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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

April 4, 2013
Guests: Sam Stein, Martin Short

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Tonight, we finally have some good news
about guns. We have a video that will make you laugh, make you cry, and
make you feel lucky to live in the United States of America. And we have a
president who is trying to change Congress.

Oh. And did I mention we have Martin Short?


THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama is at a Democratic
fund-raiser in Appleton, California.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama`s West Coast cash stash.

ROBERTS: Main focus is politics and getting a Democratic House
elected in 2014.

TODD: The midterm fight is absolutely under way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats certainly want to take back the House.

TODD: The president is making sure he does all he can to boost
Democrats` chances of winning back the House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prospect of Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker


One of the best speakers the House of Representatives has ever had.

We could not have done it without her.

Health insurance becomes law in the United States.

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.

What Wall Street means for you.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: I now pass this gavel to the new

debate, our goals are both simple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did the grand bargain fail?

BOEHNER: I wasn`t going to be for higher taxes.

OBAMA: Congress might allow severe budget cuts to take place.

BOEHNER: Discussion about revenue is over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delay, delay, delay.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mark your calendars. Set the alarm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats certainly want to take back the House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are just 578 days to the midterm elections.


O`DONNELL: With Congress stuck in gridlock almost all of the time,
about almost everything, what is a president to do?

President Obama has decided to try to change Congress more to his
liking. At a fundraiser last night in California, President Obama said, "I
would be dishonest if I didn`t say that it would be a whole lot easier to
govern if I had Nancy Pelosi as speaker."

Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer said yesterday that winning
back the House of Representatives is possible for Democrats.


possibility for a whole host of reasons, and continuing to reinforce the
idea that you are a party that caters not to the 90 percent but to the 10
percent, a party that is out of touch with the mainstream of America on a
whole host of issues, that continues to alienate the demographic groups
that are moving away from the Republican Party. That will contribute to


O`DONNELL: At one of the four fundraisers the president has attended
in the last two days, fundraisers that are closed to our cameras, the
president said he still hasn`t given up on hope for bipartisanship, saying,
look, my intention here is to try to get as much done with the Republican
Party over the next two years as I can, because we can`t have perpetual
campaigns. I am looking to find areas of common ground with Republicans
every single day.

Alex Wagner, it seems the only common ground area so far is
immigration reform.

ALEX WAGNER, "NOW" HOST: And even that. Look, there is a debate in
the Senate over whether or not there is going to be a path to citizenship.
Just wait until it goes to the raucous caucus of crazy people in the House.
I mean, that is going to be the true test of whether we get anything
passed. I think it is nice the president is still extending olive branches
but it seems he has awoken to the electoral reality which is things are
going to be way, way easier if they can get the House back.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Dan Pfeiffer said about what they
could accept in immigration reform.


PFEIFFER: The way the president wants to sign is the strongest gun
bill he can sign. We have to make sure whatever we do is better than
current law. And so, we`re going to look at any compromise that comes
forward and we`re going to base it on that.


O`DONNELL: OK. So that would be the clip about what they could
accept in gun control, Sam Stein. We have a clip somewhere in our files.


MARTIN SHORT, ACTOR: This is a tight-lipped show.


O`DONNELL: We don`t have time to rehearse the clips, Martin. It`s
not real show business.

SHORT: No. Are you serious?

O`DONNELL: So, we will show the immigration reform clip some other

SHORT: Just tell us what it was.

O`DONNELL: It was basically they`ll accept something that`s
consistent with the president`s principles. I have them memorized, mostly.

SHORT: Good thing.


O`DONNELL: And that, of course, is path to citizenship, and that is
where the problem is.

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Is that really the problem, though? You
would think that at this juncture, Republicans would sort have gotten the
message after losing 70 percent of the Hispanic vote. I don`t see really
why the White House needs to bend that much on this. They won an election
largely on the Hispanic vote. Largely because they were promising to do
immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

If they were to turn around and say, actually, the path to citizenship
is going to be a 20-year process, they would be hurting themselves. So
what`s the point?

O`DONNELL: You have taken the path to citizenship from Canada. You
have the dual citizenship, Martin Short.

SHORT: I have four passports.




SHORT: My father was born in Northern Ireland. So as --

O`DONNELL: I don`t like you already.

SHORT: Thank you.

And then my grandfather was born in the Republic of Ireland.

O`DONNELL: Oh, I like you. I like that guy. But --

SHORT: Yes, yes. And Canada and the U.S.

O`DONNELL: But, you know, having -- you`re what we call an undecided
citizen, then, right?


O`DONNELL: You`re a citizen of everywhere.

SHORT: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: But when you watch this debate play out in this country
with your experience, what would you want to say to people about how they
should think about immigration in this country?

SHORT: Well, I think it`s -- I think it`s enormously complex. You
know, I phased all over the place. At times I thought, well, gee, if you -
- I`ve gone conservative and said, gee, if you find every person $100,000
who hired someone who was illegal, would that be the answer to it? But
then you say, but then that`s a more complicated thing because people have
to work as the day passes.

I don`t know enough about that to know what the answer is, except that
the greater thing that fascinates me about this country as opposed to a
country like Canada is the inability to get anything accomplished.


SHORT: That`s -- because as you know from a parliamentary system,
it`s a totally different system and governments will collapse, vote of no
confidence and say let`s hold another election for five weeks to determine
a better balance of power.

And the new democratic party in Canada will make an allegiance with
the liberals to say we`ll agree on certain things. But the idea is to
accomplish things. And for the longest time I`ve just seen, you know, the
Republican Party saying we have one agenda and that is to stop Obama,
defeat Obama. Now that he`s been re-elected, they`re kind of now panicking
a little bit because they`re in this freefall.

O`DONNELL: And in a parliamentary system, you could have a minority
party whose agenda is to vote against the party`s positions but wouldn`t be
in a position to stop them.

WAGNER: No, there are all these arcane devices they can use in the
Senate, whether the filibuster that are being used in historic and sort of
dramatic fashion to block everything the president wants to do, whether
that`s cabinet appointments or judicial appointments or actual legislation.
I think the problem is that you have a party that is fundamentally in
crisis here. I mean, the problem with immigration reform and gun control
is that`s actual legislation.


SHORT: And -- I was going to say --

WAGNER: One way or the other on it.

SHORT: And the danger I think of a party in crisis is sometimes they
can kamikaze. They can just simply say we will, no matter what, stick to a
principle, even though we know we`re going to lose the next election and
maybe the election after that. And that`s fine for a solid philosophy.
Except that the victim of that is the country.

O`DONNELL: But Sam Stein, Republicans don`t believe they will lose
elections by adopting their policies.

STEIN: No. Otherwise they would change policies.

WAGNER: But certain parts of the party want to move the ball forward
on immigration and other parts don`t.

STEIN: I mean, this is the argument from the White House heading into
2012. How do you change the Republican Party`s basic philosophy towards
governance, right? And they concluded what you had to do, whoop them, and
you had to whoop them in an election and they would realize what they were


STEIN: They will learn their lesson.

O`DONNELL: That used to work, by the way.

STEIN: But it hasn`t, and that`s partially because of gerrymandering
and partially because people just don`t like Obama. And it`s also I think
in part because of the simplicity of the Republican agenda.

O`DONNELL: You mean the actual congressional office holders --
dislike the Republicans.

STEIN: I think there are some.

But I don`t think that`s necessarily just their problem. I think
Obama has done a fairly poor job in reaching out and crafting those
relationships. But again, it all comes back to this, Republicans` very
single agenda, which is we want to reduce the size of government and cut

So, by definition, you can`t agree with them on that. If you were to
cut a deficit reduction agreement, they would have nothing else. So they
have to keep that as an issue.

WAGNER: Can I also say, this -- the government doing nothing and
seeming broken and terrible and awful actually fits into the Republican

O`DONNELL: Grover Norquist`s idea.

WAGNER: Look how bad government is. We need to keep cutting back.

SHORT: But is there a portion of the population that sits back and
says, no doubt independent, and says, you know what, I`m just tired of
Washington not working. So what can I do to get Washington working? Well,
if Obama is president for another four years, I guess vote Democrat to make
the House sways back. Is that a credible portion of the electorate?

O`DONNELL: I think you will find that voters frequently try to
express a dissatisfaction. And normally the way they do that is by voting
against the incumbent party.


O`DONNELOL: And, Sam, in the House of Representatives, that would be
the Republicans. And so if you were trying to vote anti-gridlock in the
next congressional election, it seems that would be an anti Republican --

STEIN: And, you know, I might be the only one in D.C. who thinks
this, but I have --

O`DONNELL: That`s why you`re here.

STEIN: This is New York.

O`DONNELL: For the speech you`re about to make.

STEIN: I do believe that over time sequestration is going to cause so
much pain in these districts that the party that`s most associated with it
will face electoral consequences. And that happens to be in this case the
Republican Party.

And I think they know it, too, which is why they have gone through
this painstaking technique of saying, well, it was Obama`s idea, because
they want him to take some of the blame as well.

WAGNER: Yes, but let`s keep in mind, these guys are flashing V`s for
victory signs after getting sequestration settled into law and they`re
saying we did the right thing. Republicans are on the offense, Democrats
are on the defense.

The chickens may come home to roost on that once the reality of
sequestration --


STEIN: You can see when these guys go home and talk to the local
papers as opposed to the Hill papers.

WAGNER: But it`s unevenly distributed.

STEIN: Well, they are saying, oh, man, this is really bad, we need to
reopen these air traffic control towers or, man, the tuition assistance for
the military members of our state, but if you are talking to Washington,
D.C. publication, they love the fact we`re reducing spending.

O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner, Sam Stein, thank you very much for joining

And, Marty, we`re going to have to keep you.

SHORT: All right.

O`DONNELL: You`re going to have to stay after school tonight.

SHORT: Certainly not -- based on nothing I`ve said.

O`DONNELL: We actually -- we`re going to need your wisdom on the
politics of late night comedy. Can you give us some insights there? Yes.
You have time to think about it.

Coming up, in a funny, poignant and just plain wonderful video, kid
president meets the real president.

And we have some very good news about guns in Connecticut, Maryland
and around the world.

And Stephen Colbert`s sister has picked up a very important
endorsement from a very important comedian. And don`t be surprised if
during this very hour, she picks up another important endorsement from
another important comedian.



O`DONNELL: President Obama`s secretary of state, John Kerry, Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel, and Florida Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy
have all announced that they will be giving up 5 percent of their income,
of their paychecks, to draw attention to federal employees who will be
losing part of their incomes because of the sequester.

So far, no Republican in the House or the Senate has been willing to
give up a penny of his or her government paycheck.


O`DONNELL: In good news about guns this week, on Tuesday, the United
Nations voted overwhelmingly to approve the first treaty ever aimed at
regulating the enormous global trade in weapons. Everything from fighter
jets to guns and rifles.

The National Rifle Association, of course, opposes that treaty. The
vote in the general assembly was 154 in favor, 23 abstaining, and only
three opposed. The three countries in complete agreement with the National
Rifle Association on this treaty are Iran, North Korea and Syria.

So, all of you patriots out there paying your dues to the NRA are
doing so now in complete support of Iran, North Korea and Syria`s opinion
on that treaty with the United Nations.

On Wednesday in Maryland, the House of Representatives voted 78-61 to
pass a strict new gun and ammunition control bill. The bill would require
the fingerprinting of gun buyers and a photo ID purchasing license, similar
to a driver`s license, which would have to be renewed every 10 years like a
driver`s license. And even though fingerprinting and licensing
requirements would not cover the purchase of hunting rifles or shotguns,
Maryland Republican Michael McDermott said the new law is a de facto ban on
gun sales in Maryland.

And yesterday in Connecticut, the state Senate passed a vote of 26-10
to pass a new gun and ammunition legislation, which Governor Dannel Malloy
signed into law today. Connecticut`s new massacre control measure bans
selling magazines that hold more than 10 bullets. It requires universal
background checks, including on private sales and gun show sales. It
expands Connecticut`s assault weapons ban, adding more than 100 additional
firearms to that ban. It includes new eligibility requirements for buying
ammunition and it creates a registry of dangerous offenders that is only
available to law enforcement.

Just before he signed the bill, Governor Malloy thanked legislators,
the Newtown, Connecticut Police Department, Vice President Biden and
President Obama.


GOV. DANNEL MALLOY (D), CONNECTICUT: We have come together in a way
that relatively few places in our nation have demonstrated an ability to
do. In some senses, I hope this is an example to the rest of the nation.
Certainly to our leaders in Washington who seem so deeply divided about an
issue such as universal background checks, where the country is not divided


O`DONNELL: So, Joy Reid, as of tonight, the NRA now stands with
Syria, Iran and North Korea.

JOY REID, THE GRIO: Yes, and I think it`s kind of fitting, because in
a way what the NRA has been proposing is to turn the United States into a
series of sort of armed camps, each with its own warlords wielding the kind
of weaponry that you do see in war-torn countries. I mean, they are
literally calling to arm teachers with AR-15s. They think that is the
solution to the problem of potential school massacres.

But I think what you`re also seeing here is that there is sanity at
work in this process. And it`s taking place in the states. And
specifically in the states that have had the two most high-profile
massacres in recent history. In Colorado, where the Aurora massacre took
place and in Connecticut, where you see responsiveness to the body politic,
in responsiveness to what the people want.

By the way, the people want that in lots of other states too but their
senators and congressmen are only responsive to the NRA.

O`DONNELL: And, Ari, the NRA is very, very active in both Maryland
and Connecticut on this legislation. You know, they were in Maryland
yesterday when this was going on and they were up there normally getting
their way. They just got steamrolled in those legislatures.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Yes. And we talked about their power and
these federal disputes. But most of gun regulation, most police powers are
exercised at the state level. That`s where the criminal code works, or in
the case of a lot of these massacres, as you have been reporting, doesn`t

And so, they are finally getting, you know, outspent in at least
public capital of people`s opinions, people`s energy, and a real
recollection to these crises.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Wayne LaPierre said today on FOX News
about the limitations on magazines, which I think is the critical thing


WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA: People that know guns, you can change magazine
clips in a second. There`s no evidence that, you know, anything would have


O`DONNELL: Of course, Joy, this is the most pure lie he could tell.
There is absolute proof that it would have changed what happened in Tucson,
Arizona. That guy had to reload after shooting Gabby Giffords and killing
those people, killing that child there. And in the process of reloading
that magazine, that`s when they could stop him.

REID: Exactly. You had the woman who was actually able to grab the
gun in the Gabby Giffords shooting. There`s no way that under complete --
cover fire, right? Almost military cover fire.

Could she have picked up that gun? Absolutely not. The forcing a
gunman to reload is literally the only way to stop a massacre. And the
idea that someone with a gun could have stopped it -- well, Columbine,
there was an armed guard there. So that is also fallacious. Everything
the NRA has argued against sane gun control is easily probably false.

O`DONNELL: Marty Short has his hand up, might have a question or

SHORT: I have a question. I don`t believe in, you know, evil or --
and bad. I think that everyone has an agenda, and obviously Wayne LaPierre
has an agenda of representing gun manufacturers, not the NRA.

But why does -- he`s not an idiot. He knows if he sits back and is
now associated with North Korea and Syria and Iran that -- this looks bad
for him. He has no credibility. Why does he allow himself to be in such a
preposterous situation?

MELBER: I think a lot of it comes to the fact that the NRA has become
an institution that only does negotiation. They don`t do policy.

So they`re not actually ever trying to work out what might be a
reasonable policy. They`re just doing the negotiated position of saying
we`re going to stay as far away from everything in any common sense
positions as possible, and then if we have to give up a little bit, you
know, then that`s all we lose.

And you see that most clearly in training. The Maryland bill, which
is going to become state law, requires training to use a gun. That will
make it only the fifth state that requires that. In contrast to all 50
states that require a test and training for you to operate a car. And
South Dakota was the last state to do that in 1954. And guns can be a lot
more dangerous than cars.

So you can support gun rights to the hilt, and the Second Amendment to
the hilt. And 20 guns in your home and still go along with the common
sense idea we should have licensing and training for the people who use
them. They`re not interested, though, in that common sense exchange, as
far as I can tell.

O`DONNELL: I think Marty`s question comes from 90 percent of the
people out there who support the background checks, who support these
things. And they`re looking and going, what this organization won`t go
along with these simple things and it is -- it`s only because we kind of
study them and we understand their lobbying techniques that we kind of get
what they`re up to.

REID: Well, I think in a way, Wayne LaPierre is sort of a scarecrow,
right? He`s out there making all sorts of crazy noises and distracting
you. While you`re focused on him, the real work at the NRA is on these
members of Congress and the Senate and they understand their incentives are
different than let`s say a governor.

A governor has to be directly responsive to their state, because the
way they`re re-elected is by proving to the local people, to the
communities, what they have done for them. A senator is a lot more
distant. A lot of people don`t have that sort of first-person relationship
in a lot of ways and understanding their senator, if they even know who
they are in a lot of these states.

Their incentives are all about money. Getting re-elected in a state,
statewide, takes money. And the NRA simply dangles in front of these
candidates and as far as these members of the House, their districts are
gerrymandered to be so conservative that they too are responsive to the

So I think Wayne LaPierre is almost, I mean, he`s a distraction but
what he serves is to keep the senators and House members in line. They
keep them to heel while they work their magic through their lobbyists on
the Hill.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Ari Melber, thanks for joining me tonight.

MELBER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a video you are going to love of a little boy
in the Oval Office with the president, the third grader who doesn`t want to
wait until he`s 35 to become president himself.

It is funny, it`s an inspiring video. I can`t get enough of it.
You`re going to love it.


O`DONNELL: Coming up next, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch got a completely
unsurprising endorsement last night from her brother, Stephen Colbert.
Will the Colbert bump include a rush by other famous comedians to endorse
Elizabeth Colbert-Busch?

I ask you, Martin Short --

SHORT: I would like to do it as a series of my beloved characters and
then culminate my endorsement as John F. Kennedy.

O`DONNELL: Do you have a 10-second version of this?

SHORT: I say, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch will be elected because she has
my endorsement.

O`DONNELL: There we have it. Breaking news. Can we get -- there it
is, the breaking news banner is up. Martin Short endorses Elizabeth


O`DONNELL: Look at that. You just made breaking news.


O`DONNELL: We had to get that approved at the highest level. They
don`t throw that banner around.

SHORT: I`m very impressed.

O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to be back with more of all of

SHORT: Pauly Shore? Is he endorsing?





for congress against Mark Sanford! I`m going to shock some people right
now. And endorse my sister, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch for congress. Yes,
she`s a democrat. But she`s a business woman, a job-creator, who in
raising three children on $14,000 a year, went back to school, built a 20-
year career in international trade and is now leading Mark Sanford in two
consecutive polls! Are we ready to do this nation! Yes!



O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, Stephen Colbert endorsed the
congressional candidacy of his sister, who pronounces the family name the
old fashioned way, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, is the Democratic candidate for
Congress in South Carolina first congressional district, which is normally
an easy win for Republicans.

But, one Republican official in South Carolina tells the "New York
Times" everybody is really concerned, because she`s not a bad-looking lady.
Welcome to South Carolina politics, ladies and gentlemen. That same
official said there are two other things that worry their republicans
quote, "She is a good speaker and she has got some money." She will have
some more money when Stephen Colbert hosts a pair of fund raisers for his
sister this month. One in New York, one in Washington.

On Tuesday, her republican opponent, former governor, Mark Sanford,
accepted the nomination with his Argentine mistress turned fiance on stage
with him. According to the hill, Democratic Party strategists believe
there is little to gain from harping on Sanford`s infamous extra marital
affair because voters know all about it. They believe a tax on his alleged
misuse of taxpayer dollars and other charges in a 2009 state ethics
commission report will be much more damaging.

A state ethics commission charged Governor Sanford with 37 violations,
including using state funds when flying to Argentina on what turned out to
be not exactly state business. Sanford paid $74,000 in fines. The highest
ethics fine ever paid in the state. One frustrated republican strategist
told the hill, "He`s an embarrassment. He`s a disgrace. Yes, I`m
frustrated. It`s a real disappointment, because this is just going to be
one more embarrassment for the Republican Party, whether he wins or loses."

Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst in South Carolina, native
Eugene Robinson. Eugene, you just saw the breaking news made here on
Msnbc. Martin Short is in. Now, the comedian endorsements are piling up
fast -


O`DONNELL: And, I am sure -- I mean, you can tell us about South
Carolina. I`m sure in elections like this, they look to the North for


O`DONNELL: Especially Canadians.

ROBINSON: Exactly!

O`DONNELL: Like Martin Short --

ROBINSON: Yes, look to Canadians --

O`DONNEL: For instance.

ROBINSON: They want to know what Canadians think about. Who do they
think who we should elect? But, you know, Martin Short endorsement, that`s
at least ten people, right? You got Ed Grimly --

O`DONNELL: Yes. There you go.

ROBINSON: You got Martin Short.

O`DONNELL: Well, he wanted to do it in all ten. He did. Yes.


ROBINSON: Anyhow, this is -- this is the greatest congressional race

O`DONNELL: Certainly is. I couldn`t be happier.

ROBINSON: Here`s my theory of this race. I mean if -- if the
republicans can only lose this seat if three things happen, right? Number
one, if the republicans nominate Mark Sanford. They can lose. Number two,
if the democrats nominate a good candidate who is -- who can be moderate
and who can raise some money and who got some fa‡ade and that has happened.

And, the third thing that has to happen, I think is that Mark Sanford
has to run a campaign that is all about him and his personal redemption.
That seems to be what he`s trying to do. And, that`s a terrible mistake.
But, I think every time the fiancee comes out on his shoulder, he loses
some votes.

O`DONNELL: Well, let`s take a look at this truly surreal moment from
the election night this week when he made these comments about exactly


guess to my fiancee Belen, who`s right here behind me for her long
suffering that she put up with me being on the road for more than just a
few months. And, I thank you for that, as well.


O`DONNELL: Eugene. In the story of Mark Sanford`s life, she is not
the one who most people describe as long-suffering, number one. Number
two, do you really want to talk about being on the road a lot, and away
from your woman if you`re Mark Sanford?

ROBINSON: No, you don`t.


ROBINSON: You really don`t.

O`DONNELL: I thought so.

ROBINSON: No. I mean, this is -- this is kind of -- campaigning 101,
you know? If you have this problem, right? If you have this problem in
your past, don`t go out of your way to call attention to it. Don`t go out
of your way to remind people that you were not only unfaithful to your wife
but unfaithful to the state and to your duties as governor, and everyone
was told that you were hiking the Appalachian trail when you were on --
pardon for the expression, but you were on a booty call to Buenos Aires. I
mean this is not the way to get elected.

O`DONNELL: Eugene, I will pardon that expression on this show only
for you. Now, I just want to show what`s coming for Mark Sanford next week
in South Carolina, the democratic pact that plans to run this ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are moral absolutes. There are consequences
if you breach that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mark Sanford promised to only serve three terms
in congress. He promised he would never misuse taxpayer money. Mark
Sanford made a lot of promises and broke them all. Now Mark Sanford says
he`s learned from his mistakes. The real question, will we?


O`DONNELL: Gene, how do you think that one is going to play?

ROBINSON: Well, I think it`s -- I think it`s pretty good. I mean,
look, Mark Sanford has been sanctimonious over the years about family
values, about his faith, which I`m sure is genuine, about absolutes. And,
so I would imagines that democrats are going to throw that back at him and
certainly are going to harp on the -- was it $74,000 in ethics fines that
he had to pay as a result of his misdeeds while in office.

O`DONNELL: South Carolina Political Analyst Eugene Robinson, Thank
you very much for joining us tonight.

ROBINSON: Great to be here. Great to be here.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, there is an amazing sequel tonight to that
video of kid president that we showed the other day. And, the politics of
late-night, Martin Short returns to talk about the big change at the
"Tonight Show."



MARTIN SHORT, COMEDIAN AND ACTOR: Newt. Oh, that guy. That guy is
just hilarious, isn`t he? He -- you know, he kept wanting Washington to
tighten its belt. This is a guy who has not seen his belt since junior
high school. You know, you have used marriage like dinner, back for
seconds and thirds.


O`DONNELL: Martin Short is here to tell us all of the back-stage
secrets of the late-night comedy world. And next, an amazing oval office
video that I could just watch over and over again. In fact, I`ve already
watched it over and over again, but I`m going to watch it one more time.

O`DONNELL: On April 1st, the White House temporarily rewrote the age
requirement for president of the United States.


ROBBY NOVAK, KID PRESIDENT: It looks like you`re expecting somebody
else. But April fool`s on all y`all. I`m kid president and I hope
everyone has an awesome day.


O`DONNELL: That was the kid president video made by Rain Wilson`s
soul pancake website and released on the White House website on April
fool`s day. Kid president is known to his third grade classmates in
Henderson, Tennessee as Robby Novak. A few other things happened for kid
president on Monday. He went to the White House Easter egg roll, where he
was a big hit.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES: Kid president! Give kid president
a big round of applause!



O`DONNELL: The other thing that happened that day is that kid
president got to spend some quality time with the real president. This
image of the American President in the oval office was unimaginable as a
political reality. Until that summer night in 2004 when John Kerry`s
presidential nominating convention introduced Barack Obama to this nation.


PRES. OBAMA: Now, even as we speak, there are those who are preparing
to divide us. The spin masters, the negative ad peddlers, who embrace the
politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them, tonight there is not a
liberal America, and a conservative America. There is the United States of
America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino
America and Asian America. There is the United States of America.


O`DONNELL: Before we saw Barack Obama give that speech, we could all
imagine that one day in the distant future there would be an African-
American president. When we saw that speech, that night, we could finally
put a face on who that African-American president would be. We could put
a timetable on his ascension to the presidency. An African-American
president was no longer a dream. It was an ever-expanding political
reality, as soon as Barack Obama completed that convention keynote address.

And, now the White House that was built by slaves is home to
descendents of slaves. The American myth has always been that anyone can
grow up to be president. That was our mythology back when slavery was
still legal. That was our mythology when women still didn`t have the right
to vote.

We still have never had a woman president, but our mythology remains
that anyone can grow up to be president. We still have never had a Jewish
president. There are too many traps in modern American poverty, and too
many complexities to the socioeconomic dynamics that produce our
presidents to allow us to say, without reservation, that this really is the
country where anyone can grow up to be president.

But throughout our history, we`ve been moving ever closer to that
ideal. Anyone can grow up to be president. We took a giant step closer to
that ideal with our election of the first African-American president. We
knew then that one of the nongovernmental benefits of his election was that
black children and other children would be able to see new possibilities in
their lives more clearly.

I know that feeling. I remember that feeling of the suddenly expanded
universe of possibility. I was one of those little Boston Irish catholic
boys about the age of kid president when I watched John Fitzgerald-Kennedy
take the oath of office as the first Irish-Catholic president.

Suddenly, a catholic could be president. A Boston guy, an Irish guy.
JFK was from our town, but his upbringing was as different from ours as
president Obama`s was from kid president`s. Irish-catholic kids felt a
direct personal connection to JFK. All catholic kids did. We felt an
instantaneous change of possibility in our world.

The video you`re about to see of Robby Novak`s quality time with
Barack Obama was posted today at It`s funny, it`s cute,
it`s truly awesome. And not just because Robby says it`s awesome. Some
people in our office today cried when they watched it, and couldn`t say
exactly why. And, I think it`s because this man, and this little boy,
together, tell us a story that is deeply profound, without ever trying to
be pro found. They just meet and chat and laugh. But they do it in the
oval office.

And their meeting in that room can`t help but evoke our painful past
and our always hopeful future. This meeting in the oval office is empty of
politics and full of love and hope and grace. You can see in it more hope
for this country`s ideal than any speech could ever deliver. The ideal
that any child in this country can grow up to be president.


PRES. OBAMA: Are we going to have fun?


PRES. OBAMA: So, this is the oval office right here. And --

NOVAK: Cool.

PRES. OBAMA: I think you should try to sit behind the desk, so you
look more official.

NOVAK: Hello?

PRES. OBAMA: Everything all right?

NOVAK: Nope.

PRES. OBAMA: OK. We`ll make sure not to cause an international
incident. Kid president, what grade are you in?

NOVAK: Third.



PRES. OBAMA: Third grade?


PRES. OBAMA: Yes? This is a telegraph.

NOVAK: Telegraph, what`s a telegraph?

PRES. OBAMA: A telegraph, it used to be before there were phones,
before there was the internet, before there was youtube --

NOVAK: Electricity --

PRES. OBAMA: It was a telegraph and that`s how you would communicate
from far away -- How is school?

NOVAK: Good.

PRES. OBAMA: It`s going pretty good? OK. Because, I know you`ve got
all of these other activities --


PRES. OBAMA: So much demands on your time trying to balance being
president and being in the third grade, you know? That`s a lot of stuff.


PRES. OBAMA: But, you seem to be handling it pretty well.

NOVAK: Very well.

PRES. OBAMA: This is a program from the March on Washington where
Dr. King Spoke. Have you heard of the "I Have A Dream" speech? So, this
is the original program from that. Somebody gave that to me. Of course,
this is Abraham Lincoln.


PRES. OBAMA: And, one of my favorite presidents.

NOVAK: Mine too.

PRES. OBAMA: Any advice for me as just an ordinary president as
opposed to kid president?

NOVAK: I have one.


NOVAK: Well, it`s not really advice.


NOVAK: It`s just -- how you`re doing. You`re doing awesome.

PRES. OBAMA: You think I`m doing awesome?


PRES. OBAMA: Thank you. That means a lot to me. I think you`re
doing awesome. So both of us have got a lot of responsibilities, but we`re
handling our business.

NOVAK: How can kids and grown-ups work together to change the world?

PRES. OBAMA: The most important thing we can all do is to treat each
other with kindness and respect. Right? So kids, they can learn right
away when, you know, in school and on the playground, to be nice to each
other. And if you see a kid being picked on, you make sure you stand up
for them.

And, you treat everybody fairly, you know, no matter what they look
like or where they`re from. And if you start learning to do that as kids,
everybody is respectful of each other and nice to each other, then when
they grow up, they`ll be doing the same thing and we`ll have a lot fewer
problems. Don`t you think?


PRES. OBAMA: I think that makes sense. This is where the
emancipation proclamation that Abraham Lincoln signed to free the slaves.
And this is a Bust of Dr. Martin Luther king. You keep on doing oh the
great work that you`re doing. I`ll try to do my best between the two of
us, maybe we can get things going in a good direction. Now even though
we`re presidents, can we still hug?


PRES. OBAMA: Is that okay? OK. I just wanted to make sure. Thanks,

NOVAK: You`re welcome.

PRES. OBAMA: All right. You work hard in school, too. OK?


O`DONNELL: Yes. We get to live in the country where that happened.



today saw the white smoke coming out of the chimney at NBC? Anybody see


the news. I`m going to be taking over for the "Tonight Show" next

different Jimmy that`s going to be hosting the "Tonight Show."

JAY LENO: We sure? I just have one request of jimmy. We have all
fought, kicked and scratched to get this network up to fifth place, OK? Now
we have to keep it there. Jimmy, don`t let it slip into sixth! We`re
counting on you!


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, "The Last Word`s" senior show business
analyst, the lovely and talented star of stage, screen and television, Mr.
Martin Short.

SHORT: Thank you very much, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Now. This is a crazy world, late-night comedy. You`ve
done them all. And, by done them all, I mean appeared on the show with
them all.

SHORT: I think I get your drift.

O`DONNELL: And, I think we have a picture or set of pictures that
we`ll show you with every late-night host, except Johnny Carson. But you
were -- you did do the "Tonight Show."

SHORT: Many, many times. Eight times. The first time I followed
Betty Davis.

O`DONNELL: Someone --

SHORT: There is Jay.

O`DONNELL: Yes. So, you know. You know, I went back to Rick
Stengel`s great article in "Time Magazine" when jay took over the "Tonight
Show" and he kind of got the -- he conveyed exactly how important Johnny
was to the show. But, the headline, I looked at again today in "Time
Magazine". Jay Leno, midnight`s mayor.

And, it made me think, yes. I think that kind of might have been a
little bit of stylistic problem for jay, is that he kind of did it a little
bit like a mayor, meaning he wanted everybody to like him, and he wasn`t
the guy who took chances with comedy the way the other people have.

SHORT: Well, I don`t know. I don`t know if you could sit back and
really analyze jay`s problem in that respect, because he`s, you know, been
often in first place.

O`DONNELL: Oh, there`s -- I forgot.


O`DONNELL: He is number one in the ratings. There`s that thing that
everyone forgets in the story.

SHORT: Yes. Yes. Even the demographic -- But he`s -- but, you know,
they`re all neck and neck. They`re right there. Dave is -- and Kim. They
are all -- Listen. I mean, you do a job for 22 years, he`s done it -- he`s
done a great job. He`s played -- he`s been a loyal servant to NBC,


SHORT: And, I think he`s to be congratulated and I hope it works out
perfectly. Jimmy is fantastic. I think that the main thing is that all
these shows, any show, any host who takes over needs to be allowed a little
time to fit into the saddle.

O`DONNELL: And, it took Jimmy time. It took Conan time. They both
had rough starts. I remember watching -- but, Conan is a friend of mine.
I have known him since college --

SHORT: And, they did not give - until Conan didn`t have a long stay
to get into the saddle.

O`DONNELL: No, I mean Conan in Late Night.

SHORT: Yes. Yes.

O`DONNELL: THE first time he worked in this building, he had a rocky
start. And, you watched him get his legs. You watched him find his way.


O`DONNELL: JIMMY has found his way. Jimmy Fallon has found his way.
And, I want to show I think the way he found his way, in my view, which was
all through the music. I think that`s the key that he brings to this that
no one else has. Let`s watch Jimmy slow jamming the news.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (1): The Obama administration once again finds
itself locking horns with republicans over the issue of raising the debt
ceiling. The amount of money the nation is legally allowed to borrow.

FALLON: Oh, yeah. When it comes to raising the dead ceiling, the
president is having a hard time getting it up. Seems the GOP ain`t rubbing
him the right way, especially with the country $16.4 trillion in debt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (2): Say we`re still in debt, but it`s all right.
The United States really couldn`t get any broker. Got to liquidate its
assets just like Al Roker


O`DONNELL: No other show. No other show can do that. And, by the
way, the way this works. The stuff I turn down, Brian Williams does. He
is so easy, it`s just -- he`s the second call. He runs down.

SHORT: What Jimmy did was brilliant. He had been this star on
"Saturday Night live" and took all that expertise and just made his
signature stronger. And, in that late-night arena. And, each person --
look at "Saturday Night Live." each person becomes a star on that show by
doing their own approach to what they think is funny. And, it works
because it comes from a sincere place.

O`DONNELL: I want to show something else that jimmy did that went
absolutely viral, dancing with the first lady.

SHORT: Oh, I`ve seen this great.




SHORT: Can you imagine Maimy Eisenhower doing that?

O`DONNELL: No. I cannot.

SHORT: Those bangs flipping up and down.

O`DONNELL: So through the magic of television, which is very magic --


O`DONNELL: You`re actually going to do the letterman show a half hour
after the end of this show, but it being magic, you`ve actually already
done it. I don`t think it`s a secret that they do that show --

SHORT: Yes, that we did the taping early.

O`DONNELL: So, how bitter was Dave that he was passed over again?


SHORT: No. I think he`s going to make it.

O`DONNELL: Did he survive?

SHORT: He says, last man standing.

O`DONNELL: You know, this is where I normally say martin short gets
the last word. But it`s a lie. The only way for you to get the last word
-- if you want that, you`re going to have to say this to get the last

SHORT: Is that my camera?

O`DONNELL: That`s your camera -- I think that would -- Martin --

SHORT: Oh, Hi.

O`DONNELL: I knew you would find it.

SHORT: Hi. Coming up! All in with Chris Hayes, next!



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