Wednesday, March 31, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Quick Comment, Worst Persons
Via YouTube: Quick Comment
The toss: Anniversary

Guests: Erich Pica, Rep. Barney Frank, James Risen, Richard Wolffe

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

Amaze your friends, confuse your enemies. OK, just confuse everybody.


the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration. And this is not a
decision that I've made lightly.


OLBERMANN: The president attacked by the right for not drilling
enough, attacked by the left for drilling at all, attacked by both sides
for contradicting himself from the campaign.

And for what? The maximum yield on this: 63 billion barrels of oil.
We use 7 billion barrels of oil per year. The likely return on this, a
fraction of that may be as little as two weeks' supply. Drill, Barack,

The Republican who is for protecting the consumer from the big banks
before he was against it, Senator Corker, flip-flops, now opposes the
reform bill he said last week he supported. Our special guest: Congressman
Barney Frank.

"They were subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance" - the
federal judge's ruling today against the Bush administration wiretaps of an
Islamic charity and two American attorneys. Wiretapping which the Obama
administration is defending under state secrets laws.

The tea party Senate candidate in Florida suggests, "I don't love this
country and should be traded from it." Tonight's "Quick Comments."

"Worsts": That was quick - a right wing radio freak defends the
Hutaree on grounds of faith and freedom of speech.

And Sarah Palin's interview with LL Cool J for fixed news. It was
news to him. It turned out it was lifted from somewhere else. FOX turns
tail and runs.

And, baseball player hits ball, baseball player's hit ball hits
baseball player's own mother?

All the news and commentary - now on tonight's seventh anniversary
edition of Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Good evening. This is Countdown.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

President Obama today stunning supporters and getting only a faint
cough from his opponents, announcing he has approved a limited offshore oil
and gas exploration increases much of the eastern seaboard from Delaware
down through central Florida, also along other parts of the outer
continental shelf. Drill Obama, drill.

This while the administration insisted new mileage standards will save
an estimated 1,800,000,000 barrels of oil - the proverb about trying to
please everybody and ending up pleasing nobody seems appropriate, even
though it too pleases nobody.

At a military base outside Washington, President Obama declaring that
he has cleared the way for expanded oil drilling along the Atlantic coast,
the eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Alaskan shoreline.


OBAMA: Given our energy needs, in order to sustain economic growth
and produce jobs and keep our businesses competitive, we are going to need
to harness traditional sources of fuel, even as we ramp up production of
new sources of renewable homegrown energy.


OLBERMANN: It is a change in policy from when then-Senator Obama
started running for the White House, when he first supported the moratorium
that prevented oil companies from drilling off Florida's coast, and then in
autumn of 2008, signaled willingness to consider some drilling. Now,
President Obama is claiming it was a tough decision that had to be made.


OBAMA: This is not a decision that I've made lightly. Ultimately, we
need to move beyond the tired debates of the left and the right, between
business leaders and environmentalists, between those who would claim
drilling is a cure-all and those who would claim it has no place - because
this issue is just too important to allow our progress to languish while we
fight the same old battles over and over again.


OLBERMANN: The policy is not going to gain much of anything in terms
of actual oil production. The maximum yield for these areas: 63 billion
barrels. We consume more than 7 billion barrels a year. So, if every
spoonful of oil they think could be there is there, he did this to get nine
years' supply, likely way less than half the oil is really there. And to
start at least, there is only a five-year window to drill. This could be
the actual yield, might equal as little as a month's domestic consumption.
Maybe just two weeks.

So, what might be president actually be hoping to get in return for
this controversial decision? Earlier in the month, Republican Senator
Graham hinting that the president was going to need to make a grand gesture
if he wanted Republican support on energy and climate change to any degree.

Today, John Kerry, without endorsing the specifics of the president's
proposal today, is saying that offshore drilling could help get 60 votes
for climate legislation. But for which climate legislation exactly?

This morning on CNBC, the energy secretary, Ken Salazar, backing away
from cap-and-trade, saying, quote, "I think the term cap-and-trade is not
in the lexicon anymore."

His drilling proposal certainly hasn't won the president any
Republican n votes in the House. Minority Leader Boehner today is saying
in a statement that the plan does not go far enough, quote, "Opening up
areas off the Virginia coast to offshore production is a positive step, but
keeping the Pacific coast and Alaska, as well as the most promising
resources off the Gulf of Mexico, under lock and key makes no sense."
Except that makes no sense. President Obama did open new areas for
drilling in Alaska's Arctic Sea, only Bristol Bay remains protected - the
most environmentally fragile waters of the Frontier State.

Speaking of which, the former half-governor of Alaska today saying in
a tweet - you guessed it - "Drill, baby, drill." And actually, it was
only her first tweet, supposedly after reading the Republican talking
points or at least Congressman Boehner's statement, Mrs. Palin posting an
apparent self-tweeting correction, quote, "Rep. Boehner spot-on Obama goal
equals cram through job-killing, energy-depleting burdensome cap and tax
scheme on the heels of Obama's new pro drilling msg."

Environmentalists - no happier. The executive director of Greenpeace
asking, quote, "Is this President Obama's clean energy plan or Palin's
drill, baby drill campaign?" The executive director of the Sierra Club,
"What we need is bold decisive steps towards clean energy, not more dirty,
expensive offshore drilling."

Lots to talk about thus, with our own Howard Fineman, senior
Washington correspondent for "Newsweek" magazine.

Howard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: Republicans obviously think this does not go far enough.
Progressives feel betrayed to one degree or another. The actual amount of
oil could be ridiculously small.

Hasn't this president traveled this no-man's land before, the
triangulation nation?

FINEMAN: Yes, he has, and he almost got lost in it.

They held this very close, Keith, at the White House. So, this really
was a surprise to everybody around town, because the administration knew
they wanted to try to control the message to avoid the very problem that
you're talking about.

What's of interest to me here is that Barack Obama has prospered with
big picture, with big concepts, for example, on health care. But the
equivalent, if this were the health care bill, this would be like
introducing the health care bill by saying, "You know what? Let's start by
redecorating all the doctors' offices." I mean, this - this is small ball
for what is supposed to be another big picture plan here on energy. That's
why it's kind of puzzling.

OLBERMANN: In terms of the energy independence, which is at least the
public goal of this, is there - is there really any there there? I mean,
from the Boehner perspective, it would - it would seem as if this does not
go anywhere near far enough towards meeting Republican objectives, let
alone producing any large supply of oil.

FINEMAN: No, it doesn't. I mean, I think it's largely symbolic.
He's saying, you know, yes, I believe in extraction. So, I don't want you
to think I'm against extraction - and by that philosophical statement, if
nothing else, because it will be years before any of this would be
developed, as you pointed out, he's trying to get Republican votes I think
in the Senate.

I think Lindsey Graham has said, "Look, I need some stuff for my guys
to get any of them to possibly participate in a bill in the Senate." A
bill had passed the House. Nothing has happened in the Senate. They're
taking a lead from Lindsey Graham here, but it may be a fool - another
fool's errand in terms of getting Republican support.

OLBERMANN: The terms about what the president might be hoping to
leverage here and what Secretary Salazar said cap-and-trade is not in the
lexicon anymore, did he mean the phrase or the actual legislation that
would either be cap-and-trade or have the same effect as cap-and-trade?

FINEMAN: Well, the real big deal here, Keith, is still the question
of carbon pollution, of CO2 pollution, which comes from coal-fired power
plants. It comes from industry. It comes from cars, et cetera.

If there's going to be a serious effort to both make us more
efficient, in terms of energy, more independent but also greener, you're
going to have to do something about the social cost of carbon-based

Now, you can call it whatever you want it. You can have whatever kind
of mechanism you want. That's the key thing here, and that's the problem
politically for the president, that this thing today about drilling
offshore really doesn't deal with at all.

OLBERMANN: Is - do you suppose, and I know we're at guesswork stage
here because nobody's figured this one out here, but is the calculation
look through all the yelling from both sides about health care reform, the
president got his victory, and he got some health care reform -


OLBERMANN: - that perhaps all of this - and really, the over -
this is the first time in a long time that the overwhelming response out of
Washington has been, huh? Rather than, we hate this. We're going to
protest this.


OLBERMANN: There's now going to be an oil party with people dressed
up as gasoline pumps. Will it all be forgotten if he gets any kind of
climate legislation into law?

FINEMAN: Well, it's a big if. It's just as big an "if" as health
care was. And don't forget, it only passed by three votes in the end. The
big sticking point here is coal, as I look at it. And maybe it's because I
began in Kentucky. I used to cover the coal industry.

But we still get almost half our electricity from coal. Coal is a
huge pollution problem. In states where the Democrats need support, where
Obama needs support, you've got Democratic senators, whether it's Bobby
Byrd in West Virginia or Casey or Specter in Pennsylvania, or Bayh in
Indiana, who are going to vote "no" if there's any kind of tax on carbon-
based pollution. That's the big problem that Obama is going to have to
deal with if he's going to get a bill.

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

FINEMAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For more on reaction to the president's proposal, let's
turn to Erich Pica, who is the president of Friends of the Earth.

Thank you for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: The Obama move here does a lot to a longstanding
moratorium on oil and gas drilling off of much of the east coast. Your
reaction to hearing the news today was what?

PICA: Well, we're - from Friends of the Earth's perspective, we're
seriously disappointed with the president. He's turning his back on 25
years of what we believe is sound energy and environmental policy for maybe
blowing a kiss to the Republicans and Senator Graham on this drilling

OLBERMANN: If it - if there is the political calculation behind this
more than the - than the, you know, 7 billion or 8 billion barrels of oil
that might be - that might come out of it, or even if that number were 70
billion, if it's more about getting enough Republican support to pass
significant legislation in terms of climate change, in terms of energy and
emission standards, is it - is it in any way, to your mind, worth the

PICA: We have to see a bill first. I mean, this - the president is
essentially, unilaterally, disarming himself. We saw two or three weeks
ago where he pledged to do new nuclear power in Georgia, we saw this only
on gas development pledge he's making and then he starts to talk
significantly about coal. And so, he's got the trifecta of the Republican
energy plan.

And we don't see what we're getting out of it. We are basically
empowering these dirty energy subsidies, these dirty energy sources, and
we're not getting strong commitments on renewable energy, on energy
efficiency, on solar. And we need to make a significant step forward in
these technologies to solve global warming and to reduce our energy
dependence. And he's just not stepping up right now.

OLBERMANN: Well, under those circumstances of not stepping up and not
presenting a bill that would at least encourage you that there's some light
at the end of this tunnel he's just decided to go into, what is Friends of
the Earth planning to do to fight this proposal?

PICA: Well, already there is a letter sent to Majority Leader Reid,
10 senators said if there's additional drilling in this climate energy
bill, that we would likely oppose this bill. So, that's one part.
The other part is that we're sending actual letters out to our members
right now saying, sign a petition: tell senator - President Obama that
this is unacceptable energy policy that he's putting forth.

And then thirdly, it's just talking to you, and I'm glad you're having
us on the show - but talking to other media outlets and blowing the
whistle on this, how much of a fraud that this proposal is.

OLBERMANN: How about the new increased mileage standards that the
administration claimed today is going to save a billion eight in terms of
oil, which is, of course, about 90 days worth of domestic consumption.
Does way against or mitigate against what you see as a bad day?

PICA: That's a really good proposal he made, and we're highly
supportive of it. But we look at it and say, why do we have to have these
two linked? I mean, this is a proposal to move - to make cars more
efficient and cleaner, and something that we should be doing regardless of
oil and gas drilling or nuclear power. And so, we support it. Kind of
questioning why he's packaged all this together, because this is a very
green victory when we start implementing these new fuel economy standards.

OLBERMANN: Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth - great thanks for
your time tonight, sir.

PICA: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Unless you're returning to shore from a year on a drilling
platform without a radio, you already know that the likelihood of
Republican support for anything is far harder to find than that oil. A GOP
senator today reneges on his support for banking reform that would protect
you instead of the banks. House Financial Services Committee Chairman
Barney Frank joins us.

And what amounts to a plagiarism scandal at FOX News involving Sarah
Palin and LL Cool J now also involved Sarah Palin and Toby Keith - ahead.


OLBERMANN: Democrats needed one Republican senator to support banking
reform that would have protected you instead of the banks. Last week they
had him, today he's flip-flopped. Congressman Barney Frank on that.

A federal court judge rules the Bush administration's illegal domestic
wiretapping was illegal domestic wiretapping. Explain for us by Pulitzer
Prize winner James Risen of "The New York Times."

A candidate for the U.S. Senate implies "I don't love this country and
I should be traded to another country."

And the foulest foul ball in 50 years, the Minnesota Twins outfielder
who lined one off his own mom. Why does this sound so familiar to me?

Ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: The one Republican senator most likely to help Democrats
pass new law to reform the way our banks work and do not work now says he
absolutely cannot support the bill in question.

Our fourth story tonight: the bill's intent is to prevent another
devastating financial meltdown. But Tennessee's senator, Bob Corker, says
he cannot support it because it gives consumers too much protection.

The House bill shaped by Democrats, including our next guest,
Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, establishes exactly what
President Obama called for - an independent agency to protect consumers
against predatory banking practices. The Senate bill authored virtually
single-handedly by Banking Chairman Chris Dodd of the Senate locates the
consumer protection agency inside the Federal Reserve, which is primarily
responsible, not for consumers, but for protecting the system.

Senator Corker in today's "Wall Street Journal" says the agency Dodd
proposes still has too much power to protect consumers. In a speech today,
Corker explained his opposition. According to the newspaper "The
Tennessean," Corker objects to Dodd's proposal that banks would have to
hold on to, not sell to another institution, at least 5 percent of any
loans they make - which would give them at least some incentive to ensure
that the loans were repayable because they would lose money when they were
not repayable.

Even though Dodd's proposed consumer protection agency would be part
of the Federal Reserve, Corker also wants banking regulators, those charged
with protecting the banks from themselves, to have veto power over any
consumer protection agency, quote, "I don't want an overzealous consumer
protection agency. We need balance. Right now in the bill, there's too
much independence and too little coordination between the regulators and
the consumer protection side." He said this out loud.

And while Dodd's talks with ranking banking member, Richard Shelby,
broke down, Corker says he is still optimistic about negotiating changes to
the bill before it is taken up by the full Senate potentially as early as
this month or next.

Joining us now as promised, chairman of the House Financial Services
Committee, Congressman Barney Frank.
Thank you for your time tonight, sir.


Glad to, Keith. It's a very important issue, obviously.

OLBERMANN: Obviously.

"The Wall Street Journal" writes, Democrats need support from at least
one Republican to pass the measure in the Senate. Are Republicans already
backing off on repealing health care, seemingly getting away from that
crazy idea - why not let them filibuster on behalf of the banks, if that's
what they want to do?

FRANK: I agree with you. This is a "bring it on" moment.
Senator Dodd - let me say, senator Dodd is doing an excellent job,
and the bill he wrote originally was a very good bill. He has gone every
possible step to accommodate them. And what happened with this, Senator
Corker was trying to negotiate with Senator Dodd. He was overruled by the
Republican leadership.

Let's be very clear. Senator McConnell and Shelby told Corker, no.
They have, I think, a fantasy that they're going to vote 41 Republicans
stand up and say, there should be no reform.

Understand, Keith, that when the House voted on this bill last
December, and the bill that came out of the House is a good bill. It's not
everything I wanted, I would have liked to have a little more strength, but
we did a pretty good job.

Our problem was, frankly, that health care was dominating the news, so
we were kind of left alone with the lobbyists. We still did a pretty good

But what - they wanted - when we wrote on that bill in December,
every single Republican - I'm not exaggerating, Casey Stengel used to say,
you can look it up - every single Republican in the U.S. House of

Representatives voted to kill every single form of financial reform. They
didn't say, make it better. They didn't say better balance. They said
nothing. Nada. Kill it all.

Now, Shelby and the House minority leader, John Boehner, went before
the American bankers a couple weeks ago and promised them that they would
use parliamentary tactics to kill the bill. That's when Boehner
outrageously said to these bankers, don't let these punk staffers push you
around, the very hardworking people we work with.

So, I agree with you completely. Let's call their bluff. I don't
think the American people want to see a consumer agency that has to check
with the banks' supporters before it does anything.

And the other issue you mentioned, we call it securitization. Thirty
years ago when you borrowed money, you borrowed money from the person who
expected you to pay him back, and he or she was pretty careful about
lending it. Then they came up with this scheme whereby I lend somebody
money, I lend 1,000 people money, and I sell the right to be repaid by
other - to other people. That gives me no real incentive to have the

So, we're asking for a fairly small, 5 percent to 10 percent hold. By
the way, if I buy insurance from a company and that company gets worried
and wants to get reinsurance, they cannot reinsure the whole risk. They
have to have what we call a risk retention.

So, what you have is the Republicans apparently deciding as a party
that everything worked wonderfully and there should be no reform

And last point, (INAUDIBLE), I have a contest going on. I want
someone to tell me an example in American history, in the financial area,
where we overregulated on behalf of consumers. I can't think of one,

OLBERMANN: Well, this begs that point, and you included it in that
great summation of what's going on here. But I'd like to emphasize this
one idea here about where that consumer protection agency is. What happens
if there's a version created that is not the way you have outlined it?

FRANK: Well, first of all, that's not going to happen until we have a
vote in the Senate. And I am committed - you know, my Republican
colleagues go off and on like a light switch. They wanted the health care
bill negotiated in public.

Well, I want in charge of the health care bill, but I have a lot to
say about the financial bill. I'm giving them their wish. We will have a

If a bill comes out where the Republicans and over Chris Dodd's
objection - and let me make a point about Chris Dodd, who's been very
unfairly criticized in some places. He's doing the best job that I think
he can do.

If he - if you get 41 Republicans filibustering, then we're going to
sit in public and have a nice conference and you can all cover us, and let
the Republican members of that conference from the Senate vote to kill this
independent agency, because we're not going to - we're not going to
provide cover for them. I'm not in the business of helping make up
Republicans so they can pretend to be what they're not.

OLBERMANN: Yes, that quote - I mean, Senator Corker would be
described in New England as a corker, even if his name wasn't that, based
on this -


OLBERMANN: - on this quote. He said this aloud. How do you get re-
elected to anything higher than dog catcher defending the banks against the

FRANK: Well, I think they made a mistake.

Here's the deal - they got a little overconfident. Last year, when
we were doing this fight - and our bill is a pretty strong. I wish it was
a little tougher on derivatives, although we do some make great strides
there. Everybody was talking about health care. So, you know, they got
away with opposing it.

Here's their argument now. It's big government, you can't trust.
There's an interesting thing going on here, Keith, with the
Republicans. First they ran the government for six years. They had the
president, the House and the Senate. They messed things up. In the
financial area, they didn't regulate. They allowed all these terrible
things to happen.

Now that we're trying to fix it they say, oh, you can't trust the
government. Well, I couldn't trust the government they ran, but now they
can make it better. I don't think it's going to work. I think the public
will them - and let me say this, I don't think all 41 Republicans are
going to stand up and try to kill independent financial reform.

OLBERMANN: One would think not, but we've seen worse before.
Congressman Barney Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services
Committee - always a pleasure. Thank you for your time.

FRANK: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: James Risen of "The New York Times" on a crucial ruling
against the Bush administration domestic spying program and against the
Obama Justice Department which is trying to defend it - coming up here.


OLBERMANN: A federal judge with a huge ruling today against Bush
administration warrantless wiretaps.

First, on August 17th, 1957, Richie Ashburn who got to the Baseball
Hall of Fame, largely by virtue of his ability to keep fouling off pitches
he didn't like until he got one he did like, fouled one off into the stands
of Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. It struck of all people, Alice
Roth, the wife of the sports editor of the "Philadelphia Bulletin"

They had to carry Mrs. Roth and her broken nose off on a stretcher.

And while they were so doing, Ashburn, who is still at the plate and still
fouling pitches off, hit Mrs. Roth with another foul ball.

And then on June 17th, 2000, Chuck Knoblauch of the New York Yankees
picked up a ground ball and threw it wildly towards first base. It instead
hit a fan sitting behind he dugout, breaking her eyeglasses. That fan, of
course, was my late mother.

All of this is mentioned because in Tampa this afternoon, in an
exhibition game against the Yankees, Minnesota Twins centerfielder Denard
Span kind of did a half-Ashburn/half-Knoblauch.

Let's play "Oddball."

Mr. Span of the Twins shoots a foul ball into the stands and hits a
fan wearing a Denard Span uniform. I know. What are the odds? Well, it
gets worse. The woman wearing the Denard Span uniform is his mom, Wanda
Wilson. She was OK. That's why Span ran into the stands. He had to take
himself out of the game, he was disturbed enough, although she was fine.

Even this is not as bad as it gets. Hall of Famer pitcher Bob Feller
says when he was only 20 years old, he threw a pitch in Chicago, in 1939.
It was fouled off and it hit his mother in the stands, and that was on
Mother's Day.

And we showed you this last night. It has apparently been shown
everywhere. It happened. It's funny, but it deserves, if not an apology,
then at least a little explanation. This was Melanie Lawson, anchor at the
ABC station in Houston, slipping out of her chair as she reached over
towards the weather man.

I don't know Ms. Lawson, but a good friend does and he advises me
today that part of the physics of what we saw and laughed at is something
she would never make a big deal of. Melanie Lawson has multiple sclerosis,
has used a cane for many years, and she still laughed at herself when that
happened. So my apologies to her and to you for not having known that
first. My friend writes that she is an inspiration for me and many others
here in the Houston area, and now she's an inspiration for me too.

An actual candidate for the Republican nomination for the Senate of
this nation suggests that there are three Americans who disagree with him
politically who do not love this country, as a result. And one of the
three is me. Tonight's comment ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Tonight, the United States government, following
guidelines set by the Bush administration's Terrorist Surveillance Program,
has been found guilty of illegally eavesdropping on two American lawyers
and an Islamic charity. Our third story, there was a ruling from a federal
court in San Francisco that could be the most significant yet in unraveling
the invasions of privacy instituted by President Bush.

The lawsuit was filed in 2006 by an Oregon branch of the Saudi based
al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, and two American lawyers named Asim Ghafoor
and Wendell Belew. The plaintiffs claim that phone conversations they had
in 2004 were illegally wiretapped by the National Security Agency, the NSA,
after the Islamic charity was deemed a supporter of terrorism by the
Treasury Department. They argued that the government violated the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, because they did not first obtain a

The Justice Department, under both Presidents Bush and Obama, argued a
warrant to eavesdrop was not necessary, claiming that the government's
state secrets trumped the FISA law.

Today, US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker delivered his verdict in
favor of the Al-Haramain Foundation and the two American attorneys, writing
in his 45 page ruling that, quote, "FISA takes precedence over the State
Secrets Privilege in this case. Under defendants' theory, executive branch
officials may treat FISA as optional and freely employ the state secrets
privilege to evade FISA, a statute enacted specifically to rein in and
create a judicial check for executive branch abuses of surveillance
authority." The lawyers and the foundation are each seeking a million
dollars in damages. The Justice Department says it is reviewing the

Joining me now, as promised, James Risen of "the New York Times,"
Pulitzer Prize winner for his investigative reporting on the Bush
administration's domestic spying program. Thank you for your time tonight,

JAMES RISEN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Thanks for having me.

OLBERMANN: You have followed this issue so closely and done such
extraordinary reporting on it. Contextualize this for us. What is the
significance of this ruling today?

RISEN: I think the most important thing is that by declaring this -
the eavesdropping an illegal act, that in other words, it was - the Bush
administration had no right to evade FISA, it raises serious questions
about the whole underpinnings for the whole Bush war on terror. You could
argue that virtually all the programs that the Bush administration used,
rendition, torture, wiretapping, you know, setting up secret prisons, all
were, in one form or another, an evasion of Congressional power.

By saying that the Bush administration had no right to avoid
congressional mandates and congressional legislation, that raises real
questions about whether everything that the Bush administration did on
counter-terrorism was illegal.

OLBERMANN: Practically, does that mean anything at this point?

RISEN: I think it raises - the really interesting question here is
this was the last major lawsuit pending on the NSA program, because all the
cases against the telecommunications companies had been thrown out by the
telecom immunity, in the 2008 legislation to update FISA, that President
Obama voted for when he was in the Senate. But this one was targeted
against the NSA, against the government, rather than the telecommunications
companies. By declaring this illegal, it raises questions in my mind about
whether individual government officials in the future could be held liable
for having acted in a criminal way.

OLBERMANN: Is there any reason to suppose, ultimately, this case will
turn out any differently than the last time there was an attempt made to
sue the NSA by the ACLU?

RISEN: That case in Detroit, as you may remember, the whole program
was declared unconstitutional, and an appeals court ruled that it was -
that the people who brought that case lacked standing. But no one ever
challenged the underlying ruling by the judge that it was unconstitutional.
It's unclear that anybody can argue, in this case either, that by declaring
it criminal - that the program was a crime, that you could not make a
further - you know, demand a further criminal investigation of what the
Bush administration did.

And it's unclear whether the Obama administration really wants to
fight that battle. They've argued this more narrowly on the state secrets
privilege. And they've never tried to defend the Bush administration on
the actual NSA program.

OLBERMANN: They also did something interesting here, which also gives
context to this. It may be a little bit different. The Holder Justice
Department broke with the Alberto Gonzales Justice Department and gave the
judge this classified description of why the case should be dismissed, and
the judge still ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Does that tell us just
how flawed - at least for historical purposes, does it tell us how flawed
the Bush domestic spying program really was?

RISEN: Yes, well, it raises real questions, because there was a
document that the al-Haramain people had been given by mistake that
revealed that they had actually been wire tapped under this program. That
was not - they were not allowed to use that.

But the Obama administration, the way they broke with the Bush
administration on this was by saying we are going to abide by the court's
ruling. The Bush people were never going to - they were essentially
planning to ignore whatever the court said in this case, if they were still
in office. The Obama people are now going to abide by it. The question is
they may not appeal this case, this ruling, which would leave on the books
the idea that the NSA program was illegal.

OLBERMANN: Does it also, the way they defended this, the way Holder
defended this, using state secrets - does that stay on the books too?
Will this be the last time they use state secrets?

RISEN: Probably not. I'm sure they have defended that more
vigorously they have the NSA program itself, because they like that as
something they can use in other case. But this - it raises real
interesting questions about state secrets too, the limits of state secrets
and how far they can push that in trying to shut down criminal cases
against the government.

OLBERMANN: James Risen of "the New York Times," great thanks for
putting this in context for us, and again great thanks for your time

RISEN: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: The fake implication by Sarah Palin and Fox that she had
done an interview with LL Cool J for her new TV show. Turns out she also
didn't do an interview with Toby Keith, even though they were implying
that, too.

And worsts, the alleged terrorists Hutaree get their day in court
tomorrow, guess what they're expecting the court to do for them in court.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, the state attorney
general who will not sue to stop health care reform, and the Republicans
trying to impeach him. The night the brains went out in Georgia.


OLBERMANN: Our seven edition of worsts ahead. First, tonight's quick

Mark Rubio, the Tea Party candidate for the Republican nomination for
the Senate from Florida, has yet to be mistaken for one of the bright young
lights of American politics. Mr. Rubio gave a speech today in West Palm
Beach at which he endorsed offshore drilling, condemned amnesty to illegal
immigrants, and, according to the "Palm Beach Post," closed with a though
he said originated on "The Glenn Beck Show." No, he did not start weeping,
not even speaking in tongues.

He said, regarding immigration, quote, "there are millions of people
in America that hate our country, so why can't we just do a trade? We'll
send you Sean Penn, Jeanine Garofalo and Keith Olbermann, and you can send
us people that actually love this country and want to help us build it."

Mr. Rubio, you have long behaved like a teenager who has borrowed his
father's suit. I think you don't understand this country. I think you
imperil this country. I think your stupidity is an indictment of the
education system in this country. And I'm sure you feel exactly the same
way about me.

But what I would never claim about you is that you do not love this
country. I would never even claim that in your own way, you have not
believed you have tried to build it. You have the right to criticize
anything you want about me, or anybody else with whom you disagree
politically. But when you question whether or not I love this country, you
have crossed a line. You have inadvertently revealed that you don't see
those with other viewpoints as merely disagreeing with you. You have
inadvertently revealed that you dismiss them as not loving this country.

This, in turn, proves that if you are elected to office, you will not
in the slightest be representing, nor even defending, the people of your
state who did not vote for you. And that, perhaps, is the greatest crime
against this country of which any politician can be guilty.

Mr. Rubio, I am the great grandson of immigrants, as you are the son
of immigrants, who came to this country for its opportunity and its
freedom. And I know one thing for sure: my ancestors and yours were trying
to get away from people like you.


OLBERMANN: Mama says knock you out. LL Cool J defeats Sarah Palin in
one round. Now it turns out she didn't interview Toby Keith either.

That's next, but first tonight's worst persons in the world, a special
seventh anniversary of Countdown edition.

See all the special stuff we're doing tonight for it?

The bronze to Chris Baker. This is the Minnesota scorched Earth
hacker filling in for Lonesome Roads Beck. You knew it had to happen and
it did. On national radio, the Hutaree militia was defended by this
turkey. "With everybody demonizing the militia coming up in the program,
let me give you a real glimpse of who your enemy is," he said. "It's not
the militia, OK? You know this is nothing more than an attack on faith and
an attack on free speech."

Now you know why Mr. Baker is a fill-in. Even Beck isn't dumb enough
to claim domestic terrorism is just faith and free speech.

Our runners up, the good old Hutaree themselves, led by that
misunderstood faithful free speech advocate, who just incidentally wanted
to kill cops and topple the government, David Brian Stone, also known as
Joe Stonewall and Captain Hutaree.

Whatever else they are, Mr. Stone and his fellow alleged terrorists
are excellent at irony. After being charged with sedition against the
government they viewed as some kind of front for the anti-Christ, they have
requested the services of free government attorneys.

But our winner, and it's only because it's the anniversary of the
show, Bill-O the clown. First, there's this anniversary note. He gave an
interview to author Marvin Kitman, who wrote the biography O'Reilly tried
to suppress, "The Man Who Would Not Shut Up," in which he said Countdown
didn't matter because it would be canceled and I would be fired before
Kitman's book came out. Kitman's book came out January 3rd, 2007. Another
bold and fresh prediction.

But something new from Bill-O, something simple, gently underscoring
how nuts he really is. "You turn on MSNBC and you see these people
attacking personally. They're throwing all kinds of stuff around. People
go, it's unpleasant. I'm not going to watch it. And they don't."

OK, this is the highest rated cable news show not on Fox, blah, blah,
blah. But Bill's implication here is he doesn't attack people personally,
exempt he has also said this: "MSNBC made the key mistake of hiring bad
people. It's as simple as that. They've got a bunch of guttersnipes on
their network."

So I attack personally and he doesn't, and then he attacks us as bad
people and guttersnipes. Now everybody occasionally falls into utterly
self-contradictory, mutually exclusive, embarrassing claims like that. But
there's usually some space between the points of contradiction, a year, a
month, something. How long before O'Reilly contradicted himself? In the
transcript, it looks like about 42 seconds.

Bill-O the clown, without whom today's seventh anniversary of
Countdown would not be possible, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: Sarah Palin's Fox News show "Real American Stories" debuts
tomorrow, April First, sharing the real American stories of LL Cool J and
Toby Keith, which, it turns out, comes as a big surprise to LL Cool J and
Toby Keith. Our number one story, the whole thing is an April Fool's joke,
although evidently an unintentional.

As a Fox News press detailed, the show is, or at least was to tell
real life tales of overcoming adversity, and would include special guests,
like country singer Toby Keith, rapper and actor LL Cool J, and the former
chairman and CEO of General Electric, the parent company of NBC Universal,
Jack Welch. You can never get him for an interview.

"Mr. Cool J and Mr. Welch," read the release, "will both speak about
their success in this country in a segment entitled, 'In Their Own Words,"
prompting the "Weekly Standard's" Mary Katherine Ham to fawn "the more time
LL Cool J spends in a Fox News studio, the closer I get to meeting him and
for that I owe Sarah Palin many thanks."

Ham, I don't think so. Ms. Ham can save the thank you note for
another time. LL Cool J will not spend time in a Fox News studio any time
soon, because he already did, 18 Months ago. Mr. Cool J Tweeting, "Fox
lifted an old interview I gave in 2008 to someone else, and are
misrepresenting to the public in order to promote Sarah Palin's show.

Fox News announcing it would pull the interview from the show, and
being real nice about it. "'Real American Stories' features uplifting
tales about overcoming adversity and we believed Mr. Smith's interview fit
that criteria. However, as it appears that Mr. Smith does not want to be
associated with a program that could serve as inspiration to others, we're
cutting the interview from the show. We wish him the best in his fledgling
acting career."

Now, Fox has another problem on its hands with the same show. Toby
Keith slated to explain the inspiration behind his song "Courtesy of the
Red, White and Blue," you know, with the lyrics, "we'll put a boot up your
ass, it's the American way" - his publicist telling the "New York Times,"
"I had no idea this was going to be on Sarah Palin's special. Fox has
never contacted me, not now, not when they were putting this together, not
at all. I have no idea what they're using."

Now it turns out it was for an interview - they're using an interview
they did a year ago with him. Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst,
the author of "Renegade, the Making of a President," Richard Wolffe.

Richard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: I can't recall the last time Sarah Palin surprised me.
But how could anybody screw up something so obvious as the marriage between
Sarah Palin and Fox News?

WOLFFE: You know, Keith, your question is refreshingly quaint. It's
almost like you believe the words "Real American Stories" has something to
do with reality. That's like saying fair and balanced has something to do
with fairness and balance. The idea here is, if you need some explanation,
is this a story of overcoming adversity, of a triumph of inspiration. It's
a bit like being a one-time flute player and part-time sportscaster in
Anchorage, and going on to serving half a term as governor and still
hosting your own TV show and leading a political movement. This show is a
triumph over adversity and, if needs be, reality. It is itself

OLBERMANN: A triumph over reality, I agree with you on that point. I
think they're showing video of her swimming the English channel. That's
Sarah Palin. We'll get to LL Cool J in a second. But this budding Toby
Keith thing, is that the real problem here? I mean, wouldn't the
supporters of either of them be mystified that these two people would have
a rift?

WOLFFE: You would think so, although it's interesting seeing the "New
York Times" - it is, as some might call it, the lame stream media. "The
New York Times" has quoted his publicist as saying they never got an e-mail
from Fox News. So it's a surprise even to the publicist, let alone the
interviewee. Toby Keith is an interesting guy. He obviously is on the
conservative side of things. He's called himself a conservative Democrat,
says he's a friend of James Jones, the national security adviser, also a
friend of Bill Richardson. So this guy is all over the place.

OLBERMANN: Yes, well, apparently he's not being interviewed by Sarah
Palin. They've now admitted that she didn't do any of these interviews.
She's just the front person for the show. About LL Cool J, Fox used that
standard dismissive "we wish him luck" nonsense in the press release. But
didn't we just watch a fascinating dynamic in play? First, Fox found hi
inspirational and he was one of the headliners for this - I almost said
unraveling of Sarah Palin's first show, but it's already unraveled. Then
he called them on this corner cutting, and suddenly he's not inspirational
anymore; he's just a fledgling actor.

WOLFFE: No, not inspirational. You've got to hand it to the comics
at the Fox press office. They actually could have their own show. It
would be like "30 Rock" because they cut it up every single night. And
it's just a laugh a minute. It's just - it's funny in how they try and
stretch this stuff to pretending like the stories hang together.

OLBERMANN: One interesting thing, the only press releases I've ever
seen where the quotes are anonymous. Nobody wants to put their names -
they don't have the courage to put their names to this crap. It's
hilarious. One journalistic question here, not that Fox believes it's
bound by journalistic rules, but if she says I interviewed LL Cool J, or
they say she interviewed LL Cool J, obviously that would be beyond the
pale. But if you don't say it in the promos, you simply implying it, is
that legitimate, even at Fox News?

WOLFFE: The promo is one thing. But the idea that she talked to
people, that they are guests in a lineup isn't just about a marketing trick
here. In particular, you know, "the New York Times" has latched on to
something that was in Fox nation, which apparently does have something to
do with Fox News. It takes this whole idea of promotion to another level.
So, yeah, it would be nice if the "Real American Stories" were somehow

OLBERMANN: Whose great idea was it, by the way, to launch a Sarah
Palin TV show on April Fools' Day?

WOLFFE: You know, every day is April Fools' Day. It's a bit like I
wish it could be Christmas every day. But it is April Fools' Day all the
time on Fox News, especially for people who watch it.

OLBERMANN: Last question, is she going to use a teleprompter?

WOLFFE: You know, only dead fish go with the flow, and only dead fish
read teleprompters.

OLBERMANN: I'm reading a teleprompter and I remember the day you did
this show, you did too.

WOLFFE: And I was pretty dead too.

OLBERMANN: So, Richard Wolffe -

WOLFFE: That wasn't a joke.

OLBERMANN: Richard Wolffe of MSNBC, great thanks as always.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown this for the 2,526th day since the
previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith
Olbermann, good night and good luck.

Now with the story of the bid to impeach a state attorney general who
will not sue over health care, plus the latest on drill B. Obama, drill,
ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Quick Comment, Worst Persons
Via YouTube: Quick Comment
The toss: For Senate

Guest: Josh Green, Melissa Harris-Lacewell, Michael Musto


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

The momentum at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -


student loan system has worked for banks and financial institutions.
Today, we're finally making our student loan system work for students and
our families.


OLBERMANN: And the other momentum the president still seeks -


OBAMA: I will continually reach out to Republicans. I will continue
to incorporate their ideas even when they don't vote for the ideas that I


OLBERMANN: The president on the bipartisan unicorn in the White House
Rose Garden and on the Tea Party.


OBAMA: There's still going be a group at their core that question my
legitimacy. That group we're probably not going to convince.


OLBERMANN: The Cornyn memo on health care reform. The "party of no"
becomes the "party of no, we thought of it."
Another Hutaree domestic terrorism arrest - as the right wingers
insist they are the real victims here, and we ask: Whatever did happen to
all those left wing militias?

She's back. More correctly, baaack! The candidate who brought you
this -


ANNOUNCER: FCINO, fiscal conservative in name only.


OLBERMANN: California Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina's special message
for Passover. Oh, boy!

And brand new umbrage, Michael Musto on the brand spanking new
umbrage. The Republican National Committee fires a flunky over the 2,000
bucks spent at a Hollywood bondage-themed simulated less -



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: California strip club.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Sort of racy club - a strip club, I guess
you could call it.


OLBERMANN: I guess you couldn't call it that. The latest outrages
from the club. "We are most certainly not a strip club," says its director
of special events. "We cater to a high-end, A-list clientele with live art
installations with a voyeuristic theme." High-end, did you say?
All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.





OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

Just as sweeping and just as fiercely lobbied against as the health
care reform bill in which it was included, the revamping of the student
loan program signed into law today by President Obama, representing perhaps
the biggest achievement in making college in this country affordable since
the passage of the G.I. Bill and the president giving his first sit-down
interview since health care reform became a law, and insisting in that
interview that those reforms were centrist and middle-of-the-road and that
he was still seeking bipartisanship. Much of that interview in a moment.
More history today made out of a community college in Virginia,
today's signing of the health care reconciliation bill, also doing away
with a 45-year-old program that guaranteed federal subsidies to private
banks to get them to lend money to students while the government still
assumed all of the risk.


OBAMA: For almost two decades, we've been trying to fix a sweetheart
deal in federal law that essentially gave billions of dollars to banks to
act as unnecessary middlemen in administering student loans. So, these -
those are - those are billions of dollars that could have been spent
helping more of our students attend and complete college. By cutting out
the middleman, we'll save American taxpayers $68 billion in the coming


OLBERMANN: Starting this summer, those guaranteed loans will be
offered directly by the Department of Education - leading Republicans to
call that another government takeover. Never mind that those federal
subsidies have been government money all along. The kind of logic that has
led some of opponents of health care reform to declare, keep your
government hands off my health care - a steady diet of such rhetoric
having been fed to the right wing base by Republican lawmakers in Congress.

In his first interview since health care's passage with the "Today
Show's" Matt Lauer, it was pointed out to the president that last year a
this time, he was promising bipartisan leadership and to change the tone in
Washington. Instead, it was premised, he signed into law health care
reform that did not receive a single Republican vote.


OBAMA: I think that the Republican Party made a calculated decision,
a political decision that they would not support whatever we did. All
right? There was a quote by a well-known Republican senator who said this
is going to be Obama's Waterloo. This is - we're going to bring him down
just - the same way that we brought down Bill Clinton, by making sure that
health care fails.

And I think that's unfortunate because when you actually look at the
bill itself, it incorporates all sorts of Republican ideas. I mean, a lot
of commentators have said, you know, this is sort of similar to the bill
that Mitt Romney, the Republican governor and now presidential candidate,
passed in Massachusetts. A lot of the ideas in terms of the exchange, just
being able to pool and improve the purchasing power of individuals in the
insurance market, that originated from the Heritage Foundation.

MATT LAUER, TODAY SHOW: So, you're saying it's all politics. It's
not about the inner workings of the bill; it's all politics.

OBAMA: I will say that any objective observer looking at this bill
would say that this is a middle-of-the road, centrist approach to providing
coverage to people and making sure that we're also reducing costs. And so
I - I am frustrated that Republicans who I think had an opportunity to
help shape this bill declined that opportunity. That's not to say that on
specific provisions, there might be legitimate concerns that they had,
philosophical concerns that they had. Some of them, I think, sincerely
believed that we should do more on this aspect of the bill or that aspect.
But the overall architecture of it was actually something that was right
down the middle.

LAUER: Let's talk about where we are politically right now. And I
don't have to tell you that this passage of this bill and turning it into
law has left this country as politically divided as I think it has been in
a long time. You might be able to cite some other examples, but the
vitriol, the rhetoric, the sniping, the threats - how are you possibly
going to continue with any kind of legislative agenda when your opponents
have said to you, "I'm not going to cooperate with this president, with
these Democrats, unless it's a matter of national security"? How do you
move on?

OBAMA: Yes. Well, first of all, I think that a lot of the rhetoric
has been overheated and overblown. And this is what happens in Washington
when you have a big debate. Suddenly, the passage of this bill is
Armageddon. And as I pointed out, the next day after I signed it, I looked
around and no asteroids have hit the planet and no cracks appeared in the

This is a bill that is going to help a lot of people and help to lower
costs of health care. But it's not a radical departure from what we've
done in the past.


OLBERMANN: The president carefully dividing the members of the Tea
Party movement into those who have legitimate concerns about his
administration or reform or both, and the birthers who are still
questioning his American citizenship.


OBAMA: We saw some of it leading up to my election where there are
some folks who just, you know, weren't sure whether I was born in the
United States, whether I was a socialist. Right? So there's that segment
of it, which I think is just dug in ideologically, and that strain has
existed in American politics for a long time.

Then I think there's a broader circle around that core group of people
who are legitimately concerned about the deficit, who are legitimately
concerned that the federal government may be taking on too much. And last
year, a bunch of the emergency measures we had to take in terms of dealing
with the bank crisis, bailing out the auto industry, fed that sense that
things were out of control.

My hope is that as we move forward and we're tackling things like the
deficit and posing a freeze on domestic spending and taking steps that show
we are sincere about dealing with our long-term problems that some of that
group will dissipate.

There's still going to be a group at their core that question my
legitimacy or question the Democratic Party generally or question people
who they consider to be against them in some way. And that group we're
probably not going to convince.


OLBERMANN: It is remarkable to hear anyone speak with some detachment
about the kind of insults and innuendo and outright lies that the president
has faced. Some of it from that faction of the Tea Party he mentioned,
some of it, sadly, from sitting members of Congress.

As if one were really needed, a reminder now of just some what has
been said.


REPORTER: We're asking Republicans if they believe Barack Obama was
born in the United States.


REPORTER: It doesn't matter to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're all going to find out.

REPORTER: What do you believe personally?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd like to see the documents.

SEN. CHARLES GRASSLEY (R), IOWA: We should not have a government
program that determines you are going to pull the plug on grandma.

REPORTER: Do you think he's a terrorist?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he is a one man terror cell.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If we're able to stop Obama on
this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.

REP. JEFF FORTENBERRY (R), NEBRASKA: Do you have some evidence that
he is or is not?

REPORTER: Chris Matthews held up his birth certificate on "Hardball"
the other night.

REP. GREG HARPER (R), MISSISSIPPI: Well, obviously, the Constitution
speaks for itself that those requirements need to be met. It will be up to
others to look into that.

REPORTER: So, you won't say whether or not you believe he was born in
the United States?

HARPER: I'll say we have requirements for that and that's up for
others to determine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a process that was going through and I
think that process -

REPORTER: You refuse to say what you believe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just told you what I believe.

REPORTER: He's a terrorist?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). It's just the bloodline.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: We are about 24 hours from


OLBERMANN: Isn't it Armageddon with a "G"?

Finally, on a lighter note, the health care reform debate claiming one
victim inside the White House. Last year, the president correctly
predicted the winner of the men's NCAA basketball tournament. This year,
he will have done nothing of the sort.


LAUER: How does your bracket look first of all?

OBAMA: It is completely blown up. It is a sign that I was paying
singular focus on health care.


OLBERMANN: And it all started when he picked Wisconsin to beat

Time now to call in our own Jonathan Alter, national affairs columnist
for "Newsweek" magazine.

Good evening.


OLBERMANN: The president says he's still going to reach out to
Republicans, still going to incorporate their ideas, whether or not they
give him support on the measures that contain those ideas.
Is this stoicism or is this actually a credo? And if it's a credo,
what is the credo?

ALTER: The credo is, as his hero Abraham Lincoln said, look for the
better angels of our nature. You try to reach out. You get credit for
reaching out.

You know, a lot of liberals want him to deck somebody. They want the
satisfaction of seeing him put somebody on the canvas, you know? But
that's not really a good way to govern. You want to stay above the fray if
you can.

Now, there are times that you do need to - you do need to come down
and throw some punches. And you saw him in the last six, eight months
throw a lot of punches at the insurance industry. But it doesn't do him
any good to attack Republicans or respond in kind to Republicans that he
may need on other votes.

OLBERMANN: I mean - I'm sorry. Go ahead.

ALTER: No. That's it.

OLBERMANN: Let me read something from the - from the Lauer
interview, another quote that pertains to this. "If you look," the
president said, "at historically what happens is that a party that's out of
power often times in those first few years of being out of power end up
reacting very negatively. Their base ends up being very agitated and it
may take the next election or the next presidential election before things
settle down."

Have we been misunderstanding his bipartisan message, his - you know,
looking for that unicorn in the garden - in the Rose Garden, that it's not
bipartisanship now, it's hoping that things can calm down in the next two
to four years so that you get bipartisanship at some later sanguine moment
in American history?

ALTER: I mean, I just think he's wrong and he underestimated the
amount of venom.

OLBERMANN: But is that what he thinks he's doing now?

ALTER: He thinks - yes. He's still hoping since he ran on this
bridging the red/blue divide. That is how he got into national politics
with that famous speech in 2004 at the Democratic convention where, you
know, he said, "We're not a red and blue nation. We're one nation."
That's how we got Barack Obama.

So, since that's what brought him to the dance, he doesn't want to
give up on that idea yet. But what - everything we've seen from this
Republican Party suggests that it's become an extraordinarily reactionary
party, an extreme party. You know, the members of Congress that you just
showed who don't believe he was born in the country, nobody has heard of
those guys. But it was actually the leadership, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay,
who - this year, they are retired now, but they've been out peddling this.
So, it's the leadership of that party that - with very, very few
exceptions - hold these very extreme views.

And I think it's the greatest disappointment in his presidency. When
I interviewed him not too long ago, he said that he really expected,
perhaps naively - that's my word, not his -


ALTER: - that when he got to Washington, the other party would have
some interest in governance. And it turned out they had - they really did
not have a shred of responsibility when it came to governing this country.

OLBERMANN: Does he think - and was it reflected in recent
development, the end game of the health care reform thing, the recess
appointments over the weekend - has it been reflected that he has gone
from this idea that politics are still, at some degree, results-driven.
OK, you didn't like the health care reform bill, wait until you see what
happens in reality. Some of you will come around and support us, from the
Republican Party. Well, that's probably gone. We're probably post-
bipartisan era at the moment.

But, does he still this as something if you go over the heads of the
opposing party and go right to their supporters and say, look, this is what
it just did for you, we just put this much in your pocket, he can still get
X amount of support no matter what the leadership does and how abstinent
and obstructionalist they might be?

ALTER: Absolutely. And if he can go over the heads of the -
remember, a lot of these leaders of the Republican Party have been selected
in super low turnout Republican primaries. So, they don't even really
represent the people of their districts.

There's a lot of moderate Republicans out there. Some of them may
even be watching tonight. You know, people of goodwill in the Republican
Party who feel like the Republican Party has left them, has taken the sharp
veer right and he can appeal to them.

And as far as some others who have been very concerned about this
bill, seniors for instance, they don't know it yet, but later this year,
seniors are going to get a $250 check in the mail as a drug rebate to help
pay for their prescription drug costs. That's going to change some of
their views about this. They're going to find out that this donut hole,
which they understand what it is -


ALTER: - that they start paying a lot more for prescription drug
over a certain threshold, that's now has been closed by law, which is going
to save them thousands of dollars. When that starts to kind of sink in,
then I think you're going to see a lot of independents and Republicans who
change their mind about this bill.

OLBERMANN: How did the banks and the Republicans let the student loan
thing sweep by? Because that just cut, he just put a hole in the banks.

ALTER: Yes. This was maybe the most inspired move of the last six
weeks. Congressman George Miller deserves a lot of the credit for it.
Basically, there was this indefensible system where the government was
backing these loans but the banks were taking a big chunk. You had
Republicans and some Democrats who are defending that ridiculous status
quo, even though $68 billion has been saved by the taxpayers, and it was
central to the deal for reconciliation for health care, because it brought
down the cost of the health care bill and that's one of the only reasons it
scored properly at the Congressional Budget Office was because of the
student loan deal.

So, not only does it greatly expand student loans, helps students,
great for education and the future of the country, but without it, we
probably wouldn't have had the health care deal.

OLBERMANN: And it also turns up quickly in practical realities of day
to day life in this country.

Jonathan Alter of "Newsweek" and MSNBC - great thanks.

ALTER: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: I reference this just now, the Republicans are changing
tact on health care reform - the internal memo from Senator Cornyn of
Texas directing the "party of no" to respond to it by claiming partial
credit for it.

Also, the woman who brought you the worst campaign commercial in
political history is back with a special message for Passover, and only one
word correctly applies - oy.


OLBERMANN: The Republicans will simultaneously campaign this fall in
a promise to repeal health care reform and to take credit for health care

The right says it's victimized just as much by threats of violence
from the left. So, as another arrest is made in the Hutaree Christian
militia case, whatever happened to all those left wing militias?

Two months removed from her red-eyed, devil wolf in sheep's clothing
ad, Carly Fiorina is back with a special message for Passover.

And more complains about the 2 grand the Republican Party spent at a
simulated lesbian bondage-themed strip club. It is not, say the outraged
proprietors, a strip club.

You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: A memo from the senator who used to lead GOP campaign
efforts for the Senate in which he urges Republican candidates to take
credit for key parts of health care reform. This while other Republicans
will run this summer and fall on a promise to repeal health care reform
over a presidential veto merely by gaining a record 113 seats in the House
and 26 more in the Senate.

Also tonight, the latest polling on repeal misses the point entirely
and the insurance industry has just blinked in a standoff over covering
children with pre-existing conditions.

First, since he did so well for them on the stimulus, they were
against it before they were for it, the National Republican Senatorial
Committee chairman, Senator John Cornyn, a memo to GOP candidates urging
them to take credit for the popular things in the bill and decry the other
stuff, like the means to pay for it.

Quoting, "On the trail, it's critical that we remind people of the
fact that it was Republicans who fought to force insurance companies to
compete with one another over state lines for Americans' business. It was
Republicans who fought for policies that protected Americans with pre-
existing conditions and it was Republicans who proposed health care reform
that didn't cut Medicare by $500 million and raised Americans' taxes by
$400 million. It's Republicans who continue to believe that we should
focus on reforms which actually lower health care costs for Americans,
first and foremost." Even though all of them did vote against every part
of that.

This tactic echoes the shtick from Senator Grassley last week, taking
credit for certain elements of the bill even though he voted against the
bill. And last summer, he was one of those propagating "the death panels
are in the bill" lie.

Meantime, a day after the health insurance industry attorney insisted
it did not have to start offering coverage for children with pre-existing
medical conditions for four years, the industry backed down. Karen
Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, AHIP, saying that
the industry intends to fully comply - this in a letter to Health and
Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Ms. Sebelius has stated her intention to create new regulations that
would remove any doubt about coverage for kids with preexisting conditions.
As for that new poll, the trumpeted headline, 47 percent of respondents
favoring repeal, ignored, 50 percent do not. That would be more. Of that
50 percent more than half want more reform and more government involvement
in health care.

Let's get back to Mr. Cornyn's memo and turn to the senior editor of
"The Atlantic" magazine, Josh Green.

Josh, thanks for your time tonight.

JOSH GREEN, THE ATLANTIC: Good to be with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: So, the Republican line will be: give us credit for the
good stuff in the bill even though we all, each and every one of us, voted
against it?

GREEN: That looks like what the strategy is going to be. But
actually, the dilemma is broader than that, because if you look at the new
law, it's based on a central set of principles that were first introduced
by Republicans in the early 1990s to compete with Hillary Care. So, the
problem Republicans are facing with Cornyn's new memo is that they were for
a lot of these reforms before they were against it before they are for them
again now. So, it's sort of difficult to follow, you know, where the
strategy is going to come from.

OLBERMANN: How well will, whatever that strategy turns out to be,
work when the Republican down the street meanwhile is promising to repeal
the whole thing?

GREEN: Well, it's going to be a problem. And we're already seeing
this with Mark Kirk, who is a Republican Illinois - Republican Senate
candidate from Illinois, who ran on an issue of repeal in the Republican
primary, you know, in order to, I think, appeal to tea partiers and to the
hard right. As recently as two weeks ago, he was - he was talking about
repealing it if he made it to the Senate. Now, he stopped saying that. He
won't answer questions about repeal.

And so, I think that sort of points out the difficulty of, you know,
if you pander to kind of a hard right constituency, it leaves you in a
really difficult place in the general election because a lot of people,
older folks, who hear repeal, you know, aren't going to parse your talking
points and think about, will you repeal this, you won't repeal that,
they're just going to hear the word repeal and be worried that you're going
to take away their health care.

OLBERMANN: This, I think, goes back to the point that David Frum was
making last week before he got himself fired by conservatives everywhere,
that there was no backup plan. There was no strategy in case they didn't
succeed in tying up health care forever or defeating it. Clearly, there
was none because they came up with these two totally self-contradictory,
mutually exclusive ideas. There was no backup plan for the Republicans?

GREEN: No. I don't think there was. And I mean, seeing Cornyn try
and parse it the way he is in this memo, I think exposes the weakness or
downside of the kind of, you know, "always say no" strategy that
Republicans had used all the way up until health care. If it had fallen
apart, if it hadn't passed, you know, then you can sort of say the
president and the Democrats have no accomplishments, they can't govern, and
maybe that's a winning strategy at the polls.

But now this monumental new law has passed, the only argument that
follows consistently from the Republican strategy is one of outright
appeal. But, you know, as you can see, if you look at the polls - that's
probably not going to be a winning strategy at the polls in November if
you're a Republican.

OLBERMANN: Speaking of opinion polls as opposed to the voting polls,
is the trend based on that last one from CNN, the 50/47 don't repeal, in
fact, 25 percent saying, the whole group, expand - is that suggesting that
the longer the interval becomes since the bill was passed, the more support
the bill gets?

GREEN: I think you can make a good case for that being the
likelihood. I think it's too early now for anybody to know for sure how
most voters are going to feel about health care in November. But, you
know, the problem with the strategy of calling at Armageddon, of worrying
about death panels and such, is that, you know, seven, eight, nine months
are going to lapse between now and November. I mean, we are a week into
this new law and the total number of old people killed by death panels is
zero and it's still going to be zero in November.

And meanwhile, you know, a lot of, you know, benefits from this bill
are going to become apparent to the public - $250 checks for seniors to
buy prescription drug, the fact that insurers cannot discriminate based on
pre-existing conditions, the fact that you can stay on your parents health
care until you're 26. So, a lot of the benefits are going to expose.
Whereas, a lot of the kind of hyperbole is going to be shown and be found
empty I think.

OLBERMANN: And just remember, as Mr. Boehner said, it's Armededdon
(ph), not Armageddon.

Josh Green, senior editor of "The Atlantic" - thank you, Josh.

GREEN: Good to be with you.

OLBERMANN: Then there is another set of canards, the false
equivalency propagated by the right that they are not only not instigating
violence or the threat of it against the left, ore more importantly,
against the government, but that they, the right, are the true victims here
which does not explain the Hutaree and the latest arrest in that case of
domestic terrorism and which does not explain how the country is seemingly
devoid today of left wing militias.

Melissa Harris-Lacewell - ahead on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Is it perception or politics or just reality? Is nearly
all the violent rhetoric and are all the militias coming from the right,

First, wow, that was some plug. Last night, I mentioned the
publication today of Dirk Hayhurst's "The Bullpen Gospel," probably the
best baseball book in 40 years, but far more a story of coming to terms
with life's reality. Today, it hit number 12 on the Amazon best sellers
list, number one among all biographies, number one among all sports books.

ESPN's Jayson Stark today writes something telling. This, he said,
"friends, is real life inside a baseball dugout laid out for you with
honest, laugh out loud eloquence by a man who has lived that life, has no
problem making relentless fun of himself, and has not just a Rambo-esque
internal thesaurus, but a brilliant way with words."

Number one sports book. Who is this Oprah Winfrey book woman again?

Let's play Oddball.

Houston, hello. The domestic instance of what is a global struggle
between news anchors and gravity. This is the ABC station in Houston,
Texas. Your anchor is Melanie Lawson. You will see her attempt to reach
across the anchor desk to a reporter and then things go horribly wrong.


MELANIE LAWSON, NEWS ANCHOR: Lean over here just a second. Further.
It is time to get your opinion. Oh, well. So much for that. Go on with
the weather. Go on.


OLBERMANN: And so long until tomorrow. This just in, these chairs
have wheels. She was fine and the weather looked good, too.
As I mentioned, this is a global phenomenon. To Helsinki, Finland,
where the anchor chairs also have Finish wheels.




OLBERMANN: And so long until tomorrow. That is Finnish news anchor
Keirstie Alm (ph) putting the sink in Helsinki. The show's director, of
course, just lingers and lingers on her and her co-host. Note to my
director, if that happens to me, go to commercial and get a new job.

Finally, to Mexico City, now presenting Mexican prison theater, 11
convicted criminals having the time of their lives. What do you mean he
left the control room? That one might just be - I don't know who he is
supposed to be. Anyway, this theater troop is fittingly called the Panic
Cabaret. The inmates are supposed to be liberating themselves by acting
out their own lives. The group will hit the road to obviously rave
reviews, as you saw.

No change gang for this bunch. Don't give them razors. What are you
thinking? They will tour other prison facilities. We open at Levinworth
Saturday night. Upon their return, they will begin rehearsing for the nex
theater presentation Shakespeare's "Richard III." I'm not making that up.
The latest arrest in the Hutaree Christian militia terrorism case
begging the question, whatever happened to all those left wing militias?


OLBERMANN: As the final wanted member of the right wing so called
Christian militia group Hutaree was arraigned on charges of seditious
conspiracy, not even an alleged plan to murder policemen and topple the
government was enough to get the bloggers of the far right to fully
repudiate such homegrown terrorism. Twenty one-year-old Joshua Matthew
Stone taken into custody last night following a day long standoff, joining
eight other group members arrested by the FBI over the weekend.

The purported plan, as you know, kill policemen, then bomb the
memorial service, somehow triggering an uprising against the federal
government, and then the Hutaree group would be able to defeat the anti-
Christ. Doesn't sound too good when you say it aloud.

On the right wing blogs, mitigation bordering on defense, from "the
timing appears convenient," to "last time I looked, wanting to start a
civil war, insane as it is, was not a crime," to "is the administration
taking after Christian militias to get in good with the CAIR and the neo-
Communist left?"

Eugene Robinson offering a voice of reason in his "Washington Post"
column, "left wing radicals caused mayhem and took innocent lives. But for
the most part, far left violence in this country has gone the way of the
leisure suit and the AMC Gremlin. By contrast, there has been explosive
growth among the far right militia type groups that identify themselves as
white supremacists, constitutionalists, tax protesters and religious
soldiers determined to kill people to uphold, quote, Christian values. The
danger of political violence in this country comes overwhelmingly from one
direction, the right, not the left."

Joining me here in New York, the associate professor of politics and
African American studies at Princeton University, columnist for "The
Nation" magazine and MSNBC contributor, Melissa Harris-Lacewell. Good
evening, professor.

Everyone is thrilled to see you back.

OLBERMANN: I'm thrilled to be here. Are the militias really as
starkly slanted to the right as Gene suggests in his piece today?

HARRIS-LACEWELL: Certainly, there is extremism on both sides.
There's simply no doubt about that. If we want a long view of history,
there is certainly extremisms on both sides. On the other hand, there was
an instructive moment with this citizen attempt to arrest Dick Cheney,
which you might call a sort of extremist position on the left. And this
citizen, Canadian citizen, came with a pink fury hat on. There's a way in
which when the left comes for you, they come throwing flowers.

And that what happened in this case is not so much the extremism of
views; what we're worried about here is the extremism is that is also armed
or that is prepared to come with guns and with bombs.

OLBERMANN: To correct you, Karl Rove, the attempt on Karl Rove.

HARRIS-LACEWELL: I'm sorry, Karl Rove. They mush.

OLBERMANN: I have never seen them in the same place together. So it
is very possible. That would explain an awful lot, wouldn't it. But back
to this point here that certainly in our lives - nobody who lived through
the '60s or '70s, or has read about them, could not know about the SDS or
the Simbionese Liberation Army, which had these just scatter-brained,
ultraleftist ideas, that basically were excuses to kidnap people and terrorize
them and make money off of it somehow. What did happen to all of the, you
know, armed left wing militias in this country?

HARRIS-LACEWELL: The left got behind gun control is part of it. Part
of what happened is overwhelmingly the ideology became one that - again,
if we think about what happened in the civil rights movement, and the ways
in which it gave way to the Black Power Movement, a movement that talked
about armed self-defense, or a movement that talked about not simply sort
of taking the abuse of the state, but willingly standing up.

And yet what you saw overwhelmingly was the ways in which the right
responds to that. When people on the left speak in that kind of language,
take for example the language of hip-hop, that sometimes talks about
violence against the police, it was immediately overwhelmingly denounced by
people on the left and on the right. You can't talk about, even in a
musical form, killing the police. But here we had an actual plot and we
did not see the right come out and be appalled by it.

OLBERMANN: Exactly. Where were they? It is one thing to read
bloggers on right-wing sites saying, you know, the convenience of timing
and wanting a civil war is not necessarily against the law, which I think
you can dispute in many ways. But where were the Republican counter-
terrorists, the people who make their bones off this from leadership
positions? I haven't heard a word from Pete King. Hoekstra in Michigan,
who was supposedly being able to run - running for governor was enhanced
by the fact that the underwear bomber was corralled in his state, silent on
this. This is supposed to be their forte. Where is their denunciation or
even comment on this?

HARRIS-LACEWELL: Part of it is that the language of terrorism has
gotten wrapped up with a kind of ethnic and racial concept of who a
terrorist can be. Even as long ago as 9/11, 2001, I was saying, wait a
minute, this is not the first act of domestic terrorism. We can look at
the entire history of the Klan in the U.S. South.

OLBERMANN: Absolutely.

HARRIS-LACEWELL: People who were committing acts of terrorism against
American citizens. But we have never used that language to talk about
terrorism. So we have, instead, said that terrorism are these ethnic
others, these people from these other places, who come in and do bad things
to American citizens, rather than being willing to label this sort of
activity as potentially terrorist in its purposes.

OLBERMANN: In previous decades and centuries, it was anarchists,
communists, leftist. We have always found a different word for it, but it
always implies someone external as opposed to someone in the mainstream, as
these people would appear to have been. At least they thought they were.
Melissa Harris-Lacewell from Princeton University and MSNBC, great
thanks. Good to see you.

So, now you know who's angry that the Republicans spent two grand at
the lesbian strip club story, the owners of the club. We are not, they
insist, a strip club.

She may have not brought back the FCINO with her, but the woman behind
this ad is back, with a special tone deaf Passover message.

When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, new problems for the C
Street gang, the good old Family. Rachel will talk to a minister now
accusing that group of conservatives of tax and ethics violations.


OLBERMANN: Worsts and the state that just accidentally authorized
hate crimes against homophobes. You heard me.

First, tonight's quick comment. Here we go again, Carly Fiorina. The
fired Hewlett Packard CEO still running for the Republican Senate
nomination in California has put another foot in another mouth. She has
sent this mass e-mail to voters, subject line: "best wishes for a safe and
happy Passover."

Paragraph two, "this week, as we break bread and spend time with our
families and friends, I hope we also take a moment to say a word of thanks
for our freedom and those who have given up freedom in our names."

I'm not even Jewish and even I know it's the feast of the unleavened
bread. Celebrants are not breaking bread. And that the primary symbolism
of the holiday is the ritual in which every piece of bread, broken or
otherwise, is purged from the home. Remember Matzoh fleeing from Egypt
before the bread could rise? Passover? China?

A Fiorina spokes woman now explains to the "Los Angeles Times," quote,
we meant all bread, leavened and unleavened. Matzoh is just unleavened
bread. That is what we meant by that." Yeah.

The only question is, is that e-mail worse than Carly Fiorina's web
ad? You've forgotten it? Oh, no. The web ad? The attack on her
Republican rival?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tom Campbell, is he what he tells us or is he what
he's become over the years, a FCINO, fiscal conservative in name only, a
wolf in sheep's clothing, a man who literally helped put the state of
California on the path to bankruptcy and higher taxes. Fiscal conservative
or just another same old tale of tax and spend, authored by a career
politician who helped guide us into this fiscal mess in the first place.


OLBERMANN: Wait, the sheep in wolf's clothing from outer space with
the red eyes. Didn't I just see that sheep breaking bread?


OLBERMANN: Hackles continue to be raised about the Republican
National Committee reimbursing two grand in expense at that lesbian bondage
themed club in West Hollywood. The latest to be offended, the executive of
the night club, who says her place has been defamed, that it caters to a
high end A-list clientele, with live art installations, with a voyeuristic
theme. Michael Musto next on the Republican party's new role as patron of
the arts, the installation arts.

That's next, but first tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Bud Day, Medal of Honor recipient and retired colonel.

He has now endorsed Charlie Crist for the Republican Senate nomination in
Florida, instead of Tea Partier Marco Rubio, saying, quote, "you know, we
just got through electing a politician who can run his mouth at Mach One, a
black one. Now we have an Hispanic who can run his mouth at Mach One."

He expanded upon Mr. Obama, calling him "the black one with the
reading thing. He can go as fast as the speed of light and has no idea
what he's saying. I put Rubio in that same category, except I don't know
if he is using one of those readers."

Colonel Day, of course, appeared in the Swift Boat ads against John
Kerry in 2004. You'll remember him. He was the white one with the racism

Runner-up, Ricky Flowers, address not given, who led police in Ohio on
a high-speed chase where he was wanted for failing to signal. It ended at
Garfield Heights, Ohio, with Mr. Flowers ditching the car and scaling a
fence. Unfortunately for Mr. Flowers, the fence was outside the Ohio
Northeast Pre-Release Center for Women. When he landed back on the ground,
he was inside a prison yard surrounded by corrections officers.

But our winner, Oklahoma State Senator Steve Russell. Two weeks ago,
that body passed his horrific bigoted bill designed to reduce protections
for gays by enabling Oklahoma law enforcement agencies to ignore the
broader definition of hate crimes passed by the US Congress a few years ago
in the Matthew Shepherd Act on the grounds that it denied Oklahoma churches
the right to preach against homosexuality.

The Oklahoma bill permits prosecutors to ignore Title 18, U.S. Code
Section 245, except the protections for gays are not in Title 18 U.S. Code
Section 245. They are in Title 18, U.S. Code Section 249. So what did
Oklahoma nullify when it's Senate attacked Title 18 U.S. Code Section 245?
Title 18 U.S. Code Section 245 protects people against hate crimes based
on, quote, "race, color, religion or national origin."

So the religious nuts in Oklahoma who tried to strip the rights from
gays wound up stripping the rights from the religious nuts in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State Senator Steve, "I wonder what hoist on his own petard
means," Russell, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: Finally tonight, a correction. Yesterday, we told you
about an embarrassing Republican National Committee funded visit to a
simulated lesbian bondage themed strip club in West Hollywood. Well, it
turns out it wasn't a simulated lesbian bondage themed strip club at all.
It was a simulated lesbian bondage theme art club, according to the lesbian
bondage themed art club's management, which is really upset the place was
not recognized for its artistic greatness.

To correct the record, the GOP blew two ground of its donor's money on

Yesterday, FEC documents revealed that in February, the Republican
National Committee reimbursed 2,000 dollars to one Erik Brown, California
based political consultant, after Brown took some young Republicans to a
high end LA bar called Voyeur. Today "National Journal's" hotline on call
blog reports that Allison Myers, the director of the RNC's Young Eagles
Program, approved the pay out to Brown, and has since been terminated.

Today, in an articled titled "A Club With a Hollywood Tint" - that's
tint - Sarah Waldman (ph), director of special events at Voyeur,
complained about media depictions of her establishment to the Times.
Quoting Ms. Waldman, "we are most certainly not a strip club. We cater to
a high-end, A-list clientele, with live art installations with a
voyeuristic theme."

That live art, according to one viewer, includes the installation of a
half naked girl hanging from a net across the ceiling. According to this
image from the Voyeur website, there is also a half naked bartender who
will artfully ignore your requests for extra limes.

Time to now call in our own spoken word artist, Michael Musto of the
"Village Voice," and his new blog, Good evening, Michael.

MICHAEL MUSTO, "VILLAGE VOICE": Hi, Keith. I feel sorry for Annette,
the girl she is hanging from. It's got to hurt.

OLBERMANN: That is enough for tonight. Don't you think? We can't
get better than that. Does this place match your definition of an art
club, and therefore, is the GOP supporting the arts?

MUSTO: Yeah. But, then again, I think Planet Hollywood is a museum.
It think this is fantastic. This is a great new direction for the
Republicans. Next, they're going to be buying up Maplethorps as if they
were Keen paintings. They're going to making Biblical tableau with their
bodily functions. It redefines GOP


MUSTO: Yeah. Go back to the Annette joke.

OLBERMANN: Michael Steele is jeopardy, as usual, as the chairman of
the RNC after that, and he has sort of run away from this story. Would a
better strategy be to embrace this, embrace the arts, or if you are in this
place, let the arts embrace you?

MUSTO: Absolutely, it is great press. Even Jesse James, I hear, is
embracing this. He is saying he was simply embracing the female nude,
every female nude. You know, if high art is up to Jesse's level, then I
think it's worth pursing. Nazis have nothing to do with this. I'm talking
about the RNC.

OLBERMANN: Goodness. The Voyeur website claims - let's see if I can
say this without just bursting into laughter, "they take their guests to
the edge of corruption with elegance and eroticism." Have you ever been to
the edge of corruption with elegance and eroticism?

MUSTO: It is fantastic. It's in Secaucus. Two drink minimum. No,
Keith. Yes, I have been to the edge of corruption. But it's never been
elegant or erotic. Believe me, I've been in squalid, compromising
positions, really filthy stuff. It's about as sexy and elegant as a Dustin
Diamond sex tape. In fact, it was a Dustin Diamond sex tape.

OLBERMANN: The location intrigues me, West Hollywood. Wouldn't there
be other places in West Hollywood that would have been much more offensive
to Republican donors than this one? Isn't this one of the tepid ones?

MUSTO: West Hollywood makes Hell's Kitchen look like an enclave of
straight men. There is a bar called the Avi where Liz Taylor wheels in
once a month, and she's the only biological female for miles. All the gays
are like, look, papi, it's Britney Spears' grandmother. There's another
bar caller Rage.

Let me not pursue this because you might wrongly think I know all the
bars in West Hollywood.

OLBERMANN: Good. Lastly, at this place, what do you suppose
Republicans spent 2,000 dollars on?

MUSTO: In any art place, you pay for bottle service. You pay for
maybe a lap dance from the Mona Lisa, some - from the Venus de Milo,
though she's not big on fingering. Basically, you're just paying for an
artistic elevated experience. These people were framed. Get it, they were
framed. Let's go back to the Annette joke.

OLBERMANN: I'm just trying to figure out which direction to go. The
Venus de Milo joke, I'm not sure if it is more offensive anatomically or -

MUSTO: It is offensive to everybody.

OLBERMANN: Good. Congratulations again on doing that. The one and
only Michael Musto. And the new blog is Thanks, Michael.

That is Countdown for this the 2,525th day since the previous
president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good
night and good luck.