Olbermann Suggests ‘Tackiness’ in Palin Visiting Ft. Hood Like Dallas Cowgirls, Tries to Dismiss Book Sales

Twice in the past week, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann has on his Countdown show tried to dismiss the popularity of Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue by mentioning discounts like Newsmax’s promotion that offers the book for $4.97 to new subscribers. Olbermann first raised the issue on the Thursday, November 19, show, as he mentioned rumors of high sales numbers. Olbermann: "Publishing industry rumors, first week sales more than half a million. No idea if any of them were not at these 50 to 75 percent discounts."

On Monday’s show, during a discussion with MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, Olbermann again tried to credit the popularity of Palin’s book to discounts after Wolffe commented that she would soon have millions of dollars:

KEITH OLBERMANN: Millions, she got it upfront, right? Because she's not going to get millions if they're selling this book at Newsmax for $4.97. You and I, as authors, understand: Get it upfront, right?

RICHARD WOLFFE: We would hope that Bob Barnett did his job in that way. But look, you know, she is turning out the crowds. This book is selling, and let's hope people are reading it.

OLBERMANN: It's $4.97! If we sold books for $4.97, they'd be stacked up out here and people would be taking them as they went home.

Also on the November 19 show, the Countdown host suggested there was "tackiness" in Palin’s plan to visit Fort Hood and donate book proceeds to victims of the massacre there, and quoted a Palin critic who compared her to the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, as Olbermann called the comparison "apt." Olbermann:

As it turns out, she will next bring her book tour to Fort Hood. Announcing via Facebook that she will donate royalties earned in Fort Hood to the families of the victims of Fort Hood. On the potential perceived tackiness of the move, one local councilman told the New York Daily News, "Her coming in will be no greater or lesser than the Dallas Cowgirls coming to Fort Hood." Apt.

Olbermann brought up the possibility of "inappropriateness" of the visit to Fort Hood later in the show during a discussion with MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford, who charged that the stop at Fort Hood "does look very opportunistic" and suggested it "could even backfire on the folks at Fort Hood in the end."

KEITH OLBERMANN: Back to the book tour and this announcement that she`s going to go to Fort Hood. I mean, my instinct on this is if it will cheer somebody up there, I guess I`m for it. But politically, isn`t there an element of risk to doing this, a little sense of inappropriateness?

CRAIG CRAWFORD: Well, I mean, even giving the royalties to the victims doesn`t change the fact that it`s part of her book tour, and it does look very opportunistic. I just have a feeling that if Al Gore were to do this with a book, we`d be hearing a very different side of the story from places like Newsmax.

OLBERMANN: Yeah.

CRAWFORD: And if she goes there and, you know, talks to victims and tries to do something other than talk about her book, and if she gets very political, sure it can get backfire. It could even backfire on the folks at Fort Hood in the end.

Below are complete transcripts of the relevant segments from the Thursday, November 19, Countdown show, and the Monday, November 23, Countdown show on MSNBC:

#From the Thursday, November 19, Countdown:

KEITH OLBERMANN: Discussing the interview that changed everything, Sarah Palin writes in Going Rogue that all she wanted at that time was a minute to breathe and drink an icy diet Dr. Pepper, but that darned Katie Couric always bringing people down with pesky questions about books and newspapers and stuff other than Dr. Pepper. We all thought she couldn`t think of any. She sure showed us. Our number one story, Sarah Palin finally reveals what she reads. Palin news digest in a moment, but first the Going Rogue book tour bulldozing its way though Indiana, today. This afternoon at a Fort Wayne supermarket and at a Borders bookstore outside Indianapolis earlier this evening. Publishing industry rumors, first week sales more than half a million. No idea if any of them were not at these 50 to 75 percent discounts.

Meanwhile, Palin continued her media blitz on Fixed News. Asked about the tragedy in Fort Hood, Palin remarking that Major Nidal Hasan should have been profiled. As it turns out she will next bring her book tour to Fort Hood. Announcing via Facebook that she will donate royalties earned in Fort Hood to the families of the victims of Fort Hood. On the potential perceived tackiness of the move, one local councilman told the New York Daily News, "Her coming in will be no greater or lesser than the Dallas Cowgirls coming to Fort Hood." Apt.

But inevitably the conversation turned to the Katie Couric interview, Palin telling Oprah Winfrey she had been annoyed by the question which was why she didn`t answer it. This time Palin took the moose by the antlers.

SARAH PALIN: She asked about what I read, and I read, I read Newsmax and the Frontiersman and Wall Street Journal and everything online. I absorb the news via many, many sources.

OLBERMANN: Oh, now a quick look at the Palin news digest to see exactly just what she is absorbing. The Wall Street Journal, nothing unusual here, "Geithner Under Fire on Economy," "House Panel Approves Broad Fed Audits." And turning to her other two sources, the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman, hometown paper of Wasilla, "Head Coach of Colony High Football Steps Down," "Indoor Football Franchise Introduced to Mat Su Valley," and "Wasilla to Buy Shopping Center for Expanded Library." Turning to Newsmax, "Obama Chats with Top Cuban Blogger," "Author: Obama Letting Liberals Run the Show," and, "Sarah Palin tells Hannity: I read Newsmax." So now she`ll read a story about herself reading a story about herself.

Let`s bring in MSNBC political analyst, columnist for CQPolitics.com, apparently not on the Palin news digest, Craig Crawford, co-author of Listen Up, Mr. President. Good evening, Craig.

CRAIG CRAWFORD, CQPOLITICS.COM: Well, I don`t know, since she said she reads everything online, maybe she reads my blog. I`ll put a headline on there.

OLBERMANN: Try it and if it`s not true you`ll hear from her.

CRAWFORD: Why not? Right.

OLBERMANN: A year and six weeks and she can`t come up with anything better than Newsmax?

CRAWFORD: It doesn`t suggest a wide range, does it? I would like to see politicians when they talk about something like this to show a little balance that they try to get information from both sides, lead people to do that. We`ve got so many people just reading what they want to hear. And in this case, Newsmax, I actually read Newsmax. I read Talking Points Memo, Huffington. I mean, I like to get a wide range. That would have been a better answer, seems to me, but I`m not telling her what to do.

OLBERMANN: The answer I was told always just say the Economists. No matter what, say the Economist. Oh, okay, you know what you`re talking about.

CRAWFORD: Well, I`m for that now because the Economist now owns CQ- Roll Call.

OLBERMANN: Almost related to that, if she did and has in fact read the Wall Street Journal on a regular basis, why not just say that to Katie Couric a year ago? We might have, that`s when an answer like that might have been some use to her politically, might it not?

CRAWFORD: Certainly. I think that instinctual response is the more accurate or honest one, in any case with human nature. She`s had all this time to think about it. At least she didn`t come up with a list that didn`t seem at all credible. I mean, this sounds like the kind of answer she might have given at the time if she’d thought about it.

OLBERMANN: Back to the book tour and this announcement that she`s going to go to Fort Hood. I mean, my instinct on this is if it will cheer somebody up there, I guess I`m for it. But politically, isn`t there an element of risk to doing this, a little sense of inappropriateness?

CRAWFORD: Well, I mean, even giving the royalties to the victims doesn`t change the fact that it`s part of her book tour, and it does look very opportunistic. I just have a feeling that if Al Gore were to do this with a book, we`d be hearing a very different side of the story from places like Newsmax.

OLBERMANN: Yeah.

CRAWFORD: And if she goes there and, you know, talks to victims and tries to do something other than talk about her book, and if she gets very political, sure it can get backfire. It could even backfire on the folks at Fort Hood in the end.

OLBERMANN: Yeah. This battle with the McCain campaign staff over what`s in the book, Senator McCain has not done so yet, but is he close to yelling at her?

CRAWFORD: I would imagine he’d like to, Keith, but here`s the problem for him doing that: Then he has to implicitly anyway acknowledge that he was wrong to create her in the first place. So I think he`s always going to have a tendency to want to defend that decision by not attacking her.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, that`s the equivalent of saying, (IMITATES MCCAIN) "Thank you for not voting for me." Last point here, Oprah Winfrey announced tonight she`s going to end her talk show in 2011. Is it a coincidence that this is a week after she interviewed Sarah Palin or is there some kind of cause and effect, rock bottom thing here, now I`ve done everything or now I have to leave or are these just two simultaneous events?

CRAWFORD: After that, there`s just nothing left for Oprah? If you have a look at the ratings, though, it was a huge ratings hit for Oprah.

OLBERMANN: Yep, yep.

CRAWFORD: After all, Oprah helped elect the current President. Maybe she`s going out having put the next one on its path.

OLBERMANN: Well, you know, people answer chain letters and e-mails from princes in Nigeria to send money, so they do that, too.

CRAWFORD: Yo u never know.

OLBERMANN: Craig Crawford of CQPolitics.com, MSNBC and possibly the Sarah Palin news digest. Great thanks, Craig.

CRAWFORD: I`ll take it. Thanks.

OLBERMANN: That`s Countdown for this, the 2,394th day since the previous President declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. I`m Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.

#From the Monday, November 23, Countdown:

KEITH OLBERMANN: See, but that's not how I imagine it. In my imagination, it's really bad. Joining me now MSNBC political analyst, author of Renegade: The Making of a President, senior strategist at Public Strategies, Richard Wolffe. Good to see you in the flesh.

RICHARD WOLFFE: Good to be with you.

OLBERMANN: Stipulating that I was zinged in there in out loud fashion and/or complimented at the same time, there are some on the right who have interpreted this as a compliment to Sarah Palin. How exactly? Do you know?

WOLFFE: God bless them. They are testing to the extreme the idea that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But, you know, the real disaster movie for the Republicans is if she runs, let's face it, because either she's the nominee and most of the American people say that she would actually be a disaster and they can't see her as President; or she runs, she fails to get it, you have all of these disappointed grassroots people who then have to cheer for Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney. That would be a horror movie.

OLBERMANN: One of the interpretations I read was that when you see this, and it's obviously she's been elected or inaugurated, and then there's an apocalypse. They decided to look at it the other way – it’s like, oh, there's an apocalypse and Sarah Palin saves the country after the apocalypse, which is apparently okay with people on the far, far, far, far, far right.

WOLFFE: Right, that's just one big tea party, that's what that was.

OLBERMANN: Well, it’s a biblical prophecy fulfillment. That’s what the story is.

WOLFFE: Exactly, that’s why she said all of those Jews would be going to Israel, of course.

OLBERMANN: Flocking.

WOLFFE: In the days and months.

OLBERMANN: Months, weeks, days to come, in that order, or whichever order it was. The event at Fort Bragg today, today, she – obviously, she's waved military flags like she invented the gun, the gatling gun. Why not follow the rules? Because clearly they bent them to do some politicizing there when they were told not to.

WOLFFE: You and your pesky rules. You know, don't you know that only dead fish go with the flow? There is a new set of rules for Sarah Palin. I mean, she did quit being governor of Alaska for a reason. I'm not quite sure what the reason was. But, in any case, the bigger issue here, I think politically, because she does have political advisors, is wrapping yourself in the flag. It's easy. It's a simple talking point. It's trite, but it works for many people. Problem is, it didn't work for George Bush in 2006. It didn’t work for John McCain, a decorated war hero in 2008. Why would it work for someone who hasn't served in the military, running against a commander in chief in 2012?

OLBERMANN: As we saw from the Newsweek cover, she looks good in red. That’s my explanation for it. Now, on a serious note, Frank Rich wrote this in the New York Times: "Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid." What kind of attention is actually appropriate to this situation?

WOLFFE: As much as possible. Look, if she is a serious politician – and clearly there are thousands of people who are treating her as a serious politician – then the press needs to do its job, hold her to the same standard as any other candidate, scrutinize all her statements, compare them, contrast them with what she said before, fact check them against reality. That's the kind of scrutiny she's inviting now. And, well, we'll see if she's up to it.

OLBERMANN: Yeah, of course, then the problem becomes: What if her supporters don't believe in reality? But this is a big question to ask as a news show concludes, but take 45 seconds and answer it. Who is her parallel in American history? Do we know yet? Is she Barry Goldwater? Is she Huey Long? Who is she?

WOLFFE: I think she is Ross Perot without the charts and the ears and maybe the billions. She’ll have millions after this book, but she is trying to tap into, look at what she put in her seminal text, which is her Facebook entry. You know, it’s about deficits, it’s about the military, I mean, it’s a conscious avocation of everything that happened so successfully and wonderfully for Ross Perot, not once but twice.

OLBERMANN: Millions, she got it upfront, right? Because she's not going to get millions if they’re selling this book at Newsmax for $4.97. You and I, as authors, understand: Get it uprfront, right?

WOLFFE: We would hope that Bob Barnett did his job in that way. But look, you know, she is turning out the crowds. This book is selling, and let’s hope people are reading it.

OLBERMANN: It's $4.97! If we sold books for $4.97, they'd be stacked up out here and people would be taking them as they went home.

WOLFFE: We'll try that next time.

OLBERMANN: All right, good idea. Richard Wolffe of MSNBC, author of Renegade, and also of Public Strategies. Good to see you, sir.

WOLFFE: Thank you, Keith.

OLBERMANN: That’s Countdown for this, the 2,398th day since the previous President declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. I’m Keith Olbermann. Good night and good luck.