Tuesday, June 30, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, June 30
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons

Guests: Jonathan Alter, Eugene Robinson, Richard Clarke, Dan Savage, Andrew Blankstein


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

Minnesota finally has its senator.


FMR. SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R), MINNESOTA: And the future today is that we have a new United States senator. I congratulate Al Franken and his victory in this election.


OLBERMANN: Only five votes decided but they are essential ones - the Minnesota Supreme Court orders the governor to certify Al Franken's election by the vote of five to nothing.


SENATOR-ELECT AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I am so excited to finally be able to get to work for the people of Minnesota.


OLBERMANN: Nothing can hold Senator Franken back now. The election - that was fast.

So was this.


GOV. MARK SANFORD, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I have seen her three times since then, during that whole sparking thing.


OLBERMANN: Or seven times, including two rendezvous in New York. The governor apologizes for the lie in his first apology and - get the butter, he's toast.

National Sovereignty Day in Iraq: We turn over the keys to the country to the country.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: The Iraqi people are rightly treating this day as a cause for celebration.


OLBERMANN: Dick Cheney predicts a result is Armageddon. Richard Clarke joins us to separate the weak from the chafed.

The president from the LBGT community: "We're making progress on 'don't ask, don't tell.'" Just not enough progress to eliminate it?

Reportedly not only was it Michael Jackson the biological father but the surrogate mother wasn't the biological mother. And nobody bothered to legally adopt the kids.

Worsts: Limbaugh's latest lunacy. Obama is planning on three terms.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Anybody who thinks that he intends to just constitutionally go away in 2016 is nuts.


OLBERMANN: Bests: Michele Bachmann's warning: "Don't fill out the census. It's a trick. It may cost Minnesota one of its seats in Congress." Guess which seat?


OLBERMANN: All that and more - now on Countdown.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: This is going to be good for you.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

The Senate historian has already issued his verdict on the fact he's had a long, long time to research. Al Franken is now the first former comedian to be elected to the United States Senate, thus, can I issue our punch line that we've had a long, long time to research. You mean professional, professional comedian.

Our fifth story on the Countdown: Coleman concedes Franken is a senator. It only took 238 days and the final vote tally was five to nothing.

Nearly six months to the day after his term expired, the former senator, Republican of Minnesota, Norm Coleman, accepting he has lost, telling reporters that further litigation would damage the unity of his state.

All five justices of the Supreme Court of Minnesota having ruled on the accuracy and integrity of the 2008 vote count. Quoting from their decision, "Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled to receive the certificate of election as the United States senator from Minnesota affirmed."

This afternoon, ex-Senator Coleman, gracious in defeat.


COLEMAN: I just had a conversation with Al Franken congratulating him on his victory. And I told him it's the best job that he'll ever have, representing the people in Minnesota in the United States Senate.

Ours is a government of laws, not men and women. The Supreme Court of Minnesota has spoken. I respect its decision, and I will abide by its results.

It's time for Minnesotans to come together under the leaders it has chosen and move forward. And I join all Minnesotans in congratulating our newest United States senator, Al Franken.


OLBERMANN: In a statement, the Republican governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, is saying he would sign the election certificate and do it today. And there's no rush really. Even after the eight months, a spokesman for the Democratic leader of the Senate, Harry Reid, is saying the earliest Franken could be seated is next week, because the Senate is out of session now for the July 4th holiday.

President Obama calling Mr. Franken earlier today to congratulate him, having issued a statement earlier today to which he said he's looking forward to working with the junior senator from Minnesota.

At an early evening news conference, Franken - still officially senator-elect - saying that he is looking forward to getting started, revealing that he expects to join the judiciary committee, among other posts, and offering more details about his conversation with the former senator.


FRANKEN: It was a very gracious call, I must say. He - I - he said it was a very hard-fought campaign. I said it was - I said, Norm, it couldn't have been closer. And I said to him that Frannie and I can only imagine what this is like for him and his family. And he just - he just said, "This is going to be the best job you'll ever have." I hope it's the best job I ever had. I imagine - yes, I think it will be.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn now to our own Jonathan Alter, senior editor at "Newsweek" magazine.

Good evening, Jon.


OLBERMANN: They fought everything else. Why are Republicans dropping it here?

ALTER: Well, in Minnesota, they're really sick of this. And it's actually a negative to keep it going as long as they have. So, it was bad politics for - not just for Coleman, who might want to run for governor, but for Pawlenty and everybody else to let this drag on any longer.

There's been a lot of misunderstanding for Al Franken. I'm a little bias because he's been a friend for a long time. But - one thing he didn't like to talk about in the campaign, because it doesn't get a lot of votes, he was a math jock, a math jock at Harvard.

OLBERMANN: Oh, yes. Right.

ALTER: He's a smart guy. He's going to be a good, effective senator. And when the comedian stuff wears off, which it will fairly quickly, I think people will find that he's quite good.

OLBERMANN: Also, he was honest about being a comedian .


OLBERMANN: . as opposed to the 99 people he now joins in the Senate.

ALTER: Right.

OLBERMANN: The - again, the Republican angle on this, though, was there also a monetary consideration? They have spent somewhere between $1 million and $2 million on the recount. That is presumably money coming out of the midterms.

Did they get anything for it? Did they just say, "OK, here's where we cut our losses if we get to this point, in the Supreme Court," especially if it's five-zip?

ALTER: Yes, it was clear a few months ago that this was going to be the end of the road. You had a lot of Republicans from Minnesota, and I talked to some of them, who were saying privately six months ago that Coleman should not be pursuing this, that he should get out gracefully in his own interest.

He didn't take their advice. It was basically Norm Coleman against the entire Republican establishment there, and he knew that this was as far as he could take it.

OLBERMANN: Sixty votes, filibuster-proof, super-majority. It sounds wonderful. It sounds dreamy. I would use the word "dreamy" to describe this.

However, these are Democrats we are talking about.


OLBERMANN: And it would seem to me there would be possibility if they had 75 votes, they'd still find some way to screw up that advantage. Is this really a milestone or not?

ALTER: It is a milestone, but I think for some reasons that people don't quite get, they go well, but with these reconciliation, you know, tactics, can't they really pass things with 51 votes? And the answer to that is technically yes, but practically no. They really do need 60 votes.

Will it be hard to keep them all in line? Do they have to keep Bob Byrd healthy enough to vote and Ted Kennedy to vote? Yes. But they do have more discipline than they used to, and they want to put health care through with 60 votes, not ram it through with 51.

On energy, the way the deal works, they have to have 60 votes .


ALTER: . in order to get - to pass the bill that's already passed the House on energy. The first real energy policy we've ever had in this country.

So, I do think you're going to see a little bit more discipline on the Senate side than people expect in terms of getting a final bill. But they're going to argue a lot that - the Democrats are going to argue a lot about the details.

So, the big question: will Democrats let special interests have their way too much in the final version of both of these landmark pieces of legislation.

OLBERMANN: (INAUDIBLE). And there is one - it's not a complete loss for the GOP, but they do get one thing if nothing else out of this. They now have the "Democrats are the world domination party" meaning to run against, correct?

ALTER: They have been using that already.

OLBERMANN: Yes, but I mean, now they can point to 60.

ALTER: Yes, they can say it.

OLBERMANN: It's an even number. It's easy for their constituents to understand.

ALTER: Yes. There's no avoiding responsibility and accountability by the Democrats. And so, the big issue is going to be - in the midterms and in 2012 - is not going to be, you know, how many votes do they have in the Senate? It's - did the economy get any better? And so, the Democrats will be judged by their record.

OLBERMANN: Jonathan Alter of MSNBC and "Newsweek" - always a pleasure. Thanks for coming in.

ALTER: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: One Republican concedes to reality and inevitability; another seems to have stuck his fingers in his ears so deeply to avoid them both that the ears have met or the fingers have met in the middle of his brain. It turns out the first frank admission about his extramarital "sparking" was short a few trysts and a few women and the bunch of uncomfortable details that Governor Mark Sanford has decided to fill in for us.

No politician has told so many salacious half-truths about his own love life since Sanford's last news conference last week. In a new and remarkable interview, the governor having originally admitted to only four meetings with his mistress over the past year, now putting that number at seven - seven that he is admitting to.

The wild bull of the pampas now time-lining his extracurricular calendar with his Argentine friend like this: Five meetings with Maria Belen Chapur in the last year, including two, quote, "multi-night stays in New York." It sounds like something he won on a game show. Also, two more meetings before then.

Those overnight stays in New York would be the first time he has admitted to sparking with her on U.S. soil. Still not South Carolinian soil, however, where the governor could be subject to a hefty fine and no less than six months in jail because adultery is still on the books there.

Governor Sanford today also admitting to more women - if not exactly more sex with those women - telling "The Associated Press" that he, quote, "crossed lines," end-quote, with a handful of women other than his mistress or his wife, but he claims he never sparked any of them. The governor is saying that during the encounters with other women, he, quote, "let his guard down" with some physical contact but, quote, "never crossed the ultimate line."


SANFORD: Again, I didn't cross the sex line. I'm quite certain that there were a handful of instances wherein I crossed lines that I shouldn't have crossed as a married man, but never crossed the ultimate line.


OLBERMANN: If there isn't a band called "cross the sex line" by next week, somebody's asleep at the switch.

Finally, this piece of reconciliation advice from the governor, should he still want to get back together with the missus as he claimed again together to his interview, best perhaps not to describe the affair at length as, quote, "a love story." Best not to mention either publicly or privately that his Argentine mistress was his soul mate - wives tend not to like that.


SANFORD: And so, if you end up 50 years here on Earth, and you know, all right, maybe I've got another 30. And if you come in connection with a soul that touches yours the way that no one's ever has - even if it's a place you can't go - this notion of knowing that you know, for me, can be very, very important.


OLBERMANN: Oh, here we go.

Let's turn now to our own Eugene Robinson, associated editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of "The Washington Post," who is both from South Carolina and has lived in Buenos Aires and, of course, most importantly, has stayed overnight in New York himself.

This just keeps getting closer and closer to you, Gene.


EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It does. But there was no sparking, Keith.



OLBERMANN: The movie "Love Story" infamously, the advertising for this was love meant never having to say you're sorry. The governor spent six days now where he's been doing little else but saying he's sorry. How much longer does this center hold?

ROBINSON: Who - is it holding now? I mean, every time he says he's sorry .


ROBINSON: But he's still the governor. He's still the governor. But I'll tell you, if I, you know, went and told an interviewer that my mistress was my soul mate and I was trying to fall back in love with my wife, you'd be picking pieces of me up off .


ROBINSON: . you know, of Fifth Avenue or wherever. It's just - every time he apologizes, he creates the need to apologize yet again. So, this could go on indefinitely .


ROBINSON: . like a perpetual motion machine.

OLBERMANN: And I don't want to - I don't want to mock the emotion. In many respects, the governor is somebody should be envied for all - for what supposed he feels. But, you know, this is the story as relates to his job and what he was elected to do and the money that is spent to protect him and fly him places. This story keeps evolving.

We started - it was the hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail. Now, it's - you know, now, it's lines that he crossed that didn't quite involve sex but something near. Why should we even believe that?

ROBINSON: Well, why should we? And, by the way, these lines that he crossed with these other women, who were these other women?


ROBINSON: And, how - you know, exactly, how were these lines crossed? I mean - you know, again, he is perpetuating this story. It's not anybody else. He's doing it.

OLBERMANN: Are they all from Argentina? Is there one person in South American country? Are there any in any other continents?

ROBINSON: Well, we don't know. But one thing, I mean, the admission about other women and unmentioned lines does actually .


ROBINSON: . maybe I'm cynical, but it does make me wonder about the kind of love story, soul mate. Clearly, he was looking for a soul mate not his wife, or at least open to that possibility a bit more than perhaps he should have been for quite some time.

OLBERMANN: Obviously, this is tremendous television and in terms of political theater, and, you know, revelation of political hypocrisy - as much as might be said about this throughout broadcast television and cable television news, this is - this is a wonderfully informative thing.

But, on the other hand, isn't somebody who either loves the governor or hates him tell him to shut up before he does himself even more damage?

ROBINSON: I would hope so. I mean, one imagines that staff members, for example, may just read these interviews and watch these interviews with kind of slack-jawed amazement. And I can't imagine that they're not telling him, "Governor, you really need to go hiking, go hiking, Governor. Go to the Appalachian Trail immediately."


OLBERMANN: Take a - take a hike, Gov.

Yes, if you've ever been completely stupefied but your managers, your bosses had been able to find the office in the morning, let alone tie their shoes or whatever, I guess you can sympathize with the staff here.

Gene Robinson of "The Washington Post" - as ever, great thanks, Gene.

ROBINSON: Buenas tardes.

OLBERMANN: And stay out of New York.

This was a day agreed upon during the Bush administration for the removal of the U.S. troops in the streets of the Iraqi cities and the handover of controls to the key security infrastructures to the Iraqis. Naturally, going through with the plan has now been criticized by Dick Cheney.

Richard Clarke is here to not only analyze that, but in a convenient coincidence of timing, the CIA's internal report on detainee abuse and torture comes out tomorrow. Maybe he has a thought or two on that.


OLBERMANN: The Iraqis call it National Sovereignty Day. We call it, here, you drive. The Bush administration set it date. So, naturally, because Obama lived up to it, he's being criticized by Dick Cheney. Former chief counterterrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, joins us next.

In Bests: How Michele Bachmann's paranoia about the census might make her own congressional district disappear.

And in Worsts: it's official, Sarah Palin can't tell the difference between God and Sarah Palin.

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: Dick Cheney - the foreign policy genius who could see invisible WMD and figured out that Iraq would give them away to its best friend al Qaeda - has new and equally blazing pearls of wisdom about today's redeployment of troops from patrolling Iraqi streets and providing backup on requests. Our fourth story: How much wrong can one Dick Cheney be?

His prediction that Americans would be welcomed as liberators? Wrong.

We got our parades and flowers today because we left.

Yesterday, as General Ray Odierno discussed the recent increase in violence, Cheney got the chance to be right for once. Here is the question he got and listen for the part about the violence following Obama's withdrawal order.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last night, we heard from General Odierno, and he reports that May had the lowest level of civilian casualties since the war in Iraq began. But there has been a big uptick in the last few weeks since the Obama administration ordered a withdrawal from Iraq. Are we getting out too soon, is the question I have for you, sir.


OLBERMANN: Wrong. The Bush administration ordered the withdrawal.

Today's pullback, departure in 2011 - last year they ordered it. And Mr. Cheney allowed that wrong to stand. And instead, with that unique gift, responding intel others missed, he saw in Odierno's words: grave threats ahead.


RICHARD CHENEY, FMR. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: What he says concerns me. It would look like - one might speculate - that the insurgents are waiting, and as soon as they get an opportunity, they'll begin to launch more attacks.

I hope that's not the case. I hope certainly the Iraqis can deal with it. At some point, they have to stand on their own. But I would not want to see us waste all of the tremendous sacrifice that's gotten us to this point.


OLBERMANN: Wrong squared. For one thing, sir, you wasted the tremendous sacrifice by making it, by sending hundreds of thousands of troops into harm's way, 4,300 of them never to return to protect us from WMD, about which you were wrong, to keep them from Iraq's terrorist allies, about whom you were wrong.

As for your fear, quote, "that insurgents are waiting and as soon as they get an opportunity, they'll begin to launch more attacks" - did you even hear the question? She specifically said that Odierno reported attacks had already been launched. Insurgents are not waiting for U.S. troops to leave, as Odierno said on this, that Mr. Cheney would know if he watched TV, let alone heard the people talking to him. In recent weeks, that uptick of violence has killed hundreds, even with U.S. troops there.

With us tonight, Richard Clarke, former chief counterterrorism adviser to both the Bush and Clinton presidencies, author most recently of "Your Government Failed You: Breaking the Cycle of National Security Disasters," chairman now of Good Harbor Consulting.

Great thanks, sir.


OLBERMANN: Did we just see sort of the Cheney, the anatomy of the Cheney intel analysis process? He already knew insurgents would lie in wait and spring out after the U.S. pulled back. So, it didn't even register to him that both Odierno and that interviewer just said, you know, the insurgents were not lying in wait. They already sprung out and already were in action.

CLARKE: And it's interesting, a CNN/Opinion Research poll that came out today said 52 percent of the American people expected there to be an uptick in attacks after the U.S. troops left the cities. It's pretty obvious that that would happen.

And what Cheney's doing is really politics here. It's not intelligence analysis. It's the same thing he did on the torture issue. On the torture issue he said, "Ah, because Obama stopped torture, if there is another al Qaeda attack, it will be because of that decision."

He's trying to predict disasters - another al Qaeda attack, more violence in Iraq; and say, in advance of these things happening, if they happen, it will be because of something Obama did. Even though in this case, it's something that Bush did. As you pointed out, this withdrawal from the cities was something that Bush ordered.

OLBERMANN: And even in this case, isn't he actually predicting the past? Because this uptick in violence occurred before the troops were pulled out, not by Obama's orders but by Bush's agreement.

CLARKE: Absolutely. And, look, there may be more violence in the next few weeks. There may be a further uptick.

That's not the issue. The issue is what good does it do to keep American troops in the cities? And what is the criteria for when you'll bring them home?

Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems to be thinking it's going to keep 130,000 American troops there until after the election some time in January. So, Obama hasn't really made any new courageous decisions here. We're implementing a Bush decision and the troops have only moved about five or 10 miles.

OLBERMANN: Yes. A point that John Hannah, who had been the former national security adviser to Mr. Cheney, made, that if Bush had removed troops from Iraq under fire, he said, "al Qaeda and Iran would have been embolden and American credibility throughout the Middle East would have been lost." Well, it's a good thing Iran wasn't emboldened and it was a good thing we didn't lose any credibility in the Middle East, right?

CLARKE: It would be - it would be hard to imagine Iran more emboldened than it is today. Hard to imagine that al Qaeda could get more emboldened. This is one of those trite lines that they use so often during the campaign. Iran is going to do what it's going to do.

The United States needs to do what it must do in its own best interest, and that's to get the hell out.

OLBERMANN: I mentioned before the break, the CIA inspector general's report on prisoner abuse comes out tomorrow. What do you want to know from it? What could it tell us about the need for further investigation?

CLARKE: Well, I think two things it could tell us, and I would like to know. One, did the interrogations do any good? Did they provide any essential information that stopped terrorist attacks? I'm told the report said there was no intelligence that stopped terrorist attacks as a result of this torture.

The second thing is, did the torture go beyond even the Bush administration Justice Department's own guidelines? And, again, I think the report will say - there were CIA personnel who exceeded the guidelines. And, therefore, I think the question is obvious, when are we going to have an investigation?

OLBERMANN: Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism chief of National Security Council, author of "Your Government Failed You," which is now out in paperback.

Richard Clarke, as always, great thanks for your time.

CLARKE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Meantime, our correspondent in a war-torn Las Vegas Strip reports there's been an outbreak of slap-fighting there. We'll go there live.

And, Sarah Palin thinks she's God. No, seriously. "Vanity Fair" reports she sent out an e-mail signed, quote, "Trig's Creator, Your Heavenly Father." Oh, here we go.

Worst Persons is ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Bests in a moment, and how Michele Bachmann may have just put herself out of business.

First the exact date shift. But 30 years ago, on the Tuesday of the 27th week of the year, I was hired for my first job in this business as a sportscaster for United Press International's old radio network. The first broadcast wasn't until July 10th at quarter to 10:00 in the morning, and I had an out-of-body experience during it, and as Ernie Kovacs said, "The money meant nothing, the money was nothing, therefore, the money meant nothing." My first year's salary was, I believe, $170 a week.

Let's play Oddball.

And another edition of when good live shots go bad. I had one like this once, February 2, 1983, the Redskins' Super Bowl victory parade. That picture was taken that day, a little teenage boy keeps jumping in front of me and my mustache. Finally, I shoved him out of the way, which was the first time I realized he was actually a teenage girl.

So, Steve Ryan from KTNV in Los Angeles, I feel your pain.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He'd someday perform on the Strip. And our team coverage continues with Action News reporter Steve Ryan. He's on Fremont Street with the very latest. We talked to some fans, Steve.

STEVE RYAN, KTNV REPORTER: Trisha and Nina, Fremont Street here is the place where locals and tourists alike gather to listen to music. And, you know, people like this, they listen to this stuff all the time, for example. You see, this guy is - yes, you like Michael Jackson, too, don't you?

Whoa! As you see, this guy is a little out of control right now, but you can't blame for that. You know, I'll tell you a little bit more about Michael Jackson.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Apparently, unruly fan out there.


OLBERMANN: To Rome, Georgia, where another Braves manager has gotten all unruly. Rome is Atlanta's A-Ball affiliate. This is manager Randy Engle (ph) who didn't like a call made by the home plate ump during last night's game, so he chucked his helmet, did some red faced ranting, then headed over to third, picked it up and made his own call. Of course, this is part of the job description for Braves manager.

My hero, Bob Cox, of the big league club, already holds the all-time record for getting tossed out of games. And who can forget this guy? AA Mississippi Braves Manager Phil Welman, who two years ago got his money's worth after being ejecting by turning home plate into a sandbox, chucking a base, and re-enacting a scene from "Platoon," and crawling on his belly to the pitcher's mound, and then hurling a rosin grenade.

All of the men still have their jobs. If you're wondering, the Braves triple a team - incoming - is managed by the Real House Wife of New Jersey who flipped over the table.

Mixed message; the president promises progress for the LBGT community. but not on don't ask, don't tell, not yet anyway.

And don't ask, don't tell, don't look, don't bother to file adoption papers for your kids before you die. The Michael Jackson saga continues forever.

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

Dateline Sri Lanka, number three, best irony. A desperate effort by that nation to stop the spread of Dengue Fever through mosquitoes, as police checking the entire island and arresting people who do not destroy potential mosquito breeding areas on their property. They found just such a breading ground, empty cans full of mosquito larvae, in a factory that makes mosquito repellent.

Dateline, Oklahoma City, number two, best theocrat. That would be State Representative Sally Kern, who has introduced a bill containing a tediously long Citizens Proclamation for Morality. The word whereas is used 17 times. The gist, quote, "our economic woes are consequences of our greater national moral crisis." She says you should blame the downturn on, quote, "abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, sex trafficking, divorce, illegitimate births, child abuse, and many other forms of debauchery."

Lady, have you ever looked at it the other way? Maybe we are being punished for those things by having people like you representing us in government.

And Dateline suburbs of Minneapolis, number one, best petard to be hoist upon later, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. You heard her calls for constituents not to fill out the census because it will be used to intern them or it is going to be given to ACORN, or cause acorns to fall out of her head, I don't know, something with squirrels.

Listen to her. Don't fill out the census, residents of the Minnesota Sixth Congressional District. As a local newspaper notes, if just a few thousand people don't fill out the census, Minnesota could easily find its population under-reported, and it could lose one of its seats in Congress.

The district considered likeliest to be absorbed into another district:



OLBERMANN: Marking the anniversary of the modern gay rights movement in front of those now fighting for it, the president likened the struggle to past civil rights battles, then listed his administration's accomplishments towards achieving equality, with one exception, repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

In our third story, four decades after the Stonewall riots, the president faces criticism that he is stone-walling. In the East Room, Mr. Obama telling members of the gay community and their families, welcome to your White House. Then addressing the elephant in the East Room, the 16-year-old policy banning gays from openly serving in the military.


OBAMA: I believe Don't Ask, Don't Tell doesn't contribute to our national security. In fact, I believe - I believe preventing patriotic Americans from serving their country weakens our national security.


OLBERMANN: And while Mr. Obama also pledged to work with the Pentagon and Congress to repeal the policy, the commander in chief gave no firm time line. Lieutenant Colonel Victor Fehrenbach, one of those discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell, attended the ceremony last night, and spoke with the president.



He looked at me right in the eye and he said, we are going to get this done. And then he continued to say, you know, everyone seems to be on board with it. We have about 75 percent of the public that supports this. What we have is a generational issue, so there's some convincing to do, that there's a generational gap, it seems, in some of the senior leadership.


OLBERMANN: Earlier tonight, a military board recommending that Lieutenant Dan Choi, an Iraq war veteran Arabic linguist, be discharged from service. If that recommendation holds, Choi will become the 266th service member to fall victim to Don't Ask, Don't Tell since President Obama took office in January.

Joining us now is activist Dan Savage, author of "The Commitment:

Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family."

Thanks for some of your time tonight, sir.

DAN SAVAGE, ACTIVIST: Thank you for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Is it times like this where the president needs to be reminded he's also commander in chief of the military? Is there an argument to be made that he can't somehow use that authority to end this process?

SAVAGE: There is an argument to be made. And last week, 78 members of the Congress made just that argument in a letter to the president to encouraging to use his authority as commander in chief to suspend enforcement of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and end the discharges of gay and lesbian service members like Choi and Fehrenbach. He has that authority. You see over at the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano has used just that authority to suspend enforcement of something called the widowers penalty, which is a law that requires people who have been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years, whose spouse dies, to be deported.

Napolitano wants that law changed. She thinks it's cruel and inhumane. And she suspended enforcement while Congress, quote/unquote, works on a fix. She seems to have authorities and powers that the president, her boss, commander in chief, does not? It's really quite shocking that everyone in that room would applaud so politely when the president stood there and pretended like he couldn't end at least enforcement of Don't Ask, Don't Tell today, right now.

OLBERMANN: What Lieutenant Colonel Fehrenbach said after the conversation he had with the president last night is that the president told him there was this generational gap to deal with. But even the oldest man in the Army is not required to follow the orders of the president of the United States? What is - it feels like - does it not feel like this to you, being directly involved in this, and to me as sort of on the sidelines, that there's something that he's hinting at, that Obama is hinting that, that is just not getting through to anybody?

SAVAGE: Well, he's the president. He doesn't have to blink out distress signals. He can issue orders. Yes, there may be a generation gap. There was a much bigger and wider and more problematic generation gap when Truman ordered the military to integrate racially. If Truman had waited for everyone to be on board - the president himself said 75 percent of the country supports the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell.

How many more retrograde bigots do we need to wait to come up to speed before the president moves at least on suspending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And then demanding that Congress repeal it.

OLBERMANN: Is there - he said generational. Is there also a religious thing going on here? Is Obama coming up against the organized fundamentalists, proselytizers who look at the military and so these fertile fields for indoctrination among the new recruits, and, of course, the indoctrination of the more of these restrictive religions, components that include homophobia?

SAVAGE: Perhaps. Obama does seem to have kind of a hang-up when it comes to wanting to find common ground with the likes of Rick Warren and fundamentalist Christians, who are never going to see eye to eye with him on gay and lesbian issues. If he is our fierce advocate, if he is our champion, as he described himself last night at the White House, he needs to stop pandering to religious conservatives.

Not all religious people oppose equal rights for gays and lesbians. Many religious organizations and people have endorsed marriage equality and endorsed the appeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. The president needs to worry more about those religious people, and less about Rick Warren and his ilk.

OLBERMANN: Was there any silver lining in this for you? Did you see anything to suggest there's progress within the administration?

SAVAGE: Well, we, once again, got a reiteration of the promises the president made to the gay and lesbian community. We got them know as president, as opposed to as candidate Obama. And there was tremendous symbolic value to what happened at the White House yesterday. I don't want to discount that.

However, there's been very little action, very little progress. And what comes out of the president's mouth doesn't seem to translate into policy. And we didn't - we got the promises when he was candidate Obama. What we want now is actually we want the fierce urgency of now. People are being discharged from the military now. People are being turned away from their partner's bedsides during medical emergencies now.

We weren't sold the fierce urgency of maybe in my second term or I'll get to it or one day or wait, have patience. We want these promises fulfilled now.

OLBERMANN: Yes. On two levels, A, human rights and, B, by the way, we need all of the Arab linguists we can find. I don't care what they look like, what they do, or who they are. The president is god damned wrong on this.

Dan Savage, author and activist, thank you for being here.

SAVAGE: Thank you for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN: So Michael Jackson was not the biological father. The surrogate mother, Debbie Rowe, was not the biological mother. And nobody ever adopted the kids. Oops!

And did you know Barack Obama is scheming to get a third term, even though Constitutionally he could not take advantage of any repeal of the presidential terms limit? It's true, because the boss says so here.

And when "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" begins for you at the top of the hour, the special guest, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar on the subject of Minnesota's official junior Senator Al Franken.


OLBERMANN: Good news, reportedly there is a Michael Jackson will. Bad news, he never adopted the kids mentioned in the will. Let the postmortem farce begin.

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

The bronze to Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska. "Vanity Fair's" profile of her by Todd Purdum in its August issue contains variations of the usual stuff, "some top McCain aides worried about her mental state. Was it possible that she was experiencing postpartum depression?"

"One long time McCain friend and frequent companion on the trail was heard to refer to Palin as Little Shop of Horrors."

But then there was this new cringe worthy bit of new info about the birth of her youngest child Trig: "when Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig's condition. She wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God's, and signed it 'Trig's creator, your heavenly father.'"

So let's play a little game now and try to guess exactly which phrasing governor self-obsessed will use to describe "Vanity Fair's" attack on her children and her family also? While the rest of us sit here and think, man, when we said she had a messiah complex, we were being a little bit hyperbolic. Except now it turns out a messiah complex would be an improvement.

Our runner-up, Boss Limbaugh, noting that Democratic Congressman Jose Serrano of New York introduced a bill to repeal the 22nd Amendment, which limits the president to two terms. Limbaugh has a new psychotic conspiracy theory to peddle, "getting rid of the 22nd Amendment is chump change compared to what this man's already achieved that nobody thought could happen. Anybody who thinks he just intends to Constitutionally go away in 2016 is nuts."

Nuts. Look seriously, once again, if you have fallen off the wagon or you feel, Rush, like you were losing your grip emotionally, I'm dead serious about this, get to a doctor or to a clergyman or to a shrink or somebody. On the other hand, A, Serrano introduced this same bill to repeal presidential term limits three times during the Bush administration. B, despite what Mayor Bloomberg did here in New York, if term limits were repealed for the presidency, any court in the land would insist the repeal could not constitutionally apply to the sitting president. He could not legally sign the legislation because of the conflict of interest.

And, C, thanks for conceding the 2012 election. Big bag full of mashed-up jackass right there.

But our winner, San Diego's County Sheriff's Deputy Marshall Abbott. Full details are not yet clear, and the Sheriff's Office is investigating, but it sure looks like Abbott arrested two people and pepper sprayed a party, mostly of women in their 60s, for political reasons. Shari Barman held a fund-raiser in her home in Escondido (ph), California for Democratic Congressional candidate Francine Busby.

According to Barman's story, a neighbor who tried to shout down Busby's speech to the crowd about 50 people, then phoned in a mysterious noise complaint. Deputy Abbott was sent to the Barman house, arrived after the party had begun to disperse, but before the city's noise curfew even went into effect.

He demanded information from Ms. Barman which she was not legally required to give. And when she refused, he grabbed her arm, twisted it and threw her to the floor. When another attendee told the officer that Ms. Barman had had recent shoulder surgery, the cop knocked her to the ground. When other guests tried to stop Deputy Abbott from further assaulting the two women, he pepper sprayed everyone.

Just a coincidence that the beneficiary of the fund raiser, Ms. Busby, once had had the nerve challenge the Graft King, Congressman Duke Cunningham. San Diego County Sheriff Deputy Marshall Abbott, and if they don't do something about this, the entire sheriff's office of that county, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: Michael Jackson is reportedly not his kids' biological father, but we may know who is. Debbie Rowe is reportedly not their mother, but she contests that. You would think something like that would be relatively easy to prove. There is a will, but Papa Joe isn't in it. And 48,000 dollars a month for prescription drugs. And you wonder why we need the public option.

Our number one story on the Countdown, let me say this again, this carnival's going to be in town for a while. According to TMZ, the King of Pop is not the biological father of any of his three children, and the ex-wife, Debbie Rowe, is not the biological mother of the two oldest, although that is being disputed by Rowe's lawyer.

And the surrogate who gave birth to his youngest son never knew who she was carrying the child for. Now there's word that Jackson never legally adopted any of his children, which could leave in question mother Katherine's custody claims.

And yes, there's more, the "U.S. Weekly" claiming the sperm donor for the two oldest kids is celebrity dermatologist Dr. Arnold Klein. That's the same Dr. Klein who the "Hollywood Reporter" says wrote some of the prescriptions Michael Jackson was spending the 48,000 dollars a month on, and who also introduced the pop icon to his young nursing assistant at the time, Debbie Rowe.

NBC News has confirmed there is a will to be presented in court tomorrow, splitting his estate between his mother and three children and at least one charity, but leaving nothing to his father. And the requisite memorial is forming at Neverland Ranch. The reports say the fallen icon's body might be taken some time Thursday. Memorial plans, public or private, have not been finalized. But even the rumor of possible events open to the public at Neverland has people already lining up just in case.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just - I'm staying in my car.


OLBERMANN: Andrew Blankstein continues to cover all of this for the "Los Angeles Times" and continues to be generous enough to join us with the latest. Thank you for all of that, sir. How much more of a legal mess is custody here, if Jackson never adopted those kids?

ANDREW BLANKSTEIN, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": We're very much at the beginning of this. Although there are a lot of reports, there is going to be people who will invariably come forward in court to issue these challenges, or maybe not. That's part of the guessing game that's going on right now.

A lot of public pronouncements. Not a lot of substance in terms of documents filed.

OLBERMANN: What do we know about this process by which Debbie Rowe became the surrogate mother, if indeed she did? Is that all in question now? Or does it fall into the same category as maybe?

BLANKSTEIN: It falls into the same category. Again, just because somebody makes these public pronouncements doesn't mean that, in the end, it's going to be part of a court document. And that's part of the waiting game, and also part of the speculation game.

OLBERMANN: This Dr. Klein, the dermatologist, might have been the real sperm doctor - donor in one case. Might have written some of the prescriptions. Certainly it can't be coincidence that his nursing assistant was Debbie Rowe, introducing her to Michael Jackson.

Presumably, even might have done some dermatological work with Jackson. This is a full-service doctor right here. Who is this guy and where does he fit in? Is there any way to tell?

BLANKSTEIN: In terms of the LAPD investigation, they have said that they are going to be questioning people who provided medical treatment for Michael Jackson. But the question is - and we've seen this in the past few days - there's a number of doctors' names who have surfaced. There was a nutritionist who surfaced this afternoon, giving an interview to the Associated Press about something that she had administered to Jackson, a sedative.

So each day we get someone new that's emerging and then speculation that this might be the person connected to his final moments. And the fact is that we just don't know. And that's part of what the toxicology is going to determine, and part of what the interview process is going to be determined by detectives.

OLBERMANN: You raise a great point now, as the world's media of all origins, languages and degrees of seriousness descends on this story, the volume of information is likely to be almost immeasurable. What of the things we are hearing about today have some substance to them, as near as your reporting suggests, and what is just creative or possibly future - future-proved stories?

BLANKSTEIN: Well, I mean, take the whole memorial service. I mean, there's this plan out there, and you can see people on the July 4th holiday making this pilgrimage up to Neverland. And yet you talk to authorities and people have no idea what's going to go on.

In the courts, there hasn't been a lot of documents filed. There's been - there's a will that's supposedly out there. But in terms of what's substantive versus what's speculation is - this is really driving the story at this point.

OLBERMANN: And the last one we haven't mentioned that, the story that they might try - somebody wants to bury him at Graceland and turn that - at Neverland and turn it into Graceland West. That, among other things, comes up against zoning restrictions. You can't bury a body on private property like that, is that correct?

BLANKSTEIN: Well, I mean, I think even the Santa Barbara authorities are scratching their heads. And nobody's come forward to offer that plan, although there was an interesting letter describing some of the - you know, some of the surroundings.

OLBERMANN: Andrew Blankstein of the "L.A. Times," many thanks once again and good luck.

That's Countdown for this the 2,252nd day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.


Monday, June 29, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, June 29
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons

Guests: Jonathan Turley, Welton Gaddy, John Ghazvinian, Andrew Blankstein, Gerald Posner


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

We rejoin the sliming of Sotomayor already in progress. The Supreme Court overrules the three-judge lower court of which she was one member, and overturns a reverse discrimination case in New Haven - that the lunatic right-wing now says means she is a racist.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The court found that she was indeed a racist. The driveway is on the state-run media saying it's a 5-4 decision along ideological lines. If you read Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you'll find out it's a nine-zip decision.


OLBERMANN: The magic of far right math: How 5-4 becomes nine-to-nothing.

But the party of values still insists Governor Mark Sanford should not resign.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: I think we're a party of sinners, just like every other group in America.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. For every Republican, we could name a Democrat who had the same kind of trouble.


OLBERMANN: Yes. Except the Democrats resign or get impeached, while the Republicans, like Giuliani, shamelessly hang on.

Shamelessly hanging on in Iran: The recount confirms the Ahmadinejad re-election, and Ahmadinejad promises an investigation into the murder of


Died intestate you say - $500 million in debt and three kids and no will? Custody of Michael Jackson's children goes temporarily to his mother. Custody of the weirdest possible reaction to his death goes permanently to his father.

Yesterday .


JOSEPH JACKSON, MICHAEL JACKSON'S FATHER: Remember, we just lost the biggest star in the world, superstar in the world. So, it's been tough.


OLBERMANN: Son - you just lost your son.

Today .


JACKSON: I was very proud of my son and the legacy of Michael will still go on. I promise you that.


OLBERMANN: And what about Dr. Feel Good? Sorry, Dr. Conrad Murray?


EDWARD CHERNOFF, DR. CONRAD MURRAY'S LAWYER: When everything is finally resolved in this case, Dr. Murray will be exonerated.


OLBERMANN: And Worsts: Joe the Plumber calls for lynching of Senator Dodd. He says repeatedly, "Why hasn't he been strung up?"

All that and more - now on Countdown.





OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

A landmark civil rights ruling affecting employers and job seekers of all ethnicities proves that Judge Sonia Sotomayor isn't fit to sit on the United States Supreme Court.

Our fifth story tonight: Legal analysis from opposite land, direct from the bizarro news desk, the right-wing version of today's Ricci ruling. The New Haven firefighters denied promotion after the city tossed out its test fearing lawsuits from minority candidates who do not score as well as white ones did. According to the right, all nine Supreme Court justices voted against the Sotomayor ruling in the lower court that New Haven was allowed to discard its own test.

Republican Senator John Cornyn writing that, quote, "all nine justices were critical. The unanimous verdict proving Sotomayor is rewriting law outside the mainstream to favor minorities, giving short shrift to white claims of reverse discrimination." As the judiciary committee Republican Orrin Hatch pointed out, given the brief order from Sotomayor's second circuit panel, this bias apparently prompting additional concerns from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: Just a day or so ago we discovered that there are 300 boxes of additional material that have just been discovered from her time working with the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund. The committee needs to have access to that material and time to work through it so we don't - so we know all the facts before we vote on a person who's up for a lifetime job.


OLBERMANN: And now, the latest from reality land. Sotomayor did not write the Ricci order. Another judge did. Nor did Sotomayor rewrite law. Title VII of the civil rights law prohibited employment practices even if they had no obvious bias if the results were discriminatory in practice. That interpretation originated with the Supreme Court in 1971. That was why New Haven tossed out its test. When no black candidates qualified for promotion, the test became discriminatory in practice.

Rewriting law? Justice Kennedy's opinion today says that employers, before ending potentially discriminatory practices like the New Haven test, now first have to prove somehow that they would be libel to lawsuits if they did not - a new legal obligation that some might call rewriting existing law.

Oh, that nine-to-nothing vote? Here in math world, it was actually 5-4. Voting against Sotomayor, five Reagan or Bush appointees and even Justice Kennedy called the case difficult, requiring a ruling that, quote, "clarifies how Title VII applies."

Voting with Sotomayor? Justice David Souter, the man Sotomayor has been named to replace.

Time now to call in Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University.

Jon, thanks for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: Before the politics, the impact, what's the impact, if you would, on this still ongoing effort to ensure justice in hiring? Tell me about the case first.

TURLEY: Well, you know, it is a major case in the sense that it rewrites a significant portion of Title VII by saying that employers have essentially a new defense that they can make. It is not as extreme as what was suggested by Justice Scalia, who was really challenging virtually any race-based remedies. What Kennedy here is saying is that fear of a lawsuit is not enough to justify throwing out these types of test results and that he's giving a little more of a deference to this process.

But I think that the decision is going to have a very big impact so that it's no longer sufficient to simply say that it has a disparate impact upon minority groups. It has - it gives this extra burden, as you pointed out, to cities. And that burden is also an added defense in some respects for those cities.

OLBERMANN: So, what was - what was the court doing to the ruling that Sotomayor was one-third a part of? Was it saying that she and that ruling were wrong? Or were they saying that we need to clarify maybe undo the precedent and the law on which she based the decision? In other words, she read the rules correctly, now, we're changing the rules?

TURLEY: Well, it seemed to me that the majority went out of its way not to criticize the second circuit. The panel decision was very brief. And on that, you know, there is some criticism of the panel that they did not give a more fulsome attention and scrutiny to the firefighters' claims. The liberal judge on second circuit criticized the panel for that, and I think that Judge Cabranes was right in that criticism.

But we have to remember that they were upholding the district court judge, and when they did so, not only was it unanimous on the panel, but later, the entire second circuit decided that they did not want to review that panel decision, and then four justices came to the same result. And so, it's a little bizarre to be saying that this was a 9-0 ruling or that she's out of the mainstream. There are a lot of judges here that felt that the result was correct.

OLBERMANN: Yes, 9-0. I meant to ask you about that. Can you - and trust me, I'll understand if you can't - can you explain the nine-nothing, 5-4 ruling?

TURLEY: No, it really is an exercise of fanciful math. Look, we really need to dial down the rhetoric - as impossible as that may seem - in today's political environment.

But when I read the majority decision in this case, and the dissent, and even Justice Scalia's concurrence, I find them all to be pretty provocative and very sort of good-faith treatments of the subject. This is an issue upon which people can reasonably disagree and you don't fall outside of the mainstream. It's tough.

And I think that's what Kennedy said. Kennedy said, "Look, well, I'm clarifying this area. It's a very difficult inquiry." To use this case to suggest someone is out of the mainstream is truly ridiculous.

You know, the one thing that I think you cannot call Judge Sotomayor is biased. You know, on my blog, I analyzed her major decisions. And one thing I said was: I don't see any bias at all. She comes very neatly on both sides of the political aisle and that is much to her credit.

OLBERMANN: Yes. She looks - from my reading of it - she looks like she has, in fact, where she anticipated some possible bias because of her own background, pointed that out and compensated for it and tried to balance it out all the way through. I think you're - obviously, your analysis of it is much better than mine.

But, in any event, Jon Turley, professor of law at George Washington -great thanks, as always, for your time, Jon.

TURLEY: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: And given right wing opposition to a judge who embodies their judicial values, you could imagine how the right is defending a governor whose personal life should have nothing to do with his job. That's right. South Carolina's mark Sanford should keep his job if he can salvage his personal life.

According to the newspaper "The State," some South Carolina Republicans want Sanford to step down. A past party chairman there saying, quote, "Their patience will run out."

So what criteria will they use to determine whether he should go? Quote, "It depends on how people see things are working out between the governor and the first lady."

Of course, Republicans, like Senator Lindsey Graham - who endorsed an adulterer for president - would never suggest a man who's fitness to govern was not based on his personal life, he would be fit to govern based on his personal life.


GRAHAM: I think the people of South Carolina appreciate what Mark tried to do as governor, to change their state and they're very disappointed at what he did as Mark the individual and his malfeasance at, at times, but they can reconcile the two only if Jenny and Mark can get back together.


OLBERMANN: So, given this new standard for Republican officeholders, what do we know about Sanford's gubernatorial prospects? According to Jenny Sanford, at the same time they were in religious marital counseling, her husband repeatedly - I really need to be on camera for this part - she told "The Associated Press" that her husband repeatedly asked her for permission to visit his mistress. She said no.

Marital counselor Cubby Culbertson told "The Associated Press," quote, "For most Christians, if you're married long enough, you do it because that's what we're called to do - out of obedience instead of out of passion. And I think that's where Mark and Jenny are right now."

I'd like to turn right now to the Reverend Welton Gaddy, the president of the Interfaith Alliance and host of "State of Belief" on Air America Radio.

Thank you, again, for your time, sir.

REV. WELTON GADDY, AIR AMERICA RADIO: Thanks, Keith. Good to see you.

OLBERMANN: Mr. and Mrs. Sanford in this union as it's described here of obedience rather than passion, from - just - truly, from the religious definition of marriage, does that sound like a happy one or a revivable or reclaimable one?

GADDY: Well, the danger of that kind of talk, Keith, is that in the name of obedience, you can be depersonalized trying to obey a principle which in some of the Christian tradition says that the wife should be submissively obedient to her husband.

I don't think that marriage is about that kind of obedience. Marriage is about intimacy. And you don't establish intimacy on the basis of obedience to a rule.

OLBERMANN: To take that next step, that next leap from there into the political world, into - not even the political world, government, Jenny Sanford's religious obligations allow her husband to stop sleeping on the couch. How does that make him qualified to remain in office and how does the reverse make him not qualified to remain in office?

GADDY: You know, I'm so confused by all of this, Keith, because it's the tactic of the religious right, over and over to confuse religion, politics, and law. Whether or not he ever returns to his marital bed has nothing to do with whether or not he ought to return to the governor's office. That's two different spheres.

In that sphere of interpersonal relationships, those two people have a right to work through that and to work it out according to their best judgment and wisdom, what's best for each of them, both of them, and their family. The people of South Carolina need to make a decision on whether or not this man can still be a good governor.

OLBERMANN: Reverend, is - why does this story have any religious element to it at all? I mean, is that the best prism through which either to understand fidelity, marital stress, or even the stress of being the governor of a major state?

GADDY: It's a horrendous prism through which to look at it. And, as oddly as this sounds, it has a religious dimension to it in the public rhetoric because of a political interest, not because of a religious interest. There's been a lot of talk about hypocrisy in this case and there is enough hypocrisy to go around for everyone. When you talk about being self-righteous and being the party of God, being a party of the righteous ones, you invite critical judgment.

To hear Rudolph Giuliani say that for every Republican that has done something like this, a Democrat has - so what? I mean, that is - are we counting up evil? Are we counting up mistakes to decide who's going to be the best governor, the best senator? No. That's like getting in a spitting contest in a high wind blowing in your face. It's going to be pretty nasty on everybody.

OLBERMANN: Well, now, here's a question that may be - that may be up your alley and maybe it's not. It sounds to me like one of those medieval arguments about how many angels can dance on the head of a pen. It's Mr. Giuliani's. It's an extension of what you just mentioned from those quotes this morning. He - basically, he said that if cheating has no bearing on a politician's job or whether or not he should stay in it, but staying married does.

There's - I'm missing something. As if these two things are an elephant and a mouse. They don't look like an elephant and a mouse to me.

GADDY: No. Keith, there are two tracks on which you have to travel in making a decision here. One is a justice track, a consequences track. One is a religious track that has to do with forgiveness.

When one does wrong in an instance like this, you, first of all, have to ask what are the consequences of this and what do those consequences imply for the political future of this individual? Can he be forgiven? Of course.

But forgiveness is not about wiping away consequences. Forgiveness is about creating possibilities. His future is open but he has to pay for his past.

OLBERMANN: Reverend Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance and also of Air America Radio. It is always a pleasure, sir. Thank you for your time.

GADDY: Thank you. Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Oh, yes. Sonia Sotomayor, court-defined racist. I mentioned that at the beginning. That's Boss Limbaugh talking. We'll get to him and his explanation of the Supreme Court decision in Ricci was actually nine-to-nothing. You know, it sounds to me like he was the guy doing the vote counting in Iran. Oddly enough - Iran is next.


OLBERMANN: Good news and bad news for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The good news is: the recount is over and he is the lucky winner. The bad news is: there are lots of people on his side of the equation in Iran who think that a big compromise would be a good thing in a really, really, short order.

Later: Michael Jackson and the last video. Joe Jackson speaks about his late son in between plugs for his new record label. Good thing the mourning period is being restricted by the family.

And there's breaking news tonight about what the coroner's office pulled out of Jackson's medicine cabinet this afternoon. Cabinets?

You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: It's hard to believe you have to say something like this, but in a bad sign for Iran, that country today became a lot more like America. Bad because - in our fourth story tonight - the America it now resembles would be the one of Bush v. Gore and O.J. Simpson.

Incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad certified as the winner there today after officials say they did a random recount of 10 percent of the vote and found - yes, there are some errors in at least one Tehran district, they wound up awarding more votes to Ahmadinejad. These results are coming not from the people or from people elected by the people, but from people appointed by people who are not elected by the people: Iran's Guardian Council, six judges and six clerics appointed by the supreme leader who just happens to be a supporter of Ahmadinejad.

And the O.J. Simpson part? Discussing the notorious murder of Neda Agha-Soltan, Ahmadinejad - reportedly, with a straight face - vowed to find the real killer, asking a top judge to investigate her shooting which occurred as his forces were cracking down on protestors. A doctor who says he treated her at the scene having told the BBC, witnesses spotted an armed member of the Basij militia, the militia controlled by the government of Ahmadinejad - who is now claiming to have arrested people allegedly posing as members of the militia and as the police.

The International Federation of Human Rights, meanwhile, is estimating that the Iranian government has now arrested at least 2,000 people with hundreds more having disappeared. Among those in custody, a handful of British embassy employees whom Iranian officials accused of being at some of the protests and committing the crime of mingling.

Let's turn once again to University of Pennsylvania's senior fellow, John Ghazvinian, who among other things, went to Iran to exercise his vote in person.

Thanks for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: "Huffington Post" today had this picture of the Iran parliament where a member had suggested leeway for dissent and was promptly jostled, surrounded by his peers. Are there enough democratic elements for something resembling genuine democracy to rise in Iran or is this the reality coming to - coming to the surface again?

GHAZVINIAN: Well, the elements are certainly there, but, no. I mean, in reality, the short answer to your question is no. I mean, this is - although the elements are there, fundamentally, Iran is an Islamic theocracy, which happens to allow certain elements of democracy.

OLBERMANN: The talk officially here now is of putting advisors to, I guess, the runner-up, may be revised them down to fourth place, to Mr. Mousavi on trial for - we assume the actual reason for this is being advisors to Mr. Mousavi. What does that tell us? Where does that lead?

GHAZVINIAN: Well, I hope that that doesn't happen obviously, because, obviously, they wouldn't bode very well. I mean, obviously, they're trying to consolidate power.

In terms of where it leads, I think we're now heading into a third phase of this election crisis. I think the first phase, obviously, was when the hundreds of thousands of people just sort of erupted onto the streets. Then I think the second phase really was last week, when you had a kind of internal power struggle within the regime between supporters and opponents of Ahmadinejad kind of jostling and jockeying for power.

I think what we're heading into now is a feeling that that, you know, that this is basically over. And there's a feeling now of, "Look, let's take a deep breath and recognize the fact this guy is probably going to be president for the next four years. You know, what do we do?"

In a sense, the superdelegates have spoken today, if you will, and this is, you know, the Mousavi camp is in the position of Hillary Clinton after the Puerto Rico primary. You know, will he play ball and what will he do now?

And I think your comparison to 2000 Bush-Gore is also pretty apt. I mean, this feeling after a long drama, long kind of drawn-out drama, you know, the reform movement needs to, you know, kind of pull up its boots and take a deep breath and think about how it's going to regroup for the next four years, how it's going to deal with an Ahmadinejad presidency.

OLBERMANN: Well, what does the - in that equation - what does the winning side do? They - there's already been some call for compromise from some of the ayatollahs. What does that - you know, forbid government violence against unarmed protestors, as if that were significant compromise, I guess in the context it might be that. But what do they do to meet somewhere in the middle, in their middle, with these protestors?

GHAZVINIAN: Well, I mean, certainly, that's been happening. I mean, you can see that there's been a lot of, as I said, jockeying and kind of figuring out exactly, you know, where the clergy is going to stand on this. The clergy has actually been pretty quiet.

I think, one of the people to really watch right now, actually, and I wrote about this a couple days ago in "The Huffington Post" is Ali Larijani, the speaker of the parliament. I mean, he's actually not a reformist at all. He's a hard-line conservative, but he's no fan of Ahmadinejad. He's made a lot of very carefully calibrated statements on either side of this over the last couple weeks.

The fact is that Ahmadinejad now as president is going to have to work with parliament. He's got a massive amount of resentment in the country. And if there's one person who really can make his life hell for the next couple of years .


GHAZVINIAN: . it's the speaker of the parliament, who can, you know, block or kind of hassle his legislative agenda.

OLBERMANN: We talked last week about the possible overrating of America's role in what was happening after the election in Iran. But now, there's no way of overrating America's role in its relations with Iran. What does Obama do now in hopes of getting these talks started to reach some sort of rapprochement with this government?

GHAZVINIAN: Yes, Obama has basically two choices at this point. On one hand, he's going to be coming under a lot of pressure from the Israelis, in particular, over the next few months.

You know, basically, the argument is going to be, "Well, you see, you can't talk to these people. You can't talk to Iran. There's no point. So, you might as well, you know, ratchet up the pressure, you know, and allow us to bomb."

On the other hand there is an argument being made in Washington that, you know, fundamentally, America's long-term strategic interests in the Middle East depend on realigning our relationship with Iran. You know, I think that Obama is probably - you know, there is a certain kind of, you know, dignified pause that has to be there, you know, to kind of show respect for what's happened over the last couple weeks.

I think Obama's personal sympathies and his impulse is towards that latter position. But he's going to be coming under a lot of pressure over this.

OLBERMANN: John Ghazvinian, senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, also of "Huffington Post" - great thanks again for your time, sir.

GHAZVINIAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Temporary custody of the Jackson children now settled. Status of the Jackson personal doctor, anything but. And some breaking news coming up on what the coroners found in the Jackson house today.

And when is a 5-4 squeaker decision by the Supreme Court really a nine-to-nothing decision? When he says it is. That's when.

Worst Persons is ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Best in a moment, and if they let him out 100 years early, he'll get out of jail at the age of 121.

First, it is the birthday of my friend Richard Lewis - not Richard Lewis the British Anglican bishop, not Richard Lewis the baseball pitcher, not Richard Lewis the baseball pitcher, not Richard Lewis the Welsh martyr, not Richard Lewis the head of the New Zealand party of destiny, not - well, I think you're beginning to understand a little better, aren't you? Happy Birthday, friends!

Let's play Oddball.

We begin in Warren, Ohio where Oddball is kicking the 3D tires, HD? I thought we were in 3D. Oh, boy. HD tires with video of a police interview of a woman with a squirrel tucked in her tank top. The woman was brought into the station to speak with police about a recent crime when detectives were stunned to see the baby squirrel emerge from her cleavage.

Upon the interview's conclusion, the woman and her baby squirrel left headquarters without incident. As for the crime, here's hoping police solve it, because after all, even a blind squirrel finds justice once in a while. Dr. Fang's discount (ph) house of squirrels. That's a TV reference.

In Japan, it's a walking cupcake, with a smiley face - all fired up about Chubu Airport's newest mode of transportation, the i-Real, Toyota's new tricycle/lounge chair that will revolutionize the way airports hustle to avoid you and your problems. The airport bought four of these, one features a computer to help check-in passengers. The other three are for touring around in and looking ridiculous.

After the event in which the i-Real's arrival was announced, the assembled dignitaries and the media were allowed to dig into that cupcake guy.

The Jacksons insist there is no will. A judge says Michael Jackson's mother gets the kids, at least temporarily. Jackson's father keeps saying all kinds of weird stuff. And what about the weird stuff the "L.A. times" reports they just pulled out of the house?

And what's up, doc? Aggressive defense from his last personal physician at a time when Dr. Deepak Chopra called all of them, quote, legalized drug pushers.

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

Dateline, Baltimore; number three, best wishful thinking, David Zurawik, TV writer of the "Baltimore Sun," writing up the ratings for one night of TV, the night Michael Jackson. He noted of prime time on this network, quote, "the time period at which it rose and is now starting to fall, with a slumping Keith Olbermann."

Yes, the ratings for the second quarter of 2009 just came in this afternoon. And despite the lack of a political primary season, despite the one-time ratings on Jackson night, Countdown remains sizably ahead of CNN and Headline News at 8:00 p.m. for the last quarter. We are the second highest rated show among all viewers. And the network finished second in prime time as well. This is the number one prime time show anywhere in cable news among viewers under the age of 35. Some slump. If you have a TV column and you have a rooting interest about who wins the ratings, to the point you will falsify their meaning, either you should drop the rooting interest or they should drop you from the column.

Dateline Washington, number two, best false equivalency, Dana Milbank of the "Washington Post," on last week's presidential news conference and the question of Iran - from Iran by Nico Pitney. Quoting, "during the eight years of the Bush administration, liberal outlets such as the 'Huffington Post' often accused the White House of planting questioners in news conference to ask pre-planned questions. But here was Obama fielding a pre-planned question asked by a planted questioner from the 'Huffington Post.'"

Yes, those are exactly the same thing. The Bush White House credentialing a male escort from a non-existent news organization to feed softballs, and denying they were doing so. That is exactly the same thing as the Obama White House telling Pitney, those questions you're asking Iranians to send in, bring in a good one, and we'll call on you. And being so above board about the pre-planning that both the president and Pitney sounded like the chef of the future bit from the "Honeymooners." Come on, Dana. You're smarter than that.

Dateline New York City, number one, best judge, Denny Chin, who was already a winner after his ruling in the 2003 Al Franken case. Now responding to the guilty plea of Bernard Madoff upon defrauding thousands of investors of 13 billion dollars, by sentencing him to 150 years in jail. Mr. Madoff only turned 71 this past April 29th, meaning if he served the sentence in full, he would not be free until sometime late in the year 2159, at the age of 221. Obviously a physical impossibility.

But it's the thought that counts.


OLBERMANN: Breaking news from the "Los Angeles Times" on what coroners found in Michael Jackson's rented home today coming up in a second. Already decided, his mother gets custody of Jackson's kids, at least for now. Now who gets custody of Jackson's father?

Our third story on the Countdown, the Jackson roundup - prefacing this with the caveat that his son is dead; he might be acting this way out of grief. But goodness, should your first two public appearances after that death really be devoted to how big a superstar he was, and to the new record company you are launching?

The news, such as it is, today; late today, family attorney Wandell McMillan (ph) told NBC that if Michael Jackson left a will, he has not seen it. Manager Frank DeLeo claims also that Jackson had a will, but he can't prove it. McMillan added that under California law, if there is no will, the estate would then go to the next of kin, in this case an adult administrating and overseeing for the best interests of the children.

Also this morning, Federal Judge Michael Bechlov (ph) approved Katherine Jackson's request for temporary custody of Michael Jackson's three children, but he refused to name her administrator of her son's estate. So her attorney has filed a new petition about that.

There may be more money in it than you would guess, in that estate. The Associated Press reporting tonight that two weeks before he died, Jackson finished a video called "Dome Project," on which he had worked for five weeks.

Also, the L.A. County coroner followed up his initial investigation with a visit to Jackson's Bel Air home, this as the family awaits the results of a second and private autopsy it requested and received yesterday. The coroner's office says it retrieved medications from the Jackson home today. Investigators emerging from the mansion off Sunset Boulevard, bearing two large plastic bagfuls.

And then there was the freak show. A Joe Jackson news conference at which, first, we had a kind of unintentional flashback to his son's early childhood.


JOE JACKSON, FATHER OF MICHAEL JACKSON: What I'm doing is I established a record company with Marshall. And the company is called Marantz Records, distributed by Blu-Star and Blu-Ray.


OLBERMANN: And then the personal touch. Another strange state statement from somebody who has just lost a child.


JACKSON: The legacy of Michael will still go on. I promise you that.


OLBERMANN: Joining us once again, "Los Angeles Times" reporter Andrew Blankstein. Thanks for some more of your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: That investigation we mentioned before; your reporting on the evidence that the investigators found at Jackson's rented home today. What more can you tell us about this?

BLANKSTEIN: Well, today they removed two bags of evidence from the home. This is in addition to prescription medication that they retrieved last week. And so one of the things that we're hearing is that this shows kind of a broadening of the investigation. Some of these prescriptions were over - prescribed over years.

So one thing we're learning is that they are looking at a number of doctors. Obviously, in the past few days we've been hearing about Dr. Murray. One of the things that this is indicating is that, again, there are other physicians that might have prescribed the medication they're looking at.

OLBERMANN: So when his friend Deepak Chopra said last week on this news hour that Michael Jackson was always capable of finding somebody to get him prescription drugs he thought he needed, as opposed to what a doctor thought, and that that's what they should investigate as much as anything else at this point; it sounds like, to some degree, the coroner's office, maybe coincidentally, is doing just that.

BLANKSTEIN: I think the coroner's office, Los Angeles Police Department's Robbery/Homicide Division, they are looking at this. Obviously, it's not a criminal investigation, as we noted. But one of the things they want to establish is a timeline in this case, and also who had access to him, who prescribed medication. What was that medication? And one of the ways to do is not only retrieving this evidence, but interviewing a number of these doctors.

OLBERMANN: Why is - having some experience covering the entire mixed bag that is law enforcement in southern California, explain why robbery/homicide would be involved in this? I assume it's because there isn't actually a department of - well, for no other term to use, but there is no department of doctors who help celebrities feel good.

BLANKSTEIN: Correct. Well, the bottom line is why you would call in robbery/homicide detectives. It's the elite detectives. It's the Los Angeles Police Department. They specialize in complicated and high profile cases. And this would definitely fit the bill.

Again, one of the things that's really important here, as you try to establish what really happened, is kind of keeping somewhat of a veil of investigative secrecy over it.

OLBERMANN: But to the degree that veil is impossible, let me just recap this, and see if I understand correctly. What they found today, these two bagfuls, these two plastic bags that the video shows them taking out, is in addition to whatever was found on scene last week when Jackson collapsed, and was removed from that place off Sunset Boulevard?

BLANKSTEIN: That's correct. It's in addition to.

OLBERMANN: The other legal aspects of this, what you have on it, starting with Jackson's children; his mother granted guardianship. Hearings slated soon. Any signs that anybody is going to be outside of the family fighting for custody here, the mother that we don't know about or Debbie Rowe or anything else? Or is this maybe moving more fluidly than originally thought?

BLANKSTEIN: Well, one of my colleagues talked to the attorney for Debbie Rowe. At this point, she has not made a decision whether she wants to move forward with either trying to challenge guardianship or visitation. It's not really clear at this point. I'm sure it'll be one of many court filings that we'll see. This is kind of the first volley.

OLBERMANN: Is the first big legal thing going to be about whether there actually is a valid will?

BLANKSTEIN: That'll be one of the key things. Obviously, you've heard different reports. The attorney who was standing next to Joe Jackson last night at the BET Awards said he hadn't seen a will. But just because he hadn't seen a will doesn't mean there isn't a will. That's one of the things - under California law, you have 30 days to come forward. So that's where we're heading, in that direction.

OLBERMANN: A reminder, that might not be a nefarious thing. A 50-year-old man probably doesn't think he's going to have to produce - or his survivors will have to produce a will suddenly. Andrew Blankstein of the "L.A. Times," sharing with us what they've just posted on the website and will be in the paper in the morning. Thanks for your time.

BLANKSTEIN: Thank you so much.

OLBERMANN: Then there's the doctor. That he was there when Jackson collapsed, say his lawyers, just a coincidence.

The advertisement encouraging atheists to come out of the closet. How such an inclusive attempt could possibly wind up on the worst persons list.

When "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" begins at the top of the hour, a lieutenant colonel who is losing his job because of Don't Ask Don't Tell, takes you inside the Obama reception tonight for the LGBT community. Wow, that's timing.


OLBERMANN: Dr. George Constantine Nacopolis (ph), better known to Elvis Presley as Dr. Nick. There was Dr. Robert Framan (ph), better known to the Beatles as Dr. Robert. The efforts by his lawyers to keep Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, from joining that list.

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

The bronze to the person who donated the scratch for 10,000 dollars worth of ads on the sides of buses in New York City promoting atheism. They read, "you don't have to believe in god to be a moral or ethical person." The hope from President Ken Bronstein of the group NYC Atheists, is to get people to stop hiding their non-belief, to stop hiding it. No complaint about the message. However, while Bronstein says, we want to get atheists to come join us to get out of the closet, unfortunately, the donor who made the ads possible is keeping his identity anonymous.

The runner-up, Boss Limbaugh. As we mentioned, the Supreme Court voted five to four to reverse the New Haven firefighters case, disagreeing with a lower three-judge court which happened to include nominee Sonya Sotomayor. Or -


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The court found that she was indeed a racist, but there are things about this - well, they did. I mean, you - let me tell you something. This is a five to four decision. The drive by in the state run media saying it's a five to four decision along ideological lines. If you read Ruth Bader Ginsburg, you find out it's a nine zip decision.


OLBERMANN: Seriously Rush, if you've fallen off the wagon, or if you feeling like you're losing your grip emotionally, I'm dead serious about this, get to a doctor or a clergyman or a shrink or somebody. If not, what the hell, dude? You're starting to make stuff up? The Supreme Court votes five to four, and you decode that as nine to nothing? So you say you have 30 million listeners a week and I can say no, you got none. Here's why? Big bag of mashed up jack-ass.

But our winner, Joe the Plumber. He has moved from performing plumbing services without a license to lying, to working for a political party without disclosing it, to encouraging repeal of freedom of the press, to fomenting violence against elected officials.

But first the comic relief. Speaking at Wausau, Wisconsin about the founding fathers, Wurzelbacher said, quote, "they knew socialism doesn't work. They knew communism doesn't work."

This is why you should have paid attention in school, and not just sat there practicing with your snake. The founding fathers' Declaration of Independence, that was all about 50 years before anybody thought up socialism or communism.

Now the evil part; the "Wausau Daily Herald" writes, "referring to Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat Connecticut, more than once, Wurzelbacher asked why hasn't he been strung up?"

See now, what strung up means, Joe, is to hang somebody, to lynch them, to kill them. Joe Wurzelbacher passively just called for the assassination of an elected U.S. senator. And some law enforcement agency should go make it clear to him that this is not only immoral, but also might just be illegal. Samuel Joe the lynch mob Wurzelbacher, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: A quick recap of the hour's breaking news in the Michael Jackson investigation: L.A. County coroner's officials took two plastic bags full of evidence from Jackson's rented home today. The "Los Angeles Times" is reporting that these were not the prescription drugs found when Jackson collapsed last Thursday. These were older medications. The Times also reporting this is part of an investigation of whether Jackson was using multiple doctors to get prescription drugs.

Speaking of doctors, Elvis had one. Anna Nicole Smith; the Beatles wrote a song about one. As questions arise concerning the man who was Michael Jackson's personal physician, in our number one story, just what role Dr. Conrad Murray played in Mr. Jackson's life and death, yet to be determined.

Murray surfacing this weekend to talk with L.A. Police after they had impounded his car, after he had disappeared briefly immediately following Mr. Jackson's death. Dr. Murray's lawyer, Edward Chernoff, saying Murray found Jackson unconscious Thursday, but still warm with a faint pulse. Chernoff confirming that Murray administered CPR to Jackson on Mr.

Jackson's bed, although Chernoff points out that the bed was a firm one.

Chernoff also maintains Murray never prescribed nor administered Demerol nor OxyContin to Jackson. The Reverend Jesse Jackson stating the Jackson family requested a second autopsy in part because of questions the family has about Dr. Murray. And the family claiming Dr. Murray has not spoken to them since Jackson's death.

Mr. Chernoff making the morning talk show rounds earlier, says Murray has spoken indeed with members of the Jackson family, including his mother and his children.


EDWARD CHERNOFF, LAWYER FOR DR. MURRAY: I can't explain how the Jackson family might feel under these circumstances. And I don't want to judge the decisions they're making and the accusations they're making as sinister in some way. I don't know why they're doing this.

I can say this: when the investigation is complete, when toxicology is done, when everything is finally resolved in this case, Dr. Murray will be exonerated and maybe they'll feel differently.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Chernoff also maintaining that Dr. Murray, quote, looked into Jackson's physical condition and found no evidence that Jackson was not fit to perform in an upcoming series of sold-out concerts in London. Quoting, there was nothing that Michael Jackson told him that led him to believe that he was not capable of making this tour.

Joining us now to talk about the doctor and the drugs, investigative journalist Gerald Posner.

Always a pleasure, sir. Thank you for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: That last statement from Mr. Chernoff seems a little confusing here. Would not past medical history play into whether somebody is fit enough to go on a tour? Why would a doctor rely solely on what his patient tells him, especially when the patient is Michael Jackson?

POSNER: You're absolutely right. You're talking about a tour where tens of millions of dollars are at stake, and you come in and you have to find out about the patient's history. You need to know more than just what the patient tells you.

The problem with Jackson is you can't go to one family doctor and say, by the way, what's his last ten years been like? This is a fellow who has had doctors around the world. He's got a doctor in London. He has a doctor in the United Arab Emirates, where he spends months at a time. He's got a doctor on the East Coast. There are several doctors in Los Angeles.

I think that the problem with Dr. Murray is he stepped in at the wrong time. He stepped in when the star died. He came in in May, all of a sudden, when the insurance company said, by the way, we want you to take care of him, and go on tour with him. And the next thing you know, he's giving him CPR on a, quote, firm bed.

And so this turns into the nightmare. He happens to be the doctor standing watch when Jackson actually dies. But he's not the doctor who was prescribing the pills for Jackson that have made up this prescription drug addiction for him for years.

OLBERMANN: This pertains, Gerald, to that breaking news that the "L.A. Times" is citing, that those bags that we're showing right now, that's not just - that's not the stuff that supposedly was in his system the last few weeks. That's old material. That's what, a stockpile? He had like a library full of past prescriptions?

POSNER: Well, that's the great thing. The past prescription history allows the Los Angeles Police to build up the case, and find out who the doctors were who were the doctor feel goods in this case. For instance, I happen to live in Florida in which we have drug clinics in which you can go if you have pain, and you can, for a hundred dollars every month, walk in and get an OxyContin prescription.

The great thing in Florida is they're going to start next year. But right now you don't find out if you go to multiple doctors. So you can doctor shop. You can do two or three or four doctors at a time.

For a celebrity, Keith, this is automatic. You can get prescriptions any time you want from any number of doctors. There are concierge doctors and private doctors who will write OxyContin and Demerol prescriptions for Michael Jackson and they do it around the clock. He can have multiple doctors doing that.

What they will find with these pills taken out today is who those doctors were, if they were over-prescribing, why they weren't monitoring him. The real question comes back to the current doctor, Dr. Murray, why wasn't he more aggressive in finding out what that prescription history was.

OLBERMANN: As you portray him here, a kind of loser in a game of medical musical chairs; what do we know about him? I mean, he was claiming to be a cardiologist and is not board certified. And he did seem to have a certain period of time where he tried to handle this situation by himself, half an hour or so before they called 911. Are these bad signs?

POSNER: You know, it's premature to tell. Let me tell you this: it's never good to have the King of Pop die while you're the only doctor at his house. And then when you're doing CPR, you have to have the CPR people, the EMT people tell you 911 on the telephone, by the way, don't keep him on the bed. Thank goodness it wasn't a water bed. But put him on the floor, where at least it's a little harder surface.

Then the doctor refuses to go in the ambulance with his patient, who he's been hired to take care of to the hospital. Then he refuses to sign the death certificate.

I must tell you, as a lawyer, that's the only smart thing I think he did, was refuse to sign the death certificate, because at that point he was saying, I don't know what killed him. I don't know what was involved here. I'm not his regular doctor. And therefore, you're going to have to do an autopsy and find out.

OLBERMANN: Do you have any idea, in brief, where this is going to end up legally?

POSNER: This is going to end up making lawyers wealthy. There are lawyers licking their chops around the country. This is going to be years of litigation. We're going to be talking about this in terms of the estate for years to come.

OLBERMANN: Kids in the eighth grade right now will eventually serve as lawyers in this case.

POSNER: That's true.

OLBERMANN: Investigative journalist Gerald Posner, it's always a bizarre subject that brings us together, but it's always a pleasure when it does. Thank you.

POSNER: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this the 2,251st day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.