Thursday, May 15, 2008

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, May 15
video 'podcast'

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons

Guests: Rachel Maddow, Dana Milbank, Paul Rieckhoff, Stacy Grenrock Woods

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

The president of slander, the commander-in-chief of sleazy politics. At the Knesset, on Israel's 60th anniversary, Mr. Bush compared those who would negotiate with terrorists or even talk to radicals, by implication Barack Obama was Nazi appeaser.


PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES: Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals. We've heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an America senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided."


OLBERMANN: Our fearless leader neglects to mention that senator was William Borah of Idaho, a Republican.

And Senator Obama and the Democrats and Americans with consciences recoil at the president's unforgivable smear and his bald faced lie about giving up golf to honor the war dead in Iraq. The question: How can this man still remain at the head of this nation or how can his party, Mr. McCain maps out his nightmare first term?


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq war has been won.


OLBERMANN: Superdelegate floodgates: They are not fully opened but the Edwards endorsement turns the "drip, drip, drip" into a steady stream.

And speaking of steady stream, Bill-O's excuse for this explosion.


BILL O'REILLY, TV HOST: I can't do it. We'll do it live. We'll do it live! (BEEP)


OLBERMANN: We'll have a body language expert analyzed this vintage detonation which O'Reilly insists was just a drama, the kind he creates every year "for the amusement of my co-workers. They'll quit if I don't." You know, like Andrea Mackris quit.

All that and more: Now on Countdown.


O'REILLY: (BEEP) thing sucks.


OLBERMANN: Good evening. This Thursday, May 15th, 173 days until the 2008 presidential election. Playing the Hitler card in Israel to smear a Democratic presidential candidate.

In our fifth story on the Countdown: George W. Bush, surprisingly enough, still president of the United States at this hour, even after an array of fear-mongering and hate-mongering, of violations of international and domestic etiquette, had just playing sleazy plagiarism from his own former defense secretary. All of it directed at Senator Barack Obama and all of it done so poorly and transparently, that would have probably make Rush Limbaugh hesitate, and might make Obama's campaign chiefs secretly cheer.

His days of insisting he would not be inserting himself into the 2008 presidential race over, Mr. Bush during a speech to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, implying that those who suggest possible negotiations with Iran or even discussions with so-called radical groups as Senator Obama had done, are repeating the path of Nazi appeasers in the run-up to the Second World War.


BUSH: Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals as if some ingenious argument would persuade them they have been wrong all along. We've heard this foolish delusion before.

As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1938, an American senator declared:

"Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is, the false comfort of appeasement.


OLBERMANN: Well, the president really needed to go to class every once in a while. That infamous senator of 1939 was William Borah of Idaho, a prominent Republican, as for nearly all the Nazi appeasers, who like Mr. Brush Bush, erroneously thought that they had a monopoly on reality and on patriotism.

But the first real fight of the 2008 general election would be between Senator Obama and President Bush, underscored on a campaign stump in Rapid Trail (ph), South Dakota, where one of the first to come to Senator Obama's defense was Senator Clinton, saying that quote, "President Bush's comparison of any Democrat to Nazi appeasers is offensive and outrageous, especially in the light of his failures in foreign policy. This is the kind of statement that has no place in any presidential address."

Senator Obama having taken the day off from campaigning, issuing a statement in his defense saying, quote, "It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack. George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists and the president's extraordinary politicization of the foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel."

Other Democrats are equally eager to weigh in. Senator Biden himself a former presidential candidate, then and now also chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, calling literal bull crap on the president's bull crap, this is, quote, "bull. This is malarkey. This is outrageous, for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, to sit in the Knesset and make this ridiculous statement."

A similar statement from Senator Kerry this morning on MSNBC, noting the irony that President Bush's policies are exactly what have made the Middle East less stable and the United States less safe.

Believe it or not, at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, after the president's extraordinary speech, this story getting even better or worse, when White House Press Secretary Perino claimed to reporters in an off-camera briefing that Mr. Bush was not referring to Senator Obama in his remarks, then blaming both the Illinois Democrat and the media for getting it all wrong.

Question: "Is this in anyway directed at Senator Obama?"

Answer from Ms. Perino: "It is not. I understand when you're running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you - that is not always true and it is not true in this case."

But Ms. Perino would not say to whom Mr. Bush's remarks were directed. Adding quote, "I'm not going to get into '08 politics. The speech was not about '08 politics. If they want to try to make it about '08 politics - and obviously be helped by the media - so be it.

Democratic Party chair, Governor Dean is calling on Senator McCain to reject Mr. Bush's comments. That did not happen.


MCCAIN: I take the president's word. I usually take people at their word when he says no.


OLBERMANN: He'll take Mr. Bush at his word that he did not mean Senator Obama. That does not mean however he will himself attack Senator Obama in the exact same way, raising him a Neville Chamberlain.


MCCAIN: I will debate this issue with Senator Obama throughout this campaign. I believe in peace through strength - and peace through strength is the way that we have succeeded in the past. And yes, there have been appeasers in the past and the president is exactly right. One of them was named Neville Chamberlain.


OLBERMANN: Neville Chamberlain, who, like Senator McCain was a conservative.

Time now to bring in our own Dana Milbank: national political reporter of the "Washington Post," former White House correspondent for that newspaper. Dana, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Big picture first here, Winston (ph), what happened to the "leave your differences at the border" U.S. policy that they threw down on former President Carter like a ton of bricks when he went abroad and criticized the government. Why does Bush get to get away with blatant partisanship and historical revisionism by the way, and then, I don't know, get allowed back in the country?

MILBANK: I suspect the Justice Department has drafted some opinions saying - just as the president is exempt from the Geneva Accord, he is exempt from the politics at the water's edge thing - and I think more importantly exempt from certain rules of logic here.

This is a classic of what the president has done in even numbered of years, making extraordinary strong arguments about something that nobody possibly could support. It's the idea of sort of caricaturing your opponents and then ripping that argument down. Clearly, it wasn't done by accidents since it was in a written to a foreign legislature.

OLBERMANN: And there is the problem with the denial, of course, because if Mr. Bush was not talking about Senator Obama, that necessarily to or means one of people he was talking about either was the famed straw man you just referred to or perhaps it was the man who insisted just yesterday that the U.S. needs to engage Iran and that would have been his own Defense Secretary Robert Gates. These are not three good options for the president, are they?

MILBANK: No. It's absurd. I mean, some would say the moon is made of green cheese and some would say the earth is flat and some would say that he wasn't referring to Barack Obama. But, of course, everybody else has to deal in this plain of reality here.

Now, there's a perfectly legitimate debate to be had here about whether people should be dealing with Iran. And Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been having that debate through the campaign. This took it to the level of absurdity and turned it into having discussions with terrorists and appeasing them ala Nazi Germany which takes it to a completely different level.

OLBERMANN: The Robert Gates statement on behalf of Senator Obama, calling the remarks an unprecedented political attack on foreign soil. Apart from the appropriateness or lack thereof of the attack itself, the venue, is that Knesset really the place to say something like this?

MILBANK: Well, there's an unusual relationship with Israel, and the domestic politics tend to get interlinked to a large extent. I think, probably as a political gamut, which it clearly was, it wasn't necessarily the wisest thing, stepped all over John McCain's very important Iraq speech today, drowning out an important message he was trying to get out.

So, I doubt McCain is pleased with this. I was talking yesterday with Tom Davis, prominent Republican retiring from the House, he said, "Every time the president gets near a microphone, he swallows it. And it's been a tragedy for the party." And this, I think, is going to be another embarrassment."

OLBERMANN: A great point we're going to be bringing up with Rachel Maddow in a moment. But one thing finally with you that I think was overlooked in this - the president is reduced in this context to something of a water carrier.

I mean, this idea of trying to anger Jewish-Americans about Obama and Israel, it started with Karl Rove and Sean Hannity last week and moved on to John Boehner the other day, now it's coming out of Bush's mouth in Israel. Would this - even if you're a Republican look a little degrading to have a president spewing out the equivalent of Sean Hannity's, you know, race-baiting talking points?

MILBANK: Well, let's give the president some credit. He has been building this straw man for some time.

OLBERMANN: OK. They're his race-baiting talking points. Not John (INAUDIBLE), I apologize.

MILBANK: But he, in many way, had pioneered the John (ph) - early on, my favorite was when he said after the last recession, some say the recession should have been longer and deeper than it was.

OLBERMANN: Yes. Dana Milbank of MSNBC and the "Washington Post." As always, Dana, my great thanks.

MILBANK: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: There is the alternative view, of course, that the president handed the Democrats box of perfectly-formed rocks to throw at him and at John McCain.

Our very own Rachel Maddow joins me now. Good evening, Rachel.


OLBERMANN: All right. The list of the Democrats who were quick to pounce on this today included but was not limited to Mr. Obama, Senator Clinton, Mr. Emanuel, Howard Dean, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Henry Waxman, Nancy Pelosi, Woodrow Wilson spoke up which was a big surprise.

Is it safe to say that they might have been excited at the opportunity presented to them by this because it is now in the general election, Obama versus Bush?

MADDOW: Yes. Not only Obama versus Bush, but Obama versus Bush on foreign policy in the Middle East. I mean, this is like Eid, Purim, and Christmas all rolled into one if you're the Barack Obama campaign.

Literally, the issue is the safety of Israel and the stability of the Middle East. And the guy who you are arguing with is the guy whose big foreign policy idea was to remove Iran's secular Sunni neighbor rival to make Iran more powerful and stronger in the Middle East than they could have ever dreamed of being before George W. Bush scrabbled his way to the presidential podium.

This is exactly the fight that you want with exactly the guy you want to be fighting it out with. This was a big boon for Obama today.

OLBERMANN: Is there anything in that list or in anything in any list anywhere that the Obama campaign would not welcome as a direct argument as long as George Bush presents himself at the middle - I mean, could they be talking, I don't know, the value of a Yale education and they'd be happy to argue it as long as they're arguing and Bush is inserting himself in the 2008 campaign?

MADDOW: I mean, any substantive issue in which everybody seriously thinks this election is going to unfold, it would be great for Obama to be fighting those issues with George Bush, whether it's the economy or the environment or foreign policy in the Middle East. I think the one thing where Obama would lose an argument with George W. Bush on hawkishness, it's on enthusiasm for and excitement about starting the next war.

John McCain is campaigning as somebody who is enthusiastically looking forward to continuing the Iraq war, to continuing the Afghanistan war, to maybe starting a third war with Iran. And I think that the justification there, the thinking there, the political analysis behind that is that the American people when asked to choose between war and peace, will choose war, that they would choose the hawkish candidate, that they would choose the person who's eager for the next confrontation.

I think, maybe at some times that's true. I think that sometimes that does happen to the American policy. I think right now, we've got two simultaneous wars without end and nobody knows what the mission is for either of them, I think the American public is not in that place.

OLBERMANN: All right. With (ph) the point of McCain, as Dana just pointed out, Senator McCain would presumably have been unhappy that he was big-footed here by President Bush on this of all topics, then why, you know, sort of throw your chips in with him, calling Obama an appeaser and now eliminating any chance that this is not about Obama by throwing in Neville "Freaking" Chamberlain for - could should you - McCain may have better server saying - I don't know who George Bush is, wouldn't he?

MADDOW: Well, I think though that the Republicans surprise us over and over again by the degree to which they do not distance themselves from George W. Bush. It's kind of the constant political common wisdom, and it has been since George Bush's approval ratings went south a very long time ago. That in order for other Republicans to succeed, they really need to divorce themselves from George W. Bush and run as an anti-George Bush Republican.

We haven't seen any successful Republican effort to do that. Everybody keeps saying that they will start doing that. But we're only seeing John McCain do that on things that are essentially style points, saying that "I promise I'll have lots of press conferences, I promise I will admit my mistakes, I promise you can buy eco-friendly t-shirts from my Web site." I mean, it's style points but they stick close together on the big issues, none of them have yet thrown Bush under the bus.

OLBERMANN: We're going to go through his laundry list of my wish list

for 2010 in a moment. But our last question, and briefly: Is this because

and do the Republicans wig out this week because of that special election in Mississippi, where it turned out that Jeremiah Wright is apparently not going to be useable against Obama and they're looking for literally anything in this case being, that will leave in turn to George Bush?

MADDOW: They do seem like they don't know which way to turn. The fact that they are using such by superlative language about their own chances, about the health of their own party, it's so superlative that I feel uncomfortable quoting it on my radio show. That's a sign that they are in pretty dire straits even in their own assessment.

OLBERMANN: All right. Well, we'll know the real answer if Sean Hannity starts talking about Obama and Israel and terrorism instead of Wright.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and her own show, of course, on Air America.

Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: It really was field day for the Democrats, John McCain, as Rachel mentioned, laid out his vision or perhaps hallucination for the end of his first term including the capture of Osama bin Laden only five years now.

And there's now videotape proving Mr. Bush lied even in that cheesy announcement that he had given up golf to honor our dead heroes in Iraq.

And Bill-O's YouTube outburst explained for us by a body language expert.


OLBERMANN: An Iraq win - yes. Death of bin Laden - yes. Nuclear plants - yes. Trade and tax cuts - yes, yes, yes. So, what didn't Senator McCain promise today in mapping out his vision for a third Bush term? Oh, here it is, accountability - no, none of that.

The president's claim of no golf since 2003, he's so-called sacrifice for the troops proved spectacularly false. Any accountability there?

And Bill-O's body language. All right, I'm sorry. I said something probably disturbed your dinner or just your mind.

All ahead on Countdown, body language.


OLBERMANN: There will still have been no terrorism attacks since 9/11, the war in Iraq is won, Osama bin Laden is dead or in custody, the world food crisis is over, the economy is growing robustly, kids are smarter and thinner, all of America's problems are either solved or being solved.

Our fourth story on the Countdown: Senator John McCain's vision of President Bush's third term. I'm sorry, of his first term. Oh, I forgot one, do they find no plot lines for"24" and its ratings are higher than ever.

In front of a crowd at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Ohio, the Republican nominee laid out the intention of his speech today.


MCCAIN: It's important that the candidates who seek to lead the country after the Bush administration define their objectives and what they plan to do and what they plan to achieve not with vague language, but with clarity.


OLBERMANN: What's followed from Senator Dole, I'm sorry - Senator McCain was a 20-minute wish list for the next four years with absolute no specifics on just how he might achieve any of it.


MCCAIN: By 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women that sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq war has been won.


OLBERMANN: You know, this is a slower version of Conan O'Brien's bit about the year 2000. No indication on how the war has won and considering he only intends to bring most of the troops by 2013 - that leaves full troop withdrawal to the next president.


MCCAIN: United States maintains a military presence there but a much smaller one and it does not play a direct combat role.


OLBERMANN: Maintaining a military presence in Iraq, meaning permanent bases so we could still be there for 100 years after he spent so much time insisting that was not his plan? Just how does Mr. McCain intend to staff that permanent presence given how overstretched the armed forces already are?


MCCAIN: A substantial increase in veterans educational benefits and improvements in their health care has aided recruitment and retention.


OLBERMANN: In other words, everybody serves 17 tours. A substantial increase in veterans educational benefits, exactly what Senator McCain is currently voting against by refusing to support the G.I. Bill.


MCCAIN: Voluntary nation service has grown in popularity in part because of the educational benefits used as incentives, as well as frequent appeals from the bully pulpit of the White House. But mostly because young Americans, no less than earlier generations understand the true happiness is much greater than the pursuit of pleasure, and can only be found by serving causes greater than self-interest.


OLBERMANN: So, replenishing the armed services is going to rely on

the selflessness of America's youth. Are you planning on mass brainwashing

again, through video games?

As to the economy -


MCCAIN: The alternate minimum tax is being phased out with relief provided first to middle income families.


OLBERMANN: That would be the same alternate minimum tax proposal phased out that "Newsweek" points out cost as much as $1.6 trillion in 10 years. And those middle class families - to McCain, that means people earning more than $200,000 a year.


MCCAIN: After exercising my veto several times in my first year in office, Congress has not sent me an appropriations bill containing earmarks for the last three years.


OLBERMANN: Those would be the same earmarks that paid for the Jersey City Liberty Science Center in New Jersey, the Ferry Gees Bend, Alabama and the Naval Air Station Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Florida - all stops on Senator McCain's current campaign swing.


MCCAIN: Public education in the United States is much improved thanks to the competition provided by charter and private schools.


OLBERMANN: Of course, there aren't enough charter or private schools to provide for all of America's children but who's counting or can count?


MCCAIN: Health care has become more accessible to more Americans than at any time in history. Reforms of the insurance market; putting the choice of health care into the hands of the American families rather than exclusively with the government or employers.


OLBERMANN: Of course, the McCain health care plan takes away the tax break given to those who buy insurance from their employer, meaning, the number of Americans who might be forced to find new insurance will be 158 million. And in pushing people towards individual insurance, he leaves the 56 million Americans who have chronic conditions by (ph) his own vulnerable to the whims of the insurance companies.

As to McCain's own accessibility as president -


MCCAIN: I will hold weekly press conferences, weekly press conferences. I'll ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both Houses to take questions and address criticism. Much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons.


OLBERMANN: Have you ever watched prime minister's - they run it on C-SPAN. John McCain would last 11 minutes doing it before he swore or punched somebody or stormed out or all three.

Up in the air junior birdman, up in the air, upside down. Up in the air junior birdman, news breaking on this story.

And so many Republicans are trying to smear Senator Barack Obama, they're spewing (ph) over into Worst Persons.

First, the headlines breaking in the administration's 50 running scandals - Bushed.

Number three: Ahmed Chalabi-gate. Sources in Baghdad tell NBC News, you can get that story at, that as of this week, American military and civilian officials have cut off all contact with controversial Iraqi politician, Ahmed Chalabi, the reason as sources say is unauthorized contacts with Iran's government. This is the guy who made up reasons for the U.S. to go into Iraq with Mr. Bush then presented his conclusive proof.

And as recently as last September, General Petraeus escorted him on a trip to investigate Iraqi reconstruction project. Just now, Mr. Bush has decided the man is useless.

Number two: Send them back-gate. releasing an email that shows a Veterans Affair employee directing staffers to stop diagnosing soldiers and vets with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, to instead suggest a diagnosis of adjustment disorder. Why? Well, you don't have to pay our heroes so much in compensation if they have adjustment disorder instead of post traumatic stress disorder. Also, it's easier to send them back into the war.

And number one: War profiteering-gate. A House oversight and government reform committee issuing its staff report on the plunder of Iraq today - actually that's the plunder in Iraq because the money is coming out of your pocket. The Pentagon, it turns out, allows its contractors like KBR, to negotiate their own insurance contracts. Those contracts are billed to you and me at cost plus. And the plus is about 3 percent which goes to the contractor, KBR.

KBR, the old Halliburton subsidiary which can wind up making more on the insurance deal than its employees will get ever in the insurance payments. That war profits in this one scam over the last five years -

$600 million. Remember, the real reason the government wants to have a war in Iraq is to have a war in Iraq.


OLBERMANN: Best persons in a moment. And you have President Bush night vision goggles, how about some day vision goggles? First, if you've ever heard the story of a great British actor on his death bed trying to reassure an already grieving friend dying is easy, comedy is hard, the quote is attributed to countless actors. One of them was the Shakespearean performer Edmund Keen (ph). It was on this date, May 15th, 1883, that Edmund Keen died at the age of 46, very possibly uttering as his final words, dying is easy, comedy is hard. Or maybe he was the one who said, doctor, do you think it could have been the sausages? Let's play Oddball.


OLBERMANN: We begin in Geneva, in Switzerland with our wicked cool video of the day. This is a guy who calls himself Fusion Man. No, he's not a jazz performer. He flies across the Alps wearing only a jet powered wing on his back. Fusion Man, whose real name is Eez Rosie (ph), jumped from an airplane and after a short free fall crashed. No, in fact, Fusion Man twisted and soared across the mountain range for a full nine minutes.

Out of fuel though, Fusion Man was forced to parachute to the ground, where he landed safely and was adopted by the singing Van Trapp family.

And to the Internets, where we fund a panda bear that needs to ask his doctor about Nasonex. Is there any panda bear bodily function that isn't completely adorable. No wait, don't answer that. And don't -

All right, President Bush playing golf on October 13th, 2003, two months after he claimed he had honored dead American troops by giving up golf. No only tone deaf, he is a tone deaf liar and he's a tone deaf liar now caught lying on videotape. Speaking of which, he explains this, we explain using a novel untried unique approach, bringing in a body language expert. These stories ahead, but first time for Countdown's top three best persons in the world. Shut up.

Number three, best ironic baseball promotion, the New York Mets; this afternoon, they had already lost two runs on base running blunders, then in the bottom of the ninth losing 1-0 to Washington, Carlos Beltran at third base, with one out. Instead of playing it safe, he broke for the plate just as Carlos Delgado lined into an easy play that ended the game and it was all Beltran's fault.

After the game, the Mets allowed all senior citizens in attendance to come on the field and walk around the bases. Beltran came out of the dugout and he got doubled off again. I made the last part up. None of the senior citizens had the kind of trouble on the bases the Mets runners did.

Number two, best dumb criminal, Samuel Wood of Twin Falls, Idaho, pleading guilty to drug trafficking, 21 pounds of marijuana which police discovered after Mr. Wood moved out of his apartment and left it behind. What do you think they call it dope?

Number one, best bizarre White House gift; according to federally mandated financial disclosure forms, Vice President Cheney gave President Bush an unusual present last year, a pair of special Infrared style binoculars valued at 579 bucks, which allow Mr. Bush to see clearly at night. Which permits somebody this year to try get the president some kind of device that would him to see clearly during the day.


OLBERMANN: As suggested by your overwhelming and overwhelmingly gratifying reaction to last night's Special Comment, we real Americans each have our own feelings of disappointment or disgust or outrage over President Bush's recent remark and, as it turns out, his recent lie that he gave up golf to honor the war dead in Iraq. So in our third story on the Countdown tonight, we'll attempt to view this through the eyes of those who have actually made a meaningful sacrifice with Paul Rieckhoff, who was a first lieutenant and platoon leader in the Iraq war from 2003 and 2004, and will join us presently.

It was the most self-centered and callous part of President Bush's interview with, a claim that at least symbolically bested a string of ridiculous statements within the same discussion. When the president was asked, you haven't been golfing in recent years, is that related to Iraq?


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, it really is. I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best I can with them. And I think playing golf during the war sends the wrong signal.


OLBERMANN: Of course, then Mr. Bush pin-pointed the cessation of his golf career as the day the bombing in Baghdad killed Sergio Vieira de Mello of the UN. On that day, he explained, he was pulled off the golf course with the news, quoting, and I said, it's just not worth it anymore to do.

But the factual problem with that, de Mello was killed on August 19th, 2003. As we noted yesterday, on October 13th, nearly two months later, there is the commander in chief playing golf. The NBC News archives today belching forth this even more infuriating videotape of the game two months after he gave up the game. The Associated Press describes the president's outing with three long time buddies at Andrews Air Force Base on a cool breezy Columbus Day, 18 holes and one huge lie in a little over three hours.

As promised, let's turn to the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and the author of "Chasing Governments, Paul Rieckhoff. Hi Paul.


OLBERMANN: Could you put into words the reaction of vets just to this nonsense about golf?

RIECKHOFF: It's disappointing. That's a diplomatic way of saying it. I was in Iraq when the attack happened on the U.N. And I think I and others have been continuously disappointed with his personal and emotional connection to the war. I think Tiger Woods is probably breathing a sigh of relief. The president hasn't given up clearing brush. He hasn't given up riding bikes. I don't know why he picked this as an example to note what he's given up to honor the war dead.

OLBERMANN: In terms of that, is there a way to quantify how much of an apology he owes to the troops in the field or in rehabilitation or in the ground?

RIECKHOFF: I think he owes them a generational shift in the way we care for these folks they come home. I think he owes us fixing the problems of Walter Reed, cleaning up incidents like the problems at Fort Bragg recently, dealing with post-traumatic stress disorders, providing educational benefits. That's a chance to pay your debt to these veterans, and I think it's not just the president but all Americans owe them that.

OLBERMANN: What about something tangible and immediate, instead of say, I'm not going to play golf any more - this knee injury, just coincidences that these all happened at the same time. Why on Earth is he not backing the new G.I. Bill?

RIECKHOFF: That's a great question. It seems like everybody besides the president and Senator McCain are. It went through the House today, an historic vote. The GI Bill through the House by over 90 votes. Today is an historic day for the fight in the GI Bill. It has become an unstoppable force. It's got over 59 members of the Senate. 23 governors signed on yesterday, including Republican Governor Tom Ridge, the former governor, and every major veterans group in the country.

The president has a choice to make, is he with veterans or his he against them. It's going to end up on his desk in the next couple of weeks and he's got an historic choice to make.

OLBERMANN: We talk about this in terms of symbolism and the anger that it causes with vets and the rest of us, the guys just sitting back here in the comfort of what you have secured for us. What does it mean practically when a guy who is charged with the outsized moral responsibility of the nation somehow equates loss of 4,000 lives and countless injuries, to say nothing of the civilians in Iraq, all the bystanders, and all the money and every other opportunity wasted, when he equates all that with golf, what does it mean for military people and military families practically speaking?

RIECKHOFF: I think it means he's out of touch. It compounds the divide that already exist between military families and our service members and the general public. Less than one half of one percent of the American public has served, compared to about 12 percent during World War II. So we have an unprecedented cleavage that exists between the American people and our service members. When he makes comments like this, he doesn't help connect them with the people behind the war. He doesn't put faces on numbers. He just makes that divide even deeper.

OLBERMANN: Right. When he calls for sacrifice and it turns out his sacrifice is supposedly golf, we're going backwards.

RIECKHOFF: We have golf in Iraq, believe it or not.

OLBERMANN: I'm sure they do. Paul Rieckhoff, founder and executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, as always, thanks for coming in.

Another great liar caught on video, Bill-O's explanation for this. Our explanation is going to come from, and I know this is a really risky idea here, a body language expert. And the Straight Talk Express and its reaction to bad press, a little stronger than we were previously led to believe. Worst persons ahead.


OLBERMANN: Bill-O's "Inside Edition" implosion, he explains it's a means of entertaining his coworkers. We'll explain it by seeking the insight of a body language expert. That's ahead, but first time for Countdown's worst persons in the world.

The bronze now to Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio. If you don't think the Republicans are really trying to present Barack Obama to American Jews as some sort of wild card about Israel or even an anti-Semite, listen to what Boehner did. Asked by the magazine "Atlantic" if Israel is a, quote, drag on American's reputation overseas, Obama said, no, no, no, but added that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, especially the issue of settlements, was a, quote, constant wound and constant sore.

Congressman Boehner promptly said, quote, Israel is a critical American ally and beacon of democracy in the Middle East, not a constant sore, as Barack Obama claims. After a switcheroo like that, Congressman Boehner is either a liar or an illiterate.

The runner up, Mark Salter, emerging as the chief media manipulator of John McCain's campaign. First, he was critical of "Newsweek's" coverage, it was not pro-McCain. Thus, in his opinion, it must have been pro-Obama. Now the "Wall Street Journal" reports Salter, quote, threatened to throw the magazine reporters off the campaign bus and airplane according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Salter says he expressed the campaign's displeasure and is talking to the publication about future access.

Your Straight Talk express in action suppressing freedom of the press. Incidentally, the McCainians have also complained about Countdown and want our coverage our their candidate altered too. They don't like old man yells at cloud. You may be barking up the wrong tree there, buddy; old man yells at cloud!

But the winner, retired General Thomas McNerney (ph), one of the propaganda spouters the Pentagon seeded into Fixed News, presenting himself as a military analyst while he sits on the board of several companies still doing business with the Pentagon and the Military Industrial Complex. Mr. McNerney has a modest proposal worthy of Jonathan Swift about how to deal with Iran. He says the Bush administration needs to take two Iranian terrorist groups, funnel illicit money to them from somewhere in Mr. Bush's vast slush fund and then, quote, start a tit for tat strategy. For every EFP, Explosively Formed Projectile, that goes off and kills Americans, two go off in Iran. No questions asked, people don't have to know how it was done. It's a covert action. They become the most unlucky country in the world.

What General McNerney is suggesting, while being paid simultaneously by the Pentagon and Rupert Murdoch, is our country should go into the terrorism business, that we become exactly McNerney spends the rest of his time telling us we have most to fear and fight and sacrifice for. Geez, general, maybe you're not thinking big enough. Maybe, we could open up our own terrorism franchises in several foreign countries. We could blow up anyone we don't like, or soldiers or civilians, if we're lucky. I mean, gosh, maybe President Bush will some day say that negotiating with Thomas McNerney's America is like appeasing the Nazis. General Thomas "Yes, I'm Prostituting Myself" McNerney, today's worst person in the world!


OLBERMANN: Don't know how many hundreds of thousands of people have seen it on Youtube and other online locals. Total audience for our viewing of it Monday here, roughly two million. Thus, the circa 1990 vintage Bill-O "Inside Edition" meltdown probably deserves more analysis. Our number one story tonight, O'Reilly's own explanation in the insight of - I don't believe anybody's ever tried this before on TV - a body language expert.

First, a little refresher.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: That's tomorrow. And that is it for us today - OK, I don't know - whatever it is, it is not right on the teleprompter. I don't know what that is, I've never seen that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is. We're going to do Sting, yes.

O'REILLY: OK, but - yes, I can't read it. There's no words on it.


O'REILLY: There's no words there. To play us out, what does that mean? To play us out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sting is going to do - it's a video, Sting video.

O'REILLY: I don't know what that means, to play us out. What does that mean? To end the show?


O'REILLY: All right. Go, go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, four, three-

O'REILLY: That's tomorrow and that is -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Again. Five, four, three -

O'REILLY: That's tomorrow and that is it for us today and we will leave you with a - I can't do it. We'll do it live. We'll do it live (EXPLETIVE DELETED). We'll do it live! I'll write it and we'll do it live! This thing sucks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Five, four, three -

O'REILLY: That's tomorrow and that is it for us today. I'm Bill O'Reilly, thanks again for watching. We'll live you with Sting and a cut off his new album. Take it away.


OLBERMANN: On top of everything else, I now have the world's longest ring tone. As promised, O'Reilly's painfully lighthearted explanation from last night's "Factor," by the way, there's a tape floating on the Internet, me in a state of displeasure, I understand. Apparently, the tape is 20 years old. But, your humble correspondent, plenty of much newer stuff, because, by contractual obligation, I have to create a few dramas every year for the amusement of my co-workers. They'd quit if I didn't do that.

By the way if you want to buy any of the tapes, I'm happy to sell them to you.

Yes, when he created a drama over at Fox during an interview with Jeremy Glick, whose dad died in the World Trade Center, some Fox employees thought they were going to have to call the cops to restrain Bill-O's drama. We can only imagine what happened today when last night's ratings came in, and O'Reilly's program really found itself tied in the 25-54 demographic ratings that he himself calls the key with Countdown. Bill, why are you all red?

Now, let's bring in, as promised, our very own body language expert, Stacy Grenrock Woods. Thank you for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: Clearly, Mr. O'Reilly is in a pickle in this video. He seems to be having difficulty reading and also comprehending words that are in front of him. Since you're the expert on non-verbal cues, let's focus on the non-verbal stuff. He remains stiff during the first part of the exchange with the off-camera producer. Then he begins to wave or flick his hand at the camera. What does that tell us?

WOODS: That is what we in the body language community like to call a dismissive gesture, sort of a flicking away, a disgust as one might use towards an underling, perhaps, maybe a waitress or some other woman. It definitely can be interpreted as a sign of somebody who is really afraid of women and hates them.

OLBERMANN: I think that's pretty clear. Even more fascinating, there's a point at which O'Reilly breathes in deeply. There's almost this I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down kind of thing. Is that one self-explanatory or is there more to that?

WOODS: That's what we like to call a bull snort. It's a very rare, rather aggressive body language gesture. It is rarely scene, mainly just by dictators, your Benito Mussolinis, your General Pinochet. It's - you want to stand clear. He could charge at any moment and you wouldn't want to make sudden gestures, especially if you're a woman, because there's a lot of aggression. This is a person who is very aggressive towards women.

OLBERMANN: That seems to be a recurring theme here. There might be some problems with aggression towards women. Does that turn up in this other - it's very curious, he looks at his watch in the middle of this thing. Is that as obvious as it seems? Is it some sort of secret language to say, look, I'm late or has he stolen the watch or there something else going on out there?

WOODS: With most people that would be a gesture of look, I'm late. Look at the time. But with here, you know, it's not necessarily he has a date or anything like that. It's more of a trying to tell us his time is very important. He doesn't have time for silly TV lingo. He doesn't need to know it. He needs to get on with it. He needs to go find some women.

OLBERMANN: And possibly loofas. This appears to me, anyway, to be the piece to resistance, at the end, when he stands up, sits down, gestures a great deal more. His hair bobs. He kind of anticipates Conan O'Brien's hair of the present day. Can you break this down for us?

WOODS: That's something that we generally call marking territory, or in this case he's possibly spraying his territory. He's basically saying, this is my jacket. This is my chair. This is my desk. Mine, mine, mine, mine, my woman, my chair, my desk, me, I'm superior, I have the power.

OLBERMANN: At the ends of this, this thing with throwing the jacket off. Is he doing it because he doesn't like the jacket, he's hot, he's getting ready to rumble, the jacket needs dry cleaning, he's just seen Andrea Mackris in the hallway? What does it mean?

WOODS: Well, usually taking off a jacket generally indicates a person is hot. In this case, I would say this person is in heat and is ready to mate. He's probably about to troll the halls of "Inside Edition" for a mate, a woman to dominate.

OLBERMANN: Or possibly just the desk right there.

Stacy Grenrock Woods, we can reveal the gag. She only moonlights as in impersonator of body language experts. She is actually a comedian, a former correspondent at the "Daily Show." Well done, Stacy. Many thanks.

WOODS: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Dr. That's Countdown for this the 1,841st day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.