updated 10/30/2007 11:40:51 AM ET 2007-10-30T15:40:51

Guests: Michael Reagan, Joan Walsh, Tim Burns, Nelson Levesque, Tom Morris, Pam Bondi, Genarlow Wilson, Merry Miller

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  A rough weekend for the administration.  A feel-good confirmation hearing for a, quote, “Consensus attorney general candidate,” now clouded with controversy after he refused to say that, yes, water boarding is torture.  What was supposed to be a feel-good press conference from FEMA turns out to be not such a feel-good affair, after it turns out to be a fake.  And the first lady not immune—her feel-good trip to the Middle East now the subject of right wing attacks.  Her sin?  Donning a head scarf.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Of course, Mrs.  Bush, with a higher profile, almost inevitably comes criticism.  And some Conservatives in this country are upset with you.  We have picture up there on the screen of you for putting on a scarf.

LAURA BUSH, PRES. BUSH WIFE:  Oh, really?

UNIDENTIFIEDD MALE:  By a Saudi doctor.  Let me put a blast, if you will, from the “Weekly Standard” - “That she would oblige her host by wearing a shmata - which is scarf on her head is a tacit endorsement of Islam‘s subjugation of women.

LAURA BUSH:  They want American women to know what they‘re like and these women do not see covering as some sort of subjugation of women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Well, at least she was answering real questions about it, not so over at FEMA, where they now admit they literally staged a press conference on the California wildfires last week with their own public affairs personnel impersonating reporters and then lobbing softball questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE) from Katrina have been applied?

PAT PHILBIN:  Katrina is like it‘s their day, it is their night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you happy with FEMA‘s response so far?

PHILBIN:  I‘m very happy with FEMA‘s response so far.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  No question for this administration.  It has not been easy answering real questions from real reporters.  Former White House press secretary Tony Snow was on THE TONIGHT SHOW Friday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY SNOW, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  There are always moments in every press secretary where it is just like biting on foil.

JAY LENO, HOST:  Biting on foil?  I like that.

SNOW:  Yes, you know what your day‘s going to be like.  I mean,

everybody, everyone‘s -

LENO:  But you bite on foil more than most, probably.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But when it comes to tough questions on tough issues, no one has manufactured trouble more than supposed attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey, at least he was supposed to be an easy, a shoo-in candidate, now getting a kick from Senate Democrats and some Republicans after refusing to say that being bound to a board with feet raised, cellophane wrapped over the face, then water poured over the prisoner to simulate drowning, water boarding is torture, as was evidenced in this simulation from current TV.  Instead he simulated a response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) RHODE ISLAND:  Is water boarding Constitutional?

MICHAEL MUKASEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE:  I don‘t know what‘s involved in the technique.  If water boarding is torture, torture is not Constitutional.

WHITEHOUSE:  If water boarding is Constitutional is a massive hedge.

MUKASEY:  No, I said if it‘s torture, I‘m sorry I said if it‘s torture.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now, some Republicans have been joining Democrats in condemning Mukasey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If he does not believe that water boarding is illegal, then that would really put doubts in my own mind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The question is why won‘t he just say yes?  It‘s torture.  And get us past these sometimes tortured hearings.  Joining us to talk about all these topics, great panel—radio host Michael Reagan, Joan Walsh of Salon.com and MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan.  Alright, let‘s start with this issue on Mukasey and torture.  Michael, now you‘ve got some Republicans coming out saying to him—just say that it‘s torture.  It‘s clearly torture.  Why won‘t he just say that and move on?

MICHAEL REAGAN, RADIO HOST:  Maybe there‘s different degrees of water torture, Dan, or water boarding, shall I say.  And you‘re talking some Republicans, you‘re talking about Lindsey Graham and you‘re talking about John McCain.  Lindsey Graham went there these two years ago when he was doing every television show on the planet about torture.  They passed a piece of legislation, added it to Defense Authorization bill.  I thought that was fought two years ago.  But Lindsey Graham, who is tied to John McCain keeps on bringing up the very same issues.  The only two that really after it, and there‘s a lot of people who believe in fact Lindsey Graham should be the one water boarding.

ABRAMS:  You know, gentlemen, it just seems to me this guy is supposed to be their consensus candidate, right?  This is going to be their easy one.  They weren‘t going to have to worry about Mukasey and all he‘s got to say—and he can still say it—is yes, this technique is torture.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM:  But I‘ll tell you why he didn‘t say it, Dan.  There‘s a real reason.  He says in his testimony, you know, I don‘t want to talk about this because right now there may be somebody using this interrogation technique.  They‘ve been ordered to do it.  I don‘t want to call it torture just to be genial.  I mean, it‘s way more than being genial.  It‘s crucial that he answer this question.  But there‘s a reason.  People are probably being tortured.

ABRAMS:  But Pat, he‘s also faking it.  He‘s pretending that all this issue may come in front of me and as a result I may have to evaluate all the evidence.  I mean, I assume if they asked him, you know, when you peel nails off someone‘s finger, is that torture, he wouldn‘t have to say, hey, wait a sec., it depends on which nail, it depends on how it is done, if it was removed in a clinically secure environment - it is possible he would not be - he would just say, yes, torture.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Why not - look, there are

reports that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was water boarded and he gave up a

tremendous number of names of al Qaeda killers and that saved an enormous

amount of lives.  Now, I don‘t know if that‘s true, and Mukasey doesn‘t

know if that‘s true.  He doesn‘t want to make a statement which is going to

come back to be used against him or against the administration which may

have used this technique.  I can understand this.  The cowardice here is on

the part of the Congress of the United States.  If it believes that using

simulated drowning or water boarding is torture, define it as torture, put

in it the law, say under no circumstances is it going to be used -

ABRAMS:  Why does Congress have to outlaw every form of torture—wait, why it is their burden to outlaw every form of torture?

BUCHANAN:  Because they are gutless.  Here‘s why, Dan.

ABRAMS:  That doesn‘t answer my question.

BUCHANAN:  We sit here and they‘re out there and say, don‘t torture or we‘ll finish you off and then when the administration comes back, what can and what we can‘t do dealing with the terrorists who may have planted a bomb that‘s going to kill a lot of people.  Define what we can and can‘t do, Dan.

(CROSSTALK)

REAGAN:  If I can jump in.  What Pat‘s saying is that it is up to Congress to make that determination.  What they do is that they love to have the issue but never like to solve it.  Let‘s get out of Iraq, but let‘s not passed legislation de-fund Iraq because we don‘t want to be blamed for it.  So, all they do is to give you the issue day and night, day and night, day and night, and they absolutely do nothing about it.  They would never use the issue so you can use it that actually do any thing about it.

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to finish this up, but it sure sounds like that that‘s just the ultimate passing the buck.

WALSH:  They‘re passing the buck.  If the attorney general can‘t say what‘s torture and what‘s not torture, what do we have him for in.

ABRAMS:  I mean, it‘s the attorney general of the United States, and respectively, he can say it‘s torture?

BUCHANAN:  Then why doesn‘t Congress define it, Dan?  If it‘s torture, Congress should say it‘s torture.

ABRAMS:  There‘s a list of a lot of things we‘re taking about.  We‘d like to move on, the invented controversy over the head scarf that first lady, Laura Bush worn in Saudi Arabia.  The conservative magazine, the “Weekly Standard” calling it Bush‘s fashion sent quote, “Tacit endorsements of Islam‘s subjugation of women.”  The newly feminist “Weekly Standard.”  Joan, I mean, is this even an issue?

WALSH:  It‘s a ridiculous issue.  You know, the only place in the world that I‘ve been asked to cover myself is at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem by a nice orthodox lady who wanted my shirt buttoned higher.  Many cultures do have the standards for women and it‘s a matter of respect to go into someone‘s culture and comport yourself in a certain way.  And I would completely support Laura Bush on this.

ABRAMS:  Mike, do you support Laura Bush on this?

REAGAN:  Listen.  Laura Bush is absolutely right on this.  (INAUDIBLE) if you go to the Vatican, you better cover your head if you‘re a female before you enter the Vatican.

ABRAMS:  I agree.  Pat, you agree?

WALSH:  Sure.

BUCHANAN:  Look, I went into Roman Catholic churches in the 1950s and

‘40s, every girl, every woman covers her head.  You cover your head when

you see -

ABRAMS:  Manufactured controversy.  I agree.

BUCHANAN:  It‘s a sign of respect in a person‘s home or the person‘s country (ph).

ABRAMS:  Alright.  If it‘s a manufactured controversy, let‘s not waste time.  Speaking of manufactured, they faked FEMA news conference.  FEMA now, this is unbelievable.  They admit they staged a press conference on the California wildfires complete with FEMA employees asking questions.  Well, the guy with the brilliant idea to hold the news conference, FEMA spokesman Pat Philbin, was about to get a new job with the Director of National Intelligence today.  But in what may be an administration first, someone decided not to allow his bad work to be rewarded and now he will not be getting his new gig.  Also today, FEMA administrator, David Paulson apologized for the incident and promised to not make it happen again.  But you know, Pat, it does seem to me like this is one of those few times where someone who really screwed up big time in this administration is actually being held accountable.  Not great job, brownie, but actually, hey, we‘re not giving you that other job.

BUCHANAN:  Well, look, it was a dumb thing to do.  But it‘s very much a misdemeanor.  For heaven‘s sakes the guy up there answering the questions, no reporter had to cover what he had to say and he shouldn‘t have put the total props up there.  But journalists themselves should allow from time to time themselves to be used to ask questions, Dan.  It happens in this world.

ABRAMS:  No, no, it doesn‘t happen where you fake everything.  This is funny, Joan, but it also to me reflects a sensibility, a mentality that, you know what?  We‘ll just pull one over.

WALSH:  We‘ll fake our way.  We‘re going to fake our way through.

ABRAMS:  And if they call us on it, so what?

WALSH:  Right.  But on the other hand, the reason people are getting fired, it seems to me, is they‘re so upset that their once chance to show that this isn‘t Katrina got screwed up by their own incompetence.  So, some people are being fired for screwing up PR, not for losing people‘s lives.

ABRAMS:  Michael, did this confirm a spot in the government hall of shame?

REAGAN:  I got to tell you, I just think FEMA felt very lonely that

they weren‘t even needed in California; that the governor and the mayor

actually working together with people that were responsible instead of

irresponsible got everything done in the state of California.  FEMA was

feeling lonely and said, we need to have a press conference; nobody wanted

to go to the press conference and they pull a stupid press conference and 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I promise you, Michael - We all wanted to be at the press conference, we covered the press conference; everyone did, thinking it was real.  Everyone wanted to be there.  It wasn‘t because no one wanted to show up, it was because the bozos over there decided to fake it.  Anyway, I got to wrap it up.

BUCHANAN:  I think Pat Philbin has suffered enough.

ABRAMS:  Alright.  Fair enough.  Michael Reagan, Joan Walsh, Pat Buchanan.  Thanks a lot.

Up next: A beach house fire in a North California resort town kills seven college students.  Others jumped out of windows screaming and struggling to avoid the flames.  We talk to an eye witness live coming up.

And one of America‘s 15 most wanted fugitives is back behind bars on the run for 18 months.  We‘ve got the Dashcam video where he convinces a cop he‘s not the guy they‘re looking for.  This time, they didn‘t get fooled.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Federal officials are in North Carolina right now investigating what caused a beach house captured on this home video to erupt into flames over the weekend.  Seven college students died in the fire, including 19-year-old Allison Walden of Ohio.  Tripp Wylie was one of the six survivors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRIPP WYLIE, BEACH HOUSE FIRE SURVIVOR:  I woke up, and opened up the door, and you just hear it look, popping, the fire and the smoke pouring in.  And just you know, shut the door and just tried to, you know, figuring out what to do next.  And wasn‘t really any way to get down the stairs and out of the house that way.  So I just had to—I pulled the blinds off the window, and kind of kicked in the window and, I mean, that was the only option you really had was you know to jump out.  You couldn‘t jump straight down because the way the cement was on where the canal was.  You had to jump out and just see a buddy of mine who had gotten out and was yelling at me to jump and stuff.  And the smoke was pouring, I couldn‘t really breathe.  So I just had to, you know, make a quick decision and just kind of leaned out the window and luckily I jumped far enough and made it out into the canal, you don‘t this believe happened.  You‘re adrenaline‘s pumping, you‘re thinking—you don‘t even realize how you know you got out yourself.  I hopped out of the water and ran back up the stairs and kind of help the others tried to see if we could even get in.  Got to the top of the stairs and opened that door and just, you know, smoke, flames just you know pouring out.  Just wasn‘t an option at all.

(END VIDEO  CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Joining me now is Tim Burns; he called 911, he helped some of the survivors to safety.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  Alright, tell me what you saw.

TIM BURNS, CALLED 911 AFTER SEEING BEACH HOUSE FIRE:  Yes, sir.  Well, I deliver the morning papers here.  And as I came on to the island, I saw a large plume of smoke coming from the left side the road.  Just island people don‘t burn things.  So I knew something was amiss.  (INAUDIBLE), came out to see what kind of situation I had to deal with as I drove up, you could see the houses around were flickering with the reflected light of the flames.  And suddenly I could see the back side of the house.  The entire back deck was engulfed.  And there was what looked like a large gray room or family room that was engulfed as well.  I turned to the street there were I believe two girls possibly one gentleman huddled kind of in the driveway, they were screaming and hollering.  I asked if 911 had been called.  The response was no, so I called 911.  And at the same time I was getting the 911 operator the information, one of the girls said, we still have people in the house.  And about that time, I was probably screaming at the 911 operator, you got to get here fast.  You‘ve got a structure fire and you have people trapped inside the building.  They really responded very quickly but my thought then was—sure, go ahead.

ABRAMS:  Alright, let me you mentioned the 911 call.  We literally just got this in to us.  We don‘t know who this is calling 911.  But literally, just I have this receive this 911 call that was made at the time of the fire.

(BEGIN SOUND CLIP)

911 OPERATOR:  Is anybody there, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There are people here.

911 OPERATOR:  Could you ask anybody at the scene that can give me an address?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They‘re trapped in the house, lady.

911 OPERATOR:  I know, sir.  I mean, you‘re telling me.  But how can I send somebody if I don‘t know where to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I told you, the address is number one Scotland (ph) street ocean isle beach.

(END SOUND CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That was not you, was it?

BURNS:  That was not me, no.

ABRAMS:  Well, look, obviously there was some confusion there with the 911 operator about exactly where this had occurred.  When you said you saw a number of people outside, and we do know there were about six survivors, they were huddled outside the house, you say?

TIM BURNS:  They were huddled on the driveway, basically screaming, crying and oh, my God this, and oh, my God that.  And the one girl you know screamed we have people in the house.  And I asked how many.  She told me 15.  I‘m going oh, my God, what am I going to do with 15 people?  At that point, I saw the gentleman, who jumped into the water way, he was in the window waving his arms and debating and I thought to me, it looked like he was not going to make the jump, so I went up the entryway, like he said, and tried to get in.  The door was hot.  You don‘t open hot doors in fires. 

So I came back down then and by the time I had come back down, he had already made the jump and was coming up out of the water.  So, I felt good about that, that he seemed to be OK.  He was very distraught, calling a lady, young lady‘s name, which I don‘t remember what the name was at this point in time.  I guess at that point is when he went up to the entryway.  Because I was getting the girls huddled together over here to find out what else I needed.  As far as what kind of people we have where, the fire was really rushing up.  I went back up into the entryway, because I didn‘t realize he‘d gone up there.  Figuring that maybe I could open that door and lay down and let the fire go over top of me and go in and get the girls.  But it was way too hot.  At that point in time the front windows blew out. 

Which means the fire is now back drafting. 

So I came back down.  At the entryway, I was looking—there‘s a hand hanging out the window of the left window.  The girls were screaming.  I told them to keep screaming because the hand would move every time we did that.  And we got the gentleman up and he hung out the window and dropped to the car.

ABRAMS:  Oh, this is a horrible story.  And I think it‘s just a great thing that you called 911.  I should say that the Ocean Isle Beach mayor is saying that the investigator told her it was likely accidental—started on the rear of the house, either on the rear deck or on the west side of the house.  Tim Burns, thank you so much for taking the time.  We appreciate it.

BURNS:  You‘re welcome, thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up: One of America‘s 15 most wanted fugitives is back in custody.  He‘s escaped three times.  Get this, on the lamb he sends the prison warden a Christmas card.  That is after he fooled a police officer into believing he was just a guy out for a run.  We have that officer‘s humiliating dash cam tape.

Plus FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly is furious the media has not been covering good news out of Iraq, that no Americans and Iraqis were killed last week.  The problem, it‘s not true.  Unfortunately, not even close.  Does he just make up the facts to support his rants?  That‘s up next on “Beat the Press.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press.”  First up on Thursday, FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly claimed to be furious about what he said was the media‘s refusal to cover really good news out of Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O‘REILLY, HOST:  Last week in Iraq, there was not a single military casualty, Iraqi or American.  Did you know that?  Did you know it?

DICK MORRIS, FORMER ADVISOR TO BILL & HILLARY CLINTON:  And you read that report?

O‘REILLY:  I have.

MORRIS:  In the mainstream media—has it appeared in the “New York times?”

O‘REILLY:  No, no, no.

MORRIS:  Has it appeared in the New York Times?

O‘REILLY:  No.

MORRIS:  In any of that network newscast?

O‘REILLY:  No.  Tell me why.

MORRIS:  Because they‘re not going to report it.

O‘REILLY:  Why?

MORRIS:  Their vested interest is to try to ensure failure in Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  No, I‘ll tell you why, because it‘s not true.  We would all love for that to be the case.  Unfortunately, according to D.O.D. figures from October 19th until the day of this show, there were five Americans confirmed killed, one soldier killed whose name has not yet been released - a total of six Americans who gave their lives for their country and were ignored by O‘Reilly.  So, an entire segment based on a faulty premise that is usually a taped show.  So rather than redo the segment without the inaccurate insult, he came back after the commercial with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘REILLY:  One correction, there have been no U.S. or Iraqi casualties in Anbar province.  That was my fault.  I misspoke with Dick Morris.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh.  Not a grand conspiracy by the media?  Just inaccuracy by one.  So you think someone at FOX would have sent out a memo, Bill O‘Reilly got his facts wrong about the casualties in Iraq last night, please be careful.  No, it seems that folks at FOX and friends and Brian Kilmeade who I liked must have not gotten it because the next morning they repeated the same inaccurate facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIO)

BRIAN KILMEADE, TV HOST:  You know something?  Not one U.S. military -

member of the military was killed in Iraq, for the first time since 2004 this past week.  Almost no one‘s talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Again, the reason no one‘s talking about it is because it‘s not true.  Same talking points, same channel, different day.  They are ignoring the deaths of six brave members of our military.  Look, mistakes happen, but this is clearly O‘Reilly‘s effort at politicizing the war and it must stop—for the troops‘ sake.

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

Up next: A fugitive who escaped from prison three times is back behind bars tonight.  Must recently he smooth talked a Louisiana cop, who stopped him while out on a jog.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED COP:  We‘ve got an escapee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh -

UNIDENTIFIED COP:  Where from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A prison.

UNIDENTIFIED COP:  You‘re a prisoner?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  He was released.  And he was 17 years old when he had consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old at a party.  Got him put in prison for 10 year but he is free tonight after serving just more than two years.  We‘ll talk to him live.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, we‘ll talk to a then-17-year-old who had consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl at a new year‘s eve party.  He was sentenced to 10 years in prison for it.  He‘s free tonight after just over two years.  He‘s with us live.

But first, a smooth talking killer, also one of America‘s 15 most wanted fugitives now finally in custody, 18 months after he escaped from a maximum security prison in Louisiana through a mile of mailbags.  Later that day, Richard McNair even fooled the Louisiana cop who stopped him.  It‘s on this dash cam video. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  When I think about it, you‘re matching up to him.  

RICHARD MCNAIR, FUGITIVE:  Am I really?  That sucks, doesn‘t it? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  Where are you staying at? 

MCNAIR:  At Titusville or Titus inn.  Titus inn.  It‘s a little old - a little old town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where is that at? 

MCNAIR:  I don‘t know either.  We just got into town about a week ago. 

And he dropped me off to jog.  I always jog about 12 miles a day.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where did he drop you off at.

MCNAIR:  Up there on that road, by - there‘s construction going on up there.  And he dropped me off.  And he‘ll be back at the hotel in probably about 10 minutes, 15 minutes.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who do you work for? 

MCNAIR:  It is - roofing company? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I know, what‘s the name of the company?

MCNAIR:  Phil‘s roofing.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Did you go through a briar patch or something? 

MCNAIR:  Well, yes, I always roof in shorts and got scratched up on, you know, the roof.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That‘s why your knees are all cut up? 

MCNAIR:  Yes.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You got pads?

MCNAIR:  Huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You wear pads?  

MCNAIR:  Too hot.  The pads rub your - back of your legs and stuff. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where you are from? 

MCNAIR:  Huh? Where originally?  Dallas, Texas.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I mean, that‘s where you all staying - out of Dallas, Texas? 

MCNAIR:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What‘s your name again? 

MCNAIR:  Jimmy Jones. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Put yourself in my position.

MCNAIR:  Well, yes, but I‘m not -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I know, I‘m not - I‘m not going to get you.

MCNAIR:  Do I look like a prison escapee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Hey, you wouldn‘t believe what them guys do.  They got years and years to think about how they‘re going to do it.  When I cross the tracks down there, I saw you running.  I said, “Well, how lucky can I be?”

MCNAIR:  No, no, no, no.  I‘m not no prison escapee.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How far you got to jog to? 

MCNAIR:  Pineville, hopefully down these tracks.  I promise you, I‘m not no damn prison escapee.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You did that wrong by now.  You know that just now.  You did that wrong by now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  That was him.  McNair‘s luck finally ran out a few days ago when Canadian police pulled him over in New Brunswick after 18 months on the lam.  

Joining me now, one of the people responsible for the arrest, Constable Nelson Levesque from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and “America‘s Most Wanted” correspondent, Tom Morris.  Thanks to both of you.  Morris, thanks very much for joining us.  Appreciate it.  All right, Constable, first let me ask you, did he try any of this smooth talking when you all pulled him over? 

CONSTABLE NELSON LEVESQUE, THE ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE:  Well, it all started - we attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but he fled from us and he ended up - he bailed on foot going into the forest. 

ABRAMS:  Did you know how serious a criminal he was and what a serious escape risk he was at the time? 

LEVESQUE:  No.  At that time we had no idea why he was fleeing from us.  We only wanted to perform a traffic stop on this Ontario plate van.  And he took us for a six kilometers pursuit.  And ended up in the dead end where he parked the vehicle in a gravel road, which we later found.  As soon as he saw us there, he bailed on foot towards the forest.  And we kind of split in the forest.  My partner, Constable Ganot(ph), and I split and we had Corporal Fareg(ph) going westbound.  

ABRAMS:  And did he try anything?  Once you catch him, does he still then try and deny that he‘s anything significant? 

LEVESQUE:  Well, at that time, Constable Ganot(ph) yelled at us because we‘re not too far from each other.  He yelled at us saying that he had the male on the ground and the guy was resisting.  So as we got there, Constable Ganot(ph) was on top of him and he was giving him verbal commands, but he kept having his hands around his waistband. 

As soon as we got there, a couple of soft empty hand techniques were used about his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and cuffs were applied.  At that point, he just asked us to let him catch his breath and he was kind of smiling.  And just out of the blue, he told us that he was - that he had lost, that we had won, that we would be famous.  And he said that he was Richard Lee McNair, a convicted murderer from the United States and that he had escaped from jail.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Here‘s another piece of that dash cam video.  Again, this is when he talks his way out of having a Louisiana police officer stop him.  This is 18 months ago when he‘s on the lam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any form of identification on you?

MCNAIR: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What‘s your name?

MCNAIR: Robert Jones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Robert Jones?

MCNAIR: Yes.  Why, am I not supposed to be on the tracks?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that‘s not the problem right now.  Where - what‘s your address?

MCNAIR: I don‘t have an address.  I‘m at the hotel.  We‘re working on houses and stuff like that - roofing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What it is, we‘ve got an escapee.

MCNAIR:  Oh.  Where from?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prison.

MCNAIR: There‘s a prison here?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Tom, you cover a lot of these cases with a lot of these guys.  This guy has escaped every which way, but I‘ve never seen anyone be able to sweet talk a cop on a dash cam video before.  

TOM MORRIS, CORRESPONDENT, “AMERICA‘S MOST WANTED”:  It‘s extraordinary.  I mean this guy is incredibly charming.  He‘s very smart.  His family says he has above average intelligence.  He‘s a sociopath and a clever man.  He‘s almost a criminal MacGyver-esque sort of personality.  And right there, I mean I‘ve never seen anything like that.  And that has actually been one of the most popular pieces of film on YouTube for about two years now. 

ABRAMS:  And are you surprised that he finally got caught this way, Tom?  

MORRIS:  The mounties always get their man, Dan, and they got their man this time.  It always happens, usually a routine traffic stop, some alert police officers.  They spot something that is not quite right.  In this case, the tags on the van.  They do their job, they do it well.  And in this case, they spooked the guy out of a van who was wanted on the top 15, and they ran him down.  He was actually pretty relieved that it was finally over.  

ABRAMS:  All right, Nelson Levesque, from the Canadian Mounted Police and Tom Morris, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

I want to very quickly cover new details emerging in the case against David Copperfield.  “Seattle Times” reporting with a grand jury‘s investigating the woman‘s claim that the magician raped her.  Copperfield‘s lawyer firing back saying the feds are leaking information.  All right.  Here‘s a story coming together.  A woman from Washington state reportedly telling authorities Copperfield‘s entourage picks her out of the audience during the show.  She‘s an aspiring model, her family there, moved to special seats after the show began. 

Copperfield invites her own stage, later, apparently promised to help boost her modeling career.  E-mails between the two of them.  Then there‘s a trip this past summer to the scene of the alleged crime - a remote Caribbean island. 

The woman said she found herself alone with him.  She said that he then raped her and threatened to make her keep quiet.  She says she even has bruises, et cetera.  His attorney says that he‘s innocent.  The question is how do you get these charges considering it happened outside the United States?  Real quick, Pam Bondi joins us.  Pam, how do you get - when the alleged assault didn‘t occur in the United States? 

PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR:  That‘s a good question, Dan.  First of all, you cannot - the federal authorities do not have jurisdiction simply for the rape in the Bahamas.  What they have to be looking at - and we now know they‘ve got a federal grand jury to further investigate this. 

They have to have some type of bribery claims.  She is saying that he offered her money to keep quiet.  That could be a potential federal charge, or some type of crime over the computer which would give them federal jurisdiction. 

We also know they issued a search warrant at his warehouse in Las Vegas.  So they have to have enough then, to have a federal judge sign off on the search warrant.  But from what we know so far, it looks pretty thin with the jurisdictional issues.  

ABRAMS:  All right, Pam Bondi, I‘m sorry to have cut you short on this. 

BONDI:  That‘s all right. 

ABRAMS:  Thanks a lot for coming on.  Appreciate it.  We‘ll stay on top of this story as well. 

Up next, a then-17-year-old prosecuted for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl, under an antiquated law finally free tonight after more than two years behind bars.  He‘s with us live.  

And later, remember Merry Miller‘s embarrassing TV debut? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERRY MILLER, TV HOST:  Holly, thank you so much for joining us.  

HOLLY HUNTER, ACTRESS:  Hey, thank you.

MILLER:  All right, Holly.  Thanks so much for joining us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It made her a YouTube sensation.  Somehow that disaster has landed her a position co-hosting “The View.”  She joins us live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Up next, we talk to Genarlow Wilson, sentenced to 10 years in prison when he was 17 for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old.  After more than two years he‘s free and with us live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Ten years for consensual oral sex between teenagers.  That‘s what star athlete and honor student Genarlow Wilson got when he was caught on the act on videotape at a new year‘s eve party in 2003.  He was 17.  The girl was 15.  Six others involved in incidents at that party pleaded guilty to lesser charges, but Wilson held out saying he did not want to have to register as a sex offender. 

And tonight Genarlow Wilson joins us live.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Appreciate it.  This is a very noble position you took, all right?  You have all these other people who are pleading guilty.  And from my understanding is you did not want to plead guilty because you have a little sister that lives in the house and you wouldn‘t have been able to live in the house with her? 

GENARLOW WILSON, RELEASED FROM JAIL:  Yes, correct, Dan.  Basically, I felt like that I was nothing of that nature, what they were trying to portray me as to be.  So I knew in my heart, we stood up and we fought this cause that, you know, they would eventually rule in our favor.  

ABRAMS:  Did you even know that it was - I mean I‘ve got to believe that most you and your friends didn‘t know that if you‘re 17, it‘s illegal to have any sex with a 15-year-old.  I‘ve got to believe that most you and your friends didn‘t know that. 

WILSON:  Of course not.  We didn‘t know it.  I feel like if we would have known it, we would have prevented this from happening.  It would have never occurred.  No, we didn‘t have an idea, Dan.  

ABRAMS:  So then you‘re arrested.  And they say - and you‘re probably thinking - I don‘t know.  Were you thinking at the time, “What the heck am I being arrested for?”  And then they tell you, “Aha, it‘s because you had oral sex with a 15-year-old when you were 17?” 

WILSON:  Yes.  The situation was very unreal to me.  I couldn‘t believe it was happening because I didn‘t know that we done anything so terribly wrong to be charged like we were. 

ABRAMS:  What was the worst part about prison for you? 

WILSON:  Just being away from my family for such is a long period of time.  And just to have someone control, you know, your every move, basically.  

ABRAMS:  Did you get treated badly?  I mean the fact that it was this charge and this became a somewhat celebrated case.  We did it on my old show back in the day talking about the absurdity of this.  I would assume as a result, you became a little bit of a prison celebrity.  Did they treat you any differently? 

WILSON:  Well, for the most part, I got a lot of support, but it still

you can never be comfortable in an environment like that.  At least I didn‘t allow myself to become. 

ABRAMS:  You angry? 

WILSON:  No, I‘m not angry.  I‘m very calm because I‘m glad that I can finally put this behind me and move on with my life.  You know, I can move forward instead of going backwards.  So I‘m very grateful for that.  

ABRAMS:  Genarlow, I know you plan on doing a lot of good things and trying to teach kids to do the right thing.  Thanks very much for taking the time to come on the program.

This is an absolute outrage that you‘ve had to serve this kind of time for this nonsense.  And I hope that the folks over in Georgia feel spanked by this Supreme Court ruling in Georgia.  Thanks a lot for taking the time.  Appreciate it.  

WILSON:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, in “Winners and Losers,” one of the most sensational wins in football history.  It is pulled off by a tiny Texas team. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s staff working overtime after the govern-ator said marijuana isn‘t a drug, it‘s a leaf.  

And Internet sensation Merry Miller, who survived a TV disaster, makes her comeback.  We‘ll talk about her triumphant return to the airwaves. 

But a football team on a winning high, a governor seems confused about what gets you high or a woman who is flying high after surviving a TV debut crash.  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?  Coming up.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 29th day of October, 2007.  Our first winner, the Trinity University football team.  The tiny Texas school riding high tonight after some last-second heroics helped them pull off one of the most incredible, sensational wins in football history. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  It‘s a lateral.  And he‘s still going.  He scores!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  That‘s a touchdown.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  He scores!  Kelly scores! Kelly scores!  Oh, my gosh.  I do not believe it.  This football game is over, and it was one of the most miraculous plays in all of college football, perhaps in all of football history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The Tigers opted to run the ball on the game‘s final play, rather than pass, throwing it back 15 times and refusing to go down on the grass despite taking hit after hit on the way to the end zone.

Loser.  California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger whose comments about taking a hit of grass has led his team to try to backtrack as well.  The govern-ator can‘t even try to deny he has been tailed.  The new controversy is not because he smoked it.  No, it‘s because he told a British magazine, it‘s not a drug.  It‘s a leaf.  Arnold‘s staff now saying, of course, he knows pot‘s a drug.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  I really smoked it.  And I always inhaled.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Our second winner, thousands of Boston Red Sox fans lining up for full refunds on their furniture now that the Sox won the World Series.  Before the season, Jordan‘s a local furniture chain offered to pay the cost of all sofas, chairs and bed purchased during a sale period if and only if the Red Sox won.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  Game over.  Series over.  And the Red Sox are world champs again. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now, 30,000 customers are taking them up on the monster deal giveaway, leaving them in the hole to pay back millions. 

Loser, a Florida dad left with a monster bill after his credit card giveaway.  Joe Salter told his son he could run up a $600 tab at a local strip joint to celebrate his college graduation.  Yes, pop ended up with a bill for $52,400 more than anticipated.  The party boy apparently treated his pals to 19 bottles of bubbly at roughly $1,000 a pop.  The not-so-proud pop filing a lawsuit to dispute what he says are phony charges. 

But the big loser of the day?  The Colorado Rockies baseball team. 

They were finished off last night by the Red Sox. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  Jim Kelty(ph) comes off the bench and hits one into left field for a home run.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Colorado came into the series red hot but were swept in the four-game World Series never leaving Rockies fans any real hope for a comeback. 

The big winner of the day, comeback kid Merry Miller, who survived this rocky debut and is now making her return to the airwaves.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER:  Holly, thanks so much for joining us.  

HUNTER:  Hey, thank you. 

MILLER:  All right, Holly, thanks so much for joining us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  She landed a seat on world series of morning gab fest, “The View,” picked to co-host tomorrow morning.  At least she‘ll have others on camera helping her if something like this happens again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER:  Did you a great job. 

HUNTER:  Thank you.

MILLER:  So thank you so much for joining us. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Here now is Merry miller, who will co-host “The View” tomorrow morning.  Thanks for coming back on the program.  

MILLER:  Thank you for having me back. 

ABRAMS:  You survived the disaster.  And you don‘t just survive, but now you get gigs as a result of it? 

MILLER:  I got, I think, one of the most coveted gigs in history on one of my favorite shows.  I‘m grateful.  

ABRAMS:  But it‘s all because of this, you know, disastrous moment, right? 

MILLER:  No.  It is because of this disastrous moment, but it is because - and I‘m sure disastrous moments can turn into one of your best moments.  And it is not the disastrous moment.  I think it is the way that I handled it and the way I got out of bed and went back to work the next day.  

ABRAMS:  And you came on this show.  

MILLER:  I came on your show.  I was shaking last time.  Tonight I‘m excited.  

ABRAMS:  You came on the show.  I was telling you that we had a rough beginning to the show, but not as rough.  

MILLER:  I‘ve had rough shows.  Don‘t complain.  

ABRAMS:  Exactly.  I‘m going to play one more piece of sound from your disaster, and that will be the last one I‘ll play.  All right. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLER:  You can catch more Holly on “Saving Grace” which is going to premiere Monday, June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. eastern on TNT.  All right, folks, that‘s all the buzz we have for you today.  Make sure to check us out on demand at the “Arts And Entertainment” section of NBCnews.com.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Of course, we‘re NBC.  Of course, that was ABC, of course, at that time.  But do you look at that and do you say - are you nervous about tomorrow? 

:  Not going to blow it.  You‘re not going to blow it.

MILLER:  I know where I‘m going to be and I know who I‘m going to be talking to.  I have done all my research and I‘ve practiced.  I‘ve practiced.

ABRAMS:  And it‘s a lot easier when you just get to wing it, right?  You are going to get - you will get to be yourself.  You‘re going to be a personality as opposed to reading teleprompters.  

MILLER:  You‘re going to get to know the real me.  That was the real me reading me.  No, I definitely have my own opinion about things.  I‘m very faith driven.  I‘m single.  I face the issues that those women talk about.  I remember that day, thinking this is fantastic, this opportunity that ABC‘s given me.  Where I would do best is upstairs on the couch just talking about what I do and where I am.  

ABRAMS:  Merry, we‘re happy for you.

MILLER:  Thank you.  

ABRAMS:  I told you last time you came on, that I was hoping this would lead to things.  And hey, lo and behold.  

MILLER:  I‘ve got a new CD out, too.  

ABRAMS:  Most important thing, another appearance on this program,

which is -

MILLER:  Winner.  

ABRAMS:  And the winner of the day, the big life changing experience. 

Merry Miller, good to see you again.  Good luck tomorrow.  

MILLER:  Dan, thank you so much. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Up next, stay tuned for an all-new “Predator Raw.”  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.

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