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Iowa Caucuses and What They Mean to You
Aired January 3, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.
Iowa`s Republican presidential battle - one state, six contenders and the biggest job in the world. Who are these folks as people? Why do they want the world`s toughest job, and why should we trust them?
And later, Casey Anthony, you may have heard of her. The crime that rocked a community, the verdict that shocked the nation. Star Prosecutor Jeff Ashton and Star Witness Dr. G. are here getting to the bottom of questions still unanswered until tonight.
We`re live. Let`s get started.
Good evening. And Happy New Year. We`re coming to you live tonight.
And we want to talk to you about the breaking news in Iowa. In fact, we may get interrupted if something really interesting comes through.
So want to break this down a bit tonight. What do the caucuses and the presidential race really mean to you, to me, to all of us? How do we make sense of these people?
There are six candidates after the votes tonight. Jon Huntsman sitting it out. Take a look at this and then we`ll talk.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The race for the GOP presidential nomination still up in the air, but the first high-stakes contest that could shape the race for the White House, it is finally here. We`re talking about the Iowa caucuses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If this is a horse race, it`s Mitt Romney leading by a nose.
MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to win this thing -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s Ron Paul trying to make it a photo finish.
RON PAUL, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They say that we were in first place.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s Rick Santorum surging from the rear.
RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that we`re the best alternative out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Candidates have spoken and now Iowa caucus goers are going to be able to speak themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The voters will meet in town halls, schools, even living rooms. Each candidate must meet a certain percentage of support in the room in order to be viable.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll see democracy unfold in Iowa tonight.
PINSKY: Now, tonight I want to see if we can take a little bit of a different approach and not discuss political policy. Head on over to many other channels to hear that if you want to hear about that.
I want to talk about who the guys are, what you`re looking for, what are you not looking for in a presidential candidate. We actually took that question to the streets. You`ll want to see this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, money does. I mean, in our current system, money is what`s making them electable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone that actually wants to do something and they`re not just talking and they just don`t want to get elected. They actually want to improve our society.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Someone who inspires confidence. Someone who, you know, someone who inspires a good world image.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need more people to be about how we can benefit each other collectively versus, oh, I want my little piece of the pie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being really old. I don`t like the idea that they could just drop dead during office.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That somebody that`s just talking and not actually coming from a real desire to create change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A person that absolutely says that`s not on the table. That`s not even a discuss - a point for discussion. That turns me off.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think dishonesty.
PINSKY: All right. Let`s take a look at these candidates and what makes them think they are the one to be our next president.
Joining me to discuss this, Andrew Breitbart, he is a conservative political writer; Mary Smith is the former Chair of the Denver County Republican Party; Keli Goff is a political analyst.
Keli, I`m going to start with you. Now, we hear about affairs and they tell us to read their lips. There will be no new taxes. And there were weapons of mass destruction except there weren`t. The question I have to you, Kelly, is should we expect to trust any of these candidates, and is there anybody we can trust to do this job?
KELI GOFF, POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as the great philosopher one Judge Judy has often said of teenagers, how do you know when they`re telling a lie? Their mouths are moving. And that`s sort of the case with politicians, unfortunately. And I don`t even think it`s malicious or intentional at all times, but it`s impossible to make a pledge like there will be no new taxes because the president has very little control over certain things like that because there`s this little body of government known as Congress that you have to work with on a bunch of things.
So that`s kind of the reality of what we get. That being said, Dr. Drew, honesty still is very important to voters. And so -
GOFF: -- while they may be willing to - to look aside, if a policy thing gets forced down a politician`s throat, they do look at things like, you know, are you honest with your family? Are you honest with your wife? Are you a hypocrite?
Things like that do ultimately matter to voters, and we`re seeing that with part of what Newt Gingrich`s problems are. You know, voters don`t expect a politician to be perfect, but they also don`t expect them to be hypocritical. And that`s sort of I think one of the problems that we saw with - with Newt Gingrich`s candidacy.
PINSKY: And please, any of the three of you ring in at any point as I`m having this conversation.
But Andrew, I`m going to go to you, because you`ve actually met some of the people. You know some of the folks that have been in these offices. And have we gone - have we - has our bureaucratic system become so bloated that it almost doesn`t matter who`s in that office in terms of them as a person? They just need to be a great administrator? Or shall we, like Keli was saying, shall we be concerned about the individual as a person?
ANDREW BREITBART, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: Well, that`s the debate that`s happening right now. I would say that there are three types of people that I`m seeing out there in Iowa. We`ve got the resume guy who`s - who`s just an overachiever extraordinaire in Mitt Romney.
BREITBART: And we`ve got ideologues -
PINSKY: People are always (ph) from law school, business school, Harvard.
BREITBART: Right. And we`ve got - we`ve got the ideologues.
BREITBART: That`s Ron Paul. I would say that also who would fit in that category a lot is Santorum and also Michele Bachmann.
PINSKY: But to some of this - you`re telling me a little bit about them as a person, a little bit about them as a thinker. I think we really do want to be led by somebody that`s a good, complete person, that is a good husband, a good father who`s someone -
Let me - Mary, I want to go to you - or Keli, or Keli if that`s you, voice I hear, please. But my question is this -
GOFF: Well, I was going to say, although -
PINSKY: Go ahead.
GOFF: -- well, although I was going to say is that we do have -
MARY SMITH, FMR. CHAIRMAN, DENVER COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: I think it`s really fascinating that I`ve me almost all of these guys.
GOFF: Oh, sorry.
SMITH: I`ve met almost all of these guys -
PINSKY: Let me - let me -
SMITH: -- and the really fascinating thing is -
SMITH: -- that as you learn about them and as you talk with them, you realize that they`re just mortals like the rest of us. They may have great resumes. They may have a really good people`s touch, but the truth of the matter is, you`ve got to get comfortable with who they are. And you have to learn that you have to work together on these different issues, and you have to accomplish something together.
And I think as we`re seeing this more and more, Iowa doesn`t really matter all that much. Honestly, there are 125,000 people that are going to take part out of 300 million in this country, that`s not a hugely representative sample. We`ll move up to about 200,000 in New Hampshire in a week or so. We`ll get through this, and we`ll learn more about them as that proceeds.
But the ultimate winner is going to be the organization that happens at the end because some of these candidates who are of to a slower start don`t have it in place.
PINSKY: Keli, do you want to say something?
GOFF: Well, Dr. Drew, what I was going to say - say about the issue of personality is that it`s kind of ironic, right? Because we do accept that our candidates are mere mortals, but we do want someone who`s honest and someone who seems trustworthy.
On the other hand, Americans have a tendency to sort of be suspicious of someone who seems too perfect. Isn`t that the ultimate Catch-22? We don`t want someone who`s a total disaster, but we`re also a bit suspicious of someone like an Al Gore who at the time seemed like the smartest kid in the class. He was going to be the first person with his, you know, hand raised. And who seemed to sort of - I don`t want to say gloat about at the time appearing to have sort of the contrasting marriage as opposed to the Clinton scandals that we had been through.
And yet there`s something about him that every poll showed the majority of Americans didn`t want to have a beer with him, right?
PINSKY: And Andrew, what`s your response to that? Keli, I will interrupt you. Go ahead, Andrew.
BREITBART: I couldn`t agree -
PINSKY: Go ahead.
BREITBART: I couldn`t agree with her more. I grew up with Steve Garvey as the perfect first baseman of the Dodgers.
BREITBART: And then right when he retired, he was supposed to become a senator. And then his personal life fell apart.
And so I`m looking at Mitt Romney and I`m thinking, there`s got to be a problem there because he looks too perfect.
PINSKY: So anybody -
BREITBART: Because he`s too perfect.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not the only one who thinks that.
BREITBART: That`s been my biggest problem with Romney. He`s too perfect.
PINSKY: I`ve got to go to a poll, guys, here we`ve got here from our viewers. But before we do that, I just want to say something that I think. I think that it is that we want somebody who is relatable, who we think can see the, you know, sort of has had - knows what it`s like to live in our shoes a little bit so they`ll represent us as an administrator in Washington.
BREITBART: But if that - if that were the person, then it would be - Michele Bachmann wouldn`t be - Michele Bachmann -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But nobody likes that wants to run for president.
BREITBART: Yes. But Michele Bachmann has 23 foster kids. She`s got five kids of her own. She started her own businesses. If people were looking for a personal narrative, she has the most sympathetic one of anybody out there, and she`s not resonating with the electorate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think that`s representative of what people really do in their lives.
PINSKY: Hang on a second, ladies.
I asked our viewers, which Republican candidate are most electable? Here are the results. Forty-six percent of you said Mitt Romney; Ron Paul was second at 19 percent.
So Keli, I`ll go back out to you. Romney seems more electable, is that accurate? And is there something about him that makes him seem that way?
GOFF: Well, he`s more electable compared to the other guys running. I mean, I don`t know, you know, how else to respond to that. And that for the very reasons we were discussing, that he seems like Mr. Perfect, perfect resume, seemingly perfect marriage, et cetera.
But whether or not that`s going to make the most electable of all the candidates they could have had, I don`t know the answer to that.
SMITH: He`s an enormously accomplished human being. I mean, let`s -
PINSKY: Mary, I hear you saying he`s very accomplished. There`s no doubt about that.
SMITH: He`s very accomplished. Certainly, Michele Bachmann the most children, but Mitt Romney seems to be a good fit for the situation.
GOFF: She has a respectable resume, too. I think that`s a little dismissive.
SMITH: I meant what I said. I think that Mitt Romney has done an enormous amount in his professional life that is inspiring to a lot of people. I`m not saying that Michele Bachmann isn`t inspiring, but she didn`t inspire Iowa tonight. And I think we`ll see different personality traits -
GOFF: What she said wasn`t that important.
SMITH: -- as leaders, as in a leadership role, right? The traits that people find in their leadership choices are the ones that will carry somebody to this nomination.
PINSKY: And that is a fairly nefarious sort of moving target.
Last word, Andrew. I`ve got to go to break.
BREITBART: OK. Quickly I`ll say this that the problem with this process is the media. The media is going to take whoever the victor is and create a narrative going into New Hampshire next week and say, whatever the victory was today, we are going to say, that`s what the American people are looking for, and it`s going to taint the process.
America doesn`t know who they want right now, and there is no clear choice.
PINSKY: I think you`re absolutely right. Andrew, thank you. Keli, thank you. And Mary, thank you. I hope we have you guys back soon.
Next, allegations of marital infidelity have already knocked one Republican candidate out of the race. Does a candidate`s marital history and family life, does it matter to you?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I should win the Iowa caucuses because I am the only candidate who could successfully debate Obama in the fall and I`m the only candidate who has an actual track record twice with Reagan and then as a Speaker of actually changing Washington.
Everybody else would be an amateur in the Obama tradition who would not know what they were doing or how to do if they won.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iowa caucuses is the first location where there`s going to be actual people running for president.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it a straw poll?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll pass.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This better not, like, become a viral video where I, like, look - where I, like, look like an idiot for not knowing.
PINSKY (voice-over): OK. A lot of you didn`t know, but don`t feel bad. A lot of us couldn`t - didn`t really understand what a caucus was either at first.
So we put together a quick tutorial. The caucus process, it`s crazy, and it`s fun. In some ways it`s democracy at its most basic level. Caucus goers meet at their designated site like a school gymnasium or auditorium. The contest is physical.
They gather into groups. The Rick Perry people organize over there. The Mitt Romney people over there. The Ron Paul group is here. The Santorum group, Gingrich group and so on and so forth, you go into a corner, and there`s a captain appointed.
The captain says there are 200 people in the room. I have 40. You have 20. He has 12. He has 2. Here`s where it gets crazy. You have to meet a certain threshold or else you don`t count.
So what you`ll see in a caucus is people trading. You`ll see people on the phone talking to people at the next caucus site just trading back and forth. At the statewide office, they`re calling in and saying, "I`m at "X" house and we`re short. Can we do a trade somewhere to get me over the top? I only need three more people. Can you get me a trade?"
Eventually you get to a point where everyone`s organized, and you then have to divvy up the votes.
PINSKY: Now, before that moment, before that tape played, did you - listen. I`m asking my viewers, did you guys really know what a caucus was? I`m still not sure I know. That was the best we could do to explain it.
I`ve asked before we got on the air why they still exist in Iowa and what the history of it is, no one has quite explained it to me yet. I`ll hopefully have that for you tomorrow.
So today the caucuses marks the official start, of course, of the GOP presidential nomination process. And get this. According to a recent Gallup Poll, this is very interesting, 70 percent of Americans already saying they can`t wait for the 2012 election to be over.
So could it be the candidates themselves that are turning them off? Watch this.
ROMNEY: Would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking? Or are you going to let me finish with what I have to say?
MICHELE BACHMANN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ron Paul coming out and being exposed for the dangerous president he would be.
PAUL: He`s very liberal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick Santorum`s liberal?
PAUL: I mean, have you looked at his record?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you calling Mitt Romney a liar?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re calling Mitt Romney a liar?
GINGRICH: Well, you seemed shocked by it. Yes.
ROMNEY: You have a problem with allowing someone to finish speaking. And I suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you`ve got to let both people speak.
PINSKY: Am I - am I watching a presidential campaign or "Bad Girls Club"? I`m not sure which.
OK. Walter Schieb, he`s served as the White House Executive Chef for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush; Dylan Howard, Senior Executive Editor of Radar Online; and Anna Palmer is a reporter for Politico.com.
So, Anna, you heard our conversation - our sort of description there of what a caucus is. A, did we get it right, and B, why does Iowa still have them? Aren`t they sort of a political antecedent, a vestige of the past?
ANNA PALMER, REPORTER, POLITICO.COM: It was a good - it was a good quick explainer for sure. They have them because this is the first test for these candidates to see, you know, is there going to be somebody who falls way behind and has to drop out?
And remember, this is Iowa. Then there`s New Hampshire. There`s South Carolina. So there`s other states that are kind of more diverse, maybe geographically that are going to show whether there`s momentum behind some of these candidates.
PINSKY: And did those other states have caucuses, or they have primaries?
PALMER: Well, they have primaries. But it`s the process that -
PALMER: -- it`s the process that they go forward with as a way to pick the candidate for the Republican, you know, general - for the general election.
PINSKY: I get it. I`m just saying, though. I mean, it seems like some sort of antiquated Iowa - nothing against Iowa. God bless them. It`s a beautiful state. I`ve spent a lot of time there. The guy behind the camera I`m looking at is an Iowan. I love you. Matt, I love you.
But it seems like antiquated way. Just a direct democracy of a story that`s interesting. But anyway, I want to talk about who the people are and, you know, what`s going on with them.
Walter Schieb, you`ve actually met the people, once they take office, you were the chef for Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. My question to you is, those of us that try to get to know these people through the media and understand them and make them our leaders, are they the same people you get to know when they`re sitting in their kitchen having dinner?
WALTER SCHIEB, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHEF: You know, no, they`re not really at all. When I worked at the White House, we had - Clarence was called top secret presidential proximity and we get to see the families and they are distinct and unique people.
But we get to see them really as not the cartoon characters you guys make them out to be sometimes but really as family, as a mother, as a father, as a - as a spouse. So we really get to see them in a different light.
PINSKY: Walter, I want you to give us a lesson. What can we learn from what you`ve seen about the people as people that make them good leaders, and what should we look for?
SCHIEB: Well, I`ll tell you, really, you know, their day job is to sell red meat to the constituency, if you will. But when you see them at home, you get to see the interaction, you really get to know them as people.
And I`ll tell you, look how they interact, kind of like they are doing in Iowa now. Getting out and doing that retail politicking one on one with people to see how they react there rather than in a large debate.
PINSKY: OK. Dylan, are these - are political candidates going to become the new fodders of your domain?
DYLAN HOWARD, SR. EXECUTIVE EDITOR, RADARONLINE.COM: I think they already have. I mean, it was "The National Enquirer" that busted open the John Edwards scandal -
PINSKY: Yes, it was.
HOWARD: -- notoriously as opposed to the mainstream media not being able to do that. So I think in a lot of ways, yes, the anatomy of a scandal, a political scandal -
PINSKY: But, isn`t that the way British tabloids have always done it?
HOWARD: Well, it is, yes. (INAUDIBLE) brought out about that.
PINSKY: Prince Charles as a (ph) paradigm?
HOWARD: Well, most certainly, I think that - that the U.S. media has not necessarily covered scandal the way the British tabloids have in the past. But I think the anatomy of a scandal is well and truly beginning without such as "The Enquirer" and others.
PINSKY: I`ve got 20 seconds left. Can you tell us something about any of these candidates tonight that we need to know?
HOWARD: Newt Gingrich may well be the most qualified candidate -
PINSKY: But for your grist. The grist for your mill. OK, OK.
HOWARD: But when it comes to who he is as a person, he`s been married three times. He`s had affairs on two of those wives. Notoriously said to his wife he wanted a divorce on her cancer bed.
PINSKY: So we`ll be reading about him at RadarOnline?
HOWARD: We`ve read a lot about him so far.
PINSKY: OK. Thank you, Dylan. Thank you, Walter and thank you, Anna. And I appreciate you guys joining me. I`ll have you back soon.
Listen. Next, who would you vote for if you had to cast your ballot tonight? We`re going to hear from you some of you after the break.
And later, the famous Dr. G. is here to talk about -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of them run for to, like, change the world to make the world a better place, to leave it better than you found it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people that are running are doing it, it`s just a power thing, it`s - for themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if somebody`s courageous and has a view of the future, I think you do it. If I was 30 years younger, I might try it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would somebody go to war and give their life? The same reason I think somebody would serve in such a high position and put themselves in line like that.
PINSKY: A famous political philosopher, Max Weber, said that all politics is violence and power. Think about it.
Welcome back on the night of the Iowa caucuses. We want to know what you think about the candidates and the upcoming presidential election.
And speaking of the caucuses, the Iowan behind this camera has been giving me a little grief. All I`m saying is why aren`t there more caucuses? It`s antiquated in the sense that it`s how the kind of horse trading that used to go on a long time ago in the presidential process. I`m just curious about the history and why some states, you know, got rid of it and why some keep - choose to keep it. We`ll talk more about this.
Let`s go right ahead to Linda in California. Go ahead.
LINDA, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Linda.
LINDA: I just want to say that although it would be much easier for President Obama to run against any of the other candidates, I feel that Mitt Romney, even with his egotistical aim to be president of the United States, he is by far the most sane Republican in the race, anyone other than Mitt is disastrous.
Why do you think the voters in Iowa haven`t made up their mind in the twelfth hour? It`s because they don`t see any of them as presidential.
PINSKY: Well, that`s what we`ve sort of been alluding to is that what - what does it take to make someone a leader? What do we want in a leader? And is it presidentiality? I don`t know, Linda. I`m not quite sure what it is, but your point is well taken.
Jessica in Hawaii, go ahead.
JESSICA, KAILUA, HAWAII (via telephone): Hi, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hi, Jessica.
JESSICA: I was just calling because basically I`m undecided on all of the candidates. If I was to choose one of them, I would be looking for someone that would bring this country back to this country.
PINSKY: You know, I have a feeling - again, we`re now moving away from what I was trying to talk about in the last segment which is the people, we`re one of the people that kind of - now we`re getting into a little bit of policy here. But I find it fascinating that Ron Paul has become so interesting to young people.
And you sound very young, Jessica. I don`t have your age here. But, yes, young people want real massive change. And it sounds like they kind of want to be left alone which is very different than the Occupy policy, the Occupy notion that`s going on. It`s hard to reconcile all of these things.
So, yes, we`re going to keep an eye on these things as they evolve through the - through the next couple months.
Keith on Facebook writes, "Dr. Drew, candidates know that they`re going for the biggest job in the world. Why do they act surprised or baffled when people look into their past and bring it to their attention?" Whereas my buddy Dylan would say, why do they seem so godsmacked?
Yes, I don`t understand it either. I think when you go out there to be a presidential candidate, you`ve got to expect to have everything put under scrutiny.
Janet writes, "Aren`t politicians like drug addicts? When their lips are moving, they are lying."
You heard that earlier from one of our commentators. I actually don`t believe that. I don`t think they`re lying. Listen, drug addicts, I know - I know that. That`s a different thing. And I don`t think politicians are consciously lying. They`re just kind of telling us what we want to hear.
All right. Next up, the medical examiner who rocked the Casey Anthony trial with her revealing testimony about Caylee. We`ve got some questions for her.
And I`ve got the man who prosecuted the case.
Go to my Facebook page with your questions and get their answers. We`re going to do that the latter half of this segment. Facebook.com/Dr.DrewHLN. Back after this.
PINSKY (voice-over): Jeff Ashton became a household name as the state`s main man in the Casey Anthony trial. Now, he is running for office. What does this prosecutor-turned-politician think about Casey Anthony six months after she was found not guilty of murder?
And one of the trial`s star witnesses, the medical expert who examined Caylee`s body and called it like she saw it, a homicide. Dr. G. is here. Did Casey get away with murder?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As to the charge of first-degree murder, verdict as to count I, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty. As to the charge of aggravated child abuse, verdict as to count II, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty. As to the charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, verdict as to count III, we, the jury, find the defendant not guilty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (on-camera): I think you all remember this story. It was the story of the year, the Casey Anthony murder case. Everyone was watching this. Everyone had an opinion. And tonight, I`ve got two big players in the trial. They join us here live. Casey`s prosecutor, Jeff Ashton, back with me. He announced today he`s running for Florida state attorney. We`ll talk to him about that in just a minute.
Plus, inside Caylee`s autopsy. The medical examiner who identified Caylee Anthony`s remains speaks out. I want to welcome both of my guests. They are together for the first time since the trial. Dr. Jan Garavaglia stars in "Dr. G: Inside the Caylee Anthony Case." It airs this Friday, 10:00 p.m. on Discovery Fit and Health.
And new episodes of "Dr. G. Medical Examiner" air Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. Jeff Ashton, of course, the author of "Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony." There is the book. Jeff, can you tell us about your big announcement today?
JEFF ASHTON, CASEY ANTHONY PROSECUTOR: Well, today, we announced that I am running for the office of state attorney for our judicial circuit which is the two counties where I live. The election will be later this year. And I am running against my former boss here in Orlando, Florida.
PINSKY: Jeff, I think when you and I spoke last, did you tell me your boss was one that determined what you would be going for in the trial of Casey Anthony? He was the one that determined the charges against her?
ASHTON: Well, no, that was actually determined by the grand jury that handed down the indictment in the case.
PINSKY: I see.
ASHTON: The issue that was decided by the state attorney was to seek the death penalty.
PINSKY: I see. And let me just ask you this. If you were elected into that seat today and the Casey Anthony case came across your desk, would you go for the death penalty if you were in office today?
ASHTON: Well, that`s a tough question, and it`s hard to answer in 20/20 hindsight. I can only tell you that, at the time, my thought was that it was extremely unlikely that the jury would actually give the death penalty in the case. And that, perhaps, it really wasn`t worth the amount of effort and expense that went into it for something that ultimately was not going to be effective.
But, you know, that is the decision that had to be made by the elected official at that time. And second-guessing, that is very difficult.
PINSKY: Do you get into all that in your new book?
ASHTON: Yes. The book does discuss that. I try to go into at some length sort of the process of analysis, what went into the decision, but ultimately, what Mr. Lamar used to decide that, of course, only he would know. But I did want to make people understand that there is a process that goes on. And that his decision was a legally appropriate one within the context of the case.
PINSKY: Now, Dr. G. performed the autopsy on Caylee and determined that her death was, in fact, a homicide. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. JAN GARAVAGLIA, MEDICAL EXAMINER: With regret, I`m here to inform you that the skeletal remains found on December 11th are those of the missing toddler, Caylee Anthony.
Even it being put in a bag is a very big red flag for homicide and never seen in an accidental death of a child. And the fact that there`s duct tape anywhere attached to that child`s face is, to me, indication of a homicide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Dr. G., is it your opinion that Casey got away with murder?
GARAVAGLIA: That`s not my call, Dr. Drew. My call is to state what happened and to state my opinion on the manner. And I still feel very strongly that this is a homicide.
PINSKY: Jeff argued rather vigorously that the duct tape was an indication of the means of death. Did you like that theory? Was that something you adhered to?
GARAVAGLIA: Well, it certainly could be. And I never stated it wasn`t. The problem is, I couldn`t say scientifically that it was definitively over the nose, over the nostrils. And it certainly could have been. But I couldn`t really defend that. But we certainly see homicide victims with tape over just the mouth to keep them quiet.
So, I just didn`t feel like that was scientifically defensible. And there was probably other things going on with this little girl to cause her death besides just the tape.
PINSKY: What do you speculate? What do you think?
GARAVAGLIA: Oh, now, people don`t understand that just because we didn`t find chloroform and because we didn`t find drugs in her bones does not mean that they were not there. I think there was some indication that that was a real possibility. Certainly, she`s in a plastic bag. She`s -- she could have been in the trunk.
There`s some indication of that. So, there is a lot of different possibilities. I just couldn`t say for sure how that all fit together. But, clearly, we can say that the pieces fit together as a homicide.
PINSKY: And people were critical, at least in the courtroom, there was some criticism directed towards you in not having opened the calveria, the skull. What was your response to that now?
GARAVAGLIA: Well, my response to that is that it was not needed. It wasn`t needed there then. You know, that was an anthropologic exam. You know, I have never done an autopsy where I haven`t opened the calveria to take the brain out to look inside. These were completely disarticulated, completely dry bones.
And I had two very prominent forensic anthropologists working every moment with me on those bones. And we never -- none of us felt that that needed to be done. There`s no protocol for anthropologic exams that that should be done.
PINSKY: That`s interesting -- there`s an interesting piece, Dr. G. that we really didn`t know is that this is really -- it`s like you were excavating Egyptian ruins or something. These bones were so decayed that it was no longer even an autopsy. Now, I want to show you a clip of you inspecting Caylee`s skull. Watch this from TLC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. G. and her team also inspect the skull for any signs of trauma that could give her a definitive cause of death.
GARAVAGLIA: We examine it on the outside. We examine it on the inside. We x-rayed it. There was no reason to open it. We were able to look inside that skull with a light, with a mirror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So anthropological. So, it literally was like excavating from a ruins site and trying to put together what happened in retrospect in life.
GARAVAGLIA: Absolutely. And even the way the bones were dispersed, we could tell a lot about that. I had an anthropologist who was an expert in recovery of bones and documentation, and he helped with the recovery of that. And just the way that the bones were grouped in anatomic groupings. You could see how she was dumped in the primary spot where the bags were, where the skull was, and then, how the rest of her body was dragged.
So, we know that that skull moved somewhat when the animals dragged her torso away. Those ribs were in one spot, and then further in, the femurs were together with the pelvis. And then, further into the woods were the clustering of all her vertebrae. So, you can actually see how she continued to decompose, and the pieces were falling off.
PINSKY: I hope I`ve retained my audience. I think if it`s near dinnertime, I`m going to be losing some of them. But be that as it may. You guys are going to stay with me. What I want to get to next from both of you, and Dr. G., I`m going to ask you, sir, to speculate with me as a fellow physician about Casey.
What is up with Casey? And, of course, Jeff, I want you to talk from the perspective of someone who`s seen a lot of criminal activity. How do we understand -- you know, in retrospect now, let`s just kind of put our heads together and figure out what that was. What was up with Casey Anthony? Let`s speculate a little bit.
Also, if you want to check out tonight`s top ten, plus, our must-see, must-share stories, go to hlntv.com. We are back after this.
PINSKY: We are back with Dr. G., the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Caylee Anthony`s remain. And of course, also back with me is Jeff Ashton who prosecuted Casey Anthony. He announced today he is running for Florida state attorney.
Now, you guys, I want to throw out some theories. The case is over. We`re just sort of speculating, trying to understand what happened here. We know that Casey had seizures in jail. Her parents told Dr. Phil she suffered from seizures. We have a little footage about that. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY ANTHONY, CASEY`S MOTHER: Well, she had a seizure in November of 2007.
DR. PHIL, HOST: Has she ever been evaluated? Has she had MRIs? CAT scans?
ANTHONY: At that time, she did.
DR. PHIL: Evaluations? And did they find anything?
ANTHONY: Not at that time. But, again, a year and a half later, she has another grand mal seizures. They kept her in the hospital for three days and worked her up and didn`t find anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: They worked her up, guys, for structural abnormalities in the brain, but I see no evidence that she ever had any neuropsychiatric testing which would actually tell you what`s going on in the operation of her brain as the result of this really major, let`s call it, a dysfunction in her brain tissue, the seizure disorder.
I think we`ve got a couple of parents in denial. We`ve got a mom that doesn`t want to believe the child`s imperfect to this day. We`ve got a dad who`s in denial, and then, when he realized that she was impaired, becomes rejecting and angry towards her.
Dr. G., I`m going to start with you. I mean, you could have some really serious behavioral problems and patients with certain kinds of seizure disorders. Is what we`re dealing with here, do you think?
GARAVAGLIA: No, I don`t, Dr. Drew. I mean, the only thing I`m an expert on is how people react to death. Now, I`ve had mother -- I see every accidental death. I see every child that dies suddenly and unexpectedly, and I talk to the mothers. She did not respond like any mother I`ve ever talked to.
In fact, if you`re trying to say this is an accident, it`s an insult to every mother whose child`s ever died accidentally. You know, this -- she acts as if, you know, she acts as if she`s guilty is what she acts like.
PINSKY: Well, she acts impaired. I mean, if you remember the one thing that was so -- the only thing we ever really knew for sure was that she had no grasp of the truth. She was drifting from reality in so many ways. And that can be -- again, that can be a brain disorder, a really serious, serious brain disorder.
That could involve all kinds of other horrible behaviors. I`m not saying guilt or innocent. I`m just saying, just trying to understand it now that we`ve had many, many months to kind of reflect about this. Jeff, I want to go to you. There`s been some controversy over your book, "Imperfect Justice." The subtitle is "Prosecuting Casey Anthony."
You talk about Casey telling mental health professionals that she believed her father drowned Caylee deliberately to murder her or drown her while he was molesting her. Those conversations allegedly were sealed. Attorneys have, like, really gone after you for contempt. What do you say to this stuff?
ASHTON: It`s ridiculous. The conversations were never sealed. The transcripts of the depositions were sealed by the agreement of all parties. The attorneys` memories were never sealed. The notes were never sealed. That`s Just Mr. Mason either not correctly recalling the judge`s order or choosing not to correctly recall it. But to allege that I violated court orders is just ridiculous.
PINSKY: And what about what she alleges in those reports? Is it just more of her lies and fabrication that we became so accustomed to in reporting her case?
ASHTON: It appeared to me that way, yes. I mean, it`s just yet another sort of version of what happened. I mean, this one, obviously, is more practiced. It came two years after her arrest when she had the opportunity to look at all the evidence.
And as we said, you know, once we conclusively disproved the abduction story by, you know, taking every item found with Caylee`s body and tying it back to the house, it pretty much left with her no other story other than to blame at somebody the house. And so, she picked her father who was home.
To me, it just seems like another manipulative, very intelligent lie. I mean, you`ve mentioned about a seizure disorder, and I have to tell you honestly, other than the family members mentioning it, and I think Jesse Grund talking about something like a seizure after some partying, there is no evidence of any seizure disorder.
That`s absolutely not proven by any of the evidence we`ve ever seen. We`ve never been given hospital records of a work-out for a seizure disorder or anything like it. And all of her --
PINSKY: I heard, Jeff, that there was some seizuring in jail while being held. Is that not true?
ASHTON: I`ve never heard that before. So, I haven`t -- I haven`t, you know, exhaustively examined the jail medical records, but I don`t recall ever having heard of a seizure episode in jail.
PINSKY: OK. I want to ask both of you about sort of a chapter in this story that I found very confusing. When she was leaving jail, if you remember, they had a psychiatrist meet with her and do an assessment. And I actually had him on this program after he did formal psychological assessment.
It was not neuropsych testing, which I hope she`s gotten since because I really think there`s a neuropsychiatric problem here, but psychological testing, and he insisted that there was no evidence of any significant, Dr. G., access to or personality functioning problems, maybe narcissism. I found that very bizarre, particularly, in somebody that was lying and manipulative.
We knew that for sure about her. She had to have a major personality disorder or a drug addict, which there was no evidence of that. Do either of you have any understanding of what went on there, why that -- do you remember that psychiatrist and his sort of assessment? Either of you?
ASHTON: I don`t recall what assessment you`re referring to. What doctor was that?
PINSKY: You know, I don`t have his name. He was sort of an exit exam that she had done. And he came on this program and said no, no, this woman, you know, no evidence of major psychiatric dysfunction.
And all of us discussing who are reporting, you know, discussing this case in retrospect, I mean, we`re talking about somebody -- if she doesn`t have a personality disorder, you know, I don`t know how else you define it.
ASHTON: That`s kind of consistent with what the mental health professionals said pretrial is that all other testing indicated that she was normal, which obviously either version you believe in this case, she`s anything but normal. So, whatever it is that Casey Anthony is, I just don`t think your profession has devised a test for it quite yet.
PINSKY: Well, I think they might, I just don`t think they`re applying the right instrument. But, be that as it may, just the last point from both of you, guys. I`ve got about a minute or so left. What do we learn from this case? We`re now months out. Jeff, you`re going to be a state official. Dr. G., you`re going on with your programs. Are there things we can learn from this experience?
ASHTON: Well, the thing I learned from it is the real impact of, you know, this kind of 24-hour news cycle, pretrial publicity on a case. And I talk in the book a lot about, you know, maybe we should question whether the plenary release of information pretrial is really the best thing for assuring a fair trial. That`s what I take away from this case.
PINSKY: You mean the sunshine laws?
PINSKY: Shine a light on all the facts? Dr. G., do you agree with that? I`ve got about 30 seconds left.
GARAVAGLIA: I absolutely agree with that. That it just skewed everyone that watched all of that information come out. So, I don`t think they could -- they really skewed the jury to a certain population because so many people had already made up their mind.
PINSKY: Dr. Jeff -- excuse me, Jeff, I have 20 seconds, your last words.
ASHTON: Thank you for having me again. It`s been a pleasure.
PINSKY: OK. Well, you`re both coming up here. They are going to actually stay with me and answer your questions. Many of you wrote into Facebook, and we`ll have all of their responses to you all after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHTON: Casey is smart. Casey is quick. It is absolutely amazing how nimble Casey Anthony`s mind is in the ability to come up with an appropriate and believable lie in an instant. She`s impressive.
PINSKY: We`re back with Dr. G. medical examiner. Her special "Dr. G.: Inside the Caylee Anthony Case" airs this Friday at 10:00 p.m. on Discovery Fit and Health. New episodes of "Dr. G.: Medical examiner" air Friday nights at 10:00 p.m.
Also with me, Casey Anthony prosecutor, Jeff Ashton. He`s the author of "Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony." He made a big announcement tonight about his run into politics in this political season. Good luck, Jeff.
ASHTON: Thank you.
PINSKY: I`m trying to figure out what makes people go into politics. You`ll have to report back to us if it was a good idea or not.
ASHTON: We`ll see.
PINSKY: Of course -- yes. They are staying with me to discuss your questions. So, first up, I`ve got Quinn. He writes on Facebook, "Jeff, why do you think Casey Anthony wasn`t found guilty of child neglect even though she neglected to report her child missing for 31 days?" This is something we got a lot. Jeff, what do you say to that?
ASHTON: You know, I can`t really tell you. You know, only the jurors would know that. You know, the interviews that they have given really haven`t discussed in depth sort of their rejection of the lesser included offenses. So, you know, his guess is as good as mine.
PINSKY: Yes. This whole thing was mystifying in many, many, many ways.
PINSKY: Sue writes, "Dr. G.," this one`s for you, "were you able to confirm that there was chloroform -- I think you said you could not they were in her body? And what do you think the exact cause of death was? You said you did not find chloroform, but you thought that may have had something to do with it, is that right?
GARAVAGLIA: Right. Because chloroform played a big part in the trunk, they found it. But you would not expect that to be found in dried bones. That would dissipate after a few days. Interestingly, the only thing that seems to hold chloroform and not cause it to break down is a closed air system like the back of a trunk or a closed container.
And there it doesn`t break down so fast, but in a body, it will break down within a few days.
PINSKY: And the Zanny the nanny thing, I mean, Zanny is a street name for Xanax. I always wondered if that was somehow involved as originally she, perhaps, used --
GARAVAGLIA: Yes, well, we looked for that, specifically. We did a benzodiazepine, because we had the same thought, Dr. Drew. And we looked in her hair specifically for benzodiazepine, but an acute, you know, dose of it, you would not find it in her bones.
PINSKY: Not necessarily, right. That`s right.
PINSKY: OK. Here`s from chandler for Jeff. Was Casey or anyone else involved subject to a polygraph? What about that, Jeff?
ASHTON: No. I don`t know that anybody involved was given a polygraph. Obviously, Casey was not given one before her arrest and what the defense may or may not have done after her arrest, we don`t know. But no, I don`t believe anybody else was given a polygraph.
There really wasn`t anyone else that was a true suspect. There was no one else that had any evidence tending to indicate they were involved. So --
PINSKY: With Casey, there were so many lies. I don`t know how you would have sorted through it or decided what to polygraph her for. Last one for Jeff here. I have 30 seconds. If Casey would have taken the stand, what kind of questions or strategy would you have used?
ASHTON: Wow. I think in 30 seconds, we would have hammered her on all of her different versions, where they came from, why she said them. We would have hammered her on the 31 days, what she was thinking, what she did. And most of all, I would ask her about the bellavita tattoo and just exactly what she meant by getting that tattoo.
PINSKY: Thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Dr. G. Jeff, good luck with the politics and the book.
ASHTON: Thank you very much.
PINSKY: Dr. G., we`ll se you on Discovery.
And thank you all for watching. I will see you next time. We`ll continue to keep our eyes on the political landscape.