Friday, May 7, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, May 7, 2010
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Video via MSNBC: Twitter Report, Oddball, Tea Time, Worst Persons
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Guest: David Weigel, Chris Kofinis, Matt Frei



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

be talking about tomorrow?

Brewer says no again - no to the plea to delay the "papers please"

law in Arizona for a year, no to the plea to push McCain to support federal

immigration reform. As a national boycott starts, the state has already

lost $6 million in meetings and conventions. The grand chasm in the Grand

Canyon State grows.

Palin versus the tea party again. She endorses in California - not

the tea party Senate candidate, but the main line Republican - Carly

Fiorina, the one who dissed Palin not two years ago.


MCGRAW MILHAVEN, THE MCGRAW SHOW: Do you think she has the experience

to run a major company like Hewlett-Packard?



OLBERMANN: The GOP smells another terror bounce.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: Yes, we've been lucky.

But luck is not an effective strategy for fighting the terrorist threat.


OLBERMANN: A top Republican pollster looks at Shahzad and says,

"anything that makes them" - the Democrats - "look weak object national

security creates an opportunity for Republicans."

The British election, the Labour Party loses its majority. The

Conservatives can't manage to win a majority. The third party, liberal

Democrats, lose seats. Who won? The Lib Dems. The Conservatives' would-

be prime minister now is willing to form a coalition with the party at the



DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I want to make a big, open and

comprehensive offer to the Liberal Democrats.


OLBERMANN: Also, it's a hung parliament and they re-elected Mr. And

Mrs. Ed Balls.

"Tea Time": this New York congressional hopeful said she raised

401,000 bucks. Her campaign account contains 12 bucks.

"Worsts": What, again?


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS: In the service of my country.


OLBERMANN: It is allergy season.

And - "Fridays with James Thurber": "How to Relax While


All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. Less than two years after

they lost the presidential election, John McCain and Sarah Palin today are

both struggling for support again - this time from their own supporters.

Our fifth story tonight: Facebook blogger Sarah Palin as we'll hear

because of who she is now endorsing in California and Senator John McCain

because of what he has endorsed in Arizona.

We'll start in America's hate-land: In 2004, McCain got 74 percent of

the Latino vote in his state. Four years later, 40 percent. And now,

after endorsing the new state law that requires police to stop anyone they

suspect of being an illegal immigrant and demanding to see their papers,

McCain support among Latinos in his state now stands at 10 percent.

According to a Research 2000/Daily Kos poll taken from Monday through

Wednesday of this week, that's compared to 58 percent for Rodney Glassman

in a hypothetical matchup with the Democratic Senate candidate.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer just proposed that Arizona hold off on

the new law for one year so that Congress, with help from McCain and fellow

Republican Senator Jon Kyl, could have time to overcome Republican

opposition to immigration reform. No response from Senator McCain today or


Republican Governor Jan Brewer now at 9 percent support with Latinos

said no on the delay and on Arizona-led national reform - this as protests

of the new law mount and so do - so do boycott. A coalition of 20 labor

and civil rights groups announcing a boycott - meaning no meetings, no

travel, no patronizing the state.

And while tea partiers are defending government intrusion on personal

freedoms with "Shop in Arizona Week" next month, the "New Mexico Business

Weekly" reports 23 meetings already canceled to the tune of at least $6

million in lost business in Arizona. The article headline: "Arizona law

could bring business to New Mexico."

The 2.2 million-member Service Employees International Union, the

SEIU, explaining that repealed Arizona state law, S.B. 1070, is not the

only point of the boycott, part of it is preventive as well.



calling for a boycott. But we feel that there is no alternative but to use

the power of our purse strings to stop S.B. 1070 before it is implemented

in Arizona and before it gains traction in states like Minnesota, Oklahoma,

Texas, and Georgia, where Republican lawmakers have announced their

intentions to introduce similar unjust laws.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn first to MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan

Alter, national affairs columnist for "Newsweek" and author of "The

Promise: President Obama, Year One."

Jon, good evening.


OLBERMANN: What's Schumer up to here? Do you know?

ALTER: Well, I think Senator Schumer is giving Senator McCain kind of

an escape route here. Look, John McCain has rounded up and deported his

principles and he's - you know, he's sitting there, I'm sure, in some

state of extremist. He is a guy who does think of himself as a principled


So, here, Schumer has offered him a lifeline. It looks like a stunt,

a gesture. And on one level, it is, because the Democrats kind of win

either way if McCain accepts and they can move forward on immigration

reform. If he declines, then they can continue to, you know, beat up on

the Republicans for this, to their advantage.

But it does give McCain a chance to say, look. Let's just sort of

calm down here for a minute, try to do this as part of a comprehensive


Does he risk getting beaten by J.D. Hayworth in the August Republican

primary if he does that? Yes, but he's in some danger anyway. And he has

to ask himself, why am I in politics?

Keith, do you remember in 2001, after he had pandered on the

Confederate flag in South Carolina in 2000? He said publicly, "Never again

will I do this. Never again will I compromise my principles for political

reasons, no matter what the stakes are politically." And here he is, not a

decade later, and he's done just that.

OLBERMANN: Other than the risk that by that primary he'll have

nothing left to sell out, I mean, doesn't - there's really nothing - is

there anything to gain by - for McCain to actually do the right thing?

What other play does he have? He's already - he's already sold his soul

to the devil. Doesn't he have to finish the bargain?

ALTER: You know, some people might argue that. I actually think this

would be the best thing for him to do because it's sinking in to Arizonans

now that these 26 canceled meetings are just the tip of the iceberg. That

economy there is going to lose eventually billions of dollars in business.

This is a very big deal, as Joe Biden might say.

You know, when the tea party folks go out on the streets with 10,000

people, it gets all this attention. Recently, Latinos were out 1 million

strong and it was a blip on TV. You were talking about the whole future of

the Republican Party here. If they lose the Hispanic vote in Arizona,

Colorado, Nevada, Florida, even putting Texas into play conceivably in the

next few years, they are completely screwing themselves as a political


Some folks, like Jeb Bush, understand this, and they are against the

Arizona law. And pretty much any sentient Republican understands that they

are in a terrible jam on this Arizona business and they need an escape

hatch, and maybe Schumer's is what it is.

OLBERMANN: Maybe a climb-down.

If the tea partiers are supporting Shop in Arizona Week - I mean,

other than the obvious racism, what does it tell us about them that they

are applauding this particular intrusion by big government?

ALTER: Well, they don't - they don't have any principles, obviously.

You know, if they want to pursue it, I think MSNBC is rightly calling the

"papers please" approach - how can they possibly square that with their

claim that, you know, they're against big government intrusions and they're

for law enforcement?

Remember, Keith, the police are totally against this.


ALTER: It's not like - you know, in Arizona, you know, every hard

liner is for this. They know this will distract them from catching real

criminals. They know it's a completely unworkable law at the street level,

and nobody there who's in law enforcement is looking forward to the July

implementation of it, which Governor Brewer has refused to delay.

OLBERMANN: Nine percent approval among Latinos.

MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan Alter, also of "Newsweek," also

author of "The Promise: President Obama, Year One" - as always, great

thanks for your time, Jon. Have a good weekend.

ALTER: Next week, not available quite yet. So -

OLBERMANN: Which day?

ALTER: Out May 18thth.

OLBERMANN: What time?

ALTER: There you go. I like that. I like it.

OLBERMANN: Now, as promised, the other half of the 2008 ticket,

Facebook blogger Sarah Palin getting defriended at a furious pace after

endorsing former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina, who's on a tight

Republican primary for the California Senate nomination. Palin says

Fiorina grew up with a school teacher dad. Actually, her father was an

intellectual, a law school professor and federal judge.

"She knows," Palin writes, "how to really innocent advise job

creation." Yes, in China and India where Fiorina defended outsourcing H.P.

jobs, too, stock soaring when the board forced her out, cutting 10 percent

of its workforce due to her botched purchase of Compaq.

Fiorina saying just last year Palin was not qualified to run Hewlett-



MCGRAW MILHAVEN, THE MCGRAW SHOW: I want to ask you about experience,

somebody who has worked her way up as secretary to run Hewlett-Packard.

Does Sarah Palin - John McCain obviously thinks he has the experience to

become president of the United States - do you think she has the

experience run a major company like Hewlett-Packard?

FIORINA: No, I don't. But you know what? That's not what she's

running for.


OLBERMANN: Fiorina's tea party rival Chuck DeVore, meanwhile, has

more support than Fiorina does among Palin's Facebook friends. The "A.P."

reporting more than half of the comments bashing her endorsement, calling

Fiorina a "Republican in name only" - a charge Fiorina earlier had twisted

to bizarre effect against her other rival in the race.


ANNOUNCER: 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: Oh, you just can't see that enough.

Let's turn now to Dave Weigel, "Washington Post" political reporter,

author of the blog "Right Now."

Great thanks for your time tonight, David.

DAVID WEIGEL, WASHINGTON POST: Thanks for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN: She endorsed former running mate McCain over the tea party

candidate in Arizona. She's now endorsing her own former endorser Fiorina

over the tea party candidate in California. The alleged sheep in wolves

clothing - Mr. Campbell - not shown in that commercial actually. That's

not actually him in the suit.

His campaign says this endorsement is paying off an IOU. How many

IOUs does Palin have to pay off before she's just another politician?

WEIGEL: Not many. This endorsement makes sense in - not the usual

political terms - but in the terms that Fiorina is one of the only women

in politics who gets made fun of as often as Palin does. You know,

Fiorina, sure, she complimented her during the campaign but she's been

courting the endorsements of every conservative group around the country

that - official conservative groups. She hasn't succeeded in getting tea


And in the process, she keeps getting attacked for her actual record.

Palin identified with that, I think. Palin, you know, you mentioned the

Facebook page. Palin liked to talk about how she never supported the

"bridge to nowhere" but she actually did. This is - this is a kindred

spirit even if she doesn't line up with what the tea partiers want in their


OLBERMANN: Yes. But there's a problem with this by extension. I

mean, Carly Fiorina was defending job cuts and outsourcing at H.P., said

the federal government needed to invest more money to produce a better

workforce. So Palin, by not a very great leap, is endorsing an executive

who endorsed a stimulus package.

WEIGEL: Well, she's also an executive who endorsed a cap-and-trade

system in 2008. Again, if you - if you go back to the actual record,

then, no, this doesn't make a lot of sense. But Palin - sorry -

Fiorina's been running as a conservative attacking Tom Campbell for being

liberal and being sheep and attacking Chuck DeVore for not being electable.

I mean, the problem that Palin fans have with this is they really,

DeVore won their hearts very early on. He's one of these first politicians

to jump in and court the tea parties. He did it before Rubio. And he's

got the endorsement of Jim DeMint. He's got the endorsement of the Tea

Party Express. They really feel like, if you just give us this push, we

can get this real conservative over the top instead of settling for


And I know that Fiorina courted her very hard. I mean, back in

November, I talked to Fiorina and she said she shared Sarah Palin's values.

Not a great general election message, but I don't think the Palin people

understood how bad this would hit with the base.

OLBERMANN: So, is the Facebook brigade right? Is Fiorina, a TPINO, a

T-P-I-N-O, a tea partier in name only? And larger than that, is Palin, a

TPINO, a T-P-I-N-O, a tea partier in name only?

WEIGEL: I don't know what animal we would come up with for that.

Maybe a marmot. No.

I - well, you know, Palin has been criticized again and again for

appearing at tea parties and not, you know, not giving them a lot more than

the usual rhetoric. They love it. I mean, at every tea party, her

rhetoric gets a standing ovation. But this is the first we've seen of tea

partiers saying, wait a minute, you're just asking us to support a

Republican whose values we don't really understand and if we do understand

them correctly, we don't agree with. What's going on here?"

OLBERMANN: Dave Weigel of "The Washington Post" - great thanks.

Have a good weekend.

WEIGEL: You, too. Thank you.

OLBERMANN: It won them a White House in 2004 then lost them all of

Congress in 2006. So, naturally, in the wake of Shahzad, the Republicans

are returning to it. The House minority leader goes for the scare, and a

GOP pollster says, in effect, we will get a bounce from terrorism in this


Next on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: This Republican pollster suggests the failed and foiled

Times Square terror plot creates an opportunity for the Republicans. The

terror-loving pollster's name is Ayres.

How many possible prime ministers can lose the same election? The

correct answer is: all three of them. Matt Frei, the anchor of "BBC World

News America" analyzes the unprecedented mess for us from London.

Weepy McWater (ph) faucet unloads again. Oh, boohoo, get a job on a

soap opera already.

And advice to Beck and others from James Thurber: "How to Relax While

Broadcasting." A Thurber story you probably never heard before.

All ahead tonight on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: Investigators are still trying to determine whether or to

what extent Faisal Shahzad was inspired by prominent radical elements prior

to his attempted bombing of Times Square.

But in our fourth story tonight: The inspiration for some Republicans

is clear, it is old, and it is a proven loser - expect the Times Square

event to provide their party with a terrorism bounce.

U.S. officials told "The Washington Post" that Shahzad acted out of

anger that had accumulated over a dozen or more trips to Pakistan, his

native country, and that during a recent five-month stay there, he

underwent training with the Pakistani Taliban. But it is unclear whether

the Pakistani Taliban conceived of his plot. Shahzad also told

investigators that he was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American

cleric who posts militant lectures online.

Authorities are also trying to determine if a money courier helped

funnel cash from overseas to finance Shahzad's preparations. But even with

the investigations still fresh, Republicans are reaching for the terror

bounce. GOP pollster Whit Ayres saying, quote, "Democrats are always

suspect on national security and anything that makes them look weak on

national security creates an opportunity for Republicans."

John Boehner said that the Obama administration refuses to at admit

that the U.S. is at war with radical terrorism.


BOEHNER: The Obama administration has spoon-fed the American people

with bland reassurances that this was just one-off or this was just a lone

wolf. This is the rhetoric of an administration that continues to operate

without a real comprehensive plan to confront the terrorist threat and to

keep Americans safe. Yes, we've been lucky. But luck is not an effective

strategy for fighting the terrorist threat.


OLBERMANN: If they do profiling at airports, what happens to Boehner?

House Speaker Pelosi responded, quoting, "The harder we work the

luckier we get. I think that's sort of the point. Are we fortunate in our

country to have vigilant, community-minded people? Yes. Is that luck?

It's good fortune for our country. I think it would be important for us to

close ranks to protect the American people."

Let's turn now to Democratic strategist, Chris Kofinis.

Chris, good evening.


OLBERMANN: To Minority Leader Boehner first - this is - this is

such an old page. Is he doing a good job reading from it in the Republican


KOFINIS: Well, this is the only page in the Republican playbook. The

Republican playbook has one page and on that page is two words: scare


If you look at the last year and a half - put aside what happened

under the Bush administration - of the last year and a half, they've done

everything they can to try to scare the American people, whether it's on

the economy, whether it's on health care, whether it's on immigration, and

now, whether it's on the threat of terrorism. You know, it's just - it's

just kind of a tragic irony considering what the real record of the

Republicans is on national security.

But again, this is their whole strategy: try to scare the American

people. It's a tired - it's a tired approach, and if you look at the

public opinion polls, what you actually see as the American people don't

buy it.

OLBERMANN: The idea that politicians seize on opportunities is

nothing new. It's nothing limited to one party or the other. It's an ugly


But this comment from this pollster, the man the Republicans are

palling around with, named Mr. Ayres, this man implies, oh, we're going to

get another boost out of this. They haven't gotten the boost out of it

since the conspicuously timed and suspiciously timed bin Laden video the

week before Bush's re-election.

What in the calculus makes them think that it works rather than

reminding people of how often they have used it and how often they have

cried wolf and how often they have tried to scare the American people in

the same way that terrorists try to scare the American people?

KOFINIS: I think it's simple - it's simple strategy where they don't

have any other approach. I mean, if you look back over the last year and a

half, and again over the Bush administration, you can't name one single new

idea or valid approach to dealing with terrorism. In fact, when you look

at their record - and this is I think one of the key points that Democrats

need to hammer in - if you look at their record and George Bush's record

on terrorism, 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in this nation's history,

happened under their watch. The number of terrorist incidents globally

increased under George Bush's watch. Osama bin laden, the architect of

9/11, was never attacked or killed under their watch.

So, they have no credibility. So, what they try to do is distract

people by basically saying, look at the poor job the Democrats are doing -

when, in fact, it is they, the Republicans and the previous Republican

administrations, that have put us in this position.

OLBERMANN: How do, though, they get away with that larger thing, that

idea of attacking a president on national security within days of not only

an attempted attack but the captured of the man who attempted it?

KOFINIS: Well, I mean - listen, I think, to be frank, sometimes, we

don't like to go into the gutter and hit them the way they would hit us. I

mean, if you kind of reverse this and imagine this was the Democrats

attacking a Republican administration very close to a - you know, a

potential or, you know, pretty serious terrorist threat, the Republicans

would be out there screaming un-American. They'd be sitting there

questioning us and how dare we question an administration. I think there

is a value to that in the sense of you've got to be willing to hit back and

hit back hard.

And if you put this, I think, in the electoral context that we're

facing in the fall, there's another piece to this. And the other piece to

this is - as the economy improves and they need to understand this, they

need to talk about other issues. And that's why I think it's so important

for Democrats to be incredibly aggressive and not give an inch when these

are baseless attacks.

OLBERMANN: Democratic Strategist Chris Kofinis on the Republican

strategy - great thanks, Chris. Have a good weekend.

KOFINIS: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Of course, it could all be worse. Consider the British

parliament. The incumbent clearly lost. His primary challenger clearly

didn't win and the king-making third party guy lost seats. Uh-oh!


OLBERMANN: Three parties, all do worse than expected. So who wins?

The hung parliament with Matt Frei, the anchor of the "BBC World News


First, the tweets of the day, wide variety of topics. The bronze, and

who else but Frank Conniff of "Cinematic Titanic." "Yesterday, logging

onto Lady Gaga fan site, I pushed the wrong computer key and world economy

collapsed. Apologies."

Runner up just alludes to that Scott Brown/Joe Lieberman idea to strip

American citizens of their citizenship if they're accused of associating

with a terrorist group while abroad. From CEDownes, "The Terrorist

Expatriation Act has an interesting acronym, don't you think?" T-E-A.

Huh? Yes, but I'm not convinced it was intentional. I mean, it's Scott


Winner: Dan Verg referencing our coverage of Britain's vote, focusing

on the re-election of two Labour members of parliament, Yvette Cooper,

M.P., secretary of state for work and pensions, and her husband, secretary

of state for children school and families, Ed Balls, M.P. Quote, "The pair

of Balls reelected tonight are the first married couple to serve in the

cabinet simultaneously." Thus, since they survive the election's

conservatives swing and the hung parliament will have a pair of balls. And

no one can stop you saying this out loud for 14 consecutive hours.

Let's play "Oddball."


OLBERMANN: I'm still laughing about that. I'm sorry.

We begin with Minor League Baseball action in Texas. Call to the bull

pen for the AAA Round Rock Express. Newly acquired Express reliever Billy

Ray "Rojo" Johnson warmed up on the mound by pounding a cold one.

Recognize him, yet? It's Will Ferrell.

In time for charity, Ferrell convinced the Express CEO, Resse Ryan,

son of Nolan Ryan, to let him pitch to a batter. The Express put out a

fake press release announcing the acquisition. He was billed as an east

Texan raised in Venezuela who recently did time for iguana smuggling.

Ferrell as Johnson threw one pitch behind a batter. Looks like Dick

Ditdrow, then opened a beer at a batter, threw one before being ejected and

run off the field. I'm Rojo Johnson?

Surat (ph), India, namaste. This year it's the world's largest garden

clock. A functioning time piece, took 13 years to build, or grow.

Measures about 80 feet across, making it the third biggest clock anywhere

in the world. The two larger ones are in Turkey and around Flavor Flav's


Back in Surat, the weed watch has caused quite a stir. Here's timely

reaction from the local youth, incongruously translated by the Chinese News

Network, NTB TV.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I first read about this clock

in the newspaper, which said here we have the world's biggest clock. But I

did not believe it. I thought it would not be that big.


OLBERMANN: Remember those crazy exit polls in Great Britain on the

show last night that forecast an unsolvable electoral winner? Three

parties, three losers? The exit poll got it almost right. To London next.


OLBERMANN: At this hour, Gordon Brown remains prime minister in Great

Britain. He's still in charge of the nation, but not in charge of his own

political future. That is in the hands of Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg. In

our third story, the two major parties, and Clegg's Lib Dems under-

performed in yesterday's election. No party has a majority, resulting in

the first hung parliament since 1974.

Improbably, the conservatives now talking coalition deals with the

Liberal Democrats. Final number to Thursday's election, reached earlier,

conservatives winning 306 seats in parliament, Labor 258, the biggest drop

for that party since 1931, and the Lib Dems at 57, actually losing seats

but gaining power.

Mr. Clegg, in the role of king maker now, says the ball is in the

conservative leader David Cameron's court now.


NICK CLEGG, LIBERAL-DEMOCRAT PARTY: It's the conservative party that

has more votes and more seats, though not an absolute majority. That is

why I think it is now for the conservative party to prove that it is

capable of seeking to govern in the national interest.


OLBERMANN: Cameron of the conservative party coming back with an

immediate proposal.


DAVID CAMERON, CONSERVATIVE PARTY: I want to make a big, open and

comprehensive offer to the Liberal Democrats. I want us to work together

in tackling our country's big and urgent problems.


OLBERMANN: The offer prompting talks between Mr. Cameron and Mr.

Clegg. But just to thicken the plot further, Mr. Clegg may not have the

support of his own party to make a deal with the farthest right party. He

needs 75 percent of the leadership to agree. That could be good news for

the prime minister. ITV news reporting tonight there are also informal

talks going on between the Lib Dems and Labor.


GORDON BROWN, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I understand and completely

respect the position of Mr. Clegg in stating that he wishes first to make

contact with the leader of the Conservative Party. Clearly should the

discussions between Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg come to nothing, then I would

of course be prepared to discuss with Mr. Clegg the areas where there may

be some measure of agreement between our two parties.


OLBERMANN: Almost lost in the unprecedented confusion, the country's

electoral commission launching an investigation into why hundreds of would-

be voters were turned away from polling stations after waiting there for


Joining us now from London, just back after the circus that 10 Downing

Street has become, the anchor of "BBC World News America," Matt Frei.

Pleasure to have you with us, Matt. Thank you for your time tonight.

MATT FREI, "BBC WORLD NEWS AMERICA": Thanks for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN: I'm sure you know this subject fascinates me. I literally

was up with Mr. Dimblebee (ph) until 8:00 in the morning your time today.

But a Conservative/Lib Dem coalition? I thought the Lib Dems wanted

sweeping reform to proportional representation, and this is something that

the conservatives would not give them. Am I wrong about that?

FREI: No, you're absolutely right. In fact, you played that rather

gracious offer there from David Cameron, which actually was probably the

best speech he gave throughout the entire campaign. He's not going to give

them what they want. And the reason is that if he did give them what they

want, which is proportional representation, which would mean if you get 21

percent of the vote, which is what they got, you would get 21 percent of

the seats. It would also mean that the Tory party, the conservatives, or,

indeed, the Labor party, the duopoly of British politics, would cease to

exist, because there would be lots of other smaller parties, and you'd have

to form coalitions the whole time.

Coalitions, to be honest, may be what happens in most of Europe, but

it is not in the DNA of British politics. Despite the gracious offer, I

don't think they will have a deal. What will probably happen next week is

that any attempts to build that coalition between the conservatives and the

Lib Dems will collapse, and then Mr. Cameron has a choice. He can either

hand it to - rather the queen can hand it to Gordon Brown to give it a go,

which is possible, or he will govern as a minority party.

OLBERMANN: Is there prospect of a Labor/Lib Dems coalition? Would

that not make more sense, in terms of politic philosophy? Are they not

closer? It would seem from this vantage point that a conservative-Lib Dems

coalition politically would be almost akin to something in this country

between the Democrats and the Tea Party.

FREI: Yeah, imagine that one. Well, in terms of policy, yes, they

are closer together. And the Labor Party's been talking in recent weeks

about proportional representation and electoral reform, mainly to suck up,

if you like, to the Lib Dems. Here's the problem, if you have a Labor

Party/Lib Dem pact, you're going to have a guy called Gordon Brown as prime

minister. And quite frankly, not many people want that. Certainly, not

the majority of the country.

He is toxic in terms of the majority of British voters. So can you

imagine a deal whereby they say let's have a pact, we'll get into bed

together, but let's not have Gordon Brown as prime minister. Just as the

Lib Dems will accept nothing less than the reform of the electoral system.

The Labor Party, unless it commits regicide, which its done many times

before, might not actually accept Gordon Brown's head as the prize for any


Add to that one minor little fact, Keith - I don't want to get deep

into the weeds of this. Even if you had those two parties together, they

would be 11 seats short of a majority, and would have to make deals with

other parties. It's especially, like you said, like the Italian electoral

system as clear as mud, with possibly more governments than Christmas in

the next few years.

OLBERMANN: To that point, of all the analysis that I've heard, the

most intriguing certainly was this, that Labor should go ahead and make no

offer to the Lib Dems. Brown should resign, say David Cameron, go and do

whatever you want, go on in, because you're the guy who is going to have to

make all the blood-letting social cuts and money cuts. And a coalition

with the Lib Dems can't possibly succeed. It's going to break apart. Wait

for it to happen and you'll all be having another election where the

conservatives look like the bad guys six months from now. Is that a

plausible outcome?

FREI: You know, Keith, I think you really love this cloak and dagger

stuff. This is really murky Shakespearean drama, with daggers plunging

into people's backs. That's exactly what it is. And I think you're sort

of right in that analysis.

Put it this way. To the victor, a pile of ruins, or a poisoned

chalice, or whatever cliche you want to use. I mean, the next six months,

whoever is in charge of this country is going to have to do some really

awful stuff. They're going to have to cut public spending. They're going

to have to do kind of Greek style things.

We've all been watching the Greek tragedy unfolding. This is

something that's been really bad for the Liberal Democrats, and for Mr.

Clegg, because he wants to cozy up further to Europe. As someone said not

so long ago, this crisis in Greece is coming to a theater near you, here in

the UK. There's going to be some really bad stuff they'll have to do.

It's quite possible that whoever does that will not get re-elected in

November or December, whenever the next election takes place.

But then again, that means doing without the sweet pill of power and

maybe no one in this game will do that.

OLBERMANN: As you surmise, I've seen "House of Cards" with the late,

great Ian Richardson one time too many. Matt Frei, the anchor of "BBC

World News America," in London tonight, our great thanks for your time


FREI: Pleasure.

OLBERMANN: A subject for Matt and me and all of us, how to relax

while broadcasting, an innocuous title for a story of ever-increasing

tension. Tonight's reading from the works of James Thurber.

Worsts, again, seriously? Again with the wob, wob, wob?

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, news that we just

had the most jobs created in a single month in more than four years, so

John Boehner asks, where are all the jobs?


OLBERMANN: Fridays with Thurber and "How to Relax While

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

world. Twersts coming on Twitter next.

The bronze tonight to Britney Canterella (ph) from Pittsfield,

Massachusetts. She allegedly drove into a 50 year old man crossing the

street in Northampton. Other than some facial injuries, he is OK and he

has forgiven her. The victim's legal name? Lord Jesus Christ of

Belchertown, Mass. Why am I thinking she's never going to live this one


The runner up, Lonesome Rhodes Beck. Oh, geez, here go the water

works again.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm paraphrasing, but I think it was

pretty close to - have I not yet done enough for my country? He said, I

am sorry, but I have grown old and gray in the service of my country.


OLBERMANN: Oh, boo freaking hoo. What is it now, George Washington?

George Jefferson? Washington Irving? Allergy season? Onions? That 30

percent ratings drop? Come on.

But our winner tonight, Dick Armey. Armey's Freedom Works caught, yet

again, making a worser America. Think Progress has uncovered a Powerpoint

presentation in which, three years ago, BP was planning an astroturf effort

to open large parts of the Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves

to oil drilling. A BP funded group called Consumer Energy Alliance

proposed a five-year plan to build grassroots support. On slide 14, it

lists the, quote, affiliated groups that BP, through the Consumer Energy

Alliance, is going to launder money. The American Conservative Union, the

good old U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Freedom Works. Dick Armey's Freedom


From funding the phony grass roots Tea Parties on shore to

surreptitiously promoting dangerous drilling off, Dick Armey, he's

everywhere. One if by land or two if by sea, today's worst person in the



OLBERMANN: We close our week, as we always do now, with a reading

from the works of the quintessential American humorist James Thurber. By

way of reminder, this started when I would read these to my late father.

He said I should read them to you. Mr. Thurber's daughter and his agents

agreed and here we are.

As almost always, I am reading from the Library of America, "Thurber

Writings and Drawings" from 1996, now reprinted because of your interest.

It's just about the only place to find tonight's story, unless have you a

copy of "The New Yorker Magazine" from 76 years ago this week, May 5th,


"How to Relax While Broadcasting," by James Thurber.

"The evening I went up to the studios for my first radio broadcast, I

got off by mistake at the 16th floor instead of the 17th. I decided not to

wait for the elevator but just run up the stairs to the 17th floor because

elevators in broadcasting buildings are always crowded with small Italian

musicians carrying cellos.

Furthermore, when the up sign above the elevators in these buildings

lights, the operator of the car that stops for you usually says down. And

before you can think, you find yourself on the first floor again without

any way of getting back up, because you surrendered your pass to the man at

the desk in the lobby the first time you went up.

I walked to a door on the 16th floor marked stairs and stepped out

into a cold dark staircase shaft and walked up one flight. I found that

the door on that floor wouldn't open. It was after 7:00 in the evening,

and the door had been officially locked. I hurried back down to the 16th

floor and discovered that the door there had been locked behind me too.

I began to beat on it and kick it. From far off a faint voice came to

me finally saying, cut that out. The only thing to do was walk down 15

flights to the main floor, which I did. But the door to the out into lobby

was also locked and nobody answered my screams and pounding. Screams and

pounding is not radio, as the broadcasting people say.

I went to the basement, which was dark and gloomy, and hunted for the

elevator shaft. I found it, but there was no bell to push. So I sat on an

old chair until the car came down. The operator was surprised to see me

and asked me for my pass. I told him I didn't have a pass. He thought a

while and then asked if Mr. Hamen (ph) knew I was down there. I said I

didn't think so.

He was pretty much alarmed by that. He took me up to the 17th floor

after warning me never to come down to the basement again without a pass.

There was nobody on the 17th floor who understood my case. Although the

people I talked to were patient and courteous. They said the 17th floor

was entirely given over to the business department and had no studios or


What I probably wanted was the 27th floor. Up there, I found some

people I had met before, but they were pretty busy and seemed to think it

was the wrong night. I sat down in a chair and presently a man came up to

me and asked me if I was Mr. Totherer. I said I wasn't sure and he said to

follow him.

I was shown into an office where there were some officials I knew and

some friends of mine. One of the official was denying a story somebody had

been telling about a man who fell dead in front of the microphone. It

seems he had merely had a stroke.

In a little while, I was led in a solemn march to a small and lonely

studio, heavily draped and silent. I took out a cigarette but saw a sign

saying no smoking. so I put the cigarette away again.

Some men in the glassed-in control room began to look at me. I could

see their lips move, but I couldn't hear anything. A man tip toed into the

room where I was and shook hands with me and tip toed out again. He never

came back.

I walked over to a regular microphone such as I had talked over once

or twice before and had got used to, but someone led me away from that and

said I was to talk over a table microphone because it would help me to


This turned out to be a table about the size of a card table, with a

microphone set innocently in its center, face up, more or less like an

ashtray. Its studied simplicity caused me to tighten up slightly, and I

mentioned this to a man.

Be at your ease, he said. I stood over the table, grasped its edges

firmly and leaned down toward the microphone. Someone grasped me. No, no,

he said. Just sit down at the table as if you were sitting down at any

table and talk. I sat down, trying to remember how I sit in a chair at a

table, especially a card table, at which nobody else is sitting.

Relax, said someone with a note of command. I slumped back in the

chair and placed on the table the papers I was going to use, and began

fussing with them.

Shh, somebody hissed. Don't wrestle them. This is a very highly

sensitized mike, which picks up every slightest sound. It would sound like

a water fall if you rustled them.

I began to drum my figures on the tabletop, but a courteous official

stopped that. Tapping your fingers would sound like cavalry to your

listeners. Just take it easy.

I leaned back in my chair and adjusted my tie, doubtless giving the

effect of someone trying to take a leather belt away from a bulldog. In a

moment, an announcer came in and said we were ready to go. OK, I said,

standing up. Let's get out.

He smiled with calm assurance. No, he meant we were about to start

the program. Everybody but him tip-toed out of the room. I sat down at

the table again. I could see them all watching me from the control room.

Somebody in there raised his hand sharply and let it drop sharply.

I expected to hear the faint hiss of lethal gas in the chamber, but

instead the announcer started to talk. I creeped nervously in the chair at

this and the listeners heard, along with his calm announcement, the sound

of a buck board falling over a cliff.

Finally, he pointed a finger at me. I sat bolt up right and began to

talk to the ashtray.

When it was all over, everybody tip toed whisperingly into the room

and congratulated me on being only five seconds too slow. Not bad for a


The record is one five hundredths of a second. I got up and started

out of the room, but a man followed me and took me by the arm. Where are

you going? He asked. Let's all go out and get a drink, I said. But you

haven't got time, he said. All this has just been the rehearsal.

I must have tightened up horribly at that, for he said soothingly,

take it easy. You've got plenty of time to relax in. He looked at his

wrist watch. You've got four minutes.

"How to Relax While Broadcasting."

That's Countdown, portions written by James Thurber. And now with the

new details on what may have caused the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of

Mexico, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Keith. Thank you very

much for that. I can't tell you how much I enjoy Thurber Fridays.

OLBERMANN: Remember those feelings of how to relax in broadcasting,

this studio here? Ring a bell?