Morning Joe | March 13, 2013
>>> all right. 44 past of the hour. here with us now is cofounder of purple nation solutions crisis manager lanny davis . he is out now with a knew book "crisis tales five rules for coping for crises and business politics and life."
>> and life.
>> the most important part of it there. let's find out about that.
>> let's do that but continue the conversation we have had. we used to in the '90s would butt heads all the time. some really, really tough angry debates.
>> but we have grown wiser.
>> we have but also even off the air, it was never personal.
>> and we are talking about how things have changed so much that actually personally. i think all of us have great interactions with people, but whether it's twitter or whether it's, you know, e-mails, whatever it is, blogosphere.
>> i start with my first rule which answers what is happening in politics in my book and paul ryan and chris van hollen should start there and start with facts. let's agree on facts and do our political philosophy and differences. if you start with name calling which happens in the internet you'll never get to home plate either in a crisis or a political stalemate.
>> you get the facts out first of all. what is the next thing?
>> after that you have to have messages that people understand. i think the obama white house often failed on simplifying things down, for example, i'm strongly support the health care legislation. they lost that debate early on because the republicans define it, you just heard paul ryan , a government takeover. this is an entirely private insurance system on a competitive exchange. that is a conservative idea which he embraved. no government takeover here other than requiring preexisting conditions and certain requirements. barack obama didn't even support the public option which most liberals like me did support.
>> so they lost the debate because they lost and didn't command the heights of the message that this is a i think that is an example of poor, simple messages.
>> so what was the secret of bill clinton 's success in crisis management ? this was a guy, it was famously dismissed when he was president. we heard a lot of people on sunday shows predicting he would be gone by the end of the week. and he kept his head down and he survived some scandals. how did he do it?
>> it took a long time because this was a subject humiliating and painful to admit in public, his private behavior. but --
>> by the way, i'm asking this question because you were there. it plays a big role in crisis management for you. i'm not gratuitously bringing this pup. take your experience.
>> i started my book out that life changed starting with president clinton . he suffered greatly and ultimately had to convince the american people he was sorry. once he did that, america is very forgiving if they think it's authentic and they think people have been put through enough to justify their forgiveness.
>> let's get to some of your rules because in the last one is so interesting to me. especially given what you just said. get ahead of the story. fight for the truth using the law, media and politics and never represent yourself in a crisis?
>> you're looking at a victim of reading a story about somebody who is an awful person and represents the wrong clients and it seemed very one-sided and distorted. i thought to myself this is in "the new york times." that person needs a good crisis manager. i realized, wait a minute, that's me. i tried to organize and manage my own crisis at the end of the year between christmas and new year's with my family surrounding me. i did a terrible job. didn't get the facts out. i violated every rule i tell clients not to violate and i told the story of learning all of the wrong lessons by violating these rules and i thought it would be telling for me to tell that story.
>> do you ever have a crisis to manage that you could not manage?
>> no. honestly, there are certain individuals i would never represent because they are un -- incapable of. i represented penn state university , represented the trustees tell the story why they removed joe paterno , but i would never represent jerry sandusky , an evil predator. if somebody does something terrible, i have represented people who are ready to own up and take responsibility and fix the problem and do it quickly. the key part of the book is tell it all, tell it early and tell it yourself.
>> you have a client, tremendous issues surrounding that client. and human nature is such that a lot of people want to delay, delay, delay, deny, deny, deny, deny. how do you deal with the human nature aspect of crisis management ?
>> it's a problem and a great question, michael, because everybody in crisis has the wrong instinct is to hold the information back. it takes people like me to stand up to the lawyers who are usually saying, deny, deny, deny. we will win it in court. and i say you're going to have a ruined reputation if you listen to your lawyers. so it's a battle between lawyers and people who want to tell the truth quickly lawyers. so it's a battle between lawyers and people who want to tell the truth quickly and get it over. but the instinct is deny, richard nixon , going forward.
>> first of all, good to see you. my first assignment as a professional was something lanny davis asked me, as a mentor and a friend. lance armstrong , how would you advise them?
>> full disclosure, i did talk to his lawyers and i thought he did a good job on oprah beginning, but he didn't finish. and finish is all the facts. do a geraldine ferrara, everything. and then make it a teaching moment. he knows everything about doping. nobody is more of an expert about doping than he -- he should be a teacher and get rid of this and clean it out and he could be a leader in that movement. he's never going to be able to be over it. he's always going to be charged with it, but he could do --
>> but he's still trying to play it. he didn't apologize to the people whose lives he tried to destroy for killing the truth. when oprah asked why people should forgive him, he said, because i deserve it. i mean, wrong, wrong, wrong.
>> he started it with oprah . i don't think he finished it. i wish he had. i still think he can finish it. he can still turn something bad into good if he teaches and clean this thing up. seth davis is writing the book too. some day he'll be on " morning joe ".
>> we can't wait.
>> the book is "crisis tales: five rules for dealing with crisis in business, politics, and life." you can read an excerpt on our website, mojo.msnbc.com.
>> thanks, lenny.
>>> still ahead, mayor michael bloomberg will join us here on set. got a lot of questions for him. a couple other mayors coming along as well.
>> ron's going to be here, ari's brother.
>> we'll be right back. everyone's