Monday, July 6, 2009

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, July 6
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Worst Persons

Guests: Shannyn Moore, Todd Purdum, Richard Wolffe


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

So breathless it takes your breath away: Why the future ex-governor of Alaska, the panic of hyperventilation enveloping her every word quits while insulting quitters.


GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: It may be tempting and more comfortable to just kind of keep your head down and plod along and appease those who are demanding, hey, just sit down and shut up. But that's the worthless, easy copout. That's the quitter's way out.


OLBERMANN: Inside the decision to quit, to pursue a, quote, "higher calling" - while those tweet-worthy rumors swirl about the construction of her house or embezzlement or more ethic investigations, or, best of all, that she's quitting to run for president but doesn't want to make the people of Alaska pay her salary why while she does so. Which is, of course, what she made them do while she was running for vice president.

Cue the basketball point guard analogy.


PALIN: She knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win. And that is what I'm doing - keeping our eye on the ball.


OLBERMANN: Passing it, then running out of the court, out of the gym, through the parking lot and out of town - posing only to threaten to sue a blogger for insisting gossip about her was only gossip. The threat from its target, Shannyn Moore; her political future, if any, with her "Vanity Fair" profiler, Todd Purdum; and if this is the end, the comedic highlights and a fond farewell.

Also .


TINA FEY, ACTRESS (impersonating Sarah Palin): Katie, I'd like to use one of my lifelines.


OLBERMANN: Also - sorry - also, Mark Sanford hangs on by his fingertips, and him, Al Franken, arrives.


SEN. HARRY REID (D), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I'm very happy to welcome to our Capitol, Senator-elect Al Franken.


OLBERMANN: And Worsts: Nice job on round two of those tea parties.

Turns out calling these guys racist was flattery.

And calling for an overthrow of the U.S. government you say? Aided by foreign nationals, isn't that illegal?


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: If we had any good luck, Honduras would send some people here and help us get our government back.


OLBERMANN: All that and more - now on Countdown.


LIMBAUGH: Oh! No, I don't think so.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

There had perhaps not been such a combination of terror, panic, anger, urgency and hyper ventilation in a political speech in this country since the famous "You won't have Dick Nixon to kick around" address from November 1962.

Our fifth story on the Countdown: If that one is still resonating nearly 47 years later, of course, Sarah Palin's bizarre resignation speech on the Friday of the Fourth of July weekend, the ultimate bad news dump day would still echo. And one question reverberates across the land: what the hell was that about?

Making South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's rambling admission of having a mistress in Argentina sound Shakespearean in its organization and cadence, on Friday, Governor Palin dropping the bombshell that she would be leaving the office before the end of the month, that she would not - superfluous postscript here - not be running for re-election. All of this information coming only after she had laundry listed all of her purported accomplishments as governor and complained about the numerous ethic complaints that have been lodged against her.


PALIN: Over the past nine months, I have been accused of all sorts of frivolous ethics violations such as holding a fish in a photograph or wearing a jacket with a logo on it, and answering reporters' questions. Every one of these, though, all 15 of the ethics complaints have been dismissed. We have won. But it hasn't been cheap.

Todd and I, we're looking at more than half a million dollars in legal bills just in order to set the record straight.


OLBERMANN: Record purportedly straightened, let the dead fish analogies commence.


PALIN: I think a problem in our country today is apathy. It would be apathetic to just kind of hunker down and go with the flow. We're fishermen. We know that only dead fish go with the flow.

So I choose for my state and for my family more freedom to progress, all the way around, so that Alaska may progress. I will not seek re-election as governor.


OLBERMANN: So she can catch a salmon in her teeth.

In case you were wondering, leaving office before one's term has expired would not be the same thing as quitting.


PALIN: Life is too short to compromise time and resources. And though it may be tempting and more comfortable to just kind of keep your head down and plod along and appease those who are demanding, hey, just sit down and shut up. But that's a worthless, easy copout. That's a quitter's way out.


OLBERMANN: That's right. Winners never quit - I mean, quitters never - never - quitters - we rejoin Governor Palin already in progress.


PALIN: My thought about - well, how much fun some governors have as lame ducks. They maybe travel around their state, travel to other states, maybe take their overseas, international trade missions. So many politicians do that, and then I thought: that's what's wrong. Many just accept that lame duck status and they hit the road, they draw a paycheck and kind of milk it - and I'm not going to put Alaskans through that.

I promised efficiencies and effectiveness. That's not how I'm wired. I'm not wired to operate under the same old politics as usual. I promised that four years ago and I meant it.


OLBERMANN: If by four years ago you mean 2 ½ years ago, what's 16 months or so when you've been sworn to support and defend. Perhaps, it's better that Governor Palin was point guard on her high school basketball team instead of, say, scorekeeper. Her name had been "Sarah Barracuda."


PALIN: Let me go back quickly to a comfortable analogy for me and that's sports - basketball. And I use it because you are naive if you don't see a full court press from the national level picking away right now. A good point guard - here's what she does: She drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her head up because she needs to keep her eye on the basket. And she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can win.


OLBERMANN: The governor who once wanted to be a sportscaster in Bristol, Connecticut, tweeting over the weekend about now wanting to join her family in Bristol Bay, Alaska, where her husband Todd has long worked seasonally as a commercial fisherman. Quote, "Grateful Todd left fishing grounds to join me this weekend, but now he's back slaying salmon and working the kids at the site. Anxious to join 'em."

Early, she had posted that she looked forward to winning the work - joining the work crew, rather, for one day picking fish. In a July 4th message posted to her Facebook account, the governor still sounding like someone with aspirations to higher office. To quote, "Though it's honorable for countless others to leave their position for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course, we know by now, for some reason, a different standard applies to the decisions I make."

Back in the backyard in Wasilla, Governor Palin having alluded to the reasons and explanations behind her decision.


PALIN: And it hurts to make this choice, but I'm doing what's best for Alaska, and I have explained why. So, I think of saying on my parents' refrigerator, a little magnet, that says, "Don't explain, your friends don't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway." But I've given my reasons.


OLBERMANN: Reasons? She gave reasons somewhere in there?

Governor Palin was the subject of an illuminating article in this month's "Vanity Fair," "It Came from Wasilla," written by the magazine's national editor, Todd Purdum, who joins us now.

Todd, good evening. Thanks for your time tonight.

TODD PURDUM, VANITY FAIR: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Before we start to try to figure out why, she claimed right there in that last clip we played that she said why in that speech. Did she? Did you - did you hear it?

PURDUM: Well, she kind of gave you an a la cart menu of whys. I mean, you could be pick that she was tired of the game, you could pick that she was better for Alaska, you could pick that she was going to effect change presumably at the national level, from outside of government.

So, I think the thing that confused so many of her listeners was that she didn't give a reason. She threw all the cards up in the air and said pick your reason.

OLBERMANN: You wrote in the article about the senior staff in the McCain campaign. I'll quote the article, "They all know if their candidate, a 72-year-old cancer survivor, had won the presidency, the vice presidency would be in the hands of a woman who lacked the knowledge, preparation, the aptitude and the temperament for the job."

Do - this was, of course, one among many searing paragraphs in there. Are we confident that the release of your article and the release of those internal e-mails with Nicolle Wallace - were these all coincidences of timing? Or is it possible that this sequence last week was, in fact, interrelated and not just - not just sequential?

PURDUM: Oh, I think it's all coincidences. I mean, I think my article was probably one of the furthest things from Governor Palin's mind when she made her remarks the other day. And she pointed out that this has been under consideration by her for quite a while.

What did stun people - people expected she might not run for re-election. I think people were genuinely stunned that she quit. But I think, one of the things the article points out is just how deep and enduring the divide is within her own Republican Party over her skills and over her future. And maybe to a small degree the article, you know, reminded everybody that these issues are not resolved, that could have played some small part.

OLBERMANN: You also wrote about the difficulties the governor had buckling down to study for the - originally, for the interview for Katie Couric among other problems that occurred in her relationship with the media, also for her debate with then Senator Biden. Andrea Mitchell reported - as this was happening on Friday - that this is it. That she is - no matter what she's talking about - she's not going to run for political office again.

Was all this just too complicated for her or too something? Are we missing some fundamental part of this equation that she knew she was talking about Friday and the rest of us just don't - don't see?

PURDUM: I think, in some ways - you know, she liked the ice cream and she didn't like the vegetables. I mean, she didn't like doing the dull grinding work of getting acquainted with issues. People of Alaska told me that she was very good in the first 15 minutes of any meeting on a policy that she cared about. After that, her mind would drift off.

So, I think, for her, it just wasn't any fun anymore. And it was very hard for her to govern effectively. The legislature was totally at her throat in a way. Former allies had turned against her. So, I think she was just sick of the game.

OLBERMANN: Rush Limbaugh had this statement that he issued while on vacation, necessarily leading the Republican Party, I guess, you have to make that sort of statement. But he defended her and said - among other things - he does not think this would preclude her from running for office down the road and that would include the presidency in '12. But, obviously, short-term officeholders have won - or at least sought the presidency.

But can you really walk out in the - essentially, the midpoint of a governorship without giving a compelling easy-to-understand reason why and then expect to be taken seriously for the White House? Especially if it was questioned, you know, questionable to begin with that she was being taken seriously before resigning?

PURDUM: Yes, I don't think it precludes her trying to run. And a person like Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan wielded great influence over the internal debates of their party, without holding an office. I think it raises an awful lot of questions about whether she'd be a good candidate.

And, you know, when people talk about the comparative lack of experience that Barack Obama had in elective office, by the end of that campaign for the presidency, he had done something no one in history had ever done before. He had presided over, he had run the biggest, most expensive presidential campaign in history and he had shown he did a pretty darn good job of it.

So, I think what Sarah Palin has yet to prove is that she can really run anything - run it effectively and run it consistently and stick with it until the job is done.

OLBERMANN: Having gone into such depths to profile her in the magazine, did you have an assessment of the staging of this news conference? Her own performance to it - in it?

I don't want to get, you know, body language like, but what struck me listening to this originally and then watching it were these excited - I don't want to say excited, but quick deep breaths. She sounded literally like she had just run up to that microphone. Was I imagining things? Was there something wrong with the microphone?

PURDUM: No, Keith, I heard it a lot the same way. I had, it almost had the sense to me of a decision that she'd made after some serious reflection, obviously with her family. But once she made her decision, it was almost as if she raced to announce it, lest she change her mind or think it over again, or be persuaded by someone who said no, you can't do that.

It's almost as if, you know, when you're - in some ways, a little kid and, you know, you've done something bad and you have to confess right away or you've done, you're trying, you just to have - she had to get it off her chest for better or worse, I think.

OLBERMANN: Todd Purdum, national editor for "Vanity Fair," who profiles now soon to be ex-Governor Palin, "It Came from Wasilla," in "Vanity Fair" - great thanks, sir.

PURDUM: Thanks, Keith, for having me.

OLBERMANN: If Friday's speech invoking the memory of Nixon telling reporters they wouldn't have him to kick around anymore was not enough, a postscript sounds more like Nixon in his White House bunker as Watergate collapsed around him, threatening anyone and everyone he could think of. The Palin warnings that reporters, particular one reporter could be sued for writing about potential investigations of the construction of her house in Wasilla, perhaps by the same people who built that extraordinary sports complex in a tiny Alaskan town.

The one reporter in the crosshairs joins us next.


OLBERMANN: Rule one about how not to reply to scurrilous rumors, threatening to sue over them before they get reported. Quote, "This is to provide notice to Shannyn Moore and those who republish the defamation, such as 'Huffington Post,' MSNBC, 'The New York Times' and "The Washington Post,' that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law." Oh, threats from the half-term ex-governor of Alaska.

Shannyn Moore is next. You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: The rambling about the refrigerator magnet and dead fish had not even sunk in before Governor Palin and her lawyers serve the media a four-page warning: "Stop investigating allegations or we will sue."

In our fourth story: The governor catches her breath long enough to threaten legal action. One of her targets, blogger and radio talk show host Shannyn Moore, who joins us presently.

But first, it did not take long after the stunner at Lake Lucille for the blame-the-media game to begin. At issue: Rumor circulating as to why the governor was quitting, ranging from a construction deal on Palin's house, to her involvement in the building of a Wasilla sports facility that was worth several times the city's budget.

In a letter issued to media outlets, Palin attorney, Thomas Van Flein, warning of possible legal action of such rumors are discussed, quote, "Several unscrupulous people have asserted false and defamatory allegations that the real reasons for Governor Palin's resignation stem from an alleged criminal investigation pertaining to the construction of the Wasilla sports complex. Several Websites, most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as fact that Governor Palin resigned because she is, quote, 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation.

This is to provide notice to Ms. Moore and those who re-publish the defamation, such as 'Huffington Post,' MSNBC - he spelled it right - and 'The New York Time' and 'The Washington Post,' that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law."

Ms. Moore responding that the governor's charges outside Palin's office in Anchorage, pointing out that she did not report the rumors as fact.


SHANNYN MOORE, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Sarah Palin is a coward and a bully. What kind of politician attacks an ordinary American on the Fourth of July for speaking her mind? What's wrong with her? The First Amendment was designed to protect people like me from people like her. Our American Revolution got rid of kings and it got rid of queens as well. Am I annoyed? You betcha.


OLBERMANN: The FBI issuing its own statement on the matter, asserting the governor is not under investigation. Meanwhile, "Governor Quitter" took to Twitter, "trying to keep up with getting truth to you like proof there's no FBI scandal."

Joining me now from Anchorage, "Huffington Post" contributor Shannyn Moore who appears to have struck some sort of nerve.

Shannyn, good evening.

MOORE: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Well, why do you think the governor is targeting you and are you surprised to be in the middle of this?

MOORE: I am surprised to be in the middle of it. I've been a critic of Governor Palin for - since she became governor. And I've supported her on some issues that I thought were good for Alaska but I was sort of surprised to be sucked into this. But, you know, she's kind of mavericky.

OLBERMANN: The definition of mavericky, as I understand from at least the 19th century - maybe I'm just thinking of James Garner in the role - certainly did not involve perpetually casting oneself as victim. This woman has been victimized by her own definition, an average of once every 3 ½ hours since she stepped in the national spotlight a year ago. Eventually, is there not some sort of supposition that that tactic will backfire?

MOORE: Oh, I think it did backfire on her with the David Letterman scenario. You know, coming out accusing him of saying - and then he did apologize. And then, I think he actually took the high road on that, but I'm just another Alaska girl and I wasn't going to apologize. I reported that rumors existed. And people were trying to make sense of her word salad out there, you know, resigning.


MOORE: And carrying on like, OK, and I quit, but quitters really suck, but I'm going to quit anyway. Everybody was just like what? And for months - for months and months, we've had, you know, sort of brewing rumors - and as every state does.

And now, those rumors started coming up to the surface. People saying, could it be this, could it be this, could it be this - because we couldn't make sense of what she was saying. When she said I gave my reasons or I don't have to make reasons, people were making up their own reasons. And not just people who were critics, people that were supporters.

OLBERMANN: And the follow-up to this, I mean, Wayne Barrett put this story about - it was loosely described as house gate or suggesting some relationship between .

MOORE: Right.

OLBERMANN: . the construction of her house and the Wasilla sports complex, that was in "Village Voice" in New York last fall. And if you now google this subject, you'll get thousands of hits, and presumably, thousands more than you would have gotten, say, last Thursday or certainly last Saturday when she decided to make such a big deal about this.

Is there not something - another fundamental flaw in this equation here? Does the governor and her representation not appreciate that the more of a big deal you make about this, the more threats you throw out there, the more people are going to - are going to want to find out what the threat is about? Haven't they just tactically gone about this exactly backwards?

MOORE: Right, like don't think about an elephant.


MOORE: It's the same sort of scenario with that. And yes, that story came out actually, I think, October 9th or so of last year. It wasn't a story I ever covered. It was certainly a story that I heard rumor of.

But, on my way driving to the studio, I was listening to the radio and it was the 25 top rumors of why Sarah Palin resigned and I think the number one was that she's going to do Michael Jackson's comeback tour now. I mean, there are so many rumors that - well, I'm sorry.

But, you know, my point is that that people are talking about all these different rumors trying to explain it and now it's become a joke to a lot of Alaskans. I'm sure to the Palins, it isn't a joke. I'm sure this is a hard time for them. And whatever she's going to do after this, I wish her well. But I'm glad she's not going to be making decisions for my state any longer.

OLBERMANN: Yes. It's just - I mean, any governor under any circumstances who lasts less than three years in first term .

MOORE: Right.

OLBERMANN: I mean, you know, you presume it has to be "Spitzerian" at its level of importance to require somebody to quit the office. You can't hang in there for the last 16 months?

MOORE: Well, it's - I mean, she aborted her term basically. And it's - I know that it's been very difficult for her. I know that the press has been hard. And I think that she's brought on a huge amount of it herself.

But, you know, you don't - there are a lot of people that walked door-to-door and supported her, and through this last campaign, hung in there and gave her a lot of breaks. And she abandoned them and, you know, her supporters here are frustrated. So .

OLBERMANN: Well, yes, you know, that was not - it was the - it was the voodoo preacher who made it all happen. It wasn't those people who actually helped her. So, you know, you got have to keep .

MOORE: All right.

OLBERMANN: . your facts in order, Shannyn.

Shannyn Moore of "The Huffington Post" .

MOORE: Oh, sorry.

OLBERMANN: . thank you kindly and good luck. Stay out of the - stay out of the crosshairs.

MOORE: All right. Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: And, of course, there is the Sarah Palin of the alternate universe. What will the comedy industry do without her? We'll again turn to that relic from the moment she could have owned the Tina Fey impersonation of her but did not.

And the Fourth of July with Governor Sanford and the missus. Oops, wrong tape! Next on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Bests in a moment. Why if you're a congressman, it is better just to leave this whole Michael Jackson thing alone?

First, we weren't on on Saturday, so no chance to note that it was the birthday of Joyce Lapinski, former music publisher, now consultant for the nonprofit, Urban Farming, helper for the homeless and within a small segment of society a recognized actual saint. As wife, friend and metaphorical balance beam to the one and only Richard Lewis.

Happy belated birthday Joyce and congratulations on another year of successfully keeping your feet and hands inside the ride at all times.

Let's play Oddball.

Naturally, we start in Sonkajarvi in Finland where the annual wife-carrying contest was held over the weekend. Thirty-six couples from all around the world competed. And there was even a team from the U.S., although Mark and Jenny Sanford had bowed out at the last minute. Thousands turned out to see their men and their wives hurdle obstacles and swim through the water hazards, some more gracefully than others, release rotation, splash.

Of course, competitors of all shapes and sizes were welcome after all the winning couple receives the weight of the lady in beer. Yes, some of these (INAUDIBLE) these are not going to make for home movies. I'll end the drama and let you know those two did not prevail.

And to a tree stump in Stockton. And I don't need to tell you whose face showed up on this birch tree. All right, it's Michael Jackson. The tree's owners say they discovered the likeness over the weekend. They hope the icon's appearance on their tree does not become too much of a tourist attraction.

I have to tell you this, that's just a knot in the tree where there used to be a branch or something. And the family is not sure why the King of Pop's face appeared on their tree, but it helps explain the sparkly white glove on the end of one of the tree's branches.

Guess who is back and spending the Fourth with his family? Yes, it's a man so lucky he should go hunting for lost wallets. The Republican governor who did not resign in a hail of hyperventilation over the long weekend.

And then there is the one who did. Comedically, Sarah we hardly knew ya.

These stories ahead.

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

Dateline: Washington: Number three: Best conflict of interest. Congressman Phil Gingrey of Georgia, on this network, arguing for not cutting back or elimination production of the F-22 fighter jet, in fact, slipping $369 million in funding for the project into the defense authorization budget bill. The F-22 is manufactured by Lockheed and Boeing. Gingrey's latest official financial disclosure report shows he owns stock in Boeing, valued between $15,000 and $50,000.

Congressman, seriously? I mean, if we taxpayers just gave you $50,000, would you stop being corrupt?

Dateline: Kabul, Afghanistan. Number two: Best cessation of panic. Aziz Gul Saqib, the manager of a Kabul zoo, who announced that two months of quarantine was deemed enough even by his nervous patrons who did not get the who H1N1 swine flu thing and he was, thus, returning, Khanzir, the city's only known pig to his cage at the zoo. Nevertheless, at least one visitor was seen pulling his shirt over his nose and mouth to protect himself against Khanzir flu.

And, dateline: Long Island. Number one: Best stepping off an unnecessary cliff - rabid right-wing Congressman Peter King of New York. He complained about the excessive and excessively positive media coverage of the late Michael Jackson. And for once, there was nothing really wrong about one of his complaints. Then he went on to call Jackson a, quote, pedophile and a, quote, low-life pervert who, quote, did some dancing. Problem is, Jackson was never convicted of any of that, except the dancing part. And Jackson's fans don't care.

They care about Congressman King now. One has already set up a fund raising cite asking fans of Michael Jackson to contribute to the campaign for somebody, anybody who will run for Congress against King next year in some sort of let Michael Jackson rest in peace platform.


OLBERMANN: OK, so maybe Alaska is not going so well for the Republican party right now. But certainly a loyal Republican could find solace in the lower 48, right? Our third story tonight, loyal Republicans might want to destroy their televisions for at least the next year.

We begin in Minnesota, where Al Franken is still trying - wait, Franken Isn't in Minnesota anymore. He's in Washington making the rounds on Capitol Hill, including a private meeting with Senate majority leader - sorry Senate super Majority Leader Harry Reid. Franken's swearing in tomorrow will give the Democratic caucus 60 votes, enough, if they hold together, to end the threat of Republican filibusters.

South Carolina, hello. Mark Sanford back from a three-day Fourth of July vacation with his family and in-laws. We assume they brought fireworks or made their own while hiking. Welcoming him back, a private meeting of state Republicans trying to figure out what to do about him.

Over to the South Fork Ranch in Texas, for the second round of the Tea Parties. This the weekend's largest Tea. Organizers hoping to pull 50,000. Local media reporting attendance far below that until the fireworks show, which was attended by 37,000. The fund raiser failing after no one bought the big sponsorships.

Organizers are now hoping to break even. Texas Senator John Cornyn got an earful from his tea-bagsters. The Republican booed and heckled, as was Republican Governor Rick Perry during at least one of his four appearances.

And finally to Haramin (ph), Tennessee where a crowd of at least 20 blamed the low turnout on poor directions, or the possibility that normal Americans just had better things to do on July 4th. Wow.

Let's turn now to MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, author of "Renegade, The Making of a President." Richard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: The big Republican grassroots movement is either hoping to break even or it's booing the party leaders in Texas. Tomorrow, they lose their power to filibuster, at least theoretically. Two presidential hopefuls are out the window and they might lose one of the governorships in South Carolina.

How bad is it when I'm actually starting to sympathetically worry about them?

WOLFFE: I'm sure they will be very happy to have your sympathy. But I think you should keep it on ice a little while longer for a couple of reasons. First of all, let's be clear, this wasn't just a flame out of some of the senior figures in the party. This was spontaneous combustion. And while Democrats may think that's a wonderful thing, the truth is that hubris can strike at these moments. And Democrats should have to think back to 2005, when Republicans thought they were in control and everything was going their way, and things fell apart pretty much at that precise moment.

So there are dangers at this time. But, you know, you should enjoy the spectacle while it lasts, because it is entertaining.

OLBERMANN: There's one spectacle I really don't understand. The old joke about the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Why were John Cornyn and Rick Perry booed? Especially Perry who has seemingly thrown these people at these Tea Parties all the secession red meat they seemingly could want?

WOLFFE: Well, according to the "Austin American Statesman," which is Perry's hometown paper, this is because of toll roads. He has a proposal to make people pay for driving their big trucks across large distances of smooth asphalt in Texas. They don't like it.

Here's the problem here, and it's not just about Perry or about the Republican party. These are people who are obviously conservative by nature, who are disillusioned with a brand that is very tarnished. And they are going to find a political voice for themselves. It obviously isn't Perry. It's nowhere in elected office in the Republican party. But they will find a voice. And the question is, who is that voice going to be?

Well who is that voice going to be? If you've got - the tea bag events are either concerned with people who are wondering whether they're going to boo Republicans or lose money on the event or just continue to exist - where does this base move to?

WOLFFE: Well, I think it's a very real prospect that what you're looking at here is a scenario that is ripe for an independent party to pop up, an independent candidate, someone who combines the sort of Ross Perot concerns about taxes and federal deficits with, frankly, Pat Buchanan's nativist spirit. And you put those two together in some kind of demagogue, you would have a serious threat to any candidate in a couple of years time. And that's got to be a concern for people in the White House, because this may be a 1992 situation. And that can be very unpredictable.

OLBERMANN: Could that be Sarah Palin? Just throwing things together here off the top of the head. Is it possible she might be - when she ventures out on her own here into whatever it is she's going to do, is it possible she may try to go there without that party behind her?

WOLFFE: Well, she may try, but I don't think that fits the mood of what you're seeing here. People who are disillusioned with the party, with elected official; here's someone who was on the ticket, although she has this grassroots support. She has just withered under the pressure. And so I don't think it's going to be someone in politics, in the Republican party. It's more likely to be someone way outside of it.

OLBERMANN: Again, just look at who were the last three losing vice presidential candidates, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards and Sarah Palin. That's quite a group. Richard Wolffe, we're out of time, of MSNBC, and author of "Renegade," always a pleasure. Thank you.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Also, the real victim in the Palin resignation: Tina Fey. And when "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts at the top of the hour, the serious stuff. Her special guest, the Alaska legislator who ran the Trooper-Gate investigation.

Here there was much more to those Tea things, like this one sponsored by the County Republican Party in Jacksonville, Florida, area. Yes, no nut jobs here. Worst persons ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: What do you mean Sarah Palin's political career is over? But she was such a good sport about all the humor. Besides, Tina Fey can't do a good Nancy Pelosi impression. We'll back fondly at Palin, the self-caricature. That's next, but first time for Countdown's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio, whose quote yesterday about the effects of the stimulus program: "in Ohio, the infrastructure dollars that were sent there months ago, there hasn't been a contract left, to my knowledge. And the fact is I don't believe it will create jobs."

You need to upgrade your knowledge, brother. The last update was from June 15th, by which time the Ohio Department of Transportation had already awarded 83.9 million dollars in stimulus money in contracts for work on Ohio's highways, local roads and bridges. Work on a ramp-widening project in Cleveland began on June 9th. And on June 15, one Ohio Congressman said he was, quote, "pleased" that another 57 million had been awarded to Ohio, quote, "for shovel-ready projects that will create much-needed jobs."

Who said that? The same person who said yesterday that there had not been a contract had been awarded in Ohio and that no jobs will be created, John Boehner. Maybe there are two of them.

The runner up, Boss Limbaugh, all exercised over the North Korean's testing of long-range missiles last week. So he says, "I wonder what Obama is going to do. He'll probably call Hugo Chavez to find out what to do about it, except Hugo is in the hills marshalling forces to invade Honduras. If we had any good luck, Honduras would send some people here to help us get our government back."

Send some people here, help us get our government back; what does that imply? Foreign nationals from Honduras to do what? Add to the political discourse? Or some sort of call to armed insurrection against the elected government of the United States? Why am I asking this question of Mr. Limbaugh? Instead of someone from Homeland Security asking him, since publicly advocating the overthrow of the government of the United States is, in fact, a federal crime.

But our winners, the backers of the tea party of Jacksonville Landing, in Florida last Thursday, including Duval County Republican Chairman Lenny Curry (ph) and Florida State Republican Reps Lake Ray, Charles McBernie and Mike Weinstein (ph), plus state Senator Steven Weiss (ph), who condoned, sponsored, paid for this, President Obama as a Hitlerian Storm Trooper. By the way, the event, this is straight from the email sent out pushing it, quote, paid by Republican Party of Duval County.

Obama with a Hitler moustache, hair cut and Swastika, and, of course, some mush head equating the rather slow-moving voter registration outfit Acorn to SS, the Hitler SS. "Same Thang" it says there. The SS, the people chosen to pull Jews and members of other groups, ranging from the communists to the socialists to the clergy to the rotary club, out of German society, then intern them, then torture them, then murder them; they're like Acorn.

Do you remember when Janeane Garofalo came on here and called the tea baggers racist and the right wing said, you owe us an apology? You know what, they were right. I would like to apologize for Janeane comparing these Jacksonville tea party guys to racists. I'd like to apologize to racists. Duval County Florida Republican Chairman Lenny Curry and the other people making abject fools out of the themselves, and insulting every real victim of real Nazis in history, today's worst persons in the world.


OLBERMANN: As nuts as was Richard Nixon, his instincts told him to pretend to go along with the jokes, at least to start, and thus was born the five second cameo on George Slatter's (ph) "Laugh In" just before the 1968 election. Our number one story on the Countdown, comedy and Sarah Palin. If you don't have a sense of humor about yourself, fake it. Or you will end up like the governor, separating herself from the only thing that justified taking her even slightly seriously.

Again tonight, we turn to this political relic. As I said last October, this is the original cue card for the governor's first bit the night she was on "Saturday Night Live." We don't know if she chose not to say this or if it was cut for time or if somebody at SNL changed her first line to, "I just didn't think it was a realistic depiction of the way my press conferences would have gone."

The original script reads, as you see here, "I do like her impression of me." Imagine what that would have done for the public's impression of her, laughing along, or at least pretending to, as Tina Fey Doppelgangered her.


TINA FEY, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": Every morning when Alaskans wake up, one of the first things they do is look outside to see if there are any Russians hanging around. If there are, you've got to go up to them and ask what are you doing here? And if they can give you a good reason - if you can't, then it's our responsibility to say, you know, shoo, get back over there.

AMY POEHLER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": You compare your road to the White House to my road to the White House. I scratched and clawed through mud and barbed wire, and you just glided in on a dog sled.

QUEEN LATIFA, SINGER: I would now like to give each of you a chance to make a closing statement.

FEY: Are we not doing the talent portion?

I would like to entertain everybody with some fancy pageant walking.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The final days of the election are the most essential. This past Wednesday, Barack Obama purchased air time on three major networks. We, however, can only afford QVC.

FEY: These campaigns sure are expensive.

MCCAIN: They sure are.

FEY: Why not do your holiday shopping with us.

OK, listen up, everybody. I'm going rogue right now, so keep your voices down. Available now, we've got a bunch of these Sarah Palin t-shirts. Just try and wait until after Tuesday to wear them, OK?


OLBERMANN: It was noted by her fawning biographer John Ziegler that he once showed her a picture of me, and she replied with a shriek and the announcement, he's evil, which is ironic on many levels, because the depiction between Sarah Palin and caricatures of Sarah Palin began with her brief pursuit of her original dream job, ESPN Sportscenter. I used to do that job.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keith is here with sports. Other news besides Iditarod, right?

PALIN: Right, there was some good college basketball today. I'm going to show you highlights. Show you all about that next. Stay right there.

MCCAIN: She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs.

PALIN: Senator, I am honored to be chosen as your running mate.

OLBERMANN: Who the heck is she? The 20-month veteran? The two-term mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,236? The governor who was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it?

PALIN: I told Congress thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere.

OLBERMANN: By the way, as of tomorrow, every time Senator Palin repeats one of her standard lies, I will donate 100 dollars to charity.

PALIN: I did tell Congress thanks, but no thanks.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Thanks, but no thanks.

OLBERMANN: The check to the Alaska Special Olympics is in the amount of 3,700.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And our next vice president of the United States, Sarah Palin!

PALIN: I love those hockey moms, you know. They say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.

OLBERMANN: People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.

MCCAIN: Don't you think we made the right choice for the next vice president of the United States?

OLBERMANN: I went to an anti-Palin rally and a hockey game broke out.

The Sarah Palin interview.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And Iraq, everywhere, like, such as -

OLBERMANN: I'm sorry, wrong tape.

CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush - what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view.

OLBERMANN: All political gaffes will now, by necessity, have to be put in historical context: BP or AP?

PALIN: Is he going to do this and -

OLBERMANN: Before Palin or after Palin.

PALIN: You can even play stump the candidate, if you want to.

KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

PALIN: Well, let's see, there's - in the great history of America, there have been rulings. There's never going to be absolute consensus by every American.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Governor, are you a feminist?

PALIN: I'm not going to label myself anything, Brian?

COURIC: Do you consider yourself a feminist?

PALIN: I do.

Our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They're in the state I'm the executive of. Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border.

COURIC: What newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand -

PALIN: I read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

COURIC: What specifically, I'm curious.

PALIN: All of them.

COURIC: I'm going to ask you one more time, not belabor the point, specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

PALIN: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring it to ya.

OLBERMANN: And now it belongs to the ages.

PALIN: Hey, can I call you Joe?

OLBERMANN: Palin v. Biden. And that was not a Supreme Court verdict.

PALIN: I may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you want to hear. Say it ain't so, Joe.

Barack Obama and Senator Biden. Drill, baby, drill. Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear.

Green, natural gas.

Team of mavericks. Maverick - maverick.

What do you expect, a team of mavericks. That's what John McCain meant. I'm going to push him on ANWR though.

My dad, who is in the audience today. Joe Six Pack - hockey moms across the nation. How long have I been at this? Five weeks?

One of Barack Obama's earliest supporters is Bill Ayers, a domestic terrorist.

Domestic terrorist.

Domestic terrorist.

Domestic terrorist.

Domestic terrorist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of Jesus, every form of witchcraft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know "Hustler's" "Nailing Palin"?

PALIN: Good, thank you.

OLBERMANN: It is useful to recall the conventional wisdom regarding vice presidential picks: first, do no harm. Governor Palin, eight weeks after her selection, seems to be continuing to do harm.

PALIN: Those clothes are not my property. My favorite shop is a consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska, called Out of the Closet.

OLBERMANN: Based on multiple reports from multiple sources, Sarah Palin is a rogue GOP elephant.

PALIN: I'm glad now that Elizabeth brought it up, because it gives me an opportunity, without the filter of the media, to get to tell you the whole clothes thing.

OLBERMANN: Palin, quote, is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone.


MCCAIN: My friends, we have come to the end of a long journey. The American people have spoken and they have spoken clearly.

PALIN: It didn't change me it all. I have the same values and convictions and positions and policies. Just a greater appreciation, I think, for what other candidates go through. You know, it's pretty brutal. And it was a blast. Every day was just a blast out there on the trail.


OLBERMANN: The phrase, I think, is bullet dodged? And there is the final irony of Palin and Tina Fey and humor and satire. Tina Fey was marvelous, and the rest of us who pointed out the governor's absurdities were insightful and entertaining to various and obviously lesser degrees. But ultimately we were all utterly unnecessary. Governor Sarah Palin was self-caricaturing. Out of office, will she still be relevant enough even to be just funny?

That's Countdown for this the 2,258th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.