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,"