is demanding action immediately, and Iran is turning a deaf ear.  Will George W. Bush jump in to help his friend, Tony Blair and our allies?  Could this escalation lead to a war or at least military strikes with Iran?

Here now, Ryan Lizza.  He‘s the White House correspondent for “The New Republic.”  And still with us, Mike Barnicle.  Ryan Lizza, what‘s it look like to you?  Could this be justification for war?

RYAN LIZZA, “THE NEW REPUBLIC”:  I don‘t think it—I don‘t think it will be.  There was some development today in Iran that suggested that the leadership there is divided on what to do about this.  And the media in Iran has not been—has not had a clear and consistent message on what it—what it thinks of the situation, despite some of the protests in the streets...

SCARBOROUGH:  Why is this happening, though?  Why do we have the Iranians—again, with George W. Bush basically threatening military action, why do we have them provoking America and its allies?

LIZZA:  Well, we don‘t know.  You know, today—were these British sailors—did they—the water they were in is a sort of complicated area that‘s—what jurisdiction it is is complicated, whether it‘s Iraq‘s or Iran‘s, you know, so maybe they legitimately seized these guys, and maybe they‘re not trying to provoke a confrontation.  Or alternatively, maybe after the Security Council voted 15-to-nothing to impose sanctions this weekend, maybe they decided, Hey, we need a bargaining chip here.  Let‘s go grab some Westerners out there.

SCARBOROUGH:  I‘ll tell you what—I‘ll tell you what, though, Mike Barnicle.  This ain‘t 1979, and Jimmy Carter ain‘t president of the United States.  If I were the Iranians, I would look west and look for Saddam Hussein, who is dead now, and see that dealing with a guy that doesn‘t really play around—listen to these quotes.  I want to—I want to read this quote.  This is a senior Iranian military official.  He warned the United States against launching attacks, saying, “If America starts a war with Iran, it won‘t be the one that finishes it.”  And then you got “The Daily Telegraph” firing back, demanding immediate action, Mike.  And this is what “The Telegraph” says.  “We might actually see whether the prime minister has the necessary spine to do what‘s required.  The threat must be made explicit.  Release these prisoners or else.”

Sounds like there could be some military action ahead of us.

BARNICLE:  Joe, for some reason, I can‘t get Rosie O‘Donnell out of my mind.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, listen, you know, Rosie also believes that there‘s a—that 9/11 was an inside job and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was framed.  But Barbara Walters sat there passively.  But anyway...

(CROSSTALK)

BARNICLE:  There are several interesting aspects to this, Joe.  First, the Iranian government is clearly bifurcated.  There‘s President Ahmadinejad, and then there‘s the ayatollah, the religious leader of Iran.  The army elements, the naval elements that did this report to the ayatollah, separate from the president.  It was clearly a planned military deal.  I mean, they had—they were surrounded, literally, within minutes, the British soldiers were, after they arrived there.

Why are Iranians doing this?  The best guess would probably be because they can, because they know they can get away with it at this point.  They‘re doing it to the British.  They have diplomatic relations with Great Britain that they don‘t have with the United States, so you‘ve got to assume that there‘s already back channel negotiations going on between Britain and Iran, and doing this in a—when Iran does this, they can show once again to their neighbors that America is weak.  And we are weakened because of Iraq.

LIZZA:  It‘s not even back channel negotiations, though.  I mean, look, the—Great Britain is very different in its relationship with Iran than the United States.  There‘s an ambassador in Great Britain...

BARNICLE:  Yes, they have them.  Yes.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... who‘s been summoned three times to see the government in Great Britain.  I mean, it‘s pretty, you know, out in the open.  This would be a totally different situation, frankly, if these were American soldiers.  I don‘t think, despite that “Daily Telegraph” lead—editorial, I don‘t think the British government has—you know, is sounding any belligerent notes on this.  And it seems—you know, it seems unlikely to me that this is a Gulf of Tonkin situation for the United States when these aren‘t our guys...

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  ... you know, and the Brits don‘t—you know, the Brits don‘t want to go to war with Iran.  They think that‘s frankly insane.

(CROSSTALK)

LIZZA:  I mean, thank God they weren‘t American soldiers.  It could—you know, because the scenario you‘re laying out, Joe, I think would be a lot more realistic if it was.

The other thing you got to look at is the Iranians took a half step back today from saying that they—you know, that they know these guys were in Iranian waters on purpose, to saying, Well, there‘s a little confusion on that issue.  So maybe that‘s the result of some successful, you know, negotiations.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I think—I think we‘ll be seeing a lot more steps backwards as we move forward because, again, when you take this, when you take the U.N. sanctions, Iran is actually getting more isolated by the minute.

Ryan...

LIZZA:  That‘s true.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Mike Barnicle, thank you so much.  Greatly appreciate it.

And still to come: Is Katie Couric passing a judgment—passing judgment on a presidential candidate?  And who is she to decide whether cancer should stop the Edwards campaign?  You‘re not going to believe the questions she asked.

Plus, “American Idol‘s” Sanjaya is causing quite a stir on the streets.  Find out why comedian Jay Leno is a little concerned about this kid and the mania surrounding him in tonight‘s “Must See S.C.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up: After a questionable performance on last week‘s “American Idol,” Sanjaya manages to survive, but fans of the other singers aren‘t so happy.  Jay Leno shows us some surprising reactions from around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Haley (ph), you sang “Tell Him.”  Gina (ph), you sang “Paint it Black.”  Sanjaya, you sang “You Really Got Me.”  America voted, and you are not our bottom three.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And finally, Jimmy Kimmel continues his attack on the FCC in the most recent “Unnecessary Censorship.”  Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Britney Spears is out of rehab, and the bombshell news sent the paparazzi into a (DELETED) frenzy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I will bring the other team to the boardroom, where somebody will be (DELETED) like (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hold on.  I‘m going to take a break and a (DELETED), OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next: Prince Harry‘s paparazzi smackdown.  The royal rebel stirs up trouble, but do the pictures tell the whole story?  Of course not.

And next: Katie Couric under fire.  Did she cross the line questioning John Edwards about his wife‘s cancer?  We‘re going to show you the controversial interview and what Katie‘s critics are saying today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up, the prince versus the paparazzi.  Prince Harry loses his cool after his wild night on the town and caught on film.  Is the prince, known as the spare, not the heir, out of control as he prepares to go fight in Iraq?

And then, the results are in, so what killed Anna Nicole?  The latest coming up in “Hollyweird.”  We‘ve got her quarantined in “Hollyweird,” friends.  I promise.

Those stories and more in minutes.  But first, did Katie Couric cross the line?  Now, the “CBS Evening News” anchor interviewed John and Elizabeth Edwards just days after their announcement that Elizabeth‘s cancer had returned.  The interview focused on how they‘re coping with the news and why they decided to stay in the race for the White House.  But instead of talking about what the Edwards had to stay, everybody was talking about the very tough questions that Katie Couric asked and whether or not she went too far. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATIE COURIC, CBS “EVENING NEWS” HOST:  Some say what you‘re doing is courageous; others said it‘s callous.  Some say, “Isn‘t it wonderful they care for something greater than themselves?”  And others say it‘s a case of insatiable ambition. 

I think some people wondered if you were in denial, if you were being realistic about what you are going to be facing here. 

Some have suggested that you‘re capitalizing on this.  Some people watching this would say, “I would put my family first always and my job second.”  And you‘re doing the exact opposite.  You‘re putting your work first and your family second. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Were Katie‘s questions out of line?  Here now to talk about it, Matthew Felling, he‘s the media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs, and MSNBC media analyst Steve Adubato.

Steve, let me start with you.  I must say—and I am a firm believer, and I always have been a firm believer, in tough, harsh presidential campaigns, because I think they prepare candidates.  But what I saw from Katie Couric last night was very troubling.  Did she cross the line? 

STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST:  Absolutely, no doubt about it, Joe.  Katie Couric actually should know better than anyone else.  She lost her husband, Jay, to cancer.  She never stopped working.  No one questioned or challenged Katie in terms of what her motives were when she had a colonoscopy, if you will, right on the air. 

My point is this:  Her timing is so off, Joe.  Just a couple of days after the Edwards find out about this terrible disease, there was time to do this interview three, six months down the road, when there‘s a better sense of what‘s happening with Elizabeth.  No one—when she says, “Some people say,” that‘s a journalistic copout, Joe.  She‘s saying that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  That is a—you know what?  I‘m glad you brought that up, because that is a journalistic copout.  Somebody could just have easily asked all of these questions about her while she was going through her personal tragedy with her husband. 

I think, perhaps, the most offensive question had to do with her saying, Katie Couric saying that John and Elizabeth Edwards were putting politics ahead of their family.  Let‘s roll that part of the interview one more time. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURIC:  Some people watching this would say, “I would put my family first always and my job second.”  And you‘re doing the exact opposite.  You‘re putting your work first and your family second. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Katie Couric editorializing, Steve, that Edwards, John Edwards specifically, is putting his family second.  Could not people have said the same thing about Katie Couric?  She didn‘t quit the “Today” show after her husband was dying. 

ADUBATO:  Sorry for interrupting, Joe.  By the way, the presidency is not a job.  It is, in fact, public service.  John Edwards answered the question quite well.  He said, “Katie, being a trial attorney when I was an attorney, that was a job.  This is a calling.”  The Edwards are together in this.

And please, Katie, if you challenge the Edwards, if you think it‘s wrong, if you think that they‘re putting, you know, what you believe is insatiable ambition, as you say, “some people are saying it,” who‘s saying that?  I heard Rush Limbaugh criticize them or challenge or question whether they were being politically motivated, but I don‘t hear mainstream America saying anything other than, “We‘re praying for you, Elizabeth.  We hope nothing for the best.” 

And, by the way, finally, Joe, every person who runs for president has family issues, people who are sick, a sick parent, a sick child.  They lost, in fact—the Edwards lost their little son just about 10 years ago.  It is amazing to me, the tone of this interview was so far off, so wrong, timing was wrong.  I don‘t know why Katie did it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Matthew Felling, why did Katie Couric do it?

MATTHEW FELLING, THE CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS:  Well, first of all, I don‘t even know how I got into this corner.  I mean, even some journalism is legitimate even if Katie Couric does it.  I have not been a champion of this woman and attempts at the “CBS Evening News,” but last night she asked the questions that there were a lot of people—Steve might not have his pulse on mainstream America. 

This was a question that a lot of people were asking, just, well, what sort of a balance are they going to try and strike?  And could she ask the question in three months?  Could she ask the question in six months?  I mean, we‘re looking at the Edwards.  They might be on their last throes of their campaign, because he might not even be relevant in three or six months. 

ADUBATO:  We‘ll find out.

FELLING:  And I think that this is very relevant.  Yes, I do agree that the “some, some, some” thing was really lazy journalism, but I think that she did need to ask those questions.  And she might have crossed the line, in terms of being more pointed...

SCARBOROUGH:  But, Matthew Felling, I could say whatever I wanted to say about you and couch it in “some people say, Matthew, that”...

FELLING:  Exactly.

SCARBOROUGH:  And that‘s what she kept doing.  And she didn‘t cite any people who had said it so we could link credibility to it.  And I‘ll tell you, there‘s been a real backlash.  The CBS Web site has been bombarded with comments about Katie Couric‘s interview, and most of them were negative.  Here are just a few of her harsher critics.

One viewer called Couric, quote, “incredibly unprofessional and inept.”  Another said, quote, “Her questioning was arrogant and horrible, no compassion.”  And another viewer wrote, quote, “She came across as very partisan, insensitive and without class.”

You know, though, Matthew...

FELLING:  You know, it‘s really hypothetical...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Felling, what‘s so—Matthew, isn‘t it interesting, though, that here‘s a woman who‘s been attacked for six, seven, eight months for being too soft, and now she gets this big interview, and she‘s being attacked for being too harsh.  It seems like she can‘t win for losing, or maybe she just can‘t strike the right tone.  Which is it? 

FELLING:  Yes, well, I think that—I mean, America is used to a very certain flavor of Katie Couric, and I think that she actually went the other direction with Colbert last week.  I‘m not sure if she felt she had to go the opposite direction on “60 Minutes.”

But I think it‘s a hypothetical, but it‘s worth asking.  If you rubbed out the word “Katie Couric” on the transcript of this interview and put anybody else, anybody else connected with “60 Minutes,” anybody else connected with CBS News or ABC, or NBC, MSNBC, would we be having the same conversation?  She‘s so radioactive.  And, I mean, I‘ve jumped on her my share, more than my share. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, no, no, I must disagree with you there.  I think if Charlie Wilson—Charlie Wilson? -- I think if Charlie or Brian Williams had asked these same questions...

ADUBATO:  Charlie Gibson.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... yes, Charlie Gibson, whether you‘re talking the ABC anchor, whether you talking the NBC anchor, I think anybody asking these questions would likewise be grilled, because it came so soon after the announcement, and it just seemed so harsh. 

I mean, sometimes it seems to me that reporters forget that these people who are running for president or senator are human beings after all.  And, Steve, I want to play you another clip from the show last night, what Katie Couric was talking about when she was talking to Edwards.  Watch this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURIC:  I guess some people would say there‘s some a middle ground, you don‘t have to necessarily stay at home and feel sorry for yourself and do nothing.  But if given a possibly finite period of time on the planet, being on the campaign trail, away from my children a lot of the time, and sort of pursuing this goal is not necessarily what I‘d do. 

JOHN EDWARDS (D), CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT:  Well, but we all—we are all different, number one. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Steve Adubato, I can‘t believe most people watching that with children wouldn‘t ask, why is Katie Couric passing judgment on these people?

ADUBATO:  And you know what?  Joe, unfortunately, she was, and I can‘t get inside her head.  But when you‘re third in the ratings among three networks on the evening news, and you‘re getting paid that kind of money, maybe Katie succumbed to the pressure to be overly aggressive at the wrong time.  This hurt her, and she should not be the story.  The Edwards are the story.  She made herself the story, whether she wanted to or not.  And it‘s bad journalism, no other way about it. 

FELLING:  And don‘t forget the baggage that Katie Couric carries, as well as what happened in 2004 at CBS.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Thank you, Matthew.  Thank you, Steve.

And let me just say, for all of here at SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, our thoughts and prayers are certainly with the Edwards and their three children.  It‘s an extraordinarily difficult time.  And, unfortunately—and not knocking Katie Couric.  She‘s certainly not alone, and I‘ve certainly made a lot mistakes since I‘ve been sitting in this chair.  A lot of times we forget that these people who go out to serve us are human beings with the same fears, the same problems, the same challenges that you and I face.  And certainly our thoughts and prayers are with Elizabeth and John Edwards and their children tonight. 

Coming up next, the biggest names in the world honoring the legacy of Robert F. Kennedy.  Tonight, his daughter, Kerry, tells us what today‘s politicians could learn from her father. 

Plus, did Prince Harry get into a royal rumble with the paparazzi?  The real story behind those scandalous photos, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Britain‘s Prince Harry leaves for Iraq later this year, but his recent behavior has some Brits asking if he‘s up for that job.  Photographers caught the prince in what appears to be a scuffle with paparazzi this weekend.

As Ila Traquier (ph) from our British broadcasting partner, ITN, explains, it‘s just the latest scandal from the young man known as the spare, not the heir. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Snapped again.  This Harry drunken, leaving the back door of a West London club at 3:00 a.m.  Soon, things turn hostile, and Harry appears to (INAUDIBLE) photographer Nirach Tanner.  He‘s unsuccessful and attempts to get into his waiting vehicle.  Then, whoops a daisy, the boozy prince lands on the tarmac. 

Mr. Tanner told the “News of the World” it was an assault and he‘d never known anything like it before.  Clarence House, however, say the prince stumbled on the curb and fell on the photographer.  There was no aggressive intent.

Although a bit embarrassing for the royal soldier, especially when ex- girlfriend Natalie Pinkham is spotted leaving the other front door.  Head in hands, Harry worrying about what girlfriend, Chelsy, will say.  Last year, personal photos are published showing Harry getting cozy with his drinking buddy at a party in 2003, so it‘s not the first time the TV presenter and the prince have been linked, and it‘s not the first time he‘s had a scuffle with the paparazzi. 

In two months, Harry will be deployed to Iraq.  But is he fit to be in command (INAUDIBLE)

COL. BOB STEWART, FORMER British COMMANDER:  He‘s a young officer.  He‘s fully trained.  He knows he can do his job.  He‘s actually ready to go, if you like, to war.  He‘s grown up.  He‘s got girlfriends.  He‘s got no money problems, and he should know a bit better. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Ila Traquier (ph), ITV News.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  All I can say is, thank God cameras don‘t follow me around 24/7, or any of us.

Now to America‘s royal family, the Kennedys.  Right now, the Robert F. Kennedy memorial is holding an online auction to benefit human rights around the world.  Now, it‘s a cause obviously that Bobby Kennedy cared deeply about, and it‘s that kind of passion that drove a lot of people, such as myself, to enter the world of politics.  I got a chance to talk to his daughter, Kerry Kennedy, about the star-studded auction features yours truly in there, but there‘s a lot better stuff than that, as well as her father‘s amazing legacy. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  ... kindness and love, toward our fellow countrymen, toward one another, that must motivate the peoples of both of our countries and really motivate all of mankind. 

KERRY KENNEDY, RFK‘S DAUGHTER:  When my father spoke, he spoke to the best in all of us.  He spoke to our better angels.  He spoke to the part of us that believes in the capacity of an individual to create change and the very, very best values of our country.

He believed that he could stop the war in Vietnam.  He believed that we could help create a South Africa that would not suffer under apartheid and that people around the world of good heart could create change in their countries.  And those are the people he worked hardest for, and I think that‘s what his inspiration and his legacy is to all of us today.

SCARBOROUGH:  Bobby Kennedy‘s finest hour was when he went into the inner city of Indianapolis the night that Martin Luther King was shot, when the police wouldn‘t even afford him protection because it was so dangerous to go in there, and yet he went in and gave what I think is probably one of the great political speeches of the past 50 years. 

R. KENNEDY:  I have some very sad news for all of you and I think sad news for all of our fellow citizens and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight. 

K. KENNEDY:  I think, looking back at that time, you realize the capacity of one person to make a difference. 

R. KENNEDY:  ... dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A very special event is coming up soon.  It‘s an online auction to support a lot of the causes that the RFK memorial has been helping out for years.  Tell us about it.

K. KENNEDY:  Well, this is an extraordinary online auction, actually going on right now, and you can reach it through www.rfkmemorial.org.  And they are fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime lots, like a breakfast or tea at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., with Alan Greenspan and Andrea Mitchell, from right here on MSNBC, a visit to the set and a meeting with Tim Russert, again on NBC, so there are really some fun lots that are out there.  

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘ve got two tickets to the “Sopranos” final episode premiere screening and party.  And then something that both of my boys would love, spending a day with skateboarder Tony Hawk.  How in the world did the RFK Memorial get all of these great auction items?  

K. KENNEDY:  It was one woman, my mother, Ethel Kennedy.  And all of us tried to help in one way or the other, but she is the force behind the Robert F. Kennedy memorial.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you so much, Kerry.  I appreciate you being here with us tonight.  And good luck with the auction, and we‘ll, of course, do anything we can to help out. 

K. KENNEDY:  Thank you very much. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And make sure you go to the Web site.

And coming up next, in the serious and just strange, her life and the circus after he death, the very definition of “Hollyweird.”  And we now know what killed Anna Nicole, but is there more to the story?  “Hollyweird” is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for an abbreviated “Hollyweird.”  First up, Anna Nicole Smith, the autopsy results are in.  Here now to talk about it, senior editor at “InTouch Weekly” Kim Serafin and “Star” magazine‘s deputy New York bureau chief David Caplan. 

David, give us the news. 

DAVID CAPLAN, “STAR” MAGAZINE:  So, today, the cause of death was announced officially.  Anna Nicole Smith died of an overdose, largely of chloral hydrate, which is a sleeping medication, in conjunction with a few other medications, antidepressants that were at, quote, “therapeutic levels.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  I got this ABC breaking news thing that said something about her buttocks.  I closed my BlackBerry at that moment.  What‘s that all about? 

CAPLAN:  That‘s right.  With the buttocks, what happened was she had an abscess in her left buttocks, which was achieved by...

(LAUGHTER)

... a shot in her left buttocks.  We don‘t know what was in syringe, maybe B-12, maybe some sort of growth hormone thing.  But what happened is, she became infected, and then germs got in there, and that prompted her to get a 105 fever. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Maybe Drano.  Kim, what can you tell us about the story? 

KIM SERAFIN, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  Well, first of all, thank you for not asking me the question about her buttock.  I appreciate that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it is ABC News, breaking news from ABC, but go ahead. 

SERAFIN:  Well, I think, for a lot of people, this is a little bit anti-climactic.  I mean, I think a lot of people were on the edge of their seats waiting to hear that it was foul play, that Howard K. Stern was involved. 

Now, this doesn‘t mean this story is over.  We‘re still waiting.  Tomorrow the inquest on Daniel‘s death begins.  Then we‘re waiting for the DNA results.  There‘s also this private investigator who‘s now saying that Daniel suspected Howard K. Stern or was worried, so he had hired him prior to his death.  So the story is far, far from over, but, yes, the medical examiner says it wasn‘t foul play, it wasn‘t suicide, it was this combined overdose of drugs, nine different medications that she was on. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, listen, if you‘re one over six or seven, you‘ve got real problems.  David, when are we going to find out who the daddy is?  And why is it taking so long, when we could have lined everybody up, including Zsa Zsa Gabor‘s crazy prince husband, or whatever he is, and lined him up, and gotten their DNA?

CAPLAN:  Well, next Wednesday, April 3rd, is when a hearing will be held in the Bahamas, or it will be announced, essentially, in the Bahamas, who the father is.

SCARBOROUGH:  Why don‘t they just take their DNA though?

CAPLAN:  They‘ve already taken the DNA.  The DNA has been taken.  It was sent to a lab, actually, in Ohio.  So, by now, the results are done.  Somebody out there knows.  But the reason we had to wait two weeks from the time the judge announced it to April 3rd was simply because Howard K. Stern would have 14 days to appeal any request for DNA.  So this way they‘re going to wait until the 3rd of April, which is the end of the 14-day period. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s going to be ugly.

CAPLAN:  That‘s very legalese.

SCARBOROUGH:  It made great sense, David Caplan.  Thank you, David.  Thank you, Kim.  Apologize for the short “Hollyweird.”  A busy day today.

That‘s all the time we have for tonight, but we‘ll see you back here tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  Stick around.  “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now.

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

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