'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Great day to be a liberal: Personhood loses in MS, Issue 2 loses in Ohio, Papers-Please law author recalled in AZ
#ShowPlug 2: Guests: Arizona State Senator @KyrstenSinema plus @Markos Moulitsas on how the votes blow Mitt Romney out of water
#ShowPlug 3: ABC/WP poll: 60% want federal government to intervene against wealth disparity (ie: #Occupy IS America) w/ @VanJones68
#ShowPlug 4: No Brain, No Cain: Campaign caught in lie that it "confirmed" accuser's son works for Politico. Same name, no relation
#ShowPlug 5: And they never called him to check. Plus two accusers agree to joint news conference. @ShiraToeplitz of Roll Call joins me
#ShowPlug 6: John McCain proposes new "Fed Up" 3rd Party. People fed up with McCain? Sadly, no. w/ @JamieKilstein of Citizen Radio
#ShowPlug Last: Worsts: Rep. Walsh's meltdown, plus: Joe Paterno should NOT get the privilege to retire; PSU still contemplating firing.
watch whole playlist
#5 'Good Day For Democrats', Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
#5 'Good Day For Democrats', Markos Moulitsas
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#4 'Occupy Day 54', Van Jones
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Cain Wreck', Shira Toeplitz
#2 Worst Persons: Rep. Joe Walsh, Phil Bryant, Joe Paterno
#1 'Party Of One', Jamie Kilstein
printable PDF transcript
Categories: Show Transcripts
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? Revenge of the good guys - union-busting loses in Ohio.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN KASICH: When you get beat, you have to admit it and you got to congratulate and shake the hand of those folks who prevailed.
OLBERMANN: Personhood loses in Mississippi.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: This is an amazing victory for the health and safety of Mississippi women and families.
OLBERMANN: The man behind "Papers, Please" loses his job in Arizona.
(Excerpt from video clip) RUSSELL PEARCE: If being recalled is the prices for keeping one's promises, then so be it.
OLBERMANN: America is Occupy. Sixty-one percent say wealth disparity is at an all-time worst. Sixty percent want the federal government to reduce the disparity. But Oakland police training exercises are canceled. The inference - they're planning another raid on Occupy Oakland. No brain, no Cain. Here is a goddamned liar, already in progress:
(Excerpt from video clip) MARK BLOCK: Karen Kraushaar had come out as one of the women. And we've come to find out her son works at Politico, the organization that originally put the story out.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Have you confirmed that?
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOCK: We've confirmed it that he does, indeed, work at Politico, and that's his mother, yes.
OLBERMANN: Except, Josh Kraushaar is not Karen Kraushaar's son and nobody ever called him to check. What about Sharon Bialek, whom Cain doesn't know? They saw each other last month.
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON BIALEK: He acknowledged who I was and acknowledged that he did, in fact, remember who I am.
OLBERMANN: And the joint Bialek-Kraushaar news conference? It's been arranged. Meltdown - Congressman Joe "Deadbeat Dad" Walsh screams at his constituents.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOE WALSH: This pisses me off! Too many people don't listen! Quiet for a minute, quiet for a minute, quiet for a minute, or I'm going to ask you to leave!
OLBERMANN: And Joe Paterno to retire at Penn State? So investigators, he says, "should not spend a single minute discussing my status." A man who enabled the rape of children does not get to choose when he is fired. The university - still contemplating immediate dismissal. All that and more, now on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York. This is Wednesday, November 9th, 363 days until the 2012 presidential election.
This has been a very good day for Democrats and a very bad one for Republicans, especially Republicans who try to position themselves on at least two sides of each issue, like Mitt Romney.
Fifth story on the "Countdown" - progressive-issue victories in Mississippi, in Arizona, in Ohio. At least one of the outcomes startling, the size of at least one another - remarkable.
We start in Ohio with union supporters celebrating last night's overwhelming rejection of the union busting Senate Bill 5, Issue 2 on your scorecard if you are scoring at home, or even if you're alone. Thirty-nine percent voting to retain the bill, 61 percent voting to kill it. Teacher Courtney Johnson spoke for an entire state.
(Excerpt from video clip) COURTNEY JOHNSON: We are -
(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Ohio!
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHNSON: Clearly and emphatically, Ohioans have said to the politicians, who passed Senate Bill 5 and supported Issue 2, "We don't turn our backs on the people who watch ours."
OLBERMANN: Republican Governor John Kasich - conceding defeat and then some - admitted the bill might have been too much too soon!
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) KASICH: You give it your best. If you don't win, and the people speak in a loud voice, you pay attention to what they have to say and you think about it. And now is the chance for me to catch my breath and try to gather my thoughts together as to what we do next.
OLBERMANN: Don't hurt yourself. Don't think too long, either, Governor. You might wind up like Mitt Romney on both sides of the same issue. Romney, equivocating on this union-busting bill, October 25th.
(Excerpt from video clip) MITT ROMNEY: I am not speaking about the particular ballot issues. Those are up to the people of Ohio, but I certainly support the effort of the governor to rein in the scale of government.
OLBERMANN: But give Romney a day to absorb some criticism from the right about that and watch him spin.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: I fully support Governor Kasich's - I think it's called Question 2 in Ohio - fully support that.
OLBERMANN: We will come back to Governor Romney in a moment.
In Mississippi, conventional wisdom loses by four points. Voters defeating an amendment there to the state constitution that would have made all abortion and some forms of birth control illegal by giving a fetus full rights from the moment the sperm hits the egg. Forty-two percent voting "Yes," 58 percent voting "No" - the "No's" have it.
Valencia Robinson with Mississippians for Healthy Families saying her side just out-worked their opponents:
(Excerpt from video clip) VALENCIA ROBINSON: We worked the streets. We worked the state. We got on the phone and we just educated our voters and they understood.
OLBERMANN: Stacy Hawsey, who supported the anti-abortion measure, blaming people she called "pro-life but" for its failure.
(Excerpt from video clip) STACY HAWSEY: They have not researched the information. They have not looked at what the truth is on this amendment. And therefore, they have gone into the polls today and they have said, "We are not standing up for these babies."
OLBERMANN: As for Mitt Romney, he did his best to stand on both sides of the issue. Romney telling an audience at a GOP debate on September 5th, that he opposed a personhood amendment.
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: That would create, obviously, a Constitutional crisis.
OLBERMANN: But with more criticism from the right following that, Romney reversing himself in an interview with Mike Huckabee.
(Excerpt from video clip) MIKE HUCKABEE: Would you have supported the Constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?
(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: Absolutely.
OLBERMANN: Give him a day or two and he might come back with "Absolutely not."
Arizona voters, meanwhile, said absolutely not to State Senate President Russell Pearce. Pearce losing to fellow Republican Jerry Lewis, 45 percent to 53 in last night's historic recall. Pearce, the author of SB 1070, then telling supporters he had no regrets.
(Excerpt from video clip) PEARCE: I want to make something very clear - if being recalled is the price for keeping one's promises, then so be it.
OLBERMANN: Much more on the recall of the author of the "Papers, Please" law with Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema.
Two governors' races to report. In Mississippi, the Republican Phil Bryant winning 61 percent of the vote to Democrat Johnny Dupree's 39 percent. Dupree's the first black gubernatorial candidate from a major party in Mississippi since reconstruction. And in Kentucky, the incumbent Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, taking 56 percent to Republican challenger David Williams' 35 percent - another one for the good guys.
For more on the historic recall of Arizona State President Russell Pearce, I'm joined by Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema who represents Arizona's District 15, which includes much of Phoenix. Senator, thanks for your time tonight.
KYRSTEN SINEMA: Good to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: I know you worked - and everybody there worked - very hard on this, but did you actually expect that this would happen?
SINEMA: You know, in the early days, many of us thought that this was just a political statement to try and hold Russell accountable for - not just SB 1070, but really many other pieces of legislation and other controversies that had gone on in Arizona.
But over time, as Russell continued to get embroiled in things like the Fiesta Bowl scandal, and - most recently - the removal of our independent redistricting chair, and efforts by the Lewis camp and Democrats and independents - unaffiliated groups - doing great field work, it began to seem it was a possibility that this election would come out on top for Jerry Lewis.
OLBERMANN: Obviously, Pearce goes - SB 1070, the "Papers, Please" law, does not go with him. What is next with that, do you suppose?
SINEMA: Well, and that's an important thing to note - Arizonans still support SB1070. But that case will continue to move through the courts, and I believe - as we've talked about before - will ultimately be ruled unconstitutional. What will be different, Keith, is I think we will see a different tone at the state legislature, where anti-immigrant ideas like 1070 may come forward but they are not likely to pass.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, is there more to this than simply dissatisfaction with Russell Pearce, or uncertainty about SB 1070 - or, at least, the vitriol behind it - I mean, is there something about the process that's instructive, or a message to conservatives or a message, even, to liberals and Democrats?
SINEMA: I think there is a clear message, and we saw that last night in the election - not just in the recall, but in every election that happened in Arizona. We won the Democrat mayor's race. We won a Democrat in the mayor's race in Tucson and Phoenix - city council seats all over the state. And I think the message was clear - that Arizona voters are tired of hyper-partisan, extremist actions outside the mainstream. And they want politicians of both parties who are pragmatic, practical and focused on common-sense solutions.
OLBERMANN: And nationally, as you mentioned - apart from Ohio - defeat of the personhood measure in Mississippi which - although, in retrospect, the polling suggesting that would be a victory for those advocating that amendment, the polling was pretty weak and, perhaps, we should have seen it was not going to be quite the giveaway that that side thought it was going to be. No one - no one who did any polling or any kind of field work there at all, expected that would be defeated by double digits, let alone by 20 points. There is an implication here that - if you combine political grunt work, shoe leather, get-out-the-vote efforts, with some common sense - good things can still happen, rather than just bad things happening in our political system.
SINEMA: Well you know, we really saw that all across the nation, Keith. Not only in Mississippi, but in Ohio, and in Maine - where voters rejected the government's attempt to eliminate same-day voter registration. We saw, over and over, voters saying, "You know what? We want common-sense solutions. We don't want your extremist ideas. We want you to solve problems from a pragmatic and practical way." We saw that all across the country and we saw it here in Arizona.
OLBERMANN: It's obvious everybody who wants - who sees something like this, from wherever they stand in the political spectrum, wants to say, "Okay. That's a new band wagon leaving the station. We are now - we are now a progressive country again." And every time something goes in the other direction, "Oh, we are a conservative country again." You are in touch with liberals and progressives throughout the country, not just in Arizona. What is the assessment on the day after, about what the meaning of all of these votes combined - is it an indicator of anything or just a series of successful ballot initiatives and votes?
SINEMA: Well, I do think it's an indicator of the fact that the country feels that Republicans, in particular, have just gone too far. And what I think voters across the country are looking for is balance. And I think the great thing that progressives, Democrats and independents who are democracy-leaning can do is to help bring us back to the middle balance. Yesterday's election, all across the country, helped right the ship. And I think our challenge, as we move into November of 2012, is to keep that momentum and bring pragmatic, common-sense solutions to right the ship of our country and get us back on track.
OLBERMANN: Yeah. Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema, as always, a great pleasure. Thanks for your time tonight.
SINEMA: Thanks so much.
OLBERMANN: For more on last night's elections and the ever-spinning Mitt Romney, I'm joined by Daily Kos founder and publisher - "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas. Markos, good evening.
MOULITSAS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: All right. Ohio was almost a given. Russell Pearce, surely, was not a given. Personhood, surely, was not a given. Sort of a version of the question that I just asked the Senator - more than just three encouraging votes, is there some trend to be pulled out of that?
MOULITSAS: I think all across country we saw great examples of a receding tea party, sort of, wave. In New Jersey - you had Chris Christie go all out for three Republicans, trying to, essentially, cut into the Democratic majority in the state Senate. Not only did all of three Christie's candidates lose big, but the Democrats picked up a seat. That was totally unexpected.
In addition to the big battles you talked about - the Maine battle over same-day voter registration that the state Senator spoke about - there was a small victories. In North Carolina - Wade county, I believe it is, Durham, I believe - there was a school board that - two years ago - the tea party essentially took over. They completely took over the school board, a hundred percent. Yesterday, all five seats that were up for re-election were taken by Democrats. And now Democrats have a 5-4, which goes to show all politics is local. School boards are one of the most important battle lines in this battle against the tea party. And so - big and small - Democrats did well last night.
OLBERMANN: All right, of those big three that we focused on - is there one that is more important than others, that has national reverberations that perhaps we don't see yet?
MOULITSAS: I think SB 5, Issue 2 in Ohio - the anti-union effort - was - it was an all-out campaign by Republicans to try to really destroy unions. I mean, unions are one of the last pillars of the Democratic Party. You take out that pillar, the Democratic Party is gonna hurt big time. So, SB 5 was an existentialist threat for the unions, and they put everything they could into it. And the other side put everything they could into it. So, it was millions and millions of dollars.
The fact that Issue 2 went down - not just a little bit, but by a lot - I think sent a big message to Republicans nationwide that maybe - just maybe - their anti-union efforts really aren't at a place where they can be so overt about it.
OLBERMANN: Rather extraordinary that - of all of the Republicans and conservatives who got hits last night - ironically, the one who may have taken the most and largest-scaled ones - Mitt Romney.
Playing back those soundbites that we had at the start of the hour in our minds here - he was, sort of, maybe, for Kasich's union-busting bill - then he was really for it - and he never came out and addressed personhood in Mississippi directly, he talked around it. Different emphases when he had the chance. What did - what did that, those series of votes, do to him? Obviously, none of it was intended to do anything to him. But what did he do to himself, given those three big results last night?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I don't think the results actually had an impact. The fact that he couldn't nail it down - a position - really just reinforces the idea with conservatives that Mitt Romney had no core principles. And he doesn't. So, I mean - it's one thing not to have core principles. It's another thing to keep reminding your voters, time and time again, that you lack those.
OLBERMANN: Not a clean sweep for the left by any means. And in Ohio, particularly - the non-binding vote that would have killed off the individual mandate in the health-care law passed. Two-thirds of the vote, in fact - 66 percent. Does that suggest that the collective-bargaining issue might be separate from other progressive issues, rather than it being sort of a blanket victory in Ohio for the left?
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I don't think so. If we are going to talk about losses, the more important loss - or worrying one - was the Republican gains in the Virginia State Senate.
MOULITSAS: Because that's a swing state. Obviously, Obama won it narrowly. And that's a state that - that - it's not critical to Obama's re-election, but it would be very helpful.
Now Ohio, on the issue of the mandate - that was a non-binding referendum, essentially. Nobody really contested it. There was no organized effort to get people - to educate people about what it really meant. So, people just sort of went on their own biases and the stuff they heard, you know, half-assed it. And as we know, Republicans - I mean Democrats - have done a very poor job of defending the health-care law. That's one of the reasons they lost so big in 2010. So, I don't think it really means anything.
I think once, you know - 2012 rolls around, and you start actually making the case for it - just like we saw in Mississippi with that personhood amendment, which was actually winning big a week ago, and - once people realized what had it actually meant for them - they turned against it heavily. I have no doubt that, in 2012, as people become educated on the health-care law, they are not going to be as negative to it as they may be right now.
OLBERMANN: The founder and publisher of Daily Kos, "Countdown" contributor Markos Moulitsas, as always, thank you, sir.
MOULITSAS: Great. Have a great night.
OLBERMANN: Amazing new polling that may explain why Occupy has resonated so deeply. Three in five Americans believe not only is wealth disparity at its all-time worst, they also believe the federal government needs to step in to correct it. That's next. This is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: And a little dog shall lead them. Occupy Denver answers calls that they need a leader by electing Shelby. Meanwhile, the American public is clearly voting for Occupy.
Fifty percent of the known Herman Cain accusers will hold a joint news conference, as the Cain claim that one of them has a son working for Politico blows up in the campaign's face. Same name, no relation. And he doesn't work for Politico.
John McCain wants to start a third party called the Fed-up Party. I thought we were all fed up with John McCain.
And he says he is going to retire later. The university, reportedly, says, "We're still thinking of firing you." Why he must be fired right now.
OLBERMANN: For two months, Wall Street protesters have been calling on the federal government to address this country's widening income gap. Now, the rest of the country has apparently joined in. Or is it the other way around?
In our fourth story tonight - with income inequality the greatest it's been since the great depression, Americans polled now overwhelmingly say they are concerned about it and they want the federal government to intervene. A Washington Post/ABC poll out today finds that 61 percent of Americans say income disparity is greater than it's been in the past and 60 percent says federal policy should pursue - federal government, rather - should pursue policies to reduce the wealth gap. That, of course, is the essence of the Occupy movement, with protesters across country making, "We are the 99 percent" the call to arms, figuratively speaking.
Their message now making it into mainstream, Time magazine's cover article this month - "Can You Still Move Up in America?" - looks at how income inequality has made the American dream more difficult to achieve. Occupy protesters taking that message on the road today, beginning a two-week march from New York to Washington where they will demand that the super committee, the one addressing tax cuts, serve the 99 percent by letting tax cuts for the wealthiest expire.
Already, indications their message may be resonating on Capitol Hill. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, the Democrat of Rhode Island, visited Occupy Providence earlier this week. He's now introducing a bill to increase regulation on credit-card companies.
Meanwhile in Denver - after suggestions that the movement needed a leader - the Denver protesters, Occupy Denver, have elected Shelby the dog, a statement of some sort.
Protesters in Oakland, however, might soon have more trouble getting their statement heard. Police there have cancelled all training for the week, leading organizers to speculate that the police are planning to clear out Occupy's camp yet again. Mayor Jean Quan - flip-flopping on this issue like an Albacore on a bay dock - now decries the financial toll, saying in a statement, "This situation is costing us real jobs. We can't afford to lose a single job."
As for Occupy Oakland's finances, its members voting to deposit $20,000 in donations in one of the nation's biggest banks - Wells Fargo, which protesters there previously referred to as "Bankster." The bank happy to take advantage of the free publicity from the ironic source. A representative saying, "Wells Fargo welcomes to the 100 percent of Americans to allow us to help them meet their financial needs." Organizers saying the money might only stay there temporarily. It's a new organization.
Joining me now, Van Jones, co-founder and president of Rebuild the Dream. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
VAN JONES: I'm honored to be back on the show.
OLBERMANN: The poll numbers - the 60 percent and 61 percent numbers - did Occupy Wall Street inspire people to feel this way, or have people long felt this way and Occupy merely, sort of, inspired them to admit to it, or say that they feel this way?
JONES: Well, I think you have sort of a co-arising phenomenon, you know - to use a fancy term. I think people feel validated and vindicated in their view. I think people have been feeling awful about the economy for a long time. They were hoping that, somehow, help was on the way - maybe Obama would do something, D.C. might do something, maybe they would win the lottery. I think this summer, the miracle is - the pain threshold got hit.
JONES: And people realized that, you know - D.C. is just going to be off the rails, and they started to want to see some kind of action. Occupy took off. And I think people now feel very, very validated in what their gut sense was telling them - they see reflected, now, back in the media and these protests. And so you're gonna see, I think, even more people expressing this concern about the economy being broken for most people.
OLBERMANN: If 60 percent of Americans, in that ABC/Washington Post poll, want the government to intervene against the wealth disparity how - and I know it will be - but how can anybody expect - conservatives expect - that when they dismiss that as class warfare or socialism, that it's really going to resonate with anything other than a small and decreasingly large minority of the country?
JONES: Well, I just hope they keep saying it. Please, just keep saying you want you want America's government to be AWOL on the biggest crisis to hit us since the Great Depression, that you want billionaires and bankers and big oil to have all the money and everybody else to have all the pain. Just say it louder and louder, please - because it's helping to clarify, I think, that you've got two parties that are both, unfortunately, corrupted by too much corporate cash.
But one them - one of these parties is completely off of the rails and they, literally, would rather have tax - the only tax increases they want to have are on poor people now. They have broken their Grover Norquist pledge. They say, "Taxes are okay, as long as they're put on poor people." This party is nuts. It's clear that they're nuts. I hope they keep saying it.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, mayor of New York - Mayor Bloomberg - said that again today. He said everybody should have the - the rise in taxes should be straight across the board, because everybody pays taxes, so the percentage ought to go up on everybody equally - which indicates it's been a long time since he's actually been on the subway that he claims to ride. Give me your thoughts from a strategic sense, and from an optic senses - and whatever sense you want to take - of the Occupy the Highway movement, the march from New York to Washington. This isn't - this isn't a million people. It might be 150 when it gets to D.C. on the 23rd. But is there special meaning to this thing? Is it worth it?
JONES: This is important. I think that one of the things that people were saying early on - you know, "Occupy, they don't have any demands. What are they doing?"
Well, first of all, it was important that they - it's not for lack of demands that the progressives haven't made any headway. We've got more demands than we know what to do with. Nobody cared. They were able to get people to care and to make the problem big enough that people have to look for solutions. That was the first step.
Two things have happened now, I think, that anybody watching this has to see as a very good sign. First of all, Occupy Wall Street came out and they called the White House out, and they said that the White House should not be considering doing a sweetheart deal with Wall Street - letting Wall Street write a check and get away with never being investigated for 2008. That came out of nowhere. But it was shocking because, suddenly this group is - very amorphous, talking about every problem under the sun - focused on a topical issue.
Now, you see another beat in that new story. They are marching - again, on a topical issue - the super committee, which is going to have a wrecking ball run through the American people, more austerity, more pain, it's been in the corners. Suddenly, Occupy shines a spotlight. You are starting to see, now, this movement mature, and they are starting to look at actual issues, actual topics, that - if they raise a flag around - suddenly the media starts to engage. This is a big maturation step, I think, for this movement.
OLBERMANN: And lastly - any way to read Oakland? Mayor Quan has now taken about 15 different positions on Occupy. What's happened to her and that city?
JONES: You know, she is a friend of mine. She is somebody I have known and respected for years. I don't understand what's happening here.
First of all, she left town and kind of bailed on the police - or bailed on the protesters - the first night. She was in Washington, D.C. as the police try to clear the park. So, she is not there to make sure it goes well. She bails on the protesters. Then she comes back into town, she bails on the police and says they did everything wrong.
And, you know, at a certain point - a mayor just falls between the cracks. You are with the people or the police. There has to be some consistent principle here. I think it's unfortunate.
But I do think that, across the country, what you're seeing - this is not a right-wing period, it's not a left-wing period. It's just a turbulent, volatile period. The pain is getting bigger and bigger. People are looking for answers.
And I think the more people look at those tea party answers, the more disappointed and disbelieving they get, and the more they look at the progressive solutions - where you have tax fairness and jobs for people. They - I think the are going to be moving more our way, but it will not be a linear process. But leaders have to lead and this mayor is not leading.
OLBERMANN: Co-founder and president of Rebuild the Dream, Van Jones from San Francisco for us tonight. Again, great thanks for your time, sir.
JONES: Thank you. Glad to be here.
OLBERMANN: Herman Cain is scheduled to be on "Letterman" a week from tomorrow. So, I'm thinking I need to clear my schedule so I can be on standby after he cancels. How many wheels did he have on that campaign? It seems like the number that have come off is 27. Details, next.
OLBERMANN: Herman Cain's chief of staff confirms that the son of one of Cain's accusers works for Politico, except that's not the woman's son, nobody ever called him to ask and he doesn't work for Politico. Next.
OLBERMANN: First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1932, a riot erupted between conservatives and socialists. The government sent in untrained military troops to break it up. They opened fire. Thirteen people killed, 65 more injured. This is mentioned to emphasize that not always are national reputations for peacefulness, and neutrality and sweetness fully merited. The riot, and the bloodshed by the nation's army, took place in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: No Clip Available
We begin in nearby Brussels. It's not that nearby. My ala mater, Clown College, ha-ha - the Brussels Circus School's first-ever tightrope convention. And for some reason, it coincided with the 25th Annual Jugglers' Convention. What the hell?
As part of the festivities, 30 tightrope walkers set the unofficial record for most people on the same cable at once. Big deal! I've been on cable since 1981! The event was said to be the strangest thing to come out of Brussels since Van Damme.
VIDEO: Reporter wears grape costume to interview student suspended for wearing a banana costume
In local news, this is Brian Thompson. Brian recently suspended from school for running onto the football field during wearing a banana suit. That would be the most ridiculous part of this story, were it not for WRC reporter Pat Collins, who felt the best way to cover the story would be - to wear a grape costume.
That's some "vine" reporting, Pat! Ha-ha-ha-ha!
After many students and groups, including the ACLU, criticized the suspension, the young Mr. Thompson was allowed to go back to school but not before he and Collins booked a Fruit of the Loom commercial.
VIDEO: Dog relieving himself while doing a handstand
Finally, in the world of dogs, Oscar is out for his evening walk, and while relieving himself he might as well - do a handstand?
That's right, Oscar is the only dog who does a handstand while going to the bathroom. And really, one is all we need. For an extra few bucks, he will write your name on the sidewalk. He is very clean. He doesn't want to get any on himself. Trust me. You don't want to see what he does while he is doing the cartwheel.
"Time Marches On!"
Herman Cain, I just got a great idea for a mascot for your campaign! His campaign manager - Mr. Smoke Too Much - is caught in two bald-faced lies on national television, and the subject has already come up in a debate. Next.
OLBERMANN: "Johnny Olsen's DuMont Rumpus Room" will not be seen tonight so we can instead bring you "Countdown," the longest continuously-running 8:00 pm news hour on cable, unless you consider Fox - news. Our primary replays at 11:00 pm Eastern and 11:00 pm Pacific. We call it "our little tontine."
And again, one almost expects Herman Cain to stop a news conference and shout, "You've been punk'd!" and admit there is no Cain campaign, he has just been taping a reality show. In our third story on the "Countdown" - the latest Cain disaster.
His chief of staff "for smokes and stuff," claimed on national TV last night that he had confirmed that one of Cain's accusers was the mother of a reporter for Politico.com. In fact, the two people are not related. They just happen to have the same name. And never mind "confirm" - the reporter, who doesn't even work at Politico any more, says nobody from Cain's group even contacted him to ask.
About 35 minutes ago, the GOP contenders took to the stage for their first group debate since the Cain allegations came to light - only the 87th overall so far in the campaign. The focus of the debate supposed to be the economy - ah, not so much. But there was math. Pressed about the four sexual-harassment accusers, Mr. Cain decided to dazzle them with multiplication.
(Excerpt from video clip) CAIN: I value my character and my integrity more than anything else and for every one person that comes forward with a false accusation, there are probably - there are - thousands who would say none of that sort of activity ever came from Herman Cain. You were right - this country is looking for leadership, and this is why a lot of people, despite what has happened over the last nine days, are still very enthusiastic and behind my candidacy.
OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, the two identified Cain accusers have now agreed to hold a joint news conference to discuss specifics. They are hoping the other two accusers will step forward to join them. Time and place still TBA. Perhaps that event would help jog Mr. Cain's memory. Yesterday, he said he could not recall one of his accusers, Sharon Bialek. Today, Bialek claimed otherwise. She saw him recently at a tea party event.
(Excerpt from video clip) BIALEK: He acknowledged who I was and acknowledged that he did, in fact, remember who I am.
OLBERMANN: And then there was Chief of Staff Mark Block's outright double lie about the other named accuser.
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOCK: Karen Kraushaar had come out as one of the women - so, we've come to find out that her son works at Politico, the organization -
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Have you confirmed that? I have been hearing that all day, rumors about that. You have confirmed that now, right?
(Excerpt from video clip) BLOCK: We confirmed it with - that he does, indeed, work at Politico and that's his mother, yes.
OLBERMANN: Josh Kraushaar doesn't work at Politico any more and Karen Kraushaar isn't his mother. The campaign did admit its falsehood in a statement today.
And a funny thing happened on the way to Googling the charges against Herman Cain. The Hill newspaper discovered that if you search on some browsers for terms like "Herman Cain Scandal" or the accusers' names, you will get an ad at the top of your screen - paid for by the Cain campaign - which directs you to a site called caintruth.com. There, you are instructed how to "get past the allegations and lies" and includes a section detailing Ms. Bialek's "troubled history."
Up next for Mr. Cain, a planned appearance on "David Letterman" next week. I am keeping my schedule open in case he, you know - McCains. Meanwhile, his wife, who had canceled an interview with Fox last week, has reportedly rescheduled one to be taped this weekend.
Joining me on the Cain circus - politics writer for Roll Call, Shira Toeplitz. Thanks for your time tonight.
SHIRA TOEPLITZ: Thanks for having me back on the show again.
OLBERMANN: Let me start with the Mark Block thing. We thought the commercial was weird enough. That was either a lie or the sloppiest research in recent history. How did they let that happen?
TOEPLITZ: Yeah, it was very sloppy research. And what's interesting is, as the campaign manager - any normal campaign manager on a presidential campaign - usually he wants to make sure they have these facts absolutely down right before they go on a show like that, where tons of Republican viewers watch it. But no - they were completely off.
A simple Google search would show that Josh Kraushaar, the reporter that he was referencing, does not work for Politico. I consider Josh a friend. We have worked together at several, different publications. He left there a year ago. And his mother was not Karen Kraushaar. I contacted him, myself, yesterday - just to see if there was any relation. And according to him, there is no relation at all.
OLBERMANN: Is it - when the - when the campaign is being accused of not having its facts straight - how damaging is it, to then have the manager come out and make, just, a rookie mistake about a fact that, clearly, they did no research about? They just assumed the two names had to be related, because it's such an unusual name.
TOEPLITZ: Well I mean, it's icing on the cake. This is beyond factual errors. This is sloppy. This is just making stuff up. Like I said earlier, a simple Google search would show that both of these assumptions - at least one of these assumptions - is not true. I think the bigger problem is, is Herman Cain has had missteps before on the campaign trail, in terms of saying factual statements. And these are about much more serious things - like foreign policy.
OLBERMANN: The Bialek story - not only was she groped, according to her account, perhaps it was assault - but she says she confronted him at a tea party event a month ago. There's a conservative host - radio host - in Chicago who was there and said she saw them talking together.
I mean, that becomes a really detailed storyline, compared to his answer - "I don't remember and a thousand people say I could never have possibly done this." I mean, how does that hold up any longer? How does the pressure of, sort of, the realities - those two separate realities - how does that - how does the answer in the Cain campaign withstand that kind of reality?
TOEPLITZ: Well, unfortunately, it still boils down to a case of "he said versus she said," but I also read that really interesting report in The Sun-Times, where the radio host details seeing this woman and Cain interact and meet and it's a very, very clear vision of what happened. It's quite interesting. It's hard to imagine Herman Cain would forget an interaction like that.
OLBERMANN: A joint news conference by the two identified accusers with, perhaps, the other two alleged victims there as well. How does - how - how - I know I am asking for the impossible here - but how do you think Cain would overcome that? Or maybe, more correctly, it's - what's his end game for this part of this extraordinary campaign?
TOEPLITZ: Well, at this point, I think he is going to look even worse if he changes his tune on things. So, he has to keep going down the denial path, okay? Denial, not just a river in Egypt. He just has to keep denying, denying, denying, because otherwise he loses all credibility - more credibility than, I think, he has already with some voters - in particular, primary state voters.
So, if he starts to change his tune slightly and say, "Oh, maybe I remember meeting her in Chicago" or "I remember working with her." If he starts remembering these details again, magically, from the late '90s - it's going to be an even bigger problem. So right now, I think he's just going to continue to deny until even more women come out and confront him on these issues - if that's the case, if these women are out there.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, one photograph - not from the '90s, but from last month - and that's - that's the ball game, I would assume.
TOEPLITZ: Exactly, exactly.
OLBERMANN: Shira Toeplitz of Roll Call, who has been following the Cain - The Adventures of Herman Cain in Politicsland - great thanks.
TOEPLITZ: The reality show, as you put it.
OLBERMANN: Exactly. I hope he sold the rights to it. He could make money off of it at least. Thanks again.
TOEPLITZ: Exactly. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Joe Paterno insists he is going to retire at season's end as the coach of the disgraced Penn State football program. The university, however, is reportedly still thinking of firing him far earlier than that. "Worst Persons" ahead.
OLBERMANN: Old man yells at cloud. John McCain says it may be time for a party called the Fed-up Party. Lord knows if there's anybody the current two parties are fed up with, it's John McCain.
First, the "Worsts." He was already the only deadbeat dad in Congress to get an award for supporting family values for families other than his own. Now he is the guy who melted down and started screaming at his constituents on tape, next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: John McCain's Fed-up Party. Aren't both parties fed up with him? That's next.
First - because we are fed up with these cement heads, and this is the venue for pointing out their cement head-ery - here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the world."
The bronze - to Congressman Joe Walsh. Joe Walsh represents the deadbeat dad district of Illinois. Owes the missus $117,000 in child support, held a town hall, of sorts, in a diner in Gurnee, Illinois, where he proceeded yell at - then melt down in front of and then, finally, threaten - his own constituents.
One had argued that having ex-Wall Streeters in government endangered ordinary citizens. Another decried the lack of regulation that permitted the banks to unleash a torrent of subprime mortgages and predatory loans and, in effect, bet against their own customers. And Congressman Joe wasn't going to stand for any of that - truth!
(Excerpt from video clip) WALSH: It's not the private marketplace that created this mess. What created this mess is your government, which has demanded for years that everybody be in a home. And we have made it as easy as possible for people to be in homes. All the marketplace does is respond to what the government does. The government sets the rules. Don't blame banks and don't blame the marketplace for the mess we are in right now. I am tired of hearing that crap. I am tired of hearing that crap.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: In the situation, taking -
(Excerpt from video clip) WALSH: You are all -
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: The people -
(EXCERPT FROM VIDEO CLIP) WALSH: They are already mechanisms in place! You know what, this pisses me off! Too many people don't listen. There are already mechanisms in place to do that. Are they doing their job? No. But what do you want to do? You want to bombard them with more regulations, more government? Government screwed this problem up. What do you want? You know what you've got -
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Because, honestly, the banks -
(Excerpt from video clip) WALSH: You got to stop - It's tying everybody's hands. You want more reform, more regulations? That's what you've got. Do you want more regulation? Is that you want? Do you want that, Frank? Is that what you want?
(Excerpt from video clip) FRANK: What did I say, back at Joe's Barber Shop?
(Excerpt from video clip) WALSH: I need more coffee.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: I think you've had too much!
(Excerpt from video clip) WALSH: It's so freaking easy to -
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Decaf, decaf.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Decaf.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Joe, stop.
(Excerpt from video clip) WALSH: Quiet for a minute.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: What did I say?
(Excerpt from video clip) WALSH: Quiet for a minute, or I am going to ask you to leave.
OLBERMANN: Ask the man a question and then tells him to be quiet. Can't imagine why he is not still married. The congressman is not the type to sit around and act rationally when a situation calls for panic.
The runner-up? The new governor-elect of Mississippi, Republican Phil Bryant. On Monday, in Tupelo, a woman name Cristen Hemmins spoke up during Bryant's speech about the failed personhood vote in Mississippi. She said she had been shot twice and raped when she was kidnapped as a college student.
"Why," Miss Hemmins asked, "can't you men have any sympathy for women like me?"
Bryant replied, "This is a battle of good and evil of biblical proportions." If personhood is voted down, "Satan wins." Well, personhood was voted down. But Bryant was elected governor, which - if he's right about Satan winning - means he now works for Satan. Figure that one out, Goober.
But our winner, once again? Football coach Joe Paterno of Penn State University. You know this story. There's no point in really rehashing it. A witness to the rape of a child in Paterno's football headquarters came to him nine years ago. Paterno did not march the witness to the police. He only told the athletic department - and maybe the campus police, who had covered up a previous incident with the same rapist four years earlier.
Today, Paterno graciously said he would retire at the end of the season. "At this moment Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can."
No, you do not get that privilege. A man who enabled child rape and covered up for a serial child rapist does not get to retire nor should he get to choose when he loses his job. Nor does he get away with the lie that he is making it easy for investigators by escaping the situation scot-free.
The New York Times reporting right now the university is not sure it will let Paterno stay for the rest of the season, or that he's even still the coach.
The football program at Penn State and Joe Paterno are - right now - a stain on this country. And they will be so as long as it remains in his hands and the hands of the other athletic and university officials who permitted this to happen. Paterno should be fired now. And then, he should get just a part of the nightmare that that 10-year-old boy got. As Joe Paterno forgot that boy, we should forget Joe Paterno - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: During John McCain's presidential bid in the year 2000, he was the maverick establishing or battling the establishment choice, George W. Bush. By 2008 he had done his best to kiss the ring of the conservative hierarchy in a last-ditch effort to become president. Now, in our number-one story - John McCain thinks he may have found his latest path to the White House - create a third party.
In an interview with Reuters, McCain returned to the "old man yells at cloud" persona we had come to know during 2008. This time, though, it was not just Democrats who drew his ire. It was everybody.
He said, first, about Republicans, "The party, I think, has got to be a lot more responsive to the plight of the people." Then he turned to the tea party, almost denied their existence. "The tea party was a movement, not an organization, as we know. And so, they've kind of receded. There was never any permanency to them."
It was then that his reasoning behind these comments became clear. His chances of becoming a presidential candidate as a Democrat or as even a Republican are non-existent. The only hope left would be a third party. That's exactly what he suggested would now happen. "Unless both parties change, then I think that it's an inevitability."
He even went so far as to give the party a name. "I think a Fed-Up Party." Am I pronouncing that? Is it just "f'ed up"? Is that what he means by that? Now, of course, if the Fed-Up Party consisted of those people fed up with John McCain it would be huge. Huge, I tells you.
Joining me now about the Fed-Up Party is the fed-up comedian and co-host of "Citizen Radio," Jamie Kilstein. Good to see you again, sir.
JAMIE KILSTEIN: Hey, good to see you again.
OLBERMANN: Better men than us have gone mad trying to answer this question, but what the hell is John McCain thinking?
KILSTEIN: I don't know, man. Maybe he is lonely. There is part of me that thinks he has to do be doing it for attention, because when I first read the article, I was like, "Who is this John McCain fellow? Oh, he's guy from that election that wasn't Sarah Palin or Barack Obama." After watching your last segment on Herman Cain, though, I have this new theory that maybe it's like a long con, and the Republicans are trying to distance themselves from Herman Cain, you know, after that, like, insane press conference where Cain was like, "Look, there may be 12 other women that come forward later. We don't know. Maybe they will have specific allegations and scientific evidence."
I think now what the Republicans are doing is what kids used to do in elementary school where, like, if they didn't want to kick the weird kid out of their play group, because they felt bad, they would quit the play group.
KILSTEIN: And then start a new play group except, instead this time, instead of the kid having cooties, it's alleged sexual assault.
OLBERMANN: And parenthetically, did you at any point say, "McCain, Herman McCain"?
KILSTEIN: I took all of my energy not to make that slip just now.
OLBERMANN: Do we really believe that he sees this as a potential route to the White House, a third one like we had the maverick McCain, the conservative McCain, and now we're gonna get Ross Perot McCain?
KILSTEIN: Right. If he was a real maverick, it would be Ralph Nader McCain. That would be really exciting. I mean, here is the thing, this problem - or this country has never had problems with finding third parties. He's acting like he is kind of this revolutionary, this maverick, by bringing up a third party. We have had third parties. You know, I mean, no matter how you feel about Ralph Nader, the bottom line is, when he did ran for president, he was against the bank bailouts, he was against wars, and the majority of the American people felt the same way. Now, how did the mainstream media treat him? They treated him like this kind of disgusting leper that just, like, leeched out and coughed disease onto Chuck Todd and mainstream reporters. And they didn't give him a chance.
Now, do I think that Ralph Nader could have won? Absolutely not. But do I think if you have third-party voices like his in a debate with Barack Obama, would it push him more to the left? Absolutely.
Which is why - and this is the only time I will say this on TV - I agree with John McCain that there should be a third party. It just shouldn't have anything to do with John McCain.
OLBERMANN: Just be careful though about third parties and successful ones. Just remember George Wallace was almost successful on a third party and made Nixon look good in 1968.
KILSTEIN: We don't talk about George Wallace when I bring up Nader.
OLBERMANN: I don't mean the good George Wallace, either, the comedian. But this sort of Fed-Up Party idea isn't that space already split now between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street? They are not parties, per se, but the fed-up quality certainly qualifies.
KILSTEIN: The one original idea John McCain thought he had has been used by both parties. And here's the thing, Occupy Wall Street that will never work, because they are not going to let scumbag politicians co opt them. The Tea Party is gonna have nothing to do with John McCain, because he doesn't want to assassinate illegal immigrants down at the border on some bizarre Fox News reality TV show. So, I think John McCain is being like, "Yeah, I want a third party, but it's going to be the same platform I had when I ran as a Republican, but it's gonna be called Fed-Up so we're kind of edgy." It's the same thing.
OLBERMANN: Yeah. All right, so, if he's going to start a third party, who needs to have a fourth or fifth? You have a candidate for another third party?
KILSTEIN: Yeah, sure. Anyone with a soul at this point, you know? Third parties are supposed to be about revolution. They're supposed to be about sticking up for the little guy. John McCain is antithetical to that. You really buy that John McCain's gonna be that guy? Like, "Vote John McCain, because I'm fed-up, but still part of the establishment. So don't really worry." He's not that guy. Have anybody who's stood against grain, have Russ Feingold, have Elizabeth Warren, have Bernie Sanders, if he is talking about drugs and war and nothing crazy about hating women, have Ron Paul. Don't have Ron Paul. At this point, honestly, the ghost of George Carlin would make a better candidate than the majority of politicians.
OLBERMANN: Well, that's always true. Here's Jamie's CD. It's a CD, right? It's not like a -
KILSTEIN: It is a CD.
OLBERMANN: This is not the picture of him. "Citizen Radio," of course. Great thanks for some of your time.
KILSTEIN: Thanks, man.
OLBERMANN: All right, that's "Countdown" for this, the 309th day since the Republicans took control of the House. He's enjoying a nice beverage after the program. Three hundred and nine days without them having passed one jobs bill of any kind.
I am Keith Olbermann. Congratulations of surviving another day of this crap. Good night and good luck!