updated 11/29/2007 11:07:17 AM ET 2007-11-29T16:07:17

Guests: Cheri Jacobus, Ron Fournier, Deana Pollard, Randy Thomasson, Joel Brodsky, Pam Bondi, Pam Bosco, Ingrid Marie Rivera

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  The far Right and some on the Left going after Bill Clinton for new comments about the Iraq war.  The haters coming out in full force to declare that Bill is bad for Hillary.  Now calling him a flip-flopper because of this comment while stumping for her in Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FMR UNITED STATES PRESIDENT:  Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq, from the beginning, I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So, now a lot of people jumping on him for saying he opposed the Iraq war when actually he said little about it at the time and likely took the position then and now that reflects and reflected that of the majority of Americans, then and now.  The majority of us believe there were weapons of mass destruction.  We wanted to give the president the ability to go war but he and I and the majority of Americans are dismayed at how quickly President Bush rushed in and appalled at how poorly the aftermath was planned and executed.  That does not make Clinton a flip flopper now, and that should not be an issue to hold against him or Hillary Clinton.  With that said, he has seemed a little self-involved when speaking at events for her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON:  I.

I.              I went.

I was president.

I.

I.

I do.

Why I.

I.

And I say.

I like.

I have.

I.

But I.

I would.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  All right.  So as one of my guest tonight, first reported in the first 10 minutes of his speech, he referred to himself 94 times and only seven mentions of Hillary.  He needs to stop, not good.  But to suggest that Bill Clinton is he a liability to Hillary because of flip-flopping is just unjustified Bill bashing as far as I‘m concerned.  Joining us now the great Tucker Carlson, host of TUCKER.  Republican strategist, Cheri Jacobus and Ron _____, Associated Press online political reporter, has covered Bill Clinton longer and as well as just about anyone in this country.  All right.  Tucker, let me start with you.  Are you actually going to say that Bill Clinton is bad for Hillary?

TUCKER CARLSON, HOST OF MSNBC “TUCKER”:  No.  I think probably the Democratic primary he is the only reason she is the frontrunner.  No, he‘s great for Hillary in a Democratic primary.  I think in a general election, displays like the one you just showed might turn off some voters.  There are lots of things about the Clinton years that people remember, you know, wistfully.  They wish we were still living in that time but there are a lot of things about Bill Clinton that are non-attractive to non-committed Democrats.  And I think yes, he‘s a mixed blessing, no doubt about it.

ABRAMS:  Sherri, but this seems like the same argument everybody has made about Hillary and about Bill for years.  It‘s the same thing they said about Hillary Clinton leading into her New York State Senate election.  It‘s the same things that people said about Bill Clinton when he was running for a second term.  And none of them so far have really stuck.

CHERI JACOBUS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, first of all, you saying that this is something that he did not flip-flop.  You‘re absolutely wrong on that.  I think you‘re really out on a lonely limb there, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Tell me how.

JACOBUS:  Well, because even on your network and other networks, all through the day and night, they have been replaying statements that he‘s made over the years in support of President Bush at the time and since then.

ABRAMS:  So, you‘re going to hold it against him.  That‘s -

JACOBUS:  That‘s when 80 percent of the American people were for the

war.  So, now -

ABRAMS:  That‘s right you are going to hold it against him—let me ask you this question though.  You are going to hold it against him as a former president, at the time the country is initiating a war that he is supporting the current president you would have gone crazy if he had said publicly I oppose this war.  No, he did the right thing.

JACOBUS:  Well, actually, Dan he did it on several occasions and that‘s been well documented.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  He did the right thing again and again and again.

JACOBUS:  Now, today is the first time he said I have been against this war from the beginning.  That is simply not true.  I think where this does hurt Hillary Clinton‘s campaign is that it reminds people sort of the “you know why he has been called slick Willie.”  And these aren‘t people just on the Right.  These are now Democrats and this is Democratic primary.  It‘s going to remind voters in Iowa where it is a big deal.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Tucker, I hear you laugh, go ahead.

CARLSON:  Because Dan, look, the question is not - did Bill Clinton have the wrong position in 2003?  The question is - is he lying about it now?  And he is and it‘s offensive to those of us who came out against the war before Bill and Hillary Clinton did.  Like me, even.  I mean, I was to their left on the war for more than a year.  Hold on, let me say this.

ABRAMS:  That‘s great.  Congratulations.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Hold on.  Tucker is going to finish, Cheri.

CARLSON:  It‘s untrue for Bill Clinton to claim that he came out against the war.  There were some Democrats who did.  Brave Democrats who took a lot of crap for it.  Bill Clinton was not among them.  And for him to say now retroactively that that was his position when it demonstrably wasn‘t, is a lie, that‘s why is from.

ABRAMS:  Is it a lie Tucker for him to say for example, I support and I heard you talk about this on your show tonight.  Right, you had a great discussion but you‘re basically taking a position that if you supported the authorization then you supported everything this president did.

CARLSON:  No, I‘m not saying that.

ABRAMS:  Why support of the authorization for war and said, you know what?  I‘m still appalled that the president went in as quickly he did and I‘m appalled at how it was handled.

CARLSON:  You absolutely could say that what you can‘t say is that a vote for authorization was not a vote for invasion.  Everybody knew in Washington, very much including the Clintons more politically sophisticated than anybody, that vote was a vote to authorize the president to evade Iraq.  Now, they pretend otherwise.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  No.  They exhibited an authorization to invade Iraq if necessary.

CARLSON:  That was a vote for war.  Doesn‘t mean you have to endorse what happened after the war ended.  But that was a vote for war.  Don‘t pretend it wasn‘t.  It was.

ABRAMS:  But its not a vote for President Bush and the way it was

handled.  You can still describe the Iraq war as this war and say the way

it was handled -

CARLSON:  But that‘s not what they are saying.  They are saying we voted to give the inspectors more time, that‘s crap.  Everybody at least knows that, it‘s crap.

ABRAMS:  I think you‘re playing gotcha with this, Tucker.  You and Cheri are both playing gotcha with Bill Clinton.

CARLSON:  Come on.

ABRAMS:  I do.

(CROSSTALK)

JACOBUS:  I would not be playing gotcha and a lot of people in the press and a lot of people who are considered very liberal are playing gotcha if that‘s the way you are characterizing this.

ABRAMS:  They are.

JACOBUS:  This is very important though, because he said this in Iowa.  Barack Obama‘s been against the war from the beginning.  And this does sort of regurgitate the fact that Hillary has not been clear.  And that‘s why this does hurt her.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s go to our fact finder, Ron, you are in Iowa, all right?  Let me ask you, broadly, how are things going for the Clintons in Iowa?  I mean, is Bill being well-received?  Do you think that he‘s being helpful to the campaign?

RON FOURNIER, AP ONLINE POLITICAL REPORTER:  You know, I was at two of his events yesterday.  There was 400 people at each.  That‘s 800 Democrats who came out to watch the former president.  If five percent of them signed pledge cards for Hillary Clinton, it was a successful day.

ABRAMS:  Let me read this -

FOURNIER:  He‘s a very popular man in the Democratic primary.  So, it‘s a double-edged sword.  But, you know, he is obviously a big draw for her and for other Democrats.

ABRAMS:  Ron, let me just ask, how big a deal is this, quote, “Flip-flop debate”?

FOURNIER:  Well, Iraq is the biggest issue, you know, on the public stage right now.  And you had the former president stand up for the first time and say, I was opposed to the war from the start.  He‘s never said that before.  You know, what he could have said, what he should have said if he was being totally frank with his record is, you know, I wish we had gone—that we let the inspectors spend more time before we went to war.  That‘s as close as he got to this a couple years ago.  And yesterday was first time that he said this.  And that raises a lot of questions.

ABRAMS:  Yes, it does.  But, to me, it still feels like a game of gotcha to those who are saying, oh this is Clinton showing, he‘s flip-flopping.  Let me read you this from the “Washington Post”/ABC News.  This is from 2007, October of 2007 and Tucker, I‘m going to throw this one at you, all right?

At this point however, this is from the “Washington Post” poll; the former president is seen in favorable terms.  Two-thirds of Americans, this is last month, said they approve of the job he did while he was in office, he remains overwhelmingly popular among Democrats, and 63 percent of independents and even the third of Republicans also gave him positive marks.

It seems to me his only a plus for Hillary.

CARLSON:  Yes, he is at this point.  I mean, Hillary Clinton would be at the children‘s defense fund, possibly.  I don‘t believe she‘d bed in the Senate had she not been married to Bill Clinton.  Of course, he is a plus among Democrats.  I‘m merely saying that you watch a speech like—most people who think Clinton is an absolute plus.  There‘s no flip side to it haven‘t seen him give a speech in a while.  Ron made the smartest point I think I‘ve read this season and where he said in his story today when you watch Bill Clinton speak, it was harder to tell whether he was defending his legacy or promoting his wife‘s candidacy.  That‘s the exact point.  To him, his wife‘s candidacy is a defense of his legacy.  It is about Bill Clinton.  I‘m merely saying, that‘s not attractive to everyone.  Some people find that unattractive and it‘s not going to help.

ABRAMS:  But Cheri, with this kind of popularity numbers, right?  The fact is that Hillary is Bill.  I don‘t think anyone is going to deny that, that when the point of him saying I, I, I and the fact that he is out there on the stump means when you vote for Hillary you are getting Bill, also.  With those kind of numbers, it seems like a pretty good thing.

JACOBUS:  They‘re trying to kind of have it both ways and

unfortunately they can‘t.  But I think that you know, even though her

numbers are trending downward in Iowa at this time, if she loses Iowa, I

think that this will be blamed for him.  I think that‘s why -

ABRAMS:  Come on.

JACOBUS:  No.

ABRAMS:  Come on, Cheri.

JACOBUS:  Dan, look.  This is a very serious thing.

ABRAMS:  I know you want to make it a serious thing.  You‘re hoping this will become a serious thing.

JACOBUS:  No.  I‘m not hoping.  You invited me on the show to talk about this tonight; every show is talking about this tonight.  It is significant.  It is important.  And these aren‘t people on the Right trying to bash Hillary.  Bill Clinton did this.  And people looking back retroactively saying, you know he‘s lying and it reminds people of the problems we had with him before.

ABRAMS:  I know.  Look.  I know that‘s—people hope that‘s the take away on the right that people are hoping is going to come from this.  Ron, again, final question on this - has this issue become an issue of discussion outside of the media?  Outside of the press?  Are you getting the sense that the folks in Iowa are talking about this?

FOURNIER:  Yes.  It is an issue out here.  Iraq is a big issue.  You know, we talked about the potential positive sides that he obviously brings to her.  On the negative side, even in those polls that you are sighting, Dan, look they authenticity numbers.  Look at where she stands among even Democratic voters about how much they trust her.  When you have the president who as you say, is part and parcel of the candidate here, backtracking, you know, not really being frank with his record, it‘s the kind of thing especially on this issue that could hurt her.

ABRAMS:  All right.  I‘ve got to wrap it up, Ron, thanks a lot for coming on the program.  Cheri appreciate it and Tucker great show tonight and thanks again for coming, for sticking around.

Coming up next: Massachusetts could now become the first state in the nation to make it illegal to spank your own kids inside your own home.  I wouldn‘t spank my kids.  But I don‘t want the government regulating what I can or can‘t do, either.  And this law would make it a crime to humiliate your kid as well?  We debate.

And, later: Suspect Drew Peterson‘s stepbrother reportedly says he helped Peterson move a large heavy container warm to the touch from Peterson‘s house to his car the day Stacy went missing.  Two days later, a relative reportedly he tried to commit suicide.  Another big problem for Drew Peterson.  His lawyer is with us to try to explain it.

Plus: The brave citizens who chose to fight back against armed robbers.  We have the tapes and their account of why they chose to fight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know 142,000 children are seriously injured from corporal punishment every year in this country.  Well, coming up:

Massachusetts is considering a bill that would prevent parents from spanking their children inside their own home.  I don‘t want to spank my kids but the government can‘t regulate this stuff either.  We will debate up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Massachusetts may soon become the first state in the country to make it illegal to spank your kids even in your own home.  Lawmakers actually debating today whether parents who spank kids should be charged with abuse and neglect.  Now, would I spank my kids?  No.  So, I want the government at my home telling me that?  No.  The bill defines corporal punishment as the willful infliction of physical pain or injurious or humiliating treatment.  How will we define humiliating treatment?  Will we charge parents who say something negative to their kids?  What about a hard pat on the back at a soccer game?  I understand the urge to protect kids but this is ridiculous.  Here now is law professor, Deana Pollard, she supports the law and Randy Thomasson, a president of the Campaign for Children and Families, he is against it.  Thanks for both of you.  Appreciate it.  All right.  Deanna, this laws makes no sense to me.  You - explain to me what I‘m getting wrong.

DEANA POLLARD, THURGOOD MARSHALL SCHOOL OF LAW:  Well, the law is an

educational law.  This law seeks to educate parents about the dangers of

spanking.  Spanking has gone on throughout the history of mankind but the

problem is, in research now, it‘s very clear that there‘s a lot of danger

that comes from spanking.  For example, cognitive depression.  Kids who are

hit don‘t develop as quickly cognitively.  They‘re more likely -

ABRAMS:  Let‘s assume you‘re right about all the research about spanking and Randy is going to disagree with them.  Look, I agree spanking, I think, it is terrible.  But since when do we use the law as an educational tool?

POLLARD:  Well, we always have.  I mean.

ABRAMS:  Really?  I didn‘t learn that in law school that we create laws that‘s educational tools?

POLLARD:  Well, behavioral science in the law now is a big part of legal analysis and, yes, it has always been part of the law is to shape norms.  And the function of law has always been to help change societal ideas about what is right and wrong.  Criminal law certainly has always had that function.  But this law in particular, I think would help to educate because it isn‘t about sentencing parents or it‘s not about punishing parents.  It‘s about educating parents that spanking kids can be very damaging.

ABRAMS:  But there is a law, I mean, let me go to Randy on this.  Randy, isn‘t there a law already in place in Massachusetts that if you - you know, you end up punching the heck out of your kid you are going to get charged?

RANDY THOMASSON, CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES:  Well, obviously, child abuse is child abuse and that‘s defined as injury, you know, broken bones, injured organs, this is what we all agree on.  There are some parents who spank and some parents who don‘t.  And this is the big nose of the government telling parents who spank, hey, you‘re wrong, you‘re bad.  You know what?  There‘s some very loving, responsible parents in America who lovingly correct their children with an occasional spanking for rebellion and, you know what?  There are lots of adults who are glad they were spanked.  We can‘t have the government actually punishing good parents.  And that‘s what this bill would do.

ABRAMS:  Deana, the problem I think you have is this is a 2002 poll, number 4 here.  It says 65 percent of people in the country approve of spanking children, 31 percent say no.  I‘m with you on the no.  I don‘t think we should be spanking our kids.  But when you got this kind of support, how are you going to go about and look at, laws aren‘t a popularity contest.  But the bottom line is—how are you possibly going to get a law like this passed when you‘ve got that kind of overwhelming opposition to it?

POLLARD:  Well, the same opposition was present in Sweden in 1979 when they first ban for parental spanking was made.  And yet, 10, 15 years later parents overwhelmingly support it because they learn other ways to punish children that don‘t carry the same risk.  So, I think - go ahead.

ABRAMS:  You see Randy, can‘t we evolve a little bit you?  I mean, you know, you sort of saying some parents want to spank, others don‘t.  I believe you‘re right and that‘s true.  But why can‘t we, somehow, let‘s not say through the law, but why shouldn‘t we be out there doing public service announcements trying to teach parents, you know what?  You don‘t need to hit your kid to get something done?

THOMASSON:  Yes, you know what?  There is in America, there‘s too much child abuse and, actually, there is a lot of permissiveness.  We see an awful lot of disrespect for authority in young people today.  And, actually, we need parents that will use standards.

ABRAMS:  The way to do that—the way to accomplish that is by beating your kid up?

THOMASSON:  Of course not.  That‘s ridiculous.  But we‘re talking about parents who are willing to say no, and I mean it.  Parents who are willing to teach their children.

ABRAMS:  OK.  That‘s not what we‘re talking about.  Everyone agrees with that, we are talking about hitting your kids.

THOMASSON:  Look, there are evil parents, there are wimpy parents, there are loving patients.  There are loving parents who don‘t spank.  There are loving parents who do spank.

ABRAMS:  But I‘m asking you, I‘m asking you—why shouldn‘t we be out there trying to encourage people not to spank their kids, period.

THOMASSON:  Actually, we should be encouraging parents, teaching them

that there is some value for spanking.  I would spank

ABRAMS:  Really?

THOMASSON:  I was spanked.

ABRAMS:  Whether you were spanked or not that‘s like saying I have

never worn a seat belt and therefore it doesn‘t matter.  I mean -

THOMASSON:  We all got our opinion.  But you have to pay attention to experts on child psychology who actually say that a child who is defiant; they need to be shown the way to operate.  How do you teach a child respect for authority?

ABRAMS:  All you said is true until the point of asking do you need to hit them to get that done?  But anyway, look, I think this law is ridiculous, it‘s not going to pass.  It shouldn‘t pass.

THOMASSON:  It‘s not going to pass.

ABRAMS:  I know it‘s not going to pass and it shouldn‘t pass.  But I do have a problem with a sort of celebrating spanking.  All right.  Deana Pollard and Randy Thomasson, thanks very much.  I‘ve got to wrap it up.  Appreciate it.

Coming up: Suspect Drew Peterson‘s stepbrother now reportedly saying he helped Peterson moved a heavy container from Peterson‘s house to his car the day Stacy disappeared.  Drew Peterson now calling himself America‘s number one suspect.  And with good reason.  His lawyer is with us to try to defend him.

Plus: Webster Dictionary defined historic as having great and lasting importance.  CNN defines it as a one minute interview Larry King did with a plastic surgeon to the stars.  Beat the Press is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up: Remember the doctor who performed plastic surgery on Kanye West‘s mom?  Neither did I.  It seems over at CNN they define historic differently than we do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, TV HOST:  If you missed our brief, but historic interview with Dr. Jan Adams, you can download it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Larry King has had a long career and interviewed many world leaders.  I‘m not sure where Dr. Jan Adams ranks in his book of historic interviews.

Next up: Would you stick around after hearing this tease from CNN‘s Wolf Blitzer?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR:  Barbra Streisand sings the praises about her pick to be president.  We‘re going to tell you who she wants.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Even if you are a Barbra Streisand fan, watching CNN, and I‘m sure there are some.  I‘m with CNN‘s Jack Cafferty on this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK CAFFERTY:  Give me a hand with some up (ph).  What exactly does the Streisand endorsement represent?

BLITZER:  It means that Barbra Streisand, great singer -

CAFFERTY:  Yes.

BLITZER:  - is supporting Hillary Clinton.

CAFFERTY:  I mean, is the ground supposed to shake now and lightning bolts fly out of the sky?  Who cares?

BLITZER:  She‘s got a lot of fans out there, John.

CAFFERTY:  Oh, come on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Good for Jack.  Finally I know how hard it is to be a reporter in the field.  Sometimes we get things mixed up as did my pal, FOX News, Laura Ingle on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGLE:  New t-shirts printed today.  I want to show you bright blue t-shirts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Bright blue?  She‘s great, she may need rest though.  We need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything right or wrong, amusing, absurd, go to our Web site Abrams.msnbc.com.  Then, leave us a tip in the box, please include the show and the time you saw the item.

Up next: Drew Peterson‘s relative now reportedly saying he helped Peterson move a heavy, warm container from inside Peterson‘s house to his car the day Stacy disappeared.  Then the relative reportedly tried to commit suicide days later.  Things not looking good for suspect, Drew Peterson.  His lawyer is up next to try to explain the increasingly inexplicable.

Plus: Miss Puerto Rico will be here to defend herself against those who say her story of beauty pageant sabotage was invented.  And let‘s just say I really prepared for this interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So, how long have you been a beauty queen?  No, no, no.  So when do you get into the pageant business?  Where did you get that dress?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That interview and my prep is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up.  Heroic store clerks fight back against robbers who got the blow-by-blow surveillance tapes and their stories of why they did it.  Plus, a convicted bank robber wins the lottery but probably has to give the money back.  And a man who tried to cash a million bucks busted by a bank.  They have won themselves a spot in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers”. 

But first, we may finally be seeing the real evidence tonight piling up against Drew Peterson.  Up to now, we have just heard him make disparaging comments about his missing wife Stacy, his dead third wife and even the second wife.  Now, we‘re learning that on that October day, when Stacy Peterson disappeared, lo and behold, former cop Drew took the day off from work. 

And we‘re getting new reports out of Chicago that a relative of Drew Peterson says he helped Peterson move a large plastic container from Peterson‘s house that night, the container he described as warm to the touch.  After the move, the relative reportedly got nervous fearing he had, quote, “just helped Drew dispose of Stacy.” 

And then, this relative, so torn up over it, reportedly tried to commit suicide and ended up in the hospital.  Drew Peterson, who as you are watching here was joking with the media swarm camped outside his home, had few words to say when asked about all of this by a Chicago TV station. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  This relative of yours is saying he helped carry a rectangular container out of your home on October 28th

DREW PETERSON, SUSPECT IN THE DISAPPEARANCE OF STACY PETERSON:  I have no idea what anybody is talking about like that. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  Warm to the touch. 

PETERSON:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  He says that he believes he helped you dispose of your wife‘s body.  Can you at least respond to that? 

PETERSON:  No.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  Not at all? 

PETERSON:  No response.  Talk to my lawyer.  I‘ve got nothing to say about it. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  No truth to it whatsoever? 

PETERSON:  None.  Won‘t help you with anything in such a manner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER:  On October 28th - where were you on October 28th?  This gentleman says he helped you carry a container out of your home. 

PETERSON:  Talk to my attorney, OK?  Have a good day.  Good night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  In a moment, we will speak to Pam Bosco, spokesperson for Stacy‘s family and former prosecutor Pam Bondi.  But first, we will talk to his attorney.  He said talk to my attorney.  Well, Joel Brodsky is the attorney for Drew Peterson, and he joins us now. 

All right.  Joel, so your client is saying, “Talk to my attorney.”  So we are going to talk to the attorney.  More bad news, it seems, coming up for your client today.  First, let‘s talk about the scheduling thing.  He calls apparently at 2:00 p.m., the day Stacy goes missing and, lo and behold, asked for a day off.

JOEL BRODSKY, DREW PETERSON‘S ATTORNEY:  Well, I‘m not exactly sure about the time he called.  I spoke to Drew about this.  Drew had 4900 hours of accrued personal time at the job after 29 years.  He was due to retire in about 45 days on December 15th

If he didn‘t use those accrued - those accrued personal hours, he would lose them.  So he was constantly during this period, you know, taking days off, taking personal days so he could use up his personal time.  And, this was just one of those days.  He had worked the Saturday night before, and he decided that he was going to take Sunday as a personal day.  It‘s as simple as that. 

ABRAMS:  Just bad luck that he happened to take the day off when, lo and behold, his wife ended up going missing? 

BRODSKY:  Well, I mean, you could try to read something nefarious in there.  But if you look at the history of the couple months before that he was taking a lot of personal days because his retirement was coming up and he had to use up his personal time. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let‘s talk about the time line here.  This, again, according to all these new reports about the relative that apparently - that Peterson takes off the October 28th from work.  He goes to a restaurant with a relative at 7:00 p.m.  Peterson apparently leaves the relative with a cellphone, but said don‘t answer the phone.  The phone rang.  The caller ID read “Stacy.”  He didn‘t answer it. 

Peterson returned to the restaurant.  The pair drove to Peterson‘s house, apparently moved a plastic container into the SUV.  They left the house at 10:00 p.m.  The relative dropped it off.  Stacy was declared missing by her sister in the early morning hours of October 29th.  You would agree that that timeline wouldn‘t be good news for your client? 

BRODSKY:  Well, you‘re talking about Tom Morphey, the stepbrother.  Tom Morphey has, well, he hasn‘t been before the grand jury because the prosecutor - it‘s been reported the prosecutor‘s office has said they can‘t bring him before the grand jury because he has memory lapses about what has occurred. 

Tom Morphey has been hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals at least six times.  He has had two or three prior suicide attempts prior to the last one.  He has three DUI convictions.  He is habitual alcoholic. 

ABRAMS:  It seems to me Joel - I mean, everyone involved in this case, according to you and your client, Drew Peterson, all his ex-wives, they all had emotional problems.  They had depression. 

Now you guys are, you know, undermining the credibility of a potential witness.  I mean, it seems everyone, except for Drew, has these major emotional problems that lead to these memory lapses and invented stories, et cetera. 

BRODSKY:  Well, I mean, the memory lapse is why the prosecutor‘s reason - the memory lapse is the prosecutor‘s reason for not bringing him before the grand jury.  If had you a witness like this, you would bring him before the grand jury.  They haven‘t because of the memory lapses.  The man is a psychiatric halfway house now. 

ABRAMS:  What about the allegation?  This came out tonight. 

BRODSKY:  You can‘t - I just want to say you cannot charge somebody with a crime based on the word of somebody like that. 

ABRAMS:  He hasn‘t been charged yet.  It‘s just looking awfully bad. 

BRODSKY:  Oh, I mean everybody is thinking he should be. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, because the evidence just seems to be piling up.  This is - again, this came out tonight from the “Herald News,”  “Investigators suspect that Drew Peterson had  - (you know, the same guy you‘re talking about) help him dispose of his wife‘s body and also used Morphey in a plot to make it look as though her killer was Scott Rossetto, a man they suspect was Stacy‘s boyfriend.” 

This gets you back to this Rossetto story.  This is a guy was sending racy text messages with Stacy who says that Drew confronted him and Stacy at a Denny‘s restaurant.  And now, you guys now also go after Rossetto.  You say, oh, he‘s not credible either.  You can‘t believe him either, right? 

BRODSKY:  Well, he was caught in a lie.  I mean, there‘s no question about that.  He said that he was just friends and had nothing untoward going on with her.  And then he is exchanging perverted - later on when he is confronted at the grand jury he admits that he is exchanging what he said pornographic text messages. 

And, think about this.  Analyze this.  If you were going to go commit a major - very serious crime, would you have the person, a helper, somebody, as unstable as Thomas Morphey be the one that you choose to help you? 

ABRAMS:  I will answer that question, Joel, because in every high profile case, the defense attorneys say, “My client wouldn‘t have been as dumb as to x.”  And every time that they are convicted in the high profile cases that I have covered, they were that dumb.  They did do something that was so incredibly stupid.  So that defense to me never holds any water. 

Let me ask you, though, a final question.  What is it - Drew said that he had a conversation with Stacy on the night that she apparently went missing, on Sunday night.  Can you tell us what it is that he says she said to him? 

BRODSKY:  That was the phone call - you are referring to the phone call? 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

BRODSKY:  That she found somebody else and she is going.  That was the extent of it. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  So he is saying that she actually called him and said I‘m leaving you? 

BRODSKY:  That‘s correct. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Joel Brodsky, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it, as always, for taking the time. 

BRODSKY:  My pleasure. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let‘s bring in Pam Bondi here and Pam Bosco, the Stacy Peterson‘s family spokesperson.  First of all, Pam, let me let you respond to some of what you are hearing.  I mean, look, I think that there‘s real credibility problems with a lot of what he is saying. 

It seems, Miss Bosco, that everyone who is saying anything about Drew Peterson has emotional issues and all sorts of problems in their past, et cetera.  Let me let Pam Bosco take this one. 

PAM BOSCO, STACY PETERSON‘S FAMILY SPOKESPERSON:  I don‘t expect that they‘re going to say anything different on that only because - what other stance would they take at this point?  You know, they are - I‘m sorry, go ahead. 

ABRAMS:  I apologize.  I didn‘t mean to interrupt you.  What do you make of his explanation for that phone call he says?  He says Stacy called him that night and said “I‘m leaving you for another man.”  

BOSCO:  Again, that comment was originally different.  When he first stated it, he said that she had left with someone, took - you know, left the car at the airport and had left with someone to the Bahamas.  But then later on, when he had also made another media appearance, he said that “No, no, I was wrong.  She said she found somebody.”

So, again, there was a retraction.  It‘s either one or the other.  Either she left definitively with somebody or no, she told him that she had found somebody.  So, again, what‘s the truth behind what they are saying? 

ABRAMS:  It‘s a great point.  Pam Bondi, you know the fourth wife‘s sister, “Stacy says she told me if anything happens to me, I fear for my life.”  Third wife‘s sister, “We always knew what happened to Kathleen wasn‘t an accident.”  Second wife said Peterson told her he could kill her and make it look like an accident.  His ex-fiancee, “He would follow me and stalk me after I broke up with him.”  I mean, you know, it‘s stacking up. 

PAM BONDI, PROSECUTOR:  Dan, you‘re right.  It‘s layers and layers and layers of evidence against him.  And I disagree with Mr. Brodsky.  I believe if he is going to get somebody to try to help him, is he going to find somebody who is vulnerable and weak, who he thinks he can manipulate and that‘s the relative, the brother-in-law. 

And you know, Dan, the evidence just keeps mounting against him.  The thing that I find so interesting is how he leaves the cellphone on the table and says, “Don‘t answer it.”  Yet, Stacy comes up on the caller ID.  I would imagine prosecutors are going to argue she was already dead.  He‘s trying to make it appear that she is alive and he is calling from her cellphone at that time. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Pam, why do you think they haven‘t charged yet? 

BONDI:  Well, they still haven‘t found her body at this point.  There‘s no rush to charge him because we all know once you charge someone, speedy trial starts.  They are doing their investigation.  They are watching him closely.  They are getting new evidence every day.  They have all these searchers out there looking for this blue barrel where, most likely, her body is.  So I think they are still hoping that they can retrieve the body. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  This guy is in big trouble, I think. 

BONDI:  Absolutely. 

ABRAMS:  We shall see.  Pam Bosco, Pam Bondi, thank you both very much for coming on.  We appreciate it. 

BONDI:  Thank you.

BOSCO:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, brave store clerks and armed robbers go head to head.  We‘ve got the tapes, and they tell me why they risked it all to fight back. 

And later, Miss Puerto Rico is here to defend her allegations of sabotage.  Let‘s just say I prepped for the interview.  My prep and the interview coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know four times as many store clerks are killed on the job as firefighters?  Coming up, it‘s store clerks versus armed robbers.  We look at those who fought back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Store clerks are often the victims of vicious robberies.  But in many recent cases, they have taken the law and their lives into their own hands by fighting back.  They were mad and did something about it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH PENNEAU, KFC STORE MANAGER:  Well, he had ambushed me in the

parking lot as I was getting ready to get in my car.  And you know, we went

he forced me back into the store to try to open the safe.  And when I couldn‘t get the safe open fast enough for him, he decided that beating on me would, you know, give me a little bit would, you know, give me a little bit of incentive on it.  And then he put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger, and it didn‘t go off.  

ABRAMS:  So he literally pulled the trigger? 

PENNEAU:  Yes.  In the actual, you know, videos that we have - that I‘ve seen and we‘ve heard, you can actually hear the hammer going off.  You can hear the distinct click, and it just didn‘t fire.  

ABRAMS:  Wow!  And I assume at that point you‘re thinking about your family, huh? 

PENNEAU:  Yes, I was.  I thought, you know, he took a step back, and the only thing that was going through my mind is I‘m going home tonight to my wife and kids.  And that little bit of hesitation that he had when he took a step back and looked at his gun to put another bullet in it, that was all I needed to reach forward and grab the gun and push it out of the way.  And, you know, from there I got both hands on the gun, and the struggle was on.  

ABRAMS:  So it was clearly loaded, right? 

PENNEAU:  It was loaded.  Because, you know, by the time the struggle was over, you know, it went all through the store and out into the parking lot.  He got in the parking lot, and he was yelling at me to just let go of the gun and he‘d go away and I was yelling back, I‘m not letting go of the gun until it‘s unloaded. 

The magazine got locked off.  And then, he let go of the gun with one hand and was trying to, you know, hit me on the side of the head or something to get me to loosen it up.  And I was able to reach down, you know, by twisting the gun, and pushed the bolt down so that the last round in the gun would fall out.  And as soon as that last round hit the floor, I let go of the gun and he took off running. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right, so tell me what happens.  This guy walks in with a gun, and he says, “Give me the money,” and apparently you‘re laughing? 

HAFIZ J. ALAM, STORE CLERK:  Yes, I was laughing.  I was taking time, and I was slowly coming to the counter.  I went to the register and opened the register, and he was loading the bullets.  And he said, “Do you think it‘s funny?”  And I said, “No, I‘m not thinking it‘s funny, but I‘m giving you money.  Let‘s take it easy.  It takes time to get the money.”  So I opened the register.  I gave it him slow by slowly money, and I was looking for the chance to do something.  And he was giving me time.  He was giving time.  So I was OK.  I mean, like, he was rushing, but what I was doing slow by slowly, and I give him time in first 20, 10s, fives, singles, that way, and I get the chance.  I got the chance, and I took the guns. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAFIZE SAHIN, STORE CLERK:  At the moment, I thought he was coming behind the cashier, so that‘s why I grabbed the ax, because I thought this is a gun.  It‘s not real.  Maybe he‘s coming behind the cash register and trying to hurt me or like that.  So I can protect myself like that.  I‘m sorry, I‘m so nervous right now.  

ABRAMS:  No, look, I would think you would have been more nervous then.  I‘m watching this tape, and I can‘t imagine you weren‘t more nervous when that was happening, no? 

SAHIN:  Yes.  I was more nervous at that time, yes, but, I tried control myself.

ABRAMS:  So now that you have seen the tape, would you do it again?  If you could take a moment and think about it, would you actually go and grab the ax again? 

SAHIN:  I hope I won‘t.  I can‘t do it again.  I don‘t think so. 

ABRAMS:  Were you scared as it was happening? 

SAHIN:  Yes.  I was scared.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Up next, in “Winners and Losers”, a Georgia man tries to cash a million-dollar bill.  An unruly man is dragged out of court.  And Miss Puerto Rico is here to defend her account of beauty queen sabotage and I prepped for the interview.

A suspicious counterfeit; a suspect losing it; or a TV host working it?  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 28th day of November, 2007. 

Our first loser, former attorney general John Ashcroft, heckled and harassed during a speech at the University of Colorado last night in telling the crowd Guantanamo bay is a, quote, “good place.  It wasn‘t bad enough.”  The former AG made matters worse by suggesting he‘s willing to undergo torture, quote, “the things that I can survive if it were necessary to do them to me I would do.”  Yes, he is referring to water-boarding. 

Our first winners, passengers who boarded a ship that went underwater.  All 150 or so survived the treacherous journey off Antarctica which came to an end when their ship struck an iceberg. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The captain has called emergency.  Third floor leaking.  Oh, my gosh.  Oh my gosh, I‘m so scared. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All the passengers were shuffled on the life boats and brought safely to shore. 

Second winner, a not-so-lucky Massachusetts man who won a million-dollar lottery jackpot.  Timothy Elliot was even handed the first installment.  The only problem is he‘s a convicted bank robber, and playing scratch off lotto was a violation of his probation.  So now he may have to give it all back.  Apparently, you can‘t win a million bucks after robbing a bank. 

Our second loser, a Georgia man who tried to cash a million bucks but was busted by a bank.  Alexander Smith wanted to open up a bank account using this clearly fake one-million-dollar bill. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE MYERS, ACTOR:  $1 million. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:   The counterfeit cash was quickly spotted by a bank teller who called the cops while Smith cursed out every bank employee in sight.  He‘s now facing charges of disorderly conduct and forgery. 

But the big loser of the day?  An unruly suspect dragged kicking and screaming out of a New Hampshire courtroom this morning. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No!  No!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SUSPECT:  Get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED). 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Leave him alone!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Twenty-four-year-old Ronnie Amadon(ph) lost it during his arraignment.  He is charged with threatening his own mother with an ax after she refused to buy him a pack of smokes.  Luckily, court officers managed to drag him out before pulling out the pepper spray. 

The big winner of the day?  Apparently pepper sprayed beauty queen Ingrid Marie Rivera, who may have had a competitor with an ax to grind and tried to drag her out of the Miss Universe competition.  Miss Puerto Rico was a winner earlier this week for persevering through it and still winning the crown, then, a loser when her story questioned.  But now, she‘s the big winner after speaking out persuasively about evening gown and makeup being spiked with something that led her to suffer through the end of the competition. 

ABRAMS:  I sat down with Miss Puerto Rico tonight.  First, I wanted to be prepared. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:   Dan, great news, we got Miss Puerto Rico. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, that‘s great.  Oh, great, all right.  I got to get ready for this interview.  Thanks a lot.  I appreciate it.   Hey, is the fitness center open? 

So, how long have you been a beauty queen?  No, no, no.  So, when did you get into the pageant business?  Where did you get that dress?  Do they give you clothes for free?  Would you ever think of moving to New York?  You‘re definitely staying in Puerto Rico?  Ola, my name is Dan. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dan, now, remember, technically Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States.  We invaded them back in 1898. 

ABRAMS:  Do you think this jacket is too light?  I had a darker suit on last night. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It doesn‘t matter.  Let‘s stay focused here.  Last year Puerto Ricans had per capita gross domestic product of over $19,000. 

ABRAMS:  I just feel like a beauty contestant would like a lighter tie.  Something with more sunshine.  Yellow. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, I‘m glad you mentioned beauty contestant.  She is facing off against 76 other contestants in the Miss Universe pageant in May. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Dan, she is here.  We‘ve got to go. 

ABRAMS:  OK. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Dan, I think you are going to need this research. 

Can you take this with you? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Here now is Miss Puerto Rico Universe Ingrid Marie Rivera. 

Thank you so much for coming on the show, and congratulations on the win. 

I appreciate it.

INGRID MARIE RIVERA, MISS PUERTO RICO UNIVERSE:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  First tell me, when did you realize that there may be something wrong? 

RIVERA:  The preliminary.  At the preliminary, I was changing from bathing suit to evening gown.  I retouched my makeup and immediately I had the reaction. 

ABRAMS:  Stinging?  I mean, what was it? 

RIVERA:  Burning.  It was itching.  Reddish, swollen. 

ABRAMS:  And you were able - 

RIVERA:  Pretty bad. 

ABRAMS:  You were able to persevere and continue on? 

RIVERA:  Yes, yes.  I just tried to stay focused and do my thing at the moment. 

ABRAMS:  I have got to believe that wasn‘t easy. 

RIVERA:  No, it wasn‘t.  Every time I had to go out of stage, it was

one phase.  And then I go backstage and there was another one.  I had to

always be near, you know, like, with ventilation, with papers, wet papers

with cold water just to, like, try to eliminate a bit the sense of -

ABRAMS:  When this first came out, everyone was horrified, saying oh,

my goodness, how could this happen?  And then the next day, questions

started being asked -

RIVERA:  Yes.  

ABRAMS:  Saying maybe -

RIVERA:  Maybe.  

ABRAMS:  She‘s faking it.  

RIVERA:  Sure.  

ABRAMS:  Maybe she made up this story. 

RIVERA:  Yes?

ABRAMS:  What was your reaction?  What is your reaction? 

RIVERA:  It was really sad, even for me, because it was a lot that I had to go through.  And that‘s why I even cried when they crowned me, because I thought for a moment, maybe I‘m not going to be able to make it, like to make my dream come true and become Miss Universe Puerto Rico. 

And at that moment, I was so excited like finally, God, thank you.  Because it wasn‘t easy at all.  And those things - rumors or comments that maybe I faked it because of publicity, but that wasn‘t an intention.  It was at a press conference locally at Puerto Rico.  And, I don‘t know, it spread out.  

ABRAMS:  So, you weren‘t intending on making some announcement about it? 

RIVERA:  No.  Even at the moment when it first started, which was preliminary night, that was the 18th of November, then it happened also the 23rd and it wasn‘t until two days after, Sunday, that the news came out.  

ABRAMS:  Any sense of who might have done it? 

RIVERA:  No, I don‘t know.  I don‘t know.  There‘s an investigation going on through the video cameras.  They have my brush, my bathing suit and also my evening gown to see who could have been, what could have been, and also because I‘m concerned my skin - I don‘t know if it has secondary effect, if I‘m exposed to sun or whatever.  I had to go to dermatologist and put on some cream, special cream for it.  

ABRAMS:  Well, I‘m no dermatologist, but I think you look great.  

RIVREA:  Thank you.  

ABRAMS:  Thank you so much for coming on the show.  It‘s great to have you.  We hope you continue to feel well.  And congratulations again.

RIVERA:  Thank you.  I happy to tell you that I‘ll be able to go to Vietnam, and maybe work for (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  I‘m ambitious.

ABRAMS:  Good for you.  That‘s it for tonight.  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

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

transcript

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

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,