Thursday, April 8, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, April 8, 2010
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Quick Comment, Worst Persons, Keith joins Twitter
Via YouTube: Quick Comment
The toss: Twitter

Guest: Richard Burt, Chris Hayes, Eugene Robinson, John Hodgman



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

Prague, the Czech Republic, where 42 springs ago, the superpowers
edged close to nuclear war. The START treaty is signed there, and nuclear
weapons are suddenly reduced by one-third.


simply an issue for the United States and Russia. They threaten the common
security of all nations.


OLBERMANN: But are there 67 votes to ratify in the Senate? Ronald
Reagan's secretary of state, George Shultz, endorses the deal. And the
lunatic fringe still mindlessly opposes it.

The threats against the speaker of the House, they main-line back to -
well, to quote the accused man's mother, "Greg frequently gets in with a
group of people that have really radical ideas. I'd say FOX News or all
those that are really radical - that's where he comes from."

But don't worry; it's all just a game. I could give a flying crap
about the political process. Lonesome tells "Forbes" magazine, "We're an
entertainment company."

Oh, here we go.


ANNOUNCER: On the tee, Tiger Woods.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to find out what your feelings are and did
you learn anything?




TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: It's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge


OLBERMANN: "Worsts": You'll never believe who owns the Web site

And, the first secret story in the history of Countdown - I
surrender, I'll start now, and John Hodgman is here to help me. That's all
you get.

All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Oh, you'd be surprised.




OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

President Obama and Russian President Medvedev this morning are
signing a major treaty, the new START treaty, to shrink their nation's
respective arsenals of nuclear weapons.

But in our fifth story on the Countdown: The agreement will be moot
unless it is ratified by two-thirds of the Senate where Republicans have
not yet decided if their for or against it, even though the first START
treaty was proposed by none other than President Ronald Reagan and signed
by successor, President George H.W. Bush, and this one has been endorsed by
President Reagan's secretary of state.

At a ceremony in Prague, the leaders of the two countries which
combined account for 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons, putting pen
to paper on a document that would reduce their deployed nuclear warheads to
1,550 for each country, a drop of 1/3, still impossibly high. Long-range
nuclear weapons would be limited to 700 for each nation.

As we mentioned, the first START treaty initiated by President Reagan
who once said, quote, "I believe we've come to the point that we must got
at the matter of realistically reducing, if not totally eliminating the
nuclear weapons - the threat to the world." The treaty then signed by
President Bush in 1991.

President Obama's new START treaty is endorsed by former Republican
secretaries of state, George Shultz and Henry Kissinger. In fact,
Secretary Shultz describing the treaty that was signed today as containing,
quote, "relatively modest reductions." But he concluded, "I think it's a
constructive step."

Secretary of State Clinton at today's signing ceremony in Prague is
noting that the Senate has a long history of bipartisan approval of such
treaties. The view of Senator Lugar, the ranking Republican on the foreign
relations committee, said to be favorable, and an aide to Senator Lugar is
saying that his boss ultimately hopes the votes to ratify the new START
treaty will be there.

His party's leadership is possibly hoping something else. In a letter
to the president last month, Minority Leader McConnell and Senator Kyl, the
number two Republican in the Senate, raising concerns about the treaty
because they believe it links offensive weapons and missile defense. The
senators are warning the president, quoting, "It is highly unlikely that
the Senate would ratify a treaty that includes such a linkage."
Any references to missile defense made only in the preamble and not in
the treaty document itself, to avoid an official link.

At a news conference in Prague, the president is saying that he and
the Russian president would continue to talk about missile defense, adding
that he believes the U.S. would be no less safe because of it.


OBAMA: I've repeatedly said that we will not do anything that
endangers or limits my ability as commander-in-chief to protect the
American people. And we think that missile defense can be an important
component of that. But we also want to make clear that the approach that
we've taken in no way is intended to change the strategic balance between
the United States and Russia.


OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, Sister Sarah opposing President Obama's entire
nuclear approach - the former half governor of Alaska reducing the
president's earlier decision to take nuclear weapons off the table in the
event of a nonnuclear attack, but leave them in place for biological or
chemical attacks, reducing all this to terms she could understand - kids
on a playground.


America's history would, I think, ever have considered such a step that we
just found out that President Obama is supporting today. You know, that's
kind of like getting out there on the playground, a bunch of kids ready to
fight, and one of the kids saying, "Go ahead, punch me in the face and I'm
not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to do with me."

No. It's unacceptable. This is another thing that the American
public, the more that they find out what is a part of this agenda, they're
going to rise up and they're going to say, no more. National defense,
national security is the number one job of the federal government.



OLBERMANN: That woman is an idiot. Earlier on ABC's "World News
Tonight," the president asked by George Stephanopoulos to respond to Sarah
Palin -


OBAMA: I really have no response to that. Last I checked, Sarah
Palin is not much of an expert on nuclear issues.


OLBERMANN: All right. He put it better than I did.
Let's turn instead to Richard Burt, former ambassador to Germany, the
U.S.'s chief negotiator for first START treaty which was signed, as we
mentioned, in Prague by President Bush in 1991. Mr. Burt is now the U.S.
chairman of Global Zero, an international not-for-profit group calling for
the phased and verified elimination of nuclear weapons.

Ambassador, thanks much for your time tonight.

Keith, from a fellow Cornellian.

OLBERMANN: Yes, I know indeed. And we have mutual friends as well.
And Mr. Klein says hello to you.

The first START treaty which lapsed this past December - how
important was it, given that lapse, that the U.S. and Russia reach another
one and quickly?

BURT: Well, I think it's very important. Not only because we can't
live for an extended period of time without restrictions on these weapons,
but I think that the treaty, while it is, as my old boss George Shultz
pointed out, a modest step towards further reductions.

As the president pointed out today, it really creates a platform for a
new negotiation, a follow-on negotiation where we can achieve real
reductions, maybe down to as low as 1,000 nuclear weapons altogether.
Those are not only the ones that are deployed, that are limited under this
new treaty, but also ones that would be stored. And also hundreds, in the
Russian case, thousands of tactical nuclear weapons, the short-range

If we could get a new treaty, say, over the next two, three years that
really was - took a significant bite out of the two countries' nuclear
arsenals, we could then take the very bold step of bringing other nuclear
powers into a negotiation, like the Chinese, the Indians, and the

OLBERMANN: To try to subtract the partisanship from the equation in
anything in politics these days is almost impossible. And to do that we
almost have to go back to previous political issues and contentions. I'd
like your assessment. You heard what Secretary Shultz said, your former
boss, as you mentioned.

Do you believe this is the kind of agreement that President Reagan
would have wanted?

BURT: Well, it's clearly one that Ronald Reagan would have supported.
Remember, Ronald Reagan coined the term, or the phrase, trust but verify.
The treaty has very rigorous verification provisions and it does reduce
both sides' nuclear stockpiles. But it's important to remember that Ronald
Reagan was fundamentally uncomfortable with nuclear weapons.

And I think, in the 21st century, when the threat is not Russian
nuclear attack or a Chinese nuclear attack, but nuclear proliferation, the
spread of nuclear weapons to rogue states like Iran or terrorist groups
like al Qaeda, I'm sure that Ronald Reagan would have strongly supported

OLBERMANN: And everyone off the table is an improvement, per se,

BURT: Oh, absolutely. What President Obama has done is, together
with this treaty, and the Nuclear Posture Review you mentioned, where he
clearly has said the priorities of American nuclear policy, he is saying
that we need to focus on the spread of nuclear weapons, we have to focus on
clear terrorism, and next week's summit meeting where nuclear security and
that means locking down all loose nukes and nuclear materials worldwide is
coming forward with a really transformational vision for nuclear weapons in
the 21st century.

And I think, in the end, as a result of this, there will be some
outliers who won't support it. But I think that Republican senators will
support it, led by Dick Lugar, because of the recognition that if we can't
be seen as making progress in arms control, we're just creating another
argument for President Ahmadinejad in Iran, and other rogue nations to
acquire their nuclear stockpiles.

OLBERMANN: So, the last three votes were 93-5, 93-6, and 95-0 on arms
reduction treaties, you mentioned the outliers in the Senate. What would -
what else would you say to those senators who might contemplate voting
against this new START treaty?

BURT: Well, I'm just reminded of the phrase that Senator William
Fulbright used during the Vietnam War when he talked about the United
States in danger of becoming a crippled giant. I think failure to ratify
this agreement would not only mean no more progress on dealing with nuclear
terrorism and proliferation, but it would cripple American foreign policy
across the board.

OLBERMANN: Ambassador Richard Burt, chief negotiator for the first
START treaty, now with Global Zero and in the alumni association with -
great thanks of your time, sir.

BURT: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For more on Republican reaction on the signing of the new
treaty, time to bring in our own Howard Fineman, the senior Washington
correspondent for "Newsweek," who is in New Orleans tonight for the
Southern Republican Leadership Conference and who did not attend Cornell.

Good evening, Howard.


OLBERMANN: They say I mentioned it too often.
Listen, the attendees and headline speakers at this conference, is
there any indication that they figured out yet that the nuclear arms treaty
that was signed by this president is, as Ambassador Burt, put it, kind of a
continuation of the policy that was started by the fellow Reagan who they
used to all adhere to?

FINEMAN: Well, Keith, I'm just been in the hall, a few feet away,
interviewing the delegates as the meeting starting. There are a couple of
thousands of them there. It's an important meeting, really, the wheelhouse
of the Republican Party as we know it.

I mentioned that point about Ronald Reagan to them. It got zero
response. When Ronald Reagan did it, it was a sign of strength. (AUDIO
GAP) of this people here. If I took a vote in there, it would be 2,000 to
nothing against ratifying the START treaty.

OLBERMANN: And there's no - can you - can you possibly nail what
the disconnect is there? How they could simply ignore that this happened
in their own past?

FINEMAN: Well, I think it has everything to do with Barack Obama.
And it has to do, also partly with the fact, I think, while he would have
never made a sale in here, if it were the START treaty alone, if it hasn't
come wrapped in the philosophical shift on strategy about the use of
nuclear weapons, which is lauded by many people in the United States and
the world, then it might be a different story.

Here, the words I hear inside that room, and they're going to be
Republican presidential candidates speaking here in the coming days, Keith,
I heard words like "naive," that was the kindest one, "weakness" and even
"treason." These people look at what Barack Obama wants to do with regard
to nuclear weapons, Ronald Reagan notwithstanding, and view it through the
lens of their fear and distrust of the president.

OLBERMANN: There are some, like George Shultz who seem to - no, not
seem to, they're implying that this did not go far enough. We heard
Ambassador Burt just now talk about how this needs to be a good starting
point for something much more generalize in terms of bringing other nations
into it the next two to three years - couldn't the right have gone - have
taken the opposite tack on this, that none of this is going far enough?
Wouldn't that have fed the necessity to yell at Obama about something?

FINEMAN: Well, it might be. But it's not going that way, and you can
tell that all the Republican candidates, led by Sarah Palin, once again,
are going to be taking a harsh stance against this.

It's interesting. I talked to some Senate Republicans today, and
they're taking in Washington and on the Hill a somewhat more cautious view.
They want to see the treaty, they have some concerns, but they're not ready
to stand full out against it. At the Republican grassroots, at the
conservative grassroots, which to some extent this really does represent,
they're flat out "no" on everything Obama's proposing to do, and they're
going to call it weakness and run on it.

OLBERMANN: So, give me your assessment. Eight votes are needed on
the Republican side with Mr. Lugar. Is he going to get them?

FINEMAN: Well, Richard Lugar doesn't drive the train in the Senate on
the Republican side.


FINEMAN: Mitch McConnell of Kentucky does. I think in the end,
they'll get it, because if you just look at what the treaty does, and you
can, I think, meet a lot of Republican objections, you can meet
conservative concerns - but what Republicans have to worry about is the
way this thing will be portrayed outside of Washington and at the
grassroots of the Republican Party. And I can assure you, everyone at the
grassroots is going to be standing on the sidewalk screaming "no" - at
least based on what I heard in this room tonight.

OLBERMANN: Howard Fineman of "Newsweek" and MSBNC, at the Southern
Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans - great thanks, Howard.

FINEMAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: And on top of that bitter irony, a day of more bitter
irony for those drying to defuse the hysterical anger from the far right.
At the same time, a mother of a man accused of making dozens of threatening
calls to the speaker of the House, said she thought his main influence were
radicals and FOX News. The face of FOX News says he really isn't
interested in the political process - to him this is justify the
entertainment business.

That's next when we resume.


OLBERMANN: On the same day Glenn Beck reveals he doesn't give a,
quote, "flying crap about the political process," the mother of the man
accused of threatening Nancy Pelosi says he was driven to it in part by FOX

Thousands cheer Tiger Woods returns to golf, millions learn there's
almost no golf term that doesn't sound kind of dirty. Gene Robinson joins

Inside a tea party in Louisiana so nuts that the congressman tells
them they are being put on the defensive by FOX.

And my epic life-changing decision tonight, my admission of Luddism
and lunkheadedness, John Hodgman is here to help me begin my recovery.
You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: The man arrested yesterday on charges of threatening House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi about passage of health care reform got his ideas from
FOX News.

We know this because in our fourth story tonight: the defendant's
mother says so. The defendant, Greg Giusti, a 48-year-old San Francisco
man with previous convictions and history of making threats, he's accused
this time of repeatedly calling Speaker Pelosi's office and home and her
husband's business, reciting her home address and saying she should oppose
health care reform if she wanted to see her home again.

As has chronicled, Pelosi has spent the last year
under blistering attack from FOX News hosts, portraying her and health care
reform as fundamental threats to America itself. Bill O'Reilly referring
to her Fidel Castro stuff and to her as Marie Antoinette, who was, of
course, beheaded in the French Revolution. Sarah Palin putting crosshairs
on members of Congress, telling followers, "Don't retreat, instead reload."
Glenn Beck is talking about poisoning Pelosi, claiming Democrats carried
out a coup, hammering in the nail in the coffin of America and bringing
about the end of America as we know it, because now President Obama can
control every aspect of our lives.

Greg Giusti's mother blames FOX News.


ELEANOR GUISTI, ACCUSED MOTHER: Greg has frequently gets in with a
group of people that have really radical ideas, and that are not consistent
with myself or his, the rest of the family - and which gets him into
problems. And apparently I would say, this must be another one that
somehow he's gotten on to, either by - I say, FOX News - or all of those
that are really radical, and he, that's where he comes from.


OLBERMANN: Shepherd Smith of FOX said on air last month that some of
those shouting end of the world, quote, "maybe don't believe it."

Now, a new "Forbes" magazine profile of Beck confirms it. Beck's only
real interest is making more than his current $32 million a year as a man
of the people. Quote, "I could give a flying crap about the political
process. We're an entertainment company."

He has these pictures, the magazine reports, in his office, Ronald
Reagan, who was in favor of the START treaty, Paul Harvey, Orson Welles,
Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Walt Disney. No Thomas Paine.
And, of course, if Mr. Beck really believed Democrats were turning
America socialist and destroying capitalism, why would he bother to try to
earn $32 million a year if the government's going to take it from him

Let's bring in Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of "The Nation"
magazine, who I think makes a little less than $32 million, but not quite.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION: How did you guess?

OLBERMANN: Just a wild one. Good to see in the flesh.

HAYES: Good to see you, too.

OLBERMANN: If FOX News viewers are crazy enough or easily led enough,
which is the principle to it, to believe that America is under assault from
within by essentially a fraudulent government, isn't taking arms up to
defend America versus the government, isn't that - if the premise could be
illogical but the follow up is logical, and that's the danger, right?

HAYES: That's right. I mean, look, I tend to be really sort of free
speech absolutist about this stuff and I think you sort of share that ethos
that you want to be careful about drawing these distinctions.


HAYES: That said, there is increasingly violent rhetoric. And we
know from the Southern Poverty Law Center's latest report, we know from the
Harris Poll, this stuff is really seeping into the grassroots, and there is
a really kind of enraged and violent ethos that is being stoked. And I
think it really is problematic and it does - it does impart some kind of
moral culpability ultimately.

OLBERMANN: The FOX hosts who are already on record blaming Pelosi for
inciting violence against herself, which is, of course, a wonderful way out
of complicated situations. Does the odds against seeing this story turn
them into people who say, "Oh, we have - the scales have fallen from our
eyes, we better cool this" - the odds against that are what?

HAYES: Well, they're zero.


HAYES: Because right now, there is no - I mean, this is one of the
things I think that's dangerous and disturbing. There's only incentives to
fuel the fire.


HAYES: The marketing incentives all pushed that way, in terms of
fundraising, in terms of audience share - everything pushes in the
direction of extremity and nothing pushes against it. And so, that's the
really problematic thing. It's locked into this kind of vicious cycle in
which stoking and stoking and stoking is what is getting people, ratings,
what's getting people's attention - I don't see any incentive or space for
people to be the brakes on that.

OLBERMANN: We can say also that maybe there are links and FOX can
respond, well, there's no evidence of links, but his - Jim David Adkisson
is the example I always used and not because had had books on his shelf.
But this is the guy who walked into a Unitarian church in Tennessee and
shot the place up and killed two people, because he said, in writing, in
his manifesto, that he could not kill the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's
book of the liberals who were destroying the country.

That's not - Bernard Goldberg is on FOX News every night, virtually.

That's not - this isn't debatable that there's a link.

So, what has to happen - there was a link in that case, and we have
the Giusti link, to a degree of a man's mother, (INAUDIBLE) the situation,
we think that probably she knows something of what's going on - what has
to happen for society at large to look at Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes
and the people who pervade this stuff as pariahs?

HAYES: Well, I mean, what you hope is that something really awfully
doesn't happen.


HAYES: I mean, I - and again, I don't want to be an alarmist, but
look, I mean, the last time that we did have an extremely empowered and
enraged radical right, there was the largest, at the time, domestic
terrorist attack on American soil. And we've already seen domestic
terrorist attacks by - or plotted domestic terror attacks. And so, I
think, there really has to be a point in which you just put certain things
outside of the spectrum of sort of civil discourse.


HAYES: I don't know. I mean, that's the problem, right? I mean, you
call them out.

OLBERMANN: I know. I'm not going to put you on the spot because I
have no answer to that either.

HAYES: Right. Look, I mean, I believe in John Stuart Mill that the
response to bad speech is more speech, right? And you call them out as
much as possible. But, you know, again, it seems like there's a structural
problem here that has to be kind of on tact.

And I think that, hopefully, what you see are some people on the
right, you know, standing up to say, look, we are - this is fundamentally
we want to be a democratic nonviolent movement. Those are two
incredibly important words, not a revolutionary movement. And those things
are really distinct.

OLBERMANN: Pledge it with everything from the left, starting with
those exact words. Literally, every speech given by somebody on the left
or the Democratic Party or even a moderate or independent should start by
saying, "We are pledged to nonviolence."

HAYES: Yes. We are a Democratic nonviolent movement.

OLBERMANN: Exactly. We are - yes, we are American nonviolent - we
got all - we wave the flag and everything else.

Chris Hayes of "The Nation" - great thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: And what about the place that's so far right wing that FOX
is considered part of their problem? We'll take you inside a tea party
meeting with a congressman in Louisiana. But fortunately, Tiger Woods is
back, restoring America's will to live.


OLBERMANN: Tiger Woods reminds us there aren't golf terms that sound
like double entendres as he tees and tries to sink a few eight-inch putts.

But, first, on this date in 1946 was born James Augustus Hunter, one
of the great baseball pitchers of the 1970s, and a hall of famer for that,
also the game's first big money free agent. But more importantly, one of
the great people of sports, humble and generous of his time, even to rookie
reporters of 1979 like me, and so revered that when he was dying of ALS and
decided to auction off personal memorabilia to set up college funds for his
grandchildren, it wasn't just collectors like me, but also then active
Major League Baseball players, like Jerry Deputo (ph) who made sure none of
those items went for less than twice of what they were thought to be worth.

Let's play "Oddball."


OLBERMANN: Different kind of baseball story, at Houston. Hello! The
Astros taking on the San Francisco Giants. This is the Giants outfielder,
Eugenio Velez pinch-hitting in the 7th inning and sporting a Giant typo.
"I left my spellcheck in San Francicso - c-i-c-s-o. Velez told the AP he
didn't know his jersey was misspelled. The club reassures the fans the
jersey will be fixed before the next road game.

San Francicso moves on to face last year's Washington Nationals
in the misspelling class.

In (INAUDIBLE) residents were dealing with the influx of white
pelicans. To better explain a local morning show brought in bird expert
Walt Crawford in scoop the pelican, starting in, you can see where this is
going. Poor Walt got the scoop.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, somebody called.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you ok, Walt? Are you ok, Walt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he's going to step back. Yes, he got him
right there in the unmentionables. Darn you, Mr. Pelican?



OLBERMANN: Anyway. Mr. Crawford was not quite done getting
pelican briefed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a second time, no. Oh. Oh my God,
Walter, are you all right there?

CRAWFORD: I'll be fine.


OLBERMANN: Is that a natural thing or did he train him to do
that? Mr. Crawford is recovering; might benefit from a new line of working
not to mention ice.

Somehow that segues us perfectly into the return of Tiger Woods with
Eugene Robinson next on the Countdown. I'm sorry.


OLBERMANN: For teeing it up today it had been exactly 144 days since
Tiger Woods last played professional golf. 144 days, which is of course a
gross, which is how one blogger describes the new Tiger Woods Nike ad,
"opportunistic, gross, typical," writes Jessica Wakeman on
for news stories.

In our third story, Tiger Woods is back in the headlines for
making par, not making sexy time. And his new commercial for Nike is
creeping people out. At the 74th Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia
aired on ESPN, he has some real threesome (ph) highlight that we have to
credit him verbally to. Woods and his threesome, no giggling, had a 1:42
p.m. tee time.

Security was heavy. Phillip Bundy of the "New York Daily News"
an exceptional reporter noting a conversation he overheard between a
security guard and a spectator. "What happens if he yelled at someone else
in his group, would you still get pounced?" The spectator asked. The
guard nodded.

On Monday, Woods said the reception from the gallery for his
practice round blew him away. Today the crowd was once again in full
throat, the cheering on the ground was loud and sustained.
In the air above Augusta National was an airplane towing a
billboard that read, "Tiger, did you mean Bootyism?" An obvious play on
the Buddhism fate, Tiger Woods professes and of course his love for pirate
treasure. We don't know if he saw the billboard, we do know that after 18
holes he's in the clubhouse at four under, his best opening day at the
Masters ever.

And that Nike commercial, Nike first bought air time for it on
ESPN on the Golf Channel, it has been all over the place for free since.
As you see, it features Tiger Woods mute, staring into a camera, blinking
once in a while he gets life coach narration from the disembodied voice of
his deceased father, Earl.


out what your feelings are and did you learn anything?


OLBERMANN: A person familiar with the production told "The Wall
Street Journal" the audio of Earl Woods was culled from old interviews and
that Tiger Woods and his mother both approved the commercial. Something
tells me they did not approve of the following Internet remakes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rehabilitated. Well, now, let me see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, it's - it's Tiger. Can you please take your
name off your phone? My wife went through my phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most of you have at one time or another been told
about venereal diseases. You've been frightened and no doubt you've been
warned of the terrible consequences of getting a venereal disease. Use of
the sex organs has no affect on their ultimate size, but overuse may have
an exhausting effect as all athletes know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quickly. All right. Bye.


OLBERMANN: Let's bring in the associate editor and Pulitzer
Prize winning columnist of the "Washington Post", MSNBC political analyst,
Eugene Robinson who gets to follow that.

Good evening, Eugene.


OLBERMANN: I know you've been watching this as you've been writing
your column today. At least, from the people who are on the ground, is the
reception for Tiger Woods about what you expected?

ROBINSON: Actually, it's warmer than I expected it to be. He really
got quite a boost, I think, at the first hole. Now, granted, anyone who
heckled him at the Masters was going to be bounced off the grounds. So
people knew that.

But he was quite warmly received. It wasn't maybe as
enthusiastic as it could have been in some other years. But it certainly
seemed to buoy him as he smoked his first drive down the middle of the
fairway for, you know - it was like the old Tiger Woods, only actually
statistically it was better -


ROBINSON: - than the old Tiger Woods. His best he's ever done
in the first round of the Masters. And I'm sure his peers are delighted to
see that the layoff really doesn't seem to have rusted him up very much.

OLBERMANN: The commercial, the Nike ad, the sports columnist for your
paper, Tracy Hamilton, said that the ad portrayed penance as commodity
which is a great point. But if your penance is sponsored, did you not just
erase the line that you've been trying to draw between sports over here and
personal life over there?

ROBINSON: You completely wiped out the line. If you - you just
obliterated it. I did - look, it was - that ad is, I think you have to
agree, everyone should agree that it is really pretty creepy.
It is, I would say, devastatingly effective in that we're all
talking about it, and thinking about it, and it does sort of work its way
into your consciousness. But I'm not sure in a good way. But it does work
its way in.

That - you know, does it sell anything for Nike, I don't know?

But it gets them out there. Does it do anything for Tiger Woods? Well, I
think it does kind of belie what he has been saying about this internal
process of self-discovery that he's been going through. That's - you
know, you have existential conversations -


ROBINSON: - with your late father I think in private. I don't
think you do it on television with a Nike swoosh there.

OLBERMANN: He does sort of look like Oliver in the gruel line, asking
please, sir, can I have some more which is perhaps not the message that he
wants to get across.

ROBINSON: I don't think so.


ROBINSON: I don't think so.

OLBERMANN: Yes, last point here and this is - this I think has
taught us that every golf term is a double entendre if you're in the
correct mood, right?

ROBINSON: Every single one. Look, this is a sport in which, let's
face it. We talk a lot about strokes. We talk a lot about holes. I mean,
it is just - it's just there. And if one has the proper kind of juvenile
frame of mind, which I usually do and I know you usually do, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That's right.

ROBINSON: Then, yes, it's all a double entendre.

OLBERMANN: Never mind laying up.

Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist of the
"Washington Post" and like myself, a 13-year-old kid. Great thanks for
your time, brother. We're good to talk to you, my friend.

Let's go down to the swimming pool now.

ROBINSON: It's good to talk to you, man.

OLBERMANN: We'll go see Yu Chi. Yu Chi is down there right now, I
think we're opening bubble gum cards in a moment. Thanks Eugene.

ROBINSON: Good night.

OLBERMANN: John Hodgman, author, actor, humorist and participant in
our secret number one story which involves my apology, redemption and my

Yes, there are places worse than those TEA Party rallies, like
those intimate TEA Party gatherings with the local Congressman. We'll take
you inside one of them. Don't wear your good shoes.

And a two-fer for Tom Coburn who makes "The Worst Persons List" who
call himself courageous for screwing people on unemployment and he
describes Rachel as "emotional". So I'll be gentle on him since she will
probably make him regret entering public service.

Coming up at the top of the hour.


OLBERMANN: Worsts and Sean Hannity selects the worst president
in U.S. history, and your hint, Millard Fillmore is safe.

First, tonight's quick comment and you want to see what's wrong with
America right now? Not just the new University of Washington survey, which
we'll go into in-depth tomorrow which surveyed TEA partiers and found out
that the white people in the move, quote, "Are racially resentful, who
believe the U.S. government has done too much to support blacks are 36
percent more likely to support the TEA Party than those who are not."

But let's go, courtesy of their own video, inside the Red River
TEA Party of Louisiana, as it listened to Congressman John Fleming.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don't more doctors do like the doctor,
the urologist in Florida has done and refuse to take it and put up a sign.
Then what can they do? They can't put them all in jail or what will

REP. JOHN FLEMING (R), LOUISIANA: The question is what about this
urologist in Florida, who put up a sign "If you voted for Obama you need
not come here for care."


OLBERMANN: Yes. The woman somehow thinks doctors are largely opposed to health care reform, when in fact they largely support it. But to continue -


FLEMING: I applaud what he said and did and it's his first amendment right to do that.


OLBERMANN: Really? He's got a first amendment right to see
patients based on how they voted? Is that the same first amendment right
to doctors in the south used to invoke and to refuse treatment of black
people or keep them out of hospitals?

At this point the Congressman warns the TEA Partiers not to do
things that would permit the media to quote, "demonize them" unquote.


FLEMING: That's something that we conservatives have to be very
careful about, and even you the TEA Party, too where you know, the claims
have been made that you spat upon people and that you use racial epithets.
Now we know that isn't true.


OLBERMANN: Of course you do. Because the word of a second year
Congressman should always be believed over the word of a 23-year veteran of
the House and hero of the Civil Rights Movement, like John Lewis, who was
obviously lying when he said the words were shouted at him in the halls of
Congress, because we all know Civil Rights agitators of the 60s were
communists, especially the black ones.


FLEMING: The mainstream media still goes out there and talks
about it. Even Fox sometimes talks about it, and they put Republicans into
a defensive position, they put you in a defensive position. So, you see,
we're definitely fighting with one hand tied behind our backs.

So we have to be very careful to be effective without being
characterized as wingnuts and marginal militiamen and people like they're
trying to do to you.


OLBERMANN: Congressman, members of the Red River TEA Ku Klux
Klan, let me clue you in. When you think Fox News is trying to put you on
the defensive, Fox News, nobody's characterizing you as wingnuts, or
marginal or militiamen, you are Wingnuts and marginal and militiamen.


OLBERMANN: I can't tell you anything about the number one story,
except that actor, writer and humorist, John Hodgman is here as my guest
and my spirit guide. That's next.

But first, tonight's "Worst Persons in the World". The bronze we
give to Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. It turns out not only did he sell
himself out enough to attend the Bachmann/Palin fear festival yesterday and
encourage his formerly moderate base to attempt to reelect the mad woman of
Minnesota. He did something even stranger. The Wonkette site reports
Pawlenty bought the Web domain name and used it to
redirect traffic to his own site.

When you sell your soul one percent at a time Governor, does it
feel the same way as when you do it all at once? Could you compare notes
on that with Senator McCain?

The runner-up Sean Hannity, one of the trained seals at Fox News, "You
put all this in toto in its entirety and we're looking at not only the
socialization, Europe-ization of the Western European socialist model
coming to America. We're looking at a - the end of capitalism in America
as we know it.

I want to add a point. He is - and I say this with all
sincerity and passion that I can muster up - he will go down in American
history as the worst president we've ever had. And I'm talking about
national security and I'm talking about economic issues."

Wow, Hannity thinks Bush will go down in American history as the
worst President - Obama? Oh, I should have known when Hannity said, "I
say this with all sincerity and passion that I can muster up," which is
like a two, on the scale of 100.

Do we need to review what the comparable point in the Bush
presidency how many Americans were already dead because of his negligence
or how many would die in Iraq because of his obsessions?

But the winner is Senator Tom Coburn continuing to bounce all
over the place ethically and politically. His grand stand stunt to block
unemployment benefits is symbolic, not really harmful to anybody, he says,
because it only affects, quote, "A relatively small group of people. The
easiest thing in the world is to pass this bill unpaid for. But consider
the millions of Americans whose financial futures would be damaged versus
the relatively small amount of people who will be affected by this delay.
Now, you tell me which vote takes the most courage."

The number of Americans who will temporarily lose their
unemployment benefits while Coburn preens over pay-as-you-go, when he
helped put this country in debt by supporting Bush's pay later for
everything in Iraq. The number that this affects is 212,000 - 212,000.
That is twice the population of the City of Norman in Senator Coburn's

Meaning to him, Norman, Oklahoma, is only half of a relatively
small amount of people.

You know what courage is, Senator? Trying to live on unemployment, especially when some hypocritical holier than now idiot in Washington cuts your unemployment off for a week. Senator Tom "not a profile in courage" Coburn today's "Worst Person in the World".


OLBERMANN: Just about anybody in the world can now call, text, e-mail, blog, post on Facebook, G-chat and, of course, Tweet. Now, those last examples represent just a fraction of all the ways we can communicate on the Worldwide Web, as if it is so vitally important for everyone to know what everyone else is doing and thinking at every possibly moment.

I obviously have yet another way to communicate, since I have my own TV show, more importantly, a blog. Late in the summer of 2008, I even signed up for Twitter, then I suddenly thought, I think I might accidentally give a lot of people my e-mail address. So I blinked.

All right, look, I'm still adjusting to the idea of cable TV.

And I used to believe in brownies and elves.

But adjustment is life. Thus, in our number one story in the Countdown tonight, live at our stage, I will type out my very first Tweet.

And before I do that, John Hodgman will answer all my questions about it.

Twitter began on March 21st, 2006, with a message from one of its co-founders Jack Dorsey quoting, "Just setting up my Twitter". From such humble origins, Mr. Watson, the mighty full-scale version was launched in July of that year. And the next thing you knew, people had followers. Like I always thought people were following me anyway, so why add technology to paranoia? So my Twitter account was as voiceless, as it could be. But tonight I'm taking another swing at it. There is my Twitter page. Here is my address, @KeithOlbermann. Yes there it is. So you can follow me if you want. And so you already got it now, because I got seven followers before we even started this thing.

Although, as you saw right now, those are not Tweets, those are the sounds of crickets.

Joining me now as promised, humorist and Twitter expert, John Hodgman, also author of "More information than you Require". If I can interrupt you, John, I'd like to say good evening.

JOHN HODGMAN, HUMORIST: I'm sorry, I was just updating my Twitter feed. I apologize.

OLBERMANN: Very nice.

HODGMAN: Yes, seven followers already. Very nice, Keith, you're doing well - doing well so far.

OLBERMANN: This is like speaking before birth, right?

HODGMAN: Yes, exactly so, yes, yes.

OLBERMANN: Or having people listening to you before birth.

HODGMAN: Indeed.

OLBERMANN: 240 followers. Ok, the cats out of the bag, right?

HODGMAN: Very good.

OLBERMANN: Why do I want to do this?

HODGMAN: Well, I can only speak for myself.


HODGMAN: I enjoy Twitter because I am an egomaniac. And it amuses me. It's like being able to pass a note simultaneously to everyone in class. And the class sometimes grows to be the size of a small town or country.

OLBERMANN: There you go.

HODGMAN: So for me, and for lots of people who use Twitter, it's essentially having your own broadcast television show for the very few of us who do not already have their own cable television show.

OLBERMANN: Exactly, ok, seriously.

HODGMAN: That will change in the future, but for now we have Twitter.

OLBERMANN: Thank goodness it's changed or neither of us would be sitting here at the moment. I'd be raising plants. What do my follower - follower - potential follower.

HODGMAN: Your growing - your growing crowd.

OLBERMANN: My growing crowd, what do they want to know?

HODGMAN: They want to know behind the scenes type stuff. I mean, Twitter is an intimate medium.


HODGMAN: I know, one of my followers ask me to ask you about showing your Cornell degree again.

OLBERMANN: Oh yes, - thank you.

HODGMAN: I think people would like to know what you're wearing on your feet right now. But they want you - with all writing, you have to always tell the truth. You have to be honest. This is an honest medium. So you might want to tell them, for example, about the green room here, and how Chris Hayes had an ice sculpture of his head and a chocolate fondue fountain and I had instant coffee. I don't know why that happened maybe because he booked me so late. I don't know.

OLBERMANN: I didn't know we had a green room. There are things they don't tell me.

HODGMAN: Always be honest.

OLBERMANN: Should I Tweet during the commercials and if so, what?

HODGMAN: Yes, if you choose to - you shouldn't - you shouldn't tweet more than you feel like tweeting.


HODGMAN: There are going to be a lot of people that are going to yell at you that you're tweeting too much.


HODGMAN: An equal number of people are going to yell at you that you're not tweeting enough. A large - and one of the great things about Twitter is you get to encounter this whole hive mind, this crowd of people, and you get to see crowd dynamics very clearly.

OLBERMANN: The collective -

HODGMAN: Indeed and there is a percentage of people who are always going to be yelling at you. You need to know this right away.

OLBERMANN: So it matches the rest of my life completely?

HODGMAN: Yes exactly -

OLBERMANN: Only those people here in management. Or maybe it just can be followers. MAC or PC?

HODGMAN: Well, you know I am a MAC user myself.

OLBERMANN: Yes, I'm sure yes.

HODGMAN: So you know, Twitter is good on any platform but it was designed for mobile devices initially -


HODGMAN: - or so I've been told, so you can use your iPhone or your iPad.

OLBERMANN: I actually -

HODGMAN: My iHand that I have, this is a prototype.

OLBERMANN: I saw that on "The Outer Limits" once years and years ago.

HODGMAN: Yes, me and Sarah Palin have one.

OLBERMANN: Oh lord, well, she got the prototype.

HODGMAN: Yes she did.

OLBERMANN: But it didn't worked that well.

HODGMAN: Yes this is very popular.

OLBERMANN: With two minutes left in the show.


HODGMAN: I suppose, I should just do this now. And I - would it be appropriate to sort of apologize for not being involved previously in someway to sort of acknowledge that I didn't - like - here we go.

HODGMAN: Well - have you used a keyboard before?


HODGMAN: It's fantastic. You're getting there.

OLBERMANN: I type with one finger. This is true.

HODGMAN: I'm going to beat you.


HODGMAN: I am going to beat -

OLBERMAN: Good for you. But I'm doing the whole thing. Belongs to the ages -

HODGMAN: It came out I'm going to bear him.

OLBERMANN: Oh and he - I got disconnected from the MSNBC thing.

HODGMAN: Do you need some barbecue joint recommendations because my followers would be happy to help you? That's one of the great things about Twitter.

OLBERMANN: All right, we're ready to go if you want to go. Here it is, at 8:58, 43, it's out. Yes, there it is. See? I give up. I was wrong, young and foolish. Now my twitter-cot belongs to the ages. Behold, I tweet.

So they'll get more substantive than that I hope.

HODGMAN: I know you were working on that all last night. But do try to improvise in the future.

OLBERMANN: Well, yes. Do I have to wear a hat while tweeting?

HODGMAN: A tweet hat?


HODGMAN: It's recommended.

OLBERMANN: And I don't get a separate device just for tweeting, other than that hand that you described, the tweet hand?

HODGMAN: Oh no, you can use it on any platform whatsoever.

OLBERMANN: I have to get a platform?

HODGMAN: You need to get a platform and a hat.

OLBERMANN: A diving platform?

HODGMAN: Or you can get a mortarboard hat that can serve as a platform.

OLBERMANN: If I got that when I got my degree at Cornell.

HODGMAN: There you go. You're already serving your audience.

OLBERMANN: I forgot my standup terminology. That's the next thing -

HODGMAN: So the main reason that have you to Twitter, Keith, ofvcourse is because Maddow's doing it.

OLBERMANN: For a long time.


OLBERMANN: 2,654 followers. I can't command -

HODGMAN: That's very quick. Isn't that fun to watch?


HODGMAN: Spend the whole next show just watching that -

OLBERMANN: That's great because I need to really boost my ego at all.

HODGMAN: Yes, you and me both.

OLBERMANN: John Hodgman, author, humorist, Twitter, teacher, teacher of Twitter, great thanks.

HODGMAN: I'm glad to be able to help you. When I am your youth correspondent, you have problems.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this, the 2,534th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.

And now to discuss why Senator Tom Coburn will regret ever calling her emotional; ladies and gentlemen here with ice running through her veins is Rachel Maddow.