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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday September 19, 2008

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guest: John Talbott, Chris Hayes, Eugene Robinson, Shannyn Moore

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

Yesterday, he said as president, he would fire the chairman of the SEC.  Then they told him the president can‘t fire the chairman of the SEC.

Today, he said he would demand the resignation of the chairman, only he got his E.C.‘s (ph) mixed up.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R-AZ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  My friends that kind of accountability and responsibility is missing in Washington today.  That‘s why I believe that the chairman of the FEC should resign and leave office and be replaced.


OLBERMANN:  In the middle of an economic meltdown, John McCain just called for the head of the Federal Election Commission to resign.  Why not the FCC, or the BBC, or C.C. Sabathia of the Milwaukee Brewers?  This is getting embarrassing.

That mortgage bailout: What exactly are we, the people, buying? 

How can it not mean more taxes no matter who‘s president?

The Palin‘s preacher problem: The minister who laid hands on her at the Wasilla Assembly of God in 2005, the one she credits with helping make her a governor, it turns he makes Jeremiah Wright look like Father Flanagan of Boys Town.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, ® VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  And he‘s praying that “Oh, Lord, if it may be your will, may she become governor, or whatever,” he just prayed for it.  He said, “Lord, make a way and let her do this next step.”  And that‘s exactly what happens.


OLBERMANN:  Pastor Thomas Muthees started his Prayer Cave Ministry by conducting a witch hunt against a woman in Kenya.  A woman he claimed was casting demonic spells, that caused car accident.  And Palin says he helped her become governor.

And it‘s time for me to pay the Palin piper, $100 donation to the Alaska Special Olympics, on which budget she cut in half, each time the governor lies.


PALIN:  I did tell Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  I told Congress, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  And I said, “Thanks, but no thanks.”


OLBERMANN:  If she won‘t cut the crap, I‘ll have to cut the check.

All that and more: Now on COUNTDOWN.

(on camera):  Good evening.  This is Friday, September 19th, 46 days until the 2008 presidential election.

Senator John McCain having learned that the president of the United States does not have the authority to fire the chairman of the SEC, today, called for the resignation of the chairman of the FEC.

In our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN tonight: John McCain is Bob Dole.  Do you need to know anything else?  Do you want, maybe, a DNA test?


MCCAIN:  That kind of accountability and responsibility is missing in Washington today.  That‘s why I believe the chairman of the FEC should resign and leave office and be replaced.


OLBERMANN:  It‘s actually kind of simple, senator, the FEC is Federal Election Commission, the agency which administers and enforces the financing of elections.  If you need to know anymore about that, just ask that Russ Feingold friend of yours.  The SEC is the Securities and Exchange Commission, also the Southeastern Conference, but that‘s for another show, the Securities and Exchange Commission regulates the securities industry and the stock market, at least 0when the administration wants to.  More on that, in a moment.

Now for some basic facts about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.


MCCAIN:  And that same executive got $21 million of your money.


MCCAIN:  And the other CEO, another supporter of Senator Obama, Mr.

Raines got $25 million of your money.  Let‘s tell them to give it back. 

Let‘s tell him to give it back.


OLBERMANN:  The problem, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were private companies until both were taken by the federal government on the 7th of this month.  The house here at COUNTDOWN no longer taking bets on when he - - what he meant to say and the McCain will claim that by your money, the Republican nominee meant shareholders, not taxpayers.  If getting the facts wrong is not working for Senator McCain, maybe attacking his opponents with his own transgressions, will.


MCCAIN:  People like Senator Obama have been too busy gaming the system and haven‘t ever done a thing to actually challenge the system.  And we‘ve heard a lot of words from Senator Obama on the course of this campaign.  But maybe, just this once, he could spare us the lectures and admit to his own poor judgment in contributing to these problems.  The crisis on Wall Street started in the Washington culture of lobbying and influence peddling, and he was right square in the middle of it.


OLBERMANN:  Senator Obama today, actually right square on the middle of a meeting with seven of his economic advisors, including the former chairman of the Fed, Paul Volcker, at a rally in Coral Gables, Florida, calling Senator McCain on the substance of his attack.


SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  We can‘t change direction with somebody who says he‘s a new driver, but wants to follow the same road map.  That‘s what this election is all about.  We can‘t keep on having drivers who are going to drive us into a ditch.

This morning, Senator McCain gave a speech in which his big solution to this worldwide economic crisis was to blame me for it.

This is the guy who spent nearly three decades in Washington.  And after spending the entire campaign saying I haven‘t been in Washington long enough, he, apparently, now is willing to assign me responsibility for all of Washington‘s failure.

I think it‘s pretty clear—I think it‘s pretty clear that Senator McCain is a little panicked right now.


OLBERMANN:  Why would Senator McCain be a little panicked right now?  The latest numbers out of the Rust Belt states are possible cause for alarm.

Likely voters, including those leaning towards a candidate, giving Senator Obama a nine-point lead in Michigan, according to the new Marist Poll conducted entirely after the economic crisis hit earlier this week.  Among likely independent voters, Senator Obama up by 22.

In Pennsylvania, the Democrat is leading by five.  Among likely independents, Senator Obama‘s lead is growing to nine.

A statistical dead heat in Ohio, still with Obama up two among likely voters; likely independent voters, literally, tied.

Let‘s turn now to our own Eugene Robinson, also associate editor and columnist at the “Washington Post.”

Gene, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  We have spent much of this week comparing this run for the White House to the 1992 campaign and Bill Clinton‘s mantra of “It‘s the economy, stupid.”  But with Senator McCain this week, should we have been focusing on the President Clinton‘s re-election run against Senator Dole in ‘96 instead?  Is this not harkening back to the Republican race that year?

ROBINSON:  Well, that‘s an interesting time shift (ph).  You know, look, anyway you look at it, it was a bad week for Senator McCain.  I think the McCain campaign would acknowledge that.  He seemed slow throughout the week.  He seemed on the wrong foot throughout the week.  He kind of—you know, he got it mixed up.  He didn‘t inspire confidence that he knew exactly what was going on and who might be responsible for it or what to do about it.

And, you know, he‘s just a step slow throughout the week and never quite got on top of it.  And I think, you know, you‘re seeing in the polls the results of that.

OLBERMANN:  But, when somebody seems like they are a couple steps behind and try to make up for it, McCain on Monday was talking about “the fundamentals of our economy are strong,” repeatedly.  He‘s gone from that position on Monday to telling “60 Minutes” in this interview that it will air Sunday, that it doesn‘t matter what the technical definition of a recession is, we are in a recession.  How did he go from “fundamentals are strong” to recession in, you know, six days?

ROBINSON:  By a circuitous rope (ph) actually because we start with fundamentals are strong, and then later in the day, fundamentals meant workers somehow.  Therefore, you know, the economy wasn‘t strong, it was a crisis.  And then, the next day, it was, you know, we should not bail out AIG and the following day, well, we just bailed out AIG, and you know, it was a great idea.

It was back-and-forth.  It was kind of a zigzag path that he chartered through the week and never settled on a line that seemed to have this, you know, seemed to go in a direction.

OLBERMANN:  We saw on Wednesday what happened when Senator McCain visited that GM assembly line in Grand Rapids and it was an invitation-only, an impromptu Obama rally broke out.  Are we starting to see the effect of the economic crisis in kind of an almost direct, maybe, one-stop pattern on McCain‘s polling numbers in Michigan or elsewhere?

ROBINSON:  You know, it would be interesting to see.  I don‘t know if we can look at those poll numbers like the Marist Poll which showed that nine-point gap and see if there are any internals that would point directly to the economic crisis.  But, I think, you have to say that it seems to be having an impact.

The polls in general, not just in the Rust Belt and not just in Michigan, but the national polls and in other states, you know, are trending in Obama‘s direction.  And, you know, is this the end of the Republican convention bounce?  Is the Palin bloom off the rose or is this a direct result of the economic crisis?  I think it‘s probably a combination of those factors.  But the economy is, you know, I think, a good issue for Obama.

OLBERMANN:  I‘m sure that Obama‘s campaign would like this to be the case.  This would be the takeaway from this week, that we got a glimpse this week of what it might be like in a McCain presidency.  Is that a fair takeaway or is that just a political objective at this point?

ROBINSON:  Well, I think it‘s an objective at point.  Certainly, it‘s—you‘re right that that‘s what the Obama campaign would like you to take away and what the McCain campaign would not like you to take away.

You know, these economic issues are going to be with us for awhile.  You know, things seem to have calmed down a bit, but who knows what will happen Monday.  And, meanwhile, there‘s going to be—we‘re going to have to come up with some sort of massive rescue plan that‘s going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars that all has to be worked out.

Obama and McCain are not going to be able to sit on the sidelines while this happens.  They‘re going to be involved and they‘re going to have, you know, vote, at some point, on this plan.  And so, you know, again, the economy issue is going to be with us and it could be decisive.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s right.   They are both in the Senate, I forgot.


OLBERMANN:  Gene Robinson of the “Washington Post”—thank you, sir.  Have a good weekend.

ROBINSON:  You, too, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  If McCain‘s scapegoating of the SEC chairman, Mr. Cox feels familiar, recall how President Bush blamed his Katrina response on FEMA‘s Michael Brown, despite the fact that Bush himself had downgraded FEMA.  And more importantly, as a matter of GOP philosophy, Bush believed Katrina was a state level problem, not one of his.

Today, everyone from Democrats to the “Wall Street Journal,” rejected Senator McCain‘s scapegoating of Chairman Cox.  In fact, predictions of this (ph) crisis predate Cox‘s tenure, predictions of the failure of the GOP philosophy, economic philosophy that McCain has pursued throughout his decades in Congress, since the Reagan era—undoing the rules and protections put in place by Franklin Roosevelt to prevent a recurrence of the Great Depression.  The result—a growing disconnect between risk and responsibility.

As McCain and allies like economic advisor Phil Gramm passed law after law that let rich Wall Street traders make risky financial bets with borrowed money, boosting company assets on paper, taking home huge bonuses with less and less of FDR‘s oversight, leaving the taxpayers to save these eviscerated companies while the executives who bled them dry were able to walk away with billions.

We turn now to John Talbott, once an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and now author of “Obamanomics: How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics.”

Thanks for your time tonight, sir.

JOHN TALBOTT, AUTHOR, “OBAMANONICS”:  Hello.  Thanks for having me, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Republicans had several years to do exactly what they wanted with the economy, unfettered, no holds barred.  Is this an inevitable result or is this just—this guy, former Congressman Cox, he messed up but the idea is still good, we should try it again?

TALBOTT:  You know, if you remember, Keith, the Democratic Party has been criticized here for quite a while for not being able to elicit exactly what their economic plan is in three words or less, where the Republicans for 30 years have vowed to have lower taxes, less government, and less regulation.

The good news is that the catchy phrase and it‘s so catchy I hope the American people remember it when they go to the polls in November, but another more truthful way of saying that is to say that the Republicans were in favor of huge deficits, rampant corruption, and global financial meltdowns.

And there‘s nothing random about this event.  You know, Greenspan and others are trying to claim this is a 100-year flood, completely unexpected.  It‘s really just the opposite.  It‘s a direct result of complete and utter deregulation of the entire financial market for the last 30 years, starting with realtors, commercial bank leverage, investment bank leverage 25 times, Fannie Mae leverage over 100 to one, hedge funds completely non-transparent.  You know, it goes this—you know, it goes on and on.

OLBERMANN:  You mention the word corruption.  How cynical would it be to ask whether these policies, the deregulation and the like were not well-intentioned attempts to spread prosperity but instead were calculated attempts to make the rich richer?

TALBOTT:  Well, the whole idea of deregulation is to allow business owners to do what they want.  And all business owners want one thing which is greater profits however they can accomplish it.  And unfortunately, for American workers, workers‘ wages are the biggest line and cost expense to most businesses.

So, what do you do, you get in and you put the American worker in competition with low wage China and Vietnam, you cut their benefits, you attack their unions.  And then you do whatever else you can to improve your profits, whether it‘s, you know, degrade your quality control, hurt your environmental, et cetera, et cetera.

OLBERMANN:  But, Mr. Talbott, Bush and McCain kept telling us that everything was great because that American worker is productive and productivity rose 20 percent during the Bush administration, but despite that, real earnings of workers actually fell.  If worker productivity is the big fundamental, to use somebody‘s phrase of our company, why does it actually benefit the workers who are efficient?

TALBOTT:  Yes, I mean, this is the fallacy of most economists.  They believe as productivity increases, workers‘ pay will increase.  But workers‘ pay is a negotiation, if anybody knows or who‘s ever gone into their boss‘ office at the end of the year.  And we‘ve seen unions on this country decline in the private sector from 35 percent to approximately 9 percent.

And as I said, this worker force in America, one of the most productive in the world, has been put in competition through globalization with 50-cent-an-hour employees around the world.  So, that‘s very a tough environment to negotiate a higher wage.

OLBERMANN:  All right.  As I mentioned, the title of your book is “Obamanomics.”  Can you define it and how will it explain and change things in 45 seconds?

TALBOTT:  Yes.  In 45 seconds, the subtitle is “How Bottom-Up Economic Prosperity Will Replace Trickle-Down Economics.”  I think, your audience remembers the pitched for trickle-down economics back in 2000.  I think, the American people were taken, but we ended up voting for George Bush.  He ended up giving $3 trillion or $4 trillion to the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans.

It‘s just amazing to me that McCain is trying the same pitch again because we fell for it, but the money never trickled down.  It didn‘t result in a tremendous improvement in the economy or in new jobs.  So, Barack‘s sole emphasis is on bottom-up, not wealth redistribution, but giving everybody an equal opportunity through greater education and greater job opportunity.

OLBERMANN:  John Talbott, the author of “Obamanomics.”  Thank you for your insight at this extraordinary time, sir.

TALBOTT:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  So, how do you like being in the mortgage business? 

You and I and every other taxpayer is now to a tune of about $7,000 each. 

Does this not necessarily mean more taxes no matter who‘s president?

Meanwhile, the McCain-Palin campaign has another problem tonight.  That pastor she claims helped her become governor, he started out in Kenya by denouncing a local women as a witch.  There are no metaphors here.  Her laying-on-of-hands preacher broke in with an actual witch hunt.


OLBERMANN:  The American banking industry goes from profit and not prudence.  If it gets in way over its own head, who bails it out?  You and me.  How could John McCain or anybody else still claim he will not raise taxes as president after this?

Later, Palin‘s pastor problem.  The preacher who she credits with helping her become governor started his career chasing a woman out of their Kenyan town, insisting she was a witch who caused traffic accidents.  Your vice presidential nominee, everybody.

Plus: Rupert Murdoch dyes his own hair in the sink and it‘s on “talk like a pirate” day in Worst Persons.  You can all see what‘s ahead here on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN:  Everyone seems to agree even “Mr. Three Steps Behind,” Senator John McCain, that there is no choice left to the matter but that will make it any less painful nor it will make any less possible for whomever is elected president to not race taxes when the already deficit-strapped government assumes up to $1 trillion worth of bad debt.

Our third story on the COUNTDOWN: The collective “us” will soon be the proud owner of even more dangerously-diseased debt, about $3,000 one each of our hands, $7,000 each for you taxpayer.

But Senator McCain says, quote, “Raising taxes in a tough economy isn‘t patriotic, it isn‘t a badge of honor.  It‘s plain dumb.  And I‘m not going to let it happen.”

The only fair question is: How can McCain truthfully say this mess will involve some kind of tax hike?

President Bush gracing the nation with a second appearance this week, announced the government rescue plan, the biggest intervention since the Great Depression, along with a warning, quote, “Anyone engaging in illegal financial transactions will be caught and prosecuted.”  Maybe a little late for that, sir.

With taxpayers stuck paying the bill one way or the other, it‘s another perverse triumph for the companies that helped us reached the biggest mess since the Great Depression, those companies mammoth losses are being given now to every man, woman, and child in the United States, a mortgage in every path.

Let‘s turn now to the Washington editor of “The Nation,” Chris Hayes.

Good evening, Chris.


OLBERMANN:  It‘s hard to overstate how enormous this bailout will be, I mean, it‘s hurricane-size bailout.  But there‘s not much agreement yet on how much would be offset by tax increases, how much would be added to the deficit.  But regardless of how this turns out in specific, in general, how could any presidential candidate truthfully say this won‘t involve no tax increases?

HAYES:  It‘s hard to say that.  I mean, there‘s a few easy—sort of easy calls on this, right?  Extending the Bush tax cuts never made any sense; it, certainly, doesn‘t make any sense if we‘re taking another $1 trillion in bad debt.  Restoring the inheritance tax would be a good idea.  And there‘s other creative places you can find revenue that aren‘t going to hurt working people who—it‘s true hardly can‘t afford tax increase right now.

But, you know, one idea that‘s been floating around, England has a stock transfer tax, right?  Every time you see a stock, there‘s a 25 percent on it.  If we did that in the U.S., that would be $100 billion.  And there‘s no evidence to suggest it‘s destroyed English capital market.

So, there are places to find the revenue and we‘re going to start seeing those, pretty soon.

OLBERMANN:  If this somehow did result in no tax increases, is there anyway to overstate the wildly high, utterly irresponsibility amount of extra debt that a future president would be plunging this nation into?

HAYES:  Yes.  I mean, it‘s pretty maddening to watch this game get played over and over in which Republicans take office, run up the deficit, and when Democrats come in and say—we want to do some spending on social investment, we want to give people healthcare and stuff, all of the sudden, the Republicans are models of fiscal probity and they say, “No, no, no, we can‘t afford that.  No, no, no.  Not at this moment.”

I mean, it‘s absurd.  Look, we‘re going to have a lot of debt in our hands but actually, it‘s the percentage of GDP.  Historically, we‘re still OK.  We‘re nowhere near the highest levels we were in the 1980s.  And what I worry about is that kind of—those naysayers coming in when someone turns around and wants to do something like, for instance, provide health insurance.

OLBERMANN:  The other political implications now of what we‘ve seen relative to this election, did it turn—did the election turn this week and irretrievably so, or could we all be ignoring this issue three weeks from now?

HAYES:  Well, I certainly hope not.  I mean, we kind of gone through a few of these cycles, right?  There‘s a crisis, there‘s a lot of coverage, and then, everyone says something is solved (ph).  And then we go back to talking about, you know, the intermeshing conflicts on the Wasilla City council, you know, board, or whatever.  But, I think, this, I would imagine, my instinct is that this is going to play out over a long enough time, the sums are big enough, and the importance to the real economy are big enough that it‘s going to be very difficult to return to this absurd triviality (ph) we were mired in for a few weeks there.

OLBERMANN:  All though, you know, if your pastor used to be involved in witch hunts in Kenya, it may sneak through as well at the end of the hour.

But, the history of each candidate during the buildup to the point we‘re at now, and you could say the buildup started 25 years ago.

HAYES:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  Are people, actually, going to take the time to look at where John McCain was in 2000?  In 1995, where Obama was in similar proportional stages in his career, on the things that led to this?  Do they understand the economy well enough to pin them in their correct positions?

HAYES:  That‘s a really good question.  I mean, opacity and complexity are the rouge‘s best friend in this whole enterprise.  And at this point in the campaign, John McCain and Barack Obama, to a certain extent, can say anything, right?  You got to look at the records.  There‘s a few real concrete things you can look at and see where they came down.

John McCain supported President Bush‘s idea of taking everyone‘s Social Security money and putting it into this—into Wall Street, right?


HAYES:  Billions of dollars into the same firms that have now gone belly up.  That doesn‘t look like such a good idea.  He‘s got Phil Gramm by his side, as you have mentioned, who is a, you know, a slavish devotee of deregulation at every turn.  So, the record is there.  The question is:

Will he be able to hustle in which he suddenly recasts himself as this crusader against Wall Street excess on the last six weeks of the campaign?

OLBERMANN:  But you can see it in the debates.  One of the questions has got to be in one of the debates.  All right, Senator McCain, which member of the cabinet is in charge of the economy?

HAYES:  Right.

OLBERMANN:  Just pick the chairman of the blank, blank, blank and see if he can get it right.

HAYES:  Right.

OLBERMANN:  That would also be confidence-inspiring moment, I suppose.

HAYES:  Yes, right.

OLBERMANN:  Chris Hayes of “The Nation.”  And it is the SEC, right?

HAYES:  Yes.


OLBERMANN:  Thanks, Chris.  Have a good weekend.

HAYES:  Thank you, Keith.  You, too.

OLBERMANN:  Remember the Santa who fell off the garage roof in front of the kids?  Well, this is his opposite number in the world of modern burglary.  Surprise.

And his own daughter admits Rupert, (A), dyes his own hair, (B), dyes at himself, ©, dyes it in the sink.  (INAUDIBLE), matey.  Worse Persons ahead on “talk like a pirate” day on COUNTDOWN.


OLBERMANN:  Bests in a moment.  And calling mom while dangling 700 feet in the air. 

First, on this date in 1970, the landmark sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” premiered on CBS.  The first scene in which the title character, an associate producer for a TV news cast, met the most memorable character of the series, highlighted by this line: “Hi, you haven‘t met me.  I‘m Ted Baxter, the anchor man.” 

Somewhere a 21-year-old student at Marrist College said, so that‘s how you‘re supposed to treat women in a news room.  Let‘s play Oddball.


OLBERMANN:  We begin at the bottom of the sea, ocean, off the coast of Australia, where scientists have just discovered a whole host of creatures we wish we had never known actually existed, including the Christmas Tree Worm, the nudie branch sea slug and tongue-biting isopod.  What exactly does a tongue-biting isopod do, you ask? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The tongue actually atrophies and disappears. 

OLBERMANN:  And I‘m surprised that creature did not wind up dominating the planet. 

To Baker, Florida, and a robbery already in progress.  He‘s stealthy.  The perp, too dazed to actually steel anything by this point, crawled hisi way out of the store and was picked up by police a short time later.  Meantime, he‘s now crashing at the big house.   

Finally to Akaya (ph), Japan for some giant Giant Panda news.  Over the weekend, for the first time a Japanese giant panda gave birth to naturally bred twin giant panda.  Now they‘re on vacation at Adventure world.  I‘m sorry, maybe that‘s the name of the zoo.  Anyway, the mother and twins are in good health and doing fine.  The McCain/Palin ticket has announced plans for special pork barrel earmark to study their DNA. 


OLBERMANN:  They sure did vet Governor Palin, didn‘t they?  That Pastor she said laid hands on her and helped her become governor.  He started out by publicly branding another woman a witch and claiming she was causing car accidents.  Sarah Palin has a preacher problem. 

And it‘s time to pay up.  The count and the amount for my pledge to donate 100 bucks to the Alaska Special Olympics each time that governor tells a falsehood.  These stories ahead, but first time for COUNTDOWN‘s top three best persons in the world. 

Number three, best gaffe, Senator McCain on the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.  The acronym obviously is SIPC.  He kept calling it SPIC.  That embarrassment had just settled down, but now his adviser Douglas, McCain invented the Blackberry, Holtz-Eakin did it again, called it the SPIC. 

Number two, best use of spare time, Dan Sandler of New York City, stuck on the job 30 minutes so he called his mom on a cell phone to wish her a happy birthday.  Mr Sandler is a window installer.  That 30 minutes was spent dangling from a scaffold stuck 70 stories above the city street.  He said he didn‘t tell his mom where he was calling from.  Everybody is fine. 

Number one, best yuck.  The McCain campaign has gotten a cease and desist letter, demanding it stop used in a campaign commercial the voice of Fixed News reporter Major Garrett; “we demand you immediately remove Mr.  Garrett‘s voice from this ad.  He‘s a non-partisan news correspondent covering the Obama campaign for Fox News.  It‘s highly inappropriate, among other things, for your campaign to use him in your ad.” 

The McCain camp reportedly said it would comply just as soon as everybody there stopped laughing. 


OLBERMANN:  When nearly 60 years ago, Senator Joe McCarthy and the Republicans conducted their figurative witch hunt, it had perhaps only one redeeming value: they never actually called anybody a witch.  In our third story in the COUNTDOWN, not so for an evangelist so closely tied to the Republican vice presidential nominee that she gives him partial credit for making her governor of Alaska.  “Times of London” reporting today that Pastor Thomas Moothy (ph) not only began his career by literally persecuting a woman in a Kenyan village as literally a witch, but that he boasted about it, and Governor Palin‘s church in Alaska boasted about it, too. 

The details in a moment.  First a refresher on the governor‘s

reference to him in her testimony in church this June. 


PALIN:  We forgot to talk about Pastor Moothy.  As I was mayor and Pastor Moothy was here and he was praying over me.  You know how he speaks, and he‘s so bold.  He‘s praying, lord make a way, lord make a way.  And I‘m thinking, this guy is really bold.  He doesn‘t even know what I‘m going to do.  He doesn‘t know what my plans are.  And he‘s praying not, oh, lord, if it be your will, may she become governor, whatever.  No, he just prayed for it.  He said, lord make a way and let her do this next step.  And that‘s exactly what happened.  Again, very, very powerful coming from this church.  So that was awesome about Pastor Moothy. 


OLBERMANN:  “Times of London” assembling previous reporting on Pastor Moothy.  He is an  African evangelist who founded the World of Faith Church, also known as the Prayer Cave, in Kyumbu (ph), Kenya in 1989.  He did so after, he says, he and his late wife were called there by god because there was demonic presence in the town being blamed for a number of fatal car accidents among other ills.  In a trailer for his evangelical video, Moothy tells how he found the source of that bad spirit; “we prayed.  We fasted.  The lord showed us a spirit of witchcraft resting over the place.” 

According to the “Christian Science Monitor,” six months of praying and research led him to a local named Momma Jane.  She allegedly was involved in fortune telling and therefore responsible for what plagued Kyubmu.  Pastor Moothy publicly declared that she was a witch and gave her a choice, be saved or leave town. 

First she stayed.  Then Moothy held a crusade; 200 people joined in his grocery store basement prayer sessions.  Momma Jane became a pariah, people panicked.  Police raided her home.  Somebody shot a snake thought to be a demon.  After she was questioned and released, Pastor Moothy‘s witch is said to have left town. 

According to the “Times of London,” Moothy still refers to this witch hunt in his sermon, ten of which were delivered at the Wasilla Assembly of God in the fall of 2005, during the time Sarah Palin was preparing to run for governor of Alaska. 

Shannyn Moore is a radio journalist in that state.  She joins us once again from Anchorage.  Good evening.  Thank you for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN:  This is starting to sound startling enough to be terrifying.  Is this pastor‘s witch hunting history common knowledge in Alaska? 

MOORE:  No, it‘s not.  I think, you know, we‘re known for our hunting up here, but witches hasn‘t been part of the conversation to date.  And I think—I think this information actually has surprised a lot of Alaskans, as has many of the stories that have come out on Sarah Palin since she was nominated by John McCain. 

OLBERMANN:  Well, just within her own religious parameters, the governor‘s own churches and her beliefs and the people that she believes with, would witch hunting be too much?  I mean, would members of her church say, hell, no, we don‘t condone witch hunts or people who have conducted them? 

MOORE:  Or not out of airplanes.  I think that this church in particular—and I think all evangelical churches have their own space.  And I don‘t know about any others.  But certainly her church believes in quite a few things that seem sort of outside the realms for most of us.  You know, speaking in tongues, certainly the whole idea that Alaska is going to be the last day‘s refuge for so many, that hundreds of thousands of people are going to come to Alaska for the tribulation period, is part of their whole platform. 

They may be coming now that they know we get dividend checks, but I don‘t think this last days idea is—it‘s certainly not the view of many Alaskans. 

OLBERMANN:  But even all that you mentioned there, every part of—the other things about this church in particular, that‘s one set of stuff.  Over here is witch hunts.  Witch hunts have a very bad reputation, and deservedly so, in this country.  The last place where we had a major series of them 300 years ago, that part of the community changed its name to avoid association with the rest of the community, changed its name from Salem to Braintree.  Is this specifically—would this be as alarming to people there and to even people in that church as it would seem to be to the average American? 

MOORE:  I think that this church, in particular, they embraced him.  They knew what this pastor‘s record was.  He ran on the fact that he had chased a witch out of a town and that he was able to do this sort of spiritual warfare, which is something that they talk about a lot at this church, spiritual warfare, that they‘re able to go into communities and really target the demonic areas and pray over them and actually change their crime statistics. 

So this is all part of the belief system that this church has put out.  And it‘s pretty far fetched, I think, to many of us.  I think we would actually want to put more cops on the street.  I think that the rapture isn‘t environmental policy for many people, but certainly to this church it is. 

OLBERMANN:  I also forgot to mention that Pastor Moothy claimed that after the demon was forced out of the town in Kenya, most of the bars closed, too.  I suggested earlier that he, at first Blush anyway, makes Jeremiah Wright look like Father Flanagan from “Boys Town.”  As governor, has Mrs. Palin been questioned about this man, her association with him and specifically this topic of witch huntery? 

MOORE:  No, I don‘t think so.  I haven‘t heard people ask her this.  Certainly people‘s rights to whatever church, as bizarre as it may be, if they‘re selling rapture insurance or whatever.  That‘s not part of the fray here.  We try to stay on policy, because people‘s private lives are so important to all of us.  But in this case, I think in hindsight we should have asked her about her church more because she does have a real fuzzy line between the separation of church and state, when it has come to her governorship and her policies here. 

OLBERMANN:  We‘re not talking about something ancient.  That tape that we saw earlier is this year, this June. 

MOORE:  Right, this June, a couple months ago.  And she‘s talking about the fact that he laid hands on her and how that was—that really is how she got—she‘s given a lot of credit to becoming governor to this pastor who is a witch hunter.  And you look at this and you wonder, are we going to go from water boarding to just throwing people in ponds and see if they float or not.  It‘s really a stretch for a lot of people and it‘s even weird for Alaskans, I assure you. 

OLBERMANN:  There we go, I guess that‘s the question—the answer I was looking for.  Somebody turn me into a newt.  Shannyn Moore, a radio journalist joining us once again from Alaska with our great thanks.  Have a great weekend. 

MOORE:  Thank you so much. 

OLBERMANN:  A lot less serious, nonetheless relevant; paying the price for Governor Palin‘s public disingenuousness.  I promised 100 bucks to charity for each lie.  Tonight, I‘ll pay up. 

In worst persons, he promised to take something off the bill if she took something off herself in his office.  The lawyer and the stripper. 

But first, our newest feature, the most outrageous or untrue thing said by or on behalf of presidential nominee John McCain, not counting witch hunters, McCain in the membrane.  Governor Palin at Cedar Rapids, quote, “as Alaska‘s governor, I put the government‘s checkbook online so that people can see where their money is going.”  She then said, if elected she‘d put the federal checkbook online, as if it were her own idea. 

It‘s a great idea, such a great idea that the federal checkbook is already online., the so-called Google for government, all federal grants, contracts, loans, insurance payments online as a result of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 and 2007, which was co-sponsored by Republican Tom Coburn and a Democrat named Barack Obama.  Oh, and one of the co-sponsors of the original 2006 transparency act was Senator John McCain.  Governor Palin is now promising you something Obama and McCain have already given you.  Welcome to the big leagues, Gov.  It moves pretty fast out here.  You might want to get your head in the game.


OLBERMANN:  She has told them about everything from the Bridge to Nowhere to supporting special needs kids when she actually slashed the Special Olympics budget, to whether or not she immediately accepted a spot on the McCain ticket.  Since Sarah Palin is not paying for her lies, I guess I have to; 100 bucks per to charity and we‘ll tally what I owe so far next. 

First, time for COUNTDOWN‘s number two story, tonight‘s worst person in the world.  The bronze to comedian Rush Limbaugh.  The line in the commercial about ever get the feeling some people just stop trying?  Quoting comedian, “Obama folks are showing who he really is, a community organizers, a street agitator and a Chicago thug.  Clear the playing field is finally being—it‘s on display for everybody to see.  Sarah Palin‘s e-mails, personal e-mails have been hacked, no doubt by Obama thugs.” 

That‘s all he had.  He didn‘t even bother to make up anything to support the claim, jut throw it out there.  Palin‘s e-mail were hacked by Obama thugs?  Why not Bill Ayers.  I bet it was Bill Ayers who done it.  Seriously, 46 days to go and you‘ve just given up. 

The silver, Rupert Murdoch.  This gem in Michael Wolf‘s (ph) upcoming bio of the Aussie buccaneer; quoting Rupert‘s own daughter Prudence Murdoch Mcleod (ph) as saying her father not only dyes his hair but he dyes it himself in the sink.  I‘d like to point out, as I repeat how Mr. Wolf has quoted Miss Mcleod on this topic, that today, September 19th, is the 13th annual talk like a pirate day.  “I‘ve said to him, dad, I understand about dyeing the hair and the age thing.”  Arrgh.  “He never wants to die.  But just—I‘ve asked,  go somewhere proper.  But he insist on doing it over the sink because he doesn‘t want anybody to know.  Well, hello.”  Arrgh, “look in the mirror.” 

Thank you. 

But our gold medalist, Scott Robert Irwin of Decalb, Illinois, suspended by the state judicial disciplinary board for 15 months.  He represented a woman and her family in a series of legal cases and he agreed to reduce his legal fee if she did her job around his office.  She was an exotic dancer at a club called heart breakers.  Now she‘s retired as the mother of three and a real estate agent.  So he was getting free nude dances in his office from a real estate agent.  The deal unraveled when she found out he had only given her 534 dollars off the bill.  He was still charging her seven grand. 

One additional fact from the disciplinary report, Mr. Irwin was formerly the chairman of the Decalb County Bar Association pro bono committee.  Scott Robert Irwin, today‘s worst person in the world. 


OLBERMANN:  The downside here, ordinarily, would be the sinking feeling that I‘m encouraging the Republican vice presidential nominee to to lie.  But then again, I don‘t think the governor needs any encouragement from me.  Our the number one story, ask not for whom the bill tolls.  It tolls for thee.  I‘m making my first payment on my promise. 

Let‘s go back to the beginning.  Yes, I know, I mistakenly called the governor senator. 


OLBERMANN:  By the way, as of tomorrow, every time Senator (sic) Palin repeats one of her standard lies about the Bridge to Nowhere or the plane she sold on eBay that she didn‘t sell on eBay or the fired chef she didn‘t fire, I‘ll donate 100 dollars to charity.  It will be 300 dollars if she somehow says she sold a chef on eBay.  I will also donate 25 fictional cans of Aunt Sara‘s canned moose chunk stew to a lucky viewer. 


OLBERMANN:  We have widened that out to any Palin lie in public.  Once she started to position herself as the advocate for special needs kids, even though she had slashed the budget for the Alaska Special Olympics in half, I knew we had the right charity.  So since my staff is equally interested in keeping track of the governor‘s lies and in separating me from my money, let the tally begin. 


OLBERMANN:  The bridge line stayed in Palin‘s speeches. 

PALIN:  I did tell Congress thanks, but no thanks.  I told Congress thanks, but no thanks.  And I said, thanks, but no thanks. 

OLBERMANN:  And the same lie was peddled as late as last night with Sean Hannity. 

PALIN:  I killed the Bridge to Nowhere. 

OLBERMANN:  There‘s 400 bucks right there.  Then there was the private jet canard. 

PALIN:  I put it on eBay.  I put it on eBay. 

OLBERMANN:  Of course, she didn‘t sell it on eBay.  That‘s 600. 

PALIN:  As mayor, I took a voluntary pay cut, which didn‘t thrill my husband. 

OLBERMANN:  But he must have been jazzed when he found out it was one of those pay cuts where your salary actually increases. 

PALIN:  I‘m not going to judge someone on whether they believe homosexuality is a choice or genetic. 

OLBERMANN:  Tell that to the director of your church‘s pray the gay away program. 

PALIN:  As governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy—

OLBERMANN:  That‘s a fibity doo-dah. 

PALIN:  My job has been to oversee nearly 20 percent of the U.S.  domestic supply of oil and gas. 

OLBERMANN:  Fib.  Try again.

PALIN:  My job has been to oversee such a great portion of the oil development and production levels—

OLBERMANN:  That‘s better.  It‘s not 20, more like 13 percent. 

PALIN:  Ever since I took the chief executive‘s job up north, I sought more funding for students with special needs. 

OLBERMANN:  And a lovely sentiment, except it does not jibe with your Special Olympics budget cuts.  You said that three times. 

PALIN:  As governor, I‘ve championed earmark reform to stop Congress from wasting public money on things that don‘t necessarily serve the public interest. 

OLBERMANN:  Now, I‘m sure we‘re all interested in how Alaskan crabs get it on.  We didn‘t ask for two million dollars to study it.  What about that ex-brother-in-law state trooper you say you never tried to get fired? 

PALIN:  Mr. Monegan has said the governor never asked me to fire him. 

The governor‘s husband never asked me to fire him and we never did. 

OLBERMANN:  That‘s not what Commissioner Monegan told Rachel Maddow. 

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR:  Is that the truth? 


OLBERMANN:  When Charlie Gibson -- 

PALIN:  Charlie—Charlie—Charlie—Charlie. 

OLBERMANN:  Correct, his name is Charlie.  When Charlie Gibson asked you if you hesitated when Senator McCain offered you the veep position. 

PALIN:  I didn‘t blink then even. 

OLBERMANN:  Fortunately, this seems to conflict with what you told Hannity. 

PALIN:  So I asked the girls what they thought and they said absolutely, let‘s do this, mom. 


OLBERMANN:  That‘s 16 lies, 100 bucks each, 1,600 fish.  But if we start adding lies told by her campaign on her behalf, like when they said she went to Iraq and she hadn‘t, and when she said the teleprompter broke at the Republican convention, when neutral witnesses saw that it didn‘t.  That‘s 18 just since the 10th of the month.  I‘m going to toss in the other 19 lies that she spewed before the 10th.  So the check to the Alaskan Special Olympics is in the amount of 3,700 bucks.  That‘s 3,700. 

You notice these post-its on here to protect the protection of this actual Olbermann Broadcasting Empire check.  There‘s the signature.  Let me remove the post-its just a second here.  OK.  I‘ll put it in the envelope.  Notice, please, put proper postage or it can‘t get all the way to Alaska. 

There it goes. 

Now, don‘t forget about the stew.  A lucky viewer gets a fictional can of Aunt Sarah‘s moose stew.  You can enter our random drawing to receive this thing at  Remember, you do the watching.  Let the governor do the lying.  Join us again next week when I will no doubt have to write another check and give out another can of moose stew to some lucky viewer, because, as they say both of moose stew and of Sarah Palin‘s lies, buy all you want, she‘ll make more. 

That‘s COUNTDOWN for this 1,969th day since the declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq.  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.