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'Deborah Norville Tonight' for Nov. 13

Read the transcript to the 9 p.m. ET show

Guest: Ron Frey, Howard Weitzman, Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, Linda Stasi


DEBORAH NORVILLE, HOST:  She was the star witness.


AMBER FREY, SCOTT PETERSON‘S FORMER LOVER:  You have a missing pregnant wife, and you‘re talking to your girlfriend.



NORVILLE:  The tapes Amber Frey recorded and her devastating testimony may have been the key to Scott Peterson‘s conviction.  Tonight, Ron Frey on his daughter‘s reaction to the stunning verdict.


RON FREY, AMBER FREY‘S FATHER:  And you could tell it saddened her.

GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY:  It‘s an emotional time for her. 

Her feelings are very complicated.


NORVILLE:  Arnold for president?


GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  With my way of thinking, you always shoot for the top.


NORVILLE:  Not unless they amend the U.S. Constitution.  And this woman wants more than anything to make that happen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Yes, we care enough now.  It‘s time to change.


NORVILLE:  Tonight, the controversial campaign to make Arnold the nation‘s first foreign-born president.  Plus: What happened last night to Anna Nicole?




ANNOUNCER:  From studio 3-K in Rockefeller Center, Deborah Norville.

NORVILLE:  Good evening.  She was the star witness who helped convict Scott Peterson of murder, Amber Frey, the Fresno massage therapist who had a brief affair with Peterson shortly before his wife, Laci, disappeared.  But is Amber Frey going through—what is she going through now, knowing that her testimony was critical, and that when the penalty phase of the trial begins next week, is it possible that she‘ll have to appear again before the jury, perhaps this time to ask jurors to spare Peterson‘s life.

Those are just some of the questions that Amber Frey faces now.  And joining me is Amber Frey‘s father, Ron Frey.  Mr. Frey, good to see you.  Thank you for being with us.


NORVILLE:  How did the verdict hit your daughter, when she learned of it?

FREY:  Well, I called her about 10 minutes after the verdict come in to offer to have her come over with us.  She said there was too many media there.  And I told her if she needed us to, we‘d come to her.  She had—I could hear the tears in her voice, so I just let her know, reassured her we‘re there, and I let her rest for a couple of days.  This has been hard on her.

NORVILLE:  I‘m sure it has.  And I‘m sure it‘s probably even harder now, the pressure hitting you when you realize that your testimony, according to so many who‘ve paid a great deal of attention to this trial, was critical in securing the conviction against Scott Peterson.  Does she feel the weight of that?

FREY:  Well, she doesn‘t say that.  I see it on her face now.  A few days before the verdict even come in, it was starting to get to her, realizing her testimony and her help, police assistance, and she realized that she was a big part of helping him get convicted.

NORVILLE:  Does she want Scott Peterson to die?

FREY:  You know, she never speaks about the case, or she would never speak about whether he was guilty or his sentence.  Before she even knew Scott Peterson, she was against abortion, against the death penalty.  And I hear speculation that they might want her to go to the—to have her testimony for the sentence.  I think that would be so cruel, to ask her to do that.  That would be the most unfair thing I could imagine anybody would want her to do.

NORVILLE:  Why?  Because she feels like she‘s been through so much already, just testifying?

FREY:  Well, one‘s against the death penalty, but she‘s prayed to God for hundreds of hours for forgiveness and not to have any revenge towards this person.  But on the other hand, you have the Rocha family there, and if they seek the death penalty, we can‘t blame them.  So that was—it‘s going to be hard for Amber if she has to do this.

NORVILLE:  Her attorney, Gloria Allred, was on the “TODAY” show this morning, and she talked about what Amber is going through right now.  Here‘s what Ms. Allred had to say earlier.


GLORIA ALLRED, AMBER FREY‘S ATTORNEY:   Her feelings are that she has always prayed for Laci and for Conner, and she‘s very well aware of the double murder and that it‘s a real tragedy for Laci, for Conner, for their family.  And so her focus was just to tell the truth, whatever the consequences would be.


NORVILLE:  Going into a trial, Mr. Frey, you don‘t, I guess, have an option.  If you receive a subpoena, by law, you have to answer it and you have to testify.  In her heart of hearts, does Amber wish that she had not had to play any role in this?

FREY:  Well, she spent many hours with Bob Willis (ph), her pastor, before she entered into testifying, and they can—they prayed about what to do.  And Amber‘s statement was, It‘s up to the 12 jurors and to God to see if he‘s guilty, and she has not made any opinion about the sentence, and I hope she doesn‘t have to.

NORVILLE:  How do you feel about it?  I mean, if he had been acquitted, I would imagine that he would have been one angry young man, and a lot of that anger would have been directed towards your daughter.

FREY:  Well, before—there was a time it appeared Scott Peterson might be set free, and I said to Amber, I fear for you so much.  If he gets off, I want you and your family to live with me.  I‘ll build us a new house.  We‘ll live together.  But it was just too much to think about.  I feel saddened that he got convicted, but it had to be done.  If it took another year or two years to do it, I would be—I‘d still be there helping the court, if I could.

NORVILLE:  You believe he did this.

FREY:  Oh, definitely.  I don‘t know anybody that could believe he didn‘t.  I mean, I never voiced once my opinion of whether he was guilty or innocent until I saw the evidence coming in.  And as I saw the evidence come in, I was convinced.

NORVILLE:  And based on a phone call that your daughter had with Scott, she, too, thought that she was just a pawn in a larger game he was playing.  This is a tape from a conversation they had on January 17.


AMBER FREY:  From what I know, Scott, and this pains me to say, this was all a plan.  I was—I was a plan in your—before all this, this was just a plan you had, Scott.  You—the only—the thing is, you know where it went wrong for you, Scott, in this plan, is that you didn‘t think the media would be so big and I‘d ever learn of this.  That‘s where it went wrong, that it was so huge that I did learn of this and that—now where are you?


NORVILLE:  Does she think that she just one moment in a scheme that ultimately wouldn‘t have involved her and her little girl, as he had talked about in some of the other conversations we heard played in court?

FREY:  I take that tape a little different than you, ma‘am.  To me, if you follow the evidence, originally, they thought it was premeditated, and if you look at the statements that he‘d put—given to her prior to Laci‘s disappearance, that it would be the first Christmas without his wife, it sounds pretty premeditated to me.  So that tape can be taken many ways.  Now, Amber is right.  The media was very helpful in this, and that‘s why I personally always try to help the media.  They did good in this case.  They exposed what was going on.  And I‘m happy for the media.

NORVILLE:  No, I didn‘t take it that way at all.  I took it the same way you did, that she was a part of his plan to...

FREY:  That‘s how I take (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

NORVILLE:  ... eliminate Laci.  Does she think she had a role...

FREY:  I think he was so in love with her...

NORVILLE:  ... in the future—sorry.  Go ahead, sir.

FREY:  I think he was so in love with her, he would have done anything to be with her.  And she was head over heels in love with him.  She fell in love with him first sight.  Needless to say, after she found out that he—his wife was missing, you know, she grew to know that he was not truthful.  But imagine, in the beginning, having to help authorities while you‘re still in love with somebody.  She did the right thing, and she needs commended for being so brave and courageous, no matter how great the pain was to her.

NORVILLE:  Yes.  We‘re going to take a short break.  When we come back, more with Ron Frey.  And we‘ll also look ahead to the next phase of this trial, the sentencing phase.  What can we expect as Scott Peterson fights for his life?  Then, later on, Arnold Schwarzenegger for president.  United States Constitution prohibits it because he wasn‘t born in this country.  But later, we‘ll meet a woman who has made it her mission to try to change that.  We‘ll be back.



ALLRED:  Millions of people have been praying for justice.  I think this is justice—murder in the first degree for Scott Peterson, the second degree for Conner.  That means there are special circumstances.  That means he qualifies for the death penalty.


NORVILLE:  That was Amber Frey‘s attorney, Gloria Allred, reacting Friday to the guilty verdict in the Peterson murder trial.  The penalty phase begins in one week.  And what can we expect?

We‘re back with Amber‘s father, Ron Frey.  Also joining our discussion, criminal attorney Howard Weitzman, who has closely followed the Peterson trial.  Mr. Weitzman, I‘ll start with you first.  That jury took only seven, eight hours to decide guilty for Scott Peterson.  Is it reasonable to assume that they‘re going to move pretty quickly and the direction would be the death penalty?

HOWARD WEITZMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:  Well, it depends on, obviously, the evidence.  But if they follow the logic train, as they did in the guilt phase, where all roads clearly led to Scott Peterson‘s guilt in this case, I think they‘ll decide rather quickly what the verdict will be.  You know, a sentencing phase in a case like this is all about mercy.  It‘s about begging for someone‘s life.  It‘s a very emotional process on both sides.  And this jury‘s been already through an emotional catharsis by getting to the verdict that they did.  So it‘ll be interesting to see how the—how the presentations go in this matter.

NORVILLE:  And I‘m guessing the presentation is going to be the Peterson family versus the Rocha family, and family members from both will step up there.  What do you expect?  First off, Jackie Peterson, Scott‘s mother?  She will testify?

WEITZMAN:  I believe you‘ll have both families testify.  I can‘t tell you the order, but the Rocha family obviously will express their bitterness and their sadness, Scott‘s family begging to spare his life.  What will be very interesting, I think, is if there‘s any psychological or psychiatric testimony or any third-party witnesses that we‘re not aware of yet.

NORVILLE:  And what kind of witnesses would those be, someone who would say, Scott Peterson might have done this, but you can‘t possibly hold him accountable with the death penalty...


NORVILLE:  ... because he was out of control?

WEITZMAN:  Something like that.  Or he did this, but he didn‘t intend the results that happened, or he‘s basically a good kid, this is one bad act, et cetera, et cetera.  The problem is the defense has really painted themselves into a corner on how they depicted his character, which is basically poor.  They painted him as a cad and a liar, one step away from painting him as a murderer, and somehow, they have to circle the wagons and beg the jury to spare his life because he‘s really not that bad.

NORVILLE:  So he‘s a bad guy who cheats on his wife and has affairs with other women, but what, he‘s done good charitable works along the way?  He helped strangers as life went by?  What can they possibly say to make them change their minds?

WEITZMAN:  The kind of stuff that you‘re talking about.  And I actually think it‘s a real uphill battle.  Again, this was a very emotional proceeding.  The jurors took circumstantial evidence.  They had to follow the logic to get them to where they got.  And clearly, they believe this man intentionally, knowingly, willfully, killed his wife.  I don‘t really understand the second degree verdict on Conner, but I‘m sure the jury will have some explanation.  He‘s already a bad man.  And the question will be, Is he bad enough for the jurors to kill him?

NORVILLE:  Well, and here‘s the other thing that‘s going to make it, I think, tough for Scott Peterson.  He‘s got Mark Geragos pleading his case, and the jury has already, in essence, said, We don‘t believe what Mark Geragos tells us because we rejected his argument in terms of defense.

WEITZMAN:  That doesn‘t mean they‘ll reject his argument to spare his life.  There really are two separate situations.  I‘ve been in these situations before.  Fortunately, I‘ve never had anybody sentenced to the death penalty.  But it‘s two different approaches.  The problem that Mark Geragos has, he put his personal conviction on the line when he made a statement very early on that he personally believed that Scott Peterson was innocent, rather than relying on the evidence.  And so you are correct, this jury, in effect, has chosen to disbelieve Mr. Geragos‘s point of view, and he also has an uphill battle, like his client, to convince them to spare his client‘s life.

NORVILLE:  I would assume that Mark Geragos and Scott Peterson are planning to appeal this conviction, but that hasn‘t happened yet.  Based on that possibility, is it unlikely, then, that Scott Peterson would testify at this part of the trial in his own defense?

WEITZMAN:  I think it‘s extremely unlikely.  If it were me in Mr.  Geragos‘s position, I would advise Mr. Peterson not to testify.  There clearly is an appeal here.  There are some issues that look like they may gain some favor in the court of appeals, or even the California supreme court.  So—and these cases are basically automatic appeals, whether Geragos handles the appeal or some appellate lawyers are brought in to the picture.  I‘d be shocked if Scott Peterson testified.  I don‘t know what he could possibly say.

NORVILLE:  Ron Frey, you were not a juror, but you followed this case about as closely as those 12 men and women sitting in the jury box have.  What would you, as a citizen, need to hear in order to spare this man‘s life?

FREY:  Well, I would pray that Scott Peterson for once would do the right thing, come forward, tell how he did the murder and give everybody—all the families closure.  And then we should all pray for mercy for him.  If he does the right thing, how could we deny him mercy?

NORVILLE:  Do you think, absent that—as Mr. Weitzman just said, it‘s unlikely he‘d testify.  Absent that, do you think the jury can see its way to spare him?

FREY:  I don‘t know.  The law is he should get the death penalty.  That was the way it was set up from day one.  James Brazelton went public and said he‘s asking for the death penalty, and I don‘t see any—Mr.  Brazelton‘s been correct all the way through this.  I don‘t see how it could go anything...

WEITZMAN:  Well, but that doesn‘t...

FREY:  ... other than the death penalty.

NORVILLE:  That doesn‘t necessarily, Mr. Frey, mean he‘ll get the death penalty.  But you bring up a very unique possibility, and it seems to me the only way that Scott Peterson could solidify the potential of not getting the death penalty, if he got up, basically, mea culpa, said, I‘m sorry.  I did it.  That‘s the best argument he and his team would have to spare his life.  I don‘t think there‘s a chance that‘s going to happen.  He‘d have to have a complete personality reversal, and I don‘t think you‘ll see that.

NORVILLE:  And doesn‘t that eliminate, then—you say there are some issues that could be successfully argued on appeal.  What are those basic issues, as far as you can tell, Mr. Weitzman?

WEITZMAN:  Well, you have some evidentiary challenges as to the sufficiency of some of the scientific evidence.  Remember, this is a circumstantial case.  Nobody saw what took place, and you don‘t have an admission.  You have the jury dismissal, particularly of the foreman, who was dismissed during deliberation.  So there are some interesting issues.  And if he gets up and basically confesses to the crime, he has eliminated those issues.

NORVILLE:  Sure.  Listen, can...

WEITZMAN:  So I don‘t think you‘re going to see it.

NORVILLE:  Can Mark Geragos get to those jurors that were dismissed and quiz them and ask them what was going on, why did they leave the jury pool, and use their statements to him as part of his appeal process?

WEITZMAN:  Yes.  He doesn‘t have a right, but if they choose to talk with him, he can usually—he can certainly take the conversations and use them as part of an appellate process, or even a motion for a new trial.

NORVILLE:  Do you think that the jury was leaning toward acquittal or a hung jury during that five days that they seemed to be sort of stuck?

WEITZMAN:  It seems clear to me that there was at least one juror, probably juror No. 5, the foreman, who was leaning toward either hanging the jury or an acquittal.  Certainly, at the very least, he wanted to go through the evidence painstakingly, and it was clear to me that at least 10 or 11 of the other jurors had made up their mind and didn‘t see a reason for further discussion.  There was obviously some dissension, and whether he asked the judge to dismiss him himself or the other 11 jurors asked that he be dismissed, I thought it was odd.

NORVILLE:  Do you think that‘s enough to win an appeal?

WEITZMAN:  No, I don‘t it‘s enough to win an appeal, but it‘s certainly enough to raise an issue.  And depending on what the facts are, it could be enough to get a reversal in this case on appeal.

NORVILLE:  Which means there would be another Peterson trial, most likely, Howard Weitzman?

WEITZMAN:  Yes.  Well, most likely, if it‘s reversed, I certainly there‘ll be another trial.  I would not, however, hold high hopes that this case gets reversed on appeal.


WEITZMAN:  In my opinion, the evidence was overwhelming.  All roads led to this fellow, Scott Peterson, as committing the murder.

NORVILLE:  And if the jury continues to feel that way, Ron Frey, there is, as you heard, a great possibility they could vote the death penalty.  How would your daughter feel if Scott Peterson is put to death for this crime?

FREY:  Well, she went into this with a clear conscience, knowing she was doing her civic duty and it was necessary to do that.  She doesn‘t take this personal.  And if it‘s the death penalty, it will be the jurors and the state that do that.  It won‘t necessarily be her.

NORVILLE:  All right.  We‘ll let that be the last word.

FREY:  Madam?

NORVILLE:  Go ahead, sir.  You got a final thought?

FREY:  Final thought—a lot of people aren‘t aware, if this had been a hung jury, Amber would have stayed silent all the way through the next trial, and her attorney, Gloria Allred, said she‘d be right there with her, too.

NORVILLE:  Well, we will see, I guess, if that‘s going to happen, based on what the jury decides during the sentencing phase.  Ron Frey, Howard Weitzman, thank you both for being with me.

WEITZMAN:  A pleasure.

FREY:  Thank you, madam.

NORVILLE:  When we come back, Star Jones‘s outrageous wedding.  Anna Nicole Smith just being outrageous.  What was going with her at the American Music Awards?  We‘ll look into that a bit later on.

ANNOUNCER:  Coming up: Arnold for president?


GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER ®, CALIFORNIA:  There‘s no reason why not.


ANNOUNCER:  This woman wants to change the Constitution to give the governor a shot at the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  In the next four to six years, Arnold will be experienced enough, smart enough, strong enough to lead the greatest nation on earth.


ANNOUNCER:  The campaign to make Arnold Schwarzenegger America‘s first foreign-born commander-in-chief when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.



NORVILLE:  Four more cabinet members resigned from the Bush administration today, secretary of state Colin Powell, energy secretary Spencer Abraham, education secretary Rod Paige and agriculture secretary Ann Veneman.  Today Mr. Powell said he always indicated to the president that he‘d serve one term and said that this was the appropriate time to move in.  But it‘s got to feel like the weight of the world is off his shoulders.

Powell was often the voice of moderation in the administration, but frequently was on the outside looking in, rarely getting the full backing he needed to accomplish what he wanted.  Sometimes his opinions, they say, were marginalized.  But he was ever the good soldier, did and said things that might not have been comfortable with at the time, following in line with those he may have disagreed with behind closed doors.

And last year, some say he tainted his sterling reputation overseas by using flawed information before the United Nations to make the case for war against Iraq.


COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE:  Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent.


NORVILLE:  A soldier for more than 30 years, Powell served two tours of duty in Vietnam, became a four-star general, national security adviser, and the first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, leading the military operation during the first Gulf war.  He was President Bush‘s biggest get when naming his first cabinet, and Powell‘s public approval ratings have stood head and shoulders above some of the other members of the Bush administration.  But that didn‘t do a lot of good inside the White House.

Colin Powell will remain on board until his successor is named, but he‘ll probably wake up a much relieved man tomorrow morning, knowing the end of his time as secretary of state is nearing.  And for a man whose opinions were cat aside, there‘ll be plenty of people paying big bucks to hear him now.  Big corporations will ask him to sit on their boards.  There‘ll be plenty of speaking engagements.  And we have not heard the last from Colin Powell, but now he will be free to say whatever is on his mind.

From the Bush White House to another man who might see himself in the White House one day, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has admitted that he would entertain the notion of running for president, but there‘s a hitch.  He‘s prohibited from doing so by the Constitution because he was born overseas.  Well, a new TV campaign is under way in California now, trying to change that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You cannot choose the land of you birth.  You can choose the land you love.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Twelve million people have chosen America.  Now America wants to choose them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Help us amend the Constitution.


NORVILLE:  Should the Constitution be amended so that immigrant Americans like Arnold Schwarzenegger can run for president?  There are right now a couple of proposed constitutional amendments floating around Congress aimed at doing just that, but is it a good idea?  And does this really have any chance of passing?

Joining me now to discuss this is Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones.  She‘s the lady you saw in the commercial.  She‘s behind the campaign to get Schwarzenegger elected president.

Nice to see you.  Why are you doing this? 


Two years ago, we started working with Arnold and Maria on Proposition 49 to get it passed.  And that‘s when we realized that Arnold is not a muscle-bound meat-head.  And then, last July, August, when he decided he was going to throw his hat in the ring for the governorship, we co-chaired the Bay area for that campaign.  And we waited after he was elected to see whether he would be a good governor.  And he‘s gotten just better and better. 

But the funny thing is, last June, I was wearing my “Join Arnold” and a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight looked at me and said, what can an average person do for Arnold?  I want him for president.  I thought, girl, I do, too.  And, after a few months, we said, it‘s time and we started this effort last August.

NORVILLE:  Where did this love affair between you and Arnold Schwarzenegger start?  What‘s your connection with him?

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  Honestly, I went to a fund-raiser thinking, he‘s an actor.  What does he know?  But my friends told me he had been groomed by Pete Wilson‘s team since 2000 and he was going to run for governor at some point.  I thought, all right, I‘ve got to check this guy out.

Five minutes after meeting him, I thought, you are what I‘ve been waiting for, a centrist, just like Colin Powell, whom you just mentioned.  And if Colin Powell‘s wife would let him run for president I would be right there working for him.  I don‘t think we‘re going to see that.  And after Colin Powell, I will take Arnold Schwarzenegger, with gratitude. 

NORVILLE:  This is really interesting.  First of all, let me just repeat what the Constitution says.  It‘s pretty clear.  “No person other than a natural-born citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the office of the President.  Neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained the age of 35 years and been 14 years a resident within the United States.”

You‘re behind the amendment that would allow anyone who has been a citizen for 20 years, and Mr. Schwarzenegger just squeaks past that deadline, to become president.  Why do we need to change the Constitution?  It‘s served us pretty well for all these years. 

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  It‘s interesting, because that clause is very ambiguous.  It was inserted at the last moment. 

Sorry.  The clause existed, but that version of it was created at the last moment at the Constitutional Convention in 1787.  The native-born issue was not in prior versions of that clause.  And what the founders said was, we are exempt ourselves.  We don‘t have to be born here because we are citizens when this Constitution is adopted, and we have proven our loyalty because we sat here and suffered through the Revolutionary War and took the chance that the British would execute us.

So the founders didn‘t care where you were born?  They cared where your heart was. 

NORVILLE:  But they did care about stuff like that, because I did a little research.  And the Federalist Papers, John Jay—and this particular part I‘m going to share—who was the first Supreme Court justice, specifically talked about that.

He said, “It would be wise and seasonable to permit the admission of foreigners into the administration of the national government.”  The guys who were there at the beginning and did frankly a darn good job with setting up this country specifically warned against it. 

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  Well, but there are two—I would say two things about that.

If you gone on in that John Jay paper, he says, we‘re afraid of having happened to us what the Prussians did to Poland, when they walked in, bought their election and carved Poland up.  And what the founders were afraid of specifically was the second son of George III, who was a bishop, coming over here, buying up a nation of only four million people.  We were an infant nation then.

On the second point, amending the Constitution, we‘ve amended it 12 times last century, in the 20th century.  And, Deborah, you and I were not able to vote 85 years ago.  So, women of all people should think about the fact that half this nation, adult population, could not vote before 1920.  And maybe the Constitution occasionally needs a little help. 

NORVILLE:  We also live in a time when we recognize there are people outside our borders who do not wish us well.  And there are a lot of people who say now, more than any other time, America should not be opening its ranks to the foreign-born to serve as the president of the United States.  And this is nothing against Arnold Schwarzenegger or anybody else who lives in this country who was born elsewhere. 

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  At Orrin Hatch‘s Judiciary Committee hearing last month, which I attended, Professor Yinger of Syracuse University said, a sneaky native-born is more liable to get past our voters than a sneaky foreign-born. 

We‘ve only let 43 guys get into that office in 215 years; 292 million of us are staring at them.  You know, you can get something past us, but we impeach you if you make us mad enough.  And the second thing I would say on that is, these people, these 12 million foreigners have proven they care enough about this country to come here.  I don‘t think that, after we vet them in this endless process...

NORVILLE:  Yes, but if this is such a great idea, Ms. Jones, why hasn‘t anybody else co-signed with Orrin Hatch?  He stands alone in supporting this bill.  When a similar measure was introduced in the House, Dana Rohrabacher‘s office got like 60-some-odd calls from people saying, bad idea.

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  Oh, but you notice there are actually four versions of this amendment floating around in the House.  I think John Conyers introduced one.  Barney Frank introduced one.

Barney is really strong on this.  He said, I don‘t care if we wait an hour and a half after people because citizens, because the question isn‘t where you were born.  We keep talking about it as though God made us the chosen people.  The question is, what country do you care about?  And we‘ve got 35...

NORVILLE:  Are you saying that there‘s not enough people who were born in America to do a good job of running this country? 

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  No, of course not. 

We have a lot of people in this country who are well-armed to be the president.  But there is no reason that, in our endless presidential election process, we can‘t figure out if a foreign-born is unfit to lead us. 

NORVILLE:  Well, if this is all about getting Arnold Schwarzenegger elected president—and you said that is kind of what it is all about.

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  He is the face of the 12 million.  Once you let him in, you‘ve got to let 12 million other people in.  There‘s no closing the door.

NORVILLE:  But it‘s probably not going to happen soon enough for him anyway. 

To get an amendment passed in the Congress requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers.  Then you have got to get three-fourths of the states to ratify it.  And, depending on how the legislation is set up, traditionally, they say you have got seven years to get the states to give it the OK or it all goes to naught. 

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  Well, you notice, in 1972, we decided that the voting age should be dropped from 21 to 18.  And so we passed the 26th Amendment.  It was ratified by 38 states in three months.  That‘s how fast we can move when we decide it‘s a good idea.

NORVILLE:  They probably had co-signers on the legislation, too, unlike Mr. Hatch. 

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  I will bet you‘re right about that. 

But you notice, the 27th Amendment, which happened in 1992 -- and that is the one that specifies when Congress can vote themselves a raise—I never noticed that one go through.  Did you?  Most people don‘t know it happened.


NORVILLE:  We‘re going to let that be the last word.  How much money are you spending out of your pocket on this, Ms. Jones? 

MORGENTHALER-JONES:  It‘s in the tens of thousands, but it‘s not a high number.

NORVILLE:  All right, Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, thanks for being with us.  Very interesting.



ANNOUNCER:  Up next, keeping up with the Jones. 


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  With promotional consideration provided by Continental Airlines and Quizno‘s.   


ANNOUNCER:  How to turn a star-studded wedding into a commercial success—when DEBORAH NORVILLE TONIGHT returns.



NORVILLE:  Star Jones gets companies to help sponsor her wedding.  Is it a sign of the times or just tacky?  And Anna Nicole‘s meltdown at the Music Awards next.



MEREDITH VIEIRA, CO-HOST:  Welcome to “The View.”


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Where‘s the bride? 

VIEIRA:  Star Jones does not work here anymore.  Let me introduce you to our new co-host, Mrs. Al Reynolds. 



NORVILLE:  That was “The View” this morning, as Star Jones made her debut after her over-the-top weekend wedding.  After weeks and weeks of talking about it, Star Jones finally did it.  She got married Saturday to Wall Street banker Al Reynolds. 

It was a star-studded affair, as they say.  In the bridal party were Natalie Cole, Vivica A. Fox, Holly Robinson Peete.  And New York‘s junior senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton was also there.  She was not in the bridal party.  It was not a typical wedding.  It was sponsored by a number of corporations, as you can see looking here at the couple‘s Web site.

Here to sort it all out and give us the inside scoop is “New York Post” columnist Linda Stasi. 

Good to see you.


NORVILLE:  This was the wedding that built and built and built and built. 

STASI:  Endless wedding.

NORVILLE:  Did anybody care? 

STASI:  I didn‘t care.  I often think, the bigger the wedding, the smaller the marriage.  But who am I to say? 

Now, I just wanted to say on the show, I would like to announce that I am available for sponsorship for my Thanksgiving.  I have like 26 people coming.  We still need a sponsor for the turkey. 

NORVILLE:  You need a turkey.  You need a wine guy.

STASI:  We have the wine, but we would like a sponsorship for kosher wine, perhaps.  What is going on?  This is so tacky.

NORVILLE:  The thing about celebrity today is, that any time there is a personal moment, in this case, a wedding, which is such an incredibly personal union...

STASI:  Not anymore.

NORVILLE:  ... of two individuals coming together, becomes a media event.

STASI:  Well, this—a media event—when it‘s a celebrity and a TV celebrity, I can understand that it would turn into a media event, although most people getting married try everything in their power to avoid such a thing. 

This was so over the top.  And I find it very interesting, because I once did “The View” with my writing partner.  And they asked us to put together a basket.  We had done a book called “Boomer Babes” and they asked us to put together a basket of things that boomer babe women would like to have. 

NORVILLE:  Right. 

STASI:  And we came out and there was tape on everything, because they said, oh, we don‘t want to plug anything unnecessarily. 


STASI:  And here it is, the whole sponsored wedding.  It‘s so absurd. 

It‘s just absurd and tacky.

NORVILLE:  And it became fodder for the comics.  And here is what...

STASI:  How could it not?

NORVILLE:  ... “Saturday Night Live” did about the weekend wedding. 

Take a look.




UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  In association with Sarno & Son Formal Wear.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Oh, that is nice.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  Take you, Star Jones, sponsored by Lazaro Bridal and Lady Speed Stick.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  To be my lawfully wedded, with promotional consideration provided by Continental Airlines and Quizno‘s, wife.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR:  And then the choir will sing:

(singing):  Doesn‘t it feel good to pay less?



NORVILLE:  It wasn‘t quite that bad, but it did go on for a long time.  How did ABC allow it to happen?  Because there were a lot of plugs on the air on the show. 


STASI:  Well, apparently, ABC got angry and said that it had to stop and yet there were plugs on the show this morning.  She thanked the ESPN Zone for having supplied or helped with the reception for the children.  There was a separate reception for the children.

NORVILLE:  Funny you should mention that, because here‘s that very moment from the show today.  Roll the tape.


STAR JONES, CO-HOST:  I did a separate reception for the kids.  And may I thank our partners here at Disney, ESPN Zone...


MORGENTHALER-JONES:  Because ESPN Zone helped me throw the most amazing children‘s reception ever. 


NORVILLE:  Is that cool, to do that? 

STASI:  None of it is cool.  Did you see the body language on the other co-hosts on the show. 

NORVILLE:  I wasn‘t at the children‘s party, anyway.


STASI:  And Joy Behar was picking at her cuticles.  Everyone looked very, very annoyed by the whole thing.  It just was endless. 

And what is this whole thing about people acting as though getting married is an accomplishment?  It‘s part of life.  It‘s not supposed to—it‘s not 1950.  Women are not supposed to be thrilled that they‘ve bagged a guy.  It‘s part of life.

NORVILLE:  I think women—I think anybody is happy about a marriage.

STASI:  You‘re happy about getting married.  You‘re happy about that.  But it‘s not supposed to be this silly thing that becomes a commercial success, and you‘re so lucky to have bagged a guy. 

NORVILLE:  You cover celebrities a lot in your work.

STASI:  Yes. 


NORVILLE:  What is the objective? 

What is a celebrity trying to do when they are so public and so gabby about every aspect, to the point that you get somebody to sponsor your dress or your wedding tickets or whatever? 

STASI:  I think that it becomes almost like a compulsion, that too much is never enough.  And too much love that the public gives you is never enough.  Too much attention is never enough. 

Early on, I think it was Mayor Lindsay years and years ago wrote, never believe your own press.  And once you start believing your own press, you become captive of it. 

NORVILLE:  Well, and here‘s the other thing.  The media are willing accomplices in all of this.  And there was yet another moment over the weekend, which we‘re going to get to in just a moment.

More with Linda Stasi when we come back.  What was going on with Anna Nicole Smith at the American Music Awards?  She sort of just fell to pieces on stage, sort of. 

We‘ll show you in a minute. 


NORVILLE:  Back with “New York Post” columnist Linda Stasi, talking about some of the wackier weekend moments of celebrity nature.

Anna Nicole Smith has often been described as a train wreck waiting to happen.  Well, last night at the American Music Awards, it happened.  She definitely jumped the tracks while introducing the rapper Kanye West.  Here it is.



I was honored to be on in our next performer‘s new video.  And if I ever recorded an album, I want this guy to produce my—make me beautiful duet, because he is a freaking genius. 


NORVILLE:  You watch that and it really is like watching an automobile accident.  Part of you is horrified, but you can‘t not look.  And then part of you is going, oh, my God, there is someone in danger there. 

STASI:  Well, she kind of is like the demon love child of Joey Heatherton and Liza Minnelli.  If you put somebody on who has a history of this—she had a terrible TV show, which was a train wreck every night. 


STASI:  Every night, she‘d act high and crazy and awful and out of her mind. 

And then you put her on television and you expect her to act any different?  Come on.  Just because you got thin doesn‘t mean you‘re not looped or high or stoned or whatever the heck she is.

NORVILLE:  Was it an act?  Or was there something else going on, that a producer maybe should have stepped in and hold on a second? 

STASI:  I don‘t think that she is actually known for her acting abilities, so I don‘t think it was that. 


STASI:  And you know what?  These award shows become so monotonous that people are thrilled when there is a train wreck.  You watch the Academy Awards and if somebody doesn‘t disgrace themselves, you say, oh, that was boring last night.  You like those terrible moments when people do things.  We do.

NORVILLE:  And it‘s what people remember.

STASI:  Yes.  Yes. 

NORVILLE:  Usher won four big, major awards, and nobody knows it because this woman wigged out on national television. 


NORVILLE:  But shouldn‘t ABC have said, someone backstage—because you have got to be weaving a little bit before you walk out if you‘re weaving when you‘re out there.  Shouldn‘t someone in a responsible position have said, wait a second, sweetheart, I don‘t think so; back to the green room? 

STASI:  Well, somebody should have, but somebody didn‘t. 

NORVILLE:  Well, why didn‘t they? 

STASI:  Well, now everybody‘s talking about it today.  Now there is something to actually talk about.  Now somebody will tune in next year to see the train wreck next year.

NORVILLE:  And isn‘t that what it‘s all about?  And hasn‘t that what it has come to with celebrities?

STASI:  I think it really has come to it, because there are so many award shows.  What other profession gives themselves awards every five minutes?  It‘s so bad that people who are in the business 10 years get lifetime achievement awards. 

NORVILLE:  But it‘s also the way to get yourself noticed.  Look at Tara Reid a week ago when she went to Puff Daddy‘s party.  Her dress fell off.  Half of herself was right there for the world to see.  People are now analyzing the specifics of her breast.

STASI:  Her breast.

NORVILLE:  And yet nobody talked about Tara Reid until this happened. 

It‘s a great way to get your name in the papers. 

STASI:  I think it‘s always a way. 

It‘s from the “La Dolce Vita” days, when they showed how celebrities would—these women would carry on an act out.  Unfortunately, it‘s as though we‘ve stepped back 50 years for women, especially on ABC, between “Desperate Housewives” and these women acting out.  And today, “Tony Danza Show,” they went around asking women, is it the right thing to take your husband‘s name?  We‘ve sort of gone so far back.  And women are now back to being sex objects, especially on these shows. 


STASI:  Whether it‘s J.Lo or Lil‘ Kim or any—Tara Reid.

NORVILLE:  But if you see these women being objectified like that, can‘t the rest of us sort of sit there and feel really superior and high and mighty and good about ourselves, and maybe there‘s something to it for that? 

STASI:  No, I don‘t, because, if my dress fell off, it would be a tragedy. 


NORVILLE:  But we can stand in judgment and feel superior. 

STASI:  We can stand in judgment. 

But I feel terrible that we have to stand in judgment of women this way.  Have we not worked so hard not to be that, that we have to stand in judgment of some silly celebutante getting on television and her dress falling off or acting like she‘s a crazy, stoned, crazy lady? 

NORVILLE:  Evidently, some people think that it works really well.  We saw it last night.

Linda Stasi, always fun to have you come on.  Good to see you again.

We‘ll take a break.  When we come back, police using Taser guns, that‘s nothing new.  But using those guns against children? 

Stick around. 


NORVILLE:  Finally tonight, ever have one of those phone calls that you need to make and you just don‘t want to?  Well, pick up the phone.  I had one of those calls the other day. 

Someone close to me had a very terrible accident and fell, suffering an awful head injury.  For several days, he had been unconscious, unresponsive, not a good sign at all, said the doctors.  I phoned his wife and we talked for a long time.  And we cried and we shared some memories.  And then she went to the hospital.

And not really suspecting that he could hear, she said, “Len (ph), Debbie called.”  And she related some of our conversation.  Well, one eye came open.  After six days after having been completely unresponsive, his eye opened and he understood what he was hearing.  Since then, he‘s wiggled his toes.  He‘s squeezed his hand when asked.  And while his body is not cooperating fully yet, he‘s been tracking people in his hospital room with his eyes.  His doctors say he‘s amazed.  His family says God listens to prayers. 

Me?  Well, maybe it‘s just a coincidence, but I pretty much come down in both camps, and I‘m awfully glad that I picked up that phone and made that call.  If there‘s a phone call you need to make that you would really rather not, pick up the phone.  You might be amazed yourself. 

Len, hang in there.  I‘ll call you soon. 

That‘s our program for tonight.  We would love to her you, so send us your e-mails and comments to us at  We have some of them posted on our Web page.  That address is, which is the same place you can sign up for our newsletter.

That is our program for tonight.  Thank you for watching. 

Coming up tomorrow night, Taser guns.  Police in Florida have used them to stun a child who was only 6 years old.  Have cops gone too far?  And just how dangerous are these weapons?  When should they be used and when shouldn‘t they?  We‘ll take that topic up tomorrow night. 

Coming up next, Joe Scarborough and “SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.”

That‘s it.  We‘ll see you tomorrow.



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