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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Read the transcript to the Wednesday show

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Guests: Chris Hayes, Richard Wolffe, John Harwood , Rich Galen, Wayne Drehs, Kathy Griffin


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: So, it turns out there`s a new occupation
that can help push you way up into that top 1 percent: Historian.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did no lobbying of any
kind.

REPORTER: They talked to Republican sources who said you were
lobbying on behalf Freddie Mac.

GINGRICH: That`s not true. I`ve never lobbied.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANALYST: Something about that sounds a little
questionable to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gingrich made at least $1.6 million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bloomberg reports said that Newt Gingrich was paid
at least $1.6 million.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least $1.6 million in consulting fees.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Consulting fees from two contracts with the
mortgage lender Freddie Mac.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mortgage lender Freddie Mac.

GINGRICH: I did no lobbying of any kind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know he says that they paid him as a historian.

GINGRICH: I offered advice, and my advice as a historian.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: I was a historian. That was patently
absurd.

GINGRICH: I think like a historian.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, "HARDBALL" HOST: Newt Gingrich said they paid him to
offer advice, quote, "as a historian."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then he played historian.

GINGRICH: I have a PhD on European history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m unaware of my history professor being paid
that much money to give somebody a history lesson.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Isn`t that a bit much for a history lesson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never heard of a historian getting paid, how
much?

REPORTER: Is the $1.6 million figure correct?

GINGRICH: I don`t know. We`re going back to check it.

JOAN WALSH, SALON.COM: Strategic advice from a historian. OK.
Thanks, Newt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guy has more baggage than a check-in counter
at the airport.

JON ALTER, MSNBC ANALYST: To say he has baggage is rather an
understatement.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Mr. Gingrich was reprimanded by
the House for lying.

ALTER: Fined and sanctioned as he left the speakership.

FRANK: The two words apply to Newt: lobbyist and liar.

MATTHEWS: The whirling dervish of dishonesty.

CORN: I think it`s pathological.

WALSH: He`s a liar and hypocrite. And I think he`s done.

MATTHEWS: He`s not a human. He`s a gaseous state.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: Romney is the Mormon, and Newt Gingrich is
the one with three wives. It`s odd.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: A new national poll released today shows the only
Republican in a dead heat with President Obama is Newt Gingrich. Yes, that
Newt Gingrich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Newt Gingrich announced his presidential campaign only six
days ago. On that day, I asked how soon he would drop out of the race. I
did not have the audacity to imagine that his campaign would not last a
week.

It is now functionally over for Gingrich. He will linger in our
midst. He will have enough money to continue traveling for months, and if
he so chooses, actually wait for some votes to be counted in Iowa, New
Hampshire, or even South Carolina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, the Republican presidential rollercoaster has
suddenly turned up this week for Newt Gingrich. He is as of this moment in
some polls one of the front-runners for the Republican nomination.

In the new McClatchy-Marist poll, President Obama has 47 percent to
Gingrich`s 45 percent. That`s within the margin of error.

By comparison, the president is beating Mitt Romney 48 percent to 44
percent.

And a FOX News poll released tonight showing Gingrich leading the
Republican pack. Gingrich has 23 percent, Romney struggling now at 22
percent, Herman Cain has 15 percent and everyone else in single digits.
And now, as soon as Gingrich`s candidacy has shot up in the polls, he is,
of course, mired in a controversy involving his work for mortgage giant
Freddie Mac after "Bloomberg News" broke the story this morning that Newt
Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from
two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac between 1999 and 2007.

At the CNBC debate last week, Gingrich was asked about a portion of
that money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Speaker Gingrich, 30 seconds to you. Your firm
was paid $300,000 by Freddie Mac in 2006. What did you do for that money?

GINGRICH: I have never done any lobbying. Every contract that was
written during the period when I was out of the office specifically said I
would no lobbying. And I offered advice.

And my advice as a historian when they walked in and said to me, we
are now making loans to people with no credit history, and have no record
of paying back anything, but that`s what the government wants you to say.
I said to them at the time, this is a bubble. This is insane. This is
impossible.

It turned out, unfortunately, I was right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yesterday, Gingrich offer aid defense of government-
sponsored enterprises like Freddie Mac, but he had to reach back 142 years
ago to do so.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGICH: The government sponsored enterprises which includes the
Transcontinental Railroad has a long history of being fairly successful.
But it doesn`t mean with bad management and bad ideas it can`t be a
failure. But in the long run, it`s actually been a useful model for the
country overall.

What I try to do over and over was to offer strategic advice for
whatever they were doing, but I did no lobbying of any kind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Who is the last candidate you heard mention the
Transcontinental Railroad? The guy is a historian. What do you want?

Today, Newt Gingrich moved one step closer to admitting that he
actually was, in effect, a lobbyist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Is the $1.6 million figure correct?

GINGRICH: I don`t know. We`re going back to check it.

REPORTER: It sounds like a whole lot more than just being a historian
though.

GINGRICH: Well, look, I was speaker of the House and a strategic
adviser.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: "Bloomberg" detailed exactly what Freddie Mac hired
Gingrich for. He was paid a self-renewing monthly retainer from $25,000 to
$30,000 between May 1999 until 2002. During that period, Gingrich
consulted with Freddie Mac executives on the program to expand
homeownership, an idea Freddie Mac`s chief lobbyist Mitchell Delk said he
pitched to President George W. Bush`s White House.

An "Associated Press" report published this afternoon added he was
hired to strategize with his employer about identifying political friends
on Capitol Hill who would help the company through a very difficult
legislative environment.

In other words, he was a lobbyist.

In the "Meet the Press" weekly "Press Pass," David Gregory asked
Washington`s most corrupt lobbyist of our time, Jack Abramoff to clarify
what he thinks Gingrich was doing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK ABRAMOFF: It is corruption. Any provision of favor or any
provision of anything to members of Congress and their staff is bribery,
and any cashing in on it by them coming out later is corruption.

DAVID GREGORY, "MEET THE PRESS" MODERATOR: And he -- you would make
the case that he`s cashing in as a former speaker being able to get that
kind of contract?

ABRAMOFF: I know he says that they paid him as a historian to give
him a historic lesson, but I`m unaware of my history professor being paid
that much money to give somebody a history lesson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are Rich Galen, a veteran Republican
strategist and former Gingrich press secretary, and Chris Hayes, editor at
large for "The Nation," and host of "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES," airing weekend
mornings on MSNBC.

Thank you both for joining me.

CHRIS HAYES, "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES": Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris, in Washington, these kind of revolving accounts of
30 grand a month are paid to lobbyists. That is exactly how their paid.

HAYES: And it`s a totally corrupt practice. Everybody knows about
it. And more than that, what it think is so funny is a lot of times these
-- they don`t do a whole lot to earn that money. What they are doing is
they are buying essentially the endorsement, the imprimatur of someone.
They are essentially getting someone who`s powerful and well-connected on
their good side, and this was something Freddie Mac did -- knew how to do
very well.

Rahm Emanuel was on their board. They were good at sort of, you know,
cultivating relationships, and Republicans for so long have delighted in
calling attention to the corrupt connection between Democrats and Fannie
Mae and Freddie Mac, because to them, it`s this a perfect sort of
ideological story about how the government created the housing bubble. And
here, we turn out, and here`s Mr. Ideologically Pure, Newt Gingrich, the
seer who sees all who is essentially on the take with the same enterprise.

O`DONNELL: Rich Galen, welcome back to the table to discuss your
former boss.

RICH GALEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You two guys sound like Captain
Renault shocked to find out there`s gambling down there. This is
Washington, D.C. This isn`t the Vatican. This is what people do.

If we don`t -- if we stopped former members of the House and Senate or
administrations, both parties, from doing exactly what Newt did, which was
not lobbying, by the way, as you know very well Lawrence -- in Washington,
lobbying has a fairly specific meaning and this is not it.

But if we stop them from doing that, first of all, the unemployment
rate would go to up 10 percent because so many are doing it. And secondly,
our parking problems would be over.

O`DONNELL: Rich, I do define it as lobbying. I know what you`re
saying. There is a task that is the registered lobbyist, and a lot of
these guys, especially the most high-profile senators, majority leaders and
minority leaders, when they leave, they say we`re not lobbying. But they
go into a firm that does lobby, and they open the doors for them. They get
them the appointments, and then they don`t go to the appointments.

It`s all lobbying, Rich, the way I see it.

GALEN: No, but it`s not, Lawrence. Anyway, let`s put that aside.
Let`s pretend it is.

But even at that, again, as you know, because you`ve spent a lot of
time in this town, a $25,000 a month contract for somebody like Gingrich or
his equal or opposite in the Senate, Republican or Democrat, that`s a
fairly typical number for these guys to have.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

GALEN: When I heard the $1.6 million, I went, wow, that`s a hell of a
contract. It was over five years, so it`s 20 grand or 25 grand a month --
certainly nothing to sneeze at. But in this town, it`s also nothing that
stops somebody.

O`DONNELL: No one up here is sneezing at it.

HAYES: Can I just make an agreement for us to reclaim our sense of
outrage, right? I mean, the whole problem, this is (INAUDIBLE), we`ve
become so accustomed to it, and the corruption is so endemic and
widespread.

GALEN: What was the corruption? I don`t understand the corruption
part. I know Jack Abramoff said it, and he knows a little something about
that. But I`m lost in the corruption charge.

HAYES: This is a government sponsored enterprise that is essentially
using --

GALEN: No, it wasn`t. No, it wasn`t a government, we assuming it to
be government sponsored. But you know better than that.

HAYES: The Freddie Mac?

GALEN: Yes.

HAYES: Of course, it was a government sponsored enterprise.

GALEN: No, it wasn`t. It was a private company chartered by the
government.

HAYES: Right. It`s a GSE. That`s how we refer to them. The point
being that this was -- forget it. Let`s say it`s a private company
entirely.

The point is that there`s a fundamental improper dependence that
happens when people are able to leave public life and cash out and then use
their access that they obtain in public life to essentially negotiate
favorable policies for companies and people that have a lot of money
because they could write big checks. There`s something that`s fundamental
corrupting about that system. If you don`t think --

GALEN: Who is being corrupted? I don`t understand.

HAYES: The entire legislative process.

(CROSSTALK)

GALEN: I just don`t get it.

HAYES: OK. The Founders, right, wanted our elected representatives
to be dependent solely on the people, right? They did not want them
essentially to be shills for large, rich enterprises that could essentially
purchase favored policies through the distribution of self-re-upping to
$25,000 monthly contracts.

GALEN: Newt doesn`t have a vote. Tom Daschle doesn`t have a vote
anymore.

HAYES: So, you`re saying it`s completely ineffectual.

(CROSSTALK)

GALEN: If they were ineffectual, they wouldn`t get paid. But I think
Article 1, Section 1 of the -- Article 1 of the First Amendment gives them
the right to petition for redressive grievances. That is a function
guaranteed by the Constitution. You may not like it.

I wish somebody would may me 25 grand a month. I would petition the
hell out of them.

O`DONNELL: Rich, keep your phone open. The calls will come.

Let`s just -- we`re not going to come to an agreement on this. When I
was in the position, as you know, Rich, in the Senate, where if I had
wanted to become a lobbyist, I could have actually become richer at that
than anything else I pursued. I considered Washington lobbying in its
current form fundamentally corrupt. We`re not going to agree on that. I
think it`s a filthy and corrupt business.

Let`s move on to where Newt Gingrich is tonight, which Rich, you and I
have to be a little bit surprised at this. I want to show a tape of one of
our discussions earlier in the year about the candidacy of Newt Gingrich.
Let`s listen to this.

GALEN: A hundred eighty degrees wrong. You bet.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Rich, first of all, my condolences. I know how it must
feel to have gone through this. Something has gone terribly, terribly
wrong. Did you imagine that it could go this wrong for Newt so fast? I
think this is a difficult train wreck for you to watch. Thanks for joining
us.

GALEN: I really like Newt, and I wish him well. This is a tough
road.

O`DONNELL: Rich, I`m sorry for your loss, I believe, is the phrase in
these situations.

GALEN: This is really a sad way for a really brilliant campaign, a
brilliant career to come to an end. Gingrich thought he had one more fight
in him. He didn`t have two rounds.

O`DONNELL: Is there anything more than working on a withdrawal
speech.

GALEN: I didn`t think there would be a speech.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GALEN: I only have three ties. Now you`ve seen them all.

O`DONNELL: Rich, how long will the Gingrich bubble last?

GALEN: You know, given what we`ve seen over the last four or five
months, I give it two and a half, three weeks. But, you know, as you saw,
we were both wrong about Newt before.

Newt is a perseverer, if there`s such a word. He did that trying to
take over control of the House. He spent 10 or 12 years at all. Not 10 or
12 hours at it.

So, he`ll just stay on this thing until there`s no reason to stay on
it anymore. I don`t see how he gets there. I think Romney will probably
be the Republican nominee.

But, you know, God bless him. I mean, he stuck this out. Everybody
fell by the wayside, and as you pointed out, the latest poll has him ahead.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes, how much life left in the Gingrich bubble?

HAYES: I`m curious to see. The candidate who wants to be the anti-
Romney has to watch the right flank. I think the Fannie/Freddie story in
the conservative imagination, Fannie and Freddie is what caused the crisis.
And so, the fact he was on the payroll of the entity that they say caused
the crisis I think is going to give him a problem.

O`DONNELL: The bubble is already in trouble.

Rich Galen and Chris, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.

GALEN: Good seeing you guys.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: police in Pennsylvania deny that Penn State
assistant coach Mike McQueary reported coach Jerry Sandusky to them.

And in a "Rewrite" tonight, a special report on child abuse
Washington-style.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Just two and a half weeks ago we found out
that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain had sexual harassment
issues when the National Restaurant Association settled some lawsuits for
him, setting off a media firestorm which lasted until six days ago when
Rick Perry fired the brain fart heard round the world. Also, setting off a
media firestorm. But, again, that was six days ago. And daddy needs
another hit of gaffe crack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREKA)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: What would you do about Libya?

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: OK. Libya.

GINGRICH: Exercise a no-fly zone this evening. Get rid of him. Do
it.

CAIN: President Obama supported the uprising, correct?

GINGRICH: I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of
other ways to affect Gadhafi.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With the president
he put us in Libya. He`s now putting us in Africa.

CAIN: That`s a different one.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Commerce, Education,
and the -- what`s the third one there. Let`s see.

CAIN: Got all this stuff twirling around in my head.

BACHMANN: The very founders that wrote those documents worked
tirelessly until slavery was no more.

PERRY: Commerce, Education, and the -- what`s the third one there?
Let`s see. The third one I can`t. I`m sorry. Oops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Some veteran Republicans are starting to worry that
misstatements and gaffes and crazy, awkward pauses by the Republican
candidates are doing serious damage to the so-called Republican brand.

Ken Duberstein, a chief of staff to :President Ronald Reagan told "The
New York Times," "It is an animal house, a food fight. Honestly, the
Republican debates are a reality show. People have been to be perceived as
being capable of governing this country, of being the leader of the free
world."

Last night on FOX, Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative Charles
Krauthammer had this reaction to Herman Cain`s record-setting brain freeze
on Monday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think he`s over his head. He`s winging it
particularly on foreign affairs. Clearly, he`s not at home with the
subjects. And what exactly was it about Libya that he had to gather his
thoughts on? It looked like as if he didn`t know what it was or what
country it was or perhaps how the war turned out or what Obama`s policy
was. I`m not sure what there was that required almost a minute of thought
gathering.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst and author of
"Revival," Richard Wolffe. Also, "New York Times" political writer and
CNBC chief Washington correspondent, John Harwood, who moderated the CNBC
Republican debate.

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank, Lawrence.

HARWOOD: Sure, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Now, Herman Cain has offered an explanation of exactly why
that big pause came into his answer on Libya. He said, "I`m not supposed
to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I`d throw that out. I
want to talk to commanders on the ground because you run for president,
people say you need to have the answer. No, you don`t. No, you don`t.
That`s not good decision-making."

Sorry, guys. That was my best reading of Mr. Cain.

John Harwood, is that the answer that Charles Krauthammer was looking
for?

HARWOOD: No, it wasn`t.

And, you know, Herman Cain has a point to some degree. You can`t know
what all the situations you`re going to encounter, especially in foreign
policy, when you become president. To some extent people are examining and
scrutinizing candidates to get a sense of how their mind works, how they
absorb information, how they can react in a crisis. But they do want, as
Ken Duberstein mentioned, somebody who meets a minimum threshold of
credibility, of experience, of gravitas, to handle the issues in domestic
policy and foreign policy.

And one of the struggles that Herman Cain is having right now is that,
you know, this really is Major League Baseball. It`s not easy to do.
There`s a reason why people run for president sometimes more than once and
do a lot better the second time than the first time. It`s one of the
reasons why Mitt Romney is in a good position in the race.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, you can`t predict everything that comes to
your desk as president, but you can predict 90 percent of what will come
your way in the form of reporter questions as a candidate. Like, for
example, do you agree with the president on Libya?

Is the Herman Cain phenomenon -- he`s not going to be president, he`s
not going to be on the vice presidential slot on the ticket, but is that
kind of phenomenon likely to rub off on Romney in some way? Is it possible
to tarnish the general image of Republicanism with these bad candidates?

WOLFFE: There are two schools of thought on that. But before we get
there, let`s remember here the bar is really low. All you have to do here
is read the newspapers. You don`t have to have the intelligence briefing.
You don`t have to have the Secret Service or CIA or FBI or anyone with you.

You just need to read "The New York Times" or any other serious
publication and you`d know where Libya was and where you might be vis-a-vis
the Obama administration.

So, this isn`t difficult. Being commander in chief does involve
actually being a commander. I mean, it does involve some decisions and
some knowledge. So, not difficult here. I reckon most high school
students could master this one.

Does it affect the brand overall? Two schools of thought. One is
that Mitt Romney is the adult in the room, so he rises above this stuff and
looks better by comparison.

I beg to differ. I think standing on stage with one joker is fine.
You know, you can rise about above that. There`s Alan Keyes or whoever
there is.

In this scenario, though, when you got multiple people who are failing
the lowest bar possible, then it does affect them all. And the comparison
would be, say, Dean and Kerry, where you got -- and I know the politics is
totally different -- but what you have is a debate that skews of ultimate
winner to one side.

It`s very hard to overcome the initial impressions of seeing them in a
setting where they`re debating with positions that are -- seem to be out of
mainstream or with people who don`t have the credibility to run for
president. So, I think it does pollute the brand. I think Duberstein is
correct.

O`DONNELL: There is so much panic in Republican world tonight that
Ann Coulter has been trying to talk sense to Republicans. Here she is last
night on FOX.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN COULTER: If we don`t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the
nominee and we`ll lose.

I think the big definition among Republicans right now are those who
think, oh, absolutely, this is going to be 1980. We`re running against
Jimmy Carter. Obama has wrecked the economy like Jimmy Carter had. We
just need to get the most right wing candidate in there.

And then there are those of us like me and, apparently, Governor
Christie, who think this guy is tough to beat. The idea that you`re just
pick the most right wing candidate without any concern about who is going
to win is suicidal for the Republican Party.

It is going to be and is the strongest to beat Obama is Mitt Romney.
And, you know, I`m little tired of these Johnny-come-lately conservative
purists, where were they when we were running McCain. For Pete`s sake,
Mitt Romney is a million times better than McCain.

Who can you send in in debates against Obama? And I think, hands
down, that is Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: There`s Ann Coulter getting behind Mitt Romney finally.
The little piece of tape at the beginning of that, which I was actually
trying to save to the end, was Ann saying months ago that it would be a
disaster if they nominate Romney because he will obviously lose.

John Harwood, this seems to be now a virtual unification around the
idea of Romney. Somehow they have to talk Republican primary voters into
that.

HARWOOD: They do. Now, Richard and I are both in New Orleans where
there`s a bipartisan policy center meeting. And I got to tell you, among
the Republicans I talked to here, there is a general presumption that the
only candidate in this field who has a chance to actually win the
nomination is Mitt Romney.

The good news for Republicans is it only takes one. Mitt Romney was
not in any of those clips you played. He has not made big mistakes so far.

And I`ve got to say, I disagree with Richard. I don`t -- I think once
you get a Republican nominee and you have a general election raised one
that becomes clear, Mitt Romney becomes the Republican brand.

To the extent that there is rub off damage on Romney from damage to
the Republican brand, it`s more likely from Republicans in Congress than it
is for the people running against him for the Republican nomination.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, squeeze in a quick last word here.

WOLFFE: Well, it`s true. When you have a party that is willing to
gamble with a full faith and credit of the United States and say default is
OK, the brand has bigger problems than the people on stage.

O`DONNELL: That`s true.

John Harwood and Richard Wolffe, thank you both very much for joining
me tonight.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

HARWOOD: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Comedian Kathy Griffin stops by to tell us who she is
going to vote for in the Republican presidential primary.

And in Washington, pizza is defined as a vegetable. That`s right.
Pizza is a vegetable, according to the definition written by the United
States Congress. That`s in tonight`s "Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Spotlight, the key witness in the Penn State
child rape case, assistant football coach Mike McQueary -- as discussed
here last night, he recently sent an e-mail to friends saying, "I did stop
it. Not physically, but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker
room."

No one has yet figured out exactly how that jives with the eyewitness
account McQueary gave to the Grand Jury, which is summarized in the Grand
Jury report this way: "he saw a naked boy, victim two, whose age he
estimated to be 10 years old, with his hands up against the wall, being
subjected to anal intercourse by a naked Sandusky. The graduate assistant
was shocked, but noticed that both victim two and Sandusky saw him. The
graduate assistant left immediately, distraught. The graduate assistant
went to his office and called his father, reporting to him what he had
seen. His father told the graduate assistant to leave the building and
come to his home. The graduate assistant and his father decided that the
graduate assistant had to promptly report what he had seen to Coach Joe
Paterno.

"The next morning, a Saturday, the graduate assistant telephoned
Paterno and went to Paterno`s home, where he reported what he had seen."

McQueary`s e-mail also said, "I did have discussions with police and
with the official at the university in charge of police."

But the Grand Jury wrote, "the graduate assistant was never questioned
by university police, and no other entity conducted an investigation until
he testified in Grand Jury in December 2010."

Joining me now, Wayne Drehs, senior writer for ESPN.com. He`s been
covering the Penn State scandal since it broke last week. Thanks for
joining me tonight, Wayne.

WAYNE DREHS, ESPN.COM: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Wayne, is there any way to line up this e-mail with what
we know from the Grand Jury report? Let`s work backwards, starting with
the talking to police.

DREHS: Here the keywords -- one of the keywords here is the word that
you said, summarize. As we know in Grand Jury reports, every single detail
is not always in there. In terms of talking to police, you know, I`m not
really sure what to make of this. I think we`re so often trying to find an
ocean of answers. And we`re finding them drop by drop and it`s frustrating
us.

Yesterday, Mike tells people that, you know, he stopped and talked to
police. Now today the police, they don`t have the report. I`m not sure
this is going to be a simple answer of a miscommunication, where Mike
talked to police, but a report wasn`t actually filed. I`m not real sure.
And I think it`s kind of dangerous for us to exactly speculate.

O`DONNELL: But if you -- if McQueary speaks to a police officer in
the state of Pennsylvania, whether it be state police, local police, campus
police, and tells that police officer, I saw anal rape of a 10-year-old boy
in the shower, it is inconceivable that that police officer would not then
initiate an investigation. And the Grand Jury report says that he was
never questioned by university police, and then says -- so that just means
university police.

Leaves every other police department as a possibility. But then says,
no other entity -- that would be local police, state police, anything -- no
other entity conducted an investigation until he testified in the Grand
Jury in 2010.

DREHS: Right. The one catch in this is Gary Schultz, who we know
McQueary talked to and was in charge of the Penn State police at the time.
Perhaps when McQueary was e-mailing his friends in this e-mail released,
when he said he spoke to police, perhaps he meant he was talking to
Schultz, who was essentially a police representative.

Like I said, I`m not exactly sure. This is one of the questions that
hopefully we`ll find the answers to here in the days and months that come
forward.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I can see how that would happen. Especially you have
to consider that the e-mail is not sent under oath. And Grand Jury
testimony is given under oath. It`s more careful. But as you say, you can
see some space in between the sentences of the Grand Jury report. It
doesn`t account for his second-by-second behavior.

And in the part of the e-mail where he talked about I stopped it, in
effect, he seems to be saying -- if you try to line that up with the Grand
Jury report, it seems to mean that he saw it and by seeing it, that seemed
to stop it.

DREHS: Right. My colleague Tom Ronaldi at ESPN had a source he
reported on Monday that was close to the investigation who said the same
thing, that McQueary did, in fact, stop it. He didn`t offer any more
specifics, but it`s more than just Mike saying this in an e-mail. We`ve,
by one source familiar with the investigation, corroborated what Mike said.

O`DONNELL: There was another development today of Jerry Sandusky`s
attorney, possibly the worst attorney who has ever represented someone in
this case, actually explained his defense strategy. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSEPH AMENDOLA, ATTORNEY FOR JERRY SANDUSKY: We`re letting people
know we have a defense strategy. The way he came across in that interview
via the phone and his answers were consistent with the way Jerry`s been
ever since I`ve known him. He`s slow in response. He takes his time and
thinks about what he`s being asked. And he gives an answer.

I think the more people who hear him explain that he didn`t commit the
acts with which he`s been charged, I think the better off he`s going to be
down the road.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Is Sandusky making any moves to get a real lawyer?

DREHS: I think that`s optimistic thinking, Lawrence. Anybody who
watched that interview, I feel, came away feeling a lot worse about Jerry
Sandusky than they did before that interview started. An explanation of
where, you know, I touched a leg or I showered with the boys, but we didn`t
have any sexual interactions is -- is very, very questionable. I`m not so
sure about their approach.

O`DONNELL: Wayne Drehs, thank you very much for joining me tonight.

DREHS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the corrupting of a program that helps
children. Corrupted by the United States Congress. That`s in the Rewrite.

Later, we will talk politics with Kathy Griffin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, "THE LATE SHOW": Here now, ladies and gentlemen,
another segment for you. This is called Ringing Endorsement of the Night.
Ringing Endorsement of the Night. Tonight, featuring Herman Cain`s wife,
Gloria. Ringing political endorsement of the night. Take it away, Gloria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would he be a good president?

GLORIA CAIN, WIFE OF HERMAN CAIN: I think he would. I think he`d be
a great president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just think he would?

CAIN: Just -- yeah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Rewrite, to continue a tragic theme child
abuse, Washington style. This grim story does involve little boys and
little girls, and sadly takes place in a school setting. It begins with
the Obama Agriculture Department trying to nudge the country into taking a
baby step in the direction of sanity and better health by rewriting some of
the regulations of the School Lunch Program, to make the lunches just a bit
healthier, just a bit.

Of course, it fails. It fails because what you think of as the School
Lunch Program was politically conceived and created as a government buying
program for this country`s heavily subsidized agriculture industry, which
is why the school lunch program is absurdly located in and run by the
Agriculture Department.

American third graders have not yet been able to figure out how to
band together and use milk money to hire high-priced Washington lobbyists
to do their bidding to the Agriculture Committees of the House and the
Senate, or the Appropriations Committees.

High school students haven`t figured out how to do that either. But
potato growers and sellers have. They have the National Potato Council,
which is conveniently located at 1300 L Street in Washington, D.C., the
corner of 13th and L, a prime location for Washington lobbyists, which is
what the National Potato Council is, the national lobbying operation for
potatoes.

Nothing scares potato lobbyists more than Michelle Obama-like health
freaks who might prevent them from putting French Fries on school lunch
trays every single day. Four days a week isn`t good enough for them. They
want French Fries on school lunch trays every day.

The new regulations would have cut the amount of potatoes served in
favor of more fruits and green vegetables. Now, if it was just a fair
fight between potato lobbyists and fruit and vegetable lobbyists, fruit and
vegetables would have a better chance, but there`s much more money,
including lobbying money, on the side of keeping the rules exactly the way
they are.

Guess which side Coca-Cola is on when someone starts talking about
making school lunches healthier? Coca-Cola has reported 35.5 billion in
net revenues so far this year. But that`s not enough for Coca-Cola. Coca-
Cola, whose noble history includes creating a so-called soft drink laced
with Cocaine, which is how Coca-Cola got its name, has now added to its
pride-filled history using its lobbying power to kill the new healthier
regulations for the School Lunch Program.

There is no company in the world that can claim more credit than Coca-
Cola for pushing the American childhood obesity rate above 30 percent.
Just FYI on this thing: in Japan, where parents are not as likely to allow
Coca-Cola into their homes, the obesity rate is 10 percent.

The pizza racket in this country, even without Herman Cain lobbying
for them anymore, is a force to be reckoned with. The pizza racket has
some of the most inventive lobbyists in history. That is why under the
current School Lunch Regulations, pizza is classified as a vegetable.

That`s right. Pizza is a vegetable. And under the new regulations,
pizza would still be a vegetable. How did pizza become a vegetable? Thank
you, tomato paste.

That`s right. Under the old regulations, the tomato paste on pizza
gets it classified as a vegetable. And the new regulations -- just to show
you how modest and marginal these changes were, under the new regulations,
pizza could still be classified as a vegetable if it just had a little bit
more tomato paste on it.

But that was too much for the frozen pizza lobbyists at the American
Frozen Food Institute, who worked with Coca-Cola and other big food
companies like Del Monte and, of course, the potato lobbyists, to kill even
this tiny, little baby step towards healthier school lunches.

This -- this is our government at its absolute worst, at its most
routine and its worst. Republicans and Democrats team up to serve the
agriculture industry. They do it every day. The food producers, the
stupidly unhealthy beverage business -- and they do it -- they do it at
whose expense?

Nothing Washington politicians ever say or do proves more clearly what
unpardonable liars they actually are. Every politician who makes sure that
French Fries can be piled on every lunch tray in every American school
every day will insist that the work he or she is doing in Congress every
day is for the children, our children, our grandchildren.

Our grandchildren are invoked in nearly every political speech. for
everything politicians do. And they are almost always lying. What better
proof could you ask for? Those same politicians, Democrat and Republican,
made a deal yesterday on the agriculture spending bill to block the
provision that would make school lunches healthier, just a little bit
healthier.

On the question of making our children`s lunches healthier, they
actually found a way to say, no. They did not find that answer in their
hearts. They found that answer in the vile corruption of politics and
lobbying, where every child is left behind.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHY GRIFFIN, COMEDIAN: Before we start, I would like to say I`m not
a witch. But I think it is fair to ask, do we have written proof that
these kids were born in the United States of America?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like the duet the two boys from Dalton (ph)
sang.

GRIFFIN: Boys shouldn`t do a duet. The last thing we need to do is
send a message to children that gay is OK. It is not a legitimate
lifestyle. And last time I checked, it`s not in the Constitution.

I`m a politician, and when I lost my last election -- and there will
be a recount -- I didn`t go around singing about being a loser. I
Twittered that Obama is a terrorist.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, you didn`t?

GRIFFIN: I had to. It`s a fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Emmy Award winning actress, comedian Kathy
Griffin, whose fourth comedy special this year for Bravo airs December
20th. Thanks for joining me, Kathy.

GRIFFIN: I have a lot of material.

O`DONNELL: Four in a year. Is that like some kind of world record?

GRIFFIN: It actually is. It`s unprecedented for any comedian, male
or female, to do four hour standup specials in one year.

O`DONNELL: Bob Hope?

GRIFFIN: No.

O`DONNELL: OK. Kathy Griffin beats Bob Hope. That was "Glee." The
"Glee" was great.

GRIFFIN: Let`s talk about your world. First of all, thank you.
Thank you to the political world for giving me so much material. I mean,
the Republican race alone is like a gift from Baby Jesus.

O`DONNELL: Like say Herman Cain, for example.

GRIFFIN: I am following every move he makes.

O`DONNELL: I`ll bet you are.

GRIFFIN: Yes. Now if the sexual harassment allegations are true, I
want to kick him in the nuts. Other than that, though, we have a new
focus, which is maybe Mrs. Cain.

O`DONNELL: Mrs. Cain. I want to show you this video that we just
showed during the break. Let`s look at that again, Mrs. Cain on Fox.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would he be a good president?

CAIN: I think he would. I think he`d be a great president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just think he would?

CAIN: Just -- yeah.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I just have one question for her, who did you vote for in
2008? We know the following. She voted in the Democratic presidential
primary.

GRIFFIN: She`s an Obama fan.

O`DONNELL: She`s an Obama --

GRIFFIN: OK. Cut it, O`Donnell. She clearly wants Obama to win.
She knows he`s the man for the job. She doesn`t know how to break it to
him yet. It`s early in the evening.

O`DONNELL: Could she have sent her husband out there to do everything
she can to help President Obama get re-elected.

GRIFFIN: You think he`s a mole. You think she`s a double agent. I
like that theory.

O`DONNELL: Yes. There`s a possibility.

GRIFFIN: Well, they`re giving me a lot of material. The words
President Bachmann are frightening to me. Funny for a comedian, not so
much for a citizen.

O`DONNELL: She is kind of losing her -- is she losing her comedic
momentum as she falls down in the polls?

GRIFFIN: Anytime she says anything, it`s good for comedy.

O`DONNELL: But she`s getting outdone by Rick Perry`s --

GRIFFIN: Rick Perry is fantastic. My 91-year-old alcoholic mother is
actually mentally quicker than Rick Perry. She can name several Senate
members that she believes in. My mom would be a great president.

O`DONNELL: Have you ever had that Rick Perry moment on a standup
stage, with the microphone, where it`s a three-beat joke, and you get past
the second beat of it, and you have no idea what the finish of your joke
is?

GRIFFIN: No. Not much medium. So there you go. Let`s lower the
bar, shall we?

O`DONNELL: So stand ups, they would never have that happen to them in
a presidential --

GRIFFIN: Not if you know what you`re doing.

O`DONNELL: They`re ready to go. Occupy Wall Street, you were there.

GRIFFIN: I happened upon it. I was going on --

O`DONNELL: You had no idea it was there.

GRIFFIN: I didn`t know it was there. This is when they moved Foley
Square. So they were on the move. And I really was just going for a late
night walk. So I --

O`DONNELL: In Foley Square?

GRIFFIN: Yes, that`s how I roll.

O`DONNELL: OK, we`ll buy that part of the story.

GRIFFIN: I`m a prostitute. Thank you for exposing me.

O`DONNELL: Again, Foley Square, that`s a terrible location for that.

GRIFFIN: That`s where the business is.

O`DONNELL: Oh, it is?

GRIFFIN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: After court hours.

GRIFFIN: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. So
anyway, I truly happened upon a pivotal moment in the protest. And I was
watching a helicopter that had been circling above. I was walking with a
friend. And sure enough people were sort of running. This wasn`t the part
where they were knocking the tents over.

I was truly looking around going, why are all these people gathering.
And I turned to my left and there was a line of cops in formation with the
riot gear and the batons. I said, excuse me, it`s Kathy Griffin from
television. You have to let me go.

One of them did recognize me from "The Howard Stern Show." And I
think that`s why I`m alive.

O`DONNELL: He recognized you from "Glee." He didn`t want to admit
it. Kathy Griffin, who will be performing at the Borgata in Atlantic City
this Saturday night.

GRIFFIN: I have a double Saturday night.

O`DONNELL: First time I`ve said Borgata in my life.

GRIFFIN: That`s totally your crowd. I can see you fist pumping in
Atlantic City with the kids from Jersey Shore.

O`DONNELL: You can have THE LAST WORD on line. You know how to do
that.

The Rachel -- no, no, "THE ED SHOW" -- "THE ED SHOW" is next.

GRIFFIN: There`s something on next. Keep watching.

O`DONNELL: Yes, next, Ed.

END

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