'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, December 19th, 2013
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
December 19, 2013
Guests: Frank Schaefer, Tim Schaefer
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Republicans don`t want to shut down the
government again. But they do want to shut down governing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president hasn`t signed the bipartisan
budget deal yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are officially done with any real
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there`s already a fight to fix it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s be realistic.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: We have a lot more work to do.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: We have income inequality.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inequality, minimum wage.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: We need to make working families our
UNIDENTIFIED MAEL: The budget is the minimum.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s this culpable sense of frustration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is about obstruction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans, and have moved so far to the right.
UNIDEENTIFIED MALE: Congress is at 9 percent. This is an effect of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don`t like the deals. They don`t like
REID: The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the middle-class
is getting squeezed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans have moved so far to the right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no such thing as free lunch.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Georgia Congressman --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jack Kingston.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- thinks low income students.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- should work for their school lunch.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you balance politics with the legacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The increasingly dim prospects.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am very skeptical.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uncompromising Congress.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That this is some new era of bipartisanship.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In an election year.
SCHUMER: Smell the coffee.
DURBIN: We`ve got to give these working families a fighting chance
SCHUMER: The world is changing. The 2010 elections don`t govern
O`DONNELL: Cooperation on Capitol Hill between Republicans,
Democrats is over. It happened like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: Madam President, at this time I
would ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to consideration of
calendar number 265, S.1845, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Extension Act with no intervening action or debate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there objection?
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Madam President?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The senator, Republican whip?
CORNYN: Madam President, it`s unfortunate that the Senate schedule
is chock-full of pending cloture motions that are controversial or
completely non-urgent nominations. So, I would -- ask the senator to -- to
amend his consent request, to say the pending cloture motions on
nominations be withdrawn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went to Twitter do
plain what just happened. "Republicans are holding unemployment insurance
extension hostage to an unreasonable demand that we withdraw all pending
votes on nominations first. Senator McConnell claims we`re pushing
nonessential nominees wrong. The heads of Air Force, DHS, and Fed, are
essential. Let`s do our job.
Congress is finishing this year, less popular than a cockroach.
Mindless knee jerk obstruction from Republicans is exactly why."
Republicans are angry they cannot add amendments to the bill
extending unemployment insurance on the floor. Congress missed the
deadline to extend benefits for more than a million unemployed Americans
who lose benefits on December 28th. The bill to extend unemployment
insurance has a Republican and Democratic sponsor, Democrat Jack Reed of
Rhode Island and Republican Dean Heller from Nevada.
Today, Senator Schumer gave this warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: The extension of unemployment benefits will be the next
test in the fight between the hard right and mainstream conservatives in
the Republican Party. They should be aware that tectonic plates of our
politics are changing, because the decline of middle class incomes and the
difficulty and average people getting good paying jobs has overtaken the
deficit as number one problem facing our political economy today. Issues
like job creation, minimum wage, and unemployment insurance are going to
weigh on the mind of voters far more than Obamacare by the time the 2014
elections roll around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Eugene Robinson, of "The Washington
Post," and David Corn of "Mother Jones". Both MSNBC contributors.
Gene, this kind of thing is always fascinating for met to watch,
these procedural moves on the Senate floor, because it used to be a place
of routine. It`s almost never did a leader ask for unanimous consent on
anything and not get it, because it was prewired. They had figured it out.
And the Senate did most of its business unanimously.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Who came up with this routine?
Was it you? You used to work there --
O`DONNELL: Well, you know, Harry Reid has been quietly grinding out
these nomination confirmations, using up the clock, because Republicans are
forcing him to do that. And takes a long time to get each one of them
done, makes them more precious.
So, the Republicans today thought they had a way of stopping him from
doing more of these nominations. By saying, you want to move off to
unemployment. OK. Pull away. All of these nominations, you already have
in the procedural pipeline here.
Harry Reid didn`t want to do that.
ROBINSON: No, he doesn`t want to do that.
O`DONNELL: Including, by the way, chairman of the Federal Reserve,
serious stuff there.
ROBINSON: These are not nonessential jobs. These are not non-urgent
jobs. In fact, Ben Bernanke is out of here, right. You need a head of
Fed. We need the heads of the other agencies.
You know, what happened to comity, and kumbaya a couple weeks ago,
right? I mean, we`re all --
O`DONNELL: Well, they just passed a budget, though.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, that was in the House, not in the
CORN: We went through this, you know, bizarro flip where the Senate
became, you know, the bad --
O`DONNELL: They got a dozen Republicans on that budget bill. That
CORN: Actually, you have, I think, heartening to see, Dean Heller,
Republican from Nevada is sponsoring the unemployment bill.
You know, in some ways it seems to me we argue about the Senate rules
and how they get slow things down look they do today. But we live in a
24/7, nanosecond by nanosecond world. The rule, everything has to have 30
hours of debate. The world is moving faster than it did when it came into
being, when you were back in the Senate. Seems look we should have a whole
overhaul of how the Senate does business.
You know, we pay these guys to work, and if they want to block things
through a film buster have enough votes to do it. Fine. But, you know,
dragging things out. Delaying things, there is stuff to be done, whether
it`s unemployment benefits or nominations really seems anachronistic. It`s
not cooling the cup anymore. Like, they used to say. It is just making,
just clogging up the pipes.
ROBINSON: There has to be time for senators who arrive by horse and
O`DONNELL: Yes, exactly right. But, Gene, once again though, what
all this does is draw attention to the fact that they have not extended the
unemployment benefits. And the weird thing about this is, even if the
Republicans let the vote go in the Senate today, it wouldn`t change
anything. The House wouldn`t do anything.
So, the Republican senators could have let it go quietly. Instead
they make a big stink.
ROBINSON: Right. They make a big deal. So, what are they going to
gain out of it? I`m not quite sure what, what the potential gain is. We
all know that Mitch McConnell and the primary challenge from the Tea Party
So, he has to be kind of right on these issues or far right on these
issues. But he could have his vote. And just let the thing go through.
CORN: I actually think that there has been an ideological shift, not
just because -- worry about primaries. I think the energy of the party now
is with this libertarian force that really is against this.
When you have Rand Paul out there saying, listen, if you give people
more than 26 weeks, it hurts them. And they don`t go looking for jobs.
And this patronizing, condescending view towards the unemployed, which was
I think it has become kind of the majority position. It`s what Paul
Ryan was talking about in his speech at the convention last year.
So, it`s not just -- you know -- matter of what, makes sense
politically. I think idea logically, they are against, not all of them,
but a lot of them are against helping Americans in this fashion.
O`DONNELL: But this would -- when you have a Republican co-sponsor
in the Senate, it`s very clear this would pass if you could let it go to a
John McCain said something about this today, that encapsulated his
frustrations about it. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: So now I`m sure those on the other
side of the aisle are going to go out and say, oh, the Republicans. Look
at them. They won`t even agree to extension of unemployment insurance.
Won`t you let us have an amendment? Won`t you at least let us have
debate and vote on an amendment? There are some of us who think the
program could be improved, to help those who are unemployed.
But no, the way the Senate runs today is that it`s either take it or
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, I have some sympathies for the position. Harry Reid
structured this so that they can`t offer an amendment.
But it`s because of what Harry Reid has been through with the guys on
everything else. It used to be you could offer amendments to everything in
the Senate because these amendments were not trying to be procedurally
prohibitive, which is what they do now.
ROBINSON: Exactly. I mean, how many repeal Obamacare amendments do
you think would be attached to unemployment insurance. I mean, it`s -- you
CORN: Well -- if you look at -- you know, where the obstructionism
began. It`s really clear, I mean, I almost feel John McCain`s pain.
O`DONNELL: Yes, but that`s my position.
CORN: But it really became clear that, you know, you don`t feel like
a kindergartner, but hey, you guys started it. You started it again and
again. You did it with executive and judicial nominations. And, the
Republicans have broken new ground.
And so, Harry Reid has tried it, especially as time runs out to
streamlines things, run things through.
So, this is where you are, John McCain. Get your party to be
reasonable. Democrats have shown again and again, some times to our
disliking. They`re willing to compromise and cut deals, liberals and
progressions don`t always like you.
You don`t see them on the other side.
O`DONNELL: David Corn gets the last word on this one.
But, Gene, I`d like you to hang around because I`m sure, you are a
big duck fan.
ROBINSON: I never miss it. I never miss it.
O`DONNELL: Yes, if you`re like me you have never seen the show,
never seen the show. That won`t prevent us from talking about what one of
the stars of "Duck Dynasty" said today.
Coming up, you have heard all about the duck dynasty controversy
being suspended, the guy being suspended for what he said about gay people,
but his network apparently has absolutely no problem the with what he said
about black people. Joy Reid will join us for the discussion.
First, a LAST WORD exclusive tonight, the Methodist pastor who has
been defrocked because he officiated at his gay son`s wedding. The pastor
and his son will join me.
O`DONNELL: A father officiates at his son`s same-sex wedding and
then the father loses his job. Father and son will join me next on THE
LAST WORD exclusive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRANK SCHAEFER, PASTOR: I`m upset at the exclusionary policies that
we have in place. And we must change the policies. I will not give up the
fight. I am still a minister in my heart. And I will continue to
minister, I will continue to be a voice for the LGBT community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That Pennsylvania pastor has been defrocked by the United
Methodist Church for refusing to change his view on marriage equality.
Reverend Frank Schaefer had been on a 30-day suspension for officiating at
his son`s same sex wedding. During the suspension, Schaefer was ordered to
stop performing same sex weddings or turn in his credentials. He refused
to do either.
The bishop of the eastern Pennsylvania conference Peggy Johnson said
in a statement, "Reverend Schaefer met with the board of ordained ministry
and declared he is not willing or able to uphold the laws of the book of
discipline in its entirety in the future as required by the trial courts
verdict. When asked to surrender his credentials as required by the
verdict, he refused to do so. Therefore, because of his decision, the
board was compelled by the jury`s decision to deem his credentials
Joining me now for a LAST WORD exclusive, Frank Schaefer and his son
Reverend Schaefer, when you did this, did you realize that you were
going to be in -- in such direct contradiction to your church`s position on
F. SCHAEFER: Yes, actually, I did know that at the time. This was
back in 2007 when I performed the wedding. At that time actually, I
expected repercussion. I was ready to be defrocked or be fired back then.
And I let my superiors know about it. Never heard a thing about it
until earlier this year when one of my parishioners actually filed against
O`DONNELL: Tim, when your father was able to preside at your wedding
-- I`m sure that was a wonderful, important element of the wedding. Were
you worried about his future?
TIM SCHAEFER, SON: Of course it was one of the most difficult
decisions I have ever made mine life. I knew the position I was putting
him in of course, that he could lose his career, his calling, really. And
that would be devastating, really.
But I also knew on the other hand, if I didn`t ask him. He would
have been devastated he hadn`t been able to participate in a really
momentous day for me, really important day for me.
O`DONNELL: Reverend Schaefer, explain the Methodist Church position
on this. As I understand it, the Methodist Church is accepting of gay
parishioners. But they reject, as many Christian church members do, the
actual practice of homosexuality.
They object to anyone actually having gay sex. And of course, object
to same-sex marriage?
F. SCHAEFER: Absolutely. And also in addition to the two things we
mentioned, it is not allowed for homosexual people to become ordained
ministers. That really puts our homosexual brothers and sisters who were
created by God to be homosexual in a very, very precarious light. It
actually -- we treat them as a church denomination as second-class
Christians. We certainly are discriminating against them in many, many
To me, the worst of it is when they`re being told that, their actions
of love, their expressions of love, are actually deemed sinful by the
church. I can`t even imagine what that`s like as homosexual Christian, to
be told that. It must really throw them into, inner turmoil. It`s just
That is some times what I refer to as hate speech by the church, even
though they`ve don`t intend, it to be a hate speech. But it comes across
as that to our homosexual brothers and sisters.
O`DONNELL: Tim Schaefer, you got past the wedding with absolutely no
problems as your father has told us. Now here we are years later.
Finally, some one filed a complaint about it. And the worst you feared has
How does that feel for you today?
T. SCHAEFER: It makes me feel partially responsible. This is
something that my dad has done for me. And while -- this has been a
horrible ordeal for the entire family, of course, very painful, especially
for my father -- I`m really proud of my dad. From the beginning of the
whole process, he stuck to his convictions.
He had several opportunities to promise to never do another gay
wedding. He saw this as an opportunity to talk about the issue, bring
about change and stick with the LGBT community.
O`DONNELL: Reverend Schaefer, do you believe that the Methodist
Church is misinterpreting the mission of the Methodist Church here somehow.
And it is time for the Methodist Church to evolve into an accepting
possession of this.
Do you think there is, you could find doctrinal justification for
F. SCHAEFER: Absolutely. I, in fact, believe that the United
Methodist Church is already evolving. There are so many people that
expressed their support for me. And what I`ve have been doing in the last
several months. All United Methodists are saying, "You are doing the right
thing. We believe in you. Keep doing what you are doing."
Many of the LGBT members of our church have contacted me, hundreds of
them. Sharing their painful stories with me. And I`m saying it is
absolutely time to rethink and to reinterpret some of these, you know,
scriptural passages that we keep quoting.
You know, times are changing. We no longer believe in a flat earth,
right? That is actually part of the Old Testament, too.
So, now, we know that homosexuality is no longer a choice. So, why
don`t we change our position on that as well. We have to.
O`DONNELL: Well, Reverend Schaefer, I know you have the gratitude of
millions of people for having done this and taking this stand. And most
importantly, you have your son`s gratitude. Frank and Tim Schaefer, thank
you both for joining me tonight.
F. SCHAEFER: Thank you so much.
T. SCHAEFER: Thanks for having us.
O`DONNELL: Coming up -- why a "Duck Dynasty" star got fired for
saying something that almost half of America believes including by the way,
the Methodist Church believes it as we just learned.
Eugene Robinson and Joy Reid will join the "Duck Dynasty" discussion.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the lame-duck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the future of the A&E hit show "Duck Dynasty"
is uncertain after one of the show`s stars was suspended after making
inflammatory remarks about gays and African-Americans in an interview with
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Robertson compared homosexuality to bestiality
and suggested African-Americans were happier pre-civil rights.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since his suspension, some have come out in
Robertson`s defense, including Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Saying in a statement today, quote, "The
politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they
disagree with. I remember when TV networks believed in the First
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Palin posted
this picture with the dynasty cast, "Those intolerants, hating and taking
on the `Duck Dynasty` patriarch for personal opinion are taking on all of
O`DONNELL: Here are the comments that led to Phil Robertson`s
suspension. "It seems like to me a vagina as a man would be more desirable
than a man`s anus, that`s just me. I`m just thinking there is more there,
she`s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes you. Know what I`m
saying? But hey, sin, it`s not logical, my man, it`s just not logical."
Then, Robertson goes on to explain what he considers to be sinful,
"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality,
sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those
In its statement explaining Robertson`s indefinite hiatus, the A&E
network said, "His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E networks,
strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community."
Of course, there was no reason for anyone, at A&E or for anyone in
America to be surprised that Phil Robertson believes that gay sex is
sinful. Most Republican candidates for president believe that, and are
willing to say that when asked about it.
The belief that gay sex is sinful is held by 45 percent of Americans.
It is a very common religious belief in this country and used to be the
predominant religious belief in the country held by most Americans.
A&E has absolutely no objection to Phil Robertson`s attempt to
rewrite American history in a very important way. This has the nothing to
do with belief, this is about fact, historical fact.
Robertson, like many white Southerners who lived through the worst
crimes against humanity, that the Southern state local governments and
police departments committed against black people, likes to pretend that
those were the good old days for black people in America.
In the same interview that got him in trouble with his network, for
offering the commonly held religious American view that gay sex is sinful,
Robertson also said he saw this growing up in Louisiana, in the 1950s, and
"I never with my eyes saw the mistreatment of any black person not
once, where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers.
I hoed cotton with them. I`m with the blacks, because we are white trash.
We are going across the field, they`re singing, happy. I never heard one
of them, one black person say, I tell you what, these doggone white people.
Not a word. Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare.
You say were they happy? They were godly. They were happy. No one
was singing the blues."
Just for the record, A&E viewers who might not know this, it was not
pre-welfare. Welfare was created by the federal government more than 10
years before Phil Robertson was born.
Here is a sample of the things that happened in the South when Phil
Robertson was growing up there that he and everyone in the country bore
witness to through the news media.
Phil Robertson was 9 years old when 14-year-old Emmett Till was
tortured and murdered for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
Phil Robertson was 17 years old when the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th
Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing Addie Mae Collins,
Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair.
And Phil Robertson was 18 years old when civil rights workers Michael
Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were murdered by the Ku Klux
Klan in Mississippi.
But Phil Robertson wants you to remember a happy-go-lucky life in the
South, for black people in those days who sang while they picked cotton and
never sang the blues.
Joining me now, MSNBC`s Joy Reid and back with us, Eugene Robinson.
Eugene Robinson, you group in the South, lived through the years.
And, listen, I think, there is a lot of revisionist history that is pushed
out there intentionally and possibly in this guy`s case, not so consciously
about those were the good old days.
ROBINSON: Yes, this just makes me tear out what`s left of my hair.
I mean, it drove me crazy when Haley Barbour, if you recall, came up with
his revisionist view of the sunny south in which the crisis his council to
basically the Ku Klux Klan in a suit. They would play a constructive role
and everything was fine. And there was no problem with race in Mississippi
in the 60s.
This is the same thing. You know, those happy Negros in the field -- I
mean, it is just unbelievable. He would have been in his 20s when three
black students were shot dead. Unarmed black students were shot dead by
state troopers in my hometown of Orangeburg, South Carolina, during a
demonstration over a segregated bowling alley. And I guess he doesn`t know
of that either.
O`DONNELL: And Joy Reid, he was in his 20s when Martin Luther King was
assassinated. Your reaction to the statements?
JOY REID, MANAGING EDITOR, THE GRIO/MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No. It is stunning
just to hear it because of it being 2013, right? But I mean, at the time
during the 1960s, polls at the time showed a bare majority of whites
believed there was equal opportunity in American society for blacks and
whites, right? So, there is a bubble that a lot of white Americans,
including in the south lived in at the time where as far as they know,
because they had very little contact with African-Americans in their sort
of normal daily social life, and as far as they do, everything was fine
because it was fine for them.
So, it doesn`t sort of an unreconstructed southern view of his region that
was actually fairly common at the time. There are a lot of whites in the
South. We just saw Martin Luther King Jr. as an agitator, as somebody who
is coming into the south and scare anything up where as the black they
knew, as far as they knew, were purposely fine until those northerners,
those outside aggressors came in and ruined everything. That was a lot of
the opposition to the civil right back. A lot of the argument made by
Eastland, senators from the south.
You are disrupting with what was our happy region with your northern sort
of ideas about the way we should run our lives. So, that actually isn`t
But what is surprising and always is surprising to me, Lawrence, is the
plane misreading of the first amendment by people on the right who claimed
to be the super constitutional scholars among us. That they don`t get and
you said it before on this show, I seems like it is said all the time, that
the first amendment doesn`t guarantee you the right to say whatever you
want and have an employer like A&E go for it. They don`t have the right --
he doesn`t have the right if, you know, his first amendment rights are not
being vie lat violated because people object to what he is saying.
O`DONNELL: One of the funniest things on that note, Joy, he said today is
Bobby Jindal saying, I remember when TV networks believe in the first
amendment. TV networks have never believed in the first amendment. I can
prove to you right here by using some of the language I would use outside
of the range of the microphone.
ROBINSON: Let`s not go there.
O`DONNELL: Phil Robertson has issued a statement clearly written by his
handlers. If you read this "GQ" article, you will understand Phil
Robertson himself. He is not mentally capable of putting even one of the
Here is his statement. I, myself, am a product of the 60s. I centered my
life around sex, drugs and rock `n` roll until I get rock bottom and
accepted Jesus as my savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell
people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches and part
of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together. However,
I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different
from me. We are all created by the al mighty and like him, I love all of
humanity. Phil Robertson.
I love all of humanity. OK. We would all be better off if we loved God
and loved each other.
Gene, it strikes me as absolutely absurd. That the A&E Networks is getting
rid of some one because he said something that 45 percent of America
believes and they believe it within their religious teachings.
ROBINSON: Yes. And I that`s the reason -- I think you make an argument.
O`DONNELL: That`s their only reason.
ROBINSON: I dealt with the other reason because, you know, what he says
the statement is honorable, one of the words. You know, in my experience,
when I go home to Orangeburg and I went to the what had been the white high
school in Orangeburg. So, I have friends and acquaintances who are in
their 50s and look, they, they, they don`t delude themselves anymore,
right? Even if they did at one point.
But they, you know -- they saw -- black people using the other -- water
fountains and the other restrooms and not being allowed on the playground.
And they no longer harbor this sort of revisionist fantasy of happy Negros
in the field. It is just not. And so that is just a ridiculous thing to
believe in this day and age. And even more ridiculous thing to say.
O`DONNELL: Joy, I just want to go on record in this segment, as never
having supported the firing or suspending of any one from any job, for what
they say. You know, there are reasons to do it. And usually, networks on
doing this based on business decisions what they think. And A&E depends on
advertising. And what they think is going to be the impact on the
And so, it`s fascinating to me that the business element of this that
scares them the most, is actually something that is such a commonly held
view in America. And as I said, it is a view that is held by most
Republican candidates for president, that gay sex is indeed a sin.
REID: And you know, having never watched "Duck Dynasty" as if not in the
demo. I mean, I am with you entirely on that issue, Lawrence. And at the
same time, probably, even more than 45 percent of the audience, just
guessing that watches "Duck Dynasty" probably agree to --
O`DONNELL: About 120.
REID: OK, right. So, it is not even as if they belief that he is vow, is
going to be seen as controversial by the people who watch "Duck Dynasty."
So, I am with you on that. It is sort of strange to me that I am not sure
whether A&E feels like they were in the process of expanding the
demographic that watches "Duck Dynasty" to include the LGBT community or
African-Americans who are wistful for the days before and messed up the
You know, I don`t know who they though their new audience was going to be.
But you know, again, this is sort of the mystery of corporate America,
right? They`re doing it for their own reasons. And, the people on the
right, who are, are really, you know coming to Mr. Robertson`s defense,
they are definitely standing behind him. I suspect he is now going to be
an even bigger star on the right. So, he is going to come out OK. I think
je just became their new big hero.
O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson -- go ahead, Gene, quickly.
ROBINSON: No, I was going to say, I suspect that may be a slight
misreading. Joy, of the audience. The audience may be broader than just
the demographic that would agree with him. And from that standpoint, they
may be right because I don`t think there is a lot of African-Americans who
are watching this show, so maybe A&E.
O`DONNELL: One thing about these networks is they have all the research.
They know exactly who their audience is.
ROBINSON: Down to the decimal point.
O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson and Joy Reid, all of us never having seen "Duck
Dynasty." Thank you very much for joining me tonight.
Coming up, another swing at Hillary Clinton from a potential Democratic
candidate for president. This time, it all about all Iraq war vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the case of John Bill (ph) who is highest paid
EPA official there is and one of its top experts in climate change who has
now admitted through his lawyer that he did absolutely no work for years by
telling his bosses he was doing undercover work for the CIA. It turns out
he had no affiliation with the CIA whatsoever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is amazing. What a delicious stew of government
bugaboos. No show job. A climate change guy. Lack of oversight. Just a
bit of brazen fraud. But, but -- you say to me. Yes, OK. It`s
interesting. It is a good story. I`m looking in the direction of the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He told his bosses that he was working undercover for
the CIA, spending a lot of time in Pakistan dealing with the Taliban. In
fact, investigators have now discovered he was actually at home in northern
Virginia riding bicycles, reading books.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is what is wonderful about this story. This man
is a liar, and boring as (bleep)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: This is my favorite twitter time of year. My twitter feed is
always fun to read because it include a lot of smart stuff that I don`t
know. Some of which becomes segments of the show. And of course, it
always include hatred of me which amuses me more than I should admit. And
it always include misrepresenting or at least misunderstanding my position
For example, whenever we do a segment about the NSA as we did last night, I
always get accused on twitter of being a fan boy of Edward Snowden while
the very next tweet will accuse me of being a hater of Edward Snowden.
But my favorite tweets are always about your response to the K.I.N.D. fund,
kids in need of desks. And every time I see one I try to respond to it
immediately because we mostly talk about K.I.N.D. in December. Most of
your tweets about come in December. This is, of course, the season of
giving. And so, it makes sense for us to talk about giving to the K.I.N.D.
fund this time of year, especially since you can donate a desk to an
African school in the name of any of the people on your gift list this
It is the perfect gift for any one on your list who already has everything
he or she actually needs and wants. And it turns out, it is also the
perfect gift for some people who don`t yet have everything they need or
Nicky Tucker tweeted. Lawrence, my 16-year-old daughter gave me $25 to
deposit into my checking account so she could donate to the desk fund.
You`ve spoke to her heart.
You know we have always found that kids in need of desks, instantly reach
the hearts of kids who are still sifting at school desks. When we tell the
kids about kids in Africa who have never seen desks and spend seven hours
of the day sitting on their classroom floors. Sometimes it is a dirt
floor. Sometimes it is a chipped cement floor. But it is always a dirty
floor. And there are more problems that creates than you realize.
I have talked before about the physical difficulty of sitting on the floor
all day. And how hard it is to write in that position. But now consider
this. Most kids in the schools have only one set of clothes, only one
dress or only one shirt and pants. And when those clothes get dirty, many
of the kids are embarrassed by how dirty their clothes are, especially the
girls and they don`t want to come to school in dirty clothes. And their
families cannot afford soap to wash the clothes.
When you talk to girls in Malawi what will-p help them stay in school, they
all mention soap. They would just like a bar of soap to be able to wash
themselves and their clothes, a bar of soap. That is huge for them. That
is a huge gift to them. And I always bring as much soap as I scan with me
when I go to Malawi and give it to as many girls as I can because I know
how important soap is to them.
These are kids who mostly do not own shoes they want soap. They want soap
even more than they want shoes. American kids, who are hoping to find an
iphone under the Christmas tree or even just get some candy, hear about
those kids in Malawi, whose biggest hope is a bar of soap, and they connect
instantly to that need. That`s why the heroic cub scout pack at the sixth
avenue Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama was able to perform the
miracle this year of raising $18,067.75 for the K.I.N.D. fund to help kids
their age in Africa whose need are greater than theirs will ever be.
Those 14 cub scouts know that they will always have desks in their schools,
they will always have soap in their homes, and now they`re grateful for
those things and feel responsible to reach out a helping hand across an
ocean to kids who don`t have those things.
On facebook, Sheila Hamilton wrote. My children never had to think about a
desk. Just made a donation in their names.
Mary Christine Andrews tweeted, just donated $65 to K.I.N.D. Love to the
kids of Malawi. That $65 will deliver one desk into a classroom where
three kids will silt. Three kids sit happily at those kinds of desks. So,
for $22 a kid, Mary Christine Andrews has change their lives in that
Nia tweeted, to celebrate my birthday tomorrow, I just supported a girl`s
scholarship in Malawi. Thanks for helping me celebrate in this beautiful
Ben Rosenberg tweeted, my wife and I have donated for the second year to
K.I.N.D. This year, one girl will get schooling and two desks donated.
That one year of girl`s tuition fees for high school amounts to $177 which
includes room and board for the girls who need it. And yes, it does
includes soap. It is much more difficult for girls to finish high school
in Malawi than boys. And that is why we have included in the K.I.N.D. fund
now a girl`s tuition fund for girls to finish high school.
When you contribute at lastworddesk.MSNBC.com, you will have the choice of
your contribution going to desk or to girl`s tuition fee and you can
contribute any amount you like. If you only can contribute $10, that will
be combined with other contributions and that will help us deliver a desk
or pay a girl`s tuition fees. And $10 will buy a lot of soap in Malawi.
On facebook, Brenda Stuart Reader told us, I just donated to the K.I.N.D.
fund for two desks and one girl`s scholarship. My husband asked what I
wanted for Christmas and this is the only thing I could think of. I can
just imagine the kids sitting at the desks and when the girl find out that
someone in the world cared enough about her to send her to school, it
brings tears to my eyes. Educate a girl and you educate many generations
You know, Brenda, when I first read your post it almost brought tears to my
eyes. The simple fact that Brenda and I have connected on this so
completely that we both see this exactly the same way. And that thousand
and thousand of you react to kids in need of desks exactly the way I do,
always, is deeply moving to me.
At our Web site, thelastword.MSNBC.com where you can always find a way to
contribute to the K.I.N.D. fund all year long.
Mary Holmes wrote, Lawrence, I just bought a desk. I was a teacher and I
know desks are not merely furniture. They`re a learning tool because they
give physical structure where, which increases concentration and therefore,
learning. I love watching the children sing. They show pure joy.
O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton has a challenger for the next Democratic
nomination. You know what his biggest attack point is, because you have
heard it many times before. That`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN SCHWEITZER (D), FORMER MONTANA GOVERNOR: The question that we have
is will it be the Hillary that lead the progressives or is it the Hillary
that says, I`m already going to win the democratic nomination. And so I
can shift hard right on day one. We can`t afford any more hard right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat and former two-term governor of
Montana is continuing to go after Hillary Clinton. The latest came last
night during a speech in Iowa where he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHWEITZER: When we were attacked in 9/11 by 17 Saudis and two Egyptians
who call themselves al-Qaeda who weren`t welcome in Iraq. And George Bush
got a bunch of Democrats to vote to go to the war. I was shaking my head
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Hillary Clinton was one of 29 Democratic senators to
veto to authorize the war in Iraq. Schweitzer went on to say, the reason
he was in Iowa was to ask voters to quote "pick the leaders who are not
going to make those mistakes."
Joining me now is Karen Finney, host of MSNBC`s "Disrupt" and an MSNBC`s
political analyst and former Hillary Clinton staffer.
Karen, I am trying to figure this out that the Iraq war vote will be 15
years old by the time the presidential campaign begins, 16-years-old in the
actual election year. Is that vote going to still carry weight at that
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC HOST, DISRUPT: I don`t really think so. And I have to
tell you, I was kind of scratching my head when I saw that too. Thinking
maybe, does former governor Schweitzer not realize what year it is.
Because at this point, I think people are more concerned about getting our
troops out of Afghanistan. And certainly as of this week, you know, making
good on our promises to our veterans in terms, you know, of the pension
conversation we have been having around the budget. So, I don`t think
that`s going to be, you know, this have the same kind of, fire, for people,
that it did. And certainly in a place like Iowa right now. I imagine they
wanted to hear what are your idea about what are your ideas for the
O`DONNELL: And I mean, the thing about the vote though is it was the most
important vote of her Senate career and it was the last war vote -- war
authorizing vote that has been cast in the country. So, I mean, it is
there. It`s certainly couldn`t have the potency that it had in 2007, 2008.
But I just, I really do genuinely find it hard to predict it as a factor.
FINNEY: You know, I think that`s exactly right, Lawrence. And look, I
think the other thing to remember is if Hillary Clinton decide to run,
which you know, we don`t know if she will.
O`DONNELL: No, no. Come on. Come on she is running. On this show, she
is running. She is running.
FINNEY: OK. For you I will say, because you are so great to my dad last
night at the holiday party.
No. But I think, you know, the point of it is, she has also got a very
good answer for why. And either you agree with it or you disagree. But
the point is something like that that is so old, it just pure politics. If
you are asked the question and you have a good answer, that`s sort of the
end of it for a lot of voters.
And again, I think particularly at a time when it is far more likely
talking income inequality and the economy and jobs, and you know, the sort
of last several years of, you know, Republican cuckoo caucus than we will
the Iraq vote., not that it may not be important to some voters, but I
don`t think it is again going to have the same kind of potency that it did
O`DONNELL: Well, it certainly can`t be the only thing. You have to make a
much bigger case than this -- that one vote to knock her out of that front
Karen Finney, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
FINNEY: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.
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