10/14/2005

Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for October 6

CRAIG CRAWFORD, MSNBC ANALYST: Hi, there. You're sounding a bit skeptical tonight.

OLBERMANN: Well, I'm—yes, and I'm going to raise this question as

skeptically and bluntly as I can. It's not a question that doubts the

existence of terror, nor the threat of terrorism. But we've cobbled

together in the last couple of hours a list of at least 13 occasions that -

· on which—whenever there has been news that significantly impacted the White House negatively, there has been some sudden credible terror threat somewhere in this country. How could the coincidence be so consistent?

CRAWFORD: It's, it is a pattern. One of the most memorable was just after the Democratic Convention in the 2004 election, when they talked about the threat to New York and even the World Trade—World Bank, and it turned out that was based on intelligence that was three years old, (INAUDIBLE) even before 9/11.

There is a pattern here. And I think it's difficult sometimes to take it at face value. But in these moments, when it looks like a crisis, it's (INAUDIBLE), those of us who bring it up get accused of treason. That's what Howard Dean was accused of when he raised that after the Democratic Convention scare alert...

OLBERMANN: About, that was, I think, by the way, number 12 on the list. About the speech, and again, not to question the existence of terrorism, but if a prominent politician takes any issue and seems to be using it as a last line of personal political defense, does history, does our history not teach us, and supposedly the politician, that he risks trivializing the issue, that he risks sounding like Joe McCarthy on communist infiltration?

CRAWFORD: The president has given this speech so many times now. It was a bit stronger in his assertion that we will stay the course until the bitter end, until we get victory. It was a very forceful speech. But in many ways, he just turned up the volume on a broken record.

OLBERMANN: But (INAUDIBLE), Craig, as much as the speech, these speeches, this repeated speech, might seem like white noise, there was something today that I don't recall hearing the president say before, that the terrorists' goal was no longer what he said it usually has been in the past, which is destroying our freedom, but that their goal was to rally people in the Middle East to overthrow secular governments in the Middle East, which is what the international terrorism analysts have been saying since 2001.

Did he just get the memo? Or did somebody say that would sell better here? How, where did that replace or how did that replace the old line today?

CRAWFORD: I've (INAUDIBLE) some test marketing out there on what arguments are working and what doesn't work. I think the toughest argument he tried to make in this speech is connecting the war in Iraq to the overall war on terror. I think a lot of people aren't buying that so much.

The strongest argument is, Iraq's such a mess, we can't leave, we can't leave the mess there, the chaos that would ensue in a civil war. And he's trying to make the connection that that would lead to more terror.

I think the real problem with leaving, if he were really straight up and honest with the American people, is that we can't afford chaos in a region where we get our oil supply. That was not so much mentioned in the speech.

OLBERMANN: One last quote about the speech from someone, (INAUDIBLE) identify the speaker after I read the quote, which is a cheap trick, but it's useful here. “This was the kind of speech he should have made a few years ago. I've been saying a long time, the president needs to better define this war.” That was from Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. When he says that, does it suggest that it might be too late to get the message across, no matter how vital it, it may—might be?

CRAWFORD: Well, you used the word bassackwards about the—Karl Rove's testimony to the grand jury. That's sort of what the president's arguments on this war have been. Part of the problem, and I think it hurt the president in the long run, that they did not want a debate on this war before we invaded Iraq.

I remember Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia on the Senate floor saying, Why is this chamber empty? when he was trying to have a debate on this war. And because we didn't have a debate, the American people didn't really get into these issues before it all happened and before it's too late.

OLBERMANN: Got the debate now. Craig Crawford of MSNBC, “Congressional Quarterly,” and the well-reviewed book, “Attack the Messenger.” Thanks, Craig.

'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for October 6 - Countdown with Keith Olbermann - MSNBC.com

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