to the Monday night debut of Lawrence O'Donnell's new show, The Last
Word, MSNBC has been running promos where O'Donnell proclaims how much
"political pressure there is on everyone involved" in governing
decisions and that it leaves him "respecting every one who steps into
that room to do that," adding he's "gonna disagree with some of those
people" but will always "respect the strength it takes to go on in
there." Well "respect" was the last thing O'Donnell displayed to a
couple of guests that appeared with him on various MSNBC programs.
Back on the February 12 edition of Morning Joe, he was such was in such a rage against former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, going as far as to blame that administration for the 9/11 attacks, host Joe Scarborough actually had to call the proverbial whistle on him and stop the program, to let him cool down. However, when they got back from a commercial break O'Donnell launched into yet another tirade as he called Thiessen a "torture-monger."
Perhaps O'Donnell's worst performance came on the October 22, 2004 edition of Scarborough Country when he want lashed out against Vietnam veteran John O'Neill of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth for daring to challenge then presidential candidate John Kerry's veracity, as he repeatedly called him a "liar" and charged he did nothing to stop the war.
The following are transcripts of those unhinged attacks by O'Donnell:
First up O'Donnell's rants against Thiessen on the February 12, Morning Joe:
O'DONNELL: You as a former speechwriter in the White House, you took an oath of office, when you took that job, that you might or might not remember. You actually published a book that says that the President of the United States, on its title, the President is inviting the next attack. Isn't it true that the President you worked for invited the first attack, by having no idea what was going on with al Qaeda. You just admitted that when you were hit on 9/11, you just said, "We didn't know who hit us." You said, "We didn't know who hit us." You were told who was going to hit you before we were hit on 9/11. Your administration invited the first attack, for which you should live in shame!
MARC THIESSEN: Lawrence, Lawrence, Lawrence.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Go!
THIESSEN: Listen here's the record. When the, when the, when the Obama administration approach, the law enforcement approach was first working the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The bombing of the USS Cole, the bombing of our embassies in...
O'DONNELL: Talk about the Bush presidency from the day he was sworn in!
THIESSEN: ...and, and, and the 9/11 attacks.
SCARBOROUGH CUTTING IN: We're, we're going to break right now! We're, we're going to break right now. We'll be right back and I'll be interviewing Marc by myself. We'll be right back.
SCARBOROUGH COMING BACK FROM BREAK: So here we go. Lawrence you have 30 seconds and then Marc gets a response. Ready? Go!
O'DONNELL: Marc I'm wondering about your own personal experience with torture. I know you grew up in the richest zip code in America, in the upper East Side. You went to the only boarding school in Connecticut that I know of that has a golf course as well as two skating rinks.
THIESSEN: Oh my goodness...opposition research.
O'DONNELL: And then you went to Vassar and of course like all the torture-mongers in the White House, the Cheney family included, you never served a day in the military. Never considered that.
THIESSEN: What does that prove Lawrence?
O'DONNELL: Well I'm wondering with that background what is it that gives you an expertise on torture? What makes you love it so much?
to O'Donnell's, October 22, 2004 Scarborough Country, rampage against
Vietnam veteran John O'Neill for his part in the Swiftboat Veterans for
PAT BUCHANAN: All right, let me ask you, Lawrence O'Donnell, I mean is this, clearly, Kerry has expressed anger about these ads. And he said later, "I should have answered them earlier in August, and we didn't do it, and they clearly hurt." But Max Cleland was very public. He went down to Crawford, Texas, to the ranch. Why has Kerry not only ignored the ads, but almost dropped all references? You know, at the convention, it was the convention, "John Kerry, reporting for duty." Why has he dropped all of that now? Are they just trying to sweep that aside or what?
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, MSNBC SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, let's get back to the truth. The fact of the matter is that John O'Neill on MSNBC had to face-debate an argument with Kerry's bands of brothers people who served with him in Vietnam and knew him well, and plenty of the people who served on that boat with him have come on MSNBC and other networks and refuted much of what's in that book. And then John O'Neill's own sources, like Larry Thurlow, turned out to be nuts. He turned out to claim in John O'Neill's book-and Pat Buchanan and I have both written nonfiction books, and we write them to a very high standard, not this O'Neill standard, where he never tells you in his book that Thurlow got a Bronze Star for the same thing that Kerry got a Bronze Star for, the same encounter with the enemy. And that citation says that there was enemy fire. And the guy, and this Thurlow, who received this Bronze Star, wants us to believe that 35 years had passed and he had never read the words on his own citation. It's one of the many lies that the book advances. To me, the most interesting lie, John O'Neill, that I would submit to you that you should answer is, you make a lying claim that John Kerry's anti-war activity prolonged the amount of time that prisoners of war were held in Vietnam. You know the truth is what got them out of Vietnam was ending the war. You know the truth is that John Kerry helped end that war sooner through the protests. And I'd like to ask you, John O'Neill, when you got back from Vietnam, what did you do to save a single life that you left behind in Vietnam? What did you do to get the American soldiers out of Vietnam?
BUCHANAN: Hold it. Okay go ahead, John O'Neill.
JOHN O'NEILL, AUTHOR, UNFIT FOR COMMAND: I'd like to respond. First of all, Larry, I don't think there's a thing you said that wasn't a lie in everything you just said. To start off with, with respect to John Kerry, John Kerry's anti-war activities didn't get any POWs home. The Treaty of Paris got the POWs home.
O'DONNELL: Ending the war, ending the war which you didn't do a thing to do. You didn't have the courage to lift a finger against it.
BUCHANAN: Look, he has got a right to respond. I was in the White House at the time. Nixon had brought half the troops home by the time Kerry made his protest. Go ahead, John O'Neill.
O'NEILL: What actually happened, Kerry wanted to abandon ship and leave the POWs there. We negotiated a treaty that brought them home. That's why they're all here. If Kerry had helped them out, they wouldn't be in that photograph with us. Kerry's a guy they'll never forget. He wanted to leave them behind.
O'DONNELL: That's a lie, John O'Neill. Keep lying. It's all you do.
BUCHANAN: Hold it, John O'Neill. How do you justify the-how do you justify the statement you just made that Kerry wanted to leave the POWs behind?
O'DONNELL: Lies. He doesn't justify anything.
BUCHANAN: Where did he do that?
O'NEILL: On the Dick Cavett show and elsewhere, John Kerry's position was that we should accept the Madame Binh seven-point proposal, which called for unilateral withdrawal, setting a date after which at some future time, we'd negotiate the return of the POWs. So we would set a date. We would withdraw and then we would begin to discuss how to bring them home. That would have never worked. Our position was, you had to have a deal where the POWs came home. The POWs know that. This is like trying to claim-that's why they're all with us, because he would have let them rot in jails.
O'NEILL: With respect to the rest of what you said, Larry-
O'DONNELL: What did you do to get them out? What did you do to end the war? What did you do to get them out? What did you do to end the war? You didn't lift a finger.
O'NEILL: Oh, you're wrong. You're exactly wrong, Larry. First of all, I spent 12 months there. I wasn't a fake who spent three months, like John Kerry.
O'DONNELL: What did you do to end the war, not what you did to fight it? What did you do to end it?!
BUCHANAN: Tell me, tell me John, about-did not the citation Thurlow got say that they were taking fire?
O'NEILL: It said under fire. That's true. It was based upon Kerry's own after-action report.
O'DONNELL: That's a lie. It's another lie. That's a lie.
O'NEILL: Which said there had been 5,000 meters of fire.
O'DONNELL: Absolutely lie.
O'DONNELL: You lie in that book endlessly claiming that reports belonged to Kerry that don't have his name on it, John O'Neill. You lie about documents endlessly. His name is not on the reports. You're just lying about it.
O'DONNELL: And you lied about Thurlow's Bronze Star. You lied about it as long as you could until the New York Times found the wording of what was on the citation that you, as a lying writer, refused to put in your pack-of-lies book!
O'DONNELL: Disgusting, lying book!
BUCHANAN: John, let me ask you this.
O'NEILL: And you, Larry, are a professional liar.
O'DONNELL: You have no standards, John O'Neill, as an author. And you know it. It's a pack of lies! You are unfit to publish!
O'NEILL: There are 254 of us, Larry. It's a little hard to call us all liars.
BUCHANAN: All right, John O'Neill, let me ask you a quick question. How do you know for certain that John Kerry wrote the after-action report that said the boats were under fire?
O'NEILL: It has been tracked down specifically in...
BUCHANAN: Oh, let him talk.
O'DONNELL: He just lies. He just spews out lies.
O'DONNELL: Point to his name on the report, you liar! Point to his name, you liar! These are military records. Point to a name!
O'NEILL: I will, if you'll shut up, Larry. You can't just scream everybody down.
O'DONNELL: There's no name. You just spew lies!
O'NEILL: -let everybody talk, isn't-
BUCHANAN: Look, Lawrence, take it easy. You've made your point. We're going to take a break. We're going to give John O'Neill a chance to answer that when we come back. We'll continue this discussion after the break.
BUCHANAN: Welcome back. We're talking with the author of "Unfit For Command," John O'Neill, and Lawrence O'Donnell is with me here in the studio Washington. We have an e-mail, Lawrence, that says: "Why is Mr. O'Donnell so angry? In fact, why are Democrats so angry? If they don't calm themselves down, they're going to have a heart attack."
O'DONNELL: I just hate the lies of John O'Neill.
O'DONNELL: I hate lies.
BUCHANAN: I know. Now, you've argued that these are lies, but let me suggest...
O'DONNELL: It's not an argument. They're proven lies. Every single journalistic look at this book has ripped it apart, left it in shreds. O'Neill is a liar. He's been a liar for 35 years about this. And he found other liars to...
O'NEILL: Can I say one thing?
BUCHANAN: John O'Neill, go ahead, John.
O'NEILL: Pat, Mr. O'Donnell has certainly shown he has a good pair of lungs. But to try and return a little bit to just basic information, you asked the question, how do we know the report was written by Kerry? The first way we know that is that the other four officers that day, all four of them, say Kerry wrote it. The second way we know it is the journalist Tom Lipscomb tracked the report to a Coast Guard cutter and proved that the only one on the cutter to write the report was John Kerry. Third, the report is compatible with John Kerry's account, which as late as the Democratic Convention.
O'DONNELL: What are the initials on the report? What are the initials on the report? What are the initials?
BUCHANAN: Let him finish, Lawrence.
O'NEILL: Mr. O'Donnell, this is what you all did to the POWs.
O'DONNELL: Just tell me the initials, you liar, creepy liar.
O'NEILL: You're afraid of the American people getting the truth. That's why you scream and you yell.
-Geoffrey Dickens is the Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here