Guests: Joan Walsh, Jay Carney, Rachel Sklar, Matthew Felling, Danny Bonaduce, Tina Dirmann, Ashlan Gorse
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Bill O‘Reilly says NBC is rooting for America to lose in Iraq, and tonight he even goes further. That story coming up.
But first, President Bush says America is going to stay in Iraq despite what Congress, commissions, world leaders and American voters say. Meanwhile, Iraq‘s civil war seems to be racing to a war that could engulf the entire region. And yet even his allies are now admitting that this president seems isolated and alone on Iraq and in a dangerous state of denial.
To talk about the president‘s continued crisis at home and in Iraq, Jay Carney, Washington bureau chief for “Time” magazine, Joan Walsh, she‘s editor-in-chief for Salon.com, and Pat Buchanan, MSNBC political analyst.
Joan, you wrote an interesting article, a fascinating article about this president and the war. And today, though, we hear the president say, in effect, that America is going to stay the course, that we are going to liberate Iraq, and we are going to spread freedom across the Mideast. Didn‘t he even appear to be brash and defiant? And where does this confidence come from?
JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: He seemed very brash and very defiant and very delusional, Joe. And I think that his confidence comes from the state of denial that he lives in. I mean, he said one true thing today, one undeniable thing, when he said we‘re not going to have a graceful exit from Iraq. He‘s making that pretty clear. We‘re going to have a very dangerous and a very humiliating exit from Iraq. There‘s kind of no way around it.
I think the most striking thing about today is that it came on the heels of more leaks about the Baker-Hamilton commission report, which is clearly trying to throw him some kind of a lifeline, or lifeboat, even, definitely calling for some kind of withdrawal but no timeline. We don‘t want timelines, we don‘t want to scare or shame the president. They did, I thought, an excellent job of coming to a bipartisan solution. There are no magic bullets.
And on that very day, he comes out and insists he‘s not going to listen to them, essentially. So it‘s a dangerous state of denial.
SCARBOROUGH: And listen to what the president had to say earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there‘s a lot of speculation that these reports in Washington mean there‘s going to be some kind of graceful exit out of Iraq. We‘re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, this is the same president who refused to let his staff members admit there was an insurgency in 2003 or a civil war three years later. It appears this president still seems to be in a state of denial.
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don‘t think so, Joe. He‘s right, there isn‘t going to be any graceful exit from Iraq. This is a hellish situation. It‘s deteriorating. I think the president knows that. I think he‘s settled upon his course of action. I think he is bristling with defiance. I think many of the Joint Chiefs agree with him we ought not to set any deadlines for going. And I think he‘s going to hold on for a while. I think he‘s going to listen to the advice. But what he‘s saying, in effect, is, Look, I was elected president, I‘ll listen to the advice, but I‘m not necessarily going to take it.
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, I mean, it‘s not liberals that are against this guy alone now, or independents. You have Newt Gingrich, Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger. A growing number of Republicans have turned against this war. You and I both know, we talked about it last night, a coup is coming in Iraq, going to come from the Shi‘ites or the Sunnis. Tonight, the vice president of Iraq says this government will not stand. This war is going to go beyond being a civil war, it‘s going to become a regional war. Aren‘t you disturbed that this president, and this president alone, seems to remain upbeat about this war?
BUCHANAN: I don‘t know that your “upbeat” is the right term. When he said this isn‘t going to be a graceful exit, it looked to me like, Look, this thing is going to be very rough. And I think it is, Joe. And I think a lot of the things we talked about last night are going to come to pass.
But what the president has said is, We‘re going to hold the line with the troops we have right now, and things are coming and they may not be good, but we‘re not turning around and walking out because that will guarantee a strategic defeat for this country. And incidentally, that will be the destruction of any legacy George W. Bush has.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, and—and...
BUCHANAN: I think he‘s got a right to take his stand.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I think, unfortunately, though, I think he may be holding all of us hostage in trying to defend that legacy because he is standing alone not only in the world but in America.
And Jay, what‘s the impact of world opinion on America when our president does stand alone, not only from the world leaders, who have been against this war for three years, but also most of the citizens and most members of his own party?
JAY CARNEY, “TIME” MAGAZINE: Well, it weakens the United States, Joe, in its efforts to fashion some sort of solution in Iraq. And beyond that, we‘ve seen that Secretary Rice at the State Department has gotten involved in the new efforts to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis. But the more that President Bush seemed divorced from reality on Iraq, the weaker he creates a position for the United States in the Middle East. And I think it hurts the potential for those talks to succeed.
I think what we‘ve seen from the president this week, however is not a permanent stance that‘s divorced from reality or opposed to the Baker-Hamilton commission, but a temporary one. I think what they‘ve realized at the White House is that, very quickly, in the last six weeks, the Baker Iraq Study Group has become a kind of—you know, a vessel into which everyone has poured all their hopes for some sort of salvation to the problem in Iraq. And they realize that the White House was outsourcing its foreign policy to a non-elected body led by Jim Baker, and I think it caused a collision for the president between his pride and the reality of what‘s going on in Iraq.
My guess is this commission will—the study group will release its report next week. The White House will continue to keep its distance from the report, saying, We‘ll read it, see what we like into it, maybe we‘ll take a few recommendations, maybe we won‘t. And then a few weeks or maybe a month down the road, we‘ll end up in a situation where what they do out of the White House is much closer to what Baker recommends than what they‘re saying right now, including talks, including a regional peace conference, perhaps, and including maybe direct talks with Iran and Syria.
SCARBOROUGH: You know what, though, Pat? And it goes back to you talking about this president being worried about his legacy, standing alone because this is, in the end, his war. I agree with Jay. It‘s what I was thinking and what I said earlier today. I think this president may, in the end, adopt many of Baker‘s recommendations and Hamilton‘s recommendations, but right now, he‘s not going to do it because of his pride. And he is alone not only on this issue, he‘s alone on the issue of the civil war.
I want to show you the latest “Wall Street Journal” poll that shows that only 14 percent of Americans agree with Mr. Bush that Iraq is not in a civil war, which means this president has been abandoned by his own conservative base, as well as independents and liberals.
BUCHANAN: That‘s irrelevant. Let me tell you why. Look...
SCARBOROUGH: Wait a minute! how can you say it‘s irrelevant when he has 14 percent support?
BUCHANAN: Well, Joe, when you‘re—look, you‘re in a war—we got in the war. It was a horrible mistake. It‘s heading badly. There‘s two courses. One is we can say we‘re getting out, here‘s when we‘re getting out, or we can keep the troops here and realize that we‘re going to be gone. I think the president is saying, I‘ve got a much stronger hand in the outcome of this thing if we keep the troops in than if we move them out. That is not an unreasonable position.
WALSH: It is very unreasonable, Pat, because he looks unreasonable to the rest of the world. And like it or not, Pat, we have to deal with the rest of the world and we have to get the rest of the world to help us out.
BUCHANAN: If the president believes—if he pulls the troops out prematurely, the whole thing collapses. And as the Saudi king says, We are going in, and you‘ve got the regional war for sure...
SCARBOROUGH: But the whole thing is collapsing right now, Pat!
BUCHANAN: Joe, are you going to solve the problem...
CARNEY: Wait, wait, wait.
BUCHANAN: ... by pulling the troops out?
CARNEY: I think—I think...
WALSH: No one‘s talking about pulling them out tomorrow anyway, Pat, but to sound so defiant and so defensive on the world stage, in a week that he‘s really—this is a big diplomatic initiative for the president. And all I have to say is the only thing worse than when he doesn‘t practice diplomacy is when he does.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me bring Jay in here because, Jay, this has been a difficult week for the president. These leaks have been absolutely astounding. We don‘t have time to talk about all the leaks that have been pouring out of the White House. But then you have...
SCARBOROUGH: You have the president humiliating the Iraqi prime minister, then the Iraqi prime minister turning around, humiliating the president by putting him on ice for 24 hours. And then you have the president‘s performance today. He doesn‘t rate very well practicing diplomacy this week, does he, Jay.
CARNEY: Well, no, and I think that some of these leaks were sanctioned. I don‘t think necessarily that they were a total surprise to either the White House, or in particular, the Pentagon and that they served some purposes. I think the leak of the Steve Hadley memo about Prime Minister al Maliki was aimed at sending a message to Maliki about the true feelings of the White House towards his—how he‘s doing over there. And it made it a little easier for Bush to confront him today without having—you know, Maliki now knew how they really felt, and they could have a congenial meeting, more or less, in front of the press.
But I wanted to say this. There seems to be—there is some—I‘m with Pat in the sense that there is no value or percentage in having the president completely embrace the Baker-Hamilton recommendations because if you look at those recommendations, this is an incredibly bureaucratic political document.
CARNEY: It‘s not a plan of action.
WALSH: That‘s true.
CARNEY: It is a compromise solution.
BUCHANAN: It is a compromise, exactly.
CARNEY: What Baker-Hamilton did was solve the civil war within their own study group. They didn‘t solve the civil war in Iraq.
WALSH: I think that is true.
CARNEY: It‘s just a document that provides some guidelines. In the end, Bush is the president. He will have to make the hard decisions. And I think he‘s biding his time and trying not to look too weak...
BUCHANAN: That‘s exactly right.
SCARBOROUGH: ... Pat, because We‘ve been talking about Vietnam before, comparing it to Iraq. You were there, obviously, in the Nixon White House while Vietnam was going on. After Vietnam was over and we were trying to sort through everything, figuring out what went wrong, Cap Weinberger or Ronald Reagan put forward, as you know, the Weinberger doctrine...
SCARBOROUGH: ... where he talked about when we get into wars and when we get out of wars. And I think the third or fourth point for Cap Weinberger was he said it was impossible to fight a war without America‘s public support. You talk to generals or admirals about this war, they will tell you the American people are no longer with them, and at that point, they want to bring the troops home. So how can we say that only 14 percent of the American public supporting the president‘s view of the Iraq war is irrelevant?
BUCHANAN: Well, look—I mean, look, it is, in this sense, in terms of what the president decides now with regard to the Baker group, it is irrelevant. We got two courses. Look, we all know we‘re coming out of Iraq. And the president is saying...
BUCHANAN: Joe, look...
SCARBOROUGH: This president has said...
BUCHANAN: What is this panic...
SCARBOROUGH: ... we‘re going to stay the course.
BUCHANAN: What is this panic we‘re getting—we‘re getting panic from American journalists. Excuse me!
SCARBOROUGH: I‘m not panicked...
BUCHANAN: You certainly are! This is...
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, Pat Buchanan, the fact is, you and I both know it, there aren‘t 10 Republicans on Capitol Hill...
BUCHANAN: I don‘t give a hoot...
SCARBOROUGH: ... that agree with this president!
BUCHANAN: ... about the Republican Party!
BUCHANAN: Joe, I don‘t care about the Republican Party! The question is...
SCARBOROUGH: This president alone in the world in his view on Iraq!
BUCHANAN: Joe, that‘s not the question! The question is whether he is...
SCARBOROUGH: What do you mean, that‘s not the question? He‘s the commander-in-chief!
BUCHANAN: Look, the question is whether he‘s right or wrong.
SCARBOROUGH: He‘s the only man left standing, Pat Buchanan!
WALSH: And he‘s wrong.
BUCHANAN: And look, he‘s got the guts to stand by his decision. Do you think any of your Republicans on the Hill got the guts to...
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, you have disagreed with this president since 2003!
BUCHANAN: He should never have gone in~!~ But we are there, man!
SCARBOROUGH: OK, so what do we do, Pat?
BUCHANAN: Well, we don‘t panic like Joe Scarborough!
SCARBOROUGH: Pat, I‘m not panicking, but I will tell you what. I am very concerned, I am very disturbed when you have one man who is president of the United States...
SCARBOROUGH: ... who is president of the constitutional republic...
SCARBOROUGH: ... checks and balances and stands alone...
BUCHANAN: All right, Joe...
SCARBOROUGH: ... thinking...
BUCHANAN: Get all your...
SCARBOROUGH: ... that this war can be won!
CARNEY: Joe? Joe...
BUCHANAN: Get all your heroes up on the Hill, Joe, and tell them to cut off funding, if any of them got the guts!
CARNEY: Joe, you have to listen—pay less attention to what the president is saying this week and pay more attention to what he‘s going to do in the next few weeks because I think that immediate precipitous withdrawal, I think we all agree with Pat, would be potentially catastrophic. And it‘s not whether there‘s clamoring in the press or even on Capitol Hill among Republicans for the fastest withdrawal possible doesn‘t really—is not all that significant because the—even the public relations, let alone the physical cost of a precipitous withdrawal would be so cataclysmic that you cannot do it.
So the president—you know, Baker and Hamilton are not calling for an immediate withdrawal. They‘re talking about eventually, over a course of time, withdrawing 70,000 troops, maybe a year or two. So the president may come to embrace that, but not this week because...
SCARBOROUGH: And again, Jay, my point is—and Pat and Joan, my point is this. I mean, if the president embraces that down the road, that‘s fine. I don‘t want a precipitous withdrawal. I don‘t want a timeline for three weeks or three months or even six months. But I do think right now, the president‘s sending these type of signals out there. I think it may be dangerous and be misinterpreted across the world. And so anyway—and Pat Buchanan, by the way, thanks a lot for not bringing up Mark Foley tonight.
SCARBOROUGH: Jay Carney, Joan Walsh...
BUCHANAN: Stay the course, Joe!
SCARBOROUGH: Stay the course, Pat! That‘s right, right off the edge of the cliff! Thanks so much. And by the way, the course that Pat Buchanan been against since 2003.
Coming up next: Bill O‘Reilly accuse this network of rooting for the enemy, and tonight, he goes even further. Is he right to say the media and the left want America to lose in Iraq? We‘re going to debate that next. Plus...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY BONADUCE, “PARTRIDGE FAMILY”: I have lived life as a disaster. As a human being, I‘m a bit of a failure. But as an executive producer, I‘m a genius.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: My candid interview with reality TV star and former “Partridge Family” star Danny Bonaduce. The former Partridge family member tells us why his personal battles with addiction have been the best thing that could have happened to his career and the worst thing for his family.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, Fox News anchor Bill O‘Reilly continues his crusade against the American press, especially NBC News for our decision to call the war in Iraq a civil war. Well, take a look at what he had to say just an hour ago on his show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”: We have a press that is invested in seeing that President Bush is humiliated in Iraq. They might not be rooting for an American defeat, but most are certainly anti-war and anti-Bush. And then there are those Americans who dislike the president so much, they want the USA to lose.
Do you want America to win in Iraq?
ROSIE O‘DONNELL, “THE VIEW”: I want America to be what the founding fathers wanted it to be, a democracy!
O‘REILLY: OK, so you don‘t want America to win...
BARBARA WALTERS, “THE VIEW”: Don‘t put words in her mouth!
O‘DONNELL: Yes, don‘t put words...
O‘REILLY: She didn‘t answer the question, Barbara.
O‘REILLY: She wouldn‘t answer the question.
Do you want the United States to win in Iraq?
DAVID LETTERMAN, “LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”: First of all, I...
O‘REILLY: It‘s an easy question. If you don‘t want the United States to win in Iraq...
LETTERMAN: It‘s not easy for me because I‘m thoughtful.
O‘REILLY: All right, so there you have it, a hostile America in world media, an American public that has lost faith in the war, and some who are even rooting for a defeat, and then the Iraqi people, who will not step up and stop the madness they see every day. God help us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: So is Bill O‘Reilly right? Is the media rooting for America to lose in Iraq? Here‘s Rachel Sklar—she‘s the media editor for Huffingtonpost—and Matthew Felling, media director for the Center for Media and Public Affairs.
Let‘s start with you, Rachel Sklar. Bill O‘Reilly says that NBC and other mainstream media outlets are actually rooting against America in Iraq.
RACHEL SKLAR, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM: That‘s just ridiculous. I mean, that is just purely, purely—like, that‘s the conservative spin and it is preposterous. The media is rooting for the truth. They‘re rooting for putting—you know, some back analysis on it. They‘re rooting for putting the facts out to people. And they‘re constantly fighting spin from the White House and spin from conservative pundits. I mean, it really does wear you down after a while. You just want to put the facts out there, and you‘re constantly up against the spin machine.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, Matthew Felling, I totally disagree with Bill O‘Reilly regarding NBC, certainly. I‘m not anti-war. I‘m all for war, if America is going to win and it promotes our interest. I don‘t give a damn about world peace, I want what‘s in the best interests of the United States of America. So I‘m not anti-American, either. So I think O‘Reilly is dead wrong on that point. But when he asks David Letterman and Rosie O‘Donnell, Do you want America to win in Iraq, and they can‘t answer that question, isn‘t that equally disturbing?
MATTHEW FELLING, CENTER FOR MEDIA AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Well, I think what we‘re seeing right now this week is...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, no, no, no, no. Hold on. Before we talk about this week...
SCARBOROUGH: ... David Letterman doesn‘t know whether he wants America to win or not, and he says it‘s because he‘s thoughtful. Is that disturbing?
FELLING: Well, win what?
SCARBOROUGH: The war in Iraq.
FELLING: Do we want—sure we want to win the war in Iraq, but...
SCARBOROUGH: But Letterman couldn‘t answer that question.
FELLING: Because nobody has spelled out what victory means.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, I think...
FELLING: We‘re in...
SCARBOROUGH: I think a stable government in Iraq that doesn‘t promote terrorism is victory. I think most people recognize that‘s what we‘ve wanted there for the past three years.
FELLING: Well, you know, I mean, we went there for weapons of mass destruction, and then they slid some words in new words in there. We wanted weapons of mass destruction...
SCARBOROUGH: Come on, Matt. You can tell me what victory in Iraq is, can‘t you?
FELLING: Nobody has stated it on the record.
SCARBOROUGH: I think we have a—well, let me state it for you. We want a stable Iraq that stops the spread of terrorism. Are you for that?
SKLAR: This, by the way, is exactly what happened with Letterman and Bill O‘Reilly and on “The View,” this little dialogue that you guys have...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, no, it‘s not a little dialogue, it is a simple question that disturbs a lot of people when you ask David Letterman...
SKLAR: It‘s the wrong question.
SCARBOROUGH: What, do you want to win the war?
SKLAR: Yes, that‘s the wrong question.
SCARBOROUGH: OK, so what if I asked you in World War II, Would you like us to beat the Germans? How would you answer that, Rachel?
SKLAR: It has nothing—that is the wrong question. The right question...
FELLING: What‘s the right question?
SCARBOROUGH: ... is, What is the best way to beat the Germans?
FELLING: Well, Joe, the problem is...
SCARBOROUGH: No, wait. Hold on a second. How do we know whether we want to use a certain approach to beat the Germans, if we can‘t even answer whether we want to beat the Nazis or not?
SKLAR: The assumption is, of course, you want to beat the Germans.
Of course, you want to win in Iraq. Of course, we want the war to end.
And of course, we want world peace.
SCARBOROUGH: So you think David Letterman...
SKLAR: The question is how.
SCARBOROUGH: ... wants us to win in Iraq?
SKLAR: Everybody wants us to win in Iraq!
SCARBOROUGH: David Letterman‘s not sure!
SKLAR: But by winning—that is not the case. What his answer was -
and you know, I‘m—it‘s not verbatim, but his answer and his response was about being thoughtful and addressing the issues. And it‘s different than a blanket yes or no.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. Well, I want to show you Bill O‘Reilly. Let‘s move on to NBC. Here he is attacking NBC News again last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: There‘s no question that critical mass is being reached in Iraq. And because so much is at stake, we want to be very careful here in our reportage, no speculation, no coulda-woulda-shoulda. Fox News military analysts are keeping a close eye on the situation in Iraq. So are we. And when there‘s something definitive to report, we will do it. And that‘s not ridiculous, that‘s responsible, unlike some other news organizations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: What are the Fox military news analysts going to know that our generals don‘t know? There‘s a damn civil war going on in Iraq! What‘s he going to do, walk down, like, Avenue of Americas and try to figure out what‘s happening in Baghdad? That‘s the stupidest, most ridiculous thing I‘ve heard not only today but this week, this month, maybe this entire war! Where does he get off, Matthew, saying that, We‘re not going to listen to the generals, we‘re not going to listen to 68 percent of Americans, instead, we‘re going to talk to Fox news military analysts?
FELLING: Well, I mean, if you remember, way back in 2001, 2002, right after September 11, the White House said, We‘re no longer going to call these people suicide bombers, we‘re going to call them homicide bombers. And Fox News Channel was the only network to completely adopt this new language.
So that‘s the sort of mentality that they‘re bringing in. And if he‘s going to ignore the generals who have been quoted on NBC, in “The New York Times,” in “The Washington Post,” and he‘s just going to make it up whole cloth—Bill O‘Reilly is entitled to his own opinions. He‘s not entitled to his own facts. And the fact is that he‘s creating a new reality each and every night, and it‘s extremely dangerous, and especially when the numbers, the people‘s opinions, don‘t bear it out.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you know, I always—I almost always support Bill O‘Reilly. I do think he‘s kicked around unfairly. I think he‘s dead wrong here. And I think the fact that he‘s saying that we‘re not in a civil war proves that his head on this issue is in the sand because Bill O‘Reilley, has he not, Rachel Sklar—has Bill O‘Reilly not been critical from time to time of this president and the way this war has been fought over the past three years?
SKLAR: I mean, I can‘t cite chapter and verse, but sure. Bill O‘Reilly has—he‘s—listen, he‘s a critical guy and he puts his opinions out there. But I think in this case—in this case, it‘s just ridiculous. And as Matthew said, he‘s not entitled to his own facts. This is not a question of liberal or conservative, it‘s a question of fact.
FELLING: More to the point, where does Bill O‘Reilly come across? He says there are people openly rooting for us to lose. I would like him to give us one example—one example! of how NBC or how some reporter has said, Listen, I want us to pull out and lose miserably and be embarrassed forever.
SCARBOROUGH: No, I certainly don‘t know anybody at NBC that‘s even down the middle on that question. Everybody I know and I work with want us to win. But also, as you all say, they can look at the facts on the ground, and they don‘t have to come ask me or other people around this building whether it‘s a civil war in Iraq or not.
All right, I know I was kind of all over the place there, but if you‘re keeping score at home, David Letterman, loser, Rosie O‘Donnell, loser, and Bill O‘Reilly on this issue, the civil war, dead wrong. Rachel Sklar and Matthew Felling, thanks for being with us.
Coming up next: What do you get when you mix Richard Simmons with (INAUDIBLE) and a little fire? “Must See S.c.,” of course. And then: You may know Danny Bonaduce from “The Partridge Family,” but it‘s his struggles with addiction that have viewers tuning in each week for his new reality show. We‘re going to ask him why he‘s letting the public see some of his very private moments and what he really thinks of his “Partridge” co-stars.
SCARBOROUGH: Wake up grandma. It‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See SC,” some video you‘ve just got to see.
First off, Richard Simmons dropped by David Letterman to give some cooking tips, but David had a surprise in store for the kind of short shorts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD SIMMONS, FITNESS EXPERT: And the broccoli takes 12 minutes. The salmon takes about 18, and the asparagus takes seven. And you press on. The one that needs the most steam starts to steam first. Then the second one, and then the third one. So when it goes of, everything...
DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE SHOW”: The steam comes right up.
I felt like Michael Jackson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And finally, President Bush‘s Iraq policy is under intense scrutiny from almost everybody. Now, thanks to the “Late Show,” so are his speeches.
(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: Last night, Jeb and I had some crabs, with like members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, Dan Marino and his really dynamic wife.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up next...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANNY BONADUCE, ACTOR: If there‘s a “Partridge Family” barbecue going on right now, I am unaware of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You and me both, buddy. Danny Bonaduce shares the good, the bad, and the ugly details of his life on his hit reality show and on-air battles with addiction, to why you don‘t want to see Susan Day at a “Partridge Family” reunion. And surprisingly, we have a very candid conversation, coming up next.
And later, Lindsay Lohan proves you don‘t have to be smart to be an actress, that and a lot more in “Hollyweird,” coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, you may remember Danny Bonaduce as the wisecracking redhead from the ‘70s staple, “The Partridge Family.” But when the show was over, he went from superstar Danny Partridge to fallen star. We‘re going to hear from Danny about life behind the scenes at the “Partridge Family” in just a few minutes, but first, from his life on the bus to his life in the streets, Bonaduce‘s always been open about his struggles with drugs and alcohol.
And now, cameras have captured it for a second season of his hit VH-1 reality show, “Breaking Bonaduce.” I talked to Danny about his life in the spotlight and his battle to get back to the top.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is Danny Bonaduce?
BONADUCE: I‘m not real clear on who Danny Bonaduce is. Broken, screwed up, happy, open wound, lost, fairly famous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who is Danny Bonaduce?
BONADUCE: I‘m a car crash, man. And you have every right to slow down and watch the car crash.
SCARBOROUGH: Why did you decide to do a reality show that was so deeply personal?
BONADUCE: Well, first of all, the fact of the matter is, I did it for the money, to be completely honest with you. It was a surprise to me the reaction it got. I had never seen a two-page review of a reality show in the “New York Times,” basically blaming me for the demise of Western civilization, which I thought was fascinating.
Because what was interesting is that I had written a best-selling book regaling my life story in all its gory detail. I did morning radio every day for 16 years, and all I did was tell the story of my life in all its gory detail. But when moving pictures came on television, it was different for everyone. And everyone, I believe, was shocked.
GRETCHEN BONADUCE, WIFE OF DANNY BONADUCE: It‘s not healthy what‘s been going on for both of us.
BONADUCE: No, it‘s not. And that‘s (INAUDIBLE) try and take away your love again.
Are you doing something to my wife that is making her behave differently than she does outside your door? Is there some (bleep) voodoo that you do that makes a woman outside that door be desperately in love with me and not right there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wish I could take responsibility...
BONADUCE: Is there something you‘re (bleep) doing? What the (bleep) is happening around here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please stop, OK?
SCARBOROUGH: Were you shocked by how your life seemed to fall apart in the first season, again, in front of VH-1 and the country?
BONADUCE: As a life, I have lived life as a disaster. As a human being, I‘m a bit of a failure. But as an executive producer, I‘m a genius. You know, I had the right to cut out all of that. I own that show. I didn‘t have to let you see any of that. But once I did it, I said to myself, “Anything I cut out is a lie.”
I didn‘t know I was that bad. I thought I was an adorable, cute, little, drunk guy who made a very comfortable living on the radio. I had not become aware of what I had degenerated to. And once I decided that that is, in fact, what I had become, I refused to go to the editing bay at all. I told VH-1, “Air anything you want. It‘s what I live. It‘s what I put on film, and that‘s the beating I will have to take.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
BONADUCE: Very nice sound. Incline press is right here. You want to lay down for me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure. On my back?
BONADUCE: Yes, on your back. I think it‘s adorable when you act like it‘s the first time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They‘re big.
BONADUCE: Thank you. I almost never hear that. (INAUDIBLE) nice.
Right there, beautiful. Jesus, look, that‘s beautiful.
SCARBOROUGH: How did you go from the highest highs to the lowest lows, where you said you were living behind a dumpster when you were 12?
BONADUCE: Well, it depends on your definition of the lowest lows. Most people would think being—I don‘t know if it was “Time” magazine or its equivalent in 1973, voted me one of the most 50 famous Americans. By 1985, I was living by a dumpster behind Grauman‘s Chinese. That‘s certainly an odd jump.
But I would have to say the lowest of the lows was still being a drunk and a drug addict and having money. Being a drunk and a drug addict and not having any money is a fairly safe place to be. It‘s when I started to make a comeback, and none of my bad habits went away. That was the lowest of the low for me.
It wasn‘t the alley; it was the big house, and the big wallet, and the big bank account, and access to anything I wanted. And I wanted the wrong things.
Once I saw the commercials for this television show and realized what I had done and how humiliated I was, I said to myself, “I‘m never leaving this house again. I‘m never going outside to be ridiculed by the public, no matter what. I can‘t bear it.” Because I had seen some of the commercials. I have never seen the show, not a minute of it. I‘ve never watched one second of that show.
So finally, I said, “All right, I‘ve got to go to the gym. I‘m going to go to the gym. People will leave me alone at the gym.” And I got to the gym, and an Escalade screeched to a stop, and the door opened. And in my neighborhood, that usually means somebody is going to shoot you.
But the guy got out and he said, “I‘ve been trying to get my brother in recovery for years, and we were watching your show, and just in the middle of it, he all of a sudden agreed to go.” And those were the first words spoken to me about the show.
And then—this one I‘ll never forget—and now, I want you to know, I literally get hundreds of letters like this a day, and I answer them all. Sometimes it takes weeks, but I answer them all. A guy comes up to me, same trip. I haven‘t even gotten to the gym yet. And he‘s crying. And he said, “I wanted you to know, my sister died of a drug overdose a few years back.”
You know, I don‘t know what to say. I‘m just some TV guy, you know? I‘m just a clown for money. I didn‘t know what to say to this guy. And I said, “I‘m really sorry.” And he said, “No, no, I wanted to thank you.” And I said, “For what?” And he said, “Because I always thought I could have stopped her if I tried harder. I always thought I could have saved my sister if I only tried harder. And then I watched your show and I watched your wife try and save you every day with everything she had, and there was no saving you. And now I know I didn‘t kill my sister.”
And those were some of the first words that were said to me after I left the house. And don‘t get me wrong: I don‘t think the show is important. I don‘t think there‘s anything that special about it. But nobody‘s ever said anything like that to me before.
SCARBOROUGH: You know, the thing is...
BONADUCE: Nobody‘s ever come up to me—nobody‘s ever come to me—people have said it‘s cool to know somebody famous, and it‘s cool to know somebody with money, but I don‘t remember anybody ever coming up to me and saying, “I am so proud of you.” And after that moment, I was really proud of myself.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, coming up next, more of the conversation with Danny, including why the Partridges were a dysfunctional family and why he hardly ever talks to his old co-stars anymore.
And later, K-Fed gets some unlikely support from a group that‘s no stranger to controversy, the Dixie Chicks. “Hollyweird‘s” coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: We‘re back with more of my interview with Danny Bonaduce. He, of course, rose to fame with his role as Danny Partridge on “The Partridge Family.” Now he‘s back on TV, and he‘s got a hit VH-1 reality show, “Breaking Bonaduce,” an amazing show, fascinating. I talked to Danny about the rock star life he lived when he was just a kid on the “Partridge Family.”
BONADUCE: Being Danny Partridge was a ridiculous amount of fame. You would travel with security, and there were kidnap threats, and all sorts of craziness. And at 12 years old, it used to infuriate me if people were to ask for my autograph when I was eating or something like that.
And then it all went away, and I realized how lucky I was and that I would do anything to have it back, to have that kind of privilege and notoriety. Because people, when they‘re asking you for your autograph just because you‘re eating, all they‘re doing is saying, “I really like you. I like what you do.”
And I scratched, and I crawled, and I climbed, and I seem to have made it back. And I‘ve said this on any talk show I‘ve ever been on, in public or on my MySpace. The day you see me in public wearing a hat and glasses is the day I‘ve quit this business.
If I go somewhere really public and people don‘t recognize me, I am so sad. It ruins my day.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s a downer.
BONADUCE: I‘ll start making a lot of noise, see if I get people to look my way. I love being famous.
SCARBOROUGH: You brought up the “Partridge Family” and how crazy it was. I mean, I heard stories about David Cassidy and the fame, and the women, and the money. But then again, you see one of these VH-1 stories, “Where Are They Now?” He also fell by the wayside. A lot of other people had problems moving beyond that.
Talk about David Cassidy. What happened to him? Do you guys ever talk any more?
BONADUCE: We talk rarely. I‘ll tell you, the thing with David Cassidy is, with me, I was a celebrity. David, he was more than an icon. You have to understand that David, to this day, holds the record for—I forget the name of the tennis court in Australia, but it holds 50,000 seats. And he sold it out three nights in a row in under two hours. He was the biggest star in the world.
No matter what David were to accomplish now, it will always kind of
equal for—and I hate this term—but if you were very, very successful
and he makes a lot of money playing concerts and casinos and things—he‘ll be looked at as a has-been, because he‘ll never, ever, ever achieve that kind of stature again.
SCARBOROUGH: What about the others, like Susan Day? I guess she went onto “L.A. Law.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m in the middle of getting married.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know is the wrong time to say this, but I‘m in love with you.
BONADUCE: Susan had really some very good success. The only thing that ever—I never understood about Susan was her inability, for lack of a better term, to discuss the “Partridge Family,” as if it was something bad. I don‘t understand their reluctance to appreciate it.
I‘m probably doing the most out of anybody on the “Partridge Family” at the moment—I‘m the most pleased to speak about it. I loved that I was on the “Partridge Family.” I couldn‘t be more proud of having been Danny Partridge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BONADUCE: Just tell me one thing. I have a right to know: Are you guys resisting arrest?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Did any of those people reach out to you, try to help you out, when you were living behind a Dumpster, or when you went through all of these different phases of your life that were so difficult?
BONADUCE: Well, to be honest, the Dumpster behind Grauman‘s Chinese is not an exact address, so I wasn‘t really that easy to contact. But, yes, I think everyone did something.
Back then, when I was a child, we were a cohesive group that really tried to help one another out. As we grew older, we were never like—if you talked to the “Brady Bunch” kids, they would hang out. They like—
Barry Williams is probably talking to Chris Knight on the phone right now.
SCARBOROUGH: Are they really? Do they really?
BONADUCE: Yes, they do. They hang out. They‘re buddies.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s funny.
BONADUCE: If there‘s a “Partridge Family” barbecue going on right now, I am unaware of it.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s a great way to end it, Danny. Thank you so much for being with us. And we certainly hope, obviously, that we have great TV this year, the second season of “Breaking Bonaduce,” and also a great life. And I can‘t wait to see the conclusion of this season and get you back here to talk about it.
BONADUCE: You know what? I really do hope you have me back for that. That would be tremendous. But either way, this was an honor to be here, and thank you so much.
SCARBOROUGH: Wonder what happened to the little drummer boy. What was his name? Chris. Wonder if he‘s doing smack right now in Harlem. Who knows? Any way, “Hollyweird” and Lindsay Lohan, coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, tell your agent you‘re ready to bring your career to the next level. Baby, it‘s time for “Hollyweird.”
First up, Lindsay Lohan. Now, “Hollyweird” is buzzing about a condolence letter that the actress sent to the family of legendary director Robert Altman. Here now with all the details of that and much more, editor-at-large for “Life and Style Weekly,” Ashlan Gorse. Also, “Star” magazine‘s editor-at-large Tina Dirmann. She‘s also the co-host of E!‘s online “Planet Gossip.”
Tina, what‘s the story with the Lindsay Lohan letter?
TINA DIRMANN, “STAR” MAGAZINE: You know, I wish I could tell you what the story was. Obviously, it was very heartfelt. She said a lot of sweet things, once you kind of deciphered what she was going through. But don‘t you kind of read that letter and say, “Look, forget whether or not the woman has a publicist or a manager. Doesn‘t she have even a best girlfriend she runs this by and says, ‘Does this make sense? What do you think?‘” She needed a little help there with the spelling, with the grammatical, you know, structure of this whole story. I don‘t know what was going on.
SCARBOROUGH: What was the biggest problem with her prose?
DIRMANN: Well, there was some sentences that flat don‘t make sense.
You kind of get headache reading it, right?
And then, you know, you see it, and you see that she really wants to tell them how much this has sort of touched her, but what she‘s done is sort of made herself the focus of this letter, instead of really just sending a very private, “Hey, he meant something to me, and I‘m sorry. We all lost somebody great here.”
She made a big production of it, and then she made a mess of it, and now here we are talking about it.
SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, Ashland, the publicist, Lindsay‘s publicist spinning it wildly? What‘s the publicist‘s take on it?
ASHLAN GORSE, “LIFE AND STYLE WEEKLY”: Very true. Later this afternoon, the publicist actually came out and said, “Look, you know, Lindsay did this. She was really from the heart. She was rushing through it. She just wanted it to get to the family as fast as possible. She sent it from her BlackBerry. Like, cut her some slack.”
But if it‘s on the BlackBerry, isn‘t it really easy just to do a little spell check? It‘s as simple as that. And it just really goes to show that that home-schooling education is top notch.
SCARBOROUGH: Top notch. And, of course, speaking of top notch, George Clooney seems to be enjoying his title as “People” magazine‘s top notch sexiest man alive. He had a little fun with some of his celebrity friends on David Letterman. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: You know, they take them out for your consideration for sexiest man alive...
CLOONEY: And Brad worked hard, but I think he got some bad advice with the photos. He used a couple of earlier ones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Now, see, Tina, here‘s my problem with George Clooney, OK? Sexiest man alive, and who‘s he spending his time with? Danny DeVito. If I‘m sexiest man alive and I‘m in Manhattan, I ain‘t hanging out with Danny.
DIRMANN: Well, that‘s Danny‘s problem. But look how much hotter George looks. My God. What do you think of that picture, those two sitting together...
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second. I‘m not saying that‘s Danny‘s problem. I‘m saying, you know what? Pretty good being this guy‘s wingman here, where you go out on the town in Manhattan.
DIRMANN: Oh, you mean Danny, it‘s good to be his wingman, I mean, to be George‘s wingman? Absolutely. I can only imagine probably what the leftovers must have been like.
But, you know, anytime somebody goes out with George Clooney, they‘re going to have a few cocktails. And from what I understand—what, he had seven limoncellos, something like that, that night? So I think that, you know, the boys probably partied pretty hard, and I think they probably—
Danny probably did no problem getting the female attention that night.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, one guy who is having problems getting female attention is K-Fed, and you can‘t accuse the Dixie Chicks of just attacking President Bush. The Chicks recently dedicated their song, “White Trash Wedding,” to none other than K-Fed.
Ashlan, it‘s pretty bad when even the Dixie Chicks are coming down on you, isn‘t it?
GORSE: You know, it really is. And they were people saying that, oh, the Dixie Chicks are such a fan of K-Fed. But, you know, “White Trash Wedding”? Come on. That‘s like the worst thing you can call a southerner. But it was great, and it got a good laugh from the audience, so we‘re all thinking it.
SCARBOROUGH: I guess so.
Tina, what are the Chicks up to? Getting ugly out there, huh?
DIRMANN: Sorry. Say that again?
SCARBOROUGH: I said, what are the Dixie Chicks thinking of, going after K-Fed? Kind of an easy target.
DIRMANN: Exactly. Natalie Maines, what are you thinking? I mean, no matter what you thought about her previous little dig at President Bush, you know, the girl has gone through some heat in the media for her comments. I‘m surprised she put herself out there in that way. I mean, shut up and sing is still in theaters, right?
SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Tina. Thank you, Ashlan. Greatly appreciate it. We appreciate you being with us. We‘ll see you tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
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