Guest: Michael Smerconish, Tom O‘Neil, Danny Bonaduce, Emily Ramshaw, Carolyn Jessop, Nicole DeBorde, Keya Morgan, Monica Lindstrom
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Tonight: The media obsessing over to Obama‘s mention of bitterness among some small town Americans. McCain calls that elitist. Clinton releases a new attack ad.
Isn‘t this just the D.C. media blowing up a story during a slow political period?
Pat Buchanan, Michael Smerconish, and Lawrence O‘Donnell join the debate.
Then: The bitterness in Texas as parents of children taken from the polygamist compound calling the governor to let them see their kids.
Plus: An alleged Marilyn Monroe sex tape mentioned in FBI documents.
We‘ll talk live to with the man who says he found the tape.
VERDICT starts now.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the show live from Burbank, California, tonight. The inside D.C. media playing and overplaying Barack Obama‘s comment that many small town voters are bitter and clinging to guns and religion. Is this really a big story?
Now, it‘s understandable that the Clinton and McCain camps are trying to use the comments to paint Obama as everything from elitist to severely out of touch with Americans to unelectable? I guess that‘s politics, but it seems a brief low in political news has led some in the D.C. media to jump on this story with a sort of fervor usually reserved for a major gaffe.
Here‘s what Obama said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It‘s not surprising then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren‘t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to express their frustrations.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: But Obama has made comments like this before to no fanfare. Isn‘t it possible many in the D.C. media are condescending to voters by presuming they‘ll be offended? I think many are overacting because they have no idea. Many in the media, whether truly bitter folks around this country might really be upset by the comments. But that hasn‘t stopped the politicos from going wall-to-wall with the bitter debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a FOX News Alert. Barack Obama is under fire for comments that he made at a San Francisco fund-raiser criticizing small town Pennsylvania voters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Obama an elitist?
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: I think it raises questions about whether he does have a kind of elitist attitude towards people who come from very different background from him, him being the one with the more elite background.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it‘s big because it strikes him from two directions. First, he is condescending. B, he is out of touch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is unbelievable condescending. It‘s exactly what you expect from a latte liberal giving a talk in the San Francisco.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a big problem for Barack Obama, Diane.
There‘s no question about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Really? I mean, I don‘t mean to be so blunt, but who cares? Maybe, just maybe voters care more about the fact that Obama recognized that they‘re angry than about anything else.
Here now: MSNBC‘s Political Analyst Pat Buchanan; Philadelphia radio talk show host, Michael Smerconish; and here with me is Political Analyst Lawrence O‘Donnell.
All right. Michael, you know, from a media perspective, the media has been obsessed with this story all weekend, all day today. Come on, isn‘t this just a little low in the political environment leading them to say, ah, this is our next big story?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, PHILADELPHIA RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I think the beast needs to be fed. And this is the only thing that the beast could be fed for the last 72 hours. I can tell you this, the better part of my radio show in Philadelphia was dedicated to this issue today, and folks were hot and bothered by it.
I think I‘m the only Pennsylvanian on the panel, and I can tell you how I feel. I feel as if, you know, I‘m a patient who‘s being psychoanalyzed by “Doctor Obama,” who‘s performing some kind of differential diagnosis to try to come to terms with the hostility that he sees in me and he‘s attribute it to my gun fixation and my religion.
ABRAMS: But, Michael, let‘s be honest. Let‘s be honest. You and I are not the people he‘s talking about. You and I are not the ones who are going check to check to try to make sure that we‘ve got enough money to put food on the table. We‘re not the ones who Barack Obama is talking about.
SMERCONISH: You are correct. But he‘s wrong about those that he‘s describing. Look, hunting in Pennsylvania is a rich tradition handed down by generations of fathers to their sons. It‘s got nothing to do with the economy. Do you know, Dan, that in the vast bulk of Pennsylvania, the first day of buck season is a school holiday from the public schools?
So, he‘s just flat out wrong when he starts talking about guns and linking them to the economy. I think the guy misspoke. I don‘t know that it‘s going to be the death nail of his campaign, Gallup indicates that and they probably won‘t because he‘s sustained his 10-point lead.
ABRAMS: Lawrence, look, it‘s—in the “USA Today” today says, “In more than a dozen interviews here, even conservative Republicans,” this is in Pennsylvania, “couldn‘t muster the sort of outrage over Obama‘s remark that Clinton backers were expressing Sunday. Nearly everyone allowed that, in fact, many small town residents are indeed bitter.”
I think that people are hearing the bitter part and not this sort of media obsessed, oh, he linked it. He linked it. Look what he did.
LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. This is the emptiest controversy that‘s developed in the entire campaign here.
And by the way, the media is, in effect, taking dictation from the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign insists this is a horrible thing that this candidate has said and he must be banned for our politics for saying it. And the media is jumping on it. “The New York Times” making it page one.
And Obama has right away said, “OK, I didn‘t mean that way. I don‘t like the words I chose.” So, once he says, I don‘t like the words I chose, how is his position different from anyone else‘s on this, including Clinton‘s? She doesn‘t like the words he chose either.
ABRAMS: Look, Pat, I know - Pat, you‘re going to tell us that you‘re going to tell me that I‘m one of this out of touch people who lives in New York. I‘m sitting here in Los Angeles. I know what you‘re going to say. But I‘m going to say this back to you, Pat, aren‘t you a little bit 2004, believing that this kind of gaffe is going to have such a big impact?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It‘s going to have an impact. Let me tell you, I do have family up in Pennsylvania. My mother and her seven brothers were from up there. Her seven brothers and sisters, four are veterans of the war. They grew up on the Monongahela (ph) River in Charleroi. I‘ve got cousins up there.
I can tell you what Barack Obama said was condescending and demeaning and insulting. They are angry, and they are bitter. And he talked about the trade policy and immigration, it would be fine. But he said they just cling to their bibles and guns and bigotries towards strangers and people that aren‘t like them.
Let me tell you, what Barack Obama, he is just manifesting his own prejudice and the bigotry of that little liberal group he‘s talking about, about the middle people in America. And it‘s been a problem for the Democratic Party since the ‘72 convention. They are elitists who don‘t care about and don‘t understand Middle America.
ABRAMS: Pat, Barack Obama is not going to get your vote. He wasn‘t going to get it before this comment. He‘s not going to get it now. And the question is, is this kind of comment, and we talked in the past about past elections, about underestimating the significance of gun rights, et cetera, but the bottom line is, isn‘t it possible that this time the media is overplaying it:
A. Because they don‘t know what‘s really going to anger voters. And,
B. Because they are simply looking back at 2000, maybe even 2004, and not looking at what the issues are today that people really care about.
BUCHANAN: Well, let me tell you why it will hurt Barack Obama. Not because it offends Pat Buchanan, but because it offends the Reagan Democrats, the working class people, that‘s a Democratic state. They are the folks—working folks making $15,000 to $30,000. The guys on retirement, things like that.
It is an insulting, demeaning thing for Barack to say. And it‘s straight out of San Francisco behind closed doors, shabbily and brie, the whole bit. Lawrence O‘Donnell wanted to succeed from the rest of the United States in 2004. He was so ticked off at red America.
SMERCONISH: Hey, Dan, I have to tell you, I agree with Pat.
O‘DONNELL: The great thing about hearing Pat Buchanan talk about elitism is Pat Buchanan is the presidential candidate who had to get rid of his Mercedes when we found out he was driving a Mercedes and switch to a Lincoln Navigator so he could for the first time in his life buy American after all this anti-trade talk he‘d been doing as a candidate. No elitism in the Buchanan family ever.
ABRAMS: Michael, listen to this. This was on the FOX News Web site. And this to me is classic of what‘s happening. It‘s a reporter trying to prod a man on the street to say what they were hoping they‘d hear and that‘s not what they‘re seeing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was definitely on target with that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You know, the concern has been that his opponents have said that it sounded condescending.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don‘t think so. I‘m not a Barack Obama—
I‘m not going to vote for Barack, but, no, in truth he spoke the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Dan, wait a minute.
ABRAMS: Michael, what I think most people heard here is bitter. They heard—most people heard the word “bitter.” And they‘re saying, yes, I‘m bitter. This guy hears me.
SMERCONISH: I‘ve got to throw the flag if the interpretation here is this is a FOX creation. And I am not here to carry their water, but this is not the stuff of right wing talk radio. You‘re overlooking that this came to light at Huffington Post. When I‘m at Huffington Post, I am a token.
ABRAMS: No, you‘re misunderstanding me. Michael, I am in no way suggesting this is a right wing media. You saw the clips we‘ve played there, well, many of them from the mainstream media. This is a mainstream media creation in my view because there a slow political time. And as a result, everyone is going crazy with this story.
SMERCONISH: That I agree with. I agree that the beast needs to be fed and things have been quiet. I do believe that it‘s a legitimate issue. And it raises - look, I happened to like the guy. I can‘t speak for Buchanan, I happened to like what I hear from Barack Obama.
But I think that this is a legitimate issue. It‘s a legitimate issue when he starts talking about how in poor economic times, people are drawn to their weapons and their church. I‘d love to see somebody ask him, are you telling us you were more drawn to Reverend Wright in a time of economic downtrend? Come on.
ABRAMS: Hang on a second.
BUCHANAN: If you‘re talking .
ABRAMS: Hang on a second, Pat. I want to play Hillary Clinton‘s ad the way that she‘s used this and I think she‘s used the media on this, and everyone who watches this program knows I‘ve been very protective of Hillary Clinton when she‘s been attacked by the media. But now I think she‘s using the media‘s overplaying this to her advantage.
Here‘s her new ad that just came out tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Barack Obama said that people in small towns “cling to guns or religion as a way to explain their frustrations.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very insulted by Barack Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It just shows how out of touch Barack Obama is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m not clinging to my faith out of frustration and bitterness. I find my faith as very uplifting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The good people of Pennsylvania deserve a lot better than what Barack Obama said.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary does understand the citizens of Pennsylvania better.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton has been fighting for people like us her whole life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Hey, Pat, how did they find all those people so quickly?
BUCHANAN: At the campaign headquarters central casting. But, look, but you know, if Barack—let‘s just say a conservative candidate said and let me express, you know, look, you‘ve got to understand these African-Americans folks, why they‘re talking about AIDS, doctors creating AIDS, and why they sing in church, why they go to church all the time.
You know, they‘re bitter and they are frustrated. It‘s got that tone of condescension, of pity, yes, empathy, it‘s not hostile, but it‘s these poor people. They need therapy or something like that. They need to be understood.
And these are proud people. They are very proud people and understandably so. And you‘d to understand it, Dan, O‘Donnell was probably in that fund-raiser.
O‘DONNELL: I would have loved to have been there, Pat, but I was in San Francisco. I‘m not invited to his fund-raiser. But look, there‘s absolutely no policy implications involved in what he said. You know, this is a guy who says he‘s opposed to NAFTA and he‘s opposed to the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. There‘s no policy implications at all.
He‘s already in favor of gun control, so if you‘re a gun lover, you shouldn‘t be voting for this guy if you want to be able to buy any kind of gun you want. He‘s in favor of freedom of religion. So, you know, what‘s the implication if any in terms of what he said? There‘s absolutely no governing implication.
BUCHANAN: He is saying these are crutches for people who can‘t deal with the real world.
SMERCONISH: And, Dan, I‘d just want to say, as a Pennsylvanian .
O‘DONNELL: If he was saying that, which I don‘t think he was, what does that have to do with his interest in raising taxes?
BUCHANAN: It has to do with what he thinks of the people he‘s trying to win over when he talks mind closed door I care about (ph).
ABRAMS: Michael, yes.
SMERCONISH: I wish he said it in Allentown or Aliquippa. I‘d be less offended if he came into the belly of the beast and he said this. Also, the silver ling is what a great day for the America that the African-American candidate is now being labeled as an elitist. I think that‘s really a rich irony in this case. He‘s the country club candidate all of a sudden.
O‘DONNELL: Columbia and Harvard.
ABRAMS: Yes. I still—I still blame this on the media, not just the right-wing media, the mainstream media who are overplaying the story. And I think that‘s going to determine whether it‘s going to have long-term impact. We shall see.
Pat Buchanan, Michael Smerconish, Lawrence O‘Donnell, good to see you in house.
O‘DONNELL: Thank you.
ABRAMS: Coming up: TV‘s Dr. Phil so desperate to interview one of the teens charged on that hate-beating of another girl that one of his producers paid her bail.
And: New developments tonight with that raid on the Texas polygamist compound, as many of the parents fight to have their kids return. This as authorities let cameras into the spot where they say girls were forced to marry and have kids as soon as they reached puberty.
Plus: A panel of experts ignored, leaving all of us with more smog in the air. We‘re back with Why America Hates Washington in 60 seconds.
What‘s your VERDICT? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, where you‘re writing from. We read your emails at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: Tonight‘s edition of Why America Hates Washington: The Environmental Protection Agency protecting businesses over citizens when it comes to unhealthy smog. Last month, Steven Johnson, the head of the EPA announced that he was lowering the safe amount of ozone in the air from 80 parts per billion to 75.
The problem? An advisory committee created by Congress unanimously recommended a much lower level between 60 and 70 parts per billion. The panel says the new EPA standards, quote, “fail to ensure an adequate margin of safety for the elderly, children, and people of respiratory illness.”
The Environmental Protection Agency protecting the lungs of business is another reason Why America Hates Washington.
We‘re back with “Dr. Phil‘s” producer paying the bail of one of those teens in that suspected beating, coming up.
ABRAMS: Welcome back.
It is hard to believe that a producer for the “Dr. Phil” TV show put up $3,300 bail for one of the teens involved in the brutal beating of a former friend, where the teens allegedly beat a classmate and filmed it so that could post it on Youtube presumably. The girl bailed out is 17-year-old Mercedes Nichols.
A spokesperson for the “Dr. Phil” show said, quote, “Certain staff members went beyond our guidelines. Dr. Phil has decided now not to go forward with the story.”
Their guidelines? They‘re saying this production assistant seen here came up with the idea to put up over $3,000 cash to bail out the teen and just did it?
This controversy comes on the heels of Dr. Phil having to cancel his segment on Britney Spears after he got in trouble for going to the hospital to, quote, “help.” And after he claimed in 2005 on “The Tonight Show,” that he had evidence that Natalee Holloway was alive, possibly, kidnapped in an underground sex slave operation.
Here now: Tom O‘Neil, senior editor with “In Touch Weekly,” and Danny Bonaduce a former guest on the “Dr. Phil” show and host of the “Danny Bonaduce show” on 97.1 Free FM on the west coast.
All right, Tom, I mean, this is outrageous to me as a moral matter but it just seems like it‘s the “Dr. Phil” show again and again getting into trouble for sticking their noses into these cases. They‘re not just observing, they‘re not just interviewing, but they‘re getting involved in a way that‘s constantly getting them in trouble.
TOM O‘NEIL, IN TOUCH WEEKLY: And this isn‘t just any talk show, remember, Dan. This is the offspring of “Oprah.” This is a show that‘s supposed to be held to a higher standard than Jerry Springer and those other shows.
And what makes this latest incident so shocking, so heinous is, as you just mentioned, the whole goal, presumably, of the girls beating up this other girl was that they could become stars on the Internet. Well, what‘s Dr. Phil doing here if he is really involved in this? He‘s up (INAUDIBLE), he‘s going to make them stars on TV and he‘s going to give them money.
ABRAMS: Dan, you‘ve been on the show. I mean, is the show as much of a mess as it seems?
DANNY BONADUCE, FMR. CHILD STAR: Well, I have been on the “Dr. Phil” show both times in the hopes of saving my marriage. My divorce will be final in two months. Thank you, Dr. Phil.
ABRAMS: Did you really go on?
BONADUCE: Honest. I literally went on the show in hopes to saving my marriage. I went on there twice. I begged my wife please come home with me. The doctor said and I quote, “I will have your wife on this show and I will talk to her in person and I‘ll see if I can make things good. And he had her on. And as I said, the divorce will be final in two months.
ABRAMS: He‘s not a medical doctor. I mean, you know .
BONADUCE: He‘s a P.E. teacher or something. Is he a chef?
ABRAMS: He was a very good jury consultant for a long time. And this is really troubling. I mean, this is .
BONADUCE: By the way, you are not on new territory. In honest ground, I now call to (ph) the absolute truth, I was arrested in 1985 for the very first time. You know who bailed me out of jail? The “National Enquirer,” and they also met me in the waiting room and give me $200 cash for a story, and I appreciated it.
ABRAMS: OK. But the “National Enquirer” at least admits that that‘s what they‘re doing. That‘s the business they‘re in. That‘s not the business of Dr. Phil is supposed—he‘s supposed to be in the business of helping me.
BONADUCE: Right. Correct.
ABRAMS: Right? He‘s supposed to be advising people so they can live a better life.
BONADUCE: Well, the last time he helped me it cost him around $3 million.
ABRAMS: Well, here‘s what - it‘s on MSNBC.com, to Courtney Hazlett‘s column, a source close to the production of “Dr. Phil” said the following, “It‘s getting desperate behind the scenes. Dr. Phil is so demanding and there‘s a feeling anyone will do anything for the get. But it creates chaos. I don‘t know how much longer anyone can take it.”
I mean, Tom, I was shocked and offended when Dr. Phil went on “The Tonight Show” in 2005 and said, oh, we have evidence that Natalee Holloway maybe alive and kidnapped as part of a prostitution ring with no evidence to back that up at all, in my view. And now you have this, where they‘re paying to bail someone out so that they can get the interview and then the Britney Spears thing where he went to the hospital to supposedly help her. And then he had to stop that from happening.
I mean, Tom, there‘s got to be some problem going on at that show.
O‘NEIL: Yes, and yet, you wonder why is he bothering. This man makes $30 million a year for a show that‘s already extended by King World to the year 2014. So, why is he desperate? He has the second highest ratings in daytime after Oprah. So, he doesn‘t really have to do this. There seems to be something about the bombastic nature of this bossy guy that may be driving him to compromise ethics, if that‘s what‘s happening here.
ABRAMS: I mean, Danny, look, you‘re a guy, you just admitted to us, you said you were paid - with you and the “National Enquirer.” Don‘t you think it‘s kind of different when the “Dr. Phil” show is paying one of these girls to get out on bail?
BONADUCE: And the man in “In Touch” magazine is very correct. They may very well end up famous on the Internet and from a good appearance on “Dr. Phil.” I made, if you will, my comeback from being a decent guest on talk shows. This, I should point this out right and front (ph) though, I do consider Dr. Phil a friend of mine, but I also have a friend I pretty sure who sells drugs. So, I‘m not speaking for his characters, I‘m just pointing out repulse (ph).
ABRAMS: You don‘t meant to suggest, of course, that Dr. Phil sells drug.
BONADUCE: No, two different people entirely. I‘m just saying my friend .
ABRAMS: That Dr. Phil is already not going to be happy with this segment, the last thing I need is the allegations .
BONADUCE: Absolutely not. He seems like a fine guy to me. But, I was talking to my other friend.
ABRAMS: Tom, look, I mean, again, I like Dr. Phil. I met him during the Oprah beef defamation trial. He seems like a nice guy, but, again, I think that he may be getting into legal trouble as we move forward. I think that this stuff is now piling up, and I think that it‘s not going to be forgotten the next time “Dr. Phil” show or Dr. Phil gets himself into trouble.
O‘NEIL: The Board of Psychiatry of the state of California has already filed a complaint against him that if pressed to the legal step would be a felony. And that is in the Britney Spears case that you mentioned.
Here, when she went into the crazy house after the standoff with police, her parents turned to Dr. Phil. They considered him a friend and they said, “Would you go in there, would you talk to her.” He said, “Sure.” And he went in, and when he came out, he told the media that he thinks that she is on the, what did he say, the brink of—I‘m forgetting the actual words, but that she needed serious psychiatric and medical .
ABRAMS: She was almost - yes, she was almost at Bonaduce level was the quote.
BONADUCE: No matter what you say after the word, the brink, it‘s not going to be good.
O‘NEIL: OK, but what the Board of Psychiatry of the state of California just said is, “Wait a minute. First of all, you‘re not a licensed doctor in the state of California.” He was licensed for a while in the state of Texas, by the way, but that lapsed in 2006. They are saying, “You‘re giving a medical diagnosis here, which you are not qualified to do. And speaking medically, you‘d just broken a confidence with her.”
ABRAMS: He is in trouble. And I really am particularly troubled by this latest one, because I think it‘s getting involved in the legal system.
Tom O‘Neil, Danny Bonaduce, good see you in house.
BONADUCE: Thank you, it‘s always a pleasure.
ABRAMS: Coming up: A Marilyn Monroe sex tape reportedly sold for $1.5 million. For real? We‘ll talk to the memorabilia collector who said he brokered the deal.
And remember the McCain girl that is sounded like FOX News‘ dream come true? A group of women who just love John McCain so much that they wanted to sing about him? The problem, it was a joke. Beat the Press is next.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for tonight‘s Beat the Press.
First up: Over on the self-described most trusted name in news after authorities caught that marine accused of killing another marine on Thursday. CNN learned firsthand about the perils of live TV when they interviewed a reporter about what she knew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER HLAD, REPORTER: There‘s been a lot of talk, just sort of rumor kind of talk, it‘s not clear exactly what the motive was. And we‘ve heard a lot of rumors. It‘s not exactly clear. It‘s not clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Well, that was interesting. Rumors and talk.
Next up, Fox covered an interview with John McCain‘s wife Cindy, where she attacked the story that implied that her husband had an affair. Here‘s how Fox played it at the bottom of the screen. It read quote, “Cindy McCain says she never doubted husband‘s infidelity.” That is news.
Finally, today, we learn the online singing sensation known as the McCain Girls were not actually three women singing in support of John McCain, but instead a parody created by an online comedy team. I‘m not certain why that‘s so surprising. We have played it as a parody, but that really must have hurt both Fox News and John McCain who of course, had thought it was pretty special.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator, they love you. What do you think of these women?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think they are wonderful, and I have watched that video several times. And I‘m very grateful.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: That was John McCain. Up next, the parents in the Texas polygamy sect fighting back against authorities saying they want their daughters back and complaining there‘s no evidence to keep them. What about the fact that the raid uncovered numerous underaged girls either pregnant or already had kids?
And later, a memorabilia collector says he has just brokered a deal to sell a never-before-seen porn tape of Marilyn Monroe for $1.5 million. There‘s talk of it in an old FBI file. The man who says he made the deal is with us live.
ABRAMS: Coming up, a porn tape of Marilyn Monroe allegedly surfaces.
The FBI maybe even tried to prove that one of the Kennedys was her co-star. The memorabilia dealer who brokered the deal to sell the footage is with us.
And children in India place play a dangerous game of limbo that involves roller skates and fire. It‘s coming up in “Reality Bites.”
Plus, reality bites for former AG Alberto Gonzalez who‘s reportedly having a tough time finding a new job. He is in tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.”
But first, breaking news tonight, Texas authorities have moved 416 children taken last week in a raid on a polygamous compound to a new shelter after their mothers complained that their treatment was making them sick.
The kids were taken into protective custody after authorities got word of an anonymous call from 16-year-old girl who said she was being abused inside the polygamous sect by her 50-year-old husband. That 16-year-old still has not been located.
Authorities did, however, find many other girls who are either pregnant or who had children. But now a lawyer for the families is raising the possibility that the original 16-year-old who prompted the investigation doesn‘t even exist.
Today‘s “Salt Lake Tribune” reporting, quote, “When asked whether he thought the initial call from the 16-year-old was a hoax, Parker replied there seems to be a ‘serious indication‘ it could have been. That‘s a very serious issue if this call ends up being a hoax, he said.”
Joining me, “Dallas Morning News” reporter Emily Ramshaw who has been covering the story; Carolyn Jessop, a former member of the FLDS, a polygamist sect, who escaped. And Texas attorney Nicole DeBorde.
All right. Emily, let me start with you. What is the evidence that they still believe that they have against the sect?
EMILY RAMSHAW, REPORTER, “DALLAS MORNING NEWS”: Well, they believe that this 16-year-old girl is among the 416 children they have in their custody. They haven‘t been able to determine her identity yet. They think she is too afraid to come forward. But in the process of looking for her, they found other young girls, some as young as 13 or 14 who appeared to be pregnant.
ABRAMS: And Nicole DeBorde, that‘s what I want to ask you about, all right? Because you know the legal argument they are going to make. They are going to say, oh, they have been railroaded here and they never had enough evidence to go forward.
But the bottom line is, here are some things we do know. We know that there were numerous pregnant underaged girls and underaged girls with infants found in the compound. That‘s a fact. All right?
Now, they found beds in a temple - this is not it - allegedly used by men to consummate marriages with underaged girls. We‘ll have to see if that turns out to be the case.
One 16-year-old was found with four children. And again, another allegation is children allegedly deprived of food and forced to sit in closets as punishment.
Look, we don‘t know if anyone is going to be found guilty here. We don‘t know if anyone‘s going to even face trial here. But the notion that this was some, you know, ridiculous raid with no evidence to support it, to me seems to be a real stretch.
NICOLE DEBORDE, TEXAS ATTORNEY: Well, the problem is this - Once you go in to try to find the children who are in an emergency situation to get them removed, you have a very limited purpose. And if your purpose goes too far beyond that, outside the scope of whatever warrant they have, they run the risk of not being able to prosecute the crime, because the evidence that they collect as a result of a warrant, which is either faulty or by going outside the limitations of the warrant, can be prohibited from use of the court.
ABRAMS: Wait, are you saying if they find a 16-year-old girl who has got four kids, that they couldn‘t use that? Of course they could.
DEBORDE: Well in that situation it is possible that they could use it. It really depends on how they find these people. And the reality is that the collection of the children in this particular circumstance probably isn‘t exactly what the defense attorneys are going to be arguing about. Because if they are there with legitimate purpose to remove children from the compound because they received information that those children may be in danger, that‘s probably all right.
Now, the question becomes, did the warrant that they had to go in the first place, was it based on legitimate probable cause? A lot of people don‘t realize that in Texas, we don‘t have what is called “the good faith exception.” Which means that if they had faulty information, they could be out of luck on some of these pieces of evidence they collected.
ABRAMS: Yes. They could be. Look, and that‘s a legal issue they‘ll have to deal with down the road. But again, what the lawyers are trying to do for the members of the sect is they are trying to suggest that all of this is nonsense, that there was never anything from the beginning, and it‘s a practical matter that does not appear to be the case.
Now, what evidence they find, what charges - All right, that will be discussed later. But let me play - Carolyn Jessup, I want to play for you a piece of sound from one of the mothers who have come forward and done one of these interviews, and then I want you to talk about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They love it here. They want to be here. They keep saying, “I want to go home. I want to go home. Let us go home.” They‘re like, some of it was announced to the CPS saying, let me go with my mother. Let me go home with my mother.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Carolyn, what do you make of it?
CAROLYN JESSOP, ESCAPED FROM POLYGAMIST SECT: Well, the thing I can see through it is that if these mothers really truly believe that their children are at risk and being abused by the CPS and are traumatized by being in a situation, from my information, the mothers just barely all left voluntarily and left their children alone.
So the question is, I don‘t think the information that is coming out is really how they feel. I think how they really feel has been demonstrated today in their behavior. They left their children with women that they claim are abusing them. So that‘s the question I have. Why would they do that if they really believe that?
ABRAMS: But Carolyn, I think a lot of us view them as brainwashed, including the mothers and the kids.
JESSOP: That‘s true. They are viewed as that, but they are claiming they are not viewed as that and that they are acting on their own. So you can‘t have it both ways. I mean, are there children really being abused by the CPS? Are they really being traumatized? If so, why did they leave them alone?
ABRAMS: Emily, what do we make of that?
RAMSHAW: Well, actually, the mothers today were not given a choice. Today the children, the majority of the children, were moved to a larger facility, and the mothers were told that, “If your child is five or older, you have to go back to the compound to go to another place. We are going to take the children over to this compound - over to the facility.
They have been having a really hard time getting the children to communicate with the investigators. And they believe part of the problem is that the mothers have been around. But a lot of people said this followed, you know, the mothers sending this letter to the governor‘s office this weekend. Was it some kind of retaliation?
ABRAMS: Yes, and Nicole, what happens now, legally?
DEBORDE: Well, they are probably going to do what happens in almost every criminal case where there‘s a warrant. In issue, is that the lawyers are going to fight about the warrant. The government is going to argue that they had every right to go in and take the people, to take any evidence, to see the things that they saw. And the defense is going to be arguing that the warrant was obtained based on faulty probable cause or based on false statements. So there‘s going to be litigation in court and a judge is going to have to be the referee.
ABRAMS: I have to say, putting aside whether the 16-year-old exists or not exists - I mean I think they had a good reason to believe that she did. There‘s nothing to indicate at this point she doesn‘t exist. But most importantly to me, they found underaged girls who are pregnant. A 16-year-old with four kids.
I‘m sorry, there‘s no other way to explain that other than child abuse, in my view. But we shall see. Emily Ramshaw, Carolyn Jessop, Nicole DeBorde, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Up next, a never-before-seen Marilyn Monroe sex tape allegedly sold for $1.5 million. Really? The guy who says he brokered the deal is with us.
And children attempt a dangerous stunt involving roller skates, fire in a game of limbo. “Reality Bites” is coming up in 60 seconds.
ABRAMS: Now, to “Reality Bites” a dose of reality caught on tape. I‘m guessing you won‘t see this in the U.S. Several brave children in India took part in a different game of limbo on roller skates yesterday. The five to seven-year-olds skated beneath 15 burning bars set just eight inches off the ground.
Organizers of the event said safety precautions were taken to prevent a child from being burned. It didn‘t say what the precautions were. The parents are right there clapping. Yikes! We‘ll be right back.
ABRAMS: Marilyn Monroe on a sex tape that is just discovered now? A silent, 15-minute black and white film has allegedly surfaced from the 1950s showing Monroe giving oral sex to an unknown man who stays just off camera. An unidentified collector bought it for $1.5 million.
The racy tape is apparently a copy of a classified FBI tape. The FBI tonight however says, quote, “No one has any recollection of such a film.” We checked out the FBI‘s declassified file on Marilyn Monroe, and buried inside, an informant talks about the existence of a tape.
Joining me now is the man who brokered the deal, memorabilia collector Keya Morgan, and former prosecutor Monica Lindstrom. Thanks to both of you for coming on. Keya, let me start with you. How did you come upon this tape?
KEYA MORGAN, MEMORABILIA COLLECTOR: Well, I am producing a documentary about Marilyn Monroe and I‘ve interviewed many police officials. My documentary will prove once and for all that she was murdered and that there was a massive cover-up.
And I‘ve interviewed all these different officials. To make a long story short, I interviewed an FBI agent who was sitting outside of Marilyn‘s home on the night she died, she was murdered. And he told me about it. First time he told me about it, I didn‘t believe it. It was very hard for me to believe. I thought he was embellishing the story to make it sound more interesting.
And to make a long story short, I looked into it. I - under
Freedom of Information Act, I pulled up the documents from the FBI as my
lawyer worked on it. And we pulled up several pages that verified many of
the things that the FBI agent was saying like the involvement of -
ABRAMS: So you found the tape from the son of an FBI source, allegedly. You‘ve seen this tape?
MORGAN: I have seen the tape. Absolutely.
ABRAMS: And in the most sanitized version, tell us what‘s on the tape?
MORGAN: Well, the tape is around 15 minutes long. There‘s no audio. It‘s black and white. And you could see Marilyn Monroe - how do you put it - you know, according to the FBI documents, you know, performing perverted acts. In today‘s standards, you would say she was giving him oral sex.
You cannot see the man‘s head at any time. In no time do you see
it. It‘s from the neck and below. And you know, I was shocked. I mean
you when I originally saw it, I was really shocked. I thought, you know,
there‘s been different rumors, different cockamamie stories and -
ABRAMS: How do you know it is her?
MORGAN: Oh, I know 100 percent it‘s her. First of all, it was verified by the FBI agent and many other agents - nine agents back then in the ‘60s.
And second of all, Joe DiMaggio saw it and he verified its authenticity and he offered $25,000 back then. Now, Joe DiMaggio is no fool. He would - you know, everyone tries to dupe him back then, he is not going to get duped.
Then I saw it. It‘s 100 percent Marilyn Monroe. I mean she has the mole, the hair, everything else. And the FBI agents and J. Edgar Hoover himself was completely fascinated by it.
ABRAMS: Well, let me read from the FBI file letter to J. Edgar Hoover in ‘65, “While at his office,” the name blacked out, “ran an eight or 16 millimeter French-type movie which depicted Marilyn Monroe, deceased actress in unnatural acts with an unknown male. Source advise that (blank) informed that he had obtained this film prior to the time Marilyn Monroe achieved stardom and that subsequently, former baseball player Joe DiMaggio attempted to purchase the film and offered him $25,000, intimated it was only such film in existence and he would not part with it.”
Here‘s the question, though, Keya. You know, you have sold this to a private collector, you say ...
MORGAN: That is correct.
ABRAMS: ... for $1.5 million.
MORGAN: I‘ve got to correct you. I was the agent who was involved,
the individual who -
ABRAMS: Fair enough. You brokered the deal.
ABRAMS: You brokered the deal. All right. You brokered the deal and you won‘t say who it was who bought it. No one out there has seen the tape. Why should people necessarily believe that this tape exists?
MORGAN: OK. Many people have seen it. It‘s not that no one has seen
it. Many individuals have seen it. The FBI, Joe DiMaggio, my clients, the
person who sold it, the informant, the FBI agent, and -
ABRAMS: The FBI is telling us - The FBI is telling us no one has any recollection of it.
MORGAN: Well, “FBI.com,” that‘s all I could say. Go to the last
three pages of the Marilyn Monroe files. And those -
ABRAMS: But we did.
MORGAN: So they are verified documents. And on the sheet - on the sheet they have ...
MORGAN: ... the fact that Marilyn Monroe - that it was analyzed by the FBI, labs in Washington and New York City. It is absolutely her, 100 percent. It is Marilyn. I don‘t know who the man is. J. Edgar Hoover was obsessed with trying to determine if it was JFK or not.
And he - you know, there‘s a lot of crazy stories about that. He brought in prostitutes who allegedly who had been with President Kennedy and ...
MORGAN: ... and tried to have to verify his phallus and so on and so forth, which is, you know, is pretty bizarre. But it‘s absolutely Marilyn Monroe. Many people have seen it. Many people have seen it. The FBI has and the documents verify that.
ABRAMS: All right. Monica Lindstrom, a legal question for you here.
If this guy is not going to show it publicly, there are no issues there. Let‘s assume he is going to keep it for himself privately. Any legal claims that the estate of Marilyn Monroe could make?
MONICA LINDSTROM, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, the estate can make legal claims saying that it really belongs to Marilyn Monroe or her estate, not this gentleman who purchased it for $1.5 million.
But in order to have any legitimacy to their claims or any standing, as we call it, they are going to have to try to show that is an authentic tape, that it‘s really her. We have seen a lot of things out there that look like Marilyn Monroe, but they‘re going to have to prove that‘s really her. If they can do that ...
ABRAMS: Even if it is her ...
LINDSTROM: ... they might be able to.
ABRAMS: Even if it‘s her, they are going to have a hard time. Think of what happened with Pamela Anderson, with Paris Hilton. All these people have a really hard time legally, even when it is them if they don‘t own the tape itself.
LINDSTROM: Right. They are going to have to have something about it was stolen from her or it was taken without her permission, it invaded her privacy, something like that. So it would be a relatively long drawn-out process.
MORGAN: By the way, sorry Dan. I wanted to assert one thing that out of respect for Marilyn, there‘s no way on earth I would ever attach my name to anything that would embarrass her or to release this on the Internet and make a joke out of it.
ABRAMS: Wait, come on. Come on.
MORGAN: No, that is a fact.
ABRAMS: You‘re saying - wait. I understand it‘s a fact, but you‘re saying that you wouldn‘t do anything out of respect for Marilyn.
ABRAMS: You just brokered a deal for $1.5 million of a porn tape of her.
MORGAN: Correct. Correct.
ABRAMS: I mean, come on. Out of respect for Marilyn?
MORGAN: Yes, but let me explain. Out of respect for Marilyn, it is not going to be shown. What I‘m bringing up ...
LINDSTROM: That could change.
MORGAN: What I‘m bringing up is saying that why was the FBI so fascinated by this? Why is it that nine drawn-up FBI agents are sitting there analyzing a porn tape? That‘s what is fascinating to me and will be in my documentary is why is that?
ABRAMS: Keya Morgan, thank you very much.
MORGAN: Thank you, Dan.
ABRAMS: We appreciate it - your coming on the program. Monica Lindstrom, thanks a lot. We are back with “Winners and Losers” and your E-mails in the “P.O.‘d Box.” Coming up.
ABRAMS: Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers.” Our first loser, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. According to “The New York Times,” he‘s having a tough time finding a new job. Historically, heading up the DOJ would make you a hot commodity. Apparently, that‘s not been the case for Gonzo, who was forced to resign last year. I wonder why he‘s having a hard time?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: I‘m sorry. I don‘t remember where that conversation took place. I don‘t recall either. I have no recollection of knowing when that occurred. I don‘t recall the specific mention of this conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I wonder. I wonder why?
Loser - construction worker Geno Castignoli whose subterfuge on behalf of the Boston Red Sox might land him in legal hot water. His bid to curse the Yankees new stadium foiled after the Yankees dug up the Red Sox Jersey placed underground when doing construction on the new stadium.
But our big loser of the day - national security adviser, Steven Hadley, who yesterday confused Tibet with Nepal, several different times when discussing if President Bush will attend the Beijing Olympics.
OK. He said it. I swear. He said it, again and again. Our big winner of the day - Rossano Rubicondi. Who? Ivana Trump‘s fourth husband, of course. He‘s 24 years younger than her. Good for him!
That‘s all the time we have for tonight. E-mail me at email@example.com. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from. Visit the website, Verdict.MSNBC.com. See you tomorrow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.