Guests: Markos Moulitsas, Margaret Carlson, Arianna Huffington, Derrick
HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Ah, the first day of the post-Republican talking point era, the president sums it up, quote, “I announced the budget and no one threw rotten eggs.”
The Bush deficit therein jumps by 30 percent. Republicans who enabled that first $1.2 trillion blame Obama for all of it.
Well, at least the GOP won Friday‘s 140-on-one debate with the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA: The Republicans have been out in the cold in this debate for the last year. Yesterday, I think, maybe the president said, all right, all right, you guys have ideas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The favor one of those Republicans asked the president for after slamming him will blow your mind.
The representatives had to stay. FOX got up and left—its political director‘s hallucinatory explanation for why his network cut away from the Republican congressional conference.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we‘re the most trusted name in news.
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OLBERMANN: Arianna Huffington on the stark reality of Roger Ailes‘ complete disconnect from reality. Markos Moulitsas on so much for bipartisanship.
Tough time to be a tea party. Palin‘s still in, everybody else bags.
Scott Brown says, “Tea party? Tea party, who?”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, THIS WEEK: The tea party movement was important to your victory. How influential do you think the tea party movement is going to be?
SCOTT BROWN ®, MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR-ELECT: Well, you‘re making an assumption that the tea party movement was influential and I have to respectfully disagree.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Respectful disagreement: Billo versus math—on the cost of the terror trials.
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BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS: It‘s going to cost $200 million a year. It‘s going to take between three or four years. So that‘s almost $1 trillion.
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OLBERMANN: Two hundred million times four equals almost $1 trillion?
Yes, I‘m getting $800 million, pal.
And speaking of eleventy-billion, budget restraint is a demanding mistress. NASA numbers part of the budget freeze, and so, it‘s—good night, moon.
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fly me to the moon.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
Everything you really need to know about how Republicans in Congress actually feel about the deficit and government spending and everything else, they‘ve been trying to terrify everyone about, having happened last Thursday, when every last Republican in the Senate, all 40 of them, having voted against a pay-as-you-go fiscal responsibility bill, simply because the president had endorsed it.
The president today unveiling his $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2011, offering $30 billion in tax cuts for small businesses, $120 billion in job creating measures, another $25 billion for Medicaid, public health care programs, the deficit for the budget year projected to reach a record $1.56 trillion.
The president, who inherited $1.2 trillion of that from his predecessor, is saying his priority: getting and keeping the economy on track.
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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we had taken office during ordinary times, we would have started bringing down these deficits immediately. But one year ago, our country was in crisis. We were losing nearly 700,000 jobs each month. The economy was in a free fall and the financial system was near collapse. Many feared another Great Depression.
So, we initiated a rescue. And that rescue was not without significant cost. It added to the deficit as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The president also citing the pay-as-you-go principle that Republicans claimed to be for, but voted against.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: That‘s also why we‘re restoring pay-as-you-go, a simple rule that says Congress can‘t spend a dime without cutting a dime elsewhere. This rule helped lead to the budget surpluses of the 1990s and it‘s one of the most important steps we can take to restore fiscal discipline in Washington.
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OLBERMANN: The Obama budget also proposing a change in the top tax rate, lower than where it was during most of the Reagan administration, this because of not renewing Bush-era tax cuts that led to the huge deficits we have now. It would also increase taxes on American companies that send jobs overseas, as well as on oil and gas companies that reported record profits during the Bush administration. We already know by staying in their seats at last week‘s State of the Union that Republican leaders are against taxing corporate America, only apparently small businesses and the middle class.
House Minority Leader Boehner attacking this budget. In a statement, quote, “Just three days after talking to House Republicans about the importance of fiscal responsibility, President Obama is submitting another budget that spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.”
Meanwhile, Minority Whip Eric Cantor missing the part that spells out the $30 billion in tax cuts for small businesses, falsely claiming, quote, “Small businesses and job creators simply cannot afford the massive Obama tax cut increases included in this budget and be expected to hire more workers.”
Let‘s turn now to our own Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for “Newsweek” magazine and the author of “The Thirteen American Arguments.”
Howard, good evening.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Did Friday‘s question time with the House Republicans pay off to any degree, in that, as the president put it himself this afternoon, “I announced the budget and no one threw rotten eggs”?
FINEMAN: Well, it paid off in two ways: first for the country because, as I say in the book, arguing is the essence of who we are as a country, as how we move forward—but you need two people in the argument. And in recent months, the Republicans have just said no and then disappeared. I think the president really helped himself politically. It may help the process along by highlighting the Republicans and asking them to participate by kind of backing in the corner to try to participate. Whether they actually do or not now is, of course, the question.
OLBERMANN: Voting against pay-as-you-go last week, decrying tax cuts for small businesses, how do the Republicans fight these things that supposedly they were for until the president said those were good ideas?
FINEMAN: Well, I think that‘s a very good question. But first, you have to make them visible before you can hold them to account. And I think, again, that‘s what the president was doing by inviting himself into the Republican meeting on Friday.
The most obvious and outrageous recent example of the Republicans saying one thing about deficit reduction and doing another, I think, was the deficit commission. I think that‘s an idea whose time has come in Washington. It‘s kind of like the base-closing commission when things become so politically sporadic on the Hill that you need some outside force to decide things.
That would be a much stronger idea if it were a legislative thing. If it were law, like the base-closing commission, and Judd Gregg, the Republican of whom there‘s no humor in terms of deficit reduction, was really strongly behind that, as was Kent Conrad. A lot of Republicans were for it, including Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader. Then he turns on a dime, McConnell does, as do some other Republicans, because they realize that the thing might pass, and they didn‘t dare let it pass, because that would give Barack Obama the political upper-hand on deficit reduction.
OLBERMANN: Did Congressman Jeb “Don‘t call me Jim” Hensarling really suggest with Chris this afternoon on “HARDBALL” that the solution to the deficit is: cut Social Security benefits to everybody now under the age of 55 and privatize Social Security, which was, of course, the Bush plan from five years ago that even most Republicans wouldn‘t get next to with a 10-foot pole?
FINEMAN: No, they probably wouldn‘t, but I thought that was brave of him. And by the way, the notion that the rest of the budget is nondiscretionary, meaning you can‘t touch it, is baloney. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, they‘re contracts with the future, but it‘s not like they can‘t be revisited. That‘s what the last great commission on this in the early ‘80s did, to raise the retirement age, to raise taxes somewhat, to put Social Security on solid footing. Let everybody come forth with ideas.
I think Hensarling deserves credit on “HARDBALL” for putting something on the table, which most Republicans are completely afraid to do.
OLBERMANN: Well, privatizing—discussing the possibility of reduced benefits for us, young guys, is one thing, but just like.
FINEMAN: Speak for yourself.
OLBERMANN: Well, I just like the idea that brining some context, we‘re young guys, but privatizing? And again, I mean, why not just say, let‘s go to Vegas.
OLBERMANN: I mean, that‘s not—that‘s not realistic, is it?
FINEMAN: Probably not, but I want to give the guy credit for saying something.
OLBERMANN: All right.
FINEMAN: But, no, it‘s not, because, look, the stock—just look at the stock market over the last couple of years.
FINEMAN: Do we really want, especially without reforms of the financial industry, do we want to bet the whole future of the American retirement system on a stock market that many people think isn‘t properly regulated to begin with? Obviously, the answer to that is no.
OLBERMANN: Well, he can blame that—that part you can blame on Jim Hensarling, which who we discovered was the president of a rodeo in Washington state.
Howard Fineman of MSNBC and “Newsweek,” who has nothing to do with the rodeo—great thanks.
FINEMAN: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Of course, math that would make a $1.2 trillion deficit inherited from his predecessor, President Bush, into President Obama‘s deficit, math that would make $30 billion in small business tax cuts in the Obama budget a massive tax increase for small businesses is the same kind of math by which House Republicans would now declare themselves the winners of Friday‘s question time session with President Obama, when with almost all of his answers, the president schooled his opposition while offering an olive branch of bipartisanship—not something his predecessor could have nor would have done.
Over the weekend, some how Republicans rewrote the history immediately
Congressman Mike Pence, who moderated the proceedings, and with whom the floor was mopped, mischaracterizing it as the first time President Obama has ever recognized that Republicans have ideas.
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PENCE: Republicans have been out in the cold in this debate for the last year. Yesterday, I think, maybe the president said, all right, all right, you guys have ideas, you have solutions.
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OLBERMANN: Just roll the video.
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OBAMA: If you want to look at what‘s going on in the Recovery Act, you can look on Recovery.gov, a Web site—by the way, that was Eric Cantor‘s idea.
From the start, I sought out and supported ideas from Republicans. I even talked about an issue that has been a “holy grail” for a lot of you, which was tort reform, and said that I‘d be willing to work together as part of a comprehensive package to deal with it. I just didn‘t get a lot of nibbles.
Creating a high-risk pool for uninsured folks with pre-existing conditions, that wasn‘t my idea. It was Senator McCain‘s and I supported it and it got incorporated into our approach.
Allowing insurance companies to sell coverage across state lines, that‘s an idea that was incorporated into our package.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: On the topic: is bipartisanship meaning buy my partisanship, let‘s turn now to Markos Moulitsas, the founder and publisher of the Daily Kos as well as the author of “Taking on the System.”
Markos, good evening.
MARKOS MOULITSAS, DAILYKOS.COM: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Well, we just heard Mike Pence claim Republicans have ideas. Is the problem not with the ideas, but with this—I mean, transparent intransigence, that none of these ideas can become law in an Obama administration, even if they were their ideas, like that perfect example of pay-as-you-go?
MOULITSAS: Well, they have ideas. I mean, we‘ve spent the last year hearing their ideas. You know, their claims that Obama‘s a socialist Nazi who wants to kill your grandmother and all sorts of nonsense. I mean, this is what they‘ve contributed to the debate. They‘ve had a vast media network to deliver those, quote, “ideas.” So, this notion that they were out in the cold and nobody paid attention to them is so patently ridiculous.
But, yes, when we talk about their role in the current political process, it‘s to say no to everything. I mean, they voted no against supplemental funding for our troops in Afghanistan. I mean, this is the kind of thing that they crucified Democrats for doing back in the Bush years, yet they have no compulsion about doing it now, because they know that they cannot vote for anything that Obama proposes that the Democrats do, because that would make them seen like they were part of governing, and they can‘t possibly do that.
OLBERMANN: Yes, disagreeing with Petraeus on where to have the terror trials, under what venues, suddenly it‘s OK to disagree with Petraeus. But pertinent to this, you have a Web site poll coming up in full release tomorrow, I guess, and the early dribs and drabs out of this are just remarkable about what, two out of three Republicans believe Obama is a socialist, the numbers about Palin‘s qualifications.
Give me what you can about this and what you think it means at first blush.
MOULITSAS: Well, what we found with this poll—and we‘re releasing it tomorrow at around noon Eastern Time, and this is a nonpartisan independent pollster—is that about 1/3 of Republicans are what to be characterized as sane, about 1/3 think Obama was born in the United States, about 1/3 don‘t think Obama should be impeached. We‘re talking impeachment here, without a hint of scandal.
About 1/3 believe that sex education should be taught in schools and so on. I mean, this is a fairly comprehensive poll.
And the other 2/either are completely insane or just aren‘t sure. I mean, 1/3 think that maybe we ought to debate whether Obama was born in the United States; 1/3 think that maybe ACORN stole the 2008 election. I mean, it‘s pretty, pretty crazy stuff. And I think a lot of this is driven by FOX News and Rush Limbaugh and this incredible, reality-bending, ultimate media machine that the right has.
OLBERMANN: Well, also consider this, that even though if you‘re a 10-year-old in 1980 and you‘re 40 years old now, every Democratic president you‘ve known before this one was impeached and for, you know, pretty flimsy reasons. So, unfortunately, the reality has been bent to go along with the bent message.
And to that point, Senator McCain told “The Hill” newspaper that Republicans are happy to sit down with Democrats and the White House, but he said, on things like—let me read the quote exactly, “on things like health care, they‘ve got to start over.”
Let‘s say that that scenario is played out. If the Democrats and the White House started over on health care, this would just give the Republicans another chance to derail it, wouldn‘t it, just extend the process that work fairly well for them in the past year?
MOULITSAS: Absolutely nothing would happen.
MOULITSAS: I don‘t think there‘s any doubt about that. I mean, you have Olympia Snowe, who‘s a so-called moderate, bragging about how she helped kill health care by negotiating in bad faith. I mean, these are the supposedly good Republicans that sometimes vote with us and they‘re bragging about killing health care reform.
Nothing will happen. They are afraid of health care reform, just like they‘re afraid of Social Security, and they‘re still trying to kill it to this day, as you talked about earlier, with Hensarling, wanting to privatize. They do not like government-run programs that work, because they feel that if people actually learn to appreciate those programs, they think government can do good.
OLBERMANN: That‘s right.
MOULITSAS: . that means that they‘re going to support more Democrats.
OLBERMANN: Last point, James Fallows at “The Atlantic” said he got a note from somebody who‘s described as having many decades experience in national politics who said he witnessed last year two congressman who had this discussion about the stimulus bill and the GOP member said, “I‘d like this in the bill,” some part of the proposal, and the Democratic member said, “If we put it in, will you vote for the bill?” And the GOP member says, “You know I can‘t vote for the bill.” And the Democratic member says, “Then why should we put it in the bill?”
Have we just defined what‘s wrong with partisanship and with the nature of our system right now? And in 30 seconds, what can we do to fix it?
MOULITSAS: Well, our system is broken.
MOULITSAS: Mostly the Senate—in 30 seconds, I can do it quicker—kill the filibuster. And that‘s I hope Democrats start looking into moving forward.
OLBERMANN: And you know, you thought that was going to be difficult to answer. Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos, we look forward to the poll tomorrow. It should be fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Great thanks.
MOULITSAS: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: About Friday, the mind reels. Remember when Chris Wallace tried to blame Bill Clinton for 9/11, then once the cameras were off, he asked the former president for his autograph. He‘s got nothing, as it turns out, on infamous Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. A “Quick Comment” on that.
And then tough times for the tea party, as Senator-elect Scott Brown throws it under the Barbara Walters bus.
OLBERMANN: And now, tonight‘s first “Quick Comment.” And, man, I wish we had known about this on Friday after the president‘s one-on-140 basketball game in which he cordially and politely humiliated them.
Virginia Foxx of North Carolina is the Republican congresswoman who announced that the ruling on the murder of Matthew Shepard as a homophobic hate crime murder was a, quote, “hoax” while his mother was in the gallery. She is the one who said health care would kill senior citizens and then she went right back to work to trying to preserve the insurance companies‘ rights to kill senior citizens.
While she was in the room for Obama‘s visit to Republican congressional gathering on Friday and afterwards, she actually tweeted this: “Pres gave us another lecture, our guys asked great questions, need independent fact checker for his comments, got autograph.”
You like the sentence structure there. Euphemism for, who the hell does this guy think he is. Plus whistling past graveyard self-compliment, plus conspiracy theory fueling bat crap, plus got autograph.
Oh, Congresswoman Foxx, you got Obama‘s autograph. Does the tea party know about this? I believe they‘re anti-Obama autographs. The primary on the North Carolina Fifth is on May 4th.
OLBERMANN: At its current rate of deterioration, next weekend‘s national tea party convention may wind up being tea for two. Namely, it‘s two hapless and somewhat greedy organizers.
Meantime, Senator-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts is already downplaying the tea partiers‘ role in his election.
After a series of bruising revelations about next weekend‘s tea party convention in Nashville, including its for-profit status, its official organizers are now publicly fighting back. TPN and its president, Judson Phillips and his wife, Sherry, ticking off in an e-mail all those responsible for trying to sabotage their event, like former sponsors American Liberty Alliance and America Majority and former allies like Bill Hemrick, who ponied up as a loan much of the $50,000 deposit for the $100,000 speaking fee of former half-governor, Sarah Palin.
And Congressman Ron Paul‘s political group, Campaign for Liberty, derided by Ms. Phillips as disorganized and unresponsive.
As for Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and her colleague Marsha Blackburn, who both cited a possible conflict with ethics rules as their excuses to withdraw from speaking at this convention, the Phillipses blamed, quote, “the left-leaning Democrat-controlled House Ethics Committee,” even though nobody on the committee actually says there‘s a problem here.
And with tickets still available for that once ballyhooed key note speech, Phillips is now predicting that the convention will break even, quoting, “We have made the best of a tight budget and scale backed without putting TPN into bankruptcy.” TPN now is trying to arrange live webcasts of the event, with portions of the convention, including the Palin address, available to broadcasters.
As to Senator-elect Brown, a month ago, he and, quote, “friends” of the tea party staged a joint fundraiser in Westborough, Mass, but that was before he, you know, got them to vote for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTERS: A tea party movement was important to your victory. How influential do you think the tea party movement is going to be?
BROWN: Well, you‘re making an assumption that the tea party movement was influential, and I have to respectfully disagree. It was everybody. I had a plurality.
WALTERS: But it was part of it.
BROWN: Yes, of course, it was. I have a—I have a big tent philosophy and always have. We have young, old, liberal, conservative, Democrat, independent on the roll, then Republicans, somebody would ever come up to me and say, by the way, I‘m a tea party member; I‘m supporting you. It never happened.
WALTERS: Do you think the tea party movement is going to be more and more influential nationally?
BROWN: I think the movement of the people is going to be more influential. Based on what I‘m seeing and what you just saw down the street, those are—those are regular folks who are basically fed up with the way government is being worked in Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Translation: thanks for stopping by, tea partiers.
Let‘s bring in the Washington editor of “The Week” magazine, political columnist for “Bloomberg News,” Margaret Carlson.
Margaret, good evening.
MARGARET CARLSON, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Good evening, Keith.
OLBERMANN: So, I‘m guessing here now, tell me if I‘m wrong on this—but the tea party is to the Republican Party what the evangelicals were to George Bush—they were nice to have before the election, and afterwards, forget my phone number?
CARLSON: Right. Don‘t call me in the morning.
Well, in one way, they are—they are alike, and it‘s that way, which is, you know, we‘ll take your stuffing of envelopes and your working the precinct and your showing up on election day, but we‘re not going to do what you asked us to do. All the Republican Party had to do was to be better than the Democratic Party for the Christian right to coalesce around them.
The tea party has—it differs from the Christian right in this. The Christian right was united around a series of issues. The tea party is a conglomeration of desperate views. It‘s birthers and Birchers and vaccine-deniers and anti-papists and militiamen and secessionists. And when I was on the Mall, I couldn‘t count all the ways that they were expressing themselves.
They do agree on one thing, which is: throw out the bums. But I don‘t know if that‘s enough to unite them and make them a viable political force.
OLBERMANN: Are there really anti-papists? Or did you just—you just hyperbole there.
CARLSON: I was just making that up.
OLBERMANN: OK, I just.
CARLSON: I do think that they would not vote for Catholics on the grounds that, like JFK.
CARLSON: . he might be taking his orders from the Pope.
OLBERMANN: I was just wondering if somebody was complaining about Pope Gregory or something from 300 years ago.
The tea party within the tea party concept here, is Sister Sarah going to go through with her speech, because the complaints that have been thrown at her, that she‘s betrayed the original tea party by endorsing John McCain instead of J.D. Hayworth, failed congressman, failed sportscaster, failed radio lunatic fringe talk show host, is she going to—is she still part of the movement, as of next week? Or is it too far away to predict?
CARLSON: Well, that would be a real devastating move for the tea party, because when Sarah Palin coming out in New York 23 for the tea party candidate that, while it didn‘t win for the Republicans or the independent, it killed off the Republican and that made them very happy. And she was—you know, on Facebook—making that happen.
You know, getting paid for this convention speech is antithetical to what people in a movement do. They don‘t get paid. They do it because they‘re passionate about their cause. So, the getting paid is a problem at the beginning.
On the loyalty to John McCain, I think she‘s doing the right thing. John McCain has had to answer for a lot for Sarah Palin. And the least she can do is stick with the guy who brung her.
OLBERMANN: And that also might be self-protection, because he might actually, then, his—the thing I would compliment him the most on is not joining any of that vast criticism of her.
But last point, back to the big picture here, I‘ve raised this analogy before. Is this not the problem with an organization that always has to be pointing at somebody and screaming “infidel” and “unbeliever,” that everybody eventually is going to be an infidel? That this is how the French Revolution started? I mean, this is—without—without the sharp instruments, this is the French Revolution.
CARLSON: Yes. Yes, it‘s the French Revolution minus the guillotines.
CARLSON: Well, my prediction is that by the time Scott Brown runs, they will have abandoned him, because he will become an infidel. And not just for saying that they didn‘t help him that much, but he will be an insider. They may prove to be serial daters and never marry anyone.
OLBERMANN: Wonderful. That‘s much nicer of an analogy than the French Revolution.
Margaret Carlson of “Bloomberg News” and “The Week” magazine—we‘ll check back with you on the serial daters party later on. Thanks, Margaret.
CARLSON: Good night, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Sometimes you wonder why people are recluses, then they suddenly appear in public and you find out. It turns out they make no sense whatsoever. Roger Ailes emerges from his burrow, sees his shadow, claims Glenn Beck didn‘t say stuff that he said on tape, gives a non-sequitur about why his network jumped out of the political event of the year, decides it‘s all a socialist plot, and then goes back into hiding.
OLBERMANN: Roger Ailes explains it all, as explained by an eyewitness to the carnage, Arianna Huffington. First, six years ago today, at half time of Super Bowl XXXVIII, Janet Jackson‘s nipple was visible on broadcast TV for about two seconds. And, as you‘ll remember, society immediately dissolved into a giant pudding of steaming anarchy and then we all went to hell.
Let‘s play Oddball.
Also there was this. We begin in Santiago, Chile. The thrilling crowd of 60,000, including Chilean President Michele Bachelet, a 16 foot four inch wooden puppet, known as the Little Giant, arrives. We learn nothing from the Trojans? If this oversized Sarah Palin prototype looks familiar, she‘s participated in other events chronicled by Oddball, such the anniversary of Germany‘s reunification. But here in Chile, Little Giant tosses aside political symbolism, in favor of performing more basic functions for her adoring audience, like waking up and taking a shower and lumbering through the streets of the city. Godzilla, meanwhile, remains unimpressed.
To Chiba (ph), Japan, where we join the ancient ritual of Set-Su-Bon (ph), already in process. Participating in the event, the elephants at the local zoo, throwing beans with their trunks to fight off bad luck and the occasional ogre. You see, ogres use this time of year to plot mischief, and the bean tossing is intended to thwart the ogres‘ plans. As everyone knows, ogres in Chiba hate beans. The town is called Chiba, you say.
Maybe Roger Ailes is from Chiba. That, worsts, and to the Moon, Alice, we‘re not going to the Moon. Next.
OLBERMANN: Not every day that the head of a cable news network appears on TV to give credence to the claim that his network lies by lying himself so transparently that common sense alone gives him away. Universe, Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes, universe. The Fox News super-genius appeared on ABC‘s “This Week” as part of a roundtable and fellow panelist Arianna Huffington, our guest presently, called on Ailes to answer for the damage his network does to the country.
Ailes claiming that bad blood between his network and the White House is now largely past. He also claimed that Glenn Beck, when he said that people are going to be killed, future tense, he was talking about Hitler and Stalin, who, of course, are dead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, “THE HUFFINGTON POST”: Aren‘t you concerned about the language that Glenn Beck is using, which is, after all, inciting the American people? There‘s a lot of suffering out there. And when he talks about people being slaughtered, about who is going to be the next in the killing spree.
ROGER AILES, FOX NEWS: Well, he was talking about Hitler and Stalin slaughtering people. So I think he was probably accurate.
HUFFINGTON: No, he was talking about this administration.
AILES: I think he speaks English. I don‘t know. but I don‘t interrupt any of his words. He did say one unfortunate things, which he apologized for, but that happens in live television. So I don‘t think that he—I think if we start going around as the word police in this business, it will be—
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Word police, of course, is what Fox calls what everyone else calls journalists, editors and producers who, yes, police even the words I am reading to you now, to ensure, say, relative fairness and comparable accuracy. Today, Beck said, quote, “if I used the word ‘slaughtered,‘ it wasn‘t in the context of Mao, Stalin or Hitler. It was in the idea that the truth is being slaughtered by this administration, not saying the administration is going to slaughter anyone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLENN BECK, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: And when you see the effects of what they‘re doing to the economy, remember these words: we will survive. No, we‘ll do better than survive; we will thrive, as long as these people are not in control. They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Guess that wasn‘t English. Ailes‘ disdain for word police not only a slur against whomever at Fox still considers themselves journalist, but also explaining why he sees his goal not as journalism, but purely as ratings, as you‘ll see in a moment.
Warning, if your head is fragile, it may explode from his argument that when the president met with the GOP, Fox stopped covering it because Fox is trusted, because Fox covers everything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AILES: I‘m not in politics. I‘m in ratings. We‘re winning.
HUFFINGTON: Roger, you‘re clearly in ratings. But if you‘re in ratings, can you explain to me why Fox went away from the meeting the president was having—why did—
AILES: Because we‘re the most—
HUFFINGTON: -- 20 minutes before the end.
AILES: Because we‘re the most trusted name in news.
AILES: And we believe—two liberal polls have proven it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: The trust claim, referencing a new poll in which a plurality says it trusts Fox News more than any other news outlet, apparently lumping MSNBC and NBC together there. This as Sarah Palin, the newest star trusted by Fox viewers, is revealed to have spent more of the money contributed to her political action committee on buying copies of her own book than on boosting other candidates. ABC, assuming we can trust them, reporting she used more than 63,000 dollars in donations to the PAC to buy the books, which were then given out in return for the donations. Meaning she used the book to launder political donations into her own personal cash.
As promised now, we turn to Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in chief of “The Huffington Post,” and survivor of yesterday‘s edition of “This Week.” Arianna, thanks for your time tonight.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you, Keith.
OLBERMANN: I understand Mr. Ailes skipped out on the online post-mortem that ABC does. Did you ever get an answer from him, something of substance or something that wasn‘t a non-sequitur about why they bailed out of a historic presidential congressional discussion, but then took the GOP response live in its entirety later on?
HUFFINGTON: I didn‘t. But, you know, Keith, even if he had stayed for the online discussion after the show, he would never have said the truth, because the truth is very simple. They went away—they bailed on the rest of the event because it was an event that showed the president in a completely different light from their relentless blaming of him as being some kind of bent on destruction, Bolshevik Muslim, born in Kenya, or wherever he was supposed to have been born.
And the president was so forceful, so rational, everything he said was so based on facts that it completely destroyed that framing. So they didn‘t want, clearly, their viewers exposed to that reality.
OLBERMANN: That poll that was cited - and referred to it there—that quote/unquote liberal poll, found that most Democrats trust any given news network, 30 percent of Democrats even trust Fox. But 74 percent of Republicans trust Fox, but only a minority of Republicans trust any other news network. And as the polling group‘s president said, Americans are now turning more towards the outlets that tell them what they want to hear. So apparently Mr. Ailes meant it when he said he‘s in the ratings business?
HUFFINGTON: Yes, I‘m sure he meant it. But I think there is something else going on here, Keith, which is that at the time of growing economic anxiety and real suffering out there, Fox is appealing to the worst in people, to their fears, to their pain, and in a sense, profiting from what is happening in America.
And of course, this has been part and parcel of Roger Ailes‘ career. Remember, appealing to fear is something he‘s very good at. Here‘s the man who brought us the Willie Horton ad. And he asked at the time asked the question, the only thing we have to decide, do we show him with a knife in his hand or without. So appealing to our little brains, you know, which is when our rational mind kind of goes to sleep and we just absorb all those paranoid statements that Glenn Beck is famous for.
OLBERMANN: And to Mr. Beck, did Mr. Ailes or did ABC or anybody else in the last 24 hours that they‘ve had to discover that there is, in fact, tape of him warning viewers that they would be led to slaughter in the future, and have not discovered time machines or Hitler and Stalin had not discovered time machines? Has anybody corrected that since Roger Ailes went on national television and lied through his teeth about it?
HUFFINGTON: On the contrary, today Glenn Beck, on his radio show, insisted that he had never used the word “slaughter.” And I find that stunning, Keith, because surely both he and Roger Ailes know that we live in the world of embeddable video. And in fact, within an hour of that show yesterday, we had the video of Glenn Beck saying what Roger Ailes said he had not said, you know, the slaughtering argument and the warning his viewers that they might be the next victim of the killing spree.
OLBERMANN: And last point, am I too harsh on Sarah Palin? Is that, in fact, money laundering?
HUFFINGTON: Well, it is money laundering, but really it‘s part and parcel of Sarah Palin being a brand. Everything about Sarah Palin is about the building of the brand. She‘s a little bit like Louis XIV, you know, (FRENCH) I and the PAC are one and the same thing.
OLBERMANN: (FRENCH) the snow machine. Arianna Huffington of “The Huffington Post,” great thanks, Arianna.
HUFFINGTON: Thank you.
OLBERMANN: Anybody want to buy a used rocket? Back to the budget. The second Moon program gets mooned. So what‘s left? Derek Pitts coming up.
Speaking of mooning, Bill-O versus math. This is a great moment.
And when Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, she‘ll talk with Congressman Barney Frank about why the Republicans are doing an about-face on so many policies they used to support. Pay as you go is gone.
OLBERMANN: Worst persons next. But now the second of tonight‘s quick comments and about Friday‘s conviction of the terrorist who assassinated Dr. George tiller. Yes, Scott Roeder was convicted and the jury need only 37 minutes to decide. But largely overlooked, Mr. Roeder was also convicted on two counts of aggravated assault. After murdering Tiller in a place of worship, Scott Roeder pointed his gun at two church ushers.
And in that action lies the truth of what Scott Roeder did. He was not someone willing to give up everything he had to stop what he saw as an unforgivable sin. He was not acting from some deeply felt conviction. He was a man who simply, like a million men before him, latched on to a cause, used God as an excuse, and murdered someone, and then tried to get away.
If you are really laying down your life for a principle, you do not take your action, whatever it is, then point your weapon at two innocent bystanders and try to save yourself. Scott Roeder, terrorist, murderer, assassin, is also Scott Roeder, fraud.
OLBERMANN: You want to go to the Moon, you‘ll have to get there yourself, because there are going to be no more free rides from the government. That‘s next but first tonight‘s worst persons in the world, brought to you by the Bill O‘Reilly autobiographical history of the world show, where tonight‘s fourth story was, one again, about Bill O‘Reilly.
The bronze to James O‘Keefe. It was just a prank. He‘s just a kid. But a kid investigative journalist, so we should call him little Jimmy Olson O‘Keefe. His rationalization for those felony charges incurred at Mary Landrieu‘s offices: “I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu‘s constituents were having trouble getting through to her office, to tell her that they didn‘t want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the health care bill. When asked about this, Senator Landrieu‘s explanation was that, quote, our lines have been jammed for weeks. I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for weeks because her phones were broken.”
Sonny, jammed, as in busy. You may be going to the penitentiary because it never dawned on you that jammed doesn‘t always mean broken, doesn‘t even usually mean broken. And somebody actually asked if we all thought little Jimmy Olson O‘Keefe was really that stupid.
Runner-up, lunatic fringe radio yacker Mark Levine, implying that Vermont‘s Patrick Leahy was inebriated while addressing the Senate, played a clip of Leahy mixed with sounds of drinks being poured at a car crashing and—he said, “listen carefully. Is he slurring his speech? Is this guy sober on the Senate floor? What‘s going on with happy hour on the Senate floor. I think we have a senator with wobbly legs. I think we have a senator with beer breath. I could be wrong. I‘ll leave it to you decide. Honestly, he sounds drunk to me. Doesn‘t he? But don‘t worry, he wants to run the country with the other drunks.”
Assuming your slander is correct, what‘s your excuse for sounding like you do?
But our winner, Bill-O the Clown, super genius, taking to the stage Friday, where he explained to the folks the true cost of holding the terror trials in military courts, rather than a military tribunal or a dungeon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: It‘s going to cost 200 million dollars a year. It‘s going to take between three and four years. So that‘s almost a trillion dollars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: What, what do you mean 400 million times four isn‘t a trillion? Two hundred million times four? Well, if it isn‘t a trillion, how came I gave Andrea Mackris that much? Bill-O the math Clown, today‘s - - my god—worst person in the world.
OLBERMANN: In front of Congress last summer, former NASA administrator Mike Griffin framed President Obama‘s looming decision on manned space exploration in terms of two presidents. Barack Obama, he said, “could inspire like Kennedy or de-fund like Nixon.”
Today, the proposed White House budget boldly goes where both presidents have gone before. NASA‘s constellation program, initiated in the wake of the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster—today it happens to mark seven years since that awful tragedy. And Constellation‘s goal to send astronauts to the International Space Station, return them to the Moon by the year 2020. The Obama budget canceled Constellation, which is described as behind schedule, over budget, and lacking innovation.
NASA‘s current administrator, Charles Bolden, saying on a conference call today, quote, “we were not a sustainable path to get back to the Moon‘s surface.” So if you‘re like MSNBC‘s Monica Novotny and you own land on the Moon, sell now.
The White House proposes spending money in the private sector, instead, six billion over five years to commercial spaceship manufacturers. NASA would then pay those companies to fly astronauts into outer space. Obama budget director Peter Orszag explaining today Americans will eventually explore infinity and beyond, we just can‘t spend infinity and beyond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PETER ORSZAG, WHITE HOUSE BUDGET DIRECTOR: We do have a actually small budget increase for NASA. What we‘re saying is let‘s redirect that towards longer-range R&D, advanced robotics, research and development, and find those new technologies that will actually allow us to go further in space and not just repeat what we‘ve already done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Let‘s turn to the chief astronomer for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Derek Pitts. Derek, welcome back.
DEREK PITTS, FRANKLIN INSTITUTE ASTRONOMER: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: The last time you were here, we talked about this lava tube on the Moon that would be perfect colonization. The White House didn‘t see that segment?
PITTS: The problem is they didn‘t see the price tag on that segment, is really it. They were in trouble in this whole program from the beginning, because, as you said, it really cost too much to do what they were planning to do. They were behind schedule, over budget on this. And at the end, they wouldn‘t even end up with a vehicle to land on the surface of the Moon with. So it was really doomed from the start. They were just filling a gap in what people knew of as the program.
OLBERMANN: Thinking of the Mars Rover and the telescope, the Kepler, even the Hubble after the initial problems with it, NASA seems to do unmanned pretty well. Does the move to farm out the manned part of it to entrepreneurs make any sense?
PITTS: It actually does make sense because when you look at the whole program, NASA does a really great job, as you said, with all the unmanned stuff. And the problem with the manned part is that it‘s extraordinarily expensive and it really takes a lot for Congress to get behind such a mission, because of the great expense that‘s involved.
At the same time, on the commercial side, there is commercial development coming along that will put people into space. So what they‘re trying to do is to put the money where it‘s best spent, on the unmanned stuff, and also give these—the commercial space sector an opportunity to blossom, where it really can avoid a lot of the pitfalls of working within government, and trying to get Congress to agree on everything, and all that sort of red tape bureaucracy that‘s holding up that part of the program.
OLBERMANN: So is the next man who steps on the Moon—will he be going there as an employee of someone? Or will he be going there to do some mining? Or will he be paid three million dollars for the privilege?
PITTS: I think you‘re going to have all of these things mixed in together. Already, Keith, you can go visit the International Space Station for a mere 25 million dollars.
PITTS: Yeah, but for all the rest of the exploration stuff, here‘s what‘s going to happen, is that it will be a mixture of the governmental stuff, that will have additional support provided by the commercial space sector. So we‘ll put all of these assets together to build the exploratory program we want to build. And it‘s not that we‘re not going to go to the Moon and go to Mars. It‘s just that it‘s not going to be done in the way that we‘ve done it classically. It will be a new hybrid way of doing it that involves the commercial aspect.
OLBERMANN: Mr. Bolden, the current director of NASA, says this is going to allow NASA to explore more of the solar system and faster than it would have otherwise. Is he just saying that because his budget has been gutted, or is there truth to it?
PITTS: No, I think there‘s actually a lot of truth to it. When you look at it, one of the things that NASA has done extraordinarily well—and people have sort of missed the boat on—is the exploration of the solar system. I hope everybody realizes that by the time we get to Pluto in 2015, NASA will have explored very, very closely every planet of the solar system. And that‘s a remarkable achievement.
So pushing off this other work to another group that can do it better only makes it easier for NASA to do what it does best.
OLBERMANN: Is Pluto a planet again? Or do we have to go and ask them or what is it?
PITTS: In my book, I‘ve always thought it was a planet. And the Plutonians don‘t really care what we think, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Marvin the Plutonian. Do you like the idea, though, of essentially private enterprise being taxi drivers for NASA people?
PITTS: Yes, I do like this. And I think it‘s a good thing to be done, because there‘s a tremendous amount of capability over in the commercial space sector. And right now, even as we speak, there‘s a space port being built in New Mexico. And so that means that the capability is there. We should take advantage of it to achieve what we want to achieve.
OLBERMANN: Derrick Pitts of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, always our great pleasure, and we always learn something. Thank you kindly, sir.
PITTS: Thank you, Keith. My pleasure.
OLBERMANN: That‘s COUNTDOWN for this 2,468th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq. I‘m Keith Olbermann, stopping off on my way to the Moon, good night and good luck.
And now to discuss the GOP flip-flopping on some of its favorite pet issues or old favorite pet issues with Congressman Barney Frank, ladies and gentlemen, here is Rachel Maddow.
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