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CAMPBELL BROWN: NO BIAS, NO BULL
Auto Bailout Moving Forward?; O.J. Simpson Sentenced to Long Prison Term
Aired December 5, 2008 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there, everybody.
After weeks stuck in neutral, tonight, Washington moving full speed ahead to bail out the ailing auto industry. What happened to jump-start the stalled negotiations?
That's bullet point number one tonight, a disastrous unemployment report out this morning from the Labor Department -- 533,000 jobs were lost in November alone, the largest one-month job loss in 34 years. It brought a new urgency to the auto industry hearings on Capitol Hill and the realization that losing the 2.5 million jobs the car companies represent may be too much for our economy to bear.
Bullet point number two tonight, a bizarre Supreme Court challenge to Barack Obama's election as president of the United States. A new lawsuit questions Obama's eligibility to serve by raising doubts about his citizenship. It sounds pretty farfetched, right? So, why is Justice Clarence Thomas referring it to his colleagues?
Our legal ace, Jeff Toobin, is going to be here to explain it all.
And bullet point number three tonight, O.J. Simpson. After all these years, after all those trials, the former football great is finally going to prison.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O.J. SIMPSON, DEFENDANT: So I'm sorry. I'm sorry for all of it.
But I didn't mean to hurt anybody and I didn't mean to steal from anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: A judge sentenced Simpson today in a case that had nothing to do with the murders that made him infamous. The crime that will finally send Simpson to the slammer, armed robbery.
Which brings us to bullet point number four, the political icon who could be in line for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat. Who will it be? Well, you will have to wait. We're going to tell you in just a bit. But, trust me, if it happens, this is going to be huge.
But, first tonight, as always, we are "Cutting Through the Bull": sexism or just good-natured fun between new best friends? You decide. We found this photo posted on "The Washington Post" Web site. Take a good look. The guy on the left of your screen, the one cupping Hillary Clinton's breast on this cardboard cutout, well, that would be president-elect Obama's chief speechwriter, Jon Favreau.
He struck this rather intriguing pose at a party and then, bummer for him, the photo got posted by a pal on Facebook.
Now, Jon, I'm not even going to go after you for this, because it is just too easy. It is shooting fish in a barrel. My 11-month-old kid could look at this picture of you and say, if he could talk yet, when a total idiot move. So, I'm not even going to bother. You know how incredibly stupid that was.
This is what I am struck by, which is Senator Clinton's response. Jon Favreau has apparently reached out to Senator Clinton to offer an apology. Well, no surprise there. But, according to "The Post," it doesn't seem like that was even necessary.
A Clinton spokesman described the photo as an example of just good-natured fun between former rival camps. "The Post" quotes Senator Clinton's adviser, Philippe Reines, as saying -- quote -- "Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon's obvious interest in the State Department and is currently reviewing his application" -- end quote.
No harm, no foul, apparently.
I'm sorry, but is this the same woman who, during the campaign, pointed to example after example of sexism directed at her, saying that -- quote -- "It had been deeply offensive to millions of women"? Is this the same woman who pointed out the references to her cleavage or her cackle, the comments by certain pundits in the media, the same woman who concluded -- quote -- "The remnants of sexism are alive and well," after someone at a rally shouted out "Iron my shirt"?
She made a point of calling people out during the campaign. And, for that, she became a hero to millions of women. But now the campaign is over. She's joining team Obama. And, apparently, this photo of her likeness being groped by another key member of Obama's team doesn't bother her a bit.
Now it is just good-natured fun, or so her spokesman says.
Really, Senator Clinton? Boy, have you changed your tune. You really think this photo is OK? I mean, put another woman in that photo, just an average woman who supported you during the campaign. Have it be her image being degraded by a colleague of hers. Would you be OK with that? You drove an important conversation about issues just like this during the campaign. Did that dialogue serve its purpose for you and now you have moved on? Or did you really mean it?
Now let's go back to the story that had a loft us in the newsroom scratching our heads today, the accusation that Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen and therefore cannot be president of the United States. Well, frankly, it sounds like another of the crackpot rumors that dogged Obama throughout the campaign, the kind of thing you would hear from people wearing tinfoil hats, frankly. But this one won't go away. It won't die. Lawsuits have been filed in several states now. And the -- or at the Supreme Court, the justices met today. They could decide at any moment whether they will actually hear arguments on the case.
And Jeffrey Toobin is here to put the whole thing to our NO BULL test.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Hello, Campbell.
BROWN: So, before we get into the I guess how on earth this ended up potentially going before the Supreme Court, just explain the merits of the case, if there are any in your view. Is there any evidence at all to support this?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, I'm a lawyer. So, I have got to be a little cautious in responding to this. So, this much I will say. This is a joke. This is ridiculous.
TOOBIN: This is absurd.
BROWN: Don't hold back.
TOOBIN: This is a whack-job project. And the reason there are lots of lawsuits is, they all keep losing appropriately and they are now winding up before the Supreme Court.
Look, there are two -- let's look at two documents. One is his birth certificate, which shows that he was born in Hawaii, in the United States.
BROWN: OK. Right. Which we have all known, right.
TOOBIN: And end of story. That's it. He is eligible to be president.
And if you are not convinced by that, there is a newspaper announcement of his birth in -- there it is -- in Hawaii on -- in August 1961. There is no merit to this lawsuit at all.
BROWN: So, if it's total bull, which is what you are saying...
TOOBIN: Total bull.
BROWN: ... why is it even being discussed as a possible case before the Supreme Court? TOOBIN: Well, because the losers in this lawsuit, the people who keep filing this nonsense, keep appealing. And now they have made it all the way to the Supreme Court.
Interestingly, this is kind of right-wing nonsense. There has been left-wing nonsense about this lawsuit, which is criticism of Clarence Thomas for the way he handled it.
BROWN: Because he's the one who said, we are going to -- I'm at least going to put this before the other justices, right?
TOOBIN: Correct. And what -- the way it worked was...
BROWN: And people see, oh, he's not an Obama fan, so...
TOOBIN: Exactly. That's the claim, because, first, it went to David Souter, who just rejected it. Then it went to Clarence Thomas, who referred it to the full court.
The reason Thomas did that is that, when it looks like a claimant in the court is going to go to every single justice, the second person in line says, look, I want to stop that. Let's just refer it to the whole court, let the court deal with it, so we don't have to do these one at a time.
Thomas acted completely appropriately. There is nothing wrong with what he did. I'm sure he doesn't like Barack Obama, given his politics.
TOOBIN: But his action here didn't -- there was nothing wrong with what he did.
BROWN: OK. So, how is this likely to play out now, based on what you know?
TOOBIN: Monday, the court will announce the results of its conference that was held today.
I will bet you my vast fortune, which I know is not that vast, but I will bet anything that they will decline to hear the case. It will go away to the obscurity and absurdity it deserves.
BROWN: Has the Obama camp said anything about this at all or have they basically ignored it?
TOOBIN: Well, this rumor was around. And they had a Web site during the campaign that he wasn't born in the United States. And they posted the birth certificate. This particular lawsuit, they haven't dignified with a response. And, frankly, I can't blame them.
BROWN: All right, Jeff Toobin tonight.
Fascinating, though, that it would stay out there and alive this long and it would end up all the way at the Supreme Court. TOOBIN: Lawyers with too much time on their hands.
BROWN: OK, apparently, Jeffrey Toobin for us tonight.
And Jeff is going to stick around because a little later we're going to talk about, you know, the story that made your career.
TOOBIN: That's true. There's no getting around that.
BROWN: Oh, you have come a long way since then.
BROWN: O.J. Simpson's sentencing. And check it out. He was very emotional in court today. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I stand before you today sorry, somewhat confused.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: O.J. Simpson confused about what? Is this the end of O.J.'s long legal drama? Or could it be just another step? Oh, no.
Also ahead, if you were looking for $34 billion in loans, today's headlines were the last thing you wanted to see. That's exactly what happened to the auto CEOs today. But our Ali Velshi says there's some light at the end of the tunnel for them.
And Hillary Clinton's new job means New York needs a new senator. Tonight, new information about the very familiar name who could take her Senate seat.
BROWN: New developments tonight in the fight over a bailout loan for the Detroit automakers.
Congress will come back to meet next week and there's talk that a $15 billion loan may be in the works. Key lawmakers will work on a deal over the weekend. Today, the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler drove their nifty new hybrid cars back to Capitol Hill for another day of begging for $34 billion in loans.
Some really bad economic news arrived just before they pulled up. More than half-a-million Americans, 533,000, lost their jobs last month. That's the worst month for job losses since December of 1974. If the car companies go bankrupt, we are talking about another 2.5 million jobs that could disappear. It was on everybody's minds today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: For us to do nothing, to allow bankruptcies and failures in one, two, three of these companies in the midst of the worst credit crisis and the worst unemployment situation that we have had in 70 years would be a disaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And chief business correspondent Ali Velshi with me now.
So, you get this news, Ali, of a possible compromise right on the heels of this job report, far, far worse than analysts expected, huh?
ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Campbell, we talk about a lot of numbers around here. And it's a lot of math. But this is the day every month that is the tough one. And this one was tougher than everybody expected.
We expected to lose 320,000 jobs today. Let me show you how this works out. This is a chart of the year. We have lost jobs every month since January. But, you know, we have had to make this chart bigger because of how bad it has become. Take a look. January through August. You know, August started to getting a little bit rough. September is when the credit crisis really hit.
Look at those numbers. They started to just get worse and worse. October was a little bit less, but now 533,000 jobs, as opposed to the 320,000 we expected. The total right now for 11 months, 1.9 million jobs lost.
Now, economists always tell me that in order to have a healthy economy, you need to be adding 100,000 to 150,000 jobs per month. That's to keep up with the increase in the working age population in the United States. So, you can see those bars are where we should have been going up.
By now, by the end of the year or at least with November's numbers, we should be up 1.1 million. That's 1.1 million jobs we didn't create and then we lost 1.9 million. That's the serious part about this. This crisis has just become a lot more serious than everyone expected, as you said, the worst single month for job losses since 1974.
The unemployment rate increased from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent. But, Campbell, another anomaly that we don't always see, almost half- a-million people left the job force. They are not working. They are not even looking for a job. They have just given up. So, those unemployment numbers are actually worse than they look.
BROWN: And then you look at those numbers and what they must be doing on top of the housing crisis.
VELSHI: It's a very interesting recession that we are in. Typically -- in fact, we never had a recession that was caused by a housing crisis in the beginning. But, in this case, that's what happened. That itty-bitty subprime problem exploded into a recession and caused those job losses. Now we have got numbers for November. Foreclosures, 1.3 million homes are in foreclosure. That starts after you have been delinquent for three months and the bank starts foreclosure processes against you. That's an increase of 76 percent over the same time last year. But here is the thing. If you take the number of homes that are in foreclosure and you add to that the number of mortgages which are more than -- which are delinquent, where people have late payment, 10 percent of all mortgages in the United States are being affected.
That means 10 percent of all mortgages are in danger. We are not just talking about subprime here at this point. We are now actually talking, Campbell, about prime loans, people who have good credit ratings who weren't overextended, but they lost their job and can't make their payments.
BROWN: Wow. Ali, thanks very much. What a week it has been.
BROWN: An amazing week, too, for the Big Three. When it started, it really looked like the bailout was dead on arrival. But the political climate, based on the stuff Ali was just telling us, may have changed.
And, in a minute, we will ask three of the smartest observers around has it changed enough to help the car companies?
And, then, later, we can't avoid it, but this may be O.J. Simpson's last run at the headlines. Do you believe this?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SIMPSON: I have been coming to Nevada since 1959. I worked summer jobs here for my uncle in '60 and '61. And I have been coming ever since. And I have never gotten into any trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Americans are not sold yet on the idea of an auto industry bailout. But you want to know who is? Jon Stewart. He gave the great car company rescue a full-throated endorsement on "The Daily Show" last night.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART")
JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": Congress, I think I know what this whole thing is about. You gave the financial industry $700 billion. But you may not give the car industry $35 billion because you don't really know what the finance industry does, do you?
STEWART: So, you gave them the money, so you didn't want to look stupid.
See, here is the problem. The auto industry has a product that's tangible and easy to complain about. I should know. Let me show you something.
My first car -- this is true -- was an AMC Gremlin. That's the thing about cars. Even the crappy ones are useful. But you won't bail out who people that make cars. You only bail out the people who make car loans, not even car loans. The people you bailed out make derivative paper transfers speculating on the future value of enormous groupings of said loans to China.
STEWART: Fine. Detroit's business model is bad. We know they lose $2,000 for every car they sell. Wall Street lost $7 trillion without selling anything.
STEWART: At least, when Detroit loses money, we get cars.
STEWART: So, give them the money.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So, what do you think? Is it really that simple?
In the driver's seat tonight, three of the best the best political minds, Republican strategist Kevin Madden, senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and CNN political contributor, syndicated columnist and national radio commentator Roland Martin.
So, Gloria, today's numbers, jobs numbers, really changed the tone of those car company hearings. You had no more grilling of those CEOs. Harry Reid says senators are going to work through the weekend to get something done. There is finally this very real sense of urgency, isn't there?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that's right.
Campbell, they are using the words calamity and disaster to talk about what would happen if the Big Three went under. And I think there is a sense that, like Jon Stewart, you know, these people produce a product that's important. And, if the carmakers topple, the impact on the American economy in every sector would be unbelievable.
And, so, there is a sense of urgency -- you bet there is -- and even though the public doesn't like bailouts, Campbell, per se, I think there is a growing sense that the public will understand what will happen to those folks who work at those car companies if they go under. BROWN: Kevin, yesterday, many Republicans were saying, let them go under. Let the companies go bust. Let them declare bankruptcy. We shouldn't be rewarding their failures.
But, after this jobs report, is that a harder sell, a much harder sell, politically? I mean, 2.5 million additional people out of work if the auto industry goes under.
KEVIN MADDEN, FORMER ROMNEY CAMPAIGN NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think it is. It's an easy argument to make about too big to fail when it comes to Detroit than it is with Wall Street.
And I think what you are seeing is a little bit of a thawing of the opposition up on Capitol Hill. It is very quickly moving from not whether we should bail out Detroit, but how we do it. And I think, you know, Congress always wrestles with the problem, should we do nothing, should we do a little bit, or should we do a lot?
And I think that ultimately they have a proclivity towards getting something done that is in the middle. And I think that's why you're going to see over the weekend a lot of senators across the aisle talking about what's the best arrangement to help move Detroit past this.
BROWN: Roland, president-elect Obama put out a statement today on the jobs numbers. But he stayed silent on the situation with the auto industry. And, yesterday, Congressman Barney Frank said that Obama, he believes, needs to step up to the plate and lead on this.
And Frank, as you know, is very powerful person in this economic debate, somebody that Obama will need down be the line, certainly. I mean, his words carry a little weight, don't you think?
ROLAND MARTIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: His words carry weight, but they mean nothing, Campbell.
Look, Obama has no statutory power right now. He's not a U.S. senator. He's also not president. Maybe what Barney Frank should be saying is, what is the current president doing?
BROWN: Hold on. Hold on, Obama -- I'm sorry -- Roland.
You don't have to have statutory power to lead your party and give your party direction about what you want it to do.
MARTIN: Campbell, I understand that. But the reality is this here. The people who can make a decision right now are lawmakers. The president is an elected position. Where is he? Barney Frank, members of Congress, they have a job.
So, I understand that. When Obama says one president at a time, that's the reality to it. What we need right now is leadership.
BROWN: Come on, Roland. They're looking for guidance here, what to do in the next three weeks. And it's ultimately going to be his problem to manage.
MARTIN: You need guidance. Who is Barney Frank's boss? Nancy Pelosi.
The problem, Campbell...
MARTIN: No, Campbell, let's cut to the real chase.
The problem is Democratic leaders in Congress, they don't want to make a decision. Republicans and Democrats are dancing. You know what? We really don't want to give it to them. We got criticized with the last bailout.
They don't want to do their jobs. And you know what? You want to take over Congress, this is what leaders do. They lead.
BROWN: I think you are letting him off the hook, Roland.
Go ahead, Kevin. I see you shaking your head.
BORGER: I think, Campbell, you know, Democrats are nervous, because they are going to have to say to labor, we need some concessions here.
And Obama is sort of standing off on the side and he is not the one asking for labor to make those concessions. You know, these are Democratic constituencies that they are dealing with.
So, is Obama playing it politically smart? You could make the case, sure. Is he working behind the scenes? Absolutely. Is he working on a stimulus package that he will have on his desk on January 20? Yes. So, Barney Frank may want him do more. There's a lot of stuff he is doing. And there's also a political reason he is staying away from some of this.
BROWN: Kevin, what do you think?
MADDEN: Well, I agree.
Look, in order to get these things done on Capitol Hill, you oftentimes need leverage from the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. I think a lot of the critics right now that are -- who are complaining that there is not a lot of presidential leadership, that also applies to Barack Obama, because, in 46 days, it is going to be his charge to help get this economy moving in the right direction, with Detroit being a big part of that.
MARTIN: Right, Kevin. And, in 46 days, that's when he has to do his job. But there's a president right now. I don't understand why we're sitting here acting as if George W. Bush can chill out for the next 46 days.
MADDEN: The idea that it operates in a vacuum, though, Roland, I have to disagree with you.
BROWN: Because, Roland, I think the argument is, these are extraordinary times and extraordinary circumstances, unlike anything we have had to deal with in decades.
BROWN: So, people are asking him, you know what? Step to the plate a little sooner than you are required to.
BORGER: But he is doing that, actually.
MARTIN: You step to the plate when it's time for you job. OK?
George W. Bush is the president. All I'm saying is this here. Congressional Democrats want an out. Let's cut to the chase. They don't want to make the hard call here. So, they want to say, hey, Obama, why don't you take some this off of us because there's a little too much heat?
You wanted the lead in Congress. Now use it. Be leaders, members of Congress.
BROWN: All right. Roland is fired up.
Guys, we are out of time.
BORGER: You think?
MARTIN: Listen, Campbell, you got me fired up. And I'm in Miami. Come on now.
BROWN: I know, I know, I know.
All right, Kevin, Gloria, Roland, thanks, guys. Appreciate it. Have a great weekend. Of course, we will see you next week.
MADDEN: Great to be with you.
BROWN: It is worse for some who have lost their jobs, worse for some than it is for others, worse, apparently, for women, single and married, who carry large parts of the financial load for their families. Why is it worse for women than men? There are numbers to back this up. We are going to show them to you. You may be surprised by this.
Also, O.J. Simpson sentenced to a long prison term today.
Plus, tonight's "Political Daily Briefing." Who will be the next U.S. senator from New York? New York's Governor will make the pick. And today he talked about it. That's coming up.
BROWN: Our program has been full of numbers tonight. We can't help it went the story is about the economy. The real story is, of course, not numbers. It's the people who are struggling.
And, as Randi Kaye reports, it is working mothers who find themselves out of work, who have found themselves out of work, who are particularly hard-hit by these tough times, much more so the men. And she has got the numbers to back it up. Check it out.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This mother of two is home with her kids, not by choice. Like hundreds of thousands of women, Donna Kelly was laid off.
DONNA KELLY, UNEMPLOYED: I thought may world was coming to an end.
KAYE (on camera): How hard has this been for you emotionally?
KELLY: I feel lost. I feel like I have failed. And I just feel like I just can't get one foot forward without falling back. And it's just -- it is just heart-wrenching.
KAYE (voice-over): Donna has a college degree, but hasn't been able to find a job in seven months. She's done some temporary work and is collecting unemployment. But the bills are stacking up. Her electricity may soon be shut off.
KELLY: You feel like you want to break down and cry. Like, there have been times that I would just go in the bathroom and pretend that I'm in the shower. And I'm just sitting down just crying because I can't support my family like I want to.
KAYE: Donna's husband was laid off, too. He found another job as a substitute teacher, without benefits. So, the family has no health insurance.
TERRY SAVAGE, FINANCIAL COLUMNIST, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Many families, they are two-income families. They have created a lifestyle that depends on both those incomes. And when a woman loses a job, it really can undermine the entire family.
KAYE: In fact, studies show about 43 percent of all working women earn at least half of their family's income. While the recession has left more men out of work, women, in many ways, are worse off. Here's why.
SAVAGE: Many women are still paid only 75 cents on the dollar. That means they don't have enough money in savings. They haven't put enough money in a retirement fund. And they don't have the resources to fall back upon if they lose a job. KAYE: The family savings is wiped out. Donna has had to move her daughter from private school to public, cancel her ice skating, cancel dance lessons, even cut back on food at home. To bring in cash, she cooks for others.
DONNA KELLY, UNEMPLOYED: Our neighbor and I, we cook dinners on a weekend and we just try to sell it just to bring in extra money.
KAYE (on camera): No surprise, it's even worse for single moms. Their unemployment rate is above the national average. Four out of ten of all bankruptcy filings are for single women. Both single and married women have been hit hard by the mortgage crisis. Far more often than men, they lose their homes.
(voice-over): Donna worries most about her kids. Her daughter is old enough to understand things aren't the same.
KELLY: Tessa (ph), well, Santa may not be able to come here this year. And she's like why, mommy? I said because the gas is too high and he will not be able to fill up.
KAYE: Her daughter's response, mommy, I didn't ask for very much.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up, O.J. Simpson sentenced to a maximum of 33 years in prison. But how many will he actually serve? Jeffrey Toobin returns in a moment.
BROWN: You know things are grim when you find yourself turning to Washington for a smile. But then again, we did that most nights. With a little help from our good friend Dana Milbank, he's got the "PDB," the "Political Daily Briefing."
Dana, topping tonight's "PDB," reports of Hillary Clinton's soon to be vacant Senate seat could be filled by a Kennedy.
DANA MILBANK, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, very exciting. You know, our United States Senate is looking more and more like the British House of Lords. It turns out that New York Governor David Paterson has told NY1 (ph) television that he has indeed discussed on Wednesday night the possibility with Caroline Kennedy of her filling Hillary Clinton's Senate seat.
Should that occur, there would then be two Kennedys in the Senate. There would be two Udalls and 20 other senators who are -- were preceded in public office by other members of their families. So it would indeed start to look like some hereditary titles.
BROWN: A family affair up there. OK. Also, another Hillary Clinton news as she prepares to become secretary of state. A race against the clock to pay off her campaign debt. And two things, trying everything here to raise a little cash.
MILBANK: She sure is because she's got a deadline of when she becomes secretary of state so she's arranged a fund-raising party in New York for December 15th with "Ugly Betty" herself, America Ferreira. There are going to -- people are going to pay up to $1,000 for the chance for a backstage photograph with Hillary. Joe Biden sent out an e-mail this morning asking people to thank Hillary for being part of the team by donating money to retire her debt.
And now we find out that Clinton has commissioned her 89-year-old mother, Dorothy Rodham, to hawk books online in an e-mail for people who will make a donation of $50 or more to help retire that debt. Now one guy who's watching very closely is pollster Mark Penn because he's owed the largest amount...
BROWN: That's right.
MILBANK: Five million bucks. I mean if it fails, I suppose he could go to Congress and ask for a bailout. But then he's going to have to say he's too large to fail. He doesn't want to get into that.
BROWN: All right. Because of some of the stories coming out of the Senate recount race in Minnesota, basically we've been talking about it every night now and they keep getting better and better.
We've got a new segment within the daily "PDB" we're calling Minnesota madness. And today's story sounds more like a game of hide- and-seek, I think.
MILBANK: It does. It's sort of the recount has become a search and recovery mission. We now have discovered that in the Minneapolis neighborhood of Dinkytown, there are 133 missing ballots.
Just can't find them. They've been looking all over the place for them. Looking under voting machines, rolling boxes around and warehouses. But so far, all they've found are 12 uncounted absentee ballots that had nothing to do with that. Those were in a box full of supplies. So the Dinkytown ballot mystery will have to go on another week.
BROWN: OK. And finally, this is a great story. Karaoke at an airport.
MILBANK: It is indeed. When President Bush makes his way down to Dallas on January 20th, make a quick stopover at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, where between Terminal D and E, people will now be able to sing karaoke, unfortunately. And here's what it sounds like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Rudolph the red-nose reindeer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: That's the jingle bell rock.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MILBANK: Now, there are hundreds of songs that President Bush could choose from among when he's there. I think he'd probably wants to stick to the old standbys like "America the Beautiful" or perhaps "Hail to the Chief" for nostalgic purposes. I think at all cost the travelers should avoid songs such as "Explosions in the Sky, "Going Down" and "Crash."
BROWN: I think so. Hey, it's a good way to pass the time with all these flight delays out there.
All right. Dana Milbank for us tonight. Dana Milbank, as always, thank you.
MILBANK: Thanks, Campbell.
BROWN: He didn't cry 13 years ago when he was standing trial for murder, but O.J. Simpson did today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O.J. SIMPSON, DEFENDANT: I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt anybody, and I didn't mean to steal from nobody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The last chapter of one of our time's strangest sagas, O.J. Simpson going to prison.
BROWN: I want to tell you now about some of today's other news. Tom Foreman has tonight's "Briefing" -- Tom.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Campbell.
The woman in charge of stopping illegal immigration in the Boston area has now been charged with hiring illegal immigrants. Lorraine Henderson is accused of employing a Brazilian housekeeper and two other undocumented workers in spite of warnings. Henderson was arrested today after one of those workers were wired for investigators.
Sunday is the 67th anniversary of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor. And today President Bush signed a proclamation establishing nine new World War II monuments, including one at the site of an internment camp where thousands of Japanese-American families were held -- Campbell.
BROWN: All right. Thanks, Tom. Tom Foreman for us.
Coming up, a school boy who wrote to Barack Obama -- guess what -- came back in the return mail. This is a story you're going to want to see when we come back.
BROWN: Now the story a lot of us thought would never end. O.J. Simpson's long strange trip through the legal system.
Today, a judge sentenced him to up to 33 years behind bars for his role in an armed confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel in 2007. That doesn't begin to tell the story of the decline and fall of a one-time sports superstar. For that, we've got David Mattingly with us tonight -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the cameras fixed on the fallen icon, father and sister of Ronald Goldman sitting just feet away, O.J. Simpson sounded emotional and confused.
O.J. SIMPSON, DEFENDANT: In no way did I mean to hurt anybody, to steal anything from anyone.
MATTINGLY: But a jury said he did and the judge couldn't hold back her scorn.
JACKIE GLASS, JUDGE: Earlier in this case, at a bail hearing, I asked and I said to Mr. Simpson I didn't know if he was arrogant or ignorant or both. And during the trial and through this proceeding, I got the answer. And it was both.
MATTINGLY: From star athlete and movie star to tabloid pariah, for many it was a seemingly endless tragedy that began with a low- speed chase and crash to a halt with a nonstop trip to prison.
(on camera): O.J.'s spiraling decline is epic. Who could forget how he smiled as a jury acquitted him on charges that he killed his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman? But for the next 13 years, he continued to cross paths with the law, sparking allegations of behavior from the violent to the absurd.
(voice-over): 2001, Simpson was cleared of charges in an alleged case of Florida road rage. 2002, he was fined for speeding his boat through a Florida manatee zone. In 2003, police came to his house after his 17-year-old daughter called 911 crying and asking for help after an argument. No charges were filed.
2004, he's ordered to pay nearly 60,000 in federal fines and fees for pirating satellite TV. In 2005, police are called again. This time a neighbor claims he was attacked by O.J.'s girlfriend. No charges were filed.
Then in 2007, Simpson and three other men are charged in an armed robbery at a cheap Las Vegas hotel room. It was the end of O.J.'s long debated freedom.
(on camera): It was also the end of a long and frustrating pursuit by the family of Ron Goldman who relentlessly went after O.J.'s money. They won a $25 million judgment and damages for a wrongful death suit. The winning proved to be a lot easier for the Goldmans than collecting.
When the 1997 judgment was handed down, he gave up all kinds of assets, including his golf clubs and his Heisman trophy. But O.J. moved to Florida and found ways to legally protect millions in personal wealth. But in 2006, the Goldmans managed to tap 90 percent of O.J.'s publishing rights to his book "If I Did It." And at the time of his arrest in 2007, many speculated O.J. was after his own memorabilia because he needed the money. An idea that brings Ron Goldman's father a sense of satisfaction.
FRED GOLDMAN, RON GOLDMAN'S FATHER: If our efforts for all these years of pushing him drove him to commit burglary, armed burglary, armed robbery in Vegas, if that pushed him over the edge, great. Put him where he belongs.
MATTINGLY: Listening closely to the Goldmans, they never actually used the phrase today that justice had been done but they said they were satisfied with the judge's ruling. And, Campbell, they said it does not bring them any sense of closure.
BROWN: Yes, probably not at this stage. David Mattingly for us tonight. David, thanks.
Coming up, our legal expert, Jeffrey Toobin. Lisa Bloom also going to be here. They weigh in. Did Simpson finally get what he deserved?
But on a much happier note, we've been sharing letters that kids across the country have written to President-elect Obama. Tonight, we are going to talk to a 6-year-old who got a letter from Barack Obama.
BROWN: After 40 years in the spotlight, this may be the last we will see of O.J. Simpson for a long, long time. Take another look in a Las Vegas courtroom today. Just before a sentencing, Simpson's surprised everybody by making a statement and he actually apologized.
O.J. SIMPSON, DEFENDANT: In no way did I mean to hurt anybody, to steal anything from anyone. I spoke to Bruce before I left the room. He told me what was his. And I called him and I got to the car and said exactly what do you have, I want to send it back to you.
I talked to the police officers. I volunteered immediately to come back. Show them what was taken and tell them what took place. Before anybody talked to the police, I was the first guy that volunteered to do it. And I heard on the tapes that they thought I was stupid for doing it.
But I didn't want to steal anything from anybody. I don't think anybody did say I wanted anybody else's stuff. Just my own. I wanted my -- my daughter, Miss Brown gave her -- her mother's wedding ring. Stolen.
You know, my kids have pictures. My oldest son has his own family now. He wanted the picture in the Oval Office with Gerald Ford when he was 5 years old. Stolen. All of these things are gone. My family knew what was gone (ph).
And I don't want to hurt Bruce. I don't want to hurt any of these guys. I know these guys. These guys have eaten in my home.
I've done book reports with their kids. I sang (ph) to their mothers when they were sick. No, I wasn't there to hurt anybody. I just wanted my personal things and I realize now I was stupid.
I am sorry. I didn't mean to steal anything from anybody. And I didn't know I was doing anything illegal.
BROWN: And despite that performance, the judge sent him away for up to 33 years, although he could be up for parole I think in as few as nine.
We want to bring back a pair of veteran Simpson watchers. Lisa Bloom is the anchor of truTV's "In Session." And CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin literally wrote the book about the Simpson murder case. It is called "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson."
I know you're so happy to be revisiting this.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Such vintage O.J. though. That was so great.
BROWN: So --
TOOBIN: That was so classic.
BROWN: The judge insists that this sentence is based purely on the case has nothing do with the murders. What did you think? I mean, does the sentence fit the crime?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, my whole problem with this case is that I'm not sure the charge fit the crime. Certainly the sentence was in the range of what people who are convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping in Nevada get. So I don't think the judge made a legal mistake. Much as I think O.J. is a horrible murderer, this case did seem to me a little bit overcharged by the prosecutors given what went on.
BROWN: And you think he got off easy. LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": Yes. He got the low range of the sentencing guidelines in Nevada. He could have gotten life. In fact, his attorneys today said after the sentence, they were relieved. They were expecting last night he's going to get life in prison.
TOOBIN: Oh, but that's lawyers saying oh, what a good job we did.
BLOOM: No, I disagree. I disagree. Lawyers usually say, you know, we expect him to get the low range because that's what he deserves. He has no criminal record. That's what they argue.
BROWN: So how much do you think time he'll actually serve?
BLOOM: He's going to have to serve nine years minimum because he has a weapons enhancement in Nevada. Like most states, there's a weapons enhancement and he's part of a conspiracy that brought guns into the room.
And you know, when you see that performance, what's really telling, Campbell, is the stony-faced spectators behind him. He might be getting choked up. Nobody else is crying. Any tears for O.J. Simpson.
TOOBIN: The other thing that was so interesting about that is he was apologizing, but the only person he felt sorry for was himself.
TOOBIN: He didn't admit he did anything wrong.
BROWN: That's what I was going to ask you.
BLOOM: He caused a heart attack to one of the victims.
BROWN: He's delusional, isn't he?
TOOBIN: Self pity is a classic O.J. thing and delusional. And this maniacal (ph) talking, talking and all the facts and Gerald Ford's taking pictures, all these irrelevant things that he thinks are relevant, that is exactly the way he explains his involvement in the murder and similarly divorced from reality.
BLOOM: Can I just say, how dare he mention Nicole Brown Simpson, who he's now written a book confessing not only how he killed her but why he killed her? And a civil jury found him guilty of that. A criminal jury acquitted him. But to bring her in to this sentencing and talk about rings that were hers, that was supposed to go to his children, I just think was really inappropriate and offensive.
TOOBIN: Well, and after that, the other great where he says, these people ate in my house. How could I -- how could I -- how could I harm them?
BLOOM: Yes. That's for defense.
TOOBIN: He also killed the mother of his children. So I mean, the idea that he couldn't --
BLOOM: But stealing from your friends is not a defense. Armed robbery and burglary, as long as your friends are the victims, that's not a defense. I mean, it's just crazy ramblings today.
BROWN: So is this the last we're going to hear? I mean, are there possible -- I don't know. What could happen legally?
TOOBIN: You know what, there are --
BROWN: Are we done with O.J. for once and for all?
TOOBIN: And defendants almost always use appeal -- lose appeals. And I know Lisa "maximum" Bloom will disagree with me about this.
But I actually think that he has some chance of winning at least on the sentence in this case.
TOOBIN: Because -- because this case is not a classic armed robbery or a classic kidnapping. And I think some appeals court judges might say, you know, this is too tied in to who this is and this case wouldn't have been charged this way.
BROWN: Prosecutors were charging him for the murder.
TOOBIN: See I told you.
BLOOM: I still think it's for the murder because the Nevada Supreme Court has already ruled on a kidnapping case that was very similar. Kidnapping doesn't have to be taking a stranger from point A to point B. It can be luring people to somewhere where they wouldn't have gone otherwise. So I don't see that.
You know, as for an appeal, his attorneys have said they're going to appeal the fact that it was all-white jury. They may gain some traction on that. There were two African-American alternates. So out of the 18 in the pool, more than 10 percent were African-American which is more than the jury pool in that population.
So I don't see that really gaining any traction but it could. It could, because some African-Americans were excluded from the jury. If it gets anywhere on appeal, I think it will be a mad issue.
BROWN: Can you believe we're still talking about this? How many years have gone by?
BLOOM: Yes. And nine years we've been talking about it again. TOOBIN: You know, I just -- I hope. (INAUDIBLE) My goodness.
Well, the other thing that he has, I mean, going for him, I don't know if that's the right term, he's 61 years old.
TOOBIN: There are not many people in their 60s in prison, and they tend to be released if they are eligible to be released. Because that's just not how prisons function. So in nine years.
TOOBIN: But nine years is a long time.
BROWN: It's a long time. All right.
We got to leave it there. Lisa Bloom and Jeff Toobin, thanks guys.
BLOOM: Thanks, Campbell.
BROWN: I know you enjoyed revisiting that.
Coming up, tonight's "Dear Mr. President" letter from a 6-year- old who plans to run for the White House himself one day. He even got some advice from President-elect Obama.
BROWN: If you were wondering, no, we didn't forget our nightly "Dear Mr. President" letter. For the past month, children around the country have been sharing the letters they're writing to President- elect Obama. And tonight, we have something very special.
The story of 6-year-old Jonathan Minor of South Orange, New Jersey, starts not with a letter to Obama but a letter from him. Almost two years ago, Jonathan and his dad, Mark, were watching then Senator Barack Obama announce in Springfield, Illinois, he would be running for president. Jonathan told his father hey, he looks like me. And added that some day he'd like to run for president, too.
Well, that inspired the family to send the senator a letter that was answered. And let me read you part of Obama's reply.
"Dear Jonathan, your father tells me you want to run for president of the United States one day. Such determination and interest in politics at your young age is quite impressive and I encourage you to follow your dreams. As you grow up, I hope you remember you can and should try to make the world a better place at every opportunity."
Well, now, two years later, Jonathan has written a new letter addressed this time to President-elect Obama and he is here with me right now to read it.
OK, Jonathan. Take it away.
JONATHAN MINOR, AGE 6: Dear President-elect Obama. Congratulations. You are the first African-American president. I wish you luck on your journey.
Did you want to be president when you were in first grade? From Jonathan Minor, your biggest fan. P.S., I'll see you at the inauguration.
BROWN: So you really might see him at the inauguration, right?
BROWN: You're going to go, huh?
MINOR: Yes, I am.
BROWN: Wow. That's pretty exciting. Are you looking forward to it?
BROWN: What if you run into President-elect Obama? What would you say to him?
MINOR: I would say my name is Jonathan Minor. My dad wrote the letter to you and then you wrote a letter back to me. And then I am going to write you a letter.
BROWN: So you're like pen pals now.
BROWN: Kind of, huh?
MINOR: Kind of.
BROWN: What did your friends at school say when you told them that you got a letter from Barack Obama?
MINOR: Oh --
BROWN: Did they believe you?
BROWN: They did?
BROWN: Were they excited? Were they surprised?
MINOR: They were surprised.
BROWN: Jonathan, thank you.
MINOR: You're welcome.
BROWN: Have a good weekend.
MINOR: Thank you.
BROWN: And that's it from all of us tonight. Have a great weekend, everybody.
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