updated 8/20/2008 1:32:11 PM ET 2008-08-20T17:32:11

Guests: Craig Crawford, Joe Watkins, Contessa Brewer, Lynn Sweet, Rachel Nichols, Leonard Padilla, Clint Van Zandt, Nicole DeBorde, Billie Jean King

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight on VERDICT: Is a recent e-mail from Joe Biden‘s Senate staff to potential fundraisers a clue that he is the V.P.  pick?  According to Joe Biden himself, um, no?


SEN. JOE BIDEN, (D) DELAWARE:  I‘m not the guy.


ABRAMS:  And what about Virginia Governor Tim Kaine?  Obama‘s in that state tomorrow.  Could they be planning a party?

Also today, we‘re learning that Obama‘s camp is now planning a rally on Saturday at this same spot where he launched his campaign.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States of America.


ABRAMS:  Could that mean the announcement comes on Saturday?

And some sources say Senator McCain is seriously considering Joe Lieberman as his V.P. pick—Gore/Lieberman, McCain/Lieberman.  They really do have very different rings to them.  This after a report that McCain aides are calling Republicans around the country to float the idea of a pro-choice V.P.—a choice Rush Limbaugh today called, “suicide.”


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  If he picks a pro-choice running mate, it‘s not going to be pretty.


ABRAMS:  And, we go behind the scenes of the Obama campaign.


OBAMA:  He is a person who keeps me on schedule.  He makes sure that I have all the paperwork that I need.


ABRAMS:  A rare look inside at the man who spends more time with Obama than any other adviser.

Then, Florida three-year-old Caylee Anthony has been missing for months, but it appears her mother still not cooperating fully with police, and yet this bounty hunter wants to pay to get her released.  He joins us live tonight to tell us why.  So will former FBI profiler, Clint Van Zandt who thinks the guy‘s a total fraud.

And, as the American women rake in more gold in Beijing, one of the pioneering women athletes is here.   Thirty-five years after Billie Jean King showed how it was done in the infamous battle of the sexes, she joins us.

Also joins us for the Olympics Winners and Losers which includes Matt Lauer and Al Roker‘s new event?

And do you ever wonder just how the opening ceremonies for performers sat there for so long?  Let‘s just say they had some help.

Plus: the Fonz phenomenon continues.  Yes, Fonzie‘s been bronzied (ph), while the European phenomenon known as David Hasselhoff is blogging.

VERDICT starts now.

Hi, everyone.  Welcome to the show.

Breaking news tonight, Senator Barack Obama is set to unveil his vice presidential pick and campaign with him or her on Saturday.  That news first reported by the “Chicago Sun-Times‘” Lynn Sweet.  She joins me in a minute.

The question tonight: Who‘s the pick?  The political tea leaves, at least tonight, seem to point to Delaware senator, Joe Biden.

The buzz behind Biden is so strong tonight that even a pair of his fellow contenders, seem resigned to the fact that it is Biden.  One is saying anonymously, quote, “If I had to bet my life on it, I‘d bet it‘s Joe.”  Another is saying, quote, “Barack is moving toward a seasoned Beltway type, and that probably means Biden,”—“Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman.  And a source close to Obama says, “Biden makes the most sense.”

Well, apparently, a Senate staff thinks so or they‘re just extremely meticulous record-keepers all of a sudden.  An e-mail that went out from Biden‘s office today said, quote, “I‘m writing on behalf of Senator Biden and the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.  We are updating our contact files and wanted to verify that the following contact information is correct.”

Perhaps a sign that Team Biden is ready to reach out to supporter for fundraising?  Just moments ago, Biden told reporters, quote, “I promise, I don‘t know anything.  I have not spoken with anyone.”

And then there‘s that news today about exactly when Obama and his V.P.  pick will appear together from Lynn Sweet, quote, “The Obama team will showcase the new Obama ticket Saturday in Springfield at the old state capitol, where Obama officially kicked off his campaign in February of 2007.”

Here now: MSNBC political analyst, “Congressional Quarterly” columnist, Craig Crawford; Lynn Sweet, the Washington bureau chief for the “Chicago Sun-Times,” she broke the story; and, MSNBC political analyst, Joe Watkins.

All right.  Lynn, you broke the story about when he was going to be campaigning with his vice presidential pick.  That that‘s going to be Friday—sorry, Saturday.  But you have not been able to confirm yet who it is, right?

LYNN SWEET, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES:  I only wish.  I have been saying since Wednesday that Biden‘s arrow is going up—a lot of interest in him, a lot of reasons.  I don‘t know if we want to get into the reads on this now but, I think, to summarize it like this—if Obama‘s heart could dictate the pick, it would probably be Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia.  They‘re closer in age, they‘re simpatico, there‘s chemistry.  Their mothers grew up in the same town in Kansas.  So, it‘s a storyline that‘s very compelling.

ABRAMS:  Right.

SWEET:  But then, when his head speaks, it is somebody who‘s a lot more seasoned and that leads to Biden, Bayh, and Governor Sebelius are also in the mix.

ABRAMS:  We‘ll talk about that in a minute.  But what do we read, Craig, you‘re a seasoned political reporter and columnist, what do we read from Biden‘s comment “I‘m not the guy”?

CRAIG CRAWFORD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  That he hasn‘t been told.  And so, that‘s probably a very truthful statement.  I know nothing and I can prove it—is kind of what he was saying.  At least at this moment, he‘s not the guy.  So, I think that doesn‘t necessarily discount all the speculation.

My guess is arrow went up, Dan, with war in Europe.  And the Georgia/Russia mess, because that probably made Obama think a little harder about meeting that national security—that wealth of foreign policy experience Biden has.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Let me read you—I want Joe Watkins—and by the way, Joe, I really like your background.  You look excellent tonight.

JOE WATKINS, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, thank you.  Thank you very much, Dan.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Now, moving back to the substance—Fineman reports, “Within the last few hours, I‘ve spoken with two of the finalists for the role of Barack Obama‘s running-mate and to two other sources who are close to the process.  My bottom line is this: barring a big surprise or a last-minute change of heart, the choice is likely to be Senator Joe Biden of Delaware.”

Surprised, Joe?

WATKINS:  Not at all.  I mean, I would imagine that it would be Biden.  I think anybody who‘s been in this business for any period of time at all, knows that, you know, they didn‘t send Evan Bayh to Georgia, they didn‘t send Governor Tim Kaine to Georgia to talk with the folks about how to get out of that mess or resolve that problem over there—they sent Joe Biden.

And Joe Biden, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a real heavyweight.  He‘s got real, real strong foreign policy bona fides, and so, clearly, he adds real feather to Barack Obama.

ABRAMS:  Let me ask you this, Lynn.  You know this campaign, bring us inside for a minute—has this decision definitely been made?

SWEET:  Well, the rollout plan has been made.  I know that.  I think things could change at the last minute, that there could be—something like this, until they say it, is always subject to change.  I think that the Obama people are pretty far along in his thinking.

But there is this head-heart disconnect, and, I think, there‘s just some last-minute, you know, there might be some last-minute reflection.  I think it‘s mostly made.  You know, it is a small group of people.  And to say that we‘ll know soon, you know, it takes away some of the drama here.


SWEET:  But I think Obama spent a lot of time knowing what he wants.  And the only reservation, I think, he would have is, is there the right chemistry with Biden because you can‘t make this up and this is what, I think, he has been told and probably, Michelle Obama is telling him, that if people think that—this is not an arranged marriage where first you get set up and then you find the chemistry later on and you fall in love later.  You pretty much have to go into this thinking—this is a partner I can work with—because it‘s a myth that you might fall in love once you have this arranged partnership.

So, you know, he‘s a man who goes with his gut, whose feelings, empathetic.  So I don‘t think that‘s the only thing left.

WATKINS:  Well, he might do (ph) and left part (ph) -

CRAWFORD:  You know, Dan, I would say that several—not several, there are only about three or four finalists—have been asked for their whereabouts on Thursday and been asked to keep available on Thursday, suggesting possibly whoever it is is going to find out on Thursday.

ABRAMS:  Oh, really?

CRAWFORD:  So, that will give us a couple of days to get the leak.

ABRAMS:  Craig, that‘s interesting news.  I didn‘t know that at least. 

Have you confirmed that yourself?

CRAWFORD:  Yes, there are a couple of the finalists who were asked for, you know, their cell phone numbers and told to stay available on Thursday and that would suggest, you know, maybe that‘s when they‘ll get, you know, the call that they are either getting it or not getting it.  But that will give us a good 48 hours perhaps, for people like Lynn Sweet, who‘s a better reporter than I am, to find out who it is.


ABRAMS:  All right, Joe.  I want to ask you this, Joe Watkins, about -

assuming for a minute, everyone is now saying that they believe that it‘s likely to be Biden, and as Lynn points out, these things can change.

Let me ask you, this is a Biden TV ad from his 1988 campaign.  And it does sound similar to the line of attack that John McCain is using.  I want to find out if you think that will be used against him.


ANNOUNCER:  The White House isn‘t the place to learn how to deal with international crisis, the balance of power, war and peace, and the economic future of the next generation.  A president has got to know the territory.


ABRAMS:  I mean, you know, I mean, it sounds like a John McCain ad, right?

WATKINS:  I love television.  It does indeed.  I mean, it talks about the experience issue that Barack Obama has.  I mean, clearly, Obama is a gifted speaker and a very charismatic person.  But he falls short when it comes to experience.  Just not that long a resume.  And, boy, I‘m so happy for television.  I mean, you know, it‘s all right there chronicled for everybody to see.

ABRAMS:  And, Lynn, what about—what about the notion that the vice presidential pick should carry a state, right?  That this is going to be someone who‘s really going to help in a state.  Biden doesn‘t really carry a state, does he?

SWEET:  That went out with tape recorders.  We‘re in digital now.


SWEET:  And no, you look for a package of constituencies, critical constituencies.  Now, for example, let‘s take Biden.  Catholic, he‘s catholic, Obama needs help there.  Middle aged white males, fits that bill.  Middle class appeal, he has that.

No, I don‘t think it‘s because they‘re looking to bring Delaware into the fold for their electoral votes, it‘s a tiny state.  But he does have a mix of appeal, as do all the finalists.  So, let‘s just say Governor Kaine does bring in a state and brings in a southern exposure here that he might not have.

But, I just think, the Obama campaign is not into just doing the

geography.  It would be nice if he got it as an added plus.  I think that‘s

a part of the reason that they‘ve looked at -

ABRAMS:  He‘s got that rare—he‘s got that rare middle aged white

guy thing going for him which none -


CRAWFORD:  He‘s also from—he‘s from southern Delaware, he always

likes to point out, which is very rural.  So -


WATKINS:  He‘s a working class guy.  He‘s a originally from Pennsylvania.  I mean, he‘s got a great story.  Biden has a great story.

SWEET:  Right.  And he‘s known to Pennsylvania and of course (ph), the

media market -

ABRAMS:  Hang on.  Obama was just asked—I‘m just getting this in.


ABRAMS:  What he wants in a V.P. pick and he used the word “he” four times.


ABRAMS:  So does that now tell us that Sebelius and Hillary Clinton are no longer serious candidates?

CRAWFORD:  That would seem to suggest that we‘re down to Tim Kaine, and Biden, and Evan Bayh.  That‘s pretty easy, (INAUDIBLE)

ABRAMS:  I mean, should we put this up, we -

WATKINS:  I think it would be hard anyway to pick Sebelius.  I mean, she‘s certainly talented and qualified, but it would be, I think, an affront to Hillary supporters if Sebelius got it anyway.  So, I think, you can probably rule both of them out.

ABRAMS:  Yes.  Well, it sounds like, and again, this is always a game. 

Now, you start parsing words.  You say, a-ha, look, he said “he.”

CRAWFORD:  He was using the royal “he” maybe.

ABRAMS:  Oh, yes.  The -

SWEET:  There is no royal “he” or “she.”

ABRAMS:  Yes, exactly.  Well, Lynn Sweet used the word, what did you say that that‘s in the days of digital - whatever, anyway, the old days.

SWEET:  No, videotape and we‘re digital.

ABRAMS:  Yes, exactly, the old days.

SWEET:  Let‘s get with the program.  Come on, Joe.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Craig, Lynn, and Joe, thanks a lot.

Coming up: Behind the scenes of the Obama campaign with a man who spends more time with him than any other advisor.

And, the mother who waited a month to tell authorities her two-year-old daughter was missing may get out of jail because of this bounty hunter.  I‘ll ask him why, live.

Plus, it‘s been called the “do nothing” Congress.  Maybe that‘s right. 

It turns this Congress has passed fewer laws than any others in decades. 

Another reason Why America Hates Washington is coming up in 60 seconds.


ABRAMS:  Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington: The 110th Congress has been criticized for passing fewer laws than any other sitting Congress in 20 years.  But they haven‘t been sitting idle, when the current term ends, lawmakers will leave behind a legacy of notable accomplishments in the form of resolutions.

According to Taxpayers for Common Sense, they‘ve proposed nearly 2,000 of them.  Senate Resolution 440 recognizes soil as an essential natural resource, as well as the importance of our soil professionals.  Well, House Resolution 89 expressed its support for the “Dutch/American Friendship Day.”

Resolutions—a gift that kept on giving—is another reason Why America Hates Washington.

Up next: Behind the scenes of the Obama campaign with the man who may spend more time with him than any other.


ABRAMS:  Tonight: A behind the scenes look at Barack Obama‘s life on the trail, with Obama opening up about how important it is to have Love by his side—Reggie Love, that is.  Perhaps one of Obama‘s most trusted aides, Love is almost always next to Obama to help keep Obama‘s life in order, the fans at bay, keep him on schedule.

Love went from walk-on basketball player at the great Duke University

of course I went there—to working in the mail room for then Senator Obama to becoming Obama‘s body man.  Obama spoke about the 26-year-old Love to ESPN.


OBAMA:  Reggie is with me all the time.  He is the person who keeps me on schedule.  He makes sure that I have all the paperwork that I need, any briefings that I need for an event.  So basically, he manages our day-to-day work.

REGGIE LOVE, OBAMA‘S BODY MAN:  Basically, I‘m an extra set of hands if he ever needs it.  So he doesn‘t have to worry about it as much.  His plate is pretty full as it is.  And anything that I can do to make his life just a little bit easier, it‘s, you know, part of my job.

OBAMA:  Reggie‘s got a wonderful temperament.  He‘s not somebody who, you know, gets flustered.  He‘s got a great sense of humor.  People like being around him.  And so he‘s easy company.  He‘s responsible.  Which isn‘t to say that Reggie never screws up, once when we were already on our way to the airport, where I said, “Reggie, where‘s my briefcase,” and suddenly these beads of sweat popped on his bald head.  And that led me to conclude that he had forgot it.


ABRAMS:  Joining me now is Rachel Nichols of ESPN who interviewed Obama and Love for the ESPN show “E:60”; and back with us is Lynn Sweet.

All right.  Rachel, explain to us a little bit more about exactly what it is he does.  I mean, is he just the “everything” man?

RACHEL NICHOLS, E:60 ON ESPN:  That certainly what it all comes down to.  They call him the body man.  That‘s really the personal aide to a presidential candidate, and eventually a president.  And all of these guys have one.  Hillary Clinton had a body woman.  It‘s someone who‘s with them pretty much 20, 21 hours a day.

They wake them up in the morning.  They go through their entire day with them.  They keep them on schedule.  They go over anything they need to go over from talking points to whether they need some Listerine.  It goes from the minute to the magnificent.  They‘re the gatekeepers for the presidential candidates.

ABRAMS:  Lynn, have you seen them there when you‘ve been following the campaign?

SWEET:  Oh, I‘ve known Reggie since the campaign started.  He‘s a great guy.  There‘s another guy who also, you know, helps out, but he is the body man.  And what Obama, I think, really likes about him is that he has this little brother relationship with Reggie.  And the big, big common bond that they have is the love of sports.

And I want to say this respectfully—Obama has a built-in playmate

with Reggie.  So when he does want to do the pickup games, he has somebody

who has a terrific set of skills.  I mean, the guy‘s, you know, a varsity-

plus player who could be pro.  And he has two sports, by the way, football

and basketball.  And Reggie has a very nice demeanor.  You have to be

endlessly patient, you have to -

ABRAMS:  Look, let me play this piece of sound from Obama talking about Love, saving him on the campaign trail.


OBAMA:  Every morning, there‘s at least one thing I forget in my room that he make sure to grab.  I would have lost my iPod a long time ago.

NICHOLS:  An iPod that he loads for you, right?

OBAMA:  I hipped him to Aretha Franklin and John Coltrane and Frank Sinatra, and he, in turn, has downloaded Jay-Z and Lil‘ Wayne and some of these folks so that I‘m, you know, not a complete fuddy-duddy.


ABRAMS:  So, not only does he travel with him all the time, but when he‘s got free time, he‘s loading up Barack Obama‘s iPod.

NICHOLS:  You got to love the presidential candidate who is quoting Lil‘ Wayne, right?


SWEET:  Well, he is current actually and this has been true.  He is

not as fuddy-duddy as he says.  He‘s always had very hip tastes in music

because -


ABRAMS:  And that comes from a hipster like yourself.

SWEET:  “Hipster Sweet” is what they really call me.  You don‘t know

this, guys.  I‘m pretty -

ABRAMS:  I know, I‘m sure you are.  Lynn, don‘t get me wrong.  I am

not suggesting that you are not hip -


ABRAMS:  I‘m just saying that, you know -

SWEET:  You know, reporters, you know, it‘s a regular question to check in on his iPod.  And Reggie also, I assume that (ph), this is a traveling life that you have.  I don‘t even think Reggie if he has an apartment, he probably hasn‘t been in it for a long time.  You know, this is your community and you need some people that you can lean on.

ABRAMS:  Let me play one more piece of sound here from Obama talking about Reggie Love.


OBAMA:  Reggie‘s 20 years younger than me.  So there‘s no doubt that I have to have Reggie on my team.  I can‘t be guarding Reggie.  Reggie is the best athlete I know.


ABRAMS:  We‘re talking here, Rachel, all about the lighter stuff, about the iPods, and the sports, et cetera, but he also deals with some of the most important issues related to this campaign.

NICHOLS:  Although, I do want to say, the sports aspect is not completely a matter of lightness.  It‘s funny.  You talk about the campaign and the rigors of the campaign, all the people who want your attention about so many high pressure things everyday, and one thing Senator Obama said to me several times through our recording this story was that the fact that Reggie gives him a respite from that, the fact that they can talk sports, talk basketball.


NICHOLS:  They had a great argument after the NBA finals about who really was better, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant.  They watch basketball and you saw them playing a little basketball there.

ABRAMS:  Soft-spoken like a true ESPN correspondent.

NICHOLS:  Well, you‘ll appreciate this as a Duke grad.

ABRAMS:  I do.  Lynn Sweet -

NICHOLS:  When Reggie stays in Chicago, you guys were talking about his apartment, when he stays in Chicago, he‘s been staying with Chris Duhon, former Duke teammates.

ABRAMS:  Yes, of course.

NICHOLS:  Chris comes in and they all play pickup basketball.  I asked

Chris and I said, “So, when you guys are playing with a possible future

president of the United States, are people going easier on him?”  And Chris

goes, “Oh, no, we‘re all trying to go harder on him.”  Everyone -


ABRAMS:  Lynn, I got to wrap it up.


ABRAMS:  Well, Lynn Sweet and Rachel Nichols, thanks so much. 

Appreciate it.

NICHOLS:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  The “E:60” story on Obama and Reggie Love airs this Sunday at 5:00 Eastern on ESPN.

Coming up: Florida three-year-old Caylee Anthony has been missing for months.  It looks like her mother is still not cooperating fully.  And yet, this bounty hunter wants to get her released and pay for it.  He joins—that‘s not the bounty hunter.  He joins us live.

And: A BBC pundit is confused for American swimmer Michael Phelps in Beijing and a mob of fans swarm him.  That‘s next in Beat the Press.

What‘s your VERDICT?  E-mail us at: Verdict@msnbc.com.  We‘re back in a minute.


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

First up: CNN highlighted a new theme song made by “American Idol‘s” Daughtry last night.  You have to wonder if they were really thinking about all the lyrics.


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN HOST:  It was a groundbreaking night here on CNN.  Stand by, everybody, for the world premiere of a brand new music video made just for us by Daughtry.  Really, how many segments on cable news boast their very own theme song?  And now, here in the “Election Center,” the world premiere of Daughtry‘s “Feels Like the First Time.”


ABRAMS:  “Feels Like the First Time” theme song.  Some of my favorite lyrics from the Foreigner song include, “I guess it‘s just the woman in you that brings out the man in me.  I know I can‘t help myself.  And then, won‘t you open up the door.”  CNN is getting a little naughty.

Next up: CNN.com is running a story about the Kentucky Humane Society, working with Hooters Restaurant waitresses to get people to neuter their pets.  Lots of gorgeous Hooters waitresses followed immediately by images you may never want to see—viewer warning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  In any promotion we ever have, I always tell my customers about it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (voice over):  And there‘s a new one coming up with a very different type of operation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It just grabs people‘s attention.


ABRAMS:  OK.  All right, we didn‘t end up cutting that in the right way.  You were supposed to see the Hooter‘s waitress, and then suddenly you see the shaving thing.  It didn‘t come out that way.  Anyway—then it would have been sort of funny.

Finally: BBC pundit and 2004 bronze medal winner, Steve Perry was swarmed by fans in Beijing.  No, not for his bronze medal effort, no, but because they all thought he was Michael Phelps.


STEVE PARRY, BBC REPORTER:  Everybody thinks that I‘m Michael Phelps.  And I can‘t imagine what it‘s like to be Michael Phelps.  I‘ve never felt like I‘m a bigger fraud in all my life.  But—no, no, no, I‘m not Phelps.  I‘m not Michael Phelps.  My name is Steve Parry from Great Britain.  Steve Parry, Great Britain, not Phelps.  You don‘t care, do you?  Not Michael Phelps.


ABRAMS:  Coming up: No one‘s going to mistake our guest coming up later in the show.  Tennis legend Billie Jean King who won the battle of the sexes, she‘ll be with us for our Olympics edition of Winners and Losers.

But next: The case of missing three-year-old Caylee Anthony.  The bounty hunter who wants to bail out her mother is with us live to explain why.



ABRAMS:  Welcome back.  Mother of missing three-year-old Caylee Anthony will be spending another night behind bars.  Twenty-two-year-old Casey Anthony was expected to be released this evening but problems with paperwork have delayed her release.  She‘s currently being held on $500,000 bail on charges of child neglect and filing false reports.  If bail is finalized tonight, she‘s likely to be released tomorrow morning. 

Here now is Leonard Padilla, the bounty hunter who is trying to spring Casey Anthony out of jail.  Also joining us is defense attorney Nicole DeBorde and former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt.  Thanks to all of you for coming on.  Appreciate it. 

All right.  Mr. Padilla, let me start with you.  A lot of people are asking the question why are you going to put up the money to release her?

LEONARD PADILLA, BOUNTY HUNTER:  I believe that Caylee‘s alive.  And I

also believe -

ABRAMS:  Based on what?  Based on what?

PADILLA:  Well, based on the fact that I don‘t see anybody coming out here and saying, “Well, she‘s dead because of this, this, this.”  Law enforcement has got a lot of stuff there, you know, 30 items that are in the DNA.  I just don‘t want to believe and I don‘t believe that she‘s dead especially at the hands of this 22-year-old mother.  

ABRAMS:  But you‘re basing that on what, though?

PADILLA:  I‘ve got instinct, experience.  

ABRAMS:  So your gut instinct tells you that this mother was in no way responsible.  Why don‘t you think she‘s cooperated with the authorities more if her child‘s missing?

PADILLA:  I think here‘s what happened.  I think she‘s got a lot of friends that she‘s, you know, been with and been around and one of them has the baby.  And she figures that she will bring danger upon her child if she tells the cops who did it and they go after this individual.  So she‘s very, very concerned about that, I think.  

ABRAMS:  Oh, wait.  So she doesn‘t want to tell the police anything because if they actually do their jobs, then the baby‘s going to get hurt?

PADILLA:  She thinks - I believe - this is only speculation on my part.  You asked me for my idea.  She would bring harm to her child from the person that has the child.  

ABRAMS:  That sounds kind of ridiculous.  But -

PADILLA:  Of course it does.  Yes, it‘s a theory. 

ABRAMS:  Yes, but it sounds like kind of a ridiculous one.  

PADILLA:  But it‘s a theory.  

ABRAMS:  But the money - I mean, look, you‘re doing this just to get famous, right?  To be on this show. 

PADILLA:  No, I‘m famous.  

ABRAMS:  You are?  You were famous before?

PADILLA:  Absolutely. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Another famous man, Clint Van Zandt had a lot of harsh words for you yesterday.  Clint?

CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER:  Well, as you say, Dan, I‘m sure Mr. Padilla has his own reasons for doing what he‘s doing.  But realize there‘s a $250,000 reward out there.  And to take Mr. Padilla‘s speculation, if in fact somebody has her, this is the perfect time to make $250,000.  You know, if it was me, Dan, I would say, “Hey, here I am.  She gave me her baby two months ago, told me to hold on to the baby for two months.  Those two months are up.  Here‘s the baby.  Where‘s my money?”  Case closed.  

PADILLA:  And that‘s what the media should be pushing.  Exactly that statement is what the media should be pushing.  Give this person the incentive to collect the money and not go to jail.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Shouldn‘t we be ignoring you, though, then?

PADILLA:  Sure.  

ABRAMS:  I‘m to blame.  I mean, I‘m not saying - obviously you‘re on the program. 

PADILLA:  All right, thank you.  You want me the get -

ABRAMS:  No, look.  I‘m just wondering, it sounds like -

PADILLA:  Push the reward.  Push the reward.

ABRAMS:  OK.  Fine.  Push the reward.  Look, every time we do this

segment, we talk about where people can call to give information if they

know anything about it.  But look -

PADILLA:  But they don‘t know how to do it and not go to jail.  Clint just gave the perfect example of how a person could say, “She gave me the baby for two months.  I went to Puerto Rico.  I went to Georgia.  I went to Mississippi.  I‘m back, here‘s the baby, give me my money.”  

ABRAMS:  Wait, so if they kidnapped the baby, they‘re still going to be in trouble.  

PADILLA:  No, no, no.  There‘s no kidnapping.  If she told them watch my baby for two months.  There‘s no kidnapping.  There‘s no malicious intent.  You gave them the perfect out.  

ABRAMS:  Nicole, if you‘re the attorney for Casey Anthony, is this what you want?

NICOLE DEBORDE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  You know, it‘s better than her being in jail.  I think that there are definite issues with what she does if she gets out.  I mean, it‘s a huge risk.  Any time you have a client that‘s out and not necessarily following your instructions, then you could have problems.  But at the same time, if she‘s in jail being monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, that‘s not a great situation either when she‘s just talking and talking and saying all kinds of things that are not congruous.  I mean, that‘s not a great situation either so, you know - six of one, half a dozen of another.  

ABRAMS:  Clint, last night, you had a lot of questions for Mr.

Padilla.  You want to throw one out?

VAN ZANDT:  Yes, well, you know, I think he‘s being honest with us,

Dan.  He‘s told us he‘s a media whore.  I believe him.  I take him at his

word.  You know, that‘s what he‘s doing.  I think he‘s doing this - I find

it hard to find any altruistic reason.  But look, you know, every so often

we get lucky -

PADILLA:  Ask Jack Trimarco.  You trained him.

VAN ZANDT:  Every so often we get lucky.  And, Dan, I tell you what, even though I think the chances are zero for this working, if she comes out, she goes in, as he suggests, has a shower, gets her nails done, has a burger and she‘s laying on the couch and she says something that Mr.  Padilla or one of his operatives pick up, they follow that to the police.  And we go look, or worse case scenario, dig in the right place, I‘ll give him a high five.  But until then, I think this should be a law enforcement job.  I think he‘s got to be careful of putting himself in the investigation.  

ABRAMS:  Mr. Padilla, let me ask you a final question.  Will you cooperate with law enforcement?

PADILLA:  I‘ve done nothing.  I‘ve nothing, absolutely nothing that can be considered interference with the investigation at all.

ABRAMS:  That‘s what I was going to ask you. 

PADILLA:  Absolutely not.

ABRAMS:  Are you going to cooperate with law enforcement, meaning, if she does tell you something, are you going to go right to them and say, “Hey, here‘s what I found out”?

PADILLA:  Well, here‘s the situation, OK?  If you have somebody out on bail and they leak something to you, you‘re totally irresponsible if you know of a crime because there‘s no privilege between her and me. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

PADILLA:  So if there‘s a leak there, I‘m not so stupid that I‘m going

to incur the wrath of the defense attorney and all of that.  But there are

people like Jack Trimarco that are retired.  There are individuals that are

still working for -

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well, you know, look, this is where we are in this case.  And Leonard, Nicole and Clint, thanks a lot. 


VAN ZANDT:  Dan, it‘s gone from a two-ring to a three-ring circus, and that‘s the problem right now.  

ABRAMS:  If you‘ve got any information call the Orange County Sheriff

crime line-

PADILLA:  No, that‘s not the problem.  As long as her name is out there and her picture is out there and the reward is being talked about, that‘s better.

ABRAMS:  Put it up.  Put it up.  Put it up over there.  There we go. 

Thank you.  All right.  See you guys. 

Up next, 35 years after the so-called Battle of the Sexes, tennis legend Billie Jean King joins us for our Olympics edition of “Winners & Losers” and to talk about that history making match. 

And a baby panda named Olympic Games born on opening day.  That‘s up in 60 seconds.  


ABRAMS:  Now to “Reality Bites.”  Tonight, to China‘s Panda Reserve where officials are celebrating the birth of a male cub born on the same day as the Olympics opening ceremony.  The new addition has been named Aoyun(ph), which means “Olympics” in Mandarin.  I thought we said the name was “Opening Ceremony”?  Be right back.

ABRAMS:  Welcome back.  Our special Beijing Olympics edition of “Winners and Losers” is coming up in just a moment. 

But first, a sports hero and one of the biggest winners ever from the tennis world is here tonight.  She beat Bobby Riggs in the famed Battle of the Sexes 35 years ago and won 39 grand slam titles including 20 at Wimbledon.  And she has a new book, “Pressure is a Privilege.” 

Joining me now is Billie Jean King.  Billie Jean, good to see you.  Thanks for coming in.  

BILLIE JEAN KING, TENNIS LEGEND:  Thanks for having me.  My earpiece is not working.  

ABRAMS:  All right.  Hopefully, you can hear me now. 

KING:  I can hear you ...

ABRAMS:  Great.

KING:  ... but I have to keep my hand up to my ear. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Well, let me start with an easy one, all right. 

KING:  Yes.  

ABRAMS:  How has the Battle of the Sexes changed in 35 years?

KING:  The Battle of the Sexes?

ABRAMS:  Yes.  

KING:  Well, first of all, I hated the Battle of the Sexes.  So I

don‘t even like to talk about that.  I like everyone to work together and -

ABRAMS:  It‘s in the title of your book -

KING:  I know, but -

ABRAMS:  “Best Things I Have Learned from Life and the Battle of the Sexes.”  

KING:  Well, the reason for that is because everyone can relate to it that is old enough in their 40s, 50s and beyond.  That‘s me - I‘m one of the beyond.  People can remember this day and people who are too young - a lot of their parents and grandparents tell them what they were, what they were thinking, what they were doing on this day. 

It is amazing.  Everyone comes up to me and says, “Oh, I watched that match,” or “I was at the Houston Astrodome.”  It was life changing for a lot of people and the match is really about social change.  So I guess we‘re still trying to figure all that out.  I guess how that it relates.

ABRAMS:  I guess that‘s the question.  Are you pleased with the social change, meaning if you looked forward from 1973 and saw where we are now?

KING:  Yes.  

ABRAMS:  Happy?

KING:  No.  I‘m never happy.  You know me.  I‘m very happy.  But it‘s interesting.  When you read about history, it seems like things evolve very quickly.  But when you live it, it‘s very slow. 


KING:  And it‘s very slow.  No, particularly with the last political situation with Hillary and with Barack, I think - the race card and the gender card particularly.  I was very disappointed in the gender part.  But if you are going to go get a job and you‘re in the workforce, do not bring that up.  But I‘m talking about what I‘ve notice in the bias of the media. 

You know what?  I‘m going to thank you because you‘re the only media person and you‘re the first one who brought it up about the gender bias and it was just incredible what I‘ve experienced over the last year and a half.  It was a good lesson in life for me to realize how far we all have to go to really be working together.  And well, for instance, people always come up to me and say, you know, “Thank you for what you did for women and women‘s tennis.”


KING:  I‘m like, excuse me?  I did this for both genders.  I helped pro tennis.  I helped - I‘ve always been about equal rights and opportunities for girls and boys or men and women.  So it‘s interesting how this is drawn into this label by the media.  

ABRAMS:  And you‘ve also been equal rights for interns, because I

first met you as I told you -  

KING:  Yes.  

ABRAMS:  And you did not know this, but I told you that I met you when I was working as a runner at NBC.  And you were so kind and so nice and you mistakenly thought that I was somebody else.  

KING:  You know what?  You were standing behind me.  Wait a minute -


KING:  I‘ve got to clarify this.  You were standing behind me.  I

heard your voice -

ABRAMS:  Yes, this is true.  

KING:  And I turned around and said, “You should be in broadcasting.”  

ABRAMS:  Yes, you did.  This is a true story.  

KING:  And look at this -  

ABRAMS:  This is a true story and here we are.  Billie Jean is

sticking around.  It is time now for our Beijing Olympics edition of

“Winners and Losers.”  Yes, you‘re sticking around because -

KING:  Are we going to see - this morning?  A lot of these guys?

ABRAMS:  Well, hold on.  MSNBC‘s Contessa Brewer is with us.  She‘s going to actually lead us through it. 

KING:  Hi, Contessa.


ABRAMS:  And then we‘re all going to have some laughs. 

BREWER:  OK.  Let‘s begin.  Here‘s how it goes.  First up, a lesson in limitations.  The “TODAY” show‘s Matt Lauer and Al Roker took on this sort of tough Olympic sport.  And they learned they might not have what it takes to bring home the gold.  


BREWER:  Wow.  

KING:  That was fantastic.  Everyone was talking about that today.  We

needed Wendy Hilliard who used to be at one of our Olympics times and first

African-American - 

ABRAMS:  Winners.  They‘re winners, right?

KING:  Total winners.  

ABRAMS:  We all agree?  Big winners.

BREWER:  Is there anything else you could call the big faces of NBC. 

ABRAMS:  I love Brian Williams sitting on the sidelines.  

KING:  Yes.

BREWER:  He was good, too.  He can read the paper and do that at the same time.  That‘s talent.  

KING:  Yes, that is talent.

BREWER:  Next up, Michael Phelps beat Mark Spitz‘ ...

KING:  Wow.

BREWER:  ... record seven gold medals in a single Olympics.  Well, now, Phelps, of course, has the cover of “Sports Illustrated” and he‘s using it to recreate that iconic Spitz poster of 1972.  Here is Spitz posing shirtless with all his medals around his neck.  And here is Phelps with one more.  And now, two more “Sports Illustrated” covers under his belt.  Magazine reps say it‘s the first time Phelps has been photographed with all of his medals. 

ABRAMS:  Hey, Billie Jean, how does it feel to have like those trophies and the gold and all those?  You know, it looks like it‘s good. 

KING:  It must be such a relief for Michael.  I mean, have you ever

seen such a perfect body for swimming? And the great thing about swimming

in the Olympics - 

BREWER:  Wait a minute, in that picture you can‘t even see his body. 

Put up the picture. 

KING:  It‘s all medals to me.  I saw all the medals.

ABRAMS:  She‘s seen it before. 

BREWER:  I mean, when Spitz won, you could still see the body.  And

when Phelps won, there were like hot -

ABRAMS:  Here‘s the thing, Billie Jean -

KING:  Look what they did - they spread them out.

ABRAMS:  Let me tell you something about Contessa, Billie Jean.  Billie Jean, Contessa is less concerned about the medals themselves than how much body she can see. 

BREWER:  No.  And also, I just like the old-fashioned picture because, I mean, it looks like - Spitz looks just like my dad when I was born.  Show it.

KING:  Really?

ABRAMS:  Wow.  Oh, my goodness.  Is that you, Contessa?

BREWER:  That‘s me as a little baby.


KING:  I saw that in the makeup room and I was like, wow!

BREWER:  Hey, you know what? 

ABRAMS:  That is great.

BREWER:  My dad is not an Olympian, but he is a winner. 

ABRAMS:  Your dad was a handsome fellow. 

KING:  Your dad is your Olympian, right?  Your hero. 

BREWER:  Yes, right.  So let‘s move on right now.  Another dirty little secret revealed from the opening ceremonies in Beijing.  A martial arts performer telling the AP he and 2,200 others stayed on an army base for three months and practiced their synchronized tai chi routine for 16 hours a day.  And remember those performers who popped up from under the boxes?  They had to wait in those boxes for six hours at a time, no bathroom breaks. 

KING:  Whoa. 

BREWER:  And according to the AP, they had to wear adult diapers, just to make (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

ABRAMS:  Well, you know what?  I say winners - they were committed. 

They were devoted to the cause and good for them. 

BREWER:  And they entertained us all. 

All right.  Billie Jean King - the book is called “A Pressure is a Privilege.”

KING:  Yes.

ABRAMS:  It is great to see you back here.  Thanks a lot for coming on the program. 

KING:  Thanks a lot, Dan.  It‘s really great to see you and Contessa. 

Hi, daddy. 

ABRAMS:  Contessa is sticking around.  Up next, will tonight‘s big winner or loser be David Hasselhoff launching his own social networking site vainly dedicated to people who have one thing in common - him, the Fonz, bronzed in vain “Happy Days” image.  Plus, your E-mails.  We call it the “P.O.‘d Box.”  We‘ll be right back. 

ABRAMS:  We‘re back with tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”  Contessa. 

BREWER:  All right.  Move over, MySpace, Friendster and Facebook and get ready for - HoffSpace?  Oh, David Hasselhoff launching his own social networking site where fans can watch his videos, keep track of his travels and talk about who else - him. 

The former “Bay Watch” star and reality show judge writes on his new page, “I realize that while two people from entirely different countries and backgrounds may seem to have nothing in common, the only thing they might have in common is me.  So I decided to start a network where people across the world might come, blah, blah, blah.” 

You know, Come on - 12,000 members already. 

ABRAMS:  Here‘s the thing.  He is apparently, right, an even much bigger star in Europe than he is here.  Right?

BREWER:  Yes, that‘s what he says. 

ABRAMS:  I mean, is that not true?

BREWER:  No, I think it is true.  And here‘s what I think -

ABRAMS:  He has this enormous fan base.  It‘s like he‘s the new Jerry Lewis. 

BREWER:  Everywhere but the United States where here he is known for being a judge of course on “America‘s Got Talent,” and a good judge at that, I have to say.  But come on, Hoff with HoffSpace.  Loser.  That‘s just a cheesy loser move. 

ABRAMS:  All right.  Go ahead. 

BREWER:  Up next, happy days for the fans of the Fonz, a.k.a. - I know you love him, Dan. 

ABRAMS:  I do.

BREWER:  Arthur Fonzarelli. 

ABRAMS:  I used to wear a leather jacket. 

BREWER:  Oh, where is the picture?  OK.  So now, he‘s memorialized in my old stomping grounds of Milwaukee.  Hundreds of people out there have unveiled this $85,000 bronze statue dedicated to the classic TV character.  Several “Happy Days” cast members were on hand to sign autographs and pay homage to Henry Winkler - there he is.  Spoke at the dedication ceremony.  Gave the bronze Fonz a signature two thumb‘s up, you know?  Hey.

ABRAMS:  You know, I‘ve got to tell you, Contessa, for guys my age, he was “it,” right?  I mean, we were obsessed with that show and every kid wanted to be like Fonzie. 

BREWER:  Is that true?

ABRAMS:  Yes.  I‘m a little older than you. 

BREWER:  I don‘t know.  I mean, I feel bad for the folks in Milwaukee because they - you know, all they ever get is “Laverne and Shirley” and the Fonz.  And now, here‘s a statue won‘t let anybody forget. 

ABRAMS:  I think it‘s great.  I think it‘s no different than having Rocky - you know, the statue of Rocky in Philadelphia. 

BREWER:  By the way, “Marie Claire” - just so that I go on the record here for home folks in Milwaukee.  “Marie Claire” says it‘s the sexiest city, number one sexy city. 

ABRAMS:  Really?

BREWER:  It‘s not all about the Fonz. 

ABRAMS:  We‘ll discuss the criteria later.  Stick around, all of the “P.O.‘d Box” stuff are related to you.  They are not that many today. 

Time for the “P.O.‘d Box,” your chance to tell me what you hate or love about the show.  Some wrote in about last night‘s “Winners and Losers” when Contessa and I talked about John Mayer‘s remarks about his split with Jennifer Anniston. 

Brett Gastineau from Fillmore, Indiana, “I don‘t much appreciate the tone of direction these conversations have taken.  I can‘t help but feel you both engaged in a bit of male bashing.  What‘s interesting to me is that a lot of research I‘ve seen quoted in the media lately women are shown to cheat more.”

BREWER:  Oh, really?  Like what, Brett?  What research is that?

ABRAMS:  He cited - he cited watching TV shows where they said it was like 62 percent or something. 

BREWER:  Sorry, Brett.  Didn‘t mean to hurt your feelings. 

ABRAMS:  Paul Dunn from Sebastopol, California, “I want to commend Contessa on her non-nuanced reporting, informing us that John Mayer‘s ‘been in‘ a number of beautiful women.”

Now, Contessa, a lot of people wrote in about this.  It was something you - you misspoke last night, right?

BREWER:  I mean - it might have been a Freudian slip.  I didn‘t intend

to say -

ABRAMS:  Right.

BREWER::  I meant to say - I don‘t know what I meant to say.

ABRAMS:  You corrected yourself actually last night.  But a lot of people wrote in about it so I just had to call you out on it.  And that‘s it.

BREWER:  Thank you, Dan.  I can always count on you to call me out. 

ABRAMS:  That‘s all the time we have for tonight.  E-mail us about the show, verdict@msnbc.com.  See you tomorrow.  



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