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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Joe Klein, Irin Carmon

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: OK, everybody. Try to look surprised the
Herman Cain is campaign is officially out of control.


another candidate like Herman Cain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Herman Cain never thought he would be the front

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never thought I would be taken seriously.

CAIN: I have no idea.

O`DONNELL (voice-over): Herman Cain really is making it up as he goes

CAIN: Do you think I`m dumb enough not to study up on these issues?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Cain campaign is in chaos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A "New York Times" report this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not speak to him unless you are spoken to.

CAIN: I knew the bull`s eye on my back, Sean, was big, but I didn`t
know it was that big. My 9-9-9 plan.

number in the Republican Party.

CAIN: Nine-nine-nine plan.

CARNEY: But this can`t be the kind of nine that they want.

CAIN: Let Herman be Herman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let Herman be Herman.

CAIN: Let Herman be Herman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let Herman be Herman. Let Block be Block.

AL SHARPTON, "POLITICS NATION" HOST: I`m going to smoke a cigarette
and say, watch "POLITICS NATION."

O`DONNELL: Rick Perry is tired of losing debates, so he is skipping

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: He may start to skip future debates.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: Rick Perry says he may be through with
dastardly debates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bad debates, bad comments on immigration, lots of
problems with the campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It takes valuable time away from campaigning.

O`DONNELL: And Republicans are tired of crazy people ruining their

DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: Nobody has been able to find any records.

towel a napkin, but it is a napkin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All these loonies (ph) out there.

KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: These kinds of things do not help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Admonitions by Governor Barbour, by Governor Bush.

ROVE: The nutty view of this nutty fringe group.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, "HARDBALL" HOST: You are hoping Obama get re-elected.

TRUMP: I don`t necessarily --

CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN: Michele Bachmann`s campaign is in trouble.
I don`t know if you heard this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hooray for trouble.


O`DONNELL: That thud you are about to hear is the Herman Cain
campaign crashing back to earth -- so writes Joe Klein in this week`s issue
of "Time."

In today`s "New York Times," the first Cain campaign expose entitled
"as Cain promotes his management skills, ex-aides tell of campaign in

"Interviews with his former staff members volunteers and support
members give a glimpse of a candidate who appeared to show ambivalence
toward basic campaign management which led to problems in hiring,
scheduling and fund-raising and messaging."

It`s a tale of former 9-9-9 idealists sadly discovering who was really
behind the curtain.

"Some former aides said they had longed to see the problem solving
side of Mr. Cain, or see Mr. Cain at all over the spring and summer. He
did not spend much time with work withers. He did not plan conference
calls or staff meetings and was given to changing his mind about
appearances, sometimes with little notice, a tendency that angered his
field workers."

Cain forced his campaign workers to sign nondisclosure agreements --
something I have never heard of in a campaign -- so most of them are not
quoted by name in the article.

"Everything we tried to do was like pulling teeth to get
accomplished," said a former staff member in Iowa who asked for anonymity.
"I`ve never been involved in a job that was as frustrating as this one. We
couldn`t get an answer on anything. Everything was fly by the seat of your

That is direct confirmation of what this network`s Republican senior
statesman has been surmising every morning.


JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: He`s making it up as he goes along and
it is starting blow up in his face.

Flavor of the month. He is this month`s Michele Bachmann or Rick
Perry or Donald Trump or Sarah Palin. He`s making it up.

MIKE BRZEZINSKI, MSNBC ANCHOR: But so is Herman Cain. But it is OK.

SCARBOROUGH: Of course he is. They are just making it up.

BRZEZINSKI: Seriously.


O`DONNELL: He`s making it up.

And then there`s the secret Cain campaign e-mail memo that the "New
York Times" has exposed. It contains an edict that I, for one, have tried
to enforce everywhere I`ve worked and I quote, "Do not speak to him unless
you are spoken to."

"I found it odd," said a former staff member who liked to prep Mr.
Cain for appearances while driving. The aide who spoke on the condition of
anonymity quit not long after citing the e-mail as one of the deciding

Joining me now: "Time" columnist, Joe Klein, whose latest column, "The
GOP wheel of fortune" appears in this week`s issue. Also, MSNBC political
analyst, Alex Wagner.

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

JOE KLEIN, TIME: Good to be here, Lawrence.


O`DONNELL: Joe, I -- that don`t speak unless you are spoken to, I
have tried that around this building and it doesn`t work anywhere. It
doesn`t work in the elevator.

Have you heard of that one in a campaign trail before?

KLEIN: Not in a presidential campaign. This thing was hilarious from
the start. It was ridiculous how pumped up it got. It`s about to fizzle
in a very, very dramatic way.

O`DONNELL: Why will it fizzle?

KLEIN: Why? One word: abortion. I mean, his position on abortion is
essentially Mario Cuomo`s old position of abortion. I`m against it
personally, but the state shouldn`t be involved in this.

Now, when actual Republicans hear in Iowa, when I was out there this
week their essential response is: he is dead to me forever.

O`DONNELL: But hasn`t he changed it now, his official position is the
Republican position and that is what it is as of today and that`s all that
matters, right?

KLEIN: Except for the fact that he said it the other way on FOX News
and a couple of other places earlier in the week. And people don`t know
this guy, and the more they are learning about him, you know, he`s as much
of a turn around artist as Mitt Romney is on a lot of issues. He is really
making it up.

O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner, first of all, I want to thank you for being
the only one here at MSNBC who observes any do not speak to him unless
spoken to rule. Thank you very much.

WAGNER: I know the rules. I know the rules, boss.

O`DONNELL: I know. By the way, to be fair to Herman Cain and I think
all of the questions will begin with that. To be fair to Herman Cain, his
rule about not speaking to him unless spoken to apparently applies perhaps
only in the car -- only in the car when he`s going places, he doesn`t want
to be spoken in to. In fact, as many of places who have been in the car
with I candidate that`s where most of your talking gets done.


O`DONNELL: But what about the abortion thing? I mean, you know,
Romney`s position on abortion is, number one, forget what I used to say,
it`s what I say now going forward and why won`t that work for Cain to just
say, ignore everything I`ve said prior to now and now I`m going to say this
thing on the index card that the Republicans want me to say.

WAGNER: I think it is what Joe was getting to at the end of his
comment, which is that -- I mean, it`s like this for Herman Cain on every
issue. I mean, foreign policy it was becky, becky, becky-stan. I mean,
this is a guy that is theoretically only appearing to now know what
countries are in the world so that he can make some sort of vaunted foreign
policy speech in the next week. This is someone who`s 9-9-9 tax plan has
been thoroughly and roundly debunked by economists both conservative and
liberal in stripe.

I mean, he`s just simply not prepared for primetime. And then
there`s, of course, the sinking feeling this guy was never running for
president any way. He has written a book and I think we can all -- you
know, if he doesn`t get the nomination, I think we can relax and go to bed
at night knowing happily that Herman Cain will be on the national stage as
a pundit and voice for conservatives for some time to come.

O`DONNELL: But, Alex, he did say -- Cain said he has been studying
foreign policy for a couple of months now, which I believe is a couple of
months longer than Rick Perry.


WAGNER: And then you have to give Herman Cain the, he is great in
debates. He keeps things fiery. He keeps moving.

Rick Perry is looking for some teleprompter in the sky that doesn`t
actually exist. When he said he was doing debate prep and his advisers
were saying he was, you know, really trying to bone up on his Ps and Qs for
the debate, I`m not sure what that entailed. I mean, I watched his last
debate performance, but did debates mean watching back episodes of
entourage, because I don`t really see where the prep part came in here.

O`DONNELL: Joe, going back to your column it says Cain`s flim flap
flam or naivete confirms the pizza man is over his head and makes it time
for another spin of another spin of Republican wheel of fortune.

KLEIN: Of misfortune.

O`DONNELL: Of misfortune.

What do you mean sneaking suspicion? Clearly, he is in over his head,
OK? Let`s just agree with that.

KLEIN: Subtlety and irony.

O`DONNELL: So, your thought is OK, he`s the latest bubble candidate
like Michele Bachmann who runs up in the polls, like Trump who got good
poll numbers before he admitted he was never running for president -- and
your theory is that someone else will move in to the Cain position in the
polls. Who could that be?

KLEIN: Yes. Who could it be? Well, you know, it`s possible that
Perry will come back because he has money to put on TV. But his strategy,
which is wall-to-wall ugly really just doesn`t work in presidential
campaigns. It is a kamikaze strategy.

So, that kind of leaves Gingrich and Santorum, both of whom I saw in
Iowa this week and both of whom are fascinating.

By the way, this Republican field is the most, you know glorious
display of weird humanity I have ever seen on a debate platform and they
have had all of these rationales. Most of them aren`t really running for
presidential, like Herman Cain, running for lecture fees, probably. Donald
Trump was running for ratings.

I mean, you know, Sarah Palin running to sell a book and reality TV
show. But this has little to do with presidential politics.

Newt, however, is a very clever guy. He has interesting ideas. He`s
very undisciplined. I saw him turn a stump speech in to an endless lecture
about brain science the other day. It was fascinating.

O`DONNELL: Standing ovation for that, the brain science one?

KLEIN: Only after he called Obama every name in the book.

O`DONNELL: You got to do that. In any brain science lecture, you
will find Obama.

Alex, "The Times" article about the campaign is filled with great
stuff about Herman Cain leaving a group of people behind, not knowing they
were upstairs wanting to contribute to his campaign and he went to the
airport instead. Real candidates don`t do that.

The Cain campaign has a response to "The Times" article. They say,
"Other than pleasantly saying hello, some people in the past didn`t
understand that it is his time to prep for interviews, speeches and other
public appearances, but because he is nice, and engaging, some people
thought it was OK to strike up conversations whenever they were in the car
with him."

And so, those people got straightened out by that e-mail. Herman
Cain, do you see, do you buy Joe`s notion that this thing has to flame out
and the other side of it that the Cain bubble will probably get replaced by
someone else?

WAGNER: A thousand percent. I think if the Cain bubble doesn`t
burst, there are going to be a lot of Americans that become Canadians in
the next several months. It`s insane and it`s high comedy in the GOP
presidential field.

I totally agree about Santorum. I think in small arenas, he`s great.
He`s ideologically, incredibly conservative and consistent and he really
connects with his audiences.

O`DONNELL: OK, the Santorum campaign should pop the champagne right
now. It just had its high point of the year.

"Time`s" Joe Klein and MSNBC`s Alex Wagner -- thank you both for
joining us tonight.

WAGNER: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thanks.

Coming up: Brian Williams, the hardest working man in show business
will join me.

But, first, Mississippi tries to grant full legal personhood at

And the president`s birth certificate means nothing to 46 percent of
South Carolina Republicans who love hearing every word Donald Trump has to
say about him. That`s next.


O`DONNELL: So, it`s not just Warren Buffett that thinks that
millionaires should pay more in federal income taxes. The "Wall Street
Journal" reports today that a new survey of millionaires found that more
than two-thirds of them, 68 percent, support raising taxes on millionaires.
That`s 68 percent of millionaires support raising taxes on themselves.

An analyst at the Spectrum Group, which conducted the survey, says,
"What this tells us is there is a large number of wealthy folks who said,
`Gee, we need to increase taxes to stimulate the economy. No one likes to
be taxed more but the reality is maybe it has to be done.`"

What this also tells us is that America has the nicest millionaires in
the world.

Coming up: how much trouble is the denial of the president`s birth
certificate causing the Republican Party. Republican strategist Steve
Schmidt joins me next.


O`DONNELL: Thirty-six percent of South Carolina Republicans believe
President Obama was not born in the United States. Nothing in this now
very familiar document can change their minds about that.

Another 10 percent of South Carolina Republicans are not sure which
country the president was born in. That means, 46 percent of South
Carolina Republicans are very interested in hearing things like this
delivered to them by a highly credible Cable News Network.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN: Do you accept that what he produced is valid?

DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: I don`t necessarily --

MORGAN: Do you believe he was probably born in America.

TRUMP: I say he might have been.

MORGAN: What does your gut tell you? Because you are a smart guy.

TRUMP: My gut tells me a couple of things. Number one, it took a
long time to produce the certificate. And when it came out, as you know,
you check out the Internet, many people say it is not real, OK? That it`s
a forgery.

MORGAN: The Internet is at lot of nonsense.


TRUMP: OK. Fine, but they go over it and a lot of different things
and reasons.

And the other thing is nobody has been able to see the day of his
birth. They had twins born. They had other one born. Nobody has been
able to find any records that he was born in that hospital.

MORGAN: Do you think politically for Rick Perry --

TRUMP: I think it is a positive for him.

MORGAN: Is it a sensible thing for him to do.

TRUMP: I think it is good for him in the Republican primary. I don`t
necessarily know if it`s good in the general election.


O`DONNELL: That was a former fake presidential candidate on CNN
tonight trying to keep hope alive that the president`s birth certificate
isn`t the president`s birth certificate.

Here`s how a real presidential candidate handled it.


worried about the president`s birth certificate. It`s fun to poke at him a
little bit and say how about let`s see your grades and your birth

JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: But are you saying that your comments about that
are kind of a joke, or do you seriously have an unresolved question like
Donald Trump has about this?

PERRY: I don`t have a clue about where the president and what this
birth certificate says.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC analyst Steve Schmidt. Steve is
the former senior adviser to the McCain/Palin `08 presidential campaign and
a senior strategist in the Bush/Cheney `04 presidential campaign. He also
managed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger`s 2006 re-election campaign.

Steve, thanks for joining us tonight.


O`DONNELL: Steve, we have talked before about how much damage the so-
called birtherism is doing in the Republican Party. I`d like to explore
what good it may do for some candidates now that I have seen the poll from
South Carolina. The South Carolina poll of Republicans by Winthrop
University that shows 36 percent believe President Obama was born in
another country. They believe that.

There`s another 10 percent who aren`t sure. So, there`s 46 percent
who are certainly more than open to the idea that that`s not the
president`s birth certificate -- that both Donald Trump and Rick Perry talk

And then there`s 30 percent believe that President Obama is a Muslim.

Another 18 percent believe he is something other than what he says he
is, a Christian.

So there`s 48 percent of South Carolina Republicans who do not believe
that the president is what he says he is religiously. You have this other
46 percent who think, eh, wasn`t born here.

Isn`t that what that talk is directed to? It`s Rick Perry is trying
to find the language that makes those people feel he`s one of us.

SCHMIDT: I find it very, very disturbing. I think is this is
terrible news for Republicans. I think the numbers you just went through
were absolutely frightening. I think that the flirtation with this lunatic
fringe out there by some of our candidates is reprehensible.

And it`s really disturbing when you listen to Rick Perry talk there,
because I think there is something he may not understand about our system,
and it is this -- that it`s the loser who legitimizes the winner in an
election through the concession. It`s the loser that says to all of the
people that the election was legitimate. And you have this systemic effort
to delegitimize the commander in chief when we have American troops
deployed abroad in combat. I just think it`s awful.

O`DONNELL: Steve, there`s now some evidence that Rick Perry may be
listening to you on this. Let`s listen to how he handled this on a local
interview in Tampa, Florida.


PERRY: I don`t think I was expressing doubts. I was having fun with
Donald Trump. Look, it`s fun to -- you know, lighten up a bit.

REPORTER: So, you have no doubt he is an American citizen.

PERRY: I have no doubt about it.


O`DONNELL: That`s a new sentence for him, I have no doubt about it.

SCHMIDT: And I don`t think the lighten up comment wears very well. I
mean, there`s a reason that that many Republicans in any given state
believe this is a legitimate issue, and it`s because people who are
ostensibly serious people who have a broadcast platform have gone out and
be highly irresponsible with this.

And I think delegitimizing the president is the wrong thing to do
politically and but it`s also a terrible thing to do for the country. And
it does, I think, grievous damage to our system and our institutions.

And it`s one of the reasons, when you look across the field of survey
data, that you see in institution after institution in this country the
collapse of trust. And it`s a big problem and this doesn`t do anything to
help remedy it.

O`DONNELL: Steve, you have been in the room with presidential
candidates at the highest level who have to make these decisions and
successful presidential candidates of their way to nominations. If a
presidential candidate in this field said to you, you were working for that
candidate and you were in the room and said, look, isn`t it time to go to
New York and visit with Donald Trump -- all the other candidates have done
it. What would you tell the candidate?

SCHMIDT: I would try to tie myself to the bumper of the car to
prevent it from leaving the parking lot.


SCHMIDT: I think that, you know, the notion that there`s an upside
with the middle of the electorate to be seen as going to kowtow to Donald
Trump who, you know, has a lot of talent, is a big personality but for a
strange reason has started to flirt with this crazy fringe. So, you can`t
see him without hurting your campaign.

O`DONNELL: MSNBC political analyst Steve Schmidt, thank you very for
joining me tonight.

SCHMIDT: You bet, Lawrence. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: Mississippi tries to define personhood
beginning at fertilization.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, the late night comedians rewrite the
presidential candidates.


MADDOW: In tonight`s profile in greed on day 41 of the "Occupy Wall
Street" protest, a look at Rajat Gupta. Gupta was a longtime managing
director and then managing partner of the global consulting firm McKinsey.
He was in charge during the spectacular collapse of McKinsey`s most corrupt
client, Enron.

Gupta was paid between $5 million and $10 million a year at McKinsey.
Gupta also made $3 million a year sitting on the boards of other companies,
including Goldman Sachs.

According to CNN Money profile, Gupta`s net worth is estimated at $100

But $100 million apparently wasn`t enough for Gupta, according to an
SEC complaint. In June of 2008, Gupta phoned a friend, a billionaire hedge
fund founder and allegedly gave him an early tip about the Goldman Sachs
earnings report which had not been yet made public.

The billionaire hedge fund operator made about $8 million on that
alleged tip. In September of 2008, according to the SEC complaint, Gupta
gave his billionaire hedge fund friend another tip. The billionaire made
$840,000 on that alleged tip.

Now, I know that sounds like a lot of money, $840,000. But $840,000
was actually 1/20 of 1 percent of the billionaire`s wealth, 0.05 percent of
the billionaire`s wealth.

To bring that down to real world scale, if you had say $10,000 in
wealth, in savings, in the bank, what federal crime would you be willing to
commit for 5 bucks? How much jail time, federal pen time would you be
willing to risk for 5 bucks? That`s what the billionaire did to make his
$840,000 that day.

Around that same time, Gupta was preparing to leave Goldman Sachs for
a private equity firm. The billionaire friend was caught on a federal wire
explaining Gupta`s desire to leave Goldman.

"I think he wants to, you know, be in that circle. That`s a
billionaire`s circle, right. Goldman is like the hundreds of millionaire`s
circle, right? And I think he sees an opportunity to make $100 million
over the next five or 10 years without doing a lot of work."

Gupta never made it to the billionaire`s circle but he did surrender
to FBI agents yesterday. He has pleaded not guilty to insider trading.
His billionaire hedge fund friend is already in prison. Raja Rajaratnam
was convicted of insider trading in May. He sentenced two weeks ago to 11
years in prison -- the longest prison sentence ever given in an insider
trading case and he is now facing new charges of insider trading. Insider
trading that was to him worth 5 bucks.

In less than two weeks, Mississippi will vote on an a amendment that
would redefine the word "person" to include a human being from the moment
of fertilization.`s Irin Carmon went down to Mississippi to get
a firsthand account of the state`s personhood movement. That`s going to be

And Herman Cain gives plenty of material to the late-night comedians.
That`s coming up in the "Rewrite."


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, a constitutional amendment in
Mississippi seeks to amend the state Bill of Rights to declare a fertilized
human egg as a legal person.


DR. FREDA BUSH, M.D.: Amendment 26 is a scientific and moral issue,
not a political one. Science confirms that a person is a human being at
the moment of fertilization. It`s a moral issue because it doesn`t matter
if you come from a family that`s rich or poor, black or white, or even if
your father was a rapist.


O`DONNELL: If initiative 26 passes on November 8th, effectively
changing the definition of "person" could make abortion, birth control and
even in vitro fertilization a crime, the unclear language of the amendment
leaves it up to the state legislature to hash out the details of important
questions surrounding pregnancy and governments such as investigating women
who have miscarried.

Even local Democrats including the party`s candidate for governor,
Johnny DuPree, support personhood. In an interview with Salon, DuPree
voiced concerns over the impact of birth control and rape victims but said,
"I`m answering the question and voting on the question based on what was
asked in the initiative. That initiative says, `Where do you believe life
begins?` I believe life begins at conception."

Personhood USA, the group behind the personhood amendment in
Mississippi is also helping to push for initiatives in several other states
including Florida and Ohio.

Joining me now is Irin Carmon, staff writer for who wrote a
firsthand account of the amendment during her travels to Mississippi.

Thank you for joining me tonight.

IRIN CARMON, STAFF WRITER, SALON.COM: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: So, this is a campaign they have started in Mississippi.
Is in the first ballot initiative before they move to other states?

CARMON: They have been on the ballot twice in Colorado. They failed
wildly. However, we know Mississippi and Colorado have very different
demographics. This is probably the first state where it could pass.

O`DONNELL: And you found there are Democrats in Mississippi who are
not standing in the way of this. In fact, openly willing to vote for it,
support it.

CARMON: The pro-personhood people have managed to make it about
abortion, which in Mississippi is overwhelmingly opposed.

So, you have Democrats who say even though they think there are
serious problems with the amendment -- for example, no exception to rape
and incest victims seriously could stand in the way of caring for a woman
if her life is at risk. Even though they have these doubts about it, they
are supporting it because they say, as the Johnny DuPree that was from the
debate, he said this is about life at conception. They have refrained it
that way.

And there`s one northeastern the state of Mississippi, one elected
official, a Democrat, who stood out against it, who said, this is about
control women and I`m a woman who doesn`t like to be controlled.

O`DONNELL: This clearly violates Roe v. Wade. So, they know what
they are trying to set up here, if it passes, is simply a vehicle that will
get this delivered to the United States Supreme Court.

CARMON: Well, traditionally the pro--life movement has opposed
personhood amendments because they actually think that they are too crazy.
I`m serious. They think they are going to get Roe reaffirmed because they
have overreached. But you have these people that find personhood an
appealing message because they say we have been going incremental and there
have been 53 million abortions since Roe v. Wade.

Guess what? You know ,his probably not be enforced. One that it`s
sure is that if it`s passed, Mississippi which has a high poverty rate and
high teen pregnancy rate, a high infant mortality rate, is going to be
locked in legislation defending this, maybe all the way to the Supreme
Court, and it will cost a lot of money.

O`DONNELL: Explain how this invades the process of in vitro
fertilization and then also possibly what it could have to do with

CARMON: Well, if they think that a fertilized egg is in the person,
that means, you know, in the process of in vitro fertilization, they create
more embryos that are necessarily going to implant.

O`DONNELL: They fertilize more eggs than they are going to use.

CARMON: Right. They may end up. The medical definition of pregnancy
is when an embryo implants, when a fertilized eggplants inside of the
uterus. We all know a woman can have a fertilized egg and it doesn`t
implant naturally. And in in vitro fertilization, they`re going to need to
create more fertilized eggs than they are ever going to cause pregnancy.

Personhood people think that freezing embryos is murder because 50
percent of them may not survive and they think discarding embryo is murder.
So, they want to implant one fertilized egg a time, which would drastically
reduce the pregnancy rate.

As for miscarriages, if a miscarriage looks suspicious, if it like it
is due to child negligence, you know, negligence of the mother, maybe she
had a glass of alcohol or whatever it is -- maybe she talked about not
wanting to be pregnant, you know, all of a sudden, you know

O`DONNELL: A homicide investigation.


O`DONELL: Irin Carmon of "Salon" -- thank you very much for joining
me tonight.

CARMON: Thank you so much, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the late night comedy writers get a chance to
rewrite this week`s news. That`s going to be next.

And the hardest working man in show business, Brian Williams, joins
me. You know, we might just get him to sing and dance.



DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: Who`s that guy, Lawrence -- what`s his
name on MSNBC?


LETTERMAN: Will somebody tell him to settle down? Do you know the
guy? Why he is always so hot? What`s his problem?

WILLIAMS: We all live life one day at a time.

LETTERMAN: He is always screaming about something.

WILLIAMS: He`s a volatile Irish Catholic, veteran of politics. He
has maybe the best hair in television.

LETTERMAN: Oh, no. No, my friend.

WILLIAMS: Oh, come on.


LETTERMAN: This -- no. That is.

WILLIAMS: I don`t know if --


WILLIAMS: This is a new one. This one you can`t see.


WILLIAMS: This is a nice one. This is made from marmosets.




O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "Rewrite" the late-night comedians rewrite
the political news of the week.


O`BRIEN: Michele Bachmann`s campaign is in trouble. I don`t know if
you heard this. OK, well, whatever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hooray for trouble.

O`BRIEN: What`s that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hooray for trouble.

O`BRIEN: No. That`s someone who just got the first joke.

Michele Bachmann`s campaign in a lot of trouble. The five staffers
who quit Michele Bachmann`s campaign said they did so because she treated
them like second-class citizens. Yes.

However, Bachmann says that`s not true. At no time did I treat them
like gays or Latinos. I think we`re in good shape.

Michele Bachmann said she wants her three daughters to learn to shoot
a gun. Yes, mostly so they can put her campaign out of its misery.

LETTERMAN: Celebrity birthday, Hillary Clinton, secretary of state,
64 years old today. Happy birthday.


LETTERMAN: Today, Donald Trump demanded to see her birth certificate.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Doesn`t Rick Perry in this picture look like
he`s undressing himself with his eyes? Doesn`t it look like he`s looking
in the mirror going, yes, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) me.

One time we were executing this fella and I called the execution room
right before midnight and I said, I said to the fella, why do they call it
the death penalty. The truth is you are really getting thrown out of the
whole game.

Any way, I found out later the fella was mentally disabled, so, you

O`BRIEN: The Republican candidate Herman Cain has a new campaign ad
out that a lot of people are talking about, because it`s really quite odd
at the end. It`s all over the Internet. Take a look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can take this country back.


LETTERMAN: Look like he owns an adult bookstore.

O`BRIEN: This is incredible. He has another one just rolling in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vote for Herman Cain. He will unite Americans
like no other politician can.


STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: No, the best part is the eight seconds it
takes for Herman Cain to smile. Oh, yes.

SHARPTON: We are going to get a guy, smoke a cigarette and say watch

COLBERT: We`ll be right back.



O`DONNELL: It is day, 2, 555 of the "Occupy NBC" movement led by
newsman comedian, actor, rapper, Brian Williams.


ANNOUNCER: From NBC News world headquarters in New York, this is NBC
"Nightly News" with Brian Williams.

WILLIAMS: Good evening.

Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other
governor in modern times.


WILLIAMS: Have you -- have you struggled to sleep at night with the
idea that any one of those might have been innocent?

There you are. I heard about this whole dot-com thing. I`m not
saying I want to audition but Mickey from Scotch Plains, New Jersey, might
be interested. Hey, forget about it.

Me and some of the guys on 114 ladder are going to schools, mostly
children talking to people about fire safety preparedness.

JAY LENO, COMEDIAN: You find time in your day, I`m sorry, prime
minister, I have to see "Jersey Shore."

WILLIAMS: It is different. You have the fist pump, you have the
poof, you got the snooks. It`s unbelievable.

Amid fears the nation could go in to default for fist time in our
history, Democrat Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are working on a bill pa
capable of passing both houses to end this mounting crisis.

JIMMY FALLON: Sounds like Congress has a mounting crisis. And the
Tea Party isn`t pleased by Mitch McConnell jumping in the bed with Harry
Reid. They are telling him, move, Mitch, get out of the way.

WILLIAMS: Get back Jimmy Fallon, you don`t know him like that.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now the leader and the only intended
beneficiary of the occupy NBC movement, Mr. Brian Williams.

WILLIAMS: That was the longest two with minutes in television.

O`DONNELL: We have more, my friend. We were kind.

WILLIAMS: You can`t have more. Thank you for displaying my new logo.
How handsome is that.

O`DONNELL: It`s very exciting.

What is that? New logo for what? What`s that?

WILLIAMS: It`s is our new primetime evening news magazine, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Because you don`t have enough to do.

WILLIAMS: Well, look, you and I are both fully employed, but in my
case, I have two and a half hours of television a week, 30 minutes times
five. That`s not -- I have always said this beats real work. I have done
real work.

O`DONNELL: There`s more work to it that what we see on TV, right?
It`s like you get here a couple of minutes before and you just read the

WILLIAMS: I wish that were the case.

O`DONNELL: So, this -- you have a new -- it`s called what? It`s is
called "Rock Center"?

WILLIAMS: "Rock Center," yes.

O`DONNELL: When is it on?

WILLIAMS: It is called a set up in comedy.

O`DONNELL: When will it be on?

WILLIAMS: It will be on Monday nights at 10:00, 9:00 central.

O`DONNELL: At what time?

WILLIAMS: Ten. Yes, I know. I`ve thought about it.

O`DONNELL: You are going against me at 10:00.

WILLIAMS: But you weren`t at 10:00 when I told the network
schedulers, hey, it`s OK.

O`DONNELL: It`s time to go back to talk to those schedulers.

WILLIAMS: My buddy LOD is clear from that time frame, so we green lit
it and suddenly musical chairs over here.

O`DONNELL: All right. Here`s the deal. I`m going to explain -- my
viewers need to know this, if you DVR Brian`s show and you watch it, you
know, at 11:00 that night, it will count in his ratings. That`s the best I
can do for you because I`m not going to release them to watch your thing.

WILLIAMS: You realize the power of NBC television network.

O`DONNELL: It is bigger than MSNBC.

WILLIAMS: We have a massive transmitter. We flip on, everything

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, you`re not the only thing on at 10:00. In
big commercial prime time, you`re going against "Dancing with the Stars,"
my friend.

WILLIAMS: That`s true. Someone told me that.

O`DONNELL: You have been practicing you`re dancing I assume.

WILLIAMS: I don`t mean to sound too precious, but we`ve been putting
this broadcast together not mindful of the entertainment shows that are
going to kill us. We`re not doing this for ratings.

O`DONNELL: How egomaniacal of you to just think it won`t matter who
else is on.

WILLIAMS: We want this to be like you everyday. We want to this to
be a really good show. I know we are going to get crushed. It`s not a
ratings thing.

O`DONNELL: Well, you know, just -- you might not just have problems
with "Dancing with the Stars," OK?

I want you to take a look at what else I`m up against and I know I`m
up against them in the cable world. I`m up against them every night, and I
planned this show with these shows in mind knowing I`ve got to counter
programming and know what they are doing.

We`re going to look at some of the thing you are going to be up
against at 10:00. Like "American Guns" on Discovery.


O`DONNELL: Look. Are you going to have demon liquor on the show?

WILLIAMS: Tell me this doesn`t look fun. Have you ever opened up
weapons in a place are where you can`t hurt yourself or somebody else and
just blow stuff up.

O`DONNELL: There`s something there for you.

WILLIAMS: Oh, that`s fun. Oh, USA.

O`DONNELL: It`s all part of the NBC family.

WILLIAMS: I can get this at home. So I don`t need to watch it.

O`DONNELL: OK. But everyone with a remote is going to be passing by
this, saying where`s Brian Williams. They see this.

WILLIAMS: That`s true.

O`DONNELL: Why would they keep going?

WILLIAMS: I have old tapes of the Democratic convention.

O`DONNELL: Ridiculousness it is on TV at 10:00 at night. This.

WILLIAMS: That`s pretty good.

O`DONNELL: What are you going to do better than that?

WILLIAMS: How do you not love this? It`s fantastic.


WILLIAMS: You`re right. I`ll be watching this and TiVoing me and on
the second TiVo channel, TiVoing you. This one you watch.

O`DONNELL: You thought Jackass was over.

WILLIAMS: I can tell you all about this show.

O`DONNELL: Tell us all about this show.

WILLIAMS: Oh, my goodness. They are discriminating. Someone has
them over and says it is a `57 Chevy and it`s beautifully restored and they
have the ability to walk away from something like that. And people bring
in all kinds of stuff. Here`s a wristband signed by Grover Cleveland.

O`DONNELL: All right. How many real house wives will you have?

WILLIAMS: I`m a jersey person. I don`t do Beverly Hills. It`s a too
much of a narcissism festival, even for the subculture of us that watch
housewives shows with the word housewives in them. I`m all about
"Housewives of New Jersey," though. That`s some good television.

But you raise a good point here. This is gnarled 10:00 p.m. veteran.
You raise a good point. There`s some good stuff on opposite you and me.

O`DONNELL: There is. It is adult fare, by the way -- 10:00 p.m. in
the broadcast hour is where they put the most adult shows. So you have to
bring your adult game at 10:00 p.m. That stuff you get away with at 6:30,
not at 10:00 p.m.

WILLIAMS: I watch some of that, but I`m not sure I want Ban Ki-moon
to put it on the big screen at the U.N. and say, judge the United States by
our programming at 10:00 p.m. except for say you and me.

O`DONNELL: Really, give me a rough idea of the range of things you
will be doing Monday at 10:00 that my audience will be watching on DVRs
sometime after 11:00 p.m.?

WILLIAMS: Your audience will like our broadcast. We are going to do
hard news. This is going to be a really good television --

O`DONNELL: This is sounding good to me. This is noncompetitive so

WILLIAMS: We will have folks stop by the studio who are interesting
and notable and have something to say and will be perhaps surprising some
weeks to give it a little pace. We will do stories that will get stuck in
your head, stories that you will think about at all times thereafter, cash
giveaway. And no tricks or gimmicks, cash giveaway, we are going to do it,
play it straight.

O`DONNELL: Here`s the thing you want to know at 10:00 p.m. with those
guests, here`s the thing you want to do with the guests. Make sure you
have an index card with their names. I have to have it for every single
person, because I could easily forget. I do forget the names.

WILLIAMS: I want to be gentle about this but there is an age
difference between the two of us.

O`DONNELL: Under the pressure of live. It`s going to believe, right?
You`re not going to tape it.

WILLIAMS: I`m still rock in` it without the cards. I know to say
Lawrence and it is not written anywhere in front of me.

O`DONNELL: That`s good. Really good.

WILLIAMS: We`re going to be live.

O`DONNELL: You and I have to broker a truce here.


O`DONNELL: Because this rating of my staff has to stop.

WILLIAMS: They gave you half of your people.

O`DONNELL: But then you took Ronnie Palador (ph). I can`t do this
without Ronnie Palador.

WILLIAMS: He was begging me to get me out of this place.

O`DONNELL: I don`t care. They are all going to beg you.

WILLIAMS: He used all of these words ending in log, and we had to do

O`DONNELL: What does friendship mean?

Who cares if they beg you to leave? Of course they are all going to
beg you.

WILLIAMS: Waited for me at the curb, Mr. Williams, can I walk you to
the cab.

O`DONNELL: And you are supposed to say no, he is a friend of mine I
can`t do that.

WILLIAMS: And I met with him once and he just handed me a note that
said "help me." It is after a staff meeting and we don`t need to air this

O`DONNELL: Can we shake on it that in the end of the rating of the
staff, can we?

WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.

O`DONNELL: I wouldn`t trust you.

Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of the NBC "Nightly
News" and now "Rock Center` which debuts that conflict sharply with this
show. So, TiVo his thing, DVR his thing, watch this thing.

Brian, thank you very much. Don`t mention that timeslot.

WILLIAMS: The time, 10:00 Monday.

O`DONNELL: That`s I don`t want you to mention again.


O`DONNELL: You can have THE LAST WORD especially if you don`t watch
that show. You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog, You can follow my tweets, which are better than his
tweets, @Lawrence.

"THE ED SHOW" is, of course, next.


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