'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, December 8th, 2011
#ShowPlug 1: Occupy Gingrich, an unexpected, rousing success. @AndrewKroll of Mother Jones joined protest at Newt fundraiser, joins me
#ShowPlug 2: Elizabeth Warren goes from -3 to +7 in MA Senate race; New Rove ads against her, contradict OLD Rove ads against her
#ShowPlug 3: Rick Santorum vows to cut Food Stamps because so many recipients are overweight. How I wish I were making this up.
#ShowPlug 4: Paul @PFTompkins on Gingrich's requirement for two bathrooms at his speaking engagements (one just for his ego?)
#ShowPlug Last: And Umbrella goes in, Umbrella goes out, never a miscommunication. Billo attacks our guest @BrandenLane w/bumbershoot
watch whole playlist
#5 'Occupy Newt', Andy Kroll
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 'Occupy Boston', Ryan Cahill
#4 'Warren Peaks', Ari Berman
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Billy Clubbed', Branden Lane
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#2 Worst Persons: Fox & Friends, Glenn Beck, Rick Santorum
#1 'Fools On Parade', Paul F. Tompkins
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Branden Lane, Andy Kroll, Ari Berman, Ryan Cahill, Paul F. Tompkins
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Hey, you millionaires, pay your fair share!
OLBERMANN: Occupy interrupts a Newt fundraiser. Andy Kroll of Mother Jones sneaks in with them. He joins us. But Occupy Santa Cruz is chased out and Occupy Boston is to be chased out tonight.
Warren, plus seven. Elizabeth Warren takes the polling lead in the race to unseat Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. This flummoxes the Karl Rove front group attacking her. This first attack ad of theirs didn't work:
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Elizabeth Warren sides with extreme-left protests.
OLBERMANN: So, having failed by calling her an anti-bank, financial outsider, Rove's new ad now blames her for -
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Bailing out the same banks that helped cause the financial meltdown.
OLBERMANN: Rick Santorum says the dumbest thing of the week: "If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger program?"
Newt Gingrich's speaking appearance demands revealed - "Mr. Gingrich requires a non-smoking, one-bedroom suite (preferably with two bathrooms)." The extra bathroom is in case he brings along more than one of his wives.
Let a smile be your umbrella!
(Excerpt from video clip) BRANDEN LANE: Mr. O'Reilly, were you at Gingrich's fundraiser?
OLBERMANN: The man who has his staff ambush anybody he wants to ambush not only can't take it, but he hits the cameraman and then tries to get the cameraman arrested. Possibly for capturing the comb over, gone with the wind.
(Excerpt from video clip) BRANDEN LANE: I said, "Mr. O'Reilly, were you at Gingrich's fund-raiser?" And he hit me. With his umbrella.
OLBERMANN: When O'Reillys attack! The victim - Wisconsin protester Branden Lane - our special guest. All that and more, now on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Good evening, from New York. This is Thursday, December 8th, 334 days until the 2012 presidential election.
Occupy Newt, a smashing success in Washington, D.C. last night. Occupy Boston facing a deadline to clear out its camp at midnight. Occupy DC rolling out a mock red carpet with 99 percenters rolled up inside it at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce holiday party tonight.
The fifth story on the "Countdown" - last month, Newt "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Gingrich told Occupy protesters to "go get a job, right after you take a bath." Yesterday, a band of Occupy protesters found temp work occupying Newt's thousand dollar-a-plate luncheon fundraiser. That fundraiser, at the Willard Hotel, was well-attended - outside - by the 99 percent.
(Excerpt from video clip) CROWD: Hey Newt, share that loot! Give a dime to the 99! Hey Newt, share that loot! Give a dime to the 99!
OLBERMANN: Gingrich clearly not listening, so demonstrators - part of this week's Take Back the Capitol protests - used an unlocked back door to try to get a little closer to the former Speaker and his fans. Arriving at the ballroom with the fundraiser underway, protesters chanted again, "We are the 99 percent!" And offered a few testimonials:
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: I am a city of Cincinnati retiree. I am not eligible for Social Security or Medicare. I am a caregiver for my brother, so I cannot work to earn eligibility for Social Security or Medicare. I am a 99 percenter.
OLBERMANN: A few minutes later, hotel security and a few other men in suits pushed the protesters out. Andy Kroll, with Mother Jones magazine, took that video from inside the ballroom. He'll join us in a moment.
In Boston, many Occupy protesters packing up today, after a state superior court justice lifted a temporary restraining order barring the city from evicting the camp at Dewey Square and one protester addressed the crowd:
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: I will always carry the memories of this time and these people with me. And I ask you to do the same. Never stop fighting and never give up.
OLBERMANN: He also told the protesters he was a secret Yankee fan. Showing the tolerance typical of the movement, they did not tear him limb from limb. Who are the Secret Yankees?
More on Occupy Boston a little later in the news hour, but elsewhere in the Occupy movement - at least 70 arrests after police chased Occupy protesters from Justin Herman Plaza and a half dozen more after protesters tried to return. That's in San Francisco, obviously.
More arrests reported as police cleared out the camp at Occupy Santa Cruz. Protesters say they were given just five minutes to pack up their tents and leave.
As we said, Mother Jones reporter Andy Kroll joined the festivities and shot the interior video of Occupy Newt - you should excuse the expression - last night. And he's with us tonight. Thanks for your time, sir.
ANDY KROLL: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: What was going on when the protesters got into the ballroom? Was Gingrich there? Did he hear about any of this, do you know?
KROLL: You know, I couldn't tell if Newt Gingrich was there. I - I didn't see him, you know, with my own eyes or with my camera. It was a candlelit fundraiser in a posh, swanky ballroom at the Willard, and so it was really difficult to make out a lot of the faces except for the ones that were trying to pull the megaphone out of people's hands or try to shove us out of the room.
OLBERMANN: So, what was - what was the reaction - The L.A. Times said that that was a fundraiser, raising money from members of Congress and from lobbyists. Did you recognize anybody there and what was their reaction?
KROLL: Right, well, I - I recognized the fellow who pushed me out of the room, the guy you showed on the camera earlier. That was Brian Brown - he's the president of the National Organization for Marriage, which is one of the most virulently right-wing, anti-gay marriage organizations in the country. They're a group behind a lot of measures to outlaw same-sex marriage around the country. Former Senator Norm Coleman was in the house.
KROLL: He now runs the American Action Network, a dark-money group that's poured tens of millions of dollars into elections. I know there were a few other congressmen in the house. You could tell by their pins - the pins on their lapels - but those were the big names that I could make out.
OLBERMANN: Norm Coleman still, I guess, taking a - a night off from still litigating the 2008 Senatorial election in his mind. Were - was - did anybody try to beat it out of that room when the protesters came in? Was there any kind of response like that, or did you - and ultimately, did the protesters' message come across, or were they just viewed as - as an annoyance to these - to the fat cats?
KROLL: Well, when the protesters got in the there, there was a sense of shock, and you people, sort of, turn around at their little tables in suits and dresses and pearls and, sort of, go, "Oh my God, who are these people?" And - and they got some testimonials in. Quite a few, "We are the 99 percent" chants. And then, at that time, hotel security - as well as just some angry fundraisers - tried to come up and break up the group.
One woman with a megaphone was thrown to the ground right in front of me. She is a woman you can hear yelling "Assault" on the video. And you saw people dash out of the room, but mostly to grab security. And there were cops on the outside - at the protest you showed outside the Willard, but it was mostly security - hotel security on the inside that sort of rushed in and really tried to break the whole thing up and they didn't succeed at first. It took a - it took a few minutes and a few more chants and a siren before they could break the thing up.
OLBERMANN: It's interesting. We've been noting this - there seem to be more events on the schedule for Occupy throughout the nation. Tonight, we're hearing of an event at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce holiday dinner in which they rolled out - it was a - a - here is the video of this thing. There is a - a human red carpet with 99 percenters inside and they invited the members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - the guests for the dinner - to walk all over them, just as they were doing symbolically, financially.
This is far more viscerally impactful, don't you think? I mean, the stuff like last night and tonight, even then those - then the - then the - the Occupations, themselves, there's - in other words - it's an action scene with a sense of irony and a sense of humor to it, just as - as, to some degree, the Gingrich event was.
KROLL: Yeah, they're - they're bringing the fight right to the people who've been the target of it all along. I mean, no longer are they in New York. They're - they're near Wall Street in New York but they are still a few blocks away, you know, expressing their message in Occupying.
Now, they're here in D.C., they're plotting out these events, these actions. They're targeting all the deal-brokering and fundraising spots in the city - the restaurants, the steakhouses, the bars, the cigar rooms. And, you know, they're going through the city and they are not afraid to get in there and, you know, really get in the face of members of Congress, get in the face of lobbyists.
You know, I saw the - Bruce Josten, the chief lobbyist for the Chamber, standing outside this evening, looking completely bemused and - and, you know, relatively pissed off because there was this human red carpet you mentioned and, just generally, 'cause people were causing a ruckus outside of this holiday dinner.
OLBERMANN: Such a good idea and, of course, so many - such a wealth of targets to get in Washington. Only about 80 per night, in terms of events.
Andy Kroll, reporter from Mother Jones at the - Occupy Gingrich. Again, you should excuse the expression. Thanks for the video and thanks for coming on.
KROLL: Thanks so much.
OLBERMANN: Meantime, Occupy Boston, hours away from a possible confrontation with police. Many protesters packing up tents and gear but others apparently determined to hang on to their camp at Dewey Square, even if it means arrest for trespass.
This, after Massachusetts Superior Court Justice Frances McIntyre ruled that, quote, "The act of occupation, this court has determined as a matter of law, is not speech... [Though] the setting up of the tents, sleeping and governance on Dewey Square is expressive conduct and symbolic. Nevertheless, it is subject to city and park regulations and restrictions."
Boston's Mayor Tom Menino asking the protesters to leave by midnight tonight, saying the camp is a public safety issue. This is a recording. "Praising the court's ruling, we are pleased with Judge McIntyre's strong decision to repeal the restraining order that prohibited the city of Boston from removing the Occupy Boston camp at Dewey Square. The city will act appropriately to fulfill our duty to preserve the public's peace and safety."
For more on Boston, I'm joined now by Ryan Cahill, an Iraq War veteran and Occupy Boston protester. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
RYAN CAHILL: Good evening, Keith. Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Were you surprised by this judge's ruling and - and can you gauge the reaction inside the movement when the ruling was revealed?
CAHILL: Sure. I was actually very surprised because we didn't think that it was gonna be so quick. We thought that, you know, we'd have at least two weeks to prepare for this but, you know, they came back a few days later with a - a full-on report on why we had to leave and so we were very surprised.
You know, we've had a pretty good working relationship with the city so far and so, for them, you know, to come back a day after the release - or the lifting of the injunction, you know, we were surprised - were very surprised by the mayor and by the city that they, you know, that they want us out this fast because they hadn't planned on evicting us - before -
OLBERMANN: There was a good working relationship, as you suggest, except that's only after the - the last eviction from - from Dewey Square and - and not from Dewey Square but from the - along the - along the - the highway. What has the relationship been like and why did it change, both to a cooperative one and now, apparently, from a cooperative one?
CAHILL: I think probably the - the injunction, itself - I think the city felt threatened that we were kind of pushing, you know - pushing our agenda on them and preventing them from - policing the area and so, I think they - they found their opportunity to evict us without - you know, public support, waning from them too much and so, I think they're going to go ahead and do that, so we're - we're concerned.
I mean - we're packing up tents, you know, essential gear that we don't want to lose. So, we're, you know, we're looking - you know, we're looking to see what's gonna happen. You know, I'm - I'm saying it's 50-50 tonight whether we get raided immediately or if they're - you know, they're just trying to scare us out of there or who knows?
OLBERMANN: Right, so there - there is the removal of the more-valuable items and the things you would - you'd think might get trampled as we've seen in so many of these overnight raids?
OLBERMANN: What is your expectation - as we speak, at 8:12 Eastern time - for the final outcome for this evening? Do you expect that the - the camp will still be there? I mean, you said 50-50. Is that 50-50 you're going to stay, that they're gonna let you stay? That there isn't gonna be a - Give me the whole picture.
CAHILL: Well, I'll obviously be staying. I'm part of the media team and so, we'll be - we'll be live streaming it over the Internet, just in case something does happen.
Currently, there's a general assembly going on, on what actions the Occupation should take as a whole. We haven't really decided. We have plans in - in motion for, you know, if there is a raid but we haven't decided if, you know, we're going to self-evict or if we're gonna stay and - and hold our ground, so - that - that's an ongoing - talk and I guess I'll - I'll find out when I get back to Dewey Square tonight.
OLBERMANN: If it's - if it's cleared out tonight, is Occupy going to try to regroup in another open space or, as - as many of the other Occupy ones in the Northeast have - have gone to a less camp-oriented project, where they're - like, as in Washington - this series of events?
CAHILL: You know, I was down at Take Back the Capitol for the last few days - I actually just caught a red-eye bus back up to Boston when I heard they lifted the injunction. I think actions like that are, - are, like you said, very visceral and, you know, can garner a lot of attention.
I was at a Eric Cantor fundraiser outside of the Lincoln Restaurant last night, and that was pretty amazing. So, you know, I think actions like that, you know - occupying foreclosed homes - could be the next iteration of Occupy. We don't necessarily need, you know, parks and squares to get our message across anymore. I mean, we've kind of built our brand and now it's time to branch out and be heard in other ways.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, I - I have to ask. When you see a human red carpet, that is just - that is just some creative stuff, right there. Is that - do you find that inspirational. Is there - is there a kind of rivalry aspect to it, where you say, "My God, that's a great idea. We should come up with something like that"?
CAHILL: There is. I think there's a - you know, there's always the opportunity to one-up other Occupations and - and use your creativity. There's a lot of creative people involved in - in this movement and I'm excited to be a part of it and, you know, use some of these, you know, crazy ideas to garner attention.
OLBERMANN: Ryan Cahill of Occupy Boston, headed back to Dewey Square to see what happens tonight. We'll be watching, of course. We thank you for your time tonight and good luck.
CAHILL: All right, thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Elizabeth Warren's 10-point swing in the Massachusetts Senate race.
Bill O'Reilly, swinging an umbrella at a guy armed only with a camera. He says, tonight, he was thinking he might be the next John Lennon. Seriously.
And Rick Santorum swinging and missing as he explains we should cut food stamps because so many of the recipients are obese. Seriously. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: Down by three points in the Massachusetts polls to Senator Scott Brown, Elizabeth Warren is now ahead by seven points, leaving Karl Rove's ad men totally confused. Calling her an anti-bank outsider didn't work so now they're calling her a pro-bank insider.
Billo loses his cool, his umbrella and comb over. Forty-eight seconds in which the man who has had his producers chase people across to states to ambush them proves he can't take it.
And this might explain everything - Michele Bachmann reveals she didn't go to her high school prom because nobody asked her. Paul F. Tompkins on the daily absurdities of the Republican race.
OLBERMANN: Elizabeth Warren now leading for the first time against Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race. Republican strategist Karl Rove apparently so concerned, he's trying a bold, new strategy, contradicting his previous bold, old strategy.
In our fourth story tonight - even as Warren's Campaign heats up in Massachusetts, Republicans now blocking Obama's appointment for the director of the federal agency she helped to create.
First, the new numbers. The poll today showing Warren in the lead, with 49 percent to 42 percent for Brown. This just two months after she had trailed Brown 41 percent to 38 percent, amounting to a 10-point swing in a short time. The race drawing national attention and Republican strategist Karl Rove's group, Crossroads GPS, now releasing its second ad campaign in the state. The first, you may remember, focused on her support for Occupy Wall Street.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Elizabeth Warren sides with extreme-left protests. At Occupy Wall Street, protesters attack police, do drugs and trash public parks. They support radical redistribution of wealth and violence.
OLBERMANN: That approach apparently not entirely effective, so Rove's group now has released another ad. This one pushes a completely different narrative - that Warren is actually on the side of the big banks.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Congress had Warren oversee how your tax dollars were spent, bailing out the same banks that helped cause the financial meltdown. Bailouts that helped pay big bonuses to bank executives while middle-class Americans lost out.
OLBERMANN: While Rove targets Elizabeth Warren's campaign in any way he can think of, Senate Republicans now targeting the agency she helped to create. Today, blocking the president's nomination of Richard Cordray to become the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The only Republicans voting with Democrats to confirm him - Senator Scott Brown.
Without a director, the agency cannot its intended duties - including regulating payday lenders, mortgage companies and debt-collection agencies. The president today with harsh words for Senate Republicans.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: I just want to send a message to the Senate. We are not giving up on this. We are gonna keep on going at it. We are not gonna allow politics as usual on Capitol Hill to stand in the way of American consumers being protected.
OLBERMANN: The president also saying he would not rule out using a recess appointment to seat Cordray.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: You asked about the recess appointment. We're gonna look at all of our options. My hope and expectation is - is that - the Republicans who blocked this nomination come to their senses.
OLBERMANN: Okay, keep hoping.
Joining me now, Ari Berman, contributing writer for The Nation magazine, author of "Herding Donkeys." Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
ARI BERMAN: Thanks Keith, thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: What accounts for the - the big jump with Warren and is there any indication on whether or not this is gonna last?
BERMAN: The more voters in Massachusetts see of her, the more they like her, I think. The fact that she has fought for consumers, the fact that she has taken on Wall Street, the fact that she is not beholden to the biggest banks are all major assets for her and she's been very effective in drawing a contrast between her own advocacy on behalf of consumers and Scott Brown's advocacy of behalf of the biggest banks.
And so, she's still a relatively new face in Massachusetts, but the more she's on the state stage - and the more she's on the national stage - the more voters, I think, resonate with what she's saying.
OLBERMANN: Well, the second half, of course, of this, is the impact of these Rove Crossroads GPS ads. The first one basically said she's - you know, an elephant. And this one is saying she's a mouse. And the first one didn't work and now they've gone to the exact opposite extreme on the spectrum.
Does that say something about Rove misreading where Massachusetts voters are on the topic, or maybe he's just not good at this or - or what?
BERMAN: I think he basically realized he had to adopt Elizabeth Warren's message and use it against her, 'cause really, it's amazing. They first said she was the intellectual godmother of Occupy Wall Street and now they're saying she's the banks' best friend, when everyone knows that she has been the number-one critic of Wall Street, the number-one critic of the banks and has spent her entire career fighting them.
And so the only way they think they can defeat her now is by turning what should be her greatest strength - twisting it and actually saying, "No, Warren is on the side of Wall Street," which is, of course, exactly where Scott Brown is. So, by lying - by confusing voters - they think that's their only chance of actually beating her in a general election.
OLBERMANN: At the other end of the deal, will the recess appointment of Cordray and/or Kenneth the Page - his - his doppelganger - will that work? I mean, if Obama fights this one, could it have an impact on the blockages that the Republicans have been accomplishing?
BERMAN: Sure. So when - Obama says he's gonna look at all his options. He really only has one option and that's a recess appointment. Republicans aren't gonna come to their senses. They've hated this consumer bureau from the very beginning, so he has to give them a recess appointment.
And, I believe, if they try to block the recess appointment by staying in a "pro forma session," he should make a recess appointment anyway. 'Cause right now, a fight with the Congress would be better than having none of his upcoming nominees confirmed, which is basically what he's looking at.
Every single day, pretty much, that the Senate is in session, they are blocking another nominee and critical posts, now, are unfilled and the level of government dysfunction is just rising as a result of this.
OLBERMANN: Harry - Harry Reid said today that Democrats fought to pass reform last year to protect against the greed of big banks. "Republicans would leave consumers without a watch guard - watchdog - to guard against the greed of Wall Street." First, the president's speech in Kansas this week and now the statement from Senator Reid. Do you have a sense that - whether or not they actually invoke the name, "Occupy" - Democrats have finally embraced the message?
BERMAN: Absolutely. I mean, I think the president's speech - number one, was the clearest indication yet of Occupy Wall Street's influence, not only in the political debate but on the president's own speeches, the fact that he's now made income inequality a central theme of his presidency.
And the second thing is - yes, the consumer bureau predated Occupy Wall Street but it fits perfectly with the message. When they say, you know, "We have an agency here that actually is designed to hold Wall Street accountable," that's perfectly in synch with what Occupy Wall Street is saying, which is, "It's time to hold Occupy Wall Street - time to hold Wall Street - accountable. They've had a free rein for far too long," and so, the consumer bureau and Occupy Wall Street, they mesh very well right now.
OLBERMANN: The author of "Herding Donkeys," Ari Berman of The Nation magazine. Thank you, sir.
BERMAN: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: What is it with Newt Gingrich and bathrooms? First, he told Occupy Wall Street to take baths, then he wanted to change child labor laws so 13-year-old kids could make money cleaning bathrooms. Now, his personal contract to make speaking appearances is revealed - and it has a special bathroom clause. Details ahead.
OLBERMANN: Bill O'Reilly tries to get a Wisconsin protester arrested on a charge of - videotaping a celebrity without his permission or something. Next.
First, the "Sanity Break," and on this date in 1894 was born James Grover Thurber. We will celebrate the 117th anniversary of the birth with a full reading tomorrow night but here, let me read from Thurber's mock account of his own birth in the preface to "The Thurber Carnival":
"James Thurber was born on a night of wild portent and high wind in the year 1894, at 147 Parsons Avenue, Columbus, Ohio. Once, Thurber's mother - walking past the place with an old lady from Fostoria, Ohio - said to her, 'My son, James, was born in that house,' to which the old lady, who was extremely deaf, replied, 'Why, on the Tuesday morning train, unless my sister is worse.'"
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Bikes transforms from tall to small.
We begin with a man riding his bike. "Whee!" This new one utilizes the height of the old penny-farthing bikes but without the absurdly high wheel. This one is more than meets the eye, though. Instantly, it transforms from an elevated bike to reclined and then back again.
I don't know what the purpose for the change is but I think Michael Bay just found the villain for "Transformers 4."
VIDEO: Lazy dog takes a "walk."
To the animal kingdom.
This guy is really dogging it. He is alive, he's just being dragged. He's missed the whole point of the walk but at least he knows to keep his paws on the ground for form, unlike our next friend, here.
VIDEO: Dog trees cat - and itself.
How does a dog even get up a tree? Yeah, keeping barking, buddy, that's not gonna get you down any sooner. Somebody grab a tranq gun and a trampoline. Obviously the cat brought him.
VIDEO: The "MysthBusters" react to a cannonball gone astray.
Dublin, California, Hello! Our pals Adam and Jamie, the "MythBusters," have finally answered the age old question, "Will a cannonball travel through a house?" You betcha!
During one of their experiments, the cannonball missed its target and sailed into town, ripped through the front door, bounced around the living room, exited the back. After traveling across the street, striking another roof, it was finally stopped - inside of the guy's minivan. Myth - busted. The one about how they always know what the worst-case scenario will be.
"Time Marches On!"
Some men fight with fists, others with weapons, but it takes a real man to hit another man with an open umbrella. Bill O'Reilly takes his lifelong dedication to making a jackass of himself to a new level. His victim joins me next.
OLBERMANN: For nearly the length of his time coarsening the national conversation and nudging mankind back towards its primordial ooze, Bill O'Reilly - of the political whorehouse that is "Fox News," - has had a couple of stalker producers who he's sent out with cameras to ambush people. And no matter the quality of the resulting video nor the lack of the ethics of the process, Mr. O'Reilly has always treated what followed as prize-winning journalism.
In our third story tonight - O'Reilly can dish it out or, more correctly, he can sit in the comfort and security of his studio and have his junior-detective minions dish it out, but evidently, he can't take it. A protester outside the Newt Gingrich fundraiser at the Willard Hotel in Washington last night spotted O'Reilly - who was, by coincidence, staying there - leaving for the short walk to the White House and its Christmas Party.
That protester, Branden Lane, joins me in a moment. His full video begins with O'Reilly saying "Leave me alone, right now." It ends with O'Reilly trying to get the guy arrested and - in the middle - there's an umbrella.
(Excerpt from video clip) BILL O'REILLY: Leave me alone right now.
(Excerpt from video clip) BRANDEN LANE: Mr. O'Reilly, were you at Gingrich's fundraiser? Mr. O'Reilly - oh! Oh! Hey!
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Hey, sorry about that.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Excuse me.
(Excerpt from video clip) LANE: Mr. O'Reilly, were you at Gingrich's fundraiser? Sir, I did not do anything. I said, 'Mr. O'Reilly, were you at Gingrich's fundraiser?' And he hit me. With his umbrella.
OLBERMANN: Umbrella goes in, umbrella goes out, never a miscommunication.
As you saw at the end, O'Reilly - who once threatened to send police to the home of a guy who phoned into his long-since-canceled radio show and mentioned my name; who once tried to convince Long Island detectives to investigate one of their own, who O'Reilly believed was having an affair with his wife - trying to get a guard at the White House gate to take Branden Lane into custody on a charge of - having annoyed a celebrity. O'Reilly addressed the incident, saying he was thinking about the John Lennon assassination or, at least, he addressed what he'd like people to believe about the incident on his program this evening:
(Excerpt from video clip) O'REILLY: Last night, I was walking over to the White House for the annual media party there. All of a sudden, some guy runs up behind me, screaming, comes out of the rain, doesn't identify himself. I was with my assistant from Fox News and we were startled. I told the guy to get lost but he came closer and closer, armed with a cellphone camera. When he was about a foot away, I turned and shield myself - and my assistant - with an umbrella. At this point, we were just a few feet away from the White House gate. The Secret Service stop the man and we find out that he's an Occupy protester.
I then asked the service to call the D.C. police, because I thought the guy was out of control. The police arrive. Discussions take place, but there's no criminal statute in Washington unless a person actually touches you, which the guy did not. Now, this man coulda had a knife. I didn't know what he was gonna do. I didn't know who he was but, in the District of Columbia, I couldn't stop him.
I mean, I felt like the Penguin in the "Batman" show. Remember that, Burgess Meredith? Shielding myself with an umbrella. And I'm lucky I had it. Otherwise, I might've punched the guy and I - I would have been arrested.
OLBERMANN: Interestingly, he did not show the video. One final point about that video merits a quick revisitation.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Excuse me.
(Excerpt from video clip) BRANDEN LANE: Mr. O'Reilly, were you at Gingrich's fundraiser?
OLBERMANN: In Washington, the political winds are Satan's breaths, but every once in a long while, they blow kindly for us. O'Reilly's carefully-guarded, never-photographed baldness fully captured by Mr. Lane's camera. Comb over! Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
Now, as promised - Branden Lane of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, of the group Wisconsin Jobs Now!, who was as the Willard last night, as part of Take Back the Capitol. Mr. Lane, good evening.
BRANDEN LANE: Good evening, how are you?
OLBERMANN: Well, more importantly, how are your injuries? Have you been assured you're - they're - they're not life-threatening?
LANE: I'm fine. My feet finally dried out. You know, I was - I had some wet socks for a little while, but I'm okay.
OLBERMANN: He said - you heard the tape. He said he was shielding himself with the umbrella? He hit you with the umbrella, didn't he?
LANE: There didn't really - there was no - he didn't really even try to shield himself. I mean, I - as you saw in the video, as everyone has seen - I simply asked him a simple question - and, holding his umbrella, all of a sudden, he, like, shoves it in my face and - at with - I was holding the camera and he shoves it at my face, where the camera was.
So, you know, what we're seeing from Bill O'Reilly is the same thing we always see. I mean, he says he's fair and balanced but, I mean, he is really fair and balanced if he couldn't even get his story straight that I was shooting with a high-def camera instead of a cellphone camera.
So, you know, it's just another example of the type of person he is and the type of the people that one percent are. The type of the people that thousands of people from around the country converged on D.C. to send this one percent a message - that we're fed up and we're not gonna sit back and be silent about it anymore.
OLBERMANN: Did - were you knocked over or just, sort of, knocked off balance? It was hard to tell.
LANE: Well, I said - I said my feet were dry now. I didn't get knocked to the ground. He did - when he put - when he attacked me with the umbrella - it's so funny saying I was attacked by an umbrella -
LANE: I - he did knock me off the - off the sidewalk, onto the street and I landed in a big puddle, so that's why I made the joke about the - you know, I have dry socks on now.
OLBERMANN: And, now, the one thing he may have you on - you - you didn't say who you were. You just - you just addressed him, like, as if you had that right to do that as a normal human being?
LANE: I thought that I had that right to do that, absolutely.
OLBERMANN: I was thinking the number of times people stopped me on the street today. I think it was about six and I didn't assume that any of them were - were gonna try to turn me into a modern-day John Lennon. I mean - my God, the delusion of grandeur. Leave that for a second.
Given the number of times he's run that scam, where his producers ambush people - and not with small cameras but with crews and everything, on a big, studio-quality camera - were you surprised that that was his reaction to you, rather than just, sort of, maybe ignoring you? It - it's not a long walk from the Willard to the White House.
LANE: Yeah, well, you know, I mean, I think I was definitely surprised and I think you can hear that in the video. I'm like, "Mr. O'Reilly, why are you doing this to me?" I mean, "Why are you - why are you attacking me with your umbrella?" I was shocked. You know, I was telling someone earlier, it's not every day you meet Bill O'Reilly and it's not every day you get attacked by an umbrella, so, I mean - I was completely shocked with the situation.
You would think someone that's in the public spotlight - just like he is, just like you are - would not react that way. Like you said, people come up to you all the time and ask to take your picture or video you. And even if they don't - even if they don't agree with you, you - you're a decent human being. You don't attack them and then try to accuse them of attacking them.
LANE: And so, you know, like I said, it's another example of the type of person Bill O'Reilly is. You know, he's the main informant for the one percent and it's - it's just sad. People like him, they need to be checked and I'm glad that we had the opportunity to do that.
OLBERMANN: Yeah - Glenn Beck has a - has a - a bodyguard with him whenever he goes out on the streets of New York and as - as, you know - that sounds crazy but I can understand why he does that. But you have to do it one way or the other.
If you really think you're in jeopardy, then you have somebody who - a security person who walks with you and maybe he holds you at distance, so you can't, you know, throw the camera at - at the guy's head or whatever it is they think you're gonna do. Or, you just go and - and make your way through the public venues of - of this country, the way anybody else would.
OLBERMANN: The last point there - at the end of it, he is - and he admitted this, in the comment - he was trying to get you arrested by the White House security people?
LANE: Yes, he actually pointed at me and said, "I want to press charges against this man." I heard him say, "He attacked me." You know, and I was standing there with the White House police and they saw it, too. They knew I didn't do anything wrong.
You know, but it was just a - a unique situation and I - and I saw him and, you know, he walked out of the event where Newt Gingrich was having his fundraiser and I thought it was a - a simple question, just to ask - "Hey, were you at Newt Gingrich's fundraiser?" Because, you know, I mean - who wouldn't want - you know, if he was walking out of the event. So, you know, come to find out he wasn't.
LANE: But, yeah, I mean, I just was asking him a simple question and, you know, we see what kind of person he is and, like I said, you know, he's an example of, you know, what we, in the 99 percent, are against. We're against misinformation.
You know, we had 150 activists from Wisconsin that took a bus up here to come let their members of Congress - like Paul Ryan and Sean Duffy and their Senator Ron Johnson - know that we're sick of this. And just like, you know, we're sick of this. We were - we were outside of Newt Gingrich's fundraiser, making sure our voice was heard and - and Bill O'Reilly just happened to be there.
OLBERMANN: So he, at the end there, was trying to get you - conceivably - charged with, I suppose, damaging his umbrella with your body. I mean -
LANE: I am a pretty strong man, I mean -
OLBERMANN: But - I mean, he jabbed it at you. Not to get petty on this, but clearly, he wasn't trying to kill you or anything with it, but who knows what happens when you get hit. Had - did you consider pressing charges against him?
LANE: You know, that - that's the last thing I would wanna do. Now, I will say this, Keith. I will, as a sign of - and a symbol of an apology - I will gladly accept one of his "The Spin Stops Here" umbrellas. They're exclusively sold on Bill O'Reilly's Christmas website, so, as a sign of apology, I will take that, but pressing charges - there's no need to do that.
I think that takes away from the real issue and that there are many people around this country who are unemployed, who are underemployed and they're ready to fight back. They've written letters to their congressmen, they've lobbied their congressmen and that's why you see this level of engagement from the 99 percent. We're fed up. We're tired of it. We want our elected officials to work for us.
OLBERMANN: Branden Lane of Wisconsin Jobs Now!, Bill O'Reilly umbrella assault victim. I - it's going to be a long, arduous rehab road back, I'm certain, but good luck with your recovery, sir.
LANE: Thank you, Keith, I enjoyed being here tonight and thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: You're welcome. One additional note about this. It was my great grandmother who introduced the phrase "umbrella" to our family. I heard about it from her daughter, my grandmother. "Umbrella" was the polite shortening of the following phrase, used when somebody went just too far pushing you, and it has an ironic application here.
The phrase, in full: "I'm not gonna kill you for shoving the umbrella up my blank. Just don't open it." A phrase now indelibly connected to Bill "Umbrella" O'Reilly.
Newt Gingrich's tour demands are revealed, including two bathrooms. Why two bathrooms? One of them is for washing his ego. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: The revelation that Newt Gingrich needs two bathrooms in his hotel suite. You can do your own joke here, but we've got Paul F. Tompkins ready to do a professional version.
First, the "Worsts." Lonesome Rhodes pops back up from obscurity to announce another cult rally. Unfortunately, it turns out the name he has chosen for the rally is the same as the name of a soft-core porn site. Next, on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Why is Michele Bachmann running for president? Well, for you amateur psychologists, something she admitted today about her prom might explain everything. Next.
First, because this is where we make the miscreants dance with the devil, here are "Countdown's" top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? To Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy and the boys and girls at "Fox and Friends."
The President of the United States gave his speech in Kansas that could've been written for, if not by, Occupy Wall Street. It was about fairness and economic opportunity and, when the rich are cheating, calling it cheating and not pretending it's "successful investment strategizing."
So, of course "Fixed" News had to fight back. The subject banners over the Fox and Fiends propaganda-fest? "Freedom Doesn't Work? President Argues For More Government Control." "Pushing For Government Expansion? President Says 'Liberty' Doesn't Work." And best of all. "Cost Of Liberty Is To [sic] High For President. Says 'Prosperity For All' More Important."
Nice misspelling of "too." That's what happens when you flunk out of college. You go to work in the Fox Graphics Department. When you flunk out of high school, you get a job as a host on "Fox and Friends."
The runner-up? "Lonesome Rhodes" Beck. No, he did not retire. He simply went to a subscription format on the Internet, one which has cost him at least nine-tenths of his audience. But he knows how to get them back.
Another rally, announced on his Marshall Applewhite-like website. "Glenn will be holding another 'Restoring' event, this time in his new home of Dallas, Texas. But unlike previous events in Washington, D.C. and Jerusalem, Israel, this event would see people take action like never before! Glenn is calling the event 'Restoring Love.'" Also, Glenn did absolutely no vetting on this whatsoever!
As "Huckleberry Sunshine" pointed out on Twitter - about that name, "Restoring Love"? Restoringlove.com is not only taken - but it's a gay website. In fact, it turns out it's a soft-core, gay-porn website. Oops.
But our winner? GOP presidential wannabe, former Senator Rick Santorum, now known by his other name - "Comic Relief." Drawing crowds of as little as 30 people in his stops in Iowa, a month before the caucuses there. So, stuff like what he said in Le Mars, Iowa, on Monday takes some time before it reaches us, here in civilization.
Let me read from the Le Mars Daily Sentinel newspaper:
"Santorum told the group he would cut the food stamp program, describing it as one of the fastest-growing programs in Washington, D.C. 'Forty-eight million people are on food stamps in a country with 300 million people,' said Santorum. 'If hunger is a problem in America, then why do we have an obesity problem among the people who we say have a hunger program?'"
Ah! Ohh! The stupid, it burns! How could people who get food stamps be fat, unless we're giving them too many food stamps? They're gluttons, obviously!
For Mr. Santorum's benefit, let me quote from the non-profit Food Research and Action Center, described by Congress Daily as "the premier anti-hunger group in Washington":
"Households with limited resources to buy enough food often try to stretch their food budgets by purchasing cheap, energy-dense foods that are filling - meaning that they try to maximize their calories per dollar in order to stave off hunger. Those who are food insecure may also overeat when food does become available, resulting in chronic ups and downs in food intake that can contribute to weight gain. This is especially a problem for low-income women, who often restrict their food intake to protect their children from hunger."
Hunger is a terrible problem in this country and - with our abundance and our expertise - it is a terrible shame for this country. It doesn't need nitwits like Rick Santorum blaming poor people because he can't figure out that obesity is not the opposite of hunger, it's often caused by hunger.
Rick Santorum - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: How many bathrooms can you use at once? No, seriously. Even if you're traveling with a spouse, isn't the answer just - the one?
In our number one story - not if you're Newt "Breakfast at Tiffany's" Gingrich. The Smoking Gun has gotten its hands on the specific language for Gingrich's speaking engagement. Besides the standard Washington Speakers Bureau contract, there is an addendum specific to him. While there wasn't anything about Tiffany's, there was one odd request: "Mr. Gingrich requires a non-smoking one-bedroom suite, preferably with two bathrooms."
Two bathrooms? What on earth does one man need two bathrooms for? Is this part of his plan to repeal those child-labor laws, so 13-year-olds can become assistant janitors and clean out bathrooms? Is it practice?
In other GOP primary news - including bathroom stories - Rick Perry has continued to catch flack for this week's extraordinary gay-bashing ad. Turns out, some has come even from his own staff.
On the ad's official Youtube page, more than a quarter million people have clicked the "dislike" button - nearly one of every three who's viewed it - and as part of the group that appear - a part of that group - appears to have come from inside Perry's campaign. According to an email, Perry's top pollster, Tony Fabrizio called the ad, "Nuts."
Speaking of, Michele Bachmann has decided to share some of her expert parenting advice. In an appearance on Sean Hannity's radio show, promoting a new book, she talks about her dating experiences in high school. Oh God, oh God, oh God. Apparently they have a substantial impact on her own daughter's romantic life.
(Excerpt from video clip) SEAN HANNITY: What are we gonna learn that - you don't like go into - your first boyfriend and stuff like that, do you?
(Excerpt from video clip) MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, people do find out that I did not get asked to my senior prom.
(Excerpt from video clip) HANNITY: Well, neither did I. And nobody would go with me. And the first girl - my first girlfriend was Jennifer Mallets.
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: In my time, girls didn't ask boys to prom.
(Excerpt from video clip) HANNITY: Yeah, well let me tell you -
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: If you - if you were a girl and didn't get asked, you didn't go.
(Excerpt from video clip) HANNITY: I have a 13-year-old son, those days have changed, big time.
(Excerpt from video clip) BACHMANN: Well, and - and our girls are not allowed to do that in our house. They have to wait for the boy to call.
OLBERMANN: Let's bring in our friend - actor and comedian Paul F. Tompkins. Good evening, Paul.
PAUL F. TOMPKINS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Did Representative Bachmann just give away a boatload of psychological clues here? She wasn't asked to the prom and you have to wait for the boy - does this explain both the marriage and why she's run for office all these years?
TOMPKINS: Yeah, it's really - at this point, it's -it's - everyone can see it and she can't. It's - I don't know if we really want to go back to the days of, you know, girls waiting to be asked out. Is that really what we have to be worried about now? But it's also - I gotta to say, if that's the way she's looking at things, this may be the end of the Bachmann bloodline because I feel like, if these girls never get asked out on dates - and they're not allowed to ask anyone - let's say Michele and her husband split at some point. I don't know if he's gonna get remarried and start another family.
TOMPKINS: Well - I could be wrong.
OLBERMANN: Could be wrong. A lot of adopted kids.
TOMPKINS: Of course.
OLBERMANN: About Gingrich and the - the bathroom - solve this mystery for us. What does Newt need two bathrooms for, please?
TOMPKINS: Now, I have stayed in various hotels as a - as a stand-up comedian and varying degrees of - of niceness of hotel. I would say the - the - the hotel - the hotel with the two bathrooms is very hard to come by. So, I don't know if that's, like, a weird - like, a safety rider that he's put in there - like Van Halen, with the brown M&M's - just to prove that people have read the contract.
So, maybe he's just waiting for people to come back and say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, we can't find the second bathroom." And he'll say, "I'm glad you read the thing. Thank you so much." Or, maybe he just is waiting for somebody to actually build him a second bathroom. I don't know. Who wouldn't want a second bathroom? I guess he's not that crazy after all. Wouldn't it be nice - one for brushing your teeth and for your disgusting business?
OLBERMANN: Well, of course. I mean, it does say it's a preference and we are always - we are discounting the possibility -
OLBERMANN: Given that - given his history, his social history - we're - we're discounting the possibility that there may be somebody else in there - like, instead of the missus - who should get their own bathroom so that there's no cross contamination. In other words, what we call evidence.
TOMPKINS: Yeah, and maybe if it's a preference thing, it's like, "Hey, if such a thing exists, I will take it." Like, "I would prefer that you have a sink that dispenses Scotch. If you have that, sure! If you don't, I understand."
OLBERMANN: Gingrich and bathrooms, though. Occupy protesters should take a bath. Then it was Gingrich and bathrooms about child labor and janitors. Now, it's Gingrich and bathrooms about his special needs. Is this what they mean when they talk about the drip, drip, drip of scandal?
TOMPKINS: Yeah, and - I - you know what I think? It's all coming together. Listen, you need to take a bath. I have several bathrooms you can use and they will be clean because there's children cleaning them at all hours of the day.
OLBERMANN: All right, something else I haven't mentioned yet - Rick Perry today declined to be at the Trump debate. Michele Bachmann did so. So right now, it's Gingrich and Santorum and Trump. And last night, Trump claimed he knew more about the issues than any other moderator. This thing should be on Pay-Per-View. It's going to be so wonderfully bad, right?
TOMPKINS: This is - it's hugely disappointing that Rick Perry did not agree to this debate. And it's weird that this is his one smart move - where all of a sudden, he's like, "Ah, you know what? People saw me cradle a bottle of syrup like it was a newborn kitten. Maybe I shouldn't go on the Donald Trump debate."
OLBERMANN: So, what is the - the thing is gonna be - now, if it's Santorum and - and - and Gingrich, it's - one of them wrestles Donald Trump? Is that the way that works out?
TOMPKINS: I wonder if this was Newt's brilliant strategy, that he will now look like the most normal candidate on the debate stage, next to Santorum. Like he'll - he'll seem, like, perfectly reasonable and logical and not obsessed with gay sex.
OLBERMANN: Yes, except - except, at the start of this three-person debate, he'll announce, "I'm afraid that I only have the one bathroom in my hotel room, so I'm storming out." So, there - ties it all together at the end.
The great Paul F. Tompkins. Always a pleasure to talk to you, sir. Thanks for coming in.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown" for this, the 334th day since John Boehner and the Republicans took the House, thus 334 days in which the Republicans have not passed a jobs bill of any kind.
I am Keith Olbermann. Congratulations of getting through another day of this crap - speaking of Newt and the bathrooms. Good night, and good luck.