Friday, May 4, 2007

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for May 4

Guests: Peter Alexander; Paul F. Tompkins

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

Deauthorize the war authorization. Senator Clinton the latest to call for a congressional do-over, her plan the latest to receive the smiling scorn of the White House.


DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that there's going to be many attempts to try to put a surrender date on the calendar. The president is not going to accept one.


OLBERMANN: But is he going to have to accept temporary, short-term funding bills? Are the Democrats going to put the president on an allowance?

The debate, the day after. Did he seem too angry?


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll follow him to the gates of hell.


OLBERMANN: Did he seem too blase about repealing Roe v. Wade?



OLBERMANN: And did he seem just too slick?


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MODERATOR: Would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have got to be kidding.


OLBERMANN: The May Day melee, the FBI launching its own investigation. Did the L.A. Police Department violate the civil rights of the pro-immigration crowd, as order in MacArthur Park melted in the dark? The city's mayor books out of an international trade mission to come home to face the crisis.

While he's here, he might get to watch them put Paris Hilton in jail. No, not on principle, there's actually a reason.

And the reason for this? You have to ask? It's like asking if a bear falls out of a tree.

Here's our pitch. It's the first Friday, time to deliver the piping-hot goodness that is the Oddball Plays of the Month. We bring it into your home, because, of course, you can't bring your home to us.

Never mind.

All that and more, now on Countdown.

Good evening from Los Angeles.

One thousand, six hundred and sixty-six days after President Bush got official authorization from Congress to go to war in Iraq, he might lose it.

Our fifth story on the Countdown, the push to cancel that authority the latest salvo from congressional Democrats in an effort to end the war without cutting off funding for the troops, on the same day that President Bush's chief of staff traveled to Capitol Hill seeking some kind of bipartisan compromise on an emergency war funding bill, or Mr. Bush gets an allowance, Senator Hillary Clinton joined with Senator Robert Byrd to call for the joint author - resolution, rather, to authorize the use of United States armed forces against Iraq passed on October 11, 2002, to be forcibly expired on October 11, 2007, the move prompting cries of presidential politics from the White House.


PERINO: And we're slightly confused and disappointed, when yesterday, it was only a few hours after Josh Bolten had met with the Republican and Democratic leadership that congressional leaders had designated to talk about the Iraq war supplemental bill in a spirit of bipartisanship and moving forward in order to get the troops what they need.

Look, I think that there's going to be many attempts to try to put a surrender date on the calendar. The president is not going to accept one. And I think that a little bit of last night, what you saw, was a little bit of presidential politics, and we might see more of it, but the president has a principled stand that he's not going to change.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And has he - I mean, has he actually expressed his views about this to you?

PERINO: I - no, I've not seen the president today, but I talked to some folks yesterday afternoon.


OLBERMANN: And she stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Apparently speaking for the president does not necessitate speaking to the president.

But for all the accusations of political posturing for the '08 election, Senator Clinton is not the first person to suggest rescinding the 2002 authorization. Republican Senator John Warner proposed something similar in February, because the original authority did not make provisions for U.S. troops to be in the middle of a civil war. His suggestion got little traction at that time. It's unclear whether Senator Clinton's call will fare any better.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it deserves consideration, but right now his focus is on negotiations with Republicans and the White House for a new supplemental funding bill, and still other Democrats are getting interested in passing a short-term funding measure.

Let's turn now to "Newsweek"'s senior editor, our own Jonathan Alter.

Thanks for your time tonight, Jon.


OLBERMANN: Clinton's call to repeal the 2002 authorization, if it happens, would it force the withdrawal of at least some of the U.S. troops in Iraq?

ALTER: No. It would force a court case, likely a Supreme Court case, a very interesting one that would test the constitutional powers of the Congress to make war, and then revisit the whole War Powers Resolution. And this is one of the long and fascinating arguments, constitutional arguments, that we've had for many years in this country. And the Supreme Court would get another whack at it.

OLBERMANN: Obviously, there'd have to be a political upside for Senator Clinton in her presidential race if she were to pull the vote off. But is that as clean as the White House makes it out to be? I mean, would repealing the resolution do enough to appease the antiwar Democrats who always criticize her for having voted for the war in the first place and would it negate any need for her to formally apologize for that vote? Are there, in fact, bonus points to whichever Democrat gets something done?

ALTER: I think there are. I think this would help her if this went through and was upheld by some chance. It would make it look like she was on that antiwar bandwagon. But some people are never going to be satisfied in - on the left of the Democratic Party.

And I think there is a little bit sometimes of a, almost a suicidal urge. They want to cut off funding, which actually wasn't even done at the end of the Vietnam War. They cut off support for the South Vietnamese government. But if you actually cut off funding for the troops, you're just asking for political trouble.

So I don't really understand why some of these Democrats on the left insist on that, especially since the Democratic Party as a whole is ratcheting up the pressure. And you see every week they do something. Seems like John Edwards had a good suggestion, to keep reintroducing this bill that got vetoed, make them veto it over and over again. There are lots of ways to ratchet up the pressure, short of doing something that's going to leave you very vulnerable to getting knifed by the Republicans.

OLBERMANN: Where is the White House on this right now? Is there any indication of bending on either of those two buzzwords, of either benchmark or timeline?

ALTER: Yes. There are some indications that on the Hill, the Republican Party is starting to talk about benchmarks. Now, those are not benchmarks for the American forces, but benchmarks for the Iraqis. And that's a very important distinction.

The administration is not there yet. But there are some suggestions that they might be willing to put in some benchmarks for the Iraqis and to discourage them, for instance. from taking the summer off in the Iraqi parliament, which is not exactly a good sign of them putting their nose to the grindstone and getting their act together in this war.

OLBERMANN: Well, we got that part of the democracy idea across, (INAUDIBLE) enough. Have your leaders take the summer off.

ALTER: That's right.

OLBERMANN: Your colleague, Richard Wolffe, had touched on this

idea earlier this week, that the passing the short-term military funding

bill might be the Democrats' best option right now, if only to make the

administration, as Edwards' suggestion would make them deal with this

again and again on Iraq, and keep the debate going. But is that really

is that the, is that the best that they can do?

ALTER: I think it probably is. I mean, if you do that, and you do what Hillary Clinton and Senator Byrd are suggesting, you think of some other creative resolutions and other measures, you increase the pressure.

Look, the Congress cannot control all this. They cannot wrestle war policy from the president. It's a push and pull. And all that they can do is lay down a marker and say, This is Bush's war. This is where we stand. We're in a different place. They cannot unilaterally end the war, and really, never have been able to.

So you've got to have some cooperation, but you also have to be careful not to get taken to the cleaners if you negotiate with the administration and give away too much.

OLBERMANN: Senior editor Jonathan Alter of "Newsweek." Great thanks, Jon. Have a good weekend.

ALTER: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: And now, the aftermath of last night's Republican debate here on MSNBC, which, in retrospect, might have been advertised as a political seance.

Ten candidates, 10 of the whitest guys you're ever going to meet, all gathered on the stage of the Reagan Library, surrounded by artifacts of the late president, all trying to conjure up the spirit of his optimism, capture the votes of his most conservative admirers, all of them, oddly enough, staring into the exhausts of one of Mr. Reagan's Air Force One jets, candidates taking a political stroll through 1980s' Reaganism, tax cuts, peace through strength, family values, morning again in America, and even some hair dye.

On the other hand, President Bush might as well have been a ghost at the debate, the specter of W. avoided, except for a few words that the war in Iraq had been mishandled and September 2001 had not.

One of the lighter moments, a question about another former president whose wife is running for president, and the real uniter of Republican conservatives.


MATTHEWS: Would it be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have got to be kidding.

MATTHEWS: No, I don't.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The only thing I can think that'd be as bad as that would be to have the gang of three running the war on terror, Pelosi, Reid, and Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton tried to socialize medicine in this country, a very bad idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, Bill Clinton cut the U.S. Army by almost 50 percent.

MCCAIN: It would mean that the appointment of Supreme Court justices and other judges would be take a very sharp turn to the left.


OLBERMANN: Well, they left Chelsea Clinton out of it.

On the issue of giving the government power to come between a doctor and a patient, frontrunners McCain, Giuliani, and Romney said intervening in the Terri Schaivo case was a mistake, only McCain and Giuliani solidly supporting stem cell research under government funding, and only Giuliani preferring to leave abortion to the states.


GIULIANI: I support the Hyde Amendment. I hate abortion. I wish people didn't have abortions.

MATTHEWS: So you're not for funding at all.

GIULIANI: I believe that the Hyde Amendment should remain the law. States should make their decision. Some states decide to do it, most states decide not to do it, and I think that's the appropriate way to have this decided.

MATTHEWS: Should New York, when you were a, when mayor of New York, should they have been paying for the states should have been paying for...

GIULIANI: That was a decision New York made a long time ago. New York passed...

MATTHEWS: And where were you on that?

GIULIANI: I supported it in New York. But I think in other places, people can come to a different decision.


OLBERMANN: And, in a final wave to evangelicals, only three candidates, Brownback, Huckabee, and Tancredo, raised their hands to say they do not believe in evolution.

Joining us to consider how much Republicans have evolved since the '80s, Dana Milbank, national political reporter of "The Washington Post."

As always, Dana, thank you for your time tonight.


Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Well, nobody rode in on a horse. But you wouldn't happen to have any idea of how many times, exactly, that name, Reagan, was invoked last night?

MILBANK: You did sort of expect Ollie North to walk through passing out jelly beans.

But matter of fact, I did do - I ran the numbers this morning, went through the transcript. Thirty mentions of Reagan, six of those were for Nancy Reagan, 24 for the president. Let's compare that to the current President Bush, who got seven mentions, but six of those were by the moderators. Only one candidate invoked the name Bush, and that was Sam Brownback in a passing reference, saying, Let President Bush deal with Scooter Libby.

OLBERMANN: On the subject of the invocations of Mr. Reagan, nobody put them on the spot about Reagan training the Taliban to fight the Russians, Reagan pulling out of Lebanon after terrorists blew up the Marine barracks and 200 Marines died. Is the general public still buying into this rosy view of the Reagan years? I mean, is this going to be part of the Republican platform of '07 and '08?

MILBANK: Well, the general public is to some extent, but the real audience here is the Republican electorate. And you have to understand, for Republicans, Ronald Reagan right now is a - is the patron saint, I think even more than Lincoln. The Democrats are sort of split between JFK, with a few going for Bill Clinton.

But I think what the Republicans are really yearning for here is that sort of morning-in-America sense. They're looking at the most disillusioned the American public has been, with the barely one in five thinking that country's headed in the right direction. They essentially would like to turn back to - the clock to a time of a more confident America that Ronald Reagan certainly represents to the Republican electorate and much of the country as well.

OLBERMANN: Yes, and they don't want to use "We like Ike" in the Reagan library.

There was more red meat to the right, the question of being able to fire people if they're gay, Tommy Thompson, the former governor of Wisconsin, apologized today for having agreed that employers should be able to do that. He says he didn't hear the question, which is a possibility there. But let's look at the tape first.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If a private employer finds homosexuality immoral, should he be allowed to fire a gay worker?

TOMMY THOMPSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that is left up to the individual business. I really sincerely believe that that is a issue that business people have got to make their own determination as to whether or not they should be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the answer is yes?



OLBERMANN: Something of an irony there, Dana, because his state, Wisconsin, was the first to ban employment discrimination based on orientation. But this is not - this is a problem for Governor Thompson. He's backtracked on other things before, has he not?

MILBANK: Well, yes, and this is why he's a great gift to our profession. But it was only a couple of weeks ago he was in front of a Jewish audience and he said, I can really identify you, because I now like making money, which he actually caught himself in that speech and tried to backtrack at the same time, making it more difficult.

But look, we probably wouldn't be talking about Tommy Thompson otherwise, so if this is how he's going to get headlines, then let him keep going.

OLBERMANN: Yes, at least this time he apologized for it directly. I mean, last time he wound up blaming the media for covering his mistake.

Now, let's switch off the debate here, because there's a subject of backtracking's touched on in a totally different way, one of the former politician clients of the D.C. madam ready to change his tune, ready to tell stuff? What's going on with this?

MILBANK: It sounds that way. This - the more you hear about this story, the more you want to take a shower. But now we're hearing...

OLBERMANN: (INAUDIBLE) place, wasn't it?

MILBANK: Well, I have a high threshold for this, but now we're hearing that the shock and awe guy, Harlan Ullman (ph), who was originally named on this list, is saying, Well, I'm not going to help the D.C. madam in court. Apparently his lawyers now suggesting that he will testify that, in fact, he had sex with a prostitute. And now we also hear that the D.C. madam is trying to sell some interviews of herself on eBay.

So it threatens to get more and more tawdry by the minute.

OLBERMANN: Yes, if Mr. Shock and Awe had just taken a shower, we'd never be in this situation.

But lastly, this National Prayer Day in Washington yesterday, including a prayer for the president written by a reverend named Swindle, and I understand that there was an event near the Capitol that made a prayer by a Mr. Swindle look like a real winner.

MILBANK: Oh, it was a terrific moment in Washington. I - the 600 chairs set out for the Bible-reading marathon. I counted somewhere between zero early in the morning, and 37 in the afternoon. I went to ask the spokesman about it, and who would that be but Jeff Gannon, the man who put nude pictures of himself on the Web and offered his services as a gay escort. So Washington is all above - all abuzz with escorts of all stripes.

OLBERMANN: Dana Milbank of "The Washington Post" and MSNBC, who's made us yearn for the weekend even more than we were at the start of this hour. Great thanks, Dana.

MILBANK: Thanks, Keith.


New developments placing Karl Rove in the heart of Gonzales-gate tonight, including coaching a Justice Department official the day before that official's congressional testimony.

What they're calling here the May Day melee, the FBI now investigating this, and the mayor of Los Angeles belatedly rushing home.

You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: First, we heard suspicions that the White House, not the Justice Department, picked which U.S. attorneys to purge. Now, in two independent reports today comes word that the White House, and Karl Rove specifically, also engineered the "performance-related issues" cover story, now largely discredited, and sent top Justice officials to relay that story to Congress while never telling those officials about their own roles in the firings.

In our fourth story tonight, the scandal takes another step away from Alberto Gonzales and right towards Karl Rove.

Today's new details focus on a March 5 meeting at the White House, in attendance, Rove, Associate Deputy AG William Moschella, and Moschella's boss, Paul McNulty, both "Newsweek" and the McClatchey Newspapers today reporting details of McNulty's secret testimony about that meeting, McNulty reportedly telling Congress that Rove and other White House officials told the Justice officials they needed to come up with, and all agree upon, clear reasons the prosecutors were fired.

Rove did not tell Moschella or McNulty about his own involvement in those firings, leaving Moschella to testify before Congress the very next day that the firings were performance related.

Joining us to untangle these threads, our own David Shuster, who has been reporting on this story since its start sometime in the late 18th century.

David, good evening.


OLBERMANN: McNulty, the number two man to Gonzales, what does it mean that Karl Rove would be telling to figure out how to explain these firings?

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, to put it bluntly, it means that Karl Rove was essentially coaching a witness who in turn misled Congress. I mean, all along, there have been these suspicions that Karl Rove was deeply involved in the seemingly political firing of the federal prosecutors. Now, this meeting raises the possibility that Rove tried to hide his own role by allowing or encouraging false testimony by the Justice Department.

The March 5 meeting at the White House came right before Congress started taking testimony, both from the fired prosecutors and top Justice Department officials. Administration officials in attendance at the hastily arranged meeting March 5, as you mentioned, included Karl Rove, White House counsel Fred Fielding, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, and Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella.

Moschella testified the next day. He denied to Congress that Rove pushed in any fashion to have a Rove aide replace U.S. attorney Bud Cummins in Arkansas. Moschella also denied any Rove involvement in the dismissal of the other seven prosecutors.

The problem is that Justice Department e-mails and documents make several references to Rove, and, based on McNulty's testimony, who was with Rove at the coaching session for Moschella, Moschella was not given any information or any hint about Rove's involvement. In other words, not only is Rove sending somebody up to provide testimony to Congress that is wrong, but Rove's own omissions had the effect of causing the Justice Department to mislead Congress and hide Rove's actions.

And the revelations put even more pressure on Republicans to agree with the Democratic contention that White House officials like Karl Rove should testify publicly and under oath, something that the White House still refuses, Keith.

OLBERMANN: David, McNulty, the number-two guy to Gonzales, his predecessor in that role as number two, James Comey, testified publicly, and as we used to ask on this program on Friday nights, what did we learn?

SHUSTER: Well, we learned that once again, Attorney General Gonzales, the storyline is being undermineded once again from a top Gonzales deputy. Gonzales has said repeatedly that the prosecutors were dismissed for performance-related reasons, or because the Justice Department was dissatisfied with the prosecutors.

Comey, like McNulty before him, supervised the U.S. attorneys. And both have said they were not consulted, and didn't know a firing list was even being generated. So that points everything back to officials at the White House. And the testimony adds to the narrative that the prosecutors were not fired for the reasons Gonzales has offered, but rather that the prosecutors were fired for political reasons.

And again, it ratchets up the pressure on President Bush and the dwindling number of Republicans who believe that Alberto Gonzales should stick around, Keith.

OLBERMANN: MSNBC's David Shuster. As always, great thanks for joining us. Have a good weekend.

SHUSTER: Thanks, Keith, you too.

OLBERMANN: Speaking of justice, Paris Hilton facing jail for being a scofflaw, a judge tonight deciding Paris needs to go to the Big House.

And whatever you do, don't look down. Isn't there a bridge somewhere nearby? Is there not a bridge?

That's next. This is Countdown.


OLBERMANN: On this date in 1891, author Arthur Conan Doyle killed off a character he had really come to dislike. He had him and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, fall to their deaths, presumably slapping each all the way - each other all the way down, at the Reichenbach Falls. The character, of course, was Sherlock Holmes. Mr. Doyle was apparently the only one pleased by this, because by 1894, public pressure had built so much that Doyle had to resurrect Holmes, and there is a Sherlock Holmes movie on track for release in 2010.

Reminding you that I am not here to supply the deficiencies of the police, let's play Oddball.

And we begin 72 feet above the Han River in Seoul, South Korea, where, speaking of falling from a very great height over water, a man with a long pole and a funny hat carefully makes his way across the half-mile expanse. It's the World High-Wire Championships, featuring competitors from nine countries trying to become the fastest man to make it across without dying. The grand prize, $15,000 and a new pair of underwear.

High winds were a factor in the event. For you disturbed individuals out there, the answer is, no, nobody fell, except this guy. (INAUDIBLE) rotation, splash. Nothing to worry about, everybody. He's going to be just fine, as far as you know.

To India, where local hoodlums are proving it's not always embarrassing to be seen on a Vespa. All right, they're not hoodlums, but those are mopeds, and these guys are tearing it up biker-boys-style. Burn rubber, not your soul, baby. It's a local motorbike stunt club putting on a show for the cameras. They call themselves RPM, which stands for Ruling Powerful Machines. You know, some days, you rule the machine, and some days, the machine rules you.

I meant to do that.

Finally, to the Internets, where we're more than happy to be the suckers for a corporate viral video marketing campaign, only because it's so cool, and somewhat mean. From the cell phone company Samsung, which has baked a bunch of tiny little pies, built themselves a tiny little catapult, and they're launching the pies at bugs.

Down goes Frazier!

If you care, the company says no bugs were injured in the making of this film. In fact, they seem to enjoy cleaning themselves up.

If this makes you want to buy their cell phones, well, who am I to say you have misplaced priorities.

Those are tonight's entrants for the next oddball plays of the month.

Tonight, the winners for this month's. Here's your pizza and here's your pepperoni.

And the mayor heading home from a road trip, the FBI stepping in after the May Day melee here in MacArthur Park.

First-time Countdown (UNINTELLIGIBLE) newsmakers (ph) (UNINTELLIGIBLE) between Nina Wong of Hong Kong, one of the world's healthiest women, a childless widow, who, following her death on April - early in April - left an estate estimated to be worth over $3 billion. Left it all to her feng shui advisor, who will no doubt arrange it nicely in piles and dance around it for a few months before stuffing it in her ears.

Number two, Wiley the dog of Chubbuck, Ohio - or Idaho. Wiley used to spend a lot of time out wandering the neighborhood without his owners, not on a leash, unless the cranky neighbors sent Wiley home with this message. The word "go" was spray-painted on one side of the dog. The word "home" spray-painted on the other side. They believe Wiley will be OK.

Number one, prison officials at Anamosa State Penitentiary in Iowa is seen here on MSNBC's "Inside Anamosa." A set of keys from a retired guard there wound up on the auction site eBay. Not knowing if the keys still worked or not, the prison replaced all its locks.

Of course, somebody could have just bid on the keys from the prison, because they sold for a little less than the $6,000 it cost to replace all those old locks. It sold for $12.


OLBERMANN: What began as a political display and turned into violence is once again politics tonight.

In our third story on the Countdown, the City of Los Angeles wrestling with the fallout and the questions raised by Tuesday's violent dispersal of pro-immigration demonstrators by the L.A. Police Department. That clash now elevated to the status of a federal case, and even an international incident.

Officials in Mexico registering confidence in the LAPD chief to investigate. He won't be the only one doing so. Federal investigators joined in, not to mention the lawyers for various demonstrators who have announced their intentions to file suit.

The political fallout, meanwhile, sufficiently powerful to reach across borders. And as our correspondent, Peter Alexander, reports, yanked the mayor of this city back from his trip south of the border.

Peter, good evening.


Here in the nation's largest Latino community, the excitement over this weekend's Cinco de Mayo celebrations is now being overshadowed by the anger over this week's violent clash with police.


ALEXANDER (voice-over): Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, returned home today, cutting short an international trade mission to Central America to deal with the growing fallout from Tuesday's melee.

At least four investigations are now underway, including one by the FBI, which will examine whether police violated protestors' civil rights.


ALEXANDER: Chief William Bratton today personally apologized to Pedro Sevcec, the anchor of NBC's Spanish-language network, Telemundo, who was among those assaulted by police.

BRATTON: Unexplainable. I don't have an answer at this time. I was very shocked at the video when I first saw it.

ALEXANDER: Among the tactics under investigation, whether police commanders removed dozens of elite officers from the rally before the violent clash.

Today, at least 11 marchers injured Tuesday announced they're suing police.

LUIS CARILLO, ATTORNEY: What we saw is total, absolute lack of command and control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You cannot do that! You know that!

ALEXANDER: Also filing suit, camerawoman Patty Ballaz, seen here getting overrun by officers.

PATTY BALLAZ, CAMERAWOMAN, FOX NEWS: I'm sad about it and I'm scared. And I'm angry.

ALEXANDER: It's not without precedent. Seven journalists sued and later settled with the LAPD for thousands of dollars after protests turned ugly at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

And this afternoon, immigration opponents called for another investigation into whoever first attacked police.


ALEXANDER (on camera): Some people here are now questioning whether Chief William Bratton should be reappointed to another five-year term. That decision is set to be made this summer. And some here say it shouldn't happen at all - Keith.

OLBERMANN: Peter Alexander, reporting here in Los Angeles. Great.


Will there soon be a prime-time MSNBC show called "Lock Up Paris Hilton"? Prosecutors asking the judge to throw her behind bars for 45 days, and the judge says, "Yes."

And an embarrassing drunken moment for David Hasselhoff, caught on tape by his own daughter, but with a big twist. He's in favor of it being shown - ahead.

First your Countdown top three sound bites.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congressman Ron Paul, thank you so much for joining me .

REP. RON PAUL, R-TEXAS: Thank you. Great to be with you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: . in my dorm room. And first I just want to say that this is the first presidential candidate - or the first interview ever to be conducted with a presidential candidate from a college dorm room.

This is a pencil puppet I made of you for when I talk about your videos online. In the previous video, I think everybody could see this.

This is your pencil puppet. I'd like you to have it now, because you actually came to my dorm. It hardly seemed necessary to have a little pencil stick representation of you. So .

PAUL: That's pretty neat.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Obviously, we know she's a smart politician. Let's see how she presents herself.


CANDIDATE: Those are the greatest shoes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got them on super sale at Sachs.

CLINTON: Boy, do they look fabulous.

Oh, you know, I'm the woman on more diets that don't last. Ration your chocolate so you don't go overboard.

STEWART: Oh, my God. Hillary Clinton is running as "Cathy."


Bienvenidos. Thank you for coming. Welcome to el Jardin de las Rosas.

It's a great place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.



OLBERMANN: The star of "One Night in Paris" looking at 45 nights, not in a Hilton, but in a cell.

The star of "Baywatch" seen in a disturbingly drunken video filmed by his own daughter.

And the Veterans Administration vying with a personnel manager who took that phrase "fire all the employees" a little too literally - for worst person honors.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news. Oh, this should be rich. Must be something of monumental, earth-shattering importance, or they wouldn't have that earth there. Shattering.

See it shattering? It's earth-shattering breaking news.

Oh, do tell me! Tell me! Tell me!


OLBERMANN: Calm yourself, Stewie (ph).

It's Paris. It's the springtime. It's Paris in the springtime - in jail.

In our number two story on the Countdown tonight, the - oh, my God, it's breaking news - the professional celebrity couldn't quite wrap her mind around the terms of her probation these past few months, and is off to the pokey because of it.

Forty-five days in jail to begin June 5th, as Hilton's 36-month probation that stemmed from her pleading no contest to reckless driving last September. She'd also failed a sobriety test. And today's hearing in L.A. addressed three possible instances of her violating that probation.

Number one, driving with a suspended license. Number two, driving with a suspended license again. Yes, she allegedly did it twice. Number three, failing to enroll in an alcohol education program.

Miss Hilton was late for today's hearing. The judge heard from three witnesses on each side, including Hilton, who reportedly blamed her publicist for leading her to believe that her driver's license was still valid.

The judge obviously went with the prosecutor's recommendation - 45 days. And after the verdict, Paris Hilton's mother shouted at the prosecutor, "You're pathetic."

Meantime, Hilton's former BFF, Britney Spears, rolls on with her post-rehab comeback, or something.

Last night another performance at the House of Blues, this time in West Hollywood, this show lasting only 11 minutes. She was lip-synching, except for saying "thank you," and reportedly for chewing gum throughout.

Next time, she'll do an Ashley Simpson hoe-down.

Joined now by comedian Paul F. Tompkins - also, of course, a contributor to VH1's "Best Week Ever."

It's good to see you in the flesh, sir.

PAUL F. TOMPKINS, COMEDIAN: Indeed. Likewise, Keith. Thank you very much.

OLBERMANN: Well, we have this breaking news - 45 days. What could she possibly face in jail?

TOMPKINS: Oh, well, I don't know. Only a three-star chef in the kitchen? It's not like she's going to go to regular people's jail, you know. She's going to rich white person's jail, so it's all going to be OK.

It's not like Martha Stewart came out of her time with any Arian Nation tattoos, or anything. It's not going to be a gin (ph) pop (ph) with burn (ph) chilling (ph) her (ph).

OLBERMANN: They're also - they're appealing, apparently. So, this could drag on beyond June 5th.

Two drivings while suspended. Where does that put her in terms of the total population of L.A. drivers, in terms of their dangerousness?

TOMPKINS: Well, she's clearly worse than somebody who has one driving while suspended.


TOMPKINS: But not as bad as Eddie Griffin.

OLBERMANN: Into the side of the - with the guy's sports car.

Headlights off on the second time. Does she get a pass on that, because in a metaphorical sense, her headlights are always off?

TOMPKINS: Well, I would think so. I mean, it is sort of amazing that she can - you know, we'd be impressed if she were able to utilize a stick to eat ants.

So, operating a motor vehicle, that's kind of amazing.

OLBERMANN: She might be able to practice that in prison.

There's also been a suggestion tonight that there was going to be a book deal. And when I heard that I said, oh, she's getting a deal so she can read a book during the 45 days?

TOMPKINS: There's not enough money in the world to pay her to read a book.

OLBERMANN: And 45 days might not be enough time.

This alcohol education program - do we think - but she didn't do this. She was supposed to sign up.

Do we think she tried to home school herself?

TOMPKINS: Oh, yes. I'm sure she's under the impression that she has a doctorate in alcohol education. And, you know, what more do you need to know beyond white wine with fish, my mom can't smell vodka on my breath - it's odorless - and beer before liquor, never sicker.

OLBERMANN: Paul, outside the L.A. traffic court, there were construction workers nearby who were shouting, "Jail time! Jail time!"

Are they mean? Or are they just representative of the great American society that we love?

TOMPKINS: Listen, if you are famous primarily for having loads of sex, if you've made a homemade sex tape that has been seen by the entire world, and construction workers can only "jail time" at you, that's on you.

OLBERMANN: Yes. And maybe that video just wasn't that appealing to those construction workers.

Let's - while we have you here, let's bring in Britney Spears to this - not in person, because .


OLBERMANN: Well, we have two minutes, so that would encompass your entire act.

But she goes from - the first two performances this week in this comeback were 20 minutes long each, roughly. Last night's lasted 11.

We're making progress. Next time she comes out she just says, "Bye."

TOMPKINS: Yes. Eventually the concert will be, curtain opens and a hand throws out a copy of "Us Weekly," you know.

Well, this is great, because it's sort of like she's saying, can we please drop this charade that I'm a singer anymore? Isn't my personal life 1,000 times more fascinating?

You know, if she can figure out a way to make money from disastrous marriages, we're all happy.

OLBERMANN: And to that point, as we see in the video, she's wearing this wig. She has - I mean, didn't - the whole thing that precipitated the comeback was the fact that she didn't have any hair on her head. Right?

Why is she throwing away bald Britney?

TOMPKINS: Listen. The good news is hair grows back. She's got to grow it back before she can cut it again. And she's not going to be not insane any time soon.

OLBERMANN: And this outfit. It's go-go boots, a miniskirt and fake fur.

Is this style? Or is this Santa Monica Boulevard after 1:30 in the morning?

TOMPKINS: This is her trying to communicate. "Look. I'm out of rehab and I'm getting my act together.

And what better way to show it than dressing like a hooker from "Starsky and Hutch."

OLBERMANN: It's fantastic.

And how far - how much Paris Hilton news is there going to be in the next week after this?

TOMPKINS: I'd say too much. That's my rough estimate, too much.

But you know what? After what's happened recently in the city, I think we could all use some good news.

OLBERMANN: Yes. There are probably some LAPD officers who are going, "Yes! We're off the front page for the time being."

Paul F. Tompkins, who, of course, contributes to VH1's "Best Week Ever," and frequently to this show, as I said, a pleasure to see you in person.

TOMPKINS: Absolutely.

OLBERMANN: Thanks for coming in.

TOMPKINS: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: It's an easy segue then into our nightly roundup of celebrity and entertainment news, "Keeping Tabs," to a video that would actually be funny, were it an act. But it's not.

But even David Hasselhoff, self-described recovering alcoholic has said that perhaps people will learn something from his admitted relapse on tape.

The videotape, which we'll show in a moment, was made by Hasselhoff's daughters three months ago. It is not known who released it yesterday, though Hasselhoff is in divorce proceedings.

In the video he is obviously intoxicated. And in a statement, Mr. Hasselhoff says, "There was a tape made that night to show me what I was like. I have seen the tape. I have learned from it and am back on my game. I hope that someone else will learn from the tape, as I have."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me you're going to stop.

DAVID HASSELHOFF, ACTOR: I'm going to stop.




HASSELHOFF: This is a mess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why are you, like, doing this to yourself?

HASSELHOFF: Because I have (ph) a lot (ph) of money (ph) and I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) control my life.


OLBERMANN: Well, now we know who's going to get the next Paris Hilton burger commercial.

This brings us to "The Simpsons" for a bit of comic relief. Enter Elizabeth Taylor. "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening has told "Playboy" magazine that he chose Ms. Taylor to voice the very first word of Baby Maggie - the word, "daddy."

But Ms. Taylor's version of daddy was too sexual, according to Groening. And after 24 takes, Taylor finally gave up, telling the "Simpsons" creator to, quote, blank off, end quote.

Nobody puts baby in the corner.

Matt, I am available if you're stuck for another quick read, and I'm still in the neighborhood.

This monkey and trainer getting along much better than Elizabeth Taylor and the script. It's your lucky night. The April oddball month in review. That's ahead.

The first (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Countdown's latest list of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the worst person in the world.

The bronze to New York state assemblyman, Michael Cole. Censured, stripped of privileges, because he got drunk with an intern at a bar, went home with her and slept in her bedroom.

Among the penalties for Mr. Cole, removal as ranking member of the alcoholism and drug abuse community. Cole accepted responsibility by saying, as wrong as it sounds now, at the time I didn't think it was such a bad decision to sleep there, being that I was incapable of driving.

But the getting drunk with an intern thing, that was OK?

Our runners-up, the V.A., the Veterans Affairs Department. Last year, due to some budget slight-of-hand at the behest of the Bush administration, it was about $1 billion short.

Vets' cases got so backlogged, that delays are still running at an average of 177 days. But the guys running the V.A. got theirs on time.

The Associated Press has reports that show senior career officials at the V.A. got $3.8 million in bonuses, an average of $16,000 each. That's the highest in our government.

But our winners, the owners of Rob's Department Store in Hexham, in England. The fire alarm went off the other morning. A hundred and forty employees raced to the exits and the meeting point outside, which is where they were told that there was no fire, there was no fire drill. There were also no more jobs, because the department store was closing as of that moment, and they were fired.

That might have gotten a point for creativity, had that not reeked of George Bluth's black Friday's firing drills from "Arrested Development."

The owners of Rob's department store in Hexham, in England - today's worst persons in the world.


OLBERMANN: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) our number one story in the Countdown tonight. Extra oddball, extra anniversaries.

On this date in 1975 at the age of 77, Harry Moses Horowitz died - a man not so famous for having married the cousin of Harry Houdini, a man curiously famous, in a way, for having made movies from 1909 through 1973, kind of famous for a trademark bowl haircut, but really, really famous as Moe Howard, slapstick ringleader of the Three Stooges.

So, to the master of the ridiculous stunt, we pay homage with our roundup of ridiculous stunts. Our oddball plays of the month for April.

Let's play oddball.


OLBERMANN (voice-over): We begin in Australia with the Countdown cow chase of the week.

We begin in the fashion capital of the world, Denver.

We begin in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Harris County, Texas, where roving gangs of cattle own the night.

We begin in Japan with the Countdown cool-ass robot of the week. It's this guy who looks exactly like this guy. And sort of like Colin Powell.

And we begin in England with the greatest event in all of motor sports, the London rollover competition. Yea! Crash! Hey, that one says Keith on it. Yea! Keith car!

We begin with crazy video from China. Chunyang (ph) City, hello.

The 55-year-old man in the window is a murder suspect, believed to be armed with a knife. He's barricaded himself in a room on the eight floor of the hospital. They're afraid he might jump.

You've see the Sam Jackson movie. This is where they call in the smooth-talking negotiator. Of course, that's Hollywood. This is how they do it China. Whee!

Returning home for some American justice, it's been a big week for the oddball mug shot gallery. This last night we brought you this guy, busted for huffing paint with guilt written all over his face, as it were.

Tonight - oh boy. Oh. Oh, no, no, no.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) synergy (ph) failed. We're throwing out the first pitch for oddball tonight. Cincinnati's mayor, Mark Mallory. Oh, that's embarrassing.

Why are you doing that, sir?

What was that thing that came flying in?

I can't circle. I don't have my (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cable.

Here comes a pizza. See?

To Adams County, Pennsylvania, where the local nursing home has been subject to a rein of terror by local hoodlum deer. Security camera video showing the two animals charging the automatic front doors, then racing into the building before the doors closed.

Officials are trying to determine whether the deer might have a grandparent at the facility, or this was just a random (ph) attack.

Finally, to Monroe, Louisiana, for the Countdown bear in a tree of the week.

Here's a beautiful home in the landside district of Newfoundland. Three bedrooms, gorgeous view. Never mind. Let me show you something else down the block.

Hello. I'm Keith Olbermann, and welcome to bullfight night in Mexico.

Hey, it's a wild boar with his head stuck in a fence, everybody.

And look. It's the world's biggest shish kabob.

Look, the big train go fast.

She has celebrated three-quarters of a century with sugary snacks, a big birthday cake and a long, uncomfortable, open-mouth soul kiss with his trainer.

Finally, to the big Detroit, Michigan, school board meeting, where the issue at hand is the closure of several area schools. And there's a woman in the gallery throwing grapes at the board members. Yes, it's that American style of democracy that we've heard so much about.

The 15th annual big sky hypothermia challenge. More than 70 participants came out this year. Amazingly, there were no major injuries except maybe this guy, and possibly that guy. This guy might have gotten hurt. Oh. All right. That's enough.


OLBERMANN: And just to reassure you naturalists, no bears were hurt in the filming of that segment.

Say goodbye, Pete.

That's Countdown for this, the 1,465th day since the declaration of "mission accomplished" in Iraq.

From Los Angeles, I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.