Monday, May 3, 2010

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, May 3, 2010
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Guests: Chris Hayes, Rick Outzen, Richard Clarke, Luis Gutierrez, Jonathan

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

be talking about tomorrow?

The newest Gulf casualty: drilling off California. Schwarzenegger

says he can no longer support it.

As dead jellyfish begin to wash up on the Mississippi coast, B.P. says

it will clean it up. But while offering residents 5,000 bucks each not to

sue, B.P. is still passing the buck.


TONY HAYWARD, CEO, BRITISH PETROLEUM: It wasn't our accident, but we

are absolutely responsible for the oil, for cleaning it up, and that's what

we intend to do.


OLBERMANN: The person of interest in Times Square: white man who

appeared to be in his 40s seen walking in the vicinity of the vehicle,

removing a dark shirt, revealing the red one underneath. But over-the-

counter fireworks, non-explosive grade fertilizer, an old alarm clock -

one expert's conclusion: this guy was following online instructions.

Our special guest: former White House counterterrorism adviser,

Richard Clarke.

Arizona - now the state is coming after English teachers with accents

and Mexican studies programs. And is all this a lead-up to a national

biometric workers I.D. card proposed by Democrats? Our guest, fresh from

being arrested at the White House protest -




OLBERMANN: - Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

"Worsts": The chicken lady is back. Her campaign manager explains: we

already all have health care.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should everybody have access to health care in

this country?

UNIDENTIFIFED MALE: Absolutely. They do. They do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if they can afford it, they do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. If I have a bullet hole in my chest, I can go

down to UMC and get health care.


OLBERMANN: Can you hold my chicken? I've been shot.

And the comedian-in-chief -



my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth.



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


OBAMA: This is no ordinary dinner.




OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

No confirmed reports as yet of oil having reached the shore as a

result of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico - but in our fifth

story on the Countdown tonight: Huge numbers of dead jellyfish washing up

along the beach on the Mississippi coastline.

Meanwhile, the oil conglomerate, B.P., attempting damage control for

containment, as well as for its own image - the latter might be described

as bribery.

We'll begin with the effort to stem the volcano of oil spewing from

the bed of the Gulf, B.P. claiming some glimmers of progress today. A

company spokesman is saying that crews have finished building a containment

dome - a four-story, 70-ton structure the company is going to lower over

one of the three leaks in attempt to catch the escaping oil. The other two

domes to be finished tomorrow - with all three domes to be lowered and

installed over the weekend coming up.

The "Associated Press" reporting that shipping along the Mississippi

River, though, could soon be limited, the slick moving precariously close

to a key shipping lane, the Southwest Pass, allowing ships carrying food,

rubber, and more, and, yes, oil, to enter that waterway.

The latest map from NOAA making it appears as if the massive slick has

shrunk. Tomorrow's projection there is in mustard yellow.

Scientists are saying that wind and currents breaking it up, but the

volume of oil is still expected to grow.

Reverberations far afield, Governor Schwarzenegger tonight announcing

he is withdrawing his support from a state plan to expand oil drilling off

the coast of California. The Republican governor is saying that the TV

images of the oil spill have changed his mind about the safety of oil

platforms in the ocean.

B.P.'s CEO, Tony Hayward, and B.P. American chairman and president,

Lamar McKay, are arriving at the Department of the Interior this afternoon

for a meeting with Interior Secretary Salazar and Homeland Secretary

Napolitano. Among items to be discussed: what exactly was meant by a fact

sheet on the company Web site that said B.P. takes responsibility for

cleaning up the spill and will pay compensation for, quote, "legitimate and

objectively verifiable claims for property damage, personal injury and

commercial losses."

On the "Today Show" this morning, CEO Hayward accepting the liability

while still managing to pass the buck.


HAYWARD: It wasn't our accident but we are absolutely responsible for

the oil, for cleaning it up, and that's what we intend to do.


OLBERMANN: It wasn't our accident. But if not B.P., who would be



HAYWARD: The drilling rig was a translation drilling rig. It was

their rig and their equipment that failed, run by their people, their



OLBERMANN: Outsourcing - as American as apple pie.

White House Press Secretary Gibbs is saying today that the

administration's commitment was for B.P. to pay for all costs associated

with the spill. But the federal law may be on B.P.'s side, something

called the Oil Pollution Act passed in response to the Exxon Valdez spill,

caps B.P.'s liability at $75 million - what would be a relatively measly


Florida's Bill Nelson, one of three Democratic senators today

introducing legislation to raise the liability limit dramatically to $10

billion, but that could not apply retroactively. Then there are the limits

B.P. representatives were trying to impose one victim at a time,

circulating this settlement agreement among Gulf Coast residents over the

weekend - reportedly offering payments up to $5,000 in exchange for

signing a waiver in which one agrees not to sue the company.

The CEO, Mr. Hayward, claiming to National Public Radio that it was an

early misstep involving a standard contract with the team we're using that

was eliminated very early in the process. The misstep, we presume, not the


Let's turn now to Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of "The Nation"

magazine for the politics of all this.

Chris, good evening.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Well, the news from California, does this not mean that

unless he withdraws his new drilling policy, suddenly, President Obama is

to the right of Arnold Schwarzenegger on drilling offshore?

HAYES: That's what it looks like. He's also going to be to the right

of Charlie Crist, the newly christened independent candidate in Florida.

And I think, you know, he's to the - I think Schwarzenegger now puts

himself to the prudent side of Obama. I mean, it's extremely difficult,

after looking at what's going on in the Gulf, and to conceptualize the

magnitude of the kind of risk you take on with offshore drilling.

I mean, you're dealing with low probability, extremely catastrophic

events like this. It's very hard to get your head around the risk. And

seeing this - seeing what's going on there, I think puts the images in

voters' minds of exactly what the risk looks like.

OLBERMANN: This just in, heck of a job, Brownie, said tonight that -

wait until I'm finished before you laugh, that President Obama wanted the

oil spill to happen because this was a great excuse to shut down off-coast


First off, I guess we could address that on its merits but, I mean,

why would - why would you, if it has anything to do with anything in the

region of New Orleans, why would the former FEMA director say anything

other than next question?

HAYES: Yes, I think he should probably stay away from comments on

this sort of thing. I mean, one of the things you've seen already is a

conservative means circulating that this was somehow, I don't know, an

inside job, Rush Limbaugh made noises in that direction the other day that

this is suspicious somehow, that actually, this is this conspiratorial

desire to stop offshore drilling, and it's very similar to the same kind of

conspiracy theories that were floated by members of the Congress in the

Republican Party over the SEC complaint against Goldman.

I think there is a real kind of conspiratorial bench to the way that

Republicans conceptualizes the Obama administration and it's moved from the

kind of extreme margins to just sort of mainstream Republican thinking now.

OLBERMANN: Yes, porpoises trained by George C. Scott.

HAYES: Yes, that's right.

OLBERMANN: Rah speak (ph).

The arguments also, speaking from the right, that the "drill baby

drillers," like half-Governor Palin, that domestic drilling remains crucial

to energy independence, the oil that was - that's coming out very

successfully right now, unfortunately, not into anybody's coffers but the

B.P. oil and other companies in the Gulf and elsewhere, this is not - when

it is not spilled and destroys ecology, it does not automatically go into

the U.S. and does not automatically go into the domestic reserve. It's

sold on the open world market like every other -

HAYES: That's right.

OLBERMANN: - barrel of crude that comes up safely out of the desert

in - you know, in Saudi Arabia. Wouldn't that make that entire "drill,

baby, drill" argument, what's left of it after this disaster, sort of


HAYES: Yes. It has been hogwash from the beginning.


HAYES: I mean, it's been incredibly frustrating. And you just said

this very well and we should repeat it a million times and spend an hour

talking about it because it's really important. It's a fungible global

commodity. When it comes up out of the group, it gets sold on

international exchanges. And so, there is no such thing as reducing our

dependence on foreign oil. There's no barrels marked somewhere, "foreign."

What you can do is reduce your dependence on oil. When you reduce

your dependence on oil, that is something you do on the demand side. It's

not something you do on the supply side. There isn't enough supply to put

a dent in the global escalation of prices for oil we're going to see with

China and India, increasing demand.

What we can do is we can make our economy, our transportation much

more efficient so we just don't need as much oil.

OLBERMANN: And this comment from Mr. Hayward that we heard today that

"it's not my fault, but we're going to clean it up anyway" - is that sort

of the ultimate spin on this so that you look like a good guy when, in

fact, all you're doing is going - you're going to clean up your mess to

about one, what, one hundredth of the actually cost?

HAYES: I thought it was the most remarkably passive aggressive moment

I've seen from a major CEO. I mean, he took great pains to say exactly

whose fault it was. But this is - it's not my fault is kind of the

operating ethos for the elites that screw things up in this era.

I mean, nothing is anyone, ever anyone's fault. It's Goldman guys,

it's not their fault. Greenspan, it's not his fault. No one is ever to


The only people that are to blame are poor people that are getting

their homes foreclosed on. They're the ones that get blamed.

OLBERMANN: Yes. Remember the old Judge Reinhold movie, "Home



OLBERMANN: It was Rick Moranis who was the executive. All he did was

pick up the phone, "It's not my fault, I'll call you back. It's not my

fault. It's not fault."

He would make $1 million a day in this business.

HAYES: He'd be perfect.

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

HAYES: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That we know about the B.P. waiver agreement offering up

to $5,000 to Gulf Coast residents in exchange for their signatures waiving

liability before all this hit shore is due to the reporting of Rick Outzen

in "The Daily Beast," a contributor to the Web site, also the editor and

publisher of "Independent News," a northwest Florida alternative news

weekly. He joins us now.

Thank you for your time tonight, sir.



OLBERMANN: All right. So, this B.P. CEO, Mr. Hayward, today called

the waivers "an early misstep that involved a standard contract with the

team we're using that was eliminated very early in the process."

Do you believe that?

OUTZEN: Not at all. These are guys that have already had two other

huge environmental disasters in the last five year. One in Texas, a

refinery that exploded there. Then we had a spill - a leak in Alaska that

contaminated the tundra and a pond.

These people know what they're doing. We have a copy of the waiver.

It specifically cites the spill that happened on April 20th.

This isn't something that accidentally was put into a packet of claim

sheets like they're trying to tell us today. This was very - part of a -

definitely, a legal strategy to limit their liability.

OLBERMANN: In addition to the waivers that would limit liability,

there is this federal law that would cap the exposure to B.P. at $75

million, based on your reporting of what the damage is likely to be. I

mean, my guess before is that's about one one-hundredth of the cost this is

going to turn out to be. Is that - is that a relatively good guess?

OUTZEN: You know, "Reuters" late yesterday reported that they thought

it would be $14 billion.


OUTZEN: Congressman Jeff Miller today, Keith, told the locals here in

Pensacola, Florida, that he was going to work with the other congressmen

from the Gulf States and try to get B.P. to put up $1 billion into an

escrow fund to help local and state governments do the cleanup work.

We've got all our governments down here strapped for money, like they

are all over the country, and all of a sudden, they're going to have to

foot the bill for cleanup until B.P. puts up some money.

OLBERMANN: I understand, you got into a meeting that was held by

Florida Governor Crist over the weekend. It sounds like that was as much

fun as it sounds like from here. They discussed potential damage and B.P.

And how did - how did that come about and what did you learn at that


OUTZEN: Well, you know, I was the only person asked to leave the

meeting. It was prior to Governor Crist arriving there. B.P., who really

dominated the room - they were about six or seven B.P. representatives in

a room of only about 20 state and local officials, and the United States

Coast Guard.

B.P. came up and introduced themselves to everybody. And when he found

out that I was with "The Daily Beast" and the media, I was kindly asked to

leave. It was - actually, Governor Crist got me back into the room, I

waited by the elevator and just sort of walked in with his entourage. So,

they couldn't say much with the governor having his hand on my shoulder.

OLBERMANN: Is information from meetings like that trickling down?

Are local officials being briefed? Are local resources, volunteers, being

set up to be utilized to their fullest capacity as this thing becomes, you

know, a shore problem and not just an ocean problem?

OUTZEN: It's really more of a sham. They tell us that they want our

input. They have the Escambia County here, they've put their best minds at

it and they've come up with a plan to keep the oil out of Pensacola Bay and

the Santa Rosa Sound and protect the fishing beds. But they submitted the

plan on Friday, and as of 7:00 tonight, we still have yet to hear whether

the Coast Guard or DEP are going to approve the plan.

Today, we had a town hall meeting. Over 350 people on Pensacola

Beach, DEP, B.P. kept saying, we don't know what's going to happen to your

beach. We don't know what it's going to look like, what the damage is

going to be.

But then they said, but we want your ideas. Please, give us your


So for the next hour and a half, scared, anxious, upset people shared

ideas about something that B.P. told them they didn't know what it was

going to look like.

OLBERMANN: I'm gathering -

OUTZEN: Nobody took notes, either.

OLBERMANN: Yes. I'm gathering that the one congressman's verdict of

this is chocolate milk coming inbound, probably didn't carry too much


Rick Outzen, contributor to "The Daily Beast" at Pensacola for us

tonight - great thanks, Rick.

OUTZEN: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: The first serious attempt at a truck bomb in this country

since Timothy McVeigh - why some of the peripherals suggest international

terrorism but a lot of the evidence also suggests people with no training,

just using online instructions? Former White House counterterrorism

adviser Richard Clarke - next on Countdown.


OLBERMANN: He was the top counter-terror adviser to the White House.

His assessment of the Times Square incident and increasing evidence that

suggests these were not exactly trained terrorists.

As one Democratic congressman protest to Arizona by getting arrested

at the White House, the solution proposed by others is a national biometric

workers I.D. card for everybody?

Procter & Gamble and MSNBC and me accused of conspiring to keep this

man from winning a Democratic primary for House seat tomorrow. He says the

conspiracy runs on oil of Olay. And yes, I was surprised to see this

during the president's comedy routine Saturday night. I was more surprised

with the joke he followed it up with, it wasn't about us, it wasn't about


You're watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: Forty-eight hours after an SUV packed with explosives

forced the evacuation of New York's Time Square, the crossroads of the

world - the motive remains unclear.

But in our fourth story tonight: We already know an astonishing amount

about where the trail of evidence is leading. Police reportedly have

tracked down and interviewed the registered owner of the 1993 Nissan

Pathfinder left Saturday night in Times Square. A Connecticut resident,

not a suspect, told police he sold the car to a man in his 20s or 30s three

weeks ago for $1,300 cash via Craigslist.

Investigators are, obviously, interested in talking to the purchaser,

also interested in talking to this man, believed to be in his 40s captured

on tape walking away from the area where the SUV was left shortly after

looking back toward the area, removing a long-sleeved shirt and stuffing it

in his bag.

Congressman Peter King, ranking member on the intel committee, is

saying today there was no intel chatter picked up prior Saturday, although

the National Joint Terrorism Task Force has taken lead on the

investigation. An unnamed government officials reportedly saying

investigators are looking at possible foreign elements of the attempted

bombing which resembled in some ways the 2007 attempts to bomb Glasgow's

airport and London nightclubs. Claims by Pakistani Taliban had been

largely discredited because both tapes appear to be predating Saturday and

because of previous false claims.

The bomb itself appears to have been prepared in less than expert

fashion, using common fireworks as a fuse, which apparently failed, relying

on two gas cans in the backseat and three propane canisters which were not

left open and probably would not have detonated, even if there had been a

fire, as well as an estimated 100 pounds-plus of fertilizer, which sounds

terrifying except police now say it was not of explosive grade.

Let's bring in Richard Clarke, chairman of Good Harbor Consulting,

former chief counterterrorism adviser to the National Security Council,

author of "Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do

About It."

Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.


with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: All right. The apparent mistakes and from the outside, it

seems like the proverbial trail, a mile wide. What did they tell you about


CLARKE: Well, they told me that this was someone who probably went

online to get instructions about how to make a bomb, had never probably had

a class in how to make a bomb.

But that doesn't make me feel that much better. And the fact is,

someone was able to drive a truck bomb into Times Square, pull up on the

sidewalk, leave the car running with its flashers on and get away. They

could have done that with a bomb that worked.

OLBERMANN: Now, the fact that they did get away - does that not

violate supposedly the first law of what would actually work, which is you

can't leave any evidence? You can't leave a truck-full of evidence? You

have to make sure it goes up even if that means you're in it when it goes


CLARKE: No, not necessarily. I mean, the Oklahoma City bombers

managed to get away too, although they were relatively close when the bomb

went off.

But I think the disturbing thing here is that the materials you need

to make a real bomb are readily available. It's, you know, fertilizer can

turn into a bomb. Not all fertilizers, as this guy probably thought. But

some fertilizers can.

And you don't need to use M-80 fireworks. You can get dynamite in

this country. All the ingredients to make a bomb are available in this

country and nothing would have stopped someone from driving right into the

heart of that crowd of several tens of thousands of people probably on

Saturday night.

We have to expect that this sort of thing will work some day. The

fact that we were lucky on Christmas Day with the underwear bomber and we

were lucky on Saturday night doesn't mean we will always be lucky.

OLBERMANN: So what, if anything, in this says to you we should now be

doing X or Y? What can we back-engineer from this particular thing?

CLARKE: Well, it's tough. If this guy is - as I suspect he is - an

Islamist jihadi who spontaneously became a terrorist, and there's no cell

behind him and no direct organizational control, it's very hard to find

these people - like the doctor in London, who suddenly decided he was a

jihadi and made a very similar bomb and went after a nightclub three years

ago in London.

You know, if there's no record of them, if they're not in a cell, how

the heck do you find them? And if they can go out and buy the materials to

make this stuff, commercially, without getting noticed, how do you find

them before they've set it off? It's a very, very difficult problem -

much harder than finding a terrorist cell.

OLBERMANN: Is there comfort in this that - as available as the

correct materials are and presumably the correct means of attaching them

and making the thing work as opposed to simply sit there and give off some

smoke and a couple of pops, is there an encouragement in the fact - not

suggesting to reduce vigilance by any stretch of imagination - but is

there encouragement in the fact this is still a relatively tough thing to

pull off physically, to make it actually work? Beyond intent, cells,

origins, just the actual process of even somebody who decides this is a

good thing to do somehow, that it doesn't always work very well?

CLARKE: It doesn't always work very well if you haven't had



CLARKE: But if you have had instruction, either in some terrorist

camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or even in some terrorist cell here in the

United States, then it's not that difficult. So, we have to get ready for

this succeeding some time and we have to think now about what we'll say

when it happens - because we have to avoid the political overreaction that

occurred after 9/11.

You know, if there is a terrorist attacks that's successful, let's run

out and pass another Patriot Bill. We need to start now to have that

dialogue in the country so that we do not have a massive overreaction and

right-wing swing when someone gets through.

OLBERMANN: All right. Briefly, since Mayor Bloomberg said this at

3:00 in the morning on Sunday morning after having not been here for any of

it, and just arrived and stood there still in his tux from the White House

Correspondents' dinner - from that point to this one, there has been an

assumption that this is somehow internationally situated if not exactly

impacted. Why is that assumption being made?

CLARKE: Well, I think there's probably evidence that the police and

FBI have in their possession right now, the fact that the action was

transferred from the NYPD to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force means they

know something. They probably know a lot. Stay tuned. This is not going

to take long.

OLBERMANN: OK. Richard Clarke, of Good Harbor, former chief

counterterrorism to the NSC, author of "Cyber War" - as always,

tremendously informative. Thanks for your time, sir.

CLARKE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Arizona, and instead of seeing the cataclysm they're

bringing to their own state, the latest effort there to purge English

teachers who have accents. Congressman Luis Gutierrez joins us when

Countdown continues.


OLBERMANN: The latest from Arizona ahead.

First, a hurried Twitter update. Big guest here tomorrow, the tweeter

and now author "Stuff My Dad Says," only it's not stuff.

After the frantic weekend, two sets of Tweets of the Day, Arizona

division first, the bronze, @armavirumque, "Do these shoes make me look

illegal?" You shall know them by their shoes.

Runner up from @kelbrooks, "I guess Sammy Sosa saw this Arizona thing

coming all along." For purposes of refreshing your mind - ouch. Ouch,

ouch, ouch.

Arizona Tweet of the Day from @Johnker218 - Johnker? "Arizona

D'Backs present Hispanic Heritage Day on Saturday, September 4th, first

10,000 fans will have to show their papers." That is hilarious. It would

be more hilarious still if it all were a joke.

Saturday, September 4th, 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. local, Astros versus

Diamondbacks, Hispanic Heritage Day. It's also Miguel Montero Bobblehead


Tweets of the day, Gulf edition; third place, @MattMurchison: "GOP's

not worried about oil spill. They know that all you have to do to clean up

black water is change its name to XE." Nice, work in the evil contractor.


Runner-up, @NickBaumann, "where in the Constitution does it say that

the federal government has the power to cap run-away oil wells?"

Damn straight. Don't blowout prevent on me.

Winner, Gulf division, from @JElvisWinstean, our "Cinematic Titanic"

friend, "maybe if people wouldn't have brought up the Boston Tea Party

again, the British wouldn't have felt the need to retaliate with oil."

JElvis is a pro.

And Arizona and another crisis that has barely gotten notice, amid a

swirl of crises, Nashville when Countdown continues.


OLBERMANN: As Americans on all sides grapple with the immigration

debate that Arizona has forced to the forefront, conflicting word today on

whether a killing which helped the law pass might have been committed by an

American. Our third story tonight, the footprints led from the crime scene

to the Mexican border, and sometimes, just sometimes, American criminals

flee to Mexico through the porous border.

Arizona rancher Rich Krantz was shot down near the border on March

27th. "His death made him a martyr," said Republican ex-Congressman and

Senate candidate J.D. Hayworth for the passage of Arizona's new law

requiring all immigrants to carry papers proving their legal status.

This weekend, thousands of Americans marched and rallied in dozens of

U.S. cities opposing the law, including 60,000 attending in Los Angeles.

And a civil disobedience outside protest outside the White House, where 35

people were arrested for refusing to leave while protesting President Obama

for not pushing immigration reform into law.

One of those arrested, our next guest, Illinois Democratic Congressman

Luis Gutierrez. Among the rights of Democrats now pushing a new

controversial element of reform, advocating creation of new biometric I.D.

card. Biometric meaning it incorporates a unique biological signature,

such as your fingerprint, that would be required in order to work legally

in this country.

All of this as "the Arizona Star Newspaper," quoting unnamed high

ranking officials, reporting that Sheriff Larry Deaver is now focusing on

an American suspect in that March border killing of the Arizona rancher.

Deaver's office not confirming this, nor a conflicting report from the

Associated Press tonight that the suspect is actually a Mexican national.

With us now, as promised, Democratic Illinois Congressman Luis

Gutierrez, who joins us again, the second time in a week. Thank you, sir.


OLBERMANN: I don't say this often, but let me start with a question

that is similar to that that raised by Jonah Goldberg at "The National

Review." If police asking for papers immigration papers is akin to

Naziism, how is employers asking for some sort of work biometric I.D. card


GUTIERREZ: Great question. I don't know that it is, Keith. But

here's what it does tell you: it tells you that there are those of us that

are reaching across the aisle, that are for enforcement, that are for

ending illegal immigration as we know it. So here's my point: I think we

need to debate it and to discuss it so we don't create a national I.D.


But here's what I do think we might agree on: my grandfather in the

'30s was the first one to get a Social Security card, right? Then my dad

got one, I got one, my daughter got one, and now Lucito, my grandson, seven

years old, a gorgeous kid, he has a Social Security card. Same technology

as his great grandfather got? I think we can do better.

All we're trying to say as Democrats is, look, we understand that the

border is porous. We're against the criminal element. We want to end that

magnet system that brings undocumented workers into this country, because

here, I'll tell you, I think it does reduce the wages for American workers

and undercuts them. But at same time, I want to bring their wages up.

That is, allow them to enter into legality, so that we can tax them, they

can learn English, and they can incorporate themselves.

It's the other side that really doesn't want to end the problem. So I

guess in all this debate and discussion, I think the important thing,

Keith, in all of this is to say, we're ready to say, we're going to find


And let me put this in there: if you're an employer, I want you to go

to jail if you hire people undocumented in this country. Because you're

exploiting them, because you violate the law. So it's a holistic approach.

So, in the end, unlike J.D. Hayworth, who just simply thinks that if we

pass enough severe laws, so that we question everybody's identity or

possibility of being here legally in this country, all of the undocumented

will go away, you know, we're not waiting or hoping for that. We have a

way. We bring them out.

Lastly, the Congress of the United States, our political structures,

don't have the political will, will not commit the requisite resources to

the 12 million people. But I've got a way to legalize them so that we know

what they are, so we can bring sanity to this debate.


GUTIERREZ: That is we legalize them, we tax them. And the first

thing we're going to do under our program, under the Democratic program, is

we say to the 12 million, OK, here's your chance. We know you committed a

violation of the law. We want to make sure the violation of the law has

some relationship with your punishment. And we understand that, as I said

earlier, nobody's going to round up 12 million people. So we're going to

allow them to come into the light of day.

First thing we're going to say is we're going to check your

fingerprints out. We're going to make sure you're not a criminal, you're

not a murderer, you're not somebody that's violated the law, you're not a

felon. Then we're going to let you in the program. Then you're going to

have a fine. Fine might be 1,500. Whatever the fine is, there will be a

fine attached to this.

Then we'll put you in a program for seven years. You're going to pay

your taxes. You're going to take English classes. You're going to take

civics classes during that time. After seven years, if you come out of

this paying your taxes and following all the laws, we're going to say you

paid your debt. You're at the back of the line. Now you can become a

permanent resident, not a citizen, a permanent resident.

And six, seven years later, maybe if you still on the road and on a

good path, become a citizen. That's the way we deal with the undocumented.

But at the end, we also say, look, so that we're clear, somebody's got to

pick the garlic. It's hard work. Somebody's got to do the poultry in

these plants across this country, the meat-packing plants. Somebody's

going to do the gardening. Somebody's got to burp that baby in the morning

while you and I - not using us as examples - while people like you and I

go to work.

Somebody's got to take care of our kids. Maria's got to be there,

right, to take care of the kid, burp the kids, beat him, make sure he's OK.

And we feel a strong sense of confidence. Somebody is going to have to do

that. And as we get older, Keith - because guess what's happening?

Something unprecedented in our population. We're getting old quickly, a

lot of us, by the tens of millions. Somebody's got to care for us.

So what we're saying is, as those needs - let's make sure we allow

people to come here legally, because then they don't have to cross those

borders with those drug dealers and with those human smugglers, with the

criminals in this country.

OLBERMANN: Congressman Luis Gutierrez, the Democrat of Illinois, and

once again great thanks for your time tonight.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: You heard the native country joke and the death panel

joke; did you hear the mainstream media organization the president savaged

on Saturday night?

The chicken lady's campaign manager has today, as hard as this seems

to believe, made her position on health care seem worse, in worsts.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, she'll be reporting

the latest to you from the Gulf Coast city of Venice, Louisiana.


OLBERMANN: Worsts next and then the comedy stylings of Barack Obama.

First, a very quick comment tonight about Tennessee. If there's anything

worse than your community being hit by a disaster, it's being hit by a

disaster while other and bigger disasters unfold.

This is Nashville. And if you've heard nothing except the Gulf and

Times Square and Arizona, rains in middle Tennessee have absolutely

devastated the area; 22 dead in Tennessee and adjoining states. The

Cumberland River cresting this hour at 52.5 feet.

The major symbols of Nashville impossibly flooded out. The Opryland

Hotel under ten feet and rising. The Country Music Hall of Fame in similar

shape. The football stadium inundated up to the first row of seats. The

hockey arena, the event level below ground level in danger. The town of

Bellview, near a river but never thought of as a prospect for catastrophic

flooding, under water with most homeowners never having even thought of

buying flood insurance.

The Red Cross had opened shelters across Tennessee, Kentucky and

Mississippi, as of this morning. That we cannot give those displaced or

endangered our full attention this day, it does not mean we cannot give

them our help. If you text Red Cross to 90999, 10 will be donated towards

relief of the flooding and the other storm damage in the south, or just go

to for further instructions.


OLBERMANN: Besides himself, and the right wing nut jobs who believe

he's actually Lucifer, who was the principle target of the president's

humor at the White House Correspondent's Dinner Saturday night? You may

have missed it. Jonathan Alter and I will correct that next.

First, reminding you that starting moments hence, three who did not

make the cut to appear in our new Twitter segment, the worst persons in the

world, easiest if you follow me, as the kids say, @KeithOlbermann,

tonight's worst persons in the world, TV version.

Bronze would be Cincinnati Democratic congressional nominee David

Kerkorian. Friday, he won for rhetorically asking, allegedly twice,

whether someone with the name like that of his primary opponent, Suria

Lalamanchali (ph), could actually get elected. Mr. Kerkorian responded.

And as you'll find out shortly, may have just taken the hit and stayed




is a buffoon for not checking his sources, for not even bothering to check.

But here's one thing I will state for the record, last night's program was

sponsored by Proctor & Gamble's Oil of Olay Brand, which is the exact brand

that Suria Lalamanchali worked for. So how did they cover that story last

night, who - because I'm sure Keith Olbermann is not reading "the

Cincinnati Press."

So our folks think that the Oil of Olay brand people and Proctor &

Gamble, in particular, were advancing their former employee, and that's how

it got in there.

I think he was reading from his script. So somehow that got put in

there. And how did it get put in there? Well, if you look at the

relationship between the story and the show's sponsor, I think it's pretty

clear how it got in there.


OLBERMANN: Or maybe it was in the Cincinnati newspapers, bub. We

don't have a sponsor. We're not brought to you by anything. There are

commercials during the show, but, in fact, I don't see the commercials in

the studio. We could be running ads for Glenn Beck and I'd never know. We

checked with commercial traffic department. There were no Oil of Olay ads

on the TV show Friday night. If you go to and you watch

Countdown online, you might get an Oil of Olay commercial or a Toyota

commercial or Oscar Mayer. They rotate them somehow. I don't know. I

don't know how. In fact, I don't even know anybody who works at

I'm sure they're lovely people. There's no conspiracy to keep David

Kerkorian out of Congress, except if hot dogs start driving Toyotas over

slicks made out of Oil of Olay. Or maybe tomorrow when the voters go to

the polls.

Runner-up, comedian Rush Limbaugh. Last week, the oil rig disaster in

the Gulf was possible sabotage, he said, even though he didn't have a shred

of evidence, even though sabotaging a rig 52 miles out to sea and then

sabotaging a blowout preventer 5,000 feet down in the ocean would be a

pretty neat trick. Today, faced with the absurdity of that idea, he

switched to minimizing the out-of-control spill's importance.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I'm not trying to minimize it

here. But we do have all these, you know - ecology does take care of it.

Sea water is pretty tough stuff. Try living in it for a while. Oil has a

tough time surviving in it.


OLBERMANN: I guess he spent a lot of time trying to live in it. You

know what else is natural, according to Rush? Hemorrhoids. Our winner,

though, the chicken lady. Why has Sue Lowden's campaign to unseat Harry

Reid in Nevada mismanaged the chickens for health care story? Because this

next guy is her campaign manager, Robert Utoban (ph). And he may be more

tone deaf than she is. This just in from Channel 3 in Las Vegas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should everybody have access to health care in

this country?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if you can afford it you do.

UTOBAN: No. If I have a bullet hole in my chest, I can go down to

UMC and I'm going to get health care.


OLBERMANN: Doctor, can you staunch the bleeding long enough for me to

bring in your chickens? Nevada senatorial candidate Sue Lowden, with

campaign manager Robert "Chickens for Bullet Hole Repair" Utoban, today's

worst persons in the world.


OLBERMANN: The modern benchmark for going too far with humor in a

presidential address was infamously achieved in March 2004. President

Bush, one year into the war in Iraq, narrating a slide show at the Radio

and Television Correspondent's Association Dinner in Washington; "those

weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere." Not everybody


In hindsight, it has gotten less funny still. Our number one story,

President Obama's second address to the White House Correspondent's

Association was on Saturday. Jonathan Alter will rate his performance.

First, "Politico" reporting that the address was written by White

House speech writers John Favreau and John Lovitt (ph), with help from

senior adviser David Axelrod, spokesman Tommy Vitter (ph), and "Daily Show"

writer Kevin Blier (ph). More writers than I have.

For the president's first address to the association last year, with

the hope of bipartisanship still somewhat alive, Mr. Obama largely spared

his political adversaries of ridicule, with the exception of John Boehner

and his tan. A year later, the president roasted more than a few

Republicans, the right wing lunatic fringe, the cable news media, and John

Boehner's tan again.


OBAMA: It's been quite a year since I've spoken here last. Lots of

ups, lots of downs, except for my approval ratings, which have just gone


But that's politics. It doesn't bother me. Besides, I happen to know

that my approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth.

The Jonas Brothers are here. They're out there somewhere. Sasha and

Malia are huge fans. But boys, don't get any ideas. I have two words for

you: Predator Drones.

Unfortunately, John McCain couldn't make it. Recently, he claimed he

had never identified himself as a maverick. And we all know what happens

in Arizona when you don't have I.D.

You might have heard, we passed a health care bill and - was that

Roger Ailes applauding out there? There aren't a few secret provisions in

the health care plan, there are, like, hundreds.

This provision ought to put a common misconception to rest. It says

right here: if you do not like the ruling of your death panel, you can


A few weeks ago, I was able to throw out the first pitch at the

Nationals game. And I don't know if you saw it, but I threw it a little

high, a little outside. This is how Fox News covered it: "President

panders to extreme left wing of batter's box." On the other hand, MSNBC

had a different take, "President pitches no hitter." And then CNN went a

different way altogether.

RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I was just asking Chad, how can you get a

volcano in Iceland? Isn't it - when you think of a volcano, you think of

like Hawaii and long words like that. You don't think of Iceland. You

think it's too cold to have a volcano there.

OLBERMANN: I guess that's why they're the most trusted name in news.


OLBERMANN: Joined now by Jonathan Alter, of MSNBC and "Newsweek."

His latest book "The Promise, President Obama, Year One," will be out later

this month. Good evening.


OLBERMANN: You were there. Last year, he poked fun at himself and

the critics. He did the teleprompter bit, where he said he was going to ad

lib a few remarks and throw away the speech. And up come loudly these two

teleprompters. This was a little edgier, wasn't it? I mean, country of my

birth jokes, Arizona I.D., death panels. This was a little sharper point

to it, wasn't it?

ALTER: Yes, it went over really well actually. There wasn't a person

in the room, anybody I know or I saw, who thought that Obama didn't out-

class Jay Leno, which is saying something. You might just say that "the

Daily Show" has better writers than "the Tonight Show," and maybe that

explains it. But Obama's timing was good, and Leno seemed kind of stale.

And these jokes had a little bit of edge, in part because I think at this

point the Tea Bag, Tea Party movement, all that stuff has become a bit of a


We now have polling showing that it's the same 20 percent right wing

extremists, as we've always had in this country, that have gotten a

tremendous amount of publicity because they have a new name. But it's the

same old - same old folks that, you know, the fearful fifth of America,

who can't handle the future. They used to be called reactionaries. So he

made a little sport of them, and it went over well.

OLBERMANN: From the ashes of the Tea Party - you mentioned "the

Daily Show," writers. Do all presidents use ringers for these?

ALTER: They do, actually. There was a guy named Landon Parvin who

wrote all of the Republicans jokes. A guy named Mark Katz wrote jokes for

the Democrats for many years. So that's a common thing. But there's a guy

named Jon Lovitt on the White House staff who is kind of the in-house gag

man. They have both insiders and ringers.

OLBERMANN: Did he or do we know who did the Predator Drones jokes

about the Jonas Brothers? And did you think they were in bounds? Because,

frankly, I thought that was over the edge. I thought that was almost in

the where's the - where are the weapons of mass destruction under the desk


ALTER: Well, Keith, I would submit that you are not like me, the

father of two daughters.

OLBERMANN: All right. OK.

ALTER: And if you are -

OLBERMANN: So you're saying it wasn't a joke.

ALTER: It was a joke.

OLBERMANN: It was threatening to send Predator Drones against the

Jonas Brothers.

ALTER: If someone comes after your pre-teen daughters, Predator

Drones are actually a mild response.

OLBERMANN: I thought he could have gone with the Drones Brothers.

But to me the most misunderstood Joe was the one about the cable news

networks. Somebody said, oh, you got a shout out from the president. That

wasn't even a rip of Fox. He gutted CNN. And it just went right past

people, I thought.

ALTER: For Rick Sanchez to say that Hawaii was a big word, it was

rather cruel and perfectly usual punishment.

OLBERMANN: Rick is a wonderful guy. I used to work with him. The

first guest host on this show was Rick Sanchez. Lovely guy. I just

thought the line about, that's why they're the most trusted name in cable

news, I was just like - ahh!

ALTER: He doesn't cross out much. Last year, when Hillary Clinton

broke her elbow, there was a joke that said Hillary Clinton fell again on

her way to the White House. And the president, before the speech, he

crossed that out and did not deliver that joke. So there are certain lines

that he won't cross. But if you don't have any edge, then you get bad

reviews like Jay Leno. Who wants that?

OLBERMANN: You keep trying to get me to say something about that,

don't you? I'm not going to.


OLBERMANN: It was a fun night. Was the meal better this year?

Because I won't go because there's some people I won't be in the room with

anymore. But -

ALTER: look. Politics is show business for ugly people. That's what

they've always said. This brings politics and Hollywood together. It's

kind of the Oscars on C-Span. It's a ridiculous evening on many levels,

but it's also kind of fun.

OLBERMANN: If it was held in Iowa.

Jonathan Alter, the new book is "The Promise." It will be on store

shelves later this month. Please do what you can to get it off the store

shelves, so that Jon makes money off it.

LATER: Thanks. It is be on store shelves May 19th.

OLBERMANN: That's Countdown for this, the 2,559th day since the

previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith

Olbermann, good night and good luck. Now, joining you from Venice,

Louisiana, with the latest on the impact of the oil spill there, ladies and

gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.