MSNBC Team Mock, Laugh at McCain Victory Speech

During Tuesday's live coverage of the New Hampshire primary, after Republican winner John McCain delivered his victory speech, MSNBC's election night team derided and laughed at the speech, with MSNBC's right-leaning analyst Joe Scarborough leading the charge. As the Arizona Senator's speech ended and anchor Keith Olbermann started to summarize it, Scarborough laughed, "That speech, oh, my God," prompting Olbermann to jokingly chide him: "Calm down. He's still on the stage. ... You can't boo a candidate while he's still on the stage the night he won, Joe." (Transcript follows)

Scarborough started to discuss the speech, commenting that "one thing I can teach, we were all talking about it over here, it is absolutely remarkable-" before Olbermann interrupted: "Don't read the speech?"

Scarborough agreed, and took McCain to task for looking down too much: "Yes, please. If this is your introduction to America in 2008, do not have your head looking straight down into a speech..."

Newsweek's Howard Fineman joked that "it looked like every advisor that he'd ever had had given him one paragraph," inspiring more laughter from Scarborough, and the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson quipped that McCain had "dropped them on his way to the podium, and then resorted them in random order." Robinson added that "it was not a good performance."

Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of the liberal Nation magazine, contended that the speech "deflated his victory. That's not going to move him forward heading out."

Scarborough started to turn toward a more serious analysis of the speech as he asked Robinson, "But seriously, though, talk about John McCain's speech tonight." But any positive analysis of McCain's words was not pursued as Robinson merely responded that "we've kind of covered the speech...it was a chance to do what Mitt Romney did a few minutes ago," before moving on to give praise to Romney's concession speech.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday January 8 MSNBC coverage of the New Hampshire primary, from around 9:25 p.m.:

KEITH OLBERMANN, right after McCain's speech ended: Just 301 days until the presidential election. And John McCain-

JOE SCARBOROUGH: 299.

OLBERMANN: 301.

SCARBOROUGH: I think it's 299 now.

OLBERMANN: Hush over there, Scarborough. Scarborough says it's 299.

SCARBOROUGH, laughing: That speech, oh, my God.

OLBERMANN: All right. Calm down. He's still on the stage. You're going to be, you can't, you can't, you can't boo a candidate while he's still on the stage the night he won, Joe. Do I have to teach you everything about politics, all of a sudden?

SCARBOROUGH: Thank you, Keith. Thank you. I'll tell you, one thing I can teach, we were all talking about it over here, it is absolutely remarkable.

OLBERMANN: Don't read the speech?

SCARBOROUGH: That at this moment -- yes, please. If this is your introduction to America in 2008, do not have your head looking straight down into a speech that, Howard Fineman, you said, what did it look like?

HOWARD FINEMAN, Newsweek: Well, it looked like every advisor that he'd ever had had given him one paragraph.

[Scarborough laughs] 

OLBERMANN: One sentence.

FINEMAN: One sentence. And he read them all. That's like-

EUGENE ROBINSON, Washington Post: But he dropped them on his way to the podium, and then resorted them in random order.

FINEMAN: You know what, I feel, having seen him yesterday up there, you know, he deserves it. If he wants to talk all night, let him do it, because this is his big, big, big moment.

SCARBOROUGH: And Gene, you were saying, though, I mean, after the third time he misread a line.

ROBINSON: Yeah, he should have just said whatever at that point and just move on, I think. It was not a good performance.

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, The Nation: It deflated his victory. That's not going to move him forward heading out-

FINEMAN: To be serious about it for a second, these speeches here are an important time for the candidates to set the tone and introduce themselves, or reintroduce themselves, in his case, around the country.

SCARBOROUGH: Do you remember how in 2004, we had a back and forth about John Kerry's speech, and we both talked about, there are times when politicians introduce themselves to America. And when you get that introduction, and this is John McCain part two, when you get that introduction, you better get it right because that's-

VANDEN HEUVEL: Think about Obama, 2004. Think about Obama, Iowa night. Now, he read that speech. He was the only one of the three leading candidates, but he did it with a grace and a passion, which you did not see with Mr. McCain tonight.

FINEMAN: In the opposite way, I hate to bring it up again, but don't forget Howard Dean in 2004.

VANDEN HEUVEL: That mike was in the unidirectional way. Can we remember that? And Mr. Dean is doing a terrific job, 50-state strategy at the DNC.

SCARBOROUGH: Gene, we don't want to talk about Howard Dean. But seriously, though, talk about John McCain's speech tonight.

ROBINSON: No, well, we've kind of covered the speech. I mean, it was a chance to do what Mitt Romney did a few minutes ago.

The panel went on to praise Romney's speech.