'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
ShowPlug1: Did Pres. Obama just hint he will propose a hard-hitting massive jobs plan + dare the GOP to vote it down? W/ @SamSteinHP
ShowPlug2: What are they hearing in the House? My special guest: Congresswoman @LouiseSlaughter + POTUS's poll numbers
ShowPlug3: He was so smooth she doesn't know her campaign's over. Bachmann's Manager says she's 3rd in a 2-man race, w/ TPM's @Benjy Sarlin
ShowPlug4: Ex-NewsCorp Lawyer to Parliament: James Murdoch lied to you. MurdochGate is back with a vengeance. Guest: @RobertMooreITV
ShowPlug5: Fox doctors Hoffa's benign sound bite to make him sound violent. Palin says nothing as RW comedian makes special kids joke
ShowPlugLast: And could it be true? Homeland Security says we might not have to take our shoes off any more? @LouieAnderson joins me.
watch whole playlist
#5 'Sliding Down', Sam Stein
#5 'Sliding Down', Rep. Louise Slaughter
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'Leader of the P.A.C.', Benjy Sarlin
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Murdoch-Gate', Robert Moore
#2 Worst Persons: Mike Shaw (R-AZ), Sarah Palin, Roger Ailes
#1 'Shoe Fly Changes', Louie Anderson
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
printable PDF transcript
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Jobs? Including his.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA: We're going to see if we've got some straight-shooters in Congress. We are going to see if Congressional Republicans will put country before party.
OLBERMANN: Now, if that's the tone, the speech may work. And the president may need it. Approval hits new lows: Politico poll, 45, Wall Street Journal, 44, Washington Post, 43. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter on the president's job's plan. Sam Stein on the enveloping politics.
You, you keep your day job. Bachmann's campaign manager quits. Says it's for his health, but also admits it's a Perry-Romney race and she's neither Perry nor Romney.
(EXCERPT FROM AUDIO CLIP)
ED ROLLINS: I think she's the third candidate at this point in time.
OLBERMANN: His super PAC might spend $55 million for the primaries alone and he tries to counter that by donating each and every one of his organs to big business.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY: We've got to end this repatriation tax. I will eliminate any tax on your savings, if you're in the middle class. No tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. Taxes, taxes, tax, tax, tax.
OLBERMANN: If you order now, we'll also throw in a set of steak knives. Murdoch-gate roars back.
MAN: Were you made aware of the "for Neville" e-mail, the transcript of the voice mail message?
MAN #2: No, no, I was not aware of that at the time.
OLBERMANN: But "The News Of The World" legal manager just told Parliament James Murdoch lied to them right there.
"Worsts": Palin's warm-up act makes a joke about special-needs kids. So, Palin says, well, you guess, you tell me what Palin says or didn't say.
And do you hear a call to assassination in this?
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES HOFFA, JR.: Everybody here has got a vote. If we go back, keep the eye on the prize. Let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.
OLBERMANN: Fox News says James Hoffa was sanctioning violence against tea party voters. Seriously.
And shoes on a plane, the head of Homeland Security says the day will come soon when you won't have to take them off to board your flight. Of course, you might have to wear 'em on your head or something.
All that and more now on "Countdown".
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
AUSTIN POWERS: Who throws a shoe? Honestly.
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Tuesday, September 6th, 427 days until the 2012 presidential election.
There could be a moment decisive to that election on each of those 427 days but for now, the next such moment will be the president's speech on jobs to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night. And Mr. Obama may have given a hint as to its tone, a hint that would encourage his party and those who see gratuitous bipartisanship for the unicorn ruse that it is.
The fifth story on the "Countdown," the president's speech is coming as Americans are increasingly unhappy with his performance. Reflected in a flood of polls that highlight the president's dilemma. Just how does he turn the economy and his presidency around working with a GOP house that has one power by rejecting everything he's proposed, especially about jobs and the economy. The president arriving in Washington Sunday after a Labor Day appearance -- Labor Day weekend appearance before cheering crowds in Detroit to find nothing cheerful in these numbers. Asked if they approved of the way the president is handling his job, 43 percent of adults asked in a Washington Post/ABC News poll said yes. 53 percent said no, a new low for the president in that poll. Similar number in Politico/George Washington, 45 percent say they approve. 50 percent don't. It's a 7 percent swing since May.
In the NBC/Wall Street Journal, 44 percent gave him the nod, 51 percent say disprove. As for the most critical issue of all, job creation, 36 percent told The Washington Post they approve of how the president is handling that. 62 percent say they do not. Similar numbers to that in the Politico poll. It's 38 percent approving the way the president is handling job creation, 56 percent who don't. When it comes to handling of the broader economy, 36 percent again told the Post they approve, 62 percent disprove. Almost identical numbers at NBC/Wall Street Journal 37 percent to 59 percent. At the White House, the press secretary Jay Carney was asked what the president's message was for those disapproving majorities.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY: He fully understands the anxiety that is out there among the American people about the economy. And that's why he feels it is so urgent to take action now.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Carney says the president will propose measures House Republicans have approved under previous presidents. Speaker of the House Boehner and majority leader Cantor have sent a letter to Mr. Obama suggesting they meet with him before Thursday's speech to "constructively discuss your proposals." While suggesting they may share some common ground. House Democrats also have job proposals, minority leader Pelosi suggesting what she called the ABC plan, "A" for making it in America, "B" for building America's infrastructure, and "C" for a community-recovery corps.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI: Many of our members have told us they think it would be very important for us to hire -- have youth employment, hire young people. It might even be senior citizens young at heart, who can help in the rebuilding of communities.
OLBERMANN: Boehner and Cantor will sign off on that the same day they endorse Franklin Delano Roosevelt's works progress administration and the rest of the New Deal, and a pony. As for the president, he enjoyed an enthusiastic crowd's endorsement in Detroit with a speech endorsing a movement that's been widely condemned by his would-be GOP collaborators. This group called organized labor?
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: America cannot have a strong, growing economy without a strong, growing middle class and without a strong labor movement.
OLBERMANN: But it was left up to Teamsters President James Hoffa, Jr., to explain just how the president might achieve those goals.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
HOFFA: Everybody here has got a vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong.
OLBERMANN: Unsurprisingly, propagandists on the right trying to smear unions as if they were the violent clichés of the '30s and '40s, manage to edit that message, that sound bite and turn it into what might sound stupid as a violent threat. Instead of a call for organizing and winning through the ballot box as you clearly heard. They edited it. More on that coming up in "Worst Persons."
First, for more on the president's proposal and the run-up to his speech, I'm joined by Sam Stein, political editor and White House correspondent for The Huffington Post. Good evening, Sam.
SAM STEIN: Hey, Keith. Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Of course, my pleasure. What are we hearing about the proposal? I got a question whether he hinted at a confrontational tone. The specifics for his payroll tax cut, infrastructure, bank, what sort of dimensions and what else is on the table, supposedly?
STEIN: Well, we're also going to be looking at an extension of unemployment benefits, which are set to run out at the end of the year. We're going to be looking at construction jobs which are out there ready to get some funding, good to go. Those will be specific, I think, to schools, decaying schools in this country. We also might see some money for rehiring or retaining teachers, which have borne the brunt of the public sector job loss. I think those are the main components. We're going to have an actual dollar figure on this, the Associated Press is reporting about $300 billion in spending, that money will be offset later on in the 10-year budget window, but it's a fair chunk of spending and it remains to be seen whether they can get something like that through this Congress.
OLBERMANN: All right, those are the specifics. Presumably anything he proposed, including handing out jobs himself on Pennsylvania Avenue to the first 100 people who showed up during the speech, would be rejected by the GOP.
STEIN: It's a novel idea, yeah.
OLBERMANN: So, as to tone, you can present it either in sort of the egalitarian way or this kind of bipartisan way or this kind of, I am the president, these are the poor little childish politicians, or is there a hint? This is a clip I played in the open. Let's play this and then you tell me if this is a hint.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We're going to see if we've got some straight-shooters in Congress. We're going to see if Congressional Republicans will put country before party.
OLBERMANN: Could he be saying in there, here is what can save us. If it doesn't happen it's the Republicans' fault and blame them?
STEIN: Sure. I mean, I think he's going to put out actual specific numbers of people who can be employed by this proposal and he's going to challenge the Congress to reject it. Now, he doesn't have much downside here because any package that he puts out is obviously going to be tinkered with. It's obviously going to get Republican opposition from the get-go. So, if he says, this proposal, this specific set of proposals can create a million jobs, he doesn't actually have to be held to that number because there's very little chance the package would actually pass, as-is, through Congress, but he does have to go out and actually challenge Congress. He has to lay out a vision, something bold, so that he can actually create a contrast of what Republicans are proposing. That's part of the problem the president confronts. His vision for the past year has been somewhat to the extent of "Republican Light." As in, I can do austerity like you can or I have a bigger vision for deficit reduction than you do. And that hasn't been inspiring to a lot of Democrats and certainly hasn't created a contrast with Congressional Republicans. What he has to do now is actually illustrate what type of future economy he wants to sell to the American people so he can go out and sell it.
OLBERMANN: But Sam, does it divide into this: That the two proposals then or the two ways this speech could go would be, here is something that could propose a million jobs and it's the Republicans' fault if doesn't pass or here's something that can produce a million jobs and it's Congress' fault if it doesn't pass? Do we know where they're going? Which way?
STEIN: Well, That's a big distinction. If history is a guide with this administration, it will be lamenting Congress as a body. And keep in mind, these polls that you cited at the top are very bad for the president, but they're also terrible for Congress. An earlier NBC poll had Congressional approval at 13 percent. I think ABC had it at about 20 percent, or 28 percent. Those are really poor numbers for Congress as an institution and it's easy to run against Congress as an institution. I think Harry Truman is the golden example of that. What the president needs to do, though, and I think you might see a little bit more of this is actually call out Republicans for their specific obstruction because he's actually bringing down the party as a whole when he calls out Congress as a whole. I think as the campaign -- the re-election campaign -- winds up, I think you're going to see him actually start calling out Republicans more and more.
OLBERMANN: And to that point and with the polls, at the White House, are there people finally beginning to get around to the idea that he could turn it around by a proposal, as opposed to he's got to get some sort of results, so anything is a victory? In other words, do they -- are they thinking, finally, that he can win this thing politically, even by being blocked by the Republicans in the House?
STEIN: Yes and no. I talked to a couple of people in the Obama orbit including a close advisor who says, you know, the speech is going to be good, and it's going to be important, but the real crux here, the real important lift here, is what he does after the speech. He's going to set out a big agenda, an outline for the next year or so, but he's got to go on the road, and he's to sell it to the people.
Right now, people don't trust the president, not only on jobs, but on the deficit, on the stewardship of the economy. They -- 20 percent think the country is heading in the right direction. That's abysmal. He actually has to go out there and contrast the vision with what is being proposed by the Republican alternatives, and say, "Listen, you have a choice here." It's not a referendum, it's a choice. That's what the White House is famous for saying. Here's where I want to bring the country. Here are my specific proposals. This is what the competition wants. That's your choice. So, it's got to be executed.
OLBERMANN: Sam Stein of The Huffington Post, for whom this Thursday will be ultimate conflict, the speech and the start of fantasy football. Thank you, Sam.
STEIN: Oh, I know. It's deadly. Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: For more on the president's speech, jobs and the economy, a pleasure to be joined by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Democrat representing the 28th district of New York. Congresswoman, thanks again for your time.
LOUISE SLAUGHTER: Oh, Keith, it's always a pleasure. You're my favorite.
OLBERMANN: As you are mine. To some of what I just asked Sam Stein about, what -- more than the specifics -- what tone and what kind of presentation do you want to hear from the president on Thursday night?
SLAUGHTER: You know, I've got the answer for him, and I -- let me tell you what I'd really like to hear him say because I think the trade policies that we followed in America since World War II have really destroyed us, pretty much. Our industry is gone. I don't think you're a super power if you can't make anything, if everything in the world you depend upon has to be made in another country. So, we've got a bill that simply says go back to what we used to do, when Cordell Hull was Secretary of State, and when he negotiated a trade bill, the idea was, they can come in here and trade, and we can go to their country and trade.
Korea particularly bothers me, Keith, because we've had 36,000 soldiers up on the DMZ all these years, staring north, costing us billions and billions of dollars and we are obliged by treaty to protect them should anything happen. But we can't sell anything in there. This is not a poor country. This is a G-20 country. What we need -- we ought to say to them is if you want to trade with us, you let us come in and trade with you. I want to rebuild manufacturing that way.
This bill doesn't cost us anything, Keith. Some people will be angry, but I operate on the theory that he that is down need fear no fall. So, what do we care? They're mad at us anyway. We can get some jobs back, rebuild our own manufacturing.
If we talk about "make it in America," we better have a place to sell it. We have strong enforcement in this bill, the snap-back provision. If a country that is dealing with us under trade agreement allows us to go in, if they finagle with it in any way that is against that agreement, the trade representative can bring to a halt the trade between the two countries until that's straightened out. I don't see any other way we could quickly do it. Now, that's what I call, sort of, a long-term, although it shouldn't last more than a year. But right now, we have really got to do what I think that Nancy Pelosi wants, and that's the CCC.
You know, New York alone needs $1.5 billion just to recover from Irene. This is going to be a stimulus package. No question about it, what we're trying to do to recover from that, but it is terribly important that we put people back to work right now. But along with that, we have to have a policy that will last beyond the moment. And what I think we need to do, we're the greatest innovators in the world, I was just reading in The Times today that the Chinese are having trouble. They want the technology behind the Volt before they will allow it to be made there. Enough of that already. I mean, you know, they're not fair -- trading partners have kept us out, and we are so happy for a crumb. And I need to tell you that on my bill, I think the only labor union that really benefits from Korea would probably be the UAW, and they're supporting our bill. We've got lots of outside support, Corning Industry, all the labor unions, many other groups, and we are very excited about trying to get this pushed. I'm not going to give up on it.
SLAUGHTER: It took me 13 years to pass a bill up there. I am ready to stick on this one.
OLBERMANN: All right. So that's substance, and it's a great -- it's a great part of this, both in the long-term and the short-term.
OLBERMANN: About the speech and the idea that whatever the president proposes has to get by -- by a House that is dominated by Republicans who do not want to pass anything, including the greatest idea, whether it's yours or any other Democrat's or the president's. What sort of tone does the president have to take on Thursday night? Does he need to come out and say, this is the Republicans' fault, here is my plan, if this does not happen, it is their fault, here's where they're failing? Does he need to call them out?
SLAUGHTER: Absolutely. I have to tell you, I've been really displeased with the fact that the Congress as a whole is being blamed here. We haven't -- I haven't followed these things. I'm not destroying the EPA and clean water and clean air and making sure that -- you know, we went through this all ready with the industry, with the construction workers, with all of the people in the trade unions. Now, as you pointed out a while ago, we're down to teachers and first responders, universities and colleges. We have eaten our seed corn. We've allowed other people to eat it for us in other countries. I really believe that he needs to be specific about what's happening. He has to call them out and say -- and, you know, they're desperate to get these trade bills passed. I just would like to attach mine to it and make a change, and we've got one Republican. I'm looking for more. But I think it would be very difficult to say we wouldn't like to reinstate manufacturing in the United States. I don't know why anybody would really want to vote against that.
OLBERMANN: Well, there's Representative Louise Slaughter of New York, who's gotten one more Republican than everybody else put together. So, I don't know where you found that one, but let's see if we can find some more. As always, great thanks, Congresswoman. It's a pleasure.
SLAUGHTER: Oh, I thank you so very much for the time. I appreciate it very much.
OLBERMANN: Always. Take care.
Michele Bachmann loses her campaign manager, and he says she's number three in a two-horse race. Even she can do that math. Rick Perry may have $55 million to spend on that race, and when a comedian insults special-needs kids as she stands there, Sarah Palin just stands there. Plus, your chance to go to the airport and keep your shoes on, ahead.
OLBERMANN: Murdoch-gate, back with a vengeance. The key former News Corp. lawyer accuses his son of not telling the truth to Parliament. James Murdoch says, not only did he not lie, but he wasn't even wrong.
A union leader insists the way to take out Republicans is by voting them out? Fox edits the tape to eliminate that part about voting. The mighty parrots of the right then accuse him of inciting violence.
So, now the other shoe doesn't drop? The head of Homeland Security says that at airports, the shoe removal nonsense may soon be a thing of the past.
And she is toast. Her campaign manager quits and announces it's a Perry-Romney race, and even she knows she is neither Perry nor Romney. I think.
OLBERMANN: Michele Bachmann's campaign manager steps down, and may take his candidate with him. Rick Perry's backers double down, planning to spend tens of millions of dollars in the coming months, just in the primaries. And Mitt Romney tries to get down with the language of the tea party. In our fourth story tonight, it's not just that her campaign boss quit, supposedly for the sake of his own health, but that he quit and said it was a Romney-Perry race. And in what could still be a surprise to Mrs. Bachmann, she is neither Romney nor Perry. Veteran Republican strategist, former Bachmann campaign manager Ed Rollins told CNN that he has no longer got the stamina to run a presidential campaign. I guess particularly, not this one. He also said Bachmann did as well as she could have, but there are now really only two true contenders.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
ROLLINS: I think legitimately, it's a Romney-Perry race, they're the leaders in the poll, the lead in the money. I think she's the third candidate at this point in time, which is way different and better than we thought when we started this thing.
OLBERMANN: Sort of translates as, "See, I had to wait till September to stab you in your political back." Rollins also saying that Rick Perry has to win at least one of the three upcoming primaries -- Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina -- to stay relevant. All are considered long shots for the Texas governor. $55 million, though, that'll buy a lot of shots. That's how much a new Perry super-PAC reportedly plans to put into the early primaries, supposedly hoping to outspend his competitors by so much that he will have the nomination locked up by springtime. Mitt Romney, though, aiming to keep that by happening by turning himself into -- a freedom-loving, constitutional sighting, patriotism spouting, tea party Republican -- everything but the tri-corned hat -- at least, when he was speaking at a Tea Party Express event, as he was yesterday.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I believe in our freedoms, our political freedom. I believe in our economic and personal freedoms. I believe in free enterprise, I believe in capitalism, I believe in our Constitution, all the amendments. We are a patriotic people. We're the most patriotic people in the world. And I'm convinced, that given the patriotism of the American people, that despite the challenge that we have, that we can overcome those challenges if we draw on that patriotism.
OLBERMANN: I also believe in a second pair of free pants with every suit. And free patriotic freedom. The speech contained every bromide except, "employees must wash hands." Today, another speech, another Mitt Romney, this time middle-class crusader, announcing a jobs plan that he says will help the middle class by doing things like eliminating the capital-gains tax, which is obviously the pressure point for every middle class family sitting around the dining room table tonight trying to figure out if they can afford to sell their 5,000 shares of Amazon this year because of the tax bite coming out of their profits. Families like that of the real Mitt Romney, multimillionaire, private equity firm co-founder, and he owns a yacht.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Who are the people in this country that have been hurt most by the Obama economy? My guess is you'd say the middle class. I will eliminate any tax on your savings if you're in the middle class. No tax of interest, dividends or capital gains.
OLBERMANN: Let's turn to Benjy Sarlin, reporter for Talking Points Memo. Benjy, thanks for your time tonight.
BENJY SARLIN: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: Let's start off with Rollins and Bachmann. It seemed to me that was done so nicely and smoothly. Does she even know that he pretty much ended her campaign for her?
SARLIN: He ended her campaign -- I think Bachmann ended her campaign.
OLBERMANN: Well, but --
SARLIN: Rick Perry.
OLBERMANN: -- yeah, pulled up the, pulled up the -- already.
SARLIN: He stated the obvious, though, yes. I mean, I think he was acknowledging the obvious -- that for Bachmann to make it a race, something's probably going to have to happen to one of the other candidates, some kind of colossal gaffe, or scandal, or something to change the dynamic. Because, right now, that's just where all the energy is, and all the money is, and that's just -- all the polls show that's where the voters are.
OLBERMANN: And Rollins certainly tried to -- to stick it to Rick Perry, too, in those comments. "He must win one of those first primaries -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina -- to stay relevant." Is that true in your opinion?
SARLIN: It's probably true, but he seems to be in a decent position right now to compete at least fairly heavily in all three. New Hampshire's probably the toughest. There's some polls show him leading in Iowa, some show him with dominant leads in South Carolina. So, it's certainly no tall task, even if what he's saying is true.
OLBERMANN: And this $55 million figure that the super-PAC connected Rick Perry's planning to spend $55 million to knock out Mitt Romney in the first -- first three primaries. Where did they get the money, and how would they spend it, other than frequently?
SARLIN: Well, Rick Perry is in a bit of a pickle here, but he's saved by the campaign-finance laws -- which is, back in Texas, he can rely on a small handful of big donors, who, thanks to the lax campaign finance laws in Texas, have given him tens of millions of dollars over the years for his many campaigns. There's some individuals, like Bob Perry, who ran the "Swift Boat Veterans" ads, who's given him $2.5 million over the decade. But, the trouble is that in a presidential election, you can't give that money to the candidate directly. But, thanks to these new post-Citizens United laws, we have a super-PAC here set up by Perry's former chief of staff. And, it will be just a wonderful depository for all the old donors that -- Perry can bring them right back over from Texas to join him. So, it seems completely plausible that some of these, you know, these Texas billionaires will pour in that kind of money.
OLBERMANN: Is it -- is that figure $55 million overkill relative to Romney? 'Cause I think I'm missing something in the Romney equation, 'cause it seems like each day he is reinventing himself with minimal results. Is there any other sense that there's a sort of desperate, "I'll say whatever I need to" tone to him in the last, say, six weeks?
SARLIN: Well, there's no doubt he turned some heads when all of a sudden he starts going to his first major tea party event. I mean, that's not a coincidence when Rick Perry comes in, has all this tea party support, was one of the first people to start going to tea party rallies among major national Republican figures. Obviously, he's reacting to him. However, to Mitt Romney's credit, he hasn't exactly changed his -- his brand that he sort of cultivated over the last year or two. He went to that Jim DeMint forum for example, and they asked him, as they always do, about his Massachusetts health care law, and he said, "Look, it's an asset. I love that law. It's a strength, it'll help me go after Obama on health care." So, he's not willing to completely get rid of, you know, Mitt Romney 2.0, or 3.0, or whichever one we've been on the last year.
OLBERMANN: But how do -- did anybody then say, "Well, how does that work?" You proposed and shepherded through the state house a far more liberal public health care system than President Obama did, and this is somehow going to redound to your benefit when you criticize the far more conservative one that the president did?
SARLIN: Well, Mitt Romney always says he'll be able to use it to make a distinction on state's rights. "So, my Massachusetts liberal plan is completely awesome. But, don't worry, I would never ever, on principle impose it on you poor other uninsured Americans." So, he's very clear to make that distinction, and he thinks he's -- he's hoping that tea praters will take a nuanced view of that law.
OLBERMANN: And the last point here, that one comment, that sound bite that we played -- does he really think that the middle class is worried about the capital gains tax and its possible appeal?
SARLIN: Well, it was kind of interesting how he finessed that. If you read the economic proposal he put out, he said the usual talk -- Jon Huntsman, for example, proposed something similar -- ending the capital gains tax, ending taxes on dividends. But, he said only for people making under $200,000 a year. So, the idea is that that would be more for retirement, rather than for, say, taking out huge stock profits. But, it still is kind of an odd sell.
OLBERMANN: I'll say. Benjy Sarlin of Talking Points Memo, great, thanks for your time again.
SARLIN: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: The Pima County Arizona Republicans double down, raffling off two guns, and the critics double down as well. For the second time, a Republican in that county has slammed his own party for doing this, coming up.
OLBERMANN: James Murdoch circling the drain as Britain's Parliament resumes its investigation into his family's phone hacking scandal next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1945, that thing you always expect to see happen during an argument between a baseball player and an umpire actually did happen. Charlie "Greek" George, catcher of the Philadelphia A's, who hated umps so much that he would often eat as much garlic as he could stand before a game, then turn around and exhale it at them, got him into an argument with an umpire named Joe Rue, who called him a bad name. George asked him to repeat it. Rue took off his mask and repeated it, and George promptly punched him in the jaw. A moment of satisfaction came at a huge cost. George was suspended for the next 90 days, which extended into the 1946 season, by which time all of the real players who were off fighting World War II can come back. He never played another game, nor did he ever hit another umpire.
"Time Marches On!"
And to the Internets, with some high-flying action. This acrobat decides to take it to the next level, and balances himself on two stacks of cups. Very impressive, requiring tons of strength and balance. He made it look easy, and now the gracefully dismount. Ta-da! It's the Pee-Wee Herman theory. "I meant to do that." All right, with a dismount like that, there's no way he is going to win the uneven cup stack balance competition.
Staying on the Internets, the TMO adorable video of the day -- a horse licking a dog. Aww. The pup either desperately needed a bath or has been rolling in horse food. Not cute enough for you? Let's kick it up a notch. Say hello to an alpaca trying to nuzzle with a kitten. A freshly sheared alpaca rubs his head on the kitten looking for warmth or simply trying to get someone to notice his painted toenails. Hot pink after Labor Day? This is not a make-it-work moment. Another cause of this onslaught of awkward animal pairings, but if we see videos of emus with gerbils, I'm out of here.
Newnan, Georgia. Newnan. Na-na-na, Newnan, Newnan. Where, Jesus Christ on a cross, it's -- I was told it was Jesus' face on a cross. Where? Looks like a smiley face. Creator Clay Perry, a wood worker, made the 7-inch wooden cross for his recently baptized nephew. Ironically, Perry's 80-year-old Baptist minister grandfather was the first to claim he saw the face of Jesus on the cross. It doesn't even look like these people are trying any more. I mean, a burn mark on toast -- I can pretend that looks like Jesus, but white spots on wood that you have to X-ray to see? Forget it.
"Time marches on!"
When your lawyers disagree with one another, the other guy's lawyers are happy lawyers. The Murdoch story. Plus, no shirt, no shoes but now, finally, you can still get service. Revising security at the airport? Ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Here live from the future site of New York City's west side redevelopment project. Each week night at 8 p.m. Eastern, the program is replayed at 11 p.m., 2 a.m., 7:00 a.m., noon, then 3 a.m. "Countdown," we call it our little miracle.
Almost as if it were school or a television season, politics and even most political scandals still take the summer off in Great Britain, and our third story on the "Countdown," attention Rupert and James Murdoch and all the News Corp. executives in Australia and Roger Ailes and all the boys and girls over at Fox News: School is back in session. And so is Murdoch-gate. The former legal manager for Murdoch's now-folded News of the World told a Parliamentary committee today that when James Murdoch gave them the testimony in July that you are seeing here, he was not telling the truth. Two executives, in fact, testified it is improbable that James Murdoch knew nothing of illegal phone hacking at the British paper. Also improbable that the practice was to be confined to the single reporter fired and currently imprisoned for doing it.
Tom Crone, former legal manager of News of the World, testified today that he brought the scandal to the attention of James Murdoch in 2008. A now-infamous e-mail marked for "Neville" which tore down the defense that the paper used that phone hacking was tied to an isolated reporter covering the royal family by the name of Clive Goodman. Mr. Crone today telling the committee that James Murdoch would most certainly would have known about a culture of phone hacking in light of the legal settlement that was offered to Mr. Goodman.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
TOM CRONE: It was the reason that we had settled the case. And in order to settle the case, we had to expel the case to Mr. Murdoch, and get his authority to settle it, so certainly it would certainly be discussed.
OLBERMANN: Tom Crone, not the only ex-Murdoch employee dropping bombshells. Colin Myler, the former News of the World editor, one of about 1,000 it seems, seconding those allegations saying he was "certain James Murdoch knew about the incriminating e-mail showing hacking was not limited to one rogue reporter." Not only would that prove that James Murdoch misled members of Parliament, but also that the defense previously used by the entire company, the entire Murdoch family might be untrue. After the weight of the world fell on his head, James Murdoch said this was still his story and he was still sticking to it. "They did not show me the e-mail. Neither Mr. Myler nor Mr. Crone told me that wrongdoing extended beyond Mr. Goodman or the admitted News Corp phone hacker, Mr. Mulcaire."
A pleasure to speak again on this topic with Robert Moore, the Washington correspondent for the fine British network, ITV. Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.
ROBERT MOORE: It's a pleasure.
OLBERMANN: Is there a way to assess the impact of this Myler testimony today as well as Mr. Crone 's?
MOORE: Well, I think we can say this. It's not just a kind of summer squall, you know? News Corp., News International is in the middle of a kind of tornado if you like. I mean, the Parliamentary inquiry, the judicial inquiry, the political scandal, the journalistic investigation. All of these are going to continue to mount, so, you know, if the Murdochs took a nice summer vacation somewhere and thought this was going to sort of vanish, they're wrong. The storm is continuing. And at the heart of this story remains the ethics, the conduct of a significant chunk of the Murdoch empire. Did they know that phone hacking, a criminal activity, was going on on an industrial scale? That remains the kind of key question. And what we're seeing today was just the kind of reinvigorating of the Parliamentary investigation and James Murdoch remains in its crosshairs.
OLBERMANN: You just touched on a point that has always struck somebody, an outsider like me. It always looks from this distance as if British scandals work on schedule or schedule, I suppose. Was this, in fact, the opening act of the fall offensive against Murdoch, and, if so, what's the next scene?
MOORE: I think that's right. I mean, you know, the Parliamentary investigation goes on, but, you know, he has many, many enemies. Certainly, in political parties as well as, of course, his newspaper competitors, and I think the next scene is going to be this, that James Murdoch is going to be recalled before that Parliamentary committee and asked a simple, but devastating question, did he lie when he said that he had no knowledge that phone hacking went beyond one rogue reporter. So, you know, that is a simple question. But as I say, it's very significant. Did the son of Rupert Murdoch, potentially his heir, lie to a Parliamentary committee in Britain?
OLBERMANN: Other than getting him somehow to give that answer honestly or to trip him in some way where he gives that answer dishonestly, is there some fashion being examined about proving whether James Murdoch was right or if Myler and Crone were right?
MOORE: Well, that's the key question really. And, the point is, this is what helps James Murdoch's case. When this meeting took place in 2008, there were no minutes, so it's really a question of what Murdoch said versus what Crone said. And how are we ever going to know. I think the truth is, it is possible we will never know what happened inside that meeting. To what extent did Crone really tell Murdoch that this is the evidence that proves it wasn't about one rogue reporter, it was about systematic criminality within the Murdoch empire. We don't know that. And I suspect we never will. But that question is sure to be asked and it will continue to gnaw at the integrity of James Murdoch and continue to undermine him even if he's unable to prove his innocence.
OLBERMANN: Robert, as we speak of this in terms of the tone and the almost scheduled nature of this, seemingly playing out of an act, there's another thing that has struck me about this throughout the weeks since this began. To what degree would you say Murdoch's fortunes in the U.K. depend upon his fortunes in the U.S. and perhaps vice versa and I was thinking about this because when Attorney General Holder met with the 9/11 families about the chance that their phones had been hacked here, or there was an attempt to here, what does it do for -- I hate the word zeitgeist, but what does it -- does it do anything to the willingness to hunt Murdoch in the U.K.?
MOORE: The issue of the 9/11 families really on that rests the question of whether the scandal that has kind of riveted Britain, migrates across the Atlantic and becomes deeply damaging to Murdoch's empire here in the United States. You know, my judgment is the Murdoch empire probably survives this, but remains kind of a diminished institution in Britain. Unless you take the view as many kind of people might do that British newspapers are going to be kind of essentially loss making, that the kind of the newspaper industry is in dire financial trouble anyway and that he might just pull the plug like he did on News of the World. Might he do that for the rest of his titles in the U.K. So, I think, you know, there's the financial question, the economic question, but I think it does come down to this question of integrity. You know, it's not a question we often ask or something we address often with the Murdoch's integrity, but, ultimately, it does come down to the question of whether the son of Rupert Murdoch has lied and will he be called out as a liar?
OLBERMANN: In Britain, is this the -- is this the big thing for September, October, November? And that there's always, again, back to this idea of mood and zeitgeist, is this the early fall entertainment in Great Britain?
MOORE: Oh, I think -- yeah, it's been the entertainment now for sort of many months. It was a summer entertainment and now it's going to be the full entertainment for this reason. Not because we care greatly about, you know, the fate of the News of the World or even of it's kind of fellow publications like The Sun or The Times, but because, you know, there is an access here between News International and Downing Street. You know, don't forget David Cameron, the British Prime Minister hired as his main spokesman, a former News of the World editor. That has raised, you know, the very big question about Cameron's judgment. So, it does cross to politics, it also crosses into the police. Did they really want to investigate this, or were they somewhat in the pay of News International? So, you know, every institution that Britain has and took pride in, it's journalism, it's politics, above all else, the integrity of its police, all of that is in question and that's why this story continues to run as a sort of enormous story and enormous scandal with implications for every branch of British life.
OLBERMANN: And, perhaps, American life as well. Correspondent Robert Moore of ITV making a special effort to join us tonight, we appreciate that greatly, sir. Thank you, kindly.
MOORE: It's a pleasure.
OLBERMANN: As bald faced an example of dishonestly editing benign non-violent remarks as you will ever see, why Fox News owes James Hoffa an apology, tonight. "Worst Persons" ahead on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Good news, everyone. The Homeland Security Secretary says soon you'll be able to keep your shoes on during airport screening. What about your underwear? No comment.
First, the "Worst." Like I'm telling you something here, but this woman is a fraud. Comedian makes a joke about special-needs kids, so Dolores Umbridge here says? Nothing. Because it was a joke about liberals, of course. Next.
OLBERMANN: The good news -- you might be able to keep your shoes on as you go through airport security soon. The bad news, you may have to wear them on your head. That's next.
But first, because no amount of security can save us from these chowder heads. Here are "Countdown's" nominees for today's "Worst Persons of the World."
The bronze to two-time "Worst" winner Mike Shaw, still the acting chairman of the Republican party of Pima County, Arizona. He's the one who authorized, then defended the plan to auction off a handgun to raise money for the GOP "get out the vote" efforts in the same city where Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 19 others were shot with a handgun eight months ago this Thursday. Shaw upped the ante. There were so many gun nuts among Arizona's Republicans that he was able to sell tickets for a second rifle. For a deer rifle. And as stupid as this is on the surface, hats off to a remarkable bit of insight from Tucson City Councilman Republican Steve Kozachik. He really hit the nail on the head about what the Shaw man has just done here to his own people. "When you have a slate of candidates who are already trying to generate some name recognition in a city where they are out-registered by two to one and you tie a Glock to their tail, you've pretty much shown that you don't understand the dynamics of the area." A sincere thank you to Mr. Kozachik, he's absolutely right. Shaw and the Republican Committee have now given Democrats in Pima County the opportunity to point at that their opponents and say, "That Republican is brought to you by handgun blood money."
The runner-up, St. Sarah of Wasilla. Fraud. This was from her revival meeting at the Indianola, Iowa, balloon festival grounds. The hot-air imagery is fitting, her warm-up act was a comedian name Eric Golub. He, like, everybody else connected with Palin first tried to portray the half-governor as the only parent to ever have a special-needs child. He commended her for her treatment of her son Trig and then he went South.
(AUDIO FROM VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC GOLUB: The left should worship Sarah Palin and adopt her as one of their own because the leftist haters are an entire political ideology of special-needs children.
OLBERMANN: Palin once demanded the resignation of the White House Chief of Staff because he foolishly used the word "retarded." She said nothing when Rush Limbaugh made similar remarks. And after this clown in the hat equated a political ideology, any political ideology, to special-needs kids, what did she do? Nothing. She said nothing. If she had pushed him off of the stage for that remark, I might have believed she cared about this issue of how insensitive language can hurt challenged kids and adults. But that she didn't say anything then, or since, confirms that she doesn't give a damn about those kids and that she has used her own as a political prop. That woman used to be an idiot. She has now downgraded herself to an idiotic joke.
But, our winner, Roger Ailes. His propaganda minions did a doozy over the weekend, tried to make a prominent labor leader sound like, well, like an Arizona Tea Party gun nut. They are accusing the president in the words of one of them, of sanctioning violence against fellow Americans because of what teamsters president James Hoffa said during a Labor Day speech. This was started by the mediocre Fox White House correspondent Ed Henry, who quoted merely seven words in the middle of one of Hoffa's sentences, which were, "Let's take the son of bitches out." He implied Hoffa was talking about Republicans and suggesting violence against them. And even as Henry tried to walk back his rookie mistake on Twitter, Fox then began to air this edited clip of Hoffa's remarks.
(AUDIO FROM VIDEO CLIP)
HOFFA: This is your army. We are ready to march. Let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong. Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: As the right-wing reverb show went crazy, which is not a big jump from its default setting, the dumbest person on television, Gretchen Carlson, described that as "very furious language." Carlson like the rest could not have been bothered to have their delusion altered by the full context of Hoffa's remarks, which we present now.
(AUDIO FROM VIDEO CLIP)
HOFFA: Everybody here has got a vote. If we go back and keep the eye on the prize, let's take these son of a bitches out and give America back to America where we belong. Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: There's no confusion. There is no nuance here. You "take these son of a bitches out and give America back to Americans" by voting. That's what he said. Just because the mindset of the right ties the phrase, "Take them out," to murder and violence, that does not mean normal people do that. The dishonesty and unalloyed evil, of the right, people like Roger Ailes multiplied by the stupidity of people like Carlson and Dana Loesch and Andrew Breitbart and all the others has left the democracy in peril. Ailes and Carlson and Loesch and all the others owe James Hoffa and the country a profound apology followed by a mass resignation. It won't happen, it will never happen, but ultimately what matters is Hoffa is right. They are sons of bitches and the only way to take them out is by voting them out. Roger Ailes, the worst propagandist in the history of the electronic media in the world, and today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: The Department of Homeland Security has been so knee-jerk reactive about terrorism threats, that it was once postulated that if tonight somebody sneaked on board with an explosive device in their hair, tomorrow they'd make the rest of us shave our heads. Our number one story on the "Countdown," this is predicated on the reality that because one guy failed to light his own sneakers on fire and proved just how difficult that would have to be, we have to all take our shoes off from the elderly to the infants and we've had to do so for the last nine and a half years. But our long national nightmare of cold, dampened or even smelly feet may finally be at an end, so said Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano this morning at a Politico.com event outside Washington.
(AUDIO FROM VIDEO CLIP)
JANET NAPOLITANO: I think one of the first things you will see over time is the ability to keep your shoes on. And one of the last things you will probably see is reduction or removing the limitation on liquids because identifying what is actually in a liquid and doing it quickly so you know that it's not an explosive material, that technology is still in development.
OLBERMANN: Napolitano did not elaborate on what technology would allow travelers to keep their shoes on, other than shoe laces. The shoe removals began in late 2001, that's a decade's worth of technology ago. After Richard Reid tried unsuccessfully to ignite explosives hidden in his shoes during a flight from Paris to Miami near Christmas, he was overpowered by passengers and crew after he inexplicably tried to do this not in the bathroom, where he would have been alone, but in his seat where he was surrounded by passengers and crew.
In any event, let's go to Las Vegas. The actor and comedian Louie Anderson has been good enough to join us for a few comments on this. Louie, thanks for your time tonight.
LOUIE ANDERSON: Thank you, Keith. I've always loved Napolitano's ice cream, ever since I was a kid.
OLBERMANN: I think that's the second side-life for her.
ANDERSON: You know, you get all three flavors. Don't you love that?
OLBERMANN: That's just the side-life for her. What does this mean for mankind, do you think?
ANDERSON: I am really happy because, you know, that whole thing, you know, me taking my shoes off. That was an extra 20 minutes I had to get to the airport. Wouldn't it be just good to have a shoe helper.
OLBERMANN: That's --
ANDERSON: Do it. Too tight. Better.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, we could have --
ANDERSON: I always thought that Richard Reid, Richard Reid must have a careful walk to the gate. Don't you think? You know?
OLBERMANN: Ten years later, that's right.
ANDERSON: So far, so good. I hope I don't blow up before I am supposed to blow up.
OLBERMANN: Oh, man. She wasn't specific about what technology will replace the taking off of the shoes. Do you have this fear like I do that the solution is going to be something like, you can wear your shoes but you have to put them on your head or on your hands?
ANDERSON: Yeah. I mean that's it. All fours. I've got shoes. I have got duck bills on. I mean, the whole idea of the -- you know, it's just like with the liquids thing. Couldn't two people with three ounces get together and there's six ounces and the whole row would have 12 ounces? It's always seems a little weird.
OLBERMANN: Every time I see hundreds of us taking off our shoes or these other things, I am thinking of the same Monty Python sketch from years ago. A guy comes in to insurance agency, and he has this churn which he hints is filled with his own urine, and the insurance man says, "Throw it away." And the customer says, he's outraged, he says, "It's 12 gallons, it took me months to fill this up. Why did you make me do it?" And the insurance salesman says, "We just wanted to make sure you were serious about buying insurance." Is that -- I mean, some of the security is just -- it's all psychological, isn't it?
ANDERSON: It all -- it not only seems psychological, it seems arbitrary. Do you know what I mean? Like, you know, get your belt off. You know, you don't want me pants-less. I mean -- But honestly, it does. And just like the scanning thing. No guy -- no guy wants to go in front of a scanner, you know. My words are -- I just was in a cold plunge.
OLBERMANN: When -- and when -- when you go through the scanner, does it make any sense to you that they can't also see what's in your shoes?
ANDERSON: Yeah, it doesn't make any sense. That's what I think people do get outraged about on a serious note --
ANDERSON: -- is that we have not been explained the missing, like, sentences or paragraphs in there. I mean, it really is -- it outrages people when they see them searching a little old lady, but let's be honest. You can't not search all of the little old ladies because then some little old lady will blow up everybody.
OLBERMANN: Yeah. All right, well, I --
ANDERSON: You know?
OLBERMANN: I have my doubts about that, but in any event, the comic and sage Louie Anderson, who -- who broke some land-speed records to get in front of our camera tonight. Great thanks for some of your time tonight, sir. I have been a big fan for a long time.
ANDERSON: Likewise, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Take care.
That's "Countdown" for this -- the 37th day since the Republicans' debt ceiling blackmail worked. Speaker Boehner, where are the jobs, and where's our credit rating?
I'm Keith Olbermann.
Good night, and good luck.