MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell: Levi Johnston Did 'Better Job' in Interview Than Sarah Palin

Lawrence O'Donnell and Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC Appearing on Thursday's 'Andrea Mitchell Reports' on MSNBC, 'The Last Word' host Lawrence O'Donnell touted his Tuesday interview with Levi Johnston: "I love that kid. He's honest, he's straightforward, he's not embarrassed." The questions O'Donnell put to Johnston were identical to the ones CBS Evening anchor Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin in a 2008 interview.

Introducing O'Donnell, host Andrea Mitchell played a video mash-up that placed his interview with Johnston alongside Couric's interview with Palin. O'Donnell remarked to Mitchell: "I re-scored his answers last night when I stacked them up against Sarah Palin's and I think he really actually did do a better job than Sarah Palin, question by question, answer by answer."

The video showed O'Donnell ask Johnston about the teaching of evolution in schools, Johnston provided this brilliant response: "You're kind of getting over my head on these things here. Yeah, I don't really know how to answer that question."

Filling-in for Keith Olbermann on the November 13, 2009 Countdown, O'Donnell gave this nasty review of Palin's first book, 'Going Rogue': "Sarah's index and footnote-free, score-settling campaign memoir. No mind-numbing charts or graphs, no big words, no scholarly Latin phrases, like caveat emptor. And I bet the pictures are, like, amazing."

Here is a full transcript of O'Donnell's September 30 exchange with Mitchell:
1:38PM ET

ANDREA MITCHELL: Lawrence O'Donnell hosts the newest program right here on MSNBC, 'The Last Word,' and he has already had some pretty provocative interviews, including one earlier this week with a candidate for mayor of Wasilla named Levi Johnston. The questions, well let's just say Lawrence has learned that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: "The Last Word" Mashup W/ Levi Johnston & Sarah Palin]

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: What's your position on global warming? Do you believe it's manmade or not?

KATIE COURIC: Do you believe it's manmade or not?

SARAH PALIN: You know, there are man's activities that can be contributed to the issues that we're dealing with now with the impacts.

LEVI JOHNSTON: No, I don't.

O'DONNELL: You don't believe it's manmade? Or you do believe it's manmade?

JOHNSTON: I don't believe it's manmade.

COURIC: Do you believe evolution should be taught as an accepted scientific principle or one of several theories?

PALIN: Oh, I think it should be taught as an accepted principle.

O'DONNELL: Do you believe evolution should be taught as an accepted scientific principle or one of several theories?

JOHNSTON: You're kind of getting over my head on these things here. Yeah, I don't really know how to answer that question.

MITCHELL: Lawrence O'Donnell joins me now. Lawrence, great to see you, congratulations on the new show. I have a question for you, do you believe evolution should be taught as an accepted principle or one of several theories?

O'DONNELL: This is what I was afraid of. You're going over my head on this stuff, Andrea.

MITCHELL: You don't watch television, do you?

O'DONNELL: I love that kid. He's honest, he's straightforward, he's not embarrassed. And look, I re-scored his answers last night when I stacked them up against Sarah Palin's and I think he really actually did do a better job than Sarah Palin, question by question, answer by answer. 
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC