updated 9/17/2010 11:23:47 AM ET 2010-09-17T15:23:47

Guests: Howard Fineman, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, Clarissa Martinez, Heather McGhee, Eugene

Robinson

           

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

The Democrats standing up and fighting: Immigration reform to be central to the midterms, the DREAM that is.  The DREAM Act—the path toward citizenship through military service.

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I know that many of you campaigned hard for me.  And understandably, you‘re frustrated that we have not been able to move this over the finish line yet.  I will not walk away from this fight.

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OLBERMANN:  Our special guest: Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

Karl Rove, frog marched out of FOX News—now claims he endorsed Christine O‘Donnell.

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KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH AIDE:  I endorsed her the other night.  I said I‘m for the Republican in each and every case.

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OLBERMANN:  This is how he endorsed her the other night:

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ROVE:  Again, the serious questions about how does she make her living?  Why did she mislead voters about her college education?  We‘ll see if she can answer these questions.

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OLBERMANN:  What a lying sack of—analysis from Howard Fineman.

How to handle the tough questions?  Avoid them.

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SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR:  Speak through FOX News.

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OLBERMANN:  Fifty-one minutes later—

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SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST:  Thanks for being on the program.

CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL ®, DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you. 

Thank you very much, Sean.

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OLBERMANN:  The Democratic tax cut.  John of Orange still won‘t say he would vote against tax cuts only for the middle class.  Rand Paul insists on cuts for the wealthy—even if there‘s no way to pay for them.

And Lonesome Rhodes issues a dress code for the Tea Party.

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GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS HOST:  I‘m saying that maybe it‘s time to lose—

I don‘t know, the Statue of Liberty costume, you know?  Maybe no more dressing up—

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OLBERMANN:  Guess what Glenn dressed up as today?  The chef of the future.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.

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BECK:  Get off your ass and bake some pie!

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OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

With overdue promises to a once enthusiastic base, with the midterm elections just 47 days away, with questions about what the Obama White House still considers worthy of a fight.

In our fifth story tonight: The answer.  Democrats, with the support of President Obama, will introduce the first step of immigration reform.  And two prominent GOP senators who were once considered the go-to Republicans on immigration not only opposed the measure but they‘re also incensed that it would be attached to the Defense Authorization Bill, right along with the appeal of “don‘t ask, don‘t tell.”

Putting immigration back in play before the midterms—the president himself is speaking last night before the Hispanic Congressional Caucus at its awards dinner.  The president invoked the DREAM Act.  The bill would provide a path to citizenship for minor children who are in the country illegally if they seek higher education or military service.

And while the bill is modest compared to the comprehensive reform the president ultimately seeks, it has been praised by both the Hispanic community and by lawmakers.  Last night, the president was quick to note past Republican support for it.

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OBAMA:  And under the pressures of partisanship and election year politics, most of the 11 Republican senators who voted for that reform just four years ago, backed far away from that vote today.

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OLBERMANN:  Partisan opposition to immigration reform is just a variation of the fear-stoking politics so very popular with—fill in the blank.

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OBAMA:  Some take advantage of the economic anxiety that people are feeling, to stoke fear of those who look or think or worship differently, to inflame passions between us and them.  I have news for those people: It won‘t work.  There is no “us” and “them.” In this country, there‘s only “us.”

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OLBERMANN:  And, of course, that was reminiscent of the president‘s remarks on anti-Muslim sentiment in this country.  The president‘s wide-ranging speech included a spirited defense on the Democrats‘ stand on taxes and health care reform and Wall Street reform.  And Mr. Obama acknowledged his own political imperative.

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OBAMA:  You have every right to keep the heat on me and keep the heat on the Democrats.  And I hope you do.  That‘s how our political process works.  But don‘t forget who is standing with you and who is standing against you.

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OLBERMANN:  Standing against the DREAM Act, Senator John McCain and Senator John—Lindsey Graham rather, the two saber-rattlers vowing to oppose the Defense Authorization Bill if the DREAM Act is attached to it.  Senator Graham particularly in sense, quoting, “This is an all-time low for me being in the Senate, and that‘s saying something.  The one area that has been kept off-limits from partisan politics has been the defense of our nation.”

Wow, have you been in the nation these last nine years?

Senators Graham and McCain had already said they would oppose the defense bill because it is—it already includes a repeal of “don‘t ask, don‘t tell.”

But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who may move for cloture on the defense bill as early as next week, provides a twofer explanation.  Quote, “Senator McCain and anyone else who thinks that the DREAM Act is not directly related to our national security should talk to the brave young men and women who want to defend our country but are turned away.  Senator McCain should know better than anyone that patriots who step up to serve our grateful nation should be offered a path to citizenship and that anybody who volunteers to serve should be welcomed regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Today, three Democratic lawmakers who championed immigration reform met with the president in the White House.

We‘re joined by one—the representative from the Illinois 4th district and a member of the Hispanic Caucus, Luis Gutierrez.

Good evening, Congressman.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS:  Good evening, Keith.  Good to be with you tonight.

OLBERMANN:  Good to have you here.

Describe this afternoon‘s meeting the president if you would.  And particularly, as it pertains to this bill being put before Congress.

GUTIERREZ:  I‘ve got to tell you, Keith, I‘ve been—I‘ve been skeptical and I‘ve been critical of this president in terms of his commitment and vocation and putting the right energy.

But today, he—there were no recriminations in the room, there was no looking back.  The president—I could see in his face, in his eyes, in his body language, he‘s energetic.  He‘s ready to fight.

And he‘s ready to do the right fight for young Americans in all but title.  I mean, 3, 4, 5-year-olds.  They got here and we‘ve educated them.  They‘re the class valedictorians.  They‘re bright.  They‘re special.  Young Americans in all but title.

Let them join the Armed Forces.  Let them go to college.  Let them serve our nation.  And the president was clear and unequivocal.  And I‘m happy he‘s our president of the United States.

OLBERMANN:  The Republicans have and are going to say that Democrats are the ones playing politics here, that the DREAM Act is being introduced now to boost Hispanic turnout for the midterms, that it shouldn‘t be attached to the Defense Authorization Bill as Graham and McCain say.  Is the—does the president give you an indication he‘s prepared to fight that battle on those multiple fronts?

GUTIERREZ:  You know what?  He seemed very clear.  You‘ve run some excerpts from last night‘s speech.  He didn‘t only talk to us about, like, education or, you know, bilingual education.  I mean, he gave a very spirited defense.

And he‘s going on offense and he‘s really speaking to us in very clear, stark terms—which were happy that he is.  Because we think that‘s our leader.  That‘s the one we put at the helm of our nation, not our party, but of our nation.

And today, I think, he said, “Look, I‘m going to it use all the power and influence of this presidency and put it behind these young men and women, about 1 million of them.”  And you know what, Keith?  I was delighted to come out of that meeting.  And I‘m a believer.  And he‘s going to do a lot.

OLBERMANN:  You spoke of your skepticism.  Last night, he spoke of his

of other‘s frustration with him, the Hispanics who had campaigned hard for him.

           

GUTIERREZ:  Sure.

OLBERMANN:  Is he getting into the fight soon enough?  Is this late to some degree?  Or is it soon enough?

GUTIERREZ:  Look, I think everybody understands that there has been a wall built by the Republicans.  And so, look, next week, I think it‘s going to be pretty decisive.  And, Keith, I better be able to answer that question, right?

We‘ll have a conversation next Thursday.  And let‘s see.  There were 11 Republicans that on more than—that have either co-sponsored the DREAM Act -- 11 currently there—that have either cosponsored or have voted for cloture to allow the DREAM Act to be voted upon.

Look, we don‘t need one of them to vote for the DREAM Act.  Not one of them, Keith.  If they will not obstruct the path, I know there are 51 or better Democrats to get the DREAM Act passed.  We want them to be with us.  We think it‘s the right thing to do.

But don‘t obstruct the path.  As the president said so eloquently, why do they also have to be the party of no se puede?  Why can‘t they be the party of “Yes, we can” and move our party forward?

So, look, people want to believe this president can be a transformational president.  They—look, sure, people get disillusioned.  I get angry.  I get frustrated.

But he elevated my spirits yesterday at the gala.  And I‘ve got to tell you, you know, he wasn‘t looking backwards it today.  And I‘m happy we‘re looking forward.  We‘re going to have a spirited fight.  Harry Reid‘s ready to do it.  We‘re ready to do it.

Think about it, you‘re telling me adding up to 1 million men and women to our military forces at this particular time as a way of service to our nation and guaranteeing, not your citizenship but your permanent residency, God, you know, and ultimately become a citizen because—I mean, what‘s the ultimate tax you pay?  The ultimate tax—is it really the 8 or 9 cents sales tax or the property tax?  No.  I think it‘s about your limbs, it‘s about your life, it‘s about your blood, it‘s about your life you leave of a battlefield.  And those kids are ready to do it.

OLBERMANN:  Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, many thanks. 

Let‘s talk next week.

GUTIERREZ:  Thank you.  I look forward to it, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  Me, too.

Let‘s turn to the director of immigration and national campaign to the National Council of La Raza, Clarissa Martinez.

Thanks for your time tonight.

CLARISSA MARTINEZ, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA:  How are you?

OLBERMANN:  Distill this for a moment for me, out of the right and the wrong, and into the pure politics.  Is this the energizer the Democrats need for the midterms?

MARTINEZ:  I think a vote on DREAM Act, what it does, is call a very question, not only for the American voter in general but for Latino voters, and that is about who is going to vote for progress, and who is going to just continue to play politics with the lives of people?  This is a bill that is going to be good for our competitive edge.  It‘s going to be good for our national security.

And, look, the Department of Defense put the DREAM Act in its strategic plan for 2010.  So, Senator McCain should take it up with the Department of Defense when he says that it‘s not related to this bill.

OLBERMANN:  And the contours of the fight that that suggests—are McCain and the other Republican senators prepared to block the Defense Authorization Act over this?  And on the other side of this, if the White House and the Democrats were to back down and punt on the DREAM Act, how damaging would that be?

MARTINEZ:  Well, I think that we need to get to the Department of Defense bill first.  And then if they have an issue with any of these amendments, they should take that vote and make clear where they stand on it.

For the Latino electorate, we‘re going to be looking, again, who‘s willing to vote for progress and who just wants to keep saying no to everything.  I think the question of ought to be called.  And I think that they ought to demonstrate if they are going to stand, not only against something that is in the interest of our national security, but also, frankly, in the interest of children.

OLBERMANN:  The president told the audience last night, as Congressman Gutierrez mentioned, that they had every right to keep the heat on him and to keep the heat on the Democrats.  And he said that‘s how our political process works.

Is that in some way an answer to the cynics and to the Republican critics who say, you know, this is time to be part of the election?  Because the answer is, of course, it‘s time to be part of the election because elections often provide the pressure needed to pass legislation.

MARTINEZ:  The reality is that there‘s a lot of people playing politics here.  We have seen too many people willing to play politics with the issue of immigration and it‘s having an extreme cost, leading to laws like the one in Arizona, which frankly are legitimizing racial profiling of a whole segment of our population.

So, if people want to play politics, I think we just ought to call the question.  Are they for solutions or not?  And we are intending to hold feet to the fire of Democrats and Republicans on this issue.

OLBERMANN:  To your knowledge, to the degree that you can take soundings on the last 24 hours, how has this resonated within the Hispanic community nationwide?  Is it—is it seen as kind of the second pushback, particularly against S.B.1070 in Arizona after the Justice Department?  Does it seem as a clear bell sounding in Washington?

MARTINEZ:  The reason why immigration has such an energizing power with the Latino electorate is because it is about respect.  We have seen the issue of immigration manipulated to discount the contributions that Latinos make to this country every day.  And that‘s why we‘re saying, enough.

The DREAM Act is one step in the right direction.  Immigration reform, which the majority of Americans support, by the way, is the solution to the problem in the stop to things like 1070.  But, in the meantime, DREAM is important.

And it will show who‘s willing to start working towards that solution.  And it, frankly, will show if there are Republicans who are going to flip-flop on the issue because they supported it in the past.

OLBERMANN:  Last point, the defense bill also includes, as we mentioned, the repeal of “don‘t ask, don‘t tell.”  Is that a complication or is it a win-win?  Does it affect the politics in a way we‘re not expecting?

MARTINEZ:  I think all of these issues are important.  As people have said, these are things that are going to help increase the readiness of our military.  Each one of them should be taken up on their own merits and people should not be saying, we‘re not going to get to the bill simply because that may happen.

If people believe in their position, they ought to take those votes on each of those issues and own it—so that voters can see if they‘re willing to play obstructionist on something that is so important to our country.

OLBERMANN:  Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza—thank you for your time tonight.

MARTINEZ:  Thank you very much, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  As an interview is revealed in which Christine O‘Donnell claimed scientists had developed mice with fully functioning human brains, Karl Rove now claims he has endorsed her.  I leave it to you to connect the dots—next.

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OLBERMANN:  To you, it may have looked like what he said about Christine O‘Donnell was the equivalent of hiring the entire fleet of Greyhound buses in this nation and throwing her under each and every one of them, even the ones they usually keep in the Greyhound Museum.  “No, no,” he says.  “That was an endorsement.”

No plan to pay for them.  No problem adding to the deficit he vowed to eliminate.  He again calls for tax breaks for the rich.

The Mighty Oz has spoken.  Tea partiers may not dress up anymore.  It‘s hurting their credibility.  The price of stock in the tricorne hat and musket cartels is going to plummet.

Ahead on COUNTDOWN.

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OLBERMANN:  With apologies to Herman Melville‘s description of the sinking of the Pequod in “Moby Dick.”

Now, small tea parties flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf, a sullen white Roger Ailes beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed, and subsuming the moment of Rovian truth; the great shroud of the sea of propaganda rolled on as it rolled 5,000 years ago.  I only escaped alone to tell thee.

In our fourth story: 36 hours after carving up Christine O‘Donnell into little Christine O‘Donnell pieces on FOX News, Karl Rove has endorsed Christine O‘Donnell.  Nothing to see hear, Republicans.  Karl Rove did not just dissolve in the potty before the new masters of the universe, the Tea Party radicals.  Move along, please.

“The Washington Post” reporting today, Mike Castle will not endorse

her—citing his opponent‘s personal smears during the campaign.  Likely a

reference to the homophobic comments O‘Donnell launched at the Delaware

congressman.

Last night, we reported, Sarah Palin‘s advice to her, pat a long learner, speak through FOX News.  Less than 51 minutes after that advice was issued, to Queequeg to Palin‘s s mail, she was kissing Sean Hannity‘s ring.

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HANNITY:  Christine, congratulations on last night.  Thanks for being on the program.

O‘DONNELL:  Thank you.  Thank you very much, Sean.  And thank you to you and all of your viewers for helping make this happen.

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OLBERMANN:  Hannity later playing a portion of his election night interview with Karl Rove for Ms. O‘Donnell.  Asked by Hannity to respond to Rove‘s charges, O‘Donnell punted.

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O‘DONNELL:  We did answer them on our Web site Christine2010.com under “Christine Counters with Boxing Gloves.”  But, you know, I‘m hoping that maybe it‘s just the fog of war that hasn‘t cleared yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  At this hour, O‘Donnell‘s Web site remains stripped of any information about the candidate.  The only thing you can do on the site is donate money.

People have been donating.  The candidate tweeting that over $1 million has poured in since Tuesday.

As for her biggest critic, this morning, Karl Rove returned to FOX News for his fourth interview since the nomination, this time with a surprise endorsement—which he claims he gave two nights ago.

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MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  I don‘t have to tell you that a lot of folks have been screaming, yelling and saying, you know, that your comments in not backing her could cost the majority in the Senate.

ROVE:  Yes.  Martha—Martha—

MACCALLUM:  That what they want is to make sure that they get that majority in the Senate.  And they‘re afraid that you‘re shooting them in the tent.

ROVE:  Martha, my job as a FOX analyst is to give the best insights.  She‘s 11 points behind in the Rasmussen Poll, behind the Democrat nominee Coons.  So, my job as a FOX analyst is to call it as I see it.  My job is not to be a cheerleader for every Republican.  It‘s to call them as I see it.

Now, I‘ve got a different role outside my FOX role.  And that‘s where I‘m helping to raise $50 million to elect Republicans for the Senate.  But when I come on FOX, you and your viewers expect me to shoot straight with you.  And that‘s—

MACCALLUM:  Absolutely.

ROVE:  And that‘s what I was doing that night.  And with all due respect, she‘s 11 points behind.  That‘s not—that‘s not out of the game.  But she‘s got to make up ground and make up ground quick in the days remaining.

MACCALLUM:  All right.  So, if she does that to your satisfaction, what kind of support would you—would you—you know, would it just be a verbal endorsement?  What kind—

ROVE:  Look, I—I endorsed her the other night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Endorsement?

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ROVE:  I‘ve met her.  I‘m not—I got to tell you, I wasn‘t frankly, you know, impressed as her, you know, abilities as a candidate, somebody with little money, little track record, checkered background.  How does she make her living?  Why did she mislead voters about her college education?  There‘s just a lot of nutty things she‘s been saying.  I‘m for Republicans, but I got to tell you, this is not a race we‘re going to be able to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Oh, that endorsement.

Joining me now, Howard Fineman, “Newsweek” magazine‘s senior Washington correspondent and political columnist, and MSNBC political analyst.

Howard, good evening.

HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  It takes a really good political analyst to detect that endorsement, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  What, worst endorsement ever?

(LAUGHTER)

FINEMAN:  Well, sort of like running over one way and then backing up over her again and again.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

FINEMAN:  And then again and again and again.  Look, here‘s what‘s going on.  I spoke—I e-mailed with Karl yesterday, yesterday afternoon before I went on “HARDBALL.”  And he said, “Hey, I‘m sticking with what I said Tuesday night.”  Meaning that, you know, his projections of eight to nine Republican seats just went down to seven to eight.  That‘s also what he said in his role as an analyst I think on Tuesday.

So, he wasn‘t backing down.  But between then and this morning, I think he modulated things a little bit because there‘s a huge, huge war going on within the party.  And I think maybe even within FOX News, because in that same segment you showed us a portion of, Rove basically blamed the tenor of Tuesday night over at FOX on bad reporting by FOX reporters.  Well, he did.  He said, “Hey, they got something wrong.  That‘s what led to a lot of confusion, why people are angry at me.”

And, you know, I think Roger Ailes probably needs to talk to his straight-shooting analyst there.

OLBERMANN:  Did he—did he claim that that was an endorsement because of the influence of the fundraising that‘s been going on since then?  You know, the $1 million playing a part in this perhaps?

FINEMAN:  Well, first of all, it is true that John Cornyn, the head of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee, wrote her a $42,000 check—

OLBERMANN:  Right.

FINEMAN:  -- which is a direct contribution.  But the real story is not the direction contributions.  It‘s the indirect, the independent expenditure stuff.  I don‘t think you‘re going to see that out of the Republican Party establishment.  You‘re certainly not going to see a penny out on of Karl Rove‘s American Crossroads.

Now, that‘s got Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint and other people leading the Tea Party very upset.  And you‘ve got a situation there where Rove is only one of many players under a lot of pressure to at least sound like he‘s willing to accept and support her.  But I think he‘s going to be dragged kicking and screaming all the way.

OLBERMANN:  Two developments in the O‘Donnell campaign.  Firstly, there is this candidate forum in Wilmington tonight which O‘Donnell initially said or people said she was not going to attend because organizers had refused the demand that she get the questions in advance.  Apparently, either—I don‘t think she got the questions in advance, but she showed up anyway.

Are we—should we be monitoring this tape whenever it comes out of this event to see if it rivals the Jan Brewer gubernatorial debate in Arizona?  Will it be her last appearance in front of non-friendly environments?

FINEMAN:  I think we‘ll know.  There‘s a story of Karl Rove who is in the audience asking her why she had her home foreclosed on?  And did she really go to Princeton?

You know, this is going to be the theme all the way through.  It is with a lot of the Tea Party candidates.

You know, she—Christine O‘Donnell is going to the big conservative values coalition meeting—conference here in Washington this weekend.  I‘m sure she doesn‘t have to worry about getting all the questions in advance there because she‘ll have a very friendly audience.  Because one of the sort of untold stories about this, in addition to Tea Party stuff, she‘s a very, very staunch pro-lifer, as you know.  And she‘ll be really embraced by those people here this weekend.

OLBERMANN:  Secondly, we were reminded today that she appeared on FOX just three years ago and told Bill O‘Reilly that stem cell research was evil because—and the quote was, “American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”

Howard, does this have anything to do either with Ms. O‘Donnell‘s candidacy or Mr. Rove‘s endorsement of it?

FINEMAN:  Well, they like to eat cheese?

OLBERMAN:  I just—

FINEMAN:  No.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

FINEMAN:  I don‘t—I don‘t know.  No.  I think—I think Karl thinks—and all the Bushies think—by the way, this is the view of the Bush crowd, and that‘s Karl—that, you know, candidates like Christine O‘Donnell are an embarrassment and they‘re going to lose and they‘re going to drag the party down.  And they might be right.

But what‘s interesting about candidates like this is that they expose the core thinking of a lot of what the Bush crowd had been retelling in a cut way, you know, in a sort of diluted way.  This is the hard core stuff.  This is the 100-proof stuff.  And people like Rove and company don‘t like to see it that openly.

OLBERMANN:  “Newsweek‘s” Howard Fineman—many thanks for your time tonight.  And we‘ll see what comes out of the mice and men debate tonight in Delaware.  Thank you.

FINEMAN:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Rand Paul has an explanation of how he‘ll cut taxes for the rich and yet not add to the deficit.  And he‘s planning on keeping it a secret until after the election.  Stand by.

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OLBERMANN:  The other key to the midterms, calling Obama‘s tax cuts for middle class what they are, and Rand Paul demanding cuts for the rich, even if they can‘t be paid for.  First, the sanity break and the Tweet of the day from Whisper111, Mike Fogelsanger (ph): “compared to O‘Donnell, Carry Prejean is the more experienced candidate.” 

And you thought we‘d be getting tired of those Christine O‘Donnell jokes.  Not really, no.  Let‘s play Oddball. 

We begin in Donetsk (ph), in the Ukraine.  Talk about “Steel Magnolias.”  Viktor—with a K—Mickhalav (ph) has been a welder for nearly 30 years.  But he has decided to take his skills from the metal shop to the botanical garden.  No reason given for his transformation from welder to budding artist, but his forged iron flowers have blossomed into success, which has led to ProFlowers.com to adapt a new slogan: surprise her with 12 pounds of roses. 

To the Internets and the greatest invention for clothing since Velcro.  It‘s Fabriocan (ph), the shirt in a can.  Simply find a friend or a loved one to stand a few steps back and spray the chic right on you.  It‘s all the fun of spraying an aerosol can with the high fashion of an undershirt.  Of course, there are still some kinks to iron out, like the silly spray smell, or coverage, the amount of time it takes to actually apply a shirt rather than, say, just putting one on over your head, and the residue you see left over stuck to your skin when the shirt and some of your skin is removed.  Besides that, this is the wave of the future. 

Next up, shoes in a jar. 

Finally to Thailand, where we find monkeys picking coconuts.  These are no regular coconut-picking monkeys.  These pig tailed macaques—hello George Allen—have been specially trained to find and knock down ripe coconuts.  The training is grueling, with many of the students dropping out after a few weeks.  But it all pays off in the end when these profitable primates knock down ten times as many coconuts as a man could.  Of course, with this kind of efficiency and low cost, it‘s only a matter of time until the primates start their own monkey business. 

Well, there‘s your deficit solution right there. 

The Democrats edge closer to separating their tax cuts for the middle class from the Republican‘s tax cuts for the rich, next.

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OLBERMANN:  If Democrats listen very closely to Republicans, they might notice what they do not hear.  After House Republican Leader John Boehner said Sunday that he would vote for middle class tax cuts that excluded the rich, if that‘s his only option, he and other House Republicans have tried to back pedal.  But in our third story tonight, Democrats might want to note that House Republicans are not saying they will vote against middle class tax cuts if that is their only option. 

Boehner today refused when asked by “Talking Points Memo” to say whether he would block President Obama‘s proposal, one vote on middle class tax cuts, one vote on tax cuts for the rich.  “I don‘t want to get into a bunch of hypotheticals,” he said, just minutes after hypothesizing what Speaker Nancy Pelosi should do. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER ®, MINORITY LEADER:  She ought to pledge that there be an honest up or down vote on stopping all of the coming tax hikes.  Anything less than that is unacceptable.  If the speaker allows an up or down vote, I‘m confident that the American people will not see increases in their taxes. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Instead, the speaker said she does not support even a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts on household income over a quarter million.  A handful of Democrats, however, want to cut those taxes for the rich, including Congressman Jim Matheson of Utah.  He told the Plum Line Blog about national polls showing majority opposition.  Quote, “I don‘t know that it applies in my district.”  His district includes fewer than 12,000 households with income that would benefit from the GOP tax cuts for the rich, Think Progress reports, 12,000 out of 300,000 in his direct. 

This as even self-proclaimed deficit hawks, like Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul fall in line not just for three trillion plus this decade alone in tax cuts, but for passing those tax cuts without a hint of an idea of how to pay for them.  According to the “Lexington Herald Leader,” Paul told reporters he would review all federal programs and that, quote, “politicians are too chicken to talk about specific spending cuts.” 

He then said he will revel his plan to balance the federal budget, but he won‘t do so until after election day. 

Let‘s bring in Heather McGhee, the director of the D.C. office of Demos, a nonpartisan public policy group.  Great thanks for your time tonight, Heather. 

HEATHER MCGHEE, DIRECTOR, DEMOS:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Purely from a policy perspective, what should Democrats be doing about the expiration of the Bush tax cuts on the 31st of December? 

MCGHEE:  Well, that depends what kind of Democrat you are.  As you just showed in your segment there, there are a few different types of Democrats.  But if you are the type of Democrat who really cares about having a prosperous American economy with a strong middle class at the center of it, then of course you know that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy were a bad idea in 2001, in 2003, and they‘re an even worse idea in 2010, when we‘ve got one in ten Americans out of a job.  Actually, the lowest federal revenue as a share of our GDP than we have had in 50 years. 

OLBERMANN:  The deficit hawk Rand Paul made this extraordinary statement today that he has no way to pay for these tax cuts.  So what, he says, essentially.  What happens to economic growth and to job creation if they were to add three plus trillion to the deficit, to make sure the top two percent get their lowered taxes? 

MCGHEE:  This has really been one of the most disappointing parts of this political season, just the height of hypocrisy around the deficit and jobs.  We‘ve got an extraordinary situation in communities all across this country, where people are out of work, where the jobs have simply disappeared.  And because of this phony deficit hawk nonsense that is going on in Washington there isn‘t even the political will to do what needs to be done to actually put people back to work. 

Direct spending on jobs, direct job creation is off the table because of the deficit.  Yet, as soon as we start talking about tax cuts for the rich, so many of those deficit hawks are actually now twiddling their thumbs, and trying to find a way to back pedal out of their deficit fear mongering. 

OLBERMANN:  You mentioned the different kinds of Democrats.  How would you respond to this Congressman Matheson in Utah saying that any tax cut will hurt his district? 

MCGHEE:  I‘m glad that you actually did the homework for the congressman in finding out what the people in his district actually earn.  Because if he had done a little more homework, he would know that actually only about two percent of the American—of American small business owners actually pay the tax rate that we are talking about here.  So this Republican talking point that Matheson and a lot of the Republicans have been saying about—it‘s actually small business owners who are going to pay these top rates and therefore we can‘t raise them or we‘ll hurt the economy is simply nonsense. 

They also should know that tax cuts for the rich are actually the least effective way to stimulate the economy.  Less effective by about 80 percent than infrastructure spending, than state aid to keep teachers and firefighters in their jobs, and then unemployment.  And then, of course, again, direct job creation, which I have to keep harping on, because it is just off of the table right now in Washington, and it‘s ridiculous when we have the communities suffering the way that they are. 

OLBERMANN:  To finish your thought, obviously, the money that is given back to the rich they put in their wallets or, more likely, in their bank accounts.  But one other point that we don‘t often talk enough about I think; we are only talking tax rates on income that you make at your job.  Most of the wealthy already pay a lower rate that‘s not based on their income, but it is based on where their money comes from.  Correct?  Can you expand on that a little? 

MCGHEE:  Absolutely.  This is actually, Keith, one of the biggest conservative economic policy victories of our time.  They got to a situation in which in America today wealth is taxed at a lower rate than work.  If I‘m a middle class American who goes to work and depends on a paycheck, the tax rate that‘s important to me is the income tax rate.  If I‘m middle class, I have a tax rate of about 25 percent. 

But if I‘m a CEO or someone who has inherited a lot of wealth, whose real income depends on capital gains, stock dividends, basically what happens on Wall Street and what my investment adviser says and how well my stocks do, because of the Bush tax code, 15 percent, as opposed to 25 percent, is the rate that is paid on capital gains and dividends. 

Wealth is taxed less than work in America.  We champion workers in America.  We say that we respect work, but obviously that‘s not the case with the Bush tax code. 

OLBERMANN:  Yep.  We are providing disincentives for rich people to go out and get a job.  Heather McGhee, Washington director of the public policy research organization Demos, great thanks for your time tonight. 

MCGHEE:  Thank you, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Now Tea Party people of Earth, the great Klatu (ph) Glenn Beck is speaking.  Don‘t dress up funny anymore.  Well, he still can. 

Ever wonder where Tokyo Rose Limbaugh get this is stuff?  He slipped. 

He has revealed it.  It‘s Wikipedia. 

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, how the right goes after the women‘s vote with female candidates who have anything but women‘s interests at heart.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Lonesome Rhodes declares a new dress code for the Tea Parties.  The powdered wig market has collapsed.  That‘s next, but first get out your pitchforks and torches, time for tonight‘s worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Cheryl A.Erzadowcity (ph) of Orlin Park, Florida. 

Pulled over by traffic cops there on the ninth at 2:00 in the morning.  They asked her to exit the vehicle and walk a straight line.  According to the police report, she apparently decided she was supposed to do this as would a fashion model.  Quote, “she walked up and down the line with hands on hips three additional times.”  She then offered to do a gymnastics maneuver.  And the traffic stop ended with her pleading with the arresting officer to read her her, quote, “Amanda rights.” 

The runner up, Tokyo Rose Limbaugh.  Liberals ought to be afraid, he warned, of Judge Vincent of Florida, who is hearing a legal challenge to health care reform. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Judge Clyde Roger Vincent is a Ronald Reagan appointee.  Judge Clyde Roger Vincent is an avid hunter.  He‘s an amateur taxidermist.  Do you know what a taxidermist is?  That‘s right.  For our liberal caller today, this is not going to be good news.  After a 2002 hunting trip during which he killed three brown bears, Judge Clyde Roger Vincent had their heads mounted over the door through which defendants have to pass to enter his courtroom.  At the time, Judge Vincent said the sight of the severed bear heads would instill the fear of God into the accused. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Except none of that‘s true.  Judge Vincent tells the “New York Times” that he doesn‘t hunt that much, certainly never for bear, and his favorite hobby is horticulture, growing plants.  He‘s actually president of the American Camellia Society. 

So where did Limbaugh get all the wrong info?  He claims he got it from an article in the local Pensacola newspaper from June 31st, 2003.  Except there is no such article because there is no such June 31st.  The fake article is listed—or was anyway—as a source for Judge Vincent‘s page on Wikipedia, which would just be stupid, except last October, when he was misquoted on line, Limbaugh had said, quote, “I mean, everybody in the world knows you don‘t believe anything on Wikipedia.  But these are the professionals.  They‘re supposed to check this stuff.” 

They are supposed to check.  He‘s not because—well, he‘s infallible. 

Our winner, David Irving.  He says he will begin leading American and British tours of the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Treblinka next week, and later one of the Warsaw ghetto.  This side of Ahmadinejad, David Irving is probably the world‘s most notorious Holocaust denier.  He now says the Pols have turned Auschwitz into a Disney-style attraction. 

Irving is the man who claimed Hitler knew nothing of the exterminations until October, 1943, which leads to the Hitler would have stopped it rationalization that swept Germany in the last ‘70s.  Later he changed it from Hitler didn‘t know to Hitler didn‘t know because there was no Nazi policy of extermination.  And finally he said there were only 600,000 victims in the camps, and all of them were dying from disease or from the American and British bombing runs. 

Oh, and he said the “Diary of Anne Frank” might have been a forgery.  And he‘s going to be leading tours of Auschwitz and Treblinka.  David Irving, today‘s worst person in the world.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  According to televangelist Glenn Beck, Tuesday night‘s primary victories for Tea Party candidates in New York and Delaware marked the end of the beginning for his movement.  It is now on to step two of his design, to seize control of the country back from the liberal, progressive, socialist, Marxist, fascist, racist, black, liberation theologists, who have hijacked it.  And step two requires a dress code. 

In our number one story, Beck‘s newest propaganda campaign, he‘s calling for his people to stop dressing funny, so non-Tea Partiers stop thinking his ideas are crazy.  The decree comes down from the dear Tea Party leader.  He did so yesterday.  Beck opened his show by patting his flock on the back for its primary day triumphs.  Now about what you are wearing. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  So now here‘s the thing that you have to do.  I think this is very important that the Tea Party movement gets this.  I‘m just speaking as an outsider here.  Kind of extreme makeover Tea Party edition.  Or better yet, have you ever seen—I have heard about the show.  I haven‘t watched it.  Have you ever seen the show on TLC, “what not to wear”?  That‘s what needs to happen. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Hold on a minute.  Outsider?  Glenn Beck Tea Party outsider?  Hmm.  Go on. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECK:  I am saying that maybe it‘s time to lose—oh, I don‘t know—the Statue of Liberty costume, you know.  Maybe no more dressing up, you know, with Abe Lincoln or putting the foam finger on your head or something like that, or the “Obama is a socialist” t-shirt.  You may want to put that back in the drawer.  Let me explain why. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Don‘t worry.  He‘ll still be a socialist and you will look great in your new members only jacket. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECK:  It‘s very important that you understand the image—the image.  Do what you want to do, but when you dust off the Statue of Liberty costume and wear it to a rally, guess who gets plastered on the front page of the news?  You.  This is a problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Front page of news, bad.  Front page of Beck‘s book, no problem.  By the way, the doorman at the Blaine Hotel wants his hat back, buddy.  Glenn Beck can bring on the Thomas Paine impersonator.  You must leave your costume at home.  Glenn Beck can fear monger with Nazi Swastikas and hammers and sickles and chalk boards and signs; you need to refrain from this. 

Glenn Beck can play dress-up, but damn it, he knows what he‘s doing.  He‘s a professional.  Like today, the day after his decree, where he dressed up like a baker.  Tomorrow, Karl Marx, the candlestick maker. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BECK:  You cannot discredit the movement now.  You have made it.  You‘ve made it.  Dress normally, take the signs down, because what we are talking about now are leaders of the free world.  You have the character to do that.  But they are judging you not on the content of your character, but on your signs and your clothing. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Joining us now, Eugene Robinson of MSNBC and Pulitzer Prize winner of the “Washington Post.”  I might say, immaculately attired tonight.  Gene, good evening. 

EUGENE ROBINSON, “THE WASHINGTON POST”:  Thank you so much, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Thank you for leaving your sign home, too.  The thesis here is that people get scared when they se funny looking Tea Partiers and that‘s bad for business.  Is this about marketing whatever it is Glenn Beck is selling? 

ROBINSON:  It‘s certainly about branding, if not marketing.  Maybe that‘s the same thing.  It‘s about image.  And one wonders if the next step will be for him not just to say dress normally, but to suggest, you know, some sort of uniform that they should wear.  And when he starts suggesting like a nice plain shirt, perhaps, in some sort of hue of brown, I am going to start really getting concerned. 

OLBERMANN:  Um, these fine folks here are for freedom, but now they are not allowed to wear costumes.  They can‘t carry signs.  They want to dictate who gets to marry whom.  And they want corporate America to run the country.  The comparison to the founding fathers, is that beginning to slide off and sort of King George is replacing that role model for them? 

ROBINSON:  Well, I think you have hit on that pesky central contradiction in the whole Tea Party thing.  The basic idea that, you know, you should be free to live exactly the way I say you should live, and that‘s the way we should run the country.  They are awfully prescriptive for people who claim to believe in all sorts of freedoms. 

But they don‘t seem to have internalized that contradiction.  I don‘t think Glenn Beck is going to let them in on it. 

OLBERMANN:  There is something serious here.  We had a poll yesterday that said, in essence, half of the country has no opinion of the Tea Party, nothing.  The other half, it‘s about 23, 27.  But there is half that just doesn‘t have an opinion yet.  In that context, seeing if they clean up nice on show day, that‘s not as crazy as it sounds from a pure politics point of view, is it? 

ROBINSON:  No.  It‘s not as crazy as it sounds, because if half the country really hasn‘t formed an opinion about the Tea Party, I suppose people are more likely to think highly of them if they see them dressed as ordinary people rather than some sort of freak show.  You know, the whole Tea Party impulse and—that‘s out there is obviously a genuine thing.  It‘s obviously out there. 

The question is how it gets channeled into any sort of reasonably constructive path that has to do with the way we run our political system.  So far, it, frankly, has not been.  Let‘s see how the midterms come out. 

Maybe we‘ll have some interesting senators. 

OLBERMANN:  I know which one you‘re going for. 

ROBINSON:  Yeah. 

OLBERMANN:  If you subtract, though, the out there appearance and you are left simply with what is said and—if the clothing no longer makes the Tea Party, then aren‘t you forced to listen to Christine O‘Donnell explain that there are human mice running around amid us? 

ROBINSON:  Well, you are.  You‘re forced back into the mice and men problem.  You‘re also forced, Keith, to deal with the vapidity of the rhetoric.  OK, what exactly does it mean to take our country back?  What exactly does it mean to return to the principles of the founding fathers?  Then maybe you have to read a book and find out what the founding fathers believed and read the Constitution to find out what it actually says.  And it doesn‘t say, you know, what you‘d like it to say.  So then where are you? 

OLBERMANN:  Patrick Henry, more than Monroe, believed in no mice-men. 

These people think “Pinky and the Brain” was a documentary. 

MSNBC political analyst Gene Robinson, thank you, Gene. 

ROBINSON:  Good night, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, good night.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck. 

Now to discuss why Republicans think a candidate like Christine O‘Donnell is the way to get women voters, to say nothing of those mice-men out there, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.  Good evening, Rachel. 

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

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