updated 9/29/2006 11:34:42 AM ET 2006-09-29T15:34:42

Guests: Chris Hedges, Richard Wolffe

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

If his gloves were already off, what‘s come off now, his wheels?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Which would lead to the corollary that the party of Lincoln and emancipation has now become the party of Bush and torture.  That‘s the same president who called for bipartisan unity 17 days ago, when was convenient for him.

And the speaker of the House goes further.  “The same terrorists who plan to harm innocent Americans and their freedoms,” says Mr. Hastert, “would be coddled if we followed the Democratic plan.”

Did somebody turn the oxygen off inside the Republican Party?

And if worse still it can get, worse still it gets, Bob Woodward reporting the government is lying about the true scope of anti-American violence in Iraq, that the correct number of attacks against coalition troops is more than 100 a day, and that the president has for advice to Henry Kissinger, who thinks he can win in Iraq the same way he won in Vietnam.

So pray with me, Henry.

“Jesus Camp,” inside the movie, inside the movement.

Inside the mind of the Platte Canyon High School shooter.  He had sexually assaulted at least some of his hostages.

And the imaginary Kazakhstan tht exists only in the mind of the comic from the “Ali G. (ph)” show meets the real-life White House, and the real-life Kazakhstan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Then we will be left with no alternative but to commence bombardment of their cities with our catapults.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Hey, Borot, you got time to meet with Kissinger?

All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening.  This is Thursday, September 28, 40 days until the 2006 midterm elections.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, two developments tonight that go to the core of who we are as nation.  The president can now detain noncitizens forever, and torture them, providing he accuses them terrorists, and he doesn‘t even have to prove the last part.  And the president can now evidently lie about how frequently Americans are attacked in Iraq, and bring in Henry Kissinger to replay the second half of the Vietnam War.

Iraq and Dr. K. in a moment.

First, the Senate the House today, sending the president his detainee bill, and sending Republican leaders their dose of red meat.  When Democrats in the House voted to support our history and values, instead of the president‘s expediencies, Republican speaker Dennis Hastert said they, quote, “voted today in favor of more rights for terrorists.  So the same terrorists who plan to harm innocent Americans and their freedom worldwide would be coddled.”

And at a rally in Alabama today for the incumbent governor there, the president showed that those who thought his appeal for bipartisanship on the night of 9/11 was completely phony were correct.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  Five years after 9/11, the worst attack on American homeland in our history, the Democrats offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing.  The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Back in the Senate, Vermont‘s Patrick Leahy, a former prosecutor, argued the Democrats wanted to prevent habeas corpus, the right to challenge your detention in court, to prevent innocent people from being treated like terrorists, a seemingly superfluous right unless the government accidentally or not-so-accidentally decides you are not the upstanding American you thought you were but a terrorist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT:  The bill before us would not merely suspend the Great Writ, the Great Writ, the writ of habeas corpus, it just eliminates it permanently.  We don‘t have to worry about nuances, how long it‘ll be suspended or anything else.  It‘s gone.  Gone.  There are over 200 years of jurisprudence in this country, following an hour or so of debate here, we just get rid of it.  My God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  And then there is the second fundamental issue, lying to the people of the United States about how many of us are in danger, and how often, in a distant war, CBS News quoting a new book by Bob Woodward which will claim not just that Mr. Bush has kept secret the true level of violence against U.S. troops in Iraq, but also that he is being advised on this war by Henry Kissinger, President Nixon‘s secretary of state, who, to quote Woodward, “is fighting the Vietnam War again.”

Let me call in Richard Wolffe, “Newsweek”‘s senior White House correspondent and an analyst for us here at MSNBC.

Richard, good evening.

RICHARD WOLFFE, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, “NEWSWEEK” MAGAZINE:  Keith, good evening.

OLBERMANN:  Iraq first, let‘s start with this Kissinger revelation.  Short of getting Halliburton to move Iraq to Asia, could Mr. Bush have done anything to draw this parallel to Vietnam any more distinctly?

WOLFFE:  Well, you know, it‘s strange.  I actually saw Kissinger in the West Wing in early 2003, and I didn‘t think a whole lot of it, because at the time, the administration was still talking about diplomacy.  And the comparisons with Vietnam, and there were people making those comparisons at the time, that did seem overwrought.

Now, you have an administration that fairly openly likes to say that they‘ve learnt the lessons of Vietnam, especially when it comes to questions of political will and maintaining public opinion, the theory being, and this is most forcefully argued by Vice President Cheney, that Vietnam was lost because of a lack of willpower, lack of backbone, if you will, back home among political leaders, opinion formers, the punditocracy.

So, you know, that framework is there inside the minds of the administration.  And, of course, as the war has dragged on, the comparisons become clearer and clearer.

The big lesson, of course, about Vietnam that they chose to set aside was the Powell doctrine.  Powell set up the doctrine of overwhelming force to say there would not be another Vietnam, and Don Rumsfeld decided to overturn that.

OLBERMANN:  And, of course, they‘re also doing a smashing job on the public opinion front.

Woodward also reports in this book that Mr. Bush says about Iraq, quote, “I will not withdraw even if Laura and Barney are the only ones supporting me.”  Putting aside the possibility that that may become true on its own accord in the next couple of weeks or months, should the Democrats be running this campaign by portraying what the president sees as strength as instead some kind of dangerous unwillingness to confront the reality of the situation on the ground there?

WOLFFE:  Yes, I think the president may be overstating, and I think he‘d stay with it if was just Barney as well.

Look, the key question here, I mean, you heard, you played some of the clips earlier, the key question is for the—for voters in November, who do you trust to end the war in Iraq?  Clearly, the Republican attack is designed to put a huge question mark in voters‘ minds whether Democrats could bring the war to an end successfully.  That‘s why they talk about defeat so much.

Democrats have to fight on the same territory.  They cannot avoid it.  And, you know, you‘ve heard some of those things from Barack Obama.  The question is, you know, having got the country into this situation, can Republicans end the war successfully?  That‘s how Democrats really need to confront this one.

OLBERMANN:  The detainee bill, why did the Democrats trade the right to filibuster in exchange for the right to propose four amendments that really needed every possible alignment of the stars to pass?

WOLFFE:  Everyone wanted this off the table.  There was nothing sort of clear and clean about this.  It wasn‘t even so much about a partisan thing.  Once you had the Republicans taking the lead in it, those—that being McCain, Warner, and Lindsey Graham, really, there wasn‘t a whole lot of space for Democrats to do.  There are enough attack ads out there already on various votes.  They didn‘t want to give them more ammunition.

And to be honest, once you‘re into the legal weeds of this one, it‘s better to clear it off the table.

OLBERMANN:  And then the president‘s statement about the Democratic Party today, was he not pursuing moderates and independents and bipartisanship in a high-minded fashion in his apolitical speech, as they termed it, on the night of the 9/11 anniversary?  Or was that some other guy wearing the same suit?

WOLFFE:  No, they were pretty sincere about being nonpolitical, and—or at least trying to have the air of that on 9/11, and being more of the sort of president of all the people.  But, you know, the point here is about turnout.  They want to get people to turn out and vote, and that‘s what they‘re seeing now, the red meat.

OLBERMANN:  Richard Wolffe of “Newsweek.”  As always, great thanks for your time, Richard.

WOLFFE:  Any time.

OLBERMANN:  The prize at stake six weeks from now is the Congress, control of the House and the Senate.  And yet the defining conflict in these midterm elections seems increasingly to be that between the current president and the previous president.

Mr. Clinton‘s request that America scrutinize Mr. Bush‘s record may have a rippling effect, that, at least the theory of “Congressional Quarterly”‘s Craig Crawford, a friend of this program who writes today that Clinton, and specifically his firm rebuke to Fox News last Sunday, may be the Democrats‘ October surprise, a show of strength, calculated or not, that might serve to stoke the partisan fire in the belly that drives turnout on election day.

And if they want new ammunition for that fire, ABC News reporting tonight their sneak peek at a new congressional report showing Jack Abramoff, the disgraced, convicted former lobbyist, who disputed White House claims that they barely knew him, actually had 450 contacts with the White House, nine of them with Bush adviser Karl Rove, and tried to secure jobs there at the White House for 20 people.

We‘re joined now by Lawrence O‘Donnell, political analyst, currently contributor to HuffingtonPost.com.

And good evening to you, sir.

LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Good to be here, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  We‘ll start at the end of that.  Even the ABC report suggested what was new here about Abramoff was not necessarily illegal, but that it could still be damaging to the Republicans and the White House.  How could that be the case?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, Abramoff is now the way you spell the word “scandal” in Washington, D.C.  The public doesn‘t know a great deal about Abramoff, but they know he‘s bad, they know he‘s a criminal, they certainly aware that he‘s, in effect, pleading guilty and is going to end up in jail.

And now, this is a picture that says, not only did he have access, which the public is, I think, vaguely aware of, that he had presidential access, White House access, he had the run of the place, Keith.  He has a frequency of appearance now that looks like he had a White House pass.  It‘s an amazing presence that he has everywhere in the Republican world during the time that this scandal was developing.

And, you know, there are the guys like Conrad Burns, senator of Montana, running for reelection, and his big problem is, he took money from Jack Abramoff.  That‘s his single biggest problem out there.

For Karl Rove, the president‘s senior adviser, to be meeting with Abramoff nine times specifically himself—and by the way, possibly much more than that.  That‘s probably just the nine times that Abramoff was signed in to meet Rove.  Once in the building, he could easily have encountered him many, many, many more times than that.

And so this brings this horrible scandal into the White House and plants it there in a way that we haven‘t seen before.

OLBERMANN:  Who‘s that in the hallway, Barney the dog, or Jack the lobbyist?

This Craig Crawford hypothesis here about the Democratic October surprise, has Mr. Clinton changed, sent a signal for change, the Democratic campaigns?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, you know, you know, he‘s done something that not a lot of other people can do, if anyone.  He defended himself about what did Bill Clinton do as we== his administration was ending, and as 9/1 was coming, unbeknownst to anyone.  What did he do?  And Bill Clinton talked about what he did.  And he said he failed.  He said that he tried and failed.

Now, that, I think, is actually the most powerful statement that Bill Clinton made.  Here‘s a president saying that he tried and he failed.  9/11 was partially his failure.

We have President Bush, who not only failed in the same way, meaning he allowed 9/11 to happen, but we don‘t know what, if anything, President Bush tried.  And what we do know and what the public knows is that President Bush will never come out and say that he tried and failed on anything, whether it‘s tax reform or Social Security reform or the way things are in Iraq now, which a majority of the public thinks is a Bush failure.

And so that—Clinton embracing the notion that he didn‘t do things perfectly here raises his credibility on this.  He‘s much more popular than the current president is now.  And so the public is looking at the Bill Clinton statements, and they think, Well, that makes a lot of sense to us.

OLBERMANN:  A question about tactics.  Even now, President Clinton is still answering the refuted claim about Sudan turning over bin Laden.  Last night, we played a clip from a press briefing in February 2001.  Let me show a bit of that, and then ask you a question about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, February 27, 2001)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The Taliban in Afghanistan, they have offered that they are ready to hand over Osama bin Laden to Saudi Arabia if the United States drops its sanctions, and the—they have a kind of deal that they want to make with the United States.  Do you have any comments (INAUDIBLE)?

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS Secretary:  Let me take that and get back to you on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  There‘s a structural parallel, if not an exact parallel, to the Clinton Sudan claim in that.  But unlike the Republicans, that tape‘s not part of the Democratic vernacular in the runup to the elections.  Why isn‘t it?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, it‘s that same difficult situation of the, you know, the Clinton administration didn‘t do anything more effective, obviously, than the Bush administration, given that we ended up in having 9/11 occur.  But that moment, I think, is really important because it‘s showing that—when a press secretary says that to you, what he‘s saying is, I don‘t know anything about this.  I haven‘t heard anyone say a word about it.  This just isn‘t a subject that any of us are talking about.

That‘s as clear a reflection of that as you could ask for in February of 2001.  And there‘s no way to go back and backfill in there.  And if they could, they would.  I mean, Condoleezza Rice, when she was talking to “The New York Post” last week, would have said, This is specifically what we did.  And, oh, by the way, this is specifically what we did in relation to the possibility of having bin Laden turned over to us.  It wasn‘t true.  Here‘s why it wasn‘t true.

We don‘t hear any of that this administration, because they don‘t apparently feel that there‘s anything positive for them to tell in those eight months of that administration leading up to 9/11.

OLBERMANN:  Well, why haven‘t the Democrats jumped on any of those facts?

O‘DONNELL:  Well, it‘s—it—the country has had the feeling that Rudy Giuliani has voiced, which is, Look, both of these presidents missed it.  There‘s no reason to blame either one of these presidents.  That‘s the way most of the country still feels about this.

And so the Democrats have felt, We can‘t really go in there and start pounding on Bush for this thing, because the public isn‘t with us there on this.

However, in a post-Katrina world, those kinds of statements by Ari Fleischer would ring much louder, because what happened in the post-Katrina world is, Bush now has an overwhelming image of incompetence in certain areas of governing.  And now, majority of the public think he‘s been incompetent in prosecuting his mission in Iraq.

And so now, the notion that Bush wasn‘t really on the ball in the runup to 9/11, I think, becomes much more vivid, a vivid possibility to the public.  But it still remains difficult for Democrats to specifically go in and point to that, other than Bill Clinton, who‘s done it.

OLBERMANN:  Lawrence O‘Donnell, political analyst, contributor to The Huffington Post.  Great thanks, as always, sir.

O‘DONNELL:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Dramatic home video tonight from Iraq of the dangers contract workers are facing there every day.  A convey ambushed.  Now the driver who barely escaped with his life says Halliburton is still putting them at risk on a daily basis.

And inside “Jesus Camp,” a documentary raising eyebrows about how they‘re raising the next generation of evangelical Christians, being trained from youth for religious battle.

You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The revelation from Bob Woodward‘s new book is disturbing, to say the least.  American troops come under fire in Iraq, on average, four times an hour, once every 15 minutes, he said.

And in our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN, it seems that the Iraqi people actually like that grim statistic, according to a new poll of Iraqis conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org, nearly two-thirds of them, 61 percent, approving of attacks on U.S. troops, 39 percent disapproving.  Twenty-one percent see the U.S. as a stabilizing force in Iraq, 78 percent thinking U.S. troops cause more conflict than they prevent.

And the majority of Iraqis want U.S. troops to withdraw sooner rather than later, 37 percent want them out in six months, 34 percent more want them out within a year.

U.S. soldiers are not the only Americans in the insurgents‘ crosshairs.  Civilians working for Halliburton driving supply trucks across that country are also coming under attack.  One such encounter captured on a trucker‘s home video camera.

Our senior investigative correspondent, Lisa Myers, tonight, with this startling report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA MYERS, NBC SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  September 20, 2005, what begins as a routine convoy led by a U.S. military escort takes a wrong turn into an area controlled by insurgents.

Preston Wheeler, a truck driver employed by Halliburton in Iraq, brought along his video camera that day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There we go again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MYERS:  First, the convoy gets hit by rocks.  Minutes later, gunfire erupts, and bombs explode.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  IED on the left side.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Jesus Christ, help us all, Lord.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MYERS:  One of the truckers is hit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I‘m hit, I‘m hit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MYERS:  A soldier tells the truckers not to stop.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Move!  Move!

WHEELER:  I am truck 5, cannot move.  Please help me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Truck eight, (INAUDIBLE)...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Where you at?  Where you at?

WHEELER:  I‘m taking fire, 10-4, come back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE)?

WHEELER:  I‘m fixing to get killed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MYERS:  Wheeler sees a fellow driver killed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WHEELER:  They just killed him.  Oh,, Jesus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MYERS:  In all, three drivers died, and Wheeler was shot twice.  Wheeler now charges that the convoy was not properly equipped or trained by Halliburton.

(on camera):  Halliburton says this convoy was under the control of the U.S. military.  The company also says employees receive extensive training, and their safety and security is a priority.

(voice-over):  Lisa Myers, NBC News, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  The U.S. military says its troops did not abandon the truckers, but instead set up a defensive perimeter to hold the insurgents at bay until help arrived about half an hour after the initial attack.  That‘s when they managed to pull the two wounded truckers, including Mr. Wheeler, and moved out, or moved them out of the danger zone, the military telling NBC News in a statement that resembles the textbook definition of the word “tautology,” quote, “If they had been abandoned, they would not have survived.”

An unusual visitor at the White House today.  Borat shows up at the gate without an appointment, invites the president to an international summit at Hooters.

And we reported previously that the dramatic rise in the panda population was being exceeded only by the dramatic rise in the videotape of the dramatic rise in the panda population, nine new ones tonight here on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  What a choice of birthdays for this September 28.  William Windom is 83.  He‘s appeared in at least 200 television series, maybe most famously as Commander Decker in “Star Trek,” but he‘s been at his best channeling the legendary humorist James Thurber.

And Peter Finch would have been 90 today.  Not only was he, of course, Howard Beale in “Network,” but he also played the title role in a film called “Windom‘s Way.”

Let‘s play Oddball.

Ah, but the stars of them all come to us from Cheng Du (ph), China, with a surefire 100 percent bet-the-house TV ratings winner that is baby pandas.  Look at them.  Hear all that noise?  It‘s the ratings machine.  It‘s-a gonna esplode.

Nine fuzzy little guys introduced to the media at the Wolung (ph) Panda Center, doing everything it can to overpopulate the globe with endangered pandas through the art of newspeak.  Two years ago, a Chinese study concluded there were less than 1,000 of the animals still left in the wild.  Today‘s story says it‘s down to, quote, “only 1,596.”  Well, double-plus good.

To India, and more weird video we found on the Internets.  No real context to this, other than it appears to have come from a Bollywood movie or something, and I can‘t decide if it‘s really cute or really creepy.

Yes, I‘m going to have to vote with creepy.  In fact, I‘m not sure how I would get to sleep again.  No one can doubt the kid‘s got moves, but it‘s the very end of the clip which makes you wonder just what the heck is going on over there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Isn‘t that cute?

This is cute too, in a totally disgusting kind of way.  Nobody (INAUDIBLE) -- injured in the accident in Seebree (ph), Kentucky, even if the scene looks like something out of “Nightmare on Elm Street.”  Seems a truck full of chicken guts was hauling down Highway 41 when the load shifted and spilled all over the road.  Mmm, spilled chicken guts.  Ahhhh.

Even those fancy all-season radials can‘t stop a car from slipping and sliding on chicken parts, so that multivehicle accident ensued.  No word on how many of the guts were stolen by passersby before police could secured the area.

Call the church, call the police, call the church police.  Warriors for God being brought up here, inside the new documentary “Jesus Camp.”

And the school takeover in Bailey, Colorado.  Authorities admit they‘re not prepared for a drifter who chooses a school at random in order to sexually assault the students.

Details ahead.

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

Number three, Nicky Heys of Bristol, England, got married yesterday, right on schedule, even though her first child arrived not right on schedule, three months early, 11 hours before the wedding.  Well, he didn‘t want to miss the hokey-pokey (ph).

Number two, suspects who broke into Starship Enterprise‘s Adult Video in Stone Mountain, Georgia, and stole $233 out of the till, but not before tying up two employees with the leg irons and fur handcuffs that were sold in the store.

And number one, Detective Don Woods of the sheriff‘s office in Orange County, Florida, arguing successfully that the Economy Inn in Orlando should be shut down, because it was a haven for hookers and dopers.  Detective Woods said, “People went there for one purpose, to sell drugs and to prostitute.”  Not defending it, Detective, but that‘s two purposes, isn‘t it?

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST:  We recoil in horror when we see the images of the Middle East to kids whom talking is a relative new phenomenon being flooded in religious beliefs being told they may have to die as warriors for god, speaking in literal gibberish.  Our third story in the COUNTDOWN, It‘s terrorist indoctrination when we see it there, here we call it “Jesus Camp.”  COUNTDOWN‘s Monica Novotny explains. 

Good evening, Monica. 

MONICA NOVOTNY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Keith, good evening.  The filmmakers behind this documentary boiled down 300 hours of footage into a controversial 85 minutes, taking viewers inside a bible camp where the next generation of god‘s army is in trading.  And “Jesus Camp” has 100 million Evangelicals Christians split over the intersection of their religion, their politics, and their children. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BECKY FISHER, PASTOR:  This means war! Are you a part of it or not?

NOVOTNY (voice-over):  It‘s summer camp like you‘ve never seen it.  This Evangelical conference for young children captured in the new documentary “Jesus Camp” focusing on an American culture war and the training of a new generation of Christian soldiers. 

FISHER:  I want to see young people who are as committed to the cause of Jesus Christ as the young people are to the cause of Islam because, excuse me, but we have the truth. 

NOVOTNY:  Pastor Becky Fisher leads the children at Devil‘s Lake, North Dakota, training at war...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s kind of being trained to be warriors, only in a much funner way. 

NOVOTNY:  Preaching in tongues and in tears.  Praying for the president and for an end to abortion. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  No more.  No more!

NOVOTNY:  But Fisher says the goal of this spiritual battle is not to attack the separation of church and state. 

FISHER:  There are no Christians, and I know thousands of them, that are interested in establishing a theocracy in America. 

NOVOTNY:  And those presidential prayers? 

FISHER:  Had this taken place do you know the Clinton administration we would have been as obligated by scripture to pray for him as we were to pray for President Bush. 

NOVOTNY:  Instead, Fisher says her work with these children is part of a growing Evangelical youth movement designed simply to keep young Born Again Christians active in the church as they grow older.  But are they, as some critics charge, brainwashing impressionable, vulnerable young children with religious and political agendas? 

FISHER:  Every parent brain washes their kids with their own beliefs, so let‘s be fair. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  A person‘s a person, no matter how small. 

FISHER:  We never viewed what we were doing as political.  And I am certainly not living out my political fantasies through the children that I minister to. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  But I think people would say this is a voting block. 

FISHER:  So they‘re going to be a voting block.  Why is that scary? 

RACHEL GRADY, CO-DIRECTOR, “JESUS CAMP”:  Heidi and I definably saw it as political activism, but they are sincere in believing what they‘re doing is being good Christians.  I do believe that the leadership see what they‘re doing is political. 

NOVOTNY:  A belief reinforced by Pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals expressing pride in the expansion of the youth movement, offering perhaps the most candid and confident moment in “Jesus Camp.” 

PASTOR TED HAGGARD, PRES. NTL ASSOCIATION OF EVANGELICALS:  It‘s gotten enough growth to essentially could sway every election.  If the Evangelicals vote, they determine the election.  It‘s a fabulous life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NOVOTNY:  Pastor Haggard, who you just saw there, leads the largest Evangelical group in America, with some 30 million members.  He agreed to be filmed for the project, but says now that he‘s not happy with the final and is encouraging his followers not to see it. 

As for Pastor Fisher and her political concerns, I asked her how she would feel if these children grew up and chose to vote or work with political parties other than Republicans.  And she said she‘d have absolutely no problem with that, that she wants to help them to be good Christians regardless of their personal political views.  If you‘re curious, “Jesus Camp” opens in major cities tomorrow and then throughout the country, next Friday. 

OLBERMANN:  Every parent brainwashes their children meaning her parents brainwashed her. 

COUNTDOWN‘s Monica Novotny, great thanks. 

NOVOTNY:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  That faith in the Evangelical movement has, in its political powers, not misplaced.  Just this last weekend, in Washington the influence of the religious right on the ruling party was palpable at a Values Voters Summit organized by the right-wing organization Family Research Council.  You could find the Reverend Jerry Falwell along with 2008 presidential hopeful, George Allen of “macaca” infamy and even the spokesman for President Bush, Tony Snow. 

The company they kept included Ann Coulter, Bishop Wellington Boone or Wellington Boone Ministries—He got up on stage just about an hour-and-a-half after Mr. Snow, spewed vulgar -anti-gay epithets and then suggested that the anti-Christ is homosexual. 

To discuss this growing influence of church on state, I‘m joined by Chris Hedges, author of “American Fascists:  The Christian Right and the War on America” which will be coming out in January. 

Thank you for your time, sir. 

CHRIS HEDGES, AUTHOR:  Not at all.

OLBERMANN:  What is the fact that the spokesman for the leader of the country got on the same statement as somebody who spouted hate speech about gays tell us about the power this movement has over this administration? 

HEDGES:  Well, I think it‘s self-evident I mean, this—these people have been the foot soldiers for this administration since its in inception.  The president has been very careful to not only pump hundreds of millions of dollars into their programs, but as well constantly reassured them by speaking in code often lost on those people who don‘t pro-life tracks or listen to particular hymns or read passages of scripture, but they burrowed their way deep inside the political system in the legislative and executive branch and they‘re working pretty hard on getting in control of the judiciary. 

OLBERMANN:  To this point, topically, that phrase that the president used about the bumps in the road and the deaths in Iraq being a coma there, was that the code you were referring to? 

HEDGES:  I‘m referring more to actual passages that—he has an Evangelical speech writer and they lift certain phrases that have become a staple of the cliche‘s that are used by the Christian right.  I mean, all sub-cultures speak in a code to each other and if you listen closely to a lot of the stuff that‘s put out by the Bush White House it is a constant—a steady stream of reinsurance to the radical members of the religious right that he is doing their bidding. 

OLBERMANN:  In 2004, white Evangelical Christians compromised 23 percent of the electorate, roughly, and 78 percent of them voted for Mr. Bush, that was about 1/3 of the votes he got.  Does that number bolster the argument made by the pastor at the end of Monica‘s report—is the Evangelical movement the deciding factor now as to who is in power and who is not? 

HEDGES:  I think we‘re reaching that point.  You know, having spent the last year-and-a-half traveling around the country and interviewing and attending Christian right events, I think the engine of this movement, which is despair, economic and personal, the disenfranchisement of tens of millions of Americans, the—that movement from a non-reality into an non-reality based belief system, nothing is blunting that.  And I think, in fact, there is plenty of evidence as things get worse, as the situation deteriorates, as we create this American oligarchy and of course now with the assault on the middle class, we‘re throwing more and more people into the arms of this essentially mass movement.  It has, as a political goal, the creation of a Christian theocracy or Christian totalitarian state. 

OLBERMANN:  Chris Hedges author of an essential upcoming book “America Fascists:  The Christian Right and the War on America,” before that a foreign correspondent with the “New York Time.”  We appreciate you coming in tonight, sir. 

HEDGES:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Politics of a much stranger variety tonight, if that‘s possible.  The campaign of “Borat,” a phony journalist pretending to be from Kazakhstan, except no one back in the former Soviet Republic is finding any of it funny.  “Borat” takes his act to D.C.  We made sure our cameras were there. 

And also the pain in the Colorado town of Bailey.  Today we learned the nightmares unfolding in the school under siege and ask again—How could this have happened in the post-Columbine era?  That‘s next on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  “Borat” the fake reporter, actually comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, trying to get into the White House.  Why did they resist?  I thought the White House liked fake reporter?  That and more ahead on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Police say he lived in his car about an hour away in the Denver area.  They had arrested him there for obstructing officers just two months ago.  In short, there was no reason the perpetrator in Platte Canyon High School hostage nightmare in Colorado yesterday should have chosen that school nor done what he did inside.  But in our No. 2 story in the COUNTDOWN, of more immediate impact, authorities want to know, in this security conscious era, not so much why he did it as how he was able to do it.  Our justice correspondent is Pete Williams.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PETE WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Colorado investigators still aren‘t certain how Dwayne Morrison, carrying two guns, managed to get into Platte Canyon High School near Denver, yesterday, and take students hostage in a second floor classroom.  A three-hour stand-off ended when a SWAT team stormed in after Sheriff Fred Wegener learned that Morrison was sexually assaulting the female hostages.

FRED WEGENER, SHERIFF:  This is why I made the decision I did, We had to go try to save them. 

WILLIAMS:  Before killing himself, officials say, Morrison shot 16-year-old Emily Keys who died a short time later. 

BOBBIE STERLING, VICTIM‘S FRIEND:  She was her parents‘ daughter.  But everybody that knew here loved her and so it‘s a loss for the entire community. 

WILLIAMS (on camera):  Attacks like this one by outsiders with no connection to students or teachers are among the least common school threats, accounting for about two percent of fatal school shootings. 

(voice-over):  Since columbine shocked the nation seven years ago schools nationwide have become far more serious about security, key factors experts say watching for victims of bullying who could turn violent and encouraging students to report threats. 

RONALD STEPHENS, SCHOOL SAFETY EXPERT:  Schools have been better at detecting crime before it occurs, there‘s more tip lines out there, there‘s a closer working partnership with law enforcement.  Mental health professionals are now working much closer with educators, so it‘s been a team effort. 

WILLIAMS:  During the past 14 years, the number of fatal shootings at the nation‘s schools has dropped sharply.  But some security consultants say there‘s a danger schools are becoming complacent. 

KENNETH TRUMP, SCHOOL SAFETY CONSULTANT:  In the weeks after Columbine, school safety improved greatly, but that progress has actually stalled and slipping backwards a great deal now. 

WILLIAMS:  But tonight, authorities in Colorado say lessons learned from Columbine led to better response by teachers and police this time, one they believe saved lives. 

Pete Williams, NBC NEWS, Washington. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)            

OLBERMANN:  No segue possible into our roundup of celebrity and tabloid news.  Naomi Campbell on the verge of getting arrested again, this time not for throwing a phone, but for phoning it in.  She was a no-show in a Manhattan court.  Judge James Gibbon issued a bench warrant for her arrest, but the judge decided not to put that warrant into effect after Campbell‘s defense attorney explained he and the prosecutor had reached an agreement that she would be absent.  The warrant will be stayed until Campbell‘s next court date, November 15.  The defense lawyer says he‘s considering a plea deal, would not offer details. 

Roger Ailes, circular gentleman, has spoken again, having already fired or demoted several popular hosts from the ministry of truth‘s FOX News Channel and dealing with a nasty fight between another host and his wife, now former Washington bureau chief.  Ailes has announced his next 10-year plan.  Quoted by several TV blogs as telling his staff, “It‘s been a great 10 years, we defied the odds.  We should be congratulated but every decision I make from here on end is about the next 10 years,” adding that the minister of truth needed “To focus more on taking audience away from the broadcast networks not the other cable news networks.”     

Not so fast Sidney Greenstreet.  Check out last night‘s ratings.  At Midnight Eastern, 9:00 p.m.  Pacific, “COUNTDOWN” in first place in the only ratings the industry cares about, viewers 25 to 54, beat FOX News and Brit Hume by 16,000, beat Larry King by 52,000 -- Houston, goodbye! Beat Glenn Beck by 181,000?

Mr. Ailes might want to focus back on keeping the other cable news networks from taking the audience from his own network and leaving some food for Canada. 

If headlines are ratings, “Borat,” the fake journalist is a smashing success.  Today he took his comedy routine right to the gates of the White House and created a virtual international incident with Uzbekistan.  That‘s ahead, but first, time for COUNTDOWN‘s latest list of nominees for “Worst Person in the World.”.

See the cover is perfect, if I hold it right.  If you like me, well here‘s a book I wrote.  If you don‘t like me, well here you go the picture says a thousand words:  “Worst Person in the World” and there he is smirking right at you in an il-fitting suit. 

The Bronze to Mayor Troy Anderson of Waldron, Arkansas, we told you about him before.  He offered to not to turn off the faucet for two local women who were behind on their water bills if they would have sex with him.  Mayor Anderson has resigned.  Now we need to find a way to turn off his faucet.

Runners up, the ethics free folks at the “New York Post.”  They‘ve now fired another reporter for accepting bribes, this is Sarah Polonsky, offed today after “Radar” magazine reported she tried to get a free meal at a restaurant by saying, when the waitress brought the check, “I work at ‘Page Six,‘ don‘t knew who I am?”  Next should be Phillip Messing, he‘s the idiot who claimed imprint credit for impeding the FBI‘s investigation into that little incident we told you about last night. 

But our winner, Mark Williams, described as a radio host who said on this network, “People have made up their minds.  They know that if we vote Democrat that just hastens the day we disappear in a nuclear holocaust.” 

Aren‘t the nuclear weapons we know of in this country under the control of the Republicans, incidentally?  And I know it‘s tied up in some sort of work therapy day-pass program for his halfway house, but why do we book these people.  I mean, they‘re just scaring the toddles and the farm animals. 

Mark Williams, who has a radio—I‘m sorry, who has a radio program, Today‘s “Worst Person in the World.”

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Kazakhstan is on the verge of declaring war on Uzbekistan.  The catapults are at the ready and bombardment could begin soon.  In our No. 1 story in the COUNTDOWN, an international incident?  Well, the threat comes from “Borat,” who may be Kazakhstan‘s most famous representative, even though he doesn‘t really exist and the guy who plays him isn‘t really from there.  Never mind that “Borat” is the creation of Sacha Baron Cohen, the star of the “Ali G” show.  Kazakhstan‘s foreign ministry is so worried about the upcoming movie about “Borat” its spokesman has reserved the right legal action. 

The Kazak embassy in Washington has denounced the movie, and there have been serious reports that President Nursultan Nazarbayev will complain about “Borat” when he meets with President Bush at the White House tomorrow.  The embassy denies that.  What a conversation that would be. 

But yesterday the country, Kazakhstan, took out a four-page advertisement in the “New York Times.”  The ad does not mention “Borat,” but it did try to counter some of the outrageous statements that “Borat” has making about his supposed homeland.  And today at a news conference, outside his embassy, “Borat” responded and then took his one-man diplomacy to the White House. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)        

BORAT SAGDIYEV, SATIRICAL KAZAKHSTANI JOURNALIST:  My name is Borat Sagdiyev.  I would like to make a comment on the recent advertisements on television and in media about my nation of Kazakhstan saying that women are treated equally and that all religions are tolerated, these are disgusting fabrications.  These claims are part of a propaganda campaign against our country by evil nitwits, Uzbekistan, who as we all know are a very nosey people with a bone in the middle of their brain. 

There is a man named Roman Vassilenko who is claiming to be press secretary of Kazakhstan.  Please do not listen to him.  He is Uzbek imposter and is currently being hunted by our agents. 

I must further say on behalf of my government that Uzbekistan do not desist from funding these attacks, then we will not rule out the possibility of military intervention. 

If there is one more item of Uzbek propaganda claiming that we do not drink fermented horse urine, give death penalty for baking bagels or export over 300 tons of pubis every year, the we‘ll be left with no alternative but to commence bombardment of their cities with our catapults. 

Furthermore, all claims that our glorious leader is displeased with my film, “Borat:  Cultural

Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” is lying.  In fact, main purpose of Premier Nazarbayev‘s visit to Washington is to promote this movie film. 

This why together with Minister of Information he will be hosting a screening tomorrow evening to which he have invitate Premier George Walter Bush and other American dignitaries includes:  Donald Rumsfeld, Bill Gates, O.J.  Simpsons and Mel Gibsons. 

This screening will be followed by a cocktail party and a discussion of close ties between our countries at Hooters on 825 Seventh Street.  Thank you, I must now return to my embassy where I have talks with my government.  (INAUDIBLE)

I like to meet—to give Premier Bush, mighty warlord, Premier Bush invitation on behalf of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the mighty glorious leader who took Nazarbayev to a screening of his film tomorrow night.  Can I give to him? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you have an appointment today? 

SAGDIYEV:  Not so much. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Without an appointment you‘re not going to be able to come in. 

SAGDIYEV:  Yes, can you give him this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  No sir, we don‘t accept anything to give to him. 

SAGDIYEV:  But why?  I‘ll leave it here, OK?  I now go to get coffees for my premier and also I will get this M&M‘s for minister of defense. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  And they try it again.  Took Jeff Gannon like three times to get in there.  And tomorrow night if you have ideas to resolve the Kazakhstan dispute with Uzbekistan, please head to the Hooters in Washington. 

That‘s COUNTDOWN for this, the 1,244th day since the declaration of “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq.   I‘m Keith Olbermann, goodnight and indeed good luck. 

All right, it looks like we‘re OK here.  Our MSNBC coverage continues now with SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY:  I‘m OK, but you know what?  The second I saw that you were doing “Borat” I had to take my earpiece out, because I would have lost it again.

OLBERMANN:  Well, good evening, Joe.  

SCARBOROUGH:  “My mother never loved me, she‘d been raped by somebody else,” I think that‘s his line.

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2006 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2006 Voxant, Inc. ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and Voxant, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

transcript

Watch Countdown with Keith Olbermann each weeknight at 8 p.m. ET

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,