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tv   Countdown With Keith Olbermann  MSNBC  February 19, 2010 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

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arlen specter signs on for the public option by reconciliation. if there are enough of them, majority leader harry reid says he will work with the us who, the house and members of the caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstacles and secure enough votes. >> health care has been knocking me around pretty good. been knocking harry around pretty good. >> the new public option signal set by the president. the party of no. at cpac, this is dr. no. >> we will say no to this health care bill because no is what the american people want. >> yay! no health care reform. no health, yay! but two floor fights. the speaker says the conservatives are not conservative enough and should not have admitted gay conservatives. >> i'd like to condemn cpac for bringing go pride to this event.
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the lesbians of smith college protest better than you do. >> and the crowd also did not get enough red meat from bob barr. >> waterboarding is torture! how do you know what it's like to be waterboarding? and they still could get their chance. breaking news, off the hook. in writing the torture's okay memos, you did not violate league ethics rules. just exercised poor judgment. jonathan turley says you might as well rename this poor judgment at nuremberg. and as little tiger woods as possible. except for one fascinating word. >> i felt i was entitled. >> entitled. what does that mean? with gene robinson. all breaking new, now on "countdown." good evening.
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on april 28th, 2009, arlen specter switched to the democratic party. the quickest explanation, they'll need his vote for health care reform. tonight perhaps, prophesy fulfilled. breaking news. specter has signed the public option. reid, to whom that letter is addressed, himself indicating he would support such a reconciliation vote if and when a decision is made to go down that path. the obama administration also indicating that it would support reconciliation if and when the senate does. the majority leader giving his qualified support for his senate seat in nevada, including the with president at a meeting outside las vegas. this afternoon, a statement reading in part -- latest public opinion numbers revealing such a move could help senator reid win re-election.
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only 34% support the current bill. that's 32% of independent voters. 56% support a bill with the public option in it. 61% of independents. 55%, again, a clear majority approving the use of reconciliation to pass health care and 64% of independents. former pennsylvania republican specter, his press secretary, telling us he has signed the letter tonight. it would be the only one to do so today. seven more telling "countdown" they support the option without having signed the letter. some indicating reconciliation may be a viable step. they are -- evan bayh's office said he was never for or against, but he's open to it if that's the only way to get health care passed. health and human services secretary kathleen sebelius telling rachel last night if
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they move forward, the obama administration would fight for it. so, why momentum now? maybe the party of no having something to do with it. >> these bills are ultimately designed to lead this country to a single payer system, something that the american people reject. we will say no to this health care bill because no is what the american people want and that is our principle opposition that they expect us to pronounce. >> let's first call in ezra klein. good evening. is majority leader reid sending a signal to get the votes to 51 to pass this? that happens, he'll figure out whatever procedural way to make a vote possible? >> i don't think it's quite that determined. i got to tell you, keith, reporting on this is weird today because everybody is signing the letter. then when you call them, every
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office i called is telling me privately we're terrified of this, we don't know what to do with this. we can't say no to the letter, but reopening this at this point in the game, so what you're seeing in the statements from leadership, reid and the white house is that the other guys will take the hit, we'll sign. so, the white house says, yeah, if reid does it, we'll support it. reid says if the white house will round up the votes, i'm happy to do it. but neither one of them is willing to take the first step on their own. >> so this is at this point a microcosm? >> i think it's getting scary. you're actually seeing a failure of leadership at the white house. the worst thing that can happen for them, they can do a strategy to get the public option, say, it's popular. or they can say it's too late. we'll try it another time and go with the senate bill. they need to give direction. the worst thing that can happen is it hangs out in this middle space and we have this zombie public option debate where
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liberals have to get disappointed again. that's a terrible outcome and could threaten the whole enterprise. >> and this underscores the total unreality of the assumption that the 48, 49, 50th signatures would be critical here. it would be numbers 20 through 40 that are critical. the further you get toward 40, it become hard for anybody to stop this from the democratic side, correct? >> if you see 45, something like that, there's going to be too much pressure on the white house and reid and you see potential whipping again. the one thing they can't do this time is fall back on ben nelson and lieberman to kill it. you can't say you can't lose one democratic vote. you can. you can lose a couple, you can lose up to eight right now. so if that happens, if they're close enough that he can get it, it is going to be hard for them to tell liberals, we just didn't want to try. if you stick to 20, you're still 31 votes away so they have an excuse there. >> go back to your original point about this unspoken terror
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or spoken terror on the part of the staffers in the senatorial offices. can you narrow down what they're afraid of, be what they're terrified by? >> yeah, the lesson they took from massachusetts, number one, we can't be seen making deals. number two, we need to be seen as being bipartisan. it's what the summit is about. the one thing you can't say about the public option, this is not something the democrats were able to pass into the bill originally. is a bipartisan move. you're going back to the most controversial of the debates, delivering a left cross to the republicans. you're going to have enormous media hubbub about democrats using reconciliation, a process that should be a natural 51 vote majority process, but they let republicans define as something extraordinary, to put in the most controversial, most liberal part of the bill. and they're very afraid of that and they have not done the ground work on either reconciliation or recently the public option to defend against that. they have been caught totally surprised by this letter campaign. and i think they're just sort of wondering if it will go away. >> so, these senate offices don't have cable or the
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internet? they're not aware of the other aspects, the other lessons to be drawn from the brown election? >> i've often been surprised at the lessons senate offices take from things, but it's the only way to keep liberals engaged. you have a bill that nobody likes that much, even if a lot of them think it is a good enough bill and the one thing you can do to bring your base back before the midterm elections is a public option. they just don't know if they can actually get it done. and the worst thing to do is to lose entirely. so they just don't really have a plan. and that actually is where the white house needs to come n they sort of need to call the play. >> 20, 25 senator from here and it's unstoppable. it's an important insight from ezra klein of "the washington post" that there is drag on that middle 20 to 25. thank you. have a good weekend. >> and you. >> for more on the party of no, and i think that's the republicans, but maybe it is the democrats, let's welcome our own lawrence o'donnell.
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good evening. we'll talk about the gop opposition, but just assess what ezra just said. essentially, there is terror in the senate offices of the democrats who could gain themselves an energized base and re-election when it comes time to it for supporting something they said they're in favor of. >> ezra is hearing what i'm hearing from democratic senators this and is their interpretation of the massachusetts election, which is that bipartisan angle and going this way prevents that. i have to just point out one thing that harry reid said in the body of his statement. he said he would work, if -- he said, i really love this language. if a decision is made, line one. now, in politics, that is a very clear, i'm not going to do it. he said he would try to craft something that could survive the procedural hurdles. he didn't use the phrase 60 votes. those are 60-vote hurdles. i haven't talked to anyone who
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has ever been on the floor managing a reconciliation bill. i've done reconciliation bills on the senate floor and i've done regular bills on the senate floor. i've never seen a way you could get this bill through the reconciliation rules without 60-vote procedural votes. you can do it in reconciliation, but you'll hit 60 vote thresholds several times including on whether you'll be allowed to include the public option. the public option in reconciliation on the senate floor in my view would still take 60 votes to get past the parliamentary hurdle. >> you're talking seven, eight republicans. who would be willing to let this come to a vote so they can vote it down. this does not seem to me to be extraordinarily likely. >> on reconciliation, it's only the final vote that takes 51 votes. it is those procedural votes that reid was referring to in the middle of the statement that is the giant hurdle here, that makes it very, very difficult. >> what the president's role in this?
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is there a means by which if he said, no, i think this is a good idea, let's go with it, we're fired up, let's go. >> well, then reid would have to go to work, but the president isn't going to say that because he has a bipartisan meeting scheduled for thursday and the television cameras are ready to go. and he's not going to say something on monday that indicates a purely partisan approach to this. i -- i would be very surprised if he did. >> so, which makes the democrats look dumber? going and passing a toothless health care reform bill with some bipartisan support in some theory, because there aren't going to be votes for it still. it's not bipartisan. even though it was not done on a reconciliation vote. or some sort of last stand where they seem to at least have gathered the courage at the last moment to try to get this done the way the people who started this letter campaign showed some courage. >> this has always been a peculiar quick sand of health care legislation. going back for generations. once you start to try to move a
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bill in a more conservative, direction, a more moderate direction, a watered down direction, which normally in the legislative process will pick you up votes, it will pick you up moderate votes and get you across the finish line, once you start do that, the bill in health care becomes extremely undesirable because it simply does not do the job. and you end up passing something very ugly, very weak that doesn't really improve the situation for anyone out there. the fascinating thing out there in the polls, the ones in nevada is this huge public support for the public option, and for the strongest version of it. and i was reading this poll today, and i thought, you know, they're tricking them. they're asking the real softball question. they're not. they're asking a very sharp, clear question. do you favor or oppose offering everyone the choice of buying into a government-administered plan like medicare and in a state where 58% oppose the democratic bills, 56% are in favor of that. the strongest version of the
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public option. it starts to make the argument, how about just passing that. how about that being your incremental bill, when you pass that first as a stand alone, and then start to fill in after that. >> well, we can hope for that and i suppose over the weekend, hope for the magic growth of 32 sets, as they say, plus one in the white house. perhaps it will happen over the weekend. >> the clinton health care bill had 35 co-sponsors in the senate and it died a bloody death. >> lawrence o'donnell, veteran and survivor of that and of msnbc and "the huffington post" as well, many thanks. there is more breaking news on another disturbing subject. the obama justice department investigators are moving toward professional misconduct charges against the bush lawyers who wrote the memos rationalizing torture. today, they were overruled by their boss. the new net effect, nothing. jonathan turley next. and the startup-capital-
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breaking news out of the justice department tonight, as the only likely legal punishment for anybody in the bush administration for torture, the possible disbarring of the lawyers who wrote the memos is stopped in its tracks. all the details next. wellbeing. we're all striving for it. purina cat chow helps you nuture it in your cat... with a full family of excellent nutrition... and helpful resources. ♪ purina cat chow. share a better life. oh, just come snuggle with momma! missing something? now at sears optical, get 2 pairs of glasses for $99.99. with bifocals just $25 more per pair. sears optical. don't miss a thing. i'm nervous about her going away. (sunny) the bayer meter helps me become more independent. (announcer) only bayer's contour meter
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has programmable personal high low settings. i want you to be happy. don't cry. (announcer) the contour meter, only from bayer. for the torture and likely war crimes committed by the previous administration, the door may now have been shut by this administration. breaking news this hour, the justice department has completed a two-year review of bush administration lawyers who authorized interrogation techniques like waterboard and going against the findings of its own investigators and finding what they were guilt of was poor judgment. the lower level enablers who
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should have been just the beginning are off the hook. like john yoo and jay bybee. from the justice department led by attorney general eric holder in a conclusion made by senior career official thoerksz thr, t attorneys showed poor judgment. that was a downgrade from the harsher finding. some of this into perspective, the investigators finding of misconduct, even if not overruled today, may have amounted to little more than disbarment for the three bush era lawyers, but today's finding says the lawyers did not violate ethics rules. the same three actually carved out so-called standards of torture. the report says these men, quote, exercised poor judgment. let's turn to constitutional law expert george washington university professor jonathan turley. john, good evening. >> hi, keith. >> so this was just bad legal advice? >> obviously, it wasn't. they're saying it was. bad judgment is when you make
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unfortunate choices in dinner guests. not when you support a torture program. what we're seeing now is the dismantling precedent that we created at nuremberg, when we said you can't facilitate war crimes and say it was simply bad judgment. everyone who commits war crimes often thinks about their own accountability. they often go to lawyers to facilitate them. that's why they were so critical at nuremberg. what we're seeing now is that we're treating it just like it was a bad day. it's more than that. but what we're losing in all of this is one of the core principles of nuremberg. >> so the next george bush with the next dick cheney and the next rumsfeld, go down the list to bybee and others, whoever it is next, two years or 100 years from now, looks back and says somebody will call me guilty of bad judgment and that will be
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it. >> you said the exact problem and that is if you can't be held accountable for facilitating war crimes, something they don't really discuss in this report, then when can you be held accountable? this is it. the worst case scenario. what the justice department has done is carved out for itself a standard that it can never fail. that even supporting torture is just bad judgment. in this report, it's astonishing what you read. bybee, who is a judge, is sitting in judgment of others right now, is accused in this report of just leaving out critical cases, of leaving out weaknesses. in one case, he said he assume gonzalez would know about the limitations of this type of executive claim or the limitations on a good faith defense. he assumed he would know that. and instead they produced this report which was a roaring endorsement of torture. that's being treated as quote, incomplete legal analysis. it's not incomplete.
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it's willful blindness. it is an attempt to defend a flawed legal theory to support a torture program. >> an error of co-mission is turned into an error of omission. you mentioned what is not in this report. it's over 300 pages. is there anything in it that gets us to understanding what happened in the bush administration that established torture as acceptable? >> a lot of it will be interesting to law professors and legal experts in the extent to which people like bybee left out critical pieces, where he was aware of supreme court cases that go the other way and just leaves them out. in one case, they rely on language in the united nations convention against torture that was never ratified, yet, they treat it as it were. that's the degree of misrepresentation.
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and yet the justice department really doesn't deal with that, and it does certainly not deal with what they're doing with the nuremberg standards. instead, they say they're wrong, incomplete, showing bad judgment. not something they should be punished for. even though people were tortured as a result of their advice. >> so, the -- if you put this back into history and applied it to nuremberg, the finding of the german judiciary system of the '30s and '40s would be what? >> if this existed back in nuremberg, it would have resulted in acquittals for all the people that we sentenced. but this is a bloody nightmare for libertarians. we have an ex-vice president who's proudly supporting torture and a current president -- if torture is so bad, imagine what it's like to try to protect alleged torturers, war criminals. that's the really dark period
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we're finding where we're all wondering where did our principals go. >> the news come out on friday night. great work on this subject. hope we're not done with it. thank you, john. >> thank you, keith. meantime, the former conservative congressman from georgia went to the conservative cpac convention and said it was torture. they booed. when a young conservative condemned cpac for gay groups, he was booed. the party of boo ahead. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 if i could change one thing... tdd# 1-800-345-2550 we'd all get a ton of great advice tdd# 1-800-345-2550 just for being a client. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 i mean, shouldn't i be able to talk about my money tdd# 1-800-345-2550 without it costing me a fortune? tdd# 1-800-345-2550 if i had my way, investment firms would be tdd# 1-800-345-2550 falling all over themselves to help me with my investments. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 (announcer) at schwab investors rule. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 are you ready to rule?
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upstaged by a kid more stupid than he is, that's news. first a little break tonight. on this date in 1930 he was born john frankenheimer, the man who directed maybe the best political movie of all time. judgment at nuremberg. let's play "oddball." now from new england's news center, got a flashback to 25 years ago. the classic bridal dress store. for three hours, gowns are marked down as much as 90% off the original. these classy ladies practice for their walk down the aisle. usual price for one of these gowns, up to 9 grand. picking it up dure, the running of the brides, less than $240. the value of your poise and dignity, priceless. tokyo, hello. we're here at the restaurant where chef and owner is
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preparing his latest dish, five tasted imperial noodles. that's ramen. on most menus this fine dish can be had for about $10. but he considered pricing it as high as $33 before ultimately deciding to charge $100. for a bowl of ramen noodle soup? wait, here we go. he explains this is not rhaamen it is my cuisine, it's my 25 years of experience distilled into a bowl. hey, they can actually do something other than say no at the conservatives conference. they can boo each other. a young republican gets raspberried from the crowd. ♪
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research mid afternoon. compiling what we know about any particular story. but when the political action conference meets, crazy comes too fast and too quickly for such niceties. we're tracking it as best we can, but you have to bear with us. the weirdest thing is, flashes of sanity, but first, the crazy, james o'keefe, accused by the fbi of trying to tamper with government phones. he is a hero at cpac. we know how much conservatives hate the federal government and the fbi an how much they like to stick it to the man. o'keefe accepting an award there allowed to attend with permission from his parole officer, according to politico. trust the law and order party to check in with its parole officers. then there was tim pawlenty the presidential hopeful, ridiculing the current president for an appearance, quote in a grade school classroom speaking to elementary schoolchildren and he was using a teleprompter, that's not a joke, that's a real story. mr. obama spoke to the kids, he spoke without a script.
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the teleprompter was for a speech to the nation. delivered on television from a classroom later that day. pawlenty's story came from, surprise from the intertubes he was speaking, his aides told the ap, from bullet points written in his notebook. pawlenty also criticized the decision for the would-be bomber, unaware that attorney general john ashcroft, a cpac honoree was today defending the decision to mirandize the would be christmas day bomber. as was former congressman bob barr, who even dared to suggest that torture is torture. watch how cpac reacts to this insani insanity. >> i think i have a lot more faith in our u.s. attorneys who are nonpolitical than my colleagues on the other side of this debate do. we can try them. we should try them. that is precisely what our law provides for and the first time we're faced with a situation, we say, oh, we want to have them go to the military and let them torture them for a while. it's not enhanced interrogation
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techniques. waterboarding is torture. >> let me say, hey, folks, come on. >> all do props to the cpac audience. ryan sorbah attacked a gay conservative group. >> just to change the subject for a second, i'd like to condemn cpac for bringing go pride to this event. bring it. i love it. i love it. i love it. guess what? guess what? all right. guess what? civil rights are grounded in natural rights. natural rights are grounded in human nature. human nature is a rational substance in relationship. the intelligible end of the
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reproductive act is reproduction. do you understand that? civil rights when they conflict with natural rights are contrary -- you sit down. the lesbians at smith college protest better than you do. the lesbians at smith college protest better than you do. all right? bring it. yeah, yao is my energy. jeff, guess what, you just made an enemy out of me, buddy. yeah, you, yeah, you, you made an enemy out of me. thanks a lot. >> smith college, guy wouldn't last three minutes at smith cloth. wouldn't even find his shirt. joining us now. david weigel, reporter for "the washington independent." >> wish you were here. >> crazy seems to be in the divisions of the extremes. we'll start with the law and order party, honoring the guy who needs to get his parole officer's permission to attend.
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>> some people have started that they didn't like nixon until watergate. there's an element of if you survive a battering from the -- establishment that makes you a better conservative. in james o'keeffe's defense, he's in the same position legally that a lot of people are when they have done something and the lawyers are waiting for a trial. so he's -- he was, actually, joined by another guy who participated in the louisiana sting, joe bazell. they were both there. they both are sworn by fans. j.d. heyworth, former congressman, even a bigger -- a big star at cpac too. the last we heard of him, he was losing his congressional election. surviving the machine, it's not really something you're ashamed of. it's a badge of honor. >> and yet, this seems to conflict, have they cleared the audience out and brought in a new one? what happened there? >> i think this was legitimate anger at this guy going rogue
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and bashing gays. go proud, going to it wrong, i got it wrong, is a newish gay republican group and they won a bit of a tussle with liberty -- with a liberty university law school. liberty said they wouldn't come if go proud came. go proud came. and they've been actually pretty well accepted. one thing you've seen all year is that they don't quite have time anymore for these disputes between the social side and the libertarian social side. now, they'll vote for anti-gay marriage referendums, but right now all they care about is defeating barack obama and defeating socialism. the guy that he called out there, jeff, works for ron paul's organization. and said nothing. >> yeah, well you couldn't have told that by him chewing his gum. yeah, i'm here to speak at cpac.
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bob barr and john ashcroft fit into the formula of conservative hero of the recent past, both supporting miranda rights. so why do they still get honored by people who think getting mirandized is equivalent to killing. >> this is actually a debate that happens every year. this isn't new. bob barr has done this at multiple events. they have a sort of roman circus event where they debate these issues and then go home and the neoconservatives and the supporters of military tribunals win. the biggest applause lines this year are massachusetts, kind of a surprise, and military tribunals, which i wish was a surprise, but is just actually something that all conservatives -- the most conservative activists apart from this libertarian segment are thrilled by. so that room was actually overrepresented how many people agreed with bob barr's position. it was a mix of boos and cheers. that's not something you hear at
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a lot of these things. even ashcroft, not sure if he would defend obama that much. >> it used to be conservatives frowned upon frat earnizing with criminals. that they believed in limited government power. a point you made, does cpac even know what this is anymore or does it no longer care as long as it is victorious? >> this is the most celebrating cpac because it represents the tee party movement coming in and not really taking over, but being welcomed back into the conservative movement. so it was a -- it is a huge cultural celebration. policy, things like that don't have much to do with t they're basically going to agree with vet dins and with the bush version of conservatism at the end of the day. >> good luck out there. >> thank you. >> from the halls of the cpac
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conference, from the most recent set of nominees, you have voted in a winner. politician who called the recovery act a wasteful spending spree, but he wrote quote -- intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs. 68% of the vote. the nightly comments stays with governor pawlenty because he did more than just lie about the president. he tried to go all topical by talking about tiger woods. about mrs. tiger woods. about mrs. tiger woods' nine iron. we'll talk about woods' use of the word entitled. and when rachel joins me, more on the breaking news, specter signs out of the public option. reid confirms if there are 51 votes, he'll make it happen. matt iglesias joins rachel in washington. i find the flight i . then a great hotel my kids will love.
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back to cpac. discussing the essence of the tiger woods apology, i felt entitled with jean robinson. what does that mean? there's no way these stories could ever overlap, could they you would be surprised in tonight's nightly comment. governor pawlenty had been considered as a reasonable guy until this morning. not sure why he was at cpac. though i suppose losing after sarah palin would make anybody rethink things. clearly, he did not bring his perspective with him. just because it's happening today does not mean you have to mention it in your speech. it was an hour before the tiger woods news conference when pawlenty said -- >> i think we can learn a lot from that situation. not from tiger. but from his wife. so, she said, i've had enough.
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she said, no more. i think we should take a page out of her play book and take a nine iron and smash the window out of big government in this country. we've had enough. >> no. no, no. nope, take a nine iron and smash a window out of big government is probably too weird, even for cpac. but memorable enough to stick to a presidential nominee. i suppose this means we're going to get pawlenty making a statement in front of his friends and family. it shows. it slides. it tows. it sees. it calls. and it fits. we gave it more ideas per square inch...
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responsibility. what's your policy? liberty mutual. you may have felt sorry for him, but at some point during the tiger woods address, you heard him blame his sense of entitlement. what does that mean really? it belongs to bill-o or limbaugh. i just don't know. listen. >> let's pretend you're talking to bill o'reilly. i'll be bill o'reilly. >> okay. >> what do you think of me? where have i gone wrong today? no, i am bill o'reilly. what do you think of me? tell me where i've gone wrong today. look at -- all i'm telling you is that we've got to give socialism a fair shake. i'm not going to condemn it. like these really right wingers
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are. we have to give it a fair shake. we hear at the factor are going to give socialism and communism a fair shake. we'll do an in-depth investigation and report back because we're looking out for you, the folks. >> i'm utterly conflicted. ketchup, catsup. ketchup, catsup. the runner-up tonight -- a homeowner in kentucky, ice has been on a lot of homes there and this guy decided to remove the icicles on his with his blow torch. i wonder what happened next. >> capture the flames live during our 5:30 newscast yesterday evening. >> okay, this gets worse. the homeowner is a plumber and the blow torch he used was the one he uses to thaw out pipes and he's the brother of a fire chief in worthington, kentucky.
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our co-editors, they both forget the wise words of crusty the clown. what, too soon? bannen was introducing mr. happy at cpac convention and he said this. >> let me just said, i'm happy to see grover today. he was getting a little testy in the past couple of week and i was just really, really glad it was not him identified as flying that airplane into the irs building. >> what a cut-up. 12 injured, two dead. yes, that's funny. as to senator brown, the question rambled through the pilots confused manifesto and your reaction to that? >> it's certainly tragic and i feel for the families and i don't know if it's related, but i can just sense not only in my election, people are frustrated. they want transparency, their elected officials to be accounted and open. and talk about the things that are affecting their daily lives.
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i'm not sure if there's a connection, i certainly hope not, but we need to do things better. >> if you want to equate your election with a psychopath who turned his own issues with the irs into an terrorist attack that killed an innocent bystander go, ahead. the the fox interviewer gave him another chance. instead, mr. brown added, nobody likes paying taxes. senator scott, we're going to have a lot of fun with you. today's worst persons in the world. file a patent, make a will and more. you can complete our online questions in minutes. then we'll prepare your legal documents and deliver them directly to you. so start your business, protect your family, launch your dreams. at we put the law on your side. it would frustrate me. my bayer meter is very important.
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84 days after driving his suv into a tree outside his florida home and during a break from a tournament program, treatment program that already lasted 45 days, tiger woods, the golfer, tried to harness the chaos that predated and followed that crash in a public apology set against the lure of
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celebrity collapse, he uttered the words sorry or apology, five times and the word foolish twice and also used one, entitled, once. but that doesn't necessarily explain what it means and if at worse, it's just another way of making an excuse. his statement read before a small group of friends, family and associates in ponte verde beach with his mother in attendance, nor michael jordan, with only a few journalists aloued to watch live, no questions, of course. the narrative was left to this man. >> i thought i could get away with whatever i wanted to. i felt that i had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. i felt i was entitled.
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thanks to money and fame, i didn't have far -- i didn't have to go far to find them. i was wrong. i was foolish. i don't get to play by different rules. the same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me. i brought this shame on myself. i hurt my wife, my kids, my mother, my wife's family, my friends, my foundation and kids all around the world who admired me. >> woods also said the quote, i do plan to return to golf one day, i just don't know when. i don't rule it out. it will this be year. masters. let's bring in a columnist from "the washington post," gene robinson. good evening, gene. >> good evening, keith. >> i'm fascinated by this phrase. i've heard it a thousand times. i felt i was entitled. phrases like worked hard,
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deserved to enjoy, money and fame. does that explain what he means by it? >> what does entitled mean? i guess in its purest form if you go back, the middle ages concept that the lord of the manner was entitled to the sexual favors of the young maidens, a concept obtained through antebellum slavery, in this country, but entitlement has become kind of a psychobabble phrase, i think. and in this case maybe his way of saying i really wanted to sleep with all those women. >> he blamed that sense on the fame and fortune. having -- in other words, he was able to express his entitlement because he was famous. rather than the other way around. it seems to me one of those things is a prop for the other.
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>> which for which? not sure. facts on the ground, if you're tiger woods and if you are the richest athlete on the planet, and you're terribly famous and you really want to go hooking up with cocktail waitresses and nightclub hostesses, you can do that. and you can do that a lot. and i don't know that you really need a fancy word for that. it's -- it is what it is. >> but the sense of the entitlement, was it still there today that the rules don't apply to him, because he's the highest paid athlete in the world, and maybe it hasn't dauwned on him yet for hitting a ball with a stick, he gets money for selling products and there's a certain forfeit for life, especially when you
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really screw up. this was a controlled message, moment today. >> well, it was. i mean, look, i don't -- i am in no pigs osition to doubt his sincerity. whatever treatment he's in hasn't dealt with that control freak problem. he set this up. any apology by my definition has an element about it. in a sense we were like eavesdroppers. you saw him there with his mother, his friends. there was encounter in that room, he was kind of looking over their heads at the camera, we're kind of on the outside looking in and distanced, i think, from this odd kind of spectacle. >> bad pr rehab. only takes one day to go to. you would think they would have told him, do this. get a big arena with 4,000 seats. invite all the reporters. say we're starting at 9:00. say there will be free food. i'll answer all of your questions. at 6:30, we are done forever on
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this topic. that would work, wouldn't it? >> only 4,000 seats? >> all right, get him the l.a. coliseum, fine. >> i would wait until the orlando magic have an away game, get the arena and just have at. but your point is well taken. this does end when there are some questions and answers. people are still going to want to ask questions whether it's right of them want to do that or not. >> but if you've already had the event, you have the right to say, i answered all these questions, until 6:30, and there was lunch, too. gene robinson, pulitzer prize winning columnist at "the washington post," thanks for coming in on a friday night. have a good weekend. that's "countdown." up next, rachel maddow with more on the craziness out of cpac tonight. i'm keith olbermann. good night and good luck.
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good evening from washington. if this is your first time watching the show, welcome. we hope you'll stay around and check it out. today in america, there was a sports story so big it affected the stock market. that would be of course, the confessions of tiger woods. there was also an enormous news development today about the possibility of controlling how out of control your health insurance costs have been. and tonight, after a week of trying, we will rename the thing that is stopping the government from working more than anything else that is stopping the government from working. all of that is coming up this hour. we begin with breaking news. harry reid is now signalling that he is ready to join the newly resurgent health reform fight. he says he would support a plan to pass a public option for health insurance without republican support. senator reid's office releasing a statement tonight, just to make sure we're putting this completely in context, i want you to hear the full


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