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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Friday, February 5th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Craig Crawford, Arianna Huffington, Richard Justice


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

The jig is up for Sarah Palin: 1,200 official State of Alaska e-mails reveal her husband is almost co-governor, reveal she coached her staff on how to disguise the amount of electrical work needed at the governor‘s mansion to hook up her tanning bed—and where today, she lives in terror that Rush Limbaugh will think she actually criticized him for using that R-word.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST:  Sarah Palin‘s spokesman has just gotten off the phone with me, sort of in a panic.


OLBERMANN:  Where tomorrow, she will address the tea party convention which begins with an ex-Colorado congressman spouting racism, straight out of the South of the 1960s.


FMR. REP. TOM TANCREDO ®, COLORADO:  People who could not even spell the word “vote” or say it in English—put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.  His name is Barack Hussein Obama.


OLBERMANN:  Richard Wolffe on the political implosion of Sarah Palin in Alaska and in the tea party; Arianna Huffington on Palin‘s hypocrisy over an insult to her own special needs child.

The president versus the junior senator from Minnesota.  Obama hints Congress has not moved on health care.  Franken hints the president has not led on health care.

Jon Stewart and Billo, why did FOX not televised the parts in which Stewart asked him why FOX insisted you couldn‘t criticize Bush in war time but all it does is now criticize Obama in wartime.


JON STEWART, TV HOST:  The point is, any criticism of the president in wartime.

BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS:  About anything?

STEWART:  That‘s what the network is about.

O‘REILLY:  I criticized Bush all day long.

STEWART:  Please.


OLBERMANN:  The Super Bowl preview: Who do you think “Heck of a Job” Brownie now radio host Brownie is picking against?  Is he picking against Indy or is he picking against New Orleans?

And tonight‘s comment: the breaking news about the worst campaign commercial ever, attack of the killer sheep.


NARRATOR:  We‘ll see what he tells us.  We‘ll see what he‘s become over the years.  A FCINO—Fiscal Conservative In Name Only.


OLBERMANN:  Now I know where I‘ve seen this bit before.

All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.



OLBERMANN:  Good evening from New York.

Politicians who pad their expense accounts, who will look for ways to bill taxpayers for private airline flights taken by their relatives, maybe even for the electrical work needed to hook up their tanning beds.  And there are the lawmakers who tried to thwart transparency by withholding information or when they finally do release it, by redacting pages upon pages of it from public scrutiny.  Supposedly, these are the kind of public officials that the tea party members are fighting against.

Yet tomorrow night, a former governor, matching that exact description—Sarah Palin is to deliver the keynote address at the first national tea party convention in Nashville.  Perhaps by then, convention organizers will have found an American flag somewhere in the convention hall, literally found one, they open proceedings without one.  And then she could use it to drape herself in it.

For now, the former governor of Alaska drowning in nearly 3,000 pages of newly released e-mails revealing just how closely entwined her family‘s finances were with state finances.  And revealing that her husband, self-proclaimed first dude, Todd Palin, having been actively involved in a wide range of state business.  The e-mails released exclusively to MSNBC under the public records law and in them, Governor Palin stewing over a state agency‘s refusal to provide a private plane so that her children could fly to Todd Palin‘s family home in Dillingham, Alaska.  The governor calling the agency‘s decision really outrages.

Governor Palin‘s event manager charged with finding a public event, any event, “I just need one,” to use as a justification to charge the state for an airline flight taken by her daughter, Willow, who made a trip with the family but failed to attend the public event on the governor‘s schedule.  Governor Palin coaching her staff on how to keep quiet on the amount of electrical work needed at the governor‘s mansion to hook up her new tanning bed at a cost of $3,252 to Alaska taxpayers.

Todd Palin, meanwhile, overseeing a judicial appointment, monitoring contract negotiations with public employee unions, receiving background checks on a corporate CEO, giving his approval or disapproval to state board appointments and passing financial information marked “confidential” from the oil company for which he worked to the state‘s attorney.

That is just the stuff we know about.  And for a speech by its perpetrator, the supposedly anti-privilege, anti-government waste tea party convention in Nashville is paying a reported $120,000.

The opening speech already invoking one of the most despised aspects of the Jim Crow laws of the South in the 1960s and erasing the line between the tea party and racial and ethic animus.  Former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado referencing the infamous literacy tests.


TANCREDO:  We do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country.


TANCREDO:  People who could not even spell the word “vote” or say it in English—put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.  His name is Barack Hussein Obama.


OLBERMANN:  Judson Phillips, a Tennessee lawyer who organized this convention, today depending Tancredo, saying he gave a terrific speech and adding that, quote, “Tancredo doesn‘t feel like a lot of people who supported Barack Obama understand the basics of this country.”

Some basic misunderstanding is clearly evident in Nashville.  ABC News reporting the attendance so far is just 600 people, and “The Washington Post” noting that there was no American flag in the convention hall on the first day—another organizer blaming that oversight on hotel staff.

Time now to call our own Richard Wolffe, the author of “Renegade,” and, of course, MSNBC political analyst.

Richard, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  If you open the tea party convention by referencing literacy tests and I‘ll get to Governor Palin in a moment, but if you open this convention with literacy tests, you claim a president was elected by people who could not even spell the word “vote” or say it in English, have you not just erased any pretense that this is not about race and ethnic origin?

WOLFFE:  Well, it‘s ugly stuff for sure.  And let me just say, I don‘t think this is the only thing that‘s been fuelling the tea party organization.

But Tom Tancredo has essentially run on a nativist platform from the get-go.  He‘s had one issue.  It‘s be all and end all, it‘s anti-immigrant, anti-foreign.  That‘s just who he is.  He‘s just been more explicit here.

But what it says about the wider tea party grouping is this question of what they‘ve called in Australia, the dog whistle politics.  And it goes beyond being explicit stuff about literacy tests.

When you question the president‘s birth, when you say that he‘s not really American, or as the organizer said, that people in general who voted for him don‘t understand what this country‘s about, it‘s one of the oldest ethnic and racial slurs there is—in any country, saying people don‘t really belong, that they‘re not really one of us.  That is itself fundamentally racist.

And I think, you just have to be clear of the kind of politics the people are engaging here and in some ways, it‘s more insidious when it‘s more subtle.  Tom Tancredo, you know where he stands.  When people are just saying.


WOLFFE:  . the president isn‘t really American, I think that‘s actually much more dangerous.

OLBERMANN:  Well, to that point, after Tancredo‘s speech and conversely, the Palin e-mails, do we have any estimation here of which side is being hurt more by the other—the tea party or Sarah Palin?

WOLFFE:  I think it‘s Sarah Palin, to be honest, because it comes down to this question of credibility and what she stands for.  You know, clearly, there are people who are attracted to the whole tea party movement and Tom Tancredo, because they don‘t like immigrants, they don‘t like immigration, and they never mind what they think about illegal aliens.

But when it comes down to Sarah Palin, this is someone who has built her brand and the movement has—if it is a movement—has itself identified with the values of curving government spending.  So, Sarah Palin going spending—as John McCain would say, like a drunken sailor—really doesn‘t mesh with either who they think are or who they think she is.

OLBERMANN:  To that point, that she built Alaska taxpayers for her own household expenses whenever she could manage to get away with it, and called it really outrageous when she could not get away with it, how does that jibe with what is supposed to be fiscally responsible government mandate of these people aggregating in Nashville?

WOLFFE:  Well, how does it jive with someone who said that they disliked the idea of a governor‘s plane so much they put it on eBay?  You know, it is hard to square up with tanning bed with the dislike of a governor‘s plane.  And never mind they‘re actually trying to get her daughter flown around at state expense when she wanted to give up the place.  She should keep the plane, maybe put a tanning bed in it.  It would have been much easy for everyone.

OLBERMANN:  Boehner as vice president.

Listen, this week, it was also revealed and should be mentioned in passing, it‘s a detail, but the Palins owed back taxes for never having noted new properties they built in tax assessments about their land—namely, the house on their land.  Every time they‘re attacked, this is a small amount of money, it‘s just small amount of money, but every time they‘re attacked, the governor dismissed it as personal gossip.  It might involve her personal life, but does it not speak to what she—what she stands for politically and thus, rise above gossip?

WOLFFE:  Well, I‘m not a big fan of people not answering public life because they‘ve had some query on their taxes, because what happens is, you jab at the whole system.  That‘s what we‘ve seen in this administration coming together, but it is ironic if you are tea party movement and you say, no taxation without representation.  If you‘re going to have representation, you should be up to date at least with your taxes.

OLBERMANN:  And she had refused to do a campaign ad for a fellow Alaska politician who, I believe, was about $2,200 in arrears on her taxes, or his taxes.

WOLFFE:  Indeed.

OLBERMANN:  And so, again, it‘s calling people things that you‘re doing yourself.

Richard Wolffe of MSNBC and “Newsweek”—great thanks.  Good luck in the snow.

WOLFFE:  Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  A Palin e-mail that will also live in infamy, the one in which the governor‘s spokesperson refuses to criticize Rush Limbaugh by name even though Limbaugh used a word she claimed should cost Rahm Emanuel his job and Limbaugh used it more than 40 times in one radio broadcast alone.  Despite the governor‘s call that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel be fired for using the demeaning term privately, once.

And Mr. Limbaugh, having weighed in on the controversy with his usual eloquence earlier this week.


LIMBAUGH:  Our politically correct society is acting like a giant insult‘s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, “retards.”


OLBERMANN:  Add in another three dozen uses of that epithet and the word picture of the full afternoon becoming clear, Greg Sargent of the Plum Line Blog and reporter for “Politico” having asked Palin‘s spokesperson, both of them did this, spokesperson Meg Stapleton for comment on Limbaugh‘s rant and receiving only this: “Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name-calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.”

Backing the outrage or the specificity of, say, a name, at her response to Chief of Staff Emanuel did, Limbaugh meanwhile explaining why Ms. Stapleton pulled her punches.


LIMBAUGH:  She had said that “Politico” was going to run a story saying that Sarah Palin‘s spokeswoman had ripped into me for using the R-word and she had called and said, “I didn‘t mention Rush in particular.  They kept asking about Rush and I kept answering generically.  But they kept asking me about Rush and I just wanted you to know.”

So I soon saw the political story and the reaction to it, and lo and behold, that‘s exactly how they—“Politico” reported it.  I tend—if it‘s a contest between “Politico” and Sarah Palin‘s spokeswoman, I will believe Sarah Palin‘s spokeswoman.


OLBERMANN:  Limbaugh also claimed that Palin‘s spokesman had, quote, “called in a sort of panic.”

Again this afternoon, Limbaugh claiming that they were Rahm Emanuel‘s words he had merely been repeating them.

Let‘s turn now to Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of “The Huffington Post.”

Arianna, good evening.


OLBERMANN:  Is Sarah Palin afraid of Rush Limbaugh and too afraid to stand up for her son and other special needs kids?

HUFFINGTON:  She is.  She is afraid because she knows that Rush Limbaugh can have her brand and Sarah Palin is all about her brand.  We‘ve seen that again and again.

No matter what, that‘s really what drives her.  Whether she decides to leave Alaska and become an analyst for FOX or get $100,000 despite all the fallout, if that helps her brand in her eyes and her bank account, that‘s what she‘s about.

So she‘s not going pick a fight with Rush Limbaugh.

OLBERMANN:  I don‘t Rahm Emanuel should have been fired.  But her point about the use of that word and the pain that it causes people who have these issues in their lives, with their children, with themselves, the pain that it causes them I think was correct.  In applying a double standard, Rahm Emanuel and Rush Limbaugh, do you think that she understands that she missed an opportunity to do something for her son and for the other special needs families?

HUFFINGTON:  I don‘t know if she understands it.  But what I do know is that everything with her seems to be about this cost-benefit analysis.  You know, what is in her best interest as supposed to anything else.  That goes directly against the brand that she tried to build about her being authentic, being about her core values, keeping her baby even though it was a Down‘s syndrome baby.  All these things which appear to so many people are really exposed here as nothing.  But (INAUDIBLE), the hypocrisy is really stunning.

OLBERMANN:  Now that we know where Limbaugh and Palin stand on this issue and relative to each other, do we also know that nobody goes rogue on Rush Limbaugh, not even Sarah Palin?

HUFFINGTON:  Nobody except NLF owners, remember?



HUFFINGTON:  Nobody else, because this is just one other example of people saying something and then having to go back—as Rush said today—in a panic to explain themselves.  It was Michael Steele, who called him another entertainer, then he had to go back and apologize.  It was—remember, Congressman Phil Gingrey from Georgia, who had to go back and backpedal and apologize.

It is really amazing that now, we have Sarah Palin demeaning herself by having her spokeswoman call and make sure that Rush didn‘t for—a second—think this was about Rush.  This was a generic statement.

OLBERMANN:  The Alaska government emails, the hypocrisy about the R-word, the mask at the tea party being ripped off and she now has to address these people tomorrow—is there a chance this was the week that Sarah Palin jumped the shark?

HUFFINGTON:  You know, Keith, there are kind of—there are three kinds of people.  There are people for whom she jumped the shark a long time ago—I think just about when she saw Russia from her front porch.  And there are people for whom she will never jump the shark, like the people who never gave up on George Bush no matter what he did.  And then finally, there‘s a group in the middle, and I think they‘re going to take another look because this is so much about her own brand of being authentic, being independent, being about her core values.

OLBERMANN:  Arianna Huffington of “Huffington Post”—great thanks. 

Have a great weekend.

HUFFINGTON:  Thank you.  You, too.

OLBERMANN:  A quick comment about the tea party—and thank God for Tom Tancredo.  Next.


OLBERMANN:  We continue about the first tea party convention, subject of tonight‘s first “Quick Comment.”

We do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country, people who could not spell the word “vote” or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House.  The opening speaker of the first national tea party convention, former Congressman Tom Tancredo—cheered as he said those hateful, ancient, imbecilic things, lauded by the profiteer charging $349 or more to those attending—those, Tancredo has now confirmed for us, who are seeking as much of euphemism for what they really are, as they are seeking any cogent political philosophy were changed.

Thank God for Tom Tancredo.  No more inferences are required.  No more hiding behind the evocative little hats.  No more doubts.

The civics literacy tests, the reference to those who could not spell the word “vote,” those could have come straight from the mouth of George Wallace in 1966, that could not say it in English, the basis form of hatred against those of different ethnic backgrounds.  And these words coming from a man none of whose grandparents were born in this country, reflecting utter loathsome hypocrisy of those who do not understand that America is great because of immigrants, not in spite of them.

Even if it is true in their own family, a man who would deny the struggle of his own grandparent to make a life here, to make a life for him -- how deeply, how eternally sad.

These are not political insurrectionaries, nor real Americans.  These are men and women who hate and who need to cloak it with some other name.  And Tom Tancredo has just stripped away that cloak forever.  Thank God for Tom Tancredo.


OLBERMANN:  Quick anecdote for the attention of President Obama, learned during a mock fight between Alex Trebek and Al Franken on “Jeopardy” six years ago.  I played the role of the whole Franken back guy.  This is when was reminded he was a high school wrestler and had apparently decided the barrel chest.

Metaphorically, top White House advisor, David Axelrod, may have also learned this.  Their encounter occurred in a closed door follow up to Wednesday‘s Q&A session with the president and Senate Democrats, at which Mr. Obama was not present, but Mr. Axelrod was, and the subject was health care reform.

According to “Politico,” Senator Franken criticized the administration for failing to lead on health care, as well as other legislative issues.  Nor was Franken the only senator who piled on to Axelrod.  People were hot, one told “Politico.”

“Huffington Post” reports Senator Bernie Sanders followed Franken‘s lead, and in a statement yesterday said, quote, “My message is that the current strategy is failing.”

Senator Sherrod Brown yesterday told “Huffington Post” that White House involvement in House Senate talks on health care, quote, “dried up” after Massachusetts sent Republican Scott Brown to the Senate last month.

By a coincidence or otherwise, at a Democratic fundraiser last night, Mr. Obama took a question.  The first question about the way forward on health care strategy and suggested his interest has far from dried up, that his ambition is not only to use politics to reform health care but to use health care to reform politics.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  What I‘d like to do is have a meeting whereby I‘m sitting with the Republicans, sitting with the Democrats, sitting with health care experts, and let‘s just go through these bills.  Their ideas, our ideas—let‘s walk through them in a methodical way so that the American people can see and compare, what makes the most sense.  And then, I think that we‘ve got to go ahead and move forward on a vote.  We‘ve got to move forward on a vote.

CROWD:  Yes!


OLBERMANN:  Unfortunately, for any Democrats heartened by Mr. Obama‘s apparent commitment to passing health care, his subsequent remarks about the timing of health care reform appeared to leave things some ambiguities unclarified.


OBAMA:  I think, you know, we should be very deliberate, take our time.  But here‘s the key, is to not let the moment slip away.


OLBERMANN:  Take a moment to bring in MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford, also columnist at and the author of “Listen Up, Mr. President: Everything You Always Wanted to Know—What Your President to Know and Do.”

I never get the second half of the title right, I‘m sorry, Craig.

CRAIG CRAWFORD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Publishers like those long subtitles.  I don‘t know why.

OLBERMANN:  Craig‘s book.  What should Democrats take away from the president‘s saying within about a minute of each other statement, that they should not let health care‘s moment slip away, but they should also take their time?

CRAWFORD:  You know, it makes you wonder what happens if you jam the brakes of the gas pedal at the same time.


CRAWFORD:  . on a Toyota.  But I think the president was trying to address something that‘s creeping up among Democrats.  Let‘s just pass something, anything, so we can say we passed health reform.  And I think he may be getting a little worried about that because they could end up with something that‘s very hard to defend come election time.

OLBERMANN:  Yes.  But what‘s the origin of that idea?  The origin of that idea isn‘t in the Senate, is it?  The origin of that idea is in the White House.

CRAWFORD:  Yes, that‘s where some of that talk is coming from. 

You‘re right.

OLBERMANN:  But that‘s where it originated from.  That‘s where they said, “If we pass anything, it will be the greatest revision of the social contract in at least 40 years.”

CRAWFORD:  I think, you know, they want to avoid looking like they just threw something together, you know, to get anything done, if that‘s what they do and I think he was trying to at least make it look like they‘re still being methodical about it.

OLBERMANN:  But all of the—all that they have said previously didn‘t just get you erased because there‘s been, you know, no movement on this, into February of the second year of discussion.  They can‘t just think it‘s going to go away, all that they‘ve said before.

CRAWFORD:  No, and I do think they are in a big hurry.  And I—the president, sometimes, I think, is a little disconnected from his own people in his own way.  He‘s such a rationale, methodical thinker.  And some of his aides were more political and more interested in the short-term.  I‘ve seen this going back to the campaign.  He frustrates some of his own aides in that way.

OLBERMANN:  The seriousness about this idea to get in a room with Democrats, with Republicans, with health care experts and a camera now and go through the bills.  “A,” will it happen?  And “B,” can he change the system itself at the same time he‘s trying to get historic results from the system?

CRAWFORD:  Yes.  I think it might have happened before he had that Q&A with the Republicans a while back.


CRAWFORD:  . because I think if Republicans had any sense, they would never agree to such a thing, because he scored so many points and it would -- it would really out them in some of their obstructionism and some of the weakness of their ideas in this health care debate.

OLBERMANN:  A question, lastly, about Senator Franken.  And I‘m almost afraid to ask a question about him having told that story at the start of this segment.


OLBERMANN:  Is orientation for Al Franken in the Senate essentially over?  Is he officially now the Senate‘s “I will mess you up” senator?

CRAWFORD:  I go back to—I remember my days where I was a page in the Senate, Keith.  And we always knew when senators got secure on their jobs.  They were always kind of timid at first, then they would like this.  We‘d say, he‘s secure in his job now.  I think that‘s funny.

But there‘s some real, genuine, passionate and heartfelt upset and anger that he is expressed.  Now, some of it we‘re seeing for Democrats is designed to impress voters in sort of red-leaning state, where they need to show their toughness with Obama.  But I think a lot of that was probably genuine on Franken‘s part.

OLBERMANN:  Oh, trust me.  He‘s quite a competitor and as funny a guy as he is and as lighthearted as he can be, he‘s damn serious about everything, even about being funny.

Craig Crawford of MSNBC and—good luck getting home in that storm.

CRAWFORD:  Yes, that happens to be the Capitol behind us.  It disappeared in the snow storm.

OLBERMANN:  I got bad news for you.  If that‘s the Capitol behind you, you‘re under six feet of snow already.  There you go.

CRAWFORD:  So, Obama can just pass anything he wants now.

OLBERMANN:  That‘s right.  Thank you, Craig.  Good luck.

CRAWFORD:  All right.  So long.

OLBERMANN:  The tale of the tapes.  The video Billo did not show where Jon Stewart ran rings around him logically.  And the new developments in the saga of the laser sheep from outer space—worst political commercial ever.


OLBERMANN:  Heck of a job Brownie of Katrina infamy forecasts the Super Bowl.  Who do you think he‘s picking against?  Against Indianapolis or against New Orleans?  Coming up. 

Let‘s play Oddball.

Capping off a week of exciting animal predictions in the National Football League, we begin at the Hogel (ph) zoo in Salt Lake City, where the primate population is offering up its picks.  Zoo keepers put two pay machete football‘s, one with the Colt‘s logo, one with the Saint‘s logo, in the monkey house.  After pretty much destroying the joint, these orangutans expect a win from the Saints.  Although, I‘m not really willing to bet on that‘s who they picked.

Meanwhile, over at the Blank Park Zoo in Iowa, the lion‘s den proving a bit more civilized, thoughtfully weighing options first, before tearing that cardboard box for the Saints a new one.  Then again—and nobody knows this better than people in Detroit—it‘s been years since lions knew anything about football. 

Meantime, meet longtime Saints super fan Floellen Record (ph).  To show team spirit, she wears her Saints logo fleur de lis earrings everywhere she goes.  But with all due respect, Ms. Record, this taking it too far.  Ms. Record placed her prize possessions on the night stand next to her vitamins.  When it came time for her daily dose, her supplements were swallowed with a side of ow.  Ms. Record was taken to the emergency room and she is recovering fine.  We haven‘t heard about the conditions of the earrings.  Bluntly, I don‘t want to.

How about that Bill O‘Reilly, so bravely interviewing somebody who might skewer him, Jon Stewart.  That Olbermann would never do that.  You know how you do that?  You take the parts in which Jon Stewart really skewers you and edit them out of your TV show, and you put them only on the Internet, next.


OLBERMANN:  One of the boiler plate right wing criticisms of this show is that we rarely have guests with whom I disagree, you know, like Bill O‘Reilly does.  Actually, we rarely have guests with whom I argue like Bill O‘Reilly does.  The answer is that nearly all of our guests are reporters and they‘re live.  But in his much hyped interview with Jon Stewart, it was emphasized again why O‘Reilly goes the way he goes, because he‘s live.  He‘s on tape.  Any time one of the interviewees cleans his clock, he can edit it out.  Like with Jon Stewart.

Fortunately for us, O‘Reilly‘s personality is so fragile that a little faint praise from one of his betters often causes him to drop his guard and do something revealing, like putting the censored clips of Stewart on the Internet.  Oops.

It‘s easy to see why “The Factor” didn‘t bother to include any of this on the actual show.  The first bit of web-only content, O‘Reilly taking exception to Stewart taking him out of context on “The Daily Show.”


BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  You take a clip and you take it out of context.  You did it with me. 

JON STEWART, “THE DAILY SHOW”:  I disagree with that. 

O‘REILLY:  You disagree with the context?

STEWART:  I disagree that we took it out of context.

O‘REILLY:  You cut it.  You cut—the quotes were you mocked me—

STEWART:  Well, we do mock you. 

O‘REILLY:  Yes.  And I mock myself.  So you‘re in good territory with that.  You showed a clip of me criticizing anti-Bush protesters. 

STEWART:  That‘s right. 

O‘REILLY:  But you didn‘t use the whole clip. 

STEWART:  Well, your problem was, if I recall correctly—let me see if I can get this straight.  We—the idea was that Fox has become a liberal network, that you love protests against government.  And we showed how during the Bush administration, you said thousands of protesters have been arrested and surveys show most protesters are loons.  Is that right? 

O‘REILLY:  Right.  Here‘s what I said.  There are anti-Bush protesters here in New York.  While most of these people have been peaceful, more than a thousand have been arrested.  But you cut out, while most of these people are peaceful.  You picked it up after.  But that‘s OK. 

STEWART:  The point was—let me tell you what the point was, just so I can explain, because I don‘t want to take things out of context.  We work very hard not to.  Here was the context.  I don‘t believe we did take it out of context.  What you said about the protesters in the Tea Party movement was, you know, we want—it was about the mainstream media, that they were treating the Tea Party protesters unfairly.  You said we here at “The Factor”  -- what do you call it? 

O‘REILLY:  “The Factor.” 

STEWART:  You refer to it like it‘s the Borg, some weird sort of third person.  We hear at “The Factor,” we treat protesters with respect and we don‘t refer to them as loons. 

O‘REILLY:  Unless they‘re arrested and hurt people. 

STEWART:  See, that, you didn‘t say. 


OLBERMANN:  On O‘Reilly‘s show we hear Stewart saying, quote, “here is the brilliance of Fox News, what you have been able to do, you and Dr.  Ailes.  You‘ve been able to mainstream conservative talk radio.”  But immediately after that, a lengthy exchange that was edited out, you know, just for its content. 


STEWART:  Here‘s the brilliance of fox news.  What you have been able to do—you and Dr. Ailes, have been able to mainstream conservative talk radio.  And the way that you did it—you can‘t shoot conservative talk radio directly into the veins of the American people.  Their heads will blow up.  You can only have that in taxis and various places in people‘s houses. 

So what you‘ve done is taken a cyclonic, narrative driven news organization—media arm of a political party, of a political wing, and you‘ve sprinkled it.  You have cut it with a little bit of object—a little bit of Chris Wallace asking a tough question.  A little bit -- --

O‘REILLY:  What do you mean a little bit?  From 9:00 to 4:00, when Cavuto comes on, that‘s like seven hours. 

STEWART:  Not even close.  Because they‘re also part of the journey. 

O‘REILLY:  Who is part of the journey?

STEWART:  The journey begins in the morning. 

O‘REILLY:  “Fox and Friends.”

STEWART:  With the wide-eyed innocence of “Fox and Friends.”  You know, Obama has czars.  I googled czar.  Did you know that‘s a Russian word for a Russian leader? 

Or they will go through these children in second grade are singing the praises of Obama.  Do you know they sing the praises of their leader in North Korea. 

Then, when the hard news comes on, they go, some people are concerned that they‘re indoctrinating children. 


OLBERMANN:  On the show, Bill-O included Stewart saying that he, O‘Reilly, was now the sane one on Fox News, which Stewart added is like being the thinnest kid at fat camp.  And O‘Reilly conceded that Sean Hannity is a Republican, but insisted that Glenn Beck is like an everyman, who never shills for the Republican party, no matter how strong his opinion of President Obama is. 

What you would not have seen is this exchange, the part where Stewart performs a neat, quick dissection of Neil Cavuto. 


STEWART:  No, Cavuto is not sane. 

O‘REILLY:  Cavuto is insane?  Neil Cavuto?

STEWART:  You know what‘s great about Cavuto?  We did a piece on this, the Cavuto mark.  His thing is all about questions.  “Are Democrats tanking the stock market,” question mark.  It‘s all done with this kind of very subtle propaganda.  It‘s all questions.  I‘m not saying Obama is a Stalinist, I‘m just putting up Stalin‘s picture behind me. 


OLBERMANN:  Just this week, Cavuto claimed, in question form, that maybe nothing was wrong with Toyotas, that maybe it was just an Obama plot to sell union made American cars. 

Finally, Stewart returned to one of his main points, that when President Bush was president, respect was not only offered by Fox News, but demanded of all the country‘s citizens.  But when Obama was elected, Fox News reversed itself.  This analysis was, again, web only, of course. 


STEWART:  Fox News has done a 180 on so many integral principles of what you would imagine a news organization to be.  Fox News used to be all about you don‘t criticize a president during wartime.  It‘s unacceptable.  It‘s treasonous.  It gives aid and comfort to the enemy. 

All of a sudden, for some reason, you can run out there and say Barack Obama is destroying the fabric of this country. 

O‘REILLY:  But not in the Afghanistan situation. 

STEWART:  They‘ve absolutely said he doesn‘t know what he‘s doing. 

O‘REILLY:  Not here. 

STEWART:  You‘re talking about—

O‘REILLY:  Everybody here has been respectful in that theater, and not undermined anything that theater. 

STEWART:  That‘s absolutely not true.  You went through the whole dithering thing—

O‘REILLY:  -- too long to make up the mind to deploy. 

STEWART:  That‘s not the point.  The point is any criticism of a president in wartime—

O‘REILLY:  About anything? 

STEWART:  That‘s what the network was about. 

O‘REILLY:  I talked about bush all day long. 

STEWART:  Please. 


OLBERMANN:  Just for contrast, when Stewart savaged me two weeks ago, I ran the whole thing on this show.  And he didn‘t even do it on this show.  When O‘Reilly interviews Stewart live, and lets him say stuff like that on TV, not just on the net, I‘ll pay off part of his next harassment settlement. 

The president holds his second bipartisan Super Bowl party.  Anybody going? 

And When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, she‘ll be in New Orleans, as the city George Bush left for dead hopes to win it all behind Reggie Bush. 

And next, breaking rabid robot killer demon-eyed California sheep news.  The strangest, worst political commercial in history.  And the Democrats respond.


OLBERMANN:  Now the second of tonight‘s quick comments.  There is a new development tonight in the story of the worst campaign commercial of all time.  You‘ve seen it, right, California Senate hopeful Carl Fiorina‘s attack ad on Republican rival Tom Campbell.  Here‘s the money shot, 35 seconds of what we might call attack of the killer sheep. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tom Campbell, is he what he tells us?  Or is he what he‘s become over the years?  A FCINO?  Fiscal Conservative In Name Only?  A wolf in sheep‘s clothing.  The man who literally helped put the state of California on the path to bankruptcy and higher taxes.  Fiscal conservative or just another same old tale of tax and spend, authored by a career politician who helped guide us into this fiscal mess in the first place? 


OLBERMANN:  First of all, if you‘re stoned at the moment, no, you actually saw that.  Chill. 

Secondly, today, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign committee, describing the indescribable ad as a tour de force, has started an online petition asking Democrats to “tell Carly Fiorina to make more videos, preferably featuring more farm animals.” 

My point is here, please give the narrator, the actor Robert Davi (ph), from “Profiler” and “Die Hard” something easier to say than FCINO. 

Before we leave the topic, if you saw the whole thing, did you have a sense you had seen all of it, particularly one part of it before? 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Leaving but one way to fall. 


OLBERMANN:  Why is that so familiar? 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s my belief that these sheep are laboring under the misapprehension that they‘re birds.  Observe their behavior.  Now witness their attempts to fly from tree to tree.  Notice, they do not so much fly as plummet. 


OLBERMANN:  Morale, into each life some sheep must fall.  Now you know why when Ms. Fiorina was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, they fired her.


OLBERMANN:  Do you know they‘re playing some kind of big football game on Sunday.  I thought the season ended with Eagles/Cowboys on NBC‘s “Football Night in America.”

That‘s next, but first tonight‘s worst persons in the world.

The bronze to Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina.  Back before he made his name hiking, he announced last Summer that his accepting money from the Obama stimulus would be, quote, “fiscal child abuse” and would lead to, quote, “a thing called slavery.” 

News item, Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina has flown to Washington to meet with Obama‘s secretary of education and to demand that South Carolina be given 300 million dollars in stimulus money.  At least that‘s where Sanford‘s people say he was. 

Finishing ahead of the governor, Robert J. Keisel (ph) of Asking Ridge, New Jersey, arrested after something that came to the worst persons driving trifecta.  Charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated and crashing into a parked truck, a liquor truck, driving while intoxicated and crashing into a parked liquor truck in front of Sterling‘s Fine Wines. 

But our winner, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the Republicans top campaign strategist.  “Politico” reported that the president has now invited Republican senators to the same televised question time session as he had with their counterparts in the House.  A GOP insider told the website, quote, “they don‘t want anything to do with it.  They want the whole thing to just go away.” 

Cornyn answered, “we‘re always happy to hear from the president, but I don‘t really feel any compelling need to do it.  For what purpose?  Was it for photo op or is it serious?  The president can invite Mitch McConnell or John Boehner or anybody he wants for a serious talk about issues.”

Yeah, senator, but, of course, Boehner is a congressman.  Besides which, there is the bigger issue.  Here, kitty, kitty, kitty, kitty.  Senator John Cornyn, today‘s worst person in the world.


OLBERMANN:  Forget betting on the Colts or the Saints.  If you‘re looking for a lock on Sunday, put your money in the stock market.  According to the unscientific but surprisingly accurate Super Bowl Indicator, or SBI, when an original NFL team wins the Lombardi Trophy, the stock market trends up in the following year 79 percent of the time.  There‘s 43 years of data with this. 

Indianapolis Colts, by way of Baltimore, and the New Orleans Saints, both originally in the NFL, not the American football league.  Can‘t lose. 

This year, President Obama likes the Saints because of how much it would mean to New Orleans, or maybe because he caught the slowest pass ever from quarterback Drew Brees in a Play 60 public service announcement they shot for the NFL last year. 

As for the guest list at the White House Super Bowl party, the first

family joined by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and Louisiana Republican

Congressman Joseph Gao.  Gao, the lone GOP vote for health care reform in

the House, switched his party plans—not his party, just his party plans

to stay in Washington when he got the call from the White House.  Last year, Arlen Specter was the lone Republican senator at the White House.  Not long after, he switched political parties. 

That could explain why Republican Senators Vitter of Louisiana and Luger of Indiana sent their regrets, along with Evan Bayh and Mary Landrieu. 

Then there‘s Senator John McCain, who is upset that the US Census Bureau spent 2.5 million dollars on multiple advertisements before and during the big game.  The Census Bureau using less than one percent of its entire budget to reach, in one fell swoop, nearly half of American adults. 

Senator McCain took to the Twitter to say “flibity flu,” “while the census is very important to AZ, we shouldn‘t be wasting 2.5 taxpayer dollars to compete with ads for Doritos.”

You kids get off of my cool ranch.  And this just in, Brownie, remember heck of a job Brownie, the man who ran FEMA under the Bush administration, the guy who was fiddling around in 2005 while Hurricane Katrina drowned New Orleans and then took all the blame for it, even though a lot of it was Bush‘s fault.  Brownie‘s pick is in.  He tells “Politico” that he likes the Colts.  “I just tend to follow them more.  And I‘ve just never been a real Saints fan.  It‘s nothing more than that.”

It didn‘t occur to you just to fib and say you like New Orleans, sort of make good? 

All right, joining me now from—I guess it‘s Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  We can‘t get it straight.  Miami Gardens, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Richard Justice, sports columnist of “The Houston Chronicle.”  Good to talk to you, Richard. 


OLBERMANN:  The president one for one with his Super Bowl picks as president.  He‘s caught a pass from Drew Brees.  You just wrote the article for the Chronicle on Drew Brees.  The Saints stick it to Brownie and win this game? 

JUSTICE:  Well, Brownie did a heck of a job in making this a better story.  If he hadn‘t given the Saints so many houses to gut, so many schools to rebuild, so many people in dire straits, you know, it wouldn‘t be as magical a story.  Part of what the Saints have done, they‘ve rallied a community with the way they played on the field and they‘ve inspired them with the way they worked in the community. 

Unfortunately, Keith, the Colts are a machine.  At least 12 wins seven straight years.  They came from behind in the fourth quarter five straight weeks.  They won every game this year that they wanted to win.  Best quarterback in football, maybe one of the best quarterbacks ever.  I can‘t see him losing the game. 

I‘m not sure this cinderella story is going to have the ending a lot of people would like. 

OLBERMANN:  Everyone is also talking about this game, at least at a distance, as if this is going to be some sort of shoot-out.  Not only don‘t you have a lot of shoot-outs, only one game in which both teams have scored 30 points in the Super Bowl.  But isn‘t there one really good defense going on on the field Sunday night? 

JUSTICE:  Well, offense is what got these teams here, probably two best offenses in football, two best quarterbacks in football, in Peyton Manning and Drew Brees. 

The defenses have not played well in the way you measure it.  They‘ve been resourceful.  Darren Sharper (ph) has made a lot of plays for the Saints.  But offense is what this Super Bowl is about.  And for that reason, it‘s got a chance to be a hugely entertaining game.  Having said that, you and I know it will probably be seven to six. 

OLBERMANN:  Is, thus, the key to the game the Indianapolis defense and is the key to the Indianapolis defense the health of Dwight Freeney?  And what is that? 

JUSTICE:  Well, the health is not good.  I don‘t think he‘s going to be a factor in the game.  The Colts are holding out hope that Dwight Freeney can play some on third down.  It makes it easier for the Saints.  One less guy in the block, one more guy out in pass rush. 

But to me the “X” factor, the guy that is going to decide it could be Reggie Bush.  He‘s had a disappointing career so far.  But along the way, he‘s shown he‘s capable of making spectacular plays, much like Desmond Howard made in the Super Bowl.  I just feel like if the Saints are going to win, it is going to be because Reggie Bush returns a punt, takes a pass all the way, something like that, something the Colts can‘t prepare for. 

OLBERMANN:  It will be fascinating to see a game in which the Colts won because they had more offensive—different kinds of offensive weapons than the Saints, even though everybody thinks it‘s the other way around. 

JUSTICE:  Well, no.  The—you know, the Colts—Bill Polian (ph), the best general manager in football, has done a great job surrounding Peyton Manning with another generation of offensive player, Pierre Garcon, Austen Colley, Joseph Addai.  They just keep it going and they know what they‘re doing. 

You know, Keith, you and I have watched these games a long time.  There‘s nothing like Peyton Manning.  They can rush him.  They can make him move around.  And he‘s still so accurate and so prepared.  It‘s a thing of beauty to watch this guy play football. 

OLBERMANN:  As long as he‘s not trying to text Tony Dungy during the game.  Last question, are football fans advised to really enjoy this game, as if there was not—not that this is literally the case—but as if there‘s not going to be another one?  Is the world of football going to change in the next year in such a way that this might be reminisced as the last real Super Bowl? 

JUSTICE:  Well, Roger Goodell gave his State of the NFL today.  You talk about putting a chill on the room.  All the little umbrellas fell off the drinks.  Basically the owner are saying the players are going to have to take an 18 percent pay cut.  And they‘re going to have to trust us to do the right thing.  We‘ve built all these stadiums.  They‘re not going to pay for themselves.  We‘ll use that money to grow the game.

The players are saying, flatly, we‘re not taking any rollbacks.  Unless somebody blinks, we‘re going to go down a familiar road, and not have any football in 2011.  Keith, you know—you and I both know how fans love it when billionaires owners and millionaire players get together and can‘t decide how to divide up a mountain of cash that ought to be big enough to keep everybody happy.  But that‘s where we‘re headed. 

OLBERMANN:  As you point out, an odd mistake by Commissioner Goodell, who has been intuitive about this stuff to this point, of sort of addressing this today.  I don‘t know why he did that. 

JUSTICE:  Well, he it—you know, he played it carefully.  But, I mean, basically what—the players are on the offensive in this.  The players are—and they‘ve been great about it, articulating their case, saying they won‘t open their books.  They want us to take less money.  Show us why. 

Roger Goodell really has no place to go, except to say, we‘re not doing it. 

OLBERMANN:  Enjoy the game, Richard Justice of the “Houston Chronicle.”  I‘m sorry I‘m not there with you.  Have a good time.

JUSTICE:  Thanks, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Thank you.  That‘s COUNTDOWN for this, the 2,472th day since the previous president declared mission accomplished in Iraq.  There‘s not television in that game, right?  I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck. 



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