'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, August 19th, 2013
Read the transcript to the Monday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
August 19, 2013
Guests: Ari Melber, Richard Wolffe, Steve Schmidt, Jim Bazinski, David McFarland, Lewis Black
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Today began with Ted Cruz`s Senate press
secretary trying to deny that the senator has ever been a Canadian citizen.
And just minutes ago Ted Cruz was forced to announce that he will
officially renounce his Canadian citizenship that his staff tried to
pretend he never had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: There are many problems in
life that we can`t fix.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hillary Clinton`s early engagement in the 2016
ROBERT GIBBS, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I as a strategist
am fairly floored.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will she regret laying the groundwork?
GIBBS: She has decided to enter the public fray so quickly.
CLINTON: I saw other countries take steps to increase voter participation.
GIBBS: I as a strategist am fairly floored.
CLINTON: There is no reason we cannot do the same here in America.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC`S THE DAILY RUNDOWN: Moving on to the other guy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris Christie. Chris Christie.
TODD: Signaling he`s ready for 2016 to start now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie will sign a law to ban gay conversion
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Ban conversion therapy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a loony-loony thing.
HENDERSON: He`s certainly already beginning --
TODD: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie`s effort --
HENDERSON: -- what looks like a presidential campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the current Republican Party someone like him can`t
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christie has a big problem.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The party in the northeast is shrinking
almost down to nothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The party is open to support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Successful parties are about building great coalitions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Moderate Republicans, conservatives, libertarians and
TODD: Establishment candidate team Chris Christie.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Did I stay on topic? Are you stupid?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Libertarian-slash-conservative.
PAUL: Libertarian Republicans like myself.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: An emergency committee of the neo cons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got to stand up and fight and win the argument.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: They see Obamacare as a big violation.
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC`S MORNING JOE: A real divide within the Republican
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Successful parties are about building great coalitions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a party of inclusion.
JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: At least from the point of view of
Republican strategists in Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight on the question of whether Ted
Cruz is now or ever has been a Canadian citizen. That question provoked a
strangely indefinite response, not from Cruz himself but from his staff
earlier today after the "Dallas Morning News" reported this.
"Born in Canada to an American mother, Ted Cruz became an instant U.S.
citizen, but under Canadian law he also became a citizen of that country
the moment he was born. Unless the Texas Republican senator formally
renounces that citizenship, he will remain a citizen of both countries,
legal experts say."
Ted Cruz released his Canadian birth certificate in response to inquiries
from the "Dallas Morning News." Today Ted Cruz`s Senate press secretary
released this oddly worded statement.
"To our knowledge, he never had Canadian citizenship."
Now when a senator`s staff speaking for the senator says, "to our
knowledge," everything that follows that is a statement that everyone in
that Senate office knows might have to be quickly revised, and so it has
The "Washington Post" is now reporting that Ted Cruz will renounce his
Canadian citizenship. Cruz said, "Now the `Dallas Morning News` says that
I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true, then sure,
I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I`m
an American by birth and as a U.S. senator I believe I should be only an
American because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when
I was 4, and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because
I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship. I
assumed that was the end of the matter. Given the raft of stories today
about my birth certificate, it must be a slow news day."
Hillary Clinton`s political future continues to fascinate the political
media, and she has done nothing to avert their -- to divert their attention
to anything else about her future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIBBS: I as a strategist am fairly floored that she has decided to enter
the public fray so quickly. She can do the foundation work. She could do
issue work. She could build a campaign. She could develop a message
without having to be so far out front of there.
Bill Clinton got into because we ran primaries very late in the earlier
`90s, you know, he gets in in the fall of 1991 for a 1992 election, and I
would have thought that would be the path she would more appropriately --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And she basically --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Robert Gibbs on "Meet the Press" yesterday reacting to
Hillary Clinton`s speech last week on voting rights and reacting to Chuck
Todd saying this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TODD: I am surprised in this first year that she is getting political this
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really?
TODD: And laying the groundwork this quickly. I really thought she was
going to take -- you have sky-high bipartisan approval ratings. You come
off foreign policy, it`s the least political of the offices to hold. Why
not hold on to that as long as you can?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Meanwhile, "The New York Times" reports that Chris Christie`s
advisers are hoping that he can secure a decisive re-election win in
November and keep on running for the 2016 Republican presidential
nomination. If he beats State Senator Barbara Buono in his re-election
campaign, he will then become the chairman of the Republican Governors
Association. That`s the perfect perch for a governor with presidential
Presidential fever is spreading among Republicans now, including defeated
former Massachusetts senator, Scott Brown, who Elizabeth Warren sent into
early retirement. Brown was in Iowa for its state fair this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT BROWN (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR: I`d put my national
security credentials of 34 years in the military, a colonel still serving
at the Pentagon, and also my fiscal conservatism against anybody in the
country`s, put my experience in public service, business, and military
against any of the people that are considering running for higher office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC`s Krystal Ball, Ari Melber, and Richard
Krystal, my script about Ted Cruz`s Canadian citizenship about 45 minutes
KRYSTAL BALL, MNSBC`S "THE CYCLE": Yes.
O`DONNELL: Had this little thing in it about, you know, when the staff
says, "to our knowledge," the clock is ticking on when that statement has
to be amended. And bingo, we now have it. Ted Cruz admitting he`s got a
Canadian citizenship issue that he`s got to get resolved.
BALL: Lawrence, proven right once again. I have to say, though, you know,
they`ve got some pretty good health benefits up there in Canada. He might
want to hold on to those.
BALL: In case he and his Tea Party brethren actually succeed at blowing up
Obamacare. But it certainly lays to rest any speculation that maybe he`s
not considering running for president. He certainly wanted to clear that
up very quickly. And of course it is incredibly, incredibly delicious that
the Tea Party savior has a birth certificate citizenship cloud over his
O`DONNELL: And I think, Ari Melber, we are now on the verge of discovering
just how rabid on the citizenship question the Tea Party types really are,
just how many of them are going to continue -- or even begin to challenge
Ted Cruz over his Canadian birth certificate even though they continued to
challenge President Obama over his American birth certificate long after
they`d had it in their hands.
ARI MELBER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I guess not all birther
controversies are created equal. I -- you know, and that plays to race and
a lot of problems, among some of the grassroots on that side. I think
that, you know, nothing against Canada is a great campaign slogan. I think
he could build on this, really make that part of his international bona
But I think it speak to something that`s actually happening obviously in
both parties, which is, as you just played the sound from former press
Robert Gibbs, this is by any historical standard the earliest we`ve seen
people in both parties make these moves. It makes more sense, actually, on
the Republican side, where there is a vacuum and you can`t be too early,
where you have this competition.
But with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden both in the news this week you see
it`s never too early for presidential politics for a lot of these folks.
O`DONNELL: And Richard Wolffe, what -- how do you see this issue that`s
developed? We saw on "Meet the Press" this weekend talking about the
surprise that Hillary Clinton is so obviously and kind of openly running
As you know, Richard, on this show panelists are not allowed to even
consider the possibility that Hillary is not already running.
But do -- we`re well ahead --
BALL: Bear that in mind.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But does she have to make it so
O`DONNELL: It`s an interesting media reaction. And what -- I mean, it
seems that no one is struggling against the idea that people on the
Republican side can make it obvious. Why is Hillary Clinton under some
kind -- or should she be under any kind of limitation on making it obvious?
WOLFFE: She shouldn`t be under any limitation at all. And to be fair, you
know, we`re talking about world affairs and foreign policy. It`s actually
very different from laying the groundwork for a national domestic political
campaign, where as a Clinton, the world has moved on somewhat since those
days when both she ran for president and her husband was president.
So she does have some work to do. But going out this early does suggest
that she`s a little bit needier than, frankly, most people in the party,
either at the activist level or the grassroots, thinks she needs to be.
She has massive support. If she does indeed do what we all think she`s
already doing, which is declare her candidacy for president, she doesn`t
have to prove very much at all.
She could do this later. She could run into less wind shear later. But as
a Clinton, as a Hillary Clinton, especially, that wind shear is inevitable.
O`DONNELL: And Krystal, is there any way for her to win on this point? I
mean, if she was playing it much more coy might there be commentators out
there just infuriated that she`s playing it so coy?
BALL: Of course. Absolutely. No matter what she did there would be
scrutiny and there would be second-guessing about it. And I mean, I think
from her perspective she wants to make sure that she`s in position to win
the Obama coalition. I mean, we`ve had young people, we`ve had minorities
show up in strong numbers two times for President Obama but it`s not
totally clear that they will be showing up the next time around for whoever
the Democratic president is.
So I think she wants to make sure she has that coalition behind them, that
she`s speaking to them and cultivating them early. Personally I think it`s
a bold move and I`m glad that she`s making it.
O`DONNELL: I want to read you something the "Wall Street Journal" reported
about Joe Biden. "Political allies of Vice President Joe Biden have
concluded that he can win the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination even
if Hillary Clinton enters the contest and are considering steps he could
take to prepare for a potential candidacy."
Ari Melber, do we have any takers on Joe Biden getting the nomination over
ARI MELBER, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Literally? As Joe Biden would say.
I think he literally has some trouble here for a number of reasons. And
this is the part where I disagree slightly with what`s been said here by my
esteemed dinner panel guests.
WOLFFE: Thank you.
MELBER: Which is it is a little different when you have an incumbent
president who hasn`t even hit the midterms yet. And while Hillary is now
an independent private citizen and has worked hard and is free now to give
speeches like the one she gave on voting rights last week at the American
bar association, which was a tremendous endorsement of renewing the Voting
Rights Act and an attack on what`s happening in North Carolina, welcomed
part of this debate.
Joe Biden`s first and only job is the job that we the taxpayers are paying
for, which is serving as number 2 in the White House. And so if he is
personally approving these kind of stories, even though politics is
politics, I`ve got it think some people including potentially the president
feel that he ought to cool it for a little while. We don`t need to
contribute they might say to an environment of lame duckness.
O`DONNELL: Ari Melber, I want to get to Colonel Brown. That is, former
senator Scott Brown out in Iowa this weekend reminding us that he`s been in
the military reserves for, I guess, 34 years and there`s a qualification
right there for being commander in chief. Do Rand Paul and Chris Christie
and the other hopefuls have much to worry about from Colonel Brown?
MELBER: Well, it`s too easy. I mean, I don`t think there`s a big appetite
for Massachusetts losers in the Republican primaries. It was a tough sell
last time. I think it`s a tougher one now because he did get his clock
cleaned. On important issues, by the way. On the question of populist
economics and regulating the banks by Elizabeth Warren, as you mentioned.
No, I don`t think the conversation includes him in a serious way.
Rand Paul standing for a sometimes hypocritical libertarian wing. Chris
Christie clearly having a big personality. I don`t think Brown is a big,
big figure here.
O`DONNELL: And Richard Wolffe, it seems that Chris Christie may have
already tactically decided that the Paul family is condemned in Republican
presidential primaries to getting something like 8 percent of the delegates
at most by kind of hanging in there and never actually winning a state but,
you know, amassing a few delegates here and there.
And Chris Christie seems to think that Rand Paul might be useful as someone
he can play off of to show himself to be the reasonable man in the
WOLFFE: Yes, he might have gone through some rational tactical strategic
decisions or he might just be popping up because he feels like it. I mean,
I don`t know there --
O`DONNELL: There`s always that.
MELBER: There is that.
WOLFFE: I don`t know how you can read that as a strategy other than the
guy tacks one way one week and then he`s in another one the next week. So
for all of those assertions of confidence and the bombast here you`ve got a
guy who vetoes gun control one week and then does something supposedly pro,
you know, equal rights for LGBT community and the next week -- you know,
the one consistency here is that he has some personal animus against the
Paul family. I don`t know where that takes him in the sense that he is
still trying to prove that he`s a real conservative and at the same time
prove that he`s not a scary conservative. I don`t think there`s much rhyme
or reason to it at this point other than he`s obviously flirting with it
and still very much very much wants to his cards in after this
O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball, Ari Melber, and Richard Wolffe, thank you all for
joining me tonight.
BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Lewis Black is here tonight to audition, to see if
he could become my John Oliver. Get ready for "Lewis Black the Anchorman."
OK now, quickly Quick quiz. Who is the reasonable one on the question of
shutting down the government? A, Ted Cruz? Or B, Rand Paul? Tweet your
answer, and we will tell you who`s right. That`s coming up in the next
And when is a kiss a bad example for Russian children? How about this
case? Isn`t this exactly what the Russian government is afraid of seeing
at the Olympics? That is a picture of two Russian runners who won a relay
race this weekend in Moscow.
More on the Russian anti-gay laws coming up.
LEWIS BLACK, COMEDIAN: Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will join
President Obama for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the
historic march on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.`s "I Have a
Dream" speech, which I was at, by the way. The three will join the King
family in ringing bells at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up, the Republican Party divide. Really?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: A healthy family debate is not a bad thing
at all. And I really -- I really believe that. I don`t think at a time
where we just came off of a presidential election that having a party that
is just dull and boring is something that is good for not just our party
but for this country. So I think that the debates are good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Another day, another fight within the Republican Party. Some
Republicans led by Tea Party senators Mike Lee, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz,
have been trying to defund the Affordable Care Act by threatening a
government shutdown. First Republican North Carolina senator Richard Burr
calls it "the dumbest idea I`ve ever heard of." and now rand Paul says
PAUL: I don`t think shutting down the government is a good idea. People
want us to stand up and fight. I`m willing to stand up and fight. We
should use the leverage of controlling 1/3 of the government. We don`t
control all of the government. But Republicans control the House of
Representatives. They should stand up, use that power to at the very least
make this job less bad, delay it, do something we can to protect the
American public from this law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Steve Schmidt.
Steve, is every debate within a political party necessarily a healthy
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I don`t know whether the
debate we`re having is healthy or not, other than to say, Lawrence, we`re
going to have a Titanic fight inside the Republican Party as we approach
2016. There were very different issues that are being offered by these
candidates. Very different visions, very different world views.
Libertarian approach of Rand Paul, you see Ted Cruz with his political
outreach to key party Republicans, Chris Christie. So I just think it`s
going to be a knockdown fight to the nomination in this -- in this cycle
and we`re going to see it start very, very early.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at what`s happening within the party now.
Tea Party patriots running online ads against senators like Lindsey Graham
on the issue of Obamacare. Let`s look at this one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Graham, conservatives don`t need a chicken when
it comes to Obamacare. You said it yourself. Well, now it`s become a big
F-ing mess for the Democratic Party and the country as a whole.
Avoid the mess. Be a leader who will fight to defund it now. Call Lindsey
Graham and tell him if you fund it you own it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Steve, given that this Obamacare is going to be with us no
matter what Lindsey Graham does, to have part of the Republican Party now
saying to Lindsey Graham, you own this thing, that we all, including
Lindsey Graham, want to criticize, seems like a horrible trap for the
Republican side here.
SCHMIDT: No, it`s not. It`s a sign of dysfunction within the party.
Look, Lawrence, when -- you know, one thing that all Republicans agree on
is they don`t like Obamacare very much. From the left of the party to the
right of the party. But the reality is, is Obamacare is here to stay.
There`s not a plausible path offered by Senator Lee, Senator Cruz to repeal
Obamacare with the tactics that they`re proposing.
You listen to Ted Cruz speak on this, it`s like signing up for the
Pickett`s charge the day after they did the first one. This will be a
political disaster for Republicans. And when you see the party and
interest groups, the ones that are funding the ads against Lindsey Graham,
doing that on an issue that we all agree on, that`s just a sign of problems
in the party. No doubt about it.
O`DONNELL: What do you make of the difference between Senator Cruz and
Senator Rand Paul over this? Rand Paul taking obviously the more mature
view of the situation.
SCHMIDT: Well, look, I think Rand Paul is coming to the conclusion that
you have to be able to articulate a pragmatic worldview to be taken
seriously as a presidential candidate. He can`t run in the exact same
space that his father ran in and possibly hope to be the Republican
nominee. Let -- let alone win actual primary contests.
So I think you`re trying to see -- Rand Paul is trying to find ways to
temper himself, to make himself look pragmatic when it comes to, is this
guy capable of actually being commander in chief in the eyes of Republican
primary voters. And I think Ted Cruz, it`s all about the politics.
If he`s out there appealing to a talk radio base, this is what they want to
hear, they don`t want to be told that Obamacare is here to stay, they don`t
want to be told that in fact there`s nothing that can be done, the
president controls the executive branch and he`s never going to repeal
They just don`t want to hear it. So he exists in that world. He`s gaining
currency in that world. We`ll see if it`s durable as a coalition in a
Republican primary process where electability has always driven the ballot
in a Republican presidential primary.
O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
SCHMIDT: You bet. My pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Lewis Black is here, as you now know. And as you
know, Lewis Black has problems. Many problems. And one of his biggest
problems is with Rick Perry and Rick Perry`s Texas. That`s coming up.
Two Russian women kissed when they won a relay race this weekend in Moscow.
And thanks to Russia`s anti-gay laws that kiss is now a worldwide
phenomenon. Coming up.
O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, the Olympics and Russia`s anti-gay
laws. Over the weekend we had a preview of what we might be seeing during
the Winter Olympics in Russia. At the world track and field championships
in Moscow this weekend Russia`s women won a relay race. And while on the
winner`s podium the women shared celebratory kisses.
As the world began to wonder if Russian athletes are now mounting their own
public protests against Russia`s anti-gay laws, one of the women pictured
here told "The Guardian" newspaper, quote, "It was just happiness for our
team. Yulia and I are both married."
Yesterday the Russian Sports minister called the continuing controversy an
invented problem by the Western media. "We don`t have a law to band
nontraditional sexual relations. The mass media in the west have focused
much more on this law, more than they do in Russia. We want to protect our
younger generation whose physicality has not been formulated." It is a law
striving to protect rights of children and not intended to deprive anybody
of their private life.
Joining me now is David McFarland, founder of united for equality in sports
and entertainment, and Jim Bazinski, co-founder of outsports.com.
David, what I was struck by in that kiss, that now world famous kiss and
the story around it, is that one of the women in that kiss says, look,
there`s nothing to be talking about here because each of us women are
married to men. But if you look at exactly the same picture, say, in the
Olympics and neither of the women involved in a picture like that issues a
statement saying that she is married to a man, what have we then in that
DAVID MCFARLAND, FOUNDER, UNITED FOR EQUALITY IN SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT:
That`s right, Lawrence.
You know, you make a really good point. I mean, the reality is that what
we are dealing with in Russia is centered around human rights, right? It`s
major human rights violations against our LGBT brothers and sisters. And
it`s also, you know, horrific and unacceptable what`s happening there.
But really what`s playing out in front of us and what we`re talking about
here in the United States and abroad is two very separate events happening
simultaneously at the same time. One being human rights violations against
our LGBT brothers and sisters. And it`s being put on the stage in front of
us centered around the Olympics.
And we talked about sport in general being a platform to talk about issues
like this, to really create social change. And the reality is that we sort
of call -- this was probably going to happen around the world championships
and it did.
And so what you`re seeing in front of us playing out is this overwhelming
desire for people across the world, particularly athletes and our allies,
to speak out against these draconian laws that have been put in place in
O`DONNELL: And Jim, that picture just proves the insanity of this Russian
law, because it says you can`t in any way suggest to children that anything
gay is OK. Now, that picture was seen by children. And it was not
communicated to every child who saw that picture that two women are married
to men, whether these two women are in love with each other, and surely
there will be similar pictures coming out of the Olympics, and they will be
-- that kind of imagery will be in violation of the Russian law.
JIM BAZINSKI, CO-FOUNDER, OUTSPORTS.COM: Well, I would love if we see more
of that kind of imagery. But it probably does violate their rules against
homosexual propaganda because you`re right, even if it was -- they
inadvertently did it to celebrate they still sent the message to people
that what is the context of the kiss? And until the one runner spoke about
it I think everyone assumed it was a protest of the anti-gay law.
But I think these kinds of protests are the kinds of things we need to see
from athletes, kind of more after their events are over because I don`t
expect them to do -- they don`t want to risk being sanctioned by the IOC.
But you know, there`s kind of -- that`s kind of a silent protest, but it`s
a very demonstrative protest. And you had an American runner who won a
silver medal in the 800 meters, Nick Symmonds, and afterward he publicly
thanked his gay and lesbian friends and family back home and he did it on
Russian media, which was a really powerful statement to make.
O`DONNELL: David, Jim just raises one of the delicate points here, which
is the IOC`s reaction to this and the possibility of the IOC actually,
international Olympic committee, actually trying to sanction an athlete for
any expression of real love and gay love to a partner of any kind in public
during these Olympics. If the IOC does that, I really don`t see how the
IOC will be able to continue to function beyond those Olympics.
MCFARLAND: That`s right. You`re absolutely right, Lawrence. I mean, the
reality is here that what we`re beginning to see above and beyond the
protests and the outcry around this issue are now, you know, motions by
governments beginning to speak out.
The reality is today we saw the United Nations come out with a statement
basically denouncing the anti-gay laws in Russia. So we`re going to begin
to see this pressure not only from the United Nations but from leaders all
across the world to put pressure on the IOC and actually, quite frankly,
other Olympic committees across the world to deal with this issue and to
deal with it in a meaningful, constructive way.
O`DONNELL: Jim McFarland -- no, David McFarland and Jim Bozinski, thank
you both for joining me tonight.
MCFARLAND: Thank you.
BAZINSKI: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: My next guest is going to be Lewis Black. But that`s going to
be coming up after the rewrite tonight.
And John Oliver is in the rewrite tonight in a big way because he has
rewritten the future of "the daily show." it`s coming up.
LEWIS BLACK, ACTOR: A Rasmussen poll released Sunday asked the question,
is the United States winning the war on drugs? Ha, ha, ha. Eighty-two
percent of American adults surveyed do not believe the U.S. is winning the
war on drugs, while just four percent believe it is. Another 13 percent
are undecided or did so many drugs they didn`t remember to vote, 44 percent
of Americans in this poll believe marijuana should be legalized, 42 percent
say pot should not be legal, and 88 percent said they hadn`t smoked pot in
the last year. No. My poll doesn`t agree with that.
The rewrite is next, starring John Oliver.
O`DONNELL: We have breaking show business news tonight.
Comedy central has just rewritten the future of "the Daily Show." They
have renewed "the Daily Show" for another 30 years. Now, they haven`t made
a public announcement of that, but everyone in show business knows what
comedy central executives are thinking after watching John Oliver host the
show for two months. They`re thinking Jon Stewart is 50. If he stays in
the chair until the mandatory late-night retirement age of 66, which was
established by Johnny Carson, Jon Stewart will do another 16 years before
handing it over to John Oliver, who is 14 years younger than Jon Stewart.
So then John Oliver will do 14 years in the chair before he turns 66, and
that gives comedy central a minimum of 30 years of "the Daily Show" as we
But it could be even more than that because David Letterman is now 66 and
is obviously going to work long beyond the Johnny Carson retirement age.
So who knows how long Jon Stewart will hang in there?
Now, let`s take a fond look back at a summer`s worth of work by the man who
will probably be hosting "the Daily Show" 30 years from now, when Justin
Bieber turns 50.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome to "the Daily Show." I am John Oliver. And
let`s all just acknowledge for a moment that this is weird.
If you hadn`t heard by now, Jon Stewart is going to be away for the summer.
He`s gone to a small Italian village to learn how to cobble shoes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is very well said, Lewis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who the (bleep) are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn`t -- it`s a fair point. I apologize. Carry
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Celebrity chef Paula Deen is defending
herself this morning after admitting that years ago she used the n word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The n word? Which one did she use? Because I know it
wasn`t non-fat. Boom!
Last night just we went on air, the royal baby was born. So we pushed our
coverage to tonight. Tonight, just before Showtime there was breaking news
about Anthony Weiner`s penis. So we will cover Anthony Weiner`s penis
tomorrow, which, spoiler alert, is a lot more than Anthony Weiner has been
And finally, we have a member of the royal family with an actual excuse for
being a toothless, petulant, useless human being. That one could get me
into trouble back home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: A once proud American institution brought to
its knees by gross mismanagement and incompetent leadership. You know, you
wonder if it will ever again be the icon it once was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, but I mean, look, on the other hand, Sam, Detroit
is resilient. It will bounce back shortly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Detroit? No. I`m sorry. I`m talking about "the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. Jess, where exactly are you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m in front of Paula Deen`s house, John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s interesting. So, any developments on that
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m actually just here looking for a job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because let me be clear. I would much rather work
for an old lady who`s admitted to throwing the n word around than spend six
more minutes working for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave John Oliver alone. You`ve done a heck of a job,
buddy, and I`m proud of you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, Rob Riggle, thank you so much. Have you been
watching the show this summer?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
There are so many things about this summer. But I`ll miss you most of all,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Mr. Lewis black joins me next.
BLACK: Last night on a very special edition of "the Last Word" vampire
Bill Compton showed us a new way of handling political scandal. Telling
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is the book`s author, William Campton.
Thanks for being here, Bill.
WILLIAM CAMPTON, AUTHOR: Thank you for having me.
O`DONNELL: OK. So you are a God.
CAMPTON: I was a God.
O`DONNELL: You were a God.
O`DONNELL: Are you insane?
CAMPTON: Not at all, no.
O`DONNELL: Because I read your book and it reads like fiction.
CAMPTON: Well, that`s what makes it such a good read.
O`DONNELL: So it`s entirely true that you walked into the governor`s
mansion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and you ripped Truman Burrell`s head off?
CAMPTON: It`s not like he didn`t deserve it, Lawrence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Well, what can I possibly say? Coming up, what`s wrong with Texas?
This is a very, very long list. I don`t even know if we`re even going to -
- we could run overtime for all I know. Get ready.
O`DONNELL: Texas Governor Rick Perry picked a fight with New York last
week "Daily Show" contributor Lewis Black hit back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re tired of the same old recipe of over
taxation, overregulation, and frivolous litigation, get out before you go
RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Texas is calling.
BLACK: Texas is calling? Well, good thing I have got caller I.D.
BLACK: Listen, Texas, trying to steal jobs from Illinois and California
are one thing. But you`re going to try to trash talk about New York? Not
on my watch!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New York. The city that never sleeps. People
come here from all over the world for the freedom to live as they choose.
For the variety of cultures. But most of all, for the fact that it`s not
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is of course Lewis Black. His show "Lewis
Black: old yeller" will be live at the Borgata in Atlantic City on August
24th. You can watch it live on pay per view.
And Lewis, you know, when I watched the staff earlier today, I said you can
watch it live on pay per view, I said, well, you can watch it on some pay
per views, which ones? And now I`m looking at this fact sheet that says
this amazing thing. This will be the first ever live comedy special to air
simultaneously on all cable, satellite, and Telco platforms pretty much in
the world. It`s like every one that I`ve ever heard of.
And I have a question for you about that, which is who did you have to know
to get that to happen? And as you know, I have just paraphrased a show
business form of that question.
BLACK: Yes, you did.
O`DONNELL: Where the verb rhymes with know.
BLACK: Yes, exactly.
O`DONNELL: But you know what I mean. This is impossible --
BLACK: I don`t know --
O`DONNELL: You got on your knees and did what to make that happen?
BLACK: I have shamed myself through the entirety of my career. And what
was one more shame really for me? Seriously. And to be on in mother
Russia at this time of year really thrills me.
O`DONNELL: Yes, they are going to be thrilled. But listen, before we go
any further, there`s a new introductory question we have to have with "Last
Word" guests. And this, by the way, is going to be the preamble to taking
your oath now as United States senator. And that is, are you now or have
you ever been a Canadian?
BLACK: No, I`m not. I have too much of a genetic predisposition to irony
and sarcasm so, which is proof that.
O`DONNELL: Well, I gather that you would rather be a Canadian than a
Texan, which is the opposite choice that Ted Cruz apparently has made.
BLACK: Well, no, exactly. I don`t know -- there are certain places I
would be a Texan. But just in certain cities on certain streets. You
know, that way. And also, there are certain parts of Canada that I would
not -- no. You don`t want to -- Thunder Bay is nice, but you really don`t
want to be a citizen of Canada living in Thunder Bay or remote stretches of
Nova Scotia and New Finland.
O`DONNELL: So, about Texas and your little feud, you have got a feud going
here with Rick Perry. And which I think is a combination of your attitude
toward Texas and what Rick Perry doesn`t know about New York. Which would
you most like to instruct him on? Feel free to go in any direction you
BLACK: I would just like -- well, actually, I`d just like to instruct him
on -- I think if he`s got this time off from governor, maybe to kind of go
back to just -- it`s not even New York. Just go back to college and start
over and take really another four years and let`s look at the world again,
Rick. And this time try to memorize some stuff and pay attention in class
and things like that.
I mean, the fact that he may run for president again. If that happens, I
mean, as a comedian I`m thrilled. But as a citizen, I weep.
O`DONNELL: Now, speaking of college, you just gave your first commencement
address and we have a little piece of it here that I want the world to take
a look at.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Someone who believes since I was broke because I worked in theater
till I was 40 years old, I actually believe it is, and this is going to
shock some of the folks in the back, it`s a privilege to pay taxes. And --
yes! And it`s not a political question, folks because we have to pay for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Lewis, you know, I was broke. Maybe not for as long but for
maybe the first half of my work life. And I always said, I always kept
saying, I can`t wait to complain about paying taxes. I can`t wait to have
to pay taxes.
BLACK: Yes. It was really like -- it was amazing to me the first time.
Because I used to have that short short form where they just call you up
and see if you were breathing.
BLACK: And you were scraping things together. And so, the idea that I
could finally, you know, that they were taking money out and I was being
left money and that I could actually share money, I mean, you know, I
didn`t help pay for the streets. I didn`t help pay for the water bill. I
didn`t help pay for anything. So the idea that I could pay for a lot of
the stuff that needs to be paid for is -- was like joyous.
I mean, I don`t know when people drive over bridges who they think is going
to take that job to fix the bridges. What do you think, you know, that
they`re going to call you -- when the bridge goes they`re going to call you
up and say hey, bring your toolkit? You know, you have to pay for stuff.
It`s beyond my comprehension.
And what you don`t do if you`re an adult is decide that you`re going to
budget things through a sequester, which doesn`t even have to do -- what
does that word have to do with budgeting? It`s like if you have a family
budget and said you know, we don`t know what to take out economically from
the budget, so we`re going to whack out protein this week.
Now, I want to go back to something that I learned within this hour when
you were acting as my co-host, and you just kind of slipped in there. That
you were actually at Martin Luther King`s "I have a dream" speech.
BLACK: Yes. I was there. I was 14. And I had gone down with my folks
and then we kind of split up. I was supposed to meet them afterwards.
What was amazing was that, and the reason I`ll never, part of the reason
I`ll never forget it is you go to one of those -- one of the first big
marches I had been to, and you walked all the way -- I could walk all the
way down to the Lincoln memorial. I could walk down that, you know, down
that whole stretch between, you know, that was covered with people and I
walked all the way, literally, was no more than 100 yards, 75 yards when he
spoke. And I certainly don`t -- I remember it being overwhelming. I
remember it being -- went, wow, this is different than other people
speaking, this is -- I`m in the presence of something other -- I`m in the
presence of greatness. I`m in the presence of someone who`s speaking in a
fashion that I never -- I`m in the presence of a leader, of a real leader.
And a moral authority. And it was -- as a 14-year-old, it probably had a
profound amount in terms of changing my life.
O`DONNELL: Lewis Black gets tonight`s "Last Word."
Thank you very much, Lewis.
BLACK: Thank you, Lawrence. Have fun.
O`DONNELL: Lewis Black, old yeller. Old yeller will be -- you`ll be doing
it live at the Borgata in Atlantic City on August 24th, and it really can
be seen on every single pay per view system on the planet because Lewis
Black somehow made that happen.
Thank you, Lewis.
BLACK: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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