updated 9/15/2006 12:57:13 PM ET 2006-09-15T16:57:13

Guests: Craig Crawford, Michael Musto

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST:  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Back we go to confusion.  Those who do not march in lockstep with the president are confused, even Republican Senator McCain, even Republican Senator Warner, even Republican Senator Graham, even his own former secretary of state Powell, as they defeat today the president‘s plan to buzz the Geneva Convention and set different standards for CIA interrogators.  Mr. Powell writes a letter of opposition, and the wheels come off at the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you think that Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is just confused about what you‘re trying to do?

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  And confusion resuscitates Plamegate, Richard Armitage, outing himself as Bob Novak‘s source, said it was just casual chitchat, a regrettable slip.  Novak says Armitage summoned him to his office and deliberately told him of Joe Wilson‘s wife‘s CIA work.

The similarities between the shootings at Montreal‘s Dawson College and Columbine, also deliberate.  A chilling look tonight inside the life of the shooter.

Chilling in a different way, more of Matt Lauer with Debra Lafave.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “TODAY”)

DEBRA LAFAVE:  I was a kindhearted person who loved children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

And children of a different kind, the summer of celebrity spawn.  We count 19 of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And I‘m having twins.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Sorry, we count 20 of them.

All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You heard it here first.  It‘s official.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening.  This is Thursday, September 14, 54 days until the 2006 midterm elections.

It was President Bush‘s calculation that because of that election, a Republican-controlled Congress would not deny him the power to detain and interrogate terror suspects in any manner he sees fit.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN tonight, the president flunked calculus.  Three powerful Senate Republicans, not to mention the former secretary of state, who carried the water about Iraq to the United Nations all spurning the White House over its plan for prosecuting and interrogating detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and, initially at least, beating that plan, the president putting on or putting in some face time on Capitol Hill today, evidently in vain.

He made his case for legislation that would, among other things, rewrite a key provision of the Geneva Conventions known as Common Article Three, the one that prohibits the cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees.

You will recall that earlier this summer, the Supreme Court ruled the Bush administration must meet Article Three standards in its handling of terror suspects, but the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting this afternoon for its own version of the detainee bill, one that it says protects the rights of suspects, thus leaving many key provisions of the Bush plan out, the bill championed and largely written by Republican Senators McCain, Warner, and Graham, Senator Graham himself still a reserve judge in the Air Force Court of Appeals, every Democrat on committee supporting the bill, along with the Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, the vote 15 to 9, former secretary of state Powell, former Joint Chiefs of (INAUDIBLE) chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff as well, voicing his opposition in a letter to Senator McCain released this morning that any changes to Article Three could adversely affect the treatment of captured American soldiers, quoting General Powell, “The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism.  To redefine Common Article Three would add to those doubts.  Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk.”

The administration‘s response to its Republican critics, simple and simply predictable and extraordinarily familiar, they must be confused.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you think the Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is just confused about what you‘re trying to do?

SNOW:  Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  So you just—you think that he would write a letter like this without an understanding?

SNOW:  I don‘t know, it‘s interesting.  We didn‘t hear from him.  So I don‘t know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Well, how do you account for the fact that three Republican senators oppose you so vehemently on this?

SNOW:  It‘s a free country.  You‘re allowed to oppose--  And what I‘m suggesting is that there‘s still ongoing conversations, and I wouldn‘t prejudge.

DAVID GREGORY, NBC CHIEF White House CORRESPONDENT:  The critics of this, Republicans that you‘ve talked about, think that you are seeking to alter Article Three, because you are, in effect, lowering the standards of Article Three by the elimination of this language.

SNOW:  No, it‘s a straw man.  As a matter of fact, what we‘re trying to do is, we‘re trying to reach out and work with them to come up with the issues.

GREGORY:  But you‘re defining it in a way that does not address outrages upon personal dignity and particularly—

SNOW:  Sure it does.

GREGORY:  ... humiliating and degrading treatment, because you find that to be vague.

SNOW:  No, all of it is vague, and therefore what you do is, you try to provide some clarity by saying, These—here are the subset of behaviors that we think fall under those terms.  I think we‘re talking past each other here.  What...

GREGORY:  (INAUDIBLE) you‘re certainly talking past the people who oppose you.  And...

SNOW:  (INAUDIBLE)...

GREGORY:  ... maybe you can help the country understand, because I can‘t imagine this is clear.

SNOW:  OK, well, the—I don‘t even understand the question.  What exactly is it...

GREGORY:  You claim --  All right, I‘ll restate the question.  You claim that you are not redefining...

SNOW:  Right. (INAUDIBLE)...

GREGORY:  ... Article Three.  Everyone who opposes you on this, from Secretary Powell, to Senator Warner, to Senator Graham, to Senator McCain, says, in effect, you are trying to redefine it, by excluding language you consider vague that they think is actually important.

SNOW:  No, no, no, no.  Oh, thank you, thank you.  Oh, no, that‘s—

OK.  Thank you.  No, we‘re not excluding it, we‘re defining what that language means.  Oh, heart, be still.

GREGORY:  You do not address the language that you think is vague, which is in Article Three now, which has to do with outrages...

SNOW:  No, you do, you don‘t get—I don‘t know how I can make it clearer.  What you do is, you say...

GREGORY:  You can, Tony.  I mean, you may think I just don‘t get it, but (INAUDIBLE)...

SNOW:  Well, I do, and (INAUDIBLE)...

GREGORY:  OK.  Well, let me, let me, let me...

SNOW:  ... (INAUDIBLE) let me...

GREGORY:  ... suggest to you that if don‘t get it, then I bet there‘s a lot of people who don‘t get it as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  As his boss, President Bush, had made it before him, Mr.  Snow also claiming today that the CIA‘s interrogation of detainees had led to the breakup of at least eight specific purported terror plots.

But even as the White House is arguing over what it should be allowed to do to the terror suspects it already has, comes word from Mr. Bush himself that he does not even care if Osama bin Laden is ever captured, the president telling conservative pundit Fred Barnes in an interview that emphasis on bin Laden does not fit with the administration‘s strategy for combating terrorism, saying that the terror leader‘s capture would not be the best use of America‘s resources, Mr. Bush adding that he has never been more convinced that the decisions he has made as president are the right decisions, the Bush administration also facing a challenge from the nuclear watchdog agency of the United Nations over the evidence it is choosing to cite about Iran‘s nuclear capabilities, the IAEA complaining to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman about a recent House committee report calling parts of the document “outrageous and dishonest” for containing some, quote, “erroneous, misleading, and unsubstantiated statements.”

You may recall that the IAEA openly clashed with the administration on prewar assessments of Saddam Hussein‘s weapons of mass destruction, former nuclear inspector David Kay saying now, quote, “This is like prewar Iraq all over again.”

Earlier this week, when asked by NBC‘s Matt Lauer if he had a smoking gun proving that the Iranians are enriching uranium for weapons purposes, the president cited what he called compelling evidence from the IAEA of an illegal Iranian enrichment program.

Time now to call in our own Craig Crawford, who is, of course, also a columnist for “Congressional Quarterly.”

Craig, good evening.

CRAIG CRAWFORD, “CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY”:  Hi.  So now we know, you‘ve been confused all this time.

OLBERMANN:  The percentage of confused is up to about 93 at this point.  Last week, when Mr. Bush challenged Congress to do things his way on Guantanamo and on the handling of the terror suspects, we were wondering if he was trying to squeeze the Democrats, or squeeze his own Republicans.  Well, now we know, and the Republicans just squeezed back hard, did they not?

CRAWFORD:  They certainly did.  You know, this president‘s always approached Capitol Hill, even his own party leaders on Capitol Hill, much as Lyndon Johnson once did when he said, Come, let us reason together, boys, and do it my way, except that Lyndon Johnson had a long history on the Hill.  He knew all their secrets.  And he was able to cajole the votes he needed.

This president has oddly, and this is one of the strangest things about this president, I‘ve thought all along, that how he has just not really shown much interest at building personal relationships on Capitol Hill with his own party members.  And that has led to a lot of these problems like we saw today, where they bolt, they buck on him.  And that‘s something that I don‘t think he can change now, it‘s too late.

OLBERMANN:  It‘s not as if the argument over this is not important enough on its face.  I mean, golly, if we rewrite the Geneva Convention, could not our enemies rewrite the Geneva Convention and torture our prisoners as they see fit?

But is there something even bigger, in terms of domestic politics?  Three Republican Senate heavyweights, Colin Powell, oppose the president, Tony Snow calls Powell confused.  Did the president just throw away the political protection of partisanship?  Did he just lose part of the Republican Party?

CRAWFORD:  Yes, and I do see an interesting byproduct here, Keith, that could actually help the Republicans, not that they designed it this way, or that it‘s choreographed, but that it does help a lot of these Republicans running out here in the congressional elections coming up to show a little distance with this president.

It‘s not good for the party to be seen as in lockstep with the president.  So in a weird twist, it might actually help the president‘s party for them to have just a little bit of a rift here and there to show voters that they are independent actors, the Republicans on Capitol Hill, so then maybe they pick up a few of those votes that lean conservative, lean Republican, but have problems with Bush.  Could be—it could happen.

OLBERMANN:  Not necessarily a good thing for the government or the country, but you might be right about this.

CRAWFORD:  Well, yes, that‘s a lesser matter...

OLBERMANN:  I guess...

CRAWFORD:  ... in election season.

OLBERMANN:  I guess.

Not just Mr. Snow‘s response today, but the administration‘s tone lately, the last three or four weeks, if you disagree with us, you are confused.  How far can they ride confusion?  Could the president say the Supreme Court‘s confused?  Voters confused?  Date of the next presidential inaugural is confused?  Is this not a slippery slope if there ever was one?

CRAWFORD:  Yes, well, you know, those for founding fathers back in the hot, hot summer of Philadelphia, 1787, maybe they were confused when they came up with all these crazy individual liberties.

But the president does have this attitude that, you know, it‘s my way or the highway.  And it always was OK, so long as he had, you know, 60, 70 percent of the public behind him.  What he‘s found is that, you know, now he doesn‘t have those relationships on the Hill to get him through these tough times.

OLBERMANN:  I assume you‘re omniscient.  If I‘m wrong, please correct me.

Last question about bin Laden, Mr. Bush is claiming this past Monday, 9/11, “No matter how long it takes, America will find you and will bring you to justice.”  What happened?

CRAWFORD:  Yes.  It—well—gee, I just wonder what they might say if maybe next week or come October, they find bin Laden, suddenly that will be a very big deal.  Maybe that‘s their thinking is that they try to get bin Laden off the table, because maybe they‘ve given up on finding him.  One thing‘s for sure, for five years, at least, he‘s been able to run, and he‘s been able to hide.

OLBERMANN:  Well, after Pakistan made the deal with the warlords in the area where he‘s supposedly hiding, I suppose it‘s probably good to quit while you‘re behind.

Craig Crawford of “Congressional Quarterly” and of MSNBC.  It all just keeps getting better and better.  Thanks, Craig.

CRAWFORD:  Yes, thanks.

OLBERMANN:  A brief interruption for two programming notes.  After Monday‘s special comment on 9/11 and the still-empty hole in Manhattan, and the symbolic empty hole in this country, we have been inundated with your comments and requests.  We all thank you heartily for them, given that the comment has now been viewed at least a quarter of a million times on one Internet Web site alone.

We will be replaying the 9/11 comment in its entirety tomorrow night, right here on COUNTDOWN at 8:00 and midnight Eastern, 5:00 and 9:00 Pacific, dependent, of course, on the volume of breaking news.

A second note, I‘ll be discussing the comment and other political matters tomorrow morning on “TODAY” on NBC, dependent, once again, on the volume of breaking news.

Meantime, politicians in both major parties tonight continue to mourn the death of Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas.  She died last night at age 73 after a battle with esophageal cancer that had been diagnosed just last March.  She was, of course, not just the former governor of Texas, but also a witty and beloved national political celebrity with silver hair and a silver and sometimes acid tongue, Mrs.  Richards reminding delegates at the 1988 Democratic Convention that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, quote, “only backwards and in high heels.”

But then, and in the years to follow, her best lines usually came at the expense of politicians named Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANN RICHARDS (D), TEXAS:  Poor George.  He can‘t help it.  He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Also here tonight, looked like Plamegate was on the back burner, except for a Mr. Libby and a Mr. Fitzgerald and the other principals.  Now it seems to have been reignited by, of all people, Robert Novak.

And then there‘s the ignition system of Debra Lafave.  The dispute there, did she escape jail time because of her gender and her looks?  Her interview, part two, with Matt Lauer.

You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Breaking news at this hour, that moms everywhere, not to mention Popeye, appear to be, for the moment, anyway, wrong.  Do not eat your spinach, federal health officials tonight warning Americans not to eat fresh bagged spinach because of an E. coli outbreak that has been traced to the bags, which had become popular with convenience-minded consumers, the outbreak having already killed one person in Wisconsin, sickening eight more people seriously in seven additional states.

FDA officials do not yet know the source of the outbreak, other than it came from bagged spinach, and advising everyone, for now, not to eat bagged spinach.

The new and widely proclaimed final twist in the Valerie Plame leak story got a new and anything-but-final twist today.

It is our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, not as scandal for scandal‘s sake, but because it renews the debate, a crucial one, over whether and how this administration tries to discredit or, worse, punish its critics on important matters such as, in this case, waging war on another country.

The last new twist, when former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage confirmed his outing as the original source who outed Joe Wilson‘s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative.  Yesterday, Wilson and Plame added Mr. Armitage to the lawsuit they had filed over the leak.

But today‘s twist, the columnist Robert Novak says Armitage is being deceptive about how he outed Plame.  Why does how matter?  It appears a lot to the matter to the trial of Lewis “Scooter Libby, and it may matter to history in its judgment of the current administration.

MSNBC‘s David Shuster keeps trying get out of this story, but they keep pulling him back in.

David, good evening.

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good to be with you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The gist of this is, Armitage says it was offhand, it was accidental, it was inadvertent.  And now Novak says that‘s nonsense, the guy finally called me into his office, I‘ve been trying to get there for years, gave me the info because he thought I could use it.  To start simply, why does it matter who‘s telling the truth about that?

SHUSTER:  Well, it matters because both Novak and Armitage are going to be in the timeline that prosecutors introduce in the Libby trial.  And the fact that Armitage and Novak now disagree about how this began, that does put something of a dent in prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, not the major issues in the Libby case.  But it is a ding, and it does open up the opportunity for Scooter Libby to argue, Hey, I wasn‘t the only one confused, look at these two other guys, and I was the only one charged, and that‘s not fair.

The other thing that‘s significant about this, and that is, if Bob Novak really did dig this information out, and if he was lying about how he got this information, then it would mean that obviously Bob Novak was playing games in his columns, he was possibly playing games with the prosecutors.  And that again underscores why so many people in this case seem to believe that Bob Novak was under deeper investigation by prosecutors than has been publicly acknowledged.

If, on the other hand, it was Richard Armitage who deliberately gave this information to Bob Novak, and it wasn‘t innocent, the way Armitage has described, then that would suggest that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald blew it when he cleared Richard Armitage early on.  And it would also suggest that perhaps this was something that Fitzgerald should have pursued.

What‘s so interesting, Keith, is when you compare the status of Richard Armitage (INAUDIBLE) in this case, and the status of Bob Novak, Armitage was cleared early on, and said, OK, we‘re done with you.  Novak, he kept quiet because prosecutors asked him to stay quiet.  But Novak was not cleared, and that suggests to a number of lawyers in this case that prosecutors had more problems with the actions of Bob Novak in this entire episode than they did with Richard Armitage.

OLBERMANN:  Apart from the actual prosecution there, is there a deep irony in this, Novak‘s column denying that this was all some sort of slip or incidental event, also insists that Armitage revelation proves there was no White House coordinated plan to punish Joe Wilson by ruining Valerie Plame.  But didn‘t Bob Novak just reignite the political debate by painting Armitage as a liar or a bender of the truth here?

SHUSTER:  Well, he did.  But what he did is, he also took a shot in a war that continues to this day between the neocons and the White House, Richard Cheney, of course, the boss of Scooter Libby, and also, of course, Karl Rove, and those who are the moderates were getting a lot of sympathy in Washington, that is the Colin Powell crowd, including his deputy, Richard Armitage.

What Novak seems to be suggesting, now that Novak has been told that he‘s not going to be charged in any of this, Novak seems to be suggesting, Hey, I‘m not going to allow Richard Armitage to get by, I‘m going to take my shots at him if I feel that he deserves them.

It‘s a very odd way to treat somebody, a source that you‘ve protected publicly for the last couple of years, but it, again, it explains why a lawyer in this case told me that if there‘s anything that any of us have learned in this entire episode, it‘s that Bob Novak is a very, very odd guy.

OLBERMANN:  And as the other man you brought into this, remember, the White House says Colin Powell is confused.

MSNBC‘s David Shuster, as always, great reporting on this, and great thanks.

SHUSTER:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Also here tonight, Britney Spears‘ cesarean section this week, capping off a summer of celebrity spawning.  What makes one famous baby a superstar, and another the tenant of a womb without a high-profile view?

And Barbara Walters says her dog can say, I love you.  Big deal.

See this elephant?  It‘s going to do the next segment of the news.

COUNTDOWN continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  On this date 157 years ago, the pioneer Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov was born.  At that point, all that was lacking was a bell and some dogs, and you had yourself the Pavlovian response, the automatic physical reaction to a sound or other stimulus that has become associated with something, like food being served or music being played.

Or like when I say, Let‘s play Oddball, and we hear Chris Matthews laugh.

It works every time.

We begin in Yong Yin (ph), South Korea, where zookeeper Kim Jong Kap (ph) has managed to seriously bigfoot Barbara Walters.  Ms. Walters has claimed on “THE VIEW” that her dog, Chacha (ph), talks to her.  Kim claims that his elephant, Koshik (ph), talks to him.  And unlike Ms. Walters, Kim says he has indisputable proof on tape.

So here, for the first time ever, is what elephants have to say to us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELEPHANT:  (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  (INAUDIBLE).  Yes, anything else?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELEPHANT:  (INAUDIBLE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Right.  According to Kim, his elephant first said “bal (ph),” which means “foot” in Korean, then he said, “joa (ph),” which means “good.”  Foot and good.  What can this precedented-setting pachyderm be trying to tell us?  Never mind.

To Bavaria in Germany.  What better way would we have than to honor the visit of the Holy See, God‘s right hand on earth, the head of the Catholic church, than dressing your dog like him?  Little Spitzel, little Zarlina, and little Rocky Horror, all dressed up in little pope and bishop outfits.  Aw, don‘t they look miserable?

Their owner, who used to make her dogs wear Lederhosen—no, I‘m not kidding—designed these outfits in honor of Pope Benedict XVI‘s visit to his homeland.  She explained her decision thusly, I‘m a big pope fan, even though it‘s obvious that her dogs are anything but.

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Speaking of dressing up, part two of Matt Lauer‘s interview with Debra Lafave.  She will answer the question, If she were a man and her victim a girl, would she think she should be in jail right now?

And an investigation in the Bahamas.  Anna Nicole Smith reacting to news that the death of her son is being investigated as a criminal matter.

Details ahead.

But first, time now for COUNTDOWN‘s top three newsmakers of this day.

Number three, Christina Novak of Mechanicsville, Virginia.  She had seven kids she had to take to a birthday party, only room for five of them in her Pontiac Bonneville, so she let the other two ride in the trunk.  She faces felony child endangerment, even though the trunk of a Pontiac Bonneville is, like, three times the size of your average seat in coach on any U.S. airline.

Number two, Stephan Hendricks Louis Jean of Norwich, Connecticut, who weighs just under 15 pounds, which wouldn‘t be that big an issue, except he‘s two days old, biggest kid ever born at Bacchus (ph) Hospital there.  Mom Marina Shell‘s (ph) reaction, Ahh, ahh, ahh.

And number one, Mosheh Sang, leader of the Kenyan branch of the House of Yahweh, the U.S.-based religious sect.  Dozens of Mr. Sang‘s followers have now entered what may or may not be entirely safe underground facilities in a village there, wearing gas masks, gloves, and overcoats, because the home office says the world is coming to an end.  But somebody out there at the Kenya branch clearly did not get the memo, because the House of Yahweh had said the world would be ending on September 12.  Hey, never mind the gas masks.  Anybody bring a calendar?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Once again, we make no pretense of courting your capital “J” Journalism gene here, our third story on the COUNTDOWN, part two of Matt Lauer‘s interview with the notorious Florida teach, Debra LaFave, again amid the muck and the mire, a shriller of societal import, Ms. LaFave got no jail time, unlike Toni Lynn Woods, a teacher now doing four to 20 for having sex with students—she‘s on the left—unlike men convicted of parallel crimes.  A double standard?  Several double standards?  One of the questions put directly to Ms. LaFave in this part of the interview. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEBRA LAFAVE, HAD SEX WITH 14-YEAR-OLD STUDENT:  All of his friends were, you know, high-fivin‘ him and saying, oh, yeah, she is hot, blah, blah, blah. 

MATT LAUER, DATELINE NBC (voice-over):  Debra LaFave, a 23-year-old teacher was having an affair with a 14-year-old student.  They‘d had sex at her apartment, in her car, in her classroom. 

(on camera):  But those friends are going home and telling their friends, “Hey, this young man in question is being visited by his, in your word, ‘hot teacher‘.”   You have to know this story‘s going to get around sooner or later.

LaFave: Well, like I said, that‘s a fog that I was in.

LAUER: At any point during sex with this student or after sex with this student did you say, “In the eyes of the law, I just committed rape.”

LAFAVE: No.  I don‘t think I—no I didn‘t say that.

LAUER (voice-over):  But soon, she‘d be hearing it.   The boy‘s mother found out about the affair.  She called police.  Detectives had the boy call Debra while they listened in. 

(Begin phone call excerpt transcript)

STUDENT: You enjoyed yourself yesterday?

LAFAVE: I did.  Did you?

STUDENT: Yeah.

LAFAVE: So it‘s not over, over?

STUDENT: Nope, not yet.

LAFAVE: (name!)  God, why couldn‘t you have just said “no?”   Not yet! That kind of sucked. 

(End phone call excerpt transcript)

LAUER: The detectives told the boy to invite Debra to his house.  She made him promise his mom wasn‘t home.

(Begin phone call excerpt transcript)

LAFAVE: Positive?

STUDENT: Yeah.

LAFAVE: Promise?

STUDENT: Yes.

LAFAVE: Pinky promise?  Say pinky promise.

STUDENT: Pinky promise.

LAFAVE: Good.  All right.

(End phone call excerpt transcript)

LAUER: When Debra arrived at the appointed time, on June 21, 2004, the police were waiting.  The charge was lewd and lascivious battery, a felony with a maxim sentence of 15 years in prison.  What makes Debra‘s story all the more surprising is that she says at age 13, she was raped by an older boy. 

(on camera):  So, how is what happened to you different than what you did to this 14-year-old boy? 

LAFAVE:  I think first, my rape was a violent rape. 

LAUER:  So, because yours was not a violent rape of this student, you think that‘s a big difference? 

LAFAVE:  Well, it‘s a difference.  I don‘t know if it‘s a big difference.  You know, a 14-year-old, 10 years ago is different than a 14-year-old today. 

LAUER:  Not in the eyes of the law. 

LAFAVE:  Right.  Not in the eyes of the law.  He consented, but I should have been the one to say, look, you are a kid and that this is not a good idea, whether you want it or not. 

LAUER:  You should have said it on a number of occasions. 

LAFAVE:  Oh, yeah.

LAUER:  You should have said it when you first flirted with him.

LAFAVE:  Yeah.

LAUER:  And you should have said it before you had sex with him. 

LAFAVE:  Clearly. 

LAUER (VOICE-OVER):  Three psychiatrists hired by Debra‘s defense attorney, found that she suffered from bipolar disorder, severe mood swings, coupled with impulsive behavior.  But was that an explanation or an excuse? 

LAFAVE:  You know what?  I don‘t want to blur the lines between doing something as heinous as what I did and being bipolar.  But, yes, symptoms of bipolar definitely contributed to my mind frame. 

LAUER:  No jury ever had to rule on her insanity defense.  Her lawyer negotiated a plea deal in which Debra would serve three years of house arrest followed by seven years of intense probation, but no jail time. 

(on camera):  You know, you hear some people say she should be in prison, that if the roles were reversed and if you were a man who was 24 and had sex with a 13 or 14-year-old girl, you‘d be in prison.  How could you feel about that? 

LAFAVE:  I think I should be in jail. 

LAUER:  You think you should be? 

LAFAVE:  Yeah.  By the standards of what—you know, what I did, that‘s the law.  I should have got jail time. 

LAUER (voice-over):  And what about her victim? 

(on camera):  How do you think this is going to impact his life? 

LAFAVE:  I think he‘s going to have a hard time trusting women one day.  I‘m sure he has to be living with the guilt of quote unquote “ratting” me out. 

LAUER:  By court order, you can‘t have contact with him. 

LAFAVE:  No.

LAUER:  What would you say to him if you could see him? 

LAFAVE:  Oh god, I don‘t even think about him and I definitely would apologize.  I mean, I don‘t have anything to say to him.  I don‘t have any harsh words or even good words. 

LAUER:  So what is the one thing you want people to know about you? 

LAFAVE:  That I committed a sex offense, but I‘m not a sex offender, even though I‘m labeled as that.  I made a really, really, really bad choice. 

LAUER:  You don‘t see yourself as a predator? 

LAFAVE:  It‘s hard.  It is hard, because I lived 23 of my years of my life, you know, knowing who I was.  I was a kindhearted person who loved children, who would never, you know, do anything to break the law.  I was a good person and then now everything has just changed.  So it is really hard for me to accept that. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  That, just part of Matt Lauer‘s interview with Debra LaFave, the DATELINE special on the interview of Debra LaFave, “Crossing the Line,” airing tonight on MSNBC at 10:00 and 11:00 p.m. 

Also tonight, here inside the mind of a man who opened fire on a college campus in Montreal.  A website revealing dark clues into his life and drawing eerie similarities to the killers at Columbine. 

And the latest in the Daniel Smith investigation.  Anna Nicole Smith reacts to learning of a criminal inquiry into her son‘s death, details ahead here on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Yesterday‘s shooting rampage in Montreal, new details about the shooter, chilling comparisons to Columbine. 

J.K. Rowling‘s airport security battle.  And the summer of the celebrity baby, COUNTDOWN pays investigate tribute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Since most of those terrorized are too young to remember the awful December night in Montreal in 1989 when a man walked into an engineering school there and shot and killed 14 women, the analogies yesterday and today at Dawson College were to Columbine.  Our No. 2 story in the COUNTDOWN, those analogies prove to be with good reason.  Two women are in critical condition, a third dead and evidence is mounting that the shooter viewed Columbine as some sort of inspiration.  Our report tonight is from correspondent Juliet Bremner of our affiliated British network, ITV.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JULIET BREMNER, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  The chaotic, confusing seconds the students and staff realized they were under attack.  Terrifying images captured on mobile phone as an armed killer stalked the corridors.  Thousands fled from Dawson College while police searched the building, others weren‘t quick or lucky enough.  In all, 20 people were injured by the gunman.  One woman died where she was shot. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There was a guy walking with a huge black trench coat and huge black boots, with this retarded haircut, gay, and he had a huge machine gun.  He‘s walking down in broad daylight with a gun and no one says anything to him and then he started shooting at Alexis Neon (ph), it was a machine gun, and he shot the people right next to us.  We were all running, we where hiding in the bushes. 

BREMNER:  Police finally cornered and shot 25-year-old Kimveer Gill, a Goth who favored black clothes and Mohawk haircut.  He was a website where he boasted about his love of guns.  On the site he calls himself the “Angel of Death” and says he dislikes the world and everything in it. 

One picture shows a tombstone with the motto “Lived fast, died young, left a mangled corpse.” 

Revelations that have eerie echoes of the now infamous Columbine school killings in Denver where 15 pupils were gunned down.  A killing spree carried out by Dylan Klebold, seen here.

Dylan Klebold, COLUMBINE KILLER:  do not even screw with that little kid, if you do.

BREMNER:  And his friend Eric Harris.  They were both followers of a Goth cult calling itself the Trench Coat Mafia. 

Until yesterday, most people in Montreal assumed they were safer since Canada has stricter gun laws than the enamoring USA.  Doctors say two of their patients, shot in the head, are fighting to survive, shattering any illusion of safety. 

Juliet Bremner, ITV NEWS.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  On to our roundup of celebrity and entertainment news, “Keeping Tab,” and the inquest into the sudden death of Anna Nicole Smith‘s son.  Miss Smith says she is in favor of it.  One of her attorneys, Michael Scott, says his client‘s supporting a formal inquest into the death of Daniel Smith.  It is now scheduled for October 23 in NASA.  He said that Miss Smith was “Obviously devastated, in seclusion” and asked that the public, “not jump to conclusions.” 

Miss Smith is still in Bahamas with her new born daughter and expected to testify at the inquest as are other potential witnesses, that would ostensibly include Miss Smith‘s other lawyer, and long-time spokesman, Howard K. Stern.  Mr. Stern, the third person in that hospital room in which Daniel Smith died, according to Mr. Scott. 

And in the wake of the purported plot to blow up planes en route from Britain to the United States, we now know what other than hair gel and other dangerous liquids need to be banned as carry ons.  The seventh and final edition of this J.K. Rowling‘s “Harry Potter” series.  Yep, Miss Rowling says she won that argument with airport security in New York and was allowed to take her potter manuscript onboard. 

She was traveling back to England soon after the purported plot was revealed when nearly all carry-ons were banned on flights between the U.S.  and the U.K. She said the largely handwritten manuscript had new portions of which there were—was no copy and that security let her take it onboard “bound up in elastic bands.”  Miss Rowling writing in her website that she was prepared to forego the flight and perhaps sail home instead had security not relented—what?  Found herself short of port keys (ph)?

Giving birth to a book not exactly like giving birth to a baby.  It seems that every celebrity except J.K. Rowling has done the latter this summer.  We‘ll summarize the summer of celebrity baby making and we won‘t stop at an In-N-Out Burger on the way, either.

That‘s next, but time first for COUNTDOWN‘s latest list of nominees for “Worst Person in the World.”

Hey listen, last time I checked Amazon, they‘re selling this for $13.77, all right?  I‘m going on the “Today” show in the morning.  Demand will go up, prices will go up just like gas.  If you buy a thousand copies, you could make some serious money—or not.  I‘m not Jim Kramer out here. 

The Bronze tonight goes to Timothy Cacklemyer (ph) of Glenbeulah, Michigan.  Glenbeulah is my home.  A 40-year-old man, his 17-year-old son Alexander wanted to use his cell phone, kid busts into dad‘s bedroom looking for the phone then tries into dad‘s car looking for the phone, whereupon dad allegedly sprays him in the face with bear repellent. 

Wait, Mr. Cacklemyer, your son is a bear? 

Our runner up, Michael Savage.  Wagged that cheap wig of his and announced that the U.S. Senate is now, “more vicious and more histrionic then ever, specifically because women have been injected into it.”  Bulletin to Mr. Weiner Savage, there have been women in the U.S. Senate since 1922.  Not that you‘d need to know stuff like that or anything. 

But, our winner tonight, Morgan Wilkins, hired by the College Republican National Committee to recruit students into its membership.  Her plan at the University of Michigan, a tag-like game in which contestants are invited to “catch an illegal immigrant.”  And another called “fun with guns” in which they‘re encouraged to test their marksmanship by firing at cardboard cutouts of Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.  You call it recruitment, the rest of us would call it inducement to assignation.  Morgan Wilkins, today‘s “Worst Person in the World.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Today is the birthday of Shawn Preston Federline.  Two days ago his mom, Britney Spears, gave birth to her second child, another boy, who to this hour, we know him as Baby No. 2.  There had been reports that Ms. Spears would delay her cesarean section until today so that here children would have the same birthday.  A time saver for her and hubby, another six years in therapy for each of the kids. 

Our No. 1 story in the COUNTDOWN, it‘s been that kind of summer on the celebrity infant front, lots of publicity for the parents, lots of laughs for us, lots of bidding by psychoanalysts planning out their client lists for the years 2021 and beyond. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over):  The spawns of celebrates.  When they‘re born our imaginations run wild, could they be the next Liza Minnelli?  A future Michael Douglas?  Perhaps even the president of the United States? 

GEORGE W.  BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  My relationship is adoring son. 

OLBERMANN:  Someone who may bravely shape the world we will live in? 

BUSH:  I know that human being and fish can coexist peacefully.

(APPLAUSE)

OLBERMANN:  Then again sharing genes with a famous parent is no guarantee of stardom for the child.  For every Angelina Jolie, there‘s a Dweezil Zappa.  For every Ben Stiller, there‘s a Kelly Osbourne.  That‘s why, this summer, thanks to a buffer crop of celebrity babies, the possibilities appeared endless.  There were the major earth shattering breaking news birthings. 

(on camera):  Tom Kitten has arrived. 

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have had their child today. 

The child is a girl. 

(voice-over):  Then there were also some celebrity stork bundles that blew under the radar.  While the world was focused on Namibia and baby Shiloh Pitt Jolie, back in the USA, we were keeping an eye on the new addition from Larry the Cable Guy. 

LARRY THE CABLE GUY, COMEDIAN:  I used to date a little midget girl as a matter of fact about... 

OLBERMANN:  That‘s one lucky kid!

And while the world wondered if the new Spears/K-Fed offspring would have the same grace and tact as his parents.

BRITNEY SPEARS, SINGER:  Huh?  Huh?  (BELCH)

OLBERMANN:  While that he was going on, Fred Savage, TV‘s Kevin Arnold from  the “Wonder Years” had a baby girl with Winnie Cooper or somebody else. 

ISAAC HAYES, AS CHEF ON “SOUTH PARK”:  Hello there, children!

OLBERMANN:  Chef Isaac Hayes had a boy, as did Jack Black, Russell Crowe, Gwen Stefani, Ben Gellette, Don Johnson, Paul Stanley, Mira Sorvino, and Adam Corolla.

Little girls for Joey Lawrence, John Fabro, Greg Kinnear, Elizabeth Shue, Matt Damon and Woody Harrelson.  Even Diddy, who didn‘t have a child this summer, made this Web announcement. 

DIDDY, ENTERTAINER:  And I‘m having twins. 

OLBERMANN:  And though they are not due until later this year.

DIDDY:  See that, silky, smooth, coco-butter skin.

OLBERMANN:  Al; this is a harbinger of what‘s to come.  Because if the summer has been any indication, then Suri, Shileo, Makani, Isabella, Agnes, Oliver, Nana, Sammy, Tennyson, Kingston, Brighton, Santino, Deacon, Zolten, Colin, Johnny, Audrey, Charli, Wyatt the Cable Kid are just the beginning. 

The celebrity baby population will continue at an alarming rate until we reach the saturation point, and then there can be just one man to save us from a super race of Gunnar Nelson‘s and Nicole Richies.  A man whose sole responsibility will be to sort out the children of the stars from the children of regular saps, like the producers of this show.  And the man with that awesome responsibility is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You are not.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  On that note let‘s call in “Village Voice” columnist, Michael Musto. 

Good evening, Michael.

MICHAEL MUSTO, “VILLAGE VOICE”:  I thought that was leading up to me. 

OK, I‘m glad it wasn‘t. 

OLBERMANN:  That‘s Monday‘s episode.  We saw in that meticulously researched report that Suri and Shiloh got all the limelight.  Hard working no-blank shooting celebrities like Russell Crowe and Jack Black and Fred Savage got no attention.  Can you explain the dichotomy?

MUSTO:  Mainly because those people are unattractive.  Also it‘s really two celebrities together making a baby, that makes a great story like a Brangelina and a Katie and whatever Asian man is the father of Suri.  I‘m kidding.  Katie and Tom.  Two celebrities like that together make a big Suri—a big stir. 

OLBERMANN:  Does the bumper crop of celebrity babies this summer portend some sort of new renaissance or is it the end of the world or something else?  You got any insight in to this? 

MUSTO:  You‘re getting warmer.  I‘ve tracked celebrity spawn and what this portends much more murderers in the future, many more suicides, drug dealers, not in that order, and also a lot more juicy tell-all memoirs.  So I say bring them on, keep popping them out.  I want to read.

OLBERMANN:  And again, biding by the shrinks to get a hold of these kids at age 13 or 14 must just be phenomenal. 

MUSTO:  Well some of these kids are going to become shrinks, and that‘s what I‘m worried about. 

OLBERMANN:  And someone has an appointment to see them tomorrow as George Carlin said.  It‘s your first time back with us since the bambino No. 2 was born to the Spears-Federline household.  TMZ.com reporting that she checked into the hospital under the assumed name of “Pebbles.”  Does that make him “Bam-Bam?”  And was “Bam-Bam” there the whole entire time? 

MUSTO:  Um, actually she had a box of Co-co Pebbles by her side, but yes, this “Flintstones” thing works for me because to me Britney always been Ann Margrock and K-Fed isn‘t “Bam-Bam” he‘s more like a K-Fred or, you know, Cro-Magnoney (ph) Fred Flintstone.   But they‘re starting to call Britney Dino the Dinosaur because here career‘s a little off track.  They‘re going to need Mr. Slate to come in and do an excavation.  I‘ve been watching too many reruns.

OLBERMANN:  Yeah, I was just going to say we strained this one past the point of credulity. 

There is no verifiable word on the name of the new baby in the Spears household, but the tabloid in London the “Sun” says she named him Sutton Pierce so he could have the name initials as his 1-year-old brother Shawn Preston.  Is it a cost saving attempt or did she once hear of the New York address Sutton Place and kind of misremember it?

MUSTO:  I really doubt she‘s ever heard of Sutton Place, maybe “South Park,” but—really she‘s going whole-hog with this.  She‘s going to change her name to Stephanie Powers, K-Fed‘s going to be Sean Penn, I mean, she likes to say “S.P.”  and have a whole group of people go, “yes?”  She likes to hear a crowd. 

And also, yes, it is cost cutting.  She wants the same initials on all the diapers, especially K-Fed‘s or Sean Penn‘s and she can‘t lean new initials, she‘s a silly putts—S.P.

OLBERMANN:  He wishes he was Sean Penn.  The Britney Spears‘ website is under renovation, we found this out today, but listen to what we see and we here when we go there.  Let‘s have a look and then I‘ll get your reaction. 

Some sort of implication there that they‘re grrrreat?  Or what‘s that about? 

MUSTO:  That‘s either K-Fed‘s new record, or it‘s the baby hearing K-Fed‘s new record for the first time.  It is a very scary, very vocal baby.  And there are other signs that it‘s scary.  I mean, it has no pupil, it likes mama‘s music and also it has a tattoo on its head that says “Property of Lucifer,” which Britney‘s changing to “Satan‘s Property” because of S.P.  she likes that.

OLBERMANN:  Right, Satan.  And last, we have the In-N-Out Burger thing where K-Fed had to persuade Britney to straight to the hospital rather than go to that burger place.  Paris Hilton said she was going to and In-N-Out Burger.  Do we not need an investigation into this franchise? 

MUSTO:  Well, actually K-Fed wanted to go to the hospital because he heard they have better burgers there in the cafeteria.  But yeah, Arnold, the governor of California needs to crack down on this because burgers are not for girly men, burgers make celebrities do crazy, dangerous things, so I do think Nicole Richie needs one. 

OLBERMANN:  Or at least 12.  The one and only Michael Musto, great thanks for your time.

MUSTO:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  That is COUNTDOWN, for this the 1,230th day since the declaration of “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.   I‘m Keith Olbermann, goodnight and good luck.  

Our MSNBC coverage continues with SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  

Joe, good evening.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

END   

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