Olbermann Calls Scalia/Thomas 'Grumpy' & 'Dopey,' Replays '99 Gotcha Clip of Bush

On Wednesday's Countdown show, while reporting on a recent Zogby poll which found that more Americans can name two of Snow White's dwarves than can name two of America's Supreme Court justices, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann took the opportunity to joke that Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are "Dopey and Grumpy." The Countdown host also took a shot at President Bush by bringing up Bush's failure to name world leaders in a pop quiz during an interview with Boston TV journalist Andy Hiller in November 1999, and suggested to comedian Mo Rocca that Bush's lack of knowledge is to blame for "current world affairs." Olbermann: "Can you think of any consequences at all that could have stemmed from that candidate's level of knowledge? Is that being reflected at all in the current world affairs?" (Transcript follows)

As Olbermann introduced the segment, he read the poll results regarding the dwarves and the Supreme Court: "The poll's findings, among others, 77 percent of Americans could name at least two of Snow White's dwarves, but only 24 percent could name two Supreme Court justices." Displayed on screen were cartoon pictures of Dopey and Grumpy with Dopey above Grumpy and the number "77%" beneath Grumpy. Then to the right were displayed photographs of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, with Thomas above Scalia and the number "24%" below Scalia, so that Dopey and Thomas lined up while Grumpy and Scalia lined up.

Right after pointing out that only 24 percent could name two Supreme Court justices, as if to refer to them, Olbermann joked, "Interesting footnote, the top vote getters Dopey and Grumpy," before quickly following up in a lower voice for intended humorous effect, "the dwarves." In reality, according to the poll, Sleepy and Dopey were the two dwarves named by the most respondents, so Olbermann was pretending Grumpy ranked higher so he would have a springboard to call Scalia 'Grumpy.'

Olbermann brought aboard comedian Mo Rocca to discuss the American public's knowledge of current events and took the opportunity to embarrass Bush by bringing up an interview from 1999 during which then-presidential candidate Bush was unable to name the leaders of certain countries when asked by Boston interviewer Andy Hiller. After playing clips of the interview, Olbermann asked: "Can you think of any consequences at all that could have stemmed from that candidate's level of knowledge? Is that being reflected at all in the current world affairs?"

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the August 16 Countdown:

Keith Olbermann, during introduction of segment: "The poll's findings, among others, 77 percent of Americans could name at least two of Snow White's dwarves, but only 24 percent could name two Supreme Court justices. Interesting footnote, the top vote getters Dopey and Grumpy, the dwarves."

Olbermann, while interviewing Mo Rocca: "Now, there's another instance of this actually playing into our political system. Let me play this sound bite of a presidential candidate displaying his knowledge of current events in 1999. He was asked about four global hot spots. Let's listen to this."

Journalist Andy Hiller, in clip from November 1999: "Can you name the president of Chechnya?"

George W. Bush: "No. Can you?"

[jump cut]

Hiller: "Can you name the president of Taiwain?"

Bush: "Yeah, Lee."

Hiller: "Can you name the general who's in charge of Pakistan?"

Bush: "Wait a minute. Is this, is this a, is this a 50 questions?"

[jump cut]

Bush: "The new Pakistani general has just been elected. He's not elected, the guy took over office. It appears he's going to bring stability to the country, and I think that's good news for the subcontinent."

Hiller: "And you can name him?"

Bush: "General, I can name the general."

Hiller: "And it's?"

Bush: "General."

[jump cut]

Bush: "Uh, the new prime minister of India is, uhhh, no."

After a comment from Rocca, Olbermann continued: "Can you think of any consequences at all that could have stemmed from that candidate's level of knowledge? Is that being reflected at all in the current world affairs?"

Brad Wilmouth
Brad Wilmouth is a contributing blogger to NewsBusters