updated 5/27/2010 9:33:27 AM ET 2010-05-27T13:33:27

Guests: Gabrielle Giffords, Dave Weigel, Rick Steiner, Harry Shearer,

Howard Fineman

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

            KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you

be talking about tomorrow?

Top kill.  The Coast Guard permits B.P. to try the plug the damn hole

method.  Can it work?  What if it doesn‘t?  And why is this the first time

we‘ve heard those four words?  “The Coast Guard permits.”

The insider reports continue.  B.P. ignoring warning signs in the

hours before, but B.P. official in a, quote, “skirmish” with three rig

operator who tried to stop the process.

And the hearings continue.  Congressman Rahall:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NICK RAHALL (D), WEST VIRGINIA:  I do think it is important to

determine whether the Deepwater Horizon is a Wall Street of the ocean,

privatizing profit while the public bears the risk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Howard Fineman on the politics, Rick Steiner on the

physics, Harry Shearer on the cries from the heart.

The immigration labyrinth: 61 percent support the Arizona “papers

please” law, which has cost the GOP nearly all Latino support.  Troops to

the border requested by a Democratic congresswoman who herself opposes the

“papers please” law.  Our guest: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Hypocrisy run amok.  A reporter moves in near Sarah Palin, she

complains he‘s overlooking the family‘s swimming hole.  This is the

swimming hole, Lake Lucille in Alaska, 350 acres‘ worth.  Our guest: Dave

Weigel.

Landrieu-gate: James O‘Keefe pledged guilty.

And hypocrisy atop hypocrisy: Lonesome Rhodes recoils over the Palin

neighbor story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST:  You leave the families alone.  We‘ve never

done anything but protect the families and question why the White House

would bring their children into political debate.  Leave the families

alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  But in the same broadcast:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECK:  Did nobody hear that no one in the family heard Jeremiah

Wright?  The kids never came home and said, “Hey, Jews are destroying the

world.”  Michelle never said, “Wait, wait.  What?”

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.

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OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

Mud is on the way—the somewhat less than inspirational announcement

this afternoon from a U.S. Navy official indicating that the equally

dubiously titled repair operation “top kill” is underway.

Our fifth story: the last best hope to end what is probably already

the worst environmental disaster of our time is reduced to mud.  Not actual

mud, mind you, but the heavy drilling fluid known as mud, which itself is

still a little more than clay and water.

In a story seemingly filled with acme atomic oil absorption kits,

quoting Bugs Bunny about Wile E. Coyote seems entirely appropriate. 

Remember, mud spelled backwards is dum.

Engineers are hoping to pump enough drilling mud into the gusher to

overcome the flow of crude.  A B.P. spokesman is saying they will pump in

mud for hours and then follow up the mud with cement.

President Obama is joining the list of those making, quote, “no

guarantees” that the top kill procedure will work.

A live look at the Deepwater Horizon well showing that the procedure

does not appear to have worked so far but that apparently is as expected. 

The chief executive of B.P., Tony Hayward, is warning this morning that it

would be days perhaps before we know whether top kill has actually worked -

- something that has never been attempted this deep, one mile under water -

Mr. Hayward having assessed its chances for success at only 60 percent to

70 percent.

           

Early tonight, the company announcing that the procedure was going as

planned.  But remarkable new videotape showing anything but.  From National

Geographic, giving us new looks tonight of the final moments on the

Deepwater Horizon oil platform and of the chaos that followed as it

actually toppled over and began to sink—the National Geographic Channel

to air its full special at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. tomorrow.

Witness statements obtained by the “Associated Press” depicting the

chaos that seems to have led to the explosion, senior managers having

complained that B.P. was, quote, “taking shortcuts” the day of the

explosion by replacing heavy drilling fluid with sea water in the well that

later blew out—sea water providing less weight to contain a surging

pressure problem in the hours before the explosion.

And today in Louisiana, a chief mechanic aboard the Deepwater Horizon

who survived the explosion is testifying that he witnessed a disagreement

about the well between a B.P. official and two other employees on the day

of the explosion—with the employees rather ultimately deferring to,

quote, “the company man.”

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DOUGLASS BROWN, TRANSOCEAN CHIEF MECHANIC:  I remember there was a

slight argument that took place and a difference of opinions, and the

company man was basically saying, well, this is how it‘s going to be.  And

they—and the tool-pusher and the OIM reluctantly agreed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Other testimony prepared for today‘s hearings in

Washington revealing that the U.S. Minerals Management Service, the MMS,

last inspected Deepwater Horizon‘s so-called blowout preventer in 2005. 

Five years later, in 2010, the blowout preventer, as we know, having failed

to prevent the blowout.

Interior Secretary Salazar is insisting to lawmakers that the Obama

administration is doing everything possible.

But members of the president‘s own party today are voicing their

frustration with the response thus far.  Senator Shaheen of New Hampshire

is calling for the MMS to be abolished outright.  Senator Bill Nelson of

Florida is saying today that if top kill does not work, the administration

should take over from B.P.

Louisiana native, James Carville, meanwhile, is slamming the president

for the, quote, “political stupidity,” unquote, of his response.

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JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST:  The president of the United

States could have come down here.  He could have been involved with the

families of these 11 people.  He could have commandeered the things—we

could have sent the Woods Hole people.  We could have sent the Scripps

people on research vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.  He could have

implemented a plan in anticipation of this.

These people are crying.  They‘re begging for something down here and

he just looks like he‘s not involved in this.  Man, you‘ve got to get down

here and take control of this.  Put somebody in charge of this thing and

get this thing moving.  We‘re about to die down here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  President Obama planning to travel to the Gulf on Friday. 

Today, on the road in California, notably not saying that he is against the

kind of deep water drilling that led to the disaster, merely that the

nation will not be able to sustain its current level of fossil fuel use.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  And the spill in the

Gulf which is just heartbreaking, only underscores the necessity of seeking

alternative fuel sources.  We‘re not going to transition out of oil next

year or 10 years from now, but think about it.  We‘re not going to be able

to sustain this kind of fossil fuel use.  This planet can‘t sustain it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  At this hour, there‘s a news conference at Roberts,

Louisiana, at which a coast guard rear admiral and the COO of B.P. have

been speaking.  Doug Suttles, the COO, says of top kill merely that the job

is going according to plan.  The rest of the news conference is about what

you would have expected at this point.

We‘re joined now by our own Howard Fineman, senior Washington

correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine.

Howard, good evening.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Hi, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  What are the political implications for the

administration, for the president, if this top kill thing that we‘re being

told about does not work?

FINEMAN:  Well, the president‘s trying to execute his own political

version of the top kill here, Keith.  There‘s a whole series of things

going on, the presser that you just mentioned, Coast Guard Admiral Thad

Allen was made available to some of us today for a detailed briefing over

at the White House.  Salazar, the interior secretary, is going to come out

with a statement about offshore drilling and its future in the next day or

so, I think he‘s going to dial back on some of what the administration was

enthusiastically talking about in terms of offshore drilling, you know, a

couple months ago.

There‘s going to be a new government estimate of the amount of oil

that‘s actually out there, separate from any estimates of B.P. that federal

officials have been working on.  Then the president is going to have a

press conference about this.  He‘s going to have a press conference, a full

one, in 10 months.  He‘s having one tomorrow.

And then, per James Carville, he‘s going down to the Gulf on Friday.

So this is their version of a kind of a political top kill to try to

stop the flow of political criticism that‘s really getting heavy now.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  You left out one thing—the podium has a logo now. 

There‘s a logo that says Deepwater Horizon response.  So, it‘s official. 

There is a response.

FINEMAN:  There you go.  A logo.  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  The president said that top kill, there are no guarantees. 

I hear that and I‘m having my expectations lowered before my eyes.  Is that

a fair assessment?

FINEMAN:  Yes.  Especially based on what Admiral Allen said to us

earlier today over at the White House.

First of all, as you indicated, there is a chance that putting this

mud down there, if they do it too quickly and heavily, it will bust apart

the well itself—what‘s left of the well, and create other fishers that

might allow more oil to come through.  So, that‘s why they‘re being very

careful and slow in monitoring this carefully, because there is that risk

of making it worse and making the flow heavier.  That‘s number one.

Number two, when the platform collapsed, it ruined the system of pipes

that would have allowed for the mud to be easily put down there.  This

apparently was not a scenario that they considered.  The more you learn

about this, Keith, the more you learn that the failsafe mechanisms and

scenarios that should have been carefully examined by somebody simply were

not.

OLBERMANN:  Those tech points you just raised we‘re going to go to in

depth with our next guest, Rick Steiner, in a moment.  But to continue with

you, Howard, Friday soon enough?  I mean, Friday in the Gulf Region given

to the political sensitivities related to what‘s happened to the Gulf

Region in the last five years?

FINEMAN:  Well, no, obviously not.  I mean, if you‘ve got James

Carville on the TV, there‘s no more loyal Democrat than James Carville.  No

more partisan Democrat than James Carville.  Yes, he‘s from Louisiana. 

Yes, it‘s his home.  But you‘ve also got Jeanne Shaheen, you got Nick

Rahall, you‘ve got Ed Markey from Massachusetts.  You got a lot of people

saying there should have been more by way of study and response.

And, again, Admiral Allen said that some technical advice from the DOD

and from other places has been helpful.  I don‘t know they‘ve scoured or

thought outside the box about other parts of the federal knowledge base

that could have been brought to bear on this.  While it‘s true that B.P. 

has the most knowledge, as much as any oil company does of this new exotic

deep drilling, there could have been I think other things brought to bear.

And emotionally, the president has a duty to be there, to be on scene

with these people, Keith.  It sounds a little too technocratic and bland to

talk about reducing oil demand at a time when a whole way of life is under

threat, and a whole ecology is under threat in Louisiana and elsewhere on

the coast.

OLBERMANN:  Well stated.  Howard Fineman of MSNBC and “Newsweek”—as

always, great thanks, Howard.

FINEMAN:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  For more, as we said, on the science, let‘s turn again to

conservation consultant, Rick Steiner, a marine biologist who‘s been total

Gulf Coast and has studied this spill and other events elsewhere regarding

oil spills and disasters.

Thanks again for your time tonight, sir.

RICK STEINER, MARINE BIOLOGIST:  My pleasure, Keith.  Hi.

OLBERMANN:  The chief executive and president of the United States

both warning there‘s a good chance the top kill‘s not going to work.  What

makes it risky, dangerous and what is that possibility?  Why is there a

possibility it‘s not going to work?

STEINER:  Yes, I‘m not sure if I was a gambling guy that I‘d put my

money on it.  But at this point, we‘re open to Hail Marys on this thing.

There is always a risk.  There‘s an enormous amount of pleasure coming

up the blowout from the reservoir.  And if you try to back that pressure

down the failed well string, which is what the top kill is trying to do,

you could change the entire hydraulic situation underneath the sea bed and

cause more damage down there, and the oil could start percolating up

elsewhere to where it would be far more difficult to control.

But these things, you know, trying to snub it off at the wellhead have

to be tried.  It could—you know, at this point, it‘s difficult to

imagine that it could cause more damage, but it is possible.  But we have

to try something.

OLBERMANN:  And the worst case scenario—or not the worst case

scenario, sort of mid-range scenario, it doesn‘t cause those other fissures

and doesn‘t cause additional leaks anywhere else, and it doesn‘t cause to

percolate up the sea bed or the floor of the Gulf anyway.  The mid-term

worst-case scenario is—it just keeps spouting oil indefinitely or is

there a point at which this well dries out?  What happens?

STEINER:  Well, there‘s probably several hundred million barrels of

oil in that reservoir, at least, perhaps more.  So, if this remains

uncontrolled, it could conceivably go on for years.

But the best hope we have is to get the two relief wells down there

ASAP and then they can do either the dynamic kill from down where the

failed well string meets the reservoir, which is injecting sea water, and

then with frictional forces, slows down the blowout.  Then they inject the

heavy mud, which is especially formulated for this.  And also—and then

they inject the concrete.

The other thing they can do is inject this guar gum and especially

formulated kill fluids down into the top of the reservoir, sort of like

sticking chewing gum in the top of a fissure like this.  But that—the

relief wells are ever important right now, they need to get down there

ASAP.  And I‘m curious as to whether or not they should start drilling a

third relief well in case the first two fail for some reason.

OLBERMANN:  Briefly, what is ASAP on these relief wells?

STEINER:  Well, within the next two weeks.

OLBERMANN:  OK.

STEINER:  They are—the first relief well is more than halfway to

the reservoir.  They basically come down about 10,000 feet through the sea

bed and then start angling in, using electromagnetic sensors and such to

intersect the failed well string right at the top of the reservoir.

So, I would—you know, we‘d like them down there yesterday, which is

why it‘s intriguing that the Canadian government requires the drilling of a

relief well along with—

OLBERMANN:  Right.

STEINER:  -- the exploratory well in the extreme environments.  I

wonder if we should even be drilling in places like the deep ocean and the

Arctic Ocean if we can‘t do better than we‘re doing right now.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, you can‘t see the screen necessarily, but the answer

to that is to the left of the screen the viewer sees at home.

One sort of political question that touches on science and also

touches—every night, the humorous David Letterman touches on this.  He

talks about another solution that involves Superman doing something.

As ludicrous as that sounds, what—is there in fact something in the

government quiver that has not been brought to bear, if there had been some

immediate decision by the administration, “B.P., you‘re out of this, we‘re

going to take over”?  Is there some solution, some offshore geologist, some

marine biologist who knows what the hell to do in this situation that B.P. 

wouldn‘t?

STEINER:  Well, I think it‘s the engineers and the fluid dynamic

physicists and such.  But unfortunately, we‘re right at the edge of the

science and technology here.  And, of course, if the top kill doesn‘t work,

which there‘s a good chance that it won‘t—but we‘ll see, hoping that it

does—then they‘ll try the junk shot which would preclude additional top

kill mud injection, and then they‘d try another blowout preventer on top of

the one that‘s there, then they‘d try the dome.

But all these are sort of stop gap, Band-Aid approaches.  They need to

try them, but absolutely most thing is they need to expedite getting those

relief wells down there to the top of the reservoir to intersect with the

failed well string.

OLBERMANN:  Rick Steiner, conservation consultant, marine biologist,

and once again making this somewhat intelligible for us.  Once again for

that, great thanks.

STEINER:  Thanks.

OLBERMANN:  The unexpected kernel of truth in the phrase “Obama‘s

Katrina” explained today online by Harry Shearer.  Harry joins us next as

our coverage of day 36 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  He argues that the reference to Obama‘s Katrina is not as

knee-jerk as it sounds, that much of the president‘s political risk right

now owes to what he is yet to do to prevent a second Katrina.

Her role in the most intricate story of our time, she opposes her own

state‘s “papers please” law, but it was her request that will send National

Guardsmen to the border.  She joins us.

He pleads guilty, apologizes, is sentenced.  Anybody putting money on

him learning a lesson here?

And the crowd that bashes the president‘s wife, his kids, his aunt, is

enraged because a writer moved into the same neighborhood she leaves in. 

We leave families out of it.  Hypocrisy squared.

You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  In the news conference in Louisiana, Rear Admiral Mary

Landry saying they are very encouraged but do not want to express optimism.

When the right-wing began calling the Gulf oil spill President Obama‘s

Katrina, we reported on this news hour the extensive role Bush/Cheney

policies and decisions had been allowing the spill to occur and how

Cheney‘s old company, Halliburton, was literally at ground zero of the

disaster.

But tonight, in our fourth story, while we have reported almost

nightly on the current administration‘s failings in the Gulf and as we

mentioned before, the break—the Democrats are at the breaking point it

seems, there is a new argument being advanced by our next guest, Harry

Shearer.  That part of the reason for the anger with Mr. Obama‘s response

is his poor record on—yes, the actual Katrina.  Specifically the

president‘s actions or lack thereof in protecting New Orleans from future

Katrinas, the Army Corps of engineers having still not come up with a plan

for a permanent hurricane protection system.

Mr. Shearer arguing in online post today that a full-on push by Mr. 

Obama there might have inoculated him against charges that his

administration has let the oil slipped through its fingers by letting B.P. 

run the show.  While Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal pleading for the Army

Corps to approve construction of a make shift barrier islands, as

impractical as that might be, leads a growing chorus of politicians,

residents, fishermen and others crying for the federal government to do

more, better, faster than B.P. has so far.

As promised, we‘re now joined by investigative satirist, Harry

Shearer, New Orleans resident, actor, author, musician, radio host, and

filmmaker behind the upcoming documentary, “The Big Uneasy,” the post-

Katrina New Orleans story.

Good evening, sir.

HARRY SHEARER, SATIRIST:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Your thoughts on the response—what exactly

could have or should have the president done?

SHEARER:  Well, I say it‘s two things.  It‘s the Woody Allen rule,

nine tenths of life is showing up.  So show up early and often, you‘re

trying to project the image of un-Bush, who was famous for not showing up. 

So, be there.

Be there to express your support, your interest.  Be there to start

the fact-finding process a little bit earlier than five weeks after the

thing happens.

Which ties into the second thing, the CSI rule, show up while the

evidence is fresh.  Don‘t be the fireman who waits around, let‘s the

arsonist put out the fire, and then arrives five weeks later and says,

“Hey, what happened here?”

OLBERMANN:  To be fair, did you think in the days after this happened

that he should have been there?  Because I can‘t say, in all honesty, that

I thought in the three days after the event that, “Where‘s the president?”

SHEARER:  You know, the worst that could have happened was that he

would have looked perhaps a bit silly in anticipating disaster where none

was immediately apparent.  But to go down there and say, this has the seeds

of a disaster, it doesn‘t yet have the earmarks of a disaster, but we‘re

going to be here proactively, precisely because the last time disaster

struck New Orleans the federal government was late at every turn—as was

the same government for that matter.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  And to Katrina, explain that.  I gave that in

sort of a bulletin form.  Explain how the president—this president has

disappointed you on the last president‘s Katrina.

SHEARER:  Yes.  Well, me, meaning people in New Orleans.

You know, there are two salient points here.  One, starting last

March, people in New Orleans became aware that the Corps of Engineers have

publicly announced they were choosing—in their words—technically not

superior solution to rebuilding the canals that breached so disastrously on

August 29th, 2005.  The president could have stepped in, and said, you

know, technically not superior is not really the kind of reassurance that

New Orleans deserves in the wake of a manmade disaster like Katrina.  As it

was in New Orleans.

And secondly, there‘s been a letter on his desk since June of last

year from the Office of Special Counsel which validates whistleblower

complaints, saying a whistleblower inside the Corps of Engineers has made a

valid, proven complaint that the temporary pumps on these canals will not

work in the time of a hurricane.  And there‘s been no action from the White

House.

In both situations, action from the White House—steadfast,

forthright action on these issues would have sent a message: this guy cares

about New Orleans.

OLBERMANN:  So, in the light of the fact that forecasters today

predicted, the quote was, “a hell of a year for hurricane season this

summer,” is there a way from your assessment—and you‘re not in New

Orleans at the moment, but from the big picture of the community—is

there a way to salvage this?  And I hate to reduce these things to

political terms, but is there a way for the president to salvage both of

things simultaneously in some way right now?

SHEARER:  Well, the issue of—those issues that I mentioned are

still on the table.  They‘re still—you know, the Corps of Engineer

process is a bureaucratic one.  You can still intervene and make the

statement to New Orleans that we‘re going to do it right this time.  We‘re

not—you know, we‘re not just going to put up big things and say look at

the big thing we put up.  We got to do good science, good engineering, have

it viewed by peer review experts independent of the corps.  We‘re going to

do this the right way.

As to the oil spill, you know, I feel badly for somebody who has to

depend on B.P. to fix this thing.  Maybe when the top kill doesn‘t work

they can try the fedora.

OLBERMANN:  Harry Shearer, actor, musician, radio show host and

resident of New Orleans—as always, Harry, great thanks.  Good luck.

SHEARER:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The other body of water in the news, what Sarah Palin has

described as her family‘s swimming hole now invaded by, defiled by a

reporter verily, a reporter.  Turns out the swimming hole, she means the

350-acre lake with the public beach also.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  As MSNBC covers immigration all day, polling suggesting

the new Arizona law has cost the Republican Party virtually all support

among Latinos.

First, the tweet of the day and this pertains to the joke I made

yesterday about the tea party‘s North Carolina congressional candidate, Tim

D‘Annunzio, who claimed he had found the Ark of the Covenant in Arizona and

how I hoped all the animals had their papers.

From Dr. Mathochist, “The Ark of the Covenant and Noah‘s Ark are not

the same thing.  No animals in the first one.”  Got you.  Thanks, my

apologies.

Of course, you do realize we are talking about something that wasn‘t

on, something that never existed, something that the guy didn‘t find.

Let‘s play “Oddball.”

(MUSIC)

OLBERMANN:  We begin at the new outdoor Target Field in Minneapolis

where before last night‘s game between the Yankees and Twins was suspended

due to rain, it was held up due to a squirrel—a squirrel that hates

third basemen.  Outside baseball, everybody.

The squirrel spent the better half of the inning loitering around the

ballpark, hugging the outfield wall to stay away from the rain.  Little

Rocky eventually made his way out of Target Field and then high-tailed it

away from the stadium to kick-ass jet boat.  Aloha, Rocky!

To Greece where the country‘s troubles have taken another turn for the

worse.  Their highways are now infested with frogs.  No, it‘s not a plague. 

No, the Greek government doesn‘t owe money to the nation of—never mind. 

Reminds me of the popular 1980‘s video arcade game “Burger Time.” 

Officials say the amphibians left an area lake in search of food.  The

highway was shut down after several cars skidded off the road to avoid the

little guys.  All the frogs were able to dodge the cars, leap on to logs,

on to a turtle‘s back and eat a fly after safely getting across the road.

Finally to Okinawa, Japan, roaring through traffic dodging vehicles

left and right and down the alley he goes.  This little piggy was

apparently somebody‘s pet.  He was eventually cornered in a pile of boxes

and rushed back to his deli counter—excuse me, to his owner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  The immigration labyrinth, new polling tonight showing

what the Arizona papers please law has cost this country.  Gabrielle

Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman whose request will bring troops to the

border, but who opposes the law joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Before our third story, to clarify something that may have

been implied either by my guest, Harry Shear or myself, if we left you with

the impression that we thought President Obama had not been in New Orleans

yet since the time of the disaster, the time the disaster began in the

gulf, we should apologize for leaving that impression.

Of course, the president was there 24 days ago for a visit and to

inspect the area and to express his solidarity with the city and the

community.  Harry Shear‘s point, I believe was that he hasn‘t been there

enough or done there enough since.

In any event, to our third story, pressure reminders today just how

polarizing immigration has become, after the president announced he would

send 1,200 national guard troops to the Mexican-American border.  Two

Republicans quickly called for five times that amount.

This, while a new poll shows the Arizona papers please law has cost

the GOP virtually all Latino support.  The congresswoman whose request

would bring the troops, but still opposes the law joins me in a moment.

But first, today GOP Senators Isakson and Chambliss announced they

would co-sponsored measure to fund 6,000 national guard troops to help law

enforcement at the Mexican-American border.  This, just a day after the

president announced 1,200 troops for the same purpose.

Meantime, the new Arizona immigration law still generating great

consternation from law enforcement at all levels.  The attorney general

today met with police chiefs for major cities nationwide and they say the

Arizona law and similar proposals in other states will burden the law

enforcements, strain resources and damage police relations with local

communities.

The Justice Department has now written a recommendation challenging

the Arizona immigration law, following the view of many legal experts that

parts of the law exceed the state‘s legal authority.

And the political ramifications of this just now becoming clear from

the new NBC News survey, 61 percent of the public generally support the

Arizona law, 40 percent of respondents say they would favor a generic

Republican candidate who supports the law over a Democratic generic

candidate who opposes it.

However, among Latinos, 68 percent approve of President Obama versus

48 percent job approval among all respondents, and 55 percent of Latinos

hold a favorable view of the Democratic Party compared to 41 percent of the

general public holding that view.

More evidence that Latinos are no longer swing voters, but rather

moving heavily in favor of the Democratic Party.  Latinos believing,

according to surveys, that Democrats would do a better job than the

Republicans protecting the interest of minorities, 58 percent to 11

percent.

Latinos still have the highest percentage of potential voters who have

yet to register and therefore represent a potential source of additional

Democratic support.

Let‘s bring in as promised Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of the

Arizona 8th, also a member of the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs

Committees.  Congresswoman, thanks for your time tonight.

REP. GABRIELLE GIFFORDS (D), ARIZONA:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  First, if you would, clarify your position on this balance

between sending national guardsmen to the border and this new Arizona state

immigration law, 1070.

GIFFORDS:  Yes, well, I‘m a federal legislator and I firmly believe

representing the most porous part of the U.S.-Mexico border, Southern

Arizona, but specifically Cochise County is the area where Rob Krentz, the

rancher whose family has had this land for over 100 years was tragically

murdered on March 27th.

I know that my responsibility is to secure the border and this problem

has been going on for a long time.  Certainly the previous administration

had made some attempts to secure the Southern Arizona border, but even

today, we have anywhere between 700 to 1,100 apprehensions of illegal

immigrants every single day in the Tucson sector.

So the Boarder Security pardon, as you mentioned, I served on the

House Armed Services Committee, national security should be border

security.  The state legislators, I believe, some of the frustration of the

Arizona people for not having secure borders and having tremendous amount,

particularly of drug cartel violence that is now starting to come up north.

Passed SP 1070, had I been—had I been a state legislator, I

wouldn‘t have supported the bill.  But the reason really why is because it

does nothing to secure the border.  It does nothing for border security and

that‘s where we need to focus our attention right now.

OLBERMANN:  Congresswoman, is there any indication that Mr. Krentz‘s

murder was not from this country or was here illegally in some way or that

these troops at the border would have stopped that from happening?

*

GIFFORDS:  Yes, it‘s—the investigation is ongoing right now.  But

the assailant was tracked immediately after when they found Mr. Krentz‘s

body, they actually tracked him, I assume it‘s a him, back to Mexico.

And the trackers are some of the best trackers in the country, and

they—I.C.E. believes they have an idea on someone, but, you know, this

investigation is ongoing.  So we won‘t know of course until the

investigation‘s complete and until someone is brought into custody and is,

you know, made to stand for his actions.

But, you know, this was a problem that was waiting to happen,

unfortunately.  Because, again, and think about this, the Tucson Sector,

240,000 apprehensions last year, just the Tucson Sector.

And then that - when you compare it to where we were a couple of years

ago, it‘s decreased almost by half, in 2005 we had over 500,000

apprehensions.  But what‘s happening now with the drugs is actually that‘s

increasing.

So last year we set a record 1.2 million pounds of marijuana seized in

the Tucson Sector.  Department of Homeland Security‘s done a good job in

other areas, particularly the urban areas.  But out in the rural parts of

Southern Arizona we have a major problem.

OLBERMANN:  I‘m confused by one thing here, if President Bush sent

6,000 troops to the border and the problem seemingly worsened to the point

where the state of Arizona would consider a bill as it did in 1070, how

will 1,200 troops to the border have any impact now, or how would even

6,000 more troops have any impact now?

GIFFORDS:  Well, the number deployed in the past was actually deployed

across the entire southwest border region, not specifically in Arizona. 

Also it‘s important not to confuse operation jump start, which was the last

deployment where President Bush had moved to the guard on to the border to

wait for the training and the preparation of the hiring of additional

border patrol agents to be deployed to the area.

So they‘re very different.  The mission is different.  The situation

on the ground is different.  Frankly, we are being outmanned, we‘re being

outgunned, and we‘re being out resourced by the drug cartels right now. 

It‘s a serious problem and it‘s beginning to creep northward.

OLBERMANN:  Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Democrat of Arizona. 

Our great thanks for some of your time tonight.

GIFFORDS:  Thank you.  Appreciate it.

OLBERMANN:  To hear her describe it, a reporter has moved in next door

and staring through her windows at her kids in their underwear.  Geography

and Dave Weigel explains it a little differently.

And rushing to her defense, the defense of keeping families out of

politics, this carnival barker who just today attacked the president‘s

family, again.  And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, she

choppers on to the “USS Iwo Jima” to find out how they coordinate the

aircraft landings.

You know, like when President Bush had his flight suit mission

accomplished photo op.  It‘s a big night in “Geek Week” for sky pilot

reach.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Guess which anti-stimulus governor just balanced the

budget with stimulus money.  First, no that‘s not your water coming to a

boil, it‘s our nightly check up on something for nothing crowd, it‘s tea

time.

Take full responsibility for our decision to visit Senator Landrieu‘s

office.  I believe (inaudible) should have used other means and with that,

James O‘Keefe was sentenced to three years of probation, 100 hours of

community service and a fine of $1500.  His co-conspirators got similar but

lesser terms.

The final charges to which the four pleaded guilty today, entering

real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses.  It was

O‘Keefe‘s sophomoric idea that because somebody in Louisiana Senator Mary

Landrieu‘s office said their phones were jammed during the health care

reform debate, that could only mean the phones were broken and thus he

would videotape the senator neglecting the will of the people by not

getting the jammed phones fixed or—or who knows.

As those who defended him kept saying, he‘s just a stupid kid. 

Presumably, O‘Keefe does not realize he probably would have looked better

as a kind of junior Watergate figure than just a dimwitted child, but I

doubt he heard much other than the judge referring to him and his co-

defendants today in a perverse affirmation as, quote, “journalists.”

Let me quote from the corrupt politician talking to the character, the

title character in citizen cane.  “If it was anybody else, I‘d say what‘s

going to happen to you would be a lesson to you, only you‘re going to need

more than one lesson and you‘re going to get more than one lesson.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Sister Sarah hops back up on the martyrdom stage.  A

reporter moves in nearby and she tries to portray him as a pedophile spying

on her kids.  That‘s next.

But first, get out your pitch forks and torches, time for tonight‘s

worst persons in the world.  Bronze, shared by Congressman Kevin McCarthy

of California and Mike Pence of Indiana.  McCarthy is hyping a series of

GOP town hall meetings complete with quote, “suggestion boxes.”  Part of

this is making sure people realize one, we‘re listening, but also then

you‘ll find our actions from listening from what we gathered and what we‘ll

introduce.  That was Congressman McCarthy.

His colleague, Congressman Pence will have none of that.  This is not

a political party in search of a keel or in search of principles.  It‘s not

a listening tour.  House Republicans know what we believe.  So much are

they the party of no, they even say no to themselves.

Our runner up, Governor Rick Perry of Texas.  He was so de-“home on

the range”d about the stimulus plan last year that he rejected various

portions of the federal funds and implicitly endorsed all that moronic

secession talk, and flirted with doing so explicitly.

The “Wall Street Journal” writes today, “although Mr. Perry has railed

against the federal economic stimulus program, billions of dollars from

that initiative helped Texas legislators balance the current budget.”

There‘s letters, sealed and my two school fellows whom I will trust as

(inaudible) fanged, they bear the mandate they must sweep my way and

marshal me to knavery.  Let it work.  For tis the sport to have the

engineer hoisted with his own petard.

Hamlet and for my two school fellows read if Mr. Shakespeare will

permit me, that bozo governor, Mr. Perry.  But our winner, Lonesome Rhodes

Beck.  He‘s now completed the hat trick.  He‘s now attacked every member of

the president‘s family.

“At some point there‘s a tipping point.  At some point, you look at,

you know, you start with Jeremiah Wright.  OK, here‘s one thing.  Are you

telling me that for 20 years no one in that family, the kids didn‘t pick it

up?  They didn‘t hear anything and repeat something outrageous?  Michelle

didn‘t?”

Last week it was the first lady.  “When our country is economically on

fire and I think we have Julius Caesar in the White House, did you see the

picture of his wife yesterday all dolled up?  I don‘t think I‘ve ever seen

the first lady with, her excuse the expression, but with her breasts all

smooshed up, sort of.  I mean, what is that?”

Yes, I know he means Nero.  Oh, wait, there‘s more.  Attacked the

president‘s parents in March.  “What scar is left when a mom leaves a son

who‘s been abandoned by his father for Marxism?”  Attacked his aunt last

year.  “I took this cane from her earlier.  It‘s a little like Tiny Tim. 

She has a limp, didn‘t you know that?”

And attacked all of them today.  “Did nobody hear?  No one in the

family heard Jeremiah Wright?  The kids never came home and said, hey, Jews

are destroying the world.  Michelle never said, wait, what?”

This is the usual Beck holier than thou, God told me to be a jackass

stuff today.  But there‘s a twist here.  Glenn Beck today talking about the

blogger moving into the house next to Sarah Palin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, HOST “GLENN BECK”:  This is harassment.  This is stalking

and harassment.  There‘s a different—leave my family, leave people‘s

families alone. I don‘t think I‘ve—I don‘t think I‘ve ever—I mean, I

made this when it was—when it was Bill Clinton, you don‘t go after

Chelsea Clinton.

You don‘t talk about the Bush kids.  Now, the minute they get into

politics, that‘s a different story.  You leave the families alone.  We‘ve

never done anything but protect the families and question why the White

House would bring their children into political debate.  Leave the families

alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Leave the families alone.  Once, just once, jackass, hold

yourself to one thousandth of the standards you piously try to impose on

others.  You, Mr. Beck, are a stone cold liar and a hypocrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  She‘s offered to welcome him with some homemade blueberry

pie, but that didn‘t stop the half term governor of Alaska from accusing a

reporter renting a house near the Palin compound in Wasilla of peering in

and overlooking the family swimming hole.

The family swimming hole in question would be a 350-acre lake with

public access.  Number one story, Sister Sarah laments this apparent loss

of privacy in a public announcement on Facebook.

The former governor updating you, gentle reader, on both her lawn care

regiment, I finally got the chance to tackle my garden and lawn this

evening, so putting on the shorts and tank top to catch that too brief

northern summer sun and placing a giddy trig in his toddler backpack for

lawn mowing adventure, I looked up surprised to see a new neighbor over

looking my property just a stone‘s throw away.

The new neighbor, author and reporter, Joe McGinnis (ph), according to

Sister Sarah, Mr. McGinnis told Todd Palin, he‘s rented the house next door

for about five months to write a book.  It‘s working title “Sarah Palin‘s

Year of Living Dangerously” to be published by Random House in print. 

Broadway Books as an investigative narrative of Sarah Palin‘s significance

as both political and cultural phenomenon.

The publisher issuing the statement, Mr. McGinnis will be highly

respectable to subject‘s privacy as he investigates her public activities. 

No matter, Palin posting a photo of the place McGinnis is renting with the

caption, hi, neighbor, may I call you Joe?  If you forget his name too.

Here he is about 15 feet away on the neighbor‘s rented deck

overlooking my children‘s play area and my kitchen window.  Knowing that

his many other scathing pieces of journalism, including the bizarre anti-

Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department

of Natural Resources  announcing that his work is the most twisted energy

related yellow journalism it ever encountered.

We‘re sure to have a doozy to look forward to with this treasure he‘s

penning.  Glenn Beck joining in the fight vowing to never mention Random

House books ever again, asking the publisher to rain in its authors.  Mrs. 

Palin calling into that radio program earlier to make him only the second

dumbest person on air to tell listeners that while she found Mr. McGinnis‘

move disturbing, don‘t worry, she‘ll be fine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN:  Everybody has trials and tribulations.  Everybody has a

battle that they are fighting, too, and we may want to tire, we may want to

give up, we may want to retreat.  Instead, like my dad says, don‘t retreat,

reload instead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Again, with the freaking gun reference.  Joining me now is

the political reporter of the “Washington Post,” Dave Weigel.

Dave, good evening.

DAVID WEIGEL, WASHINGTON POST:  Good evening, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. McGinnis has not commented on this, whether what he‘s

done is considered unusual or not, is there anything wrong or illegal about

it?

WEIGEL:  Well, there‘s not.  I actually think Jack Schaeffer at slate

made a good argument today, there‘s a long journalistic tradition of being,

in a word he didn‘t use it, jerk.  Of chasing somebody who‘s not going to

submit to an interview for you.

You know, Michael Moore does that.  Bill O‘Reilly does this.  Bill

O‘Reilly sends reporters to shadow people.  To the extent to which McGinnis

is taking it, that‘s more than most reporters would do, but the way that

Palin first put this on Facebook, her readers who might not have read every

Joe McGinnis book interpret it as a crazy person who is writing mean blog

posts or mean, slanderous articles about her.  Not as a journalist who was

very clear about who he was and what he was doing.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Beck called Mr. McGinnis a (inaudible), called him a

peeping tom and accused him of stalking.  Obviously that‘s irresponsible,

but we‘re expecting that because that‘s the way he rolls.  But she‘s

implying in that post that he‘s staring at her kids as though go to the

swimming hole, which is the length of 3 ½ football fields.  Who is

turning this into a problem here?

WEIGEL:  Right, that‘s where a lot of people take exception to this. 

Because McGinnis, he said a little bit about what the book might be, if he

learns anything, the most I guess controversial thing, if he learns

anything about the state of their marriage, then he might write about that. 

He‘s never mentioned the kids.

This is one of a few instances where Palin has taken a personal

attack, or not a personal attack, a political attack, a biographer‘s

attack, a journalist investigation, claiming it‘s an assault on her kids. 

This happened with David Letterman.

David Letterman made the joke about Bristol Palin, who‘s a bit of a

public figure.  She‘s a spokesperson for abstinence and Palin claimed,

despite what Letterman saying, he was making a joke about another kid,

everyone‘s after her kid.

And it reminds you of  the kid that throws the water balloon and then

calls timeout.  Once she starts attacking, if you try to attack back, she

throws out this defensive shield.  In this case it involved I think being

incredibly unfair and a bit slanderous to someone.

OLBERMANN:  To shift gears here, there‘s another result here on the

Palin score board, she supported the Idaho Republican and apparently great

admirer of then-Senator Obama in 2004, plagiarized his speech, Vaughn Ward

and his bid for Congress, he lost.

And a Tea Party candidate that she did not support, we could follow

all these.  We need a diagram.  Raul Labrador won.  Did she just happen to

back the worst candidate in the world or is she losing influence in this

area?

WEIGEL:  Yes, she did, I think.  I mean, this guy was not the choice

even of a lot of the local Tea Parties.  The Tea Party Express endorsed the

incumbent Democrat.  So this was a case of her going off half cocked, she

likes gun metaphors, I guess I‘ll say that.

I‘m just surprised that she keeps picking fights like this.  This Joe

McGinnis fight, this candidate endorsement fight, when there‘s oil still

happening, you‘re reporting it.  We‘re going to hear more about it later. 

She has some expertise about this.

Instead, it‘s these little personal political battles and these little

personal insults that she chooses to use her global celebrity to turn into

news.  And it‘s mystifying.  I don‘t take any pleasure in these—what

ended up for me today, a 50 hate-mail blog post.

I‘m wondering why she chooses to get into personal fights and I think

it‘s because she is more of a celebrity for Tea Partiers, she‘s more of a

representative of motherhood and all that is good about America than a

political figure.

Well, I—she should really learn to take it when journalists are

investigating her.  Stop blocking interviews if she wants to have people,

you know, deal with her on a level.

OLBERMANN:  You know, this is closer to Amy McPherson than some actual

religious leader.

WEIGEL:  You said that, not me.

OLBERMANN:  You only got 50 hate mail?  Only 50?  Come on.

WEIGEL:  I‘m rounding down, but it was a lot.  More than you get or

less than you get.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  Let‘s play in the big leagues here.  “Washington

Post” Dave Weigel.  Great thanks, Dave.

WEIGEL:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s “Countdown” for this is the 36th day since the deep

water horizon oil disaster began.  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.

END   

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