Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010
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Guests: Faiz Shakir, Matt Taibbi, Michael Dorf



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

No debate about. Angle versus Reid tonight. O'Donnell versus Coons last night and today.


CHRISTINE O'DONNELL (R), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: It is the Constitution that I will defend, and it is by the Constitution that I will make all of my decisions.

CHRIS COONS (D), DELAWARE SENATE CANDIDATE: I'm interested in hearing whether it's the Constitution as passed by the Founders, the Constitution of 1920, 1930, the Constitution of 1975, the Constitution of today.


OLBERMANN: And which Supreme Court decision do you most object to?


O'DONNELL: I'm very sorry. Right off the top of my head, I know that there are a lot, but I'll put it up on my Web site. I promise you.


OLBERMANN: How could you miss that - after this?


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

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Well, let's see. There's -


OLBERMANN: A plot to buy America. As DNC Chairman Kaine compares it to Watergate, guess who defends the people trying to sell this country out?


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST: I am donating $10,000 to the Chamber of Commerce now.


OLBERMANN: The unseen financier of the Tea Party? Why David Koch never even heard of the Tea Party except for this part, on tape.


DAVID KOCH, KOCH INDUSTRIES: The largest Tax Day Tea Party in the nation on April 15th.


OLBERMANN: Tea and Koch with Matt Taibbi.

Caught on tape: The Republican Senate candidate from Illinois, planning to send teams for lawyers to the most Democratic, the most African-American voting districts in the state.

And view to a rhetorical kill.


OLBERMANN: All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're a pinhead.




OLBERMANN: Good evening for New York. This is Thursday, October 14th, 19 days until the 2010 midterm elections.

"I have Sean Hannity in my pockets and I can go on his show and raise money by attacking you guys," Christine O'Donnell speaking to GOP insiders last week in Washington, according to two of them, as sourced by Howard Fineman in a story breaking tonight at "The Huffington Post."

Our fifth story on the Countdown: Howard joins us with more in a moment. The cynical and seemingly counterproductive revelation coming after O'Donnell's second debate in as many days with her Democratic opponent for the Delaware Senate seat, Chris Coons. After today, she went on Hannity's radio show where she could be heard raising money by attacking those guys.

Nineteen days left, and 19 points down and unable to name a recent Supreme Court decision with which she disagrees - before you joke that it sounds like O'Donnell was prepped for her debates by Sarah Palin's campaign team, she was.

O'Donnell and Coons lunching together this afternoon in Wilmington before their Rotary Club debate, the content of that momentarily.

First, Greg Sargent's "Plum Line" now reporting that in advance of last night's University of Delaware debate, Ms. O'Donnell was schooled by lobbyist Randy Scheunemann and the web editor of the "Weekly Standard," Michael Goldfarb. Those would be the same Scheunemann and Goldfarb who worked for the 2008 McCain presidential campaign. That's Randy Scheunemann pictured next to Sarah Palin before her 2008 debate with Joe Biden.

According to Goldfarb, Palin personally recommended her team to O'Donnell and the O'Donnell campaign again took Palin's advice.

When the lights went out, O'Donnell claimed her opponent would dramatically raise their taxes. Coons responded he is for extending the Bush tax cuts for the overwhelming majority of the Americans. Coons tried to stay about debt and deficit, but O'Donnell was eager to bring up her skit show celebrity.


COONS: There's been lots of discussion in the national media about things my opponent has said or done that I frankly think are distractions from the core issues that Delawareans ask about, ask both of us about.

O'DONNELL: You're just jealous that you were not on "Saturday Night Live."

COONS: I'm dying to say who's going to play me, Christine.


OLBERMANN: She's not a witch, but she is thrilled to be portrayed as one on TV.

Asked about some of the more controversial Christianity-based comments she has made, O'Donnell who said four years ago that she heard the audible voice of God encouraging her to run for office, insisted the Constitution, not her faith, would guide her as a senator.


O'DONNELL: Regardless of my personal faith, when I go down to Washington, D.C., it is the Constitution that I will defend and it is by the Constitution by - that I will make all of my decisions, and that will be the standard bearer for every piece of legislation that I will vote on.

COONS: I'm interested in hearing whether it's the Constitution as passed by the Founders, the Constitution of 1920, 1930, the Constitution of 1975, the Constitution of today, because to me, protecting a woman's right to choose, protecting reproductive freedom and making sure that we've got on-on-the record Ms. O'Donnell's views on things like prayer, abortion, evolution, is important. These aren't just random statements on some late night TV show. These are relevant to her service in the United States Senate, what sort of judges she would confirm, what sort of issues she would take up.

I'm someone who stands firmly behind the Constitution as it stands today.


OLBERMANN: O'Donnell did not pick her Constitution of choice and on her social views, O'Donnell dodged even when Wolf asked about monkeys.


WOLF BLITZER, MODERATOR: Do you believe evolution is a myth?

O'DONNELL: I believe that the local - I was talking about what a local school taught, and that should be taught - that should be decided on the local community. But, please let me respond to what he just said.

BLITZER: I'd let you to respond, but answer the question. Do you believe evolution is a myth?

O'DONNELL: Local schools should make that decision. I made that remark based on -

BLITZER: But what do you believe? What do you believe?

O'DONNELL: What I believe is irrelevant.

BLITZER: Why is it relevant?

O'DONNELL: Because what I will support -

BLITZER: Voters want to know what you think.

O'DONNELL: - what I will support in Washington, D.C., is the ability for the local school system to decide what is taught in their - in their classrooms.


OLBERMANN: A candidate in a debate just said, quote, "What I believe is irrelevant."

Asked about the Supreme Court and apparently Palin's people forgot to show Ms. O'Donnell the tape of the Sarah Palin-Katie Couric interview.


NANCY KARIBJANIAN, DELAWARE FIRST MEDIA: We'll talk about the Supreme Court and, obviously, a United States senator has the opportunity to determine, in a way, the make-up of that court. So, what opinions of late that have come from our high court do you most object to?

O'DONNELL: Oh, gosh. Give me a specific one, I'm sorry.

KARIBJANIAN: Actually, I can't because I need you to tell me which ones you object to.

O'DONNELL: I'm very sorry. Right off the top of my head, I know that there are a lot, but I'll put it up on my Web site, I'll promise you.


O'DONNELL: By the way, as of this hour, it's not on her Web site either.

Today, O'Donnell and Coons picking up where they left off. This time, the candidates were allowed to ask questions directly of one other. Coons going after social conservatism O'Donnell is trying to suppress.


COONS: You are long on the record repeatedly opposing a woman's right to choose even in those cases where a woman is a victim of rape or incest. Where do you really stand on the constitutionality of Roe versus Wade and on the issue of abortion in all cases?

O'DONNELL: You can recognize if you're intellectual honest about the constitutionality of Roe versus Wade that it's a violation of the Tenth Amendment. So, I support overturning Roe versus Wade for that reason.


OLBERMANN: Finally, asked today to say something nice about one another, O'Donnell said Coons gave good answers to questions. Mr. Coons was then given two minutes for his response.


COONS: My opponent, Christine O'Donnell, is someone who has shown remarkable persistence. She's run for the United States Senate three times in the last five years and her passionate commitment, her passionate commitment, to the conservative social causes that she's championed for her adult life, I respect. I think that combination of passion and persistence has served her well.


O'DONNELL: You didn't use your whole two minutes. You had extra time.



OLBERMANN: As promised, let's call in Howard Fineman, "Huffington Post" senior political editor and MSNBC political analyst.

Howard, good evening.


OLBERMANN: The debates in a moment, but first your story tonight. "I have Sean Hannity in my pocket and I can go on the show and raise money by attacking you guys."

If you're the outsider and your ahead with 19 days left, it might be a little tacky to thumb your nose at your own party but at least you'd be ahead.


OLBERMANN: Is there any logic to doing it when you're an outsider and you're down by 19 with 19 to play?

FINEMAN: Well, there's logic to her. I mean, this is the way she's thought from the beginning. She's run against the party. I don't think she even wanted Mike Castle's endorsement, you know, the moderate that she ran against in the primaries. She complained that he didn't endorse her. I don't even think she wanted it.

I think she's also trying to make the best of a bad situation, Keith, because it's not just the party officials here, it's the unofficial party officials, like Karl Rove, who's running American Crossroads. I checked in with his operation today and with him, after these very impressive debate performances, they haven't changed their mind about supporting her. And they're not.

So, she's not getting money from the big shots. So, she's using Sean Hannity, as she said. At least she told these guys, you know, I've got him in my pocket, I can go on his show and I can run against you to raise money. They said, fine, go ahead and do it. If you raise enough and bring it down within a few points within a few days of the election, maybe we'll support you some directly. But they don't expect that to happen.

OLBERMANN: The "Associated Press" headline today, "O'Donnell dodges evangelical issues in Senate race." Is the "A.P." indeed, are all of us missing the point here? Is the content of the debates at all relevant to Christine O'Donnell's supporters and is the outcome of the election even relevant to the long-term future Christine O'Donnell from Christine O'Donnell's viewpoint right now?

FINEMAN: I think in terms of her supporters, no. They don't - her supporters and I met a lot of them when I was out there covering the primary, this is sort of dog whistle politics to them.

They hear at a higher level, they see her, they know her, they believe in her, they believe that, you know, she was evasive on purpose about evolution, but they believe she's with them on that, same on abortion. She can talk about the Tenth Amendment. They believe in her. In her heart, she's with them.

As for, you know, her long-range goal in life, I think she thinks - based on people I know who have spoken to her, that, you know, she's got a shot here and she's going to pull it off. And I've got to say that strictly on theatrics, not on substance, OK, but strictly on theatrics, at least last night, you know, Chris Coons, the Democrat, who's way ahead, took the line of not responding to her, not calling her out, not getting specific in terms of saying what inaccuracies that Christine O'Donnell was putting forth. And, you know, he's taking the risk that it's not going to matter. It might not, but it's risky.

OLBERMANN: Is - does she believe truly that she has a chance of winning this thing with some of these obvious gaffes that would have been viewed by people who didn't have an opinion of her going into either of these debates?

FINEMAN: Well, I think she thinks - I don't know how realistic it is, Keith, obviously. I think the - not to know a single Supreme Court case is devastating.


FINEMAN: You know, it's just - it's an embarrassment beyond words. I did notice between last night's debate and today, she did manage to dredge up a reference to the Tenth Amendment regarding constitutional law. So there's that.

But, you know, it's cringeworthy to most people I would say, and I think it's cringeworthy to most independent voters in Delaware and a most moderate Republicans, of which there are a lot in Delaware, which is why Karl Rove, who's really running the show from behind the scenes has stayed away from her and is continuing to stay away from her.

OLBERMANN: If she was, as you mentioned there, relative to that question about the Supreme Court, if she was prepped by those who prepped Sarah Palin, how could they have all missed the possibility of the Supreme Court question? I mean, couldn't they've just taught her the words Plessy v. Ferguson and pray there was no follow up?

FINEMAN: Well, you know, there's a lot - there's a lot to learn in a short space of time.

OLBERMANN: Plessy v. Ferguson. It's three words. Write it on your palm. It worked for mama.

FINEMAN: Well, one of the things about this year, Keith, where everybody from the outside is knocking on the door and we're dredging up all kinds of very interesting characters from the periphery of American politics is that you're going to get people who are almost proud and assert their pride in their lack of knowledge of the political system. Only in America would we - would we ever pretend to argue that ignorance is somehow a qualification for higher office.

But in this year at this time, with a lot of people it is, how many of them are going to get swept up in this tide is the question we've been asking, you know, all fall. We're still going to see. In her case, you know, I said from the beginning, I think it's unlikely, and the polls show it's still very unlikely.

OLBERMANN: Why was - ultimately, why was she debating and why - in contrast that to why Sharron Angle would be debating?

FINEMAN: Well, in Christine O'Donnell's case, since you're a good Cornell man, you know the Richard Farina book, you know, I've been down so long, it seems like up to me. She's been debating, because, believe it or not, she needs the exposure, because people thought of her, if they thought of her as anything, they thought of her as a character on "Saturday Night Live," they thought of her as an ignorant deadbeat witch, sort of.

So, if that's your starting point, you may as well debate. It can't get any worse unless you don't know any Supreme Court cases.

OLBERMANN: An ignorant, ill-informed, underprepared deadbeat sort of witch.

Howard Fineman, senior political editor of "The Huffington Post" - good reporting tonight and great thanks as always.

FINEMAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: The head of the Democratic National Committee, Tim Kaine, hardly given a hyperbole of there's criticism. In fact, it is that he does not get worked up enough. He has today compared an active live at this hour political event, virtually, totally ignored by broadcast television news and most of the nation's newspapers and magazines to Watergate. And remember the networks and "The New York Times" ignored Watergate for months, too.

The plot to buy America thickens - next.


OLBERMANN: One of the biggest political process stories since Watergate, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee raises that alarm in the plot to buy America.

In the last quarter century, he turns out to be - or last quarter rather, he turns out to be the only politician to donate money to the Ohio congressional candidate who celebrated the battle victories of the Germans in full Nazi regalia. Matt Taibbi joins us.

His latest scandal in Illinois caught on tape. Republican Senate candidate planning to send monitors to watch polling places in Democratic, African-American precincts.

And don't think it hasn't been a slice of heaven because it hasn't.

Hosts of "The View" walked off rather than sit next to Billo.


OLBERMANN: The revelation that the Chamber of Commerce pumping $75 million into conservative attack ads around the country funded in secret by foreign companies and American millionaires has got the right wing on the run today, frantic to ensure their Tea Party followers that the Chamber of Commerce is in no way backed by people who are screwing the American middle class.

How do we know this? Because in our fourth story tonight, (a), a new poll shows that Americans do not trust these shadowy ads, (b), they want to know who's standing in the shadows, and, (c), because the voice of the Tea Party himself came out today assuring his listeners, hey, the chamber is just ordinary folks, even as he, in the same breath, admitted how little he knows about the chamber.

Tim Kaine, the Democratic National Committee chair, today compared the explosion and secret funding of American campaign ads to Watergate, another story that much of the mainstream media ignored until the scope of the scandal was made clear through the diligence of individual reporters, like Woodward and Bernstein, Dan Rather, Jack Nelson and others.

But this one seems to be moving a little faster. We told you last night of a poll taken up through Sunday in which 47 percent said support from anonymous business would make them less likely to vote for a candidate. A new poll taken yesterday finds 56 percent less likely to vote for candidates were backed by secret business spending.

On cue: Glenn Beck today assured his listeners that the chamber is just a group of downtown Main Street mom and pop stores which he was sure of despite his repeated admissions of ignorance about the Chamber of Commerce.


BECK: We either do it today or we do it tomorrow. I want the biggest fundraising day for the Chamber of Commerce. I've never donated to the Chamber of Commerce. I don't even know if you can. I don't know if you have to be somebody paying dues. I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does appear that you can, yes.

BECK: It does?


BECK: I would like to make this the biggest fundraising day in the chamber's history. I would like - I would like you to donate to the Chamber of Commerce if you're as sick as I am of this lot. Do you know what the chamber is? The chamber is a group of businessmen, and aren't most of the businesses under 100 people that are at - members of the people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I believe so. Yes.

BECK: So, these are companies that have under 100 employees for the most part. These are your local downtown businesses.


OLBERMANN: If you're in Chicago and "The Tribune" is downtown.

Back with us once more on this story, Faiz Shakir, editor-in-chief of "Think Progress," which of course first broke the story.

Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.


OLBERMANN: That Watergate comparison, that might strike some people as hyperbolic. What do you think?

SHAKIR: Let's remember what Watergate was. People remember that there was a burglary, but people forget the fact that there were Texas oilmen who are funneling large checks to the burglars. In fact, one of the burglars was caught with a $89,000 check from an oilman and that's - and the corporate money was flowing through that. I think that's what Tim Kaine is talking about, is the influence of corporate money in this election is something that's not being discussed and is a huge political story.

Texas oil money, for instance, right now is flowing in to California to defeat its state's clean energy law. We have a reporter out there. You've reported on this. Valero and Tesoro, Texas-based companies, are trying to subvert California's lot.

In addition to Prop 23, you've got Karl Rove's group. You got the Chamber of Commerce. You've got Newt Gingrich's group. You've got Club for Growth. You've got FOX News.

All of these corporate interests that are trying to subvert democracy with their huge amounts of money and deep pockets. And I think that's what Tim Kaine's getting at. It's not being reported and we're trying to dig at it.

OLBERMANN: The Chamber of Commerce - Mr. Beck says this is just an aggregate of your average downtown businesses. In fact, they have or they claim to have only 300,000 businesses who are members. Most of those might actually be small businesses by actual definition, but that doesn't speak to who controls the group and coordinates the money-raising, does it?

SHAKIR: Yes. Glenn Beck, he's a $50 million small business. He's one of those.

I do applaud Glenn Beck though. He came out and said he's going to give a $10,000 check to the chamber. So, he's hopefully going to start a wave, right? We're going to hear a disclosure, who else is going to join Glenn Beck and come out and announce that they are too also giving to the Chamber of Commerce? That would be a wonderful event.

But, I think, you know, what I think the Glenn Beck story is high lighting is the fact that he's got a relationship with the chamber. It goes back. He's actually appeared at events with Tom Donohue.

And while he pretends to be this populist hero, in fact, he's somebody who's standing up for the chamber's agenda of outsourcing jobs and reducing tax cuts for the rich. Of course, a lot of things are things that would benefit Glenn Beck personally.

OLBERMANN: So, the idea, the sort of assumption one would have that there was some sort of stupidity factor in here, some sort of conflation between those local chambers of commerce which are, you know, very often exactly the way Mr. Beck erroneously described the national one, the U.S. group, that he probably wasn't mistaking the one for the other, just sort of letting that confusion continue to sit there like it's the Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, Chamber of Commerce?

SHAKIR: Right. People don't realize that the local chambers of commerce in their towns operate very differently from the national Chamber of Commerce. They are independent organizations. Some of them give dues to the national chamber. Some of them don't. Some of them are closely aligned. Some are not.

In fact, during the clean energy fight, there were local chambers of commerce in New York, in Seattle, in San Jose, that peeled off and publicly distanced themselves from the chamber because they thought the chamber was too radicalized. In fact, the national chamber, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce operates as an RNC. It's a right wing political machine and I think for many locals chambers of commerce, they don't want to participate in that.

OLBERMANN: Your follow-up report on "Think Progress" regarding what kind of agenda the chamber members have when it comes to outsourcing - can you talk a little bit about what you found?

SHAKIR: Yes. Yesterday, you know, we reported that there were at least 84 companies that are foreign-based that are donating money or giving money to the Chamber of Commerce. We dug through those 84 companies and identified at least seven of whom are based abroad that are proud and explicitly describe the value of outsourcing - that that's what they want and that's their agenda and that's why they give money to the Chamber of Commerce because they're for outsourcing.

Tom Donohue has talked about that. He's the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce. He said there's a great value in outsourcing.

And so, the chamber's agenda is clear and I think that's why the foreign money is particularly important. And I think it puts the candidates in a box quite honestly, Keith. People like Bob Gibbs in Ohio, we just talked to. We had a reporter out in there in Ohio, people like that who are - their agendas now have to come clean. They've been talking about government and jobs, but now the chamber is going to pull, having the chamber pulls the cloak off their agenda, they're for corporate interests.

OLBERMANN: Faiz Shakir, editor-in-chief of "Think Progress" - once again, thanks for your reporting on this.

SHAKIR: Sure. Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Meantime, another secret bankroll of the far right has just been caught unexpectedly fessing up. The Koch brother who's never been to a Tea Party event, never been contacted by the Tea Party, on tape, at one, congratulating them.


OLBERMANN: What's worse than an Ohio congressional candidate dressed in a Nazi outfit? An Ohio congressional candidate dressed in a Nazi outfit, and the only politician who donated to him in the last quarter is John Boehner. That's ahead.

First, the sanity break and the tweet of the day, drawing right from that headline from Jane Minakides (ph), "Boehner, O'Donnell, and Iott. That's the lyin', the witch, and the wardrobe."

I'm not a witch.

Let's play "Oddball."


OLBERMANN: Of course she's a witch. She has Sean Hannity in her back pocket.

We begin in West Melbourne, Florida, with a few exercise of dos and don't. Do jog. Good for your health. Don't jog naked. That is not as good for your health because like this guy, there's a good chance you will get tased.

Police found this health nut was running with only a pair of swimming goggles on. He refused to stop or slow down to get him a little energy boost. This flesh flash was taken to the hospital for evaluation and then taken into custody. Maybe he can perfect his naked running form in the big house.

In sports, with this past Sunday's AFC West battle between the Raiders and the Chargers, the lowly Raiders pulled off a tough win overly the heavily favored San Diegans. I think the biggest concern is how the fans handle it.

Let's check in with some of the fans and see how maturely they take the loss.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I feel awful. We were a field goal away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hate you, Raiders!



OLBERMANN: Don't do that, kid. The Raiders feed off the tears of kiddies and unicorns.

Meantime, revenge is a dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold.

The Brett Favre naked photo texting scandal, from way down town. Bang. Right in his photographable area. Even though the Vikings aren't beating many team this year, at least Favre has a good chance of beating him, Hans Moleman (ph) for the top prize at the Springfield Film Festival.

Time marches on.

Never had a thing to do with the Tea Party movement, said David Koch, except that day he was at the meeting hearing all the progress reports from the Tea Partiers, and he congratulated them and it's on tape.


OLBERMANN: Yet another poll showing Tea Partiers are worried about their own economic interests. Yet more evidence Tea Partiers are willing to vote against those interests in favor of helping big oil. In our third story, as for the oil billionaire who claims to have nothing to do with the Tea Party, video of him doing something with the Tea Party. A new poll out from Bloomberg of Tea Party voters, cut spending, lower taxes - half says they have no confidence they will have sufficient funds to live on in retirement. More than half believe their children will be worse off.

That's where billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch come in. They run the oil and chemical conglomerate Koch Industry. And, as previously reported on this news hour, they have been quietly promoting their own business interests by investing in a right-wing ideological network of their own creation. It includes the Astroturf group Americans for Prosperity, central in funding the Tea Party Movement.

David Koch previously denied having anything to do with the Tea Party. To quote him, "I've never been to a Tea Party event. No one representing the Tea Party has ever even a approached me."

So it will be interesting to see how he explains this. Here is David Koch presiding over an Americans for Prosperity summit while various Tea Party leaders tell him all about their organizational success.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have led the largest Tea Party in the state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The largest tax day Tea Party in the nation on April 15th.


OLBERMANN: Turns out Mr. Koch is pleased with the results he orchestrated for the organization he has never heard of.


DAVID KOCK, KOCH INDUSTRIES CEO: This is a phenomenal success in my judgment, 800,000 activists from nothing five years ago. This is a remarkable achievement. And we're being effective in so many different ways.


OLBERMANN: So many ways. Like leading the charge to repeal health care reform and continue the climate change denial crusade. That video comes from a new documentary, "Astroturf Wars, How Corporate America Fakes a Grassroots Revolution." And for its part, Koch Industries has also repeatedly denied any ties to the Tea Party movement. "No funding has been provided by Koch Companies, the Koch Foundation, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the Tea Parties."

This egregious falsehood juxtaposing neatly with new details of funding provided to Tea Party favorite and part time Nazi reenactor Rich Iott. Mr. Iott's third quarter disclosures revealing an interesting donor list, including one Mr. John Boehner. The minority leader was curiously silent over Mr. Iott's affiliation with the SS Panzer Division reenactment group Viking, even as his number two, Minority Whip Eric Cantor, condemned that association.

Turns out Boehner's PAC donated 5,000 dollars to the Iott campaign, making Mr. Boehner the only lawmaker to give Mr. Iott money last quarter. In Mr. Boehner's defense, the money was given before the whole Nazi dress-up thing was reported. So he's going to take it back now, right? A Boehner spokesman told "Politico" Boehner would make no effort to recoup the money.

And in California's 11th Congressional district, fading hope for the Democratic incumbent Jerry McNerney to recoup slipping poll numbers. He's fallen behind a Tea Party favorite who has previously advocated for the elimination of public school. Not just the Department of Education, all public schools. David Harmar - H-A-R-M-E-R - aptly named. His wife happens to be a substitute teacher - wants to return book learning back to, quote, "the way things worked through the first century of American nationhood."

You know, Yellow Fever, slavery, little education for women or minorities.

Joining me now, contributing editor at "Rolling Stone" magazine, and the author of the new book "Griftopia," Matt Taibbi. Good to see you, Matt.


OLBERMANN: I'm assuming the David Koch tape and the hypocrisy therein is no surprise to you. Besides the lie, why does it matter?

TAIBBI: Well, think I think it does matter. When I go to Tea Party events, when I bring up these things, when I say what about the Koch Brothers, what about Dick Armey, what about Karl Rove, these other interests who are supporting the Tea Party movement, I always get flat denials. You know, this is a purely grassroots movement. It has nothing do with that.

So I think it will penetrate some of the Tea Party. A few people will be persuaded by this. But on the other hand, you have to remember that for a lot of these people, you know, reality is kind of optional. A lot of these are the same people who still think that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. And they're just going to believe what they wasn't to believe. And I don't think it's going to have that huge an impact.

OLBERMANN: Is that the missing thing that we're looking for constantly in trying to analyze it? Having spent so much time at those Tea Party events, do you have any insight into the fundamental disconnect that their voters, desperately fearful, as the new polling suggests, about their future, their kids' future, realistic problems, serious problems facing millions of Americans, and they are happily campaigning and almost adoring candidates who explicitly campaign on things that will totally undermine that future specifically for their group.

TAIBBI: Yeah, I mean it's tragic. I'm going to say something that's controversial for this show, which is that I don't totally root against the Tea Party. I think America needs real challenges to authority even if they're wrong-headed sometimes. You know, people in power need to be not so complaisant. And I think it would be a good thing if this were a real outsider movement that really sought to reduce spending and did all those things.

But the reality is that these people are just going to turn around and give their votes back to the same Republican party that got them upset in the first place. And it's just going to turn into an endless cycle of non-action, incompetence, despair, and more anger. It's a terrible situation.

OLBERMANN: So you disagree with what I said on the show. Get out. No, just - obviously your point is taken on the theoretical level. It's a good thing at all times. But when it became a bad thing, was there a genesis moment? Is there a plotlines at which we can point to a date or an individual, where somebody said we don't have to enslave these saps? If we sell this correctly, they will come into the cages by themselves.

TAIBBI: Yeah. I think that moment came after the famous Rick Santelli rant. I think, you know, the Republican party was really in disarray at that moment. They had just been beaten by Barack Obama. All the mainstream Republican candidates were really fleeing. And then suddenly there was this explosion of real political energy that they saw out there on the Internet and on the streets.

And it's true. You know, the Tea Party is a real grassroots movement in some respects. And I think there are people like Dick Armey and Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers who saw this and said, we have to get a piece of this and corral it. They've done that. I think they have effectively appropriated the movement.

OLBERMANN: I have to ask you about Mr. Boehner and Mr. Iott in Ohio. One can understand the regional sympathies there. But if that were a Democrat and Nancy Pelosi had contributed money to that Democrat or some other - he reenacts - I don't know - some other war - pick your war, whatever it is. Wouldn't the right be talking about this every day - every hour until election day?

TAIBBI: Sure. It would be like the new Black Panther thing. It would be on TV every day for five months. But, you know, the important thing about this is that it speaks to the situation with Republican candidates in general. I mean, they're really just going after waver wire pickups at this point. It's like the Oakland Raiders of politics. And it just speaks to the kind of fringe candidates, like what Howard Fineman was saying before, that the people on the periphery who are now at the forefront of the party.

OLBERMANN: Zach Miller is going to be all over you for waiver wire

reference. That's an NFL - particularly a fantasy football reference.

Matt Taibbi, contributing editor at "Rolling Stone," good to see you as always.

TAIBBI: Good to see you.

OLBERMANN: The latest Mark Kirk scandal in Illinois. Republicans sending in goon squads to protect the votes of Democrats in African-American urban precincts. Why does that not add up?

This is candidate Rich Whitney. Which one letter could you remove to name the create dumbest typo in American electoral history? They've done it in Chicago.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, Don't Ask, Don't Tell; the Army says it will go along with it. The administration says it will appeal it. Rachel will unravel what actually happened today.


OLBERMANN: One of the most stumble-prone Senate campaigns in American history does it again. Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois caught secretly on tape planning to send teams of his people in urban, African-American, Democratic districts, to make sure none of the votes are tampered with.

That's next, but first get out your pitchforks and torches, tonight's Worst Persons in the world are thusly -

The bronze to Bill-O the Clown. He's out selling his latest bold fresh piece of crap book, blah, blah, blah. The man is allowed to sell a book. Big deal. Except this time on ABC's "The View" he asserted that his brook proves that the Park51 Islamic Center in New York should not be built because, quote, "Muslims killed us on 9/11."

That's when for hosts Joy Behar and Whoopi Goldberg, it was exit stage left to thunderous applause from the audience.



JOY BEHAR, "THE VIEW": I don't want to sit here. I don't want to sit here.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: You're outraged about Muslims -


OLBERMANN: Lost in that, of course, is the fact that Bill-O, without the benefit of a script, revealed himself to be just another Fox News bigot and Islamophobe. I mean, it's like asking who used to be the cleverest juvenile delinquent in a school. Now he's just partying Gretchen Carlson and Glenn Beck over there.

Runner up, John Raese, the Republican candidate for the Senate from West Virginia, another giant of the political stage, the one for whom the Republicans cast that commercial looking for, quote, hickey types.


JOHN RAESE (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE IN WEST VIRGINIA: You do not negotiate with people like - I have a hard time pronouncing this -

Armadejohn (ph), arma-danga-dingo. Help me. Ahmadinejad.

Remember, I'm not a career politician. Right now, any nuclear weapon launched from North Korea can hit Alaska and can almost hit California. We're sitting with the only technology in the world that works. It's laser technology.

We need 1,000 laser systems put in the sky, and we need it right now.

One thousand laser systems put in the sky will cost 20 billion dollars -

20 billion dollars. That's what I call a stimulus.


OLBERMANN: He added, get her done. How far in the sky? Like 100 feet or what, Mr. Nuclear? Mr. Raese's lack of understanding of the technological limitations of Star Wars would embarrass Ronald Reagan. But did you also notice the screwing up of the name Ahmadinejad?

This is apparently Mr. Raese's calling card. A local newspaper reported he called current West Virginia Senator Carte Goodwin Clark Goodman. He called Energy Secretary Steven Chu two different Asian sounding name. Deliberately referred to his opponent, Governor Joe Manchin, as Governor Soprano and claimed he couldn't remember the newest appointee to the Supreme Court. "Was it Sarah Manor, Sarah Manorgan, Sarah Morgan?"

Sonia Sotomayor. Be pushing the hapless Star War plans and to deliberately mispronounce opponents' names in hopes of making them seem foolish or foreign, that suggests Mr. Raese's middle name is versatility. Actually, we don't know what his middle name is. He only goes by John R..Raese. Maybe it's Rock-Ahmadinejad.

But our winners, the Chicago Board of Elections. Testing done on touch screen voting machines in 23 wards shows that the name of the Green Party candidate for the governor of Illinois is spelled correctly on the initial display listing all the candidates. But after you vote, his name comes up misspelled. And it can't be fixed before election day. So half of the wards where the typo pops up are in predominantly African-American areas of Chicago.

The candidates name is Rich Whitney. The type is the loss of the letter "N." So his name is misspelled Whitey, Rich Whitey. the Chicago Board of Elections, today's worst persons in the world.


OLBERMANN: If there is one thing Karl Rove understands, it's the difference between voter fraud and election fraud. Voter fraud is when someone votes twice or uses someone else's name to vote. It's fraud by a voter or defrauding a voter out of their vote. It's a minor crime because it only involves one vote. It's also relatively rare.

Except if you listen to people who commit election fraud. Election fraud is a big crime because it's not about one person's vote. It's about stealing entire elections. One way to commit election fraud is to steal an election, is to keep an entire group of people away from the polls.

How do you do that? Usually by claiming you're defending against voter fraud. That's the method Karl Rove used when he pressured U.S. attorneys to bring bogus voter fraud cases and then canned the ones who refused. And in our number one story tonight, guess what Republicans say is a big problem in this election? That's right, voter fraud.

The issue coming to a head last week in Illinois, after Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk was recorded, without his knowledge, talking about protecting against voter fraud in areas that are predominantly minority and predominantly Democratic.

Now, why would Mr. Kirk want to protect mostly Democratic voters from having their vote stolen? That remains unclear. But in the tape you're about to hear, he does express concern that these areas are vulnerable. It's not clear whether he means the areas are vulnerable to him.


MARK KIRK (R), CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS: I have now funded the largest voter-integrity program in the 15 years for the state of Illinois. These are lawyers and other people that will be deployed in key, vulnerable precincts. For example, South and West Side of Chicago, Rockford, Metro East, where the other side might be tempted to jigger the numbers somewhat.


OLBERMANN: Only at 1050 Anderson Avenue. Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias, Kirk's rival in the close race, said in a statement yesterday that "That sort of Florida-style voter intimidation is disgusting, illegal, and smacks of the Karl Rove politics that Illinois voters are sick of."

Smacks of Karl Rove politics? How exactly? Well, the GOP has been soliciting help to get those voter-integrity squads going into the vulnerable precincts. And according to the Giannoulias campaign, one of the speakers educating the conservative Federalist Society in Chicago about voter fraud in Chicago today was Hans Von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, and a former civil rights attorney in the Bush Justice Department. His specialty was protecting the country from voter fraud by preventing voters from voting.

And not just any voters. His specialty was poor people, minorities, people who happened to vote Democratic, like when he got thousands of legal Maryland voters thrown out because of discrepancies because their personal info and how the info had been entered in government databases. And like when he approved a Georgia law similar to a poll tax, even after - maybe especially after his own staff warned that it would discriminate against black voters.

With us tonight is Michael Dorf, general counselor for the Giannoulias campaign, formerly the council to Barack Obama's pre-presidential campaigns, and a specialist in election law. Thanks for your time, sir.


OLBERMANN: Can you course correct me? Or at least flesh out the distinction that I drew there between voter fraud on the one hand and election fraud on the other?

DORF: You've got it just about right. Voter fraud involves

individual voters, somebody who might be voting twice, somebody who might

be coming in under a different address. And there's never been a systemic

proof of systemic voter fraud. In fact, the nonpartisan Brennan Center said that there's more of a chance of getting hit by lightning than of finding somebody who voted twice.

OLBERMANN: Could you analyze Mr. Kirk's reference in that tape to the minority precincts? He called them vulnerable precincts. What does he mean by that? Vulnerable to whom and vulnerable why?

DORF: We'd love to know, because it's one of the most cynical things that we've ever heard. And we have asked him to explain what vulnerable precincts is. We certainly know what it is. He's chosen precincts that are heavily African-American, heavily low income, unemployed, the most vulnerable people there, and people who are vulnerable to being intimidated, being intimidated by people in suits when they walk into the voting booth and saying, oh, if you have a parking ticket, you're going to be arrested on the spot if you vote; if you show the wrong registration or you make a mistake, you're going to be arrested.

It is outrages what Mr. Kirk has done.

OLBERMANN: So what are Democrats doing about this now that the taped evidence is extant?

DORF: We're not going to let it happen. We've already sent out letters to each of the U.S. attorneys in the three federal districts in Illinois. We've also sent out letters to the states attorneys in the counties that Mr. Kirk has targeted. We've sent out letters out to the election commissions in those places as well.

We're also gathering our own army of volunteers to help out, to man polls, to make sure that every voter has a chance to cast their ballot. It's We can use volunteers. We want people to come in and help really bring some integrity into Illinois with Alexi Giannoulias.

OLBERMANN: Mr. Dorf, when other Republicans have been caught doing this, they have talked about it like it was a game, a contest between a couple school teams. What's the harm in stealing the other guy's mascot on game day? Is that your experience or do Mr. Van Spakovsky's activities today tell you that they're treating this like much more than a game?

DORF: It's not a game. It's very much the Karl Rove playbook. Almost 40 years ago, the first election Karl Rove was involved in, he came to Illinois. He lied about his identity. He stole an opposing candidate's letterhead and he put out invitation which he have to homeless people, promising them free food and drink. And then he got caught three years later, when it was discovered, and said it was a youthful prank.

Well, it's not a youthful prank to those homeless people who didn't get the food they were promised. It's not a youthful prank to people whose constitutional rights to cast their vote has been taken away by this type of intimidation.

OLBERMANN: Michael Dorf, the general counsel to the Giannoulias campaign in Illinois, an election law specialist. Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.

DORF: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: That's October 14th. One thought in passing here. If you were Karl Rove, wouldn't you lie about your identity too? I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.

And now to straighten out a busy and often conflicting day of litigation in the wake of the court ordered suspension of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.