Ex-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann claims he used to date Kyrsten Sinema - and says she was even further left than him before reaching the Senate: Liberal pundit also promises to disclose more information about their relationship on his podcast
Former liberal MSNBC host and sportscaster Keith Olbermann revealed on Monday that he'd dated Democratic Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema over a decade ago.
Olbermann, who currently hosts a podcast, didn't spare his disappointment with the moderate senator, claiming that she previously was even more liberal than him.
The ex-SportsCenter and Countdown anchor was reacting to Sinema's speech in Kentucky where she was lauded Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, where she revealed her support for restoring the 60-vote threshold for all nominations and judicial nominees.
Olbermann wrote: 'When we dated, in 2010 to 11, Kyrsten was a legit progressive, far to my left. Now she has embraced the Political Industry where there is only process, not police, and never people.'
He then derisively suggested that Sinema replace Chuck Todd - another frequent target of the former MLB on Fox host's ire - as host of Meet the Press.
Seeing the response and uproar to the revelation that he dated the senator, he promised in a later tweet to 'answer' people's questions in his podcast, also called Countdown, in Tuesday's show.
Sinema - who in 2000 worked on Green Party candidate Ralph Nader's presidential campaign, was a fervent protester against the Iraq War and a critic of capitalism long before she was elected to the Senate - has yet to comment on the claims.
Olbermann - who last appeared regularly on television when he resigned from ESPN in October 2020 - has been linked to several high-profile women across the political spectrum in the past, including MSNBC's Katy Tur and conservative firebrands Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham.
His life has been mined in the past by TV mega-producer Aaron Sorkin, who based characters on his shows SportsNight and The Newsroom off of Olbermann.
The former Current TV anchor's Twitter account is regularly a mix of combative arguments, Trump criticism and attempts to save homeless dogs who face being put to sleep.
Sinema, the first openly LGBTQ+ senator, made the comment even as a substantial number of Democrats are hoping to roll back the filibuster, or at least carve out exceptions for abortion after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade.
That comes as some strategists are hoping to ride a wave of base outrage over the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court's decision in November elections where they are facing headwinds.
'Not only am I committed to the 60-vote threshold, I have an incredibly unpopular view,' Sinema said during an appearance at the University of Louisville's McConnell Center, named for the senator, 80, who was elected in 1984.
'I actually think we should restore the 60-vote threshold for the areas in which it has been eliminated already. We should restore it,' she said. That was a reference to the areas where the filibuster is not in effect – judicial and executive nominations.
The line got faint applause, prompting a quip from Sinema.
'Not everyone likes that,' she said, 'because it would make it harder for us to confirm judges and it would make it harder for us to confirm executive appointments in each administration. But I believe that if we did restore it, we would actually see more of that middle ground in all parts of our governance, which is what I believe, our forefathers intended.'
Sinema made the statement during a question-and-answer after telling a well-worn story about the Senate acting as the 'saucer' to cool the 'passions' of the House,' a body she described as occasionally bowing to the passions of the moment.
'While it is frustrating as a member of the minority in the United States Senate — and equally as frustrating in the majority, because you must have 60 votes to move forward – that frustration represents solely the short-term angst of not getting what you want,' she said. 'We shouldn't get everything we want in the moment because later, upon cooler reflection, you recognize that it has probably gone too far.'
She compared the occasionally frustrated majority to children. 'Those of you who are parents in the room know the best thing you can do for your child is not to give them everything they want, right?' she said.
She argued against legislation designed to 'feed our short-term desires.'
Sinema also spoke about political control of Congress, which is up for grabs in November.
'As you all know, control changes between the House and the Senate every couple of years. It's likely to change again in just a few weeks,' she said.
Introducing her before an event at the self-named center where she was given a bottle of bourbon, McConnell praised Sinema for standing up to pressure to change the filibuster.
'It took one hell of a lot of guts for Kyrsten Sinema to stand up and say I'm not going to break the institution in order to achieve a short-term goal,' he said, and protect the institution 'against sort of the mob.'
'I can't tell you how important she's been to the Senate as an institution,' McConnell said.
He called her 'the most effective first-term senator I've seen in my time in the Senate,' in reference to his 37-year Senate career.
'She is today what we have too few of in the Democratic Party, a genuine moderate and a dealmaker,' McConnell said.
Her speech was titled: 'The Future of Political Discourse and the Importance of Bipartisanship.