updated 6/11/2010 10:10:12 AM ET 2010-06-11T14:10:12

Guests: Arianna Huffington, Bob Cavnar, Alvin Greene, Robert Klein

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Day 52, breaking news, devil‘s bargain.  BP, hints Tony Hayward, will suspend or defer its next dividend payment if we are nice to them, if America turns down the political heat on them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL:  The American people will not pay a dime for the cleanup of the Gulf Region, and that BP will be held responsible for all the damages that have occurred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says government and taxpayers should pay.  The House minority leader, shockingly, in part, agrees.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER:  I think the people responsible for the oil spill, BP, and the federal government, should take full responsibility for what‘s happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  BP suggests it already paid because its stock dropped 50 percent.
Next step: the president reportedly to meet next Thursday with Tony Hayward and the possibility of the dividend deal.
Today, the president has already met with families of the victims on
Deepwater Horizon.  From the father of the late Jason Anderson:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILLY ANDERSON, FATHER OF DEAD RIG WORKER:  We can‘t get our boys back.  We can clean up pelicans, we can clean up fish and they will live.  They will continue to live.  We cannot do that for our family members we lost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  Who is this man?  The mysterious upset winner of the Democratic Senate nomination in South Carolina, Alvin Greene.  Mr. Clyburn of South Carolina doesn‘t know him.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA:  There are some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  The House whip believes there were three plants in Democratic primaries in his state.  “I don‘t know,” he says of Mr. Greene, “if he was a Republican plant.  He was somebody‘s plant.”  Our special guest tonight: Alvin Greene.
And the Blagojevich trial, Snooki tweets Johnny Mac, and his 9th HBO comedy special with the great Robert Klein.
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD BLAGOJEVICH (D), FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR:  Why don‘t you guys come in?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC)
(END VIDEOTAPE)
OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.
According to a British report just breaking tonight, BP is fighting the hemorrhaging of 50 percent of the value of its stock—the way you might have expected them to respond to the gushing of oil from the bottom of the sea, by any and all means necessary.
Our fifth story tonight: as the government hikes its estimate of the spill rate, “The Daily Mail” of London reporting that when BP executives meet with U.S. officials next Wednesday, including President Obama, they plan to offer to buy good publicity.
CEO Tony Hayward will offer to suspend BP‘s dividend payout, offer to do so, quoting “The Mail,” “in return for calming the political hysteria.”  The dividend, the political football now, amid concerns that BP might reward investors with cash while spill claimants are still waiting and possibly even that BP might run out of cash entirely.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today not committed to stopping those dividend payments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLDER:  Well, I think we have consistently said it is our aim and I can make this pledge to the American people that the American people will not pay a dime for the cleanup of the Gulf Region, and that BP will be held responsible for all the damages that have occurred.  And we will take the necessary steps to make sure that that occurs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  Concerns about BP‘s value so acute now that the new British prime minister, Mr. Cameron, is also expected in a conference call with President Obama this weekend to seek a rhetorical cooling off period that would help the company, its stock fortunes affecting retirement incomes for millions in Britain.  The stock is rebounding today but still down almost half from where it was before the spill.
Not that BP lacks for defenders here.  House Republican leader John Boehner was asked today whether he agrees with the private chamber of commerce that the government and therefore taxpayers should also pitch in to pay for the clean up.  A Boehner spokesperson later saying Boehner did not understand what he was being asked here—which does not explain why he would answer it, but judge for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER:  Do you agree with Tom Donahue of the Chamber that the government and taxpayers should pitch in to clean up the oil spill?
BOEHNER:  I think the people responsible for the oil spill, BP, and the federal government, should take full responsibility for what‘s happening there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  Boehner‘s spokesman later said he supports making BP pay
fully for the cleanup which, of course, left the issue of repaying those
whose incomes have suffered in fishing, in tourism, in related industries -
until later, later, he told Greg Sargent of “The Washington Post,” “Yes, OK, damages too.”
      
Untold hundreds of thousands of birds, turtles, fish and other marine life have died, causing still untold economic damage to families across the Gulf Coast, but today, family members of those slain aboard the Deepwater Horizon ask that their losses not be overlooked in the process.
This on the day the Discovery Channel released previously-unseen video from its special “Disaster in the Gulf: A Race Against Time,” which includes video of the explosions and the fire that cost those workers their lives.  The video taken shortly after the initial explosion, the rig seen closer up than in previous video has shown, taken from the deck of a supply vessel that had docked at the rig.
Billy Anderson, father of rig worker Jason Anderson, today is pleading that among all the talk about dividends and claims and the pictures of the slick covered beaches and the birds, that the human costs paid 52 days ago not be forgotten.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON:  Just please, please, all these men that we lost were very good men.  Jason loved them all, and they worked together as a team.  Let‘s do not disgrace their memory by worrying about a bunch of other things.
We can‘t get our boys back.  We can clean up pelicans, we can clean up fish, and they will live.  They will continue to live.  But we cannot do that for our family members we lost.  We can‘t wipe the oil off of them and wash them with soap detergent and get them back.
So please, let‘s look at this from the right way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  Let‘s bring in MSNBC political analyst Howard Fineman, also senior Washington correspondent and political columnist of “Newsweek” magazine.
Howard, good evening.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  If we‘re to believe “The Daily Mail,” BP would trade this—suspend its dividends, which was a move that‘s been requested to ensure it would have enough cash for the cleanup and the subsequent claims, but they‘ll only do this if American politicians were to cool the rhetoric that has been tanking its stock price, not just here but abroad.
Is that blackmail and is blackmail BP‘s best option at the moment?
FINEMAN:  It sure sounds like it.  And, no, it‘s a terrible option for BP.  And the president‘s rhetoric is not the reason why the stock price has been going down, it‘s because the estimate of the amount of oil that has been spilled and is being spilled into the Gulf is going up.
The markets are very good at discounting political rhetoric, Keith. 
That‘s not what this is all about.
And, you know, a little bit of news here, I think that recognizing that it may be difficult to prevent BP from paying the dividend.  Legally, it may be difficult.
Senate Democrats are going to announce I think as early as tomorrow that they‘re going to try to demand, I guess through this kind of statute that BP set up a separate independently-administered fund—a special fund administered by independent trustees that would pay for economic damage and for the cleanup cost.  That might be a way to try to finesse the issue next week about the dividend.
OLBERMANN:  What do you expect—if this report is true, what is President Obama‘s response likely to be to this BP dividend, we‘ll pay you to like us offer?  And how would—how would he even make his supposed end of the deal work if he were to agree to it?
FINEMAN:  Well, he‘s not going to agree to it.  The Department of Justice is looking into whether there‘s some way legally to attack it.  The dividend is not to be paid, as I understand it, officially until June 21st.  That‘s why this meeting next week is so crucial.
I think people are looking for a way to achieve some kind of middle ground here.  That might be why Harry Reid is going to move on that independent fund I just told you about.
But the president can‘t afford to stand down here.  He made BP and made it clear from the beginning that BP was the responsible party.  BP is still the responsible party.  And any kind of hints of blackmail or complaints about the rhetoric from the other side of the pond are not something he‘s going respond to.  You know, it might not be ass his kicking, it might be ours.
OLBERMANN:  But there is a point on the other side of the pond that does seem to have some ethical validity, the economic hardships of British retirees whose pensions are invested in BP.  Do they—do they figure into the calculation here relative to the Gulf Coast and fishing and tourism and cleanup?
FINEMAN:  Well, here‘s what figures in, having talked to British officials here in Washington just yesterday about this.  First of all, BP is the third largest British-based company.  It‘s huge.  And it‘s very important.  Like one of seven pounds of pension payments to British retirees come from BP and come from their stock in their dividends and so forth.
And the British economy is in bad shape right now.  And it‘s important in the global scheme of things.  I think it‘s not so much the question of the pensioners, per se, as it is maintaining good diplomatic and economic relations with Britain, which after all is supporting us in Afghanistan, supporting us in Iraq, and so forth.
Interestingly, the president had not really had any real conversations with the new Prime Minister Cameron, the conservative prime minister, other than a sort of courtesy call on election night over in Britain.  That in retrospect looks like a failing.  They should have been talking with each other, the two of them, for days, if not weeks now.
OLBERMANN:  MSNBC‘s political analyst, Howard Fineman, also, of course, of “Newsweek” magazine—as always, thanks for your time tonight, Howard.
FINEMAN:  Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  Joining me now in the studio on the money implications of this reported cash for good publicity deal, Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of HuffingtonPost.com.
Good to see you.
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, HUFFINGTONPOST.COM:  Good to see you, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  Is the fight over dividends—I mean, this is—I am out of my league in talking about dividends, but is it in some sense smoke and mirrors?  Doesn‘t BP, if they stiff their own executives, have enough money to essentially pave the Gulf in gold?
HUFFINGTON:  Well, last year alone, BP made $17 billion.  They have
they have many, many other wells, as you know, around the globe that are actually producing oil as opposed to gushing oil down the sea.  For me, listening to Howard and listening to everything over the last few days, this is really another reminder of what happened with Wall Street.  And ironically, last time I was here with you we were talking about the mining disaster.
      
OLBERMANN:  Right.
HUFFINGTON:  And we‘re connecting the dots between the mining disaster and Wall Street.  Here we have an additional dot to connect, which is the whole dot of systemic risk.  You know, what Howard was saying is really sort of code for this company is too-big-to-fail.
OLBERMANN:  Yes.
HUFFINGTON:  When did you hear that before?
OLBERMANN:  Yes.
HUFFINGTON:  So, we are just kind of really preparing ourselves for what the Chamber of Commerce was saying today and what John Boehner was saying before he walked it back, that basically, the taxpayers may be called in to help here.  And the others talking about the pensions and other things that are going to affect jobs and, you know, suddenly, all these things are going to be in the foreground.  So that‘s where the public needs to stay very, very strong.
OLBERMANN:  Don‘t you think, though, that given the experience of the last two years, if there were a bailout for BP under any terms imaginable presented by any politician possible, that there would at least be rock throwing in the streets behind us?
HUFFINGTON:  Yes, I think we would all be joining the tea party, you and me included.
(LAUGHTER)
OLBERMANN:  Is there a chance that what Howard is saying might have some—what he‘s reporting tonight—might have some value in this equation, that BP—if there are questions about paying the dividend or if they‘re willing to trade the dividend for publicity in this catch-22, just like us and we‘ll let you do what you need to, kind of thing—that if you set up a special fund that is administered externally, that is there just to clean up, in other words, essentially a spinoff, right?  You spin off part of this company and make a new company that‘s designed just to clean up what the old company screwed up.
HUFFINGTON:  I think this is a fantastic idea on many grounds.  It‘s basically would be an escrow and they couldn‘t touch it.  And I think we need to be very careful to include not just the cleanup costs but the costs of all the people that are losing their jobs in the area.  Plus, all the thousands of jobs that at the moment are being lost because of the moratorium that I‘m completely in favor of, but nevertheless is also costing jobs.
So, this has to be a massive fund.  And we need to insist it is a massive fund.
And I have one additional idea, which is: all the politicians who have gotten thousands upon thousands of dollars from BP should return them.  They should return that money, not to BP, but to another fund that will be used to administer what is happening in the Gulf.
OLBERMANN:  Is this an alternative and—or is it still possibly on the table, this idea of government intervention with this company, since more and more companies seem to be there essentially just to be run shortsightedly for the moment, for the year, and then the top guys take as of money out of it as they possibly can in the way of bonuses and stock options and salaries.  Is receivership still there as a possibility?  And could it actually wind up benefiting the corporation and its stockholders?
HUFFINGTON:  But receivership would also wind up serving the public.
OLBERMANN:  Yes.
HUFFINGTON:  Remember, it was an idea also put forward during the Wall Street financial meltdown, and it might have been a better idea, because in the process, it wouldn‘t have been just Wall Street that would have turned around, it would have also been Main Street.  So, at the moment, the president and everybody who has any decision-making power needs to stay focused on what is in the public interest—and nothing else matters.
OLBERMANN:  So, you‘re saying that if the—if “The Daily Mail” story tonight, the breaking news is correct, the president should not be willing to trade dividends for a smiley face?
HUFFINGTON:  No.  I don‘t think he‘s going to do that.
OLBERMANN:  I hope not.
Arianna Huffington of “The Huffington Post”—always a pleasure to see you.
HUFFINGTON:  Thank you.
OLBERMANN:  The laughs just never stop with these people.  BP now estimates the flow from the gusher, 20,000 barrels a day, 40,000, whatever.  And they pledged proceeds from the salvaged oil to rebuilding wildlife preserves, so why are they burning the salvaged oil?  Two more reminders that BP is the new B.S.—next on COUNTDOWN.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
OLBERMANN:  Just be nice to us.  Like us, he says, while his minions estimate the flow from the gusher and they could be off 500 percent and they don‘t know what to do with the recovered oil, so they‘re burning it.  Explanations from Bob Cavnar.
The Democratic whip in the House says three surprise Democratic primary winners in his home state, including this man, are plants of some kind.  This man, the nominee for Senate from South Carolina, Alvin Greene, joins us live.
This former “Saturday Night Live” cast member boasts that she voted for George W. Bush and thus helped get Bill Clinton out of office.  Yes, I will have the heart to break it to her.
And from Nixon to Reagan, now to Rob Blagojevich and Larry Craig and everybody in between, he‘s cut them all down to size on HBO alone since 1975, our special guest tonight: Robert Klein.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
OLBERMANN:  The original estimate was 1,000.  On April 25th, BP claimed that only 1,000 barrels a day of oil was leaking from the Deepwater Horizon into the Gulf of Mexico.  An estimate that the Coast Guard later raised to 5,000 barrels a day.
Then BP released the first video of the broken well and scientists who had slowed down the footage to study the speed of individual particles said they believed the actual damage could be five to 20 times worse than even that.
Tonight, in our fourth story: The government scientists charged with finding an accurate flow rate announcing that they cannot without any real accuracy say exactly how much oil is still spewing into the Gulf.  Heck, they can‘t even agree with each other.  But it could be as much as 50,000 barrels a day.
The flow rate technical group today, giving the government‘s third estimate on how much oil is gushing out of that pipe, it is unlikely to be its last.  One group of scientists is saying that the oil is flowing at a daily rate of 20,000 to 40,000 barrels.  Another team says it‘s 25,000 to 50,000 barrels.  In statistical terms, both estimates with a margin of error of plus or minus 100 percent.
The official coordinating the number is saying, quote, “Our scientific analysis is still a work in progress.”  In other words, another science experiment.
Those estimates already outdated, of course, measuring the output before one week ago tonight, which was when BP cut that pipe in order to put the cap on it, increasing the flow by an estimated 20 percent more.  They still can‘t be sure.
Meanwhile, BP finally admitting today that it cannot handle the mere fraction of oil it is now capturing from the well because of that cap.  A top BP official announcing that it is moving a semi-submersible drilling rig to the site with plans to burn off the additional oil it collects.
Why not bring in more ships to haul that oil away?  The company claiming the area around the rig is already too crowded.
Let‘s turn once again to oil and gas industry expert and veteran, Bob Cavnar, contributor to “The Huffington Post” and founder and editor of “The Daily Hurricane” blog.
Bob, good evening.
BOB CAVNAR, OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY EXPERT:  Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  I thought that this flow rate technical group had been charged with coming up with the actual amount of oil released from the well, and they don‘t even agree amongst themselves.  Is this something they should be able to figure out?
CAVNAR:  Well, they should come a lot closer than what they are, Keith.  Remember the agendas here.  BP‘s agenda is to low-ball the number as much as they can, as long as they can, because their fines and liability are going to be based on how much oil they put into the water.
The scientific group is really worried about being wrong.  They‘re wanting to be as right as they can, so their ranges are very, very wide.  Now, they‘re using a lot of different techniques you expect it to be relatively wide.  But in the preliminary stages, they‘re pretty far apart.
OLBERMANN:  Would flow rate be crucial in terms of the oil industry, something a company would need to know to figure out how much oil is moving through its pipelines, even when there‘s not chaos?  I mean, in other words, does BP have the know-how necessary to figure out how much oil definitely is coming out of its own pipe?
CAVNAR:  You can—you can be assured that BP has a really good handle on what‘s the real number is.  The volumes that going through a pipeline are generally very easily calculated.  The problem here, Keith, is that you‘ve got a damaged wellbore and an open flow into a sea floor environment that‘s heavily pressured at over 2,000 pounds of pressure.  That introduces a lot of variables.
But they still ought to be able to get, I would think, within 20 percent or 25 percent of what the real number is.
OLBERMANN:  Congressman Ed Markey says he wants to check the flow rate when they change caps to the larger one next week, if that is still planned and Lord knows if it is.  Shouldn‘t the government be telling BP that‘s what‘s going to happen, rather than having a congressman ask them for permission?
CAVNAR:  Well, that‘s exactly my opinion also.  I believe that—I made a recommendation this morning on my blog that it‘s time to remove BP as operator and form a committee of companies who are very experienced in the deep water that‘s chaired—and chair the committee by the Coast Guard or someone in the Interior Department to make sure that this well is operated as the government thinks it should be operated.
OLBERMANN:  There‘s issue of burning off what they‘re getting out of here.
CAVNAR:  Yes.
OLBERMANN:  BP can‘t handle the capacity of oil that it‘s being captured now because of the cap.  They‘re going to burn it instead of ship it because the area around the rig is too crowded.  We‘re all becoming to some degree amateur experts on this.  As an amateur expert talking to a real expert, is your B.S. detector going off, too?
CAVNAR:  I got my shovel out about four weeks ago, because it‘s gotten pretty deep.  BP, I believe, has intentionally undersized these facilities, still trying to low-ball what the real number is.
The well is flowing, say, 50,000 barrels a day.  They‘re only able to capture 25,000 with the two vessels they‘re putting in place and they‘re going to be burning up to 10,000 barrels a day of the oil off of the flare.  To me, that‘s just inexcusable.
BP finally decided to move another ship in from the North Sea earlier last week, but it won‘t be here until next week.  And so, in the meantime, they‘re going to be burning oil.
OLBERMANN:  Last thing, light images in there, I‘ve been asking this question internally.  It may be just trivia.  What are the lights, gold-like, almost fire-colored images that appear from the wellhead?  What is that?  That‘s not actual fire, is it?
CAVNAR:  No, what that is, Keith, there‘s a wand that comes—a tube that comes from one of the ROV arms, one of the remote operated vehicles.  And that‘s the dispersant.
OLBERMANN:  OK.
CAVNAR:  They‘re spraying dispersant straight into the oil stream.
OLBERMANN:  Got it.  Bob Cavnar, oil industry expert—again, we‘re all becoming amateur experts, thanks to your expertise.  And we appreciate it—and your time tonight, again.
CAVNAR:  Happy to help, Keith.
OLBERMANN:  The mystery man of Tuesday‘s big primary night, the Democratic nominee for the Senate from South Carolina, Alvin Greene, to join us here—ahead on COUNTDOWN.
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OLBERMANN:  The mystery man, South Carolina‘s unexpected Democratic nominee for Senate, Alvin Greene—next.
First, a little colloquy for today‘s tweet of the day.  Eonline tweeting publicity about its new article, quoting them, “Did Sarah Palin get new boobs?” unquote.  Followed by this retweet by sobeditor: “No, I‘m pretty sure she still has the same followers.”  Well played, sobeditor.
Let‘s play “Oddball.”
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OLBERMANN:  We begin in Malibu Lake, California, where actress Salma Hayek is busy promoting her new movie, “Grown Ups,” along with co-stars Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph.  The three were mid-interview with the TV program, “Extra,” when an extra of the garter variety demanded some camera time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Hello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, my gosh.  Oh, my God.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Someone help me, please.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s OK, it‘s OK.  It‘s not going to come up here.
(EXPLETIVE DELETED)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Somebody do something.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  He‘s not going to come up here.
(SCREAMING)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Oh, my—get the snake!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Somebody do something.  No!  Ah!
(SCREAMING)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s OK.  It‘s OK.  I‘ve got you.
(SCREAMING)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  It‘s OK.  It‘s OK.  It‘s going away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Thank you so much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  Snake in the frame.  Snake in the frame.  All involved are doing fine.  The offending reptile enjoying its 15 minutes of fame as best off camera menace, you really want to stand on the edge of a director‘s chair on high heels?
With its closest competition, of course, the famous Florida cockroach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Oh, my god!  Oh, my god!  Oh, no!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  To our nation‘s capital, where the animal world‘s relentless pursuit of man knows no bounds.  This horror show involves a friend of this news hour, Congressman Anthony Weiner, also Republican Jason Chafetz of Utah, and two male Andora goats.  Protesting the millions of dollars in earmarks given to the Mohare (ph) goat farming industry, the two lawmakers brought along Arthur and Lancelot to better illustrate their outrage. 
Here‘s the quartet on Fox News, in happier times.  But hours later, the new conference, fearing his subsidized gravy train was at its end, Lancelot gored Mr. Weiner in the thumb, drawing blood.  I got bit by a goat.  Best wishes to the congressman.  Meanwhile, the rogue goat received a thank you note from this guy. 
Chicago, Illinois, hello.  Look, it‘s a hockey mom‘s convention.  How come it‘s being held in Chicago?  No, it‘s actually another feat in human achievement, watch makeup artist Rick Decheckka (ph) in his record pursuit of lipstick application.  The rules, lipstick must be applied evenly to both the lower and the upper lip.  The color must be within the lip lines, and a different color must be used on each women.  Mr. Decheckka managed to apply lipstick to 303 women in just one hour, beating the previous record of 180, which was nothing to gloss over. 
Democratic Senate nominee from South Carolina unknown to the Democratic state party of South Carolina.  We will meet him, Alvin Greene, next on COUNTDOWN.
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OLBERMANN:  There is nothing necessarily extraordinary about an upset victory in politics.  It happens.  But the political enigma reaches a whole new level when the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in South Carolina is accused of being a plant by the Republicans, and when the third ranking Democrat in the House calls for an investigation. 
In our third story tonight, that nominee, Alvin Greene, will join us in a moment, And will have a full opportunity to address all aspects of the controversy.  Mr. Greene, an unemployed veteran, defeated a former state representative, Vick Rawl (ph), for the Democratic nomination for the Senate seat currently held by the Republican Jim Demint.  The primary garnered little notice until after Mr. Green won, until after the Associated Press reported that Mr. Greene had been arrested in November of last year on a charge of felony obscenity.  The South Carolina Democratic party chair woman, Carol Fowler, yesterday called on Mr. Greene to withdraw, but he has reportedly declined to do so. 
Now House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of that state has called for an investigation into Mr. Greene‘s candidacy.  Congressman Clyburn, along with others South Carolina Democrats, have focused on how an individual not currently employed produced the filing fee of 10,400 dollars.  Congressman Clyburn has pointedly said, quote, “somebody gave him that 10,000 dollars.  And he who took it should be investigated.  He who gave it should be investigated.” 
As to whether Mr. Greene is an actual plant by the Republican party? 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA:  There are some real shenanigans going on in the South Carolina primary. 
UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you think he was a Republican plant? 
CLYBURN:  I don‘t know if he was a Republican plant, but somebody‘s plant. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  Congressman Clyburn also charged today that two other South Carolina Democratic winners may have been, quote, plants.  One is Gregory Brown, who ran against Mr. Clyburn in the Democratic primary.  Clyburn easily prevailed, but he questions how Brown paid for expensive television ads.  Quoting Clyburn, “somebody paid for all that, yet he showed not one dime in contributions.” 
And there‘s this man, Ben Frasier, who evidently does not have a campaign website, yet he defeated an establishment candidate in the Democratic primary in the first district by ten points.  Of those three candidates, Clyburn said, quote, “sounds like a pattern to me.” 
Joining me now, as promised, the Democratic Senate nominee for South Carolina, Alvin Greene.  Mr. Greene, thanks for your time tonight. 
ALVIN GREENE, DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR U.S. SENATE FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: 
All right.  Thank you. 
OLBERMANN:  Let me start by asking you what was your—
GREENE:  Thank you for having me. 
OLBERMANN:  What was your campaign like?  Did you hold a lot of meetings? 
GREENE:  OK, say that again. 
OLBERMANN:  What was your campaign like?  Did you have a lot of campaign meetings? 
GREENE:  I had just a few meetings.  Not many. 
OLBERMANN:  Did you have campaign rallies? 
GREENE:  Nothing formal, just informal rallies—just informal meetings, rather. 
OLBERMANN:  Did you go door to door to meet the voters?  How did they find out who you were? 
GREENE:  I just conducted a simple old-fashioned campaign, you know, all across the state of South Carolina. 
OLBERMANN:  Did you have campaign advertising of any kind? 
GREENE:  I had campaign literature.  Yes, I did. 
OLBERMANN:  Many—
GREENE:  I had campaign literature. 
OLBERMANN:  Many first-time politicians get surprised by how much fundraising they have to do to make expenses of the campaign.  How much fundraising did you do? 
GREENE:  Not much.  I raised—I mean, I used my own funds up to this point in the primary and up until right now. 
OLBERMANN:  How do you think the people who voted for you on Tuesday knew who you were or even that you were running? 
GREENE:  I think that—you know, I think that they saw—I think that they—no, I just think that they recognized—I think they heard of my name when I was campaigning across the state, you know, just to pass the word on, just by word of mouth.  But I just got the word around, you know?  It was not luck.  I had 60 percent of the vote.  I had 60 percent of the vote.  Sixty percent of the vote is not luck.  You know, that‘s a decisive win. 
OLBERMANN:  What do you know about Vick Rawl? 
GREENE:  I know that he‘s currently on the Charleston county council, and he used to be a circuit court judge.  He used to be a South Carolina state legislator, and that he‘s 64 years old. 
OLBERMANN:  About the filing fee that Mr. Clyburn mentioned for your candidacy, did that money come from your own funds?  Did you supply that money? 
GREENE:  Yes, sir. 
OLBERMANN:  Do you have a Twitter account?  Did you start a Twitter account for your campaign today? 
GREENE:  No, I haven‘t. 
OLBERMANN:  So announcements that supposedly—
GREENE:  I would like—
OLBERMANN:  Go ahead. 
GREENE:  I heard that there‘s some—I had people calling.  There‘s just some false sites out there that I‘m not operating.  That‘s something that I just got today, that there are false sites out there relating to me and my campaign.  And I just want to let everyone know that there are sites out there that don‘t have my authority. 
OLBERMANN:  The charge of felony obscenity last year, would you care to address that with this opportunity to do so? 
GREENE:  I have no comment on that. 
OLBERMANN:  Can you say whether or not a public defender was assigned to you? 
GREENE:  That I‘m not commenting on. 
OLBERMANN:  Do you think that between now and the campaign—the vote, when you‘re campaigning against Mr. Demint, that at some point you‘re going to have to address that question? 
GREENE:  Yes. 
OLBERMANN:  Congressman Clyburn suggested that you were planted in this campaign, possibly by Republicans.  Why should we believe he‘s not telling the truth and you are? 
GREENE:  Like I said before, I‘ve always been a Democrat, and I still will be a Democrat in the future, and support Democrats. 
OLBERMANN:  The state chairman of the Democratic party has asked you to withdraw from the Senate race.  Will you withdraw? 
GREENE:  No.  No, sir. 
OLBERMANN:  Alvin Greene, the Democratic nominee for the Senate from South Carolina.  Thank you for your time tonight, Mr. Greene. 
GREENE:  All right.  Thank you. 
OLBERMANN:  And there is seemingly the way of all politicians, the Rod Blagojevich trial, and other follies of our political times from one of the masters of political satire, our guest, Robert Klein. 
And a very pleasant good evening, Dodger fans, wherever you may be.  Did you know your team hired a Russian-born psychic healer who told Dodger ownership to fire the general manager and the manager and they did?  Pull up a chair, won‘t you?  Worst persons is not sponsored by Farmer John, shank or butt portions. 
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, experts say BP is not deploying boom properly in the Gulf, therefore not protecting the coastline.  Rachel will talk with the mayor of Orange Beach, Alabama, about this part of the disaster and what has happened to his town.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
OLBERMANN:  A quick postscript to our interview with Democratic Senate Nominee in South Carolina, Alvin Greene.  Two notes; the other voice you might have heard in the background was a man purporting to be Mr. Greene‘s attorney, who was standing just out of camera range, and we thought was perhaps giving him some of those answers.  Also South Carolina‘s primary, you should know, is open.  Republicans may vote for Democrats. 
Moving on, the great Robert Klein on the Blagojevich trial, and with warnings to today‘s politicians, warnings accompanied by a 35-piece orchestra, next. 
But first, get out your pitch forks and torches, time for tonight‘s worst persons in the world. 
The bronze to the heartbreakingly dim-witted Victoria Jackson.  The former comedian‘s column is an almost impenetrable diatribe against Christians, including herself for—and I‘m guessing here—not standing up to Barack Obama.  The highlight, however, is when she reviews her personal presidential voting record.  “Well, I always thought politics was for the middle-aged people.  But then one day I was the middle age people.  So I voted Clinton out.  My vote counted.  Bush won.” 
Um, you do know Clinton never lost a presidential election?  He went two and zero?  That must have just been a typo.  “When I voted Clinton out, I forgot about politics for a while.  The Bushes were in and I felt safe again.  They knew the meaning of the word is.” 
OK, Victoria Jackson thinks she voted for George Bush and against Bill Clinton in the same election.  Maybe it was for George H.W. Bush and against Bill—No, Bill Clinton won that one too.  When it comes to Ms.  Jackson, we are all advised to reflect on the words of a talented “Saturday Night Live” cast member, the late Gilda Radner.  Quote, “never mind.” 
The runner up, Los Angeles Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt.  Revealed today in the “LA Times,” for five years the McCourts paid a, quote, scientist and healer to think positive thoughts about their team, and transmit them for four hours a day for more than 100,000 dollars a year, while he watched on TV from his home in Boston.  Vladimir Spunt (ph) was said to be able to improve the Dodger‘s chances of winning by 10 to 15 percent.  It sounds hilarious until you realize Spunt told the McCourts there were disconnects between their manager and general manager, so the McCourts fired the manager, and then three weeks later they fired the general manager.  Spunt also apparently directed the treatment of outfielder Jason Werth, who later wound up suing the Dodgers, claiming an injury was misdiagnosed by the team.  Perhaps because the doctor person was 3,000 miles away healing via television. 
But our winner, good old Congressman Doctor Paul Brown, Republican from Georgia, and, as we saw in the health care debate, possibly a congenital liar.  And here he goes again. 
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL BROWN ®, GEORGIA:  I want to put some perspective on 2008, too.  That‘s when the president‘s chief economic adviser, I guess, this Treasury secretary told him the sky was falling, and we needed to pass the Toxic Assets Relief Program, or Tarp, that many Republicans voted against, because I didn‘t buy the Democratic Treasury secretary, under a Republican president—because that‘s exactly what Hank Paulson is.  He‘s a Wall Street insider, a Wall Street banker.  Wall Street believes in big government. 
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN:  Paulson not only identifies himself as a Republican, but his personal donation record, per the website New Meat, since 1986, personal donations to nine Democrats totaling 13,500 dollars.  Personal donations to 42 Republicans totaling 257,000 dollars.  Among the recipients, Cantor, Demint, both Bushes, Dole, McCain, Hatch, Chambliss, and Boehner.  Yeah, he‘s a Democrat. 
Dr. Paul “can I see your degree” Brown, congressman of Georgia, today‘s worst person in the world. 
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
OLBERMANN:  First time I think I ever heard Robert Klein slice up a politician with words that were sharper than the blade an the delicatessen, he was pointing out the absurdity that President Nixon would not let the Senate Watergate committee listen to the White House tapes.  He wouldn‘t let the prosecutor listen to the White House tapes.  But he would let Mississippi Senator John Stennis listen to the White House tapes.  Senator Stennis was hard of hearing, so much, Mr. Klein said, that his servants in the mansion were doing bits behind his back.  Senator Stennis, you can‘t hear?  Spit.  Only he didn‘t say spit.  I spit. 
John Stennis, Richard Nixon and Watergate are long gone.  Robert Klein hardly so.  Our number one story in the COUNTDOWN, they keep sending in new politicians.  He keeps slicing them up.  In advance of his ninth HBO comedy special, which kicks of with Mr. Klein accompanied by a symphony orchestra warning politicians about oral sex, Mr. Klein joins us in a moment. 
First, a brief update on a politician who may be too late to save.  Today marked day three in the trial of disgraced former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich, who stands accused of trying to sell the former Senate seat held by Barack Obama.  Blago‘s former chief of staff, Alonzo Lon Monk, testifying today about an alleged scheme to take cash from donors in return for cushy government jobs.  Yesterday, Mr. Monk suggested some of the money was being kept in reserve in case Blagojevich wanted to try to run for president.  You heard me. 
Today, Monk said Blagojevich told him that he‘d actually had a deal with state Senate President Emil Jones to take the U.S. Senate seat.  According to Monk, “in exchange for the new job, Jones agreed to hold off on voting on ethics regulations for politicians and their donors.  Jones eventually did get those ethics rules voted on and passed, reportedly at the urging of Barack Obama. 
With that as preface, Robert Klein, stand-up special, “Robert Klein, Unfair and Unbalanced,” premieres this Saturday at 10:00 on HBO.  Here is, good enough to join us once again. 
ROBERT KLEIN, COMEDIAN:  Hey, man, nice to be here.  Blago is—actually, Illinois politics are steeped in this, as are New York State politics. 
OLBERMANN:  Oh, yes. 
KLEIN:  And New Jersey state politics.  Three of the most sophisticated states—and South Carolina, which I would fervently hope would secede again, this time successfully and non-violently.  There are good people there, mind you.  We‘ll grab them into Kentucky in a holding action. 
OLBERMANN:  What was that?  You saw the interview, I presume, with Mr.
Greene tonight? 
KLEIN:  Yeah, on every side of the spectrum, what ticks me off is that Governor Sanford—
(SINGING)
KLEIN:  My bag, senor.  I‘m on the Appalachian trail.  He‘s still in office, until the end.  And the guy that was going to replace him said that giving the free lunches to the poor students is like feeding them, you know?  Even his wife, who everyone praised for her dignity, continues to say he‘s such a wonderful, conservative, you know, fiscally—conservative enough to spend the money of one of the poorest, fattest, least educated, stupidest states in the union. 
And I just—I don‘t get it.  OK?  I don‘t get it.  But I‘m getting it, as far as I can. 
OLBERMANN:  You and candidate Greene apparently sharing you‘re not getting it. 
KLEIN:  He didn‘t seem like senatorial material to me.  He was thoughtful.  He took about a year between your questions and his answers. 
OLBERMANN:  Well, I‘d still vote for him over Demint, but that‘s another story altogether. 
KLEIN:  You mean Demint, you lie?  Jim “you lie” Demint? 
OLBERMANN:  He did that, too, but he‘s a country cousin, as it were, of Mr. Wilson.  I mentioned this opening number of the special.  Dare I ask, what it is about per se? 
KLEIN:  It‘s called “Hymn For America.”  And the beautiful symphony from the University of Miami accompanies me.  Would you care to hear the first chorus? 
OLBERMANN:  I would absolutely, if you feel up to it, a cappella, go right ahead. 
(SINGING)
KLEIN:  That‘s not just regular dilly dallying.  I notice that Beyonce at the inaugural was singing—
(SINGING)
KLEIN:  She was eating them up.  And if he believe his PR, like Edwards or some of these—
OLBERMANN:  That‘s absolutely true.  On the other hand, when we think of what the options were two years ago, nearly, we‘re now getting John McCain tweeting with Snooki from “the Jersey Shore” about tanning beds.  Is that like a message from the other political universe in which he won the election? 
KLEIN:  I‘ve got to tell you, Keith, aside from John Edwards, no other politician has come so far down in my eyes.  He had a glow of someone who is rare in American politics, who has suffered like Nelson Mandela in his captivity in North Vietnam.  And he‘s become ludicrous.  First of all, in picking a thorough incompetent, who was—quit her job—that‘s about the worst thing—to make all this money. 
And now he gets more and more ludicrous.  He reversed just about principle he had from campaign finance to—one way I would have supported him.  I‘m an Obama man.  but, you know, when Hillary Clinton brought up that who would you like to get that call at 3:00 in the morning, from—you know, at the White House, I would have gone with him.  He‘d be up taking a leak.  And he could get those F-16s up there as quick, and those F-15s, OK?  You know? 
OLBERMANN:  Robert Klein‘s “Unfair and Unbalanced,” that sounds so familiar to me.  It premieres Saturday. 
KLEIN: If are you in the least bit suggesting that I am in any way parodying or anything a certain network—
OLBERMANN:  Yes?
KLEIN:  You are wrong.
OLBERMANN:  OK.  It‘s on at 10:00, on Saturday, it says 909th special for the network.
KLEIN:  Ninth.
OLBERMANN:  Oh, 9th.  I‘m sorry.  It‘s close.
KLEIN:  I did the first one for them and this is the 9th.
OLBERMANN:  All right.  That‘s “COUNTDOWN” for this, the 52nd day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night, and good luck.
And amid reports that BP has also screwed up the containment method using the booms, leading to waves of oil inundating the Gulf Coast towns, now with her special guest, the mayor of one of those towns, Orange Beach, Alabama—ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.
Good evening, Rachel.
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