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'Live with Dan Abrams' for Feb. 13

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

Guests: Mark Green, Brian Wice, Ron Kuby, Monica Lindstrom, Michelle Suskauer

DAN ABRAMS, HOST:  Tonight: We keep hearing about Hillary Clinton‘s campaign teetering on the brink, gasping for air, as if as the end is ripe.  Not yet.  We lay out the top three ways Senator Clinton could turn the campaign around.  But one of them should not be the so-called superdelegates—party insiders who have got a vote worth almost 10,000 regular citizens.  I‘ll try to put an end to them.

And in the end: One of two men lied to Congress today.  The extraordinary congressional hearing of baseball great Roger Clemens, who sat inches away from the man who says he injected Clemens with steroids.  One of them could now be charged with perjury.

But first: Hillary Clinton‘s presidential bid could be in serious trouble tonight.  And not just the sort of trouble, you know, the sort of momentum issues the inside D.C. media likes to obsess over, the trouble that boils down to numbers.  Now, she‘s certainly not out of it.  More than a dozen primaries and caucuses are still to come.  But here‘s her problem: After Obama‘s crashing victories in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. last night by 24 percent, 29 percent and 51 percent respectively.  That now means: 22 states plus the nations capitol are in Obama‘s win column.  Clinton by comparison has won in 12 states, even if you include, Florida and Michigan which right now, don‘t count right because they moved up their primaries in violation of Democratic Party rules. 

But the number of states each has won is a misleading number.  It doesn‘t matter.  It‘s about votes and most important, delegates.  Obama now also with a lead in the popular vote, ahead of Clinton by nearly 700,000 votes even if you include the now disqualified Florida and Michigan votes, Obama is still ahead.  But remember: In Michigan, Obama wasn‘t even on the ballot.  But the real issue: delegates.  And to me, pledged delegates—the ones people actually vote for.  Obama has opened up a lead of more than 100 delegates, 1,078 to 969, according to NBC‘s latest estimates. 

But the numbers suggest an even more formidable hill to climb for Clinton.  She needs to win 55 percent of the remaining delegates to overtake Obama.  But he‘s expected to win his home state of Hawaii and Wisconsin where he now has an 11-point lead in the latest poll.  Victory there would mean she needs to win about 57 percent of the remaining delegates.  Now: You toss in the likely Obama victories in range of states from Vermont and Wyoming to Mississippi and South Dakota and the New York senator would have to snag 60 percent of the remaining delegates to catch up.  The Democratic contests are not winner-take-all.  It‘s proportional.  So, Clinton can‘t just win states, she needs to win big.

While some are on the verge of writing her political obituary, we ask: How can she turn it around?  We look at the top three things Hillary Clinton could do to turn the tide.

Joining us now: Rachel Maddow, MSNBC political analyst and Air America radio host; political analyst, Lawrence O‘Donnell; and Kate Obenshain of Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute.  All right.  We asked our panelists to think hard and come up with the top three things the campaign could do now.  They don‘t agree with all of this but this our compilation of their and my thoughts.

Number three: No one wants to talk about it: Going negative, harder, against Obama.  Rachel, I know that the campaign could never admit, we‘re going to go negative.  Do you think that‘s a smart strategy at this point?

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, they got to create buyers remorse among Democratic voters for Obama.  And they got some blowback early on in the campaign by going negative against Obama at a time that the country wasn‘t ready to hear it.  It came back at them and hurt them more than it hurt him.  So, the way they‘ve got to thread this needle is they got to go after Obama in a way that doesn‘t make them look bad and the way you do it is by saying, he doesn‘t have a good enough defense.  He doesn‘t know what‘s about to hit him from the Republicans, we know how to fight the slime machine, he‘s going to get bold (ph) over -

ABRAMS:  But, Lawrence, it sure to sound like that they‘ve tried that already.  I think that they got to go even more negative.  I mean, if it‘s going to make or break the campaign, it would seem to me that they‘ve got to go, I guess, if we‘re going to call them superdelegates, we‘ll say super negative.

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Exactly, Dan.  You know, they‘ve already been pushing the line that Rachel just suggested about Obama‘s not ready for the big attacks, which is an interesting veiled kind of McCarthyism that the Clinton campaign is getting away with.  They‘re suggesting that there‘s something horrible about Obama that the Republicans are going to reveal, if you nominate him, if you make that mistake.  But Dan, going negative in a hard core, traditional way is extremely dangerous for the Clinton campaign.  They can only do it if they think they have absolutely no other chance.  That‘s the only reason for them -

ABRAMS:  But Kate, we talked about—some people had said, oh, you know, this race has been so ugly.  It hasn‘t been that ugly.  I mean, you know, it hasn‘t been.

KATE OBENSHAIN, CLARE BOOTHE LUCE POLICY INSTITUTE:  Well, it‘s just been - the attacks have been very clumsily handled.  What they need to do right now and they‘ve been very personal.  They need to look, and they need to play on that fearing doubt, even among Obama supporters that underneath all that lovely pouring rhetoric, it‘s empty.  They need to talk about his positions, his health care policy which leaves 12 million to 13 million Americans uninsured.  They need to talk.  I think it would be the greatest attack and talk about Obama in the Illinois state legislature, when that tough vote came up, he would vote present.  Go after him substantively, take that page of the Clinton play book out and go after him on substance.

MADDOW:  Do you think it‘s going to create buyers remorse.


ABRAMS:  One at a time.  Rachel.

MADDOW:  If you think that‘s going to make Democrats turn away from Obama, that it‘s going to be 12 million who might or might not be covered on his health care program, of he‘s going to be voting present versus voting yes -


ABRAMS:  I think the “present” thing is very different from the health care.  The health care, I agree with you.  Look, the interpretations of what the effect of each health care plan is not going to be the winner.  But the presence thing is one of those things that‘s a total cheap shot.

OBENSHAIN:  It‘s not a cheap shot.  He couldn‘t take a stand.


ABRAMS:  Look, whether you like it or not—look, it was a strategy in the Illinois State Legislature.  If you don‘t like it or not, that was the way they did things.  But with that said, it‘s politics.  It‘s the way politics are played.  I mean, it seems to me -

MADDOW:  You‘re not going to be able to look back that‘s already happened in Barack Obama‘s political life and say that shows that he‘s -


MADDOW:  You‘re going to have to look forward and say he can‘t handle it what‘s about to hit him.

ABRAMS:  Lawrence, I think the best negative ads are the ones that look at the past and they‘ll distort it.

LAWRENCE:  They normally are but this guy doesn‘t have excise record that you need -


ABRAMS:  The number two thing that Clinton could do to turn the tides: Secure key endorsements from party bigs like John Edwards and Bill Richardson.  All right.  Does she go to Richardson, Lawrence and say: You owe me, Bill Richardson, our family has made you.  You better pay up?

O‘DONNELL:  I think that‘s a good way to scare off Bill Richardson.  Now, this going to be a difficult endorsement to wrestle in and I‘m not sure that the Richardson following and say, the Edwards following haven‘t had already enough time to make up their minds about which they‘re going.  I think if Richardson, when he dropped out within 24 to 48 hours had made an endorsement, I think it could have had a much more serious effect, same thing with Edwards.  I‘m not sure what those endorsements are worth now.

ABRAMS:  You know, Kate, I think I agree with Lawrence with this one.  I mean, we all talk about the value of endorsements, et cetera.  But you know, we saw what the Kennedy endorsements did or didn‘t do.  Let‘s use John Edwards, if she gets John Edwards, does that change things?

OBENSHAIN:  No, it doesn‘t really change things.  I think she needs to go after the patron saint of the Democratic Party right now and that‘s Al Gore.  And I know that that would take a complete miracle but - she‘s got to start going for the nuclear option here, folks.  She‘s got to go after his lack of substance and she‘s got to go for Al Gore.

ABRAMS:  She doesn‘t want to use the miracle, the Huckabee word of miracles.  All right.

OBENSHAIN:  I was thinking miracles.

ABRAMS:  The number one thing Clinton could do to become the comeback kid part do: Debate, debate, debate and she already seems to be hammering Obama on that.


VOICE OVER:  Both Democratic candidates were invited to a televised debate here in Wisconsin.  Hillary Clinton had said, yes, Barack Obama hasn‘t.  Maybe he‘d prefer to give speeches than have to answer questions like: Why Hillary Clinton has the only health care plan that covers every American and the only economic plan that freezes foreclosures.  Wisconsin deserves to hear both candidates, debate the issues that matter and that‘s not debatable.

CLINTON:  I‘m Hillary Clinton and I approve this message.


ABRAMS:  That ad in Wisconsin out today, look, Rachel, you show that to the public and 90 percent of them all (ph) are going to say, I hate that ad.  That ad is not going to make a difference to me.  But then, the net effect of these ads tends to be, particularly in the general elections, tends to be very effective.  Something like that is not going to work?

MADDOW:  Well, if this was a particularly nasty negative ad, I‘d be with you but this shows you how un-nasty the Democratic race is.  Maybe he preferred to give speeches.  That counts as an attack?  I mean, that just shows you how nice they are even when they‘re going supposedly negative.  I can‘t even belief this count as a negative ad.

ABRAMS:  All right.  Kate, real quick and I‘m going to ask you each percentage chance that Hillary is going to turn this around.  Kate, what your final thought on this debate, debate, debate?

OBENSHAIN:  He needs to keep saying: No, no, no, because he knows that she could land a knockout punch and frankly, all he needs to do is say, we debated ad nauseam and let‘s start focusing on our Republican opponent, John McCain.

ABRAMS:  Yes, but I think it‘s a smart strategy on her part to try and pull him out, make him, you know, sort of chain him into debating her again and again and hope for a slip up.  All right.  Each of you, our panelists, I‘m going to ask you percentage chance that Hillary Clinton can actually turn this thing around.  Rachel.

MADDOW:  Percentage chance -

ABRAMS:  Give me whatever way you want to quantify it.

MADDOW:  Forty-nine.

ABRAMS:  Lawrence?

O‘DONNELL:  I think it‘s 50-50.  I think she showed a big win in California.  That‘s the model she‘s looking for in Texas, in Ohio and in Pennsylvania.  No one can say that she‘s not still capable of that.  There‘s no evidence -

ABRAMS:  But Lawrence, 50-50?  I mean, what she going to do to make it 50-50?

O‘DONNELL:  Keep playing her game.  Look, I think that was a pretty effective ad that she‘s running in Wisconsin.  You know, and I think she‘s got to just find her voice now for the rest of this campaign.  She‘s got - I mean, it sounds silly but she really has to be herself on stage now.

ABRAMS:  Kate?  What do you think?

OBENSHAIN:  I guess (ph) the Democrats, the benefit of the doubt is they‘re not going to be completely insane about this and I say, 12 percent.

ABRAMS:  Twelve percent chance that she‘s able to turn this around?


ABRAMS:  Wow.  All right.  I‘m going to say, I think it‘s less than 50 percent but I think that this is - as we‘ve said, it‘s still a ball game so to speak.  All right.  Lawrence O‘Donnell, Rachel Maddow -

O‘DONNELL:  Dan, this thing‘s a tie right now.  This thing is working as a tie.  Let‘s -


ABRAMS:  Lawrence, look, I‘ve been the guy out there saying that the media overstates this stuff.  I just lead out the numbers a minute ago.  The numbers are not a tie, let‘s be clear.  The numbers are not a tie.


O‘DONNELL:  Neither one of them have a way to get to far.

OBENSHAIN:  The trend is all in his direction.

ABRAMS:  I‘ve got to wrap it up.  To Rachel and Lawrence, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it.

Coming up next: If all else fails for Clinton, she could certainly with those superdelegates. The party insiders who hold 40 percent of the votes needed for either campaign to win.  I‘d said it before, I‘ll say it again.  I think it‘s not playing fair.  For weeks, I‘ve been calling on the superdelegates to step aside.

And on the extraordinary scene on Capitol Hill: Pitcher (ph), baseball great, Roger Clemens and his trainer to face off over Clemens‘ alleged steroid use.


REP. DAN BURTON, ® INDIANA:  You‘re here to tell the truth.  You‘re here under oath.  And yet, we have lie after lie after lie after lie.


ABRAMS:  One of them was lying and could be charged with perjury.

Plus: We read your e-mails.  Mail to:  Tell us what we‘re doing right and wrong.  Be sure to include your name, where you‘re writing from.  I‘ll be back in a minute.


ABRAMS:  Did you know the superdelegates account for almost 20 percent of all the votes of the Democratic national convention?  They have 40 percent of the numbers needed for either candidate to win.  Coming up: With the Democratic race this close, it still could come down to the Democratic Party advisers.  I will say it again: They ought to step aside and let the voters decide this election.  We debate.



CLINTON:  We got a system; we‘re following in that system.  A lot of superdelegates have independent judgment but who can win and who can be the best president.  I respect their judgment.  Oftentimes, they have first time knowledge of the candidates.  So, historically, independence has been part of what we‘ve looked for from the superdelegates.


ABRAMS:  That may be true, but it sure feels undemocratic to have party insiders holding 40 percent of the delegates needed for either candidate to win.  Even after Obama‘s big wins last night and his growing lead in the pledged delegate column, it‘s the coveted, quote, “superdelegates” that still could be the king or queen maker at the Democratic convention in Denver.  Perhaps, that‘s why the Clinton campaign today continued to play up a decisive edge in the superdelegate battle, 261 to 180, about the latest NBC News estimates. 

And some of Obama‘s backers reportedly huddling in Washington to shore up support from superdelegates for them on Capitol Hill.  Now, for more than weeks, I‘ve been calling for these party insiders to step aside and let the voters make the decision.  You can say, it‘s changing the rules, midstream (ph), which it is.  That was the same argument we heard on Bush V. Gore.  But new rules are better than ones that will lead people to lose faith in the system.  If the superdelegates decide this race, the Democratic voters will never forgive the party.  Joining me now is the president of Air America, Mark Green and Kate Obenshain is back with us.  All right.  Mark, if you think I‘m wrong here, why?

MARK GREEN, AIR AMERICA:  You know, Dan, you and I, are lawyers who revered due process of law.  A cornerstone of which is that it‘s unprincipled and unethical and unlawful to change the rules during an election season, much like it would be wrong to move the goal post in the third quarter because your kicker has a weak leg.  Dan, you and I could figure out that may be a better system when how to choose a nominee.  Let‘s convince Howard Dean to appoint the Abrams Commission.  I‘ll serve on it.  Prospectively, but you remind me of a high-minded, adorable version of President Bush saying, he unilaterally won‘t comply with the 1978 FISA law.


ABRAMS:  Let me ask a question, Mark.  All right.  Florida.  All right.  This is how consistent I am in my willingness to change the rules.  In Florida, all right, you have all these people go to the voting booths.  Obama and Clinton were on the ballot, all right?  I‘m willing to now say that maybe those votes should even count, another change in the system.  I assume that you disagree with me on that as well.

GREEN:  Of course.  That‘s unprincipled.  Look, you and I could figure out a better system to electorate college, call a majority rule.  It doesn‘t mean you and I could say in year 2000, Gore should now sit as president -

ABRAMS:  What happened - but Mark, you‘re talking too much like a lawyer.  The bottom line is: In Bush v. Gore, what happened was, we had rules.  There were rules and there were laws and there were principles and we got to the end and the bottom line was: Everyone said, the system stinks and the voters didn‘t matter and people got angry and upset and they lost faith in the system.  I‘m afraid that‘s what‘s going to happen again.

GREEN:  Dan, the reason that we have this quandary is not that there are these “Bush Tweeds” and “Bush Dalys”(ph), these are congressmen, senators and party leaders -

ABRAMS:  An the 21-year-old kid who was on this program last week who‘s never voted in a presidential election before in his life.

GREEN:  Dan, do you have something against grass roots leaders for helping Obama be the nominee?

ABRAMS:  I‘m going to bring you in Kate.  Here‘s the problem I have.  I‘m going to give you the numbers, all right, 20,458,598 Democrats have voted so far; 2,168 delegates have been allocated.  That means that so far, one superdelegate, of these people who get to decide whatever the heck they want, are the equivalent to 9,437 votes.  Go ahead, Kate.

OBENSHAIN:  I agree with you, Dan.  There is the problem of perception that this is going to be decided in some smoke filled room and that would be devastating for the Democratic Party.  There is a practical issue here and that is the same one that puts Mondale and Gary Hart‘s base coming into the convention where they‘re virtually deadlock, where they are roughly even.  And then, that‘s a practical issue.  Who‘s going to decide?  And the superdelegates, Dan -

ABRAMS:  Right.  Now, look, I have no problem if there‘s a deadlock.  I get it.  If there‘s a deadlock, a literal deadlock and they are literally tied, I‘m happy to have some group of superdelegates make the decision.

OBENSHAIN:  Because of the proportional representation system that the Democrats, in fact one of Hillary Clinton‘s chief advisers implemented, you face a very real prospect that that‘s going to happen.  But I think you‘re seeing a lot of superdelegates saying that they‘re going to go along with the will of overall delegates -

ABRAMS:  I guess some of them are saying that, but not New York congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, who says, I‘ll be with Hillary until the end.  We don‘t want to rules now.  Go ahead, Mark.

GREEN:  Ted Kennedy will be with Barack Obama despite Massachusetts.  Dan, in 1982, the party said proportional allegations based on votes which is democratic and it‘s ended up 26 years later, helping Obama since Clinton won big states.  Let me finish—


ABRAMS:  I don‘t care.  It‘s a matter of principle.

GREEN:  It said that superdelegates could help break a tie.  The reason we‘re in this quandary is not this rule.  It‘s we have two extraordinary candidates comparably matched and if they come in to the convention and one of them is 200 delegates ahead, you‘re right.  But if they come in, 40 or 50.5 to 49.5, even Obama had said -


ABRAMS:  You know what, I agree with you.  If it‘s that close, that‘s fine, then, I‘ll agree with you.  My point is: If one is way ahead going into the convention, and it all becomes dependent upon - if the loser is trying to get all the superdelegates to change the outcome, it‘s going to be the disaster to the party.  I‘ve got to end this Mark, but you agree, that would be a disaster for the party?

GREEN:  I agree.  What‘s the number, Dan.

ABRAMS:  Right.  Look, the number is - I agree with.  If it‘s that close, if it‘s going to be that close, then somebody is going to have to decide.  Mark Green and Kate Obenshain -

GREEN:  You.

ABRAMS:  Well, thank you.  (INAUDIBLE).  Anyway.

Coming up: Somebody looks in the face of congressmen on Capitol Hill today and lied.  It was either legendary pitcher, Roger Clemens or his former trainer that Clemens used steroids.  It was as riveting as it was ugly.  And the folks over at FOX Business talking about Barack Obama as the messiah, literally, the second coming.

What happened to their business news?  Beat the Press is next.


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

First up: We go after radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh on occasion but this next clip from FOX and Friends is unacceptable.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ANCHOR:  We are hearing that a top leader in the terror organization, Hezbollah has been killed.


ABRAMS:  Rush Limbaugh as many (ph) think, the last time I checked he is not a leader of Hezbollah.

Next up:  You got to love CNN‘s long time political guy, Bill Schneider but I want to hear this sober political realities from him, not his effort of urban slang.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST:  Seniors, age 65 and older, those are McCain‘s peeps.  Hillary (ph) is also his peeps if you want.  They his a senior, they his peeps.


ABRAMS:  Yes, you go, Bill.  Yes, you go..

Finally: It seems our friends over at the FOX Business Network have run out of business stories and instead, they‘re now inventing political ones, taking some a little too literally.


ANNOUNCER:  Today on happy hour: Barack Obama is moving forward and some are calling him the next messiah.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  People are talking about it, comparing the senator to a messiah.  Obama is the second coming, the son of God.  People are likening Obama to a messiah.  Is Obama the messiah?  It‘s kind of dang rouse to be, you know, likening someone to a messiah.


ABRAMS:  Guys, I think you kind of missed this one.  No one is literally suggesting that he‘s a messiah.  I know.  It can be confusing.

We need your help Beating the Press.  If you see anything right or wrong, amusing or absurd, go to our Web site: Mail to:,” and leave us a tip in the box.

Up next: Somebody lied to Congress today.  Pitcher Roger Clemens sat inches away from the trainer who said he injected the baseball star in a riveting hearing.  They told polar opposite stories about Clemens and steroids.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s been very frustrating.  I‘m sure it‘s frustrating for those watching too.  When you testify in front of the committee, it‘s better not to talk about the past than to lie about the past.  Somebody is not telling the truth today.


ABRAMS:  No question about that.  We‘ll tell you who have the better case and later: Cops on tape strip searching a woman, then leave her naked in a jail cell for six hours after she reported being assaulted and the sheriff said, he feels comfortable he‘s deputies perform their deputies in a professional manner.  Coming up.


ABRAMS:  Coming up, a security camera catches a Florida deputy dumping a paralyzed man out of his wheelchair to the floor.

And police strip-searching a woman force her to sit naked in a cell for six hours after she reported being assaulted by a family member.  The sheriff in that case saying his deputies didn‘t do anything wrong.

Plus, more trouble in the Hilton family.  This time it‘s not Paris.  It‘s coming up in tonight‘s “Winners & Losers.”

But first, a surreal scene on Capitol Hill today that boils down to one question—which of these two men lied to Congress at a hearing on steroid use in baseball?  At issue today, whether pitching great Roger Clemens was injected with steroids by his trainer, Brian McNamee.  The two men sat only inches away from each other.  Both testified under oath, and one did not tell the truth. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So you did not tell Mr. Pettitte that you used Human Growth Hormone? 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And—but at the same time, you just said that he‘s a very honest fellow.  Is that right?

CLEMENS:  I believe Andy to be a very honest fellow, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Now, Mr. Clemens, I‘m reminding you that you are under oath.  Mr. Clemens, do you think Mr. Pettitte was lying when he told a committee that you admitted using Human Growth Hormone. 

CLEMENS:  Again, I think Andy has misheard. 

Because I said I didn‘t take steroids, that this is looked as an attack on Senator Mitchell‘s report.  Where am I to go with that? 

I‘m not saying Senator Mitchell‘s report is entirely wrong.  I am saying Brian McNamee‘s statements about me are wrong. 

Let me be clear, I have never taken steroids or HGH. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And you claim you gave him a steroid or a compound?  What was it that you claim you gave him the injections of? 

BRIAN MCNAMEE, FMR. TRAINER:  It was—throughout the course of the years, it was Winstrol, also known as Stanzanol.  There was testosterone steroids, and HGH, Human Growth Hormone. 

CLEMENS:  Brian McNamee gave me shots on four to six occasions of B-12.  It‘s red or pink in color.  Lydocaine, I do not know the color of Lydocaine.  He gave me one shot of Lydocaine. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Clemens had said that you treated him with injections of vitamin B-12.  Is that correct? 

MCNAMEE:  Negative. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You never did any B-12? 

MCNAMEE:  No, sir. 

CLEMENS:  Could I have gone by the house later that afternoon and dropped my wife, or her brother-in-law, the people that golf with me?  Sure.  I know one thing.  I wasn‘t there having—huddled up with somebody trying to do a drug deal.  I know that for sure. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Mr. Canseco provided a sworn affidavit stating that Clemens did not attend that party.  And you indicated that he came to the party late.  How do you swear that with what was on television, on the radio, and what the sworn affidavit of Canseco‘s was?  I mean, there‘s some inconsistency there. 

MCNAMEE:  My recollection is not inconsistent.  What they said—they said—I recall Roger Clemens being at that party. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  In the Mitchell Report, you say that Mr. Clemens used HGH in 2000, but that he didn‘t want to use it again because he didn‘t like it.  If that‘s the case, why would he possibly want to have his wife injected with it, which is what you‘ve alleged? 

MCNAMEE:  I just—he asked me to instruct her on how to do it.  She continued to use it on her own.  And you‘re asking the wrong person. 

CLEMENS:  She has been broken up over this for a long time.  And she said to me now she feels like a pawn amongst his game.  I would have never instructed Brian McNamee to give my wife these shots. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This has been very frustrating.  I‘m sure it‘s been very frustrating to those watching, too.  When you testify in front of this committee, it‘s better not to talk about the past than to lie about the past.  Somebody is not telling the truth today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Roger Clemens, unless it‘s proven that he used steroids—and so far I haven‘t seen anything like it—if he did, he ought to be held accountable.  But Roger Clemens is a baseball—he‘s a titan in baseball.

And you, with all these lies, if they are not true, are destroying him and his reputation.  Now, how does he get his reputation back if this is not true?  And how can we believe you?  Because you‘ve lied and lied and lied and lied. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s hard to believe—it‘s hard to believe you, sir.  I hate to say that as—you‘re one of my heroes, but it‘s hard to believe you. 


ABRAMS:  Congressmen pointing fingers at both of them. 

Here now, defense attorney Brian Wice, who was at today‘s hearing; former prosecutor Monica Lindstrom; and attorney Ron Kuby joins us as well.

All right.  Since you were there, Brian, let me start with you.

What did you make of it? 

BRIAN WICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Boy, It was drama on multiple levels, Dan.  And nobody wanted to believe Roger Clemens more than I did.  But I felt like that kid back in the 1920s turning to Shoeless Joe Jackson and saying, say it ain‘t so, Joe, but I think that it was. 

Look, this wasn‘t so much about who was lying, but about who was telling the truth.  And what everybody agreed on today, Dan, was that Andy Pettitte and Chuck Knoblauch were absolutely believable and credible and beyond reproach.  Rusty Hardin acknowledged that, and certainly the Rocket did.  And I think by the end of the day, some of those committee members, including Elijah Cummings, who you just saw in that last bite, took Roger down. 

ABRAMS:  And Andy Pettitte becomes the critical issue here, Ron.  He‘s this long-time friend of Clemens.  And he‘s said that he and Clemens talked about using steroids.  And...

RON KUBY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Right.  He actually said in—under oath that, in fact, Roger Clemens admitted to him that he had used HGH. 

ABRAMS:  So he tried to get around that today, saying that he must have misrembered? 

KUBY:  He must have misrembered, he must have misheard.  But Pettitte was very clear under oath that he did not misremember.  He remembered it quite vividly. 

And Pettitte told his wife shortly after that conversation, and she submitted an affidavit as well saying that, yes, Andy Pettitte told me that Roger Clemens did say these things around this time.  So, an awful lot of people have to be lying for Roger Clemens to be telling the truth. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

And Monica, that‘s the problem.  I mean, it‘s basically all the evidence supports McNamee, except Roger Clemens own testimony. 

MONICA LINDSTROM, FMR. PROSECUTOR:  Well, the only evidence we have, Dan, are these statements by Pettitte and McNamee and Pettitte‘s wife.  They weren‘t there to actually confront Clemens.

You know, if you ask me, this whole hearing was really a big waste of time.  Both McNamee and Clemens were raked over the coals.  They stuck to their stories, they were both called liars, their credibility was called into question.  And what do we have now that we didn‘t have before? 

ABRAMS:  Look, I agree with you.  This is a total waste of taxpayer money.  I don‘t know why—but, I‘ll tell you, it was absolutely riveting.  And there‘s a question to be answered, which is whether one of them was lying. 

Here‘s Brian McNamee, the trainer, being grilled by the congressman about his own lying. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You told “The New York Times” that you had no direct evidence, like the gauze and needles, at the beginning of all of this. 

MCNAMEE:  I told—I didn‘t talk to “The New York Times.”  I told the federal investigators and the Mitchell people that I had no direct evidence as far as physical evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  That on January 5, 2008... 

What‘s that? 

So you—so you didn‘t—you didn‘t tell the truth then, initially to them? 

MCNAMEE:  No, sir. 


MCNAMEE:  Yes, sir. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There‘s several things here that really bother me.  First of all, you lied about him being (ph) Canseco.  Canseco said he wasn‘t there in a sworn affidavit.  On the radio and television they said he wasn‘t there.  And yet you still maintain that he did come there.  And now you admit you lied about this. 

Are you lying about anything else?  I mean, why don‘t you tell us?

MCNAMEE:  No, sir.  And I‘m not lying about Jose Canseco‘s house. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So you just lie when it‘s convenient for you? 

MCNAMEE:  No, sir.


ABRAMS:  But, you know, the difference is, Ron, he‘s admitting certain lies.  Clemens is admitting nothing. 

What‘s the motive?  Right?  What‘s this guy‘s—the other two guys who come forward, Pettitte, Knoblauch, they‘re both—I think they‘re both going to in the end admit it.  We‘ll see—we‘ll see about Knoblauch.  But Clemens saying it didn‘t happen, he‘s got the motive to lie. 

KUBY:  Right.  Clemens has the motive to lie.  I mean, look, McNamee may very well be a liar from birth, or even from conception, but it‘s now fairly clear he was telling the truth about Pettitte, because Pettitte‘s admitted that.

It appears that he was telling the truth about Knoblauch.  So, why is he lying about Clemens? 

And it‘s not just McNamee versus Clemens.  You have Andy Pettitte‘s statements, Andy Pettitte‘s wife.  You have the strange alleged vitamin injection abscess on Roger Clemens that McNamee says, in fact, was due to a steroid injection.

ABRAMS:  And Brian, I‘m also troubled by the fact that, you know, you see these congressmen going after McNamee, and a lot of these guys may have been the same guys who were getting Clemens‘ autograph this week as he‘s coming—it just seems so inappropriate to me that Roger Clemens is in this congressional hearing and there are any members of Congress who are inviting him into their chambers, having them sign autographs that are worth, you know, a lot of money. 

WICE:  You‘re right.  It‘s a lot like being involved in a tumultuous divorce case, walking by the judge‘s chambers, Dan, and seeing opposing counsel and your soon-to-be ex-wife sitting there having cocktails and a big time. 

It‘s inappropriate.  It‘s wrong.  But, again, everybody said from the beginning that this ultimately was a court of law, which was so entertaining, because at one point, Rusty Hardin and Lanny Breuer stood up to make an objection...


ABRAMS:  And the congressman says, be quiet.

What were you going to say?

WICE:  He told them, guys, you don‘t have a speaking part in this movie. 

KUBY:  Right, this is not a court of law.  I mean, Congress is not conducting a criminal...


ABRAMS:  But there could be a charge for perjury here.

KUBY:  Well, yes and no.  That is, Congress can recommend to the Justice Department that Clemens or McNamee be charged. 

ABRAMS:  Right.

KUBY:  The Justice Department though...

ABRAMS:  Right.

KUBY:  ... is notoriously lax about prosecutions for perjury for lying before Congress. 

ABRAMS:  Right.  But in cases where the world is watching, they tend to be a little more attentive.

KUBY:  They haven‘t even gotten around to indicting Miguel Tejada from—for his alleged (INAUDIBLE) two years ago.

ABRAMS:  We knew that Ron was going to be able to throw in one of his pet projects before we got done with this. 


ABRAMS:  Brian Wice and Ron Kuby, thank you very much.  Appreciate it.

KUBY:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, a surveillance tape captures a deputy dumping a paralyzed man out of his wheelchair. 

And later, it‘s not just Paris, her brother Barron joins her as an alumnus of the local lockup facility.  That‘s coming up in tonight‘s “Winners & Losers.”

But first, reality bites.  A sometimes painful dose of reality caught on tape. 

Tonight, the Baltimore Police Department has suspended officer Salvatore Rivieri (ph) after this video was posted of him roughing up this teenage skateboarder last summer. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  First of all, you disrespected me, this badge, and my department.  You understand me?

When I‘m talking to you, you shut your mouth and you listen.  Obviously your parents don‘t put a foot in your butt quite enough, because you don‘t understand the meaning of respect. 

First of all, you better learn how to speak.  I‘m not “Man,” I‘m not “Dude.”  I am Officer Riveri.  Now, the sooner you learn that, the longer you‘re going to live in this word.  Because you go around doing this kind of stuff, somebody is going to kill you. 


ABRAMS:  Be right back.


ABRAMS:  Tonight, two examples of cops seemingly crossing the line, going way over it, caught on tape. 

First, an Ohio woman strip-searched by seven police officers after she called for help after an altercation with a family member.  This is Hope Stefi (ph) screaming as she‘s stripped completely naked and locked in a jail cell for six hours. 



UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Relax.  Just relax.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  What are you doing? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You‘re going out for (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No!  Stop it!  Stop it!

What are you doing?   


ABRAMS:  The sheriff is saying that the deputies performed their tasks in a professional manner? 

Then there‘s this—a deputy dumping a Florida man paralyzed from the neck down out of his wheelchair and searching him while he‘s lying on the ground.  Brian Sterner (ph) was being booked for fleeing law enforcement after a traffic violation and says he was ordered to stand up. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I said, “I can‘t stand up.  I‘m a quadriplegic.”  I did a face plant pretty hard on my right side. 


ABRAMS:  Joining me now, defense attorney Michelle Suskauer and former prosecutor Monica Lindstrom. 

All right, Michelle.  Let‘s talk about the strip search first. 

You‘re actually going to tell me that there‘s a potential argument that the police, male and female together, were acting, as the sheriff there says, in a professional manner that it is consistent with the requirements of the law? 

MICHELLE SUSKAUER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, you know, Dan, I don‘t have their internal files in terms of what they have to do with strip searches.

ABRAMS:  Do you need them?  Do you need them?

SUSKAUER:  Well, sure.  We can go over them. 

ABRAMS:  Tell me what you need to know.  Let‘s put up the video as we talk about this.

I want to know what you need to know about the strip search to know whether it was done professionally. 

SUSKAUER:  Well, you know what?  Dan, you know what‘s amazing?  Is we have it on tape. 

We don‘t see police officers losing their temper.  We see them being very methodical.  We see a woman who is completely out of control, and we‘re looking at a snapshot of an entire encounter... 

ABRAMS:  There are guys there. 

SUSKAUER:  ... that probably lasted—I understand that.  And that‘s one thing I‘m telling you that I don‘t agree with unless they only had—and remember, we have two women who are on that video. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, thank goodness.

SUSKAUER:  Unless they didn‘t have other females who were there and who were present.  But, Dan, what we‘re looking at here is we‘re looking at a snapshot of an entire encounter.  OK? 


SUSKAUER:  So—and so, you know, right now, we‘re playing Monday morning quarterback with this incident. 

ABRAMS:  Oh, we sure are.  Yes.

But look—Monica, look, she‘s the one who calls the police.  She‘s the one who needs the help when they call for the police. 

LINDSTROM:  Yes.  You know, Dan, this is absolutely inexcusable.  Take the uniforms off the officers, put them in plain clothes, and you have gang assault, almost gang sexual assault.  Her clothes are being taken off her for no reason I see in the video. 

SUSKAUER:  But wait a minute.  Wait a second.  What about no reason? 

LINDSTROM:  She‘s not out of control.  She starts screaming because she‘s—her clothes are being taken off.

SUSKAUER:  OK.  Wait a second.  Wait.

LINDSTROM:  Give me a break.  There‘s no...

SUSKAUER:  Stop for a second.  It‘s not—it‘s not...

LINDSTROM:  There‘s no reason.  And it should not have been done.  And they clearly are...


ABRAMS:  Michelle, go ahead.

SUSKAUER:  OK.  Dan...


SUSKAUER:  Dan, Monica, listen—listen, what did she say?  What precipitated this?  It was a question to her. 

ABRAMS:  Who cares? 

LINDSTROM:  Who cares?

SUSKAUER:  And the question was, do you have any—what do you mean who cares? 

ABRAMS:  There are guys there.

SUSKAUER:  It is directly relevant.

ABRAMS:  I‘m sorry.

SUSKAUER:  And what the question is...

LINDSTROM:  There are men there.

SUSKAUER:  Wait a second.  What the question is, is, do you have any weapons or sharp objects?  And have you tried to hurt yourself in the past?

LINDSTROM:  They were taking off her underwear and her bra.

SUSKAUER:  Excuse me.  The answer—the answer that she gave, which was the wrong answer, instead of, “No, no weapons,” was, “Now or at any other time?”

ABRAMS:  Oh, horrors.

SUSKAUER:  Boom.  Can this woman hurt them? 


SUSKAUER:  Dan, you know what?  God forbid she hurt herself or hurt someone else.  They don‘t know if she‘s mentally ill, they don‘t know what they are dealing with.  And police officers...

LINDSTROM:  Tearing off her underwear and her bra. 

SUSKAUER:  ... are making a—wait a second. 


SUSKAUER:  You‘re a former prosecutor.  You‘re a former prosecutor.


SUSKAUER:  You know that police officers have to make...

LINDSTROM:  I know when they cross the line.  And they clearly crossed the line. 

SUSKAUER:  They have to make—look, they have to make a split-second decision.  OK?


SUSKAUER:  And so it‘s very easy for us to judge.

LINDSTROM:  She was handcuffed.  No need for a split decision there.

ABRAMS:  All right.

Real quick, Michelle, you‘re not even going to defend the cops who dumped the paraplegic on the floor, are you?  That one—that one...

SUSKAUER:  Dan, I usually—I usually can defend—I usually can anybody.  That is—it‘s pretty indefensible. 


SUSKAUER:  I can only make—I can only make bad jokes.  That‘s it.  No.

ABRAMS:  And the difference in that case also is that the authorities there took action against the person who did that, as opposed to the other case, where they‘re still claiming that they dealt with it in a professional manner. 

All right.

Michelle Suskauer and Monica Lindstrom, thanks a lot.  Appreciate it. 

LINDSTROM:  Thank you. 

SUSKAUER:  Thank you.

ABRAMS:  Up next, will tonight‘s big winner or loser of the day be Barron Hilton, little brother of Paris who is continuing the Hilton family tradition of getting wrecked and then getting behind the wheel—allegedly—Senator Larry Craig—the Senate Ethics Committee wrecking his chances of total redemption, finding that his behavior during the men‘s bathroom sex sting brought discredit on the Senate—or former Bush administration architect Karl Rove, who‘s blaming the media for wrecking the economy?

Tonight‘s “Winners & Losers” are next.


ABRAMS:  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Winners & Losers” for this 13th day of February, 2008. 

Our bronze loser, Barron Hilton.  Like brother, like sister, the younger sibling of heiress Paris Hilton joined his big sis in the Hilton hall of shame.  Arrested for drunk-driving in Malibu yesterday morning, Hilton had to be bailed out of jail by his friends after his furious parents would not. 

And Paris seemed to not be too worried about it.  She was seen partying in Las Vegas while Barron must have been looking for bail money. 

Our silver loser, disgraced Senator Larry Craig, who the Ethics Committee just ruled this evening acted improperly in connection with the men‘s room sting that almost brought him down last summer.  Senator Craig had promised to resign after the scandal, then reversed his decision. 

The Ethics Committee isn‘t expected to take any further action.  And he doesn‘t seem ready to resign. 

But the big loser of the day, Karl Rove, who claimed earlier this week on his new home, FOX News, that the media, not the president, was to blame for the sluggish economy.  You have got to love Rove‘s fictionalized world—first blaming the Democrats for rushing into war.  Now blaming the media for the economy.

Our big winner of the day, former child actor Gary Coleman, no longer a 40-year-old virgin.  The “Different Strokes” star just revealed he got hitched last summer to a 22-year-old Shannon Price (ph).  Gary says he finally lost his virginity to her. 

Way to go, Gary. 

Time for your e-mails. 

Monday night, we interviewed 21-year-old Jason Rae, a college student and one of 796 superdelegates who could wind up choosing the Democratic presidential nominee. 

Mary O‘Sullivan writes, “Your interview with the young superdelegate was fascinating.  What a great kid.  People like he are the heart and soul of the party.”

Mary, I agree that Jason is an exceptional kid, but he‘s not that exceptional such that his vote should count almost 10,000 times more than yours. 

Justin from Madison, Wisconsin, thinks I was too hard on Jason.  “I must take issue with your attempt to belittle the 21-year-old.  Young people should be commended for their involvement with the political process, and his poise, thoughtfulness, and intelligence were evident.”

Justin, lighten up.  As I said, I have nothing against Jason.  I told him he was a great sport for coming on the program.  He knows a lot about politics.  I just don‘t think he should have a vote worth that much more than everyone else‘s. 

And Marty Lloyd from Austin, Texas, “I have a huge problem with that Jason kid deciding who my candidate will be.”

Steve Robles from bend, Oregon, “Maybe Jason Rae is not as nice as you all said.  I found this young man to be a bit offensive.  I felt as though he came off as some sort of intellectual elitist, that he feels that he‘s smarter than the majority.”

Come on, Steve.  Give the guy a break.  He was a good kid. 

And I also blasted “The New York Times” for printing a smear story in which they suggested Obama may have actually exaggerated his past drug use. 

Michael Dolan from L.A., “Is the idea really that far fetched, that someone could actually enhance the truth to make the struggles they‘ve endured have a little more impact?  Have we forgotten ‘A Little Million Pieces‘?  Didn‘t Oprah endorse that too?”

So the guy is supposedly wanting to be president for all his adult life, decides to overstate his drug use for political gain?  Furthermore, they had no evidence to back it up.  Just their own reporting that fell short.  It was the ultimate in media arrogance. 

Joseph Valvo from Pittsburgh, “Thank you for the evening show highlighting the terribly unjust and just plain filthy reporting ‘The New York Times‘ did in regard to Obama‘s drug use.”

You‘re welcome, Joe.  And thank you to all of you for taking the time to write.

As always, thanks for your feedback, e-mails.  We do them daily at

See you tomorrow.



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