Monday, November 24, 2008

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, November 24, 2008
video podcast
Special bonus podcast and YouTube (The Martha Stewart Show)

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons
Video via YouTube: Palin turkey slaughter
The toss: Her recipe for bourbon

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Robert Reich, Eugene Robinson

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

Geithner to Treasury, the controversial Summers to the White House Economic Council-Obama's economic team already running even before it hits the ground.

As Citigroup is bailed out and the auto industry cuts back even on private jets to get the same, the watch word remains "stimulus."


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT-ELECT: We have a consensus, which is pretty rare, between conservative economists and liberal economists that we need a big stimulus package that will jolt the economy back into shape.


OLBERMANN: $700 billion more? OK, I was off for a week. Anybody make a joke yet about a big stimulus package? Anybody notice the Obama administration might keep a Bush tax cut?

The Senate: The new gentleman from Delaware. The continuing saga in Minnesota. The likelihood there will be new a senator from New York. A Cuomo? A Kennedy? The latest on the probable future ex-senator from New York and her new gig: She had cold feet until Obama offered her a hotline to his office?



SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, (I) CONNECTICUT: I never felt that Barack Obama was unready. Is, notwithstanding his celebrity status, Barack Obama ready to lead? And my answer is no.


OLBERMANN: Turkeygate, day five. As God is my witness, I have not seen the whole video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But Mr. Colly, a lot of turkeys don't make it through Thanksgiving.


OLBERMANN: Watch me, watch it-live.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) ALASKA: Certainly, we'll probably invite criticism for even doing this, too, but at least this was fun.


OLBERMANN: And so was this. I helped Martha Stewart make a triple chocolate pumpkin pie.



OLBERMANN: I haven't spilled anything yet?


OLBERMANN: No one's caught on fire.


OLBERMANN: Everyone is still sitting in the front rows?


OLBERMANN: None were injured and the building is still standing.

All that and more: Now on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Hey, this works.


(on camera): Good evening. This is Monday, November 24th, 57 days until the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

The phrase was "hit the ground running." The Obama economic team is not yet eligible to hit the ground, but despite the proprietor's insistence that the nation only has one president at a time, in our fifth story on the Countdown: It sure feels like that team is running-running the response to the financial crisis.

Today, the president-elect flexing some financial muscle, albeit from the on-deck circle, formally unveiling the three individuals who will be playing the top roles as his administration attempts to fix the economic mess ramp by eight years of Bushian neglect. On Friday, when NBC News reported that the treasury secretary would be Timothy Geithner, president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, that mere report enough to send stocks soaring.

In addition to confirming Geithner's appointment today, Mr. Obama announcing that former treasury head, Larry Summers, will be director of the National Economic Council, and that Christina Romer, a macroeconomist and an economic historian at Berkeley, an authority on America's recovery from the Great Depression, has been named the chair of Mr. Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

Job one: The stimulus package that doesn't just get the markets back on track but also gets millions of Americans back to work.


OBAMA: We have a consensus, which is pretty rare, between conservative economists and liberal economists that we need a big stimulus package to will jolt the economy back into shape and that is focused on the 2.5 million jobs that I intend to create during the first part of my administration.


OLBERMANN: And stimulating the economy might mean holding on to President Bush's tax cuts, as in not repealing it, as in letting at least some of those cuts continue as planned until 2011. At least, President-elect Obama refusing to rule out that possibility today.


OBAMA: It is important, if we are going to help pay for some of these expenditures that are absolutely necessary to get our economy back on track, that those who are in a position to pay a little bit more, do so. Whether that's done through repeal or whether that's done because the Bush tax cuts are not renewed, is something that my economic team will be providing me a recommendation on.


OLBERMANN: The other big economic news of this day, if this is still news, a bailout. $45 billion to Citigroup, the folks behind Citibank, and that's just for now, with, we think, a guarantee to protect that bank against losses as large as $306 billion. What do the American taxpayers get in return? A stake in the company worth $7 billion. That Bush administration drives a hard bargain.

Maybe the president-elect didn't mean what we thought he did when he said that we only have one president at a time. So, how is lame duck Treasury Secretary Paulson doing, anyway?


OBAMA: But what I want to make sure is that moving forward, we are clearly articulating for the American people and the business community what our end goals are. Where are we going? What are we trying to achieve? And there's clarity and transparency to our plan.


OLBERMANN: Clarity, transparency. Just try doing the math on how much money has been doled out so far in the purported $700 billion bailout, really try it. You think Congress is doing any better at keeping track of what Paulson has either handed out or guaranteed in protection so far? And there's always the automaker bailout of a do-over.


OBAMA: Taxpayers don't want to see more money wasted. So, we need to see a plan, and when we see a plan, we're going to, I think, be able to shape the kind of systems package that makes sense.


OLBERMANN: And meantime, to the president who still is president, remaining so for as of noon tomorrow exactly another eight weeks, President Bush announcing this morning that he and Secretary Paulson would be bailing out the banking behemoth, Citigroup. Mr. Bush underscoring just how closely he and Secretary Paulson had been working with the incoming administration.


PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH, UNITED STATES: Secretary Paulson is working closely with the president-elect's transition team. It's important for the American people to know that there is close cooperation. It's important for the American people to know that we will safeguard the financial system as the first step necessary for economic recovery.


OLBERMANN: Time now to call in our own Richard Wolffe, senior White House correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.

Richard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Never mind what President-elect Obama said at his first news conference. Was today's economic announcement the end of "we only have one president at a time" or A reversal of its meaning? Is Obama in-charge in this area right now?

WOLFFE: Oh, I think we definitely have, effectively, two presidents right now. The protocols are no longer operative. And look-part of that is functional because the president-elect teams are literally inside the Bush administration's departments on a daily basis. So, they are working together. But look at how the markets responded to the pick of Tim Geithner. They rallied just on that very news, as NBC broke it.

And what people are looking for here is a way out beyond the kind of ideas we've had right now because as hard as Secretary Paulson has tried, he spent $300 billion or more and we still have the prospect of major banks collapsing, and the economy in a deep recession. So, you know, the market and the voting public is looking for something different. And what we saw today was the start of a new administration stepping up.

OLBERMANN: Another group of import, the base. Possibly, maybe even probably, no repeal of the Bush tax cuts, or at least some of them, letting them play out until their expiration date in 2011. How would that play with the people who just voted Obama into office?

WOLFFE: Well, I don't think this is a campaign that was driven by a "soak the rich" mentality, but clearly, there was a lot of anger about Bush's economic policies that candidate Obama was plugging into there. The question is: Do the tax cuts end now, next year, or in two years time?

And there's an argument to be made, and I'm sure the president-elect sounds like he's laying the foundation for making it, that this isn't the time, that in a couple years, the economy will be stronger and that moment, they can talk about more economic justice. But, I suspect, really, what we are seeing here is a chance to defer dealing with those Bush tax cuts. Because remember, politically, he's going to need Republicans to get a stimulus package through.

OLBERMANN: All right. In these ensuing weeks until the changeover, is there any likelihood that there's going to be congressional oversight of the Paulson bailout or even an accurate scorecard anywhere? Of did this just amount to a stack of $700 billion in cash and the sign next to it saying, "Come get it"?

WOLFFE: Well, that's effectively what happened. And there should be oversight, they promised oversight but there seems to be no time for oversight, at least while the Bush administration is still in office. Having said that, there should still be congressional studies as to what happened here because you have to ensure that the Obama folks don't make the same mistakes especially when it comes to, for instance, banks paying dividends.

I mean, that was a direct transfer of money effectively from the taxpayer to shareholders. Is that a wise policy, moving forward? What kind of impact would it have on the banks' share prices to stop them from paying dividends? I mean, those are the kinds of things that Congress should be doing whether it's a Republican or Democratic administration.

OLBERMANN: What are the prospects here, finally, of this timeline actually playing out? It seems hard to believe in Washington of the 21st century, January 6th, the new Congress convenes. January 20, the new president is sworn in, he wants something to sign in January 20th or maybe to the 21st, the latest. Is that possible or are we talking more realistically something that drags into February or March?

WOLFFE: I think it's possible because everyone knows they have to act quickly. There will be this period where nothing happens. And the Democrats own Washington from January. So, there's going to be a lot of pressure for them to do something. I suspect, they will get it done within the first week, maybe not the first day.

OLBERMANN: Well, the land speed record will be broken and the reset.

Richard Wolffe, our political analyst, senior White House correspondent at "Newsweek" magazine-as always, Richard, thanks for your time tonight.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Every night until the inauguration of the president, we are asking the same question about the most urgent issue of the day: What do we do now? Tonight, Mr. Obama has now sketched the broad outlines of his answer to the question regarding our economic crisis-and by our, I mean, earth's-bailing out and propping up the banks just to start. We now know the president-elect wants Congress to have this massive economic stimulus package on his desk the day he starts his new job. But this will not be a Republican-style stimulus based on tax cuts only, Mr. Obama says he wants to spend or fund major repairs of America's infrastructure, specifically, roads and bridges, and also move forward with expenditures on alternative energy sources and green technology-all of which he say, will help staunch the Bush era job lost rate, preserving or creating 2.5 million jobs in the next two years. Mr. Obama also floating the notion he will not repeal the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but may decide in the face of recession to let them die their natural death in 2011, as we mentioned, assuming, of course, the economy doesn't predecease them.

Let's turn now to one of Mr. Obama's economic advisors, the former Clinton labor secretary, Robert Reich, also, author of "Supercapitalism."

Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: What does a 21st century progressive public works WPA-like model look like? Is it monorails, jet packs, what is it?

REICH: Well, it could be monorails. Not jetpacks, I don't think. But, you know, the infrastructure, our roads, and bridges, and levees, and ports have been crumbling for years. There's a lot of deferred maintenance that's been going on, unfortunately. And what we have to do is rebuild that infrastructure. Our electric grid, also, green technologies, alternative fuels-there's a lot to do.

Now, it's a double whammy for the United States to have all of this because not only will all of these create jobs, but also, it will generate higher productivity in the future because all of these are the kinds of investments we need to make as a nation.

OLBERMANN: And what about bailouts? I mean, does Mr. Obama think that we need Citigroup the same way that we need the Big Three automakers?

REICH: Well, first of all, let me make sure you understand, the viewers understand these are my views.


REICH: I am not reflecting Obama's views. But if we're going to the automobile industry, the consensus in Congress, the consensus emerging seems to be that everybody, all stakeholders, the creditors, and the shareholders, and the Big Three automakers overall, and the UAW, all have to put something on the table, all have to make sacrifices before taxpayers should be willing to put some taxpayer money up as well. And that it's not a matter of simply tiding the automobile industry over during the recession until they can go back to making the same cars they were making before, no. It has to be a total restructuring of the industry, a new business plan so that the Big Three can be competitive in the future and fuel-efficient as well.

OLBERMANN: Should we be concerned by this piece of detail from the resume of Ms. Romer, who was going to be the head of the Council of Economic Advisers, that at Berkeley, in her roles, an economic historian, she's an authority on America's recovery from the Great Depression. Is just that extra expertise or is that going to be specifically required in the next few years?

REICH: Well, I think-I hope it's not required. You know, Ben Bernanke at the Fed, Ben Bernanke also happens to be an authority on the Great Depression. So, we have two major economic policymakers who know a lot about the Great Depression. I hope their knowledge doesn't have to come in too handy.

OLBERMANN: President-elect Obama wants something to sign, as suggesting to Richard Wolffe, on the 20th of January. I think do it the day they swear him in, he'd be happy to do it. Do you expect Republicans would be foolish enough to stand in his way or is it Democrats that he should be worried about? Because there's been a lot of obvious switching of sides and uncertainty of liberal versus conservative position on the bailout ever since the issue became one in late summer.

REICH: Well, Keith, even Blue Dog Democrats, that is the fiscal conservative Democrats whose numbers are larger than they were before, seem to understand that right now, you've got to put ideology aside and it is time for a very, very big stimulus package in the order of $600 billion or maybe $700 billion.

Now, the Republicans, some of them don't like that idea at all. But it is possible that the Democrats will have 60 votes in the Senate. But even if they don't have 60 votes in the Senate, there are enough Republicans who understand that this is the way things need to be, because, after all, there's no more purchasing power in the economy. Consumers can't go anymore. They've reached the end of their ropes. Investors are not going to make new investments because the economy is basically dead in the water right now. Exports are shrinking because the rest of the world is on a recession.

So, what does it leave in terms of creating the purchasing power necessary to keep people employed and grow the economy? Only government. Government is the spender of last resort. And even Republicans and conservative Democrats understand.

OLBERMANN: Last point, if the proverbial being from another planet were to drop by and watch these economic statements today from both the current president and the incoming one, would he or she or it be able to tell which one is actually or, at least, nominally in-charge right now?

REICH: I think it's very important for both presidents to give the impression to the markets, not only Martians, but to the markets, and there maybe not too much difference between the two, but I think there is, that there is a seamlessness that actually the transition from one president to the other is going to be very, very easy, and smooth, and coordinated, and well-coordinated. But, of course, there is a huge difference in philosophies between these two men. It's just that we are not going to see those two differences emphasized until after January 20th.

OLBERMANN: The Martian markets. I think we may have just explained Jim Cramer.

Robert Reich, former Clinton Labor secretary, the author of "Supercapitalism." We thank you, once again, for your time tonight, sir.

REICH: Thanks very much, Keith. Bye-bye.

OLBERMANN: And suddenly, the dramatic question and the even more dramatic answer, who will be secretary of state is shunted to the sidelines. Significant new developments in that story today, including the prospect of a back phone connecting the secretary and the president. Also, who would replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate? And, what on earth am I doing in the middle of the Senate vote in Georgia?


OLBERMANN: How about Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her unfettered access upcoming to President Barack Obama?

The Sarah Palin turkey-pardoning video. You have seen it, I have not.

Share my delight, won't you?

And Joe Lieberman denies ever feeling, let alone saying something, that he's caught on tape from August saying.

Worst Persons and all the rest: Ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: What makes you accept a new job when you already have a great one? What is the decider when the old Ernie Kovacs' observation is true: The money means nothing-the money is nothing, therefore the money means nothing?

Our fourth story on the Countdown: Often, it comes down to access-and choosing your own staff. Ask Secretary of State Designate Rumoree Hillary Clinton, who has that title, an imaginary title, again, tonight, after reported personal assurances from her would-be boss. And then there are successors for all those relocating senators-the one in Delaware chosen tonight.

It was only last Tuesday that an anonymous advisor familiar with her thinking, told the "New York Times" that Secretary of State Clinton was a doubtful outcome, citing the prospect of her losing her independence. But on Thursday, the president-elect reportedly reassured her of access to him as well as the ability to select her own staff. At that, according to the paper, the wooing was complete.

Accordingly, yesterday, David Axelrod talked up to convincing the public.


DAVID AXELROD, INCOMING WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR: Hillary Clinton is a demonstrably able, tough, brilliant person who can help, who, if she were in a position such as that, would help advance the interest of this administration and this country.


OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, and somewhat paradoxically, in light of the supposed deal with Senator Clinton, news that Obama is leaning towards appointing Jim Steinberg as his deputy secretary of state, except that while Steinberg was a key advisor to Obama during the campaign, he was also former deputy national security advisor in the Bill Clinton administration.

Let's turn now to Eugene Robinson, "Washington Post" associate editor and columnist, also, MSNBC political analyst.

Gene, good evening.


OLBERMANN: What's the goal here? Does Obama have to assure Clinton that in terms of her political identity, her independence, that she gets to have her cake and be able to eat it, too?

ROBINSON: You mean she gets to have her he triple chocolate pumpkin pie and eat it, too? Or is it.

OLBERMANN: Thanks. Yes.

ROBINSON: Never mind.

Anyhow-look, secretary of state doesn't have independence. If a secretary of state who acts independently of the president gets fired. So, she can't be looking for independence. What she should be looking for is, I think, is access. And that's very important to any secretary of state. Remember, Colin Powell did not have direct independent access to the president. And he was going through the national security advisor or this kind of weird loop.

Secretaries of state who have to go through the national security advisor, who can't just pick a phone and talk to the president are not happy and feel they don't get to really do their jobs. And so, that seems to be something that she insisted on and I can understand her doing that.

OLBERMANN: So, how does that fit into a big picture here? I mean, is it-are we assuming that the idea is, Obama's name by itself is now magic in a lot of the world, maybe places he's never been and places they don't know him, that they just love the concept? Hillary Clinton's name certainly is magic in the Middle East, in Africa, in many places. And if there aren't places that neither of them can deliver, Joe Biden probably knows 85 people in that town he can call.

ROBINSON: He sure does and talks to on the phone for hours.


ROBINSON: I think that's a good way of describing it. And another way would be saying, look, we're bringing out the big guns. This is important, to restore America's position in the world, to design and lay out a new 21st century-style of American leadership-one that's more cooperative and puts us back into international organizations, that shows the way, a different way from George Bush's way. You know, that you bring out big people, substantial people who are known and she is certainly that.

OLBERMANN: Gene, is this whole story about Senator Clinton, Secretary of State Clinton getting out of hand? I mean, the story breaks, runs wild for two days, I go on vacation, I come back, the story is still running wild, it's not going to get resolved this week. There's a holiday coming up, it's going to be running wild a week from now. Can a secretary of state get bugged down if the appointment takes 2 ½ weeks to become reality or is it relevant once it happens?.

ROBINSON: Let's see. A story about a Clinton getting out of hand, a lot of drama involved, I've never seen that before. I think-keep in mind that we are still so far ahead of schedule in terms of an average administration trying to lay out his cabinet. This is-we're miles before this would normally be done. I think, once this happens, if, indeed it does happen, the prelude will be forgotten and the question will be, OK, they are together, what are they going to do? And what is step one for Secretary of State Clinton, if indeed, that does come to pass?

OLBERMANN: And lastly, practical politics. They need a new senator from New York, who? Bobby Kennedy, Jr.? Andrew Cuomo? Is it somebody else?

ROBINSON: Good question. Boy, I wouldn't bet a whole lot of money on anybody just yet. They do play hardball politics in Albany. The governor up there is going to have to figure out who it would be. I don't think I would bet a lot of money against Andrew Cuomo. He would be my first-what-my kind of leaning candidate. He seems kind of like perfectly positioned to do it. I think anybody else is a longer shot at this point, but these are early days. So, first of all, let's see if she gets the job and if there's an opening, and then we'll figure out how to fill it.

OLBERMANN: Gene Robinson of the "Washington Post" and MSNBC, who watches Martha Stewart-much thanks for your time tonight, Gene.

ROBINSON: Good to talk to you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: A couple of footnotes on these senatorial transitions.

We now know the name of the new senator from Delaware, the honorable gentleman who will replace Senator Joe Biden, who won reelection to the Senate earlier in the month, but he is still expected to quit because of the other thing. Instead, Biden's long time chief of staff, Ted Kaufman, will hold the seat until the legally required special election in 2010. At which time, observers suspect Biden's son, Beau, the state attorney general of Delaware, will run for the seat after he has completed his National Guard duties including his tour in Iraq.

The senior Biden meanwhile says he will stay on long enough to start his next term, meaning, he will be sworn in on January 6th by Dick Cheney. We still no idea who Cheney himself will swear in from Minnesota. The "Minneapolis Star Tribune" tonight estimating Norm Coleman up over Al Franken by a margin of 202 votes in their recount. The polling site estimating however that a large number of ballot challenges will lead ultimately to a Franken victory by exactly 27 votes.

In the "what the heck is this" department from the Georgia Senate race. Over to the left, left of center, what the heck is this?

And the state of Minnesota refuses to certify that Senate vote. Billo the Clown says Minnesota has certified that Senate vote. When his error is pointed out to him, he calls those who pointed: liars. Worst Persons resumes.


OLBERMANN: Bests in a moment. And remember the race horse who always finished last? We found him his jockey. First, on this date in 1900, the Pierce Bicycle Company completed the first test model of its first horseless carriage, and somebody took it out for a drive on the streets of Buffalo. The company was renamed Pierce Arrow in 1908. On May 13, 1938, it went bankrupt. Of course, today Pierce Arrow asked President Bush for a bailout. Let's play Oddball.


OLBERMANN: We begin in Tokyo. They're having more fun with robots again. It's a robot race. Students from 25 different technical colleges competed for the prize. Not really sure what real life purpose a one-legged sumo has or a geisha with a retractable head. That's not the geisha. But these are all still far cooler than anything we can make over here. My case in point-

In Atlanta, the Georgia Republican Party has a new tactic to help the incumbent, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, try to defeat the Democrat Jim Martin in the upcoming run-off election; a mailer warning that only your vote can stop the liberal Democrats. Pretty standard except for the picture. There, sandwiched between the Senate majority leader and the speaker of the House, the second or third most evil liberal in the land. Or that's supposed to be the Democratic nominee Martin and they just got the wrong picture.


OLBERMANN: Seriously, I have not seen the whole Palin turkey pardoning video yet. So you get to watch me react to it in real time. To say nothing of our cooking segment, how to help or at least how not to hinder, Martha Stewart's mission to bake. These stories ahead but first time for Countdown's top three best persons in the world.

Number three, best reason for a day off, David Sarosi and his new wife Elizabeth. David, one of our custodians of the best and worst persons, married Saturday, managing not just to find a lovely bride and make a lovely speech, but also to comb his hair successfully. All the best, friend.

Number two, best job opportunity, Jens Wittenberger of Job Coffee Munich in Germany. He says as the holidays loom there is, in his country, a shortage of Santa Clauses. Malls, Christmas events, private parties, qualifications, chubby, beard, real or fake, no criminal record, can ho, ho, ho, 75 bucks an hour.

Number one, best wait that was worth it, Anthony Knott, amateur jockey of Dorsett in England, aboard Wise Men Say in the 2:30 race at the Wincanton (ph) track in Somerset. He finished first for the first time in his career. His career which began 28 years ago. In celebration of the end of his losing streak, Mr. Knott immediately retired.


OLBERMANN: Last week, I'm on this deserted island, see, and there's one television and really wobbly Internet. So I get this equivalent of a ship-to-shore message. Governor Palin pardoned a Thanksgiving turkey but she did it while she was standing in front of a turkey rendering device. Our third story on the Countdown, I haven't seen the tape yet. Seriously.

Came back Saturday night, worked football yesterday. I heard some of it.

It sounded like the second worst political photo op of all time.

I thought if I'm going to watch it, let's try it different. I'll watch it for the first time in front of people who have seen it, you. So with the warning we're not blurring anything and you might want to get the kids out of the room, if not out of the house, to say nothing of the justifiably offended by stuff like this, and the additional warning that I may signal to stop the tape at any moment by making the time-out gesture or shouting freeze it, let her, as it were, rip.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, Governor Palin, I just asked you a couple of questions. How does it feel now?

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: I don't think it's changed me at all. I have the same values and convictions, positions and policies. Just a greater appreciation for what other candidates go through. It's pretty brutal. The time consumption there and the energy that has to be spent in order to get out and about with the message on a national level. Great appreciation for other candidates who have gone through this. But also a great appreciation for this great-


OLBERMANN: Did she say brutal? OK. Play it.


PALIN: - who are just desiring of their government to kind of get out of the way and allow them to grow and progress and allow our businesses to grow and progress. So great appreciation for those who share that value. And it was a blast. Every day was a blast.

Plans just include getting through the budget process that we're going through right now, building the state's budget, based on the price of oil that has plummeted-


OLBERMANN: At some point, didn't somebody say there-somebody with the governor say, just move slightly over to the left or the right or perhaps 3,000 miles that way? OK. Go.


PALIN: - and reigning in the growth of government and plans like that that have to do with helping to govern this state and building this team that is continually being built to provide good service to Alaskans. So in my role as governor, that's what my plans are all around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Due to the declining oil prices, are you concerned about any state programs being-


OLBERMANN: All right, hold on, hold on, OK. I'm thinking this is the right moment to mention this episode 30 years ago from a sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati, which the radio station wants to give away turkeys as a Thanksgiving Day promotion and they decide to drop them from a helicopter and they plummet. Have you seen this one? Play this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Colley (ph), we know what the Humane Society stands for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The National Guard? No, sir, I don't think it's that serious.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, Mr. Colley, a lot of turkeys don't make it through Thanksgiving.


OLBERMANN: It's a relevant point. But, still, all right, just play it some more.


PALIN: We're in a good position still fiscally speaking. We're in a good position. But it made no sense at 140 dollars a barrel oil that some lawmakers wanted to spend, spend, spend. We were warning them, the administration was, that we had to prepare for the day that the price of oil would plummet, which of course it has done. We had prepared then, reined in the growth of government then. And now that comes into play at this point, where those savings that we had set aside, forward funding, anticipating a drop in oil accounting for that-


OLBERMANN: What has to happen behind her for her to notice? Just play.


PALIN: - comes into play now at 50 dollars a barrel oil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why was today so important for you personally?

PALIN: Oh, well this was-this was neat-


OLBERMANN: All right, again. Wait a minute. He turned around and looked at her. He turned around and looked at her. And she's looking over there. No, she's looking over there, I'm sorry. She's looking over there and he's looking at her and she still doesn't stop. Just goes, goes, goes. Play the tape.


PALIN: To be invited to participate in this and, you know, for one, you need a little bit of levity in this job, especially with so much that has gone on in the last couple of months that has been so political obviously-


OLBERMANN: And what better place have a little levity than standing in front of an automatic turkey killing machine. Well, I've got one for you, what's the difference between a hockey mom and a mass turkey murdering machine? Looks like about 15 feet. OK. Play the tape.


PALIN: Get out and do something to promote a local business and to just participate in something that isn't so heavy-handed politics that invites criticism. Certainly will probably invite criticism for even doing this, too, but at least this is fun.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is it that you are thankful for this year?

PALIN: Thankful for the health and happiness of my family, that my son's Striker Brigade is safe over there in Iraq, relatively safe, school is going well for the kids. Trig is happy and healthy. Just very thankful for the health and happiness of my family. But then, as much so, that thankfulness that I have just being in Alaska, knowing that this is the land of opportunities and possibilities. So happy to get to be here.


OLBERMANN: What's the maximum legal amount I can donate to whatever campaign she's going to stage next? I mean, is it the same for, like, the presidency, the vice presidency, the Senate, mayor of Wasilla. Is it just 2,300 bucks? Can I donate under assumed names? Can I ask everybody to donate? Is that violating something with FCC, even though this is cable? This is-there's more? Go.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to cook for Thanksgiving?

PALIN: I'll be in charge of the turkey, yes. My sisters and my mom, they're all bringing everything else, but I'm always in charge of the turkey.


OLBERMANN: It's ready! Go.


PALIN: I'm where I need to be today to prepare for that.


PALIN: Thank you guys.


OLBERMANN: And here would be the moment at which the payoff line from that episode of WKRP in Cincinnati seems to sum things up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As god is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.


OLBERMANN: So I'm guessing that's why a conservative friend of mine actually said to me the other day, you know, before the election I thought she was just great, but I was listening to her after the election. Not only, as he put it, is she the dumbest politician I've ever heard, but she doesn't even have a clue that she is the dumbest politician I've ever heard. Wow!

And can she make a triple chocolate pumpkin pie without some sort of death machine in the background? Or at least seem to make one as your genial host did this morning?

How about completely contradicting herself on tape as one of tonight's worst persons did? All that ahead, but first, because they're not going away soon enough, the headlines breaking in the administration's 50 running scandals, Bushed!

Number three, privatize this-gate. The journal "Health Affairs" publishes a study today by Mathematical Policy Research studying the effects of the administration's 2003 gambit in which about a fourth of all Medicare programs were privatized. Want to make one last guess? What do you suppose happened to Care? Improved or not? How about complexity, filling out forms and stuff? More or less? How about costs, up or down? Quality of care dropped slightly. The amount of paperwork increased sharply. And the price jumped 13 percent. Who would have ever have thought that giving private business a profit motive to make the process more complicated, less effective and more expensive could have driven up the cost?

Number two, once a Bushy-gate, Press Secretary Dana Perino kind of painted herself into a corner over the last week, stating from her podium, quote, we did not torture. When it was pointed out to her that the administration has acknowledged having water boarded prisoners and that even John McCain said that's torture, she chose not to retract her statement. "I absolutely feel comfortable with what I said." That means she's lying and she feels comfortable about lying. She added, quote, "I stopped reading blogs about me. I told my mom to stop because it was so vitriolic." She also denied she's actually Kristen Wiig's character from "Saturday Night Live," the one who claims she can become invisible at will or instantly grow a foot long beard.

Number one, well, that went well-gate. The Iraq war was a success. We have that from no less authority than President George W. Bush, appearing on the "Sunday Project" program on the Japanese TV network Ahahe (ph). "I think the decision to remove Saddam Hussein was right. People have been able to take their troops out of Iraq because Iraq is becoming successful. I'm very pleased with what is taking place there now. We are bringing troops home because of the success in Iraq, but Iraq is not yet completely safe." The president added, "so there will be a U.S. presence for a while there at the request of the Iraqi government." And then he concluded, "most countries there within a very broad coalition have come home, but we want to help this government."

In short, nobody still, not even his friends, has told him the truth.


OLBERMANN: Most of midtown Manhattan is still standing, so I suppose my guest shot baking pies with Martha Stewart went well enough.

That's next, but first time for Countdown's number two story tonight, the worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Mark Halperin from "Time Magazine" speaking at a journalism conference at USC, announcing that media bias in the presidential campaign was at its highest in years, bias in favor of President-Elect Obama. "It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war," he said. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."

Seriously. This is the man who insisted that when Senator McCain couldn't or wouldn't say how many houses he owned, it would, quote, wind up being one of the worst moments in the entire campaign for Obama. This is the man who looked at the 2007 presidential questionnaire in which Obama promised to try to negotiate a deal with a Republican opponent to use public financing and, as late as a month ago, he said this had been an ironclad promise by Obama to use public financing. In short, here is a guy who lied to support the Republican nominee claiming bias against the Republican nominee.

Our runner-up, nice to see Bill-O the clown has stayed in shape during my absence. He's called the media watchdog site Media Matters, quote, "the most dishonest website in the country," because, well, it accurately quoted him. "We said the other day that in Minnesota the election commission had certified the election and that what's his name-Coleman, the senate-had won by 215 votes. So what I said was Coleman's victory was certified by the state because it was. He had 215 more votes, which is absolutely true, absolutely true, OK. Rock solid, in stone. That's what they did."

Except they didn't. Minnesota State Canvassing Board has not only not certified that election, last Tuesday it specifically said that, quote, except for the offices of U.S. senator, state senator District 16, state representatives Districts 12-B and 16-A, the candidates who received the highest number of votes cast for each office voted in more than one county is hereby declared elected. There is, in fact, a Minnesota law, 204-C.40 that specifically demands that if there is a recount, quote, "no certificate of election shall be prepared or delivered until after the recount is completed."

The only thing rock solid here is Bill-O's head.

But our winner, good old Senator Joe Lieberman. Here is a rare video worst persons. This is the senator on a public affairs program on WTIC, the Fox station in Hartford, Connecticut, yesterday.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: I never felt that Barack Obama was unready.


OLBERMANN: Yes. From "Meet the Press" August 3, 2008.


LIEBERMAN: Is he ready to lead or as ready as John McCain? No. There's a very serious point to that ad. And it gets right to it, which is, is, notwithstanding his celebrity status, Barack Obama ready to lead? My answer is, no.


OLBERMANN: So the question is, when the senator said he never felt that Barack Obama was unready, was he telling the truth. And my answer is, no. Senator Joe Lieberman, they called Senator John Freemont the old path finder. They can call Senator Lieberman the old back peddler. Today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: At a popular well-known left wing website, most opinion polls, no matter the subject, include an extra option, pie. At the same site, the railings of somebody trying to trash the prevalent philosophy is greeted by the posting of food recipes. Our number one, story in the Countdown, I spent my morning today making pies, while desperately trying to follow recipes recited aloud by Martha Stewart. It was kind of like being asked to get behind the wheel of one of those racers at the Indianapolis 500 and I don't drive at all.


MARTHA STEWART, "MARTHA STEWART SHOW": I learn so much from your show actually and I love the clips that you show and-it's a really good show, Keith. It's really, really good. But, today, it's three days before Thanksgiving and you're not a cook.

OLBERMANN: No, I didn't know we were making a pie. I didn't know until just now-

STEWART: We're making a pie.

OLBERMANN: - that you make pies. I thought they grew this way.

STEWART: Or you buy them.

OLBERMANN: Yes, go to the store.

STEWART: We're going to make a pie from scratch. And now you're not married. Do you have a girlfriend?


STEWART: Your girlfriend will be so impressed.

OLBERMANN: No, she's not.

STEWART: That you can make a triple chocolate pumpkin pie. So let's make the crust first. See how nice.

OLBERMANN: I haven't spilled anything yet. No one has caught on fire. Everybody is still sitting in the front rows.

STEWART: Anyone who can dissect the news like you can do can certainly mix up some graham cracker crust. Nothing is easier than this. No rolling or nothing. Really pack it down.

OLBERMANN: I have a big hole in the middle here.

STEWART: Don't worry. Even it out. And the cup measurer will even it out too. Use this, OK?


STEWART: Then use the backs of your hands to push it up the sides of the dish.

OLBERMANN: This is like getting a non-driver to take somebody to the hospital in an ambulance, you realize that, right?

STEWART: No matter. You're doing fine. Use the backs of your fingers to push that up the sides. No, the back. This way.

OLBERMANN: This way. I forgot which was the front and which is the back of my hand.

STEWART: Sometimes you have to think about stuff like that. And then this goes right into a 350-degree oven.

OLBERMANN: Do I take my hand out before we do this?

STEWART: Until firm. You're doing well.

OLBERMANN: Before we put it in the oven, can I take my hand out?

STEWART: No, it has to look like this.

OLBERMANN: All right, I'll be back tomorrow.

STEWART: You have a little more work to do.


STEWART: Don't do the bottom. Do the bottom with this.

OLBERMANN: I did. My hand is too big.

STEWART: You have to do this like. It's not too big. Better if it's big.

OLBERMANN: I suppose.

STEWART: See. See how much better that looks. Three-quarters of a teaspoon of cinnamon.

OLBERMANN: Like everybody else, I'm recording it at home.

STEWART: One night I turn on "Saturday Night Live" and there is Ben Affleck doing you. I thought he was better as you than he is as Ben Affleck.

OLBERMANN: He's the first person I know who has ever done an impression of me. Apparently I don't have anything to do an impression of.

STEWART: That's why you're good.

OLBERMANN: Walter Matthau once told me he hated me personally and loved my work because he couldn't do an impression of me.

STEWART: Ben Affleck did a good job. Same kind of face, same height, everything.

OLBERMANN: Why would you complain-

STEWART: Pinch of ground cloves. They should have put a pinch. Wait a minute. I'm just talking to you so much. Don't laugh. Who is laughing like that in the audience? We stopped stirring. That was good, we stopped.

OLBERMANN: That was an instinct. You can't teach that.


OLBERMANN: Tomorrow, I'll bring you my recipe for Joan's Brown and Serve Sausages, prepared even after you've had the gas disconnected because you've never used the stove anyway. Hints? Think about your kitchen sink, a copy of "USA Today" and some matches. Gives a nice mesquite flavor. That's Countdown for this the 2,025th day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.