updated 1/3/2011 5:19:54 PM ET 2011-01-03T22:19:54

Guest Host: Chris Hayes

           

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over):  Which of these stories will make the COUNTDOWN favorites of 2010?

It was the year of health reform.

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REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  The bill is passed.

(CHEERS)

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OLBERMANN:  And the year of the Bush tax cut extension.

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  It‘s tempting not to negotiate with hostage-takers unless the hostage gets harmed.

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OLBERMANN:  And in between all that, there were tickle parties.

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ERIC MASSA (D), FMR. NY CONGRESSMAN:  Now they‘re saying I groped a male staffer.  Yeah, I you did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Chilean miners were restored to the surface of the earth.

And American honor was restored by this man.

2010 was the year of the WikiLeaks and the year of the witchy leaks.

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CHRISTINE O‘DONNELL ®, FMR. DELAWARE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  I

dabbled into witchcraft, I never joined a coven.

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OLBERMANN:  In 2010, one congressman told BP he felt sorry.

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REP. JOE BARTON ®, TEXAS:  I apologize.

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OLBERMANN:  While at America‘s airports, the TSA was feeling other things.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If you touch my junk, I‘m going to have you arrested.

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OLBERMANN:  How do we feel about 2010, a year in which the generosity of you, our viewers, helped impact real people‘s lives?  Among the things of which we know, COUNTDOWN favorites never back down.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  I will not apologize for my tone tonight.

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OLBERMANN:  There is no religious litmus test for any COUNTDOWN favorites.

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OBAMA:  John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith.

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OLBERMANN:  And appearing on the program—even if you get my name wrong—can sway the judges.

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OLBERMANN:  You are a big sport for joining us here.

SHARRON ANGLE ®, FMR. NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, first of all, Neil, it‘s great to be on your show.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Tonight, prepare to get animated.  Quit plucking that chicken.  Hide your musical instruments and set your hashtags to stun.

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OLBERMANN:  I was—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Have you used a keyboard before?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  COUNTDOWN favorites of 2010 starts now.

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(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS HAYES, GUEST HOST:  Good evening from New York.

Tonight, a COUNTDOWN special event—the most important events of the final year of the first decade of the new millennium—or as the folks in marketing won‘t let us call it, stuff we liked.

There was, of course, no lack of events to choose from—events that inspired us, events that moved us, events that appalled us, events that moved us forward and events that moved us backward.  And though they may have felt anti-climactic at the time, given how much energy was spent on them beforehand, this year saw not one but two events that historians will look back on as defining moments for our country.

President Barack Obama ended combat operations in a war that changed us perhaps as much as it did Iraq.

Begun with a lie by a president bound and determined to go to war regardless of the truth, 4,430 Americans died in Iraq, 179 Brits, 139 people from other countries.  No one knows how many Iraqis, maybe 100,000, maybe more.  Two million or so displaced from their homes.

Iraq no longer a buffer against Iran, but an ally—America damaged beyond calculation overseas and at home.  President Obama drawing it toward a close hopefully.  U.S. troops leaving Iraq, leaving behind 50,000 in a support capacity.  U.S. Armed Forces no longer mounting its own combat operations in Iraq.  Combat fatalities still occurring monthly.  Now, however, down to single digits.  The fatality rate, about one-tenth of what it is in the war Mr. Obama chose to ramp up, based on the premise that securing Hamid Karzai as the president of Afghanistan will somehow make us safer.

But if ending one president‘s mistake will put 2010 in the history books, so will a visit that no other president managed to achieve in 100 years of trying.  President Obama, after one of the most bruising, protracted national political debates in recent memory, secured in writing, in law, for the American people, the right to health insurance.  Tens of millions estimated to join the ranks of the covered.  The deficit projected to be reduced as a result.  The right to health care, however, is still an elusive one.

Also still elusive, sanity and common sense in governing Wall Street.  Mr. Obama passing financial regulatory reform, giving consumers an agency for protecting them, failing to restore the depression era firewalls that once protected the nation from the short term, high-risk profit taking that broke our economy.

The administration got beat up from both sides for being too cooperative with or tough on BP, for the explosion of its oil rig that killed 11 men, slimed the Gulf of Mexico and shut down entire industries there for months.

Natural disasters struck in Haiti with an earthquake and at home in Tennessee, which clamored for attention during flooding there.

We lost some of our favorite people this year.  Young men whose careers never transcended their beginnings and legends who redefined typical Hollywood careers by lampooning holiday and themselves in the very same movie.

And here in this news hour, some of our favorite things managed to mix a little bit of Hollywood and a little lampooning with our bread and butter: politics.  The absurdly false claim that President Obama is secret Muslim seeded at birth with Islam, cried out for lampooning.  We did our best to oblige.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN (voice-over):  The Muslim seeded toddler engineered the divorce of his own parents to prevent people from learning that his father was Muslim.  In his book, Obama claims that by then his father was no longer Muslim, instead portraying him as something much more popular with Americans, an atheist.

Obama still claims not to know whether his grandfather was Sunni or Shiite.  But he sure looks Sunni.

To keep up appearances Obama cleverly violated his Islamic faith whenever he could, fooling everyone by never going to Mecca.

The plan was working perfectly.  But there were clues for those willing to do the incredibly hard work of seeing them.  As a radical Muslim youth, he ran an Islamic journal whose Arabic name translates as “Harvard Law Review.”

Islam permits men to take a number of wives—and that‘s exactly what Barack Obama did.  The number he picked was one.  And a woman with an Arabic name: M‘Shell ro Bin Son, who insists on wearing a burqa.

His favorite team: the Chicago Bulls, who just happen to play in the same division as the Milwaukee Bucks, whose arena just happened to be known as “The Mecca.”  Coincidence?

Then what about his legislative agenda?  He openly practices Chicago-style politics—just like the Taliban does—extending benefits for the unemployed, including Muslims; expanding health care for all, including every single Muslim in the country—“unless already covered by employer health care plan.”

To this day, President Obama continues to refuse to bomb not just one but many Muslim countries.  He even refuses to close his secret tropical paradise safe haven for Muslims, just 90 miles from America‘s shores.

Obama nearly let the cat out of the bag on several occasions, openly attacking a long-time Christian leader, thanking his co-conspirators for keeping his secret secret.

OBAMA:  John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith.

OLBERMANN:  Outlining his dream of an Islamic America.

OBAMA:  You know, we‘d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.

OLBERMANN:  And bragging about how much he‘s done already.

OBAMA:  We are no longer a Christian nation.  There is a mosque in every state in our Union.

OLBERMANN:  If few seem to care that Obama is America‘s first secret Muslim president, it might be due to the popularity of America‘s first openly Muslim president who won America‘s heart by turning the White House into a virtual mosque.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT:  This is the fifth year in a row that it‘s been my honor to host an Iftar in the state dining room.

OLBERMANN:  Revealing how he came to embrace Allah.

BUSH:  The revelation of God‘s word to the Prophet Mohammed in the form of the Quran.

OLBERMANN:  Using the English word for “Allah,” God, he talked about the Bush family holidays.

BUSH:  Ramadan is a time of heartfelt prayer and togetherness.

OLBERMANN:  Explained how Islam helps America through tough times.

BUSH:  It‘s a national and Islamic obligation to assist one‘s neighbors when they are in need.

OLBERMANN:  And outlined his master plan to make America more Islamic.

BUSH:  And I‘ve encouraged American families to host exchange students from the Muslim world.  I‘ve asked young Americans to study the language and customs of the broader Middle East.

OLBERMANN:  After getting rid of all the White House Bibles, he proudly announced their replacement.

BUSH:  For the first time in our nation‘s history, we‘ve added a Koran the White House library.

OLBERMANN:  So, the big mystery is not President Obama‘s secret Islamic faith—but why he won‘t simply admit to being the second Muslim commander-in-chief of the United States of Mecca.

OBAMA:  Assalamu Alaikum.

BUSH:  Islam is peace.

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HAYES:  Of course, the year‘s biggest political story was the midterm elections.  Not just the year‘s biggest political story, but as incoming House Speaker John Boehner said, an historic election.  Much more than a Muslim, atheist Kenyan communist becoming president.

The historic Republican sweep of the House and historic Republican non-sweep of the Senate was preceded by a great deal of Tea Party energy, much of it devoted to the cost of fake Tea Partiers.  Scott Brown winning in Massachusetts almost a year ago now.  Glenn Beck restoring America‘s honor, one weekend before returning to the air waves to complain about America‘s lack of honor—inspiring fellow comedians to hold a meeting of their own, intimidating the Obama administration to give in, even when it cost innocent bystanders, like Shirley Sherrod, their job.

Tea Party politicians‘ commitment to their private reality led them to swear off interviews with actual reality-based news outlets.  So, one of our favorite things this year was the interview with Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, that was anything but reality-based.

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OLBERMANN:  Sharron Angle, Republican Senate candidate from Nevada, you are a big sport for joining us here.

ANGLE:  Well, first of all, Neil, it‘s great to be on your show to talk about this campaign.

OLBERMANN:  Let‘s start with those remarks that you made to Carl Cameron from FOX.  I was thinking he may have missed what you meant, that interviews are for letting voters see how you handle yourself on the fly, under pressure.  I mean, that‘s the whole point of an interview, right, for the voters?

ANGLE:  The whole point of an interview is to use it, like they say, earned media, to earn something with it.  And I‘m not going to earn anything from people who are there to badger me and batter it—you know, use my words to batter me with.

OLBERMANN:  And that would explain why you‘ve been doing interviews with FOX rather than interviews in front of the audiences that real journalists get, right?

ANGLE:  Well, in that audience, will they let me say, I need $25 from a million people.  Go to SharronAngle.com, send money?  Will they let me say that?

OLBERMANN:  No, Ma‘am, they would not.  But we will.  Would you like to say it again as if you‘re on FOX?

ANGLE:  I need a million people with $25 and they can send that to SharronAngle.com.

OLBERMANN:  Terrific.  In equal time, can you say HarryReid.com for people who want to donate to Harry Reid?

ANGLE:  SharronAngle.com.

OLBERMANN:  OK.  Well, tell us, how did you—how did you get into the race?  Did God just call you to run or did he also prepare you?  Maybe the word isn‘t “prepare”—equip you?

ANGLE:  And, you know, when God calls you, he also equips you and he doesn‘t just say, well, today, you‘re going to run against Harry Reid.  There is a preparation.  Everyone in the Bible, when you read the Bible, you can see that preparatory time.  Moses has his preparatory.  Paul had his preparatory time.  Even Jesus had his preparatory time.

And so, my preparation began on the school board.

OLBERMANN:  You said that God equips you?  And you talked about the role Jesus plays in your life.  How have they helped in your campaign?

ANGLE:  They began to remake our Web site.  And they said, you know,

you‘re pretty wordy, Sharron.  I am pretty wordy.  I say that‘s one of the

one of the benefits of electing me as a U.S. senator.  I‘ll be able to lead a filibuster.

           

OLBERMANN:  Now, stop me on this one if I‘m wrong.  But as a U.S.  senator, you‘d be in the business of creating jobs.  That means that you would—

ANGLE:  As your U.S. senator, I‘m not in the business of creating jobs.

OLBERMANN:  Of course not.  Who wants a job when you can get unemployment.

ANGLE:  You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs.

OLBERMANN:  Of course, unemployment benefits aren‘t the only problem.  Deficit, mortgages, the economy has become a major threat to the American way of life.  And as a strong Republican, what do you suggest we do about this awful economy?

ANGLE:  Waterboard the economy.

OLBERMANN:  We‘re almost out of time, Mrs. Angle, or should I say Senator-elect Angle.  In fact, this interview went so well, I can‘t believe I‘m really saying this on television, but Sharron Angle, I love you.

ANGLE:  I love you, too.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES:  And yet she lost.  Those who did not lose in 2010, the people you, the viewers helped.  From one family who lost everything in a fire, to the thousands who received medical care—thanks to your extraordinary generosity, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  We‘ve often been overwhelmed by the generosity of COUNTDOWN viewers.  While this year was no different, it took multiple forms.  From your response to a family‘s home burning to the ground to the shocking revolution that the state of Arizona was running something that looked very much like an actual death panel.  And then there is the truly magnificent work of free health clinics around the country literally funded by COUNTDOWN viewers.

First, what might be easily called the fire of the year, the home of Gene and Paulette Cranick burning as firefighters watched because the Cranicks had failed to pay their $75 subscription fee.  The problem: the fee for service, pay-to-spray system of Obion County in Tennessee.  The hands-off, recklessly minimal approach represents the worst of deconstruction of basic governmental services.

But after several appearances on COUNTDOWN, the Cranick‘s agreed to allow COUNTDOWN viewers to help and you did, giving more than $15,000 to help them rebuild their lives.  Gene Cranick now telling us, quote, “Everyone is doing OK.”

Now to the effort that has become a signature COUNTDOWN project, the constant and continuing good work of the National Association of Free Clinics, including those special free clinic events serving thousands of people in need.  Nearly $3 million has been raised by COUNTDOWN and MSNBC viewers to date.

This year, you funded two free clinics.  The one day clinic in Hartford, Connecticut, drew 1,000 patients.  People without health insurance, many of whom had not seen a doctor for years.  Sixty-one percent of those people were employed but have no access to health insurance.

And in New Orleans, a milestone, the National Association of Free Clinics treated its 10,000th patient in connection with these events.

Let‘s not forget the doctors, nurses and other volunteers who donate their time and considerable skill to make these clinics such a success.

And there is Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona, whose decision to deny organ transplants to nearly 100 citizens amounted to a GOP death panel.  COUNTDOWN‘s focus on this has helped the National Transplant Assistance Fund raise more than $150,000.  And so, donate to this fund at NTAFund.org.  As we continue to feature the very real people at risk.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  Can you explain with this platform available to you, Randy, explain to Governor Brewer why it‘s so important to fix this and not to wait until January when some of the legislators want to bring it up again?

RANDY SHEPHERD, STATE DENYING HIM HEART TRANSPLANT:  Well, it would be great if that was the case.  If somebody could sign something, do whatever, so that the funding would be there for me to get my heart.

As I understand it, the state‘s out of money.  I understand that.  And I‘m not looking for somebody to invent money for me or money where there‘s none available.  But I would love to see if some of the wasted money out there in government—I mean, you see it every day.  I‘d love to see some of that redirected into a program like this.

OLBERMANN:  The governor still insists that transplants, even lung transplants, like the one you have been denied are optional.  What do you say to that, especially when you hear that word “optional”?

DAVID HERNANDEZ, DENIED LUNG TRANSPLANT:  It can‘t be optional.  It‘s not like going to Dairy Queen or something.  I think I‘ll take this.  No, this is life or death.  Optional—if you need it to save your life, you‘ve got to have it.

FLOR FELIX, WIFE OF MAN DENIED TRANSPLANT:  We don‘t know what is

going to happen.  We want to have again another opportunity.  I hope that -

I know that this is national news.  And I hope that somebody—we hope that somebody is going to donate another liver for my husband.

           

OLBERMANN:  So, they put you on the list in April and then in August you get this letter from the AHCCCS people, the local telling you you would no longer be covered.  Can you give us some sense of what that letter felt like to receive?

TIFFANY TATE, DENIED LUNG TRANSPLANT:  Yes.  I got the letter.  It was incorrect, the letter that we got.  They said they weren‘t going to cover my liver transplant, which would be great.  I‘m not asking for a liver transplant.

But, it was tough.  It was tough because from April to August, I really got to talk to a lot of transplant survivors and a lot of people that just said how you amazing they feel after transplant.  And the life they get to life after transplant, being able to hike and do all those things.  It got me really excited to know that I was going to be able to get my new lungs and do things that I‘ve never done.

And, you know, to hear that was absolutely devastating to know that—

I mean, I wasn‘t going to get it.

OLBERMANN:  This year, as we understand it, you‘ve been hospitalized 11 times in over 11 months.  And they also laid you off from your job.  If you do not get that transplant that you quite accurately say you need, what happens?

DOUGLAS GRAVAGNA, DENIED HEART TRANSPLANT:  I will die, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  When—I‘m sorry, when you hear that $50 million of federal money was given to state prisons in Arizona instead of, say, you know, $45 million to state prisons and $5 million to organ transplants so people like you don‘t get knocked off this list, how does that fact make you feel?

GRAVAGNA:  It hurts me because there‘s people out there, not just me, but other families that need organ transplants.  And we‘re good citizens.  We are productive to society.  It‘s just wrong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Just about anybody in the world can now call, text, e-mail, blog, post on Facebook, G-chat and, of course, tweet—those last examples represent a fraction of all the ways we can communicate on the World Wide Web—as if it is so vitally important to know what everybody else is doing and thinking at every possible moment.

I obviously have yet another way to communicate since I have my own TV show, more importantly a blog.  Late in the summer of 2008, I even signed up for Twitter.  Then I suddenly thought, I think I might accidentally give a lot of people my e-mail address.  So, I blinked.  All right.  Look, I‘m still adjusting to the idea of cable TV.  I used to believe in brownies and elves.

But adjustment is life.  Thus, in our number one story in the COUNTDOWN, tonight, live in our stage, I will type out my very first tweet.  And before that I do that, John Hodgman will answer all my questions about it.

Twitter began on March 21st, 2006 with a message from one of its co-founders, Jack Dorsey, quoting, “Just setting up my Twitter.”  From such humble origins, Mr. Watson, the mighty full call version was launched in July of that year.  And the next thing you knew, people had followers.  Like I always though, people were following me anyway, so why add technology to paranoia?

So, my Twitter account was as voiceless as it could be.  But tonight, I‘m taking another swing at it.  There‘s my Twitter page.  Here‘s my address: @KeithOlbermann.  Yes, there it is.  So, you can follow me if you want.  And so you already got it now, because I got seven followers before we even started this thing.

Although as you saw right now, those are not tweets, the sounds of crickets.

Joining me now, as promised, humorist and Twitter expert, John Hodgman, also author of “More Information Than You Require.”

If I can interrupt you, John, I‘d like to say good evening.

JOHN HODGMAN, HUMORIST:  I‘m sorry, I was updating my Twitter feed.  I apologize.

OLBERMANN:  Very nice.

HODGMAN:  Seven followers already.  Very nice, Keith.  You‘re doing well.  Doing well so far.

OLBERMANN:  This is like speaking before birth, right?

HODGMAN:  Yes, exactly so.

OLBERMANN:  Or having people listen to you before birth.

HODGMAN:  Indeed.

OLBERMANN:  Two hundred and forty followers.  The cat is out of the bag, right?  Why do I want to do this?

HODGMAN:  Well, I can only speak for myself.

OLBERMANN:  Please.

HODGMAN:  I enjoy Twitter because I am egomaniac.  And it amuses me. 

It‘s like being able to pass a note simultaneously to everyone in class. 

And the class sometimes grows to be the size of a small town or country.

OLBERMANN:  There you go.

HODGMAN:  So, for me and for lots of people who use Twitter, it‘s essentially having your own broadcast television show for the very few of us who do not already have their own cable television show.  That will change in the future, but for now, we have Twitter.

OLBERMANN:  Thank goodness it‘s changed.  Or neither of us would be sitting her at the moment.  I‘d be raising plants.

What do my potential followers—follower—potential follower.

HODGMAN:  You‘re growing crowd.

OLBERMANN:  My growing crowd, what do they want to know?

HODGMAN:  They want to know behind-the-scenes type of stuff.  I mean, Twitter is an intimate medium.

OLBERMANN:  Right.

HODGMAN:  I know one of my followers asked me to ask you about showing your Cornell degree again.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, yes.  Thank you.

HODGMAN:  I think people would like to know what you‘re wearing on your feet right now.  But they want you—with all writing, you have to always tell the truth.  You have to be honest.  This is an honest medium.

So you might want to tell them, for example, about the green room here, and how Chris Hayes had an ice sculpture of his head and a chocolate fondue fountain and I had instant coffee.  I don‘t know why that happened, maybe because you booked me so late.  I don‘t know.

OLBERMANN:  I didn‘t know we had a green room.  There are things they don‘t tell me.

HODGMAN:  Always be honest.

OLBERMANN:  Should I Tweet during the commercials and if so, what?

HODGMAN:  Yes, if you choose to.  You shouldn‘t—you shouldn‘t Tweet more than you feel like Tweeting.

OLBERMANN:  Ok.

HODGMAN:  There are going to be a lot of people that are going to yell at you that you‘re Tweeting too much.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

HODGMAN:  And an equal number of people are going to yell at you that you‘re not Tweeting enough.  A large—and one of the great things about Twitter is you get to encounter this whole hive mind, this crowd of people.  And you get to see crowd dynamics very clearly.

OLBERMANN:  The Borg Collective.

HODGMAN:  Indeed.  And there is a percentage of people who are always going to be yelling at you.  You need to know this right away.

OLBERMANN:  So it matches the rest of my life completely?

HODGMAN:  Yes, exactly so.

OLBERMANN:  Only those people here in management.  It means they‘re just going to be followers.  MAC or PC?

HODGMAN:  Well, you know I am a MAC user myself.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, I‘m sure yes.

HODGMAN:  So you know, Twitter is good on any platform but it was designed for mobile devices initially.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

HODGMAN:  -- or so I‘ve been told.  So you can use your iPhone or you‘re iPad.

OLBERMANN:  I actually—

HODGMAN:  My iHands that I have.  This is a prototype.

OLBERMANN:  I saw that on “The Outer Limits” once years and years ago.

HODGMAN:  Yes, me and Sarah Palin have one.

OLBERMANN:  Oh lord.  Well, she got the prototype.

HODGMAN:  Yes, she did.

OLBERMANN:  But it didn‘t worked that well.

HODGMAN:  Yes, she‘s very popular.

OLBERMANN:  With two minutes left in the show.

HODGMAN:  Yes.

HODGMAN:  I suppose, I should just do this now.  And I—would it be

appropriate to sort of apologize for not being involved previously in

someway to sort of acknowledge that I didn‘t—like—here we go, give up

--

HODGMAN:  Have you used a keyboard before?

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

HODGMAN:  Its fantastic.  You‘re getting there.

OLBERMANN:  I type with one finger.  This is true.

HODGMAN:  I‘m going to beat you.

OLBERMANN:  No.

HODGMAN:  I am going to beat—

OLBERMAN:  Good for you.  But I‘m doing the whole thing.  Belongs to he ages.

HODGMAN:  It came out I‘m going to bear him.

OLBERMANN:  Oh and in the interim, I got disconnected from the MSNBC thing.

HODGMAN:  Do you need some barbecue joint recommendations because my followers would be happy to help you?  That‘s one of the great things about Twitter.

OLBERMANN:  All right, we‘re ready to go if you want to go.  Here it is.  At 8:58, 43, it‘s out.  Yes, there it is.  See?  I give up.  I was wrong, young and foolish.  Now my Twitter-cot belongs to the ages.  Behold, I Tweet.

So they‘ll get more substantive than that I hope.

HODGMAN:  I know you were working on that all last night.  But do try to improvise in the future.

OLBERMANN:  Well, yes.  Do I have to wear a hat while Tweeting?

HODGMAN:  A Tweet hat?

OLBERMANN:  Yes.

HODGMAN:  It‘s recommended.

OLBERMANN:  And I don‘t get a separate device just for Tweeting, other than that hand that you described, the Tweet hand?

HODGMAN:  Oh no, you can use it on any platform whatsoever.

OLBERMANN:  I have to get a platform?

HODGMAN:  You need to get a platform and a hat.

OLBERMANN:  A diving platform?

HODGMAN:    Or you can get a mortarboard hat that can serve as a platform.

OLBERMANN:  I got that when I got my degree at Cornell.

HODGMAN:  There you go.  You‘re already serving your audience.

OLBERMANN:  I forgot my standup terminology.  That‘s the next thing.

HODGMAN:  So the main reason that have you to Twitter, Keith, of course, is because Maddow‘s doing it.

OLBERMANN:  For a long time.

HODGMAN:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  Two thousand, six hundred fifty four followers.  I can‘t command them to—

HODGMAN:  That‘s very quick.  Isn‘t that fun to watch?

OLBERMANN:  It is.

HODGMAN:  Spend the whole next show just watching that.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s great, because I need to really boost my ego at all.

HODGMAN:  Yes, you and me both.

OLBERMANN:  John Hodgman, author, humorist, Twitter, teacher, teacher of Twitter.  Great thanks.

HODGMAN:  I‘m glad to be able to help you.  When I am your youth correspondent, you have problems.

OLBERMANN:  There it is.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES:  From Napoleon to “COUNTDOWN,” a Stradivarius‘ long journey, and what 3.6 million dollars worth of violin sounds like, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  The terms high art, masterpiece and cable news are generally not found in the same sentence.  But back in October, there was a convergence of those things on this very program.  At an online auction in October, a Stradivarius violin, the 1697 Molitor Stradivarius, believed to have been owned at one time by Napoleon Bonaparte, sold for a record 3.6 million dollars. 

It was the highest price ever paid at an auction for a musical instrument.  So we asked the question, what does Napoleon‘s old 3.5 million dollar violin sound like?  Fortunately, the winning bidder, world famous violin soloist Anne Akiko Meyers, agreed to appear on the show.  Before it was all said and done, a world famous octopus would be dead, gullible viewers across America were left stunned, and Anne Akiko Meyers and her violin were one of the COUNTDOWN favorites of 2010. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  This is a little different.  We wanted to give you a sneak preview of our next segment, when the world famous concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers will join me to play this new Stradivarius that she just bought at auction.  In fact, she joins me now.  Welcome. 

ANNE AKIKO MEYERS, VIOLIN SOLOIST:  Thank you so much, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  May I?

MEYERS:  Of course.  Would you like to play it?

OLBERMANN:  Do you hold it—I can‘t play anything.  Do you hold it from—what—

Do you play any other instruments? 

MEYERS:  Oh my god. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  It‘s OK, folks.  Stunt violin.  We always keep a spare in the office.  Luckily for all of us, Ms. Akiko Meyers unveiled the real instrument.  Let‘s just say her playing was better than their acting. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  I‘m going to make sure we have enough time for your performance.  And I‘ve done enough of the Jim Gray/Lebron James act in setting this up.  What are we going to hear as we hear a 3.6 million dollar musical instrument?

MEYERS:  “A Little Summertime” by George Gershwin.

OLBERMANN:  Gershwin, as presented by Anne Akiko Meyers.  I‘ll leave you to have the stage and I‘ll come back when you‘re done.  Thank you.

MEYERS:  Thank you.

(MUSIC)

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES:  You‘re saying to yourself, what about the dead octopus?  Well, you don‘t have a world famous violinist and her 3.5 million dollar instrument on and just ask her to play one song.  Ms. Akiko Meyers was good enough to record a second song for future use.  A few days later, tragically, we found a use for a song we at the show called “Requiem for a Cephalopod.”

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  Also, sad news from Germany.  With the mood music supplied by our friend Anne Akiko Meyers and 3.6 million dollar Stradivarius, Paul the Prognosticating Octopus is dead.  Paul grew to Oddball fame by picking winners of World Cup soccer matches.  He was a perfect eight for eight, an appropriate number for an octopus, in fact.

But it was all—not all happy times for Paul.  Death threats, allegations of photo-shopped results and the pressure to pick the home town Germans to go all the way.  All of this weighed on Paul.  But he never let it show.  He touched our hearts.  If you bet along with him, you got your wallets touched too. 

He died as he lived, inside a tank at the sea life center in Oberhausen, Germany.  He is survived by his caretakers at the aquarium and his best friend, Sally the Sea Horse and Dick the Goldfish.  Paul the prognosticating octopus was two years old.  Delicious. 

Time marches on. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  If you have small children sitting too close to the television right now, please move them back.  The worst and perhaps loudest political speech of the year.  His name is Phil Davison.  He‘s not apologizing for his tone, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  Imagine for a moment FDR delivering one of his fire side chats while coping with anger management issues.  Lincoln yelling the Gettysburg Address, JFK asking what you can do for your country stoned.  Perhaps then you will have a better appreciation for this next COUNTDOWN favorite.  View it not as one man‘s personal tirade/interpretive dance, but rather inspired oratory. 

His name is Phil Davison.  He is the councilman from Minerva, Ohio. 

And he is seeking the Republican nomination for Stark County treasurer.  Considering Mr. Davison did not apologize for his tone, perhaps it‘s best to watch his speech from another room. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHIL DAVISON, CANDIDATE FOR STARK COUNTY, OHIO TREASURER:  Ladies and gentlemen of the Stark County Republican Party, Executive Committee, good evening.  And thank you, not only for your attendance but for allowing me the opportunity to speak.  My name is Phil Davison and I‘m seeking our parties nomination for the position of Stark County Treasurer on November 10th—November of 2010 excuse me.

In terms of my background, I am from the village of Minerva, where I‘m serving my 13th year as the elected service as a Minerva Council Member.

In terms of education, I have a bachelor‘s degree in Sociology, a bachelor‘s degree in History, a masters degree in Public Administration, and a masters degree in Communication. 

In terms of elections across Stark County I have represented our party twice on the county ballot, in both the primary, in the general elections.  When I ran for for Stark County clerk of court in 1996, and Stark County commissioner in 2000, and I will not apologize for my tone tonight.  I have been a Republican in times good and I‘ve been a Republican in times bad.

Albert Einstein issued one of my favorite quotes in the history of the spoken word, and it is as follows: In the middle of opportunity—excuse me, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”  I‘m gonna repeat that so I have clarity tonight!  “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

This is the opportunity we have been waiting for!  The Stark County Treasures Office is a mess.  It is in dire need of structure and guidance, and not is the time to seize this opportunity.  With an aggressive campaign and with an even more aggressive campaigner.

If nominated tonight, I promise each and every person in this room, I will hit the ground running, come out swinging and end up winning!  Let‘s send a message tonight to the people of Stark County and to the people of the Stark County Democratic Party: we are tired of business as usual!  Drastic times require, what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Drastic Measures

DAVISON:  Drastic measures, yes!  Who said that?  Thank you.  Drastic Times Require Drastic Measures!

We will not tolerate incompetence and irresponsibility any longer.  Now is the time to snap the Democratic strangle-hold on the Treasurer‘s Office in two! And I—back to what my friend Alex, just said, he reign/ran against the Treasurer in 1996, it was a problem than and it is a problem now!  Infestation!

Politics is not touch football, politics is winner take all.  It always has been, and it always will be!  If nominated tonight, I want to develop and expand my campaign for what I believe is the greatest strength of the Stark County Republican Party, and that is its people.  I believe in the axiom that all politics is local.  And because of this belief I want to harness the thoughts and ideas that individuals in our party have concerning Stark County and its political sub-divisions, and use that to its fullest extent.

Knowledge is power.  Let‘s dab into this power and use it as a tool to win the Treasurer‘s Office.  Let‘s use this knowledge not only as a tool but as a weapon. 

We must win this election.  If nominated tonight, I will win this election!  And I‘m gonna say that again so there‘s no miscommunication tonight!  If nominated tonight, I win!  Tell your friends.  Tell your neighbors!  Tell Randy Gonzalez!

I‘m coming both barrels, guns loaded.  I believe in the entities, in the principles of the National Republican Party, the State Of Ohio Republican Party, and the Stark County Republican Party.  If nominated, I will not hide those beliefs on my march to victory on election day!  If nominated tonight, I can guarantee with 100 percent certainty that what you are seeing from me tonight is what everyone outside those doors is going to get over the next eight weeks!

I used to be an idealistic thinker.  I am now a pragmatic thinker.  Government may be about service; politics is about winning.  Tonight as a candidate seeking the Republican nomination for the position of Stark County Treasurer, I humbly ask for your vote as members of the Stark County Republican Party Executive Committee.

Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES:  Sadly, Mr. Davison lost his bid.  As did Christine O‘Donnell, whose ideas about sex turned out to be a gold mine for our friends at Next Media Animation and Apple Daily, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  They sprang, seemingly fully grown, from the fertile ground that is Hong Kong.  Well, the newspapers in Hong Kong.  The Computers are in Taiwan.  In our number one story, just as we were going to begin to wrap up the years in news comedy with a tribute to the creative CG geniuses at Apple Daily Motion News, real life non-animated news comedy came to us, like an unexpected Thanksgiving turkey, from Sarah Palin and the ever complicated issue of which Korea this country supports.

First, Apple Daily and the man who made them famous, Eldrick Taunt Woods.

(BEGNI VIDEO CLIP)

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  That one was called “Woods Broken Windows at Fight to Save His Wife Crash, Shady Husband.”   There was more animated delight as each mistress/exotic dancer/waitress/nightclub hostess came forward.  This one comes forward with a voiceover in English.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tiger Woods is facing the biggest thought of his life.  Tabloid has disclosed a third alleged Woods lover, Vegas club executive Kalika Muqueen (ph).  She was a very influential person of the city.  The relationship happened when Elin was pregnant.

They met regularly and were seen publicly.  Woods was also seen in the VIP room of a bar with girls on either side and hands up their skirts.  Reports say lover number two, Jaimee Grubbs, not only bragged to friends about her relationship but also played voice mail.

TIGER WOODS, GOLFER:  Can you please take your name off the phone.  My wife went through my phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And received an anonymous phone call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  You are (EXPLETIVE DELETED) my husband.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  But it wasn‘t all fodder for “US Weekly.”  You don‘t really to know much about this “New York Times” versus “Wall Street Journal” story, except Rupert Murdoch appears in his natural form.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  And then there‘s former Jetblue flight attendant Steven Slater.  After 20 years on the job, Mr. Slater snapped and slid his way right into Apple Daily immortality.  Excerpts are here, here and grab a beer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What the—

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Wee.  The only thing missing from this Apple Daily treatment of Brett Favre‘s well documented cell phone seduction, crocs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  The Jets theme song, Polly Wally Doodle.

Well, research documentation of what happened to GOP moderates this year, they got run over by the Tea Party with a gun-toting half governor at the wheel.  Highlight include a Karl Rove gone berserk and Christine O‘Donnell advising one man, you keep doing that, you‘re going to go blind, kid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES:  That‘s COUNTDOWN.  I‘m Chris Hayes, in for Keith Olbermann. 

Have a great night and a great holiday. 

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

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