Guests: Eugene Robinson, Howard Dean, Josh Silver
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST (voice-over): Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?
Turning the tea table. The first shot across the bow of the midterms, Democrats to Republicans: Are you with Tea Party extremism or are you against it?
And attacking $1.7 billion on stimulus projects while defending $800 billion in tax cuts for the wealthy—the Democrats‘ other plan to push Republicans on the new nonsense math.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: One-point-seven billion dollars is a lot of money anywhere but our nation‘s capital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Our guests: Howard Dean and Eugene Robinson.
Net neutrality: trying to turn the Internet into something like cable,
where some content gets priority, other stuff costs more. And other stuff
the stuff you don‘t really want, gets to you first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: I believe that net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Day 108 in the Gulf: Down your hole with a cement roll.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THAD ALLEN, NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: Today‘s effort into tomorrow will be to finish cementing off the well from the top down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Angling for an interview. She won‘t give us one because we won‘t ask the questions she wants to answer. So, we just made the interview up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARRON ANGLE ®, NEVADA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We wanted them to ask the questions they want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Dan Quayle‘s son running for Congress. What‘s wrong with this picture?
The Tea Party‘s latest tempest: the international communist bike-sharing conspiracy.
And in the Tennessee 3rd: the Club for Growth‘s new anti-spending hotline. It turns out the words “hot” and “growth” are not meant the way you would expect they were meant.
All the news and commentary—now on COUNTDOWN.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It‘s the best call you‘ll ever make.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Good evening from New York.
A report today, just as Democrats ramp up their efforts to spotlight how similar the current Republican agenda is to the policies of President Bush, that Mr. Bush is trying to keep the wraps on something in his new book for fear it will hurt Republicans at the polls in November. What‘s he hiding now? We‘ll get to that presently.
But we begin our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN tonight with another Democratic strategy for the midterms as members of Congress go home for the August recess. The Democratic Party, the DNC, launching a new campaign to portray the Republican Party as the Republican Tea Party, asking people in their home districts to question Republican incumbents on whether they will join the Tea Party Caucus, and all Republican candidates about where they stand on the Tea Party issues—such as repealing health care reform, which would let insurers return to stripping coverage from sick people, on doing new rules for Wall Street, and getting rid of Medicare, Social Security and the Department of Education.
This as “The New York times” reports that Senate Democrats expect to begin debating in September whether or not to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich, forcing Republicans in the weeks before the election to defend cutting taxes for the richest 2 percent of the country, especially considering that President Obama campaigned and won on a platform that explicitly included letting the tax cuts for the rich die after they expire this year.
Despite the fact those cuts would only help 2 percent of small businesses and despite the fact it would mean handing America‘s rich at tax cut worth $830 billion merely as much as the entire stimulus plan, Republican Senators McCain and Coburn are focusing their efforts on $1.7 billion of alleged waste in that stimulus plan.
Senator McCain claiming it created not a single job, this just a week after his own economic adviser estimated that it created 2.7 million jobs.
Senator Coburn admitting he has already had to correct mistakes in that report. But rejecting the White House claim his report is not credible and as the White House knows, Senator Coburn is very serious about stealing money from our children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COBURN ®, OKLAHOMA: And Mr. Gibbs knows I don‘t mess
around when it comes to stealing money from our kids and grandkids. And if
he wants to defend this kind of stuff, that‘s exactly what—and making it
this isn‘t political. It‘s too serious to be political now, guys.
We‘re $13.4 trillion in debt and growing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell today talked about what happens after the elections and said that even if his party fails to gain the majority, even a few more Republican seats would force Democrats to bring the Senate to the political center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: If you have a big majority, what you want to do is pick off a Republican or two, give it the taint of bipartisanship and do what you want to do. If you‘re between 55-45, you get genuine bipartisan agreement. And what I hope we‘re going to have, it would be up for the American people, but what I hope we‘re going to have after November is more balance, more balance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Of course, it‘s not clear what that balance means. But Senator McConnell graciously explained how he sees that balance, translating politically, given that Democrats would still control the White House and the Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCONNELL: But I‘m not going to be very interested in doing things left of center. It‘s going to have to be center-right. And I think the president‘s a flexible man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: He always makes me laugh.
Let‘s bring in former DNC chairman, as well as Vermont governor, presidential candidate, Dr. Howard Dean, now a consultant to Democracy for America, McKenna, Long & Aldridge, as well as political analyst for MSNBC, and TV‘s national leader in longest introduction.
Good evening again, sir.
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Hi, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Pressing for the Republicans to declare their stance on the Tea Party and Tea Party issues. Is that a good idea or is there a boomerang in there?
DEAN: It probably is a good idea because I‘m sure they‘re called (ph) for. Here‘s the problem with the Tea Party, there really two tea parties. There are a bunch of people in the Tea Party that are reasonable and thoughtful people, and really worried about the deficits.
There are also a lot of people in the tea parties who carry signs and saying Obama is a Nazi. And it was somebody today said the marriage thing out in California was Soviet-style takeover of marriage. I mean, this people—you know, this is exactly what middle-of-the-road people—this is why they abandoned the Republican Party to elect President Obama.
So, my guess is that they figured that out most people in this country see that the colorful members of the wing of the Tea Party are the ones that get all the press. That‘s what they think of the Tea Party. That‘s reflective in the polls.
And the Republicans have got a big problem because they need those tea parties. They‘ve always need the far right for themselves to win. But that really turns off middle-of-the-road, ordinary Americans.
OLBERMANN: Those members who fit into both that category and the Tea Party that you alluded to, why not pursue them as voters, literally ask for their votes, because the fiscal responsibility that those who were genuinely interested in that topic are claiming as their (INAUDIBLE) clearly is not in the Republican manifesto, not with $800 million in tax cuts for the rich?
DEAN: Well, I actually think that that‘s exactly what the president is doing. The DNC is going after the far right Tea Party people who are obviously look extremist. And meanwhile, the president is going after the sort of—what I would call the average American who has sympathy with the Tea Party, reminding them how we got here.
You know, it‘s a spectacular. I think this is why Senator Reid is going to bring all this stuff up. The spectacle of the Republicans wanting to blow an $850 billion hole in the budget by giving tax cuts to the people who began all these problems that we‘re having on Wall Street is unbelievable while they‘re still talking about cutting Social Security at the same time. That‘s the Republican Party that we need to remember. That‘s the Republican Party that was in charge for eight years, sending people to Iraq, giving huge tax cuts that were never paid for.
The Republicans really don‘t care about balancing the budget. Their spending program is tax cuts for people who make lots of money. Our spending program is health care. And the American people are going to make a choice there. And it really is a choice.
And the president, I think, is appealing to more normal Tea Party people, reminding them what it‘s like to be in a Republican administration and how bad their fiscal policy was.
OLBERMANN: You mentioned Mr. Reid and his—it‘s almost scheduling a boxing match for later in the late summer, the beginning of the fall, over this subject of tax cuts for the rich in the final weeks of the midterm campaign. What exactly is he counting on happening there by almost scheduling it that way?
DEAN: Well, I think what he wants is—you know, the Republicans have said no for two years. There have been a number of things that have passed. There would not have been any Republican support of any consequence.
So, the Republicans essentially have got a real problem. They have no platform and nothing to run on, except that they‘re not President Obama and they‘re not the Democrats. So, now, we‘re going to find out what they really do stand for.
And I think what Senator Reid is doing is highlighting that in the Senate debate—just like he highlighted that the Republicans were not willing to extend unemployment benefits to a lot of hard-working Americans who, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs.
OLBERMANN: So, there are two goals here in the midterms that we‘ve been able to identify so far on the part of the Democrats, which is, one, is to equate the Republicans to the Tea Party and to equate these Republicans to the previous Republicans who occupied the White House, which would be Bush.
DEAN: Right. Exactly.
OLBERMANN: But is there—does the transit of property apply here? If you‘re comparing both to the Tea Party and to Bush, are you comparing the Tea Party to Bush, and does that work?
DEAN: It sort of does. You know, the Bush family—actually, the
President Bush‘s father, who I thought was—I understood the president,
he was a decent president, even though I didn‘t agree with him on a lot of
but they both have relied on this far-right wing.
DEAN: President Bush Sr. was certainly not a racist, nor do I think his son was—but they both didn‘t mind appealing to the racist elements of the Republican Party in order to win, or the extremist elements of the Republican Party. Let‘s not forget that H.W. Bush was pro-choice before he had to be anti-choice when he was selected as Ronald Reagan‘s running mate.
So, you know, these guys, they take advantage—they are personally not Tea Party people but they certainly don‘t mind having the fringe support. And they certainly aren‘t mainstream Tea Party people who are really upset about deficits and did not vote for the Republicans because of what they did to the deficit.
You know, the president is really being smart about this. This is not a referendum on the Obama administration and the Democrats. If it is, we don‘t win.
This is a choice. Do you want to go back to what we had, which is what Republicans and McConnell and Pete Sessions have said they will do? Or do you want to keep going and use some real discipline as Bill Clinton did on the budget deficit? I think we can do that. But you certainly can‘t do that by putting the Republicans back in office.
OLBERMANN: Howard Dean—as always, great thanks for your time tonight, sir.
DEAN: Thanks for having me.
OLBERMANN: My pleasure.
As we mentioned earlier, there‘s reportedly something in former President Bush‘s upcoming new book on the inside story of his presidency that he does not want American voters to know before they go to the polls this year. “The Financial Times” quotes unnamed friends of Mr. Bush saying he rejected plans to publish it in September because he did not want to insert himself into the midterm elections. The publisher denies it but Mr. Bush has done this before, making himself scarce during the 2008 presidential campaign of John McCain, who seemed grateful for the lack of help. Nor is Mr. Bush‘s secrecy about his presidency the only thing Republicans don‘t want voters know about in November.
“Talking Points Memo” reporting that House Democrats will respond to Republican attacks on Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters, both under ethics investigation, by reminding voters that while Democratic scandals play out in the open, House Republican Leader John Boehner has several times claimed to have called Republicans with ethical clouds over them into his office for the proverbial stern talking to.
Republicans have not revealed who all of them are. Republicans have not revealed what activity they allegedly committed. Republicans have not revealed how the activities were investigated nor the outcomes of those investigations, if any.
So, to join us on another edition of “I‘ve got a secret,” please whisper your secret to me and we‘ll show it to the folks at home, MSNBC political analyst, Eugene Robinson, also associate editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist of “The Washington Post.”
Good evening, Gene.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good evening, Keith. You know, if you say the secret word, the bird comes down.
OLBERMANN: Yes. So, now, we got Garry Moore, Groucho Marx and all I need to bring in is John Charles Daly and we got a complete set. The—and everybody under like 50 just went—
ROBINSON: I know.
OLBERMANN: Lucille Ball, don‘t forget.
The general tone of the coverage is that Mr. Bush simply doesn‘t want his name in the news before the election because it‘s like saying Beelzebub or something. But is it possible that we‘re going to learn something about the role that congressional Republicans played in getting up the fake intel on Iraq or letting bin Laden out of Tora Bora or how the economy got to be tanked? Or—I‘m only got a thousand of this left, jump in anytime you want.
ROBINSON: Well, you know, it is indeed possible that there are secrets in there that we don‘t know. I mean, President Bush was not a man t to—he was not known for his self knowledge. He did not lead what seemed to be an examined life. And so, I don‘t know hold really high hopes.
I think the real problem is reminding people of the Bush era. And I think even President Bush gets it, that that‘s not good for the Republican Party.
OLBERMANN: Yet, if they are aware enough to know not to remind people of that face, what about the policies? Why do think he was so unpopular, if not for the very policies they‘re still pursuing?
ROBINSON: I think it‘s because of the narrative that the Republicans are trying to sell—essentially, that we are really, truly the party of fiscal responsibility and all of that. Of course, well, we had a few bad years, you know, under Bush. And we didn‘t really do what we say—said we would do or what we say we want to do now. But really we‘re going to do it now.
And so, if you reintroduce the president, who—you know, the man who was president while the Republicans in Congress were spending like drunken sailors and all the rest, then you just remind people of that whole thing.
OLBERMANN: The other secrets, Mr. Boehner gets very indignant whenever Democrats get reported to the ethics committee. He wants to know when leadership knew about the issue. Now, he‘s saying, well, yes, I know about Republican scandals all the time and I just don‘t report them. We take care of them internally.
Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel play out however they‘re going to play out. How do Republicans move forward though if the Democrats respond to that by saying every day, “What are you hiding, Mr. Boehner?”
ROBINSON: That‘s a very good question. And, you know, what we‘re seeing is very interesting, Keith. I think, finally this cycle, the Democrats are getting a message machine together. You know, quickly after the Rangel and Waters allegations surfaced and this Boehner tidbit came up, the Democrats were out there with a line to counter the expected attack from Republicans.
You see the same thing as you and Governor Dean were talking about. The overall question of: do you want to go backwards or do you want to go forwards? The president‘s line the other day about you put in “D” to go, you put your car in “D” to go forwards and you put in “R” to go backwards. That sort of thing seems to be being done at a more sophisticated and quicker level right now than it has been in the last few years. And some would say it‘s about time.
OLBERMANN: Gene Robinson of “The Washington Post,” when we‘re lucky enough to have him, of MSNBC, as always, great thanks, Gene.
ROBINSON: Great to be here.
OLBERMANN: The Internet and the founding premise that the only thing that should determine how quickly you can see something on it is their band width and the quality of your connection. It‘s called net neutrality and its doomsday has just arrived. How far Google and Verizon may have just neutralized that neutrality—next.
OLBERMANN: This senator calls it the First Amendment of our time, net neutrality. Is it gone forever before the debate had truly begun?
This candidate for the governor of Colorado has just revealed one of the great evils of our time, the international communist bicycle-sharing conspiracy.
Our exclusive interview with Sharron Angle. When I say “exclusive,” I mean, she doesn‘t even know about it.
And the infamous Club for Growth trying an entirely new approach in Tennessee‘s third congressional district. Its message to the voters: “Oh, hi, sexy. I‘m so glad you called.” More on that story as it develops.
OLBERMANN: If you‘re on the Web right now, all Web sites, e-mails and videos and so on, reach your computer at the same speed. And that‘s true if you‘re checking your bank statement, trolling the COUNTDOWN Web site, or looking at photos of your cousin. It‘s called “net neutrality,” where no form of content is favored over another.
And in our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN: It could go away if the big Internet providers get their way. Any content that they don‘t approve of would come to you—well, like this -- (INAUDIBLE) downloads take a long - - time.
Next week, a doomsday scenario Internet advocates have warned of could become reality. “The New York Times” reporting Google and Verizon are nearing a deal that would affect what content Internet users see and when, turning the Internet into something akin to cable TV at the tier system. Some content would cost more, living those unable to pay for certain tiers in the dark, while other content will get priority, meaning you could access some stuff more quickly than other stuff—especially if that some stuff happens to be owned by a corporation that wants you to see it.
Senator Al Franken of Minnesota framing in terms of the Constitution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: It used to be that, really, only the government could threaten your First Amendment rights. Now, corporations, with government permission, pose the greatest threat to your First Amendment rights. And, tonight, I want to tell you that I believe that net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Verizon‘s policy blog says “The New York Times” report is, quote, “mistaken,” with Google tweeting, “We remain committed to an open Internet.” And then, of course, Twitter crashed.
Meanwhile, “The Wall Street Journal” reporting the two companies may be nearing an agreement that could be “used as a model for legislation aimed at preventing telephone or cable companies from delaying or blocking Internet traffic.”
As for the government‘s role in all of this, courts have ruled that the FCC cannot regulate to maintain that neutrality. Earlier this afternoon, federal regulators abandoned efforts to reach a compromise on the issue. The “AP” reporting that this puts an end to weeks of negotiations between phone, Internet and TV companies and the FCC—which means, of course—
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Goodbye.
OLBERMANN: Joining me now, “Huffington Post” contributor Josh Silver. He‘s the founder and CEO of Free Press, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest group that focuses on media and tech issues.
Thanks for some of your time tonight, sir.
JOSH SILVER, FREE PRESS: You bet, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Is this doomsday? Or more correctly, was it—has it already been doomsday?
SILVER: Time is going to only tell on this one. I mean, this is a fascinating fight. It‘s a good lead and really, what we‘ve had is a five-year battle that most people have never heard about over this seemingly arcane issue of net neutrality.
What Americans don‘t know, though, is that net neutrality is the game-changer for the future of all media. Soon, with increasing speeds, television, radio, phone service, emerging technologies—all of it delivered with a high-speed Internet connection.
So, the rules of the road set by government and obeyed by companies like Verizon and Comcast and AT&T, that is going to be fundamentally shape the Internet. So far, for the last five years, Google was on the side of the public and other Internet companies in favor of net neutrality. Verizon, Comcast and NBC were against it.
Then this big announcement this week: Google and Verizon cutting a deal in the context of what you mentioned—an amazing debacle of government where you actually have a Federal Communications Commission that has no authority over the Internet, thanks to a bad decision by the Bush era FCC. So, only time will tell.
But the good news is there‘s an easy solution. The leader of Federal Communications Commission, Chairman Genachowski, could solve this with an up-and-down vote.
OLBERMANN: But if the FCC is not in charge of oversight from a—from a governmental point of view, is there—is anybody in charge of it? I mean, is the Federal Trade Commission in charge? Anaconda Wire? Who‘s in charge?
SILVER: Nobody. This is the problem. And it really shows just how badly money has corrupted the government. I mean, we‘ve got a situation where the phone companies spend—they‘re second only to the pharmaceutical companies in Washington spending. They‘ve got the majority of the U.S. Congress on their side on this issue and they know it.
So, they‘re running the table. The Federal Communications Commission is the only agency who can regulate on this. And, so far, the chairman, Obama‘s appointee, has sat on his hands since that court decision last April. The only thing that‘s going to work is if people across the country understand the gravity and importance of this issue and actually start to get involved.
OLBERMANN: How did Alan Grayson—who‘s been one of the progressive heroes of the last six to eight months—how did he get on the wrong side of this? He‘s against net neutrality?
SILVER: It‘s crazy. He‘s saying that Congress should make the
decision and not the Federal Communications Commission because, he knows,
the next FCC could change the rules again. But the problem is, as I said -
you know, it‘s important to know, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Henry Waxman
most of the leadership in the Congress right now, they‘re good on this issue. They support net neutrality and they support consumers.
But, you know, the rest of the Congress is not good. Seventy-four Democrats came out against net neutrality and against the FCC reclassifying or reasserting authority, and all but one Republican House member is against agency authority.
So, you know, once people start to understand, though, that this is the big game-changer, then things can and will have to change—because the president has come out, a big supporter of net neutrality, as has the FCC chairman.
OLBERMANN: All right. Sketch out briefly the worst-case scenario if nothing happens.
SILVER: So, the worst-case scenario is this: we‘ve only got about another year when anything is going to happen in Washington, then the 2012 elections are on the horizons and it‘s going to be gridlocked in Washington.
The worst-case is the FCC chairman continues to sit on his hand, the president of the United States continues to be silent, the Congress continues to threaten that FCC chairman and tell him not to do anything—and in that environment, the deal that‘s being cut by Google and Verizon, which would allow toll roads on the Internet and would completely take a pass on wireless and let anything “Wild West” of wireless, that would become the de facto law. And essentially, we‘d have industry self-regulating in the exact same way they did with the oil industry and the same they did with the big banks. And we saw what that gets us.
OLBERMANN: Josh Silver, founder of Free Press—great thanks to the insight and for the time tonight.
SILVER: You bet.
OLBERMANN: Meanwhile, this sounds like something out of “The Godfather.” I‘m going to fill your mouth up with cement. You‘d be at the bottom of the ocean sleeping with the fishes.
Actually, it‘s the next stage for the solution of Deepwater Horizon.
Keep your fingers crossed. Take the cannoli.
OLBERMANN: He was not breaking into the house to rob it. He was breaking into the house to leave a note thanking them for letting him rob it last year—ahead.
First, the sanity break; Tweet of the day from Eileen Left. “I like the acronym RWNJ for right wing nut job. But now I prefer just using RWN, because they don‘t care about jobs.” Don‘t forget the 99ers. Let‘s play Oddball.
We begin in Montgomery County, Maryland for the Oddball car chase of the week. Three teenagers scofflaws have decided they can outrun the police. But no one escapes Johnny Law. Eventually the stolen car arrives at a single-lane bridge. Oh, this couldn‘t end well. Nowhere to go, the teens finally make the right decision or not. Hello. Goodbye.
The car flips over the police cruiser, over the side rail. All involved escaped unscathed. The crooks who decided to back up into the cop car will have plenty of time to finish driver‘s ed in the big house.
Kafsura (ph), Japan, hello, where the heat wave continues. The best way to beat that heat is to head to the beach. Meet Mickey and Umika, who battled to shore—all the way through the traffic to the shore from the Itziara (ph) Elephant Kingdom. But they didn‘t come here to play, they came here to be inspired. Umika is an accomplished painter, as you can tell from this happy little tree. Upside down, but what the heck.
Overall, everybody enjoyed the elephants‘ trip to the beach. And thank goodness they brought their swimming trunks.
Finally, we go to China for the unveiling of the next generation of commuting vehicles. Using an animation that bears a striking resemblance to an Apple Daily Video, it‘s the straddling bus. It will stand about 15 feet off the ground, so cars can travel beneath it, but it will still fit under any bridge or underpass provided it‘s about 900 feet tall. Complete with safety doors on the side and what appears to be laser beams to ward off attacking marauding whatever, the straddling bus is the future. Dancing Tiger Woods is not included.
The Tea Party reveals the dreaded international conspiracy to take over the United States, one metropolitan city bike-sharing program at a time.
And the president on GM and the GOP.
OLBERMANN: Bearing witness to BP‘s seemingly endless destruction of the Gulf of Mexico has been about as fun as watching cement harden. On day 108 of the disaster, the success of BP‘s latest attempt to plug the gushing well tonight hinging, in our third story, on watching cement harden, literally.
At this hour, BP engineers now monitoring the well to determine the effectiveness of the cement that they finished pouring down the blown out well earlier this afternoon, needing to wait at least a day for the compound to set. It doesn‘t really dry in those circumstance. Today‘s cementing procedure coming one day after they pumped enough mud down the well to reverse the flow of the oil.
Admiral Thad Allen having given his permission for the cement only if BP continued with the digging of the relief wells. Repeating again today that to be safe the gusher will have to be plugged from two directions. Think of the relief well as bottom kill.
But BP officials still refusing to say what they will be doing with those relief wells. Senior Vice President Kent Wells making it sound as if, should cementing from the top be successful, they would be less likely to use the plug to plug the bottom. Quoting him, “we need to take each step at a time. Clearly we need to pump cement. If we do it from the top, we might alter what we do with the relief well. But the relief well is still part of the solution. The ultimate objective is getting this well permanently sealed.”
Admiral Allen responding, “the well will not be killed until we do the bottom kill and do whatever needs to be done. I am the national incident commander and I issue the orders. This will not be done until we do the bottom kill.”
But wait, there‘s more. Oil industry expert, friend of COUNTDOWN Bob Cavnar warning us tonight that engineers might soon regret having cemented the well from above too soon. With today‘s procedure, Cavnar saying, BP has sealed off the only way it has to tell what‘s really been going on below the surface, something it will want to know when the company intercepts the blown-out well with the relief well. If any part of the well in between the cement plug above and the relief wells below has ruptured, they will have no way of gauging the pressure to find out whether or not that has happened.
That the well has not yet been actually killed from the top, never mind the clean still to follow, doesn‘t seem to have stopped the administration from claiming that its long battle in the Gulf is nearly over. The White House on far stronger footing today when it comes to the president‘s declaration that his bailout of American car companies has rescued an industry on the brink.
President Obama repeating that claim today at a Ford plant in Chicago, returning to the phrases he used at similar events recently, like made in America and number one again. Mr. Obama also reminding the auto workers that if his Republicans had had their way, an industry in crisis would have been left to file for bankruptcy and fend for itself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That‘s the challenge we faced when I took office, an industry that was on the brink. There are a lot of folks who were ready to write off the American auto industry, who thought we should just have walked away from it. Some still think that today.
But you know what? That‘s not how you build a better future. That‘s not how you build a better America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: In fact, in the days, weeks and months before and after Congress passed the auto bailout, GOP law makers saying that the bailout would guarantee the car industry‘s doom, if not the end of democracy and capitalism itself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JON KYL ®, ARIZONA: Just giving them 25 billion dollars doesn‘t change anything. It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning.
REP. DAN BURTON ®, INDIANA: What Obama wants to do is raise taxes and take over the entire economy. This man, in my opinion, is a collectivist—a collectivist He believes in a collectivist society. I think he has very strong socialist tendencies. It really scares me because he‘s moving not only in the auto industry, but the energy industry, the health industry, every place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When GM, Ford, Chrysler, their management teams have not been able to run their companies obviously very well, how does anybody expect some car czar or some politician to be able to make the decisions that are right from a business standpoint for these car companies?
SEN. DAVID VITTER ®, LOUISIANA: I think the average American would say, what? Isn‘t that putting the cart before the horse? Isn‘t that, to use a common phrase, just ass backwards?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re going to have riots. Already people are rioting because they‘re losing their jobs when somebody else has been bailed out. The unfairness of it becomes more and more evident as we go along.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Five guys, five mistakes. Although if any senator knows his ass backwards, it‘s Senator Vitter.
Meantime, once again, we‘d like to thank you, the viewers, for making the free clinic possible in Washington, D.C. yesterday. Your donations helped over 1,000 people receive the care they would not otherwise have had access to, from hypertension to heart disease and cancer. The National Association of Free Clinics putting on the fifth such clinic thanks to your generosity. You can still support the upcoming two-day clinic in New Orleans, coinciding with the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 31st and September 1st. For more details or to donate, please go to FreeClinics.us.
Sharron Angle wants interviews filled only with a question she wants to answer. So we‘ll do our best in a COUNTDOWN, so exclusive that the guest doesn‘t know it‘s happening.
Dan Quayle‘s son is running for Congress from Arizona. This is a campaign picture. We don‘t know who two of those people in the picture are.
When Rachel joins you at the top of the hour, it‘s quiet. It‘s too quiet. Why is there so little reaction from the right about the overturning of Prop 8?
OLBERMANN: Calling the hottest political hotline of them all in the Tennessee third. First, no, that isn‘t your hotline coming to a boil. It‘s our nightly checkup on the something for nothing crowd. It‘s Tea Time.
Well, now they found it. The Tea Party has found the issue that will tip the elections in its favor, and free patriots everywhere from the death grip of communism, fascism, socialism, Obama-ism and the worst of all the isms, altruism. The issue, the international conspiracy to convert Denver, Colorado, quote, “into a United Nations community,” unquote, through the virulent, subtle influence of the Share a Bike Program.
Dan Mays is one of the Tea Boys running for the Republican nomination for governor of Colorado. He says he too once thought that the bike-sharing efforts of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper were just harmless and well meaning. He says now he has realized, quote, “that‘s exactly the attitude they want you to have. This is all very well disguised,” he says, “but it will be exposed.”
He said this at one of the rallies. One of his rallies where only 50 people showed up. The issue, sharing bikes, doing little things to help the environment, suggested by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. How could that not be a conspiracy? It‘s got the word “international” in it.
“At first I thought, gosh, public transportation, what‘s wrong with that? What‘s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what‘s wrong with incentives for green cars? But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty. Some would argue this document that mayors have signed is contradictory to our own Constitution.”
Mr. Mays apparently does not realize that Denver became a member of the ICLEI in 1992. So by now the international communist bike-sharing conspiracy has had 18 years to worm its way into the collective American soul. This is all very well disguised, but it will be exposed.
The only thing that‘s going to be exposed here is what the Tea Party is all about: paranoia. I‘m sorry that only 50 people attended Mr. Mays‘ rally about the bikes. I think these rallies ought to be shown to everybody in this country, live, so everybody can understand that the premise of the Tea Party is that anybody with a delusion they just assume everybody else shares has come out of their own homes for the first time and run for office. Because the international communist bike-sharing conspiracy has this country by the throat. And the body snatchers are here. And soylent (ph) green is—
OLBERMANN: The next best thing to an actual Sharron Angle interview. It‘s a fake Sharron Angle interview. You know, like puppet theater. Only a little bit more gratuitous. That‘s next, but first get out your pitchforks and torches. Time for tonight‘s worst persons in the world.
The bronze to Gerald Maxwell of Sarasota, Florida, arrested there, police say, as he was breaking into a home on Chippewa Place, the same home for which he was arrested and sent to jail a year ago for breaking into. Not a burglary, says Mr. Maxwell, not this time. His statement to the cops. quote, “I was going back in there to leave a thank you note. Because I am the guy who burglarized this place last year. I just got out of jail.” Convicted burglar, accused burglar and crappy liar.
The runner-up, Ben Quayle, son of the former vice president, running for the Republican nomination for the third congressional district in Arizona. This is from his direct mail advertising campaign, titled “a new generation.” Below the picture we are told, my roots in Arizona run deep. My grandparents and great grandparents lived in this district. My parents and all of my sibling live in this district. Tiffany and I live in this district and are going to raise our family here.
Good for Tiffany and you. The problem? Let‘s take another look at that warm and fuzzy picture. The two girls, they are not Ben Quayle‘s kids. Point of fact, Ben Quayle doesn‘t have any kids. The campaign spokesman said, no, they‘re not Quayle‘s kids. Quote, “they‘re just terribly cute kids.” It took two days. But finally from the Quayle campaign, the kids have been identified tonight. They are Ben Quayle‘s nieces.
Now I‘m going to give Quayle the younger the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he knows that those are not his kids.
But our winner, the right wing Club for Growth and Robin Smith, the house candidate for the Tennessee third, on whose campaign it has spent 107,000 dollars this year already, hoping to unseat incumbent Chuck Fleischmann by portraying him as a wasteful spender. The Club‘s latest gambit, a flyer giving out the number of a phone hotline that will elaborate on Mr. Fleischmann‘s s spendthriftness and Ms. Smith‘s qualities.
The number of the hotline is 1-800-GET-SOME PORK. This is what happens when you call 1-800-GET-SOME-PKR.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, sexy. I‘m so glad you called. You‘re about to be connected live, one on one, to one of my wild and hot friends, who is ready to satisfy your wildest fantasies. You can enter your credit card number—
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Is this 1-800-GET-SOME-PORK? Is Ms. Robin Smith there? Tennessee‘s third candidate, Robin Smith and the Club for Growth—exactly what kind of growth are you guys shooting for—today‘s Worst Persons in the World.
OLBERMANN: The “Las Vegas Sun” reports that Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle told a Christian radio station this April that President Obama wants government to replace God, and that that is a clear violation of the First Commandment, which prohibits worship of any idol except, well, what they think is the right one. But it also prohibits even making idols. Normally, we would ask whether she advocates outlawing the worship of any God but hers, as well as all idols, American or otherwise.
But as we reported Tuesday on this news hour, Angle told Fox News she only wants reporters to ask her the questions she wants to answer, so that they report the news the way she wants them to. So in our number one story tonight, we‘re going to settle for giving Ms. Angle exactly what she wants, the COUNTDOWN Sharron Angle interview.
We could not ask Ms. Angle the questions she wants us to ask because we did not know whether one of the questions she wanted us to ask was, what questions do you want us to ask. We‘ve done the next best thing. We‘ve assembled our interview using only the answers she has wanted to give in the past, along with our best guess at what the question should be.
OLBERMANN: Sharron Angle, Republican Senate candidate from Nevada.
You are a big sport for joining us here.
SHARRON ANGLE ®, CANDIDATE FOR SENATE IN NEVADA: Well, first of all, Neil, it‘s great to be on your show to talk about this campaign.
OLBERMANN: Let‘s start with the remarks you made to Carl Cameron from Fox. I was thinking he may have missed what you meant, that interviews are for letting voters see how you handle yourself on the fly, under pressure. That‘s the whole point, right? For the voters?
ANGLE: The whole point of an interview is to use it, like they say, earned media—to earn something with it. And I‘m not going to earn anything from people who are there to badger me and batter—you know, use my words to batter me with.
OLBERMANN: That would explain why you‘ve been doing interviews with Fox rather than interviews in front of the audiences that real journalists get, right?
ANGLE: Well, in that audience, will they let me say I need 25 dollars from a million people? Go to SharronAngle.com. Send money. Would they let me say that?
OLBERMANN: No, ma‘am, they would not. But we will. Would you like to say it again, as if you‘re on Fox?
ANGLE: I need a million people with 25 dollars. They can send that to SharronAngle.com.
OLBERMANN: Terrific. For equal time, can you say HarryReid.com for people who want to donate to Harry Reid?
OLBERMANN: Tell us, how did you get into the race? Did God just call you to run or did he also prepare you? Maybe the word isn‘t prepare. Equip you?
ANGLE: When God calls you, he also equips you. He doesn‘t just say, well, today you‘re going to run against Harry Reid. There is a preparation. Everyone in the Bible—when you read the Bible, you can see that preparatory time. Moses had his preparatory time. Paul had his preparatory time. Even Jesus had his preparatory time. So my preparation began on a school board.
OLBERMANN: You said that god equips you. And you have talked previously about the role Jesus plays in your life. How have they helped with your campaign?
ANGLE: They began to remake our website. And they said, you know, you‘re pretty wordy, Sharron. I am pretty wordy. I say that‘s one of the benefits of electing me as a U.S. senator. I‘ll be able to lead a filibuster. But they said, you‘re pretty wordy. What you need to do is condense this into small, very precise statements about who you are. And so that‘s what they began doing, was making precise statements. We‘re not completely there yet.
OLBERMANN: Can you give us some examples of the precise statements you‘ve come up with so far about who you are?
ANGLE: Jimmy Carter.
OLBERMANN: Well, that‘s a surprise. Anybody that Republicans could relate to better?
ANGLE: Dick Morris.
OLBERMANN: Anybody mainstream America could relate to better?
ANGLE: I am mainstream America.
OLBERMANN: OK. Tell us a little bit about your childhood, growing up as part of mainstream America.
ANGLE: We did those things as a kid growing up that Americans don‘t do. We cleaned bathrooms and made beds and swept floors, did laundry, those kinds of things.
OLBERMANN: Laundry? Who does laundry? You‘re crazy. As a grown-up, though, Mrs. Angle, what do you make of your opponent‘s campaign so far?
ANGLE: When they resort to personal attack and name-calling, it means they haven‘t got anything else.
OLBERMANN: Name calling? How dare they. How do you define this race without resorting to personal attack and that kind of name-calling?
ANGLE: I‘m running for the people‘s seat in the United States Senate, now occupied by the “let‘s make a deal, tax and spend, good old boy politics as usual” Harry Reid.
OLBERMANN: You want to try that answer again, just in case anybody might think you were calling Harry Reid names?
ANGLE: He‘s “let‘s make a big, raid the Social Security lockbox, tax and spend” Harry Reid. We have to ask Harry why he doesn‘t care about Nevada, why he doesn‘t care about America.
OLBERMANN: I know you didn‘t mean that.
ANGLE: Like I said, he doesn‘t care about America.
OLBERMANN: Not the way you do, anyway. Stop me on this one if I‘m wrong. But as a U.S. senator, you‘d be in the business of creating jobs. That means that you would—
ANGLE: As your U.S. senator, I‘m not in the business of creating jobs.
OLBERMANN: Of course not. Who wants a job when you can get unemployment.
ANGLE: You can make more money on unemployment than you can going down and getting one of those jobs.
OLBERMANN: Of course, unemployment benefits aren‘t the only problem. Deficit, mortgages, the economy have become a major threat to the American way of life. As a strong Republican, what do you suggest we do about this awful economy?
ANGLE: Waterboard the economy.
OLBERMANN: We‘re almost out of time, Mrs. Angle—or should I say Senator-Elect Angle. I can‘t believe this interview went so well, I can‘t believe I‘m really saying this on television, but Sharron Angle, I love you.
ANGLE: I love you too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OLBERMANN: Jesus remade my website. That‘s COUNTDOWN for August 5th, 2010.
It‘s the 2,653rd day since President Bush declared mission accomplished in Iraq, 2,242nd day since he declared victory in Afghanistan, and the 108th day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.
I‘m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.
Now to discuss whether the far right hasn‘t heard that Prop 8 was overturned or maybe their propaganda suppliers are deliberately not telling them, ladies and gentleman, here is Rachel Maddow. Rachel, it‘s quiet. It‘s too quiet.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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