Lawrence O’Donnell’s advice to freshmen senators: No limelight

Updated
U.S. Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., walks past members of the media as she makes her way to the podium before a news conference at the Statehouse, in...
U.S. Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., walks past members of the media as she makes her way to the podium before a news conference at the Statehouse, in...
AP Photo/Steven Senne

After his years working in the Senate with Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell offered some advice for those about to take the oath of office.

During Thursday’s Rewrite segment, he urged the newly–elected senators to abandon their PR tactics before they head to Washington – “especially” Elizabeth Warren – as a matter of survival and a sign of goodwill.

O’Donnell’s number one rule: no national media. Yes, that includes not appearing on his own show, The Last Word, he acknowledged himself. He said the path to re-election lies in resisting the limelight on a national scale.

“You’re all being invited on national television shows now, which is a first for some of you, but you must resist. Your local media will get very jealous when they see you doing national TV and turning down a local TV interview in Indianapolis or Honolulu,” O’Donnell warned. “And your voters will quickly notice that you enjoy the national spotlight more than tending to their local concerns.”

He advised following the lead of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, the “current master of the no national media rule,” pointing out that the “only stand-up comedian in Senate history is regarded by his colleagues as a serious man.” O’Donnell attributed that to Franken’s  focus on his constituents. He also cited Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Bradley as good models to follow.

O’Donnell issued a special caution to Warren. “Remember how Scott Brown ran against you – the theme was that you weren’t one of us – us born and bred Massachusetts people,” he said. “The way to bury that imagery forever is to spend your weekends in Springfield and Lowell and Worcester instead of doing national media appearances.”

Lawrence O'Donnell's advice to freshmen senators: No limelight

Updated