Tuesday, March 31, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, March 31
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Worst Persons

Guest: Steve Clemons, Seymour Hersh, Rep. James Clyburn, Jamie Hyneman, Adam Savage

High: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Spec: Politics; Elections

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

Americans who believe the country is headed in the right direction, the number has tripled since Obama's election. New "Washington Post" polling also showing his approval at 2/3. And yet the Republicans continue to rant in defense of their constituents: CEOs.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) MINORITY LEADER: I think the idea of the government telling anyone in the private sector who they'll employ and who they won't is deplorable.


OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, FOX noise asks, why if the G.M. boss has been ousted, why not the head of the United Autoworkers? And why haven't the unions been asked to give anything up? I assume they mean asked again in the last hour.

Sy Hersh and the moles Dick Cheney may have left behind in the intelligence agencies and military. Sy Hersh and Cheney's undermining of Obama to Israel. Sy Hersh and Cheney's JSOC, Joint Special Operations Command, the death squad. Sy Hersh and Bill O'Reilly's passive threat, quote, "If Cheney really had such a crew, Hersh would have been dead a long time ago."

Our special guest tonight: Sy Hersh.

The fudge-it comes out tomorrow, again. The fudge-it, the Republican alternative to the budget - the one they put out last week only without any dollar figures. Congressman Jim Clyburn joins us.

And the automobile industry is destroying itself while we watch? Let's turn to the experts, the men who destroy automobiles for a living while we watch.

We reunite with the "Mythbusters," Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman.

And Billo goes all yellow journalist on us. He doesn't like that Spanish bid to indict six Bush administration figure for war crimes.


BILL O'REILLY, TV HOST: So, here's the deal, Spain, unless this action is condemned by Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, then I am not going to that country.


OLBERMANN: Oh, no! A one-man tourism boycott. (SPEAKING SPANISH) close the sex shows!

All that and more - now on Countdown.


O'REILLY: Oh, the bags under the eyes.



OLBERMANN (on camera): Good evening from New York.

The American president not only voted into office overwhelmingly on a mandate of change, the American voters who did so are still approving overwhelmingly of that president's job performance. Raising the question in our fifth story on the Countdown: When Republicans in Congress and those who are either their media marionettes or their puppeteers advocate for President Obama to fail, when they admonish him as they did today for holding corporate CEOs accountable, who exactly do they represent? From whom do they expect rewards? And what kind of financially-stricken American future do they root for?

As Europe is getting its first visit from the new president of the United States, arriving in London today for the G20 Summit, Mr. Obama is still enjoying broad support for his performance here at home. The number of Americans believing the nation is heading in the right direction is now having nearly tripled in the new "Washington Post" Poll in the 10 weeks since Obama took office. The new president's job performance numbers are also strong. Two out of three Americans surveyed approving of how he is handling his responsibility.

The public is seemingly blaming everybody but him for the current state of the nation's economy. Far more Americans are trusting President Obama to fix it than they would the Republicans in Congress.

Boss Limbaugh, today, is describing the president's high approval numbers as tyrannical. You heard me, tyrannical. To quote him, "People love what he's doing with the economy. Maybe we have descended into a nation that sort of loves the concept of soft tyranny."

Boss Limbaugh is also hallucinating again, specifically embracing the vision that it is his job to save Americans from a president whom they love, adding about Obama's plans for General Motors and the economy, that "If Obama fails, America is saved."

The folks at "fixed news" are doing their part to speak up on behalf of multimillionaire corporate titans, Gretchen Carlson asking, "Where's the union in all of this?" Bill Hemmer saying (ph), "If you can fire the CEOs, why can't you fire the head of the union?" Sean Hannity ranting, "I didn't see any union reps get told that they had to go out in this endeavor, because Barack Obama wouldn't anger his political base."

Except, while the salaries and retirement benefits of middle-class union workers have been made vulnerable on the possibility of bankruptcy in Detroit, ousted CEO Rick Wagoner is guaranteed a pension and other payments totaling $23 million. Nevertheless, House Republican Leader Boehner today is sticking up for Wagoner as if the CEO were the little guy.


BOEHNER: I think the idea of the government telling any one in the private sector who they'll employ and who they won't is deplorable. This is what's wrong - when government starts putting money in the private sector, they start to believe that they can write all of the rules.


OLBERMANN: Just terrible that they can force a hard-working businessman out of his job and into a future where his only means of support is his flimsy safety net, a mere $23 million in pensions and severance. Who's thinking of the CEOs? Won't somebody look out for the CEOs?

But the curtain now is coming down on the Countdown repertory theater. Time to call on our own Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.

Good evening, Howard.


OLBERMANN: Against the context of those presidential approval numbers in "The Post" poll, let me ask you that rhetorical question in a realistic way. Who are the Republicans representing at the moment and by whom do they think they will be rewarded?

FINEMAN: Well, they think they're - they're not so much representing people in the first instance as their own principles. They are trying desperately to recover what they think of as their first principles in what they regard as this hailstorm of government programs and spending that Barack Obama's proposing. That's the only way I can describe it.

And on conservative radio, they're actually replaying Ronald Reagan's famous "Time for Choosing" speech from the 1964 Goldwater campaign, as they try to reorient themselves. And frankly, they've got a problem in part because of George Bush. They're not so much opposing Barack Obama in some instances, Keith, as they are their own sour memories of George Bush, who they regard as a big spender who didn't create a real contrast between Democratic big spending and Republican big spending.

So, you got to give them credit on one level for trying to find their own principles. It's just to say that they're politically tone deaf is a huge understatement. It's as though they are ignoring politics as it's practiced as they desperately search for some direction.

OLBERMANN: All right. I'll give them the credit that you suggest is appropriate. But how - but you wind up - even in any construction you put around it - they wind up being for corporate CEOs.


OLBERMANN: What is the political viability of representing corporate CEOs at a time when .


OLBERMANN: Go ahead. None!

FINEMAN: It's a triumph of abstract thinking over the merest politics. I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that you don't defend the CEO of General Motors, especially when according to the Republicans' own strategists, who I was talking to earlier today, they think that the American people don't like the auto bailout and there's a lot of evidence to support that. So, if you think, logically, if the American voters don't like the auto bailout, they certainly don't like the CEOs who have forced the companies into the position where they need to be bailed out. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

And as one Republican leader told me today privately, he said, look, we have no leadership. We just have none. People like Boehner and others on the Hill are just sort of mouthing old rhetoric because they don't know where to go against a popular president who seems to pretty much have checkmated them all the way around.

OLBERMANN: Yes, if they're going back to 1964 for the Reagan speech, the Goldwater campaign, I think defending .


OLBERMANN: . the G.M.'s CEO dates to about 1957, and what was his name, Robert Wilson .


OLBERMANN: . that what's good for G.M. is good for the nation.

FINEMAN: Yes. It doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense.

OLBERMANN: No. And it's not of the moment or any other last 50 years of moments.

But now, let's look at tomorrow. Republicans are going to release this budget again. I'm going to - we're going to talk to Congressman Clyburn about that in about a half an hour.

But Citizens for Tax Justice looked at what the Republicans have outlined already and concluded that if that's what they are presenting tomorrow, it would cost $300 billion more annually than the Obama budget would. In a political theater sense, are you looking forward to tomorrow as much as I am?


FINEMAN: Yes, I am, and I'm going to be on the Hill to see the echoes of that. The problem that the Republicans have is that they're sticking to "tax cut first" philosophy, which had its moment. It's had its heyday in the early Reagan years when a lot of the American people thought that government in fact had gotten too big, that there was a need to drain the swamp, as Ronald Reagan said.

We're now almost 30 years later. We are in an entirely different world. And the American people want what the White House calls affirmative government.

And I think that's true. I think the polls show it. And I think Barack Obama is trying to give it to them in every conceivable way here.

The Republicans haven't figured out how to find their old principles and yet speak to the needs of the American people today. That's the basic problem they've got and the budget is just going to reflect the fact that they haven't figured it out yet.

OLBERMANN: Yes. And tax cuts will not resonate when a lot of people either think or fear that they're going to get huge rebates from the government anyway because they're not going to be paying any taxes, because they don't have a job to pay taxes from.

FINEMAN: Yes. They're not going to have a job, they're not going to have a job to pay taxes on.

OLBERMANN: Yes, exactly.

Howard Fineman of MSNBC and "Newsweek" - as always, sir, great thanks.

FINEMAN: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For more on the president's first overseas trip, let's turn to Steve Clemons, director of the Foreign Policy Program and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, as well as author of the blog the WashingtonNote.com.

Steve, good evening.

STEVE CLEMONS, THE WASHINGTON NOTE: Great to be with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The last time Mr. Obama went to Europe over the summer, he's still as a candidate. The McCain campaign called him a celebrity, equated him to Britney Spears. Of course, last week the minority whip, Mr. Cantor, went to a Britney Spears concert the night of the president's news conference.


OLBERMANN: Not that the thing worked last year, but I'm guessing that Mr. Cantor rendered that line of attack pretty useless this time around.

CLEMONS: Oh, yes. I think that Barack Obama is going over, but, you know, with the way he's going over right now, there's still a lot of anticipation about him, and, frankly, diplomacy's breaking out everywhere all of a sudden. The Iranians, the Russians are stepping forward in ways. So, maybe that celebrity-esque nature of Barack Obama is helping a bit.

OLBERMANN: To the point of the Russian president, Mr. Medvedev wrote a "Washington Post" op-ed today saying he's ready to work with Obama on substantive issues. Is that the overall tone internationally, the major leaders sort of pressing sort of a reset button when it comes to their attitudes, their approaches towards this country internationally?

CLEMONS: I think so on the optics level. What Russia and Iran have

both done is a bit more posture. To some degree I think it's interesting

because they're stealing the show, frankly, on the eve of the G20 Summit on

other important issues, and showing that they're not recalcitrant, that

they can be brought in, that they can work on things. But neither country

neither Iran nor Russia has proposed anything that's not very much in their interest.

But posture-wise, I think Barack Obama's very cordial tone internationally is affecting some other leaders that are coming back in the same. And that's all good. If you get the optics on the front end of this thing in good shape, then maybe substance can follow.

OLBERMANN: But - I mean, at what point do the substances overwhelm everything? Because obviously, we're already hearing of the sticking points inside the G20 over what to do. There's - this country is - whether the Republicans like it or not - this country is firmly behind stimulus spending, priming the pump, any cliche you want to use. The Europeans seem more hesitant about this and very sold on regulation, which doesn't seem to make necessarily a lot of fluid sense there. Where does reality hit the "rock star" thing?

CLEMONS: Well, I think what has to happen is, you need to watch the Germans, you have to watch the Chinese and see what they commit to, if anything. Germany's in a problem. Angela Merkel has elections in about six months and she's under pressure not to sort of blow the bank on the economy right now.

And they're using all sorts of excuses for not really doing more to help the Euro-zone countries. Many of the peripheral countries, Hungary, the Baltic states, Latvia and others are really slipping as is Spain, and they are teetering on the edge. And there's criticism of Germany that it's not doing enough.

I think Barack Obama has already said out, though, that he's going to go in as sort of a humble leader. He's dropped the Bush swagger. He's going to go in and try and show by example how much he's thrown at the economic problems and trying to nudge these others forward, and show that America can design itself to be more like a country that looks like Google and doesn't really look just like General Motors.

OLBERMANN: And does this president have to do something about repairing our relations with Germany, particularly with Angela Merkel, and something to compensate for back rubs of previous administrations?

CLEMONS: Well, I think Barack Obama has already begun to give her the room she needs to run politically. I don't think you're going to see any back rubs or too much familiarity there, like President Bush did. But I do think that President Obama has a very tough challenge because he's got to walk this line between being a leader and showing what we're doing and not being overbearing and trying to set an agenda for the world.

And to try to be a soft leader in this format, where you've got Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Gordon Brown of the U.K., all competing for the spotlight frankly, is going to be a tough challenge for Barack Obama.

OLBERMANN: So, there it is, to use the cliche, he has to - he has to rub the G20 leaders the right way.


OLBERMANN: Steve Clemons of the New American Foundation and the "Washington Note" foreign policy blog - thank you, as always, Steve.

CLEMONS: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Some of President Obama's popularity, especially his popularity abroad, seems to have been fostered despite the best effort of ex-Vice President Cheney. Seymour Hersh reported yesterday about that little bit of transition time undermining. Now, there's an additional element, the prospect that Mr. Cheney may still have - to fall into the patois of spy novels - moles inside the intelligence agencies and the military.

Of all of his stories about Cheney, this may be the most disturbing of Mr. Hersh's: His roles in this nation's affairs ripped from Mr. Cheney's cold hands, and yet some people in this government at this moment still think that they can, they should, they must listen to him. Sy Hersh joins us next.


OLBERMANN: Seymour Hersh on his latest revelation about Dick Cheney, the ex-vice president's lingering influence inside what is ostensibly the Obama administration. As the Democrats compromise with their president on the budget, the Republicans are finally ready to show their math, we think. Congressman James Clyburn joins us, too.

And Billo threatens UPS and Spain.

And the Illinois congressman who says, "Global warming - don't worry about it. The dinosaurs, they had it much worse than we did."

Worst Persons is ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: For the last two months, the questions circling around Dick Cheney have all been in the past tense. What did that guy do while he was still in power?

Tonight, in our fourth story: A stunning change in tense to present and future. What is Dick Cheney still doing? What will he do? How will all of this affect our relations in the Middle East?

Earlier this month, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, spoke publicly about a previous story on Cheney, amplifying his report that special forces in the Joint Special Operations Command, JSOC, were getting clearance for assassination targets, not through legal chains of command, but through Cheney illegally, and that Cheney blocked congressional efforts to learn more about the JSOC mission, rejecting clearance request from congressional investigators already proved for top-level clearance on other matters.

In the new issue of "The New Yorker," Mr. Hersh reports that before the inauguration, when the president-elect was helping to persuade Israel to end its bombing of Gaza and withdraw ground troops, in private, Cheney was telling Israel not to trust Obama because he was, quote, "pro-Palestinian" and, quote, "not ready for the major leagues."

But now we come to the reason for speaking of Mr. Cheney in the present and future tense. In an interview yesterday with NPR, Hersh said that Cheney installed people called "stay behinds" at, quote, "a lot of agencies" who were not only reporting back to Cheney, especially in the military and national security, both keeping him informed and probably, Hersh says, up to a point still controlling policy, including even Bush/Cheney people still now working ostensibly in the Obama/Biden White House.

With us now is Seymour Hersh, whose article in Mideast peace process is in the new issue of "The New Yorker."

Great thanks you for your time tonight, Mr. Hersh.

SEYMOUR HERSH, "THE NEW YORKER" MAGAZINE: I think I'm glad to be here.


HERSH: The one-man gang against Cheney right here.

OLBERMANN: Well, before we move to the broader issue about the Middle East, obviously, this is a - this is a concern on this issue of the "stay behinds." Do we have any what sort of dimensions we're talking about?

HERSH: Yes. Let me just tell you, put it in a different framework, which makes a little more sense, which is that a lot of the officers in America, senior officers are great guys. The kind of guys you would go into a foxhole with.

But there are always a group that are political and who play kiss-up. And so, inevitably, you're going to have a group of officers that got promoted ahead of the curve because they were closer and more friendly to Rumsfeld, to Cheney, and their policies.

And so, you have a group of people that were very loyal to the Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney policies, who had been promoted in big jobs across the spectrum, which is not surprising. They have a loyalty. They, also, in many cases, firmly believe in the Cheney/Bush policies, you know, towards al Qaeda, et cetera - the tough stuff that was going on.

And so, these are people that Cheney could turn to. And I don't think there's any question that when it came to naming cabinet officials and senior officials, Cheney, it's been demonstrated and written about quite openly - one thing about these guys, they aren't operating in secret about what they do. They really tell you. Cheney has enormous influence with a lot of the senior officers in the Pentagon, absolutely.

And - so I have been told, to put the word - it was the word that I was told about, what they call "stay behinds." He has people that he can count on, that keep him informed of what's going on. But it doesn't necessarily mean he has much influence on policy, but he, certainly - certainly, in the Pentagon. And I think because the - certainly, at the National Security Council, for weeks and weeks after the Obama administration took over, there was a long delay in getting stuff turned over.

So, there were a lot of people around in the first few weeks, in the first months of this administration that had served very closely with the Cheney/Bush operation. Yes, that's all correct.

OLBERMANN: Do you think it puts any kind of drag on the Obama administration's efforts to put us in place in the Middle East, in the sense of what sort of influence we should have there?

HERSH: No, I think his appointment of General Jones was very shrewd, Jim Jones. Putting a marine general in there who, as many in the audience might know, was very friendly to McCain, too, during his campaign and is considered to be a good listener. I think that was a shrewd appointment. I think that was a very cautious, shrewd appointment that ensured him of a lot more control from the Pentagon.

One of the things I do understand is that Gates among, Bob Gates, for whom I have a lot of respect, as most people do, he did want to keep some of his aides there. That's one of the conditions that Obama acceded to, that some of the people who worked for Gates stayed there.

So, putting Jones in there gives him a grown-up in a place that he can control some of the military aspirations. It was a shrewd - in that sense, it was a very shrewd move.

OLBERMANN: Where are we, in fact, in the third month of this administration in terms of restoring this country's influence in the Middle East and making our weight count, both count and also in a lead to good ends?

HERSH: Well, one thing that's marvelous is, obviously, we don't have Bush. And as you - as we saw in the introduction to your program, in the news clips that there's an enormous change. Howard Fineman was talking about that that this guy is - he does speak about mutual respect when he talks about the Iranians.

And also, as I wrote about this week in "The New Yorker," he's made - he, through Hillary Clinton, who by the way also seems to be very much a player on this, it's a different language being expressed in the Middle East. For example, the Syrians are told no longer that the Bush mantra was, you have to kick out Hamas, the radical group Hamas that withstood the Israeli assault in Gaza, has an office in Damascus. And Bush used - that was a requirement for any discussion, we had to kick - Bashar Assad, the president of Syria, had to get rid of the office.

Obama's message, as I understand it, in meetings that we had with the Syrians, is much more subtle, much more sensible. Look, we understand you're not going to embarrass yourself by kicking out a fellow Arab. Well, we want you to let him stay but we hope you can moderate him, get him to be more conciliatory and get people talking.

And so, I think the mere presence of Obama - look, all of us are worried about - not all of us, but I certainly am worried about Afghanistan and that there got to be morass there - but in other places, he's got an enormous opportunity. And that's what I was writing about in "The New Yorker" that with Syria willing to talk to Israel even after Gaza, there's a chance there to get a regional peace conference going, to bring the Iranians in, to, perhaps for the first time, make some sense of the madness of the Bush policy administration.

OLBERMANN: Seymour Hersh, the author and investigative journalist of "The New Yorker" - it's been a pleasure. Thank you for your time, sir.

HERSH: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Mr. Bush's legacy: democracies in the Middle East, the bulwark against terrorism. In a moment, the democracy in the Middle East where consent has just been eliminated as a legal requirement for marital sex - another edition of Still Bushed.

And carbon dioxide levels may have been 10 times higher in the era of the dinosaurs, so, says an Illinois congressman, we have nothing to fear from carbon dioxide or global warming. Yes, wait, didn't the dinosaurs die off? Worst Persons is ahead.


OLBERMANN: The congressman who cites both the Bible and dinosaurs to explain that there is no threat from climate change. And Billo declaring war on Spain and UPS. The Worst Persons in the World are coming your way.

To say nothing of the fudge-it - the Republican alternative to the federal budget, only this time, when they release it tomorrow, they're going to show they're mad - if any.

And the different kind of solution to the crisis in the auto industry from our friends the "Mythbusters," Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, who will join me here.

But, first, because they may be gone but their deeds outlived them - the headlines lingering from the previous administration's 50 running scandals - Still Bushed!

Number three: War on terror my butt-gate. In the bellicose narrative of the president, the former president, nowhere on earth was safe for anti-American terrorists. He was going to smoke them out dead or alive except when he was helping them.

In the weeks and then months and then years after 9/11, after Mr. Bush outsourced the hunt for bin Laden and let him escape, Mr. Bush not only did nothing to get al Qaeda in Pakistan, he gave Pakistan billions of dollars, despite the well-known ties of ISI, its intelligence agency, to al Qaeda. He actually endorsed a Pakistan/Taliban truce that gave al Qaeda safe havens there.

This weekend, the Pakistani newspaper assessed the hard-line U.S. diplomacy of the first two months of the Obama administration and found, quote, "a major change in U.S. attitudes towards the ISI." Well, that's a start anyway.

Number two: Labor relations-gate. A union complaint against the Bush administration has been upheld by an arbitrator ruling specifically that a Bush agency essentially forced its workers to volunteer between 2003 and 2006 by denying them overtime pay to which they were entitled, and giving them time off instead. It was, the arbitrator found, a knowing violation of the Fair Labors Standards Act. Which Bush agency would violate the Fair Labor Standards Act? It was, of course, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The Obama version of the EEOC says it will make the required changes.

And number one, spreading freedom-gate. The Bush strategy after 9/11 was not to actually get the people responsible, but to instead establish stable democracies and thereby deny safe havens to violent extremists. Once Mr. Bush installed Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan's president, he no longer cared about getting bin Laden. Afghanistan, after all, was now inoculated against Islamic extremism, due to the stabilizing grace of democracy.

Here's what democracy looks like when Mr. Bush props it up half-assed in a country of voters dominated by religious extremism. Mr. Karzai has just rammed through without even legislative debate religious doctrine as the law of his hand, Shia family law. Karzai has embraced it, in hopes of winning over religious factions before his August elections.

Here's what democratic law looks like when Mr. Bush's appointee caves to his religious right - it makes divorce easier for men than for women; it gives men priority in court and preferential inheritance rights. And then there is Article 132 of Shia family law - eliminating consent as a legal requirement for marital sex. Put more simply, the new law from Bush's appointee in Bush's democracy, according to a U.N. report on the subject, quote, legalizes the rape of a wife by her husband. Article 132, courtesy of the Bush march to freedom.


OLBERMANN: Tomorrow morning, House Republicans and Senate Republicans will finally reveal their budget. And they will hold a rally. The rally is no doubt to celebrate the fact that this time around, their budget has actual numbers in it. Meantime, in our third stories on the Countdown, brought to you by the number three, President Obama having met once again with House Democrats, may be days away from having his budget passed, with certain differences from what he requested originally.

The House minority whip, Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, will join us presently. After the GOP's first budget reveal, which was a fiasco with legs, Republicans have now reportedly added figures, utilizing all possible digits, zero through nine. The GOP alternative to be unveiled again after Republicans meet privately in the House chamber tomorrow morning.

The Unity Rally on the steps of the House expected soon after. Unity among Democrats would be enough to meet President Obama's imperatives. And yesterday, he met with House Democrats behind closed doors. The president was reportedly upbeat, down-playing differences between his proposal and what his party, including its moderate flank, is willing to give him.

At issue, primarily, deficit containment. He spoke to fellow Democrats for about 14 minutes and took questions. The president stressed that his budget is tied to his economic strategy and that, once passed, it will fuel momentum towards a health care bill.

Joining me now, as promised, the House majority whip, vice chair of the Democratic caucus in the House, Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina. Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Thank you very much for having me.

OLBERMANN: Yesterday's meeting, was it one last pitch by the president? Were differences also hashed out? How did it go?

CLYBURN: It was a very upbeat meeting. I think that the president made it very clear to all of the members there that he understood what their anxieties were all about. But he also lays out his vision in the budget, that is to do three major things.

He wants us to do something about making health care more affordable and accessible and cheaper. He wants us to make education more affordable, more accessible and cheaper. And he wants us to do something about energy, laying the foundation for making energy affordable and accessible and cheaper. And laying a foundation for us to get to energy independence in a reasonable amount of time.

And so when it was all over, he had a Q&A and people got to ask the questions they wanted to ask. And I think people were satisfied with his answers.

OLBERMANN: The end result of this, a lot has been made lately about the moderate plank in the party, the moderate flank, if you will. There's a concern about the deficit, that it was forcing significant changes in the budget. Yet, the president's budget director is saying the administration is getting 98 percent of his requests.


OLBERMANN: Is that an accurate number or is the truth somewhere in between the flank and the 98 percent?

CLYBURN: I think he's not getting the numbers he wanted everywhere.

But in terms of what he wants in this budget, yes, he's going to get 98

percent of what he wants in this budget, if not more. What he won't be

getting is the same level of expenditures, because there are people in our

budget - we cut it back by 1.5 percent in the so-called non-discretionary

non-defense discretionary spending. We're about 1.5 percent less than what the president asked for.

So I suspect that that's why they are using the 98 percent numbers. I would suspect you have 98.5 percent of what he's asking for.

OLBERMANN: Congressman, do you have any idea what we're going to see tomorrow from the Republicans and this alternative budget take two, after last week's free dissemination of folders with nothing in them didn't go over so well?

CLYBURN: Well, you know, Keith, I hate to say this, but you know, if I'm right, looking at my calendar, tomorrow is April 1st. It's April Fool's Day. And I think that that's pretty much what you got.

This budget is a joke. People saw what they did last week - and they've thrown together some numbers. They won't talk about what their projected deficit is going to be. We all know that it's - it's going to be one. So I don't believe that you can take this - this budget seriously at all.

People have pretty much determined that Barack Obama has their confidence. What, back in December about 15 percent of the American people said they like the direction the country was going in. Today, we're at 42 percent, saying they like the direction this country is going in; 66 percent of the American people say they support Barack Obama's leadership here. About 60 percent support his position on economic issues.

So I think that the president is in a very good place and the Democrats are going to have to do what is necessary to help him stay there.

OLBERMANN: Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, under difficult circumstances tonight, thanks to a traffic mess in Washington, with us by phone. Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.

CLYBURN: Thank you so much for having me.

OLBERMANN: Always a pleasure. Specifically regarding the auto bailout, new pictures of the industry actually in freefall. Oh, no, a little joke. Just a precursor of our moment of levity with our friends from "Myth Busters."

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, a WTF moment. Treasury Secretary Geithner's pick for his deputy is a guy who helped draft the centerpiece of the catastrophic deregulation of the financial industries. WTF.

And unless the Spanish repudiate possible indictments there of Bushes for war crimes, Bill-O says, then I am not going to that country. Can we get him to make a similar comment about New York? Worst persons ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Never mind the Detroit auto bailout. How about a Detroit auto blow up? The "Myth Busters" are here. That's next, but first time for Countdown's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze is shared by two men who we will identify in a moment. They believe to stop drug use here, we need to adopt a system used in Singapore. Public man number one says, "now, they have no drug problem in Singapore at all, because, number one, they hang drug dealers. They execute them."

Number two, "the market is very thin because when they catch you using, you go away with mandatory rehab. The United States does not have the stomach for that." So public man number two says, "I think it's time we get the stomach for that. I would dramatically expand testing. I would try to use rehabilitation. I would make it mandatory. I think we have every right as a country to demand of our citizens that they quit doing illegal things which are funding, both Afghanistan and in Mexico and Colombia, people who are destroying civilization."

Who are these dangerous men, proposing these socialistic, invasive, totalitarian measures that are used in some other country called Singapore? Who wants to hang drug dealers and mandate drug tests and have federal drug rehab centers? Maybe Barack Obama and Michael Moore? No, Bill O'Reilly and Newt Gingrich. Bill apparently went to Singapore on one of his tours of the east, if you know what I mean. And that Singapore, which has had one-party rule since 1959, has censorship and doesn't have jury trials.

Our runner-up, a two-fer for Bill-O. On his own, no Newt requited. Not happy that a Spanish magistrate is investigating possible indictments on war crimes of six ex-Bush administration officials, led his show with an announcement, right from the files of William Randolph Hearst from 1898, "Spain, insulting the USA." Well, he knows how to fix that. "So here's the deal, Spain. If this" - "so here's the deal, Spain: if this action goes forward, you'll be insulting American, implying we are the problem in the terror war. Unless this action is condemned by Spanish Prime Minister Zapatero, then I am not going to that country."

That will show them! The prime minister should issue a one-word statement, gracias. Say, Bill, if we begin an investigation of these six Bushes in the U.S., will you promise not to go here either? As promised, there's a Bill-O two-fer. He also reiterated his delusion about the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, where Bill-O was thoroughly criticized for having the gal to address a fund raiser for rape victims, after twice publicly blaming rape victims, then sending a producer to stalk a woman who wrote a blog post about his hypocrisy.

UPS promptly dropped out as an advertiser in protest of Bill-O's victimization of Amanda Terkel of ThinkProgress.org. That's not how he sees it, of course. "Far left zealots have attacked a rape victim and her family because they asked me to speak at their fund raiser. Democratic operative John Podesta and NBC boss Jeff Zucker allowed underlings to trash the It Happened to Alexa Foundation, causing Alexa Branchini and her family great distress. Well, now we have some good news. A charity has donated 20,000 dollars to help Alexa's cause. And Raptor Technologies, which makes computer software, has donated 15,000.

By the way, Mr. Podesta and Mr. Zucker have donated nothing. One other footnote, disappointingly, the UPS Corporation helped Podesta and Zucker in their evil deed. Czech is quite surprised. UPS needs to wise up fast."

You saw what I did to Spain, UPS. By the way, Jeff Zucker did not make a donation to the It Happened to Alexa Foundation because I did of 25,000. Let's see if Bill really cares about the foundation enough to mention that on the air?

But our winner, Congressman John Shimkus, Republican of Illinois, with two fascinating and utterly contradictory statements. A, Congressman Shimkus on why there isn't global warming. "Today we have about 388 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. I think in the age of the dinosaurs, when we had most flora and fauna, we were probably at 4,000 parts per million. There's a theological debate that this is a carbon-starved planet, not too much carbon."

Number one, Carbon and Carbon Dioxide are not the same thing. Number two, the only theological debate over how much carbon the plan needs would be taking place in the church of the Labrea Tar Pits. Number three, didn't the freaking dinosaurs go extinct? Or do they just have a bad public relations person?

But I'm digressing. B, Congressman Shimkus on why it doesn't matter anyway. "The Earth will end only when God declares it's time to be over. A man will not destroy this Earth. This Earth will not be destroyed by a flood. I appreciate having panelists here who are men of faith, and we can get into the theological discourse of that position. But I do believe that God's word is infallible, unchanging, perfect."

So a man pressing a button to start a nuclear war, that would be God's infallible word? Why do we bother trying to govern? Can't he do something about the budget deficit? By the way, as you hit me over the head with your Bible, Congressman, there ain't a word in it about those dinosaurs you mentioned earlier.

Congressman John Shimkus of Illinois, today's worst person in the world! Dinosaurs.


OLBERMANN: With the American economy in tatters and domestic automakers scrambling to stay afloat, there's a lot of blame for a lot of failure to be spread around to a lot of people. My next two guests have nothing to do with any of it. Our number one story, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, the "Myth Busters," representing a kind of two man stimulus package.

After all, they have dropped more money on more explosives to blow up more stuff up in the name of science than the gross domestic products of most small countries. On April 8th, "Myth Busters" begins its seventh season on the Discovery Channel. In next week's demolition derby premier, Adam, Jamie and their build team do their part to help the ailing auto industry by making many cars go smashy-smashy, in an attempt to debunk several famous Hollywood car stunts.

The busters are over here. I will talk to them in a second. First, a clip in which Jamie and Adam try to flip a bus that could not slow down, a stunt from that movie about a bus that would not slow down. The movie, I believe, was called the bus that would not slow down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Despite the improvised and chaotic start, the test is still on track.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Holy crash, this is almost an adrenaline rush as when I was driving it. Here it comes.



OLBERMANN: Fade to black. Jamie Hyneman on the left, Adam Savage on the write. Co-host of Discovery Channel's "Myth Busters," and virtually original guests on this program. It's good to see you in person.

ADAM SAVAGE, "MYTH BUSTERS": It's very nice to finally meet you in person.

OLBERMANN: We talked electronically, but never face to face.

SAVAGE: Indeed.

OLBERMANN: And nothing's going to blow up while you're here, right?

SAVAGE: We have not called the fire department. We are off-duty.

JAMIE HYNEMAN, "MYTH BUSTERS": They took all of our liquids. We flew in.

OLBERMANN: Of course, it slows you guys down more than anybody else.

SAVAGE: They always swab or shoes, but I think it's just for sport.

OLBERMANN: What would you - the last time you were on, it was the occasion of department baseball blowup in Chicago. If you could blow something up tonight, is there anything in particular you would be looking for?

HYNEMAN: Just be careful if you use the toilet.

OLBERMANN: Yes, but that's true even when you're not here. That one in particular. Now, our records, or your records - our records because we're reading them, say that you have destroyed 77 cars in six seasons. So have you heard from President Obama to try to, you know, get you guys to buy more cars, destroy more cars and pump up both the overall economy and Detroit simultaneously?

SAVAGE: You know, a lot of people keep offering us cars, but we haven't gotten any offers from GM or the president yet.

HYNEMAN: I do want one of those planes that the executives use, though, now that they can't use them.

OLBERMANN: For an experience or just -

SAVAGE: Oh, yes.

OLBERMANN: Or just to have?

HYNEMAN: We'll find some use for it.

SAVAGE: Yes, absolutely. We'll make phone calls on it and see if we interfere with the avionics.

OLBERMANN: OK. Now you did that once, didn't you?

SAVAGE: We did that -

OLBERMANN: It was a million to one shot that you could line up on the same frequency?

SAVAGE: But the problem was, we couldn't actually take off in a plane.


SAVAGE: Because no amount - and we tried for months to get the permit, and we could not actually take off in a plane because no one wanted to take responsibility for it.

OLBERMANN: Wow, that sounds a little more ominous than your average experiment. Back to the ground and cars, do you have a preference destroying domestic, foreign, American-built, hybrids? What do you go for, anything?

HYNEMAN: It's always shrapnel to us.

SAVAGE: Yes. We're pretty agnostic when what we're left with is a steaming heap of metal on the pavement.

OLBERMANN: So you described - we just discussed this idea that you couldn't do the experiment you really wanted to do on the plane, because nobody would take liability for it. Is there anything with cars that's like that, that they won't let you do? Or is it pretty much fair game on an automobile?

SAVAGE: It's been pretty much fair game. We found test tracks and racetracks and empty deserts and pretty much everything we ever needed in order to test car myths.

OLBERMANN: No unfulfilled car blowup fantasies?

HYNEMAN: I'm sure we'll figure something out that we haven't done.

SAVAGE: We got to redo the rocket car again. We did rocket cars, one of the very first myths we ever did. We revisited it a couple years ago and the rockets blew up on the ramp. Apparently, we've been offered some free rockets to try to again.

OLBERMANN: Now, when they blew up on the ramp, was this to your great disappointment or your eternal pleasure?

SAVAGE: No, it was awful. Look, it's fun to be there. But we had buttoned down so many hundreds of different of items just to make this work. And the one thing we didn't have control over was those rockets. And they were the one thing that failed.

OLBERMANN: There's - in the upcoming season, there's an Alaska special. Do you actually touch on the Sarah Palin question, can you see Russia from Alaska?

HYNEMAN: We did. And you can, but not from the mainland. There's these little islands that are way out in the middle there, and you can - you can -

SAVAGE: Off the coast of Alaska is Little Diomede, and off the coast of Russia is Big Diomede. And you can see them from each other. However, you're staring across the International Dateline. So from Alaska, you can see Russia tomorrow.

OLBERMANN: So if you're doing it the other way around, you'd be looking back in time.

SAVAGE: Exactly.

OLBERMANN: If she said that, she would have gotten herself and McCain elected. I can see backwards in time towards my house. Obviously, there are many things wrong with the campaign, but leaving that out was a new one that we just added to the list here. All right, seventh year, six years complete. Seven years of this. Is there anything - is there any chance of running out? Are you going to be without at some point or going into full repetition?

HYNEMAN: You know, I thought we were going to run out after the first three episodes.

SAVAGE: He did. He called me up and he was like, well, that was fun.

I really don't see where it could go. That's pretty much it.

HYNEMAN: And now we're up to around 150 or so. And there's just a world full of stuff to mess around with. And I don't see any end in sight.

SAVAGE: We say, are people ever going to stop believing stupid crap?

As long as they do, we've got a job.

OLBERMANN: Well, I feel the same way about my line of work too, because I'm out there trying to sort of blow those things up, in a matter of speaking.

SAVAGE: Exactly.

OLBERMANN: I said this to you guys in I guess 2003, so near the beginning, if not right at the beginning. It's still one of the most original thoughts anybody ever had in putting together a TV show, let alone execution. It's marvelous and remains such. So congratulations on the anniversary.

SAVAGE: Thank you. We're having more fun than ever.

OLBERMANN: Great. Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, the "Myth Busters."

The seventh season debuts next week. Great thanks for coming in.

SAVAGE: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this the 2,152nd day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. Two vanity notes, it's six years to the day since we started this program. Thank you for making us the most-watched show in cable news this year, not counting Fox. Since you're already here, I'm guessing that you don't. That isn't news.

Also, a big announcement here tomorrow night. Sorry for the lack of specifics, but it will be worth your while. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.


Monday, March 30, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, March 30
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons

Guest: Jonathan Turley, Dan Gross, Chris Kofinis

High: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Spec: Politics; Policies

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

The lamest of lame ducks: In his waning days as vice president, Dick Cheney tried to sabotage then-President-elect Obama, telling the Israelis Obama was Pro-Palestinian, would not support Israel, would, quote, "never make it in the major leagues" - so reports Sy Hersh.

Theory no more: Torture does not work. Intelligence officials reveal, we got names of al Qaeda and associated groups from Abu Zubaida, then we started to waterboard him and rough him up and then not a single lead he gave up thereafter, not a single plot he confessed to turned out to be legit.

Saving Detroit but not on Detroit's terms: The CEO of G.M. is forced out; the CEO of this country warns against forcing his hand.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: We cannot make the survival of our auto industry dependent on an unending flow of taxpayer dollars.


OLBERMANN: The ringing endorsement: Sarah Palin for president.

Maybe. Possibly. Sarah, who, did you say?



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: I'd have to see who the candidates are and what the situation is at the time.


OLBERMANN: Delusions of grandeur: Asked if he is jealous of the president, Michael "The Endless Gift" Steele replies .


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: What would I be jealous of?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is president of the United States.

STEELE: I'm chairman of the RNC. So, what's your point?



And jealousy as too simple a diagnosis, "Broadcasting & Cable" asks Billo, "You and Keith Olbermann have ideological differences. But don't you think this feud is good for both of you?" His reply, "There is no feud. I have never mentioned the man's name in my life. I will never mention it." Ahem!


BILL O'REILLY, TV HOST: Keith Olbermann went out of his way to defend this valid criticism of our military.


OLBERMANN: All that and more - now on Countdown.


O'REILLY: How embarrassing is that?


OLBERMANN (on camera): Good evening from New York.

While Vice President Aaron Burr shot a man, not unlike Dick Cheney did, but on some vast eternal scale of governmental malfeasance, Mr. Burr was always ahead of Mr. Cheney by dint of having post-vice presidency, trying to undermine the next presidential administration, by, in his case, allegedly trying to set up his own country in the south and the west.

Our fifth story on the Countdown: Now Cheney is even challenging Burr on that front. Tonight, news that while still vice president, Mr. Cheney undermined then-President-elect Obama to the Israelis and there's been a non-denial denial of Sy Hersh's report earlier this month that there were Cheney-controlled death squads intent on killing people in the whispered name of the United States of America.

So much for the complete cooperation with the new administration that President Bush had promised the night of the election - Seymour Hersh writing on the new issue of the "New Yorker" magazine, that when Cheney learned the president-elect had been putting pressure on Israel to stop its bombing campaign in Gaza and to withdraw its ground troops, the then-vice president lashed out, bad mouthing the new guy, diplomacy at its finest.

Quoting Hersh, "Cheney, who worked closely with the Israeli leadership in the lead-up to the Gaza war, portrayed Obama to the Israelis as a pro-Palestinian who would not support their efforts, and in private, disparaged Obama, referring to him at one point as someone who would never make it in the major leagues."

In an interview with Andrea Mitchell on this network, Mr. Hersh is revealing today that Obama's policies and desires ultimately prevailed over Cheney's, Obama helping to end Israel's Gaza offensive.


SEYMOUR HERSH, THE NEW YORKER: What happened is that Obama did communicate to Israel his strong desire that they stop the Gaza offensive. If you remember, Israelis began bombing Gaza in late December and the bombing continued until right before the inauguration when it stopped. And I don't think there's any question that Obama's desire had something to do with it.


HERSH: Absolutely.


OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, a former aide to the vice president possibly confirming the worst while desperately trying to deny it. He suggested that Hersh's previous revelation that Mr. Cheney presided over kind of executive assassination ring was, quote, "certainly true." And you will recall that earlier this month, Mr. Hersh claimed to have uncovered at least the outlines of a covert executive assassination right that reported directly to Vice President Cheney's office.

This afternoon on CNN, former Cheney national security aide, John Hannah, flat out denying Hersh's account, calling it not true, before admitting that the salient detail of the story was certainly true.


JOHN HANNAH, FMR. CHENEY NAT'L. SECURITY AIDE: There's clearly a group of people that go to a very extremely well-vetted process, interagency process, that have committed acts of war against the United States, who are at war with the United States or suspected of planning operations of war against the United States, who authority is given to our troops in the field, in certain war theaters, to capture or kill those individuals. That is certainly true.


OLBERMANN: Or it isn't.

Time now to call in our own political analyst, Richard Wolffe.

Good evening, Richard.


OLBERMANN: The overview here. A vice president publicly and privately bad-mouthing the president-elect within weeks of his ascendancy to the presidency - is this unprecedented?

WOLFFE: Well, there are certainly vice presidents who have done worse things like cook up intelligence to invade the wrong country or seek to authorize torture, for instance.

But, you know, it's worth raising the direct comparison with the situation that another vice president found himself in not so long ago, when after a contested election, he stood up in front of national TV and quoted Stephen Douglas talking to Abraham Lincoln saying, "The time for partisan feeling must yield to patriotism." And that vice president was Al Gore. And he was talking about Bush and Cheney and the recent decision from the Supreme Court handing them victory in the 2000 election.

If Vice President Cheney had any recollection of those searing events, then he really should take them to heart, because this is a moment when in a transition, it is important to think about patriotic things like the smooth transfer of power. Clearly, he was trying to undermine that if Sy Hersh's reporting was true and we've seen in the past that it has been true.

OLBERMANN: And what does that do to those who thought beforehand that Dick Cheney was only interested in helping himself, the 500 people closest to him and a few like-minded people around the world?

WOLFFE: Well, conspiracies - they are always true, right, especially when it comes to this vice president. You know, Cheney has unfortunately confirmed the worst feelings at pretty much every turn. And - look, it's just a remarkable situation that you would have a sitting vice president trying actively to undermine the incoming president with a foreign power. I mean, you know, there was an old saying that politics stopped at the water's edge. But clearly, this takes it to another level.

OLBERMANN: Hersh's current piece in the "New Yorker" is actually about Obama foreign policy's success in the region. The Cheney anecdote is actually a side thing that's sort of buried inside. Hersh wrote that the renewed Israeli-Syrian negotiations over the Golan Heights are now highly likely that would offer Obama his first and perhaps best chance for engagement in the Middle East peace process.

So, Obama succeeds in getting Israel to stop bombing Gaza, and now, he's on the edge perhaps of Israeli-Syrian relations - and he'll never be a major leaguer how exactly?

WOLFFE: Well, fortunately, it is not for outgoing vice presidents or presidents for that matter to decide who gets in some major leagues. And, of course, this is Cheney who also said that Obama was somehow pro-Palestinian. Obama, in the middle of the campaign, said that he believed that in an undivided Jerusalem. You know, if that's pro-Palestinian, then the Palestinians are really screwed.

There is no rational behavior that can explain what Cheney did in office or how he looks at this situation. He has clearly convinced himself through some degree of paranoia that only he could save the country against some external (ph) terrorist and everyone else was trying to weaken the country and massacre entire American cities. That's the only way you can really interpret these feelings that he has.

OLBERMANN: And to that point of - that last clip of Mr. Hannah on the other network today, a Cheney aide who admitted that authority is given to our troops in the field, in certain war theaters to capture or kill certain individuals. How exactly is that a denial of what Sy Hersh hinted at earlier this month?

WOLFFE: Well, it's piece of legalities and obfuscation. And it's only ironic that, again, casting back to 2000 for an administration that came in and campaigned against that kind of legal jargon that they should be trying to revise that kind of argument now. I suspect that someone, if not Sy Hersh, then someone in Congress will get to the bottom of this and there will be legal proceedings.

OLBERMANN: They had better.

MSNBC political analyst, Richard Wolffe - as always, Richard, great thanks.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Two weeks ago, ex-Vice President Cheney having reasserted his claim that he calls "enhanced interrogation," known to human beings as "torture," stopped a great many terrorist attacks in the years after the September 11th carnage. Except, former senior government officials who closely followed those enhanced interrogations are disputing Mr. Cheney. Those officials are telling the "Washington Post" that the waterboarding of high-profile captive, Abu Zubaida turned to somewhat detainee into a machine who produced only false leads.

Quoting the newspaper, "Not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida's tortured confessions. Nearly all of the leads attainted through the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information from Abu Zubaida was obtained before waterboarding was introduced."

Moreover, those officials are claiming that the drive to waterboard

Zubaida came from the Bush White House, adding, quote, "That the pressure

from upper levels of the government was tremendous. They couldn't stand

the idea that there wasn't anything new. They'd say, 'You aren't working

hard enough.'"

The first steps towards opening a criminal investigation against the Bush administration about torture is now underway, only it's not by the U.S. government but by Spain. The "New York Times" reporting, a Spanish court is now building a case against six high-level Bush officials. Among them Cheney legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington, former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Justice Department lawyer, John Yoo, author of the infamous torture justification memo, and not to neglect the Pentagon's role, former Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith. The other two are not Mr. Cheney nor former President Bush.

For more on all of this, let's turn to Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor and constitutional law expert.

Jon, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Vice President Cheney criticized Obama as recently as two weeks ago when he claimed Americans are now less safe because of the new administration's new policies on national security. And here, we have officials who witnessed the old policies in action, saying they were not only completely ineffective but they turned a fairly cooperative detainee into a guy how just said anything to stop the pain.

Is this the moment in which we have jumped from a theory that torture does not work on any moral or practical level, to a fact that torture does not work on any moral or practical level?

TURLEY: Well, that's, of course, the great irony about torture, is that it's long been known to produce absolute garbage. We had hoped that the moral limitations would be enough to prevent the United States government from starting a torture program. But history has shown that it has very little practical benefit.

And the terrible thing is, how cheaply the Bush administration sold our collective soul on this issue, how little we got for it. It's the ultimate Faustian bargain. The appearance that is left is that there were people on the White House, on a visceral level, wanted to have rough techniques exercised against these people. And it seemed to almost have the technique being the main driving force that they wanted to see it used as opposed to its purpose.

The great irony as well is that we've seen how legitimate means produce legitimate information. Part of the value of being in the legal system is it forces people to focus on the facts, what they know, and to get information that's reliable and usable instead of the garbage produced here at such a - just prohibitive cost for this country. The only thing we got out of this was condemnation of the ages. We got nothing else.

OLBERMANN: Have we seen any movement yet out of the Holder Justice Department or any other part of the Obama administration about doing something about Bush administration abuses of power like torture?

TURLEY: No. I think that the White House is still desperately hoping that people will forget about this. President Obama has clearly been told by his political advisers that this would not be good for him and not be good for his administration. But, of course, this isn't supposed to be a discretionary act. We are bound to do this.

Now, the Spanish inquiry creates a very interesting prospect for Obama

that he can take the high road finally, right now, by saying that we prefer to do our own investigation. It's not my choice. I'll have a special prosecutor in the United States look into these, not have foreign tribunal. He can do that and take the high ground, and he can regain what we've lost. But if he doesn't, then he will be blocking not just an investigation in the United States of known war crimes, but he'll be blocking an international effort to look into the same acts.

OLBERMANN: The Cheney national security aide suggested this afternoon that the Sy Hersh's account of an executive assassination ring that reported to the vice president's office, it's not true. Then he described what was true and, of course, it describes exactly that, only with a different name to it.

Should the Spanish prosecutors be taken notes? Because they don't include Cheney in their investigation here, they're focusing on six other figures.

TURLEY: Well, I think so. But, you know, Dick Cheney is every criminal defense attorney's nightmare. I mean, he's going around; virtually selling torture like it's a sham product.

And, you know, this is very embarrassing for Obama, because the reason he is out there, the reason he's having these conversations is because Obama is protecting him from a criminal charge, from a criminal investigation.

He wouldn't be doing this if Obama simply said - look, what you are describing is a crime. Now, you can keep on talking about it. You can incriminate yourself but I'm not going to protect you. I'm going to leave it to a professional prosecutor to determine whether what you are saying so proudly happens to be a criminal act.

OLBERMANN: You are an expert on the U.S. Constitution. I don't know

we've never discussed what you know about the Spanish government.


OLBERMANN: But do you have any idea why on earth - I mean, even the Spanish magistrate who's doing this in Spain seems to be pulling his punches in not going after the former vice president and president of this country. Do you got any idea why?

TURLEY: Well, lawyers transcend boundaries, thank God.


TURLEY: But one of the reasons maybe, you can always charge the higher-ups, you tend to go for lower-lying fruit, although these are fairly high-up individuals. But you tend to go for the first line of defendants. And then if you have a case, you go for the higher ones.

But there is another reason. It's well known the Obama administration is protecting President Bush and Vice President Cheney from criminal investigation. And if he went after the two of them, the U.S. government could move aggressively to shut down the inquiry.

OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley of George Washington University - great thanks for your time. And I guess I'm one who's going to have to say it, so, here it goes - put me on camera for this and two box if you still have it.


OLBERMANN: No one expects the Spanish inquisition.

TURLEY: Oh. Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Thank you, Jon.

The subtraction of ethics and common sense from public life did not start in the Bush White House, and it didn't start in the financial sector, and it certainly did not started in the American auto industry. But there is an amplification effect that seems to come into play whenever ethics and common sense get benched.

And so, tonight, as the president gets tough with Detroit, this nagging question rises anew: Why are we gentler with Wall Street than we are with Chrysler Street and Jefferson Avenue in Detroit? Why are the contracts that require us to pay those AIG bonuses more sacrosanct than are the contracts that require us to pay those UAW employees?


OLBERMANN: We can't stop the AIG bonuses because of the sanctity of the contract. But today, the Democratic president gently warned Detroit's unions that they'd better not take their contracts too seriously or he might let their whole industry go under.

And the Republican Party, not so Republican, certainly no party at the moment - Michael Steele again. John McCain asked about endorsing Sarah Palin and he might as well have answered, "Sarah Palin - Sarah Palin, who?"

And a charge that the GOP still owes $750,000 in expenses on its convention last summer in St. Paul.

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: First, Wall Street broke the economy, crippling everybody who relies on credit from student loans to car companies. Then Wall Street speculated on gas, crippling everyone tied to gas prices, from gas stations to car companies. Then fear of Wall Street collapse caused Americans to shut their wallets, crippling everyone who depends on consumer spending, from retail outlets to car companies.

So, in our fourth story tonight: Time to crack down on - car companies. Well, they do seem to be central to every crisis.

President Obama today is giving deadlines to two of America's Big Three carmakers. G.M. is getting 60 days funding to get its act together, with some indications some of its historic brands may become history in the process. Mr. Obama is declaring Chrysler so weak it gets 30 days of funding in which to work out an alliance with Fiat - announcement of that deal coming within hours of Mr. Obama's statement. And while he said at the start he had no intention of running G.M., before long, he sounded awful close to saying, "Come on down to Uncle Sam's auto mart."


OBAMA: If you buy a car from Chrysler or General Motors, you will be able to get your car serviced and repaired just like always. Your warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty.


OLBERMANN: "Cal Worthington Obama" also fired G.M.'s boss, CEO Rick Wagoner, who took a wrong turn with his emphasis on SUVs and with his trip to Washington last year in a private jet, but also had his supporters after winning union concessions and severing the cost of retiree health care. Some Michigan Republicans and Democrats are calling his ouster a symbolic one.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs pressed repeatedly on the different tactics between those use on Motown and Wall Street, in a span of less than a minute, found himself asking the questions being more specific, failed to reply with specifics, and then said he did not want to get too general.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Are you trying to communicate that these bank really - don't worry about this, this isn't coming your way?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: I think it's a fair question.

GIBBS: It is. It's a little general and somewhat nonspecific. And again, what I'm - I guess what I'm asking is, instead of looking at every entity as the same entity, I think that's - I don't think that's hypothetically productive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Well, do you want me to ask the question that way by inserting all the names of all the banks who have received aid and ask if it would apply to that? I mean, would that be more helpful?

GIBBS: Well, again, understanding that some of the circumstances are different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Why Rick Wagoner and not Ken Lewis?

GIBBS: Again, some of these things are - I don't have anything specific on Bank of America. But, again, I just don't want to be generalistic across the board.


OLBERMANN: With us now, Dan Gross, senior editor at "Newsweek" magazine.

Much thanks for your time tonight, sir.

DAN GROSS, NEWSWEEK: Good to be here.

OLBERMANN: Obviously, the president did not forcibly take over either G.M. or Chrysler today. But to what extent does he now - in at least the political sense - own both of these car companies?

GROSS: He totally owns them, their short-term fate. And he really owns the workers as well - because what we saw today is a sense that these are going to be either broken up or severely shrunk and they're going to be tens - perhaps hundreds of thousands of people who will need to find other things to do. He got at that a little - toward the end of his remarks about what sorts of things the administration would be doing.

But I think we need to hear a lot more details about that.

OLBERMANN: Politico.com reported today that Mr. Obama has what they described as a more jaundiced view of the automakers than Wall Street. Given that G.M.'s mistake was to keep feeding the American appetite for SUV, Wall Street's mistake was to, you know, cripple the entire global economy, how does Wall Street come out more favorably in this comparison in a view from any White House?

GROSS: Well, two reasons. One, you know, the genius of Wall Street was to screw thing up on such a massive, galactic scale that their demise would threaten western civilization as we know it and a lot of eastern civilization. Whereas, the car companies would just take down a lot of kind of blue collar people and dealerships in the Midwest.

The second reason is a kind of cultural fit. You know, there are a lot of people in the Democratic Party and this administration who are tight with people on Wall Street. These are their classmates from college.

When you are running for president you go to the Hamptons, you got to Upper East Side of Manhattan, you go to Martha's Vineyard, you rub elbows with these people. This is where you raise money from. It's one of the power bases. You are not in Birmingham and Southfield and the suburbs of Detroit. So, there's a kind of cultural fit here, too.

OLBERMANN: But - and exactly to that point. The same White House that argued it had to intervene and save the bonuses of AIG executives, because these are contractually obligated bonuses, is now telling middle-class union workers, not just these ones but ones essentially across the nation, they have to make some concessions even though those concessions might violate or render neutral their contracts.

I mean, how does the White House economic team which is - as you suggest - run by Wall Street veterans portray this as anything but, you know, another edition with new membership of the same rich boy's club in the same sort of action they've taken for 70 or 150 years?

GROSS: Well, it will take some fancy footwork. But, you know, they might say in their defense that, yes, we are - you know, in AIG's case contracts were sacred. We're, you know, we are not a nation of laws without them. In this case, we have to look to rip up the union contracts but also the deals that the franchisees have, all the dealers, they have these laws. They want to rip those up as well.

And importantly, they are telling the bondholders, who are other rich people, that they might have to settle for less than they otherwise might expect to receive.

OLBERMANN: So, what next, Dan, for Detroit and for the White House?

GROSS: I think this is the beginning of a process rather than the end. I think you have to divide between Chrysler, which I think they have essentially given up on; and to be fair, Chrysler's owners, Cerberus, have probably come close to giving up on. We have Fiat coming in. They're going to get a big chunk of ownership for no money down basically. We're not sure if they're going to get the loans.

And truth be told, they are the fifth biggest automaker. Their departure would not be such a big deal. It's GM that we really have to worry about. Just as we have AIG and Citigroup problem, not a banking problem; we have a GM problem, not a car-making problem.

OLBERMANN: Dan Gross of "Newsweek," author also of "Dumb Money: How Our Greatest Financial Minds Bankrupted the Nation" - thank you, Dan.

GROSS: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: So, someday soon, we might not have American cars to drive on American streets but the good news is, those streets will soon be paved with Kentucky Fried Chicken.

And, asked to apologize for pimping President Bush's falsehoods about WMD in Iraq, William Kristol starts talking about instead - well, you won't believe what he starts talking about instead. Ahead in Worst Persons.


OLBERMANN: Eighty years ago today, actor Richard A. Dysart was born, best known from his days leading the law firm on "L.A. Law." He has been a spectacularly successful and memorable character actor starring as George C. Scott's nemesis, Dr. Welbeck, in the vastly underrated Paddy Chayefsky's satire, "The Hospital," through being there and along the way playing everybody from Dwight Eisenhower to Harry Truman, to Harry Truman's secretary of war, Henry Stimson, to Abe Lincoln's secretary of war, Edwin Stanton. Happy birthday, Richard A Dicar. Let's play Oddball.

We begin in Louisville. Louisville, where Colonel Sanders has found part time work filling potholes. This economy is killing everybody. Part of a KFC ad blitz. The fast food chain offering to fill your town's potholes. All you need to do is let them spray paint their logo on your street.

The colonel wants to plop his mixture asphalt and 11 herbs and spices into the potholes in five American cities. Louisville is on board. Boston is thinking about it. If they don't do this in New York, I'm going to have to start a strike or something. It is yet to be seen to seen how smart it is to ask people to read the street while they're driving on it. Or to associate your food brand with the stuff they fill potholes with.

In Lima, Peru, Princess Inca claims to be the first woman ever to levitate in South America. I find it hard to believe she is the first. Still, this is somehow treated as a news event. The princess levitated four feet off the ground for half an hour. The bamboo pole she has her hand on is either a magic wand or a structural support for the hidden seat on which she is resting.

The flowing skirt, I'm just guessing here, might be obscuring the rod leading from the stick, which is explained why Princess Inca was not wearing a more sensible pair of pants.

Speaking of no visible means of support, there is Sarah Palin, who has not gotten a ringing endorsement from her former running mate, John McCain. In fact, she didn't even get a tepid one.

Bill-O boasts to a cable magazine how much his ratings are up because Obama was elected. Except his ratings are down and plenty since Obama was elected. We will check his accuracy, if any, ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Speaking to a group of conservatives last week, the GOP's most recent presidential nominee joked over 50 million people voted for me and Sarah Palin, mostly for Sarah Palin. In our third story, even though John McCain credits Sarah Palin with earning him some votes, it is not certain whether or not he would vote for her.

Speaking on "Meet the Press," the senator perhaps experiencing some delayed form of buyer's remorse. Pressed on his former running mate's own presidential ambitions, the man who catapulted Governor Palin to the political stage playing the role of artful dodger.


DAVID GREGORY, "MEET THE PRESS": Would you like to see Sarah Palin become president?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I would like to see her compete. I think we have very good candidates, John Huntsman. The problem is when I run down these names, I always leave out a name. Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty. There are so many. There is a lot of good, fresh talent out there.

GREGORY: Would you support Palin?

MCCAIN: I would have to see who the candidates are and what the situation at the time. Have no doubt of my respect, admiration and love for Sarah and her family.


OLBERMANN: Any dessert or coffee, governor? Ringing endorsement it was not. If you thought that was awkward, enter RNC Chairman Michael Steele and the continuation of a bizarre televised meltdown with Don Lemon of CNN. After claiming that the boss Limbaugh furor was all part of his plan, after saying he would seek the presidency if that's where God wants me to be, Mr. Steele, perhaps ailing from delusions of grandeur, this time likening President Obama to a mere political fri-enemy.


MICHAEL STEELE, RNC CHAIRMAN: I like the president personally, even though I think he has a thing about me. I haven't quite figured out what that is.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: You haven't spoken to him?


LEMON: You have reached out.

STEELE: Yes. Several times and I'm done.

LEMON: There's no bipartisan -

STEELE: No, not that I know of.

LEMON: Is there any professional jealousy?

STEELE: Not on my part. What would I be jealous of?

LEMON: He is the president of the United States.

STEELE: I'm chairman of the RNC. So what's your point? We both have leadership responsibilities and roles. I'm not equating the two. My point is, you are on your track, I'm on my track. You do your thing, I do my thing.


OLBERMANN: This as an RNC entity is being accused of not doing its thing, as in not paying for services rendered. "Huffington Post" reporting that the committee in charge of coordinating this past summer's convention in Minneapolis is being sued for failing to pay nearly 800,000 dollars in expenses to one of its vendors. Behind the whole issue, one of the GOP's key players, Jeff Larson, benefactor to Senator Norm Coleman and the man responsible for buying Governor Palin those expensive clothes.

Joining me now, Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis. Good evening, Chris.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Steele said he was not equating being RNC chair with being president of the United States. In fact, isn't that exactly what he was doing?

KOFINIS: That is exactly what he was doing. It gives you a small indication of how deep this illogical rabbit hole goes in Chairman Steele's mind. What is interesting about this, it seems like Chairman Steele is out there destroying every last vestige of the Republican party. Has this man done one interview where he hasn't done damage to himself and the party?

My recommendation is that he calls out the imaginary army that he controls as commander in chief to stop himself from doing anymore interviews. This has gotten to the point where surreal is not a good enough word to describe his performance on these television shows.

OLBERMANN: To Mr. McCain, this notion of I would like to see Sarah Palin compete, is this code? Is this how a former presidential nominee admits he picked the wrong running mate?

KOFINIS: I think it is code for basically him saying, I'm not going to endorse Governor Palin, not now, not ever. I think it gives you a very strong indication that he has come to terms with the fact that this was a disastrous decision. It really makes you wonder - the chilling part to this is, you know, a few months ago, before the election obviously, this was a person, had they won, who would have been a heartbeat away from the presidency. Now, a few months later, it is clear that Senator McCain does not think he made the right choice, that he is not willing to come out and endorse her.

Again, it is another indication of the strategic free fall this Republican party is in.

OLBERMANN: So in it we have the chairman of the RNC, who is discussing whether or not he is jealous of the president, a former presidential nominee saying basically who would vote for the unknown guy From Utah, at least that would be as likely as voting for his own running mate, the woman he was going to put in the succession of the White House. Every party that gets as resoundingly kicked out of power as this year's Republicans did goes through the circular firing squad bit. Why does this continue? When do these guys stop reloading?

KOFINIS: I'm not sure they are going to stop reloading any time soon. Between Governor Palin, Chairman Steele, Governor Jindal, it is like the three stooges have taken over the Republican party. They don't seem to understand the damage they are doing.

I go back to a point I made before. What this is really about is a party that doesn't have any understanding of where it wants to go. You have all these egos fighting to basically become the voice and the force within the Republican party. They're just not ready for prime time.

Instead of stepping back and coming to terms with the fact we need to figure out what party we are and know what are our ideals and ideas; they keep trying to fill that void. And they are not ready to do that. Unfortunately, until they step back, you'll see this firing squad get louder and louder and louder.

OLBERMANN: How could McCain have answered that question and not made it look bad in some way for somebody in his party? If had just said, yes, I think she would make a great one, would that not have gotten Jindal and Pawlenty supporters mad at him? Was there a way out of that answer?

KOFINIS: I think there are two ways to do it. One, you could have said, you know, I'm not going to answer this question. We're years away from that. That would still have gotten him a little bit in trouble. Probably the easiest way to go out is saying, right now, I'm not thinking about 2012 or 2016 or any presidential election. I'm worried about the state of the country. Or he could have done the easy thing and said I'm going to clearly endorse Governor Palin. That would be the candidate I choose.

I think it speaks volumes he didn't do that. It is a strong indication that he is not going support her four years from now. That raises an interesting question. What does the Republican party do? What do they do four years from now if it looks like Governor Palin is going to be the force that she's going to be in that party. Do they choose her and, in a sense, commit political suicide.

She is not a viable candidate. They are not going to listen to me about that. But she isn't.

OLBERMANN: Well, as we noted before, the Wig party did field somebody for the presidency and then go out of business. Chris Kofinis, Democratic strategist, had nothing to do with that. Thank you, Chris.

KOFINIS: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Oh, an epic interview of Bill-O by broadcasting and cable in which he flatly states he has never and will never mention my name on his show. Presumably, he has forgotten that he already has mentioned my name on his show.

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, how Republicans are trying to keep the lid on the crimes of George Bush by blocking a key nominee to justice by Barack Obama.

In worsts, as Glenn Beck cries again and asks, who killed the spirit of the day after 9/11, maybe the answer is the guy who said he hates 9/11 victims' families. That would be Glenn Beck. You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: Bill-o is so mighty and powerful, he makes the chairman of NBC run away. And he may have been speaking at a benefit for rape victims, but he thinks he is the real victim here. And he has never mentioned my name on the air in his life, and he never will. Which makes the clip from his show that we're going to play for you tonight mighty embarrassing indeed.

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

The bronze to Charles E.F. Millard, the Bush administration's director of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Cooperation. Just months before the economy hit the wall last year, he took most of the 64 billion dollars in the government pension fund, the fund from which more than a million Americans get pension checks, and which guarantees the pensions of another 43 million of us, and he moved it out of bonds and into stocks, foreign market stocks, real estate company stocks, stocks tied to private equity funds.

The funds' stocks promptly dropped 23 percent, as of last September 30th. Pension Guarantee will not say how much its stocks have dropped since last September 30th. Mr. Millard is a former managing director of Lehman Brothers. I'm not sure, but I think he is now the CEO of the hot dog cart over here on Sixth Avenue.

Silver, the disgraced ex -"New York Times" columnist William Kristol. A caller to C-Span pointed out how he and so much of the right wing echo chamber had hyped the president's phony claim - the former president's phony claim that Iraq had WMD. And he asked, will you personally apologize to those folks right now? Simple yes or no, thank you. Kristol did as asked. "No, I think the war was right. I think we've succeeded in the war. I think those lives - we should honor those soldiers who gave their lives and fought so hard and also were wounded for what they did. Also in Afghanistan" -

It must be great when faced with criticism of the greatest mistake of your life, the only time you utterly failed in the very limited demands made on you by your nation, the time you prevaricated, and Americans died as a result, Bill, it must be nice to be addressed by that and then just be able to change the topic. "And also in Afghanistan" -

But our winner, Glenn Beck getting more pub out of this transparent, holier than thou, hypocritical 9/12 project, which the "New York Times" today described as, quote, "an initiative to reclaim the values and principles that he said were evident on the day after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks. On a special broadcast, he asks, what ever happened to the country that loved the underdog and stood up for the little guy? What happened to the voice of the forgotten man?"

Well, what happened to it was people like Glenn Beck killed it out of selfishness and prejudice and the hatred that boils in their souls. Two days before the fourth anniversary of 9/11, Glenn Beck, Mr. Spirit of 9/12, went on the radio and said, quote, "you know, it took me about a year to start hating the 9/11 victims' families. It took me about a year. And when I see a 9/11 victim family on television or whatever, I'm just like, oh shut up. I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining. We did our best for them."

To Beck's credit, he noted to the Times, quote, "if you take what I say as gospel, you are an idiot." You ever see "The Music Man," where the con artist walks into River City and sells the rubles band instrument after band instrument that they can't possibly afford. Harold Hill, or as he now calls himself, Glenn Beck, today's worst person in the world!


OLBERMANN: There's no way to map the depth and breadth of Bill O'Reilly's ego. It would be like trying to measure the universe with a plastic ruler. There is no way to catalog his mistakes, his distortions, his self-delusions, his hypocrisies and his outright lies. It would be like trying to count the grains of sands on Earth by hand.

But in our number one story in the Countdown, lately there's something new in the otherwise unchanging O'Reilly formula. The old man is getting sloppy. The programming editor of "Broadcasting and Cable Magazine," Marissa Guthrie, conducted a question and answer session with Bill-O the Clown and produced a staggering variety of what at ESPN we used to call lay ups, easily disproved, factually inaccurate, self-contradictory moments, some of them disproved by videotapes from his own shows. Including one when he was confronted with the name of he who must not be named: me.

As ever, Bill-O blurts, we translate and explain. First, the funniest, most embarrassing O'Reilly mistake. Ms. Guthrie, "congratulations on 100 consecutive months as the top rated on cable news. That's quite an accomplishment in this day and age." Bill-O: "I don't think it has ever been done in any kind of TV milieu. We had our people research all programs going back to the '50s like "Gun Smoke" and things like that. Nobody has ever stayed on top this long."

See, you need new people. "The Today Show" has been in first place for 694 consecutive weeks, as of last Friday, which calculates out to 166 executive months, every one of them since May 1995. "Meet the Press" has been in first place for 131 consecutive months, ever since May of 1988.

Bill, you are not only not the longest running top rated program ever in any kind of TV milieu, you are not even the second current longest running top rated program this week. How embarrassing for you. How embarrassing nobody at Fox knows enough about television to tell you this obvious fact.

Here are two embarrassing admissions that pertain to the president and ratings, and what Bill-O thinks of his colleagues at Fox. " I think that the ratings over the past three months prove beyond any doubt that many Americans are uneasy with the direction of the country. Sixty two million Americans voted against Barack Obama. Some of these people are concerned."

Apparently not that many; 62 million people voted against Obama. Since the election - since October 31st of last year, O'Reilly's audience is up, let me get the number, oh, I'm sorry. Since October 31st of last year, O'Reilly's audience is down 568,000 viewers a night, down. Gosh, Bill, using your logic, doesn't that mean more people are uneasy with the direction of your show than the direction of the country?

"My program is the least skeptical of the so-called conservative programs. We give the president the benefit of the doubt. And we never cheap shot him."

Uh-oh. By implication, Bill is saying the other conservative shows do cheap shot him? So Bill, does Sean Hannity cheap shot Obama? Glenn Beck? Bill, who will never go deaf listening to colleagues tell him he is a team player, didn't think this part of the interview through. Did he?

Nor this, the NBC part. "NBC is corrupt top to bottom. They say, oh, it is only MSNBC. No, it's not. It is across the board. What they did to the Branchini family was disgraceful. Every media outlet in the country should come in on that."

The Branchini family? You mean Alexa Branchini of It Happened to Alexa Foundation? What on Earth are you talking about? Miss Guthrie, "what did they do?" Bill-O, "they attacked a foundation that helps rape victims and their families for having me MC a charitable event."

We didn't attack them. We attacked you for having had the hypocrisy to attend a fund raiser for rape victim after you twice came out and blamed rape victims for their own victimization and, in one case, death.

Ms. Guthrie, "NBC has denied that they had anything to do with that."

Bill-O, "that's a lie. NBC's air drove all of that. The Internet cannot get traction unless it has an outlet, a national outlet. NBC provided that. I hope you're understanding this. There aren't two sides to this story. There's what happened and the NBC lie about what happened. That is it."

Let me see if I'm correctly summarizing your evidence of what you previously described as a well-financed cabal to smear you about this. One, you called the raped and murdered Jennifer Moore moronic and you described how her drunkenness and scanty attire led to her horrible death. Two, you said the raped and molested teenager Sean Hornbeck enjoyed parts of his captivity more than he had life with his family.

Three, in a bitter irony, you wound up headlining a fund raiser for rape victims, a fact promoted by the support group. Four, the irony was noted on several websites. Five, we raised it here. Six, Amanda Terkel wrote about it at ThinkProgress.org. Seven, you sent an employee to follow her and stalk her in a car for two hours. Therefore, eight, this is a conspiracy against you.

Bill, a rhetorical question, in private, has any doctor ever used the world megalomania to you?

Two final and more humorous snatches of O'Reilly and buffoonery. The first about NBC Chairman Jeff Zucker. Ms. Guthrie, "Do you know Jeff Zucker."

Bill-O, "of course. I have known Zucker for a long time."

Ms. Guthrie, "so what do you talk about when you bump into each other?"

Bill-O, "I don't bump into him. He sees me, he runs."

No one boasts more physically intimidating others than does a coward. It is Zucker who runs, Bill. Twice in my life time I have encountered Bill O'Reilly in person. Once at a charity dinner and once on a baseball field. On both occasions, as I arrived, he backed up to a position about 20, 25 feet away from me. If I moved slightly toward him, say 18 inches closer, he backed up 18 inches.

He stopped staring at me only when I looked at him. He is a big woos.

Finally, he is a big liar. On the zero to 100 scale on Bill-O's phony boasts this might be the 100. Ms Guthrie, "obviously you and Keith Olbermann have ideological differences. Don't you think this feud is good for both of you."

Bill-O, "there is no feud. I have never mentioned the man's name in my life and will never mention it."

Oh, so what is this then from your show on February 15th, 2007?


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Not only were there no apologizes given and no pink slips issued for William Arkin's outburst, but Keith Olbermann went out of his way to defend this valid criticism of our military.


OLBERMANN: There was the other time you mentioned my name on your show in 1998, when you also mispronounced it. I wouldn't want to play that tape, too, because then I would just be embarrassing you. You are doing such a thorough job doing that yourself.

That is Countdown for this the 2,151st day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.