updated 6/9/2008 10:55:14 AM ET 2008-06-09T14:55:14

Guests: Chuck Nice, Laurie Kilmartin, Dave Zinczenko, Lisa Caputo, Jonathan Alter, Kamala Harris

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight: Hillary Clinton tells her staff it‘s over, but is it really over for Hillary Clinton?  And is it fair for Clinton supporters to blame the media for her loss?

Jonathan Alter, Lisa Caputo, and Kamala Harris, is with us.

And the week‘s Winners & Losers: From the Obama fist-bump, the red wine, to the idiots who scaled the “New York Times” building.

VERDICT starts now.

Hi, everyone.

First up tonight: Hillary Clinton makes it official, almost. 

Today, she held a private meeting at her D.C. home to thank her staffers.  Tomorrow, she‘s set to publicly suspend her campaign and endorse Barack Obama.  But even Clinton campaign chair, Terry McAuliffe, who early on the week introduced Clinton as the next president, made it clear that they‘re onboard for Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CLINTON CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN:  It was an exciting campaign and it was very close.  But now, we all do whatever we can to help Barack Obama to become the next president because it‘s about the issues.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  What‘s the move (ph) ahead for her?

MCAULIFFE:  Well, I hope she‘s going to go to Disneyland.  So, I want to do it with my five kids.  We‘re going to take some time, relax, and do anything we can to help Barack Obama.

She will do anything.  She has made that clear.  She will do anything she can to help Barack Obama.  If he wants her to travel everyday, she‘ll do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Clinton‘s meeting today came just hours after she and Obama met secretly late last night in Washington.  Clinton managed to dodge the press by sneaking out of her house in the back of the minivan.

Aides on both sides claimed, the vice presidency were never discussed.  But a brand new poll out today shows continued support among Democrats for Obama to put Clinton on the ticket.  Fifty-four percent of Democrats in this poll say Obama should pick Clinton, 43 percent say he should go for someone else, CBS Poll said 59 percent.

Obama‘s V.P. vetting team is gearing up for work.  They‘ll be making rounds in Capitol Hill on Monday and Tuesday, interviewing senators and members of Congress.

Last night meeting was an initiated by Clinton and even if they didn‘t discuss the V.P. job, it‘s pretty clear that she, at least, would consider it and with the support among the party faithful and based on where she could help on the electoral math, should she get it?

Here now: Clinton campaign senior advisor, Lisa Caputo; “Newsweek” columnist and NBC News analyst, Jonathan Alter; and Kamala Harris, Obama supporter and district attorney of San Francisco.

All right.  Lisa, it‘s a good argument you‘d made that Hillary Clinton ought to get it, right?

LISA CAPUTO, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISOR:  Well, I think if you take a step back and look what she brings to the ticket, sure, there‘s a good argument to be made and she won the battleground states.  She applies to - she resonates with the working class voters, the Latino voters, the women‘s vote, obviously, the women segment of the population - again, that‘s 51 percent of the population.

So, she brings a great core constituency to the ticket.  She and Barack Obama don‘t defer much on the issues with some nuances here and there, particularly on the health care issue.  And lastly, if you look at the geopolitics of it, it is theoretically possible that she could bring Florida and Arkansas in terms of the victories in November and that‘s key to a Democratic victory.

ABRAMS:  Well, Jonathan, look - NBC has done this electoral math when they‘ve looked at the states where people are either - they‘re either states leaning or strongly to Obama and McCain on the general election.  It‘s about 200 for each, if you include leaning and strongly.  But some of the tossup states - Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida—all states where Hillary Clinton really could help.

JONATHAN ALTER, NEWSWEEK:  Yes.  Now, there‘s definitely a case to be made for her going on the ticket.  The question is whether Obama wants her and, you know, it‘s ultimately about whether he‘s comfortable with that and what that implies (ph).

ABRAMS:  Why should that be the question?  Why shouldn‘t the question be - can she help win?

ALTER:  Because you asked two questions - whether you can help win and then whether you want to be this person‘s partner going forward.

ABRAMS:  But, in which order?  I mean, shouldn‘t the first question be can she help win, second question, do I want to her to be a partner?

ALTER:  You sort of have to weigh them together and I think it will

almost like, you know, a curriculum.  You need chemistry, geography, and

then, possibly this year, Obama might be looking at international relations

the third course.  Who could help them on this national security issues that, you know, he‘s a little weak against McCain.    

ABRAMS:  Dianne Feinstein, whose home they met at, talked about the chemistry sort of when they came to her house.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN, (D) CALIFORNIA:  They had a meeting for about an hour.  They sat in the living room in two comfortable chairs and I left.  And it was just the two of them and it was a private meeting for about an hour.  I went upstairs, I was doing my work.

And when it was over, Barack called and said, “Good night, Dianne.” 

I came down and said, “Good night.”  And we laughed and said good night. 

And that was it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  They seemed to be in the good mood at the end of the week?

FEINSTEIN:  Yes.  Yes, they were.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER:  Did they tell you anything about what they‘ve discussed?

FEINSTEIN:  No.  No, and I didn‘t ask.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Kamala, let‘s assume for a moment that Barack Obama doesn‘t love Hillary Clinton, all right?  Let‘s just assume for the sake of argument that he thinks she‘s a good senator but he doesn‘t really have great personal affection for her.  Is that reason not to put her on the ticket?

KAMALA HARRIS, OBAMA SUPPORTER:  Well, I think we don‘t even need to assume or speculate about Barack Obama‘s thoughts about Hillary Clinton. 

He said them Tuesday night, he spoke his feelings and his feelings are those feelings and admiration for her public service and for her role in this campaign.  And so, we don‘t have to speculate about how Barack Obama -

ABRAMS:  What shall we do?  Wait, but, of course, but I mean, but in terms of - I mean, look, he respects her.  I don‘t think there‘s anyone who would suggest that he doesn‘t respect her.

HARRIS:  Right.

ABRAMS:  But there‘s another question which is - does he like her?  And he didn‘t talk about whether he likes her as a person, whether he wants to go to work with her effectively on a daily basis, did he?

HARRIS:  Well, what he talked about is what I think America has cared about which is - is she someone who should be worthy of respect and worthy of - and deserving of recognition and he recognizes her service and her talent.

You know, and on the issue of who should be his vice presidential choice, it‘s his choice to make and it‘s his choice alone and he has put together, I think, a stellar team to help vet that choice and to help him make that decision, but ultimately, it‘s his to make.

And I‘m not going to speculate about what‘s important to him in making that choice.

ABRAMS:  OK, fair enough.

But, Jonathan, it troubles me when people say it‘s a personal choice.  I‘ve said this before, it shouldn‘t be a personal choice, it should be a professional choice.  It should be a choice that says—will Hillary Clinton help the ticket, will Hillary Clinton help the country, and sometimes, I think, there are Obama supporters out there who don‘t want to look at that way.

ALTER:  Yes, but you have to remember - I think you‘re absolutely right.  And in the old days, of course, it wasn‘t even the candidate‘s choice, it was party leaders, you know, in the smoke-filled room who made this kind of decision.  But you have to remember that half, nearly half of the dozen presidents we‘ve had since World War II, the dozen vice presidents have gone on to become president.  So, you‘re making a more complicated assessment, not just about who might help you in this or that state, and by the way, 19 -

ABRAMS:  I think seven of nine in vice presidents from the century have lost, they‘ve run -

ALTER:  But a tremendous a number had either run for or become president and the geographical argument doesn‘t really work so well.  I mean, you really have to go back to 1960 when LBJ helped JFK carry Texas to find an example of where, you know, a vice president actually brought a constituency along with him.

So, I think the bigger question is really—will they do harm?  It‘s like the hypocritical of first do no harm and then don‘t distract because you want to stay on message during the campaign.  If you‘re vice presidential candidate is distracting or acting out in any way or her husband did, that‘s a problem.

ABRAMS:  But, Lisa, but acting—what does that mean?

CAPUTO:  It‘s not aligned.  That‘s what it means.  If the vice presidential candidate is not aligned philosophically with the nominee, there‘s a problem.  If the vice presidential nominee cannot stay on message and goes off the reservation and can‘t be managed to stay on message and on schedule, that‘s a problem.  So, you want somebody who‘s going to be philosophically aligned with your vision and also, who‘s disciplined and also, who will carry a constituency with him.

ABRAMS:  Well, let me ask you then as someone who knows Hillary

Clinton.  I mean, Jonathan is not quite -

CAPUTO:  He knows Hillary Clinton.

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  But he‘s implying that Hillary Clinton would go off the reservation, that she might not be ready -

ALTER:  Or her husband.

ABRAMS:  Or her husband, and -

CAPUTO:  Well, first of all—first of all, Bill Clinton is not in this equation to be on the ticket.  So, let‘s put that aside for a minute.

If you look at Hillary Clinton and you look at her career as a public figure, you cannot say that she is not a disciplined candidate.  She is a disciplined public official, she has learned so much about what it takes to succeed in the Senate, how to legislate and how to govern.  This is somebody who has incredibly experienced on how to govern and how to affect change on the Capitol Hill and in Washington.

ALTER:  Lisa, I totally agree with you but to say that Bill Clinton is not relevant, that you know, remember what Princess Diana when she just talking about Charles and Camilla, and she said, there were three of us. 

And it got a little, you know, hunted (ph) -

CAPUTO:  I think this is a constant media fascination with Bill Clinton.  Bill Clinton is a former president.  It is the first time we have had a former president as a topic where a former first lady ran for the highest office of the land.  Bill Clinton is a former president.  He is not in this equation in terms of the vice presidency nomination.

ABRAMS:  It is amazing, Kamala, how far we‘ve come, where Bill Clinton is now viewed entirely as a liability.  I mean, every time we‘ve talked about Bill Clinton now, it‘s viewed either as - the only way you can help is raising money, he‘s a great campaigner, et cetera, but in terms of boy, Hillary Clinton as V.P. or even Hillary Clinton as president, it‘s always been - oh, but then there‘s Bill.

HARRIS:  Well, that means they‘re married couple and they clearly are very strong couple and are closely associated for many reasons.

I think that the point that we have to make about in terms of Hillary is that she has merit on her own and stands alone, separate and connected with Bill Clinton.  And just like any woman running for elected office or doing any job, she should be judged on her own merit and not just on the man that she‘s associated with.

And so, as a general principle, I think that we should have this conversation that recognizes she‘s got her own merit, he‘s got his, and then together, they‘re also an entity but let‘s not dismissed the things that she has done on her own.

ABRAMS:  Lisa, have there been a specific edict to say let‘s not talk about this V.P. thing anymore, we‘ve got a little ahead of ourselves on the part of the Clinton campaign?

CAPUTO:  I don‘t think it‘s an edict.  I think there was a statement issued to set the record straight, that there was this vacuum right after the speech on Tuesday night, and then, there were people who were not sanctioned by the campaign, going around, and issuing petition to put her on the ticket.  And so, it was her intent and the campaign‘s intent to clarify that she is not proactively seeking this, that it is Senator Obama‘s decision and his alone and that she will do whatever it takes to help him get elected.

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to wrap it up.  The panel is going to stay with us.

Kamala, thank you very much for joining us.  Appreciate it.

Coming up: A lot of Clinton supporters are upset with the press, blaming the media for her loss, but do they have a point?

And it‘s Friday, that means it‘s time for the week‘s best campaign comedy, maybe the last chance the late night comics have to really stick it to Hillary Clinton.

Plus: Senate Republicans effectively shut down the Senate for 10 hours this week—why?  So, they can stick it to Democrats who we‘re not giving in on George Bush judicial nominees.  Another reason Why America Hates Washington is coming up in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington: Senate Republicans slowing down government to punish Democrats.  This week, Republicans demanded a 500-page Democrat-sponsored amendments to a climate change bill be read out loud word by word.  The process started just before 1:00 p.m. Wednesday and continued for more than nine hours.  Why—because Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to stick into Senate Democrats for refusing to cave on certain White House judicial nominees.

Senate Republicans stalling the work of government to play political games: Another reason Why America Hates Washington.

Coming up: Is the media to blame for Hillary Clinton‘s downfall? 

In a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Welcome back.

Hillary Clinton will officially suspend her campaign tomorrow and endorse Barack Obama.  But her shots at the media are sure to continue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK:  Even when the pundits and the naysayers proclaimed week after week that this race is over.

And you know - all those people on TV who are telling you and everybody else that this race is over.  Those are all people who have a job.

There are some folks, you can see them on TV every night, who wanted it to be over for me after Iowa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  According to the new poll, many more Americans believed that the press favored Barack Obama than Hillary Clinton.  And just listening to Bill Clinton, you get the idea.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT:  It‘s part of the national media‘s attempt to nail Hillary for Obama.  It‘s just the most biased press coverage in history.  It‘s another way of helping Obama.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Look, I have to say I‘m not sure it would have changed the outcome but there‘s no question to my mind that Clinton got tougher treatment than Obama from the media.  I said it months ago, I still believe it now, more than ever, that many in the mainstream media simply dislike the Clintons.

Lisa Caputo and Jonathan Alter are still with us.

Jonathan, do you disagree with me that many in the mainstream media simply don‘t like the Clintons?  They‘ve covered them for a long time.

ALTER:  I think there are some people like that.  There‘s a larger group that just thought that it was time for them to move offstage and in a natural cycle of things.

ABRAMS:  Was that what you think?

ALTER:  It‘s not that they had an animus toward the Clintons or didn‘t respect Hillary Clinton‘s intelligence and her -

ABRAMS:  But there wasn‘t something about intelligence?  I mean -

ALTER:  It‘s just about whether it was time for them to go or not.

ABRAMS:  What does that mean?  What does that mean, Jonathan?

ALTER:  I want to go to the larger point though because I think there‘s a misunderstanding of it.  If you look at all of 2007, and remember, most of this campaign was 2007.  Hillary got a much, much better press than anybody else.

ABRAMS:  But it didn‘t matter back then.

ALTER:  Well, it did - it did matter.  And the inevitability argument that she was making carried the national poll argument that she was making—carry.  Later on, the worm turned and one of the reasons it did is that the Clinton press operation was one of the worst I‘ve seen in covering seven presidential elections.  They‘ve just went on their way to be rude to reporters.  It was a completely -

ABRAMS:  Look at the anger (ph), Jonathan -

CAPUTO:  I know, I know,

ABRAMS:  He‘s angry.

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER:  It was that (INAUDIBLE) press strategy, we couldn‘t even understand it—those of us in the media.

CAPUTO:  Can I - sorry, I don‘t want to interrupt you if you want to finish this.

ALTER:  All right.

CAPUTO:  I‘d just wanted to say that I think what the Blogosphere on the Internet—it has put an enormous amount of pressure on the traditional media outlets.  And so much so that what used to be a 24-hour news cycle is now a minute-by-minute news cycle.

And so, what (ph) you had happened, I think, in so many respects, was just look at what happened Wednesday after the Tuesday night speech, there was so much air time to fill around that cold moment and all of the speculation and what was happening and what was going on which really was sort of not necessary.

But it was also needed because the media had to keep up with this constant, you know, refresh, refresh, refresh, and that is putting an enormous pressure, I think.

ABRAMS:  But that‘s an objective analysis to simply saying that sort of - the timing, et cetera, ended up working against Hillary Clinton.  I think that there is something more at work there than simply the need to fill time.  I think that there‘s an animus on the part of many in the press corps and Jonathan is saying that in part, it‘s coming from the fact that their press team, he believes was not very good.

ALTER:  Yes.

CAPUTO:  Well, I will say this.  I will say that the Obama media operation has been terrific and they‘ve been very easygoing, very open comino (ph), you know, a lot of success to the candidate and -

ALTER:  I should think they haven‘t been very accessible with (INAUDIBLE) they‘re dealing with for a while now.

CAPUTO:  But they were—I thought that they were accessible along the way in the primaries.

ALTER:  Not great on that but at least they weren‘t rude.

ABRAMS:  Let me read to you.  This is a study from the Center for Media and Public Affairs after Super Tuesday until March 22nd.  They did a study that said that the coverage of the candidate‘s positive comments about the prospect of winning—Obama, 96 percent; Clinton, 47 percent.

Now, on that one, Jonathan, you would say because you‘ve been saying that you thought Clinton was effectively out of this for a long time.

ALTER:  Right.

ABRAMS:  Was it unfair to Hillary Clinton for the media to constantly say again and again - she‘s got no shot, she‘s out of it.  I don‘t mean after, let‘s say, not after Indiana and North Carolina?

CAPUTO:  But by the way, every time, a lot of times when that happened and knocked (ph) her up, but in a lot of times when that happened, she‘d win a primary, right?  So, she was counted out until she was back up.  I mean, there was a lot of that.

ALTER:  But the fact is that all of the pundits and I have to include myself as one of these who were saying, going back many weeks, it‘s over.  We were right.  Even though, you know, we said that with the stipulation that she could win by 60 to 40 in primary after primary and she would still lose which is indeed what happened.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  But the point is, if you view the superdelegates as a part of the process, right?

ALTER:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  The fact that the media, if you include yourself as part of it, are saying she‘s effectively got no chance because she‘s got to win 60 percent of the pledged delegates.  It excludes the superdelegates.

ALTER:  That‘s why we reported it that way.  This point—the reason several of us said it‘s over mathematically is that all the super—not all, but many important superdelegates were telling us on background that the Democratic Party simply would not nominate a candidate who did not win the elected delegates.  We‘ll be going against the will -

ABRAMS:  I was surprised by this.

ALTER:  And so, that‘s why we knew it was over weeks ago.

ABRAMS:  I was really surprised by this.

I‘m going to give you the final word, Lisa.  March 13th to March 22nd, during the Reverend Wright controversy, positive coverage of the candidates, Obama got 62 percent positive, Clinton got 40 percent positive during the Reverend Wright controversy.

CAPUTO:  Well, I think there‘s something we aren‘t tackling here which is the underlying sexism that occurred throughout the country.  I‘m not saying in the media but I am saying it existed.  When you have people standing up in New Hampshire saying, holding up signs saying: “Iron my shirt” and that‘s not getting full blown coverage, I think that‘s something

-

       

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER:  That was appalling.  But she did not lose because of sexism.

CAPUTO:  No, I‘m not suggesting that.  No, no, no.  I‘m so not suggesting that.  What I‘m suggesting is that should have really been covered.  I‘m not saying that‘s why -

ALTER:  It did get covered.  At the time—it got missed because it was two jerks at the rally.  It didn‘t get as much coverage.

(CROSSTALK)

ALTER:  There was no widespread phenomenon, we should know.  It was a horrible thing those guys did.

ABRAMS:  Final word, I‘m going to wrap it up.

CAPUTO:  Listen, all I will say is this.  Today, she met with her staff and I can tell you, I wasn‘t there but I talked to several people who were there.  She talked about coming together, how important it was, about working together.  She wanted people to stay involved in politics and how they had to do everything necessary to get Barack Obama elected and I think that‘s an important message that she will carry through tomorrow.

ABRAMS:  Lisa Caputo and Jonathan Alter, thanks very much, interesting stuff.

Coming up: The late night comics getting their final dig to Hillary Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, TV TALK SHOW HOST:  Folks, this is it.  Final clearance all Hillary Clinton jokes must go tonight.  Everything must go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  We look back at the week‘s best comedy and the week‘s Winners & Losers from Obama‘s fist-bump to Hillary‘s most enthusiastic fan who seems to be at every event to Tatum O‘Neal‘s arrest for crack and cocaine.  Who won, who lost this week?

Plus: When a 13-year-old wins the spelling bee and a major newspaper writes an article about it, you‘d think the editor would be extra careful about getting the spelling right, right?  Or maybe not.  That‘s next in Beat the Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up: Our own Andrea Mitchell was reporting live in front of the Clinton‘s home in Washington, D.C. this morning when an unexpected guest showed up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “MORNING JOE”/MSNBC)

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  Harry Reid is not giving up his job.  Can you believe the trash compactor has pulled up behind me?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I love you, Andrea.

MITCHELL:  (INAUDIBLE).  Hi, guys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Way to handle it, Andrea.  Well, it could have been worse, as was the case for someone else.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  A few years ago, one boy -

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That was not Andrea, of course.

Next up: A noteworthy correction on yesterday‘s “Washington Post” that reads, “A May 31 Metro article about the Scripps National Spelling Bee misspelled last year‘s winning word.  The correct spelling is serrefine.”

An article about the spelling bee where a 13-year-old spelled the word correctly and the paper got it wrong.  I love it.

Finally: “The New York Times” columnist, David Brooks, he was on MSNBC earlier this week, saying that he believes that Barack Obama was not resonating with working class voters, unfortunately chose the wrong example to make his point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MNSBC, MONDAY)

DAVID BROOKS, NEW YORK TIMES:  Obama‘s problem is he doesn‘t seem like the kind of guy who can go into an Applebee‘s salad bar and people thinks he fits in naturally there.  And so, he‘s had to change and try to be more like that Applebee‘s guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Well, Mr. Brooks may not be that kind of guy either because there is no salad bar at Applebee‘s.

Up next:  It‘s Friday, time for the week‘s best late night jokes about the campaign, candidate by candidate.

And later: The week‘s Winners & Losers—including the now famous Obama fist bump; and actress Tatum O‘Neil busted for buying cocaine and busted again for lying about it, and the “Spiderman” and his copycat who‘s scaled the “New York Times” building—it‘s all coming up in Winners & Losers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  We‘re back.  The week‘s “Winners and Losers” are coming up.  But first, the late night shows are at it again sticking it to the candidates.  Once again, our favorite campaign comedy of the week, candidate by candidate. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  he key for Obama is does he have pander.  And yes, look at that.  The senator now appears to have gone from no lapel pins to the Siamese(ph) U.S.-Israeli double lapel pin.  Wow.  By November, he‘ll be just wearing the flag in a man‘s suit pant. 

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), DEMOCRATIC PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE:  My grandfather served in World War II.  So did my great uncle.  He was a Kansas boy who probably never expected to see Europe, let alone the horrors that he saw there. 

JAY LENO, HOST, “TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”:  Now that Barack Obama is going to be the nominee, it shows you how far we‘ve come in this country.  This about this, when a black man named Barack Obama has just a good a chance to blow a sure-thing election like John Kerry and Al Gore, that is progress. 

STEWART:  And so it is that Barack, Hussein Napoleon Pol Pot Obama now has a chance to become the first African-American president since season one of “24.”  But - Oh, Dennis Haysbert. 

LENO:  Over the weekend, Barack Obama left his church and now he said to Hillary, “OK.  Now it‘s your turn to quit something.” 

OBAMA:  Two years ago, when I went to Israel. 

STEWART:  a personal visit.  That‘s a check for him in the Gimel column. 

Sen. Clinton?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  From my first trip to Israel in 1982 to my most recent, I have seen firsthand, what Israel has achieved. 

STEWART:  He‘s been there once.  I fly there so much, I‘m in the mile high club. 

LENO:  Folks, this is it, final clearance.  All Hillary Clinton jokes must go tonight.  Everything must go.

Barack Obama reportedly tried to call Hillary Clinton twice last night and got her voice mail both times.  Got her voice mail.  Doesn‘t it sound like a bad break up?  I tried to call her, she wouldn‘t pick up. 

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”:  It was also probably hard to hear the phone over the sound of her husband weeping, but I guess some people in the Obama camp were annoyed that she didn‘t take the call.  And I don‘t know, maybe as a warning shot.  I don‘t know.  They immediately started running this ad. 

VOICE OVER:  It‘s 9 p.m.   And Bill Clinton is sleeping with another woman.  There‘s a phone in Hillary‘s house and it‘s ringing.  Do you know where the woman who wants to be president but is clearly lost and won‘t give up is?  Neither do we, we got voice mail, twice. 

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, “LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”:  She‘s so broke today Hillary was wearing a certified pre-owned pantsuit.  Today, she entered a wet pantsuit contest. 

When Hillary was campaigning in Puerto Rico, she was wearing a skimpy two-piece pant suit. 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESUMPTIVE NOMINEE:  Not long ago, I was in

Jerusalem where Sen. Lieberman -

STEWART:  You win, Senator.  But you know, when you go to Israel, you don‘t need to bring your own Jew.  There‘s a wide variety of Jews there. 

LENO:  Actually, Barack Obama tried to call John McCain but McCain had the TV up so loud, he couldn‘t hear. 

STEPHEN COLBERT, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  Last night was truly historic.  For the first time in the history of American politics, John McCain stayed up past 7:00 p.m.  At McCain‘s rally, well over a dozen people electrified the atmosphere.  After the third chant, they forget his name. 

He took the bold step of enhancing his performance by speaking in front of a green screen.  Issuing a bold challenge to Americans to make him seem interesting.  Well, I will be the first to pick up that gauntlet.  Jimmy, let‘s spice him up. 

(MCCAIN‘S SPEECH CLIP)

COLBERT:  OK.  There he is.  Let‘s see what we can do here.  Look out, Senator!  There‘s a lion right behind you!  Get out of there!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  He did good this week. 

It is time for the week‘s “Winners and Losers, from the Obama fist bump to the guy who‘s always standing behind Hillary on the stump.  Who won, who lost this week? 

Joining us now, from VH1‘s “Best Week Ever,‘ Chuck Nice; comedian and contributor to “236.com,” Laurie Kilmartin; and the editor-in-chief of “Men‘s Health” and editorial director of “Women‘s Health,” Dave Zinczenko. 

All right, first up.  The fist bump.  Tuesday night, when Barack Obama took the stage with his wife Michelle staking claim to the Democratic nomination.  There‘s no question, it was better than when Al Gore planted one on Tipper at the DNC.  Do we have that?  There we go.  Oh, one, two, three.  Oh! 

Chuck Nice, look.  I like it.  I like the first bump.  I think it was cool.  I think it was affection.  I think it was appropriate.  But since I am not cool, I‘m going to ask someone who is. 

CHUCK NICE, VH1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”:  OK.

ABRAMS:  So, what did you make of it?

NICE:  Here‘s the deal.  I give him total pros for that, and here‘s why.  If he had initiated the fist bump, I would have thought maybe he prompted her, but she initiated the fist bump, which means that that is the kind of relationship they have.  Any man that can get his wife to give him a fist bump deserves the presidency as far as I‘m concerned.  If my wife went like that to me, I‘d be like, “Please don‘t hit me.”

ABRAMS:  Dave?

DAVE ZINCZENKO, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “MEN‘S HEALTH”:  Look, I think personally the combination of the fist bump and Michelle dressing like Prince is an important cultural moment.  And I think it‘s - to your point, Dan, it is just more appealing than Al Gore frenching Tipper in the 2000 convention. 

ABRAMS:  That one bummed me out.

LAURIE KILMARTIN, COMEDIENNE AND CONTRIBUTOR TO “236.COM”:  I think it‘s really cool we‘re going to have president that tipped like that.  I don‘t think John McCain could do a fist bump.  I think he‘d actually follow through and punch Cindy in the stomach.  I would love to see him fist bump everyone at the GA summit, too.

ABRAMS:  Everyone is staying with us because up next, more of the week‘s “Winners and Losers” including Tatum O‘Neal.  And everyone loves “American Idol,” apparently even President Bush.  But “Idol‘s” producers say didn‘t feel the same about him.  They did not want him on the show. 

ABRAMS:  And bartenders duke it out for the top title.  That is coming up in “Reality Bites” in 60 seconds. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now to “Reality Bites,” a dose of reality caught on tape.  Tonight, bartenders from around the globe descending on Vegas?  Showing off their skills in a bartending competition.  It‘s not really about pouring drinks.  Contestants in the Ultimate Flair Bartending Contest have been serving up scenes like these all week.  This guy is probably sweating more the average bartender.  But the winner of the competition heads home with a nice tip, $25,000.  Be right back with the “Winners and Losers.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back.  Some moments ago, we were playing “Reality Bites.” 

We‘re doing “Winners and Losers.”  Chuck Nice, you had a pre-thought. 

NICE:  I think these guys are the worst bartenders ever. 

ABRAMS:  Why?

NICE:  You know how long I‘ve got to wait to get a drink?  These are doing an impression of Tom Cruise.  I‘m going to stand there and watch.  I don‘t need the entertainment, man.  I need a scotch. 

ABRAMS:  Up next in “Winners and Losers” of the week, former child star, Tatum O‘Neal arrested for allegedly buying crack and powdered cocaine, caught red-handed with a sack of crack and a pipe, allegedly.  The Oscar winner first told police she was researching a role.  When that excuse failed, she went with the dead dog defense, telling “New York Post” losing her dog triggered her drug relapse. 

You know, I think she‘s a loser, not because she has a drug problem, because she thought someone, anyone, would say, “What movie are you researching?”

NICE:  Oh, the movie was a documentary called, “Tatum O‘Neal Buys Crack.” 

KILMARTIN:  I thought I‘d see Amy Winehouse. 

NICE:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  Truthfully, here‘s the way I feel.  She‘s a winner because now, we know there are not five stages of grief, there are six.  The sixth is, “I‘ve got to buy some crack.”

ZINCZENKO:  I think the winner are the cops because they have maybe finally convinced her after only getting an Oscar nomination since the age of 10, that the research is just not paying off.  It is time to improv.  You can‘t stop. 

KILMARTIN:  You know, the cops actually stopped her from taking the crack, right?  And so she thanked them for keeping her sober.  I think she‘s a loser because if you need the NYPD to keep you clean, you have to start calling your sponsor. 

ABRAMS:  Up next, the infamous daredevil and then some other guy taking activism to new heights.  Police yesterday arrested, not one, but two stuntmen for climbing the “New York Times” building in midtown Manhattan.  First, Alain Robert, known as the “French Spiderman,” scaled the 52 storey sky scraper, sans safety gear to draw attention to global warming.  He made it to the top and was immediately cuffed. 

The copy cat climber, who hours later, pulled the same stunt and also joined his cohort in the back of a police car, said he did it to raise awareness for malaria.  I say the second guy is definitely a loser, but he‘s sitting at home, Dave, and he sees the first putz climbing up and he says, “That‘s it!  That‘s how I‘m going to go about putting out the word about my cause.”

ZINCZENKO:  You know, the fact is, they are both losers.  I hear that they tried to climb the “New York Post” building first, but it was too slippery for them.  But the silver lining in this cloud they were apparently trying to reach on this building that resembles a ladder to the sky is these causes they were celebrating, because it‘s really important to bring awareness to these two important - don‘t tell me - that cause - whatever.  Whatever. 

KILMARTIN:  If you want to draw attention on malaria, shouldn‘t you have done that during the Spanish-American War?

ABRAMS:  What‘s that building?  The building has what is effectively a ladder on the building.

KILMARTIN:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a tree house on top - we don‘t know about it. 

ABRAMS:  I mean when I was watching these guys climb, all right?  I‘m thinking, “Oh my, how are they doing it?  And then I saw the close up.  I‘m not going to say it‘s not hard.  I‘m not going to say I could do it.  But I‘m just saying that, you know, there are Divis(ph). 

ZINCZENKO:  Oh my god.  I‘m looking at this video right now.  Truly, I‘m the loser because I love a good plummet.

KILMARTIN:  This second guy looks like one of the bartenders actually from the “Reality Bites” clip.

ABRAMS:  Up next, this guy who always seems to find his way into a shot when Hillary Clinton is about to speak.  Here he is behind Hillary at a rally in New York Tuesday night, two weeks ago.  He was in Louisville after Hillary‘s victory speech in the Kentucky primary.  Hillary may be a loser, I think this guy, Laurie, wins for figuring out how to make himself - how do you think he actually went about convincing people to put him on camera, behind her at both events?

KILMARTIN:  I think he‘s like, “Hey, I‘m kind of gay-looking, but not all the way.  I‘m goodyou‘re your demographics.”

ZINCZENKO:  Look, he‘s such a loser.  He stalked the wrong candidate.  Now,

he has to go back to working at that McDonalds in Chappaqua.  I mean -  

NICE:  I think he may be a winner because we now know who he is.  The losers are the people that were standing next to him because he‘s been wearing the same t-shirt for three weeks. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  No, but he wears the exact - He did.  He wore the same outfit. 

NICE:  Yes, it‘s the same t-shirt.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s show the other one.  Do we have the other shot?  There, that‘s the one. 

NICE:  There it is again.

ZINCZENKO:  He has the same, oh, point.

KILMARTIN:  Obama is about change, and he‘s about experience. 

(CROSS TALK)

ABRAMS:   Everyone is staying with us.  Up next, we continue with the week‘s “Winners and Losers,” including President Bush.  His approval rating is at an all time low.  And even “American Idol” reportedly did not want him on the show.  Coming up. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back with our panel reviewing the week‘s “Winners and Losers.” 

Up next, President Bush.  First comes word, his approval rating has hit an all time low of just about 25 percent according to a new CBS poll.  Among the lowest ever recorded for a U.S. president.  Now, it seems even “American Idol” wanted to keep its distance.  According to a new interview with the show‘s producer, Nigel Lithgoe, they didn‘t even want the president to appear on their annual charity show, “Idol Gives Back.”  Chuck?

NICE:  Oh, man.  I‘m going to go with “American Idol” being a loser here, because when the most unpopular president in history can muscle his way on to your show, you have zero power, Nigel.  None at all.

KILMARTIN:  I think we‘re all losers because the whole premise of “Idol Gives Back” is to combat poverty.  And after Bush‘s policy, America is broke.  We don‘t have anything to give back.  You should have something from “Charity Giving Back” so I can get my money back from poor people.

ZINCZENKO:  It‘s like giving back to Texas. 

ABRAMS:  Twenty-five percent approval rating.  I mean, that is stunning. 

KILMARTIN:  Who is hanging on?

NICE:  They are all his family. 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

ZINCZENKO:  I think “American Idol” is still a winner because no matter they do that‘s embarrassing, they still come out on top.  They find a way to make it work for them. 

ABRAMS:  This is true. 

NICE:  I would have liked after clip you just showed to see Bush on “So You Think You Can Dance?”  That would have been cool. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  You know what?  There you go.  We‘re going to show it for you, chuck.  Go ahead. 

NICE:  I just love the fact that the black guy had on white gloves like, “Even I don‘t want to touch you.”  (CROSS TALK).  I can dance.  I can dance. 

ABRAMS:  What happened, Laurie?  What happened to him?  Twenty-five percent, without getting too deep into policy.  I mean, usually, you can keep a solid 30 percent, 35 percent, even if you‘re not doing too well. 

KILMARTIN:  It‘s so over, you can‘t even pick one thing.  You can‘t even hone in on anything.  It‘s like from when he took office until now, it‘s he‘s collapsing under the weight of failure. 

ABRAMS:  It‘s not the dancing, Chuck?

NICE:  No, it‘s not dancing.  It‘s not his fault.  It‘s our fault.  This is what happens when you elect your drinking buddy to be president. 

KILMARTIN:  When he‘s sober.  A drinking buddy who doesn‘t drink. 

NICE:  You know the guy.  It was a good time.  You‘re like, “Let‘s go out.”  Then he‘s like, “Oh, I‘m on the program now.”  You‘re like, “Oh, here we go.”  This stinks! 

KILMARTIN:  Elect Tatum O‘Neal president.  She‘ll at least go out. 

ABRAMS:  Speaking of which - drinking.  The winner or loser of the week. 

Red wine, my favorite drink.  I‘ll admit, I had one too many, last night. 

KILMARTIN:  A bottle too many?

NICE:  You should be a president.

ABRAMS:  I did.  I did.  My staff has known that I felt awful all day.  Nevertheless, a new study says that resveratrol - I always had trouble pronouncing that - resveratrol, a compound found in wine, may actually help slow the ageing process.  Lab mice given the molecule are found to be more agile and stalled the decline of the heart function that happens as they age.  Dave, you‘re the health guy.  Do you buy it?

ZINCZENKO:  Yes.  The good news is you‘re going to live forever.  You are going to live forever. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

ZINCZENKO:  And look, anything that involves wine is a winner.  I think the thing that‘s very interesting here is that the inventors are trying to patent the ingredients of red wine in a pill.  I mean believe that‘s the grape.  I don‘t get it. 

NICE:  Why do I need that pill when I can just drink a bottle?  Which I do, every night.  Look at me, I look great.  Look at that, that‘s red wine, baby.  Resveratrol, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in bottle form. 

KILMARTIN:  I drink to forget how old I am, plus the fact that that‘s actually keeping me younger is a win-win.

ABRAMS:  You know, it‘s like, do they also make garlic into pills now too?

KILMARTIN:  Garlique.

ABRAMS:  Garlique, right?

KILMARTIN:  And marijuana in pills, right?  We‘ll go to Chuck, right? 

NICE:  No - Yes, exactly.  Go to the black guy.  Marijuana in pills?  My problem is I keep trying to smoke the pill. 

KILMARTIN:  Well, this is offset stuff.  Like, “I didn‘t work out today. 

Can I get drunk tonight and break even?”

ABRAMS:  I don‘t know, why don‘t you ask the health guy? 

ZINCZENKO:  Yes, I think so.  You could do anything you want.  When you look like this, you‘re fine.  Just drink, don‘t exercise, genetics. 

ABRAMS:  Our final winner or loser, Oprah Winfrey, she‘s all for Obama and after he won the Democratic nomination this week, she said she was doing the happy dance.  She then offered to go door-to-door to campaign for him.  Chuck, I don‘t want - the term happy dance, I get nervous about what you‘re going to say. 

NICE:  You know what I‘m going to say.  Oprah had a weak bladder, everybody knows that.  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)  It has nothing to do with Obama. 

No, I‘m just saying this.  This may backfire on Obama.  Because if Oprah Winfrey came to my door, all campaigning for Obama, and left without giving me a car, I‘m not voting for her.  Come back, Oprah.  I want my car.  Oh, forget it, Obama.  You lost my vote.  That‘s it.

KILMARTIN:  Obama needs white women and that‘s who watches Oprah.  So to me, it‘s a perfect match. 

ZINCZENKO:  That‘s true.

NICE:  Yes.

ZINCZENKO:  You guys can talk amongst yourself.  I have a book coming out. 

I am not touching this one. 

ABRAMS:  You‘re not touching. 

ZINCZENKO:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE)  Oprah, I love you. 

ABRAMS:  I mean there‘s been a lot of talk about whether Oprah‘s ratings have gone down because she endorsed Obama.  We talked about this last week because her ratings have gone down a little bit over the last three years. 

And some people are saying politics are divisive.  You‘re picking one

person and you‘re saying I like this person and not that person -

NICE:  Right.  

ABRAMS:  And that‘s not what Oprah‘s show has generally been about.  It‘s been about welcoming everyone and about healing, et cetera.  Do you think it will hurt her, Laurie?

KILMARTIN:  Her show is about healing and giving stuff away, right?  When they heal you with toys - and I follow the leader. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  That‘s right.

ZINCZENKO:  I‘m not doing it.

KILMARTIN:  Brilliant.  That‘s your best shot all night.  

NICE:  All I can say is if Oprah is saying Oprah‘s ratings are hurting it‘s like saying Bill Gates is now poor because Microsoft went down two points.  

ABRAMS:  That‘s right.  Do you think that it was a bad move for her? 

Forget about a moral move.  I mean if she believes in it, good for her.  Get involved about political - who cares about the rest of the stuff?  Good for her.  But as a strictly business move?

NICE:  Probably.  I mean without even joking, probably, it is a bad move because politics are divisive so you can‘t get away from it.  

ZINCZENKO:  I have not seen her make a bad move yet.  

NICE:  She left the church that Barack Obama belonged to, the Rev. Wright fiasco.  She left because she was kind of counseled that you might not want to be involved in an organization where this might come back on you.  

KILMARTIN:  And she went to the church of Oprah after that, right?

NICE:  That‘s true.  True.  why do you need to go to church when you got a direct line to God?

KILMARTIN:  Or when you are god?

ABRAMS:  Hey, just you know, we‘ve got a wide shot going here, right?  This

is my effort at cool today, was wearing like, Mr. Casual -

KILMARTIN:  I think it looks good.   I like it.

ABRAMS:  I‘m wearing a tie now.  I‘m such a dork.  

KILMARTIN:  No, you look good.  I didn‘t realize we were -

ZINCZENKO:  $1.98 and three (UNINTELLIGIBLE), right?

ABRAMS:  Chuck Nice, Laurie Kilmartin, Dave Zinczenko, thanks a lot.  That‘s all the time we have tonight.  E-mail us verdict@msnbc.com.  Please include your name, where you‘re writing from.  Have a great weekend.  We‘ll see you Monday.

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

END   

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