updated 10/3/2007 11:34:36 AM ET 2007-10-03T15:34:36

Guests Joan Walsh, Adam Smith, Debra Kelly, Julia Allison

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  It may be hard to believe, but somehow in the “Alice in Wonderland” world of the U.S. Congress, right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh can call someone in the military “phony soldiers” and walk away with a proposed congressional resolution actually commending him for his support of troops in Iraq.  You would think these comments, which sure sounds like he is demeaning anti-war soldiers, would serve as the Democrats‘ Moveon moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST:  It‘s not possible intellectually to follow these people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, it‘s not.  And what‘s really funny is they never talk to real soldiers.  They like to pull these soldiers who come up out of the blue and (inaudible).

LIMBAUGH: The phony soldiers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The phony soldiers.  Tonight, Democrats decided not to vote on a resolution condemning Rush for those comments, while at least one Republican is proposing congressional support for Rush.

My take.  How did some of the same Democrats get lured into voting for a resolution condemning Moveon.org for its ad titled: “General Betray Us” - mocking the American commander in Iraq, how and why?  Because Democrats are still paralyzed with fear that they will be branded as anti-military.  A new poll out today shows that 69 percent of the public wants to reduce or stop funding for the war.  And yet the Democrats, now in the majority, still can‘t seem to do anything about it.

In fact, hours after the Senate voted 72 to 25 to condemn Moveon for its ad; that same Senate failed in an attempt to bring troops home by next June by a vote of 28 to 70.  The wildly different way Democrats and Republicans deal with these silly debates over condemnations of the extremes of each party reflect the problem for Democrats.  The Republicans are just better prepared to play dirty if they need to.  Look at the difference in the most outspoken of the Republicans condemning Moveon.org first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE :  I found the attacks on your credibility, personal attacks by Moveon.org to be really despicable.  I would hope that it would be roundly rejected.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE :  I offer my colleagues the opportunity to use this hearing to distance themselves from the despicable ad that was published today calling into question the patriotism of General Petraeus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE :  I was particularly shocked and chagrined when I happened to open the “New York Times” on Sunday to see this ad purchased by Moveon.org.  I don‘t know if I have ever witnessed a more reprehensible slander.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So then they get this condemnation, right?  As for the Democrats, and now with this Rush Limbaugh comment, they talk about writing nasty letters to Rush‘s boss, which, tonight, were basically rejected by Clear Channel.  And Iowa Senator Tom Harkin was about as tough as they got.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR TOM HARKIN, (D) IOWA:  Well, I don‘t know, maybe he was just high on his drugs again.  I don‘t know whether he was or not.  If so, he ought to let us know.  But that shouldn‘t be an excuse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So, how is it that the Democrats keep getting run over like this in the Congress and the Senate?

Joining us now Representative Adam Smith, Democrat from Washington state.  Joan Walsh of Salon.com and MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan.  Thanks all of you for coming on.  All right.  Representative Smith, since you are the one serving in Congress at this time, it does feel to those on the outside like the Democrats just keep getting run over.  If it‘s from funding the war to condemning Rush Limbaugh versus Moveon.org.

REP. ADAM SMITH, (D) WASHINGTON:  I must tell you, I find your whole argument to be absurd.  The issue of what Moveon said or what Rush Limbaugh said is not our focus.  Our focus is changing course in Iraq.  That‘s what we want to talk about and that‘s what we came back when the whole General Petraeus stuff came up.  The Republicans offered an amendment to a bill saying we don‘t think that the general should have been criticized this way.  OK, fine.  Let‘s get back to the issue of what‘s going on in Iraq.

ABRAMS:  All right.

SMITH:  And Republicans in Congress, in the House and the Senate, have steadfastly stood with the president and refused to change course in Iraq.  We passed a bill that would have changed course in Iraq.  The president vetoed it.  So, to say that we have done nothing on the substantive issue that actually matters to people in this country, not what Rush Limbaugh said or what Moveon said.

ABRAMS:  Yes, it - but to me - it - that‘s my point.

SMITH:  . on the substantive issue of what matters in Iraq, we have done something on it.

ABRAMS:  Look, the bottom line is that the public is now calling it 69 percent for the Congress to reduce the funding.

SMITH:  Absolutely, and have been for some time and we should.

ABRAMS:  Right.

SMITH:  And should (ph) - and we voted - we voted to do that on the Democratic side and the president vetoed it.

ABRAMS:  You listen to Democrats.

SMITH:  . and we don‘t have the votes.

ABRAMS:  You listen to the Democrats talk about this and they‘re all throwing up their arms.  They are either saying, we don‘t have the votes or they‘re saying.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH:  That‘s - for six months we have been working on this.

ABRAMS:  Look—you can look at what Biden and Kerry and all the top Democrats are saying and it‘s a variety of answers ranging from what you just said which is that.

SMITH:  Right.

ABRAMS:  .in essence, we don‘t have the votes.

SMITH:  Right.

ABRAMS:  . to .

SMITH:  Isn‘t that true?  I mean, I hate to get all factual on you here when you are on a rant .

ABRAMS:  No, no.  Please do.

SMITH:  . in a different direction.

ABRAMS:  Please do.

SMITH:  But aren‘t the facts of Iraq that the Democrats have been the ones who have stood up and said, “We need to change course.”  The Republicans are the ones who are trying to change the subject, and, by the way, I‘m sure they are thanking you tonight for your help to change the subject.

ABRAMS:  OK.  Oh, really?

SMITH:  . to change the subject on whether or not we have been tough enough on Rush Limbaugh?

ABRAMS:  Let me - let me ask Joan Walsh.  Joan, I don‘t think you are a mainstream Republican the last time I checked.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR, SALON.COM:  No, not at all.

ABRAMS:  Do you think that my criticism of the Democrats is fair?

WALSH:  You know, Dan, I think you went a little too far.  I‘m going to side with Representative Smith here.  I have to say that I‘m happy to have somebody on the show with me saying that the Democrats have done some of what they could.  They haven‘t done everything.  But the problem is Republicans who will not vote with them to stop the war. 

I just want to say I thought that the Moveon censure was reprehensible.  I thought that the Democrats who voted for it were reprehensible.  But I‘m not really sitting here wishing that they were taking up resolutions censuring Rush Limbaugh.

ABRAMS:  No, no.  I mean - I.

WALSH:  He is a big fat idiot.  I think he is back on drugs.  But it‘s a waste of time. Put energy into stopping the war.  Take him off armed services radio.

ABRAMS:  Hey, look.  And I‘m not - I‘m using it as a proxy.  I‘m saying .

WALSH:  I understand that.

ABRAMS:  . that I view this as the problem - a fundamental problem between Democrats and Republicans.  Pat, rather than me, I‘m going to let Representative Smith respond again.  Go ahead, Pat, what do you think?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, my view is this - look, the Democrats have made these efforts to try to correct the policy and move it around, and they failed.  But Joan said they want to stop the war.  They can stop the war.  They can de-fund the war.  They can give the president half of what he demands or a fourth.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH: The Democrats passed it and the president vetoed it.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Let me let Pat finish and then I will.

BUCHANAN:  The president cannot spend a dime that is not appropriated.  You - the Congress appropriated $100 billion.  After he vetoed that, the Congress turned around and said, “OK, we will give you everything you want.”  They are going to give him all he wants in the defense bill.  The Congress could stop him.  They don‘t have the courage of their convictions.  They are unwilling to accept the consequences of the policies they believe in.

WALSH:  I think they have you had.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Let me let Representative Smith respond to that, because I do believe that Pat is right to a degree on that.

SMITH:  Well, he‘s dead wrong on his first point and right on the second.  It‘s not a matter of courage of convictions, it‘s a matter of the consequences.  Yes, we could stop the war.  We could completely de-fund the military.  Completely.  If we send a bill to him, Pat, that said we are going to give you half the money, he‘d veto it.  If we send a bill to him that said we are only going to give you a quarter of the money, he would veto it. 

Our choice is—cut the funds off entirely from the Department of Defense, with 160,000 troops in a war zone, or accept the president‘s policies.

BUCHANAN:  (inaudible)

SMITH:  And, yes, you are right.  We are not willing to accept the

consequences of cutting all the money off from the troops

BUCHANAN:  Right.

SMITH:  Because the Republicans are too stubborn and too wrong.

ABRAMS:  Right.  But see.

SMITH:  . to make the changes in the policies that need to be made.

ABRAMS:  Then Representative Smith, then you are agreeing with me. 

You are basically saying that they are out-politicking you?

SMITH:  No.

ABRAMS:  I mean - you are.

SMITH:  No.

ABRAMS:  That‘s what you‘ve just said.

SMITH:  (inaudible) No.  Come on, Dan.  They have enough votes to stop it.  They are not out-politicking us.

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH:  If you want the war stopped in Iraq.

ABRAMS:  You just said to me.

SMITH:  . elect more people who want you to stop.

ABRAMS:  You just, said, Congressman, the political ramifications for Democrats would be too significant.

SMITH:  (inaudible)  But no, I‘ve said.

ABRAMS:  That‘s what you just said.

SMITH:  . I said the policy ramifications.

BUCHANAN:  What are you talking about, Dan, is.

SMITH:  Cutting off funds is policy.

BUCHANAN:  Let me talk.

WALSH:  While they are in the war zone.

SMITH:  Exactly.

BUCHANAN:  Let me talk a second here.  Dan, what he is afraid of is if they do cut off funds for the war and they do automatically force a withdrawal of troops, the consequences will be the humanitarian catastrophe and strategic disaster and the president .

SMITH:  And isn‘t that narrow-minded  of us?

BUCHANAN:  They are afraid of those consequences, because they believe that‘s exactly what will happen.

SMITH:  If we withdraw too fast, as opposed to having the (inaudible) plan that we gave them.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH:  It‘s going to be logistical nightmare to begin to withdraw.  It requires bipartisan will and the votes of both parties.  It is going to require funding to get people out.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Aren‘t there.

BUCHANAN:  The Congress - the Democratic Party is impotent, and that‘s exactly right.

ABRAMS:  Representative Smith, I mean, look, there are Republicans who are ready to end this war.

SMITH:  Not enough.

(CROSSTALK)

WALSH:  There are?

SMITH:  They haven‘t voted to do it.

WALSH:  Who are they, Dan?  Besides Chuck Hagel?

(CROSSTALK)

SMITH:  They have not voted to do it, and the president vetoes it and we don‘t have the votes.

WALSH:  They talk tough.

SMITH:  And you say that‘s politics?  They are not voting for a change in policy.

WALSH:  Right.

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Pat.

BUCHANAN:  But Congressman, why don‘t you get the Congress to vote to deny the president authority to stop the next war?  You failed with the last one.  He‘s now looking into Iran.  Why don‘t you pass a resolution saying, “You‘ve got no authority to attack Iran unless you come to us and get that authority?”  You backed away from that all year.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait, let him respond.

SMITH:  We have passed a resolution like that in the House.  I think the Senate did something on it yesterday.  I‘m all for it.  And I think we ought to do it.

ABRAMS:  But the Senate also passed a resolution declaring the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, which could be the first step toward justifying a war as well.

SMITH:  Yes.  Sure.

BUCHANAN:  They are enabling him.  They are enabling the president.

SMITH:  We don‘t have the votes to stop him.  And every time people say, “Ah, they are just as bad as the Republicans,” that undermines our ability to build votes to stop him.  If the Republicans won‘t vote with us on any of this, that‘s where we are.

BUCHANAN:  Congressman, well, let me tell you why you are there.  The president came back and he gave a 5,000 troop cut in December and 30,000 at the end of the surge in April.  He convinced his Republicans to come back to him.  He beat you horse, foot, and dragoons (ph).

SMITH:  He did.  You‘re right.  With his Republicans.  He managed to convince Republicans to stick with him.  And I hope in 2008, the voters will remember that.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Representative, you are a great guest.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.

SMITH:  Thanks for having me on.

ABRAMS:  I appreciate it.  Joan Walsh and Pat Buchanan, as always, thanks .

WALSH:  Thanks, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Still ahead:  The former supreme allied commander of NATO now calling for Rush Limbaugh‘s program to be pulled off of armed forces radio.  General Wesley Clark joins us next.

Plus: In Hot Pursuit.  Police have just chased down a stolen vehicle in Oklahoma in an open field.  That didn‘t end well for the suspect.  We are just getting in the details.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE::  More and more troops and veterans of Iraq believe George Bush‘s military policy has been a disaster.  I am one of them.  Rush Limbaugh called vets like me phony soldiers for telling the truth about Iraq.  Rush, the shrapnel I took to my head was real.  A traumatic brain injury was real.  And my belief that we are on the wrong course in Iraq is real.  Until you have the guts to call me a phony soldier to my face, stop telling lies about my service.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That TV ad released by Votevets.org in response to Rush Limbaugh‘s comment where he seemed to be calling any soldier who opposes the war quote, “phony soldiers,” now one of the most prominent military men in the United States is calling for Rush Limbaugh‘s program to be pulled off of armed forces radio.  General Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme allied commander and author of “A Time to Lead” joins us from Seattle.  General, thanks a lot for taking the time.  I appreciate it.

GENERAL WESLEY K. CLARK, FORMER NATO COMMANDER:  Thank you Dan.  Good to  be with you.

ABRAMS:  So, isn‘t it a big statement from you saying that you think his program should simply be pulled off armed forces radio?  I mean, there is some left-leaning programs on there as well.

CLARK:  Well, I don‘t think there is any reason to have a program on there that‘s demeaning to the political views of the soldiers that are there.  Armed forces radio is supposed to entertain, it‘s supposed to inform.  But demeaning people who have views that run contrary to Rush‘s view, when it‘s a straight political view supporting the administration, no, I don‘t think the armed forces ought to be organized as a block voting.  I don‘t think people who have different political views ought to be intimidated. 

Soldiers vote.  They should be informed.  They‘re voters.  They—their views run the gamut.  We know from surveys in Iraq that some of the soldiers support the war.  Some of them don‘t support the war.  And some of them don‘t have any specific opinion.  They are just trying to do their job and survive and get home again.  And that should be respected.  They are all good soldiers over there.  It doesn‘t matter whether they are supporting a Democrat or a Republican or an independent or whatever.  We ought to respect them and honor them.  And we shouldn‘t be using public funds to subsidize people and give them the airwaves when they are going over there and demeaning soldiers who have a certain political viewpoint. 

ABRAMS:  Well, General, let me read you this response from Clear Channel, sent in response to Senator Reid‘s demand to them that they censure him , et cetera.

“Given Mr. Limbaugh‘s history of support for our soldiers, it would be unfair for me to assume his statements were intended to personally indict combat soldiers, simply because they didn‘t share his own beliefs regarding the war in Iraq. I hope that you understand and support my position that while I certainly do not agree with all views that are voiced on our stations, I will not condemn our talent for exercising their right to voice them.”

: What do you make of it?

CLARK:  Well, I don‘t know who this man from Clear Channel is.  But I know what Rush said.  And, I mean, you can only interpret it one way.  He said that if you don‘t support the war, you are like a phony soldier.  And that‘s not true.  It‘s not accurate.  It‘s not fair.  And it‘s wrong that that kind of a statement be put on armed forces network and broadcast to the soldiers.

ABRAMS:  Here is what Rush said on the program yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH:  As all of you military personnel know, I, since the beginning of time and since the beginning of this program, certainly, 19 years ago, have been one of the most ardent, loyal, in-awe supporters of any and all who wear the uniform, including those who disagree with the mission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  General Clark, look, apart from whether, you know, he used the plural soldiers.  It‘s hard to believe he says he was referring to one particular soldier who was caught lying.  He used the plural.  That‘s a tough argument.

CLARK:  Well, he edited his own transcript before he rebroadcast it even to Iraq.  It was edited out.  He knew he had made a mistake, a big mistake.  And he ought to be called on that, and he - instead of apologizing—he is trying to avoid the issue.

ABRAMS:  When you talk about removing him from armed forces radio, it does start, does it not, to get into the business of choosing voices we like versus voices we don‘t like?

CLARK:  No.  I think it‘s about where you cross the line.  It‘s not about whether you like what he says or not   It‘s about the message that he is - he‘s portraying.  I think when you try to politicize the armed forces, and you are doing it on armed forces radio like that, that it‘s a line that shouldn‘t be crossed.  The purposes of the armed forces radio is to inform and educate.  It‘s not to form the military in a voting block.

ABRAMS:  But can‘t you make the argument that, you know, that left-wing radio hosts politicize quote, unquote, the military at times as well?

CLARK:  No, I don‘t hear them doing that.  I don‘t hear left-wing hosts saying that you people who support the president aren‘t real soldiers.  I don‘t hear them saying you shouldn‘t be allowed to serve your country.  I don‘t hear left-wing hosts saying people that support President Bush aren‘t patriotic.  I don‘t hear them saying that at all.  I think it‘s a right-wing issue.  I think Rush has crossed the line on this.  I think there is a line on this.  And I think he should be called out.  I don‘t want to distract from the debate about America‘s policy.  But I do think that most of us in the—in this country understand that the public portrayal in the media is an important factor influencing political outcomes.

ABRAMS:  It is.

CLARK:  And I think there should be fairness and there should be balance on both sides.  And I think when someone does this, they cross the line, just like the Moveon ad crossed the line.

ABRAMS:  General Wesley Clark, the author of “Time to lead,” General, as always, good to have you on the program.

CLARK:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Still ahead: A jury finds that New York Knicks head coach Isaiah Thomas sexually harassed a former employee.

But first: Beating up on the ABC show “The View” is so easy, even a caveman can do it.  And one of them did—while he was a guest on the show.  Up next in Beat the Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.  Our daily look back at the absurd, sometimes amusing perils of live TV.

First up: Beating up on “The View” is so easy, even a caveman can do it.  And one of them did.  Promoting the new ABC comedy “Caveman” on “The View,” one of the show‘s caveman, Nick Hedge, took jabs at the newest member Sherri Shepherd, making veiled references to her past comments on the show.  I‘m not sure she got it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NICK HEDGE:  Certain people don‘t even think that cavemen exist in modern times, and some people don‘t think that cavemen ever existed because they don‘t believe in evolution.

SHERRI SHEPHERD:  I‘m going to disagree with you anyway, because I don‘t believe in evolution period.

HEDGE:  There are tons of cavemen walking around this flat earth, and they‘re all - they‘re all in different places.

(LAUGHING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Flat earth, remember that one?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Is the world flat?

SHEPHERD:  Is the world flat?

WHOOPI GOLDBERG:  Yes.

SHEPHERD:  I don‘t know.

GOLDBERG:  What do you think?

SHEPHERD:  I never thought about it, Whoopi.  Is the world flat?  I never thought about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Next up: My pal CNN‘s Rick Sanchez has been trying to own the story about Bill O‘Reilly and his inappropriate comments about a Harlem restaurant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Bill O‘Reilly, if you are watching right now, and I‘m sure you are, you are invited to come here and explain this for yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Yes, OK.  That‘s going to happen.  But I can tell you the folks at Fox are watching this program.  You may remember six weeks ago CNN aired a special by Christiane Amanpour titled  “God‘s Warriors.”  I went after CNN at the time for what I said was a terribly biased presentation.  So, do you think it‘s just coincidence that since Fox and O‘Reilly are now mad at CNN over the coverage of O‘Reilly‘s remarks, that finally now, six weeks after that special first aired, Fox is suddenly doing this segment?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  CNN did a documentary called “God‘s Warriors” by Christiane Amanpour, and a number of Christians and also Jews say that it is so one-sided and so inaccurate, CNN has got some sort of biased agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It took them six weeks?  It‘s one or two things, either they are angry at CNN or they are once again listening to this guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS,:  CNN has been proudly promoting and celebrating its series called “God‘s Warriors,” presumably a look at radicals of different religions willing to fight for their cause.

My take.  I think it‘s fair to say it was not what it claimed or promised to be.  This series was well produced and successful, but also shameful advocacy masked as journalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  A little self-aggrandized, you know, you know.  I didn‘t need to play (ph) both sides (ph).

We want your help beating the press.  If you‘ve seen anything amusing, absurd or just right of wrong in the press, including on our show, go to our web site—Abrams.msnbc.com.  Leave us a tip in the box.  Please include the show and the time you saw the item.

Coming up: We are just getting in details about a police chase and arrest that has just ended in an open field in Oklahoma.

Plus: A hidden epidemic in America—thousands of runaway kids with no place to go, no one to help.  We get a rare inside look at how tough it can be for them to survive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (voice over):  And, again, this is in far western Oklahoma county. 

ABRAMS:  Breaking tonight, we are just getting details about a wild car chase in the suburbs of Oklahoma City over cow pastures and through farm fields.  The chase lasted more than half an hour.  Police say they saw the suspect take part in drug activity.  They tried to pull him over, but he took off in a stolen vehicle.  Let‘s listen in to how the police finally got their man. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Right now to direct their officers to try to intercept this person.  This was a chase that began a long time ago in Bethany.  And chopper 4, Jim Gardner picked it up as it was ...

JIM GARDNER (voice over):  OK.  We have got a - looks like a sheriff‘s vehicle that‘s coming down this dirt road toward him right now.  You will see it enter the screen here, at the top of your screen.  OK.  He saw the sheriff‘s vehicle.  He is now taking across this field here but the sheriff‘s vehicle is going to try to head him off here.  You can see him come in the top of your screen here. 

This is going to get pretty dramatic right here.  I don‘t know exactly what‘s going to happen.  They are trying to get more units over here, if he makes it through this fence over here where he is traveling.  He is traveling west bound now, Kevin, through this plowed field.  If he makes it through this fence there is a pretty well improved gravel road that he is going to hit and basically it‘s going to take ... 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  There is going to be the bump. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  They are going to spin. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Yes.

GARDNER (voice over):  Boy, this is just absolutely amazing.  I mean, this individual does not want to be caught. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  He is spinning out. 

GARDNER (voice over):  By no means. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  What‘s going to happen next? 

GARDNER (voice over):  OK, I think the suburban finally gave it up. 

OK.  Guns drawn.  Guns are drawn. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  He is trying to go though. 

He is spinning the wheel. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  He is still trying to get away, Jim.  He‘s still got this - He is spinning the wheel.  Officer out with his gun drawn, hitting on the window. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Trying to get in the car.  Obviously it‘s locked. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Beating on the window.  The man is not surrendering yet. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  He is shaking his head. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Like he is not coming out. 

GARDNER (voice over):  I can‘t tell that it might be a woman driving.  I don‘t know if we have confirmed that or not, Kevin.  My cameraman tells me he believes it is a male. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Looks like a male possibly in a tank top or something. 

GARDNER (voice over):  OK.  We have got other officers arriving in the field at this time. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  He looks like he is going ... 

GARDNER (voice over):  Probably going to help this individual. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Maybe going to bargain with the officer.  And he‘s still spinning the steering wheel. 

GARDNER (voice over):  He‘s still spinning the steering wheel, trying to get away.  This is absolutely amazing.  This individual sees that he is trapped and he is still trying to get away. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  OK, now ...

GARDNER (voice over):  OK.  We got a baton coming out. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Going to the other side.  The door is opening there. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR (voice over):  Looks like is he getting out. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR (voice over):  I know.  He‘s down. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (voice over):  You are seeing it unfold for you live right here on Oklahoma‘s news channel 4, a bizarre. 

ABRAMS (voice over):  That was obviously a replay of something that happened about two hours ago tonight.  Police say the suspect is a man in his 30s and he is now under arrest.

(on camera): $11.6 million, that‘s the amount a jury awarded a woman suing the New York Knicks and head coach Isaiah Thomas.  NBC‘s Savannah Guthrie has been covering the case.  Savannah, what happened? 

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Well, a former executive from the Knicks took on the team and its coach today, and won a very big payout.  And some say this verdict will resonate with working women everywhere. 

(START VIDEOTAPE)

ISAIAH THOMAS, HEAD COACH AND PRESIDENT, NEW YORK KNICKS:  If everybody will get closer so you can hear me. 

GUTHRIE (voice over):  Just after the verdict was announced, Isaiah Thomas was loud and clear. 

THOMAS:  I‘m innocent.  I‘m very innocent.  And I did not do the things that she accused me in this courtroom of doing. 

GUTHRIE (voice over):  A federal jury in New York disagreed and found Thomas, the head coach of the New York Knicks and former basketball star sexually harassed Anucha Browne Sanders, a former top executive with the team.  Madison Square Garden which owns the Knicks and its chairman James Dolan were found responsible for the harassment and for retaliation when firing Sanders when she complained.  The Garden said she was fired for interfering with its own internal investigation. 

SANDERS:  What I did here, I did for every working woman in America. 

GUTHRIE (voice over):  The three-week trial was full of tawdry details recounted daily in the New York tabloids, the Knicks front office portrayed as having a frat house culture. 

THOMAS:  I could have sworn, but never have heard.

GUTHRIE (voice over):  The claim that testified Thomas repeatedly called her vulgar names and later told her he was in love with her, even trying to hug and kiss her on one occasion.  Thomas and the Knicks denied the allegations.  Despite today‘s high profile verdict, the number of sexual harassment lawsuits is actually going down from more than 15,000 years ago to just over 12,000 today.  Still, this employment attorney says today‘s verdict could encourage working women everywhere. 

LYNNE BERNABE, EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY:  I think this case will show that everybody can be accountable for their behavior and that‘s a good signal to send. 

GUTHRIE (on camera):  And Dan, not a big surprise - tonight, both the team‘s contemporary Isaiah Thomas and the team‘s owner say they plan to file an appeal. 

ABRAMS:  Savannah, stick around, the ex-court TV lawyer Savannah Guthrie is with us.  Susan Filan, MSNBC senior legal analyst, and employment attorney Debra Kelly.  All right, Debra, let me start with you.  There is a lot of talk.  You see it in Savannah‘s package.  We hear from the plaintiff‘s lawyer sending a message that this is going to be a case to send a message.  Is that what civil cases are supposed to do?  Meaning is Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks and these others supposed to pay up so that a message can be sent? 

DEBRA KELLY, EMPLOYMENT ATTORNEY:  I think punitive damages send a message.  Here, what they looked at was the wealth of Madison Square Garden and the wealth of the people involved.  And the plaintiff‘s lawyer said I want you to send a message and punish them.  You take a percentage of someone‘s wealth and that‘s why the figure is so high. 

This case should be a wake-up call to—I‘m a management lawyer - to companies to take complaints of employees seriously, even if you think it‘s a personality dispute, even if you think the person is overly sensitive.  You have to listen to it and do an investigation.  And retaliation is a brutal charge for management.  It‘s very easy to prove when it comes to punitive damages, and that was a big problem in this case. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So the Garden is appealing, this Susan.  They have said we believe the decision, number one, was incorrect.  They plan to vigorously appeal the verdict.  We look forward to presenting our arguments to an appeals court, and believe they will agree that no sexual harassment took place and MSG acted properly.  Tough appeal?

SUSAN FILAN, MSNBC SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST:  Very, very tough.  I admit it is.  Trial rule 101 - you can‘t retry the facts on appeal.  Appeals are reserved strictly for errors of law.  And if this is the finder of fact, this jury, and found that they believed Anucha Browne Sanders and not the coach, there is no basis for appeal there. 

ABRAMS:  And they can certainly get the amount reduced though and that happens regularly. 

FILAN:  Yes, but who cares about that?  I mean, today was a day when the David versus Goliath episode in sexual harassment cases was reversed.  It‘s no longer the impossible to prove sexual harassment.  We are always told look, you can bring your complaint but you will never work in this industry again.  And today I think those tables have turned. 

ABRAMS:  Let me play this piece of sound from Isaiah Thomas during a deposition.  I should say I know Isaiah Thomas a little bit.  I like Isaiah Thomas.  This is something that came up in the deposition when he was asked about the use of term, the use of the “B” word in reference to a woman in the deposition.   I want to check in on the panel on how significant they thought this was. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ATTORNEY:  Mr.  Thomas, you stated earlier that you found it offensive for a white man to call a black woman a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).  Do you remember that testimony? 

THOMAS:  Um-huh. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ATTORNEY:  You have to say yes. 

THOMAS:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ATTORNEY:  Would you find it also offensive for a black male to call a black woman a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? 

THOMAS:  Not as much and I‘m sorry to say.  I do make a distinction. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Savannah, how important do you think that was in the case. 

GUTHRIE:  I think that probably was a very devastating moment in the trial for the defendant, not because that‘s Isaiah Thomas admitting that he called this plaintiff in particular those names.  But there are certain things - as one lawyer put it to me - kind of create an odor in the courtroom and it‘s hard to shake that and it didn‘t put Isaiah Thomas in a great light. 

KELLY:  A case like this - it‘s amazing it went to trial.  As a management lawyer, if you look at these facts, it‘s not just these comments, it‘s the context the guard Marbury was found to have done with one of the interns.  The whole package ...

ABRAMS:  What was he found to have done?  He had sex with the intern, right? 

KELLY:  Yes.  Well, you put it together, you have someone saying there is a climate that I‘m working in and it‘s filled with sexual harassment.  No one is listening to me.  And you have comments like this as per admitted.  You have other people thinking it‘s OK put an intern, which is a working relationship, in a car and have sex with her.  And I wouldn‘t take that case to a jury. 

ABRAMS:  Well, they did, and they lost.  And we will follow the appeal. 

Savannah Guthrie, thanks, Susan Filan and Debra Kelly.  Appreciate it. 

FILAN:  you are welcome. 

ABRAMS:  Up next, thousands of runaway kids hiding in plain sight across America.  We‘ll see why it is so hard for them to get off the streets.  And later, Britney loses custody of her kids and then heads out for a night on the town.  That‘s old video but she did head out for a night on the town.  “Winners and Losers” is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know only about 20 percent of runaway kids live on the street for more than a month?  Up next, we get a rare look at why it can be so tough for some teens to get off the streets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  There are thousands of kids living on America‘s streets, kids who got no place to go and no one to turn to.  In MSNBC‘s latest documentary “Runaway Chicago,” we get a rare and close look at some of those kids as they struggle to fulfill their basic needs.  What you are about to see is the story of a young transgender woman trying to survive on the cold and windy streets of Chicago. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANGELA, TRANSGENDER WOMAN:  My name is Angela.  I‘m a female MFNT(ph).  I‘m a male to female transgender.  I‘m currently homeless right now.  I‘m living in the street.  I think this is the worse I‘ve ever been.  I was raised in Alabama, deep down south.  Very religion people my family was. 

I went through a very dramatic time in my life.  I was raped when I was 8 and 13.  It really like messed me up.  I stopped trusting people.  After that I told my family like this is who I am.  I felt that I didn‘t belong, so I left.  I don‘t have no job.  I don‘t go to school.  So how do I eat?  Well, I‘m a male prostitute.  I hate it.  I hate it so bad. 

This is my living room.  Ain‘t it pretty? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (voice over):  In the course of 24 hours, Angie‘s life has taken a drastic turn.  She just hooked up with a city and state funded program called Task Force, and is off the streets with food, shelter and a chance to jump start her life. 

ANGELA:  I have a job fair to go to.  And that‘s exciting due to the fact that, as you can see, like I had just - I finally got my apartment, so I‘m excited.  At the same time, I‘m frustrated because this is like very hard.  You‘ve got to have a job.  You‘ve got to pay the bills.  But, still, I believe I could do this.  I could do this. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (voice over):  She arrives at Task Force, the organization that provides her with housing and is helping her find work. 

ANGELA:  On my birth certificate, it do says Angelo.  Do you understand?  Before I was Deedee(ph), before I was Angie, before I was Kimberly.  I could go on with the names.  Juicy fruit, all of that. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Maybe you do assume a male role, just for working purposes. 

ANGELA:  I so disagree with this. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I was going to say ...

(CROSS TALK)

ANGELA:  This curfew (EXPLETIVE DELETED)- they need to make a bed (EXPLETIVE DELETED) what they want to do.  Who cares about all these (EXPLETIVE DELETED) errands that we have run (UNINTELLIGIBLE) can‘t make it back at no 9:00.

(talking to reporter):  There‘s not a day that don‘t go by that I don‘t wake up and I feel like I want to die.  I ask myself why are you still here Deedee(ph)?  Why are you here?  You have nothing.  I mean, you are not a man.  You are not a woman, but you‘re just stuck in a void. 

ANGELA:  Angie is still having trouble with the rules and with herself. 

ANGELA:  This is me, right now, talking to you.  This is the real me. 

This is not Deedee(ph).  This is not Angie.  It‘s Angelo. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  As a result of all the incident reports since have you‘ve been in the housing program, we have come to the conclusion and believe that, as of this evening, we are going to terminate you from the housing program. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER (voice over):  The 20-year-old transgender, also known as Deedee(ph) has just lost her chance to stay off the streets. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Deedee(ph), do you understand what I have just said? 

ANGELA:  How you can move on to your future if you haven‘t even got to a past (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?  Do you understand?  And that‘s one thing I have not dealt with yet.  I have not called my mother at all.  I don‘t want her to be disappointed.  You know, be like, damn, you messed up again.  And do you know what‘s so sad?  I‘m sitting here with this fur coat on, with my little knit hat, Jennifer Hudson lips looking like Mary J. Blige with New York eyes.  You know, I mean, I look like I got it together but like I said, I don‘t.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Run Away Chicago premiers tonight at 11:00 p.m. right here on MSNBC.  Up next, will today‘s big winner or loser be Saturday Night Live‘s moving tribute to Iran‘s president who says he is definitely not gay; O.J.  Simpson, who in a legal move, is forced to hand over his Rolex; or Britney Spears whose latest bad move was to go out the night after she lost custody of her kids.  She‘s in court tomorrow.  It‘s part of today‘s “Winners and Losers.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Winners and Losers for this 2nd day of October, 2007.  Losers, CBS sports producer Daniel Barron, busted by police Sunday during an online sex sting.  You would think a TV producer might know better. 

CHRIS HANSEN, DATELINE NBC:  I‘m Chris Hansen with “Dateline NBC.” 

ABRAMS:  Barron allegedly tried to solicit an 11-year-old girl for sex while working the Miami Dolphins football game. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Don‘t you see something inappropriate about that? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Authorities say he set up the meeting with what he thought was the girl‘s father, saying he wanted to videotape the entire sexual encounter. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you know how often I hear that? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now that indecent proposal could land him behind bars for up to 15 years.  Winner, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the recipient of an indecent proposal from someone in the TV business as well. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Why don‘t you come on over here and have a seat please. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How are you doing? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Good.  How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m all right. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  No, not him.  “Saturday Night Live” star Andy Samberg.  Samberg apparently just refuses to accept Ahmadinejad‘s claim that homosexuality doesn‘t exist in Iran. 

(MUSIC)

ABRAMS:  Winner, Colorado mother Desiree Worthington(ph) who served up some tough love to her daughter caught stealing money from her classmate.  She had her daughter hold a sign on the side of the road that read, “I steal in school, not study.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESIREE WORTHINGTON, COLORADO MOTHER:  Today she is going to learn humility. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  While having the world watch your child‘s punishment is a little much, at least mom brought her hot chocolate and muffins throughout the humiliating ordeal.  Loser, O.J. Simpson, humiliated again, now that he is losing his watch, part of a punishment handed down by a California court today in what may be a sign of things to come for O.J.  He is being forced to fork over his gold Rolex and other assets to the Goldman family to help pay off that $38 million that he still owes. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Leave O.J. alone, please!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But the big winners of the day?  Daring drivers performing in this synchronized car ballet, now making the rounds on the internet.  The performance appears to be part of a Disney stunt show on extreme driving with a dare devil seemingly defying the laws of the road.  These dancing cars not just out for a weekend morning drive. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A little bit of shake. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And then bake. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Shake and bake!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The big loser of the day?  Dancer Britney Spears and her weekend morning drive that appears to have defied the laws of California.  TMZ.com reports Spears is still not licensed to drive in California, and was spotted cruising through Malibu over the weekend.  Even worse, she was apparently out on the town last night just hours after a judge ordered her to give up custody of her kids. 

Joining me now Julia Allison, editor at large for “Star Magazine.” 

Hi, Julia. 

JULIA ALLISON, EDITOR AT LARGE FOR “STAR MAGAZINE.”:  Hi. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So first of all, is it really true that Britney goes out the night after a court rules that she loses custody of the kids? 

ALLISON:  Yes.  Are you really surprised?  Britney pretty much defines.  If you think it couldn‘t get any worse, yes.  She is out there tanning.  She is out there going to the Beverly Hills Hotel smiling.  I mean, you can believe it? 

ABRAMS:  What do you say - I mean, look, Julia, some people have said that Britney may have actually wanted to lose her kids.  Do you buy that? 

ALLISON:  Yes.  Let‘s put it this way.  I think Britney has been in over her head since she had Shawn Preston two years ago.  I think she probably had a pretty bad case of postpartum depression which she tried to self-medicate by binging on junk food and then using amphetamines to try to lose weight and using diuretics, obviously drinking and then using controlled substances.  I think her brain chemistry is seriously screwed up.  She‘s delusional.  That leads to her strange and unpredictable behavior. 

ABRAMS:  She didn‘t need to turn over the kids until tomorrow at noon and she did it earlier.  Any sense of why? 

ALLISON:  Yes.  That surprised a lot of people.  I think that she is relieved, quite frankly.  I think that she - I mean one of the things that the body guard said and several people in her camp have also said is that she seemed to have no idea how to really deal with these kids.  She didn‘t know what to do when they were crying.  She loves them.  No one is actually - no one is debating that point.  But the question is does she really understand how to be a mother?  I don‘t think she did. 

ABRAMS:  You know, the question I don‘t really know and people ask me sometimes is, you know, Kevin Federline, K-Fed.  People talk about Britney as a parent.  Any sense of what he is like? 

ALLISON:  Well, apparently he‘s put up a fence around his pool, which, of course, you know, is seen as like oh, he must be a good dad then.  We will put it this way: he is trying at least.  He does try to shield them from the paparazzi. 

Britney was heavily criticized for trotting them out, for example, at 10:30 at night to go to dinner and go shopping when they clearly were uninterested in purchasing clothing.  You know, paparazzi incidents like that make people wonder why is she doing that?  Is she a good mother?  I think, you know, it‘s a matter of relativity.  Kevin looks pretty good in comparison. 

ABRAMS:  Finally, real quick, there‘s rumors of a Britney sex tape out there.  Do you know anything about this? 

ALLISON:  Yes.  Apparently, while she was vacation being in Hawaii, a young man has claimed that he filmed her while she was unaware, but he has hesitated to release the tape because of performance anxiety.  I think that a large sum of money might change his mind. 

ABRAMS:  That sounds hard to believe, right, that he is not going to release it but he is going to announce that the reason he doesn‘t want to release it is because of his performance. 

ALLISON:  Let‘s put it this way, if there is a tape out there we will find out about it sooner or later. 

ABRAMS:  Why do I get the feeling that it‘s going to end up on Julia Allison‘s desk.  All right, Julia, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

ALLISON:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Up next, children for sale.  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2007 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2007 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

transcript

Watch Live with Dan Abrams Monday - Thursday at 9 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,