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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, March 13th, 2014

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March 13, 2014

Guests: Barbara Peterson, Jim Hall

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: We have the latest developments in
the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight and Chris Christie said
something really weird today which he of course has no idea is weird.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New theories, no answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are six days in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Six days after the Malaysia flight disappeared
without a trace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Local officials are dismissing a "Wall Street
Journal" report.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "The Wall Street Journal" story which said the
plane may have flown for at least four hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four hours after it was last seen on radar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Malaysia`s transport minister called the report,
quote, "inaccurate".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just when there seems to be a tantalizing clue -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ll recall those Chinese satellite image.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It gets discounted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: China released satellite images yesterday
showing three fragments in the sea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Planes sent to the area turned up nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No debris from the plane was found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The plane is nowhere to be found today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything is inexplicable.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The desperate search for answers is getting even
more complicated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An unprecedented aviation mystery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The story is just as confusing if not more so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inching to one week and still no answers across
the board.


O`DONNELL: The mystery of what happened to the Malaysia Airlines
flight took another strange turn today with revelations of new information
that satellites continued to pick up faint electronic pulses or pings from
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after it lost contract with air traffic
controllers. The pings were transmitted approximately once an hour and
there are indications that the plane may have stayed in the air another
four to five hours after its last communications with controllers.

The authorities are expanded the search area by as much as 2,200
miles, widening it towards the Indian Ocean.

Joining me now is NBC`s Tom Costello.


These ping are described to us similar to a wireless router that stays
on even when you`re not surfing the internet. It`s really in idle state,
not transmitting precise data, like location. And now, with evidence the
plane may have been headed out over the Indian Ocean, the search emphasis
is changing.


COSTELLO (voice-over): It`s now Friday morning in Southeast Asia and
the search for Flight 370 is shifting to the west, as U.S. government
sources tell NBC News, there`s evidence the plane`s automated system gave
up faint pings for up to four hours after going off radar. That means the
plane could have traveled up to 2,500 miles in any direction, a vast
expanse of the globe that includes the Indian Ocean.

though, is what direction, whether it went west, east, north, south because
we have no radar coverage.

So, at this point, we just know that the airplane was still
operational and probably didn`t have a mechanical malfunction or failure.

COSTELLO: At the request of the Malaysians, the U.S. destroyer USS
Kidd is now moving into the Strait of Malacca. And the White House says
the search area could expand even further.

information, that`s not necessarily conclusive, but new information an
additional search area may be open in the Indian Ocean and we are
consulting with international partners about the appropriate assets to

COSTELLO: U.S. government sources also say it appears more likely
that Malaysian military radar did pick up the plane, making a U-turn and
reversing course over Malaysia and towards the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, search teams today were unable to find any debris in the
Ocean at the location where Chinese satellites spotted something south of
Vietnam. Today, the Chinese said releasing the images was a mistake.

But tonight, what we know for sure is still limited. Controllers lost
contact with Flight 370 somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam. No radar,
no radios, no identifying transponders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just turn it three clicks to the left and the
transponder is off.

COSTELLO: 777 simulator instructor Mitchell Casado says if the plane
made a U-turn, it would be a deliberate action.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s absolutely nothing that could go wrong
with the airplane that would cause the transponder to turn off and the
plane to automatically start doing a turn.

vanished. We have extended the search area because it is our duty to
follow every lead and we owe it to the families and trust me when I say we
will not give up.

COSTELLO: Still, after six days, no sign of Flight 370.


COSTELLO: And day seven now starting this morning in the area.

Meanwhile, investigators continue to look at the background of the
crew. The 53-year-old captain and his 27-year-old first officer so far
we`re told have turned up nothing of concern -- Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Tom, based on where we are now, with the new information
that we`ve gotten in the last 24 hours, are we getting closer to answers on
this or are we just adding to the confusion?

COSTELLO: I think it`s all at this point it remains a huge mystery.
There is, however, with this evidence, with the U.S. government now having
reviewed the military radar tapes and believing that the flight did indeed
make a U-turn, this is looking more like a deliberate action.

So, did somebody hijack this plane and specifically turn off the
transponders and all of the radio equipment so that it would be masked, did
somebody do that intentionally in the hijacking? Did somebody in the
cockpit go rogue? Did one pilot for some reason have an agenda?

We don`t know and we may never know if this plane crashed in the
Indian Ocean, because the only way you find that out is if you get the
black boxes and at this point, that seems like a real long shot.

O`DONNELL: Tom Costello, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

COSTELLO: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Barbara Peterson, the senior aviation
correspondent for "Conde Nast Travel". She has covered the aviation
industry for 20 years. And Jim Hall, former NTSB chairman.

Jim Hall, some new information is indicating that it looks like there
were separate shutoffs of different monitors in the plane, meaning there
wasn`t just one big colossal event that stopped all of the electronics

JIM HALL, FORMER NTSB CHAIRMAN: Yes. And I think the only thing,
Lawrence, that we probably do know is that there are probably many, many
more days left before we`re going to hopefully find where this aircraft is
located. And as you know, it`s a race against time now because of the life
of the emergency location transmitter`s battery.

And so, there`s going to be a lot of resources expended and I hope
what in the end will not be a futile effort.

O`DONNELL: Barbara, there`s a report tonight indicating that the
transponder was shut down at 1:07 a.m. and the thing that transmits the
altitude, that was shut down at 1:21 a.m. What would that mean?

now, that means that they are bearing down on what evidence they have,
which, of course, is very minimal, but it does mean that the experts are
over there helping them, the NTSB and the FAA in particular, who have vast
expertise in this, are really starting to analyze what they have.

Now, beyond that, I think anything would be kind of, you know, wild
speculation, I`m afraid, because it is -- you know, as Jim Hall pointed
out, so much out there is not known and the options are really quite varied
and literally all over the map. It`s really unprecedented that this far
after a disappearance of a plane and that in itself is rare, we have so
little to go on. So, you know, in the absence of that, of course, it`s
very tempting to jump in with all sorts of theories.

O`DONNELL: Jim Hall, given your experience of an investigator, what
do you rank as the most important evidence that we have so far?

HALL: Well, I think the information that`s been released about the
transponder and I think the information that "The Wall Street Journal"
released is probably -- has some credibility to it. What this points out
to us, Lawrence, is the International Civil Aviation Organization needs to
get its act together and provide deployable recorders on these aircraft as
well as provide an independent structure for investigations that are

As we know, until the wreckage is found, in the absence of any type of
international rules, the Malaysian government has stepped in and what we`ve
heard is reflected I think a whole lot of economic self-interests, national
self-interests and fortunately now, we have some professionals on site and
we`re beginning to get some factual information and I hope that will
isolate the search.

O`DONNELL: Barbara Peterson, are we seeing just in this story some of
the range of difference that is possible involving the different airlines
around the world and the different countries around the world and how they
respond to this and what kind of data they have available to them?

PETERSON: Yes, I think so. And I think in this country we`ve come to
expect and demand, actually, a great deal of transparency and when there
have been crash investigations, we expect daily briefings, we expect to get
a lot of information fairly fast.

Now, you know, we`re dealing with a completely different culture.
There`s a lot we don`t even know actually about this particular plane, what
sort of avionics and what sort of extra monitoring systems they may have
had. At least, that has not been publicly released, in any event.

O`DONNELL: Barbara Peterson and Jim Hall, thank you both very much
for joining me tonight.

HALL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Harry Reid versus the Koch brothers. David
Axelrod and Alex Wagner will join me on that.

And in a LAST WORD exclusive, Elijah Cummings joins me to discuss
Darrell Issa`s big mistake.

And later, THE LAST WORD will make broadcasting history here tonight
when we say good night.


O`DONNELL: Throwback Thursdays is, of course, a social media fad
where people post old pictures of themselves on Thursdays. Today, former
Secretary of State Colin Powell is the big winner of throwback Thursday.
Powell posted this photograph today on his Facebook page with the caption
"Throwback Thursday, I was doing selfies 60 years before you Facebook
folks. Eat your heart out Ellen". Powell is, of course, referring to the
selfie of all time, the one Bradley Cooper took at the Oscars with Ellen

Up next, Harry Reid leads the Democrats` attack on the Koch brothers.



SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: As the saying goes and the
saying goes that this came from a great Senator Pat Moynihan who said,
everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to their own facts. I
have guessed the Koch brothers have been able to buy their facts over the
years, not pay any attention to whether they were true or false.


O`DONNELL: That was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today once
again taking to the senate floor to slam billion political donors David and
Charles Koch.

Reid`s speeches against the Koch brothers are part of a larger
Democratic strategy to make the Koch brothers a major issue in the 2014
midterm elections. In the past, Harry Reid has called the Koch brothers
un-American and those who support them, quote, "addicted to Koch," end

Today`s word of the day was radical.


REID: When Senate Republican senators rush to defend the Koch
brothers, they are also defending the radical philosophy. And it`s

How do we know it`s radical? Because they said it`s radical. They
said so. I`m not making those words up. They said -- one of the brothers
kept harping on the fact that he has a radical philosophy. And they do.

So I ask my Republican colleagues from the Senate, is even one of you,
is even one of you willing to stand up and disavow the Koch brothers`
radical agenda? It`s radical -- it`s radical because they say it`s radical
and it is radical and all you have to do is look at it.


O`DONNELL: Today, the Koch brothers released this statement. "Like
most Americans we believe conduct is beneath his office and his statements
about us are false. For the sitting majority leader to go out on the floor
of the Senate and single out two individuals and try to demonize them
because they are exercising their First Amendment rights, we find that
very, very troubling. Senator Reid sounds desperate to keep his job."

Joining me now, Alex Wagner, host of MSNBC`s "NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER",
and MSNBC senior political analyst David Axelrod, a former senior adviser
to President Obama.

Alex, is this a little too inside a game for the general public, Harry
Reid talking about these contributors to Republican causes and who -- most
of the kind of swing voter types out there wouldn`t really know about these

ALEX WAGNER, NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER: I don`t know, Lawrence. I think
money and politics is something that a lot of Americans have just come to
assume is going to be part of our political process but manipulating
democracy I think makes everybody uneasy or a lot bit uneasy.

It seems fairly clear that the model here is Mitt Romney. These guys
are millionaires, billionaires that are trying to -- that have no concern
for the American worker and, unfortunately, their agenda dovetails very
cleanly and neatly with the rest of the GOP agenda when it comes to
shredding the social safety net, kicking Americans off health care and,
otherwise, giving out handouts and making life easier for the oil and gas

So, in that way, it`s not just a narrative but it`s one that is based
on a lot of facts and in that way. I think it`s a good thing for Democrats
to be drawing attention to it.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and if you don`t know who the Koch brothers are, if
you don`t remember their names, what Harry Reid wants you to remember is
what they are trying to do which is buy Congress. Let`s listen to the way
he put that.


REID: Because the truth is, it would be a terrible thing to allow the
Koch brothers to buy Congress and to buy our country and that`s what they
are trying to do. It would be catastrophic to allow the Koch brothers
Congress and the rich take all policy agenda.


O`DONNELL: David Axelrod, it`s an unusual strategy to make
contributors to the other side the primary focus of your, in effect,
campaign speeches.

strategy for people to spend hundreds and millions of their own money to
influence elections. So this is kind of a unique situation.

I will say when Senator Reid talks about the Koch brothers trying to
buy the Congress, I think there`s demonstrable evidence of that. Back in
2010, they poured a lot of money into the election of members of Congress.
Twenty-seven of whom ended up on the energy and commerce committee that
sits in judgment on legislation that has direct impact on their core
businesses and they pretty much dictated who the chairman of that committee
would be.

So, they are an interest group. They may have a radical personal
agenda but they are also an interest group and they are pushing a very
specific agenda. And I think you have to go at their agenda and assign
that to the people you are running against as well. These bank shots are
difficult to pull off and I`m not sure people are going to disregard what
they see in commercial because some wealthy guys are running them.

But I think you need to make people know what their agenda is and that
it`s not the agenda of the average middle class person in this country.

O`DONNELL: Well, here`s the way this message is playing into
campaign. The Senate Democratic PAC is running this ad in Louisiana.
Let`s listen to this.


AD NARRATOR: Out of state billionaires spending millions to rig the
system and elect Bill Cassidy. Their goal: another politician bought and
paid for. Their agenda: protect tax cut for companies that ship our jobs
overseas, cut Social Security and end Medicare as we know it. They even
tried to kill relief for hurricane victims.

Cassidy`s billion dollar backers, they`ve got a plan for him. It`s
not good for Louisiana.


O`DONNELL: Alex, pretty effective ad?

WAGNER: Yes. I mean, look, the narrative is a powerful one. I would
also say, Lawrence, I mean, I think this is as much for Democrats as it is
for Republicans, right? I mean, the traditional problem that Democrats
have had in midterms off year elections is getting turnout and sort of
communicating a feeling that the stakes are high and by sort of showing
America what it is at stake, I think it`s as much a plea to get Democrats
to the polls to vote, you know, Republicans out of office and keep
Democrats in office for get them into office than it is anything else.

O`DONNELL: The Ukraine bailout package is being stalled now in the
Senate because there are senators backed by the Koch brothers who are
saying, we don`t want to pass this unless we also pass adjustments to the
501c4 regulations, to make sure we can continue to abuse 501c4
organizations, tax-free organizations and using them in political

Let`s listen to what John McCain said about his own Republican
colleagues slowing down, blocking the Ukraine package, based on this.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Today, as Russian military forces are
massing on their border -- wait a minute, it`s more important that we get
our campaign finance regulations fixed. It`s more important that we have
the IMF fix as a higher priority than the lives of the men and women who
are in the Ukraine. I`ve been embarrassed before on the floor of the
Senate, I will tell the president, but I haven`t been embarrassed this way
about members of my own party.


O`DONNELL: And David Axelrod, they are doing the Koch brothers`
bidding on that one.

AXELROD: Yes. Well, look, the Koch brothers leverage tremendous
influence. And, by the way, it`s not just in Congress. They`ve been very
active at the state level.

Why do we have a right to work law in Michigan? It`s because the Koch
brothers helped elect a Republican legislature and governor there, and push
that agenda.

So, they are very, very -- when they say we`re just private citizens
exercising our First Amendment rights -- no, they are an interest group
with a very, very specific agenda and they are pushing it from the state
level to the United States Congress.

O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner, the other way to look at this, as I`ve been
questioning, you know, can you really take these background players and
make them foreground players, is what took the Democrats so long? These
guys have been at this for a while and when you see the way that ad plays
out, you kind of wonder what did take them so long to get to this kind of
attack mode?

WAGNER: Well, yes. And, Lawrence, if we look at the funding and the
sort of brain trust in and around some of the most repressive anti-
Democratic legislation that`s being passed around senate, statehouses all
over this country, whether it`s voter suppression laws, whether it`s energy
policy, whether it`s immigration laws, these are all hatched in these sort
of outside conservative groups, whether it`s ALEC, whether it`s groups that
are funded and supported by the Koch brothers. I mean, they are writing
legislation that literally makes its way into -- they are writing the
legislation that then becomes law and we forget where its root is.

O`DONNELL: David Axelrod and Alex Wagner, thank you both very much
for joining me tonight.

WAGNER: Thanks, Lawrence.

AXELROD: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, in a LAST WORD exclusive, Elijah Cummings will
explain his challenge to Republican Darrell Issa.

And in "The Rewrite", every time Chris Christie speaks, he says
something that can and will be used against him, and he did that again



REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: I have no expectation that Ms.
Lerner will cooperate with this committee and therefore we stand adjourned.



O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, Darrell Issa`s big mistake. In
just a moment, Congressman Elijah Cummings joins us exclusively to discuss
that mistake. We broke the news on this program last night, that Darrell
Issa committed a fatal procedural error that will prevent House Republicans
from holding former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress.

House parliament expert, the former House general counsel, Stan Brand,


held in contempt, they have to be given, in the words of Supreme Court, a
clear-cut choice between compliance and noncompliance. So, before the
House could successfully prosecute her, leaving aside her claims of Fifth
Amendment immunity, they never gave her a direct order and overruled her
objection. They simply adjourned the hearing and moved on.


O`DONNELL: Today, House Democrats introduced another privileged
resolution demanding Darrell Issa apologize on the House floor for his
behavior last week when he adjourned that committee hearing without
allowing any other member of the committee to speak and then cut the
microphone of ranking member Elijah Cummings. The resolution failed in a
party line vote.

Here is why the Democrats are demanding an apology.


ISSA: I have no expectation that Ms. Lerner will cooperate with this
committee and therefore, we stand adjourned.

CUMMINGS: Chairman, chairman, I have a statement. I have a
procedural statement, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I have a procedural

Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this. You just cannot
do this. This is -- we`re better than that as a country. We`re better
than that as a country.

I have asked for a few minutes to ask a procedural --


Now, you`re turning me off?

The fact a is that I am asking a question. I am a ranking member of
the committee and I want to ask a question. What are we hiding? What`s the
big deal? May I ask my question? May I make my statement?

ISSA: You`re all free to leave. We have adjourned but the gentleman
may ask his question.

Thank you very much.

CUMMINGS: Mr. Gentleman, I have one procedural question and it goes
to trying to get you information by the way you just asked.

ISSA: What is your question?

CUMMINGS: No, let me say what I have to say. I`ve listened to you
for the last 15 or 20 minutes. Let me say what I have to say. Chairman, I
have one procedural --

ISSA: Miss Lerner, you`re released.

CUMMINGS: But first, I would like to make my time to make some brief
points. For the past year, the central Republican accusation in this
investigation --

ISSA: We`re adjourned. Close it down.

CUMMINGS: Before our committee received a single document --

ISSA: Thank you.

CUMMINGS: Chairman Issa went on national television and said this and
I quote, this was targeting of a president`s political enemies effectively
and lies about it during the election, end of quote.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Congressman Elijah Cummings, the ranking
member on the oversight and government reform committee.

Congressman, I`ll say it again. When I saw that happen in your House
hearing, I said I`ve never seen anything like it. Each time I look at that
video I`m stunned by it. And now we realize, analyzing the tape as Stan
Brand has done and advised you on it, there`s a parliamentary violation
there that makes it impossible for Chairman Issa to continue what he
believed was his pursuit against Lois Lerner to try to get her held in
contempt of Congress.

CUMMINGS: Yes. He was so busy adjourning the meeting that he failed
to adhere to constitutional law. And it`s very, very clear, you`ve got to
give a person in Miss Lerner`s position due process and as Stan said on
your show last night, one of the things that he had to do was, once he`s
asserted her fifth amendment rights, he had to overrule them and tell her
that. That`s number one.

And then number two, he had to order her to answer the question and he
did neither. And so, clearly, he is not done what he`s supposed to do
consistent with the constitution and consistent with case law.

O`DONNELL: And he didn`t have any staff around him that were sharp
enough with the parliamentary rules to get him to sit back down in that
chair and to try to save what he was trying do. And you know, I want to
play what John Boehner said today in response to your letter to him about
this issue.


council reject the premise of Mr. Cummings` letter. I do not agree with
that analysis in any way, shape, or form. I`ve made clear on more than one
occasion that Miss Lerner should testify or be held in contempt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Will the House be made available to
express his or her opinion?

BOEHNER: I`m sure we`ll see an opinion at some point.


O`DONNELL: Congressman, I have your letter here, several pages long,
very clear parliamentary specificity on every single item you`re talking
about. And so, when you hear the speaker just kind of brush it away with
no specificity whatsoever, what`s your reaction to that?

CUMMINGS: My reaction is that, Mr. Speaker, if you have an opinion
that goes counter to the opinion of experts in this area, folks that have
written textbooks on this subject, folks who have the subject, if you have
an opinion that is difference than theirs, let`s have it. You`ve got ours.

By the way, Lawrence, once we obtained the opinions that we got from
Stan Brand and Mr. Rosenberg, we then had five additional experts to agree
with that, with the opinion. So if they have an opinion, we need to see

O`DONNELL: And just so I -- you and I know but I want the audience to
know that the people advising you on this issue are recognized in
Washington as the leading authorities on House parliamentary procedure with
careers built on that expertise and, you know that Speaker Boehner knows
that and I think that`s why you`re not hearing specificity from him.

CUMMINGS: Yes. I don`t think he has an opinion but I`d love to see
it if he has it. And as a lawyer, I can tell you that this is one of those
very, very clear cases and one of the things that Stan Brand said and the
others, they said that what chairman Issa did was a fatal flaw. In another
words this is not even close. And I think that will come out very shortly.

O`DONNELL: I also want to get to a point that is always ignored by
chairman Issa and all of the other Republicans who talk about this and that
is that in terms of information obtainable from Lois learner through her
testimony, it`s worth noting that you already have all of her IRS e-mails
on this matter, every one of them the committee already has. That`s
already been turned over. It would be hard to imagine that there`s much of
her story that is not fully explained already in those e-mails.

CUMMINGS: Yes. But in addition to that, Lawrence, keep in mind that
Miss Lerner had asked through her lawyer for a one week delay and she would
come and testify. In other words, we would have heard that testimony by
now. We would have heard it this week. But Chairman Issa denied her that

And the other thing is that her attorney had offered to submit a
proffer, that is what she would have said and the attorney would have told
the committee what she would have said if she were to answer the questions.
It won`t harm her and it wouldn`t -- the committee wouldn`t be binded by

But what happened was during the negotiations, Lawrence, they stopped
-- they offered a proffer but then for some reason, chairman Issa decide he
didn`t want the proffer. And that`s -- by the way, that`s what I trying to
get out. I was trying to say at the hearing, well, chairman, you were
involved in the negotiations for a proffer, why don`t we get that proffer
out. And by the way, they did not allow us to be part of that process, at
least the Democrats, when he was negotiating for the proffer and then cut
it off completely. I`m trying to figure out, what does he want?

O`DONNELL: Well, I think the game is he just wanted to continue to
portray Lois Lerner as a villain even though he has all of her e-mails.
And he had basically in agreement to get her testimony the easy way, but he
just want those theatrics that day.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, thank you very, very much for joining us
tonight. really appreciate it.

CUMMINGS: Thank you. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Chris Christie very proudly said today that is
he a trained lawyer. That was his phrase. Then why does he keep saying
things that can and will be used against him? And they will in tonight`s

And later tonight, a fond farewell to beautiful downtown Burbank.
That`s what Johnny Carson who used to work in this very building used to
call this place.


CUMMINGS: Tonight`s episode of what senators say in Washington that
they don`t want anyone to hear at home, home stars Republican South
Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Hey, John, good job. Let me
know what I can do to help you with Boehner.


O`DONNELL: That was after secretary of state John Kerry testified to
the Senate appropriations committee on economic assistance for Ukraine.
Now, don`t expect Lindsey Graham to be talking about what a good job
secretary of state John Kerry is doing as graham campaigns for re-election
in South Carolina.

Coming up in the rewrite, Chris Christie`s town hall in New Jersey
today. Here is a little sample.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s hard for a stay at home mom.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Listen. Good. Good. I`m glad
you do. Either sit down and keep quiet or get out, one or the other.
We`re done with you. Go ahead.



O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "rewrite," Chris Christie, the trained
lawyer. That`s what Christie called himself today in a town hall meeting
in New Jersey when he was discussing the long-term budget prospects for the
state of New Jersey.

Every time Chris Christie speaks now, he says something that opponents
could use to destroy him if he ever attempts to run for elected office


CHRISTIE: The fact is, I`ve got 3 1/2 years left as governor. I
can`t run again. And we can probably get through and muddle through the
next 3 1/2 years without this crisis hitting us between the eyes. So this
isn`t me trying to save myself as governor. When it really hits the fan
here, I`ll be doing something else. It will be somebody else`s job to
stand here and try to explain to you why nothing was done when we saw the
problem coming and the easiest thing in the world for me to do is to just
whistle a happy tune, go along with the characters who are saying this
isn`t a problem, don`t worry about it.

And, you know, listen, I`m a trained lawyer. You know what that
means? I can make up an answer at any time if it sounds convincing. And,
you know -- and I could do that for three more years and get you through
it. But that`s not why you hired me.


O`DONNELL: So that`s what Chris Christie thinks a trained lawyer is.
Someone who can -- you know what, I`m not going to put words in Christie`s
mouth. Let`s let him say that again.


CHRISTIE: Listen, I`m a trained lawyer. You know what that means? I
can make up an answer at any time it sounds convincing.


O`DONNELL: As you can tell, Christie was once again playing to a
solid Republican crowd in a safe Republican area of New Jersey. And so,
they think it`s funny that a governor whose administration is under
investigation for making up a story about a fake traffic study thinks,
quote, I could make up an answer at any time that sounds convincing.

Do you know how many times you`re going to hear that line in attack
ads against Chris Christie in Republican presidential primaries if he makes
the mistake of actually running for president? You`re going to hear it a
lot and it turns out nothing he said there is actually true, not even the
bit about being a trained lawyer.

A law school graduate is not a trained lawyer. A trained lawyer is it
someone with courtroom experience, real trial experience, years and years
of it, usually decades of it. When Chris Christie was picked by president
George W. Bush for the political appointment of being the U.S. attorney in
New Jersey, Chris Christie was completely unqualified for that position.

Christie had zero experience in criminal law and had never so much as
filed a motion in federal court. No experience in federal court. And
trained lawyers are very careful speakers. They don`t say things like, I
could make up an answer at any time that sounds convincing. A trained
lawyer would never, ever say that. And the most important answers Christie
has given about the scandal surrounding him and his administration are not

Every poll shows that most people in New Jersey do not believe Chris
Christie`s insistence that he knew nothing about what was happening with
the George Washington bridge until long after it was over. And in a new
National Bloomberg poll, which shows what Christie would be up against if
he makes the mistake of running for president, 63 percent do not believe
him. They do not believe that Christie knew nothing about the scandal at
the gorge Washington bridge as it was happening, 43 percent of Republicans
don`t believe Chris Christie, 63 percent of independents don`t believe
Chris Christie, 79 percent of democrats don`t believe the guy who believes,
quote, "I could make up an answer at any time that sounds convincing.`

Here`s what Chris Christie thinks is an answer that sounds convincing.


CHRISTIE: I have not had any conversation with Bridget Kelly since
the e-mail came out. And so, she was not given the opportunity to explain
to me why she lied because it was so obvious she had and I`m quite frankly
not interested in the explanation at the moment.


O`DONNELL: Chris Christie is not interested in Bridget Kelly`s
explanation for why she wrote the e-mail, time for some traffic problems in
Fort Lee? How is that for convincing?


CHRISTIE: Listen, I`m a trained lawyer. You know what that means? I
can make up an answer at any time that sounds convincing. And you know --



O`DONNELL: You are watching what will be a tiny footnote in show
business and broadcasting history. This is the last national primetime
broadcast from NBC Burbank. The building I`m in tonight has been home to
giants, Johnny Carson did with `Tonight Show" here for 20 years. Jay Leno
did his "Tonight Show" in this building. The giants who have worked here,
from Steve Allen to Jake Benning, Elvis Presley, all did specials here,
Dean martin. It`s a very, very important monument in the history of
primetime television entertainment and also a very important part of NBC
News historically. We`re going to have a fond farewell to what Johnny used
to call beautiful downtown Burbank, next.





O`DONNELL: For 20 years, the curtain that Johnny Carson walked
through, that curtain you just saw, the curtain you walked through every
night just hung two floors below where I`m sitting right now in what Johnny
called beautiful Downtown Burbank. NBC opened this west coast broadcasting
facility exactly 59 years ago in march of 1955. It was built on land
purchased from Jack Warner, whose Warner Brother studios is right next
door. This was the first television studio built from the ground up for
broadcasting color television, which was then still a rarity. Many of the
giants of television history worked in this building.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You fellows wearing glasses, would you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s wearing glasses?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Dean martin.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from the NBC studios in Burbank, California,
"the Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.


O`DONNELL: Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Johnny and Jay were just the tip of
the iceberg of the stars who worked here. A group that includes just
everyone from Jack Benney, Jimmy Durante to Elvis Presley who taped his
1968 comeback special right here. It became a mandatory political ritual
for almost every presidential candidate to pass through this building to do
a turn on "the Tonight Show" on the way to the White House or on the way to
what would be political retirement. This building is also NBC News west
coast home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reporting tonight from Los Angeles.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good day from Los Angeles.


O`DONNELL: I first entered this building in the first year of MSNBC,
1996, to do my first appearance as a political pundit from Los Angeles,
which you now know was actually Burbank. I`ve also had more than my share
of meetings with NBC entertainment executives in the building adjacent to
this where I unsuccessfully pitched them new ideas for TV series.

The NBC Burbank campus and this building in particular hold many fond
memories for those of us who have been lucky enough to work here and this
building has been the source of some of our most wonderful collective
memories in this country.


O`DONNELL: And that was, of course, Bob Hope in one of the best of
clips showed on Johnny Carson`s last night working in this building.

This is my last night working in this building because NBC Burbank is
closing up shop here tomorrow and moving just down the road to the
universal studios lot which is now, of course, the NBC universal lot. We
are promised a Brand-new state-of-the-art studio there but at first,
anyway, it will be a studio with no memories.

You are now watching the last nationally televised primetime program
from NBC Burbank. Yes, it`s come to this. After 59 years of glory, after
a 59-year parade of giants in this building, it falls to me to turn off the
lights. I know I am unworthy of having the last word from beautiful
downtown Burbank. For that, on this historic night, we turn to the king of
stage 1.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I bid you a very heartfelt good night.



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