updated 12/6/2007 12:34:39 PM ET 2007-12-06T17:34:39

Guests: Cliff May, Arianna Huffington, Lois Marie Davidson, Scott Griffin, Milton Hirsch, Anne Bremner, Pat Brown, Courtney Scott, Zena McClain

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight while President Bush remains in denial over the new intelligence report, some neocons aren‘t just denying reality, they‘re attacking it.

And Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee under fire now denying that he was behind the release of a vicious rapist who struck again.  And the definition of denial—suspect Drew Peterson.  Now talking about how his missing wife case will affect his dating life.

But first: Day three of President Bush‘s spin on the Iran intelligence report.  While the president attempts to hoodwink the public into believing that a report that concludes that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program somehow supports the administration‘s assertions that they do, some of the ideological allies are going even further.  Apparently, so upset by the finding of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and knowing how much that undermines the administration‘s credibility and the case for war against Iran is now a growing course from the Right attacking the messenger.  Today, the “Wall Street Journal” editorial board cites an anonymous official who criticized the three former State Department officials who co-authored the National Intelligence Estimate as hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials. 

“The New York Sun” speculates one could call all this revenge of the bureaucrats.  Rush Limbaugh saying, you‘ve got to examine motives and the intent of the people at the NIE, and conservative commentator, Norman Podhoretz wrote, it‘s calculated to undermine George W. Bush.  These neocons and some just con men conveniently ignored that the administration got an early peek at the intelligence and so then, according to the “Washington Post” and others, quote, “Groups of intelligence officers tried to punch holes in the new evidence, substantially delaying publication of the NIE.”  But they couldn‘t find the necessary holes while the administration insults the intelligence of the public by claiming the reports somehow supports what they have been saying recently about Iran‘s nuclear weapons program, the neocons are politicizing the intelligence saying it doesn‘t matter.  I guess together, their assault on objective truth helps obfuscate the real issues.  Here now MSNBC political analyst, Lawrence O‘Donnell, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Hoffingtonpost.com and Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  All right.  Arianna, it seems to me that, all right, it takes some gall on the part of the president to say this helps our—this helps prove what we‘ve been saying all along.  On the other hand, it‘s going us even further for some of these—some of these far Right wingers to be saying, oh, well, you know what?  We just can‘t trust the NIE at all.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  It is absolutely unbelievable, Dan, because here you have 16 agencies.  This is not just one isolated individual.  These are the agencies that comprise our main intelligence apparatus, and “The Wall Street Journal,” of course refers to them constantly as bureaucracies because that immediately implies that they are wrong.  But Bush himself says something really funny.  He says, of course, there was a universal belief and before this report that Iran was engaged in the creation of nuclear weapons like there was a universal belief before we invaded Iraq that there were weapons of mass destruction, then he misses the point that the fact that these beliefs in the report were universal doesn‘t make it right.  But to attack them in that way simply unbelievable.

ABRAMS:  All right.  But Cliff, you know, this is - look, you can talk about sort of who was on this particular panel.  This is on Dick Cheney, in 2003, of course, described the NIE as the gold standard, the National Intelligence Estimate is what he said in “Newsweek” magazine, but not when they don‘t like the findings, right?  Then it‘s just the opposite.

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES:  First of all, Dan, I appreciate that this is three against one, so I‘ll try not to gang up on you guys.

ABRAMS:  Yes, go ahead.

MAY:  Secondly, if you listen to what Bush said, he actually was complimentary toward the intelligence agencies, but there is a question here that we might want to explore seriously, and that is if you take someone like Thomas Fingar, who‘s one the key authors of this report, exactly four months ago in July, he testified before Congress, and he said it‘s very clear Iran is determined, that‘s the word he used, determined to build nuclear weapons.  Now, if that is changed and he was wrong then and if they haven‘t been determined to build nuclear weapons since 2003, I guess there must be new intelligence that gives them—aren‘t you even curious to know what changed his mind, Dan?

ABRAMS:  Let‘s talk about this.  You said - determined to create nuclear weapons.  I didn‘t see anything in the NIE report that said they may not be determined.  What they said is - they don‘t have an active nuclear weapons program, period.

MAY:  Good point.  But what they do have, you understand, is they are

illegally enriching uranium, this is what you used, they are making

detonators, which is what they use, they are -

ABRAMS:  You‘re doing the Bush spin.

MAY:  No.

ABRAMS:  Somehow this report supports the notion that the administration has been trying to put forth for months now, that Iran is actively pursuing the nuclear weapon when we find out they‘re not.

MAY:  I think you and Ahmadinejad are probably telling the truth that

Iran is not trying to build nuclear weapons and has no -

ABRAMS:  I‘m not saying anything.  I don‘t know.  All I know is what I read in the National Intelligence Estimate.

MAY:  I am suspicious that Iran is building nuclear weapons and has gay people.  I think both those things may be true.  Who knows?  But let me point this out to you.  If they‘re not determined to build one now, why are they enriching uranium, why are they making detonators and why are they going ahead with other technological developments that would lead to building a bomb?  Now, all I‘m saying is this.  And this is all I‘m saying.  Why not have—since you and I do not know what new information means they were wrong before, let‘s take a look at the information or let Congress.  How about this?  Can we at least agree that Congress can look at the information?

ABRAMS:  All right.  Lawrence O‘Donnell, let‘s agree there is no objective truth in this world.  And as a result, we can continue doing studies on everything.  Anytime we don‘t like the result, we can then say, you know what?  Let‘s study this some more.

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Dan, you know, the people you‘re citing or complaining about this, some of them are in the crowd that believed we did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  They actually make that argument.  And so, and I don‘t know if Cliff thinks they found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or not.  Cliff, do you have a yes or no answer to that?

MAY:  We did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  That doesn‘t mean there weren‘t any.  If I can‘t find my car keys doesn‘t mean I never have car keys.  You do understand that logical distinction, don‘t you?  Lawrence, yes or no?

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  But I don‘t want to debate the weapons of mass destruction. 

We all agree they didn‘t find them.  OK, continue, Lawrence.  Go ahead.

O‘DONNELL:  Yes, at least cliff is not among the flat earth society group that does believe we found them, and they say that we found them.  They say it all the time.  They will say anything no matter what facts are presented to them.  Now, intelligence is not fact.  The report in 2005 was not fact.  This report is not fact.

MAY:  We agree.

O‘DONNELL:  Intelligence is a form of best guessing.

ABRAMS:  Right.

O‘DONNELL:  It‘s done in a very sophisticated way.  And so, you know, this is a problem for the president rhetorically.  And Steven Hadley handled it correctly the day that this was revealed.  He greeted it as very good news and tried to spin it in the smart way for the White House.  Since then the White House and their friends have been spinning it in the wrong direction.  They‘ve been spinning it into a zone of unreality.

ABRAMS:  Here is Rush, speaking of unreality, here‘s what Rush Limbaugh said about it today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Exactly what a number of people have suspected is certainly true here.  You have some disgruntled State Department people.  One of them actively pursuing a program of—allowing the Iranians to enrich uranium, sabotage, unhappy with the Bush administration.  It‘s exactly the kind of thing that I suspected and feared yesterday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  See, Cliff, this, to me, is where we get the difference between honest conservatives and dishonest conservatives, OK?  To me, you can have a consistent position which is you know what?  I believed the NIE when we went into Iraq, I believe the evidence that we‘ve gathered, et cetera, to me the dishonest ones are the ones who pick and choose what they like and what they don‘t like.

MAY:  So let me make this position and you tell me if it‘s honest or

dishonest.  The intelligence community was wrong about the nuclear weapons

programs so far of Iraq, of North Korea, of Libya, also of Syria.  So,

maybe—maybe they‘re wrong on this.  Let‘s not be so complacent that we

now say, you know what?  We don‘t need to worry -

ABRAMS:  But - here‘s the question.  That‘s not the—the question is

here‘s the question.  What evidence was the president basing all of his comments on in the past few months, and Dick Cheney and Condi Rice and Dana Perino?

MAY:  I‘ll answer your question, the 2005 estimate and -

ABRAMS:  So, they did rely then it was OK.  But now it‘s not.

MAY:  No.  The president is saying it is.  I‘m saying I disagree with

the president.  I am worried that once again, we‘re getting this wrong and

I don‘t want to be complacent about the worst regime getting nuclear

weapons.  I‘m more worried about Ahmadinejad than President Bush.  I‘m a

minority in this -

ABRAMS:  Look, I‘m very worried about Ahmadinejad.  Arianna, to me, that‘s not the question, though.  I‘m worried about Ahmadinejad.  I don‘t know, I would assume that you would say that you are, too.  I view him as a threat to this country.

HUFFINGTON:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  But that‘s not what we‘re dealing with here.  What we‘re dealing with is a new report that just came out about their nuclear weapons technology, about whether we‘ve been lied to by our government, and number two, whether we now have far Right wingers who are trying to simply say there‘s no such thing as truth in government.  Go ahead, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON:  Exactly.  Basically, Dan, dealing with the lunatic regime of the GOP and the conservative movement that does not believe in facts, does not believe in evidence, does not believe in science.

MAY:  What evidence changed Arianna, between 2005 and now?

(CROSSTALK)

MAY:  It is possible.  What is it you know that I don‘t know?

HUFFINGTON:  Can you hold on a second?  You know, Cliff, you‘ve been talking for a long time.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON:  You know, that‘s enough, OK?  Basically, this is really

the stance of people like Cliff who are not going to let anything as simple

as the evidence get in the way of their preconceptions.  He wants to

believe that Iran is engaged in the production of nuclear weapons because

he wants to believe like the president said in October 17th that if we

don‘t take care of that, there will be the third world war.  These are the

president‘s words.  He talked about World War III.  And now we‘re presented

with the evidence that this is absolutely -

ABRAMS:  Let‘s be clear on what your position.  I think to be fair to you, your position—your position is basically echoing that of the president, which is you‘re not saying—I don‘t think you‘re saying—are you one of the dishonest ones who is now saying we can‘t trust the NIE?

MAY:  I‘m agreeing with the British and French that what we have to do at the very least is keep up the pressure we‘ve had on Iran, absolutely.  And I would say that the evidence that Arianna is talking about, since she doesn‘t know what that evidence is, I would like, I can‘t know, and you can‘t know it, I would like to make sure the members of the House and Senate intelligence committees get to see it.  And if necessary, this is not unusual; we have it before, you have another set of analysts on this.

ABRAMS:  Isn‘t there something awful about the fact that there‘s this group of far Right wingers who are now attacking the messenger?  They don‘t like—they don‘t like the outcome.  That‘s not what the president‘s doing.

MAY:  It‘s not as awful as the fact that the intelligence community didn‘t see 9/11, didn‘t see the attack (INAUDIBLE) coming in 1998, 1996.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I do think it‘s awful.

MAY:  I don‘t think it is terrible for me to say, I‘m a little skeptical about this report which is 180 degrees difference from what they were saying four months ago.

ABRAMS:  Well, look, here‘s what President Bush said about it today.  All right.  I‘ll read it.  It‘s clear from the latest NIE that the Iranian government has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions.  Now, Lawrence, look, there‘s nothing wrong with that.  I don‘t disagree with that.  Again, we‘re seeing two things.  I think it‘s very important for people to understand the two things we‘re seeing going on here.  President Bush is doing one thing while the far Right fringe is doing something else.

O‘DONNELL:  Now, Dan, you‘ll notice that Cliff May did not demand sources for the 2005 report that indicated that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons.  He only wants the intelligence sources now that it‘s pointing in a different direction.  And, in fact, Jane Harman, Democratic member of Congress who Cliff May knows is not a wacko lefty, has read the classified version of this report.  It is available to Congress.  They are reading it.

ABRAMS:  All right.  I got to wrap it.  You get the final 15 seconds, quickly.

MAY:  The final 15 seconds is I think we want to be very careful.  Our intelligence community has been wrong on this before.  Let‘s just verify rather than trust especially about Iran‘s nuclear weapons and Ahmadinejad.

ABRAMS:  Don‘t become one of the dishonest ones, Cliff, don‘t become one of the dishonest ones, really.

MAY:  I know you‘ll keep me honest on this show, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Cliff May, Lawrence O‘Donnell, Arianna‘s going to stay with us.

Coming up: Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee now fighting off questions about his support for the release from prison of a man convicted of raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  The same man went on to rape and kill at least one other woman.  Could this be big enough to bring his smoking‘ campaign to a halt?

Plus: It seems like suddenly some hot topics on “The View” are a little dated.  And at least one of the hosts needs to study up on when Christ was born.  That embarrassment in Beat the Press.

And later: Montel Williams under fire for lashing out at a 17-year-old intern.  He‘s apologizing, trying to get her to go on the show.  The only show she‘s going on is this one.  She‘s on tonight‘s Winners & Losers.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee‘s first job was working at a radio station where he read news and weather?  Coming up, the former Arkansas governor now under fire for supporting the release of a man convicted of raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  The same man went on to rape and kill at least one other woman.  There are new details tonight that suggests he knew a lot more than he is saying.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight, a major bombshell threatens to bring the meteoric rise of Mike Huckabee‘s Republican presidential campaign to a screeching halt.  It involves the release of a convicted rapist who kidnapped and raped a 17-year-old cheerleader and what Huckabee may have done to help get him out.  Just two years after Wayne Dumont was being freed from prison in 1999, he raped and murdered at least one more woman, pregnant with her first child.  Now, the former Arkansas governor is saying it was not his call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM RUSSERT, TV HOST:  You or your staff did not pressure or try to convince the parole board in any way, shape or form?

MIKE HUCKABEE, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  No, we didn‘t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But that‘s not what many others are saying.  Before Dumont‘s release, Huckabee wrote a letter to the rapist, quote, “My desire is that you be released from prison.  I feel that parole is your best way for your reintroduction to society to take place.”  And an ex-Huckabee aide coming forward tonight, saying Huckabee pressured the parole board to set Dumont free.  A member of that parole board has said quote, “For Governor Huckabee to say that he had no influence with the board is something that he knows to be untrue.  He came before the board and made his views known that Dumont should have been paroled.”  On top of that, we know he was under pressure from Conservative activists to release the rapist, on this part, it‘s almost impossible to believe, because Dumont‘s 17-year-old victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  Joining me is the mother of one of Dumont‘s victims, Lois Marie Davidson and Arianna Huffington of the Huffingtonpost, the Web site that broke the story today.  Thanks to both of you for coming on.  Ms.  Davidson, let me start with you.  First tell me, how important do you think this is to Huckabee‘s presidential campaign?

LOIS MARIE DAVIDSON, RAPE VICTIM‘S MOTHER:  Well, you mean is it good for it?

ABRAMS:  What do you think?  Do you think it should affect his presidential hopes?

DAVIDSON:  I just don‘t think he is the man for the presidency.  I really don‘t.  I don‘t think he‘s done enough—he did enough background research on Dumont, and I don‘t think that he‘s president material.

ABRAMS:  Can you tell me what happened to your daughter?

DAVIDSON:  He went into an apartment that she was in and raped her and then smothered her with a plastic bag.  And when he left, he left the bag lying beside of her.  She fought—really fought, and they got the DNA out from under her fingernails, and that‘s how they caught him.  He was on parole, and they put that DNA into the database, and his name popped right up.

ABRAMS:  That was after the release, Arianna.  That was after the decision to release him from prison.  The question really becomes now, doesn‘t it, political, practical legal question becomes, you know, what did he know when?  And your Web site has a series of letters from victims who say that they wrote to Huckabee including—and this is number seven - let me read: “What was left unsaid in her letter to Huckabee was that she was three years old when, in the 1970s, Dumont raped her mother.  The girl was in her mother‘s bed asleep when the rape occurred.  Dumont held a butcher‘s knife to her mother‘s throat during the assault.  Even as she was violently assaulted, she gently stroked her daughter‘s hair, praying she would not wake up.”  I mean, Arianna, what is the—what was the argument for releasing him?

HUFFINGTON:  Well, you know, this is what is so amazing, Dan.  You know, as we‘ve been piecing the story together for the last few days.  And the letters that have given to the Huffingtonpost made clear Huckabee knew a lot more about what had happened than he let on now.  And the question really is why would he do that?  And the only way to understand that is to go back in time and see just how much pressure there was from Conservative activists for Huckabee to release a prisoner.  It‘s really amazing.

ABRAMS:  And the Conservative activists were interested in this, Arianna, because this is a distant cousin—distant relative of Bill Clinton‘s?

HUFFINGTON:  I know, it sounds absolutely bizarre, but they were driven by the hatred of Clinton , you had Jay Call (ph), was a Baptist minister and a friend of Huckabee‘s and a radio talk show host who had made these calls (INAUDIBLE).  You had Steven Donleavy, “The New York Post” columnist, who on the day that Dumont was released actually said the rape never happened.  And then of course, in terms of Huckabee himself, this case really throws into question his judgment, his honesty, his integrity, his independence because he was clearly driven by this incredible passion on behalf of so many of those that supported him in his election for governor.  And to see this man released from jail.  You know, he said again and again that he had not influenced the decision, but you have you know, four members of the parole board who say he did.

ABRAMS:  Well, here‘s what he said in response to that question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE:  Someone brought up his case.  Frankly, it was simply a part of a broader discussion.  I did not ask them to do anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Ms  Davidson, a little hard for you to believe?

DAVIDSON:  Yes.  Very hard.

ABRAMS:  Does it anger you?

DAVIDSON:  Very much.  Yes, it has ever since I‘ve known about all that.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Lois Marie Davidson, thanks a lot.  I know this is tough for you to dredge up all this.  I appreciate you coming on the program.

DAVIDSON:  Well, if it helps, why, I‘m glad to do it.

ABRAMS:  Arianna, as always, thank you.

Coming up: The Florida teacher infamous for having sex with a 14-year-old student busted again yesterday for violating her parole.  We have a never before seen interview with Debra Lafave where she talks about how she was going to try to avoid something like this happening.

And speaking of looking for love in all the wrong places, Drew Peterson, you know Mr. Four out of the five women he was engaged or married to dead or missing or say threaten them?  Well, he now says he‘s worried about his dating life.  No, seriously.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.  First up: The ladies of The View were discussing the ancient Greek philosopher, Epicures when confusion set in for one pause.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHOOPI GOLBERG:  When he was around there was no Jesus Christ stuff going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You know, they had Christians back then.  They threw them to the lions.

GOLDBERG:  I think this might predate that.  I think this might predate that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t think anything predated Christians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The Greeks came first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, the Greeks came first, then the Romans, then the Christians.  Jesus came first before them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Note to Sherry, Epicures lived until 270 BC, that‘s before Christ and before Christ means before Christians.

Next up: It‘s hard not to love FOX‘s Courtney Friel, an entertainment reporter who also reports on blogs, she‘s always chipper and beautiful. 

But when it comes to her Internet expertise -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURTNEY FRIEL:  So, my suggestion is to go to Google reader, find what you like and you can get RSS feeds that link the funny thing that I don‘t even know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  She didn‘t know what RSS—it‘s a really simple syndication. 

I didn‘t know either.  But I‘m not claiming to be a blog expert.

Finally: What‘s wrong with this picture on FOX?  Specifically the

description on the bottom of the screen—Barack Obama speaks at Apollo

Theater.  That looks a lot more like comedian Chris Rock to me.  Senator

Obama did speak at that event

We need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything right, wrong, amusing or absurd, go to our Web site Abrams.msnbc.com; leave us a tip in the box.  Please include the show and item you saw the item.

Up next: Drew Peterson, the man suspected in the disappearance of his fourth wife could soon be charged in the death of his third, but he says he‘s worried that he‘s not going to get another date.

And Jennifer Love Hewitt fighting back against gossip sites who are calling her fat after getting their hands on a paparazzi photo of her in a bikini.  She is in tonight‘s Winners & Losers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the teacher infamous for having sex with a 14-year-old student in trouble with the law again.  We have a never before seen interview with her where she talks about how she was going to try to prevent something like this from happening. 

And actress Jennifer Love Hewitt talking on the gossip site - taking on the gossip sites for insulting the way she looks in a bikini. 

Plus, Montel Williams lashes out at a 17-year-old intern.  He‘s apologizing now, trying to get her to go on his show.  The one show she is going on is this one.  She‘s with us tonight in “Winners and Losers.”

But first, more on that breaks news tonight, information coming out on that mall shooting in Omaha, Nebraska.  It left nine people dead including the gunman and wounded five others.  The gunman has been identified as 19-year-old Robert Hawkins of Bellevue, Nebraska. 

He was fired from the McDonald‘s restaurant today for allegedly stealing $17.  He took his anger out on a crowd of unsuspecting holiday shoppers who fled in horror as Hawkins leaned over a third floor railing and opened fire.  Here‘s how one witness described the scene. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESA WIEDERIN, MALL SHOOTING WITNESS:  It was awful.  Everyone was running, and a man had a new baby, and he had lost his wife with their other son.  They were shopping for Christmas clothes for their picture tomorrow.  And she wouldn‘t answer her phone, and I felt so awful for him. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The shooter left behind a suicide note saying he wanted to, quote, “go out in style.”  Awful.  Stay tuned to MSNBC for the latest on this story. 

But now, former Florida teacher Debra Lafave arrested again.  In 2004, the 23-year-old Lafave made headlines after having sex with her 14-year-old male student.  She pled guilty to lewd and lascivious behavior and was sentenced to three years‘ house arrest and seven years‘ probation. 

Now she‘s busted for a minor violation of her probation by having non-work-related conversations with a 17-year-old coworker while at work.  I‘ll talk about how ridiculous I think this is in a minute.

But first, we‘ve uncovered never before seen clips of Debra Lafave explaining how she wanted to avoid something like this and to try to get her life back on track. 

OK.  We‘re going to try and get that tape for you.  Let‘s try it again.  OK.  I guess we don‘t have it.  We‘ll come back to that.  All right.  Look.  Let me tell you about this.  You have it?  We have it apparently.  Let‘s go to it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, HOST, THE “TODAY” SHOW:  So what‘s the future for you?  I mean, how do you go from here and get to a point in your life where you‘re not known as the teacher who raped a student? 

DEBRA LAFAVE, CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER:  Well, you know, my first concern, like I said, I have a job right now.  I am desperately in need of a secondary job for benefits.  My medication is astronomical.  And we don‘t have benefits.  And I have applied to literally 50 different places, and I‘ve been turned down. 

LAUER:  You‘re a registered sex offender. 

LAFAVE:  Exactly.  I think that somebody, the right somebody, will give me the chance, because I do have a lot to offer. 

LAUER:  What do you want to do with your life? 

LAFAVE:  You know, I want to have a family that I‘ve dreamed about all my life - yes, have kids.  I want to speak out on mental health issues and eventually try to put together a nonprofit organization.  Because when I needed somebody, there was no information.  And I just really want to be able to help just one person. 

LAUER:  Do you think if we sit down and talk in five years, your life will be back together again? 

LAFAVE:  I hope so.  I have to stay optimistic.  I‘m going to keep doing what I‘m doing.  I‘m going to keep working for my community.  And I‘m going to try to work hard, as hard as I can.  And show people that I am just a person. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Since that interview, Lafave has had no reports of problems with the law.  She held a steady job for almost two years.  Her arrest for talking to a 17-year-old coworker about non-related work issues - or non-work-related issues is ridiculous.  She works with the girl; they‘re going to talk. 

Here now is defense attorney Anne Bremner, Attorney Milton Hirsch, and Scott Griffin who knows Lafave well.  He‘s the manager of the Danny Boy‘s restaurant where she worked.  Thanks to all of you for coming on.  I appreciate it.  Scott, let me start with you.  Was she a good employee? 

SCOTT GRIFFIN, MANAGER OF THE DANNY BOY‘S RESTAURANT WHERE LAFAVE

WORKED:  She was one of our best employees.  Never had any complaints about her.  All the customers loved her.  The customers are absolutely irate today. 

ABRAMS:  Did they recognize her?  Did they say, “Oh, yes, there‘s Debra Lafave, the woman who had sex with her teenage student”? 

GRIFFIN:  Maybe about 60 percent knew.  Many of our customers didn‘t even realize.  I had an employee call me tonight after watching, didn‘t even realize she worked with her. 

ABRAMS:  Do you know what it is - what was she talking about with this employee that got her into trouble? 

GRIFFIN:  We have no idea what the conversation was.  We don‘t have any transcripts of it or anything like that.  As far as we can tell, it‘s just normal work conversation that goes on every day here. 

ABRAMS:  What was she like?  Was she good to work with?  Nice person? 

GRIFFIN:  The sweetest person you could ever meet, a good worker, hard worker.  You know, loved her job, very dedicated, just an absolute excellent employee. 

ABRAMS: All right.  Milton Hirsch, it seems ridiculous to me.  She‘s now facing up to 30 years behind bars.  I get probation.  Probation means something.  But the notion that she‘s violating her probation because she‘s having a conversation with a 17-year-old coworker to me seems ridiculous. 

MILTON HIRSCH, ATTORNEY:  Well, damage - tragic all the way around.  But here‘s the flip side.  Among the conditions of her probation was that she was not to have any sexually express or explicit conversations with teenagers.  Now, correct me if I‘m wrong, but it‘s my understanding that what she is facing right now in terms of violation of probation is that she had some kind of sexually express or explicit conversation with a teenage girl. 

ABRAMS:  But come on, she‘s talking to this girl about her life with this girl.  She‘s the girl saying to her “Hey, it‘s my boyfriend.”  This and this.  I mean, come on. 

HIRSCH:  OK, here‘s the flip side, Dan.  A 27-year-old man put on probation for sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old female student.  He now has sexually explicit conversation with a teenage girl.  Your reaction, the same or different? 

ABRAMS:  If there‘s another 17-year-old boy talking to he works with and they‘re talking about the kid‘s life, I‘d say the same thing.  But, look, we talked about this many times on this program that I‘ve said many times I think the important message to send is to the men more than the women.  We can debate that another time.  Anne Bremner in, I want you to listen to this piece of sound from Debra Lafave first. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAFAVE:  I think I should be in jail. 

LAUER:  You think you should be? 

LAFAVE:  Yes.  By the standards what - you know, what I did, that‘s the law.  I should have gotten jail time. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Anne, is she now going to get jail time? 

ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Dan, it‘s interesting.  It‘s like the karma we see in the O.J. Simpson case where people say now he‘ll get jail for what they think he got away with back - over a decade ago.  She had leniency back at the time of her sentencing.  And now, they‘re trying to come back with this de minimis violation. 

I don‘t that this will come to anything.  You know, she‘s talking girl talk, like you said, not pillow talk.  And the Latin phrase “de minimis” means it doesn‘t even fit.  It so minor it doesn‘t come within the eye of the law.  And that‘s what this is.

ABRAMS:  So why are they going after her?  Why are doing this?  Why are they doing this? 

BREMNER:  I think it‘s the karma - I think it is a karma thing, and Dan, you‘ve always been right on on these female teacher cases.  They‘re such a small percentage of the actual cases of the men that are the pedophiles and predators.  And they keep going after people like Debra Lafave on something like this.  Would they go after her if said to a minor that came into the restaurant, “Do you want fries with that?”  Because basically, they‘re looking at her talking to a minor. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, and they‘re going to say, “What did you mean by ‘fries‘? 

Oooh - “

BREMNER:  Right.  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  “Maybe she was talking something else.”  Here‘s Debra Lafave saying she doesn‘t believe that she‘s actually a sex offender. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAFAVE:  I committed a sex offense, but I‘m not a sex offender even though I‘m labeled as that.  I made a really, really, really bad choice. 

LAUER:  You don‘t see yourself as a predator. 

LAFAVE:  It‘s hard.  It is so hard because I‘ve lived 23 of my years of my life, you know, knowing who I was.  I was a kindhearted person who loved children, who would never, you know, do anything to break the law.  I was a good person, and then now everything has just changed.  So it‘s just really hard for me to accept that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I can‘t believe I‘m saying this.  I‘m with Debra.  I say don‘t put her back behind bars for talking to a 17-year-old at work.  All right, Anne, Milton, Scott, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it. 

BREMNER:  Thanks, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Up next, with one wife dead and another one missing, Drew Peterson‘s biggest concern is his love life.  Yes, as the police searches property again, Drew is thinking about getting some action.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Suspect Drew Peterson is now talking about his dating life.  That‘s right, with his wife missing.  He‘s afraid he‘s not going to get any action.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Drew Peterson has a message for the ladies tonight.  He‘s available, but reportedly worried that being a suspect in his wife‘s disappearance and all.  You know, it could dampen his love life saying, quote, “I‘m not going to get another date.” 

This jerk is also reportedly mulling an offer to sit down with “People” magazine and - get this, concerned fans, Peterson says, quote, “The rumor about me doing a spread for “Playgirl” magazine is false.”  Thank goodness, I did not want to have to cancel my subscription. 

Peterson actually has real things to be worried about.  Illinois State Police intensifying their search today in the icy waters of a canal not far from Peterson‘s house.  The coast guard assisting as crews pulled debris from the canal.  This after police served Peterson with another search warrant as they looked for more possible evidence inside Peterson‘s two cars. 

I‘m joined now by Pat Brown, criminal profiler and author of “Killing for Sport” and back with us is Attorney Anne Bremner.  All right, Pat, first let me ask you about his psychology here, OK?  This is a guy who‘s now talking about the fact that his wife is missing and he‘s a suspect impacting his love life. 

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER:  Well, Dan, I mean, it‘s a very common psychopathic trait to ignore what the issue is and to do what you want.  And in this particular case, he‘s actually not concerned one bit that his wife is missing or that she might be dead or that his children are suffering.  He‘s only worried about himself, number one, which is, again, a psychopathic trait.  It‘s all about Drew and what Drew wants.  And Drew wants action and wants a little something and he‘s not getting any. 

ABRAMS:  And you know, Pat, the scary thing is - and you know this better than I do - but from covering all these cases, all these guys who are in prison, Scott Peterson, O.J. - when he was in prison and even now, they all have these fans out there because they‘ve been involved in these cases. 

Put O.J. aside, even people that have become famous because of these cases, all these women flock to them.  It is possible, and I think likely, that Peterson‘s getting a lot of letters from women saying, “Hey, you looking for some?  You know, you might think about me.” 

BROWN:  Absolutely.  They‘re lining up, because there‘s always this woman - let‘s say sally.  And she lives in this small town and she only can get a date with the guy from the local shopping store, you know, the grocery store.  He‘s a clerk there.  And that‘s not very exciting.  That‘s not going to make you somebody.  But hey, if you can hook up with Drew Peterson, ooh, you‘re going to be an important person. 

And it‘s true, when these guys even go to jail, there are a lot of web sites where you can “date the guys in jail,” quote.  At least they‘re going to reach out and try and get themselves a girlfriend. 

Let me tell you, if you go to e-harmony.com and you look at those guys‘ pictures, and you look at what they say, most of them are creepy.  But if you go to prison web sites, those guys are super sexy.  And they have all the right talk.  They want to take moonlit walks on the beaches.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)  They‘re great guys.  They‘re psychopaths you don‘t want to see.

ABRAMS:  You don‘t have to worry about them cheating on you, at least not with a woman. 

BROWN:  Exactly, they know how to get across to women.  That‘s where the psychopath is good at.  They‘re good at talking.  So I get it.

ABRAMS:  Anne, I‘m going to come back to this.  But I want to talk to you about the search, all right?  They‘ve now executed another search at his house.  They‘re pulling debris from the canal.  It seems to me like they‘ve got a pretty focused search at this point. 

BREMNER:  Absolutely.  And every - all of the evidence is pointing to Peterson.  And it‘s interesting that now he‘s talking so much, too, Dan, and that‘s helping the case of the prosecution.  It‘s like that saying, “I think, therefore I am.”  How about, “I‘m on TV, therefore I am.”  He‘s been all over NBC and giving interviews.  In fact, the case looks stronger and stronger, and they‘re very focused. 

ABRAMS:  Well, you know what?  Maybe, Pat, we‘re missing the point.  Let me let you listen to this soundbite.  Maybe it‘s just that he‘s a jokester. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAUER:  And if you can tell the people watching “Today” one thing about you that they clearly don‘t know and don‘t understand, what would that be? 

DREW PETERSON, SUSPECT IN STACY PETERSON‘S DISAPPEARANCE:  What they‘re seeing is not me.  I‘ve been a jokester all my life, and it‘s just like now they‘re seeing this serious person in deep trouble.  And this isn‘t me.  Me is a guy playing jokes on people and kidding around and trying to have fun with life and living. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Pat, what do you -

BROWN:  Well, yes, if you were a non-psychopath and a jokester, you would realize at this point there was nothing funny anymore.  And you would be very sad in spite of the fact you used to tell jokes.  But a psychopath will continue telling them because, quite frankly, he doesn‘t care, and that‘s the whole point.  It‘s all about him again.  He wants attention. 

ABRAMS:  All right. 

BROWN:  He doesn‘t even recognize what he‘s doing is weird. 

ABRAMS:  If you want a date with Drew Peterson, you can write the following - No, I‘m just kidding.  Pat Brown and Anne Bremner, thanks very much for coming on the program.  I appreciate it. 

BROWN:  You‘re welcome, Dan.

Up next, in “Winners and Losers,” presidential daughter Jenna Bush calls her dad live on the “Ellen” show.  A man steals a Krispy Kreme doughnut truck that leads to a hot pursuit.  And talk show host Montel Williams lashes out at a 17-year-old intern. 

The Bushes getting a live surprise phone call; cops chase fresh doughnuts as they fall; or a talk show host with a lot of gall.  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 5th day of December, 2007. 

ABRAMS:  Our first winner, first daughter Jenna Bush.  The president‘s pride is pushing her new book on  “Ellen” today, when she was plodded by DeGeneres to see if she could get her presidential pop on the line and on the air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, “THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW”:  Hello, President Bush, how are you? 

JENNA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:  This is “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Oh, that‘s great. 

(CHEERS)

DEGENERES:  How‘s it going? 

G. BUSH:  I‘m doing great, Ellen.  How‘s my little girl doing? 

ABRAMS (voice over):  Jenna managed to get the first lady on the line, too, proving if you call the mom and dad, you, too, can track down the Bushes. 

G. BUSH:  I do want to say merry Christmas to your audience and tell my little girl I love her. 

J. BUSH:  I love you, too, Dad.  OK, I love you, Dad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Our first loser, a Florida car chase suspect tracked down after jumping in the bushes.  The bank robbery suspect was surrounded after leading cops on a high-speed chase.  The driver jumped from the car and dove in before getting beaten down and put away. 

Our second winners, cops in India trying to shed some pounds by getting down.  The pot-bellied officers broke out into teams to see who can lose the most weight in 100 days.  The pudgy policemen who lose the most dance off with 2500 bucks. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF WIGGUM, IN “THE SIMPSONS”:  Never underestimate the appeal of a man in uniform.  Oh, yes. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I guess it was either lightning-fast moves or quickly cutting down on the Indian doughnuts. 

Our second loser, doughnut truck thief Warren Whitelightning - yes, that‘s actually his name - who commandeered a Krispy Kreme truck at a Wisconsin convenience store, and led police on a high-speed chase, tearing down the road with doughnuts flying out.  Yes, the cliche was not lost on us.  Yes, cops were chasing doughnuts. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF WIGGUM:  Hey. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Whitelightning was busted when he rammed right into the cruiser.  Now, he‘s facing drunk driving charges and oh yes, shoplifting eight giant red-hot pickled sausages. 

ABRAMS:  But the big winner of the day?  Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, taking on the gossip sites over a picture of her in a bikini where she looks, well, like a normal woman.  Certain web sites and blogs filled with insults about her body.  She fought back saying, “I‘m not upset for me but for all the girls out there struggling with their body image.”

The big loser of the day?  TV host Montel Williams, who has upset one girl after he struggled to answer a simple question about pharmaceutical profits.  High school newspaper intern Courtney Scott asked the seemingly harmless query of the TV tough guy after a press conference. 

Montel later went on screaming, “Do you know who I am?  I‘m a big star and I can look you up, find where you live and blow you up.”  Montel later wrote her a letter of apology and invited her to come on his show.  The show she‘s appearing on now is this one. 

Here now Courtney Scott, an intern for “The Savannah Morning News,” and her attorney, Zena McClain.  Thanks to both of you for coming on.  I appreciate it.  All right, Courtney, let me ask you, what happened? 

COURTNEY SCOTT, INTERN FOR “THE SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS”:  Well, I interviewed him when he came to Johnson Square and I asked him about two questions.  And after the second question, he got really upset because I said, “Do you think that pharmaceutical companies will limit their research and development if their profits were restricted?” 

When he asked him that, he got really upset and asked me if I had a disease and if my cameraman had a disease and don‘t ask him questions like that.  And he said that interview was done.  And he snapped his fingers and walked away. 

Later on that day, I went back to the office and we were going to do my web cast at the Westin.  We didn‘t know he was staying at the Westin.  It was for the gingerbread house.  So when we got there, it was me, my cameraman and my co-host.  We walked over to the gingerbread table and I stood there and looked. 

And when I looked to my left, I saw Montel and his bodyguard.  So, I quickly turned my head.  Before I knew it, he walked over and came right behind me.  And when I turned around, he said, “Don‘t look at me like that.  I can research you, find out where you are and blow you up.”

So I asked him - I said, “What are you talking about?”  He said, “You know what I‘m talking about.  You looked at me up and down.  Do you know who I am?”  And his bodyguard kind of tugged him and he walked away.  Me and my cameraman and my co-host, we quickly left.  I was really scared because he threatened me. 

ABRAMS:  Well, let me ask you this.  I find it sort of amusing that Montel has a bodyguard.  But regardless of that, he now wants you to go on his show to apologize to him.  Are you going to do it? 

SCOTT:  No. 

ABRAMS:  You‘re not going to go, and he wants to apologize to you.  No way you‘re going to do it? 

SCOTT:  He didn‘t say that to me, so I wasn‘t really sure.  I haven‘t heard that from him. 

ABRAMS:  This is from the Associated Press.  “Regrettably I reacted childishly to the situation and for that I apologize to all concerned.  I‘d like to invite Courtney and her family to appear on my show for a public apology.”  You want him to call you personally and tell you that? 

SCOTT:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  Montel - he may be watching.  I‘ll let you get in, Zena.  But Montel may be watching here.  I‘m sure you can get in touch with Zena McClain who is the attorney here.  All right.  Zena, there are no legal issues here, are there? 

ZENA MCCLAIN, COURTNEY SCOTT‘S ATTORNEY:  There are.  What Montel did was illegal under the laws of the state of Georgia. 

ABRAMS:  What law? 

MCCLAIN:  Terroristic threat is basically the act that was committed. 

And there are charges pending. 

ABRAMS:  Do you really think they‘re going to file charges against him, Zena? 

MCCLAIN:  I do believe so. 

ABRAMS:  Really?  Wow!

MCCLAIN:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  I mean, look, I think this is - you saw it, we made him our big loser of the guy.  I‘m not supporting the guy.  But certainly I‘d be surprised if they end up charging him.  But have the local authorities - their local authorities suggested to you that‘s the case? 

MCCLAIN:  It is under investigation.  Those questions, however, need

to be directed to the District Attorney‘s Office -

ABRAMS:  Fair enough.  Fair enough.

MCCLAIN:  As well as the chief of police. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, fair enough.  All right.  Look, Courtney, good luck in your career.  You know, look, you‘re interning at “The Savannah Morning News.”  You weren‘t planning on getting into a war with Montel Williams.  So enjoy the rest of your internship.  Good luck.  You‘d probably make a great reporter.  And Zena McClain, thank you for coming on the program.  I appreciate it. 

MCCLAIN:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stay tuned for “CONFESSIONS OF A SERIAL KILLER.”  See you tomorrow.

Dan Abrams, Lawrence O‘Donnell

Cliff May, Arianna Huffington, Lois Marie Davidson, Scott Griffin, Milton

Hirsch, Anne Bremner, Pat Brown, Courtney Scott, Zena McClain

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight while President Bush remains in denial over the new intelligence report, some neocons aren‘t just denying reality, they‘re attacking it.

And Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee under fire now denying that he was behind the release of a vicious rapist who struck again.  And the definition of denial—suspect Drew Peterson.  Now talking about how his missing wife case will affect his dating life.

But first: Day three of President Bush‘s spin on the Iran intelligence report.  While the president attempts to hoodwink the public into believing that a report that concludes that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program somehow supports the administration‘s assertions that they do, some of the ideological allies are going even further.  Apparently, so upset by the finding of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and knowing how much that undermines the administration‘s credibility and the case for war against Iran is now a growing course from the Right attacking the messenger.  Today, the “Wall Street Journal” editorial board cites an anonymous official who criticized the three former State Department officials who co-authored the National Intelligence Estimate as hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials. 

“The New York Sun” speculates one could call all this revenge of the bureaucrats.  Rush Limbaugh saying, you‘ve got to examine motives and the intent of the people at the NIE, and conservative commentator, Norman Podhoretz wrote, it‘s calculated to undermine George W. Bush.  These neocons and some just con men conveniently ignored that the administration got an early peek at the intelligence and so then, according to the “Washington Post” and others, quote, “Groups of intelligence officers tried to punch holes in the new evidence, substantially delaying publication of the NIE.”  But they couldn‘t find the necessary holes while the administration insults the intelligence of the public by claiming the reports somehow supports what they have been saying recently about Iran‘s nuclear weapons program, the neocons are politicizing the intelligence saying it doesn‘t matter.  I guess together, their assault on objective truth helps obfuscate the real issues.  Here now MSNBC political analyst, Lawrence O‘Donnell, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Hoffingtonpost.com and Cliff May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.  All right.  Arianna, it seems to me that, all right, it takes some gall on the part of the president to say this helps our—this helps prove what we‘ve been saying all along.  On the other hand, it‘s going us even further for some of these—some of these far Right wingers to be saying, oh, well, you know what?  We just can‘t trust the NIE at all.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  It is absolutely unbelievable, Dan, because here you have 16 agencies.  This is not just one isolated individual.  These are the agencies that comprise our main intelligence apparatus, and “The Wall Street Journal,” of course refers to them constantly as bureaucracies because that immediately implies that they are wrong.  But Bush himself says something really funny.  He says, of course, there was a universal belief and before this report that Iran was engaged in the creation of nuclear weapons like there was a universal belief before we invaded Iraq that there were weapons of mass destruction, then he misses the point that the fact that these beliefs in the report were universal doesn‘t make it right.  But to attack them in that way simply unbelievable.

ABRAMS:  All right.  But Cliff, you know, this is - look, you can talk about sort of who was on this particular panel.  This is on Dick Cheney, in 2003, of course, described the NIE as the gold standard, the National Intelligence Estimate is what he said in “Newsweek” magazine, but not when they don‘t like the findings, right?  Then it‘s just the opposite.

CLIFF MAY, FOUNDATION FOR THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACIES:  First of all, Dan, I appreciate that this is three against one, so I‘ll try not to gang up on you guys.

ABRAMS:  Yes, go ahead.

MAY:  Secondly, if you listen to what Bush said, he actually was complimentary toward the intelligence agencies, but there is a question here that we might want to explore seriously, and that is if you take someone like Thomas Fingar, who‘s one the key authors of this report, exactly four months ago in July, he testified before Congress, and he said it‘s very clear Iran is determined, that‘s the word he used, determined to build nuclear weapons.  Now, if that is changed and he was wrong then and if they haven‘t been determined to build nuclear weapons since 2003, I guess there must be new intelligence that gives them—aren‘t you even curious to know what changed his mind, Dan?

ABRAMS:  Let‘s talk about this.  You said - determined to create nuclear weapons.  I didn‘t see anything in the NIE report that said they may not be determined.  What they said is - they don‘t have an active nuclear weapons program, period.

MAY:  Good point.  But what they do have, you understand, is they are

illegally enriching uranium, this is what you used, they are making

detonators, which is what they use, they are -

ABRAMS:  You‘re doing the Bush spin.

MAY:  No.

ABRAMS:  Somehow this report supports the notion that the administration has been trying to put forth for months now, that Iran is actively pursuing the nuclear weapon when we find out they‘re not.

MAY:  I think you and Ahmadinejad are probably telling the truth that

Iran is not trying to build nuclear weapons and has no -

ABRAMS:  I‘m not saying anything.  I don‘t know.  All I know is what I read in the National Intelligence Estimate.

MAY:  I am suspicious that Iran is building nuclear weapons and has gay people.  I think both those things may be true.  Who knows?  But let me point this out to you.  If they‘re not determined to build one now, why are they enriching uranium, why are they making detonators and why are they going ahead with other technological developments that would lead to building a bomb?  Now, all I‘m saying is this.  And this is all I‘m saying.  Why not have—since you and I do not know what new information means they were wrong before, let‘s take a look at the information or let Congress.  How about this?  Can we at least agree that Congress can look at the information?

ABRAMS:  All right.  Lawrence O‘Donnell, let‘s agree there is no objective truth in this world.  And as a result, we can continue doing studies on everything.  Anytime we don‘t like the result, we can then say, you know what?  Let‘s study this some more.

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, Dan, you know, the people you‘re citing or complaining about this, some of them are in the crowd that believed we did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  They actually make that argument.  And so, and I don‘t know if Cliff thinks they found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or not.  Cliff, do you have a yes or no answer to that?

MAY:  We did not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  That doesn‘t mean there weren‘t any.  If I can‘t find my car keys doesn‘t mean I never have car keys.  You do understand that logical distinction, don‘t you?  Lawrence, yes or no?

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  But I don‘t want to debate the weapons of mass destruction. 

We all agree they didn‘t find them.  OK, continue, Lawrence.  Go ahead.

O‘DONNELL:  Yes, at least cliff is not among the flat earth society group that does believe we found them, and they say that we found them.  They say it all the time.  They will say anything no matter what facts are presented to them.  Now, intelligence is not fact.  The report in 2005 was not fact.  This report is not fact.

MAY:  We agree.

O‘DONNELL:  Intelligence is a form of best guessing.

ABRAMS:  Right.

O‘DONNELL:  It‘s done in a very sophisticated way.  And so, you know, this is a problem for the president rhetorically.  And Steven Hadley handled it correctly the day that this was revealed.  He greeted it as very good news and tried to spin it in the smart way for the White House.  Since then the White House and their friends have been spinning it in the wrong direction.  They‘ve been spinning it into a zone of unreality.

ABRAMS:  Here is Rush, speaking of unreality, here‘s what Rush Limbaugh said about it today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Exactly what a number of people have suspected is certainly true here.  You have some disgruntled State Department people.  One of them actively pursuing a program of—allowing the Iranians to enrich uranium, sabotage, unhappy with the Bush administration.  It‘s exactly the kind of thing that I suspected and feared yesterday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  See, Cliff, this, to me, is where we get the difference between honest conservatives and dishonest conservatives, OK?  To me, you can have a consistent position which is you know what?  I believed the NIE when we went into Iraq, I believe the evidence that we‘ve gathered, et cetera, to me the dishonest ones are the ones who pick and choose what they like and what they don‘t like.

MAY:  So let me make this position and you tell me if it‘s honest or

dishonest.  The intelligence community was wrong about the nuclear weapons

programs so far of Iraq, of North Korea, of Libya, also of Syria.  So,

maybe—maybe they‘re wrong on this.  Let‘s not be so complacent that we

now say, you know what?  We don‘t need to worry -

ABRAMS:  But - here‘s the question.  That‘s not the—the question is

here‘s the question.  What evidence was the president basing all of his comments on in the past few months, and Dick Cheney and Condi Rice and Dana Perino?

MAY:  I‘ll answer your question, the 2005 estimate and -

ABRAMS:  So, they did rely then it was OK.  But now it‘s not.

MAY:  No.  The president is saying it is.  I‘m saying I disagree with

the president.  I am worried that once again, we‘re getting this wrong and

I don‘t want to be complacent about the worst regime getting nuclear

weapons.  I‘m more worried about Ahmadinejad than President Bush.  I‘m a

minority in this -

ABRAMS:  Look, I‘m very worried about Ahmadinejad.  Arianna, to me, that‘s not the question, though.  I‘m worried about Ahmadinejad.  I don‘t know, I would assume that you would say that you are, too.  I view him as a threat to this country.

HUFFINGTON:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  But that‘s not what we‘re dealing with here.  What we‘re dealing with is a new report that just came out about their nuclear weapons technology, about whether we‘ve been lied to by our government, and number two, whether we now have far Right wingers who are trying to simply say there‘s no such thing as truth in government.  Go ahead, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON:  Exactly.  Basically, Dan, dealing with the lunatic regime of the GOP and the conservative movement that does not believe in facts, does not believe in evidence, does not believe in science.

MAY:  What evidence changed Arianna, between 2005 and now?

(CROSSTALK)

MAY:  It is possible.  What is it you know that I don‘t know?

HUFFINGTON:  Can you hold on a second?  You know, Cliff, you‘ve been talking for a long time.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Go ahead, Arianna.

HUFFINGTON:  You know, that‘s enough, OK?  Basically, this is really

the stance of people like Cliff who are not going to let anything as simple

as the evidence get in the way of their preconceptions.  He wants to

believe that Iran is engaged in the production of nuclear weapons because

he wants to believe like the president said in October 17th that if we

don‘t take care of that, there will be the third world war.  These are the

president‘s words.  He talked about World War III.  And now we‘re presented

with the evidence that this is absolutely -

ABRAMS:  Let‘s be clear on what your position.  I think to be fair to you, your position—your position is basically echoing that of the president, which is you‘re not saying—I don‘t think you‘re saying—are you one of the dishonest ones who is now saying we can‘t trust the NIE?

MAY:  I‘m agreeing with the British and French that what we have to do at the very least is keep up the pressure we‘ve had on Iran, absolutely.  And I would say that the evidence that Arianna is talking about, since she doesn‘t know what that evidence is, I would like, I can‘t know, and you can‘t know it, I would like to make sure the members of the House and Senate intelligence committees get to see it.  And if necessary, this is not unusual; we have it before, you have another set of analysts on this.

ABRAMS:  Isn‘t there something awful about the fact that there‘s this group of far Right wingers who are now attacking the messenger?  They don‘t like—they don‘t like the outcome.  That‘s not what the president‘s doing.

MAY:  It‘s not as awful as the fact that the intelligence community didn‘t see 9/11, didn‘t see the attack (INAUDIBLE) coming in 1998, 1996.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I do think it‘s awful.

MAY:  I don‘t think it is terrible for me to say, I‘m a little skeptical about this report which is 180 degrees difference from what they were saying four months ago.

ABRAMS:  Well, look, here‘s what President Bush said about it today.  All right.  I‘ll read it.  It‘s clear from the latest NIE that the Iranian government has more to explain about its nuclear intentions and past actions.  Now, Lawrence, look, there‘s nothing wrong with that.  I don‘t disagree with that.  Again, we‘re seeing two things.  I think it‘s very important for people to understand the two things we‘re seeing going on here.  President Bush is doing one thing while the far Right fringe is doing something else.

O‘DONNELL:  Now, Dan, you‘ll notice that Cliff May did not demand sources for the 2005 report that indicated that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons.  He only wants the intelligence sources now that it‘s pointing in a different direction.  And, in fact, Jane Harman, Democratic member of Congress who Cliff May knows is not a wacko lefty, has read the classified version of this report.  It is available to Congress.  They are reading it.

ABRAMS:  All right.  I got to wrap it.  You get the final 15 seconds, quickly.

MAY:  The final 15 seconds is I think we want to be very careful.  Our intelligence community has been wrong on this before.  Let‘s just verify rather than trust especially about Iran‘s nuclear weapons and Ahmadinejad.

ABRAMS:  Don‘t become one of the dishonest ones, Cliff, don‘t become one of the dishonest ones, really.

MAY:  I know you‘ll keep me honest on this show, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Cliff May, Lawrence O‘Donnell, Arianna‘s going to stay with us.

Coming up: Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee now fighting off questions about his support for the release from prison of a man convicted of raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  The same man went on to rape and kill at least one other woman.  Could this be big enough to bring his smoking‘ campaign to a halt?

Plus: It seems like suddenly some hot topics on “The View” are a little dated.  And at least one of the hosts needs to study up on when Christ was born.  That embarrassment in Beat the Press.

And later: Montel Williams under fire for lashing out at a 17-year-old intern.  He‘s apologizing, trying to get her to go on the show.  The only show she‘s going on is this one.  She‘s on tonight‘s Winners & Losers.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee‘s first job was working at a radio station where he read news and weather?  Coming up, the former Arkansas governor now under fire for supporting the release of a man convicted of raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  The same man went on to rape and kill at least one other woman.  There are new details tonight that suggests he knew a lot more than he is saying.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight, a major bombshell threatens to bring the meteoric rise of Mike Huckabee‘s Republican presidential campaign to a screeching halt.  It involves the release of a convicted rapist who kidnapped and raped a 17-year-old cheerleader and what Huckabee may have done to help get him out.  Just two years after Wayne Dumont was being freed from prison in 1999, he raped and murdered at least one more woman, pregnant with her first child.  Now, the former Arkansas governor is saying it was not his call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM RUSSERT, TV HOST:  You or your staff did not pressure or try to convince the parole board in any way, shape or form?

MIKE HUCKABEE, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  No, we didn‘t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But that‘s not what many others are saying.  Before Dumont‘s release, Huckabee wrote a letter to the rapist, quote, “My desire is that you be released from prison.  I feel that parole is your best way for your reintroduction to society to take place.”  And an ex-Huckabee aide coming forward tonight, saying Huckabee pressured the parole board to set Dumont free.  A member of that parole board has said quote, “For Governor Huckabee to say that he had no influence with the board is something that he knows to be untrue.  He came before the board and made his views known that Dumont should have been paroled.”  On top of that, we know he was under pressure from Conservative activists to release the rapist, on this part, it‘s almost impossible to believe, because Dumont‘s 17-year-old victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton‘s.  Joining me is the mother of one of Dumont‘s victims, Lois Marie Davidson and Arianna Huffington of the Huffingtonpost, the Web site that broke the story today.  Thanks to both of you for coming on.  Ms.  Davidson, let me start with you.  First tell me, how important do you think this is to Huckabee‘s presidential campaign?

LOIS MARIE DAVIDSON, RAPE VICTIM‘S MOTHER:  Well, you mean is it good for it?

ABRAMS:  What do you think?  Do you think it should affect his presidential hopes?

DAVIDSON:  I just don‘t think he is the man for the presidency.  I really don‘t.  I don‘t think he‘s done enough—he did enough background research on Dumont, and I don‘t think that he‘s president material.

ABRAMS:  Can you tell me what happened to your daughter?

DAVIDSON:  He went into an apartment that she was in and raped her and then smothered her with a plastic bag.  And when he left, he left the bag lying beside of her.  She fought—really fought, and they got the DNA out from under her fingernails, and that‘s how they caught him.  He was on parole, and they put that DNA into the database, and his name popped right up.

ABRAMS:  That was after the release, Arianna.  That was after the decision to release him from prison.  The question really becomes now, doesn‘t it, political, practical legal question becomes, you know, what did he know when?  And your Web site has a series of letters from victims who say that they wrote to Huckabee including—and this is number seven - let me read: “What was left unsaid in her letter to Huckabee was that she was three years old when, in the 1970s, Dumont raped her mother.  The girl was in her mother‘s bed asleep when the rape occurred.  Dumont held a butcher‘s knife to her mother‘s throat during the assault.  Even as she was violently assaulted, she gently stroked her daughter‘s hair, praying she would not wake up.”  I mean, Arianna, what is the—what was the argument for releasing him?

HUFFINGTON:  Well, you know, this is what is so amazing, Dan.  You know, as we‘ve been piecing the story together for the last few days.  And the letters that have given to the Huffingtonpost made clear Huckabee knew a lot more about what had happened than he let on now.  And the question really is why would he do that?  And the only way to understand that is to go back in time and see just how much pressure there was from Conservative activists for Huckabee to release a prisoner.  It‘s really amazing.

ABRAMS:  And the Conservative activists were interested in this, Arianna, because this is a distant cousin—distant relative of Bill Clinton‘s?

HUFFINGTON:  I know, it sounds absolutely bizarre, but they were driven by the hatred of Clinton , you had Jay Call (ph), was a Baptist minister and a friend of Huckabee‘s and a radio talk show host who had made these calls (INAUDIBLE).  You had Steven Donleavy, “The New York Post” columnist, who on the day that Dumont was released actually said the rape never happened.  And then of course, in terms of Huckabee himself, this case really throws into question his judgment, his honesty, his integrity, his independence because he was clearly driven by this incredible passion on behalf of so many of those that supported him in his election for governor.  And to see this man released from jail.  You know, he said again and again that he had not influenced the decision, but you have you know, four members of the parole board who say he did.

ABRAMS:  Well, here‘s what he said in response to that question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUCKABEE:  Someone brought up his case.  Frankly, it was simply a part of a broader discussion.  I did not ask them to do anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Ms  Davidson, a little hard for you to believe?

DAVIDSON:  Yes.  Very hard.

ABRAMS:  Does it anger you?

DAVIDSON:  Very much.  Yes, it has ever since I‘ve known about all that.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Lois Marie Davidson, thanks a lot.  I know this is tough for you to dredge up all this.  I appreciate you coming on the program.

DAVIDSON:  Well, if it helps, why, I‘m glad to do it.

ABRAMS:  Arianna, as always, thank you.

Coming up: The Florida teacher infamous for having sex with a 14-year-old student busted again yesterday for violating her parole.  We have a never before seen interview with Debra Lafave where she talks about how she was going to try to avoid something like this happening.

And speaking of looking for love in all the wrong places, Drew Peterson, you know Mr. Four out of the five women he was engaged or married to dead or missing or say threaten them?  Well, he now says he‘s worried about his dating life.  No, seriously.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.  First up: The ladies of The View were discussing the ancient Greek philosopher, Epicures when confusion set in for one pause.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHOOPI GOLBERG:  When he was around there was no Jesus Christ stuff going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You know, they had Christians back then.  They threw them to the lions.

GOLDBERG:  I think this might predate that.  I think this might predate that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I don‘t think anything predated Christians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The Greeks came first.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, the Greeks came first, then the Romans, then the Christians.  Jesus came first before them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Note to Sherry, Epicures lived until 270 BC, that‘s before Christ and before Christ means before Christians.

Next up: It‘s hard not to love FOX‘s Courtney Friel, an entertainment reporter who also reports on blogs, she‘s always chipper and beautiful. 

But when it comes to her Internet expertise -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURTNEY FRIEL:  So, my suggestion is to go to Google reader, find what you like and you can get RSS feeds that link the funny thing that I don‘t even know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  She didn‘t know what RSS—it‘s a really simple syndication. 

I didn‘t know either.  But I‘m not claiming to be a blog expert.

Finally: What‘s wrong with this picture on FOX?  Specifically the

description on the bottom of the screen—Barack Obama speaks at Apollo

Theater.  That looks a lot more like comedian Chris Rock to me.  Senator

Obama did speak at that event

We need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything right, wrong, amusing or absurd, go to our Web site Abrams.msnbc.com; leave us a tip in the box.  Please include the show and item you saw the item.

Up next: Drew Peterson, the man suspected in the disappearance of his fourth wife could soon be charged in the death of his third, but he says he‘s worried that he‘s not going to get another date.

And Jennifer Love Hewitt fighting back against gossip sites who are calling her fat after getting their hands on a paparazzi photo of her in a bikini.  She is in tonight‘s Winners & Losers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, the teacher infamous for having sex with a 14-year-old student in trouble with the law again.  We have a never before seen interview with her where she talks about how she was going to try to prevent something like this from happening. 

And actress Jennifer Love Hewitt talking on the gossip site - taking on the gossip sites for insulting the way she looks in a bikini. 

Plus, Montel Williams lashes out at a 17-year-old intern.  He‘s apologizing now, trying to get her to go on his show.  The one show she is going on is this one.  She‘s with us tonight in “Winners and Losers.”

But first, more on that breaks news tonight, information coming out on that mall shooting in Omaha, Nebraska.  It left nine people dead including the gunman and wounded five others.  The gunman has been identified as 19-year-old Robert Hawkins of Bellevue, Nebraska. 

He was fired from the McDonald‘s restaurant today for allegedly stealing $17.  He took his anger out on a crowd of unsuspecting holiday shoppers who fled in horror as Hawkins leaned over a third floor railing and opened fire.  Here‘s how one witness described the scene. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESA WIEDERIN, MALL SHOOTING WITNESS:  It was awful.  Everyone was running, and a man had a new baby, and he had lost his wife with their other son.  They were shopping for Christmas clothes for their picture tomorrow.  And she wouldn‘t answer her phone, and I felt so awful for him. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The shooter left behind a suicide note saying he wanted to, quote, “go out in style.”  Awful.  Stay tuned to MSNBC for the latest on this story. 

But now, former Florida teacher Debra Lafave arrested again.  In 2004, the 23-year-old Lafave made headlines after having sex with her 14-year-old male student.  She pled guilty to lewd and lascivious behavior and was sentenced to three years‘ house arrest and seven years‘ probation. 

Now she‘s busted for a minor violation of her probation by having non-work-related conversations with a 17-year-old coworker while at work.  I‘ll talk about how ridiculous I think this is in a minute.

But first, we‘ve uncovered never before seen clips of Debra Lafave explaining how she wanted to avoid something like this and to try to get her life back on track. 

OK.  We‘re going to try and get that tape for you.  Let‘s try it again.  OK.  I guess we don‘t have it.  We‘ll come back to that.  All right.  Look.  Let me tell you about this.  You have it?  We have it apparently.  Let‘s go to it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, HOST, THE “TODAY” SHOW:  So what‘s the future for you?  I mean, how do you go from here and get to a point in your life where you‘re not known as the teacher who raped a student? 

DEBRA LAFAVE, CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER:  Well, you know, my first concern, like I said, I have a job right now.  I am desperately in need of a secondary job for benefits.  My medication is astronomical.  And we don‘t have benefits.  And I have applied to literally 50 different places, and I‘ve been turned down. 

LAUER:  You‘re a registered sex offender. 

LAFAVE:  Exactly.  I think that somebody, the right somebody, will give me the chance, because I do have a lot to offer. 

LAUER:  What do you want to do with your life? 

LAFAVE:  You know, I want to have a family that I‘ve dreamed about all my life - yes, have kids.  I want to speak out on mental health issues and eventually try to put together a nonprofit organization.  Because when I needed somebody, there was no information.  And I just really want to be able to help just one person. 

LAUER:  Do you think if we sit down and talk in five years, your life will be back together again? 

LAFAVE:  I hope so.  I have to stay optimistic.  I‘m going to keep doing what I‘m doing.  I‘m going to keep working for my community.  And I‘m going to try to work hard, as hard as I can.  And show people that I am just a person. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Since that interview, Lafave has had no reports of problems with the law.  She held a steady job for almost two years.  Her arrest for talking to a 17-year-old coworker about non-related work issues - or non-work-related issues is ridiculous.  She works with the girl; they‘re going to talk. 

Here now is defense attorney Anne Bremner, Attorney Milton Hirsch, and Scott Griffin who knows Lafave well.  He‘s the manager of the Danny Boy‘s restaurant where she worked.  Thanks to all of you for coming on.  I appreciate it.  Scott, let me start with you.  Was she a good employee? 

SCOTT GRIFFIN, MANAGER OF THE DANNY BOY‘S RESTAURANT WHERE LAFAVE

WORKED:  She was one of our best employees.  Never had any complaints about her.  All the customers loved her.  The customers are absolutely irate today. 

ABRAMS:  Did they recognize her?  Did they say, “Oh, yes, there‘s Debra Lafave, the woman who had sex with her teenage student”? 

GRIFFIN:  Maybe about 60 percent knew.  Many of our customers didn‘t even realize.  I had an employee call me tonight after watching, didn‘t even realize she worked with her. 

ABRAMS:  Do you know what it is - what was she talking about with this employee that got her into trouble? 

GRIFFIN:  We have no idea what the conversation was.  We don‘t have any transcripts of it or anything like that.  As far as we can tell, it‘s just normal work conversation that goes on every day here. 

ABRAMS:  What was she like?  Was she good to work with?  Nice person?

GRIFFIN:  The sweetest person you could ever meet, a good worker, hard worker.  You know, loved her job, very dedicated, just an absolute excellent employee. 

ABRAMS: All right.  Milton Hirsch, it seems ridiculous to me.  She‘s now facing up to 30 years behind bars.  I get probation.  Probation means something.  But the notion that she‘s violating her probation because she‘s having a conversation with a 17-year-old coworker to me seems ridiculous. 

MILTON HIRSCH, ATTORNEY:  Well, damage - tragic all the way around.  But here‘s the flip side.  Among the conditions of her probation was that she was not to have any sexually express or explicit conversations with teenagers.  Now, correct me if I‘m wrong, but it‘s my understanding that what she is facing right now in terms of violation of probation is that she had some kind of sexually express or explicit conversation with a teenage girl. 

ABRAMS:  But come on, she‘s talking to this girl about her life with this girl.  She‘s the girl saying to her “Hey, it‘s my boyfriend.”  This and this.  I mean, come on. 

HIRSCH:  OK, here‘s the flip side, Dan.  A 27-year-old man put on probation for sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old female student.  He now has sexually explicit conversation with a teenage girl.  Your reaction, the same or different? 

ABRAMS:  If there‘s another 17-year-old boy talking to he works with and they‘re talking about the kid‘s life, I‘d say the same thing.  But, look, we talked about this many times on this program that I‘ve said many times I think the important message to send is to the men more than the women.  We can debate that another time.  Anne Bremner in, I want you to listen to this piece of sound from Debra Lafave first. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAFAVE:  I think I should be in jail. 

LAUER:  You think you should be? 

LAFAVE:  Yes.  By the standards what - you know, what I did, that‘s the law.  I should have gotten jail time. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Anne, is she now going to get jail time? 

ANNE BREMNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Dan, it‘s interesting.  It‘s like the karma we see in the O.J. Simpson case where people say now he‘ll get jail for what they think he got away with back - over a decade ago.  She had leniency back at the time of her sentencing.  And now, they‘re trying to come back with this de minimis violation. 

I don‘t that this will come to anything.  You know, she‘s talking girl talk, like you said, not pillow talk.  And the Latin phrase “de minimis” means it doesn‘t even fit.  It so minor it doesn‘t come within the eye of the law.  And that‘s what this is.

ABRAMS:  So why are they going after her?  Why are doing this?  Why are they doing this? 

BREMNER:  I think it‘s the karma - I think it is a karma thing, and Dan, you‘ve always been right on on these female teacher cases.  They‘re such a small percentage of the actual cases of the men that are the pedophiles and predators.  And they keep going after people like Debra Lafave on something like this.  Would they go after her if said to a minor that came into the restaurant, “Do you want fries with that?”  Because basically, they‘re looking at her talking to a minor. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, and they‘re going to say, “What did you mean by ‘fries‘? 

Oooh - “

BREMNER:  Right.  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  “Maybe she was talking something else.”  Here‘s Debra Lafave saying she doesn‘t believe that she‘s actually a sex offender. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAFAVE:  I committed a sex offense, but I‘m not a sex offender even though I‘m labeled as that.  I made a really, really, really bad choice. 

LAUER:  You don‘t see yourself as a predator. 

LAFAVE:  It‘s hard.  It is so hard because I‘ve lived 23 of my years of my life, you know, knowing who I was.  I was a kindhearted person who loved children, who would never, you know, do anything to break the law.  I was a good person, and then now everything has just changed.  So it‘s just really hard for me to accept that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I can‘t believe I‘m saying this.  I‘m with Debra.  I say don‘t put her back behind bars for talking to a 17-year-old at work.  All right, Anne, Milton, Scott, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it. 

BREMNER:  Thanks, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Up next, with one wife dead and another one missing, Drew Peterson‘s biggest concern is his love life.  Yes, as the police searches property again, Drew is thinking about getting some action.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Suspect Drew Peterson is now talking about his dating life.  That‘s right, with his wife missing.  He‘s afraid he‘s not going to get any action.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Drew Peterson has a message for the ladies tonight.  He‘s available, but reportedly worried that being a suspect in his wife‘s disappearance and all.  You know, it could dampen his love life saying, quote, “I‘m not going to get another date.” 

This jerk is also reportedly mulling an offer to sit down with “People” magazine and - get this, concerned fans, Peterson says, quote, “The rumor about me doing a spread for “Playgirl” magazine is false.”  Thank goodness, I did not want to have to cancel my subscription. 

Peterson actually has real things to be worried about.  Illinois State Police intensifying their search today in the icy waters of a canal not far from Peterson‘s house.  The coast guard assisting as crews pulled debris from the canal.  This after police served Peterson with another search warrant as they looked for more possible evidence inside Peterson‘s two cars. 

I‘m joined now by Pat Brown, criminal profiler and author of “Killing for Sport” and back with us is Attorney Anne Bremner.  All right, Pat, first let me ask you about his psychology here, OK?  This is a guy who‘s now talking about the fact that his wife is missing and he‘s a suspect impacting his love life. 

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER:  Well, Dan, I mean, it‘s a very common psychopathic trait to ignore what the issue is and to do what you want.  And in this particular case, he‘s actually not concerned one bit that his wife is missing or that she might be dead or that his children are suffering.  He‘s only worried about himself, number one, which is, again, a psychopathic trait.  It‘s all about Drew and what Drew wants.  And Drew wants action and wants a little something and he‘s not getting any. 

ABRAMS:  And you know, Pat, the scary thing is - and you know this better than I do - but from covering all these cases, all these guys who are in prison, Scott Peterson, O.J. - when he was in prison and even now, they all have these fans out there because they‘ve been involved in these cases. 

Put O.J. aside, even people that have become famous because of these cases, all these women flock to them.  It is possible, and I think likely, that Peterson‘s getting a lot of letters from women saying, “Hey, you looking for some?  You know, you might think about me.” 

BROWN:  Absolutely.  They‘re lining up, because there‘s always this woman - let‘s say sally.  And she lives in this small town and she only can get a date with the guy from the local shopping store, you know, the grocery store.  He‘s a clerk there.  And that‘s not very exciting.  That‘s not going to make you somebody.  But hey, if you can hook up with Drew Peterson, ooh, you‘re going to be an important person. 

And it‘s true, when these guys even go to jail, there are a lot of web sites where you can “date the guys in jail,” quote.  At least they‘re going to reach out and try and get themselves a girlfriend. 

Let me tell you, if you go to e-harmony.com and you look at those guys‘ pictures, and you look at what they say, most of them are creepy.  But if you go to prison web sites, those guys are super sexy.  And they have all the right talk.  They want to take moonlit walks on the beaches.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)  They‘re great guys.  They‘re psychopaths you don‘t want to see.

ABRAMS:  You don‘t have to worry about them cheating on you, at least not with a woman. 

BROWN:  Exactly, they know how to get across to women.  That‘s where the psychopath is good at.  They‘re good at talking.  So I get it.

ABRAMS:  Anne, I‘m going to come back to this.  But I want to talk to you about the search, all right?  They‘ve now executed another search at his house.  They‘re pulling debris from the canal.  It seems to me like they‘ve got a pretty focused search at this point. 

BREMNER:  Absolutely.  And every - all of the evidence is pointing to Peterson.  And it‘s interesting that now he‘s talking so much, too, Dan, and that‘s helping the case of the prosecution.  It‘s like that saying, “I think, therefore I am.”  How about, “I‘m on TV, therefore I am.”  He‘s been all over NBC and giving interviews.  In fact, the case looks stronger and stronger, and they‘re very focused. 

ABRAMS:  Well, you know what?  Maybe, Pat, we‘re missing the point.  Let me let you listen to this soundbite.  Maybe it‘s just that he‘s a jokester. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAUER:  And if you can tell the people watching “Today” one thing about you that they clearly don‘t know and don‘t understand, what would that be? 

DREW PETERSON, SUSPECT IN STACY PETERSON‘S DISAPPEARANCE:  What they‘re seeing is not me.  I‘ve been a jokester all my life, and it‘s just like now they‘re seeing this serious person in deep trouble.  And this isn‘t me.  Me is a guy playing jokes on people and kidding around and trying to have fun with life and living. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Pat, what do you -

BROWN:  Well, yes, if you were a non-psychopath and a jokester, you would realize at this point there was nothing funny anymore.  And you would be very sad in spite of the fact you used to tell jokes.  But a psychopath will continue telling them because, quite frankly, he doesn‘t care, and that‘s the whole point.  It‘s all about him again.  He wants attention. 

ABRAMS:  All right. 

BROWN:  He doesn‘t even recognize what he‘s doing is weird. 

ABRAMS:  If you want a date with Drew Peterson, you can write the following - No, I‘m just kidding.  Pat Brown and Anne Bremner, thanks very much for coming on the program.  I appreciate it. 

BROWN:  You‘re welcome, Dan.

Up next, in “Winners and Losers,” presidential daughter Jenna Bush calls her dad live on the “Ellen” show.  A man steals a Krispy Kreme doughnut truck that leads to a hot pursuit.  And talk show host Montel Williams lashes out at a 17-year-old intern. 

The Bushes getting a live surprise phone call; cops chase fresh doughnuts as they fall; or a talk show host with a lot of gall.  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this 5th day of December, 2007. 

ABRAMS:  Our first winner, first daughter Jenna Bush.  The president‘s pride is pushing her new book on  “Ellen” today, when she was plodded by DeGeneres to see if she could get her presidential pop on the line and on the air.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, “THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW”:  Hello, President Bush, how are you? 

JENNA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH:  This is “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Oh, that‘s great. 

(CHEERS)

DEGENERES:  How‘s it going? 

G. BUSH:  I‘m doing great, Ellen.  How‘s my little girl doing? 

ABRAMS (voice over):  Jenna managed to get the first lady on the line, too, proving if you call the mom and dad, you, too, can track down the Bushes. 

G. BUSH:  I do want to say merry Christmas to your audience and tell my little girl I love her. 

J. BUSH:  I love you, too, Dad.  OK, I love you, Dad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Our first loser, a Florida car chase suspect tracked down after jumping in the bushes.  The bank robbery suspect was surrounded after leading cops on a high-speed chase.  The driver jumped from the car and dove in before getting beaten down and put away. 

Our second winners, cops in India trying to shed some pounds by getting down.  The pot-bellied officers broke out into teams to see who can lose the most weight in 100 days.  The pudgy policemen who lose the most dance off with 2500 bucks. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF WIGGUM, IN “THE SIMPSONS”:  Never underestimate the appeal of a man in uniform.  Oh, yes. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I guess it was either lightning-fast moves or quickly cutting down on the Indian doughnuts. 

Our second loser, doughnut truck thief Warren Whitelightning - yes, that‘s actually his name - who commandeered a Krispy Kreme truck at a Wisconsin convenience store, and led police on a high-speed chase, tearing down the road with doughnuts flying out.  Yes, the cliche was not lost on us.  Yes, cops were chasing doughnuts. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF WIGGUM:  Hey. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Whitelightning was busted when he rammed right into the cruiser.  Now, he‘s facing drunk driving charges and oh yes, shoplifting eight giant red-hot pickled sausages. 

ABRAMS:  But the big winner of the day?  Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt, taking on the gossip sites over a picture of her in a bikini where she looks, well, like a normal woman.  Certain web sites and blogs filled with insults about her body.  She fought back saying, “I‘m not upset for me but for all the girls out there struggling with their body image.”

The big loser of the day?  TV host Montel Williams, who has upset one girl after he struggled to answer a simple question about pharmaceutical profits.  High school newspaper intern Courtney Scott asked the seemingly harmless query of the TV tough guy after a press conference. 

Montel later went on screaming, “Do you know who I am?  I‘m a big star and I can look you up, find where you live and blow you up.”  Montel later wrote her a letter of apology and invited her to come on his show.  The show she‘s appearing on now is this one. 

Here now Courtney Scott, an intern for “The Savannah Morning News,” and her attorney, Zena McClain.  Thanks to both of you for coming on.  I appreciate it.  All right, Courtney, let me ask you, what happened? 

COURTNEY SCOTT, INTERN FOR “THE SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS”:  Well, I interviewed him when he came to Johnson Square and I asked him about two questions.  And after the second question, he got really upset because I said, “Do you think that pharmaceutical companies will limit their research and development if their profits were restricted?” 

When he asked him that, he got really upset and asked me if I had a disease and if my cameraman had a disease and don‘t ask him questions like that.  And he said that interview was done.  And he snapped his fingers and walked away. 

Later on that day, I went back to the office and we were going to do my web cast at the Westin.  We didn‘t know he was staying at the Westin.  It was for the gingerbread house.  So when we got there, it was me, my cameraman and my co-host.  We walked over to the gingerbread table and I stood there and looked. 

And when I looked to my left, I saw Montel and his bodyguard.  So, I quickly turned my head.  Before I knew it, he walked over and came right behind me.  And when I turned around, he said, “Don‘t look at me like that.  I can research you, find out where you are and blow you up.”

So I asked him - I said, “What are you talking about?”  He said, “You know what I‘m talking about.  You looked at me up and down.  Do you know who I am?”  And his bodyguard kind of tugged him and he walked away.  Me and my cameraman and my co-host, we quickly left.  I was really scared because he threatened me. 

ABRAMS:  Well, let me ask you this.  I find it sort of amusing that Montel has a bodyguard.  But regardless of that, he now wants you to go on his show to apologize to him.  Are you going to do it? 

SCOTT:  No. 

ABRAMS:  You‘re not going to go, and he wants to apologize to you.  No way you‘re going to do it? 

SCOTT:  He didn‘t say that to me, so I wasn‘t really sure.  I haven‘t heard that from him. 

ABRAMS:  This is from the Associated Press.  “Regrettably I reacted childishly to the situation and for that I apologize to all concerned.  I‘d like to invite Courtney and her family to appear on my show for a public apology.”  You want him to call you personally and tell you that? 

SCOTT:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  Montel - he may be watching.  I‘ll let you get in, Zena.  But Montel may be watching here.  I‘m sure you can get in touch with Zena McClain who is the attorney here.  All right.  Zena, there are no legal issues here, are there? 

ZENA MCCLAIN, COURTNEY SCOTT‘S ATTORNEY:  There are.  What Montel did was illegal under the laws of the state of Georgia. 

ABRAMS:  What law? 

MCCLAIN:  Terroristic threat is basically the act that was committed. 

And there are charges pending. 

ABRAMS:  Do you really think they‘re going to file charges against him, Zena? 

MCCLAIN:  I do believe so. 

ABRAMS:  Really?  Wow!

MCCLAIN:  Yes. 

ABRAMS:  I mean, look, I think this is - you saw it, we made him our big loser of the guy.  I‘m not supporting the guy.  But certainly I‘d be surprised if they end up charging him.  But have the local authorities - their local authorities suggested to you that‘s the case? 

MCCLAIN:  It is under investigation.  Those questions, however, need

to be directed to the District Attorney‘s Office -

ABRAMS:  Fair enough.  Fair enough.

MCCLAIN:  As well as the chief of police. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, fair enough.  All right.  Look, Courtney, good luck in your career.  You know, look, you‘re interning at “The Savannah Morning News.”  You weren‘t planning on getting into a war with Montel Williams.  So enjoy the rest of your internship.  Good luck.  You‘d probably make a great reporter.  And Zena McClain, thank you for coming on the program.  I appreciate it. 

MCCLAIN:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stay tuned for “CONFESSIONS OF A SERIAL KILLER.”  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

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

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