Keith Olbermann Relishes Attention In Return To MSNBC's 'Countdown'
Keith Olbermann returned to MSNBC on Tuesday, days after being suspended for violating a rule on political donations that he said was "probably not legal."
Olbermann seemed to relish the attention and opened his first with the camera on an empty desk. The 'Countdown' host then he slowly edged his way into the picture, saying, "Oh, hi. What's new?"
He said he had heard some people were questioning whether it was all a publicity stunt.
"This was not a publicity stunt," he said. "'Course, if I had known all this was going to happen, I would have done this years ago."
Olbermann aired clips of jokes that Jay Leno and Jon Stewart made about his situation, flashed stories about himself and said he wished he could thank individually all 300,000 people who signed an online petition seeking his reinstatement.
"It still feels like a universal hug," he said.
Olbermann acknowledged donating $2,400 apiece to the campaigns of Kentucky Senate candidate Jack Conway and Arizona Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. But added that the donations were made legally and became publicly known.
"If I had given the money to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, you would have never, ever known," he said.
He said the donations were made after he had guests on his show, not before. Although he did apologize to Jesse Kelly, Gabrielle Giffords' opponent for featuring him in the "worst persons in the world" segment after he had donated to his opponent.
Olbermann said he didn't make the connection, and he should have disclosed the donation on the air or, "better still, just dropped him from the segment."
"It's not a stupid rule, here or anywhere else," Olbermann said in closing. "There just needs to be a debate about it and it needs to be adapted to the realities of 21st Century journalism."
The show's opening:
Keith Olbermann's extended remarks about the suspension: