Politics

MSNBC’s O’Donnell lectures Herman Cain on fighting for civil rights, service in military

Photo of Jeff Poor
Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

White MSNBC commentator and admitted socialist Lawrence O’Donnell doesn’t think Herman Cain did enough to enhance civil rights and support the Vietnam War.

On “The Last Word” Thursday night, an “offended” O’Donnell accused GOP frontrunner Herman Cain of shirking his duty on both counts.

Quoting from Cain’s book, O’Donnell read, “The civil rights movement was a few years in front of me. I was too young to participate when they first started the freedom rides and the sit-ins. So on a day-to-day basis, it didn’t have an impact. I just kept going to school, doing what I was supposed to do, and stayed out of trouble. I didn’t go downtown and try to participate in sit-ins. Counter to our real feelings we decided to avoid trouble by moving to the back of the bus when the driver told us to. Dad always said, ‘stay out of trouble,’ and we did.”

“Where,” an accusatory O’Donnell asked, “do you think black people would be sitting on the bus today if Rosa Parks had followed your father’s advice?”

Cain explained he was too young to participate, but said had he been in Rosa Parks’ situation, he would have handled himself differently. Also, Cain blasted O’Donnell for taking his book out of context.

Later in the broadcast, O’Donnell took his prosecutorial tone to Cain over his service in the Vietnam War. Cain told O’Donnell he served his country as a civilian, and even offered himself up for the draft. However, the U.S. Navy had told him they would have preferred him in the civilian role, he explained.

That, it seems, wasn’t good enough for O’Donnell.

“I am offended on behalf of all the veterans of the Vietnam War who joined, Mr. Cain,” O’Donnell said. “The veterans who did not wait to be drafted like John Kerry, who joined — they didn’t sit there and wait to find out what their draft board was going to do. They had the courage to join and to go and fight that war. What prevented you from joining, and what gives you the feeling that, after having made that choice, you should be the commander in chief?”

Cain left it at “a difference of opinion,” and asked O’Donnell if they could discuss other issues.

Watch:

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