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Legal Circus Begins Over Anna Nicole`s Death; Which GOP Candidates Have a Shot?; Web Site Resells Wedding Rings
Aired February 14, 2007 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, HOST: Hi. I`m Michael Smerconish from Philly in for my friend Glenn Beck, who`s under the weather.
The Anna Nicole Smith saga getting more bizarre by the second. Here`s the latest, and pay attention. You might need a scorecard.
Two of the men who claim to be the father of Anna Nicole`s baby, Larry Birkhead and Howard K. Stern, are now fighting over Anna Nicole`s body. Birkhead petitioned a Broward County, Florida, court yesterday, asking that Anna Nicole`s remains be preserved for DNA testing, enforcing a previous California court order.
Today the Florida judge ruled on Birkhead`s behalf. Then, a California judge lifted the order, saying that enough DNA was collected and the body should be buried in a timely manner. Now, the case is back in a Florida court with arguments to resume tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the half a billion dollar baby at the center of all this, 5-month-old Dannielynn, has been ordered by yet another judge to remain in the Bahamas for the time being because more DNA might be needed. This is good news, sort of, for Anna Nicole`s mother, Virgie Arthur, who also wants custody of Dannielynn.
Here`s the point tonight. I know it sounds terribly callous, but Dannielynn will actually be better of without her mother, Anna Nicole.
And here`s how I get there. It`s a horrible assessment, I know, and offered so close to her mom`s death. I`m sure it`s in the worst of taste, but nobody is saying it, so I`ve got to say it. We all know someone not cut out to be a parent. Anna Nicole Smith was in that category. And despite the money she`ll inherit her daughter was just a member of the unlucky sperm club. And who knows? Maybe her future just changed for the better.
To put it even more bluntly, Mom was a glamour seeking druggy in a world of misfits and wannabes. Her son was already a victim of that world. Maybe the baby would have been next. Here`s hoping the child comes out of the money grubbing paternity circus that`s already started in the hands of a court-appointed guardian who can remove her from an environment where old geezers marry porn stars with inflated breasts, where Methadone and Slimfast are more plentiful in the fridge than O.J. and where the question of "Who`s your daddy?" requires more work than the 9/11 Commission.
So, how will this sad, creepy and tragic tale end? I don`t know. But helping me sort it out, Lisa Bloom from Court TV and Caroline Schaeffer from "Us weekly".
Lisa, got to ask you. You have a wonderful mom in Gloria Allred. Too bad everybody can`t have a mom like Gloria Allred. What do you think of my theory that the kid is better of without that mother?
LISA BLOOM, COURT TV: I think it`s a sad and cruel thing to say even in light of what the nanny is saying now, that she was under feeding the baby to keep her sexy. It`s a terrible thing.
On the other hand, Anna Nicole was a working single mother all of her life. She never got a dime from that late husband except gifts he gave her during the marriage. Every dollar she ever made she made legitimately in legal businesses. She never committed a crime as far as we know. She never hurt anyone.
She was blasted her whole life. Why? For being a model, for having plastic surgery, for doing what she could do in this culture to make some money. I think it`s sad the lesson that...
SMERCONISH: It is sad. You know what? Let me agree with you.
BLOOM: I really do.
SMERCONISH: It is sad and it is cruel, but it`s also the truth. I mean, the truth of the matter is what -- what chance did Dannielynn -- let me just finish this.
BLOOM: Do you think all Playboy models should die? Is that what you`re saying? Do you think all porn -- she wasn`t a porn star, by the way. She was a Playboy model for a period of time.
SMERCONISH: Yes, you know. You say tomato, I say to-mah-to.
BLOOM: Then she -- then she had a reality show. Then she was a legitimate model for Lane Bryant. So yes.
SMERCONISH: Listen, what chance did this kid -- Lisa, hang on. Glenn left me in charge for a couple of minutes. What ability would this kid have had to grow up in some sense of normalcy? I mean, look at the cast of characters parading all around the funeral, for goodness sakes.
BLOOM: Well, you know, that`s not for me to judge. You know, people make different choices. As long as she`s not hurting anyone or committing a crime, I`m not going to second-guess her.
I will say this, that every dollar that she ever made was a fairly earned dollar. You and I work for a living. What`s wrong with her working for a living and making money by being in front of the cameras? She did.
SMERCONISH: Caroline -- Caroline, give me the -- give me the odds on these different characters who are emerging? Is there a hands-on favorite in terms of who the daddy is?
CAROLINE SCHAEFER, "US WEEKLY": Yes, definitely Larry Birkhead is a hands-on favorite. And many people have come forward and said that Anna Nicole Smith did tell them while she was pregnant that the dad was Larry Birkhead. And most recently, a speeding ticket came about where Larry Birkhead had said to the cop that he wrote down, you know, "My wife is in trouble. I`m going to get her."
You know, he went to doctor`s appointments with her. This wasn`t just a fling, you know. He dated her for two years. So Larry Birkhead is definitely the odds on favorite to be the dad.
SMERCONISH: Howard K. Stern, did he have that middle initial before he met Anna Nicole Smith? That`s what I`ve been wondering all this time.
SCHAEFER: Yes, he did.
SMERCONISH: He did?
SCHAEFER: Yes, he was born with it.
SMERCONISH: That`s like Lee Harvey Oswald. You`ve got to quickly distinguish yourself.
Lisa Bloom, are any of these "daddies," quote unquote, going to touch the money? I mean, isn`t that what`s driving this? And what right do they have?
BLOOM: You`re totally misunderstood about the money. She never got a dime from her late husband. What she got in the last legal battle was the Supreme Court saying that the case should be in the federal court. So she won the right to keep fighting. She never got any money. We don`t know if this baby will ever get any money. That is purely speculative.
Larry Birkhead came forward many months ago before the death of Anna Nicole, because he believes he`s the biological father. He probably is. But you know what? Other people break up during a pregnancy, take up with a new boyfriend. That doesn`t mean she deserved to die, Michael.
SMERCONISH: Take it down a notch. We`re beyond that issue. You`ve stated your case. I want to know if Dannielynn touches the money will any of those fathers touch the money.
SCHAEFER: Well, Howard K. Stern is the executive of the will. So he will probably -- you know, it`s his right to distribute the funds, as it were.
BLOOM: If there are any funds. There are no -- there are no funds right now. There`s no potential funds right now. What there is is only continued litigation that may one day result in the funds.
Howard K. Stern, by the way, in my view, is the one who behaved shamefully here, because he was a lawyer who was sleeping with his client at the time and naming himself as the executor of the will. He should be disbarred.
SMERCONISH: Wait a minute. Who are we to judge? Who are we to judge these people?
BLOOM: Lawyer ethical rules are different. I`m not wishing him dead. I`m not wishing him dead.
SMERCONISH: I got you. I got you.
All right. Caroline, tell me about this nanny. What are these new revelations about the nanny? Something about not giving Dannielynn too much formula because she wouldn`t be sexy? Come on, is that true?
SCHAEFER: Yes, it`s unbelievable. This nanny has come forward and said that basically Anna Nicole Smith did not want to give her any more than 2 and a half ounces instead of three ounces every three hours because, you know, wanted to keep the baby thin and sexy, which is just scary, you know. This is a 5-month-old baby we`re talking about.
SMERCONISH: Lisa Bloom, why is it important to get DNA from Anna Nicole`s baby?
BLOOM: Because Larry Birkhead`s attorney is concerned that there might be a baby switch, that they might get the DNA from a baby that doesn`t match with Larry Birkhead`s. Maybe it`s not the right DNA. So the baby`s DNA can be linked to Anna Nicole`s DNA, then we know we`ve got the right baby. And then Larry Birkhead`s DNA gets linked to the baby, now we`ve got a match.
SMERCONISH: So where does the battle among -- you heard me at the outset of the program talking about all this court activity around the country in a case like this where paternity is at issue. What court will trump the other, if you had to guess?
BLOOM: The Bahamas court.
SMERCONISH: Why? Why is that the case?
BLOOM: Because that`s where the baby is, and it`s a sovereign nation. They don`t have to follow American court orders. So everybody needs to go down to the Bahamas, get a Bahamian judge to order the DNA testing.
SMERCONISH: What about the mom in this case? What legal right, if any, will she have relative to Dannielynn?
BLOOM: Well, after the biological father she might have some rights. But the biological father is going to have the primary right to custody unless he is found to be unfit by a court. And then the grandmother would come in.
SCHAEFER: Yes, but at this point she is the next of kin. And so the medical examiner, I think, wants to give the body of Anna to the mom, because she wasn`t legally bound to Howard or to anybody.
BLOOM: Yes, I`m talking about the baby. Right.
SCHAEFER: The baby too.
BLOOM: As for -- as for disposal of the body, you`re right.
BLOOM: It would be the mother who would decide. Unless you`re legally married to someone, which it doesn`t seem she was.
SMERCONISH: Caroline -- Caroline, the guy that intrigues me the most is the one married to Zsa Zsa. What`s his deal?
SCHAEFER: This is very strange. He basically came out of the woodwork and said that he`d been having a ten-year affair with Anna Nicole Smith, that he met her when she was actually married to Howard Marshall and that they had been having this ongoing affair, that his marriage is Zsa Zsa is really just a friendship. It`s all very, very strange.
And you know, people close to Anna Nicole say that`s just rubbish, you know. Anna Nicole hasn`t seen this prince in years.
SMERCONISH: It`s a horrible thing to ask, but is Zsa Zsa still with us? And I hope that she is. I don`t Lisa to get more upset.
BLOOM: Yes, she is. She`s 90 years old and she`s still with us.
SMERCONISH: I mean, it`s like Lawrence Welk. I see Lawrence Welk on television. I`m never sure. Is Lawrence Welk still with us? I don`t know.
BLOOM: That just goes to show, just because somebody comes out of the woodwork and says something after somebody`s dead doesn`t make it so. Anna is not here to defend against all of these guys who were saying they might be the father. Could be they never even met her.
SMERCONISH: Yes, but on the other hand, if they all met her and if they all knew her in the sense that they claim, it tells us a little bit about her character.
BLOOM: That`s a big if. She`s not here to defend herself. She just died.
SMERCONISH: Lisa, I`ve got to say what everybody is thinking but afraid to say.
BLOOM: Not everybody is thinking that. Guess what? News break, they`re not all thinking that.
SMERCONISH: News break, they are. They`re saying, you know what? For the best interests of this child.
BLOOM: Some people have a heart for a woman who just died.
SMERCONISH: I have a heart for a woman who just died. But let me tell you something. I`ve got a bigger heart for the kid who needs a proper upbringing and she wasn`t going to get it surrounded by all these misfits and wannabes.
BLOOM: Well, you don`t know that`s who she was surrounded with. She was living with Anna, Anna`s current flame, Howard Stern.
SCHAEFER: Who may have been starving her.
BLOOM: You know, she -- well, maybe she was. Maybe she wasn`t. This is an affidavit filed by a nanny who had just been fired. Maybe it`s true. Maybe it`s not. As I say, Anna is not here to defend herself. We`re not hearing both sides.
SMERCONISH: If the nanny is correct and the kid`s formula intake was being limited to keep her sexy...
BLOOM: That`s a terrible thing.
SMERCONISH: Come on.
BLOOM: But you know what? Daniel was very close to Anna all of his life. And you could see on the reality show they had a very close relationship.
I`m a single mom. I`m very close to my kids. And I resent everybody coming out and attacking this woman after she`s dead. What she did, as far as I can tell, was worked hard in legitimate businesses, raising her son all of her life. That`s what she did.
SMERCONISH: Thank you, Lisa.
And thank you, Caroline.
Coming up, conservative voters are looking for Mr. Right. We`ll take a closer look at all the candidates.
Plus, North Korea agrees to disable its nuclear program in exchange for oil. Is this deal a disaster for the U.S.? That`s tonight`s "Real Story".
And the good news out of Iraq. I`ll bring you the heartwarming story of a soldier and a little girl. Stick around.
SMERCONISH: Valentine`s Day finally here. Ladies, if the flowers haven`t arrived and the phone`s not ringing, better luck next year. As for social conservatives they still have some time before they have to decide who to give their heart to in the race for president.
It seems that the social conservative movement, which began with Ronald Reagan and was largely responsible for the election of our current president, finds itself still without a candidate for 2008.
It seems to me that the biggest question facing the GOP as they look for Mr. Right is whether they want to run a candidate who can win primaries or a guy who can win the general election.
Let`s look at some of the leading contenders. Rudy Giuliani. He`s the man who carried New York through 9/11. But it`s a very different Rudy that`s running for president than ran New York City as its mayor.
You`ve also get Mitt Romney. Thing is, he`s a devout Mormon. I see a red flag when in just a couple of years this fellow has had a traumatic about-face on issues like abortion and gay rights.
Then there`s Senator Sam Brownback. Certainly pulls no punches when it comes to telling you exactly how he feels. But he may prove to be too conservatives even for the died in the wool conservatives.
If the social conservatives find themselves unable to commit, there`s a chance they may just stay home and end up handing the whole thing over to Hillary.
Let`s check in which someone who`s written extensively on this, Patrick Healy from the "New York Times".
Patrick, I loved your piece last Sunday in the "Times". I see the Republican Party as being at a crossroad. I mean, here`s the decision. You want somebody primary friendly, or do you want someone who can win a general election? How do you see it?
PATRICK HEALY, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, that`s the question, Michael. You know, they`ve got some really top shelf candidates here. You`ve got John McCain. You`ve got Rudy Giuliani. You`ve got Mitt Romney coming off as the governor of Massachusetts. And then you`ve got a lot of members of Congress who believe that they`ve got strong agendas.
And yet you don`t have a party that`s coalescing around any one of -- one of those people. And particularly this wing of the party, which comes out and votes so strongly in the early primaries and caucuses in 2008. They`re not uniting around anyone. They`re looking at Rudy and saying, "God, there`s a lot we don`t like about Rudy. He might be the 9/11 mayor, but no way on abortion, on gay rights."
They look at Mitt Romney and they say, "It`s John Kerry all over again. He`s a flip-flopper."
SMERCONISH: It`s funny you say that. I have this vision of the `08 convention for the D`s, where, you know, they`re handing out the flip- flops, and you know, they`re saying look at this guy on abortion and gay rights.
I have to tell you something, I would have more respect for a candidate -- this is just me talking -- who had a viewpoint with which I disagreed but who stood his or stood her ground, rather than somebody on the important issue of abortion or gay rights who all of a sudden has a -- you know, an epiphany.
HEALY: Well, that`s what Rudy Giuliani`s people are saying. You know, we`ll see what happens, but they`re insisting that Rudy will not back-track on his support for abortion rights. But he did that he`d be killed.
SMERCONISH: He`s already -- Patrick, he`s already talking, you know, strict constructionism. What does that mean other than a tip of the hat to the pro-life crowd?
Let me ask you a question that puzzles me. John McCain, and I like him very, very much. How do McCain`s numbers continue to rise at a time when support for the war dissipates, goes through the floor?
HEALY: Right. Well, he`s being identified as someone who wants victory, someone who is looking for a plan that`s going to work as opposed to, as Republicans have said, cutting and running. You know, that he`s trying to telegraph strength and new ideas.
It`s going to be very hard, though. He`s so closely associated with President Bush. A lot of Republicans say, some of the opponents say. And he`s closely associated with the surge plan. You know, down in Washington every week he`s grilling generals about what they need, what more do they need.
By summertime if this thing is falling apart in Iraq, there are going to be a lot of Republicans who say, you know, "I`m going to blame George Bush, but I`m also going to blame John McCain."
SMERCONISH: Well, conversely, though, if the situation goes to hell in a hand basket, and if it`s now 2008, can`t John McCain stand up and say, "You know, I told you from the get-go we needed more troops. Had they listened to me we wouldn`t be in this quagmire"?
HEALY: He could say that. The thing is that his opponents and the media is going to be picking apart every statement that he`s made along the way on this. And if John McCain, Mr. Straight Talker, starts looking like a zigzagger on Iraq, basically being with the surge when it was good and then being critical of the surge when it wasn`t working, it could be a problem.
SMERCONISH: Right. "I was for the surge before I was against it."
Here`s something else I want to run by you. The notion that, well, you know, if the social conservatives don`t get someone they`re comfortable with, they`re going to stay home. Are you kidding me?
If Hillary is the candidate for the Democratic Party is anybody -- I mean, liberal, communist, independent, conservative, because the passions run so deep. Who in the world is staying home if she heads that ticket?
HEALY: You know, Michael, we`ll see. I mean, there`s some -- there have been Republicans out in Iowa -- this is strong language. But Republicans out in Iowa who say if it comes down to Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton, why in the world am I going to sacrifice my principals and vote for, what they said, their word, a baby killer like Rudy Giuliani rather than just stay at home and deal with four years of Mrs. Clinton? Let the country suffer under her, and four years later the social conservatives will rally and nominate someone they like. They`re very -- they`re very frustrated with this idea of accommodation.
SMERCONISH: But this is my party that we`re talking about, so that my cards are on the table. I`m tired of all the deference being given to the James Dobsons and the Bill Frists of the party and the Jerry Falwells and the Pat Robertsons. Because I think what you do is you alienate suburban America, folks who are pro-choice.
HEALY: Yes, but they don`t vote. They don`t vote, and their influence on the primaries and the caucuses is much less, for better or for worse, because of the schedules they have, than those Iowa Republicans who I was just referencing. And those are folks who like Jerry Falwell quite a bit.
SMERCONISH: Now you`re back to where we started. We`re at the cross roads for the GOP. You want to win primaries, you want to do well in South Carolina or you want the whole prize?
SMERCONISH: One last thing. I had a graphic created just to make the point that Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, all with interest in running for president. I maintain if it were a quiz, that most Americans -- and frankly, I`d have some difficulty and I`m a political junkie -- could not match the name with the photograph.
There`s a whole second tier of candidates that`s out there. I guess that`s my point.
HEALY: Yes, that`s right.
SMERCONISH: Can anybody break through?
HEALY: Is there a Reagan -- is there a Reagan among them? It`s hard to see.
Look, the Republican Party has a long history of nominating the front runner, the one who`s turn it is.
HEALY: It`s going to be hard to argue if Sam Brownback doesn`t have any money and not a lot of people listening that there`s some way that he`s going to break through history and get the nomination. But we`ll see.
SMERCONISH: All right, man. Good stuff. Thank you, Patrick.
HEALY: Thank you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: We`ll be back in just a minute.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Alone on Valentine`s Day? Then why not download Glenn`s new podcast? He`ll make you think twice about every celebrating Valentine`s Day again. Just go to CNN.com/podcasts or iTunes. Then download Glenn`s podcast, "Sick, Twisted Freak".
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Hey, guys, this may be a downer to bring up on Valentine`s Day, but just because she said she`d marry you doesn`t mean she won`t change her mind. But once "I do" turns into "I don`t think so," what do you do with the ring? That is, if she`ll give it back?
Sadly, this happens more often than you`d think. So much so, that Joshua Opperman has started I Do... Now I Don`t. It`s a web site where people can buy and sell sort of used engagement rings.
And Josh, that scenario that I just laid out, a version of that happened to you, right?
JOSH OPPERMAN, I DO... NOW I DON`T: Yes, correct. I was engaged myself. I come home, to make a long story short, the engagement ring is just left on the table and my -- all her stuff is cleared out of the apartment. And I`m devastated over this.
SMERCONISH: So now the issue became how do you sell the ring, right?
OPPERMAN: Exactly. I tried to go back to my jeweler to sell the ring, and they only wanted to give me 32 percent back. You know, I spent my life savings on this. You know, I can`t take a big loss like that.
SMERCONISH: Oh, man. We`ve got to get you a woman. Are you all right now?
OPPERMAN: Yes, I`m actually -- you know, I`m dating someone right now.
SMERCONISH: I`ve often heard it said, and I think you`re confirming this, that these engagement rings are like cars. You know, the minute you drive off the lot, the thing has decreased incredibly so in value. So it`s the same with diamond rings.
OPPERMAN: Exactly. Same way. Except I think it decreases more.
SMERCONISH: Are they tainted stones? Aren`t they, like, hexed? I mean, like, if the next one that you`re going to give it to, the next female that you`re going to, you know, odd the odds (ph) to, if she finds out this is a used ring that went south before, I don`t know if that`s going to work.
OPPERMAN: Well, I don`t think that`s such a big deal to some people. Someone`s bad luck could be someone else`s good luck.
SMERCONISH: Glass half full. Or you just don`t tell her. You know?
OPPERMAN: Yes. You don`t have to tell her. Also, you know, say you sell your ring back to a jewelry store. I guarantee that they take the diamond out and you can be buying someone else`s ring and you just don`t know it.
SMERCONISH: You know what? That`s true. I mean, they never crush the stones. Right?
SMERCONISH: Chances are that ring has be on somebody`s finger at some point. And I never thought of that.
SMERCONISH: What do they go for on the web site? How much will someone have to spend?
OPPERMAN: So far, I`ve been seeing this -- you`ll probably get 50 to 60 percent of your value. But we have rings on there from $600 to $19,000. So it goes all ranges.
SMERCONISH: And then what`s the house cut? What`s the big?
OPPERMAN: We only take 5 percent of the ring.
SMERCONISH: And then the reaction among jewelers? I`m sure they`re not too thrilled to see you`ve entered the marketplace, so to speak?
OPPERMAN: You know, actually, some jewelers didn`t mind this. They don`t get that much. You know, most of them don`t, you know, sell back the ring anyway. But yes, I guess I`m taking away some business from the jewelry business.
SMERCONISH: There`s always that battle: who gets the ring? Is it hers to keep? Is it -- you know, is it the guy who gave it to her? And that goes on and on. It always gets litigated.
Look, we thought it was important to have you here with this very happy Valentine`s Day story. So thank you, Joshua.
OPPERMAN: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: We`ll be back right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Why have Glenn read your hate mail when you can tell him to his face?
GLENN BECK, HOST: Bring it on, brother.
ANNOUNCER: Turn on your camera, say it like you mean it, then upload the video to CNN.com/Glenn.
SMERCONISH: Hey, welcome back to "The Real Story."
You`ve probably heard by now that we`ve lost another dear member of the axis of evil family that was right in the prime of their evil. That`s right. North Korea has apparently now joined Iraq in retirement, leaving Iran as the sole surviving member of the evil club.
According to chief U.S. negotiator Christopher Hill, the deal involves the U.S. providing North Korea with massive quantities of oil, in exchange for them beginning to disable their nuclear program.
But the real story is that this deal has implications far beyond just North Korea. In 2002, the president said they are, I quote, "a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction while starving its citizens." And he followed that up in 2003 by saying, "We will," quote, "not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea."
But in the year since those comments, North Korea hasn`t exactly been waving the white flag. Last July 4th, they test-launched short and long- range missiles. And then, in October, they unleashed their grand finale by testing a nuclear bomb.
Now, I can just hear Glenn saying, "Isn`t this agreement sending a message to other countries, a bad message, like you`re going to get a sweet deal out of us if only you push us to the brink first?"
Bruce Klingner is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, former deputy chief of the CIA`s Korea Issue Group.
Bruce, how did this come to pass? I thought we weren`t negotiating with North Korea.
BRUCE KLINGNER, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Well, we weren`t. And just recently, though, there appears to be a shift in U.S. policy. Chris Hill met bilaterally with Kim Gye Gwan, his counterpart, in Berlin, and that laid the groundwork for the Beijing agreement. So I think there has been a significant shift in the U.S. policy.
SMERCONISH: Well, so isn`t the big picture lesson perhaps -- and I`m now thinking of the Iraq Study Group report -- that maybe we should talk to Iran, maybe we should talk to Syria. What do we have to lose with chatting with our enemies?
KLINGNER: Well, I think engaging is one thing, but one has to maintain the principles and maintain a sense of resoluteness in confronting North Korea, in this case, if it has violated its previous commitments.
SMERCONISH: Is there a dangerous precedent here? I mean, I was thinking aloud of what Glenn`s take might be on this issue. Is that how you see it?
KLINGNER: Yes. I mean, we`re all hopeful that this agreement will lead to a final agreement that will be a totally denuclearized North Korea, not only its plutonium program, but its uranium program, as well, including all the existing weapons.
But along the way, it does appear it may be sending a signal to North Korea, as well as others, that if you do raise the tensions enough, the U.S. may be willing to come providing benefits in order to get those countries to denuclearize.
SMERCONISH: So apply that lesson, as you see it, to what`s going on with Iran.
KLINGNER: Well, Tehran may take comfort from the agreement depending on how it plays out, in that, if they raise the tension enough, then the U.S. may come back and offer better terms.
SMERCONISH: Or an alternative might be, if only we would talk to the Iranians, maybe we can get them to stand down in the same way that it looks like it`s just happened with the North Koreans.
Let me tell you what I don`t like about this. Senator Specter was recently on my radio program, and he was on his way to Syria. And he told me a story about how initially the White House said, "Oh, don`t go to Syria." And then when he said, "No, I am going to Syria," they said, "Oh, well, would you be on the lookout for this, that and the other thing? And would you be sure to mention this? And then see what their reaction is to that."
I mean, the reality is they were keenly interested to know what`s on the mind of the Syrians. And, to me, it says we should have dialogue, more not less.
KLINGNER: Right. Well, I think this agreement -- different people will take different lessons. Some will see that U.S. flexibility and U.S. engagement led to progress in these six-party talks.
Others will see that the U.S.-led international sanctions against Pyongyang, which generated pressure on North Korea, was what forced North Korea back to the negotiating table. So I think, as we move forward to these follow-on working groups, if the U.S. maintains a strong sense of resolution against giving away too much, that, you know, we can salvage the end results.
SMERCONISH: Boy, given your CIA background relative to Korea, I`ll bet you could write the book on Kim Jong Il. And if you do, I`d like to read it. The guy`s a character, huh?
KLINGNER: Right, yes.
SMERCONISH: All right, Bruce, thank you.
Now to the other former axis of evil member, Iraq. Last October, I traveled to the Iraq-Kuwait border as a guest of the Pentagon and heard the same thing over and over again from the troops that I met there.
Why isn`t the media at home showing the good news, you know, the positive things that are happening here in Iraq? Well, tonight, I`d like to do just that, starting with a piece that Glenn originally put together last fall.
BECK (voice-over): Hardly a day goes by that you don`t read another headline or see another news report about how bad things are in Iraq. "The people don`t want us there!" they say. "Too many solders are dying!"
Well, maybe some of that`s true: Things are tough in Iraq. After all, it`s not easy to put a country of 25 million people back together after decades of war and neglect. But maybe there`s another side to the story, a side the media doesn`t talk much about because the headlines just aren`t as sensational as death and destruction, a side our troops on the ground see every day with their eyes and every night in their dreams, but that you probably don`t even know exists.
The real story about Iraq can be found in the eyes of the children, 98 percent of whom have been vaccinated for diseases like polio or who are attending one of the 4,500 schools that have been rebuilt and restocked with over 8 million textbooks by coalition forces.
You can also see it in the bravery and patriotism of the 19,000 newly trained members of the elite Iraqi special police force, and the 18,000 border agents who are now protecting Iraq`s border with Syria, or the amazing progress of Iraq`s economy, where over 33,000 new businesses have started up since the end of the war.
The real story can even be seen in places you`d never even think to look, like the fact, under Saddam, virtually no one had even heard of a cell phone. Today, there are over 5 million users.
You can find the real story in the fact that 25 percent of the Iraqi parliament is made up of women, the highest proportion in the Arab world, or you could find it in the fact that freedom of speech isn`t a dream anymore. Over 150 newspaper and TV shows discuss political events freely, and campaign posters are displayed in almost every major city.
But perhaps the most telling example of all can be found in the story of the governor of the Anbar province. In just one year`s time, he`s survived 30 assassination attempts. His home endured attacks from grenades, mortar shells, and machine gun fire almost daily. His 13-year- old son was kidnapped right from school.
But every morning, without a second thought, the governor gets up, puts on a suit, and goes to work. When asked why he would risk his life every day for the sake of a job, his answer was plain and profound: "There`s nothing greater than serving my country."
And that is the real story.
SMERCONISH: Since Glenn first ran that piece, he`s been overwhelmed with e-mails from folks, many of them troops in Iraq, who wanted him to hear their inspiring stories, as well. And, tonight, I`d like to share with you one of those.
Take a look at this photo. It was taken last fall in Iraq. The soldier is Chief Master Sergeant John Gebhardt with the 22nd Wing Medical Group, and he`s here right now to tell us the remarkable story behind that photograph.
Chief, you worked with the American Air Force Theater Hospital. How did that picture come to be?
CHIEF MASTER SGT. JOHN GEBHARDT, U.S. AIR FORCE: Well, thank you for having me on. That photo was taken just as a small, everyday occurrence that happens over in a lot of Iraq. A nurse, Captain Jason Crosby (ph), who was the head nurse on that ward that night, allowed me -- or I had an opportunity to hold and comfort the baby, because she rested easier with people.
And I think the captain set me up a little bit, because after I fell asleep in the chair with her, he took a picture, and he e-mailed it to me, and made fun of the fact that the chief was sleeping on the job again.
SMERCONISH: Hey, it`s a beautiful photo. There`s no shame in what you were doing.
SMERCONISH: Are Iraqi civilians on similar footing as American soldiers, in other words, in the way in which they`re treated in the hospital setting?
GEBHARDT: Exactly the same. There`s no difference in the health care that they receive. If there`s anything that an American soldier received, the great medics, and nurses, and staff over there provide the same health care to our coalition forces and Iraqi civilians who sometimes are just hurt in automobile accidents in different ways that would normally happen. Not all severe injuries are a result of the war. But if it affects their life, limb or eyesight, they receive world-class health care.
SMERCONISH: So, Chief, what`s the background on the family of the infant?
GEBHARDT: Well, I don`t really know exactly, other than the hearsay. And at the time, I understand, after I sent the photo to my wife, she asked what the background was, and I went and asked.
And the family apparently -- and I don`t know why exactly -- but apparently the insurgents executed everyone in the family, shot them all in the head, as you can see in the photo what happened to the child. And they all eventually died. Three of them came to the hospital and received the health care, and the mother and the older brother eventually succumbed to their injuries. But the surgeons were able to save this young child. She`s...
SMERCONISH: Hey, it`s a side of what`s going on in Iraq that`s not often seen, you know, the delicate side of our soldiers and what they`re doing for the Iraqi civilians, regardless of what folks about the end game with Iraq. And so I congratulate you, Chief Gebhardt, for your service, and I thank you for being here.
We`ll be back in just a moment.
SMERCONISH: Illegal immigration is a problem in this country that`s only getting bigger, so much so that many cities and states have proposed legislation to make English their official language. While it`s already a hot-button issue from Arizona to Pennsylvania, the mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, stirred things up this week by vetoing a measure that would have made English the official language.
It was a measure that passed Nashville`s metro council by a margin of nearly two to one. Defending his decision, Mayor Bill Purcell said, "If this ordinance becomes law, Nashville will become a less safe, less friendly, less successful city. And as mayor, I can`t allow that to happen."
One man who sees it another way is Councilman Eric Crafton. He introduced the measure.
Councilman, is this all about grandstanding and grabbing headlines? Or was there a practical effect to what you were trying to do?
ERIC CRAFTON, COUNCILMAN, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: Yes, there really is a practical effect. First of all, you know, this measure, the English- first measure, is constituent-driven. I can`t tell you how many people have come up and asked for this.
I think it shows a lot of pent-up frustration because of the state of affairs. So when you look at the practical effect of it, basically it says that Nashville`s government`s business will be done in English. And if not in English, then, you know, what language should we do it in?
SMERCONISH: Well, what language are you doing it now? In other words, if I come in for some municipal service, am I going to get forms in Spanish?
CRAFTON: Well, you may, but the one thing that you have to look at is you have to look at the future. Yes, we`re doing most things in English now, but, you know, we want to make sure that that continues to happen in the future, as well. You know, you have states like California and others who actually have translators now in their state legislature.
SMERCONISH: If I call the -- it`s funny, because I`ve got an 18-year- old down there at Vanderbilt. If I were to call the Nashville City Council, do you have one of those prompts were I have to hit one or two for English?
CRAFTON: You have it on several things, like NES, or Nashville Gas, or, you know, different things.
But one thing I want to say is, I don`t want this to be the red herring of being mean-spirited or this type of argument to be used. Basically, when you`re doing the government`s business, you know, we want it to be done in English. When you`re talking about, you know, welcome signs to Nashville, we don`t mind that being in other languages.
If you`re talking about helping people go to the doctor or receive health care, we already translate that for them in other languages. So we want to be helpful. Nashville is a great city. We have so much to offer. It is a welcoming place.
SMERCONISH: But, you know, you also don`t want to coddle folks who were refusing to learn English as their primary language, despite the fact that they`re now living in this country. I mean, to me -- look, I`m on your side. I just wanted to play devil`s advocate, but I think that`s what this is all about. Some folks need to have a fire lit under their fannies so that they learn the English language. And in the long term, we`re doing them a favor.
CRAFTON: You`re exactly right. You know, if you don`t push people to learn the English language when you`re here in the United States, basically you`re dooming them to a life of economic slavery and being stuck on a lower strata of economic development.
You know, to be woven into the community`s common fabric, you have to learn English. And, unfortunately, those that are opposing English being the official language of Nashville are, if you look at who those people are, they`re special interest groups, mainly activists and lawyers, who want to be the gatekeepers of information.
SMERCONISH: Yes, I hear you.
CRAFTON: You know, so...
SMERCONISH: Hey, Councilman, you know what occurs to me? I`m having this conversation with you, and you`re in Tennessee. You`re not in Arizona. You`re not in California. You`re not in Texaco -- in Texaco? In Texas. You better not be in Texaco.
In other words, illegal immigration, because that`s really what this is about, illegal immigration is everywhere in the heartland. It`s not just an issue for the border states. I mean, we`ve got issues in Pennsylvania, which is where I`m from. You`ve probably heard of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, with a similar campaign under way. As a local legislator, what`s your message for Washington?
CRAFTON: Well, you know, you`ve brought up a great point. And the reason why this legislation is so important, if nothing else, I think it restores the confidence to the average voter of the political process in showing that politicians can listen to what their wishes are and bring those forward.
And, hopefully, if this can pass via a referendum, that hopefully Washington and the politicians there will get the message that, sooner or later, they`re going to have to start listening to what people say. They work at the pleasure of the people. And if the people choose, they can remove them from office. And that`s what people need to do.
SMERCONISH: It makes sense to me. I mean, my own view, for what it`s worth, is the borders are porous, and they need to be shut down, and then we need to determine what we`re going to do with the 10 million or 12 million folks who here illegally. Thanks, Eric.
CRAFTON: Thank you.
SMERCONISH: Time now to check in with Nancy Grace to see what she`s got coming up on the show tonight -- Nancy?
NANCY GRACE, CNN HOST: Tonight, more breaking news on emergency hearings following the death of cover girl Anna Nicole Smith. Not only are family and legal executors claiming her body, now dueling courts from California to Florida weigh in.
A Florida judge orders her body to remain refrigerated at a Florida morgue, while California orders it released. And at this hour, it appears embalming will take place under such tight security the body won`t even be moved to a funeral home. Instead, embalmers coming there to the medical examiner.
And who will claim Anna Nicole for burial? Even the courts don`t know that yet. And while all the parties slug it out in court, who`s taking care of the little girl at the heart of the controversy? Five-month-old Dannielynn is set to inherit $4.75 million.
And, tonight, was an 8-year-old boy punished to death for not praying hard enough during an online church service?
SMERCONISH: Don`t forget: You can check Nancy out at 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. Eastern.
SMERCONISH: So this is the part of the show where Glenn usually answers some of his viewer letters and e-mails. And he asked if I wouldn`t mind helping out with that. Here goes.
Randy from Scotland, Ontario, writes, "Dear Glenn, Headline News has been taken away from me by the cable company. I complained to them, and they told me that I could have the channel back for seven bucks a month. Is this some left-wing, liberal conspiracy?"
Well, Randy, while it might seem like a left-wing conspiracy -- after all, you are in Canada -- there`s actually a rational explanation for the seven-dollar surcharge. And here`s where your money is going: 17 percent goes to Glenn`s breakfast budget. Burger King has just come out with their new cheesy tots. Those are tater tots that are stuffed with cheddar cheese. Glenn`s a big fan. He`s up to almost 90 tots a day, and it adds up.
Forty-four percent goes to various facial moisturizers and cleansers. Glenn is very proud of his creamy, delicate skin. He`ll do whatever it takes to keep it that way.
Five percent to shipping and handling. I have no idea what that means. And, of course, 34 percent goes to the Glenn Beck Legal Defense Fund.
Jodie from Allentown, Pennsylvania, writes, "Glenn, I`ve watched you a few times now. I won`t again."
Jodie, Glenn wants you to know that he respects your opinion, and he understands that his show may not be for you. However, it`s too bad you`re not watching the show tonight, because you`ll never know that your letter was just read on national television.
Glenn also wants you and your neighbors to know that he loves the song "Allentown" by Billy Joel. We`d play it for you right now, but we can`t afford the rights.
And, finally, Stacy from Canton, Michigan, writes, "Dear Glenn, are you the father of Nicole`s baby?"
SMERCONISH: Well, Stacy, that`s a disturbing mental image that you`ve just conjured up. Honestly, I don`t know the answer. I`m the new guy. But I will say this. Glenn is not here tonight, and he was allegedly spotted on his way to the Bahamas. Coincidence? Tune in tomorrow night, and find out for yourself. For Glenn Beck, I`m Michael Smerconish from Philly. Good night.