'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, February 6th, 2012
#ShowPlug 1:WaPost/ABC Poll: Obama 52 Romney 43; The far right's answer: the #s must be cooked. @SteveKornacki, @DaveCatanese join me
#ShowPlug 2: @Markos on Michigan's Hoekstra claims anti-Asian Senate ad a "compliment" to bilingual Chinese. What's next: "2 Wongs?"
#ShowPlug 3: New flashpoint in GOP attack on Unions: Arizona's bid to eliminate deductions, union eligibility. @KyrstenSinema joins me
#ShowPlug 4: GOP finally has proven Voter Fraud case. Unfortunately it's Indiana's GOP Secretary of State, convicted on six counts
#ShowPlug 5: Louisiana Congressman warns of $8B Planned Parenthood "Abortion-Plex" opening in Kansas. One small problem with story.
#ShowPlug 6: Canadian newscaster promotes her appearance judging a Sausage Tasting Contest. What she meant to say was "Tick."
#ShowPlug Last: And Rush's finger in the nose, MIA's finger in the air, and Mrs Tom Brady's finger towards Pats. W/Tim Burke of @Deadspin
watch whole playlist
#5 'Obama Rising', Steve Kornacki
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
#5 'Obama Rising', Dave Catanese
#4 'Ad Race', Markos Moulitsas
YouTube, Current.com (excerpt)
# Time Marches On!
#3 'Anti-Union Agenda', Kyrsten Sinema
#2 Worst Persons: Charles Payne, Charlie White (R-IN), Rep. John Fleming
#1 'Not So Super', Tim Burke
printable PDF transcript
On the show: Markos Moulitsas, Steve Kornacki, Timothy Burke, Kyrsten Sinema, David Catanese
KEITH OLBERMANN: Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Obama 52, Romney 43. Presidential approval back to 50 percent. The ABC News poll suggesting the economy is now a plus for the president. Fox has the answer to that - the unemployment statistics have been altered.
(Excerpt from video clip) ERIC BOLLING: So, are they playing around with the numbers?
(Excerpt from video clip) STEVE DOOCY: Are you saying they're cooking the books?
(Excerpt from video clip) GRETCHEN CARLSON: I don't think anyone should surprised that in an election year -
OLBERMANN: To know him is to dislike him. That same ABC poll, by more than two to one, Americans say the more they learn about Mitt Romney, the less they like him.
Let the racism roll.
This is really a campaign ad by former Congressman Hoekstra against Senator Stabenow of Michigan.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Your economy get very weak, ours gets very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie Spend-It-Now, I'm Pete "Spend-It-not" Hoekstra and I approved this message.
OLBERMANN: What's next, Mr. Hoekstra, something about two Wongs?
The new battleground in the anti-union push - Arizona. While Democrats wobble on protecting the rights of transportation workers to get, or stay, unionized.
"Worst's" - heard about the $8 billion Planned Parenthood "Abortionplex" in Kansas? And their new slogan "No Life Is Sacred?" This Louisiana Congressman did, and didn't realize it was an Onion article.
And Republicans finally have real evidence of voter fraud - an illegal voter convicted on six counts in Indiana. Unfortunately, he's the Republican secretary of state of Indiana.
We'll go to our Saskatchewan Bureau.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: It's a sausage competition that I judge, King of the Kielbasa, so go to pickadick - Picatic.com.
OLBERMANN: And you thought the game was Super? Here's the losing quarterback's wife.
(Excerpt from video clip) GISELE BÜNDCHEN: My husband cannot [BLEEP] throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.
OLBERMANN: Here's the halftime show.
(Excerpt from video clip) M.I.A.: I don't give a -
OLBERMANN: Here's Rush Limbaugh in the Pats' owner's box, picking out who's going to win.
All that and more now on "Countdown."
(Excerpt from video clip) JASON ALEXANDER: Was there any nostril penetration?
OLBERMANN: Good evening, this is Monday, February 6th, 275 days until the 2012 presidential election. I'm Keith Olbermann, sitting in for Keith Olbermann.
Unemployment is going down, his poll numbers are going up, thus the right has the only possible explanation for the resurgence of President Obama - those numbers have been cooked.
The fifth story in the "Countdown" - the president, in an interview yesterday, showing confidence, the kind that seem to flag during his battles with the Republican House last fall, unafraid to stake his claim to four more years.
(Excerpt from video clip) BARAK OBAMA: I deserve a second term, but we're not done. One of the things about being president is you get better as time goes on.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Obama's polls have been getting better as time has gone on too. His approval mark at 50 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while 46 percent think otherwise. Mr. Obama's job-approval rating last cracked the halfway mark in that poll last May.
Fifty percent also agreeing with the president that he deserves a second term, and - while a majority still disapproves of his handling of the economy - his 44 percent approval rating marks his best showing in that category in nearly one year.
All of this follows Friday's release of January's Labor Department report, which saw unemployment drop two tenths of a point more to 8.3 percent, as private-sector employers added 234,000 new jobs.
So, who gets the credit? Mitt Romney supporter Virginia Governor Bob McDonald thinks he should get a share and his fellow Republican governors the rest.
(Excerpt from video clip) BOB McDONALD: Look, I'm glad the economy is starting to recover, but I think it's because of what Republican governors are doing in their states, not because of the president.
OLBERMANN: Making Governor McDonald's unsubstantiated credit grab seem rational, the "Fox and Friends" programming.
(Excerpt from video clip) BOLLING: So are they playing around with the numbers? Look, it's the Bureau of Labor statistics, it's supposed to be nonpartisan, but that's the Department of Labor. Hilda Solis heads the Department of Labor. Hilda Solis works directly for Obama.
(Excerpt from video clip) DOOCY: Are you saying they're cooking the books?
(Excerpt from video clip) BOLLING: I'm saying there's room for error. There's room -
(Excerpt from video clip) CARLSON: I don't think anyone should surprised that in an election year -
OLBERMANN: So, if we're going to just throw out accusations and see if they stick, how about - I wonder if Fox has been fixing the Nielsen ratings all these years?
Meanwhile, the GOP hunt for a presidential candidate goes on with a non-binding caucus in Maine that started on Saturday, runs for a week. Non-binding caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, plus a non-binding Missouri primary tomorrow. You don't want your caucus binding.
Former Senator Rick Santorum, for one, seeming eager to move on:
(Excerpt from video clip) RICK SANTORUM: I think Tuesday's going to be a good day for us. That's going to help, hopefully, reset the race a little bit.
OLBERMANN: He could use a reset.
To no one's surprise, Romney winning Saturday's binding Nevada caucus with 50 percent of the vote, Newt Gingrich scoring less than half of that. Ron Paul closing the gap with Gingrich, though not with Romney, and Santorum trailing way behind.
Back on the campaign trail, meanwhile, Romney hoping to rouse the crowd with a glimpse on an imagined Republican future:
(Excerpt from video clip) MITT ROMNEY: We will cut federal spending. We will reduce its share of total economy and we will, finally, put America on track to have a balanced budget in this country.
OLBERMANN: Of course, for Newt Gingrich, that's playing small ball, he's shooting for - the moon.
(Excerpt from video clip) NEWT GINGRICH: We really have to set the stage to have a campaign this fall in which we have a team running so that we can win the Senate, we can win the House. We can start doing things from Day One.
OLBERMANN: And Rick Santorum, meantime, expressing the obvious:
(Excerpt from video clip) SANTORUM: We have two candidates, candidly, that are flawed.
OLBERMANN: He seems to be in agreement with the polls. That ABC News/Washington Post poll showing that if the election was held tomorrow A) Everybody would be really surprised, and B) President Obama would get 52 percent to Romney's 43 percent. The president would do better against Gingrich - 55-40, no fight.
And if you think some Republicans may be starting to despair about their current crop of potential candidates, one former candidate does not mind saying who the ideal person was to take on President Obama:
(Excerpt from video clip) MICHELE BACHMANN: I was, I was the perfect candidate. America had their chance with the perfect candidate.
OLBERMANN: There's an old Bob and Ray sketch that starts that way. I guess we'll just have to take our chances without her.
For more on the president's surge in the polls, I'm joined by Salon's news editor, Steve Kornacki. Good to see you, Steve.
STEVE KORNACKI: You, too.
OLBERMANN: Does the president's approval number translate to anything, practically speaking, from this - essentially, the start of the presidential campaign?
KORNACKI: It's not directly predictive, because I think the approval rating he has is sort of as tenuous as the economic recovery.
But, I think there's sort of an indirect value here, because it's basically affirming sort of an old truism about presidential approval ratings - which is, that nothing brings them down like the perception that the economy is going in the wrong direction. Nothing brings them back like the perception that the economy is improving.
So, now we've had five straight months of declining unemployment. We have this report last Friday that really puts the exclamation mark at the end of that sentence. The other thing that's of value there is that this poll that we're talking about doesn't really take into account that news on Friday, because most of it was conducted beforehand. So, you know, if the - if the approval rating is going up because the economy seems to be improving, if the economy keeps improving - it will be predictive.
OLBERMANN: Plus, his overall approval is 50, his economic approval is 44 and this has been about - in many different subcategories of where he's judged by voters - he runs far ahead of himself. The - the - the sum is greater than the parts.
How could - what is that - that is indicative, though, about a presidential election. That is - they like the guy whether or not his policies have worked, which is tough to beat no matter who it is and what party.
KORNACKI: Right. No, and I mean, I think that's the thing - there is something to be said for the fact that you have Republicans running the country for eight years before Obama came in, and in the circumstances under which he came in. This is a guy, like you say, who has always been very personally popular. So, he's the kind of guy who people have been rooting for.
I think of Ronald Reagan on the Republican side 30 years ago. Reagan was a guy that people wanted to cheer for. They liked him personally. He dealt with economic conditions similar to what Obama's faced early in his term. Reagan's approval rating fell down to low 30s about two years into his term. The economy, just at this same time - you know, during Reagan's term, he had the fifth straight month of declining unemployment, it was growing again, and by the end of the campaign it wasn't close because once people saw some progress, they wanted to give him credit for it.
And if there's still more progress in months ahead in economic news, they will want to give Barack Obama credit for it.
OLBERMANN: What if there is not. What if it - is there a length of tether? Is there a degree to the leash? What is it?
KORNACKI: Yeah. Well no, I mean - and then you can think of another example of here is what happened to George Bush Sr. in 1992. The Bill Clinton message that year, famously, was "It's the economy, stupid." And when things really kind of hit the skids for Bush, was those mid-year months - June, July, August - when the unemployment spiked from 7.3 to 7.8 just around the time of the conventions. And that really cemented the perception, in people's minds, that it was off the rails. That Bush had lost the country.
And the interesting thing there was - in the last week of that campaign, Bush got the best economic news of his presidency, the best job-growth numbers, but people didn't believe anything was changing.
OLBERMANN: There's one interior number - I have another question about the approval numbers - but there is one interior number on the ABC/Washington Post poll. Fifty-two percent said the more they heard Romney, the less they liked him, which was better than double those who liked more as they learned more.
Gingrich's numbers, far worse. It's basically triple - the more you hear, the less you like him.
Is the - is the presidential election academic if those numbers hold, because what can do you do about that? How negative can you go to compensate for that? The more we know you, the more we don't want to vote for either one of the contenders.
KORNACKI: Right, it's interesting because this has been - this has turned into a very, sort of, ugly process for the Republicans. And it's one that's threatening to continue being ugly for some time.
It doesn't have to be that way in presidential nominating seasons. And I think of - you think Bush was re-elected in 2004, it's true, but you think of what happened that year - John Kerry and all the Democrats held their fire in terms of going after one another. Kerry came out of that primary campaign well ahead of Bush, because all the Democrats had done was spend the time going after Bush, pointing out why they felt he failed in this term.
This is the complete opposite. You got Gingrich out there calling Romney a liar, you got Romney out there calling Gingrich names. Nobody likes hearing any of this stuff and you have the bonus - if you're a Democrat - you have Gingrich, who has basically been making the Democratic case against Romney about his tax status, about his Bain record, all the excesses of his private-equity work. So, it's been a bad season for them.
OLBERMANN: Quickly, back to the approval numbers. Do they have any practical value in the political fights ahead, particularly in the payroll-tax-cut extension?
KORNACKI: Yeah, no. I mean, I think the payroll-tax extension, I think the Republicans are spooked A) by the poll numbers now, but also by what happened in December when they kind of dragged that out and they tried to make a stand on that. I think they kind of realized then that the standing of the Republican party right now in polls is about as bad as it's been since 1996, 1998. They paid a dear price back then and I think they started to see, at the end of December, you know, there's some risk of that.
I don't think it's going to turn into, like, "Wow, they're going to be really cooperative with Obama this year," but on payroll-tax-cut extension, yeah, I don't think they're going to have that fight again.
OLBERMANN: The fight may be lost already.
Steve Kornacki, the news editor at Salon. Thanks for coming in.
OLBERMANN: Off for a gambol, if you will, through the GOP presidential field and its illusions and/or delusions, I'm joined by David Catanese, now the national political reporter with Politico. Thank you for your time tonight, sir.
DAVID CATANESE: Good to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Let me go back to those same interior numbers I just mentioned with Steve. The more they see Romney, the more they don't like him. Twice as many feel that way as like him. For Gingrich, it's nearly triple.
What does that mean in terms of either of them being able to win on the negative campaign that's already shaping up? Obviously, they've used it against each other. Steve just pointed out they would use it against the president, whoever gets nominated. Even if you hit a seam and you find ways to punish the president, Americans don't - still don't seem to like either guy who will wind up running against the president.
CATANESE: Well, there's an irony here because, going negative - there's a risk and a reward and Romney has already gotten the reward out of this. Carpet bombing Newt Gingrich, flexing his organizational and financial muscle and advantage he's had over him, and that did get him a reward, it put him back as the front-runner, looking like more inevitable, retrieving the inevitability that he lost in South Carolina.
But, of course - now here's the risk part - people see all this muck on the air and they say, "Man, Mitt doesn't look as nice as he did two months ago."
The other thing is, these guys have also been omnipresent. You know, 20 debates, two a week, primaries and caucuses every other week now. They're on the front pages of all the newspapers, on cable news all day. And the attacks are blistering.
This isn't like Obama and Hilary in 2008. That was a fight about ideology and experience. Even the "3:00am" ad was about, you know, experience, that was the critique. Now, you've got Gingrich saying, like, this guy's unacceptable to be president. That he's pro-abortion, that he's a liberal. That's quite an attack in a Republican primary.
OLBERMANN: And it's not as if it were limited to the personalities involved here. There's another interior number in that same ABC News poll: 54 percent of American adults say they disapprove of what the GOP candidates are saying. Can you - no matter how many PACs you have working for you, thanks to Citizens United, can you buy your way out of that?
CATANESE: It's very tough because it's all on video tape, as you well know. And, part of the narrative that Newt Gingrich is pushing forward with now - that there's really no difference between putting Mitt Romney in the Oval Office and Obama - goes to the heart of the Obama re-election campaign, that Mitt Romney has no core.
They're going to collect all this video tape and put this into ads in the fall saying, "What is Mitt Romney? Is he a moderate? Like, when he crafted the health care plan in Massachusetts, or should we believe him, what he said most recently? You know, that he's going to repeal the health care bill."
I think that is going to be the central argument - that you really can't get a good feel for this guy. Where's his core? And Newt Gingrich, hanging in this race, pushes for that argument every day.
OLBERMANN: And the longer he hangs in it, does it make his eventual endorsement of Romney less effective and less plausible, when it comes to that? Because, unless things map out entirely differently than they look like they're mapping out now, Gingrich does not have a chance at this nomination, does he?
CATANESE: Right. It's really tough to imagine that day when Newt Gingrich stands by Mitt Romney and says, "This is the guy." But we know that they always do come to this. They will at some point come together. But, man, all that video tape and all the things that Newt Gingrich says - I think it's much tougher for people to say, "This is a warm embrace." I can't imagine it being a warm embrace.
Remember, John Huntsman's endorsement of Mitt Romney didn't even seem real and authentic. I mean, I think he mentioned him once. Romney wasn't even there. So, there are definitely degrees of endorsements and, you know, if/when that Gingrich endorsement of Romney comes - we're getting a little bit ahead of ourselves - but that is going to be a sight to see.
OLBERMANN: Well, before we get ahead of ourselves, what about this week? What about Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota, and Missouri and the concept of the non-binding caucus, which a fun-enough phrase as it is?
CATANESE: Yeah, three contests tomorrow, you know, semi-important. I don't think they're going to be game changers. Important for, I think, Rick Santorum, who we haven't spoken about yet. He is already saying he's going to win one or two of these. Newt Gingrich is not on the ballot in Missouri, there are no delegates there. Rick Santorum, also polling pretty well in Minnesota.
If he can win two of the three states tomorrow, he might have a narrative going forward to say, "Look, Newt Gingrich is damaged goods, he's too negative, people don't like him. I'm the true conservative alternative to Mitt Romney." But tomorrow is really one of his last chances to do that. So, he needs to put some points on the board and win some states tomorrow.
OLBERMANN: David Catanese, political reporter - national political reporter at Politico. Thank you kindly for your time tonight, sir.
CATANESE: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: As the Republican challenger to Senator Stabenow (D-Michigan) begins running an overtly racist ad, the guy behind the Willie Horton commercial is "going all out" for Mitt Romney.
That's next. this is "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Heard the joke about the Chinese girl who says, "Your economy get very weak, ours get very good?" Unfortunately, it's not a joke, it's an actual commercial by the Republican candidate for the Senate in Michigan.
A Louisiana congressman detonates over that new $8 billion Planned Parenthood Abortionplex in Kansas. What $8 billion Planned Parenthood Abortionplex? The one he read about online.
And they're already calling her the Yoko Ono of the New England Patriots, which is kind of insulting to Yoko Ono. The quarterback's wife does not like the quarterback's receivers.
And, this may be the greatest football crowd shot ever. Yes, that's who you think it is, in the New England Pats' owners' box during the Super Bowl. Which his team lost by a nose. Coming up.
OLBERMANN: There were a number of funny, insightful and entertaining ads during the Super Bowl yesterday, and then - on the telecast on the NBC station in Michigan - there was one that would have made the 1970 incarnation of Don Rickles flinch. It was from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra.
In our fourth story on the "Countdown" - the former congressman drawing harsh criticism, but it's not the first time race-baiting has been used to win political points. The ad against Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow is supposed to depict an Asian woman in a rice paddy, speaking broken English.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Debbie spends so much American money, you borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak, ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you, Debbie Spend-it-now.
OLBERMANN: Script get very weak, acting get worse. The Michigan chapter of the nonpartisan Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote group said it was "deeply disappointed" in Hoekstra.
In a statement today, "It is very disturbing that Mr. Hoekstra's campaign chose to use harmful and negative stereotypes that intrinsically encourage anti-Asian sentiment. The use of these stereotypes is counter to the progress our country has made over the past decades to encourage respect for all communities."
And a coalition of black ministers is calling on Hoekstra to remove the ad. The Reverend Charles William II - Williams, rather - of the King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit saying, "The imagery in the ad is no different than the folks who had to put blackface paint on and tap dance."
But Hoekstra says the ad - starring an American actress whose broken English isn't really that convincing - is really a compliment.
(Excerpt from video clip) PETE HOEKSTRA: Well, it's not a stereotype at all. This is a - through the creative, this is a young woman in China who's speaking English. That's quite an achievement.
OLBERMANN: Seriously. And if history is any guide, equally poor judgment may encroach on advertisements in the presidential contest as well. The man responsible for the 1988 racially-charged "Willie Horton" ad, which helped topple Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis is now leading the ad wars on behalf of the pro-Romney super PAC, "Restore Our Future."
Joining me now, Markos Moulitsas, "Countdown" contributor, founder and publisher of Daily Kos. Thanks for your time tonight, my friend.
MARKOS MOULITSAS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: First point - so, that was a compliment? I mean - apart from the fact that the rice paddy that she's in looks like this nice country road in the upper peninsula of Michigan in the late summer, maybe, and she sounds like an American - a bad American actress doing a bad dialect bit - that was supposed to be a compliment to people in China who are bilingual? Is that what we're having - Representative Hoekstra wants us to believe?
MOULITSAS: You know, given the fact that his explanation is so bad, sort of tells me that he had no idea he was going to get this kind of pushback on his ad. I mean, what was amazing to me is that, almost immediately, it was Republicans who were attacking this ad. They immediately saw it as a problem.
Remember, this nation is getting browner and less white every single day and Republicans - if they're going to compete long-term - can't be turning off every single group that is not a white Southern male. And here, again, they've gone through African-Americans. They've definitely done a number on Latinos. Now, I guess, it's Asian Americans' turn.
OLBERMANN: But it used - there used to be minority groups in this country who were - it was okay to make jokes about or to do, particularly, dialect bits - whether you were kidding or trying to represent some sort of foreign element that people had to be scared of. I don't remember them being widespread in political ads, but - you know, I'm just thinking, your point was, probably, that Hoekstra is of a certain age - or the people who designed this ad are of a certain age - where it hasn't occurred to them that even Don Rickles doesn't do "Polack" jokes anymore.
MOULITSAS: Yeah, I know, times are definitely changing. I mean, one of the things that's accelerating that trend is the use of social media where people are - they're not really locked down in their little white suburbs anymore, or their African-American enclaves in the urban centers. They're actually interacting online with people of different colors and different nationalities, different parts of the country. So, this notion that we're going to demonize - or we're going rally around, as a group - by hating on somebody else, really is becoming an anachronism.
And, in politics, it really has become almost the exclusive enclave of the Republican Party. And the more they do this, the more they lose amongst youth voters, the more they lose amongst people who are not - again - white male voters.
OLBERMANN: It will be a signal day when an ad like that, that is does not have a supposed Chinese woman in it, but has a Muslim woman in it that makes fun, or makes fear out of them, is denounced across the minority spectrum the way this ad has been made.
But, jumping off this to the process - this ad for Hoekstra was produced by Fred Davis, and Fred Davis is the same man who conceived the demon-sheep video for Carly Fiorina in California, which is one of the great bad ads of all time, where the guy dressed up in a sheep outfit in wolf's clothing and he's got the FCI - the FCINO thing. He also did the Christine O'Donnell "I'm not a witch" ad. And he was the one who came up with the "complete the danged fence" spot for McCain. And I guess the question - and now, with this one in Michigan - Fred Davis, how does he keep getting work?
MOULITSAS: That's a good question. I don't have any answer. I guess he's the purview of Republicans who don't stand a chance and they're desperate for any kind of attention, because, the one thing he does do, he gives them attention.
Of course, almost universally, that has been bad attention, but I guess if you're desperate for any kind of traction - and Hoekstra, keep in mind, he's in an uphill battle against Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. So, it's not like he's a front-runner. I mean, this guy's trying to get traction, he still has the primary to get through, he's desperate for attention and, I guess, nothing gets attention nowadays then stereotyping and playing off racial stereotypes. So, I guess - mission accomplished, if that's what you want.
I don't think that's a winning strategy, either short-term to win the election, in the long term for the Republican party to be able to compete nationally in a country that is increasingly less white.
OLBERMANN: Well, you just hit the nail on the head, though. And this brings us to the subject of Larry McCarthy working to promote Mitt Romney. And the bugaboo - you know, this inherited, in many cases, fear that Democrats and liberals have of "Willie Horton" commercials. And here's the man who did the "Willie Horton" commercial, now going to work for Romney. Is there any evidence that this stuff works anymore?
MOULITSAS: I think it works in Republican primaries. I would assume, if it's going to work anywhere, that's where it works. Now, nationally though, or in a general election, it works less and less. I mean, that's why we we're seeing less overt appeals to racism and bigotry and even attacking - the gay stuff, I mean, it's amazing how quickly popular culture has moved from an area where it's okay to demonize and make fun of gay people. Now it is not. Now, it's actually seen as a political liability.
And now, we're seeing a situation where, I think, African Americans are off the table. Immigrants, yeah, you can still kind of bash on them.
So - but, again, it's a cautionary tale. This was a big issue in the Nevada Senate race in 2010. Harry Reid was one of the few Democrats to escape, and he did so because the Latino turnout was through the roof in 2010. And - in the caucuses on Saturday - only five percent of Republican caucus-goers were Latino. It was eight percent in 2008, So, they've lost almost half of Latino support. They didn't have a lot to begin with, but they're losing it.
As the country gets browner, they get whiter. And these appeals are just bad politics, which is why you have people like Karl Rove, actually - Mike Murphy, Republican strategist - sort of shaking their heads in horror, because they see the long-term trends and they see that this is going to hurt the Republican party brand in the short term and in the long term.
OLBERMANN: Right, and that they all think that they're still running against Al Smith in 1928. You can't convince them otherwise.
Markos Moulitsas, "Countdown" contributor, founder and publisher of Daily Kos. Always a pleasure, sir, thank you.
MOULITSAS: Thank you very much.
OLBERMANN: There really is voter fraud in this country, just as the Republicans keep insisting. A man has been convicted on six counts in Indiana. Unfortunately he's a Republican. In fact, he's the secretary of state there. Oops. Ahead.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Are we actually back now? I just wanted to make sure there's no commercial running somewhere. The latest anti-union battleground? Arizona, next.
First the "Sanity Break," and on this date, February 6th, 1952, King George VI of England died, meaning that his successor, Queen Elizabeth, has now been on the throne for exactly 60 years, the second-longest reign in British history.
Elizabeth, of course, the daughter of Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth.
"Time Marches On!"
VIDEO: Canadian news anchor has sausage-related malfunction on air.
We begin - we begin, as we always do, with local news bloopers.
Here, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada morning news anchor Lisa Dutton is taking a minute to plug an upcoming appearance she'll be making.
(Excerpt from video clip) LISA DUTTON: It's a sausage competition that I judge.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Oh, like sausage eating?
(Excerpt from video clip) DUTTON: Yeah, yeah.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Oh, nice.
(Excerpt from video clip) DUTTON: You can get tickets online at pick a dick - pick - oh, no.
(Excerpt from video clip) WOMAN: Well, you're thinking about sausage, so -
(Excerpt from video clip) DUTTON: King of the Kielbasa, so go to pickadick - Picatic.com.
OLBERMANN: New meaning to that phrase, "If you like sausage, never go and see how sausage is made."
VIDEO: Annual Raleigh, NC Krispy Kreme run presents challenge to feet - and stomachs.
Raleigh, North Carolina, hello. It's the eighth annual Krispy Kreme Challenge five-mile run. Because when you think physical fitness, you think Krispy Kreme.
Started by some friends at NC State in 2004, this year's challenge had over 7,500 runners and raised more than $100,000 for North Carolina Children's Hospital. The challenge involves running two and a half miles to a Krispy Kreme store, eating a dozen doughnuts, running the two and a half miles back, all in under an hour and presumably without - you know.
The bad news for the runners is after eating the dozen doughnuts, they'll still need to run another fifty miles before - to burn off the remaining calories.
VIDEO: Twin babies bounce to the sounds of Johnny Cash.
Let's end with the TMO Adorable Clip of the Day.
Parenting can be tough, having twins doesn't make it easier. That is, unless you plop them down in a couple Jolly Jumpers and let 'em bounce away to some Johnny Cash.
(Excerpt from video clip) JOHNNY CASH: When I was just a baby/My mama told me, "Son/ always be a good boy/Don't ever play with guns."/But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
OLBERMANN: I've said it before and I'll say it again, kids love songs about prison.
"Time Marches On!"
Two more fronts opening in the war on American workers. One in Arizona. One in Washington, slipped in to a bill to reauthorize the FAA. Coming up next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: "Countdown," the longest continuously-running 8:00 p.m. news hour on cable. Unless you consider Fox - news. We're live each night at 8:00 Eastern, with the primary replay at 8:00 Pacific. Be there. Aloha.
Arizona's Republicans continue to push their march to another century. In this case, the 19th.
In our third story on the "Countdown" - the backlash intensifies and the union movement in Arizona is mobilizing, after that state's Governor Jan Brewer introduced legislation last week that would make collective bargaining illegal for government workers, for teachers, for police and firefighters.
Crafted by the conservative think tank The Goldwater Institute, the bills would also eliminate automatic paycheck deductions for union dues and it would ban compensation to public employees for union work.
Meanwhile, in Washington, a deal between House Republican and Senate Democrats on the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill now includes a provision that unions say will restrict their organizing power. Nineteen unions joining forces in urging reconsideration of the bill.
They write in a statement, "Rewarding the House Republican leadership's desire to rewrite decades of longstanding labor law in a flash, by inserting an unrelated and controversial labor provision in a much-needed aviation safety and security bill - without notice, hearing or debate - sets an extremely dangerous precedent."
And, in Indiana - just days after Governor Mitch Daniels approved "right to work" legislation in that state - actor Clint Eastwood took two minutes to tell us it's "Halftime in America" in the Super Bowl commercial sponsored by the American automaker Chrysler. As Eastwood points to a culture of increasing division, discourse and blame, images of pro-union protesters in Wisconsin captured last year flash on the screen. In Madison, the sign originally read, "Care about educators like they care for your child." In the ad, the sign's text is swapped with one of an alarm clock, while others are made blank.
And corporate front group The Center on Union Facts ran a primetime ad as well:
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN: I'm sick of the union taking so much of my money out of every paycheck. I don't know why you guys voted them in.
(Excerpt from video clip) MAN #2: Don't look at me, I never even got a vote.
OLBERMANN: Joining us now - Kyrsten Sinema, the former Arizona State senator now running for Congress in the new 9th district there. Thanks for your time tonight.
KYRSTEN SINEMA: It's great to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Are these anti-union bills more virulent in Arizona than the ones than we've seen in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana? Gauge them against what we've seen already.
SINEMA: You know, I do think they're actually even more restrictive than what we've seen in Ohio and Wisconsin. And part of that, Keith, is that Arizona is already a so-called "right to work" state, which means unions already have diminished power and capacity in Arizona. So, this assault is even more damaging to working families than in other states.
OLBERMANN: We should mention that - just as we were talking about this - the Senate passed that bill about the FAA that includes this slipped-in provision that may restrict, at least according to these unions, their right to collectively bargain.
Back to Arizona. It's already a "right to work" state. What would these measures actually do, in terms of what are already limited roles of unions?
SINEMA: Well, the good news is that - even though unions have legally-limited roles in Arizona - we do have some very strong unions, such as police, firefighters and teachers. And they work hard to keep those workers in those communities safe. These bills would completely eliminate their ability to engage in things like collective bargaining, which insures that you have fair wages for firefighters, police officers. It insures that you protect pensions for teachers. It insures that those voices can come down to the capitol, for instance, and lobby on behalf on the communities that they serve - students, individuals who need the protection of police and fire. So, it really eliminates these unions' ability to protect the communities of which they serve.
OLBERMANN: Kyrsten, I know that the primary answer to question of why Republicans are doing this in state after state is, "Because the people who support their candidacies tell them to." I know that's the actual answer.
But, beyond that, isn't it - they got fricasseed in Wisconsin. They probably had Scott Walker in office for a full term, and now that's certainly a large question. Kasich went down in flames in Ohio when he tried to push this through. Is there - are there - as they discovered much too late in Wisconsin and Ohio for their own purposes - are there, in fact, Republicans in Arizona who belong to unions and the Republicans simply forgot about them? Is there enough of a blowback to make a difference here?
SINEMA: Well, you know, in some of our unions - particularly amongst police and fire - the majority of the members are Republican. So, they've made a real big mistake and really miscalculated who the people in the working families of Arizona are.
And, Keith, I think we'll see that - if they don't change their behavior down at the state legislature, and back off from this legislation - you'll see a struggle just as powerful as you did in Wisconsin and Ohio, right here on the ground in Arizona.
OLBERMANN: So much is a struggle on the ground in Arizona, like I have to tell you that.
OLBERMANN: Is there - is there some - any way you can measure the overall undercurrent in the state? I mean, is there a sense - even for those who might actually go along with these sort of pushbacks against what we consider 21st century America? Are there people who are just tired of seeing everything around them being in this sort of frenetic change, confrontational, Jan Brewer's-bony-finger-in-Barack-Obama's-chest kind of, you know, theme that has become apparent in your state in the last few years?
SINEMA: Well, I think that's a really important point, Keith, because the truth is that most Arizonans are just pragmatic, commonsense people who want to live their lives and take care of their families. So, this picture that you see of Arizona over the last several years in the media is really a caricature, and it describes only a few, radical elements of our government. It does not represent the true attitudes of people in Arizona.
And so, I think what we're starting to see - we've seen it recently with the recall election of Russell Pearce, with the election of a new Phoenix mayor and a new Tucson mayor, both of whom are Democrats - things are really changing in Arizona, and the public has begun to see that these few voices that are out there making these noises do not represent us. And I think that the tide is turning.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, if there is a caricature in American politics, it's Jan Brewer. Former Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema, now seeking the seat in the 9th Congressional District, the new one there. Great luck with that. Great thanks for your time, as always.
SINEMA: Thank you. Thanks so much.
OLBERMANN: Well, look at it this way - maybe Rush Limbaugh had his finger up his nose during the Super Bowl yesterday in an effort to say "We're Number One" on behalf of the New York Giants. Great game, greater chaos surrounding it, ahead.
OLBERMANN: The quarterback of the New England Patriots took his second consecutive Super Bowl loss with equanimity and sportsmanship. His supermodel wife, not so much.
You know why we can all sleep easily tonight about America's poor? Because this guy on Fox says lots of them have gout. And after all, gout is known as the "rich man's disease." "Worst Persons," next on "Countdown."
OLBERMANN: Rush Limbaugh fails to pick a Super Bowl winner, M.I.A. uses her finger for something different and Giselle Bündchen becomes the Yoko Ono of the New England Patriots. Your real Super Bowl round-up, next.
But first, because there is nothing super about these folks, here are Countdown's top three nominees for today's "Worst Persons in the World."
The bronze? To Charles Payne, of the political whorehouse that is Fox News. Mr. Payne has become the latest victim of Fox's dilemma. It must simultaneously assert that the economy is not getting any better, even though it is, while also telling its audience that poor people actually have it pretty great in America.
Thus, here is Mr. Payne, who attempted to jump that Snake River Canyon of logical chasms and just didn't make it:
(Excerpt from video clip) CHARLES PAYNE: People aren't dying in America. You know, in fact, the very poor suffer from gout. In the 1920s and '30s that was called "the rich man's disease."
OLBERMANN: See! They're really rich! They have a disease, that ninety years ago, people who didn't know any better, called "the rich man's disease." You know what else we used to say, ninety years ago? Smoking was good for your throat and segregation was legal.
Gout hasn't changed, it's still connected to obesity and hypertension and poor people are prone to bad diets that cause all three of them.
The runner-up? Indiana's Secretary of State Charlie White.
Republicans willing to take voting rights away from minorities, the poor, and the elderly on the specious claim of widespread national voting fraud - the idea that there are people voting who shouldn't be voting - finally have some evidence to support their claim.
A court in Noblesville, Indiana has convicted a man on three counts of voter fraud, two counts of perjury, and one count of theft - six felonies - he faces three to 18 years in jail. The man lived in one place, claimed he lived in another and voted illegally in the latter place.
Unfortunately for the Republicans, the man was Indiana's secretary of state, Republican Charlie White.
But our winner tonight? John Fleming, Republican congressman from the 4th district of Louisiana. No, seriously, he's really a U.S. congressman.
Congressman Fleming saw this - "Planned Parenthood Opens Eight Billion Dollar Abortionplex" - supposedly about a new clinic in Topeka, Kansas, that could conduct a million abortions a month, and offered its patients such amenities as restaurants, malls, and a three-story nightclub.
The story goes on to include this quote, allegedly from a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman: "'Although we've traditionally dedicated 97 percent of our resources to other important services such as contraception distribution, cancer screening and STD testing, this new complex allows us to devote our full attention to what has always been our true passion, abortion, said Richards, standing under a banner emblazoned with Planned Parenthood's new slogan, 'No Life Is Sacred.'"
By now, you or I would've thought, "'No Life Is Sacred,' that sounds like a pretty self-defeating slogan," not just for Planned Parenthood but for any group on Earth. Unless they were those Mayans with the human sacrifice thing. And then you would've said, "Ohhh, that's from The Onion. I knew there was something wrong there! The Onion is a satire site."
That's what you or I would've said, but not Congressman John Fleming of Louisiana. He posted the article on his Facebook page, complete with the comment, "More on Planned Parenthood, abortion by the wholesale."
Punchline? Not only did a sitting, second-term, U.S. congressman fall for this, but one more detail about Congressman John Fleming: he's a medical doctor. Doctor congressman John Fleming, easily led - today's "Worst Person in the World."
OLBERMANN: In case you are not among the one hundred and eleven million people who already know, the Super Bowl was last night. The underdog New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots 21 to 17. Some of us told you that would happen.
In our number-one story - the game itself was very entertaining. But when you have two infamous fingers and the newest craze sweeping the nation - slacklining - as well as the thoughtful football analysis of the losing team's quarterback's embittered supermodel wife, the game itself becomes almost secondary.
The halftime show, featuring Madonna, was the highest-rated portion of last night's program, as the 53-year-old Material Girl lip-synced her way through the show, only nearly falling over twice. She tried to take a knee at one point, her awkwardness made more apparent as she tried to keep pace with a man in a toga dancing on a wire. His name is Sketchy Andy Lewis and his rope bouncing is called slacklining. Apparently, that is a thing.
But the halftime show was stolen when British singer M.I.A. flashed her middle finger, making her 13 seconds of singing the most-talked-about of the night, a move highlighted after a failed attempt to censor the image resulted in what looked like a laser show.
But M.I.A.'s finger was not the only one being talked about. Rush Limbaugh was caught in New England owner Robert Kraft's box attempting to pick out a winner. Hello?
Also in Kraft's box, but certainly not digging for gold, was Tom Brady's wife, supermodel Gisele Bündchen. Who, after the game, responded to being heckled by the fans of the victorious Giants with some football fundamentals.
(Excerpt from video clip) GISELE BÜNDCHEN: You need to catch the ball when you're supposed to catch the ball. My husband cannot f------ throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.
OLBERMANN: Can't argue with that.
Let's bring in the assignment editor for the remarkable sports website Deadspin.com, who coordinated most of its Super Bowl coverage, Tim Burke. Tim, thanks for your time tonight.
TIM BURKE: Hi, Keith, great to be with you.
OLBERMANN: Let me start with Gisele Bündchen-Brady for a second. Is she - should she be abused for what she said about his receivers, or - given the sort of slackness, the lack of edge to commentary on television about football - does she get a round of applause for not just being the gratuitous, deferential wife after one of these games?
BURKE: Well, Keith, I think that there's somewhat of an analogue here with the political activism shown by, say, the Dixie Chicks, who, you know, were told to "shut up and sing."
We've sort of, I think as a society, come to this agreement that the significant others of athletes are supposed to remain silent, publicly, about their partner's play, or their teammates or the sport itself. And I think that, maybe, it's even to more of a degree when it's someone who is famous, and beautiful and a supermodel like Gisele, in so far as that her opinions - which, frankly, she does have somewhat of a point. Her teammates - or Tom Brady's teammates - did, at times, literally drop the ball in that game. But I think, at the same time, there is somewhat of a, like, "cast the first stone." If Tom Brady doesn't give up that safety to open the scoring of the game, the Patriots probably win. So I think that sort of plays into it as well.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, and how many bad throws did Wes Welker catch during the season, as opposed to the perfect ones?
Let me take you to halftime. Can you confirm the three big reports here? One, that Madonna lip-synced. Two, that she did, in fact, try to take a knee in the middle of that. And three, that she was dressed as the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey to try to cross-promote with PBS?
BURKE: Well, I think she was dressed like She-Ra, the cartoon character, personally. I can't confirm that she was lip-syncing, except that it was obvious to anyone watching and paying attention to where the sounds came out and when her lips were moving, that they were not in sync.
And, as for the last thing - you know, it's interesting that my original post - before the M.I.A. thing that we'll talk about in a second - came up, was that I think Madonna is getting a little too old for this. And Madonna is actually younger, on average, than compared to some of the last couple Super Bowl performances that we've had.
So, I think it's more of an issue of where Madonna's backup dancers have always sort of complemented her music. And now, her backup dancers are so much better, and the choreography is so much better than she's able to keep up with, instead of complementing, it instead becomes a contrast where you see all the flaws of a woman who's probably perfectly talented, but isn't necessarily able to keep up with the people who are dancing around her, and what happens is she stumbles and falls down.
OLBERMANN: Yeah, she and I are the same age and I could have lasted about 30 seconds of that routine. I'll take you back to M.I.A. in a moment, but I've got to ask about the Rush Limbaugh photo. Do we know - was he picking or scratching?
BURKE: I've looked through this frame by frame.
OLBERMANN: The Zapruder film of nasal approaches.
BURKE: Oh, it really is, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Back and to the left. Back and to the left.
BURKE: It comes down to an issue of how you want to define a pick or a scratch. If you define a pick as, you know, nasal insertion, then it's a pick. But he was actually scratching the inside of the septum, I guess you might say. He wasn't necessarily digging. He was scratching, but it was inside the nostril. You make the call.
OLBERMANN: Does he deserve the abuse anyway, even if it was just that? Because, I mean, the Patriots owner's box has been a publicity death trap. That's where Donald Trump's hair stood up and waved "Hi, Mom" at the camera. That's where Steven Tyler, last night, was mistaken for one of the "Housewives of Beverly Hills." I mean, if you're in there, bad things are going to happen to you, right?
BURKE: Well yeah, and I found a lot of fans who - once they discovered that Rush Limbaugh was in Robert Kraft's box for the game - had suddenly changed their allegiances. If they were, perhaps, unaffiliated before the game started, once they saw that Rush Limbaugh was in Robert Kraft's box, they were suddenly pulling for the Giants.
OLBERMANN: The Giants were nice enough to have me - oh, sorry. The Giants were nice enough to have me in their box in the last - of course, I got to see them lose to Washington, but that's a whole another story. Quickly, how did M.I.A. get away with that, compared to what happened to Janet Jackson so many years ago? It seems like a finger to the worldwide audience would get a little more attention than it has.
BURKE: Well, it's interesting, because the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake thing - what, I guess that was eight years ago now - was a very top-down media sensation. That the media told people, "You should be outraged by this." And, in the end, you know, I think, what? The FCC got 97 complaints, total, for the whole thing, most of them from a "Save the Children" society of some sort?
BURKE: This was a very bottom-up, where - watching people responding on Twitter and other places on the Internet and on Facebook - everybody was like, "Did I just see that? Did I just see that?"
And I think the difference between 2012 and 2004 is that we have Twitter and we have the ability to take high-definition screen caps and I can show you - or, you know, Deadspin can show you - yes, indeed, you did just see what, you know, what that was.
OLBERMANN: Tim Burke of Deadspin. Great thanks, Tim.
BURKE: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: That's "Countdown." I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck.