updated 10/18/2007 11:56:21 AM ET 2007-10-18T15:56:21

Guests: Dara Wilkerson, Bob Wilkerson, Joel McHale

MILISSA REHBERGER, GUEST HOST:  Hi, everybody, I‘m Milissa Rehberger in for Keith Olbermann.  But only temporarily, I apologize, we‘re having some technical problems.  Hopefully he will be joining us very soon so the following are Keith‘s words until he‘s able to join us.  If 76 percent of Americans won‘t say they approve of President Bush, and a similar number find him no longer relevant, today he tried to force relevancy upon himself by saying three words, no commander and chief with a history of lying this nation into war should ever be heard saying no matter what context World War III.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, Mr. Bush, raising the stakes today about Iran‘s pursuit of nuclear weapons.  Calling a news conference at the White House this morning at a time when he, himself, has never been more unpopular, his approval rating hitting another record low this month, according to the latest Reuters/Zogby poll just 24 percent, down five points in that survey end of last month.  Ad how might an Iranian conflict affect those numbers?  At the White House, Mr. Bush saying this morning that Iran‘s nuclear ambitions could lead to war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT:  I believe they want to have the capacity, the knowledge, in order to make a nuclear weapon and I know it‘s in the world‘s interest to prevent them from doing so.  I believe that the Iranian—if Iran had a nuclear weapon it would be a dangerous threat to world peace.  It would—we have got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel.  So I told people that if you‘re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST:  Thanks to Milissa Rehberger and our apologies for unforgivable technical problems here tonight.  Mr. Bush there giving himself all latitude he wants to do with Iran but when it comes to the vote passed in the Turkish parliament today, to approve sending troops across the Turkish border to go after Kurdish rebels in Iraq will that would not be prudent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  But, there is a better way to deal with the issue than having the Turks—send massive troops into the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Yes, because obviously after the 160,000 massive troops Mr. Bush sent into Iraq, we‘ve proved we‘re the only ones who can do something like that responsibly.  If only that were the extent of Mr.  Bush‘s inability to practice what he preaches, or to see the hypocrisy of what he is saying where the Middle East is concerned, listen to his pontifications about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and try, just try not to think about the parallels to Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  The United States can‘t impose peace.  We can encourage the development of a state.  We can facilitate that but we can‘t force people to make hard decisions.  They‘re going to have to do that themselves.

You‘ve got to ask ourselves—why don‘t they want there to be a democracy?  And the answer is because it doesn‘t fit into their ideological vision.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Yet, until we have forced democracy upon Iraq, it appears American troops will continue to be sacrificed to a cause Mr. Bush today admitted the region does not want.  Mr. Bush also admitted today he can‘t remember what he was doing in the year 1980, let alone what he was thinking then especially, not when asked by our own David Gregory about whether he agreed with Israel‘s decision to bomb a nuclear facility near Baghdad in the following year, 1981.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  You know, Dave, I don‘t remember what I was doing in 1980.  That time, I was living in midland, Texas.  I don‘t remember my reaction that far back.

DAVID GREGORY:  Well, as we look at it in ((inaudible)) of citizens, ((inaudible))

BUSH:  Listen now, in 1981 in Midland, Texas, trying to make a living

for my family.  And -

GREGORY: You are a careful, you know, someone who has studied history.

BUSH:  Yes, but I don‘t remember my reaction.

GREGORY:  As you look back at it, do you think it was the right action for Israel to take?

BUSH:  David, I‘m not going to comment on the subject that you are trying to get me to comment on.  Thank you.

GREGORY:  Why won‘t—isn‘t it a fair question to say given all the

talk about Iran and the potential threat, whether it would be appropriate

for Israel to act ((inaudible)) -

BUSH:  Dave, I understand—you understand where you are trying to take it.  It‘s a clever ruse to get me to comment ton but I‘m not going to, thank you.

GREGORY:  Why don‘t you think it‘s appropriate to make that judgment

when it is a real world scenario as we know when they took this action

against -

BUSH:  Dave, welcome back

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  For the record, in 1980, Mr. Bush‘s father was running first for president and then vice president.  You might remember that if it happened to you.  In ‘81 his twin daughters were conceived and then born.  Other than that, not much to see here on this stop along memory lane then there are the questions Mr. Bush avoids answering simply by changing the subject.  For instance, who could have anticipated that a question about whether or not his critics are right in saying the Iraq war cannot be won militarily would become an opportunity for Mr. Bush to push for the passage of the FISA bill?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  The Iraq situation cannot be won by military means alone.  There‘s to be political reconciliation to go with it.  There has to be emergence of a democracy.  That‘s been my position ever since it started.  Al Qaeda still dangerous - they‘re dangerous in Iraq, they‘re dangerous elsewhere.  Al Qaeda is not going to go away any time soon.  That‘s why it‘s important for us to be finding out what their intentions are.  What are their plans?  So we can respond to them.  This is a—this is a war against al Qaeda requires actionable intelligence.  That‘s why this FISA bill is important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Another item in the toolbox for Mr. Bush‘s purported war

on terror is interrogation.  But not torture.  Because for it to be torture

the president would have to know how to define torture.  When asked to do

so by you our political analyst, Richard Wolffe of “Newsweek””

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  Wolf?

RICHARD WOLFFE, NEWSWEEK:  Thank you, sir.  A simple question -

BUSH:  Yes.

WOLFFE:  What‘s your definition -

BUSH:  I require a simple answer.

WOLFFE:  What‘s your definition of the word torture?

BUSH:  Of what?

WOLFFE:  The word—torture.  What‘s your definition?

BUSH:  It is just defined in U.S law and we don‘t torture.

WOLFFE:  Can you give me your version of it, sir?

BUSH:  Whatever the law says.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  That would be U.S. laws written by the Bush administration, not international laws dictated by the, say, Geneva conventions.  And just to round out the hat tricks—third world war, international relations, domestic policy, Mr. Bush attempting to justify his veto of the SCHIP children‘s health care legislation - all vetoes in general really by explaining he needs to exercise veto power in order to remain relevant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH:  That‘s why the president has a veto.  Sometimes, the legislative branch wants to go on without the president, pass pieces of legislation and the president then can use the veto to make sure is he a part of the process.  And that‘s, as you know, I fully intend to do - I want to make sure and that‘s why when I tell you I‘m going to sprint to the finish and finish this job strong.  That‘s one way to ensure that I am relevant.  That‘s one way to ensure I‘m in the process and intend to use the veto.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  If it strikes you as strange that a lame duck president would touch upon the topic of relevancy, well, you have good company.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You talk about sprinting to the finish and then

you also just moment ago sounded a bit resigned to the fact that if

legislators don‘t move bills there isn‘t much you can do to it.  So -

BUSH:  See, not to interrupt you, but it‘s called the bully pulpit.  And I hope to get you—I was trying to get your attention focused on the fact that major pieces of legislation aren‘t moving and those that are at a snail‘s pace.  And I hope I did that I hope I was able to accomplish that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  (INAUDIBLE)

BUSH:  Go ahead and ask a question.  I rudely interrupted him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you feel as if you are losing leverage and that

you‘re becoming increasingly irrelevant.  And what you can do about that to

BUSH:  Quite the contrary.  I‘ve never felt more engaged and more capable of helping people recognize, the American people recognize that there is a lot of unfinished business and, you know, I‘m really looking forward to the next 15 months.  I‘m looking forward to getting some things done for the American people.  And, if it doesn‘t get done, I‘m looking forward to reminding people as to why it‘s not getting done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Time to call in our own Dana Milbank, national political reporter of the “Washington Post” and the former White House correspondent of that newspaper.  Dana, good evening.

DANA MILBANK, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Let‘s work up to World War III, shall we?  Did Mr. Bush manage to give us anybody but himself of his relevancy today?

MILBANK:  Well, the tragic part there is he was being grilled on this none other than Joe Curl of the reverend monies “Washington Times” when your base is going after you, that way you have got a problem.  This isn‘t new for a president to be stating his relevance.  We remember when Bill Clinton said, the president is still relevant.  Press conferences don‘t do it.  What does it is action.  We will get to see that tomorrow morning when the House decides whether or not to override his veto of the children‘s health care legislation.  If he still can carry enough Republicans with him in something of a suicide pact, well, he is still relevant.  He can stop the Democrat‘s agenda from getting through.

OLBERMANN:  Was the attempt to regain or maintain relevance part of that World War III reference was about?.

MILBANK:  That would definitely make him relevant.  I think in fairness in that question, what he is talking about was the scenario under which Iran attacks Israel with a nuclear weapon.  And you can sort of see nuclear retaliation, Pakistan getting involved; he was positioning himself as very eagerly seeking to avoid that World War III, although, of course, it was avoiding a mushroom cloud that got us in the Iraq war in the first place.

OLBERMANN:  Well, I mean, we can say with some happiness that he is against it.  But this is asked quite seriously.  When we know many of his advisors worried about the extent of Richard Nixon‘s balance late in 1973 and 1974.  People in Lincoln‘s Cabinet worried that his grief over the death of his son and the nightmare of the civil war might have sent him over the edge at times.  This president has invoked and seemingly when he did mention it, there was no sense of even the possibility that he might terrify some people, mushroom clouds in the past as you mentioned, destructions of American cities and today he has brought in World War III almost just as an after thought.  Is there any examination—I‘m not asking you to do the examination even in the murmuring in the hallway stages in Washington, are people asking questions whether or not this president still has all his faculties?

MILBANK:  I would be happy to do the examination.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you.

MILBANK:  If he would submit himself to it but he has not so far.  You actually don‘t hear those sorts of murmurs other than in the, you know, sort of the National Inquirer realm of things.  You do hear those about the vice president from time to time but, no, I think for all the - what we may say as any pronouncements, the president is actual doing some of the more responsible things now that he didn‘t do earlier.  He‘s a Mukasey, his nominee to be the attorney general, Gates at the Pentagon.  He‘s getting some real grownups actually to run the government now.  You‘ve got to weigh those personal decisions against the odd of World War III declaration.

OLBERMANN:  Alright, while I‘m out on this limbo, again I‘m not asking you for psychoanalysis nor on this case religious evaluations but for years there have been stories about whether the president or other key people in the administration adhere to fundamentalist interpretations of the bible complete with those whiz bang endings with anti-Christ and Armageddon in the Middle East and the rapture.  And I think politically, people have never taken it seriously before it sounds like genuine left wing paranoia.  But he took us to Iraq on these false pretenses, he‘s talk about reshaping the Middle East, he‘s obviously got Iran on the mind if not in the crosshairs and today, we hear about World War III.  Again, is there anybody asking could he be working off some kind of fundamentalist biblical checklist?  And then, I‘m going to ask you is he, I‘m asking you after this stuff today, is anybody saying - “Geez, we better look into this”?

MILBANK:  The president has been asked by it, I believe a foreign, probably a French reporter.  He finds the subject amusing.  I suspect that‘s not the way he thinks.  If he is going to take it seriously, if you read these left behind novels, the secretary general of the United Nations is in fact, the anti-Christ.  The president met with him just last month and exchanged toast.  Clearly, he only would be taking that so far.

OLBERMANN:  So the only thing we can conclude is—he is opposed to the prospect of World War III.  Dana Milbank of MSNBC and “The Washington Post” as always, sir, great thanks.

MILBANK:  Many thanks.

OLBERMANN:  On the eve of the latest attempt to make s chip expansion, Bush probe the latest family willing to fight the rage of people who hate people party—Bo, Dara and two-year-old Bethany Wilkerson join us in their first national TV interview.

And while Larry Craig may have been better off not joining anybody for his interview.  He claims to have not learned from the Internet that Minneapolis men‘s room was a haven for gay sex because he‘s never even used the Internet which seems to conflict with the article the senator wrote in which he claimed he did a Google search.  You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  When your position is weak and your ethics are weaker you have a number of options including bullying and lying even when your adversary is 2 years old.

At number four story you will see that girl Bethany Wilkerson and meet

her parents tonight in first national TV interview.  They emerged on the

national stage when Bethany appeared in a political ad urging the president

to sign the expansion of s-ship which will fund private health care for 10

million of America‘s uninsured children.  “The National Review” replied

because Bethany‘s parents lacked health insurance she shouldn‘t have been

conceived.  It was at least an honest reflection of the rights‘ position

unlike the smears and death threats aimed at 12-year-old Graeme Frost whose

parents join us Monday to explain that $14,000 a year for private insurance

is too expensive for working parents making less than $50,000 a year.  They

also addressed with admirable grace the lies about being spread by right

wing carriers such as Rush Limbaugh and even the calls for Graeme‘s death

which appeared on a blog later embraced by a White House staffer.  Last

night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded as well

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP).

REP. NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER:  For those who have chosen to make an attack on a family which has benefited from s-chip by impugning their great intentions and their integrity is beneath the dignity of this debate.  I‘m very proud of the Frost family for standing up for themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  She is not however predicting whether she can muster enough additional Republicans for tomorrow‘s S-chip vote to override the presidential veto - a second one.  The president himself a recipient of government health care today reiterated his pledge to veto the bill again.  Repeating his past statement that S-chip was meant for poor kids. Poor kids get Medicaid.  S-chip is for working families unable to afford insurance.  Mr. Bush also suggested that he supports S-chip in principle, Texas journalist Lou reporting in a Washington spectator that then Governor Bush opposed the original SCHIP passed by the Republican Congress of Gingrich and gridlock despite the fact that Governor Bush‘s state had 1.4 million uninsured children, the highest percentage in the country at that time.  Joining us as promised Bo and Dara Wilkerson and Bethany making I think a cameo appearance in our program tonight.  We take runs off , she probably had enough TV for a lifetime already.  Thank you both for being on with us tonight.

DARA WILKERSON, BETHANY‘S MOTHER:  Thank you, Keith.

BO WILKERSON, BETHANY‘S FATHER:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Wilkerson, can you tell us briefly Bethany‘s story and how she‘s doing today?

BO WILKERSON:  We found out at three weeks that she needed surgery and she received surgery, open heart at age six months. And now she is a spring ball, what do you call it, a live ball chicken, you know, she‘s a handful.  She‘s beautiful, she‘s very healthy now, she‘s happy, she still has a hole in her heart.  But, hopefully that will just deteriorate as she grows older. That‘s about it.

OLBERMANN:  Mrs. Wilkerson, the president and the leading Republicans say they want to encourage you to get private health insurance.  Can you help them out by telling us exactly what would encourage to you get private health insurance?

DARA WILKERSON:  I would be encouraged if I had a health insurance company that would offer me a policy on my daughter who has a pre-existing condition.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

DARA WILKERSON:  That‘s the main reason that we round up as part of the kid care, part of the S-chip program is that there was not an insurance company that would pick her up at all.  Our family, we would be able to work into our budget health insurance payments for her. But there is millions of other families out there who could not afford it.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Wilkerson you spoke out knowing you and your family might get slimed the way Graeme Frost and his family was.  Why was it worth it to you?  Obviously, you have already benefited from this system.  Why is it worth it for you to stick your necks out now?

BO WILKERSON:  Bethany might be healthy but there‘s millions of other children who have the different circumstances, whatever.  They need help, too.  They need—you know, why would stop—Bethany is a success story.  There is a lot that are still to go.  You know, we need to get all the children on this program, in my opinion.

OLBERMANN:  Let me ask each of you if you want to take an opportunity for pre-emptive strike on this sliming thing.  The right wing attack dogs are going to hit you with the usual script tomorrow.  Mrs. Wilkerson the early talking points I‘ve seen on you were --  well you quit a job that came with health insurance and you took one, instead, that didn‘t have it and that means in their minds you get whatever you deserve and deserve whatever you get.  Apart from the callousness in that, do you want to correct the facts in there?

DARA WILKERSON:  Well, yes, apparently, six years ago my crystal ball was broken.  I didn‘t know Bethany was going to be arriving on the scene.  I‘ve been on my present job for six years now.  It‘s a great work environment.  I really enjoy it.  To say that someone should stay at an unfavorable work place just to maintain insurance for a pregnancy that might happen down the road or health conditions of a child down the road, that‘s just unfathomable to me.

OLBERMANN:  And lastly, Mr. Wilkerson - the Rush Limbaugh logic you either frauds or somebody has filled your heads with lies?  Do you want to get your response on the record beforehand?

BO WILKERSON:  OK, here‘s the deal—I am such a fraud that I have a beautiful daughter here.  You know, I‘m not lying, we‘re just a normal American couple.  She is a Republican.  I‘m an independent.  You know, who cares what we are?  What are you  - we weren‘t trying to be famous or trying to get anything out of this. We were just trying to show that the S-chip work.  That was our whole thing.  Look at my daughter‘s. She‘s living proof.  And that if she‘s fake and phony and I am lies.

OLBERMANN: She‘s living proof.  We are glad of that.  She‘s having her own show over there too.  That‘s great.

Bo and Dara Wilkerson.  Say hi to Bethany for me.  It was great, thanks for your time, tonight.  Thank you and good luck.

DARA WILKERSON:  Bethany did do a little coloring piece for you. 

Thank you for your support.

OLBERMANN:  Our pleasure.  Good luck on this.

DARA WILKERSON:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Just what we need now, a guy merely pretending to know what he is talking about running for president.  Oh, Yes, we already have nine of those, plus him.  Nice to see somebody standing up for the rules.  the meaningless self-important self-inflating rules. Much more important to gain the world‘s approbation than to give the little girl her back by bending her own self-created rules.  BREAKING NEWS in the Ellen Degeneres dog adoption saga.  They‘ve given that dog away to somebody else now ahead on COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  On this date 104 years ago, Nathan Walisten Weinstein was born in New York City, he has long been known for the pen name he created for himself Nathaniel West.  It was a name he created in his most famous novel about failure, yearning and betrayal in Hollywood - “The day of the locust” which may have overshadowed his extraordinary literary works. One of his central characters winds up murdering a child and instigating a riot which consumes Los Angeles—he named Homer Simpson.  Do!

Let‘s play “Hardball.”  We begin in Tokyo where dozens of beauties are

vying for the honor of this is literally the title Japan‘s top bottom queen

apparently they judge who has the best butt in the land is asking young ladies to strut down the catwalk and later do the Macarena all to way of doing nothing but wearing their underwear.

None of this explains why the judges are looking at pictures of the girl‘s faces rather than of their postures, at least they can tell the posterior from the elbow.  An 18-year-old high school student won the grand prize accepting flowers and showing her—showing her - showing herself to the assembled reporters.  She now goes on to the World Championship in Germany with the chance to win $10,000 and a one-year derriere insurance policy.

To Terovana Taporam (ph), India, where you can now find the world‘s biggest sandwich.  Big name, big sandwich.  It took 42 people to pile up the 350 slices of bread, 99 pounds of cucumbers and tomatoes, 90 pounds of boneless chicken, sausage, ham, apple and mayonnaise, 55 pounds of fish, 80 pounds of lettuce, 50 pounds of onions, 73 pounds of Tums. 

The monster sammie towers 50 feet high, so tall it must be supported by scaffolding.  The scaffolding looks delicious. 

Larry Craig interview.  We are not saying he necessarily lied, but one of the senator‘s statements is contradicted by the facts, a lot of facts.  Analysis ahead. 

And it‘s only one dog and only one mishandled dog adoption.  But with one celebrity involved, this is actually international news.  And there are new and crazy developments in it tonight.  These stories ahead.  But first time for COUNTDOWN‘s top three best persons in the world. 

Number three, best dumb criminal, Martin Ruiz of Mindon, Nevada.  He was ought on bail following a DUI arrest when he was caught drinking a 12 pack of beer in public.  Not just in public, but on the lawn of the county courthouse.  Bail has been revoked. 

Number two, best excuse by a dumb criminal, Kim Leblanc of Cincinnati, found asleep and pant-less inside a car parked on a city street, a car that was not his own.  Mr. Leblanc telling police he had done a lot of drugs and as he recalled it, he had been let into the car by a leprechaun. 

Number one, best television presentation, Sir Terry Wogan, for 35 years a top TV personality in England, mostly with the BBC.  On the BBC Sunday morning, hosting the viewer comment show “Points of View.”  Apparently unaware that his mole skin pants were just a little too tight for this particular camera angle.  Maybe one too many “Point of View” right there, sir. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Six and a half weeks ago he declared, quote, I am not gay, I have never been gay.  Tonight, in our third story on the COUNTDOWN, he declares, I don‘t use the Internet.  I have never used the Internet.  Unfortunately for Senator Larry Craig and his efforts to reestablish his credibility, there is a stack of evidence, including in his own words, that he has used the Internet.  We will get to that and why it might be more than just for curiosity in a moment. 

First, here is exactly what he said to our own Matt Lauer about Internet usage. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, “THE TODAY SHOW”:  According to the airport police and according to some gay blogs—and here go those blogs again that I know you love so much—this particular bathroom in North Star Crossing is described as a hot spot. 

SEN. LARRY CRAIG ®, IDAHO:  Yes. 

LAUER:  For anonymous sexual encounters between gay men.  And you had no idea of that? 

CRAIG:  Matt, you won‘t believe this, but I don‘t use the Internet.  I don‘t have a computer at my desk.  I have never used the Internet.  It‘s just not what I do.  I email with my blackberry.  No, I did not know that.  I had no reason to know that. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  First off, somebody please tell Senator Craig that emailing with your Blackberry is using the Internet, it‘s just not using a stationary thing.  You can even get the web on these things now, which the senator should probably know already, given that he is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus.  And as to the worldwide web, to which we assume he was referring to when he said he did not use the Internet; if he didn‘t use the Internet, how did he know to write in an op ed the other day, quote, if do you a Google search on Mission Creep?”  And why, according to the “Washington Examiner” would he be a co-sponsor of a national Internet safety month bill if he never used the Internet or be presented with the 2007 Internet Keepsafe Coalition Award, all of which indicates that the senator has indeed at some point in his life used the Internet. 

As to what else he might not be telling the truth about, Matt Lauer also asked him exactly what happened in the Minneapolis Airport bathroom last June, specifically about this hand movement Senator Craig allegedly made that is supposed to be a clear signal of interest in a sexual encounter. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG:  Something attracted my attention and I looked down.  And as I looked down, I saw a piece of toilet paper on the floor.  It happened to be under my heel.  And I don‘t know if you have seen it before, but I have seen it, somebody walk out of a booth with a piece of toilet paper stuck to their foot.  I reached down to take it off my shoe or out from under my shoe, and my hand did go below the divider at that moment in time. 

LAUER:  You have said on a couple of occasions, senator, that this officer, this undercover officer was a profiler.  You said that he tried to put words in your mouth.  Are you saying he is a liar? 

CRAIG:  I am saying -- 

LAUER:  These two stories are different. 

CRAIG:  They are very different stories.  What I am saying is that what I said on that tape is the truth.  You heard my voice.  You heard his voice.  You saw how hard he worked to get me to say things that I didn‘t say because I didn‘t do it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  The tape he is referring to is the audiotape that Investigative Sergeant Dave Karsnia made when he asked Senator Larry Craig exactly what he was doing with his hand in that bathroom.  Unlike what Senator Craig seems to now recall, he only said he didn‘t do something once.  Most of the time, he simply used the Alberto Gonzales favorite terminology to avoid answering the question directly, I don‘t recall. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SGT DAVE KARSNIA:  How many times did you put your hand under the stall?

CRAIG:  I don‘t recall.  I remember reaching down once.  There was a piece of toilet paper back behind you, picking it up.

KARSNIA:  Was your palm down or up when you were doing that?

CRAIG:  I don‘t recall.

KARSNIA:  OK, I recall your palm being up.  OK.  If there‘s a piece of paper, your palm would be down to pick something up.

CRAIG:  Yes, it probably would be.  I recall picking the paper up.

KARSNIA:  -- try to describer here on tape actually what I saw was your fingers come underneath the stall.  So you‘re actually touching the bottom of the still.

CRAIG:  I don‘t recall that.  I don‘t recall that.  I don‘t believe I did that.  I don‘t do those things.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  No indication exactly what he is referring to with that term those things, but he wanted to explain to Matt Lauer why he is now refusing to resign after signaling that he would step down at the end of last month, even though back in June he didn‘t tell anyone about his arrest because he didn‘t want to deal with it. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAUER:  You said by pleading guilty and walking out of that police office you wanted it to go away.  That‘s what you wanted.  You wanted it to go away.  You can resign, senator.  And you know what?  It would probably go away. 

SUZANNE CRAIG, WIFE OF SENATOR CRAIG:  It wouldn‘t be the same. 

CRAIG:  And, Matt, that‘s the easy way out.  You have talked about my history and my record.  You know I‘m a fighter, that I don‘t just walk away from a fight.  This is the toughest fight of my political life. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  The toughest fight that he first refused to engage when he pleaded guilty in August.  Matt Lauer‘s complete interview with Senator Larry Craig and his wife Suzanne right here on MSNBC at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific tonight. 

What‘s all this about people announcing their presidential candidacies on TV comedy shows.  Oh yes, this guy is a TV comedian. 

And, Luke, I am your syndicator.  “Star Wars” the TV series.  Maybe Darth Vader can appear on it and announce he is running.  That‘s next.  This is COUNTDOWN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  One political star may be setting tonight, the other rising on the far right.  Actually, on the farcical right.  Our number two story, the COUNTDOWN to 2008; you can finally rule out Al Gore running for president of Norway.  The man who might have been president in the U.S. if the Supreme Court had not stopped the Florida recount has been coy about the prospect of another run ever since, but he has stayed in the global warming spotlight with best selling books, an Oscar winning documentary and now the Nobel Peace Prize. 

The latest poll showing nearly half of Democratic voters would still want him to run.  But Mr. Gore may have put the final hook in that herring in a Norwegian TV interview, telling Norwegian Public Broadcasters, “I don‘t have plans to be a candidate again.  I am involved in a different kind of campaign, a global campaign to change the way people think about the climate crisis.”

Again, that‘s not a definite no.  Somewhat familiar to the non-definite no‘s in this country and now the Norwegians can spend time trying to figure it out. 

On the far right of politics, a new entry in the 2008 race, another angry conservative male whose folksy TV demeanor has his fans clamoring for him to run.  Not Fred Thompson, who already declared.  Not Bill-O, but you are getting close, very close. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, THE COLBERT REPORT:  After nearly 15 minutes of soul searching, I have heard the call.  Nation, I shall seek the office of the president of the United States.  I am doing it!  Woo!  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Yes.  Yes.  Thank you, I‘m almost humbled by your response. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Holy Pat Paulson, Batman.  Colbert pledging to run in his home state of South Carolina, but only in South Carolina on both tickets.  The “New York Times” says his staff has already contacted both major parties to check out the balloting process. 

From political farce to “the force be with you.”  There is both good news and bad news for “Star Wars” fans in tonight‘s Keeping Tabs, our look at celebrity and entertainment news.  In brief, the good, a new “Star Wars” TV series is in the works.  But creator George Lucas tells the “L.A. Times” it‘s not the “Star Wars” you or even your kids grew up with.  There is no one named Skywalker or Vader in the new series. 

None of the usual suspects.  Lucas is also working on an animated “Star Wars” series called “The Clone Wars.”  The most he would give away about the toon version is it‘s about the life of robots and minor characters.  I thought that was the synopsis of the last film. 

And a former golf buddy who turned against O.J. Simpson has just put a hole in one of his defense arguments, that no guns were used in that Las Vegas hotel room invasion.  Earlier this week we told you that two of Simpsons‘s co-defendants had agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges and to testify against him.  Simpson facing the possibility of even more jail time if guns were, indeed, used in the break-in. 

Now the Associated Press reporting that Walter Alexander, one of those involved, confessed that Simpson wanted guns in the room, telling him, quote, hey, bring some firearms.  We won‘t have to use them.  Just look tough so these people know we are here for business.  Alexander has agreed to plead guilty to a felony that could keep him off the links for six years. 

Just give the dog back to the kid.  What is it a flying dog?  Did the dog owe the agency money?  Breaking news, the agency has given Ellen Degeneres‘s hair dresser‘s daughter‘s dog to somebody else.  That‘s ahead.  But first time for COUNTDOWN‘s Worst Person of the World. 

The bronze to Susan Orr, named by the president to oversee federal family planning programs.  This is a woman who in 2000 told the “Weekly Standard” that health insurance should not cover contraceptives.  It‘s not about choice, Ms. Orr said at the time.  It‘s not about health care.  It‘s about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death. 

So, contraceptives which could prevent AIDS and essentially prevent abortions are part of a collaboration with a culture of death?  She is in charge of family planning programs now, which apparently will be based on voodoo. 

The runner up, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who has now appointed a national security adviser for his campaign, retired U.S.  General James Spider Marks, who told an interviewer two years ago that to save a soldier‘s life or stop a terrorist bomb from going out, quote, I would stick a knife in somebody‘s thigh in a heart beat.  OK, and with torture victims willing to make up anything to stop the pain of say, a knife in their thigh, your reason, General Marks, for believing they would tell you something true that would help you save a soldier‘s life or stop a terrorist bomb is what, exactly? 

But our winner Coulter-geist, actually clarifying her anti-Semitic remarks about perfecting the Jews, as in making it even more clear that she is an anti-Semite.  Now it‘s Michael Medved making the mistake of having put her on the air, where she says, quote, Jews don‘t accept the New Testament.  So as long as we are playing this new sport of he who is offended first wins, if anyone is going to be offended by anyone else‘s religion, the Jews believe that my savior, a Jew, was a raving lunatic.  You don‘t see me sniffling and crying. 

The Jews believe my savior was a raving lunatic, she says.  Bonus points for saying, and you don‘t see me sniffling and crying.  All we see you doing is sniffling and crying.  Coulter-geist, today‘s Worst Person in the World. 

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OLBERMANN:  The too generous Degeneres, unadaptable adoption, dog‘s breakfast of a dog scandal continues to inflate into a drama of international proportions tonight.  Our number one story on the COUNTDOWN, if the animal adoption agency which dealt with Ellen Degeneres wanted to make a point, fine, point made.  Then it could have done the right thing and let two kid have their dog back. 

This has, of course, become the topic du jour, because the popular talk show host put it up front in her show in a frankly emotional way with good will overwhelmingly in her favor.  But ill will has erupted as well, the animal agency receiving death threats.  And tonight “Access Hollywood” reporting that Mutts and Moms has found another home for the dog.  Quoting the agency spokesman and lawyer Keith Fink.  In show that broadcast today, Ms. Degeneres again asked the adoption agency to return a four month old terrier named Iggy to her hair stylist and the stylists 11 and 12-year-old girls. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, “ELLEN”:  This has become so insane.  It‘s not even -

the dog just needs to go to the family.  The fight should be—it should not be about anything but the—the whole thing that people rescue animals to find a good home, you know.  It just needs to be in a good home.  That‘s all that you are supposed to do is put a dog in a loving home. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Yesterday‘s Ellen show made the whole story public when the host explained that she had adopted the dog originally, then given it to her hair dresser when it was clear the dog could not get along with Ms.  Degeneres‘s cats. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEGENERES:  Well, I guess I signed a piece of paper that says if I can‘t keep Iggy, it goes back to the rescue organization, which is not someone‘s home, which is not a family.  These two little girls had bonded to the dog.  Because I did it wrong, those people went and took that dog out of their home, and took it away from those kids.  And I feel totally responsible for it and I‘m so sorry. 

I‘m begging them to give that dog back to that family.  I just want the family to have the dog.  It‘s not their fault.  It‘s my fault. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  One of the partners of Mutts and Moms has now told “Access Hollywood,” quote, “my life is being threatened.  This is horrible.  I rescue dogs.  I can‘t believe this.”  And on returning the dog even before she apparently decided to find it another home, quote, “that is not a consideration at this point.  No, not after the way that we‘ve been treated.” 

That‘s right.  It‘s about you.  Not about the dog, not about the kids; it‘s about you.  Let‘s bring in the host of the pop cultural show of record, E! Entertainment‘s “The Soup,” Joel McHale.  Joel, good evening, what‘s going on? 

JOEL MCHALE, “THE SOUP”:  Hey, I just adopted this kid but it‘s not really getting along with my cats.  Do you want it? 

OLBERMANN:  Sure.  Put it in an overnight pouch and send it to me here in New York. 

MCHALE:  Here, sorry. 

OLBERMANN:  OK, well, you will be crying about that later on. 

MCHALE:  That‘s true I‘m in trouble. 

OLBERMANN:  The dog agency owner we just quoted was also crying when she answered the reporter‘s question.  Ellen Degeneres is crying.  Everybody is crying.  The dog has been reassigned.  Where do we go from here? 

MCHALE:  I‘m not sure, Keith.  But if people are dying around the world, and we should probably try to pay attention to some of that.  eradicate disease or something like that, instead of dwelling on this for hours upon hours upon hours.  But it‘s keeping the lights on at E.  

OLBERMANN:  And this is one thing that I don‘t—I‘m missing here.  Maybe you know about—you understand this and it‘s about the dog agency‘s reaction to this particular dog.  Is there something really special about this dog?  Is it a gold plated dog?  Is it worth a million dollars?  Does the dog talk, perhaps? 

MCHALE:  Keith, by the end of this situation, the dog will have been on Larry King, will be paid to open night clubs, will have its own signature lemon Cello, and Seacrest is going to sign a deal with it. 

OLBERMANN:  To announce the dog? 

MCHALE:  It‘s going to be huge. 

OLBERMANN:  You‘re a dog; is that right?  Even an associate of the two women who run this agency said, quote, they are trying to rescue and help dogs and, perhaps in this particular case they didn‘t see the forest for the trees.  Or put another way, the agency is invoking the letter of the agreement, but not the spirit, or the agency was tone deaf, or would you like to add year own characterization to this? 

MCHALE:  Well much like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Keith, it mirrors that.  But instead of thousands of people dying, it‘s some people fighting over who gets to watch an animal that can lick its own privates. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, we can always go to the White House for that—no, I‘m sorry. 

MCHALE:  True. 

OLBERMANN:  The spokesman for the dog‘s agency owners claim the agency does not give pets to children younger than 14.  I guess there was no follow up question when this point was raised because obviously the two girls live with their mother who is presumably older than 14.  Where is the problem with the age thing? 

MCHALE:  Well, I‘m a little bit confused by your math question.  But, here‘s the deal; the woman is Ellen Degeneres‘s makeup artist.  And if you live here in Hollywood, you know that every makeup artist basically dresses like they are 14.  So, the agency might have gotten confused. 

OLBERMANN:  You will be doing your own makeup the next six weeks after that buddy. 

MCHALE:  You should see the six-year-old that did mine. 

OLBERMANN:  The plea was obviously sincere from Ellen Degeneres, but obviously it pushed a lot of buttons.  This spokesman also said his clients will not be bullied around by the Ellen Degeneres of the world.  They are using their power, position and wealth to try to get what they want.  But I‘m confused.  Who started this?  Didn‘t Ellen Degeneres say the dog agency threatened that if they didn‘t get the dog back, they would go to the media? 

MCHALE:  Yes, it‘s very confusing.  I don‘t know who started it, but I know how it‘s going to end.  The dog will somehow end up with Larry Birkhead.  Rita Cosby will write a book.  And then she will do a lot of interviews where she sounds like she smoked a carton of cigarettes. 

OLBERMANN:  How much trouble are you going to try to get me into right now? 

MCHALE:  I‘m sorry. 

OLBERMANN:  I‘m reaching.  They are all floating in front of me here. 

OK, did you say Rita Cosby read a book? 

MCHALE:  I‘m sorry. 

OLBERMANN:  Joel McHale, who might just mention all of this on the weekly new edition of “The Soup” Friday nights as always on E!.  Great thanks, my friend.  Good to talk to you. 

MCHALE:  Nice to talk to you. 

OLBERMANN:  They gave the dog to somebody else, yikes.  That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 1,631st day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq.  From New York, I‘m Keith Obermann, good night and good luck.

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

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