Thursday, March 29, 2012

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Thursday, March 29th, 2012
video 'podcast'

Guest host: Eliot Spitzer


#5 'Tale Of The Tape', Andy Kroll

#5 'Tale Of The Tape', Paul Butler (excerpt)

#4 'The End Is Near', Ryan Grim

# Time Marches On!

#3 'Crude Fight', Joe Williams

#2 'Wall Street Occupied', Robert Reich (excerpt)

#1 'Space Jammin'', Derrick Pitts (excerpt)

printable PDF transcript

On the show: , , , , , ,

ELIOT SPITZER: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

(Excerpt from video clip) BENJAMIN CRUMP: Thank God for surveillance video.

(Excerpt from video clip) SYBRINA FULTON: This video is the icing on the cake.

SPITZER: As the Sanford police video of George Zimmerman is released in full, his father comes to his defense.

(Excerpt from video clip) ROBERT ZIMMERMAN: Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, "You're going to die now," or "You're going to die tonight," something to that effect. He continued to beat George and, at some point, George pulled his pistol and did what he did.

SPITZER: And then goes on the attack:

(Excerpt from video clip) ZIMMERMAN: I never foresaw so much hate coming from the president, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, every organization imaginable is trying to get notoriety or profit from this in some way.

SPITZER: The latest developments in the Trayvon Martin case.

An assist from Rubio:

(Excerpt from video clip) MARCO RUBIO: I am going to endorse Mitt Romney. There is no way that anyone can convince me that having a floor fight at the convention in Tampa in August is a recipe for victory in November.

SPITZER: With Republicans continuing to fall into line behind Romney, Santorum tries his hand at a new game.(Video clip of SANTORUM bowling.)

Pick a side.

(Excerpt from video clip) BARACK OBAMA: Today, members of Congress have a simple choice to make. They can stand with big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people.

SPITZER: I wonder which one they chose. The answer will not surprise you.

And the galaxy just got a whole lot more crowded. A billion "super Earths" may be capable of sustaining human life.

(Excerpt from video clip) DAVID LETTERMAN: And the number one way that Super Earth is different from Earth - if you think Oprah is great, wait until you meet Super Oprah.

SPITZER: Now, on "Countdown."

(Excerpt from video clip) LETTERMAN: On super Earth, every night is ladies' night.


SPITZER: Good evening. This is Thursday, March 29th, 223 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'm Eliot Spitzer, sitting in for Keith Olbermann.

Continuing fallout from the release of police surveillance video showing Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman the night he shot Trayvon.

Fifth story in the "Countdown" - the initial report from Sanford, Florida police claims Zimmerman suffered scalp lacerations, allegedly from a life-and-death struggle with Martin. Zimmerman's attorney also insisted his client also suffered a broken nose.

Yet, the video shows Zimmerman handcuffed but walking freely inside the police station without bloodstains on his face or clothes, bandages or other indications he'd even been in a fight.

Zimmerman's father Robert, a retired magistrate judge repeated those claims in an interview, concealing his face for fear of being assaulted:

(Excerpt from video clip) ZIMMERMAN: His nose was broken. His scalp was cut in two different places. I don't know - he wasn't given any medical attention but they may have cleaned him up there at the scene.

SPITZER: But Trayvon Martin's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, said the video directly contradicted those claims, and vindicated their son.

(Excerpt from video clip) TRACY MARTIN: Once you've had a broken nose, your nose will continue to bleed and bleed and bleed until it gets fixed.

(Excerpt from video clip) FULTON: There were no visible injuries. There were no blood on his shirt. So we have concluded, just by watching this video, that there may not have been any injuries at all.

SPITZER: Meanwhile, George Zimmerman's attorney Craig Sonner wouldn't commit himself either way.

(Excerpt from video clip) CRAIG SONNER: The video is very grainy, and I'm not sure it has - as far as being able to see the injuries that were recently sustained and then later cleaned up.

SPITZER: Robert Zimmerman also laid a new charge against Trayvon Martin, while again defending his son.

(Excerpt from video clip) ZIMMERMAN: Trayvon Martin said something to the effect of, "You're going to die now, or "You're going to die tonight." He continued to beat George and, at some point, George pulled his pistol and did what he did.

SPITZER: But, Martin's girlfriend, who claimed she was on the phone with him before the shooting, insists that never happened.

(Excerpt from audio clip) DEE DEE: The only thing that Trayvon told that man is was, "Why are you following me?"

SPITZER: And funeral director Richard Kurtz cast more doubt on Zimmerman's assault claim after examining Martin.

(Excerpt from video clip) RICHARD KURTZ: As for his hands and knuckles, I didn't see any evidence as he had been fighting anybody.

SPITZER: And while protesters and Trayvon Martin's parents continue to call for George Zimmerman's arrest, Cheryl Brown, whose 13-year-old son was an eyewitness to the shooting, says Sanford homicide detective Chris Serino may also believe that Zimmerman was the real culprit that night.

(Excerpt from video clip) CHERYL BROWN: He told me that he - that he and the other officer with him felt that it was not self-defense, and that they needed to prove it wasn't self-defense. And he said that I needed to read between the lines, because there was some stereotyping going on.

SPITZER: For the latest on the Trayvon Martin story, I'm joined by Andy Kroll, staff reporter with Mother Jones.

Andy, let me ask you this - the video that is now the hottest topic out there in conversation seems to contradict everything about the Zimmerman story. So, what possibly remains to substantiate the claim of a fight and an encounter that would, in any way, have justified a shooting?

ANDY KROLL: Yeah, the video certainly doesn't, you know, give any kind of evidence of a life-or-death fight. There are no bloodstains - he doesn't look like he sustained a broken nose. Really, what George Zimmerman's attorney is going to have to hope for is some sort of evidence unearthed - or more leaks from the Sanford Police Department or from some other authorities - suggesting that this was a more vicious fight. Because, as we see in this video, George Zimmerman looks like any other person pulled off of the street and brought in to the authorities.

It certainly does not give any kind of credence to this story that George Zimmerman's father and his attorney seems to be telling.

SPITZER: Listening to the father, you actually would believe there would have to be some physical evidence of an encounter. I mean, they talk about his head being bashed against the ground, lacerations - is there any physical substantiation yet that anybody has been able to report or seen - that corroborates that story?

KROLL: There are just little bits of evidence here and there that people are pointing to to substantiate this.

The first one is the police report on the night of Trayvon Martin's killing, says that George Zimmerman was treated between the time - you know, before he arrived at the Sanford Police Department, and so he - his face wouldn't be covered in blood and his lacerations wouldn't be open and gaping. He had been treated.

However, it's important to remember that this - these surveillance videos we saw are 30 minutes after he committed this act and was brought in. And so even if he had been treated on the scene of the crime, you would think a broken nose would be plainly evident in those videos, but there's no - it doesn't appear to be like that at all.

And so, George Zimmerman's attorneys are pointing to the police report and saying he was treated. They're also saying the video was grainy, even though Sanford Police Department admits that it recently installed state-of-the-art surveillance cameras - that's why the picture is as clear as it is.

So, there's very little there to back this up. But, the investigation is ongoing, obviously.

SPITZER: Look, obviously this it's ongoing, and nobody should really - as much as you may want to jump to conclusions, we all know you shouldn't do that. But is there any other medical evidence, any other reports of treatment, x-rays, anything tangible to support the sort of vicious fight that the Zimmerman family would have people believe occurred before the shooting?

KROLL: No, there's not. And, if anything, the anecdotal evidence that's coming out - for instance, this funeral director suggests that this wasn't a violent life-or-death sort of battle that George Zimmerman's father and his attorney have suggested. Eyewitnesses have said there was an altercation. However, the funeral director - as you showed - said that Trayvon Martin's body was in pristine shape apart from, obviously, a gun wound to the chest.


KROLL: There were no lacerations on his hands or knuckles from, say, beating someone's head into the ground or breaking their nose - punching them with enough force to break their nose.

It's also worth noting that if George Zimmerman's head had been bashed into the ground enough, it's common practice for EMTs to usually secure the neck, and to put something around that, in case you've sustained some kind of injury to your neck, and that's not the case in the video either, which, again, kind of undermines this argument that George Zimmerman was fighting for his life and acted in self defense.

SPITZER: Now, the autopsy report has not yet been released. Am I correct about that?

KROLL: Right. It's still sealed, and it will not be unsealed until the investigations into Trayvon's death are over or are inactive. And, obviously, that's not happening anytime soon.

SPITZER: But, it has been examined, one presumes, by the police department and prosecutors and those who are trying to determine what happened. Is there any word that is sort of crept out about whether that that autopsy report, and what it reveals about Trayvon, what that says terms of - and you alluded to the fact - no evidence of lacerations on his part. Anything on the autopsy report we should look for or expect to hear?

KROLL: The autopsy report is the one bit of key information that has not been leaked the media yet. It has been kept very close, very guarded. We don't have any information on it at this point. Obviously, the direction of the gun wound, any kind of evidence that was gathered at the scene of the crime, we don't have that from the autopsy.

It's also worth noting that there have been a lot of - there's been a lot of criticism about how the investigation and how the evidence collecting at the scene of the killing was handled. This is both from eyewitnesses and from other authorities who have publicly criticized the detectives and the cops for, really, just a shoddy investigation, and you know, that could come into play here as well.

SPITZER: Andy, real quick, 'cause time is running short - the phone call with the girlfriend, do we yet have the phone records, because you can get down-to-the-second reports that will prove whether they were or were not on the phone during what was supposedly an altercation. That alone will be significant corroboration. Do we yet have those phone records?

KROLL: Authorities say they have the phone records. They are not available to the public yet, because they are a part of the investigation. This is a key discrepancy with George Zimmerman's father's account. He says this phone call did not happen. However, this girlfriend has given a sworn statement to authorities that this phone call happened, and describing what Trayvon's reactions and thoughts were as he was being pursued. So, it is in the legal record, to a degree, and it's part of an investigation that's ongoing.

SPITZER: Well, look. We won't, one presumes, get a tape of that conversation - but if there are records that establish it took place, that alone will be certainly significant, if not - all right.

Andy Kroll, staff writer with Mother Jones, thank you for sharing some of your time with us tonight.

KROLL: Thank you.

SPITZER: The Trayvon Martin case resonates deeply for many, many people around the country.

Among them, our next guest, Paul Butler - he's a law professor at George Washington University, and a former federal prosecutor. He wrote movingly of what Trayvon Martin means to him today in a posting on The Daily Beast. And I want to quote a piece of it. You say, "I became a prosecutor because of Trayvon Martin. I used to be him." And then you continue. What do you mean by that, and what - what does, as a consequence, this case, in particular, mean to you?

PAUL BUTLER: You know, Eliot, I was a baby-faced, skinny, 17-year-old boy, and - like a lot of black boys - I got harassed by the police, security guards, by neighborhood watch types, followed around, stopped, searched, but I also got harassed by other young black men. I got my lunch money stolen, I got followed around and bothered by them.

So, I became a prosecutor because I wanted to deal with both of those problems. I wanted to help victims. I didn't want to be a victim - I didn't want to be a victim of the police, and I didn't want to be a victim of other black men.

SPITZER: Now this is, of course, a fascinating case that brings to bear all the issues about vigilantism - not police behavior, not prosecutors. So far, even though there's always going to be some criticism of the prosecutors or the cops, your critique of the way prosecutors and cops are handling it is - what? You think they're so far, so good? They understand the sensitivities in doing what they should be doing?

BUTLER: Well, you know, we have police reporting to a crime scene. We have a dead boy, a scrawny little kid, we got this big, buff guy standing over him with a gun. The police take him into custody, they ask him questions, he says it was self defense. And apparently, they say, "Oh, okay. Self defense. We're going to let you go." And the prosecutor doesn't prosecute.

So, I have a problem with that, as a former prosecutor. You know, Eliot, the standard for bringing charges is fairly permissive. It's probable cause. Is there probable cause to charge Mr. Zimmerman with some kind of homicide crime? Absolutely yes.

SPITZER: Well, let's move forward, piece by piece, here. Now that you have seen the video - the video that has come out, that was the subject of our conversation for a couple minutes just moments ago - having seen that, seems to be pretty clear, direct refutation of Zimmerman's claims. What do you think, as a prosecutor, you would like to have, in addition, before you felt that it was appropriate to bring a charge against Zimmerman?

BUTLER: Well, you want to talk to any witnesses that there were. At this point, it is a he said/he said case, and one of the "he"s is dead. So, if there's any kind of circumstantial evidence, or anybody who actually didn't see the fight or the shooting, but heard something - you want to talk to most people.

What you want to try do is to establish whether Mr. Zimmerman, again, shot in self defense, or whether he was what lawyers call "the initial aggressor" - whether he started the fight. Because, if he started the fight, he can't claim self defense.

SPITZER: Okay, now you and I both know, and the public knows that the threshold for bringing charges is somewhat low. But, the threshold for getting a conviction - proof beyond a reasonable doubt - is, of course, appropriately higher. Seeing what you've seen, do you believe, given the video, given the - presume for the moment, the phone records come out, that there was a phone call with the girlfriend - do you believe, as a prosecutor, and giving you every benefit of the doubt, you are awfully good at it - could you get a conviction based upon what you've seen for some form of homicide charge?

BUTLER: You know, Eliot, I have to say - I don't want to brag here, but I think absolutely yes. I think any prosecutor worth his or her salt could get a voluntary manslaughter conviction based on what we know.

Again, we haven't heard from Mr. Zimmerman himself, and that's important to keep in mind. You know, in the eyes of the law, he is innocent until proven guilty.

But man, when you look at this evidence, when you look at what the girlfriend is saying, when you look at Mr. Zimmerman's father, who is apparently speaking for him, claiming there was this fight until the end, but Mr. Zimmerman now shows up on this video looking fit and fine. You know, I think the evidence is kind of stacking up against Mr. Zimmerman and in favor of a serious prosecution. We're talking murder here, maybe manslaughter. But, you know, I think there's evidence for murder.

SPITZER: Paul, I want to shift gears. We only have about a minute left. Racial profiling - you've written passionately that it is corrosive in the effort to prosecute, corrosive in the effort to protect communities. Do you believe racial profiling is still pervasive in law enforcement and in the way police and kids on the street interact?

BUTLER: Oh, you know, Eliot, I know it is. The police - when they see a young black man, a lot of them - they think, automatically, that he is involved in some kind of crime, do it's just a question of investigating to what see what it is - not just African-Americans. Arabs, South Asians get it at the airport, Hispanics get it at the border.

The problem is - it doesn't work. It doesn't make us safer, and it really breaks down trust. There are a lot of people who don't trust the police. They don't like the police, because they don't feel that they've got their best interests at heart. They are not there to serve and protect. It's almost like they are there to harass you.

And in a case like this, when they can prove it by giving - equal protection under the law to African Americans saying, "We care about this black victim," again, they don't seem to. They don't make the arrest. They don't make the prosecution. It's like over-enforcement of the law is fine for African-Americans, but under-enforcement, we get that too. And we get it coming, we get it going.

SPITZER: All right. Paul Butler, former federal prosecutor, now a George Washington University law professor.

I want to continue that conversation some night down the road, or you'll continue it with Keith. Fascinating issue, racial profiling - what it does, what it doesn't do, and how you stop it.

Thank you for some of your time tonight.

BUTLER: Great to be here.

SPITZER: Thank you.

When a man who has donated over $16 million to your campaign says you don't have a chance of winning, you probably don't have a chance of winning. Next, on "Countdown."


SPITZER: Today, Mitt Romney appeared in Houston with former President George H.W. Bush to formally accept his endorsement.

But in our fourth story - the endorsement by the former president was all but overshadowed by the man many people see as Mitt Romney's future running mate, Marco Rubio. Appearing on Fox News last night, Senator Rubio announced his endorsement of Romney. But he, once again, affirmed his lack of interest in joining the ticket.

(Excerpt from video clip) RUBIO: I don't believe I'm going to be asked to be the vice presidential nominee. That's not what I intend to be, that's not what I want to be and that's not what is going to happen.

SPITZER: As Mitt Romney continues to cement his status as the nominee, Newt Gingrich continues to cement his status as the next Republican to drop out. Gingrich's sole reason for still being in the race, Sheldon Adelson, declaring it the end for Newt Gingrich.

(Excerpt from video clip) SHELDON ADELSON: It appears as though he's at the end of his line. Because I mean, mathematically, he can't get anywhere near the numbers, and there's not - unlikely to be a brokered convention.

SPITZER: A fact Gingrich seems to be aware of. The Washington Times reports that Gingrich and Romney secretly met Saturday before the Louisiana primary, but Gingrich tried to assure his supporters that he will not drop out. And I quote, "There is no agreement of any kind, and I plan to go all the way to Tampa."

Joining me now is Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post. Thank you for your time this evening.

RYAN GRIM: Thanks for having me.

SPITZER: So, let me ask you this question: the two endorsements - Marco Rubio, former President Bush - come from completely different pieces of the Republican party. You've got one who is young, tea party, ethnic, Latino, critical vote. The other who is patrician, the old guard. Which of these two matters more to Mitt Romney?

GRIM: Well, I mean - George H.W. Bush barely mattered at all. I think when most people saw that, they thought, "Huh. I figured that he had actually already endorsed Romney." You know, this is like the, you know, Yale class of '42 endorsing the, you know Harvard class of '65 or whatever.

SPITZER: Yeah, but folks from the Ivy League, that's pretty significant, though - Yale endorsing Harvard. Come on, this is important.

GRIM: That is true. So, you know, in Yale-Harvard circles, it probably raised a few eyebrows, but outside of there, people were - you know, people were less moved.

It's the Marco Rubio - it's that endorsement that kind of signaled to the Republican party that, "Look, this is over." You know, this is representative of the far-right wing of the party saying, "I'm backing this guy. Let's wrap this thing up and let's move forward."

SPITZER: Now, Rubio is significant - not only because, as you say, the far-right wing. He is a pure tea party voice. But also, being Latino - this is critically important. But is the Latino vote in Florida going to be helpful either in Arizona, New Mexico - some of the other swing states where the Latino vote may look a little different? Is there more texture to the Latino vote than most people appreciate?

GRIM: Well, there is, and you wonder how much some of the - some of the leading Republican strategists even are aware of that. But the difference is that the Cuban immigrant experience is a unique one in the Latin community. You know, if you've come up through Mexico or South America, you have a much more similar story than somebody that came from Cuba, because, first of all, there's direct public policy - and that's the dry-foot policy - where if you get here, any way possible, in the last 40 years, you can stay.


GRIM: Secondly, the types of people that came from Cuba in the late '50s, '60's - even '70s - were people who were kind of - who were in the ruling class, and they were fleeing Fidel Castro, so that's the exact opposite of the situation that the rest of the immigrant population faces, where it's the lower class coming, and - rather than being welcomed - they get the reverse attitude.

SPITZER: So, you're making a hugely important point here, which is that the Rubio voice for Latino voters may or may not translate quite as well to other aspects, or other pieces, of the Latino community.

I want to sort of play with the idea of the likelihood of his being asked to be in the ticket. How would a Marco Rubio play in the traditional swing, Midwest states of, let's say, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, some of which - probably two out of three of which - Mitt Romney would have to win for him to get to the magic 270. Does Rubio help Mitt Romney in those states?

GRIM: Well, you know, he's - I don't think he helps him, but I don't think he necessarily hurts him either. You know, people will see him as a kind of an up-from-bootstraps kind of guy, you know, whether or not he actually is, they'll - you know, he'll write his story that way, and enough of the Republican voters will believe that. So, you know, I don't think it will play that much there.

You know, they are going to go for Colorado and New Mexico and Florida. You know, don't forget that Florida is an important state, too. So places like that, he might be able to help them slightly, because - notwithstanding what I said earlier - he is going to get more of the Latino vote than somebody like, say, Vice President Joe Arpaio would. You know, it is at least saying to Latino voters, "We at least care. At least we're trying here. Yes, we might have all of this nativist rhetoric and we might have said all of these horrible things -"

SPITZER: No question about it. You put a Joe Arpaio on, you might as well kiss good-bye to the entire immigrant community.

But my view on Florida is - if Mitt Romney is worried about Florida, he's not going to win. He's got to be in a position to take Florida for granted - in which case, Marco Rubio may or may not be that important - and then fight for Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, for this thing to be competitive from their perspective.

So, if he's still worried about Florida, come the moment where they're making this decision, he is probably out of luck. Anyway, we'll continue this conversation down the road.

Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post, Ryan Grim. Thank you for your time tonight.

GRIM: Thank you.

SPITZER: The White House wades into the big oil fight as gas prices continue to spike. Joe Williams of Politico joins me, just ahead.


SPITZER: Coming up, President Obama calls on Congress to eliminate tax breaks for the "big five" oil companies.

But first, the "Sanity Break." It was on this day in 1929 President Herbert Hoover had a telephone installed in the Oval Office. Phones had been used at the White House since 1878, but Hoover was the first president to use one at his desk.

Every president since Hoover has had a phone at the desk, although it is believed that President George W. Bush is the only one to use it to make crank calls with his friends.

"Time Marches On!"

VIDEO: Boston Dynamics' Sand Flea robot can jump 20 feet into the air.

We begin, as we always do, with jumping robots.

Incorporating the same technology to create - they used to create Blake Griffin, Boston Dynamics has designed the Sand Flea, a robot that can jump up to 30 feet in the air. And just like a cat, it always lands on its feet. Or wheels, that is.

Experts say a robot that can jump up to 30 feet in the air, which is perfect for situations when you need a robot that can jump 30 feet in the air.

VIDEO: Grandma at Spring Training Orioles/Phillies game catches stray bat.

We check in with sports. Preseason game between the Orioles and the Phillies - and looks like there's a hot young prospect who has some good hands. Unfortunately, it's one of the fans.

When the Phillies' Carlos Ruiz loses his grip on the bat, it's this spry young lady who makes the grab.

She receives a standing ovation from the crowd, and is being considered for a roster spot by the New York Mets.

VIDEO: Some winning political Peeps dioramas from the annual Washington Post Peeps contest.

Finally, we end - as we always do - with Peep Dioramas, and the sixth annual Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest. This year's entrants included the "GOPeep Peepidential Debate," created by Jermaine Johnson, Serena Johnson, and John Wallace of Williamsburg, Virginia.

And my personal favorite, the "Romney Family Road Trip", created by Colleen Canning of Jacksonville, Florida, complete with poor Seamus Romney on top of the car.

But this year's winner? "Occu-Peep D.C.," created by Cori Wright of Falls Church, Virginia. Wright established that a Peep is 3.5 percent the size of a person and made her entire Occupy diorama to scale.

Sadly, Mayor Bloomberg is currently assembling a Peep police force to evict them.

"Time Marches On!"

The president rebukes the GOP and takes on big oil, coming up next.


SPITZER: Democrats and Republicans alike think they're in the driver's seat as Congress considers legislation repealing oil subsidies.

In our third story on the "Countdown" - President Obama urged the Senate this morning to pass legislation that would strip billions in tax breaks for the "big five" American oil companies, only to have Republicans - with the help of four Democrats - kill the bill.

Just an hour before the vote, the president had framed the lawmaker's decision as a simple choice between promoting oil giants or investing in the future:

(Excerpt from video clip) OBAMA: They can stand with the big oil companies, or they can stand with the American people. Instead of taxpayer giveaways to an industry that's never been more profitable, we should be using that money to double down on investments in clean-energy technologies that have never been more promising.

SPITZER: But Republicans insist the measure would drive up prices at the pump.

(Excerpt from video clip) MITCH McCONNELL: That was their brilliant plan on how to deal with gas prices - raise taxes on energy companies just to make sure gas prices don't go anywhere but up.

SPITZER: And GOP Senator Rand Paul didn't mince his words on the floor earlier this week.

(Excerpt from video clip) RAND PAUL: I would think you would want to say to the oil companies, "What obstacles are there to you making more money?"

SPITZER: I always continue to marvel at what Rand Paul says.

Joining me now is Joe Williams, the White House reporter for Politico. Joe, thanks for joining us tonight.

JOE WILLIAMS: Hi, good to be here.

SPITZER: Look, it struck me that there are three numbers that are going to determine the outcome of the race in November: the unemployment rate, the price of housing - whether it's going up or down - and three, the price of gas.

So, are we just now entering the blame game, where both parties are pointing the finger back and forth and saying, "You're responsible for the price of gas going up?"

WILLIAMS: Well, I think there's some of that. What the president is attempting to do is rebut against some of the Republican allegations on the campaign trail from Mitt Romney and others that he's solely responsible for these high gas prices, when statistically - imperially, studies, anything you want to point to - shows that this is part of what usually happens during the summer driving season, number one.

And number two, the oil companies are taking very real advantage of the fact that the market is tilted in their favor.

So, what he's trying to do is call attention to that fact, and also link it to the need for alternative energy - that if we get a sound alternative-energy strategy, things will really ease, and our demand for oil will decrease, along with the price.

The Republicans, on the other hand, they've got an easy talking point. Everybody feels pain at the wallet. So, their strategy is to pretty much say that the president is in for it: "He's trying to do things that will wreck the economy, even though he thinks that it will benefit the public. We, the Republican party know better, and that answer is more drilling."

SPITZER: Now, the interesting thing is - if I've seen the polling data properly - about somewhere in the low twenties of the public blames the president, somewhere in the low twenty blames the Republicans, and about over 50 percent blame, you guessed it, the oil companies. And so, that kind of makes sense, given you know, who it's easy to throw mud at.

The interesting thing is that we, in fact, are moving towards energy independence, bit by bit, and have begun moving that way over the past four or five years. Has that fact crept into the public psyche, do you think?

WILLIAMS: It really hasn't, and that is another goal of this meeting that the president had - or this press conference that the president had - with all these people standing behind him, so he can once again make the point that we're drilling now more than we ever have.

Technology has increased, we've got oil leases that oil companies haven't even started using yet, to drill on lands that they're just kind of laying fallow. So, an attempt to draw the line - draw a clear distinction between his energy strategy, the fact that it includes clean energy and a move towards independence - with the Republican strategy, which basically is to put more holes in the ground, pump more oil out, that, in turn, contributes to pollution. That's where he wants to go with this.

The question will be whether or not the Republicans will come around, or if gas prices will reduce enough as the year goes on that this won't be an election-year factor.

SPITZER: Look, the interesting thing is that - even with the disaster in the Gulf, and all the concerns that were raised by that in terms of the environmental impact of drilling - there has been this enormous push towards drilling more, and an enormous amount, in particular, in terms of natural gas. And this White House has been pretty open to expanding, significantly, natural-gas supplies, and that's where most of the progress is being made.

Has that - again, has that issue sort of become part of the public debate, or are we just still talking here about fringe issues that everybody loves to pull out during campaign season?

WILLIAMS: The answer is yes. Both of the above, and I say that because - environmentalists really don't like this current energy policy that allows for fracking, which has been linked to water contamination, also earthquakes in certain parts of the country. They also don't like the strategy of deep-water drilling, where around the world there are more oil derricks that can drill deeper - we're talking two miles down in the bottom of the ocean, which is well past where the Deepwater Horizon was able to drill. That's all an anathema because one accident can cause the whole thing to fall apart, like we saw two years ago when the Deepwater Horizon blew up.

The big issue here, though is to try to keep moving the country towards an energy strategy, and if President Obama doesn't do more drilling, doesn't include fossil fuels as part of the conversation, prices spike, the economy tanks, he is in very real trouble.

SPITZER: And of course, Joe, I think most people who really study this understand the decisions that are made at a policy level will have an impact six months, or else ten years down the road. Probably not in the time frame that is politically significant, given the incipient election. I guess maybe by November, some small impact.

But anyway, we'll continue to see this story playing out.

Joe Williams, White House reporter for Politico. Great thanks for your being here this evening.

WILLIAMS: Thanks to you.

SPITZER: Actual research suggesting how Wall Street has been changed, get this, by Occupy Wall Street. Coming up next.


SPITZER: Coming up, there could be billions of "super Earths" circling stars in our own galaxy. Derrick Pitts is here to explain to me what that means.


SPITZER: There is no doubt Occupy Wall Street has influenced the national dialogue about economic inequality and corporate excess. But statistical evidence the financial services industry really heard its message was not known, until now.

In our number two story on the "Countdown" - more than half of the marketing executives for Wall Street firms surveyed, in the first independent study on Occupy's effects on Wall Street, say the demonstrations have had a real impact on their business.

The study was released a week following the movement's six-month anniversary and coincides with a new wave of demonstrations, and arrests. The new round of activity shows Occupy has not lost its steam, and suggests the movement is leaving its stamp where it matters most.

Seventy-one percent of the corporate executives surveyed think Occupy Wall Street will continue beyond the presidential election in November. The data shows executives may even be taking responsibility for the sector's bad reputation. Ninety-six percent, virtually every marketing executive surveyed, admitted their firms invited negative public perception by their actions, or inactions. Seventy-four percent believe that increased regulation of the financial-services industry will help their firms improve reputations and trust with customers faster.

The study was conducted by Echo Research and Makovsky, a research company that specializes in the financial-services sector. It interviewed 150 marketing and communications executives working at large and mid-sized publicly-traded and private financial institutions, including big banks, brokerage firms, asset-management firms, and insurance companies.

Joining me now - Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary, professor at UC Berkeley and author of the brilliant book "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future." I include it on the syllabus in my class. Professor, thank you. It is a spectacular book.

ROBERT REICH: Thank you.

SPITZER: First question for you - does this survey suggest there's been some sort of epiphany on Wall Street?

REICH: Certainly, among marketing and communications people on Wall Street. They're the ones who understand how angry the public continues to be at Wall Street. But, whether the understanding has permeated beyond the marketing and communications people to the real power on Wall Street - the CEOs and the major traders and the hedge fund managers - is a different story altogether.

SPITZER: Well, that's the question I want to drill down on. You know, is this merely an understanding that, "Gee, we did something that's going to hurt our reputations," or is this an understanding that, "We did something that was fundamentally anathema to the proper functioning of the economy, and therefore we've got to change the way we do business?"

What is your take, having spent a lot of time both studying it and dealing with Wall Street executives?

REICH: I don't mean to be cynical about this, Eliot. I would love it if, in fact, Wall Street showed signs of mending their ways and finding out that they've got to do it. But no, these are the PR and marketing people on Wall Street. They know that there is a huge problem, but you know, the kingpins on Wall Street see this as a public-relations problem. They don't see this as a fundamental problem in terms of changing their ways. They are, at this very moment in federal courts all over this country trying to get the rules and regulations pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Regulatory Reform Bill, and trying to get them stayed and thrown out of court.

SPITZER: Look, we'll get to that in a moment, but you are exactly right. They are trying to eviscerate those few, mild reforms that were put in place.

But you have seen some public statements - and trust me, you know me, I'm not justifying these executives - you have seen some public statements, even from Jamie Dimon, or from Vikram Pandit at CitiBank, where they acknowledged that they understand that the inequality baked into our economy and the excesses at the top are - create a necessary and understandable pushback. So, is that the first step, perhaps, to their changing the sorts of policies that got us here in the first place?

REICH: Eliot, they understand what they need to say. They understand, perhaps, that the country is angry, but they don't get it in terms of fundamental change and fundamental reform.

I mean, the Dallas Federal Reserve board just came out with a report - its annual report - saying Wall Street, the biggest banks on Wall Street, have to be broken up. I mean, can you imagine the Dallas Fed actually saying that? Wall Street doesn't want to be broken up.

Those same executives that maybe understand how angry the public is - you say to them, "Should you be broken up? Should you actually support a strong VOCA rule? Should you resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act?" Are you kidding me? They're going to say no.

SPITZER: Look, you're exactly right, and Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica wrote a spectacular story about that Dallas Fed report, which makes the point "too big to fail" has only gotten worse, not better, since the cataclysm of '08.

And just last week, you alluded to this - a bit earlier last week - something that was called a JOBS bill, but I feel it should have been called the "Bring Back Fraud to Wall Street" bill, was passed by both houses. That permits them to go back to some of the very practices that created this in the first place. So, what's your takeaway from all this?

REICH: My takeaway is that they see this as a public-relations problem. They are, at the same time, lobbying like mad and in court trying to eviscerate Dodd-Frank. They have not got it, they will not get it, and there's no hope of trying to make them get it.

I mean, there's huge amounts of money in it for them - keeping things the way they were, fighting every step of the way, trying to make this into a public-relations problem - when, in fact, it's much more fundamental.

And I don't think we're going to see real change on Wall Street until Wall Street is forced to change its ways.

SPITZER: Look, I could not agree more with you. One last question - time runs real short - why did so many Democrats, and why did the White House, support this so-called JOBS bill last week? Why didn't anybody on that side of the aisle have the gumption to stand up and say, "Enough. This is simply bad policy."

REICH: For two reasons, Eliot - first, they want to show some bipartisanship. I mean, everybody in Washington is looking at the November elections and they're saying, "We don't want to appear as partisan as we really are, and therefore, anything that gets any bipartisan support is probably a good thing if we can hold our nose and sign onto it."

Secondly - let's face it - there is a lot of competition between Democrats and Republicans for money from Wall Street for this election. Wall Street has decided to back Republicans more than Democrats, but still, a lot of Wall Street money is going into Democratic coffers.


All right, Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary, professor at UC Berkeley and author of "Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future." Thank you for being here.

Next time, try to be a bit more optimistic. There's got to be a ray of hope out there somewhere.

REICH: There is, but it's in the Occupiers and grassroots movement, it's not on Wall Street.

SPITZER: All right, ditto. Could not agree more.

Coming up, there are potentially billions of "super Earths" orbiting stars in our galaxy. But can these planets sustain life as we know it? Derrick Pitts joins me next.


SPITZER: Astronomers now estimate there could potentially be billions of habitable planets right here in our galaxy, meaning planets that could sustain life.

In our number one story - according to a team of international astronomers, it's now being predicted that there could be billions of what are called "super Earths" circling stars within our galaxy. "Super Earth" is a term used to describe planets outside of our solar system with one to ten times the mass of Earth. But, of course, now I'm just telling you things we all already knew.

The team of astronomers collecting data from La Silla Observatory in Chile have been able to determine that about 40 percent of all red dwarf stars - the most common star in our galaxy - have a super Earth orbiting their habitable zone, where it may be possible for liquid water to exist - liquid water being the essential prerequisite to life.

According to the team's lead astronomer Xavier Bonfils, and I quote, "Because red dwarfs are so common - there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way - this leads us to the astonishing result that there are tens of billions of these planets in our galaxy alone."

And about one hundred of these planets could be less than thirty light years away, or about 180 trillion miles, which - in terms of the galaxy - is apparently not terribly far.

As for whether life as we know it can be sustained on these planets, astronomers say they will need to do more research, but it is possible.

Joining me now, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute science museum and "Countdown" contributor, Derrick Pitts. He's going to explain all of this. Okay, for those of us who couldn't even make it through 9th grade Biology, Derrick, what does all this mean?

DERRICK PITTS: What it really means, Eliot, is the chances that we're going to find Earth-like planets and possibly Earth-like planets - maybe with life - has gone up tremendously. The thing we have to remember about this is that about - maybe ten years ago, we were just speculating on the possibility that there planets were orbiting other stars.

Now, not only do we have a large number, several thousand good candidates, for stars that have planets orbiting them, but we have actually been able to confirm quite a number of planets that are orbiting other stars.

Now the question comes in - are we talking about planets that are about the size of Earth or maybe a little bit larger - these so-called "super Earths"? And, by the way, I had thought it was a stable economy that made it possible for life to exist on these other planets. But in any case -

SPITZER: We'll give up on the stable economy if they have got water. Explain to me -

PITTS: Right, we'll take the water.

SPITZER: We'll take the water. Why is water so essential? Is this sort of the biological necessity from which all other things spring?

PITTS: For what we know of as life, Eliot, yes. Water is the key to all of this. And the thing about it is, is that it could be possible that there are other forms of life based on other elements, if you will. But, for our studies, we have to start someplace where we really know what things are. And that's life like what we find here on this planet, and that's all based on water.

So, we're really looking for the water. That's like the holy grail of looking for life elsewhere. You know, it's a key for what we're doing on Mars. It's a key for what we're doing looking at these planets, also.

SPITZER: Now, give me a sense of dimension here. I mean, it sounds like this is still kind of far away. Even Richard Branson isn't yet going up there saying, "I'll sell you a ticket to take you to one of these stars. Thirty light years is kind of far off - are we - we're not going to visit anytime soon to get more data on this. So, what's the next step here?

PITTS: Yeah, that's true. We're not going to go this far to get the data. We're going observe to see what we can find out using various instruments here through telescopes.

But, it is relatively close. Thirty light years is nothing when you look at the size of the galaxy and then the size of the universe. And the other interesting thing about it, Eliot, is that earlier on - 20 years ago - we were looking all over the universe for life. It turns out that we can look for it right here in our own backyard.

Next steps - the next steps are to try to better identify what the chemical constituency is, if you will, of the atmospheres of these planets. It'll require a different kind of study, but we do have the tools in place to be able to do that. So, we'll refine what we know about these planets so far, identify the ones that are really closer to being like Earth and then start to look at their atmospheres, if they have them, to see if we can see a signature of water.

SPITZER: So, what you're telling me, if I hear you right, is we can take the next steps from a scientific perspective without actually having to visit these planets. We don't need to get there. We can do this through the telescopes and all of the other, you know, cool stuff - the toys you have.

PITTS: Absolutely. The engineers who work with the telescopes and build the tools that we use on the telescope are really geniuses at crafting instruments that can actually pick out this very, very subtle information over extremely long distances and can get it very, very close to accurate. So, we can do a lot of this work remotely.

And besides, the gas prices are too high to fuel a craft to get us all the way out that far right now anyway.

SPITZER: Don't be so cynical, fuel mileage is getting better. Pretty soon you'll get there on one gallon.

All right, chief astronomer at the Franklin Institute science museum and "Countdown" contributor Derrick Pitts. Thanks so much for your time tonight, making sense out of something that is simply beyond even those of us who read science fiction.

PITTS: Thank you.

SPITZER: That's "Countdown." I'm Eliot Spitzer, in for Keith Olbermann. Have a good night. Thanks for joining us.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
video 'podcast'

#ShowPlug 1: Special Prosecutor says Sanford PD wanted to arrest Zimmerman night of shooting, stopped by State Prosecutor

#ShowPlug 2: George H.W. "Sick Puppies" Bush endorses Mitt "Seamus" Romney; Job Creator Newt Gingrich fires 1/3 of staff

#ShowPlug 3: "Severability" - can SCOTUS find just the mandate unconstitutional but keep health care reform? @JonathanTurley joins me

#ShowPlug 4: Research shows statistical evidence of positive OWS impact on Wall Street; Charges against JetBlue pilot; passenger joins me

#ShowPlug Last: Fox trying to launch cable sports rival to ESPN? Wait, why does that sound SO familiar? #WillPlayOldFSNPromos


#5 Breaking news on Trayvon Martin case, Corey Dade

#5 Breaking news on Trayvon Martin case, Marc Morial (excerpt)

#4 'Endorsemitt', David Catanese

# Time Marches On!

#3 '"Heart" Less Healthcare', Jonathan Turley

#2 'In-Flight Detainment', Tony Antolino (excerpt)

#1 Breaking news on Trayvon Martin case, Jonathan Turley (excerpt)

printable PDF transcript

On the show: , , , ,

KEITH OLBERMANN: There is breaking news at this hour, contained in video that looks the least like breaking news of anything you've probably ever seen. This is video from the night that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, one Monday and two days ago.

Police headquarters there, and the news here is what is not seen. Where is the slightest evidence of this man having been in an altercation minutes or even hours before? Where is the evidence of the broken nose, the wound on the back of his head? If all of it's been cleaned up, just bruises? If not blood, then some evidence of inconvenience?

Full coverage, now on "Countdown."

Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

It was him. Florida's special prosecutor says Sanford police wanted to arrest George Zimmerman, but the office of the ousted state prosecutor Norman Wolfinger held off.

A sitting U.S. congressman escorted from the House chamber for wearing a hoodie.

(Excerpt from video clip) BOBBY RUSH: Racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.

(Excerpt from video clip) TRACY MARTIN: I'd like to commend Congressman Rush for pleading our case.

OLBERMANN: The hoodie symbolism begins to take on a life of its own at Howard University.

(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Do I look suspicious?

OLBERMANN: The racist backlash begins to take on a life of its own.

(Excerpt from video clip) LOU DOBBS: So why would his campaign suddenly advertise hooded sweatshirts in the middle of a national controversy, in part created by the president himself?

OLBERMANN: I don't know. Why would your employer advertise them? Why would the National Rifle Association advertise them - with pockets for concealed guns?

George H.W. Bush endorses Mitt Romney.

(Excerpt from audio clip) GEORGE H.W. BUSH: Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. I mean, here are a couple of sick puppies.

OLBERMANN: Did you say - puppies? Seamus!

(Excerpt from video clip) JAY LENO: Did you ever think that we'd be talking about porn? I mean, with all the other things in this election -

(Excerpt from video clip) MITT ROMNEY: I didn't know we were talking about porn.

(Excerpt from video clip) ARLEN SPECTER: Mitt Romney has changed positions more often than a pornographic movie queen.

OLBERMANN: Amputate or euthanize - the Supreme Court on "severability," ending the insurance mandate, keeping the rest of reform?

(Excerpt from video clip) ANTONIN SCALIA: My approach would say - if you take the heart out of the statute, the statute is gone.

OLBERMANN: The analysis of Day Three of three from Jonathan Turley.

This is your captain speaking:

(Excerpt from video clip) CLAYTON OSBON: I'm so distraught! Oh, we've got Israel, we've got Iraq!

OLBERMANN: As he is charged, we are joined by one of the passengers, Tony Antolino.

(Excerpt from video clip) TONY ANTOLINO: The co-pilot, really, he is the hero here for being able to recognize early on that something was going horribly wrong.

OLBERMANN: And Fox to launch cable sports network to try to rival ESPN - why does that sound so familiar?

(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: At Fox Sports News we cover your team so closely. I am not a role model, not a role model, but just because I say - from way downtown - bang! that does not mean I should raise your kids.

OLBERMANN: I thought that was a bad dream. That was real?

Now, on "Countdown."

(Excerpt from video clip) OLBERMANN: Olbermann's open.


OLBERMANN: Good evening, this is Wednesday, March 28th, 224 days until the 2012 presidential election.

Reports surfacing today that police in Sanford, Florida, wanted Trayvon Martin's shooter charged early in their investigation, while a congressman protesting racial profiling is removed from the floor of the House for pulling up a hoodie.

But the breaking news on the fifth story on the "Countdown" - revealed tonight, the first video of the shooter the night all this happened.

The police surveillance video showing George Zimmerman apparently having just been taken to Sanford's police headquarters in handcuffs - though not under arrest, obviously - the night of this shooting.

More importantly, perhaps, what this video does not seem to show. It does not seem to show a man who was in a life-or-death struggle with an aggressive teenager who had just left him bloodied and crying on a neighborhood sidewalk. Even if we assume that he has been to a hospital and been cleaned up there - and that would be only be an assumption - George Zimmerman is not having trouble standing, talking, or walking throughout the video from ABC News, which runs, in full, about a minute and a half.

Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, of course, had just been shot to death by Zimmerman on February 26th. Zimmerman claiming that Martin attacked him, and he fired in fear of his life.

The Miami Herald today reporting that Sanford police wanted charges filed and went to the state prosecutor for the county of Seminole, Norman Wolfinger, who said no - or said nothing - and so there was no arrest, as there has been yet no arrest.

This, even though the state's new special prosecutor described all this to The Miami Herald today and after the local police described the shooting in an official report as, "Homicide, neglect manslaughter."

Special prosecutor Angela Corey telling The Miami Herald, "The police went to the state attorney with a request that charges be filed. The state attorney empanelled a grand jury, but before anything else could be done, the governor stepped in and asked us to pick it up in midstream." Corey replacing the State Attorney Wolfinger last week.

Sanford Homicide Detective Chris Serino, who first investigated the case told NBC News he was, "Looking forward to the truth coming out."

Zimmerman friend and defender Joe Oliver giving the truth according to George Zimmerman, insisting in interviews that he knew in his heart George had been in a life-or-death struggle.

(Excerpt from video clip) JOE OLIVER: We know that if we weren't sitting here talking about George shooting Trayvon, we'd talking about Trayvon shooting George.

OLBERMANN: Trayvon Martin's father Tracy Martin saying police described his son's last moments very differently.

(Excerpt from video clip) MARTIN: Zimmerman was able to unholster his weapon and fire one shot, and Trayvon fell back and said, "You got me."

OLBERMANN: Martin adding that put his b.s. detector into high gear.

(Excerpt from video clip) MARTIN: That was bull. I was more saying to myself, "No way." At that point I knew that there was something terribly wrong.

OLBERMANN: And there was, and is.

In Washington, the other dynamic continuing to play out - Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush making that point in a speech on racial profiling in the House.

(Excerpt from video clip) RUSH: Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum. The Bible teaches us, Mr. Speaker, he has shown your man -

(Excerpt from video clip) JOHN BOEHNER: The member will disband. The chair must remind the member of Clause Five of Rule 17. The member is out of order -

OLBERMANN: Apparently, Congressman Rush violated Clause Five of Rule 17, prohibiting the wearing of hats in the chamber when the House is in session.

But Trayvon Martin's parents, in any event, grateful for his assistance.

(Excerpt from video clip) MARTIN: I would like to commend Congressman Rush for pleading our case.

(Excerpt from video clip) SYBRINA FULTON: Some people don't quite get it. Some people don't quite understand what it's all about. It's almost like they're an ostrich, like they have their head buried the sand.

OLBERMANN: But some people do get it, like these protesters in Memphis, Tennessee, today beginning their march for Trayvon Martin outside the historic Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot and killed in 1968.

Other protesters in Charleston, South Carolina last night, with a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin.

And students at Howard University asking anyone who might run from a black man in a hoodie one question -

(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: Do I look suspicious?

(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: Do I look suspicious?

(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #3: Well, contrary to what America has led me to believe, all young, black males are not suspicious. We don't deserve to be harassed, murdered, prosecuted, or denied protections of the justice system all because America believes that we are suspicious.

OLBERMANN: That last of those statements came from Howard Kandhai, alumnae of Howard's Schools of Business and Law.

Hoodies, apparently becoming magical garments that can drive men mad, not to mention this tweet from the Obama campaign on Tuesday, which read, "Let everyone know whose team you're on for 2012, with today's merchandise steal, the college-style hooded sweatshirt." An Obama campaign official telling Business Insider they sold hoodies in the 2008 election as well.

But to Fox Business host Lou Dobbs and his guest, a deplorable man named Dr. Keith Ablow, they found it all suspicious.

(Excerpt from video clip) LOU DOBBS: So why would his campaign suddenly advertise hooded sweatshirts in the middle of a national controversy, in part created by the president himself.

(Excerpt from video clip) KEITH ABLOW: It's irresistible for this president to enter the fray when there seems to be an opportunity for a kind of furious splitting.

OLBERMANN: A controversy created by the president - as if he fired a gun.

Fox, blaming Mr. Obama for splitting the country on racial lines again on the Fox and Friends program today - former Justice Department Attorney J. Christian Adams reading obscurely into the president's comment last week, that if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin.

(Excerpt from video clip) J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: No president in our country's history would have injected himself into a criminal matter using racial code like Barack Obama did.

OLBERMANN: For more on the Trayvon Martin case, and today's extraordinary developments, I'm joining by Corey Dade, national correspondent with NPR digital news. Thanks for your time tonight, sir.

COREY DADE: Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN: This new video, am I right that it's relevant here in a way that, perhaps, nothing else has been in this case, at least what we've seen publicly - more for what it conclusively does not show than what it does? And where is the man who thought he was being killed, who had to resort to mortal force? Even if he has been to the hospital, how is he in such good shape afterwards?

DADE: Well, I guess we'll have to find out. It seems like, Keith, every day there is a new bit of information or detail that's coming out that may be actually contradictory to what we knew the day before. I think, in this case, what we're probably going to see is this get admitted to evidence, because - because when we look at this case in its totality, there is not a lot of physical evidence at the scene. I think that's been pretty much attested to. So, this may really become material.

OLBERMANN: We don't know, do we? Whether or not he was taken to the hospital or doctor or to somewhere - just to a sink where he washed up between the altercation and when that video would have been shot at headquarters?

DADE: Yeah, I don't think that has been established yet. I think this is - you're asking the questions that Trayvon Martin's family is asking constantly. What was, for lack of a better phrase, the chain of custody from the time the police arrived at the scene to the moment that they released George Zimmerman from their custody?

OLBERMANN: This ties in, I think - in some way - to the revelation from the new special prosecutor Angela Corey who said that Sanford police wanted the charges filed against Zimmerman that night or early on, and the state prosecutor in Seminole County said no. Is that the first time we've heard that timeline floated? Has anybody been able to verify this new version of the story?

DADE: Well, obviously, The Miami Herald put this out - reported this earlier today. And I think that timeline is exactly the thing that the Trayvon family lawyers have been asking about. And it speaks to, again, you know - the reasons why the Seminole County prosecutor was removed from the case.

OLBERMANN: The natural question here, I guess -here we know of prosecutors, we know of D.A.s who make these tough adjustment calls in tough cases and say, "All right, send the police out." It's the stock material of every TV cop drama. But the other way around? How often do the police seek the state prosecutor's consent, as the chief representative of the state in their county and then defer to him when he says no in terms of an arrest?

DADE: Well, I think what's usually standard - obviously, I'm not an attorney, but I've covered plenty of crimes - I think what's usually standard, the police have a role of arresting. The prosecutors have a role of bringing charges, and usually they confer. And if a prosecutor doesn't believe that they can make the case, then sometimes that may affect the decision of a police department to arrest. And I think here, again, this gets to one of the big unanswered questions - what really was the litmus test that made the police decide not to arrest?

OLBERMANN: Mr. Zimmerman's defender, Joe Oliver - who used to be a newscaster - apparently hasn't talked with him as one might think, given how much time he's been on cable news in the past week. He said today that if Zimmerman had not shot Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin would have shot him. This is an attempt to paint the picture of the dead man as a teen guilty of assault, capable of homicide. Who is Joe Oliver, and where is he getting this stuff?

DADE: You know, I think this - you know, Joe Oliver has become sort of the person of the moment that has shifted a little bit of attention away from Zimmerman. And so, now he's taking fire, as we've seen, in the last 24 hours. He's taking fire from supporters of Trayvon Martin, from all sides, questioning his relationship with Zimmerman, questioning what he knows about the case.

One thing that was interesting that came out when I was talking to Trayvon Martin's family lawyers today, is that with Joe Oliver talking with such specifics about what he says happened in the case, it raises the question of whether or not Joe Oliver will get a visit paid to him by Corey's investigators.

OLBERMANN: All right, one other thing here - the court documents that have shown that George Zimmerman had his problems with the law, including an arrest for resisting an officer with violence. It was reduced when he entered an alcohol-education program, and also the civil motions regarding domestic violence from a former fiancée. Are we getting any better picture of who this man is, you know, amid all the traffic about who - and the noise about who Trayvon Martin was?

DADE: I think it's been inevitable that we were going to have that, just like we're getting more information coming out about Trayvon's history - for example, his suspension because they found marijuana residue in his bag - in his book bag - in school.

And with Zimmerman, I think we're going to continue to see, I know people in my profession are going to continue to dig into his past, and see what they can glean about who this man is, especially considering he's, you know, keeping about the lowest profile possible right now.

OLBERMANN: Corey Dade, national correspondent with NPR Digital News. Corey, thanks for your time tonight.

DADE: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For more on Congressman Rush's protest in the House and what Trayvon Martin's dad had called the "Trayvon Movement," I'm joined by Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, and former mayor of New Orleans. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

MARC MORIAL: Hey, Keith, thank you. I appreciate it.

OLBERMANN: Let me start again with this new video. I've been trying to contextualize this. We've only all seen this for about the last 40 minutes or so. What do you see in this video that's relevant to our understanding of what happened on February 26?

MORIAL: What's relevant is that it impeaches the story that George Zimmerman has floated, that somehow he was injured in the altercation, that he had a broken nose, that he had scratches - it impeaches that story, and that story has been part of an orchestrated effort by George Zimmerman and his supporters to sort of advance an alibi, if you will, advance a version of the story that is not supported by this video, and isn't supported by the 911 tapes.

So, I think it's very important to look at this video. People can see what - it does not appear that this gentleman was involved in an altercation.

And then, also, I'm interested to note today this sort of new twist that the Sanford police did, in fact, want to conduct an arrest. I question why they would have consulted the prosecutor. The typical procedure is that the police would, in fact, arrest and book and the prosecutor would make a decision later as whether to bring criminal charges. So, this is a deviation from what I think, in most jurisdictions, is standard procedure.

OLBERMANN: A question I wanted to get in to you, and I'm glad you did that for me - let me ask you one more question about the videotape, then we'll get to Congressman Rush. Let's, for the sake of argument, say there is something left out of the timeline that we know of - and he's been to a doctor, he's been to a bathroom, he's been to a hospital - and the chain of custody, as our previous guest Corey Dade used that term, allows for some place where he could have been cleaned up. That's not the evidence we're talking about in this, is it?

I mean, there is no gushing blood, and I don't think anybody would expect that, necessarily, but there is no - he doesn't seem to be halted in his walking. He doesn't seem to be somebody who just went through a traumatic experience. Is that what we're seeing? Can we assume somewhere along the line he might have gotten a Handi Wipe or something?

MORIAL: Well, he doesn't seem to be in distress.


MORIAL: He doesn't seem to be someone who was involved in any sort of altercation, and I think we have to be on guard at this effort under way to damage Trayvon Martin's reputation - this teenager's reputation - and slander a dead man, as well as the effort to continue to advance this story which now - is now unsupported by this tape which, along with the 911 tapes, are pieces of what I would call independent evidence, not some person who said, "I'm telling you what someone told me," but actually something that people can see.

And I'm hopeful that the prosecutor will quickly make a decision to bring the original charges, or stronger charges, that the police originally wanted to bring. I think that would constitute the first step towards justice in this case.

OLBERMANN: The protest on behalf of justice, as we've already discussed, got to the floor of the House today, and Congressman Rush pulling up the hoodie while denouncing racial profiling and reading verses from the Bible and getting thrown out because he violated an obscure rule of the House while in session, because you can't wear a hat, which is - I guess, a relatively new rule in the last 130 years or so. Did he make his point? Did that resonate the way he wanted it to, do you think?

MORIAL: I think he makes the point that a man, an African-American man, wearing a hoodie is not, by definition, suspicious. In America, which looks on it that way, that's the very essence of what we mean when we talk about racial profiling, so I think you're going to see the wearing of the hood as a universal protest sign in connection with Trayvon Martin.

Because the troubling thing with George Zimmerman is this pattern that existed before this incident of him calling 911, and inconsistently reporting quote/unquote, "black men" as being suspicious in that neighborhood. So, this is why this incident has struck a nerve, because Trayvon Martin is a teenager. It struck a nerve because this person was a self-anointed - self-appointed, if you will - neighborhood watch sheriff. And that people can, in fact, can listen to the 911 tapes, now they can see this video, and I think it's becoming clear what, in fact, happened. We want justice for Trayvon.

OLBERMANN: The president of the Urban League, former mayor of New Orleans, Marc Morial, great thanks. Good to see you. Thank you.

Also tonight, another bad day for health-care reform at the Supreme Court, but it could be worse, as we'll find from the campaign trail. You could be Newt Gingrich.


OLBERMANN: President George H.W. Bush once called me a sick puppy. George H.W. Bush just endorsed Mitt Romney. Thus, President George H.W. Bush just reminded us of - Seamus T. Dog.


OLBERMANN: The hope for a candidate in gaining an endorsement, especially one from a former president, is that voters who supported the endorser will in turn support the endorsee.

In our fourth story - that endorsement can have a negative effect, if it conjures negative images of the candidate. Say a casual use of the term - puppies.

(Excerpt from video clip) BUSH: Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, I mean, here are a couple of sick puppies.

OLBERMANN: Apparently, that President Bush has a warped idea of what makes someone a sick puppy, because - despite Romney's handling of Seamus - Bush 41 is planning to formally induce - endorse, that was a Freudian slip - endorse Mitt Romney tomorrow.

While Romney continues to win over the Republican establishment, he seems to have the same problem continuing with the general public. According to a recent Washington Post poll, half of America has an unfavorable opinion of him. But Romney did his best to seem likeable in an appearance on "The Tonight Show."

(Excerpt from video clip) LENO: Did you ever think we'd be talking about porn? I mean, with all the other things in this election.

(Excerpt from video clip) ROMNEY: I didn't know we were talking about porn.

OLBERMANN: With Leno, Romney tried not to look past the primary. It appears, though, Republican voters are.

According to a recent CNN poll, registered Republicans are getting tired of the race. Forty percent said Santorum should drop out. Sixty percent said Gingrich and Ron Paul should go, and it looks like they may get their wish - at least with Gingrich. Today, his campaign announced it would begin limiting campaign events and laying off one third of their staff. Just remember, as Gingrich says, he and Ronald Reagan created 16 million jobs.

But, that may be a symptom of problems, not a cause. According to reports, Sheldon Adelson - whose $16.5 million in donations has single-handedly kept the Gingrich campaign afloat - is expected to make multimillion-dollar donations to Crossroads GPS. And, in a private dinner at his house with members of the RNC and other Republican fund-raisers, Adelson also indicated he was ready to begin donating to a Romney super PAC.

But Mr. Gingrich has a backup plan.

(Excerpt from video clip) BILL O'REILLY: But you don't have any money. You're going to spend your own money?

(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: If necessary.

OLBERMANN: For more on that, let's bring national political reporter for Politico, David Cantanese into the equation. David, thanks for your time tonight.

DAVID CANTANESE: Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: What happened to Sheldon Adelson's bottomless buffet of money?

CANTANESE: Well, he spent $16.5 million and got two wins in two Southern states for Newt Gingrich, and I think, you know, he said, "That's about it." But, you know, more seriously to the point - you know, Republican voices have been saying that there needs to be a shift away from, you know - Newt Gingrich, some of these underlying candidates - into the House and Senate, which is going to be a huge battleground in 2012.

You have got George Will, the prominent columnist, saying Republican donors should be focusing all of their attention there. And that's where American Crossroads - this Karl Rove super PAC - is going to play heavily. They're going to spend a lot of money in these states that could control - could determine control of the Senate, and that's going to have to do a lot with whether, you know, if President Obama's even elected, whether he's going to have an agenda to put forward in a second term.

OLBERMANN: The endorsement by George H.W. Bush of Romney - does it mean anything to voters by sense of a sort of secondhand extension of Reagan? Or is this just a continuation of the Republican establishment kind of timidly lining up behind Mitt Romney?

CANTANESE: You know, I would say "B." It matters to establishment and it matters to the media narrative that, "Look! Here's another huge Republican figure saying, 'Get on board. This train is moving away with or without you, Newt and Rick.'"

Romney now has two out of the three Bushes. I don't think you'll see the most recent Bush endorse - the most recent President Bush endorse, but you know, he got Senator Jim DeMint to say favorable things - he got majority whip Kevin McCarthy, another person in leadership here in Washington to endorse him. So, I'm sure he's got some more, you know, lined up privately just waiting to come public, if he is able to win a few more primaries.

This is sort of the endorsement portion to say, you know, "Rick Santorum, it's going to be a no-go, and no convention fight."

OLBERMANN: Are they going to get him endorsed sufficiently that Mitt Romney doesn't have to say anything between now and November? Because there was another conference call today, he was trying to connect with voters in Wisconsin, and he laughingly told this story about his dad who closed an American Motors plant in Michigan and moved everybody to Wisconsin, and the punchline was there's a marching band participating in a campaign event for his father, the governor of Michigan at one point, and they only knew the Wisconsin fight song, as he tells the story.

And then, the quote was, "So, every time they would start playing 'On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin,' my dad's political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop because they didn't want people in Michigan to be reminded that my had dad moved production to Wisconsin."

This is another one. This is like the "I need a garage elevator for my cars" story. Is there no way to stop this man from injuring himself?

CANTANESE: He should have stuck with, "The trees are the right height."

OLBERMANN: Yeah, seriously.

CANTANESE: You know, he just has an awkward sense about him. And this is, I think, the bigger problem for Mitt Romney going forward. It's not where he is on the issues.

I mean, right now, the polls show most Americans are opposed to the health-care law. That's the position that he holds. That's not his barrier to defeating President Obama, I don't think. It's this sort of weirdness, lack of connectivity, you know, unable to deliver a sense of humor that comes across as authentic.

You know, in this instance, you have a Democratic senator from Michigan come out with a statement very strongly saying, "Don't joke about job loss in our state, even if it was decades ago." So, it just gave immediate fodder to his opponents in another state that he wants to play well in in the general, and now, you know, he's made this sort of gaffe.

OLBERMANN: Isn't that funny? Dad liked to fire people, too.

David Cantanese, national political reporter for Politico. As always, great thanks for your time, sir.

CANTANESE: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: We'll get back to the story of this new video tape of George Zimmerman and ask the question - where are the bandages?

And speaking of bandages, the health-care insurance mandate seems to be on the ropes. Will all of reform go with it? Jon Turley joins me. Ahead.


OLBERMANN: More on the new George Zimmerman video, and is the insurance mandate being denied coverage as a pre-existing condition? Or is the entirety of health-care reform about to be screwed by the Supreme Court? Ahead.

First, the "Sanity Break," and on or about this date in 1999, Tony Ball, the chief executive of Fox Sports Net - Rupert Murdoch's attempt to break ESPN's hold on cable sports - decided to move back from Los Angeles to London to run some of Murdoch's properties there.

Ball - whose game plan included a five-year fight just to get his "Fox Sports News" within shouting distance of ESPN's "Sports Center" in the ratings - was replaced by a small group of executives who decided they needed to increase the ratings immediately. The changes they made in an attempting to do so caused "Fox Sports News" to crash. It would be off the air less than three years later.

It was estimated that just this one program lost Murdoch at least $125 million, seven million of which went to me - the last eight hundred thousand dollars of which he paid me to do nothing while hoping I would quit.

Today, Bloomberg News reports Fox is planning a new cable sports net - Rupert Murdoch's attempt to break ESPN's hold on cable sports.

Rupert, give me a buzz and I'll tell you where to send me another seven million dollars and which rat hole to pour the other $118 million down.

"Time Marches On!"

VIDEO: Dog mascot chases cat from court during Israeli basketball game.

The problem was, we used to lead with stories like this - Israeli basketball, with Maccabi Tel Aviv versus Bnei HaSharon.

Game's off to a slow start, until a new player gets in there.

Fortunately, when you have a cat problem, your best bet is a dog mascot. The Tel Aviv mascot Donny the Dog tries to capture the cat. The cat was too fast for him. Donny was still proud to have chased it away.

Maccabi would go on to win the game, and the cat went on to sign a ten-day contract with the New York Knicks - Kevin?

VIDEO: Tiny skier falls asleep while still upright on his skis.

To the Internets, and there's nothing more thrilling than the rush of skiing. And nothing more relaxing, as this little guy can tell you.

After a long day out on the slopes, Bodee was ready for a nap, but he didn't want to wait to get back to the lodge.

That's what a pair of skis will do for your balance. He's able to keep his balance, until he's not. Down - goes Bodee!

Tune in next time as Bodee tries to sleep while kite surfing.

VIDEO: Under-14 team wins championship, world record at the U.S. National Sport Stacking Championships.

Finally, as if you didn't already know this, the weekend was the occasion of the U.S. National Sport Stacking Championships in Colorado Springs.

And the Under-14 team, "Wills and Not Wills," took the world record in the timed 3-6-3 relay. That's the world record for any age group.

Rumblin', stumblin', bumblin', tumblin', dumblin' - after a rough first attempt, they regrouped and got the world record on their next try, stacking and taking down all the cups in 13.96 seconds. I'm reminding you here, this footage has not been sped up in any way.

The team will next be traveling to Germany in April for the world championships, where they will compete for the holy grail of this sport - the Robert Stack Trophy.

"Time Marches On!"

Jonathan Turley on the Supreme Court and health-care reform. Next.


OLBERMANN: Though there was no talk of broccoli mandates during the final day of health-care arguments at the Supreme Court, there was a proverbial loaf of bread referenced.

In our third story on the "Countdown" - the Supreme Court remained deeply divided today when it grappled with the question of "severability" - whether the Affordable Care Act could survive if its key provision, the individual mandate, was to be struck down.

Stripping that mandate, the administration argues, would eliminate other vital provisions - including one banning insurers from turning away people with pre-existing conditions. Across the bench, Justices expressed their concern for the bill's 450 remaining provisions.

(Excerpt from audio clip) RUTH BADER GINSBURG: Why should we say, "It's a choice between a wrecking operation, which is what you are requesting, or a salvage job?" And the more conservative approach would be salvage, rather than throwing out everything.

OLBERMANN: Justice Kagan echoed Justice Ginsburg's sentiment.

(Excerpt from audio clip) ELENA KAGAN: Is half a loaf better than no loaf? And on something like the exchanges, it seems, to me, a perfect example where half a loaf is better than no loaf.

OLBERMANN: Justice Scalia was not shy about where his interests lie. He took the all-or-nothing approach.

(Excerpt from audio clip) SCALIA: My approach would say, "If you take the heart out of the statute, the statute's gone." That enables Congress to do what it wants in the usual fashion.

OLBERMANN: But Justice Kennedy wondered if a partisan Congress would be capable of sensibly reforming the bill.

(Excerpt from audio clip) ANTHONY KENNEDY: Is that the real Congress or a hypothetical Congress?

OLBERMANN: Meantime, White House officials say any speculation about the court's decision is premature.

(Excerpt from video clip) JOSH EARNEST: There is no contingency plan that's in place. We're focused on implementing the law, and we are confident that the law is constitutional.

OLBERMANN: Joining me now for more on this final day of the arguments in front of the SCOTUS, Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor, constitutional law expert, and "Countdown" contributor. Jon, again, great thanks for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN: So, we're back to where we were yesterday - severability. Did the questions from the justices tell us anything about what a ruling of unconstitutionality would mean, in practical terms, for the entirety of health-care reform?

TURLEY: Well, it broke along familiar lines. I mean, you have the conservatives that - for the most part - suggested that they thought that, if you cut the heart out of the bill, the whole bill should die, and the liberals suggesting that we could still salvage some of this.

I was a bit surprised, quite frankly, by the views of some of the conservatives. This really does go against the grain of past cases. The court has a longstanding tradition to minimize the degree to which they overturn federal law. I think part of the problem here is that the thing is so immense that some of the justices said, you know, "How are we really supposed to figure out what can live without the individual mandate and what cannot?"

OLBERMANN: Our friend Jeff Toobin says the questions alone suggest that the whole thing is over, that health-care reform will be fully overturned. What are your thoughts about his conclusions?

TURLEY: I wouldn't go that far, quite frankly. Kennedy is still in play, although I think that the administration lost an opportunity, in these arguments, to give him a viable way to limit a ruling, to make it more appealing to him, so that Federalism itself did not appear to be on the chopping block. I think they lost that opportunity, but Kennedy himself can still come up with that type of limiting principle.

But, you know, if you take his comments as a whole, they seem to suggest that he is leaning to the right of the court, and that would be deadly for the individual mandate.

On the issue of severability, Kennedy is very much in play. I don't see Kennedy clearly indicating that he would kill the entire bill. Part of this is due to a mistake by the administration and the Democrats. They chose not to put a severability clause into the bill. When I looked at this bill before it was passed, I asked about that. It was a very noticeable decision. And it seemed to be a game of chicken that they were playing, that they wanted to give these judges the sticker shock of - if you take down the individual mandate, the entire act will be torched.

Well, you know, the problem is that a game of chicken can be deadly. And what these conservative justices were saying today is, "We'll torch the whole darn thing."

OLBERMANN: Well, there's the political calculation, too. They wouldn't have gotten some of the support from the conservative Democrats, had they not done that and, obviously, the, you know, the entire health-care industry would have held people hostage if there had not been an automatic or a forced buy-in, so there was that, too.

TURLEY: Yeah. I think that's right. I mean, there's very unpredictable political aspects to this. I mean, I'm not too - I've always said I'm not too sure what would be worse for the administration, politically, to win this case or to lose it. You know, the - but I'm pretty sure that having part of the act survive might not be the best thing for the administration, because that individual mandate really was needed to make this financially viable. And when you take that away, there's going to be these ripple effects. We don't really know how much of this act could survive without Congress having to step in and directly appropriating that missing income.

OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, "Countdown" contributor who has agreed to stick with us for a recap of the legal implications of that Zimmerman video we showed you at the top of the hour. So, we'll be back to you in about ten minutes, Jon. Thanks again.

TURLEY: All right. Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Also, besides that, the second crew meltdown in as many months on an American airliner as the Jet Blue captain is charged. One of his passengers joins us.


OLBERMANN: We will return to this hour's breaking news, the video from the Sanford Police Department, the night George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Jonathan Turley will rejoin me to analyze this from the legal point of view. And then, there is the further question - if there is no blood because, as Mr. Zimmerman said as he did, he did not need to got to the hospital. Even if he just went to a washroom, where are the bandages, where is the swelling? Coming up.


OLBERMANN: The JetBlue pilot whose erratic behavior forced an emergency landing is now facing federal criminal charges.

In our number two story tonight - JetBlue Flight 191 heading from New York to Las Vegas was forced to make an emergency landing in Texas yesterday after pilot Clayton Osbon, a 12-year veteran of the airline, began acting erratically, roaming the aisles shouting about Israel, Iraq and saying things just don't matter.

Federal prosecutors today charged Osbon with interfering with a flight crew. According to the FBI affidavit, shortly into the flight, the captain began to exhibit erratic behavior, including improperly fiddling with the plane's controls and speaking incoherently about religion. The flight's co-pilot was able to convince Osbon to exit the cockpit, at which point he locked the pilot out and changed the security code, in order to prevent Osbon from re-entering. After his failed attempts to get back in, the pilot became increasingly agitated.

Upon direction from the first officer, several passengers, many of whom - by extraordinary coincidence - were security professionals on their way to Las Vegas for a convention, jumped into action and subdued the pilot. One of those passengers will join me momentarily.

(Excerpt from video clip) CLAYTON OSBON: It doesn't matter. Oh, my God. I'm so distraught. Oh, my God. We got Israel, we got Iraq.

OLBERMANN: The group of quick-thinking passengers was able to keep Osbon restrained for more than 20 minutes upon landing in Amarillo. Osbon was taken into FBI custody, is currently undergoing psychiatric testing. If convicted of interfering with a flight crew, he could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Joined now from Las Vegas by one of the passengers who helped to restrain the pilot on yesterday's flight, Tony Antolino. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

TONY ANTOLINO: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: A flight heading to a security convention, what might have happened if all the pros had been on another flight?

ANTOLINO: I'm telling you, you know, it was all the right pieces came together, quite frankly. I couldn't be more thankful to be here to be able to talk to you.

OLBERMANN: Indeed. At what point did it become clear to you that this wasn't just a joke or the captain being a little stressed, but that he actually needed restraint, and did you hesitate - did anybody on that flight hesitate?

ANTOLINO: You know, the first visible sign was when he first came out of the cockpit. He came out unannounced, which was, you know, as we all know from traveling, there are certain things that the crew does in order to prepare for the pilot or captain to come out. That barricade was not in the aisle, and so on, so, that was the first kind of visual trigger that something was a little wrong. The crew kind of pulled that together pretty quickly, though, began talking to him. But, when you looked at him, you could see he was clearly erratic, he was very agitated, he was tense, he was drinking a lot of water. And so, you could tell that his adrenaline was going. He did continue to be increasingly agitated.

I think the second real trigger, and at the point in which I realized something was really going wrong, was when they asked the co-pilot to prepare to go up to the cockpit. Once that did happen, when the distressed captain went into the bathroom, I knew for sure something was going wrong. I really didn't expect what was about to follow, but certainly confirmed in my mind that something was wrong with him. He went to the back of the plane. Upon returning to the front of the plane, he began running towards the cockpit and tried entering that keypad, as you said, and then tried kicking the door down and physically gaining access.

And, impulsively, that's when myself and three other guys just reacted and grabbed him and started pulling him away from the cockpit door. And that's when you heard the audio there, actually, is right about when we grabbed him.

He was saying, "They got us in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, we got to go down, they're going to take us down. Say the good Lord's prayer," is what he said. And then, I think it meant - subconsciously, I think for those of us that had him - I think that was just when we decided, you know, we got to put him down to the ground and forcibly restrain him.

I mean, this is a was a big guy, Keith, he was 6'4", 250 pounds. He's a really big guy, so he put up quite a fight, and clearly, clearly, really distressed.

OLBERMANN: Did he - some people had said, who were on the flight, that they heard him talking about a bomb. Did you hear him talking about a bomb?

ANTOLINO: I personally did not hear him talking about a bomb. But a few of the other gentlemen that were helping to restrain him did hear that.

OLBERMANN: For ten years, as if I'm telling you or anybody who is watching anything they don't know, we're all worried about problems on a flight. I guess everybody has - every time they've gone on, they've had one moment of thinking, "What would I do if?"

And here we have a flight attendant melting down last month, and grabbing the P.A. system and just freaking out, now a captain yesterday. And you'd guess stress or overwork, or goodness knows what else plays a factor. Do we have to worry about the flight crews now? I mean, you're now a veteran of this. Tell the rest of us what we need to think of as we get on our next flight.

ANTOLINO: Well, going into the flight, you know, I think the unfortunate world we live in, you have to be extremely aware of your surroundings, right? So, we're all at that kind of heightened sense of what is happening, so you notice when something is going wrong, you kind of track it and see whether it's going to resolve itself or someone or something is going to resolve it.

In this case, though, you know, nobody could have expected this would be the outcome. No one saw it coming. I think what the conversation is now going to move towards, though, is, you know - why did this guy have a meltdown, so to speak?

I'm hearing some confirmed reports today that he was a former military pilot, and such, so did that have something to do with it? You know, why was he so mentally distraught? Why was he so dehydrated and agitated and non-coherent?

I read some of the affidavit statements from the first officer about some of the comments that were being made between them in the cockpit, and clearly, clearly he was deranged and had an alternative plan. And you know, I can't say it enough today, that the hero here is the co-pilot who had the wherewithal who to somehow coerce him out of the cockpit and secure the aircraft, and quite frankly, secure the, you know, all of the passengers on board.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, we joke about these -

ANTOLINO: I think we're going start talking about different kinds of screening processes for the crew, for the pilots. I mean, clearly, we need to look more into why this was not presenting itself.

OLBERMANN: And we joke about the flight crews often, and then every once in a while, every couple of years, there is a Captain Sullenberger or the co-pilot on your flight yesterday who does wonderful things for the public and, obviously, for the profession.

ANTOLINO: It was the crew, as well, Keith. You know, seriously. It was the crew, too. I have to say the JetBlue crew did a spectacular job in executing in a crisis, really.

OLBERMANN: Tony Antolino, one of the passengers on that JetBlue flight. Congratulations on getting there, and thanks for your time tonight, and good luck on the trip back.

ANTOLINO: Thanks, Keith, appreciate it.

OLBERMANN: Back with Jonathan Turley and trying to legally understand the implications of this new George Zimmerman video. If you haven't seen it before, you'll want to see it right after this.


OLBERMANN: This, again, the day's breaking news.

From Sanford, Florida - released to ABC News, and now everywhere, of course - video from some moments after the killing on February 26th of Trayvon Martin in that city of the man who fired the gun, allegedly in self defense, George Zimmerman, who has not been arrested nor charged with any crime - being taken by police out of that police vehicle in to the headquarters - police headquarters.

No determined time yet, as to how long after the event this took place. But the details of what you don't see as you get this good profile view and then a back view and briefly a front view of this man's head, summarized by an article in The Orlando Sentinel.

Police say Zimmerman told them he shot Trayvon Martin in defense after the six-foot high school junior punched him, got on top of him, then began banging his head into a sidewalk. Zimmerman was bleeding from his nose and the back of his head, according to a police report. But the video, as you see here, shows no obvious sign of injury. He was tended to at the scene by paramedics, bu told them he did not need to go to a hospital, police reported.

This extraordinary video - for an understanding of that and the other legal developments today, Jonathan Turley of George Washington University Law and "Countdown" contributor has joined us again. Give me your initial impression, Jon, of the legal meaning and value of this videotape.

TURLEY: Well, you know, as a criminal-defense attorney, I have to say this is pretty bad evidence for his defense. You know, it is potentially admissible. You know, the whole basis upon self defense here is that he faced a reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death, and he, at least through the police, have claimed that he was beaten and jumped by Martin. That would make this tape potentially admissible, potentially relevant.

The other problem with this tape, by the way, that I would have on the criminal defense side is that, you know, we're careful never to show a defendant or allow a defendant to be shown in court wearing handcuffs or prison garb in front of a jury. If this is admissible, it's the type of thing that you never want the jury to see, to see the client, actually in cuffs, surrounded by police officers.

The jurors, like everyone else, are extremely visual. You know, the impact of seeing a video has a pronounced impact on their view of a crime or a crime scene. So it hurts on both the substantive defense, it also hurts, potentially tactically, for his defense council.

OLBERMANN: Thirty seconds on this point. The report from the special prosecutor there that the police in Sandford wanted to charge him with a crime, went to the county representative of the state prosecutorial force - the state prosecutor in Seminole County - and said, "We want to arrest him," and were either overruled, or the thing was just pigeonholed and left there. Is that standard procedure, that the cops in this scenario would then go to the county prosecutor?

TURLEY: Well, it is not unheard of in some jurisdictions for even ADAs - assistant district attorneys - to ride along with the police officers. I'm surprised he was not arrested. I've seen indictments based on less evidence than this. And so, for that reason, I'm very surprised to see that the initial recommendation of the charge appears to be either overridden or simply not acted upon. I think that this tape is going to cause even greater anger towards that decision.

You know, it is certainly the case that you can use lethal force against an unarmed individual in many states and be viewed as acting in self defense, but it's difficult. And you usually have more of a showing from the beating than what we see here.

OLBERMANN: Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, criminal defense attorney, "Countdown" contributor, thanks for staying with us on this.

TURLEY: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Thank you. That's "Countdown," I'm Keith Olbermann, good night.