'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: Eugene Robinson, Maggie Haberman, Dorian Warren, Walter Isaacson, Tasha Casini
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Walter Isaacson is here to talk about his
fascinating new biography of Steve Jobs and we will find out when he is
writing his biography of Herman Cain.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got a number?
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nine-nine-nine.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is Mitt Romney
calling. It really is.
See if he has an answering machine or not.
O`DONNELL (voice-over): Mitt Romney calls but Republicans don`t
ROMNEY: It is an answering machine.
UNIDENTIFIEID MALE: It`s anybody but Romney day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney`s star may be eclipsed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New accusations of flip flopping.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It plays into flip-flop. He takes one position
one time, another position another time.
ROMNEY: I`m sorry if I created confusion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Romney said he is 110 percent behind Governor
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In June, on a Facebook post, he said he once
ROMNEY: I fully support the Governor Kasich`s, I think it is called
question two in Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One day after he said he didn`t have a position,
it plays in to flip flop.
ROMNEY: I full support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans have had a whiplash on this.
O`DONNELL: Herman Cain and Rick Perry are still learning how to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Herman Cain and Rick Perry --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- don`t have a plan or a vision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haqqani, hackery, and hocus-pocus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They sound like idiots they are just all alike.
But they sound like numb skulls.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A circular firing squad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this looneyness throughout. Cain leading
the Republican presidential field out right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rick Perry falling off a cliff. Remember the old
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The corpulent, lumbering Newt Gingrich.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is wrong with your party?
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Class warfare, Republican style.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, "HARDBALL" HOST: More Americans say that Republicans
favor the wealthy.
ROMNEY: I like my tax plan.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going to have in the anchor of this tax
plan around their neck.
ROMNEY: Right now, the corporate tax rate.
SHARPTON: Let me show you how ridiculous you are.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Check out this smile. Yes, 9-9-9.
SHARPTON: I`m not Lawrence O`Donnell, but on this show, you have the
O`DONNELL: Memo to the Republican field: you are running for
president of the United States of America. Start acting like it. Stop
proposing nonsense tax plans that won`t work.
Stop making ridiculous attention-getting ads that might be minimally
acceptable if you were running for county supervisor in Oklahoma. Stop
saying you are going to build a U.S./Mexico border fence you know perfectly
well you are not going to build.
Give the GOP electorate and the American people some credit. They
want solutions. You are providing comedy.
This is a serious time. It requires serious leaders.
Just stop -- I can`t. I can`t do this. I have a confession to make.
Every word you just heard I plagiarized. I didn`t lift it from some
smart obscure lefty blogger. I`d never get away with that with this
audience. I stole it from a place I know you`d never look -- right in
here, "New York Post," the op-ed page, right there.
Yes, it`s a conservative newspaper to put it mildly and a
conservative op-ed page. Everything I just with read was with written by
John Podhoretz, the conservative columnist. He is more thoughtful than
most conservative columnist than most conservative columnist and that`s why
I read this, but this is the first time I`ve stolen from him -- word for
And I stole the stuff because it`s just so perfect. And it is all
the more perfect because it comes from a conservative Republican. If you
are wondering how it feels to be a conservative Republican these days,
there`s your answer. It`s hard out there for a conservative Republican.
Here`s what Podhoretz says about the new front runner. "Herman Cain
now leads in at least one major poll. He released his first TV commercial
on Monday. In it, his campaign manager talks about how different the
campaign is and then lights up a cigarette and exhales the smoke in a curly
Next comes a shot of Cain smiling devilishly. It`s impossible not to
like Cain, but this ad is a humiliating embarrassment. This is his moment
and rather than rising to it, he is behaving as though even he can`t
imagine he`ll one day sit in the Oval Office.
He discards positions when they are inconvenient and speaks
dismissively of the notion that a presidential candidate ought to know
something about foreign policy. These are not the actions of a serious
John Podhoretz calls Rick Perry and his flat tax plan an
embarrassment, his word. Embarrassment.
And no, Podhoretz is not a Romney man.
He writes, "Romney`s fundamental lack of principle is overpowering.
Yesterday in Ohio, he refused to pay whether he opposes a ballot initiative
now headed for easy passage next month, an initiative that would reverse an
Ohio law passed earlier this year ending collective bargaining for state
workers. It was shepherded through by Republicans over vociferous
Democratic and liberal objections. On his Facebook page in June, Romney
said he supported the law, but now that it is polling badly, he wants to
shrink away from his earlier support."
John Podhoretz ends his column with this plea to the Republican
candidates, "Enough with the foolishness. Stop it. Stop it now."
Joining me now: senior political writer for "Politico," Maggie
Haberman, also, "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC political analyst
Thank you both for joining me tonight.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, POLITICO: Thank you.
EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here, Lawrence.
MADDOW: Eugene, you know, I normally prefer to quote you. When I
open the op-ed page, I go straight to my Pulitzer Prize-winning friend and
I kind of take dictation in effect when I read your column.
For John Podhoretz to say what everyone is thinking and just being
fed up to this point with the Republican candidacies, I think is the
perfect encapsulation of where the campaign stands right now. They are --
Mitt Romney has flip flopped so much that I think some of the others like
Perry and Cain think they can do it now without being noticed and they have
been doing that lately, haven`t they?
ROBINSON: They have been. You know, I feel like I can take tomorrow
off. Podhoretz has written the column.
Look, you know, his column -- I think there is one flaw in his
column. It presupposes that Herman Cain and Rick Perry are capable of more
serious policy positions. In other words, I think what you see is what you
I think Herman Cain, you know, his campaign slogan should be
whatever, you know? And 9-9-9, 9-0-9, whatever.
And Rick Perry`s tax plan really is an embarrassment. I mean, just
to the kind of throw out this 20 percent flat tax and we`ll add it and
whichever is lower. It`s just -- it`s absurd. A grade school class would
do a better job of designing tax reform than that. But I think this is who
O`DONNELL: Maggie, a lot of presidential campaigns filled with
primary contenders like this start off ragged and you can watch the
candidates kind of grow up a little bit. You know, if there`s senators
involved like last time, you know, with Chris Dodd and Joe Biden, you had
to watch them get used to a different kind of stage and then there`s always
some flaky candidate on the edge.
O`DONNELL: And you watch them either gel in to something that makes
a little more sense or the flaky ones just fall apart. That`s not
HABERMAN: No. It`s really interesting actually. There is no real
lower tier here where you can see people as the nominee. Last time, in
both parties, you had people across the board who you could see on the
nominee. You know, one on the lower tier people in the Democratic side
ended up as the vice president.
So, this is a very different field we are looking at. This is partly
I think that something that John Podhoretz is really true. Herman
Cain is something and something Eugene said, this is the "whatever
candidacy." He gets angry that people say, you know, he is not serious --
why would they say he is serious? There is little evidence of a real
campaign. He is only showing it in the last few days.
He has been saying things like, well, we have been campaigning while
on our book tour. Well, you know, facts do matter and his problems are at
his hand. You know, he flip flops on abortion. He takes different
positions one day, and he said, quoting John -- if he doesn`t like it one
day he will say something next, and then he`ll demand, you know, why you
don`t understand him.
He is a very gifted speaker. He does well before crowds. That only
gets you this far.
But this time, it is getting people very far.
O`DONNELL: Gene, isn`t it Herman Cain`s success based on the
stiffness of the American politician, the factory built American
politician? What Herman Cain gives you is the feeling he is being frank,
he`s being honest, he`s being open. He`s not being right and frequently he
is not smart about what he is saying.
But people don`t care because he`s the only politician on the stage
where you feel -- you know, I think that guy just said what he really
ROBINSON: Yes, no, it`s refreshing. Look, a very liberal friend of
mine just said just this morning, he was chatting and said, you know, I`d
never vote for him and I disagree with everything he says, but I like
Herman Cain. It is hard not to like the freshness that he brings to the
But in terms of policy -- you know, the only thing he brings is that
he is more conservative and seen as more reliably conservative than Mitt
Romney. And those two factors, the freshness and the fact that he is not
Mitt Romney are what have him in many polls ahead now and in every poll, at
least in second place.
O`DONNELL: Well, he, in the latest "New York Times" poll, he`s at --
Cain is at 25 percent, Romney is at 21 percent, and then it falls off a
cliff down to Gingrich at 10 and Rick Perry down below Ron Paul at 6.
But the state-by-state polls, let`s look at those. In Iowa,
CNN/"Time" magazine released a poll today showing Iowa, Romney is ahead in
Iowa without having made any serious effort there, 24 percent in Iowa for
Romney, 29 (ph) percent for Cain, 12 percent for Ron Paul, 10 percent
Gingrich and 10 percent Perry.
Now, Maggie, Perry is supposed to be running either first or second
in Iowa if he has any chance at the presidency.
HABERMAN: No, no, this is a real problem for Perry. Perry has to
peel back these votes that are with Herman Cain right now. Romney
absolutely has a path because the social conservatives in Iowa have not
coalesced around anybody. And so, as long as Herman Cain is taking away
people who had been with Rick Perry, this is ultimately going to be a huge,
I do think that you are going to see some movement because Rick Perry
is showing some sign of a pulse. He`s been attacking Mitt Romney very
aggressively. Today, he is now saying he may not attend the large number
of debates that are going forward. He`s going to play by his own rules.
But if Rick Perry doesn`t come in first or second and ahead of Mitt
Romney, he is done.
O`DONNELL: Gene, I want you to listen to how Jon Stewart summarized
Herman Cain`s flip flopping.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Here`s Herman Cain explaining why he said he
wanted an electrified fence across the Mexican border.
CAIN: Let me first say, it was a joke and some people don`t think
that it was a good joke. And it`s probably not a joke that you`re supposed
to make if you`re a presidential candidate. I apologize if it offended
STEWART: By the way, if you enjoyed Cain`s routine, you can catch
more of his comedy stylings on the tone deaf comedy jam.
Now, Cain apologizes for the joke about electrifying the fence, says
one more sentence and then says this.
CAIN: I don`t apologize for using a combination of a fence and it
might be electrified. I`m not walking away from that.
STEWART: Herman Cain proposes policy the same way a teenager guy
hits on a girl. We should make out. No, just jokin`, unless you think we
should make out.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: Gene, isn`t that what allows President Obama to go on Jay
Leno`s show and talk about the Republican field of candidates, as if they
are simply a joke?
ROBINSON: It is. And as long as they continue being a joke he`s
going to be able to get away with that.
Look, the contrast could not be more stark. We have a president who
some people don`t like. Some people do like, but he`s the president. He
knows about foreign affairs.
He comes out with a plan and it makes sense. The numbers add up --
versus what you have on the Republican side.
I mean, you can`t beat somebody with nobody. The Republicans don`t
have anybody yet except Romney who would be a formidable candidate but they
don`t like him that much.
O`DONNELL: Maggie Haberman and Eugene Robinson -- thank you both for
joining me tonight.
And thanks for John Podhoretz for writing my opening script tonight.
Coming up: we`ll have a graphic depiction of why the "Occupy"
protesters have taken to the streets in this country.
And Donald Trump returns to the show tonight -- no, not as a guest.
You know he`ll never do that because he knows I`ll never let him get away
with silly his lies, but he actually did say something on FOX News last
night that I agree with completely. And we have an update on his reaction
to what I said about him here last night. That`s going to be in the
O`DONNELL: Coming up, "Occupy Oakland" protesters are back in the
streets tonight and a new report shows exactly what they are angry about:
the income of the top 1 percent increased by nearly 300 percent in the last
30 years. The other 99 percent, not even close. That`s next.
And the author of Steve Jobs biography, Walter Isaacson, joins me.
He`ll tell us what Steve Jobs told Rupert Murdoch about FOX News.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
O`DONNELL: That was the scene in Oakland, California, overnight
after riot police stormed the "Occupy Oakland" protests, set off tear gas
and fired rubber bullet at the protesters in an effort to clear the
The Oakland protesters returned to the Oscar Grant Plaza about an
hour ago. Everything is peaceful so far. Some people, including many
Republican politicians say they don`t understand why the "Occupy" America
protesters are upset, even though New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg told them
why back on September 17th, when he, in effect, predicted all of this.
"We have a lot of kids graduating college, can`t find jobs. That`s
what happened in Cairo, that`s what happened in Madrid. You don`t want
those kinds of riots here."
The very next day, September 17th, hundreds of protesters convened in
Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan for day one of the "Occupy Wall Street"
At the top of profiles and greed, last night, we told you the results
of a Congressional Budget Office report on income distribution in the
United States over the last three decades. The top 1 percent saw their
income increase a staggering 275 percent while everyone else, 99 percent,
saw their incomes increase between 65 percent and 18 percent.
The CBO report also found that the share of income received by the
top 20 percent now exceeds the share of income received by the other 80
percent of Americans.
Joining me now is Dorian Warren, an assistant professor of political
science at Columbia University and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute.
Thanks for joining me tonight, Doreen.
DORIAN WARREN, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Doreen, what do you -- how would you explain this
remarkable graph over the last 30 years at the top of the income curve
what`s happened in this country?
WARREN: Well, it`s shocking, first of all, that this is now becoming
a mainstream issue. It`s been talked about for decades and for years by
folks and it wasn`t until the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters and now the
CBO report was released yesterday.
O`DONNELL: We`ve done these tests of people saying describe your
country. And we would give them different tests that would show this kind
of income inequality and then something that was more equal distribution,
never equal but more proportionate distribution -- and virtually no one
would pick the correct way the United States income curve was actually
shaped. No one in the country really knew this before.
WARREN: That`s right. And it`s hard for Americans to believe the
United States is the most unequal of all advanced industrial democracies.
We are more unequal that Western Europe for instance.
And most explanations are that it`s the economy, it`s labor market.
When, in fact, this is due to politics and tax policy. Our tax policy has
changed over the last 30 years so that the top rate at 70 percent at one
point is now all the way down to 28.
We have policies that we tried to update like the minimum wage, for
instance. In 1968, the minimum wage was worth $10 an hour. Today, it`s
We have a broken labor law so that one in three workers may try to
join a union, get fired from their jobs illegally.
So, these are all policies that have been put in place or have been
prevented from being updated that account for a lot of this inequality.
O`DONNELL: We are showing you live pictures of the New York City
"Occupy Wall Street" protests at this hour in Lower Manhattan.
Dorian, the report says that the financial sector and the rest of the
economy appears inexplicably large from 1990 onward compared to the rest of
the economy. The authors believe that deregulation and corporate finance
activities linked to initial public offerings and credit risk are the
primary causes for the higher compensation differential. They adjusted for
the all the variables, education differences and so forth, with people
working on Wall Street.
And they said there is a strange amount of money being made there
that wasn`t made there before.
WARREN: That`s right. The top 1 percent take home a quarter of the
nation`s income every year. But it`s no accident that "Occupy Wall Street"
is "Occupy Wall Street."
WARREN: Because the top 1 percent of New York City take home roughly
45 percent of the city`s income. And that`s driven by the financial
sector, and that`s unusual. That wasn`t how it used to be in the immediate
post-World War II years where we had shared prosperity among all Americans,
not just at the very top becoming the winners.
O`DONNELL: Professor Dorian Warren of Columbia University -- thank
you very much for joining me tonight.
WARREN: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: My fun with Donald Trump continues. He sent me some more
tweets today and for the first time ever he said something on TV last night
that I completely agree with.
And Walter Isaacson will join us shortly to tell us what Steve Jobs
really thought about FOX News. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Still to come in this hour: "Steve Jobs," the most
fascinating biography of the year, is next. Walter Isaacson joins me talk
about Steve Jobs` encounters with presidents and media moguls like Rupert
And later, one of the injured protesters from "Occupy Oakland" will
join me from the protest site tonight.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the biggest book of the year,
"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson.
Joining me now, the author of the definitive biographies of Benjamin
Franklin, Albert Einstein, and now, Steve Jobs -- Walter Isaacson.
Walter, thanks for joining me tonight.
You know, I worried about you, you know, when you`re working on this
book, because I figure out, I`ll give Walter a shot. I`ll give him some
publicity, try to sell a few books.
WALTER ISAACSON, AUTHOR, "STEVE JOBS": Thank you, sir.
O`DONNELL: It turns out this is really like the biggest selling book
in the history of the printing press.
ISAACSON: But it`s because of Steve Jobs, not because me.
O`DONNELL: Steve Jobs, yes.
ISAACSON: You have to remember this guy emotionally connected with
O`DONNELL: He did. And the timing of the book coming out shortly
after he -- it shocked us -- we all knew he was sick but the news came, to
me, when I was preparing this show in Burbank actually just minutes before
we were going on and I just knew we had to clear out that whole hour to do
this. Even though we kind of knew it was coming, it was still very
ISAACSON: And I was particularly surprised at the huge global
emotional outpouring. We all knew the guy had cancer, but even when I
visited him the last time a few weeks ago, he thought he was going to stay
one lily pad ahead of the cancer and I kept thinking, OK, he`ll be around
O`DONNELL: Well, he was an internal optimist about everything he was
approaching, wasn`t he?
ISAACSON: Right. He also used that as a tool. I mean, he`d sort of
it was called the reality distortion field -- he would say you can do this.
You can code this in four days, and they`d say, no way.
ISAACSON: It`s in the book, the story about made them do it in four
days. I saw it on the show. This is so cool.
O`DONNELL: And he stayed with that method through every product they
were developing, right? He just kept pushing it faster than anyone thought
it could be done.
ISAACSON: And sort of connecting the poetry to the engineering.
Nobody could have thought you could have made an iPad that powerful, that
O`DONNELL: We have some Twitter questions for you. SuzyPP99 says,
"Did Jobs regard any of his game changing devices as his favorite or best
effort or signature piece or legacy?"
ISAACSON: His signature piece he told me was not any device but the
company. He said that he discovered in America, if you are going to have
creativity and change and innovation, you have to actually have a company
that can make it work, where people aren`t afraid to fight and be brutally
honest and have new ideas.
And he said people like Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg who did Facebook,
he really respects because he`s trying to build a company, whereas other
entrepreneurs kind of just trying to do a product to see if they can sell
O`DONNELL: In your book, he says, "I hate when people call
themselves entrepreneurs when what they are really trying to do is launch a
start up, and then sell or go public so they can cash in and move on. They
are unwilling to do the work it takes to build a real company which is the
hardest work in business. That`s how you really make a contribution and
add to the legacy of those who went before you."
ISAACSON: You are right. You just said it better than I did.
O`DONNELL: Yes, he really did make things -- where would his heart
be watching "Occupy Wall Street" and "Occupy Oakland" protests which have
never been protests against what Steve Jobs was doing. They are protesting
against these people down on Wall Street who just rob money together all
ISAACSON: You know, one of the interesting things was during the
occupy movement when he died, all of the sudden, the people who are down at
the Zuccotti Park, they all go in to mourning. And here`s a guy who had
made billions, was a great capitalist.
ISAACSON: And yet, I think what the distinction is exactly what you
just said, he made money by making products. Making products that he
thought were insanely great. Not just doing it to make the money -- as
opposed to using your engineering skills to make financial instruments that
somehow cause the collapse of the housing market.
O`DONNELL: And sticking with the company.
O`DONNELL: To FOX News, you knew I was going to get there.
ISAACSON: Hey, what took you so long?
O`DONNELL: Here`s -- this is also from the book, "Jobs got Rupert
Murdoch to hear him out on FOX News. You are blowing it with FOX News,
Jobs told him over dinner. The axis today is not liberal and conservative,
the axis is constructive-destructive and you have cast your lot with the
destructive people. FOX has become an incredibly destructive force in our
society. You can be better."
Who else could say that to Rupert Murdoch?
ISAACSON: And you know what? Murdoch -- I mean, I talked to
Murdoch after words and he said, well, I hear that from, you know, Jobs is
sort of a liberal, I hear it all the time.
But, you know, Murdoch and Jobs respected each other because Murdoch,
for all of his, you know, sort of old fashioned ways, he immediately
started creating things on the iPad, sort of jumped on the digital
revolution. I think Jobs` main point there was the necessity, there were
certain shows I won`t name names on FOX that he said tore people down and I
think he felt that way in a broader sense, that we now we`ve reached a time
in our society where people don`t try to build institutions. There`s a lot
more tearing down, destructiveness than there is constructiveness.
O`DONNELL: And Steve Jobs was an Obama supporter. He offered to
help with the 2012 campaign.
ISAACSON: You remember the ads for "Morning in America," that`s what
he wanted to do. He wanted to do ads like that for Obama, both in 2008 and
was a big supporter before he died, wanted to make ads for 2012. And he
wanted to do it with sort of that grand branding message he did with the
1984 ads or to think different ads.
There`s an amusing conversation, not in the book, but when he talks
to Axelrod about that and I`m not sure Axelrod got a word in edge wise, and
I`m not sure it was best --
O`DONNELL: And why isn`t the conversation in the book?
ISAACSON: I found out about it last week.
O`DONNELL: There is that. I guess I know who you found it out from
O`DONNELL: He talked about the president with you, talked about
President Obama. He talked about his frustration in listening to the
president talk about things sometimes and explaining why they couldn`t get
And what I read in that is the president is explaining the politics
of why they can`t get done.
O`DONNELL: Especially on the DREAM Act for example which Steve Jobs
was a big supporter of.
ISAACSON: Right. He said you can`t do the DREAM Act unless you do
it in the context of visa reform, immigration reform.
Steve Jobs had a way, as we said earlier, of just pushing whatever he
wanted. If he felt that the Macintosh could be out by January, somehow or
another everything would happen and magical thinking would get it out by
January. You can not do that in government.
The last meeting I had with Steve before he died we are talking about
a variety of things and he said, somehow Obama comes up and he said, you
know the problem with Obama is he just won`t piss people off, won`t get
them mad, won`t -- you know, he won`t anger them.
And I wasn`t thinking politics, I was thinking Steve Jobs, and I look
at him. And he said, yes, I know what you`re thinking, that`s not a
problem I have.
O`DONNELL: Right. So, but did he grasp that difference that, yes,
Steve Jobs could push people past their limit because he is their boss,
they`re on his payroll. They work for him.
A president cannot go in to congressman of the other party and say
you have to do this.
ISAACSON: Yes. I mean, he understood that in a divided government,
in a democracy you couldn`t roll that way.
In the early 1980s, there was somebody who worked in class with him
and said he would have made an excellent king of France. That`s exactly
what Steve Jobs would have been made. He would not have made an excellent
president in a divided democracy like we have now. And I think he
understood what Obama was faced with.
O`DONNELL: Tell me about his -- he had and counter with his father
before he knew that the man he had the encounter with was his father. And
then he said he researched his father, eventually when he did the tracking
down, and he found out who the man was, and he researched the man and
didn`t like what he was finding about him, and therefore, chose never meet
him or have any contact. What was is that he found about him that he
ISAACSON: His father had, you know, abandoned his mother, had
abandoned the sister, the younger sister that they had who turned out to be
the novelist Mona Simpson.
So, Steve is enchanted by the notion in his late `20s he discovers he
is the brother of Mona Simpson, this wonderful artist.
O`DONNELL: And he knew about Mona Simpson`s work before.
ISAACSON: Not really. Mona had not published anywhere but here, but
she was about to. She was working for "The Paris Review," for George
Plimpton, and the mother called and said I haven`t told you this, but you
have a brother, and he`s just tracked me down. But I`m not going to tell
you who he is. But he is rich. He used to be poor. And he is dark hair
and he`s really famous
And everybody in "The Paris Review" tries to guess who it is for a
couple of days and that they come up with John Travolta and it ends up
being Steve Jobs.
O`DONNELL: Yes. I think that`s a better outcome for everyone
ISAACSON: But you know, let me tell you.
O`DONNELL: What happened with the father, though? Why --
ISAACSON: So, Mona tracks down the father. The father is running a
coffee shop in Sacramento, California. He was born in Syria, graduate
student of the University of Wisconsin. That`s when he had these two
children, then abandoned the family. Running a coffee shop in Sacramento.
You can`t make this up.
Mona goes there and Steve doesn`t want to have anything to do with
him. He says to Mona, he starts crying and I`m sorry about all this, he
said I wish you had seen earlier. I used to have the best restaurant in
Silicon Valley, right near Cupertino. Everybody used to come, even Steve
Jobs used to come.
And Mona taken aback doesn`t say Steve Jobs is your son and she just
looked shock and he says, oh, yes, he was a great tipper. She goes back
and reports it to Steve. Steve says, oh, yes, I remember the guy who ran
that restaurant, that balding Syrian guy, never spoke to him again.
O`DONNELL: Wow. Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute
and the author of the book "Steve Jobs" -- Walter, thanks for joining me
tonight. Are there any left in the bookstore? Are they still available
for sale in America? They are all sold out.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to sell a few.
Coming up: Donald Trump has landed himself back in the "Rewrite" for
the second night in a row and we`ll tell you why, next.
And last night in Oakland, police used tear gas and bean bags to
break up "Occupy" protesters. One protester who was injured will join me.
And we are continuing to follow protests here in New York City tonight.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE COLBERT REPORT": The best part is the
eight seconds it takes for Herman Cain to smile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump returns in tonight`s "Rewrite" for what we
hope is the last time. Donald Trump has never suffered sharper or more
accurate criticism than what has been said about him on this program this
year. He has smartly up until now do everything to avoid the mention of my
name or the existence of the program, realizing that that would draw more
attention to my criticism of him.
And then yesterday, suddenly, Donald Trump started tweeting me, which
has given me the opportunity -- more than once now -- to ask him, to beg
him, to tell me one thing, one thing I have said about him this year that
is not true. One thing.
And, today, he finally came up with one -- and only one.
"In response to Lawrence, my net worth is substantially more than $7
billion. Very low debt, great assets."
I have said that Donald is not a billionaire but he valiantly tries
to play one on a reality TV show and he does that for a paycheck which he
desperately needs to survive financially. There is no amount of money that
a TV network could offer a billionaire, a real billionaire, to induce him
or her to become a reality TV performer. And that is the only factual
standoff that remains now between Donald Trump and me.
He says he`s a billionaire seven times over. I say he`s not.
Throughout his life, which began as the fortunate son of a very rich
man, he has felt compelled to lie about how rich he is as he`s made his way
in his father`s real estate business. But that is not all he has lied
about. I`ve said repeatedly he lied about hiring investigators to go to
Hawaii to investigate President Obama`s birth. The second I heard him say
that, I knew he was lying about it and said so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: I have people that actually have been
studying and they cannot believe what they are finding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have people now down there searching, I
mean, in Hawaii?
TRUMP: Absolutely, and they cannot believe what they are finding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Donald got away with that lie everywhere he went in those
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: What are you doing, though,
TRUMP: I`m looking in to it seriously.
VAN SUSTEREN: Like what?
TRUMP: Greta, I don`t want to go in to that. There`s no reason to
go in to that in great detail, but I can tell you I have great resource and
I`m looking in to it very seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Donald was back on Greta last night and those of you
hoping for a follow up question about what those investigators found in
Hawaii got this instead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Suppose someone`s nominated who
you really admire and think is a strong candidate and that person says,
Donald, I`d like you to be my vice president. Is that something you would
TRUMP: Well, it`s so farfetched right now. You know, you know me
and you`ve been over my office and you know I love what I do. I`ve done it
really well, just about better than anyone and I`m having great years in
business and I love business.
And many other people love business but it is hard to do business now
days because of rules, regulations. I mean, so many different obstacles
are put in front of the United States businessperson.
So, I just love what I`m doing. I don`t see that happening. I think
I`d do a good job. I tell you what, our country wouldn`t be ripped off any
longer. It would be -- those days would be over but I don`t see that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And there. Right there, I found my first agreement with
Donald this year. I too think that Greta`s question was farfetched and I
too don`t see that happening. Don`t see anyone choosing Donald to be their
vice presidential running mate.
In response to my Twitter invitations over the past couple of days to
tell me what I`ve gotten wrong, Donald has not said that I was wrong about
his fairy tale involving investigators going to Hawaii. Donald wisely
declines to come on this show because he knows his lies about his
investigator and nonsense would be stripped bare. He prefers shows where
his obvious lies are just considered water under the bridge or just Donald
I have said Donald`s lied about pretending to run for president. He
did it convincingly enough to fool many of our major league pundits but I
said that the presidential campaign stuff was all a lie from the start,
every day of it. And Donald has no argument with me now over that one.
Now, the only thing that seems to bother him is saying that he lies
about his wealth. He also tweeted this to me today. "I heard, because his
show is unwatchable, that Lawrence has made many false statements last
night about me. Maybe I should sue him." That`s awfully soft for Donald,
isn`t it? He doesn`t usually sound like a maybe kind of guy. Maybe I
should sue him.
Donald Trump is never going to sue me for two with reasons. First,
he knows he could never prove that a single thing I`ve said about him is
untrue. And second, and this is by far the most important one, Donald
Trump will never sue me because I know his big secret, his biggest secret
and he knows that I know it.
Donald Trump cannot afford to sue me. And he knows it.
O`DONNELL: "Occupy Wall Street" protesters in New York City are
marching in protest for what they say was unnecessary force used by police
in Oakland last night against protesters there. There are reports of some
arrests of New York protester tonight, though there is no indication how
many. The police officers on our screen they are at the bottom of the
screen as you are looking at it now.
And in Oakland, for a second night in a row, "Occupy Oakland"
protesters are squaring with off with police there to try to take their
encampment back. You are looking now at live pictures from Oakland where
hundreds of protesters have returned in defiance after clashes with police
This was the scene about 24 hours ago.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
O`DONNELL: Police used tear gas and fired bean bags to try to
disperse what they say were crowds up to 1,000 protesters. More than 100
were arrested. The number of injured is not known, but we know two
officers were injured. At least one protester, an Iraq war veteran,
suffered a fractured skull.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened? What happened?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got (EXPLETIVE DELETED) shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your name? What`s your name?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s 24-year-old Scott Olsen. He served two tours in
Iraq. Tonight, he remains hospitalized reportedly in stable but critical
In Atlanta, police are standing guard to make sure protesters do not
reenter a park they were ejected from this morning. In all, 50 people were
In Washington, one protester took the occupy Wall Street message to a
meeting of the deficit reduction super committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vast majority of the public wants you to
tax the rich and end the war.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I speak for the 99 percent. End the war and
tax the rich.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now from the site at "Occupy Oakland" is
someone who was hurt in last night`s clashes, Tasha Casini, a college
student and occupy Oakland protester.
Thanks for joining me tonight, Tasha.
TASHA CASINI, OCCUPY OAKLAND PROTESTER: Hi.
O`DONNELL: Tasha, can you describe what is going on in Oakland?
CASINI: Right now?
CASINI: Right now, there`s a rally at Amsterdam Plaza. They are
holding a general assembly. There`s probably 1,500 people here. We are
trying to take back the plaza and take back the space that we built.
O`DONNELL: Tell me what happened with the use of the tear gas last
night and were the protesters warned what the police were going to do?
CASINI: Were they aware?
O`DONNELL: Were they warned ahead of time by the police of what the
police intended to do?
CASINI: Yes. The police chief, who is currently just a temporary
police chief because a Anthony Batts quit his job was giving the orders
over a mega phone, a speaker of some type that if people do not disperse,
they would use chemical weapons because they were in violation of penal
O`DONNELL: I want you to listen to what the interim police chief
said last night after that event.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At that point, we were in a position where we had
to deploy gas in order to stop the crowd of people from pelting us with
bottle and rocks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Did you see people throwing bottles and rocks at the
police before they used those tactics?
CASINI: Yes. Yes, people were doing that.
O`DONNELL: What do you think the police response should have been to
CASINI: I think that the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and flash
grenades are a completely inappropriate response bottles being thrown at
police officers who are in full riot gear. So, I think that they should
have absolutely not used any chemical weapons.
O`DONNELL: The police say they didn`t use rubber bullets. Can you
help us with that dispute or the question whether rubber bullets was used?
CASINI: Yes. We actually had two people over here earlier who had
found the rubber bullets in the street. This were big one withes and small
O`DONNELL: Tasha Casini, protester at "Occupy Oakland" -- I hope you
can stay safe. Thank you very much for joining me tonight.
CASINI: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: You can have THE LAST WORD online on our blog,
thelastword.MSNBC.com. You can follow my tweets @Lawrence.
"THE ED SHOW" is up next.
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