Guests: Josh Green, Mike Barnicle, Pat Buchanan, Steve Adubato, Bob Kohn, Courtney Hazlett, Nicholas Wapshott, Cecily Knobler
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Madame McCartney breaks down—she‘s got a few lawyers—swearing she‘s no golddigger—that‘s funny, she ain‘t hanging with broke people—never mind the fact that she‘s demanding $20,000 a day for the rest of her life. That‘s later.
But first, the empire strikes back. George W. Bush comes out swinging at a Rose Garden press conference, telling Democrats to get back to business and to fund the troops, and to fund them now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Democrat leaders in Congress seem more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than providing our troops with what they need to fight the battles in Iraq. They need to come off their vacation, get a bill to my desk. And if it‘s got strings and mandates and withdrawals and pork, I‘ll veto it and then we can down to business and get this thing done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: But the Democrats‘ leader in the Senate was in no mood to be lectured to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NE), MAJORITY LEADER: The president has a swagger and he‘s been very uncompromising, and that‘s the reason we are in the quagmire we‘re in in Iraq. He should become in tune with the fact that he is president of the United States, not king of the United States. And he has another branch of government, namely the legislative branch of government, that he has to deal with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: The majority leader is now so angry, he‘s threatened to cut off funding, while Hillary Clinton‘s taking the president to the woodshed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr.
President, don‘t veto the will of the American people! You need to listen!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: While John Edwards is declaring no retreat, no surrender, saying Democrats should keep sending the same bill to Mr. Bush until he‘s the one who backs down. Don‘t hold your breath, John.
Here to tell us about the showdown on Capitol Hill and the White House and who‘s really to blame for the political games surrounding troop funding is “Boston Herald” columnist and MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle. We also have Josh Green. He‘s senior editor for “The Atlantic Monthly.” And two-time presidential contender, former White House communications director and MSNBC political analyst Pat Buchanan.
Josh Green, let‘s start with you. You just finished an expansive article on Hillary Clinton. Do you think she and the Democratic Party really have the guts to stare down the president until he blinks and finally signs this bill that basically gets us out of Iraq in a year?
JOSH GREEN, “ATLANTIC MONTHLY”: I think they do, and I think she does, in particular. I mean, Hillary Clinton‘s biggest challenge right now in the Democratic primary is the fact that people think she is insufficiently dovish, that she voted for the war. You know, if you‘re in Hillary Clinton‘s campaign, I don‘t think there‘s a fight you‘d rather pick than one with George Bush over whether or not we should withdraw from Iraq.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, George Bush is certainly picking a fight with Democrats. Josh, I want you to listen to what the president had to say today, blaming the Democrats for delays in funding our troops in Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: IN a time a war, it‘s irresponsible for the Democrat leadership in Congress—Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds.
Congress shouldn‘t tell generals how to run the war. Congress should not shortchange our military. Congress should not use a emergency war spending measure as a vehicle to put pet spending projects on that have nothing do with the war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s some tough language. Is that going to fly with the American public, Josh?
GREEN: I‘m not sure that it is, no. I mean, if you look at the facts, you know, the Democrats are about to put forward a spending bill. It just so happens to come with strings attached that the president may not like, you know, that U.S. troops have to be ready and that, you know, he needs to have a withdrawal date. But the trouble with that kind of swagger is that it‘s ultimately misplaced because the American people support, you know, having (ph) U.S. troop readiness (ph) by 80 percent and 60 percent of them support an eventual withdrawal from Iraq, setting a timetable. So Bush is not exactly arguing from a position of strength.
SCARBOROUGH: Mike Barnicle, how do you think those attacks on Congress is going work? I mean, here you‘ve got the president standing in the Rose Garden. He says Congress should come off their vacation until the troops are funded. He also says that Congress should not tell generals how to run the war. And he also says that they shouldn‘t cram pork into a bill that‘s supposed to fund our troops who are in the middle of a very hot war zone. Does that work with the American people, or have the American people already turned off George W. Bush?
MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know, I think the key here, Joe, is what you just referenced. I mean, this is a nation at war. How pathetic are these people? Can you imagine Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives behaving this way during World War II? It‘s unimaginable!
Both sides on this are pathetic. You have the president standing up in the Rose Garden today, you know, pushing and bullying around. And you have the Democrats in the House and the Senate ostensibly trying to pass legislation to support the troops, as all these pathetic politicians continually say, and yet you look at the bill, in addition to money for Iraq, it‘s got fire stations and fire trucks and bird feeders in Idaho. These people are horrendous!
SCARBOROUGH: Mike—Mike, explain it to me. I want you to try to explain it to me. I was there in Congress. I can‘t explain it...
BARNICLE: I don‘t know, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: ... Democratic Congress that would shove in pork after they‘ve heard you and me and other commentators for years...
BARNICLE: You know...
SCARBOROUGH: ... attacking Republicans, to put in pork for spinach subsidies, to fund Democratic and Republican conventions, to do these other asinine things.
BARNICLE: Joe, my understanding of last fall‘s election was that a majority of Americans voted, went to the polls, because they sought a new direction. They sought some leadership, whether it would be George Bush‘s renews leadership or whether it would be a Democratic leadership in the House and the Senate taking control of the Congress. They wanted to be led. They wanted to be led out of the quagmire that is Iraq.
And apparently, the politicians on both sides here, Republicans and Democrats, now have the same attention span as 15-year-olds have when they go the mall on Saturday. Let‘s get those sneakers, no let‘s get those. Let‘s move on to the next store. It‘s incredible!
SCARBOROUGH: It really is. And Pat Buchanan, you‘ve got the president now, as Mike Barnicle says, standing up in the Rose Garden, attacking the Democrats, saying that they shouldn‘t leave for recess while our troops have still not been funded. And of course, Tim Russert this weekend asked Charlie Rangel, why do they even try to fund the troops with pork? Charlie Rangel told Tim Russert, basically, We had to buy the votes. It‘s the only way that bill would have passed. I mean, there are going to be a lot of angry Americans, aren‘t there, if this is the way that the Democrats are going to continue to run Congress?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they‘re like Mike, I think they‘re disgusted. I mean, what (INAUDIBLE) this peanut subsidies, the spinach subsidies, all this junk in here. This is a very serious high-level debate—it ought to be about should we continue fighting this war in Iraq? And the Democrats have a point of view that even if we‘re going lose it, we ought to—we got to get out because the price is too high in blood and treasure and division. Now, that‘s a great debate.
And the Democrats porked this thing up. They had their pig out. And now the president‘s got them in a spot, and he is swaggering. Reid is right. But where Reid is wrong is, let me tell you—Harry Reid is going to back down. Either he‘s going to—he‘s going to fold or he‘s going to get rolled because the Congress of the United States cannot, after the president‘s successful veto, they cannot just sit there General Petraeus is saying, Where is the money I need to finish this surge? They‘re going have to vote it, get it over with!
SCARBOROUGH: And Pat, tell me, as a former White House communication director, how does the president‘s bashing of the Democrats on all of these issues—how does that play with voters? You know, because I know there was a point in ‘87 where Americans, after seven years of Ronald Reagan, the “great communicator,” Americans turned off Ronald Reagan. They stopped listening to him on—whether it was on the contras or whether it was on Iran-contra. Seems like Americans turned off George Bush about six, seven months ago.
BUCHANAN: You know, the country turned off FDR in 1937, Joe. They had 17 percent unemployment. The New Deal was way down and things were going to wrong. You know what Roosevelt used to say? We‘re in trouble. Get me something I can veto. In other words, Let‘s get a fight going, then that will get people‘s attention.
Bush has now been handed a battle on ground in which he believes. Maybe the majority of Americans don‘t, but he does. He‘s confident about it. And frankly, he‘s going to veto this. It‘s going to be sustained. And he‘s going to win this battle. And if Hillary Clinton, frankly, does as Michael suggests, she votes against funding the troops over there after the deadlines are dropped, I think Hillary‘s going to be painting herself pretty far out there in the left for the general election, which I think she may well be in.
SCARBOROUGH: Josh, do you agree with that? I mean, do you think that Hillary Clinton could, if she sides with this bill that has all this pork-barrel spending, if she sides with Harry Reid, who‘s talking about defunding the troops—does Hillary Clinton put herself in a terrible position and do the Democrats put themselves in a terrible position, where eventually, they‘ve got to back down to a swaggering president?
GREEN: Oh, I think Hillary Clinton tries her hardest never to put herself in a terrible position. But I‘m not sure the debate is quite as clear-cut as Pat and Mike make it out to be. I mean, I think it‘s really going to come down to an issue of, you know, Does the public focus become one of funding the troops? Is that the issue? Or is it an issue of, Do we withdraw from Iraq or do we not withdraw from Iraq? And if it‘s the latter, and especially against the backdrop with the attorney general scandal and more and more cases of Bush administration malfeasance, I‘m not nearly as convinced as these two guys are that this is necessarily going to be a loss for the Democrats.
BUCHANAN: Well, Joe, let me...
SCARBOROUGH: But again, I...
BUCHANAN: Joe, let me just say...
SCARBOROUGH: Answer—go ahead, Pat. I know you‘re going to...
BUCHANAN: Well, let me just say this. I think Michael is correct now. Right now, it is an issue of funding the troops and a deadline. The Democrats have had their inning on that, and I think they‘ve sort of won that inning. But what I am saying is we got to go forward. After the veto and the vetoes are sustained, then the issue is going to be, Now give me the money. You voted for it once. You did your thing. But now give me the money. Then it becomes, Are you going defund the troops or are you going to fund the troops? At that point, the president wins.
SCARBOROUGH: At that point, it‘s a question, Mike Barnicle, whether the Democrats have the guts to keep sending him the same bill back over and over again, as Republicans did in the ‘90s on Welfare reform. Mike, it seems to me that the president and Republicans are firing on all fronts. I want you to listen to the president going after that San Francisco liberal, as Newt Gingrich calls her, Nancy Pelosi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Going to Syria sends mixed signals, signals in the region, and of course, mixed signals to President Assad. And by that I mean, you know, photo opportunities and/or meetings with President Assad lead the Assad government to believe they‘re part of the mainstream of the international community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s kind of hard pulling those words out of there, but there are other people at the White House that are a bit more articulate than the president at bashing Nancy Pelosi for going to Syria. I mean, do you have here—it seems to me, Mike—and tell me if I‘m wrong. It seems to me that Pat Buchanan may be onto something. The Democrats may have stepped onto the president‘s home turf. They may be battling him exactly where he wants to battle, Nancy Pelosi sitting next to a thug in Syria and then, of course, pork barrel spend for a bill that‘s supposed to be funding troops. Do you think the Democrats are making some mistakes here?
BARNICLE: Well, yes, I think they have made a mistake. I think they gave the president a clear opening with the funding bills. I mean, most people are under the assumption or were under the assumption that there was a bill meant specifically to continue funding for a limited period of time the war in Iraq. And then they find out that there‘s all of these other bogus Christmas tree items thrown in there just to insure passage. As Pat and Josh have both alluded to, it‘s basically, you know, blackmail, trying to get the bill through.
And now you have Speaker Pelosi in Syria. You know, I think if she were Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Birmingham, Alabama, or Pensacola, Florida, or Chicago, Illinois, even, it might play a little better politically in Washington than it has been. But she‘s from San Francisco. I don‘t think a lot of people are going to pay a whole lot of attention to George Bush talking about Nancy Pelosi going Syria, though, Joe.
And I don‘t think George Bush is going to make a lot of points saying that Nancy Pelosi is sending—helping to send mixed signals to Syria. He has been the king of mixed signals for the past four or five years.
GREEN: Well, but Mike...
GREEN: ... GOP delegation in Syria right now.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. Exactly. I was just going to say, Pat Buchanan, you can say the same thing about Republicans, like Frank Wolf and other senators who are in Syria right now, right?
BUCHANAN: Nobody knows—I‘m sorry, Frank Wolf, but nobody knows who Frank Wolf is...
BUCHANAN: ... whether he‘s in Syria or Bangladesh. I‘m sorry! No, but Nancy Pelosi‘s picture with that same kind of scarf that British gal prisoner has on is a big picture on Drudge. I‘ve seen it about five times tonight!
GREEN: But Joe, this is—this is the problem that Bush is going have making the case against Democrats. Every time he opens his mouth, he talks out the other side. He lies. He dissembles. You know, there‘s this background of fundamental dishonesty right now that doesn‘t give him the kind of firm ground to stand on that he had two years ago, four years ago, that sort of thing.
SCARBOROUGH: I think—you know what...
GREEN: And I think that really, really changes the equation of what‘s going to happen in the next three months.
SCARBOROUGH: I think, Josh, you‘re right. I think this type of rhetoric in 2004 certainly helped him out when he was running against John Kerry, but I really do believe he‘s reached a point where most Americans have just turned him off, and they‘re going to listen to Nancy Pelosi and people like her for leadership over the next year-and-a-half.
Mike Barnicle, Josh Green, Pat Buchanan, thanks so much.
And coming up next, “DATELINE‘s” Chris Hansen comes face to face with an international ID theft ring and shows you how your name, Social Security number and credit cards can be stolen in seconds. The dramatic conclusion to NBC‘s hidden camera investigation next.
Plus, Rosie O‘Donnell‘s latest crazy conspiracy theories, now accusing O‘Reilly of being a latter-day McCarthy. Should ABC pull the plug on Rosie before she does further harm to Barbara Walters, flagships (ph) around the world and herself?
Plus Heather Mills‘s bizarre breakdown next.
SCARBOROUGH: “To Catch an Identity Thief”—now, last week, we showed you part one of “DATELINE‘s” undercover hidden camera hunt for identity thieves, the faceless criminals who steal your name, your Social Security number, your credit cards and your credit right out from underneath you and right out of your pocket.
Now, Chris Hansen tracked down dozens of packages that were ordered with stolen credit cards and all went to one woman, a foreigner (ph) named Wendy Kenson. So posing undercover, Hansen then tried to confront Wendy, setting up a meeting with her lawyer, who calls himself Michael. But when Michael tried to scam “DATELINE” out of $200,000, Chris Hansen pulled the plug, confronting that shady lawyer with NBC‘s hidden cameras.
CHRIS HANSEN, “DATELINE NBC” (voice-over): After months of trying to smoke out Wendy, the master identity thief, finally I‘m face to face with her supposed lawyer Barrister Michael. I‘m not going let this opportunity go, so I tell Michael I think he‘s told me nothing but lies.
(on camera): I am investigating an extensive international credit card fraud and identity theft ring. You have now surfaced in this operation. I think it would be a good time for you to tell me the truth about why you came here today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) I told you why I came, OK?
HANSEN: I know, but I want the truth this time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that‘s the truth. You can call her.
HANSEN: This whole thing is falling apart here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, because I don‘t understand who this—I told you if I would know her, I would tell you this is the woman. I told you what she told me.
HANSEN: Let me tell you a few things. Number one, I don‘t think there‘s really a Wendy. Number two, I don‘t think you‘re really a barrister. And number three, I think you came here to scam me out of $200,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no, no.
HANSEN (voice-over): But I tell him I‘m not buying into his “get rich quick” scheme he claimed would make me millions of dollars.
(on camera): I don‘t think there‘s $6.5 million sitting in a security company (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See, the fact is, I have to be open to you. That was what she wrote me on the mail.
BUCHANAN: So you didn‘t check it out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, to be serious.
HANSEN: Are you actually a barrister?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To be serious, I have to tell you the truth.
HANSEN: Are you actually a barrister?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m not a barrister.
HANSEN: Then you lied to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course I lied, because that was what she told me, she wrote me, I have to...
HANSEN: So now it is Wendy‘s fault. So you lied about being a barrister because a woman who doesn‘t exist told you to lie? Michael!
HANSEN: Is that your real—I don‘t even know if that‘s your real name. Is your real name Michael?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huh?
HANSEN: Is your real name Michael?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, people call me Michael, but it‘s not my real name.
HANSEN: What is your real name?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My real name is (INAUDIBLE)
HANSEN: I‘m sorry?
(voice-over): So Wendy‘s lawyer, Michael, is not a lawyer after all, and his name‘s not Michael. And guess what? He isn‘t from South Africa, either.
(on camera): And where are you from originally?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m from Nigeria.
HANSEN: From Nigeria.
(voice-over): Nigeria, a country famous for scams. Remember, computer records back at our on-line store show that most of the orders made in the name of Wendy Kenson were actually placed from computers in Nigeria and West Africa, likely from Internet cafes like this one. We went there with hidden cameras after authorities told us it was a hotbed of crime. So it‘s clear we really are onto an international gang of con artists and identity thieves who‘ve been hiding behind this photo of the supposed Wendy.
(on camera): And what about all this stuff about law school and...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s what she told me to say, you know? I mean...
HANSEN: She told you to say all that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HANSEN: Everybody lies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody lies.
HANSEN: So it‘s OK.
HANSEN: Wendy does not exist, OK? At least, I don‘t think she exists. This person—this person posing as Wendy has been ripping people off for a long time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably. Probably.
HANSEN (voice-over): Finally an admission that Wendy, the face of the international crime ring, is a fiction, a ruse, just a pretty picture to con people.
(on camera): So you never really met Wendy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HANSEN: You don‘t even know if Wendy really exists. Did you or did you not lie to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lied to you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that. I know that I lied to you. I‘m sorry about that, but...
HANSEN (voice-over): Remember, he still doesn‘t know that all this time, we‘ve been recording on hidden cameras. Now it‘s time to let Barrister Michael, whoever he is, know he‘s been exposed.
(on camera): I‘m Chris Hansen, and I work for a show called “DATELINE
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
HANSEN: Those are my cameras. And if there‘s anything else you‘d like to say, we‘d like to hear it. If not, you‘re free to go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, what do you—what do you want me to say?
HANSEN: Whatever you want to say.
(voice-over): In the end, the barrister who isn‘t wants you to believe he‘s not a bad guy after all, and in spite of his repeated lies, he has an interesting message about telling the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I just believe all lying and stuff like this to people is not the right thing.
HANSEN (on camera): And so you‘re here doing something that wasn‘t the right thing today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. I believe I lied to you.
HANSEN: Right. You‘ve never lied to anybody else? I was the first guy you lied to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course I lie. Everybody lies. Of course. Of course.
HANSEN (voice-over): He says he‘s sorry, but we think he‘s just looking for an easy exit, one soldier in an army of identity thieves scattered across the globe. We don‘t have the power to arrest him, so he walks free.
SCARBOROUGH: And make sure you catch “DATELINE” Saturday night on
And coming up next here: Jimmy Kimmel shows us what the FCC doesn‘t want you to see in “Must See S.C..”
And later: Why even “The LA Times” now says ABC should take Rosie off “The View” and institutionalize her.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see. First up, Jimmy Kimmel bleeps away in the latest “Unnecessary Censorship.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) doing the dance, the Karl Rove dance, (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rhode Island.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy (DELETED)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What phrase would you use to describe the lamb‘s fleece, White as snow, Soft as clouds, Fine as silk, Sweet as (DELETED)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And finally, President Bush continues his assault on the English language. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!
BUSH: If it feels good, do it. You got a problem, blame somebody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Oh! And coming up next: Is it time for ABC to pull the plug on Rosie O‘Donnell and her crazy views? And later: Heather Mills breaks down live on the air after being called a golddigger.
SCARBOROUGH: Coming up, Heather Mills breaks down after confronted with claims that she‘s a gold-digger. But was her emotional defense just another act? That story and a lot more, coming up straight ahead.
But first, tonight, new calls for ABC and Barbara Walters to boot Rosie from “The View.” Well, why would they want to do a thing like that? Oh, yes, here‘s why. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSIE O‘DONNELL, HOST, “THE VIEW”: I do believe that it defies physics for the World Trade Center, tower 7, building 7, which collapsed in on itself, it is impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved.
They have been treating them as animals, Elizabeth, not like human beings. They have hoods over their head. They are tortured on a daily basis.
It‘s impossible for some people to believe that the Iranians in any way could ever do anything ethical in any capacity, that they have somehow been dehumanized to the point where they‘re not people, they‘re just the enemy, the terrorists.
Don‘t fear the terrorists. They‘re mothers and fathers.
Someone, I believe, should call for the impeachment of George Bush. You want to know why we‘d go into Iran? For the money. That‘s why we would do it, and that‘s...
... able to get the presidential seal on paper towels, but we still haven‘t cleaned up New Orleans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, you know, it‘s that unique brand of crazy that led a columnist for the “L.A. Times” to write today, quote, “Normally we expect such outbursts from poor souls who rage against unseen threats at bus stations and public libraries, but ABC is obliged to give O‘Donnell a nationally televised platform. Barbara Walters knowingly gives a soap box to a wacko.”
So will Barbara Walters at ABC finally pull the plug on Rosie? Here now is Bob Kohn. He‘s the author of the book “Journalistic Fraud.” And Steve Adubato, he‘s MSNBC media analyst.
Steve, let me start with you. “L.A. Times,” “knowing gives a soapbox to a wacko.” What do you think about that?
STEVE ADUBATO, MEDIA ANALYST: It‘s about right.
SCARBOROUGH: ABC I mean. Is that fair?
ADUBATO: It is fair. And she has been a wacko on the air. You just showed the best of Rosie or the worst of Rosie, depending upon how you want to look at it. But I have to tell you, Joe, I‘ll say what I said last night, and I‘ll keep saying it over and over again. Rosie O‘Donnell has a right to speak like an idiot on the air. So does Ann Coulter. So does Rush Limbaugh. So do all sorts of people out there.
And, in fact, anyone who calls for her being thrown off the air, I question then, who‘s next? I believe as broadcasters we have to protect each other, even the obnoxious broadcasters who say outrageous things. That‘s what free speech is.
SCARBOROUGH: I guess, Steve, let me read you this quote from the “L.A. Times.” And I‘ll tell you, this is what a lot of conservatives believe, because the “L.A. Times” speculated today on why Rosie hasn‘t been fired so far, saying, “So far, O‘Donnell has gotten a free pass because she isn‘t a mere wacko, but a left-wing wacko. If O‘Donnell she sounded like Pat Robertson, the network would call in the butterfly net almost immediately. But because O‘Donnell‘s crazy accusations are directed rightward at bad, evil George W. Bush, it‘s considered forgivable excess.”
And I‘ve got to tell you, Steve, from where I sit, that certainly seems accurate. If somebody like Pat Robertson or Rush Limbaugh or somebody else from the right makes these type of crazy accusations, the butterfly nets immediately come out and they get booted from whatever position they‘re in.
ADUBATO: Joe, I appreciate your point of view, but I respectfully disagree. When Rush Limbaugh did what I believe—and we talked about it on this program—what I believe to one of the most offensive, obnoxious things ever, when he made fun, not just of Michael J. Fox and saying he disagreed with his Democratic or liberal views, he tried to imitate...
SCARBOROUGH: But that‘s Rush Limbaugh‘s own show. The guy is bringing in $30 million. ABC, though, and Barbara Walters is the one—they‘re the ones that hire Rosie O‘Donnell. She works for them. Rush Limbaugh would have to fire himself to get off the Rush Limbaugh. This is different.
ADUBATO: Joe, respectfully, those radio stations could begin to say, “We‘re not going to carry him anymore.” You know that that could happen, but his ratings are great.
SCARBOROUGH: Wouldn‘t a better analogy actually be the Disney Company that owns ESPN boots Rush Limbaugh off after he speculates as to why Donovan McNabb gets a free pass and other quarterbacks don‘t?
ADUBATO: It‘s a good point.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s compared to Disney also deciding that Rosie O‘Donnell can say that the American government killed 3,000 people on 9/11 and then get to stay. Isn‘t that the better analogy?
ADUBATO: But they also got rid of Bill Maher after 9/11 when he made the absurd comment that the 9/11 terrorists were somehow, you know, courageous. So they got rid of him then.
SCARBOROUGH: That‘s a great point. Let‘s bring in Bob Kohn. Bob, why is it—I mean, because here I am talking about how ABC may be discriminating against conservatives, but they went after Bill Maher back in 2002, didn‘t they?
BOB KOHN, AUTHOR: Well, they went after Bill Maher. Sure they went after Bill Maher. It was a different period of time. It was just after 9/11. He said something that was pretty inflammatory at the time.
Now, ABC feels apparently that they‘re willing to let her get away with this stuff because Bush is out of favor and the government is out of favor and letting her say outrageous things.
I think the more interesting thing that‘s occurred in the past 24 hours, Joe, is the fact that you just used the word Disney instead of ABC, and Bill O‘Reilly has been using Disney for the past two years rather than ABC. Disney is the parent company of ABC.
Now, Rosie O‘Donnell basically has an aura of mean-spiritedness, and she‘s being called un-American. That‘s the antithesis of the Disney brand. So by people now associating Disney with someone un-American and mean-spirited like Rosie O‘Donnell, I think it really threatens the Disney brand, one of the strongest brands in the world.
SCARBOROUGH: And let me just say, Bob, the reason I did it, I wasn‘t being smart, as anybody who sees me every night knows, I am not smart. But Disney actually owns ESPN, and Disney also owns ABC. And the management obviously is the same over both of them. And it seems like there‘s an inconsistency between how they treated Rush Limbaugh how they‘re treating Rosie O‘Donnell.
And also, Bob...
SCARBOROUGH: ... comment to that, but Rosie also thinks she‘s a victim of a witch hunt. Someone wrote in to ask her whether—the question and answer part of her blog, whether she felt like we were headed back to McCarthyism. And Rosie says, right, we are back there.
SCARBOROUGH: Bob, Bob, I knew Joseph McCarthy. Joseph McCarthy was a friend of mine.
KOHN: Joe, you‘re the one—of the two of us, Joe, you‘re the one that first called for Rosie‘s being fired, OK? I never...
SCARBOROUGH: I think she should be.
KOHN: I think you do think that she should be. I think you persuaded me last night that she should be. But the fact of the matter is, I think this could be ameliorated if they simply had someone at the same table as Rosie to respond to her in some suitable way, have someone like Tammy Bruce or Michelle Malkin or another conservative like Laura Ingraham or Ann Coulter at the table to respond to her at the time.
ADUBATO: Other really obnoxious people?
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s not “Crossfire,” though. That‘s what‘s so crazy.
This is a woman‘s talk show in the morning.
KOHN: Well, it‘s an ABC network. It‘s a responsible network. This is a responsible network. You can be a conservative and manage your show, but you always have people on both sides. Same thing with Bill O‘Reilly‘s show and other people on cable television. When Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham go on cable television, there‘s always somebody on the other side. It‘s irresponsible...
ADUBATO: Bob, one second. You said that last night, Bob. It is not the case that Ann Coulter goes on with other people. She was on with Matt Lauer on the “Today” show alone. She goes on O‘Reilly alone.
KOHN: Oh, she was against Matt Lauer, and you‘re saying that he‘s a conservative, too?
ADUBATO: No, Matt took her on, but here‘s my point. And, Joe...
KOHN: That‘s a terrible example.
ADUBATO: One second. Joe, I have to ask you something. You‘ve gone out there, and you‘re saying that she should be fired. My question to you, Joe, respectfully is this: Who‘s next? She‘s so outrageous, she‘s out of control, she‘s saying these nutty things. Haven‘t you put yourself in a position, Joe, where you now have to challenge some other people who are really off-the-wall and outrageous and question whether they should be on the air?
SCARBOROUGH: The thing is, Bob or Steve—I‘m having trouble with words—you know, in law school, I think when we talk about the First Amendment, we talked about time, place, manner.
If you have Barbara Walters sitting next to Rosie O‘Donnell, I‘ve got an issue with that. If they want to put Rosie on late night and have her next to mud-wrestlers and other freaks—you know, people in freak shows, that‘s fine with me.
But I think, in this case, it is very objectionable that they have somebody in the morning, where millions of people are watching, that‘s allowed to spew hatred every morning, talking about how September 11th was an inside job, talking about how Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11th, was somehow a victim of poor treatment at Gitmo.
SCARBOROUGH: That is my problem. What‘s that?
ADUBATO: Joe, the KKK has a right, a First Amendment right to walk down the street in a black and in African-American neighborhood.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, sure, they do...
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on a second, though. You, Steve Adubato, thank you for bringing up the KKK. If the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan had a position at the table with Barbara Walters and spewed hatred every morning, taking your absolutist position, I could not call for his firing. That‘s what you think?
KOHN: That‘s right.
ADUBATO: Joe, you can call for anyone‘s firing. All I‘m saying is...
KOHN: Steve, you walked into that.
SCARBOROUGH: Steve, we‘ve got to go.
ADUBATO: Bob, I can defend myself. Bob, I don‘t need you. I can defend myself.
SCARBOROUGH: Hold on. Let me do an O‘Reilly thing here. Turn off Steve‘s mic. We‘ve got go. I‘m joking, Steve.
ADUBATO: Joe, here‘s the thing. Whether it‘s the KKK—and I‘m not comparing them to Rosie. I‘m saying both pretty obnoxious, but how about this?
SCARBOROUGH: It sure sounds like you are, Steve.
ADUBATO: Joe, at some point, we have to say, who is over the line?
Is it Rosie? Is it the KKK? I‘m not sure where the line is.
KOHN: Well, somebody has got decide. And it‘s ABC Disney.
SCARBOROUGH: Guys, take it out in the street. I can tell you at every network, there‘s one person that worries about standards, there‘s one person that worries about what that network stands for. And ABC News, my gosh, what an esteemed outfit. They have then, they still are, they will continue to be. They certainly can tell you what passes for proper and what passes for improper, and certainly Rosie O‘Donnell is improper. And if she weren‘t bringing in big ratings, she would have been fired immediately.
Hey, Bob Kohn, Steve Adubato, that was fun. Thanks a lot.
And coming up next, Heather Mills, not fun, turns on the tears when she‘s interviewed about her divorce with Sir Paul McCartney. And are those tears just a ploy to help her poor reputation? That bizarre breakdown, coming up next.
And later, a Keith Richards strangest hit with his dad. His low point while getting high, coming up in “Hollyweird.”
SCARBOROUGH: You know, Heather Mills keeps saying she ain‘t a gold-digger. The soon-to-be ex-wife of Sir Paul McCartney and current star of “Dancing with the Stars” broke down this morning, sobbing on Ryan Seacrest‘s radio show, saying the world just doesn‘t understand.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER MILLS, “DANCING WITH THE STARS”: I could have gone down that path of lowering myself to everyone else‘s level and prove my innocence and that all I did was fall in love with somebody madly and give up my life for seven years, you know? And, you know, then just to be vilified for it? I was like—I am actually quite shocked, because, I‘ve spent 14 years doing charity work, and I thought, OK, you know, if I was a gold-digger, I‘d be a very wealthy woman now. And I‘m not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, gave seven years to be a billionaire. Hurts me right here to think how much this poor lady has sacrificed. All she wants is about $500 million.
So is Heather Mills dancing her way into America‘s heart or is she just using her disability and this divorce to gain public sympathy? Here now to talk about it, senior reporter for “OK” magazine Courtney Hazlett and Nicholas Wapshott, national and foreign editor for “The New York Sun.”
Nicholas, you know, I was just touched by this young lady in the terrible, terrible predicament she now finds herself in. Do you think that Brits and Beatle fans will take her in as one of their own now?
NICHOLAS WAPSHOTT, “NEW YORK SUN”: Certainly not. I think that Yoko Ono must be very relieved, because she‘s been overtaken by a new Beatle witch. Yes, Heather Mills, I‘m afraid, has done what no one else could do, which is to make every dislike her simultaneously.
WAPSHOTT: She left Britain quite rightly, because nobody likes her there. She‘s come over here, and she‘s taking part in a freak show.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me play what Heather also said. She took the opportunity to say that attacking her is the same thing as attacking Paul. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MILLS: ... Paul knows me and knows that‘s not—it‘s like the biggest insult was to Paul, because, basically, it‘s like saying he‘s so stupid that he would just be with somebody like that. You know, I was a very—people forgot, I was $30,000 to $50,000 an hour public speaker before I met Paul. And I gave everything up to help him go back on stage and do all these things, and committed myself as a wife and a mother. And to see all that vilification was pretty horrific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: You made $30,000 a speech? I mean, Paul McCartney, when he blows his nose, makes a million dollars. Courtney, nobody is buying this, are they?
COURTNEY HAZLETT, “OK” MAGAZINE: Actually, I beg to differ. In a sense...
SCARBOROUGH: Oh, come on. You are a suck-up and you have turned into a suck-up to Heather Mills! I predict you‘re going to have an exclusive interview with her.
HAZLETT: That would be fantastic. And I welcome it, for the record, Heather Mills, come talk to me.
SCARBOROUGH: Heather, she‘s sucking up to you. Give her a call.
HAZLETT: We are mixing issues, Joe. We‘re mixing issues. You had a very ugly divorce. Listen, this wasn‘t a flash-in-the-pan marriage. They were together for seven years. Gold-diggers usually don‘t last that long, last time I checked.
Second of all, you‘re talking about a guy who‘s worth upwards of $10 billion who did not get a pre-nup. Finally, this is dancing competition in the United States. This is not a “I‘m a nicer person than I‘m made out to be in the press” competition. She‘s doing fantastic on “Dancing with the Stars.” And she is definitely owed compliments for that.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, OK, I will compliment her for that. But, Nicholas, I will not compliment her for the $30,000 she made giving speeches and sacrificing seven years living with one of the richest men in Great Britain. It just is not going to wash in the United Kingdom, is it?
WAPSHOTT: Absolutely not. And, by the way, it‘s very difficult to get a pre-nup. You can sign a pre-nup in Britain, but a judge, when it comes to a divorce, won‘t stand by it.
Maybe Paul McCartney should have gotten married in New York. (INAUDIBLE) in the Hamptons. Maybe should done an American marriage in the first place, and that would have been safer for him.
But, I mean, no, “Hey Jude” lasted longer than this marriage, seven years from beginning to end. But when did it stop? I mean, pretty early on. She was abusing him in public. People used to come round saying, you know, we‘ve just been out with Paul and Heather, and Heather is just abusing him, and Paul would sit there just keeping quiet.
I think it‘s difficult, because Paul is not necessarily the most likable person. And he‘s notoriously mean. But he did think that he was in love, whereas, with Heather Mills, what can you guess? She fell in love with a billionaire? As you point out, I mean, what does that mean, apart from digging gold, if it‘s going finish so quickly?
HAZLETT: I just hope we see Yoko Ono on next season‘s “Dancing with the Stars.” Then this whole thing will be settled.
SCARBOROUGH: And then, Courtney, you‘ll defend Yoko and try to get an interview with her.
HAZLETT: ... the bottom line is we‘re mixing issues.
SCARBOROUGH: ... thank you. We‘re mixing apples and oranges, and Courtney will be back juggling them both with “Hollyweird,” coming up next. What was that about? I should never do that on TV. I just look goofy.
SCARBOROUGH: Tell your entourage to quit mooching on your name. It‘s
time for “Hollyweird,”
First up, Paris Hilton (INAUDIBLE) magazine is reporting she‘s the new face of Bordeaux wines. But only one problem: She just pleaded no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving. What a spokeswoman.
Here now, the host of “Live from Hollywood Radio” and a contributor to VH1‘s “Best Week Ever,” Cecily Knobler. And still with us, “OK” magazine‘s Courtney Hazlett.
Cecily, I guess these Bordeaux people have no problems with having a lush being a spokesperson for their wine, huh?
CECILY KNOBLER, VH-1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”: I know. Making her the brand, branding her the face of alcohol is like putting Mel Gibson as the face of like a Jewish federation thing. It‘s not a good match.
SCARBOROUGH: It‘s not a good move. Courtney, why did they do it?
HAZLETT: They said they wanted an a-list celebrity as their (INAUDIBLE) which begs the question, when did she become a-list? Clearly, our country and the rest of the world has a different definition of celebrity. But, seriously, where is her publicist, Eliot Mintz, in all of this? The poor guy has been stuck driving her around bar to bar. You think he would at least put his foot down on this issue.
SCARBOROUGH: No doubt about it, but he hasn‘t.
And, hey, you know, speaking of very inebriated, Keith Richards says he snorted his father‘s ashes with cocaine. Cecily, you hang out on the left coast. You understand this type of degenerate behavior when you report on it. What‘s this all about?
KNOBLER: Well, I mean, look, I think Keith just kind of tells it like it is. If he did something, he‘s going to tell you. But I don‘t think it‘s that bad. I mean, to be fair, Lindsay Lohan tried to snort her dad, and he was still alive. And that‘s way worse.
SCARBOROUGH: That is a lot worse isn‘t it, Courtney? That‘s a mitigating factor.
HAZLETT: I think this is a really good case against cremation, if you ask me.
SCARBOROUGH: Or at least keeping the ashes away from your rock star son.
And you knew it was only a matter of time. Actually I‘m in support cremation in this case right now. “Broadcast and Cable” is reporting that Judge Larry, the star of the Anna Nicole case, is already meeting with TV executives in Hollywood. It looks like this bozo may get his own show.
Courtney, what can you tell us?
HAZLETT: Hey, the Anna Nicole trial, we laughed, we cried, it was better than “Cats,” as they‘re saying. Larry Seidlin definitely was the ringleader of this circus, and it‘s no surprise that several networks have called him. He had a reel floating around before the trial, and so it looks like he‘s actually going to get his own show.
SCARBOROUGH: Cecily, I mean, that‘s about all the info you need for a couple of weeks of the “Best Week Ever.” I mean, this guy‘s going to become sort of the pet rock of 2007, isn‘t he?
KNOBLER: Yes, it‘s just not a great surprise. I heard the last people he met with were the FOX executives. I mean, hold the phone, FOX is going to make an inappropriate, tacky show? I don‘t know. Not a big surprise here.
SCARBOROUGH: Not a surprise.
What about Britain‘s “More” magazine reporting that Jessica Simpson upset a few hotel patrons in Rome with a loud night? I thought that this was a pretty conservative girl. Is she letting her hair down and sowing her wild oats, Courtney?
HAZLETT: I don‘t know, maybe she was just singing, considering her reviews her last album got. Anything‘s possible. But you know what? I think the bottom line is, she found someone she really likes, and let‘s just leave it at that.
SCARBOROUGH: And, Cecily, we should all be happy about that, shouldn‘t we?
KNOBLER: Oh, please. I mean, come on, everyone knows that pop stars don‘t scream in bed. They lip sync in bed, right? Pop stars.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, that‘s what I‘ve been told. I mean, no evidence of it first hand. That‘s what I‘ve been told.
Cecily, thank you so much. Courtney Hazlett, thank you for being with us. That‘s all the time we have for tonight. We‘ll see you back here tomorrow night in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
But don‘t go anywhere. Up next, an heir to one of New York‘s greatest real estate for fortunes suspected of murder. “BLOOD SECRETS” is next.
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