updated 12/21/2007 11:29:03 AM ET 2007-12-21T16:29:03

Guests: Craig Crawford, Rachel Maddow, Monica Lindstrom, Julia Morrow, Chuck Nice

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight: Getting it wrong.  We look back at the biggest misstatements of the ‘08 campaign.  Who got away with shading the truth and who got caught?  Speaking of shades of inaccuracy, we look back at the Bush administration‘s most outrageous comments of the year.  The one that makes you say, did they really just say that?

Plus: The year‘s most memorable crime stories and the most uncomfortable, annoying and awkward moments caught on tape.  And our favorite Beat the Press moments as well as our vote for the year‘s five top Winners and Losers.

But first: One of the only places where misstatements and hypocrisy are exposed on a daily basis outside of some great blogs, this program of course, is on the campaign trail.  When a candidate blows it or just gets it wrong they can pay a stiff price.

Tonight: We take a look at the biggest political misstatements from the ‘08 campaign trail, thus far, the occasions where a candidate just made the outright mistake or maybe worse.  We‘re going to go through our top five juices.  Joining us now, Rachel Maddow, host of the Rachel Maddow Show in Air America and Craig Crawford of “Congressional Quarterly‘s” CQPolitics.com.  OK.

First up: Rudy and his rescue efforts.  He‘s been campaigning as a 9/11 candidate but this comment from August about how much time he actually spent down at Ground Zero is our first of five campaign false spats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I was at Ground Zero as often if not more than most of the workers.  I was there working with them.  I was there guiding things.  I was there bringing people there but I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to, so, in that sense I‘m one of them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You know, Craig, we haven‘t heard about that statement in a while and I‘m kind of surprised and that‘s a big deal.  Comparing yourself in terms of the amount of time you spent down at Ground Zero to the workers who were there.

CRAIG CRAWFORD, CQPOLITICS.COM:  You know, Rudy is almost like that subliminal man on Saturday Night Live you know, under his breath is always saying 9/11, 9/11, 9/11.  He‘s right up there with that great serial exaggerator, Al Gore claiming to have created the Internet when it comes to 9/11.  And this story was important, very important, really, because it—

I think it was one of the first that really got us down that road, beginning to question many of his claims about what he had done in 9/11.

ABRAMS:  And we should say, he apologized for that one.  Next up: Back on November 6th, it was supposed to be a softball question but for the Clinton camp a simple question on global warming turned into a major political storm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  As a young person I‘m worried about the long-term effects of global warming.  How do you plan to combat climate change?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, you should be

worried.  And, you know, I find as I travel around Iowa that usually -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  There‘s the wink.  It wasn‘t a crime of planting a question that got the Clinton campaign into real trouble.  It was the cover-up when they initially denied the planting allegation saying it wasn‘t the practice of the campaign, that it didn‘t occur to the best of their knowledge.  It seems that this campaign, Rachel, has a lot of issues with what their so-called supporters have been saying and what their operatives in campaign staffers have been doing and saying.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA:  Yes, well, the reason that this one resonated is because people worry that Hillary Clinton maybe possibly needs to control everything around her and there as great fear that she is a controlling candidate and a controlling person and that‘s one of the things people use against her.  So, that‘s why it resonated.  To me, I look at that and it reminds me of the FEMA press conference where the director is saying, gosh, that‘s a great question to his PR person who is posing as a reporter.  I wish I would have thought of that.  Oh, I did!

ABRAMS:  Then, there was John Edwards making promises to voters that seemed more like a high school political stunt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN EDWARDS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  When I‘m president, I‘m going to say to members of Congress and members of my administration including my cabinet, I‘m glad that you have health care coverage in your family has health care coverage, but if you don‘t pass universal health care by July of 2009, in six months I‘m going to use my power as president to take your health care away from you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The problem, Craig, is that the president doesn‘t have that power.  All right?

CRAWFORD:  Yes, he‘s going to use the power he doesn‘t have to do that, which would create a whole new controversy about the use of presidential power.  We‘ve had enough of that in this administration.  You know, the problem here as Rachel pointed out about Hillary‘s controlling and how that episode underscored that, when these events underscore something, that we‘re already talking about, with these candidates, and in Edwards‘ case, he does get a rap for being phony, for someone‘s being a demagogue on some issues and that is just a phony promise.

ABRAMS:  Then, there‘s Mike Huckabee, the long shot candidate turned frontrunner getting stung by an infamous parole leak case coming back to haunt him.  Huckabee‘s account of his role in the release from a prison of a convicted rapist is definitely at odds with what members of the parole board said on this program.  Once released, that rapist went on to murder two other women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I went there.  Even though there are tabloid reports to try to make it that I did I went there to get acquainted with them because I hadn‘t appointed any of them.

TIM RUSSERT, HOST:  You never mentioned Wayne Dumont.

HUCKABEE:  No, they brought it up to me.

ABRAMS:  Doctor Chastain, please let me ask, you‘ve been listening to what Mike Huckabee has been saying about this.  Is he telling the truth?

DOCTOR CHASTAIN:  There‘s no question that the governor brought up the issue of releasing Wayne Dumont.

ABRAMS:  So, let‘s be clear, Dr. Chastain, I mean, you‘re making it pretty clear that he was advocating for early release.

CHASTAIN:  There is no question that anybody at that meeting would believe that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Rachel, so this one, really seems like Huckabee has gotten caught on this one.  I mean, regardless of what he did to get him released, the facts of his meeting with the parole board seem to be a direct odds with everything that parole members are saying.

MADDOWS:  Yes, this is - it‘s he‘s getting caught and he‘s getting caught on a very serious issue and his explanation seems to hold no water whatsoever and have no corroborating evidence at all.  This is maybe the most serious one of these screw-ups that we‘re going to talk about because the Wayne Dumont case is a deadly serious case.  Huckabee‘s case for himself on this one is not cogent in the least and there are so many other people who are cogent characters and believable characters who are saying just the opposite of the case he‘s making.

ABRAMS:  All right.

CRAWFORD:  You know what I‘ve noticed about Huckabee, Dan?  When he really starts fibbing, those eyebrows shoot way up and almost fly off his face.  I think that‘s how we can tell.

ABRAMS:  All right.  This one could be considered breaking news tonight.  Mitt Romney has been talking about watching his dad march with Martin Luther King.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  But you can see what I believed and what my family believed by looking at our lives.  My dad marched with Martin Luther King.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The problem, his father may never have marched with King.  That‘s still being investigated and determined and he certainly didn‘t watch it as he said in another interview.  Now, a spokesman says, he was speaking figuratively, not literally.  I mean, Craig, this is almost the most absurd of the spokesperson trying to cover it up after—I wouldn‘t say anything rather than say that he was speaking figuratively rather than literally about watching his dad march with Martin Luther King.

CRAWFORD:  Yes, I don‘t know how you march down the street figuratively.  I mean, that was a very literal—I‘ve heard him say that before on the campaign trail when racial issues are discussed, so, I—he must have believed that.  And that‘s often the problem with all of us in real life and politicians, too, is sometimes we start to believe things that we think are true.  But not everybody has ten thousand reporters out there scrutinizing everything they say.

ABRAMS:  Well, Rachel, speaking of that, Romney had another episode with regard to the NRA where he said he had been endorsed by the NRA when was running for governor.

MADDOW:  He meant it was a figurative endorsement.  They loved the idea of me.  They just didn‘t see fit to endorse me.

ABRAMS:  And his whole hunting background seems to be at issue here.  He‘s talking about himself being a good hunter and then he says, you know what, I‘ve only been hunting a couple times its like little rodents and rabbits.

MADDOW:  Small varmints says the senior V capital.  I‘ve been a small varmint hunter is what I mean to say.

ABRAMS:  That sounds like somebody who‘s killing mice in their home.

MADDOW:  Yes, that would be right.  He keeps turning to a “Catch me if you can” candidate, like pretty soon we‘re going to find out that he‘s also been an astronaut except that I didn‘t really mean that he‘s also, you know, cured polio.  He‘s making stuff up serially and his responses when he‘s caught on it are laughable.  And that‘s the thing that he‘s going to have to get over because Mitt Romney has a tendency to seem like a little bit of a joke and a lightweight.  Getting caught out and then making it worse in the way that you damage control hurts that.

ABRAMS:  Rachel and Craig are going to stay with us.

Coming up next: The top Bush administration misstatements of the year. 

We had a lot to choose from.

And later: Our favorite Beat the Press moments.  Wait until we show you.  We‘ll show them to you.

And later: Updates on the top crime stories of the year and where the cases stand now and the top five Winners and Losers of 2007.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know in 2007, President bush pardoned 29 people convicted of federal crimes just in time fort holidays?  It‘s a power granted to the president by the Constitution.  Coming up next, speaking of pardoning, we‘ll have the top Bush administration misstatements of the year.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Now, remember when the president was talking about Nelson Mandela and he suggested that Mandela may be dead?  Of course the former South African president is still alive but as we look back at the year that was, there‘ve been other more serious misstatements out of administration.  And we‘re not talking about the ones where we didn‘t get a straight story as we‘ve chronicled on this show; there are a lot of those.  But tonight, we‘re looking back at overtly sort of ridiculous assertions.  My favorite maybe from Karl Rove, the political mastermind who helped put and keep George W. Bush in office, Rove has now left the White House and he is trying to rewrite history about the lead up to the war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE:  The administration was opposed to voting on it in the fall of 2002.

CHARLIE ROSE, HOST:  Because?

ROVE:  Because we didn‘t think it belonged within the confines of the election.  There was an election coming up within a matter of weeks.  We thought it made it too political and we wanted it outside the confines.  It seemed to make things move too fast.  There were things that needed to be done to bring along allies and potential allies abroad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Craig Crawford, I mean, that seems to me to be just a lie.

CRAWFORD:  They were figuratively opposed, I guess.  I covered that debate and those folks wanted that timing.  If they were opposed to it they didn‘t tell anybody else because that vote was held because they wanted to pressure Democrats in that election campaign.  They wanted it to be political.

ABRAMS:  All right.  This one from a White House spokesperson, Dana

Perino on Iraq speaks for it self.  All right.  We‘re going to -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  It is not accurate to say

that the United States is occupying Iraq.  We are there under the -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It is not right to say we are occupying Iraq?  I mean,150,000 troops there?

PERINO:  We there are at the invitation of the sovereign government of Iraq that was democratically elected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I mean, I don‘t even think, Rachel, they‘re still claiming that one.  I mean, they wouldn‘t still pull that one in a press conference would they?

MADDOW:  Remember that invitation that we got?  That wasn‘t even that long ago either.  Dan Perino is I have to say, you expect press secretaries to be evasive and to obfuscate the obvious.  That‘s what you can expect from press secretaries in the modern era.  She is—she just makes stuff up and she is, I have to say, the most petulant, unprofessional press secretary I have ever seen.  To not only say something that ridiculous but to say it with such a sneer in—toward the reporter who‘s asking her about that, such a snide way of putting it when it is so patently ridiculous.  I think she‘s an embarrassment.

ABRAMS:  Craig, I think that look, I think that‘s a little harsh.  And I think it‘s not that different from what we‘ve seen from other press secretaries, I don‘t know.

MADDOW:  I think Dana is much harsh.

CRAWFORD:  Well, this White House, I do think sometimes, you know, George Orwell is just an unimaginative hack compared to this White House the way they twist words and turn things, and up is down and black is white.  (INAUDIBLE)  I mean, it is amazing.  Even by these standards of presidential press secretaries.

ABRAMS:  Speaking of it, here is one I would call a unique take on an important issue.  The White House has been little slow to comprehend global warming.  And here, Dana Perino actually said this earlier in the fall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You mentioned that there are health benefits to climate change.  Could you describe them all?

PERINO:  Sure.  In some cases, well, there are, you know, this is an issue where I‘m sure lots of people would love to ridicule me when I say this, but it is true many people die from cold related deaths every winter. 

And there are studies that say that climate change in certain areas of the

global -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Now, she says we were going to ridicule her and, Craig, I think we‘re going to ridicule her.

CRAWFORD:  Well, I mean, that‘s up there with when Ronald Reagan said trees cause pollution.  In this administration, not Dana Perino, but earlier in the administration when they were pushing for oil drilling in Alaska, one of them, actually a spokesman for the White House actually made the case that it would be good for the caribou because they could sidle up to the generators and stay warm.  They were serious about that.

ABRAMS:  All right.

MADDOW:  Spectacular.

ABRAMS:  All right.  We could probably do a whole hour on former attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez but what got him really caught, when the evidence was just too strong to try to refute it was when it seems he either lied or got it wrong when he said this about the firings of the U.S.  attorneys.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERTO GONZALEZ, FMR ATTY GENERAL, U.S. DOJ:  What I know is that there began a process of evaluating strong performers, not as strong performers, and weak performers.  But that is in essence what I knew about the process.  I was not involved in seeing any memos, was not involved in any discussions about what was going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Rachel, and then of course the evidence caught up with him.

MADDOW:  Yes.  Not involved in seeing any memos.  Maybe that‘s the loophole there.  That he saw the memos but he was really disassociating from his body at the moment they came across at that.

ABRAMS:  But that was before everything came out.  The paper trail, the testimony, etcetera, right?  That‘s where he really ended up getting caught.

MADDOW:  Yes, well, it‘s not only that it was known that he was in on the memo trail on this but he was convening these meetings to lead this process that led to the purging of these attorneys.  I mean, when you look at that, when you look back at that tape, it‘s actually great to see this looking back at this distance knowing all the things we now know about the U.S. attorney scandal, it‘s amazing that Gonzales wasn‘t impeached for that.  I mean, he was allowed to leave without being impeached for that.  That‘s kind of incredible.

ABRAMS:  Real quick, Craig, do you think there is a chance that Gonzalez at some point could get charged or brought up on perjury charges?

CRAWFORD:  I think he‘s out of sight out of mind now and everybody is just pretty much just glad he‘s gone in both parties.  This whole business of saying uninvolved, there‘s others, you know, I mean, that‘s what the previous press secretary said about the White House in the CIA leak case.  And now, we‘ve learned in his book that he acknowledges that was a lie.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Now, to a quick follow-up on our Bush League Justice series.  The focus was the shameful politization of the Justice Department under edgy Alberto Gonzales.  We hoped the series could spur change for the better and it seems it may have done just that.  In addition to important personnel changes we reported last week, the new attorney general, Michael Mukasey issued a memorandum today that seeks to address the very heart of our series.  It now limits the White House‘s involvement in ongoing investigations in cases.  The Justice Department now, quote, “Will advise the White House about such criminal and civil enforcement matters only where it is important for the performance of the president‘s duties and where appropriate from a law enforcement perspective.”  In other words, the hundreds of administration officials who were meddling in Justice Department business are no longer welcome.  We know the Justice Department watched our series closely.  Whether our series spurred the change or not is beside the point.  I salute the attorney general for this move.  It‘s an important first step.  Rachel Maddow and Craig Crawford, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

MADDOW:  Thank you, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up: Our favorite Beat the Press moments of the year.

And later: The most uncomfortable, awkward and annoying moments of the year on tape.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for our look back at our year‘s favorite Beat the Press moments - our look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.

First up: Back in June, our friends over at NANCY GRACE apparently wanted to make sure Nancy got to read a script for the top of their show.  Even tough anchor Mike Brooks started the show so half an hour later it sounded familiar when Nancy took over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE BROOKS, ANCHOR:  Paris Hilton sits in a private room, a window view normally reserved for the acutely ill.

NANCY GRACE, ANCHOR:  Hilton is sitting in a private room with a window view.  This is the wing normally reserved for the acutely ill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Coincidence?  Apparently not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKS & GRACE:  Paris Hilton sits in a medical facility after at the court house in bitter protests to the justice system.  As to explain her mystery illness tonight, we learn is sort of depression, alleged ADD and a bit of claustrophobia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Next up: Also in June, GOOD MORNING AMERICA correspondent, Elizabeth Leme (ph) offered up summer safety tips on how to prevent outdoor fires but watch the guy in the back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH LEME, CORRESPONDENT:  OK.  So, what we‘re seeing now, well, smoke and a little flame.  We‘ve speed up the process in the simulation just a little bit to give you an idea how dangerous this can be but the basic tip here is don‘t have combustibles near your grill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  No, the basic tip would be don‘t let guys in blue suits squirt lighter fluid on your grill when it‘s tipped over.  But there‘s more.  Keep your eye on the left side of the screen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEME:  Next tip, don‘t wear loose clothing.  That just makes it more likely that you‘re going to catch on fire in addition to your house catching on fire.  Meanwhile, over on this side, look at this.  We‘ve actually gotten melting siding, that vinyl siding.  Firefighters call that vinyl siding hard gasoline.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  No, we call that arson.

Next up: FOX News anchor, Steve Doocy apparently was not really listening during a news break back in May.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR:  California Police say they‘ll check for mechanical problems in a golf cart that went off a cliff near San Diego, killing its driver yesterday.  How scary.  Those are your headlines at this hour.  Let‘s go back to Gretchen and Steve.

STEVE DOOCY, HOST:  That guy is lucky to be alive.

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR:  He‘s not alive.

DOOCY:  Oh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh.

Finally: To a CNN piece from June on out of control fish in the Illinois River.  Their highlight really included their intrepid reporter braving the elements and the fish on this dangerous assignment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT:  When these fish were small, people thought this was funny but now that they‘re—Ooh - 10 and 20 pounds, they can hit you and really do some serious harm.  And just a few seconds later, I find out the hard way.  Whoa!  Ouch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There you go.  There you go.

MATTINGLY:  That hurt.

That wouldn‘t be the only one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Well, we‘re not sure if that was an Academy Award winning performance or real pain.  But what we do know is it wasn‘t exactly fish in their real, natural habitat either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOICE OVER:  Watch what happens when these devices deliver a small electric shock to the water.

MATTINGLY:  Holy cow!  Whoa.  Man.  They got a boat full of fish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  A small, electric shock to the water?  Who wouldn‘t jump out of your house if it was electrocuted?

We always need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything right, wrong, amusing or absurd, please go to our Web site:

Abrams.msnbc.com.  Leave us a tip in the box.  Please include the show and the time you saw the item.

Up next: The biggest crime stories of the year and the latest on those cases plus the year‘s most uncomfortable moments caught on tape and then the top five Winners and Losers of the year.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

ABRAMS:  Picking the top crime stories of the year is always a tough endeavor.  We took a stab, so to speak, at our top five, the most talked about crimes and where they stand now.  With us to count them down are Former Prosecutor Monica Lindstrom and Defense Attorney Julia Morrow.

All right, number five - Chris Benoit, the world wrestling star who strangled his wife, Nancy, and 7-year-old son Daniel before taking his own life.  Medical tests showed Benoit had nearly ten times the normal amount of testosterone in his body at the time of his death. 

The update - the federal government indicted Dr. Phil Astin on separate charges of overprescribing.  Authorities say he supplied Benoit with a ten-month supply of testosterone every three to four weeks from May 2006 to May, 2007.  So the question, will Benoit‘s doctor be held responsible?  We‘re going to give you a minute to debate this one.  Monica Lindstrom, let me start with you. 

MONICA LINDSTROM, FORMER PROSECUTOR:  (INAUDIBLE) had actually happened to Benoit or his family.  He‘s going to be held responsible for overprescribing.  That‘s what he did wrong.  To try to make the link between the deaths and him is going to be too hard for the prosecutors.  That‘s why they‘re going right toward the doctor, trying to see if they can pull his license, getting him for overprescribing because there is no excuse for ten months of a prescription in a three-to-four-week period.  He is going down.  The prosecutors have the evidence and it‘s going to be very interesting to see.  

ABRAMS:  Julia? 

JULIA MORROW, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, I actually agree with Monica that there is no way they can make that link between prescribing the testosterone and the actual murders that Benoit committed.  But in terms of him overprescribing, if what he prescribed was within reasonable limits or within the standard of care within the medical profession, then, you know, they‘re going to have a hard time proving that case. 

LINDSTROM:  And there‘s no way that ten months of prescription in three to four weeks is standard. 

ABRAMS:  Let me -

MORROW:  But we don‘t know that, Monica, and you‘re not a doctor. 

ABRAMS:  Story number four - Madeleine McCann, the British girl who vanished from a hotel room in Portugal back in may.  Her parents waged a massive media campaign to find her with the support of J.K. Rowling, Virgin Boss Richard Branson, and “American Idol” star Simon Cowell.  But in September, Portuguese police named the parents suspects in the case.  They‘re denying they had anything to do with their daughter‘s disappearance. 

Update - “The Times of London” reports Madeleine‘s parents will be told next month if they‘ll be charged in the case.  The question - are the Portuguese police as the McCanns believe trying to frame them?  Look, I don‘t know, Julia, of any real evidence against them.

MORROW:  There is no real evidence, Dan.  And let‘s look at what the Portuguese police have done to them.  They came out after having no thoughts, whatsoever, in their mind that the McCanns had anything to do with the death of their daughter - excuse me, the disappearance.  They then come up with this fantastic story that the McCanns killed their daughter, then hid her body where it rotted for days, then surreptitiously removed the body, dumped it somewhere else and went and spoke to the pope. 

I mean, that is simply outrageous.  Then they backed off of that, and said no they had nothing to do with it.  A man was seen carrying her away.  And now they‘re talking about still bringing charges.

ABRAMS:  Monica, it seems to me that they have - these Portuguese police have at the least bungled this, and I think they‘re trying to cover themselves. 

LINDSTROM:  Well, Julia is right that it seems absolutely ridiculous with some of the things they were doing.  But it was the responsible thing for them to do is to look at the parents.  In all the crimes we‘ve seen over the past couple years, loved ones, family members, husbands, parents - they are oftentimes the culprit.  So it was responsible for them to investigate them. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Our third story of the year - O.J.  Just when he thought he would never have to spend another day behind bars, he is now facing 12 charges including armed robbery and kidnapping in a Vegas casino.  Simpson and five others accused of forcing their way into a private room, stealing sports memorabilia at gun point.  Simpson claims it was an effort to get back sports treasures that belong to him. 

Update - a Las Vegas judge has said there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, set April 7 for the case.  If convicted, Simpson could face up to life in prison.  But the question, with so many sleazy guys as the key witnesses against him, can they really make this case stick?  Monica, I think it‘s going to be harder than a lot of people think. 

LINDSTROM:  Well, it‘s going to be hard but I think that the prosecutor will definitely get a conviction one way or another and the reason why is because their best evidence is O.J. himself.  Right after this happened, he came out.  He talked to the media, “Yes, I did it.  I barged into the room.  I yelled at the guys.  I took the things.” 

Regardless of what his excuse was, he did it and he admitted it.  The only problem, the hurdle the prosecution is going to have is getting over the sleazy witnesses and the credibility issues.  But no matter what, they have his admissions and that‘s rock solid. 

ABRAMS:  Julia? 

MORROW:  Have his admission for what?  He didn‘t admit that he pointed

guns at people and took his stuff back.  He wasn‘t -

LINDSTROM:  Not guns, but he admitted he was there and he did it.  

MORROW:  Monica, it wasn‘t a burglary.  That was a Riccio‘s hotel room.  O.J. Simpson was invited there.  He went in there.  That was his stuff. 

LINDSTROM:  No, no.  He wasn‘t.

MORROW:  So you‘ve got no burglary.  You have no theft.  

LINDSTROM:  No, he barged in. 

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait.  We don‘t know -

MORROW:  Yes, but he was invited there. 

ABRAMS:  Wait, you want to tell her we don‘t know it‘s his stuff. 

MORROW:  No.  But we know it was Riccio‘s room so we know he is not guilty of burglary if he was invited in there by Riccio.  So, whether he barged in or knocked on the door, he was welcome there.  There was no burglary. 

LINDSTROM:  Dear, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has the evidence -

(CROSS TALK)

MORROW:  And at worst it is misdemeanor theft and they‘re never going to prove it with those terrible witnesses they have.  

LINDSTROM:  Yes they will.  

MORROW:  One is worse than the next and there is enough there for reasonable doubt.  

ABRAMS:  Number two story of the year, the disappearance of Stacy Peterson, the young mom of two, fourth wife of veteran police sergeant Drew Peterson whose third wife was found dead in their bath tub in their home, initially ruled accidental drowning.  The investigation has led authorities to reexamine her death.  Drew insists Stacy left on her own.  His behavior, though, does not help his claims of innocence.

Update, while the self-described media sensation is not helping himself by posing for the cover of “People” or filming the media with his camcorder, he has hired two private investigators to search for his missing wife.  But it seems to me, Monica Lindstrom, that that is just an effort to dig up dirt. 

I mean, they claim - he and his lawyer claim that these two private eyes are actually trying to find out where Stacy is, because their claim is Stacy called on the phone.  She said, “I‘m leaving for another guy.”  Didn‘t tell him who the guy is.  Didn‘t tell him where she‘s going.  And I guess the private eyes are trying to figure out who she‘s out there with? 

LINDSTROM:  Well, I think it‘s an effort in damage control, because no matter what the prosecutors do, no matter what the investigators and the cops do, Drew has already been convicted in the court of public opinion.  His behavior, the statements he‘s made to the media, his ridiculous assertions and remarks, they have really damaged him, maybe not inside the courtroom but in the public eyes.  So no matter what happens, he‘s going to probably walk around the rest of his life convicted in the court of public opinion.  

ABRAMS:  Yes, but put aside public opinion.  You got these - he puts

out this Web site, this defenddrew.com Web site, Julia.  Where he finally -

LINDSTROM:  Asking for money.  

ABRAMS:  Right.  He gets the money.  Fine.  He is entitled to ask for money for his defense.  I have no problem with him asking for money for his defense.  If people want to waste their money, spend their hard earned money at the end of the year and they want to donate to the Defend Drew Fund, you know, more power to you.  Go for it. 

But the question is, you know, is there something unseemly about the idea that these investigators are, no matter how you look at it - they‘re digging up dirt on Stacy?

MORROW:  No.  I don‘t think so.  And first of all, let me say this.  Drew Peterson‘s behavior from the start has been totally consistent with what his story is here, which is Stacy left him for another man.  So why would he be crying a river?  Why would he be out there with search teams looking in lakes and under bushes? 

ABRAMS:  I‘ll tell you why.  You want to know why? 

MORROW:  Why?

ABRAMS:  I‘ll tell you why.  So he can clear his name.  If she‘s alive with another guy, I would think that he would have spent a lot of time earlier saying, “Look.  I think it‘s one of two guys or one of three guys.” 

Or talking to friends and saying, “Look.  Who else she might have been

with?  Instead, he is just out there talking about how he got her fake

breasts and -

MORROW:  Yes, but he just hired the two investigators, Dan.  That‘s

what he hired them for was to actually go find her.  Why should he care

about clearing his name?  He obviously is a man -

ABRAMS:  Why should he care?  Because he supposedly cares about his children, I thought. 

MORROW:  Because he didn‘t do anything wrong.  He didn‘t do anything wrong.

ABRAMS:  I thought he cared about his children.

MORROW:  He is taking care of his kids. 

ABRAMS:  What, so you don‘t think -

MORROW:  He does care about them.  

ABRAMS:  Wait, you‘re going to tell me you don‘t think it affects his kids that he is considered a suspect in his wife‘s murder.  And one of the things that he could do for his kids tomorrow to help them would be to find their supposedly adulterous mother who‘s gone off with some other guy? 

MORROW:  You know what, Dan?  Different people have different parenting skills.  And maybe he feels that this is better left in the adult world and not the kids and he‘s dealing with it as he sees fit.  He doesn‘t think he did anything wrong.  And he doesn‘t feel like he has to do anything but fend off all of the media blitz that has, you know, descended upon him. 

ABRAMS:  It‘s always the media.  It‘s always the media‘s fault.  Every

criminal defendant -

MORROW:  It‘s not the media‘s fault but Monica said -

ABRAMS:  Anyone who‘s charged with a crime, suspected of a crime investigated for a crime, point the finger at the media. 

               

MORROW:  Dan, Monica said he has been convicted in the court of public opinion and she‘s right.  That‘s a shame.  That not the way it works here.

ABRAMS:  Our number one crime story of the year - Paris.  California finally got tough on a true criminal.  Paris Hilton, sentenced to 45 days for a probation violation involving DUI.  That was cut to 23.  Then a Los Angeles county sheriff re-assigned Hilton to home confinement even though that is what anyone else in her position would have received.  Public outcry led the judge to haul her back to jail to serve out the time behind bars. 

Update - Hilton announced in September she would travel to Rwanda to do some charity work.  They are still waiting for her at the airport.  She does not garner a lot of sympathy but I say all of this controversy has actually been good for Paris.  Is it possible, Monica, to say about someone that serving almost three weeks behind bars is actually good for them? 

LINDSTROM:  Well, in this case, it definitely is.  What we see is a more mature Paris, at least the presentation that she wants to go out and help people and make things better.  And if her time behind bars for violating her probation for her crime caused her to do this, then the prosecutors basically made her bigger and better.  And so it‘ll be interesting if to see if she follows through on this.  

ABRAMS:  But I think, Julia, she is also just more famous and, you know, you can say it‘s more infamous.  But I think she is a more sought after celebrity now in a way.  

MORROW:  Dan, I have to honestly tell you -

LINDSTROM:  She has (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

MORROW:  I have to honestly tell you that I don‘t think it‘s possible

for Paris Hilton to be any more sought after by the media than she already

was before this happened.  She just has a different image now.  Her image

has more -

LINDSTROM:  Exactly.  

MORROW:  I agree with Monica.  She is now a more responsible adult who actually had something bad that happened to her in her pampered, sheltered, princess life. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Those are our top five crime stories of the year. 

Monica Lindstrom, Julia Morrow, thanks a lot. 

LINDSTROM:  Thanks. 

MORROW:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, this is a good one.  The most uncomfortable, awkward and annoying moments of the year.  Forget that guy.  And later, the top five winners and losers of 2007.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  There were many uncomfortable, annoying and awkward moments this year but what you are about to see are our top five on tape.  Coming in at number five, “The View” feud between now ex-“View” co-host Rosie O‘Donnell and Elizabeth Hasselbeck.  The feud created some great TV and was ultimately the straw that broke Rosie. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSIE O‘DONNELL, FORMER CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”:  Do you believe that I think our troops are terrorists? 

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK, CO-HOST, “THE VIEW”:  I do -

O‘DONNELL:  And you would not even look me in the face, Elizabeth, -

HASSELBECK:  What are you talking about?

O‘DONNELL:  And say, “No, Rosie, I can understand how people might have thought that.  Why don‘t you take this opportunity?” like I‘m six. 

HASSELBECK:  Because you are an adult,

O‘DONNELL:  And so are you.

HASSELBECK:  And I am certainly not going to be the person for you to explain your thoughts.  They‘re your thoughts.  Defend your own insinuations. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Chuck Nice, VH1‘s “Best Week” ever.

CHUCK NICE, HOST, “BEST WEEK EVER”:  Hey, Dan.

ABRAMS:  What do you make of that one.

NICE:  Man, that was awesome.  Wasn‘t it?  Who knew that the Donald-Rosie feud was going to be the undercard to that big fight, you know?  I just love the fact that this is like your classic David and Goliath, if Goliath were really cute and slightly annoying.  You know?  That‘s what I got out of that.  

ABRAMS:  Coming in at number four America‘s most hilarious judge, Larry Seidlin, while presiding over the infamous Anna Nicole Smith custody case.  He entertained the courtroom, became the laughingstock of the bench with his peculiar courtroom antics. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ATTORNEY:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

JUDGE LARRY SEIDLIN, PRESIDING AT THE ANNA NICOLE SMITH CUSTODY CASE: 

It sounds like you‘re getting a little bit of a cold.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ATTORNEY:  I am.  

SEIDLIN:  Get him some orange juice.  People just get one out.  It‘s like I‘m having an alley fight.  Sometimes you have to wait the whole ten rounds.  Sometimes it was one round.  You can‘t win with, A, you‘re going to want to win with B or you won both of them.  A little bit from A and a little bit from B.  He‘s a great lawyer. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ATTORNEY:  Thank you. 

SEIDLIN:  He‘s got a cold today.  It‘s stressful, probably.  Is your cold getting any better? 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  This guy is ridiculous.  

Karl Rove is number three known for a lot of things, a good dancer not one of them.  He thoroughly proved this at this year‘s Radio and TV Correspondence Dinner.  It‘s our number three most uncomfortable, annoying and awkward moment of the year. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This man will never stop.  Look at him jumping up and down and ready to hop.  He‘s got something much to prove.  Man, tell me you never saw this man move.  Doing the dance.  The Karl Rove dance.  Doing the dance.  The Karl Rove dance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Chuck, it was a setup, but it‘s so uncomfortable. 

NICE:  Oh, my god.  It gives me a certain kind of chills that can‘t say on national television.  All I know is this.  Rap is dead and Karl Rove killed it.  OK?  I don‘t have a problem with Karl Rove because he is Karl Rove doing that.  I certainly got a problem with that brother who was up there dancing with him who stood for all that mess.  I‘m sorry. 

ABRAMS:  Number two, Britney Spears, still with a lot fans, apparently.  But one fan in particular stood out this year.  His name is Chris Crocker and his tirade on Britney Spears comes in at number two on our top five most uncomfortable, annoying and awkward moments of 2007. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CROCKER, BRITNEY SPEARS‘ FAN:  Her song is called “Give Me More” for a reason because all you people want is more, more, more!  Leave her alone!  You‘re lucky she even performs for you, bastards!  Leave Britney alone.  Please.  Leave Britney Spears alone right now.  I mean it.  Anyone who has a problem with her, you deal with me. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And apparently you have a problem with her. 

NICE:  I have a problem with her.  And the fact that that guy right there - is that a guy?  I‘m not sure.  My problem is I don‘t know what that is.  My problem is I don‘t know if that‘s a guy or a girl. 

ABRAMS:  Finally, this young woman may need no introduction.  Number one on our top five most uncomfortable, annoying and awkward moments of 2007, Miss South Carolina. 

CAITLIN LAUREN UPTON:  I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh, people out there in our nation don‘t have maps and, uh, I believe that our, uh, education like such as, uh, South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, uh, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa - and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You know, Chuck, I almost want them to cut the tape short. 

It‘s like, no. 

NICE:  All right.  Here‘s my problem with that.  That made perfect sense to me.  There‘s something wrong with me. 

ABRAMS:  Apparently.  

NICE:  Like that made perfect sense.  Like she was saying that and I was like, yes, of course.  Of course.

ABRAMS:  Yes, speaking to Chuck.

NICE:  It‘s like when you‘re drunk at a bar and like you‘ve got to be talking to another drunk person in order for them to understand. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  

NICE:  If you‘re sober and they‘re drunk, “You‘re like what the heck are you talking about?”  But if you‘re drunk, you‘re like, “Man, that‘s deep.  That‘s really deep.” 

ABRAMS:  Chuck Nice, of VH1‘s “Best Week Ever.”  Thanks for coming on. 

I appreciate it.

NICE:  Dan, always a pleasure, man.  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, the top five winners and losers of the year.  Will it be a southerner who, a year ago, had a little known name?  A man on a mission who won international acclaim?  Or a dog who has no one but himself to blame?  Which will be 2007‘s big winner or loser?  We‘ve got the top five of the year, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS: It‘s time for the “Winners and Losers” of the year, 2007.  Winner number five, “American Idol” sensation Sanjaya, the 18-year-old who can barely carry a tune took the nation by storm this year, somehow surviving week after week despite being panned by the show‘s panel of judges.  His album on iTunes broke the top 100. 

The crummy crooner eventually voted off the show but rode his 15 minutes of fame to become the star guest at the White House correspondents‘ dinner, meeting the president and signing autographs for awe-struck politicians.  He even ranked third in “Time” magazine‘s online poll for the most influential people of the year.  Sanjaya became a brand. 

Winner number four, “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling.  This year, the British bookworm penned the final chapter in her seven-book, 17-yearjourney with the boy wizard.  Her seventh installment hit book shelves in July, moving 11 million copies in its first day, shattering the old world record held by the sixth Potter book.  She has sold 400 million copies across the globe making her one of the world‘s wealthiest women. 

Winner number three, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a relative unknown on the national political scene a year ago, the former Arkansas governor now enjoying his meteoric rise to possible front-runner.  You know you‘ve made it when you become the target of the leading opponent‘s jabs and of course when TV tough guy Chuck Norris has your back. 

Winner number two of 2007, Anna Nicole ex- Larry Birkhead.  He came out on top in the circus-like and often comedic custody battle over the deceased and very wealthy model‘s daughter, Dannielyn.  DNA tests proved Birkhead to be the rightful father despite sometimes outlandish claims of Anna Nicole‘s past flames including Frederick Prince Von Anhalt. 

But the big winner of the year, Former Vice President Al Gore.  The climate crusader cleaned up in the awards front this year an Oscar for his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” an Emmy for his cable network, Current TV, and the grand daddy of them all, a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change.  When he wasn‘t busy collecting awards, Gore managed to find time to gather 150 of the top‘s music talents for his Live Aid benefit concerts.  He‘s now being pressured by some to launch a late-run for the White House.  He is our big winner of the year for 2007. 

               

Now, to the big losers of 2007.  Loser number five, ousted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whose improbable ascension to the top of the Justice Department ended abruptly and unceremoniously when he announced his resignation in August.  The increasingly unpopular A.G. came under fire from fellow Republicans and Democrats alike, after possibly perjuring himself while testifying about his role in the fired U.S. Attorney‘s scandal. 

President Bush appointed his long-time Texas pal to the DOJ‘s top post after four years of loyal service as White House counsel.  He left the department in shambles and under fire from both sides of the aisle. 

Loser number four, TV bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman.  His hit TV series pulled from the air waves in November after the release of a racially charged phone call he made to his son.  Dog ranted against his son Tucker‘s African-American girlfriend dropping the “N” word six times.  Dog tried quieting the controversy with a series of public apologies, which, it appears, were not enough to get him out of the dog house. 

Loser number three, football QB turned dogfighting convict Michael Vick.  The former NFL star is now serving the first of his 23 months behind bars after pleading guilty to financing and operating an interstate dogfighting bring.  Once the highest paid player in the NFL, Vick‘s troubles may be far from over, could face additional state charges, may now have to pay back $20 million in bonus money.  He‘s being sued by three banks, not to mention losing lucrative endorsement contracts with Nike, Adidas and Rawlings. 

Loser number two, misfit mom Britney Spears whose roller coaster ride of the year included shaving her head, losing her kids.  Attacking a photographer with an umbrella, running over another photographer‘s foot, admitting herself to rehab, then checking out, then going back.  Baring it all in front of photographs to take a dip in the ocean, getting caught numerous times without her underwear, smearing her face with a plate of gourmet food, releasing an album and, oh yes, I mentioned it, losing her kids. 

But the big loser of the year, Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig whose befuddling behavior inside a Minnesota airport bathroom has made him the most infamous senator in America.  Secret hand and foot signals sank the Senator who pled guilty to disorderly conduct, but later came out professing he is innocent and insisting repeatedly he‘s not gay, only conceding that he has a wide stance.  Numerous other men had claimed they had sexual relationships with this stubborn Republican who has refused to resign from the Senate.  Larry Craig is our big loser for 2007.  Chuck Nice, you have ten seconds to respond. 

NICE:  I can only hope - I can only hope that Larry Craig comes out of the stall - I mean, closet.  That‘s all I‘m saying.  Maybe he‘s not a loser.  It depends which side of the stall you‘re sitting in.  

ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  Stay tuned for “PREDATOR RAW.”  See you soon.

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

END   

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

transcript

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

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,