updated 4/4/2013 12:03:25 PM ET 2013-04-04T16:03:25

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
April 3, 2013

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

Guests: Mark Follman, Frank Smyth, Nia-Malika Henderson, Bill Carter


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The president gave his latest speech on gun
and ammunition control in Colorado today, near Aurora where a madman killed
12 and wounded 58 in a movie theater using high powered machinery of death
that the NRA made sure he could get.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This time, it must be
different. This time, we must do something to protect our communities.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama heads to Denver today.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama hits the road.

TODD: To tell Congress to act more like Colorado.

OBAMA: They still want us to do something.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gun violence is topping the agenda.

OBAMA: To stop the epidemic of gun violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Connecticut and Colorado can do it, how come
Congress can`t?

OBAMA: Politics is getting in the way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Senate is going to push the background check
bill.

OBAMA: Background checks for criminals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then it becomes a test of political will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shouldn`t be such a political test.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Why are we not seeing that support from
lawmakers?

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Ask the NRA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have the NRA lining up against background
checks.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: They`re against background checks.

OBAMA: It`s not safe. It`s not smart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is idiotic.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: This is where we are with guns in this
country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Violence is still getting worse.

OBAMA: They still want us to do something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, it should be a political no-brainer.

OBAMA: That`s just common sense.

TODD: If you think it`s too early to talk about 2016 --

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: To be back again is such
a privilege.

TODD: -- you better get over it.

JANSING: Hillary Clinton`s return to public life last night.

CLINTON: When I became secretary of state, we did put women on the
agenda.

JANSING: Hillary Clinton rested and ready. What happened to six
months off?

TODD: Cue the beginning of what will be borderline absurd coverage.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There`s no woman like
Hillary Clinton.

JANSING: She shared the stage with a potential future rival.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody is wondering what she`s going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 2016 is a long time from now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three years out, we don`t know what could
happen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Today, President Obama took his push for gun and
ammunition control to Denver, just a few miles from the Aurora, Colorado,
movie theater, where a gunman fired 76 rounds of ammunition, murdering 12,
and injuring 58, using weaponry the president would like to ban.

In his speech, President Obama pointed out that this has been more
than 100 days since the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. In that time
more than 2,000 Americans have been killed by guns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If we`re going to really tackle this problem seriously, we
have to get Congress to take the next step. And as soon as next week, they
will be voting.

There`s no reason we can`t do this unless politics is getting in the
way. Most of these ideas are not controversial. And yet there are already
some senators back in Washington floating the idea that they might use
obscure procedural stunts to prevent or delay any of these votes on reform.
They`re saying your opinion doesn`t matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Public support is consistently on the president`s side on
massacre control. A new Marist poll done for our program "MORNING JOE"
here at MSNBC found 60 percent of those polled want stricter laws on gun
sales, only 5 percent want less strict, 33 percent say the laws should
remain unchanged.

Fifty-nine percent say there should be a ban on assault weapons, only
37 percent oppose such a ban.

And support for background checks on private gun sales and gun show
sales is downright un-American, by which I mean 87 percent of Americans,
never agree on anything, but 87 percent are now in favor of universal
background checks with only 12 percent opposed.

As reported last night, the NRA bought and paid for a report on school
safety which was delivered to the NRA yesterday by former Congressman Asa
Hutchinson for an undisclosed amount of money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And how much were you and the taskforce members paid for
this work?

ASA HUTCHINSON (R), FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, we`re not going to
provide you with a line by line.

O`DONNELL: Why wouldn`t you do that, Congressman?

HUTCHINSON: Because it`s none of your business primarily.

O`DONNELL: If you`re submitting a report to be evaluated as an
independent report, and you`re being paid by the people who you are giving
the report to, the credibility of the report rests on a lot of things,
including that payment relationship. So I would like to ask you how much
did the National Rifle Association pay you individually to do this and are
they still paying you?

HUTCHINSON: Lawrence, let me tell you that I have compiled this group
of experts together to prepare this report.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: If you were watching this program at this hour last night,
you know that I never did get an answer to how much money changed hands.

On page 69 of that report, it says in 2010, a 16-year-old attacker
killed six people, hiding in a locked classroom in Hastings Middle School
in Minnesota by shooting and subsequently stepping through a tempered glass
window that ran alongside the classroom door, a fine level of detail there.

But as "Mother Jones" reported today, that never happened. What did
happen at the Hastings Middle School is an eighth grader scared people by
brandishing a gun but never used it. Police said at the time the charges
were filed that the student didn`t even have the right bullets for that
gun.

Joining me now, Mark Follman, senior editor with "Mother Jones", who
broke that story, Frank Smyth, investigative journalist and MSNBC.com
contributor, and Nia-Malika Henderson, national political reporter for "The
Washington Post."

Mark, the NRA report had a pretty rough first day of fact checking.
You`re the one that discovered the gem about the Minnesota incident that
was wrong.

What else have you found in fact checking of the report?

MARK FOLLMAN, MOTHER JONES: Well, I found the usual things you would
expect from a big report from the NRA. There`s various points where
there`s slight of hand talking about incidents involving shootings --
school shootings.

I have to say, Lawrence, I wasn`t surprised to see this in the report.
We covered the NRA and mass shootings at "Mother Jones" for many months,
and this is their M.O. They call for more guns. That`s their goal. And
they play to fear and fantasy to sell that agenda.

So, they`re willing to twist the facts or use completely unreal facts
as we see with them citing that mass shooting that never happened in
Minnesota. They point to a case at a high school in Pearl, Mississippi in
1997 where they hold it up as a shining example of an armed citizen, armed
educator and they conveniently leave out the fact he was an army reservist,
appeared to have intervened only after the shooting had ended.

So their arguments typically work this way, they twist facts or they
gloss over facts. They also talk about Columbine in the report. They say
the armed deputy that was on the scene there saved -- likely saved many
lives. There`s no evidence for that.

So, this is the way they operate to try to sell this idea that we
should put armed personnel in every school in America.

O`DONNELL: Some of the other things you isolated, Mark, are that the
NRA claims mass shooters deliberately seek out gun free zones. There`s no
evidence of that.

NRA claims more armed civilians on scene would stop mass shooters. We
don`t have any experience of that, any evidence that would indicate that
from our experience.

NRA says assault weapons and high capacity magazines aren`t a problem.

And, Frank Smyth, this country knows those weapons are a problem.
That there would be more people alive at the movie theater in Aurora,
Colorado, if he didn`t have a magazine capable of firing 100 bullets.

FRANK SMYTH, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: No, that`s right, Lawrence.
Also this taskforce report led by Asa Hutchinson who you had on last night
was written by two firms, one based in Texas and the other based in Idaho,
one is an international security and intelligence firm, the other a
tactical training firm.

And the essence of this report is they want to be able to go beyond
arming police officers, which school safety experts agree with, that in
certain cases you want armed police officers who are specially trained to
be in schools.

The NRA wants to go beyond that and allow faculty, teachers and
administrators who want to be armed to be trained to be armed.

You`ve seen the outsourcing of diplomatic security to companies like
Blackwater overseas with disastrous results. This would be the outsourcing
of school security to private security firms. These same firms that wrote
this report would be in position to provide this kind of training and I
don`t think it`s what most Americans, including even what most Republicans,
want to see for their children in schools.

O`DONNELL: Nia, we went over a little bit last night on the program,
the membership of this commission, the 13. I`m sorry to report to you
there was not a single woman on this report commission. There wasn`t a
single educator, not anyone who had any experience working in the school as
teacher or an administrator in a report dedicated exclusively to school
safety.

The -- it was a very odd press conference that Asa Hutchinson had
yesterday in Washington, and I noted on all the reports, people were quite
stunned by how much heavy ammunition and weaponry he brought in with him in
his entourage.

I don`t think the Washington press corps had seen anything like that
in that situation, have they?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: I don`t think so. And
this is sort of what the NRA does. I mean, they`re known for these odd
ball press conferences. I don`t think the NRA has come themselves any
favor.

And I think, you know, we might be at the beginning of a real cultural
shift that the NRA is going to help inaugurated. And that`s a pendulum
swing away from the NRA. Democrats in some ways had sided with them, going
back to 1994.

But the president you see going out there, making the case that gun
control and gun rights aren`t mutually exclusive ideas. He will be in
Connecticut next week to make the same case. He is activating OFA. So,
there are going to be meetings around the country with people highlighting
this issue.

And on the congressional side, you have Harry Reid very much looking
for five Republicans that he can get to back some form of background
checks. Unlikely that he`s going to get universal background checks
passed, but it looks like there`s some momentum and some talks still going
on and some efforts to try to get at least five Republicans so they can
block those filibuster threats you have seen from the Cruz caucus.

O`DONNELL: Mark, it seemed like this report just landed with a thud
in Washington. You don`t hear the president`s opponents citing it. You
don`t hear Republicans jumping on it, saying oh, yes, this is the
definitive report on where we are.

And what do you imagine having studied the NRA as you have? Do you
think they have another public move here or are they just playing the
inside game legislatively now with lobbyists?

FOLLMAN: That`s an interesting question. They`ve shown no indication
that they`ll change their message. They seem to just keep doubling down,
no matter who comes out, steps forward and says, hey, this is wrong. We
have done extensive work looking at mass shootings. We`ve studied 62 of
them in the last 30 years.

And the data we gathered debunks the major arguments, this idea that
gun-free zones attract mass shooters, not true. No evidence of that in a
single case.

The same with the idea that, you know, good guys with guns stop mass
shootings, not true, no evidence of it.

But that doesn`t seem to faze them. They keep repeating the same
points over and over.

And I think you make a good point that, you know, the way they
exercise power is on Capitol Hill with their lobbying money and what they
plan to do in election cycles. And there are a lot of people quake in
their boots when the NRA comes calling. So, I think they will be doing
that, too.

O`DONNELL: Nia-Malika, Frank Smyth and Mark Follman, thank you all
very much for joining me tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

SMYTH: Thank you, Lawrence.

FOLLMAN: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, last night I quoted a letter insulting
America`s war dead, which was written by Wayne LaPierre. Former
Congressman Hutchinson said he needed to read the quotes himself. He
didn`t believe LaPierre could say anything as insane as what I was reading
him.

So, today, we e-mailed the congressman a link to the quote so he could
read that fund-raising letter by Wayne LaPierre himself. That`s next.

And Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden shared the stage last night, which
of course sparked more speculation about the 2016 presidential campaign.

And Bill O`Reilly continues to insist he is not in a feud with Rush
Limbaugh, no feud, not at all, even though he admits he never talks to
Rush. The O`Reilly/Limbaugh feud and some of the other people Bill
O`Reilly really hates are in tonight`s "Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I am going to quote to you now. He said, "If President
Obama is reelected," this is a quote, "The night of November 6th, 2012, you
and I will lose more on the election battlefield than our nation has lost
in any battle any time, anywhere."

What do you think of what Wayne LaPierre said about this country`s war
dead?

How does it feel to work for a man like that and take his money?

HUTCHINSON: Quite frankly, Lawrence, I don`t trust your recitation of
his statements. And so, I`ll just have to read that for myself and comment
after I read it myself.

O`DONNELL: Congressman --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: He`s now had time to read it himself. Today one of our
producers e-mailed Congressman Hutchinson the exact quotes from a
fundraising letter sent out by Wayne LaPierre that I read to him on this
program last night. We are still waiting for Mr. Hutchinson`s response.

Up next, why Hillary Clinton will get a lot of attention for every
word she says for the next three years and possibly beyond.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: The voices of all those amazing women could not be denied.
Human rights are women`s rights and women`s rights are human rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Hillary Clinton last night at her first public
speaking appearance since leaving her post as secretary of state, repeating
a line she made famous in Beijing almost two decade ago. Last night`s
speech revved up 2016 speculation. Hillary supporters rallied outside the
event, and the Ready for Hillary super PAC officially launched last night.

New polling found support for Hillary Clinton at an all-time high
among Democratic voters inside Kennedy Center, Hillary Clinton and her
potential rival for the next presidential nomination, Joe Biden, had only
good things to say about each other.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I`m delighted that Vice President Biden will be able to join
us tonight. And Vice President Biden and I worked together on so many
important issues, and one that`s particularly close to his heart is the
fight against domestic violence. And I know what a personal victory it was
for him to see the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized last month.

BIDEN: And women like -- actually that`s not an appropriate phrase,
there`s no woman like Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

Hillary Clinton, that`s a fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball, it`s fun to watch him live. He got that
quick so fast.

Let`s look at the polling about Hillary and Joe Biden. Hillary
Clinton polling 64 percent, Joe Biden at 18 percent if you matched them as
candidates. Elizabeth Warren, 5, Andrew Cuomo, 3.

Boy, everyone who is not named Hillary Clinton on that poll has a lot
to think about here.

KRYSTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: Yes. I mean, if Hillary runs, and I think
she will run, she`s certainly setting herself up.

O`DONNELL: She`s running. It`s a position of this show that she`s
already running.

BALL: I`m glad we`re there.

O`DONNELL: We don`t fall for the masquerade.

BALL: Yes, I don`t think most of those individuals decide to run even
if she`s in the race, or if they do, it is a way to get their name out
there for a future contest.

But, Joe Biden in particular, I can`t imagine an actual Biden and
Hillary, head to head, he would step back when she does run. So, in terms
of her inevitability for the primary, I think she`s there.

We thought that in 2008 and it didn`t work out, but this time I really
do think she`s inevitable. She`s going to be out of politics the next four
years. She`s going to be speaking in front of adoring crowds like this.
She can wade into the political fray when and how she wants to.

Republicans won`t be able to lay a glove on her. She`s going to be in
great shape come 2016.

O`DONNELL: Richard, here`s what I cannot imagine for Democrats -- an
uncontested, open Democratic primary for president.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. That`s because it
won`t happen.

O`DONNELL: OK, good. That`s why I was trying to imagine it.

WOLFFE: Someone will challenge her. And if there is an inkling of
doubt --

O`DONNELL: Politely challenge her.

WOLFFE: Whoever is doing the challenging is going to believe in
themselves and their chance to disrupt this thing. There was a guy called
Barack Obama that managed it, three years is a long time in politics.
Having said that, when he was down against Hillary Clinton, and I traveled
a lot with him when he was down, he was only 20 to 30 points down, not 40
to 50 points down.

So -- and he wasn`t running as the vice president of the United States
of America, he was running as a freshman senator.

So these people are not just a long way behind, they`re on another
universe in terms of behind. So, I still think there will be some young
whipper-snapper that says it is time to turn the page.

That is not a small challenge to Hillary Clinton and to Bill Clinton
because that dynamic could still play out on a whole range of issues. It
could be that we`re into another financial crisis, and people say how could
you have even ever voted some support for banks to get bailed out?
Hypothetically, because remember, voting for Iraq when they all did that
back in 2003 was not such a stupid thing to do if you were just looking at
it politically.

So, we don`t know what the environment is. There could, there will be
a challenge. Judging by this, even a challenger as talented as Barack
Obama would face ridiculous odds against them.

O`DONNELL: Well, Krystal, there`s always this thing of something
could happen, I am getting into the race because something can always
happen --

BALL: Right.

O`DONNELL: -- to the front runner that`s unpredictable. The other
option, turns out presidential primaries are good places to run for the
vice presidential nomination.

BALL: Yes, that is the piece. If you have -- I think someone like
Biden would probably stay out. But someone younger, one name that comes to
mind is Rahm Emanuel who has national ambitions.

Somebody like that who wants to get more of a national name for
themselves, who thinks maybe I`ve got a shot at it this time, who knows
what could happen. But they want their name in that V.P. contention. But
it would be the longest of long shots I think.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, and Krystal Ball, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a look back at how Jay Leno became the absolute
king of late night political comedy in the 1990s, before there was a "Daily
Show." And why every presidential candidate thought they had to sit with
Jay if they were ever going to sit in the White House. Toure will join me
as well "The New York Times" reporter who talked to Jay Leno today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The blue, gray agronomic (ph) chair with tilt swivel
mechanism and pneumatic adjustment, vinyl arms and star pedestal base
retails for $500. It is a fine chair.

But it is just a chair, of course, except when it sits behind the most
famous for mica desk in America, the first desk in the history of the
republic to stand for something other than homework and bureaucracy.

When that chair sits behind the desk that Johnny built, that chair is,
of course, a throne. That paragraph was written by Richard Stengel in
"Time" magazine`s March 16th, 1992 cover story about Jay Leno taking over
the tonight show from Johnny Carson. And now, Jay Leno has been forced to
give up the desk that Johnny built to Jimmy Fallon. They joked about it
Monday night. And today, the rumors were confirmed. Jimmy Fallon will be
the sixth host of "the Tonight Show."

The transition will take place at the conclusion of the 2014 winter
Olympics in February and the show will move back here to New York city to
this building. Jay Leno took over "the Tonight Show" May 25th, 1992, and
he made it clear that night that politics would take center stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Live from the NBC studios in Burbank,
California, "the tonight show" with Jay Leno.

JAY LENO, HOST, THE TONIGHT SHOW: The Less Perot says, the more
popular he gets. This is a point Dan Quayle has yet to grasp.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Some politicians actually used Jay Leno`s "Tonight Show"
to announce their candidacies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the things I wanted to talk to you about.

LENO: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m running for president of the United States.

LENO: All right.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: He needs to be recalled and this is why
I am going to run for governor of the state of California.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jay`s Burbank studio became a mandatory stop for
presidential candidates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m glad you
finally invited me.

LENO: Must be hard, you know, to be your own man and yet.

BUSH: I recognized when I first ran for governor of Texas that I
would inherit half his friends and all his enemies. So, I`m working on the
other half of his friends and some of his enemies, but I am proud to be
George Bush`s son and Barbara Bush`s son. They are fabulous parents. But,
the people of this country understand it is me running for president.

LENO: Right.

She thought you would be a better president than her dad.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Oh, you know, she`s such
a smart young woman.

LENO: Dick Cheney, you and he are eighth cousins.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How about that. Not
kissing cousins.

LENO: No.

OBAMA: No.

LENO: Did you know about this?

OBAMA: I actually did know, people have been doing the genealogy
studies of me. And I got all sorts of rogues and my background, you know.
You know, you`re hoping for kings and great leaders.

LENO: Well -

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But not one sitting president appeared with Jay until
2009.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I ran for president because I thought we needed big changes
and I do think in Washington it is a little like "American idol," except
everybody is Simon Cowell.

LENO: Wow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama decided he should hang with Jay one more
time when he was once again a presidential candidate, this time running for
re-election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LENO: What is a cure for Romnesia?

(LAUGHTER)

OBAMA: Well, Obama care covers pre-existing conditions. If you have
a case. The main cure, make sure you vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me by phone, the man that spoke with Jay Leno
about today`s news is Bill Carter, national media reporter for "The New
York Times."

Bill, you spoke to Jay and the story that you have written on it
indicates this sounds like an orderly transition.

BILL CARTER, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES (via phone):
That`s what they are going for sure. They have been through a lot of
disorderly transitions in their history, and they were sort of leaning the
same direction until they got it sort of back on track in the past ten
days.

Basically, but Jay agreeing to do it, the only way to make a
transition work like this is for the outgoing host to decide yes, it is
time for him to leave, same with Johnny Carson, called his own shot. And
Jay is stepping up to say this was his decision this time.

O`DONNELL: And Bill, I was speaking with a comedian the other day who
has been on all these shows himself a lot. And we were both saying to each
other, and maybe you`re the encyclopedia source that can give us the
answer, has any show, anyone ever been cancelled while they were number one
in the ratings? This is what we would call an anticipatory cancellation.
We are canceling Jay because we believe someday he will go down in ratings
even though he hasn`t yet.

CARTER: Well, that previously happened to Jay Leno.

O`DONNELL: He is the only one, right? Is there anyone else that got
cancelled in anticipation of going down?

CARTER: Not that I can ever remember. He was basically cancelled the
other time. This time it is more of the, you know, departure style of
retirement because Johnny Carson was number one when he stepped away. So,
you know, there were feelings at the time interestingly and ironically
enough that Jay Leno, particularly his manager at the time was trying to
force Johnny out. And Johnny took charge of that and decided to call his
own shot.

O`DONNELL: And Bill, judging from your conversation with him, how do
you think he really feels about this?

CARTER: Well, you know, Jay was I think sincere saying that he
believed this was going to be probably his last contract when he signed it.
That doesn`t mean he wouldn`t have agreed to an extension if they had come
up with it. But I think he was coming around to the notion that he is 64-
years-old, at the end of the deal, probably that would be the last contract
for him.

You know, I think in his heart he always wants to do the job. This is
what he lives for, to tell monologue jokes every night. So you know,
there`s bound to be resistance, there is always been resistance. But I
think he has gotten on the team here and said he is all for this and all
for Jimmy Fallon and he is supporting the idea.

O`DONNELL: Toure, Bill Clinton saved his career on "the tonight
show." He delivered a hobble speech at the Democratic convention, and
everyone said before he was a presidential candidate, this guy should just
quit. He had the brilliant idea. I`m going to go on Jay Leno and make
people like me. He went on Jay Leno. He was funny. That`s all you had to
do to win that audience. Jay kept the show in the center of politics. Do
you think Jimmy Fallon will do that?

TOURE, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: That`s an excellent question. It mean,
Leno is middle of the road guy. He is the last gasp of vaudeville. He is
the guy who grew up wanting to be Carson. So, I think a lot of middle of
the row people are like, you know, we respect Jay Leno and what he does.

Does Jimmy Fallon bring that same sort of gusting you`re talking
about, not quite. Maybe when he has been in that thrown for a couple of
years, then we will say, he can. But, I think to your point, no, right
now, no. I don`t think we will see that. But also, he is bringing the
show to New York. So, he is going to bring a different aesthetic. He is
more absurdists.

O`DONNELL: The elevator here is going to be crowded.

TOURE: Absolutely. He is more absurdists. He is more meadow. He is
more ironic. Is he going to want to traffic in that sort of stuff? I
mean, you know. We`ll see, I`m not sure. You know what I mean.

And this, you know, I think Bill Carter would agree, it opens up
things a bit for Jimmy Kimmel. He will be the only one in L.A. versus
Letterman here, Stewart here, Colbert here, Fallon here. I mean, you know,
I`m sure that he is going to do very well. But, Jimmy Kimmel is popping a
little champagne today as well.

O`DONNELL: And the reason Johnny moved the show to L.A. was to get
better access to guests. And so, you know, now, he is going to be
competing with other New York shows.

TOURE: Yes. And I mean, you know, to your other point, look. Why
they`re making him step down, the show is bigger than the host, right? And
you know that. So, I mean like, we are not going to wait until Leno loses
number one and then change. We want to change while we`re still at the top
level.

But, this also reminds me that Lorne Michaels is perhaps the most
powerful man in television. Tonight show, we are talking about Seth Meyers
replacing Fallon.

O`DONNELL: So, for one will run the show after the tonight show.

TOURE: He will run every night except for Sunday night.

O`DONNELL: I think Lorne is taking over this show next week. We will
find out.

Bill Carter, thank you very much for joining us. I know you had a
hard workday on this. And Toure, thank you.

Toure`s new book, is "I would die for you, why prince became an icon."
Thank you for your time.

TOURE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Bill O`Reilly denies that he is in any kind of
feud with Rush Limbaugh, and nothing proves there`s a feud better than
O`Reilly`s denials. And I am completely like totally, absolutely on
O`Reilly`s side in this feud and that`s coming up in the "rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Rutgers University officials knew that their basketball
coach was treating their players very badly in practice, but they did not
fire him until these videos became public this week. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the "rewrite" tonight, Bill O`Reilly has been busy
trying to rewrite his feud with Rush Limbaugh into not a feud. And in the
process, he is, of course, emphasizing just how bad the feud really is.
The O`Reilly-Limbaugh feud broke into the open finally last week over
O`Reilly`s use of the phrase bible thumping. Now where have we heard that
before?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The bible thumping party doesn`t actually read the bible,
they just thump it. They don`t quote the bible, they just thump it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Oh, yes, that guy, that bible thumping guy who O`Reilly
pretends doesn`t exist by never mentioning his name, even when O`Reilly
criticizes me for something I`ve said about him.

As we showed you last night, O`Reilly talked about me accusing him of
having a feud with Limbaugh without ever mentioning my name, which is the
way O`Reilly used to deal with Limbaugh, never mentioning his name. That
is a classic Irish form of feuding, just completely cutting the person off,
pretending they don`t exist, never acknowledging them in any way. The
Irish are very good at that.

That`s why O`Reilly`s feud with Limbaugh was so obvious to me. I`ve
seen my people do that a thousand times. If you have an O apostrophe in
your name like Bill and I do, you know what it is like to be in a feud with
family or friends or someone, you`ve seen it, you know it when you see it.

Last night bill O`Reilly booked Laura Ingraham on his show and set
about to prove there`s no feud. The segment began very badly for O`Reilly
with Laura Ingraham saying first of all there is a feud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, number one, I would say,
Bill, there is a feud. I mean, I think you and Limbaugh, you are both
friends of mine, so I`m in this position, I think when you said they have
to do more than bible thump, I don`t think you really need to say that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: OK. Now watch Bill O`Reilly prove there`s no feud.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There`s no feud between me and
Limbaugh. I don`t talk to Limbaugh. I never said anything about Limbaugh
on this program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: All right then. That proves it. There`s no feud with
Limbaugh. I don`t talk to Limbaugh. That sounds like no feud at all, of
course. And for the rest of the interview O`Reilly argued with Laura
Ingraham about bible thumping. Here is where I find myself completely
comfortably in full agreement with Mr. Bill O`Reilly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: Why did you use the word thump? Why did you use the word
thump?

O`REILLY: Because that`s the way you get it across. There are bible
thumpers, and all they do is say I object to gay marriage because God
objects to it. You don`t win a policy debate in America with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Bill O`Reilly is of course completely right, and yes, FOX
News you can use that clip in your promos from now on. You can base any
belief you want on something you think is in the bible, but you are very
unlikely to win a political argument using the bible in America, O`Reilly
is right about that. That`s all O`Reilly was trying to say. And by saying
it, he created a real rift in the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh, Laura
Ingraham and many others think O`Reilly never should have said that.

But Republican Charles Krauthammer came on O`Reilly show last night
and took Bill`s side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I think you were right to
say it, and the reason is this. It is a serious argument. I have complete
respect for anybody who says I am against abortion or against homosexual
marriage because I believe in the bible. That I respect completely and I
don`t argue. However, if you want to persuade people not of your faith,
you have to go beyond that or you will not succeed.

O`REILLY: You think of it, if it were thump, I would have been better
off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Send me your synonyms for thump on twitter and facebook
and I will read some good ones on the show tomorrow.

Now, here was Rush Limbaugh`s none feuding reaction to O`Reilly and
Krauthammer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Charles Krauthammer was on FOX
last night, and he said that Bill O`Reilly was perfectly correct in calling
people that object to gay marriage because of their biblical beliefs bible
thumpers. So if Doctor Krauthammer says, he said O`Reilly said the right
thing. So, bible thumpers is now the stamp of approval, it is the way to
characterize those people who are opposing gay marriage or any social issue
because of their religious beliefs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Bible thumpers. Now, listen to what O`Reilly said as his
argument with Laura Ingraham continued.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: I am not mad at you, I am frustrated because, you of all of
the radio, and I`m going to say this Laura. Don`t listen. Don`t Listen.

INGRAHAM: OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: All right, stop it here. This is really cool. Let me
explain something to you. When he turns and says I`m going to say don`t
listen, don`t listen, he`s saying that to his producers, to his handlers
who have told him not to go there, not to go where he is about to go, OK?
Now listen to where he goes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: I`m frustrated because you of all of the radio, and I`m
going to say this to Laura, don`t listen, don`t listen, of all of the
conservative radio talk show hosts, you have the most common sense of all
of them.

INGRAHAM: OK. Now they are all going to hate me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: No, they`re not going to hate Laura Ingraham. And they
are not going to hate Bill O`Reilly because they already do. Bill O`Reilly
just said that Laura Ingraham is a better radio talk show host than Rush
Limbaugh. He threw in all of the conservative radio talk show hosts in a
line where all he really had to do is tell Laura that she has common sense.
She is very smart. And that`s why this is frustrating for him. Instead,
Bill O`Reilly had to compare her to all the rest of right wing radio nuts.
And whenever you talk about right wing radio, you are talking about Rush
Limbaugh because he is the number one guy in right wing radio. He has the
biggest audience by a mile over anyone else in political talk radio. So,
that sentence was designed to insult Rush Limbaugh directly, and Bill
O`Reilly`s handlers didn`t want him to go there. But just as importantly,
guess who has the number two rated radio show in right wing radio? That`s
right, this guy.

Sean Hannity, the guy who is the second highest rated FOX News host
and whose show comes on right after the number one rated FOX News show, the
"O`Reilly Factor," and yes, O`Reilly hates Sean Hannity, too.

Laura Ingraham who performs the daily miracle of remaining friendly
with both Rush Limbaugh and Bill O`Reilly, which by the way makes her a
legitimate candidate for ambassador to United Nations in the next
Republican administration, Laura Ingraham ended the interview with a
display of her diplomatic skills trying to patch things up between Bill
O`Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

INGRAHAM: You and Rush should do a tour, it should be called bigger
better, you should tour together and just do it across the country.

O`REILLY: I`m not going to mention anything about anything because I
am not feuding.

O`DONNELL: No, not feuding at all.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I made some mistakes but there are mistakes I take
full responsibility for. I was hired to teach the boys the game of
basketball and I did that to the best of my ability. I apologize for
nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was academy award winning actor Gene Hackman in 1986
playing a coach Norman Dale who took over the Hoosiers basketball team
after he had been fired and banned from the NCAA for assaulting one of his
players.

Here is Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE RICE, FORMER RUTGERS UNIVERSITY BASKETBALL TEAM COACH: In some
time maybe I`ll try to explain it, but right now, there`s no explanation
for what`s on the films because there is no excuse for it, I was wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A former Rutgers employee showed those films to Rutgers
officials in November, prompting the athletic director to fine and suspend
coach Rice. After that video aired on ESPN yesterday, public pressure
prompted Rutgers to fire the coach today.

Governor Chris Christie released a statement reading Rutgers has done
the right thing by firing Mister Rice, but that still doesn`t resolve
questions how he was allowed to continue overseeing college students after
this behavior first came to the attention of Rutgers administration last
year.

Joining me now, executive producer of the Rachel Maddow show and
former NCAA athlete Bill Wolff.

What was your NCAA athletic status?

BILL WOLFF, RACHEL MADDOW SHOW PRODUCER: I was a Tidily winks star,
as water polo player, Lawrence, as you know.

O`DONNELL: I was an NCAA baseball player, just freshman here.

WOLFF: I know about you. I read your Wikipedia. I remember reading
that.

O`DONNELL: Really? Listen. I played in high school football,
baseball, basketball in the 1970s. And the stuff I see on that video and
the stuff that Gene Hackman did off screen in that movie is stuff that was
still around in the coaching world in the 1970s. I never had one of those
coaches, but they were around.

WOLFF: Yes, they are still around.

O`DONNELL: I`m surprised they`re still around.

WOLFF: No. They are around, guys are maniacs, guys are what they
call strict disciplinarian. But, the difference between all of those and
this guy, is that this guy used -- well, first of all, he was physically
abusive, that`s not (INAUDIBLE) anymore.

O`DONNELL: No.

WOLFF: And secondly --

O`DONNELL: No. It was fading out during my time.

WOLFF: Yes. But also, he used bigoted slurs.

O`DONNELL: Right.

WOLFF: And it is not acceptable. That is unacceptable. You replaced
the two syllable F word gay slur with another ethnic slur, this outcome
would not be in doubt. And no one would argue about it.

O`DONNELL: Now, you were busy during the 9:00 hour, so you missed
Sean Hannity on this subject. Listen to him now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I don`t like it. He kicked one player
there. But on the other hand, you know what, I kind of like old fashioned
discipline, on the other hand. I mean, become that politically incorrect,
these are adults, don`t want to play for the team, leave. Maybe we need
more discipline in society, and maybe we don`t have to be wimps the rest of
our lives. My father hit me with the belt. I turned out OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, I guess that settles that.

WOLFF: I take him at his word. He has the right to say that,
certainly.

O`DONNELL: He certainly does. But, that`s a representation of the
old school. This was also, by the way, a drill instructor thinking during
basic training. We`re going to be deliberately abusive to these guys
because we need to break them down as you build them up.

WOLFF: Well, and there`s a purpose to that. It also it makes you
emotionally tougher if your feelings are hurt but you press on, you learned
not to be emotional while you were participating in athletics and that`s
useful. Also, if the whole team hates the coach, that can be a useful
bonding, too. But the coach is the leader of the organization. Leaders of
organizations must be exemplary. And this is not exemplary behavior.

O`DONNELL: And what you`re watching is a crime. That`s called
assault and battery, the stuff he is doing. I mean, he is not decking
them. There`s no blood. But you can`t do that to people. There`s no
legal way to do that.

WOLFF: It is not exemplary. It is a public institution that takes
public money, and so politics do matter here. And, and he wasn`t
successful. He wasn`t successful. That`s the bottom line. That he was
lost there.

O`DONNELL: You are getting tonight`s "Last Word." But before you go,
I want to use you.

WOLFF: Yes.

O`DONNELL: I want to use to tease, as we say n the business.

WOLFF: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night`s show, guess who is going to be sitting in
that chair tomorrow night? Oh, you know what, he is the kind of guy. He
might take this chair because it is kind of up to him when he is on a set.

Mister Martin Short is going to be here in the Last Word as a guest
and possibly co-host, who knows.

WOLFF: He`s Canadian.

O`DONNELL: You`re going to watch the show--

WOLFF: Check his papers.

O`DONNELL: And Chris Hayes is of course up next.

END

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