"Countdown" with Keith Olbermann
November 6, 2006
KEITH OLBERMANN, HOST: If Democrats take control of the House of Representatives tomorrow or early Wednesday-ish or next week, a lot of credit may end up going to a fairly arcane inside baseball decision made long ago by the Democratic National Committee. If the third story on our COUNTDOWN already sounds boring, you should know that this decision was a controversial one, to the point of being breathtaking. Simply put, the DNC decided to fight for every vote in every county around the country. It‘s called the 50 State Strategy. Its champion, its mastermind was committee chairman, Howard Dean who joins us now from Burlington, Vermont.
A pleasure to speak with you again, sir.
HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Thanks for having me on, Keith.
OLBERMANN: Minority Leader Pelosi told the “San Francisco Chronicle” she expects the Democrats will pick up at least 22 seats in the House tomorrow she said the only variable that would change that would be Republican voting fraud. Do you agree with her threshold for rat smelling and with the robo calls and some voter suppression, there do you...
DEAN: I‘m actually—Keith, I am glad you brought that up because we know now there are robo calls going into Democrats just to annoy them, and they‘re not ours, they‘re masquerading as ours. So, if you get one of those calls, don‘t get mad at us, it‘s not us. We suspect it‘s probably the Republicans. But go out and vote, no matter what happens, go out and vote. Because if you want real change in this country, you have to vote.
OLBERMANN: Are you worried about these reports of voter suppression? About the calls to people in Virginia telling then that they can‘t vote, it would be illegal in many African-American communities because they registered elsewhere?
DEAN: Yeah, they do that every year. It‘s just—you know, it‘s astonishing—it‘s not astonishing that they‘re in trouble, because the American people want a Democracy and the Republicans have put the interest of their party ahead of the interest of our country by all this stuff. And it‘s, you know, they‘re in the middle of a lawsuit now, they‘ve already been criminally convicted for some stuff like this they did in New Hampshire in the 2000 race. I don‘t know why they don‘t learn. But it is not proper to fool with people‘s votes. Let as many people vote as possibly can, you know, as long as they‘re American citizens they ought to be able to vote.
OLBERMANN: It seems in forecasting this stuff, as we look ahead to tomorrow and the weeks to come, perhaps, there are surface expectations and then there are insider expectations. The surface expectations were that the Democrats are going win the House, come close in the Senate. The insider expectations that responded to that were, oh, no we‘re going to win the House comfortably and take the Senate. But invariably insider expectations supplants surface explanations and you now get new insider expectations and those would be from these latest series of polls that say that generic Democrat lead is about half what it was a week ago. So, now you don‘t take the Senate, maybe you fall short in the House? What is your view on this, what are your insider expectations on Monday evening?
DEAN: Look, I don‘t have expectations. The only expectations I have is that we‘re going work as hard as we possibly can. We have contacted over 30 million voters between the Democratic Congressional Committee, Democratic National Committee, Democratic Senatorial Committee, and all the state parties -- 30 million voters. Here‘s what I believe. I believe we‘re going pick up significant numbers of governor seats, significant numbers of House seats, and significant numbers of Senate seats. Whether that put us in the majority or not, I can‘t tell you. That depends on how many people turn out.
If you like things the way things are going, you ought to vote Republican. If you don‘t like things the way things are going, you want a new direction in the country, then you need to get out and vote tomorrow, because if you don‘t vote you‘re not get a new direction.
OLBERMANN: There seems to be little doubt that the effect of these elections and certainly the international perception of these elections, wills be that they are referenda on Iraq and the Bush presidency. Do you feel that way? Are they truly that way in the country, in the various elections? Are people voting it that way or is it just, you know, Missouri, Talent versus McCaskill.
DEAN: It‘s a little of everything. There have been polls on that, that have been public polls. I‘d say about half the people just want a new direction in the country and they‘re going to vote for democrats as a result of that.
The other half are looking at the merits of the candidates and they‘ll vote based on the candidates. But there are candidates, for example, like Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island, who ordinarily would not have trouble getting re-elected who‘s probably going to lose tomorrow because people know that Lincoln Chafee—nice guy that he is, is going cast his first vote for a Republican majority in the Senate, and then—which means people like Jim Inhofe being in charge of the Environment Committee, which is a joke.
So, I think that you are going see enough people saying we got to have a new direction. We know that if you elect the Republicans they‘re going to stay the course, that‘s not good for the country, we need to go in a different direction. We‘re voting for Democrats straight down the line.
OLBERMANN: About what I talked about in the introduction, your party strategy. Before the number of competitive races doubled, perhaps tripled, spreading into a lot of red states, as you suggested, a lot of the members of your party were pretty vocal in criticizing this 50 State Strategy. What did you see that they did not?
DEAN: If you want to be a national party you have to compete everywhere. Furthermore, I think one of the biggest mistakes the Democrats have made over the last 12 years is we haven‘t asked everybody for their vote. There‘s a mark of respect in asking people for their votes. I know that there‘s some people that aren‘t going to give us their vote tomorrow. But if you don‘t ask and make the case, I think it‘s somewhat insulting.
My view is that everybody in America is our boss and I believe we will win tomorrow. I‘m not sure how much we‘re going to win, we‘re certainly going to pick up seats and governorships. And my attitude is, and I think the attitude of Speaker—we hope, Speaker-to-be Pelosi‘s and leader Reid, is going to be 'look, everybody‘s our boss, not just the people that voted with us, but everybody who pays taxes and voted, we need to listen to all of them'.
One of the things that we need to do is bring this country back together again. This has been the most bitterly divided county, certainly in my lifetime, and we need a leadership, which the Democrats will supply, which respects everybody, not just half the country.
OLBERMANN: The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean. Great, thanks for your time tonight, sir.
DEAN: Keith, thanks for having me on.
Original transcript from MSNBC.