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Karl Rove Calls it Quits; Gunmen Kills Three in Missouri Church; Illegal Immigrant Charged with Newark Murders Previously Charged with Rape; K-Fed Makes Play for Custody

Aired August 13, 2007 - 19:00:00   ET


JOE PAGLIARULO, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, Karl Rove calls it quits.

KARL ROVE, BUSH POLITICAL ADVISOR: Today, I submitted my resignation.

PAGLIARULO: Why the man they call Bush`s brain is joining the long line of high-ranking officials to have left the White House. But was he pushed, or did he jump?

Plus, he`s an illegal alien, previously arrested for assault and child rape. Now the primary suspect in a brutal triple murder case. Just how did this guy slip through the cracks?

And Brit`s assistant subpoenaed. Could K-Fed be using Spears` long- time friend to gain custody of their children?

All this and more, tonight.


PAGLIARULO: Hello, America. I`m Joe Pagliarulo, Joe Pags, in for Glenn Beck.

Well, after seven years as what many are calling the brains behind George Bush, Karl Rove says that, as of August 31, he`s resigning as the president`s chief political advisor. In one of George W. Bush`s last statements, Rove will still get to spell check.

The commander in chief had this to say about his friend calling it quits.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Karl Rove is moving on down the road. I`ve been talking to Karl for a while about his desire to spend more time with Darby and Andrea. His family has made enormous sacrifices, not only for our beloved state of Texas, but for a country we both love.


PAGLIARULO: Before heading to his ranch in Texas, Bush passed the mic to his old friend Karl.


ROVE: Mr. President, I`m grateful for the opportunity you gave me to serve our nation and you. I`m grateful for being able to work with the extraordinary men and women that you`ve drawn into this administration. And I`m grateful to have been a witness to history. It has been the joy and the honor of a lifetime.


PAGLIARULO: In addition to engineering Bush`s two successful campaigns for president, Karl Rove has also been the controversial architect of the national Republican agenda.

So what does this departure mean for the remaining 17 months now of this presidency? And what can we expect Rove to do with all of his newfound free time?

Wayne Slater is a writer for the "Dallas Morning News" and co-author of "The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power". And Mike Allen is the chief political correspondent for the Politico.

Mike, were you surprised to see the news?

MIKE ALLEN, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE POLITICO: Well, good evening, Joe. And of course I was surprised. Even some senior officials in the White House found that out in the early morning hours this morning when "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page interview where Karl had broken this news was passed around.

I can tell you, Joe, that some of Karl`s friends have suggested that he leave after 2004 at the high point, after achieving the amazing triple crown of re-electing a president, popular victory, electoral victory. I`m sure there have been days when he hoped that he would do that.

But as you saw in that clip where Karl with his brand-new haircut and in kind of a quivering voice, was talking about the president, you can see that there`s a very personal loyalty there. And he wanted to see the president through one more stage of the adventure. You saw...

PAGLIARULO: You know, I have to interject this though, Mike. In watching -- you know what it was reminiscent of to me? It was like a long- time couple that was -- stayed together for the kids and, you know, they`re going to remain friends after they break up. It was a very weirdly personal thing. Maybe it should have been less personal. You follow me on that?

ALLEN: I do see what you`re saying, Joe. And you said it`s sort of awkward. The president initiated a hug and later, the first lady kissed Mr. Rove. And she`s had well-known differences with him.

But Karl`s next chapter is very important to the president, as well. Joe, as you well know, things don`t look so good in the short term for this president and, therefore, the legacy of Karl Rove.

Karl is now sort of the burnisher in chief. Karl`s going out to write, to speak, to make television appearances, to help start the Bush library, to start helping remind people why they liked President Bush...


ALLEN: ... what was behind some of the controversial decisions. And he`s going to be out there, possibly with a book, right at the time that the initial assessments are being made of this presidency as 2009 beckons.

PAGLIARULO: All right. I want to bring Wayne in here. Wayne, OK, so he was the architect of this presidency, the outliner, if not architect or author of the Republicans, the way that we see Republicans today.

Was the fact that Karl Rove also wasn`t -- didn`t seem to want to stop the growth of government, was that also part of the downfall here? It appeared to me that he had a chance to, you know, push for a smaller government, but that wasn`t sort of what his plan was.

WAYNE SLATER, CO-AUTHOR, "THE ARCHITECT": It wasn`t part of the plan. Because the plan really was twofold from the beginning with Karl Rove. One was to elevate George Bush first as governor of Texas and then to the White House, and he succeeded. And he succeeded in an extraordinary way.

Also in 2002, he was the architect, as it were, of the Republican gains that year.


SLATER: Something historic. And yet at the same time, part of his second goal was to establish an enduring Republican majority. And the fact is that part of that inattention, as it were, to the growth in government, to the blooming budget, to other issues, including most recently pressing immigration against the interest of Republicans been the base, was really part of a larger strategy that, on the one hand, he was successful politically electing people to office.


SLATER: On the other hand, his contribution was such that made governing difficult, if not impossible.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, but you don`t -- wait a minute. If that`s the case, why didn`t we see Karl Rove for an entire other year? I mean, we probably should have seen him launched out of office a year ago.

SLATER: I think so. I think the president would never have gotten rid of Karl Rove. And I think Karl felt, as Mike said, very close to this president. This is a guy who was there. Before George Bush knew he was going to be governor of Texas in 1998, Karl Rove was already preparing -- preparing plans for that.

But another reason why Karl didn`t go is because he really wanted to be part of this larger effort to expand the Republican majority beyond the Bush years.

It became obvious now that two things was going -- were going to happen. One was that is unlikely, although if you talk to Rove, he still holds out some hope for the 2008 election.

The other is, there`s nothing else to do. This is the end of a lame duck presidency, and all presidents at the end have difficulty. Certainly, this president does with the opposition party in charge...


SLATER: ... in accomplishing big programs.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, Mike, there`s no way this guy`s just going to sit at home and spend time with his family. That`s the biggest bogus line that all these -- "I`ve got to spend time with my family."

His son just went to college. His son`s not going to be home.

So what is he going to do? Is he going to back Mitt Romney? Is he going to back the Republican way, the conservative way? What does he do now? Because I will bet you there are eight campaigns at least that would like to talk to Karl Rove today.

ALLEN: Of course they would love to talk to him, and they`ll do it, not in front of the cameras. I think Karl Rove, if nothing else, is practical, realistic. He realizes that the new Republican nominee needs to be his own man.

I think he definitely will give advice. He wants to preserve the party. He wants to preserve the conservative movement. And he knows that the best way to do that is to not have the person running be Karl Rove`s candidate. So unquestionably, he will give advice. Joe, as you know, he`s a workaholic.


ALLEN: Up early, up late. He`s going to be writing and working. He`s going to divide his time among Texas, D.C., Florida. He`s going to stay very much in the game but do it in a way that gives the party the best chance of continuing to have some more chance at extending that idea that Wayne talked about, the enduring Republican majority.

PAGLIARULO: Sure. I think we have to admit what happened here, though, guys. When Karl Rove danced around like an idiot at that correspondence dinner, it over. That was it for him.

ALLEN: The reason I don`t -- Joe, the reason I don`t bother -- the reason -- I know what you`re saying.

PAGLIARULO: Quickly. I got to get going.

ALLEN: We don`t (ph) know why that is. There were these urban myths about Karl. Democrats love to see him as this dark force. As you and Wayne well know, he was a happy warrior, a sense of humor.

PAGLIARULO: Wayne, Mike, thanks a million.

Coming up, a Sunday service turns deadly when a gunman opens fire on a congregation of worshippers in Missouri. What led to this shocking massacre?

Plus, more questions in the execution style killings of three New Jersey teens. The primary suspect is an illegal alien who`s fallen through the cracks of the criminal justice system more than once. The outrageous details in a bit.

On the lighter side of the day`s legal news, Britney`s custody battle. Why K-Fed -- K-Fed -- might end up getting the kids.

Back in a bit.


PAGLIARULO: Coming up, the Iowa straw poll is just the first in a series of political litmus tests for presidential contenders. But while Mitt Romney may have won this battle, a surprisingly strong finish by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has people asking if Romney can win the campaign war.

But first, just before 2 p.m. on Sunday in the small town of Neosho, Missouri, a gunman burst into the sanctuary of the First Congressional Church where a group of about 50 worshippers, both young and old, were gathered for their weekly service.

Details are still emerging, but what we do know is the gunman shouted, quote, "Liars, liars, you`re all liars," before killing three people and wounding at least five others.

The gunman held up to 50 people hostage before finally surrendering. And in the aftermath of this tragedy, the town`s police chief suggested this type of thing doesn`t happen in Neosho. Sorry, chief, but apparently it does.

Todd Higdon of the "Neosho Daily News" was the first reporter on the scene, joins me on the phone.

Todd, what do we know about the gunman at this point?

TODD HIGDON, "NEOSHO DAILY NEWS": The gunman actually appeared this afternoon and was charged with three counts on the first degree murder, four counts first degree assault, one count of armed criminal action and one count of felony restraint in connection with the deadly shooting on Sunday.

PAGLIARULO: If you can set up the scene for us, they`re there. They`re worshipping. It`s a normal church service. Was he already in the church? Did he show up after the service had started? How does he get there?

HIGDON: I believe -- how I understand this is that from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. each Sunday, the church opens for the Micronesians...


HIGDON: ... that do their worship service itself. Shortly after the opening of the service, this gentleman came into the church itself.

PAGLIARULO: OK, so he goes into the church and then he starts yelling this and then he holds everybody hostage. I understand he -- he let some people go first before he started the standoff with police?

HIGDON: Yes. It`s my understanding that there were some children in the church. Apparently, he let the children out. And then like I said, Neosho Police Department entered the building about 2:20 that afternoon.

PAGLIARULO: Are police saying they believe that he targeted those that he killed and injured? Or was he shooting people at random?

HIGDON: That we -- we have not received word on itself.

PAGLIARULO: How is it that there`s such a big Micronesian population in a small town like yours, in Neosho?

HIGDON: Neosho`s population is fairly diversified itself. Back in probably the early `90s, the Micronesians came to the area, mainly because of jobs. And doing research and so forth, I understand that Micronesians came from the islands itself...


HIGDON: ... in search for work. And there were some plants here in the area that were available for workers itself.

PAGLIARULO: OK. And this guy is not getting out, right? He`s going to be held until trial, right?

HIGDON: Yes. Bond has been set at $1 million.


HIGDON: At first, it was at $5 million, but they have put that to $1 million. He is in the Newton County jail, under guard, and also in isolation.

PAGLIARULO: All right. Todd, we appreciate the update there. Thank you very much, from Neosho, Missouri.

Next, an update on another horrific crime, one that delivers a devastating indictment on just how screwed up our criminal justice system has become.

By now, you may already be familiar with the execution-style slayings of three college-aged friends just over a week ago in Newark, New Jersey. The only eyewitness to the crime, a fourth friend, and she was left clinging to life after being shot in the head.

Three suspects are now in custody. One of the suspects is a 15-year- old boy, and police are searching for others.

But the primary suspect -- listen to this -- in this triple homicide, 28-year-old Jose Carranza. He is an illegal alien who has twice been freed on bail after being charged with assault and -- no kidding -- the repeated rape of a 5-year-old. He allegedly raped a child and yet still was set free while he awaited trial, rather than something apparently far less logical, like being deported back to his native Peru.

I don`t care where you stand on the immigration debate. I don`t care. Or how you think the 12 million illegals living here should be dealt with. I think we can all agree that when someone commits a crime, however trivial, and that someone is not here legally, they should be deported immediately or, better yet, keep them locked up until the trial.

The system failed those three kids from Newark, and our government is doing nothing to fix it.

Joining me now Ira Mehlman, media director for Federation for American Immigration Reform. And Tom Fitton, the president and chief spokesman of Judicial Watch.

Gentlemen, I appreciate it.

Ira, please help me understand how our judicial is -- is in such a state. I should probably start -- I should probably start with Tom, because you`re from Judicial Watch.

How is -- I can`t even speak. It gets me so mad to know that this guy was found to be illegal. He committed a crime, or allegedly committed a crime. Once he`s found to be illegal, get his butt out of here or hold him. Don`t let him go until the trial.

TOM FITTON, PRESIDENT/CHIEF SPOKESMAN, JUDICIAL WATCH: Well, that`s right. And whether you`re a citizen of non-citizen, you`re accused of child rape, to be let out of jail is an outrage.

And the local authorities in New Jersey did not contact the federal immigration authorities about this person that they had arrested twice until after -- until last Thursday, supposedly, according to "The New York Times".

And there`s this attitude among big cities, whether it be Newark or Los Angeles, that the cops shouldn`t be involved in the enforcement of immigration laws. They prevent them from doing their jobs. And as a result, we have these horrific crimes.

PAGLIARULO: Ira, help me understand that the state of sanctuary cities in this country, you know, like Houston, Texas, where I do a show every day on the radio, like Austin, Texas, like there in Newark. A sanctuary city basically is you can`t ask somebody what their -- what their immigration status is unless -- God forbid -- they do something illegal. Then when we find out about it, we still don`t hold it against them.

FITTON: Well, that`s right. And in most of the big cities -- Los Angeles, Houston -- we`re investigating all over New Jersey these sanctuary cities -- police are told not to ask anyone about their immigration status.

And even worse, which is in absolute violation of federal -- federal law, they`re told not to contact local or federal authorities about anyone`s immigration status. So the cops are handcuffed here.

And it`s bad enough localities are subsidizing illegal immigration. But to tell the cops "don`t ask, don`t tell" really puts all the citizens at risk and, frankly, puts the illegals at risk, who are harassed and their lives are made miserable by the violent immigrants among them.

PAGLIARULO: All right. Ira, if you would jump in here. The other guest is Ira, right?


PAGLIARULO: Jump in. Your thoughts when you hear about this case. And at first, by the way, the mayor did not let us know that this guy was an illegal alien. We found that out just a couple of days ago now. And this happened a week ago.

MEHLMAN: Sadly, this is not atypical. This happens all the time across the United States. You have these local governments that set up these firewalls to protect illegal immigrants, either out of political correctness, because they`re getting pressure from ethnic interest groups, or from local employers that want to preserve their cheap labor force.

And nobody is ever held accountable. Nobody at the local level ever has to stand up and say, "Yes, I made that decision not to protect the decisions of our local community. I decided that it was more important to protect the illegal aliens."

PAGLIARULO: Well, hold on, Ira, because they`re not spinning it like that. I`ll tell you exactly how they`re spinning it in Houston, in Austin and Los Angeles, and I want you, Ira, to continue where you were going with this.

This is what they say. The federal government`s job is to protect the borders. It`s the federal government`s job to -- to enforce immigration rules and laws. It`s not our job. We don`t have the manpower. We can`t do it here on the local level, and that`s a big fat lie, isn`t it?

MEHLMAN: Absolutely. But it is the job of the police of New Jersey to protect the people of New Jersey and not simply turn a blind eye when they know somebody is in the country illegally.

And that`s where, you know, just last week, Governor Corzine empanelled a commission to help illegal aliens feel more at home in New Jersey. It is a deliberate policy on the part of these local governments to make sure that illegal aliens are welcome.

And, you know, local police are not in the business of making arrests on behalf of other police departments. But when somebody in New Jersey is arrested by a local police force, and they discover there`s a warrant in another state, they turn them over. There is absolutely no reason why they shouldn`t arrest an illegal alien and turn them over to the federal government when they know that person is in the country illegally.

PAGLIARULO: And Tom, very quickly. Before we have to get out of here, the bottom line here is in New Jersey, they don`t tell anybody this person is illegal or find out their immigration status or deport them until after the case is over, not when they first arrest them, right?

FITTON: Well, that`s right. And not every locality is bad. Some localities in New Jersey who are being attacked are actually trying to get their local police officials trained by the feds to better enforce federal immigration law.

MEHLMAN: Yes, Morristown, New Jersey, is an example. There`s a local community that actually wants to do something.


MEHLMAN: And the mayor is catching all sorts of flak from the people higher up.

PAGLIARULO: And more communities need to do more about it.

Ira, Tom, thank you very much. Very enlightening today.

All right. Coming up, the Britney baby battle begins. That`s alliteration. The hearing is tomorrow, but the first shot has already been fired. The former Mr. Spears serving Brit`s long-time assistant with a subpoena. Could he be going after full custody? And could he actually get it? We`re talking K-Fed.

And then the moral meltdown of our society continues. A recent study showing that most new plastic surgery candidates got the idea from -- wait for it -- television. Oh, boy. Details in a minute.


PAGLIARULO: It`s been a rough few weeks for pop tart turned train wreck Britney Spears. Her divorce, her second for those of you playing along at home, this one to Kevin Federline, was finalized July 30, and now he wants primary custody of the kids.

K-Fed filed for custody of 22-month-old Sean Preston and 10-month old Jade James. Poor kids have no chance. And now Alli Sims, Britney`s cousin and former assistant, has been served with a subpoena by K-Fed`s attorneys.

Apparently, Sims has been a witness to Britney`s parenting skills, and her testimony they be good for Dad and bad for Mom. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Julia Alison is editor-at-large at "Star" magazine.

Julia, always great to have you here.


PAGLIARULO: Have we gotten to the point -- is the real in our culture where K-Fed, the same guy, the K-Fed that we all know and love, is actually looking like the better parent here?

ALLISON: You would never have guessed it a few years ago, right?


ALLISON: Actually, "Star" magazine just did a poll last week where they asked the readers whether they preferred K-Fed over Britney in terms of their parenting abilities. And shockingly enough...


ALLISON: ... the -- everyone is going for K-Fed at this point, which I can`t believe it myself.

PAGLIARULO: She had the entire -- she had the whole world by the rear end when it comes to her career, when it comes to her success, when it comes to being the better parent.


PAGLIARULO: He was the jerk. He was money hungry. He was out there sleeping with other women. He`s got -- I think he`s got a baby on every continent now. And for some reason, she took all of that and said, "I can screw it up just as well, too."

ALLISON: Absolutely. She was trying to one-up him, really.

You know, I think -- I think the real shock here is that a lot of people would have said -- I would have said that Kevin was doing it for the money about a year ago.


ALLISON: Now I think a lot of people feel that he`s not doing it for the money anymore. He is genuinely concerned for his kids. And at the point in which the mother is trying to, you know, get her baby`s teeth whitened because she`s feeding them so much sugar.


ALLISON: You know, you worry a little.

PAGLIARULO: He`s so concerned for his kids that he promises -- and this is for the people at home watching -- he promises not to smoke the pot in front of them.

ALLISON: I know, yes. That was -- that`s one of my favorite K-Fed lines, was that I`ll smoke pot but not in front of the kids.

PAGLIARULO: The most surprising thing about this that really jumped out at me, and you know, I know that you`ve got more on this, is that K- Fed`s side, are they really using tabloid reports to substantiate what they`re saying?

ALLISON: Yes. Well, this is actually really interesting. He has hired the best -- the best lawyer that Brit`s money can buy, of course. And this lawyer has tried to submit to the judge various tabloid reports.

Of course, magazine articles are not -- they`re not admissible in court.


ALLISON: But what they can do is all the research is basically done for the lawyers. So in other words, the magazine articles may be seen as hearsay, but the lawyer can take those magazine articles, go interview. They can depose the various people in them and use those videotapes and transcripts as character witnesses against Britney.

PAGLIARULO: So are we actually to the point in 2007, America, where we`ve got our pop culture revolves around "Entertainment Tonight" and shows like this, where they`ll take video from those and magazines, fine magazines like yours, where they -- I mean, they`ll take reports in there that a friend of an insider of a friend`s mother said to their uncle`s aunt that Britney is a bad parent? They`re going to run with that somehow?

ALLISON: Well, and then depose them. And then possibly get real information that they can use in the custody hearing.

I mean, for example, Britney was shot this weekend running her car, parking her car and running it into another person`s car. That videotape is admissible in court.


PAGLIARULO: And so that`s not going to make her look really responsible.

PAGLIARULO: How do I apply to adopt these kids, to save these children?

ALLISON: Well, you know, adoption perhaps.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, that`s right. Julia, thank you so much. Really appreciate it, as always.

ALLISON: Thanks.

PAGLIARULO: Up next, why Mitt Romney`s victory in Iowa may be nothing to celebrate.


PAGLIARULO: Coming up, a new study from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons is claiming most first-time plastic surgery patients are directly influenced by the boob tube. What happens when reality television crosses the line? We`ll have more on that next.

But, first, if a straw poll happens in Iowa and no contenders shows up, can we declare a winner? That`s the question all the political junkies and gurus are asking themselves today. The answer: Only time will tell.

On August 14, 1999, a governor out of Texas -- I think his name was George W. Bush -- won 31 percent of the vote, and I guess you could say the rest was history. However, that straw poll had Bush going up against the likes of Steve Forbes and Bob Dole. This time around, Mitt Romney was the run-away winner, as expected, with 32 percent of the vote. But his competition was Sam Brownback, and Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee. Stronger rivals like current frontrunner Rudy Giuliani did not participate, nor did John "The Maverick" McCain, whose campaign is running on fumes anyway.

But was this a victory by Romney against second-tier candidates enough? Or could the real winner actually be Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who finished second place with 18 percent of the vote? Huckabee`s victory is more impressive than Romney`s because it only cost him $58 per vote, where Romney spent at least $440.

The problem with the Iowa straw poll is it costs potential voters $35 to participate, an expense which most of the time is paid for by the candidates. They also provide transportation, and food, and entertainment. And the voters, well, they really get the treatment. Talk about buying votes.

The upside to this past weekend in Iowa is that at least when we say the name Thompson from now on, there`s not going to be anymore confusion. We are talking about Fred -- still waiting for the announcement, by the way, Fred, you can make that announcement any day -- and not Tommy, who has officially dropped out. Just last week, Tommy Thompson said he was going to eradicate breast cancer from Planet Earth. I guess he won`t be planning to do that any more.

Joining me right now is John Ridley, a political commentator with NPR, Leslie Sanchez, a Republican strategist and author of "Los Republicanos."

We`re glad to have you both back today.



PAGLIARULO: OK, so I have to know, did Mitt Romney beat a bunch of second-tier candidates or did Mike Huckabee become a first-tier candidate here?

SANCHEZ: I`ll jump at that one. I think a couple of different things. I think if you really look at it strategically, Romney has led in that state for the last six months. And people may try to minimize that victory, but it is substantial in the sense that Romney put a lot of organization, a lot of money into that campaign, and it definitely paid off.

And when Giuliani and I would say the McCain camps looked at that, they knew they could not be as competitive in that state. And why do you want to take a potential loss so early that would lose momentum? The bottom line, you still have three top-tier candidates. If Fred Thompson jumps in, you`ll have four. Huckabee did a great job, though. There`s a lot of social conservatives excited about his candidacy. Even in the halls of Washington, different meeting rooms you`ll hear his name talked about very favorably.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, but, you know, John, we`re talking about a guy in Mitt Romney who spent million of dollars just in Iowa. I heard Huckabee today say he spent $90,000, that`s it. And he came in second place with, you know, a pretty good showing, 18 percent, for a guy I`m not that aware of. How does this happen?

RIDLEY: Well, look, what it really says is that the conservatives out there in Iowa -- and probably across the country, too, this is indicative of what`s going on -- they`re looking for somebody else. And for Mitt Romney to spend all that money and do sort of a shock and awe in a dollar sense and have this guy comes in -- look, I`ve talked to Mike Huckabee. He`s an engaging guy. He`s certainly very conservative, but he`s by no means a Bible-thumper.

He`s a guy you can have a conversation with. And with Fred Thompson, as you mentioned, Joe, you know, obviously still out of the race. People still waiting for this guy to get into it. I mean, he`s turning into like the girl in high school that you wanted to date for so long and then all of a sudden, and you wake up, and you`re kind of tired of her.

PAGLIARULO: That`s right.

RIDLEY: I think people may discover Mike Huckabee coming out of this.

SANCHEZ: You know, the only thing I would say, John, to that is people are a little tired of all of this. I think Ames used to be a really important effort years ago, but now you`ve had nearly a dozen debates on both sides, probably more than that. You`ve got a lot of exposure to these candidates, and it just doesn`t hold as much credibility as it did before, especially when you have candidates bowing out.

But the Iowa caucus and I would say the New Hampshire primary are really what we need to be watching for in January. Those tend to still be the most significant political or presidential efforts that you see going into the nomination process.

PAGLIARULO: Well, I would agree with you, Leslie. And point well- taken, but I`ve got to say, I mean, if I`m an Iowa voter, and, you know what, my state is important in the primaries and in the caucuses, you know, more important than it is eventually in the electoral college for the actual presidency, and Rudy Giuliani and John McCain and all these other guys, you know, put their nose up at my state, forget you, man. And if the caucuses turn out the way the straw poll did, you know, this is not a very good thing. I mean, who was it? Howard Dean was doing great in the beginning because he kissed up to the smaller states, and then he went nuts, and that`s why he ended up pulling out.

SANCHEZ: There were a lot of reasons he fell out.



PAGLIARULO: Right. But these candidates are putting their nose up clearly at Iowa and saying, "You know what? I`m not going to bother with you guys." That doesn`t play well nationally, does it?

SANCHEZ: Well, you know, I would agree with you. I don`t think campaigns are really recognizing that, or they`re thinking it`s going to be de minimis in terms of the whole effect of their strategy.

The difference is, there`s a lot of social conservative voters that Iowa represents nationwide. So it`s really, how do these campaigns and these particular candidates engage with these different voters? Right now, you`re seeing a strong surge of economic conservatives in states like California, Florida, New York. That`s why you`re seeing the rise of a Giuliani. And you see Hillary go up, you see Giuliani go up. Fred Thompson could mix all that up. But you still have this push and pull between social conservatives, economic conservatives. It`s going to be anybody`s game.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, John, are candidates now on the right going to go after Mike Huckabee the way they`ve gone after Mitt Romney? They`ve been going after Mitt because of his alleged flip-flop over abortion for a while now. Now they`re going to find out Mike Huckabee -- because most of them don`t have any idea what this guy`s history is, other than he was the governor of Arkansas.

RIDLEY: Yes, I think it would be a mistake to start going after him. I mean, you know the old rule. The person you attack, in a way, turns out to be the frontrunner or is perceived to be that. So I think to go after a guy -- and, by the way, who is a social conservative and represents a lot of the things that the base are looking for -- to attack this individual I think would be a mistake. You know, I mean, look, they`re going to go after him on policy, but to start pulling some dirty shots at him because he`s starting to do well is going to make him look like the guy that everybody should be afraid of.

PAGLIARULO: Will we start seeing Romney ads, Leslie, will we start seeing campaign by Romney saying, "Hey, we won Iowa. We`re your guy. We were Iowa`s guy." Iowa is sort of the pacesetter here, jump on the Romney bandwagon. Can he make hay out of this?

SANCHEZ: He will, and he can.

PAGLIARULO: Well, he should. He bought it, right?

SANCHEZ: He should. I mean, who wouldn`t? Well, I would say he`s put organization into it. Organization was important for Romney. It paid off in the end, but it`s anybody`s game. This is not necessarily predictive of the caucuses, much less the nomination.

PAGLIARULO: Anybody surprised that Tommy Thompson jumped out?


RIDLEY: He said he would. I`m from Wisconsin. I`m kind of disappointed. I mean, look, this guy did a lot of good stuff with welfare and workfare in Wisconsin.

PAGLIARULO: But his candidacy never really got off the ground, did it, John?

RIDLEY: It never got off the ground. And, listen, he`s a man of his word. He said if he didn`t finish second, he would pull out. He`s not going to string it along. I`m sorry to see him go. Again, I`m a little biased. I`m from the state of Wisconsin, but I think he was a good candidate. But clearly, as you said, Joe, not a guy who had any traction.

PAGLIARULO: Your answer was no, you`re not surprised?

SANCHEZ: No. I don`t think it`s -- I think as we start really seeing those folks, you know, the top-tier candidates come together, it`s going to be really good for the Republican Party.

PAGLIARULO: All right, John, Leslie, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Coming up right here, sometimes the summer heat is just too much to take, and that goes for man`s best friend, as well. We`ll meet Mack, a canine who knows how to keep cool during the dog days of summer.



PAGLIARULO: So you know when you see a commercial for a triple bacon cheeseburger -- I think my stomach just growled -- or a shiny new sports car, and you just have to have it? Well, apparently that tactic works with cosmetic surgery, as well, according to a new study by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. First-time plastic surgery patients are directly influenced, it turns out, by the nip and tuck reality TV shows they`re watching, whether it`s "Extreme Makeover" or "Dr. 90210" or, my favorite, "The Swan," more and more people are undergoing the knife or going under the knife after sitting in front of the tube.

Jeff Gardere is a clinical psychologist, and Dr. Richard D`Amico is the president-elect of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Doctor, what`s the danger of having reality TV influence cosmetic surgery?

DR. RICHARD D`AMICO, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF PLASTIC SURGEONS: Well, Joe, I think the danger is that patients may not be getting an accurate view of what goes on, what the benefits are, what the risks are. In essence, they may not really be getting reality.

PAGLIARULO: All right. Well, Doctor, you know, you`re in the industry, and you certainly would like to have, you know, the flow of business. It keeps you going, just like I`d like to do more television and radio. It keeps me going. Why would you ever come out against people have plastic surgery? The more the better, right?

D`AMICO: Well, we`re not against people having plastic surgery. What we`re concerned about, Joe, is that people have an accurate understanding of the process of the benefits, of the risks, of what their realistic expectations are. And that`s the concern. And what the study showed was that people are actually influenced to have plastic surgery by these programs. And, frankly, that puts a great deal of pressure and burden on the media, on the program...


D`AMICO: ... to get it right. And I think it also tells us that we need to do a little bit more education and reach out to the public more ourselves.

PAGLIARULO: I want to grab a hold of that point, Jeff. You know, it`s interesting to me, because I`ve watched these shows, but it`s interesting to me that, you know, people don`t really believe that, within an hour span, you get bigger breasts or a different nose or liposuction. They understand it takes two, three, five weeks, months, whatever it takes. It`s a long, long process. Are they getting confused by watching it in such an encapsulated way?

JEFF GARDERE, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I don`t think they`re getting confused, Joe. I think, yes, certainly, they see the nip and tuck, and they don`t see the edit that goes on, but what they see is the end product. And they don`t see everything that goes into getting towards the end, the physical pain, the emotional pain, the readjustment to having this new look and how family reacts to that. So in some ways, they are cheated out of that. No pain, no gain in this case, and so that`s not always the healthiest thing.

PAGLIARULO: Well, Jeff, how often have you sat down with a potential client who wants to do plastic surgery, and you did the psychoanalysis, and you sat down and talked about it, how often have they ever said, "You know what? You`ve helped me emotionally get better. I`m not going to have it now"? Not often, right?

GARDERE: Well, not anyone.

PAGLIARULO: There you go.

GARDERE: Yes, but what I`ve run into are parents have been looking to get perhaps rhinoplasty, nose jobs, for their kids, and we`ve been able to talk about perhaps they are much too young. But what the plastic surgeons are doing, and I like this, is that they actually do screen them to make sure there`s no body dysmorphia, to make sure that it`s not a depression that`s making them feel this way, to make sure that they are emotionally healthy enough and understand what the consequences and the results are. And for that, I tip my hat to the physicians.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, Doctor, I`ve got to ask you about that specifically. I mean, when somebody comes in, and she thinks that she`s too small up top or too big, or he wants to get hair transplants or whatever is going on, I mean, do you sit down and actually go through a very long process and say, "Wait a second, you look fine, everything is OK"? Maybe this is something else, and maybe refer them to a psychologist or a psychiatrist?

D`AMICO: Oh, absolutely. In fact, the bulk of a consultation with a patient is not necessarily what to do or even what they want; that`s usually quite straightforward. The biggest question we have to answer during a consultation is whether we should do any surgery on this patient, whether they have accurate expectations, whether their goals are realistic, whether we can deliver them what they really want and do it in an appropriate and safe manner. So this is a very big part of consultation is understanding the patient.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, Jeff, what`s more prevalent, people that are watching these reality TV shows where they`re getting plastic surgery or people who watch like Pamela Anderson and say, "I want to look like that, because my image of what a woman should look like is that now"?

GARDERE: Well, it may not be Pam Anderson anymore, even though she`s one of my favorites.

PAGLIARULO: Yes. Only yours, though.

GARDERE: But I think it is a combination of -- yes, right. Joe, we`ll talk about that later. But it`s a combination of seeing a star or a starlet. It`s a combination of what they get from, you know, some of these celebrity magazines and from the reality shows, so all of that goes into their making a decision.

PAGLIARULO: I`ve got like five seconds, Doctor. Whose the most requested nose you get?

D`AMICO: Sorry, I couldn`t hear you, Joe.

PAGLIARULO: Whose is the most requested nose people want on their faces?

D`AMICO: Nobody`s. It`s the one that fits the face they have.

PAGLIARULO: All right, Good answer. Thanks a lot, Doctor. We appreciate it. Jeff, thank you, too.

Switching gears now, the world of entertainment is mourning the loss of a true legend. I was stunned to hear this yesterday. Merv Griffin died yesterday, Sunday, from prostate cancer. He was 82 years old. From his humble beginnings as a radio singer for $100 a week -- that`s all he got -- to building his multimillion-dollar game show and hotel empire, Merv Griffin remained a charismatic original to the very end. CNN`s Brooke Anderson takes a look at his life and his legacy.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR (voice-over): With a wide welcoming grin and a twinkle in his eye, Merv Griffin had an easy demeanor and a hearty laugh that was infectious. The epitome of versatility, Griffin was a singer...

MERV GRIFFIN, PRODUCER: Thanks for the memories.

ANDERSON: ... bandleader, actor and media mogul, but he`s probably best known as host of "The Merv Griffin Show."

GRIFFIN: If the talk shows were good at the time, they chronicled even better than the history books the times that we were living in.

ANDERSON: His talk show began in 1962 and ran for nearly a quarter- of-a-century, during which time Griffin interviewed 25,000 guests.

GRIFFIN: There`s only one person whoever intimidated me in 23 years of doing the show, and that was Mrs. Rose Kennedy. You knew that she ruled the roost.

ANDERSON: In April 2006, Griffin`s production company, Merv Griffin Entertainment, released a DVD set featuring his most memorable interviews, including Rose Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and a fresh-faced Tom Cruise in 1983.

GRIFFIN: You seem a little shy about all of that applause.

ANDERSON: Griffin was a native Californian, born in the San Francisco suburb of San Mateo on July 6, 1925. At 19, he began his singing career on the radio, working his way into nightclubs as a solo performer. In 1950, Griffin scored a hit with "I`ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts," which sold three million copies.

GRIFFIN: I`ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.

ANDERSON: Merv Griffin became a household name, in part because he created two of the most successful game shows in television syndication history, "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!", and for writing their theme songs.

GRIFFIN: The "Jeopardy!" theme is amazing. I wrote it in about 15 minutes. I just sat down at the piano and wrote this simple little folk song.

ANDERSON: In 1986, Griffin sold "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel" to Columbia Pictures Television for $250 million. That same year, he was named the richest Hollywood performer in history on "Forbes`" annual list of the 400 wealthiest people in America.

Griffin was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1996. He recovered and told CNN in early 2006 he felt great and hadn`t changed a thing.

GRIFFIN: I do everything that I`m not supposed to do, and I don`t do it intentionally. I`ve just smoked all my life, and I still smoke, and I eat too much, and I don`t exercise. I take a taxi to a taxi.

ANDERSON: Over the course of his career, Griffin received 17 Emmy awards and, in 1994, was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame. But Griffin measured success not by accolades but by his ability to make people laugh.

GRIFFIN: I just hope I entertained the most people, and they had fun with it and stuff. And my tombstone will read, "I will not be right back after this message."

ANDERSON: His sense of humor always in tact, Merv Griffin was the consummate entertainer.

Brooke Anderson, CNN, Los Angeles.



PAGLIARULO: Well, life here in New York City can be tough. The apartments are small, they`re expensive, and at this time of the year, they can be hot. Plus, if you can trick yourself into believing Al Gore, it should be 286 degrees by this time next year, and your swimming pool will be more like a hot tub. Well, sure, the globe may be warming, but things don`t seem quite so bad in Greensboro, North Carolina. One man down there has made a way you fall in puppy love with the dog days of summer. And if you think that last line is ridiculous, just wait until you see this story.


NARRATOR (voice-over): You can find just about anything in this building at Ira Godwin`s house.

IRA GODWIN, DOG OWNER: It was real pretty wallpaper when my daughter had it as a playhouse.

NARRATOR: The life-sized doll house is now a larger-than-life doghouse.

IRA GODWIN: His name is Mack Daddy, but we shortened his name to Mack.

NARRATOR: Mack`s got a pretty cool pad.

KAREN GODWIN, DOG OWNER: He said, "Well, I`m going to put an air condition out there." I said, "You`re going to do what?"

NARRATOR: Godwin took an old window unit taking up space in his house.

IRA GODWIN: See, he`s wanting to get in there where it`s cool.

NARRATOR: He put it in Mack`s doghouse.

IRA GODWIN: Some of the people, you know, thought, well, that was just hilarious, but I just feel like, if you have a pet, you need to take care of him.

NARRATOR: He also took out some of the carpet.

IRA GODWIN: This carpet, what it does is it draws heat, and so he`s got this floor now that he can lay on and lie on the carpet.

NARRATOR: You can`t spell Mack without A/C, but it`s still hard for some people to believe.

KAREN GODWIN: We didn`t have air conditioning in our house when we was younger.

NARRATOR: But don`t expect Karen Godwin to send her husband to the doghouse over it any time soon.

KAREN GODWIN: He really loves the dog. I have to say that for him, and I do, too, we all do.

IRA GODWIN: Cut your light, also, it won`t get so hot. You`ll have some cool air there in a minute.


PAGLIARULO: All right, help me out here, guys. Aww. Yes, great. Hey, Glenn`s away for one more day, so I`ll see you all tomorrow night. And don`t forget to keep tabs on Glenn`s vacation schedule and a whole lot more if you sign up for his free daily newsletter right there at I`m Joe Pagliarulo, Joe Pags, from New York. Have a great night.