Guests: Rachel Maddow, Jonathan Alter, Welton Gaddy, Chris Kofinis
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
The other side is playing with fire. The House Democrat pushing an anti-abortion agenda, threatens the majority who aren‘t, threatens Senate Democrats—as Bart Stupak risks the lives of 44,000 Americans who die each year for want of insurance.
The politics with Rachel Maddow; the morals with Reverend Welton Gaddy.
George W. Bush finally found something he may have done wrong: the bank bailout.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FMR. U.S. PRESIDENT: I went against my free-market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets so that we could avoid a major global depression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Nice dog whistle. Now, the far-right can claim it‘s all Obama‘s bailout.
That president is surprisingly silent on Afghanistan. This one insists none of the options his military has given him are satisfactory—demands a new set.
Sarah Palin on “Oprah Winfrey,” and here come the tease sound bites—the Katie Couric interview, McCain‘s advisers told her it was a good interview and she should do more, she, of course, knew better.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FMR. ALASKA GOVERNOR: Of course, I‘m thinking, if you thought that was a good interview, I don‘t know what a bad interview was because I knew it wasn‘t a good interview.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: “Worsts”: Lou Dobbs says he was the victim of a vast conspiracy—by invisible aliens; a Colorado state senator compares the president to a 9/11 hijacker, and the senator hasn‘t even resigned yet.
And the self destruction of Carrie Prejean, part eleventy billion. The solo sex tape, she was 20 when she made it, says the guy she made it for. And it was one of many tapes.
And look what happened when Larry King tried to exercise his First Amendment right to ask her about the settlement of her lawsuit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: You took the mike off. If you put the mike on, we can hear you.
CARRIE PREJEAN, FORMER MISS CALIFORNIA: Yes, I think that you are being extremely inappropriate right now and I‘m about to leave your show.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Look, Carrie Prejean is being silenced. Carrie Prejean‘s freedom of speech is being violated by that evil Carrie Prejean.
All that and more—now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PREJEAN: Why is there this double standard?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening, from New York.
A strategy that is proving to have the most potential yet to defeat health care reform, one that might tear the Democratic caucus apart in the House—a strategy that seeks to deny women access to a specific medical procedure that is not illegal—just ask the Supreme Court.
Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: And the Republicans finally figured out how to bring down the health care bill? No, they have not. But a Democratic congressman is doing this to his own party while claiming that he is the one who is being double-crossed, Mr. Bart Stupak of the Michigan first—the Stupak behind the Stupak Amendment. It would prohibit any government-run insurance plan created by the health care bill from covering abortion as well as prohibiting anyone receiving credits to purchase private insurance from purchasing the policy that had abortion coverage in it.
As you might expect, women‘s rights groups enraged to learn that the House bill passed last weekend has such an amendment in it. Administration officials, including the White House chief of staff, Mr. Emanuel, are meeting with the head of the National Organization of Women in an attempt to smooth things over. The president‘s aides will also be meeting with faith groups as health care negotiations continue.
Mr. Stupak, himself, is now issuing threats about the course of those negotiations while claiming his threats are not threats. The congressman telling LifeNews.com, “The other side is playing with fire. If they‘re going to summarily dismiss us by taking the pen to that language, there will be hell to pay. I don‘t say it as a threat, but if they double-cross us, there will be 40 people who won‘t vote with them the next time they need us and that could be the final version of this bill.”
Double-cross? To which party does Mr. Stupak think he belongs?
Right there on page 50 of the 2008 Democratic Party platform, the Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman‘s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, and regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken and undermine that right.
While we‘re at this, any decision about the final legislation would not be made unilaterally. Mr. Stupak and 438 other members of Congress would be given the chance to what is called “vote on the bill,” as would 100 senators. That‘s the way the republic works, Congressman.
If Mr. Stupak would decide he might be more comfortable as a member of the GOP, he would have this dilemma to face. Politico.com is reporting tonight that the Republican National Committee‘s health insurance plan purchased from CIGNA includes coverage for elective abortion.
Rachel will have much more on this at the top of the hour but, frankly, we couldn‘t wait.
Good evening, my friend.
RACHEL MADDOW, “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” HOST: Good evening, Keith.
Nice to see you. Thanks for having me on the show.
OLBERMANN: Our pleasure. Thank you.
Congressman Stupak‘s use of this term “double-cross,” “The Washington Independent” reported that Republicans see the Stupak Amendment as a win/win no matter how it ends. So, who‘s double-crossing whom?
MADDOW: You know, Keith, we did some original reporting today on this, on my staff in preparation for an interview that I‘m going to do on the subject with Ed Rendell. And it turns out that there is absolutely no sign that Congressman Stupak has been double-crossed in any way. There‘s no sign of any sort of deal that his language, his anti-abortion language, would survive into the Senate. There‘s absolutely no sign of a deal that he was promised that his anti-abortion language would survive in the conference committee. There‘s no sign of any sort of deal that he was promised that this would last into the final version of the bill.
What he was promised was that he could bring up his amendment and that it would get a vote in the House. That happened. It passed. It‘s done. Nobody owes him anything.
This allegation that he‘d be double-crossed if his language doesn‘t make it into the final bill is completely made up. And it‘s complete nonsense on his part.
OLBERMANN: The other odd thing to this, and it‘s not necessarily nonsense, but I‘d love an explanation from you about this, if you think you have one. This House meeting with both—the White House meeting with both the women‘s advocates groups and faith groups—did the faith groups get this president elected? What is the way out for them in this?
MADDOW: I think that the White House is probably taking both those meetings on both sides of this because it is their style, as you know, to sort of maintain cordial relations with everybody involved here.
But I really feel like the president told us what he was going to do. He told ABC News on tape that the final bill here must not change the status quo on abortion rights. And I think the way out of this is to say, “Listen, neither side is going to be able to use health care reform to either advance or retract abortion rights.” And the way that you get there is by pointing out calling bullpucky on the fiction that without the Stupak language, this would—the health care reform would somehow result in federal funding for abortions. It wouldn‘t.
You need to be able to call that out as a fiction and say, listen, this is not an abortion bill, as the president has said. It‘s a health care bill; neither side gets to hijack it, and that‘s the end.
OLBERMANN: Rachel, is the real danger in this that the moral issue here suddenly gets eclipsed and we‘re not talking about 44,000 Americans in the country who die every year because they don‘t have enough health insurance, but we‘re now off on what is—no matter how important you think it is—an ancillary point?
MADDOW: I think it is a distraction—for the moment—I think that it is a distraction for the moment. But I think the Republicans have screwed this up actually. Even though, this is an inter-Democratic fight, Republicans, like the spokesman for Eric Cantor, have really screwed this up by going on the record and saying, “We‘re really delighted...
MADDOW: ... that the anti-abortion language could kill health reform.”
By Republicans being so overt about that, they‘ve put the focus back squarely on health reform and the fact that this—this—if they try to hijack health reform to make it an anti-abortion vehicle, it does put the whole enterprise at risk, and I don‘t think people want that.
OLBERMANN: One back-door thing that‘s evident in this, and it‘s part of a big picture point that I don‘t really get—whatever you think of it, abortion is legal in this country. If this is Mr. Stupak‘s calling, if his conscience tells him, “You‘ve got to stop this,” why not fight that fight in the open? I mean, if he feels this way, why not introduce a constitutional amendment, draw up a federal law? Gee, maybe you can get more conservatives on the Supreme Court than you have now.
Isn‘t a legal half-measure sideways—coming in sideways against abortion, politically worse than a legal full measure?
MADDOW: Well, I‘m sure he‘s delighted to be able to restrict—try to restrict abortion rights purely by going after women who he thinks won‘t fight back, by targeting women who are not—who are not well off enough to be able to—to be able to pay for abortion services without insurance coverage for them. You end up chipping away at abortion rights without ever having to be brave enough to make your argument on its face. And that‘s what led to the Hyde Amendment, that‘s what‘s led to so many of these other efforts to restrict access to abortion.
They‘re not really man enough to make the argument that it ought to just be gone. They‘d rather just chip away at it from women they think won‘t fight back or can‘t fight back because they don‘t have resources. It‘s cowardly, but it‘s the way they‘ve been doing it for generations.
OLBERMANN: Rachel Maddow, who as I said and as she said, will have much more to say about abortion and health care at the top of the hour, along with your special guest, Governor Ed Rendell.
Thank you, Rach.
MADDOW: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: More on this in a moment. While Congressman Stupak, though, is busy threatening to block health care, you will instead be taking action. The amazing folks at the National Association of Free Clinics busily setting up, as you see, Saturday‘s one-day clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana, made possible by 20,000 of you who have now donated $1,700,000 --since COUNTDOWN first brought this subject up. Thank you. Truth is, we cannot thank you enough.
Other clinics will follow in Little Rock, Arkansas, on the 21st of this month and in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 9th and 10th.
To sign up for a medical appointment or to volunteer, logon to FreeClinics.us or to our Web site, COUNTDOWN.MSNBC.com for more information.
On the subject of health care and moral imperative, let‘s turn now to the Reverend Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance.
Thank you for some of your time tonight, sir.
REV. WELTON GADDY, INTERFAITH ALLIANCE: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: We know about this Harvard University study, details of which have come out in two doses: 44,000 Americans die each year for want of insurance. Now, we know that 2,266 veterans die each year for lack of insurance. You have a better chance surviving kidney disease than you do lack of insurance in this country. Why has this so seldom seen couched, presented in the moral imperative terms the same way that the abortion debate is?
GADDY: Keith, it is by some of us seen very much by a moral perspective, but your very question highlights the problem that we‘re facing right now, and that is that some people in the religious community understand morality one way and some people understand it another. That‘s why the United States Congress is commissioned not to legislate sectarian morality but to legislate policies that are good for the whole nation.
The real question in any debate in Congress ought not be what do the scriptures say, but what does the Constitution say. Not what does it mean to be a good Christian, Jew or Muslim, but what does it mean to be a good American.
OLBERMANN: In relation to Congressman Stupak‘s amendment, specifically. The Catholic bishops now say they can‘t support any health care plan that includes a provision for abortion. Again, the alternative to that is: no provision, no plan, and another 44,000 Americans dying in the next year because of insufficient insurance and another 44,000 after that.
How does that make sense in terms of, to use a phrase, “right to life”?
GADDY: Well, I understand that every religious tradition ought to have a right to advocate for its moral perspective. But once you jump into the political arena, you have to play politics like everyone else plays. Obviously, the Catholic bishops are deciding to play hard ball politics. Now, they also have a responsibility to take the reciprocal action that comes from that.
And there are other people in this nation who understand pro-life to go beyond the life of a fetus, and include the life of an adult. And this legislation is—by the broadest definition—pro-life legislation. It varies from that only in one or two traditions that maximize this issue of abortion as the moral issue that trumps all other moral issues.
OLBERMANN: The Catholic archdiocese of Washington also says it‘s not going to be able to continue its social service programs it runs for the district. That means no help with homelessness, with adoption, with health care clinics if the city is not going to change its proposed same-sex marriage law. How does—explain—help me understand how that makes sense.
GADDY: I can‘t help you understand how that makes sense. Compassion is compassion. And compassion does not take all of its goods and run away when it doesn‘t get its way in a political decision that represents the will of the nation.
The Catholic Church is doing the right thing in advocating for its point of view. The Catholic Church is a good citizen of this nation as are other good citizens in the religious community and beyond. And if they lose on this point, that shouldn‘t trump their commitment to showing compassion in any community.
OLBERMANN: Lastly, a taste allegory religious question. The Michael Moore film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” He‘s got Jesus refusing to heal a sick man because the sick man has a preexisting condition. Is that in good taste? Is it in bad taste? Do you think it makes a religious or moral point?
GADDY: Well, I hope that anybody in the religious community, as well as outside, has a sense of humor. Lord knows we need it these days.
GADDY: It does make a point. It makes a point that within the Christian tradition, healing is a priority and efforts to establish healing are in the best interest of all people.
OLBERMANN: Reverend Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance—it‘s always a pleasure, always an education. Thank you, sir.
GADDY: Great to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: And this had to happen, inevitable really, the one thing George W. Bush did as president that I supported, at least in general terms, and in what some see as his comeback speech, he today announced he regrets it.
Just as Sarah Palin announced she regrets being forced to do the Katie Couric interview while simultaneously being forced to not do interviews.
And, just as Carrie Prejean announced she regrets silencing herself
during the latest interview with liberal bias media trying to silence her -
· to say nothing of all of those sex tapes, plural. OK, I made the last part up.
OLBERMANN: George W. Bush back at the policy ranch and badder than ever. And I mean that.
Oprah Winfrey releases some advanced sound bites from her Sarah Palin interview.
Carrie Prejean, back on autopilot, appearing in front of another camera, and self-circumscribing her First Amendment rights.
In “Worsts”: a tweet—a Colorado state senator compares Obama to a 9/11 suicide hijacker then insists he didn‘t, that‘s why they call it “Tweet-er.”
And it‘s the anniversary of the greatest local news report in American history. Four words: dynamite that whale carcass.
OLBERMANN: For Democrats worried about next election day, news today that may give hope from the same man who handed the Democrats massive gains in 2006 and 2008. That‘s right, America, George Bush is back.
Our fourth story tonight: In his comeback speech today at Southern Methodist University, home of—please don‘t laugh—the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Mr. Bush had a subtle message for tea-baggees, a not so subtle for President Obama, and for humanity at large, the nine most terrifying words in the English language, “I‘m George W. Bush and I‘m here to help.”
Mr. Bush was announcing plans for—again, don‘t laugh—the George W. Bush Institute, which will pursue real world change in areas of education, global health, freedom and economic growth. In discussing economic growth, Mr. Bush apparently embarrassed by a rare success, tried to distance himself from and make excuses for helping to prevent a global economic meltdown last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I believe the role of government is not to create wealth but to create the conditions that allow entrepreneurs and innovators to thrive. I believe in the power of free enterprise, which made the decision I faced last fall one of the most difficult of my presidency. I went against my free market instincts and approved a temporary government intervention to unfreeze the credit markets so that we could avoid a major global depression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Of course, it‘s never too late to return to the same free-market instincts that made a major global depression possible, and Mr. Bush confirmed that is exactly what his institute will try to do with a thinly veiled criticism of President Obama‘s handling of the economy—which has now stabilized, thank you very much—but also of Mr. Obama‘s attempt to restore the Wall Street rules that Mr. Bush and his cronies helped had strip away leading to last year‘s crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: As the world recovers, we‘re going to face a temptation to replace the risk-and-reward model of the private sector with the blunt instruments of government spending and control. History shows that the greater threat to prosperity is not too little government involvement but too much. The Bush Institute will devote itself to promoting economic growth at home and abroad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: But whose economic growth? FOX News‘? They broadcast this thing live. Yours?
Don Evans, who introduced Mr. Bush and you see there not only served as Mr. Bush‘s commerce secretary while the administration ignored and exacerbated the seeds of the crisis, but after leaving the administration, he became CEO of the Financial Services Forum. It only has 18 members—among them, the CEOs of AIG, Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and UBS. It‘s currently devoted to opposing—bingo—re-regulation of Wall Street.
And Bush Institute itself described by Mr. Bush‘s nonpartisan, its advisory board in full: the provost at CMU, major Bush supporter Ray Hunt, Bush Secretary of State Condi Rice, Bush brother Jeb Bush, and Bush unrequited love Karl Rove, non-partisanship Bush style.
Let‘s turn now to MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan Alter, also national affairs columnist for “Newsweek” magazine.
Jon, good evening.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: His bailout may have saved the world, so naturally he has to apologize for it a year later?
ALTER: Yes. Next thing you know, he‘s going to apologize for, I don‘t know, aids relief in Africa.
ALTER: What was the other good thing he did?
OLBERMANN: I think he may have covered them both.
ALTER: Yes. Yes, I think it‘s rather peculiar because when you study that period, if he hadn‘t done that, we would be in a depression now. And yet, he‘s basically saying that there aren‘t really any lessons for us to learn except to go back to the bad old days of unfettered greed when there was basically no regulation to speak of Wall Street.
OLBERMANN: In other words, what happened to the economy last year was just a piece of a plane fell out of the sky, engine fell out of the sky.
OLBERMANN: Now, we cleaned that up, so everything is just fine and he is devoting this institute to working on essentially re-establishing the lack of regulation, the lack of planning, the lack of cultural, societal responsibility. What, you know, what does that mean in terms of Wall Street?
ALTER: Well, it makes me wonder, the global health things he‘s going to do, I‘m sure, will be fine. But when he—when he talks about advancing, you know, free-market ideas here in the United States, is he going to get together with the Club for Growth, the “hair club for growth,” whatever you call it?
These folks are essentially lobbying with Wall Street to weaken regulations. They‘re getting involved in political campaigns to get free-market conservatives elected to Congress. Now, obviously, his institute won‘t do that explicitly, but it sounds like they‘re going to be on the same page.
OLBERMANN: But he does talk about, you know, spreading freedom to Cuba and Venezuela. And—did he mention how he spread freedom to Afghanistan?
ALTER: Yes, yes. Eight years. Yes, this is the thing that I think people don‘t understand about the deliberations that President Obama is in right now. He is—it‘s not like he can look at these memos and say, “All right, well, let‘s figure out what to do with a clean slate.”
We‘re eight years down the road, eight years of failure in Afghanistan. And there are so many other legacies that Obama is dealing with, too, from the Bush years. We could talk all night about them. But on Afghanistan, one thing I think people don‘t quite understand is that the military‘s lesson from Iraq is that never again would they be under-resourced, would they not have the troop strengths that they want.
So, they are literally fighting the last war, and they are pushing him for more troops because Rumsfeld was successful...
ALTER: ... in going to war with too few troops in 2003. So, pretty much every place that Obama turns, he faces the mess that Bush left him. It‘s kind of like a shovel brigade after the elephants.
OLBERMANN: Right. But there‘s something else left out of this equation, which is: he‘s not looking for “Aha, it‘s the magic solution, I found it. This is the thing that‘s going to solve everything.” It‘s “Which of these 34 options is the least worst in Afghanistan?”
ALTER: Right, right. And there are—there is literally no good way out of this box. So whatever decision he makes—and he‘ll probably split the difference in some way—it‘s going to leave a lot of people unhappy and probably not get the job done either way.
OLBERMANN: Jonathan Alter of “Newsweek” and MSNBC—good to see you.
Thanks for coming in.
ALTER: Thanks, Keith. Sorry to depress you on that.
OLBERMANN: No, it‘s—it‘s the truth.
Whether in politics or television, it‘s called a tease. A good tease can win a race for office or for ratings, overdo it, promise more in the tease than the reality delivers and you‘re finished. Oprah Winfrey knows a good tease. She‘s released part of her Sarah Palin interview days in advance of running it to get us all hopped up.
And I also know a good tease. Simply put—today is the 39th anniversary of the greatest report in the history of local television news, and we will show it to you next.
OLBERMANN: Sarah Palin was forced to do interviews and also forced to not do interviews. That‘s coming up.
But first, on this date in 1970, they blew a whale up, blew it up real good. A dead sperm whale washed up on a beach at Florence, Oregon. The state highway division chose one word to summarize how best to dispose of it: Dynamite.
There followed the greatest news report of all time filmed by a man named Doug Brazil and formed by Paul Linnman of KATU Television in Portland. And also followed one of the great weather forecasts of all time: sunny with a chance of whale blubber showers.
We want to celebrate the 39th anniversary of whale day in Oregon with a special episode of “Oddball” showing you most of Mr. Linnman‘s epic report with one final word for warning: no one was really injured. The only true victim was what looks to be a gold-colored 1966 or ‘67 Lincoln Continental. Let‘s play “Oddball.”
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
PAUL LINNMAN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: It had to be said. The Oregon state highway division not only had a whale of a problem on its hands, it had a stinking whale of a problem. What to do with one 45-foot, eight-ton whale dead on arrival on the beach near Florence? It had been so long since a whale had washed up in Lane County, nobody could remember how to get rid of one. In selecting its battle plan, the highway division decided the carcass couldn‘t be buried because it might soon be uncovered. It couldn‘t be cut up and then buried because nobody wanted to cut it up and it couldn‘t be burned. So dynamite it was, some 20 cases or a half ton of it.
GEORGE THORTON, STATE HIGHWAY DIVISION: Well, I‘m confident that it will work. The only thing is, we‘re not sure just exactly how much explosives it will take to disintegrate this thing, so the scavengers, seagulls and crabs and whatnot can clean it up.
LINNMAN: Our camera stopped rolling immediately after the blast. The humor of the entire situation suddenly gave way to a run for survival as huge chunks of whale blubber fell everywhere. A parked car over a quarter of a mile from the blast site was the target of one large chunk. The passenger compartment literally smashed. Fortunately, no human was hit as badly as the car. However, everyone on the scene was covered with small particles of dead whale.
As darkness began to set in, the highway crews were on the beach burying the remains including a large piece of the carcass which never left the blast site. It might be concluded that should a whale ever wash ashore in Lane County again, those in charge will not only remember what to do, they‘ll certainly remember what not to do.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
OLBERMANN: As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.
Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean both pushed the whine-o-meter up to 11.
OLBERMANN: Sarah Palin is about to launch her first campaign swing for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, except the whole thing is disguised as a book tour. In our third story in the COUNTDOWN, the release of Palin‘s roguey schedule oddly enough heavily loaded with locales in battleground states and the Palin/Oprah Winfrey interview in a moment. Oprah did not get where she is today without knowing a publicity gold mine when she sees one. The first clips are out from a very special Oprah about two of Palin‘s favorite things -- first, the interviews with Katie Couric.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY: Let‘s talk about the interview with Katie Couric.
SARAH PALIN: Must we? Yeah, OK. OK.
WINFREY: You talk about in the book, so I assume everything is fair game.
PALIN: It is.
WINFREY: You do say that it wasn‘t your best interview. It was a seminal defining moment for you, that interview.
PALIN: I did not and neither did the campaign. In fact, that is why segment two and three and four and maybe five were scheduled. The campaign said, right on, good, you‘re showing your independence. This is what America needs to see and it was a good interview. And of course I‘m thinking, if you thought that was a good interview, I don‘t know what a bad interview was because I knew it wasn‘t a good interview.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: So Ms. Palin knew better, did she? The former governor is even more blunt in her book, reportedly describing the CBS anchor as badgering and biased. It‘s possible that no one has gotten under Palin‘s skin, not Katie Couric, but as much as Levi Johnston.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: One final question about Levi. Will he be invited to Thanksgiving dinner?
PALIN: You know, that‘s a great question. And it‘s lovely to think
that he would ever even consider such a thing because of course you want
· he is a part of the family. And you want to bring him in the fold and kind of under your wing. And he needs that too, Oprah. I think he needs to know that he is loved and he has the most beautiful child. And this can all work out for good. It really can. We don‘t have to keep going down this road of controversy and drama all the time. We‘re not really into the drama. We don‘t really like that. We‘re more productive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Oh, what‘s with the laugh? Ms. Winfrey, the first but certainly not the last to interview Ms. Palin over the coming weeks but so far only select TV interviews have been announced, no interviews with print publications yet. But Palin‘s book tour will take her to 13 cities in its first seven days and 11 of those cities are in presidential battleground states with Michigan as a particular sore spot for the former governor since she was open about wanting to campaign there even after the McCain campaign decided to give up on the state.
In fact her first book tour stop will be in Grand Rapids, Palin posting on her facebook page, quote, I made a promise to the good people of Michigan that I would be back and now I‘m keeping that promise. From Michigan the going rogue tour will cover as much of the country as possible. I‘ve decided to stop in cities that are not usually included in a typical book tour.
Let‘s turn to Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis. Chris, good evening.
CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good evening Keith.
OLBERMANN: So it‘s just a coincidence that your cities that are not in your typical book tour are in your presidential candidate test the waters tour.
KOFINIS: You have, let‘s see, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, a big bus with Sarah Palin on it. I think the only thing missing is the 2012 logo. I think there should be no doubt that she‘s running for president, which basically means that the heads of the Republican Party, well, their heads just exploded. I think when you kind of step back and you say to yourself OK, what does this mean if she actually is going to run for president? One I think you can safely predict that she‘s going to move every candidate in that Republican primary field to the far right and that‘s a pretty strong statement considering how right a lot of these candidates already are. And two, she‘s going to make whichever candidate is going to come out of that field, it‘s not going to be Sarah Palin but she‘s going to make that candidate so unelectable it is almost going to be a suicide pact.
OLBERMANN: Amazing, isn‘t it, that they didn‘t figure to make the price of the book $20.12? How did they miss that?
KOFINIS: That‘s pretty good.
OLBERMANN: That just came off the top of my head. I mean these people have time to think about this stuff. About this book, AP got a copy of it today, several things in here. One, there‘s a charge that Katie Couric left out the more substantive parts of the interviews in favor of the gotcha segments. Two, Charles Gibson during his interview, peered over his glasses like a disapproving principal. Three, the McCain people screwed up the announcement of the pregnancy of Bristol Palin with a statement that sounded like it was glamorizing their daughter‘s situation. And four, they didn‘t let her speak when McCain conceded on election night. And five, they didn‘t let her bring up all her familiarly members onto the stage during his speech.
There‘s no surprise that there‘s payback to the McCain people or to the media, but is it surprising that some of it seems that naive, that she didn‘t know the losing vice presidential candidate doesn‘t speak, that the entire family doesn‘t come up on the stage, that a TV interviewer might try to throw off an interviewee?
KOFINIS: It seems petty and incredibly whiny, especially for someone who may have presidential ambitions. I mean she was running on a presidential ticket to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Of course it was going to be hard. It should be hard. And in fact—I remember those interviews with Katie Couric. They‘re unforgettable. And one of the questions was, what magazines and newspapers you read? That‘s a gotcha question? Didn‘t ask—Couric didn‘t ask who the prime minister of Uzbekistan was. Couric didn‘t ask, can you recite the treaty—the SALT II treaty? I mean these were not tough questions. So Sarah Palin, I think, is being critical. I think she needs to be critical of fact that her ego far outpaced her capability and her qualifications to be vice president, let alone president.
OLBERMANN: There‘s another charge in the book that says she was generally kept bottled up from reporters but she‘s already accused them of forcing her to do the Couric interview and the other TV interviews. Isn‘t goldilocks in the story required to have one complaint, too hard or too soft?.
KOFINIS: If you just take a look at the clip, the Oprah clip as well as remember the interviews with Katie Couric, I mean—and she sits there and talks about how she knew it was a bad interview. Then if you knew it was a bad interview, why would you do another interview? If I was the communication director for Senator McCain, I would have sent Governor Palin on a trek to Tibet after that interview. It is a horrendous effort. If she wants to blame anyone, I think she needs to look into the mirror and realize that she was simply unqualified to be a candidate for the vice presidency, let alone a candidate potentially for president in 2012.
OLBERMANN: What happens if you look in the mirror and there‘s nothing there?
KOFINIS: That is part of the problem.
OLBERMANN: Democratic strategist, Chris Kofinis. Thanks, Chris.
KOFINIS: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Sex tape. No, no, no, sex tapes and she‘s also managed to violate her own freedom of speech. It‘s another big day in Prejean land.
Worse, the Colorado state senator‘s tweet was, quote, don‘t for a second think Obama wants what is best for you as he is flying the U.S. plane right into the ground at full speed, let‘s roll. And he‘s shocked, shocked that anybody thinks he was mocking the dead of 9/11.
OLBERMANN: Lou Dobbs underscores the old joke that just because you‘re paranoid doesn‘t mean they‘re not out to get you. Glenn Beck again tries to scares people into buying gold from the advertisers on his own show and the Colorado state senator who compares the president to a 9/11 suicide hijacker, worst persons ahead.
Then Carrie Prejean, her sex tapes and Larry King. You‘re watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.
OLBERMANN: In between complaints that her free speech rights are being taken away from her, Carrie Prejean takes away her own free speech rights. The operative phrase is now Carrie Prejean sex tapes plural.
That‘s next, but first, COUNTDOWN‘s number two story tonight, Worst Person in the World. The bronze to Lonesome Rhodes Beck, for his conspiracy of the day. The price of gold is being as his guest put it held down by central banks, by governments to avoid panic buying that would raise the price, even double it. Just a coincidence that many of Beck‘s remaining sponsors sell, gosh, gold, gold.
Of course, it‘s never just about scaring people just to make money. Beck adds, I think people are running out of options on what could be worth something at all... You have to think like a German Jew in 1934, maybe 1931.
Apart from the tone-deaf indefensible invocations of Nazi Germany, he has got the analogy wrong too. I‘m thinking, if I‘m thinking like a German Jew in 1934, um, maybe 1931, I‘m thinking this. If I‘m hearing Glenn Beck, I must be listening to RRG radio, the ReichsGrundfundGeschelshaft (ph).
Runner-up, Lou Dobbs, before leaving CNN last night he had told “GQ” magazine that the Obama administration was working to have him fired. “They are coordinating with a number of groups, including the Center for American Progress, the usual suspects to carry out constant and absolutely insidious and sordid attacks on me. But I will not be intimidated, and I understand that they‘re trying to intimidate my network and my owners.” So they intimidated them and you quit? By the way apparently the guys sent to intimidate Dobbs were Geraldo Rivera, me and some hunter with bad aim who accidentally hit the aluminum siding on Dobbs‘ rural farmhouse. We‘re a regular Al Capone gang, aren‘t we?
And our winner, Republican Colorado State Senator Dave Schultheis. This is the buffoon who voted against HIV testing for pregnant mothers because he thinks it would encourage promiscuity, and he said he hoped there would be a baby with AIDS somewhere so the mother would feel guilty. He‘s topped himself on Twitter. “Don‘t for a second think Obama wants what is best for U.S. He is flying the U.S. plane right into the ground at full speed. Let‘s roll.” Let‘s roll, the rallying cry from flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on 9/11.
Miraculously, Mr. Schultheis is defending this obvious comparison of the president to a 9/11 suicide hijacker. He tells the “Denver Post,” quote, “let‘s roll, it‘s a comment people use all the time anymore. Let‘s get going, let‘s move on, let‘s make major changes. I can see it now, but you‘re busy doing a jillion things during the day. You sometimes don‘t analyze every single word. “ What do you think, pal? The rest of us are as dense as you are? You invoke the horror of 9/11 at the start of a tweet about politics, then you invoke the sacred inspiration of 9/11 at the end of a tweet about politics. Then you tried to con everybody. Apologize, resign, get impeached. Do something to make us forget that you just mocked the dead of 9/11. Colorado state Senator Jake Schultheis, jackass and today‘s worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: When you complain about the media trying to silence you and then you cut off your own microphone after a softball question from Larry King, you have just silenced yourself. Our number one story, also not helping Carrie Prejean‘s credibility the recipient of her solo sex tape says she asked him to lie about how old she was when she made it and she‘s bailed out of another speaking engagement. Michael Musto will be here, unless he storms off the set. The Republican Capitol Hill Club of Washington, DC tells tmz.com that it was set to host a speech by Ms. Prejean this afternoon until her people canceled at the last minute.
You‘ll recall she did not appear at a Defender of the Family speech in New Jersey, actually an awards dinner last week after news of her sex tape broke. As to the origins of said tape, tmz.com spoke to the ex-boyfriend who says he‘s in possession of multiple Prejean videos. The man, who would not reveal his name, said he met her in San Diego in early 2007. He says she said him several videos shot with her cell phone. When Prejean found out that he had shared those videos, she called him yelling and asked him to lie and say she was 17 years old when the videos were shot. He refused claiming she was nearly 20 when they first met.
Prejean‘s people have not responded to these allegations, just as her own self did not respond to Larry King last night. After a question about the settlement of her lawsuit against the Miss California pageant angered Ms. Prejean, she started scolding Mr. King like a kid yelling at grandpa and then it got weird, I mean weird even for Larry.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING: Why did you settle? You don‘t have to tell me the terms of the settlement but why settle since you had a fight to carry on?
CARRIE PREJEAN: Larry, everything that was discussed in mediation, I‘ll say it again, is completely confidential.
KING: So the agreement discusses the motive behind why each party agreed?
PREJEAN: Larry, you‘re being I inappropriate. You really are. So I‘m not going to talk about --
KING: Why? I‘m asking a question.
PREJEAN: I‘m not going to talk about anything that was discussed in mediation.
KING: So what you‘re saying is, in mediation it was discussed why you were mediating?
PREJEAN: Larry, it‘s completely confidential and you‘re being inappropriate.
PREJEAN: OK? You‘re being --
KING: Inappropriate King live continues.
KING: Detroit, hello.
CALLER: Hi, I‘m calling from Detroit.
CALLER: I‘m a gay man and I love pageants. I‘m sure that you, Carrie, have got great gay friends that helped you possibly when—what would you give them as advice if they wanted to get married?
KING: Did you hear the question, Carrie? Did she hear the question?
Is she leaving because I asked what motivated the settlement?
PREJEAN: Excuse me?
KING: Did you hear the question?
PREJEAN: No. I can‘t hear you.
KING: You took the mike off. If you put the mike on, we can hear you.
PREJEAN: Yeah. I think that you are being extremely inappropriate right now and I‘m about to leave your show.
KING: Well, so I went to another area. I took a phone call. They asked a question of you. I left that subject. You feel it was inappropriate, I didn‘t mean to be inappropriate. I just thought it was a logical question. But you need to have a mike. Who are you talking to?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: I‘m surprised Larry didn‘t leave the show. Michael Musto is a columnist for the “Village Voice,” also the author of the book, “Fork on the Left, Knife in the Back” and my former co-star in Carrie Prejean‘s lawsuit. Good evening.
MICHAEL MUSTO, VILLAGE VOICE: We‘re both in the book, too, by the way.
OLBERMANN: Terrific. Before this interview, Meredith Vieira went down that sort of same road with Ms. Prejean, asked about the settlement on the “Today” show. She deflected but she didn‘t use this inappropriate card which we heard three times there. Is there a double standard against older cable hosts at play here do you think?
MUSTO: Well Keith, Larry was really badgering at her. He was like the crypt keeper with suspenders and a mission. But I just think Carrie should avoid questions from any interviewer. Let‘s not forget her whole demise started when she answered a question about gay marriage. Just sit there and look pretty.
OLBERMANN: Hum. Can you count the part in the clip where she was pretending not to hear Larry King and then she answered the question anyway?
MUSTO: I thought when you masturbate a lot, you go blind. I‘m wearing bifocals. Apparently you lose your hearing. Carrie is ready for (inaudible) or something, or maybe a production of “The Miracle Worker” with Sarah Palin as Annie Sullivan. Wa-wa, (inaudible), based mascara.
OLBERMANN: Assuming the ex-boyfriend is not—oh I forgot, assuming the ex-boyfriend is not lying, why would Prejean ask him to tell the opposite of truth about her age?
MUSTO: Well, women like to shave years off their age, even as they add things to their bodies. She wanted the whole thing to seem like it probably happened before the pageant, though in doing so she made it sound even more illicit. She‘s a woman of many textures though she doesn‘t wear that many of them.
OLBERMANN: Last week she bailed out on this Defense of Family awards dinner in New Jersey and didn‘t appear there. We‘re not sure if she was canceled or she canceled. But today this group in Washington, the Republican group, said that she canceled on them. What—this is very bizarre, because it seems now that she‘s only talking to the liberal media that is conspiring to silence her.
MUSTO: No, no, no. With the conservatives she actually feels she‘s doing them a courtesy by not showing up at all and I think she‘s right. With the liberals she pulls out her mike and she acts deaf and she feels that‘s much more insulting. There is a method to her madness Keith.
OLBERMANN: OK. We‘ll see if that continues. Speaking of madness, do find it ironic at all that the title of the book here is “Still Standing”? That of course is an Elton John song.
MUSTO: I heard she tried to get the rights to “Big Bottom Girls” by Queen and also “Sweet Transvestite” from “Rocky Horror Show.” She couldn‘t get the rights so she went with a more mainstream gay artist. I‘m glad she didn‘t use the other songs like the “The Bitch Is Back” or “Don‘t Let Your Son Go Down on Me.”
OLBERMANN: No, that‘s not the title of the song.
MUSTO: That‘s the latest tape.
OLBERMANN: Oh, God. Yeah...
MUSTO: I‘m leaving. This is inappropriate.
OLBERMANN: No. I‘m leaving. It‘s inappropriate.
MUSTO: Let‘s both go. So read her book.
OLBERMANN: That would be great television, guest and host both walk off.
MUSTO: Larry, come here.
OLBERMANN: Larry‘s over on the other—No, one show at a time for Larry. I love him to death. Her thing now is first amendment right of free speech is being stifled. She says that everywhere. But forget for a second that the first amendment does not protect you from anything except the government stifling your free speech. On that show last night, she stifled her own free speech.
MUSTO: Actually Keith you didn‘t see the rest of it. She was running down the hall looking for Lou Dobbs on his last night hoping he would interview her. She thought he is conservative. He‘ll understand me or at least I‘ll find Anderson Cooper though of course he would want advice on marriage and that would be inappropriate.
OLBERMANN: Yes, but I just wanted to make this one observation that this was not the first time she handled it all herself on camera.
MUSTO: And she doesn‘t need a tech crew. She‘s had an amazing filmography, watch out Kate Winslet.
OLBERMANN: Michael Musto of the “Village Voice.” Many thanks as always and now we‘re both going to leave.
MUSTO: That‘s appropriate.
OLBERMANN: That‘s inappropriate. That‘s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,387th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. Keith Olbermann as Miracle Max from “Princess Bride” signed of stormed off, have fun storming the castle.
Tonight, to discuss the Stupak anti-abortion amendment with Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. Good evening Rachel.
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