• With: Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas, Ellen Ratner

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    SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: Smears that right-wing blogs have been pushing since the election, and that is totally unsubstantiated. It is amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a website can drive that type of story into the mainstream.

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    SCOTT: That is New Jersey's Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, objecting to questions sparked by reports of encounters with under-aged prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. The stories appeared on a conservative web site The Daily Caller. So what about his protest there, Jim? Is he right? Should the mainstream media leave it alone?

    PINKERTON: Well, you are always innocent until proven guilty, even when the media say you're guilty. The interesting thing here is the Daily Caller's allegations about prostitutes are not proven in Menendez's eyes (ph), so the mainstream media have sort of stopped there on that. However, now we've gone on to the issue that Menendez admitted to, that he had to pay back the $58,000 he paid to (inaudible) to get to the Dominican Republic, which does raise questions about what he was doing there, and now we're beyond that into pretty hard-core questions about whether his relationship with Dr. Melgen, the ophthalmologist in Florida, has some illicit element to it.

    SCOTT: Right. The story in the Daily Caller yet to be examined completely, but it did lead to the one that Jim was talking about. Senator Menendez had to repay the money that he would have paid to fly down on the doctor's jet. And then I'm showing the wrong side of the paper.

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    SCOTT: The president interceded for a friend in dispute. Apparently, the senator is -- has tried to help his friend who has been facing accusations of Medicare fraud?

    MILLER: Right. I mean, I think that you have a kind of phased phenomenon here. One, I share Senator Menendez's pain about the bloggers and the things that appear on the Internet, really defamatory, libelous, outrageous, but in this instance, it did trigger this broader investigation into his practices. And what we're finding is not reassuring. It raises questions.

    THOMAS: I think Bernard Goldberg this week on O'Reilly was very cautious about this, and it's true. But look, for those of us who have been around a while and we remember the finger, I did not have -- and then Newsweek and Monica Lewinsky, we've seen this pattern so many times. So stalwart denials just are not enough, and you do have at least one of the prostitutes down there now coming forward, not exactly a reliable witness, but hey, ask Eliot Spitzer how he feels about all of this.

    SCOTT: Yes, unnamed sources too, as well.

    Moving on, another New Jersey political figure getting big coverage this week. Governor Chris Christie made an appearance on "The Late Show." David Letterman, as expected, putting the focus on Christie's weight. The governor played along with the jokes, and as if on cue, the media took the opportunity to amp up concern about his health. CNN used a former White House physician to hammer it home. Dr. Connie Mariano said, "I worry he may have a heart attack. He may have a stroke. I worry about this man dying in office." The governor reacted.

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    CHRISTIE: My children saw that last night. And she sat there on TV and said, I'm afraid he is going die in office. This is irresponsible stuff. And people who have a medical license, who have the privilege of having a medical license, should in my view conduct themselves more responsible than that. If she wants to get on a plane and come here to New Jersey and ask me if she wants to examine me, review my medical history, I'll have a conversation with her about that. Until that time, she should shut up.

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    SCOTT: All right. More blunt speak there from the governor. Ellen.

    RATNER: He added to what was essentially a snooze story, I mean, a late night story, and he added it by going after her in a press conference. He should have left it alone, because then it just gave the press more reason to focus on a non-story.

    SCOTT: Judy is nodding her head. Do you agree?

    MILLER: I have to agree, because you know, when Chris Christie makes fun of himself and his own weight, that is good, and this is the new reimaging of Chris Christie, avuncular, nice, kind, fat, you know, like your uncle or husband. But the real truth is, when someone else says it, he loses that veneer, and the nastiness and the bully comes out. That's what people saw. He made this the story.

    SCOTT: William Howard Taft spent some years in the White House at 300 pounds.

    UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Couldn't get out of a bathtub.

    PINKERTON: Before television.

    UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's true.

    PINKERTON: Listen, I think Christie played it brilliantly on Letterman, as Maggie Haberman (ph) in (inaudible) said, somewhat undercut himself by getting (inaudible). However, it is crazy to have doctors on television diagnosing. It's not their business. It's -- the medical profession should have higher standards than let people just sort of wing it on the tube.

    SCOTT: Cal, take a look at this new poll that's out. Shows Christie's approval rating at an all-time high, 70 percent. Does that scare the media and are they going to keep this issue up all the way to 2016?

    THOMAS: Absolutely, and there are double and triple standards all over this. The whole body image is a major scandal. I mean, young women are outraged and properly by this. The magazine covers and the rest. There was even a story this week on Michelle Obama's behind, and the Washington Post had a major uptick on it whether this was somehow racist to speak of her body image. I mean, can we get back to what really matters? It is what is in your brain, your philosophy.

    SCOTT: I'll go for that. Next on "News Watch," exclusive video of White House skeet shooting. Yes, it's coming up.

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    SCOTT: We talked about this still photo earlier. President Obama shooting a shotgun at an unseen clay pigeon at Camp David. Well, now, we have the real video thanks to David Letterman.

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    LETTERMAN: The White House released footage today of President Obama.

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    LETTERMAN: That's right. Actual footage, President Obama skeet shooting at the White House. Look at this. Actual footage.

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    SCOTT: And that's how it's done.

    That is "News Watch" for this week. Thanks to Judy Miller, Jim Pinkerton, Cal Thomas and Ellen Ratner. I'm Jon Scott. Thanks for joining us. See you next week with another edition of "Fox News Watch."

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