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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  May 20, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT

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phone and another one that walks with a bag on his head. we will miss every single thing about david letterman. we will miss you, david letterman, thank you for everything you've done. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. rand paul is still on the senate floor tonight arguing against a reauthorization of the patriot act and what chris christie said on fox news forced one of his local newspapers in new jersey to say that he has lost touch with reality. and david letterman took his final bow at the ed sullivan theater tonight. >> i will not let the patriot act, the most unpatriotic of
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acts, go unchallenged. >> he plans to speak until he can speak no more. >> railing against the nsa and key components of that agency's power. >> the monster with tentacles that reaches into every home in our country. >> it's the squid who is the real villain. >> i was darth vader. so i walked in like this with, you know, horns coming out of my head. >> jeb bush is back in new hampshire. >> they called me veto forleoni. >> he gets closer to an expected announcement of a presidential run. >> i am not add can yet. >> i would love to see a woman in office. >> the state department would expedite the release of her e-mails. >> it's one long e-mail chain with the subject header, where is he? >> the moment that will do down in tv history. >> our final show, but -- no, no, wait a minute. unless it rains, then there will be a rain delay.
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>> you're leaving. >> yeah, that's right. >> so where does that leave regis? >> i don't care. >> this is a show that dave started and i get to work here every day. >> letterman was an acquired taste. you either got him or you didn't. >> dave is the best and you should see him. >> i don't think i'll ever watch tv again. >> jimmy, don't ever say that. not even joke. >> almost nine hours ago, rand paul rose on the senate floor to address the senate and he hoped the nation. >> there comes a time in the history of nations when fear and complacency allow power to accumulate and liberty and privacy to suffer. that time is now. and i will not let the patriotic act, the most unpatriotic of acts go unchallenged. >> nearly nine hours later, rand
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paul is still on his feet, on the senate floor, challenging the patriot act which will expire on june 1st unless congress extends it. the justice department today released a memo saying that the national security agency has to know by friday of this week whether the patriotic act is going to be extended. that statement said, quote, after may 22nd, 2015, the national security agency will need to begin taking steps to wind down the bulk telephone metadata program in anticipation of a possible sunset in order to ensure that it does not engage in any unauthorized collection or use of the metadata. senator paul's speech may be a very important speech. it is definitely a very long speech. but what it is not and never will be is a filibuster, even though that's what he's been telling his followers it is. a filibuster has no time limit on it and delays senate business. this speech is delaying nothing and rand paul will be forced to vendor to previously scheduled
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senate business no later than 1:00 p.m. tomorrow if he manages to last that long. joining us now, jeremy peters, "new york times" congressional reporter and msnbc reporter. nime sing guliana, legislative council with the american civil liberties office and david frum. areamy peters, what struck me about this so far is a few things. this is a serious speech. let no one doubt that this is a very serious speech that's going on out there. and the senators who have come to the floor that i've seen are all supportive of what rand paul is talking about, including a bunch of democrats who have been out there. maybe i missed it because i haven't watched all nine hours, but i haven't seen lindsey graham out there. i haven't seen anyone run out there to attack what rand paul is doing. >> well, that's right. and you know why? because they'll have plenty of time to attack him, the republicans will on the campaign trail.
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i mean, rand paul is basically fighting this fight by himself. in the republican field of 2016. and on the one hand makes him stand out and it allows him to appeal to a group of people who but, of course, when you're running in a republican primary, you need republican voters. so politically speaking, i wonder if this ends up hurting him more than it does help him. there's also the issue of whether or not this looks pinnacle. as you pointed out, he's not really stopping anything. he knows he doesn't have the vote to stop the patriotic act. it's going to be renewed in some form. so his campaign is using this as a bit of a fund-raising and media opportunity and i think he's going to take some hits for that. >> david frum, i find it hard to find a cynical perspective on what rand paul is doing here.
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because it does seem to carry a lot of risk in a republican presidential primary. >> unlike rand paul's last filibuster when he campaigned against the completely imaginary threat of drone strikes against american citizens on american soil, this is a serious debate. those of us who advocate for the patriotic act understand. it's a heavy instrument. i changes the way the government does business. it was sunseted when it was originally introduced. that was a good thing. it needs to be reconsidered at intervals. and the argument -- although i think the arguments in favor are stronger than the arguments against. this is a serious debate. instead of the american system working the way it should unlike the followish discussion of the fears that americans are going to be hit by drones while they are a coffee in a starbucks cafe.
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>> nima, i'm wondering whether rand paul would get more attention to the policy that he's talking about if he were not a presidential candidate because, you know, immediately, we put it into this presidential campaign frame when you're a presidential candidate. >> what's remarkable about rand paul's stand against the nsa is not just that he's been on the senate floor for hours, but that he's been joined by the republicans and democrats. frankly, this is a sign that perhaps congress is catching up with the american people. democrats, republicans and independents have overwhelmingly agreed that they are concerned about government surveillance and they want to to see a change in the laws that have been abused for so long. >> and jeremy, the -- when you hear the democrats, which is what i've been noticing the most come out, they aren't distancing themselves from some of what rand paul is saying. they are coming out to link arms as strongly.
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they may have some particular disagreements. but that's not what they're highlighting when they go out there. >> certainly, this is kind of a funny issue. it's one of the many on capitol hill lately. mike lee the republican senator from utah is out there supporting rand paul, as well. ted cruz is sympathetic to rand paul's point of view, although he wouldn't go quite as far. you know, it really is a tough vote for a lot of these lawmakers to take because essentially when they're called out by the opposition on this and people want to renew the patriotic act, they run the risk of being called soft on national security. and i think a lot of lawmakers are afraid of that branding. >> listen to what the fbi director said today. >> i think the biggest threat, the most urgent threat, the one
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that takes my time every day is the one that isil presents, especially coming at us through social media, trying to motivate troubled people in the united states to engage in acts of violence. >> neema, it seems it's the rise of the islamic state now that is giving, you know, some cohesion to those who want to continue with the patriotic act. >> we hear this argument time and time again that somehow by reforming laws that have been primarily used to spy on americans that we're somehow putting our nation in peril. that's just not supported by the evidence. two independent oversight boards have looked at the nationwide call record programs and that's the program that the government has used to collect information about every single call made in america. that's when you've made a call to the suicide hot line, your priest your girlfriend. what that tells us is that we've
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had a law on the books for years that's been abused to infringe on the privacy of every single american and we've spent billions of dollars and we don't have the national security results to show for it. >> marco rubio has said now is not the time to end this program which remains essential to our security, but he hasn't gotten himself out there on the senate floor as far as i know to have any find with rand paul about it today. let's listen to what others have had to say. >> in this debate, i think you are raising an important question, if i understand it correctly, it's just how much is the u.s. government going to spy on u.s. citizens. >> again, my good friend, i don't always agree with you on every issue, but when it comes to this nation's intelligent gathering and security, we agree more than we don't. >> david frum, what is your vote
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counting sense about how this is going toned up? >> i think it will prevail. i mean, i don't like this term of spying on the american people. but these programs do not spy. they do not elicit information about identifiable individuals, they don't look inside your phone call. what they do is they put together patterns. and -- you know, david, i have to jump in. i have to disagree. the notion that these programs are not -- >> i'll support my honorable friend for a moment. >> thanks. the notion that these programs don't gather intimate details about every single american is incorrect. records of every single person somebody has called, how long they spoke to them, you know, if the government knows that you've spoken to your priest every sunday, it tells them something about your life. the argument that this information isn't intimate has been rejected by a federal court just recently. >> but you know, what has been happening here, it's a series of algorithms. it's not the government, it's not some person spying on your relationship with your priest.
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what it is is a compilation of patterns. what the fbi director said about the rise of isis and its use of social media is extremely important. the united states is fortunate not to have had massive recruitment on american soil, but our european friends have seen thousands of their -- be recruited to the middle east. >> this has been a theoretical debate up until we've seen this federal appeals court ruling saying no, this program constitutionally goes too far. >> you know, what the federal court said is a game changer. and it's very key. it's a reminder. the courts said what the government is doing is illegal and they were doing it under a cloak of secrecy. >> we're going to have to wrap it there and take a break. neema, thank you very much for joining us tonight. coming up, one of chris christie's hometown newspapers says he's lost touch with reality.
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and michelle obama will take you on a tour of the white house gym and show you exercises that i certainly can't do and i think a lot of you are going to have trouble with, too. we all enter this world with a shout and we see no reason to stop. so cvs health is creating industry-leading programs and tools that help people stay on medicines as their doctors prescribed. it could help save tens of thousands of lives every year. and that would be something worth shouting about. cvs health, because health is everything. the technology changes the design evolves the engineering advances. but the passion to drive a mercedes-benz is something that is common... to every generation of enthusiast. the 2015 dream machines,
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it has a handshake that was unthinkable until it happened. for 12 seconds yesterday, prince charles shook hands with irish political leader gerry adams. adams is a leader of the sinn fein party. it means ourselves alone and advocates the british rule in northern island and reunification of the northern ireland. it has been the political wing of the irish republican army. one of the most famous i.r.a. acts in modern times was the murder of prince charles' great uncle and godfather in 1979. gerry adams first shook hands with the president of the united states 20 years ago, which helped advance peace negotiations in northern ireland.
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gerry adams has shaken hands with two more u.s. presidents since then. but yesterday was the first time gerry adams met a member of the british royal family. prince charles and gerry adams had a 15-minute private meeting and then mr. adams said this. >> we did discuss the need for the entire process to move forward, particularly in terms of people who have suffered, families who have been bereaved and the need to heal, to have relationships between the people of these islands. >> all right. here is how weird the world is. gerry adams was once banned from entering this country. couldn't get a visa. the last time i saw gerry adams was at a starbucks in the hamptons on a summer weekend. coming up, a new jersey newspaper editorial says that chris christie has really lost it.
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five years. one study estimated that nearly 50% of the city's workforce earns less than $15 an hour. los angeles is the third u.s. city to approve a $15 an hour minimum wage. seattle and san francisco's increases are already in effect and will reach $15 an hour in 2018. joining us now, economist jared bernstein, fellow at the center for budget and policy priorities and two members of the los angeles city council, paul krekorian and curran price. gentlemen, how hard a fight was this? when i see a vote of 14-1, it feels like all you were arguing over was how big an increase should it be. >> well, actually, though, we had months and months of debate and discussion. we had four studies, we had
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several community meetings, heard from hundreds of constituents and business owners. and our colleagues, of course, on the council. some very well discuss that issue, one that's critically important not only to los angeles, but we think nationally. income disparity, poverty is a gigantic issue in los angeles. and having an opportunity to raise the minimum wage of hard working men and women was very significant. you know, they -- the vast majority of those persons are individuals of color and women. so it's really lifting up those who are at the bottom. >> and so what do the studies tell you about what would happen to jobs? >> well, you know, one of the important things about the process that the council went through is to do it methodically, to do it thoughtfully. and the chairman said, we have these economic reports that show that around the edges there may be some adverse impacts on some jobs.
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that's why we're taking a go slow approach. >> you're raising it about $1.25 a year. >> about. but we get to $15 in five years for large employers. a year after that for smaller employers. that gives businesses enough time to be able to adjust so that you won't have significant job loss. they can change their business models. they can change pricing structures and so on. so we'll maximize the benefit for the working poor wile we're minimizing the adverse impact to businesses. >> look, the -- >> the job loss here is a little peculiar because what you probably have is job migration. isn't it more likely that -- to move the business over to glendale so the personal doesn't actually lose their job? >> so let me speak to that, if i might. >> okay, go ahead. >> you said something very important earlier in the discussion that 30 states -- 29 states and the district of columbia and something like 15 cities have adopted higher minimum wages.
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and in some cases equally high as the one we're talking about today as you mentioned in seattle and san francisco. so we don't really have to speculate all that much about some of these impacts, at least based on what we've seen so far. and what we've seen is precisely what the council members are telling you, that this is a policy that has its intended effects of raising the pay of some of our workers who really need those raises. it used to be the case you could say, well, these are kids from moderate income families. clearly, that's not the case any more. these are oftentimes adults, full time workers, people with families and we really haven't seen the kind of displacement where businesses move out of a particular district in order to avoid the minimum wage. in many cases because they need to be near their customers. >> right. >> and we think that history has shown that, in fact, higher wages means more productivity, means less turnover. and so there's some benefits to the employer, as well.
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>> ultimately, as you cycle through it all, more tax revenue to los angeles? >> lawrence, there's going to be $6 billion a year coming in to the pockets of los angeles workers and being spent in the regional economy. low wage workers don't take vacations to bermuda, they don't invest in the stock market, they don't squirrel their money away. >> they spent it and they spend it here. >> in local businesses, especially in small businesses in the area. so there will be a positive mitigating effect on the economy that will, i think, be at least as great as any potential job migration. >> didn't you also vote to actually peg this to inflation in the future? so you'll have even automatic increases. >> it kicks in in 2020, the cpi will kick in to regulate it on a predictable basis and, you know, the council still has the liberty of taking action to speed up, reduce or continue.
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>> so, jerry, go ahead. >> if i may, lawrence, if i may. what i really like about this example and this movement is that we're taking a national public policy problem, once that you and i have discussed on this show before which is not just this broad issue of income inequality, but the fact that so little of the economy's growth have reached people at the bottom. and through community activism and through a democratic process with members of the council that you have sitting with you tonight, you're actually seeing people do something about it, something real, something tangible, something that has a support across much of the nation. so i think this is endemic of a positive trend. >> and we hope it will be a trend, lawrence. that's the important thing. we're taking a risk here in los angeles, but we think it's a bold and -- bold move that we hope that the rest of the country will soon follow. >> and what economists love you for is you're using a really big laboratory. los angeles is the biggest laboratory to try this yet so it's going to generate a time of new scholarship and
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understanding about how this works. >> and, lawrence, it's just the right thing to do. this is the moral imperative of our time. for people to have to work two or three or four jobs to make ends meet, i have to decide whether they're going to buy groceries or get the car fixed, get shoes or get a prescription. they shouldn't have to make those -- >> you know, it's -- it's a democracy at work for the benefit of low income people. it's not something we see enough of these days. that's going to have to be the last word on it tonight. thank you all for joining me tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. up next, chris christie is in very big trouble with one of his new jersey newspapers and on dave's final night in the ed sullivan theater, a couple of people who helped get him there will join us.
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if you don't like it, you have thirty days to call and get your money back. with comcast business internet you literally can't mook a mistick. i meant to say that. switch today and get the no mistake guarantee. comcast business. built for business. the new jersey "star-ledger" ran a headline today, governor christie loses his marbles on national tv. here is that moment that the "star-ledger" was referring to. >> polls in new jersey right now say by a 65/29% margin the new jersey voters say you would not make a good president. now, they know you the best. why shouldn't we trust them? >> they want me to stay. a lot of those people in that 65% want me to stay. and i've heard that from lots of people at town hall meetings. don't leave to run for president because we want you to stay. >> but they say you would not make a good president. >> i think people hear the
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question they want to hear. >> the star-ledger's reaction is the man has lost touch with reality. the editorial board goes on to say governor christie needs to pour himself a drink and ask himself the tough question why don't people love me? it could be the rotten job market. or the high property taxes. or the crumbling transit system. or the broken promise on pensions. or the private jets.. or the bridgegate indictments and so on. it's no wonder that new jersey is screaming a warning to the rest of the country. god forbid he gets a chance to make an even bigger mess on a larger stage. back with us is david frum and jeremy peters. david frum, i don't think this stiff drink is going to help him at all in this analysis. i would recommend he do it sober. but i just can't think of a
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worse editorial, one you know, one of your home state newspapers could be giving you as you try to launch your presidential campaign. >> one of the things republicans are worry background as they review the 2016 map is can you carry your own state? and a lot of the northern republicans, we need northern people. we need that kind of -- we need to break out of the southern captivity of the gop. wisconsin is winnable for the republican party. new jersey probably isn't. and this just makes it worse. jeremy peters, the national polls show christie actually making that cut, that all-important top ten cut to be in the debate. we have one with bush 13, carson 13, rubio 9, paul 7, christie 6. he would get in there along with cruz and noncandidate donald trump and john kasich. so when he looks at that poll, does he think, well, i made the top ten cut and new jersey
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doesn't like me but i have a chance on the national stage still? >> i think that's one of the considerations, yes. but if i were him, i would look deeper into that poll that says 53% of new jersey would vote for hillary clinton over him beating him by something like 15%. i mean, this is his own state. and just as many people say they think he's distracted by the presidential campaign. so, you know, i think that he's waiting for a couple of things here. he wants to see if the bridgegate scandal dies down and he wants to see the end of the state's legislative session through. and then, i'm told, he will make a decision. >> the "star-ledger" editorial also says politicians like him live in a bubble surrounded by a picket fence. hard truths have a tough time penetrating. i think we all know that that is
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true pretty much of all politicians, especially when they get to this level. but david frum, does he have -- i don't see where he has some case that he really wants to bring to the american people. the way, for example, rand paul does. if you tell rand paul, if you could prove to rand paul tonight that he absolutely cannot win the presidency, he would still run because he wants to be out there making these arguments about the nsa and other serious policy arguments that he's trying to make. i don't see that with chris christie. >> rand paul has a mailing list to develop and a family business to maintain. they have been mailing that list since the late '80s and it's a valuable family asset. i'm not a big fan of the rand paul idealist theory. but what is going -- when you look at chris christie's difficulty, it is easy because it is such an outsized personality to think personally about what is happening to him. he's cut in a structural problem. he is the governor of the state of new jersey, which is a very troubled state to develop, to governor. therefore, they take the blame
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for everything that is going wrong at the same time and it's a democratic trending state. and so, yes, this flamboyant personality attracts a lot of attention. he is a symbol of republicans in suburban america and in the northeast. in that sense, he may be a victim of the story rather than the villain of the story. >> chris christie talked about foreign policy with megan kelly and so far in his career, foreign policy has been what's happening on the other end of the george washington bridge. let's listen to what he said about foreign policy. >> listen, foreign policy is something you can learn, just like anything else. you can't learn how to make decisions other than by making them. foreign policy you can learn. and i've been working real hard over the last nine, ten months to do it. and i think the speech that we gave today is a good indication that you can learn those things. jeremy peters, in a presidential candidate, how many people want to hear that thing
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that's wicked important, i can learn that? >> i think he's made a number of problematic statements on foreign policy that would leave voters to call into question just how prepared he is. let's not forget, he once told a crowd that world leaders would fear him. so, therefore, he would make a strong president. you know, they would know where he stood and he wasn't going to be like obama, as if his bravado was going to make up for his lack of knowledge on substantive foreign policy issues. so there is a big question mark hanging over him in that regard. >> david, does he have anything to lose in running for president? why not? new jersey doesn't like him. why not just go on the road and see how long of a ride he gets.? >> he has nothing to lose. his state has had something to lose because in the early part of his governship, the first term, he made a series of decisions that will that were taken with an eye to national audience, particularly the
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cancellation of a tunnel under the hudson river. from a new jersey point of view, something very necessary, at that time the federal government would have provided a lot of money for it. but from the point of view of the national republican party, one more example of wasteful spending. he went with his national am bigs and that's one of the problems you have as a state when you have a national figure leading your state government. >> david frum and jeremy peters, thanks for joining us tonight. >> thank you. >> thank you. up next, michelle obama moves into a whole other spot, the white house gym. when i'm shopping for a used car, i want to be comfortable. i don't want an aggressive salesperson
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so what do you think they call the white house gym? remember, it's a federal building. so the last thing they're going to call it is the gym. its official title is the white house athletic unit and first lady michelle obama is now taking us behind that closed door as part of her let's move campaign. >> you want to emphasize that you should only do exercises like these with a coach or a parent around to make sure you're using the right form.
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that's how you can both get active and stay safe. >> one of the things that we love to do when we're working out or we're warming up is to jump rope. when you're jumping rope, you don't want to come off the floor too high. it's not that much of an impact exercise if you only come up off the floor just enough to see the light. you want to make sure you keep your elbows tucked in. you don't want to use a whole arm swing. nice and easy turn of the wrist. it's very good for hand eye coordination and timing. one of the things we believe in is variety of spice. we're going to use the medicine ball and do several different antibiotic movements. so it's real important to add symmetrical strength. the in and out squat with the bench. that's explosive. we're using that movement to add explosiveness to the squads or to your legs. we will use the bench, go from a standing position, explode up and come back down into a squat, squatting again.
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we're not afraid to lift weights. this is an incline bench exercise which works the upper region of the pectorals. certainly if you're going to use heavy weights, you should have someone assisting you to make sure. but it's really important when you think about benching to make sure your wrist is right over your elbow and you're keeping it in line. you're coming down to 90 degrees. you don't want to overstretch when you're doing the bench. then you're pressing it right up above your chest. we really love to use boxing for conditioning, for hand and eye coordination, for transference of power, learning how to move from point a to point b and bring your power with you. and because it's fun. it's also great to then learn to incorporate kicks with it. so in this particular thing, we're going to do a jab cross and then a round house kick. >> don't forget, always drink up. >> don't mess with michelle.
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be a morning person again, with aleve pm. a lot of people think i'm retiring and i've been kind of telling a fib. i have been forced to leave the job because they gave $75,000 to the clinton foundation. i'm sorry. >> that was in dave's opening monologue last night. a few hours ago, he taped his final show, which will be broadcast later tonight. the show, apparently, went 17 minutes over, so fix your dvrs. seen entering the ed sullivan theater on broadway this evening for that final show were steve martin, chris rock, alec baldwin, jerry seinfeld, peyton manning, tina fey and louise driphus. cbs has released video of dave's final entrance. ♪ ♪
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♪ thank you. thank you so much. hey, hey! thank you very much. >> joining us now, a couple of friends of dave's, steve o'donnell, who was david letterman's head writer for ten years is in new york and jeff martin, former writer for "late night with david letterman" is here with me in los angeles.
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steve, i'm going to do something i've never done before. i have to begin by saying steve o'donnell and i have not related. that's something i've never said before because we were in college today and the two great o'donnell brothers were dave .mark. they would instantly say no, we're not related to that other o'donnell guy and i would always try to bask in the glory of the talented o'donnell. >> shame on you, lawrence. it's understandable. >> larry, i remember you as being one of the finest collegiate baseball players on the eastern seaboard. >> you know, we don't have time for that tonight, i'm sorry to say. steve, this has got to feel special. this is a big transition for an awful lot of people. >> it is momentous to highfalutin for an entertainment show, but it feels bittersweet and momentous. >> jeff, we've been looking at a bunch of claims from the show this week. i want to show something that you were in. this is one of the things where
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the writers end up as performers in the show. this is a classic example of that. let's take a look at that. >> we have that guy who was here earlier, the actor standing by back there? hi. come on out. you're an actor are you, sir? >> actually, i'm an actor/singer. >> that will be fine. take this letter, crumbel it up and toss it away. >> okay. >> good luck. we'll see what happens. i have an actor/singer here to take care of this for us. >> actor/singer. >> the actor singer is dead! it happened again! >> oh, no. >> we've killed two actor singers! that's like killing four people. >> four people, yeah. >> oh, it is hard to have more fun than that at work. >> it was truly fun. it was. and we -- we tried to get this, the real circus going with larry bud melman and the monkey cam and throwing stuff off buildings.
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but i think the thing that made it all work was that guy, the ring master of the circus was kind of bemused and detached and not so zany, wasn't he? >> al franken wrote a loving piece the other day and he reminded me of something i remember hearing at the time was zahny carson literally owns the show and there were certain rules when the show began following johnny and those rules limited how much you could do in a monologue, didn't it? >> they were the best rules we could have gotten and they really helped the show form itself and identify itself. we couldn't have a big orchestra so we had a tight little paul shaffer band. we couldn't do a long monologue, so we did what we called opening remarks. and that turned out to be good for the show. it seemed tighter, smaller, less cumbersome, odor, you know, newer.
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for the time, it just seemed later on its feet. also, speaking of band leaders, you picked a great clip with paul shaffer and the actor/singer because it demonstrated how much paul shaffer played in the comedy of the show because he could do the spit takes, the panic that you could not get dave to do, that dave would provide plenty of other things. but it was a great -- it was a great recipe for a lot of different bits to have paul there. >> i just want to keep showing the genius that you guys came up with. and, steve, you wrote a great piece for the "new york times" with your top ten bits from the show. and we're going to show some of those, including what we are about to show, which is, of course, the great larry bud melman and here he is welcoming people to new york city at the port authority bus station. >> welcome to new york. sometimes called fun city. how was your trip?
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and where are you from? >> from virginia. >> oh, do you have any questions about new york? [ indiscernible ]. >> well, it isn't easy, that's for sure. did you have a snack on the way? >> steve, dave wasn't an easy laugh, was he? i mean, for him to be literally spun around in his chair by a bit, it really had to crack him up. >> it -- well, he was very particular. he has a very sharp and he's very skeptical, but i think he is kind of a good laugh. if there's a funny combination of words or a good joke, he's a good laugher. he certainly was amused by melman who was one in a billion character. i mean, a very -- quite a singular individual, someone who had -- who in his 60s becomes a tv star and -- but couldn't use a bic lighter or step up on a step stool without getting
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dizzy. >> real name, calvin deforest. >> calverse. and actually had some famous actors in his linage of the name of calverse and deforest. >> hold the gold for the next segment. we're going to take a little break and be right back with more of backstage with david letterman. it's part adrenaline and part adventure. it's part geek and part chic. it's part relaxation and part exhilaration. it's part sports car and part suv. and the best part? the 2015 gla. it's 100% mercedes-benz.
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my first car, i went to the dmv and got a late night vanity plate. that is my little brother wearing jams. he still wears them, by the way. i had late night with david letterman viewing parties. my friends who also loved the show would come over at midnight, my parents would be asleep and we would drink sodas and watch late night.
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not only did i learn everything from dave. the reason i have this show is -- is because -- is because the executives at abc saw me when i was a guest on dave's show and hired me to host this show. so i want to thank dave and his writers. check out escape and find out why ford is the brand more people buy and buy again. wow! that's a four-cylinder? i thought it was a six. i definitely feel the ecoboost in the ford escape. that's like a sports car. i just opened my trunk with my foot. i prefer, without a doubt, the escape over the cr-v. take the ecoboost challenge at your ford dealer. and for a limited-time get an escape with zero percent financing for sixty months plus seven-fifty cash if you own a ford or qualifying competitive vehicle. ♪ every auto insurance policy has a number. but not every insurance company understands the life behind it. ♪ those who have served our nation have earned the very best service in return. ♪
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>> that was dave from a couple of days ago. we're back with steve o'donnell and jeff martin, former writers for the david letterman show. steve, you isolated one of the things i saw it in your "new york times" piece, it was the moment where johnny carson appeared on dave's show. and we've seen in the last week everybody in the late night business singing dave's praises and johnny was the one that dave idolized. let's watch that moment when johnny appeared. >> this is not the list. johnny, could i have the top ten list? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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>> this is a truly amazing moment, steve, because they never stopped clapping. they just never stopped. it looks pretty obvious that johnny had something to say. he was ready to say something. >> it's somehow more wonderful that he doesn't have to say a word, that he comes in, he basks and he exits. >> and he gave up. he just -- he couldn't get that crowd to listen to him. and so he just thought this is enough of this. jeff plaid martin, are we ever going to see this moment with david letterman walking on anyone else's show? >> what -- no, i don't -- maybe. he's hinted at it. what hits me watching these guys is how different they were where carson was the epitome of what you thought a talk show host had to be, smooth and upbeat and very, very positive feelings about show business. and what was so new about letterman was he could be cranky, awkward, and maybe above
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all he seemed to look at show business and hold it at arm's-length, like isn't this a little ridiculous? >> steve, there was always this -- this kind of apparent lack of polish with dave, but it seemed, at the same time, intentional. he wasn't trying to hide it. >> yes. a lack of polish to let the stage hands be seen, let the mistakes happen, let the prop fall apart. as -- and we also had not very high quality guests. in the first year or two, there would away lady with a dressed up parrot and so on. but as the time went by and we started booking people, i remember the dizzy night when cher first came on or when bob dillon or lib rochestery were on the show a few years in and you go, all right, things are changing now. dave used to joke, welcome to other extravaganza, but actually over the years it did become an extravaganza.
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>> finally, the last word has been delivered on this show by a talented o'donnell. steve o'donnell and jeff martin, thank you both for joining us tonight. we appreciate it. >> thank you. we caught up finally. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. and this is the treachery, of course. this is the lie that sold the war. this is the bugle calling charge. this was the mushroom cloud, the warning of armageddon. it's when dick cheney told us the american people that saddam hussein possessed nuclear weapons. that was the claim which for many thinking people tipped the balance. it was the smoking gun that got us into war. >> we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons.

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