updated 4/28/2008 10:43:11 AM ET 2008-04-28T14:43:11

Guests: Ronald Kuby, John Ridley, A.B. Stoddard, Roy Sekoff, Stephanie Miller, Kato Kaelin

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight: Hillary Clinton‘s secret plan to have Barack Obama lose to John McCain.  A prominent member of Congress has just said, it‘s being discussed by Democrats on the House floor.

We‘ll get it with our panel: NPR‘s John Ridley; “The Hill‘s” A.B.

Stoddard; and, Roy Sekoff from Huffington Post.

Then: Obama‘s not secret plan to appear on FOX News this weekend.  They‘ve been hammering him for months.  So, why spend his precious time there?

Plus: The week‘s best political comedy and the week‘s Winners & Losers with Stephanie Miller and Kato Kaelin.

VERDICT starts now.

Hi, everyone.

Allegations of a secret strategy behind Hillary Clinton‘s efforts to beat up Barack Obama, the most powerful African-Americans in Congress, one of them at least, saying tonight, that some fellow members of Congress have been discussing that Clinton knows she can‘t win and is now intent on destroying Obama‘s chances of beating John McCain.

Why?  So she can run against McCain in 2012 they say.  The explosive charge comes from House Majority Whip James Clyburn who hasn‘t endorsed either Obama or Clinton.  He points out, he doesn‘t buy it but that others in Congress have said as much to him on the House floor.

Clyburn telling “Reuters,” quote, “I heard something the first time yesterday in South Carolina and I heard it on the House floor today, which is telling me there are African-Americans who have reached the decision that the Clintons know that she can‘t win this.  But they‘re hell-bound to make it impossible for Obama to win.”

He was just on COUNTDOWN tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMES CLYBURN, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA:  I‘m not saying anything that people aren‘t saying among themselves and many of them are saying it to me.  It just so happens that yesterday or the day before, whenever I said it, I made public what I had been told.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Wow.  A master sinister strategic Clinton plan?

Joining me now: John Ridley from National Public Radio; A.B.  Stoddard from “The Hill” newspaper; and, Roy Sekoff, founding editor of the Huffington Post.

All right.  A.B., you cover Congress.  It‘s a big deal that Congressman Clyburn is saying this, isn‘t it?

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL:  It is a very big deal.  Jim Clyburn is the former chairman of the Black Caucus, he is the whip in the House, the third highest leadership position.  He is a son of a pastor, joined the NAACP when he was 12 years old, has worked in politics as her wife.  He is a measured man.

This is not someone with a fast tongue.  He doesn‘t like to take sides.  He hasn‘t endorsed.  Even though Barack Obama pounded Hillary Clinton in his home state of South Carolina, he and I spoke about the choice between them last spring.  He was very torn and very affectionate (ph) towards the Clintons.  He has tried to endure this process, even calling Bill Clinton six weeks ago or so, asking him to cool it.

And the fact that he would come out with this means that is what people are saying and he is tired of it.

ABRAMS:  John, I mean, there‘s nothing worse that you could accuse Hillary Clinton of, even to say, I don‘t buy it.  This is the worst of the worst allegation, I think, that you could make against Hillary Clinton politically.

JOHN RIDLEY, NPR CONTRIBUTOR:  Yes, you got it at the top, Dan, I mean, it sounds really sinister.  And for me, if he‘s saying this happened, I mean, look, he‘s making an unsubstantiated claim by unnamed sources.  And he‘s saying, “Look, I‘m not saying, it happened, but I‘m saying this is what happened.”

So, it‘s pretty damning and it‘s damning by inference, and if it‘s true, this is pretty tough stuff, and I think that, you know, I‘m not talking about McCarthyism here but he should talk about who‘s saying this exactly than just floated out there.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Because, Roy, he‘s not just saying it once, he‘s now repeating it and then he‘s doing exactly what the media gets criticized for sometimes, which is to say, “Look, you know, we‘re just saying this is what we‘re hearing.”

ROY SEKOFF, THE HUFFINGTON POST:  Well, I guess he was talking to a “Congressman Oliver Stone” and “Representative David Duchovny” from the “X-Files.”  I‘m sure.  It sounds a little bit too, you know, conspiratorial for me, even for me, Dan.

But here, there‘s no question the party leaders though want this race to be over.  I mean, they want it so the Democrats can stop fighting each other and can start to going after McCain.  I mean, for the longest time, this looked like a “can‘t lose” election for the Democrats and then, as they‘ve done in the past, it looks like they‘re about to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

ABRAMS:  A.B.?

STODDARD:  I just don‘t think - first of all, it‘s not a master cynical strategy because Mitt Romney is running for president in 2012 if McCain serves one term, and we all know it.  You know, all these politicians have second acts.

The other thing is this, it‘s more important what Jim Clyburn is saying about the fact that the African-American community and African-American leaders in the party worried about what she‘s trying to do.  Forget if she‘s doing it or not.  It‘s the fact that they suspect it and that‘s what‘s so damaging for her.

ABRAMS:  A.B., you just made the point a minute ago how important he is, and how influential he is.

STODDARD:  He is important.

ABRAMS:  And as a result, he has an obligation, does he not, to be very careful about what he says.  And it‘s not the same as Mitt Romney running in 2012.  The allegation here is that she is trying to destroy him now so he loses now to John McCain to better position herself for 2012.

SEKOFF:  Dan, Clyburn has been unhappy with the Clintons since January.

ABRAMS:  All right.

SEKOFF:  I mean, he was unhappy back with the whole, remember, who‘s more important, Martin Luther King or LBJ and that was, you know, that was before Bill Clinton‘s “Jesse Jackson” comment and Bill Clinton saying that Obama played the race card against him?

ABRAMS:  Let me let A.B. respond and I got to move on.

SEKOFF:  Sure.

STODDARD:  I think it is a dramatic statement from Jim Clyburn, but the point that he‘s making to the Clintons is that people now suspect, particularly African-Americans that this is what she‘s trying to do, that the Clintons have, at the worst, played the race card and then best stoke the race debate so fiercely that African-Americans are worried that they‘re trying to take Barack down.  Again, this is someone who is friends with the Clintons.

ABRAMS:  All right.

RIDLEY:  Can I say something really quick?

ABRAMS:  Yes, really quickly, John.  I got to move on.  Real quick.

RIDLEY:  Yes.  I do have a problem with the guy who‘s saying the race card is being played and making a generalization about what the African-Americans thinks.  So, unless he fooled everybody, you know, get off it, it‘s still playing the race card one way or the other.

ABRAMS:  Turning now from accusations of a rival candidate trying to bring down Obama to a rival network out to destroy him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST:  We want to note once again, we invited Senator Obama to answer some questions this week and once again he declined.  So, the “Obama Watch” rolls on 765 days and still counting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Now that that ridiculous watch is over, Obama has agreed to appear on FOX this weekend.  Why should Obama go on a network that has spent so many hours reporting, quote, “breaking news” on the travel schedule of Obama‘s controversial former pastor just to keep him in the news?  The network that has offered up these offensive doozies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The reason that he‘s considered such a big deal is simply because he‘s black.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He is a black candidate surrounding himself with a lot of white advisers.

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX HOST:  Neither one of us can point to one thing Barack Obama has done for African-Americans.

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST:  Well, first of all -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The senator‘s middle name Barack Hussein Obama.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST:  If he‘s middle name is Hussein, what is wrong with people that bring up his middle name?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Because his father was Muslim and named him Barack Hussein Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  A senior adviser for Obama told the Web site, Talkingpointsmemo.com, quote, “We are clear-eyed about FOX‘s role in the dissemination and amplification of Republican talking points this election.  They had been the tip of the spear when it comes to repeatedly broadcasting some of the most specious of rumors about Obama.  He is going on there Sunday show to take FOX on, not because we have any illusion about their motives or politics in this election.”

Let me bring in to the panel, Jonathan Kim, co-producer of Brave New Films, “Fox Attacks” series.

All right.  Jonathan, look, I don‘t think that Barack Obama should be spending his precious time going on to a network that has committed to trying to destroy him.  What do you think?

JONATHAN KIM, “FOX ATTACKS” SERIES PRODUCER:  Well, I agree with you.  I mean, I think the best thing that Obama can get from this is if he goes on and just attacks them and tells them, “I know what you guys are and what you guys do.”  And if he goes and treats it like a regular interview and tries to thoughtfully answer questions, that‘s going to be a disaster because we‘ve now watched more FOX than really should.

And I know what they do and how they do it.  They‘re going to take apart every single thing that he says, every little caplet (ph), every word that he says, they‘re going to even look at his body language, trust me, that‘s coming too and they‘re going to find every way to spin and distort anything he says.

ABRAMS:  Roy, look, you know, the argument would go, well, you can‘t appear on FOX, you know, he‘s not ready to be president.  Fine, I‘m not saying that they couldn‘t do it.  I‘m saying, why spend your precious time going on that network?

SEKOFF:  Well, first of all, it can‘t be any worse than what happened on ABC.  Nothing Chris Wallace is going to say is going to be any worse than Stephanopoulos and Gibson, right?  So, that‘s for starters.

Second of all, he is running for president of the United States, not president of the people who read the Huffington Post or people who watch Keith Olbermann.  And I think it‘s really good as long as he dictates the game, you know.  I think that was the problem.  He was on the defensive when he was during the debate on ABC.

I think at this game, he dictates the thing and says, that he said to him, “Listen, Chris, you know, after 4,000 dead soldiers, after the economy is taking, after foreclosures, after gas support (ph), this is about best you had, you had 735 days to repair and this is all you got, baby?” I think it would be great for him.

ABRAMS:  But the problem is that at some times, the best laid plans don‘t get executed that way.  And, A.B., he is legitimizing FOX, even if he‘s going to go after them, by going on to FOX.

STODDARD:  I think he should have gone on FOX a long time ago.  I think that he wasted time boycotting FOX, Chris...

ABRAMS:  Why?

STODDARD:  Because he needs to face the tough crowd.  John McCain is likely his opponent and he‘s likely to be the nominee and he‘s going to run against John McCain.  John McCain is hanging out in the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, and Little Rock in Selma, facing very tough crowds, taking questions of people of all colors...

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait.  Is the notion, A.B., that the only tough questions for Obama can come from people who‘ve made a campaign out of trying to destroy him?  Come on.

STODDARD:  No, I think he should have gone on FOX a long time ago, faced the FOX audience, and firmly disputed their specious rumors...

ABRAMS:  But they deny it.

STODDARD:  ...for whatever it is he has troubled with.  But you know what?  Chris Wallace is not going to attack him.  Chris Wallace is a class act.  Barack Obama needs to answer the questions.  He didn‘t answer well that debate and he needs to answer questions in a presidential way on FOX News.

ABRAMS:  But, why?  John Ridley, why on FOX News?  Why on a place - listen to this, John, I‘m going to play for you.  This is Steve Doocy of FOX News talking with the morning team.  Listen to this and then let‘s talk again about the fact that he‘s going on this network.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS HOST:  There‘s been a drip, drip, drip of stuff.  He‘s middle name, Hussein.

Now the news that he was raised a Muslim.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Apparently, when he was a young boy, he attended a Muslim school, a madrasa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is huge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He went to this madrasa for four years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He went to a madrasa.

DOOCY:  A madrasa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  A madrasa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Madrasa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I mean, this is from Jonathan‘s movie.  Obviously, John, it‘s all...

RIDLEY:  Where did he go to school?  I‘m sorry.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

RIDLEY:  You know, look, and here‘s the thing is, Dan.  I don‘t think he‘s going to sway a lot of the regular FOX audience, but what‘s going to come out of this is going to be a lot of sound bytes that are played over and over again.  And would Obama can do is show that he‘s not the guy from the ABC debate who gets a little nervous or put upon, but rather, he‘s cool, calm, collective (ph) and presidential.

And look, I‘ve seen politicians, Democrats, who go on FOX News and make FOX News look bad.  He‘s got the opportunity to do that and there‘s no reason, absolutely no reason he should not and not take that opportunity to come out and look presidential.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Yes, again—let me let Jonathan in.  Go ahead, Jonathan.

KIM:  I mean, in the 2004 election, Mark Mellman of “The Hill” actually, he found that FOX viewers voted for Bush, 88 percent of FOX viewers voted for Bush, 7 percent for Kerry.  If Obama thinks he‘s going to actually make some good points in the FOX viewers and go, “Wow, you know, I guess I‘ve been wrong about Democrats all this time and that they‘re not terrorists and atheists, some things like that.  Oh, yes, I‘m going to vote for him now.”  It‘s not going to happen.

But most of the people are going to watch these clips, the clips of his interview on Youtube, and even FOX viewers aren‘t going to watch when it‘s on, they‘re going to watch the edited sound byte and things that come out in the weeks, and months, and years to come, when they just “carpet bomb” (ph) Obama with every single thing they have, hoping to create this kind of cloud of bad feelings around Obama, not one story that has to stick.

ABRAMS:  Here‘s what Bill Clinton did, I know, a lot of it sounds like a lot of you are saying that he can go after FOX in the way Bill Clinton did against Chris Wallace.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT:  You did FOX‘s bidding on the show.  You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.  But what I want to know...

WALLACE:  Wait a minute, sir.  I want to ask a question.  You don‘t think that‘s a legitimate question?

B. CLINTON:  It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of?  I want to know many people in the Bush administration you asked, “Why didn‘t you do anything about the Cole?”  I want to know how many people you asked why didn‘t you fire Dick Clarke?  I want to know how many people you asked...

WALLACE:  Did you ever watched “FOX News Sunday,” sir?

B. CLINTON:  I don‘t believe you asked them that.

WALLACE:  We asked plenty of questions.

B. CLINTON:  You didn‘t ask that, did you?  Tell you truth, Chris.

WALLACE:  About the USS Cole?  With Iraq and Afghanistan, there‘s plenty of stuff to ask, sir.

B. CLINTON:  Did you ever ask that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  In this sense, Roy, Obama is not a Bill Clinton.  He‘s not going to go after Wallace the way that Clinton did.

SEKOFF:  Well, two things, one, I think, he should do it with humor and charm and he has that in abundance.  But don‘t forget, Chris Wallace actually went on, you know, the “FOX & Friends” morning show to criticize them for what he said was Obama bashing when they were piling on his, you know, typical white person comment.  And he went after them pretty good.  So, I think, you know, I think it will be a pretty good interview.

ABRAMS:  Look, whether it‘s going to be a good interview, I‘m not saying it would be a good interview.  I‘m saying is that he‘s got a limited amount of time, he can do a limited amount of interviews and the one place I don‘t think he should be doing an interview, not because it‘s going to be hard, not because he can‘t answer the questions, but because the network has made a campaign out of going after him and mentioning Reverend Wright as often as they can as FOX News.  We shall see.

Thanks to the great panel.

Coming up: The best political comedy of the week, candidate by candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST:  The Democratic race is dragging on and on and on but the Democrats are trying to put a good face on this and they are confident, they say now, absolutely they will have a nominee for president by McCain‘s second year at office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  The week‘s best is still ahead.

And: A judge rules today that three cops who fired 50 shots and killed a man just hours before he was about to get married are not guilty.

Plus: FAA managers covering up mistakes by air traffic controllers blaming them on the pilots.  The folks in charge to keeping the sky safe, passing the buck is another reason Why America Hates Washington in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington: For the second time in a month, Federal Aviation Administration forced to admit cover-ups and lacks oversight.  A watch dog report reveals FAA managers in Texas routinely covered up mistakes by air traffic controllers often and blaming them on pilots instead.

Why?  Allegedly to increase their chances of getting performance bonuses.   A whistle blower inside the FAA started exposing the cover-ups since 2002.  In 2005, the FAA pledged to crackdown.  The FAA now admits its managers covered up or blamed pilots for 62 air traffic control errors between 2005 and 2007.

FAA cover-up: another reason Why America Hates Washington.

We‘re back in a moment with the not guilty verdict for three cops who shot an unarmed man 50 times.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back.

“Not guilty,” that was the headline across the country today.  Three New York police detectives, 50 bullets, and an unarmed 23-year-old shot to death just hours before the man was to be married.  NBC‘s Mike Taibbi has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE TAIBBI, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over):  To the family and supporters of Sean Bell, the only just result would have been guilty verdicts against the three NYPD undercover detectives who fired those 50 bullets.

They‘d been investigating the Queens nightclub where Bell was having his bachelor party.

That‘s why emotions ran high when words spread quickly: not guilty verdicts at all counts against all three detectives, who the judge ruled could reasonably have believed that someone in Bell‘s group had a gun.

Outside the courthouse, a woman railed against the police officer working crowd control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Take that badge off.  Take it off.  Stand down.

TAIBBI:  An anger and frustration surface as Bell‘s family and friends tried to make their way through a media swarm.

But throughout this case there had been appeals for calm from the family and from city leaders and that continued today.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he‘s spoken to Bell‘s fianc,e before the verdicts.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY:  Nothing I can say can ever bring back Sean Bell.  And my prayers are with him and I don‘t know if there‘s anything else that I could have said to her.

TAIBBI:  And after the verdicts, while the detectives involved thanked the judge for not believing the witnesses against them, one detective said his thoughts weren‘t just about his on exoneration.

DET. MARC COOPER, NYPD:  I feel sorry for the Bell family for the tragedy.  I like to thank the Lord, my savior for today, just started my life back.

TAIBBI:  Still, the verdicts are being attacked.

REV. AL SHARPTON, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK:  This was an abortion of justice.

TAIBBI:  And the detectives still face civil suits, departmental hearings, and possible federal civil rights charges.

But today, continued grief and anger on one side of the “shoot, don‘t shoot” tragedy and on the other, relief.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAIBBI:  As the Queens district attorney, Richard Brown, put it today after the verdicts were announced, the three defendants in this case still have some major hurdles to get over before they can consider themselves completely exonerated.  Dan?

ABRAMS:  Thanks, Mike.

Here now, famed civil rights attorney, Ronald Kuby.

All right.  Ron, look, the judge in the end decided, that they simply didn‘t prove that the cops weren‘t justified in what they did.  Is that such a horrible thing?

RONALD KUBY, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY:  Well, it is on the facts of the case, Dan.  I mean, look, I know that Judge Cooperman said, “He had reasonable doubt.”  But if you actually looked at the so-called reasonable doubts, they‘re manufactured doubts, nothing reasonable about this.

Remember, when all is done and said, put aside the credibility problems of the witnesses, let‘s assume that everything the prosecution contended wasn‘t true, where the defense was true.  Fine.

At the end of the day, the question is: Was it reasonable under the circumstances for three police officers to open fire, fire 50 shots into a car with three people?

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  It sounds like what you‘re saying is, any time they fire 50 shots, they ought to be guilty?

KUBY:  No.  But the fact is, every shot has to be separately justified.  And it should be harder to justify 50 shots than it is to justify one, even if they believe that Guzman, who was the person who allegedly had a gun, if they reasonably believe he had a gun, under the circumstances, and even if they thought that somehow when he moved, he may have (INAUDIBLE) shouldn‘t anybody check to see whether the guy had a gun before you fire 50 times?

ABRAMS:  But you can‘t in every case confirm what‘s happening on the scene.  I mean, you can‘t always confirm before you get shot that you‘re - I mean, what‘s going on in their heads, that‘s the legal test?

KUBY:  No, it‘s not and that sort of the profound misstatement of law.  Yes, the cop himself has to reasonably believe.

ABRAMS:  Right.  That‘s what‘s going on in their head, that‘s right.

KUBY:  But the other aspect of that is the belief has to be on objectively reasonable one.  Under in what planet is it objectively reasonable for these guys to open fire and keep shooting at everybody in the vehicle, Dan?

ABRAMS:  But the allegation was that they believed that they were being fired at wrongly.

KUBY:  No.

ABRAMS:  That the guys in the back believed that they were being fired at.

KUBY:  So, the first cop in front, wrongly believes that the guy in the car has a gun, so he opens fire and then the police officers in the back, they don‘t bother to see what‘s going on.  (INAUDIBLE) that‘s a license to kill, Dan.

ABRAMS:  But, Ron, you see, they don‘t bother to see what‘s going on.  It‘s night time.  Life doesn‘t work out perfectly.  Everyone agreed...

KUBY:  Perfect?  This wasn‘t perfect?  It was a disaster.

ABRAMS:  No, but isn‘t it possible that this was a perfectly horrible series of events that led to a tragedy rather than a crime?

KUBY:  Dan, with great power comes great responsibility.  And the cops acted recklessly.  Nobody is suggesting they got up in the morning intending to kill somebody.

ABRAMS:  It was never the allegation.

KUBY:  It was never the allegation but what they did was they acted recklessly, substantial disregard of a known risk of death.  And the reason they got off had nothing to do with the facts of the case.

ABRAMS:  Really?  Let me read the judge‘s verdict, “Inconsistencies in testimony among prosecution witnesses, the renunciation of prior statements, the interest of some witnesses in the outcome of the case, the demeanor on the witness stand and of other witnesses and the motive witnesses may have had to lie—at times the testimony just didn‘t make sense.”

And the prosecutors have the burden of proof as you remind them in every case where you are the defense attorney.

KUBY:  And you always have inconsistencies among and between witnesses.  If they all tell the same story, they are accused of scripting it.  Every crime victim in the world, who gets up there and testifies, they have an interest in convicting the person.  The reality is, time and time again, these cases are cases of a black, blue and white.  Black is the race of the people who are dead, blue is the uniform who killed them, and white is the race of the people that let those killers go.  Why didn‘t they go with all (ph) white jury, Dan?

ABRAMS:  Wait.  But see-but that is the sort of race-baiting. 

There are two police officers...

KUBY:  That happens to be true.

ABRAMS:  There were five people here, five police officers, two of them were African-Americans and one was Hispanic, two were white.  So, the two African-American officers were also going after these guys because they were black.

KUBY:  I didn‘t say that.  What I said was, for whatever odd reason, Dan, it ends up being black people who get killed, cops in blue who killed them...

ABRAMS:  And that‘s enough to convict?

KUBY:  And white people who let them go.

ABRAMS:  So convict because of that?

KUBY:  No, I‘m saying the cops never had a fair trial.  They didn‘t want a fair trial.  What they got was a forum that was predisposed to let them go as they always have.  And you know it because you live in New York and you see it happening year after year, decade after decade.

ABRAMS:  And we see cops get convicted in cases where there‘s clear evidence that they were violating someone‘s either civil rights or committing horrible crime.

KUBY:  Yet, in 300 years in New York...

ABRAMS:  All right.  Final word.

KUBY:  Three cops have been convicted of homicide in line of duty, three in 300 years.  What do you think is going on?

ABRAMS:  Look, the bottom line is there are some horrible cops who‘d been convicted rightly in many cases.  I think this was a close case, and when you have a close case, legally, you‘ve got to say not guilty as the judge did here.

Ron Kuby, good to have you.

Coming up: Tom Cruise appeared to lost it last time when he was in “Oprah Show.”  Now, he‘s going back.  And child star, Gary Coleman finally gets married and now months later, eh‘s getting divorced on TV.

This week‘s Winners & Losers are coming up with Cato Caitlin, yes, that Cato, and Stephanie Miller.

Plus: A helpful hint.  We‘re demonstrating on TV how to clean horribly dirty water to make it fit to drink, be sure you drink the right glass of water.  Yuck.  Oh, Beat the Press is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press. First up, ABC News interviewed a scientist about cleaning dirty drinking water and brought a jar of filthy water to demonstrate a technique used to filter it.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SCIENTIST:  You can see, this is removing the dirt and the worms.  It is killing the bacteria and the viruses.  We let it settle, then we pour it through a cloth and 20 minutes later, it‘s safe to drink. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  At the end of the interview, he demonstrated just how safe the filtered water was to drink but watch the glasses.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR:  All right, Greg.  I‘ve got to leave it at that.  Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE SCIENTIST:  Finally, we‘ll show you -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR:  Very quickly.  OK.  That‘s great, thank you. 

And that is “Money Matters” for now.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  He drank the wrong glass. 

Next up, an Associated Press story on Somali pirates off the coast of Africa and American and French efforts to get international support to take them on.  Reporter Elizabeth Kennedy quotes one pirate, quote, “‘We are not scared of the U.S. troops or any other troops stationed off our waters.  Why should we be scared?‘ asked Siyad, a Somali pirate who asked that his full name not be used for fear of reprisal.” 

He is not scared and he won‘t give his name for fear of reprisal.  Thanks to “Wall Street Journal” for pointing that one out. 

Finally to Fox News, the show we like to call “Hannity & Company.”  After co-host Alan Colmes stood up to Sean Hannity this week, we thought he might finally get his own exclusive interview.  Alas, he‘s back to the news reader gig, introducing Hannity‘s interviews.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST, “HANNITY & COLMES”:  And still to come tonight, Sean‘s exclusive sit-down interview.  As we continue with Sean‘s exclusive interview.  We now continue with Sean‘s exclusive sit-down. 

ABRAMS:  Hang in there Alan.  Hang in there.  

Up next, it‘s Friday, time for week‘s best late night jokes at the candidates‘ expense.  And later, the week‘s “Winners and Losers” featuring Tom Cruise‘s return to Oprah‘s couch. First daughter Jenna Bush who may be voting for a Democrat this year.  Kato Kaelin joins the panel that tell us who won and lost this week in a minute. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Welcome back.  The late night and comedy shows and YouTubers back at it this week, sticking it to the candidates.  Here once again, our favorite campaign humor of the week, candidate by candidate.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  There have been periods of time in our history where a president inspired the American people to be better.  Part of what the people are looking for right now is somebody who is going to solve problems and not resort to the same typical politics that we‘ve seen in Washington.  

CARL WEATHERS, ACTOR:  This lucky club fighter does no have the skill to last five minutes in the ring with me.  

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN:  The other big contest in the news last night was the Pennsylvania primary.  Everyone was asking who would win?  Would it be decisive? 

Well, when all is said and done, there was a clear winner - Abercrombie and Fitch.  Yes.  Sen. Obama claims he doesn‘t take money from special interests but that clip proves he‘s deep in the pocket of big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) bag.  

JAY LENO, HOST, “TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”:  Well, after that long, drawn-out primary in Pennsylvania, the choices are still the same, you‘ve got McCain Obama and Clinton or to use the pro-wrestling names The Geezer, The Pleaser and The Freezer, ladies and gentlemen. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tonight, WW presents Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama in the ring. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Don‘t touch her.  She doesn‘t even let me touch her.  Here we go.  Look at this.  Hillary with a takedown.  She‘s all over Barack Obama.  

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  She‘s taking off her high heels at least.  Those are Hillary Series.  I don‘t think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with an endorsement for you, Sen. Clinton. 

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Oh, my gosh. 

LENO:  Well, congratulations, Hillary Clinton.  She won the Pennsylvania primary by more than 10 points.  Barack Obama got beaten so badly he offered Hillary the spot of vice president.  

CONAN O‘BRIEN, COMEDIAN:  Earlier this morning, Hillary Clinton - this is true - said she will stay in the presidential race even if she loses the Pennsylvania primary.  Yes.  She also said she‘ll stay in the race even if she loses the nomination and November‘s election.  She‘s not going anywhere.  

Hillary - she went all out.  She pulled out all the stops to win in the state of Pennsylvania.  The other day - this is true - Chelsea Clinton tried to help her mother retract the gay vote in Pennsylvania by visiting several lesbian bars.  Yes.  And Bill Clinton visited several lesbian bars too but he wasn‘t campaigning.  He was not.  He was just there any way.  

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”:  The Democratic race is dragging on and on and on.  But the Democrats are trying to put a good face on this.  They are confident, they say now, absolutely they will have a nominee for president by McCain‘s seconds year in office.  So they are ready to go. 

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”:  Jenna caused quite a little controversy when she said she wasn‘t sure whether she‘ll vote for John McCain.  

LARRY KING, HOST, “LARRY KING LIVE”:  Do you have a favorite between the two Democrats? 

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY:  My favorite is the Republican.  

KING:  Yours too I would imagine? 

JENNA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE W. BUSH:  I don‘t know.  

KING:  Aha. 

LETTERMAN:  John McCain that looks like the kind of guy that doesn‘t pick the phone up until the 12th ring.  You know what it means.  He looks like the kind of guy who‘s got a cupboard full of canned peaches.  That‘s the kind of guy - John McCain looks like the kind of guy that thinks the cleaning woman would love any crap he‘s tossing out.  

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART”:  He‘s perhaps the only national candidate we have whose adorability allows him head to Selma, Alabama, one of the symbolic birthplaces of the Civil Rights Movement and address a crowd of almost exclusively white middle class people and get this response from the media.  

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR:  John McCain tries to bridge the gap with African-American voters.  He‘s taking another detour from the usual GOP campaign trail.  

STEWART:  He went near where black people live.  Clearly, the Sweet Talk Express is unstoppable. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  All right.  It‘s time for the week‘s “Winners and Losers,” from Jenna Bush who you heard says she might support a Democrat for president; to Gary Coleman after only eight months of marital bliss is getting unhitched on divorce court; to Wesley Snipes‘ tax troubles.  Who won, who lost this week? 

Joining us, Stephanie Miller, host of the “Stephanie Miller Show.”  Former house guest Kato Kaelin is now with “National Lampoon.”  And John Ridley of “The Huffington Post.” 

All right.  First up, Tom Cruise.  MSNBC.com broke the story that he would be back on the Oprah‘s show next month, his first visit since his infamous couch-jumping episode three years ago where he bizarrely proclaimed his love for Katie Holmes. 

“In Touch Weekly” also reported this week that Tom and Katie spent $100,000 on their two-year-old daughter Suri‘s birthday party.  Yes, $100,000 for a two-year-old including $17,000 for flowers, $5,000 for dessert.  Quite a week for Tom.  So the question, is he a winner or a loser?  Stephanie Miller? 

STEPHANIE MILLER, HOST, “THE STEPHANIE MILLER SHOW”:  You know, Dan, if there‘s anything a two-year-old really appreciates, it‘s an exquisite floral arrangement.  They particularly like really rare orchids.  $100,000 buys a lot of scary clowns, Dan.  That is a party.  

ABRAMS:  Kato? 

KATO CAILIN, “NATIONAL LAMPOON”:  Well, first of all, I said the winner goes to Oprah and Tom for the ratings.  It‘s going to be aired in May.  You know, everybody is going to see what he‘s going to jump on next, who he‘s going to jump on.  And incidentally when Tom - the $100,000?  That was actually found in Oprah‘s sofa cushions.  So it‘s kind of a push. 

(CROSS TALK)

ABRAMS:  I mean, John ...

CAITLIN:  I was invited to that big birthday party.  I was invited to the

party, but I had to watch Maddox play soccer with the Pitts and that Zahara

boy, she can really drink (UNINTELLIGIBLE) 

ABRAMS:  John, all right.  Look, bottom line is Tom Cruise has been having a lot of bad PR lately.  I mean on a sort of more serious note, he has got a lot of rehab to do here with Oprah.  

JOHN RIDLEY, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”:  Yes, and the best way to start that with the American public is to spend $100,000 on your kid because people can relate to that.  Look, clearly, he‘s a winner for being able to go on the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”  But I think the rehab is going to have to start again once people start asking about - I mean there are 24 guests at the party, Dan.  That‘s $4,100 per guest.  They are the winners.  

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  I‘m going to say that he‘s going to end up being a loser.  I‘m guessing he‘s going to do something on Oprah‘s show that‘s going to make him a loser. 

All right.  Coming up next, “Hannah Montana‘s” risque photos; Jenna Bush reveals she may not vote for McCain; child star Gary Coleman heads for divorce court.  Whether he‘s a virgin remains uncertain at this hour.  And “Reality Bites,” the biggest Mentos-Diet Coke geyser ever.  That‘s coming up in 60 seconds. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now to “Reality Bites,” a dose of reality caught on tape. 

Tonight, a clear case of people with too much time on their hands.  Students dousing themselves in Diet Coke.  More than 1300 students in Belgium simultaneously dropped tubes of Mentos into bottles of diet coke and ducked for cover as the soda geysers shot up 29 feet in the air.  The stunt set the world record for the biggest Mentos-Diet Coke geyser ever. 

Yes, there was a previous record set in Missouri, 973 geysers last year. 

Be right back with more “Winners and Losers” in a minute.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Back now with the week‘s “Winners and Losers” and our panel. Up next “Hannah Montana” a.k.a. Miley Cyrus - had she a big week.  First there were these rather racy photos of the teenage Disney star that turned up online.  Then “People” magazine reported that Miley is the world‘s richest teen and will be worth a billion - yes, $1 billion by the end of the year.   

And then it was revealed the 15-year-old  will be penning a memoir of her life.  Yes, all 15 years.  Racy photos - so good.  Memoirs with a 15-year-old - kind of weird.  But $1 billion, it‘s hard to call her a loser.  Isn‘t it Kato? 

KATO KAELIN, “NATIONAL LAMPOON”:  Let me tell you - Miley Cyrus, winner.  I‘ll tell you why she‘s a winner.  She can do no wrong.  This girl can do no wrong.  The memoirs, it doesn‘t matter at 15.  I was privy, Dan, to read one of pages.  It‘s pretty good. 

It was Friday night.  Billy Ray and I went to Chucky Cheese.  I ordered cheese; they gave me pepperoni.  It‘s going to be big.  Now, as far as the racy photos in Bill O‘Reilly, that‘s really a non-issue because the “Hannah Montana” fans do not Tivo Bill‘s show. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

KAELIN:  Dan, you have nothing to worry about.  Winner.  

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Stephanie, these memoirs are going to be more anticipated than Kato‘s were.  

MILLER:  You know what?  Fifteen is fascinating.  One time I got a zit at band camp and then - But you know what?  I think he‘s right about Bill O‘Reilly.  They really - the pictures weren‘t that bad but they were salacious enough for Bill O‘Reilly‘s nightly B role of boob.  So he can go, “Look at how awful that is.  Look at it.  Look at it.  It‘s awful.  Look again.”

ABRAMS:  All right.  John, you agree?  She‘s a - you can‘t call her a loser, right John?

RIDLEY:  I would have to agree with the rest of the panel because of the photo she‘s loser, not that they‘re that bad or that racy.  But look, when you‘re 15 and you know you got Bill O‘Reilly, an 80-year-old man, looking at you on YouTube or whatever, you‘re a loser.  You‘re scarred for life.  You‘re done.  

ABRAMS:  I would never be able to live down actually having the loser

graphic come up over her name.  So to save myself, I‘m going to call her a

winner.  Moving on -

KAELIN:  Dan, you have racier photos of you.

Former child star Gary Coleman married only eight months to the much younger and taller Shannon Price, already headed for divorce court, not just a divorce court but the “Divorce Court.”

Yes, the couple keeping it classy and appearing on the court show to dissolve their marriage.  During the proceedings, Coleman claims, quote, “The male is always the bad guy.”  And Coleman‘s estranged wife revealed they would have ugly fights, quote, “If he doesn‘t get his way, he throws a temper tantrum like a five-year-old does.  He like stomps the floor and yells, ‘Meeeh‘ and starts throwing stuff around.  He bashes his head in the wall too.”  What you talking about, Shannon? 

All right, John?  I mean Gary Coleman.  It‘s sounds like - I feel bad for him a little bit but he‘s got to be a loser.  He‘s going on “Divorce Court” to do it.  

RIDLEY:  Dan, if I got divorced tomorrow, I couldn‘t get on TV.  Are you kidding?  Eight months and he‘s got his own show - please, he‘s a winner.  

ABRAMS:  But Stephanie, he‘s going on to “Divorce Court” to get divorced? 

MILLER:  Yes, it‘s like classy with a K, Dan.  You‘re right.  And by the way, one of things apparently he threw at his wife was a printer.  But I‘m guessing at his size maybe like one of those Cannon mini printers or maybe like a photo printer.  But still, that would sting.  That would sting.

ABRAMS:  Kato?  Loser? 

KAELIN:  Yes, listen.  I think - lots of red flags that Gary should have known that he should be a bachelor.  First of all, she‘s way too young.  When your bride is registered at Gap for Kids, right there.  When Rev.

Jeremiah Wright‘s proceeding of your wedding, you know, another red flag. 

ABRAMS:  Kato, does this mean -

KAELIN:  Still a winner in my book.  “Divorce Court,” that‘s the winner.  They‘re going to get ratings and they‘re just going to air his dirty laundry.  

ABRAMS:  Kato -

KAELIN:  Which by the way, Dan, is the wedding that I got them.

ABRAMS:  Does this mean that you and Gary can go out partying again, looking for women? 

KAELIN:  I smell a reality show.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Gary - Up next, Wesley Snipes, the “Blade” actor sentenced to a stiff three years in prison yesterday.  It‘s not so funny anymore for refusing to pay taxes, $15.6 million of them, according to prosecutors.  He‘d hoped character letters for his credibility from celebrity pals would help sway the judge.  Stars like Denzel Washington, who wrote, quote, “Wesley is like a tree, a mighty oak.”  And Snipes‘ co-star from “White Men Can Jump,” Woody Harrelson said, “It‘s an honor to call Wes my brother.”

The judge, not impressed, made an example of him for other so-called tax deniers who rely on century-old Supreme Court cases and other rejected legal theories to legitimize their refusal to pay taxes.  John, I was thinking joining the Red Light Denier Society to argue that I should not have to abide by traffic laws. 

RIDLEY:  Good luck with that.  You might actually be able to get away with it.  But let me tell you something, Wesley Snipes is such a big loser, even Geraldine Ferraro said, “Well, I guess not all black men are lucky.”  He‘s got trouble.  When you show up in court with $3 million to $5 million checks and they still throw you in jail, bad.

ABRAMS:  Look, everyone is going to agree Wesley Snipes was a loser this week.  Everyone is going to stay with me.

MILLER:  I don‘t know, John.  I don‘t know.  Three years, is a little excessive.  Who‘s going to protect us from vampires?  Who‘s going to play basketball with Woody Harrelson?

ABRAMS:  Up next ...

MILLER:  And by the way, excuse me, but why isn‘t Fox News analyst and alleged prostitute (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Dick Morris in jail on tax.  He has a tax problem? 

ABRAMS:  But apparently, he cleared this up.  So up next, the week‘s “Winners and Losers” continue with first daughter Jenna Bush who may be voting for Clinton or Obama, coming up.  

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back now with our panel for our final winner and loser of the week.  First daughter Jenna Bush.  You‘d think she would be supporting John McCain.  But earlier this week, she appeared with her mom on CNN and Mrs. Bush sure looked surprised by Jenna‘s answer.  

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING:  You have a favorite between the two, the two Democrats? 

L. BUSH:  My favorite is the Republican.  

KING:  Yours too, I would imagine? 

J. BUSH:  I don‘t know. 

KING:  Aha.

J. BUSH:  But I mean - You know -

KING:  Are you open to -

J. BUSH:  Yes, of course.  I mean who isn‘t open to learning about the

candidates but, I mean - and I‘m sure everybody is like that.  But I really

I honestly have been too busy with books to really pay that much attention.  

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Who isn‘t open?  You mean like the woman next to you?  Take another look at the freeze frame of Laura Bush‘s face when Jenna said that.  You think she‘s happy about this, Kato?

KAELIN:  Absolutely not, but I think the winner, Dan, is McCain.  I don‘t think he wants the endorsement actually.  I mean Bush‘s approval rating is so sky down there.  It‘s just - it‘s probably a really great thing.  And by the way, I read the book “Read All About It,” and, Jenna, more pictures. 

ABRAMS:  Stephanie?  This was - that says to me that Jenna Bush is not supporting John McCain. 

MILLER:  Yes, I don‘t think Laura‘s has given that stank eye since George was drinking.  I think Jenna got beaten about the face and head with a bag of oranges when she got back to the White House in my personal opinion.  Yes, that did not go over well.

ABRAMS:  I mean, John, there is no way that she‘s not following the race.  

RIDLEY:  Well, that‘s the odd thing.  I mean, Dan, here she‘s saying she‘s too busy promoting a book to read about the candidates.  The name of the book is “Read All About It.”  But she needs to change the name of the book to her to, “Have Your Ghost Writer Tell You All About It.”  

ABRAMS:  Stephanie Miller, Kato Kaelin and John Ridley, thank you all.  

Time for the “P.O.‘d Box.”  Last night, after repeated requests, one

of my guests would not stop talking so I asked my staff to cut off his

microphone

Betty writes, “Hooray for you in cutting the microphone off of one of your guests.  All interviews should be run this way.”

Mickey Porter, “I watch you night after night because I know you‘ll always mediate a good, fair, balanced debate.  It‘s good to know you will not allow those kinds of people to monopolize conversation.  Maybe your guest belongs on Fox News.” 

Do we have any graphics?  Because I‘m going to just keep reading. 

John goes after me, “You cut the mike of the person - “  Come on! We got no letters!  If it‘s all right.  Is Kato still there?  Is Kato still there?  All right.  Anyway.  Kato‘s not there anymore.  It would have been fun to just, you know, talk about the fact we don‘t have letters. 

Hey, “You cut the mike off the person who was rational.  You were - “ I was the one who was irrational. 

Have a great weekend.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  See you next week.

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

END   

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