updated 8/11/2008 12:12:51 PM ET 2008-08-11T16:12:51

Guest: Andrea Mitchell, Joe Watkins, Chrystia Freeland, Josh Green, Lauri Kilmartin, Chuck Nice

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  We have got breaking news to report.  NBC News has learned the Obama campaign has offered former President Bill Clinton a prime speaking role at the Democratic convention later this month.

Clinton is now slated to speak on Wednesday night, right before Obama‘s vice presidential running mate, whoever that may be.  The announcement came this evening, sources telling NBC that the Obama camp rushed to resolve the issue after reports throughout the day focused on the growing tension between Obama and the Clintons.

NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell has the latest details on this latest Clinton-Obama dustup.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice over):  As Barack Obama in St. Paul today, tries to avoid theatrics with his formal rival -

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I‘m letting our respective teams work out the details.  I don‘t think we‘re looking for catharsis.

MITCHELL:  Hillary Clinton has been talking about their struggle as Greek drama and seeking closure for her disappointed supporters.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK:  This incredible pent up desire and I think that, you know, people want to feel like, “OK, it‘s a catharsis, we are here, we did it, and then everybody get behind Senator Obama.”

MITCHELL:  Obama has offered Clinton a prime time speech which she says her supporters want to place her name in nomination to let off steam.

CLINTON:  I happen to believe that we will come out stronger if people feel that their voices were heard and their views were respected.

MITCHELL:  On a Web chat today, Clinton was asked if she‘s truly supporting Obama or just saying what she has to.  She answered, “I am completely committed to helping Senator Obama.”  Still, she isn‘t discouraging her supporters.

ANN LEWIS, CLINTON ADVISER:  They want recognition for Hillary‘s historic role and their own in this campaign.  They want a chance to be heard and to feel included.

MITCHELL (on camera):  Clinton backer also say Obama should do more to help pay Clinton‘s debt.  Then there‘s Bill Clinton, this week, he wouldn‘t even say Obama was ready to be president when asked.

WILLIAM DALEY, OBAMA ADVISOR:  Well, look, this was a long campaign, again, President Clinton‘s wife or his partner lost a tough election, so it‘s going to take a while obviously.

MITCHELL (voice over):  Obama called President Clinton this week, only the second time they‘ve talked since the primaries.  Obama said today, the former president has been gracious and supportive.  And tonight, the Obama campaign has offered Bill Clinton a chance to speak at the convention.

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Recognition, they want to be heard, they want to be included.  What does that mean?  Is it an effort to make sure they start thinking a little harder about Hillary for V.P.?

Here now is Josh Green, senior editor for “The Atlantic,” he‘s written extensively on the Clintons; Chrystia Freeland, U.S. managing editor for the “Financial Times”; and, MSNBC political analyst and Republican strategist, Joe Watkins.

Chrystia, translate this for us.  I mean, as a practical matter, it sounds like they‘re saying, “We ought to be able to have Hillary Clinton‘s name out there so delegates can actually vote for her”?

CHRYSTIA FREELAND, FINANCIAL TIMES:  That‘s right.  And if you were reading some of the comments from her most fervent supporters in the blogosphere, there were people, they‘re saying, “You know what?  Hillary Clinton could still be the nominee.”  And at that Palo Alto cocktail reception with her supporters that was posted on YouTube, there was a supporter who said, “Senator Clinton, couldn‘t you still win?”

ABRAMS:  Yes.  But isn‘t this, Josh, isn‘t this a play to say, “You better at the very least start seriously considering Hillary Clinton for vice president”?

JOSH GREEN, THE ATLANTIC:  You know, I think it may be, but I think what it really is, is a reflection that both Clintons haven‘t gotten over the fact that they no longer run the Democratic Party.  It‘s Barack Obama‘s party—that‘s been tough to swallow all along.  And, I think, especially in a crowd of her fervent supporters like that, you know, she may not quite be ready to let go and really, you know, unify the ticket or unify the party the way that she has indicated she‘s going to.

ABRAMS:  Part of a plan, Joe?

JOE WATKINS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Not a plan.  After all, Hillary Clinton got 18 million votes during the primaries.  I mean, she won West Virginia after it was clear that Barack Obama was -

ABRAMS:  You guys want it.

WATKINS:  No, no, no.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  You guys want to see -

WATKINS:  You almost think the swell (ph) on my face is a joy.

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Yes, you guys want to see a big brawl, right?

WATKINS:  (INAUDIBLE) at MSNBC, that‘s all it is.

ABRAMS:  You guys want to see a big brawl.

WATKINS:  No, I mean it‘s understandable that Hillary Clinton would want to be recognized.  After all, she ran a historic campaign and a national campaign and really fought just hard (ph) and very close campaign.  So, it makes sense that she would want her supporters to be heard.

ABRAMS:  What is “to be heard,” what does that mean?  What does that mean “to be heard”?

WATKINS:  I mean, look, to place her name on the nomination.  I think they want the honor of placing her name in the nomination.

FREELAND:  (INAUDIBLE) tolerate that kind of ill-discipline?

WATKINS:  We like seeing the American way.

ABRAMS:  Yes, you want to see—yes, you want the First Amendment respected, you want to make sure that everyone‘s voice -

WATKINS:  People should have their rights to be heard.

ABRAMS:  One person, one vote, rights.  All right.

FREELAND:  Can I?

ABRAMS:  Let me—real quick, and then I want to play a piece of sound from Hillary Clinton, but, yes?

FREELAND:  Well, I guess, on these 18 million supporters, I do think we have to be careful to not assume that every single person who voted for Hillary in the primaries is behind this latest attempt.

ABRAMS:  Right.

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  Oh, I‘m sure the vast the majority of them are (ph).

WATKINS:  Right.

FREELAND:  A lot of experienced Clinton backers, the people who have served in Bill Clinton‘s cabinet are really behind the scenes unhappy about this, because they want the Democrats to win.

ABRAMS:  Oh, I‘m sure.  I mean, you know, most people, (INAUDIBLE) simply are looking at this through the prism of—do you want Democrats to win, don‘t want this to happen, which is why Joe Watkins has a big smile on his face.

WATKINS:  No, no, no.

ABRAMS:  All right.

But let me play this piece of sound, alright?  The listeners—this is from Hillary Clinton in a fundraiser and I want you to listen to it and think about it, if you take out the word supporters.  They refer to Obama supporters and Clinton supporters.  Just think of it as Obama and Clinton.  What is she exactly saying here?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON:  I would just ask all of the Obama supporters to put yourselves in the position of my supporters, if the shoe was on the other foot, and where—what you would be feeling and where you would be right now.

For so many of my supporters, just like so many of Barack‘s supporters, this was a first time investment of heart, and soul, and money, and effort, and sleepless nights, and miles of travel, and you just don‘t turn it off like that.  I think it is imperative that Barack supporters really respect the feelings of my supporters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Josh, take out the word supporters, “I think, it‘s imperative that Barack really respect the feelings of me.”  I mean, this is about—and look, but I think they do have a right, do they not—the Clintons to demand some level of—whatever you want to call it—respect, appreciation, et cetera, where Obama basically doesn‘t take for granted all the Clinton supporters?

GREEN:  Well, look, he‘s not.  I mean, the event that that took place on was put on by Obama‘s campaign to help raise money to retire Hillary Clinton‘s debt.  So, it‘s not as though Obama has ignored the Clintons.  I mean, I think, the real problem is that—certainly, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have a right to do this.  The issue isn‘t whether they‘re going to get, you know, thrown in the slammer; it‘s whether they‘re going to cost the Democratic nominee the presidency.

And the more you have these stories come out, the more the media talks about this and now they‘re going to be talking about Bill Clinton on Wednesday at the convention, you know, the less the story is about Barack Obama and what he wants to do for the country.

ABRAMS:  But, I mean, shouldn‘t it would have been a given, that Bill Clinton would be speaking on a big day?  I mean, this is the former president of the United States at a Democratic convention, shouldn‘t it would have been a given that Bill Clinton—and let me ask, Chrystia.

(CROSSTALK)

GREEN:  No, I don‘t think after Bill Clinton‘s performance it should have been.

FREELAND:  Right.  Exactly, I agree with Josh.  I mean, he‘s also the spouse of the person who lost.

ABRAMS:  Right.

FREELAND:  And, I think he behaved really badly during Hillary Clinton‘s campaign and he followed up that bad performance with his ABC interview on Monday when he didn‘t fully support Barack Obama.

ABRAMS:  Right, I agree.  But isn‘t this about winning?  I mean, it seems like so much of this among Democrats is about -

FREELAND:  It is.  If you were Obama, wouldn‘t you be a little bit scared of what happened if Bill Clinton speaks at your convention?

ABRAMS:  But is the question is, do we want to win, right?  Which Barack Obama obviously made a decision tonight—he made a decision, this is about winning.

FREELAND:  That‘s right.

ABRAMS:  And as a result, we need Bill Clinton there.

WATKINS:  Although there some risk there still, I mean, because you don‘t know what Bill Clinton is going to say.  He‘s not going to be -

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  What is he going to say that‘s going to hurt Obama at the convention?  Does he really want to sort of end his career in the Democratic Party?

WATKINS:  Well, I think -

GREEN:  I can answer that.

ABRAMS:  Go ahead.

GREEN:  You know, if the speech is all about Bill Clinton and Bill Clinton‘s administration, then the focus is not on Barack Obama.  He‘s not going to go out there and attack Obama.  But if all the focus, you know, the night before Obama‘s big national debut, is on Bill Clinton and, you know, his gripes, that‘s not good to the Democratic Party.

ABRAMS:  But do you really—I mean, Josh—is that realistic that Bill Clinton -

(CROSSTALK)

GREEN:  Yes, I mean look at the track record for the last six months.

ABRAMS:  No.  Forget about the last six months, it would seem to me and, again, you guys are more political insiders than I am, all right?  But, no, I‘m serious, but the idea that Bill Clinton is going to get up at the Democratic National Convention and he‘s going to talk all about the Bill Clinton years, seems to me to be so self-indulgent and unrealistic.

WATKINS:  Dan, he‘s going to give some kind of a speech.  Just think about it, I mean, in that latest interview that we saw, he said that a lot of people that used to be his friend are no longer his friend.  One of the people he named, of course, was Congressman James Clyburn and he said—he was saying, your friends (ph), (inaudible), “Well, he used to be a friend, but he doesn‘t support Hillary, he wasn‘t a friend of mine anymore.”

And so, for me, I would just assume, just as an impartial observer, that Bill Clinton would have an opportunity to perhaps kind of patch things up.

ABRAMS:  I would think so, right?

WATKINS:  This could be an opportunity to patch things up, but the question is—will he?

ABRAMS:  All right.  Here‘s the problem, and here‘s what Josh was talking about a minute ago—that you would think that, you know, this week, that Bill Clinton wouldn‘t be making comments like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATE SNOW, ABC NEWS:  Do you think he‘s completely qualified to be president?

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT:  I think that -

SNOW:  Because in the campaign there were some things you said about, you know -

CLINTON:  No, I never said he wasn‘t qualified.  The Constitution sets the qualifications for the president.  And then the people decide who they think would be the better president.  I think we have two choices.  I think he should win and I think he will win.

SNOW:  Is he ready to be president?

CLINTON:  Well, in the—you could argue that no one‘s ever ready to be president.  I mean, I certainly learned a lot about the job in the first year.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

FREELAND:  With friends like those, who needs -

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And here‘s what “Time” magazine says or reports, “In private conversations, associates say, Clinton remains skeptical that Obama can win in the fall.”  This is Hillary Clinton.  “That‘s a sentiment some other Democrats believe is not just a prediction but a wish because it would prove her right about his weaknesses as a general election candidate and possibly pave the ways for her to run again in 2012.”

This is although such a cynical view of the Clintons, is it not?

GREEN:  But it‘s the view that they‘re putting forward.

ABRAMS:  Wait—but when you say—you both are saying the same thing.  So, let me respond to Josh.  When you say—look, the Bill Clinton comments, obviously, I‘m laughing when we‘re coming out of that for the same reason you are, Josh, that you listen to that and you say to yourself, “Come on, Bill, just answer the question.  Just say it.”

GREEN:  Well, that‘s not all.  I mean, you also say to yourself, “Gee, it‘s a good thing John Edwards speaking slot just opened up because otherwise I‘m not sure Bill Clinton would be out there.”

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Josh Green, thanks a lot, appreciate it. 

Chrystia and Joe are going to stay with us.

Coming up: McCain and Obama are squaring off on pop culture, revealing their picks for best onscreen president, top singers, most liked television shows, which candidate goes for “Seinfeld,” which one picks “MASH,” you may be surprised as to the answers on that one.

And, the best late night jokes at the candidate‘s expense this week.

Plus, garbage piles up in a remote chain of the Pacific islands that President Bush pledge to make the world‘s most environmentally-protected area of the ocean two years ago.  That‘s another reason Why America Hates Washington, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington: The president‘s trash talk.  Two years ago, President Bush made a big show of making a chain of Hawaiian Islands the most environmentally protected area of ocean in the world.  He pledged to keep the area clean from the tons of garbage washing up on shore each year.

But after the big announcement, President Bush slashed the cleanup budget from more than $2 million in 2005, to just $400,000 for 2008, while more money is on the way for the next year, it‘s only a fraction of what was spent four years ago.

A national marine monument getting trashed: Another reason Why America Hates Washington.

Coming up: The candidates answer questions about which movies made them cry, that and their other guilty pleasures, at least the ones they a admit to, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Obama and McCain continue to go at it on the campaign trail.  Questions of character, readiness to lead on the table, but even though voters say the economy and gas prices are the big issues, what about music?  What do they listen to on the road?  What are they watching when they flip the channels?  And yet, who are their favorite superheroes?

Obama and McCain actually answered these questions for “Entertainment Weekly.”

Here to break down their sometimes politically correct responses, comedian and 236.com contributor, Laurie Kilmartin.  And back with us is Chrystia Freeland and Joe Watkins.

All right.  Let‘s go through these—the first one, favorite TV shows.  For Barack Obama, “MASH” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”  And McCain‘s favorite, “Seinfeld,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Dexter,” and “The Wire.”

I have to tell you, Lori, I would have expected just the opposite.

LAURI KILMARTIN, COMEDIAN:  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “MASH”, how old is he?

KILMARTIN:  I think he did runs when he was three years old, just to get that (ph).  And I find it so distressing that John McCain and I like the same television shows.

ABRAMS:  Right, “Dexter,” I‘m a big fan.

KILMARTIN:  It makes me question everything I believe.  How does a pro-lifer get away with liking “Dexter”?

ABRAMS:  Well, “Dexter” killed bad guys.

KILMARTIN:  Yes, right.  Yes, he waits (ph), I guess.

ABRAMS:  Yes.

All right.  Next up: The favorite fictional president.  President Jackson Evans, for Obama, from “The Contender”—the way he would order sandwiches, he was good at that.  McCain‘s favorite, President David Palmer from “24”—he takes charge, he‘s ready to sacrifice his interests on behalf of the country.

He‘s the African-American president.

WATKINS:  That‘s right, great actor, too.

ABRAMS:  Again, these guys are, you know, McCain -

WATKINS:  You think that Barack Obama would say, you know, the black guy who was president, that‘s the guy I want.

ABRAMS:  You know, again, it‘s sort of a surprise answer.  The last—yes?

KILMARTIN:  Oh, isn‘t it odd that like the GOP, it seems like McCain is comfortable with black people mostly when they‘re on television.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

FREELAND:  Oh, Joe, you have to come back on that one, Joe.

ABRAMS:  Yes, this is a set up for you, you know.

All right.  You can think of a response.  You can slam her, you can have two minutes, all right?

Next up: The last movie Obama saw in a theater “Shrek, The Third” with his kids.  The last movie that McCain saw on a theater—“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Crystal Skull.”  I enjoyed that so much.  The old guy wins.”

Chrystia?

FREELAND:  If McCain thinks Harrison Ford is as old as he is, it‘s the same kind of level of sort of masculine appeal.  He could be wrong.

(LAUGHTER)

KILMARTIN:  Calista Flockhart is as slim as Cindy McCain, all right? 

They both have that kind of skinny young lady look.

FREELAND:  I‘m jealous of Cindy; actually, I think she was great.

ABRAMS:  The movie—these are the movies that made them cry.  The movie that made Obama cry when he was a kid, “Born Free” - “I think I may have teared up at the end when they released the lioness, Elsa.”  The movie that made McCain when he was a kid—“Bambi.”

WATKINS:  I should mention (ph) that‘s making me cry.  That was the movie, it was one of the most moving (INAUDIBLE) I heard.

FREELAND:  Do you remember the nickname for Obama during the primaries crimes was “O‘Bambi.”  Do you think that was on McCain‘s mind just a little bit?

KILMARTIN:  I think that he was given that answer “Bambi.”

FREELAND:  (INAUDIBLE)

ABRAMS:  Well, I was expecting “Brian‘s Song.”  I was expecting someone to throw that one.

(CROSSTALK)

KILMARTIN:  (INAUDIBLE) for “Birth of a Nation.”  It‘s integral.

ABRAMS:  Yes, I mean, here‘s—realistically, Joe, as a political advisor, these guys have to be careful even on questions like this, right?

WATKINS:  Absolutely.

ABRAMS:  Every questions (inaudible). ..

WATKINS:  Right.  That‘s why it‘s Barack Obama and they say what do you watch on TV, “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” it‘s pretty all American, you know.

(LAUGHTER)

KILMARTIN:  And “Sponge Bob Square Pants” -

ABRAMS:  Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

FREELAND:  It‘s crazy (ph).

KILMARTIN:  I think that “Sponge Bob” must be.

(CROSSTALK)

KILMARTIN:  . because he does have kids.

FREELAND:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  The music favorites of Obama.  And again -

WATKINS:  You‘re telling exactly—Obama can‘t say, man—

ABRAMS:  Jay-Z.

(CROSSTALK)

WATKINS:  But that‘s the only one, he had to pick Jay-Z to be real.

ABRAMS:  Frank Sinatra -

WATKINS:  But Frank Sinatra—do you think Barack Obama is going around listening to -

ABRAMS:  Yes, why not?

WATKINS:  “I did it my way”?

ABRAMS:  I listen to Frank Sinatra sometimes.

WATKINS:  Maybe it was his idea of “My Way.”

KILMARTIN:  He also included African and Japanese music which I thought was -

ABRAMS:  Jay-Z, Frank Sinatra and Sheryl Crow.  McCain‘s are—Abba, Roy Orbison, and Usher.  Usher for John McCain.

WATKINS:  Oh, yes.  Usher is very today, very now.

FREELAND:  I think they were on a show together.

KILMARTIN:  They were on “SNL” together.  He was (INAUDIBLE).  He did come to that organically.

ABRAMS:  The superheroes.  They both said, Batman.

WATKINS:  Batman.

KILMARTIN:  Batman, yes.

WATKINS:  Batman -

KILMARTIN:  I think they like Batman for different reasons though.  Like—McCain likes him because he‘s a playboy who does good things on the side and Barack likes him for his inner turmoil.

WATKINS:  But they both like the fact that Batman is vulnerable.  I mean, unlike Superman, Batman could be killed.  I mean, it‘s not kryptonite but anything to take Batman out.

FREELAND:  But that made it a smarter answer for Obama because it was a way for him to deflect this idea that he thinks he is perfect.

ABRAMS:  Didn‘t Obama have a hard time to deciding between Batman and Spiderman?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes.

WATKINS:  (INAUDIBLE), it could either be - he would pick Spiderman or Batman he says -

ABRAMS:  He is flip-flopping, right?

FREELAND:  No.

(LAUGHTER)

ABRAMS:  Yes, Joe Watkins will say, he still can‘t commit to anything.

WATKINS:  Yes, he wants it both ways, Dan.  He wants it both ways.

ABRAMS:  Exactly.

FREELAND:  Where are the female superheroes?

ABRAMS:  Your final chance to, no—are we good?

WATKINS:  We‘re good.

ABRAMS:  Joe Watkins, Chrystia Freeland, Laurie Kilmartin, she‘s going to join us in a minute.

Coming up: The week‘s funniest late night campaign comedy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST:  Paris Hilton‘s mother is very upset because John McCain has put Paris in a campaign video.  Do you know about this?  He put Paris in a campaign video, and she‘s furious.  Isn‘t that amazing, of all the videos Paris Hilton has been in, this is the one mom is upset about?  Hello!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  More of the week‘s best, coming up.

And: FOX News following John McCain‘s lead, confusing Iraq and Iran. 

They do both start with an “I” though.  That‘s next in Beat the Press.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up: We want to welcome back FOX‘s Neil Cavuto after returning from surgery.  Apparently, one of his guests has a short term memory.  He referred to Neil as Nick, again and again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “YOUR WORLD”/FOPX NEWS/WEDNESDAY)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Almost everything that you have mentioned, Nick, has been tried.  They voted against, Nick.  You should know, Nick, that I represent a district that‘s along the beaches.  Thank you, Nick, I appreciate being on.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX HOST:  All right.  Well, it‘s Neil, but we‘re friends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Next up: It looks like the folks at FOX are following John McCain‘s lead confusing Iraq and Iran.  Take a look at the flag used on this next graphic on the story about Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “SPECIAL REPORT”/FOX NEWS/WEDNESDAY)

UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR:  Iraqi lawmakers have left for vacation without agreeing on a provincial election law.  The U.S. has been putting pressure on parliament to get a deal done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That, of course, is the Iranian flag over his shoulder.  This is the Iraqi flag.  It can get confusing because after all, both countries do start with an “I.”

Finally: FOX News can‘t come out and say Obama is a Muslim, because he‘s not.  But they sure do everything else they can to suggest he‘s not a real Christian.  Tuesday night on “Hannity and company,” they interviewed an author who wrote a book about Obama‘s faith, who said Obama was a serious Christian.  But that did not stop our friends at FOX from loading up on the innuendo.

First look at the bottom.  “If Obama wins, he will be the first president not raised a Christian.”  Hint, hint.  Followed by, “Obama spent his early years under the influence of atheism and folk Islam, under the influence of folk Islam.”

Then, “Obama‘s stepfather was Muslim.  He moved the family to Indonesia.”  Scary.  And finally, “In Indonesia, Obama would occasionally attend a mosque.”

Are they kidding?

Up next: More campaign comedy.  The late night talk shows this one takes on the candidates.

And the week‘s Winners & Losers, including Paris Hilton memorizing that two-minute script, and Brett Favre stunning his fans, leaving the heartland to make it here in NYC.

Coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Coming up, who are the week‘s big winners and losers - Paris Hilton who got back at John McCain with a political ad; Tyra Banks who thinks she has what it takes to look like a first lady; or Brett Favre disappointing his fans trying to make it here in New York City? 

We break it all down with MSNBC‘s Contessa Brewer, VH1‘s Chuck Nice and “236.com‘s” Laurie Kilmartin. 

But first, campaign comedy is back.  The late night shows have been sticking it to the candidates.  Here now our favorite campaign comedy of the week, candidate by candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 

JON STEWART, HOST, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  Sen. McCain took his message of ending our dependence on oil to the Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Crystal Meth Olympics in South Dakota. 

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  As you may know, not long ago, a couple of hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent.  I‘ll take the roar of 50,000 Harleys any day - any day, my friend. 

STEWART:  Any day, any day.  Any day that we‘re not locked in a global battle with oil-producing terrorist states.  These guys are actually being quite wasteful right now.  You‘re making things worse. 

JAY LENO, HOST, “THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO”:  Well, Paris Hilton‘s mother very upset because John McCain has put Paris in his campaign video.  You know what that is?  He put Paris in his campaign video and she‘s furious.  Isn‘t that amazing?  Of all the videos Paris Hilton‘s been in, this is the one mom‘s upset about?  Hello?  Hello?

CONAN O‘BRIEN, HOST, “LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O‘BRIEN”:  John McCain‘s daughter announced she‘s writing a children‘s book based on her father‘s life.  That‘s very nice.  The children‘s book is called “James and the Giant Prostate.” 

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  You can‘t risk electing Obama.  You know, he‘s new.  He doesn‘t look like the other presidents on the currency. 

STEWART:  Of course you don‘t look like the other presidents on the currency.  Those guys are green - and lifeless.  McCain doesn‘t look like them -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE COMEDIAN, “THE ONION”:  While many Americans have already pledged their support to a candidate, that‘s not the case with no-values voters, the political demographic who believe in a complete lack of morals and are committed to carrying out unspeakable acts of evil. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I like that Obama did coke and McCain probably killed some guys in Vietnam, but, you know, for me it‘s not enough. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE COMEDIAN:  In a recent poll of no-values voters, 54 percent said death is the issue they would like presidential candidates to speak more about. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  We want to be able to look at a candidate and truly believe they have no soul. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE COMEDIAN:  In response to the poll, John McCain‘s camp released a press statement this morning promising a McCain presidency would lead the nation into unparalleled darkness and despair.  While Barack Obama‘s Web site posted this video of him kicking a child in the face at a campaign rally and a statement from Obama pledging to do far worse if elected.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, “THE COLBERT REPORT”:  Nation, I have been keeping tabs on Barack Obama, and by that I mean beer tabs.  I have a little game where I have to chug one every time he pretends to like Hillary Clinton to win over her voters.  I get pretty high. 

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”:  One of the criticisms that‘s being directed at him is that he‘s been acting like he was already president.  But I disagree.  I think I have evidence to back it.  We put a quick video together.  I don‘t think Obama‘s acting presidential at all.  Compare it and contrast it for yourself. 

OBAMA:  This is a moment when we must defeat terrorism and dry up the well of extremism that supports it. 

GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT:  This war will end in the defeat of the terrorist (STUTTERS). 

OBAMA:  It will require sharing the burdens of development and diplomacy, of peace and progress. 

BUSH:  You‘re working hard to put food on your family. 

OBAMA:  This is our moment. 

BUSH:  Let me pick my lettuce.  . 

OBAMA:  This is our time. 

(BUSH DANCING TO THE BEAT OF THE DRUMS)

The laws between races and tribes, natives and immigrants, Christians and Muslims and Jews cannot stand.  These now are the walls we must tear down.

BUSH:  Are you ready for some football? 

OBAMA:  Sen. McCain may have looked at the polls and said, “You know, people might buy drilling or they might buy a gas tax holiday.  My job is not to go with the polls.” 

STEWART:  Yes, just because 70 percent of people favor drilling in polls, doesn‘t mean Obama‘s going to include it in his energy plan. 

OBAMA:  It does include a limited amount of new offshore drilling. 

STEWART:  Did not see that coming. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  All right, it‘s time for the week‘s winners and losers from Paris‘s ad, which wasn‘t that bad; Tyra‘s magazine spread depicting a future that may lie ahead; the New York‘s newest Jet named Brett.  Who will be tonight‘s big winners or losers? 

Joining us now, our own Contessa Brewer, here from MSNBC, Chuck Nice, from VH1‘s “Best Week Ever” and “236.com‘s” Laurie Kilmartin. 

Up first, Paris Hilton as a campaign issue.  This week she responded to John McCain‘s now-infamous attack ad comparing Obama to Britney and Paris. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PARIS HILTON, CELEBRITY:  Hey, America.  I‘m Paris Hilton and I‘m a celebrity too.  Only I‘m not from the olden days and I‘m not promising change like that other guy.  I‘m just hot.  But then, that wrinkly white guy used me in his campaign ad which I guess means I‘m running for president.  So thanks for the endorsement, white-haired dude.  And I want America to know that I‘m like, totally ready to lead. 

Here‘s my energy plan.  Barack wants to focus on new technologies to cut foreign oil dependency and McCain wants offshore drilling.  Well, why don‘t we do a hybrid of both candidates‘ ideas?  We can do limited offshore drilling with strict environmental oversight, while creating tax incentives to get Detroit making hybrid and electric cars. That way, the offshore drilling carries us until the new technologies kick in, which will then create new jobs and energy independence.  Energy crisis solved.  I‘ll see you at the debates, (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we‘re going to put up the music loud enough so you couldn‘t hear Paris anymore.  The McCain campaign responded saying, quote, “It sounds like Paris Hilton supports John McCain‘s ‘all of the above‘ approach to the America‘s energy crisis - including both alternatives and drilling.  Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan.” 

Word is, even Paris memorized her script, Chuck.

CHUCK NICE, HOST, VH1‘S “BEST WEEK EVER”:  You know, if Paris memorizes her own name, I am impressed quite frankly.  And I‘ve got to say, though, McCain might come out a little ahead on this one.  First of all, she agrees with, you know, his plan on drilling.  And if one thing Paris Hilton knows, it‘s drilling. 

LAURIE KILMARTIN, “236.COM”:  I love this ad because I hated the original McCain ad.  I thought it was such a flawed premise.  I mean, he is actually married to an heiress.  Cindy McCain is like Paris Hilton with panties.

NICE:  Oh, my god.  You‘re right.

CONTESSA BREWER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  I just think it‘s incredible that Paris Hilton has now achieved such a status, that Obama Girl would like to collaborate with her in the future. 

ABRAMS:  I mean, Paris Hilton looks great as a result of this.  I mean she comes out -

KILMARTIN:  Oh, she looks great all right.

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

KILMARTIN:  It looks like she can read which (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ABRAMS:  Yes, yes.  Right.  And she‘s hot. 

KILMARTIN:  She has been awakened.

ABRAMS:  She‘s hot.  I was wondering why we‘re showing the clips. 

BREWER:  This is the ad. 

(CROSS TALK)

NICE:  She‘s rather calling the McCain old, which is something the Obama camp has been trying to find a way to do. 

BREWER:  They just needed to get Paris Hilton (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

(CROSS TALK)

NICE:  Yes.  You know what I love?  She puts up a picture of the Crypt Keeper in comparison to John McCain.  And I‘m sure he looked at it and went, “What‘s wrong with that guy up there?” 

ABRAMS:  Everyone is staying with us.  Coming up, more of the week‘s winners and losers.  Quarterback Brett Favre, out of retirement.  He‘s going green, but not bay.  And controversy in Beijing.  This poster from gold medal swimmer Amanda Beard - yes, she‘s naked and no, the Chinese are not happy about it. 

Plus a cop meets his match in a wild turkey.  Coming up in 60 seconds. 

ABRAMS:  Now to “Reality Bites,” a dose of reality caught on tape.  Tonight, we bring you a standoff of sorts.  It‘s man versus bird for this very unlikely police officer, a very persistent wild turkey just would not leave him or his patrol car alone.  Leaving the car would mean facing the gobbler which it seems he did not want to do.  He blares the siren, but the bird does not back down.  No word on how the “fowl situation” ended.  Be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We are back with the week‘s “Winners and Losers.”  Helping us out tonight, Contessa Brewer, Chuck Nice and Laurie Kilmartin.  Up next, divorce football style.  After 16 years of superstardom in Green Bay, Brett Favre, one of pro-football‘s all-time great QBs traded today to the New York Jets.  This after a tumultuous few weeks when he un-retired, scorned by the Packers.  This guy is a self-proclaimed country boy from southern Mississippi.  But unlike Broadway Joe Namath, this southern star says he has no interest in the bright lights of the big city; he just wants to play ball. 

Already, Jet Fans responding to the NFL that Favre‘s Jets jerseys today set the record for most jerseys ever sold in one day.  I love the New Yorkers, they‘re always jumping on whatever‘s hot, right Contessa? 

BREWER:  This is a travesty.  I mean, do you know what this means?  The Packers have had him for 16 seasons and they say, “You know what, Brett, you can come back to the Packers, but you‘re going to have to compete to be our starting quarterback.”  That‘s like, nobody puts baby in the corner.  What else is he going to do, you know?  He had to go - and now I say the Packers lose, the management, losers, Brett Favre, loser.  The only people who are winners here are the Jets. 

NICE:  No.  I‘ll tell you why Brett Favre is a loser, because he now plays for the Jets.  And they don‘t win. 

KILMARTIN:  Maybe they will now. 

NICE:  Oh, yes.  Right. 

KILLMANRTIN:  Well, he‘s 38 years old in the NFL.  I think the winner oh, he‘s 39.  Yes, the winner is Advil.  He‘s going to be taking Advil.

HAMMER:  Nice.  Talk show host Tyra Banks, who laid a spread in “Harper‘s Bazaar” magazine impersonating Michelle Obama, has for some reason raised eyebrows.  Because she posed with a fake Barack and a pretend daughter under the desk in a faux Oval Office.  She was in bed with a fake Obama.  Now, we see her in a new video from behind the scenes, fist bumping with the fake Obama.  Do we have - where‘s that video?  There it is. 

NICE:  First, we see them in bed; then, we see them fist-bumping.

ABRAMS:  All right.  What is so controversial about this?  I mean, she‘s pretending to be somebody.  She‘s acting.  Whooo!  I mean is that such a big deal? 

BREWER:  You know, yesterday I called this creepy.  I think I called her a loser on this.  I‘ve revised now because - then I found out that the last time the “Bazaar” did this, the magazine did it, they actually used cardboard cutouts and I think she‘s a vast improvement. 

ABRAMS:  What‘s the big deal.

KILMARTIN:  Tyra - here‘s thing.  We have a supermodel who‘s a first lady, Carla Bruni in France and Michelle Obama might be first lady.  I think Tyra has enough of an ego to think that Michelle Obama is laying the groundwork for her. 

ABRAMS:  Does this bother you, Chuck? 

NICE:  It doesn‘t bother me at all.  It is a little creepy, you know what I mean? 

KILMARTIN:  Which part?

NICE:  The fact that she‘s pretending to be, you know, a woman who -

ABRAMS:  You mean as opposed to thinking she actually is?  I mean, what are the options here? 

NICE:  In her mind, in some way, I think that she does think that she is.  But Michelle Obama is not the first lady.  I think that‘s what‘s really weird about it.  If she were actually the first lady, I mean, why would Michelle Obama who isn‘t first lady?  Why not, you know –

ABRAMS:  Cindy McCain? 

NICE:  Or Cindy McCain, if you want to -

KILMARTIN:  I would love to see Tyra as Cindy McCain. 

NICE:  Now, there - that‘s something. 

ABRAMS:  Next up, the Summer Olympics starts tomorrow, but already, the games‘ first controversy.  Gold medal swimmer Amanda Beard wanted to unveil a naked anti-fur campaign poster for the animal rights group PETA.  The Chinese - shocker - they weren‘t happy about it.  They canceled their press announcement at a hotel citing security concerns.  Wow.  Security over that.  She must have looked pretty good.  The 1996 gold medallist insisted the Olympics are an ideal place for her naked protest. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMANDA BEARD, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST:  Well, you know, for me, I think this is something very positive and good.  So I personally don‘t worry about it, and I‘m very proud of the things that I do. And I stand by what I do and I think it‘s a wonderful thing.  Personally, I think it‘s great. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  I think so, too.  I‘m just not sure if that support makes me a man who won‘t eat pig or just a pig.  I mean, that‘s the thing, I‘m just not sure. 

BREWER:  You know what I really think?  I think it‘s fine because after all, she showed more in “Playboy,”  At least, this time, it‘s for a cause. 

KILMARTIN:  Yes.

NICE:  Wow, she was in “Playboy?” 

KILMARTIN:  Yes, she was. 

NICE:  Note to self. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Yes. 

NICE:  No, listen.  The real problem is the Chinese are upset because they‘re like, “Look, we don‘t even have human rights, and you‘re talking about animal rights?  Get your priorities straight, lady.” 

KILMARTIN:  Actually, she was like, “I don‘t want my voice to be silenced,” because the Chinese shut down her press conference. 

ABRAMS:  What is saying?  Honestly, when you unveil a PETA ad in china?  I mean, what are you expecting?  You know -

KILMARTIN:  But she‘s acting like she‘s tank man from Tiananmen Square. 

(CROSS TALK)

It‘s OK.

NICE:  And here‘s the real deal.  Nobody can hear what you‘re saying when you‘re naked, lady. 

ABRAMS: But, hey, she got the attention.  This is one of those PETA ads that worked. 

KILMARTIN:  So you guys are going to stop eating meat in honor of -

ABRAMS:  I don‘t eat meat, actually.

KILMARTIN:  Oh, there you go.  You reinforced what (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

ABRAMS:  I‘m just saying, you know -

NICE:  I tell you what I‘m going to do.  I‘m going to have a double bacon sandwich while I‘m looking at her naked. 

ABRAMS:  Coming up next, the granddaddy of pinups facing tough times.  Hugh Hefner now actually selling tickets to parties at the Playboy Mansion as “Playboy” circulation plummets.

And 2.8-inch actor Mini-Me suing his ex-girlfriend for pushing him and releasing their now-infamous sex tape.  She‘s not giving up without a fight.  More winners and losers, coming up next. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We are back with what may be the best two winners and losers of the week and our all-star panel, Contessa Brewer, Chuck Nice and Laurie Kilmartin. 

Next up, bad news for “Playboy” enterprises.  The stock is down, a reported 14 percent from last year, which may explain why Hugh Hefner is, for the first time, selling tickets to its prestigious the “Midsummer Night‘s Dream” bash at the Playboy Mansion.  And now, the counterpart to “Playboy,” “Playgirl” is folding.  The publication for “women,” in quotes, which became big in the ‘70s, is shutting down its print operation. 

But don‘t panic, some content will remain online.  When you look at some of these covers, it is a wonder the magazine lasted as long as it did.  Here is David Duchovny in 1991, looking like he is wearing a diaper. 

NICE:  Now, we know where the X Files are. 

ABRAMS:  And nothing says “Merry Christmas” quite like Burt, circa, 1974. 

NICE:  Look at that.

KILMARTIN:  That wasn‘t bad.

ABRAMS:  And here‘s Richard Gere and some ...

BREWER:  Actually -

KILMARTIN:  That‘s when they started to turn the other direction. 

ABRAMS:  ... beauty. 

(CROSS TALK)

We‘ve got a lot more stories here.  We‘ve got “Playgirl” no longer printing its magazine.  We‘ve got the fact that Hugh is now charging money, and that “Playboy” has been having trouble. 

NICE:  Well, yes.  “Playgirl,” first of all, should have gone out of business a long time ago, because it was false advertising.  It‘s never been for women.  It should be called “Playdude.” 

KILMARTIN:  You look at the centerfold.  It‘s like, that guy has one straight bone in his body.  And that‘s it. 

NICE:  Exactly.

ABRAMS:  And what about the fact they‘re selling tickets?  I mean, it used to be it‘s, like, really hard thing to get into the Playboy Mansion, right?  As you know, Contessa, from your many visits. 

BREWER:  Yes.  I mean, because they are kicking me out every time I try to get in. 

ABRAMS:  Right?  Now you can buy - this is interesting.  It‘s like - remember?  It was like Sean Puffy Combs, P. Diddy.  You have the white party.

BREWER:  He‘s just P. Diddy nowadays. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  Sorry.  P. Diddy - he now sells tickets to the white party.  And now, none of the celebrities go unless they‘re paid to go. 

BREWER:  I mean, isn‘t this a little bit like the frat parties that you used to go in college.  You have to pay at the door in order to get in.  Bring your own beer. 

ABRAMS:  Maybe Hefner was selling tickets so he can actually buy a shirt.  Because he is always - 

KILMARTIN:  You know, he‘s got three girlfriends.  You know how much a girlfriend costs?  Ask Dan. 

ABRAMS:  Whoa!

NICE:  And three live-in girlfriends. 

KILMARTIN:  But also the level of celebrity he‘s been getting lately.  It‘s like Andy Dick and David Spade.  You might as well bring in regular guys that can juice this joint up a little bit. 

NICE:  I‘m Rocco from jersey. 

ABRAMS:  Up next, actor Verne Troyer, a.k.a. “Mini-Me” from “Austin Powers” is suing his ex-girlfriend for $20 million, claiming she leaked their now-infamous sex tape that found its way online earlier this year, and then she threw him around like a rag doll.  Troyer‘s lawyer said, quote, “When you pick up a two-foot, eight-inch human being, and throw him to the floor, it hurts.”  Ex Ranae Shrider was filing a suit with accusations of her own including that Mini-Me assaulted her and her dog with his, quote, “reaching stick.” 

(CROSS TALK)

ABRAMS:  Now, what happened ...  

NICE:  I‘m sorry. 

ABRAMS:  ... Laurie, in the video?  It seemed so loving.  I mean there seemed to be so much love in the air. 

KILMARTIN:  I don‘t know, but here‘s the thing.  I feel really sorry for this guy.  The one way he is going to get laid is if women go, “I wonder what it is like to have sex with Mini-Me.”  And now, there is a tape out, you really don‘t have to do it anymore. 

NICE:  Yes, exactly. 

ABRAMS:  The tape is a little troubling. 

NICE:  Well, the problem is he is suing not because she actually leaked the tape, because in the tape, it actually looks like she is giving birth to him.  But I‘m not going to explain that. 

ABRAMS:  Have you guys actually seen the tape, by the way? 

KILMARTIN:  No.

BREWER:  Do you think that anybody should admit that on national -

ABRAMS:  I did.

BREWER:  Really? 

(CROSS TALK)

ABRAMS:  I am a reporter.  I‘m covering the story. 

BREWER:  Right. 

ABRAMS:  So when HR comes into my office and wants to know what I was doing on that porn site, I have now -

NICE:  I‘ve got to give it to you -

ABRAMS:  No, I -

KILMARTIN:  You‘re ignoring the news. 

ABRAMS:  I saw like the 30-second version of it, which was sort of the cleaned up version. 

KILMARTIN:  Oh, it is the highlights.  Funny bits.

ABRAMS:  It was funny bits, but it was -

NICE:  Does it have anything else but funny bits?  OK.  I‘m sorry. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, that explains it.  Dirty version has not apparently been released. 

NICE:  Yes, right. 

ABRAMS:  So that would have been really a burn on me if I said, “Yes, yes, I saw it.”  And they just told, “Dan, it hasn‘t been released yet.” 

BREWER:  Here‘s the sad part.  The sad part really is that he doesn‘t have a girlfriend.  He couldn‘t reach the camera to get it.  He forgot - I mean - when you‘re a little kid and you want to get what your parents have hidden in the closet, you pull over a chair.  He can‘t even do that. 

ABRAMS:  We talked about this last time.  She was apparently hiding the tape in the -

NICE:  On a high shelf that he couldn‘t reach.  So that‘s how he couldn‘t get the tape back. 

ABRAMS:  I mean, it‘s obvious that she did this.  I shouldn‘t say it‘s obvious.  It seems that there may have been some motive on her part if she did leak it -

NICE:  Right.

ABRAMS:  That maybe that‘s why this happened, right?

NICE:  Even if she had some untoward motives, here‘s what it comes down to.  Verne Troyer is a true loser because a woman, to have sex with a man who is two feet, eight inches tall, would be the equivalent of me having a sex with a 10-foot, six-inch woman.  How awesome would that be?  Like you‘re having sex with a giant.  Do you know how many dudes fantasize about having sex with a giant? 

BREWER:  No, I think it‘s just you. 

KILMARTIN:  No, I don‘t know. 

NICE:  Ladies, please tell me it is just not me. 

KILMARTIN:  Not Dan.  He‘s got midget porn on his hard drive. 

ABRAMS:  You know what?  Actually, you should go check out the Olympics.  The woman in the shot put I think was - she was large.  I mean, she was really big. 

BREWER:  Yes, I do know that because I‘m a journalist too. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  It was 300 something. 

BREWER:  She‘s tall. 

ABRAMS:  She‘s tall and very -

BREWER:  And big. 

ABRAMS:  Big and strong.

BREWER:  Because you have to be in shot put. 

ABRAMS:  And you know, what?  This is a tease for next week.  Next week, I am going one-on-one with one of the female body builders.  We‘re going to go work out.  We‘re going to arm wrestle ...

KILMARTIN:  Oh, cool.

ABRAMS:  ... the whole thing.  It‘s going to be big. 

NICE:  That‘s very cool.

ABRAMS:  It‘s going to be - yes.

KILMARTIN:  Make sure you can reach you can reach (UNINTELLIGIBLE). 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Big winner of the week?  Big winner of the week? 

KILMARTIN:  Paris Hilton.  Paris Hilton rocked. 

ABRAMS:  Big winner or loser of the week? 

NICE:  Loser?  Vern Troyer. 

BREWER:  Big loser, Packers - you want me to say winner? 

ABRAMS:  Either one.

BREWER:  Paris Hilton is the winner. 

ABRAMS:  She‘s the winner.

BREWER:  The Packers management, losers.  Losers. 

ABRAMS:  Contessa Brewer, Chuck Nice, Laurie Kilmartin, thanks for being with us. 

That is all the time we have for tonight.  E-mail us about the show.  I‘m sure there‘s a lot of thoughts on this one, verdict@msnbc.com.  Include your name and where you‘re writing from.  We will see you next Monday.

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

END   

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

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