msnbc | December 10, 2011
>>> it is time for " office politics ." this week i sat down with lawrence o'donnell and he gave me his take on the republican field and told me about a project close to his heart. take a listen.
>> newt gingrich surge, how do you account for this and can it sustain itself?
>> mitt romney is the most hated candidate in the history of the republican party . that's what it's all about. the whole campaign has been anybody but romney , anybody but romney . so, we went through all these phases. now we have someone else who's really not romney , who really is the first legitimate front-runner to get ahead of romney because he has the capacity to stay ahead of romney .
>> so, you think this is a surge that can sustain itself?
>> this is it. this is the race. the race is now gingrich versus romney . and all the strength is on gingrich 's side as of right now.
>> look, you were a high-ranking official with the senate finance committee and this was during the gingrich running of the opposite chamber chair. how is newt different today than he was then, or is he?
>> i don't think he's any different at all. he's always been a shoot from the hip guy. he's always been saying things that he has to modify or retract. and then he sort of backfills on those things. most of the things that he quips about that way are come from a kind of right wing theology about how the world should work.
>> which adds to -- when i've been interviewing democrats, they have been almost giddy, lawrence , at the prospect of opposing newt gingrich .
>> oh, yeah.
>> do you think democrats risk underestimating him?
>> no. i mean, look, it's a very small game anyway. the republican nominee is going to get, you know, at least 45, 47 or 48% of the vote in worst case scenario . the president is only going to be fighting over a flexible 5% or 6% of the vote. that's what the entire campaign is about. he'll end up with maximum 52% of the vote and probably something down in the just above 50% range. so, you know, it's a very small group that's being argued over here. you know, gingrich will be, i think, a weaker candidate than romney just because romney , i think so to that little 5% or 6% of the electorate, would sound like a more reasonable person. and he would seem unthreatening to them.
>> so given your projections 11 months out that this would be a president obama victory by 52% but as little as just barely over --
>> he'll be lucky if he wins and i think he'll win by one of those tiny margins. you know, he'll get 50.1% of the vote --
>> which means you can conception you'llize a president newt gingrich .
>> oh, sure.
>> i want to get to a program near and dear to your heart. it's evidenced by this desk in the studio. kids in need of desks in africa, ma la we. what was the inception of this?
>> it was accidental. a friend of mine in massachusetts, meg campbell told me she had been to africa, she was in malawi , visiting her niece who was a doctor there and she went to schools and asked what they needed. they all said the same thing. they said chairs. i said, chairs? she said, yeah. they don't have any desks or chairs. so, the kids all sit on the floor and the teachers don't have desks or chairs so they stand all day for seven hours. she described the situation to me. so i had some time and i decided to just go to malawi , literally to the schools meg visited and see what i could do. i found a guy with a very small operation who had one of these desks as an example of what he could make if someone could come along and finance desks for malawi schools. so i just said to him, could you make 30 of those for me? this was a wednesday afternoon. i'm going to have to leave saturday morning. can you make 30 of those for me so that i can deliver them to a school and fill up one classroom on friday morning? and he said, oh, yeah, sure, i can do that. i said, how are you going to do it? he said i'm just going to hire extra guys off the street and we'll do 24-hour shifts. and a job in malawi is more precious and more rare than, you know, anything you could imagine. so, it was very easy for him to get enough workers to come in temporarily to just work around the clock and deliver those 30 desks to that very first classroom in mal a. malawi . that was just with cash out of my pocket.
>> what happened when lawrence took his campaign widely? i'll bring you more information. if you would like to contribute to kids in need of desks you may logauto to lastworddesks.msnbc.com and you can catch "last word with lawrence o'donnell" right