Outtakes: Keith Olbermann on Tim Russert, Obama and More - Rolling Stone
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Outtakes: Keith Olbermann on Tim Russert, Obama and More

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Following are outtakes from Rolling Stone‘s June 2010 interview with Keith Olbermann.

On the news business:

“Ultimately, everybody gets ground down and out. The only real comparison between me and Edward R. Murrow is they got Murrow. Was there a point at which they fired Murrow? No, they simply boxed him in. They found the ways he was gaming their system, and they stopped those ways and cut off his exits.”

On Tim Russert’s death:

I anchored from his memorial service. That was my therapy. Other people have a different mindset – they don’t want to be on the air when they’re feeling that way. For me, terrible emotions help me to be on the air.”

Read Rolling Stone’s interview with Keith Olbermann – on why he left MSNBC and how he plans to get even

On the Republican push to cut Medicare:

Subtlety and strategy, they don’t know. One guy gets an idea, it sounds good to everybody else, and the next thing they know, they have a torch-lit parade. The Democrats go into a room and go, ‘We don’t really know how everybody else lives, move very carefully.’ Republicans go into a room and go, ‘Everybody here wants to live like us, so they’ll understand why we have to make all these cuts.’ Guess what, nobody understands cuts when it’s them. Nobody.”

Watch Keith Olbermann’s Top Ten ‘Special Comments’

On who the Republicans should run against Obama:

Another Democrat. If they were smart, they’d need to find somebody like Bloomberg. The Republicans need Alf Landon. I know he’s dead, but you can’t do worse than the guys they have now.”

On Gov. Chris Christie as a candidate for president:

“You will not see a hefty man elected president. Haley Barbour looked at the presidential field and said, ‘I can get the nomination, but America has not elected a hefty man since William Howard Taft in 1908.’ People want a young, fit, trim-looking guy. Tall works, but basically young, fit, trim. Think about it, Obama, young, fit, trim. Bush, young, fit, trim. Clinton – young, relatively fit, he didn’t look outsize when he was elected, trim. George I, for his age, looked bouncy, and Reagan looked 20 years younger than he was.”

On fellow MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, who called him “reckless”:

“I gave up worrying about what he had to say a long time ago. Ambien does wonders – for him, not for me.”

 On running into his former boss, MSNBC president Phil Griffin:

 “I ran into him at a Yankee game and we had a nice pleasant conversation for as long as we could maintain it, which was less than 90 seconds. Then I noticed that my friend, Theo Epstein, general manager of the Red Sox, was standing there. So I said, ‘Hey, Theo Epstein’s standing behind you.’ Phil turned and looked and I left. When he turned around, he was like, ‘Where did he go?’ I’m the wind, I’m gone.”

On how he presented his new show to advertisers:

I arrived at the rehearsal and nothing was prepared. What am I going to say to advertisers about the corporate-free environment for news at Current? I thought about it and tried to ad lib it, but it just wasn’t there. I said to Al Gore, ‘You have a laptop? Let me write this – this is like going across a tightrope over Niagara Falls on hockey skates. I have to be really careful to make my point without pissing somebody off.’ I sat there on the stage, and the room is filling up with all of these ad guys. What I finally came up was: ‘We’re corporation-free, so our corporation would like your corporations and the corporations you represent to give our corporation your corporate money.’ It got a nice laugh.”


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