Guests: Contessa Brewer, Michelle Kosinski, Andrea Mitchell, Clint Van Zandt, Catherine Crier, Nicole DeBorde, Wesley Clark, Catherine Crier, Tara Wall
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Richard Lewis may not like it, but hi, everybody and welcome to the show.
Barack Obama meets with the king of Jordan just hours after holding its first press conference in the Middle East and it is clear the McCain camp is growing increasing frustrated with the press coverage that Obama's getting abroad.
General Wesley Clark, Catherine Crier, and the "Washington Times'" Tara Wall, are with us.
Today, Obama left Iraq and headed to Jordan where he answered a whole host of questions from reporters for almost an hour. NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, is traveling with Obama and joins us tonight from Amman, Jordan.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over):
Emerging from the war zones, Barack Obama said he still would withdraw all combat forces from Iraq in 16 months, despite warnings he received from military commanders on the ground.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My view based on the advice of military experts is that we can redeploy safely in 16 months so that our combat brigades are out of Iraq in 2010.
MITCHELL: But those experts don't include General David Petraeus.
(on camera): There were other experts on the ground including the commander of the troops who have some concerns about the possible risks associated with that.
OBAMA: What I emphasized to him was, you know, if I were in his shoes, I'd probably feel the same way. But my job as a candidate for president and a potential commander-in-chief extends beyond Iraq.
MITCHELL (voice over): Earlier today before Obama left Iraq, Sunni tribal chiefs who helped fight al Qaeda in Iraq also warned him against withdrawing too soon. But Obama remains confident in his judgment.
OBAMA: I don't have doubts about my ability to apply sound judgment to the major national security problems that we face.
MITCHELL: And defying critics, he said he would still vote against the surge.
Tonight, Jordan's King Abdullah flew from Colorado just to meet with Obama and tell him how urgent it is to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
MITCHELL: The king even got behind the wheel of his Mercedes to give Obama a lift to the airport for r the next stop of the world wind (ph) tour that his campaign insists is not political-Dan.
ABRAMS: Thanks, Andrea.
Obama came under fierce attacks from the McCain camp today, over a number of issues he raised during today's press conference, including his disagreement with General Petraeus about a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and whether the so-called "surge" has worked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I believe that the situation in Iraq is more secure than it was a year and a half ago. I think that the definition of success depends on how you look at it. So far, I think we have not seen the kind of political reconciliation that's going to bring about long term stability in Iraq. But there's no doubt that security has improved.
The issue for General Petraeus, and I want to be careful about characterizing our conversation in detail, but I think that his concern has to do with wanting to retain as much flexibility as possible. There are a range of factors that I have to take into account as a commander-in-chief or a potential commander-in-chief that I wouldn't expect General Petraeus or anybody who's just on the ground to have to take into account.
I will leave it to the voters to make that decision and my hope is to avoid a colloquy with the McCain campaign over the next four or five days, partly because I think when we're overseas, we're trying to, you know, we've got a bipartisan group here and, you know, my hope is that we can focus on some areas of agreement. I think that Senator McCain deserves great credit for caring deeply about the safety and security of the American people. And I think he's made a series of decisions based on his best judgment of what would be good for American safety and security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: While Obama resisted taking shots at McCain, the McCain camp, I guess, did want a colloquy, amid reports that they are growing increasingly frustrated with the coverage Obama's trip has gotten. A top McCain adviser hammered Obama today for disparaging General Petraeus during his press conference. Another surrogate suggested that McCain may actually get troops out of Iraq before Obama would.
And today, conservative columnist, Robert Novak, suggested he was used by the McCain camp to push a story about their impending V.P. pick simply to distract from Obama's trip abroad.
Joining me now: Retired general and MSNBC analyst, Wesley Clark; former judge and author, Catherine Crier; and, Tara Wall, deputy editorial page editor for the "Washington Times."
All right. General Clark, let me start with you. What do you make of these critiques coming from the McCain camp?
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, I think he has to put up a fight. I mean, that's what politics is about. He's not getting the press. He is seeing his rival over there, looking very much like a viable commander-in-chief. So, naturally, they're going to try to snipe at him.
ABRAMS: Tara, what do you make of the criticism with regard to General Petraeus? I mean, is this real that the McCain camp is going to suggest that he's being disrespectful to General Petraeus because he's saying he won't necessarily do everything that Petraeus would say he should?
TARA WALL, WASHINGTON TIMES: Well, I think it leaves questions in the minds of voters and Americans. I think it's great that Barack Obama went over there. He took McCain's advice. I think it's great that he acknowledged that security had improved, but he is abstinent to admit that the surge is working, a surge that he was called (ph) against from the very beginning, a surge that was supported and pushed forward by General Petraeus.
So on one hand, you know, you give it to him. He would be potentially, could be commander-in-chief, that's the commander-in-chief's job, as President Bush has said, "I'm the decider." He is the decider, but he decided, Obama did a long time ago, that he opposed the surge, he opposed General Petraeus. And so, he's trying to essentially flip-flop here but there's no mistake about it. He doesn't believe the surge is working. He never has and I think that's the dichotomy here.
ABRAMS: I don't think that's what he said, Catherine.
CATHERINE CRIER, OBAMA SUPPORTER : That's not what he said. He said, It's a more nuance argument which is harder for us to wrap our arms around. He said the Sunnis made the decision to fight the insurgency and to fight al Qaeda. Sadr's army stood down.
ABRAMS: There were other factors.
CRIER: There were multiple factors and we couldn't solely credit the surge. And he did go back and say, "Look, I propose a plan some time ago and we will not know if my plan would have work in lo (ph) of the surge and would have work better because we can't go back in time." But I think his argument was more nuance than simply saying the surge didn't work.
ABRAMS: Go ahead.
WALL: But he won't admit that it has had an impact and it is working, aside from all those other nuances, they (ph) actually do take into consideration just to say, "Yes, the surge is working, General Petraeus was right," has yet to come out of his mouth.
ABRAMS: That's true. I mean, that's true, is not General Clark.
CLARK: Violence is down. Everybody knew, all of us in the military knew that if you put more troops in with confident commanders, you should be able to compact the violence and drive it out. We knew that the violence would leave Baghdad and go out to the provinces. That's what it did.
But the people who have advocated the surge did it in a very simplistic fashion, and they set the goal post at six months. So, first, it was going to be, "Oh, no, don't worry about it, it will be done by June of 2007." And it turned out, "No, didn't (ph) started until June of 2007." It's been a full year since that time and we still don't have the kind of political compromises that were promised with the improvement in security.
ABRAMS: All right. Let me play the actual sound. Here's the McCain adviser bashing Obama for supposedly disparaging Petraeus.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RANDY SCHEUNEMANN, MCCAIN ADVISER: This is really an amazing statement. He believes that deferring to commanders on the ground is not the job of commander-in-chief. He believes that deferring to the best military judgment of commanders is rubber stamping. He refuses to credit General Petraeus and General Odierno for their leadership. He disparages their strategic judgment and trumpets his own.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Tara, you'd agree that's a bit of an overstatement, wouldn't you?
WALL: Yes, I will say that is a bit of a stretch. That's obviously rhetoric, of course. I wouldn't go that far, absolutely not. But again, I mean, I think the point is trying to be made here in a political typesetting and to make headlines, if you will, because again, Barack Obama is sucking the air out of the McCain coverage.
CLARK: I think it underscores something here, Dan.
CLARK: Look, as the commander-in-chief, he does not have to take the advice of the commander on the ground.
ABRAMS: As a general, you don't necessarily say, you have to listen to me.
CLARK: You don't rule Washington. I mean, what Barack Obama is saying is he appreciates General Petraeus' judgment, but he's got concerns that go beyond Iraq. He's mentioned Afghanistan. He's got the health (ph) of the United States Armed Forces. He's got other contingencies. He's got the war on terror.
So, Petraeus is in charge of, right now, one theater of this conflict. And what Barack Obama is saying, "I see it. I understand your concern about risks. It's my job to evaluate the trade off of the risks and this is the way I see it."
ABRAMS: Let me play this -
WALL: If I could just jump in (ph).
ABRAMS: Real quick, Tara. Yes.
WALL: Real quick, General Clark. Given, you know, obviously I respect for the fact that you are a general. I mean, if you were saying to the commander-in-chief, "Here is a strategy I believe that works, we need to try this, we should give it a shot, give it time, let's see if it works," I would think that you would hope that that commander-in-chief would take that seriously and to consider it, not just into consideration but give it an opportunity whether it's a sure strategy -
ABRAMS: But that is the distinction. Because Barack Obama has said he would take it into consideration, and it sounds like what Tara is saying is, shouldn't he, at least, say, yes.
CLARK: Yes, and the answer is no. He's not obligated to say that.
ABRAMS: I mean, how long more do you have to give it a shot?
CLARK: The president of the United States is not subordinate to the commander-in-chief in the theater of conflict.
ABRAMS: Let me let Catherine to get in here, Tara.
CRIER: Not only that you've got the other considerations that Obama pointed out, and that is, he's got to balance things like where are the troops that are going to provide the surge in Afghanistan. What about the problem on the Pakistani border. We know where the real insurgents and difficulties and the al Qaeda difficulties are, he's got to balance that and Petraeus does not.
ABRAMS: Tara, I want to ask about this from Representative Heather Wilson. Here she is, she's a surrogate from McCain and here's what she said.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. HEATHER WILSON, (R-NM) MCCAIN SURROGATE: We need to be successful, irrespective of the calendar. And he'd like troops to come home earlier than 16 months-if the conditions allow it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Is this the new strategy from McCain to basically say we want troops to come back sooner than Barack Obama?
WALL: Well, actually, I think, you know, the politics of the day, you're starting to see the convergence of these timelines and time frames and time horizons come together, but, you know, in all fairness, Senator McCain, you know, in his speech about, you know, he's seeing himself as president, he mentioned, you know-he anticipates troops being out by 2010, 2013. He has said, of course, drawdowns being a bit more significant. So, you know, he hasn't given a strict hard timeline, I think, that's what Republicans arguing against, but certainly, you are seeing this convergence between the administration and the McCain campaign and Obama.
ABRAMS: But, I think, but to saying that he would hope is sort of like saying, you know, "We hope that everything goes beautifully." Everyone hopes that. I mean, but that's not really what the question. I don't think hopes and desires as practical reality.
But anyway, everyone's going the stay with us.
Coming up: Many on the right are going after the press for treating Obama with kid gloves and ignoring McCain. Be careful what you wish for. Up next, we take a look at some of McCain's latest flubs which have been largely ignored by the media.
And, "Batman" star Christian Bale questioned by police after his own mother and sister claim he assaulted them right before the movie's premiere.
Plus, when it comes to emergency housing during natural disasters, FEMA has decided to leave much of the heavy-lifting to the next administration. Another reason Why America Hates Washington is coming up in 60 seconds.
ABRAMS: Tonight's edition of Why America Hates Washington: FEMA dropping the ball again. Not only is the draft of it's new disaster housing plan a year overdue, it leaves some of the toughest problems to the next administration. The report includes seven annexes that were supposed to address major issues like housing for those with special needs, and how they'll manage large evacuee camps. But they're blank. Oh, and the plan also include the use of trailers that FEMA promised never to do again after Katrina. FEMA forcing the next administration to clean up its mess:
Another reason why America Hates Washington.
Up next: Is it love, infatuation? John McCain may not be sure, but one thing, he's not happy with the media's coverage of Barack Obama. Coming up.
ABRAMS: John McCain's new attack on Obama that Obama's getting a free ride from the media. In a new Web ad, McCain blasts the media for what the campaign says is glowing coverage and a love affair with Obama.
Not surprisingly, right-wing radio host, Rush Limbaugh jumping in on this as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW")
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There has to be a backlash, folks, on this media coverage of the messiah. There just has to be a backlash against the drive-by media. Mikhail Gorbachev, Lenin, Stalin, never got this kind of coverage from their media. And they owned it. And they dictated to it. I mean, this is amazing that McCain gets off the plane in New Hampshire yesterday with one reporter and one camera man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: So, McCain challenges Obama to go abroad and now McCain and some of his lackeys are upset that the media is covering the trip.
Back with us: General Wesley Clark, Judge Catherine Crier, and Tara Wall for the "Washington Times."
Tara, look, you have to concede-don't you-that no matter how you slice it, no matter how you cover it, this Obama trip is going well for Obama?
WALL: Well, yes, I can see to a point. I, quite frankly, I thought he butchered his way through that speech today. I mean, he bumbled and bumbled, and we, you know, we keep playing this clip of McCain. But there was that point where Obama said, "Let me be absolutely clear, Israel is a strong friend of Israel, it will be a strong friend under Israel, under a McCain government administration."
I mean, if that was not confusing, I think that he does much better
in speeches. This is why he doesn't do a lot of these press avails and the
press complains about the coverage that he allows for him. So, I think -
ABRAMS: So, let's be clear. "The Israel is the close friend of Israel," the misstatement, right, is even remotely comparable to-wait.
WALL: I'm not suggesting that but I'm saying I'm -
ABRAMS: Wait. But I want to - let me play it because I want to play some of what I think you may be talking about. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I was in a conference in Germany over the weekend and President Putin of Germany gave one of the old Cold War-style speeches as he addressed the conference there.
Well it's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran and that's well-known.
I'm sorry. The Iranians are training extremists, not al Qaeda.
We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid that it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq-Pakistan border.
The first thing I would do is make sure that we have a missile defense system in place in Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia.
They cut the gas supplies, the oil supplies to Republic of Czechoslovakia, remember, excuse me, the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic and Slovakia split years ago. And from time to time, some of us, some of us misstate and say Czechoslovakia, when the fact is, it's the Czech Republic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. Look, the end part here, Catherine, the part about the Czech Republican, I really don't care about, all right? And I think that's basically irrelevant. Some of the other things I do think are more substantive but the bottom line, the McCain camp is complaining that Obama's getting too much coverage.
And yet, in my view, some of those other more substantive issues have not been covered that much. If Obama had made those mistakes, oh, my goodness.
CRIER: Well, that's obviously the curse of the press is we don't cover the substance most of the time and McCain, if you remember during the primary, was the darling, and carrying forward the reputation that he's had for so long about the maverick, you know, the straight talk express. The reporters always loved him. His primary opponents were terribly frustrated that they felt he was getting the free ride and was beloved by the media.
Well now, the worm has turned and, in fact, Obama is the hot story, he's the new story, he's the fresher story. And of course, now he's over with his tour of Europe and the Middle East, it is the place that's going to get attention and McCain better be careful about trying to bring back focus to him in the United States and the economy because that may not be -
ABRAMS: I want to ask General Clark because General Clark was the subject of an enormous media story a while ago which everyone was linking to Barack Obama. This comment that you made about John McCain and about his military service and about what it meant to his credentials to be president. And the media and the right, but it wasn't just the right, the media went crazy over this story, and yet there's this notion out there that somehow Obama is not being covered and yet, the Obama camp had to distance itself from you and spanked you and do whatever to make this story die.
CLARK: Well, look, that's water under the bridge as far as I'm concerned.
ABRAMS: But forget about the substance of that. I mean, I'm asking about the coverage. I mean, didn't you feel at that time that Obama's or your flubs were being overstated in that case?
CLARK: Well, I think they were taken out of context and misstated and then, you know, shrinks of personal attacks came. That's pretty much the methodology that happens mostly with right-wing media.
I hate to say this but, you know, I went through a presidential campaign, I've watched this for five years now, and there is a way in which there's sort of a right-wing three step. First, they take a remark out of context, then they distort the remark, and then they attack personally. So, I mean, it's just, it's a methodology.
And the truth is that John McCain, he may get more attention from the media if he runs a stronger campaign. Running a good campaign and getting media attention is part of the art of politics, and right now, one side's doing it a whole lot better than the other.
ABRAMS: Tara, I'm giving you the final word on this.
WALL: You know, listen, there's no, you know, mistaking that media has a love affair with Barack Obama for many good reasons. He is a more charismatic candidate. But, let me just say, it's not just Republicans or the McCain campaign that believes in this off (ph) coverage, this unbalanced coverage. Fifty percent of Americans polled in a poll out today believe that the reporters are more favorable toward Barack Obama -
ABRAMS: Well, that should help McCain, right? That should help McCain if you can link the media with Barack Obama, that's good news for McCain, right?
WALL: Well, and I just, I think it raises questions on how we are covering these campaigns. There was another report that showed how much these two campaigns are being covered and showed a clear, unequal balance between the two. We need to close -
CRIER: When a story broke that the headline was a possible affair with McCain, "New York Times," his fundraising went up tremendously. If you link the media and Obama, it helps him with the more conservative out there (ph).
WALL: The same media that are with Obama right now on his trip were not with McCain on his trip to Iraq. So, you know, look at the things there.
ABRAMS: Well, part of the distinction is that McCain challenged Obama to go to Iraq and as a result, he did.
CLARK: It's news for McCain to go to Iraq.
ABRAMS: All right. General Wesley Clark, Catherine Crier, Tara Wall, thanks a lot.
Coming up: Police named the mother of that missing two-year-old girl who waited five weeks to tell anyone her daughter was gone a person of interest in the case. This as the judge sets bail for her.
And Bill Nye, the Science Guy gets into a science smackdown over UFOs. That's next in Beat the Press.
ABRAMS: It's time for Beat the Press.
First up, the problem for Glenn Beck filling as a host on CNN is that, sometimes, he just doesn't know what he's talking about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, CNN HOST: Thomas Jefferson was a horrible public speaker. Abraham Lincoln, horrible public speaker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you talking about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think that's true. I think he is a great public speaker. The Lincoln-Douglas debate -
(END VIDEO CLI)
ABRAMS: Yes but, so what.
Next up: The weekend trio at "FOX & Friends" were reporting on a program in the U.K. that pays a bonus to doctors who save lies, which led anchor Dave Briggs to make this astute observation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE BRIGGS, FOX ANCHOR: So, should we get bonuses for informing viewers of the news? I mean, again, (INAUDIBLE) essential subject -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is their job.
BRIGGS: Yes, what is their job? That is their job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Paying bonuses for actually reporting news at FOX. That could be a good incentive.
Finally: Bill Nye, The Science Guy had a night on CNN's Friday. He was skeptical of claims from another scientist who says he saw a UFO. That led to a science smackdown made for a "Revenge of the Mercks (ph)" movie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mind if I speak, Mr. Comedian? I saw the thing on film with my own eyes so don't call me a liar and you weren't there.
BILL NYE, THE SCIENCE GUY: Let's do this other little thought experiment everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, are you going to do this with baking soda and vinegar, Bill? In 1964, you were trying to figure out what girls were. I was in the service as a senior scientist (ph) capacity.
NYE: So, sir, you can attack me -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So get off your skeptic high horse, pal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Up next, police say the mother who waited five weeks to report a two-year-old missing is now a person of interest in the case and that her car smells like, quote, "decomposition."
And we now have the 911 call reporting that North Carolina mother of two missing. It doesn't make Nancy Cooper's husband look very good.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY COOPER'S FRIEND: She's also now having the same thought I am about her husband maybe that he's done something. And I don't - I mean, god forbid, but -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Police have not named Nancy Cooper's husband a suspect. We've got the tape. We'll be right back.
ABRAMS: Welcome back. The mother of missing two-year-old Caylee Marie Anthony is now considered a person of interest. Caylee has been missing since early June. Her 22-year-old mom, Casey Anthony, waited five weeks to go to authorities. She was arrested and faces charges, at least now, of child endangerment and making false statements. At her bond hearing today, a judge set bail at $500,000 after a detective testified she's a person of interest and he believes Caylee may be dead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE DETECTIVE: Over the top, there was a very bad smell inside the car. In my experience the smell that I smelled inside that car was a smell of decomposition. They found hair samples in the trunk of the car that were similar in length and color to that of Caylee. They also found a stain inside the trunk of the car that came up under black light that's questionable that we need to process. They also found some dirt inside the trunk of the car that needs to be processed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Casey's brother also testified about how Casey first admitted that Caylee had been missing for over a month.
Do we have that piece of sound? No. All right.
Joining me now, MSNBC analyst, former FBI profiler, Clint Van Zandt, former judge Catherine Crier and Defense Attorney Nicole DeBorde.
All right. The bottom is the brother in that piece of sound basically said she hasn't said anything about it. Then suddenly, she said, "Oh, you know what? She's been missing for 31 days."
Catherine, as a former judge, what do you make of the way that they're setting bail on this case? I mean, very high bail, $500,000. Is that - I mean, that's not the kind of bail you get for lying to authorities and for making false statements.
CATHERINE CRIER, FORMER JUDGE: Now, remember, abuse of discretion is standard you're looking at with the judge. And in a case like this, you've got to look at things like flight risk. Well, maybe she doesn't seem to have money to go in this sort of thing, but job questionable history according to her mother, difficulties within the community. No assurances that this woman might not disappear in addition, of course, to the evidence that they're beginning to marshal. I think the judge - it was within this discretion to have a bond that high.
ABRAMS: Clint, it is - this starts with a notion that this mom is clearly not telling the authorities the truth -
CLINT VAN ZANDT, FORMER FBI PROFILER: So that is one.
ABRAMS: ... about everything that's going on. And as someone who used to be on the other side of those questions, that's got to really - not just, you know, frustrate you, but also lead to more questions in your head about why.
VAN ZANDT: It does, Dan. You start out thinking anybody is a potential suspect in this. But as soon as people start lying about the little things, you have to think they're lying about the big things. So, you're focus, all of a sudden, becomes tunnel vision and you've got to be careful as an investigator. Just because she looks like and talks like a suspect, doesn't mean she is. But from everything that I've heard so far, the lies she's told, the stories, the inaccuracies, the five weeks head start that she's given herself on this, the lack of emotion about her daughter being missing - all of these things scream that this is someone who has got to be eliminated and who probably knows better than anybody else, what happened to her daughter.
And Dan, for her attorney to say, "Well, there is a story but, you know, she really can't tell police because she's watched television and she knows from television stories that if you tell the police, you endanger your family." I don't know what she's been watching, Dan, or what she's been smoking, but this is a woman who needs to have a real come to Jesus time and tell law enforcement what she knows about her daughter. This is not about her defense. This is about the life of a child that we're concerned with.
ABRAMS: Here's one of the police officers who testified today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE OFFICER: There was a tip that we followed up on indicating that somebody had - a hairdresser in particular, had seen Caylee with bruises on her arms, bruises on her body and a mark on her eye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Nicole, if she's your client, are you advising her not to cooperate? I mean, considering that the girl literally may be out there, and according to her attorney, they're hoping that Caylee is out there and alive and it seems pretty clear that she may have left the child with someone or something like that. It depends on which version of her account you believe. As her attorney, are you going to say, "Don't cooperate?"
NICOLE DEBORDE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you have a bigger issue here and that's the safety of a child. I don't that that does sound like a proper advice. If there's any chance in the world that this child might be found alive, they should do everything that they possibly can to cooperate and help give the police the information that they need to locate her, to find out where she was to begin with and where she might have gone over these last five weeks. But the bottom line is, with regard to the bail that was set, that should have nothing to do with the decision. Whether she cooperates with the police, she has nothing to do with the bail that's been set in this case.
ABRAMS: And I should say that her attorney would claim that it's not true that she's not cooperating. The problem has been some of the cooperation just hasn't been true up to this point. Let me play - this is the judge talking about this case as he set bail today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE STAN STRICKLAND, ORANGE COUNTY, FLORIDA CIRCUIT COURT: I will call the nature and the circumstances of the offense absolutely bizarre. And there was nothing I heard today that changed my thinking on that. As to these charges, I would say it is substantial, in fact, to basically include the confession from her that she's lying about the investigation. As to the whereabouts of her daughter, I would point out that the truth, you know, is out there with strangers. I have to go ahead and issue a bond. I have to set a bond. The law requires it. I'm setting a bond at $500,000.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: I mean, this sounds a little bit like the judge is saying, "Look, you better start talking to us or you're going to stay in jail," which is not supposed to be the purpose of bond.
CRIER: Of course, but remember - I don't think Clint would probably agree. The investigators are looking at a situation where nothing she has said will help them find a child that is living. You never want to go there, but the investigators have to say, you know, "What would this woman do if she was out? Is there evidence out there to cover up to obstruct justice?" Now, that is not necessarily something the judge is supposed to consider when setting bail, but that is what investigators are thinking about at this time.
ABRAMS: Clint, final thoughts at 10 seconds - real quick.
VAN ZANDT: Yes. She's had five weeks to find her child. She hasn't done it. You put her on the street. She's going to hurt herself. She's going to disappear. She's going to destroy evidence. And lastly, who is the biological father of this child? Nobody seems to know and the mother is not telling us. I'd like to know who that guy and eliminate him.
ABRAMS: Clint, Catherine, Nicole, thanks a lot. If you've got any information on Caylee's whereabouts, please call the Orange County Sheriff's crime line, 1-800-423-TIPS.
Up next, we now have the 911 call in the case of the North Carolina mother of two. It seems the friend who reported her missing immediately suspected Nancy Cooper's husband had something to do with it.
And the star of "The Dark Knight," Christian Bale questioned by authorities in London right before the premiere of the Batman movie. His mom and sister alleged he assaulted them in a hotel room. We're back in 60 seconds.
ABRAMS: Now, to "Reality Bites," a dose of reality caught on tape. Tonight, a bullfight in Colombia goes dangerously wrong when the bleachers full of spectators collapse. Incredibly, no one was killed, but dozens in the stands, including many children, needed medical attention. One fan said even though the bleachers were full, organizers kept letting more fans in. We'll be right back.
ABRAMS: Police have just released the 911 tape made the morning murdered North Carolina mom Nancy Cooper was reported missing. On the tape, Nancy's friend tells police she was worried that Cooper's husband may have played a role in her disappearance after Nancy failed to show up in their home for a visit.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
NANCY COOPER'S FRIEND: She should have been here. She was expected here no later than (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Hysterical, because now she's having the same thought that I am about her husband, maybe that he's done something.
And I don't - I mean, god forbid but -
911 DISPATCHER: Has he been violent with her in the past?
NANCY'S FRIEND: Well, we - I don't - He's definitely been - I don't know that he's been physically violent but I know there's been a lot of tension. And so I - you know, wouldn't be surprised, I hate to say it, but I'm just not sure what to do.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Joining me now, NBC's Michelle Kosinski who has been covering the story. And Clint Van Zandt and Nicole DeBorde are back with us.
Michelle, it sounds like they cut portions of the 911 tape out.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You could hear it clearly there, right before Nancy Cooper's friend Jessica started to talk about what time she was expected at her house that morning and that's really what prompted her, first to call Nancy Cooper's house, and then to call police. And she was talking about another person after that audible break, so we don't really know who's she's talking about. Just from the statement she makes it sounds like she's talking about the friend that the husband said she was supposed to go jogging with, but you can't really tell. So there's something in there that police did cut out.
When I talked to a spokesperson today, they said, yes, by statute, even though they're releasing something publicly, they can still withhold something like personal information -
KOSINSKI: Names and phone numbers, or something that is what they consider to be sensitive to the investigation. So they wouldn't tell us in what places, what was cut out and why, only that it would fall into one of those two categories.
ABRAMS: Let me play another piece of sound from the 911 tape.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
911 DISPATCHER: And you said you thought maybe she was supposed to be running with somebody else?
NANCY COOPER'S FRIEND: Well, this is what her husband said. I did not - was not aware of her running with any friend this morning. But it doesn't really make any sense. She definitely has had - she had two schedules. She would have made contact with either me or her other friends by now who had both expected her today. And the fact that her car is still at home and her cell phone is there is a little weird.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ABRAMS: All right. Nicole, the attorney for Brad Cooper is very upset that this 911 tape has been released. What do you make of it?
DEBORDE: Well, a lot of times, I think, when you release publicly information of this nature that it sort of starts to skew the investigation in the direction of one person who's merely a person of interest, people worry, at least when they're on the accused side of the coin, that the investigation is going to lose sight that there could be other suspects and you start to ignore clues that could really be important in catching the real killer if it is not the person they are really thinking about.
ABRAMS: And Clint, in this case, they haven't even named him a person of interest or a suspect, but he's already lost custody of his kids because a judge ruled that the kids could be in danger.
VAN ZANDT: Number one, the kids have been taken away and given to people who are not even U.S. nationals. They're Canadians which, to me, is a tremendous stretch a judge must believe that. Number two, her friend, who she runs with, who she would be talking and sharing perhaps intimate details of her life, realized that there are challenges going on within this marriage. She uses the term "divorce" to describe the relationship. So, you know, all of these things are going on.
And Dan, let me tell you, if I was working in this case from an investigative standpoint, I would release the tape because as an investigator I would consider the husband a primary suspect and I would put as much pressure on him as I could to try to get him to crack, and that's what's done in this case.
ABRAMS: Yes. Michelle, real quick, where does the investigation stand? I mean, are they still looking at the home. Are they still gathering evidence?
KOSINSKI: No. All of that has stopped. The crime scene tape is gone from the home we know of no other person that they've taken the DNA sample from. No other person that they're really looked at like they have looked at the husband. But this case stands where it did one week ago today. Police say they don't have any suspects. They don't have any persons of interest, and that is really all they're saying at this point. In fact, yesterday, it's interesting when we asked for this 911 tape, they said, "No, no, no. That's sealed. That's sealed along with the search warrant." The returns on the search warrant - it's all sealed. But then, this morning, they send us an E-mail and say ...
ABRAMS: Not so sealed.
KOSINSKI: "OK. It's not sealed anymore. Here are the 911 calls."
ABRAMS: All right. Michelle Kosinski, Clint Van Zandt and Nicole DeBorde, thanks a lot.
VAN ZANDT: Thank you, Dan.
ABRAMS: Up next, in "Winners and Losers," actor Christian Bale, accused of assaulting his mom and sister the night before "The Dark Knight" London premiere. Residents of the Greek island of Lesbos denied in their legal effort to stop others from calling themselves lesbians. And Britney Spears under fire again after a photo emerges of her son and cigarettes.
Plus, your E-mails - we call it the "P.O.'d Box."
ABRAMS: It's time for tonight's "Winners and Losers," and back with me again to help make the calls, MSNBC's, Contessa Brewer. Contessa?
CONTESSA BREWER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: OK. So Dan, first up - Batman himself, Christian Bale allegedly had a dark night earlier this week before the London premiere of his blockbuster movie. Bale's own mother and sister accuse the actor of assaulting them at a London hotel Sunday night. Bale's 61-year-old mother said, quote, "Yes I was there and yes, there was a family situation."
Bale's lawyer confirmed he was questioned although there seems to be some debate about whether Bale was technically arrested. According to the "Daily Telegraph," Bale was indeed arrested and gave a statement to detectives of his version of events and what was described by police sources an allegation of a minor common assault.
But come on, he had to go to the police station the day after the big premiere. You know, it's a mess.
ABRAMS: There's something weird going on here, I think. I mean, the fact is, you've got this history. Apparently, the family has some history, problems, et cetera. And when you have TMZ, right -
ABRAMS: That Web site, basically saying, "It was only a push. It was nothing." When TMZ is saying, "Don't overstate it," then you know that there really may not be much to the story because they're the ones usually to tend to overstate.
BREWER: For a mom and sister to say to police, "Hey, there has been a family situation here," and report it, maybe they just wanted some intervention at that point. I don't really know.
ABRAMS: The night before the premiere and the police let him - by the way, the let him go to the premiere without doing anything, right?
BREWER: Isn't there a question when they were actually reported? I mean, did they really report it right before the premiere?
ABRAMS: Yes. It seems they reported it Sunday night, but they basically said, "We're going to let him go to the premiere," et cetera. That says to me the police didn't think that it was that serious either.
BREWER: How about this? No matter how this turns out, everybody in this story is a loser.
BREWER: OK. Next up, a court in Greece has dismissed a case brought by certain residents of the Greek island of Lesbos - or is it Lesbos? They argued that their human rights were violated - violated, I tell you - because the term "lesbian" is used to describe gay women. The lead plaintiff, a guy, by the way ...
ABRAMS: Of course.
BREWER: ... argued it is humiliating for them all over the world. All right, so Dan, Lesbos, is actually the birth place of the ancient Greek poetess Sappho - a little history for you here.
ABRAMS: That's interesting.
BREWER: The poems inspire the term "lesbian," so they do have some claim
to the term. But -
ABRAMS: Oh, come on.
BREWER: During the trial, several residents testified that the term had brought recognition to Lesbos, boosted tourism by, mind you, lesbians or, in this case, gay women, who would gather on the island.
ABRAMS: My favorite part is the judge in this case forced the plaintiffs to pay the costs because it was such a ridiculous lawsuit. $366 in court costs. They said, "Get out of here. This is so ridiculous."
BREWER: Do you think that it sets a precedent, though? For instance, may I just suggest, the residents of Hell, Michigan may have a case on their hands, because after all, the "hellion" is used to describe young, wild children all over the place.
ABRAMS: I think the difference is, you know, the country or the island of Lesbos, has sort of generated a new name for people as a whole. I don't know.
BREWER: How about this - they should go by Lesbites on the island of Lesbos.
Well, Britney Spears on the cover of "New York Post" again today, this time smoking in front of her two-year-old son. He is seen playing with her cigarettes and lighter. Apparently, the next photo shows Britney stepping in and taking them away from the child. Now, some medical experts are slamming Britney for exposing her son to bad habits, to second-hand smoke.
I'm not saying -
ABRAMS: Remember the guy who said, "Leave Britney alone." I mean, honestly, this is photograph of her smoking. So you want to start chastising every parent? Look, I wouldn't smoke in front of my kids, but the idea that like now Britney is to blame for this too?
BREWER: Well, I mean, I will say -
ABRAMS: Leave her alone. Leave her alone.
BREWER: I mean, she shouldn't do that though. She is setting a bad example and she's leaving dangerous objects in front of her kids, that's what I'm saying.
ABRAMS: Time for the "P.O.'d Box," your chance to tell me what you hate or love about the show.
In last nights, "Win, Lose or Draw" segment, I called John McCain's new ad blaming Obama for high gas prices a draw. While it is totally disingenuous, I thought the ad might actually work. I got hit from both sides on it.
Robert Burkhart from Henderson, Nevada, "You may laugh at blaming Obama for high gas prices, but believe me, in states in which this ad is running, there are plenty of people who will accept the ad at face value and happily blame Obama. It's a win for McCain."
Look, Robert it's hard to call something that disingenuous a win.
And coming out from the other side, R. Smullen from Parrish, Florida, "Your selection of the Republican ad as a 'win' for John McCain because the ad is 'well done' is at best ludicrous and more likely pure dumb. The ad was based upon false facts."
Yes, and that is why I called it a draw, not a win.
Finally, Allison H. from Sacramento. You can guess why she didn't want to leave her name, because she says this, "I love the show, love your approach. I appreciate the presentation of differing viewpoints. But the ties, Dan. The ties! They're heinous. The colors are bad. The patterns are jarring."
I mean, have you ever noticed - I mean, honestly, Contessa. Tell me - I don't care that we're on the air. Tell me straight out - do you like my ties?
BREWER: You want me to say to your face ...
ABRAMS: Yes. Do you like my ties?
BREWER: ... whether I think your ties look ugly? I mean that tie looks like you could be about 30 years old and then you actually are. You know -
ABRAMS: Cut! All right. Whatever.
BREWER: Maybe it was special. Maybe it was from your grandpa and you really love that tie.
ABRAMS: Great tie. That's all the time we have for tonight. See you tomorrow.
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