Lawrence O'Donnell

Larry Lurches Left

On September 27, 2010, longtime MSNBC pundit Lawrence O'Donnell debuted as the host of the new program The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell. O'Donnell has guest hosted Countdown With Keith Olbermann and was a producer/writer for The West Wing.

O'Donnell has an extensive history of angrily condemning conservatives. He fumed at the "torture-mongers" in the Bush administration who should "live in shame," derided the "sleazy" Vice President Dick Cheney and ranted about the dangers of Mormonism. Here are O'Donnell's most outrageous rants:

How Low Will the Democrat Apple-Polishing Go?

'If only every political campaign video could feature a catchy call and response, a danceable jobs platform, a rap-infused plea for the nation's party people to come together, and an auto-tune takedown of Senator Jim DeMint. Our number two story, one such political campaign video features all of that. It's called "Alvin Greene is on the Scene." In a moment, we will play it for you. The three-minute long video mash-up features Alvin Greene's campaign highlights, including Keith's interview with Mr. Greene accompanied by a rap. It even has a series of credits at the end billing South Carolina's nominee for Senate as the video's director, producer and editor.' – Lawrence O'Donnell hailing the finesse of unemployed longshot Democrat Senate candidate and indicted pornography offender Alvin Greene, July 23, 2010 Countdown.

'Mr. Greene is running against the incumbent Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who has never given a speech as thoughtful as Mr. Greene's. And Senator DeMint seems to be most at home in front of a Tea Party crowd, just as he was in September of last year, when he still hoped that health care reform would be President Obama's Waterloo.'
– Lawrence O'Donnell on the July 19, 2010 Countdown. Critics routinely called Greene's 'halting' June 10 appearance on Countdown 'bizarre.'

Calling Out the 'Torture-Mongers' Who Should 'Live In Shame!"


'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 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!'
– Lawrence O'Donnell yelling at former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen about his book Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack on Morning Joe, February 12, 2010. [Audio/video (2:38): WMV|MP3]

O'Donnell: 'Marc, I'm wondering about your 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.
Marc Thiessen, former Bush speechwriter:
'Oh my goodness...opposition research.'
O'Donnell: 'And then you went to Vassar, and of course, like all 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?'
– Later in the same segment. O'Donnell never served in the military.

Obama's Too Bush-like and Militaristic for a Peace Prize

'Our fifth story on the Countdown: Two months and an escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan later, there is the question of whether the Nobel Committee today handed over the prize to a wartime president who all too closely resembles George W. Bush.'
– Lawrence O'Donnell on Countdown, December 10, 2009.

Rush and Palin: Idiots


'Breaking news; in our third story in the Countdown, Levi Johnston has seen Sarah Palin's Oprah prompted invitation to Thanksgiving dinner, and says, quote, "You can tell by her laugh that she was full of it." Meantime, Rush Limbaugh calls Palin's book, quote, "truly one of the most substantive policy books I've read," end quote. Rush, I believe you. I cannot imagine you, in full recline on your Gulfstream, Cuban cigar in hand, struggling to get through a more substantive policy book than Sarah's index and footnote free, score settling campaign memoir. No mind numbing charts or graphs, no big words, no scholarly Latin phrases, like caveat emptor. And I bet the pictures are, like, amazing.'
– Lawrence O'Donnell mocking Palin's memoir Going Rogue on Countdown, November 13, 2009. [Audio/video (1:01): WMV |MP3]

Seeing Tea Party Doom in His Crystal Ball

'Live by the tea party, die by the tea party. Democrat Bill Owens hands the GOP a historic loss in Upstate New York....Not since the 19th century has a Democrat represented that district....Sarah Palin and company are pretending nothing went wrong, but does it spell doom for the tea party movement as a political force? And what happens if they continue to push moderate Republicans out of the party?'
– Lawrence O'Donnell discussing a special House election on Countdown, November 4, 2009.

Dick Cheney Is a Sleazy Liar


'Well, he came today to - obviously to do nothing much other than defend torture, which he calls 'tough questioning.' This was as sleazy a presentation by a vice president as we've had since Spiro Agnew. This was an absolute abomination....He cannot, ever, frame the other side's position honestly. What you saw with Obama earlier was Obama describes the other side's position fairly. He then goes on to advance his position. Cheney comes out and lies about the other side, it's the only way he can talk. He says that Obama will not use the word 'terrorist,' when Obama does indeed use that word. He pretends that all we did was tough questioning. He says that 9/11 - he says that 9/11 made everyone take a second look at the threat. That is a lie. Dick Cheney and the President were in possession of memos that said this threat was present, this particular methodology was going to come, that they were going to use airliners....This guy just has to lie from beginning to end through his setup of his opposition's position in order to advance any of his ideas at all, none of which have any proof to them at all.'
– Lawrence O'Donnell on Hardball, May 21, 2009.

Mormon Rants vs. Muslim Silence

"Here's the problem. He dare not discuss his religion. And he fools people like Pat Buchanan who should know better. This was the worst speech, the worst political speech of my lifetime....He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the Earth....And when he talks about the faith of his father, how about the faith of his great-grandfather, who had five wives?...And his religion is based on the work of a lying, fraudulent, criminal named Joseph Smith who was a racist, who was a, who was pro-slavery, his religion was completely pro-slavery...He was given an opportunity to distance himself from the evils of his religion, and he didn't....Joseph Smith was a slavery champion, the inventor of this ridiculous religion...His religion is full of crazy beliefs. Everyone on this panel thinks his religion is full of crazy beliefs. Everyone of us does. You won't admit it. Do you think the Garden of Eden was in Missouri?...Look Romney comes from a religion founded by a criminal who was anti-American, pro-slavery and a rapist! And his, and he comes from that lineage and says, "I respect this religion fully."
– Lawrence O'Donnell discussing Mitt Romney's church-and-state campaign speech on the December 8, 2007 McLaughlin Group.


Hewitt: 'And do you believe, would you say the same things about Mohammed as you just said about Joseph Smith?'
O'Donnell: 'Oh, well, I'm afraid of what the- that's where I'm really afraid. I would like to criticize Islam much more than I do publicly, but I'm afraid for my life if I do.'
Hewitt: 'Well, that's candid.'
O'Donnell: 'Mormons are the nicest people in the world. They're not going to ever –'
Hewitt: 'So you can be bigoted towards Mormons, because they'll just send you a strudel.'
O'Donnell: 'They'll never take a shot at me. Those other people, I'm not going to say a word about them.'
Hewitt: 'They'll send you a strudel. The Mormons will bake you a cake and be nice to you.
'I agree.'
– Exchange on Hugh Hewitt's talk-radio show, three days later.

Swift-Boat Author's a Coward, Full of Lies!


'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?....Ending the war, which you didn't do a thing to do. You didn't have the courage to lift a finger against it.'
– Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, October 22, 2004. [Audio/video (7:27) WMV |MP3]