'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Nov. 2
Guests: Richard Wolffe
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: Good evening. Roughly three years ago the Bush administration received the first-hand account from one of its own Justice Department officials who volunteered to let himself be waterboarded that it was, indeed torture and they promptly fired him. Now, our fifth story on the Countdown: Despite the ABC report tonight about former acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin ultimate litmus test and the Bush administration suppression of it, it appears the nominee for attorney general who will not concur with nor dispute Mr. Levin conclusion that waterboarding is torture will himself be recommended by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Levin story first, as acting AG in the office of legal counsel. He was the Justice Department's man in charge of determining which of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques could be used legally. ABC quoted unidentified sources saying in 2004, Levin volunteered to find out himself. He went to a military base outside of Washington and was waterboarded. As characterized in the report, Levin said although he knew he would not die the experience was so terrifying that waterboarding was clearly torture. That only under the strictest of supervision and, quote, "Highly limited way could waterboarding possibly be legally used." Yet the administration, he noted, had failed to issue any guidelines about it, about maximum time of use or the presence of medical personnel during use.
Levin, ABC reports, was formulating a memo outlining that waterboarding was legally torture when Alberto gonzales became the attorney general of the United States. Sensing Levin was "Too independent" and "Not somebody who could be counted on." Levin was forced out of his Justice Department post. Levin would say for the record that it would be inappropriate for him to make any comment on ABC's report but what he learned and what he tried to say and what happened to him when he tried to say it dovetails with infuriating irony into news that two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced they will break ranks with their own chairman and join Republicans making Michael Mukasey, a man who says he is not sure whether waterboarding is torture - the top law man in this country. That all happened in a span of a couple hours this afternoon.
First, Judiciary Chair Pat Leahy became the fifth Democrat on the committee joining Senators Biden, Kennedy, Durbin and Whitehouse to oppose Mukasey's nomination which is set for committee vote next Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PAT LEAHY, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Judge Mukasey was not asked to evaluate any secret facts and circumstances. He was asked a very clear question, is waterboarding illegal? American law makes torture illegal and water waterboarding is torture and under American law it is illegal. It is frankly not dependent on any, to use his, quote, "Relevant facts and circumstances, techniques past or proposed use." That might be a lawyer-like argument but it's not accurate. And it doesn't reflect what is America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Not an hour and a half later California's Dianne Feinstein became the first committee Democrat to announce support for Mukasey. Approximately one minute later Chuck Schumer of New York followed suit. Schumer closely watched in this drama after suggesting Mukasey a fellow New Yorker to President Bush, only to have Mukasey and both his verbal and written replies raise serious questions among Democrats and even some Republicans about his positions on the power of the presidency and even civil rights 101 softballs such as whether waterboarding constitutes torture. MSNBC political analyst, "Newsweek" senior White House correspondent, Richard Wolffe. Richard, good evening.
RICHARD WOLFFE, NEWSWEEK: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Let's begin with the ABC report: Big picture first. What's the fallout likely to be with the Bush administration with the revelation that the acting assistant attorney general who was in charge of assessing what was torture and what was not - let himself be waterboarded determined - yes, legally that's torture and they fired him?
WOLFFE: Well, the impact for the Bush administration first of all, remember, that when I asked the president recently what his definition of torture was he said it's whatever the lawyers said it was. And it turns out his lawyer said it was, well, waterboarding. So, they have a credibility problem, another one. And the semantic games they played about torture have run out of steam. I think it also has an impact, frankly on the presidential race. You have Rudy Giuliani going out there saying that waterboarding is fine. The only problem is the way the liberal media, he says, describes it. And clearly it's not just the quote, "Liberal media" here. If Justice Department officials undergo this and say it's torture, then, come on guys, it's torture.
OLBERMANN: Yes, this isn't a member of the liberal - Mr. Levin was the acting assistant attorney general in charge of determining what was legal and what was torture and what was in between. Now, what is the practical response from the White House going to be to this? Is it to go out ala Giuliani, is there story on Monday going to be or Sunday even ABC not patriots, terrorists perhaps for revealing that the White House shot its own messenger in this one?
WOLFFE: Well, amazingly enough, the White House isn't as crude as Rudy Giuliani. I think there are three things they do in this case and three things they say. One, this is somehow out-of-date. It's been superseded by all sorts of legal commitments and reviews that the administration has said. But, two, they can't talk about it because it's all super secret and confidential. And, three, the - America doesn't torture. And you know, they close down the conversation that way. I imagine they are doing that right now.
OLBERMANN: But they need the enabling of the Democrats regarding Mukasey. Does this conceivably do anything to the nomination process which, as of four hours ago, seemed signed, sealed, and delivered, specifically. Could Feinstein, could Schumer do 180s on this saying we have to have that answer now?
WOLFFE: Well, from what I know of Feinstein and Schumer, I don't think that's likely. They ought to give them pause for thought. Look, in a sense can I understand Schumer, there is a whole New York patronage system that this is part of. Feinstein is - makes you sort of scratch your head here. And, remember, this really hasn't boiled down to the issue of the definition of torture or waterboarding. It's come down to the question of legal jeopardy for C.I.A. interrogators who use this method. Everybody can deal with this in a separate way in a separate avenue and deal with Mukasey separately. But they have chosen to take this path and it's a very narrow political avenue they're taking.
OLBERMANN: And the cover story for it, at least for Senator Schumer, having an acting attorney general, which we do now in the person of Peter Keisler (ph) would be worse for the country, giving the White House freedoms that Mukasey would deny it. Is that political cover or is there some reasoning there?
WOLFFE: Well, I think people are impressed with the integrity generally of Judge Mukasey. And certainly his record on the beach suggests that he's been put in a very difficult situation. Again, why would the administration give him no legal room at all to deal with the legal jeopardy situation that he has been dancing around? You know, the question here is whether Democrats just want to move on and I think they do.
OLBERMANN: Richard Wolffe our political analyst, senior White House correspondent for "Newsweek." As always, great thanks. Have a good weekend.
WOLFFE: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Putting political aside, America is now virtually assured of getting an attorney general, top law man in the country who like Alberto Gonzales before him can find nothing in the U.S. Law to prevent government officials from secreting holding people, strapping them to wooden boards and pouring water down their throats until they cannot breathe. Even though there is or at least was at least the outline of a memo inside the Justice Department archives from the acting assistant general who let himself be waterboarded to confirm that the technique is torture. In all likelihood the broader implication the Bush administration has secured through the last of its days - virtual immunity from serious legal scrutiny of even the darkest deeds of cloak under national security. Let's now turn to Nixon White House counsel John Dean for the latest in explorations of the themes in his new book - "Broken Government." John, great thanks as always for your time tonight.
JOHN DEAN, NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: This ABC report about Daniel Levin in charge of assessing legality for DOJ puts himself on the board, says it's torture and illegal fit that into the entire picture of the Bush administration. Did this tonight tie a lot of different things together?
DEAN: It certainly did this. It proved to the Bush administration beyond any doubt that indeed this was a practice, was torture. This is not a new revelation, since this device and technique has been around since the Spanish inquisition. We prosecuted people after World War II for waterboarding. So, the fact that they had to find one of their own or one of their own had some doubt and went out as and tested it should have certainly drilled it home. And it certainly did put them internally if they, indeed, have broken the law on good notice that, indeed, they were breaking the law.
OLBERMANN: And what they did to him, what does that tell you about the nature? Does that help clarify the nature of this administration that when he came back with this report not even finished and said, this is torture? This is illegal? They said you are no longer the acting assistant attorney general?
DEAN: That doesn't speak well at all to the fact that they didn't want to hear it. It is reminiscent of some lawyers I knew in the White House who told some of their superiors things they didn't want to hear and had a very similar result. When your superior doesn't want to hear this, there is a good reason. They are covering up something. That appears to be exactly what's going on here, Keith. Obviously.
OLBERMANN: There was a second ABC report that suggested tonight that waterboarding had only been used on three detainees, Khalid sheikh Mohammed is one of them and two others and hadn't been used at all since 2003. Is there an implication here, John, even as they fired this man they might have listened to Mr. Levin, that this is why they won't let Judge Mukasey or anyone else go near defining or confirming - that the Levin test - it's opinion itself means legal jeopardy for people in the C.I.A. in the administration, in the White House?
DEAN: I think that's a reasonable set of assumptions and suppositions to draw from these facts. Having heard it from one of their own, who I'm sure was quite capable of speaking with some passion about the issue, after he had gone through this experience, and could tell somebody firsthand what this was all about, pushes way beyond the legal theories and legal niceties to explain what they are doing to another human being. That may well have been a brace for many within the department who would give them second thoughts. This was a highly respected lawyer who was doing this and he was indeed confirming the worst news.
OLBERMANN: We have a theoretically opposition Congress poised now in the wake of this to knowingly confirm a man who leaves room for the possibility of legal waterboarding. Does this even transcend what you first imagined when you conceived of our government as broken government?
DEAN: In a sense it does because one of the things that's troubled me and one of the things that prompted my book was the refusal of the Democrats on issues like this when the Republicans are gaming the system, when they are pushing the envelope, to fail to stand up and go nose to nose with them. And that seems to be happening again, Keith. We don't have the full story. It hasn't totally unfolded. We are certainly looking at a high likelihood that this man is going to be confirmed. They put the issue of torture and waterboarding on the table. And now they're walking away from it. So this is exactly the kind of problem I was explaining in the book and the reason that we have a government that's off of its constitutional foundations in many areas.
OLBERMANN: Especially when Mr. Levin, albeit somewhat belatedly and probably totally unintentionally, is holding the door open for the Democrats and inviting them to fix this part of the broken government. John Dean, author of the book of the same name, as always, John, thanks.
DEAN: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Rough day for the president and vice president when it came to reality based reality. Mr. Bush with a major slip suggesting is he more upset by TV coverage of terrorism than terrorism himself. Mr. Cheney gets the country Hugo Chavez runs wrong and Senator Obama submits legislation saying Mr. Bush has not been given the right to attack Iran. Senator Clinton does not like that. She prefer as will letter and says the same thing. You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: It would be funny, were it not so tragic. Our fourth story on the Countdown, the president of the United states claiming today that he wishes the nation were not at war even as he continues to conflate two conflicts in order to keep us at war in an unwinnable battlefield. His vice president meantime after joking that he himself picked himself for the job, misidentifying the country that Hugo Chavez, a purported enemy of this country leads. Anybody laughing? President Bush before an audience of soldiers graduating basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. This afternoon giving a speech that might as well have been titled the "Petraeus Report, The Sequel." The commander in chief beginning with the basics - the cold hard facts of life as he has created them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: But it's also a time of war for our country. I wish I did not have to report that. But it is the truth. It's the way it is in this world in which we live.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Instead of fighting al Qaeda terrorists and other militants camped out along the Afghan-Pakistan border where they have regrouped to 9/11 strength. Let's just continue to mediate an unwinnable Iraqi civil war. Why fight the terrorists where they actually are, if, as Mr. Bush claims, we have more spunk than they do. Besides, it apparently does not matter if violence occurs. Only, it seems whether images of that aftermath are shown on newscasts like this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The terrorists are still capable of murdering the innocent. That will get on our TV screens. The enemy remains determined but what they have learned about the United States of America is we are more determined. We're more determined to protect ourselves and to help people realize the blessings of freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: So, how we realized are these blessings of freedom anyway? How are things looking on the ground in Iraq in the wake of the apparent permanent buildup of American troops?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: With our help, the Iraqi people are going on the offense against the enemy. They are confronting the terrorists and they're taking their country back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But, it looks like they won't be finished taking their country back any time soon thus the reason for Mr. Bush's visit to Fort Jackson - 3848 Americans in uniform having already been sacrificed in Iraq it is time to send more young men and women into battle there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: You've trained hard. You're prepared for battle and when you take up your missions, you'll give a new meaning to the slogan chanted by thousands of soldiers on this base in many wars and in many era, victory starts here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Well, let's hope it starts somewhere, finally. The vice president starting a new tradition this afternoon taking questions from an audience that was apparently not very well screened. Mr. Cheney heckled two or three times the hecklers never seen on camera even as they were man handled out of the audience in Dallas. Also known seen on camera, the straw man Mr. Cheney used for his argument that somebody somewhere believes the U.S. should engage in peace negotiations with al Qaeda or has even suggested such an obvious farce.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I would love to have one giant peace conference to see our adversaries come sit down on the other side of the table and negotiate a treaty here like we did at the end of World War II on board the USS Missouri and have the problem solved, nobody gets hurt. Nobody has to commit military forces any place. No young men and women are put at risk. That would be great. That's not the kind of enemy we are dealing with. And we ignore the character and the strategy and the objectives of our adversaries, in this case al Qaeda at our own peril.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: At Mr. Cheney's own peril, not consulting the Atlas before answering a question about how concerned is he about the influence of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: I'm trying to think how to state this diplomatically.
Diplomacy is hard sometimes. We have refrained from making public pronouncements about Mr. Chavez. I think for good and legitimate reasons. He is a - obviously an individual with his own agenda. And he spends a great deal of his time worrying about us and criticizing the United States. My own personal view is that he does not represent the future of Latin America. And people of Peru, I think, deserve better in their leadership but that's obviously a matter they have got to resolve for themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Well, the people of Peru probably do, not that that has anything to do with Hugo Chavez. How did this guy get this job anyway?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP0
CHENEY: If you are ever invited to head up the search committee, say yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Sad, but true. Well, home run king Barry Bonds get a new job or is his career over? What about his childhood friend who went to prison rather than testifying against him. He has not spoken about Greg Anderson before but Barry Bonds does tonight. And Panda's Peril latest rock group, sorry, apparently actual porno for pandas and does next on Countdown.
OLBERMANN: November 2nd, interesting collection of historical birthdays shall we call them star cross political figures - President Warren G. Harding, Governor Shaffer of Maryland, Pat Buchanan, Marie an Antoinette. on that note let's play "Oddball."
Don't lose your head. Let's just begin in Kawasaki, Japan with completely inappropriate public displays of affection from the resident red panda population. The pair has been kissing on the lips right in front of local school kids, turning an innocent trip to the zoo into x rated panda porn. One of those kids there is thinking this is the basis of our next Japanese reality game show.
Portland, Oregon, don't try this at home. Artist Leo Wayman does not own a car. His only means of transportation is his unicycle so when he need to move an extremely large painting from his studio to a gallery, he rigged it up with the wheels and unicycled it down the highway treating everybody to his master piece and treating everybody to a massive traffic headache. And by the way, your brush work zone pal.
Sir Richard Branson, don't let the building hit you on the button the way out. That and the other low lights of the oddball play of the month coming right at you. And somebody is playing politics.
Is it Barack Obama for introducing a measure saying the president has not been authorized to use military force against Iran or Hilary Clinton for criticizing that measure. Those stories ahead but first, Countdown time for best persons in the world. Number three best insight into his own childhood Karl Rove tell college audience in Texas that his political drive was formed when he was nine. He said he had a Nixon bumper sticker on his bicycle for the 1960 presidential election. When Nixon lost the girl down the street beat him up. He said he learned his lesson, never be on the losing side again. Maybe the lesson was doing be a republican?
Number two best paranoia Chris Wallace on fixed noise complaining in interview on Wednesday that the "New York Times" and "Washington Post" had not bothered to cover the relatively low number of American service deaths in Iraq last month, 34, proving to him, quote, "There is bias in the media" as Condi masked portfolio points out no real news organizations wait for statistic about a particular month's fatalities until the month is over. FOX NEWS reported on it on October 30th or 31st. The "Washington Post" put it on the front page today, November 2nd.
high: Barry Bonds claims he would like to continue playing baseball.
OLBERMANN: Fox News reported on it on October 30th or 31st. The "Washington Post" put it on the front page today, November 2nd and got the number for the full month of October right. Sadly it had increased to 39.
Number one, best respect for the dearly departed, an unnamed mourner at a funeral in Wellington, New Zealand. Police say they caught him cutting out of services early driving drunk with a carton of beer beside him on the front seat, telling officers he was going fishing, heading to the coast to check out the sea conditions.
Oh, by the way, he was doing all that in the hearse, which he had stolen.
OLBERMANN: Democratic senators take a legitimate stance against President Bush's saber rattling about Iran and they are accused of playing politics, by each other. In our third story in the Countdown, a collision between legislative necessity and presidential politics. Senator Barack Obama introducing a resolution that the president does not have the Congressional authority to use force against Iran.
Earlier yesterday, Senator Hillary Clinton had joined 29 more senators in signing a letter to the president saying essentially the same thing. But the resolution by Senator Obama would also nullify earlier an resolution, the Kyl/Lieberman amendment, which designated Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. While the letter states that the Kyl/Lieberman amendment should not be seen as a predicate for a military strike.
Senator Clinton, of course, had voted for Kyl-Lieberman. Senator Obama Was out of town and didn't vote. Now Clinton spokesman says that if Obama, quote, "isn't playing politics, he would have signed the letter today, and would have fought to stop the Kyl/Lieberman resolution before it came up for a vote."
Obama's camp taking umbrage with the notion of which senator is playing politics here, "while Clinton is trying her best to change her position on yet another critical issue facing this country," a spokesman said, "Senator Obama knows that it takes legislation, not letters, to undo the vote that she cast."
Meantime, in both an extended interview with the "New York Times" and on the "Today Show" this morning, Senator Obama has laid out the, quote, aggressive personal policy with which he would engage Iran if elected president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS: There is the potential, at least, for us finding ways of peacefully resolving some of our conflicts, and that effort has not been attempted. And if we don't make that attempt, then we are going to find ourselves continuing on the path that Bush and Cheney have set. And we are seeing the rhetoric rise every day. It has consequences not only for our strategic interests. It has consequences for troops in Iraq. And it has consequences for our economy.
There is a reason why oil prices are now approaching 100 dollars a barrel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Today, Senator Clinton reiterated she would not meet with Iranian leaders personally without preconditions.
His former personal trainer, a childhood friend, so loyal to Barry Bonds that he went to jail rather than tell a Grand Jury what he did or didn't know about Bonds and steroids and human growth hormone. Bonds speaks out about that pal, Greg Anderson, for the first time in part two of Jim Gray's exclusive interview with him.
And in worst, Rudy Giuliani's invitations. Rudy Giuliani not knowing 21 is more than six, and Rudy Giuliani cooking the books about the statistics on his own prostate cancer. That's next. This is Countdown.
OLBERMANN: Just a coincidence that our Worst Person in the World segment follows part two of Barry Bonds and the exclusive interview sport reporter Jim Gray conducted with him for Countdown. Our number two story tonight, Bonds has a record 762 career home runs, the fourth most RBI, 1,996, and a record seven MVP awards, and none of that appears to be helping him get a new job. Moreover, Bonds thinks there is no reason another club might think he comes with significant baggage.
Nearly three months after having broken Hank Aaron's home run record, a month and a half after his team told him not to return next season, Barry Bonds is a free agent. As to hints that Bonds might yet return to the San Francisco Giants, the team's general manager, Brian Sabian, yesterday gave a succinct reply, quoting him, no.
Now, as promised last night, more of what Barry Bonds told Jim Gray, starting with that moment of the controversial record breaking 755th home run.
BARRY BONDS, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: This is the record of records. I mean, this is the elite record. And from like a home run hitting contest - it felt like if you didn't hit a home run, you were disappointing 40,000 or 50,000 people. And I can't explain to you that actual feeling inside you. And you get a base hit and they go boo. I'm like to - I'm trying to help my team win at the same time.
JIM GRAY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You broke out in a rash. What caused that?
BONDS: It was just like on my forehead. I think - I don't know.
Just probably stress over the whole thing.
GRAY: Now you get to August 7th, the night that you hit the 756th home run. Can you describe what went on from the time you left the batter's box from the time the ball went out of the park.
BONDS: Everything looked slow. I could see that ball just going - and it seems like everything is in slow motion. You just watch it. I don't know, maybe you think you are sitting in a seat watching a TV program yourself, because you are actually just watching it. And you don't know - and you are happy, you know. You are excited and you're going around the bases, but everything is in slow motion.
GRAY: And to those who believe that you have unfairly obtained this record through the use of performance-enhancing drugs, what would your response to them be?
BONDS: That's not true. And it's not right, and it's not fair to me.
It's not fair to me. It's not true. It's not fair.
GRAY: Do you think, in some ways, that you are taking the brunt and you are being unfairly singled out for the entire industry and the problems that they have had?
BONDS: I truly believe I have been singled out, definitely, 100 percent.
GRAY: Your closest friend, Greg Anderson, is in prison right now, being held on contempt of court charges for failing to answer questions of the Grand Jury in your perjury investigation. Should Greg be in jail?
BONDS: No, nope, and I feel bad for him.
GRAY: Would you want him to answer these questions?
BONDS: I have no idea about anything. All I know is that Greg Anderson is my friend and Greg Anderson said that he never ever did anything to me, and I believe him.
GRAY: In light of the fact that you have said on numerous occasions that you never knowingly used steroids, how do you explain how you got better with time, when father time seems to catch up with everyone and people's careers go down with age. Your production levels increased?
BONDS: Hank Aaron's production increased as he got older. Alex Rodriguez's production is increasing as he is getting older. Mine hasn't really gone down yet. Think about it. I don't think it's fair to say I made any statements that - one that is in the courts that is not - you are not exactly reading the whole entire statement? I don't think it's fair to make that statement, saying something that I have said that I know I have not said.
GRAY: That would be knowingly.
GRAY: Let me just say so that everybody knows it. The knowingly comes from what has been reportedly leaked of the Grand Jury testimony.
BONDS: That's not even in my vocabulary. I just don't think it's fair.
GRAY: What are you going to do next year?
BONDS: I don't know. Go to work, I guess. I started training already. I'm running the stairs a little bit. I'm starting to work out again. But, Jim, it's going to have to be a right situation for me. So I'm going to work out as though I'm going to go back to work.
GRAY: Will you retire as a Giant?
BONDS: Oh hell, yes. It's my house, no matter. That's my house. No one is going to take that away, no one ever. No one is going to take the love of that city away from me, ever.
GRAY: How do you think the Giants handled your departure and telling you you would no longer be a part of their franchise?
BONDS: Oh, wow - I thought how it was handled - I was disappointed the way it was handled. What I mean by that is that San Francisco are not my fans. San Francisco is my family. And I felt that they took away our time to enjoy. You know what I'm saying? Our time to enjoy. I think we deserve more than that.
GRAY: If you don't play next year, do you believe it will be because the next franchise or whoever might hire you will not want to hear the constant steroid allegations and all of the other baggage that signing Barry Bonds would bring?
BONDS: I don't - you know what, Jim? I'm glad that you brought that up because I don't bring baggage to a team. I have never brought any baggage to a team. I have brought my baseball bags, but I don't bring any baggage. I go on the field and I play.
GRAY: But it's the image and the perception and you know you are going to have to deal with that.
BONDS: Yes. My image isn't the best of all times, believe me. Like Ali would say, mine isn't the best of all times. His was the best of all times. But that was my downfall, Jim. I didn't want that lifestyle. I wanted to go to work and I want to go home. I want to be with my friends.
OLBERMANN: Seven hundred fifty sixth home one would have been the record; 755 tied it. Sports reporter Jim Gray's exclusive interview with Barry Bonds for Countdown.
And a correction and an apology tonight; on Tuesday's Countdown we followed the reporting of the Associated Press from Londonary (ph), New Hampshire. Its correspondent quoted Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani in a speech there Monday night as having criticized some Democratic candidates for their willingness to ask questions first and shoot later; "it's not like this happy romantic world in which, you know, we'll negotiate with this one and we'll negotiate with that one," the AP reported at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Monday night, "and there will be no preconditions and we'll invited Ahmadinejad to the White House. And we'll invited Osama to the White House - I mean, Hillary and Obama are kind of debating, you know, whether to invite them to the inauguration or the inaugural ball."
We predicated a segment with Arianna Huffington Tuesday night on Giuliani's criticisms of Senators Clinton and Obama and criticized him for claiming Democrats would invite terrorists to the White House. Then on Wednesday night, 21 hours after our newscast, the Associated Press issued a retraction of its original story, that implied its reporters had misheard Giuliani, who did not refer to Ahmadinejad and Osama, and instead referred to Ahmadinejad and Asad, Syrian President Bashar Asad.
The, which we played on Tuesday night, nearly a day before the Associated Press made its correction, showed both what Mr. Giuliani actually said and why there was widespread confusion about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not like this happy, romantic world in which, you know, we will negotiate with this one and we will negotiate with that one, and there will be no preconditions. We will invite Ahmadinejad to the White House and we will invite Asad to the White House. I mean, Hillary and Obama are kind of debating whether to invite them to the inauguration or the inaugural ball.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: While there are obviously mitigating circumstances regarding this mistake, the Associate Press took 47 hours to make its correction, and ironically, even if Giuliani had referenced the Democrats potentially inviting Ahmadinejad and Joe Smith, the characterization of his remarks claiming Senators Clinton and Obama would be willing to bring terrorists to the White House is still surprisingly accurate.
On September 24th of this year, Mr. Giuliani said of Ahmadinejad, to an audience in Portland, Maine, quote, his government of Iran is considered to be the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
Despite all of that, none the less, Mr. Giuliani was misquoted by the Associated Press and on this newscast. And for that to him, and to you, I apologize.
Oddball's plays of the month next. First time for Countdown's Worst Persons in the World. The bronze to Rudy Giuliani for telling an audience in Portland on Tuesday - or rather New Hampshire on Tuesday that Senators Clinton and Obama might, quote, invite Ahmadinejad to the White House and will invite Asad to the White House. I mean, Hillary and Obama are kind of debating, you know, whether to invite them to inauguration or the inaugural ball?
What, you get a pass because you didn't say they would invite bin Laden to the inauguration, just the despots of Iran and Syria? The heck you do. We will wait so see if Mr. Giuliani issues a correction and an apology.
Our runner-up, Rudy Giuliani, who has now said at least twice about Tuesday's Democratic debate, quote, I thought I won the debate the other night because I was mentioned more often than any of the Democrats were. The "Chicago Tribune's" political blog "The Swamp" went back and checked.
Giuliani was mentioned by the Democratic candidates a total of six times. Senator Clinton was mentioned by the Democratic candidates who were not her a total of 21 times.
So we will wait to see if Mr. Giuliani issues a correction and an apology.
And our winner, Rudy Giuliani, you know about his ad in New Hampshire in which he claims that when he had prostate cancer his chances of survival here in the laissez faire health care system in the United States were 82 percent, but, quote, under socialized medicine in England, they would have only been 44 percent? He was already getting hammered on those numbers. The American Cancer Society said the actual five-year survival rates are 99 percent here, 74 percent in England.
The difference in largely because men in England who don't have symptoms still rarely get themselves tested early. Today the controversy got worse. The Giuliani campaign says it got its numbers from the conservative Manhattan Institute, which in turn says it got the numbers from a public health research group called the Commonwealth Fund. And today the Commonwealth Fund says these numbers are seven years old, out of date, have been misinterpreted and are now misleading.
So we will wait to see if Mr. Giuliani issues a correction and an apology. That's Rudy Giuliani, today's Worst Person in the World.
OLBERMANN: Sixty years ago today Howard Hughes and the Spruce Goose made their one and only flight together. The huge amphibious transport plane was made almost entirely out of plywood to save on aluminum. it Remains the largest flying boat ever built, but it flew only that one time. It was a notorious flop. As you watch Oddball's plays of the month for October, remember the goose and dangers of plywood, especially when it comes to the part about the models and the broken runway.
OLBERMANN (voice-over): We begin in Ellington, Kentucky.
We begin in Tokyo.
We begin in Budapest, Hungary with the annual guys not getting any convention.
Begin in Las Vegas, where it is raining billionaires.
We begin in Auburn, Washington, with a warning for cheerleaders, avoid the banner.
We begin not in London, not in France, we begin with underpants. It's the Hawaii underpants run. All runners finished of course except for the one run kid in under-roos who suffered an atomic wedgie on mile two.
We begin in South Bay, Florida, where if you had popped by the local city commission chambers, you would have seen this, a stripper, a gyrating, naked lap dancing stripper.
Let's head to Tokyo, where this lady has been sentenced to the electric chair, not the capital punishment kind. It's the easy riding vehicle kind.
To Kin Dao (ph), China, where a fish shortage has left the local aquarium no choice but to feed the hungry whales small children instead.
To Dacha (ph), Bangladesh, with the Oddball ugly ass robot of the week. This here is Eye Robo, the world's first cockeyed robot.
This will be more comforting. It's a story about the promotion for the upcoming -
The New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins 13 to ten in a sloppy and boring game. But the Brits were gracious hosts, none the less. Here come the bobbies. Mr. Roberts was escorted off the field. But he escaped prosecution after the winless Dolphins team signed him to play tight end.
Nothing too unusual until the chopper begins to peek over the hill and the pilot manning the heat sensitive camera shoots his buddy doing something. Don't try running while you that, sir. Maybe he was drawing the proverbial line in the sand.
Right after Celtics scored against A.C. Milan, one of their fans charged the pitch, tapping the Milan goal keeper as he run by, and thus one of the most ridiculous dives ever recorded by mankind.
Anchor Kurt Studily (ph) of the A channel morning show was trying to interview a couple guests this week when - hello.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have taken a camera and gone and talked to -
OLBERMANN: To a field in Aurora, Oregon, where we find a bus in the field. That's boring.
It a luxury hotel shaped like a toilet, clearly built by a man, because the lid is up.
Finally to Boca Del Rio (ph), Mexico, where we get a look at this beautiful statue of former Mexican President Vincente Fox, erected Saturday morning, and pulled down by the mob Saturday afternoon. Protesters were unhappy with the big Fox statue because they thought he owned that news channel in the U.S. and show them how it's done, Red. Red in the left lane. Let's go Red.
These little porkers entertain dozens of people every day, turning circles on a stand, performing death defying feats like jumping - I'm sorry, making that walking slowly through rings of fire.
More slowly, performing pork chops.
To Huntington, England and some fake animal racing. It's the mascot grand national. They're off. (INAUDIBLE) Captain Blade is way out front. Captain Blade. He is turning on the other mascots. It's an ambush. If Captain Blade can't win, no one will.
See it. Look, it's dogs jumping rope.
In case you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed "Kangaroo Jack" with "Taladega Nights," wonder, no more.
Lady, look out, there's hole.
Finger goes in the ear. Come on, Spaulding. Do it, Spaulding.
Easy, good. Easy, perfect.
This is a story that might have remained on the Oddball cutting room floor had it not been for the high likelihood that someone would fall flat on her face. Down goes Frazier.
OLBERMANN: That is Countdown for this is the 1,647th day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq. See you, I hope, on Football Night in America Sunday night. From New York, I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
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