Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Two episodes for this date.
Click to go directly to:
First episode, 8 PM
Second episode, 10 PM with updated primary coverage
'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, May 18th, 2010; 10 pm show
video podcast

The toss: (Rachel, into Keith's hour) Indeed
The toss: (Keith, into Rachel's hour) Vibrating

Guests: Andrea Mitchell, Howard Fineman, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O`Donnell, Ed Schultz, Chuck Todd, Chris Matthews, Howard Fineman

KEITH OLBERMANN, MSNBC HOST: Thank you again, Rachel.

MADDOW: Indeed.

OLBERMANN: And good evening once again from New York. The last

primary night to get this much attention? March 4, 2008; Barack Obama and

Hilary Clinton faced each other on the ballots of Ohio and Texas among

other states for the democratic presidential nomination.

Tonight, in our fifth story on this special edition of Countdown, in

Kentucky, a Tea Party favorite has defeated the candidate picked by the

Senate Minority Leader for that state's republican Senate nomination.

While in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, two veteran senators not facing

career-ending challenges from the left. We begin tonight in Kentucky,

where republicans will have the largest turnout ever in one of their

statewide primaries.

Political novice Rand Paul, the eye surgeon, the son of Congressman

Ron Paul riding support from Tea Party activists to victory in the

republican Senate primary. He has defeated Trey Grayson who was recruited

to run for Senator Jim Bunning's seat by that state's other senator, the

senior senator, Mitch McConnell.

Earlier tonight, Dr. Paul making clear exactly for whom his victory

was intended.


RAND PAUL: I have a message. A message from the Tea Party; a message

that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We've come to take our

government back.


OLBERMANN: Never mind the government back, get a new PA system back.

Minority leader McConnell appearing to hear that message. He's issued a

statement tonight which reads in part, "Dr. Paul ran an outstanding

campaign which clearly struck a chord with Kentucky voters and I

congratulate him on his impressive victory.

Now Kentucky republicans will unite in standing against the

overreaching policies of the Obama Administration. Kentucky needs Rand

Paul in the U.S. Senate because he will work every day to stop this

crippling agenda." Boy, it didn't take him long to get on that bandwagon.

Among the democrats in the Kentucky Senate race, with a very a large

turnout which is not that atypical in Kentucky, it is Jack Conway by the

slimmest of margins, and 3 percent of polls yet to report.

Conway, the attorney general Mongiardo, the lieutenant governor of

that state in a knock-down, drag-out, Tom-and-Jerry-style battle here

throughout the evening, and no projection yet made.

Meanwhile in Arkansas in the primary for the democratic Senate

nomination there, in the three-way race which initially looked like

Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter's, it is now Blanche Lincoln comfortably in

the lead, but with only 5 percent of the vote still scored. Of course the

key number here is not 46 percent, nor 41 percent, but 50 percent.

That is how much the winner would need to avoid a runoff primary, and

there you see it. It does not look like that is developing for Senator

Lincoln. And this morning, in a development that also might not develop

well for Senator Lincoln and her fight to hold on to her seat, the democrat

filling out a provisional ballot because her campaign had already requested

an absentee ballot for her, which she did not send back.

It was sent to her home in Virginia. Officials telling

talkingpointsmemo.com that they will count that provisional tonight,

assuming they can independently confirm that Senator Lincoln did not

already vote by mail. The three-way race making it sure she's likely to

want her own vote.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey has now won the republican

Senate nomination - no surprise there - where he will face the winner of

the big one of the evening, former republican Arlen Specter, the incumbent

senator from a different party versus Congressman Joe Sestak.

And at this hour, with the Philadelphia vote primarily counted already

and the outskirts of that area, and of course the western part of the state

just beginning to come in, Joe Sestak with a four percent lead. Andrea

Mitchell is now reporting, I'm being told at this hour, two top Specter

supporters are telling NBC News Specter can not overcome this margin -

this Sestak margin.

That's an Andrea Mitchell report that two of Specter's big supporters

are saying their man can not overcome the big lead that Sestak has in

Allegheny County, which is of course Western Pennsylvania, broadly


Senator Specter, who in recent days, seems to have forgotten for which

party he was running mentioned it a couple of times the wrong way, today

warning that if he loses, the Tea Party will take the country back 200



ARLEN SPECTER: If you don't field the strongest candidate, frankly

like Arlen Specter, they're going to take over and they'll want to

eliminate EPN. They want to go back to the Gold Standard. We'd be in 18th

Century America.

OLBERMANN: And the Montreal Canadians will beat the Philadelphia

Flyers. Joining me now from Philadelphia, Howard Fineman of Newsweek and

MSNBC. Great thanks for you time tonight, Howard.


OLBERMANN: We have to ask you about what Andrea Mitchell has just

reported here. There were some hints earlier this evening, even in the

afternoon, based on what Ed Rendell had said, that perhaps Senator

Specter's supporters were looking at this with great, great anxiety about


Does it in fact look like they believe they're not going to win this


FINEMAN: It feels like that, and I think Andrea's reporting is right

on target. I talked to Representative Bob Brady earlier today from

Philadelphia, who's basically the head of the machine here; very upset

about the turnout; very upset he didn't think the White House did enough.

That was interesting body language in and of itself.

I just talked to friends of mine in my hometown of Pittsburgh. Don't

forgot, Arlen Specter got the endorsement of the local AFLCIO in Allegheny

County. He got the endorsement of County Executive Dan Onorato, who is

about to win the democratic nomination for governor.

Specter got the endorsement of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl of Pittsburgh.

Despite all of that, based on the results I've seen so far we're looking at

on the web, and talking to people in the state officials offices, Joe

Sestak is ahead about 53-47 in Allegheny County despite all of the support

of the establishment there.

And you put that together with a very moderate turnout here in

Philadelphia, the fact that it looks like Joe Sestak is winning 38-39

percent of the vote here in Philadelphia without a big push in the western

part of the state, and a good showing in the western part of the state, the

numbers that you see on the screen now, 52-48 Sestak look like they're

going to hold up. And I think Andrea's right on target.

OLBERMANN: And Andrea's right there with you, and we'll get to her in

second. I just wanted to report that the AP has just called the Kentucky

democratic nomination for Jack Conway. But let's - we'll deal with that in

a second. Andrea Mitchell, who we've invoked now four times without giving

her the chance to speak. Good evening, Andrea.

FINEMAN: She's sitting right next to me. I think I should.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: We're about two inches apart.

Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: What do they think happened? Is this just the classic

case of it's a bad year for an incumbent, and essentially Senator Specter

is a double incumbent?

MITCHELL: Yes, and the party switch clearly. Allegheny County just

went for Sestak. That is what they're telling me. That is what the numbers

are coming in to the democratic party leaders who are Specter supporters.

So they, two top officials who are Specter supporters, just told me

that they don't see any way that he can overcome this, and that by 11

o'clock it really will be declared.

You know, they're still obviously counting the votes, but the numbers

that are coming in to the big Specter supporters are that the Philadelphia

margin, which is about a 20 percent margin, is just not enough to overcome

what he is facing throughout the rest of the state.

And so there's tremendous disappointment. They do think that it was

that party switch. They were trying to sell a new democrat who did not

resonate with democratic voters and it is the anti-incumbent pitch.

Joe Sestak presented himself very cleverly in all of his commercials

as an agent of change and a new face, even though he is already an elected

official and is a member of Congress, but certainly not a 30-year veteran

and an established figure in Washington - Keith.

OLBERMANN: Andrea, what on earth does Senator Specter do now? Does

he close ranks behind democrats who just turned him out in his first

attempt to get their nomination? Does he sit this one out? Does he go

independent? Does he wind up back with the republicans? What does he do?

MITCHELL: Well when I asked him about that very question today, he

said he's going to support Joe Sestak. This has been a bitter race, but he

says that he is a democrat and that he will be, I don't know how hard he'll

be working for Joe Sestak, but you can hear all the - Chris Matthews'

signature laugh.

FINEMAN: The patented laugh

MITCHELL: The patented laugh of Chris Matthews. I don't think this

is going to be an excessively hard campaigner but I think he'll be a

trooper on this; that he did join the Democratic Party; he felt that the

Republican Party rejected him and had changed and had become captured by

the Tea Party, and I think you're going to see Pat Toomey, who's won the

nomination on the republican side here certainly move to the center.

FINEMAN: On the other hand, Keith, the White House pulled the plug on

Arlen Specter about 5 o'clock this afternoon on "Hardball" when - another

patented laugh - when Chuck Todd reported that the White House people were

saying you know what, Arlen came to us. We didn't go to him.

And you know, Sestak is probably a better general election candidate.

They said that at 5 o'clock with three hours in voting here in Philadelphia

and in Pennsylvania on a show that a lot of people watch here in Philly if

for no other reason than their favorite son is the host of the show.

OLBERMANN: Well, Chris, what are you numbers like in Pittsburgh?

MITCHELL: And it's exactly the time when the lunch bucket -

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Well, they're dynamite in Philly, brother.

Every Sunday, every night, they're dynamite. All I can tell you, Keith, is

let me be cruel tonight. Let me be very cruel. Neil Oxman's ad for

Sestak, which began running about two weeks ago turned this election


It showed Arlen Specter admitting his opportunism. Now it's one thing

to be opportunistic; everybody is to some extent. But to admit it to the

camera that you switched parties to save your keyster is unacceptable.

People care about how they - you care about your politics.

Everybody who votes cares about their politics. To be so casual about

it to say, oh, yes, I switched parties because I didn't want to lose - It

reminds me of the guy who puts on the woman's dress to get in the lifeboat

on the Titanic.

You don't look too good down in that boat wearing the dress. Now they

may let you leave just because they're embarrassed for you, but they don't

like you anymore. And so unfortunately, Neil Oxman did that to this guy.

He put him in the lifeboat and put the dress on him and it didn't look

good. And that's the story of this election. I think.


OLBERMANN: Yes, Howard?

FINEMAN: As long as we're talking about personal stuff, I got to tell

you this, and I didn't clear it with her before I went on the air to say

this, but my family is from Pittsburgh. My mom is 86. She lives in

Pittsburgh; retired teacher, democrat straight down the line.

I called her earlier today out in Allegheny County and I said whom did

you vote for? And she said Joe Sestak. And she called him "shestak".

MATTHEWS: Oh my goodness.

FINEMAN: She had no idea. She called him "shestak" but she said

Arlen Specter voted for the war in Iraq and voted for the Bush tax cuts.

In other words, he was still too much of a republican in her mind -

MATTHEWS: Good for her.

FINEMAN: - to support in the democratic primary. That's what Andrea


MATTHEWS: Mrs. Fineman still has a clear head.

FINEMAN: Well, no, it's -

MATTHEWS: She's voting - those are issues that matter.

FINEMAN: Well, no. That was a big lift for a lot of democrats, and

especially with the Barack Obama not coming in here and going knocking

door-to-door and saying look, I know Mrs. Fineman, you know, he's a

republican but he's my guy, you got to vote for him.

And when Obama didn't do that, even though he's got the TV ad, when he

didn't come in here again and again and again, I think that hurt with those

kinds of voters.

MITCHELL: The ad that Chris just talked about, also of course showed

George W. Bush saying that he, you know, he praised him and loved -

FINEMAN: Right. I love Arlen.

MITCHELL: He loved Arlen's -

FINEMAN: They showed that George Bush ad time and time and time

again, and if Arlen ends up in the final count losing, that will be the

reason why. Too many voters in the democratic primary are not going to

vote for a guy who was a republican ten minutes ago and who's praised by

George W. Bush.

MATTHEWS: I think you've got to be careful, Keith. I think in terms

of sensibility, he is to the left of Arlen. Certainly his history is that,

but he's not dove, and I think it's very careful, he was a military man; an

admiral - three-star at one point - I think it's very important for him

going in to the general election to be honest about it.

He's not a man of the left. He's a man of the center-left I think

it's fair to say like Arlen has become -

OLBERMANN: Chris, I'm going to interrupt you - Give me - I'm going

to take my life in my hands.

MATTHEWS: But in terms of voters -


MATTHEWS: In terms of voters, they thought he was to the left.

OLBERMANN: Give me one second. The Associated Press has just called

this race for Joe Sestak. That's the only reason I would attempt to

interrupt you on that.

FINEMAN: Wow. There you go.

OLBERMANN: The Associated Press saying simply Joe Sestak, Democrat,

nominated U.S. Senate, Pennsylvania. All right so that's out of the way.

Let me go back again - and Chris -

MATTHEWS: I think he's going to the center, and I think - OK.

OLBERMANN: What is it - I asked you this question two hours ago, and

it's much more relevant now that the thing has happened. Is this just a set

of unique circumstances in Pennsylvania given you have a man switching

parties, as Howard has so acutely pointed out, given that you have the

White House kind of bailing out on this both with the president not

stopping by, and the vice president being in Pennsylvania yesterday and

doing no campaigning for him, and a somewhat strong across-the-board, anti-

incumbent theory going on throughout the nation?

Is it self-explanatory, or does it mean anything else, and does this

outcome mean anything else anywhere in the country except in the

Pennsylvania Democratic Party?

MATTHEWS: I think there's a pattern in all the races. People say

this is not as good as it can get. They're not willing to accept Blanche

Lincoln's sort of mediocre, somewhere-in-the-middle voting pattern. She

went too far to the right.

I don't think they're willing to accept Trey Grayson's dictation from

Mitch McConnell. I think people say I demand better government, left or

right. I demand something better than this. They're not listening to the

leaders on either side.

There's a real pattern here. I said to you the term screw you. Maybe

that's strong language, but they're basically saying to the big shots,

including the president, don't tell us who to vote for. The president, the

vice president, the governor, the head of the party here, the mayor -

everybody said vote for Arlen Specter.

They gave them a sample ballot that only had the name of Arlen Specter

on it. As Howard pointed out, 38 percent of this city, which is still an

old machine town, voted against the machine candidate. That is

rejectionism, and I think that's what the pattern is tonight. Don't tell

us who to vote for. We're still a democracy. I think.

MITCHELL: And I think it does foretell some problems that Sestak is

going to experience, because there are people in this party here, and they

go all the way up to the governor who were ignored by the voters - by the

democratic voters - but they will in turn blame some people on Washington

for what happened, because they do think that President Obama could have

pulled this out in the last couple of days.

The other outcome of this, Keith, is also that Howard Fineman outed

his mother.

FINEMAN: By the way, I hope I don't get in trouble for that, by the


MATTHEWS: You know, but there has never been a more loyal son, Mrs.

Fineman. He speaks about you all the time. I mean a day doesn't pass he

doesn't bless you. And your love.


FINEMAN: Any more questions?

OLBERMANN: No, just something from you as opposed to from mom, as

appreciative we have of her being the fourth analyst in our equation here.

Put this into a perspective. Did the White House - to what degree did the

White House give up? And to what degree did the White House undercut Arlen

Specter in the last two days?

FINEMAN: I think the White House right now is hunkering down. I

think they're in a crouch looking for the tsunami to come. That's my take

on it. I think this is going to be big, and I think it's going to be

mostly against the democrats for the plain and simple reason that the

democrats control the White House and have big majorities in the House and

the Senate.

If you look at the basic tabulations of toss-up races in leaning

republicans and strong republican, there're 58 democratic seats that are

exposed in the House, and only four or five republican seats.

If the democrats lose 40, 42, 41-42 of those 58 seats, they lose the

House. On the Senate side, especially with problems in Connecticut, with

the weakness of Barbara Boxer in California, this is going to be a close

run thing by the fall.

If this mood continues, Keith, it's going to be a close run thing as

to whether the democrats keep control of either the House or the Senate

come November.

OLBERMANN: A little invocation of Mr. Wellington at Waterloo from

Howard Fineman, along with Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell. We'll go

back to them after a quick break, along with Lawrence O'Donnell, but the

big news, the Associated Press has now called the democratic primary for

Senate in Pennsylvania for Congressman Joe Sestak over the incumbent-but-

switched-party senator, the veteran Arlen Specter, whose career in public

service may have come to an end in the last 15 minutes.

MSNBC's coverage of this big primary night continues next.


OLBERMANN: This doesn't sum up everything that has faced Senator

Arlen Specter, who is as of tonight, the lame duck senator from

Pennsylvania. The audio on that speech has just kicked in after about

three or four minutes.

Going to talk to Lawrence O'Donnell about the defeat of Senator

Specter. Also going to talk to Chris Matthews, Andrew Mitchell, and Howard

Fineman again, a little bit from Arlen Specter, who has tonight lost

according to the AP, and is trailing on the count of 53-47 in the race for

the democratic nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania.

SPECTER: I thank the President for his support, and Vice President

Biden, and Governor Rendell, and Senator Casey, and an extraordinary staff

helping me to run the Senate office - Scott Hoeflich the Chief of Staff.

I don't know why he got more applause than I did, but he deserves it.

And Mike Oscar in Philadelphia and Adrian Baker Green, Andy Wallace in

Scranton, and Stan in Pittsburgh, and Mary in Eerie, and Melissa in

Harrisburg; tremendous, tremendous office operation. And I thank my

campaign workers who did an extraordinary job; Chris Mickelas (ph) and

Chris Mattola (ph) and really a case of thousands behind us in the

campaign. It's been a great privilege to serve the people of Pennsylvania.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Arlen.


SPECTER: And it's been a great privilege to be in the United States

Senate, and I'll be working very, very hard for the people of the

commonwealth in the coming months. Thank you all.

OLBERMANN: So Arlen Specter, who was elected to the U.S. Senate the

same year that Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States,

who has survived all the races since then, who survived in some sense

switching parties, who survived Stage-4 B Hodgkin's Lymphoma, the brain

tumor, never missed a Senate session.

Underwent chemotherapy in 2005, chemotherapy in 2008, does not survive

the primary nomination process for the democratic nomination for Senate

from the state he has served since 1980.

As we promised, continuing coverage here at MSNBC of the defeat, an

epic moment certainly in Pennsylvania, state history - Chris Matthews -

but certainly on a bigger scale, perhaps an influential moment in the

history of current American politics with that point you were making before

we took the break; that you can't just don different clothing and get into

the lifeboat, especially at a time when incumbents are not particularly

favored around the country.

MATTHEWS: I think that's the reality of the campaign, and it took

until, you know a lot of times voters don't really say they're for the

other guy until they know who the other guy or the other woman is.

And it wasn't really until the series of ads came on the air in

Pennsylvania a couple of weeks ago that introduced Joe Sestak to people,

that according to his TV consultant, Neil Oxman, 65 percent of the people

of Pennsylvania, the voters had no idea who Joe Sestak was a couple of

weeks ago.

They ran the positive ads that introduced him as a former military

man, 31-year veteran. And then Arlen went on the air with the negative ads

saying yes, he was a 31-year veteran, but he was relieved of duty, but that

sort of reconfirmed the fact that he was a military man, which is a big

plus in Pennsylvania which had a split impact - a positive impact fifty

percent of it.

So the overall impact of the ads on both sides was positive for

Sestak, introducing an alternative. It's very much about the shift to the

right after Jimmy Carter. When the public perceived Jimmy Carter as a

failed president politically, they were simply looking for an alternative.

And when Reagan proved he was competent enough to debate Carter, they

said OK. All Sestak had to do was introduce himself as a competent

democratic alternative to a guy who had switched parties, and that seems to

have been enough to win a comfortable victory without a lot of other

information really.

He's not a warm personality, Joe Sestak. He's not more charming than

Arlen. It's just that he's a democrat with a record that seems credible

against a guy who has a 45-year record as a republican. I think that's it.

I think that's the facts.

OLBERMANN: By the way, we are putting up the - suddenly switching

topics here to show you as you see on the screen, the 12th District Special

Election, we don't have our checkmark yet on that one, but Mark Critz, the

aide to the former - the late congressman from that district, Jack Murtha,

this is the actual election of the night.

This is not for nomination. Winner here goes to Washington to advance

to the semi-finals. Mark Critz has been, according to the Associated

Press, nominated in the 12th District with a sizeable lead over his

republican challenger, Tim Burns.

So that seat will hold for the Democrats, and the larger picture in

Pennsylvania and the instructive picture in Pennsylvania continues to be

this question of what the Specter defeat means, both in terms of the

upcoming senatorial race there, and also what the entire picture means in

terms of the incumbents and party-changing and the re-definition of

American politics.

And for a little bit on that, Lawrence O'Donnell of our staff, with

Huffington Post and other places here and there joins me now. Put this in

context. I thought it was ironic that the thing that we joined - the

speech from Senator Specter in progress, he began by thanking President

Obama for his support, which was pretty tepid.

It seemed like Senator Specter didn't have a lot to say other than to

thank the people who supported him there, and there weren't enough of them

to keep him going passed this. What does this all mean, Lawrence?

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC ANALYST: Well one thing I'd like to get if

we have the resources on site in Pennsylvania is did Specter congratulate

Joe Sestak? Did Specter say in the portions that we didn't hear that he is

endorsing Sestak and he's going to work for Sestak?

We didn't hear that in the portions that we got on air, but that's

something we're going to have to find out, and if he specifically left that

out, then there could be something interesting developing beyond tonight

with Specter.

But one of the big messages of tonight, Keith, obviously, and it's not

just tonight, is that a White House endorsement, so far in 2010, is proving

to be worthless. We had one in Massachusetts and we saw the White House

endorsement mean nothing there.

We've just seen it get rolled over in Pennsylvania, and the White

House political operation, which worked so very hard to eliminate any

democrat from challenging Arlen Specter - they used every method they

could to talk people out of running for this - they couldn't - it didn't

work with Sestak.

They've done the same thing in New York with Senator Gillibrand. They

worked very hard to clear the field for her. That has worked so far. But

the question within the party is, is the White House political operation

making the right decisions about these races or have they made mistakes on

who they have decided at the outset, should go in to the general election

against republicans.

And the voters of Pennsylvania tonight certainly said that the White

House made a mistake and that Sestak is the one that democrats in

Pennsylvania want to see in the general election this fall. And so, you

see this, the White House political operation is reeling from this result,

and they should be.

OLBERMANN: To that first question you raised, obviously we don't know

what was said before the - unfortunately before the audio switched on;

part of the Senator's problem tonight and throughout the campaign, we don't

know what he said, but as Andrea Mitchell had reported earlier, when they

discussed this this afternoon during an interview with Andrea, he had said

he was going to work for Congressman Sestak if indeed he lost the


So presumably, that promise holds true. Lawrence O'Donnell in Los

Angeles for you tonight. We're going to go back to Philadelphia after a

quick break here, because we have so much to talk about, both in

Pennsylvania, and also in Kentucky, where the tea party candidate has

blistered the main-line Republican sent out by Mitch McConnell.

And Mitch McConnell has himself joined that bandwagon of the tea party

candidate, Rand Paul, as fast as you can get on it. If he hopped on one

leap off the ground to a seated position on top that bandwagon, I wouldn't

be surprised if there's a video of it.

All right. I know I sounded a little like Dan Rather right there.

We'll be right back.


OLBERMANN: Let's recap the busy night so far in our primary specials,

particularly focusing on Pennsylvania and Kentucky. The numbers in

Arkansas are a little too early to say anything about, but not so in


The Democratic senatorial primarily has been decided, mostly in votes

in Allegheny County, the western part of the state. Pittsburgh - and

Pittsburgh delivers Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary nomination to

Congressman Joe Sestak, in what is developing as a very large victory over

the incumbent - though not the incumbent Democratic Senator Arlen Specter.

To look briefly at Kentucky where the tea party candidate, Rand Paul,

has roundly defeated his opponent from the traditional mainstream

Republican side of things, Trey Grayson, by a margin of less than two to

one, this has held pretty much throughout the night at about 59-35.

Ninety-nine percent of that vote in, 205,000 votes for Dr. Paul, the eye


Relevant to this number, though there had been traditionally high

numbers in the Democratic primaries of Kentucky, that would subject some

disparity or some decrease in disparity in the general elections. You will

notice, as we look at the Democratic Senate primary numbers out of there,

with Lieutenant Governor Mongiardo apparently losing to the attorney

general, Conway, huge numbers for both of these candidates. Perhaps that's

above the average. We'll try to check that for you before the hour is out.

Generally speaking, primaries in Kentucky runs statistically, votes

totals turnout, about three to two the numbers. And then at election time,

the Senate seats go to the Republicans and much of the House does as well.

A statement to read to you, getting back to the subject of

Pennsylvania, from Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO.

"America's workers," he writes, "tonight, give their heartfelt thanks to

Senator Specter for his distinguished career, fighting for working

families. I," he said, "have known and worked with him for all my years in

the labor movement and it is an honor and privilege to call him a friend.

We also congratulate Congressman Sestak on his victory. He ran a

strong campaign that probably emphasized his support for the workers of


We mention all this - as we go back to Philadelphia and our panel

consisting of Chris Matthews, Howard Fineman, Andrea Mitchell, and now, Ed

Schultz from MSNBC's "ED SHOW" - we mention this because, Ed Schultz, the

labor endorsement here did not turn out to be decisive as nice a picture

Mr. Trumka might be putting on it this hour.

ED SCHULTZ, "The Ed Show" HOST: No, it didn't, Keith. But labor was

really caught between a rock and hard spot in this situation because

actually, both these candidates have been strong for labor for 30 years.

Arlen Specter has done a nice job for working families. Joe Sestak has

probably been more of a staunch supporter of the Employee Free Act which

may not happen this year for the Democrats, and may not happen even after

the midterms. It's still a heavy lift.

So, labor was caught in a position where you don't want to damage

yourself. Whether it had been Sestak tonight or whether it had been

Specter tonight, both those candidates would have come away with resounding

support in election against Toomey, who they see as just the devil when it

comes to workers in this country.

So, labor was very politically calculated in this race. They didn't

want to overstep their boundary. They didn't want to create an enemy.

They knew in the big picture they were going to be OK.

But I think also, Keith, I think that Joe Sestak did President Obama a

huge favor tonight. He was certainly more the progressive candidate. Mr.

President, it's OK to go left. It's OK to move forward with progressives.

Republicans haven't done anything with the Democrats. They've tried

to block everything Obama wants to do action.

And I think Joe Sestak has come up in favor of workers, in favor of a

stronger health care bill. He's ready to hold Wall Street accountable, and

he connected with small towns. He's winning in every county tonight in

Pennsylvania except three. Now, that's a statement for change.

And so - I also think, I'd even go further to say that Joe Sestak may

not stop at the United States Senate. This guy is the highest ranking

military officer ever elected to the Congress, a three star. He's a

brilliant man. He can talk to you about oil spills. He can talk to you

about strategy in Afghanistan. He's been critical of the strategy of

Afghanistan, so far. I think he's a diamond in the rough for the


OLBERMANN: All right. I'm going to interrupt our reporting from

Philadelphia to go to Washington in Chuck Todd, to follow up on Ed's point

about President Obama. But I also want to answer one that Lawrence

O'Donnell had mentioned because that audio failure at the Specter

statement, he did in fact - and felt compelled to tweet against that he is

going to support Joe Sestak in the senatorial race in Pennsylvania.

Let me read the tweet, it's not going to take too long, Chuck.


OLBERMANN: "Congratulations, Congressman Sestak. You have my support

for the general election."

It may not be effusive at this point, but then again, you're limited

to 140 characters.

To Ed's point, Chuck, this idea that perhaps some Democratic voters

here and there, and some Republican voters not doing it intentionally, but

perhaps doing it incidentally, might be giving the White House a message

to, you know, bring out heavy well-defined characters and support the

people that actually perhaps would sit better with the more fervent part of

your base, which I guess is a polite way of saying, get the liberals out


Is that your read? Or is that going to be their read after what's

happened in Pennsylvania tonight?

TODD: Well, I think they're going to look at this, in their read -

the White House is going to obsess over one race and one race only.

They're going to ignore all the others. They're going to look at

Pennsylvania 12 and the House special election, say, aha, see?

Now, they won't mention the fact that the Democratic candidate ran

against health care, ran against a couple of the other Obama legislative

victories. But overall, they'll say, hey, we've been told that the

national environment is an albatross. Here's the only congressional

district in the country that voted for John Kerry in '04, and went to John

McCain in '08, and the special election goes in a fairly decisive fashion

to the Democrats.

Now, Republicans will say, hey, Democrats had a turnout and this and

that. But I think the overall point tonight is, you know, the closer you

were to Washington, the more national you tried to run your race, the more

you got penalized. I'll go to the special election. Republicans ran a

very nationalized race. They tried to run against Obama and Pelosi.

The Democrats - the Democratic candidate there ran a much more

localized race, to talk about what he did, what Murtha did for the district

and that's a sort of unofficial son of John Murtha, what he was going to


Look at the Rand Paul thing. You know, the more Mitch McConnell got

involved, the worse it was for Trey Grayson.

And then we got to Pennsylvania, and we can even say to a lesser

extent what we're seeing in Arkansas, because clearly, Blanche Lincoln is,

you know, probably going to get held under 50 percent, and that's gong to

go into an overtime.

But the only good news for Washington, Keith, is that somehow the

wizards won the lottery tonight in the NBA. So, we got John Wall coming, I


OLBERMANN: Or Sam Bowie instead of Michael Jordan.

TODD: Well, don't even go there.

OLBERMANN: One quick question, reflecting back on the Scott Brown

special election in Massachusetts - did that paradigm not shift somewhat?

Did not Scott Brown run nationally rather than locally in Massachusetts?

TODD: Actually, if you look at his race, and I remember his

consultants would fervently sit there and say, you know what, he was

running against the governor there, the unpopular governor, Deval Patrick.

He wouldn't mention that he was a Republican in many of his TV ads. He

wasn't running against Obama.

The national party wanted to turn it into a referendum.

So, I think what we're learning here is that, look, this is an angry

and frustrated electoral. Some of the folks are angry. Some are

frustrated. It's all has to do in some form with the economy.

Some people - whether they're liberals or conservatives - feel like

they don't have control of their own life, let's say, because of job

issues, or because of there. Whatever it is the reason, and they're

lashing out at big institutions. Sometimes it's Wall Street, and sometimes

it's the federal government.

And I think that there is a thread here that is not - you don't force

yourself to look for it. It's there and we're seeing it on both sides.

OLBERMANN: Angry elections are the best elections. Chuck Todd with

us from Washington - thank you, Chuck. Appreciate it.

TODD: All right.

OLBERMANN: And we'll take a break, but I'll leave it with you this.

I'll read it directly from Salon.com. "Some old habits diehard. So the TV

in corner of the hotel ballroom in Center city, Philadelphia, where Arlen

Specter supporters were gathering Tuesday night to watch election returns

lingered on FOX News Channel for a while, until someone finally remembered

that at Democratic events, you're supposed to watch something else."

That might tell you that story.

We'll continue with the latest from Arkansas after this.


OLBERMANN: The second part of the Pennsylvania special election, the

12th district there to succeed the late Jack Murtha, has now been

completed. Earlier, the "Associated Press" nominated - said that both Mr.

Critz and Mr. Burns, the Democrat and the Republican, had gotten the

nomination for the regular election in November. They're going to do this


But for the special election to fill this seat right now, Republican

Tim Burns has now conceded to the Democrat Mark Critz in the special

election in Jack Murtha's old district, the 12th district. Mr. Critz was

formerly an aide to the late Congressman Murtha.

And for what that means and what the seven to nothing run of special

elections for House seats since 2008, what that means auguring for the

fall, let's go back to Philadelphia, Chris Matthews and Andrea Mitchell.

Chris, is there, in fact, anything to a winning streak of special

elections? Or is all that - is all the past that is prolog - meaningless

prolog because of the change of the political landscape in the last year?

CHRIS MATTHEWS, "Hardball" HOST: Well, this is good news for the

Democrats. But, you know, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, to quote

Nietzsche. And I think the White House will be quoting Nietzsche for the

next couple of days because if they had lost this race with a guy with a

nice ethnic name like Critz, a former aide to Jack Murtha, with a support

of Murtha's widow, Joyce - if all that had been right and they'd still

lost, they would be really in trouble. I would have thought, especially

given the fact that the campaign attacked Nancy Pelosi with his big cartoon

pictures of her. If that hadn't worked, that would have been a template

for future campaigns.

The fact they're able to hold their base in a working class

Pennsylvania district that does like pork, that does earmarking, that does

like the federal government is a good sign. It would have been much more

important, however, if they had lost. If they had lost out there, they

would have been in big trouble.

You know, the latest generic poll looks OK for the Democrats, 45-40.

It's not bad news. It's not the end of the world. If they hold together

and run on positive things like we can get more jobs than the other guy

can, they can win this thing. They can hold on and lose only 20 or so


OLBERMANN: Andrea, give us - give us your feel for what this implies

for the fall.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: I think that the fact that they have held

that - the 12th district in Pennsylvania is a huge relief for the White

House, because if the Republicans have won, they could have argued very

effectively that it is a Republican move. This blunts somewhat the

Republican move.

But the White House has to be concerned - pardon my voice, but it's

been a long day of reporting here - the White House has to be concerned,

though, that the White House support for Arlen Specter, even though in the

last 48 hours, there was not hands-on support, there was plenty of

commercials. They did have the one big fundraiser here that they did for

Arlen Specter some time back. And hat endorsement, the governor, the

mayor, the whole organization, was basically ignored by the voters, the

Democratic Party voters.

And in this primary that tells you that people are angry, they're

concerned, they're worried about unemployment, that the so-called recession

being over, even though unemployment is, quote, "only 10 percent here,"

real effective unemployment is a lot higher, particularly here in

Philadelphia, in Pittsburgh, in the areas where there are large minority

communities. And there just wasn't that deep affection for Arlen Specter

that he never had in either political party, because he always was a bit

cantankerous and somewhat independent, and certainly a lot more independent

of the Republican (INAUDIBLE) portrayed in those very clever Joe Sestak


It is a defiant electorate. It's an angry, frustrated, scared

electorate. And they're going to go their own way and they're not going to

take orders from party bosses or the president of the United States.


Chuck has the right point here, which is what the Pennsylvania 12th race

shows is that the only route for the Democrats to survive what's coming is

a combination of what Ed Schultz is talking about and what Critz did in

Johnstown - which is local, we're helping you get jobs, this is not about

philosophy, this is about meat and potatoes.

To the extent that the Democrats can ironically keep this a local

election, as opposed to a nationalized election, the Democrats have a hope

of surviving this wave to come. To the extent that it's a nationalized

election, that it's about Barack Obama, that it's about philosophy, that

it's about the national debt and the deficit and the global economics and

all that stuff, the Democrats are going to have their hats handed to them.

It's a total reversal of 2008, where Obama is the one who made it

national and philosophical. The only way the Democrats can survive is by

creeping along - creeping along the ground.

OLBERMANN: Howard Fineman, stand by. Andrea Mitchell, stand by.

Chris Matthews, stand by. We quoted Nietzsche, Wellington and Howard

Fineman's mother.

And we'll be back with final thoughts after this.


OLBERMANN: The nominee for the Senate from the Democratic Party for

the state of Pennsylvania has just taken the podium in Pennsylvania. Here

is Joe Sestak.



everyone who is here tonight.


SESTAK: This election is about you. It's about you and everyone in

this great commonwealth who stood up and wanted their voices heard. This

is what democracy looks like.


SESTAK: A win for the people over the establishment, over the status

quo, even over Washington, D.C.

I will never forget that it was the people of Pennsylvania that made

it happen tonight.


SESTAK: And I will work so heart to earn their trust and their

confidence. But it should come as no surprise to anyone that people want a


When I went to Congress just a few years ago, after 31 years in the

wonderful United States Navy, I found too many career politicians are a bit

too concerned about keeping their jobs rather than serving the public,

rather than helping people.

In the Navy, we're held accountable for our actions, and we should

expect no less - no less from a politicians in Washington, D.C.


SESTAK: That accountability has been missing for far too long, and I

want to help bring it backs. And that's why I'm running for the United

States Senate.



OLBERMANN: Joe Sestak, after three year and four months in the U.S.

House, now nominated to be the senator for Pennsylvania on the Democratic

ticket in the fall.

I guess, Chris Matthews, it is instructive that a man who has been

elected and reelected to the U.S. Congress would celebrate his nomination

over a sitting U.S. senator by saying this was a victory over the

establishment, a victory over Washington, D.C. You step away from that

role of the incumbent as quickly as you can, I guess, this year.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I also think, you know, he's smart and become a really

Pennsylvanian; he's got a nice Slovak background. He's a guy sort of with

a somewhat ethnic name. He's a Navy guy, a military guy.

I think he's going to be - and also he's not from Philly, which is

very important in that state. Don't be from Philly if you're going from

statewide. The fact that he's from Delaware County - you know the whole

story about that. You're always better from not being from Philly if

you're running statewide. I think it's going to help him being from

Delaware County, having that nice ethnic name.

And look at him - I think he's going to be a populist, as Ed Schultz

pointed out. And by the way, he will have 100 percent cope (ph) rating

because it's the one way to survive in the Senate. He will have 100

percent NRA rating, which is a way to survive as a Pennsylvania senator.

It's a John Wayne state. That may be an old way to describe it, but it's


OLBERMANN: And it's fascinating for him to describe the career

politicians that he has defeated now, again, two terms in the House. Does

that not a career make?

MATTHEWS: I think he's still fresh off the bench. I think beating

what's his name, Weldon, was not that hard. Weldon was kind of out of

shape. Arlen was somewhat out of shape.

But it is impressive. I mean, you were - Ed was talking about this

guy having a future - there's nothing better than to start off by beating

incumbents. When you beat incumbents in politics, you're a heavyweight

pretty fast.

FINEMAN: Keith, the key here is anybody who wants to be anybody this

year has to somehow lay claim to not being a traditional politician. Even

Critz, the candidate in Pennsylvania 12th, even though he's chief of staff

to John Murtha, had the advantage of not being an elected member of

Congress. I know that sounds silly, but I think that's true. I think

that's true everywhere, all the way up and down the line, having anything

to do with the way business is conducted as usual is what you don't want

this year.

FINEMAN: All right. However Fineman, great thanks.


OLBERMANN: Ed, I'm sorry, we got to cut you off. We're at the end of

the hour.

For Ed Schultz and for Chris Matthews and for Andrea Mitchell, and for

Howard Fineman, and for Howard Fineman's mother that's Countdown for this,

the 2,574th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished

in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann at MSNBC in New York. Good night and good


And our extended primary night coverage continues, of course. And

with that, ladies and gentlemen, here again is Rachel Maddow. Good

evening, again, Rachel.


'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, May 18th, 2010; 8 pm show
video podcast

Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Tea Time, Worst Persons

Guests: Chris Hayes, Anthony Weiner

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

be talking about tomorrow?

Primary night: Key race in the Keystone. Mr. Sestak on Mr. Specter -



house on fire and then he brought half a hose to the fire to put it out.


OLBERMANN: Mr. Specter on Mr. Sestak -


SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Has he been negative? Has he

ever called me a dead man walking?


OLBERMANN: Go traditional. Here's the senator voting photo-op in

Arkansas. Blanche Lincoln only allowed to cast a provisional vote because

her staff had already asked for an absentee ballot, which she never sent

in. Bad sign.

The oil disaster. The secretary of the interior gets his posterior

kicked. Senator Sanders on the real price of "drill, baby, drill."


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Can you give me an answer to the

question? Is it worth the risk? Is 3 cents a gallon in the year 2030

worth the potential risk of another disaster like this?

I don't believe the risk is worth 3 cents a gallon in the year 2030.


OLBERMANN: The congressman versus the money changers.


REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Goldline and other companies that

are selling gold on television and the Internet are falsely offering claims

that they are good investments.


OLBERMAN: "You pay anybody on any network and they say what you pay

them to say," said one of the gold pushers. "They are bought and sold."

One of the bought and sold replies -


GLENN BECK, CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW HOST: This is, again, another arm

of this administration coming out to try to shut me down.


OLBERMANN: And "Worsts": surprise - "the papers, please" law may

mean more undocumented immigrants in Arizona, free, staying longer, and

given temporary driver's licenses. Oops!

All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.


GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: This is not defensible.




OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

An hour after the last poll closed in Kentucky, Rand Paul already

declared the winner of the Republican Senate nomination in that state over

Trey Grayson, the establishment candidate backed by Minority Leader

McConnell, the senior senator from Kentucky.

Our fifth story on the Countdown: With polls also closed in

Pennsylvania now, and closing within a half hour in Arkansas, more results

as we get them, as well as full analysis.

We begin in Arkansas with a development that might not auger well for

Senator Blanche Lincoln's fight to hold on to her seat. The Lincoln

campaign failing to get out perhaps its most important vote, the senator's

own. Senator Lincoln initially turned away when she arrived to vote at her

home polling place.

Election officials having discovered that the conservative Democrat

had already requested an absentee ballot to be sent to her home in

Virginia. Her campaign is saying Ms. Lincoln did not file that absentee

ballot, requesting it only in case she was kept in Washington for a

senatorial vote. So, Senator Lincoln, instead this morning, filling out a

provisional ballot.

Officials telling TalkingPointsMemo.com that they will count that

provisional tonight assuming they independently confirm that Senator

Lincoln had not already voted by mail.

Senator Lincoln facing two Democratic challengers there, including the

lieutenant governor of the state, Bill Halter, whom the unions have been

backing heavily, making it likely she is going to want that single vote of

her own.

In Pennsylvania, meantime, Senator Arlen Specter facing a challenge

from Congressman Joe Sestak for the Democratic nomination. Senator running

for his sixth term, but after switching parties last year, it is his first

time running for the Senate as a Democrat. In recent days, the senator

having forgotten - a couple of times - which party to which he belongs.

With an interview with an our own Andrea Mitchell this afternoon,

Senator Specter vigorously defending his vigor.


SPECTER: When you talk about Sestak being more vigorous, you must be

smoking Dutch cleanser.



OLBERMANN: A quick note, Old Dutch cleanser abrasive, like Comet,

originally mined from the Old Dutch Cleaner mine in Kern County,

California. Specter once did the smoking it line about Alberto Gonzales.

Also was the nickname of Philadelphia's 164th mayor, Rudolph "Old Dutch

Cleanser" Blankenburg who was elected in 1911, a date all older politicians

want to remind the voters of.

Senator Specter again running as a Democrat not as a Republican, also

warning that if he loses, the tea party will take us back 200 years to the

time of Old Dutch cleanser.


SPECTER: If you don't feel the strongest candidate, frankly, like

Arlen Specter, they are going to take over and want to eliminate ETN. They

want to go back to the gold standard. It would be an 18th century America.


OLBERMANN: And the Montreal Canadians will be in charged.

The actual tea party challenge coming in Kentucky in the Republican

primary to replace Senator Jim Bunning - and we mentioned political

novice, Rand Paul, the son of Congressman Ron Paul, the overwhelming tea

party favorite, already declared the winner of the GOP nomination in what

at this point looks like a hefty grand - landslide and a and a half is

what I was trying to say. Polls having closed in Kentucky - the last of

them an hour ago, some 90 minutes ago.

Let's begin with our Eugene Robinson, also, of course, associate

editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of the "Washington Post."

Good evening, Gene.


OLBERMANN: All right. I think this is a trend here. Senator Bennett

out in Utah, Governor Crist is no longer a Republican in Florida, and now,

in Kentucky, the results with Rand Paul and by this large margin. Are

these bad times to be a non-extremist Republican?

ROBINSON: I think you have to say that they are bad times. But this

is - you have to look at this, I think, as the next phase of a process

that's been underway for some time. Remember, there used to be actual

moderate Republicans. This is back in the time of Dutch Cleanser.

But they essentially are all gone. Remember Arlen specter used to be

one. He is a Democrat now. So, now that the moderate Republicans have had

essentially except for the two in Maine, had to leave the party or been

defeated, it's now the turn of conservatives who have consorted with the

enemy in some way like Bennett and Crist - or who just happen to be

unlucky enough to be in the sights of a tea party-backed candidate like

Trey Grayson in Kentucky, who is getting dutch-cleansered.

OLBERMANN: At 59-36, though, has Rand Paul's father, of course, the

Congressman Ron Paul, have more influence on the right of the party than

the GOP will publicly admit? Or is this about Ayn Rand or what is it


ROBINSON: I don't know which Rand it is. But the Rand Corporation

could be behind this whole thing.

OLBERMANN: Easily. The manufacturers of Old Dutch Cleanser. Thank


ROBINSON: It's - Rand Paul does have a constituency out there. It

is not a classic corporatist, you know, big Wall Street kind of Republican

constituency. But remember, whenever the Republicans get together and have

one of those straw polls, he either wins or comes in a close second. So,

yes, he's got a lot of influence in the party. And they don't really want

to talk about that here in Washington.

People, like Mitch McConnell, though, really don't want to talk about

it because they don't want to deal with it. They don't have an answer.

OLBERMANN: Does it - does the victory over Grayson say anything

about the chances of a Democratic victory in Kentucky, or were those nil

and they just moved over to nil?

ROBINSON: Yes. I think they moved all the way from nil to nil or

maybe nil and a half. It is - there's - I think there's more of a chance

that Rand Paul being a novice and being - and having the political

philosophy he has could say or do something so outrageous between now and

the general that it would - it would better the chances of the Democratic

candidate. But I think that's kind of unlikely. I think it's probably a

safe Republican seat.

OLBERMANN: As we wait for those Democratic primary results to come

in, particularly in Pennsylvania, and obviously, Blanche Lincoln's troubled

event in Arkansas - is too much going to be made of the election results

on the morrow and days after? I mean, are these - what are the primaries

telling us regarding the electorate's mood come November given that it's

May? Is there enough time for this not to mean something in November?

ROBINSON: Well, you know, I think it's kind of our job to make too

much of the results tonight.

OLBERMANN: And you speak for yourself, pal.

ROBINSON: No. I mean, this is - this is - it is really interesting

and we have to cover it as an interesting phenomenon, anti-incumbency, pro

tea party, whatever it is, we got to try to figure out what it means.

Let's just keep in mind that these are slivers and slices of a larger

electorate and there are months to go before the general election. And so,

in the cosmic sense, it doesn't tell us how things are going to play out in

November. It doesn't tell us what the economy is going to look like,

whether events are going to intervene that make one party look better than

the other.

So, we've got a long way to go. But this tea party thing is

interesting because it continues the plot line of a real struggle for the

soul of the Republican Party that could have real implications for


OLBERMANN: Eugene Robinson of MSNBC and the "Washington Post" - or

as he is known around here, Old Dutch Cleanser. Thanks, Gene. We're going

to stop this now. Thank you, Gene.

ROBINSON: Good night, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For more on tonight races in Arkansas and Pennsylvania,

let's go now to Philadelphia. Our own Ed Schultz, the host of "THE ED

SHOW" here on MSNBC.

Good evening, Ed.

ED SCHULTZ, "The Ed Show" HOST: Good evening, Keith. Good to be with


OLBERMANN: All right. It rained. We always know that rain is

supposed to indicate something. Turnout - and turnout is supposed to

favor the incumbent. Any idea whether or not the rain is going to affect

the outcome in Pennsylvania?

SCHULTZ: Well, traditionally speaking, bad weather is going to hold

the older demographic at home a little bit. And that is a demographic

that, undoubtedly, Arlen Specter needs here. The polling that we have seen

obviously shows that Joe Sestak - number one - has really struck a

passion with core Democrat and also with younger voters.

So, this is one to watch, no doubt. I don't think the Specter group

thought it was going to be this close. And they need that older

demographic to get out. So, I would anticipate that that might hurt them


OLBERMANN: Clearly, Ed, we've seen this in both parties repeatedly.

This is not the year of the incumbent. I would just imagine that your

assessment would be: it would be really a big problem for Arlen Specter

given that technically he is the incumbent of two parties - that might be

one too many or two too many in this case.

SCHULTZ: Well, you know, Keith, the word here is trust. Can

Democrats in Pennsylvania trust a man who has had an "R" behind his name

for the last 30 years? And there's a lot of hungry folks in this country

that want to make sure that the progressive agenda continues forward. And

when they look at Arlen Specter, they see a guy who voted for Alito and

Roberts on the Supreme Court, and just dished out a horrible ruling when it

comes to unlimited funds given by corporations to campaigns or causes.

I mean, there are ramifications if they do not go with a hardcore

Democrat or someone who is left-leaning such as Joe Sestak, who, I think,

has been far more consistent. It's a gamble. It's an issue of trust. And

Arlen Specter says he can work across party lines - I think the climate in

Washington we've seen there isn't much working across party lines.

OLBERMANN: All right. So, apply that then to Arkansas. Blanche

Lincoln fighting for a political life has the worst of all possible signs

when they don't let her vote, officially after polling place this morning.

A bad bit of karma there, obviously.

But what is it - practically speaking, does - is it the same

template from Pennsylvania apply in any respect in Arkansas? Is that kind

of a retroactive referendum in how she handled or mishandled health care

reform on her own state? What is going on in Arkansas in your assessment?

SCHULTZ: Well, I think in Arkansas, what we have is a disconnected

Democrat. She's a corporate Democrat. She was one of four Democratic

senators that really fought hard against the public option. And she's the

first one up and she's the one paying a price for it now.

You know, 90 days ago, they didn't think they would be saying Halter's

name. They didn't think it was going to get this tough. When you had Joe

Lieberman in Connecticut, you have Ben Nelson in Nebraska, you have Mary

Landrieu in Louisiana, and now, you've got Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas who

is the first one to pay the price.

There's a lot of grassroots people around the country that have

contributed to Halter's campaign. In fact, there's very few grassrooters

that have gone with Blanche Lincoln. She is the corporate Democrat. And

there's a pushback against corporate Democrats.

You know, all this talk about the tea partiers and the Republicans are

going to push back and whatnot, I think what we're seeing here today,

Keith, is liberals trying to hold Democrats accountable. We want

Democrats. That is what we are seeing out there.

OLBERMANN: We'll se how it plays out in Pennsylvania.

Ed Schultz, the host of "The Ed Show" on MSNBC, with us tonight from

Philly - thank you, Ed.

SCHULTZ: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: All right. Let's take again look at the hour's breaking

news. Now, by a margin of 60 to 36, Rand Paul, the tea party candidate,

blitzing the establishment line Republican Trey Grayson in the Republican

Senate primary in Kentucky. It just gets worse and worse for the Mitch

McConnell-backed Grayson. We will follow this story and the rest of them

throughout the hour.

And we go back to Philadelphia, the home of Old Dutch Cleanser which

Arlen Specter thinks we should be smoking. Maybe we could use it on the

Gulf oil crisis or to clean up the Department of the Interior.

Wait until you see what Bernie Sanders did to the secretary of the

interior - next.


OLBERMANN: He says this isn't the time for finger-pointing. It never

is if the finger is pointing at you. Why don't you stick your finger in

the leak? Chris Hayes joins me.

So, does the man who is trying to stop the gold scammers - he'll join

me too. He's already been attacked by the commentators the gold scammers

claim they have, quote, "bought and sold."

A surprise in the city of surprise and all the rest of her Arizona -

that new law may make it easier for more undocumented workers to live and

work and stay longer in Arizona.

And if nominated, he would not run, if elected, he would not serve,

but happily, he's in Philadelphia on senatorial primary night and he will


You are watching Countdown on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: For the first time since an offshore oil rig blew up in

the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 people and beginning what researchers

estimate is now already a worse spill than that of the Exxon Valdez, the

Obama cabinet secretary responsible for oversight of offshore drilling

appeared on Capitol Hill.

And our fourth story tonight: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, the man

who took the office to the applause of big oil and groans of

environmentalists began his testimony with prepared remarks saying this is

not the time for finger-pointing and, hey, aren't we all to blame when you

think about it?

But, first, which Republican was on deck for big oil today? James

Inhofe. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the second Republican in two weeks to

block a Democratic measure that could change the law so that oil companies

could be held liable for as much as $10 billion in damage rather than the

current $75 million.

The president, in a statement tonight, is saying he's disappointed by

the measure's second defeat, quote, "I urge the Senate Republicans to stop

playing special interest politics and join in a bipartisan effort to

protect taxpayers and demand accountability from the oil companies."

But after the measure's sponsor, Bob Menendez of New Jersey, and other

Democrats suggested eliminating the liability cap altogether, Secretary

Salazar refused to endorse that, appearing to suggest that the Obama

administration is in bipartisan agreement with Republicans and big oil that

there should be some kind of cap on liability.

Secretary Salazar is also refusing to say whether the Minerals

Management Service, MMS - part of his department - underestimated the

risks of offshore drilling while letting B.P. proceed with its well; and

working hard not to say whether the risk of lifting the moratorium in 2008,

on new drilling on the OCS, the Outer Continental Shelf, was worth the

savings at the pump estimated by one congressional report to equal 3 cents

per gallon by the year 2030.

We will fast-forward past the stalling.


KEN SALAZAR, SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR: It may take me a few minutes

to do this.

SANDERS: Well, you guys supported the Bush administration in lifting

the moratorium.

SALAZAR: Let me - let me be specific on what our plan is with

respect to the OCS - the respect of the Gulf Coast which I know Senator

Landrieu and others -

SANDERS: I'm running out of time. But can you give me an answer to

the question? Is it worth the risk? Is 3 cents a gallon in the year 2030

worth the potential risk of another disaster like this and should we

reinstate the moratorium?

SALAZAR: Senator Sanders - when you look at certain areas,

specifically in the Gulf of Mexico, that is where we know there are huge

energy, oil and natural gas resources. You are not going to turn off the

lights of this country or the economy by shutting it all down. And so,

it's important for us -

SANDERS: No one is talking about shutting it all down. We're talking

about reinstating the moratorium that had been going on - existing for

many, many years in new drilling.

SALAZAR: You know, Senator Sanders, I don't mean to be argumentative

with you, but I think what we need to do, as the president has done and as

we have done, is we've hit the pause button. OK? And we will be

evaluating a number of different issues and making decisions about how we

are going move forward.

SANDERS: Well, let me just conclude. I don't believe the risk is

worth 3 cents a gallon in the year 2030.


OLBERMANN: Let's turn now to Chris Hayes, the Washington editor of

"The Nation" magazine.

Chris, good evening.

CHRIS HAYES, THE NATION: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Why is it that every time a congressional witness begins

his or her testimony saying, this isn't the time for finger-pointing, that

sounds like these aren't the droids you are looking for?

HAYES: I think Ken Salazar is probably wishing that he had Obi-Wan's

telepathic ability with Bernie Sanders today. I mean, it's clearly a way

of trying to deflect blame and this notion that you can't do both at the

same time, that somehow there is this sort of limited cognitive capacity

that has to be, you know, devoted 100 percent to fixing the leak and none

of it to look backwards. Particularly when you have - I mean, you know,

there's a lawsuit today by a bunch of environmental groups against another

B.P. rig that is currently operating in the Continental Shelf at very deep


So, it's not as if this is an academic argument to figure out what

went wrong and particularly with the blowout preventer because there are

rigs that are operating. And who is to say we're not going to have another

one of these in the very near future.

OLBERMANN: The other part of that, of course, that's damning, I

think, to Mr. Salazar's record, is the fact that he is ruling out in the

four weeks roughly, couple of days shy since the blast, all these reforms

to his agency, to the MMS. Is that proof positive that there were plenty

of reforms that he could have and should have done in the year-plus before

this happened and 11 people died on that rig?

HAYES: Well, absolutely. I mean, if it makes sense to split off the

revenue-collecting part of MMS to the oversight and regulatory part of MMS,

which the administration is now proposed, as you know, after the accident,

well, then, it certainly made sense to do that when they took office in

January 2009. It particularly made sense to do after the inspector

general's report in 2008 revealed what had to be the biggest, most corrupt

cesspool basket case to mix metaphors of an agency in the federal


I mean, everyone knew - this was headlines. We were talking about it

on your show and Rachel's show, that this, you know, this had become a

totally dysfunctional agency. So, the structural reform they've introduced

after the spill suggested they could have done it if they were serious

about reforming the agency from day one.

OLBERMANN: The secretary - was he right in the sense that Congress

essentially abdicated its oversight role of MMS? I mean, Secretary

Salazar, for instance, confirmed that MMS is now investigating the B.P.

Atlantis offshore platform, but the whistle-blowing on that one is hardly

new? Has anybody been minding the store on this? Or is this - is this a

structure that exists to make it look like there's a structure?

HAYES: Well, no. I mean, clearly, no one has been minding the store

sufficiently. I mean, what's interesting is I think you are seeing a

classic case both institutionally in MMS of regulatory capture in which the

people operating there come to identify their interests aligned with the

interests of the people they are regulating.

I mean, I went and looked to the Web site today. I was looking at the

bio for Oynes, who's the guy who just resigned, who was head of MMS in the

civil service for a while. And every place that he was speaking, every

event he was attending was basically an oil company event. I mean, the

kinds of people he was hanging out with, the sorts of interactions that the

regulators were having seemed to be solely limited to the people they were

supposed to be regulating.

So, I think, that extends pass the agency into the administration, now

into Congress in which everybody seems to be sort of on the side of "let's

make sure we continue drilling for as much oil as we can."

OLBERMANN: Chris Hayes of "The Nation" - said well as usual. Great

thanks, Chris.

HAYES: Thanks a lot, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Congressman Anthony Wiener's investigation of Goldline and

the other radio and TV gold scammers. I'm betting Glenn Beck has already

claimed the investigations means you need to invest in even more gold



OLBERMANN: The pushback on the gold scammers and commentators they

claim they have bought and sold. Congressman Anthony Wiener - ahead.

First, the tweet of a day, apropos from what is not evidently a fan

who asked a little after 5:00 Eastern today, "Why aren't you watching Beck

right now?" Because I work for a living.

Let's play "Oddball."


OLBERMANN: We begin in Venice, Louisiana, with our colleague, the

veteran NBC News correspondent Mark Potter reporting on the B.P. oil spill

crisis for the "Today" show, and joining him a really big bug. For you

know it, Mark is served what he later called a "Bayou breakfast."


MARK POTTER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: There are 46 miles of shoreline

here that have been oiled. Excuse me. Nineteen of them do have tar balls.

A lot of bugs out here this morning.


OLBERMANN: And he didn't miss a beat. The man inhales an insect and

keeps on ticking.


MATT LAUER, TODAY SHOW: Taking one for the team, swallowing a bug for

breakfast there, Mark. Way to go, Mark. Thanks very much.

POTTER: It was good.



OLBERMANN: Watching those Cal Worthington ads in L.A.

To Rio de Janeiro, where these two Brazilian lovers are getting

hitched. Hopefully, their collars won't get in a way. You may smooch your

pooch. The owners of two Yorkshire tiers decided to dump - I'm sorry -

spend eight grand for the wedding for their dogs, Lui and his bride, Bruna.

All the attendants were thrilled for the couple, however, no word yet

on whether the dog on dog nuptials have Rick Santorum's blessing. Wedding

was everything the bride, Bruna, had hoped for, except for the part where

the bridesmaids acted like total bitches.

You pay anybody on any network and they say what you pay them to say,

said the gold merchant. About radio commentators, they are bought and

sold. The Congressional investigation into Goldline and Congressman

Anthony Weiner next.


OLBERMANN: For about three years, the relationship between Glenn Beck

and the company Goldline International has been profitable for everybody,

except the viewers and listeners. Mr. Beck uses his media platforms to

stoke fear about the collapse of the paper money economy. He urges his

audience to buy gold and then directs their business to Goldline, which in

turn pays him lots of money.

Our third story today, Congressman Anthony Weiner says Goldline

customers are being fleeced by Beck's sponsor, and Beck is calling Anthony

Weiner a modern day Joe McCarthy. It's about the 75th person he's called

that. The congressman joins me presently.

This afternoon, in New York, Mr. Weiner announced the findings of an

investigation into Goldline. His report stating the company charges an

average of a 90 percent markup on all it coins, and that by calling that

overcharge a good investment, the company is breaking the law. The

congressman alleges the company uses high pressure sales tactics to bilk

customers. Weiner also claims there is an unholy alliance between

conservative commentators and Goldline International.


REP. ANTHONY WEINER (D), NEW YORK: Goldline has as its paid endorsers

Glenn Beck, Fred Thompson, Dennis Miller, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Lars

Larson, Michael Shulmerson (ph), Monica Crowley, and Mike Huckabee, among

others. And what we have found by looking through the public records is

that very often they use their public programs to advocate purchase in

gold, and then immediately advertisements begin for Goldline.


OLBERMANN: Today, conservative talk show radio host Michael

Smerconish told "Politico" that Goldline canceled ads on his show because

he wasn't conservative enough. Last December, Peter Epstein, president of

Merit Financial Services, told "Politico" that gold companies expect

favorable coverage from commentators on whose shows they pay to advertise.

The quote, "you pay anybody on any network and they say what you pay them

to say. They're bought and sold."

This morning on his bought and sold radio show, Glenn beck prebutted

the congressman's news conference with his ever evolving conspiracy theory.


GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This again another arm of this

administration coming out to try to shut me down. This is absolutely

incredible. Is there anybody that is going to say anything in the press at

any time if you stand up against this White House? They have three, count

them, three advisors of this president that have launched official

campaigns boycotting my sponsors. Any sponsor that stays with me now

they're targeting - you want to talk about the McCarthy era. Look at what

this country is becoming.


OLBERMANN: Available on many of your local radio sets. For its part,

Goldline tells "Politico" it is not political. And even though Glenn Beck

said nobody did anything wrong, he still had the Goldline CEO on his radio

show this morning to testify.


BECK: How long have you been a sponsor on this program?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it's been about three years.

BECK: Do you remember a time when we had a conversation at the

beginning where I said if you don't treat our customers - if you don't

treat my customers, my listeners with respect, it isn't going to end well

for you?


BECK: Do you believe me when I said that to you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I take you very seriously.


OLBERMANN: As promised, we are joined from Washington by

Representative Anthony Weiner. Thanks you for your time, congressman.

WEINER: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Are you or have you ever been involved in a conspiracy to

take down Glenn Beck? Can you explain the genesis of your interest in this


WEINER: I never intended this to be a battle of wits with Glenn Beck.

As you know, he comes only half prepared to that battle. This really is

about the consumers of Goldline's products. Many of them take the

rhetorical excess of Glenn Beck and his like, when they talk up gold, and

then immediately go to the advertisements to get ripped off.

There is no other way to put it. When you are advertising you are

going to invest in gold, and you wind up getting sometimes 200 percent -

just charged 200 percent more than the melt value of gold, that is a bad

deal. The only way for you to keep up is for the cost of gold to go up 200

percent before you put down the phone.

That's really where this comes from. This is not an unusual thing.

Whenever the economy makes people unsure, they are susceptible to pitches

like this. Unfortunately, Glenn Beck says he is looking out for his

listeners; in fact, he is deceiving them badly when they buy these


OLBERMANN: Explain the scam here. There are a lot of scams. There

are a lot of bad investment scams. And certainly there are a lot of Glenn

Beck scams. Where is the crime, per se, in this?

WEINER: The crime occurs not so much with what Glenn Beck does,

though I do believe there are questions that his station, whether its radio

station or Fox News, has to answer about whether or not, even in the

context of commentary, you should have this blurring of lines between

advertisement and news.

But the problem comes when Goldline actually makes representations

that this is a good investment. I want to say for your viewers, gold may

be a good investment, it may not be. A lot of people like some of the

people who talked about the worst of the bubble have said that there's a

coming gold bubble. But putting that aside for a moment, these gold

sellers are not supposed to be offering advice like that. According to at

least the Missouri attorney general, that is exactly what they have done.

And Goldline settled for a pretty hefty amount, essentially pleading guilty

to that charge.

OLBERMANN: So you investigated it. What do you do now?

WEINER: I think that we need to do a couple of things. One, it's

clear the Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange

Commission, both of which have rules against what Goldline - the types of

thing Goldline does. I'm asking them to take a look at them and some of

the other dealers who are doing similar things.

Secondly, I believe that we should have legislation that makes

disclosures much clearer. If Goldline is going to make a claim about its

prices, right there, on the advertisement should be how much the gold melt

is. It should have some explanation of how much it has to go up for them -

for citizens to be able to break even on these investments, the same

kinds of requirement that are required when you purchase an equity or a

stock on Wall Street.

OLBERMANN: The thing obviously from my vantage point that concerns me

more than anything else is the quote from the first "Politico" story on it,

not the one today about your investigation, but the one they did in

December, the Merit Financial Services person, who noted that commentators

can be bought and sold, and they are expected to say things that will help

in the body of the broadcast, not announcements, which is part and parcel

of radio and television since the beginning.

Is there anything to do about that that doesn't then sort of infringe

on free speech or at least the broadcasting equivalent of free speech?

WEINER: Probably - from the perspective of a congressman, probably

not. If you are watching a television show dedicated health, and someone

says you should drink as much soda as you can, and then the very same guy

is advocating for Coke or Pepsi in the ad, you would scratch your head.

This is just as much offensive, except maybe even more so because you are

dealing with people's nest eggs.

OLBERMANN: That's that one lobbyist - I've forgotten which name it

is, Rick Berman. Congressman Anthony Weiner, the Democrat from New York,

as always, great thanks for your time.

Also on the subject of Beck, though not necessarily of gold, a bizarre

message via Twitter today that Dick Armey Astroturf group Freedom Works

announcing it has partnered with Beck. Beck issued an explanatory video

saying it was time to link arms with people. He added that the Armey

lobbying group, which has left a trail evidence a mile long of its bank

rolling supposed grassroots Tea Party events, has organizational power

second perhaps only to the NRA.

He did not compare it to Arlen Specter's organizational power. The

latest on that. Also news from Kentucky. Although Rand Paul is the

headline, both Democrats in the primary got more votes than Rand Paul did

in the Kentucky primary tonight. Chris Matthews from Philadelphia ahead.

The mayor of Colorado Springs explains those living on his streets.

"Some people," he says, "want a homeless life. Some people, they really


When joins you at the top of the hour, the latest on the oil spill

efforts in the Gulf Coast with U.S. Coast Guard Commandeered Thad Allen.


OLBERMANN: The Arizona papers please law, apparently it's going to

increase the number of undocumented workers living and working in Arizona.

First, no, it is not your water coming to a boil. It our nightly

check up on the something for nothing crowd. It's Tea Time. Charitably

speaking, these kids long stopped trying to surprise us. I have to confess

this floored me.

In the race for the Idaho First Congressional District Republican

nomination, Tea Party Boise has endorsed one Raul Labrador over the

Republican party favorite, Vaughn Ward. This after Ward changed his mind

and withdrew his support for a Tea Party pet project that repealed the 17th

Amendment, 17Th Amendment, women's suffrage, end of prohibition, something

about miscegenation.

No? "The senate of the United States shall be composed of two

senators from each state elected by the people thereof for six years, and

each senator shall have one vote."

The 17th Amendment gave voters the right to choose their senators. It

passed in 1912. Pretty popular. The Tea Party wants it repealed. The

groups is demanding a return of power from the elites to the streets, but

wants to go back to the old system by which senators were chosen by state

legislatures, usually in corrupt back room deals.

Seriously. Make senators even more remote from the will of the

people. Genius, I tells you, genius. This might require a few changes to

some of those Tea Party slogans. Stop voter fraud, stop voting. Don't

mess with our Constitutional, except this part. Repeal the 16th amendment,

I mean 17th.

My favorite, don't tread on me, just take away my vote.


OLBERMANN: Pennsylvania's polls closed 45 minutes ago, Arizona's 15

minutes ago. We'll review the latest numbers and trends with Chris

Matthews in Pennsylvania. Arkansas's polls.

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

The bronze to the would be Republican nominee in the California 11th

Congressional district, Brad Goehring, spelled G-O-E-H-R-I-N-G, pronounced

Goehring. Wrote on Facebook, "if I could issue hunting permits, I would

officially declare today opening day for liberals. The season would extend

through November two, and have no limits on how many taken, as we

desperately need to thin the heard."

After the deluge of criticism, Mr. Goehring has dug himself in deeper.

"Maybe it's not politically correct, but I won't back down calling for the

defeat as many liberals as possible on November 2nd, and stopping their

radical agenda." He added in a weird third person way that he was the

victim of ethnic discrimination because people like him, "they deserve

better than having their name slandered because of their German descent,

especially in light of their contributions to protecting our liberty, the

right to speak freely. I wear the smears and cheap shots of Daily Kos,

Jerry McNerney, the leftist bloggers and Keith Olbermann as a badge of


Mr. Goehring, what kind of name do you think Olbermann is? I'm

German, dumb dumb. You are not being criticized because you are German.

You're being criticized because you used violent imagery at a time when

there really are people who think literally hunting liberals, or hunting

conservatives, is a good idea.

Our runner up, Lionel Rivera, the Republican mayor of Colorado

Springs, Colorado. His city has had to cut 530,000 municipal jobs, slash

services, not address the tent cities of the homeless that have sprouted up

in Colorado Springs. Yet he and the Republican city council have opposed

42 million dollars in job assistance for their community and residents

because it would add to the national debt.

As to those homeless, he explains, "some people want a homeless life.

Some people, they really do."

How could a city's mayor be that heartless towards his own city's

homeless? Well, he is also financial adviser.

But our winner, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, and not for what you

think. The "Arizona Capital Times" has a surprise for the governor, a

white supremacist crowd, led by Russell Pearce, who rammed through the

papers pleas law, it might actually result in more undocumented immigrants

being allowed to stay in country, and in the state free, while their cases

are being judged.

The paper's Jim Small writes, "the new law will add to a processing

backlog that already has caused federal authorities to release an

increasing number of illegal immigrants back into the U.S. to await

deportation hearings."

"The arrest and release policy is a little known part of federal

immigration law that allows illegal immigrants to challenge deportation and

obtain legal residency, and a drivers' license, as long as they meet

certain conditions."

They get driver's licenses. "More than 5,100 illegal immigrants who

were processed through federal immigration courts in Arizona were released

from custody on bond in 2009. And the vast majority were eligible for work

authorization documents, although precise figures were not available."

They get driver's licenses and jobs. "Because of over-crowding at the

federal facilities in Arizona, which combine to hold only about 1,900

people, ICE often releases immigrants on bond without waiting for a judge."

Fortunately for the backers of the Arizona papers, please law, the

number of people arrested who are let on bond, and just never come back,

and stay here illegally under the radar is really small, and the backlogs

on the cases, the time when they're out on bail and could skip bail, that

is really short. The first number is 25 percent and the second is five


One of the attorneys says he is already booked for an immigration

hearing in February, 2014. In short, this law will put more illegal

immigrants on the streets of Arizona than they currently have. Nice work,

bozo. Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, today's worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN: Results now coming in from Pennsylvania and Arkansas -

Pennsylvania or Kentucky, where the polls have closed. Nothing yet from

Kentucky. The incumbent or establishment candidates in peril within their

own parties. But in our number one story, Republicans are getting another

whiff of an inter-party war that might be debilitating, as Rand Paul wins

the Republican senatorial primary there. Chris Matthews joins me in a


The Democratic contest first in Pennsylvania. The Democratic primary

for Senate can fairly be assigned a giant asterisk. The incumbent here, as

the early numbers begin to come in, showing Arlen Specter well ahead of Joe

Sestak. Again, counted less than 20,000 votes. Been a Republican until a

year ago, Mr. Specter, obviously. Challenger Congressman Sestak portraying

himself as the real Democrat.

Arkansas, of course, the incumbent Democrat Senator Blanche Lincoln

may have proven unreliable on core Democratic issues a few times too many.

Again, very, very early numbers there, less than 7,000 certainly. Bill

Halter, the lieutenant governor, with a slim lead over Blanche Lincoln, and

Mr. Morrison in a distant third place. But, again, very, very low totals.

On the other hand, the Republican rumble in Kentucky is over. Rand

Paul, in a margin of almost two to one, has said "I have a message, a

message from the Tea Party, a message that is loud and clear, and does not

mince words. We have come to take our government back."

But look at the vote count. Keep that number in mind, 150,000. Now,

look at the Democratic senate primary, which has gotten no attention at

all, where both the leading and trailing candidates have gotten more votes

in the primary, including Mr. Conway, who is the state's attorney general,

and Mr. Mongiardo, who is lieutenant governor there.

So with Conway well ahead, and three quarters of the vote in, the news

headlines will go to Rand Paul and the Tea Party. But the high vote

counts, one and two, will go to the two Democrats. Joining me now, as

promised, the host of "Hardball," Chris Matthews, who is in Philadelphia.

Chris, good evening.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Hi. I'm taken with that news, the

strong turnout on the Democratic side, when you haven't had anywhere as

much media attention, is impressive. I thought that Rand Paul winning the

primary would be in strong shape. It looks like that is going to be very

competitive out there, even in a tough year for the Dems.

OLBERMANN: Does it suggest anything? If we talk about the Tea Party

as a backlash, is that little number, that volume number - remember when

we saw in 2008, in all the primaries and all - even the midterms in 2006,

pointed towards a backlash to a backlash. Is this the beginning of that

tonight, in Kentucky of all places?

MATTHEWS: It depends on how good the Democrat is in taking what may

seem to be wacky positions by middle of the road or center left positions.

If it looks whacky, you have to point to how the wackiness hurts the

person. So they have a job to do, the Conway people, between now and

election day, November, to take what Rand Paul has stood for ideological,

and show how it hurts people in their pocketbooks. They got to translate


If they can do that, they can win. They can't just attack the guy for

being big picture crazy at this point. I think they have to show how it

hurts them. This is going to take some politics on the Democrats' side.

But it looks doable based on those numbers.

OLBERMANN: Let's take to the plight of the individual that you're

closer to there, physically anyway, Senator Specter. I imagine that's most

fascinating to you. Is this really a bellwether of anything? Or is it

just such a weird set of circumstances, the ex-Republican Democrat who

slips and calls himself a Republican a couple of times, in a very weird

year? Does it mean anything more than just - not that the race is

meaningless, but does it imply anything?

MATTHEWS: I think it is a battle - in football, it is the air versus

the ground. The ground game here is all Specter. It's all Specter, the

governor, the vice president, the president, the mayor, the city

organization. Every time you went to vote today, in any precinct, every

division, you are handed an official Democratic ballot, told here is the

guy you vote for, Arlen Specter, in every ward, every committee - I mean,

every division. So maybe not Chestnut Hill or Rittenhouse (ph), but all

the regular working class black and white.

So it is very hard to sort of buck that. You have Rendell, who is

still pretty popular among Democrats. You've got the mayor here. You've

got everybody saying - all the labor unions telling the white guys and the

black guys all vote for this guy, Specter. He's ours now. By the way,

Philly, as you know, is very insular. People here look out for Philly

people. If you are from Philly, with all the scars on you, you are still a

good guy and they're with you.

So Specter benefits from having run in Philly for 45 years. We had

him on the other night and he said, I was a Democrat back when I voted a

couple times for Adlai Stevenson for president. So he's been in the

business of voting in Philly for so many years. I think there is a local

feeling for him here.

Whereas, the White House is very transactional, as David Gregory said

tonight. Their loyalty to Arlen is a very, very short-term deal. They may

be saying, as they said, like the "godfather," like Hyman Roth, small

potatoes, we can live with Sestak. By the way, Sestak could be a better

general election candidate, I think.

OLBERMANN: They could sprinkle him with Dutch cleanser, to borrow the

senator's phrase. Quickly, 30 seconds worth on the meaning of Arkansas.

Obviously, the numbers very early there. But is Blanche Lincoln going to

go down to defeat there?

MATTHEWS: I think she is not going to get to 50. I think politics is

about hope in bad times. I think if you say this is as good as it gets,

I'm a centrist Democrat that doesn't vote for health, doesn't vote for cap-

and-trade, doesn't vote with the issues that people care about, people are

going to say, wait a minute, this is as good as it gets? It's not good


I think that is true on the Republican side. Don't tell me Trey

Grayson is as good as it gets. Don't tell me Arlen Specter is as good as

it gets. The voters are still hopefully. We are in a recession. Would

somebody please tell that to the president and everybody else? We are in a

recession. People are being laid off. You can't get a loan. You can't

buy a house. People are very angry at whoever is in charge. They are

banging on the pipes. They want hot water. They want the super to


They're sending a message of no for a while. I think tonight the

message is, right and left, screw you. I think they're very angry.

OLBERMANN: Chris Matthews will be back with a live edition of

"Hardball" at midnight Eastern. Until then, Chris, great thanks.

That is Countdown for this the 2,574th day since the previous

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

I'll be back with a live 10:00 pm edition of Countdown. Do it again at