updated 11/20/2007 11:45:33 AM ET 2007-11-20T16:45:33

Guests: Rachel Maddow, Jim Riches, Nicole Deborde, Joel Brodsky, Joe Tacopina, Pam Bondi, Candice DeLong, Carmen Rasmussen

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Karl Rove, the so-called architect who helped put this president in the White House now advising Republican candidates on how to run away from the president if they want to win?   We‘ll have that coming up.  But first today, Rudy Giuliani made his most blatant effort to make himself the candidate of September 11th.  His campaign sending direct mailings to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire which read, “After the worst attacks on U.S. soil, Rudy Giuliani went to work rebuilding New York City and faith in America.”  And now, for the first time even in TV ad trying to play on that experience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It‘s having held those positions in time of crisis, I‘ve been tested in a way in which the American people can look to me, they‘re not going to find perfection, but they‘re going to find somebody who has dealt with crisis almost on a regular basis and has had results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  In a moment we are going to talk to a senior New York City firefighter about how he and a group of 9/11 families are challenging Giuliani‘s September 11th creed.  Up to now, there‘s been some confusion about whether this issue would define the Giuliani candidacy as evidenced by this piece put together over at the folks at Talking Points memo.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GIULIANI:  I‘m not talking about September 11th.

Not just September 11th.

Not September 11th.

Nothing to do with September 11th.

Nothing to do with September 11th.

September 11th.  Put head in the sand, if we took September 11th out of the debate.

But in the ‘90s there was an excuse for that.  We didn‘t have September 11th happening to us.

He didn‘t have the knowledge of September 11th.

He didn‘t know September 11th was coming.

And we don‘t mention September 11th nearly as much as people think.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  So, the schizophrenia seems to be over?  Now Giuliani seems to be out of the closet on 9/11.  It looks like he will be the target of a group ready to do battle.  Bottom line, the risks for Giuliani running as the 9/11 candidate are already clear.  And my guest is ready to lead the crusade to stop Giuliani from adopting 9/11 as his great achievement.  New York Fire Department, deputy chief, Jim Riches is with us.  So is Rachel Maddow of Air America and MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan.  Thanks to all of you.  Appreciate it.  All right.  Jim, let me start with you, how aggressively are you ready to go after Giuliani on this issue?

JIM RICHES, 9/11 FIREFIGHTERS AND FAMILIES:  We‘re going to follow him around and tell the true story of what happened on 9/11, because seems to - he just wants to be Mr. 9/11 and he‘s declared himself Mr. 9/11 and I disagree with him for many reasons.  But we will to follow around and get the message out to all of America and every state to let them know that Rudy Giuliani is not Mr. 9/11.  He‘s not a hero.  He ran that day.

ABRAMS:  Chief, look, you are still with the New York City Fire Department, so, I got to ask you this, do you think your views reflect of that—you can‘t reflect everyone‘s views, but do you think your views reflect the majority of New York City firefighters?

RICHES:  I can tell you I‘m a an active chief and I work in the firehouse and you‘ll hear a four-letter word after his name and it‘s mostly, it‘s not hero, you can be sure of that.  I mean, he failed us on many counts, he didn‘t have radios that worked that day, we had no unified command, we had no interagency drills.  We didn‘t have OEM, was incompetent and useless that day.  We have self evacuation people were being told to stay in place right up until the second tower fell.

ABRAMS:  And is that his fault, I mean the same way that some people would say he has no right to claim ownership of 9/11, I would ask you the reverse of that.  Is he to blame for all of that?

RICHES:  He had all these commissioners in there who were incompetent, unqualified and he made a fireman the fire commissioner.  A police officer a police commissioner and he made an OEM director who was a fire dispatcher.  And they‘ve made decision that day that are fatal.  They took off and they ran before either tower fell.  Rudy Giuliani and all his future millionaires ran from the site and left.  And they got that dust on them and they made millions, millions of dollars talking about it.  And yet, we got all the firemen who had improper respirators for two months.  And now everybody is sick and 70 percent are dying because of him.

ABRAMS:  Let me play a piece of sound this is what - part of an anti-Giuliani ad.  I think if Chief Riches keeps this up, I think there will be more to come of this kind of ad.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you were not with him 100 percent and didn‘t support him 100 percent, they would basically cut your throat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It cost the lives of first responders that day because the command center was located at the World Trade Center.

ANDY AMBRO:  There is 60 firefighters killed in the Marriott.  There is 121 killed in the north tower and the rest were killed in the south tower.  What would have been different if that command center would have been operational?  The death toll for firefighters would probably be cut in half.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Chief, you ready to put together a political organization like the swiftboat group did and go after Giuliani on this?

RICHES:  Well, we are considering, we‘re talking around, we‘re considering our options.  And we know that—TV made him a hero that day.  And that we know that TV can take him down.  When America hears the story of what happened, how he ran, and we‘ll have meetings with people and we‘re going to discuss this.

ABRAMS:  You know, Pat Buchanan, let‘s talk politics here.  I got to think when you‘ve got a current deputy chief of the New York City Fire Department using the sort of language that chief Riches is using, that Giuliani‘s got to consider this long and hard and think that there may be some real risk here.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYT:  Well, Dan, I‘ve just heard the chief now, and I haven‘t heard it before that blame (ph) with that passion.  I think the chief‘s going to be very effective, but there‘s no doubt what Rudy is doing when you do direct mail, that‘s a piece of paper that goes into everybody‘s home, every republican in Iowa, Dan, and I can tell you to most Americans who did watch on television as I did.  Day hour and in and hour out all day long for days, Rudy seemed to be at the center of things and seemed to be in command.  And of course, the “Time” magazine cover, and that‘s what the American people remember him of.  And that‘s the most positive image he‘s got in the Republican Party. Is Rudy is Mr. 9/11, the man who in effect held this city together?  Now, the chief really contradicts that sharply, but there‘s no doubt that is the ace of trumps for Rudy Giuliani.

ABRAMS:  And Rachel, let‘s continue this on a sort of political front.  And it seems to me that when you‘ve got someone who is as high level as Deputy Chief Riches is, who is current on the New York City Fire Department willing to speak out as vociferously and aggressively as he is, not just saying 9/11 shouldn‘t just be his, but saying that Rudy Giuliani blew it on 9/11, that seems be a major political liability.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA:  Yes, I‘m with Pat in feeling like that the words we heard tonight from Deputy Chief Riches are powerful and will be politically important.  Also the ad that you played, that is powerful and politically important.  In the post-Rove era, every candidate knows that what they whatever they stake out as their political strength is going to be the thing on which they‘ll get hit.  They‘re inviting scrutiny and Rudy‘s got some vulnerabilities on the 9/11 issue when New York City firefighters are saying that you did wrong by them that day and the lead-up to it and you weren‘t prepared and the reason everybody saw you running down the street covered in dust is because you had nowhere to go that is because you put the command center in the wrong place, that‘s powerful stuff.  Its also the same reason why the Bernie Kerik situation and the Judith Regan lawsuit about Bernie Kerik could be really important for Rudy.

ABRAMS:  Yes, all right.  Deputy Chief Riches, thank very much for taking the time to come on the program.  We appreciate it.

RICHES:  Thank you.  And you‘ll be seeing me on TV, I‘m sure.

ABRAMS:  We will look forward to having you back  Moving on Karl Rove, where now seems telling Republican candidates, if you want to win, get away from my guy, George Bush.  He wrote in “Newsweek,” quote, “So, show them who you are in a way that gives the American people hope, optimist and insight.  That‘s the best antidote to the low approval rates of the Republican president.  Those numbers will not help the GOP candidate.”  I mean, Rachel, it sounds to me like this is an article in theory about how to beat Hillary Clinton.  But it sounds like Karl Rove is giving the Republican candidate advice that says get away from my guy.

MADDOW:  And the fact that he called him the Republican president, like he can‘t quite place who that guy is, I thought it was pretty telling.  The most important thing about this article I think is not so much that Rove is telling the candidates to run from Bush, although that is funny.  I think the most important about it is that all of his advice is stylistic.  He‘s saying be optimistic, be controversial, speak to minority audiences. 

Don‘t be afraid to mix it in Hillary‘s lap.  It‘s all style.

ABRAMS:  But do you know, Pat, when you got Karl Rove advising, whether you view this as advising, suggesting or encouraging, whatever the word is—the Republican candidates to effectively distance themselves from President Bush, I think that tells you how much trouble President Bush and possibly the Republicans are in.

BUCHANAN:  We don‘t need Karl Rove to tell us this, Dan.  Look, the guy‘s at 30 percent or 28 or 32.  He‘s been there for six months to a year.  He is a liability to the Republican candidate next year.  I mean, Karl Rove is acting as a strategist here and he‘s saying exactly what I would say, which is once that convention gets going or gets over with, move away from the president and the administration, put distance between them.  And make Hillary Rodham Clinton the issue and don‘t let them make Bush the issue.

ABRAMS:  But am I the only one who‘s reading Karl Rove and saying,

holy cow!  Karl Rove?  The president‘s architect is telling the Republican

candidates -

BUCHANAN:  Welcome to politics 101, Dan.

ABRAMS:  But Pat, I mean, politics is one thing, but part of politics is loyalty and being careful about who you say what about—sorry, go ahead.

BUCHANAN:  Richard Nixon would tell me—run away from me, get away from me.  And Buchanan, you want me to attack you?  That‘s what guys say in the real business.  I‘ll come in and criticize you if it will help you out.  If you want to help the party, I think Bush would say himself, move away from me.

ABRAMS:  No, come on.  Would he really?

BUCHANAN:  Sure.

ABRAMS:  Real final words, Rachel, I got to wrap.

MADDOW:  I think what‘s important here is that Rove has no substantive advice to give to candidates other than to smile and pretend Bush doesn‘t exist.

ABRAMS:  Rachel Maddow-

BUCHANAN:  (INAUDIBLE).  That‘s presidential elections, Rachel.

ABRAMS:  Pat Buchanan, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

Coming up: Surging GOP presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee released his first campaign ad of the season.  Who is in the ad supporting him?  Not a political or religious leader but tough guy, Chuck Norris.  Now, couldn‘t that come across as a B-rate star supporting a B-rate candidate?  I don‘t know.  He‘s one of the night‘s Winners and Losers, though.

Plus: Suspect, Drew Peterson now just can‘t seem to keep his mouth shut.  In more interviews, he just can‘t or won‘t say the right things about his missing wife or his dead third wife.  Oh, did I mention that a pathologist now says that after an autopsy his third wife was murdered.

But next, a Texan man shoots two men he believes are robbing his neighbor‘s home.  It all happens while he‘s on the phone with 911.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER:  Here goes, buddy.  You hear the shotgun clicking and I‘m going.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  Don‘t go outside.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER:  They got a bag of something.

I‘m doing it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now looks like he could get charged.  I‘m not sure they‘re going to charge him, though.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know Texas law allows people to use deadly force to protect their property?  To stop arson, burglary, robbery, type of criminal mischiefs.  Coming up: A Texas man shot two suspected burglars while on the phone with 911 as they were leaving his neighbor‘s home.  Now a grand jury will decide whether to charge him.  I‘m guessing a lot of folks are going to be sympathetic to this guy.  It‘s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Unbelievable story.  A 61-year-old Texas man sees two men breaking into his neighbor‘s house.  He calls 911 and he grabs and loads his shotgun while on the phone with the 911 dispatcher.  He then goes outside with his gun.  The 911 dispatcher tries to stop him, but to no avail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNDENTIFIED CALLER:  I‘ve got a shotgun, do you want me to stop them?

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  Nope, don‘t do that.  Ain‘t no property worth somebody over, OK?  I‘ve got officers coming out there.  I don‘t want you to go outside that house and I don‘t want you to have that gun in your hand when those officers are poking around over there.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER:  I understand that OK, but I have a right to protect myself too, sir.  They got a bag of something.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  Don‘t go outside the house.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER:  I‘m doing it.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  Mr. Horn, do not go outside the house.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER:  I‘m sorry, this ain‘t right, buddy.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  You‘re going to get yourself shot if you go outside that house with the gun.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER:  You want to make a bet?  I‘m going to kill them.

Here it goes buddy.  You hear the shotgun clicking and I‘m going.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  Don‘t go outside.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER:  Boom!  You‘re dead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Joe Horn shot and killed the two suspects.  He was not taken into custody.  A grand jury will decide if charges should be filed against him.  Now, look, I think under a technical reading of the law he would likely to be charged.  Yes, in Texas, you‘re allowed to use deadly force even to protect your neighbor‘s property but generally, only at night.  This happened during the day.  But I‘m not so sure that this is the sort of legal distinction people on a grand jury are going to care about.  The prosecutors would need nine of 12 grand jurors to send the case to trials, many are going to believe he did the right thing, let‘s see if two of Texas‘ best agree with me.  Here now, defense attorney, Nicole Deborde and attorney and legal analyst, Brian Wice, Alright, Brian, he says on that tape, I‘m going to kill them.  And then he goes and does it.  Does that make it a harder defense?

BRIAN WICE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALSYT:  Absolutely, Dan.  This is a guy who for whatever reason, is mad at the world, he‘s mad at the cops for not being there.  He‘s mad at the dispatcher for telling him to stay put.  And he‘s mad at these two hood rats for burglarizing his neighbor‘s residence.  But the Penal Code doesn‘t give you the right to be a Good Samaritan. It doesn‘t give you the right to protect the property on your neighborhood.

ABRAMS:  So, do you think the grand jury will indict?

NICOLE DEBORDE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  No way.  No way.  Texas resident for over 30 years and I can tell you that this is happening in Texas, you are going to run into firearms if you burglarize somebody‘s home.  And it is just a likelihood that you are going to be shot and killed.  And that‘s exactly what happened in this case.  It may have been his neighbor‘s home, but he‘s not going to be indicted.

ABRAMS:  Let me play a little more on 911 call.  Here‘s what happens right after the shoot occurs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE HORN:  Get the law over here quick. I‘ve now, get, one of them‘s in the front yard over there, he‘s down, the other one‘s run down the street.  I had no choice.  They came in front yard with me, man, I had no choice!  Get somebody over here quick, man.

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  Mister Horn, are you out there right now?

HORN:  No.  I am inside the house.  I went back in the house.  Man, they come right in my yard.  I didn‘t know what the - they was going to do, I shot them, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCHER:  Did you shoot somebody?

HORN:  Yes, I did, the cops are here right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Brian, why he says, man, they came right in my yard?  That changes things, doesn‘t it?  Suddenly if they‘re in his yard, he may be legally—it may be a legal defense.

WICE:  Dan, the key words, may be.  The law still doesn‘t give you the right to be John Wayne‘s storming the beach on Omaha on D-day.  It doesn‘t the right to be a latter day Dirty Harry.  The fact that these two morons are in Joe Horn‘s front yard doesn‘t mean he has the right to draw down on them.  Unless and until Joe Horn believes that he has the right to use deadly force and that that force is reasonably necessary at that point, he can‘t draw down because this is not a capital case and they didn‘t deserve capital punishment.

ABRAMS:  Nicole, I can just hear the grand jurors talking about it and saying these guys robbed the wrong house.

DEBORDE:  The key thing that Brian Wice just pointed out to you, is as soon as he is in fear for his life or his safety, he‘s entitled to use deadly force.  Here in Texas, you can walk up and down Main Street with a loaded shotgun.  You don‘t have to have a license and you are totally within your legal rights to walk up and down the street with a loaded shotgun.  If this man wants to walk out into his front yard with a loaded shotgun, he‘s within his rights to do it.  And what happened here, he went outside, loaded shotgun, two burglars approached him.

ABRAMS:  Yes, there‘s a difference between walking outside with a shotgun, then actually shooting it.  I mean, right?  As a legal matter.

DEBORDE:  If he was in fear for his life, then he had the right to shoot them.  And he said he was afraid.

ABRAMS:  And then Brian, it‘s almost as if he read the law and then, called 911 again.  And he says, I went back, man, they come right in my yard and I shot them.

DEBORDE:  Well, he didn‘t have to—the burglars put themselves into that spot.

ABRAMS:  Brian, final word.

WICE:   Well, but Dan, it‘s interesting, he didn‘t read the Penal Code far enough, because Nicole knows, you don‘t have the right to provoke the difficulty, to go out there and be a hero.  Last week, he clipped the bad guys Dan, next week, maybe he kills two kids getting off the school bus.

ABRAMS:  I don‘t think—and I‘m not sure.  I don‘t think the grand jury will end up indicting him.  But we‘ll see.  We‘ll follow it.  Nicole Deborde and Brian Wice, thanks a lot.

Coming up: Drew Peterson suspected in his fourth wife‘s disappearance is speaking out again.  Now the guy suddenly can‘t shut up.  And yet nothing he says seems to help him show that he was not connected to his wife‘s disappearance or his third wife‘s death.  This is getting ugly.

FOX proves you can count on their new business channel, if you want anything that resembles—well, you really can‘t count on them.  We‘ll show you why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.  Our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.  First up:  What you are about to see is why you can‘t count on FOX business for the most important business stories.  They reported that Apple has taken an eight percent stake in another company, AMD.  Then the confusion kicked in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE HOST:  Apple Dubai?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Apple Dubai.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE HOST:  Oh, Apple to - the errors.  OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE HOST:  OK.  There we go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE HOST:  Apple Dubai has a big investment company.  It

has been making a lot of investments here in the States.  And so,

obviously, now, it is now not Apple, but it is -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Glad they corrected that, no.  Abu Dhabi has the investment.  There is no Abu Dubai.  There‘s Dubai, then there‘s CNBC when you want to get accurate financial news.

Next up: Sticking with the facts at FOX this morning, Brian Kilmeade was talking about people who don‘t know about Thanksgiving.  But I‘m not sure how much he really knows either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN KILMEADE:  We have people writing us from other countries saying we don‘t even know what Thanksgiving is.  They don‘t know about the pilgrims.  They don‘t know about the Akawi (ph) Indians that we ended up get up a peace agreement with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Who?  The Akawis?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE HOST:  Brian is proving what he did after the blond study, Steve.

KILMEADE:  Those were my favorite Indians.  They were goodins (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I believe it was the Wampanoag tribe that signed the peace treaty we the pilgrims.  At least according to my research.  I don‘t know who the Akawi Indians are.  I like Brian.  I wonder if he‘s confusing them with some Minor League Baseball team.  If I‘m wrong, I‘ll be happy to correct it.  Finally, with the literal Beat the Press, this one from the LSU versus the Ole Miss (ph) College football game Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR:  Francis right.  Now fires—oh, wow.  Is that good?  No, out of bounds.  And a photographer went down on the sideline.

And watch this.  You think this is easy?  Oh, man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  He is OK, though, we are happy to report.  We need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything right or wrong, amusing, absurd, 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.

Up next: Drew Peterson the man suspected in his current wife disappearance now, can‘t seem to keep his mouth shut.  He‘s making more jokes and insulting his missing wife and dead third wife again.  Then a forensic pathologist announces—his third wife‘s death was actually a homicide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DREW PETERSON, SUSPECT FOR HIS MISSING WIFE:  I‘m normally a lot more

humorous like that.  So -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So, people shouldn‘t mistake that for you making light of this at all?

PETERSON:  No, that‘s just how I am.  You know, I always make light of a bad situation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Good times with Drew.

Plus: An American college student remains behind bars as police found her DNA on the knife that may have been the murder weapon that killed a roommate in Italy.  How do you explain the way DNA evidence on a knife?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

ABRAMS: Coming up, new DNA evidence found on what may have been the murder weapon that could link an American college student with the murder of her roommate.  The victim may have been killed because of a sex game gone wrong.

Plus GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee gets a little help from TV tough guy, Chuck Norris.  And a former “American Idol” snubs the show that made him a star.  They are in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”

But first, his fourth wife is missing, his third wife is dead.  And now, Drew Peterson, the allegedly mourning spouse, is showing that at the least he is truly a bizarre grieving husband.  At worst he‘s a serial killer who does not really seem to care if he gets caught. 

Today, he posed for a photo session with “People” magazine and appeared again on the “Today” show, this time with his lawyer, who effectively prevented the former cop from saying anything of substance.  We‘ll talk to him in a minute.  But that didn‘t stop him from looking and sounding really creepy on his driveway just hours later, and leaving any rational observer with more questions than answers. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  Ever had any physical altercations with any of your wives? 

DREW PETERSON, SUSPECT IN STACY PETERSON‘S DISAPPEARANCE:  In a defensive manner, yes.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  What does that mean?  But you never -

PETERSON:  I was the victim.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  You were the victim? 

PETERSON:  Yes.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  What happened?  Can you tell us how you became a victim? 

PETERSON:  No, I can‘t. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  You know, thanksgiving is coming up in a couple of days.  What is Drew Peterson thankful for? 

PETERSON:  I‘m thankful I don‘t have enough turkey for all of you guys, so you‘re just going to have to be without - I‘m thankful my kids are happy and healthy.  I‘ve lost 30 pounds to date, so if anybody wants to go on a weight loss program (CROSS TALK) - Please go home.  Please leave me alone.  Please don‘t get involved in my little world.  If I went around beating a stick on the bushes, I‘d get this.  Watch this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  You say the media is bothering you, and it‘s harassment.  But don‘t you think we‘re helping in the search for Stacy? 

PETERSON:  Well go out and search.  You know they‘ve been through my house a few times.  So it‘s like it‘s not here.  Nothing you‘ll see here. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  And, you know, some people say your

antics are pretty colorful and that you‘re not the typical person that most

people would -

PETERSON:  I‘m not a typical person.  I‘m normally a lot more humorous

like that, so -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  So people shouldn‘t mistake you for making light of this at all in any way.  

PETERSON:  No, that‘s just who I am.  I always make light of a bad situation.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  He‘s just having a good old time.  On the phone Drew Peterson‘s attorney, Joel Brodsky, thanks very much for taking the time.  I appreciate it.

JOEL BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON‘S ATTORNEY (on the phone):  A pleasure.  

ABRAMS:  I think anyone who‘s watching this is asking the question,

(A)          How do you let this guy talk?  But (B) When you listen to him, he just sounds like such a jerk.  He‘s making light of everything here, insulting his missing wife, insulting his third wife.  And just seems to be having a good old time.  

BRODSKY:  Well, this is not, you know, law with comedy.  You‘re asking for is to look at the true psychology.  Drew is under a tremendous amount of stress.  He‘s wondering if at any day the authorities are going to kick in his door and drag him off.  And a tremendous amount of stress.  I don‘t think anybody could really say how they‘d react under that type of stress.  

ABRAMS:  But I think people can say that they wouldn‘t insult the wife that‘s missing, insult his third wife who is dead who today we learn a new autopsy shows, at least according to Dr. Baden, that there were signs of a struggle, including bruises on her hands, chest and abdomen.  He believes she may have been drowned by having her head pressed under water.  I mean, you would think when that information comes out about his third wife in conjunction with the fact that his fourth wife is missing, then at the very least, he wouldn‘t be yucking it up.

BRODSKY:  Well, you know, there are 3 billion people in the world.  And I think that every single person is going to have a different reaction to a different situation or the same situation.  And just because one person reacts differently than you do doesn‘t have any bearing on whether or not they did anything.  In addition to that, as I said earlier, we‘ve said since Sunday, we have some serious questions about Dr. Baden‘s autopsy report.  

ABRAMS:  So put Dr. Baden aside for a minute.  That relates to wife number three.  When it comes to wife number four, I was stunned to hear him make the following comments, which I‘m going to play, about Stacy, his missing wife, who everyone is out there concerned about.  She has kids with him.  And here‘s what he has to say about it. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

PETERSON:  Stacy was spoiled.  I pampered her.  A lot of it is my fault.  Stacy wanted it, she got it.  Stacy wanted a boob job, I got her a boob job.  He wanted a tummy tuck, she got that.  She wanted braces, LASIK surgery, hair removal - anything. 

Stacy loved male attention.  And she loved being anywhere and having people pay attention to her.  And we did all these repairs on her.  She wanted it, she got it.  High end jewelry, name it.  She got it.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  I can‘t help but notice when you talk about her, you talk about her in the past tense.  

PETERSON:  No.  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  She loved this, she was like that.  I‘m just hearing it.  

PETERSON:  That‘s just because she‘s not with me anymore.  And the past tense what she did. 

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Mr. Brodsky, you‘re a good lawyer and you can‘t control your client at all times as to what he says and when he says it, but I think you would admit, would you not, that his public statements are not helpful to his case? 

BRODSKY:  Well, he keeps talking sometimes when I‘d rather that he

didn‘t, but I think overall he‘s not said too much that has really been

negative.  The thing that people point to are like, for example, you know,

he appears on TV and then people do a stress analysis or a body language

analysis on him - things that have absolutely no scientific validity.  You

know -

ABRAMS:  I‘m not doing any of that.  I‘m just talking about what he‘s saying.  I‘m talking about the fact that he‘s laughing.  I‘m talking about the fact that the friends and family of Stacy were very concerned about her and that he just seems to be having a good old time.  

BRODSKY:  Well, that‘s true.  I mean, I have known the guy for only - not that long, less than a week.  But I‘ve talked to his friends and his previous lawyer who has known him for a great period of time.  And their reaction is that‘s just Drew.  Drew, you know, can be just a kind of a goofy guy at times.  But that doesn‘t mean that he‘s guilty or has done anything.

ABRAMS:  No, that‘s true.

BRODSKY:  And that‘s just him. 

ABRAMS:  No question.

BRODSKY:  I mean, there are some very, very unusual people out there in the world in the world.  I‘m not saying that Drew is one of them.  Just because he acts differently than you would expect him to or like him to doesn‘t tend to prove or disprove anything.  

ABRAMS:  But he almost seems resigned to getting indicted and arrested.  I mean he doesn‘t seem to be - he is almost reluctantly proclaiming his innocence.  

BRODSKY:  Well, I think he‘s a police officer but he‘s also a layman.  And he can‘t analyze the facts as a trained lawyer.  And I think any layman or non-lawyer in his situation would be expecting to be indicted.  But when you really look at the facts and the fact that no governmental authority has ever established that a crime was committed with either Savio or Stacy, I would not be expecting an indictment. 

And the state‘s attorney in the county is acting very deliberately, as they should.  He‘s a fine lawyer.  And he‘s not going to jump to conclusions just because of all the attention.  He‘s going to do his job, which is to look at this thing methodically and thoroughly and to be moved by only facts and evidence.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Joel Brodsky, we really do appreciate your coming on the program.  Thank you very much.

BRODSKY:  My pleasure.  Thank you.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let me bring in the guests here.  You know, Joe Tacopina, criminal defense attorney, Pam Bondi, Candice DeLong, former FBI profiler.  You know, Joe, look, Joel‘s trying to do the best that he can, all right?  But he‘s got a client who could not be saying the worst things at any time than I can imagine.  I mean, I‘ve never seen a guy go on television and say things that hurt him more in the public eye than this guy.  

JOE TACOPINA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Absolutely.  He actually makes Scott Peterson look like beneficent to the defense.  And we know that Scott Peterson‘s interview, Dan, went a long way in convicting him.  That jury weighed those words long and hard.  It turned out to be inconsistent - some of the things he said, about the nursery, you remember, turned out to be inconsistent to the proof at trial. 

We don‘t even know what the evidence we‘ll produce in this case. 

Certainly, I don‘t know if he has any involvement or not, or if there will

be a case or not.  But when you make statements like this without knowing

what the investigation is going to bear, and then when turn yourself into a

position where no one - no one has any empathy for the things you possibly

-

ABRAMS:  That‘s the thing.  I mean, not doing any -

BRODSKY:  Look, you‘re supposed to do this.  You‘re supposed to do this to sort of correct the media spin, to sort of balance the playing field.  Here, he‘s actually created more of a presumption of guilt than there was before.  

ABRAMS:  Pam, I mean, even his lawyer, and I can understand that, really can‘t defend what he‘s saying. 

PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR:  No, Dan, he can‘t.  I feel bad for his lawyer.  He seems to have a very good lawyer.  I was laughing to myself thinking if Joe Tacopina represented this guy, Joe would have him gagged in his office before he would let him be saying all these things.  And Dan, it is not what he‘s saying, it is what he‘s not saying. 

Why isn‘t he out there?  He‘s got a national forum saying, “Please

come home.  You have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old.”  He really could get

some sympathy for himself -

ABRAMS:  And it‘s how he‘s saying it.

BONDI:  If he wanted to.  

ABRAMS:  And listen.  Here he is on the “Today” show with his lawyer. 

It‘s one of the few things of substance he said today.  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, ANCHOR, THE “TODAY” SHOW:  Let me go back to the children for a second, Drew - Mr. Peterson.  You said you‘re concerned because you have children at home.  Are you worried that - although you think she‘s with another man - are you worried that she may never come back to be a mother to these children? 

PETERSON:  I don‘t know.  I have no idea.  

LAUER:  I said, are you worried? 

PETERSON:  This is something that - Am I worried that she‘ll never come back?  

LAUER:  Are you worried that she may never come back to be a mother to your children? 

PETERSON:  Yes, I am.  Kids need a mom.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Candice DeLong, he had to pause and think about it before he answered that question. 

CANDICE DELONG, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Right.  This just really can‘t get any worse.  You think that and then he opens his mouth and it does get worse.  As Joe Tacopina said, he now seems to have put upon himself a higher level of suspicion than before.  He also, in one of the - when he was jousting and was so jocular with the press today outside his home, referred to two searches in his home by the police. 

And he said they‘ve been here twice.  And I‘m thinking “Hey, you didn‘t find it.”  He refers to his missing wife as “it”?  Every time this guy says anything, it‘s bad.  It‘s bad for him.  

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Joe, if he were your client, poor Joel Brodsky, what do you - he‘s walking home, right?

TACOPINA:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  He can‘t shut this guy up. 

TACOPINA:  No.  He wouldn‘t be my client anymore.  If you can‘t control the client, he‘s not my client.  This is actually, as I said - you do this to try to level the playing field.  Here, he just sank himself more.  And I‘m sorry that past tense little verbiage there, don‘t think that the homicide prosecutor is going to play that again.  And that could resonate big time with the jury.  

ABRAMS:  How about, “I spoiled her a lot.  I gave her a boob job.” 

This is his missing wife. 

BONDI:  He‘s irreverent.

TACOPINA:  Maybe the kids will be sad.  He‘s happy though, at least. 

ABRAMS:  Yes. Everyone‘s happy.  Our panel is staying with us.  Up next, things looking bleak for an American college student being held in Italy after her roommate was found dead in their apartment.  Now traces of DNA belonging to Amanda Knox and the victim have allegedly been found on a knife at Knox‘s boyfriend‘s apartment.  He‘s also suspected in the murder.  Yikes.  If true, how can you talk your way out of DNA evidence? 

And later, can backstage comments by former “American Idol” Chris Daughtry have landed him in hot water?  Oh, gosh, it‘s so terrible.  It makes him one of tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know over 40 police officers in Italy are members of a special unit responsible for cracking down on the Italian mob?  Coming up, Italian police have found an American college student‘s DNA, they say, on what may have been the murder weapon used in the sexual assault and murder of her roommate.  How did does she get out of this? 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight, American college student, Amanda Knox, remains locked up in an Italian jail facing potentially damning new evidence as the investigation continues in the sexual assault and murder of Knox‘s roommate, Meredith Kercher, found partially nude in her bed, her throat slashed.  Italian authorities say they discovered both Knox‘s and the victim‘s DNA on a knife. 

And, now tonight, an international arrest warrant has been issued for a fourth suspect, Rudy Hermann, a local from the down where Knox lived.  His fingerprints allegedly found on the victim‘s bloody pillow case.  But I don‘t believe that gets Amanda Knox out of trouble here.  First the incriminating evidence - this knife found at Knox‘s boyfriend‘s apartment.  Knox‘s DNA is allegedly on the handle, the DNA of her dead roommate on the blade. 

And after reports, the knife looked like it had been washed with bleach.  Police now say they have receipts from a local store showing Knox‘s boyfriend bought bleach early the next morning, the one after the murder.  And then Knox‘s own words.  In a letter she wrote to her mom as part of a class assignment after the murder, she said, “She wanted a new start, and needed to leave what has happened behind.”  Even though no charges have been filed yet, an Italian judge said there‘s, quote, “serious indications of guilt, enough to keep Knox behind bars.”

Joined again by the panel.  Joe Tacopina, you‘re her attorney here, you know, assuming for a moment.  And what would you do?  You have potential DNA found on a handle, and on the same knife, you‘ve got the victim‘s DNA.  

TACOPINA:  Except we don‘t know what kind of DNA of Amanda‘s it is.  I mean, it could be a hair follicle, you know, something as benign as that.  And that would be absolutely consistent with her being in her boyfriend‘s apartment all the time.  So DNA is not necessarily a fingerprint of guilt at all times.  It could be easily explainable.  We don‘t know.  The Italian authorities have not yet released what sort of DNA is on there.  It could be something that transferable.

ABRAMS:  The bleach, Pam, is troublesome.  I mean the idea that the boyfriend is buying bleach.  And look, there‘s always other explanations.  Could have needed to bleach something.  But the next morning, is buying bleach.  And the authorities believe that the murder weapon - and I believe they found that weapon on his - with him, right?  That was a knife that he had. 

BONDI:  Yes, Dan.  It was.  And I agree with Joe that initially if you just look at Amanda, the defendant‘s DNA on the handle, that would be typical with being in her boyfriend‘s apartment except Meredith‘s DNA, the victim‘s, was on the blade of the knife.  Then, Sollecito, the boyfriend, has a receipt at the same time for buying the bleach and the knife had been cleaned with bleach.  So I think when you put it all together, it is very, very damaging for all of them.  And now, we also know about the new bloody fingerprint and footprint as well.  

TACOPINA:  Right.  Except, Pam, if it was a hair follicle, for instance, that was on the knife that they recovered, it could have been transferred from the boyfriend, number one.  Number two, let me say this. 

BONDI:  Sure.

TACOPINA:  As far as the bleach is concerned and these other things, I‘ve dealt with and practiced in Italy quite frequently.  And I will tell you that the media there absolutely does not use the same journalistic standards that we use here.  They frequently will release things that are absolutely false or a rumor.  I caution everyone before we wrap ourselves around - look so many things have been reported here.  (INAUDIBLE)

ABRAMS:  Yes.  It‘s a good morning. 

TACOPINA:  It is a far different cry than what we do here, Dan.  You would never say something unless you were comfortable saying it.  There, it‘s a rumor.  

ABRAMS:  Candice - All right.  Here is something else that‘s been reported from there and that‘s that Knox‘s boyfriend said he never wants to see her again.  And again, they‘d only been dating a short period of time, and it‘s her fault that he‘s in custody.  If he said that, that sure seems to indicate that there‘s going to be a lot of this going on pretty soon.  

DELONG:  Exactly.  And although Joe brings up an excellent point that if the DNA, if it‘s a true story - if the DNA that is hers on the knife - the victim‘s and hers, you know, is a hair DNA.  But then, when you factor in that the boyfriend is now saying, “I wish I‘d never met her.  I‘m in trouble because of her.  I‘m in prison because of her.”  If that‘s true, that sounds like somebody that is definitely not going down alone for this crime. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And Joe, don‘t you think that there‘s going to be a lot of finger-pointing?  I mean, there‘s got to be.  I mean you have a number of people who were in that house.  People are going to start testifying against each other or even if not testifying, offering up accounts that are not necessarily lovey-dovey among friends.  

TACOPINA:  That‘s the benefit that the Italian prosecutors and law enforcement have.  They will hold someone for up to a year without being charged, Dan.  I mean, imagine in this country, being held for a year during the investigative stage.  Drew Peterson would never see the light of day.  These people are not charged with a thing and they‘re being held and could be held for up to a year.  They divide and conquer that way.  

ABRAMS:  But the judge has ruled that there‘s enough evidence to believe that a crime was committed. 

TACOPINA:  Yes.  That threshold, Dan, is about, you know, a quarter of an inch the floor.  I mean, that they were - knew these persons is enough evidence in Italy, I swear to tell you, that a crime could have been committed.  That‘s enough.  I wouldn‘t be embracing that judge‘s ruling yet.  

ABRAMS:  You‘re the only person on this panel who practices in Italy. 

TACOPINA:  Ciertamento.

ABRAMS:  I defer to you.  Joe Tacopina, as always, thanks.  Good to see you in the house.  Pam Bondi and Candice DeLong.  Thanks a lot.  I appreciate it. 

DELONG:  You‘re welcome.

BONDI:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, in “Winners and Losers.”  An Indian villager survives a vicious bear attack.  The Cleveland Browns get an almost unheard of second chance and win a game.  And a former “American Idol” snubs the show that made him a star. 

A man knocked back by a bear attack; a football team making a comeback; or a singer getting flak for a backstage brushoff.  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 19th day of November 2007.  Our first winner, survivor of a vicious bear attack.  Macon Cohen (ph) of India was crouching next to the endangered and evidently dangerous black bear when it pounced on him and pinned him to the ground.  Cohen was rescued seconds later by a group of fellow hunters.  He survived a nearly fatal bear maul. 

Our first loser, a Texas Santa whose face was made bare after a mall stunt.  The stumbling St. Nick got stuck 30 feet in the air while rappelling down an 80-foot sign. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Santa‘s coming to town.  

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Santa! Oh, my god.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Crews came up to rescue Mr. Kringle after his beard got tangled in the rope dashing the hopes of the kids waiting below.  They were told it wasn‘t the real Santa, just one of his helpers. 

ABRAMS:  Our second loser, veteran New York City TV reporter Gary Anthony Ramsey who got canned after got caught making a crank phone call.  Did I mention he placed that call to a live program on his own TV station? 

The former newsman claimed he was a caller named Dalton from the Upper East Side, and proceed to rail against former NYPD Commissioner, Bernard Kerik.  The now unemployed anchor admits he made a bad call while phoning in to the program “The Call.”

Our second winner, the Cleveland Browns whose dramatic victory yesterday came after a bad call.  Their last second game tying field goal attempt was originally ruled no good. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  Does he have enough?  No good!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Both teams left the field.  The Browns thought they‘d lost the game when suddenly the red-faced reps came out and announced the field goal was actually good.  After the correction, the game went into overtime and Cleveland went on to win. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  In one of the most bizarre improbable

results that you will ever see -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But the big winner of the day?  GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, suddenly soaring in the polls.  The former Arkansas governor now even has TV tough guy Chuck Norris fighting for him. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK NORRIS, ACTOR:  Mike Huckabee‘s a life-long hunter who will protect our second amendment rights. 

MIKE HUCKABEE, GOP PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL:  Chuck Norris doesn‘t endorse.  He tells America who it is going to be.  There‘s no chin under Chuck Norris‘ beard, only another fist. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

He had Huckabee‘s first of the campaign season, showing he‘s clearly grateful for his “American Idol” support.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE:  And I approve this message.  So did Chuck.  Chuck Norris approved.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But the big loser of the day?  Apparently ungrateful “American Idol” Chris Daughtry.  The idol cleaned up at last night‘s American Music Awards.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS DAUGHTRY, FORMER “AMERICAN IDOL”:  I think I‘m forgetting people, but I want to make sure that we thank the fans again because you guys make this all possible for us.  We get to do what we love to do every day of our lives, and it‘s our job and it‘s not really a job. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The rugged rocker was then heard backstage saying, “That show didn‘t make me land.”  Here now, former “American Idol” contestant Carmen Rasmussen.  Thanks a lot for coming back.  We appreciate it.  All right.  So can we be mad at him for suggesting that, “Oh, ‘American Idol‘ didn‘t make me a star.  Of course they made him a star.  

CARMEN RASMUSSEN, FORMER “AMERICAN IDOL” CONTESTANT:  It absolutely did.  And I think what he was saying - I actually read the quote in the “L.A. Daily News” about what he said.  And he said, “I was an artist before the show.  The show didn‘t make me who I am.  It gave people an opportunity to see who I was.”  So when you take it in that context, I think what he was trying to say is that “I‘ve always been an artist, this is who I am, and ‘American Idol‘ didn‘t make me an artist.”

However, it did make him a star, obviously.  It opened up so many doors for all of us.  And so, when it is taken out of context, it does sound like he‘s ungrateful.  I don‘t think he really was.  But I think it was maybe poor timing, especially since he didn‘t thank “American Idol”.  

ABRAMS:  I would think there‘s got to be - it‘s almost like a rite of passage, right, to sort of say, once you become a star, to pooh-pooh “American Idol” because you want to distance yourself from it.  

RASMUSSEN:  I know a lot of contestants have done that.  But the fact is, good or bad experience, you know, the show opened up all the doors.  We wouldn‘t be who we are if it wasn‘t for “American Idol”.  You know, this is where we started.  This is our starting point.

ABRAMS:  Why the bad blood?  I mean, Jennifer Hudson was bad mouthing them.  Why do you think there‘s so much bad blood? 

RASMUSSEN:  I think that, as you said, idols do want to distance themselves.  They want to be individuals.  They want to be their own star.  They don‘t want to have that name associated with their title.  But the fact is, they auditioned for the show.  They‘re going to carry that name with them the rest of the lives.  They should be grateful.  

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to wrap it.  I will say “American Idol” did not make me who I am.  Thanks, Carmen.  That‘s all the time we have.  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

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