Is Lawrence O’Donnell trying his hardest to fill a void left by the departure of Keith Olbermann? Aside from having an actual Republican member of Congress on his show — something Olbermann rarely did — one might make that conclusion after an appearance from Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.
On his Wednesday night show, O’Donnell had a contentious, sometimes angry back-and-forth with King. After a Fox News segment from Monday night’s “Hannity” featuring a Frank Luntz focus group in which participants questioned President Barack Obama’s religion and nationality made the rounds on MSNBC, O’Donnell took it out on his guest.
O’DONNELL: Congressman, where did Barack Obama grow up?
KING: Well, by his own reports, he spent a lot of his early formative years in Indonesia.
O’DONNELL: How many?
KING: And —
O’DONNELL: Congressman, how many years did he live in Indonesia?
KING: I’m going to guess it was five or six — perhaps five or six years in Indonesia, perhaps longer. Pardon me?
O’DONNELL: Then where did he live?
KING: Then he moved to Hawaii, which is America, which is going to be your next point.
O’DONNELL: OK. So, my question to you is: you know more than your constituent about a lot of things, and awful lots of things, and you know more than constituents about Barack Obama. Why didn’t you say he grew up in Hawaii?
KING: Well —
O’DONNELL: Why couldn’t you bring yourself to say that in Iowa?
KING: It would have been a contradiction of the facts. I mean, really, very formative years, from age about 5 to 9 or 10.
O’DONNELL: He grew up in Hawaii, Congressman. Are you denying that he grew up in Hawaii?
KING: It certainly was. It certainly was. I don’t think there’s any question, part of his upbringing was in Hawaii.