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Report Reveals Steroid Abuse in Baseball; Texas Burglar Shooting Sparks Protests; Putin, Dictator in Disguise?

Aired December 13, 2007 - 19:00:00   ET


JOE PAGLIARULO, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, the Mitchell report.

GEORGE MITCHELL, FORMER SENATOR: For more than a decade there has been widespread illegal use of anabolic steroids.

PAGLIARULO: Now that we`re past the naming names thing, will Major League Baseball take action? And could it change America`s pastime for good?

Plus, it`s the Democrats` turn to take the stage in Iowa. With the race a virtual dead heat who will come out on top?

And from "Top Gun" to "Pirates of the Caribbean," Jerry Bruckheimer has made some of the biggest blockbusters of all time. His latest, a thrill ride about American history?

All this and more, tonight.


PAGLIARULO: Hello, America. I`m Joe Pagliarulo, Joe Pags, in for Glenn Beck again tonight, who`s out on his Christmas stage tour.

Tonight, the Bronx may really be burning, right along with San Francisco and Boston and Chicago and St. Louis, even. After years of speculation and rumors, the 400-page Mitchell report was finally released today. And now, over 60 current and former players have some explaining to do.


MITCHELL: For more than a decade there has been widespread illegal use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing substances by players in Major League Baseball.


PAGLIARULO: Some of the biggest names in baseball were included, people like Roger Clemens, Miguel Tejada, and in the biggest shock of them all. Are you sitting down? Barry Bonds. Who would have ever guessed that one?

But while the players` names will undoubtedly get the most attention from the media, the bigger question is whether anyone really cares. After all, Major League Baseball set records this season for both attendance and revenue, and that`s after most fans realized that a lot of marquee players have -- well, they`ve gotten a little help from the juice over the years.

So is this report truly going to be a life-changing mea culpa for baseball, or is it just a formality for a sport that just wants to look like they`re doing the right thing?

Shaun Assael, he`s a senior writer with the -- "ESPN" the magazine and author of "Steroid Nation."

Shaun, I appreciate your time.

Albert Pujols is on here. Holy mackerel, that`s huge. You`ve got a ton of pitchers on here. Who would have ever thought pitchers would be involved in this? When you started seeing some of these names, what surprised you the most?

SHAUN ASSAEL, AUTHOR, "STEROID NATION": Well, you know, this morning, I mean, I woke up and managed to report that Clemens was going to be on the list. So by 8 this morning, I kind of was already off and running on this thing.


ASSAEL: Clemens was the name I think you needed. You needed somebody of that stature to give this report credibility.

What`s interesting is, really, how little George Mitchell`s investigators had except for their one break was Brian McNamee, Clemens` trainer, and Kurt Radomski, who was the Mets` bat-boy, and those two really opened up a world.

What I`ve found interesting, I`ve been struggling to read the report and it`s 300-some-odd pages long.


ASSAEL: Is the references to the sort of pinstripe wall of silence: player meetings where it sounds like the mafia, "You`re with us or you`re not with us." You know, furtive, you know, tips to players by their union: "You might have a test coming."


ASSAEL: The whole thing seems kind of seedy to me.

PAGLIARULO: And it sounds like -- I mean, you make mention of this. It sounds like the players` union might have been helping to cover this up. You can also assume that Major League Baseball didn`t mind having that 1998 historic run to -- you know, that -- I`m a huge baseball fan, always have been. By the way, I`m a Yankees fan, and it looks like, you know, there are, what, four or five Yankees on this list.

When you see what was going on with baseball, people ran away from baseball after the strike. 1998 brought everybody back to baseball, and hush-hush, we`re hitting home runs like crazy. Major League Baseball not only didn`t mind; they kind of liked it, didn`t they?

ASSAEL: Yes. I mean, what`s kind of interesting to me about this is that baseball has been off the charts in ticket sales this year. So how much has all of this steroid fatigue really done to the game? I mean, not a lot.

What I think this allows Bud Selig to do, or he will at least try to do, is paint it as the exclamation point on the end of an era and say, "OK, now we can move forward."

What was interesting was that Senator Mitchell said, "Well, you know, you can`t really move forward because there`s still not a test -- usable test for HGH. And so many players are probably still on that. And, by the way, you don`t have an inspector general, and what`s that you need." And, you know, there could be a lot of designer steroids still out there. So, you know, we probably are in the same place we were ten years ago.

PAGLIARULO: Yes. But what exactly can be done to these players? Even though there`s a rule against using steroids in baseball, there was no testing going on. There was no punishment that was -- that was on the books, even if you were caught up shooting up in the locker room.

I mean, what exactly can baseball do retroactively? If you`re a baseball player and you stand to make $30 million next year or $1 million next year, depending on your numbers, what was to stop you from doing that? Wasn`t that sort -- wasn`t there sort of a push from the organization -- organizationally in baseball, wasn`t there a push for people not only to do it but continue doing it?

ASSAEL: Well, I mean, to the extent that the barn gate was wide open and everybody knew there was really no credible testing, so why not? Sure.

I mean, what`s interesting is that a third -- Senator Mitchell said a third of the players have now retired. They`re, quote unquote, "out of the reach" of the commissioner.

And as far as the others go, I mean, you know, the senator was kind of touchy-feely about that: "We all make mistakes. It`s my recommendation that nobody be charged, that nobody be suspended."

I mean, you know, considering how tough he wanted to seem in the report, that seemed to me an odd, sort of incongruous tone to be taking.

PAGLIARULO: I`ve got just a couple of seconds here. Shaun, I`ve got to know, with some of these players on this list, statistically some of the best players ever, ever to play the game, do they get into the Hall of Fame if they`re on this list or someone.

ASSAEL: I mean, I think we`re going to have that sort of great moral debate going. I mean, I wouldn`t put them in. I tried to ask the senator that and got drowned -- he was just drowned out in questions.


ASSAEL: You know, I think -- I think you look at the Maguire factor, the answer right now is no. In five years how will we feel about it? You know, I don`t know.

PAGLIARULO: All right. All right, thank you, Shaun.

Now, as I alluded to earlier, the biggest question for me wasn`t who would be named but whether anyone really cares. After all, for years both Major League Baseball and the players` union have ignored or, worse, covered up the problem, because both sides realize that steroids result in better players, bloated numbers, and more excitement, which of course, results in more fans, and that means more money for everyone.

So will anything change for America`s favorite pastime?

Michael McCann writes the sports and the law column for He joins me on the phone.

Michael, I appreciate your time. And I`m wondering, do you think this is going to mean anything to the casual fan, who, by the way, went to the stadiums in record numbers last year?

MICHAEL MCCANN, SPORTSILLUSTRATED.COM: I think the casual fan will appreciate the idea that baseball is taking the steroids scandal seriously, although I suspect the fan will wonder where was baseball years ago when all of the home runs were hit, and many people had suspicions that baseball didn`t, by many accounts, take seriously?

PAGLIARULO: Well, in 1998 and beyond, especially when Barry Bonds broke the record three years earlier, I mean, a lot of people said, "Well, this is great. This is great for baseball. Let`s go back. I enjoy the game again."

Because remember, there was that whole strike in the mid `90s where people ran away and said, "I`ll never go back."

So you`re right, baseball probably saw this and said, "I`m not going to raise the red flag here. Things are going pretty all right."

MCCANN: Yes, that`s the suspicion. Baseball had an inkling as to what was going on. But in an effort to recapture the lost interest from the strike, it enabled more home runs to be hit. And thus fans became more interested in the game. And it appeared to work, because fan interest in the game was restored, particularly after the home-run contest with Sammy Sosa, Maguire, and others.

And as a result I think baseball may have said, "Well, it`s bad, but we`ve got to get the fans back."

On the other hand...


MCCANN: ... you know, the evidence isn`t -- we don`t know for sure if that`s exactly what happened.

PAGLIARULO: And that`s my point here. We are not surprised that Mark Maguire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, Jose Canseco, we`re not surprised that these guys are on this list that was released today.

But what is surprising is that there are so many other names who I believe -- and you`re the law guy. I believe that when asked about it, every single one of these players can say, "No, I didn`t." And who`s to say they did take steroids?

The fact that they`re on this list, I mean, are there any legal ramifications here? Is there anything baseball can really do? No, right?

MCCANN: Yes, the only -- if a player is on the list and he believes that he, in fact, has been mistakenly included, he could sue for libel. Libel is very basically a false and defamatory statement published in writing.


MCCANN: Having said that, libel`s very hard to show, particularly if someone is a public figure. And I think it would be hard to sue baseball. But going back to your earlier point, there`s no question that some of the evidence in this document is based on the testimony of disreputable persons.

PAGLIARULO: Right, right. They`re disreputable or it`s one guy says, "Yes, well, I saw this or I provided that or I gave the other thing." Unless we have a picture of or a video of or a written, sworn statement from the player saying they did, in fact, take steroids, again, this might not be worth the paper it`s written on, right?

MCCANN: It`s possible, because it`s based on the testimony of those whom we otherwise wouldn`t trust.

PAGLIARULO: OK. So in going forward, do you think that we`re going to hear from Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, some of these names that we`re very surprised to see on this list? You think they`ll feel the impetus to say something or ignore it?

MCCANN: I think if they say something they have to be sure that what they`re saying is honest and they, in fact, did use steroids and they`re now saying they didn`t, then they may end up looking worse than they do tonight. So I think they have to be very careful in now telling the truth about what, in fact, they did.

PAGLIARULO: I mentioned -- I mentioned this to Shaun, and I`ve got about ten seconds here. There are some of the best players statistically ever in baseball on this list. Should they, in fact, be excluded from the Hall of Fame now?

MCCANN: Well, if they exclude them, then what about all the others who in the past may have done things that was akin to cheating? It`s hard to know -- you know, if we were revisit the home of every single person who`s eligible for the Hall of Fame, I`m sure we`d find a lot of bad things. Having said that, we really should take into consideration the fact that they`re on this list.

PAGLIARULO: Michael, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

Coming up, Joe Horn`s legal limbo continues. He`s saying he shot and killed two burglars because his life was in danger. I`ll talk with one man who says yes, not so much, a man I believe is making this a case about race when it clearly is not.

And the Democrats take their tightly contested race to the podium for one final debate before the Iowa caucuses as the muscling between front- runners Clinton and Obama gets really dirty.

Plus, I`ll speak to super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer about his latest project "National Treasure: Book of Secrets."


PAGLIARULO: Coming up, no holds barred as the Democrats square off for the last time before the Iowa caucuses. I`ll tell you what Hillary Clinton had to say about her rival, Barack Obama, in just a bit.

But first, if you`re a regular viewer of this program, you know about the controversy surrounding the actions of Joe Horn. One month ago, almost to the day, Mr. Horn was sitting in his Pasadena, Texas, home when he says he noticed two men burglarizing his neighbor`s house.

Well, the situation quickly escalated, resulting in a call to 911, and eventually, Joe Horn went outside with his shotgun, shot and killed both men.


JOE HORN, SHOT AND KILLED BURGLARS: Get the law over here quick. I`ve managed to -- one of them`s in the front yard over there, he`s down. The other one`s running down the street. I had no choice. They came in the front yard with me, man. I had no choice.


PAGLIARULO: But some in the community don`t quite see it that way. And while Texas has strict laws protecting its citizens` right to protect their person and their property, the fact that this event occurred after an alleged burglary of his neighbor`s home leaves Horn kind of in a legal limbo.

A grand jury`s expected to hear the evidence in this case next week. We`ll keep you updated on it.

Now, I do a daily radio show in Houston, and I`ve been on this story from day one. I would not have done what Joe Horn did here. I do not see myself killing two pieces of garbage who just broke into my neighbor`s house, unless I believed my neighbor was in there and was in harm`s way.

I would have called 911 like Joe Horn did and gotten the best description possible and helped the cops catch them.

Now, if they`d broken into my house, well, you know, no holds barred here. Anything could have happened. A very different story for those burglars completely.

Having said that, I support what Joe Horn did in this way: in protecting his neighborhood, his community, and himself. I just don`t think I could have done it myself.

In the meantime, the outrage, both in support of and in opposition to Joe Horn, continues. A ban on protests now outside of Horn`s house was given preliminary approval by Pasadena city council only yesterday, a move that my next guest plans to appeal.

Quanell X of the New Black Panther Nation joins me now. He has led protests against Mr. Horn.

And Quanell, you and I have talked on my radio show. It`s always been very respectful. It`s always been a give and take. But there are a ton of people in that area throughout Texas, and now as people hear about it in the nation, who think you`re out there race-baiting; you`re out there just to start trouble between the races, because Mr. Horn described these burglars as black guys when he called the cops. Is there any truth to that?

QUANELL X, NEW BLACK PANTHER PARTY: That`s absolutely not the truth and could not be furthest from the truth as the devil is from God. We never brought the race card into this case. Joe Horn killed two innocent men, period. And this...

PAGLIARULO: Wait, wait, wait. I`m talking about...

X: Let me explain when I say innocent.

PAGLIARULO: Quanell, you`ve got to be careful. You said he killed two innocent men. And they weren`t. They had a crow bar. They broke into the side window of his neighbor`s house. Innocent of what?

X: I was about to explain my statement, sir. He killed two men, innocent of the fact that they were attempting to harm him. His life was not in danger.

PAGLIARULO: You don`t know that. They had a crowbar. Who`s to say they wouldn`t have hit him with the crowbar?

X: The crowbar was not in their hand when he shot them. They had threw the crowbar down.

Secondly, Joe, you must remember that both of these men were shot in the back running from Mr. Horn. So Mr. Horn`s life was not in danger.

He was the good neighbor when he called 911...

PAGLIARULO: Hold on -- hold on a second. And I agree with you, he was a good neighbor when he called 911. And I`ve already told you, listen, I didn`t have the hormones and emotions and the adrenaline going like he did. Neither did -- and neither did you. I don`t know how I would have reacted, although I said it in the beginning that I probably would not have done what he did.

Having said that, Texas law is clear. Doesn`t matter if they`re fleeing, if they`re running away or what they`re doing. If they committed a felony and he saw them do it, he has every right to stop them. And you know that, Quanell.

X: Texas law does not state that, sir.

PAGLIARULO: Yes, it does.

X: No, you`re wrong. You`re absolutely wrong.

PAGLIARULO: OK, I`m making it up now. Come on.

X: When you read the Castle Doctrine, remember, the author of the Castle law, the state senator here in Texas, has already come out publicly and said that the Castle law that he put forth before the state legislative body does not apply to Mr. Joe Horn.

Mr. Joe Horn did the right thing in calling 911, giving 911 dispatcher a description of the suspects. That was the right thing to do.

But he said three times before he ever went outside, "I`m going to kill them. I`m going to kill them."

And when he went outside he didn`t shoot a warning shot in the air. He didn`t shoot one into the ground. He did not say, "Be still; don`t move."

PAGLIARULO: A couple of things.

X: He said, "Move, you`re dead" and shot them in the back.

PAGLIARULO: It`s my -- it`s my turn. Here`s the thing. This has nothing to do with the Castle Doctrine, nothing whatsoever. Nobody`s claiming that it is. It`s the third party law and you know that. Third party law is you can protect your neighbor`s house if they ask you to. You don`t know and I don`t know if they asked him to.

X: But we do know. The neighbors say he had not. The neighbors say he had not.

PAGLIARULO: The neighbors said that he didn`t ask him to but that can be interpreted in different ways, that he`s protecting his community. And I think he`s going to get off in Harris County, Texas. And I think you know he`s going to, as well.

As far as shooting a warning shot into the air or into the ground, why? To give the burglar a chance to grab the crowbar and hit him in the head or maybe pull out his gun and shoot him? I don`t see you giving a warning shot to a guy who just committed a felony next door. Do you?

X: They were wrong for burglarizing that home. We`ve always said that. But Mr. Horn did not have to go outside and shoot these men in the back, running from him.

If they had aggressed against him, his life was in danger, I wouldn`t be saying anything. But the mere fact that they were running from him and they were not threatening him and the 911 caller, who was a law enforcement officer, said, "Mr. Horn, stay in your house," nine times instructed him to do so. And he went blatantly against the orders and wishes of a police officer with a 911 dispatch on that day.

Mr. Horn wanted to kill them, and that`s exactly what he did.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, Quanell, if he wanted -- if he wanted to kill them, why call 911? You didn`t answer that question for me on the radio, and I want to see if you will here. Why call 911 when it would have been easier to kill them first, call 911 second?

X: He called 911 because he thought he was doing the right thing and he was. But he didn`t have the patience to wait...

PAGLIARULO: So what happened, in the six minutes he decided, "I`m going to go become a capital killer"?

X: That`s what the -- that`s what the 911 tape says.

PAGLIARULO: I disagree. I`ve heard the whole tape, too.

X: Three times he said, "I`m going to kill them." Three times he said, "I`m going to kill them." And he had never went outside before he said that.

PAGLIARULO: I`ve taken a lot of heat for giving you time on my radio show, and again we`ve had respectful conversations all the time. I don`t care. I can take the heat. That`s fine. I`m a big boy.

I`m going to ask you a question now, and I want you to be honest with me. And so far you`ve been as honest as you can be, and I believe that. If this man, Joe Horn, is a black man, am I talking to you about this today or not?

X: If Joe Horn was a black man that had killed a white man.

PAGLIARULO: The same exact thing happened. If he were a black man, are we having this conversation?

X: If he was a black man, I would be on television. I`d be protesting his home also, because murder`s murder. Murder, regardless of color. Wrong is wrong, and murder is murder.

PAGLIARULO: Quanell, I have a lot of people watching right now who just don`t believe that we would have heard one word out of you, had this man been black.

X: Because they are the real race-baiters, not I.

PAGLIARULO: Well, they`re not the ones who showed up in Joe Horn`s neighborhood with a bunch of people who don`t live there with signs, causing a near riot, that you had to actually tell the people marching with you, "Don`t do it. Don`t fight. Calm down." Why even show up there?

X: The reason why I told the people to calm down...

PAGLIARULO: What did you accomplish?

X: The reason why I told the people to calm down and, no matter what, don`t fight, don`t push, don`t shove and don`t retaliate if you`re hit, if you`re spit on and kicked...


X: ... because some of the women that were with us, they were kicked.

PAGLIARULO: I`ve got to go. What did you accomplish? What did you accomplish by going?

X: They were spit on. And they had Confederate flags waved in their face.

PAGLIARULO: I`ve got to go. What did you accomplish?

X: We accomplished -- we accomplished exercising our constitutional rights of the freedom of speech.

PAGLIARULO: Didn`t get you anywhere. Quanell, listen, I appreciate you. You`re using your freedom of speech to talk to me here tonight. Thank you for your time.

X: Thank you, sir.

PAGLIARULO: Up next right here, more proof that Vladimir Putin is nothing more than a dictator hiding in democratic clothing.

Also, he said-she said, Hillary and Barack square off in Iowa as the Democrats duke it out ahead of next week`s all-important caucuses. Stick around.


PAGLIARULO: President Theodore Roosevelt once said, "A great democracy must be progressive, or it will soon cease to be a great democracy."

Well, some want to believe that Russia`s Vladimir Putin -- you know, the president -- is running a democracy. But I think Teddy and I just might disagree.

Russia -- well, Putin ordered a British cultural center to suspend all of its Moscow operations yesterday, suggesting that the non-political British Council that runs courses in English and the arts -- scary -- was operating illegally. Just how these cultural centers are illegal is a hot debate right now between Russia and Britain, but I think the truth is closer to what Putin said last month, when he accused the British Council of meddling in Russia`s internal affairs.

I think Putin has himself some Cold War paranoia, if you ask me, and once again democracy is the casualty.

Michael McFaul is the senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a frequent writer on Russian affairs.

Michael, thanks for your time. OK. So what`s the deal here? Is this an attack on all things western, all things democratic, or is this truly a Russian -- a Russia-Britain thing?

MICHAEL MCFAUL, SENIOR FELLOW, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Well, it`s both. They don`t like the British because of the investigation of the death of Mr. Litvinenko. So there`s no doubt about it that this is direct retaliation for that.

But it`s bigger than that. This is an erosion of democracy, as you rightly said. There is not a democracy in Russia, in my opinion. And they started with the big, important things like free media, governors who are elected, independent political parties, and now they`ve shut all those down. So now they`re going after what I think are rather innocuous things like the British Council.

PAGLIARULO: And now the people in Russia now have three years -- or three months, that is, to think about who their next president`s going to be, because Vladimir Putin already told them who the next president was going to be. How does that work and how can he ever possibly claim this is a democracy?

MCFAUL: Well, Putin ran as the top of the list of a political party in the parliamentary elections just a couple weeks ago.


MCFAUL: And his argument in that was, "Who cares about this party? Don`t ask me what the platform is. This is a referendum on me." And in that election, he won 64 percent of the vote.

And so now he`s said, "OK, you entrusted me in that election, so now I`m going to tell you who to vote for the next election."

PAGLIARULO: But why even do a vote? Why not just install somebody? Is he doing the vote so he can still claim that it is a democracy?

MCFAUL: Well, that`s right.

PAGLIARULO: Is that the only reason?

MCFAUL: I think that`s right, and I think he has some -- in the back of his mind, he does have some respect for kind of the formal rules of democracy.

And it`s in part to placate the west, but it also is, in part, because he thinks this is -- this is democracy. I think, if you asked him, he himself would say this is a democratic system. So...

PAGLIARULO: The man who`s going to be the next president, because Putin said he`s going to be, has already said, "Well, my buddy Vladimir`s going to be the prime minister." Right? So this guy`s not going to give up any power at all, is he?

MCFAUL: Well, that`s the plan. And there`s no doubt about it that that`s what they`ve agreed upon a long time ago. And let`s be clear, this new guy, Mr. Medvedev, is a very weak president. He served as Putin`s aide for 15 years, 17 years. He`s not going to rock the boat for Mr. Putin.

But I think it`s interesting that, once you do these kinds of things, sometimes some surprises can happen even to the most clever of dictators.

PAGLIARULO: It will be interesting to watch. I`ve got, like, ten seconds here. Just tell me why is Garry Kasparov, the chess guy, involved here?

MCFAUL: Because he believes in democracy.

PAGLIARULO: So he wanted to run but was told he can`t?

MCFAUL: That`s right. And he`s decided he`s going to put his -- his money and capital on the line to try to fight for democratic rules.

PAGLIARULO: We`re going to keep an eye on it. Michael, thank you very much.

Up next right here, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Democrats pull out all the stops as they try to sway voters in Iowa. I`ll have the details.


PAGLIARULO: Coming up, the White House goes to the dogs. And no, I`m not talking about a liberal takeover. Sorry. I`m talking about President Bush`s dog, Barney, and his annual Christmas card for the nation. Don`t miss it.

Iowa, I love you. Hear what I say? I love you. I mean, I love you. But whoever scheduled two major debates on back-to-back afternoons starting at 2:00 p.m. Eastern should be forced to endure a private 90-minute lecture from Alan Keyes where the only thing he talks about is how he needs more time.

I mean, does anyone in Iowa have a day job? Anyway, much like the Republicans yesterday, we did not learn a ton of new information from the Democrats, but there were still a few moments that stood out like this one where Barack Obama blamed this economy, which only ranks as one of the best ever, on the evil heartless George W. Bush.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Over the last seven years, what we`ve seen is an economy that`s out of balance because of the policies of George Bush and the Republicans in Congress. Not only do we have fiscal problems, but we`ve got growing inequality. And so people are working harder for less and they`re seeing costs for everything from college education to health care to gas at the pump go up.


PAGLIARULO: No. And while the Democrats were pretty friendly to each other, which quite honestly made the whole thing a snore-fest, Hillary did manage to wedge a jab at a Republican, well, the Republicans who refused to play the game of, remember that whole raise your hand for global warming thing during their debate yesterday?


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Carolyn, do you want to ask us to raise our hands about global warming?


CLINTON: You didn`t get a very good response from the Republicans yesterday.


WASHBURN: I wasn`t doing that today.

CLINTON: We all want to be on record. We believe in it. We think it`s a real problem.


PAGLIARULO: Man, I`m really going to miss these debates, not, over the holiday. So as the January 3rd Iowa Caucus continues to creep up on us, what should we be looking out for? Especially out of Obama, who, according to a recent CNN poll, has now worked himself to a statistical dead heat with Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, which holds the country`s first primary just five days later? Leslie Sanchez is an author and Republican strategist. Keith Boykin is author and the host of the BET show "My Two Cents." And Jonathan Martin is the senior political writer at the Politico.

Welcome to all of you. OK. So I have to start with the moderator, like I did yesterday. And I thought that she was surprisingly rude, mean, not cordial at all to the Republicans, and today she was holding hands and skipping down the road with these people. Do you think she got in trouble or do you think she`s a Democrat, anybody?

KEITH BOYKIN, "MY TWO CENTS": OK. I don`t think she is -- this is Keith Boykin. I don`t think she`s a Democrat at all.

PAGLIARULO: I didn`t think you would, Keith.

BOYKIN: I just think that maybe she heard some of the criticism from yesterday or something like that. But you know, the moderator really isn`t the issue. This was a much more substantive debate I think than some of the previous debates we`ve seen before. The Tim Russert questions are very antagonizing and great for TV, but they don`t really produce a lot of education. They`re more about heat than light.

And I think -- you know, I like that. I`m entertained by it. I`m a political person. But I don`t think everybody else.


PAGLIARULO: . I didn`t get out of it what you did. Leslie, did you get what Keith got out of this debate? I didn`t see much substance at all. Leslie? I don`t think Leslie can hear us. Well, why don`t we move on to Jonathan?

Jonathan, what do you think? Did you take a bunch out of this?

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO.COM: Well, I think the debate yesterday and today both featured a lot of substance. If you were an Iowan sitting at home doing your homework, you had your notebook out and your were detailing the stances of these various candidates, you probably were pretty happy to hear about where they were coming down on the issues.

But for us who`ve been following this campaign, it was basically a recitation of stump speeches and there was not a lot of news produced. And that`s in part because the moderator did not follow up and didn`t press these candidates on any of these issues.

PAGLIARULO: Exactly right. I`ve got to tell you something, in watching this today, I expected some fireworks, especially between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, because it`s such a tight race now. Did they somehow behind the scenes decide to play nicey-nice and let`s make this about the issues and let`s not go after each other? Because he has creeped up and he`s tied with her in both Iowa and New Hampshire it looks like now.

MARTIN: This is the concern, I think, is that on the Republican and Democratic side, they don`t want to be seen going negative, doing a full frontal assault in front of thousands of Iowans watching on TV. This is a state that does not reward negative politics. And these candidates, both Romney and Thompson yesterday, and certainly Clinton today, are very, very aware of that.

Therefore, hesitant to launch sort of direct salvos. They`ll do it behind the scenes. They`ll have their campaign aides do it. But face to face in front of Iowans, a different story.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, Leslie, I don`t think you could hear me earlier, and you can now, right?


PAGLIARULO: I just wanted to make sure. Now I started off with talking about the moderator, who I thought was rude and mean yesterday to the Republicans, who seemed like she was like the little sister of the Democrats today. What`s your take on the moderator and how she handled it today compared to yesterday?

SANCHEZ: I thought she was terrible, quite frankly. The one thing that really -- the case in point in this is how she gushed personally when the Democrats were praising the sagaciousness and independence of Iowa voters. She said, oh, thank you, thank you. I just felt that that -- she should distance herself as the moderator. And that`s the only time she showed emotion or inflection. And it`s just not consistent with what a moderator should do.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, Keith, I want to throw you in here, if I may. I`ve got to talk about Barack Obama and the way he defended Joe Biden today. Again, it seemed like some kind of coordinated plan for the Democrats to all play nice with each other today. I wanted to get some substance and I wanted to hear them say, here`s how I`ll be different.

BOYKIN: Well, I`m glad you mentioned Barack Obama because I don`t know why we`re talking about the moderator. She`s not running for president. These guys on the stage are.

PAGLIARULO: But she`s relevant if she`s lobbing softballs at the candidates. She`s relevant.

BOYKIN: Well, I don`t know how relevant she is. People will forget about her tomorrow. But the real truth is that the Democrats understand this is a holiday season. The caucuses in Iowa will happen on January 3rd. It`s only a few days after the holidays. They don`t want to be going through the season talking negative and lobbing attacks at each other. They have to cool it down.

I thought when you saw Hillary Clinton I guess earlier today or late last night apologize to Barack Obama about the cocaine comment from one of her staff people or aides, I thought that was a sign that they realize that they were going too far, we really need to tone this campaign down a little bit, focus on the differences and conflicts, sure, but let`s not have such antagonism that we turn off the voters. We don`t want that to happen.


PAGLIARULO: Go ahead, Leslie.

SANCHEZ: I was going to say, there`s a distinct difference. It`s really easy to have attacks when you`re doing a national debate, but when you are in the home state of the first caucus, it`s incredibly important to be positive and they know that. It was the format, the question, the moderator, the time constraints. It was basically a 30 -- the longest electoral infomercial that we could ever see.

There were no attacks, no substance, and it was all talking about ethanol subsidies and alternative fuels, which Iowa voters want to hear.

PAGLIARULO: Hey, Jonathan, I`ve got to ask you about this.


PAGLIARULO: Gravel and Kucinich not on the stage today. Yesterday Alan Keyes going nuts. How did he show up and those two weren`t involved?

MARTIN: There was a certain standard as far as support in the polls here in the state as well as the presence of a staff -- or at least a paid staffer here in Iowa. That`s what got Keyes in but kept Gravel and Kucinich out.

I can`t emphasize enough, though, you that guys have to understand Iowa politics. This is a state that shuns negative politics. These folks are not going to reward those kinds of tough attacks. The candidates are doing a two-prong strategy. They`re going to throw elbows but they`re going to do it, guys, in a very surgical, strategic way and they`re not going to do it in front of thousands of Iowans during a debate.

PAGLIARULO: OK. I want to throw this out to you as well. Barack Obama, while I was watching, quoted Dr. King. I just don`t understand why he thought that -- well, like Dr. King said. Why can`t we stop -- and I understand, hey, Jonathan, I`m down with you, man. I appreciate what you`re saying that Iowa doesn`t want the negativity. I`m not asking for negativity here. I`m asking for substance.

Keith, you said a lot of substance came out of this. I didn`t see it. What did you walk away from this debate knowing that you didn`t know before you watched it?

BOYKIN: Well, first of all, I don`t see the problem with quoting Dr. King. I mean, he`s one of the respected leaders from our country`s history, and there`s a holiday named after him. So that wasn`t the issue for me. But secondly, you know, this debate was substantive. They did talk about CAFE standards. They did talk about fuel and energy policy. They talked about things that we weren`t talking about -- we`re not talking about right now for the most part, and most of the commentators aren`t talking about because we`re more interested in the horse race and the competitive aspect of this. And I think that`s fine.


PAGLIARULO: . it is a competition. Of course we`re interested in that.

BOYKIN: And I have no problem with that here on TV. But you know, the voters in Iowa take their responsibility very seriously. I`ve worked in Iowa.

PAGLIARULO: OK. And we don`t. Leslie, jump in here because I`m not taking my responsibility seriously here.

SANCHEZ: I think the -- you know, they really wanted to hear about ethanol subsidies. Let`s be clear what Iowa voters want to be concerned about, or are concerned about, and why that was such an important issue.

PAGLIARULO: Because Iowa farmers making corn for ethanol. Of course we get it.

SANCHEZ: Exactly, exactly. It heightens the importance of one particular issue. And also, you`re not exactly breaking news when you have Bill Richardson saying he wants to mandate physical education. I`m sorry. That`s just really not the type of, you know, barn burner that people expect it.


PAGLIARULO: Hey, Jonathan, I want you to jump in here. I want to go to the Republicans for a second. Mike Huckabee said, don`t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers? He said that in The New York Times Magazine. And then he went and apologized to Mitt Romney about this. Mitt Romney accepted his apology. Is this also the same sort of thing like you`ve been saying that in Iowa, they don`t want this, they don`t want these two going at each other, you`d better apologize or you have no chance?

MARTIN: That`s exactly right. These candidates do not want to be seen as actively going after each other because that reflects poorly on them, and the issue of religion has come to the fore in this GOP race. There`s no question that it`s benefiting Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, in a state here in Iowa where 40 percent of the GOP caucus-goers are going to be evangelical Christians.

But he does not want to sort of so obviously benefit from it in a way where he is going after Romney because of his religion. He wants to enjoy the benefit but sort of do so in a manner where he`s not reflecting poorly on himself by raising questions about Romney`s faith, which he appeared to do in this magazine piece. He knew he went too far, which is why he did what he did yesterday.

PAGLIARULO: OK. I`ve got a righty, a lefty, and somebody who`s a political analyst. I`m going to start with you, Leslie. Who has got the stronger field right now, the Republicans or the Democrats, after -- only if you`ve watched these two debates?

SANCHEZ: (INAUDIBLE) definitely the Republicans.

PAGLIARULO: Of course.

SANCHEZ: Of course, naturally. I mean, that was an easy one. Next. But no, they looked very strong, commanding, no doubt. You didn`t really see anything new or different or engaging with the Democrats.

PAGLIARULO: I want to quickly get the other two. Keith, I`ve got to go. What do you think?

BOYKIN: You won`t be surprised if I say the Democrats have a stronger field.

PAGLIARULO: Imagine that.

BOYKIN: And I think the polls show that because Republicans can`t figure out who they are and which candidate they like. The Democrats have a clearer sense of who we are and what we want.

PAGLIARULO: Right. I`m out of time. Jonathan, which one?

MARTIN: There are big names in both fields. Right now, though, there seems to be more enthusiasm at least on the Democratic side, especially here in Iowa.

PAGLIARULO: All right. Thanks a lot. Appreciate all three of you.

Up next, he`s the man behind some of Hollywood`s biggest blockbusters and he`s got a new movie ready to go. I`ll sit down with Jerry Bruckheimer and ask him about the latest edition in the "National Treasure" franchise. Do not touch that dial.


PAGLIARULO: What do you get when you mix treasure hunting with some hidden history? An international chain of clues, a chase from Paris to London to America, and a dash of Abraham Lincoln? Answer, the blockbuster movie "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" starring Nicolas Cage. Take a look.


ED HARRIS, ACTOR: You all can stand around here guessing for a while, or I can give you the next clue. "Surrender your hand to the heart of the warrior."

HELEN MIRREN, ACTOR: Wait. No. That`s probably a horrible trap.



PAGLIARULO: Come on. What happens? The movie opens December 21st. Joining me now is uber producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Jerry, Abe Lincoln a movie star, Nicolas Cage`s hand is stuck. You`re not going to tell me, are you, what happens?

JERRY BRUCKHEIMER, PRODUCER, "NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS": No. It`s about the 18 pages that are missing out of John Wilkes Booth`s diary.

PAGLIARULO: OK. All right. So John Wilkes Booth, the guy who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Somehow there`s treasure tied to his diary.

BRUCKHEIMER: Exactly. But it`s true, there are actually 18 pages missing. So you have to figure out what`s on those 18 pages.

PAGLIARULO: I was going to ask you, everything you do kind of, you know, has its genesis in truth somehow, then you spin it and you take it. And you`ve got so much going on in your head, man. I`m really impressed by -- the first movie was awesome. It was on television again a couple of nights ago. And this one now, as much action or more?

BRUCKHEIMER: More. Much bigger. Go to London, go to Paris, go to South Dakota, Washington, New York. So you know, lots going on in this one.

PAGLIARULO: OK. So when we go to the movie theater, we`re going to find out a little bit about history and a little bit about what could be some history. At least is this all from your mind or do you get together with other people? Have you thought about this stuff for years and years and said, I can`t wait to make a movie out of it? How does it all come together on a movie like this?

BRUCKHEIMER: Great writers. It`s always about having great writers and a great director and of course Nic and the actors come in and help us out. And this one we have Helen Mirren joining our cast, Academy Award winner. She plays Jon Voight`s ex-wife. And we also have Ed Harris joining us. Two great actors coming on-board.

PAGLIARULO: Unbelievable line-up in the movie. I can`t wait to go and see it. I can`t get an early screening or anything, right?

BRUCKHEIMER: Of course you can.

PAGLIARULO: Yes. We`ll talk about it after the interview. OK. So the first one, again, did you find that the excitement about the first one wasn`t just that it was an action flick, it was a mystery flick, it was also an historic look at America, and it was about a document in American history that`s not very exciting. It`s always cited. We talk about it a lot. But it`s just this thing, you can go and look at on the wall. You made it something that was alive.

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, you know, what would have happened is when the picture first came out or even before the picture came out, the conventional wisdom was that the picture would do OK, here because it`s a very entertaining movie, but it wouldn`t do well the rest of the world.

Who cares about American history? Wrong. It did better around the world than it did in the States. In the States it did fantastic. So it goes to show you, good mysteries that are fun, that are romantic, that have humor, people want to see them. That`s why the second one is even better than the first.

PAGLIARULO: OK. Well, we`re all going to go and see it. "CSI," got to talk about it, got to thank you for it. My daughter Sammy (ph) and I watch "CSI" on our DVR constantly. It`s replayed on the weekends now, we watch -- even if we`ve seen them before, we watch them. How do you take a topic, a subject that was so mundane like in the days of "Quincy," you know, and turn it into something that`s sexy and interesting and hot and attention grabbing? People now are going and studying forensic science where they never thought they would before.

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, you know what it is? We all like to get an inside look into things we know nothing about. And crime scene investigators are interesting to figure out, what do they do? Now the public knows what they do, we have great actors, great writers, terrific directors making it really exciting and accessible to a large audience.

PAGLIARULO: We`ve got "CSI," "CSI: Miami," "CSI: New York" now. I felt a hint of Chicago maybe?

BRUCKHEIMER: You never know.

PAGLIARULO: Last season?

BRUCKHEIMER: You never know.

PAGLIARULO: "CSI: Paducah, Kentucky," is that in the works?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, you`re forgetting your other one, "Without a Trace," which has been a terrific show.

PAGLIARULO: Another great show.

BRUCKHEIMER: And "Cold Case" we have. That`s one of our shows. And "The Amazing Race," which is doing quite well also.

PAGLIARULO: Now you`ve been on an incredible run. And so it can`t just be coincidence. You`re doing something very, very right.

BRUCKHEIMER: Picking great people to work with. That`s all it is.

PAGLIARULO: And it`s a great thing to say, but there has got to be a whole lot of what you put into this that really makes it happen. "Pirates of the Caribbean." First of all, is it Caribbean or Caribbean? Do you care?

BRUCKHEIMER: Either one is fine.

PAGLIARULO: OK. My daughters, I`ve got two teenagers and a 7-year- old. My two older ones would wait in line for "Pirates of the Caribbean 73." I told you this. More of this franchise to come?

BRUCKHEIMER: I hope so. But so far nothing. I mean, you know, the DVDs just came out on the third one. And there`s a writers strike. So there`s not much we can do. We can`t develop anything. And we`ll give the audience a rest, and maybe we will think about making another one. Hopefully. We`ll see. We`re not sure.

PAGLIARULO: Do you have an opinion that you want to get out there about the writers strike? Should people go back to work now? Are people like -- I guess they`re complaining about people who are corporate heads and maybe even people in your position. Is there too much of a disparity when it comes to releasing a DVD that the writers don`t get enough?

BRUCKHEIMER: Well, listen, the writers certainly have to be compensated. And just how much they have to be compensated, and that`s the problem. The problem is these two entities have to get together and sit down at the negotiating table and hammer it out because when they`re apart, nothing can get done. You know they`re going to make a deal. Why not make a deal now? Why wait? When you`re really hurting the crews. All the people who work on our shows are all out of work now. It`s the holidays. A lot of kids aren`t going to get the gifts they deserve. And it`s really sad.

PAGLIARULO: My pleasure to sit down with you, Jerry Bruckheimer.

BRUCKHEIMER: Thank you so much. Thanks, Joe.

PAGLIARULO: Thank you so much. "National Treasure 2: The Book of Secrets" hits theaters December 21st. Make sure you get throughout and check it out.

Up next right here, the most powerful Scottish terrier in the free world has released another holiday video. Jerry Bruckheimer would not put his name on this video. You`ll see it. The annual Barney-cam is back and we`ll have it for you right after this, stick around.


PAGLIARULO: The lovable ball of fur that once took a Crawford-sized crap right behind his master and our commander-in-chief to the delight of many, many cameras, has released his sixth holiday video. Yep, it`s Barney-cam time. This time of year, Barney wants to be a junior park ranger. And if nothing else seeing the first family`s raw acting talent is worth your seven minutes.

Here`s just a small sample.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hey, Barney, I love the outdoors, and there is nothing greater than our national parks. Sure, Barney, you and Miss Beazley can be junior park rangers if you want to. But you are sure going to have to learn about the national parks if you want to be a junior park ranger. And, Barney, if I`m not mistaken, you`ve already got a pretty big job to do right here at the White House with the Christmas decorations.

JENNA BUSH, FIRST DAUGHTER: I`m so proud of you two. The Christmas decorations are coming along beautifully, and you`re way ahead of where you were last year.

BARBARA BUSH, FIRST DAUGHTER: Hey, Barney. Did I hear you and Miss Beazley are trying to become junior park rangers?

J. BUSH: That`s great. We love the national parks. Remember? I got engaged in one.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: President Bush and I wish everyone a very happy holiday.


PAGLIARULO: Yes. Bush family, do not expect a call from Jerry Bruckheimer to appear in his next film. I`m just saying. Hey, thanks for watching. I`m Joe Pags in for Glenn Beck. From New York, good night, America.