November 16, 2009
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT.
THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED
Guests: Sen. Bernie Sanders, Craig Crawford
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Mitch McConnell emerges from his burrow, sees his shadow and predicts six more weeks of health care debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: This will be on the floor for quite a long time.
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OLBERMANN: What he needs to be is on the floor of our free health care clinic in New Orleans for a long time. The first person account, 1,000 treated, 90 percent, two or more diagnoses; 82 percent, life threatening conditions; four taken to the hospital immediately on stretchers. This is the status quo Mr. McConnell defends.
Rank hypocrisy: Rudy Giuliani on the terror trials in New York City.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI ®, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: It's an unnecessary advantage to give to the terrorists. I don't why you want to give terrorists advantages.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Or Rudy Giuliani on the terror trial of Moussaoui in 2006? "It does demonstrate that we can give people a fair trial that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: For 233 years of precedent dating back to the very founding of this republic, American leaders do not bow to leaders of other countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Wrong. Wrong again.
And Sarah Palin, an interview too far. McCain staffers now openly call her a liar and produce e-mails to prove it. And she apparently believed her Katie Couric interview last year was just supposed to be two working gals talking working galling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN ®, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: And there's the perky one again with the microphone and the cameras rolling, and I'm like, "Dang."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: This woman thought she could be the president of the United States.
All that and more-now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
PALIN: I said, right on.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
Republicans in the Senate more blatant than ever about their plan to delay-delay and thus hope to kill health care reform. A health care crisis in this country more blatantly in need of reform than ever before-we hope you will feel almost firsthand evidence of that from New Orleans in a moment.
Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN: Minority Leader McConnell outlining his plans to keep the health care bill from ever coming to a vote in the Senate, but because of your donations, he could not keep just over 1,000 people without insurance from receiving the care they needed in New Orleans over the weekend.
The senator announcing plans to delay the bill by at least six weeks via the process of amendments: "The Senate is not the House. You saw in the House that there was three votes and it was over in one day." And McConnell warning, "This will be on the floor for quite a long time."
At least one Democrat is trying to fight back by staying in session around the clock-Senator Harkin of Iowa telling "The Hill" that Democrats expect Republicans will try to stall the debate by asking for the entire bill to be read on the Senate floor. If that happens, Harkin is saying that the Democrats are likely to keep the Senate in session this weekend all weekend. Quoting him, "We are planning to do something that would require Republicans to be there 24 hours a day, and if they leave the floor, we'll ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading, and that'll be the end of it."
If only there were a way to put an end to the need we saw in New Orleans over the weekend, more than 100 doctors and 400 volunteers from across the country on hand at the convention center there on Saturday to treat more than 1,000 patients at a free clinic held by the National Association of Free Clinics. Doctors there are telling us that they discovered many cases of cancer, of diabetes, of hypertension, cases that otherwise would have gone undiagnosed and untreated. Four people so sick they were sent immediately to hospitals.
The physicians all having volunteered their time estimating that many of the patients have not seen a doctors since before Hurricane Katrina at the gulf coast, having others having gone without examinations for a decade or longer. The relief mostly temporary, without a substantive health care reform bill, most of these patients will remain uninsured, without the safety net, without the most basic of care. People like Chris Vignog (ph), a nurse who was there not as a volunteer but as a patient who has not seen a doctor in at least five years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Work two part-time jobs and I'm a nurse. I'm an R.N. And, you know, unfortunately, I have, you know, one job will not give me enough work so I can actually have full-time benefits with them. So I have to work two part-time jobs.
And I take care of people all day long. And, you know, I have, "A," I'm glad this is here. I don't have benefits, you know? So I just pray to God every day that I don't get sick, you know? And that the ladder is actually pretty firm underneath my feet when I go up it, you know? So it's been taxing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: There's also Christopher Kuykindall, who only went because of his wife Michelle and found out he had life-threatening diabetes, a blood sugar level three times what it should have been.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. RANI G. WHITFIELD, CLINIC VOLUNTEER: If he had not come in here, this guy could have potentially had a heart attack or a stroke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a blessing to have the opportunity to come here and find this out because, you know, who knows what could have happened.
CHRISTOPHER KUYKINDALL, PATIENT: Saved my life, saved my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: COUNTDOWN having invited Senator Mary Landrieu, conservative Democrat of Louisiana, to attend Saturday's clinic and to join us as a guest on tonight's newscast, the senator's office telling us that her schedule prevented either from happening. The senator thought to be a key vote, a swing vote, in ending debate and getting the health care bill a straight up or down vote in the Senate.
Thus, lots to talk about tonight with Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont and member of the health, education, labor and pensions, the HELP Committee.
Senator, thanks for your time tonight.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: Good to be with you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: More on New Orleans in a moment. Let me start with Washington.
SANDERS: Well, Keith, I just want to say one thing. I am very glad that you focused on New Orleans, because should our right wing friends talk about death panels, the truth is that today, this year, 45,000 had Americans are going to die-if you can believe it-because they don't get access to a doctor when they should. And we saw some of that in New Orleans.
This is an outrage for a civilized country like the United States, and, obviously, that is why we need a national health care program.
OLBERMANN: I have to ask you, the question I was going to ask you at the end about that. Do you think that your colleagues in the Senate who are opposed to correcting the situation that we just saw a glimpse of and we're going to get a firsthand accounting of in a moment-do you think they don't know about this or they've chosen to ignore it?
SANDERS: Maybe a combination of factors. Let's not forget that the insurance companies and the health care industry are spending over $1 million a day on lobbying, huge amounts of campaign contributions are coming in to Capitol Hill. And if you think that that doesn't have an influence on how people vote, you'd be mistaken.
OLBERMANN: All right. To the events in Washington, you met with the majority leader today, as I understand it. Is there any word on when we can expect him to bring the health care bill to the floor for debate? Is it this week?
SANDERS: Well, I think he's waiting for the CBO report to come out.
And he wants to move it, I think, as quickly as possible.
I'll tell you something: I am a strong advocate of a Medicare for all single-payer system. And I-the more I see discussion out here, the more I believe that is the only way, in the end of the day, that you're going to have universal comprehensive and cost effective health care. But we're not going to get that, unfortunately.
So, what we have got to do is fight for the strongest possible legislation that we can, which includes a very strong public option, which is the only way that I know you're going to get cost containment and that you're going to give people a choice about going outside of a private insurance company at a time when many people have misgivings about what private insurance companies are doing.
OLBERMANN: You heard the minority leader say that the GOP hopes to delay this debate with amendment, six weeks more on the floor. Are there other things that we should expect from that side? Or is it basically just the-that, eventually, we'll get around to seeing the kitchen sink thrown on to the Senate floor?
SANDERS: Well, Keith, it is unbelievable. I think most Americans don't understand that quite honestly-and I say this as an independent, not as a Democrat-the function of the Republican Party in this session is really nothing more than obstructionism, to slow down anything that will bring progress and maybe credit to the Obama administration or to Democrats. We're looking at an all-time world's record, as I understand it, of 87 either filibusters or objections to unanimous consent. So, in other words, their job, whether it's extending unemployment compensation, health care, global warming-slow it down, slow it down, beat it.
OLBERMANN: Senator Conrad, meanwhile, said that the health care bill can't pass the Senate without-or with something like the Stupak Amendment in it. What are your thoughts on that?
SANDERS: I disagree. Just take a deep breath and think about it. You have millions of women who vote Democratic, have fought their entire adult lives for the right of a woman to choose with regard to abortion.
Can you imagine, after eight years of fighting against the Bush administration and anti-choice president that it would be a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress that would take away the rights of millions of women to exercise their choice in this issue? That is-it just ain't going to happen. I can't imagine that happening.
OLBERMANN: Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the HELP Committee -
it's always a great pleasure to have you with us and great insight, and great thank for your time tonight, sir.
SANDERS: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The idea of focusing frustration about the pace of reform and focusing the anger against the Bart Stupaks and the Mary Landrieus of this world into something positive, that was the brainstorm of one of our COUNTDOWN senior producers Rich Stockwell, a brainstorm that wound up raising $1,700,000 and so far has gotten free health care to just over 1,000 of our neighbors.
With free clinic number two set for this Saturday in Little Rock, did it put political pressure on anybody, on Senator Landrieu?
As Rich found out when he went to New Orleans to represent us, it damn well better put pressure on everybody even those of us who already consider ourselves ardently pro-reform. He wrote a compelling first person essay for the COUNTDOWN Web site. With his permission, I'm going to read it in full because he's right and because I could not attend because I was here with my father.
"As I stood," he writes, "in the middle of the 163,000 square feet of the New Orleans Convention Center that had been set up to provide people with health care, my eyes welled up and overflowed." Rich continues, "It happened as I watched a 50-something woman walk out after spending several hours being attended to by volunteer doctors. She's decided against treatment-a reasonable decision under the circumstances, the doctor tells us, as she heads for the next patient.
The president of the board of the National Association of Free Health Clinics tells me why. It's stage four breast cancer. Her body is filled with tumors.
I don't know when that woman last saw a doctor, but I do know if she had health insurance, the odds she would have seen a doctor long ago are much higher, that her chances for earlier diagnosis and treatment would have been far greater."
"After watching for hours as the patients moved through the clinic, it was hard to believe that I was in America," Rich continues. "Eighty-three percent of the patients they see are employed. They are not accepting other government help on a large scale, not welfare queens, as some would like to have us believe. They are tax-paying, good upstanding citizens who are trying to make it and give their kids a better life just like you and me.
Ninety percent of the patients who came through Saturday's clinic had two or more diagnoses. Eighty-two percent had a life-threatening condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or hypertension. They are victims of a system built with corporate profits at its center, which long ago forgot the moral imperative that should drive us to show compassion to our fellow men and women.
Health reform is not about Democrats or Republicans, or who can score political points for the next election. It's about people. It's about fairness and justice in a system that knows none."
Rich continues, "I'd defy even the most hardened capitalist-loving conservative to do what I did on Saturday and continue to pretend that the system in place right now is working.
COUNTDOWN chose to highlight and raise money for the Association of Free Clinics because we know the work they do is so vitally important and we wanted to show in real terms how great the need is.
We invited several politicians to attend so they could see firsthand how critical the situation is-all declined. Some explained that they talk with constituents all the time and know very well of the need for reform."
"I have news for them," he writes, "this people didn't need to speak. Their actions spoke louder than any word. Having to get a checkup and diagnoses at a free clinic because they have no other option tells you all you need to know. There are no words that can accurately describe the quiet desperation on the faces of the patients.
Every single one I spoke to and every one I heard talking with doctors expressed gratitude for the event and wish that they were held more often. They have been given the resources in their local communities in which they can get follow-up care, but they are also the few.
Over 700,000 people in Louisiana alone have no health care, most of them with jobs that don't offer insurance. Or worse, they have to decide whether to pay for that, or food and housing. Four patients were taken out on stretchers and admitted immediately to hospitals.
One woman who didn't know why she was feeling bad had a blood pressure of 280/180. Numbness in her right arm and a slight headache. She now has a shot at survival, but without her attendance at the clinic, it was a matter of time before the inevitable happened."
Rich continues, "I spoke with a nurse who was there not as a volunteer but as a patient. He works two part-time jobs at hospitals providing quality care to those who have the one thing he doesn't. Many of his patients share his condition of high blood pressure. But they are fortunate to have insurance to pay for him to care for them while he goes without.
His situation is not uncommon. He has tried for years to get more hours at one of his jobs so he will be eligible for benefits, but it hasn't happened yet. Our system of for-profit health care can't afford to give him and others benefits. It might make the stock price drop a penny or two.
The last time the media gathered at that convention center, it was where natural disaster in which our national government was rendered useless due to incompetence. This time, we were there to cover a man-made disaster of even larger proportions. This is a disaster that goes largely unseen by most Americans. It is not too late for the current government to show that they are competent and can do what the vast majority of Americans are asking them to.
The incredibly dedicated people at the Association of Free Clinics told me the clinic would change me and I knew it would. None but the most hardened and heartless among us could watch that event and not be moved to action."
Rich continues, "I have changed. I ma gratified that just over 1,000 people were able to get the minimal amount of care and resources for follow-up. But I am heart sick for the many more like them, who didn't have the time, or didn't know that they could get care on Saturday. They walk through their lives not knowing when the ticking time bomb might go off.
Politicians continue to tell us we are the most compassionate and caring people, and, clearly, we have done much good in the world. And I left the event overwhelmed by the hard work and dedication of the volunteers, doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, as well as ordinary citizens who came to help."
"Yet," Rich concludes, "I am left with one overwhelming question: what does it say about us as a nation of people who can live in a country so rich and yet allow this to continue?"
And thank you, Rich Stockwell.
The next COUNTDOWN free clinic is Saturday in Little Rock. For more information, to volunteer or to schedule an appointment if you can, go to FreeClinics.us or COUNTDOWN.MSNBC.com.
On to this stage, like a comedian at a wake, steps Rudy Giuliani to rip into the decision that a trial here in New York of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others might demonstrate that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are, we are a nation of law. This after he said upon the conclusion of the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, quote, "It does demonstrate that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law."
OLBERMANN: Rudy Giuliani and the terror trials in New York, his opposition blasted and contradicted by Bob Barr, Grover Norquist and the Rudy Giuliani of 2006.
Sarah Palin and the book she's written this year that contradicts the e-mails she wrote last year, one McCain's campaign manager has just called, quote, "all fiction." And the interview on which right after Fort Hood, she describes herself as reloading.
And Obama criticized by the right for being the first president ever to bow to a foreign leader, the right having forgotten Eisenhower and Nixon.
All ahead on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: If any doubt remained about how far mainstream Republicans have strayed from defending or even remembering the real American way, it should finally lie to rest with news that the American justice system is now considered by Republicans a last resort.
Our fourth story tonight: The former mayor of New York City arguing against his city's right to see justice done for September 11th.
Rudy Giuliani yesterday responding to word that the Obama administration will end Mr. Bush's years of delay and bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to trial in New York City, he made the bizarre argument that America should not do that because that's what Mohammed wants us to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: After the 2006 trial of the so-called "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui, you said, "It shows we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law."
Respectfully, Mayor, you supported civilian trials for terrorists then.
GIULIANI: If there's no other alternative, I support civilian trials for terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Since when is America in the business of relying on its justice system as a last resort? And, by the way, when is America in the business of granting the wishes of terrorists, well, when they wish for a lawyer phone call jury of their peers or to face their accusers, when they wish for a last meal perhaps?
Mr. Giuliani, a former prosecutor, in New York, should know better. It's no shame to be afraid but what they really want, Mr. Giuliani, is not a New York City trial. We call them terrorists because what they really want is to frighten us into changing how we do things, who we are. And that is precisely what Mr. Giuliani, who once suggested he should stay mayor even after his term expired proposes to give them. It's a principle Mr. Giuliani used to understand, declaring after 9/11, quote, "a renewed devotion to the rule of law."
Mr. Giuliani called on his abandonment of traditional American principles, called on it from left and from right. Here's the left.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: When the 20th 9/11 bomber was tried in Virginia, in a-in a civilian court and convicted, Mayor Giuliani testified in that case and he heralded the-heralded outcome. So, he may have changed his view, but we haven't changed ours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: And three prominent hard-core right-wingers, former congressman and presidential candidate, Bob Barr, American Conservative Union chairman, David Keen, and Americans for Tax Reform president, Grover Norquist, are not only defending the administration's decision to try and imprison terrorists on U.S. soil but also said, quote, "The scaremongering about these issues should stop."
Here with us tonight: MSNBC political analyst, Jonathan Alter, also national affairs columnist for "Newsweek" magazine.
Jon, thanks for coming in.
JONATHAN ALTER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Any other reason other than "I'm scared," not to try terrorists here and then toss them into, you know, old-fashioned high security, inescapable prisons?
ALTER: There are actually some reasons that the administration offers. You know, there's a group of them that will be tried in military tribunals. Those are detainees for whom there's not enough independent evidence. In the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, there's so much evidence, they don't even have to go to waterboarding details. They've got voluminous evidence on which to get a conviction and they will get a conviction.
My question for Giuliani is, if he doesn't want to do anything that the terrorist wants, how about if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed wants to be executed, with a lot of them do? Will Giuliani then say, "Well, he wants to be executed, we can't execute him"? I don't think Rudy will take that position.
OLBERMANN: And like him or not, he used to get that our law beat their terror. That was one of the principles and that was something he abided by.
OLBERMANN: . in the wake of the first World Trade Center bombing. It's easy to slip into pop psychology on these things, but what-is it too wild to say that this is classic post-traumatic stress disorder? Or what happened to him?
ALTER: I think it's just situational scaremongering. You know, he became very political when he wanted to run for president and he decided, after doing a great job right after 9/11, that he would do anything he could to politicize this to his advantage.
You know, somebody in the Justice Department made a great point, which is that if Giuliani were still the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, which he was for many years in the Reagan administration, he would now be bombarding the Justice Department, "Let me bring this case," you know?
He's just not a prosecutor anymore. So, suddenly he doesn't care about all his fellow prosecutors. He knows that if the shoe were on the other foot, and he were still U.S. attorney, he would want to bring this case.
OLBERMANN: About these three conservatives who I mentioned who are criticizing Mr. Giuliani particularly for his opinion, and particularly, Mr. Barr, who is now in agreement with me that this is scaremongering. If this is the consensus.
OLBERMANN: . that Bob Barr.
OLBERMANN: . and me-it's not the first time it's happened but it's a rare event, Bob Barr and me and Grover Norquist. How bad has the GOP become in terms of trying to exploit this deadly serious issue for political advantage?
ALTER: Pretty bad. I mean, these guys were also, to their credit, against the Patriot Act.
ALTER: And they have stood up on some of these issues. But, you know, they are principled conservative-even if you disagree, as I do with, you know, 98 percent of what they stand for.
So much the Republican Party now, and, unfortunately, this includes Giuliani, they're not principled anything. You know, they're for big spending on prescription drug benefits if that helps them in the, you know, 2006 midterms or whatever. They do what is in their partisan interest. And so, when every so often somebody comes along and actually says what they really think rather than what the talking points from the RNC are telling them to say, it's a good thing.
OLBERMANN: But how does-but how does Giuliani stomach the fact that the 2006 Giuliani contradicts him? I mean, it's on the record that he believed the Moussaoui trial, even though it did not result in the death penalty he hoped for and he's entitled to that opinion certainly, but he endorsed the entire process.
What-is there no little Rudy Giuliani angel on his shoulder going, "You're screwing up here," if not saying you're doing the wrong thing?
ALTER: Consistency. Yes, I mean, Keith, you and I live in New York. We remember when he was mayor and he was-you know, what he said a couple days earlier would be, you know, in Ron Ziegler's phrase, inoperative.
ALTER: . if convenience required a new view.
So, what this tells me about him is that he's politically ambitious still. Maybe he's going to run for governor of New York and he's trying to score points.
It's very interesting that Mayor Bloomberg takes a very different view. He welcomes the prosecution in New York. He thinks it's symbolically important to do.
The other thing we haven't mentioned is that this will bring a faster conviction than in the military tribunals because the tribunals are uncharted waters. There's much more room for appeal. Remember, after tribunal, there's an appeal up to the Supreme Court and those appeals will take longer than the appeals in this case.
So, if you want him brought to justice more quickly, it's still going to take several years, then you should favor this option.
OLBERMANN: And there's one name to add to the list of those people who are supporting this, that's the police commissioner of the city of New York, Mr. Kelly.
OLBERMANN: A longtime-twice commissioner of the city of New York who thinks this is the right thing and can be easily handled comparatively speaking.
Jonathan Alter of "Newsweek" and MSNBC-great thanks.
ALTER: Thanks, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Rudy Giuliani-it may well be that historians will look back at 2008 and marvel at the number of blatantly unqualified presidential possibilities who were dismissed by the electorate-Tom Tancredo, Fred Thompson, Duncan Hunter, John McCain and-and despite a solid year of self humiliation, only now we're understanding the true degree of her lack of qualifications and a hint of congenital lying, Sarah Palin. For when McCain campaign staffers say on the record that what she has written about them is flatly untrue, what they are saying is, "Sarah Palin is a liar."
Plus, the tape is in from the Oprah interview.
OLBERMANN: Sarah Palin has actually announced that she does not know why the "Associated Press" has 11 reporters fact checking parts of her book instead of fact checking Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. Maybe because A, the "Associated Press" has approximately 4,100 reporters, "B," more than one McCain campaign staffer says she lied in her book about events supposedly involving him and they've gone on the record about this. And "C," evidently she didn't fact check her own book. That story and a deconstruction of another Palin interview fail on Oprah Winfrey, next.
OLBERMANN: Never mind that her guy wiped the floor with you and your guy in the election last year, if you want to move product, you go on Oprah. Sarah Palin's visit to Oprah Winfrey finally aired today. In our third story, a blow-by-blow account of the Palin/Winfrey exchange which, like Sarah Palin herself, was both smiley and confusing. The introduction was not Oprah Winfrey's shoutiest. Palin came on stage to warm applause and embraced Winfrey with an awkward kind of high-fiveish hug. Mind if I call you Joe?
The interview recycled much of what we already knew about the campaign's vetting process, the strained relationship between candidate Palin and her handlers. She said some of them were more worried about her diet than about beating Barack Obama. The discussion also covered those now infamous Katie Couric interviews. Palin still cannot figure out why nobody else but her thinks "What you do you read?" is a gotcha question.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the time she asked me that question, even though it was kind of early on in the interview, I was already so annoyed and it was very unprofessional of me to wear that annoyance on my sleeve.
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: You couldn't think of any in the moment?
PALIN: No, it was more like are you kidding me? Are you really asking me? To me it was in the context of do you read, how do you stay informed? You're way up there. It seems like she was discovering this nomadic tribe, a member of a tribe from some Neanderthal cave in Alaska asking me how do you stay in touch with the real world? That's how I took the question. So I kind of-didn't kind of, I did, I rolled my eyes and was annoyed with the question.
We had just come off the most amazing rally working the rope line for I don't know how long, these energized awesome people. And I'm pumped up, just over the top pumped up with energy and so happy. And we're running backstage and my friend Betsy, she opens the curtain for me to get backstage and there's the perky one again with the microphone and the cameras rolling and I'm like, dang, give me just a couple of minutes to gather-
WINFREY: Perky one, you mean Katie?
PALIN: With all due respect, yeah.
WINFREY: Because you're pretty perky, too.
OLBERMANN: Palin continued to try to prove a bias on Ms. Couric's part, bringing up the interviewer's abortion line of questioning. Ms. Winfrey pinned the pro-life Republican on the choice she made to keep her most recent child.
PALIN: She asked me 12 different times my position on abortion and the morning after pill. She did not want, I guess, to hear my first, candid, truthful response about being pro-life and wanting to usher in a culture of life and empower women to know that they are strong enough and smart enough to have that child. I gave my answer and she asked it again.
WINFREY: Although you do in the very beginning of the book when you talk about being in New Orleans and discovering that you were pregnant and you say in "Going Rogue" that for a split second-
PALIN: It was easy to understand why a woman would feel that it's easier to just do away with some less than ideal circumstances, to do away with the problem. I could certainly understand why a woman would feel that way.
WINFREY: Yes. You say "I'm here, nobody knows, I could-it would be so easy."
WINFREY: And in that moment you're thinking, it would be so easy if I had an abortion.
PALIN: Not so much a consideration, but an understanding of why a woman would go down that road of thinking that this is the easy way to handle the situation, understanding that that thought would enter a woman's mind.
OLBERMANN: As for this woman's mind, on her political future after having quit her job as governor of Alaska, Palin used a very unfortunate phrase. She said it was borrowed from her father.
PALIN: My dad's quote, I think, it sums it up better perhaps than I'm summing up. He says, she's not retreating, she's reloading.
PALIN: Yes. Se's able to get out there and fight for what is right.
WINFREY: Does that mean you're reloading for 2012?
PALIN: I'm concentrating on 2010 and making sure that we have issues tackled as Americans to make sure that we're on the right road.
WINFREY: Would you even tell me if you were thinking about it?
PALIN: No, I wouldn't.
OLBERMANN: Nothing sells the concept of vote for me in '12 after a mass murder at an army base better than the slogan, "she's not retreating, she's reloading."
Palin did spill the beans about Thanksgiving though no turkeys were harmed during this interview. Her former future son-in-law Levi Johnston is invited to Aunt Katie's house. Hopefully they can get this whole Ricky Hollywood thing squared away. Ricky Hollywood? Well, hopefully he'll wear pants. You'll understand.
WINFREY: Levi and Bristol are no longer together. He was supposed to be your son-in-law. How do you feel about him today?
PALIN: Well, I think, because so much of the discussion with Levi has to do with his most beautiful baby boy, Tripp, my grandson and Tripp's future, that I don't think a national television show is the place to discuss some of the things that she's doing and saying.
By the way, I don't know if we call him Levi-I hear he goes by the name Ricky Hollywood now. So if that's the case, we don't want to mess up this gig he's got going, kind of this aspiring porn, some of the things that she's doing. It's kind of heartbreaking.
WINFREY: The "Playgirl" centerfold?
PALIN: Right. I call it porn, yes. So a bit heartbreaking to see the road that he is on right now.
OLBERMANN: The interview ended with Palin giving a kind of Ned Flanders style shout-out to the lord and to her husband, because their names happen to rhyme.
WINFREY: Is there anything else you want to say before we say good-bye? If you want to say it's all in the book.
PALIN: It is all in the book. Talk a lot about my faith in the book, about how U get through the challenges that I do thanks to god and Todd.
WINFREY: God and Todd.
OLBERMANN: And you should see what John McCain's people are saying about the book. Nicolle Wallace says key portions of it are quote "fabricated." Steve Schmidt, "All fiction." That is polite speak for what Republicans would say was, you lie. Just like Steve Doocy at cluster FOX and the rest of the far right going back crap over Obama bowing to the emperor of Japan. No other president has ever bowed except Nixon and Eisenhower.
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, McConnell delays, the Stupak amendment, the latest on health care reform with her special guest, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
OLBERMANN: When John McCain's principal liaison to Sarah Palin, says, Palin, quote, "fabricated key portions of her book," I think you can safely translate that quote as she is a liar.
First, the worst, Glenn Beck's latest conspiracy involves going back in time.
Steve Doocy announces no president has ever bowed to a foreign leader. I guess Nixon and Eisenhower weren't really president. And William Kristol decides to honor the memory of the dead at Ft. Hood, by skipping due process, suspending rule of law, and doing to the shooter what he did to his victims, next on COUNTDOWN.
OLBERMANN: John McCain's people call Sarah Palin a liar and they have her e-mails to prove it. She's just sent out another one saying she'll sign a copy the book for $100. That's next.
But first, time for COUNTDOWN's number two story, tonight's worst persons in the world. The bronze to Steve Doocy of cluster "FOX and Friends." Symbol today of the far right, short-term memory less and xenophobic panic about the president bowing in respectful greeting to the emperor of Japan-"233 years of precedent dating back to the very founding of this republic, American leaders do not bow to leaders of other countries. But the president there he is, bowing. He bowed to King Abdullah earlier in the year as well. The administration said, look, it's just protocol, it's one of those things they do."
And then Porky Pig says, I think it was inappropriate. No, no, not Porky Pig, Karl Rove, sorry. Doocy then says it again, "You know the long-standing precedents going back to the founding of the republic, American presidents don't bow to anybody."
You're wrong. Here's Richard Nixon bowing to Hirohito in 1971. Hirohito, the emperor who attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor and they were on U.S. soil at the time and he bowed to him.
And here's Eisenhower 1959 bowing to Charles de Gaulle of France. Bowing to France? Has the GOP excommunicated Ike postmortem yet? And just for good measure, here's Mr. Bush holding hands and kissing crown prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia?
Do you see what happens, Steve Doocy? Do you see what happens, Steve Doocy? Do you see what happens when you get your American history off a place mat at Bickford's?
Runner-up, lonesome road's Beck who apparently gets what he knows from listening to Steve Doocy read to him from what he's wearing on the placement at Bickford's. Doesn't like the Khalid Shaikh Mohammed trial one little bit. He's already dreamt up a conspiracy to fit it. "This government is about overwhelming the system. This will overwhelm the system. So what's the best thing? Kick it up to a bigger criminal court? How about the Hague, the ultimate criminal court? Kick it upstairs. So now you have the precedence of, this system can't handle it. These things should be tried in the court of the world. I think that's what it is."
Glenn, clearly there is no way to kick something upstairs from the U.S. judicial system into the international criminal court. But more importantly, the court only started on July 1st, 2002, and it can't prosecute crimes committed before then. Now, Glenn, remember your math. July 1st, 2002, is what that 9/11? Yes, it's later. July 1st, 2002 is later than 9/11. Glenn, if your conspiracy theory can be disproved by spending 90 seconds at research time on Wikipedia, it's a bad conspiracy theory.
But our winner is William Kristol. This is about Ft. Hood and Major Hasan, and it is in short, anti-American. "I was very struck also by Janet Napolitano's comment. I hadn't read it before to see her stay that, that the number one priority is to bring him to justice is such a knee-jerk comment and such a stupid comment. He's going to be brought to justice. He is not going to be innocent of murder. There are a lot of eyewitnesses to that. They should just go ahead and convict him and put him to death."
Firstly, Bill, if this is the new rule, please report to Leavenworth in the morning, you are guilty of 931 counts of federal felony factual mistakes. But seriously, the men and women that this man had killed, however you define him, those men and women of the U.S. military, Mr. Kristol, were fighting for the right to trial, due process, justice. Thanks for spitting on the dead of Ft. Hood, William Kristol, today's worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: There is no ambiguity, really. Our number one story in the COUNTDOWN, the staff of Senator John McCain's presidential campaign has responded to Sarah Palin's book with Sarah Palin is a liar. The Palin chronicles described by Steve Schmidt, campaign manager as "all fiction." Described by former McCain strategist John Weaver as "petty and pathetic score-settling."
"Sarah Palin reminds me of Jimmy Stewart in the movie 'Harvey' complete with imaginary conversations." That is really unfair to Jimmy Stewart and the imaginary rabbit Harvey.
And from one midlevel unnamed McCain campaign aide, quote, "There are elements of truth underlying a narrative that is completely false." That aide even offering to "The Huffington Post" e-mails as proof of Palin's lying. For example, on whether Palin wanted to appear on "Saturday Night Live" late in the campaign in her book, Palin said, "Let's do this and have some fun." On Oprah Winfrey, she supported that claim, extending her enthusiasm to Tina Fey.
PALIN: Then when I met her in person, oh and the campaign was apprehensive about allowing me to meet her.
WINFREY: To go on "SNL, Saturday Night Live?"
PALIN: Oh yeah, they thought it was just going to be potentially atrocious. But I thought it would be fun. I wanted to participate in this because I wanted to kind of neutralize some of the parody.
WINFREY: So you wanted to go on "Saturday Night Live?"
PALIN: I wanted to, and so did John McCain.
OLBERMANN: But, in an e-mail to McCain campaign senior staffers, Palin was not thrilled with the idea. She called the SNL celebrities "gross." Quoting part of the e-mail, "These folks are whack-didn't know it was as bad as it is-what's the upside in giving them any celebrity venue a ratings boost?"
More generally, Palin portrays the McCain campaign as inept and of doing a poor job of handling her. But less than a week before the election, in another e-mail to the McCain campaign, she wrote "I'm very sorry. You guys are working double-triple time on this blundered-up stuff that they spin because of my visits with press. While I apologize, I say, I love you guys."
The "Associated Press" also fact-checked Palin's book, citing deviations from the full truth on 12 substantive matters. So on her Facebook page, Palin says, quote, "We've heard 11 writers are opposed in this opposition research, er, 'fact checking' research. Imagine that, 11 "AP" reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book instead of using the time and researches to 'fact check' what's going on with Sheik Mohammed's trial, Pelosi's health care takeover costs, Hasan's associations, et cetera."
But the "A.P" employs about 4,100 journalists, so this constitutes nearly one quarter of one percent of its manpower. The "A.P" also says most of the 10 guys who helped out on the story vetted only topics in the book with which their previous reporting had made them familiar and one guy did most of the work. I know how he feels.
Let's bring in MSNBC political analyst, columnist for CQpolitics.com, Craig Crawford-co-author with Helen Thomas of "Listen Up, Mr. President." Craig, good evening.
CRAIG CRAWFORD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi. Now you're not saying Jimmy Stewart's "Harvey" didn't exist, are you?
OLBERMANN: No, no, I'm saying it's just a terrible, terrible insult to Mr. Stewart and to Harvey.
OLBERMANN: What's the quote in there? What did you have in mind? Yes, Elwood P. Dowd. The quotes, speaking of quotes, for people to go on the record, Andrea Mitchell quoted Nicolle Wallace, who was basically the chief handler of the vice presidential candidate. "Key portions just fabricated." The quote was, "just fabricated."
The other staffer, "there is not one truthful had account as it relates to any conversation I ever had with her." The "Politico" piece that I quoted there was even more blunt. Is there any way around this? They're calling her a liar.
CRAWFORD: Yes, when Washingtonians call people liars, they really mean it. I mean, it's a word that's used rarely, usually spin or lots of other euphemisms. But when they come out and use the "L" word, that's when it's fighting time. And this really shows the polarization within the Republican Party that she provokes.
If you look at the polls, this NBC most recent poll, I mean, half the
only about half the Republicans like her and pretty much everybody else doesn't like her. That's a hard start for a presidential campaign, seems to me.
OLBERMANN: Some of these alleged lies border on the silliness. What happened after Palin and her staff were utterly duped by a radio show prankster, the one who said he was Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France is particularly instructive. "The McCain aide told the 'Huffington Post' that campaign manager Schmidt sent an angry e-mail to Palin and her staff." Palin's account in the book, it's Mr. Schmidt on the phone with her and screamed so much that it, quote, "blew my hair back." Why embellish what was already a good story?
CRAWFORD: Right. Maybe she just dreamed these things and thinks they're real. That can happen, I suppose. But she reminds me of-there's an old story, old line that a Senator George Aiken used years ago, a real straight plain-spoken guy. He says, if you don't lie, you don't have to remember what you have said. But in her case, I think it doesn't matter.
OLBERMANN: Yeah. And also, if you don't lie, then witnesses when they pop up will probably-somebody will defend you. Apparently she didn't know, for instance, there would be people at "Saturday Night Live" who would talk about what they saw, who didn't have an axe to grind about her, that she stared daggers at Tina Fey when they met, that either she-as I've shown you the cue card. I have the cue card as a souvenir.
She either refused to say as the original first line, "I like her impression of me," or somebody cut it for her, one way or the other. But that was the first-that was what was going to happen. You get the impression hearing these little details that are just wallpapered over that this is one of those people who lies and doesn't care if people catch her at it. It's like, OK, you caught me, so what?
CRAWFORD: I think she just likes her versions better. They're better stories. It does remind me a little bit of some of Ronald Reagan's imaginary departures like the time that he described going to a concentration camp in very emotional terms and then it turns out he had actually seen it on a movie set.
There is a weird way Americans forgive some of that. And sometimes when I hear Democrats talking about Palin and wanting her to be the opponent against Obama thinking they can beat him, I do remember Democrats saying that about Reagan, I have to say.
OLBERMANN: Absolutely true. Last point, this just happened. So if you don't have a full analysis of this, I won't blame you. But she sent out an e-mail from Sarah PAC and just a couple of quick quotes. Assess for me what this means about how well the book is going. "It's November 16th. I finished my book, I've told my story of how I got where I am. Now I'm eager to move forward. I want you to join me on the road ahead. My book 'Going Rogue' is dedicated to you, to patriots who fight for freedom." The P.P.S. is the operative part. "Any level of support is welcome. Our common sense conservative cause needs you. As a special offer on behalf of Sarah PAC, we will send you a signed copy of 'Going Rogue' for any donation of $100 or more."
Is that a good sign or a bad sign?
CRAWFORD: Well, there's two possibilities here is this was almost a campaign announcement because what could almost certainly become a presidential campaign, follow me on the road ahead, Ronald Reagan showed the way. Those were all-that was all language from a campaign.
However, it isn't the first time we've seen political celebrities using presidential speculation to sell books. Colin Powell was not shy about doing that when he had a big book out and there was lots of speculation about him running. So it could be about book sales. It could be about a presidential campaign. We're just going to have to keep following it. And I have a feeling it will be a long road. We will all be following.
OLBERMANN: I thought you were going to say you had a feeling I was going to continue to follow it. You're correct about that.
CRAWFORD: I think you might.
OLBERMANN: And to be fair, don't leave Al Gore out of that who really triangulated that whole said topic.
CRAWFORD: Right, you bet.
OLBERMANN: Craig Crawford of CQPolitics.com and MSNBC. Great thanks, Craig.
CRAWFORD: Great to be here.
OLBERMANN: That's COUNTDOWN for this, the 2,391st day since the previous president declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. I'm Keith Olbermann. Good night, and good luck. And now as we said, Punxatawney McConnell saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of health care debate. To discuss that and the Stupak amendment with her special guest, Senator Sherrod Brown, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow. And Rachel, I can't help thinking, Stupak, it's the ultimate name for a politician because it's got both "stup" and "pak" in it.
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