updated 8/13/2008 12:03:55 PM ET 2008-08-13T16:03:55

Guest: Kevin Tibbles, Contessa Brewer

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight on VERDICT: New questions about John Edwards‘ mea culpa.

Did he tell the truth about his affair with Rielle Hunter?  Tonight, a friend of her says no.  A woman named Pigeon is dropping all over Edwards‘ version of events.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ, CBS NEWS:  He says it started five months later when his campaign hired her.

PIGEON O‘BRIEN, RIELLE HUNTER‘S FRIEND:  Yes, that‘s not true. 

That‘s not true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  And when did Rielle Hunter starts drawing a salary from the Edwards campaign.  Where was that money coming from?  And exactly what was the Edwards machine getting for its money?  Oh, yes, and who‘s the father of Rielle‘s baby?  Well, it depends on who you ask.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RODRIGUEZ:  Do you think that John Edwards is the father of her daughter?

O‘BRIEN:  I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  There is, at least, one confirmed product of the relationship, video she was well paid to produce.  In the appropriately named video “The Real John,” Edwards talks to Hunter about what he really wants.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN EDWARDS, (D) FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  That I actually want to country to see who I am.  I‘d rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Really?

And in hard to believe for 200, from Beijing.  The big dramas in the pool where swimmers are suddenly swimming faster than most people run.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER:  Unbelievable.  Yes!  He‘s done it!  The U.S. has done it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  What‘s making Michael Phelps and friends suddenly move like human motor boats?  And what is the biggest medal winner in swimming history Mark Spitz to have said about it?  And, my not so Olympic moment is coming up as I take on a female bodybuilder.

From bodybuilding to body bashing, the silver set takes on FOX News.  These senior citizens get unfair and unbalanced on a FOX correspondent.

And, unfair?  In Winners and Losers tonight, Angelina Jolie replaces Tom Cruise in a movie?  Yes, he‘s out and she‘s in.

And what does it tell us about John McCain that his favorite song isn‘t just a ‘70s disco tune, it‘s from Abba, and it‘s about taking chances, not experience.

And this is an experience: Hold the pickles, it‘s bath time at “Burger King.”  This guy is literally bathing in a kitchen sink there.

It‘s all coming up right now on VERDICT.

Hi, everyone.  Welcome to the show.  Tonight: More bad news for John Edwards, a close friend of his mistress, Rielle Hunter now says Edwards repeatedly lied when he publicly confessed to cheating on his wife.  Pigeon O‘Brien—yes, that‘s her name says Rielle confided in her about the affair and that Edwards‘ story isn‘t the whole truth.       

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘BRIEN:  As of his statement on Friday evening, he is lying about the timeline of the affair and other details about it.  Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  That was on CBS.  O‘Brien spoke today to NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell for tomorrow‘s “TODAY SHOW” and said she remembers the start of the affair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O‘BRIEN:  I vividly remember her excitement at their meeting and how thrilled she was by his energy and his spirit and the way that they connected.  She was very excited about his intellect and the connection that they felt together, a very passionate, a very intense connection that they felt.

And they became romantically involved pretty quickly and it was a joyous love affair for her and certainly for him.  He was spending quite a bit of time with her and encouraging her in the relationship and they were very connected at that time, through the winter of 2006 and spring of 2006.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  A joyous love affair.  O‘Brien spoke as she and others are challenging three major claims Edwards made about his liaison with Hunter, who‘s hired to make Web videos to the Edwards‘ presidential campaign.

First, when did the affair begin?  Edwards says it didn‘t start until the summer of 2006.  But according to O‘Brien, the affair began five months earlier, which would mean—Edwards in fact hired his girlfriend to work for his campaign.

Second, when did the affair end and connected to that, when did he tell his wife about it?  Edwards claims it was in the fall of 2006, before he ran for president.  He says he told his wife about it almost immediately afterwards.  The problem, new photos uncovered today show Hunter and Edwards together in December of 2006.

If Edwards really told her about the affair in the fall, would Elizabeth really allow Hunter to be on that trip in December?

And third, who‘s the father of the baby?  Edwards vehemently denies being the father, but Hunter‘s friend, Pigeon, says it‘s got to be him.

Here now is Melinda Henneberger, contributor to “Slate” magazine, she‘s been writing extensively on this; Ari Melber, correspondent for “The Nation,” he traveled with the Edwards campaign earlier this year; and, Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the “Chicago Sun-Times.”

Thanks to all of you for coming on, appreciate it.

All right.  Melinda, it seems that John Edwards‘ story, at least if you believe Pigeon, is kind of falling apart here.

MELINDA HENNEBERGER, SLATE MAGAZINE:  Well, I think the fact that we‘re even debating whether to believe Pigeon or John Edwards tells us where we are with this story.  His credibility since he has admitted to lying about it and misrepresenting what‘s happened is pretty shot here.

And so, yes, I‘m not sure how many—not only how many people believe the timeline or the paternity or when he told Elizabeth, but given that, I think, his public life is over, I think, it really probably only does matter to his family now, except in the question of where the money is coming from for those $15,000 monthly payments to his former, I guess, mistress and, you know, where the money to hire her.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s be clear, Lynn, all right?  Because Edwards to ABC, all right—this is what he said, “Was the affair going on when you hired her in July of 2006?”  Edwards: “No, no, no.  She was hired to come in and produce films and that‘s the reason she was hired.”  He said, “Nothing to do with the fact that you were having an affair with her?” “Same answer, same answer - no, it did not.”  “So you hired her before it even started?”  “That is correct.”

Here is Pigeon challenging that timeline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RODRIGUEZ:  She told you it started in February or March of 2006.

O‘BRIEN:  Yes.

RODRIGUEZ:  He says it started five months later when his campaign hired her.

O‘BRIEN:  Yes, that‘s not true.  That‘s not true.  It started in the winter of ‘06.  They became involved at that point, not later in the summer when she was hired to work for the political action committee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right.  Lynn, look, I‘m not a body language expert or I don‘t interpret language, but when John Edwards says, “Same answer, same answer,” as oppose to just saying no, it didn‘t mean that he said no, it did not, but this is—there is some significance to this, isn‘t there?

LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  Well, it is because then it moves from just a sordid affair, which by the way this is, to did he use campaign contributions or contributions to his political action committee to bankroll his mistress‘ job?

And then it goes into, you know, goes into this other area, his credibility though is, as Melinda said and everyone says, on this point is shot.  He seemed not to be aware, Dan, that he was opening more doors or as many doors as he was closing them when he gave this interview.

ABRAMS:  But, I mean, it‘s amazing to me, Ari, and I‘m going to play this because I want to ask you, after I show you this, this is a seasoned, really smart politician and I want to know how he can make a mistake and not know that this might show up, right?

Here‘s what he tells, again, ABC‘s Bob Woodruff about when he tells his wife about the affair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “NIGHTLINE”/ABC/FRIDAY)

BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS:  If you thought that you would not get caught, how did she find out about this affair?

EDWARDS:  I told her.

WOODRUFF:  This was before the public reporting about this?

EDWARDS:  Oh, it was way before.  This was in 2006.  She was mad.  She was angry.  I think furious would be a good way to describe it and it was painful for her, hard and painful for her?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  So, he says it was in the fall, the fall of 2006, he tells Elizabeth and then these “Associated Press” and “National Enquirer” pictures come up showing Hunter traveling with Edwards in December of 2006.  I mean, either Elizabeth wasn‘t that angry and wasn‘t that furious, or Edwards just decided that, “Oh, you know what—it doesn‘t matter, I‘ll bring her along anyway” or he‘s lying?

ARI MELBER, THE NATION:  Yes, the pictures don‘t help, but unfortunately, there‘s more where this came from.  I spoke with an Edwards‘ aide today who said that if the candidate—the former candidate here thinks that he can disclose some things while there‘s still uncertainty or falsehoods out there and hedge—then clearly, the Edwards family still doesn‘t understand how this works.  There‘s too much documentation and way too much photography and other videos—everything we‘re seeing for him to tell half a story here, unfortunately.

ABRAMS:  Yes, and you know, Melinda, you would think, though, that he would get it, right?  I mean, that he would know, “Boy, they‘re going to check this out, they‘re going to follow up, they‘re going to ask questions, they‘re going to go back into their files, they‘re going to look for pictures, et cetera.”

HENNEBERGER:  Well, when you said, you know, he‘s a smart guy, how could he not know?  But I‘m not sure smart has anything to do with these sorts of situations.  I mean -

ABRAMS:  But, and here‘s—Melinda, I agree with you to the extent that smart people do dumb things, right?  Meaning, that he had the affair, and that he lied about it—OK, but then he‘s going to go public, right?  Then he‘s caught and he makes a decision, he calls in Bob Woodruff, he says, “Bob, want to talk to you about it.  I want to come clean about this.”  And then he says all these things which you can figure out and find out may not be true.

HENNEBERGER:  Right.  You know, my honest impression is that if he‘s lying now and there‘s certainly some pretty good indications, I think he‘s still lying because he hasn‘t told the whole truth to Elizabeth is my impression.  That I have the unhappy feeling that she doesn‘t know the whole truth even now.

ABRAMS:  You know what‘s interesting—you know what‘s interesting, Ari, the man of the three, is going nah, nah, nah (ph), Lynn is going yeah, yeah, yeah, in response to that comment.  I‘m not saying that it‘s based on gender.  I‘m just saying, I noticed that Lynn is nodding as Ari is shaking his head.

MELBER:  Of course—of course, that‘s not what you‘re saying.  Look, the bottom line is as we know from Bill Clinton to John McCain, people lie about sex and accusations of sex for a whole range of reasons.  I don‘t know that it‘s productive, you know, to come in here on a news program and speculate on what he has or hasn‘t told Elizabeth, the problem of course is what he didn‘t tell the public while he was being vetted for the presidency.

ABRAMS:  But, no, I‘m sorry.  Once you start telling -

(CROSSTALK)

ABRAMS:  I‘m sorry.  He and Elizabeth are public figures at this point.  When he starts talking about when he told Elizabeth, if he wants to say, “You know what—I‘m not going to talk about that, I‘m going not going to tell when I talked to Elizabeth because that‘s private.”  But the minute he starts talking about that, I‘m sorry.  He then opens himself up to being challenged on it.

Lynn, go ahead and then I want to play one more piece of sound.

SWEET:  Well, yes.  And the point here is where there is some productive public use for this discussion—it lets people see for themselves when they measure a public figure and they see in a sense is a pathology here.  I think he thought that he could just finagle his way out of this ABC interview, as fantastic as that seems, that he goes in and he says, “I‘m going to do a tell-all.”  ABC (INAUDIBLE) it‘s not going to be a “tell almost.”

ABRAMS:  All right.  Lynn, I‘m going to ask you to hold on for one sec because I want to play a piece of sound.  This is number five here.  This is something you asked us about yesterday, you said we play the part of the interview where John Edwards is being asked about whether the baby is his and you said this tells the whole story, let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “NIGHTLINE”/ABC/FRIDAY)

WOODRUFF:  Does Elizabeth think this is possibly your baby?

EDWARDS:  No, of course not.

WOODRUFF:  No way.

EDWARDS:  She knows it‘s not.

WOODRUFF:  How does she know though?

EDWARDS:  Because I reasoned (ph) onto her, because it‘s not possible.

WOODRUFF:  And that picture is absolutely you and you are holding that baby?

EDWARDS:  The picture in the tabloid?

WOODRUFF:  Yes.

EDWARDS:  I have no idea what that picture is.

WOODRUFF:  But you‘ve seen that picture, right?

EDWARDS:  I did see it and I cannot make any sense out of that.  I have no idea who that baby is.  I honestly have no idea.  I mean do you know how many pictures have been taken of me holding children in the last three years?  I mean, it happens all the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  All right, Lynn, you‘re right.  You‘re right.  He told us to get it back and you said, “You know what, it‘s kind of an astonishing non-answer.”

SWEET:  And how many ways can we say that he knew that picture was there, that‘s why when he says in his confession that he put out on Friday, you know, I‘m narcissistic and egocentric, there‘s a pathology here, it doesn‘t mean he‘s not growing (ph), it doesn‘t mean he might not have the best public policies in areas of problem (ph) or whatever—but, whoa, he knew the picture was there and he can‘t even say, yes, no, it‘s me, it‘s not me.  You know, whoa.

ABRAMS:  Pigeon says she thinks it‘s his daughter, but she says she just thinks it is.  Anyway.

Everyone is staying with us.

Coming up: John Edwards‘ mistress made $114,000 producing Web videos for his campaign, but these are not traditional campaign spots, we‘ll show you some of them where it appears he is talking to her.

And: Swimming world records smashed left and right even by swimmers who don‘t even place.  How could swimmers have gotten so much faster so quickly?

Plus: What is senator and doctor, Tom Coburn, from Oklahoma doing that has led to his facing possible sanctions from the Senate ethics panel delivering babies for free back home?  It‘s today‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington.  We‘re back in 60 seconds.       

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington: Crying foul over birthing babies.  The Senate Ethics Committee is escalating its battle with Republican lawmaker Tom Coburn, a career obstetrician for delivering babies at a hospital in Oklahoma.  It says the senator is in serious violation of Senate rules, according to Politico.  The committee is up in arms because the hospital where Coburn practices is now owned by a for profit entity.

Coburn says the claim is bogus, he doesn‘t bill anything, he‘s not going to stop.  The senator provides the services for free, in his free time, even pays his malpractice premiums and administrative fees out of his own pocket.

With all the congressional ethics scandals on Capitol Hill, they‘re going after this? -- another reason Why America Hates Washington.

We‘re back with more of John Edwards talking on camera to his former campaign filmmaker and lover, Rielle Hunter.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  As new questions arise tonight about John Edwards‘ account of his affair with Rielle Hunter, we learned that Hunter had bit parts in movies with Kurt Russell and Denzel Washington in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  By 2006, Hunter was hired by Edwards to go behind the scenes and filmed Edwards as he traveled the country running for president.

Tonight, we have portions of Hunter‘s campaign films and they provide a glimpse at how seemingly comfortable Edwards was with Hunter behind the camera.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARDS:  I have come to the personal conclusion that I actually want the country to see who I am, who I really am.  But I don‘t know what the results of that will be.  But for me personally, I‘d rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll which you put up in front of audiences.  That‘s not me, you know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Melinda, it‘s almost like he couldn‘t have said anything that was going to get him into more trouble than that on the video.

HENNEBERGER:  Especially because it‘s so interesting the way she has edited the video, it‘s almost like a presentation of their flirtation.  You know, there‘s so much—she‘s laughing in the background, he‘s talking to her, he‘s obviously, you know, having this flirtation with her that‘s shown on camera and it was an interesting creative choice for her to present it that way.

ABRAMS:  And I want to play a little bit more where you can hear Rielle Hunter laughing and talking with Edwards in that way you talked about.

HENNEBERG:  Right.

ABRAMS:  Let‘s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2007)

EDWARDS:  I wrote my speech after lunch.  Here‘s the speech.

(LAUGHTER)

EDWARDS:  It‘s a great speech.

RIELLE HUNTER, THEN EDWARDS CAMPAIGN STAFFER:  Can you read it?

EDWARDS:  Yes, I can read it.

HUNTER:  You can?

EDWARDS:  Yes.  It says intro, I know don‘t know what‘s going to be, I‘ll make it up when I get there.  (INAUDIBLE) my speech.

(LAUGHTER)

HUNTER:  I‘m so glad you like it.

EDWARDS:  I like it.  Wait until you here me give it live.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  You know, Ari, of all the jobs and the person you don‘t have to have an affair with, I think campaign videographer has got to be near the top, because it‘s then going to chronicle the conversations that you guys had on camera.

MELBER:  I mean, national security adviser could be worst.  You don‘t want to give them so much power.  But it wasn‘t a good idea, the egotism that he referred to in his statement clearly relates to these kinds of choices, almost challenging everyone, you know, to find out and to document so much of it.

But I would put this in a larger context.  We have seen both presidents from LBJ to Richard Nixon record all kinds of things damming to themselves because they don‘t think anyone will get a hold of them and they think they can use the videos like they use other things to their own benefit.

ABRAMS:  But it would seem to me this is a little different.  I mean, this is not the sort of thing—I mean, this is something, Lynn, where he knows he‘s having an affair with a woman or has had an affair, whatever it is, with a woman on the other side of the camera.

SWEET:  Dan, you want me to say he should haven‘t done it?  He was silly, he was stupid, what was he thinking—we could do this for 29 minutes, Dan.  And I think they‘ll (ph) agree that—but see, you‘re dealing with something in this case who has this reckless behavior.  You know, so if he was having the affair, you know, where are the subtleties, where‘s the caring for Elizabeth to keep it private if he indeed felt the need to do this.

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER:  So, Lynn keeps talking about his pathology and his recklessness, because this apply, I suppose, to John McCain for leaving his first wife, for never coming clean of that the “New York Times” account, on his affairs.  I mean, do these apply equally to anyone who makes a personal mistake?  Is that a pathology you‘re concerned about with Senator McCain?

SWEET:  First all, for the moment, I‘m not doing comparatives on this.  But let‘s just talk about if you want to do McCain -

MELBER:  Yes, let‘s try one.  Yes, let‘s try one.

SWEET:  I don‘t know if this was—I‘m not interested in doing that.  We‘re talking about John Edwards here and I think with this episode and these videos show somebody who is doing something in a public way.

And my point is, sometimes people do fall in and out of love, do have affairs, cheat on their spouses—we‘re talking about the reckless part here, is that he was flying close to the sun and that‘s the reason perhaps he got caught, is that he wasn‘t doing the things that other people do to say, you know, look, I understand, don‘t we all, affairs of the heart and that people make mistakes.

What he was doing was keeping himself—the potential of exposure it‘s only interesting that it didn‘t come out even earlier.  And I think he was pretty lucky.       

ABRAMS:  All right.

MELBER:  Well, and that applies to McCain too.  I mean, it came out after he won the nomination.  I understand the recklessness, I think these politicians make mistakes, but we should be careful to over-obsess over John Edwards when the candidate in the race with this problem doesn‘t receive this kind of treatment, I don‘t know why.

SWEET:  Well, I think, for a point, you‘re going someplace else.  We‘re talking about a public figure here who had just recently, as recently as Friday, called for a camera and because he wanted to come out (ph) in a public way an affair he had and he has a beloved wife who‘s very much a public figure herself and it‘s eve of the Democratic convention.  So, that‘s kind of, you know—come on.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  And I think at this point, the comparison is if you want to make an Obama-McCain comparison—I mean, look, we heard from a lot of viewers who wrote and saying, why won‘t you talk about McCain, making the exact same point Ari was making, but, anyway.

Melinda Henneberger, Ari Melber, and Lynn Sweet, thanks a lot.

MELBER:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Coming up, it‘s one thing to watch Michael Phelps shatter world records, but isn‘t there something more to fact that every world record is swimming is falling?

And: A group seniors go after a FOX News reporter.  That‘s next in Beat the Press.

What‘s your VERDICT?  E-mail us at: Verdict@msnbc.com.  Your e-mails during the P.O.‘ed box at the end of the show.  Please include your name, where you‘re writing from.  We‘ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

First up: FOX‘s William Lajeunesse was using a blow torch to demonstrate how flammable oil shell can be and informed they had a fire extinguisher just in case things went wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FOX NEWS)

WILLIAM LAJEUNESSE, FOX REPORTER:  The least we are prepared out here, just in case.

(CROSSTALK)

LAJEUNESSE:  We just demonstrate, Chris and (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No, we‘re not going to do that.  You are not going to spray me.

LAJEUNESSE:  Back to you.

JULIE BANDERAS, FOX ANCHOR:  I want to borrow that blow torch, I‘ll spray it on tray, I‘m not scared.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Julie‘s going to spray a blow torch on him?  I‘m not sure that‘s such a good idea.

Next up: In the better late than never category, the “New York Times” issued a correction today that is 48 years late.  Oh, it‘s so important they needed to correct the record, quote, “A listing of credits on April 28, 1960, with a theater review of “West Side Story” on its return to the Winter Garden Theater, misstated the surname of the actor who played action.  He is George Liker, not Johnson.”

Well, thank goodness after all those years, we got that straight.  The correction noted that Mr. Liker brought this to their attention because he hopes to audition for a rule on the show‘s revival.

Finally: A group of seniors showed FOX‘s Griff Jenkins how they used their canes in self-defense.

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

GRIFF JENKINS, FOX REPORTER:  You call this cane-fu.

Not bad.  Still coming after you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ABRAMS:  Up next: At the Olympics, swimming records shattered right and left.  Have swimmers really improved that much or does the answer lie with new technology from NASA, including the “Super Speedo”?

And later: My own not so Olympic moment, going one-on-one with a female bodybuilder.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Welcome back.  Now, to the Olympics and the question of why so many world records have been broken in swimming events.  NBC‘s Kevin Tibbles have some answers in Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEVIN TIBBLES, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice over):  In the pool, Beijingers simply call the water cube, records are falling like dominoes.  Leading the way, Michael Phelps, three races, three world records, three golds. 

MICHAEL PHELPS, OLYMPIC SWIMMER:  I‘m almost shocked that I went that fast. 

TIBBLES:  Also Aaron Peirsol broke his own world record in the 100 meter backstroke.  And Natalie Coughlin followed with her personal best to win gold.  All wearing this -

NATALIE COUGHLIN, OLYMPIC SWIMMER:  Yes, it feels good to put on the stars and stripes and represent our country well. 

TIBBLES:  The Speedo Lazr uses space-age technology designed by NASA to slice through the water. 

JASON RANCE, SPEEDO:  NASA has a lot of expertise in making spaceships fly very quickly through space and through air.  They want to reduce drag and it‘s the same on a swimmer‘s body, you want to reduce the drag so they can move easily through the water. 

TIBBLES:  Ten world records in swimming so far, nine of them by swimmers in the Lazr.  Training used to be all about endurance; now, Team USA travels with four scientists who videotape each race and then refine every stroke, kick, even breath. 

GENARIO TSKALOS, USA SWIMMING:  Why fishes swim so fast?  Why can‘t we swim so fast?  And I believe eventually, we‘ll be even better than now. 

TIBBLES:  And then, there is the cube. 

(on camera):  It sure looks like a pool and they use it like a pool, but in fact it‘s a $200 million high tech aquatic marvel, all designed to increase speed.  It‘s deeper, three meters instead of two, cutting down on resistance. 

(voice over):  Nonskid starting blocks increase propulsion, special gutters absorb any chop and wave-eating buoys chew up turbulence.  But with so many records being shattered, there will always be questions about doping. 

KAREN CROUSE, “NEW YORK TIMES”:  You have the specter of performance-enhancing drugs hovering over every sport, not just swimming. 

TIBBLES:  The top five finishers are immediately tested when they leave the pool. 

ROWDY GAINES, NBC SPORTS:  These athletes have trained harder and worked harder than any other athletes before them. 

TIBBLES (on camera):  Ever? 

GAINES:  Ever. 

TIBBLES (voice over):  Still, with so many cutting edge advances, some swimmers resent the notion they‘re winning with help. 

PHELPS:  I still wear the same goggles that were made 40 years ago. 

TIBBLES (on camera):  Is it the suit?

CULLEN JONES, OLYMPIC SWIMMER:  The suit doesn‘t get up at 5:30 in the morning like I do.

TIBBLES (voice over):  That combination of hard work and innovation is proving to be golden.  Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Beijing. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  In a moment, we‘re going to do the “Winners and Losers” of the day from the Olympics.  But now, to a sport you won‘t be seeing in the Olympics, professional body building.  A new MSNBC documentary, “Hooked Muscle Women” look to the group of professional female bodybuilders. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Twenty-seven -old Christy Hawkins of Pasadena, California is 5 foot 3 inches and solid as a rock.  Her biceps are the size of some women‘s thighs.  She can bench press 225 pounds.  That‘s the weight of Derek Jeter, plus 30.  She can squat around 350.  That‘s heavier than Shaquille O‘Neal.  In the world of body building, Christy is the “it” girl of the moment. 

Since she was 17, Christy competed as an amateur body builder.  In November 2007, she made it to the professional level by winning a top amateur competition.  There are only about 85 professional female bodybuilders in the organization she‘s joined, The International Federation of Bodybuilders.  Christy is now proud to be one of them. 

CHRISTY HAWKINS, PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER:  You put so much sacrifice into it, so much discipline and dedication that you would never think that you would reach that level. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  With today‘s workout behind her, Christy is about to strike a pose.  Now that she‘s gone pro, Christy has been invited to compete in one of the industry‘s most prestigious pro contests of the year, Miss International.  She‘s one of only 16 women in the world who made the cut this year. 

With the show just 13 weeks away, she needs to scrutinize her physical development.  She‘ll send these photos off to her nutritionist who lives in New York to be critiqued. 

HAWKINS:  It‘s a second set of eyes to make sure that I‘m dialed in on time for my competition. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Having suffered from anorexia, it‘s taken Christy time to embrace having a body like this.  So is this beautiful?  It‘s all in the eye of the beholder. 

Thirty-three-year-old Colette Nelson has been living and breathing bodybuilding since she was 19.  She‘s hopelessly hooked on the sport and the psychic rewards she says she gets from it.  One thing she‘s learned along the way, few arrive at bodybuilding without some degree of emotional baggage they‘re trying to overcome or overcompensate for. 

Hers, being diagnosed with type one diabetes at age 12.  At 26, Collette began competing as an amateur.  And in 2004, she turned professional with the International Federation of Bodybuilders.  Along the way, Collette kept her diabetes a closely guarded secret. 

COLETTE NELSON, PROFESSIONAL BODYBUILDER:  I would go into the bathroom.  I would test my blood sugar.  Nobody knew.  I told nobody.  I just don‘t want a judgment call.  I don‘t want somebody to say those words to me that, “Maybe you shouldn‘t compete because you have diabetes.” 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Today she‘s a certified diabetes educator and a nutritionist.  She‘s also made a name for herself as a pro bodybuilder and is in training for the Miss International competition.  She‘ll be going up against her friend Christy Hawkins in just 11 weeks. 

In Columbus, Ohio at the Miss International contest, Christy Hawkins and Collette Nelson are about to take the stage. 

MALE ANNOUNCER:  From Pasadena California, Christy Hawkins. 

HAWKINS:  By the way, it‘s given me the chance to show how beautiful (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MALE ANNOUNCER:  Here comes Collette Nelson from New York, New York. 

NELSON:  I feel the most alive when I‘m on stage.  I become someone, something greater than life and everything, all your problems, anything is gone.  When you‘re on stage, it‘s like heaven, it really is.  It‘s like being in heaven, you know? 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ABRAMS:  Now I‘ll admit, I haven‘t always been a believer, but I recently gained a newfound respect for the women, from Collette Nelson, one of the bodybuilders you just saw. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hey, Dan.  Here‘s your reason to come out with that bodybuilding segment.

ABRAMS:  Thanks.  You know, I‘m watching the video again tonight.  And I mean, they don‘t seem like they‘re that strong.  Anytime, it‘s time for me to the gym. 

NELSON:  Hey, are you Dan Abrams? 

ABRAMS:  Yes. 

NELSON:  I hear you have been trash talking us female bodybuilders? 

ABRAMS:  Oh, come on.  I wasn‘t.  I was just saying it‘s a little much. 

NELSON:  Hey, Dan.  What is that, 65 pounds? 

ABRAMS:  Yes, each side.  Yes. 

NELSON:  I mean, you wouldn‘t mind if I worked out with you? 

ABRAMS:  No.  Please.

NELSON:  I warm up with 80.  Dan, what do you think?  Ten more? 

ABRAMS:  I‘m impressed.  But, you know, I‘ll be honest with you, I didn‘t want to show you up.  So I took it down a little bit just to make sure that you were able to win on this form. 

NELSON:  Dan - (carries Dan on her shoulders)

ABRAMS:  “Hooked Muscle Women” airs tonight at midnight on MSNBC.  Go to MSNBC.com for more footage, extensive file behind the pictures and scenes.

Up next, our Olympic edition of “Winners and Losers” featuring a Chinese rower disqualified for not knowing what time he was racing. 

Plus, this guy taking a bath in a kitchen sink at Burger King.  That‘s coming up in 60 seconds. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  Now to “Reality Bites,” a dose of reality caught on tape.  Tonight, to Xenia, Ohio, where a Burger King worker had his way, helped himself to a bath in the restaurant‘s utility sink.  The video of the employee splashing away at work was posted on MySpace and caught the eye of management and local health officials.

Now, to news, spokeswoman for the chain says two employees involved in this stunt were fired, one quit.  The sink has been sterilized and all related utensils have been disposed of.  Related utensils - I love it.  Be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back with tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”  Once again, we‘ll start off with the “Winners and Losers” from the Beijing Olympics.  Joining me once again, MSNBC‘s Contessa Brewer.  Hi, Contessa.

CONTESSA BREWER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Hey, Dan.  The opening ceremonies in Beijing not exactly passing the Milli Vanilli smell test. 

Remember when an adorable little nine-year-old girl sang “Ode to the Motherland” during the opening ceremonies?  She lip-synched.  Come on now.  Here‘s the seven-year-old who actually was singing.  Chinese officials decided at the last minute she wasn‘t cute enough, what, with all her baby teeth and grownup teeth coming in.  Oh, she couldn‘t be on stage.  So the officials apparently standing by their decision to replace her with a little pigtailed girl.  They said, “We wanted to project the right image.  We were thinking about what was best for the nation.  The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feelings and expression.” 

Oh, no.  You know, so now, they have taken these small girls and taught them what a tangled web we weave when we first learn to deceive. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, that‘s so beautiful, Contessa.  Really, it‘s so beautiful.  Listen, here‘s the thing.  At least the Chinese are honest about it.  If someone had gotten caught here, they would have said probably something like, well, you know, “At the last minute, the one girl became sick and we had to put the other girl there in her place.”  The Chinese are just saying, “Look, we didn‘t want this one girl - “

BREWER:  Are you referring to Ashlee Simpson? 

ABRAMS:  It‘s awful - what? 

BREWER:  Ashlee Simpson?

ABRAMS:  Yes.  No, but at least Ashlee Simpson was lip-synching her own songs. 

BREWER:  Right.

ABRAMS:  I mean, that‘s what makes this so bad.

BREWER:  The really bad thing is now it makes this cute little girl look like she can‘t sing and apparently, she has a nice voice too. 

ABRAMS:  Look, it‘s awful.  Imagine all the practicing she had to go through to lip-synch -

BREWER:  Oh, tragic -

ABRAMS:  Just to be able to - anyway.

BREWER:  Next up, former Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz going for the gold in the sour grapes competition.  Michael Phelps with three gold medals so far is well on his way to beating Spitz‘ record.  He won seven gold medals in 1972.  What‘s to be unhappy about almost four decades later?  Well, Spitzer‘s complaining he‘s not in Beijing to watch Phelps blow out his record. 

He griped to a French reporter, “I never got invited.  You don‘t go to the Olympics just to say, “I‘m going to go,” especially because of who I am.  I am going to sit there and watch Michael Phelps break my record anonymously?  That‘s almost demeaning to me.  It is not almost - it is.”

Well, Spitz apparently thought someone, NBC, the International Olympic Committee - somebody should have paid to get him to the games.  So, Dan, not only is he a whiner here, he‘s also apparently a moocher. 

ABRAMS:  I mean, look, he‘s a whiner.  But at least you can understand why he‘s upset.  I mean he thinks - you know, look, he is the record holder and he‘d like to get some attention when he‘s record is broken.

BREWER:  Does every baseball player who‘s getting ready to - does he invite every former person who held that record to come see him -

ABRAMS:  Look, it‘s definitely a loser comment to actually say. 

BREWER:  He just thinks it is OK.

ABRAMS:  It‘s one of those things - yes, where you want to think it and not say it. 

BREWER:  All right.  Next up, a member of the Chinese Rowing Team in hot water tonight.  He blew two of China‘s shots at the medal because he didn‘t show up for his first race, the single scull event.  Now, he‘s disqualified, not only from that, but also from the double scull competition.  Chinese officials say the rower got confused about which team he was actually in.  But the races were only 10 minutes and the International Rowing Federation said he didn‘t show.  You know, it sort of funny like they have this team coach saying, Dan, “I think this shows that our team had some organization problems.”

ABRAMS:  Yes.  You‘ve got to feel bad.

BREWER:  You think?

ABRAMS:  I mean, look.  It‘s one of these things where like, you‘ve been practicing your whole life, right, for this competition.  And then, you get the time wrong.  I mean, it‘s like people have bad dreams about stuff like that. 

BREWER:  Isn‘t there people to go get them?  I mean, I thought people ...

ABRAMS:  You would think -

BREWER:  ... if I‘m not here 15 minutes ahead of time.

ABRAMS:  Right.  Exactly.  You would think that they would have, you know - particularly the Chinese who are obsessed with winning as many medals as possible.

BREWER:  They have minders, for Pete‘s sake. 

ABRAMS:  You know - all right.  Contessa, real quick.  You have some comments on the clothes I was wearing in that workout video?  . 

BREWER:  I was going to think you were not so embarrassed about sitting on - that she was actually doing pushups with you on her back.  But the fact that you were wearing big white socks pushed down like some sort of discount store shorts. 

ABRAMS:  They are?

BREWER:  And like, this is your - this is like your club shirt. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  You know what, Contessa? 

BREWER:  You‘ve got your club shirt on. 

ABRAMS:  Contessa, those, those are Gap shorts, you are right.  And those are tube socks. 

BREWER:  Hey, Gap is not a discount store. 

ABRAMS:  So what‘s the problem? 

BREWER:  I‘m just saying maybe you could have worn appropriate gym attire if you were going to be on national television. 

Up next, Contessa sticking around with more “Winners and Losers,” including Angelina Jolie taking a big movie role away from Tom Cruise.  And the candidates disclose their 10 favorite tunes of all time.  This is one of Obama‘s. 

Your E-mails are coming up in the “P.O.‘d Box”.  We‘ll be right back. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ABRAMS:  We‘re back with Contessa Brewer, who, hopefully tomorrow, we‘re going to get to see and critique in workout gear, for more of the days “Winners and Losers.” 

BREWER:  OK.  Tom Cruise loses a lead role to Angelina Jolie?  According to “Variety,” the “Mission: Impossible” actor was slated to star in the new espionage thriller, “Edwin A. Salt.”  But Cruise demanded a reported $20 million for the role and that put a stop to negotiations, reportedly.  Several other male stars were eyeing the part. 

But now, there is talk the film‘s title character will undergo a sex change.  Actress Angelina Jolie is reportedly closing a deal with studio executives to rewrite the role for her.  So the question now, is Angelina ...

ABRAMS:  Is this even close?

BREWER:  ... a bigger man than Tom Cruise? 

ABRAMS:  Is this even close?  I mean, you get to see a movie starring Tom Cruise who hasn‘t had like a big successful movie in years and Angelina Jolie - is that the guy in me or is that the moviegoer in me? 

BREWER:  No.  That might be moviegoer because I‘m kind of with you.  I‘d rather see Angelina Jolie ...

ABRAMS:  Really?

BREWER:  ... shoot them up. 

ABRAMS:  I mean, Angelina Jolie with guns, shooting them up rather than Tom Cruise again? 

BREWER:  What‘s not to love? 

ABRAMS:  Right?

BREWER:  OK.  So Tom Cruise is a loser.  It is official. 

ABRAMS:  Totally. 

BREWER:  Next up, a showdown between presidential play lists.  I may be hearing from his publicist, by the way.  Barack Obama and John McCain both -  

ABRAMS:  The graphic behind you is hilarious. 

BREWER:  OK.  So these guys (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that their top 10 favorite songs are - McCain‘s favorite songs - I don‘t know if I believe this -

ABRAMS:  It‘s true.

BREWER:  “Dancing Queen” by Abba? 

ABRAMS:  That‘s what he said. 

BREWER:  Is he like disco down here?  Number one on Obama‘s list “Ready or Not” by the Fugees.  Check out some of their other favorites. 

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP OF BOTH CANDIDATES‘ FAVORITE SONGS)

(CAPTION READS)

MCCAIN‘S FAVORITE SONGS: 

“If We Make It Through December” by Merle Haggard

OBAMA‘S FAVORITE SONGS:

“What‘s Going On” by Marvin Gaye

(END AUDIO CLIP)

BREWER:  Neither one of those is going to break any current pop charts or anything like that. 

ABRAMS:  Well, they‘ve got to keep them safe, Contessa.  They can‘t have these songs that are going to cause - I love it McCain‘s top five songs - “Dancing Queen” by Abba; “Blue Bayou” by Roy Orbison, “Take a Chance on Me” by Abba - two Abba songs ...

BREWER:  Two Abba songs -

ABRAMS:  ... in his top five.  Can you imagine?  Like people usually play Abba to like, get the party going. 

BREWER:  Right.

ABRAMS:  John McCain?  Anyway, “If We Make It Through” by Merle Haggard, and “As Time Goes By” by Julie Wilson.  Obama‘s - “Ready or Not” by the Fugees; “What‘s Going On” by Marvin Gaye; “I‘m on Fire” Springsteen; “Give Me Shelter” by the Rolling Stones; “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone.

I mean, it seems to me Obama - and they both put in a Sinatra song.  But it seems to me Obama went for the more diversity in his choice of music. 

BREWER:  Especially if you actually, look at their iPod list that they put out all this.  But just so you know, I looked through all the top 10.  And on McCain‘s, I didn‘t know half of them.  So I called my grandma and I said, “Hey, grandma can you run through the list of these songs.  How many of these - “  She knew nine out of 10 and the only one she didn‘t know was “Dancing Queen.” 

(CROSS TALK)

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait she knew “Take a Chance on Me” by Abba ...

BREWER:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  ... but didn‘t know “Dancing Queen” by Abba?

BREWER:  It may be I put that on her cell phone as a ring tone the last time I was out there. 

ABRAMS:  OK.  Because I was going to say that grandma has a selective knowledge when it comes to Abba tunes. 

BREWER:  Well, she goes to a lot of weddings. 

ABRAMS:  Yes.  All right.  Contessa Brewer.  Stick around.  One of these is about you.

Time for the “P.O.‘d Box,” your chance to tell me what you hate or love about the show. 

First up, a lot of sharp reactions to the John Edwards affair.  Brian W from St. Petersburg, Florida, writes, “Everyone lies about sex.  The majority of people will cheat on their spouse if they think they can get away with it.”  Mr. W, is that why you are telling us your last name is W because maybe Mrs. W might not be so happy to hear that? 

Janice Saunders, “I‘m of the belief that politicians lie.  They just do.” 

And Benjamin Otto wants more crime and less political coverage, “You‘ve decided to abandon the controversy of Caylee case and feature the bubblegum of political fanfare that has been chewed since it broke Friday.  Dan, don‘t devalue your originality.” 

Interesting comment.  I‘m not sure that a lot of the viewers agree with that one.  But, you know, it‘s fair point. 

Finally, Dina writes, “Without sounding like your show was ever bad, because it wasn‘t, but as of late, it‘s been great.  Keep it up, Dan.  And definitely keep Contessa.  I love her.  But you and her together is even better.” 

And you know what, Contessa?  I actually took out the next line which just got a little racy for me.  So I cut it out. 

BREWER:  What?  Racy?  Aren‘t we in the time when you want the ratings?  Racy is good isn‘t it? 

ABRAMS:  Yes.

BREWER:  (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ABRAMS:  Wait, wait.  There we go.  That‘s all the time we have for tonight. 

BREWER:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  You can E-mail us about the show at verdict@msnbc.com.  Please include your name, where you‘re writing from.  See you tomorrow night. 

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

END   

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