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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, August 29, 2011

Read the transcript to the Monday show

Guests: Capehart, Ed Schultz, Joe Wilson, Valerie Plame

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Dick Cheney`s memoirs go on sale tomorrow.
Tonight, Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame join me to respond.


to recover from a storm of this magnitude.

O`DONNELL (voice-over): The president gets a new crisis on top of the
old crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That job`s plan will probably include some tax

OBAMA: I want people to understand that this is not over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alan Krueger who will be replacing Austan

pretty tough spot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the good news is the worst is over.

O`DONNELL: Of course, Republican presidential candidates want you to
believe they could do a better job.

economic disaster.

talk to you tonight about the creator of the universe, our Lord and savior
Jesus Christ.

PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: Is that a sign from the Lord?

BACHMANN: We`ve had an earthquake. We had a hurricane. He said, are
you going to start listening to me here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve been comparing this president for the
almighty for long enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our "Politico" headline, is Rick Perry dumb?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you find in Rick Perry`s mind?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you find anything?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That he`s not the brightest bulb in the box.

car but it doesn`t make it a car.

BACHMANN: An oxymoron is the House of Representatives and
intelligence in the same sentence.

SANTORUM: Jihad against Rick Santorum`s since then.

O`DONNELL: Hurricane Irene ends on the anniversary of a crisis of
presidential incompetence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, Katrina`s wrath.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: A story of lessons learned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurricane Katrina came ashore just about half
hour ago.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: New Orleans, the city may never be the same. We
hope that`s an overstatement.

O`DONNELL: But Dick Cheney wants you to believe he was in charge and
not responsible.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: Make sure you`ve got your
vice president under control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dick Cheney`s memoir are already causing

CHENEY: What the hell is going on here?

DARTH VADER: You have failed me for the last time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is really Dick Cheney unapologetic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A simple apology would have been in order.


CHENEY: No apologies.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Who the hell do that to

will and testament.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: To pump a book out by saying
heads will be exploding.

TODD: The first head exploding.

POWELL: -- with an almost condescending tone.


O`DONNELL: Good evening from Los Angeles.

Today, as many federal officials remain focused on the cleanup and
recovery efforts after Hurricane Irene, President Obama turned his focus
back to jobs.


O`DONNELL: Even as we deal with this crisis of the moment, our great
ongoing challenge as a nation remains how to get this economy growing
faster. Our challenge is to create a climate where more businesses can
post job listings, where folks can find good work that relieves the
financial burden they are feeling, where families can regain a sense of
economic security in their lives. That`s our urgent mission, and that`s
what I`m fighting for every single day.


O`DONNELL: The president said that while announcing the appointment
of economist Alan Krueger as the new chairman of the Council of Economic
Advisors. Krueger specializes in the labor market and unemployment and is
a former treasury official and Princeton University professor. Krueger
starts his job as the White House is roll out its plan of job creation
after Labor Day, but the reports indicate that the president will call for
the same job proposals he`s been calling for, including the ones in his
weekly address August 20th.


OBAMA: We can cut payroll taxes again so families have an extra
$1,000 to spend. We can pass a road construction bill so construction
crews who are now sitting idle can head back to the work site, rebuilding
roads and bridges and airports. And let`s pass trade deals to level the
playing field for our businesses.

The only thing from preventing us to pass these bills is the refusal
by some in Congress to put country ahead of party.


O`DONNELL: Unlike his Republican opponents, the president has not
managed to unhinge himself from reality when discussing jobs. He can`t do
what Michele Bachmann did while campaigning in Florida this weekend. The
headline reads "Bachmann Promises Fast Economic Turn Around with Tax Cuts."

How fast is Bachmann`s fast economic turn around? One fiscal quarter.
Yes, three months.

It`s the worst economy since the Great Depression, but Bachmann knows
how to fix things, how to turn everything around, in 90 days. And we don`t
have to tell you how she thinks she can do it, it`s in the headline -- tax
cuts, tax cuts, and more tax cuts.

She specifically voiced her support for a corporate tax amnesty on
foreign profits saying, quote, "American companies have sitting in the bank
over $1 trillion. If we had a zero rate of repatriation by the afternoon,
that $1 trillion would be back in the United States. Do you have any idea
how many jobs would be created?"

Campaigning in Iowa this weekend, Rick Perry repeated his mantra for
job creation.


O`DONNELL: If you look at the state of Texas, we`re where we are by
keeping our taxes low, by cutting spending, by making sure that regulations
are fair and predictable and stopping frivolous lawsuits.


O`DONNELL: Texas has actually kept taxes so low that there is no
state income tax in Texas, so according to Perry and Republican theory,
Texas should have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, it doesn`t.
The Texas unemployment rate is 8.4 percent. Less than 1 percent lower than
the national unemployment rate. An 8.4 percent unemployment rate is
nothing to be proud of. In normal times, it`s the kind of thing that gets
you kicked out of office.

The governor, with the lowest unemployment rate in the country, is a
Republican who is not running for president, Jack Dalrymple of North
Dakota, where the unemployment rate is 3.3 percent, which would be a
remarkable accomplishment, even in a healthy economy.

Did Dalrymple miraculously find a way to cut his state income tax
below 1 percent? No. It turns out the state with the lowest unemployment
rate in the country actually has a state income tax and a progressive state
income tax at that. But Republican primary voters have never heard of Jack
Dalrymple, and they do know what they want to hear about taxes and Rick
Perry and the rest of the Republican candidates are going to give it to

Mitt Romney who`s now trailing Rick Perry in two polls of Republican
primary voters will unveil his jobs plan next Tuesday in Nevada, a state
with no income tax and the highest unemployment rate in the country, 13

Jon Huntsman will unveil his jobs plan this Wednesday at a metal
factory in New Hampshire, a state with no income tax, and, of course, a
higher unemployment rate than North Dakota.

Huntsman`s campaign says scaling back regulation, including EPA
regulation, will be a major part of his jobs creation plan, because it will
create certainty.

Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart, "Washington Post" editorial
writer and MSNBC contributor, thanks for joining me tonight, Jonathan.


O`DONNELL: Jonathan, it`s hard out there for a president trying to
talk about the economy when you have these Republican candidates able to
say whatever they want, beginning with the really wild Bachmanannism of "I
can turn this whole thing around in 90 days."

How can the president change his rhetoric and how does he have to
change his rhetoric to deal with the world in which Bachmann is considered
a credible economic manager and prognosticator?

CAPEHART: Well, I don`t know if she`s credible economic manager. But
-- I mean, she is at this point a credible Republican candidate for the
nomination for president. I think the president has to keep doing what
he`s always been doing, and that`s being the adult in the room. I know
that has taken on, you know, the aura of a pejorative because people want
to see him get mad, get angry, fight a little harder. But when you`re
dealing with complicated situations and issues that the country faces, you
can`t have someone who goes off half-cocked talking about things they wish
they could be, as opposed to things that they get done now to help people
who are hurting and I think that`s what the president`s trying it get

But when you have someone, as you said, Michele Bachmann planning on
turning around the economy in one fiscal quarter, or as she said a couple
of weeks ago, promising $2 a gallon gasoline, that -- I don`t know where
that kind of economics works, but it doesn`t work here on earth.

O`DONNELL: She`s definitely well-advised I think to go into that very
specific corporate tax provision about repatriating their foreign profits
because it makes her sound like she actually knows something about the tax
code that the average voter doesn`t. But her notion if you let them bring
all of their foreign profits back here, they will then create jobs back
here with that money when they actually find it to be much more profitable
to be operating overseas, that`s where they got the properties in the first


O`DONNELL: I mean, the circulary of all these crazy ideas -- it makes
me continue to wonder how the Obama campaign can plot its course
economically and the Obama White House plot its rhetoric when you`re going
against this Rick Perry/Bachmann world where no reality matters.

CAPEHART: Well, I think what the White House is going to have to do,
and again, it`s going to be frustrating, but have to tell, it has to tell
the American people how things are right now, what can be done
realistically, what must be done in order to turn the economy around. I
think the president has been saying, since the day he was inaugurated, that
this recovery, putting the country back on mend are on the right fiscal
path is going to be a very long process. It`s not something that can be
done overnight or even in within one quarter, as Michele Bachmann is

Now, it isn`t to say the president hasn`t made mistakes, for instance,
the fiscal commission he put together and then promptly ignored its
recommendations. But I think we`ve all learned the lessons of ignoring
credible reports. And I think from now on, the president is going to have
to worry about those folks, you know, saying what they are saying during
the primary contest, which to a certain point he can sort of ignore them
and deal with the Republicans he has to deal with to get anything done --
and that`s Cantor and McConnell and Speaker Boehner.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, Jon Huntsman promises to be the reality-based
Republican candidate. But his job creating ideas -- just get rid of those
environmental regulations. They are slowing down the hiring too much, so
he obviously isn`t going to be anymore serious in terms of reality on jobs
creation or the economy than the rest of them.

Is that the one place, talking about the economy and talking about
taxes, where no Republican dare venture into reality?

CAPEHART: No, they wouldn`t dare. They can`t. If they want to
become the Republican nominee, there`s no possible way that they can
advocate any kind of meaningful shared sacrifice as much as Jon Huntsman
says he believes in shared sacrifice or raising taxes or anything with the
"t" word in it. There`s no possible way.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, reality-based MSNBC analyst -- thank
you very much for your time tonight, Jonathan.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence. Great to see you.

O`DONNELL: Dick Cheney rather undiplomatically says his new book will
cause heads in Washington to explode. The country`s former top diplomat,
Colin Powell, says that is way not cool.

Cheney is also defending this now infamous statement from George W.
Bush`s 2003 State of the Union address.


BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently
sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.


O`DONNELL: Ahead and a LAST WORD exclusive: Joe Wilson and Valerie
Plame respond to Dick Cheney.


O`DONNELL: Darth Vader vents. That`s the headline of Maureen Dowd`s
"New York Times" column on Cheney`s new book. She says Cheney veers
unpleasantly between spin, insisting he was always right and score-
settling, insisting that anyone who opposed him was wrong. Two of the
people who opposed him, Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, join me in a LAST
WORD exclusive.

And then, later, the U.S. has killed al Qaeda`s number two operative
again. That`s ahead in the "Rewrite."



BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently
sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.


O`DONNELL: In his new book, "In My Time," available to the gullible
in bookstores tomorrow, former Vice President Dick Cheney says that the
Bush administration has no reason to apologize for using those 16 words in
President Bush`s 2003 State of the Union address to help justify the war in
Iraq to American people.

Five months after President Bush said those 16 words, former U.S.
Ambassador Joe Wilson called them into question. Wilson, who as an envoy
investigated firsthand Niger`s suspected link to Iraq, wrote in "The New
York Times" that, quote, "Some of the intelligence related to Iraq`s
nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat."

Wilson added, "The day after the State of the Union speech, I reminded
a friend at the state department of my trip and suggested that if the
president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not born out
by the facts as I understood them."

According to Cheney`s new book, after Wilson`s account appeared in
"The New York Times," the White House considered apologizing for the
inclusion of the 16 words in the president`s State of the Union address.
"Some on the president`s senior staff believed that if we issued an
apology, the story would go away. I strongly opposed the idea, an apology
would only fan the flames and why apologize when the British had, in fact,
reported that Iraq had sought a significant amount of uranium in Africa.
The 16 words were true."

Six days after Wilson`s account appeared in "The New York Times," his
wife Valerie Plame was outed as a CIA agent.

Joining me tonight, former CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband,
former U.S. ambassador, Joe Wilson.

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

VALERIE PLAME, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Thank you for having us.

JOE WILSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR: Good to be with you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Condoleezza Rice realized some time later that it was
wrong for President Bush to include those 16 words, and here is Dick
Cheney`s account of what happened then. "I was under the impression the
president had decided against a public apology and was therefore surprised
a few days later when national security adviser Condoleezza Rice told the
White House press pool we wouldn`t have put it in the speech if we had
known what we know now."

Joe, should they have put it in the speech based on what they knew
then and then based on what they knew later?

WILSON: Well, of course, they should not have. And, in fact, George
Tenet had communicated to Condi Rice and Steve Hadley three times before a
September speech in Cincinnati telling them do not use this Niger
information, we don`t believe it, and then articulated the reasons why they
don`t believe it.

Indeed, just a couple of days after the president`s State of the Union
Address, according to George Tenet`s book, Mike Morell, who is the
presumptive deputy director of the CIA now, told one of Cheney`s staffers,
we`re not going to use that because we don`t believe it. So, they had lots
of time, and it was never an apology, I don`t think, that anybody need out
of an administration that wasn`t prone to apologize in the first place, it
was just an admission they were wrong -- which hopefully at that time would
have encouraged the journalistic press to look into other things they might
have misled the American public about.

O`DONNELL: I want to read another passage from the book. This is
Cheney after Condoleezza Rice`s apology. He says, "Rice realized sometime
later that she had made a major mistake by issuing a public apology. She
came into my office, sat down in the chair next to my desk and tearfully
admitted that I had been right."

Now, in an interview with NBC`s Jamie Gangel, Cheney defended his use
of the word "tearfully." Listen to this.


JAMIE GANGEL, NBC NEWS: Was she crying?

CHENEY: She was tearful. That`s what I wrote. If I`d wanted to say
she was crying, I would have said she was crying.

GANGEL: You know tearfully is a loaded description for powerful women
in high office, it`s going to be seen by a lot of people as provocative.
Could you have left that word out?

CHENEY: It is an accurate description of what happened and what I


O`DONNELL: Valerie, I`m sorry to tell you that nowhere in the book
could we find an account of anyone in the White House being tearful about
the outing of a CIA agent.

Are you surprised that there isn`t a word of regret about that?

PLAME: Could he have been anymore patronizing or sexist than what he
used? He did it on purpose, of course. He`s wounding his former
colleagues. He`s shown nothing but contempt.

And I think it is so ironic that for Dick Cheney who touts his
national security prominence and his expertise, he has never once accepted
any responsibility, nor regret, for the outing and betrayal of a CIA
officer that was working on nuclear weapons, finding them, stopping them,
the WMD in Iraq and so forth.

O`DONNELL: Joe, I want you to listen to this passage of the book
where Cheney says, "Despite what Joe Wilson was saying in the press, he had
brought back information from Africa that supported the 16 words." Joe,
what do you make of that?

WILSON: Well, it`s simply not true. What he`s referring to is a 1999
meeting that took place in Algiers between the then foreign minister and an
Iraqi delegation that was headed by the guy that later became known as
"Baghdad Bob" -- who had absolutely no connection with anything to do with
Saddam`s nuclear program then, before, or afterwards. The then-foreign
minister told me that when he was approached about taking the meeting, he
immediately was concerned that perhaps the Iraqis might want to raise
uranium, a subject about which he had no interest in discussing with them
because of the U.N. sanctions and other U.N. activities related to uranium
sales to a country like Iraq.

And therefore, he told me he determined never to raise that question
or never to discuss it. And, in fact, he said -- and I reported this --
that the subject was never raised. So, it is just a bald-faced lie.

O`DONNELL: Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, please, stay with us. We`re
going do take a break here. We`re going to be back with more of your
reaction to Dick Cheney`s book and what he had to say about Scooter Libby.
That`s coming up.

Stay with us.


O`DONNELL: In his new book, "In My Time," former Vice President Dick
Cheney discusses the investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame`s
identity to the press. Cheney writes that the Department of Justice
Special Counsel wasted time and taxpayer money conducting an over two-year
investigation into the source of the leak, considering the deputy secretary
of state, Rick Armitage, had already told the Justice Department that he
had leaked the information to "The Washington Post`s" Bob Novak.

Cheney writes, "Meanwhile, over at the State Department, Armitage sat
silent, and it pains me to note, so did his boss Colin Powell, whom
Armitage told he was Novak`s source on October 1st, 2003. Less than a week
later, on October 7th, 2003, there was a cabinet meeting. At the end of
it, the press came in for a photo opportunity, and there were questions who
had leaked the information that Wilson`s wife worked for the CIA. The
president said he didn`t know, but wanted the truth. Thinking back, I
realized one of the few people in the world who could have told him the
truth, Colin Powell, was sitting right next to him."

Former secretary of state, Colin Powell, defended himself against
Cheney`s allegations yesterday.


POWELL: The fact of the matter is when Mr. Armitage realized that he
was the source for Bob Novak`s column that caused all the difficulty and he
called me immediately, two days after the president launched the
investigation. And what we did was we called the Justice Department. They
sent over the FBI. The FBI had all the information about Mr. Armitage`s
participation immediately and we called Al Gonzales, the president`s
council, and told him we had information.

The FBI asked us not to share any of this with anybody else, as did
Mr. Gonzalez.

And so, if the White House operatives had come forward as readily as
Mr. Armitage had done, then we wouldn`t have gone on for two months with
the FBI trying to find out what happened on the White House. There
wouldn`t have been a special counsel appointed by the Justice Department
who spent two years trying to get to the bottom of it. And we wouldn`t
have had the mess that we subsequently had.


O`DONNELL: Re-joinnig me now, former CIA officer Valerie Plame and
her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joe Wilson. Joe, it sounds like to me
that Colin Powell and Armitage followed their proper procedure on this.

WILSON: Well, certainly that`s Secretary Powell`s explanation. And I
think that`s probably accurate from everything I`ve read. Regrettably, the
vice president did not. Neither did Scooter Libby, who was convicted, I
like to remind people, on four counts of lying to investigators, perjury,
and obstruction of justice.

As Secretary Powell pointed out, had Vice President Cheney shown a
modicum of integrity and had his staff showed a modicum of integrity, there
might not have been a need for a special council. And indeed, at that
time, there may have been a head that would have rolled without
Fitzgerald`s investigation. And that head might have been Dick Cheney`s.

Remember what Fitzgerald had to say about Scooter Libby, that he threw
sand in the umpire`s eyes. And he had this to say about the vice president
after the prosecution -- successful prosecution of Libby, "there is a cloud
over the vice president." The vice president has deemed not to clear up
that cloud. It probably would have been helpful I think had he been more
direct about his own participation or had he even bothered to release his
sworn deposition that was submitted to the grand jury, or the notes from
his meeting with Fitzgerald and the FBI investigator.

O`DONNELL: Valerie, the vice president`s line here I find
particularly perverse, when he says "I realize that one of the few people
in the world who could have told him the truth, Colin Powell, was sitting
right next to him."

He says one of the few people in the world because he knows there were
other people in the room who could have told him the truth, specifically
the vice president and probably Scooter Libby, who was probably sitting
against the wall in one of those staff chairs. This is that Cheney gloss
where just his words -- he tries to sneak past every one of these points.

PLAME: His confidence is astounding, isn`t it? I was really
offended, however, when, by several accounts, on several days prior to
President Obama`s inauguration, Vice President Cheney was trying to
persuade President Bush to provide a pardon. And he said you don`t want to
leave a soldier on the battlefield, referring to Scooter Libby.

Well, you know what? My brother was a wounded Marine in Vietnam. We
know something about service in our family. And at a time when we have
servicemen and women truly giving the ultimate sacrifice, that he would use
such a metaphor to describe his own political maneuverings I find really,
deeply distressing.

O`DONNELL: Joe, it strikes me as the kind of thing that republicans
who never once in their lives, like Dick Cheney, considered submitting to
military service, have a certain ease with. This is what Cheney`s book
actually says about pardoning Scooter Libby. He says, "George Bush made
courageous decisions as president. And to this day I wish that pardoning
Scooter Libby had been one of them."

Isn`t that Dick Cheney`s wonderful way of saying the president that I
worked for was a coward and would not pardon Scooter Libby?

WILSON: Well, I think that might be part of it. I also think what
Dick Cheney`s saying is the United States is not, in fact, a nation of
laws, it is a nation of men, and we can override laws at our whim.

And I give the president enormous credit for having finally, after
eight years, stood up to Dick Cheney and said no. And I understand from
people I`ve spoken to that it was a defining moment for him. And in fact,
he discussed the matter and discussed the whole pardoning system with
President-elect Obama as they were driving to the inauguration on January

PLAME: And I would add that I think we -- it seems as though we live
in a different America than Dick Cheney. We live in one in which we
believe we are a strong enough country and a great enough country that we
can investigate wrongs that have happened and where things went off track,
that we have strayed from our values.

I guess Dick Cheney doesn`t believe that, because he continues to
advocate for things that fly in the face of what this country was founded
on, not the least of which is torture, which is -- by every international
convention that the United States has signed, is considered to be a war

O`DONNELL: And you know, the other things he says about Libby in this
book is he says he believed Libby was a competent, intelligent, honorable
person -- most competent, intelligent, and honorable person he ever met.
And then he said, "I believe that Scooter was innocent and should never
have been indicted, much less convicted."

What he is saying is he was innocent of perjury. That perjury was
proven by the testimony of Tim Russert. The specifics of how Libby was
actually convicted is, again, something that Cheney won`t go near. He just
asserts that this man was innocent, ignoring the obvious, certain proof of
perjury that the Russert testimony versus the Libby information showed us.

Joe, could you just remind the audience of just how sharp that perjury
testimony was.

WILSON: Just how sharp it was? Well, in a book by James Stewart
called "Tangled Webs," it`s very clear that the FBI, in the person of Jack
Eckenroad (ph), saw Scooter to be a transparent liar. And it`s very clear
that what Scooter was doing was defending -- or was basically taking the
hit for Scooter -- for Dick Cheney`s own decisions to have him go out and
leak to Judy Miller and others that Valerie was, in fact, a covert CIA

So throwing Scooter Libby under the bus and then calling him competent
and honorable basically says that yeah, he took the hit for me because I`m
too cowardly to have told the truth to the special prosecutor or to
anybody, for that matter.

PLAME: I think that`s what passes for emotion in Dick Cheney. I
think he feels a little bit of guilt about what he did.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, thank you very much
for your time tonight.

WILSON: Thank you, Lawrence.

PLAME: Thank you.

WILSON: Good to be with you. >

O`DONNELL: Thank you. A few programming notes. You can see Jamie
Gangel`s interview with Cheney tonight in the "Dateline" special at 10:00
p.m. Eastern on your local NBC station. And tomorrow on "The Today Show,"
Matt Lauer will have a live interview with the former vice president.

Coming up, the job that no terrorist keeps for very long. And that`s
in the Rewrite.

Later, on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Ed Schultz joins me
from a free health care clinic in New Orleans that could use your help.


O`DONNELL: One week after the fall of Tripoli, the search continues
for Moammar Gadhafi. But we know now that his wife, his daughter, and two
of his sons have fled Libya. Algeria`s Foreign Ministry announced this
morning that Gadhafi`s family members are now in that country. A spokesman
for the rebels says, "we have promised to provide a just trial to all those
criminals. And therefore, we consider this an act of aggression. We are
warning anybody not to shelter Gadhafi and his sons. We are going after
them in any place to find them and arrest them."

In the past, Libyan rebels have accused Algeria of backing Gadhafi.
Algerian officials deny that. Algeria is the only one of Libya`s North
African neighborhood not yet recognizing the rebel`s National Transitional
Council as Libya`s legitimate government. The State Department is not
commenting on what legal action should be taken against Gadhafi`s family.


accountability for Gadhafi and those members of his family with blood on
their hands and those members of his regime with blood on their hands. But
it will be a decision of the Libyan people how that goes forward.


O`DONNELL: As for the situation on the ground in Tripoli, rebel
leaders have started the process of relocating their organization from
Benghazi to Tripoli. The State Department also says that phones and
Internet service are back up and running in the capitol.

Coming up, the United States killed al Qaeda`s number two in Pakistan.
Now his successor has the worst job in the world. That`s in tonight`s

And in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, we remember those lost in
Hurricane Katrina, which struck exactly six years ago today. Ed Schultz
joins me live from New Orleans.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Rewrite. This weekend, American
officials reported that a drone operated by the Central Intelligence Agency
killed al Qaeda`s number two operative, again. Doesn`t it seem like we`ve
killed al Qaeda`s number two or three every month or so for like the last
ten years?

Well, we`ve killed a lot of them, especially the number threes, which
this number two actually was until Osama bin Laden was killed and everybody
moved up a notch. The number two the CIA just killed was Atiyah Abd al-
Rahman, one of those not easy to say on TV names that I`ve never had to say
before, because I, like most news consumers, didn`t know he existed until
he didn`t exist anymore.

He`d only had the job of al Qaeda top operational planner for about a
year. He got the job when his predecessor, Sheikh Saeed al-Masri, was --
you guessed it -- killed in a Predator Drone attack. "The New York Times"
notes dryly "the job proves to be particularly deadly."

That`s because the operations chief has to transmit a lot of guidance
to al Qaeda operatives, which helps the CIA track them down. You know --
so now in ten years of this war with al Qaeda, here`s what it`s been like
being al Qaeda`s number three, which is really al Qaeda number two now with
bin Laden out of the top spot.

Mohammed Atef survived just two months in the job after September
11th. A Predator Drone got him in Afghanistan in November 2001. Abu
Zubaydah lasted a little bit longer in the job and a lot longer in life.
He was captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and now resides in Guantanamo
Bay. He has been famously water boarded 83 times. Investigators
eventually determined that he wasn`t really a number three. And according
to "the Washington Post," not even a former member of al Qaeda.

Next came Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured in Pakistan in
March 2003. He too is now a resident of Guantanamo Bay. Abu Faraj al Libi
served just over two years as al Qaeda operations chief before getting
captured in Pakistan in May 2005. He then joined his predecessors in
Guantanamo Bay.

Hamza Rabia was killed six months later in Pakistan by a Predator
Drone. Then came the longest-running al Qaeda number three, Abu Laith al-
Libi. He did just over two years in the job before he was killed along the
Pakistan/Afghanistan border in January 2008.

That gave Sheikh Saeed al-Masri his almost year and a half run at
being number three before being killed by a Predator attack in Pakistan,
followed by, as we said, Atiyah Abd Al-Rahman, whose killing was reported
this weekend.

Now, there`s a lot of issues around these Predator Drone strikes: how
many innocents they kill, how many times they target these people and then
get a completely innocent target. There`s a lot of stuff to wonder about.
The legality of these killings is very, very dubious, to say the least.

Are they assassinations, prohibited by American law? Or is this an
acceptable method of war against a terrorist group that has attacked the
United States? Plenty to wonder about there.

But what is not in doubt is that if you move up to al Qaeda number
three, which as we have said, without Osama bin Laden is now al Qaeda
number two, you have absolutely no chance of collecting your al Qaeda



we`re going to make sure folks have all the support they need as they begin
to assess and repair the damage left by the storm. And that`s going to
continue in the days ahead. It`s going to take time to recover from a
storm of this magnitude.


O`DONNELL: Thirty eight people are confirmed dead and more than half
a million remain without power in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Among
the latest areas of flooding and destruction are places far from the coast
like upstate New York and southwestern Vermont, where three people were
killed and where roads have been washed out by seven inches of rain, the
worst flooding there in more than 80 years.

A covered bridge nearly 150 years old fell into the river in
Rockingham, Vermont. Farther inland, video captured a car floating down a
river. Vermont`s govern warns the state`s biggest rivers could still

As the hurricane made its way from the Carolinas up through the
northeast, President Obama was seen regularly this weekend giving updates
and getting briefings from FEMA. Today at the White House, FEMA
Administrator Craig Fugate was asked what lessons his agency has learned in
responding to hurricanes after Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005.


CRAIG FUGATE, FEMA DIRECTOR: We can`t wait to know how bad it is
before we get ready. We have to go fast. We have to base upon the
potential impacts. If you wait until you know how bad it is, it becomes
harder to change the outcome.


O`DONNELL: It was six years ago today when Hurricane Katrina first
slammed into New Orleans. The storm and subsequent failure of the levies
would claim the lives of more than 1,700 people and displace hundreds of
thousands; 10,000 evacuees stayed at the Superdome.

Today, a few blocks from the Superdome, Ed Schultz and "THE ED SHOW"
joined forces with the National Association of Free Clinics to help
Louisianans without health insurance.

Joining me now, Ed Schultz, host of "THE ED SHOW" weeknights at 10:00
Eastern here on MSNBC. Ed, what was it like to be in New Orleans today on
this grim anniversary?

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, you know, Lawrence, New Orleans has
come a long way in the last six years, but every resident that came through
the door today here at this health care clinic was quick to say we have a
long way to go. This health care clinic, I think, is symbolic of what we
have to do as a country to make things better for Americans, to give them
an opportunity, and an opportunity to respond to a disaster as they did on
the east coast this weekend.

You know, we`re a smarter country because we went through Katrina.
We`re better informed. We are also better equipped. And I think the
American people are paying better attention to what`s going on. And that
is what saved lives.

Back six years ago, there were some failures. There were some
failures in government. There were some failures in structures that
affected a lot of people. And this recovery is going to go on for a long,
long time.

And you could see it in the eyes of the people here today, that they
have been through an awful lot. And I asked them about Katrina. I asked
them about the recovery.

But there`s also a tremendous amount of love and passion for this part
of the country. Many just said that we just couldn`t leave. This is our
home. We`re going to make it back.

I checked some of the numbers. You know, New Orleans had about a
400,000 population, and now it`s down to 240,000. There were people that
did leave the area. But those who stayed are very committed to the area
and want to bounce back. You can see that. You hear it in their voices,
but you also see the anguish in their eyes as well.

O`DONNELL: Ed, in Louisiana, about 20 percent of adults are
uninsured. You`ve been at these health care clinics before. Is there any
kind of different mood at the clinics now? Do they have a sense help is on
the way in the somewhat distant future with the implementation of the
Democrats` health care reform bill?

SCHULTZ: You know, that`s a great question, Lawrence, because there
is a change in the mood. These folks are angry. They`re angry at
Washington. They`re angry at the bickering that`s going on, the bickering
when it comes to jobs. The this was as much about jobs today as it was
about health care. Because for the first time -- this is the eighth
National Association of Free Health Care Clinics that I have been to. This
is number eight.

This is the first time that the majority of people that came through
the door are unemployed. Sixty three percent of the people that came here
today are looking for a job. It`s kind of tough to have health care if you
don`t have a job.

So this is as much about jobs here as it is health care. And it`s
just all part of that domino effect when you lose your job.

I had a number of people say to me today, you know, Ed, I have to make
a decision of whether I`m going to pay the rent or buy food. Thank God, I
have a chance to come to a free health care clinic to make sure I`m OK
These are folks that are angry. They are mad at Washington. And they all
say to a T, it doesn`t have to be this way.

So I`m proud to be here with our team to shine a light on this. We
still have a long way to go. The Obama administration, the Democrats,
through reconciliation, did get something passed. But part of that anger,
Lawrence, is that it seems like all the conversation is Washington is
repealing what little progress we did make. And the people here don`t
understand that.

It`s just this political battling that`s going on that I think has a
lot of people frustrated. All they are looking for is a chance to get

O`DONNELL: Quickly before you go, how do people help you with this,
because I know you don`t have quite enough funding to get this clinic done
today. Where can people contribute?

SCHULTZ: They can go to the -- Google National Association of Free
Health Care Clinics. There`s a number of different places you can go. To
donate, I encourage your listeners to do some reading on
this. These are phenomenal people.

O`DONNELL: Ed Schultz from New Orleans, thanks for joining us
tonight. Ed, you`re doing great work down there.

SCHULTZ: Thank you, Lawrence. Good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: You can see much more about today`s free health clinic on
"THE ED SHOW" later tonight, 10:00 pm Eastern, 7:00 pm Pacific.

Once again, if you`d like to donate money to the free clinics, go to

You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog,


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