updated 10/24/2007 2:44:45 PM ET 2007-10-24T18:44:45

Guest: Rachel Maddow, Robert Raben, Kozak the Magician, the Amazing

Jonathan, Brian Russell, Mickey Sherman, Susan Filan

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  But first, at last night’s Republican debate, all of the leading candidates seem prepared to selectively ignore any past statements that might expose their hypocrisy and instead focus on trying to convince dubious right wing voters that I am your man.


MITT ROMNEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I was a Conservative Republican in a very Democrat state.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think that was a pretty darn good Conservative record.

FRED THOMPSON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I was Conservative as soon as I put down conscious of a Conservative in college.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  A reliable Conservative for 24 years.

GIULIANI:  Have a heck of Conservatives results.

ROMNEY:  Conservatives fiscally, conservatives from a military standpoint and conservatives socially.

MCCAIN:  I stand on my record of the conservative -


ABRAMS:  Unfortunately, for some of them, they are newbie hard core Conservatives and their past statements just don’t put those so-called Conservative credentials—or at least they do put those so-called Conservative credentials into question.  Their new presidential positions would mean either the candidates had a serious change of heart, meaning serious, like even a ventricle identified as left was removed or they are not being entirely truthful with the prospective Conservative voters.


GIULIANI:  I think that was a pretty darn good Conservative record.

There must be public funding for abortions.

In New York I support anti-bias legislation and I support an extension of the gay rights legislation in New York City to the state of New York.

QUESTION:  How about registration of all handguns.

GIULIANI:  You know that I am.  I’ve been on this show many times tell

me lies

DEBATE MODERATOR:  Senator Thompson says you’re soft on abortion, on gun control and that you’ve never claimed to be a Conservative.

GIULIANI:  I can tell you that George Will wrote a couple years back for the end of my time as being mayor of New York City, that I ran the most conservative government in the United States in last 50 or 60 years.

ROMNEY:  In my view, we’ll have to bring together the same coalition that Ronald Reagan put together.  It’s essential that the strength of the House Ronald Reagan build is going to lead us to become a successful nation that we’ve always been and our party to be successful.

Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan/Bush.  I’m not trying to return to Reagan/Bush.

MCCAIN:  And I am a proud, reliable, consistent Conservative Republican.  That’s why I’ll win.

Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left or Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell on the right.

QUESTION:  Do you believe that Jerry Falwell is still an agent of intolerance?

MCCAIN:  No, I don’t tell.

DEBATE MODERATOR:  In recent months and years, you’ve been described as trying to reach out and mend fences with the Evangelical right and the religious Conservatives across the country having criticized them in years past, particularly their leaders, and there’s some skepticism which is the straight talk they should believe?

MCCAIN:  Well, I don’t change.  I haven’t changed.


ABRAMS:  No.  None of them have changed.  They haven’t changed at all.  They’ve all maintained the exact same position.  Come on.  Who do they think they’re fooling?  Joining us now, host of MSNBC, Tucker Carlson, the Tucker, who is also a real person who hates hypocrisy and Air America radio host, Rachel Maddow.  Thanks for both of you for coming on the program, appreciate it.  Alright, so Tucker, is it that they have a changed of heart, are they lying, is it hypocritical?  What is happening?

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC:  You have to take it on a case by case basis.  Giuliani in social issues is pretty darn liberal, I mean, you know, more liberal than Howard Dean in some ways.  Dean is against gun control.  Mitt Romney has changed on almost every significant social issue, but he at least on one issue, abortion, admits it.  He’s like John Edwards that way.  Edwards voted for the war he admits it was a mistake.  Romney does the same.  The question is do you believe that the truth change your heart or not?  I don’t know.  John McCain, I think he’s actually kind of telling the truth.  He has been in his voting record pretty consistent.  He doesn’t like the leadership of the Conservative movement.  They’ve always irritated him.  And he went after them in 2000.  I was actually at that speech that you showed a clip from.  But he’s voting record I think remains pretty much the same.

ABRAMS:  Rachel, I think that sometimes there’s an overemphasis on flip flop.  Right, when people said, “Oh, you said one thing one time, then something else another time.”  But it seems to me this is more than flip flopping.  This is a fundamental change at least with regard to Romney and Giuliani, in terms of what their core positions were on some of the most important issues of the day.  The question is - are they going to flip back when the general election occurs?

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA:  This is an issue about.  Is this their character or just their politics?  Does this say they’re people who twist in the wind and here just decide what’s their political position is going to be based on what’s advantageous, which of course is what the flip allegation means?  Or are these people who have had legitimate epiphanies about what would seem to be core issues that can be more rationally explained?

ABRAMS:  At the Values Voter poll, alright, Mitt Romney was the,

quote, winner.  Seems like that I don’t think they’re love with any of them

27.6 percent.  I think they like Huckabee, but he can’t seem to really get the support they would hope - 27.1 percent.  Paul at 15, Thompson at 10, then Giuliani and McCain at almost negligible numbers.  You know, Tucker, why do you think Romney coming in so high?  I mean, you had Brownback drop out who was probably the most Conservative candidate they have.  Now they have Huckabee.  Why aren’t they sort of running to Huckabee rather than Romney?

CARLSON:  Well, they may be.  I mean, I’m not sure that’s a great poll.  I used that one on my show today and was scolded for it.  I think that maybe not a representative poll but the deeper truth is as you know, this is as a TV show host, people like to be pandered to.  You know, you say I’m on your side, I represent your views and people love you for it.  I mean, that’s just kind of human nature and I think Romney, who really is the only one I think you could—whose character you can call into question on the flip flopping issue, he’s done that.  I mean, he’s identified the issues that are important to Conservative voters and he’s holding on them and he’s saying what they like to hear and of course, they like him for it.

ABRAMS:  You know, Fred Thompson came in as the sort of the - this great Conservative hope.  And I think that was before people investigated sort of what he was really about.

MADDOW:  Fred Thompson, the abortion lobbyist?  Yes.

ABRAMS:  Right.  He’s supposed to come in - Oh, Fred Thompson is going to be the great Conservative and he, too, is now coming into question about sort of what his positions were and what they are now?

MADDOW:  Yes, that’s right.  In every election season what you have is people running in the primaries trying to convince the base that they are as ideologically solid as the base wants them to be, and then in the general election you see people scooting over.  But in this one, is it people having to denounce their entire previous record and explain it away with epiphanies.

ABRAMS:  Is that good to Democrats?  Is that a win?

MADDOW:  Well, there’s not much going on - on the Republican side right now that is not good for the Democrats.  I think the Republicans look like they’re in utter disarray.  I think their voters hate them, I think their donors hate them and I think that right now, things kind of looked better for the democrats.

ABRAMS:  We play one quick sound, this is Fred Thompson talking about Giuliani at the debate last night.


THOMPSON:  Mayor Giuliani believes in federal funding for abortion, he believes in sanctuary cities, he is for gun control, he supported Mario Cuomo, a Liberal Democrat, against a Republican who was running for governor that opposed the governor’s tax cuts when he was there.  So, I would simply disagree with him on those issues and he sides with Hillary Clinton on each of those issue as just mentioned.


ABRAMS:  The Clinton term, Tucker.  I mean, you get tainted with the Hillary Clinton thing and you’re done, you’re finished.  Your any association with her in any way, if you cross the same street, Hillary Clinton on one day, you’re done.

CARLSON:  I know she’s quite popular in your neighborhood and our business, but the truth is in a Republican primary, being like Hillary, Dan, is not actually the goal.  Being very different from Hillary and betting her in general, that’s the goal.  Republicans don’t love Hillary.  News from nowhere, so that’s not a compliment that Fred Thompson’s throwing out there.

ABRAMS:  Right, Tucker Carlson, thank you very much for coming on. 

Appreciate it.

CARLSON:  Thanks, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Rachel stays with us.  Now, the growing calls for the criminal prosecution, criminal, of former attorney general Alberto Gonzales.  The U.S. inspector general could soon recommend Gonzales be prosecuted for lying about the U.S. attorney firings or other alleged at the Congress last week.  Gonzales retained a high profile defense lawyer.  Apparently, he’s refusing to answer questions from the inspector general.

My take.  Gonzales’ politicization of the Office of the Attorney General is unprecedented.  He’ll be remembered as one of the worst attorney generals ever.  But I’m not convinced that they’ll actually prosecute him.  Joining us now, is Attorney Robert Raben, who work with the Justice Department during the Clinton’s administration.  Thanks for coming on.  Appreciate it.  Do you think they’re actually going to prosecute him?

ROBERT RABEN, FORMER DOJ OFFICIAL:  I think they may well.

ABRAMS:  Really?

RABEN:  Well, it’s a high hurdle.  I think you are going to see a very important report come out of the Department of Justice.  There’s an inspector general who is right now looking at whether or not there’s enough evidence to go forward with a recommendation on the criminal referral.  This has happened before and it’s always very, very complicated and difficult.

ABRAMS:  Right.  But let’s be clear.  This is - we’re talking about potentially prosecuting the former attorney general of the United States.  And I would think that the hurdle would be very high, despite what I just said about his performance, but you think that it’s still a real possibility that he’ll be prosecuted essentially for lying?

RABEN:  Well, the evidence is bad.  It’s a very high hurdle, but not a higher hurdle or a lower hurdle because he was the attorney general.  He’s a citizen of the United States and we’re all treated the same.  And earlier this year, Steven Grose from the Department of Interior was sent to prison for ten months for lying to Congress.  The charges that people are talking about are dreadfully serious.  It’s lying to Congress.  It’s tampering with witness, its possible obstruction of justice.  They’re serious.  The FBI takes it seriously; the Department of Justice takes it seriously.  Now, there’ll be a tremendous political overlay.  We’re going to hear a lot of conversation about it, but you ask is it possible that we’ll see a prosecution and absolutely it’s possible.

ABRAMS:  Well, you know, Rachel, we have to say wow before we even discuss this, the idea of the former attorney general of the United States being prosecuted for statements that he made while he was attorney general about being attorney general.

MADDOW:  Right.

ABRAMS:  It’s pretty amazing.

MADDOW:  Yes, and especially because the context in which he will have been caught out lying if he does get caught out lying for this stuff is itself a huge justice scandal.  What he’ll get nailed for if he gets nailed is lying to Congress about how involved he was in firing U.S. attorneys for political partisan reasons or in coaching witnesses because of that investigation.  That itself is such a like core of the republic scandal and for him to get nailed in conjunction with that I think that would be earth shattering.

ABRAMS:  You think it’s going to happen?

MADDOW:  It’s political whether or not it happens.  It depends on how much of a hard break the Bush administration and this new attorney general wants with Alberto Gonzales’ legacy.

ABRAMS:  Robert Raben, Rachel Maddow, good to see you in the house.

MADDOW:  Thanks, nice to see you, too.

ABRAMS:  Up next: The man who made the statue of liberty disappear now being investigated for a possible rape.  The FBI searched the secret warehouse where David Copperfield keeps his tricks.  Does this mean all of his secrets are out?  We’ll talk to two magicians who know him well.

And a new report says it’s not media hype, children being abused by teachers is an epidemic.  More than 2500 reported cases of sexual misconduct by teachers in the past five years.  Some now infamous teachers speak out about why they did it.  Coming up.


ABRAMS:  Tonight, magician, David Copperfield cancels an upcoming magic show in Southeast Asia as the FBI looks into allegations the master illusionist sexually assaulted a Seattle woman.  Copperfield’s lawyer says the allegations are untrue.  FBI agents searched Copperfield’s massive warehouse and museum of magic history.  Hidden inside a mysterious nondescript Las Vegas building that few get to see, to enter, apparently you have the grab the breasts of a mannequin which opens a secret passageway.  Inside awaits the very props that hold the keys to Copperfield”s greatest illusions.  But now the FBI has searched the building, are his greatest secrets in danger of getting out.  Joining me now, two friends of Copperfield, Kozak the magician, and the amazing Jonathan.  They will be holding their third annual Halloween haunt at the Sizzles (ph) mortuary in Las Vegas.  Thank you very much for both of you for coming on.  Appreciate it.  Alright, let me ask you both, Kozak let me start with you, how big a deal is it to Copperfield as a magician that the FBI is now has access to his secret warehouse?

KOZAK THE MAGICIAN:  Well, I think it’s a huge deal.  I mean, I think it would be a huge deal to anybody to have the FBI come into your private quarters, especially so for David.  I mean, you know, you have to understand this is his warehouse where he stores all of his equipment.  I mean, all of the - his full repertoire of illusions since he was 12 years old is stored there.  And also it is a museum.  He has the world’s largest private collection of magic and memorabilia.  So it’s historical.  And also it’s where he creates all of his illusions.

ABRAMS:  That’s what I want to ask you about, because those of us on the outside think of it in the way that the movie “The Illusionist” for example, let me play a quick piece of sound from that movie.  They’re determined in this movie to find out how he does it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did he do it again?  How does he do it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I’m afraid I still don’t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did you ask him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He stopped talking at this point.


KOZAK:  Every magician needs to protect all of his creations, his illusions, especially somebody like David on his level, because it is just like the film “The Illusionist” and “The prestige,” you know, there is a competitiveness amongst magicians.  We try to protect all of our own situations.

ABRAMS:  Jonathan, let me ask you, I mean, will seeing the items in that warehouse automatically give away the secrets or do you have to actually - ?  Go ahead and tell me.

THE AMAZING JONATHAN:  No, definitely not.

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, tell me.

JONATHAN:  Most of is stuff is packed in road cases and it’s not displayed.  Even if you saw it displayed, you wouldn’t know the secret of it.  I just think the FBI is probably trying to get the secrets so they can open their own show in Vegas, and those of us who haven’t had a magic show here in Vegas yet.  But no, they couldn’t go through his finest key—he’s very discreet and very secretive.

ABRAMS:  You say that -

JONATHAN:  Even to us magicians, we don’t even get to see, you know.

ABRAMS:  You were saying to me that they might be able to find things, they wouldn’t know exactly how they work.  Can you give us sense?  Show me a piece of magic, how you do it, and then why it might not make a difference if they were able to find one of the items.

JONATHAN:  OK.  Here’s a straw.  I take a straw and put it up my nose.  Now, if you saw that straw lying on a table, you wouldn’t know how I just did that, you know?  And you might even put it in your drink afterwards, which would be really nasty.  But I mean, no, we may design things to look like they’re ordinary.  You know, so they would walk around and they would see ordinary objects.  And when in fact it might be, you know a safe where he keeps tapes.

ABRAMS:  Kozak and the amazing Jonathan, thanks very much for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.

JONATHAN:  You’re welcome.

ABRAMS:  Coming up a new report proves what I’ve said for years, that these women teachers occasionally abusing a teenage boy are not the real problem in this country.  It’s the guys.  According to a big new investigation, we take a look.

Plus caught on tape, Bill Maher flips out on a protester, kicks him out of his HBO studio, saying it’s the only time he’s defended George bush.  That’s up next on Beat the Press.


ABRAMS:   It’s time for tonight’s “Beat the Press.”  First up: Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, had radical Conservative commentator, Ann Coulter on his show and did not press her about the comments she made that Jews, quote, need to be perfected.  We weren’t the only ones to notice in a rare moment of candor, on that taped program.  What of his usually, psychopathic guest, Barry Goldberg took O’Reilly to task.  And listen to O’Reilly’s ludicrous explanation.


BARRY GOLDBERG:  I was waiting for you to french kiss.  it was -

BILL O’REILLY:  I ignored the controversy.  I never debate theology with a non-theologian ever.  I want everybody to know, all right, that I did feel that it was a worthy conversation because she’s not a theologian.


ABRAMS:  He doesn’t debate it with non-theologians, alright?  I mean, does anyone believe that?  The examples of him doing that are endless.  My favorite was last October, he asked Atty. Hiram Sasser who represented a pastor to quote a passage in the bible from the book of Matthew.  And debated Sasser about the definition of the passage, that’s known as a religious debate with a non-theologian.  Giving Coulter a pass on her comments is known as a favor to a political ally.

Next on up: Sticking up with double standards of “O’Reilly Factor,” later on the same show, anchor Laurie Dhue, read a letter from a viewer and asking him about his comment referring to both right and left wing loon.  And asked him to name a right loon, he gave the broad answer talk radio guys.  But to her credit, she pressed him.


LAURIE DHUE, NEWS ANCHOR:  You’re not going to name names?

O’REILLY:  For me to get in a—with these guys, I’m not—it’s inconsequential, but it’s there in the marketplace.  These people are primarily entertainers and that’s who I’m talking about.


ABRAMS:  Right.  The right wing loons are primarily entertainers.  He’s not going to name them.  When it comes to the people and organizations he referred to left wing loons, he’s happy to name.  The Daily Kos, George Soros, Moveon.org, Tim Robbins and the other reporter who crosses O’Reilly, fair and balanced.  Finally, to someone who actually is a tough interviewer, Bill Maher, he had some 9/11 conspiracy theorists infiltrate his live studio audience Friday night and dealt with them.


BILL MAHER:  Hey, do we have some (bleep) security in this building? 

Or do I have to come over and kick this guy’s (bleep)?

Is it that hard to throw somebody out of a building?



MAHER:  I’ll kick your (bleep) out of here, too.  Get out.  This isn’t the Iowa caucus.  OK?  It’s not a debate.


ABRAMS:  He actually then went and helped remove them.  Nice job, Bill.  Bill will be on the show next week.

We need your help beating the press, if you see anything amusing, absurd, right or wrong, please go to our website: Abrams.msnbc.com, leave us a tip in the box.  Please include the show and the time you saw the item.

Up next: You see those stories that had female teachers preying on little boy, male students.  About a new report says what I’ve said all along, those attractive female teachers occasionally abusing a teen are not the real problem.  It seems clear that the men must be dealt with more harshly.

This new report is frightening.  And you’re looking at live pictures, more than a quarter of a million people, a quarter of a million, out of their homes tonight.  California’s wildfire is burning out of control, threatening homes from San Diego to Santa Barbara.  Coming up.




ABRAMS:  You are looking at live pictures from California.  A dozen fires burning more than 200,000 acres covered in ash and debris.  And it is not over; 250,000 people, yes, a quarter of a million, asked to leave their homes in San Diego County alone, many staying at the home of the San Diego Chargers, Qualcomm Stadium, out of the fire’s reach. 

There are more homes burning than there are firefighters and engine companies to fight them.  The number of homes lost is in the hundreds, dozens injured,  and no one is certain of the total yet.  This is a national catastrophe. 

Reporter David Bienick from our Sacramento station, KCRA, joins us from Rancho Bernardo, a suburb of San Diego.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  Tell us what’s going on? 

DAVID BIENICK, KCRA REPORTER:  Right now, as you say, the numbers are still very preliminary, but by our total, there are at least 160 homes that are burned here in San Diego, in and around San Diego alone, including this one behind me here in the Rancho Bernardo neighborhood n the north part of San Diego County. 

Take a look.  Just the garage doors, some nails left on the ground, here’s a beam that was on the front of the house here.  There are two major fires burning just in San Diego County alone.  The Harris Fire down by the border, that is 20,000 acres, zero percent contained, they tell us.  Then closer up here in the northern part of San Diego County, we have the witch fire, and that’s 12,000 acres.  Interestingly enough, it is burning pretty much in the same path as the huge cedar fire of four years ago, and that turned out to be the biggest fire in California history.  Some of the neighborhoods people might not recognize - Poway 50 homes destroyed, Escondido, 70 home destroyed.  Here in Rancho Bernardo, they haven’t yet done the counting.  We drove around and we did a quarter mile.  We see three dozen homes that have burned, Dan.  

ABRAMS:  Wow, I mean we are looking at these pictures.  These are live pictures.  This is astounding, what we’re looking at.  When you - the fact that 250,000 people have been told to leave their homes in the San Diego area, could be though just the beginning.  Isn’t that right? 

BIENICK:  That’s right.  There was a massive backup on the freeways and the streets as people took heed of the evacuation orders this morning.  Fortunately, those orders came down around 3:00, so when most of the homes started burning between 5:00 and 9:00 a.m., people were already gone. 

And it didn’t take too much convincing when they started to see that indeed the homes were burning.  They are not going to be able to come back to this neighborhood any time soon.  As you can see, this home which burned - what now, six, seven hours ago - is still smoldering tonight.  The winds are still picking up.  And in fact, at times with the ashes blowing off this home, it feels like a snow storm here in San Diego, Dan.  

ABRAMS:  David, finally you said something about it being zero percent contained in one area.  That is a frightening statistic. 

BIENICK:  That’s right.  That’s specifically the Harris Fire down near the border with Mexico where one person has died already.  For people not familiar with fighting wild fires, containment is when they just try to encircle the fire, get it 100 percent contained.  Zero percent containment means they haven’t even started putting a line around this fire yet.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  David, thanks a lot for that report.  We appreciate it.

When 23-year-old Debra LaFave had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy, many said as they had with other teacher sex stories, “Ah, just media hype.  Manufactured scandal.”  Well, there’s a new Associated Press survey which shows that sex crimes in schools by teachers and administrators is an alarming reality.  From 2001 to 2005, more than 2500 teachers punished for sexual misconduct.  So why do they do it?  Some answer that question in their own words. 


DEBRA LAFAVE, FORMER TEACHER:  He wanted it.  And yes, I gave it to him, because at that point in time I was already in the mode of wanting to please him. 

MATT LAUER, “TODAY” CO-ANCHOR:  A 14-year-old boy, a very attractive 23-year-old teacher.  He’s had sex with you.  Weren’t you scared to death he would tell someone? 

LAFAVE:  Obviously not, because I did it again. 

LAUER:  And again.  

LAFAVE:  And again.  I kind of developed this idea that it was my role, in order to make a man, guy, boy happy, I had to do my part, which was pleasing him in that way.  

LAUER:  But you felt it was your duty.  You didn’t really feel as if you had a choice.  

LAFAVE:  Exactly. 

JOSH MANKIEWICZ, “DATELINE NBC CORRESPONDENT”:  How does a 34-year-old woman fall for a 13-year-old boy? 

MARY KAY LETOURNEAU, FORMER TEACHER:  He’s quite the man, and was back then, actually. 

MANKIEWICZ:  And what were you worried about? 

LETOURNEAU:  His mother getting angry.  

MANKIEWICZ:  You weren’t thinking to yourself, “I could be fired, I could go to jail?” 

LETOURNEAU:  Oh, no.  It was really a great, great frustration that I have a job, and I was determined to do it, and he wasn’t taking it seriously. 

MANKIEWICZ:  Well, he was 13. 


MANKIEWICZ:  I mean, when you say that, you’re kind of expecting him to act and have some responsibility that an adult would have.  At the time, he was not an adult, he was 13.  

LETOURNEAU:  Yes.  There was an air about him that was older. 

PAMELA ROGER, FORMER TEACHER:  You know heartbroken my spirit was.  I don’t know how I could have got to the point to have made the decisions that I’ve made.  And I don’t know what I was thinking.  And it is clear that I wasn’t thinking.  I was blinded by emotions.  I betrayed my profession, and that’s what I’m truly ashamed of.  Please, have mercy with your judgment. 


ABRAMS:  All right.  Well, look, these women all were punished.  I think of many of them as being pathetic.  This new study proves that I’ve been saying for years, even though only 29 percent of American teachers are male, they are responsible for 90 percent of the sexual abuse cases. 

Therefore, it is more important to punish the men with tougher sentences, because societal stereotypes whether you like them or not, victims of male assault, be them boys or girls, will more likely suffer long-term damage.  I’m not saying there are not horrible examples involving women or that they should get light punishments.  I’m saying now we have the statistics.  Teachers preying on children is a real phenomenon, not media created, and the problem is with male teachers. 

Here now is Brian Russell, forensic psychologist and lawyer, defense attorney Ann Bremner who represented Mary Kay Letourneau, and defense attorney Mickey Sherman.  Thanks to all of you for coming on.  Appreciate it. 

All right, Dr. Russell, I mean - isn’t it clear now that we’ve got this new study, A, that this is a real problem, and B, that it’s the men, men, men who are the problems? 

BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST AND LAWYER:  Dan, it’s an epidemic, and it hurts most male and female students.  And the way to stop it is not to say to 70 percent of the teaching population, the female teachers, “Hey, were going to go soft on if you do this.” 

ABRAMS:  But Mickey, we can’t say that’s a nice thing to say, and I’m not suggesting that they get off.  The bottom line is, though, when it comes to sending a message as we talk about in the criminal justice system, this new study shows that 90 percent of the people who are engaging in the sex abuse of kids are men, even though they’re only 29 percent of the teachers.  

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  The men have that power.  They have that total - not Svengali, but they have control over the girls.  They’re the coaches; they’re the handsome guy that teaches math.  This is no great revelation to people who work in the criminal justice world, prosecutors and defense attorneys like myself.  We’ve known this forever.  It’s nothing new.

ABRAMS:  All right.  But Ann, I mean - is it fair then now that we have the statistics, to say that it’s OK for the criminal justice system to say it’s more important to send this message to the men in terms of a criminal sentence? 

ANN BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Right.  Absolutely, Dan, you are right.  I had the Mary Kay Letourneau case and talked to you about that case on the air back then.  The fact is, you know, women are not committing these crimes.  They’re the men. 

And I have a case right now against a SAILS school district with a pedophile fifth grade teacher who has been a pedophile by his own admission for 30 years with fifth grade girls.  And these are repeat offenders - the men.  The women usually get, you know, diagnosis that are demonized because they tend to fall in love and be emotional.  They’re an anomaly in all of this.  

ABRAMS:  Dr. Russell, what about that? 

RUSSELL:  OK, first of all, you know, you don’t - I’m an attorney also, and you don’t say to this car thief over here, “You know, you’re going to get a life punishment because you stole a rich person’s car and they had three other cars but this car thief over here who stole somebody who had one car’s car, you are going to get punished.” 


ABRAMS:  I’m asking you to put on your doctor’s hat for a minute.  I’m going to ask you and you’re going to tell me that you think that the long-term psychological damage is equal when the aggressor, when the perpetrator is a man or a woman when it comes to these teacher sex cases? 

RUSSELL:  I think the immediate damage is probably greater if the victim is a female, but I don’t know about the long-term damage.  I think these kids - these guys do get damaged in the long term in ways that we don’t see right away.  For example, the trust issues, relationship issues later in life with women of their own age.  

ABRAMS:  But Ann, does it make me a sexist that I feel sorrier for some of these women? 

BREMNER:  No, it doesn’t make you a sexist.  And I agree with you because there’s a reason for having this opinion, Dan, and it’s is two things.  Women aren’t predatory.  They don’t have multiple victims where we need to give them longer sentences.  And also women can be rehabilitated. 

And there are studies, because of the societal concerns or more, it’s like

“The Summer of ‘42,” “Hot for Teacher,” (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Mrs. Robinson -


ABRAMS:  Mickey, let me read you this stat.  Here’s the new study, - 2570 educators punished for sexual misconduct over five years, the majority of the victims female, nearly 90 percent of the offenders male.  

SHERMAN:  Again, that’s no shock to me.  The question is the fact that they’re male as opposed to female, should they be treated more harshly?  I mean - I agree with you.  I know it is politically incorrect to say, “Well, I think that men, when they victimize women, is of greater harm than when the women victimize the boys. 

And I think that the LaFave case and Letourneau - there were some aberrations.  I mean, Letourneau’s a nut case.  Sorry, Ann.  But she fell in love with guy who’s like 9.  Debra LaFave is like a 15-year-old’s dream come true.  These are the actual aberrations.  The typical case is a guy that victimizes the girl, and they are treated more harsh - I mean, there’s no question of it.  So it’s not just my opinion.  The criminal justice system, when they punish men, they punish men a lot more severely. 

ABRAMS:  And do you have a problem with that? 

SHERMAN:  I’m supposed to, but honestly, I don’t.  

ABRAMS:  Dr. Russell, final word on this?  I’ve got to wrap it up.

RUSSELL:  You don’t punish people more harshly depending on what gender they are, and you don’t punish people strictly based on how much damage they did.  If it’s a crime, it’s a crime whether committed by a male or female perp. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Dr. Brian Russell, Ann Bremner, Mickey Sherman, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it.

Up next, a father returns home from Iraq after 15 months looking forward to seeing his baby born while he was away.  Instead police find her little body in her mother’s attic.  We’ve got the 911 call.  

And later “Comedy Central’s” Stephen Colbert meets the press and tells Tim Russert he’s running for president and he’s in it to win it.  Well, at least he wants to win one delegate in the South Carolina presidential primary.  He’s up in “Winners and Losers.”



ABRAMS:  You are looking live at pictures of Malibu, California, where the authorities there are saying it is eight percent contained.  Just eight percent.  These massive wildfires that have led to the evacuation of 250,000 people from San Diego - they’re now saying it could be at least a week before these fires are contained.  We are staying on this story.  Back in a moment.


ABRAMS:  In North Carolina tonight, a soldier, who spent 15 months in Iraq, came home to find the baby girl he was looking forward to meeting for the first time dead.  Her mother now charged with murder. 

Authorities found the badly decomposed body of 11-month-old Harmony Jay Creech stuffed in a diaper box stored in the attic.  The baby was reported missing on Friday.  Authorities issued a statewide AMBER Alert after this 911 call from the baby’s grandmother.  Now, Harmony’s mother is the one crying in the background. 


OPERATOR:  What was she last seen wearing.

GRANDMOTHER:  What was she last seen wearing?

JOHNI MICHELLE HEUSER, MOTHER OF THE BABY:  She was wearing little pink pajamas that said “Daddy’s Girl.”  Oh, oh.  (SOBBING)

GRANDMOTHER:  She was wearing pink pajamas that said, “Daddy’s.”  OK, calm down, calm down.  It’s OK.  It’s OK.  The father just got home from Iraq just a few hours ago and we went into the bedroom to get the baby.  The bedroom window to the baby’s room is open.  (MOTHER SOBBING) Shh. OK, we’ll find her.


ABRAMS:  Now, the baby’s mother, the one you heard there crying in the background, Johni Michelle Heuser, is being charged with first degree murder and accused of fabricating that story.  


LARRY ROWLAND, HARNETT COUNTY SHERIFF:  She lied to us and to everyone else from the start right up until the time she had to explain that child’s remains in that attic.  


ABRAMS:  Joining me now, Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rowland and MSNBC legal analyst Susan Filan.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  All right.  Sheriff, how do you know she was lying? 

ROWLAND:  Well, just based on everything we saw at the scene, we were very suspicious, obviously, at the beginning.  We had a statement that she has given at this time telling that the child had been dead for three to four weeks and she had placed the child in the attic.  So we have that statement from her at this time.  

ABRAMS:  And you found remains that made it clear that she was not alive at the time of that 911 call, right? 

ROWLAND:  That’s evident now, yes.  The remains that we have at this time were skeleton remains.  We believe, like I say, the child had been dead three to four weeks.  

ABRAMS:  Now, are you convinced that she premeditated this murder?  Is it possible the baby died by accident, mommy freaks out, puts the baby somewhere because doesn’t want to tell daddy who is away in Iraq? 

ROWLAND:  Well, at this point, it’s an active investigation, obviously.  There are a lot of things that we still must seek out to find the truth.  A lot of scenarios you could put out there.  And that’s - of course what we’re doing now is following all the leads that we do have continuing that investigation to seek the truth. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Susan, I want to play you another piece of sound from the 911 tape, then I want to ask you about it. 


OPERATOR:  When was the last time somebody laid eyes on her?

GRANDMOTHER:  When was the last time you laid eyes on her?

HEUSER:  Last night, around 11:30.  Right after you left, I fed her.

GRANDMOTHER:  Just after 11:30 last night when she fed the baby.


GRANDMOTHER:  I know.  I know.

OPERATOR:  So the dad just got home today and you all just want to get the baby up?

GRANDMOTHER:  I can’t hear you.  Ron, take her.  I’m sorry.  She is really distraught.


ABRAMS:  But, Susan Filan, to be charged with first degree murder, it means they had to have something more than just she was lying on that 911 tape? 


probable cause to charge her.  My surmise is that it’s the statement that

she made.  Not just all of the inconsistent statements, because she lied

every which way until Sunday, but there is more in what they said.  And

also the way the corpse was disposed of, in a plastic bag, in a diaper box


ABRAMS:  Can you use that, Susan - can you use that to presume that she premeditated the murder? 

FILAN:  You’re going to have to find the coroner’s tests, which are going to be difficult to do on skeletal remains.  But you’re going to have to find cause of death.  And my guess - because I read the North Carolina’s statute very carefully - is one of the elements of first degree murder can be starvation.  And we know that the baby should have been about 16 pounds.  We know the skeleton was so light that they thought it was an empty Pampers box, but it was a corpse wrapped in a plastic bag.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Terrible case.  All right, Sheriff, Susan Filan, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

FILAN:  You got it.

ROWLAND:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, will tonight’s big winner or loser of the day be two dozen cross dressers who bared almost all, hoping to win the title of, Miss Tranny, 2007?  A California crook who stripped the Dutch bakery bare of a six-foot wooden clog?  Or the city of Philadelphia who, according to “Travel and Leisure” magazine, barely has any attractive people living there.  Not my words, theirs.  Up next, “Winners and Losers.”  Coming up.


ABRAMS:  It’s time for tonight’s “Winners and Losers” for this 22nd day of October, 2007.  Our first winners, 2,000 transvestites willing to bare almost all for the chance of being named Miss Tranny, 2007.  The cross dressers descend on the Philippines for the beauty pageant, competing in categories like best swimsuit and most glamorous evening gown.  


JIM CAREY, ACTOR:  Oh, my god! Einhorn is a man!


ABRAMS:  Now, if you’re having a hard time believing these gals are guys, the telltale sign would be their big - uh, feet.  Our first loser, the California crook who nabbed a shoe designed for very big feet.  The tall-tale looking six-foot wooden clog swiped from this Dutch bakery.  


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It’s unbelievable for me how people could take it.  


ABRAMS:  The bulky boot, hard to hide, and yet still missing.  Its $5,000 price tag makes it one lucrative loafer.  Our second loser, the apparently less than beautiful residents of Philadelphia.  A new “Travel and Leisure” magazine survey finds that the city of brotherly love is home to the least attractive people in the country.  


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Cheese steak.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Cheese steak.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Cheese steak.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Cheese steak.  


ABRAMS:  And to add insult to injury, also the least stylish and least friendly, according to the mag.  I guess this dog town must welcome the arrival of Halloween and its masks. 

Our second winners, stylish New York dogs clad in Halloween masks.  The costumed canines took to the catwalk Sunday sporting classic New York outfits, past and present.  The pooches paraded around to raise awareness for pet adoption, a worthy cause and one that has certainly gotten a lot of attention this week. 


ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, “THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW”:  Those people went and took that dog out of their home and took it away from those kids.  And I feel totally responsible for it.  I’m so sorry.  And I’m begging them to give that dog back to that family. 


ABRAMS:  But the big loser of the day?  A roman ref caught red handed dousing the city’s most famous fountain with red paint.  The prankster picked up on surveillance cameras pouring red dye into the famed Trevi fountain.  A radical right-wing group took responsibility for the act, giving new meaning to the phrase “painting the town red.” 

But the big winner of the day?  Fake right wing presidential candidate Stephen Colbert, whose appeal to Red State voters landed him on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”


STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN:  I would say to everybody, this is not a dream, OK.  You’re not going to wake up from this, OK.  I’m far realer than Sam Brownback, let me put it that way.  

ABRAMS (voice over):  Colbert announced his run for the White House on his show last week.  He told Tim Russert he doesn’t really want to be president, he just wants to run.

COLBERT:  Are you a son of South Carolina?


COLBERT:  You know a lot about the state?


COLBERT:  What’s the state amphibian? 

RUSSERT:  The state amphibian?


RUSSERT:  It’s my dog cookie.  

COLBERT:  No, no.  

RUSSERT:  She swims and she goes on land.  

COLBERT:  It’s the spotted salamander.  That’s easy.  What the state flower, sir? 

RUSSERT:  Go ahead.  

COLBERT:  The confederate jasmine also known as the yellow jasmine.  

RUSSERT:  Well done.  What’s the state motto? 

COLBERT:  Dum spiro spero. 

RUSSERT:  Which means?

COLBERT:  While I breathe, I hope.  Come on.  I thought you had better researchers.  You can’t nail me with harder things than this? 

RUSSERT:  Gay marriage,


RUSSERT:  This is again from the Colbert bible.  The biggest threat, you say, facing America today next to socialized medicine, the Dyson(ph) vacuum cleaner and the recumbent bicycle.  That to you - that means it’s a serious threat to our culture.  

COLBERT:  Right.  It’s -


COLBERT:  Excuse me? 


COLBERT:  Why is gay marriage?  Marriage is the basic building block of society.  And if gay men get married, that threatens my marriage immediately because I only got married as a taunt toward gay men because they couldn’t. 

RUSSERT:  So it makes you feel insecure? 

COLBERT:  Well, I just don’t know why else I got married other than to rub it in gay people’s faces.  

RUSSERT:  If you are trounced in South Carolina—

COLBERT:  All right.  Here’s the attack.  Go ahead.  

RUSSERT:  A simple question. 

COLBERT:  Yes, I’m trounced.  

RUSSERT:  What happens then? 

COLBERT:  Well, it’s proportional voting on the democratic side.  All I need is enough votes on the democratic side to get one delegate.  And I’ll feel like I’ve won.  Because if at the democratic national convention, somebody has to stand up and say, the proud state of South Carolina, The Palmetto State, the home of the great peaches and shrimp in the world, cast their one vote for native son, Stephen Colbert, I’d say I won.

ABRAMS:  See you tomorrow.

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.

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