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O’Donnell Peppers Steele; ‘PS’ — I Don’t Love You

Tuesday night’s cable news viewing….

Lawrence O’Donnell just conducted a very tough, probably newsmaking interview with Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, who — in the one “Gotcha” moment — clearly had no idea what the minimum wage is. (For what it’s worth, my guess was pretty close to the actual number: $7.25 an hour.)

From there, though, O’Donnell — host of MSNBC’s “The Last Word” — had a substantive exchange with Steele, allowing the GOP official to provide complete answers without interrupting him. He then closed by asking about Delaware senate candidate Christine O’Donnell’s claims about having access to classified information about a U.S. takeover by China.

Steele called O’Donnell “a fantastic candidate” after a long laugh, and said the other O’Donnell is “a funny man.” At that moment, probably not as funny as Steele was being.

If a legitimate knock on Keith Olbermann is that he essentially brings on only those commentators and political figures who will echo his views — you can have a difference of opinion without it becoming a food fight — O’Donnell has exhibited a willingness to hear from those he ideologically opposes, albeit in a (mostly) respectful manner.

Elsewhere, I figured I’d give night two of “Parker Spitzer” a second chance, and hated myself for watching it all over again.

The CNN show stuck with every part of its format on premiere night, including its fatuous “Political Party” roundtable at the end of the show. But what really stood out Tuesday was what a non-factor Kathleen Parker was, seeming to disappear during interviews with Tea Party leader Dick Armey and director Oliver Stone. Even historian Doris Kearns Goodwin couldn’t save the hour, though God knows she tried.

Assuming the show is the disaster I think it is, the real question is how the new CNN management responds. They can’t pull a weekday 8 p.m. show after two nights, but trying to fix this turkey on the fly is going to be an enormous challenge.

If nothing else, “Parker Spitzer” makes the decision to oust former CNN Prez Jon Klein look even more justified — and like it was predicated on early run-throughs of the program, which was something CNN clearly wanted to avoid with the timing of its announcement.

The “PS” here could stand for a lot of things, probably, but “I love you” sure isn’t part of it.

 

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