updated 10/2/2008 1:12:06 PM ET 2008-10-02T17:12:06

Guests:  Richard Wolffe, Paul Krugman. James Moore

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

Florida: Obama leads McCain by eight.  Ohio: Obama leads McCain by eight.  Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain by 15.

It‘s the economy, plus, the debate.

Bailout.  The Senate votes tonight.  FDIC guarantee goes to $250,000 and businesses get tax breaks?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  To the Democrats and Republicans who‘ve opposed this plan, I say this—step up to the plate, do what‘s right for the country, even if it‘s not popular because the time to act is now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Is it right for the country or is it still a bad bill with

excuse me—lipstick on it?  Our special guest is Paul Krugman.

McCain‘s waterloo?  Not in Waterloo, Iowa, but 90 miles away in Des Moines, Iowa, before the editorial board of the “Des Moines Register,” the meltdown, when he is asked about conservatives questioning Palin‘s readiness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Really?  I hadn‘t detected that.  Now, there‘s a Georgetown cocktail party person who, quote, “calls himself a conservative” and doesn‘t like her, good luck.  Good luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Yes, all you Georgetown cocktail party conservatives at the “National Review,” you‘re not really conservatives.

Moments of silence?  The big rumor about the big question we find out now—can you name any Supreme Court decision besides Roe v. Wade?

Working the refs.  The lunatic fringe explodes because the vice presidential debate moderator is writing a book about African-American politicians.  The McCain camp even claims it did not know about it until last night even though the book was announced on July 23rd.

Worst: “Bill-O the Clown” compares Nancy Pelosi to Hitler.

And before we get swamp by 1,000 new moments of Palin at the debate, we will ask - which is been your favorites so far?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SARAH PALIN, ® VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  In what respect, Charlie?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  All that and more: Now on COUNTDOWN, Charlie.

(on camera):  Good evening.  This is Wednesday, October 1st, 34 days until the 2008 presidential election.

That vote right now perhaps hinging on tonight‘s vote on Capitol Hill.

And in our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: According to the latest polling out of the battleground states, Senator Obama with a clear edge heading into the final weeks of the campaign.

In the new Quinnipiac University Survey: Obama leading by eight in Florida, by eight in Ohio—the state that decided the 2004 presidential election—and by 15 in Pennsylvania.  Obama with a 50 percent or better majority in all three states, and in all three exceeding the margin of error of 3.4.

Nationally, Obama increasing his lead in the CBS News Poll out tonight.  The nine point gap among registered voters marking an increase of 4 percentage points in the Democrats lead since last week.  Also, outside that margin of error.

Meanwhile, the Democrat, his running mate, and his rival all at the Capitol where lawmakers gathers to vote on the latest version of the bailout bill.

Before returning from the campaign trail, Senator Obama today in Wisconsin, urging his colleagues to pass the legislation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  To the Democrats and Republicans who‘ve opposed this plan, I say this—step up to the plate, do what‘s right for the country, even if it‘s not popular because the time to act is now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Senator McCain having warned of another Great Depression this past Monday—if the House hadn‘t passed the bailout bill by this past Monday—today, warning of more doom and gloom, should the Senate version of what he is now calling a rescue plan failed.  The Republican nominee also speaking of imaginary others—that is politicians other than himself—who have aimed to exploit the economic crisis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN:  Of course, there are always some who think first of their own interests, who calculate their own advantage, instead of rushing to the aid of their country.  But in the case of this bill, I‘m confident there are enough people of goodwill in both parties to see America through this crisis.  And when the last vote is cast, we can be grateful to all of them, Democrats and Republicans alike, for helping to solve the crisis instead of merely exploiting it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Senator McCain having said on Monday that he believes our leaders belong in the arena when our country faces a challenge, not on the road on a campaign, tonight‘s Republican nominee returning to the Capitol to—sit on the sidelines.  His advisors saying they do not expect Senator McCain to speak on the Senate floor tonight, rather only to release a paper statement—way to take a stand.

Senator Obama taking to the floor of the Senate surely before 5:00 p.m. Eastern, telling his colleagues the current bailout bill may not be the perfect, but right now, it is the only plan they have got.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA:  It is conceivable.  It‘s possible that if we did nothing, everything would turn out OK.  There‘s a possibility that that‘s true.  And there‘s no doubt that there may be other plans out there that had we had two or three or six months to develop, might be even more refined and might serve our purposes better.  But we don‘t have that kind of time.  And we can‘t afford to take a risk that the economy of the United States of America, and as a consequence, the worldwide economy could be plunged into a very, very deep hole.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Time now to call in our own Richard Wolffe, also, of course, senior White House correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine.  Richard, good evening.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The polls first.  The Obama campaign said today that they seemed more than a bit rosier than reality.  Is that spin?  I mean, the “Time” magazine poll has him ahead by eight in Pennsylvania, not by 15.  Or could the internal numbers be painting a different picture of this race and the public once do?

WOLFF:  Well, I think the internal numbers inside the Obama campaign have shown much more level footing throughout this.  They weren‘t as bad as Democrats thought they were before and that not as good as some Democrats think they are right now.  And, of course, Democrats should remember that four years ago, there were some big spikes in the polls for John Kerry around this time of year.  He was eight points behind the first debate, and he evened it up between the debates before falling back to eight points behind at the end of those debates.

So, these numbers are going to be in flux.  We‘re seeing state by state movements that are really quite exceptional.  And yes, there are big events going on.  Obviously, the debate can reshape perceptions, but I think it‘s probably a lot more level here.  The trend is clear, though.  It is heading in Obama‘s direction for now.

OLBERMANN:  Quinnipiac and CBS drew distinctions between their pre and post debate numbers.  But might it be more accurate to say that the economy has propelled support towards Obama in the last week, and the debate just sort of happened to fall in the middle of this extraordinary economic story?

WOLFFE:  Yes, I think that‘s probably the best analysis here.  It‘s very hard to pick apart the debate and the economy here because they are two big factors in shaping how people are deciding, as they focusing on their vote, how they‘re deciding what they think of these two candidates.  So, whether you‘re viewing a candidate under the glare of the TV cameras or viewing them under the glare of the economic crisis, for instance, they‘re still narrowing down their choices and focusing in in a way that you would expect at this time.

So, very hard to separate the two, but really, the test of leadership is actually more about the economy than it is about the debate.

OLBERMANN:  Were we to expect that both Senator McCain and Senator Obama would vote for that bailout package tonight?

WOLFFE:  Yes, indeed.  And look how their rhetoric has changed.  Both candidates really tuning down the parties on attack, the personal attack, it‘s still there, of course, but speaking much more in a consensus way about the need for this package to go forward.  So, yes, we expect them both to vote yes.

OLBERMANN:  And yet, Senator McCain was holding out until after the vote for a statement, and not even, apparently appearing before the media, just a paper statement.  You know, is he waiting to see how all this plays out before he decides to tell us whether he supported it or was opposed to it?

WOLFFE:  Yes.  I‘m not sure what the tactic is here.  You know, I can understand Joe Biden doing that.  Of course, Joe Biden has got his mind on the debate.  He‘s also, no doubt, his son who‘s going to be deployed to Iraq very shortly.  But John McCain, having seen Obama deliver a floor speech, it‘s surprising that he‘s not going in front of the cameras or, at least, going on to the Senate floor and trying to claim a piece of this for himself.

OLBERMANN:  Richard Wolffe of MSNBC and “Newsweek,” as always, Richard, great thanks.

WOLFFE:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  On Sunday, Minority Leader Boehner having referred to the bailout bill that Congress would be voting on Monday as a crap sandwich.  So, what makes tonight‘s version any less of a crap sandwich?  Well, in short, there are corporate tax breaks and fewer regulations.  Don‘t you feel better already?  The Senate decided to tack on a set of corporate tax breaks to the bailout package in order to make it more attractive to House Republicans.

On the “TODAY” show this morning, House Minority Leader Blunt saying that two other changes might help garner more Republican votes.  The increase in federal deposit insurance protection from $100,000 on an account to $250,000, and the relaxation of an accounting rule that was forcing financial institutions to acknowledge the losses on their mortgage assets before they could sell them.

Let‘s turn now to Paul Krugman, professor of economics at Princeton University and an op-ed columnist at the “New York Times.”

And once again, Dr. Krugman, thank you for your time tonight.

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES:  Thanks for having me on.

OLBERMANN:  Well, are those new Senate provisions good or bad and how is this bailout and/or rescue, we‘ll use both terms, how is it compared to the last one in your assessment?

KRUGMAN:  Yes.  It was, you know, the history of this is that Secretary Paulson produced a really bad plan.  Democrats took it and made it somewhat better, enough to be worth passing, though, not by a lot.  But it didn‘t pass.

And now, in order to get it through, they‘ve actually made it‘s worse, but in ways that, you know, are sort of standard.  They‘ve basically loaded it up with a lot of pork.  So, it‘s a worse that it was than the one that was rejected earlier this week.

OLBERMANN:  There‘s something in there about rum dispensations, I believe, too.

KRUGMAN:  Yes.  And certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.  I saw that.  It‘s, you know, it‘s a classic.  That‘s a small change, but it is kind of funny.

OLBERMANN:  But it does—and also, it sort of reduces the level of crisis and urgency.  Is that a good or a bad thing?  You wrote today on your blog that you‘d rather see this bill pass than nothing at all.  But, is there a third alternative that is implied by that, you know, loading it up with pork that something could be done in the short term and not make the next administration‘s decisions for it?

KRUGMAN:  You know, I‘m feeling a little bit like I‘m suffering from a Stockholm Syndrome here.  I mean, basically, you know, Paulson produced a really lousy plan and we try today fix it up a bit.  And it‘s better, but it‘s still pretty bad.  Better than nothing.

And there isn‘t, probably, a chance of getting something else together.  This is a problem.  Not before the election.  Not for some time to come.  So, I‘m in the camp, I guess, I‘m part of the “hold your nose” caucus.  I‘m still in favor of this, but, boy, I am not happy.

OLBERMANN:  You‘ve also written this week about how—and I don‘t know if this isn‘t the first reference to the economic system of this nation being compared to this other nation, but how Iceland bailed out one of its banks in exchange for ¾ equity in it.  In Sweden, the government briefly nationalized the entire banking industry in 1992.  Are either of those options being discussed in this country and will it be too late to discuss them if this current bailout passes as planned?

KRUGMAN:  I think it‘s actually what we are going to do in the end.  What‘s going to happen is that this thing is probably going to pass, though, heaven knows if they really will.  It will pass tonight, but whether it passes at the House, I don‘t know.  And it will be relatively ineffective, although rejecting it would be actually caused a big run on the system.  And then, we‘ll come back and do it right probably in January or in February, because in the end, you know, partial ownership is the way to go.  And that‘s—the trouble is that lots of economists are saying that, but not very many politicians.

OLBERMANN:  You suggested a big run on the system, if this is not passed. I would gather that.

KRUGMAN:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  Your answer to this question would be kind of small.  Is there any likelihood that if we did nothing or nothing substantial at this point, everything would still somehow turn out OK?

KRUGMAN:  Well, you know, that likelihood shrunk.  One of the things that‘s happened in the last couple days, while we‘ve been (ph) going over this legislation is that the evidence is starting to come in, that the credit crunch is really starting to hit Main Street.  You know, McDonalds is cutting off credit to some of its franchises.  We‘re hearing stories about people‘s credit limits on their cards going down and their interest rates going up.

So, I actually think the odds that we would get out of this unscathed, if we did nothing and spent the month thinking about it are worse than I thought they were a week ago.

OLBERMANN:  As quickly as that has appeared and those stories are nationwide, how quickly would that crunch get unstuck with the passage of this?

KRUGMAN:  Oh, I‘m not sure if the crunch would.  That‘s the thing about this bill.  It‘s mostly an effort to stop things from getting worse too quickly.  You know, I don‘t think we‘re going to see a wonderful—you know, we still need recovery strategy.  And this bill is not that.  This bill is trying to plug some holes in the levee before the city floods.  It‘s not a system to, you know, actually stop the flooding entirely.

OLBERMANN:  So, McDonalds, we‘re advising them to switch the signs from billions served to dozens served.

Paul Krugman of the “New York Times” and Princeton University, at Old Nassau tonight.

KRUGMAN:  Thanks so much.

OLBERMANN:  As always, with our great thanks, sir.

The rest of the day originates from sundry date lines St. Louis, where Republicans are trying to pre-plan any debate disasters on something they claim they just found about, about the moderator of the debate that they should have known since July 23rd or earlier.

Des Moines, Iowa, where Senator McCain, in short, melted down and started yelling at reporters.

And New York, where the big answer or the big non-answer is finally public record tonight.  What did Governor Palin say when asked to address any other Supreme Court ruling besides Roe v. Wade—any other?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The maverick who wants to go to Washington and shake it up, says he‘s met a lot of people since going to Congress in 1983 and he would put those cronies in his cabinet.  Just the start of an on-camera meltdown that left John McCain snarling at the editorial board of the Heartland‘s most influential newspapers.

And the latest on the big question about the big question: Asked about Supreme Court decisions, did the governor become “Silent Sarah”?

And in Worst: “Bill-O the Clown” compares Nancy Pelosi to Adolf Hitler.

You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  For all the talk about how Sarah Palin cannot handle herself with anybody other than a starry-eyed supporter, let alone someone challenging or adversarial.

Our fourth story tonight: A fresh reminder that the top of the ticket has its own shortcomings.  John McCain sat down yesterday with the editorial board of the “Des Moines Register” in Iowa.  He had a strategy here that apparently included opening with a dictator joke during the discussion of the bailout.  And it kind of went downhill from there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN:  And this is just an unacceptable situation.  I‘m not saying this is the perfect answer.  If I were dictator which I always aspire to be, I would write it very different—a little bit differently.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Got to pause for the laugh, there, sir.

Things did not improve with the asking of the questions, although he spent considerable time telling the editors he was a reformer, an enemy of the old boy network that apparently slipped to senator‘s mind while he was asked about something else.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Talk a little bit about the process you‘d really go through in picking, you know, your circle of closest advisors, your cabinet secretaries.

MACCAIN:  I‘ve been around the Congress and the Senate since 1983, I know people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  But it was Senator McCain‘s demeanor that drew national attention today and inspired headlines with words like—testy, irritable, sarcastic.

At one point, he was asked to confirm whether he, as a veteran politician and senior citizen has always had healthcare paid for by taxpayers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN:  I was out of the military for awhile before I went to Congress, but, you know, that‘s an interesting statement.  So—and I have never been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space.  So, the answer is that most of my life, in serving my country, I have had healthcare.  I did go a period of time where the healthcare wasn‘t very good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Is that POW reference there?  Mr. McCain was also confronted about his dishonest claims that Governor Palin had opposed the “Bridge to Nowhere,” and that Senator Obama had supported sex ed for young kids, even though that bill backed by the Illinois PTA specified age appropriate education such as teaching those young kids how to defend themselves against sexual predators.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How can you go about rebuilding trust, without, I would contend, 100 percent absolute truth?

MCCAIN:  Because I have always had 100 percent absolute truth.  And that‘s been my life of putting my country first.  And I‘ll match that record against anyone‘s.  And I‘m proud of it.

And an assertion that I‘ve ever done otherwise, I take strong exception to.  And you‘ll have to provide better proof than a bill that Senator Obama supported that clearly calls for the teaching of sex education of young children.  So.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Even something like the ad implying that the lipstick on a pig reference was to Governor Palin—that just seems like that‘s not worth your seriousness in this campaign.

MCCAIN:  Well, that certainly is your opinion, and I respect your opinion, but it‘s not the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Always 100 percent absolute truth.  In his own 2002 book, McCain berates himself, in retrospect, for lying to win votes of Confederate flag supporters in South Carolina.  McCain, also, is less than 1 00 percent truthful why he chose such an inexperienced running mate, note -- PTA membership counts and he says “mayor” twice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN:  Well, thank you, but I disagree with your fundamental principle that she doesn‘t have experience.  She has been a mayor.  She‘s been overseer of billions—I don‘t know how many billions dollars of natural resources.  She‘s been a member of PTA.

She‘s been a governor.  She‘s been a mayor.  She‘s been—she‘s had vast experience on one of the fundamental challenges of America and that‘s energy.

I‘m proud of her record.  And it‘s not an accident that she‘s the most popular governor in America.

You and I just have a fundamental disagreement.  And I‘m so happy the American people seem to be siding with me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Why do you think they are siding with you,

because there seems to be -

MCCAIN:  Because they like her.  They appreciated her.  They know leadership when they see it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  There seems to be a pretty strong disagreement over whether there are people who are great fans of hers and there are people who are very uncomfortable that she does not have a lot of experience in public office and even among, you know, fairly conservative Republicans—who like her policies—

MCCAIN:  Really?  I haven‘t detected that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How do you read through that (ph)?

MCCAIN:  And I haven‘t detected that in the polls, I haven‘t detected that amongst the base.  We get 20,000 people that come to our rallies.  So, again, I fundamentally disagree.

Now, if there‘s a Georgetown cocktail party person who, quote, “calls himself a conservative” and doesn‘t like her, good luck.  Good luck.  Fine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you just dismiss those who don‘t feel comfortable with her experience.

MCCAIN:  Sure.  No, I don‘t dismiss them.  I think that the American people have overwhelmingly showed their approval.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  The 100 percent absolute truth: Americans have not overwhelmingly their approval.  Fifty-one percent today told Pew Research, Palin is unqualified.  And the most popular governor, no longer true.  “McClatchy” reporting, she has dropped from 82 percent approval in Alaska to 68 percent.  And at least two governors are still polling in the 80s.

How big is the panic in the Republican Party about tomorrow night‘s debate so big they are trying to make it look like they just found out the moderator wrote a book about African-American politicians?  Even though the book was announced in the middle of July and written up in “Time” magazine in the middle of August.

And, how to compare Nancy Pelosi to Hitler while claiming you‘re not comparing her to Hitler?  The Bill-O story, ahead in Worst Persons.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  A super-size edition of McCain in the Membrane, in a moment, as the far right tries to blame Sarah Palin‘s failure at the debate on the book the moderator is writing even though she has not failed yet, and even though the book was announced two weeks before McCain agreed she could be the moderator.

Of course, it has been like Oscar night around here.  The story that has inflamed the nation for three days, finally either verified or dismissed—asked to name a Supreme Court ruling besides Roe v. Wade, did Governor Palin really go silent?

Then, he insists he‘s not comparing Nancy Pelosi to Adolf Hitler but then he notes something he thinks Pelosi does, and then says, “You know who else that?  Hitler.”  Worst Persons is ahead on COUNTDOWN.

But first, the most outrageous or untrue things said by or behalf of Republican presidential nominee, John McCain—McCain in the Membrane.

Number three: When you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, whether they go to Alaska.  One of Governor Palin‘s more pretzel-like pieces of logic, the premise that Russia has been coming into Alaskan air space now repudiated by the spokesman for the Alaska Region of NORAD.  NORAD, you know, the guys who track Santa Clause and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“To be very clear,” says Major Allen Herritage, “there has not been any incursion in U.S. air space in recent years.”

It appears Governor Palin does not understand the difference between American air space, the 12-mile limit and the so-called “bumper zone,” which is further out.  And we fly into it, Russian pilots often go up to check out our planes.  When the Russians fly into it, American or Canadian pilots often go up to check their plane out.  By the way, Putin has not been spotted in one of those planes.

Number two: McCain‘s foreign policy crisis advisor.  Asked if he could foreseen occasion which you could ask Governor Palin for advice in such dire circumstances, Senator McCain‘s response today is fascinating.  Listen carefully, quote, “I‘ve turned to her for advice many times in the past.  I can‘t imagine turning to Senator Obama or Senator Biden because they‘ve been wrong.  They were wrong about Iraq, wrong about Russia.

The follow-up question: Would you turn to Governor Palin?  “I certainly wouldn‘t turn to them.  And I‘ve already turn to Governor Palin particularly on energy issues and I‘ve appreciated her background and knowledge on that and many other issues.”

So, no, he won‘t say he would turn to his vice president for foreign policy advice. Whatever you do, don‘t ask her if she‘s seen Putin lately, in the sky. 

And number one, trash the moderator.  To all the geniuses, led by WorldNetDaily, Michelle Malkin and Greta Van Susteran and the other pea brains like Bill O‘Reilly, who breathlessly reported last night and this morning and tonight about a farcical conflict of interest for the moderator of the vice-presidential debate, Gwen Ifill of PBS: where have you been?  The story broke in July.  Gwen Ifill is writing a book that will be out in January called “The Breakthrough, Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”  This also, somehow, disqualifies her to moderate a debate.  Republican mouthpiece Rich Lowry insisted on Fixed News that, at the very least, she should disclose that she‘s written the book, so all the viewers would know it. 

I‘m sure she would be delighted to do that.  It would increase sales by a couple of million copies.  Maybe you could have her put up a toll free number for orders.  Should Ifill also make a disclaimer that for all the hearing impaired viewers, as a woman, she might be biased toward Governor Palin, or make another disclaimer that for those of you having trouble perceiving reality, she has previously shown a marked bias towards fact. 

This desperate attempt to pre-blame Palin‘s performance tomorrow night on something, anything is bad enough.  In fact, it‘s pure racism.  But it has this added element of supposed surprise: “I confirm for us here on Greta Wire,” write Greta Van Susteran of Fox Noise, between delusions of grandeur, “the McCain campaign did not know about Gwen Ifill‘s book.  I think I told them when I made my efforts, emails about midnight to find out.  I am stunned.  The campaign, actually both, should have been told before the campaign agreed to have her moderate.  It simply is not fair.  In law, this would create a mistrial.”

No, it would get the lawyer fired.  The Associated Press ran a story on July 23rd, quoting Gwen Ifill and identifying her as senior correspondent for PBS‘ “The News Hour With Jim Lehrer” and author of “The Breakthrough, Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” slated for publication early next year.  That AP story was even posted on, is still posted on the website of the ultra conservative “Washington Times.”  July 23rd this was. 

The two campaigns formally agreed after the debate, after their negotiators agreed on the moderators, Gwen Ifill included, on August 7th.  “Time Magazine” printed an article by Ifill about the book on August 21st.  As we know, Governor Palin reads a vast variety of sources where she gets her news.  She may have even read that article.  Governor Palin was not selected to be Senator McCain‘s running mate until August 29th.  And this thing, this is Double Day‘s trade catalogue for it‘s new books for early 2009.  It was printed in the second week of September and sent to every bookstore and newspaper in the country.  Ifill‘s book has also been available not just in here, but online pre-order for weeks. 

This gets belched into the right wing echo chamber 48 hours before the debate and it‘s been picked up by clowns like Michelle Malkin and sheep like Greta Van Susteran.  And if the McCain campaign, which could have found out about it at any time over the last two months and nine days by simply Googling her name, if that campaign really didn‘t know anything about this book until Greta Van Susteran emailed them last night, they‘re morons. 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The worst might be yet to come.  Or for Governor Sarah Palin, there could be an epiphany of knowledge, a metaphorical lightning bolt of insight going through her, perhaps at tomorrow‘s debate.  In our third story on the COUNTDOWN, no matter what is next, there will always be 6:45 Eastern daylight time on Wednesday, October 1st, 2008, the moment CBS News played a tape, a kind of smoking gun of stupidity, during which the Republican vice-presidential candidate flat lined. 

In a segment in which both Mrs. Palin and Senator Biden were asked about Roe v. Wade and other Supreme Court rulings, the governor responded thoughtfully about her opposition, insisting the abortion issue should be left to the states.  Then asked if there‘s a right to privacy in the constitution, she answered that she believed there was and didn‘t seem to even notice when Katie Couric interrupted to note that that right was the corner stone of Roe v. Wade. 

Finally came the question and answer that erased whatever had remained of Sarah Palin‘s credibility as a national political figure. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS ANCHOR:  What other Supreme Court decisions duties agree with? 

PALIN:  Hmm.  Well, let‘s see.  Of course, in the great history of America, there have been rulings that there‘s never going to be absolute consensus by every American.  And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe our best held on a state level and addressed there.  So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but—

COURIC:  Can you think of any? 

PALIN:  I would think of any, again, that could best be dealt with on a more local level, maybe I would take issue with.  But, you know, as a mayor and then as a governor, and even as a vice president, if I‘m so privileged to serve, I wouldn‘t be in a position of changing those things, but in supporting the law of the land, as it reads today. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Everywhere like such as.  Asked to name a Supreme Court verdict other than Roe v. Wade, she named Roe v. Wade.  There was, of course, a sketch by the great comedians Bob Elliot and Ray Goudling in which a golf caddy was interviewed about the increasing popularity of her sport, and she began by saying that with increased leisure time, more people are finding they have leisure time and are looking for ways to utilize that leisure time to make sure their leisure time is more enjoyable. 

Finally, the interviewer says, we get the point, ma‘am.  We get the point, governor.  Despite tonight‘s latest train wreck, Sarah Palin, as a debater, at least in her campaign in Alaska, was not to be underestimated.  The “L.A. Times” today reporting how after a string of bad 2006 gubernatorial campaign experiences attributed to a lack of attention span and unwillingness to repair, Palin developed work-arounds, simple answers and pithy comments delivered with a broad smile.  “She has a Reagan-like ability to win over audiences.  But for someone who cares about issues and facts, it was rather startling to see her gloss over important questions,” according Andrew Halco, who ran against here.

Meanwhile, last night that same folksy and possibly gender bending Palin submitted herself to right wing radio talk show host, Hugh Hewitt. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN:  Oh, I think they‘re just not used to someone coming in from the outside, saying, you know what?  It‘s time that normal, Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency.  And I think that‘s kind of taking some people off guard and they are out of sorts and they‘re ticked off about it. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  We‘re joined now by Huffington Post contributor James Moore.  Jim, good evening. 

JAMES MOORE, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Hi, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  How over is it? 

MOORE:  Well, I don‘t think it‘s quite over yet.  You have to remember that being uninformed and even stupid doesn‘t disqualify you from holding public office in America.  If it did, Congress wouldn‘t be a representative body, right?  But, on the other hand, I think Joe Biden can put an end to this tomorrow night.  He could drain the last political life blood out of her. 

I‘m a bit taken aback by all the analysts and the consultants who are suggesting he needs to be careful and cautious.  I think he needs to use his intellect and his experience and his range and his depth to sort of beat her about her diminutive brain and let the world know that she is not up to this job so that when that debate is over, everybody who is watching asks the question, my god, what was John McCain thinking. 

OLBERMANN:  Something of a modernized version of “where‘s the beef” might work on that.  But about that one answer; as was pointed out this afternoon on a couple of blogs, two months ago, the Supreme Court ruled on a case called Exxon v. Baker, which was the case which reduced the damages in the Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster.  It was in Alaska.  Governor Palin, governor of Alaska, issued a statement at the time expressing disappointment over the ruling.  It was in Alaska.  She‘s already on the record as being disappointed and, thus, disapproving of this.  It‘s supposedly her specialty, energy.  And I might mention, it was in Alaska. 

Never mind Plessy v. Ferguson or Dred Scott.  She didn‘t remember Exxon v. Baker. 

MOORE:  So that was in Alaska? 

OLBERMANN:  Yes. 

MOORE:  So maybe what happened is she was sleeping in her tanning bed and John McCain woke her up and she said, what happened?  I mean, I think we‘re dealing here with someone who is severely incurious and is intellectually incapable, as our current president is.  From the first time I heard her struggle to answer a question, my memory was of George W. Bush and him trying to answer questions.  And they took him back away from the public and fired him up and trained him a little bit and gave him the so-called glittering answers. 

But from the beginning I‘ve always thought of her as George Bush in lip gloss and high heels.  I don‘t think there‘s much difference the two, except that George Bush might be smarter. 

OLBERMANN:  Thanks for sticking me that I imagine, by the way.  The local debates in Alaska, she was supposed to be terrific.  At least she learned how to play it.  If she came across tomorrow night like a cross between Winston Churchill and, to use her own term, Joe Six-Pack—what a bizarre term that was—in that debate tomorrow, could she make up for this just swing and a miss answer about the Supreme Court? 

MOORE:  I think she‘s oblivious to the fact that Joe can‘t afford a six pack anymore.  He‘s down to a three pack.  But I don‘t think she can do it.  What she needs to do is deliver some kind of hybridized rhetoric between Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh to fire up the people who are excited about her coming on board in the first place.  She clearly can‘t do that.

Unfortunately for her, even if she could, in a debate, you have to have some depth on issues and substance.  And I think that‘s going to come out extremely glaringly tomorrow night, that she does not have a clue.  And looking across the bearing strait in Alaska doesn‘t make you an expert in foreign policy. 

OLBERMANN:  One last question, Jim.  Palin‘s favorability among women, according to the CBS poll tonight, went from 47 percent to 30 percent.  Is it really still the case that withdrawing her—I mean, tomorrow morning before the debate some pretext of family emergency, something that looked good and absolutely necessary and unavoidable, would that not be less damaging than the prospect that she goes out there tomorrow and costs the Republican ticket 10 points and any chance of election? 

MOORE:  I think you‘re describing a scenario where John McCain has put himself out on a limb and now he has to make a decision about whether he hangs out there and blows it in the wind or he saws it off behind himself.  He‘s going to take a serious hit if he cuts her loose.  It will reflect poorly on his judgment.  The only thing that could save him in that case from really losing it would be if he found someone that really grabbed the public‘s attention.  That person clearly isn‘t out there or he wouldn‘t have chosen Sarah Palin. 

OLBERMANN:  James Moore, the noted political writer, co-author of “Bush‘s Brain.”  As always, Jim, many thanks. 

MOORE:  You bet, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, as has been written, the past is but prelude.  What wonders what the governor will provide us with tomorrow night? 

And in the interim, which of the many wondrous moments of Sarah Louise Palin did you enjoy most? 

And when asked whose voting for McCain, nobody in this breakfast place says a word.  When asked who is voting for Obama, everybody raises their hand.  So the Fox guy says—you won‘t believe what the Fox guy says ahead in worst persons.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Before we see what gems are produced by a vice presidential candidate who did her debate prep work standing next to a creek without a paddle, one last loving look at the Sarah Palin story so far, told in her own words.  Please don your protective head gear now.  That‘s next, but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s number two story, tonight‘s worst persons in the world. 

The bronze to Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa on one of those radio shows; “John McCain said the fundamentals of our economy are sound.  Really, our unemployment is fairly low.  People out there have jobs.  They are working.  The economy is flowing.”  The only thing flowing here is King‘s stream of sewage farm product.  Unemployment is a at a five-year high.  We‘ve already lost 605,000 job this is year and that‘s only through August 31st

The runner-up, the first of our two video worsts.  This is Brian Wilson of Fixed News reporting to you from Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Brian can‘t count. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN WILSON, FOX NEWS:  So there is a sense—real quick, let me see if I can ask the room a question.  This is sort of what it really boils down to.  Everybody raise your hand.  Who is going to vote for McCain?  Who‘s going to vote for Obama?  All right.  See it‘s split.  I‘d say a little heavier toward Obama in the room at the moment.  And that‘s why northeastern Pennsylvania is definitely a battleground area in a battleground state. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  Split for McCain, there‘s the guy in the back who started to put his hand up before the misses shoved it back down and for Obama, there‘s everybody else in the room, including the same guy, who then raised his hand when Wilson said, who‘s going to vote for Obama.  Split. 

But our winner, Bill-O the clown, on with utterly unqualified cartoon of a, quote, body language expert of his, the one who has a degree in general studies from Pace University, and who likes to dabble in hypnosis on the side.  They‘re talking about Nancy Pelosi‘s body language and her hand gestures and whether she practices them.  “So,” Clown says, “she‘s practicing.”  The hypnosis woman says, “I think she does practice, yes.” 

So Bill-O them makes a jump to a conclusion so great it would set an Olympic record.  “You know who used to do that?  Who practiced for hours before making a speech?  And I‘m not making a comparison here, so don‘t you crazy left wing websites out there.  It‘s not a comparison.  Adolph Hitler practiced for hours.  All of his gestures and everything else before he went out there.” 

But he‘s not making any comparison here.  This is at least the 8th time in the last four years that he‘s not made a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis.  He said Al Franken and Michael Moore were like Goebbles in 2004.  He said Hitler would be a card-carrying member of the ACLU.  He said Congressman Jack Murtha was a Hitler sympathizer, like one anyway.  And he said left wing websites were Nazis in 2005.  He said there was no difference between the Nazis and the Daily Kos website in 2007.  Then he described similarities between Arianna Huffington and Huffington Post to Hitler and his cut throats. 

Now it‘s Pelosi.  Of course, those were not comparisons.  So what I will not do is compare Bill-O to that part of the anatomy that, as the old joke goes, everybody‘s got one.  Bill-O the clown, today‘s worst person in the world!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  All political gaffes will now, by necessity, have to be put in historical contest, BP or AP?  Before Palin, or after Palin.  Our number one story on the COUNTDOWN, all Palin material will further have to be divide temporally as BD or AD, we believe, before debate and after debate.  Unless we‘re being low-balled in the greatest conspiracy in world history or they load her up on smart steroids, tomorrow night‘s face off may produce a cornucopia of brand new classics.  Before these moments, yet unborn, emerge, we wanted to salute the river of words Governor Palin has already navigated, or should we say, the creek.  As in this relaxing setting of Palin‘s debate preparations yesterday.  Governor, if you‘re given another chance to name memorable Supreme Court cases, do not say Alien v. Predator. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COURIC:  What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with? 

PALIN:  Hmm, well, let‘s see.  There‘s, of course—in the great history of America there have been rulings that there‘s never going to be absolute consensus by every American.  And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there.  So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but—

COURIC:  Can you think of any? 

PALIN:  I would think of any, again, that could best be dealt with on a more local level, maybe I would take issue with, but—

If you want specifics, with specific policies or countries, go ahead and you can ask me.  You can even play stump the candidate, if you want to. 

CHARLIE GIBSON, ABC NEWS ANCHOR:  What incite into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you? 

PALIN:  They are our next door neighbors. 

COURIC:  Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials? 

PALIN:  It certainly does because our next door neighbors are foreign countries.  They are in the state that I am the executive of.  Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America.  Where do they go?  It‘s Alaska. It‘s just right over the border. 

GIBSON:  Have you ever met a foreign head of state? 

PALIN:  I have not.  If you go back in history and ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer I just gave you. 

My understanding is Rick Davis recused himself from the dealings in that firm.  I don‘t know how long ago, a year or two ago.  And that he‘s not benefiting from that.  And, you know, I would hope that‘s the case. 

COURIC:  But he still has a stake in the company.  So isn‘t that a conflict of interest? 

What newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this, to stay informed and to understand the world?

PALIN:  I‘ve read most of them, again, with a great appreciation for the press, for the media coming—

COURIC:  What specifically, I‘m curious?  

PALIN:  All of them.  Any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.  I have some of them.  I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.  Alaska isn‘t a foreign country. 

But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.  Helping the—it‘s got to be all about job creation too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track.  So health care reform and reducing taxes and reigning in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. 

And trade, we have to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing.  But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today.  We‘ve got to look at that as more opportunity.  All those things under the umbrella or job creation.  This bailout is a part of that. 

GIBSON:  Do you agree with the Bush doctrine? 

PALIN:  In what respect, Charlie? 

GIBSON:  The Bush—what do you interpret it to be? 

PALIN:  His world view. 

COURIC:  I‘m going to ask you one more time, not to belabor the point. 

Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation?   

PALIN:  I‘ll try to find you some and I‘ll bring them to you. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Asked to name a Supreme Court decision with which she disagreed other than Roe v. Wade, Governor Palin answered, in essence, Roe v. Wade.  That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 1,981st day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq, I-R-A-Q, if you‘re not familiar with what I‘m talking about.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, 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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