updated 3/28/2007 11:21:15 AM ET 2007-03-28T15:21:15

Guests: Nico Pitney, Donald Trump, Rachel Smith, Tara Conner, Courtney Hazlett, Carmen Rasmusen, Tom O‘Neil

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight: Donald Trump comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and reignites his feud with Rosie O‘Donnell and Barbara Walters.  He says Rosie‘s a degenerate and Walters is a liar.  That very interesting interview coming up.

But first: Three months after Democrats take control of Capitol Hill, the emboldened Democratic leadership sent the commander-in-chief a powerful message: Get out of Iraq.  Defying the president‘s veto threat, Democrats‘ legislation called for troops to begin coming home in 120 days, with all combat troops out in a year.  The anti-war bill passed with the help of two senators from the president‘s own party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL ®, NEBRASKA:  Mr. President, we have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NE), MAJORITY LEADER:  The swagger, Mr. President -

and he can swagger all he wants, but we have 3,241 dead Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  The said the Senate‘s timeline would put freedom and democracy at grave risk and emboldens our enemies, while presidential hopeful John McCain said the vote would empower terrorists around the world.  So who‘s right, Democrats who are saying that $300 billion and over 3,000 lives are enough to sacrifice for the Iraqi people, or George Bush, who says with growing evidence on his side that the surge is working, so now‘s the worst time to cut and run?

Well, most Americans are siding with Democrats.  A new “USA Today” Gallup poll shows that 60 percent support a timeline for troop withdrawal.  Only 38 percent are saying we should stay the course.

Here now to talk about it, “Congressional Quarterly” columnist Craig Crawford, Nico Pitney—he‘s from the Center for American Progress—and MSNBC political analyst and former presidential candidate and White House communication director Pat Buchanan.

Craig, Republicans could have stopped this vote, but they didn‘t.  One Republican senator said, “Ultimately, Iraq is Bush‘s battle.”  Why did the president‘s own party step aside and let the Democrats embarrass their president with this vote?

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

think they‘re fed up, Joe.  They‘re fed up with taking the heat for this president.  You know, relations really have never been that great between this president and his own Republicans on Capitol Hill.  He doesn‘t spend lot of time with them.  It‘s not a very personal relationship he‘s built up there.  And I think he‘s paying for that now.

But also, these Republicans are starting to think about their own futures.  Even the Republican leader, the minority leader, Mitch McConnell, he‘s got an election, a reelection coming up next year, and there are some people out talking about running against him, including the former first lady of Kentucky, possibly, Phyllis George.  He‘s got to think about his race.  And the polling in Kentucky—this is just a microcosm of an example, I think, in answer to your question—in the polling in Kentucky, most Kentucky said, “Louisville Courier-Journal” poll, they disagree with McConnell‘s leadership against the war and with the president.  So I think that drove it as much as anything.

SCARBOROUGH:  And of course, “The Washington Post” today had something to say about Mitch McConnell allowing this vote to come on the floor.  Take a look at how “The Post” characterized this vote.  Let‘s go ahead and put up that full screen.  They said, “Unwilling to do the White House‘s heavy lifting on Iraq, Senator Republicans are now prepared to step aside and allow language requiring troop withdrawals to reach Bush, forcing him to face down Democratic adversaries with his own veto pen.”

Craig, again, very damning for a president who thought he could at least count on Republicans siding with him on this war issue.  But they‘re not doing it now, are they.

CRAWFORD:  No.  And I think the spin that we heard from McConnell in explanation for this may not really hold up.  He‘s just simply saying, Well, this is the best way to get the money to the troops the quickest, because by doing this now, the House and Senate confer, then we get it to the president, he vetoes it, and then we can start all over again.  So that was his explanation, but I don‘t think it‘s going to much wash.

NICO PITNEY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  I don‘t—I think we got to be careful not to overstate, though, the amount of Republican opposition here.  You had 48 senators, including many vulnerable—Sununu and Snowe and Coleman—all of them voted no on this.  They want—you know, they voted to give the president a blank check again.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, but you know, Nico, the fact is, Republicans could have killed this vote.  They could have made sure the president was not embarrassed.  They could have made sure the president didn‘t lose.  But they chose to step aside and allow that vote to take place.

PITNEY:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  And the question is, why did they do that when you and I both know, and certainly the Senate leaders know, that they could filibuster it and require the Democrats to get 60 votes, as Democrats always did when Bill Clinton was president and they were in the minority.

PITNEY:  Look, I think they don‘t want another bad round of press that they‘ve gotten the last few times when they—when they voted to block votes on these things.  And you know, they expect the president‘s argument, when this passes and reaches his desk, to be, you know, the Democrats want to cut funds again.  And I think they‘re living in a time warp.  They‘ve tried that argument.  They‘ve tried that smear, and it didn‘t work.

CRAWFORD:  You know, the trouble is, Joe, the Republicans fear the president is putting them in the position going into the next election of looking like they favor unlimited troops and unlimited resources for a war that never ends.  And that is—even though they may support what‘s going on right now, they‘re getting worried that that‘s the position the president‘s putting them in politically with their own states.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Pat, let me ask you.  Why do you think the Republican Party stepped aside and let the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief, get pounded on an issue as important as how a war is being run in a very, very hot war zone right now?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  I think they realize that, look, the Democrats are going to have their inning today.  The people who are anti-war are going to have their inning.  They got their vote in the House, a binding resolution to come out by August of next year.  And now they‘ve got a non-binding resolution.

And what the Senate is saying, in effect, and McConnell, is let them win this because the president‘s going to knock this in the head.  He‘s going to veto it.  And then it comes back up, and the president of the United States is going to say, OK, you‘ve had your little day and you‘ve got your little resolution, and now you give me the $120 million or the $100 million to fund the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I want it now and I want no resolution on it...

SCARBOROUGH:  But—but Pat...

BUCHANAN:  ... and the Democratic House and the Senate...

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, how does that help...

BUCHANAN:  ... will have to give it to him.

SCARBOROUGH:  How does that help the—how does that help the Republican Party, though?  How does it help the president of the United States if these Republicans like Mitch McConnell stood to the side and allowed their president to lose on an issue as important as war funding?

BUCHANAN:  Here‘s how it helps.  It—look, every single Republican except for two, I believe, voted with the president.  And so rather than have the Senate and get all their people to fight and do battle on a very controversial issue for them—the president‘s not running again.  The president knocks it in the head.  And then let‘s say it goes back to the House.  And then Pelosi‘s House is going to have to vote the $100 billion, Joe, and that will tear her party apart because there‘ll be no binding resolution about getting out, and they will have to vote to continue the war.

SCARBOROUGH:  All right.  Hey...

BUCHANAN:  They‘re taking a rook, and they‘re going to lose the queen.

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat, let‘s—let‘s step back for a second here...

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and let‘s take a view from above, what‘s going on in Iraq.  As you and I both know, I was against the surge because the Joint Chiefs were against the surge, because Abizaid, the general that ran the Iraq war, was against the surge.  I‘ve been consistently against this troop surge.  But Pat, there are conservatives out there who would say that the timing could not be worse because that surge appears to be working.

General Barry McCaffrey, who‘s been very critical of this administration‘s handling of the Iraq war for four years, issued an extensive report yesterday with a lot of experts saying this war may be turning around, said that the murder rate‘s plummeted since the surge has started.  Death squads are on the run.  You‘ve got al Sadr out of the country now since the surge has started.  Attacks against U.S. forces way down.  Sunni opposition to al Qaeda out in Anbar province way up.  And Iraqi training and committing more police and troops.

You know, Pat, I have not talked to a single military person since this surge began that didn‘t say the surge is working.  And that‘s from a lot of military people who were telling me before that it wasn‘t going to work.  So why back away from the president now?

BUCHANAN:  Well, here‘s the thing.  Again, I don‘t know that the Republicans are backing away, but what you‘re talking about, Joe, is exactly the problem the Democrats are going to have.  After the president vetoes it, and then they go back, his veto‘s going to be sustained in both houses.  And then he says, We have got to have the money now...

(CROSSTALK)

PITNEY:  They‘re going to say, But we just gave you the money.

BUCHANAN:  Well, but no, come on!

PITNEY:  We voted in both houses to give you that money.

BUCHANAN:  But that is...

PITNEY:  And you know, the—about the surge—look, violence is down in Baghdad, but it‘s up around the country.  There are...

BUCHANAN:  Look, don‘t be silly...

PITNEY:  ... attacks going on...

BUCHANAN:  Don‘t be silly about politics.  They‘re going to give him the money, are you kidding?  They‘re going to deny him the hundred billion dollars?  They‘re going to give him the money in the end.

PITNEY:  I don‘t think—I don‘t think you‘re wrong there.  But I think they‘re going to get assurances from him.  They‘re going to get, you know, exceptions from him.

BUCHANAN:  Why?

PITNEY:  And there‘s no question about that,  Because they have the power.  And not only that, they have the political power because the country supports them on this...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  But you are wrong.  After this goes through and they‘ve had their vote on the binding resolution, the non-binding resolution, then they‘re going to be told, You have lost on those.  Now give me the money.  And when Pelosi takes that to the floor, her party will split right in half.  Republicans will vote almost unanimously for the money, and a number of Democrats will support it.  It is the Democratic Party that will be split then.  They are being set up for this hit.

SCARBOROUGH:  Craig Crawford, do you think that—do you think that the White House and the Senate leadership in the Republican Party is so Machiavellian that they‘d say, Hey, let‘s go ahead and lose this vote?  It would be a historic loss...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s humiliate the commander-in-chief in America and around the world because we‘ll be setting up the Democrats.

CRAWFORD:  I tell you what, I think they think they‘re Machiavellian.  I just don‘t think they‘re actually very good at it, not as good as Pat‘s describing, or they wouldn‘t be in this situation.  They wouldn‘t have lost both houses of Congress.  They wouldn‘t be facing this kind of test of wills...

BUCHANAN:  Joe...

CRAWFORD:  ... with the White House.  And Pat has a scenario that could play out...

BUCHANAN:  All right, Joe...

CRAWFORD:  ... but I can see others playing out...

BUCHANAN:  Joe, you know what the...

CRAWFORD:  ... but if the Democrats come back with funding measures with lots of strings in it.  They can start fiddling with this—with this war...

BUCHANAN:  All right, I want to talk to...

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  ... giving him the money that he wants...

BUCHANAN:  I want to talk to the man from Pensacola...

CRAWFORD:  ... and ultimately...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, Pat, go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  Craig, hold on.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Pat‘s about to make fun of me.  Go ahead.

BUCHANAN:  No, no.  You played football, Joe, and so did I.  And you know when you got a very aggressive lineman and he‘s coming at your quarterback, sometimes you open the gates and let him run through.  And you know, you got a trap on him or something like that, or you throw a screen pass over his head.  That‘s exactly what this is.

(CROSSTALK)

PITNEY:  ... do you have that the Democrats will give a straight, clean funding bill...

BUCHANAN:  Because...

PITNEY:  ... with no attachments?

BUCHANAN:  Because they don‘t...

(CROSSTALK)

PITNEY:  ... could you possibly have?

BUCHANAN:  Because Bush...

PITNEY:  You know what Murtha...

BUCHANAN:  Bush will—Bush will beat them—look, if they cut off the funds...

PITNEY:  Bush cannot beat—you‘re living in a...

SCARBOROUGH:  OK, hold on, hold on, though.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask this question, though.  Pat...

PITNEY:  Bush can‘t beat...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me ask you this question, though.  Again, back in the 1990s—I give this example—there were several bills that the Republicans in Congress  would send to Bill Clinton and he would veto.  Welfare reform is one of them.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  He said he‘d never sign it.  Basically, we said, politely, Screw you, Mr. President.

BUCHANAN:  Right.

SCARBOROUGH:  We sent it back again.  He vetoed it again.  We sent it back the third time.  He finally had no choice but to veto it.  I wonder if Democrats stand shoulder to shoulder and send this same bill back to the president two or three times, if the president won‘t buckle...

BUCHANAN:  Well...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... and at least meet them halfway.

BUCHANAN:  You know what it‘s going to be like, Joe?  It‘s Newt Gingrich, We‘re going to shut down the government.  And Bush is Clinton.  Bush is Clinton here.  He‘s saying, No, I‘m not going to cut Medicare.  I‘m not going to do it.  You‘ve shut down the government.  He put the heat on them, and they broke.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAWFORD:  Clinton wasn‘t at 30 percent approval when he was doing that, either.

BUCHANAN:  I don‘t care.  Do you think, Craig, they‘re going to cut off...

(CROSSTALK)

PITNEY:  They‘re going to argue that President Bush is about to cut off the funding.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN:  You guys are kidding yourselves!  They‘re going to give him the money in the end.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  We‘re going to have to leave it there.  Craig Crawford, Nico Pitney and Pat Buchanan, thank you.  And Pat is laughing.  If you want to know why Pat‘s laughing, that‘s sort of the smile of a Cheshire cat.  Pat knows what‘s coming.  He‘s seen it before, and he knows that the Democratic Party is absolutely horrified of being set up as an anti-war party that is not going to fund troops in the war zone.  It is a high-risk game not only that the Democrats are playing but that George W. Bush is playing.  And when I use “game,” it‘s just an expression describing the political back-and-forth.  It‘s obviously both sides understand how serious these stakes are, but also both sides care very deeply about what they‘re fighting for, and they believe that they‘re right on Iraq.  And they believe lives are at stake, and so they‘re willing to fight to the bitter end.  We‘re just going to see, though, who blinks first and who never blinks first will determine the future course of this war and U.S. history for at least the next 20 years in the Middle East.

But coming up next here: Gone in 60 seconds.  “DATELINE‘s” new hidden camera investigation reveals just how fast credit card thieves rack up huge bills on your account before you even know what hit you.  That‘s a “DATELINE” undercover special.

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, “THE APPRENTICE”:  Rosie, you know, who I think is a total degenerate, frankly—I know her very well.  I think she‘s a—you know, a loser in almost every sense of the word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  The cease-fire‘s over.  Trump calls into SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY and starts a new war with Rosie.  We‘ll show you that when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  To catch an identity thief.  DATELINE is using hidden

cameras once again, but this time, they‘re tracking down to people who

steal your name and your hard-earned cash from your credit cards.  For as

little as five bucks, identity thieves can gain access to all of your

personal information—all of it—by going into underground Internet

chat rooms to buy and sell your Social Security numbers—they have them -

and even the passwords to your bank account.  And 99 percent of the time, they get away with it.

But now DATELINE has teamed up with Internet security expert Dan Clements (ph), going undercover to track down these thieves.  Now, they set up fake identities to see how quickly the sharks would swim.  And as you‘re about to find out, it only takes seconds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  To catch an identity thief, we‘ll need some bait.  So we get a major credit card issuer to cooperate.  We make up some names, and they give us real cards under those fake names.

The next step, asking Dan Clements to go back into the Internet underground, pretending to be a thief who stole our credit cards and is about to put them into the thieves‘ market.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m going to put them in here, and -- 300 and 400 hackers in real time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dan Clements and I are watching at the card cops‘ office in California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you ready?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Ready.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Halfway across the country, a fraud investigator for the credit card company is standing by.  Her computer will tell her every time our bait cards are used to make a fraudulent purchase.  We even have a stopwatch to measure the time second by second.  Clements tells us this is something that‘s never been done before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s kind of like throwing tuna to the sharks. 

We‘ll see what happens.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  All right, let‘s do it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We test the waters as Clements, pretending to be a thief, offers to sell some of our bait cards.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m going to hit the stopwatch and we‘re going to see how long it takes before somebody hits on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The response is almost instantaneous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We have somebody saying, Hey, Bro.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s 12 seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  At first, the thieves appear to be feeling us out, to see if we‘re for real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, we have another one.  Nitro81 (ph) just said, Howdy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s 26 seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But it doesn‘t take long for the thieves to take the bait and start making purchases with our cards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They‘re hitting it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  At the credit card monitoring center, the fraudulent charges are beginning to roll in.  At first, they‘re small charges, to make sure the card works.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They checked it for a dollar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For a dollar.  So they‘re just—they‘re just probing to see if it‘ll work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They even make a small donation to the Red Cross to test the cards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Eleven dollars, American Red Cross donation site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Once they‘re sure the card works, the thieves start making bigger purchases by the minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There‘s been one authorization for $306.28.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They‘ve also hit it for $99.95.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So it‘s a $1,000 credit line, they‘ve already eaten half of it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Remember, we‘re watching Internet thieves at work in real time.  Imagine it‘s your card they‘re using, buying from all kinds of stores.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Another one just came in for $79.80 at Evertech (ph) Solutions.  So there‘s two from there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And how much time has gone by, Chris (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Less than 10 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Another charge just came in for to $237.50.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The illegal charges could go on forever, but our card has a $1,000 limit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK, they just got declined for over limit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Declined for over limit, and that‘s less than 13 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But if you thought that was fast, you haven‘t seen anything yet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oscar (ph) just went in right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Another of our bait cards carries the fake name Oscar Ernesto, with an address in Washington, D.C.   But in no time at all, it‘s used a continent away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  OK, we have a hit on Ernesto for $723.74.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Wow.  One minute, three seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  In Chile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  In Chile?  Wow.  Do we know what they bought?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Its says pet shops, food and supplies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s a lot of pet food.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s a well fed dog in Chile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  They‘ve also hit it two more times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s a minute, 40 seconds.  And what‘s the total up to now?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Almost $800.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The card is almost maxed out, and it‘s—we‘re—we‘re barely two minutes into it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  Boy, that‘s frightening.  Make sure you catch part 2 of “To Catch an Identity Thief.”  It airs next Tuesday night on NBC.

But coming up next here in “Must See S.C.,” Peyton Manning fumbles as a role model and scores big laughs in the process.

And later: Rosie O‘Connell, look out.  Donald Trump is back on the attack, this time speaking out about her 9/11 conspiracy theories and Barbara Walters‘s problems with telling the truth.  Donald Trump comes to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  First up: The feud between Obama and Hillary is spreading.  David Letterman reveals another Democratic heavyweight who‘s throwing his hat into the ring.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Recently, a political feud erupted when a supporter for Barack Obama lashed out at Hillary Clinton, prompting Clinton and her supporters to retaliate with verbal attacks on Obama and his supporters.  But if there‘s one thing we‘ve learned recently, it‘s that voters are sick of politics as usual, which is why Dennis Kucinich would like to remind America that he has no supporters whatsoever.  Dennis Kucinich, all the way in 2008.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  And finally, in the off-season Peyton Manning devotes countless hours to children‘s charities, as he explained on “Saturday Night Live.”  Sometimes the best love, though, is tough love.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Being a kid can be harder than it looks.  Sometimes, it helps to have an adult around.  That‘s why Peyton Manning takes time out to volunteer with local youth groups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You guys ready to play some football?  Open!  Get open!  Get your head out of your (INAUDIBLE).  You suck!  Do you want to lose?  I throw, you catch.  All right, get the (DELETED) out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE) and the United Way.  Spend time with your kids so Peyton Manning doesn‘t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  So heart-warming!

Coming up next: Donald Trump rekindles his feud with Rosie O‘Donnell when he joins our interview with the woman who started it all, Tara Connor, Miss USA.  We‘re going to show you what the Donald‘s saying about Rosie this time around.

And later: “Idol” stands by its man, but will Sanjaya be “Idol‘s” downfall?  That‘s coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Still to come, find out why Heather Mills begged the producers of “Dancing with the Stars” to give her a gay partner. 

Plus, the secret to Sanjaya‘s success revealed.  Why is this kid still on “Idol” and why is FOX defending him? 

Those stories and a lot more, straight ahead.  But first, Donald Trump is at it again, going after Rosie O‘Donnell and their on-again, off-again, and now definitely on-again feud.  Donald was kind enough to join us during our interview with the new Miss USA, Rachel Smith, and Tara Conner, the former Miss USA who almost lost her crown to drugs and alcohol. 

He had some over-the-phone advice for both winners, but Trump being Trump quickly turned the conversation toward Rosie when I asked him questions about her infamous comments regarding her decision to let Tara keep the crown.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)  

DONALD TRUMP, HOST, “THE APPRENTICE”:  Rosie is a loser.  Rosie has been a loser for a long time.  Rosie is somebody out of control.  Rosie is a failure.  She‘s not smart, she‘s crude, she‘s ignorant.  And Rosie is a very unattractive woman, as unattractive as she is on the outside, she‘s even worse on the inside. 

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  Here‘s my official comment...

TRUMP:  The big flack was from Rosie O‘Donnell, who didn‘t want me to give her a second chance. 

O‘DONNELL:  I think that everything that Donald does is a ploy to promote the Trump business.  That‘s the bottom line.  I don‘t think he really cares about this young girl. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about the big blow up.  Of course, people like Rosie O‘Donnell and others say, well, that this is just Donald Trump doing what Donald Trump does.  It‘s a big publicity stunt, the whole thing was.  What would you say to those critics? 

TRUMP:  Well, I didn‘t bring it up.  I mean, Rosie O‘Donnell. made it a much bigger deal than it was. 

O‘DONNELL:  He‘s the moral authority?  Left the first wife, had an affair.  Left the second wife, had an affair.  Had kids both times, but he‘s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America.

TRUMP:  Rosie, you know, who I think is a total degenerate, frankly.  I know her very well.  I think she‘s a loser in almost every sense of the word.  And I understood what she was doing, and she didn‘t like it that I was giving her a second chance, and I think she‘s been proven to be wrong.

But if there was a blow-up, it wasn‘t caused by me.  I didn‘t started, but I think I probably finished it.  

SCARBOROUGH:  Are you surprised that Barbara Walters sits there and allows Rosie O‘Donnell to say on an ABC show that 9/11 was an inside job by the United States, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a guy that was responsible for the killing of 3,000 people, and probably quite a few people that you knew on September 11th, was this innocent guy that was tortured into confessing, and all of these other insane things that she said. 

TRUMP:  You know, the fact that Barbara allowed Rosie to get away with what she has been getting away with, I think Barbara has lost a lot of credibility. 

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, “THE VIEW”:  Everything that he said I said about her is totally untrue. 

TRUMP:  She never said anything other than what I said was the truth.  Barbara misspoke.  Barbara lied.  And she knows she lied.  And you know what happened?  Ultimately, she was very, very nice at the beginning, because I understood that, and I fully understood that she was trying to protect her show and Rosie.

But then Rosie got into a fight with her, a huge fight.  I heard it was a really vicious fight in the green room.  And then Barbara came out, and like a little puppet said exactly what Rosie told her to say.

WALTERS:  While I‘m clearing things up, Donald Trump also said that I am not happy with my decision to bring Rosie O‘Donnell to this table.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I have never regretted, nor do I know, the hiring of Rosie O‘Donnell.

TRUMP:  I see the way Rosie dominates Barbara and Joy Behar.  I mean,

Joy Behar has been reduced to a puppet, also, for Rosie.  So they‘re really

all they are is Rosie‘s lap dog, Joe.  And Barbara Walters is somebody that used to be a friend of mine, but I can‘t have friends that don‘t tell the truth.  Rosie is nothing but a bully slob, and it‘s really not too happy a situation over there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Talk about our new Miss USA, Rachel Smith.  Obviously, again, a lot of Americans saw her crowned and are asking what type of queen she‘s going to be. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The first runner up is Rhode Island.  And so Miss USA 2007 is Tennessee!

SCARBOROUGH:  Tell me what you know about her and what‘s you‘re most impressed about by Rachel.

TRUMP:  Well, Rachel, number one, I hope you give me an easier year than Tara has given me.  Tara has made me work very hard as the owner of the pageant.  And I think Rachel—I have a feeling that Rachel is going to give me a nice, soft, easy year, where I can sit back and just look at her beautiful face and beautiful pictures.  But please do that, Rachel, OK?

RACHEL SMITH, MISS USA:  Yes, sir. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tara, let me get back with you really quickly.  What was it like when you knew you were making your final walk and it was the end of a bittersweet year?  What were you thinking as you were walking across the stage?

TARA CONNER, FORMER MISS USA:  You know, I was nervous, because right before the walk, I thought, oh, my gosh, I‘m going to be so sad, and I cry.  You know, that‘s how you always envision the final walk.  You see yourself walking away and just being emotional.

But, you know, it was really, really easy.  It was very simple.  It was a little bittersweet, but it was a very good moment for me.  It‘s like I was closing the chapter from one book, moving onto my next.  And it feels good to move on from it, but also to know that I‘ve had this wonderful experience and I get to carry it with me for the rest of my life.  

SMITH:  I am so proud of Tara and the progress that she has made, and I really do have so much respect for her and the young woman that she‘s become.  And I know 2007 has a lot in store for her, yet it also has a lot in store for me, too, being the new Miss USA.  I‘m going to take my own footsteps, and I‘m going to make my own mark on this world. 

CONNER:  Just like Rachel said, I told her to bring her own twist to the title.  Make sure that she fills her own shoes and to move forward in the right direction that she wants to go.  It‘s her year; it‘s her title.  So she needs to do with it as she wishes.  You know, but be careful and don‘t make the same mistakes that I did. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It has been a remarkable journey, and certainly your journey as Miss USA ended extremely well.  Congratulations, Tara. 

And best wishes in the future.  And, Rachel Smith, best wishes for you in the future, too.  I hope everything goes well over the next year.

Thank you so much, Donald.

TRUMP:  You have a great show, Joe, so keep it up.

SCARBOROUGH:  Greatly appreciate you being with us to share in this special time with Rachel and Tara.

TRUMP:  Thank you both.  Thank you all.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCARBOROUGH:  And, again, you know, it‘s so interesting.  A lot of people have been talking about this feud between Donald Trump and Rosie O‘Donnell and who was getting the better of whom.  At the end of that feud, before Donald Trump may have started to back up tonight, a lot of people were saying that Rosie O‘Donnell may have been getting the better of Donald Trump. 

But I‘ll tell you, the past couple of weeks, you‘ve Rosie O‘Donnell going on Barbara Walter‘s show suggesting that the United States government was responsible for killing over 3,000 Americans on September 11th.  You also had her talking about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and seeming to side with a terrorist who was a mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, the people that the 9/11 Commission said were the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks, over the U.S. government.

And so many other extreme things, and it seems very, very obvious now, as my mother said, that a lot of times you‘re not judged so much by who your friends are as by who your enemies are.  And if Rosie O‘Donnell is your enemy and she‘s siding with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and suggesting that the United States government killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11, then I think Donald Trump is doing just fine. 

Coming up next here, though, what‘s worse than a joke that bombs?  How about a comedian who crashes $1 million car?  Find out who was behind the wheel of this Ferrari, coming up next. 

Plus, he can‘t dance.  He can‘t sing.  So why is he still strutting his stuff on “American Idol”?  Could it be he has an insider in his corner?  We‘re going to get to that, when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns to talk about the latest scandal on “American Idol.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  “American Idol” stands by its man.  The executive producer of the TV show gives Sanjaya a break, telling journalists, quote, “I don‘t what the controversy is.  To be frank, he has guts, this kid, and you have to applaud that.  If half the people with more talent than him had his guts, we‘d be getting better all around.”

Well, producers want more talent like Sanjaya?  You be the judge. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANJAYA MALAKAR, “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  (singing)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my god.  So has Sanjaya survived to cause controversy for another week?  And is there a conspiracy?  There‘s got to be a conspiracy, and I think there‘s a grassy knoll out there right behind the voting booth.  I have no idea how this is happening.  Why is this guy still in the contest?

Here now to explain it to all of us, former “American Idol” contestant Carmen Rasmusen and also senior reporter for “OK” magazine, Courtney Hazlett. 

Carmen, you know I am a kind and sensitive soul.  You know me. 

CARMEN RASMUSEN, FORMER “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  I do know you.

SCARBOROUGH:  I try to be nice. 

RASMUSEN:  You are very nice.

SCARBOROUGH:  Sometimes I think I care to a fault.  However, that being said, Sanjaya just sucks.  He is terrible.  How could anybody suggest that this guy still deserves to be around? 

RASMUSEN:  You know what?  I really don‘t know the answer to that. 

All I can say is, people are still voting for him.  Maybe...

SCARBOROUGH:  You agree he‘s terrible, though, right?

RASMUSEN:  I don‘t think he‘s terrible.

SCARBOROUGH:  I mean, waiting on the world—and he does not—he doesn‘t hit like maybe 50 percent of those notes correctly, right? 

RASMUSEN:  You know what?  I don‘t think he‘s terrible.  He‘s obviously not one of the most talented people on the show. 

SCARBOROUGH:  He‘s not hitting half the notes.

RASMUSEN:  Well, I think he‘s probably hitting 75 percent, Joe, let‘s give a little more credit here.  He‘s not that bad.  But, you know, I don‘t think that he is—I think that he does have guts.  However, it‘s a talent competition.  I had guts, too.  However, I wasn‘t, you know, the Clay Aiken, the Ruben Studdard, so, hence, I didn‘t make it as far.  And this season, it really seems to be about personality and about getting big ratings and not so much about how good a singer you are. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Good lord.  Well, I guess not.  I mean, my two sons have guts, but I would never let them go on “American Idol” and try to sing.

RASMUSEN:  You‘re a good father.

SCARBOROUGH:  It gets ugly very quickly. 

Courtney Hazlett, let me bring you in here.  I mean, Sanjaya is really becoming a national joke.  And he even got the “Saturday Night Live” treatment this past weekend.  Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (singing)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, God.  He‘s terrible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Courtney, Dan Aykroyd‘s face says it all.  I mean, this guy is horrible.  Do you think he is getting in these finals because these “Idol” votes are rigged, not by FOX, but by people out there that have these vote for the worst campaigns?  And now Howard Stern, who has just a huge listening audience, is telling all of his listeners to vote for Sanjaya, to make “American Idol” a joke.  Is that what‘s going on here?  

COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE:  I think that is definitely at play on some level.  It seems that the voters all think it‘s opposite day when they dial in and place their votes. 

But, seriously, on “American Idol,” this (INAUDIBLE) cannot look away quality does get you very far.  I mean, Clay Aiken, a lot of people argue, wasn‘t that fantastic.  He didn‘t have that x factor that a lot of people talk about a person needing, but, you know, his voice was fairly decent, and a lot of people wanted to see the underdog win.  I think that‘s at play here.

My big concern before was that the only person not in on this joke was Sanjaya, but I don‘t want to spoil it for the West Coast viewers, but after tonight, I think he actually does kind of give a nod to say, hey, I get it, I know what‘s going on, and thanks for keeping me alive.

SCARBOROUGH:  But the thing is, again, I mean, you‘re talking about Clay Aiken.  Carmen, again, you‘re the singer here.  Clay Aiken can hit the notes.  Not only can he hit the notes, he sings on key.  This guy cannot keep a tune.  Just he can‘t sing in key. 

RASMUSEN:  I wouldn‘t compare Sanjaya to Clay Aiken, except they both definitely had a hair thing going on this season.  It‘s probably the biggest thing they have in common.

But, look, Joe, Sanjaya is a household name now.  I mean, he‘s huge.  Everyone‘s talking about him.  The fact that he was on “Saturday Night Live,” that‘s huge.  So I think now people just like.  He‘s a personality on the show.  He isn‘t a talent.  I think it is his time to go home.  However, having said that, being on the show, being 17 years old, knowing what that is like, knowing what goes on behind the scenes, it‘s really, really tough.  And I do commend him for having the guts to accept all this criticism, you know, as a young high-schooler.  It‘s really tough to be on national television and get all that criticism.  So for that, he did a good job.  But singing-wise, not so good.

HAZLETT:  But at the same point in time, Carmen, you know what you‘re signing up for.  I mean, this is the kind of situation—it shouldn‘t come as a surprise that he‘s being...

(CROSSTALK)

HAZLETT:  ... on some of these things.  He knows what he‘s signing up for.   And I think, at this point, he‘s playing the hand wisely.

RASMUSEN:  He knows what he‘s signing up for, but he doesn‘t know exactly how hard it is.  No one can ever predict how tough it is to be in front of a camera with millions of people watching you.  You know, I don‘t think anyone can ever prepare for that.  

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I don‘t think they can.  But you know what?  I want to get my hair—keep that up—I want to get my hair done just like that, that he has right there, and maybe...

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I will dance like that, and I, too, will be on “American Idol.”  And like that, “Girl.”  This guy, worst singer—really, the worst singer I‘ve ever heard on “American Idol.”  Thank you, Carmen Rasmusen.  You certainly were the best singer I ever heard on “American Idol.”  And Courtney Hazlett, if you would ever go on “American Idol,” Courtney, I‘m sure I would say the same thing about you.

Stick around, Courtney.  Coming up next, it‘s dancing with a diva.  Heather Mills‘ unusual demand for her reality TV dance partner.  She said she wants him to be gay!  That‘s next in “Hollyweird.”  Wait, isn‘t that “Grease”?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, stop dancing on the tables.  It‘s time for “Hollyweird.”

First up, Heather Mills says she wants her partner on “Dancing with the Stars” to be gay.  Still with us, “OK” magazine‘s Courtney Hazlett and senior editor at “InTouch Weekly,” Tom O‘Neil. 

Tom, what‘s with Heather?  Why does she want a gay dancing partner? 

TOM O‘NEIL, “INTOUCH WEEKLY”:  Well, she‘s had it with straight guys. 

She figured she‘d go on and get a gay guy next.  She can‘t even get that right.  It turns out that her dancing partner is not only straight, he‘s married. 

And what she was hoping was that she could avoid any kind of hints of romantic impropriety, since she‘s getting so intimate with her dance partner on this show.  It backfired, I guess.  She can‘t even get her way here.

By the way, she has revealed in the course of this whole discussion that she hasn‘t had a date in more than a year, the poor thing.  No wonder, Heather.  The price tag is too tall. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, no doubt it‘s too high.  I mean, this is, after all, a woman who said that, if she wanted to marry for money, she‘d find somebody that certainly had a lot more money than Paul McCartney, a guy who‘s worth about, I don‘t know, $1.5 billion. 

Courtney Hazlett, talk about Heather Mills and her desire for a gay man to dance with.  What‘s going on here?

HAZLETT:  Dancing partner?  What dancing partner, Heather?  When you‘re on stage, all we‘re looking at is you and your leg.  I mean, not to be crass here, but that‘s why people are tuning in.  The producers of the show were brilliant to put her on.  Everybody wants to know, is the leg going to come off?  She‘s admitted that she‘s worried about it, too. 

But to top it all off, she‘s actually coming out as an extremely talented dancer.  She‘s doing things on her one real leg and one artificial leg that most people can‘t pull off on two.  So I‘ve really got to hand it to her.  She‘s doing great.

SCARBOROUGH:  And I must say, when I saw the video of her being flipped over by her partner, it was horrible, but I was looking to see if that leg flew off.  What are the odds on that?  Doesn‘t some bookkeeper have odds?  It looks like something else may come off there if she keeps shaking like that.  But haven‘t the oddsmakers put some odds on her leg falling off? 

HAZLETT:  They definitely have.  There are Vegas oddsmakers out there every show tuning in, and people are wagering bets.  I‘m not sure where the odds stand at the moment, but I have to say, if what she‘s done so far is any, you know, indicator, I don‘t think it‘s going to come off, but I think everyone will keep watching. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, she‘s shaking enough to get something flying off.  And now a new twist on an old story, speaking of twisting blondes.  The paparazzi are suing Pamela Anderson and Denise Richards.  Why are they doing that, Tom? 

O‘NEIL:  Well, remember when they tried to show us how you really crash a hard drive?  They got in a fight with these paparazzi at a hotel up in Canada.  They took their laptop, hurled it off a hotel balcony, said, “Ha ha, we got them back.”  Well, just because the paparazzi wasn‘t taking pictures, it doesn‘t mean that nobody else was.  The hotel security cameras were on them.  So the paparazzi are striking back and suing these gals. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, good lord.  What wimps.  What else can you tell us about it, Courtney?  I mean, why would you sue poor young maidens in distress like this?

HAZLETT:  I don‘t know.  Have you ever had a laptop to the head?  I mean, I think it‘s rare that people side with the paparazzi, but, hey, stars are just like us.  They should be held to the same rules.  If you and I start getting angry and throwing laptops at the paparazzi, following us, then I think I‘m probably going to get in trouble, too. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Your egalitarian instincts are offensive to all of us in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  You must have gone to an Ivy League school.

Speaking of Ivy League schools, Bill Clinton says his favorite show is “Grey‘s Anatomy.”  Courtney, what‘s he like about “Grey‘s Anatomy” so much? 

HAZLETT:  I think there‘s an anatomy joke to be made in here somewhere. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You make it.

HAZLETT:  But this is a family show.  I‘m not making it.  I‘ll throw this one to Tom. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Tom?

O‘NEIL:  He says that they treat liberals and conservatives with equal brutality.  But what was really interesting, though, was what else he revealed today in terms of his TV habits.  He‘s sitting at home, watching reruns of the “Andy Griffith Show,” “All in the Family” and “I Love Lucy,” while his wife is out there running for his old job, he says, “I‘m stuck at home watching TV.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, whatever.  I‘m not so sure I believe that any more than I believe that Marcia Brady got her nose hurt from a football hitting it.  Actress Morey McCormick, better known as Maureen McCormick, told “People” magazine she suffered from an eating disorder and cocaine addiction at the height of her popularity.  Say it ain‘t so, Courtney, a coke fiend? 

HAZLETT:  Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.  Of all the times for Danny Bonaduce not to be joining us, right?  I think it‘s definitely a shock.  You know, one of the Brady‘s, nobody likes to see a Brady fall, but Marcia, she‘s coming forward, she‘s talking about—all kidding aside—she‘s talking about a very difficult time she went through and she‘s gotten past it.  You‘ve got to hand it to her for that.

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, my goodness.  The Brady who fell to Earth, so many of them have.  Courtney Hazlett, Tom O‘Neil, thank you so much for being with us.  And that‘s all the time we have here in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We‘ll see you here tomorrow night.  Thanks for being with us.  But stick around, because “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.

END   

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