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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Monday, November 2, 2009

Read the transcript to the Monday show


November 2, 2009



Guests: Rep. Alan Grayson, John Dean


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

Meltdown in the New York 23rd: The Republican nominee withdraws and endorses the Democrat against the conservative.


DEDE SCOZZAFAVA ®, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Hi. This is Dede Scozzafava, calling on behalf of Bill Owens.


OLBERMANN: The Republicans insist this is not the beginning of the purge of the reasonable.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: We accept moderates in our party. We want moderates in our party. We cover a wide range of Americans.


OLBERMANN: Just not this one, whom Boehner endorsed-just this Republican woman who was expelled largely thanks to this other Republican woman.

Health care reform: A Republican congresswoman says it would be far worse than al Qaeda.

Another soul long since lost vows again nothing will be reformed.


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I), CONNECTICUT: The truth is that nothing is better than that.


OLBERMANN: But not as good as the $2.5 million in campaign contributions he got from his health industry overlords.

The FBI interviews: Has Dick Cheney perjured himself? He just may have-says our special guest, John Dean.

And FOX puts Limbaugh on for a free infomercial just before a football game.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I mean, I-in one way, I can -

I can, if I wanted to have my ego be as big as Obama's is, I can say, "Look what I created."


OLBERMANN: And the Phillies won the World Series? I thought the Yankees were-what? Limbaugh, Alex Rod trade jabs? Quick, tell somebody Kate Hudson it's just a typo.

All that and more-now on COUNTDOWN.


ANNOUNCER: Alex Rodriguez is hit.



OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.

One year ago today, Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, was imploring voters in Canton, Ohio, to get out and vote-on Wednesday, November 5th, the day after the 2008 presidential election. One year later, the candidate who tried to win the women's vote by running as a hockey mom, now having driven another Republican woman out of the special election in the 23rd congressional district of New York, but out of the GOP itself.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: Finally, a job for which the governor is qualified. The unemployed Palin inserting herself into the race for that New York 23rd without actually-you know, ever showing up there. Two weeks ago, Governor Palin having posted on her Facebook page that she would be supporting the conservative third party candidate Doug Hoffman over the moderate Republican in the race, Dede Scozzafava.

Governor Palin, one of the most prominent if not the only far-right political figures to have done so, other Republicans like Newt Gingrich having backed Ms. Scozzafava. This past Saturday, Scozzafava dropped out of the race in the face of declining poll numbers and poor fundraising. By Sunday, she was appearing at a campaign event for the Democrat in the race, Bill Owens, warning her former rival to avoid the hateful and divisive tactics that helped drive her out of the campaign.

"Ms. Hateful and Divisive" herself, the northeast distributor thereof, Governor Palin, again using her Facebook page, this time to thank Scozzafava, quote, "for acting so selflessly by dropping out." Yes, you missed part two evidently.

This afternoon, Ms. Scozzafava recording robocalls for the Democrat, Mr. Owens.


SCOZZAFAVA: It's not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill Owens is the only advocate who can bill build upon John McHugh's lasting legacy in Congress. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together. Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday.


OLBERMANN: House Minority Leader Boehner today slamming Ms. Scozzafava for backing the Democrat, quoting him, "This lady clearly has an agenda that is different from most Republicans. She was clearly out there promoting herself. We are doing everything we can to help Doug Hoffman in this race and we hope he wins." He, of course, had endorsed her.

At a rally today for the Democrat Owens, Vice President Biden-the guy who defeated Governor Palin-eliciting boos from the crowd when he mentioned his former rival. The actual vice president challenging Republican voters in Upstate New York to vote for the Democrat and teach conservatives a lesson; also calling out Mrs. Palin for failing to see the big picture.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Notwithstanding my former opponent-and by the way, I like her. I really do. Not a joke, this is a-this is not a cheap shot. The fact of the matter is, Sarah Palin thinks the answer to energy was drill, baby, drill. No, for-it's a lot more complicated, Sarah. Than drill, baby, drill.



OLBERMANN: Governor Palin responding by, how else, posting on her Facebook page, reading in part, "There's one way to tell Vice President Biden that we're tired of folks in Washington distorting our message and hampering our nation's progress: Hoffman, baby, Hoffman."

Time now to call in, as we've reached this political nerd here, our own Lawrence O'Donnell, contributor to the "Huffington Post," as well as a former senior advisor to the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York.

Good to see you.


OLBERMANN: Were it not for Sarah Palin and her Facebook page, would the New York 23rd be getting any national attention even on the eve of this special election?

O'DONNELL: No, she did. Dick Armey couldn't do this. She did it. All my sources up in the 23rd say this was chugging along in a normal way until Sarah Palin came in. They expected an extremely low turnout for a special election and the-you know, the hard cores, who you get to turn out, and Palin has activated that part of the district.

But it is not what that district is really about anymore. It's a reliably Republican district that has been trending more and more moderate all the time.

OLBERMANN: The campaign-her campaign last year began-I mean, within hours of her selection by Senator McCain-began to be enveloped by their perpetual charges of sexism. Everything that was-every criticism of her was sexism. Everything was-because she was a woman, because she was a conservative woman.

Why did she put and push another Republican woman off the cliff and where are the charges of sexism about that?

O'DONNELL: And, of course, we'll remember that that gender defensivism of hers came after her criticizing Hillary Clinton for making sounds like that.


O'DONNELL: Well, look-and this is a terrible situation for them because this is a party that has-is in the wrong end of the gender gap. And what did they do for it this week? They kicked out this woman who had the Republican nomination to run for the House of Representatives. They just beat her out of the place.

This couldn't hurt them with women anymore. It's astounding. I mean, they're-they don't even quite qualify for party status anymore when they're down into the low 20, like 19 percent of Americans saying, "I'm a Republican." This makes things much worse.

OLBERMANN: And that 19 percent, who put Sarah Palin in charge of them? Does Rush Limbaugh know about this?

O'DONNELL: Well, Rush is jumping-he's trying to keep up with Palin. It's a fascinating thing to watch, because he has lost control of his party. They're now co-chairmen. I mean, they're-you know, Rush saw where Palin went and he had to jump in that direction. Rush did not lead the way to Hoffman in the 23rd. And so, Rush is now a step behind.

OLBERMANN: Well, and on top of this, Hoffman today thanked his mentor, Glenn Beck, said they would stay in touch after he got elected. So, it's a real-it's a fight over-are they going to split-is the 20 percent going to split into three parties of, you know, 6.5 percent each?

O'DONNELL: Well, we may find out how much Beck controls, how much Rush controls, how much Palin controls.

OLBERMANN: One bit of practical politics here. Did the conservatives, who went after Scozzafava, not anticipate even the possibility that she might throw her support to the Democrat? Did they not even game-plan that as a remote chance?

O'DONNELL: Well, you can tell in Michael Steele's statement that when she dropped out that they didn't. They expected her to just immediately get in line with their idea.

Now, remember, this guy is not on the Republican ballot. He's on the conservative party ballot. So you're not exactly endorsing a Republican. You're jumping across a line to endorse him.

I think and everyone in the 23rd tells me that the real straw that broke the camel's back here for her was Pataki-George Pataki going for Hoffman. The same George Pataki-now, this district is a much more interesting district than people realize. It borders the state of Vermont, where the only socialist senator gets elected. Plattsburgh, which is the New York state, the New York City on that border, had a gay-openly gay mayor, the first openly gay mayor in the New York City-in the city of New York ever.


O'DONNELL: George Pataki took him into his administration, just in 2006. And so to see Pataki jump over into this kind of betrayal of Scozzafava is the thing that really pushed her over the edge. And that's where she-when it came out-when the dust was clear, there was no party left of hers to endorse and she had to make a choice of, "Do I go with this conservative guy, who's incapable of representing the district, does not live in the district, or do I go with the guy who understands the district and is more in agreement with me?"

And she went with the candidate who was more in agreement with her.

OLBERMANN: Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC and "The Huffington Post," and this program, of course-great thanks for your insight on this issue particularly.

O'DONNELL: Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN: For more on the Republican Party's apparent party war on moderates, let's turn to MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, also senior strategist at Public Strategies, and author of "Renegade: The Making of a President."

Good evening, Richard.


OLBERMANN: Sarah Palin and Dede Scozzafava-might this be as simple as the Republican Party is no longer big enough nor tolerant enough for both of them?

WOLFFE: Well, the Republican Party has been conducting this purge of moderates for a very long time. It started with the Club for Growth and Grover Norquist, and we're seeing it reached a sort of logical conclusion because there aren't that many moderates left. And yes, the party isn't big enough for the Tweeter and Facebook poster for the north, but it goes to something more than this, which is, what kind of party do they want to have?

And can they see the threat, really, the kind of mortal threat that this independent conservative movement opposes? Not just to moderates, but to the party as a whole. I think this is-typically for Sarah Palin, a tactical move, not a strategic one. The long-term strategy doesn't lead to any good conclusion for the Republican Party.

OLBERMANN: Tomorrow's result in this is interesting, fascinating in its own way. Is the actual result that we need to pay attention to already complete-this whole weekend of drama with Scozzafava pulling out and then endorsing the Democrat?

WOLFFE: Well, look, the media is going to portray the whole thing as a-as a referendum on Obama. He-I don't think the election results or what we're seeing out of this is anything to do with Obama. He's not on the ballot. There is economic distress. There are bigger concerns going on.

But by far the biggest story here is the kind of independent politics that Obama harnessed on the left and people are trying to figure out what it means for the right. You know, Sarah Palin moving in this direction is just contradictory to any hope she has in the Republican Party. It's not feasible for her to do the Republican track and this independent track at the same time.

OLBERMANN: All right. The polling on it-let me go to that first and then I've got a question that follows up with what you just said, by Siena Research. Hoffman is leading Owens by five points, it's 41-36. Undecideds are 18 percent, a day before the election. Scozzafava is still on there and still registering as 6. So, it's basically a quarter of the electorate is still up for grabs.

As we suggested, if Hoffman wins, if-McDonnell wins, it's expected in Virginia tomorrow tonight, this is going to be presented by the far right as this referendum or maybe referenda against Obama and a forecast for 2010. Why would they not be correct in that?

WOLFFE: Well, because there are so many bigger things going on in politics right now. Whether you look at the kind of low turnout we're seeing, that this affection with the Republican Party. And again, if it weren't for Obama, you'd be saying the same thing for Democrats, too. There's a much broader level of distrust in institutions and parties going on that this kind of gets to, but it's such an individual race.

As Lawrence was just explaining, the individual dynamics of these districts make it incredibly hard to extrapolate out. And, you know, if you need any evidence of that, look at the 2001 results across the country. Did that portend what was going to happen for Republicans in 2002? No. These off-year elections in between the presidentials and the midterms are incredibly unreliable.

OLBERMANN: Obviously, and Lawrence pointed this out, the 23rd is open because the Obama administration named the former occupant of that seat to be secretary of the army, Mr. McHugh. He took the former Utah governor, Jon Huntsman, made him ambassador to China. This afternoon, the White House press secretary, Mr. Gibbs, was asked about this, Doug Hoffman's surge in the polls, he called it fascinating.

I'm going to go out on the limb here. Am I right about this? The White House tried to accelerate the Republican purge of its own moderates by picking off some of them for itself and sort of making that process go a little faster in places like the New York 23rd?

WOLFFE: Not much of a limb there. Look, never mind what they did with Hillary Clinton and secretary of state, the idea that this president got elected by reaching out to moderates, by looking reasonable gets to the heart of this issue.

And Democrats also need to understand that. Being ideologically pure at this time is very self-satisfying, but if you're going to reach the broad mass of American voters who decide these elections, you've got to be in the center, you've got to do both. You've got to hit your base and get the moderates, too. Appointing those people to the administration was an important signal aw, and yes, it had this strategic impact, too. Very smart politics.

OLBERMANN: Richard Wolffe of MSNBC, author of "Renegade," and also, of course, with Public Strategies-thank you, sir.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: MSNBC will be live all night tomorrow as the election results from New Jersey and Virginia come in. We're looking at New Jersey and Virginia. I'll join you for COUNTDOWN live at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and live again at 10:00 p.m. along with the rest of the MSNBC prime-time lineup, in New Jersey and Virginia.

One might define a Democrat as a Republican who suddenly found out he needed help from the government besides a tax cut or a no-bid contract or somebody willing to take his bribe. In which case, there is tonight Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who a year ago was the chief economic adviser in the campaign of John McCain and who tonight may be the chief victim of the health care policies of Mr. McCain's party. See, his insurance has run out and he has-and welcome to the real world, Mr. Adviser-a pre-existing condition.


OLBERMANN: Speaker of the House prepares to move health care reform to the floor while the already notorious North Carolina congresswoman raises the hyperbole to laugh-out-loud stupidity, by claiming health care reform is more dangerous than al Qaeda and other terrorists.

And the Philadelphia Phillies already won the World Series possibly because Alex Rodriguez had to go to the White House to serve as an adviser to the president, according to a Philadelphia newspaper.

And the superior minds of the right-wing media are all on Twitter because Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers went to that White House this year-except they didn't.

You're watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN: If we had elected a "President McCain," his domestic financial policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, would be helping to fight the shape the health care debate. Instead, unemployed, Mr. Holtz-Eakin's COBRA health insurance is about to run out and he's preparing to pay sky-high insurance premiums because he's 51 and he has a pre-existing condition.

In our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN: As the Democratic leadership works to get there health care reform to the House floor by week's end, Mr. Holtz-Eakin's ironic yet no less compelling story reminds us health care for all is health care for all.

Congressman Alan Grayson joins us presently. But first, the latest on the House health care reform bill. Aides to the speaker say the leadership has been in a series of meetings discussing amendment plans and specific language for the bill. And NBC News is reporting that the Democratic disagreements over abortion rights and immigration have pushed the House vote until at least Friday.

Meanwhile, the House minority leader, Mr. Boehner, says the Republicans' goal is to make the bill as difficult as possible to vote for and that the GOP will have an alternative bill in the next several days. If by several days you mean a period of time equivalent to the Pleistocene Era.

Mr. Boehner getting some assistance on the Senate side from-who else but Senator Lieberman of Connecticut who says doing nothing would be better than voting for the public option. He blames public option supporters for obstructing reform and he says he will single-handedly stop this obstruction with more obstruction of his own.


LIEBERMAN: The government going into the health insurance business, I think it's such a mistake that I would use the power I have as a single senator to stop a final vote.


OLBERMANN: As promised, joining me now, Congressman Alan Grayson, the Democrat of Florida.

Thanks for some of your time tonight, sir.

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Thanks. Great to be here. I'm having a good day.

OLBERMANN: Good. Do you believe the House bill is going to be on the floor by the end of the week?

GRAYSON: Saturday, maybe. If not, then, Monday.

OLBERMANN: Are you confident it is going to pass and there'll be enough reform in it to make it worthwhile?

GRAYSON: Absolutely. Look, the main thing is we have to save American lives. As you pointed out on this show a few weeks ago, there's 122 Americans who are dying every single day before that because they have no health care.

If you take two people who are exactly identical, same age, same race, same smoking habits, same weight, and one of them has insurance and one of them doesn't, the one without insurance in America is 40 percent more likely to die.

OLBERMANN: You have already outlined on the floor of the House one of

or the basic Republican tenets of a health insurance plan. When Mr.

Boehner says he's going to have an alternative bill ready-first off, they've been saying that all year and there's been nothing yet so far. But is there-is there actually one in the works? Have you heard of anything and what might be in it?

GRAYSON: I think what's in it is more of the same. They're going to try to do whatever they can to placate the insurance company. The Republican National Party is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America and that's especially true of the insurance companies. They'll do whatever the insurance companies want.

OLBERMANN: Did you, to that point, find it telling in that little clip we just played of Senator-played of Senator Lieberman, where he said the government going into the health insurance business is such a mistake. This really does mainline back to the fact of which state he represents and who his largest campaign contributors are, does it not?

GRAYSON: There are hundreds and hundreds of people in Connecticut who will live if this bill passes and will die if it doesn't.

OLBERMANN: It can't be more bluntly stated than that.

Let me ask you about this Douglas Holtz-Eakin story that I mentioned earlier. He's paying $1,000 a month to extend the private health insurance that he'd gotten through the campaign last year with Mr. McCain. He's told "The Washington Post," here's the quote, "Let's not whine too much about me, I'm a wealthy, affluent American in the big picture."

Didn't in a way almost as cutting to the point as the way you have used on the floor, didn't he just define the health care debate?

GRAYSON: Sure he has. Look, go to our Web site, and you'll see what life is like for real Americans who can't get health care. We have accumulated hundreds and hundreds of stories from people whose loved ones died because they could not get the health care they need. And that's America right now. That's an America we want to put behind us.

OLBERMANN: Is the current plan as we understood from the FOX commentator and Republican consultant, Mr. Kristol, said that they're going to after this argument, they're going to really to try to hit home against reform by claiming this is all about cutting Medicare. And if that's the case, what's the Democrat-Democratic defense play on that?

GRAYSON: The Democratic defense play is to tell the Republicans stop lying.


OLBERMANN: Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida, as always, to the point and succinct.

GRAYSON: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: . and thanks for being both and for your time tonight.

GRAYSON: Thank you very much, Keith. We're close to the end of this long, long road to affordable, universal, comprehensive health care in America.

OLBERMANN: Amen. Congratulations in advance.

GRAYSON: Thank you.

OLBERMANN: Contrary to Dick Nixon's advice and Dick Cheney's practice, saying "I can't recall" doesn't necessarily immunize you from a charge of perjury. John Dean analyzes the details of its interview with the FBI by Dick Cheney, or Dick Cheney's interview by the FBI just released by the FBI to answer whether Cheney might be guilty.

And Jeremiah Wright and Williams Ayers at the White House? Sarah Palin is winking excitedly. There's only one small problem in the far-right's latest orgasmic dream.


OLBERMANN: "Bests" in a moment. Did you know the Philadelphia Phillies already won the World Series last night?

First, on this date in 1957, at least eight eyewitnesses in Levelland, Texas, including the town's fire chief, separately reportedly a series of close encounters with a rocket-shaped object that landed and took off at various points around town. And in each case, the engines of the witnesses' vehicles would not work while the object was nearby. There were three theories. This was intense lightning. It was an unidentified flying object. Or if the late Texas-born comedian Bill Hicks, this is proof that UFOs in fact contain hillbilly aliens who are only interested in coming here to widdle (ph).

Let's play "Oddball."

We begin with security camera footage inside a liquor warehouse in Moscow where the vodka is 80 proof, but not idiot-proof. Pallets of booze are stacked to the ceiling when the man in the yellow forklift at the top of the screen begins to back up and never, never stops-and never, never stops.

And down goes vodka! Two warehouse rows of alcohol gone in seconds. The accident caused over $150,000 worth of damage. If you heard crying last night, those were the people in Russia complaining about this.

The fork lift driver got away with a leg injury. He was treated with some ice and a twist of lemon. His condition is listed as shaken, not stirred.

More booze news. This time, a stupidity, honesty cocktail. This is Mary Strey of Granton, Wisconsin, who is driving home from the bar Saturday night when she decided to report a crime by calling 911.


DISPATCHER: Clark County 911.

MARY STREY, GRANTON, WISCONSIN RESIDENT: Somebody's really drunk driving down Granton Road.

DISPATCHER: Which way are they going?

STREY: They are going.

DISPATCHER: Towards Granton or towards Neillsville?

STREY: Towards Granton.

DISPATCHER: OK. Are you behind them, or.

STREY: No, I am them.

DISPATCHER: You am them?

STREY: Yes, I am them.

DISPATCHER: OK. So, you want to call and report that you're driving drunk?



OLBERMANN: She "am them." Ms. Strey was thanked for turning herself and arrested for failing both a field sobriety test and sixth grade grammar.

Former vice president of the United States may have perjured himself, the legal analyst of John Dean next. And a special return of Bushed!

But first, time for COUNTDOWN's Top Three Best Persons in the World.

Dateline: The Web. Number three: Best uninformed blogger. David Xaviel of convinced that the ESPN cable channel is reporting some stories, and not reporting others because of an East Coast bias. He wrote, "You would like to see the U.S. Congress and FCC investigate whether they should remove ESPN's license to broadcast." You do realize ESPN doesn't have to have a license to broadcast, right? Because it's not broadcasting, it's on cable and the FCC doesn't have any authority over cable.

Dateline: New York. Number two: Best disproof of the device "know thyself." CNN, which recently let this go out on the air, quote, "Some of us, like my colleagues here at CNN, are still trying to do journalism. I'm not critical of what my friends at FOX News and MSNBC do, but it is apples and oranges when compared to what we at CNN do. And we should all just acknowledge that."

Two words, Lou Dobbs. If you have Lou Dobbs, the out-of-control vintage 19th century horse-drawn fire engine of hate on your network, you long ago stopped trying to do journalism. And we should all just acknowledge that.

And dateline Philadelphia, number one, best typos. The "Philadelphia Inquirer" today published this ad congratulating the Phillies on having already won back-to-back world championships. Not only do the Phillies begin play tonight trailing three games to one in that World Series, but in order for the ad to have been accurate, they would have had to have swept the New York Yankees in four games.

But wait, there's more; a headline on page A-20 was supposed to read "Limbaugh/Axelrod Trade Jabs." Instead it reads, "Limbaugh/Alex-Rod Trade Jabs." Alex-Rod, as in Alex Rodriguez. After that one, I understand they're still trying to talk A-Rod's girlfriend, Kate Hudson, down from the ledge.


OLBERMANN: The FBI has released its report on its May 28th, 2004, interview with Vice President Dick Cheney about his role in the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA operative, after her husband had challenged the Bush/Cheney lie about Iraqi WMD.

In our third story tonight, Cheney's response to the FBI, in sum, Valerie Plame who now? Joining the FBI interview of Cheney at the White House Office was prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who would later declare that, quote, there is a cloud over the vice president.

Cheney's chief of staff, Scooter Libby, was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for having blocked Fitzgerald from discovering Cheney's full role.

According to the Associated Press, we know that now at least 72 times during Cheney's one interview with the FBI he declined to answer or, far more often, said he could not recall the answer. Could not recall, telling Libby Plame's identity. Libby reminding him of this fact later on.

Or that Libby had leaked Plame's name to reporters. Did remember that he wanted spokesman Scott McClellan to tell reporters that he had not leaked Plame's name.

He admitted he learned Plame's name well before Libby from CIA Director George Tenant.

In the section on the people with whom Cheney discussed Plame, two lines are redacted. The blog Fire Dog Lake correlates the lines to a Justice Department filing claiming privilege. Quote, "because they summarize a confidential conversation between the vice president and the president."

Mr. McClellan says, in his book, that Cheney's lawyer, who was at the FBI interview, later leaked to reporters that the president had declassified select information about Iraq. But when Cheney was asked about this declassification by the FBI, he claimed executive privilege.

Let's turn now to the White House council under President Nixon, John Dean, now columnist at, and author of "Blind Ambition," "Worse Than Watergate," "Broken Government," and more. Welcome back, John.


OLBERMANN: Is this perjury? Is this obstruction? And if it's either, how come there are no charges?

DEAN: Well, the key element of perjury, of course, is being under oath. There's no indication in the notes of the interview that this was a sworn testimony. There's a lot of evidence that he gave a number of false statements to federal officials, which is clearly a federal offense, under 18-USC-1,001, the False Statement Statute. And it could well be an obstruction of justice.

So it's not clear why Fitzgerald did not aggressively pursue this. This, Keith, is something of a record. If you'll recall, former Chief of Staff Bob Halderman did 150 I don't recalls during his three days before the Senate Watergate Committee. This is 72 in less than three hours. That's right up there.

OLBERMANN: Well, he's got that going for him, at least. Does the whole thing, particularly the number of apparent false statements to federal authorities, explain why the vice president pushed so hard for a pardon for Mr. Libby?

DEAN: Well, this to me is one of the best explanations of what did happen, why Cheney pushed his relationship with Bush, if not to the breaking point, very close to it, to try to get a pardon for Libby. He clearly, it shows in this testimony, as well as in all his other actions, that Libby fell on the sword for his boss. His boss, obviously, felt an obligation and wanted to maintain that relationship of confidentially, if you will.

And I think he, by pushing it to the bitter end, certainly did that. He left a record to Libby that he did his best, anyway, even though he didn't succeed.

OLBERMANN: One thing here makes no sense to me at all. Perhaps you can explain this. Fire Dog Lake, the website, pointed this out, that Cheney and his lawyer claimed executive privilege about the National Intelligence Estimate when Mr. Fitzgerald asked him about that. But the lawyer later leaked the answer to the media anyway. What does that mean? What does that say?

DEAN: Well, it says several things. Obviously, it shows that top-secret classifications are in the eyes of the beholder. And when you have a witness who is your client and he's just testified and he's the vice president and can give this information to you to help bolster that testimony, not to mention to help make the case for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, you leak it, just as they did. And it worked effectively.

OLBERMANN: Cheney began, in this interview with the FBI, by saying that talk show appearances were the extent of his interaction with journalists, and then he refused to sign confidentiality waivers. Is that two plus two equals fill in the blank?

DEAN: I think that's a different kind of math. Maybe differential equations. We have a situation here where clearly Cheney said throughout his testimony that he hadn't talked to any journalists whatsoever. It makes no sense that he wouldn't sign a waiver immediately, why he had to talk to his lawyer. It makes no sense at all.

So either it means that he was concerned that, in fact, he had given an interview with more than one who would impeach his own testimony, or it means that it shows his utter disdain for the process, if he's not in charge.

OLBERMANN: Lastly, John, in terms of this process, in sum, what have we learned because the FBI released these notes?

DEAN: Well, we certainly have learned a lot about Cheney's personality and character and style. We've learned he's very effective at dissembling. He has now gotten himself beyond the statute of limitations. These are no threat to him whatsoever, now that they have been released. And there are a lot of little things down in the weeds of these revelations that I think people like Fire Dog Lake, which have done great digging, will find further information in these things that will be revelatory.

So I think we have more to learn from this rather powerful interview.

OLBERMANN: John Dean, author of "Worse Than Watergate," "Broken Government," and "Conservatives Without Conscious," and one of the experts on the subject of remembering stuff that we have available to us. Thank you, John.

DEAN: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: Good thing Fox isn't some propaganda arm of the right wing. They just gave Orly Taitz Limbaugh 30 minutes of softball questions because he's soft, I guess. This weirdest of our Congress people now says health care reform is more dangerous than terrorism. Don't hit the microphone-let it hit you in the head, lady.

And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour to discuss Joe Lieberman's betrayal on health care reform of the people that elected him, her special guest is Ned Lamont.

But first, because they may be gone, but their deed outlive them, this headline lingering from the previous administration's 50 running scandals, still Bushed.

Get a roll of stamps and mail it in gate. Continuing his unseemly tour as the ex-president who will talk to your group if you pay him enough, Mr. Bush was asked by business leaders in the Indian city of New Delhi if Osama bin Laden was still alive. Bush's conclusion, I guess he's not dead. He added, however, that he's not leading victory parades, nor espousing his cause on television. This from the man who promised eight years ago last month to get bin Laden, quote, dead or alive, and who committed this country to two wars, one pointless, the other as under-supported as if he had intended not to win it, to fulfill his boast. Bush then had the nerve to say he hoped we did not abandon the people of Afghanistan, as if he had not done that personally in 2002.

The presidency has ended, but the stupidity lingers on.


OLBERMANN: Chris Wallace interviews Orly Taitz Limbaugh. I've seen tougher questions on the program is colon detox hype?

That's next, but first time for COUNTDOWN's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Pat Boone, the ex-teeny bopper singer. Has now authored one of those dog whistle, you know, assassination, insurrection columns for the deplorable Newsmax site, writing that exterminators needs to go to the White House and kill its, quote, varmints and unwelcome creatures. "I believe figuratively, but in a very real way, we need to tent the White House. To the dismay of millions of us, this occupant seems to think we need an emperor. Our White House is being eaten away from within. We urgently need to throw a tent, a public remonstration and outcry over that hallowed abode, to cause them to quake and hunker down inside, and then treat the invaders, the alien rodents, to massive rodent gas, the most lethal antidote to would be tyrants and usurpers. We must clean house, starting with our own White House."

Funny he uses the word usurpers. Pat Boone has now personally done more to try to incite violence against the elected representatives of the United States government than the entire country did during the two terms of George W. Bush. He should be ashamed of himself. Particularly in his distrust of democracy and distrust of the American way of life.

The runner-up, the infamous Congresswoman Virginia Foxx of North Carolina. She's the one who claimed health care reform would lead to the murder of seniors. She's the one who claimed that the conclusion that the murder of Matthew Sheppard was homophobia was a, quote, hoax. This just in from the senile lady from the North Carolina Sixth: "I believe the greatest fear that we all should have to our freedom comes from this room, this very room, and what may happen later this week in terms of a tax increase bill masquerading as a health care bill. I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country."

Well, Ms. Foxx, clearly, your employers in the insurance industry do have that fear. And honestly, when I said Fox News, no relation, had done more long-term damage to this country than al Qaeda, meaning the nation was strong enough to survive al Qaeda fundamentally unchanged, but Murdoch was eating away at our national soul, the skulls of several conservative apologists exploded.

You've now got an actual elected Congresswoman with her lips so firmly attached to the insurance butt that she could make this insane analogy. So where are the conservative screamers now?

But our winners, Amanda Carpenter of the "Washington Times," Michael Goldfarb of the "Weekly Standard," Mary Katherine Ham of O'Reilly's show and Ed Morrissey of the Hot Air Blog. Their tweets on Friday, as rounded up by Think Progress, after the administration voluntarily released a list of 500 visitors to the White House from January through July.

Wrote the condescending Miss Hamm, "Friday afternoon visitor logs have two visits by Bill Ayers, one by Jeremiah Wright." From Ed Morrissey, super genius, "Jeremiah Wright has visited the White House more often than McChrystal and Petraeus combined." From Miss Carpenter, a modest woman with much to be modest about, "WH visits, Kim Gandy 12, Immelt five, Bill Ayers two, John Podesta 17, George Soros two, Andy Stern 22, Trumka seven, Oprah two, Jeremiah Wright one."

From the breathless Mr. Goldfarb, "I tried to warn you, America."

Why didn't we hear more about this? Jeremiah Wright at the White House? Bill Ayers? Bill Ayers? Wouldn't we be able to hear Sarah Palin's rapture from Alaska without microphones, just coming through the walls and windows of our homes? As the White House ethics counselor, Norm Eisan, in an introduction that none of the conservative rocket scientists apparently bothered to read, "given this large amount of data, the records we are publishing today include a few false positives, names that make you think of a well-known person, but are actually someone else. In September, requests were submitted for the names of some famous or controversial figures. For example, Michael Jordan, Williams Ayers, Michael Moore, Jeremiah Wright, Robert Kelly-R Kelly-and Malik Shabazz. The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House. Nevertheless, we were asked for those names and so we have included records for those individuals who were here and share the same names."

And there is your conservative intelligencia in action. Shoot first, figure out if it was too good to be true later. Amanda Carpenter of the "Washington Times," Michael Goldfarb of the "Weekly Standard," Mary Katherine Hamm of O'Reilly's show and Ed Morrissey of the Hot Air Blog, or, as we call them here, clowns, today's worst persons in the world.


OLBERMANN: We tweak Fox noise here every once in a ten-minute span, but at least we can count on one of those real journalists the network claims are so different from its opinion people to produce a hard-hitting interview. Our number one story in the COUNTDOWN, Chris Wallace takes on Orly Taitz Limbaugh, who, frankly, must have faced tougher questions from one of those doctors he used to shop.

The smooch fest was evident from the beginning in Wallace's first question. The inclusion of one word might have tipped us off.


CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: This week, it will be one year since Barack Obama was elected president. In that time, what has he done for and to the country?


OLBERMANN: To? To the country? No better way for Wallace to set himself up as the eager enabler to Mr. Limbaugh.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think it's all to. I don't think there's any for. Chris, I'm really, really worried we've never seen this kind of radical leadership at such a high level of power in the country. I believe that the economy is under siege, is being destroyed. And I have to think that it may be on purpose, because this is just outrageous, what is happening, a denial of liberty, an attack on freedom.


OLBERMANN: Wow, Orly Taitz, that was almost worthy of Michele Bachmann. But a man admits to a blatant political agenda, off which he makes tens of millions of dollars annually, and then he accuses the president of the United States of not just harming the country, but doing so deliberately. And the follow-up is another softball about, you know, there was 3.5 percent growth in the third quarter.

But Limbaugh did offer some original material, again, prompted by Mr.



WALLACE: You have now taken to calling Mr. Obama the man child president.


WALLACE: What does that mean?

LIMBAUGH: Just he's immature. He's a child. I think he's got a five-minute career. He was in the Senate for 150 days. He was a community organizer in Chicago for however number of years. He really has no experience running anything. He's very young. I think he's got an out of this world ego. I think he's very narcissistic.

And he's able to focus all attention on him, all the time. That description is simply a way to cut through the noise and say he's immature, inexperienced, in over his head.


OLBERMANN: And this is the expert in that field. Later, when Wallace throws Limbaugh another softball, this one about Afghanistan, Limbaugh starts in on his Obama doesn't care about the troops canard. Mr. Wallace reserves some of his biggest push back for that nonsense. Listen carefully. You just might hear Wallace say, come on.


WALLACE: You suggest that he is taking all of this time to decide what to do in Afghanistan to keep his left-wing base on board for health care reform.

LIMBAUGH: Well, it's partly that, but I also don't think he cares much about it.

WALLACE: Oh, come on.

LIMBAUGH: No. See, this is-


OLBERMANN: Oh, Mr. Wallace will be thrashed severely for that come on. What about the president going to Dover Air Force Base, Wallace asks? "You don't think that Barack Obama has profound respect for our soldiers?"

And there it is, the fair and balanced act we've all been waiting for.


LIMBAUGH: It was a photo op. It was a photo op precisely because he's having big-time trouble on this whole Afghanistan dithering situation. Bush did this-

WALLACE: Well, now, Bush-

LIMBAUGH: There were no cameras.

WALLACE: I don't know that he ever went to Dover, Delaware.

LIMBAUGH: He went to see families.

WALLACE: He certainly went to see families.

LIMBAUGH: But he didn't make photo ops out of it.

WALLACE: The argument would be that it was political of Bush not to be seen with the coffins, because he was trying to hide it, hide the cost of war from the American people.

LIMBAUGH: Well, I have the benefit of knowing George Bush a little bit. And I've seen him cry talking about missions that he's ordered.


OLBERMANN: That was enough, Limbaugh's invocation of knowing Bush a little bit and Bush the crier, to make Wallace cave completely. By the way, Chris, you did not need to hedge on that at all, about Bush having not gone to Dover for the Dignified Transfer or Remains, because he didn't, not ever.

Returning to domestic policy, after giving the Limbaugh the chance to repeat the charge that the Obama health care plan is "the biggest snatch of freedom and liberty that has yet occurred in this country," Mr. Wallace asked Mr. Limbaugh to suggest an actual solution.


LIMBAUGH: Take some of the unspent stimulus. We have 85 percent of the stimulus unspent. Take some of it. For 35 to 40 billion a year, you could insure those people. Not two trillion, not 1.4 trillion. If that's the objective, do it now.


OLBERMANN: And there you have it, an oddly revelatory answer to a throwaway question. Attention radio listeners, Orly Taitz Limbaughs wants them government to spend some of the stimulus money to buy health insurance for the uninsured and socks for everybody who doesn't own any.

But the crown jewel of this mutual admiration society came when Wallace asked Limbaugh about Glenn Beck's success. Limbaugh has been asked this before, and has been given himself credit for being basically the father of all conservative media as we know it. He did that again this time, but with a bit more specificity.


LIMBAUGH: And now look-now look what's up, all of this conservative media, conservative talk radio, television, Fox News, the conservative blogosphere. I mean, in one way, I can-if I wanted to have my ego be as big as Obama is, I could say, look what I created.


OLBERMANN: So Limbaugh includes Fox News in his list of conservative media, between conservative talk radio and the conservative blogosphere. How does Chris "Fair and Balanced" Wallace react? No defense of his channel's proclaimed neutrality, not even self-defense as his one time status as an actual network level journalist. Crickets.

In fact, his next question begins, let's talk about you. And after asking Limbaugh about what he learned about himself in drug rehab, Wallace turned to the exciting topic of Limbaugh's salary. When Limbaugh seemed a bit put off, this came next.


WALLACE: And don't get me wrong, I think you're a great broadcaster.

How can you possibly be worth that kind of money?


OLBERMANN: Oh, TMZ could use you. Oh, Rush, you're great. And I, Chris Wallace, am a real tough interviewer. And after all this-remember, we're reviewing these excerpts in sequence-Wallace then asked this.


OLBERMANN: Finally, some politics. You predict a possible bloodbath for Democrats in 2010.


OLBERMANN: Finally, some politics! Right, because everything that had proceeded that was in no way political. It was just the musings of a what? Failed, low-level baseball executive? Fired top 40 DJ? Let's do what Mr. Wallace did not do. Let's balance our analysis out to end with a good question and answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE Is it true that, as of this broadcast, it's been confirmed that you've helped more people regain their health through internal cleansing than any other formulator over the last 12 months?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, according to the stats, as best we can tell, Dual Action Cleanse is the number one selling cleansing product in America, knock on wood. So-


OLBERMANN: Here's a riddle. If you've got an empty room and you put Orly Taitz Limbaugh and Chris Wallace in it, what do you have then? An empty room.

That's COUNTDOWN for this the 2,377th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.

And now to discuss Joe Lieberman's vow that no health care reform is better than the current plan, with her special guest, Ned Lamont, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening, Rachel.



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