Return to Transcripts main page
Cheshire Murder Suspects Appear in Court; Why Did Petty Criminals Turn to Murder?; Border Agent to Stand Trial for Killing Illegal Alien; Is Troop Surge Working in Iraq?
Aired August 7, 2007 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE PAGLIARULO, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, new glimpses into the Cheshire triple murder as the two suspects appear in court. I`ll have the latest on one of Connecticut`s most savage murders ever.
Plus, stabbing daddy in the Barack? Yes, it seems that Rudy Giuliani`s daughter has hopped on the Obama bandwagon. Could she derail her dad`s run for the White House?
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My daughter I love very much, and I don`t comment on children.
PAGLIARULO: And New York City`s newest ban. Would you believe the "B" word? I guess cigarette, transfats and baby formulas just weren`t enough.
All this and more tonight.
PAGLIARULO: Hello, America. I`m Joe Pagliarulo, Joe Pags, in for Glenn Beck.
The two men accused of the gruesome murders of a Connecticut family were arraigned on capital murder charges today just as more details were coming to light.
The suspects, Steven Hayes, and Joshua Komisarjevsky snuck into the family`s home on July 23, killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters, Hayley and Michaela. Their father, Dr. William Petit Jr., survived.
Officials on the scene that day say they`ve never seen a worse case. One suspect, Steven Hayes, allegedly poured gasoline on Dr. Petit`s two daughters before lighting the house on fire in order to hide DNA evidence of sexual assault.
In a different part of the house, authorities found Dr. Petit`s wife, strangled, apparently dead before the blaze.
The "New York Times" suggests these crimes were premeditated, and a timeline of events seems to support that. At 3 a.m. in the morning, the morning of the murders, the suspects reportedly snuck into the Petits` home and bashed William Petit in the head with a baseball bat.
Around 4 a.m., Hayes went to a gas station, where he bought four cans of gasoline. Just before 9:30 a.m. that day, Mrs. Petit arrived at a Bank of America, asking for $15,000 in cash and telling the teller her family was being held hostage and, if the police were notified, they would be killed, but the police were called.
At 9:45, the Petits` house was surrounded by cops and SWAT team members. Just minutes later, the "Times" reports Dr. Petit made his escape, stumbling out of a basement door, his head bloody, his legs bound, calling for help.
Meanwhile, the suspects allegedly light the fire and jump into the family`s car, smashing into the police cruisers in an attempt to get away. By 10:01 it was over. The suspects were taken into custody.
And today, in just the latest in a long history of court appearances, for the two men, Hayes and Komisarjevsky, they are life long cons.
Lynn Tuohy is a criminal justice reporter at the "Hartford Courant". What went down in the courtroom today, Lynn?
LYNN TUOHY, REPORTER, "HARTFORD COURANT": Well, Joe, this was their first appearance in the courthouse where they`re going to stand trial for their lives not too many months from now. And it was a very brief scene in sharp contrast to the home invasion itself.
TUOHY: Hayes was brought in first, wearing a bright orange jump suit, shackled waist, ankles. He did not have to enter a plea today because the probable cause hearing has been -- has been scheduled for September 18.
TUOHY: So, basically, Judge Richard Damiani asked him if he understood the charges against him. He answered yes. That was it, basically, for his court appearance.
A spectator in the packed courtroom yelled "scumbag" at him and...
PAGLIARULO: You`ve been covering court there for a long time, Lynn. Have you ever seen somebody yelling something out like that from the gallery?
TUOHY: I have. I actually have, but you know, the action here was swift. The judge ordered the man ejected from the courthouse.
Komisarjevsky comes in. A little bit of an unusual scene here, Joe, because his lawyer was late getting to the courthouse. Komisarjevsky is standing in this packed courtroom alone, shackled, standing there.
Finally, the judge orders him taken out of the courtroom until his lawyer showed up. His lawyer did show up almost immediately.
PAGLIARULO: Was that a matter of the judge being afraid that something could have boiled up there in the courtroom, seeing this guy by himself with nobody there representing him?
TUOHY: I think it was part security and part just it was just a very awkward scene.
TUOHY: And Komisarjevsky comes back. Basically the same thing: do you understand the charges against you? Here he answers, "Yes, I do."
And -- and then someone in the courtroom yells, "Killer." A gentleman who had pushed his way to the front of the line at the courthouse to get into this courtroom. We don`t know who he was, but the judge ordered him ejected.
A very unreal scene, though, in New Haven today. Snipers on rooftops, streets closed down. Media thronging the street, satellite trucks everywhere. Very unusual.
PAGLIARULO: In the seconds we have left, Lynn, anybody from the family? Was Dr. Petit himself there today?
TUOHY: Dr. Petit was not there. Family members were there. They remained stoic, showed no reaction whatsoever.
PAGLIARULO: OK. Lynn, thank you very much. Appreciate that.
Perhaps the biggest crime in all of this is that both of these convicts repeatedly slipped through the criminal justice system. Why were they paroled time and time again? And why now did they decide to turn from petty theft to what seems to be premeditated violence?
Pat Brosnan is a former burglary detective who also runs a security business.
Pat, look at what you have here. Steven Hayes, the last 25 years of his life spent in and out of 17 different prisons. Joshua Komisarjevsky, broke into his first house at the ripe old age of 14.
Besides the obvious history here, is there anything in the profile of these two that would indicate an inclination to what they`re alleged to have done here?
PAT BROSNAN, FORMER BURGLARY DETECTIVE: Well, first, it`s important, Joe, to recognize that what we have here that unfolded, this nightmare crime, is actually not a burglary; this was a first degree armed robbery/home invasion.
BROSNAN: This was not a burglary, because there`s a sense that burglary is a low-level crime and that it`s kind of a little bit more user friendly than a robbery. These guys committed a serious robbery.
Also, when there`s thought that he was arrested for 26 burglaries prior, which are really just those are losses on a property, those are 26 crimes that we know of. I think statistical probability would strongly support the fact that he`s committed other crimes, as has Komisarjevsky, that they have not been identified as committing and have been arrested. It`s very, very likely.
PAGLIARULO: I just want to make sure -- I want to make sure I`m reading you right. You`re saying in all of these arrests, what we have here, probably, are a bunch of times they didn`t get caught, and you would suggest that they didn`t make the leap to this violence. They probably were violent before? Am I hearing you right?
BROSNAN: Yes, that`s 100 percent correct. And I was a robbery detective for 13 years, and the fact is that burglary is just robbery in soft clothes. When you go into someone`s home and a burglary, snatch a VCR or take a TV, when the occupants of the home are in the residence, the cost of poker goes up exponentially.
And the fact is they were aware, based on a timeline established by the authorities, based on the shopping and the sitting outside at 8 p.m. until the 3 a.m. when they gained entrance through an open door, that the house was occupied.
This was a cold, premeditated robbery. My sense of it is that it`s occurred before.
PAGLIARULO: Sure. Is this the kind of thing where these guys may have staked out this family, may have known that in Cheshire nobody locks their doors? Did they go and find somebody who might have had a couple of bucks, a doctor in town?
Was this family stalked, do you think? Or did they just by chance go in here?
BROSNAN: Well, it sounds like there was a stalking component, based on the timeline that was established, because they saw Michaela and Mrs. Petit at the store earlier in the afternoon.
BROSNAN: Evidently, they went to their residence, they followed them, they established where they resided. They then went shopping, purchased an air rifle and rope and returned and began the surveillance.
When they thought that the time was right, which as it turned out was 3 a.m., they made their move. And that`s when it moved into a very serious home invasion robbery. They batted down the father, and everyone knows what happened from there.
BROSNAN: It`s worse than any B movie horror movie.
PAGLIARULO: Absolutely. I can`t even imagine the crime scene, but I wouldn`t want to imagine the crime scene. I can`t imagine what the doctor himself went through.
I`ve got to ask you this, though. With the kind of history that you have on these guys and, again, nonviolent convictions, even though, you know, we`ve established that you believe that probably there had to be something violent in their past. You just don`t graduate to burning people alive in their own home.
But with this going on, seeing what happened after they got out, would you be an advocate for people who are repeat offenders, 17 times, 26 times, that they never get out?
BROSNAN: Absolutely. It`s sheer madness, Joe, that you can relegate the level of a felony conviction. In other words, they have 26 low-level felony convictions and/or high level misdemeanors. That you can relegate them into this user-friendly little partition and say, well, they`re just burglars. These guys aren`t hard-core robbers or arsonists or murderers or rapists. Again, very serious connotation with rape and arson.
The fact is, of course, they should be kept in. They`ve demonstrated time and time again they`re not fit to enter into society. Totally.
PAGLIARULO: I`ve got to ask you this. Are the days of leaving your door unlocked in a neighborhood where you feel safe over in this country?
BROSNAN: Yes. And those days have been over for some time. Common sense has to prevail, Joe. Lock the door. If you have an alarm, put it on. It`s a very, very tiny, tiny thing to do. It just takes a couple of seconds. Put the alarm on. If you don`t have one at least lock the doors and windows. It`s just good sense.
PAGLIARULO: If there was a matter of where these guys, if they did, in fact, do this, and they haven`t been convicted of anything yet in this case. But if they did, in fact, do this, is it a matter to where people like this would have gone to the door, seen the alarm system, seen the device of some sort, seen a sign and maybe moved on to the next house?
PAGLIARULO: Or do you think they were dead set on getting this done?
BROSNAN: Well, two questions. The first is yes. Absolutely. Alarms, dogs, signs, all general and specific deterrents to dissuade intruders to move onto the next house.
Now, I hate to sound cold to the extent that it`s going to move to another house.
BROSNAN: But the fact is that`s the reality of it. If there`s a dog, a sign, an alarm goes off, they`re going to hedge their bets. It`s really just a cost benefit analysis to the extent of the probability of capture and a follow up sanction. So yes.
PAGLIARULO: Listen, great knowledge tonight. Thank you so much for your time.
Coming up right here. Another U.S. border agent finds himself on the wrong side of the law, and the crime is severe. The murder of an illegal alien crossing into our country from Mexico, but was it excessive force or self-defense?
Plus, support for the president`s troop surge is on the rise, but is it really making a difference on the ground in Iraq? I`ll take a closer look.
And Hillary Clinton may be pulling away from Barack Obama in the polls, but he has at least one vote: Rudy Giuliani`s daughter. I`ll explain in tonight`s "Political Roundtable".
PAGLIARULO: Coming up, things may be getting heated between Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama lately, but despite that, there is one person that thinks they`ll be the Democratic ticket come election day. Rudy Giuliani. More on that in a minute.
But first, Border Patrol agent Nicholas Corbett will stand trial for the killing of an illegal alien. During a preliminary hearing on Monday, a judge ruled that evidence does not support first-degree murder charges. He had been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, if you can believe that.
Well, Arizona`s Cochise County judge, David Morales, ruling instead that Corbett will face charges of second-degree murder.
The charges stem from the January 12 shooting of an illegal alien who had just crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Corbett claims it was self- defense.
The three major witnesses in this case, all illegal aliens, have evidently had major inconsistencies between their individual testimonies.
It gets better. The Mexican consulate had reportedly been providing those witness with food, an apartment in Tucson and free transportation while awaiting the trial.
Sean Chapman and David Santander are the defense attorneys for Border Agent Corbett.
Was yesterday`s hearing a small victory or it was just the first step in the process?
SEAN CHAPMAN, ATTORNEY FOR NICHOLAS CORBETT: I think it`s just the first step in this process. It`s probable cause determination that it`s a very low standard of proof.
PAGLIARULO: Does someone want to please explain to me, because I`m just a dumb radio guy. How exactly can you charge one guy three or four times for the murder of one person? Wasn`t that the original charge?
CHAPMAN: The judge threw out the first-degree murder charge. The prosecutor`s entitled to alternatively charge different levels of murder, and that`s what he did in this case.
I think it`s important to remember, though, that this agent is a federal law enforcement officer that puts his life on the line on a daily basis for this country, and he is presumed innocent. And in fact he is innocent, and we`re going to establish that at trial.
PAGLIARULO: OK. Well, we can appreciate that, but he`s the next in the line. You`ve got Compean and Ramos. You`ve got Gary Brugman. Now you`ve got your client here.
What`s going on? Is it open season on border agents or wrong place, wrong time? What`s happening here?
CHAPMAN: I cannot comment on the overall picture there, but I can tell you that in this case the Mexican government by its actions has influenced three key witnesses in this case by providing them with housing, allowing them to stay in this country illegally, chauffeuring them around town, not requiring them to work.
They`ve simply been told that the president of Mexico has a personal interest in the outcome of this case.
PAGLIARULO: Wait a second. Want to stop you there. I want to stop you here. Hey, Daniel, I want to get you involved in this, as well. How exactly is it that these illegal aliens are still here? How is it that they`re staying here? Is there some special visa to testify against a border agent?
DANIEL SANTANDER, ATTORNEY FOR NICHOLAS CORBETT: Usually, I don`t think there`s a visa involved in this particular case. I think...
PAGLIARULO: Then how are they here?
SANTANDER: They`re given employment authorization. Technically, they may be paroled in for the public interest, basically so that they can testify at the trial in this case.
PAGLIARULO: How is it that we`re taking their word for it? Isn`t this a conflict of interest? Wouldn`t they like to see some sort of bad come to a Border Patrol agent that was trying to stop their friend and their brother, or one of the guys that was with them as they were breaking our laws coming here? How can they be taken as suitable witnesses in this case?
SANTANDER: You`re going to have to talk to the state about that. We tried to elicit that yesterday at the preliminary hearing, and I think we did a very good job of doing that.
PAGLIARULO: Is there a chance of throwing them out as witnesses or are they going to definitely stick around?
SANTANDER: We`ve asked them to stick around. We`re hoping that they can stick around at trial so that we can have another opportunity to cross- examine them. We`ve asked the Cochise County attorney to keep them around, as well.
PAGLIARULO: Thanks, Sean and Daniel. Appreciate the time.
Joining me now is Brandon Judd, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, Local 2544.
Brandon, has there been strong reaction to this case from other agents?
BRANDON JUDD, VICE PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL, LOCAL 2544: There`s always strong reaction when something like this happens, but in this specific case, absolutely.
PAGLIARULO: At what point -- at what point will the U.S. attorney stop taking the word of those breaking our laws to go ahead and testify against the people who are trying to uphold our laws?
You`ve got Compean and Ramos. You`ve got Gary Brugman. And you`ve got illegal aliens are the ones who are testifying against them, and juries are allowed to hear their testimony. Are the juries told that they`re here illegally? Are they told they were trying to break the law, as well?
JUDD: I hope they are. I can`t comment on when the U.S. attorney`s going to stop this, but in this case this is the county attorney. But in - - as far as agents are concerned, it`s the same thing.
PAGLIARULO: OK. So you`ve got -- you`ve got potential bad people who are at least doing a violation of our law, trying to come here illegally who are now going to be sitting on the witness stand after having been put up by the Mexican consulate, having had the support of the president of Mexico.
Can you win in a case like this? You`ve got a strong union there, but I mean, I would guess that at some point Border Patrol agents are going to go, "You know what? It would be easier to go and deliver the mail."
JUDD: You can`t win when it comes to a foreign government. If they`re allowed to be involved in our politics, you can`t win.
Unfortunately, we have a tough job, and when we`re allowed to have another government influence how we work it, it becomes even tougher.
PAGLIARULO: What are the details of this case? You`ve had three or four people coming here illegally. You have this Border Patrol agent doing his job. How did it -- how did it get to the point where he -- he killed this guy?
JUDD: Well, unfortunately, you have to look at -- he`s by himself and you have three witnesses that are testifying against him, and unfortunately, it`s his word against the three witnesses` word.
The evidence is going to turn out to where he is innocent, but the county attorney does have to take -- take into consideration the testimony.
But in a nutshell what happened was this agent was doing his job. He -- he encountered a large group of illegal aliens. He arrested three of them initially, put them in the back of his vehicle, continued on. He was -- he was directed to where to go. He continued on. And he encountered the other -- the other four.
When he got out of his vehicle, an altercation took place in which an alien was -- was shot.
PAGLIARULO: So we`ve got a guy who`s out there protecting our borders, protecting you and me, protecting our sovereignty. And he`s out there, and he`s got -- it`s seven on one? He`s got three in the back. He`s got four more that he`s dealing with in front of him.
And now he`s the one that`s going to go down for this shooting, or he`s facing -- this trial is going to be the trial of his life and his livelihood and for his family, and all because he`s doing what he was asked to do by the federal government? Please help me to understand this.
JUDD: Unfortunately, Joe, it wasn`t just seven on one. South -- just south of where he was at you had at least eight to 12 other people who had entered in this -- in this group and who had made it back south.
While they were standing back -- south again, this is just a hundred yards away from where the altercation took place. You had eight to 12 individuals who were yelling at the agent, who were making gestures, who were doing different things.
So it wasn`t just seven on one. You had a lot of other people.
PAGLIARULO: It could have been as much as 20 on one, and that`s the point here. We`ve got to get more Border Patrol agents down there and maybe get some American witnesses to everything that happens.
We appreciate your time, Brandon. Keep us updated on what happens in this case.
JUDD: Thank you, sir.
PAGLIARULO: All right. Coming up right here, new reports indicate the troop surge in Iraq is actually working. Well, it`s either a success or the administration is doing a great job of selling it. I`ll take a closer look and get some real answers for you.
And Rudy Giuliani has been campaigning hard for the White House, but it looks like he`s left out one key demographic: the Giuliani family, Giuliani, some would say. I`ll explain in tonight`s "Political Roundtable".
PAGLIARULO: Regardless of whether you`re partial to red or blue, I believe we all understand that wars need to be led by our generals on the field, not by the weasels in Washington.
Well, we`ll find out in September whether the troop surge in Iraq is really working. That`s when General Petraeus reports on its progress himself. We`ll hear from him. But it seems that Americans already think things are improving.
A new "USA Today"/Gallup poll says that 31 percent of Americans believe the additional troops are, quote, "making the situation better." That`s up from 22 percent a month ago.
Are things actually getting better on the ground or is the president getting better at making the American people understand this war?
Ralph Peters is a retired lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Army and author of "Wars of Blood and Faith: The Conflicts that Will Shape the 21st Century" joins us now.
Lieutenant Colonel Peters, I appreciate your help on this. Because you know, we`ve been hearing from the administration, it`s working, let it work. We`ll let it play out. We`re hearing from some candidates for president. We`ve got to get out now. We should never have gone. We don`t know what to take any more sometimes as the American public.
How do you read this so far?
LT. COL. RALPH PETERS, AUTHOR, "WARS OF BLOOD AND FAITH": I don`t think the American people are really listening to politicians on either side. I think what`s happening is we`re making real progress, and the word is filtering through.
It`s filtering through from the hungry, young journalists who are out there and really going on patrol with the troops. I mean, look, Iraq right now, most of the celebrity journalists are gone. And you`ve got those hungry young guys and gals who don`t have a political position. They`re just reporting. While we`re seeing the best reporting from Iraq.
But also the military members themselves in Iraq are on the Internet, telling their families. Their families pass it on. So the word gets directly to the American people that things are going better.
PAGLIARULO: Yes, but you know what the headlines are. The headlines are four more died yesterday in Iraq. And when you hear a headline like that it`s easy for the celebrity journalists, as you said, or the big networks to report that and go, "See? Look at this. It`s still a mess over there."
And you`re saying it`s not a mess. We`re getting word finally from the front-line reporters who are actually in the individual battles?
PETERS: Joe, I didn`t say it`s not a mess. Iraq is a colossal mess, but it`s a mess with some hope, for the first time in a long time.
I was really depressed about this late last year, but since General Petraeus took over, we are seeing tangible, tactile, street level, gut level progress. Whether that will translate into political strategic progress is another question.
But on the ground, we are making important strides, not only for the - - the security of Iraq, but for the security of America, because we are killing a lot of al Qaeda bad guys right now.
PAGLIARULO: Right. Absolutely. OK.
So the surge was what, 21,000? If you`re on the ground there and, as a military man, isn`t the next logical step let`s send even more in there? It will make it that even much better? Or is that not the case?
PETERS: Well, more troops are always welcome, but we don`t have them. Our Army and Marines are so small, and they`re worn down.
But credit where it`s due. In classic military terms, General David Petraeus, our commander in Baghdad, doesn`t have nearly enough troops. And I`m frankly amazed at what he`s been able to do with a relatively small number. I mean, even the surge just gives us a quarter of what we should have. And he`s really used our troops very efficiently, economically and intelligently.
And, look, we`re not going to see a classic Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq in the next two weeks, I guarantee you.
PAGLIARULO: Right. Right.
PETERS: But we have practical goals. General Petraeus has clear goals that make sense. Knock al Qaeda down, keep Iran out and reduce the level of sectarian violence.
PAGLIARULO: I need a quick answer to a very complicated question. There are people on the left, especially, who are saying we`ve got to get out, get out now, we never should have gone in. What happens right now if we get out tomorrow?
PETERS: If we get out tomorrow we hand al Qaeda a victory they didn`t earn. There`s a colossal bloodbath and a wrong becomes a -- the hegemon over the Persian Gulf and controls the oil supplies.
PAGLIARULO: Lieutenant Colonel, thank you very much.
OK. Keep it right here. We`re back after this.
PAGLIARULO: Coming up, first they made it illegal to smoke in bars. Then they took our trans fat away and now one New York City councilwoman wants to bank the B-word. How will we ever get by without it? I`ll have all the details in just a minute.
First, just when you thought it was safe to snooze your way through the dog days of summer without so much as a political pie fight to keep you awake, along comes Hillary, Barack and Rudy.
Let me start with everyone`s favorite former first lady, Hillary Clinton, a new "USA Today"/Gallup poll has Hillary pulling away from her closest rivals. The poll puts Clinton at 48 percent, Obama at 26 percent and John Edwards brings up the rear at 12 percent, but really nice hair.
Why do we care? Pundits are suggesting that Clinton`s 8-point increase from three weeks ago is the result of Obama wanting to make nice with our enemies in Iran, and bomb our friends in Pakistan. Hillary`s camp is saying people are seeing her as the one ready, that is, to be president. That was a quote, but they said it better than I did. Nice spin.
Obama`s spin are dismissing national polls as irrelevant. Even nicer spin. Obama and Edwards are slamming Hillary from taking $400,000 in campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists, something both her closest rivals have vowed they will do. Hillary defended herself by saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), , PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I -- I don`t think based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe in anybody seriously believes I`m going to be influenced by a lobbyist, or a particular interest group. Now, you know --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAGLIARULO: Wait, wait a second. I think those were boos we just heard from your supporters.
Finally on the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani has a little family issue to deal with. It`s been reported that his 17-year-old daughter might be, just might be a Barack Obama backer. Apparently Caroline Giuliani listed herself as liberal on the profile in the social networking site Facebook, that included her membership in an Obama Fan Club.
Thanksgiving at the Giuliani household just might be a little tense this year.
OK, so here to help me wade through the stories is Keith Boykin, host of BET`s "My Two Cents", he`s also a former Clinton White House aide and also joining me is John Fund, he`s a columnist for "The Wall Street Journal."
Keith, John, I appreciate it.
Keith, I`ve got to start with you: Clearly, you will vote for Clinton, right? You have to. You`re from the Clinton camp.
KEITH BOYKIN, FMR. CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AIDE: Went to law school with Barack Obama, too.
PAGLIARULO: Oh, so clearly, you have will vote for Barack Obama.
BOYKIN: I have mixed allegiances. I think they`re both good candidates and the Republican field is weak, compared to the Democratic field. So I think it`s a good opportunity for the two of them to get out there and fight and debate and they`ll be stronger candidates in the end because of it.
I don`t think the Republican candidates are weak, or the Republican field is weak. I think the Republicans don`t get it. The Republicans aren`t attacking each other, they`re attacking the Democrats. And that`s not going play out.
John, what do you think about that? You see the Democrats arguing with each other to see what the best candidate is. While the Republicans are sort of saying, hey, look at them over there? We`re better than them.
JOHN FUND, COLUMNIST, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think you saw some real contrast in the last Iowa debate. Brownback and Romney mixing it up on abortion, other subjects. And when Fred Thompson gets in the race next month you`ll see a lot of people ganging up on him, and he`ll have some choice words to say.
Remember, this is August, though. A very small, limited number of political players are paying attention, that`s why I think this national poll which is an outlier should be taken with about 500 grains of salt.
FUND: Think this is still a competitive race if you look at who`s ahead in Iowa. In Iowa it`s a three-way race. Edwards, Obama and Hillary all have the same support. In New Hampshire, it`s very competitive. Same thing in South Carolina.
So again, this is really early. Most people are doing barbecues and backyard picnics. They`re not paying attention to politics. This race really starts in earnest on Labor Day.
PAGLIARULO: OK, Keith, I`ve got to ask you about this. You have Rudy Giuliani today who said, you what? I don`t care how mad they get at each other, how red in the face anybody gets, how many times somebody has to apologize to the other person`s party or the other person`s camp, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be the ticket come the Democratic Convention. You say what?
BOYKIN: I think that`s unlikely, but you never know. Whenever, the opponent, Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich start defining and telling you who you should have on your ticket that`s probably not a good sign. Probably something you should worry about.
So, if anything, I think what`s likely to happen is that Hillary or Barack will win the top spot. I don`t think they`ll pick one or the other to be their running mate. But again, like John said, it is too early to figure this stuff out. We`re a long way away from next year`s election and anything could happen.
PAGLIARULO: You know, what? We`re talking about it right now. Let me get politically incorrect here for a second if you don`t mind. You have Barack Obama who is an African-American guy; you`ve got Hillary Clinton who is a woman. I see America accepting a woman president, maybe a black president, I don`t see America taking a black as a president or vice president candidate, and a woman as a president, vice president.
As advanced as I hoped we`d be by 2007, I don`t think we`re ready. What do you say to that?
BOYKIN: I think you`re exactly right. I think it`s sad, but true that we have racial issues to deal with, we have gender issues to deal with in our society, and to deal with all of those at one time may be a lot for the country to swallow. It doesn`t mean that those two candidates shouldn`t be in the race, that they shouldn`t be fighting to win the nomination. And I suppose that one of them may win. Those are the two front-running candidates and that says a lot about the Democratic Party.
PAGLIARULO: Go ahead, John.
FUND: But Joe --
BOYKIN: But you have a woman and a black man who are in the lead.
FUND: There`s a more fundamental reason why I think Barack Obama will not be Hillary Clinton`s vice presidential running mate.
FUND: Name me the last presidential nominee one who picked a vice presidential nominee who was more interesting and charismatic and would overshadow the actual candidate?
PAGLIARULO: I can`t, to be honest with you.
FUND That`s why it is very unlikely this would happen.
FUND: Barack Obama is clearly a superstar. Hillary will not want to share a stage with him for three months.
PAGLIARULO: Actually, if I think about it, that Al Gore did have a little more charisma than Bill Clinton did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, right!
PAGLIARULO: John, let I have to ask you this: How about Fred Thompson? Why is there an empty podium? Why isn`t this guy in yet? Is this really, really smart to stay out and hang back and see what`s going to happen, or is he missing the boat?
FUND: Think he started building his campaign from scratch. It has had a couple of rough spots, but I think he is smart. Because in August the only people paying attention are the journalists. And they`re taking some whacks at him because he`s not playing by the rules they want him to play by.
Remember he`ll get a bounce when he announces. He should have that bounce if he wants to be taking maximum advantage of it, after Labor Day when people are really paying attention.
PAGLIARULO: Hey, Keith, is your side afraid of Fred Thompson, at all? Or is he just another guy that might jumps in, and makes it nine on that side?
BOYKIN: Well, he hasn`t declared yet except -- I think, John has already announced he`ll be running next month, which is kind of funny.
FUND: No, he`s going to run.
PAGLIARULO: Think he declared on "Law & Order", didn`t he?
BOYKIN: The re-runs are still playing. He`s gets that advantage.
PAGLIARULO: That`s right.
BOYKIN: I think the problem is you can`t underestimate someone like this. Because there`s always the Ronald Reagan example. That the Democrats are wary of. No one took Ronald Reagan seriously, an actor from California, who is going to run for president and he ended up winning. That`s what the Republicans are hoping what will happen with Fred Thompson.
PAGLIARULO: Yes, but Barack Obama said that, like just last week, that he was Ronald Reagan this time around. I`m going to talk to all of our enemies just like he did with Gorbachev.
BOYKING: Thought the Republicans were trying to be Ronald Reagan?
PAGLIARULO: Yeah, I think everybody wants to be Ronald Reagan. Can we stop. We`re resurrecting Ronald Reagan, maybe find out what these people stand for.
Keith, John, I appreciate it. Very interesting commentary there.
Coming up, the story of an amazing seven-year-old girl who took the law into her own hands during a robbery at a local convenience store. You don`t want to miss this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK: There are certain words that you cannot say in any context on the airwaves. We`ve learned that from George Carlin, remember?
GEORGE CARLIN, COMEDIAN: The word as I say (bleep) now (bleep).
BECK: I cannot use, for instance, the F-word, not the new F-word, the F-word classic. The border looks like it`s (Bleep). The Border, I cannot use that word in any context with the FCC. If I say the F-word I`ll get fined and there`s a good chance I`ll get fired.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAGLIARULO: Exactly. OK, brace yourself. We`re about to embark into the vocabulary challenged world of hip-hop lyrics. Small children should cover their ears and I`m serious.
Rap star 50 Cent who used the word "hoe" 13 times in his song, "As The World Turns"; and then there`s Snoop Dogg who actually has a song titled, "Bitch, Please". Not to be confused with the sequel Bitch Please II later recorded by Oscar-winning recording artist Eminem.
Well, gentlemen you may need to find a new way to describe the fairer sex, that is if New York City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy has her way. She`s introduced legislation to ban the B-word and the H-word. Her first target hip-hop artists. Councilwoman Mealy joins me now.
Darlene, do you really think this legislation is going have an impact?
DARLENE MEALY, NYC COUNCILWOMAN: Yes. It has already had an impact. In my community I know it has made an impact that young people are saying hi, my brother. Hi, my sister. That`s what we should be addressing one another.
PAGLIARULO: Before that, were they calling each other the H-word? No. You were talking more about the sensitivity about N-word.
MEALY: And young ladies call one another, Hey, B, what`s going on? I haven`t seen you in a while.
So, it`s become part of our everyday vernacular.
PAGLIARULO: And the bottom line is you say, let`s get it out of there.
MEALY: Yes. If we`re the melting pot of America why not uplift one another when we address one another, and that`s the start?
PAGLIARULO: Love what you`re doing. I love the attempt. You know darn well this is unconstitutional. You know darn well you can`t ban words from the English language.
MEALY: Why would you feel it`s unconstitutional?
PAGLIARULO: Because it`s free speech. And you know what, it`s not obscene speech. The F word like Glenn was talking about, that`s obscene in its very nature. But using the B-word is a female dog.
PAGLIARULO: You and I both know that. How do you ban a word that is allowed -- a hoe is a garden tool. How do you ban somebody saying that out of their mouth? You can`t.
MEALY: No, you can`t. This is not to ban. This is really to bring awareness and educate. Why not, let`s change it. If we can change one or 10 or 50 people to stop saying it we have made a difference in this world, and if we -- if we stop, we`re not doing what we`re supposed to be doing, especially me as elected official. I feel I`m not -- I may be new to being a public officer, but I`m true to this. I`ve been doing this since I was a teenager. Speaking about uplifting, self-pride for one another.
PAGLIARULO: I`ve got to ask you this because this really pops into my brain. Why not employ the help of Eminem and 50 Cent and Ludacris and Snoop Dogg? Why not employ their help because they`re out riding around in Lamborghinis in the suburbs? These people are not living the inner city that you`re trying to protect. Why not get them to help? Are there any they left out are the bigger offenders.
MEALY: I believe Russell Simmons has changed his perspective of what we`re trying to do. We went against the record company. I was with Reverend Al Sharpton with the March for Decency.
MEALY: So we`re trying to hit them where it hurts and that`s in the pocket.
PAGLIARULO: Yeah, but how do you get out in front of a bunch of young people who are very impressionable and how do you become more important -- listen, you`re more important to me. I love you already. But how do you become more important than these people that they idolize, who have the bling and the B-words and all of the booze, and the cars and the lifestyle, and the guns and the nines and the killing people.
How do you get out in front of that and stop kids from believing that`s the way of life of they should go for?
MEALY: Easy. You just said it. They look up to those individuals, but a lot of my children -- in my area, I call them my children -- they have watched me. I have coached them. I have been around with them. They look up to me. I`m a prime example. They can see someone who`s been in the community, doing the right thing, helping them uplift themselves. And here it is, I`m asking them, why degrade yourself? Why degrade someone else? I`m a role model.
PAGLIARULO: You are a role model and a very good one.
MEALY: Thank you. And imagine now, imagine how many young women and young men now look up to me? Saying look at her. She was a coach.
MEALY: And here it is now she`s a public official, and now she`s trying to pass legislation.
PAGLIARULO: But Darlene, are you winning a battle against a guy like 50 Cent who says make all of the money you can, or die trying? I mean, come on.
That is so sad. I must say. 50 cent will -- he has to be accountable sooner or later. One day he be will accountable because he has sons, and he may have daughters and imagine when someone called his daughter a four- legged dog out of context, and he`ll feel it. He will be older one day and he will be --
PAGLIARULO: I applaud you for what you`re doing. You know it`s unconstitutional, but the fact that you have it out there in the public --
MEALY: You keep saying that, "unconstitutional".
PAGLIARULO: Because it is, you can`t ban word.
MEALY: Can we talk about that for a minute.
PAGLIARULO: We can`t say Joe ever again.
MEALY: Can we talk again?
PAGLIARULO: We will talk again. Darlene, I have to move on. Thank you so much.
MEALY: Thank you.
We`ll going to take a hard left turn now and introduce you to a remarkable 28-year-old who has taken the engineering skills to the isolated coast of Nicaragua of all places, bring about unprecedented transformation to the people living in those communities.
It may be hard to believe, that there are still places in the world that are in darkness. Mathias Craig is today`s "CNN Hero".
MATHIAS CRAIG, COMMUNITY CRUSADER: It`s very difficult to explain to people how remote it is here on the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. It`s very remote. There are no roads, essentially anywhere, so all transportation is by boat.
Monkey Point has always been an abandoned community. They have a serious energy problem here. In these isolated communities only the wealthiest people have generators. Most people in the community will never have access to that power source.
My name is Mathias Craig and I work to bring sustainable energy services to isolated communities.
It`s gonna be good when we raise it.
We`re really based around the wind turbine and then we have a power system with batteries, where we store the energy produced by the windmill.
This converts battery power to alternating current. This is what is being transmitted down to the school. The school also doubles as a community center.
Up! Up! Up!
Our interest is in delivering sustainable energy services so we wanted to build our systems from scratch here, and train local people here, through the process of building, people would learn how to service them.
It has a tremendous impact. Any path they choose pretty much requires electricity and clean water so by providing one of those basic services, you`re opening up the whole new world of opportunities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We is living in a historical moment right now. Having electricity in Monkey Point, it`s something great to have, to help in the development and the education level.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks all right to me. Yeah. What do you say, Boss?
CRAIG: My most satisfaction that I can receive is really getting a chance to be in the community and see how the energy is being used and seeing the benefit that it provides.
PAGLIARULO: You hear so many stories about how screwed up kids are today, right? Every once in a while a story comes across that helps to reaffirm our faith in the next generation. It happened Sunday evening in Rockingham County, North Carolina. A seven-year-old girl hanging out with her mom, who was a cashier at a local convenience store. When all of a sudden in walks an armed robber. From our affiliate WFMY in Greensboro, North Carolina, Justin Kwisenberry files this.
JUSTIN KWISENBERRY (voice over): Regular customers drop in from time to time at this convenience store near highway 29. But a familiar face turned an ordinary night, into one night into one Alicia wouldn`t forget any time soon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was standing with mommy and this guy came in here, and he started pushing buttons on mommy`s cash register.
KWISENBERRY: Her mom is a cashier. She says she`s seen the man before and this time his shirt was covering his face. She says she thought he was joking around, but realized he was serious when he came around the counter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got up and under and I was pushing on him telling him to back away, like back away, man, like that. I didn`t want him to hurt mommy.
KWISENBERRY After he got the money he came back around to the front of the counter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, he got some -- three packs of Newports and he ran out the door, and I ran behind him and mommy was calling the po-po.
KWISENBERRY: Alicia is just seven years old.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I said, hey, come back here!
KWISENBERRY: But she must have felt seven feet tall.
I was thinking, I`m going catch him. I`m going get that little fellow.
KWISENBERRY: She chased the robber out of the store.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was trying to catch him to make him slow down, but I couldn`t catch him, and then he pointed the gun at me, and I fell down on the ground because I thought it would go above my head.
KWISENBERRY: At that moment --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was doing like this.
KWISENBERRY: She was finally scared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started crying and I had my polka dot blanky with me. That`s my security blanket.
KWISENBERRY: He got away and now her sadness turns to anger.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He should be locked up by his gills and towed to the police.
KWISENBERRY: She hopes far away from her, her mom, and this store.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t want him to come back.
PAGLIARULO: Amazing. Now the police need your help. The suspect was last seen fleeing the convenience store on a moped, carrying three packs of Newports. If you have any information please give the Rockingham County sheriff`s department a call.
That will do it for tonight. Nancy Grace is up next. From New York, I`m Joe Pagliarulo, Joe Pags, have a good night.