Monday, September 27, 2010

Took a while to find this one because they filed it under August. When it finally turned up, this came with it - the first night of The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell:

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, HOST: Vice President Joe Biden with us on our premier of THE LAST WORD. We'll bring you more of my exclusive interview with the vice president later in the hour, including his reaction to the new Bob Woodward book "Obama's Wars."

But, first, I'm joined by Keith Olbermann, host of "COUNTDOWN" and author of the upcoming book, "Pitchforks and Torches."

Keith, what do you make of his explanation of his "stop whining" comment that he made earlier today.


O'DONNELL: He's changed it here to buck up.

OLBERMANN: I had a long conversation with the vice president when he was still running for president I guess in early '07. And we were talking about how to - you know, when to utilize anger on television or in the Senate or in the platform somewhere. And the basic and only advice I could give a professional public speaker was, think about the anger, use the anger on behalf of your constituents, not towards them.

And my impression from this was, that it was a little of the anger towards them being expressed. And that's - that's never a good thing.

And it's sort of - the Democratic and liberal bases have been somewhat responsible for this disconnect with the White House. But the White House has been just as responsible for it, and it's little things like that that tell the tale, unfortunately.

O'DONNELL: You don't get the feeling that he and his staff at that point are quite aware of what they've created online in terms of objections flowing to this -

OLBERMANN: Yes and no. But it's always, you know, it's a guess whether they're not - they happened to have the right end of the telescope in their eyes when this happens. The - what you want to hear the vice president, with his gift for getting angry and getting righteously angry, is to have him say - on your behalf we're going to go out there and stop these people! And that, you know, it's like don't just sit there and whine or complain about it, join us as we go out there and get them.

And then he gets to say both what he feels, which is kind of - you know, buck up, get in line, join the team again, and also say this is the reason for it. We're going to be a little bit more - a little less tremulous in the next 40 days.

O'DONNELL: Keith, thanks for hanging around for some extra duty tonight. We'll continue our conversation after the break.

Comments from earlier today directed at the Democratic Party base, the "stop whining" comments - Joe Biden's explanation to me of his "stop whining" comment from earlier today. Boy, the prompter just going back and forth on me now - just what I was expecting. We're not going to find the spot. Let's see. What have we got here?

All right. Now, we'll do this. No, we're not. The prompter is just lost on me.

The House leadership doesn't know what to think about Stephen Colbert's testimony of the subcommittee last week. Nancy Pelosi was glad he testified. Steny Hoyer thought it was embarrassing. It's the topic of tonight's rewrite.

Also ahead, "Saturday Night Live" is ahead and jumping right into the midterm elections. The season premier turns its sights on Christine - no relation - O'Donnell.

Keith, live television is the only place mistakes can happen, right?

OLBERMANN: You asked for it.


O'DONNELL: We're going to be right back on THE LAST WORD.


O'DONNELL: My discussion with Keith about jumping teleprompters will be on the Web site later.

The Democrats are waiting until after the midterm elections to vote in the expiring Bush tax cuts. For the politics of it, I'll be joined again by Keith Olbermann.

And later, N Pelosi praised the testimony of Stephen Colbert on Capitol Hill. Steny Hoyer hated it. Which side is Joe Biden on? We'll have more of my exclusive interview with the vice president.



O'DONNELL: Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed the discussion of tax cut extensions until after the election. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to announce if the House will tackle the issue before Congress adjourns Friday.

Of course, if the House somehow squeezed in and going to have a vote on taxes in their remaining hours in session, it would surely be just symbolic because there is no chance of the Senate taking up the bill before the election.

Vice President Biden has just told us that he respects the congressional leadership's judgment on the legislative strategy of the tax cuts.

Continuing with me now is Keith Olbermann.

Keith, I - I know too much. I've strategized tax bills in the Senate when I was working the Senate Finance Committee. I see both sides of this argument. I've been through it.

I don't know. How - is the vice president right, you just have to let the people who run the playing field make the strategic decision in the Congress?

OLBERMANN: But - but what is this decision? Is this decision designed to encourage voters in a particular state that things will be working out the way they want it, even though there's not going to be a vote? Is this about Harry Reid in Nevada particularly? Is that the idea behind it?

Because, you know, obviously the work of Ms. Angle there has put Senator Reid back into the race when he really didn't have a chance when he was just facing the chicken lady. Now, all of a sudden, he's - he can win that one and return to his seat if he doesn't make a major mistake.

And what my worry is, is that this decision has been made in the Senate to protect a couple of senators with this expectation that - don't worry, the polling shows voters understand that we're with them on this issue even though we do not presently have the guts to even try it in the fashion that Nancy Pelosi is going with.

On the other hand, if the House is willing to go and try this thing, especially with suspension and go for the three-quarters vote, there is something at least symbolic, there is a willingness to show off the new automobile and see if you can actually drive it around the block or if it's made out of wood.

O'DONNELL: And at least the House members would have a vote -


O'DONNELL: - that they could run on. "This is my position. I voted on it."

OLBERMANN: And Democrats who were seeking seats held by Republican members right now could also just go and say they voted against this. This is what this would mean to you. That's $300 you don't have because of this guy. Get them out.

But the assumption here, we've gotten so technical - as you point out, you know too much. Years ago at the Academy Awards of all places, I asked Kevin Costner about doing this seven-hour pregame show as they were talking about doing as they do the Super Bowls. And he said, "You know what? We know too much about the things we already know about." And he walked down after this Yogi Berra-ism and walked all the way down the red carpet and came back to me and said, "Could you take that quote off the record because I don't want to sound like Yogi Berra." And I said, "But it made perfect sense."


OLBERMANN: Here it is, we're now - not just you, not just Harry Reid, not just the speaker, not just Steny Hoyer, but everybody watching knows too much about the political strategy here to base a decision purely on what's right, what's wrong, what's going to get across to the nation, what is the correct point of view for the country, and what separates a serious Democratic Party that has done incremental good in the last year and a half from a bunch of people who haven't been outside their own homes before who are running as this Republican Tea Party.

And the thing that separates them is some courage, which clearly, whether it's courage or stupidity, the Tea Party has that in large doses.

They'll go out and do anything, say anything, posit anything.

And we do not see that coming. We see a defensive game played all the time by the Democrats. And there has to be some larger issue than the individual mechanics of each race, there has to be some sort of spiritual thing almost, if you forgive the use of the term, about a political party, about a political movement, about left, right - even center has to get enthusiastic about something.

So, it all dovetails back to your conversation with the vice president. The whining would stop if the voting increased, I think.

O'DONNELL: You know, the senators that I've talked to who were in the caucus room when this decision was made in the Senate all tell me that this was made by the senators who are running for re-election, by and for them.

And everyone else deferred to them. That's kind of traditionally the way things work in the Senate. Harry Reid is one of them.


O'DONNELL: And defensive is the word, Keith. You mentioned it.

Democrats in the Senate are always defensive on taxes. If they can avoid a tax debate with Republicans in an election season, they will do that. And

as I understand it, they made this decision on the basis of what the senators running for re-election wanted to do.

OLBERMANN: I do defer to their professional expertise, as I defer to yours on this particular topic, but it just, as I said - it seems that sometimes you have to take a little bit of a risk. Otherwise, what is the point?

I may agree - if I'm in Nevada, I may agree with Harry Reid's point of view, I may even agree with him politically that he should play it close to the vest. But, you know, on the other hand, I might say, you're just not - you don't have the courage. I want somebody else and I'll take six years of this idiot and then come back to you later.

O'DONNELL: You know, this is why I say I don't know. Inside-the- Beltway wisdom on this thing dictates one thing - what's happening out there with this wildfire that's going on with the Tea Party, there is something loose in the voting population that we don't really understand.

It is a very tough call to say which way to go on this one.

Keith Olbermann, thank you very much for joining me tonight.

Keith Olbermann, the book is "Pitchforks and Torches," available now for preorder. And, of course, there is "COUNTDOWN" in its new re-air time, at 11:00 p.m. Eastern, immediately following THE LAST WORD.

I cannot thank you for getting me started me on this first show.

OLBERMANN: You're very welcome. And Keith premiers at 11:00. Thank you.