updated 1/10/2008 6:51:37 PM ET 2008-01-10T23:51:37

Guests: Rachel Maddow, Candice DeLong, Kelli O‘Hara, Jim Riches, James Gordon Meek

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight: Some of the Washington establishment media seemed to relish the idea of ending Hillary‘s campaign early.  It was a good story that turned out to be just that, a story.  And now, the justifications are pouring in.

Speaking of stories, candidate, Rudy Giuliani claiming in an article that his work as mayor helped prepare New York City for 9/11 but did Giuliani‘s lack of preparation actually make the city more vulnerable?  After one leading firefighter says and he‘s here tonight.

And the stories they tell.  Our new segment on their trail.  The candidate‘s biggest misstatements, blunders and cheap shots.  In just a couple of day, there have been some more doozies.

But first: With Hillary‘s big win in New Hampshire, the establishment media in Washington loses big.  It‘s hard to believe that this program, which presents an outsider‘s look at DC and politics was the only mainstream media program Monday night to try to stem the tide of proclamations that Hillary‘s campaign was dead and to attempt to control the vastly overstated Obama fever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Starting to feel as if, many in the inside Washington media are spreading the fever.  Prematurely delivering Clinton‘s eulogy despite impressive rallies in New Hampshire, they suddenly savoring Obama‘s every word, celebrating every detail of his rallies, possibly creating a self-fulfilling prophesy.  Barack Obama the Democratic nominee.  It sure feels like a close game being called in the third inning by some of the political establishment media.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But now, many of those same inside DC media types are blaming the pollings, talking about what save Senator Clinton and how she made this so-called comeback.  I still don‘t understand, why, if she‘s lost, the results in two small states like Iowa and New Hampshire would lead so-called political experts to make overstated long term projections like these.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The problem is it‘s not the message, it‘s the messenger.  She‘s the problem, that‘s what people don‘t like.  They don‘t like her.  They don‘t trust her.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT:  Barack Obama, riding a wave on the polls.  Hoping New Hampshire voters will help him make history tomorrow and possibly even knock Clinton out of the race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If she wait around long enough, history repeats itself.  The Clinton‘s come in like George McGovern and go out like Richard Nixon.  I think they‘re going out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Don‘t count Hillary Clinton out of this too early.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Count Hillary Clinton out of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Imagine me covering what was expected to be a close and hard fought trial.  And after the opening statements, declaring it over.  At least in high profile cases, judges tell jurors even prospective ones not to read or watch anything about the case.  So, the media doesn‘t have and undue influence on the outcome.  With 70 percent of people saying they get their campaign information from television, the media has an obligation not to prematurely declare a leading candidate like Clinton dead after the first caucus.  And it‘s not just Hillary‘s campaign either.  They DC insiders are prepared to read John McCain‘s political obituary if he didn‘t take first in New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  But if he wins by any kind of a margin at all here, I think he‘s the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.  If he loses, I just don‘t see where he goes from here because he will be broke.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Look, I understand.  Even McCain said he needed to win New Hampshire.  And there are real issues of fundraising, trends and momentum et cetera that can‘t be ignored.  But by focusing too much on trends and momentum, the DC media can make voters to make judgments on the most important issue of the day, based on everything except the real issues.  I think the public now deserves apologies not justifications.  Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst, Pat Buchanan, Rachel Maddow from Air America Radio and Lawrence O‘Donnell, MSNBC political analyst.  All right.  Today, some of the same pundits are trying to explain the outcome talking about Hillary‘s tears and her performance at the debate.  But where were they Monday?  I mean, these are not new issues, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, AIR AMERICA:  Right.  This is the way that people are backpedaling and trying to explain that it‘s some sort of you know, we got hit by an asteroid from outer space and that‘s the only thing that can explain what happened.  If you look at the last year of polling in New Hampshire, it‘s Hillary Clinton ahead, ahead, ahead.  In the last 2 percent of that poll, Barack Obama pepped up.  It would have been a shocker if Barack Obama have pulled it off, actually, if you take the long view.  But we get so caught up in the minute by minute political coverage that all of a sudden that improbable narrative became everybody‘s bandwagon political story.

ABRAMS:  And Lawrence, I think a lot of people in the media, don‘t like Hillary either as a candidate or they don‘t like the people on the campaign.  They don‘t treat them nicely or they don‘t like the story of Hillary because it‘s boring and it‘s done.

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  All of those things, Dan.  I spent a lot of time with the media, a lot of time with Hillary‘s media and a lot of times we put Pat Buchanan we think of us the liberal media.  Hillary is the least favorite candidate of that group.  And it‘s a couple things.  They think the campaign is rather imperious, doesn‘t treat the press well.  But it‘s not just you know, they don‘t treat as well.  It‘s more of a overall feel they get.  There‘s some individuals working on the campaign who were very popular, people like Mandy Greenwald (ph), very popular with the press.  But the press was salivating Monday night.  People in the press were going unmasked to the last Hillary rally to see the down fall of the Clinton‘s firsthand.  And that‘s why they were there.  I mean did talk about it.  We were also saying it to each other.  People were saying this is it.  This is the end.  And it was gleeful.  It‘s very gleeful.

ABRAMS:  And Pat, again, I say this as an outsider, OK?  As a political outsider.  I don‘t work in DC., I don‘t live in DC.  I haven‘t covered the White House, all right?  But you need 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.  Barack Obama has now 25.  Hillary Clinton has 24 and John Edwards has 18.  How do we allow ourselves to make these long term judgments?  I‘m not saying who‘s going to win South Carolina or Nevada.  Fine.  But these long term judgments that Hillary is out if she doesn‘t win in New Hampshire.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, I think that was a mistake.  Take no doubt, Hillary‘s out.  You look at the resources, her strength nationally and all the rest of it and you can say, I think honestly, that Barack Obama is surging.  I think Lawrence is on to something.  The press got all the polls showing Barack surging in New Hampshire, winning by maybe double digits.  They were all agreeing, the reporters caught the story.  It is the end of Hillary.  They don‘t like her.  Many came surging out of the closet and they said, she‘s going down to defeat.  It‘s historic.  It‘s the end.  At the same time, there was that news story that day, Dan, which we played every hour of Hillary Rodham Clinton in a very moving emotional moment.  And the undecideds, the women out there and a lot of them independent undecideds said they are beating up on this woman, they‘re telling us what we got to do.  And New Hampshire did what it does best.  It‘s tell the establishment where to get off and do exactly the opposite.

ABRAMS:  But maybe Pat, but I wonder whether even that is too much sort of political tapestry meaning maybe it‘s the weather.  Maybe, it‘s a fact that a lot of older women could walk to the polls.

BUCHANAN:  They were walked there.  I went out to one of them, we were doing an interview with some London people and those very old ladies, must be in their 90s were being walked out.  I said, I don‘t think they‘re coming out for Barack.

ABRAMS:  But these are not things we couldn‘t have—again, those people who were experts in this area should have been able to say, you know what?  Hey, wait a second.  There‘s a real possibility that the weather or the tears or something else.  But you know what, I wasn‘t hearing it on Monday, Rachel.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW:  Yes, the glee I think does have an affect.  I mean, why is it also impossible to consider the fact that Hillary Clinton has been the front-runner in New Hampshire for 90 percent of the last year.  And that maybe that Barack Obama had a last minute surge of support.

ABRAMS:  But we got the same percentage as the polls showed.  I mean, the polls showed him at 36 to 37 percent.  That‘s what he got.  Hillary just got a lot more.

MADDOW:  Hillary got a lot more and so, you can explain that by turn out.  You can explain it by last minute media event, you can explain that by you know, by astrology, if you want to.  But ultimately, the long term trends matter in elections.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And here‘s what I love is the fact that this is in trade betting, this future‘s market.  That if you have placed a bet, a $100 bet on Hillary, you would have a netted $10,000 payout on winning New Hampshire.  All right.  And here, this is Lawrence, one of my favorites.  It‘s the “New York Times” had their Dewey versus Truman moment.  And one of our various producers saw this last night on their Web site at 9:30 pm.  They had a following up: “Clinton advisers privately debated how to revitalize her candidacy and calm nervous contributors and supporters as they attempt to regroup after two consecutive losses.”  I mean, you know, Lawrence, I mean, everyone was so sure she was going to lose.

O‘DONNELL:  Including Clinton advisers, Dan.  That‘s absolutely true.  I spoke to a big Clinton contributor over the weekend.  Then, he was getting the calls.  And he frankly, wasn‘t sure what he was going to do depending on what happened on Tuesday.  There was a lot of panic in the Clinton campaign.  There were some people who were very steady.  I had lunch on Sunday with someone who is from the Clinton campaign, I‘m sorry, Monday.  He was very, very steady but most of them were very shaky, depressed even when you would talk to them.  So, it wasn‘t just the press who got carried away with the notion that Barack was going to win.  The other thing is Barack Obama is an amazing candidate to watch.  He is the best political candidate I‘ve seen in my lifetime that includes Bill Clinton and other successful candidates.  When you go to his events, when you go to his events, it is, you feel like you‘re witnessing history and we all get kind of carried away with that.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s see but that‘s what we heard.  Again, I‘m going to you Pat because you were there.  That‘s what we heard all day on Monday is there‘s no way to stop him.  Everyone‘s infected.  All the people to Hillary Clinton events are a kind of in a dower and they‘re not showing up.  And it turned out that just didn‘t translate into votes.

BUCHANAN:  The wish was farther to the thought I think.  They wanted her gone.  She‘s going.

ABRAMS:  I think that people, I think people on the Left and the Right don‘t like Hillary Clinton.  You got you know, people on the far Left who think she‘s too hawkish and they simply don‘t like her policy.  She got people on the far Right who despised her far more.

BUCHANAN:  What they don‘t like Dan, no one likes piling on.  And most people don‘t or kicking people when they‘re down or gloating when people are crying because they‘re losing.  Everyone has a natural reaction to that.  Conservative as well as liberal.  And I think the reaction is what did it.

MADDOW:  Can I - on the issue of crowds turning out and stuff, you got these impressions as to pieces from the big mainstream media about how crowds were down for Clinton, crowds were huge for Obama particularly with the youth.  But if they pay attention to the specific reporting out of New Hampshire, in smaller publications especially, the “L.A. Times” is reporting that reporting that the exact same room on consecutive days was filled with exactly the same number of people for Obama and Clinton.  And that Barack Obama, the morning before the primary did not fill the room at darkness.  That matters.

ABRAMS:  Well, look, I need to see it.  But this is the point that I, Mr. Political outsider, made on Monday was that I was talking to people who are covering the Hillary Clinton campaign and they were saying they were still getting big crowds out there.  And I don‘t know what I‘m talking about when it comes to politics.  All right.

O‘DONNELL:  But in general, Dan, in general, Obama was getting bigger crowds, it was harder to get into his events in general.  Hillary‘s final event was one of the best events I‘ve ever seen.  She closed this campaign Monday night, brilliantly.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  We are going to watch.  I‘m keeping my eye on all the media coverage as everyone creates some new narrative about tailspins and bounces and restlessness,  And all right.  Pat Buchanan thanks a lot .  Appreciate it.  Rachel and Lawrence are going to stick around.

Coming up next: In a new editorial, Rudy Giuliani now taking credit for preparing New York for the 9/11 attacks.  The retired New York deputy fire chief doesn‘t agree and he joins us.

And our new segment On their Trail.  The candidates tops misstatements, blunders and cheap shots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I don‘t have years and years of favors I have to repay.  Lobbyists who raised all sorts of money for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That‘s not entirely true.  And we read your e-mails.  “mailto:Abrams@MSNBC.comAbrams@MSNBC.com.  Tell us what we‘re doing right or wrong.  Be sure to include your name, where you‘re writing from.  Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Did you know Rudy Giuliani received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2002 for his work after the September 11 attacks.  Coming up: Candidate Giuliani writes an editorial where he takes credit for preparing New York for 9/11.  celebrate his leadership afterwards but is he really claiming that the city was better prepared for this attack because of this policies.  The recently retired deputy chief of the New York City Fire Department does not think so and he is with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Rudy Giuliani finished fourth in last nights primary on New Hampshire, receiving just nine percent of the vote.  So far, his 9/11 strategy has not caught on with voters but he is counting on the later primaries.  But even if you appreciate Giuliani‘s leadership after the 9/11 attacks as I do—it‘s hard to accept what Giuliani wrote in a sometimes thoughtful piece appearing on today‘s online “Wall Street Journal.”  He said quote, “There‘s been no fewer than 14 attempted domestic terror and nine international plots against American citizens and interest since 9/11, not a single post 9/11 plot on U.S. soil has succeeded to date.  That‘s no accident.  It was a measure of our increased vigilance as a nation.”

Come on, in almost all those cases that was either pure luck or a threat from a person or people who could never have achieved their sinister goals.  It‘s not a record to celebrate.  And even more troublesome, Giuliani went on to say that one reason New Year City was able to withstand the 9/11 attack was that we were prepared to meet 21st century security threats.”

Leadership after the facts is one thing.  But we were prepared?  Joining me now is recently retired New York City fire department deputy chief, Jim Riches, who‘s also the chairman of the 9/11 firefighters and families organization.  The group that opposes Giuliani and James Gordon, terrorism reporter for the “New York Daily News.”  Thanks to both of you.  All right.  Jim, what do you make of that comment that we were part of the reason that we withstood it was because we were prepared?

JIM RICHES, FDNY DEPUTY CHIEF, RET:  I think we were totally unprepared.  And Rudy Giuliani is lying about his record on 9/11.  Decision after decision that he made endangered the lives of the firemen and all the first respondents.

ABRAMS:  What about the preparation?  I mean, what are the problems that -

RICHES:    There were many problems that day those are the fact you know, we didn‘t have radios that worked that day.  We had no integrated unified command where we coordinated each other, the police and fire department.  We didn‘t have OEM in charge and they didn‘t give one order.  They were useless, sort of invisible.  They were supposed to coordinate the police and fire.  We had people that were told t stay in place instead of self evacuated.  We had all these recommendations from ‘93.  And Giuliani never followed up on them.  We had a command center that put down there right in the location of the World Trade Center.  And he was told by all his experts not to put it there and he put it there because it was in walking distance.

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what he went on to stage and while we didn‘t anticipate the specific scenario of 9/11, the constant practice and the relentless follow up from actual emergencies certainly helped in it‘s after math.

RICHES:  I was at a lot of the drills by the police and fire and he never solved the battle of the badges.  In seven years, we didn‘t coordinate at those drills.  The police be at one side, the firemen would be on the other.  And according to 9/11 Commission, they operated separately and they didn‘t shared critical information wasn‘t shared that day and (INAUDIBLE).

ABRAMS:  Here‘s an ad that the Giuliani campaign has put out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  An enemy without borders.  Gate without boundaries.  A people perverted.  A religion betrayed.  A nuclear power in chaos.  Madmen creating it.  Leaders assassinated.  Democracy attacked.  And Osama Bin Laden still making threats.  In a world where the next crisis is a moment away, America needs a leader who‘s ready.

RUDY GIULIANI, ® PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m Rudy Giuliani and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  James, I don‘t think even the Giuliani campaign would be able to deny that‘s fear mongering on the part of their ad.  But let me ask you a question specifically about these 14 attempted domestic terrorist attacks.  I don‘t want to get into them specifically.  Don‘t you think it‘s at a least a vast overstatement that somehow that it‘s no accident that none of those have taken place, have succeeded.  It‘s a measure of our increased vigilance as a nation.  Look, some of that is true, but to use that to me seems to be very misleading.

RICHES:  It is a little.

ABRAMS:  One second.

JAMES GORDON MEEK, NY DAILY NEWS:  It is a little misleading, Dan, you‘re right.  Several of those plots with “The Daily News” broke.  So, we‘re familiar with them.  I certainly and personally reported if not breaking some, I reported on most of them, so I know the circumstances surrounding them.  And you‘re right.  These are the result of interrogations, intelligence operations, some law enforcement investigations, but almost none of them came as a result of this heightened vigilance that Giuliani talks about after 9/11.  But it‘s interesting at piece that he wrote for the “Wall Street Journal.”

ABRAMS:  Yes, what do you think of the strategy?  You saw the ad there, James and apologize you‘re Jim and his James.  That‘s where I‘m confusing there.  James, what do you make of the ad?  I would think, could the campaign even deny that that‘s fear mongering?

MEEK:  Well, you know, Rudy is in every appearance, every speech capitalizing on his 9/11 experience.  But what‘s interesting when you read the journal which is part of his campaign strategy, he calls it a blueprint for homeland security.  There‘s no grand vision in it for homeland security.  I mean, there‘s a lot of it actually that‘s bearing what we call September 10th thinking.  He doesn‘t have a any grand vision.  He talks about fixing FEMA, (INAUDIBLE) but he doesn‘t say we should put it back as a cabinet level position.  He talks about cyber terrorism.  You know, we have to worry about a digital pearl harbor.  Does that sound familiar Dan?  Richard Clark, a decade ago, they warned about of a digital pearl harbor and it never happened because terrorists like those pictures of carnage and blood that are going to be broadcast on television.

ABRAMS:  We‘ll see if this works you know, the Giuliani campaign claiming that they‘re waiting.  Jim Riches and James Gordon Meek, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

Coming up: 9/11 not the only thing Giuliani is talking about that‘s getting him in trouble.

We all love a candidate that speaks Spanish, but from the candidate who says you have to speak English to be an American?

And on their trail.  Our new look at the candidate‘s top misstatements, blunders and cheap shots.  It‘s coming up.  And FOX‘s political reporter, at a hot scoop about the Clinton campaign that turned warm, and then, lukewarm, and then disappeared.  We look at how they‘re hot scoop evolved as fact‘s gotten away.  Beat the Press is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up: As many on the DC establishment media were proclaiming Hillary Clinton‘s demise.  Announcing potential shakeups in her sinking campaign.  Major Garrett of FOX News, usually a good reporter had an exclusive story that let‘s just say evolved over time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAJOR GARRETT, FOX NEWS REPORTER:  Two very familiar names to Bill Clinton‘s campaign and presidency will return to the spotlight and join Hillary Clinton‘s campaign.  One of them James Carville, the other Paul Begala.

This is all but a done deal.  It needs to be addressed tomorrow, and then, announced tomorrow.

There‘s an official denial I put that on the record but my sourcing is solid.  This is in the works to be dealt with tomorrow and I have no doubt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  OK.  Well, maybe Paul Begala puts some doubt in Garrett‘s mind.  Listened as he stops using words like confirmed, no doubt and done deal and shifted to something less definitive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP

GARRETT:  Paul Begala and I been exchanging friendly emails all day where he insists to me absolutely, positively, he has no intention nor ever did of joining the Hillary Clinton campaign in any capacity, voluntary or otherwise.  Nevertheless, the sources that I have says it‘s under active consideration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  OK.  Now it‘s under active consideration.  And then Garrett continue to report it became even less definitive an hour later.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT:  Hillary Clinton‘s campaign is giving serious thought to a post New Hampshire shake up that could involve the names of some very prominent political advocates for former president Bill Clinton, namely, Paul Begala and James Carville.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now, it‘s serious thoughts and could involve.  Finally at 6:06 it didn‘t seem like such a done deal anymore.  There was still one wrinkle in the story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARRETT:  It will remain Hillary‘s decision as to what role if any Carville and Begala will play in her campaign going forward.  The decision due to come after a team Hillary meeting tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  If any.  And we‘re still waiting for that decision that was definitely going to come down today.  Finally, to our friend David Shuster, one of the best in the business who had no idea that standing in front of a sign that said I like Mike ended up looking like the words I lie.  We‘re seeing behind him.  See I-L-I-E.  One of our viewers sent that.

We need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything right or wrong, amusing or absurd in the press 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: On Their Trail, we tracked the candidates‘ latest misstatement, blunders and cheap shot from just the past two days.  And we were the only team on TV who made Hillary a winner Monday night.  But her husband is also a winner today based on exit polls in New Hampshire.  That‘s in tonight‘s Winners and Losers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Coming up, our new segment, “On Their Trail.”  The biggest campaign misstatements, blunders and cheap shots this time just in the past two days.  But first, the latest news.

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS: Coming up, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul has got some explaining to do after racist comments were published in newsletters bearing his name, including one that calls African-Americans, quote, “animals.”  They‘re old newsletters but he‘s still trying to explain them. 

And Al Gore isn‘t the only candidate who can claim he has had a ballot problem in Florida.  Now, Rudy‘s got one too.  Those stories coming up in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”  Plus, we‘ll read some of your E-mails.

Tonight, our new segment, “On Their Trail,” the candidates‘ misstatements, blunders and cheap shots on the road to the White House.  In just the past couple days, some doozies(ph).  Still with us, Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O‘Donnell.

Number five.  Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani attributed his fourth place finish in New Hampshire to a campaign strategy focused on essentially ignoring Iowa and New Hampshire and starting his campaign in Florida. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We were prepared for this from the very beginning.  It fits into how we looked at it from the beginning about there being at least 29 primaries and caucuses between January 3rd and February 5th

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But statistics compiled by “ABC News” showed that Giuliani held more events in New Hampshire than any other GOP candidate except for Mitt Romney.  Significant? 

RACHEL MADDOW, POLITICAL ANALYST:  Yes.  This is like the -

ABRAMS:  He doesn‘t believe the numbers, but I would think they could at least be able to then give us the numbers. 

MADDOW:  Listen, if you have 126 events in New Hampshire, you should remember that.  If you spent $2.5 million on ads, you should have noticed.  But more importantly is the impression that you‘re the kid on the JD basketball team player who just missed seven lay-ups in a row and say, “I wasn‘t really trying.”  You know, it‘s like he just comes across as whiny and pitiable. 

ABRAMS:  What do you think, Lawrence?

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST:  He was trying to get traction with all those trips to New Hampshire.  And he was going to put money into New Hampshire, if by making all those trips he could get traction.  He didn‘t really do a big media by New Hampshire, and so he claims, “I never really cared about New Hampshire.  I mean, remember Romney has a vacation home in New Hampshire.  That‘s the only way he got to New Hampshire more than Giuliani.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Our number four in the misstatements, blunders and cheap shots.  Senator John McCain‘s less than victorious victory speech.  Imagine hearing a speech like this at every state of the union.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  They don‘t send us to Washington to stroke our egos, to keep this beautiful, bountiful, blessed country safe, prosperous and proud. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You know, Lawrence, I was really surprised.  I was with a group of people that don‘t cover politics for a living.  They just all kept asking me, “Why is he reading?”  And the reason he may be reading is he‘s probably better still reading than he might be off the cuff?

O‘DONNELL:  That‘s the campaign‘s decision.  I saw him at a few live events over the course of the weekend.  He‘s not that good.  He just isn‘t that good live.  He‘s telling a very old story which connects to his heroism in Vietnam and to his political career.  He gets lost in it sometimes.  He makes references that don‘t make sense to anyone under 40.  So writing is the best thing you can do for him. 

Now, the price they pay is they have a guy who‘s reading a speech in a stiff way.  That‘s better than a guy who leaves out the key points that the campaign wants him to say.

ABRAMS:  But in this television age, Rachel, I mean put aside politics for a minute.  I mean just in terms of image, you never saw him like Barack Obama because he‘s such a great speaker and he inspires people.  You‘re never going to inspire anyone with this. 

MADDOW:  Well, you know, it wasn‘t just that he was reading it.  He was reading it poorly.  It was that he was reading it obviously.  He was so obviously out of step with the like really fired up supporters in the room.  I mean he had just won.  But it ended up coming off like a runner up to the valedictorian speech in high school.  It was actually kind of - it‘s kind of sad to watch.  Mike Huckabee, I thought, actually blew him away and should have gotten more credit for his very light-hearted, very confident, very happy speech last night. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s all that‘s - That‘s Huckabee‘s candidacy right there. 

MADDOW:  I guess that‘s true.

ABRAMS:  It‘s his ability to be able to talk -

MADDOW:  But actually whole-hogging, putting in an Elvis reference?  I thought, you know, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  He actually just said Elvis.

ABRAMS:  Number three.  If you thought that Hillary Clinton‘s emotional outburst raised some eyebrows, how about John Edwards‘ decision to respond to it this way? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve.  And you know, presidential campaigns are tough business, but being president of the United States is also very tough business.  The president of the United States is faced with very, very difficult challenges every single day. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Rachel, is the translation there girls shouldn‘t cry? 

MADDOW:  Well, you know, that was a misstep.  And I actually had Mudcat Saunders.  He‘s a friend of mine who‘s been an adviser to Edwards.  I had him on the radio show on the day of the Clinton event.  He said the same thing. 

And my reaction was like, that was harsh and just seemed out of line.  I saw Edwards speaking in New Hampshire on Sunday.  The most affecting thing he said was, “You can trust a politician with your life when you believe for them that it is personal and not political.”  For him to then turn around and attack her for taking something personally was completely the wrong move. 

ABRAMS:  Well, and also, Lawrence, what Romney and George Bush can cry, but Clinton can‘t get emotional? 

O‘DONNELL:  Sure.  Take a look at Bob Woodward‘s book studying the Bush presidency.  There are four or five incidents of George Bush crying which Bush talks about.  He‘s not embarrassed about it.  He talks about it in the interviews.  You know, Edwards is wildly off base here. 

ABRAMS:  Number two - I want to save a lot of time for number one because it‘s absolutely my favorite.  But - number two.  Mitt Romney tells the New Hampshire crowd that because of his own money, lobbyists don‘t raise money for him. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I don‘t have years and years of favors I have to repay, Lobbyists who raised all sorts of money for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It‘s a nice campaign line, but it‘s just not really true.  According to “Washington Post‘s” fact checker, records show at least 13 fundraisers for Romney are also federally registered lobbyists.  And some of these people have been active in GOP fund-raising circles for years.  So, Lawrence, is it time to stop that lying? 

O‘DONNELL:  Yes.  And all these big contributors essentially are associated with very big corporations in this country.  So they‘re not registered lobbyists, but they‘re CEOs of various corporations that have strong interest in the federal government and they would be calling up President Romney on certain issues. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

MADDOW:  Also, I mean, Mitt Romney‘s big campaign change right now has been to say he‘s an outsider; he‘s a non-politician.  So, the former governor of Massachusetts who is also the son of a governor of Michigan.  I mean he‘s a second generation politician.  For him to be pulling the, “I‘m not a politician.  I‘m an outsider” thing.  And now, “I‘m not a business guy” thing.  I think doth protest too much. 

ABRAMS:  This is my favorite one.  Number one, speak English to become a citizen.  Rudy Giuliani told a crowd on Friday the final end result about becoming a citizen.  You should be able to have to read English, write English and speak English if you want to become a citizen.  And then he launched this campaign ad in Florida. 

(VIDEO CLIP OF A SPANISH RUDY GIULIANI AD)

ABRAMS:  I mean, come on, Lawrence.  That‘s classic. 

O‘DONNELL:  It‘s on the loathsome side, Dan.  I mean here‘s somebody who‘s trying to exploit this kind of vote, this kind of anti-immigrant vote here in this country, and then to do ads like that.  But there‘s political hypocrisy all over the English language issue in the United States, and Rudy Giuliani is the epitome of this. 

MADDOW:  How do you say “hypocrite” in Spanish?

ABRAMS:  Come on.  I mean he‘s shooting there in Spanish.

MADDOW:  Well, at the end of it he says, “Soy Rudy Giuliani.” 

ABRAMS:  And I approve this - You know - I don‘t even speak Spanish.  Me llamo Rudy - I approve this message.  I mean, it‘s like - You know, it‘s crazy. 

MADDOW:  It‘s hugely embarrassing.  Here‘s what Giuliani‘s done.  He‘s got this record on immigration and he wants to run away from it.  So he‘s decided to pick these little specific things to be a tough guy on.  He‘s picked this English-only thing.  Remember when he got the endorsement from the “You‘re in America.  Speak English only” cheese-steak guy in Philly and he put that guy on the press to vouch for him?  That‘s what he‘s going to run for in immigration.  Well, you know, good luck and buenas noches.

ABRAMS:  And I don‘t know - I don‘t know how much that ad is going to really help him.  But you know.  Anyway.  Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O‘Donnell, thanks a lot.  I appreciate it. 

Before we move on this program - tonight is a special night on politics here on MSNBC.  Stay tuned for the full coverage of the wide-open political race and we are on both at 9:00 p.m. Eastern tonight and 1:00 a.m. Eastern, as well as 4:00 a.m. Eastern. 

Up next, a pregnant marine scheduled to give birth any day missing tonight after being asked to testify about an incident she witnessed at her military base.  The question, was there an effort to silence her?

And later, for all the time Rudy Giuliani spent in Florida, it seems like he‘s still having a name recognition problem.  That‘s coming up in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Do you know the Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and its satellite facilities make up the largest concentration of Marines and U.S. Navy sailors in the world?  Coming up, a camp Lejeune Marine eight months pregnant is missing tonight after witnessing some sort of incident on the base.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight, the search continues for a missing and pregnant Marine.  Lance Corporal Maria Lauterbach has not been seen since December the 14th.  She‘s now nine months pregnant and due to give birth any day.  She was supposed to be a witness in a case about some sort of incident that occurred at the base at Camp Lejeune where she was stationed.  But the question that people are asking is, was there some sort of effort to stop her from testifying?  Today, the local sheriff said he suspects foul play. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED BROWN, ONSLOW COUNTY SHERIFF‘S DEPARTMENT:  The longer it goes, the more stressful it gets that something may have happened to this lady against her will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)  

ABRAMS:  Joining me now is former FBI profiler Candice DeLong.  All right.  Candice, based on the facts that we know, and it seems that they‘re somewhat limited, she‘s both - two big risk factors here.  Number one, she‘s pregnant, due to give birth at any point now.  And number two, she was supposed to testify in some sort of proceeding. 

CANDICE DELONG, FMR FBI PROFILER:  Yes.  The first thing that always occurs to me when a pregnant woman goes missing is murder is the most - is the number one cause of death among pregnant women in America.  And the killer - and we‘re not saying that‘s what happened to her - is usually the father of the child.  However, in this case, there does seem to be or definitely is something else that may have been jeopardizing her safety. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  This is what her mother had to say about this in the last couple days. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARY LAUTERBACH, MOTHER OF MISSING WOMAN:  We suspect she probably is bipolar and she has had a lot of struggles through the years.  She‘s been a real loner, hasn‘t had a lot of friends.  But one thing, she‘s very attached to home and she would call several times a day. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  What do you make of that, Candice?  What relevance is it that she‘s bipolar? 

DELONG:  Well, if she is bipolar - severely bipolar and not on medication - I used to be a psychiatrist and oftentimes if somebody is at the polar where they are high or manic, they can get into all kinds of trouble. 

But usually, they are acting so wildly in public that their attention comes - their behavior comes to the attention of police very quickly and they‘re usually brought into a psych unit.  And no one has reported seeing this woman.  On the other hand, the other polar being severe depression, oftentimes, people get severely depressed and they go away by themselves. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Kelli O‘Hara, a WECT  reporter covering the story, joins us now.  All right.  Kelli, I mean, this is - since December, she‘s been missing, meaning the mother reports in mid-December that she‘s been missing.  And now the police are saying “Yes, we suspect some sort of foul play,” and yet the mother is talking about her being bipolar. 

I mean if you look at this as an outsider, you‘d say, wait a second.  She‘s nine months pregnant at this point, and supposed to testify in some sort of proceeding.  Do we know what kind of proceeding it was supposed to be? 

KELLI O‘HARA, WECT REPORTER:  Actually, Dan, it was revealed she was - not only she was the - Sorry, I‘m getting feedback.  Not only was she a victim, she was a victim of a crime.  She was a victim of the crime.  She wasn‘t just a witness of the crime. 

And also we learned that her car mysteriously appeared at a bus station. After being missing for more than three weeks, her car just suddenly car appeared.  So the sheriff is saying now that there‘s a lot of things going on and he thinks there are persons of interest.  And he also named her roommate a person of interest who is at the NCI - The NCIS hasn‘t even entered her yet who‘s overseas deployed. 

Now, I watched the entire interview with her mother, and I have to say although she makes the bipolar comment, she‘s also says how concerned she is.  And it seemed to me through the entire interview that the mother was just much more bewildered than anything else. 

I‘m going to let you put your ear piece back in before I ask you this next question.  And that is, you say that she was the victim of a crime and I would assume that‘s a very significant detail here.  Do we know what type of crime it was? 

O‘HARA:  No.  Right now, we‘re not hearing what type of crime she was a victim of.  There is speculation and rumor on the ground.  But right now, all we know is that she was a victim of the crime.  She was supposed to be a key witness in a proceeding up and coming and suddenly she disappeared. 

She disappeared back December 14 and no one reported it because I spoke to the Lieutenant Colonel at the base saying there are thousands and thousands of Marines stationed there.  So the mother reported her missing five days later.  And the mother says, you know, she‘s used to hearing from daughter two to three tames a day, multiple times a week.  And that activity, she thought, was suspicious. 

Now, there have been some reports also.  Nothing confirmed to us - something from a Marine newspaper that there was some suspicious activity on her account.  And so the sheriff said today that the person of interest is her - is not only her former roommate who has since deployed.  But he thinks other people involved that are military personnel on the ground simply because this car suddenly appeared Monday night and that‘s when they came to the press and asked us for help on Tuesday afternoon. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Kelli, thanks very much.  And good work with difficult circumstances there with the feedback.  Thank you.  Appreciate it.  And Candice DeLong, as always, thanks very much.  If you‘ve got any information about this case, please call the Onslow County North Carolina sheriff‘s department, (910) 455-3113. 

Up next, in “Winners and Losers,” we were the only mainstream program to make Hillary a winner on Monday night.  Tonight, Bill Clinton a winner for his own New Hampshire showing.  And GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul has some explaining to do after racist comments from old newsletters surfaced.  Plus, Rudy Giuliani‘s Florida problem.  Someone needs to spell-check.  

A former president who still has game; a candidate with a lot to explain; and Rudy, some officials can‘t spell that name?  Which will be tonight‘s big winner or loser?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now, from the only team on TV that actually made Hillary Clinton a winner on Monday night, it‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.” 

Our bronze winner, Miss Puerto Rico, Ingrid Marie Rivera, again.  The embattled beauty queen‘s account of her gown being pepper-sprayed in the recent pageant has been verified.  And now, police hinting they could be close to arresting a pair of pageant officials who backed one of Rivera‘s rival, although prosecutors say they still lack some key evidence.  Some had claimed it was staged.  We never really doubted you, Ingrid. 

Our silver winner, expectant teen actress Jamie Lynn Spears.  Britney Spears‘ knocked up kid sister delivered a knock out in the ratings in the wake of her fourth “This 16-year-old is pregnant.”  The season finale of her Nickelodeon show “Zoey 101” delivered 7.3 million viewers, more than double the show‘s average audience. 

But the big winner of the day?  Former President Bill Clinton.  Sure it was his wife who won last night‘s New Hampshire primary.  But ask voters which Clinton they would have preferred to see in the ballot, and Bubba comes out on top.  Exit polls of Hillary‘s own voters revealed fifty-eight of them would have cast their ballot for Bill instead of Hil. 

On the loser‘s front, our Bronze loser, “Golf Channel” anchor Kelly Tilghman.  The network‘s top play-by-play announcer was forced to apologize after saying this live on air about Tiger Woods. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  Maybe they should gang up. 

KELLY TILGHMAN, “GOLF CHANNEL” ANCHOR:  Lynch him in the back alley. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPORTSCASTER:  Yes.  That‘s -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Yes, she did just say that.  Tilghman has said she‘s sorry for her, quote, “poorly chosen words.”

Our silver loser?  GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, now being forced to explain racist and often outrageous claims published in old newsletters bearing his name.  One entry called Martin Luther King, Jr. a quote, “A world class philanderer who seduced underaged girls and boys. 

Another item on African-American urban crime saying, “I‘ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense.  For the animals are coming.” 

Paul‘s campaign denounced the items today and denied that Paul even wrote them saying a slew of other writers contributed to his newsletter over the years. 

But the big loser of the day?  Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.  The White House hopeful didn‘t seriously compete in Iowa and New Hampshire and is hanging his presidential hopes on a big win in Florida, a state where some officials apparently can‘t even spell his name. 

Now, normally it‘s Giuliani‘s last name that gives the spelling challenge the biggest problem.  Not this time.  Officials in Hillsboro County, Florida sent out more than 200,000 sample ballots listing America‘s mayor as “Rudi” spelled R-U-D-I instead of “Y.”

All right.  It‘s time for our new e-mail segment.  First up, Tom McMorrow from New York City say, “Congratulations, Dan!  You were the only one to stand up and denounce the disgraceful press savaging of Senator Clinton.”  Thanks, Tom. 

Joe Bernard in Novato, California at wrote this on Monday night at 10:40 p.m.   “I can‘t believe you dare to accuse the press of throwing Hillary to the lions and anointing Obama.  Clearly you have no idea what‘s going on unless, of course, by the time you read this, Hillary has made a shocking comeback, in which case, you‘re a genius.”

I‘m no genius, just a guy looking at what‘s happening from the outside.

Bruce Wodom in Corum(ph), New York, “A pet peeve of mine is people who speak for a living and misuse the English language.  For instance, when did the pronunciation of the word ‘our‘ became ‘are‘ and not ‘hour.‘  Or when did ‘I‘m‘ become ‘ahm.‘” 

Well Bruce, I‘m sorry our show doesn‘t quite live up to your standards.  We want your ideas for what our new e-mail segment should be called.  If we choose your idea, you get a bag of MSNBC swag and my on-air appreciation.  I‘m thinking about, “Is Dan Dumb?”  I don‘t know.

Your ideas at Abrams@MSNBC.com.  We‘re out of time.  Tonight‘s special politics night.  See you tomorrow. 

                                                                                                               

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

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