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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Friday, August 12, 2011

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Guest Host: Chris Hayes
Guests: Dave Weigel, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Kathie Obradovich, Irin Carmon


CHRIS HAYES, GUEST HOST: GOP is still discussing Barack, deficits,
submission, and marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not doing it out of paranoia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bunch of politicians eating fried Twinkies.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: It`s like one of these Reverend Sun Myung
Moon weddings were everybody gets married at the same time.

HAYES (voice-over): Republican presidential candidates spend the day
spinning away their night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to out-right wing each other.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pawlenty did well enough to survive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iowa appears to be just not that into him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tim Pawlenty offered to mow Romney`s lawn.

TIM PAWLENTY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will come to your house
and cook you dinner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jon Huntsman did not stand out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain were just awful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would just say all of them are getting more
attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to give it to Newt Gingrich.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mickey Mouse.

HAYES: Especially Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mittness protection program.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Corporations are people.
Human beings, my friend.

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: They`re like members of your family, your
brother fax machine, your Uncle Ben.

ROMNEY: Corporations are people.

HAYES: FOX explains submission.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Lord said be submissive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is so (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Be submissive to your husbands. As president,
would you be submissive?

GINGRICH: Gotcha questions.

TIM PAWLENTY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Please, stop, because
you`re killing us.

HAYES: S&P explains the downgrade.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We just heard
from Standard & Poor`s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michele Bachmann`s first answer.

BACHMANN: We should not have raised the debt ceiling.

I led against increasing the debt ceiling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said that and got applause.

BACHMANN: They dropped our credit rating.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She said that and got applause.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bachmann has a loose relationship with the facts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She is a joke. And her candidacy is a joke.

HAYES: And we`re explaining that light bulb answer.

BACHMANN: I introduced the light bulb freedom of choice act so people
could purchase the light bulb of their choice.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: I don`t think I`m --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Hey, there are 700 journalists around. How
come? Look at me.

PALIN: Still have potential. Still thinking about it.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes, in for Lawrence
O`Donnell.

We are one day away from the Ames straw poll and what is the first
real weekend of 2012 presidential campaign. Well, kind of real. When it
comes to the Ames straw poll`s influence on the presidential campaign,
certain things are real and certain things are not.

The carnival atmosphere that surrounds the Iowa state fair with its
fried buttered delicacies and folksy pressing of the flesh bears the same
resemblance to our actual presidential politics as the New York, New York
Hotel in Las Vegas does to the actual New York City.

First, let`s talk about what is not real about the straw poll. For
the majority of declared candidates who come to Iowa, the Ames straw poll
is like playing dress-up. It`s probably close as they might get to
actually experiencing a presidential election day. That category includes
Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and the one and only Thaddeus
McCotter.

Others like frontrunner Mitt Romney and soon to declare Rick Perry
have chosen to essentially bypass the Iowa straw poll. A weak showing
tomorrow will not be devastating to their candidacies.

That leaves Bachmann and Pawlenty who, along with Perry, are vying to
become the more conservative alternative to frontrunner Mitt Romney. Of
those two, tomorrow`s poll means the most to Tim Pawlenty -- because unlike
Michele Bachmann, Pawlenty has struggled in polls and fundraising. He
acknowledged the straw poll`s importance this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY: So, I think it will be a good result, with that in mind.
But, you know, the thing went the other way hard, what do we have to
retrench in some fashion? Probably. But I don`t think that`s going to
happen.

I`m confident we`re going to do well tomorrow. And, you know, if we
do really bad, then, you know, we might have to reassess. But I don`t
think that`s going to be the case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Retrench in some fashion.

To team Pawlenty, tomorrow`s vote is therefore very real. A poor
finish could force him to second guess his candidacy. And yet while there
is significant downside, there`s not a ton of upside. Even a strong finish
will say little about his chances for actually winning the nomination.

The Republican nominee for president in 2008 placed 10th in the Ames
straw poll.

And speaking of John McCain and what`s real and not real, Sarah Palin
-- a woman who somehow transcends that distinction altogether. She made an
appearance at the Iowa state fair today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Are you a potential candidate?

PALIN: Still a potential. Still thinking about it, still a
potential.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: If she`s not a real candidate, who she eventually endorses
will be a real factor in this election. "The Daily Caller" asked Palin if
she`s concerned Mitt Romney is the frontrunner. Her response: "No, nothing
worries me at this point, could I support somebody like Mitt Romney? Yes."

Joining me now from Iowa, Democrat from Florida, Congresswoman Debbie
Wasserman Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee.

Thank you for joining me, Congresswoman.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: I want to play this clip from the debate last night which is
getting a fair amount of play today and get your reaction to it. It`s a
question about a hypothetical revenue to cutting deal and a question about
whether the Republicans there would take it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just making sure everyone at home and everyone
here knows that they all raised their hands, they are all saying that they
feel so strongly about not raising taxes, that a 10-to-1 deal, they would
walk away from. Confirming that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Congresswoman, what does that say to you? Were you surprised
by that moment?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Given the debt ceiling debate that we just went
through in congress and the absolute rigidity and intransigence of the
Republican House members -- no, not really.

But -- I mean, to even suggest that 10-to-1 cuts to revenue, they
would still reject, you know, it surprised even me. It just shows how out
of touch they are with the American people, how out of touch they are with
the middle class and working families, and our need to come together and
make sure that we can reduce the deficit and work together on continuing to
get this economy turned around.

It was -- it was shockingly out of touch.

HAYES: Did you think last night`s Republican debate was good for the
Democratic Party? Was it good for the Republican Party? Was it neither?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I don`t think it was very good for the American
people, because if you were an average voter looking at that debate and
trying to see, you know, if -- is there an alternative out there for me or
is there someone who might be worthy of my support, you know, what you saw
in that Republican debate is each of the candidates trying to out-right
wing each other.

Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty acting, what I thought, was pretty
childish, sniping at each other like my kids do when they are deliberately
trying to get on each other`s nerves.

There were really no serious solutions, nothing anyone could sink
their teeth into in terms of policy that would say, yes, that`s the
direction that America needs to go. That`s why I think Americans will
continue to embrace Barack Obama.

HAYES: I want to ask you about the dynamic that`s on display in the
Republican primary, in the Republican Party, and the display of the 10-to-1
moment hand raising, which is -- it seems if you`re making a calculation as
a Republican candidate, the thing you have to worry about is getting as far
to the right as possible, right? That`s clearly the game here. No one`s
worried about, you know, looking insufficiently moderate.

And I wonder if that is -- does that create problems for the
governance of the country? Is it the case that the primary competition
happening at this moment is producing political incentives that make it
impossible for anyone prominent in the Republican Party to actually agree
with anything Barack Obama ever says?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Well, Chris, we`re there already. I mean, if you
just look at what`s happened since the Tea Party took over the Republican
Party and has strangled their leadership for the last eight months, I mean
that`s why we are in the situation we are in and we were not able to get
the Republicans to come to the table.

Finally, we wrestled them to the table basically and agreed on a debt
ceiling deal that at least ensured that the balance that exists cut defense
and we didn`t have to pile all the pain on middle class and working
families. But to get the long-term deal that we need, we`re going to need
to make sure that we have folks committed to striking that balance,
agreeing with the overwhelming majority of the American people who believe
that there should be a balance between revenue and cuts, and we should be
asking the most fortunate Americans and the wealthiest among us to pay
their fair share.

HAYES: Final questions --

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: There`s nothing to me that indicates there`s any -
- any interest from any Republican candidate to do that.

HAYES: Final question, then, it`s slightly off topic, but I see
you`re in the great state of Iowa, which is a fantastic place. You`re also
head of the Democratic National Committee, and that is a party that is
very, very diverse along racial lines particularly and represents voters in
urban areas and suburban areas and rural areas.

Do you think it`s justifiable or rational that the state of Iowa,
given its demographic makeup has such a disproportionate say over the
presidential system?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: We`ve had this system in place for a long time,
and there are a variety of states that go first in each nominating -- each
party`s nominating process. And they are quite careful about the
interaction that they have and they take it personally -- and I think
that`s understandable.

I mean, I`ve gotten to witness firsthand how personally the folks in
Iowa take it. It`s been a thrill to be here today.

HAYES: I think the phrase "quite careful" was a meta-commentary on
your response. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thanks so much for
joining me tonight. I appreciate it.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Thanks. Great being with you.

HAYES: Let`s take a listen to Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty at
last night`s FOX News debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PAWLENTY: It`s an indisputable fact that in Congress, her record of
accomplishment and results is nonexistent.

BACHMANN: You said the era of small government is over. That sounds
a lot more like Barack Obama if you ask me.

PAWLENTY: She fought for less government spending, we got a lot more,
led the effort against Obamacare, we got Obamacare. She led the effort
against TARP, we got TARP. She said she`s got a titanium spine, it`s not
her spine we`re worried about, it`s her record of results. If that`s your
view of effective leadership with results -- please, stop, because you`re
killing us.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

HAYES: Joining me now from Iowa, political columnist for "Des Moines
Register," Kathie Obradovich, thanks so much for joining me tonight,
Kathie. I really appreciate it.

KATHIE OBRADOVICH, DES MOINES REGISTER: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: What do you make of the sort of sniping is the
characterization people have given to it, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz
just said it was -- remind her of her kids, between Pawlenty and Bachmann.

OBRADOVICH: Well, I think there are a couple of things at play here.
First of all, Pawlenty and Bachmann are probably the key competitors in
Saturday`s straw poll. Pawlenty really wanted to sort of knock Bachmann
down a peg.

But the other thing is, Pawlenty was accused after the last debate in
New Hampshire, kind of wimping out of saying to the opponent`s face things
that he had already been saying to the media. He really couldn`t afford to
have that happen to him again. So, when he was asked specifically about
comments he was making about Michele Bachmann`s record, of course, he had
to reiterate that.

She responded with an attack on Governor Pawlenty, and he ratcheted up
his attack. So, it was sort of a nuclear escalation there for awhile.

HAYES: A nuclear escalation of pettiness. So, you were out there
today, I imagine, talking to folks, and what is both the press`s reaction
and people`s reaction to the sudden appearance of non-candidate Sarah Palin
who`s being so preposterously coy so as to border on self satire.

OBRADOVICH: Oh, man! Well, you should have seen her at the state
fair, because it was a -- one little woman walking through the cattle barn
with a 15-deep group of media beyond her. I don`t think she saw anything
in the cattle barn except camera lenses and microphones.

And, actually, I was worried, there were cows lining the sides of this
barn and we`re wandering through this, not being able to see anything. I
was thinking it was a good place to get kicked and maybe even by a
cameraman. But, you know, it was insane, absolutely insane. She was
mobbed by people at the fair.

Now, I think that some people would look at that and say, wow, Sarah
Palin is really popular and therefore, she should run for president. But
she`s a celebrity, and anybody at the fair with a mob of media is going to
attract a whole lot of attention.

So, you know, anything you read into that is maybe not quite there.
It`s one of those not real things, I would say.

HAYES: In the not real category.

The final question I want to ask you is about the sort of conventional
wisdom I think that`s formed around the Iowa Republican caucus voter. It`s
one I subscribe to and I want to give you a chance to disabuse me which is
basically it`s quite, quite, quite conservative. And given where the
Republican is at this cycle, they`re going to be more conservative.

These are voters, huge evangelical contingent and voters are looking
for a sort of conservative standard there.

Is there anything you`re seeing there that disrupts that general sense
of where Iowa caucus voters are?

OBRADOVICH: The only thing is historically, if you look at Iowa
caucuses over time, the last five winners, four of the last five winners of
the caucuses have the name either Bush or Dole. So, Iowa still has a
healthy contingent of Republicans who really love the establishment
candidate. That candidate often will do well in years when they are
virtually uncontested by another strong establishment candidate.

Now, will Mitt Romney be that candidate in Iowa? I think that remains
to be seen. But the conservative evangelical and Tea Party has so far are
squinchering (ph) among all the other candidates. And there`s a lot of
competition so that share of the boat. So, I think it is possible that
somebody who presents themselves as a mainstream more establishment type
Republican could do well in the caucuses even despite what I consider --
and I agree with you, I think that the party has moved to the left, I mean,
to the right here in Iowa.

HAYES: Kathie Obradovich of the "Des Moines Register,` thanks so much
for your time tonight. Really appreciate it.

OBRADOVICH: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, more on the not so bright spots in the Republican
debate, specifically light bulbs and Michele Bachmann -- that`s next.

And later on the show, Standard & Poor`s explains how the Tea Party
caused the downgrade.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Coming up, Michele Bachmann tells Republican voters that she
will fight tooth and nail, come hell or high water, for their right to keep
their light bulbs. What`s that? We`ll explain.

Michele Bachmann`s just one of the punch lines in this week`s Friday
Funnies. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY: As to Congresswoman Bachmann`s record, look, she`s done
wonderful things in her life -- absolutely wonderful things. But it`s an
indisputable fact that in Congress, her record of accomplishment and
results is nonexistent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty repeatedly hammered
fellow Minnesotan Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on her lackluster
congressional record during last night`s debate. But Bachmann fired back
with this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: I have a very consistent record of fighting very hard
against Barack Obama and his unconstitutional measures in Congress. I`m
very proud of that record. That is what qualifies me as a fighter and
representative of the people to go to Washington, D.C. And to the White
House, people are looking for a champion. They want someone who`s been
fighting.

When it came to health care, I brought tens of thousands of Americans
to Washington to fight the unconstitutional individual mandate, I didn`t
praise it. When it came to cap and trade, I fought it with everything in
me, including I introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act so people
could purchase the light bulb of their choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: You`ll notice the only piece of actual legislation Bachmann
cited was the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, a bill she introduced but
did not get past.

Now, like many viewers, the particular dog whistle. It turns out the
fate of the household light bulb has evolved into a hot button passionate
issue among the conservative grassroots. You see the old fashioned, Thomas
Edison created incandescent light bulb is a nifty device, but woefully
inefficient.

Compact fluorescent bulbs use 1/5 of the power a standard light bulb
uses.

So the Democratic Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security
Act of 2007, which would require all light bulbs sold in the U.S. to meet
certain efficiency thresholds starting in 2012. Similar to the way all
cars must meet certain mileage efficiency standards, for example.

The bill was signed into law by noted tree hugger George W. Bush.

The Natural Resources Defense Council estimated the standard included
in the 2007 light bulb law would save the country more than $12.5 billion
annually when fully implemented in 2020. In all, a fairly non-
controversial piece of policy.

But all that was before the Tea Party backlash and now the lowly,
humble, incandescent light bulb is taking on totemic significance to the
right. It`s government poised to demise the latest sign of the tyranny of
Barack Obama`s nanny state. Bachmann`s Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act
was aimed as repealing the 2007 law, and Republicans viewed the issue as
such a monumental priority.

But on July 12th, in the thick of the debt ceiling debate, Speaker
John Boehner made sure to get a vote on a version of Bachmann`s bill. They
said it would stop big government intrusion. It failed, 233-193. Edison
wept.

But the battle, as we saw last night, rages on.

Joining me now is Dave Weigel, political reporter for Slate.com and
MSNBC analyst.

Dave, that back drop in Iowa is looking mighty familiar, how are you
doing?

DAVE WEIGEL, SLATE.COM: Very good. I`m very caffeinated. So, thanks
for asking.

MADDOW: Excellent. It was not enough to give that Light Bulb Freedom
of Choice Act shout out once. Bachmann also gave a shout out after the
debate, take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I never thought that in Congress, we`d have
to introduce the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act which you brought up
tonight.

BACHMANN: Well, but I introduced it, I mean, quite seriously, that`s
symbolic of what`s wrong with Washington, isn`t it?

HANNITY: It pretty much is.

BACHMANN: Because when you are the federal government telling you
what light bulb you can use and can`t use, that`s why I introduced the bill
because when I`m in the White House as president, Sean, you can buy any
light bulb you want to buy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Take that to the bank.

Dave Weigel, when did this become the rallying cry?

WEIGEL: I really sort of towards the end of 2010, along with the rise
of the Tea Party, this was something that Tea Party groups like Americans
for Prosperity started to focus on and bring attention to. I mean, she
introduced the bill before it became an issue when she reintroduced it
earlier in the spring.

And on the campaign trail, she brings it up in every speech -- having
seen her give a version of her speech many times. It`s always one of the
biggest applause lines. I mean, it`s up there with saying Barack Obama
will be a one-term president.

I think she explained it well in that clip with Sean Hannity, it`s
because conservatives like examples of the government doing things that
sound silly to validate what they are thinking. I mean, they will say the
stimulus failed and the first example they`ll bring up is wasteful-sounding
science projects it funded. A bill was full of pork -- John McCain is good
at this. He`ll mention a couple of bare intelligent research in that.

You know, you can disqualify all of that government does for people if
you find some negative examples. That`s a long-time conservative trend and
tactic.

HAYES: Does this some -- let me ask this, what`s kind of brilliant
about this issue is that it strikes me as the perfect kind of dog whistle
because it resonates with a certain section who are, sort of hard-core
partisans and ideologues and it completely flies over the head of, you
know, a general election audience. It`s not like abortion.

Other issues that are on the radar screen right now that are getting
those kind of applauses out on the trail that we are not aware of?

WEIGEL: I`d say two things. We`re becoming more aware of the debt
ceiling argument, right? We`re hearing Michele Bachmann insist she was
proven right when S&P downgraded America`s credit rating and if we listened
to her, they wouldn`t have. Now, S&P says that`s not true.

That`s one dog whistle. She`s trying to will that argument into
existence.

The other thing you`re hearing a bit more is she explains what IPAC is
to people. She doesn`t quite explain it 100 percent right, but, you know,
IPAC was set up to determine, you know, cost-effective care if it goes into
effect. Republicans are already refusing to let anybody serve on the
board. As it comes up, they are doing what they do with Elizabeth Warren
and just sort of strangling it.

But she explains that to people -- you`re going to her -- again, a
kind of dog whistle because I don`t think a ton of voters know about this
and the first time they are hearing about this is a death panel-like room
full of people with dark robes who are going to take your care away. What
if there`s only 10,000 hip replacements in the country and you don`t get
one? That`s the kind of decision IPAC is going to make.

HAYES: I think the IPAC thing is interesting too because it is
probably the single-most important mechanism for restraining -- ironically,
the single most important mechanism for restraining long-term health care
costs and dealing with the -- you know, the cost of "entitlements," quote-
unquote, and projected deficits, yet Republicans are going after it the
same way they went after Medicare cuts the last time around, which is keep
your government hands off my Medicare contradiction.

WEIGEL: Well, it does. It`s also something that people who have
private health insurance are familiar with. You can`t get everything you
want. If you`re serious about reducing costs, you need to have discussions
like these.

It`s important you pointed out the point of this light bulb regulation
is it will save electricity costs over the long-term by a lot. And the
trade off for that is just bulbs that really, if you read some of the
arguments by Tea Party leaders, by her, it`s the bulbs look ugly and some
people might get sick for them. In exchange for that, they want to waste a
lot of money -- things that sound scary and dumb.

HAYES: Dave Weigel of Slate.com -- thanks for joining me from Iowa.
Have a great weekend out there and eat fried butter for me.

WEIGEL: Already done. Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Done and done.

Still to come, what Standard & Poor`s now says about the downgrade of
U.S. debt. Puts the blame squarely on Republicans, even though, of course,
the S&P never quite brings itself to use the word Republicans. But it was
still a dumb idea to downgrade us. That`s ahead.

And if the downgrade did nothing else, at least it gave the late night
anchors something to joke about. The best of the week coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLBERT: Yes, we need God`s forgiveness, or at least China`s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BYRON YORK, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: In 2006, when you were running for
Congress, you described a moment in your life when your husband said you
should study for a degree in tax law. You said you hated the idea, and
then you explained, quote, "but the Lord said be submissive. Wives, you
are to be submissive to your husbands."

As president, would you be submissive to your husband?

(BOOS)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for that
question, Byron.

YORK: You`re welcome.

BACHMANN: Marcus and I will be married for 33 years this September
10th. I`m in love with him, I`m so proud of him. And both he and I --
what submission means to us, if that`s what your question is, it means
respect.

I respect my husband. He`s a wonderful, Godly man, and a great
father. And he respects me as his wife. That`s how we operate our
marriage. We respect each other. We love each other.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: In the Spotlight tonight, I still have a knot in my stomach.
Uncomfortable questions. That was last night`s most gasp worthy moment of
the Republican debate. And it was gasp worthy for two reasons.

First, there`s the underlying biographical information about
Bachmann`s career echoic. According to a profile of Michele Bachmann in
"the Washington Post," she told the Living Word Christian Center
congregants in 2006 that she pursued her degree in tax law only because her
husband had told her to.

She explained. "The lord says be submissive wives. You are to be
submissive to your husbands."

Her husband`s brother, Peter Bachmann, also weighed in on their
marital hierarchy. "He is her Godly husband. The husband is to be the
head of the wife, according to God."

Then there was a question itself from Byron York, which seemed as it
left his lips, at best, intensely uncomfortable and at worst, oddly
prurient and unfair. York defended his question on "Fox and Friends" this
morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YORK: This is a serious and legitimate question about something she
has said. And believe me, if she progresses very far in the campaign
process, she would have been asked this question. And I personally thought
she handled it very well. She handled it in a much more human -- it was
like a very human moment for her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Fox`s Chris Wallace also defended the question, telling a
radio show, "in these days of women`s liberation," which is a hilarious
anachronism, "for her to say I didn`t want to be a tax lawyer, but the
Bible says to submit, and so I submitted, it is worthy of note."

Joining me now is Irin Carmon, a reported for Jezebel.com. Irin, so
great to have you here on set.

IRIN CARMON, JEZEBEL.COM: Thanks for having me, Chris.

HAYES: What was your reaction when you saw that?

CARMON: You know, I don`t often find myself in the company of Byron
York and Chris Wallace, but I have to agree with them that it was a
perfectly legitimate question.

HAYES: Really?

CARMON: Yes.

HAYES: Why was it a perfectly legitimate question?

CARMON: We`re talking about somebody -- first of all, she made the
statement about being a submissive wife after she was in public life,
holding office, in 2006. We`re talking about somebody who has her entire
political career, up until very recently, when he`s opportunistically
gotten interested in economics -- has legislated and tried to legislate and
be an activist driven by people`s personal lives.

Radicalized by Roe v. Wade, really interested in secular education,
poisoning schools and teaching children homosexuality, avidly opposing
homosexuality in politics and in personal life. So I think it`s fair game
to say, to what extent is the way that you talk about your marriage and put
it out in the public sphere inform your ideas for this country.

HAYES: So the argument there is that it`s the nature of what the
ideological vision of politics she`s pursued that open her up, right?

CARMON: And her priorities, and what informs her politics, and the
way that she`s made her marriage an example for the way people should be
living their lives.

HAYES: But there`s also a part of me that feels -- just to play
Devil`s Advocate for a moment, it feels a little John Kennedy in 1960 and
the Catholic church, right, where the question was, you belong to this
faith that says you have to be -- you have to listen to the authority of
the Pope, and yet you want to run the United States of America. Aren`t you
just going to do what the Pope says?

I think we all recognize now that there`s something really odious
about that kind of conception?

CARMON: Right.

HAYES: What`s the distinction?

CARMON: Michele Bachmann totally embraces Evangelical Christianity,
unless she`s talking to some other general audience. It`s a big part of
her life. It really informs her policies. And she put it on the table.

Even Sarah Palin did not as -- when she was governor of Alaska, she
did not really create as a priority social issues. Michele Bachmann, from
beginning to end in her career as a legislator, up until very recently,
this was really something that was very important to her. And she
continued to hold up her marriage as a model for all marriages.

HAYES: Do you think the actual substance of the question -- aside
from its fairness, do you think it`s actually like a legitimate concern? I
mean, do you think that --

CARMON: No.

HAYES: No.

CARMON: I don`t think it`s a -- here`s why. I mean, I think Michele
Bachmann very wisely plays to her audience. At the time that she was at
the Living Worth Christian Center, she was talking to women and men who
needed to see themselves in her. And you know, I think that this is
actually -- let`s think about her answer.

What she said in her answer was submission equals respect. All day
today people were making fun of this, that`s crazy. Here`s the dictionary
definition of what --

HAYES: We have two different words, in fact.

CARMON: Right. One of them is mutual. One of them is one-sided.
But, in fact, if you look at all into gender roles in Evangelical
communities, this is a totally commonplace paradox, right? You have people
who say that the husband is the head of household and the woman`s place is
the home, but for all sorts of reasons, they have lives that for economic
reasons or for personal reasons, they end up -- women end up having lives
outside the home and their marriages are more equal than what is laid down
in the law.

HAYES: The final question is about this sort of scapegoating that --
it always does feel like it`s hard to tease this stuff a part. Because at
a certain level like there is something uniquely infuriating about Sarah
Palin and Michele Bachmann. Yet, at the same time, there does feel like
there`s always this kind of underlay of something insidious gender-wise in
the way that people pounce.

Do you think there was anything like that in that question last night?
Or do you think that was sort of above board? Was there sort of two things
operating?

CARMON: Look, Michele Bachmann`s camp was very happy that the
question was asked, right. They said on record that they felt it was an
opportunity. All of those -- it sounded like men, booing, when the
question was asked, they felt that she had been victimized.

In fact, this is not a very feminist thing to say, don`t attack the
woman, don`t ask her a legitimate question. I would rather -- did they ask
about Newt Gingrich`s marriages? Not to my knowledge.

But I think if this is going to be a part of your politics, it`s
completely fair to ask. And we don`t need to be protecting female
candidates in a way that would be different from how we would treat male
candidates.

CARMON: Irin Carmon, you convinced me, from Jezebel.com. Pleasure,
thanks so much.

CARMON: Thanks very much. >

HAYES: Coming up, the downgrade of U.S. debt by Standard & Poor`s
helped make the world economy look like a roller coaster this week. And no
matter what you think of Standard & Poor`s -- and we don`t think much of it
-- what they say about why they downgraded us says something very dangerous
about our politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: The S&P downgrade was a purely
political act taken by these two leaders of the confederacy of dunces known
as Standard & Poor`s. John Chambers is the managing director of S&P. And
David Beers is the head of the Sovereign Credit Ratings Division of S&P.

What John Chambers and David Beers, the most incompetent analyzers of
Treasury debt in American history, fail to understand is that the debt
ceiling has always been a political bargaining chip. The political game in
the debt ceiling just has never been played quite as loudly as it was
played this year.

The incompetent, politically illiterate John Chambers and Londoner
David Beers offer as the basis of their utterly wrong downgrade nothing but
the political worry that maybe Congress won`t raise the debt ceiling the
next time it has to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That was Lawrence on Monday, issuing a blistering critique of
S&P`s downgrade of America`s credit rating. Today we know even more about
S&P`s flawed logic. And who else can share in the blame for the credit
agency`s clumsy move?

Standard & Poor`s director told "Politico," "the stability and
effectiveness in American political institutions were undermined by the
fact that, quote, people in the political arena were even talking about a
potential default. That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority,
is something notable," he added.

"This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns." In
other words, S&P`s downgrade was, in no small part, precipitated by the
spectacle of a parade of prominent national Republican elected officials
lending their full throated support to the U.S. defaulting on its debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIR: If a bond holder misses a
payment for a day or two or three or four, what is more important that
you`re putting the government in a materially better position to be able to
pay their bonds later on.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: I want to reiterate that we
will not agree to the president`s request to increase the debt limit
without serious spending cuts and reform to the way we spend the American
people`s money.

BACHMANN: We can`t keep spending money that we don`t have. That`s
why I fought against the wasteful bailout, against the stimulus. I will
not vote to increase the debt ceiling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not vote for this bill, because I don`t
think we should be raising the debt ceiling at all. We need to be doing
what a business does when it becomes overextended.

I introduced a bill to lower the debt ceiling, not raise it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That logic hasn`t died in the Republican party. No, it`s
flourishing, even after the debt ceiling was raised before the August 2nd
deadline.

Here`s Michele Bachmann just last night answering the very first
question asked in Republican presidential debate in Ames, Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BACHMANN: We should not have increased the debt ceiling. In the last
two months, I was leading on the issue of not increasing the debt ceiling.
That turned out to be the right answer, and this is part of the movement
that we`re seeing all across the country.

I`ve been leading that movement. I`ve been giving it voice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: "Turned out to be the right answer." That same kind of
Republican intransigence will unquestionably be the defining feature of the
continuing debate over cuts and revenues, something the newly created
deficit super committee will have to deal with.

This week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor sent a memo to his
Republican colleagues that said, "over the next several months, there will
be tremendous pressure on Congress to prove that S&P`s analysis of the
inability of the political parties to bridge our differences is wrong. In
short, there will be pressure to compromise on tax increases. We will be
told that there is no other way forward. I respectfully disagree."

Again at last night`s Republican debate, every candidate on the stage
showed they would not accept any deficit reduction deal that includes any
new revenues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raise your hand if you feel so strongly about not
raising taxes, you`d walk away on the 10 to one deal.

Just making sure everyone at home and everyone here knows that they
all raised their hands. They are all saying that they feel so strongly
about not raising taxes that a 10 to one deal they would walk away from,
confirming that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: All of this underscores that this is a problem with two parts.
Here`s the issue with S&P and its ill conceived downgrade. Like Lawrence,
I don`t think very much of the ratings agencies, particularly Standard &
Poor`s, the same entity that gave <Lehman Brothers a risk rating of
satisfactory just one quarter before it collapsed.

S&P and the other rating agencies are as responsible as any other
broken institution in the entire country for the worst financial crisis in
a lifetime.

But secondly, we have seen over several months now that a significant
portion of the Republican party has come to view economic cataclysm for the
country not as a horrible fate to be avoided, not even as a bad outcome
that can be wielded as an effective bargaining tool, but actually as an
outcome to be preferred, an outcome to be welcomed and cheered.

And it is difficult to fault any analyst who looks at the clips we
just played and concludes that our current political outlook is subprime.

The best of late night comedy is up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: From the downgrade to the Republicans in Iowa eating eccentric
dairy, the carnival dysfunction this past week provided a ton of comedic
material.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY KIMMEL, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": On Friday night, the U.S. actually
lost its AAA status. Or as Joe Biden put it, what happens if I get a flat
tire?

CONAN O`BRIEN, "CONAN": China warned the U.S. that its days of
squandering borrowed money are over. Yes. So maybe we shouldn`t tell the
Chinese that last week we spent 76 million dollars to see the Smurf movie.

BOEHNER: When you look at this final agreement that we came to with
the White House, I got 98 percent of what I want. I`m pretty happy.

JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Then you are the world`s most
misguided tangerine.

STEPHEN COLBERT, "THE COLBERT REPORT": America gets a AA-plus. The
only two other countries with that rating are Belgium and New Zealand.
That`s us now, waffle eating Kiwis putting mayonnaise on our french fries
with a serious Hobbit infestation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever, Jon, I`m just offering suggestions. I`m
not the one who is freaking out just because we owe some people some money.

(EXPLETIVE DELETED) Creditor, turn off the lights. America`s not
here.

Jon, if you snitch, I will cut you.

COLBERT: Crazy stocks, like a hooker`s drawers, up, down, up. This,
folks -- this is the analysis that everyone can understand. You get a
hooker, everyone`s excited that her panties are up. Then the underwear
starts to drop, people start getting upset, grown men are crying, clutching
their heads, worried for their futures and their children`s.

Then the hooker pulls her underwear up, happy days are here again.
Somebody rings a bell, and everybody goes home.

KIMMEL: Michele Bachmann is on the cover of the latest issue of
"Newsweek," Have you seen the picture? If not, take a look. That`s when
you know it`s bad, when even you look surprised you`re running for
president.

STEWART: No, no. No, it doesn`t. That`s not a "I`m galvanizing the
voters in Iowa picture. I look at that picture and think, isn`t it a
little soon to be doing a female remake of "The 40-Year-old Virgin"?

Be honest, "Newsweek," you used that photo in a petty attempt to make
Michele Bachmann look crazy. And that`s what her words are for.

O`BRIEN: "Newsweek" magazine, by the way, is taking heat for calling
Michele Bachmann "The Queen of Rage." When asked for comment, Michele said
there`s only one raging queen in my household, and it`s not me.

People are saying the photo makes Bachmann appear crazy. There is the
photo right there. Don`t know why people think it makes her look crazy.
And that music comes with each issue.

STEWART: Rick Santorum will be there. His tent boasts Rick
Santorum`s Summer Dance Party, which, by the way, is the lowest testing BET
pilot ever.

COLBERT: Yeah.

Corporations are people, my friend. They are like members of your
family, your brother fax machine, your Uncle Ben, your Aunt Annie, your
Mama Celeste, your Go Daddy.

COLBERT: When you cut your hair, it sapped your conservative
strength. Like a right-wing Samson. That means Rachel Maddow is just ten
scissor-less weeks from a Fox contract.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Oh, that image. Late night hosts have THE LAST WORD. You can
have THE LAST WORD online at our blog, TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. You can
follow my Tweets @ChrisLHayes and watch my new weekend morning show on
MSNBC this fall, Saturday`s at 7:00, Sunday`s at 8:00 Eastern.

MSNBC will have coverage of the Ames Straw Polls all day tomorrow,
beginning at 7:00 am. Chuck Todd and Andrea Mitchell will host special
editions of their shows beginning at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow.

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" is up next. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Chris, I have no idea where he got that
candid photo of me in my weekend hairdo.

HAYES: Usually you`re wearing a bandanna over that when I see you.

MADDOW: That`s right. With the Axl Rose, hipster leather pants thing
too. You know me, Chris. Thank you very much, my friend. Have a good
weekend.

END

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