Friday, May 29, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, May 29
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons
The toss: Spelling prowess

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Lawrence O'Donnell, Erich Muller


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

Enough: Even Republican Senator John Cornyn has had it with the attacks on Sonia Sotomayor from Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R) TEXAS: Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it's appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong.


OLBERMANN: Naturally, when actual Republicans tell "Mr. Bouncy Bouncy" to shut up, he responds by yelling louder - today, comparing Judge Sotomayor to a disgraced ex-KKK leader.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: And how can a party get behind such a candidate? That's what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke.


OLBERMANN: But why? Why get vicious and racial?

"National Review's" John Derbyshire explains his story of disadvantaged youth didn't get him nominated to the Supreme Court. Well, maybe if you'd wound up a lawyer instead of a blogger.

Call my bluff: Dick Cheney still insists there are classified memos proving torture saved lives. Senator Carl Levin now says he has seen those memos and they "say nothing about number of lives saved, nor do they connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques."

"So," Levin concludes, "let's declassify those memos, Dick."



NARRATOR: Call your senator to say "no" to same-sex marriage.


OLBERMANN: You kind of misspelled marriage there, thus redefining it.

And the great Mancow-Olbermann conspiracy: A not too bright gossip site notes, "This was not textbook waterboarding. Therefore it was all a scam."


ERICH "MANCOW" MULLER, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: I don't want to say this. I do not want to say this. Absolutely torture. Absolutely. I mean, that's drowning.


OLBERMANN: A conspiracy, so Mancow could get to deny his own beliefs, throw his friend Hannity under the bus, face the blowback from the right, and get less publicity that he would have gotten if he'd said it was torture? Wow! Great conspiracy theory.

Joining us again tonight: Erich "Mancow" Muller.

All that and more - now on Countdown.


MULLER: I would have said anything to make it stop.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

Quoting one GOP operative careful scrutiny, "Yes, a holy war against her, Judge Sotomayor, not unless your name is Rush, Rove or Huckabee, none of whom votes in the United States Senate."

Our fifth story on the Countdown: The GOP smear campaign against the Supreme Court judge nominee morphing into an intra-party war, Republican versus Republican. Two-thirds of party insiders, including Senator Cornyn, RNC Chair Steele and columnists Charles Krauthammer and Peggy Noonan - all saying, "Enough is enough." The rest is responding, it's our party and we'll hate if we want to.

Day four to the Sotomayor nomination story, the day the Republican Party started to implode - again. Sixty-four percent of those Republican political insiders surveyed by "The National Journal" are saying, "Don't fight the Sotomayor nomination, it is not politically smart."

Senator Cornyn of Texas, a member of the judiciary committee, telling National Public Radio that it is time for Republicans who are not elected official, like, say, Limbaugh and Gingrich, to butt-out.


CORNYN: I think it's terrible. This is not the kind of tone that any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advice and consent. Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it's appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it's wrong.


OLBERMANN: Republican Party chair, Michael Steele, guest-hosting Bill Bennett's radio show this morning and repeatedly saying the Republicans should be hailing the historic nature of President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court, adding that the GOP needs to stop slamming and ramming on Judge Sotomayor.

"Washington Post" columnist Krauthammer warning his fellow right-wingers to stop their conservative attacks, quote, "What should a principled conservative do? Use the upcoming hearings not to deny her the seat, but to illuminate her views. The argument should be elevated, respectful and entirely about judicial philosophy."

Peggy Noonan adding that it's time to leave child's play behind, or at

least pretend to, quote, "Let's play grown-up. When I was a child, that's

what we said when we ran out of things to do like playing potsie or

throwing rocks in the vacant lot. You'd go in and take your father's hat

and your mother's purse and walk around saying, 'Would you like tea?'

In retrospect, we weren't imitating parents but parents on TV who wore pearls and suits. But the point is, we amused ourselves trying to be little adults. And that's what the GOP should do right now: play grown-up."

Close up enough for most, unattainable for some. We join megalomania today already in progress.


LIMBAUGH: I don't need lectures from any columnist or any commentator on TV about decorum. The real question here that needs to be asked and nobody on our side - from a columnist to a TV commentator or anybody in our party - has the guts to ask: How can a president nominate such a candidate? And how can a party get behind such a candidate? That's what would be asked if somebody were foolish enough to nominate David Duke or pick somebody even less offensive.


OLBERMANN: "Mr. Bouncy Bouncy," believing Judge Sotomayor is comparable to the former chief of the Ku Klux Klan for her comments about race and gender - presumably also branding Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as the equivalent of a KKK leader; she said something similar to what Sotomayor did. She said it in 1981.

In an interview then with "The Ladies Home Journal" soon after she was appointed, Justice O'Connor having said, quote, "I bring to the court the perspective of a woman primarily in the sense that I am female, just as I am white, a college graduate, et cetera. Yes, I will bring the understanding of a woman to court. But I doubt that that alone will affect my decisions."

Oddly, the only real hits on Judge Sotomayor today on this issue, is coming from the White House itself, which seemed to be behind the curve. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs - possibly not having read the entirety of Sotomayor's remarks in 2001 - saying this afternoon that the judge used a poor choice of words when she suggested a Latina might reach a better conclusion than a white male in a given case. He would not elaborate.

In an interview with Brian Williams, his boss, the president, did elaborate, making it clear he has read the entire speech.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: I'm sure she would have restated it, but if you look in the entire sweep of the essay that she wrote, what's clear is that she was simply saying that her life experiences will give her information about the struggles and hardships that people are going through, that will make her a good judge.


OLBERMANN: The president's comments coming at the end of a week of nonstop, albeit baseless attacks on the nominee, Judge Sotomayor, attacks from all - mostly white, mostly male - comers.


GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK HOST: They're just like, "Hey, Hispanic chick lady, you're empathetic? She says, "Yup!" They say, "You're in!"

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: Is she the most activist nominee in the history of the court? This president who promised to unite the country during the campaign has selected the most divisive nominee possible.

ANNOUNCER: As racial allegations surface and controversy spreads over her reputation, what's the truth about Obama's nominee?

BECK: She is a Marxist. The quote in the - in her yearbook at Princeton is from a socialist.

KARL ROVE, FMR. BUSH SR. ADVISOR: I'm not really certain how intellectually strong she will be. You know, people familiar who are familiar with the workings in the court said that she is combative, opinionated, argumentative.

She's not going to be somebody who's going to bring broad intellectual powers.

FRED BARNES, CONSERVATIVE POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you can make the case that she's one of those who has benefited from affirmative action over the years tremendously.

BILL BENNETT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Maybe so. Did she get into Princeton on affirmative action, one wonders.

BARNES: One wonders.

BECK: I don't know if this is true or not. This is one piece of analysis that I heard today. She's not that intellectually bright and she's almost a bully, she just loves to hear herself talk.

WENDY LONG, JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION NETWORK: As a Latina woman, she said, "I think as a Latina woman, I'd make better decisions than a white man." It's offensive. It's racist. It's sexist.

ANN COULTER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: It is a racist statement.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: That's a racist statement.

BECK: I don't like the charges of, "Oh, you're a racist, they're racists. Very few people are racists. There are racists and they're bad people, but most Americans are good, just decent people and I hate the charges and cries of racism. I think the woman is a racist. She sure sounds like a racist. I think she's racist.

FMR. REP. TOM TANCREDO, (R) COLORADO: If you belong to an organization called La Raza, in this case, which is from my point of view any way just nothing more than a Latino - it's a counterpart, it's a Latino KKK without the hoods and - or the nooses. If you belong to something like that, you have to explain that in a way that's going to convince me and a lot of other people that it's got nothing to do with race.

LIMBAUGH: Here you have a racist. She's an angry woman. She's got -

she's a bigot. She's a racist. A woman as a judge makes a blatantly racist bigoted comment; she is rewarded with a promotion to the Supreme Court. How do you get promoted in the Barack Obama administration? By hating white people.


OLBERMANN: Glenn Beck questioning somebody's intellect.

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

Richard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: I hate to make you follow that, but let's switch off here now to the White House reaction here today. The press office is now saying the judge used a poor choice of words in her being a Latina and the judge's comments. If the president is saying she would have restated her remarks if given another opportunity, do we expect the judge to speak to this herself now? And in doing this, did the White House not just put her on the spot for no particular reason?

WOLFFE: Well, let's just separate what is a normal, rational conversation and debate from what we've just heard. You know, it's always wonderful hearing people being outraged about race when they think - oh, I don't know, Barack the magic negro is funny, for instance.



WOLFFE: So, let's just set the freak show to one side for a minute and say, "Look, there is no question that, given another opportunity, Judge Sotomayor would not be saying the kinds of provocative things she just said and apologizing for them or saying that they were a poor choice of words." These are very small thing to give up here.

This isn't a legislative negotiation. This is someone who will be confirmed. Barring something really unexpected in her personal life story, this is someone who is going to sail through.

So, looking reasonable here and setting the freak show out even more to an extreme is ultimately helpful. But it's not about caving, it's about being normal, I think.

OLBERMANN: But, having said that, Justice O'Connor said something between them, certainly Justice O'Connor and Justice Alito and even Justice Scalia have said things very similar, certainly among them they create a quote or series of quotes very similar to what Sotomayor said in 2001.

Hasn't the White House - if the White House hasn't caved on this important point, they're not - they're not fighting the battle on it? Is that - is that the issue here?

WOLFFE: Right. Yes, and I don't think they need to fight a battle or want to fight a battle when it comes down to these fake charges of racism. If you look at what she actually said, one piece of it is absolutely reasonable and anyone would say the same thing - which is that a judge is a human being and they bring their life experiences to everything they do. There's no sort of "Star Trek" brain in a bottle somewhere that's making these judicial judgments.

Where her problem comes in is that she compared her judgment to a white male, and really, you just want to take cultural politics off the table. Frankly, it didn't work in the early '90s. It's not going to work now. But why create additional problems when, really, she's going to sail through.

OLBERMANN: I think we had a Captain Pike reference in there.

Republican against Republican on this - about a nomination that, as you point out, almost everyone agrees in both parties going to succeed any way. The more reasonable conservatives are saying, make this speech - I borrow a certain phrase - a teachable moment. Might the White House politically, in terms of letting the other side create its own cave-in, would they have been better served to let the fight go on a little longer?

WOLFFE: Well, I think the fight is going to carry on any way because the tone is so outrageous. I mean, never mind Glenn Beck and everyone else, but the idea that Karl Rove is saying, he doesn't like people who are bullies? Excuse me. Did I miss the last eight years?

Let that play out. That's the teachable moment and it will any way. The question here is: What's the definition of activist? Apparently, you're only an activist if you have an opinion on the other side of the political divide. I think that's another teachable moment that will be fascinating to watch.

OLBERMANN: And don't forget, you're a socialist if you quoted Norman Thomas, who said, "I am not a champion of lost causes but of causes not yet won," which is just this side of "burn, baby, burn," I suppose.

Last point -

WOLFFE: You're right. Exactly.

OLBERMANN: Your new book, "Renegade: The Making of a President" hits bookstore shelves - I was going to say bookshelves - on Monday. I guess that's also true. What kind of sneak preview can you give us of this and who suggested you should write this book?

WOLFFE: Well I'd love to say it was a genius idea on my part. But, actually, there was this guy on the plane I was traveling with, who liked the Teddy White books and said, "Maybe, I should do something similar." I told him he was wrong and he turned out to win the election. His name is Barack Obama.

So, it was his idea and, you know, I'll be talking a lot more about it, lots of news in it on "The Today Show" on Monday. But, it's a story about who he is and what he represents. It's his campaign and his biography. So, it's really a guide book to the kind of person who ended up being the 44th president of the United States.

OLBERMANN: I cut my teeth on the Teddy White books. I hope you get half of what he got accomplished. It'd be a lot.

Richard Wolffe, the book is "Renegade," we, of course, wish you the best of luck with the it and we'll have you back on Monday to talk more extensively about it. Have a good weekend.

WOLFFE: Yes, please. Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: A cursory look at the nominees for the high court over the years suggests the last one who was not personally attacked might have been Harlan Fisk Stone in 1925. So, the attacks on Sotomayor are not a surprise. Their tone, they're seemingly self-destructive nature for those who make them is, though.

The latest and the latest hint to what this is really about, a right-wing writer, a white male, who says he, too, grew up in a projects, his mother worked extra hours as a nurse. So, why isn't anybody sympathetically listening to his story? I'm just guessing here, maybe the fact that in his entire life, the amount of racism to which he'd been subjected is still, in total, probably less than Sonia Sotomayor experienced today.


OLBERMANN: Is there an endgame for the far-right's far-out racial and gender-based venom against Judge Sotomayor or is it just white male rage? Lawrence O'Donnell next.

Then Cheney's proof documents, ones he says must be declassified because they show torture stopped terrorism. Senator Carl Levin says he has seen them and they say no such thing.

Worsts: He's the mayor, he's irreplaceable - don't you dare ask him if maybe he's not.

And the phony charge of the conspiracy to hoax in the waterboarding of Mancow, which actually hides a real conspiracy to dilute the impact of what he said when he was waterboarded. He'll join us.

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: Their attacks are personal, often times amazingly juvenile. In our fourth story on the Countdown: The poor-me conservative flank also seems to be exceedingly angry about Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court regarding her life story.

For instance, John Derbyshire of "National Review Online" responding to a reader, making a similar gripe, writes this, "I get might annoyed by the outspoken implication in a lot of commentary that anyone not a member of a protected minority must have grown up in a 12-bedrom lakeside mansion and been chauffeured off to prep school with a silver soon in his mouth. Judge Sotomayor was raised in public housing? So was I. Her mother was a nurse working late shifts? So was mine.

When did white working poor people disappear off the face of the earth? Where are the eager listeners to their compelling stories?"

Well, maybe, if you'd faced racism and taunting and you'd become a lawyer and a judge, and been nominated to the Supreme Court, they'd be listening. Instead, you overcame semi-adversity to become a blogger.

Let's bring in MSNBC political analyst, "Huffington Post" contributor, Lawrence O'Donnell.

Lawrence, good evening.


OLBERMANN: The opposition is not tough to figure. It's not even inappropriate in this case. But it's this personal venom, those who are using it - do we have any idea what they see as the best possible result of using it?

O'DONNELL: Well, so far, none of them have votes on the judiciary committee. And so, this is really - in Rush's case - obviously, it's about audience maintenance and audience building in a period that's difficult for him. You know, so, his approach has nothing to do with actually trying to be effective. Newt Gingrich is trying to position himself as the heir to the right-wing base in the Republican Party for a presidential run - which already seems ill-fated right from the start.

So, there's - what you don't find in the noisy screaming opposition at this point is anyone who has any serious input as to what the outcome is going to be. And by the way, Rush's own prediction every day about what the outcome is going to be .


O'DONNELL: . is that she is effortlessly going to be confirmed.

OLBERMANN: Yes. Does playing this kind of race card, gender card help Republicans next year by painting Obama as sort of a clearinghouse for minorities and a minority-favoring president, setting some sort of stage for what maybe they hope for a lot of scared white people, to put it bluntly, in 2010, in 2012?

O'DONNELL: Well, scared white people, which was code-worded as the "Southern strategy" in the Republican Party invented by Richard Nixon and pushed by Pat Buchanan and the Nixon crowd, is something that they firmly believed worked for them at that time and worked for them going through the '70s and '80s into the Reagan election.

They have now come up against - if they're going to try to continue to use this strategy - they've come up against the greatest politician in the television age. Barack Obama is the best politician we have seen since the invention of television.

The notion that you could make that old-fashioned strategy work against someone like him, who's about 10 times smarter than all the strategists combined who have worked on that "Southern strategy," is absolutely ridiculous. He's not going to stand there in one position waiting to get hit with these labels by those people.

OLBERMANN: When we'll watch the confirmation hearings, you'll see the Republicans obviously, will be the picture of propriety, we heard some of that from John Cornyn today, who seemingly, sincerely attacked Gingrich and Limbaugh. But is the plan - let the non-elected people talk about the race and the divisiveness so the senators can say, "Oh, no, we didn't do anything, we tried to stop this"?

O'DONNELL: I really think Cornyn has a problem. I don't think he likes the idea that these people are out there doing this. He has to raise money for Republican candidates. He has to get Republican candidates elected. Anyone who's in the business of getting Republican candidates elected does not like the noise that's being made against this nominee.

What we're going to see in the hearings, Keith, in a certain way is the invisible hand of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who chose Judge Sotomayor in the first place. In 1992, I was working for Senator Moynihan at that time when she came in to the office and he met her for the very first time.

And what he saw then was someone he could actually get confirmed and approved by a Republican president in the middle of the Republican president's re-election campaign because she was so powerful a candidate and because she was going to hold her own so well in the confirmation process - which she has now done twice. She will deliver a stellar performance in that hearing room, and the criticism will fall apart.

OLBERMANN: So party moderates are trying to expand this party, Limbaugh and others yell louder. What is the future of the Republican Party if everybody wakes up on Monday and it did not - it wasn't some sort of great cosmic interruption of the time space continuum and it is not, on Monday morning, the year 1952 again?

O'DONNELL: They're lost, Keith. Every once in a while, these parties get lost. The Democrats got lost and wiped out in 1994 in the congressional elections - and believe me, I was working in the Senate at that time, and we kind of looked up and didn't know where we were. What happened was impossible.

The election of Barack Obama was impossible - according to all Republican calculations involving any kind of electoral politics that they understood. They do not know where to go from here, and he is continuing to deliver things that they can't figure out how to counter.

The Sotomayor nomination is perhaps the most perfect thing he has set up for them to destroy themselves over, if they want to continue to make the kinds of noises, ugly noises, that people in their party have been allowed to make about this.

OLBERMANN: Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC and "The Huffington Post" - thank you, sir. Have a good weekend.

O'DONNELL: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: As the guy at the bar said in Hitchcock's movie, "The Birds," it's the end of the world. Duck.

And, race and gender and reverse racism are not enough for G. Gordon Liddy. He goes after Judge Sotomayor for her menstruation cycle.

Worst Persons is ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Bests in a moment. If you ever wanted to join Cal Thomas on a slow boat to China, here's your chance.

First, on this day in 1917 was born John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Before you suggest we need to stop thinking he would have been such-and-such years old, remember his mother, Rose, lived to be 104 ½. President Kennedy would have been 92 today.

Let's play Oddball."

And we take you now to London, where city planners are evidently grappling with a great deal of rubbish. They come up with a brilliant incentive for people to throw away their trash, bunnies. That's right. Nearly human-sized plastic rabbits - that's not one of them, that's the designer. The monstrosity right there, its ears light up when litter is thrown in to its basket.

The bunnies will be placed all around London's Covent Garden and Holland Park for a four-month trial period. Those special receptacles were created by Paul Smith, the fashion designer. Because nothing speaks fashion like big, green trash cans full of bunnies and trash with glowing orange ears.

In Dallas Police Headquarters, where officials are under siege from airborne culprit, the birds! From a Hitchcock nightmare - no, these suspects are two mockingbirds. Their nest is just yards from where the men in blue enter and while 30 officers have been pecked, so far, the worst - that seems to have been reserved for one intrepid reporter.




OLBERMANN: Homer Viafranca (ph) just trying his best to cover a story without peck or pooh.

Carl Levin called Dick Cheney's bluff. The senator says he's seen the memos the ex-V.P. thinks justify torture and they don't.

And, why is somebody trying to discredit the Chicago radio personality who decided to test his belief that waterboarding wasn't torture and had the guts to say he was wrong? These stories ahead.

But first, time for Countdown's Top Three Best Persons in the World.

Number three: Best thief. The individual who stole a passport from the travel bag of a Scottish tourist in Milford Sound, New Zealand and raced off with it into the dense Fiordland rainforest. The individual was a parrot.

The victim had the presence of mind to say, "My passport is some where out there in Fiordland, the parrot is probably using it for fraudulent claims or something." A parrot with a passport, pining for Fiordland.

Number two: Best unintentional joke. Actor Craig T. Nelson appearing yesterday with Howard Hill - I'm sorry, Glenn Beck, insisting the auto manufacturers should have been bailed out by the government, they should have been allowed to go bankrupt, quote, "I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on food stamps and welfare. Anybody help me out? No. No."

What do you think the food stamps and the welfare were, if not help from the government? You think those things fell from the sky, buddy?

But our winner, best real life version of the S.S. Minnow, another specialty cruise has been announced, the Holland America Noordam, sailing the Mediterranean and the Adriatic. And you better keep a simple tongue in your head when talking to the good captain. Guests who pay between 2,500 and 7,000 bucks per person to sail away with Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Tony Blankley, Cal Thomas, Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Jean Lopez, Kato Beirne and Rich Lowry and other conservatives.

The advertisement reads, "It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, why not experience it yourself?" Just like the passengers on Titanic experienced it.

Can't you just stay on land and listen to these guys without paying 2,500 bucks? Wouldn't you get just as nauseous? By the way, that last special guest, Rich Lowry, he's the one who got all hot and bothered when he thought Sarah Palin had winked at him during the vice presidential debate last year. She might want to stay away from his cabin.



OLBERMANN: Four months after leaving office, former President Bush has joined his former vice president campaign to defend their torture of people held in U.S. custody. His exact words presently - our third story tonight - Mr. Bush's defense predicated on the claim that torture worked, that torture yielded life-saving information unattainable any other way. This excuse which is explicitly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, which General Petraeus said today the U.S. violated. This excuse is not only morally bankrupt, but as we understand more fully today - flatly untrue.

Mr. Bush speaking last night in Michigan, speaking the night before publication of a remarkable anecdotal account of American interrogation methods about which more in a moment. And speaking almost simultaneously with another speaker, Michigan Senator Carl Levin, the armed services chairman, revealing that he, too, like former Vice President Cheney knows what is in the two top secret CIA document that Mr. Cheney assures us will prove his claim and Mr. Bush's claim that torture, necessary torture saved American lives.

Senator Levin asserting in no uncertain terms the CIA documents say no such thing, such as secret info could not back up the Bush-Cheney lie about Iraqi WMD, just as secret info could not back up the Bush-Cheney lie about Iraq ties to al Qaeda, so too clearly secret info will not back up the Bush-Cheney lie that torture worked.


SEN. CARL LEVIN, (D) MICHIGAN: Mr. Cheney had said that the use of abusive techniques, quote, "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent lives," closed quote. Mr. Cheney's claims are directly contrary to the judgment of our FBI director, Robert Mueller, that no attacks on America were disrupted due to intelligence obtained through the use of those techniques. Mr. Cheney has also claimed that the release of classified documents would prove his view that the techniques worked.

But those classified documents say nothing about numbers of lives saved, nor do the documents connect acquisition of valuable intelligence to the use of abusive techniques. I hope that the documents are declassified so that people can judge for themselves what is fact and what is fiction.


OLBERMANN: Of course, we already know fact from fiction about torture and a remarkable new article by Bobby Ghosh for "Time" magazine, posted online less than 24 hours after last night two speeches, offers heart-rending evidence directly in the face of the Bush-Cheney claim that torture was needed to obtain actionable intelligence.

At first, Bush and Cheney told us that Abu Zubaydah only started talking after waterboarding - a lie, he stopped talking after waterboarding. Before he was waterboarded, Zubaydah responded to traditional legal interrogations, by giving up not only so-called dirty bomber Jose Padilla but also Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

And how they get Zubaydah? As we learned last night from the preview of Ghosh's report, FBI agent Ali Soufan went to Yemen a week after 9/11 to interrogate bin Laden bodyguard Abu Jandal, already in prison there. The turning point for getting him to talk was giving the diabetic prisoner sugar-free cookie cookies.

Jandal also identified Mohammed Atta and six other 9/11 hijackers as members of al Qaeda, because the FBI had not told him that al Qaeda was behind 9/11. And when they told him that, when he believed al Qaeda had killed 200 of his countrymen working in the World Trade Center, he was - in Soufan's words - completely shattered.

Matthew Alexander is the pseudonym of a military interrogator who questioned more than 300 people in Iraq, including a militant Sunni imam tied to al Qaeda in Iraq. The first thing the imam said, to Alexander was, quote, "If I had a knife right now, I'd slit your throat." Alexander then got him to the reveal the location of a safe house for suicide bombers where they found another al Qaeda operative who in turn gave up Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

How did Alexander get that intel that landed the biggest terrorist in Iraq? He asked the imam why he wanted to slit his throat. The imam said the U.S. invasion had empowered local Shiites who then forced his family from their home.

Here's what Alexander did next, quote, "I said, 'Look, I'm an American. I don't want to say how sorry I am that we made so many mistakes in your country.'" The American apologized to the terrorist. From Ghosh's article, the imam's response, quote, "The imam, Alexander says, broke down in tears."

Abu Zubaydah, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Jose Padilla, Saddam Hussein, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi all captured or killed, thanks to traditional, legal, smart interrogation. Ibn al-Sheik al-Libi on the other hand, was tortured after the CIA shipped him up to Egypt. His story of Iraq/al Qaeda ties was then used by Bush and Cheney to sell their war until al-Libi recanted and said he lied just to stop the torture.

This what Khalid Shaikh Mohammed told the Red Cross about this waterboarding, quote, "During the harshest period of my interrogation, I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill treatment stop. I later told the interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I'm sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill treatment stop wasted a lot of their time and led to several false red alerts being placed in the U.S."

As promised, Mr. Bush's exact word last night describing his response to the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, March 2003, quote, "The first thing you do is ask what's legal? What do the lawyers say is possible? I made the decision within the law, to get information so I can say to myself, 'I've done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people.' I can tell you that the information we got saved lives."

Except you only ask what's legal and what's possible if you start with the premise that what you should do might not be. If you begged a real question that a real commander in chief would ask, the question any American would ask, truly concerned about America's safety that day - what you do, Mr. President, is you ask, "What works?"

For the most valuable sidelights on torture, the waterboarding of an ordinary Chicago radio personality now being dismissed by Internet gossips because the publicist used the word "hoax" to describe it. I don't know, it looked like real water to me. Mancow joins us.

Worsts: I'd have just enough out of this guy and just enough out of him abusing reporters, to saying nothing of abusing the will of the voters.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, are you smarter than an eighth grader? Rachel Maddow versus the National Spelling Bee champion.


OLBERMANN: New York's mayor attacks another reporter then apologizes, not personally, of course, he had staffer do it. Carrie Prejean's anti-same-sex marriage group rolls out a commercial and misspells marriage. And Gordon Liddy starts talking about the menstrual cycle of a Supreme Court nominee. Worsts Persons ahead.

And then, it's all got all the elements of a conspiracy except motive, evidence, logic and outcome - in defense of Mancow. Ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: The great Mancow conspiracy, the Sherlock Holmes of gossip Web site concludes that because it was not a textbook waterboarding, it must have been a scam. Even though the result of the supposed scam was he had to admit his opinion on waterboarding was incorrect. Mancow joins us next.

But first, time for Countdown's number two story - tonight's Worst Persons in the World.

The bronze: Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City made a deal with city council to overturn not one but two votes by city residents so he could run for a third term, in spite of term limits, on the premise that the city could not afford to have his financial expertise right now.

Yesterday, the mayor announced he was now very optimistic about New York's economic recovery, so a reporter from "The New York Observer" asked him the logical follow-up question.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If the economy is turning around, as you said, does that mean that the rationale for extending term limits, which is the fiscal challenge -

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK CITY: I don't know why, if we have just get to the serious questions here.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: No, but the question is -

BLOOMBERG: The rationale for extending term limits is the city council voted it and the public is going to have a chance on November 3rd to say what they want. And I don't think we have to keep coming back to that. When you have a serious question about the economy, I'll be happy to answer it.

Anything else? Thank you very much. Nothing else?


OLBERMANN: That's a mayor who overrode two public votes so he could run for a third term calling somebody else a disgrace. Later, the mayor had a staffer apologized to this, the third reporter with whom he's had a run in this year, he didn't had any staffer apologized.

Once again, a New York City mayor with a messiah complex who thinks we cannot survive without him.

The runners-up: The National Organization for Marriage running a hate ad around the country that ends thusly -


NARRATOR: Call your senator to say "no" to same-sex marriage.


OLBERMANN: Talk about redefining traditional marriage, you bozos misspelled the word "marriage." By the way, this is the outfit that hooked up with Carrie Prejean. Apparently, she IS proofreading their ads for them. Sorry.

But our winner: G. Gordon Liddy, a few months from entering his sixth decade of degrading our society, saying on his radio show, "I understand that they found out today that Miss Sotomayor is a member of La Raza, which means in illegal alien, 'the race.' That should not surprise anyone because she's already on record with a number of racist comments. Let's hope that the key conferences are not when she's menstruating or something, or just before she's going to menstruate. That would be really bad. The Lord knows what we would give then."

Well, granting Mr. Liddy that his psychosis is actually reality, obviously, under those circumstances we would get G. Gordon Liddy - today's Worst Person in the World.


OLBERMANN: If you believe waterboarding was not torture and you wanted to run some scam or hoax to sell your point of view, wouldn't you fake being waterboarded yourself, rig something up so it would look like you were nearly drowning when in reality, you were not taking in water at all? Wouldn't you then announce waterboarding is not torture? I mean, the publicity yield would be enormous and you'd probably get a kiss from Dick Cheney.

But in our number one story tonight: There is a bizarre conspiracy theory out there tonight about the waterboarding of Erich "Mancow" Muller, on which we first showed you a week ago. Yet its premise is that there was some kind of conspiracy to keep Mancow from really being waterboarded, a conspiracy that also demanded he would have to admit he was wrong and waterboarding was indeed torture. He joins us in a moment.

This is being pitched by an anonymous e-mailer at a gossip Web site called Gawker, and the premise is that because the Chicago radio personality, Mancow, was not tilted at the precise prescribed angle of waterboarding and the ex-marine doing the waterboarding admits he never waterboarded anybody before, that, right there, is not waterboarding. And thus, quote, "Mancow's waterboarding was completely fake," unquote, even though that is 12 ounces of water going up his nose and his mouth and into his throat and lungs in six seconds.


ERICH "MANCOW" MULLER, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I don't want to say this. I don't want to say this. Absolutely torture. Absolutely. I mean, that's drowning.


OLBERMANN: Hours before we were to interview Mancow, in Tuesday of this week, we were forward anonymously an e-mail chain originating with his publicist, who was apparently desperately trying to find somebody to perform the waterboarding.

When somebody offered a name, she wrote and replied, "You are a rock star. It is going to have to look 'real' but, of course, would be simulated with Mancow acting like he is drowning. It will be a hoax but have to look real. Would be great if they could dress in fatigues and bring whatever is needed. We will supply the water."

There it is. The only actual evidence that this was somehow not legit, one use of the word "hoax" in an e-mail. Nevertheless, when our staff got those emails, we did all the due diligence and then some. We contacted the publicist. She repeatedly and profoundly assured us that was just a bad choice of words and he'd trying to find somebody at the last minute to participate.

We contacted the waterboarder, we left him messages, we verified his charity and his military record, independently. We spoke to Mancow himself. We reviewed the waterboarding tape repeatedly for any sign of fraud, and we concluded that the people involved here would not have pulled a stunt that would have besmirched a charity for the families of soldiers called Valor for Veterans.

If our perspective here had been political or sloppy, we wouldn't have checked anything - you know, the way the Web site did it. After we had Mancow on the air and he was gracious. And he admitted again, waterboarding was torture and then he now didn't know whether or not you could trust answers produced by it and he was legit, those e-mails were then sent to the Web site Gawker, which immediately printed them, branded the whole thing a hoax and whose investigative writer, John Cook, took time out from the site's normal topics, "Which '80s Queen Used to Cruise the Lower East Side for Young Latino Boy Flesh?" to e-mail me and ask, "Do you have any comment regarding the fact that your program promoted what turns out to have been a fake waterboarding?"

Yes, yes, I do. I have three comments. One, there was no faking. Two, it did occur to you right that the person who sent you the e-mails probably wanted to see Mancow's conversion discredited because the far-right can't have somebody it considered its own dramatically saying it was wrong. And so, somebody played your Web site like a $3 banjo for political purposes?

And three, if you're actually the investigative writer for Gawker, I'd recommend telling as few people as possible.

Joining us again from Chicago, the host of his own morning radio show on WLS there: Mancow.

Well, howdy.

MULLER: Well, you and I are odd bedfellows. We don't want to be - we don't want to be in this situation, trust me, folks.

OLBERMANN: It is rather remarkable.

MULLER: You know, it is so insane. This guy called me and no matter what I said, he wouldn't listen. He had an agenda. That's it.

And I lose, Keith. I lose and I lose and I lose on this. The far right is mad at me because I said it was torture. The left is mad at me because - well, I don't know they're always mad at me. So, I can't - I can't win here.

But what about the truth? It doesn't matter. It doesn't - the truth has been lost here.

Let me tell you, the CIA is very specific. Head back, water in the nose and mouth. Did you have a cover? What kind of clothes were you wearing, were your hands chained? You weren't in prison. Was this an official interrogator? I admit it. It was a stupid radio stunt.

But waterboarding, all it is water in your nose and mouth with your head back. Look at the video. I'm not David Copperfield. We had 50 news cameras there for goodness sake. This is - yes, go ahead.

OLBERMANN: Explain - the one thing in here that has apparently led to all this .


OLBERMANN: . is the use of the word "hoax" in your publicist's e-mail.

MULLER: Right. Well .

OLBERMANN: Explain that.

MULLER: Well, here's the deal. It's selective. You have to understand something. Citadel, my parent company, ABC, Talk Radio Network, building security, the Chicago cops came and said, "You can't waterboard. You cannot do this." Oh, we're not, we're not."

They - and also the word stunt, it is a radio stunt - hoax, stunt. And this thing took on a life of its own. I didn't think it was any big deal. She didn't think it was any big deal. We were going to prove that it was nothing. You see what happened.

OLBERMANN: Yes, I know.

MULLER: They're picking - they're picking and choosing. You know, you know, I'll tell you how sick this is. This is an awful analogy but it's all I can come up with. It's like saying that Mike Tyson's daughter really didn't hang herself because she wasn't in the gallows, she didn't have the official rope, it wasn't official.

I don't, I mean, I don't -


MULLER: This was a marine that had two purple hearts who leaned me back and waterboarded me.

OLBERMANN: And, by the way, and has a charity whose reputation he has to preserve and protect, by the way.

MULLER: But the agenda, there's dark forces behind us. I really believe this. Forget the truth. A lot of people, Democrat and Republican alike, have banked on this not being torture.

Now look, as I've said, and you and I disagree on this - you know, I've got my daughters - I've got my daughters wandering around here. Would I waterboard somebody, pulled off the battlefield, some enemy combatant to save a life? Yes. Were these marines doing this for their jollies, Keith Olbermann, I don't believe so.

OLBERMANN: No, I don't believe so, either.



OLBERMANN: I don't think anybody was doing it for jollies. I think they were told it was going to work and it didn't.

But that's - let me get back to this so we can knock down this conspiracy theory.


OLBERMANN: I'm trying to figure what - do you have any idea what your motive would have been to set up a conspiracy which resulted in you saying, "I was wrong about this"? I mean, it seems like a really bad conspiracy.


MULLER: Keith, it's Scott McClellan, it's anyone that doesn't go party line and I am so sick of this in America. And I'll tell you what, I think America's with me on this. I'm left, I'm right, I'm left, I'm the king of all media. I got talent on loan from God.

I'm this - what about the truth? What happened? What happened to Americans able to debate? This issue is huge.

I wanted to get inside it for me. I wasn't trying to say that this was the end all of everything. I wasn't trying to recreate Guantanamo Bay and what our fine military men do. This was me on the radio trying to see what it was about so that I could argue that it was not torture.


MULLER: I failed, and now everyone's mad at me. I'm sorry, I can't go party line.

OLBERMANN: And you have - you have taken heat for saying waterboarding is torture?

MULLER: Oh, come on. Land of the free, I give you the land of the lemmings. You say whatever your party tells you to say. Left-wing radio says what they're supposed to say, right-wing radio follows their talking points, and frankly, I'm sick of it. How about the truth for God sake's, man?

OLBERMANN: I know you conceive this as just - as a radio event, as a stunt. But, you know, you mentioned truth. Sometimes, great ones come out when you least expect them.


OLBERMANN: And I'm thinking maybe there's a bigger one in here that even - the original topic of waterboarding, that telling the truth even accidentally, even in a sort of small way can be very, very dangerous stuff.

MULLER: Well, they can't - they can't have me doing this, I suppose. I guess they can't allow this to be out there. And I'm sorry; I always thought that's what it was about. I didn't think it was about - I mean, I bleed red, white and blue. I don't care about any - your political parties.

We've got tough times right now. I'm trying to help this country. I was trying to get inside the story.

Look, I do a radio show that is a diversion. OK? That's it. It's to make people laugh on their way to work. I'm not trying to change the world here. I was trying to get inside this story and it became all this. But to say it was a hoax or that it didn't really happen, how do you fake that?


MULLER: I mean, honestly, how do you fake that?


MULLER: I mean, this is the lion's den. I hope - I hope you knew that before you tuned in, folks. This is where the angels and devils fight. But, here we go.

OLBERMANN: I would think knowing you briefly that if it were a hoax, it would have been a much better one than this one.

Mancow, Chicago's WLS, once again, in bizarre circumstances.

MULLER: I play - I play pranks - I play pranks all the time.


MULLER: That's the irony here.

OLBERMANN: And this isn't one of them.


OLBERMANN: All right. We find common ground again.

MULLER: This was real. OK.

OLBERMANN: All right. And say hi to your wife and daughters.

MULLER: Thank you. Wow.


MULLER: This has got to be in the Book of Revelations, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Take care. Have a good weekend.


OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this 2,220th day since the previous president declared "mission accomplished" in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, May 28
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons
Video via YouTube: Worst Persons
The toss: Scary

Guests: Howard Fineman, Chris Cillizza, Arianna Huffington, Jesse Ventura


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

Now she's guilty of thinking state judges make law - when Antonin Scalia said the same thing. Now she's guilt of not being intellectually strong. This talking point captained by the man who declared the permanent Republican majority, who claimed only his math was right, who believed the clown college intel on Iraq, and who nominated Harriet Miers.

Excuse me, Mr. Science.

And it's not why in the context of the Hispanic vote or the Republicans opposing her, it's why in the context of the Hispanic vote are the Republicans slandering her.

Serious question: Is Rush Limbaugh going crazy? From this on January 16th -




OLBERMANN: To this, on May 28th -


LIMBAUGH: Ladies and gentlemen, this country is failing because President Obama is succeeding.


OLBERMANN: Tomorrow, will he say, "Gentledies and ladymen, Obama because country president is failing succeeding"?

The enhanced interrogation techniques that worked: The FBI interrogator who broke Abu Jandal by using sugar-free cookies. Jandal was a diabetic. He said, "Thanks. What do you need to know?" Jesse Ventura on that, and the waterboarding of Sean Hannity.

Worsts: The blogger who wants Judge Sotomayor to English-ize the pronunciation of her last name now says it's about diphthongs or effort; it's about angst over immigration and bilingual education.

Thanks for letting your racism show.

And tonight's WTF Moment: The far-right goes nuts over Obama's secret plan to close down almost nothing but Republican Chrysler dealerships. You did check to see what percentage of Chrysler dealerships that are staying open are Republican-owned, right? Right? You didn't? Oh.

All that and more - now on Countdown.





OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

Yesterday's attack on Judge Sonia Sotomayor as a reverse racist, having blown up in their faces when it was discovered that much of what she had to say on the subject of heritage influencing rulings matched, almost word for word, what conservative nominee Samuel Alito said at his Supreme Court confirmation hearings three years ago.

Now, in the fifth story on the Countdown: The Republicans have changed tack. Now, Sotomayor is stupid, is a Democratic version of Harriet Miers, and believes state judges wind up making both law and policy. The law and policy stuff turns out to duplicate what Justice Antonin Scalia said. And as to her intelligence, the nation is now being lectured by fools, like Karl Rove, who nominated Harriet Miers and who have previously solicited and swallowed fairy tales about WMD and 9/11 culpability in Iraq.

Already having called her stupid, Mr. Rove is now using gender-loaded terms like "emotion" to describe the judge's decision and the judge herself, who would be only the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court. At the same time, Mr. Rove trying to claim that Judge Sotomayor would not be the court's first Hispanic justice, instead incorrectly saying that Benjamin Cardozo had that distinction, even though his ancestors were from Portugal.

Others continuing to get their backsides handed to them as well by criticizing Judge Sotomayor for having said as she did at a Duke Law School forum in 2005, the very same thing that the conservative justice on the Supreme Court already had.


JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: The Court of Appeals is where policy is made. And I know, and I know this is on tape and I should never say that because we don't make law. I know.


SOTOMAYOR: OK. I know. I know. I'm not promoting it and I'm not advocating it, I'm - you know? OK.


SOTOMAYOR: Having said that, the Court of Appeals is where, before the Supreme Court makes the final decision, the law is percolating. It's interpretation. It's application.

LIMBAUGH: Our Founding Fathers were fortune-tellers, they were prophets, they were wise beyond measure. I'm very much like these people, my friends, in my ability to prognosticate and prophet the future. Thomas Jefferson warned 188 years ago that the federal government and the germ of its dissolution was in the way the federal judiciary was constituted.

Ergo, 188 years later, he is right. We have Sonia Sotomayor, who thinks that the court is where policy is made.


OLBERMANN: Of course, 181 years later, the majority opinion in the 2002 case, Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, Justice Scalia writing, quote, "The judges of inferior - that is lower courts - often make law, since the precedent of the highest court does not cover every situation and not every case is reviewed."

The fallacy that not only Sotomayor makes law or wants to, the focus of today's racist gem, courtesy of John Derbyshire at the "National Review Online," quote, "At SCOTUS, she'll make policy. What need legislators? More jobs! More opportunity for two-fer second-raters." A two-fer being, in the vernacular, is someone of two minority backgrounds that an employer can count as part of two different quotas.

Forget all talk early this week from Senate Republicans having claimed they would need ample time to adequately scrutinize the judge's record, Pat Roberts of Kansas today becoming the first Republican to declare, on right-wing radio, that he will be voting against her, and he don't care who might consider him a racist because of it.

Semper Fi.


SEN. PAT ROBERTS, (R) KANSAS: Well, I'm a marine and nothing much scares me. And so basically that's not going to be a consideration in my vote. I voted no in 1998. I did not feel that she was appropriate on the appeals court. Since that time, she has made statements on the role of appeals court that I think is improper.


OLBERMANN: Time now to call in our own Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.

Howard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Using this word, "emotion," to describe the perceived shortcomings of a female judge. Is that akin to perhaps describing whether an African or asking whether or not an African-American judge was articulate? Is this more of a code?

FINEMAN: Well, it's code for desperation on the part of conservatives and indeed Republicans, who are looking for some way to get traction as they try to oppose Judge Sotomayor.

First of all, the White House was brilliant to role this out during the recess. Republicans aren't here, they can't sort of gather in their war councils. And while they're gone, people like Rush Limbaugh are in charge. And as vehement as Rush is, it just doesn't seem to be getting traction.

And I know over at the White House, they're pretty confident, they're being very careful and methodical about answering every factual or emotional - talk about the side that's using emotion here - emotional charge. And I think they're doing a pretty good job of it. And when you talk to Republicans, they say, "It hasn't come together for us yet at all," and that's why they're grasping.

OLBERMANN: And to that point, in the midst of these latest attacks today, came reports, from other sources, that no Republican actually believes the party is going to defeat or even seriously impede this confirmation. So, what is actually being done here? What - who is gaining from this and how do they think they're gaining from it?

FINEMAN: Well, as we said on Tuesday night, nobody I talked to then or now thinks - absent some huge revelation - that it's likely that this thing can be derailed. And she's got a lot of positive reviews.

What the Republicans and conservatives are doing are talking to themselves and to their base. They're certain issues that she's expressed opinions on that they think they can excite their own base about, whether it's Second Amendment things related to gun control, whether it's this notion of activist judges, whether it's a question of affirmative action and that New Haven case involving the firefighters.

Those issues are not yet and maybe never will resonate with the country as a whole. But to the core base of the Republican Party - and it's a shrinking one - those interest groups have an interest in fundraising out of them, expanding their base with them, getting them angry, upset and paranoid. That's how one branch of American politics works, and the Republicans and conservatives are going to work that, even if it has nothing ultimately to do with whether or not they can stop Sotomayor - which I don't think they can do.

OLBERMANN: But let's assume for a second that there has - there is some value to that, even just to firm up the base - which is easier to do the smaller it gets. But, I mean, if .


OLBERMANN: It's not being done well. It's two days in a row that they've trotted out these titanic or pumped up, two titanic proportions events that have turned out to be - in both cases - duplicate statements, essentially, that were made first by Alito, and in today's case, made by the most conservative man on the bench in years, Antonin Scalia.

Nobody - is Google not available to the GOP?

FINEMAN: Well, they don't have an organized effort to do it. Rush is it. I mean, I've written that there's a shadow RNC - it's Rush, Newt and Cheney. And there's no organized - I stress - no organized opposition yet and I'm not sure there's going to be much in opposition to Judge Sotomayor.

The White House is superbly organized. Their allies are superbly organized. They've got people inside the White House who've been through this for years. They've rolled it out with great care and precision.

And I don't see any kind of organizing - any organization yet developed on the other side. It's not like it was in the days when Bush was president and the Democrats and their liberal allies really worked it hard, even though they lost. You don't see any of that down here, Keith, and I'm not sure we're going to.

OLBERMANN: George Bush had the Google.

Howard Fineman of MSBNC and "Newsweek" - as always, thank you, Howard.


FINEMAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The Annenberg survey estimating that President Bush won 41 percent of the Hispanic vote in his 2004 reelection, compared to 35 percent in his election in 2001, obviously, a six-point increase.

The same party that brought you President Bush, this week, not just opposing the first Hispanic nominee to the Supreme Court but dismissing her as stupid, as emotional, as such a fan of ethnic food that might influence her votes. And possibly worst of all, is being on a par with Mr. Bush's failed Supreme Court nominee, his former White House counsel, Harriet Miers. Conservative blogger Ramesh Ponnuru calling Judge Sotomayor exactly that - those three words, "Obama's Harriet Miers."

Curt Levey, executive director of the right wing Committee for Justice adding that, like Miers, Sotomayor was picked because she was a woman and, in this case, Hispanic, not because of credentials. He wrote, "This is someone who clearly was picked because she's a woman and Hispanic, not because she was the best qualified."

Let's turn now to "Washington Post" White House reporter, author of "The Fix," Chris Cillizza.

Chris, good evening.


OLBERMANN: As I've suggested, if you're opposing this judge, go to town. But what is the political benefit - considering what a milestone this is viewed as, for an entire swath of our population - what is the - what is the political value of calling her unqualified and questioning her intelligence and saying she's an EOE hire and talking about the food she eats? What is the - even if it's acceptable political strategy, what's the good part of the strategy?

CILLIZZA: I wish I had a better answer for you, Keith, and I don't have a great one. The truth of the matter is - as you said - there is nothing wrong with opposing Judge Sotomayor on the merits, and you can argue whether judicial activism is on the merit or not. But, at least, it's in sort of acceptable ground. Some of these other stuff, racist, these - it's the name-calling, it doesn't do, certainly, the Republican Party any good.

And again, I think what it does is it shows - from a political perspective, that Barack Obama is a very savvy political strategist. He is yet again forcing the Republican Party to litigate the differences between the establishment part of their party and the conservative wing of their party, and it's all being done in public and it's all being done without any rules or any leaders.

And that's exactly what you do not want if you're trying to win that Congress or you're trying to win the White House in 2012.

OLBERMANN: Exactly. Limbaugh went on today and said, "Why worry about Hispanic voters because Republicans aren't going to get them anymore anyway." Is that not akin to saying, "Oh, don't worry about future elections because we're not going to win any of them anymore anyway"?

CILLIZZA: Keith, I understand Rush's point but it's - they can't write off the Hispanic vote. It's the largest minority group in this country. It continues to grow in terms of power in elections. Places like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, even places you don't think about, a place like Iowa, for example - there are significant Hispanic communities in all those places.

If the southwest is the next big battle ground, and people seem to think it is - from Texas to New Mexico to Arizona - you can't simply say, "Well, we're going to lose Hispanics 90 to 10," because that essentially, if you combine African-Americans and you combine Hispanics, that essentially gives you a recipe for failure almost every time in the national election.

OLBERMANN: Does it also do any good to have somebody like Karl Rove question her intellect when it turns out he does not know that Benjamin Cardozo, the great Supreme Court justice, was Portuguese and not Latino?

CILLIZZA: Well, this is a problem. And I was nodding my head when Howard was talking, because I think he's exactly right. There is no organizing group - whether it was in the White House or any where else - to handle this. You have a bunch of people freelancing: Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, any number of people - sort of freelancing, out there giving their opinions.

Now, that's all well and good. The problem is: without an organized

party movement on the behalf of the Republicans, those people are the

people who are getting the attention and those are not the faces, frankly -

and we've talked about this, you and I, Keith, about Dick Cheney - those are not the faces that Republicans want out there. They are not faces that appeal to an American public who is looking for something new from the Republican Party.

So, that leaderless-ness really affects a number of things, including this confirmation fight.

OLBERMANN: And focusing in on the ethnic origin of the nominee misses the other part of this. Fifty-six percent of women voted for Obama in the last election. And surely, the treatment of this candidate in terms of her gender is not helping the Republicans close this other major issue that they have for them, which is the gender gap.

CILLIZZA: You know, Keith, talk to Republican strategists privately, and I do it, what they say is, "Look, we need to add groups, not subtract groups." You know, "The Washington Post" poll, 21 percent of people in that poll self-identified as Republicans, the lowest number since 1983, OK? So, they need to be in the additive process, not the subtraction process.

And again, it speaks to the problem when you have a leaderless party or a party that doesn't even have a few people who could claim to be leader, a leader fight. Voices come in and get attention that really do you more harm than good - and we've seen that play out in the first five months of this administration.

OLBERMANN: Voices that don't have access to Internet search engines.

Chris Cillizza of "The Washington Post" - as always, Chris, thanks.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Turning explainable opposition into self-defeating character assassination makes no sense to you, if you've obviously never listened to Rush Limbaugh. Yet today, even his listeners were probably left scratching their heads as he made some sort of a labyrinthine U-turn. What was "I hope Obama fails" is now "Obama succeeding by making the country fail." First, his strange plea to this network to stop criticizing him; and now, this bizarre bit of sophistry.

A serious question tonight: Is Rush Limbaugh going crazy?


OLBERMANN: First, he said he was hoping Obama would fail, now he says Obama is failing - no, it's the country that's failing, which means Obama is succeeding which means - I don't know what it means. Does anybody? Serious concern tonight for Rush Limbaugh's mental health.

Jesse Ventura on waterboarding, Sean Hannity's name might be mentioned.

And tonight's WTF Moment: The evil plot to destroy Republican car dealerships. It turns out the conspiracy theorists overlook one detail - one easy, obviously, mathematical detail.

You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: Ladies and gentlemen, today even Republican Party Chairman Rush Limbaugh - "Mr. Bouncy Bouncy" - had to admit it: President Obama is succeeding.

But - and with Limbaugh, there is always a but - but in our fourth story tonight: The leader of the GOP - and if I'm wrong about that, any Republican senator is welcome to come on the show and correct me - today, the GOP leader explained that Obama is succeeding because the country is failing. And in fact, the country's failure was Obama's master plan all along.


On his radio show today, Mr. Limbaugh explained that the economy is in a ditch - not because President Bush handed Obama the wheel a year after he drove it off the cliff, but because President Obama wants the economy in the ditch, because he wants the power of government spending, because he wants impoverished Americans relying on him, presumably because that's how Bill Clinton did so well and Jimmy Carter lost because the economy did too well.

This dynamic, Limbaugh explained - political success arising from a failed economy - that is why President Obama wants America to fail. And that, therefore, is why Limbaugh wants to succeed in making Obama fail at succeeding in making America fail.


LIMBAUGH: Virtually, everybody who heard my comment, "I hope Obama fails," knows exactly what I meant. There is not a sane person in this country who genuinely believes I want this country to fail.

Ladies and gentlemen, this country is failing because President Obama is succeeding. I don't care how you choose to measure it. There is no hope on the horizon for a job. There is no hope on the horizon for renewed prosperity.


OLBERMANN: No hope on the horizon for a job. From Limbaugh's own Web site list of his prep material for today's show - this headline, "Unemployment claims drop." If Rush Limbaugh is crazy, he's crazy like a FOX News anchor.

Let's turn now to Arianna Huffington, co-founder, editor-in-chief of, author of "The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging."

Thanks for your time tonight, Arianna.


OLBERMANN: I know you will say he always does not make sense to you. But is this not something different? I mean, what point do we go from contempt to concern for his mental wellbeing?

HUFFINGTON: You know, I don't think it's like the "five stages of grief," that at one point he was unreasonable, and then he became contemptible, and now, he's foaming at the mouth.

I think, in a sense, if you look at what he's been saying through the years, there's never been any logic to it, because it's all about code words. It's about buzz word. It's about appealing to the worst instincts in his audience.

And that's really what is so sad and kind of dangerous, because the country is still going to go through very, very tough years. We all know that. You know, unemployment is going up, foreclosures are going up, credit card defaults are going up.

And the last thing this country needs is Rush Limbaugh, every day, making it sound as though this was Obama's master plan.

OLBERMANN: But, what is - is that the extent of the point of him stoking this really bizarre idea that any president benefits by hurting the economy, that making your supporters poorer somehow helps you politically?

HUFFINGTON: Well, it's purely looking for a scapegoat. And unfortunately, when people are hurting, they're much more susceptible to finding scapegoats. And now, of course, his audience is sort of restricted, they're substantial but restricted to the people who still approved of George Bush - remember - just before he left office. That's the Rush Limbaugh base.

But as things continue to get worse for millions of people in this country, today, the unemployment claims were the highest they've been - record unemployment claims - then the danger is that his audience may expand to people who otherwise would never be listening to him.

OLBERMANN: If Limbaugh is wrong, though, why hasn't Obama fixed the economy already, considering that FDR got it done faster than he managed to house train his dog, Fala?

HUFFINGTON: Well, remember, after - even FDR took a long weekend, right, Keith?


HUFFINGTON: It wasn't - it wasn't just a long lunch. But we can't be expected to try and understand Rush Limbaugh in normal, rational terms, because it's not about the head, it's about the gut.

And if you carefully look at his words, you know, it's words like, "Obama is raping the private sector. If you are a small businessman, you have a target on your back." These are very emotional words that appeal to some very dark fears and anxiety in people going through tough times.

OLBERMANN: So, what's the end result of this, though? I mean, if he

if the goal is to keep his listeners and his part of this party in some sort of alternative universe in which what he says makes sense and is the way to go, how does - how does that part of the Republican Party still adhere to the other part of the Republican Party that has, you know, serious conservatives who have political disagreements with the Democrats, but, you know, don't talk in those code words about assassination and targeting? Does this - at some point, do these two parties split?

HUFFINGTON: Well, there's absolutely no way that the Republican Party can once again succeed in gaining majorities in the House and Senate and gain back the White House if they adhere to the Rush Limbaugh wing of the part. Absolutely no way.

That's why you have people like Colin Powell, like David Frum, and basically parting company with Rush Limbaugh and you have Governor Huntsman leaving Utah and moving to China.

OLBERMANN: And as you say, it's not about the head, it's about the gut.

Arianna Huffington of "The Huffington Post" - great thanks. Take care.

HUFFINGTON: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Maybe it's just me, but I think the quality of the personal trainers at this gym is just going to the dogs.

And, Coultergeist mistakes a comedy show for reality. We'll try to talk her down. I don't know if I'm good enough to do this - ahead in Worst Persons.


OLBERMANN: Bests in a moment. And if you want to win the lottery, this would be the town in which to buy the ticket.

First, in this date in history, 30 years ago today, I graduated from college. Holy crap! That's me on the left, that's my friend Carol Hebb (ph), the greatest natural broadcaster I've ever met, in the middle. She's now Carol Feldbound (ph). Her friend Doug Sage (ph) on the right.

I'm smiling because of the amazement of my friends, and particularly, of my professors. I was cueing up for the procession because I had graduated and graduated on time. Because about three minutes before this picture was taken I'd been slapped by a classmate who did not graduate on time - a disaster which gave me great pleasure about at the time but about which I felt bad later.

Also, there was a lot of champagne and our speaker was the university president, Dr. Frank Rhodes. He was an Englishman who's a geologist. He was a world class authority on fossils. But with the champagne and I kept murmuring to Carol, why is Ronald Colman giving our graduation speech?

Let's play Oddball.

Thirty years ago.

We begin in South Africa with a house-breaking and entering situation. Meet Jessica the hippo, who lives with her handler Shirley and is smart enough to unlock the door. The only trouble is when Jessica is indoors, she still acts like an animal. The hippopotamus has broken one of Shirley's beds. When asked what do you give a hippo living in your house, Shirley replied, lots of room. To which Jessica called her a hypocrite.

To the Internets, this money saving tips; can't afford one of those fancy personal trainers? Have Spot spot you. Instead of telling him to sit, have him help you squat. Here are man and man's best friend achieving an excellent lower body workout.

Yes, in no time, you and your pooch can get rid of that ponch.

Finally, in South Wales, Claire Allen (ph) was preparing the family breakfast. After putting some yeast-based Marmite on the kid's toast, she noticed something on the under side of the lid.

Jesus Christ on a jar? Yes, that star rising from the yeast was, in fact, the Messiah in Marmite. Ms. Allen said she's keeping the lid to remember the first time the holy ghost was spread on breakfast toast.

Of those who fulfill their promise to be water boarded and those who do not, Jesse Ventura next. And first they wanted to destroy us by putting Fluoride in the water. Now the conspiracy is to unravel this nation by closing all the Republican-owned Chrysler dealerships. Tonight's WTF moment.

These stories ahead, but first time for Countdown's best persons in the world.

Number there, best imitation of a Python sketch, unnamed 52-year-old man in Tohyhanna, Pennsylvania, tried to open the gate of a gated community while still inside his truck. Fell out, ran himself over. He's fine. His fall was reportedly broken by the heavy padding of the alcohol in his blood stream.

Number two, best dereliction of duty, the unidentified Hearst driver in the funeral of Tito Vasquez of Bogota, Columbia. Mourners at the Campo de Cristo Cemetery kept waiting and waiting for hours. The hears and Mr. Vasquez were found a few hours later parked in lot outside the El Imperio motel in Bogota, which is where the driver stopped for a few beers.

Number one, best obvious place to buy a Lottery ticket, the Powerball ticket with five, six, 12, 16, 21, and the Powerball number seven, worth a tidy 232,100,000 was sold in south central South Dakota. The winner was sold in the town of Winner. Winner, South Dakota. How in the heck do you not see that coming?


OLBERMANN: Seeming absurdity is matched only by a potential to reduce the torture debate into easily digestible morsels. Our third story in the Countdown, the revelation that cookies trump water boarding in getting terrorists to talk. As this debate continues, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura joins us presently.

You will recall that former FBI agent Ali Soufan recently told a Senate panel that al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah offered up actionable intelligence while under standard interrogation, that once water boarding and other harsh techniques began, Zubaydah stopped cooperating.

Now, Mr. Soufan tells "Time Magazine" that the turning point in another interrogation must have been the cookies, sugar-free cookies, offered to Osama bin Laden's chief body guard, Abu Jandal (ph),once Mr. Soufan realized that Jandal was diabetic. Quoting, "we had showed him respect and we had done this nice thing for him, so he started talking to us instead of giving us lectures."

Bear in mind that Jandal was being interrogated in the week after the 9/11 attacks. Initially, Jandal had refused to even look interrogators in the eye. He railed against the evils of the West. But after the cookies, quote, "he could no longer think of us as evil Americans," according to Soufan. "Now he was thinking of us as human beings."

After further interrogations, including some trickery, Jandal became completely cooperative, and not just what the pros call crumbs of information. Real information was forthcoming from him.

Cut to the silly and inaccurate claims of the effectiveness of torture by the likes of Sean Hannity. Governor Ventura has vowed that if he waterboarded Hannity, he could get the Fox News host to say that Barack Obama is the greatest president. Similar suggestion for the former vice president.


JESSE VENTURA, FMR. GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA: I have said it before, you give me a waterboard, one hour and Dick Cheney, and I'll have him confessing to the Sharon Tate murders.


OLBERMANN: Joining us now as promised, former Minnesota governor, former US Navy Seal, former MSNBC host Jesse Ventura, now author of "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me." Thanks for some of your time tonight, governor.

VENTURA: Hi, Keith. How are you doing tonight?

OLBERMANN: Not too bad. Thanks for coming on. The "Time Magazine" article about bin Laden's body guard, it sounds crazy. But if we can get real intelligence using traditional interrogation, to say nothing of sugar-free cookies, should we be assuming that we used torture not to get real intelligence, but to get people to confess to things that weren't true?

VENTURA: Well, that certainly is a possibility, Keith. There's no credibility to torture. If you torture someone, they are going to say whatever it is they need to say to stop the torture. That's why we don't allow it in the court of law. That's why the police can't use water boarding techniques and things of that nature.

It is brutal torture. I've been water boarded. And I'm a former competitive swimmer. And I'll tell you what, Michael Phelps couldn't stand up to water boarding, because it gives you the sensation of drowning. And we, as swimmers, would be far more accustomed to it than the average person would.

OLBERMANN: That dovetails exactly with the tape of this Chicago radio guy Mancow, who said -


OLBERMANN: - went into this knowing - being a swimmer and, in fact, having drowned as a kid and having been resuscitated. He knew what this was really like and he knew this couldn't possibly be that. He lasted six seconds. He said, not only is it torture, not only is it drowning, it's death. It's being undersold. How does something like what he did impact this debate, such as it is?

VENTURA: Well, you know, it shows that we should not be a country that tortures. And the sad thing is, President Obama says now he's not going to prosecute anyone. Well, you know what that tells me, Keith, it tells me the Democrats are involved, too. They may have not ordered the torture, but they certainly knew it was going on. They did nothing to stop it.

Whenever government says to you, it's time to move on, you can rest assured the two parties are both involved, because both of these parties make their decisions to try to strengthen their parties. If there were no Democrats involved, you would see the Democrats prosecute the Republicans on this one.

OLBERMANN: The experience of watching somebody who was adamant that this was not torture get a quick conversion; how come Sean Hannity won't do it? I hesitate to call him your friend. But you've been on his show. And how come he trashed you when you brought it up about him, rather than addressed the topic to, you know, in some meaningful way?

VENTURA: Well, I don't know, because whenever - there's no right in torture. Torture's against the law. We shouldn't condone it. We're a country, if we don't stand for the rule of law - you can't just stand for it when it's convenient, Keith. You have to stand for the rule of law all the time.

They have nothing to stand on. So, that's just, you know, creativity and entertainment of the news. Hannity says he could be water boarded. There's no doubt in my mind Hannity wouldn't last 30 seconds. I can't last 30 seconds to water boarding. And I've been through BUDS, Basic Underwater Demolition Seal Training. There is nothing more torturous than that. If I can't stand it, how he's going to go through it?

OLBERMANN: Of course. Last question about Dick Cheney and the others who continue to attack Obama on his stance about using torture now. Setting aside for a second the question of prosecuting what went before.

VENTURA: Sure. Sure.

OLBERMANN: What is that Cheney hopes to gain? What is it that those who agree with him hope to gain at this point?

VENTURA: I think they are hoping that no one continues to prosecute them for what did, for his lawyers, all the way up to them. I did a lot of reading. They had lawyers making decisions on what's torture and what's not, that it is not torture unless death is inevitable. I've got news for you, water boarding can cause death. If it is not done properly, you can easily kill somebody water boarding them.

OLBERMANN: The tracheotomy kit is not standing by during these interrogations for laughs. Jesse Ventura.

VENTURA: When they did it to us at SERE school, Keith, they a doctor standing by anytime any serviceman was water boarded.

OLBERMANN: Somehow, there is still a debate about this. Former governor of Minnesota, now the author of "Don't Start the Revolution Without Me," good luck with the book. Great thanks for your time, Jesse.

VENTURA: Thank you, Keith. Always a pleasure.

OLBERMANN: Of course, the Republicans can show you that the revolution already began. Obama has begun his desperate campaign to eliminate that bastion of GOP power, Chrysler dealers, your neighborhood Chrysler dealer. Tonight's WTF moment ahead.

Plus, in worsts, Dennis Miller helpfully explains this, this what he's doing right here, his joke. Remember when he didn't have to telegraph his joke?

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, timing is everything. So a week after it was replaced by the Sotomayor nomination, the Republicans have now just launched an ad attacking Nancy Pelosi.


OLBERMANN: Did you know that evil militant Democrats are trying to destroy Republican car dealers? It's true. When I say true, of course, I mean it's utter crap that can be proven with an abacus. It's tonight's WTF moment. That's next, but first time for Countdown's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Coulter-Geist. Her latest column has now appeared in leading newspapers, like the "Pennysaver." She notes, quote, "the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances is celebrated at political rallies, tea parties, marches, protests, and whenever Keith Olbermann has a fight with his cat."

Annie. Ann, I'm here, over here, look at the shiny. Look at the shiny thing. Annie, when you saw that man dressed up as me on the television, talking about his cat, that wasn't actually me. That was another man, very nice man. He was playing pretend. Annie, just focus for a second, dear. Thank you. That was "Saturday Night Live." It was a comedy sketch. It wasn't real. I don't actually have a cat. I know, dear. I know you want it to be real. But just because you hold your breath and stomp your foot, that isn't going to make it real. I know, I know, Annie, it hurts. I'm sorry. What's that? You want to go back to holding your breath until it is true and I really do have a cat? Well, OK, Annie, you hold your breath until I get a cat.

Our runner-up, former comedian Dennis Miller, now in the entertainment relocation program that is Fixed News.


DENNIS MILLER, FOX NEWS: I want to preface my answer by saying that it's not nearly as textured and rich as it could be if I had led the life of a Latino woman! Sorry, it's my Sonia Sotomayor joke.


OLBERMANN: Thank god you explained. For a moment I thought you were having trouble chewing celery.

But our winner, two nights in a row now, a Mark Krikorian, a blogger at the "National Review" online. He says his point yesterday about Judge Sonia Sotomayor and how the rest of us shouldn't have to go to all the trouble of pronouncing her name correctly has been misinterpreted. So we'll quote his clarification. "While in the past there may have been too much social pressure for what sociologists call Anglo-conformity, now there isn't enough. I think that's a concern that most Americans share at some level, which is the root of the angst over excessive immigration, bilingual education, official English, etc."

Well, if you say so. You'd rather erase the idea that when it comes to pronouncing non-Anglo names, you are just lazy or snooty, and underscore instead the fact that, no, you are actually refusing to do so in protest over excessive immigration, bilingual education, official English, et cetera. Hey, it's your xenophobia and racism buddy, not mine. Mark Krikorian - really, couldn't you change it to K? K would cause less angst about immigration and hyphenated Americans such as yourself. Mark K, today's worst person in the world!


OLBERMANN: Finally tonight, the scene is the White House Christmas party. And the movie is the "American President." And what this reminded me of in reality is not this bad, but it's close.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, militant women are out to destroy college football in this country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Have you been following the situation down in Atlanta?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These women want parity for girl's softball, volleyball, field hockey -

DOUGLAS: If I'm not mistaken, Gil, the courts ruled on Title Nine about 20 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir, but what I'm saying now is that these women want that law enforced.

DOUGLAS: It's a world gone mad, Gil.


OLBERMANN: Well, tonight, according to the right wing paranoia sphere, militant Democrats are out to destroy Republican car dealerships in this country. It's tonight's WTF moment.

It's true. The "Washington Examiner," which is like the "Washington Times," only with fewer moonies, has breathlessly reported, that, quote, "evidence appears to be mounting that the Obama administration has systematically targeted for closing Chrysler dealers who contributed to Republicans. What started earlier this week as mainly a rumbling on the right side of the blogosphere has gathered some steam today with revelations that among the dealers being shut down are a GOP congressman and closing of competitors to a dealership partly owned by former Clinton White House chief of Staff Matt McLarty."

Oh, this gets better and better. Obama's car czar, Steven Rattner, is married to the former national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And what's worse, he used to be a reporter for the "New York Times," as recently as 1982! 1982? The chip implanted in his brain to make him act all liberal and anti-American must still be running on its original battery, 1982.

He worked for the "New York Times" when Reagan was president. Of course, he's leading a Democratic plot to destroy Republican car dealers.

Then there's the real victim here, "Florida Representative Vern Buchanan learned from a House colleague that his Venice, Florida dealership is on the hit list. Buchanan also has a Nissan franchise paired with the Chrysler dealer in Venice. It's an outrage. It's not about me. I'm going to be fine, said Buchanan, the dealership's majority owner. You're talking taking over 100,000 jobs. We're supposed to be in the business of creating jobs, not killing jobs."

Before we get back to the vast right turn on red conspiracy to wreak revenge on Republicans by closing their car dealerships, an important note about the GOP stance on this auto bailout that is keeping three quarters of all Chrysler dealerships open, they all voted against it.

Last December, before Obama became president, the Republicans, from McCain ton Bunning, from Bachmann to Cantor, preferred seeing the whole industry go under, all the jobs, not just the 100,000 Congressman Buchanan just mentioned, all the car dealerships, Republican, Democrat, socialists, communist, used. Thirty one Republican senators voted against the auto bailout, 151 Republican congressman including, in the height of chutzpah, considering how he now alleging a political conspiracy to close his car dealership, Congressman Vern Buchanan of Florida. He voted against the auto bailout.

If he'd had it his way, it wouldn't have been his Chrysler dealership closed. It would have been everybody's Chrysler dealership being closed, all of them. Chowder-head.

This has been fun, this specter of Republicans who insisted we should let Detroit dry up and blow away. With it all the parts manufacturers and all the repair shops and all the dealerships, Chrysler, Ford, GM, the people who told an entire industry and all its satellite industries to go to hell; suddenly these hypocrites are getting all riled up because only about one-quarter of just the Chrysler dealerships are being closed.

But this misses the basic issue. "The basic issue raised here is this," concludes the "Washington Examiner" guy, "how do we account for the fact millions of dollars were contributed to GOP candidates by Chrysler who are being closed by the government. But only one has been found so far that is being closed that contributed to the Obama campaign in 2008?"

Da-da-daaa. Of course, actual journalists would try to answer that question before posting their rage-inducing, conspiracy theory feeding, paranoia producing tattle in a semi-newspaper and not afterwards. Then again, journalism for these guys is sticking your byline on the tape, and then writing down what Mr. Bouncy-Bouncy says.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Nobody can figure out exactly why certain dealerships are being targeted to be closed. There are some people looking into it, but the evidence is sketchy. All we know is that a whole lot of really successful dealerships are being shut down. Some of them happen to be owned by people who contributed lots of money to Republicans.


OLBERMANN: Oh, yes, about the really successful car dealerships that aren't being shut down. Turns out some of them happen to be owned by people who contributed lots of money by Republicans, too. I'm not being honest when I say that. Nearly all of the really successful Chrysler dealerships that aren't being shut down happen to be owned by people who contributed lots of money to Republicans, because nearly all car dealers who donate money to either party donate it to the Republicans.

Who else but Nate Silver did the math here? He used "Huffington Post's" wonderful search engine Fund Race, and pulled down auto dealer from the occupation menu. Results, donations by auto dealers to the GOP total over 8.5 times more than donations by auto dealers to the Democrats; 8.6 to one.

If you list yourself as a, quote, car dealer, it is a little closer. Maybe that includes used car dealers, I don't know. Donations to the GOP are only triple the donations to the Democrats there.

The other variations that Nate found, automobile dealer, they give ten times as much to Republicans as Democrats. Automotive dealer - I'm guessing those are the ones who sell the Stanley Steamers and fleets of Cadillacs - that is about a 16 to one Republican edge.

Put them all together, as Nate did, and, as he writes, 88 percent of the contributions from car dealers went to Republican candidates and just 12 percent to Democratic candidates. Another reality based analyst using a different data source puts the number at 92 percent.

The gist of this is inescapable. The reason it was nearly impossible to find a Chrysler dealership that gave to the Democrats and was just ordered closed is not there aren't any that were ordered closed, it's that there aren't any, period.

In their haste to scapegoat Obama for everything and anything, Limbaugh and his wimp followers neglected to look at the larger picture, this evil, Democrat, socialist, racist, bomb-throwing, White Sox fan has secretly enacted a plan that makes sure that nearly eight out of every ten Chrysler dealers who donated to the Republicans are forced to keep their property, stay in business, to stay open, and continue to make money. The bastard!

A conspiracy to eliminate Republican automobile dealers. WTF.

That's Countdown this the 2,219th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.