'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, June 14th, 2010
Video via MSNBC: Oddball, Tea Time, Worst Persons
Guests: Robert Reich, Riki Ott, Vic Rawl
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you talk about tomorrow?
Day 56: BP's contingency plan to capture 80,000 barrels a day. But the flow rate is 50,000, or 25,000, isn't it?
And a BP e-mail is found from six days before the disaster. This is a, quote, "nightmare well."
Tony Hayward to testify to Congress Thursday.
The president to address the nation tomorrow after he returns from today's fourth trip to the Gulf.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we're dealing with here is unique because it's not simply one catastrophic event. It's an ongoing assault.
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OBAMA: The president's speech, his plans to overhaul the Department of the Interior, to make the Gulf better even than it was - with Jonathan Alter; his hopes to get BP's compensation funds put in escrow now - with Robert Reich. And BP's continuing attempt to suppress the truth at the scene of the crime with marine toxicologist Riki Ott.
It's still not easy being Greene. The man Alvin Greene defeated, Vic Rawl, is our guest tonight.
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VIC RAWL (D), SOUTH CAROLINA SENATE CANDIDATE: I never met the man. I never saw the man. I saw none of his campaign material. I didn't know who he was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: A trillion dollar mineral find in Afghanistan? Did that play a part in the mistaken decision to escalate the war? Does that justify this from as astounding a piece of witness journalism as you'll ever see? Richard Engel in the middle of a firefight outside Kandahar City.
OLBERMANN: "Tea Time": Rand Paul, board certified ophthalmologist, except, says the American Board of Medical Specialties, quote, "He is not board-certified."
"Worsts": Running for the House in the Alabama second on plate form of impeachment and incitement to overthrow the government.
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RICK BARBER (R), ALABAMA HOUSE CANDIDATE: And I would impeach him.
And I can't stand by while these are perpetrated. Are you with me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gather your armies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: And hurry up with the treason, we got to get these costumes back by 6:00.
All the news and commentary - now on Countdown.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now look at us.
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OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
By this day, a BP executive claimed last week, the oil cascading into the Gulf of Mexico would be down to a relative trickle. On this day, however, BP announcing that within a month, it expects to have the capacity to collect 60,000 to 80,000 barrels a day emerging from the unstoppable gusher.
Our fifth story: The capacity to collect so much more than the latest estimate which suggests the need to collect so much more than the latest estimate, which in turn suggests the latest estimate was - like all that went before it - an infuriating low-ball.
In a letter to the Coast Guard, BP is outlining its revised plan to increase its ability to capture the oil gushing from the well. But the company expects, this is a capture number, will be 20,000 to 40,000 barrels a day by the end of the month, and possibly 60,000 to 80,000 barrels a day by the middle of next month. That is compared to the 15,000 barrels BP is collecting now.
Admiral Allen, in charge of the government's response, is saying today that he expects BP to be containing 28,000 barrels a day by the end of the week.
New evidence tonight raising questions about the decisions BP made in the days and weeks leading up to the explosion. Congressional investigators are saying BP having chosen time and money at the expense of safety, including by using a cheaper design for the bottom of the well by skimping on pieces called centralizers that attached the well casing to the borehole and keep the well centered, and by not running critical tests when the company was behind schedule. The House Energy Committee today releasing internal e-mails five days before the explosion, a BP drilling engineer having written, quote, "This has been a nightmare well in which has everyone all over the place."
And when Halliburton, of all companies, kept pushing for more of those centralizers to make sure the well was centered, a BP official complaining by email, quote, "It will taken 10 hours to install them. I do not like this."
That same day, one BP engineer is writing to another to say that the decision not to add centralizers would stand, quote, "Who cares, it's done, end of story, will probably be fine."
Instead, parts of that very rig are now washing ashore three states away, a storage tank still oozing oil today washing up on Miramar Beach along the Florida Panhandle. On Saturday, another tank, just like it, having washed up on Florida's Panama City Beach.
BP is now running out of the protective gear and cleaning equipment needed to remove oil along the coast - everything from plastic gloves to boom to sand sifting machines. The "Associated Press" reporting that 56 days into this disaster, finding enough gear has become a never-ending task.
The Coast Guard claiming that the shortages have not caused any major slowdowns in the cleanup, which is not the same as saying they have not caused any slowdowns at all.
President Obama promising Gulf residents that the region will be in better shape than it was before BP fouled its waters and threatened its way of life. The president's fourth visit to the region since the disaster began, a two-day trip to send the message that the administration finally has control of the crisis. Mr. Obama walking along an empty beach at Gulfport, Mississippi, with that state's governor, Haley Barbour, before eating a seafood lunch - in an attempt to emphasize that areas of local waters are still safe.
As for cleaning the beaches, in an afternoon news conference in Alabama, the president saying that would be the easiest part of the recovery.
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OBAMA: I've seen a number of beautiful beaches. I saw some in Mississippi. We saw some beaches flying over, but I'll be honest with you. That we're going to stop as much of the oil from coming in as possible.
That's our number one job.
It turns out that if the oil hits the beaches, that's actually probably the easiest to clean up. So it's a concern, obviously, for tourism, it's a concern to an entire Gulf Region that economically depends on the tourist season and this period of time when people are out of school. But those beaches will recover because those big globs of oil, when they hit the beaches, we can send a bunch of people out there and scoop them up and dispose of it properly, and those beaches will look pretty pristine a year or two years from now.
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OLBERMANN: On Wednesday, the president to meet with BP executives in Washington. The White House today is saying BP appears willing to defer dividends in order to set up a victims' compensation fund of some kind. Both sides are still, quote, "working out the particulars."
Back in Gulfport, the president is saying he was gathering information to help him confront BP.
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OBAMA: We also talked about claims to make sure that people here in Mississippi, but throughout the region, are going to be adequately compensated for the damages and the losses that they're experiencing right now. There are still problems with it.
I think as everybody is aware, I'm going to be meeting with the chairman and other officials from BP on Wednesday, and so, we're gathering up facts, stories right now, so that we have an absolutely clear understand about how we can best present to BP the need to make sure that individuals and businesses are dealt with in a fair manner and in a prompt manner.
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OLBERMANN: The president, overnighting in Pensacola, spending a few hours there tomorrow before heading back to Washington to detail his comprehensive cleanup plan in a primetime address from the Oval Office.
On Thursday, BP's chief executive, Tony Hayward, to face questioning from Congress. Bring popcorn, especially the oil to pop it in.
In a moment, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on BP's latest promises and the president's hopes of getting them in writing or at least in escrow. But we begin with more on the president by turning to our own political analyst, Jonathan Alter, also, of course, senior editor at "Newsweek" magazine, as well as the author of "The Promise: President Obama Year One."
Jon, good evening.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Has this fourth trip done anything for the president's image that trips numbers one, two, and three did not?
ALTER: Yes, it showed what, you know, he has long called a philosophy of persistence. What he's trying to do now is slowly turn around that image that was created of him of being too slow. And it's not something you can do overnight. But if he - if he goes down there routinely, if he seems like he's in command, I think they figure that eventually they'll be able to at least neutralize this as a political issue for him, in addition to beginning to confront, you know, what is clearly going to be one of the major issues of his presidency.
OLBERMANN: The Oval Office backdrop, as we discussed last week when this was proposed, the possibility that he would speak not from the scene where the bunch of lights getting in the way of rescue efforts, the way the previous president did his New Orleans event, but the Oval Office backdrop. It is crisis-setting for a presidential address. It orients the thing in those terms.
Is that why the president was reluctant to do this earlier?
ALTER: You know, it's amazing. It's been 18 months since he became president, and he hasn't done this until now. I think what happened was, early on, Keith, when they found that he addressed Congress very effectively and used, you know, members of Congress to play off of his advantage, they felt like that was his venue of choice, and they're not quite sure. And none of us can be sure how he will play in a classic Oval Office address, whether it will work or not. I think a lot depends on what he says.
But they're taking a little bit of a chance here because they simply don't know whether this is a format that suits him.
OLBERMANN: We've heard some readings about what the president is going to say. It's supposed to be the Gulf will be better after this is done than it was even before the disaster. He's going to gut the Department of the Interior - certainly MMS is going to be part of history, or at least the current MMS. That's what he's going to say from what we understand.
What does he need to say tomorrow night?
ALTER: Well, I think he really needs to be the explainer in chief in both looking backward to say, look, we let the foxes guard the chicken coop here in the prior administration. That's just the facts. That's what happens.
And then I think to take a little blame on himself, which is always attractive politically, and he can say: and we didn't move quickly enough to bring in proper regulation - which is what led indirectly to this disaster.
They need to make it clear in this speech that government does have a role, that the tea party folks, even if he doesn't mention them, explicitly are simply wrong when they want government out of the picture. That if you let corporate America operate without regulation, this is what you get. And it's extremely important that he make that clear in this speech, as he looks backward.
In terms of looking forward, I think he needs to set a goal, as sort of a JFK going to the moon kind of goal, for getting off of fossil fuels eventually, whether it's within 20 years, 25 years, maybe not get off of them entirely, but to shift the balance toward clean energy, which, you know, in addition to being better for the environment, better for our national security, is also a tremendous job opportunity - job creation opportunity. And he talked about this a lot in the campaign. What he's been missing is framing this with metaphors, with language that sticks.
And so, I hope they're working really hard on leaving something that takes us beyond kind of an eloquent fast food that wears off quickly and that people can really remember something that comes out of this speech.
OLBERMANN: All right. Talking about looking back, look back from 2011 or 2012, you already wrote a book about year one. Is this the book about year two?
ALTER: Well, you know, year two is only half over, and a lot can happen internationally that could be even worse than this. But right now, it looks like this will be the defining event of year two.
What's curious to me, Keith, is that, you know, it's a piece of what I do in "The Promise." It's just another one of these messes that President Obama was left to clean up. It's not that different from Wall Street, a lot of ill-advised deregulation and a president, a predecessor who was asleep at the switch.
Roosevelt blamed Hoover for a lot, Reagan blamed Carter. I think it's important that this administration explain that a lot of this rests at the feet of George W. Bush.
OLBERMANN: When you expected to be cleaning up their stables, little did he know the term cleaning up was meant literally.
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Alter of MSNBC and "Newsweek" in Los Angeles for us tonight - thanks, John.
ALTER: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: As promised, let's turn now to Robert Reich, labor secretary during the Clinton administration and currently professor of public policy at U.C.-Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy.
Mr. Secretary, thank you for your time tonight.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: At the beginning of this month, you were here. We discussed your idea about putting BP America into receivership - temporary receivership. Two weeks later, it hasn't happened. BP and the administration are still at odds. I'm guessing you don't view those two things as coincidental?
REICH: Well, look, the fact of the matter is that BP's responsibility, like any corporate responsibility, is to shareholders, not to the public, not directly.
Now, the president's responsibility is to the public, and the public needs to be protected now. I think it's very important that the president demand - not request, not negotiate with, not be all that polite - but demand that BP set aside an escrow account of something in the order of $20 billion so that BP cannot otherwise seek protection under the bankruptcy laws or otherwise just say, too bad. But also, that the president use some sort of legal mechanism - I think the easiest is sort of a temporary receivership, to assert control over the resources of BP.
It's very, very important that the president have the power.
OLBERMANN: The process to forced receivership, even temporary receivership, is what? And do you view the compensation as escrow fund as a sufficient alternative to receivership?
REICH: Well, the escrow fund of something in the order of $20 billion would have to be, and it really is in coordination with receivership. What the courts do if a particular company just may not have enough money to pay off claims, the courts are receptive to an injunction or receivership, or some sort of escrow account, under the mandate of courts.
What the president could do, and I think he could very easily use the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 as his pretext, would be to force BP's hand on this. Say, BP, look, we have the power to force you to do this. We could negotiate, but we're actually going to do it. We're going to use your expertise, we're going to use your resources, we're not going to take you over, we're not going to nationalize. This is not nationalization of BP International and this is certainly not a permanent kind of situation, but we are temporarily until the hole is plugged up, until we know and have confidence that the spill is contained, and also, that all of the cleanup is actually done.
Otherwise, Keith, there's no way that the public is going to know for sure that it's getting the right facts, that BP is actually using all the resources that could be and should be used, and also that, in fact, the public interest is being properly weighed.
OLBERMANN: It's quite - it would be quite a step for him to take that. Does he need to do it tomorrow? And given what we hear today about the White House saying BP appears willing to set up a victims' compensation fund, president is saying he was on a fact-finding mission in the Gulf to prepare for the meeting. Does it still not look like BP is more in charge than the administration is?
REICH: Well, unfortunately, BP is in charge right now, and the administration is requesting, is negotiating with. Last Friday, the Coast Guard said, please, BP, please add additional resources and speed up what you were doing to plug the hole and contain the oil.
But we, as the United States, cannot be in the position as - of a supplicant, asking a company that is responsible for this terrible tragedy, the worst environmental disaster in our nation's history, to please do something. I mean, this company is responsible. And more to the point, it has a record of cutting corners and abrogating the public interest altogether in favor of maximizing shareholder returns.
It's time, and I think it's - I think we are very close. I mean, last week, the president and the administration said, shareholders cannot and must not get a dividend. The administration pulled back a little bit from that, but I think it's time to take control.
OLBERMANN: Robert Reich, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley - once again, great thanks for your time, sir.
REICH: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: We will have complete analysis of the president's first Oval Office address to the nation. Tomorrow's speech is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern, after the president returns from his two-day trip to the Gulf. Once again, Countdown's live coverage at 8:00 Eastern and 5:00 Pacific - analysis following the speech, of course.
Fifty-six days by one measure, if not a literal one. This has now lasted as long as Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak. Of course, the media was permitted to cover that, from reports that the BP hotlines are just diversions with operators writing nothing down, to TV news crews being told no one will talk to them and they cannot film. The attempt to control the news outlined for us by a marine toxicologist and a veteran of the Valdez spill and a new one in the Gulf who has seen both shutdowns now in operation.
Next on Countdown.
OLBERMANN: This company has lied about how much oil was flowing into the Gulf. It has lied about how soon it would be able to reduce it to a trickle. It has now, it appears, lied about whether or not anybody in the company was told not to talk to the media. BP's suppression of images from the crime scene as recounted by witness.
The favorite who didn't know this man who upset him for the Democratic Senate nomination from South Carolina - Vic Rawl joins us.
Well, at least we know that this much about this Senate nominee is true. He's a board-certified ophthalmologist. He's not a board-certified ophthalmologist?
And it certainly is a thorough campaign platform: impeach the president and then overthrow the government. Treason in Alabama second when Countdown continues.
OLBERMANN: The Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people. BP is, of course, a convicted criminal now. And although any criminal investigator will tell you the importance of preserving the scene of the crime and any evidence, in this case, the scene of the crime is being managed by the convicted criminal, who just happens to suspect number one this time out as well.
So the shocker in our fourth story, it looks as if someone is destroying evidence at the scene of the crime. Despite BP's claim of openness, the public beaches are still being run like private ones, virtually every media outlet by now has its own story of access denied.
WDSU in New Orleans being told on camera that workers could not speak even after BP executives denied anyone had such order.
KHOU talking it to a BP operator in Houston who calls the spill hotline a diversion to stop callers from through, claiming - though BP denies this - that other operators do nothing with the calls. Quote, "They just type blah, blah, blah. No information. Just blah, blah, blah."
Almost from the beginning, this news hour has reported on claims that the aerial dispersants might do more for BP's image that they do for the water. Dispersion of oil is not the equivalent of disappearance of oil. And the deployment of booms in the Gulf also criticized for the improper execution of that deployment, including by some veterans of Exxon Valdez spill.
Veterans who remember full well that Exxon's then-CEO promised that those communities, too, would be helped. But behind the scenes, he was audiotaped saying he didn't care whether the booms contained the oil. He just wanted pictures of them in the water.
We're joined by one of those Valdez veterans, marine biologist, Riki Ott, who at that time worked in commercial fishing in Alaska. She joins us tonight from Pensacola, Florida.
Great thanks for your time tonight.
RIKI OTT, RIKIOTT.COM: You're welcome. Good evening.
OLBERMANN: You have been traveling the coast since this happened.
Can you tell us your experiences and what you're hearing from people there?
OTT: The experiences veer across three different states now, four actually, including Florida. People are getting headaches, sore throats, nausea, dizziness, stuffy noses. These are people - these are surfers, these are turtle watch volunteers, these are the spill response workers - identical across four states.
And we have BP still maintaining that these people do not need respirators either on their cleanup or in the communities. That's one thing.
Another thing is that the people, especially the turtle watch volunteers who walk the beaches consistently every morning at 6:00 a.m., they're saying the carcasses are disappearing. People who walk the beaches at night, they've seen little baby dolphins wash up dead, flashlights, people descend out of nowhere, carcass gone in 15 minutes. There's reports from offshore of massive kills on the barrier islands from fishermen who have been working on the spill response.
And the - BP's response has been to use metal detectors to keep and prevent the people from even taking cell phones out to photograph this.
We have (INAUDIBLE) - we've flown pilots out, carcasses gone. So - and also now, we have reports of e-mails that anything to do with carcasses, they're disappearing from people's servers.
OLBERMANN: None of this is being captured on videotape? In other words, if there's an attempt to suppress this, you're suggesting there's both an attempt to suppress this and also a very effective attempt to suppress this information and these images?
OTT: Absolutely. Images are evidence. Carcasses are evidence. These were under lock and key, Exxon Valdez, NOAA did the collection, a federal agency.
And here, what we see are people - I've been able to get some pictures of BP raking up bird carcasses, separating heads from bodies. Supposedly, NOAA is saying, oh, these carcasses are all going to be autopsied so we can determine cause of death. You're not going to autopsy a carcass where the head is removed from the body.
So, in my opinion, there's a very strong attempt, not only to control and minimize how much oil was spilling, but now, to control the evidence of the damage, the appearance of carcasses. And you have sick wildlife. You have sick workers. It's the oil that's making this problem.
We need Obama to stand up and order respirators on all the response workers now to avert a human tragedy.
OLBERMANN: On the premises that all this is being done and you're certain this is - the things that you have seen are being done by BP and not by NOAA at BP's instructions, or local police at BP's instructions, whichever the formula is - what is their - what is the evidence that you can present to support your claim?
OTT: I put several photographs on "Huffington Post" of literally a bird's head and a rake and the head being separated. We are - I can get pictures of the early - of the raked beaches in the morning from the turtle watch volunteers. I'm also going to ask people to start taking pictures of their skin rashes and blisters. This is coming in from surfers now and from the turtle watch volunteers as well as the workers.
In response to this, Tulane University is deploying a mobile medical unit to the Venice area, and also, we're working with physicians for social responsibility to come in all five of the Gulf Coast states. And, right now, what they're doing is counseling medical doctors because this is like an ordinary headache or flu. This is, you know, chemical poisoning very likely.
It's not just tar balls that are washing ashore and moss (ph). It's the invisible oil, the underwater plume that's coming ashore, it's surface oil, and it's also these vapors.
There's five forms of oil that's coming, you know, onto these communities and that the workers are experiencing. So, we've actually got a team of physicians that believe us and they're down here. And Tulane University as well.
OLBERMANN: Riki Ott, marine toxicologist, commercial fisher from the Exxon Valdez times, outlining now, of course, something new and as equally disturbing as anything else we've seen here - the potential of a human health crisis enveloping the entire Gulf.
We'll stay in touch with us if you stay in touch with us. We'd appreciate it. Thanks for your time tonight.
OTT: You're very welcome.
OLBERMANN: There is the green disaster in the Gulf. Meanwhile, the Alvin Greene disaster goes on in South Carolina. The favored who Mr. Greene mystery upended files a formal complaint today and joins us tonight.
OLBERMANN: What to do about Alvin Greene in South Carolina with the man he defeated for the Senate nomination. First, we skip Twitter tonight to say good-bye to one of the geniuses of this business, Bob Wussler, who produced for Walter Cronkite.
He was innovative and hands-on news producer in Chicago, invented the modern pregame show for CBS Sports and produced the coverage of what we call the space shots for CBS News, became president of CBS at the aged of 39.
When I knew him, he was one of the founders and designers of CNN and TBS Sports and pushed for more of me on both of them. It was revealed today he passed away on June 5th.
He had started in the mail room at CBS. Robert Wussler, innovative through the end and was 73 years old. All right, let's play "Hardball."
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OLBERMAN (voice-over): In San Diego, we'll meet Dozer. Dozer is the winner of the second Annual Incredible Surf Dog competition sponsored by a company that sells surprisingly enough dog food. Nothing like surfing for your next meal. The event took place on the north end of Ocean Beach where no dog was accused of looking like a fish out of the water.
To (inaudible) in Estonia, different kind of summer past time has more to do with competition, the first Annual Mosquito Catching Championship. Thirty seven participants gathered in a big field to see how many mosquitoes they could cash in 10 minutes. There is no requirement to take them alive. Contestants were allowed to slap themselves or each other.
The winner caught or killed 38 mosquitoes. He was bitten about as many times. He won a yacht trip on Estonia's biggest lake. The insects are just trying to relax and unwind. Meanwhile, the mosquitoes were holding a contest to see how many humans they could catch and eat.
Finally to Woomera, Australia and the sky over the Australian outback. If think that looks like a comet, yes, it is. It's close, anyway. It's a Japanese space capsule returning to earth after having landed on an asteroid. After they kissed their asteroid good-bye, the space probe came home after a seven-year journey that covered 4 billion miles, billions in billions of miles.
The craft burned apart on re-entry but only after it jettisoned the capsule, which carries asteroid samples. Scientists, they were much rejoicing among them because it's the first time a spacecraft has landed on an asteroid and returned to earth except when for that time Bruce Willis did it.
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OLBERMANN: One of the truly extraordinary pieces of video journalism from a firefight outside Kandahar City in Afghanistan as tonight there are a lot of new reasons for the Taliban to fight, but truly new reasons, in fact, from a mind-bending discovery of precious minerals there.
OLBERMANN: Vic Rawl has today formally protested the results of the Democratic primary election that produced the upset winner, his opponent, Alvin Greene.
But (inaudible) here in the "Countdown" the focus is quickly turning from Mr. Greene to the legitimacy of South Carolina's voting system. Mr. Rawl will join us in a moment. Mr. Greene's candidacy included its legitimacy still under scrutiny, however, by a government watchdog.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics is preparing an FEC complaint against Mr. Greene because he did not FEC reports, but Democrats in South Carolina still seek a convincing answer as to how Mr. Greene came to be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in the first place.
South Carolina's State Representative Todd Rutterford met with Greene and said he had difficulty answering questions, quote, "Mr. Rutterford, if someone paid him to do this, they're certainly exploited someone who was vulnerable. It's not even funny, it's just sad."
But another Democratic State Representative Bakari Sellers says he believes Greene is sincere. I don't think he's a plant. I think he doesn't know what he's getting into. The election got the attention of the Obama administration. White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod was asked if he thought Mr. Greene is a legitimate candidate.
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DAVID AXELROD, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: It doesn't appear so to me. I mean, it was a mysterious deal. He didn't campaign. He had no campaign funds. The whole thing is odd, and I don't know how to explain it and I don't think anybody else does either.
OLBERMAN (voice-over): Mr. Rawl's formal protest with the State Democratic Party follows his campaign's unofficial review still underway of the election results with experts already noting multiple irregularities.
Mr. Rawl's campaign has also received numerous complaints from voters who experienced problems with the touch-screen voting machines. For instance, people who say they repeatedly pressed the screen for Mr. Rawl, but saw Mr. Greene's name appear instead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Joining me now as promised, retired judge and former South Carolina State Representative, Vic Rawl. Thank you for your time tonight, Sir.
VIC RAWL, SOUTH CAROLINA SENATE REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you for allowing me to be on, Keith.
OLBERMANN: First, the irregularities that the experts cataloged and the anecdotal complaints from voters, tell us about those and what you think they mean?
RAWL: Keith, there are numerous complaints. Everything from having my name show up on a Republican primary ballot to all sorts of issue with regard to the computer cards, with regard to the difference between the absentee votes versus the actual vote during the day of the machine voting. We are convinced that there is something amiss with regard to either the software or the machines themselves.
OLBERMANN: Could these machines have malfunctioned in a swarm effect, or could someone have tampered with them? Are they leftovers from d-bold or the 2004 Florida recount? What are they?
RAWL: My understanding is they're machines that have been - there have been serious problems with them in Arkansas and Florida and Louisiana and other places. They have a history. The biggest problem, of course, they didn't have a paper trail whatsoever.
It's strict hi a computer with a touch screen. We feel from the three different sets of experts that we're dealing with, one, of course, is dealing with the statistical analysis of the data. The second of course is the political outcome of the races historically and the third group is dealing with the software and computer science aspect of it. All three groups indicate that there are difficulties, and it appears to be systemic.
OLBERMANN: Obviously, this has moved on from the legitimacy of Mr. Greene's candidacy and whether his filing fee money came from his own funds. Are those things still at issue, however? Those original basic things about Mr. Greene or is he almost a side issue at this point?
RAWL: Keith, in my opinion it's not about Mr. Greene or it's not about me. It's about the sanctity of the vote in South Carolina. Let's be real. The entire country is a democracy, and quite frankly the basics of a democracy is the right to vote and to have some sort of faith in that vote.
If we don't have that, we are asking to destroy the basis for our country. That's what I'm involved in. This is not about me. It's not my political career. I quite frankly have had a long one already. It's more important to be assured that this election, no matter what the outcome, has some validity and verifiability, and that's what we're about.
OLBERMANN: Now that this protest has been filed by you and your campaign, is there a next step? Is there a precedent for another primary? What can be done in this situation?
RAWL: Well, you file a protest because that's the only option that I have. The protest is heard by the South Carolina Democratic Executive Committee on Thursday at 3:00. We will have to present our evidence at that time.
Of course, Mr. Greene is allowed to present and cross-examine. Any appeal there from my understanding will be the South Carolina Supreme Court or other court.
And the bottom line is the systemic aspect of it, it's going to be a proof by exclusion. In other words, what didn't happen and what can we exclude from the basis of outcome. At this point in time it's rather disingenuous to say I didn't campaign.
That disingenuousness is to all the campaign workers also, about 180 that we had working on the campaign, and I think people must remember, this is not a general election. This is a primary with directed toward individuals who identify as primary voters.
OLBERMANN: Vic Rawl, retired judge and former South Carolina state representative and a Democratic challenger to Alvin Green as it turns out right now. Great. Thanks for joining us and we'll stay in touch. Thank you.
RAWL: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: In one of the most extraordinary pieces of television journalism of the decade. You will be inside a firefight between U.S. forces and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which may or may not know they discovered a trillion dollars worth of minerals in Afghanistan.
Yes, in Alabama, congressional candidate has an ad demanding impeachment, and then adding if that's not enough, it's a TV commercial calling for violence against the government.
And when Rachel joins you the at the top of the hour, the logic of Governor Haley Barbour and more drilling in the gulf. What do you do after you blow off your hand with firecrackers? Get yourself some more fire crackers. You've got another hand.
OLBERMANN: The Alabama congressional candidate's platform, impeachment and then overthrowing the government. Nice. First, no, that's not your water coming to a boil. It's our nightly checkup of the something for nothing crowd, it's "Tea Time." It's the gift that keeping on giving.
Now, we have not merely Rand Paul, but also Sharron Angle. She made her national debut today on the propaganda channel.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perhaps it's a misinformation or mischaracterization, but someone said that you're out to get rid of Social Security. That's not true, right?
SHARRON ANGLE (R-NV), BACKED BY THE TEA PARTY: Well, that's nonsense. I've always said that we need to make the lock box, a lock box. What we need to do is personalize Social Security and Medicare so that the government can no longer raid it.
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OLBERMANN: In other words, raid Social Security then get rid of it, replace with a system so preposterous making people invest their Social Security savings in the stock market for the benefit of brokers and bankers.
That when President Bush proposed it, it died a rapid and painful death. So Rand Paul, Tea Party Senate candidate from Kentucky and board certified eye surgeons. We have the Tea Party Senate candidate from Nevada lying about her plans to destroy Social Security. Top that.
Board says Paul not certified? Oops. Dr. Paul calls himself a board certified ophthalmologist. Turns out the quote, "board" unquote, in question is one he founded. It is not recognized by the American Medical Association.
The American Board of Medical Specialties spokeswoman, Lori Boukas, couldn't make it, well, clearer. Board Certifications are valid only if they're done by the 24 groups approved by the AMA.
She said Dr. Paul, quote, "is not board certified." So one Tea Partier lying about Social Security and another Tea Partier lying about his medical qualifications. OK, I confess. I love the Tea Party.
OLBERMANN: In Afghanistan, we discover a trillion dollars worth of minerals in Afghanistan. Coincidence, no doubt. That's next, but first get our your pitchforks and torches. Time for tonight's worst person in the world (inaudible) fine fantasist World Net Daily.
Their story, Hawaii elections clerk. Obama is not born here. It's about Tim Adams who worked as a senior elections clerk for the city and county of Honolulu in 2008 and is making the stunning claim Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii as the White House maintains.
And that a long form hospital-generated birth certificate for Obama does not even exist in the Aloha state. World Net Daily left out too little details. This Tim Adams, he made his claim on a quote, "pro white radio show" hosted by a man names James Edwards during a broadcast from a meeting on the Council of Conservative Citizens.
This council states on its own website that its members oppose all members to mix the races of mankind to promote nonwhite races over the European American and to force the integration of the races. We're quoting white supremacist about a black president. Well-done World Net Daily.
Our runner's up two unidentified burglars kicked in a windows of the Coffee Club in the Home Center in Springwood, Australia outside Breezbon this is and stole the restaurant's safe. They towed it by hooking it to their car by ropes, and they drove off. That's when they tried to make the u-turn and didn't tell the safe first.
It kept going straight and then it tipped over and full into a culvert. So they tried to cover it up with an old tire and some cardboard approximate. It didn't work, but our winner is Rick Barber, Tea Party candidate for the second congressional district in Alabama and I this just looks like bad acting and cheap costumes, but it's actually an incitement of treason.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would impeach him. They could increase taxes or perform malicious audits. I can't stand by while these evils are perpetrated. You revolted over a tea tax. Now look at us. Are you with me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gather your armies.
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OLBERMANN: No, we're not with you nor would the founding father be with you and those aren't the founding father. Those are guys in cheap costumes and wigs and that's your mom's basement. The revolutionaries did not the right to vote.
When you say it's not an incitement call to arms, you're a goddamn liar. That's a call to treason and the violent overthrow of the U.S. government and I hope Mr. Barber they arrest you and put your sorry ass in jail. Rick Barber would be traitor. Today's the worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: For decades one of the most powerful forces holding down Afghanistan has never changed, poverty. The nation's gross domestic product is $12 billion much of it foreign assistance. But our number one story tonight, with about 100,000 Americans fighter there, what if underneath that nation's mountains lay a fortune in natural resources, a trillion dollars worth of fortune?
Since the Soviet occupation, geologists have known of Afghanistan's potential for mineral wealth. Wealth that can be unearthed by mining, an industry Afghanistan does not have yet. Now, the "New York Times" reports that the Afghanistan president, Mr. Karzai has been briefed about the findings of a survey by the U.S. geologist and the Pentagon indicating that Afghanistan has far greater untapped natural resources than anyone new estimated more than a trillion dollars in minerals, oil and gas.
The underground reserves were found in 2006 and '07 aerial surveys using magnetic and other scanner on the ground below. The findings of the "Times" report ignored then by both the U.S. and Afghanistan governments until they discovery now by a Pentagon task force.
While the timing of the story with the on the record cooperation from the Pentagon could help President Obama generate support for the 9-year-old war, it could fuel Afghanistan's notorious corruption as well as Taliban determination to fight on now for the riches that are literally beneath their feet.
A determination already in full evidence as coalition forces mount a summer offensive. The Taliban are striking back this weekend in an attack outside Kandahar City. Seldom do we run field reports in this news hour, but our Chief Foreign correspondent, Richard Engel and his crew were embedded with 82nd Airborne division and thus they filed one of the most extraordinary pieces of first hand journalism television has ever offered.
RICHARD ENGEL, CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For soldiers of Charlie Company 2508 of the 82nd Airborne, it's a somber March back to base. They're returning from a memorial service on Saturday for one of their own killed in the Taliban stronghold outside Kandahar. But the Taliban are waiting. The soldiers rush to the roof to return fire. The most intense assault ever on the outpost.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ammo!
ENGEL: They launch mortars almost straight up. Twenty Taliban fighters are just 100 yards away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This base is coming under heavy attack. One soldier has been severely injured. In the guard tower on the roof soldiers find more injured.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay low, stay low.
ENGEL: In the guard tower on the roof, soldiers find more injured. They're treated under fire. The troops keep firing, now supported by helicopter gunships. After 30 intense minutes, the battle is finally over. Battles like this one are picking up and taking a toll. On many patrols in the (inaudible), Sergeant Luis Loftis (ph) is the point-man. If there's an IED in the ground, he'll most likely see it first or step on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm thinking about, you know, just getting to where we're going the safest route possible. I don't really dwell on this could be my last patrol.
ENGEL: Loftis from Akron, Ohio and looks at photographs of the girl he wants to marry after he goes home in a few months. When I asked him about a fellow soldier killed last week, it's clear how deeply these troops feel about the growing casualties here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, I'm kind numb to it. To be honest, I just don't really feel much. I pray for his family and soul. You know, I try not to think about it.
Because when you think about it, then you get like this. I don't - you know, yes. So, yes, you know, everyone deals with it their own way. I try to hide it. I try not to think about it, because I have to stay 100 percent. I have to keep a good example in front of the other soldiers. I'm sorry.
ENGEL: But when the base was attacked this weekend, emotions were put aside. Loftis fired away on a main gun very much in the fight.
OLBERMANN: Richard Engel tell us all the soldiers injured in that firefight survived. That's "Countdown." It's the 56th day of the deep water horizon disaster in the gulf. The president is addressing that disaster tomorrow from the oval office. We'll have live coverage on "Countdown" at 8 Eastern, 5 Pacific. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END