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Letterman & Olbermann: two pals chortling about the latest Current events

Keith Olbermann balls a fist on Tuesday's Late Show. CBS photo

Oh how Keith Olbermann would have pounced had Mitt Romney called himself a "10 million dollar chandelier."

The Republican front-runner again shows he's hopelessly out of touch with everyday Americans. Yet another gaffe by the man who's building an in-home elevator for his luxury cars. How can this guy live with himself, let alone run for the presidency? And so on.

On Tuesday's Late Show with David Letterman, Olbermann grandly depicted himself as a "10 million dollar chandelier" who was just too ornate for the outhouse Current TV turned out to be. So in that respect, "I screwed up really big on this," Olbermann said. "Let's just start there. I thought we could do this."

That's an apology, Olbermann style. His off- and on-camera conduct wasn't an issue, of course. No, Olbermann was just way too bright for the dim bulbs that hired him. So his latest firing amounts to nothing more than that.

Both insular multi-millionaires -- Olbermann and Letterman -- laughed it up throughout much of KO's first public appearance since Current sacked him on Friday. The host, who's perfectly capable of pressing his guests hard when the occasion demands, instead let Olbermann have his way after initially presenting him with a joke business card affixed with a rotating wheel of KO's many employers.

After the "10 million dollar chandelier" comparison, Letterman didn't follow up by asking, "Doesn't that make you sound more than a little pompous and self-important? Would you let Mitt Romney get away with that?"

Instead Letterman fawned, "Now I'm impressed. I've known you many, many years now and always as just a stand-up guy who's ready for a good scrape and will take the high road if there is a possibility of a high road anywhere in the world anymore. So for you to announce that the whole thing was your fault just by agreeing to go there, you're taking the blame for that."

Letterman then veered off and added, "You got your money. That's all I care about, right?"

It just so happened that Tuesday also was the day that Letterman further enriched himself with a new deal that will take his Late Show at least through the year 2014. And Olbermann says he'll be suing Current TV to get the rest of the reported $50 million owed to him in a deal that was supposed to be for five years but lasted just a little over one.

Letterman asked Olbermann about his absence from the "Super Tuesday" primaries, which the guest blamed on throat problems. But he didn't ask about the straw that initially stirred the drink -- Olbermann's refusal to participate in Current's coverage of the first two key presidential contests of the year -- the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Instead he went on vacation rather than share a desk with Current's other commentators, which on those nights ended up including the network's co-founder, former vice president Al Gore.

Nor did Letterman ask questions such as these:

***Haven't we reached the point where people can draw only one conclusion -- that you're the problem, not the many networks you've worked for?"

***Why couldn't you have been a team player and shown up for work at a time when Current was trying to make a name for itself on the nights of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary? Wouldn't that have been good for both you and the network? Shouldn't they get a little show of faith in return for paying you a fortune?

***Had you perhaps burned too many bridges to go anywhere else but Current? Were there really other offers out there?

***You say you're a beacon for the common man. And yet here you're equating yourself to a $10 million chandelier and griping about the quality of the "car service" Current provided for you? Couldn't you have afforded to take a cab?

Instead, Letterman ended the interview very oddly after earlier noting that "I didn't know how to get to Current" to even watch Olbermann's prime-time Countdown.

"In my case, fun follows me around," Letterman began. "In your case, trouble follows you around. That was my impression. Now up until the Current situation, I completely believe that it's a different story and that they took on some responsibility that they could not live up to and fulfill, and you're suffering for it."


Olbermann answered, "I think that's a fair assessment," before Letterman ended their time together by again referencing the moolah to which both men are accustomed.

"I just want to make sure you get your money," he told Olbermann. Just swear to me that you have a good chance of getting your money. That's all I care about."

Olbermann assured him that he'll be suing Current in partnership with the same lawyer that represented Conan O'Brien in his dispute with NBC.

And that was it, with the studio audience understandably applauding only tepidly at that point before the immensely more relatable Allison Williams, the actress daughter of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, joined Letterman after a commercial break. Now there's a kid who seems to have been raised very well.

One more thing. This is not political. There are way too many foghorn fatheads from both the left and the right with TV or radio podiums. Rush Limbaugh and Ed Schultz (who also happen to have fat heads), Sean Hannity, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, Current's own Cenk Uygur, etc.

I exempt Bill O'Reilly, because he's still capable of branching out with a surprisingly moderate viewpoint. In other words he's not completely predictable.

O'Reilly certainly would ask some of the questions Letterman didn't if Olbermann ever deigned to mix it up with the man he calls "Billo the Clown." That will never happen, though, because Olbermann seldom if ever has interviewed a guest who doesn't uniformly share his opinions.

More was expected of Letterman. But in the end, it was just two multi-millionaires jabbing at Olbermann's latest former workplace. KO again of course held himself blameless.

"The show editorially was never better," he told Letterman. When he showed up for work, that is.