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tv   Countdown With Keith Olbermann  MSNBC  October 9, 2009 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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gets a prize for it. >> this is a great embarrassment than losing the olympics bid was. tonight the nobel's committee bid. the president's call to action to the world and the new political pressures this presents with richard wolf and eugene robinson on today's bizarre convergence that puts the right wing in convergence with the taliban. congressman alan grayson who last week said the republican health care plan is if you get sick, die quickly, returns to the house floor and rips both parties apart. >> olympia snowe was not elected president last year. >> to his fellow democrats, we're in power, enough with the process, just get reform done. to republicans, enough with obstruction for obstruction's sake. >> if barack obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the republicans would blame him for over population. >> tonight representative grayson's challenge to congress in its entirety and then he'll join us as our special guest.
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>> $79 million to bomb the moon and all we get is this? nasa's big bang is a big bust visually, will it still be a success scientifically. >> and from joker to punch line, david letterman leads the late-night laughs at his expense. >> i got into the car this morning and the navigation lady wasn't speaking to me. >> after week one of the scandal, is david letterman going to survive? all that and more on "countdown." >> i would give anything to be hiking on the appalachian trail. >> good evening from new york, i'm lawrence o'donnell in for keith olbermann. you shouldn't need to consult etiquette books to know the appropriate response when someone wins an award is to offer congratulations. our fifth story on "countdown" in response to the stunning news today that president obama has won the nobel peace prize, all
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but a handful of republicans and right wingers seem to have taken awards show etiquette lessons from kanye west. no, they did not storm the stage and insist that nobel prize should have gone to beyonce. that would have been too classy for them. president obama was asleep when he got the call about the extraordinary and surprising honor this morning. how surprising was it? just listen to the gasps when the chairman of the nobel peace prize committee made the announcement in oslo. don't worry you'll get it even though he's speaking norwegian. >> good morning. [ speaking in native language ] >> even though nominations for
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this year's award closed on february 1st, only days after president obama took office, the nobel committee claims its decision was based largely on achievement, not expectations. >> we have -- we have not given the prize for what may happen in the future. we are awarding obama for what he has done the preceding year. and we do hope that it can contribute a little bit to enhance what he is trying to do. >> mr. obama is in the middle of a major decision as you know on -- and we'll probably end up increasing troop levels in afghanistan. how does the committee feel about that? >> at this time, the conflict in afghanistan concerns us all and we do hope that the improvement of the international climate and
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the emphasis on the negotiations could help result that i do not claim that it must help or will help, but we could hope that this could help to resolve that conflict. >> do you have an opinion on raising the troop levels? >> the president himself says he was humbled by the recognition. >> i am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the nobel committee. let me be clear, i do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of american leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nation. to be honest, i do not feel that
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i deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures that have been honored by this prize. men and women who have inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace. but i also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women and all americans want to build, a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents and i know that throughout history, the nobel peace prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement, but it's also been used to give momentum to a set of causes. and that is why i will accept this award as a call to action. a call to all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century. >> former vice president al gore who won the peace prize in 2007 for his work on climate change echoed the nobel peace committee's praise on president obama. >> much of what he has
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accomplished already is going to be far more appreciated in the eyes of history as it has been by the nobel committee in their announcement early this morning. >> also proud of the president, senator john mccain, who lost to mr. obama in the 2008 presidential election. >> nobel committee, i can't divine all their intentions, but i think part of their decision making was expectations and i'm sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to. but as americans, we're proud when our president receives award of that prestigious category. >> among the first to speak against the president's nobel peace prize today, the taliban, who suggested that president obama be given the nobel prize for violence instead. while everyone everywhere was surprised overall, world
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reaction to the news was largely positive. here in the u.s., however, right wing radio hosts immediately found easy agreement with the taliban. >> he has to turn it down. because it is such a joke that he'll turn it down and it's the only way for him to make a win out of this. only his arrogance will stop him from doing it. >> i think that everybody is -- our president is a worldwide joke. folks, do you realize something has happened here that we all agree with the taliban and iran about and that is that he doesn't deserve the award. that's hilarious, that i'm on the same side of something with the taliban. and we all are. on the same side as the taliban. >> worldwide joke, all on the same side of the taliban. lots to talk about with msnbc
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richard wolfe, author of "rene gaed" -- renegade." >> you can medicate me now. >> the nobel committee seems to be insisting that the award was what for president obama has already done and not in anticipation of what he might do, but at the same time they seemed to hedge that a little bit or maybe be nudging him toward future accomplishment, do you see it that way? >> that's one way to put it. i actually think this is a work in progress and that's what the nobel prize committee were actually suggesting and this is not the first time they have done this kind of thing. remember when they gave the award to yassir arafat, it was a peace process. admittedly they had gone a lot further on that particular path, an extraordinary transformation.
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but arafat obviously turned his back on peace. and what you have now, never mind what rush says, there were a lot of pundits at the start of the day in washington was saying, look, president obama hasn't achieved anything, so what's this all about? that's a really shortsighted view of what we have seen since obama took office. foreign policy has changed out of all proportion, and the fact that we're talking about negotiations with iran, instead of seeing saber rattling, the fact that the world that's france formed it's opinion of the united states and of this president is an extraordinary shift in and of itself and that's what this prize is actually recognizing, it isn't just forward looking. >> has the obama election transformed their view, europe's view in particular of our presidency? to some extent, is this an award for simply not being george w. bush? >> well, the committee itself talked about engaging in rare politic and they have done this before, this is a more political award than any of the others, although i have got to tell you that there's politics involve in every single one of the awards, even the scientific ones. but the politics of this kind of
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award was also present when they gave the award to jimmy carter, they didn't give it for camp david, but the trigger was because of his opposition to the war in iraq. al gore, why did he get it? because he was not george w. bush when it came to the environment. that transformation is real. but it also shows that the world is looking for american leadership. the world still wants a different kind of american leadership, it's not that they hate america, they just didn't like the leadership under president bush. >> richard, someday you're going to have to explain to me how henry kissinger got it while the vietnam war was still raging. but still staying with the present winner, to what extent might the committee have been going for big-time relevance, obama's coattails, going with the biggest, hottest political star in the world?
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>> i think there is some of that sort of fame hunting there. on the other side, though, look, this is a tremendous amount of, to be blunt, free publicity to the united states. one of the problems the bush administration had so long was called public diplomacy which we used to call propaganda. how do you get the passage across, you can give it a speech and he's done that speech of the most of the worth, but what actually reaches people here? in this sense, you've got the word peace prize and the united states president together instead of war and the united states president. that is a priceless piece of advertising. >> richard, knowing the president as you do, you have great access to him on the campaign trail, you have written a book that gets more inside of his head than anybody else has been able to so far. how do you think he reacted personally, 6:00 a.m. this morning, when he gets that call? >> well, i suspect i could probably repeat his reaction on the family side this time. you know, he says that the award is not about himself, i suspect that's his second reaction.
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the first reaction is well, gee, i've actually done quite a lot here and this is a huge honor for me and my vision of foreign policy. but he does have this check on, frankly, the overconfidence problem he might have. he needed sobering up, he had that meeting about afghanistan in the afternoon that should have woken him up to no end. >> richard wolfe, author of "renegade" many thanks for joining us tonight. for more on the right wing response, let's bring in our own eugene robinson, columnist at "the washington post." good evening, gene. rush limbaugh seems to find it absolutely hilarious that he is on the same side as the taliban. now if roles were reversed, if, say, a democrat, somehow found an agreement with the taliban, imagine for us please, the limbaugh reaction? >> that's kind of a rhetorical
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question, we know what the limbaugh reaction would be. there would be punching of the air with the cigar. there would be much pounding on the table and cries of treason and, you know, what it would be like, it would be like a regular rush limbaugh show, actually. >> so one week to the day after the right wing goes wild, cheering because the usa loses a bid to host the olympics, they then go nuts in wild objection because the american president has taken home the nobel peace prize. aren't these guys just completely marginalizing themselves with any reasonable voters now? >> conservatives hate america, they should love it or leave it, essentially. the substance of limbaugh's argument, as i understood it, if you can call it substance, this
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shows that obama has indeed adopted some sort of eurocrat socialist one world view of america's place in the world and thus tying our hands and preventing us from achieving our manifest destiny. that's kind of the argument, well, you know, the ioc is the international olympic committee is kind of like the sports division of the one world conspiracy, so one week, they all jump up and down that obama has been rejected by the one worlders and now they jump all up and down that he's been praised by them. but of course i'm looking for consistency here. and i don't think we're going to find it. >> gene, you're a closer listener than i am being able to find something called substance in what was being said today. glenn beck also said today that the nobel prize should have gone
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instead to the tea party goers and everyone who protested on september 12th. the people who want the president to fail like things on peace in the middle east, nuclear disarmament. peaceful things like that. these people, i guess don't understand what a peace prize is to be awarded for, do they? >> no, they don't. as richard, i think quite ably pointed out, in the previous segment, it is understandable that many people around the world would think it is notable and laudable that an american president, the most powerful figure in the world has endorsed and embarked on a program of multi-lateralism, rather than retaining the kind of cowboy ethos that we have seen in the last eight years and that we have seen in the past. this is a huge change. i have the perfect candidate for
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glenn beck, joe the plumber, he should have won the nobel peace prize and i demand a recount. >> they have had all day, and they haven't come up with a single candidate for the peace prize better than barack obama. thanks for your time tonight, sir. >> great to be here. irony abounds today, president obama gets the peace prize on the same day our space agency bombs the moon. the mission didn't have the promised visible fire works, will it have the promised scientific benefits? but first, the fight for health care reform. congressman alan grayson, less than habit on the house floor, putting republicans and democrats on notice. americans want reform, so either lead or get out of the way. the freshman congressman's remarkable speech up next. he'll join us live from florida ahead on "countdown."
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coming up, congressman alan grayson's politics on capitol hill. americans don't care about your strategies, they don't care about your parliamentary process, so either get it done or get out of the way. the representative's speech in its entirety. then he'll be our special guest. and later, the week that was in the david letterman extortion scandal and what this week can tell them about letterman's future. that's next, this is "countdown."
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>> it has been 48 hours since keith olbermann devoted this hour to health care reform as he sees it, concluding with a call
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to action. in our fourth story tonight, a progress report, and the return of the newest and possibly strongest voice in this debate, the still unapologetic alan grayson. last night keith was joined by the national director of free clinics to discuss the plan for the group to stage more of its massive free health care fairs, like the one with more than 1500 people in houston last month. although these fairs would be held in the states represented by democratic senators who have yet to say they will stand up against a republican filibuster of the public option. keith will contribute $10,000 for each one that the group is able to stage, they are now taking donations at only two full days, the group has raised more than
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$225,000 from 28,012 donors. i'll be making my contribution as soon as i get out of this chair tonight. a controversial voice in the health care debate spoke up against yesterday. florida congressman alan grayson who came under fire for republicans plan is if you get sick die quickly. he joins us presently. republicans back down trying to make him apologize and yet he said he never will. first, as you will hear in his remarks on the house floor, he has some words for democrats seeking a bipartisan bill just a week after a daily coast research 2000 poll found that 52% americans would rather have a health care bill with a public option even if not a single republican votes for it. >> speaker, i have words for democrats and republicans tonight. let's start with the democrats. we as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest
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minds of our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get olympia snowe to vote for health care reform. i want to remind us all, olympia snowe was not elected president last year, olympia snowe has no veto power in the senate. olympia snowe represents a state with one-half of 1% of america's population. what america wants is health care reform. america doesn't care if it gets 61 votes in the senate or 80 votes in the senate. in fact america doesn't care about that at all. what america cares about this is, there are over 1 million americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills. america cares a lot about that. america cares about the fact that there are 44,780 americans
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who die every single year on account of not having health care. that's 122 every day. america sure cares a lot about that. america cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition and if you have health care it's not covered. america cares about that a lot. america cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need if you don't need any. america cares about that a lot. but america does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, america doesn't care about that at all. we have to remember that as democrats. what's at stake here is life and death and enormous amounts of money. and people are counting on us to understand. america cares about what's good for america, america cares about education, about jobs, energy independence, america doesn't care about process or personalities or anything like that. i have a few words for my
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republican friends as well. i guess i do have some republican friends. let me say this. last week i held up this report here and said that in america there's 44,780 americans who die every year according to this harvard report because they have no health insurance. that's an extra 44,789 americans who die whose lives would be save and their response was to ask me for an apology. to ask me for an apology. that's right to ask me for an apology. i'm telling you this, i will not apologize, i will not apologize. i will not apologize for a simple reason. america doesn't care about your feelings. i violated no rules by calling this report to america's attention, i think a lot of people didn't know about it beforehand. but america does care about health care in america. and if you're against it, then get out of the way. just get out of the way.
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you can lead, you can follow, or you can get out of the way. and i'm telling you now to get out of the way. america understands that there's one party in this country that's in favor of health care reform and one party that's against it and they know why. they understand that if barack obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world, the republicans would blame him for overpopulation. they understand that if barack obama could somehow bring about world peace, they would blame him for destroying the defense industry. in fact they understand that if barack obama has a blt sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon. but that's not what america wants. america wants solutions to its problems and that begins with health care and that's what i'm speaking for tonight. i yield the rest of my time. >> wow. congressman grayson's speech from the house floor yesterday. up next the congressman will join us to talk more about the message in his remarks and to share his thoughts on the right wing reaction to president obama's nobel peace prize win today. representative alan grayson live next on "countdown."
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mr. grayson goes to washington at a time when democrats control washington in both houses of congress but playing defense against a minority incapable of sustaining a filibuster, the appearance of an elected democrat putting the republicans on the defensive
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with simple and powerful language and unapologetic passion has galvanized many parts of the grassroots. and when it comes with a link to make a campaign contribution and those contributions are pouring in, that's a real indication. joining us now is florida congressman and internet sensation alan grayson. thank you for joining us tonight. >> thanks. i love the show. i watch it all the pim. -- time. how did you turn out to be apparently the only member of congress who knew that there are democrats out there in the country who have been waiting to hear some tough push back against republicans? how did it fall to you? >> i just listened to what everybody is saying. these are things that are on our minds, a lot of people say the same thing, i just happen to be the one in congress to say it is all. i just said what everybody else is thinking. >> you began yesterday by reminding your party that olympia snowe was not elected president and that america
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doesn't care if it gets 51 votes or 60 votes for health care reform. i suspect that you're speaking for many of your house colleagues who are growing very weary with senate 60 vote strategies? >> i'm speaking for everybody in the country. we're losing 100 people in the country every single day to the fact that they have no health coverage, they get sick, they die, how long can we wait? >> having worked in the congress for several years myself, it strikes me that you are a freshman, you're new at this, this is your first year, if you had been there for a while, if you had done five or six terms, that you would be sitting there, playing the game, trying to get along strategically? >> i think there was a memo about that when we began, i missed the memo.
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there was a memo that said freshman should be seen and not heard, i just missed it, i'm sorry. >> do you find in what's happened to you a lesson for 2010, a campaign lesson, both in how to attract money, raise money? >> yes. >> what is it? >> it was the same thing last year when we ran our campaign. you cannot beat a republican by being one. people like a choice. and they like a congressman with guts. since we made our statement last week, over 10,000 people have made a contribution at the number gross every minute. people love to see a fighter that fights for them. that's the way the democratic party traditionally meant. that's the way it's going to be. we ran on a platform of change, that's what people expect from us and that's what we have to deliver. >> one of your better lines, you said if president obama had brought about world peace, he would be blamed for killing the defense industry. and now since he won nobel peace prize, the left is howling.
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just on health care reform, they are easy to predict. i'm usually proved right but not this quickly. >> just on health care reform, before we leaf the subject. the financing mechanisms are greatly different from the senate and the house. the senate voted for an income tax increase, which is an equitable tax, the baucus tax is a tax on health care plans. do you think there's any way that the house will accept the baucus plan given about 150 of your members that said they will vote absolutely for the baucus tax in it? >> no, we won't. america expects us to go ahead and reach a conclusion anyway. we have to move ahead to save people's lives and save money.
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>> if you had to choose between those two taxes, which way would you go on it? >> the bill in the house is paid for. we don't need to tax people, middle class people over their benefits, it's not necessary, it's really not prudent, people are suffering and we understand that in the house. there's no need to make their suffering worse, this bill is supposed to make people's lives better, and it will. the 47 million people who have no insurance, they'll get insurance. the people who have insurance but they find they have all the health care they need unless they need it, the people who have pre-existing conditions, the people who have lifetime caps, chronic conditions, all these people will be better off under this bill and senior citizens will be better off because we'll eliminate the doughnut hole and the -- the people who say no to everything, they'll be disappointed because america will be better off. >> the honorable alan grayson of florida, thank you very much for your time tonight, sir. >> it's great to be on this show, thank you too.
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coming up, if you got up early to see the explosion on the moon, all you got was disappointment, but nasa scientists aren't apologizing, they say the controlled explosion was a success, we'll tell you why. and later, rush limbaugh, in his own words, his true motivation for doing his radio show and his humble opinion on whether he leads the republican party. ahead, on "countdown." your retirement plans back on track? consider oppenheimerfunds, whether the markets are up or down, we follow a consistent investment approach. ask your advisor about oppenheimerfunds. and see how our numbers can help you reach your destination. call your advisor for a prospectus with complete fund information. read it carefully and carefully consider fund investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses before investing. mutual funds are subject to market risk and volatility. shares may lose or gain value. oppenheimerfunds. the right way to invest.
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earth attacks moon, leaving no visible evidence. so who won? in our third story on the "countdown," two parts of a nasa spacecraft slammed into the moon this morning and despite the disappointment, the mission might still be a success. our correspondent is tom costello. >> reporter: after years of hard work and high anticipation, it all came down to this. >> all stations slight, mark, impact. >> reporter: at 7:31 eastern
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time, nasa's centaur spacecraft smashed into the moon's south pole at 3,500-mile-per-hour. but despite expectations of a grand explosion. >> we should be looking for some signs of impact. >> but nothing. the "today" show's matt lauer was left wondering if we had missed something. >> i guess if people were expecting some major plume visible to the human eye, we're not seeing it. >> reporter: a group of school kids woke up before 5:00 a.m. for the big event in boulder, colorado. lewis wasn't alone, no one saw the plume of dust, rock and ice depicted in the nasa animation. but that doesn't mean there wasn't one. nasa insists it was a great success. >> i think the science colleagues, the exploration colleagues around the world are dazzled. >> reporter: dazzled because nasa has photos of the explosion. that trailing satellite
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transmitted streams of data back to earth that can now take weeks to decipher. >> we need to go back and look at the data and see what it says. exploration has surprises in it. >> reporter: this mission is all about ice and water, finding it could prove crucial for a future moon base and provide new answers about the solar system. >> it just reminds us about how important it is to explore, to explore the unknown. >> reporter: back in boulder, 9-year-old lewis had a hard time staying awake, but insisted it was still worth it. the view was spectacular. tom costello, nbc news, washington. coming up, rush limbaugh is one of the -- no, he is the biggest anti-feminist out there, so wait until you hear what event he'll be judging and we'll have a sneak peek. late night reaction everywhere.
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david letterman is the butt of jokes every where, even on his own show. what could this mean for dave's future? [ female announcer ] olay regenerist is on a roll. new anti-aging eye roller. reduces puffiness immediately -- and also helps with lines and wrinkles. not surgery. this is our way to do your eyes. new regenerist anti-aging eye roller. it took us maybe, what, two hours to give up the corporate life? i think it took me about ten minutes. running a b&b is not a desk job. i have to climb stairs 20-30 times a day. announcer: keep moving with new nature made triple flex. newly formulated to work in as little as 7 days. with glucosamine to support cartilage health, hyaluronic acid, known to lubricate joints, and chondroitin complex for fast joint comfort. it's like a new beginning. new nature made triple flex. learn more at nature made. fuel your greatness.
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regions - it's time to expect more. >> coming up, rush on rush. does limbaugh think he's the defactor head of the republican party. and are letterman's jokes his best strategy to survive the sex scandal surrounding him. that's next. this is countdown. be denied coverage because of your health or age. to prevent anyone from coming between you and your doctor. and to make sure patients don't take a backseat to insurance companies. because at aarp, we believe your health is worth fighting for. learn more at
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today while nfl players are vowing not to play for the st. louis rams, if rush limbaugh
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succeeds in his bid to buy the team, the same rush limbaugh will be a judge for the 2010 miss america pageant. it is not yet announced who the remaining six judges for that competition are. but in our number two story on "countdown" perhaps, this is after all the perfect match. since neither miss america nor miss usa have ever fit comfortably into a feminist or even a post-feminist world, why not admit what the pageant is really about and choose as a judge, the biggest, i mean literally the biggest anti-feminist of them all. we could fill a week of shows with examples of mr. limbaugh's misogyny but none of us could -- here's just one toxic quote from last year's presidential campaign. quote, you have to understand the mindset of a lot of these
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feminists, they have been married two or three times, they have had two or three abortions, they have cut men out of their lives, they have devoted themselves to causes and careers and this, the candidacy of hillary clinton is the culmination of all these women's efforts. mr. limbaugh has been interviewed by jamie gangel from the "today" show edition, here is some of that interview. >> who are you doing your show for? >> for my audience, for ratings. let me shock the world right here on nbc, i am doing my radio show for ratings, i want the largest audience i can get because that's how i can charge the largest advertising rates. >> are you the leaders of the republican party? >> i'm not the leader of the republican party. i'm not the leader of the republican party. it's silly for them to say i'm the leader of anything. it's just creating more curiosity about me. 21 years, thank you, lord for my enemies. >> you can watch the interview
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on monday. coming up, the week that was for david letterman, the extortion scandal and the punch line on his show and practically every other late-night program. we'll have the best one-liners and discuss how letterman survived week one of the scandal and what could it all mean for his future. next on "countdown." ( music playing ) get the taste of a home-cooked meal at work with new marie callender's home-style creations-- a delicious meal made fresh from your desk. just cook them, strain them, mix them. marie callender's home-style creations. a little touch of home for lunch. find them in the soup or pasta aisle.
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it was a running joke on the old "tonight show," johnny carson was married four times and whether it was in his monologue or in a bit, joking about his own wives and divorces and alimony payments was part of the show. johnny carson didn't have to worry about anyone else poking fun because johnny was the only game in town, the only show on
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the dial. in our number one story, after the letterman scandal broke, o'brien, ferguson, leno, fallon and others had a chance to take a whack at their late night colleague. most moved on. next the week that was. some of the noteworthy zingers made at david letterman's expense, the best of which of course came from letterman himself. >> i keep trying not to be sexy. it can get you in trouble in my line of work. >> if you came to have sex with a talk show host, you came to the wrong studio. >> there's a new book called why women have sex and there's 237 reasons why women have sex and letterman knows the top ten. >> i once was the victim of an extortion plot, that's how they got me to do a 10:00 show.
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>> i was shocked letterman was having affairs. i had no idea he was running for office. >> i have never had a sexual relationship with any of my staff members. >> let me just say that my relationships with my employees are strictly professional, isn't that right, gunter. >> as a matter of fact, ellen caller kept wanting to know if we had sex and i didn't remember. >> and i just wanted to say, so you know here, i have never had sex with anyone on my staff, the guests, of course, yes, that's just part of the job. >> i had a great weekend. >> i was cast on letterman. i mean vasquez, no the other thing. >> i'm making a few jokes, it's
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really not funny. well, a little bit funny. >> i spent the whole weekend raking my hate mail. it's chilly outside my house. chilly inside my house. but normally when i'm shaken down for money, it's, you know, it's my relatives. okay, let's look at the news, first of all, bill clinton says -- no. good news for south carolina governor mark sanford because he -- how about that eliot spitzer, would you take a look at that? i still feel like i did the right thing and now, also, because what can it hurt once again, i would like to apologize
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to the former governor of alaska. sarah palin, i'm terribly, terribly sorry. so there we go. >> joining me now is the editor of, dillon gourd. welcome. the late night hosts took their best shot and then left him alone. is this some kind of honor code among late night hosts? >> their job is to be funny, you get a shot above the belt, not below the belt, and then you move on. you can't leave this alone, you got to take your shot and go. >> conspicuously absent is conan o'brien. i know conan holds dave in great awe and has great respect for him. is that what his decision is about there? >> i think respect is putting it mildly. he reveers the guy. before he was on the tonight show, he spoke at length that he
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was humbled by the prospect of being even a competitor of letterman. there's something else going on here. but conan is the only one that competes directly against him in the time slot. so there is the danger that him making a joke about this, could be seen as him trying to capitalize on david's misfortune, rather than simply having sport with it. >> on the first night when dave revealed this last week, he kept repeating the word terrible, he had done these terrible, terrible things. in that apology to his wife and staff, did he diffuse this bomb? >> i'm not sure if this was ever really a bomb. he diffused this. i don't know if it will ever hurt him. what surprised me is that some of the shock out there was to find out that david letterman wasn't a nice guy. i think you can tell when you're watching someone on television. but with dave, i think there was always this veneer, that he could kind of be an s.o.b., he's been on television for 20 years,
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he's very cutting, i don't think it would shock people to find this out and it always surprised me that people discovered to their shock and awe that maybe he wasn't such a nice guy all the time. >> maybe i can fool you for the rest of the show. a minute left of me being a nice guy. it's been a ratings boom for dave, how long does that keep up? when do people calm down about this. >> i think it's going to come back to earth pretty soon, which is to say, he's going to be beating conan o'brien pretty soundly in the ratings, but that's a good thing for cbs. >> he had already started to do that on a consistent basis, hadn't he? >> that's one of the things that is to be noted that david letterman understands television and the episodes where he was talking about this and the ones right after are probably going to be pretty got ratings episodes. >> dave is 62, the official retirement age 65, johnny carson was 67 when he retired.
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if dave wasn't dealing with this scandal, do you think he would go on beyond johnny or do you think that this scandal might start to suggest to him exactly when he should call it quits? >> i don't know, you know, he's got a contract through august 2010, he's been in negotiations all summer to go to 2012. what's interesting about something like this is that it's dave and people on staff, it's not him canoodling with movie stars. this show is his life. he works like a dog to do this show all night. and there's no sign that he plans to hang it up early. >> we'll stick around and watch this. thank you. >> that will do it this friday edition of "countdown." a final reminder on keith's behalf, if you would like to donate to the cause for free health care for people in need, you can go to as of tonight, $225,000 donated
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so far. i'll be making my contribution in a minute, while watching the rachel maddow show. good evening, rachel. >> i have to tell you one of those donations today was from my parents and they wrote me to say how thankful they were to "countdown" for having focussed on the group and the cause. >> then it's my mother's turn tomorrow. >> thanks. have a great weekend. and thank you at home for staying with us for the next hour. tonight we have got four questions, one, why has the nobel peace prize occasion been such an american freakout today? two, is there any good choice to make about the war in afghanistan? and three, what happens when you call out a thin skinned scrappy mogul on your website and how much does congressman willie gomert. senator barbara boxer, senators