Friday, October 20, 2006

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Oct. 20

Guests: Chris Cillizza, Barack Obama, Richard Justice, Christina Myers

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

An election postmortem before the election is over? Republican leadership squabbling over who's to blame for the losses they haven't sustained yet. Says the chairman of the American Conservative Union, "It is one of those rare defeats that will have many fathers, and they will all be somebody else."

But they won't go down without a fight. Or is that a fright? The last Republican campaign ads, death and attacks-us.

Wait. The Republicans care about bin Laden again?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, March 13,2002)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know where he is. I - I, I, I repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.


OLBERMANN: Listen, I can't keep track any more. Could you guys put out a memo whenever you switch from, We don't care about bin Laden, and, The Democrats will kill you, or back again?

The man who might lead the Democrats back again. The buzz gets louder around Senator Barack Obama. Cover of "TIME" magazine, new book.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him too. The audacity of hope.


OLBERMANN: The new book called "The Audacity of Hope." The junior senator from Illinois our special guest tonight.

The St. Louis Cardinals will be the Detroit Tigers' guests as the World Series begin. But who will Christina the eBay lady be the guest of? She'll join us to explain how she auctioned herself into a Series seat.

We'll preview the Series and ask, Why didn't Willy Randolph bunt?

Revenge of the celebs, tabloids getting sued.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to make you look like the scum you are for printing lies about people's lives.


OLBERMANN: Hey, where do I contribute?

And is this a contribution to the American culture, or what?

All that and more, now on Countdown.

Good evening. This is Friday, October 20, 18 days until the 2006 midterm elections, already being spoken of in the past tense by some conservatives, and as a defeat, what one of them called "precriminations."

Our fifth story on the Countdown tonight, our conversation with Democratic Senator Barack Obama about those elections in a moment.

But first, starting the wake a little early over at the GOP, arguing over a body that can still technically say, I'm not dead yet.

Here's how "The New York Times" is breaking down an apparent breakdown of GOP unity. Hawks are split over whether or not Iraq has been bungled. Fiscal and social conservatives are split on whose agenda takes priority. Tax cutters and fiscal conservatives are at odds over the enormous foreign borrowing that subsidized the enormous tax cuts. Both of them are peeved at neocons for expanding the government. Iraq also has neocons in hot water with conservative critics of the war and with Republicans worried about the cost of the war, not to mention the social conservatives feeling exploited by the neocons.

All of which seems to have left the classic semilibertarian small-government Rockefeller Republican moderates lost in the shuffle.

The GOP strategy to remedy this, as we told you earlier this week, is to turn fear of terrorism into votes for Republicans. This ad start to set (INAUDIBLE) - set to start Sunday. It spotlights reported threats of future attacks, threats made by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Although both men remain free, their whereabouts unknown, for the five years since 9/11, under a Republican administration, Republican leaders have been pushing the accusation that it is the Democrats who will not only falter against terror but coddle the terrorists, the consequences of Democratic victory dire indeed.

It is in some ways a bold and even risky strategy, because it could remind voters not only that the Republican-led government has failed to end the threat of Osama bin Laden, but also that the president himself said, as early as six months after 9/11, that bin Laden was not a top priority for him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, March 13, 2002)

BUSH: You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, (INAUDIBLE) be honest with you.

I, I, I repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him.


OLBERMANN: Helping us track the Republican fear factor tonight, Chris Cillizza, who writes "The Fix" column for

Chris, thanks, as always, for your time.


OLBERMANN: The GOP has tried localizing races, reframing the war, now aiming straight for our most base instinct, fear. What's the Democrats' best response here, ignore it and let people laugh, make their own version of it, saying, you know, All 16 of America's intelligence agencies say Iraq has made us less safe, and North Korea got nukes while Bush was president, and if you see bin Laden, call George Bush? Is that their best bet?

CILLIZZA: I think, I think what their best bet is, is what they're doing. They, the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, its spokeswoman is pointing folks to, who ask about it, to an ad that details the facts just as you said, that the Bush, under the Bush administration, Osama bin Laden has not been found.

I think an important thing to remember, when you look at both of these ads, both the Republican and the Democratic ad, this is not an ad aimed at the general public on the Republican side. This is sent out to its supporters. It's run in an extremely small cable buy on a select few stations.

What it's designed to do is remind people who are already supportive of the president, who worry about the war on terror, that this party, the Republican Party, is better served to defend you, keep you safe. And these are people, remember, these are people who are receptive to that message. This is the Republican base. This is 18 days before the election, trying to find a way to (INAUDIBLE) - motivate those people and get them out to vote.

OLBERMANN: As part of that "New York Times" story about the convening of the Republican circular firing squad earlier than traditional, Dick Armey, evangelical Christian, former Republican House majority leader, is quoted as saying, "The Republicans are talking about things like gay marriage, and so forth, and the Democrats are talking about the things people care about."

Is that the final straw on the election, or are there I-think-they-protest-too-much qualities about this supposed Republican election postmortem...

CILLIZZA: Right...

OLBERMANN:... two and a half weeks before the election?


OLBERMANN: Somebody playing coy here?

CILLIZZA: I - look, I think part of this is that any time you see any kind of Republican what looks like infighting, Democrats immediately say two words, Karl Rove. Democrats have gotten so paranoid about Mr. Rove that they think he's behind everything, even Republicans in a circular firing squad against each other, that somehow they're lowering expectations, and this is all a plot.

I frankly don't think that's the case. I mean, the - what you see here is, this is a party in the Republicans that have been in power from 1994 till 2006, essentially without any break. There was a brief break in the Senate in 2000, but that was quickly erased in the election.

This is a party that's known success for the past two years, won two presidential elections, and when you see, when faced with the idea that that success is going to be flipped on its head, they're looking at a major failure, what could be a loss of 15, 20, 30 seats, what could be a loss of the Senate, you see a lot of finger pointing.

Because everyone wants to emerge from this election as putting someone else as a scapegoat. They don't want to be the scapegoat. When you see big losses on the horizon, everyone starts looking at the other guy to sort of point the finger at.

OLBERMANN: Also, though, just because you're paranoid does not mean Karl Rove is not out to get you.

But now, there was another piece today, besides the thing in "The Times," "The Wall Street Journal" with an article today suggesting that Democrats are closing the campaign cash gap, at least in part by being fiscally conservative, but the GOP is spending tens of thousands of dollars on trinkets. Where do they stand on, you know, the remaining cash on hand with 19 days to go, and would parity actually change things in these final days?

CILLIZZA: You know, it's interesting. You have what as close to Democrats as ever will be to parity. Republicans still have a slight financial advantage, but by and large, they're fighting on equal terrain. What's interesting about that is, on a new, on a neutral year, where the political environment doesn't really favor one side or the other, what that means is that Democrats are able to pour a bunch of money into 15 to 20 targeted races, hope they win some here, and they're not win the majority.

What it means in a year like this, where the playing field is tilted heavily towards Democrats, is that they can put money into some of these races that aren't obvious targets. There's a race in eastern Washington. It's the 5th District. President Bush won it with 57 percent. Not exactly one that in a neutral year, Democrats are going to go heavily after.

But they're now in there running ads against the Republican candidate. They're taking shots in various places. And what does that mean? It means their margin for error is larger. It means that they have to win 15 seats. Well, now if they have to win 15 seats out of 20 races, you basically have to run the table. But if you have to win 15 seats out of 35 or 40, you have a little bit more margin for error there.

OLBERMANN: Chris Cillizza of, as always, great thanks. Have a good weekend.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: And about the Republican scare commercial. Does it not meet the dictionary definition of terrorism? A special comment, "Scare Tactics: How the Republicans Are Willing to Do the Terrorists' Work for Them by Trying to Terrify Americans," Monday here on Countdown, 8:00 and midnight Eastern, 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. Pacific.

Proposing an alternative course for American politics, one that replaces fear with, of all things, hope, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois in his new book, "The Audacity of Hope," Senator Obama good enough to join us now from Boston.

Good evening, Senator. Welcome to the program.

OBAMA: Great to talk to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: I want to talk about the book and this buzz in the second half of our interview.

But let me begin, if I can, by asking you about the current political climate as epitomized by that new Republican ad, and keep in mind that, you know, 18 days before the midterm elections, it's crunch time. How do you, how does your party overcome the politics of fear, especially down the stretch like this?

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think it's important for us to directly engage the issue of national security. You know, after 9/11, it was understandable that everybody rallied around the president. And I think that Democrats were hesitant to challenge the president on his national security agenda.

I think this election, you're seeing the fever break, and people step back and say the consequences of a series of decisions by this administration have resulted in a fiasco in Iraq, a climate in which terrorists are actually growing in numbers around the world. We haven't done much about homeland security, and we've got two hostile nations, Iran and North Korea, rapidly developing or already having developed nuclear weapons.

And I think that's a conversation that we should welcome.

One of the interesting things I'm seeing around the country, though, is, those kinds of ads are not working very well. And that's why your previous guest, I think, pointed out the number of potential races that are up for grabs this time out are actually growing as opposed to diminishing.

OLBERMANN: Nonetheless, the Republicans have succeeded in the last - certainly the last two elections with great measure with a divide-and-conquer kind of strategy. Is there - do you respond to that by saying, Hey, we will listen to both sides? Or is there some responsive punch required to just - to stop that Republican divide-and-conquer strategy?

OBAMA: First of all, we have an advantage in this election, in that there are facts on the ground that are indisputable, and the American people are seeing each and every day when they see reports back from Baghdad. And so it's very difficult to spin the deteriorating situation in Iraq, and that's driving the impression of a lot of Americans about this administration's problems in the foreign policy area.

The second thing, though, is, I get a sense of seriousness among the American people right now that is making them immune to some of these slash-and-burn political tactics. I've been traveling all across the country for the last several weeks, and what strikes me is, people really are paying attention this time. They recognize both in the areas of foreign policy and domestic policy that we got a set of challenges on health care and energy and education and foreign policy that aren't amendable to sound-bite answers, that require us to think in commonsense, practical terms, nonideological terms, about how to solve them.

And that, I think, is going to play to the advantage of Democrats in this election.

OLBERMANN: There's a remarkable passage in your book in which you describe your first meeting with President Bush. And I think it's both - this is both a question about the book and also about the events of the last few weeks. Specifically, it's about the shift in his demeanor when he began talking about his second-term agenda at a White House breakfast meeting in January of 2005.

Let me quote it exactly. "The president's eyes became fixed, his voice took on the agitated, rapid tone of someone neither accustomed to nor welcoming interruption. His easy affability was replaced by an almost messianic certainty. As I watched my mostly Republican Senate colleagues hang on his every word, I was reminded of the dangerous isolation that power can bring, and appreciated the Founders' wisdom in designing a system to keep power in check."

My question to you, sir, has the power of the president been kept in check? Because it would seem to many over the past six years, Congress has failed to do that job, pretty much wrote President Bush a blank check, especially with the Military Commissions Act and this kind of terrifying watering-down of habeas corpus.

OBAMA: Well, first of all, I was talking to your producer, and I think the best segment you've done in a while, Keith, was that checklist around the habeas corpus issue.

We lost that vote, but I think it's interesting to point out what happened there. When that first came up, that was going to be the capstone of the Republican approach to this election, focus on terrorism, focus on fear, and then go into November 7 with this victory of this bill having been passed. And the conventional wisdom in Washington was that it would pass with maybe eight or 10 votes.

And I remember speaking repeatedly in Democratic caucus about the issue of habeas corpus, that this is a core principle that we can't sacrifice, that it's central to who we are as a people.

In the end, we lost, but almost all Democrats voted against it, which was a significant shift from, I think, what might have been true even a year ago. And it indicates the degree to which I think some of the arguments that the president is making are proving less tenable to the public, and, I think, the willingness for Democrats to start standing up to some of these things.

But the fact is, we haven't done the kind of oversight and serious investigations of how we're prosecuting this war on terrorism that I think the American people deserve.

OLBERMANN: Senator Obama, I want to get into the message in the book and get your reaction to this seemingly ever-increasing expectation surrounding your political future. But with your permission, we need to take a commercial break for just a second.

OBAMA: You have my permission.

OLBERMANN: Thank you.

Also tonight, we'll be talking baseball later. A preview of the World Series matchup, Cardinals-Tigers. And we'll talk to the woman who auctioned herself off just so she could go to a World Series game.

You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: It's the kind of political success story that seemingly could only have been written by Horatio Alger or Frank Capra. An obscure state senator from Illinois, with a name few had ever heard, let alone had been able to pronounce, makes a long-shot bid for an open seat in the U.S. Senate, ends up winning by a landslide, a turn of events that would propel Barack Obama from the statehouse in Springfield to being talked about as a candidate for the White House in two years.

Our fourth story on the Countdown, continuing our conversation with Senator Obama, who, of course, is also the author of the new book "The Audacity of Hope."

Thank you for staying with us, Senator.

OBAMA: You bet.

OLBERMANN: The last time I think any of us heard this kind of - again, that word buzz, about a Democratic presidential candidate, potential or otherwise, the candidate's name was Howard Dean, and we know that did not turn out, perhaps, as Mr. Dean wanted.

Does that level of hype that you're receiving now, the sheer height of the expectations, is it disturbing or scaring to you at all? Because it might be good for selling books, but it may not be great for winning elections.

OBAMA: Well, look, I think it's been a little overdone, and, you know, as a friend of mine put it, it's a high-class problem to have, so I don't - you know, I don't want to, you know, cry poor about the thing.

But, look, I've been very fortunate. And some of it has to do with timing and luck, some of it has to do with what I hope the tone and the kind of message that I've been delivering in politics.

I think it connects with a real hunger generally in the population for a different kind of politics. I'm in Boston right now, and you're seeing Deval Patrick, who nobody gave a chance of winning the Democratic nomination to be governor here in Massachusetts, with a 20-point lead over his Republican challenger, despite having been victim to withering ads, because he projects a message of hope rather than fear.

And, you know, I think you're seeing that in candidates all across the country. I might just be somebody who maybe came to the public's notice a couple of years ahead of the curve.

OLBERMANN: You've been on this book tour just long enough that to ask whether or not you would run in 2008 for the Democratic nomination would be pure folly. But what might be of interest to me or to the viewers here, given the legacy that the next president of the United States, whoever he is, whatever party he's from, or she's from, from the Bush administration, the legacy that that person inherits, why in the world would you or anyone want that job?

OBAMA: It - listen, it's a good question, because we're going to have some serious problems. There's no easy answer in Iraq. I think there are bad options and worse options. And I've called for a phased withdrawal starting as soon as possible, and to send a message to the Iraqis, as well as the regional powers, including Iran and Syria, that they have to take some ownership for creating some stability there.

We've got a deficit that's going to make it difficult for us to move forward aggressively on some of the issues that we face on health care and energy and education. Some of what we're going to have to do is just dig ourselves out of the hole.

On the other hand, I think any of us who go into politics and public service hopefully think that somehow we can be useful, and that even if there are some challenging situations out there, that we can apply some pragmatic, practical, commonsense solutions to these problems. And that's a lot what - of what the book is about, is that if we start recognizing some of the common values and ideals that we have as a country, and get beyond ideology to think in terms of what works, that we can't solve every problem overnight, but we can make progress.

And I think the American people would appreciate at least some progress in some of these vital issues.

OLBERMANN: Do you have a criteria or a set of criteria or a process in place for your own thinking on this, your own decision making regarding 2008?

OBAMA: You know, a lot of this has happened very quickly. I'm focused on 2006. We've got three weeks - less than three weeks now for what's going to be, I think, the most important congressional races, the most important midterm election that we've seen in a very long time.

And so that's my entire focus. After the election, I'm going to sit down and take a deep breath and take a look at what's going on and figure out how I can be useful, both in my current job and whatever plans I may have for the future.

OLBERMANN: Yes, I didn't ask what it was. I just wondered if there was one.

OK, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, author of "The Audacity of Hope," which is just wiping the floor with my book. Thanks a lot for that, but great thanks for joining us tonight, sir.

OBAMA: Who are you plugging in the Series?

OLBERMANN: I picked the Tigers as from the start of spring training as the underdog team of the year and the wildcard team, so I have to stick with them, I think. And yourself?

OBAMA: Same thing.

OLBERMANN: OK, we'll see how it turns out.

OBAMA: All right. Talk to you soon.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, sir.

OBAMA: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Speaking of the presidency, it seems the current occupant of the White House has finally learned that if you break it, you buy it.

And the actor Vince Vaughn looking to teach the tabloids a lesson, threatening to sue three of them for spreading lies. Oh, damn, "The New York Post" is in trouble? Oh, man. Oh!

That's ahead.

This is Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Thirty-three years ago tonight, one of those impossible watershed moments in American history played out before our eyes. President Nixon decided to have special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox fired and to dismantle his investigation. His attorney general, Elliott (ph) Richardson, refused to do it. He resigned instead. Then Deputy Attorney General Bill Ruckelshaus refused to do it, and he was fired instead.

Finally, the solicitor general, Robert Bork, did it. But in the chaos of what became known as the Saturday night massacre, Nixon forgot to get anybody to actually close Cox's office, and the investigation continued, only it then was aided by the impossible-to-forget bumper sticker, "Impeach the Cox Sacker."

Let's play Oddball.

And we begin with a totally unrelated story. It's totally unrelated. President Bush in a pumpkin patch. You can draw whatever comparisons you wish, but we're going to skip the Charlie Brown references and go with this one. Apparently the president has finally come around on Colin Powell's You break it, you bought it, policy.


BUSH: Now, what do you recommend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any one you like.

BUSH: Oh! Uh-oh.


BUSH: I'm buying the broken one.


BUSH: Make people listen.


OLBERMANN: Then again, without a stem, that pumpkin is the perfect projectile in the president's new lower-budget missile defense shield.

Hey, look, it's an Iraq metaphor in the middle of Oddball.

To Sutherland, Nebraska for the amazing display of dexterity and dishwasher emptying that is the world championships of cup stacking. Look at them stack and unstack. Sure, it may not be the most exciting sporting event on earth but Mets fans need something to watch as of tonight. That's Lurie Copeland (ph) there, the current champ, training a whole new generation of cup stackers for the 2007 games in Denver. Let's just hope they can clean out the steroid users.

Aww, I think I see one right there. Oh boy.

Thanks to the lack of a crucial bunt last night, it's Cardinals versus Tigers in the World Series. We'll pick apart and then preview and then meet that eBay woman.

Plus, it is either brilliant or boorish, a bunch of dudes serenading the McDonald's drive through. Those stories and more ahead here on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: The St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers will face each other in baseball's World Series for the first time since 1968. New York Mets fans, on the other hand, will face themselves in the mirror each morning for the long winter and ask why didn't Willie Randolph bunt. You gotta bunt! Why didn't you bunt?

Our third story in the Countdown, a preview of the fall classic, and a visit with the woman who auction herself off on eBay to get a ticket to one of the games.

First, last night's finale, the National League Championship Series, one of the game's greatest defensive plays, Cards one, Mets one in the sixth inning. Scott Rolland (ph) hit the ball real hard but Andy Chavez of the jai-alai playing Chavezes, more than full extension for the impossible home run-robbing catch. And he made that into a double play as well.

So it was still one-one in the top of the ninth, the Mets left relief ace Billy Wagner (ph) in the bullpen, so instead it was Jadier Molina (ph) of St. Louis taking Aaron Heilman (ph) into the bullpen. The pennant winning two run homer from a guy who batted just.216 during the regular season, but the Mets got the tying runs on in the bottom of the ninth with nobody out and the pitcher due to hit. Instead of having a week hitter, bunt those men to second and third, putting the pressure on the St. Louis defense to handle a rain slicked ball, Mets manager Willie Randolph had injured slugger Cliff Floyd pinch-hit right then, and he was struck out.

Two batters later, bases loaded, Mets down to their last strike and Carlos Beltran who killed St. Louis in the playoffs two years ago is also frozen pizza on an Adam Wainwright breaking ball and the Cardinals are going to the World Series for the second time in three seasons.

The thinking is that they could easily not even win one game of that series for the second time in three seasons. Joining us now from Detroit where the series opens tomorrow, the noted "Houston Chronicle" sports columnist Richard Justice. Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: We will ask that question about last night in a moment, but first, let us look ahead. Cardinals won just 83 games the regular season, still got to the Series, nobody has done that since the '73 Mets who only won 82 games. The '73 Mets probably should have won that World Series. Are we underrating the Cardinals or are the Tigers really going to blow right through them?

JUSTICE: Well, I do not think we should be underwriting the Cardinals' chances of winning. The Tigers are better. The have a substantial talent gap here, they are rested, they have their pitching lined up.

But look, the Cardinals have three veteran starters, they can win, have the best player in baseball in Albert Pujols in the middle of the lineup and they have some magic. Yadier Molina (ph) wins a game. Chris Duncan wins a game, Sotuguchi (ph) wins a game. The Cardinals can win.

OLBERMANN: They got, however, five runs in the last two games against the Mets, against two starting pitchers who can combine to win six games for the Mets during the regular season. And tomorrow night they're going to face Justin Verlander (ph) of Detroit in game won. He throws 100 miles an hour. Have the Cardinals dealt with anything resembling this Detroit pitching staff and is that the key in terms of predicting this series?

JUSTICE: Well, the Tigers have the best pitching staff in baseball. So no, they haven't dealt with that. They dealt with Royals, Dontrell Willis (ph) people like that on a regular basis.

The key will be to just stay within themselves. Look, they can be pitched to, Preston Wilson, Juan Encarnacion (ph). Pujols is not allowed to swing the bat when there is a man even thinking about being on first base. So that is a problem. But again, it comes down to who makes place to execute their pitches. If Verlander is at his best, the Cardinals do not win.

OLBERMANN: In 2004 the Red Sox swept the Cardinals, last year the White Sox swept the Astros and in the last 10 World Series, the National League teams have won a total of just 18 games. What is going on here?

JUSTICE: I have run the math model, and I can tell you I have no idea. I think it is cyclical. I think the fact you have the Yankees and the Red Sox in the American League and yet you can't predict these things. Who knew Josh Beckett would go into Yankee stadium and when I came. Who knew the Angels were going to win? I just don't - I think it will come back around. We're in a pattern. We're at a point. When you and I were younger, it was exactly the opposite.

OLBERMANN: As promised, let me twist the knife on the Mets. I know the raw statistics say that you are more likelier to score with nobody out and men on first and second than you are with one out and men on second and third, but didn't everything in the bottom of the ninth in New York last night, from which pitchers were available, to how wet the field was, to whether or not the third baseman is in a slump for the Cardinals, did not those things seem to demand that Willie Randolph, the manager of the Mets, bunt the runners over rather than go for the big hit right then?

JUSTICE: You brought up something I hadn't thought of, the field was wet, the ball was wet, you make them make a play. On the other hand, you and I do not know Cliff Floyd's health. If he's OK, I trust - Do not give up outs. I was from the Earl Weaver school, the Bill Bean (ph) school, don't give up outs, let three guys swing the bat, maybe one hits it in the gap.

The statistics I think would support that. Don't give up outs but when you look back on it, you talk about the rain and making them make the play, not knowing Cliff Floyd's health, and the fact that it did not work out.

OLBERMANN: Well, some of us yelled about it before it didn't work out. In any event, Richard Justice, of the "Houston Chronicle," enjoyed the series. Great, thanks, I wish I was there.

JUSTICE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Merely getting to the World Series can become quite a journey for some. Case in point, Christina, the Detroit Tigers fan from Trenton, Michigan, who as we first told you Tuesday was auctioning her companionship on eBay in exchange for a world series tickets. Need a buddy, she wrote in a heading, I want to go.

We now know her full name, Christina Myers, and she will join us presently. She had emphasized in her eBay auction item that it was, quote, not for anything other than companionship. But she did indulge in a smattering of self-promotion, quote, "I'm 5 foot 4 and a size 5, I look great in all kinds of Tiger apparel."

eBay stopped her auction because it said she was offering a service. So Ms. Myers threw in the towel. Literally. She put up auction number two, offering her Detroit red Tiger towel in return for a ticket. However, as with the initial offering, quote, "I come with the deal as I'll be at the game." And again, some self description, "I'm an athletic, curvy, 38-year old, single eBay powerseller.

So watch yourself, Mr.. Joining me now as promised, Christina Myers.

Thanks for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: Let's start at the end, are you going to the World Series or not?

MYERS: I am going to the World Series. I will be at Sunday's game with a gentleman named Gabe from Orange County, California.

OLBERMANN: Was this through the eBay auction?

MYERS: Yes, it was.

OLBERMANN: How did it work out?

MYERS: He put a bid in on me, and my starting bid was up ninety-nine cents because I wanted to get to the game. He does have a ticket, and so he called me to make sure that I was legitimate. He had good feedback behind his name, so I felt confident.

After speaking with him on the phone, I knew that this will be his third trip to a World Series game, so he is legitimate and he is pretty excited to have me to go with him. His friend had cancelled on him.

OLBERMANN: So that worked out. Is it just came two, or what?

MYERS: At the moment it is just game two, Keith. I would like to really get to game 1 tomorrow night here. If there's anybody out there, I have set up an e-mail that you can reach me at. I am [link]. And yeah, I've lived in Michigan my whole life and enter about the Detroit Tigers, and I guess I have Tiger Fever, people say.

And last Friday I was told I look like a tiger. I was at the game last Friday, at the playoff game, so .

OLBERMANN: I'm thinking, you talk about Tiger Fever, I think I was at the only the Tigers are going to lose in the post season this year. We'll see how that turns out.

But now I've got to ask you about these descriptions. I read the first description from your first auction on radio and here on TV and I have to say there seemed to be something of a mixed message. That only for companionship, but also wrote you're not uptight. And of course the second auction refers to your curviness. Was the mixed message intentional or exactly what were you trying to convey there?

MYERS: I was trying to convey that I am an attractive lady who is single and I would like to meet a nice gentleman who would take me to the game. And if it were a group of people who had an extra ticket, I would go as well. But ideally, small-scale, I want to make it to the World Series of course. That was the point of at all. Large scale, who knows, maybe I will meet Mr. Right out of all this and wouldn't that be wonderful?

OLBERMANN: So where did the idea of going on eBay and doing it this way come from? Because obviously, there are lots different ways to get World Series tickets, but this is possibly the most novel we've heard of.

MYERS: Of course. I am an eBay power seller. I sell vintage jewelry as well as antique items, collectibles, vintage sports memorabilia. I've been doing that for over a year and a half, and in being a power seller, I am very sad fate as far as how to do it. So I had a picture of myself and I just thought maybe I would be lucky and be able to connect with the right person who had a ticket available, and maybe they would want to take me. That is how it all came about.

OLBERMANN: Indeed it did. Last question, the only part of this that eluded me, Christina, you were going to charge a postage, ninety-nine cents? I do not understand that.

MYERS: Yeah, Keith, I just did not how to put it, but it would be zero postage. I've now learned how, and everybody kind of teases me about that, so.

OLBERMANN: I would think so. Christina Myers, thanks you for your time. Enjoy the game. If you see my friends Todd Jones and Jim Leyland say hi for me. And good luck.

MYERS: I sure will. Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The man who brought us "Wedding Crashers" is now trying to be the tabloid slasher in real life. Vince Vaughn tonight taking the celebrity gossipmongers head on.

Thank you Vince, thank you on behalf of suffering humanity, next on



OLBERMANN: Well, here is a shocker, apparently tabloid it rags tell flat out lies about famous people in order to sell newspapers, especially when those newspapers lose millions of dollars every year. Break up a marriage, slender innocent bystanders, throw other employees of your own corporation under a boss, interfere with an FBI terrorism investigation. Is all OK if he get them to give you their 50 cents.

And our number two story on the Countdown, it is not OK with Vince Vaughn. As Peter Alexander reports, he is fighting back against, and now this is a coincidence, at least two papers owned by Rupert Murdoch.


VINCE VAUGHN, ACTOR: All you gotta do is say earmuffs to him.


PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It is not earmuffs, more like a muscle that Vince Vaughn was to slap on several tabloid newspapers. Vaughn is threatening to sue the "New York Post" and two British papers that said he was kissing a mystery blonde last week in London and claimed Vaughn and his girlfriend Jennifer Aniston had called it quits. One friend of the couple tells "People" magazine "The Breakup" stars never broke up at all.

JENNIFER ANISTON, ACTRESS: I'm with somebody, sorry.

VAUGHN: The guy with the tucked in shirt and visor.

BRYAN ALEXANDER, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: We've got Jen on the beach in Malibu and Vince in London and a lot of people are sort of jumping to conclusions. And a friend wanted to assure as they are doing fine. They are making it work. Do not believe the hype.

P. ALEXANDER: Vaughn's attorneys released this statement. "The suggestion that he was having a passionate embrace and kiss or has ever been unfaithful to Miss Aniston are false."

(on camera): Many celebrities have had enough. Several famous faces are now fighting back here in the U.S. and British courts where libel law favors the stars.

KEN SUNSHINE, CELEBRITY P.R. CONSULTANT: They care what people think about them, and they do not want lies perpetrated about them or their lives. Why should anybody have to sit there because it is printed in some rag or somebody is lying about it?

P. ALEXANDER: Teri Hatcher, Kate Hudson, and Lance Armstrong have all settled suits in Britain this year. Britney Spears got an apology from the "National Enquirer's" British edition this summer after a claim she and her husband Kevin Federline were close to a divorce. Justin Timberlake sued the "News of the World" last year for claiming he cheated on his girlfriend Cameron Diaz with a British model. Later, the paper admitted the story was made up. The warning to tabloids .

SUNSHINE: We are going to beat you, we are going to embarrass you we're going to make you look like the scum that you are for printing lies about people's lives.

P. ALEXANDER: Ugly words, leading many of the beautiful people to battle back. Peter Alexander, NBC News, Hollywood.


OLBERMANN: An easy segue into our nightly round up of celebrity and tabloid news, actor Wesley Snipes wanted for alleged tax fraud, has been located on location. His filming in the African nation of Namibia. It is confirmed says the CEO of the Namibian Film Commission that is definitely here. There is a catch, the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty with Namibia, so U.S. officials have no way of forcing Mr. Snipes to come home despite their arrest warrant.

It all sounds extraordinarily continue for the actor, though the film commission says he has been there since the end of August, long before the long arm of the law began looking for him. Maybe we could send Angelina Jolie back to Namibia to find him.

And the title of Mr. Snipes' latest cinematic adventure, "Gallow Walker". Filming is expected to be complete in early May, 2063.

Sounds like it could easily become material for a song. After just four months of marriage to Nicole Kidman, country singer Keith Urban has by his own account fallen off the wagon. Mr. Urban releasing a statement today that he has checked himself into a rehab center with Ms. Kidman by his side as he did so.

It is not known why exactly the singer is getting treatment though he has acknowledged a previous addiction to cocaine. Urban has postponed appearances, but not the release of his new album, called "Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing."

Finally, so a string quartet pulls into the drive through a McDonald's, and - that's ahead but first time for Countdown's latest list of nominees for "Worst Person in the World." For the first time, I feel compelled to say that there is a chance that tonight's gasbags might actually be nuts. Please stand well back from your TV as I read this to you.

The bronze, Republican Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio. Republican National Committee TV ads for him there claim that his Democratic opponent, Sherrod Brown, has not paid his unemployment taxes for 13 years, but the State of Ohio has now issued a statement saying that is not true, Mr. Brown paid the unemployment tax bill years ago. Yet DeWine and Republicans will not pull the commercial. So you guys would be liars?

Runner-up, comedian Rush Limbaugh told his radio sheep that the increase in violence in Iraq shows quote, "terrorists around the world, particularly these in Iraq, are voting Democrat today." Well, yes, except for that internal al Qaeda memo that says it is in their best interest keep us in Iraq as long as possible so al Qaeda would be voting Republican, right, right?

But the winner, former CIA agent Wayne Simmons on Fox News saying at the football stadium bomb hoax was quote, " a perfect example of how vital the president's domestic eavesdropping policy in the passage of the Military Commissions Act are." Of course they're are a vital, Wayne, they enable government to spread false rumors about plots that are by non-terrorist that anybody over the age of 7 ½ should have been able to see were crap so they can try to scare people into voting Republican.

Thanks for admitting that, Wayne. Former CIA agent Wayne Simmons, today's "Worst Person in the World."


OLBERMANN: And now our number one story in the Countdown, the Internets. First we salute the well meaning viewer who e-mailed us last night to say, and I quote, "there is only one Internet. There is no such thing as Internets." Yes, we know that. You may have missed why we at Countdown pluralize it.


GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: I hear there's rumors on the Internets.


OLBERMANN: So with that cleared up, here's another reason to say hurray, Internets. While most Web stars become accidentally famous, like the "Star Wars" kid who buddies found his homemade video and made him a world-wide something, or the wannabe Wall Street worker who thought his video resume would get him a job, but thanks to someone else, it instead got him widespread ridicule.

Now a bunch of guys somewhere in the U.S. have deliberately posted their silly stunt wanting the fame that others do not. And like so much stuff on the Internets, we are of two minds, whether this is pure genius or really, really. We import, you decide.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you run that all back real quick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I missed everything. All I got was the M&M McFlurry.

UNIDENTIFIED: OK. We'll take the M&M McFlurry. That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: $2.26 at the first window.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, good sir.



OLBERMANN: Come a long way from two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame bun. Or have we?

That's Countdown for this, the 1,266th since the declaration of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. From New York, I'm Keith Olbermann. Bunt! Why aren't you bunting?

Good night and good luck.