updated 7/22/2008 11:12:24 AM ET 2008-07-22T15:12:24

Guest:  Andrea Mitchell, Kerry Sanders, A.B. Stoddard, Brad Blakeman, Roy Sekoff, Clint Van Zandt, Jose Baez, Carlos Padilla

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Hi, everyone.

First up tonight, did the prime minister of Iraq effectively endorse Barack Obama today?  And if so, how big a win is that for Obama?

As always, we‘re On Their Trail, making the call on who won and lost the day, Obama or McCain?

First up: Barack Obama in Iraq today where he met privately with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the Iraqi leader sure seemed to be voicing support for Obama‘s plan to withdraw from Iraq, again.

NBC‘s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, is in Baghdad tonight with details—Andrea.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT:  Good evening, Dan.

Tonight, Barack Obama had dinner with General Petraeus, the U.S.  ambassador and other senators and NBC News was told that the exchange that they had over the timelines for withdrawing from Iraq was frank, animated and very forth right.  In the end, they agreed to disagree.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITCHELL (voice over):  Barack Obama arrived in Baghdad to test his timetable for getting out of Iraq against the reality on the ground.

His guide, U.S. Commander David Petraeus skeptical about fixed deadlines.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you so much for having me.

MITCHELL:  Obama‘s unlikely allies, Iraqi leaders.  Today, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is running for re-election, told Obama he sees the U.S. out in two years, by 2010, roughly within the timeframe of Obama‘s plan.

His spokesman to NBC‘s Antoine Sanfuentes -

ANTOINE SANFUENTES, NBC REPORTER:  What is that timetable?

ALI AL-DABAGH, AL-MALIKI‘S SPOKESMAN:  Up to 2010, to the end of the 2010.

MITCHELL:  Obama on CBS before arriving in Iraq.

OBAMA:  Prime Minister Maliki has indicated he wants a timetable for withdrawal.  That is the view of the vast majority of Iraqis, as well.  We‘ve seen a quelling of the violence.

MITCHELL:  How safe is it?  General Petraeus briefed Saturday on the latest intelligence from one brigade says the violence is greatly reduced.  We can walk freely through this Shiite market, although under heavy guard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Shop at market.

MITCHELL:  Obama is being told attacks and casualties are sharply down in many areas but not all.  Cooperation from Iraqi military is better, but still a work in progress.

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS, TOP U.S. MILITARY COMMANDER IN IRAQ:  There‘s still certainly some militia presence but it is vastly reduced.  And it‘s then national police, the Iraqi national police and the Iraqi army together, obviously, with our forces that have done a terrific job here.

MITCHELL:  Nearly 1,700 police recruits were sworn in Sunday as Obama was flying here, the largest graduating class ever.  But while many Iraqis agree with Obama and want the U.S. out as soon as possible, at the same time, they worry about what will happen next.

ALI FAWZI, AGRICULTURAL ENGINEER:  Yes, I want them to leave like as fast as they could, but the problem is, if they leave, leave Iraq, what will happen?  We don‘t know.  For now, I prefer that they stay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MITCHELL:  Whatever political benefits that Obama gains from this trip, his efforts to call for a more rapid withdrawal from Iraq have helped Iraq‘s government pressure President Bush to be more flexible about an exit strategy—Dan.

ABRAMS:  All right, thanks, Andrea.

That apparent endorsement from Iraq‘s leader today was actually the second one.  Over the weekend, al-Maliki gave an interview over the weekend to a German magazine but after the White House raised that this statement could be seen as a political endorsement of Obama, the prime minister‘s spokesman clarified his remarks saying they were, quote, “misunderstood and mistranslated.”

The problem—The “New York Times” and other news organizations did their own translations and found al-Maliki actually did voice support for Obama‘s plan.

Here now: Roy Sekoff, founding editor of the “Huffington Post”; A.B.  Stoddard, associate editor of “The Hill”; and, former Bush aide, Brad Blakeman.

All right.  A.B., let me start with you.  Iraq is supposed to be McCain‘s bread and butter.  So, isn‘t this the ultimate win for Obama after all the McCain camp has argued, Obama can‘t be trusted on this issue?

A.B. STODDARD, THE HILL:  This is some kind of political tragic irony.  I have no idea how this happened to John McCain.  And we could go, I was saying that McCain had actually cornered Barack Obama, I wrote about this, I said, “Because he was agreeing with him about a new vigilance for Pakistan and Afghanistan and he sort of neutralized his arguments of Obama and he was highlighting their differences on Iraq, forcing Obama to admit the surge had worked.”

Now, we have him, Barack Obama taking the trip McCain asked him to take, and as soon as he gets there, the prime minister of Iraq does a “me, too” dance with Barack Obama, leaving John McCain somewhere over on the Bush side, like they‘re coming late to the party.  It was just the worst thing that could have happened to McCain.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Brad, no talking points here; give me real analysis here of what this means?  This is a bad development, is it not, for John McCain?

BRAD BLAKEMAN, FORMER BUSH AIDE:  Not really and here‘s why—Maliki is running for office, there are a lot of people in Iraq who want us gone.  And just want us gone.  They don‘t realize the consequences of those actions.  Neither does Barack Obama.

A year ago, Barack Obama was not for the surge.  He didn‘t listen to General Petraeus.  In hindsight, General Petraeus was right.  And listen to what Andrea Mitchell said, there was a heated exchange between General Petraeus and Obama.  Obama still doesn‘t get it.

And Admiral Mullen was on television the other day saying that the surge has worked.  And a precipitous withdrawal will be dangerous for America.

ABRAMS:  But, Brad, look, this is classically changing the subject, is not?  The question is - BLAKEMAN:  No, it didn‘t.

ABRAMS:  It is.  The question today is—today, the question is: Did al-Maliki‘s statements mean bad news for John McCain?  That they tried to spin it initially, they tried to say, “Oh, you know what?  It was mistranslated.  It was misunderstood.”  Then they went back and they translated it and it meant exactly what he had said, which is—he is endorsing Barack Obama.

You can say that he‘s got an agenda.  You can say that there are reasons he‘s saying it, but you can‘t say that this is good news for John McCain.  You just can‘t.

BLAKEMAN:  Look, can I just say this?  Can I just say this?  A year ago, John McCain was counted out because he came up with a surge policy.  Everybody thought that was nuts on the Democratic side.  But he was right.

ABRAMS:  The notion -

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait.

BLAKEMAN:  He was as right today as he was back then.

ABRAMS:  The notion, Roy Sekoff, the notion that we‘re somehow suggesting that a year ago that John McCain on the issue of Iraq was down and out—I mean, it‘s insanity.  This is John McCain‘s issue as commander-in-chief, international affairs.

ROY SEKOFF, THE HUFFINGTON POST:  Yes, this is incredibly significant.  I mean, this puts McCain out there all alone.  You know, Maliki agrees with Obama, disagrees with, you know, McCain, same with the Iraqi parliament.

And even this week, Bush, the Bush White House finally has moved away from the McCain position.  They agreed that they‘re calling it a general time horizon, whatever that means.  But it means they‘re exactly talking about an exit strategy.

You know, and, Brad, I will say this—you are right.  Maliki does have political considerations.  But political considerations have always been a part of this war.  Don‘t forget that Bush and Rove had the vote to authorize going in in October right before the 2002 elections.  So, yes, of course, it‘s political but this is incredibly significant and I think this is a devastating day for McCain.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Real quick.  I‘ve got to play—I want to play McCain on the morning shows, sort of echoing what Brad was saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  He was wrong on the surge, he was wrong today when he says it wouldn‘t succeed.

He railed against it, he voted against the surge and he said it would fail.  He was wrong there.

He said it wouldn‘t work and couldn‘t work.  And has failed to acknowledge, it did work and we have succeeded.  Thank God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right, look, the bottom line is, I think, this has to go as a big win for Barack Obama.  You can tell how important this was to the McCain camp and the fact that the White House called for clarification of the statement, et cetera.

Next up: New allegations that the media is helping Obama.  Today, the McCain camp revealed the “New York Times” rejected an editorial McCain wrote concerning his plans for Iraq.

In turning down the article, “The Times‘” editorial page editor wrote to the McCain camp, quote, “I‘d be very eager to publish the senator on the op-ed page, however, I‘m not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written.  It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama‘s piece.  To that end, the article would have to articulate, in concrete terms, how Senator McCain defines victory in Iraq.”

And a new Rasmussen Poll reveals 49 percent of Americans think reporters are trying to help Obama, compared to only 14 percent who think the media is trying to help McCain.

All right.  So, A.B., you‘re a straight shooter, objective reporter on this one.  Is this a win for McCain, the fact that he can simply create a war with the “New York Times”?

STODDARD:  I do think that, I mean, if I were working for the McCain campaign, which I am not, I would be upset about this, the :”New York Times” purports to be a paper of record, this two are running for president, and they‘re talking about war.

And if you look back at Barack Obama‘s editorial from last week, he does criticize McCain.  McCain‘s piece that he wanted to submit was answering those criticisms, I thought he should have had a shot to have a say.

ABRAMS:  But, look, Roy, you‘re an editor, editor of an important Web site now.  Isn‘t it the prerogative of the “New York Times” not to be unfair, but to say, “Look, we want to hear from you, but here‘s what we‘re looking for.”  I mean, this happens all the time when editors are saying, “Look, I know you want to write about this, terrific.  Here‘s basically we‘re looking for.”

It sounds like the McCain camp is saying, “You‘re not allowed to do that.  You have to accept whatever we give you.”

SEKOFF:  Yes.  What the McCain camp is trying to do is a point-by-point reputation of Obama‘s editorial.  And what Obama was doing was putting forth his opinion, his plan for Iraq.  So, that was he meant by mirror, it wasn‘t like say the same thing Obama‘s saying, he‘s saying, “Give us your vision.  How do you see Iraq going forward” and, of course, it‘s their prerogative.  I would have published it, however.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  Real quick, Brad, and then I want to make one other point.

BLAKEMAN:  The “New York Times” is in the tank for Obama.  Everybody knows that.  It‘s an editorial from the person who writes it and they should have printed it and the fact that they didn‘t, is a big bone stuff (ph).

Let me also say that the Obama campaign is using the mass media as a

dupe, as a real dupe.  They should be ashamed of themselves because Obama

is treating -

SEKOFF:  That‘s ridiculous, Dan.

BLAKEMAN:  Obama is treating the mass media like he‘s in the witness protection program.

ABRAMS:  Here‘s, all right, here‘s another, you know, again, another point that I‘ve been making about Teflon John which is the just the opposite of the point Brad is making which is a gaffe after gaffe after gaffe come from John McCain and they are forgotten in a way, there is no way, Barack Obama would be able to get away with something like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “GOOD MORNING AMERICA”/ABC)

MCCAIN:  We have a lot of work to do and I‘m afraid that it‘s a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Brad, my geography isn‘t so good but there is no Iraq/Pakistan border, right?

BLAKEMAN:  Look, everybody misspeaks.  The problem is, you can‘t get Barack Obama to speak contemporaneously on anything.

ABRAMS:  Oh, come.  That‘s the latest talking point Brad is talking.

(CROSSTALK)

BLAKEMAN:  All he speaks from is a teleprompter.  It‘s a teleprompter.

SEKOFF:  Dan, this shows you how effective the right has been trying to get this meme about the liberal media for the last 30 years.  The truth is that the media is the John McCain protection society and they let him get away.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I have to wrap it up.  Brad, hang on.  Hang on, I‘m giving A.B. the final thought on this—A.B.

STODDARD:  Well, it is just ironic.  It‘s making me laugh because John McCain for so many years has been so unpopular in Republican Party, the party still can‘t believe he is their nominee because he was too friendly with the media.  This whole day is ironic.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Here, I‘m calling this one a win for McCain because any time he‘s at odds with the “New York Times” I think it can help.  I think, fighting with his base whether he‘s right or is wrong about this, is good news for John McCain.

All right.  Let‘s move on.  We‘re going to keep going with the Win, Lose or Draw as we continue.  Everyone is going to stay with us.

Coming up: McCain is out with a new ad on gas prices and he says he knows who‘s responsible for it—Obama, Obama.  Yes, really, that‘s what they‘re saying.

And: A new report out tonight that McCain might make his V.P. pick this week to take attention away from Obama‘s trip.

Plus: As taxpayers prepare for the possibility of bailing out mortgage giant Freddie Mac, its CEO pockets a $20 million paycheck.  Another reason Why America Hates Washington is coming up in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington.  A raw deal for shareholders of Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage giant, the company‘s stock lost half its value in 2007, but CEO Richard Syron still took home nearly $20 million.  And if he stays at the helm of the troubled firm through 2009, he could pocket $20 million more.

As Freddie Mac‘s shares plummet, Congress set to vote on a rescue plan on Wednesday, but its chief weathering the downturn in style.

The head of a government-sponsored corporation raking in millions while shareholders split the bill: Another reason Why America Hates Washington.

We‘re back with a new ad where McCain blames Obama for high gas prices.  Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Welcome back.  We‘re still On Their Trail, deciding who won the day, Obama or McCain.  Right now on my scorecard, I have one win for Obama and one for McCain. Still with us: Roy Sekoff, A.B. Stoddard, and Brad Blakeman.

Next up: John McCain actually blames Barack Obama for high gas prices in this new ad running in 11 states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN AD)

NARRATOR:  Gas prices -- $4, $5, no end in sight, because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America.  No to independence from foreign oil.

Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?

(CHANTING)

One man knows we must now drill more in America and rescue our family budgets.  Don‘t hope for more energy, vote for it—McCain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So, Roy Sekoff fired off an angry e-mail to me this morning about this ad.  He was so fired up about this ad.  Roy, you‘ve got to admit, it‘s kind of a well-done ad.

SEKOFF:  Oh, yes, it‘s well-done but it wreaks of desperation, Dan.  I mean, this thing doesn‘t pass the smell test on so many levels.

Let‘s not forget, John McCain is a recent convert to offshore drilling.  So, if Obama is to blame, so, is McCain.  Just three weeks ago, McCain said that the reason was because of 30 years of Washington and transgenes (ph) on oil.

So, Obama‘s been there four years.  McCain‘s been there a lot longer and even McCain admits drilling won‘t make any immediate difference.  So, this thing is a big loss.  Wow, straight talk, I don‘t think so.

ABRAMS:  Brad, you‘re not going actually suggest that Obama is to blame for high gas prices, right?

BLAKEMAN:  Now, look, I‘m all for taking one for the team, but I can‘t on this one.  It‘s a dumb ad—but let me say this, that Obama portrayed in the ad is the poster boy for the Democratic Party and what the Democrats have done wrong on energy.  It should have been done better because the Democrats are against drilling, they‘re against nukes and they‘re against for refineries.

ABRAMS:  A.B., real quick though.  I mean, does the fact that we‘re all, even Brad conceding here, that the facts behind the ad are not necessarily authentic.  Does that matter?

STODDARD:  Well, who knows.  Let me look the consumers of the ad.  We know that, the consumers of the ads rarely know that.  The ad is cheesy.  It even actually fills up Obama by reminding people that he gets chanted out of these rallies.

But, you know, Brad is right, and I want to make that point really quickly.  Obama needs to answer this charge, McCain should stick with this issue of energy because, actually, it‘s true that the Democrats and Congress don‘t have a plan except for to release some oil from SPR right now and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, excuse me.

And for McCain, he needs to stick with this idea that Barack Obama is not giving you offshore drilling, he‘s not giving you gas tax holiday, he‘s not giving you new production, not giving you nuclear.  I mean, it‘s all he‘s got, he should stick with it.

ABRAMS:  Look, and for the reasons that a lot of people are laying that, I‘m calling this, you know, it‘s pretty much a lose for McCain, but I‘m going to call it a draw because it‘s a well-done ad.  Because it‘s so disingenuous thought, it can‘t possibly give McCain a win.

All right.  Finally, columnist Bob Novak reports that McCain may pick his running mate this week while Obama is overseas.  Novak reports, “The name of McCain‘s running mate is not been disclosed but Mitt Romney has led the speculation recently.”

A.B., would this be a good move for McCain?

STODDARD:  I think he has do it really soon.  The Olympics is starting on the 8th, Barack Obama is going to come back from his trip, we don‘t exactly know when but very soon.  And then, we‘ll be talking about that probably.  And I think the time to get his own spotlight is that window is closing and he should come out soon.

ABRAMS:  Brad, you agree?

BLAKEMAN:  Absolutely.  I think he should do it tonight on your show, the sooner the better because while Barack Obama is parading around doing “What I did on my summer vacation,” McCain can really score some major points by taking the wind out of his sails by announcing his V.P.

SEKOFF:  And what I did on my summer vacation.  Brad, you‘re the one who challenged him to go, so we go.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  All right.

SEKOFF:  Dan, he needs to do something before he says that Czechoslovakia still exists for a third time.

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  I‘m going to say this could be a win for McCain.  I‘m putting an asterisk on it because it‘s a win if it actually wins.  That would give me on my final scorecard, two wins for McCain, one win for Obama and one draw.

But on the question of who won the day, Obama or McCain.  I‘ll tell you that, again, for me, this still, even though McCain won more of the battles, Obama wins the war today.  To me, a big day for Obama and the idea that the Iraqi prime minister is supporting his policy on withdrawal from Iraq.

A.B., you agree?

STODDARD:  I absolutely do.  I think it trumps everything else today.

ABRAMS:  Yes, Roy?

SEKOFF:  The oil—that will be forgotten; what happens in Iraq won‘t.  A big win for Obama.

ABRAMS:  Brad, I think you might have to concede today was a win for Obama.

BLAKEMAN:  Not a big win, but a win.  One day, one time to go.

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Roy Sekoff, A.B. Stoddard, Brad Blakeman, thanks a lot.

STODDARD:  Thanks.

ABRAMS:  Coming up: A two-year-old just reported missing five weeks after she disappeared and now her mother is behind bars.  Police say she‘s lying to them.  Her attorney will be with us to try to explain.

E-mail the show, please, Verdict@msnbc.com.  Your e-mails are in the P.O.‘ed at the end of the show.  Be sure to include your name, where you‘re writing from.

And coming up next: More mysterious mishaps.  The fall, one of FOX‘s most controversial correspondents and anchors, is it really just coincidence that things always seem to go wrong when Courtney Friel gets on the air?  That‘s next in Beat the Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up: FOX‘s Bill O‘Reilly offered a vigorous defense of insurance plans covering Viagra, but not birth control pills.  And in the process, they showed why women, in particular, can‘t possibly take him seriously.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”/FOX NEWS/THURSDAY)

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX HOST:  OK, listen up.  Viagra is used to help a medical condition.  That‘s why it‘s covered.  Birth control is not a medical condition.  It is a choice.  Why should I or anybody else have to pay for other people‘s choices?  Do I have to buy you dinner before you use the birth control?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  But if you need Viagra, why should I or anybody else—you know what, it‘s just too disgusting to think about.  So, I‘ll just say, the fundamental difference is that one helps men, the other helps women.  I think prevention would be the best type of medicine.

Next up: FOX had a report this weekend on high gas prices and education.  Check out the bottom of the screen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “AMERICA‘S ELECTION HQ”/FOX NEWS/SUNDAY)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR:  The high price of gas may be costing your kids some of their education.  We‘ll explain here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Besides, some of these kids may work at FOX if they misspell education during a segment on education.

Finally: Another episode in our “Save FOX‘s Courtney Friel Series.”  As we previously noted in this segment, mysterious on-air mishaps seem to regularly befall the former bikini model, and on Saturday morning, her internal enemies seem to be at it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “FOX AND FRIENDS”/FOX NEWS/SATURDAY)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE HOST:  Courtney Friel is standing by for a look at today‘s headlines.  Good morning, Courtney.

COURTNEY FRIEL, FOX CORRESPONDENT:  Yes, let me tell you what‘s going on this morning.  If we could roll the prompter, that would be great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And the next day, there was this -

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “FOX AND FRIENDS‘/FOX NEWS/SUNDAY)

FRIEL:  Some scary moments in Las Vegas, Nevada, a pilot is forced—hey, look, we lost everything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Don‘t let them bring you down, Courtney.

Up next: A mother waits five weeks to tell anyone that her two-year-old is missing.  Investigators say she has lied to them.  Her attorney will be with us to tell us what he knows.

And later: New developments in the case of a mother murdered in North Carolina.  A memorial was held for her over the weekend that her husband did not attend.  Her family has accused him of having an affair and abusing her.  We‘ve got the latest, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Welcome back.  We‘ve got now the latest on the search for Nancy Cooper‘s killer, the mother of two found dead at a construction site in Kerry, North Carolina.  More than 150 friends and family turned out at a memorial service for Nancy over the weekend, but not her husband, who police say is not a suspect, but he is a man Nancy‘s family claimed was emotionally abusive to her. 

NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski has the latest. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice over):  It was a weekend of memorial, a vigil for close friends and family. 

UNIDENTIFIED PRIEST:  What Jesus does do -

KOSINSKI:  A public celebration of Nancy Cooper‘s life. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  The gift of friendship that you gave to me.  I will - I aspire to pass it on. 

KOSINSKI:  People wore white, her favorite color in one of her favorite places with a song she sang to her children. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Will you all sing with me for Nancy.

(SINGING “YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE”)

KOSINSKI:  Nancy‘s two little girls were there.  In photos, they were together.  Though noticeably absent was her husband, Brad, his attorneys spoke on Friday. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ATTORNEY FOR BRAD COOPER:  Mr. Cooper wishes to mourn privately. 

KOSINSKI:  Brad Cooper has also been under scrutiny.  Investigators took a DNA sample from him last week and searched the couple‘s house and cars.  But officials say while this was not a random crime, they have no suspects. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ATTORNEY FOR BRAD COOPER:  He is not a suspect.  He is not a person of interest and he has been very, very clear with the police he did not kill his wife. 

KOSINSKI:  On what appears to be his Web page called “Adventures of Brad,” he shares meticulous details of his training regimen for “Iron Man” competition with photos.  In December, he wrote how relieved he was to get his MBA, finally able to spend some more time with the family. 

But Nancy‘s family claimed in court papers that that same winter, he threatened suicide.  In March, they say Nancy hired a lawyer and wanted to leave him.  Now, their children are with Nancy‘s family by court order for their safety.  There are no answers to be found in this case at the moment, and for those who love Nancy, it hurts. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re absolutely right.  This tragic, evil event is not fair. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (singing):  Please don‘t take my sunshine away

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski joins us now along with former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt. 

All right.  Michelle, you mentioned there in your piece about custody, temporarily awarded to the family, but there‘s a hearing on Friday.  Is Brad Cooper expected to be there? 

KOSINSKI:  Yes, that‘s right.  His attorneys say he will be there.  The question of course is, will he testify?  Will his attorneys want him to testify?  To say the least, it‘s an odd situation because if he wants his daughters, he‘s going to have to fight for them.  His attorneys will do part of that job, but if the judge wants him to answer to some of these allegations made by Nancy Cooper‘s family, there‘s also the question of whether he really is a suspect by police in their estimation of things. 

So he may plead the Fifth on certain things, if that‘s going to be the case.  It depends on what police really testified to in getting that order for custody.  We know that police testified during that original hearing.  So it really remains to be seen what comes out and what Cooper, himself, will say or not say, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Clint, look, these terms of Art, not a suspect, not a person of interest.  It doesn‘t really mean anything.  I mean, the bottom line is he just lost custody of his own children.  He‘s presumed innocent but, apparently, there‘s so much out there that a judge ruled he shouldn‘t even have custody of the kids for now. 

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  And we know and, Dan, especially in the United States, realize that the kids would go up to Canada to be with the grandparents.  They would leave this country.  For a judge to say there is enough evidence here for me to take these two children away from the biological father and give them to grandparents, number one.  Number two, to say that a search warrant that is normally not sealed, this search warrant for Brad‘s house has been sealed because the judge believes that the evidence could prejudice a jury in a future proceeding.  Well, who might that evidence be used against? 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And Michelle, he doesn‘t come to the memorial service.  Look, I think it‘s a tough call for his lawyers to have to advise him to deal with that.  But I would assume that there‘s been a lot of reaction locally about the fact that he was a no-show. 

KOSINSKI:  Well, yes, sure.  I mean, there‘s always going to be a local reaction.  And rumors - there‘s plenty of those, too.  I mean, his attorneys came out on Friday and said, in no uncertain terms, he‘s not a suspect.  He‘s not a person of interest.  He told police he did not kill his wife and he made that very clear.  They also said he‘s a private person; he wants to grieve privately.  But Clint made a good point about that search warrant and multiple search warrants being sealed. 

Another thing that is sealed in this case which is unusual if you look at the circumstances here, is the 911 call made to police by, not Nancy Cooper‘s husband, but her friend.  He told police after she reported Nancy Cooper missing that she went jogging and she left about 7:00 in the morning and never returned.  But when you look at that petition for temporary emergency custody by Nancy Cooper‘s family, they say by information and belief, Nancy Cooper never went jogging that morning.  That was - not this past Saturday, but the Saturday before.  Now, that‘s just their statement. 

The order by the court never made any mention of any, you know, whether they thought she went jogging or not. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

KOSINSKI:  They only based it on what they felt was danger to the kids‘ safety.  So we have multiple items here sealed, including that 911 call. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Look, I mean, if the fact that they believe he may be a danger to the kids, I think, speaks volumes here.  All right, Clint, you‘re going to join us back in a minute.  Michelle, as always, thanks very much for coming on.  We appreciate it.

VAN ZANDT:  OK, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, a mother waits five weeks to tell anyone her two-year-old is missing.  Investigators say she‘s not cooperating with the investigation and is lying to them.  Her attorney will be with us. 

And a man is hit by a minivan in a diner.  He is OK.  That‘s up in 60 seconds. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now, to “Reality Bites,” a dose of reality caught on tape.  Tonight, Kenny Anderson, lucky to be alive.  He sat down coffee at his favorite diner in Wilkesboro, North Carolina when an SUV came barreling through the window, smashed him against the counter.  He escaped with only cuts and bruises.  Anderson says he was amazed he came out of it as well as he did. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENNY ANDERSON, CAR CRASH SURVIVOR:  The doctor - he checked me three times and he couldn‘t believe it that I didn‘t have a broken bone.  He said it‘s just amazing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Kenny is guaranteed a free meal any time he‘s at the restaurant.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Welcome back.  New details in the search for two-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony.  Caylee has been missing since June 9th.  But her mother waited five weeks to go to authorities. 

Now, Casey Anthony has been arrested, charged with child neglect and criminal obstruction for lying to detectives.  Casey Anthony‘s attorney is with us, live.  But first, NBC‘s Kerry Sanders has details. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice over):  In home videos, Caylee Anthony thumbs through her favorite book. 

CAYLEE ANTHONY, MISSING TWO-YEAR-OLD:  Mama, Papa.

SANDERS:  A two-year-old who is the picture of happiness.  The innocent moments in her young life captured by her mother and her adoring grandparents are now on fliers -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  On the news and talking to everybody. 

SANDERS:  Web sites and the focus of vigils; this one, Sunday night.  Orange County investigators unearthed the family‘s backyard late last week trying to solve the mystery, where is Caylee? 

CINDY ANTHONY, CAYLEE ANTHONY‘S GRANDMOTHER:  This is Teddy.  This is what Caylee normally sleeps with. 

SANDERS:  Cindy and George Anthony remain hopeful their granddaughter is safe and still alive.  Complicating the investigation, Caylee‘s mother, Casey, remains in jail, charged with, among other things, obstruction this police investigation. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It appears to the court that you care so little for your child, you did not even report her missing until five weeks later. 

SANDERS:  Family members say they want to talk to Casey to ask, where is Caylee?  But the jail has only allowed them one short phone call and that was days ago. 

C. ANTHONY:  The one person from Casey‘s attorney that she wants to talk to is me and, unfortunately, we can‘t do that.  You know, it‘s kind of difficult. 

JOSE BAEZ, CASEY ANTHONY‘S ATTORNEY:  My client‘s interests are to find her daughter and to do anything possible in doing that. 

SANDERS:  According to detectives, Casey is the last one they know of who saw Caylee.  The closest they can nail it down, that was exactly six weeks ago, June 9th, the day Casey claims she gave her child to a baby-sitter and then both of them disappeared. 

But it wasn‘t until last week that Casey told her mom Caylee was missing.  That‘s when Cindy Anthony called authorities.  Police have asked if Casey was mixed up in illegal drug use. 

C. ANTHONY:  My husband is an ex-deputy sheriff himself, I‘m a nurse. 

We know signs of drug abuse.  There‘s no evidence of any drugs. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Earlier today, Casey Anthony‘s mother said this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

C. ANTHONY:  I know her, and I know Casey knows who has her.  I just, I know Casey doesn‘t know where they‘re at right at the moment.  But I don‘t know anything else right now because I can‘t speak to my daughter. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Joining me now is Jose Baez, Casey Anthony‘s attorney.  Thanks very much for taking the time.  Appreciate it.  All right.  We heard there her mother saying that Casey knows who has Caylee.  Is that true? 

BAEZ:  Well, I don‘t have any of that information.  Casey has told me that she does not know where Caylee is. 

ABRAMS:  So why do you think she would have said that to her mom? 

BAEZ:  She hasn‘t spoken with her mother.  It was a brief phone call that she had from the jail about a week ago or, I guess the evening of her arrest, almost a week ago, I should say.  But the only one who‘s had any contact with her is myself and I‘ve had the opportunity to discuss this with her at great length.  And she‘s never told me that she knows where Caylee is. 

ABRAMS:  So as she said, she doesn‘t know who she‘s with and she doesn‘t know where she‘s with or did she say, “I have an idea where she might be”? 

BAEZ:  She‘s told me she does not know where Caylee is.  As far as any suspicions or any other things like that, I‘m not at liberty to comment on. 

ABRAMS:  I think the one thing that really disturbs so many people, as you know, is the fact that she took five weeks to report Caylee missing.  How can one possibly explain that? 

BAEZ:  Well, you know, there is an explanation and I‘ve discussed it with her and, you know, I think when all is said and done, many people are going to realize that there is a reasonable explanation behind her actions.  Unfortunately, you know, we - unfortunately, I‘m not at liberty to say, you know, everything that I‘ve discussed with her.  We‘ve decided that it‘s in her best interest to wait and hold that for the defense as far as her explanation why.  Right now our goal is to try and find Caylee and we want to get her out immediately so we can assist in doing that. 

ABRAMS:  If that‘s the goal, though, then why has she told so many lies to the authorities?  And let me go over these.  She told detectives, she last saw Caylee after dropping her off at an apartment complex.  It turned out the apartment complex has been vacant since February.  She told detectives she was an event planner at Universal Studios - she was fired two years ago.  She detectives Caylee‘s babysitter once lived in an apartment building in Orlando.  It turned out the building - it turned out to be for seniors only.  She claimed that a woman who was Caylee‘s long-time babysitter; that woman told investigators she doesn‘t know the Anthonys and has never been the babysitter. 

Again, and again it seems she‘s lying to the authorities and you‘re saying she really wants to help them find Caylee. 

BAEZ:  Yes.  You know, first off, there‘s an explanation for her stories.  However -

ABRAMS:  Would you call them lies?  . 

BAEZ:  Well, yes, you can call them whatever you like.  I think we‘re really talking about semantics here.  But I would say this - her explanation is understandable.  I‘ve discussed it with her, but not everything that the police are saying is completely accurate and the media has, on certain occasions, twisted things. 

For example, the babysitter - she clearly told the police when shown the photograph of the person the police spoke with, she told the police that that is not the babysitter that she left the child with.  So, there‘s - it‘s being passed along as if the police have actually spoken with the babysitter when, in fact, they haven‘t. 

ABRAMS:  So - but, is it fair to say that she has not been entirely forthcoming with the authorities? 

BAEZ:  I think it‘s fair to say that, yes.  Absolutely. 

ABRAMS:  And that‘s a problem, isn‘t it?  When you‘re trying to find someone who‘s missing? 

BAEZ:  You know, it certainly is a problem.  This is a very difficult situation.  What we‘re trying to do is get her out of jail so that way we can have - she can have contact with her family.  She can help me assist with her defense and also assist us finding Caylee.  That‘s really the focus.  Everybody is really trying to help find Caylee and, I mean, that is really the bulk of everything we‘re trying to do. 

ABRAMS:  Jose  Baez, thanks very much for coming on.  We appreciate it. 

BAEZ:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  Joining us now on the phone, Orange County Deputy Sheriff Carlos Padilla. 

All right.  Sheriff, you‘ve heard now what Mr. Baez has been saying.  How helpful or not so helpful has Casey been in this investigation? 

CARLOS PADILLA, ORANGE COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFF (on the phone):  Well, let‘s put it this way.  Had she been helpful from the beginning, she would not be in jail and Caylee would be home with the family. 

ABRAMS:  But it sounds, though, Mr. Baez was accusing you - us, the media of twisting the truth with regard to some of the allegations in this case.  What do you make of that? 

PADILLA:  Well, keep this in mind.  We in law enforcement went to the media to put her name and her picture out there and to implore the community and the citizens to help us locate Caylee.  For example, if anybody saw her to give us a call and that‘s all we‘ve done.  We have not made the rounds with the media.  We have not been on the shows with the media.  We haven‘t been calling around and trying to have several, you know, interviews on different types of shows. 

Unfortunately, I would have thought that that energy should have been spent on having Casey talk to law enforcement and tell us where the child is.  But ultimately, that‘s all we want.  All we want to do is we want to find this child. 

ABRAMS:  Do you think she is alive? 

PADILLA:  There‘s nothing to indicate that she‘s not.  And one thing that we are doing is we‘re hoping that she is alive and we‘re working and investigating the case with prayers and hopes that she‘s alive and well.  Keep in mind that even the law enforcement officers are not immune to emotions are brought on by the challenges of life.  And these guys are really working hard and their desire is to be able to see this little girl and put her in a safe environment. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Sheriff, I know you are on the program so we put out the word.  And we will do just that.  If you have any information on Caylee‘s whereabouts, please call the Orange County Sheriff‘s crime line at 1-800-423-TIPS.  Thanks again, Sheriff, for coming on. 

PADILLA:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, will tonight‘s big winner or loser be Sean Connery whose son was reportedly forced to suffer in the poorhouse for years despite daddy‘s double-O riches; a Philadelphia anchorman suffering the consequences for allegedly breaking into his co-anchor‘s E-mail account again and again; or the new movie, “Mama Mia,” suffered mediocre reviews but won big by apparently taking in those that couldn‘t get into “The Dark Knight.”  Plus, your E-mails - we call it the “P.O.‘d Box.”  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”  And back by popular demand to help me make the calls, MSNBC‘s, Contessa Brewer.  Contessa.

CONTESSA BREWER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  All right.  So Dan, first up.  Hollywood legend Sean Connery, the former 007 star is reportedly worth close to $170 million.  According to his ex-wife, their only child, Jason Connery has not reaped any of the benefits of the famous dad‘s fortune.  In her new book, Diane Cilento says Connery said their son would, quote, “never receive a penny from him.”  And according to friends, in the 1980s, Jason survived on handouts from friends.  He even had to be loaned money to buy a used car.  Oh, the poor thing - driving around in a used car.  So sad. 

ABRAMS:  You know, what is he making money for though?  If not to help his kids, what is he -

BREWER:  You know what?  No, no, no.

ABRAMS:  What is he making $170 million for? 

BREWER:  I think if you shell over all that moolah to your children, you have ruined them. 

ABRAMS:  Who said all of it?  Who said all of it?

BREWER:  Where is the joy in making it happen for yourself?  In my book, Sean Connery, a winner for trying to teach his son to stand up and be a man. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  I‘m all for teaching your kids to work, make them go get a job, et cetera.  When you got $170 million and your kid is borrowing money from friends to buy a car, I say there is a problem.  I call Sean Connery a loser. 

BREWER:  All right.  Well, next up, a huge, record-breaking weekend at the box office, not just for Batman and the Joker which raked in nearly $150 million but for Abba-inspired “Mama Mia.”  Well, it had mixed reviews here, right?  It was the biggest opening ever for a musical. 

Now, Dan, “Batman,” obviously the huge winner.  But there is speculation that a lot of women out there actually went to “Mama Mia” because their guy said, “OK, we can go to the movies, but we‘re seeing Batman.”  Well, Batman sold out.  “Come on, sweetheart.  Let‘s go to ‘Mama Mia.‘”

ABRAMS:  You know, do you think it‘s possible that “Mama Mia” actually planned that to like make their opening this weekend so they could take all the rejects from “Dark Knight” that didn‘t get in?

BREWER:  And provide another alternative for women who didn‘t want to go and see that dark movie. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, so they - you know what?  I saw the lines for “Dark Knight.”

BREWER:  Yes?

ABRAMS:  They were unbelievable this weekend.  So I can see certainly a lot of people, be it women or men. 

BREWER:  OK.  Did you see “Mama Mia”? 

ABRAMS:  I didn‘t see either one.  But -

BREWER:  But you can admit it if you saw it. 

ABRAMS:  I did not.  But I saw the lines for “Dark Knight” and it was I could easily see someone saying, “You know what?  Honey, I‘m not waiting in that line.”

BREWER:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  And they say, “Hey, look at ‘Mama Mia.‘”  It‘s more like it.

BREWER:  The winner in this - Glenn Close who manages to take Abba to high art film. 

ABRAMS:  Meryl Streep. 

BREWER:  Meryl Streep. 

ABRAMS:  Right. 

BREWER:  Thank you. 

ABRAMS:  No problem.  Next up? 

BREWER:  The story - this story is so deserving that - being that we are both anchors in this business.  I am all flustered.  Long time Philadelphia anchorman, Larry Mendte, was charged yesterday with illegally accessing the E-mail of his co-anchor Alycia Lane and then leaking the sordid details to gossip columnists. 

Mendte was fired last month and could spend as much as six months behind bars.  Now, investigators say he logged on to her account, and get this - 537 times.  He even installed the software on one of the TV station‘s computers that captures the key strokes.  Are you kidding me?  I mean, come on. 

ABRAMS:  You said the guy -

BREWER:  They‘re co-anchors. 

ABRAMS:  The - what, the producers are telling me they want to show a video.  What have you got? 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Contessa - “I am great.”  No?  “MSNBC‘s Top anchor.”  No?  Got to be something self-serving. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, got to be.  Must be. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  “I‘m so hot.”  

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BREWER:  If at first you don‘t succeed, try - 

ABRAMS:  Right?  You just keep trying and trying and - 

BREWER:  Try again. 

ABRAMS:  Because I don‘t think I could get like a lot of money the way, you know - He was like passing stuff off to newspapers and stuff. 

BREWER:  You give me too much credit. 

ABRAMS:  Right. 

BREWER:  My life is not that sordid. 

ABRAMS:  Contessa Brewer - good to see you.  Thanks for coming back. 

BREWER:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Time for the “P.O.‘d Box,” your chance to tell me what you hate or love about the show.  Last week‘s Jesse Jackson remarks about Barack Obama sparked debate over whether the “N word” can be used by anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances. 

First up, Brian, “How on earth are blacks comfortable referring to each other with a word that epitomizes hate and vengeance and that reopens wounds for so many people?”

Linda Shoop, “Why is it so hard to understand why blacks can use the ‘N word‘ and others can‘t?  It is the same premise that dominates how you feel about your own family.  If you tease your crazy uncle or make jokes about him, it‘s fine.  But if someone else does it, it‘s offensive.” 

Arthur Eatan, “I believe the ‘N word‘ is really starting to, thankfully, fade out of our culture.  It is odd to see, however, what segment of society won‘t let the word go.”

Finally, Ant Barnett, “Dan, if you or John McCain called me the ‘N word,‘ it would be on and not in a nice way!  But you can believe in  November I am going to vote for Obama because he‘s my ‘N word!‘”

There‘s a lot of debate.  We have tons of E-mails on this topic. 

That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  You can E-mail us about the show, verdict@msnbc.com.  Please include your name, where you‘re writing from.  Visit the Web site, Verdict.MSNBC.com.  If you‘ve got bad things to say about Contessa. 

BREWER:  She can‘t remember the name of that actress.

ABRAMS:  Please feel free to write them.  And of course, all the people who love Contessa, the majority.  See you tomorrow.

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

END   

Content and programming copyright 2008 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2008 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than or research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,