'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, August 22nd, 2011
ShowPlug1: Huntsman calls out Bachman, Perry, as extreme. Gallup has GOP'ers ahead of POTUS. Caveat: you won't believe who led polls 8/07
ShowPlug2: @KenVogel on Huntsmann's plea for sanity to a party full of Nutjobs; @RyanGrim on polls + big picture
ShowPlug3: The secret $1.2 Trillion dollar bailout, and Wall Street bailing out Romney. Yahoo Finance's Dan @GrossDM on both
ShowPlug4: Right or wrong, Obama's strategy influences Libya outcome; McCain, Graham, bash him. Rep. @KeithEllison joins me
ShowPlug5: New study: an hour of tv costs you 22 minutes of life expectancy. Not the shows my guest David Cross is on, of course!
ShowPlugLast: Worsts: after 30 years of GOP/Wealthy war on Poor + Middle Class, Eric Cantor blames Dems for "class warfare."
watch whole playlist
#5 'The Right Stuff?', Ken Vogel
#5 'The Right Stuff?', Ryan Grim
#4 'Money For Nothing', Dan Gross
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Fight For Control', Rep. Keith Ellison
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#2 Worst Persons: Rep. Lamar Smith, Tony Perkins, Rep. Eric Cantor
#1 'TV Has A Downside?', David Cross
Web Extra: David Cross on 'Arrested Development' movie and more
printable PDF transcript
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? The X games, one Republican candidate calls out extremists in his own party.
Perry on the treason crap and Bachmann on the $2 gas guarantee.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) MAN: What world that comment would come from. You know, we live in the real world.
OLBERMANN: And yet, new gallup polling, Obama 47, Ron Paul 45. Obama 47, Perry 47. Romney 48, Obama 46. And Obama 48, Bachmann 44. 44, huh? One point for every gaff? Today, her explanation for stuff like this.
(EXCERPT FROM AUDIO CLIP) MICHELE BACHMANN: They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union.
OLBERMANN: She says she is not crazy, she's not medicated, she's just busy.
When you speak six times a day, slip-ups can occur.
How fortunate, that if elected President, she wouldn't be busy.
Obama saves but Romney scores on rebounds with reports that the bail out to Wall Street's autocracy totaled a trillion, two.
The moneyed interest are responding by sending their money to Romney. Moammar no more.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA: The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people.
OLBERMANN: Think what the president did legal or not, guess who is not getting any credit?
We joined the second guesser in chief already in progress.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) JOHN McCAIN: He Led from behind.
ANNOUNCER: An hour a day of television can take 22 minutes off your life?
Not an hour he is on, of course.
And he is on this one.
And the post script from Libya, Moammar Gadhafi was doing what Rupert Murdoch had already been doing?
All that and more, now on "Countdown".
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) MAN: I'm Rupert Murdoch, the billionaire tyrant.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
This is Monday, August 22nd, 442 days until the 2012 presidential election.
With new Gallup polling out tonight, the caveat before the results.
Four years ago, minus 5 days, one prominent survey had it, Giuliani 47 Clinton 40.
If that seems too ludicrous to consider, four years ago minus 18 days CNN's poll, Giuliani 49, Obama 45.
Never the less, the fifth story in the "Countdown", the latest Gallup poll of registered voters has the president trailing, tied or just edging, the leading G.O.P. would-be candidates.
Two of whom have been called out for some of their crazier comments by one of the trailing G.O.P. candidates, while a Republican prospect who had not declared formally announces he was staling out after all.
So, while the president marched to a podium today to announce the seemingly imminent fall of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.
A Gallup poll showed him trailing Mitt Romney 46 to 48 percent.
Tied with Rick Perry with both at 47 percent, leading Ron Paul at 47 to 45 percent and still within the margin of error, nowhere has that term ever been more useful than when facing Michele Bachmann at 48 to 44 percent.
Congressman Paul Ryan, however, has foregone a chance to see how he might do against the president.
The author of "The turn Medicare into a failing voucher plan," announcing he is not seeking his party's nomination for the White House.
And as brutal as Mr. Obama's poll numbers might sound at first glance, Jon Huntsman's takedown of Bachmann and Perry on ABC's "This Week" was much, much worse.
Asked to comment about Perry saying that Fed Chair Bernanke would be treated, "pretty ugly down in Texas" and that boosting the money quote supply was "almost treasonous."
Huntsman was negative, all be it, polite.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO): JON HUNTSMAN: I am not sure the average voter is going to hear that treasonous remark and say, that sounds like a presidential candidate.
That sounds like someone who is serious on the issues.
OLBERMANN: But, when asked about Perry's comments denying a human role in climate and in teaching creationism, Huntsman says Republicans are in trouble.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO): JON HUNTSMAN: When we take a position that isn't willing to embrace evolution, when we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said with the National Academy of Sciences has said about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science and, therefore, in a losing position.
OLBERMANN: Huntsman was less impressed with Michele Bachmann's claim that she would bring gas prices back below $2 a gallon as president.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO: JON HUNTSMAN: I just don't know what world that comment would come from, you know, we live in the real world.
It's grounded in reality.
And gas prices just aren't going to rebound like that.
OLBERMANN: Grounding in reality is one fellow that Congressman Bachmann has never met.
She recently celebrated Elvis Presley's birthday on the anniversary of his Death, claimed the Soviet Union was outpacing the USA militarily and said energy bandit Enron was brought down by not paying its bills rather than, you know, the whole monumental fraud things.
Bachmann's excuse is now in, "When you spike six times a day, slip-ups can occur," she said.
No one has even yet called her out on this collision of the absurd with the absurd morphing of the third person into the first one.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO): MICHELE BACHMANN: President Bachmann will hold bake sales if I need to, to make sure our men and women in uniform get your paychecks.
OLBERMANN: According to the Department of Defense, the U.S. totaled nearly $126 billion in military personnel costs for the last completed audited year, 2009.
Perhaps Congresswoman, you should consider praying away the debt.
As for Rick Perry, he campaigned in South Carolina and Texas over the weekend while his spokesman tried to deflect quotes from the governors 2010 book "Effed up," oh no, sorry, it's "Fed Up." The quotes where Perry called Social Security "a crumbling monument to the failure of the new deal, established at the expense of respect for the constitution and limited government that should be replaced by a retirement system that is no longer set up like an illegal ponzi scheme."
Communications director Ray Sullivan confirmed, or claimed, rather that "Fed Up" is "a look back, not a path forward and not in any way a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto."
Mr. Sullivan must have been surprised then when the governor told a potential Iowa voter, "have you read my book 'Fed Up' get a copy and read it." As for non-candidate or candidate in waiting, or photo-op star Sarah Palin, she released a candidates video Friday with a boiler plate message for the true believers.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO) SARAH PALIN: It's time that this country is put back on the right track, that the economy is strengthened.
OLBERMANN: Fox contributor, now retired Bush brain, Carl Rove was intrigued but thinks the afterthought Palin has to jump in after a schedule Iowa visit September 3, or never.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO) CARL ROVE: This is her last chance.
She either gets in or gets out after this visit next week.
I think she gets in.
OLBERMANN: And if she does get it, she may be joined by the almost forgotten former governor of New York, George Pataki, whose career flashed by in a moment just like you saw there, who calls the Republican field thin.
You should try talking to Jon Huntsman.
Look at the whole field in a moment.
First, the focus on Huntsman, I'm joined by Ken Vogel of politico. Good evening, Ken.
KEN VOGEL: Hey, great to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The Huntsman take on Perry, he dared to take on the know-nothings in the party which seemed to be a vast majority here.
Apart from whether or not he's right or whether or not that's praise worthy, what's he thinking politically.
How do you win the support of the insane by pointing out to everyone else that they're insane?
VOGEL: Well, there in fact are a wide swath of Republican voters who probably, this message appeals to.
However, he's doing himself no favors by actively calling out the folks who he deems to be insane.
Or, who he deems to be preaching philosophies that would some how hurt the Republican party.
And, so, these voters are probably going to side with someone like Mitt Romney, who, in many ways, shares a lot of these same beliefs, but instead, has walked a really careful line where he's tried to stay away from alienating Republican primary voters, for whom questioning evolution or climate change is sort of part of their ideology.
And, he's instead look like he's flip flopping and such and Jon Huntsman also called him out on that.
It's tough to really see though, how what Huntsman is doing is a path to the Republican nomination, I don't think it is.
OLBERMANN: And, the interesting thing, when he got around to Michele Bachmann was, she's obviously an easy target, but he hit her on substance rather than on these faux pas.
Does that resonate with primary voters or, as you suggest there, does that just sort of clear out the zone for Romney to come in and not have to deal with the people that essentially Huntsman might have dented or, perhaps, even eliminated?
VOGEL: I think that's exactly what it does.
It helps Mitt Romney who has tried to stay away from engaging with Michele Bachmann, with Rick Perry on some of these issues that do seem to be extreme but none the less do have a base in the Republican party.
And so, having Huntsman take on these folks, allows Mitt Romney to sort of stay away from it and chart a course for the nomination that doesn't involve getting his hands dirty, and doesn't involve invoking the hire of these Republican primary voters for whom Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann are heroes.
And, you know, he's got to deal with these people anyway.
Mitt Romney does.
So, he'd prefer that they be sort of as dinged up as possible and Jon Huntsman is certainly serving that function for him.
OLBERMANN: Ken, "The Hill" reported that Huntsman told an interviewer today for a later broadcast that he could join Bachmann as vice presidential candidate.
Is that Mr. Huntsman showing that, in addition to being willing to call out the more extreme elements of his own party that he's willing to put out a little humor at his own expense?
Or, is he saying at one point that Bachmann is not sticking to the truth but he'd be happy to run with her?
VOGEL: That was a little puzzling. I don't think that Bachmann would be interested in having him as a running mate, but let's not forget this is a guy who was president Obama's ambassador to China.
And is now, feels now qualms about criticizing him on almost everything.
OLBERMANN: Switching to specifics here. Paul Ryan announcing that he's going to sit this one out. Is that General Sherman moment, is he out of it or could he be available for a draft? And if he is out, why did he decide to announce now that he's out?
VOGEL: I don't think he was ever in it. It's puzzling it took him this long. I think that the drum-beat of pressure on him to run, encouraging him to run was such that he felt the need to definitively rule it out. Let's face it, this guy had no path to the nomination either.
He had no national fund-raising base.
He had very little name I.D. and that which he did have is associated with this plan, the Ryan budget proposal which is extremely controversial and as you mentioned in the lead, contains this provision that would effectively end or at least grossly overhaul Medicare in such a way that Democrats just had a field day with some of the special elections and would come after him very hard on or if he winds up on a -- as a vice president candidate come after the ticket very hard on.
OLBERMANN: Ken Vogel, of POLITICO.
Always a pleasure Ken thanks for your time.
VOGEL: My pleasure.
OLBERMANN: Now as promised, a slightly bigger take of the same picture, I'm joined by Ryan Grim, the Washington Bureau Chief of the Huffington Post. Good evening Ryan.
RYAN GRIM: Good to be here Keith.
OLBERMANN: Let me double back to those Gallup numbers first on the match-ups I have the caveats about how Rudy Giuliani led both Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama at this point in the 2008 race.
Let me throw in one other caveat, August, 2003, George W. Bush was eight points ahead of all Democrats individually in "The Washington Post" polls, and of course he won by two and half.
In that context, are the Republicans -- never mind the Democrats but are the Republicans taking those good numbers seriously at all?
GRIM: They certainly are taking those good numbers seriously.
And they should.
You know, the conventional wisdom here in Washington is that President Obama is not necessarily going to cruise to victory but he's relatively assured of re-election because all of the
Republican candidates are losers.
That's kind of the way the Washington press is looking at this thing.
GRIM: But that ignores the fact that Obama has an approval rating that is right now in the high 30s and low 40s and that the economy is just spinning out of control and that unemployment has been, you know, at levels we haven't seen since the Great Depression a couple of years now. Presidential elections are often a referendum on the president. And so if enough people come out or a referendum on the economy.
If enough people come out and cast protest votes against the economy they could end up electing somebody they don't particularly like.
We could wind up with a country electing someone that, you know, that they would -- that, you know, if it was -- if it were just, you know, here are these two folks.
Who do you like better?
You know, I will take the president.
But because people are so frustrated and so angry at the direction of the country, they might -- enough people might cast a protest vote and shift it in another direction.
Democrats thinking this is going to be easy because these Republicans are a bunch of do-nothings, you know, might be in for a surprise.
And that's what those poll numbers show.
What did the Huntsman sort of smackdown extreme elements of the party do?
How does that address his thinking shooting for 2016?
Is this the proverbial cliche and somewhat insulting term "hail Mary"?
What do you think it is?
GRIM: I think hail Mary is a good way to put it.
Huntsman has been completely unable to gain any traction.
He's somebody who kind of bought into the mainstream media hype.
The Washington lead said this is a guy who can beat Barack Obama. Watch out for Jon Huntsman. Huntsman read all those articles and ultimately believed everything that people said about him and then several months into the election, he sees himself still 1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent not catching on.
At that point it's like frustration. He is like these people are denying evolution, denying climate change and they're killing me in the polls.
So if I am going to go out, at least I am going to go out swinging. You have to give him that at least.
OLBERMANN: Mrs. Palin, the comments from Karl Rove saying it's now or never.
He thinks it's going to be now.
Are there any indicators of that?
I mean can she afford that?
The losses of income and star power and celebrity when sort of vetted and not even being the leader in the crazy part of the Republican Party?
GRIM: You know, Rove's statement this weekend is interesting, as my colleague, Howard Fineman wrote recently. He said, look, you know, Rick Perry is sort of Karl Rove's Frankenstein.
Karl Rove created Rick Perry.
He actually was one of the lead advisors of his campaign in the '90s or in 1990 when he knocked off Jim Hightower as agriculture commissioner. And that's what gave Perry his boost into statewide office.
Since then, he has kind of exploited the entire Rove machine that Rove built for Bush and but over the last few decades, Rove has come to despise Rick Perry.
So he hates the fact that now this creature that he created is, you know, rampaging across the country.
So I think for Rove, lifting up Sarah Palin was a way of -- it was wishful thinking.
He is hoping that somebody like Sarah Palin will get in because will be more competition for Perry.
And Romney is probably hoping he will get in, too, because then you are going to have Palin, Bachmann and Perry, all destroying each other while Romney just coasts all the way through.
OLBERMANN: Well, Maybe not.
I don't know because I don't think you can necessarily undercount the number of crazy people who are going to vote in the Republican primary.
We will see how that turns out. In any event, Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post. As always, great thanks.
GRIM: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The secret trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street's elite matched neatly by the not-so-secret decision on Wall Street to bankroll somebody other than President Obama next year.
This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Now that he's all but done in Libya, guess who in American politics is not getting any credit for that.
Plus, what Moammar had in common with Rupert Murdoch.
After 30 years, during which his party has not paused for a minute from its goal of burying the poor and the middle class, this hypocrite actually has the nerve to accuse the democrats today of trying to incite class warfare.
And while Wall Street rewards the campaign of Mitt Romney, one of its people tells the newspaper "The Hill" it's not healthy for rich people to feel maligned.
And watching an hour of television takes 22 minutes off your life -- so says a new study.
David Cross and I will explain how that may be true about an hour of television neither one of us is in -- all ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: The Federal Reserve has just revealed a tightly kept secret how much money major banks and brokerage firms borrowed from American taxpayers during the financial crisis of 2008.
In our fourth story on the "Countdown", Bloomberg news reporting Federal Reserve chairman Bernanke authorized up to $1.2 trillion taxpayer dollars to keep those companies solvent and fend off potential depression.
Many of the loan recipients claim they had plenty of cash.
Some say they took the money rather than take the risk of being labeled institutionally weak by investors and the financial media.
Morgan Stanley's peak borrowing reportedly hit $107.3 billion in 2008. Citi group was at $99.5 billion in early 2009.
Bank of America followed at $91.4 billion the same year.
Much of the lending took plates under President Bush, it was then candidate Obama who acquiesced, as was billions more in lending that followed.
But helping to bail out Wall Street does not guarantee Wall Street support.
The Congressional Newspaper of the Hill reviewed fund-raising data from dozens of financial sector executives in the New York City region who had supported Obama in 2008.
Sixty-seven of those executives have so far donated more than $147,00 to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
In 2008, 36 of those 67 executive have donated to other Republican presidential candidates and 15 specifically gave to Romney that year.
Only three have donated to the president's re-election campaign this year.
Wall Street is familiar territory, of course, to Romney.
He made millions as the founder of the private equity firm, Bain Capital.
Twelve million has been spent on a beach front mansion in La Jolla, California.
Turns out, his 3,000 square feet there is not big enough.
Romney has a permit now to bulldoze this property and intends to replace the 1936 two bedroom with an 11,000 foot updated version.
A campaign official told the "San Diego Union Tribune" that he needs something big enough for his extended family to enjoy because quote, with five married sons and 16 grandchildren, it is inadequate for their needs.
Always an adroit campaign strategy for a candidate of the Mormon faith to remind everybody of the size of his big family and its number of generations.
On the economics part of this now joining me is Dan Gross, the economics editor and columnist of Yahoo! Finance.
Good to talk to you again sir.
DAN GROSS: Good to be here, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Translate the secret $1.2 trillion bailout.
The number is the secret?
There wasn't another bailout we didn't know about, is it?
GROSS: Well, it's the number and the recipients. Now, Bloomberg news waged a battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court to get the Federal Reserve to reveal this information.
After all, they were putting what could have been taxpayer funds at risk to help bail out the financial system.
This was beyond the T.A.R.P., beyond some of these other things the Fed had the T.A.L.F., the T.A.M.P., they ran out of Acronyms before they ran out of money.
And this was basically a program where if you were a large bank, you could come to the fed and present some collateral, usually bonds, but then it became stocks and pick-up trucks and any junk they had lying around and the fed would give you cash for that.
And then that period in '08/'09, when a lot of these banks had all sorts of assets that they had acquired but not a lot of cash that was available, they were accustomed to borrowing from one another, all of the sudden they wouldn't lend to each other so they all, you know, as one essentially came to the fed for $1.2 trillion. Short-term money, money for a few weeks or a month.
But a lot was at extremely low interest rates much lower than the market would be charging them.
So it was not just a boon to help them stay alive.
It was a boon to their profits.
OLBERMANN: It's been noted many places and I don't think we needed this information to know that President Obama, both before and after his election, was particularly in tune with much of this guaranteeing of the -- of Wall Street.
Money does not have ethics woven into the threads of the fibers of the bills and certainly campaign money is even less likely to be guided morally.
But even in that context, doesn't this hint of a switch by Wall Street from Obama to Romney seem a little crass?
GROSS: Well, I guess in addition to being guilty of very bad management, they are guilty of very bad manners.
This administration continued the bailout, intensified them in some way, protected them from the, you know, the pitchfork toting mobs.
Dodd-Frank, I think, was a pretty lame response to a once in a century crisis.
The rhetoric, they're complaining about Obama's occasional swipes at fat cats, that's very tame stuff.
Looking at the other side of this, not why would they sort of not betray is too strong a term.
Why would they go against Obama after having gotten much of what they wanted from him in 2008 and 2009 is one question, but why would Wall Street like Romney specifically now when it certainly didn't like him enough in 2008 to bankroll him past what was admittedly a pretty tepid candidacy from John McCain.
GROSS: Well, in 2008, you had Obama and Hillary and those were garnering donations from two different generations of Wall Street people.
Wall Street is a pretty Democratic place when you think about it because it's based in New York, all of New York's politicians are Democratic, so Hillary, you know, from her long experience being in the White House and being a senator from New York, this was her hometown, and Obama excited a lot of the younger generation of hedge fund private equity.
So, it wasn't so much that Romney was competing against McCain for money. It was that Hillary and Obama were sucking up huge amounts of it.
OLBERMANN: Do they view it, a campaign donation, in the same way as an investment?
Is it calculated the same way?
OLBERMANN: As investing is?
GROSS: Think about it. Hedge funds, what do they do? They hedge. And one of the ways they hedge is by throwing a little money to each of these candidates.
You mentioned in the run-up, we're talking about 67 people who donated $147,000 or $167,000 total, that's $2,500 apiece.
You know, that's like you or I putting $5, to a friend's charity or giving it to a street musician.
It's not a huge expression of commitment the way it would be for someone, you know, works for a living and makes $50,000 a year giving that much.
So when they are called or invited to a meeting where Romney is going to be, they write a check and, you know, they checked off that box.
OLBERMANN: Dan Gross, economics editor at Yahoo! Finance, good to talk to you again and just by reason of contrast, we turn to you for this economic information.
Bill O'Reilly tonight, had his two economic guests, they were Ben Stein and Wayne Rogers. So you're well ahead of the curve.
GROSS: Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
OLBERMANN: That's right. Exactly. They high mark of his economic understanding, Ben Stein.
Dan, thank you again.
GROSS: Any time.
OLBERMANN: The regime is over, but the political pointsmanship is just beginning.
The latest on Libya ahead on "Countdown".
OLBERMANN: Gadhafi's dictatorship is not even cold yet and key international figures are already trying to grab Libya's oil and here, they are trying to grab the credit. Ahead.
First the sanity break. On this date in 565 AD, the first supposed sighting of the Lochness Monster. It may be a crock, but at least it's a 1446 year old crock.
The Irish monk saint Columba reportedly came across the burial of a Scotsman killed in the river Ness by a water beast. Columba then had one of his people swim across the river to try to induce the beast to the surface. That must've been a great job. Sure enough, the beast surfaced, but Columba said he made the sign of the cross and the creature stopped as Columba said, go no further.
Do not touch the man.
Go back at once.
Which oddly, is exactly what Baxter said to the Kodiak bears at the end of "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."
"Time Marches On."
We begin in Akron, if you thought the double whopper was the unhealthiest burger out there, think again. Presenting the deep-fried cheese burger.
Joining the illustrious ranks of the butter and Kool-Aid mix, as things that are unhealthy enough without being fried, but get fried anyway. The deep-fried cheese burger is a special creation for the annual hamburger festival. The recipe is obviously simple.
You take an ordinary slider, then you dip it in batter and then you deep fry it, hence the term, "deep fried."
My arteries ache looking at it.
From the Internet, with Christmas only four months away, and start to think decoration time.
And won't your neighbors be jealous when you unveiled your new multicolored flame thrower.
Using a special fluid, the system is able to create flames in five different colors and shoot them 30 feet in the air. Perfect for the person looking to give their decorations that extra wow factor.
Although, even kiss things it's over the top.
In sports, we join the matchup between the Omaha Storm Chasers and Nashville sounds. Clint Robinson for Omaha.
And I don't think it's playable. Or?
That's right, that's a catch.
Center fielder Logan Schafer went back on the ball, did all the Jose Canseco stuff, got the ball off of his own head for one out, then they tagged second base to get the first runner and then onto first.
The throw from the shortstop Masonette made a triple play. Nashville went on to win the game 4-1 all thanks to Schafer for really using the old noggin, well that and their new padded hats.
Time marches on.
The revolution having been televised is now almost over, but the race to claim credit and claim oil in and about Libya has just begun.
Next on "Countdown".
OLBERMANN: Live from "Countdown" world headquarters in the Sports Capsule building in New York City each weeknight at 8:00 P.M. and then we retransmit it to your home at 11pm, 2am, 7am, noon and 3pm.
"Countdown," your last defense against creepy meatballism.
Today, the Libyan capital of Tripoli falls to rebel fighters, and as Libyan celebrate in the streets here at home, top Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham call the operation a quote, failure. In our third story tonight, rebels have General Moammar Gadhafi on the run.
And while Republicans refuse to give the president any credit, perhaps the only people as elated as the Libyans themselves, are oil companies and their executives eager to tap the countries vast reserves. Or just steal them.
Senators McCain and Graham issuing a statement about the Libyan operation, praising everybody but the President, the very man who pushed for the joint military action. Republican Senators saying today they commend our British, French and other allies but we regret this success was so long in coming due to the failure of the United States to employ the full weight of our air power. These are the same Senators who went to Tripoli who went to meet with Gadhafi himself.
It does not look in these pictures as if they were in a hurry to overthrow him back then,
Today, the Libyan people, unlike the Republican Senators, seem to fully support the President's strategy expressing their gratitude to him and other allied leaders with signs like that one calling them the Fantastic Four.
The president had taken heat from lawmakers in both parties and commentators like this one, when he authorized U.S. forces to back the NATO mission next earlier this year.
But today, he announced the result to which that strategy contributed whether you agree with it or not.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)P RESIDENT OBAMA: The Gadhafi regime is coming to an end.
The future of Libya is in the hands of its people.
OLBERMANN: And who has the hands on the oil fields?
Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa, and oil companies are not waiting for the dust to settle.
"The Wall Street Journal" reporting today, BP is hoping to resume work on a 900 million exploration program it halted in February.
It isn't the only one.
Shell, the French company, SA as well as Qatar's national oil company are reportedly all getting ready to jump in. And Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini didn't even wait for the rebels to take full control of Tripoli before he told state television today that Italian oil company, Eni, will have a number one role in the future of Libya.
It's looking less and less likely that Gadhafi will continue to be his country's number one, even as he tries bitterly to hang on, perhaps taking a cue from our own iron fisted ideology Rupert Murdoch, it turns out Ghddafi's forces were hacking into the computer e-mails of foreign journalists trapped in a Tripoli hotel.
Let's bring in Congressman Keith Ellison, the co-chair of the Congressional Progression Caucus, first Muslim elected to Congress. His Minnesota district includes a large number of Libyan-Americans.
He has been meeting with that community and also reaching out to other Libyan- Americans on Twitter for the last couple of days.
Thanks for more your time tonight, sir.
KEITH ELLISON: Absolutely. Glad to be on, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Give me your read on developments as perceived by those communities and the one in your district.
ELLISON: Well, you know the Libyan-Americans who I know are jubilant, they are excited, they feel that the promise of a better future is right at hand for them.
Many of them do urge some degree of caution because not all of Tripoli is secured. In western Tripoli, there are still pockets holding out, but they are very confident.
The progress is irreversible and Gadhafi is out of power.
But at the same time, they want a stake in their own future.
They want a stake as different oil companies have sort of been licking their chops.
The Libyan people have their own ideas about developing their own country. And I think it's important the United States be right there to say the Libyan oil belongs to the Libyan people and that is the only way that it could possibly be.
I was among those people who supported the president's action in Libya and the reason why is because as I was approached by Libyan Americans and people who are from the countries that make up the Arab spring, they said, look, this is how the United States can actually help us.
Help us get rid of these dictators who have been abusing us for so many years, who basically give impetus and motivation to the extreme radical elements like bin Laden.
Now, I think the future's right and we gotta get on the right side of history.
OLBERMANN: I agreed with the president's intention, Congressman. I disagreed with how he acted relative to war powers and the rest of that, we don't have to debate that now.
I still don't buy the idea that the end automatically justifies the means but having said that, what the president did obviously contributed to the outcome we have seen over the weekend.
Everybody should -- it should be obvious to that, to people that that's the way it was.
How do people like Senators Graham and McCain get away with saying something that is just factually incorrect and saying thanks, France. We're sorry, we screwed this up over here.
ELLISON: Because of absolute unmitigated gall and the assumption that all of us have amnesia.
I mean this is just an absurdity.
NATO doesn't function without the United States.
The United States began the stories there.
And as you say, reasonable minds can differ about the war powers act, and I respect both sides of the debate but the fact is, how McCain and Graham can sit back and sort of say the United States and President Obama did not contribute to the fall of Gadhafi is an absurdity plainly on its face but these same folks were trying to give everybody except him credit for bin Laden, you know, so. I mean, if President Obama, if he walked on water, they would say he couldn't swim.
ELLISON: He can't do right by them.
OLBERMANN: Given what happened and has happened just this year under the president's watch -- and he didn't, you know, he didn't jump into there with team seal six and kill bin Laden personally and he didn't personally capture any of the Gadhafis.
But if this had happened in 2003, George Bush would have campaigned for reelection with two pins on each lapel with their heads on them with big red stripes across them.
How does this happening here, given the president will not go, say on every campaign speech, hi, my people killed bin Laden and we overthrew Gadhafi in Libya?
How does this impact domestic politics going forward in the next year?
Do the Republicans now have to pretend that national security and international affairs don't matter anymore?
ELLISON: Well, no.
They will simply make it up.
They will simply declare themselves the defenders of the American people, all facts to the contrary and accuse Obama of, I don't know everything from not being a true American to being not brave or not supporting our troops.
Remember, these are the folks who tarnished John Kerry and said he was less than a war hero.
I mean these are the -- they don't ever -- don't ever expect they will conform their behavior to the facts on the ground.
They will simply say whatever is most advantageous to them, as loud and as long as they can.
OLBERMANN: Congressmen Keith Ellison of Minnesota.
As always sir, it's my great pleasure, Thanks for your time.
ELLISON: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: The collective income of the nation's 400 richest people is five times what it was 20 years ago but house majority leader Cantor claims it's the poor people who will have declared class warfare on the rich ones.
That and other hypocrisy ahead in "Worst Persons."
OLBERMANN: Did you know scientists claim watching an hour of television can take 22 minutes off your life?
I would have thought that any hour takes 60 minutes off your life.
Thoughts on that and much more from David Cross.
First, the "Worst".
The Family Research Council of Tony Perkins advocating against all government handouts and spending except the 6 million bucks its region got in government handouts and spending. Next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: David Cross on the report that one hour of television can shorten your life by 22 minutes.
Next, first because if you gave these idiots 22 minutes they will try to take the world.
Our number two story, here at "Countdown's" top three "Worst Persons in the World", special all hypocrite edition.
The bronze to Congressman Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas.
He revealed to the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, would not conduct hearings about undocumented immigrants for change, but would conduct them with an eye towards promoting a quote, jobs agenda.
Later in the same day, the Obama administration announced it was changing it's blanket deportation policy and would evaluate all cases individually where upon Congressman Smith announced his committee would not be conducting hearings with an eye towards promoting a quote, jobs agenda. And would instead hold them on the quote, new deportation policy.
(EXCERPT FROM AUDIO CLIP) LAMAR SMITH: We can conduct hearings, oversight hearings, we can pull in administration officials, make them testify under oath, find out what's going on, try to frankly embarrass the president and push back and get the American people on our side to push back against the administration.
OLBERMANN: Well, you can try to embarrass the president, Congressman Smith but you have already embarrassed yourself.
Our silver medal is to Tony Perkins, the president of one of the biggest collections of frauds on the continent. The Family Research Council.
Family is a brand name. This bunch of holier-than-thou, supposedly religious and moral bandits, has degenerated into an anti-gay, hate group and along the way trashed the president and the Democrats once for every dollar the government has spent.
But, hypocrisy eventually rises to the surface.
Calling for the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the super rich and for massive cuts to programs that support, well, that support anybody except the well-off white Christians the Family Research Council exploits.
Perkins writes, "Christians must stand up against an immoral political regime, which indebts us to such foreign powers as the anti-Christian, Communist, Chinese. Our leaders must cut spending, cut the debt and end fiscal obligations to oppressive regimes."
Nowhere in his op-ed did Mr. Perkins mention that the Washington Independent had discovered that over the last five years the state based affiliates of the Family Research Council have accepted at least $6 million from that immoral political regime of President Obama's. At which Mr. Perkins now scoffs on behalf of his corporate masters. But our winner in the all hypocrisy derby tonight, the House majority leader, the man who puts the hypocritical can't into Cantor, congressman Eric Cantor, of Virginia.
As the nation, including 54 percent of the members of his own party cries out for deficit reduction to come principally from the haves rather than the have-nots.
Mr. Cantor has stood up on his hind legs and defended the rich against the oppressions of the poverty stricken.
He writes in a Washington Post op-ed, "The Obama administrations anti-business, hyper regulatory, pro-tax agenda has fueled economic uncertainty and sent the message from the administration that we want to make it harder to create jobs."
Only an idiot believes that or tool of the rich or an idiot tool of the rich.
Job creation halted early in the Bush administration because the Bush administration was dedicated to, as is Mr. Cantor, giving the corporations and the rich more money that they can spend on toys and expensive food rather than employees.
But Cantor went further today.
He blamed the president for something the Republicans started, something from which Mr. Cantor profits personally.
The politics of division, he wrote, have reared up, fueled by efforts to incite class warfare.
This is a society where 1 percent of the citizens control 42 percent of the wealth. This is a society where the 400 richest people made $17 billion among them in 1992 and paid 29 percent tax. Three years ago that top 400 made $90 billion and paid 21 1/2 percent tax.
This is a society in which class warfare does not need to be incited. It has been fully and viciously waged by the Republicans, Mr. Cantor and his banker wife included, for three decades.
Class warfare, the wealthy seeking to enrich themselves endlessly, at the expense of everybody else.
That has been the entire point of the Republican Party since long before the state of Virginia began to investigate if Mrs. Cantor is involved in what appears to have been a scheme to trade a contract to manage a state pension system for donations to Mr. Cantor's political action committee.
There is class warfare in this country, and Eric Cantor, while hardly powerful enough to be Gadhafi in the parallel, is at least the equivalent of one of his henchmen.
Eric Cantor of the rich people's class warfare against the middle class and the poor. Today's "Worst Person in the World"!
OLBERMANN: The premise of the couch potato and the subsequent shortening of lives has been well established but the fatality always has been put in terms of like lack of exercise will kill you not as it has been so starkly, and in new research compiled by an Australian University.
Number one story tonight, watching television for an hour a day, they say, can cut your life expectancy by 22 minutes.
David Cross, who has been a part of at least ten different television series will join me, who has been a part of at least 11 of them.
And between us, we will probably be able to kill you within seconds.
The University of Queensland researchers say that an hour of watching TV costs you 22 minutes off the life expectancy chart, that's twice the shortening created by a cigarette.
Some of the extrapolations include watch six hours a day, that will take five years off of your day.
Neilsen, the ratings company, said the average number of Americans over the age of 14 watches two hours and seven minutes a day.
That will help you shuffle off this mortal coil seven years and about three months earlier.
And the total amount of life lost in Australia due to television watching, for just the year 2008, was 286,000 fewer years.
While smoking rates are declining, watching TV is not, which is implications that a population level, warned researcher Dr. Lennert Veerman, that's Lennert, L-E-N-N-E-R-T.
Earlier this year, a Harvard research project summarized in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" concluded that two hours of TV a day increases your chance of early death by 13 percent, your chance of heart disease by 15 percent and risk of early death by 13 percent.
Why are we telling you this?
This is a television company.
The numbers, of course, are astronomically higher for viewers of FOX News since they not only get the obesity and morbidity data but they can also see their stupidity factor jump through the roof, leading to many more of them falling off of the roof.
As promised, here's my friend, David Cross.
Most recently "Running Wild" "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret".
And damn, that's another 22 minutes off life right there.
DAVID CROSS: I know, and it's ironic that the time taken off is exactly the time of one television show if you skip through the commercials on Tivo.
OLBERMANN: Did you notice that?
CROSS: So you can watch the entirety -- you are going to miss, I guess, by watching TV, you are going to miss one exact TV show.
So hopefully you are watching the good shows but missing by dying early, the crappy shows.
OLBERMANN: All right. Or --
CROSS: Think of this logically.
OLBERMANN: Also, if you have been appointed 22 minutes, you are going to scoot through the commercials so you're going to miss those, too.
OLBERMANN: There's a silver lining to this.
CROSS: Yes, you are justified in skipping the commercials because you are about to die.
OLBERMANN: Are you buying this? Is it that stark a number that that much --
I would have to see the guy's research.
It sounds, you know, sounds like what their talking about is, you know, the sedentary lifestyle, like sitting.
And they just conveniently applied TV to it. But you know, you're sitting, I'm sitting.
I am watching TV being made.
Is that going to kill me?
OLBERMANN: You get 44 minutes because you are watching and then you're participating.
And then, there is also no number about how much it will take off of your life by creating television, which we know must be close to a 1-to-1 ratio.
CROSS: Well it certainly takes this off.
I apologize to the make-up lady I told her I would wear my hat.
I probably beamed a shot of light out to the people.
OLBERMANN: They are all happy.
CROSS: But, I will say that I don't mind.
I like the idea or I am comfortable with the idea that TV watchers are having their lives shortened because then, you are talking just about hundreds of millions of really elderly people who are just going to watch TV anyway, and that's a medical care that I am going to end up having to pay for. And they are just watching TV They are not contributing anything.
They need to be certain care of.
Let's get rid of them a little sooner.
I am talking about, no, not a 97-year-old.
OLBERMANN: It's a little Darwinian here.
Wouldn't it imply that if you are going to be late in life a sort of ardent 24 hour a day TV watcher, you would have been a TV watcher earlier in life, and thus would have died earlier?
Isn't it saying that all of the people who would like to spend their sunset years watching the TV and going those seven years earlier, aren't they already dead in 1976?
CROSS: Whoa man.
You are blowing my mind. Dr. Trip.
OLBERMANN: Sorry about that.
They don't also differentiate between spending your hour watching good television or bad television.
Surely, watching "Mr. Show" or "Arrested Development", you would break up.
CROSS: Add years to your life.
OLBERMANN: Break up the congestion in your chest from laughing so much.
And you are creating brain power because you are thinking, like, how did they do that?
How did that show get cancelled?
And then you think about that and you are just thinking and thinking and thinking and, you know, your creative juices get going so, yeah, so maybe there is a -- maybe for every "Arrested Development" or "Mr. Show" you watch, now you are allowed to watch "Jersey Shore" or "Real Housewives of Wherever" to balance it out.
OLBERMANN: Doesn't "Jersey Shore" extend life, because it just kills the brain cells that would get you out into the real world so you're less likely to get hit by a bus or something like that?
You'd become so neutral?
I am going off on another existential thing here.
Is there a way --
CROSS: That wasn't an existential, by the way.
OLBERMANN: Okay, What was it then?
CROSS: It was a tangent.
OLBERMANN: It was a tangent?
CROSS: But it was germane to the conversation.
But we are talking.
Isn't it 22 minute life and death thing sort of existential by itself?
CROSS: Sure. Sure.
I will give that you just for the sake of this show.
The current one we're on.
OLBERMANN: What are you going to do next to try to shorten the viewers' life other than your appearance here tonight?
CROSS: Well, the second half of the story of "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" is shot, done, delivered, handed in, IFC has it.
They will be airing it, I believe, it will be like a little marathon to catch you up to it for the first part and the second part is somewhere in January.
It will be with on with "Portlandia." I'm not sure exactly when.
But the DVD of series one is coming out in a few weeks.
OLBERMANN: It's a good entertaining challenging, not low-brow piece of entertainment?
It's got all kinds of -- not that I want you to watch it this way.
But a lot of things aren't what they appear to be, and there are little clues that are threaded throughout, and the second series, which wraps up the story, reveals all of that stuff in its own time.
But you can watch the first one and sort of pick out where the clues are.
OLBERMANN: And to get those life-giving, television vitamins, vitamin TV.
Can you stick around and do a web extra and we can talk about "Arrested Development"?
CROSS: Yeah, why the hell not. Sure.
OLBERMANN: Stay there, I need 20 seconds to sign off and then we can talk.
CROSS: You got it, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Actor/comedian David cross playing two points behind me in the fantasy baseball league in which we both compete.
Fortunately we're each like 25 points ahead of Jason Bateman.
Thank you, David.
That's "Countdown" for this, the 22nd day since the Republicans debt ceiling blackmail worked.
Speaker Boehner where are the jobs? Where is our credit rating?
Up next on Current, part of the series 50 documentaries to see before you die, "Biggie & Tupac", I'm Keith Olbermann.
Good night and good luck.