updated 12/6/2004 1:51:20 PM ET 2004-12-06T18:51:20

Guest: Lance Williams, Fay Vincent, Susan St. James, Nick Warnock, Amy Henry

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST:  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?  Bonds.  Barry Bonds.  Baseball‘s steroid scandal touches the man who is poised to break its home run record.  What drugs did he take and why didn‘t he know what they were?

In the wake of the crash, Dick Ebersol‘s wife Susan St. James says goodbye to her youngest son and thank you to everybody else. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  People would say no, I know you don‘t want to be bothered.  You can‘t be bothered enough.  And it‘s just fantastic and I just wanted them to know that.

OLBERMANN:  In Ukraine, another presidential election scheduled.  The circuit court just threw out the last one.  And a new catch phrase from the the apprentice. your butt is fired.  All that and more now on COUNTDOWN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  Good evening.  As his batting statistics improved while those of his fellow aging baseball stars petered out, as he broke first the single season record for home runs, and then last year moved within shooting distance of the career record, fans and sports reporters often said Barry Bonds was larger than life.  Now our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN little did we know, we meant that literally.  The other shoe dropping in baseball burgeoning steroid scandal. 

The “San Francisco Chronicle” now reporting that a year ago tomorrow, Bonds confronted by calendars reportedly showing his schedule for taking performance-enhancing drugs testified to a grand jury that he had used those substances provided by his personal trainer but he never asked what they were.  Don‘t ask don‘t tell.  At the same grand jury hearings, Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees admitted he had gotten the same substances from the same trainer and knew they were steroids and human growth hormone.  That too reported from grand jury transcripts obtained by that “San Francisco Chronicle” newspaper but Giambi is Giambi.  Barry Bonds is the man who hit 73 home runs during the 2001 season who is now just 12 away from having hit more home runs that did Babe Ruth.  Just 53 away from having hit more than anybody else in history.  As my NBC sports colleague Bob Costas aptly put it yesterday, Bonds the transgressor could be the one who could seriously hurt the fans‘ confidence in baseball. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB COSTAS, NBC SPORTS:  If it turns out that Barry Bonds beyond any doubt is implicated in the Balco scandal, if Barry Bonds is a steroid user and that is proven rather than speculated about, I think that would be very damaging. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Baseball now confronted not just with Giambi‘s admission but with the Bonds grand jury appearance that at best suggests the seven-time most valuable player of the national league unknowingly took steroids and at worst suggests he took them and then lied about taking them in court.  Even the commissioner of baseball sat up and took notice.  Speaking after the Giambi revelation but before the one about Bonds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUD SELIG, MLB COMMISSIONER:  This is no longer an issue that we are going to debate about.  This is something for everybody‘s sake.  The sport, the players, the clubs, the fans, everybody.  And so we will do something. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Bonds is sticking to his public story that he never knowingly used illegal or banned substances or at least his lawyer is sticking to that story. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE RAINS, BARRY BONDS ATTORNEY:  Barry had no reason to believe, not one reason in the world to believe he was taking anything illegal administered by his best friend.  Barry Bonds is clean.  Barry Bonds is a great athlete.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  In a moment, Bud Selig‘s predecessor as commissioner of baseball Fay Vincent joins us.  First to San Francisco and one of the two reporters who has been at the forefront of these steroid stories for more than a year.  Lance Williams of the “Chronicle.”  Thank you for your time tonight, sir.

From the transcript of the Bonds grand jury testimony, is there a chance in there that the substances he took and got from that trainer Greg Anderson actually were different from the substances Jason Giambi took from that same man.  That Giambi got steroids but somehow Bonds did not.

LANCE WILLIAMS, BROKE THE GIAMBI STEROIDS STORY:  Well, certainly the federal prosecutors didn‘t think so.  They believe that the clear liquid that Bonds was using was the clear, that‘s an undetectable steroid allegedly distributed by Balco via Bonds‘ trainer Greg Anderson and they thought the cream he was putting on was the cream, a combination of testosterone and epitestosterone.  Bonds said the one was an arthritis balm and the other was flaxseed oil. 

You know, there‘s other evidence besides what was in the grand jury transcript about Bonds and steroid use.  Both Victor Conte and his assistant at the Balco labs told federal investigators that they had given the clear cream to Bonds.  And our newspaper reported recently on a recording of Greg Anderson, Bonds‘ trainer, in which he discussed Bonds‘ use of undetectable steroids and yet Bonds wouldn‘t admit it to the grand jury although he was pressed for more than three hours by two prosecutors.

OLBERMANN:  They presented him with these calendars that supposedly showed the schedule where he was supposed to use some of these drugs at some times and others at others.  Explain what that was and is that the principal evidence they have against him? 

WILLIAMS:  It‘s important evidence.  It was seized in a search of his trainer‘s home.  There are documents with Bonds‘ name or initials on them.  They—you know, steroids are taken in cycles and so you have to know when to go on and when to go off.  They reflect the cycles of various drugs.  They reflect when to take drug test, because he was actually being steroid tested by Anderson and Balco during this time. 

But he was shown, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you‘ve never seen them before?  He didn‘t know why his name was on them.  He had never even seen Greg Anderson‘s handwriting before. 

OLBERMANN:  These have been one-two punches for baseball and for baseball fans, the stories that you and Mark Water (ph) have broken on Giambi yesterday and Bonds today.  Like the Titanic hitting two icebergs.  Is this as far as it goes?  Are there more steroid revelations ahead either from the grand jury session or from anywhere else?

WILLIAMS:  You know, this case is supposed to go to trial.  There are four defendants.  Conte, Anderson, and two other men.  If it does, you could see elite athletes being required to testify in open court and I think that would open perhaps another window on the use of banned substances. 

OLBERMANN:  Lance Williams of the “San Francisco Chronicle.”  We thank you for your time tonight, sir. 

Now what?  Major League Baseball pinioned for nearly three decades by what might be the most powerful union in the country could barely its players to acquiesce to random anonymous steroid testing two years ago let along suspend or ban Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi or anybody else.

Right now, the most that could conceivably happen is that Giambi‘s contract could be voided because of standard terminology demanding all athletes keep themselves in the best possible physical condition and not indulge in illegal behavior.  Unless Bonds were to be indicted for perjury say or he were to admit steroid use, there seems to be little legally that baseball could do.  To address the game‘s inability to police its own players, earlier this evening I spoke with the eighth commissioner of baseball, Francis T. Fay Vincent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  Fay, thank you for your time.  Good evening. 

FAY VINCENT, FMR. MLB COMMISSIONER:  Good evening, Keith.  It‘s nice to be with you. 

OLBERMANN:  I‘m sorry it‘s not on a happier topic.  But a question first about response.  Can Bud Selig or anybody else in baseball actually do anything about Barry Bonds, about Jason Giambi, about steroids.  Were you still in the position with the home run record looming, would you suspend Barry Bonds and take your chances with the unions and the courts? 

VINCENT:  No.  I think there‘s a collective bargaining agreement.  I don‘t think baseball has much flexibility at all.  I think it‘s better for baseball to work within the system than to challenge it directly in court. 

OLBERMANN:  Is there the will in baseball to do anything?  I saw an extraordinary quote today out of the Diamondbacks broadcaster, the former Chicago Cubs star, Mark Grace, in the “Arizona Republic” today.  Let me just read this.  “Nothing is going to change.  The owners are making too much money off guys hitting home runs and the players are making too much money off home runs.”  Is Mark Grace right?

VINCENT:  I hope not.  I didn‘t see that quote, but I hope not.  That flies in the face of common sense.  This is a threat to people‘s health.  My sense is that the steroid use is a very big threat to some of these players and I think baseball will have to deal with it.  As you know, Keith, the union really controls baseball and the union is going to be very difficult to deal with.  Bud Selig is going to try to have to get them to acknowledge reality and to do something about this problem.  It‘s a serious problem.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Selig said he hoped to have something in place by spring training.  That‘s basically around the corner.  Is there a realistic chance of that? 

VINCENT:  He can‘t do anything by himself as I just said.  He‘s going to have to get the union to work with him.  I would think that‘s very optimistic.  I hope he‘s correct.  I‘m 100 percent on his side in this one.  I‘m very supportive and I hope he can pull it off, but I think that‘s almost wildly optimistic. 

OLBERMANN:  There‘s one twist as this pertains to Bonds and Giambi.  It could all end up (UNINTELLIGIBLE).  Giambi admits he used steroids, he gets punished, maybe he loses his contract.  Bonds does not admit anything, does not get indicted for perjury or anything else, does not get punished by baseball for any reason.  Would that scenario just make cleaning this up that much tougher? 

VINCENT:  Well, I think it would be unattractive.  If I were to say something to Bonds, I would say look, the only way to deal with this from your point of you is to tell the truth quickly and completely.  Look at history.  Look at Nixon and Clinton and Pete Rose.  All of them came to the truth very slowly and very baldly.  And their reputation and their position in history is hurt. 

Barry Bonds is a historic figure.  He has to worry about his legacy.  I think the best thing he could do is come clean, think about his image with the kids and the community.  We all love him.  We admire him greatly.  We want to hear him tell us exactly what happened. 

And we don‘t want it to come from his lawyer or from grand jury snippets, we want to hear it from him.  And I think the sooner he comes with Bud, sits in a room, takes all the questions and lays it all on the table, the better for him and the better for baseball. 

OLBERMANN:  Lastly, and it touches on that, Bob Costas made this point yesterday, whatever Jason Giambi does or admits to is big news in New York where he‘s place, perhaps in the Bay area where he used to play, but Barry Bonds, in many respects, is baseball right now.  Is his involvement in this at this stage, if he never says another word about it, is it big enough now to seriously damage the game in terms of attendance or prestige or both? 

VINCENT:  I don‘t think so.  I think the game is big—bigger than that.  We‘ve been—baseball‘s been through serious crises.  This is certainly a serious one, but I don‘t think we could kill baseball with a stick.  The owners have tried over the years.  We‘ve had cocaine problems.  We‘ve had Pete Rose.  We had a scandal in the 1919 World Series and baseball survived. 

I think it will survive.  But I think the way it survives is very important.  It has a wonderfully important moral position in this country.  And I think Bonds and baseball have got to acknowledge that.  And I think it would be just terrifically helpful if Selig and Bonds could get in a room, call a press conference and start telling people what they want to do.

Now, the union has to be amenable to all of that.  And the union will be very difficult. 

But I‘m hoping that Bonds will recognize that whatever happened, the public will forgive him.  The public is enormously forgiving, and very quickly, but only if he‘s contrite, only if he tells the truth and only if he thinks about something other than himself.  And I think baseball is worthy of his attention. 

OLBERMANN:  As always, wise words from Fay Vincent, commissioner of baseball from 1989-1992.  Again, Fay, many thanks. 

VINCENT:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  The Bonds/Giambi baseball scandal dovetails back into a second one—a multisport disaster called Balco, which also just got worst today.  Greg Anderson, the Bonds‘ weights trainer has already been indicted on charges of conspiracy to distribute steroids in the Balco case.  Tonight, the founder of Balco is also implicating the American star of the 2000 Olympic games.  Victor Conti telling the ABC broadcast 20-20, that he not only distributed a steroid regiment for the woman who won 5 medals at the 2000 games Marion Jones, but that he sat beside her as she injected herself with the drugs. 

Jones says Conti is simply not credible, insists she‘s never used steroids and that she passed a lie detector test on the subject.  Conti also says he gave his steroid preparations to that trainer Greg Anderson, but now he says he has no idea to whom Anderson gave them. 

Not to get too religious, nor patriotic on you, but while baseball cannot punish it‘s steroid users and track and field is in the steroid makers word, a fraud, lord knows the National Football League cannot wait to punish a young star, expressing his admiration on his personal heroes on his shoes.  Ben Roethlisberger, the unexpected rookie quarterback sensation of the Pittsburgh Steelers has been threatened with a $5,000 fine if he again writes either of the following on his cleats: the number 40 and the initials P.F.J.  P.F.J. stand for play for Jesus.  The number 40 honors the late Pat Tillman, the Arizona Cardinals safety who wore that number on his uniform.  Tillman, of course, quite football to become and Army Ranger and was killed last April in Afghanistan.

Roethlisberger can‘t wear Tillman‘s numbers on his shoe during a game, but the league will sell you a replica Tillman jersey on its Web site for $64.99. 

Weeks of protest turning into celebrations in the streets of Kiev tonight.  Ukraine‘s Supreme Court finally rules on the disputed election. 

And a week of darkness and heroism.  Dick Ebersol‘s wife, actress Susan St. James, on the airplane crash that changed their family forever.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  It beggars description, a country that 13 years ago this week was still part of a Communist Soviet Union has now had its democratic presidential election overturned, not by a show of force, not by violence, not by corruption, but by its own Supreme Court.  Our 4th story in the COUNTDOWN.  Do over in Ukraine.

Voters arms will not have to be twisted after the court ruled that the November 21 presidential run-off vote was invalid and will have to be conducted again on December 26.  The decision is final, both parties said they would go along with it.

Opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko‘s supporters spent 12 days in the street protesting.  Tonight, cars passing through Independence Square in Kiev, honking their horns just 3 times to sound out the 3 syllables in Yushchenko.

The Ukrainian parliament also voted today to withdrawal all of its troops from Iraq.  A peacekeeper force of about 1,600.  Keeping the peace there was fatal today in several cases, roadside bombs claiming the lives of 2 American soldiers today, while in Baghdad, a suicide car bomber plowed into a Shiite mosque after an early morning prayer service.  At least 14 killed there.  And a squad of insurgents, so massive that 11 cars were necessary to carry them, stormed an Iraqi police station and killed 16 officers.

In Mosul, 1 Iraqi policeman killed in fighting between militants and U.S. and Iraqi forces and at least 90 bodies of policemen and guardsmen have now been found in that area in the last 3 weeks alone.

The man who trained the Iraqi police force on behalf of the Bush administration today officially took charge of protecting the American homefront.

At the White House this morning, President Bush nominated former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik to replace Tom Ridge as homeland security secretary.  Even Senate Democrats like Ted Kennedy are saying that they predict Kerik‘s confirmation will be a quick one.  

More movement in the Bush cabinet today.  Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson becoming the eighth member to resign.  His departure was expected.  The former Wisconsin governor says he intends to serve until February 4 or until the Senate confirms his successor.

At least one member of the cabinet is staying put.  NBC News learning that President Bush has asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to remain at the Pentagon, and that Rumsfeld has agreed to stay.

Incidentally, the president‘s margin of victory in Ohio will be about 119,000 votes.  The Associated Press tabulating provisionals on a county by county basis there calculating a 17,000-vote swing for John Kerry, with the recount still pending.  And it is pending tonight.  A federal judge in Columbus this evening ruled that Delaware County, Ohio must participate in that recount.  The county had sued to get out of it, saying it was a waste of its money. 

As for that election challenge that was supposed to be filed with the Ohio Supreme Court sometime this week?  Nothing today.  The Alliance for Democracy now hoping to have its paperwork done by Monday. 

And in Washington State, the Democratic Party says it has enough money now to pay for a statewide, hand recount in the governor‘s race.  The MoveOn.org people contributing $250,000 to that effort today, and the Democrat Christine Gregoire trails Dino Rossi, the Republican, by 42 votes. 

From the serious news to the bizarre news.  Holy apparitions, Batman.  First, the son of cod.  You‘ll never believe where Jesus is making his encore. 

Speaking of encores, the week that was in news.  My public humiliation in our “News Quiz.” 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  We‘re back.  And for one last time this week, we press the COUNTDOWN stop button, inject the real news and pop in our collection of the day‘s weird news and strange video.  Let‘s play “Oddball.”

We begin in Phoenix, Arizona, no stranger to sightings of the Messiah in everyday objects.  It was there in 1977 that Jesus first appeared in this tortilla.  This week, a Phoenix dentist‘s office has released these X-rays that appear to show the ghost-like figure of Jesus Christ inside the mouth of a patient.  Either that, or it‘s one heck of a case of gingivitis.

The patient describes himself as a devout Christian, but he has never before sensed the Lord was in his teeth.  Caraway seed once, but nothing like this.

In celebrity “Oddball” news, it‘s our old pal, Anna Nicole Smith, fresh off what some critics assume was her medically-enhanced performance at the American Music Awards.  Exhibit B, Anna at the VH-1 Awards this week, accepting the prize for biggest makeover.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA NICOLE SMITH:  I used to be this big.  Now, I wear this. 

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  No, no, no. 

Finally to the Netherlands, where soap opera actress Georgina Verbaan decided to face down rumors that have swirled for months, rumors that she had undergone breast enhancement surgery before posing for the Dutch version of “Playboy.”  The actress swore her ample bosom was all natural, but the rumors persisted.  So to settle it, Verbaan took the drastic step of posting pictures of herself on the Internet topless and skinless.  The actress got herself a mammogram, and posted that shot on her Web site.  Clearly, no breast implants are visible, but a lot of Dutch men who are looking really closely claim they can see Jesus.

From topless actresses to bottomless business moves.  A Trump wannabe stoops to new lows, and the result is what you‘d expect, our weekly review of “The Apprentice.” 

And tonight, Susan St. James, the wife of NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol speaks openly and movingly about the loss of their youngest son, Teddy, in a plane crash that blighted their lives this past Sunday.  But all the Ebersols cherish a good laugh, and still do.  And in that spirit, now here are COUNTDOWN‘s “Top 3 Newsmakers” of this day.

No. 3, Sergeant Robert Simmonds of Swatara Township, Pennsylvania.  When the Krispy Kreme truck driver there made the mistake of leaving the engine running while he was making a delivery, somebody doughnut-napped the vehicle.  But the back doors were also open, so Sergeant Simmonds could simply follow the trail of doughnuts on the streets.  They found the truck.  Simmonds says it has a happy ending.  The evidence was brought back to the police station, and the cops are eating the doughnuts. 

No. 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin.  Worried about the sanitary conditions on a state trip to India, he is having his silverware disinfected with vodka.  His predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, used to just use his breath.

And No 1., Donald Ross of Steuben (ph) County, New York shares the name of a legendary golf course designer.  Maybe that‘s why he did this.  Over three years, Mr. Ross allegedly stole golf balls from the local golf club.  And tee markers, ball washers, gulf ventures, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), golf pins, golf cart signs.  Yes, over three years, so he could build one in his own backyard, Mr. Ross stole a golf course! 

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  On Sunday, it will have been a week, a week since a chartered plane crashed on takeoff from a small Colorado airport.  On board were the chairman of NBC Sports, one of my bosses, Dick Ebersol, two of his beloved sons, Charlie and Teddy, and pilot, co-pilot and the flight attendant.  Dick, Charlie and the co-pilot survived.

I mentioned here Monday that of all the people I‘ve ever worked for or with in broadcasting, none more than Dick Ebersol has reflected the essence of humanity, in a field where humanity is not always a factor.

Our third story on the COUNTDOWN, his humanity and that of his wife, Susan St. James, was apparently also evident to a lot of people who didn‘t work for Dick Ebersol.  The outpouring of public support for them in their time of grief has been extraordinary. 

In a moment, we‘ll tell you how, if you wish, you can help remember Teddy Ebersol. 

First, an extraordinary and, we must tell you, an overwhelming interview, Susan St. James speaking with Tim Russert. 

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN ST. JAMES, MOTHER:  You know the saying you‘re never supposed to bury a child?  To lose one and not another, you have to sob your brains out. 

TIM RUSSERT, NBC WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF:  First, our deepest sympathy from your NBC family on the tragedy and particularly the loss of your baby, Teddy. 

ST. JAMES:  Thanks. 

RUSSERT:  You‘re sitting here today in this terrible moment of crisis for your family because you want to talk to the American people.  Why?

ST. JAMES:  It‘s really important to say, thank you.  We have been reached by all these people.  How can I ever say thank you?

You know, if you know anybody that loses somebody, call them on the phone.  People always say, I know people you must be—don‘t want to be bothered.  You can‘t be bothered enough.  It‘s just fantastic and I just wanted them to know that.

RUSSERT:  I‘ve had the opportunity to read some of the things that Teddy wrote.  “The meaning of life can be described in just one word:

family.”

ST. JAMES:  I know. 

RUSSERT:  Tell me about Teddy.

ST. JAMES:  Teddy was like—the youngest one, you kind of just—he‘s just there.  And we have such a big family.  We have five children.  And so Teddy was kind of like—Teddy, you know, come on, Teddy.  Hurry up, Teddy.  Teddy, we‘re all—I don‘t want it.  We‘re all, everybody—and so quietly he developed this way of thinking that you would not ever know about it, except the school he went to makes him write an autobiography. 

And so he wrote this autobiography.  And even at the time, we read it and found out things we didn‘t know about Teddy and how much we all meant to him as a family.  He has one quote that says something about on the road of life the only person ahead of the love of your family is God, or... 

RUSSERT:  He described you as his best friend in the whole wide world. 

ST. JAMES:  Yes.  I‘m his best friend in the whole wide world, for sure, because we were the two left behind, because they all went off to college now, and Dick is so busy.  And so we were like buddies. 

We had our routine.  He couldn‘t watch TV during the week, so we got this TiVo.  And then we‘d pick our show.  And then that‘s what we‘d watch.  And I had to listen to some pretty bad music and some good stuff, too, though.  But we just were, you know—we were like roommates. 

RUSSERT:  He looked just like you. 

ST. JAMES:  He looked exactly like me and he was getting taller. 

RUSSERT:  You‘re wearing the Boston Red Sox hat. 

ST. JAMES:  I wish I could say it was his, but his whole collection was with him.  We had the whole collection of his hats was with him on the plane. 

RUSSERT:  How much did the Red Sox winning the series mean to Teddy? 

ST. JAMES:  You know, he started in a new school in September.  And we live in a place in Connecticut that is—it‘s half Yankees, half Red Sox, very tough debates.  And he took a lot of grief.  And he—won the World Series.  It was like, it doesn‘t get any better than that.  And think of all the youngsters and oldsters that died and never saw. 

RUSSERT:  Never saw it.

(CROSSTALK)

ST. JAMES:  ... the World Series.  And so he lucked out big time. 

RUSSERT:  One of the remarkable things that Teddy wrote is that the finish line is only the beginning of a whole new race. 

ST. JAMES:  He was so sad to leave his eight grade.  It was such a great class.  He‘d been there all of his life.  It was one of—it was  Montessori, very cozy.  And he went there from preschool.  And that was his way of dealing with that. 

And that‘s what I‘m going to put on his stone, because I just—I look at it this way, Tim.  I look at it like for Ted that—it‘s like when you go to the movies and there‘s 10 of you have and it‘s really popular.  And you get ahead in line, but you want stuff to eat so you send one poor schlub in to take all nine seats.  You give him nine coats.  And it‘s really the crap job.  You really don‘t want that job.

Of course, Ted had to have that job.  But I look at it that just he‘s up there and he‘s like saving the seats.  I have to use that metaphor because, otherwise, it‘s too sad. 

RUSSERT:  It‘s very spiritual by Teddy, to have a sense that his life was not complete, but he‘s beginning a whole new race. 

ST. JAMES:  Yes.

And he was complete.  So often people die and people say, well, their pain and suffering is over or they‘ve found relief or maybe they‘ve peace.  Teddy had found peace.  He found peace on Earth.  He was one happy guy. 

I wanted to say, too, Tim, that there were three other people on this airplane because my family.  There was the captain of the plane, who passed away.  And his name was Luis Polanco.  And he had—the steward was a kid named Warren T. Richardson.  I just remember his name because he was hysterical.  He was such a lovely, lovely, guy. 

And this fellow, Captain Wicksell, who‘s fighting for his life, this guy was a symbol of what really happened on that airplane.  It was a horrible, horrible crash.  It went into flames.  And I‘m hoping he survives for his family.

RUSSERT:  How are Dick and Charlie doing? 

ST. JAMES:  Dick, because he has a cracked sternum, it‘s the same you‘d feel if you had open heart surgery, where it‘s hard to cough.  So it‘s hard for him to sob.  So it‘s all very inside. 

But he‘s so proud of Charlie, because Charlie just dragged him out of the plane, lifted off the microwave and the whole kitchen unit and dragged him out the hole.  There was no door.  There was a hole.  So he‘s still probably in shock a lot.  He takes a lot of blood thinners.  And he‘s on all kinds of medications. 

Charlie goes from, don‘t let them call me a hero.  I‘m not my hero.  I didn‘t save my brother.  I wish I could have saved my brother.  But, when they found Teddy, he was under the plane and he was wearing his seat belt. 

RUSSERT:  And yet, here‘s Charlie, 21 years old.  And, in a moment, in a nanosecond, he, rather than running from the wreckage, went back in the plane and saved his dad‘s life.  As a mom, that has to make you so filled with pride and love.  

ST. JAMES:  He not only did that.  He lifted this thing up and took his dad out, come back in as it started to burn.  The thing was a crisp 10 minutes later.  He lifted things up to look for Teddy and then ran around the plane looking for Teddy. 

But he got on his cell phone and called me.  We were leaving.  And we were halfway up the mountain, and said mom, there‘s been a crash.  You‘ve got to come back and help me look for Teddy.  The whole thing is just...

RUSSERT:  After the crash, Charlie called you on his phone. 

ST. JAMES:  Yes.  He—mom, we‘ve had a crash.  Then I call the airport and they go, crash?  We don‘t know about a crash.  I‘m sorry.  We can‘t get out any information. 

I said, well, I hope you‘re doing something about it, because it‘s right at the end of your runway.  It was before they had even known, because it was very foggy.  And just this church group walked across the field and saw it.  And it was just that fast, Tim, between Charlie—he wasn‘t unconscious.  If Charlie had been unconscious, they would all be dead, because there was no saving anybody.

But because he was conscious, he went and moved this thing, grabbed Dick, took him out the hole and then went back in and then saw the flames beginning.  And he was obviously smart enough.  He said, anyway, there was no Teddy in that plane. 

RUSSERT:  When Charlie told you about the crash, does he remember anything? 

ST. JAMES:  Charlie remembers everything.  Charlie remembers every single thing, that they started to lift and that—tipped to the right, and then the pilot tried to straighten up, tipped to the left and then to the right.

The pilots, Charlie said he saw the front just get compressed like that.  And they ended up outside.  They were all out on the snow.  And somebody came and found Mr. Wicksell, the one that is still—he was still alive.

RUSSERT:  Does Dick remember anything? 

ST. JAMES:  No. 

He remembers not being able to look over for Teddy because something was on top of him, but now it turns out Charlie told me he was on his face anyway and the thing was on his back.  So there was no looking over.  And then just Charlie remembers Teddy saying, you know, I‘m scared, because it was scary.  But I think it was really fast.  I think these things seem slow, but I think they‘re really fast.

RUSSERT:  A matter of seconds.

As you look back over these last five or six days, what comes to mind? 

ST. JAMES:  Well, I had to deal with the idea of why, who, what?  You know, like, why this one, not that one?  And then I just have to say that it‘s all—somebody told me once that God‘s will is what happened yesterday. 

You know, it‘s not that God—I don‘t believe that God‘s going, oh, Susan, things are going really good there.  I think I will tweak that a little bit.  It‘s just not like that.  It‘s just a big world that‘s been set free in a free-will situation.  And it‘s how we react and how we go on that—and I have a right and my kids have a right to just—to be really sad.  But we‘re not sad, mad sad. 

We‘re not mad like—I just want to move forward.  I have a saying.  I tell my kids, having a resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies.  Having resentments now is just going to kill us.  So we‘re just we‘re really happy to have each other.  And Dick said, oh, it should be me.  I‘ve lived my life.  And Teddy didn‘t live his life.

RUSSERT:  I have a clear sense that if someone came to you and said, Susan, this is the grand design, we‘ll give you young Teddy for 14 years and then bring him home, you‘d say:

ST. JAMES:  Definitely.  Oh, for sure.  I‘d take him in a minute.  I‘d take him in a minute. 

And Teddy used to say, my mom, I ruined my mom‘s career because after I was born, she retired.  And I said, Teddy, they don‘t let you retire.  They still put actress Susan St. James, which is so dumb, because, you know, I haven‘t done that in—well, Teddy is 14.  I stopped when I got pregnant with him. 

RUSSERT:  It‘s mother Susan St.... 

ST. JAMES:  It‘s mom because that was the most fun of all.  And I got to be with him all the time.  I didn‘t work at all with Teddy.  The other kids, I came and went a little bit more.  But with Teddy, I was there the whole entire time. 

RUSSERT:  Susan St. James, we thank you for your strength and your dignity.  We give you our very best during a very difficult time.

ST. JAMES:  Thanks.

And thanks to everybody, everybody.  We‘ll read everything because we don‘t really—I don‘t have anything else to do now with Ted gone.  So I‘ll be reading every single thing anybody sent me. 

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OLBERMANN:  We have received many condolences for the Ebersols here at COUNTDOWN.  And a special e-mail address has now been set up for them if you would like to use it, ebersolfamily@nbcuni.com

You heard Susan.  Don‘t be afraid to use it.

The family has also set up a fund to honor their son, donations in Teddy Ebersol‘s memory may be sent to the Litchfield County Association For Retarded Citizens.  Teddy volunteered there. 

For more information, you can log on to COUNTDOWN.MSNBC.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  The show “The Apprentice” is getting down to the wire.  Contestants are getting down to their underwear.  Speaking of desperate contestants, soon it will be news quiz time.  The bells, the bells.

Stand by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  She thought she was pulling down her skirt for $20.  In fact, she was pulling it down for 17 million viewers, that is.

Our No. 2 story on the COUNTDOWN, our regular Friday night “Apprentice” quarterbacks, Nick and Amy, weigh in on last night‘s episode. 

First, the recap.  Both teams had to make and sell candy.  Jen and Sandy, dressed in matching tight outfits, went to Wall Street to schmooze men into paying $5 a bar.  They were clearly winning with the sex-sells strategy, when the other team leader had a flash of inspiration. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE APPRENTICE”)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you want to buy a chocolate bar?  Twenty dollars a bar and I‘ll drop my skirt. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Twenty dollars.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Twenty dollars a bar and I‘ll drop my skirt for you.  Come on.  You‘re making big money in there.  Come on. 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  If you buy one for $20, I‘ll drop my skirt. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  For you, kid.  She‘ll drop her skirt, $20.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Ready? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I just have to do that two or three more times and I‘m going to... 

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Absolutely. 

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  If you buy one for $20, I‘ll drop my skirt.  I‘m serious.  I‘m totally serious. 

(CROSSTALK)

DONALD TRUMP, DEVELOPER/BUSINESSMAN:  You stripped.  I‘m not hiring a stripper.  You made a lot of bad decisions.  And, frankly, you‘ve lost too much. 

Ivana, you‘re fired. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OLBERMANN:  Wow, he shot her. 

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  All year, “Apprentice” I veterans Amy Henry and Nick Warnock have given us a debrief of the episodes.  And never before has that term debrief seemed more appropriate.

Amy, Nick, good evening to you both. 

AMY HENRY, FORMER “APPRENTICE” CONTESTANT:  Good evening.

NICK WARNOCK, FORMER “APPRENTICE” CONTESTANT:  Good, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, Amy, let‘s start with you. 

It seemed surprising to me anyway that Ivana, given her namesake, had lasted this long.  Was it fair to fire her last night? 

HENRY:  It was absolutely fair.  It actually hurts me, because I really liked Ivana, but he had no choice. 

You say she stripped in front of 17 million people.  But the one person that she should never strip in front of is Carolyn.  There is no way Carolyn would have let her survive that boardroom.  She had to be gone.

OLBERMANN:  Nick, George last night said he thought Ivana‘s stunt was OK because at least she was doing something to try to win the task.  Do you agree with that perspective? 

WARNOCK:  No, not one bit.

She was total little inappropriate and totally stepped over the line. 

I thought Jen M. and Sandy were really good.  They looked great together.  They had a good marketing plan.  But taking off your skirt, I could not believe it, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  Yes, it‘s a poor sales tool, because you have to keep reproducing that again and again.

But, Amy, is there not a double standard going on here?  Trump keeps saying there‘s nothing wrong with using sex to sale.  Indeed, woman should sometimes use their looks to help in business.  Yet, this happens, you could to the next maybe illogical step, and she gets canned? 

HENRY:  Well, I agree that sex does sell.  And it‘s interesting because these women had refused to use any ounce of sex appeal in the first part of the show. 

They were actually out on the street corner selling ice cream in business suits.  So I think it‘s amazing what people will do at the end to make it to the final four.  I don‘t think he‘s contradicting himself, though.  Yes, use sex appeal, but there is a point to draw the line.  And dropping your shorts is where you draw the line. 

OLBERMANN:  All right, we‘re down to that final four.  It‘s Kelly, Kevin, Sandy and Jen.

Amy, Nick, both of you lost out in the final four last year.  Who do you think, in 20 seconds, are going to be the two survivors here, Nick? 

WARNOCK:  It‘s going to be Jen M. and Kelly.  I see a big victory from Jen M. on finale night. 

OLBERMANN:  Wow.

All right, Amy, your final two...

(CROSSTALK)

HENRY:  I agree will him on the final two, but no way will Jen be the winner.  Kelly‘s going to take it all the way. 

We‘ve seen Jen be lazy, scheming, conniving.  She has, however, played a great game, but this is not “Survivor.”  This is a job interview. 

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  I used the wrong term there didn‘t I, survivor.

Amy Henry and Nick Warnock, we will see you next Friday.  And we wish you good weekends, with our thanks. 

WARNOCK:  Thanks, Keith. 

OLBERMANN:  After a holiday hiatus, the news quiz makes a triumphant return.  Our look back at the week that was as COUNTDOWN continues on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

OLBERMANN:  Nothing like making the end of a long week longer.  This is advertised as your opportunity to see if I‘m paying attention.  In fact, it‘s just the staff‘s chance to humiliate me, like I don‘t do that enough on my own. 

Once again, our news quiz segment looms, the one we call:

ANNOUNCER:  “What Have We Learned?”  

OLBERMANN:  Let the skewering begin.   

I give the conn to our genial quiz mistress.

“Madam Novitini,” good evening. 

MONICA NOVOTNY, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  I know that would stick.

Keith, good evening. 

Good evening, everyone.

We will start as always by reminding viewers, if you‘d like to take the official MSNBC quiz, log on to our Web site at COUNTDOWN.MSNBC.com. 

We‘re putting two minutes on the clock.  If the Bloggermann answers at least half correctly, he wins a prize.  If not, we here are on the COUNTDOWN staff will be just as pleased to present his punishment. 

Sir, are you all warmed up and ready to go?

OLBERMANN:  Like this isn‘t punishment enough.  Yes, I will proceed. 

Two minutes on the clock, please.

NOVOTNY:  And we‘ll start, No. 1, from Annette (ph) in Miami, Florida. 

What are the first names of Julia Roberts‘ newborn twins?

OLBERMANN:  One of them has a good name.  The other one has a really stupid name.  It‘s Harvey and Whizbang. 

NOVOTNY:  That‘s wrong.  It‘s Hazel and Phinnaeus.  But thanks for trying.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVOTNY:  No. 2, in which U.S. city is illegal to have cats and dogs living together in the same house?

OLBERMANN:  Provo. 

NOVOTNY:  Yes.  That is correct.

From Jan (ph), No. 3, name the mammal now being used as a land mine seeker. 

OLBERMANN:  The giant Gambian rat. 

NOVOTNY:  Yes. 

Who is Daniel Hoffheimer?

OLBERMANN:  Daniel Hoffheimer is the head of the Kerry legal team in Ohio, on the ground in Ohio. 

NOVOTNY:  Yes. 

OLBERMANN:  Like I wouldn‘t know that name.

(LAUGHTER)

NOVOTNY:  How many people around the world have taken the breathing course called the Art of Living, plus or minus one million. 

OLBERMANN:  Eighty. 

(LAUGHTER)

NOVOTNY:  More than six million.  Sorry. 

OLBERMANN:  I didn‘t say I knew.

NOVOTNY:  Name the two major faux pas made by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce this week.  You have to name both.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, in the bank of—one of the two?

NOVOTNY:  No.  You have to name both.

OLBERMANN:  Well, one of them is—their ATMs are spitting out tire discount coupons.

NOVOTNY:  Yes. 

OLBERMANN:  And the other one is—oh, for crying out loud.  The other one had another scandal involving the bank.  No, go ahead. 

(CROSSTALK)

NOVOTNY:  Time is not your friend.

All right, you‘re wrong.  It was—they faxed customer financial information to a U.S. scrap yard. 

OLBERMANN:  To a scrap yard, yes.

NOVOTNY:  In what country is the world‘s highest traveling cable car? 

OLBERMANN:  That is—oh, you know, I know this one, too, because I know where the guy is from and I know—it‘s in...

NOVOTNY:  No.

OLBERMANN:  It‘s in South America. 

NOVOTNY:  In Venezuela. 

OLBERMANN:  Venezuela.

NOVOTNY:  It‘s the country we were going for.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, I know.  All right. 

NOVOTNY:  A hunk of cereal resembling E.T. sold on eBay for how much? 

OLBERMANN:  Nine hundred and eight dollars? 

NOVOTNY:  No, $804.

In the form of question, it‘s what Ken Jennings should have asked Tuesday night.

OLBERMANN:  What is H&R Block?

NOVOTNY:  That is correct.

How many games did Ken Jennings play on “Jeopardy”?

OLBERMANN:  He played 75. 

NOVOTNY:  Yes.  I‘ve got to give you that.  So you‘re one, two, three, four, five out of 10 by my count.

OLBERMANN:  Five out of 10. 

NOVOTNY:  Should not have let that question... 

(CROSSTALK)

OLBERMANN:  You should ask one in a hurry.  You didn‘t. 

(CROSSTALK)

OLBERMANN:  Instead of doing the numbers, you should have asked the last question. 

NOVOTNY:  Five of 10.

OLBERMANN:  Yes. 

NOVOTNY:  I got a cue in my ear. 

OLBERMANN:  Never listen to the people who talk to us. 

NOVOTNY:  I‘m not doing it anymore.

OLBERMANN:  How long have you been doing this?  I‘ve been doing this to 25 years.  The first rule of it is don‘t listen to those people back there. 

NOVOTNY:  OK.  Do I have to listen to you? 

OLBERMANN:  No, you don‘t. 

NOVOTNY:  Not for much longer.

OLBERMANN:  Not like you ever did anyway.  Nothing like a good pig sticking to end the week, but, notice, I have survived again. 

Thank you, Monica. 

Thank you, question submitters.

Join us next time—and for some reason, there always is a next time when again we play:

ANNOUNCER:  “What Have We Learned?”

NOVOTNY:  We have a prize for you, sir. 

OLBERMANN:  Oh, yes.  That‘s right.  I never got my prize.  Can I have my prize now? 

(LAUGHTER)

OLBERMANN:  I‘m just so happy to get it over with.

NOVOTNY:  You might think it‘s a punishment, but we really thought it was a great holiday meal for you, because we are still in the holiday season.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, mashed potato soda. 

NOVOTNY:  You might remember you made me drink this last year.  But this one is for you this time.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, cranberry soda.  That actually sounds good.  Oh, green bean casserole... 

NOVOTNY:  We‘ll let you enjoy that this weekend.  We‘ve got to go.

OLBERMANN:  Yes. 

That‘s COUNTDOWN.  Thanks for being part of it.  That‘s COUNTDOWN.

Don‘t listen to those people in your ear.  And, also, there‘s nothing they‘re not—you‘re not attached to anything.  Those are just hallucinations.

Good night and good luck. 

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

END   

Copy: Content and programming copyright 2004 MSNBC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  Transcription Copyright 2004 FDCH e-Media, Inc. (f/k/a/ Federal Document Clearing House, Inc, eMediaMillWorks, Inc.) ALL RIGHTS  RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and FDCH e-Media, Inc.‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.

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