Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL Date: December 27, 2016 Guest: Yamiche Alcindor, Jared Yates Sexton, Josh Barro, Karine Jean- Pierre, Jeremy Ben-Ami
ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: That`s our show, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening, Lawrence.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ari. It`s so interesting that you could argue that the internet as a business proposition is the worst thing that`s happened to newspapers since people expect to get everything for free on the internet.
And here is an internet-based billionaire who comes along and saves "The Washington Post".
MELBER: I think they welcome him in the side door.
O`DONNELL: Yes, thank you very much, Ari.
MELBER: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Well, it was bound to happen. The theoretical Obama versus Trump presidential campaign is officially under way, and this time we all get to pick our own winner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president-elect`s new tweets.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I`m not so sure this is the best way to communicate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wrote, the world was gloomy before I won, there was no hope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And slamming the U.N. as just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time -- so sad.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must resist the urge to turn inward, to demonize those who are different.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Barack Obama making news by saying, hey, if he`d been running, he would have beaten Donald Trump.
OBAMA: I think I could have mobilized the majority of the American people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We knew that President-elect Trump wouldn`t be able to let this one slide.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saying in a tweet, "President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me, he would say that, but I would say no way."
SEAN SPICER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: His use of social media in particular is going to be something that`s never been seen before.
I think that`s going to be just a really exciting part of the job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s wonderful spin, Donald Trump has no filter and is able to tweet whatever he wants.
There`s a danger in that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A hundred and forty characters or less is not the way to make any type of policy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Forty nine days after the real presidential election that produced the surreal results of a former first lady.
Senator and Secretary of State losing the electoral college to a former TV reality star accused of defrauding students at a fake university. Who also happened to be caught on video boasting about his preferred methods of sexual assault.
Forty nine days after that election, the theoretical Obama versus Trump presidential campaign has begun and each of the candidates thinks he would beat the other.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I am confident in this vision, because I`m confident that if I -- if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could have mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump, unsurprisingly tweeted, "President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that, but I say no way. Jobs leaving, ISIS, O`care, et cetera."
And this afternoon, Donald Trump tweeted, "President Obama campaigned hard and personally in the very important swing states and lost.
The voters wanted to make America great again." President Obama has an approval rating of 56 percent.
According to Gallup, Donald Trump`s transition has an approval rating of 48 percent, which is the lowest approval rating for an incoming president in history.
Donald Trump picked the single best day of the year to try to bury an important public announcement.
His transition office announced on Christmas eve that he intends to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
The very same foundation that is being investigated by the Attorney General of the state of New York, Eric Schneiderman.
Attorney General Schneiderman says Donald Trump cannot dissolve the foundation as long as it is being investigated.
"The Washington Post`s" David Fahrenthold is a frontrunner for a Pulitzer- prize this year because of his reporting on the illegal practices of the Trump Foundation.
And the surprising fact that Donald Trump has contributed exactly no money to the Trump Foundation in the last eight years.
Donald Trump has not produced a single record of him making a single charitable contribution in the last eight years.
David Fahrenthold`s reporting showed that contributions made by the Trump Foundation involved the use of other people`s money contributed to the Trump Foundation, not Donald Trump`s.
Joining us now, Jared Yates Sexton; a professor at Georgia Southern University. And Msnbc contributors Josh Barro of the "Business Insider" and Yamiche Alcindor of the "New York Times".
Yamiche, this -- first of all, let`s go to -- let the Trump -- the Obama versus Trump presidential campaign.
Each man has a theory about it. What is your theory of that theoretical campaign? What -- who would -- who would win it?
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, NEW YORK TIMES: I can`t say who would win it. And what I can say is that Obama is of course imagining himself as the change candidate. The candidate who really came out in 2008 and blew Hillary Clinton out of the water.
So, I think he`s looking at himself as someone who would be able to capture the hearts of Americans.
However, a lot of the people that I have talked to that were Obama supporters -- I wrote a story about this, they are now Trump supporters.
There are large counties that went for Obama and then switched to Trump. That tells me that Trump became the hot hand in some ways.
Then he became the candidate that people saw as a change agent. And he became the candidate that people thought were talking for them.
And that was the working-class people and people who really wanted something different in this economy.
So, I think it`s really tough to say of course who would have won. But I think Donald Trump has a good backing in that he was able to kind of harness the Obama way of doing things -- I mean, win this election.
O`DONNELL: Jared, what`s your guess on the impossible theoretical if President Obama could have run for a third term?
JARED YATES SEXTON, PROFESSOR, GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY: Well, I`ll tell you this. That would be a race that I`d really like to see. I think Obama definitely has shown a little bit of that spirit of the campaign that he had.
And I think he -- I think he really wants to put his message out there and really compete against Trump in the arena of ideas.
And I think it would have been a very different campaign, it would have been a lot more in terms of Obama`s sort of agenda. I think we would have talked a lot more about what has gone on these past eight years.
And I think that we would have looked at the country in a lot different ways as opposed to how Trump painted this country.
O`DONNELL: Josh Barro, President Obama seems to think he would have done a better job connecting with those voters who did switch from voting for Obama to voting for Trump.
JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Yes, and I think that`s true. I mean, look, Hillary Clinton almost won this election.
So he only needed --
O`DONNELL: Yes --
BARRO: To do a little bit better than she did to win it. And I think he would have got a little bit better. He didn`t have a specific liabilities that she had. He was not under investigation by the FBI.
He did not have a track record of 40 years of coverage in the media. Partly unfair or partly I think quite fair that I think created in the minds of a lot of people.
They just didn`t trust Hillary Clinton at the same time. Barack Obama`s approval rating had been taken upward over the last couple of years as the economy has improved.
So, you know, why did the president say this? I think -- I would imagine that he is irritated that what was sort of a layup election ended up getting lost by his party.
And I think he thinks correctly that if it had been in his hands, the outcome would have been different.
O`DONNELL: And Jared --
ALCINDOR: Really quickly --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead Yamiche, go ahead.
ALCINDOR: I would just -- I would just jump in really quickly and say that Hillary Clinton in some ways was running on a third term of Obama. A lot of the policy he was talking about -- a lot of the things that she wanted to to.
So, it`s really tough to think that Obama, while of course he didn`t have the same -- I guess, I would say flaws as Hillary Clinton.
The fact that she was trying to basically say like look at his record, I can do something similar to that.
And that message did not really rile up as much people as she needed. Tells me that Obama would still have a tough time running just on his record.
O`DONNELL: But Jared, Nate Silver says that it was the Comey letters according to his polling analysis that lost it for -- lost the electoral college for Hillary Clinton.
The Clinton campaign`s own analysis says that it was the Comey letters. There would be no Comey letter factor in actually anyone but Hillary Clinton as the nominee.
Barack Obama supremely talented performer out there as a campaigner. As Josh says, you just needed to do a little bit better.
And that little bit better could be measured in, you know, how many letters from the FBI enter the campaign.
SEXTON: I think that`s exactly right. And when you really look at the entire arc of the Trump campaign, his main message that he gave to voters was this idea of, you know, corrupt Hillary.
And I think that without that sort of easily told narrative that he had there. That he basically colored Hillary Clinton with, I think we`d see a lot different result.
O`DONNELL: All right, I`m calling the -- I`m officially calling the Obama versus Trump campaign for Barack Obama by a healthy margin.
And Yamiche, we`re going to leave you out of the voting on this. We understand -- we understand your position. I want to get to a problem that developed over the weekend for the Trump campaign.
And I have a problem actually reporting on this story. This is Carl Paladino, the clearly, mentally unstable, extreme racist from New York state who`s a friend and supporter of Donald Trump, a very rich supporter of Donald Trump.
I cannot read the things that he said about both Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Deeply racist, ugly things that the Trump transition team eventually came out and condemned.
But Josh, we haven`t heard anything from Donald Trump about this. And Donald Trump is pals with Carl Paladino.
And Donald Trump finds time to tweet about Alec Baldwin`s performances on "Saturday Night Live" and smaller things than that.
BARRO: Yes, although, I mean, the fact that the transition issued a statement condemning the remarks is more than they usually do.
And so, you saw Carl Paladino come out now and say that he didn`t mean to send the e-mail to the press.
He just meant to send these racist comments to his friends. Carl Paladino is actually an elected official.
He`s a member of the school board in the city of Buffalo. He was just re- elected to that position narrowly. Although his allies on the board lost their seats. So, Paladino is actually accountable to voters.
He`s going to have to come up for election again if he wants to keep that seat. And so I think he felt the need to walk this back.
And it`s clear that the Trump people -- I don`t think we`re going to see Donald Trump tweet about how upset he is with Carl Paladino.
But that statement makes clear to me that the Trump people are not amused by this and don`t view this as a politically constructive thing for them.
O`DONNELL: Well, Jared, there remains the question of where will Carl Paladino`s seat be at the inauguration?
SEXTON: Well, see, that`s the bigger question of it, too, right? It`s this behavior by Carl Paladino is actually just sort of indicative of the ugliness that Trump has sort of, you know, loosed out into the mainstream of America.
I mean, it`s been there for decades. You know, you`ve heard conversations in private when people didn`t think that there were being held accountable.
These are the kinds of things that people said. These are the types of things that they would, you know, pass around on the internet.
And you look at what Paladino said, you have to think that Trump has some responsibility for changing the discourse in this country to allowing this out from underneath the -- you know, underneath the surface.
O`DONNELL: And Yamiche, Donald Trump took Christmas eve as the right moment to try to get out of the problem called the Trump Foundation.
The trouble is the Attorney General of the state of New York is saying no, you are not legally allowed to dissolve that foundation as long as it is under an investigation by the Attorney General.
ALCINDOR: It`s a problem that`s going to continue to plague Donald Trump.
This -- you mentioned the reporting from "The Washington Post" and the "New York Times" who are also doing a lot of that reporting.
And really this is -- it`s just an example of the conflicts of interest that Donald Trump has. This charity -- the fact that he was not using his money, but other people`s money.
And he was -- he`s saying on Twitter that this -- all the money went to charity, but at least some reporting shows that it might have been paid.
Used to pay off lawsuits. So, this -- I think it`s just an example of the -- what the issues that Donald Trump are going to have moving forward. I would think about -- also his real estate holdings, what he`s going to do with his hotels.
Whether or not he`s going to set up a blind trust. How his children are going to be able to kind of be his confidant while also helping run the business.
I mean, there are just so many conflicts of interest here. And this is just one of them that`s not going to go away.
O`DONNELL: Yamiche Alcindor, Josh Barro, Jared Yates Sexton, thank you all for joining us tonight, I appreciate it.
BARRO: Thank you.
SEXTON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the one thing President Obama says he was not afraid of.
And how Donald Trump plans to use Twitter once he`s in the Oval Office. And how thrilled his future press secretary is about that.
O`DONNELL: That was Trump Tower in New York City tonight when it was evacuated after police found a suspicious package.
A senior New York police official says the bomb squad was called to investigate it. It turned out to be a knapsack filled with children`s toys outside the Nike town in Trump Tower.
And Donald Trump himself was not in Trump Tower, he`s currently in Florida. Up next, what one of President Obama`s closest advisors asked him about his mental health.
O`DONNELL: Interviewing someone you know well is difficult. It`s a bit fake. You`re asking questions that you know the answers to.
But it also might give you access to parts of the heart and mind of the person you`re interviewing that other interviewers will never find.
That`s what happened when David Axelrod interviewed President Obama for his podcast.
David Axelrod has known a lot of politicians. Worked with them up close, looked deep into their eyes and in most of them he saw at least a touch of insanity.
That`s what made him ask his friend Barack Obama why he`s not -- he`s not nuts. That`s the way David Axelrod actually put it.
He said to the president, "I want to know why you`re not nuts." David Axelrod uses stronger language than I do for the same phenomenon.
When I worked in the Senate, I looked in the eyes of politicians hoping to see a real person there and almost never did.
I didn`t think they were insane, that`s David Axelrod`s word for it. I just thought they were shallow and vain and hopelessly needy.
They shared many of the characteristics of our finest actors, they just don`t have any talent.
What David Axelrod and I agree on is that the clearest way to judge what David would call a "politician`s insanity", and what I would call "the real person" is to examine his attitude toward losing.
Most politicians simply cannot imagine life the day after they lose an election. Most politicians fear losing an election more than they fear anything else in life.
Certainly more than they fear losing their marriages, and that fear controls everything they do -- everything.
That fear turns them into robots, reading from teleprompters, reading from index cards on fundraising calls to rich people.
Playing out the script of their lives, written by that fear. That fear drives them to extremes. The kind of extremes that David Axelrod thought were necessary to win the presidency.
That`s why he wasn`t sure Senator Barack Obama had the right stuff to run for president.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO BARACK OBAMA: I don`t know if you remember this conversation I had with you when you -- when you came to my office right you got back from Hawaii.
You were about to make the decision to run, you come in unannounced, and we talked for a long time.
And I told you, I`m not sure you`re pathological enough to run for president.
And what I meant by that was, I didn`t think you had that sort of pathological need that so many people who run for president do.
And I don`t know why that is because your dad abandoned you, basically, when you were two years old.
And your mom -- I know she was very loving, but you were separated from her for long periods of time.
And if you were just looking at those facts, you`d say, yes, this guy is going to be a real needy person --
OBAMA: Yes --
AXELROD: Why are you -- why didn`t you turn out that way?
OBAMA: Look, you know, you don`t know -- it`s hard to get outside of yourself completely, and evaluate all the factors that contribute to your character.
Some of it is just temperament. Now that we`ve been parents and you`re a grandpa, you start noticing, there is an essence of each kid that barring really severe trauma expresses itself.
That`s who they are. And so there is something in me, obviously, that is pretty calm and generally pretty happy, and pretty buoyant.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Then David Axelrod in this podcast took us to a place where presidential interviews never go.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
AXELROD: Did you feel -- did you feel -- I mean, this is a weird question to ask, because you`re president of the United States --
OBAMA: Yes, but --
AXELROD: But did you feel loved as a kid? --
OBAMA: I did --
AXELROD: Even though your -- and why? Was it your grandparents?
OBAMA: You know, my mom was -- she was eccentric in many ways. She was --
AXELROD: Kind of a hippy, right?
OBAMA: Yes, you know, but she always insisted on shaving her legs. But she was -- she was somebody who was hungry for adventure and skeptical of convention.
But she loved the heck out of her kids. What I did learn was that unconditional love makes up for an awful lot, and I got that from her.
Now part of -- part of going back to the question about politics though --
AXELROD: You never feared losing.
OBAMA: I never --
AXELROD: You didn`t like it.
OBAMA: No --
AXELROD: You didn`t -- you`re competitive.
OBAMA: I am.
AXELROD: I`ve --
OBAMA: You know what it was, David, and I think has remained true is not that I didn`t fear losing.
It`s that I feared more being dishonest or being a jerk or losing respect for myself. I feared that more than losing.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Most politicians don`t have an honest answer to the question, what do you fear more than losing?
President Obama went on to tell David Axelrod that having gone from 15 minutes of national fame as the first African-American president of the "Harvard Law Review" when he was in law school.
To being a back bencher in the state legislature in Illinois, operating in complete obscurity gave him experience with the rhythms of ups and downs.
And that helped balance him when he was shot out of a canon, as he put it in 2004 to instant fame with his keynote address at John Kerry`s nominating convention in Boston.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: By that time, I was pretty, fully formed, had a pretty good sense of who I was, had a good sense of what was important and what wasn`t.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: President Obama talked about the people who have helped keep himself real, the people who don`t call him Mr. President.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
OBAMA: Look, you know, I was also married to a woman who was not going to put up with any foolishness.
And, you know, Michelle, I can`t underestimate the degree to which having a life partner who is so grounded and so strong and steady and fundamentally honest helped.
AXELROD: Sometimes brutally so.
OBAMA: Sometimes brutally --
AXELROD: Yes --
OBAMA: So, but --
AXELROD: No, I --
OBAMA: She has been balanced for our family.
AXELROD: Yes --
OBAMA: And I -- no doubt, contributed to me feeling calm because here`s what I knew about Michelle the same way I knew about my girls or my sister or my best friends.
Their relationships with me never depended on my success or outward success.
You know, they didn`t -- my best friends from high school don`t operate any differently with me now than they did while --
AXELROD: And they`re around a lot. You have them here a lot --
OBAMA: They do, yes --
AXELROD: Yes. They don`t call you Mr. President.
OBAMA: They do not.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We leave it to you to imagine Kellyanne Conway`s exit interview with President Donald Trump four or eight years from now.
Up next, what Donald Trump`s been up to this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: I think that his use of social media in particular, you brought it up is going to be something that`s never been seen before.
He has this direct pipeline to the American people where he can talk back and forth and almost 17 million people on Twitter, but combined with Facebook and Instagram, is well over 40 million.
And I think that allows him to add an element of a conversation that`s never occurred. He can put his thoughts out and hear what they`re thinking in a way that no one`s ever been able to do before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news from Twitter. Kylie Jenner has 19 million Twitter followers, that`s more than Donald Trump.
Her big sister, Kim Kardashian has more than twice as many Twitter followers than Donald Trump, 49 million.
And the president of the United States has more than four times the Twitter followers of the president-elect. President Obama has 80 million, and of course, as we all know, Justin Bieber has 90 million.
And the person with the most Twitter followers on earth, and therefore, according to the Sean Spicer theory, may be the person who should be president of the United States, Katy Perry on just about 95 million, 94.9 million Twitter followers for Katy Perry.
Joining us now, Karine Jean-Pierre, Senior Adviser and National Spokesperson for move on.org. Also with us Charlie Sykes the Editor-in- Chief of Right Wisconsin and a MSNBC contributor. He is currently writing the book How the Right Lost its Mind. Karine so there we have the incoming Whitehouse Press Secretary describing the incredible, incredible communication powers Donald Trump has at his fingertips because he has almost as many Twitter followers as the youngest Kardashian.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, MOVEON.ORG: Well Lawrence here`s what we`ve learned in the last few weeks in particular about Donald Trump`s Twitter account which is it is now officially a threat to our National Security. I mean, you know, we can all laugh when he`s tweeting about Saturday Night Live and, you know, and his upset and his lack of temperament about them, you know, how he`s being portrayed but when he started tweeting about National Security, that`s pretty dangerous and reckless. And also there`s been focus groups that have been done with his own supporters who have said, hey, you know what, we don`t believe that the way he`s using Twitter is becoming of a President, and how they feel very uncomfortable with how President Trump may react when he`s not happy or someone gets under his skin, because he has access to Twitter.
O`DONNELL: And Charlie Sykes, one of the things that Donald Trump opens himself up to is all the things that he doesn`t comment on that are serious issues that people want him to comment on like the horrible things that his friend and supporter Carl Palladino said about the President and Mrs. Obama. He has nothing to say about that, but he does have time to talk about Alec Baldwin on Saturday Night Live and so many minor things and so it raises that question of the priorities of his attention.
CHARLIE SYKES, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes and by the way, Katy Perry may have more followers, but she request not start a nuclear arms race by herself, can she?
JEAN-PIERRE: That`s right.
SYKES: I remember when Shawn Spicer was a reasonable, rational person before he was held hostage by this Whitehouse because the reality is as you point out. This is going to expose the Whitehouse on a minute by minute basis. You don`t know what he`s going to write about whether he`s going to blow up an international deal with a Tweet, whether he`s going to bully the wrong senator with Tweet, whether he`s going to tank a company in the stock market with a tweet. And, as you point out, his silence on certain issues is going to be glaring. You`re just going to be able to go back and see, okay, so you`re talking about, I don`t know, some b-level celebrity. But you`re not talking about what`s happening in Aleppo or you`re not talking about one of your closest friends making a racist remark. But this adds this element of absolute crapshoot to this presidency that I`m not sure that anybody`s got their handle on and must be absolutely terrifying to the people who actually work for him.
O`DONNELL: and Karine Charlie`s point of someone like Sean Spicer claiming the Twitter follower number is actually something important about this incoming presidency. It has that adoption of Trumpian values. Donald Trump`s own personal values about the world now into the Whitehouse staff.
JEAN-PIERRE: No, I think that`s exactly right, you know, Lawrence, it`s just really baffling, but we have to remember, I mean, Charlie kind of talked a little bit about Sean Spicer. Sean Spicer is the same person who used my little pony as a, you know, as a way to explain how Michelle Obama`s speech from 2008 was plagiarized. And so I think people have kind of lost their mind a little bit unfortunately, because it`s, how do you explain Trump`s Twitter account? It`s just baffling.
O`DONNELL: And Charlie, it seems like the stock market and other parts of the world are going to have to learn to in effect devalue Trump tweets. That they have no real meaning. I mean, for example, he attacks Boeing one day, and the stock drops a bit during the day. Then he comes back and praises Boeing and attacks another competitor of Boeing`s and drives that stock price down.
SYKES: You just don`t know. When does this jump the shark? But this is going to encapsulate and this is really going to, you know, symbolize the quality of this man`s thought. I mean there was a time when we had presidents who read books. Now we have presidents who write in 140 character messages. You know we once had Presidents who were eloquently and can rally the nation. But, you know, here is a president who actually does feel comfortable on Twitter, because I do think that is the perfect venue for the quality of his thinking, and I think that is going to be something that it`s going to be defining element in his presidency.
O`DONNELL: Charlie Sykes, and Karine Jean-Pierre thanks for joining us tonight, appreciate it.
JEAN-PIERRE: Thanks Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up Donald Trump is make Benjamin Netanyahu his new best friend and that has a lot of people in Israel and the United States worried.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news tonight, the State Department has announced that Secretary of State John Kerry will give a major speech tomorrow morning explaining why the United States did not veto the U.N. resolution demanding that Israel stop all settlement activities in the West Bank in East Jerusalem. The resolution passed the U.N. Security Council with 14 votes in favor, no votes opposed. Normally one country abstaining. That was of course the United States. Since then, Donald Trump has been tweeting his disagreement with the Obama Administration on that resolution. Yesterday he tweeted the United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time, so sad. On Friday, U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power explained why the United States did not vote for that resolution and why it did not veto the resolution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, U.N. AMBASSADOR: It is because this forum too often continues to be biased against Israel, because there are important issues that are not sufficiently addressed in this resolution and because the United States does not agree with every word in this text that the United States did not vote in favor of the resolution. But it is because this resolution reflects the facts on the ground and is consistent with U.S. policy across Republican and Democratic administrations throughout the history of the State of Israel that the United States did not veto it. It is precisely our commitment to Israel`s Security that makes the United States believe that we cannot stand in the way of this resolution as we seek to preserve a chance of obtaining our long-standing objective, two states living side by side in peace and security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now Jeremy Ben-Ami Founder and President of J Street, the political home for the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement. I just wanted to refer to a poll that was taken on Election Day of Jewish voters, and this poll of Jewish voters, and I just want to show that the Jewish voters do not necessarily see these issues the way I think a lot are of people assume they do.
JEREMY BEN-AMI, FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, J STREET: Right.
O`DONNELL: And this polling question said the United Nation Security Council is considering a resolution that calls on Israel to top building Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Do you think the U.S. should support, abstain from or veto this resolution? 31 percent of Jewish voters in the United States said that the United States should support, should have voted for that resolution. 31 percent said they should have done what the United States did do, which was abstain, and 27 percent said that the United States should veto that. And Jeremy, I think if you asked people to guess, they would have said something like 95 Say veto.
BEN-AMI: Right, that`s because the loudest voices that you always hear on these issues from the Jewish community tend to be those on the farther right of the debate. The vast majority of American Jews are actually quite moderate in their views on Israel. in fact, one of the many misconceptions that exists about American Jews is that they`re not single issue voters on Israel, first of all. And second of all when it does come to Israel they`re not hawkish and they are not extreme on the right wing of the politics of the issue.
O`DONNELL: And what was your view of that resolution and what the United States` position should have been?
BEN-AMI: Well, the resolution as Ambassador Power said, had some flaws, and the U.N. itself is a biased and one-sided body when it comes to Israel, and its disproportionate focus on the problems that Israel has and is causing. But that having been said, the resolution is completely consistent with the policy of the United States since 1967, when it comes to settlements, when it comes to the occupation, and that`s the policy of Republican Presidents as well as Democrat Presidents, and abstaing from the veto was an important step for the United States to send a signal to Israel that the Present status quo is unsustainable on the ground.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the Israeli Ambassador to the United States today Ron Dermer - actually yesterday speaking on Andrea Mitchell`s show, in effect, issues a threat to the United States. Let`s listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON DERMER, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: And we have proof. I don`t believe it, we know it, and we`ll share it with the incoming administration through the appropriate channels and they can decide whether they want to share it with the American people. We`re obviously not going to share with this administration, because they are behind it. We`re not sure that this is the end of it. We may get a new U.N. Security Council of resolution in the waning days of the administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Just to clarify, the proof that he says he has is proof that it was the United States at the U.N. that was actually pushing this resolution, making it happen. Washington Post is reporting that the Israelis` proof as they call it comes from espionage conducted against the United States.
BEN-AMI: You know there`s no way to know exactly what, of course, was going on behind the scenes. The Palestinian delegation that was in town about ten days ago was reported in Egyptian immediate had a meeting with Secretary of States Kerry and met as well with Susan Rice. And they discussed the possibility, which all of us who deal with this issue knew was a possibility, that there would be a U.N. Security Council Resolution and the question was, what would the United States do. And that discussion probably did take place, but the notion that the closest ally of the United States in the Middle East is going to accuse this administration, which just signed a $38 billion aid package of some how colluding against Israel`s interests, it`s really unconscionable and the whole behavior of the Ambassador and the Government of Israel at times towards this administration has really been a lack of gratitude for what has been done to support Israel`s security in the last eight years.
O`DONNELL: Jeremy Ben-Ami, thank you so much for joining us tonight.
BEN-AMI: Absolutely, thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up next, President Obama at Pearl Harbor today.
O`DONNELL: Today President Obama did something that no president has ever done, welcomed a Japanese prime minister to Pearl Harbor. NBC`s Tammy Leitner has more.
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TAMMY LEITNER, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: A silent moment unimaginable 75 years ago. The prime minister of Japan paying his respects at Pearl Harbor on the USS Arizona memorial above where hundreds of sailors marines are entombed below.
SHINZO ABE, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN: It was a place which brought utter silence to me.
LEITNER: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visiting the battlefield where over 2,400 Americans died. The first Japanese leader to visit the memorial, today Abe stopping short of making an apology.
ABE: I offer my sincere and everlasting condolences.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It is here that we remember that even when the hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward.
LEITNER: Al Rodriguez was stationed at Pearl Harbor when the bombs started falling.
AL RODRIGUES, PEARL HARBOR ATTACK SURVIVOR: We could see the planes up above with the circles and the Red Circle on the bottom we knew it was the enemy was Japanese.
LEITNER: He thinks the time has come for a visit like this, even as his own emotions are still raw.
RODRIGUES: I got very emotional.
LEITNER: Invited to be part of the ceremony today, he never thought he`d see a time when these two leaders would step foot on the battlefield where so much blood had been shed. Earlier this year, Obama became the first sitting American president to visit Hiroshima where the U.S. dropped the first of two atomic bombs in 1945, today`s visit cementing a partnership between two countries that were once enemies and now allies.
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O`DONNELL: Here`s more what President Obama said today about what the history of Pearl Harbor can teach us.
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OBAMA: The presence of Prime Minister Abe here today remind us of what is possible between nations and between peoples. Wars can end. The most bitter of adversaries can become the strongest of allies. The fruits of peace always outweigh the plunder of war. This is the enduring truth of this hallowed harbor. It is here that we remember that even when the hatred burns hottest, even when the tug of tribalism is at its most primal, we must resist the urge to turn inward. We must resist the urge to demonize those who are different.
(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
O`DONNELL: If you`re having a Carrie Fisher Netflix film festival this week, you should begin where her film acting career began not in Star Wars but in shampoo, with Warren Beatty in 1975. Carrie Fisher is at the top of a very short list of actors who achieved world wide stardom and life-time cult following for an unforgettable performance in an unforgettable movie and who are also truly great writers.
Her best known writing was the autobiographical Postcards from the Edge for which she also wrote the screenplay. It takes us inside Carrie Fisher`s relationship with her movie star mother Debbie Reynolds. But Carrie Fisher wrote some of the great scenes and the great dialog in several films for which she did not receive credit. She wasn`t being robbed of credit. She was playing the Hollywood game that only the best Hollywood writers are invited to play. Secretly working as a script doctor for huge amounts of money and no credit.
And so Carrie Fisher lives on in your memory in unforgettable lines that you don`t know she wrote. Here is a scene from Postcards from the Edge, written by Carrie Fisher with Meryl Streep in the fictionalized Carrie Fisher role and Shirley McLaine in the fictionalized Debbie Reynolds role.
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SHIRLEY MCLAINE, AMERICAN ACTRESS: I hardly think you are in a position to judge me.
MERYL STREEP, AMERICAN ACTRESS: Mom.
MCLAINE: I do hope you were not out sleeping with someone who I was not -- you were I hope you would use condoms. I didn`t raise you to act this way, but if you are, I hope that it`s your morals in question, and not your judgment.
STREEP: Mom, I`m middle aged.
MCLAINE: I`m middle aged.
STREEP: How many 120-year-old women do you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Carrie Fisher died today. She was 60 years old.
O`DONNELL: And now for tonight`s last word. Last week the last words you heard on this program before Christmas were from Tamandani Khuphuki a teenager in Malawi who has finished high school, thanks entirely to your kindness. Your contributions to the K.I.N.D Fund which provides desks for kids in need of desks in African schools where there are no desks and it also provides scholarships for girls like Tamandani to attend high school. In Malawi, like many other African countries, public high school is not free.
Tuition is low by our standards but too much for many families to pay. After last Thursday`s show, Stu Noel tweeted, what an inspiration. Tamandani Khuphuki is. Thank you MSNBC and K.I.N.D for changing lives of girls and children. Apparently Tamandani inspired more of you than ever before. You set a record for Christmas holiday giving to the K.I.N.D Fund. Since Tamandani got the last word on Thursday night, you have contributed $505,206.
That brings the total contributed this holiday season to $2,508,300. And that is the largest amount you have contributed in the six years since MSNBC created this unique partnership with UNICEF establishing the K.I.N.D Fund. And in years past, a lot of you are like me, and you continue to contribute after Christmas. I`ll be going online tonight at lastworddesks.msnbc.com and making contributions for desks and scholarships in the names of people on my holiday gift list and UNICEF will send them an email acknowledging my gift.
I`m not very good with deadlines, so, as usual, I have not completed my holiday giving yet. Julia Erzech (ph) tweeted, made a donation to the K.I.N.D Fund in honor of my grandparents who were schoolteachers, my grandmother Dorothy just turned 94. Congratulations Dorothy on being such a great role model for your granddaughter Julia. On Christmas Eve Rachel King tweeted have put everyone on notice that this Christmas instead of gifts I want donations made to K.I.N.D Fund, 14 donations so far. Thank you Rachel and that is how we broke the record this year.
That extraordinary generosity that kind of extraordinary generosity and what I`m reading in most of your tweets is that the most important reason that we broke the record this year is the way kids like Tamandani Khuphuki opened your hearts when you heard them talking about their lives in Malawi and how important education is to them. On giving Tuesday at the end of November we broke a record for one-day contributions, and that was thanks entirely to Joyce Chisale, who you heard spontaneously recite a poem when I discovered her ambition was to become a doctor and a poet.
And your tweets, many of you have been quoting Joyce`s poem which she entitled "Little by little." You`ve found meaning in that poem for your own lives. Joyce Chisale`s inspirational and practical poem about how we make progress in our own lives and in this world, little by little. When I asked Tamandani what she would say to the people who contributed the money so that she could her education, she said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMANDANI KHUPHUKI, K.I.N.D FUND SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT: I would thank them very much for what they have done and what they are doing. Without their help, we couldn`t finished our school and have our new hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: New hope. In a year where so many things in the world have gone wrong, something went write. You gave Tamandani and her friends and thousands of kids in Malawi, a new hope.