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'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Oct. 14th

Read the transcript to the Friday show

Guests: James VandeHei, Rubin Rosario

KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST:  Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow?

Karl Roves again to the CIA leak grand jury.  No decision on charges, says his lawyer.  The latest, including what we know from the leading Rove-ing reporter, Jim VandeHei of “The Washington Post.”

Who knew what, when, in New York?  The subway threat gets fishier and fishier.  Some upscale New Yorkers were tipped off three days before the mayor went public, 90 minutes before the mayor was fully briefed.

Football.  Minnesota Vikings and a sex cruise scandal.  An all-new meaning to the phrase “Viking ship.”  Maybe now an all-new meaning to the phrase “Viking funeral.”

Anya and Nancy, the opera.  For you, I will sing the love aria, Why Me?

And Tomcat.  They pushed up the wedding, and her family is all -- 

Look, it‘s another story my producer are forcing me to cover.  OK?

All that and more, now on COUNTDOWN.

Good evening.

It has been a week of stormclouds in Washington, literal ones and figurative ones, the latter, fittingly, over the consequences have leaks.

Our fifth story on the COUNTDOWN, the president‘s political brain, Karl Rove, arrived at a federal courthouse just after breakfast this morning, and didn‘t leave until well into lunchtime this afternoon, his fourth visit to the grand jury investigating the leak of the name of a covert CIA operative as part of a bid to discredit her husband.

In a moment, what, if anything, we know of Mr. Rove‘s testimony, or where the investigation now stands, and the print reporter who‘s done the most to advance that story, Jim VandeHei of “The Washington Post.”

First, for the nuts and bolts of the thing, and the theater, our correspondent is Steve Handelsman.


STEVE HANDELSMAN, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Karl Rove left after about four hours at the grand jury, his fourth time testifying to the panel that‘s investigating a possible national security crime, the revelation that Iraq war critic Joe Wilson‘s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a secret operative of the CIA.

But a much bigger problem was admitted by Rove‘s lawyer.  Rove failed to tell the whole truth to the grand jury earlier, and now it‘s out, thanks to Matt Cooper, reporter for “TIME” magazine.  Like columnist Robert Novak, Cooper wrote in 2003 that Joe Wilson‘s wife worked for the CIA.   Cooper told the grand jury three months ago, then told the public in this article in “TIME,” that he learned about Plame from Karl Rove, who he says revealed Plame‘s secret CIA identity.

Matt Cooper‘s attorney, Dick Sauber, says, to escape indictment, Rove today has to explain to the grand jury why he didn‘t admit that.

DICK SAUBER, MATT COOPER‘S LAWYER:  The name of Valerie Plame was leaked.  Not to remember a conversation in which you discuss with the reporter who then wrote that story, would raise questions.

HANDELSMAN:  There‘s no question about Karl Rove‘s closeness to his fellow Texan, George Bush, who gave Rove credit for last year‘s reelection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, November 3, 2004)



HANDELSMAN:  Now the team could be broken up.  Before Rove testified today, prosecutors warned him that he faces possible indictment.

I‘m Steve Handelsman, NBC News, Washington.


OLBERMANN:  And as promised, I‘m joined by Jim VandeHei, White House correspondent of “The Washington Post,” who‘s been covering this thing like a glove.

Good evening, Jim.


Good to be here, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  Do we have anything?  Anything leak out of his testimony to the leak grand jury?

VANDEHEI:  Right.  I mean, we‘re going to have a little more detail in

tomorrow‘s “Washington Post,” but it‘s safe to say that there was a lot of

discussion about discrepancies between Karl Rove‘s testimony and what we

heard from Matthew Cooper a few months ago in the “TIME” article that you


I think this really is a signal that this leak case is probably coming to a close.  Karl Rove is told he does not have to testify again.  And as much as we can tell, I don‘t think there‘s any more people that Fitzgerald wants to talk to.  And lawyers involved in the case think we‘ll probably hear something from him within the next two weeks.

OLBERMANN:  Mr. Rove‘s lawyer also said on the way out, special council, as you said, doesn‘t anticipate the need for his client‘s further Cooperation.  We know he did not testify for four and a half hours, though he was there.  It was a start and stop.  They were interrupted.

But does the—just the fact that it was not a couple of handful questions, and then, Here‘s the home version of the grand jury game, get out, does that give us an indication as to which way it is blowing in the wind particularly for Mr. Rove?

VANDEHEI:  It really doesn‘t.  I think we want to read as much as we can into these appearances, but we really don‘t know.  I mean, it‘s probably not a good thing to be in there for four hours.  You probably only want to be in and out.  And it‘s not a good thing to be there for the fourth time.

But we still don‘t know if Karl Rove committed a crime, and we don‘t know if he‘ll be charged with a crime.  I mean, there are explanations that range from the innocuous, that Rove simply forgot about this conversation with Cooper, and never really leaked the CIA operative‘s name, you know, at least under the—as far as the law would see it, to the criminal, you know, that he could have been involved in some sort of scheme that the White House had cooked up to try to discredit Wilson by going after his wife.

And a lot of lawyers in this case believe that is what Fitzgerald is looking at, at that two-month period before her name became public, at whether there was a scheme by multiple officials inside the White House to discredit Wilson.

OLBERMANN:  More from Robert Luskin‘s statement, “The special counsel has not advised Mr. Rove that he is a target of the investigation and affirmed that he has made no decision concerning charges.”  That seems—and again, it‘s a tea leaf—but it seems a lot less certain from Mr.  Luskin about what‘s going to happen next than Mr. Luskin appeared to be a week or 10 days ago.

VANDEHEI:  Right.  That target letter could come at any time.  A prosecutor has the freedom to send that.  He could send it tonight, he could send it next week.  So that does not mean that Karl Rove is in the clear, and privately, the folks close to Rove are telling us, they do believe there‘s a possibility that charges will be filed against Rove.

But again, they don‘t know either, because Fitzgerald has been so secretive and has really kept his cards close to his vest.  So what you‘re left with are lawyers in the case, you know, talking to each other and then talking to reporters, and trying to figure out what direction he‘s going in, based on the questions that he‘s asking.

And from those questions, that‘s when we start to hear these—the talk of conspiracy, or this group effort to try to go after Wilson, in part by going after his wife.

OLBERMANN:  Anything to be inferred from that interruption today, that fact that there was—something else happened at the grand jury before and after, or rather, I should say, in the middle of Mr. Rove‘s testimony?  Does that mean anything?  Does it mean that the special prosecutor wanted to take some time out and regroup?  Was it a gotcha?  Does it mean anything at all?  Or was it just a (INAUDIBLE) a late breakfast for somebody?

VANDEHEI:  Again, we have no idea.  Like so many things in this case, it‘s a mystery.  I think one thing we‘re going to hear is, we‘ll probably see a little bit, maybe, from “The New York Times” in Judith Miller‘s role, you know, maybe as early as Sunday or next week, sort of detailing, what was she doing?  What was the role that she played?  Why did she never write a story about her contacts with Scooter Libby and other people about weapons of mass destruction and her knowledge of Valerie Plame?

So I think in the next couple of weeks, this very confusing picture is really going to come into focus for all of us, and especially for those viewers out there that are trying to piece together what‘s going on.

OLBERMANN:  And all the people at all the newspapers who‘ve been asking “The New York Times” to say something about Judith Miller, or Judith Miller to say something about Judith Miller.

Last question, bigger picture.  I asked this of your colleague Dana Milbank last night after that remarkable event with the president and the troops in Iraq.  It didn‘t go well.  It was rehearsed.  Clearly, it was not rehearsed enough.  The logical fallacy would suggest that Mr. Rove‘s preoccupation with the grand jury might have led to some lack of focus in the political stagecraft division at the White House.

But is there really a direct link?  Or are we once again just jumping from those—from that event A to event B?

VANDEHEI:  I think this is clearly a White House that‘s been knocked off balance, in part by the leak investigation, in part by these forces, what‘s happening in Iraq, the Katrina disaster.  I think all of these have come together to really take this White House off its game.

A lot of folks that are close to Rove are telling us that they don‘t think he was that involved in the Harriet Miers decision, for instance.  They feel like if he was fully engaged, he has such a good antenna of what conservatives feel and how they‘ll respond, and that he would have been able to anticipate what is really becoming an uproar on the right over Harriet Miers‘ nomination to the Supreme Court.

So people see that as a real-world effect, or a real-world consequence, if you will, of this probe.

OLBERMANN:  Jim VandeHei, White House correspondent of “The Washington Post.”  As always, sir, great thanks for your work and your time tonight.

VANDEHEI:  Have a good weekend.

OLBERMANN:  More than just reporters hanging outside that federal courthouse waiting for Mr. Rove to emerge.  A uniquely garbed protest group was waiting for him too.

Our correspondent David Shuster joins us now with a story bizarre even by the standards of Washington.  Good evening, David.

DAVID SHUSTER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Keith, good evening to you.

For many of us at the courthouse today, this was our first interaction there with the group Code Pink.  And luckily for all the parties involved, there was protection.  Literally.

The Code Pink protesters arrived at the courthouse dressed up as gigantic condoms, the neon variety.  They were textured with Karl Rove‘s photo.  The group chanted, they marched, and they passed out real condoms with wrappers that had Karl Rove‘s picture on the side.

Here‘s what their message was.


CARRIE BIGGS-ADAMS, CODE PINK:  We are the women‘s peace movement, although, of course, we have men with us as well.  And we‘re out here today because some things should never leak.  Condoms should never leak, and Karl Rove in the White House, leaking away, is a very dangerous thing.  It‘s time for him to expire.


SHUSTER:  One of the intrepid reporters at that stakeout asked the condoms if they would like to step forward to the microphones and say anything, and they simply repeated, “Some things should not leak.  Rove must be fired.”

Given that the demonstration, Keith, came in the middle of four hours of grand jury testimony, that was (INAUDIBLE) from reporters, it certainly was remarkable and memorable.  And perhaps, Keith, because of the profit-minded motives of some of those freelance camera crews that are down there, I‘m sure you‘ll see some of those condoms showing up this weekend on eBay.

OLBERMANN:  I remember 20-some-odd years ago in Washington, a giant hot dog showed up at the baseball strike talks.  Maybe the two stories are related.

MSNBC‘s David Shuster, great thanks.  Good, incisive reporting there. 

Thank you kindly.

SHUSTER:  Yes, Keith, as the Code Pink would always say, We‘ve gotcha covered.

OLBERMANN:  Aiee.  Well, Richard Nixon‘s plumbers never thought of that way to prevent leaks.

Is there a leak inside Homeland Security?  Some of Manhattan‘s wealthy knew about the subway terror threat hours before the mayor even knew the whole story, and days before the rest of the town did.

And speaking of that last subject, a sex scandal in the world of professional sports.  Yes, boy, that‘ll stop the planet from spinning.  But it is a big deal in Minnesota, because it was on cruise boats rented from Al and Alice, your neighborhood Mom-and-Pop tour guides.

Full story ahead.  You are watching COUNTDOWN on MSNBC.


OLBERMANN:  We know now that the recent terror threat against New York City‘s subways was a red herring, that the informant may have fabricated the whole thing, that there was, in the memorable phrase used by a anonymous federal counterterrorism official, No there there.

But that doesn‘t change the relevance of this, a privileged group of New Yorkers tipped off to the threat three days before the information was made public, even before the city‘s mayor knew its full apparent scope.

And in our fourth story on the COUNTDOWN tonight, the tip may have come from an insider with Homeland Security.  That department has now launched an internal investigation into whether any of its own officials told a relative or friend, who then sent out e-mails about a possible plot against the subways, this after “The New York Daily News” reported that at least two e-mails were sent to business and arts executives.

hose e-mails sent last Monday, three days before Mayor Bloomberg warned the public, the same Monday that the mayor himself was briefed on the threat.  One of the e-mails was time-stamped about 90 minutes before the briefing of the mayor was complete, according to a police source, as the police now begin to investigate as well.

One e-mail read, “As some of you know, my father works for Homeland Security, at a very high position and receives security briefings on a daily basis.  I received a call from him Monday, October 3.  The only information I can pass on is that everyone should at all costs not ride the subway for the next two weeks.”

Another, “I have just received a most disturbing call from one of my oldest friends, who is the chief of intelligence for the U.S. Coast Guard and the C.G.‘s liaison to the Office of Homeland Security.  He called with a very specific caution not to enter or use the New York City subway system from October 7th through October 10th.”

Just how many people wound up reading one of those e-mails is unclear.  But the New York Police Department says it learned about them the same day, Monday, October 3, and gave them to Homeland Security the next day.

Let‘s call upon MSNBC terrorism analyst Roger Cressey.

Good evening, Roger.


OLBERMANN:  This particular terror alert has smelled funny since the moment it was announced.  How does this part of the story, the leaks here, the privileged super-user information, how does that, if at all, change our whole perception of it?

CRESSEY:  Well, I wouldn‘t worry too much about the privileged angle about it.  I think this really is just another case of someone who couldn‘t keep their trap shut.  I mean, if you have access to classified information, even if it‘s not deemed credible, you do not leak it.  And that‘s what this person did, or two people did.  And we have a good idea who one of them is.  So that‘s why the criminal investigation‘s been launched.  And somebody‘s going to lose their clearance and probably their job.

OLBERMANN:  Yes, there might be an opening for chief of intelligence for the U.S. Coast Guard who is also the liaison to the Office of Homeland Security, (INAUDIBLE).

CRESSEY:  You might think that.

OLBERMANN:  ... everything except his name and address on that.

But in the big picture, I understand even less now the disconnect between the people in New York who thought this thing was a credible threat, and the people in Washington who were very clear about thinking it was not a credible threat.  If you know, and the cops know, that somebody‘s leaking this threat to selected residents in New York City, does there not have to be some sort of summit among the people in New York and the people in Washington so everybody‘s on the same side of the ball, and the same page, whatever cliche applies here?

CRESSEY:  Look, the first mistake was the Department of Homeland Security didn‘t just say, Hey, we‘re still investigating the credibility of the information.  But we defer to the city to do what they judge best.  Their message was garbled, and it created a clash between DHS and NYPD.

And then when this comes out, it creates further questioning of the credibility of the department.  And they come off as a gang that can‘t shoot straight.  And that is somewhat unfair.  You know, if I was in the city‘s shoes, based on what I had at the time—and it was very specific, Keith, and it was imminent—that‘s what triggered them more than anything else.

And this was a source, while there were some problems in his previous reporting, whenever he talked about something related to Iraq, he was correct.

So it‘s always a judgment call, as we‘ve discovered in this business.  And NYPD judged correctly, based on the information that they had.  But you got to go back, and you got to look at vertical information-sharing, because that‘s what it‘s all about.

OLBERMANN:  Ironically, all this quickly got to the media, particularly to our NBC station in New York, WNBC.  They called the appropriate authorities about it and were asked by the authorities to sit on the story, which they did, until, I think, within minutes of when the mayor was to announce it.  In retrospect, on the whole thing, were they not the only people who acted entirely responsibly in this whole thing?

CRESSEY:  You know, they were one of the few.  And they did the right thing.  You know, having been on the other side on this, when I‘ve seen information in the public domain when I was still in the government, you get very, very angry because people are sending information out.  They‘re leaking it in a way that could compromise lives.

So in the case of this one reporter, who held off until NYPD and the mayor‘s office could take action, that‘s exactly the right thing to do.  You always have a situation, whenever information‘s in the public domain, (INAUDIBLE) a judgment call.  And this was another case like that.

OLBERMANN:  Well, let‘s just pray for better judgment all around.


OLBERMANN:  MSNBC terrorism analyst Roger Cressey.  Have a good weekend.  Great thanks.

CRESSEY:  You too, Keith.

OLBERMANN:  And just one day before Iraq‘s referendum on a constitution, it‘s capital, Baghdad, has been struck by a blackout.  The cause, without question, sabotage, insurgents knocking out the power lines between Kirkuk and then Beiji, which supplied electricity to much of the Baghdad area.  Insurgents also detonated a bomb outside the Sunni Islamic Party‘s office in central Baghdad, apparently in protest of that group‘s support of the constitution.  There are no reports of injuries.

From the serious to the --  Well, nothing brings a triathlete back to reality quicker than making them do it in their underwear.  The naked truth in Oddball.

And meet the new Bond, James Bond.  Wearing a lifejacket?  It‘s not even a nuclear-powered poison-dart-shooting lifejacket, is it?  Give him a parasol, why don‘t you?


OLBERMANN:  We‘re back, and for the final time this week, we pause our COUNTDOWN of the day‘s actual and staged news for a brief segment of stupid video and lame jokes.

Let‘s play Oddball.

(INAUDIBLE), Kona, Hawaii, hello.  Tomorrow is the 2005 Ford Ironman World Championship.  That means today is the big annual underwear run, 200 runners in a three-mile race dressed only in sneakers and skivvies.  Some brought their children along to run in their underwear which is probably child abuse in most states, but evidently not in Hawaii.

No word as to how many runners were disqualified for using performance-enhancing drugs, or stuffing.

To London, where the Committee for the 2012 Games has released its animation of design plans for the 80,000-seat Olympic stadium.  Now, is it just me, or do those meshy things atop the roof look just like bale after bale of barbed wire?  George Orwell has just rolled over and said, Told you so!

The state-of-the-art stadium will be the crown jewel of the Olympic Village.  Then, or at that point, 10 separate train lines will service the stadium, with one train arriving at the stadium ever 15 seconds.  Getting all passenger off the trains in 14 seconds, so they don‘t get smashed by the next train, will be a gold medal event.  Good thing they have all the barbed wire in place.

(INAUDIBLE) in Oddball traffic tonight, if you live anywhere west of the Mississippi, you may have experienced delays today after two of the busiest highways on the Planet Earth were closed because some kid forgot his bookbag.  A suspicious package found in a train station in L.A.  Police then closed the 10-lane 605 and parts of the 105 as Johnnie 5, the robot, made its way down the stairs—Hold that bus for me—to inspect the unattended backpack, which contained no explosives.  But they blowed it up real good anyway.

In the meantime, if you‘re in the L.A. area and you think you may have forgotten your bookbag, thanks for nothing, whistle-ass.

Back to the subject of suspicious packages.  Minnesota Vikings were hoping to get a brand-new spanking stadium courtesy of the taxpayers.  Then some of the players went out and instead got a brand-new spanking sex scandal.  Oops.

And a new baby before you‘re married is still an oops in many places.  Tomcat‘s love kitten causing all sorts of waves, not even close to being out of the oven.  That‘s a mixed metaphor there.  A love kitten can‘t come out of the oven.  A bun comes out of the oven.

Another story my producers are forcing me to do, so I‘m bitching about how they wrote the tease.

These stories ahead.

First, now here are COUNTDOWN‘s top three newsmakers of this day.

Number three, Daniel Callahan of Brockton, Mass.  He says he‘s innocent.  Police say, no, no, he broke into a home there.  And they know this, they know this because he hit—they hit Redial on the phone in the home, and got the number of a cab company, which says it picked up Mr.  Callahan at the address of the burglary scene and took him to his own house.

Number two, Ryan J. Marchioni, home unidentified.  Police say on a flight from Vegas to Tampa, he woke from a nap, made a menacing gesture towards another passenger, and then punched one of the windows on the plane, at, like 35,000 feet.  It shattered.  Fortunately, only the interior part shattered.  He is under arrest.  He faces 20 years in jail.

Leading to us number one, Mr. Marchioni‘s lawyer in the I-oughta-pound-you story, Thomas Ostrander.  Mr. Ostrander offers a good excuse for what his client did.  Quote, “Perhaps it was some sort of psychotic episode as a result of drug abuse.”

You got yourself a great mouthpiece there, bub.


OLBERMANN:  It has already earned itself two ironic nicknames.  The “Love Boat” and the “Good Ship Lollipop.”  Our third story on THE COUNTDOWN, more trouble in the National Football League involving, golly gosh, athletes and sex and a chartered cruise.

This time, though, it happened in Minnesota where the local team, the Vikings, has been trying to get a new publicly financed stadium and where just to add insult to injury, many of the professional ladies involved were not even from Minnesota.

Al and Alma‘s Supper Club and Charter Cruises an outfit that usually caters family functions and company outings found itself with two boatloads of Minnesota Vikings players on the Lake Minnetonka a week ago yesterday.  Some of the party players began a sex party with what were described as strippers from Atlanta, Florida and elsewhere.  Presumably all the while singing “Won‘t You Let Me Take on a Sea Cruise.”

The crews of the cruise boats were shocked.  The community was shocked.  The NFL was shocked.  We have no idea if just to make it worse, human growth hormones might have been involve in the escapade.

Rubin Rosario of the “St. Paul Pioneer Press” co-wrote his papers exclusive this morning about some of them being out-of-towners.  He joins me now from Minneapolis.

Mr. Rosario, thank you for your time tonight.


OLBERMANN:  Explain to me the outrage.  Because after three years off and on in sports, the idea that a bunch of athletes might be involved with prostitutes will still offend me but I‘m afraid it no longer surprises me.

ROSARIO:  Well, Keith, you‘re talking about Northland, the heartland of the country here that supposedly would be shocked and awed by this kind of behavior.  Even on a boat.  Out there on the Lake Minnetonka.  But it has been the talk of the town this past week and specifically, as you mentioned, everybody is wondering aloud where this high jinx on the High Lakes, if you want to call it that, will affect the Vikings‘ chances of getting a publicly financed stadium.

OLBERMANN:  The Vikings‘ owner and boy, the team for being in the heartland has had such a run of bad things over the last decade.  Most of them have been Randy Moss knocking over meter maids and such but the Vikings owner addressed this late today as we‘re seeing the tape here.  What did he say?  What is he doing?  What is the National Football League intending to do?

ROSARIO:  Well, what he said was basically to apologize on behalf of the team and apologize to all citizens of Minnesota for the alleged lewd behavior and the conduct on behalf of some of these players.  He also imposed or announced a new set of standards which leads me to kind of question, what the old set of standards was.  And also, my understanding from sources is that the NFL has taken a look into this.  Now, don‘t cover the NFL, but taking a look really doesn‘t mean much to me.  I guess this is not the first time something like this has happened.

OLBERMANN:  No.  Possibly this season, but I couldn‘t even swear to that off the top of my head.  Now, supposedly, there‘s some players who were involved in this were just outraged at the description of this cruise as something other than a cruise.  And yet there is, there are reports that some people have named and some people have photographs, perhaps, of this?  There‘s actually evidence?

ROSARIO:  Yeah.  There are reports the investigators have received through interviews with the crew members that some of the revelers actually photographed themselves during the sex party or what have you.  Fortunately, they don‘t have that evidence and probably they never will.  Once they find out whoever it was that was taking the pictures that are now subject to some kind of probe going on.

OLBERMANN:  And are the names, any of the name out or even the number of players?

ROSARIO:  The names are not out.  The crew members supposedly identified for investigators names of 17 Viking players that were part of this.  But no names have come out.  And we‘re still trying to find out whether they had some kind of sign-up sheet before they boarded the cruise.

OLBERMANN:  Last question here.  That insult added to injury here.  Out of state girls.  Does that make it better or does that make it worse in Minnesota‘s opinion?

ROSARIO:  The investigators, I thought, to have actually canvassed the usual suspects.  Owners of strip clubs and escort serves here.  And were assured that none of the girls that were flown in, you know, were from here.  Were local.  So maybe that‘s one of the good things about it.  We didn‘t have any local girls.

But you have got to remember, Keith, six years ago, Minneapolis was home based to the largest juvenile prostitution ring ever prosecuted by the federal government.

OLBERMANN:  Rubin Rosario covering a different kind of Viking ship for the “St. Paul Pioneer Press” right at the moment.  Great thanks for your time tonight, sir.

ROSARIO:  Thank you.

OLBERMANN:  Much more serious issue for the football team in Tampa, perhaps.  The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on behalf of a fan who was fed up with the new greeting he guess every time he goes to a game.  A pat-down to check for weapons or contraband or something.  By security guards.

As you enter the team‘s statement, it was mandated by the league for all games, starting with this season.  Though exactly what it would find, other than people trying to sneak their own food into the ballpark, is up for question considering that as you see, the search only goes from the shoulder to the belt line.  Nothing below the waste.

Sixty-year-old Gordon Johnston is the complaining person.  He said he pays about $1600 a year for two season tickets and nowhere on them or in any of the sales material does it say that by buying them, he has waived his right not to be searched.  The Cincinnati Bengalis team has already suspended the pat-down because city officials there said they are not sure it is legal.

Also, the violence of nature superseding decades of the violent conflict between India and Pakistan.  The two countries working together to help some of the devastated people in the Kashmir region.

A totally different kind of violence now immortalize in the song.  You‘ll their COUNTDOWN‘s rendering of the new Nancy and Tonya opera.  If you stay with us, I know you will.


OLBERMANN:  From the extraordinary to the extraordinarily stupid.  How the earthquake in Pakistan has helped heal a 58-year-old conflict and then a story I am doing against my will.  New details from the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes baby.

COUNTDOWN continues.  Probably.


OLBERMANN:  No one would ever mistake an earthquake for good news.  But wrapped inside a thousand layers of horror in Pakistan is an unlikely positive, the border with India was drawn up by a British bureaucrat who had never even been to the region and was working with out of date maps.  For the 58 years that have followed that, it has been in dispute to the degree that the use of nuclear weapons has been threatened over that border.

But in our number two story, as the earth has divided so much of Pakistan from itself, the simple common humanity between the Pakistanis and the Indians has been brought together.  John Irvine of our affiliate and British network ITV reports from the scene.


JOHN IRVINE, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  Bringing in the wounded, these people live in the remotest parts of this far flung corner of the world and the Pakistani army has gone to collect them.

Down from the mountains, they have walked miles to get help from soldiers based at Jakati (ph), a garrison on the line of control, the boundary that splits Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Instead of facing off against each other, some troops from both countries have been working together.  The earthquake has seen compassion replace hostility on what has for decades been a violent front line.  Since the partition, India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir.  Thousands of soldiers have died.  Yet the dispute has never been resolved.

It‘s the greatest source of animosity between the two nations.

(on camera):  We can‘t get there because as you can see, this road has been completely obliterated by a major landslide.  But just across this gorge, that hill, in fact, is India.

Two years ago, tensions along this frontier threatened to escalate into nuclear conflict.  Now catastrophe has brought common cause, and there are numerous reports of Pakistani and Indian soldiers helping each other.

(voice-over):  The Pakistani president went on national television and thanked India.

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN:  May I also say that the Indian prime minister was very kind to ring me up and offer all possible assistance.  We express our gratitude to him and we have accepted Indian aid in certain forms and informed them.

IRVINE:  Normally, they‘re guarding the frontier.  But right now, these soldiers have other things to do.  One of mankind‘s long running disputes has been put in its place by simple humanity.

John Irvine, ITV News, on the line of control in Kashmir.


OLBERMANN:  So, no segue possible tonight into our round-up of entertainment and celebrity news, “Keeping Tabs.”  But we do at least start it at home.  Last night, NBC correspondent Michelle Kosinski was given a hard time in some quarters from doing her live report from the streets of New Jersey standing in waist high water rather than getting out of waist high water.

So this morning on the “Today Show,” she was in a canoe to illustrate how high it was and someone told her to get out of the parts of the flood zone where it was several feet deep and instead go to the shallow end.  Which was fine until, as could only happen while she was live and on the air, some local guys decided to walk between her boat and the camera.


MATT LAUER, NBC HOST:  The flooding here in the Northeast as more rain continues to fall today.  NBC‘s Michelle Kosinski, I guess, she‘s in a canoe, is in Wayne, New Jersey.

Michelle, good morning to you.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, NBC CORRESPONDENT:  Good morning.  Well, obviously we‘re getting a nice break from the rain but not the flooding.  This is essentially now a part of the Passaic River in this neighbor.  It rushed in yesterday through the streets and it is really tough to control a canoe, or boat when you‘re out in it.  It is much deeper back there.

LAUER:  Is there some sort of severe drop-off?  We saw these guys a second ago.  Michelle.  Are these holy men walking on top of water?  What‘s going on here?

KOSINKSI:  Why walk when you can ride?

When you have a ride like this, would you y would you want to walk?

LAUER:  Have you run ashore?

KOSINSKI:  They wouldn‘t let me go back into the deep water because they were afraid I would just drift out of here.


OLBERMANN:  Holy men.  They were out shopping.  Michelle Kosinski up the creek without a paddle, metaphorically, anyway, this morning in Wayne, New Jersey.  Less and applicable than James Bond, actor Daniel Craig, whisked by military boat down the River Thames this morning.  We have a report again from Britain‘s ITV and the correspondent is Nina Nannar.  Nina Nannar?  Nanoo-nanoo!


NINA NANNAR, ITV CORRESPONDENT (voice-over):  It‘s not that much of a secret.  It was already (inaudible) local newspaper.  Now it is official.

Daniel Craig, blond and six feet is the new James Bond.  It has taken 18 months and dozens of rumors before the filmmakers chose the lead for the most successful film franchise.

PIERCE BROSNAN, FORMER JAMES BOND:  Vodka martini.  Shaken, not stirred.

NANNAR:  Craig‘s predecessor Pierce Brosnan was a big hit at the box office but was deemed too old to be Bond.

DANIEL CRAIG, CURRENT JAMES BOND:  It‘s a big pair of shoes to be stepping into.  I‘ve spoken to Pierce and his support is very important to me.

NANNAR:  This is something that you‘re going to be saddled with for the rest of your career, probably, Daniel.

CRAIG:  Well, I don‘t know if that‘s a bad thing or not.  I mean, we‘ll find out.  But I‘m not sure that that is a bad thing.

NANNAR:  So what do we know about the new Bond?  Daniel Craig is 37 and was born in Chester.  He trained at the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama before his blond, blue-eye asked brooding image took off.  He got starring roles in the TV series “Our Friends in the North,” the Hollywood blockbuster “Tombraider” and the gangster movie “Layer Cake.”

A private man, he had a brief liaison with supermodel Kate Moss, co-star Angelina Jolie said he is the best kisser in the business and he has been linked with Jude Law‘s ex Sienna Miller.

CRAIG:  . it had nothing to do with me.

NANNAR:  His onscreen image is often gritty and dangerous.  Critics say he will be a different kind of Bond, truer to the books.  He did look the part for the press conference but the lifejacket didn‘t quite fit the Bond image.  Shooting starts for “Casino Royale,” the 21st film of the series next year.  Now they‘re looking for the Bond girl.

Nina Nannar, ITV News.


OLBERMANN:  Craig perhaps best known for, well, really not very much in this country, anyway.  But did he best a long list of other leading men you‘ve actually heard of.  A leaked memo - and really, what more reliable source is there these days, reportedly film producers naming name.

Hugh Jackman passed over for being, quote, “too fey.”  The British to American translation of that word, he is a little too pretty or other worldly.  They did not want that mispronunciation, Huge Ackman.

Irish actor and self-proclaimed bad boy Colin Farrell determined to have been too sleazy to play 007.  OK.  I bet you that‘s correct.  And Ewan Macgregor, who hails from Sean Connery‘s homeland, Scotland, judged to be short.  And Aussie Eric Bana may have been too swarthy - or swarthy enough to play the Hulk but apparently he‘s not handsome enough to be James Bond.  I had to pass because of my commitments here.

If you‘ve always thought opera was a waste of your time because you couldn‘t understand the words or the plot, good news.  Next spring, the Tufts University in Boston will present “Nancy and Tanya: the Opera.”  Based of course, on the infamous pre1994 Olympic drama in which at the U.S.  Figure Skating Championships, crowd favorite Nancy Kerrigan  was literally knee capped by a guy with a lead pipe hired by her rival, the future amateur boxer and hubcap thrower, Tanya Harding.  Leading to Kerrigan‘s famous on camera cry, why me, why?

A Tufts grad student is doing the score.  Arlington, Massachusetts author Elizabeth Searle is writing the libretto.  The first public reading will not be until next Monday at a Boston area club.  I would like to offer a preview in the form of a COUNTDOWN version of the aria sung, of course, to the tune of the “Anvil Chorus.”

Dum, dum, dum dedum, dedum, dedum, dedum-dum.  Why, why, why me?  Why me, why me?  Why?

From the scams of yesteryear to today‘s latest and greatest.  A shotgun wedding for Tom and Katie.  A shotgun effort from my producers forcing me to discuss why somebody is mentioning “Rosemary‘s Baby” in connection to her baby.

That‘s ahead, but first, time for COUNTDOWN‘s list of today‘s three nominees for the title worst person in the world.  I‘m giving myself the award after that singing, by the way.

Nominated at the bronze level, New York radio hosts Mike Francesa and Christopher Russo.  They complained that the New York Yankees did not provide free food for the reporters who went to the ballpark yesterday to interview Yankee players who were packing their stuff and going home for the winter.

The late Howard Cosell paraphrased FDR‘s four freedoms into the four freedoms for sports reporters.  Freedom of admission, freedom of transportation, freedom of beverages, freedom of food.

Also from the radio, George Lindsey (ph), Linda Lambert (ph) and Aaron Miller (ph), the morning team from WMXA in Louisville.  He reported a science experiment had gone horribly wrong and a kitten named Skittles was now flying loose over the city in a basket tied to helium balloons.  Uncounted anguished residents spent the day looking in vain for Skittles the kitten in the skies above Louisville.  It was a prank.  There is no Skittles.  The morning team has been suspended and may be fired.

But your winner, Michelle Costandi, a business development director of the Arab satellite TV MBC.  M as in Michelle, not N.  He has brought the rights to broadcast the Simpsons in the Arab world.  But to make it more accessible to the audience, he has not only done it into Arabic, he has edited out all the bar scenes, change the name Omar Shamshoon, stopped Omar‘s beer drinking and renamed Omar‘s son Bart “Badr.”

A lot of Arabs are offended.  Why not just spend the money and make a real series about a real Arab style family and others, already fans like the “Simpsons,” like a professor at Cal State Stanislaus said the hybrid version was “just painful.  Just drop the project and air reruns of Tony Danza‘s show instead.”

The MBC network, today‘s worst persons in the world.  D‘oh.


OLBERMANN:  The 1960 movie “Rosemary‘s Baby” posited the story of an actor so desperate for success he‘d let the devil impregnate his wife.  The film came up in the news today when the friend of the family of the actress Katie Holmes‘s told a magazine that they were afraid, her family, that is, that her pregnancy with Tom Cruise is a “Rosemary‘s Baby” situation.  Not to creep you out more than you already are but in “Rosemary‘s Baby,” the role of Dr. C.C. Hill, 11th billing in the cast, was played by Charles Grodin.  And Charles Grodin played in the film “Ishtar” with and Dustin Hoffman and Dustin Hoffman appeared in the movie “Rain Man” with Tom Cruise.

Our number one story is a story my producers forcing me to do.  Pray for Katie Holmes‘ baby.  When last we left Scientology‘s sweethearts, Ms.  Holmes had announced her pregnancy, alleged to be in the neighborhood of three months.  This photo shows she‘s a tad further along or she‘s giving birth to triplets.

A source telling the British paper “the Daily Mirror” quote, “Tom‘s old fashioned.  He wannts his child to be born in wedlock.”  She‘s old-fashioned too.  She‘s begged off her latest film, says people magazine and denied that she was fertilizing in vitro.  All of which feeds rumors that the Cruise-Holmes nuptials will be taking place next month at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Cancun, Mexico.

I don‘t have the street address, I‘m sorry.  A bit too late, apparently, for the devoutly Catholic Mr. and Mrs. Holmes.  A friend of that family telling “Life & Style Magazine” that the Holmes are worried, quote, “it seemed like Katie was being controlled by Scientologists.”

The parents thus worrying if it‘s “Rosemary‘s Baby “situation where Katie is being groomed to provide Tom with a child.  Let‘s call in on our resident expert on these things, Michael Musto, columnist of the “Village Voice.”  Good evening, Michael.


OLBERMANN:  So what do we know here that she‘s either more than three months pregnant or the father is King Kong?

MUSTO:  I think it‘s actually Donkey Kong or Roseanne‘s old body or the late Marlon Brando.  That‘s not three months, Keith.  That‘s three pillows.  That‘s three years.  That‘s a huge growth over there.  But I‘m kidding.  These two haven‘t lied to us yet.  Why would they lie to us now?  And I here if it‘s triplets, he‘s going to name them after the “Mission Impossible” trilogy.  MI1, MI2 and the upcoming blockbuster, MI3.

OLBERMANN:  The fear that his parents are said to have in the family that this might be the “Rosemary‘s Baby” situation.  His name is Tom Cruise.  The actor that John played in “Rosemary‘s Baby” was named Guy Woodhouse.  Guy Woodhouse, Tom Cruise.  Guy Woodhouse, Tom Cruise.  Doesn‘t sound alike.  I don‘t see the connection.

MUSTO:  Tom is a guy, Keith.  That‘s a no-brainer.  Come on.  And anyway, John Cassavetes—Guy Woodhouse wasn‘t the dad.  I‘ve seen the movie.  The devil was.  The devil made Mia Farrow do it.  The devil baby I actually think was adorable.  This is a compliment comparing it to “Rosemary‘s Baby.”  I never understood why mica didn‘t scoop the baby in her arms and protect it from Woody Allen.  Just love it to death.  And “Rosemary‘s Baby” is a better reference than Damian.  At least this little baby won‘t have three 6s on top of his forehead.  He‘ll have three “Mission Impossibles.”

OLBERMANN:  He has his father‘s eyes.

MUSTO:  Yes.

OLBERMANN:  The friction of the in-laws Mr. Holmes angry at the premarital pregnancy saying to Mr. Cruise, you‘re no good, supposedly.  Was that a generalized you‘re no good or was it referring to Mr. Cruise‘s work in the movie “Eyes Wide Shut.”

MUSTO:  Of course he didn‘t mean “Eyes Wide Shut,” Keith.  He meant “Legend,” “Days of Thunder,” “Magnolia,” “Far and Away.”  Any number of films.  I‘m so kidding once again.  No, he just doesn‘t like Tom.  He doesn‘t think he‘s suitable.  He wants Katie back with Dawson or doesn‘t want her to have the initials K.C.  She might be mistaken for that ‘70s guy who sang “I‘m your bogeyman, I‘m your bogeyman.”

OLBERMANN:  That‘s the first time I‘m ever going to say that to you. 

That was a stretch.

MUSTO:  She‘s having stretch marks.

OLBERMANN:  If the baby is that size and she‘s really 3 ½ months.  It‘s going to be stretch marks with their own ZIP code.—that tight, then she‘s 3 ½ months.  It‘ll have its own ZIP code.

MUSTO:  I can feel it right now.

OLBERMANN:  Just looking at it is painful.  The aunt of the actress has told yet another celebrity magazine, and there‘s one on every corner, as you know said the couple reached fertilization the old-fashioned way.  What does that mean?  More importantly, how do we know someone who could confirm that?  Is that the worst part of this?

MUSTO:  I think what she meant is the old-fashioned way isn‘t in vitro.  From where I come from, the way that is old-fashioned is in vitro.  It‘s alien abduction.  It‘s turkey baster.  It‘s adoption.  So these two did it the old-fashioned way.  It‘s the creative way, which is the kind of one-two in and out kind of thing.

And how this person knows this?  I don‘t know, I guess she was there as a cheerleader with pom-poms, going go Tom, go tom.  Create “Rosemary‘s Baby.”

OLBERMANN:  Take one for the team, as we say.

What‘s the next - let‘s predict.  We were talking about this less than two weeks ago when we found out there was a baby.  Now we‘re talking about it tonight.  My producers forced to do this story as you well know.  What‘s the next stage?  Get out your psychic abilities here.  Tell us what stage three of this story is going to be.  What horrible eventuality is going to occur next?

MUSTO:  Katie is going to pop out like 40 of them and Madonna is going to come over and say you can‘t watch television, kids.  Katie is the anti-Nicole.  She doesn‘t adopt.  She doesn‘t care about her career.  She pulled out of a movie.  But Nicole is going to become Auntie Nicole and come over and make sure they do watch television and they can see “Far and Away” even though Latie‘s dad doesn‘t like that and it‘s all a mess and where‘s Charles Grodin?  He‘s out with Kevin Bacon somewhere.

OLBERMANN:  Charles Grodin via Kevin Bacon—Charles Grodin used to work with us here.  That‘s another story, another time.  And unfortunately we‘re out of week.

MUSTO:  And after this segment, I used to work with you.

OLBERMANN:  Michael Musto, of the “Village Voice.”  No sir, always more interesting than the topic he covers.  Thank you sir.  Have a good weekend.

MUSTO:  You, too.

OLBERMANN:  And that‘s COUNTDOWN.  I‘m Keith Olbermann.  Keep your knees loose and good night, good luck.

Our MSNBC coverage continues now with Rita Cosby LIVE AND DIRECT. 

Good evening, Rita.


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