Friday, October 31, 2008

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for **October 31, 2008**
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Worst Persons

Guest: John Cleese, Howard Fineman, David Axelrod, Jonathan Alter, Michael Moore

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

Obama sees opportunity as Obama sees red: The late advertising push in North Dakota, Georgia, and Arizona. He is one point behind John McCain in the latest point and 12 points ahead in early voting in Arizona.

Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, joins us.

The natives are restless: Sarah Palin thrown under the bus, each bus, all day long. Former Reagan stalwart Ken Duberstein.


KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: You don't offer a job, let alone the vice presidency to a person after one job interview. Even at McDonald's, you're interviewed three times before you are given a job.


OLBERMANN: And Lawrence Eagleburger, one of the ex-secretaries of state whose endorsement Senator McCain thrusts out like a magic wand. Is Palin qualified?


LAWRENCE EAGLEBURGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Of course not. I don't think at the moment she is prepared to take over the brains of the presidency.


OLBERMANN: Eagleburger then makes a hasty retraction on "fixed news," quote, "She's a quick learner."

Does Senator McCain even believe that?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that she is the face of the Republican Party moving forward?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To a large degree as vice president or - or - I think, there's no doubt.



Early voting extended in North Carolina. And what about the turn-out? Michael Moore joins us live from Michigan.

Worsts: Billo again erupts over the ratings, again demands a federal investigation and now a state one, too, possibly because we've now beaten him seven nights out of 13.

John McCain declares that Joe the Plumber is his hero.


MCCAIN: We're going to change Washington and I'm going to bring Joe the Plumber with me, my friends.


OLBERMANN: The triumph of average over above average as assessed by the one and only John Cleese.

All that and more: Now on COUNTDOWN.




OLBERMANN (on camera): Good evening. This is Friday, October 31st, four days until the 2008 presidential election.

It was at this exact stage of the 2004 presidential election that

an Osama bin Laden video conveniently turned up four days before Mr. Bush's


Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: The only October video surprise as of the trick or treat hour, a scary tape of Bush 41 Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger retracting a swipe he took at Sarah Palin. Oh, there was Barack Obama's October video surprise, his commercials in Arizona.

Senator Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, is saying in conference call today that if anybody beside John McCain had been the Republican nominee, Arizona already would have been a battleground state, adding that Obama is performing well with Hispanic voters there. As it stands now, Senator McCain with just one-point lead in Arizona, according to the Research 2000 Poll for the Daily Kos. Now, among early voters in that state, 17 percent of the electorate already casting ballots, the Democrat up by 12.

Meanwhile, Senator Obama widening his lead in the national Gallup daily tracking poll among traditional likely voters, would have been a three-point margin on Wednesday before the Obama infomercial, is now eight, the largest margin to date for Gallup using its historical voter model.

Senator Obama tonight, trick or treating with his daughters back home in Chicago, earlier in the day, taking a sentimental journey of sorts to Iowa.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On the day of the Iowa caucus, my faith in the American people was vindicated. And what you started here in Iowa has swept the nation. We're seeing the same turn-outs, we're seeing the same people going and getting in line, volunteers, people participating, a whole new way of doing democracy started right here in Iowa. And it's all across the country now.


OLBERMANN: Senator Obama reminding those voters in Iowa, though, that nothing is decided yet and nothing will be until all the ballots are counted. In Florida, the Democratic nominee is getting some help with that message from the candidate who learned it the very hardest way imaginable, "Al the former future president of the United States."


AL GORE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a very clear choice in this election. And, Florida, as you know, may well be the state that determines the outcome of this election. You may well be the person who determines the outcome here in Florida. This is the time to really turn it on.


OLBERMANN: Senator McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, claiming today to be dead even in Iowa, at a Ohio rally with California Governor Schwarzenegger tonight, Senator McCain seeming to go after his opponent for saying that his faith in the American people was vindicated.


MCCAIN: I've been fighting for this country since I was 17 years old and I have the scars to prove it.


MCCAIN: My country never - has never had to prove anything to me, I've always had faith in it. If I'm elected president, I will fight to shake up Washington and take America in a new direction from my first day in office until my last. I'm not afraid of the fight. I'm ready for the fight.


OLBERMANN: In one of two new advertisements released today, though, Senator McCain still hoping that the words of Senator Obama could be the difference in turning things around.


NARRATOR: The truth on global warming.

OBAMA: The right approach begins with the proposal put forward by Senator Lieberman and Senator McCain. The Lieberman-McCain bill established of limits for greenhouse gas emissions it's the framework that's not only good for the environment, it's also good for business. I want to thank Senator Lieberman as well as Senator McCain for the outstanding leadership that they've shown.

MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approved this message.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn now to our own Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.

Howard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: I know it's a familiar tactic to try to use your opponent's words against him, but doesn't that new McCain ad seem to be not only more about Senator Obama than Senator McCain, but doesn't it seem or sort of make Senator Obama look as good as if not better than Senator McCain, he's just a guy?

FINEMAN: Well, not only that, Keith, I don't remember the last time where one guy sort of advertising the endorsement of his opponent. I mean, basically, McCain is saying vote for me because Barack Obama endorsed me.

And, surely, that adds to Barack Obama's credibility, even in the eyes of the people who are watching the McCain ad. It's extraordinary. I don't even think I've seen anything like it because it assumes that Obama is a credible endorser. That's the whole point of the election.

OLBERMANN: Right. You want that socialist, terrorist sympathizer endorsing your candidacy?

FINEMAN: Yes. He's saying nice things about me.

OLBERMANN: So, that part you should believe him in.


OLBERMANN: What are you - on a more serious thing, what are you keeping your eye on in terms of shifts over the weekend? What could change between now and Tuesday in either direction?

FINEMAN: Well, the simple answer is, I don't think that much. I think, this weekend, by the way, is going to be the biggest extravaganza of ground-level organizing and phone-calling and e-mailing that this country has ever seen, Keith.

We should step back for just a minute to appreciate the fact that by the time voting is over on Tuesday, we will have maybe 25 million or 35 million more people vote than have ever voted before. In absolute terms, it's going to be a record. And in percentage terms, it could well be the highest since the '60s. A sense of generational change in way of earthquake (ph), call it whatever you want is out there.

What I'm going to be looking at, there's a couple of things. First of all, those early voting numbers, because as David Plouffe was pointing out in his conference today, we have real data here. You know, whether there are Democrats or Republicans in those early voting, our exit polls, you know how they are registered. And the Democrats are doing very well.

I'm going to watch Florida. I'm going to watch some of those early voting states. By the time this is over, we may have at least 1/3 of the country or more that's already voted by the end of this weekend. I'm going to be looking to see what candidates are going where.

Now, Obama is putting money in Arizona. He's going out west. Does he make a detour through Arizona? I doubt it, but it would be interesting to watch.

And then I personally, here in Washington, am going to drive out to some of the small towns in Virginia, Northern Virginia which are conservative bastions that the Obama campaign staked its future in Virginia months ago, putting organizing offices in the small towns. I'm going to go back out - I wrote a piece for "Newsweek" months ago about a couple of them. I'm going to back out and see what the action is like in those places this weekend.

OLBERMANN: You mentioned the ground game. Since, regardless of what the early voting is like, most Americans are still going to vote on Tuesday. The "Washington Post" had this brutal piece today on how little McCain has been able to invest in Election Day ground forces. reported that it's visited remarkably empty McCain volunteer offices throughout the country.

How much of what happens on Tuesday ultimately will come down to the ground game, do you think?

FINEMAN: I think it's huge. And I think, everybody has talked about the overall amount of money that Obama has spent. The key is not the amount of money he spent overall, it's the percentage and the sheer dollar (ph) volume on ground level organization. Four thousand paid organizers around the country, millions of volunteers, literally millions.

And the key to the way they organize, Keith, is person to person. Not back through the central headquarters but that viral, you know, viral is now cliche, but it's true. Over the fence, back fences, person to person, without going through headquarters, that's happening all over the country.

David Plouffe, the campaign manager and the organization he's built is, if Obama wins, will be one of the two or three major stories of the night. Every generation produces a new method of organizing, going back to Andrew Jackson and the state parties, and Franklin Roosevelt and the unions, and Ronald Reagan and the conservative movement.

Obama is betting to make history not only by winning, but by redefining how political organizing is done in this country. That's why there's so much energy in his organizational effort right now.

OLBERMANN: Howard Fineman of "Newsweek" and MSNBC, have a great, relaxing weekend, Howard.

FINEMANE: Thanks, Keith. You, too.

OLBERMANN: For more on the view at Obama headquarters these days, we switch to Chicago. We're joined by the campaign's chief strategist, David Axelrod.

Thanks for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: Arizona, why not Alaska, while you're at it? Go for a daily double there.

AXELROD: Well, look, we ought to move into a couple other states today, Georgia being one of them because - you know, we are looking for opportunities. One of the great things about how this election is evolving is what we built for, what we hoped for is that we are competing now in all the red states. And in many of the red states, we're not in the blue states right now, we're trying to add to the base of Democratic Party.

And remember, Keith, when we started this campaign, one of the premises of Obama, going back to the Democratic convention early in 2004 is that we had to shatter this red state, blue state paradigm. And these closing days, we want to be as - we want to be as aggressive as possible in trying to expand our base.

OLBERMANN: To that point, Pennsylvania is not on the senator's schedule for the next three days. Should we be inferring something about a sense of confidence in Pennsylvania or what does that mean?

AXELROD: Well, we're working really hard there. And we're going to be - you know, we have a great organization there and we'll have surrogates in there. But, you know, we just were there a few days ago. And we feel, you know, we feel relatively good about it. There were twice as many - the Democratic edge has doubled from 300,000 to 600,000 registrations over four years ago. And we, you know, we feel good about our chances there.

But let me stress, we are not taking anything for granted. You know, one of the - people always say to me, what keeps you up at night, as if I'm sleeping at night, and the answer is complacency - this notion that somehow this race is over. So, we want to get people out and we're not taking anything for granted.

But we feel good about Pennsylvania and we've worked it hard. We think people are responding, they understand the consequences of these Bush economic policies. They don't want to continue it. I think our chances are very good there.

OLBERMANN: Well, to that - last point, one of Senator Obama's answers to my colleague, Rachel Maddow, yesterday, when they met up in Sarasota.


OLBERMANN: "If you notice, I think we're winning right now, so maybe something right." Would you rather he hadn't said that? Are you winning right now? And what, in fact, is keeping you from getting any sleep because if you had the opportunity?

AXELROD: Well, we may be winning right now, but the election isn't today, the election is Tuesday. Now, it is true that there's been voting going on for several weeks. And by Tuesday, a third of the vote will be cast. Everything we see from around the country suggests we're doing well with that early vote. There's an explosion of voting in places like North Carolina and elsewhere that is very encouraging to us.

But, no, we haven't won anything. And, you know, we're going to keep fighting every day. His schedule - I'm in Chicago right now. We went from Missouri to Iowa, dropped off in Chicago so he could go trick or treating or see his kids on Halloween. Now, we go to Gary for a rally and then on to Las Vegas tonight. So, we're not taking anything for granted.

OLBERMANN: One comment I'd like to get a comment on from you.


OLBERMANN: Mr. McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, said today that Mr. McCain is in the greatest, middle of the greatest comeback you've seen since John McCain won the primary, he pointed to tightening numbers in Iowa. Are you getting the same picture of the race or does he have a different set of polls or what's going on?

AXELROD: No, I think he has a different set of talking points and they're the ones that you'd have going into the final weekend when you are trying to encourage your troops. I see nothing to suggest that this race is - the dynamics of this race, the structure of this race is changing. Many of the polls have widened. And we feel good about what we see in the individual states, both the registration and the early voting, and the polling are all very encouraging.

But I understand that, you know, Rick needs to try and keep his troops pumped up and that's what he's doing. But I think it's more smoke in mirrors than real.

OLBERMANN: David Axelrod, the chief strategist for the Obama campaign, gosh, have a nice, relaxing weekend.

AXELROD: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Thank you.

AXELROD: Talk to you soon. Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Senator McCain, meanwhile, will spend a surprisingly large percentage of his remaining campaign in this building. Tomorrow, he'll appear on "Saturday Night Live." No hints about his sketches or bits, but and while it may get a cut, host Ben Affleck today rehearsed a very funny, over-the-top satire of COUNTDOWN. They let me in to wish Ben well and getting the character right because I've been trying for 49 years without much success.

Meantime, the Republican revolting (ph) on Sarah Palin, Bush 41 Secretary of State Eagleburger, is forced to hurriedly and unconvincingly retract his announcement that she is not qualified for the presidency. And another conservative stalwart destroys the governor, "Even at McDonald's, you're interviewed three times before you're given a job."


OLBERMAN: Ronald Reagan's chief of staff says McDonald's vets its new hires more thoroughly than John McCain vetted Sarah Palin. So, he's voting for Obama.

Michael Moore joins us on healthcare and getting the vote on Tuesday. John Cleese is here on the triumph of or is the defeat by the average Joe.

And in Worsts: Speaking of defeat, Billo now wants two investigations of Nielsen ratings now that he's falling to second place.

COUNTDOWN continues on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: It may be the least original putdown of the last 40 years. Every time I look at him, her, its, I wonder is a McDonald's somewhere missing an employee.

In our fourth story here on COUNTDOWN: It mutated into the presidential race today by a Republican about another Republican.

The latest "New York Times"/CBS Poll showing a whopping 59 percent of voters believe that Sarah Palin is not prepared for the vice presidency. A sentiment seconded by none other than Ronald Reagan's chief of staff, Ken Duberstein who says he is voting for Obama.


DUBERSTEIN: What most Americans, I think, realize is that you don't offer a job, let alone the vice presidency to a person after one job interview. Even at McDonald's, you're interviewed three times before given a job.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Duberstein's skepticism echoed even by those who support John McCain, like former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who, in response to a question on NPR about whether Palin is prepared to take on the presidency if she needs to, said the following.


EAGLEBURGER: Of course not. I don't think at the moment, she is prepared to take over the brains of the presidency. I can name for you any number of other vice presidents who were not particularly up to it, either.

So, the question, I think, is: Can she learn and would she be tough enough under the circumstances, if she were asked to become president? Heaven forbid that that ever takes place. Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be, she will be adequate. I can't say that she would be genius in the job.


OLBERMANN: Twenty-four hours later, Mr. Eagleburger went on "fixed news" to publicly flagellate himself for those comments and offer apologies.


EAGLEBURGER: I made a serious mistake yesterday. I was quoted correctly. I wasn't thinking when I said it. In fact, I was discussing foreign policy and this was in that context. And I was just plain stupid.

I don't think she would be, from the minute she became vice president, she would be an expert in foreign affairs. That's clearly not the case. But she's going to have a mentor who is better at it than anybody else and that's John McCain. So - and she's a quick learner. And I should have said that within a relatively short period of time, she would also be a foreign policy expert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. And, Mr. Secretary.

EAGLEBURGER: I said it badly and I'm sorry.


OLBERMANN: He didn't mention whether or not he's seen Goldstein recently. An extraordinary mea culpa there, especially considering that even the man who chose her doesn't seem to be so sure about something about her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that she is the face of the Republican Party going forward?

MCCAIN: I think to a large degree as the vice president or - or -

I think there's no doubt. Because she has united our party in a large degree and she's, in many ways, an inspirational figure.


OLBERMANN: We're joined now by our own Jonathan Alter, senior editor for "Newsweek" magazine, at Highland, Indiana tonight, obviously at an Obama event.

Good evening, John.


OLBERMANN: What was that from John McCain, the or - or, business?

Do you have any idea?

ALTER: Well, you know, he knows that he made a big mistake in picking Sarah Palin. He took a big gamble and it didn't pay off.

I have to say, I was laughing when I watching that Larry Eagleburger byte because, you know, it sounded like he was one of those guys who gone to Maoist re-education camp and then be put on a dunce cap and say, I was so stupid, you know. It was pathetic that after having told the truth as Ken Duberstein also did about Sarah Palin's lack of readiness for the presidency, he felt like he had to run for cover there.

The Republican Party is in disarray at this point. They don't understand how they got into this pickle, but an awful lot of them are going to say that picking Sarah Palin certainly didn't help.

OLBERMANN: All right. So, you choose Red China. I took Oceania. So, you get credit for going with the accurate historical reference. But, in that clip, though, the second part of it in there, he said Palin had united the Republican Party. Is that a new interpretation of what united means or it wishful thinking or what is it?

ALTER: Well, I think it's true that she has pulled together the base of the Republican Party and they loved her. They loved her in St. Paul and a lot of them love her now and they're going to love her in 2012. The problem, Keith, is that's only about 25 percent of the American electorate.

And so, all the hopes that she was going to bring in Hillary Clinton supporters en masse are in tatters tonight. She is not doing it. The polls are showing that she's just not reaching out and getting support among the independents and Democrats that you would need to give John McCain a boost. And there are awful lot of people who think that her nomination reflects poorly on McCain's own judgment.

He, after all, said, in July to your friend, Sean Hannity, that first requirement for picking a vice president was somebody who could step in, quote, "immediately," unquote, should something should happen to him. And as Duberstein and Eagleburger pointed out, she doesn't meet that standard.

OLBERMANN: She could step in immediately after the McDonald's training course was completed. But back to that "Times" Poll.

ALTER: Right.

OLBERMANN: It found that nearly a third said the vice presidential choice would be a major influence on their vote. Is this a great new truth for this election or is it just germane to this election that the V.P. selection matters?

ALTER: You know, in the past, it has not mattered. And there have been efforts to make it matter. Hubert Humphrey in 1968 tried to turn Richard Nixon's running mate Spiro Agnew into an issue. He made some ads. They did not work. There were some efforts by the Dukakis folks to make Dan Quayle an issue in 1988, they did not work.

This time, the Obama people saw that Palin was enough of a shock to the system. The lack of preparation was - for the vice presidency, much less the presidency, was striking enough that they could actually score points.

And they made an ad within the last week that they are putting in a pretty heavy rotation. It goes after McCain's judgment in picking Sarah Palin. She kind of winks at the end. It's a pretty good ad. And it doesn't make her look particularly good.

OLBERMANN: Jonathan Alter of "Newsweek" and MSNBC, on the road at Highland, Indiana. Thanks, Jon. Have a good weekend.

ALTER: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Governor Palin says she thinks the First Amendment is designed to keep politicians safe from the media. McCain in the Membrane.

And, Michael Moore live from Michigan on early voting and Tuesday turn-out.

You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: Michael Moore on healthcare and getting voters to the polls on Tuesday. John Cleese on the funniest moment he's ever seen in any political campaign anywhere. Our special guests, tonight.

But first, the most outrageous or untrue things said by or on behalf of the Republican presidential nominee: McCain in the Membrane.

Number three: Money, did you say? Campaign manager Rick Davis telling reporters, quote, "In the last 10 days of this campaign, McCain will outspend Barack Obama on television." So, based on your campaign's complaint about Obama last week, now you are trying to buy the election?

And number two: More and more money. Governor Palin, again, this time, insisting if elected, she and Senator McCain, quote, "will confront the $10 trillion debt, we'll impose a spending freeze."


GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will balance the federal budget by the end of our first term.



OLBERMANN: No. Balancing the budget within four years. Quote, "The events of the past few months have completely thrown a wrench into that. There is no way to do it. He would like still to balance it. It is going to be harder, take longer."

The speaker who says John McCain will not balance the budget by the end of his first term? Douglas Holtz-Eakin - the top economic adviser to John McCain.

And number one, your First Amendment rights, you say? On radio in Washington, Governor Palin said to the media, to a conservative host, quote, "If they convince enough voters that it is negative campaigning for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don't know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media. Gov, it protects free speech by the media."

Gov, the First Amendment protects free speech by the media and the people from interference by the government. It does not protect the government from the media. Read the Constitution sometime governor, it's fun.


OLBERMANN: North Carolina, among the 32 states with early voting this election, now joining Florida in deciding to keep its polls open longer, four more hours tomorrow, the last day to vote their before Tuesday. That could mean 8,000 more early voters in one county alone. In our third story on the COUNTDOWN, extended hours a relief to citizens of the swing state, 30 percent of whom have turned out so far.

But more of a headache for Republicans who complained that early voting favors Democrats. Indeed, Senator Obama is leading Senator McCain 59-33 according to an Associated Press/GfK poll of voters who already voted. It's not, however, the polls that Mecklenburg County GOP Chair Larry Teague claims concern him. He says he's worried about stressed out election workers.

Joining me now, Michael Moore. Documentary film maker, author and most germane to tonight's appearance, voter turnout activist. Michael, good evening.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILM MAKER: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: What does, do you think early voting mean in terms of turnout on Tuesday? Are more people going to show up because they think the lines are going to be shorter or will it have no impact?

MOORE: Well, I think the first thing it means is that it's probably a good idea to have the man who is the head of the ticket, the guy running for president to be a community organizer.

Because, you know, when you do a lot of community organizing and know how to do that, you know how to do the one-on-one, door-to-door, get the vote out. And so while they were laughing at it during the Republican Convention and demeaning Senator Obama for being a community organizer, they are witnessing the fruits of that community organizing by having such a massive turnout in all these early polling places.

And especially, as you pointed out in Arizona, which just has to be bitter fruit for the McCain campaign.

OLBERMANN: I mentioned that poll. The early voters are in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia heavily, heavily for Obama. As it relates to your thing to getting people out to the polls on Tuesday, would you prefer nobody mention this? Just it became sort of a secret that the early voting is in Obama's favor just to get people out there regardless. Because there is that one word complacency that has been thrown around a little by everyone in terms of this campaign.

MOORE: Well, that's a big problem. Because sadly, people on our side of the political fence, like to party, sometimes a little too early and sometimes way too late. I'm very worried about what I hear a lot of people doing now. I think they will be doing it throughout weekend, this, what I call the dance on the five-yard line. There's the famous incident back from Super Bowl XXVII where the Dallas Cowboys, Leon Letts, I don't know if you remember this .


MOORE: When he picked up the fumble, ran about 47 yards down the field. Around the 10 yard line, he starts holding out his arms and doing a little dance before he goes across the goal. And Don Beebe (ph), from the Buffalo Bills, just came right up from behind him, he didn't even see him, and knocked the ball out of his hands just before he crossed the goal.

So, it's - I'm concerned that, you know, Don Beebe is kind of like the John McCain of that era and we may see it again. It's very possible that that could happen. Nobody should take any of it for granted. I said a couple friends last night here. You see all the rallies and all the people showing up for Obama and they love him. There's a huge, huge outpouring of support for him.

And I said you know, I always loved the Rolling Stones. I love the Rolling Stones. And I've never bought an album by the Rolling Stones.

So, I would just - everybody be careful about it and commit. Instead of talking about it, everybody should be working tomorrow, the next day, the next day going down to the local campaign headquarters or just individually call up everybody in your address book on your cell phone and remind them to vote on Tuesday morning. That's a very simple thing everybody can do.

OLBERMANN: Let me switch over to health care. Obviously that's been a main concern of yours for some time. This McCain adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin had one of the oddest quotes of this or any other campaign.

He was told about a study that showed that if McCain implemented this tax credit health plan, that young workers would flee. And his response was, "Why would they leave? What they are getting from their employer is better than what they could get with the credit." Now he later claimed that they wouldn't change if they had better coverage or did he just give the secret away of the McCain proposal?

MOORE: Yeah, that's exactly what he did. He gave the secret away. That this $5,000 credit isn't going to buy you anything when it comes to health care. The average cost is $1,000 a month for a family in this country. If you don't have health care, $5,000 for a year isn't going to cover you.

I think, I'm really glad he said this and admitted their health care plan is worthless. Because it brings up another point that isn't discussed much when we talk about the health care problem in this country. And that is a lot of people hang on to their jobs because of the health care. They stay in jobs they are unhappy in, that maybe they shouldn't be in, maybe doing something else. They never get a chance in their to take the leap or risk to explore something because they are afraid to give up their health care. What the Obama plan and what the Democratic plan will do is suddenly give all workers in this country the freedom to work whatever job they want. Because it won't matter what job you have. You'll never have to say again, geez, I just hate this job but I can't give it up because of the health care, because of the benefits. That's the way they get to live in every other western democracy and I look forward to the day when we get to say that here, too.

OLBERMANN: I've heard that in the last three months from somebody saying I can't take this job because the dental is no good. Perfect job except the dental plan. This is how we decide things now in our lives, right?

MOORE: Yeah. It's very sad. I'm hopeful for what's going to happen here and it's great to see all the Republicans jumping ship and endorsing Obama. I mean, Ken Duberstein .


MOORE: There have been so many Republicans jumping over to Obama lately that I fully expect by Tuesday morning McCain will be endorsing Obama. So nothing is going to surprise me over the next few days.

OLBERMANN: Don't turn anybody away from the tent. Michael Moore.

MOORE: Everyone is welcome.

OLBERMANN: Come on over, John. Vote for Obama. Go ahead.

Michael Moore .

MOORE: That's right.

OLBERMANN: Whose new documentary "Slacker Uprising" and the book, "Mike's Election Guide" both now available. As always. Thanks for your time tonight, Michael, appreciate it.

MOORE: Thanks a lot, Keith, thank you very much.

OLBERMANN: Joe the Plumber is John McCain's role model, so says John McCain. John Cleese has a decidedly different opinion about this.

And just in time to remind everybody, he hosted a fund-raiser for McCain. Domestic terrorist Gordon Liddy says Obama is counting on the "welfare class" for a victory in Pennsylvania. Worst persons next on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN: Funniest moment in an political campaign in any country. It happened to John McCain. John Cleese will be here to reveal what it is. That's next. But first time for COUNTDOWN's number two story, tonight's "Worst Persons in the World."

The bronze, Bill O. the Clown. We need to do a mini translation from his show last night. "This week marks eight years since THE FACTOR has been number. But as we told you last week, there are problems with the Nielsen rating system."

Yes, you're losing. COUNTDOWN has now beaten you seven nights out of 13, five in a row in what you call the key advertising demo, viewers 25-54.

"Fox News has asked the head of Nielsen to clarify some of the wild swings, unprecedented stuff that is happening at Nielsen."

It's not unprecedented. It's you suck.

"By the way, Whiting and 25 other Nielsen people have donated money to the Democrats. Two, two Nielsen employees are on record as donating to the Republican."

As Ms. Whiting replied to you, though you will not quote her. "Twenty eight political donors in the Nielsen Company constitutes 0.004 percent of the total personnel."

"One night last week in the Nielsen DVR THE FACTOR had more homes watching than people."

Bill, you are more popular with buildings than people. Get used to it.

"Something very wrong with the Nielsen rating system even though we continue to dominate it, we want an honest accounting. And so do the state and federal authorities."

Once again, Bill thinks he has his own police force. The state and federal authorities are not investigating. The cavalry is not coming. You are in second place. Adjust.

Runner up, radio talk show host and the man who planned a 1971 bombing at the Brookings Institution in Washington, G. Gordon Liddy. "Obama is counting on the urban elites and the welfare class to win the state for him. But he's putting on a show for the rest of Pennsylvania."

That's Gordon Liddy, domestic terrorist, who John McCain is proud to know, who held a fund-raiser at his house. Thank you for reminding us about you, Gordon.

But our winner, back from hiatus or wherever the heck she was, Coultergeist, "With one association after another that is beyond the pale with Barack Obama, I feel like we are talking to the Germans after Hitler comes to power saying, oh well, I didn't know. I had no idea it was going to be like that. This guy, Americans ought to know."

Geez, Annie, you're a little late to this dance. Ben Stein already compared Obama to the Nazis. Charles Krauthammer did it. The McCain headquarters in Pompano Beach, Florida put up his picture next to Hitler's. I'm so old. I remember when you used to do your own material.

Coultergeist, fittingly enough on Halloween. Today's "Worst Person in the World."


OLBERMANN: Joe Wurzelbacher, the plumber who isn't licensed, the would be business owner who is not trying to buy a business, the average Joe who has an agent and publicist and is trying to get a book deal and a country western recording contract. He will be going to Washington if John McCain is elected. The number one story, John Cleese is here on the prospect of America's first ever secretary of plungers.

After having some difficulty finding Joe the Plumber Wurzelbacher yesterday morning, Senator McCain grabbed the opportunity to place good old Joe way up on that manufactured every man pedestal in Mentor last night.


MCCAIN: Let me ask to say a few words, an American hero and a great citizen of Ohio and my role model and the man I'm fighting for and small businesses in America like him. Joe the Plumber.


OLBERMANN: And earlier yesterday at yet another rally with Joe the Plumber in Elyria, Ohio.


MCCAIN: We're going to change Washington and I'm going to bring Joe the Plumber with me, my friends.


OLBERMANN: Something else to look forward too. One brief flashback by way of introduction to my honored guest tonight.


JOHN CLEESE, COMEDIAN: Welcome to election night special. There is great excitement here at the moment as we should be getting the first results in any moment now. We don't know where it will be from. It might be from Leicester or Luton, the polling is quite heavy in both areas. Wait a moment, I'm just getting a large buzzing noise in my left ear.


OLBERMANN: From "Monty Python's Flying Circus," "A Fish Called Wanda" and like everyone else who's ever appeared on this program, "Newsweek" magazine, Mr. John Cleese. Welcome.

CLEESE: It's good to be here at last.

OLBERMANN: Belated happy birthday.

CLEESE: Thank you, 69, nearly dead.

OLBERMANN: I hope not.

First off, I'll skip the idea that tape is why my election night style is the way it is. I don't want to blame you for it. But how did we get with Joe the Plumber? How did we get to the point where the average guy is a candidate's hero. Even though he's not average, he got a book deal going and wants to be a country western music star.

CLEESE: You couldn't write it, could you?


CLEESE: I think the problem came when they all wanted George W. to be president because he's someone you can have a beer with. He's someone you feel comfortable with. I don't want a president I feel comfortable with. I want one that's so darned smart and well informed and sharp and a good assessor of people that if I was there, I'd just keep my mouth shut so he didn't realize what a fool I was.

But that seems to be the opposite of a certain kind of, I don't know if I should say, Republican, but largely, it seems Republican that somebody is going to be comfortable with. The Americans are terrific about not being envious about money compared with the Europeans. They seem to be very envious about intelligence, and the idea of actually being with someone who is sort of intelligent and well-informed and educated. Ivy League. Eww. Not a proper American.

So there's envy with that, the result, they want someone they are comfortable with who is not going to be terribly bright or highly intelligent or awfully sharp or a very judge of people. Considering it's the job of the most powerful man in the world that's rather alarming.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, if we want to go have a drink with somebody, go have a drink with them.

CLEESE: I pointed out to one audience, if they want a drink with George W., they should vote for Al Gore. Have more time.

OLBERMANN: And yet Joe the Plumber has not been your personal highlight of the campaign. We've been teasing this all night.

I'll play the tape first, then you explain to me why this is so good.

CLEESE: If I can still speak .


MCCAIN: Across this country, this is the agenda I set before my fellow prisoners.


OLBERMANN: Something went horribly wrong there.

CLEESE: My fellow prisoners. The funny thing is, we have seen this a little bit on television. But they should be talking about it. If he addresses this large crowd, what's actually going on in his mind? It's insane. As Michael Palin would say, I want a give away.

OLBERMANN: But it's not insanity. It may show some sort of reticence to actually want to be on the job because if you're viewing - not if you see everyone else as a prisoner. You're still a prisoner? Let somebody else run.

CLEESE: I spent a week trying to think of something that was stupider to say and actually couldn't come up with anything.



OLBERMANN: Even expanding the run outside this country.

CLEESE: It's absolutely perfect. Anybody that could vote for the guy after he said that doesn't know anything about psychology.

OLBERMANN: There's nothing from Neville Chamberlain that ranks with this?

CLEESE: I have this piece of paper .

OLBERMANN: It wasn't an election campaign. It's the future of the world that he's holding up in his hands.

CLEESE: That's right, and you know what Hitler said? He seemed such a nice old gentleman, he wanted my autograph.

OLBERMANN: I was honored about a month ago to read your Hannity poem. Do you have a further piece of work?

CLEESE: I'm working on it.

OLBERMANN: Can we have the appropriate lighting for Mr. Cleese?

CLEESE: It's about a fellow called Bill O'Reilly.

OLBERMANN: Yes, I've heard of him. He's a character in "Fawlty Towers," the construction guy. Oh, right.

CLEESE: Bill O'Reilly's no-spin zone is rated highly by his own beloved mother, but no other. Except that Bill for all his faults still has one skill, a skill of sort, he can amuse a true dull ox, the dullest crayon in the box, the kind of ox that watches Fox and Bill will pander to this group with propaganda, right wing coot, knee jerk views and sense of views. Thus, Bill O'Reilly earns his trust, behaving vilely as me must. He will not shirk from Rupert's work. He really is a perfect Burke.

OLBERMANN: Obviously, I love the sentiment behind it, and much of that, the Fox, the ox and box stuff is wonderful, beautiful. What I'm getting at is, "Berk" at the end .

CLEESE: That's English. I think Americans don't know it as well. It's Cockney rhyming slang.

OLBERMANN: I've heard of that. Is it a substitution? What's Berk supposed to rhyme with?

CLEESE: It rhymes with the Berkeley Hunt.


We had the other day Karl Rove complaining about John McCain not getting sleazy enough with this Rashid Khalidi who is a fellow who Obama knew and it turned out McCain funded to the tune of $500,000 in 1990. So maybe they should have left it alone. Rove said you should have started this in April. Should Rove just have brought him out of retirement or off Fox and had him do the commercials?

CLEESE: I'm speculating. This guilt by association thing. I'm thinking if Rove was on the Democrat side, by now he would have ran something about John McCain saying this man, the so-called hero spent five and a half years of the most formative years of his life in a communist country speaking only to communists, he never had to pick up the tab, he got free accommodation, free food.

Do we want someone as president who has been palling around with them? In other words, you can tell the truth, but if you leave certain things out it will really turn things on its head. What he did in Hanoi was magnificent. I'm showing what could be done by anybody that wants to use guilt by association.

OLBERMANN: Is there any hope for the political system at this point or anybody else in the free world or should we just?

CLEESE: I wish you would do one thing. It's the only thing we get right in Britain. We do not have paid political commercials.

OLBERMANN: How many ills would that actually solve?

CLEESE: It would stop the sound bite bit. See what I mean? It would stop the enormous amount of money that has to be generated.

OLBERMANN: That pays my salary to some degree.

CLEESE: That's true.

OLBERMANN: John Cleese. Actor, comedian, Obama supporter. Poet. And a veteran cockney rhyming slang. Pleasure having you here, sir.

CLEESE: Thank you for what you are doing, Keith.

OLBERMANN: My pleasure.

That's COUNTDOWN for this the 2,011 day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq.

A programming note, set your DVRs, tomorrow, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, the worldwide premier of COUNTDOWN TO NOVEMBER 4. An hour long flashback at this historical, hysterical campaign through the eyes of the big show.

And we'll see if they do that bit on "SNL".

I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck. It crashed before I hit the screen.

Our MSNBC coverage continues now with the host voted next most likely to be

parodied on "Saturday Night Live,"


Thursday, October 30, 2008

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for **October 30, 2008**
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons, Campaign Comment

Guest: Frank Rich

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

Obama plus 12 in Pennsylvania, plus seven in Ohio, plus seven in Nevada, plus six in North Carolina, plus four in Florida.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you want to know where John McCain will drive this economy, just look in the rearview mirror.


OLBERMANN: Everything in Barack Obama's rearview mirror and Bill Clinton's is unity.


WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Folks, if we have not learned anything, we have learned that we need a president who wants to understand and who can understand.


CLINTON: Who can understand; yes, he can.


OLBERMANN: Last night, Obama gets Bill. Today, he meets Rachel.


RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": You have the opportunity to say John McCain or Bush were wrong. You also have the opportunity to say, conservatism has been bad for America. But, you haven't gone there either.

OBAMA: Yes. I'll tell you what, though, Rachel. You notice, I think we're winning right now. So, maybe I'm doing something right.


OLBERMANN: And nothing seems to be going right for his opponent. The advance team MIA in Ohio. For once, Joe the Plumber doesn't make a cameo.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Joe is with us today. Joe, where are you? Where is Joe? Is Joe here with us today? Joe, I thought you were here today. All right.


OLBERMANN: And the Palin advance team appears to be M.I.A. in Erie, Pennsylvania.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm thrilled to be here in the home state of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.



OLBERMANN: Yes, they play in Eastern PA., you are in Western PA.

"Family Guy's" Seth McFarland answers Billo the Clown.




OLBERMANN: And, tonight's Campaign Comment. How, while trying to sink Obama with Rashid Khalidi, Rudy Giuliani has now instead linked John McCain to William Ayers.

All that and more: Now on Countdown.

(on camera): Good evening. This is Thursday, October 30th, five days until the 2008 presidential election.

It was the chief rationalization of Al Gore's purported loss in 2000.

If you can't carry your own state, you didn't deserve to win, anyway.

Our fifth story on the Countdown: Senior advisors to the Democratic nominee of the 2008 telling "Newsweek" magazine that it might be worth their while to put one more state on the table even at this late hour-

Arizona. And suddenly, those McCain robocalls on his own turf begin to make a lot more sense.

Our own Richard Wolffe reporting that senior Obama advisors considering plans for Senator McCain's home state that might include ramping up TV advertising, on-the-ground staff, or even deploying the candidate to stop there in the campaign's final days. Senator Obama is scheduled to make a western swing, in any event, making an Arizona visit possible.

If the Republican nominee's home state is under consideration, what must the battleground states look like tonight? According to the Opinion Research Poll for "Time" magazine, they look like this: Pennsylvania, Obama by 12; Nevada and Ohio, Obama seven each; North Carolina, not a traditional battleground, not in recent elections anyway, plus six; and Florida, plus four.

The Hotline Poll indicating that the Democratic ticket is doing well out west because of the support of Hispanic and Latino voters: Obama-Biden leading by 43 points in that demographic in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Nationally, Senator Obama plus 11 in a "New York Times" Poll out tonight, that is down two from last week. But still, a significant margin just five days out.

Senator McCain is still solid in the unlicensed plumber demographic of Ohio. Although, at a morning event in Defiance, Ohio, it probably would have helped to know whether Joe the Plumber had actually showed up this time.


MCCAIN: Joe is with us today. Joe, where are you? Where is Joe? Is Joe here with us today? Joe, I thought you were here today. All right. Well, you're all Joe the Plumbers, so all of you stand-up and say-thank you.


OLBERMANN: Maybe they were right at "Saturday Night Live," maybe he is invisible. Reached at home by CNN, Joe Wurzelbacher telling them it was, quote, "news to him" that he was supposed to be at that McCain rally, saying that no one from the McCain campaign had confirmed he was supposed to be there. He called it a miscommunication.

But by the time the McCain reached Sandusky, Ohio this afternoon, JTP with them and addressing the crowd.


JOE WURZELBACHER, "JOE THE PLUMBER": Get out and get informed. I mean, really know what you're talking about when you're talking about it. You know, don't take everyone's opinion. I came to my own opinions by research. Get involved in the government. That way we can hold our politicians accountable and, you know, take back the government. It's all ours.



OLBERMANN: Research. So, that's what you call it when you agree with a claim that a vote for Obama would lead to the death of Israel, a claim so outrageous that even FOX News debunked it.

The Obama campaign taking nothing for granted in the state of Florida, Al the Nobel Laureate to join Obama for campaign events there over the weekend. Last night, it had been the man Vice President Gore first shared a ticket with-President Clinton headlining at a late night rally outside of Orlando.

This morning in Sarasota, Senator Obama calling his economic plan the "Clinton Plan."


OBAMA: The average working family, the average working family is $2,000 poorer now than when George Bush took office. And when Bill Clinton was president, Bill was with us last night.


OBAMA: Bill and I were in Orlando last night, when Bill Clinton was president, the average wage and income went up $7,500. So, I've got an economic plan that similar to Bill Clinton's. John McCain's got an economic plan that's similar to George Bush's.


OBAMA: So, all you have to do is just look and see what works and what doesn't. This is not complicated. We've done the experiment. You've got eight years of Bush economics and eight years of Clinton economics. It's pretty straightforward.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn now to CNBC's John Harwood, also, of course, of the "New York Times." Thank you, kindly, for your time tonight, John.


OLBERMANN: The McCain staff and the coordination of its schedule with Joe the Plumber, apart from sending the candidate into a kind of Johnny Carson, "Doc is here, doc isn't here" moment, is there any symbolism in there about the state of that campaign with five days to go?

HARWOOD: Look-they are struggling at the end and they're making it up and say, go along. I was at that Obama rally that you just show, the clip of-in Sarasota this morning, the day before, at a McCain event in Tampa. The comparison-there is no comparison. You know, Barack Obama had a rally with thousands capacity, the stadium with 10,000, but there were well over that there.

John McCain put together a little national security talk after a roundtable at University of Tampa. There were a bunch of students outside the event but they were for Obama. And they were a few small number of McCain people.

They're just way outgunned right now. The financial resources that the Obama campaign has, the level of organization is so far superior.

And John McCain, as the poll numbers that showed, Keith, a few minutes ago, indicated he has got so many places to defend while Barack Obama is on offense everywhere. It's not easy to be on the McCain campaign right now.

OLBERMANN: Yes, there was a 6,000-person event in Ohio today. It turns out 4,000 of them were kids bussed in from other schools. It doesn't require further analysis on that. But what's happening in Arizona, Richard Wolffe's reporting that the Obama campaign is actually considering doing something of a serious nature in McCain's home state. Is it-does that campaign really believed it could win Arizona or a symbolism-late campaign symbolism is what's important here?

HARWOOD: I think they do believe it and I think they have reason to believe it, Keith. Look-Bill Clinton, in 1996 became the first Democrat to carry Arizona since Harry Truman. That reflective changes in the state, demographic changes, the rising power of the Hispanic vote which has broken two to one for Barack Obama in this election, and, influx of suburban voters who were more moderate and more capable of going one way or the other depending on the political mood of the moment.

And you look at the mood of the moment, it is so strongly in favor of the Democrat that Barack Obama has got advantages everywhere. If he has a chance in Montana, which the polls indicate that he does, he certainly has a chance in Arizona, even if it is McCain's home state.

OLBERMANN: What-can you explain it to any degree the logistics, the ideas behind the McCain spending of time and resources in the last five days? A campaign rally in Lorain County, Ohio this afternoon-Gore won Lorain by 22,000 votes, Kerry took Lorain by 17,000 votes. Then there were reports that he might campaign this weekend in Maine. Every poll in Maine had Obama above 50, McCain below 40. What's going on with the use of candidate's resources down the stretch?

HARWOOD: Well, in the case of Maine, it's one of the two states along with Nebraska that splits their Electoral College votes by congressional district. And so, what John McCain is trying to do is steal an electoral vote, not steal a win, an electoral vote by winning a congressional district up there. It's going to be difficult, but that's what he's trying to do.

And in terms of Ohio, that's a state he absolutely has to win. And so, you go into some of those counties where you had a big Democratic margin in the past and you're trying tear that margin down while you're trying to build your margins in the more rural parts of the state, the more Republican parts of the state. But there are so many leaks in this dike right now. Where do you put your finger? Which ones do you plug up? That's the strategic challenge they face.

And like I said, it's a very tough time. The Republicans I talked to in Florida are more focused on trying to save down-ballot Republican House and Senate candidates than they are thinking that they can win this presidential race.

OLBERMANN: Yes. And all they had to face this week was Obama, Clinton, and Gore down the stretch.

HARWOOD: Exactly.

OLBERMANN: John Harwood of CNBC and the "New York Times," special thanks tonight, John.

HARWOOD: You bet.

OLBERMANN: In Sarasota, Senator Obama also answering criticisms today about why he has not been tough enough addressing the conservative policies of George Bush and John McCain and how that conservativism has failed America. Only he didn't do that at the podium at Ed Smith Stadium, now of the Cincinnati Reds, he said instead when he sat down for an interview with my colleague, Rachel Maddow. And he made some news perhaps with six unexpectedly confident words.


MADDOW: When John McCain calls you a socialist.

OBAMA: Right.

MADDOW: This redistribute the wealth idea. He go-he calls you soft on national security.


MADDOW: That's not just an anti-Barack Obama script.


MADDOW: That is his reading from an anti-Democrat, and specifically, an anti-liberal script.

OBAMA: Absolutely.

MADDOW: And so, you have the opportunity to say John McCain, George Bush, you're wrong. You also have the opportunity to say, conservatism has been bad for America. But you haven't gone there either.

OBAMA: Yes. I tell you what though, Rachel. You notice, I think we're winning right now. So, maybe I'm doing something right. I know you've been bruising, you know, cruising for a bruising for a while there, looking for a fight out there. But, I just think people are tired of that kind of back-and-forth, tit-for-tat ideological approach to the problems.

Now, there is no doubt that there is a set of premises in the reigning Republican ideology that I just think are wrong. This whole notion, and then it's been captured by this back-and-forth about whether I'm a redistributor, I think is a great example. The notion that the progressive income tax which was instituted by Teddy Roosevelt, supposedly John McCain's hero, is somehow un-American, I think is an example of how people have gone way off track.


OLBERMANN: The rest of that interview, of course, at the top of hour, on "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW." In the interim, Rachel herself is kind enough to peel away from those preparations to join us now from the ballpark in Sarasota.

Good evening, Rachel.

MADDOW: Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN: So, you got-I guess, I think you got some news in there. I don't know if we've heard him quite that boldly confident, "I think we're winning right now." Was his mood like that throughout the interview and the time he spent with them?

MADDOW: If he was any more relaxed, I would have thought he was on ambient (ph). It's just a very relaxed, confident, good-humored, energetic atmosphere when you are with him. He seems like-it seems like he doesn't have a care in the world.

And everybody talks about his staff being the no-drama Obama staff. It's very, very true when you see them in person. But he, himself, just seems to be comfortable, easy with where he is. They were running slightly early all day today. And with all of the hullabaloo around the big event like this, a big rally, a lot of interviews, a lot of stuff going on, he was absolutely calm and confident.

And I think, obviously confident about the election to the point where I wasn't asking him how he's going to win the election and he brought up, essentially, by himself, the idea that he thinks he's going to.

OLBERMANN: Well, this dovetails to-with the point that I've been making since, at least, last winter that I think the pros are overlooking but the voters sure aren't. I'm gathering, you got the same sense-it is strange, almost. This is the calmest, least perturbable guy in the room and that doesn't just start when the camera comes on, right?

MADDOW: That's exactly right. I mean-and it's a relaxedness and a sort of confidence especially even around time issues. I mean, when you're being handled, you're going to be handled by that many people, when you got that many people working around you to make sure you are in the right place, to make sure you're talking to the right person, to make sure you are moving through the right door at the right time all the time, I think that can create a sense of anxiety.

But he's asking people about their kids, asking people what their kids are going to be for Halloween. He is-we're talking about lunch, we had a long back-and-forth about Boston basketball. He's he doesn't seem to be caught up in the hurriedness of the-inevitably, how hurried it has to be this close to the end of the campaign.

OLBERMANN: Infer from that-that answer we played to your question about conservative policies of Bush and McCain. If he wins, if he's president, may he prove to be more conciliatory, more of a compromiser than many in the base might be expecting? I mean, we've had hints of this, the NSA FISA Bill for example. Do you think it's pervasive?

MADDOW: I think that in that answer, I'm glad you guys went with that, that segment of the interview, that was right at the top of the interview, and you can sort of see not only his mood but what he was willing to get into right away. That is essentially him saying, "I know how to win." It's not him saying, "I know how to change the country."

And I think that represents why a lot of liberals, a lot of progressives, a lot of people who are sort of unabashedly on the left, don't see him as-don't see him necessarily as their guy. They may want to vote for him, they may see him as the best chance for ending the Bush administration, they don't see him as a progressive standard bearer.

When he said, "We are winning," again, I had not asked him about the election.


MADDOW: I was asking him about essentially telling America that conservativism has been bad for the country, as a way of changing the country, changing Americans' ideas about conservatism and liberalism. And his reaction to that was, well, I'm winning this election. Almost, we were talking in two different paths. I'm talking, I guess, as a liberal; he's talking as a candidate. But the twain were not meeting in that interview.

OLBERMANN: Yes. Then, again, if you beat conservativism to some degree, you have beaten conservatism. Sell me on the rest of it.


OLBERMANN: Not that I'm not going to watch, but what else is there that you were stoked about?

MADDOW: I was excited to hear him talk about some stuff that I think is very sexy policy that nobody ever thinks is interesting enough to talk about on television. Something you and I cover on our shows, but doesn't get a lot of broad coverage. Things like infrastructure. He went to a lot of detail about how countries like China are sort of putting us to shame, leaving us behind when it comes to investing in their own infrastructure.

He made some interesting comments about what George Bush has to show for his deficit. It'd be one thing to have a deficit like this and have invested as much as you could have invested in this country.

He also, I think, makes some news about Afghanistan, talking about how he doesn't-even while he thinks that there will be more the troops in Afghanistan, he doesn't think that Afghanistan will end up being a troop presence like Iraq. I think that some interesting stuff.

OLBERMANN: All right. Sexy policy with Rachel Maddow and Senator Barack Obama coming up in just about 43 minutes. We'll see you then. In the interim, please take some swings in the batting cage.

MADDOW: I will. Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, Rachel.

It had already been a big trip to Florida for the senator. The Bill Clinton impact, his first appearance with Obama and it could not have gone better. Frank Rich of the "New York Times" is here.

And tonight's Campaign Comment: Only Rudy Giuliani could have pulled this off and messed this up, seeking to slime Obama with Rashid Khalidi. He instead winds up linking John McCain-to Bill Ayers?


OLBERMANN: When he is on, nobody is better than Bill Clinton. And last night, six days until the election, finally appearing with Barack Obama, he was on. Frank Rich joins us.

Later in Worsts: Governor Palin discovers after the fact that not all of Pennsylvania likes your world champion Philadelphia Phillies.

And tonight's Campaign Comment: William Kristol was right. Did I really say that? William Kristol was right, John McCain needs to fire his campaign staff, and Palin and Rove and Giuliani who so botched a smear attempt that they have just linked McCain to William Ayers.

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: After a long bruising primary fight which pitted his wife against the eventual nominee, it is now former President Bill Clinton who may have served up the most telling insight into Senator Barack Obama's leadership style.

In our fourth story on the Countdown: Senator John McCain's leadership style apparently leading him to already pre-blame somebody should he go down to defeat.

At the outdoor rally in Kissimmee, Florida last night, 35,000 people in attendance, the former president campaigned for the first time along side Obama, he pointed to the two presidential decisions made by each candidate thus far, the vice presidential pick and their responses to the financial crisis. President Clinton noted that on the latter, Senator Obama sought the advice of economists, business icons and other political leaders including Clinton, himself.


CLINTON: Folks, if we have not learned anything, we have learned that we need a president who wants to understand and who can understand.


CLINTON: Who can understand; yes, he can.


CLINTON: Now, wait a minute.

The second thing-and this meant more to me than anything else and I haven't cleared this with him. And he may even be mad at me for saying this so close to the election but I know what else he said to his economic advisers. He said tell me what the right thing to do is. What's the right thing for America, don't tell me what's popular. You tell me what's right and I'll figure out how to see it. That's what a president does in a crisis, what is right for America.


OLBERMANN: And though President Clinton did not say so explicitly, the comparison was obvious, Senator "Pretend to suspend my campaign" McCain had failed both of those tests. His vice presidential choice now rather (ph) a constant thorn in his side.

A pleasure to be joined tonight by the "New York Times" columnist Frank Rich.

Good to see you in person, sir.


OLBERMANN: Was that one nugget from Clinton worth the wait? I mean, the premise of the president who might in this order, (A) listen, (B) contemplate, (c) decide, and then, (D) announce to everybody?

RICH: Well, absolutely. And so, it would be better for the country to have someone like that but also, Clinton is astute politically.

I think we look back and when the McCain campaign started to really run downhill would be this two hasty decisions that are political, Sarah Palin and that incredible circus he staged in Washington where he, quote, "suspended" his campaign and threatened to hold his breath if there were a debate. And, he was not putting country first, he was putting politics first.

The other thing about these two decisions is that they were whimsical. He didn't vet them, like, it doesn't seem he even know as to what he got with Sarah Palin. He didn't know her record, doesn't seem to know who she is now. Maybe, he's already working to forget her but it's just sloppiness. It's like the Joe the Plumber thing today. They just can't get a two-car parade going.

OLBERMANN: There was something else in there that I thought watching that last night from Kissimmee, that Clinton pointed out-the diversity of the crowd. It's a nice polite way of saying something that is part of something unpleasant, I think, but true, I think. If you looked at the McCain crowds early on, it was not the darker faces were totally missing, but there were few, but there were those scattered.

RICH: Yes.

OLBERMANN: If you watch now, it seems to me-and maybe I'm wildly wrong about this-almost done, almost none and especially at the Palin events. There's homogeneity to those crowds. And again, I'm trying to be as nice as possible about this, but there's (ph), only Clinton could get away with saying that in that way, don't you think?

RICH: I agree. And I don't think we have to be quite so nice about it.


RICH: The fact is, this isn't South Africa 25 years ago, this is a major political party that is essentially all white. And the hierarchy of it is definitely all white, but there hasn't been a new black Republican elected to federal office, I think, in six years. And so, what does that tell us about the party and how does that look to voters? I think it looks like it's the party of the last century. It looks bad-not only is it morally bad, but politically. I think it's idiotic because it's against the whole demographics of this country and where they are going.


You alluded to the Palin issue. Is a big takeaway from this election, regardless of the outcome, maybe V.P. picks matter more than they used to, if not for being the decisive, that they can, at least, set a trend of momentum going, as you pointed out, these two critical decisions by McCain seemed to reverse any motion towards a tie or leadership that he might have had in the polls?

RICH: The Palin pick is fascinating because, originally, it was thought to be this wild success both by the Republican Party, by McCain, and also by the media. Now, it's blowing up in their face and I think it has set a new precedent. Usually, vice presidential picks don't matter much. But in this case, I think, it established the template for erratic decision-making, whimsical decision-making that haunts them in everything that's happened since.

OLBERMANN: And as you sow, so shall you reap. I mean, you've heard diva about her, whack job, going rogue, and those were all from outside the McCain campaign. That's not me talking or you writing. Roger Simon now at Politico today is suggesting that the operative word will be scapegoat, that McCain is-it suddenly dawned on him, it's all her fault.

RICH: As if he didn't pick her after what? One meeting and one phone conversation and no vetting. That's preposterous and it won't fly in the aftermath of this fiasco.

OLBERMANN: But why-as she seemed to be looking forward towards 2012 and making statements that seem to be off the reservation relative to what the campaign wanted to do and that was look at as bad politics. Why would anybody, why would McCain, why would anybody in that campaign voice aloud the idea that we are going to lose on Tuesday and here is who's at fault? Why not hold it in until Tuesday night?

RICH: I think, you know, if the Titanic is going down, they are all throwing each other overboard and that's what we are seeing.

OLBERMANN: Well, I hope everybody can swim.

RICH: Got it.

OLBERMANN: Frank Rich of the "New York Times," great thanks. Keep your fingers crossed.

RICH: Thanks.

OLBERMANN: Thanks, Frank.

Billo versus Seth McFarland from "Family Guy," our pal Seth's response tonight, he wants us to play a little clip from a previously, never broadcast little list. If you're a Gilbert Sullivan fan, you'd be delighted.

And in Worsts: The lunatic fringe's lunatics scoop the real identity of Barack Obama's father, thinking maybe it's Darth Vader. Worst Persons is ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Membrane, in a moment. And the campaign assault of sleaze. It has now tried to slime Obama by linking him to an anonymous person.

First, tonight's special on ball, breaking news.


SETH MACFARLANE, PRODUCER, "FAMILY GUY": Breaking news. Oh, this should be rich. Must be something of monumental, earth-shattering importance. Why would they have that earth there? Shattering. Is it shattering? It's earth-shattering breaking news. Oh, do tell me. Tell me, tell me.


OLBERMANN: Bill O. has picked another fight with a cartoon. Last week, he singled out friend of Countdown and "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane for giving the business to the McCain-Palin campaign.

"The FOX program, 'Family Guy,' is run by a notorious left-winger named Seth MacFarlane, who often uses the program to promote his causes."

Mr. MacFarlane points out to me that, in a never broadcast DVD extra from an episode last season, he had, in fact, foreseen last week's attack and has already exacted a cartoonish revenge on Loofah Man.

To set the scene briefly, Stewie Griffin has taken over the world and breaks into a song about his enemies list, using Gilbert and Sullivan and "The Mikado" as inspiration.


MACFARLANE: I have no doubt that perhaps there may exist some mild discontent amongst some of us at the recent changes I have implemented. Lest you be considering any sort of uprising, I warn you, I am quite prepared to make an example of any undesirable elements, and don't think I don't know who you are.

(singing) As some day it may happen that a victim might be found, I've got a little list. I've got a little list of society offenders who might well be underground and who never would be missed. Who never would be missed.

There's the white kid with the baggy clothes who's talking like he's black. The girl you date who doesn't get the jokes in "Caddyshack." The Asian guy who cuts in front of every single line. And Britney Spears for accidentally showing her vagina. And then O'Reilly's ineffective dermatologist. They'd none of them be missed. They'd none of them be missed.


OLBERMANN: Thanks, Seth.

The old joke from Chicago was vote early, vote often. Turns out nearly a third of American voters will fulfill the first half of that aphorism.

And the Republican slime machine utterly backfires as Rudy Giuliani ties John McCain to William Ayers. Tonight's campaign comment.

But first, the most outrageous or untrue thing said by or on behalf of the Republican presidential nominee, "McCain in the Membrane."

No. 3, the "B" actress update. Ashley Todd cut a view (ph) in court today. As a first-time offender, she'll be released from jail, undergo mental health treatment. If she stays clean, keeps seeing the shrink, and keeps authorities apprised of her whereabouts, her record will be expunged, except for the 147,000 hits on Google and the 700,000 or so views of various clips about her on YouTube.

No. 2, when Neil Cavuto bails on you. The fixed news reactionary commentary, neither campaign's economic numbers add up to him, but he says "a consistent pattern in Obama's. For the life of me, Senator Straight Talk, I see no such straight thing with yours. You rail against big government, yet continue to push cockamamie spending plans that make a mockery of it. That's why you're losing right now, Senator McCain. Not because you don't have the courage of your convictions but because on economic matters you have no convictions, period."

Holy Don Pardo's pants.

And No. 1, when you can't think of a name to slime, pretend only the hip people know. This is McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb. And if you've never seen a guy's career end on live TV before, watch how Rick Sanchez of CNN just lets him do it. You go, Rick.


MICHAEL GOLDFARB, MCCAIN SPOKESMAN: Look, you're missing the point again, Rick. The point is that Barack Obama has a long track record of being around anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American rhetoric.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Can you name one other person besides Khalidi who he hangs around with who's anti-Semitic?

GOLDFARB: Yes. He pals around with William Ayers, who is a domestic terrorist.

SANCHEZ: William Ayers is not-no, no. The question I asked you is can you name one other person that he hangs around with who's anti-Semitic? Because that's what you said.

GOLDFARB: Look, we all know that there are people who Barack Obama has been in hot water.

SANCHEZ: Michael, I asked you to name one person. One.


SANCHEZ: You said he hangs around with people and it doesn't matter. OK. We've got Khalidi on the table. Give me No. 2. Who's the other anti-Semitic person that he hangs around with that we, quote, "all know about"?

GOLDFARB: Rick, we both know who No. 2 is.

SANCHEZ: Who? Would you tell us?

GOLDFARB: No, Rick. I think we all know who we're talking about here.

SANCHEZ: Somebody who's anti-Semitic that he hangs around with?

GOLDFARB: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: Well, say it.

GOLDFARB: I think we know who we're talking about, Rick.

SANCHEZ: All right. All right. Again, you charged that Khalidi is anti-Semitic. He would say that his policies on Israel differ from those of Barack Obama and many other people. But either way, I guess we'll have to leave it at that.


OLBERMANN: Look, Mr. Goldfarb, you're saying Joe the plumber is anti-Semitic. I'm going to have to ask you to step outside.


OLBERMANN: In Nevada, they go from the produce aisle to the slots to the ballot box. In California, they're doing it, drive-through style. In Ohio, they arrive at the board of elections by the busload. They are the early voters. And our third story on the Countdown, they are turning out in droves, some waiting in lines as long as six hours. In Georgia, one woman collapsed in line.

Thirty-two now allowing residents to vote early without a special reason. In 2004, 22 percent of the electorate did that. This year, a third expected to take that advantage.

Good news for the party whose mission has been get out the vote. Dubious, however, for Republicans trying, and in most cases failing, to suppress early voting and keep Democrats away from the polls on Tuesday, especially in the key swing states.

Though, in one rare case, a Republican has done the truly small "D" democratic thing. Florida Governor Charlie Crist, as you heard, extended early voting there from eight hours to 12 per day.

Let's turn now to MSNBC's own David Shuster, as usual, following an election, we are in a sense, joining already in progress.

Good evening, David.

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC NEWS: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Well, first of all, the early voting numbers are astonishing. What's the-what's the accepted explanation for that turnout?

SHUSTER: Well, three major factors, Keith. First of all, Organization, convenience and then fear. As far as organizations are concerned, both campaigns have put much more of an emphasis on early voting. And that's particularly the case with the Obama campaign, which sort of uses it as a way to keep track of precinct by precinct, if they're getting their people out that they're supposed to. It's a lot easier if they do that over two weeks, as opposed to, just say, 12 hours on election day.

As far as convenience is concerned, with all of the talk of historic nature and expected massive turnout on election day, a lot of people, anecdotally, simply, would rather spend the six hours trying to wait in line now, than worrying about what might happen on Tuesday.

And then the other factor, Keith, is sort of fear. Because there have been some changes in terms of requirements in many states. And because a lot of people remember Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004. There's a great fear among a lot of people, anecdotally, that they don't want to show up and suddenly realize maybe they need their I.D. and they don't have it.

So if they show up now and there's a mistake or a problem, they can always fix the problem and then come back tomorrow. So those three factors are pretty much driving the early voter turnout, according to most political analysts.

OLBERMANN: In the key states, David, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Democrats outnumber Republicans among the early voters. Is there a conclusion to draw about fortunes holding up like that on Tuesday?

SHUSTER: Well, certainly, with North Carolina and Iowa, the Democrats are outnumbering the Republicans early voting by two to one. And that certainly backs up the idea that Obama is doing very well in terms of this get-out-the-vote organization in those states and is likely leading in those two states.

In Colorado and Florida, it's a bit more complicated, because the Democrats have the edge overall in early voting, but the edge is more pronounced in terms of the actual in-person early voting, whereas the Republicans have the edge in those two states, Colorado and Florida, in terms of absentees.

And when you look at the ratio, it's usually about 60 percent now, actual in person early voting, 40 percent absentee ballots. And so again, it's a little more complicated in those two states. And another reason why a lot of people, of course, are looking at what's the actual turnout going to be on election day in those two states.

OLBERMANN: The Republican intimidation tactics, suing to shut down the early voting centers, sending private investigators to homes of people they suspect of fraud, the lawsuits challenging voter eligibility.

While they don't necessarily expect to win, and in many cases they haven't won, is the goal really sort of an ad hoc P.R. campaign designed to intimidate voters and still paint the Democrats as corrupt?

SHUSTER: Yes. It's really two-fold, Keith. First of all, there is the effort, of course, to try to keep a lot of voters away from voting, especially in urban areas, traditional Democratic precincts, by either suggesting, for example, to people who are poor and uneducated, "Oh, if you bounced a check, you're going to get arrested on election day." That's not true. But that kind of effort does have the impact of keeping some away from the polls and diminishing some turnout.

But beside all of that, there's also, of course, at least according to some Republicans who are willing to talk about it, this idea that, if the Democrats are going to win, they're going to control, of course, Congress. And if Obama's going to win, the Republicans, a lot of them, don't want there to be a mandate.

And the idea is, well, if Obama wins and it's close, it makes it easier for Republicans to argue, "Wait a second. The Democrats sort of won this unfairly. They don't have the mandate. If it had been a clean election, maybe there had been a different outcome."

And the irony, of course, is if that's sort of a political tactic, post-election, it's particularly ironic, given the way that the Democrats after 2000, that didn't sort of keep them from saying, "Wait a second. We're going to essentially try to block everything that the are Republicans trying to do."

OLBERMANN: And last point, Charlie Crist, the Republican governor of Florida, once on the short list for the vice-presidential nomination of the Republican Party, voting hours, extending them. He extended them. The motivation, he's just being a good governor?

SHUSTER: Well, this is the second time he's actually put his finger in McCain's eye. You'll recall the first, of course, was regarding ACORN, when Charlie Crist went off the talking points and said, "Oh, no, voter fraud is not a problem down here in Florida."

Part of it is sort of simply driven by the fact, the political reality, that when you do see these pictures of people waiting for six hours or long lines in Florida, obviously that it makes it easier if they can extend the hours.

The other part is Florida, clearly, Crist does not want to go through the same thing that Florida went through back in 2000. The idea is, if he can solve some of the problems now, lengthening the hours, perhaps that means Florida won't be the poster child of a bad election day, as it was eight years ago.

OLBERMANN: MSNBC's David Shuster. Thanks, David. Have a good night.

SHUSTER: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: In a campaign of glass houses, Rudy Giuliani just threw the biggest stone. How he has just linked John McCain to William Ayers.

And the Sarah Palin version of another old cliche: when you're assuming, you're making an ass out of you and me, you betcha. The governor, the world champion Philadelphia Phillies, and "The Worst Persons in the World," all ahead and interconnected on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Bill O. takes a swipe at Charles Barkley while he gets hit hard again in the ratings. The startling swoop from the right wing. You won't believe who they think Barack Obama's father is. And Governor Palin gets booed again over a sports gaffe. "Worst Persons" next.

And the nightly "Campaign Comment." Nice job, Rudy Giuliani, managing to link John McCain with William Ayers.

Countdown continues.


OLBERMANN: The Republican slime machine manages to connect the dots between John McCain and William Ayers. The "Campaign Comment" is next.

First, on Countdown's No. 2 story, tonight's "Worst Persons in the World."

Bronze, Bill O., the clown, ran a clip of ex-basketball star Charles Barkley, noting correctly that Republicans have been playing the race cards, quote, "And they use code words like welfare and things like that. And they just use code words. Those are racial innuendoes."

Bill O.'s well-thought-out, reasoned argument? "Well, Charles.

Here's a word not in code: 'pinhead'."

What Bill is actually upset about is Barkley's criticism of fixed news, which Barkley calls corrupt, and the ratings which have been corrupted, I suppose. For the sixth time in 12 nights, Countdown beat Bill O. last night. First Obama beat him with a million, two hundred eighty thousand viewers. Then we beat him with a million, seven hundred and thirty-nine thousand to Bill's million, two hundred and twelve last night.

The runner up, Pamela Geller, the lunatic fringe blogger most of the lunatic fringe will not touch, who has now reached the startling pre-election bombshell delusion: Barack Obama is actually the love child of Malcolm X because, quote, "the common physical features of the Kenyan Luo tribe: modest stature under six feet, round faces, small chins, wide set eyes, slanted-back foreheads, and retracted hairlines. None of these features are shared by Malcolm X or Barack Obama!"

You know, I don't have any of those features of the Kenyan Luo tribe.

Maybe I'm Barack Obama's father.

But our winner, Governor Sarah Palin's got to learn that geography a little better down here in the lower 48. Gets her butt booed in Erie, Pennsylvania, this afternoon.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I am thrilled to be here in the home state of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.


OLBERMANN: Nice try. Maybe you've heard about Pennsylvania having those two halves, eastern and western. In the eastern half, they love the Phillies. In the western half, they hate the Phillies. Western P.A. is Pittsburgh Pirates country or, in some areas, Cleveland Indians territory.

If you just lost Erie, Gov, now you know why. Try palling around with a map. Huh?

Governor Sarah Palin, today's "Worst Person in the World."


OLBERMANN: Finally, as promised, tonight's "Campaign Comment" and Rashid Khalidi. Now, it is one thing, one stupid cataclysmic thing, to slime your opponent because of his relationship with some guy only to then find out that your own candidate has a stronger relationship, still, with that guy.

But this graduates to the level of fatal political malpractice, when the ultimate result of your effort to slime your opponent is to, in fact, draw a parallel between your candidate and William Ayers.

The huffing, puffing, panicking McCain noise machine has really done it this time. John McCain and William Ayers both gave money to this man, Rashid Khalidi.

Senator McCain, you may want to get a pad and pencil here and write all of this down.

I'm actually going to agree with William Kristol when he wrote in "The New York Times" that you should fire your entire campaign staff. In three short steps, while trying to link Senator Obama to Rashid Khalidi, they have instead linked you to Rashid Khalidi and to Bill Ayers. Watch, Senator.

Step one, get the running mate who thinks she's smarter than everybody else to throw out the first pitch.


PALIN: It seems that there was yet another radical professor from the neighborhood who spent a lot of time with Barack Obama, going back several years. This is important, because this associate, Rashid Khalidi, he, in addition to being a political ally to Barack Obama, he's a former spokesperson for the Palestinian Liberation Organization.


OLBERMANN: Now, Senator, if you're seeing that clip for the first time, take a minute to clean up whatever you were drinking and whatever you hit with your spit take.

As you'll remember, Senator McCain, Rashid Khalidi is also the guy you gave $448,873 to ten years ago, when you were the chairman of the International Republican Institute and Khalidi wanted grant money to spend in the West Bank for his Center on Palestine Research and Studies. As you know, Senator, $448,000 goes a lot further than friendship.

You've got to tell Governor Palin stuff like this, Senator. Unless, of course, she already knew and she said it anyway, which means that those stories about how she's stabbing you in the back are just scratching the mavericky surface.

But to continue this long, dismal tide of self-destruction, Senator McCain, that was step one. Step two, get the drum beat really rolling with the most overrated strategist in the history of American politics, Karl Rove, on the echo chamber of choice, Fixed Noise.


KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS ANALYST: What bothers me about this is where was the McCain opposition research when this came out last April that talked about Obama's presence and mentioned in the story the tape. This would be a lot better if this drumbeat had been started last spring.


OLBERMANN: Senator. Senator, put the bottle down, Senator. You may know all too well, and I may just be guessing that Rashid Khalidi had to have come up last spring. But what used to be the cooler heads in your campaign said, "Ixnay on the Alidikay." Because your campaign had to have known that you mainlined directly back to him, not just the $448,000 grant in 1998, but another series of other grants from your group to Khalidi's group in 1993. You'd know how much those were for; we haven't found out-yet.

But the smart folks are all gone now. All you've got left are Sarah Palin and Karl Rove and Rudy Giuliani. Steps one and two having been completed, he was step three.

I know. Let's ask Rudy. He'll try anything. Honestly, Senator, I know you like this man, but frankly, if he's talking anything west of Hoboken, New Jersey, or anything more complicated than how to speed cross-town traffic, he's lost.

The problem is, when Rudy Giuliani starts talking Rashid Khalidi, not only is Rudy going down, but he's taking you with him.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: What I do know is that Khalidi has made very incendiary remarks about Israel, about Israel being racist. He has a connection with the PLO. He worked for an organization called WAFA. I think it's W-A-F-A. He was their spokesman. I believe Khalidi's wife was the translator for that organization, which was affiliated with the PLO.

And he has been, I think, you can debate-there's no dispute about the fact he has a very hostile view to the state-to the state of Israel. And he was-he was given a party, I guess it was sometime in the early 2000s, and Senator Obama appeared at that party and said laudatory things about him.

Also, Senator Obama and Ayers, sitting on the Woods board, gave something like $70,000 or $80,000 to Khalidi's organizations.


OLBERMANN: Senator, Senator, Senator, morals aside, this is the classic problem of guilt by association. Obama and Ayers gave Khalidi's organizations $80,000. McCain gave Khalidi's organizations $448,000. Obama and Ayers. Obama and Ayers. Obama and Ayers and McCain. Obama and Ayers and McCain. Ayers and McCain. Ayers and McCain?

So now, not only is Rashid Khalidi your problem and not Obama's, but now you're connected to Bill Ayers. The only difference is who gave this nebulously nefarious guy with the Arabic name more money: you or Ayers. Golly, Senator, that would be you a figure of at least five to one, which is also the ratio of your campaign sleaze bombs that blow up in your own face.

Retire them, Senator, and also this clown college you've got, before they, quote, "advise you," unquote, into trying to link Obama to the Keating 5 or something. Because if you lose on Tuesday, Senator, you're going to have a long time to think about not only why you sold your soul but why you sold it to these chowder heads.

And if you win on Tuesday, you're going to go into office with more blowback sleaze on you than any president in our history. And the White House is no place for a brain trust consisting of very few brains and nobody worth trusting.

I've got an idea, Senator. Maybe you should turn to a guy who evidently thinks like you do, at least on funding Palestinian think tanks. Maybe you could get some late help from William Ayers.

That's Countdown for this, 2,010th day since the declaration of "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.

Now, fresh from her interview with Senator Obama, but reporting to us tonight from Sarasota, here is Rachel Maddow and her show.

Good evening, again, Rach.