updated 5/19/2008 12:10:44 PM ET 2008-05-19T16:10:44

Guests:Christina Brown, Chuck Nice, Nancy Giles, Shira Lazar

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  We have got breaking news tonight.  Former Republican Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee has just apologized for making what has to be one of the biggest gaffes this political season.

Today, Huckabee tried to make a joke about Barack Obama while speaking at the generally pro-Republican NRA convention in Louisville.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE HUCKABEE, ® FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  But the reality is, and I‘m worried because, frankly, within the—that was Barack Obama.  He just tripped off a chair.  He‘s getting ready to speak.  Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now, Huckabee just released a statement apologizing, quote, “During my speech at the NRA, a loud noise backstage that sounded like a chair falling distracted the crowd and interrupted my speech.  I made an off hand remark that was in no way intended to offend or disparage Senator Obama.  I apologize that my comments were offensive.  That was never my intention.”

No question, it is grossly inappropriate but this is obviously a very sensitive issue.  So, could this have any impact on the 2008 race?

Joining me now: Political analyst, Lawrence O‘Donnell; Democratic strategist, Laura Schwartz; and Republican strategist, Brad Blakeman.

Lawrence, is this going to have any impact on the race?

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST:  I don‘t think so.  I think it‘s an impact on Mike Huckabee.  It was a stupid thing to say.  I think he knows that.  I think he got away from it as fast as he can.

And there was - you know, he was trying to construct a joke and there wasn‘t even the element of the joke there.  So, it wasn‘t that it was an unfunny joke.  He never got finished actually building a joke.

ABRAMS:  Brad Blakeman is this bad enough that if Huckabee was on a short list for V.P. it could kick him off it?

BRAD BLAKEMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Not at all.  I think it was a stupid comment.  He apologized for it.  Totally inappropriate, spontaneous and for comic relief, I think we‘ll stick with Jay Leno and Conan O‘Brien.

ABRAMS:  But it‘s a little beyond that, Laura, because of the topic here.  I mean, let‘s be serious.  I mean, the bottom line is, we all recognize that Huckabee was trying to make a joke, but because of the topic here and the sensitivity associated with it, this is not just like any other joke.

LAURA SCHWARTZ, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  You‘re absolutely right, Dan.  It was outrageous, something he never should have said.  McCain would be very smart to distance himself from that comment in every which way, because we‘re talking about the first black man running for president.  OK, and we‘ve seen the movies.  And there‘s enough out there.

Let the Secret Service worry about that.  Don‘t try to put anything out there.  I mean you‘ve got to realize, Mike Huckabee—you know, this is the first thing off the top of your head when this happens—in a large open press conference hall?

I don‘t think that was smart at all.  He‘d be better off using a little filter from now on.

ABRAMS:  And yes, and look - and that‘s why he‘s apologized, which he did really about—within the hour or so.

All right.  Moving on, Barack Obama came out swinging today against President Bush and John McCain and what may have been his toughest speech yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  If George Bush and John McCain want to have a debate about protecting the United States of America, that is a debate that I am happy to have any time, any place, and that is a debate that I will win because George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Now yesterday, President Bush compared leaders who want to talk to Iran to the appeasers of the Nazis.  Today, John McCain added to the criticism.  And now, the White House is trying to deny that the attacks are aimed at Obama.  That led to Obama‘s triple-barreled assault today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  You know, after almost eight years, I did not think I could be surprised about anything that George Bush says.  But I was wrong.  Instead of celebrating and offering some clear ideas about how to move the situation in the Middle East forward, the president did something that presidents don‘t do.  And that is launch a political attack targeted toward the domestic market in front of a foreign delegation.

On a day when we were supposed to be celebrating the anniversary of Israel‘s independence, he accused me and other Democrats of wanting to negotiate with terrorists and said we were appeasers, no different from people who appeased Adolph Hitler.  That‘s what George Bush said in front of the Israeli parliament.

Now, that‘s exactly the kind of appalling attack that‘s divided our country and that alienates us from the world.

Accused me of not being fit to protect this nation—a nation that my grandfather served in World War II, this nation that‘s given me everything that I have.

George Bush and John McCain have a lot to answer for.  They‘ve got to explain why we are now in our sixth year, entering our sixth year of war, in Iraq.  We were supposed to be going over there for weapons of mass destruction that we never found.  We were told that it was going to last a few months and cost a few billion dollars.  We have now spent over $600 billion, thousands of lives lost, and we have not been made more safe.

They are going to have to explain the fact that Obama bin Laden is still at large, and is sending out videotapes with impunity.  They need to answer for the fact that al Qaeda‘s leadership is stronger than ever because we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan.  They have got to answer for the fact that Iran is the greatest strategic beneficiary of our invasion in Iraq.  It made Iran stronger, George Bush‘s policies.  That‘s the Bush/McCain record on protecting this country.

What was the purpose of the remarks?  Now that‘s being disingenuous.  I mean, I‘m less concerned about whether the remarks were directed against me personally, because, frankly, there is no evidence out there that I‘ve ever suggested we should engage terrorists.  This White House is very—is media savvy.  It knows what it‘s doing.  The implication was that if you object to George Bush‘s policies of non-engagement, then, you know, you are being soft.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  It was a direct message to President Bush and John McCain that Obama won‘t shy away from either of them in a foreign policy debate.  It allows them to take on one of the most unpopular presidents ever.  And yet, some are still saying this is not a good fight for Obama.  Really?

Political analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell, and Laura Schwartz, and Brad Blakeman are back with me.

Lawrence, you don‘t think it‘s a good fight for Obama?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, it doesn‘t start off as a good fight for Obama.  You know, whenever you try to paint the Democrat as weak in these areas it has a way of sticking.  And with Obama, I think it has the capacity to stick more than with most candidates since he has such little experience and such a short record.

However, the way he handled it today, Dan, was flawless.  He has taken this and turned it into campaigning against the most unpopular president ever in the history of polling.  We might have had some more unpopular ones before polling was invented.  But this has turned out to be as of close of business today, a gift for Obama.  He has won this exchange.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean, in particular, Brad, it seems to me being able to fight with President Bush is exactly what Barack Obama wants to do, right?

BLAKEMAN:  That‘s what he wants to do, but I think they made a conscious decision to take on President Bush.  Why?  Because it puts Hillary to the side.  It now makes him the presumptive nominee of his party.  And—but in doing so, he took a huge risk.  And I disagree with Lawrence, I think this is going to come back to haunt Barack Obama.

Here he is today with a flag on his lapel, something we haven‘t seen for a long time.  And now, he‘s trying to position himself as presidential.  And I think today he did not score well—especially with those “middle of the road,” we call them “Reagan Democrats.”  I‘ll tell you why.  It‘s because he took on the president for stating a policy.  The president‘s policy is the policy that should be the United States policy and that is, we don‘t cow tow, we don‘t appease dictators.

And that‘s exactly what Obama has said he would do.  That he would have direct unconditional negotiations with North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Syria.  This is what the man has said.

ABRAMS:  Wait, are we not, Brad, maybe I‘m wrong.  I thought our government now was in some discussions with North Korea.  Am I wrong?

BLAKEMAN:  We are in discussions, but not at the level.

ABRAMS:  Oh, how about that?

BLAKEMAN:  But not in the level of president to president.  That‘s exactly what Obama is suggesting.

ABRAMS:  But you‘re making it sound as if this is so radical and—look, you are obviously overstating what Obama‘s position has been on this.

BLAKEMAN:  No, he said he‘d meet with Ahmadinejad, president to president.  That‘s wrong.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s pull up the—while we‘re talking about this, we‘re going to pull up number eight on this because that‘s the exact statement that Obama made.

But Laura Schwartz, in the meantime, I mean - look, the bottom line it seems to me is that I don‘t think that this is such a tough fight for Obama on this issue.  It seems to me that being able to fight with Bush and McCain together is exactly where Obama wants McCain to be.

SCHWARTZ:  Yes, and Barack Obama was able to make George Bush John McCain‘s running mate.  Because you will notice in that speech today and going forward, you‘ll never hear him say President George Bush without also saying Senator John McCain.  He‘s pairing them together.  They have a lot of similar policies out there.

And why not match your opponent with the president at 27 points approval rating.  And as far as the American people look at foreign policy and look ahead, that‘s part of the change they want.

When you see 83 percent of Americans thinking that this country is on the wrong track, changing a policy, Colin Powell talked about speaking on a diplomatic level.  I think it‘s a good fight for him.

BLAKEMAN:  What you guys don‘t realize is George Bush isn‘t running.  We don‘t have an heir apparent to the White House of this administration.  And John McCain is no George Bush.

SCHWARTZ:  Oh, oh, but Brad, what is the difference between John McCain‘s policy.  So, what is the difference because he wants to keep the economic policy in place, the Iraq policy, he also wants to try the free market health care thing that George Bush failed at?

ABRAMS:  Brad, the problem that Republicans are going to have is that you guys don‘t want this to be about George Bush.  And, look.

BLAKEMAN:  That‘s the wrong argument to have, Dan, because George

Bush is not going to be in power.  Nobody in his administration is going to

be serving in the McCain administration and McCain clearly -

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Laura, hang on a second.  Lawrence, go ahead.

O‘DONNELL:  Listen, no one in the McCain campaign can be happy about the way this has played out.  There‘s President Bush as being criticized just for introducing elements of domestic politics into a foreign policy speech given in a foreign country.  That‘s criticism enough.

But to be able to give Obama the shot that Obama took today and the video that you have of this, Dan, is a very, very effective campaign day for Obama that he was not going to have today, were it not for what President Bush did.

BLAKEMAN:  I disagree, Lawrence.  I mean, the words of Obama are going to come back to haunt, look at Hillary Clinton even exposed him for what he was and that is somebody who‘s naive on foreign policy.

ABRAMS:  Real quick, Brad.  What words did he echoed—that he echoed today are going to come back to haunt him just so I understand.

BLAKEMAN:  He, now, has back pedaled and said that—oh, it won‘t be a direct president-to-president negotiations.  It has to be ramped up.  That‘s exactly what our country is doing.

ABRAMS:  So you‘re saying—your saying what he said before is going to—you are saying that a statement that he, I guess, was asking the CNN/YouTube debate is what‘s going to get him in trouble.  You‘re not saying anything about what he said today, right?

BLAKEMAN:  No, today, of course, he flip-flopped.

ABRAMS:  Oh, really?

BLAKEMAN:  Yes, he did.  Initially, he said he would have direct negotiations, unconditional negotiations.  Today, now, that‘s all changed.

SCHWARTZ:  OK, and Brad.

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to wrap it up, Laura.

SCHWARTZ:  What about John McCain‘s video from 2005 when he said he has to talk to Hamas.  That will come back at him.

BLAKEMAN:  No, it won‘t.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Hang on.  Let‘s talk about John McCain.  Wait

wait, everyone.

       

Coming up: Teflon John McCain is losing his grip on what had generally been a fawning press corps, new tape of the press catching him in several flip-flops.

And: Right wing radio talk show host, Kevin James becomes a YouTube sensation.  His talking points not enough to play HARDBALL with Chris Matthews who proved his guest had no idea what he was talking about.

Plus: IRS employees in hot water for taking too many sick days.  You know the Tuesdays after a long weekend, costing taxpayers more than $450 million a year: Another reason Why America Hates Washington coming up in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington:

Government employees using sick days to make long weekends longer.  An internal report found nearly a quarter of all sick leave at the IRS was taken on a Tuesday following a Monday holiday in 2005 and 2006.  One employee went so far as to take 13 of the 14 Tuesdays after a holiday weekend off as a sick day.

The IRS sick leave practice is estimated to cost taxpayers $450 million in salaries and lost productivity.  Federal employees faking their sick to extend their vacations on the taxpayer dime: Another reason Why America Hates Washington.

We‘re back with new tape of John McCain finally feeling some heat on the campaign trail over his comments on the timetable for Iraq.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back.

Time now for the latest installment in our series: Teflon John.  For months now, we‘ve been pointing out the media‘s unwillingness to call out John McCain when he double speaks or flip-flops as they do, we do when it comes to Obama or Clinton.  Well, it seems yesterday may have been a turning point after John McCain said this in a speech in Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom.  The Iraq war has been won.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That‘s right.  By 2013, the Iraq war has been won.  But now that was seen by many as McCain setting a date for victory in Iraq and therefore, a date for troops to return home, something he‘s never done.  But then reporters on the, quote, “Straighttalk Express” challenged him on that 2013 date.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: It‘s the first time you‘re actually putting a date on it.

MCCAIN:  No, no, I‘m not putting a date on.  I am saying that (INAUDIBLE), it could be next month, could be next year, it could be three years from now.  It could be—but I‘m confident that we will have victory.

And I am not setting a date.  And if any interpretations of my remarks indicate that, it‘s simply false interpretation of my remarks.  It‘s a false interpretation of my remarks.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  So (INAUDIBLE) you aren‘t setting a date, but you are predicting it will be by 2013.

MCCAIN:  How many times can I say?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  It‘s a specific date in the speech you just gave.

MCCAIN:  I said by the end of my first term we will succeed in Iraq.  Today, we have succeeded in Iraq.  Today we have.  The strategy has succeeded -- 2008, we have succeeded, OK?  Does that mean that I‘m setting a date?  I don‘t think so.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  But you would have said we have won.

MCCAIN:  I would say we have succeeded, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  People hear your speech today—should they come away from this believing that if you are president that by the end of your first term, most of the troops will be home that that‘s the promise that you are making as you put that (ph), your expectation and your promise to the American people is that victory will be won and they‘ll return.

MCCAIN:  I‘ll try to repeat again exactly what I just said.  I repeated it over and over again.  I‘ll be glad to do that.  I believe that the surge has succeeded.  I believe that victory is coming about.  I believe that if we set a date for withdrawal that it will be (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Are you also saying that it‘s possible that the (INAUDIBLE)?

MCCAIN:  I am saying what I said in the speech.  I am saying what I said in the speech.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Are you saying that this is a goal you invoked (ph) but you aren‘t making a promise that they‘ll come home if the war isn‘t won by 2013 metrics (INAUDIBLE)?

MCCAIN:  I‘m promising that we will succeed in Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  OK.  I am not still clear on what that means.  But I know

Brad Blakeman is going to explain it to me.  But part of the question is:

Could McCain‘s free ride with the press finally be coming to an end?

All right.  Brad Blakeman, Republican strategist.  I don‘t understand what McCain‘s position is now.  Can you explain it to me?

BLAKEMAN:  Sure, Dan.  I will explain it to you.

It was a lofty, it was aspirational speech about what his hopes were to be should he be the president of the United States and what he hopes to accomplish in his first term.

It isn‘t what the Democrats have done and that is to institute legislation tying the hands of a president and putting deadlines in turn for support of the troops.  He didn‘t say that.  He didn‘t say he will legislate it.

He said he hopes that this occurs.  And it could occur earlier.

That‘s all it was.  It wasn‘t a flip-flop.  It was an aspirational speech to tell the American people what he hopes to accomplish in his first term, nothing more.

ABRAMS:  Lawrence?

O‘DONNELL:  Dan, you know, when politicians give speeches and campaigns, frequently, you can, you know, the comeback to it can be—yes, sure, in your dreams, you‘re going to do that.

McCain‘s defense of the speech was: I meant in my dreams.  He actually means that.  He‘s not saying he has a plan to do it.  He has—he‘s not—this isn‘t his plan.  This is just he‘s hoping he wakes up at the end of his presidency and this has happened and we have in his word, won.  You know, we‘ve somehow won in Iraq.

BLAKEMAN:  Well, Dan, this is the same nonsense that the Democrats said against McCain when he talked about the surge being successful.  Last fall they said, “No, McCain doesn‘t know what he‘s talking about.  The surge isn‘t going to work.”  It‘s working.  It‘s working.

ABRAMS:  Well, I don‘t want to debate the surge because as you

know, since a couple of months after when the surge seemed to be working,

the level of violence has significantly increased, since the last major

public discussion about it.  So, yes so let‘s -

BLAKEMAN:  It is—Dan, it is systematically gone down since Petraeus took over and the surge is working.

ABRAMS:  Well, I don‘t know, the definition of systematically we can debate at another time.

All right.  But let me talk about Hamas, all right?  McCain is attacking Obama over Hamas.  This is what McCain said.  He said, “I think it‘s very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States.  People should understand I‘ll be Hamas‘ worst nightmare.  If Senator Obama is favored by Hamas, I think people can make judgments accordingly.”

Basically, he has said again and again that he would not engage with Hamas.  Why would he?  They are a terrorist organization.

Problem: 2006 interview with Jamie Rubin.  Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SKY NEWS/JAN. 2006)

MCCAIN:  They are the government and sooner or later, we‘re going to have to deal with them in one way or another.  And I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas is because of their dedication to violence and the things they not only espouse but practice.  But it‘s a new reality in the Middle East.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You know, Lawrence, their defense here is that—oh, well there was a follow-up question and in it he explained that any engagement with Hamas would have to be conditioned on their actions, et cetera.  But that doesn‘t seem to me to be a good enough explanation.

The bottom line is: If they‘re a terrorist organization, and John McCain is basing a part of his campaign on the fact that Obama is going to be softer on Hamas and he‘s now talking about having to deal with them, he is busted, is he not—in massive hypocrisy?

O‘DONNELL:  Yes, you got him busted on this one, Dan.  Especially since the conditions that the McCain campaign wants you to hear on that tape are identical—identical, word for word identical to Obama‘s conditions for dealing with Hezbollah in similar circumstances.  So, yes, this is as blatant as it gets in terms of catching McCain or any candidate.

ABRAMS:  Brad, you are not, I‘m going to give you 15 seconds (ph) to say you‘re not willing to say on this one you guys got me?  Come on, Brad.

BLAKEMAN:  No, I‘m sorry.

ABRAMS:  Really?

BLAKEMAN:  Yes, here‘s why.  In 2006, when McCain made these statements, Hamas beat Fatah.  They are now in control of the parliament.

ABRAMS:  So they weren‘t a terrorist organization back then?

BLAKEMAN:  They were a terrorist organization back then.

ABRAMS:  Oh, so what‘s the difference?

BLAKEMAN:  But they were elected and what McCain was trying do is give the benefit of the doubt to those who were elected to try and change their ways.  To try and be more peaceful, to try and give more hope to their people.  And from 2006 to 2008, it hasn‘t occurred.

ABRAMS:  I thought I—I thought -

O‘DONNELL:  How na‹ve and inexperienced of him.

ABRAMS:  I thought when the president said a terrorist organization is a terrorist organization, they were, but who knows.

Lawrence O‘Donnell, Laura Schwartz, Brad Blakeman: great to have you back.  Appreciate it.

BLAKEMAN:  Thank you.

SCHWARTZ:  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  Coming up: This week‘s Winners & Losers.  Radio talk show host, Kevin James, proves he may be able to read right wing talking points but he didn‘t know what they meant.

And: Bill O‘Reilly‘s now legendary meltdown, this even funnier spoof.

Plus: It‘s Friday.  That means we‘ve got our look back at the funniest campaign comedy.

And up next: The folks at “FOX & Friends” this morning celebrating one of their co-hosts adopting a monkey, and then, comparing it to adopting a child from Africa.  That‘s next in Beat the Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.

First up: The folks “FOX & Friends” were celebrating with co-host, Brian Kilmeade, for adopting a monkey from the London zoo.  But apparently, all that cookie monkeying around got to him, Brian then compared his adoption of a monkey to Madonna adopting a child from Africa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “FOX & FRIENDS FIRST”/FOX NEWS)

GRETCHEN CARLSON, CO-HOST:  We decided to help their families out and actually adopt a monkey for them that will live at the London zoo. 

Here is your -

STEVE DOOCY, CO-HOST:  I think this is just for Brian.

BRIAN KILMEADE, CO-HOST:  I‘m responsible.  Almost like Madonna did with that—Malawi (ph) child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You tell me what you think of that comparison.

Next up: CNN‘s political ace Tom Foreman explaining what Democrats need to have to get a veto-proof majority in Congress.  The answer: two-thirds, but it would seem the self-described best political team on television is not so good with the math.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “CNN ELECTION CENTER”/THURSDAY)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT:  If the Democrats can get 60 seats, then they will have enough power to override a presidential veto.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Really?  Overriding a presidential veto requires 67 votes in the Senate, which is the two-thirds majority—must have confused a veto with the Senate filibuster which requires 60 votes to override—the best political team on television.  Thanks to our viewer Harley for that tip.

Finally: Last night, we did a segment about anchors caught on tape saying inappropriate things in the perils of live today.  Well, yours truly created by own gaffe when I asked MSNBC‘s Contessa Brewer a question out of this clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Filled in with some air -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Chad, Chad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  But Camille - let me talk, Carol.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Translate that for us.  What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well if you would let me talk -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, LAST NIGHT)

ABRAMS:  Have you ever lost your top on the air?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Of course, I didn‘t mean lose your top.  I meant to use the clich’, have you ever blown your top.  But, alas, the perils of live TV.

Up next: It‘s Friday.  Time for the week‘s best late night jokes at the candidates‘ expense.

And later: The week‘s Winners & Losers featuring a smackdown by Chris Matthews on a conservative radio talk show host and a rant by Bill O‘Reilly and the spoofs it has spawned.

Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CHRISTINA BROWN, MSNBC NEWS ANCHOR:  I‘m Christina Brown.  Here‘s what‘s happening. 

In Saudi Arabia, President Bush made another personal appeal to increase oil production in the face of record gasoline prices in the U.S.  but the Saudis said there is no reason to raise output right now. 

Meantime, the Energy Department says it is suspending oil deliveries to the strategic petroleum reserve for the rest of the year.  However, the impact on gasoline prices remains unclear.  Now back to Dan Abrams. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up—the week‘s winners and losers, including Bill O‘Reilly, Angelina Jolie, Ellen DeGeneres, but first the late night in comedy shows continue sticking it to the candidates, so we continue bringing you our favorite campaign humor of the week candidate by candidate. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  With a vision for an America that rewards hard work again.  That values the middle class and helped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, Hillary! Get your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) some superdelegates.  Let‘s win this thing.  Come on!

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah! Yeah! Oh, yeah. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First, I am a sore loser. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Second, my supporters are racist. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If and when I am the nominee, Senator Obama‘s African-American supporters will be disappointed perhaps, but they will still rally to me.  If, however, Senator Obama is the nominee, my supporters will refuse to vote for him.  Partly because I will secretly tell them not to, but mainly because they are racially biased. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton is so broke now, and this is true.  Some friends of mine spotted her in the middle of the night last night at a Laundromat, at a Laundromat, honest to god with a hamper full of pant suits. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In fact money is so tight in her campaign I understand today she was wearing a rented pant suit. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My third and final argument—unlike Senator Obama, I have no ethical standards. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator John Edwards endorsed Barack Obama for president of the United States.  Wow!

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow! He is going to need more than two Americas to hide from Hillary Clinton. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, with that endorsement, I believe the Obama camp has won the support of its first white male. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Edwards announced he will be endorsing Barack Obama.  Well the rumor is Barack Obama promised him if elected, he would offer him the cabinet position of secretary of shampoo and (INAUDIBLE). 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if there was ever any doubt that Obama has what it takes to be president of these United States, that doubt was erased during a campaign stop in Oregon. Take a look.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  It is just wonderful to be back in Oregon and over the last 15 months we‘ve traveled to every corner of the United States.  I have now been in 57 states; I think one left to go. 

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you can see there, he is.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s definitely ready to take over for President Bush. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John McCain said if elected, he would cut $15 million in government spending by eliminating the need for the Secret Service.  If elected during his inauguration day parade, he would ride in a motorcade with the top down and, if, quote, “someone even looks at me cross-eyed, I‘ll rip his guts out through his throat and nail his ears to my trophy wall.”  Seventy-one-year-old Vietnam veteran also issued a challenge suggesting that instead of debates, he and Obama be dropped naked into a forest with only a hunting knife to see who comes out alive.  Putting a cigarette out on his tongue, McCain added the day I get out tracked in a jungle is the day I saw off my own (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is John McCain‘s new podium.  He can go anywhere and speak now.  (INAUDIBLE)

(SOUNDS)

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s old, for god‘s sakes. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen his dog?  You know he‘s old when that‘s his dog in front of the White House.  He‘s walking the dog. 

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dinosaur. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Director Oliver Stone (ph) is making a movie about President Bush that‘s called “W”, yeah.  He‘s also making a movie about John McCain called “No Country for Old Men.”  Well John McCain said in a speech today if he‘s elected president, he will fight evil.  Until then he will just continue to fight incontinence. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Time for this week‘s “Winners and Losers” from Bill O‘Reilly‘s meltdown to Ellen DeGeneres to Angelina Jolie.  Who won?  Who lost?  Joining us now Shira Lazar, entertainment reporter, Chuck Nice from VH1‘s “Best Week Ever”, and social commentator Nancy Giles. 

This first one has already become legendary.  And it just happened yesterday.  Chris Matthews proving his right wing radio host guest really did not know what he was talking about.  After a couple of minutes of debating President Bush‘s comments about the dangers of appeasement, Matthews played hardball with Kevin James.  In a moment, my guests are going to weigh in on how they might have avoided this if they had been in James‘ unfortunate shoes. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST, “HARDBALL”:  Let me ask you, what did Chamberlain (ph) do wrong, Neville Chamberlain (ph) do wrong in 1939? What did he do wrong?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It all goes back to appeasement. 

MATTHEWS:  No, what did he do? 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Tell me what he did. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s the key term, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  You have to answer this question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  He.

MATTHEWS:  What did he do? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s the same thing.  It puts it all.

MATTHEWS:  Well tell me what he did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He‘s talking about appeasement.  Look.

MATTHEWS:  I want you to tell me, Mister, you are making a reference to the days before our involvement in World War II when the war in Europe began.  I want you to tell me now as an expert what did Chamberlain (ph) do wrong? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are not going to box me in here, Chris. 

President Bush was making that.  I‘m glad the president.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You don‘t know, do you?  You don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m glad the president—of course. 

MATTHEWS:  . what Neville Chamberlain (ph) did (INAUDIBLE). 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What Neville Chamberlain (ph) -- yeah, he was an appeaser, Chris. 

MATTHEWS:  What did he do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was an appeaser and it energized and it legitimized.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  Kevin James—Kevin James, what did Neville Chamberlain (ph) do? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris, may I try to answer? 

MATTHEWS:  He doesn‘t know. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris, can I answer?

MATTHEWS:  You are (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me.  You are talking about a very critical point in American history, European history and you can‘t tell me what Neville Chamberlain did (ph) (INAUDIBLE). 

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  What did he DO in ‘39, ‘38?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris, Chris, Chris.

MATTHEWS:  I‘ve been sitting here for five minutes asking you to say what the president was referring to in 1938 at Munich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t know what.

MATTHEWS:  You don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris.

MATTHEWS:  Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris, I don‘t know what the president.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t know what the president was referring to.

MATTHEWS:  Let me help you out here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: . when he talked about what was being said in.

MATTHEWS:  You don‘t know what you are talking about. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: . in 1939.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTHEWS:  You don‘t know what you‘re talking about. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Chuck Nice, you do a lot of TV. 

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  How—how do you advise him if he does not know the answer what should he have done to avoid being one of this week‘s big losers? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you.  When you paint yourself into a corner you got to have an escape plan man.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this guy can‘t be married because any married man knows that you‘ve got to have a way out of an argument.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this guy was just like he‘s an appeaser. 

George Bush is a decider.  This guy is an appeaser.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The repetition.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: . tell you anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And repetition does not win an argument.  I mean he could have gone with the oldest trick in the world, you know, just like hey, Henry Kissinger.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you run out of the room.  No, the first thing I thought was when they kept saying his name, Kevin James (ph), I thought oh, the actor and comedian from “King of Queens”.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clearly he doesn‘t know history and that was all right.  But all you need to do is one word, Google.  Just Google it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, see I.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The answer is there.  Take notes. 

ABRAMS:  I was waiting for the one point, Shira, to say you know what I am not going to let you change the subject on me, Chris. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, the first problem—Dan, the first problem he had was starting to scream at the host.  Now you never get into a segment screaming at the host.  Then I would say you know maybe pretend the audio cut out?  What?  What?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can‘t hear you?  Yeah, I don‘t know where you are going with this. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m sorry.  I can‘t answer the question. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What?  Huh? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s the old Ronald Reagan trick. 

ABRAMS:  Everyone is staying with us. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.

ABRAMS:  Up next more of the week‘s “Winners and Losers”.  Ellen DeGeneres, Angelina made our list.  Ellen DeGeneres because of a big gay marriage ruling in California.  And Angelina, a family that‘s getting ready to be Brady bunch-size.  And a Navy man gets a little too close to the action on an aircraft carrier.  There it is.  Oh.  “Reality Bites” comes up in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now to “Reality Bites”, a dose of reality caught on tape tonight getting too close for comfort to a Navy plane about to take off.  The man was daring or whatever, crouching behind the plane‘s 9,000-pound-plus thrust engine just as the jet took off from an aircraft carrier.  He went sliding down the runway but he is OK.

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back with our panel reviewing the week‘s “Winners and Losers”.  It was a big week for Angelina Jolie.  She was in Cannes promoting her movie with Jack Black when he let it slip that Angelina was pregnant with twins, which she had not discussed publicly. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They‘re going to have as many as the Brady bunch when you have these, right? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So is that confirmed?  Is it?  Is it two? 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, yeah, we‘ve confirmed that already. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, man.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m glad I didn‘t do it. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, Jack just confirmed it, actually. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that true?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twins. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh, now after Angelina has her twins she‘ll have a total of six kids, three adopted, three biological.  Today‘s “New York Post” Angelina reveals she wants even more babies and that quote, “this isn‘t my last delivery”.  More?  Really?  Winner?  Loser?  Chuck? 

CHUCK NICE, VH1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”:  Hey, I think it‘s great.  I just wish I were more involved in the process somehow.  Angelina Jolie bringing more life into this world.  As far as I‘m concerned, when you are as rich as Angelina Jolie is, you can have as many babies as you want.  Clearly, the loser here is Brad Pitt. 

ABRAMS:  Why is that? 

NICE:  Because I‘m pretty sure he‘s done. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three would be it? 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Let me ask Shira.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Shira, you know this stuff.  What is the deal here? 

SHIRA LAZAR, ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER:  Oh, yeah.  I think they‘re going to create a Jolie/Pitt production company and all of these babies will be their assistants and PA‘s.  That‘s a pretty good idea.  But for me she and Brad are total winners.  She‘s pregnant with two babies.  She has four kids already.  She‘s promoting two multimillion-dollar films and she looks sexy as hell.  You can‘t get better than that and she‘s married to Brad Pitt.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn‘t that great?  She just has it all. 

(CROSSTALK)

NANCY GILES, SOCIAL COMMENTATOR:  You know the thing is, I never even liked the show “Friends” and I‘m not really a fan of Jennifer Aniston‘s, and every time Angelina Jolie‘s big pregnant belly is in my face I really feel sorry for her. 

ABRAMS:  Really?

GILES:  And I also have to say and my friend (INAUDIBLE) and I were talking about this, she needs to learn how to comb her black daughter‘s hair, OK, so she needs to spend a little time.

(CROSSTALK)

GILES:  Get the black hair products, Angelina.  Do not give your daughter that much more to have to go to therapy for.  Come on.  Come on. 

ABRAMS:  Up next, so and no one is going to call her a loser.  I mean she‘s having twins, you know.  Jack Black was a loser for blowing it there, but—all right. 

Up next—the California Supreme Court overturned the state‘s ban on gay marriage yesterday which led Ellen DeGeneres to announce this on her show today. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Well, here it is. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, “ELLEN”:  I am announcing I am getting married.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  OK.  I don‘t know who the other people were hugging.  But the California Supreme Court‘s ruling is sure to galvanize activists on both sides of the gay marriage issue.  But will high-profile figures like Ellen getting married make it a campaign issue in 2008, Nancy, the way it was in 2004? 

GILES:  Well I don‘t think it is going to hold the same amount of water that it did then. 

ABRAMS:  Why not? 

GILES:  Well because I think people are beginning to really get used to the fact.

ABRAMS:  Really?  Big difference you think now from four years ago? 

GILES:  I do.  Maybe not a huge difference but I think someone like Ellen DeGeneres who has a real mainstream appeal, saying she‘s going to get married.  It‘s not quite the same as when Rosie O‘Donnell left her show, cut her hair and was getting married and all of  -- it‘s a little more palatable. 

ABRAMS:  Yeah.

GILES:  I just worry because she was so hysterical about losing that dog that if this marriage breaks up I don‘t know that I‘ll be able to handle it. 

ABRAMS:  Well you know and speaking of that Shira, Anne Heche (ph), her ex-partner is now saying she doesn‘t have enough money to pay for child support and doesn‘t have enough money to pay for her husband‘s support, I guess.  And, you know, I‘m sure she‘s looking at this thinking, could have been me. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Could have been me. 

(CROSSTALK)

LAZAR:  Jump on the bandwagon and make some money, too. 

ABRAMS:  Could have been me. 

LAZAR:  I don‘t think the Democrats and the Republicans are going to have a hard time here.  Even Kevin James can tell you that.

(CROSSTALK)

LAZAR:  And they aren‘t going to have problems you know taking away gay marriage right now. 

ABRAMS:  Chuck, final thought on this?  I got to move on.

NICE:  You know I think actually it may hurt the Dems.  Nothing mobilizes people to vote like fear.  Have we learned nothing from Karl Rove? 

ABRAMS:  Up next, “American Idol”—from Karl Rove to “American Idol”.  Where this week we saw a reflection of everything that may be wrong with the show.  We already knew there were some pros involved this season, so contestants who had record deals in the past.  But this week, another idol pro made headlines. 

This guy, Jeff Archuletta (ph), the father of one of the finalists.  He‘s a musician and apparently a terrible stage dad.  He was banned from the show‘s rehearsals this week reportedly because he pushed his son David to add some lyrics from one song into another which cost the producers big bucks and the fact that “Idol” is now seeing some of its lowest ratings in five years leads me to ask Shira, is “American idol” a loser this week? 

LAZAR:  No.

ABRAMS:  No?

LAZAR:  It‘s a total winner.  It‘s still the number one rated show on TV right now, 24.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen ratings. 

ABRAMS:  I was wondering.  You know what?

LAZAR:  And you know as long.

ABRAMS:  I was wondering. 

LAZAR:  What?

ABRAMS:  Because I knew that there was someone ahead of us.  I knew there was one show.  And you know what?  You are right.  You‘re right.  I never.

LAZAR:  I‘m sorry, Dan, I didn‘t want to say it to you, but.

(CROSSTALK)

LAZAR:  . keep the reality in the situation. 

ABRAMS:  Come on.

LAZAR:  But you know as long as there‘s Botox for Ryan Seacrest and those judges and they don‘t suck all the talent out of America there will be an “American Idol.”

ABRAMS:  Chuck? 

NICE:  Saying that “American Idol” is a loser because their ratings are lower is kind of like saying that Bill Gates is a loser because he‘s no longer the richest man in the world. You know.

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know. 

NICE:  They are still on top, man.  That‘s all that counts.  Maybe David Archueleta‘s (ph) father is a loser and they probably should try and get some of that dough back from him. 

GILES:  Exactly.  Why would anybody add lyrics to “Stand By Me”?  What

are you doing?  “Stand by she, stand by thee, stand by tree.  What are you

what are you?

ABRAMS:  Stay with me.  Everyone is staying with us because up next we continue with the “Winners and Losers” including Bill O‘Reilly‘s on-camera meltdown.  Plus your e-mails, we call it the “P.O.‘d BOX”, be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back with the week‘s “Winners and Losers” and our panel.  By now, you‘ve probably already seen the infamous clip of Bill O‘Reilly‘s meltdown when he was “INSIDE EDITION”, but it has spawned some pretty good spoofs including this one from barelypolitical.com about what the guy behind the camera might have had to say to O‘Reilly. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, I don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just read it, Bill. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever it is, it‘s not right on the teleprompter. 

That‘s tomorrow and that is it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Screw this up again, pal, we‘ll send you over to FOX News. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘ll do it live. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can‘t even get it right after five takes.  Why would I agree to do it live?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘ll do it live. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.  We‘re not going to do it live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do it live.  Don‘t write it and we‘ll do it live.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you going to write it?  You can‘t even read it you (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  OK.  O‘Reilly was clearly a loser this week.  But did he help with this response on his show? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the way, there‘s a tape floating around on the Internet of me in a state of displeasure I understand.  Apparently the tape is 20 years old, but I your humble correspondent have plenty of much newer stuff because by contractual obligation, I have to create a few dramas every year for the amusement of my co-workers.  They quit if I didn‘t do that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Oh, yeah, because they were really amused as you were screaming at them, right, Chuck? 

NICE:  Yeah, check him out, man, trying to play it off all cool and suave.  Hey, you know there‘s a tape of me floating around.  You know it was about 20 years ago.  It‘s a tape of me beating a puppy. 

(CROSSTALK)

NICE: You know that‘s what I do to entertain my crew every once in awhile.  I like to choke a puppy. 

(CROSSTALK)

GILES:  Did you love the fake, the faux relaxation like yeah, so, drunk and disorderly.  What‘s the big deal?  He‘s got no sense of humor and he didn‘t know what the phrase.

(CROSSTALK)

GILES:  . play us out meant.  Just say I don‘t know what that means. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

GILES:  That‘s all. 

NICE:  I love that part of the tape, though.  It‘s just—play us out?

ABRAMS:  Yeah.

NICE:  What kind of slang are you.

(CROSSTALK)

NICE:  . these days?  Play us out? 

LAZAR:  Then he said contractual.  When he messed up the contractual.

(CROSSTALK)

LAZAR:  . word in that clip, he then beat up his teleprompter guy.

(CROSSTALK)

GILES:  And you know what point I loved.

(CROSSTALK)

GILES:  I love that overhead shot at the end when you know that they are actually watching the sting video and he‘s like flaring around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

GILES:  . you know (INAUDIBLE) view of insanity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

ABRAMS:  All right, so he‘s a loser this week.

NICE:  Oh, yeah.  Yeah.

(CROSSTALK)

NICE:  And it has nothing to do with this week. 

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  All right, Shira Lazar and Nancy Giles, and Chuck Nice, thank you.

NICE:  Always a pleasure. 

GILES:  OK.

ABRAMS:  It is time for the “P.O.‘d BOX”, your chance to tell me what you hate or love about the show.  Last night I said again that based on Hillary Clinton support base Obama ought to at least offer her the V.P.  spot, but most Obama supporters hate the idea because they hate her. 

Ryan Gilbert echoes what many of you wrote.  “I think your notion that most Obama supporters hate Hillary Clinton is completely wrong.” 

Oh, really?  How about Penna from San Francisco?  “Bravo, Dan, you are 100 percent correct.  We do hate Hillary.”

And Rhiannon Rede.  “I‘m an Obama supporter and yes, I hate Hillary Clinton.  I don‘t hate her because of ‘purist ideology‘.  I hate her for her blatant and disgusting race baiting.” 

And Deion Puckett, “I can‘t stand Mrs. Clinton.  She wants to change the rules of the game.” 

Look, I appreciate the honesty, and I think it is for that reason that Clinton has no real chance of getting the nod.  But I guess I would have thought the more important question is whether she would help him win. 

Jesse from Pasadena does not like that standard.  “Winning is not what is most important.  How our country is governed starting in 2009 is what is important.”  Jesse, how can your candidate govern in 2009 if you don‘t win first?  What do I know? 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  You can e-mail us verdict@msnbc.com.  Please include your name and where you‘re writing from.  Visit our Web site, verdict.msnbc.com.  Spend your weekend there. 

Oh, that‘s right, not my producer, I‘m going to have after hours special coverage of the political night, Kentucky and Oregon on Tuesday night.  We‘ll be here midnight until 2:00.  I‘ll see you Monday on this show.

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

END   

Watch Verdict with Dan Abrams each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET

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