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“We are not a rubber stamp, and it would be wrong for anybody to imply otherwise,” he said.

Even if he hasn’t been on the air, Olbermann has been critical of the Obama administration. He released a video on Current’s website in April saying the administration’s decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a military procedure instead of civilian court was wrong.

The big test for MSNBC comes this week as Olbermann begins competing head-to-head against the man who was once his substitute host. MSNBC has an advantage in reach because the network is available in more than 95 million of the nation’s nearly 115 million homes with television. Current TV is in some 60 million, often hidden way up the network dials.

Griffin won’t talk about Olbermann or his Current show.

He’s bullish on MSNBC, though, and predicted that within a couple of years his network would even be able to seriously challenge ratings leader Fox in certain hours.

MSNBC has established a sensibility, a position, a platform,” he said. “MSNBC stands for something and MSNBC is really the place to go for progressives and people who are looking for smart, thoughtful analysis. We’re growing, and we’re putting real effort behind it.”

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Online:

http://www.msnbc.com

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EDITOR’S NOTE _ David Bauder can be reached at dbauder(at)ap.org