Friday, November 7, 2008

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, November 7, 2008
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Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons
The toss: I guess you're next

Guests: Craig Crawford, Margaret Carlson

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

Job creation: Now, that he's got one, the president-elect at his news conference insists if there is no economic stimulus package by the time he takes office, it will be the first thing he gets done.


PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead.


OLBERMANN: Two hundred and forty thousand more jobs lost in October, nearly that many economic experts behind Obama from Reich all the way to Volcker. Tonight, what do we do now? Obama economics with Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey.

And the unexpected outbreak of "Second City"- style stand-up comedy.


OBAMA: Speaking to former presidents, I have spoken to all of them that are living - obviously President Clinton.


OBAMA: I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances.


OLBERMANN: Also, NBC got a question, CBS got a question, ABC got a question, CNN got a question. You notice who didn't get a question?

The questions in the Senate: Al Franken closes in Minnesota. Saxby Chambliss goes back to his sleaze bag roots, showing 9/11 video as his runoff looms. Joe Lieberman says losing his committee chair is unacceptable. Oh, boohoo, you'll get nothing and you'll like it.

Worst: Michele Bachmann now says, she's proud, quote, "we," unquote, elected Barack Obama. And who is this "we" (INAUDIBLE)?

And the Sarah chronicles continue: Breaking news from Alaska - tonight, the governor goes back to her office.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, (R) ALASKA: Nobody has told me that they're coming to my house to look through closets, to look through anything. I never forced anybody to buy these. I never asked for anything more than maybe but a diet Dr. Pepper once in awhile.


OLBERMANN: For goodness' sakes, keep talking, keep talking.

All that and more: Now on Countdown.


PALIN: I know that I know that I know.


OLBERMANN (on camera): Good evening. This is Friday, November 7th, 74 days until the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

Franklin D. Roosevelt having declined President Hoover's request after the 1932 election to make joint policy decisions regarding the economy before the inauguration, on the grounds that this nation can only have one president at a time.

Our first story tonight, President-elect Obama following FDR's example of his first news conference this afternoon, preempting an even more unlikely offer, reminding America as regard especially foreign policy this time, quote, "That we only have one president at a time."

It only feels like the fastest, most urgent transition ever, a busy day of many to come for the president-elect beginning with the parent-teacher conferences at his daughter's school, followed by an economic meeting with his advisors, and the news conference, at which he was flanked by the those advisors and his new chief of staff.

On a day of bleak economic news, the details in a moment. The president-elect warning of difficult choices.


OBAMA: I do not underestimate the enormity of the task that lies ahead. It is not going to be quick. It is not going to be easy for us to dig out ourselves out of the hole that we are in. But, America is a strong and resilient country. And I know we will succeed, if we put aside partisanship and politics, and work together as one nation. That's what I intend to do.


OLBERMANN: Job one for the president-elect in his new job:

Creating more new jobs for everyone else in the country, a staggering 250,000 Americans lost their jobs last month, 240,000 the exact number, pushing the unemployment rate to 6.5 percent, up from 6.1 percent just a month before. It is the worse in 14 years.

The president-elect hoping, more than hinting, that stimulating the economy would not wait until he takes office.


OBAMA: The one thing I can say with certainty is that we are going to need to see a stimulus package passed either before or after inauguration.

LEE COWAN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So, there's been some suggestion from House Democrats that the stimulus package may be in trouble. It's going to be a hard time getting out of the lame duck session. Are you still confident that you will be able to get something done before you actually take office?

OBAMA: I want to see a stimulus package sooner rather than later. If it does not get done in the lame duck session, it will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.


OLBERMANN: To get anything done, the president-elect will be needing lots of help, of course. Mr. Obama, however, refusing to be rushed into announcing key cabinet posts like treasury secretary or secretary of state.


OBAMA: I want to move with deliberate haste, but I want to emphasize deliberate as well as haste. I'm proud of the choice I made of vice president partly because we did it right. I'm proud of the choice of chief of staff, because we thought it through. And I think it's very important in all these key positions, both in the economic team and the national security team, to get it right and not to be so rushed that you end up making mistakes.


OLBERMANN: Among the many notes of congratulations to come in to the president-elect this week, one from the Iranian president, the first such since the Iranian revolution. President-elect Obama is reminding reporters that for now, dealing with fellow heads of state is still somebody else's job.


OBAMA: I will be reviewing the letter from President Ahmadinejad and we will respond appropriately. It's only been three days since the election. Obviously, how we approach and deal with a country like Iran is not something that we should, you know, simply do in a knee-jerk fashion. I think we've got to think it through.

But I have to reiterate, once again, that we only have one president at a time. And I want to be very careful that we are sending the right signals to the world as a whole that I am not the president and I won't be until January 20th.


OLBERMANN: Speaking of the man who is, the president and president-elect still set to meet in Washington on Monday. The guy on deck refusing to anticipate any problems between them.


OBAMA: In addition to taking a tour at the White House, there's going to be a substantive conversation between myself and the president. I'm not going to anticipate problems. I'm going to go in there with a spirit of bipartisanship and a sense that both the president and various leaders in Congress all recognize the severity of the situation right now and want to get stuff done.


OLBERMANN: The question about whether Mr. Obama has sought the advice of any living ex-presidents leading to the president-elect's decision to, at least for today, not restrain his less than well-known penchant for humor.


OBAMA: In terms of speaking to former presidents, I have spoken to all of them that are living - obviously, President Clinton.


I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing an anything. I have re-read some of Lincoln's writings, who's always an extraordinary inspiration. And, by the way, President Carter, President Bush, Sr., as well as the current president have all been very gracious and offered to provide any help that they can in this transition process.


OLBERMANN: And the president-elect deciding that if that might have even seemed like he was going too far, within three hours of making that offhand joke, he phoned Nancy Reagan to apologize.

More self-deprecating humor appearing during other high interest topics, many in this country wondering about the Obamas' promise to their children that the campaign over, they had earned and would be getting a puppy to take with them to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but, specifically, what kind of dog.


OBAMA: We have two criteria that have to be reconciled. One is that Malia is allergic. So, it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic. On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog. But obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So - whether we are going to be able to balance those two things, I think, is a pressing issue on the Obama household.


OLBERMANN: Time now to call in our own Richard Wolffe, taking time away from covering that important story, also, of course, senior White House correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine, and who, having spent the past 21 months on the campaign trail with Mr. Obama, has just signed a deal to write the definitive book about the Obama campaign to be titled, "Renegade:

The Education of Barack Obama," due for publication in June of next year.

Richard, congratulations.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Keith. I appreciate it.

OLBERMANN: And you better get to work on it right away.

We only have one president at a time. That was not the only time today that the president-elect deferred to the president. Is that common deference to the current office-holder or maybe in there an inclination not to become too closely associated with this administration that he ran against and its many problems?

WOLFFE: Well, he is being deferential, that's for sure. But there is a lot of politics in there, too. First of all, he's defending himself in the sense that he hasn't had time to put together a policy. So, he's kicking the can down the road a little bit. And the other side of it is that - yes, there are problems. There are also things that President Bush can do in terms of taking political heat that he would not want to do, himself, in the first few days of his administration.

So, the politics is important here and it's a very difficult dance between what you want to do, what you want to take credit for, and what you don't want to take heat for. So, behind the deference, there's real politics there.

OLBERMANN: And yet, he did have one piece of advice for President Bush, which was, in essence, either you get a stimulus package passed or I will in January. He seemed very confident about what he wants to do in that regard and how he wants to do it. Is there anything specific in there? Is he holding everything back or does he not yet know?

WOLFFE: Well, I think there's a lot of detail to be worked out there because, for instance, what are you going to do about the auto industry which unveiled those horrific numbers today - how do you play off the details of any stimulus package.

Remember - you know, the question is: Does this go to rebates, more tax rebates, is it going to public spending? And the difficulty in getting it done is not just with the president, it's with the Congress, too. And the Congress is, obviously, going to change.

So, there are so many variables in there. You can see why, (A), it may take some time, or (B), it may take two efforts here. Maybe Bush will do one with the lame duck, and then President Obama will come in with his own.

OLBERMANN: "Mutts like me," we haven't seen the loose and funny Obama for quite awhile. The reference to Nancy Reagan leading him to make this decision late this afternoon to apologize to her. Should we get used to the funny president and is he running a risk by doing so as the Reagan apology suggests?

WOLFFE: Yes. I don't think there's much of a risk here. Look - this is a guy who has been incredibly self-disciplined throughout the campaign. Is he allowing himself just half an inch more of relaxation where he can show off his humor? I suspect so. I mean, this is a guy who really didn't crack many jokes throughout the campaign. He's been very, very courteous. So, maybe we'll see more of it now. He is the president of the United States, or soon will be.

OLBERMANN: One sidebar to this, or one additional sidebar beyond that - as he entered, the president-elect seemed, you know, genuinely surprised to see all of you guys who had follow the campaign standing out of respect when he entered this news conference. Is that an accurate interpretation? Is he still getting used to this in a way we might not expect on the surface?

WOLFFE: I think everyone is getting used to it. And I was talking to one of his really close friends yesterday about this and they were saying how - he always was the boss of the operation and ran his meetings. But now, he is much more of a commanding president, much more in control, maybe, less willing to allow conversations to drift out of hand probably because he's so incredibly busy. But the sort of weight of the job is coming on down on his shoulders and, you know, having people stand-up for you who have maybe not shown so much deference themselves over the last two years is something that makes him smile.

OLBERMANN: Our own Richard Wolffe of "Newsweek," author, as we said of the forthcoming book, "Renegade: The Education of Barack Obama." I'm looking forward to it, Richard. And great thanks, have a good weekend.

WOLFFE: Me, too. Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: So, our nightly question, "What do we do now," to Governor Corzine of New Jersey. Who exactly does the president-elect do and who does he choose to do it?

And what does Sarah Palin do? Breaking news: Tonight, she returns to the governor's office in Alaska and talks about having to be paranoid about the media and talks about his six-figure wardrobe and talks and talks and talks and talks.


OLBERMANN: Breaking news tonight: Governor Sarah Palin denying she asked for the $150,000 wardrobe from the Republican National Committee, denying that somebody from the RNC is coming to look through her closets for it, saying she never asked for anything more than the occasional diet Dr. Pepper. And even more extraordinary ad hoc news conference as the governor returns to Alaska.

First, an entirely different governor, Jon Corzine of New Jersey on how specifically the president-elect can affect the economy in our new nightly question: What do we do now? Next on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Eight years ago, President-elect George Bush was preparing to rescue the economy by lowering taxes. "Lower taxes," he would tell us, "would strengthen the economy, boost spending, and spur job creations."

Eight years later, on our fourth story tonight: The grim results of Bush-onomics and the lingering question, one we will ask every night until the inauguration: What do we do now?

The context for today's Obama economic summit, those new job

numbers we told you about, worse than expected, worse especially when you

break out the component data. Forty-nine thousand construction jobs gone

last month. Manufacturing and the auto-industry at its worst in 30 years -

90,000 factory jobs gone, 9,100 of those in autos and auto parts. Auto dealerships, another 20,000 out of work. All just last month alone.

America now having lost 1.2 million jobs this year alone and we now know that the number of underemployed, part time workers who can't find full time jobs and those who'd given even looking is now at 17 million.

The president-elect, today, looking for an economic point man reportedly driving a split among Democrats who back New York Fed President Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary and those who favor the former Clinton secretary, Larry Summers.

We turn now to another name on that list of possibles, the New Jersey governor, Jon Corzine, also, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Governor Corzine, thanks for your time tonight

GOV. JON CORZINE, (D) NEW JERSEY: Good to be here.

OLBERMANN: I have question.

CORZINE: Those are pretty shocking numbers tonight.

OLBERMANN: They are appalling. I have questions about you in the moment, but first, the more important one: what can this president-elect do now or in January about a stimulus package, about job growth, about stopping this hemorrhage?

CORZINE: Well, one of the things that he talked about today, dealing with the auto-industry. We need to take that bailout package that was passed, that is completely - the parts that haven't yet been utilized and direct it to make sure that we don't lose a substantial part of those 2.5 million jobs in that industry.

The second thing we have to do is lean against what's going to be happening at state and local government. If we continue to stay in this economic slide that we are in, we're going to see major layoffs, furloughs, cutbacks by state and local governments across the country. They are going to join the parade of organizations that are laying people off and increasing the public sector unemployed. And so, I think we need something that moves against that in the short run. And I think that's something that could be done before the inauguration, both of those two issues.

OLBERMANN: The other thing, obviously, that president-elect can do before taking office is name a treasury secretary. And, in this case, we've all learned, those of us far from financial experts have really gotten the message home that so much of the issue of the economy is in the head as much as in the wallet. Is the name of the next secretary of the treasury as important perhaps as what he actually does?

CORZINE: Well, I think what he does is actually, at the end of the day, the most important thing. How you use $700 billion or $1 trillion for, if you add up all of these rescue packages that have been instituted, I think, is a pretty important set of decisions that need to be first worked out in the treasury and presented to the president.

So, the person has to be skilled. I think there is a lot to be said about the individual that is the treasury secretary, bringing credibility to markets and to the people that you have to interact with in the economy at large. So, both elements are important. But at the end of the day, you have to know what the heck you are doing.

OLBERMANN: And how do we coordinate between a president-elect and a sitting Congress and the current president and the next Congress - should Congress, should the Democratic leadership wait President Bush out or try to compromise, coordinate? What about that level to this?

CORZINE: Well, the short answer is carefully, the long answer is that you have to make sure that there is only one president at a time, as President-elect Obama said today. But you need to be working behind the scenes, certainly, with the Congress, to make sure that whatever stimulus package that is put together in the lame duck session actually meets the objectives that the president and his team would want to see implemented in an overall holistic package.

And second of all, you need to be working to use those elements of rescue that have been established so that they don't get either utilized in wrong directions or set in stone in ways that might be counter-veiling that what you're trying to accomplish when you take office. And then, third, I guess, you ought to be putting together a program with regard to energy, and the jobs that would be associated with developing an energy package, tax package that Senator Obama has talked about as being a priority. That ought to get to roll out after the inauguration.

OLBERMANN: Finally, governor, as promised, the question about you. It's obligatory. Are you being vetted for treasury or any other administration position?

CORZINE: I think the two people that you showed at the top of your segment here, by the people that are in the spotlight, I think they are doing the vetting on those individuals. Both of them are very capable. I think the country would be in good hands.

I like my job. I love New Jersey. I'd like to make sure we keep working on their problems.

OLBERMANN: All right. Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey, as you know, I had to take a shot. Great thanks for joining us. Have a good weekend.

CORZINE: Thanks for having me.

OLBERMANN: What Mr. Grover (ph) did not know was that we've secretly switched his real horse and replaced it with a plastic one, made entirely out of Folgers crystals.

And (INAUDIBLE) complaining about socialism and spreading wealth, and Karl Marx, turns out good old Joe has twice been a welfare recipient. He does not understand the hypocrisy, but I'm sure you will. Ahead on Worst Persons.


OLBERMANN: Bests in a moment. And do you see something out there?

You mean, like a naked man on a cellphone tower.

First, on this date 46 years ago, was held one of the greatest and most inaccurate political news conference of all time. "As I leave you," the defeated candidate said, "I want you to know just think of how much you're going to be missing, you won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference." Two days shy of exactly six years later, Richard Nixon was elected president.

On that note, let's play Oddball.

We begin on the Internet where a clearly intoxicated gentleman apparently decided to try out his rodeo skills on a piece of street art, a plastic horse. Unfortunately for him and for the horse, he's clearly unable to mount it, even though unlike a real horse, it wasn't moving. Until several failed attempts, both plastic horse and drunken rider hit the dirt. And search it your own allegory about current politics there.

Elsewhere, on the Internet, another good lesson in animal of human interaction. If you're going to pick a fight with a goat, make sure you do not use your head as a weapon. He's OK, folks. And he's vowed from now on to only pick fights with kids, and humans that is, not kid goats.

If he was unethical enough to question a patriotism of his war hero opponent in 2002, why wouldn't Saxby Chambliss be enough of a desperate sleaze bag to use footage of 9/11 to try to stay in office in 2008?

And breaking news from Alaska where Governor Palin holds another ad hoc news conference, insists she was never asked or she never asked for any clothes from the Republican Party, only, maybe, a diet Dr. Pepper once in awhile and she admits to being, quote, "paranoid about the media." These stories are ahead.

But first, (INAUDIBLE) the top three Best Persons in the World.

Number three: Best stock market forecasters. Gretchen Carlson of fixed news, "There's a lot of feeling in the market not reacting very well to the election Barack Obama. Dick Morris of fixed news, "I predicted the stock market would go crazy after he was elected. It's going to continue to tank." Fred Barnes of fixed news, "There's great uncertainty out there about his policies."

The Dow jumped 248 points today as President-elect Obama held his first news conference about the economy.

Number two: Best down ticket race for State Senate from Larimer County, Colorado. The results are certified now, incumbent Democrat Bob Bacon has prevailed over Republican challenger, Matt Fries. All right, you pronounce it as "frees (ph)." Nevertheless, what a menu of options for the voters.

And number one: Best can you hear me now moment. Andrew Arnold of Princeton, Texas, they still don't know why he did this but police say Mr. Arnold found a cell tower in the small town of Lowry Crossing, stripped off his clothes, climbed to the top of the thing, and stayed up there for seven hours until midnight just hanging out.


OLBERMANN: It was one of the most shameful moments in the history of American politics, Republican Senatorial Challenger Saxby Chambliss consenting to a television advertisement in the months after 9/11 showing the faces of his opponent, the incumbent Max Cleland, and Osama bin Laden. Max Cleland, triple amputee, while in the service of this nation in Vietnam, and Chambliss questioned not only his patriotism, but his loyalty and the voters of Georgia rewarded Chambliss with Cleland's Senate seat.

Our third story in the Countdown, as the Democrats' prospects of a filibuster proof majority in the Senate grew ever so slightly today, so did Senator Chambliss' infamy. Now facing a runoff election to retain his seat, he's again gone into the cesspool for a new campaign ad. This brand new advertisement against the Democratic challenger Jim Martin begins with imagery from the 9/11 attacks because, well, it obviously worked last time.

While Martin has a new commercial, it features the victory speech of President-Elect Obama. Martin's campaign is waiting to hear from the president elect about an appearance on Martin's behalf. Senator John McCain will campaign for Chambliss. A spokesman for the senator adding that Governor Palin is interested, pending scheduling issues, and whether or not they will get her a Diet Coke, or Pepsi, or Pepper.

ABC News reports that Chambliss' campaign has been in touch with Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, the latter of whom can come down and spit a noun, a verb and 9/11. The road to 60 for the Democrats would include Senator Joe Lieberman, who today met with Republican leader Mitch McConnell. No details from that meeting were forthcoming, but the Republicans have said they would welcome Lieberman into their caucus. An aide telling that Lieberman finds unacceptable the prospect of being removed as chairman of Homeland Security by the Democrats.

And in Alaska, it's still possible that 55,000 absentee ballots could erase the 3,400 vote lead of convicted felon Senator Ted Stevens. Meanwhile, Senator Jim Demint, Republican of South Carolina, is pushing his party to expel Senator Stevens right now, during the upcoming lame duck session. That leaves Al Franken, whose scant vote deficit against Norm Coleman is now down to 221 votes. Minnesota Democrats hopeful that Franken could pull ahead in the recount.

Let's bring in the columnists for, and, of course, MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford. Good evening, Craig.


OLBERMANN: All the sleazy, un-American stuff failed on Tuesday across the nation. Why does Senator Chambliss think it would not fail in this runoff in Georgia?

CRAWFORD: Oh, I don't know, mean, maybe stupid or desperate or all of the above. I've got to confess some bias in this one, Keith. Max Cleland and I graduated from the same college, Stetson University, in Deland (ph), Florida. I was horrified by what Chambliss did to him in that campaign, particularly coming from someone who did not even serve in the military. And how pitiful the spin that I'm hearing out of the Republican camp for why they could win this runoff in Georgia, because with Barack Obama not on the ballot, they say, African Americans won't turn out to vote. So, therefore, they can squeak it by.

Democrats have the money to pour into this race, an axe to grind. They want to settle this score over Max Cleland. And frankly, I hope they do.

OLBERMANN: I'll have to admit my conflict, because Mr. Cleland and I are both members of the human race, so I happen to side with him. Let me move on.

CRAWFORD: And he's a fine representative of it, too, I'd say.

OLBERMANN: He damn well is. All right, we can talk about this for nine days. Let me turn over to Senator Lieberman and the Democrats 'hesitation to drum him out of the corps and do a branded number on him and pull all the medals off his chest, like at some sort of court martial. Does this suggest that the Democrats think they might wind up really getting the opportunity to need him as a 60th vote?

CRAWFORD: I think there's some of that. But, also, Keith, despite all that's happened, they like him on a personal level. You know, the Senate is a club. And Lieberman, despite some of the decisions he's made that have aggravated his fellow party members, they actually like him. I think they would like to figure this out. And, of course, with margins as close as they are and as close as they are to 60, it would be better for the Democrats if they worked something out with him.

OLBERMANN: Why do they still like him?

CRAWFORD: On a personal level, not on the political. I think a lot of them just scratch their heads and can't understand. I mean, this is a former running mate on a national Democratic ticket. And that is despite the fact that he's the one that chose to bolt. There's still some reservoir of goodwill toward him, on a personal level.

OLBERMANN: Well, all right. I don't see that either but that's neither here nor there what I see or what I don't see. Alaska, there are a lot of options in Alaska. Stevens might somehow not win this thing ultimately, or he might win and get expelled by the current Congress and his current people, or he might win and we might get foot dragging. Which of those options seems likeliest?

CRAWFORD: Well, I think if he were to win, there's going to be a real movement to get him out of the Senate. He's the flip side of Lieberman in some ways. They don't like him. Even members of his own party, going back to when I was actually a page in the Senate in the early '70s - I remember overhearing Strom Thurmond one time talk about couldn't we sell Alaska back to the Russians because he didn't like Stevens so much. And Republican - he's not a very popular man in the Senate. So I think even a few Republicans might go along with getting him out of there.

And of course that would open the way, if he did get out of there, for Palin to possibly run in a special election and get herself in the Senate.

OLBERMANN: I actually - I approve of both that idea, and I think I'm coming around to the idea of selling Alaska, too, if we want to pursue that. One note we can't let go, if we're talking about the Senate, Robert Byrd says he's going to step down as appropriations chair. Vice President-Elect Biden is obviously going to have to step down from Foreign Relations chair. Briefly, is there any indication who gets those?

CRAWFORD: Actually, next in line would be John Kerry but he - there's a lot of buzz in Washington that he's gaming for secretary of state. If that were to happen, Russ Feingold is next in line. However, I haven't gone back and looked at this in the Constitution in detail lately, but I recall it is possible, if not probable, for a member of the Senate to actually be in the cabinet. John Kerry could be both chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and secretary of state. That would become an interesting thing that's never been tried.

OLBERMANN: We're trying to create jobs, not combine them now in this economy.

CRAWFORD: OK. yes, we need - that doesn't do much for job opportunities for politicians.

OLBERMANN: Craig Crawford of Thanks, Craig, have a good weekend.

CRAWFORD: You bet. You too.

OLBERMANN: Can Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann's head pivot around the full 360 degrees just like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist?" You may very well think so after what she said today. Worst persons ahead.

Sarah Palin breaks news tonight in Alaska. She's just talked to Senator McCain about the media and the dispute between the two, and she insists the RNC is not coming to repo her clothes, the precious, precious clothes. But first, because they're not going away soon enough, the headlines breaking in the administration's 50 running scandals, Bushed.

Number three, Gitmo-gate. The first actual federal court Habeas Corpus hearing into the legality of detaining foreign nationals without trial is underway in Washington. Six Algerians, formerly of Bosnia, picked up in 2002 because somebody said they were heading to Afghanistan. Good news that they're having the trial? Judge Richard Leon has closed the courtroom, saying all the evidence is classified. The lawyers can't even talk to their defendants. The defendants can't even attend the trial. Well, good, glad we cleared all that up.

Number two, Iraq-gate. President Bush won't talk about it. President-Elect Obama has yet to go into detail about it. But the Iraqis want us out and moreover, they want to know when we're going. The chief spokesman for the Iraqi government again insisting that this status of forces agreement must include a, quote, fixed date for withdrawal of US troops. No date, no deal. And no deal, and we have no legal right to have troops there after January 1st. I've got a crazy idea. Why don't we get out?

Number one, mining in the Grand Canyon-gate. As he races his expiration to jam down much of his agenda down the nation's throat, it appears Mr. Bush will be focusing on the environment, or more accurately, how best to screw up the environment. One of the last minute Bush directives auction oil and gas drilling leases for pristine places in Utah, like Arches National Park, the area near Canyon Lands National Park, Desolation Canyon. Oh, and I left out Grand Canyon itself. Thousands of mining claims have been filed within three miles of that indescribable national treasure, and the Bush administration is trying to arrange to grant them before January 20th. Mining for uranium, which under the best of circumstances, can really screw up any nearby bodies of water in the area, like, say, the Colorado river, which not only runs in the Canyon, but also provides drinking water for Phoenix, Las Vegas and L.A.

But think of the bright side. If you like the Grand Canyon, wait until you see the holes the mining companies put next to it.


OLBERMANN: National media full of stinkers, an admission she herself finds herself paranoid about them, and she never asked for a stitch of clothing, just maybe a Diet Dr. Pepper once in a while. Sarah Palin now the Energizer Bunny of post-election humiliation. Breaking news of her latest interview next. But first, time for Countdown's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to radio sports yacker Frank Fransesa (ph). Also does a local TV show in New York. You may have heard that an under-informed Fox sideline reporter was taping an interview with a new football coach about whether or not he talked to an old mentor. Unfortunately the old mentor is dead. The reporter had to restart the interview. It's dumb, but it happens. It was embarrassing enough that this was seen on the raw Fox feed, seen by all the other networks.

You know what this Fransesa does? He takes the mistake from the interview, the interview which was not shown live or on tape on Fox or anywhere else. He plays it on his show. Now Fox is rightly not letting the other TV networks watch its raw feeds anymore, so we don't get to show you extra replays or funny shots from the crowd. Nice job.

Number two, Joe Wurzelbacher. This guy's hypocrisy is already the stuff of legend. No plumber's license, but he's got a publicist. Lied about trying to buy a business, but he is trying to get a recording contract. Add one to the list. Fixed News, of all places, pointing out that a man who tried to equate Obama with Karl Marx because he wanted to spread the wealth was, himself, twice on welfare. He explained that he deserved it because he paid into the system. Yes, except he didn't completely pay into. A tax lien against Wurzelbacher in Ohio for nearly 1,200 bucks is still officially unresolved.

But our winner, Michelle Bachmann, about to begin her second term as your least stable member of your U.S. House of Representatives. It's just three weeks ago tonight that she went on Hardball and suggested that there were members of Congress and Senate, including Senator Obama, who held anti-American views and the media should investigate. Now, Congresswoman Bachmann has now told that she is, quote, "extremely grateful that we have an African-American who has won this year." She called Obama's election, quote, "a tremendous signal we sent."

Exactly who is this we, Congresswoman? The people who voted for him? I'm thinking you weren't one of that we. The people who viewed him as an appropriate and patriotic choice for executive. You called him anti-American, so clearly you weren't one of that we either. The collective voice of the United States. yes, you're in that we. And, in fact, you deserve some credit for Obama's election. Thanks for reminding the rest of us how quickly things can go horribly wrong when unscrupulous hypocrites get into the mix, and how vigilant we have to be when they start trying to divide us.

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota - by the way, nice face, both of them - today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: "Wasilla hill billies looting Niemann Marcus coast to coast," perhaps the political epitaph for Governor Sarah Palin, courtesy somebody in John McCain's hierarchy. Except, in our number one story on the Countdown tonight, the governor will not stay down. Breaking news tonight from an ad hoc press conference upon her return to Alaska, the barracuda bites back, telling the Alaskan media exactly who is to blame for blaming her.


PALIN: Well, it's ridiculous because you guys report based on anonymous sources, so it's hard to have a defense. John McCain and I just spoke a couple of hours ago about this. He, too, saying as long as reporters will choose to, nowadays, as it doesn't seem like it had been practiced in the past - but nowadays report on false allegations coming from anonymous sources, it's kind of impossible to respond to false allegations. But I know that I know that I know that there was nothing done wrong in the campaign.


OLBERMANN: Okay, you know that you know that you know that, but define Africa. And it's the media that's at fault, not the McCain people who have been leaking this stuff?


PALIN: For instance, with the whole clothes issue, the RNC purchased clothes. Those are the RNC's clothes. They're not my clothes. I never forced anybody to buy anything. I never asked for anything more than maybe a Diet Dr. Pepper once in a while. I never asked for anything. These are Sarah Palin's clothes. You know, we don't take anything with us. So until that's cleared up by you guys doing your job, what else can I say? What else can John McCain say about all of this, except these are false allegations.


OLBERMANN: Diet Dr. Pepper, you say? And what exactly happens to that RNC wardrobe? No deposit, no return?


PALIN: The RNC is not - they're not coming up. Nobody is coming up to look at anything. There is an inventory of clothes being done so that the RNC is held accountable for all the dollars that were spent. But who said that attorneys were coming up to my house to pick up clothes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The "New York Times" reported that, "L.A. Times."

PALIN: The "New York Times" evidently is wrong, because it's not happening. Nobody has told me that they're coming to my house to look through closets, to look through anything. The belly of the plane that had clothes in it and those clothes being packed up and sent back by staffers.


OLBERMANN: Wait, the RNC is to be held accountable for all the dollars that were spent? Are you sure that's what you mean? More substantially, the governor was asked about the prospect that she could venture out again into that risky lower 48 by trying to succeed Senator Ted Stevens.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you run for his seat in a special election if it is vacant?

PALIN: Not planning on that, nope, not planning on that. Just being very thankful to get to hustle back to my governor's office here and get to work as the governor. I tell you, this is the best job in the world, is being the governor.


OLBERMANN: Sarah hustle, you bet. Best job in the world? Better than being vice president? What about the accusation that you refused to prepare for that Katie Couric interview?


PALIN: Certainly we prepped for all of our interviews, in terms of understanding what the message of the day was that was coming from John McCain.


OLBERMANN: Glad that's all cleared up. Now we can all move - I'm sorry, there's something else you want to say, governor?


PALIN: We're raised up here to know that - you talk about equality. You see equality in Alaska. And so that's a good question, because I think that was a bit of a surprise on a national level is, wait, you mean the other 49 states aren't quite there like Alaskans are? Well, come on, follow Alaska's lead and start allowing the equal opportunities and the equal treatment.


OLBERMANN: Governor, you do know that the local stations in Alaska are now capable of sending that videotape to those other 49 states that aren't quite there like Alaska is, don't you? Just another unfair moment from that gotcha media.


PALIN: But I'm not sad - and, also, being willing to try to help there also to make sure that there is credibility in our media, that there is objectivity there, so that Americans can trust what is being reported. We don't have to second-guess. We don't have to be so, I guess, paranoid of what comes over the airwaves or what we see written.

There has been that fairness and objectivity. There have been some stinkers, though.


OLBERMANN: And there, ladies and gentlemen, the person who could have been your next vice president of the United States. George Bush saw evil doers. Sarah Palin sees stinkers, also.

Let's bring in Margaret Carlson, "Bloomberg News" political columnist and Washington editor of "The Week Magazine."

Good evening, Margaret.

MARGARET CARLSON, "BLOOMBERG NEWS": Good evening, Keith. We're both stinkers.

OLBERMANN: We sure are. We're going to be more so in her eyes after this, I think. Does she not know that, you know, - or realize by now that so long as she keeps talking, we will keep talking about her and not maybe in a pleasant way?

CARLSON: I was amazed that you kept going there, Keith. She just kept going and going. She's the Energizer Bunny of media criticism. She has - you know, most of what has been revealed is on the record in one way or the other. I mean, these are receipts. These are RNC expenditures. You know, the 13 suitcases, the spray tanners, the silk boxer shorts, these are not just made up. These are told by people on the McCain staff.

Whether or not they give their names, these are people who know. And she says she's not going to respond to allegations from anonymous sources, but the allegations stand. I guess as long as nobody has their name on them, she's not going to answer the questions about them. But it - each little drip is - it's just astonishing. And it captivates - you know, it captivates the media, in part because the whole campaign, until the very end, any thought that the media had that Sarah Palin wasn't up to the job, we were just smacked down.

We were sexist. We were elite. Every name you can think of. And this woman was not to be touched. And now the McCain people have found out what they might have found out about her had they done some vetting. And I'm not just talking about the expenditures, but the whole magila (ph), Africa, I can see Russia from my front porch. Everything about her that's come out, they hid for the longest time. Now they're spilling the beans and she doesn't quite - she's not quite up to the task of dealing with it. And she's on her own now.

OLBERMANN: Well, yes, and then some. I mean, would you under any circumstances, any discussion of anything, whether it's trying to blame the media or getting across any other right wing talking point, would you ever use the word paranoid to describe yourself in reaction to anything?

CARLSON: I know. Well, you know, she used the Diet Pepper. And on one of the morning talk shows, Nicole Wallace said Diet Coke. So I take it back. I think she's getting a little bit of help from Nicole Wallace, who is now on her side, because Nicole had been blamed and then she was exonerated for wardrobe-gate. I think she's still getting a few talking points.

But up there in Alaska, I think, first of all, she's going to look in the mirror and she really is going to see a senator looking back at her and run for that seat. Because I do not believe a word about how happy she is to be back in Alaska.


CARLSON: I think the tundra - the tundra has lost its charms for Sarah Palin.

OLBERMANN: Well, apparently, she may have to enjoy it a little longer. This attitude towards the lower 48 states and Hawaii, that might get her into trouble if she's thinking about national office again or even coming down for a visit. So we'll see.

CARLSON: And the equality is also equality for felons to be reelected in Alaska. It's not a paragon that the lower 48 want to imitate.

OLBERMANN: Margaret Carlson of "Bloomberg News" and "The Week Magazine" and an honorary or actually charter member of the Stinkers Club, along with me. Great thanks for your time.

CARLSON: Back at you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Have a good weekend. Give you card number 002. I'll take

001. That's Countdown for this the 2,018th day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq.

Programing note, tomorrow night and Sunday, 5:00 Eastern, an updated edition of Countdown to November 4th, an hour long flashback on the presidential campaign through the eyes of this show right through to the finish line. On Monday, for all the momentous importance of the election of Barack Obama, voters in California taking an odd step back against Civil Rights on Tuesday, passing Proposition Eight, taking away the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. My special comment, what's it to you, on Monday, 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Pacific. Also, on a different topic, I'm supposed to be on "The View" Monday.

I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and wish me good luck.