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'Scarborough Country' for May 30

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Arianna Huffington, Nico Pitney, John Ridley, Danny Bonaduce, Douglas Brinkley

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight: Rosie O‘Donnell is out of a job, and Bill O‘Reilly wants to keep it that way, O‘Reilly declaring war of the Rosie, threatening to crush any network that hires her.  That story coming up.

But first: You know, it‘s been two years to the day since Dick Cheney said this.


RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think they‘re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.


SCARBOROUGH:  Well, the United States the military just closed out its two most deadly months in a row in the bloody streets of Baghdad.  So much for the final throes of that insurgency.  And today the final surge troops who were ordered by President Bush rolled into Baghdad.  And you know what?  Tonight, our troops need all the help that they can get as they find themselves engaged in a frantic search across that war-torn land for five Britons who were kidnapped in a mock police raid that U.S. officials are saying was carried out by al Sadr‘s Mahdi Army.  And now reports from the Pentagon that that American helicopter that crashed on Monday was taken down by enemy fire.

Now, earlier, the White House retreated from claims that U.S. troops would be stationed in Iraq for years, like they were, say, in South Korea.


TONY SHOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  You don‘t have a crystal ball.  What you do hope is that you get to that point where the United States moves away from primary combat roles as swiftly as possible.


SCARBOROUGH:  Now, think about this.  Since the vice president‘s “last throes” claim of two years ago, nearly 2,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed in he Iraq, over 12,000 wounded.  Now, one senator blamed the deaths on Democratic wimps in Congress today, but most of Congress, many generals and an overwhelming number of Americans are blaming the Bush administration for the Iraq meltdown.  And still, the president and the vice president are steadfast in their determination to stay the course.  The question is whether there‘s a course still out there to stay and whether the president himself and his effectiveness in Washington, D.C., in Congress and across the world may be in that last throes.

Here now to talk about it, Arianna Huffington—she‘s the founder of the—two-time presidential contender and former White House communications director Pat Buchanan, and Nico Pitney from the Center for American Progress.

Now, Arianna, of course, two years ago, we were told the insurgency was in its last throes.  The insurgents—and I call them terrorists—are actually more powerful today than Dick Cheney could have ever imagined.  Now we have the surge in place.  Do you think there‘s any chance that that surge can make the difference?

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Unfortunately and Sadly, Joe, I don‘t think so.  And what is stunning is that the vice president never apologized for his remark, never explained it.  Indeed, here we are two years later, hearing more delusional things from the vice president, and nobody is holding him accountable.  That‘s one of the problems.  Remember, two years ago, it‘s not just that he made that remark, but actually there were many people, national security advisers, experts, who endorsed that remark, who said the vice president was right.  So what credence can we put to any amount of progress reports that are coming out of Iraq right now?

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  And Pat, you look what‘s happening in Iraq, the Mahdi Army now seems to be reengaged, they‘re kidnapping British troops -- I mean, how do we win this war when the Shia are killing the Sunnis, the Sunnis are blowing up the Shiites and they‘re all killing each other, as well as American troops that get in the way?  Why don‘t we—and Pat, this is what—you know, people come up to me in coffee shops, whether I‘m in Pensacola or Manhattan, and they ask me, Why don‘t we just get out of there and let them kill each other until they‘re ready to start acting like rational human beings who want to build a country?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, the Mahdi Army has moved against the Brits, I would suspect, because the Brits oversaw an operation where the Iraqi police or army took down one of the commanders of the Mahdi Army.  You‘ve got—al Sadr is back in the country, apparently.  But you got a very good question here, Joe.  If, for example, the Shia really rose up to throw out the Brits and the Americans, the game is over because they‘re the majority there and that would be the end of it.

You know, I don‘t—really, there‘s no doubt about it, the vice president was clearly wrong.  Nobody four years ago or two years ago believed we‘d be losing people at a hundred a month, with several hundred wounded at this point, in the fifth year of the war.  As we‘ve talked about...


NICO PITNEY, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS:  ... many people did, Pat.  I don‘t think you‘re right there.  Many people predicted it would only get worse.  We saw the signs then, when Dick Cheney was talking about it.

BUCHANAN:  Well, I—what I‘m talking about is the people in the administration, not—I mean, a lot of us predicted this was going to be a disaster overall.  But let me say this.  I think we are going to get to the September date, Joe, the Petraeus report, at which Republicans are going to take a hard look at it.  Democrats have already said we need timetables.  And that point, there‘s going to be a decision made by the country, I think, and by the Congress as to whether we‘re going to continue it.  And Petraeus is going to have a lot to do with that.  I don‘t think he can tell us, Look, we‘re going to stay on for another year.  I just don‘t think that will buy it.  But I do think the decision‘s coming then.

PITNEY:  I don‘t think there‘s any evidence there.  You know that Odierno, who is Petraeus‘s main general in Iraq—he want to stay there for at least two more years.  The White House said today it imagines 50 years down the road.  This from an administration that said the war would take—would doubtfully take six months.

BUCHANAN:  Well, they‘re...

PITNEY:  These people see leaving as losing, and that‘s the problem.

BUCHANAN:  But look—look, there‘s no doubt about it, we‘re not going to stay there—if they say two more years we‘re going to have to fight like this, the country will demand they leave.  Conservatives will.  Republicans will.

PITNEY:  They‘re already demanding that we leave!

BUCHANAN:  Well, look—but then you will get the Republican break, and frankly, it‘ll be the issue in the 2000 (SIC) election.  Bush can‘t keep the same number of troops in there November of 2008 or the Republicans are wiped out.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and the thing is, Pat...

HUFFINGTON:  You know...


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on one second, Arianna.  Then I‘ll let you respond to it.  I just—I‘ve got to say, the one thing that‘s going to change in this whole dynamic is the fact that Republicans know, in the House and the Senate, they‘re going to be obliterated in the 2008 elections if they don‘t stand up to this president.  If the White House does not convince Republicans in the House and the Senate by this fall that he‘s going to cut troops dramatically over the next six to nine months, they will rise up and they will fight him.

And Arianna, I want you...


SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  I want to read this quote—hold on—because it is a quote that I know Arianna‘s going to want to respond to.  Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina is actually not blaming the Bush administration but Democratic wimps in Iraq—or Democratic wimps for the deaths in Iraq, saying this, “Al Qaeda knows that we‘ve got a lot of wimps in Congress.  I believe a lot of the casualties can be laid at the feet of all the talk in Congress about how we‘ve got to get out, how we‘ve got to cut and run.”  And asked later who he...

HUFFINGTON:  You know...

SCARBOROUGH:  ... had targeted in his comments, DeMint replied, “To a large degree, the Democratic Party and those who basically declared defeat, like Harry Reid.”


HUFFINGTON:  You know what, Joe?  This is another delusional statement.  It‘s as though we really believe that al Qaeda sits down in Iraq, watches C-Span and sees Harry Reid making a statement and they decide to attack more American soldiers.  The problem with such delusional statements is that when they are made with conviction, and when they are not attacked with the ferocity that they should be attacked with, they become part of this confused reality in which we are operating.

And unfortunately, I don‘t agree with Pat that anything dramatic is going to change in September or that enough Republicans are going to demand a change because the worst case scenario is that Petraeus comes back and says there‘s been some kind of progress because has any general ever come back and said there‘s been no progress?

BUCHANAN:  Well...

HUFFINGTON:  And so Republicans say, Let‘s give them a little more time...

BUCHANAN:  But let me—let me...

HUFFINGTON:  ... another chance, because that has been...

BUCHANAN:  All right, DeMint...

HUFFINGTON:  ... the pattern.

BUCHANAN:  All right, DeMint‘s got this point, though, Joe.  There‘s no doubt about it, the enemy in Iraq knows that the base in the United States—what you and I have been talking about all night—the base in the United States is disintegrating.  And if they can kill a lot of Americans in August, it will disintegrate further.

PITNEY:  Yes, and we4 should...

BUCHANAN:  They know the war can be lost...

PITNEY:  We should take our foreign policy advice from al Qaeda...

BUCHANAN:  No, I‘m—nobody...

PITNEY:  ... and the terrorists on the ground.  That‘s what we should be doing.

BUCHANAN:  Look, no one has suggested...

PITNEY:  How about...


PITNEY:  ... if we‘re able to pull our military and the breaking of our military and get it out of Iraq...

BUCHANAN:  Well, look...

PITNEY:  ... where we‘re not doing good...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on a second.

BUCHANAN:  Well, let me—let me—Joe, let me...


BUCHANAN:  Let‘s talk political.  Look—look, there‘s no doubt that they‘re basing their potential for victory, and it‘s a good bet, on the collapse of the home front in the United States.  Republicans will start peeling off.  I think in September, Joe, basically, moderate Republicans, Northeasterners (INAUDIBLE) But let me tell you what will happen when they do peel off.  The hawks will stay with Bush, the doves will peel off and the doves will be wiped out in the November election.  The ones that‘ll survive—DeMint‘s guys—will survive in the hard-core red states, and the rest of the party will be wiped out if they‘re are divided on the war going into next year.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, and I think it is a lose-lose situation for the Republican Party right now because you‘re exactly right.  If they stand shoulder to shoulder with the president, you‘ve got a lot of moderates who are going to be wiped out.  And if they bolt from the president, that‘s bad news also.

Nico, though, I want to talk about this DeMint statement.  I remember after Vietnam one time seeing a documentary on PBS where one of the top North Vietnamese generals said, We knew we couldn‘t win the war in the jungles of Vietnam, but we knew if we kept fighting long enough, we‘d win the war in the streets of America and on the college campuses of America.  That wasn‘t Rush Limbaugh that said that.  That wasn‘t Patrick J. Buchanan who said that, or Joe Scarborough.  That was a communist general who knew it.  I mean, al Qaeda certainly has to understand if they blow up enough Americans in July and August, that they‘re going to—they‘re going to lose support—I mean, Republicans and George Bush are going to lose support in September back in America.

PITNEY:  Look, this is not a victory for al Qaeda.  What was a victory for al Qaeda was giving them a base in Iraq to train their soldiers...


SCARBOROUGH:  What do you mean, this isn‘t a victory for al Qaeda?  Al Qaeda is now blowing up Sunnis...

PITNEY:  Absolutely.  I mean...


SCARBOROUGH:  Al Qaeda wants America out of Iraq because they want to take over Iraq.

PITNEY:  Well, first of all...

HUFFINGTON:  But you know, but Joe, this is not...

PITNEY:  ... there are conflicting statements.  Various al Qaeda people have said that they wanted us to be there, so it‘s easy for them to kill Americans.  But the crucial question is not what‘s best for al Qaeda, which they—you know, why—we shouldn‘t be listening to them, we should be listening to our own national security experts, who say that our military is breaking, we‘re empowering Iran, we have hundreds of troops now...

SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, Nico, hold on a second.

PITNEY:  ... between now and September who are going to die while...


PITNEY:  ... while we wait.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... I agree with you.  I agree with you that we can‘t keep our troops in Iraq indefinitely.  Can you not agree with me that when our American troops leave, that‘s going to be a big victory for al Qaeda because al Qaeda‘s not only killing Americans, al Qaeda is killing Sunni tribesmen in al Anbar province because they want to take that country over.

PITNEY:  Absolutely not...

HUFFINGTON:  But you know what, Joe?  This is—this is really not the way to determine what our national security policy should be, based on what happens to al Qaeda.  As you know perfectly well, the war on terrorism is going to continue beyond whatever happens in Iraq.


HUFFINGTON:  So the key here is what is the best for our national security?  Clearly, nobody in their sane mind can believe that being there in the middle of a civil war has anything to do with the national security, with protecting this country.

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna...


HUFFINGTON:  ... determining factor.

SCARBOROUGH:  You are repeating my point, Arianna, that I‘ve been saying for quite some time.  And Pat Buchanan, you heard me say—you‘ve been hearing me say it also, that we can‘t put all of our troops in Iraq.  We are engaged in a long-term war on terror that may involve Iran...

BUCHANAN:  We agree.

SCARBOROUGH:  ... Pakistan.  We all agree with each other, don‘t we?

BUCHANAN:  Well, we agree with each other to this extent, that the Iraq war was a terrible mistake.  It was the wrong investment.  It has strengthened al Qaeda, undoubtedly.  I do believe this.  I don‘t think al Qaeda‘s going to take over Iraq.  My guess is the Shia will dominate it.  Al Qaeda might be in Anbar.  My guess is they‘re going to move out of there and move into Saudi Arabia and Jordan and try to take them down.

Where we disagree is this.  If we pull out American troops now, it‘s going to collapse.  Will it be better or will it be worse?  That‘s the only question.  And my fear is it might be worse, and that‘s the only reason why I‘ve supported the president and gone along with the surge and want to listen to General Petraeus.

SCARBOROUGH:  Arianna, by the way...

HUFFINGTON:  But at what point...

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, for how long?  I mean, that‘s the question. 


HUFFINGTON:  Yes, exactly.  That‘s the question...

PITNEY:  For 50 years!

HUFFINGTON:  ... for how long.


PITNEY:  Set up your tent!

BUCHANAN:  Look, we...


SCARBOROUGH:  I‘m going to let you all fight each other off the set.

BUCHANAN:  Joe, when you get to Appomattox, then you—then you (INAUDIBLE) we‘re not there yet.


SCARBOROUGH:  OK, thanks so much.  Pat, thank you.  Nico, thank you.  And Arianna, congratulations on the expansion of your Web site.  It‘s looking great.  Go to  They‘re doing a lot of new things.  Very interesting.

Hey, and a reminder.  I‘m pulling double duty this week, and you can catch me starting at 6:00 AM on MSNBC for “MORNING JOE.”  I‘m going to be joined by co-hosts John Ridley and Willie Geist.  Tomorrow, though, we‘re going to have Kinky Friedman, Senator Bob Kerrey, “Time‘s” Joe Klein.  And I think we‘re going to have Pat Buchanan on also.  Talk about an all-star line-up.  Going to be doing it from WFAN.

But still ahead here, how was a man with tuberculosis allowed to travel by jet back and forth between America, Europe and Canada?  Tonight, how a health scare has many questioning how effective the government is at keeping you safe on the airlines.

Then, author and presidential historian Doug Brinkley talks about his new book, “The Reagan Diaries.”  It‘s the top book in the land, out-selling even Al Gore‘s, a never-before-seen inside the Reagan White House look from the pen of the “great communicator” himself.

And later: She‘s off “The View,” but her battle with Bill O‘Reilly continues as O‘Reilly threatens any network that hires Rosie O‘Donnell.  Will it be a factor in Rosie‘s future?


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, tonight, investigators are looking all over the world for people who traveled on two transatlantic flights.  They traveled with an American infected with a highly dangerous and contagious form of tuberculosis.  While public officials are now defending their handling of the case, could this incident cause an epidemic in the post-9/11 world?  Well, NBC‘s chief science correspondent, Robert Bazell, checked into it and has the story.


ROBERT BAZELL, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  The unidentified 32-year-old man remains locked in this Atlanta hospital this evening.  Today it was revealed he took seven flights between May 12 and May 24.  CDC officials are looking to test the approximately 90 people, the crew members and those who sat in the rows close to him on the two transatlantic flights.  Officials say the chances are the TB did not spread.

DR. KENNETH CASTRO, CDC:  We can offer a certain level of reassurance, but the reassurance will really come with the investigation.

BAZELL:  The man‘s saga began last January when a routine chest X-ray during a physical revealed a spot.  Subsequent tests showed it was tuberculosis, even though he has never had symptoms.  As soon as he was diagnosed, health officials in Fulton County, Georgia, got involved.  Skin tests showed good news.  He had not infected his fiancee, whom he was planning to marry in Europe.

DR. MARTIN CETRON, CDC:  We advised him not to travel.  I mean, I didn‘t get into his personal plans.

BAZELL:  So he took off anyway.  By the time he got to Rome on May 21, tests showed just how dangerous the TB strain is, and federal officials wanted him in isolation right away.

DR. ERIC BENNING, FULTON COUNTY HEALTH DEPT. MEDICAL DIR.:  We were exploring all sorts of options to remove the public health concerns that he represented.

BAZELL:  But in an interview with “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,” the man said he had no intention of going into an Italian hospital.  “I cooperated with everything, other than the whole solitary confinement in Italy thing,” he said.  So he flew to Prague and on to Montreal before driving to the United States, where he voluntarily checked into a New York City hospital.  The man will soon be treated at National Jewish Hospital in Denver.  Doctors there say the risk he infected anyone is low, but because the disease is so hard to treat, you can‘t take chances.

DR. MICHAEL ISEMAN, NATIONAL JEWISH MEDICAL CENTER:  In a way, it‘s an inverted lottery.  You probably won‘t lose, but if you lose, you could lose big.

BAZELL (on camera):  Extremely drug-resistant TB is rare in the United States.  No one knows where this man got it, but he had been on a business trip to Asia.   Back to you.


SCARBOROUGH:  Thanks so much, Robert.

And still with us, Pat Buchanan.  Pat, how much of an outrage is it that our customs and border patrol agents were on alert for this man, but he was still able to cross our borders undetected, wasn‘t stopped, and then he flew all over Europe, came back to Canada, came back in the United States?  You talk about porous borders!

BUCHANAN:  Well, this is a serious problem because he‘s got what‘s called multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis, Joe.  Something like 60 percent of them die.  It costs $200,000 to $1.2 million to treat folk with this.  But let me tell you, it underscores a larger problem.  TB is back in the United States primarily because of mass illegal immigration, folks who have got poor hygiene, poor health services in their country, walk across the border.  Many of them don‘t know they got it.  Out in Prince William County in Virginia, in my book, it‘s got a 188 percent increase in TB.  Immigrant kids are 100 times as likely as an American kid to be carrying tuberculosis.

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Pat, let me stop you right there, and let me ask you this question...


SCARBOROUGH:  ... because Lou Dobbs has gotten in trouble talking about leprosy and all these other issues.

BUCHANAN:  He‘s right about leprosy!  I can give you the numbers!

SCARBOROUGH:  If these—if these are the facts, though, how do we verify it, and how do we get out government to act on these type of issues without people calling you and Lou Dobbs and other Cassandras that are sounding the warning bigots, people who just hate Mexicans?

BUCHANAN:  All right—all right, let me tell you the source of one of my things.  Seven hundred thousand East Asians are believed to be in New York.  “The “New York Times”—and it‘s in my book—said 100,000 of them carry hepatitis, hepatitis B.  This is right there in “The New York Times.”  There are reports by all kinds of doctors and others on the increases not only in Hansen‘s disease, which is leprosy, where they found 7,000 cases in the first three years of this century, only 900 in the last 30 years before it.

These are documented, Joe.  They‘re all in there, all manner—chigesis (ph) disease kills 50,000 in Latin America each year.  Something like 19 million have it.  It is now appearing in the United States.  There are bed bugs back in 26 states.  All these figures were documented in my book.  Not a single one of them has been challenged by anyone!

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Pat Buchanan.  We‘re going to have a lot more talk about this not only because of the issue with Lou Dobbs and leprosy and that fight, but also this TB case.  TB is coming back in the United States, and it could have deadly, deadly results for all of us.  Thanks so much, Pat Buchanan.

Still ahead here: What is next for Rosie O‘Donnell?  Did Bill O‘Reilly have anything to do with it?  Not much.  Why he‘s going after Rosie now, and why she‘s going after the Donald.  Who needs “The View” when you‘ve got all of these catfights?  Meow!

But first, “Must See S.C.” “Decision 2008,” the movie.  You know the candidates, but who‘s going to play them on the big screen?


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, wake up Uncle Elmer, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Must See S.C.,” some video you just got to see.  Now, first up: If Fred Thompson decides to run for president, he‘d be the only qualified president to play himself in “Decision 2008,” the movie.  Conan O‘Brien shows us the rest of the field.


CONAN O‘BRIEN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O‘BRIEN:  Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Joe Biden will be played by Bob Barker.  This is very exciting.  Yes.  Former mayor Rudy Giuliani will be played by Skeletor.  And 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry will be played by one of the talking trees from “The Wizard of Oz.”


SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, that‘s awful!

And if you write speeches for a living, a warning.  The following my cause anxiety.  But for everybody else, here is another “Great Moment in Presidential Speeches.”


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!



SCARBOROUGH:  And coming up next, a guy who‘s never at a loss for words.  What Ronald Reagan‘s diary tells about a time in the Oval Office, squaring off against the Soviet Union and his deep concerns about Armageddon.  Historian Douglas Brinkley is here to talk about “The Reagan Diaries,” the top book in the land.

And later: Rosie‘s off “The View,” but that‘s not enough for Bill O‘Reilly.  He‘s now threatening other networks who are even thinking of hiring her.  What it means for the conspiracy-prone comedian looking for work.  And we‘re going to be talking to Danny Bonaduce about the whole ugly mess.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, straight ahead, we‘re going to be taking a fascinating look at Ronald Reagan‘s detailed account of his time in office, including his thoughts on Saddam Hussein and his family, also.  Doug Brinkley joins us with great insights from the great communicator.  That story and a lot more in just minutes.

But first, watch out, Rosie, Bill O‘Reilly wants you fired.  Yes, not from “The View,” but from the next gig you get, if you ever get it.  This is what Bill-O said last night. 


BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST:  O‘Donnell largely escaped responsibility for her daily anti-American diatribes.  Come on, this kind of nonsense can‘t be sanctions by Fortune 500 companies without a challenge.  And so “The Factor” will continue to challenge this garbage.  Any corporation that puts Ms. O‘Donnell back on the air to continue her Tokyo Rose impersonation will find itself under intense scrutiny.  Again, calling the U.S. military mass murderers and denying that jihadists caused 9/11 is unacceptable.  Fair warning. 


SCARBOROUGH:  You know, there‘s no love lost from Rosie, who talked about O‘Reilly on her blog recently, and this is what she wrote.  “He is missing compassion and humility.”  That coming from Rosie O‘Donnell?

So even without a job, without a daily forum to unleash conspiracy theories and other ramblings, Rosie continues to be a lightening rod.  What does O‘Reilly‘s threat mean to her future?  And how is Rosie she hurting the credibility of her former boss, Barbara Walters? 

Here now is John Ridley.  He‘s a screenwriter and a commentator.  Also, Danny Bonaduce, he‘s formerly of “The Partridge Family.”  And, of course, he can be heard every morning on “The Adam Carolla Show” on 97.1 Free FM on the West Coast.

Let‘s start with you, John Ridley.  I mean, this situation has gone from bad to worse.  Now, Rosie O‘Donnell showed the door at “The View,” basically, and now O‘Reilly is threatening to go after any corporation that hires her in the future.  What‘s going on here?

JOHN RIDLEY, MSNBC COMMENTATOR:  Well, you know, look, I think this is more corporate news war than it‘s an actual—I don‘t understand Bill O‘Reilly going after Rosie O‘Donnell.  This guy makes his bread on being outrageous in his own fashion.  And when he holds up his finger and says, “Fair warning, I‘m going to give you scrutiny,” I don‘t know where he really thinks his universe is.  I mean, this guy‘s show—it‘s popular on cable, but it draws less viewers than the lowest-rated sitcom on The CW network.  So I think he sort of misunderstands where he is in his own universe, but if it makes him happy to feel like he‘s got this kind of power, so be it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  But the bigger question, though, here, John, is the fact that Don Imus was fired for making some comments because they were seen as outrageous.  Rosie O‘Donnell‘s comments, my gosh, they seem to me to be so much more outrageous, where she‘s saying all American troops are terrorists, saying the United States government‘s blowing up buildings before the planes even crashed into the World Trade Center.  I mean, how can a media corporation that won‘t hire a Don Imus hire somebody like Rosie O‘Donnell who‘s made these outrageous comments? 

RIDLEY:  What, are you saying there‘s a double standard in America, Joe?  Is that what you‘re saying?  I think the reason is, is because Rosie keeps rewarding these guys with high ratings, and I think it‘s a matter of perspective.  I mean, look, we talked about this on the show, Joe, and I don‘t appreciate a lot of the things that Rosie says, particularly 9/11 stuff, but I think the issue is her enablers.

You look at the folks that are the audience.  We talked about this, this morning on the morning Joe show.  There are people ooh-ing and ah-ing when she says these kinds of things.  There are people who want to hear this, and there are people who look at Rosie as being the ultimate victim and speaking for the victims.  I don‘t mean that in a good way, the real people who are disenfranchised, but for the people who look in the mirror and see themselves as victims.  So as long as you have enablers, as long as you have people in the audience who ooh and ah at misinformation about 9/11, there‘s going to be a marketplace for somebody like Rosie O‘Donnell. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And, you know, it‘s not just Bill O‘Reilly going after Rosie.  Last night, Donald Trump slammed her.  Take a look. 


DONALD TRUMP, PROPERTY MOGUL:  It‘s the first time in the history of television that somebody quit over being on a split screen.  This is sort of a first.  And, look, she just used that as an excuse.  She couldn‘t take the heat.  It was over for her.  Rosie is self-destructive, and ultimately Rosie is a loser.  Rosie is not a bright person.  She is a very, very, tough, disturbed person. 


SCARBOROUGH:  Rosie responded on her blog, calling out Larry King in the process, writing, “Stick a fork in him, Larry King‘s done, and the dump truck hell, a dumb rich boy who wishes to be king.” 

Danny, it just keeps getting uglier and uglier out there for Rosie O‘Donnell.  Who in the world would want to hire this woman, after she decides she wants to get back into TV?

DANNY BONADUCE, RADIO HOST:  First of all, the words uglier and Rosie O‘Donnell should never go together.  She should be done, and she shouldn‘t digress any further.  My problem really is that I am against Rosie completely.  I mean, not physically against, that would appall me. 

But the idea of somebody going after her job—I think everything she says is un-American.  On the other hand, the fact that she gets to say it is American.  She‘s wrong.  American soldiers are not terrorists.  They are there for our own good.  There are people who want to hear that.  They deserve to hear it.

Bill O‘Reilly doesn‘t know where he is on the food chain.  Your guest is absolutely correct.  But I don‘t understand where Rosie thinks she is going to work.  In “The View,” she‘s an interesting coupling of other people with other ideas.  By herself, she‘s a disaster.  When Melissa Etheridge came out of the closet as being gay, she was a great rock ‘n‘ roll singer and a lesbian, and it didn‘t hurt her career.  When Rosie came out, she was very funny and a lesbian, and it killed her.  Why?  Became she stopped being funny.  When did Rosie stop being funny and why?

SCARBOROUGH:  Danny, again, you talk about these things that she‘s saying, where she talks about U.S. troops or, you know, who‘s the real terrorist?  They‘ve killed 650,000 people.  That‘s a lie.  She talks about 9/11, saying that the United States government is blowing up buildings at the World Trade Center before the planes crash in.  I mean, why is it that somebody like Don Imus gets fired for making a stupid remark, off-the-cuff remark, and yet Rosie O‘Donnell calls—whether these troops are African-Americans, or Hispanics, or Caucasians, or whatever they are, Rosie O‘Donnell has called them all terrorists.  And yet Barbara Walters continues embracing her. 

BONADUCE:  Well, Barbara Walters has lost all credibility with me.  I‘ve done “The View,” and Barbara has lost me completely.  What happens is, if you go on and you say the Rutgers team is nappy-headed, or whatever it is, and you get yourself fired, it‘s because you said something hurtful and racist.  If you go on and you degrade the fine men and women fighting for the freedom and the hearts and minds of the Middle East, a country where produce is still carted around by ox carts, and where we are trying to win the hearts and minds of the people, and Rosie is undermining that in a terrible fashion, that is still an American thing to say and protected by the First Amendment.  And a racist remark, although in this case I see almost no real damage, is not protected by the First Amendment, there‘s a double standard.  Rosie should be fired, just for being non-entertaining, and Imus should be maybe sanctioned, slapped on the wrist, at best, and said, “You‘re kind of inconsequential, and that was a rude comment.”

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, John, let‘s talk about Rosie moving forward.  Do you think that CBS or NBC or some of these other networks are going to dare hire Rosie O‘Donnell after she‘s made all these inflammatory comments about the troops, about Christians, about 9/11? 

RIDLEY:  I absolutely do.  I think that, as long as there is the possibility that she‘s going to bring an audience in—I don‘t think that NBC will, because I think that they‘ve got a marketing plan.  It‘s not that they‘re above this, and I don‘t mean to denigrate NBC, but I think they‘ve got—they know what they want to do with “The Today Show” and how they want to expand it. 

CBS is a perennial also-ran, almost a never-ran in the morning.  If they could bring in any kind of an audience in the morning with Rosie, I think they absolutely would try it.  It might be difficult, because their audience skews older and they tend to be a little bit more conservative, but the reality is, is that we‘re living in an age where it‘s about the numbers.  So whether it‘s O‘Reilly or O‘Donnell, I mean, these people are going to work at the extremes.  And if they can bring some eyeballs in, then somebody‘s going to give it a shot.  Right or wrong, they‘re going to do it.

SCARBOROUGH:  Eyeballs mean money.  Thanks so much, John Ridley. 

BONADUCE:  Does somebody say no at some point?  Does somebody say no, to say, “Doctor Mengele in the morning, listen in”?  Does somebody say, “We‘ve had enough”? 

RIDLEY:  Listen, they‘re doing a TV show in Europe, a reality show, a woman‘s trying to get a kidney.  They‘re giving away kidneys in other countries.  It‘s coming. 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s coming. 


BONADUCE:  I would do mine, but both of mine are shot.

SCARBOROUGH:  Thank you all so much for being with us.  Greatly appreciate it. 

Coming up next here, the never-before-known details of the Reagan White House, as written by the great communicator himself.  Author and presidential historian Doug Brinkley is here to talk about “The Reagan Diaries.” 

And later in “Hollyweird,” what‘s the only thing that could scare Ozzy Osbourne?  Sanjaya.  How this hair style got the prince of darkness off “American Idol.”


SCARBOROUGH:  Ronald Reagan‘s diaries revealed.  The great communicator and standard-bearer for the Republican Party has a book that‘s skyrocketing the top of the “New York Times” best-seller‘s list, with never-before-seen writings he kept while in office.  The 40th president‘s innermost thoughts were put together in a book called “The Reagan Diaries,” a year-by-year account that takes Americans inside the Reagan White House. 

Right now to talk about it, Douglas Brinkley, who‘s a presidential historian and the man Nancy Reagan selected to edit “The Reagan Diaries.” 

And I‘ve been looking through this book.  It‘s absolutely fantastic, Doug.  What was the one thing you learned about Ronald Reagan that really surprised you going through these diaries? 

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, HISTORIAN:  Well, one was how much faith was part of his life.  He invokes God often in the diaries.  After he was shot, in fact, he said, “I‘m going to be serving God for the rest of my life,” and it was very personal.  It wasn‘t wearing religion on his sleeve, but it comes in through the diary.  And, also, Joe, he was a conservative, but he was a very pragmatic conservative.  He didn‘t like his poll numbers to drop below 50 percent.  And if he saw them tanking southward, he‘d do something to get them back up.  And he also believed in foreign affairs not to paint an adversary in a corner.  Always leave a little wiggle room for diplomacy. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Doug, you also, though, talk about the fact that this guy—and there‘s a shot at Normandy, just an extraordinary speech.  Ronald Reagan was great at setting the scenes for the American people and projecting this wonderful image, but had some battles within his own family.  Talk about his sometimes contentious relationship with his children.

BRINKLEY:  Well, being president is a full-time job, and he had a lot of kids.  Many of them were very influenced by the counterculture in the ‘60s, Ron, you know, in particular.  But sometimes they would have, you know, hang-ups.  He talks about his son hanging up on him, he‘s not going to talk to him.  Of course, he loved all of his kids, but one of the things that was revealing is that, here is the president of the United States in his daily, handwritten diary, putting this sort of family, inner Ronald Reagan that we haven‘t had before. 

The speeches we hear of Ronald Reagan is the public Reagan, and the diary shows a little more of his inner life.  And it‘s helping to round out who he really was.  Jon Meacham of “Newsweek” has an article about the diaries I just saw, and he said, you know, the left saw Reagan as kind of the guy who was Iran-Contra and wanted ketchup as a vegetable, and the right saw him as the great liberator and a person who had the wall come down.  In truth, there‘s something in the middle about Ronald Reagan, and he was a very hard-worker, as the diary showed.  He wasn‘t just somebody who coasted.  Yet he always remained about the fray.

SCARBOROUGH:  And he always allowed people to underestimate him.  You talk about how he‘s a very hard-worker.  Of course, the quote that everybody likes to say about Reagan is, and he once said, you know, “Hard work never killed anybody, but I‘m not taking any chances.”  This guy always wanted to be underestimated by his political enemies. 

But as you read through these diaries, it‘s just like some of his earlier writings that were revealed several years back.  You see that that really was all an act, that Ronald Reagan was a force to be reckoned with and liked to be underestimated.

BRINKLEY:  Well, that‘s right.  You knew who else was like that, Joe, was Dwight Eisenhower.  Many people thought Ike was just golf and dealing with heart problems and reading Lilly Lemore (ph) novels.  We now know he was a very hands-on president. 

And the diaries—and what‘s published now is just a portion of them.  In about 18 months, we‘re going to bring out a boxed set with the complete Reagan diaries.  But when all of this comes out, we‘re going to see he was much more hands-on than we thought and somebody who knew how to be a leader in the many ways.  And I think, at the end of the diary last year, Margaret Thatcher comes to the United States, and Ronald Reagan reported—he was always modest himself—but he said, “Boy, she‘s telling people I changed the world,” and that was largely because of the diplomacy with Gorbachev, which is all documented in the diaries. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You know, Reagan‘s diaries also contain so many references to his wife, Nancy.  On the day of his assassination attempt, he wrote, quote, “I opened my eyes to find Nancy there.  I pray I‘ll never have to face a day when she isn‘t there.”  And when she left for a trip in ‘81, he wrote, “I worry when she‘s out of sight for six minutes.  How am I going to hold out for six days?  The lights just don‘t seem as warm and bright without her.”  They were, in a positive sense, I mean, they were codependent, weren‘t they? 

BRINKLEY:  They definitely were, Joe.  And Mrs. Reagan spends her life today trying to keep the flame alive, keep her husband‘s legacy alive, using the Reagan Foundation and the library.  It was a great love story.  You know, people like talking about the Kennedy family as kind of almost a folklore sense in America, and the love story of Ronnie and Nancy now is being documented through love letters.  And here in the diaries, she‘s constantly more than just a wife.  She‘s his dear and close friend.

SCARBOROUGH:  What can you see in going through the Reagan diaries that could dissuade people from comparing George W. Bush to Ronald Reagan, as so many people tried to do early in the Bush administration?  What management styles did Ronald Reagan have that actually could have helped George Bush over the past seven years? 

BRINKLEY:  Well, I‘ll just pick one example.  If you deal with Lebanon in 1983, when our Marines, over 260, were blown up, Ronald Reagan wanted retaliation, he wanted revenge, tried hard to get war powers extensions and try to keep our troops, but eventually he pulled out, and he pulled out of Lebanon because he realized, as he says, he could always have a war in the Middle East, and we‘ve got to be careful where we send the troops. 

I was moved very in the diaries that, any time a soldier died on Ronald Reagan‘s watch, he would track down that family, either write them a personal letter or call them up on the phone.  And he writes about the lumps in the throats he gets when every soldier dies.  They weren‘t numbers to him.  He wasn‘t somebody trying to be—his ego, he wasn‘t trying to be a warrior commander-in-chief.  He really was, surprisingly, very much about peace, and he was trying desperately—he begins in the diaries saying, “My main goal is to rid the world of nuclear weapons,” which is a very stark concept at that point in the Cold War.  And yet, at the end of his presidency, he partially accomplished that goal. 

SCARBOROUGH:  A great man, a great leader, a great book, and I guess, Doug, I‘m hearing this thing is going to be number one very soon, right?

BRINKLEY:  Well, it‘s doing very, very well out there, and we‘re very glad.  There are some other good books out there, like Walter Isaacson and Al Gore‘s book, but we‘re in the mix. 

SCARBOROUGH:  You are not only in the mix; you‘re at the top of the heap.  Douglas Brinkley, thanks a lot.  And make sure you pick up his new book, “The Reagan Diaries.”  A lot of other people are, that‘s for sure.

Well, from the Oval Office to a place Ronald Reagan also knew a lot about, “Hollyweird.”  Danny Bonaduce joins us to talk about the upcoming bachelor party that‘s being thrown.  And, Danny, save us all a place out there, buddy.


SCARBOROUGH:  Hey, “Hollyweird” rule number seven:  Keep a really close eye on your sex tape.  It‘s time for “Hollyweird,” people.

First up, Danny Bonaduce getting divorced after 17 years of marriage.  So what‘s a guy to do?  Have a bachelor party, of course.  If you‘re in “Hollyweird,” who better to talk about it than Danny Bonaduce himself?  Danny, what is the deal with this post-divorce bachelor party?  Is this some “Hollyweird” invention? 

BONADUCE:  This is—I must admit that everything that has happened to me in the last two weeks has become “Hollyweird.”  I used to think of myself as just colorful, but now I have joined the club of “Hollyweird.”  I‘m not divorced.  My wife just said she wanted a divorce.  I don‘t have a document.  We haven‘t set alimony payments, and I‘m having a bachelor party at the Key Club on Thursday night with women licking whip cream off me, if I have my way. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Danny, I‘m looking around the desk here.  I don‘t see my invitation to that. 

BONADUCE:  Oh, that‘s right—you‘re name‘s at the door, buddy.  Come on by.

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, I don‘t think I‘ll be there.

Let‘s talk about Pamela Anderson.  She got in sort of a tough spot.  Of course, she had that infamous sex tape with Tommy Lee.  She‘s put in another awkward place.  The former “Baywatch” beauty had to tell her kids about the tape because they wanted to go see “Borat” which features some of those scenes on the boat.  What do you do when you‘ve got a sex tape floating out there that you‘ve got to explain to your kids, Danny? 

BONADUCE:  Well, the first thing you‘ve got to do is you‘ve got to explain to me why you would take your children to see “Borat.”  Are you out of your mind?  And the second thing is, I‘m sure her children are aware of what Pamela Anderson is and what she does.  I‘m sure it was a horrifying moment for her to have to explain the sex tape.

On the other hand, they‘re both boys.  And their father is Tommy Lee.  Now, if genetics are passed down the way they‘re supposed to be, those kids are going to have a swagger in their step that they didn‘t have yesterday. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Come on.  Come on.  Let‘s keep it between the lines, baby.  Keep it between the lines.

BONADUCE:  I‘m telling you, as a father, if that was me, and that was my boy who went and saw it, I say, “Yes, I‘m sorry, it was kind of awkward,” but there‘s a little thing to be proud of there, kid. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And speaking of people that don‘t keep it between the lines, Ozzy Osbourne was going to perform at this year‘s “American Idol” finally until he found out that he would be on with Sanjaya, who he lovingly refers to as a hairstyle-challenged idiot.  Now, what is worse than being called an idiot by Ozzy Osbourne? 

BONADUCE:  I‘ve got to tell you, I know Ozzy very well.  We‘re very good friends, and I‘m really surprised that he would do this.  When he became known as the guy that bit the head off a bat, it was an accident.  People used to throw rubber bats up on stage, and somebody threw a real bat, and he bit its head off.  And he‘s now known as the bat guy.  And the fact that he would then label somebody else and refuse to perform with them really surprises him.  How would he feel if a newcomer refused to perform with him because of what he did in his past?  I think it‘s a bad call on Ozzy and bad sportsmanship.

SCARBOROUGH:  No doubt about it.  Hey, Danny Bonaduce, thanks so much.  Good luck at that party.  Be safe.  Watch us tomorrow night.  We‘re going have Lindsay Lohan‘s dad here.  That‘s tomorrow night.  And we‘ll see you in the morning on “Morning Joe.”



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