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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Friday, September 2, 2011

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Guests: Ezra Klein, Richard Wolffe, Robert Reich, Mike Seidel, Maggie Haberman

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The weather forced the president`s
helicopter to take a detour on the way to Camp David tonight, and the
forecast for the president next week is even bumpier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama moved his big jobs speech from
Wednesday to Thursday night. Obama gave in when he realized something
important, he could just TiVo "Jersey Shore."

O`DONNELL (voice-over): Jobs put the president`s jobs at risk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The economy is projected to be, a year from now,
exactly where it is today.

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sucking wind, big time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No new jobs in August.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I heard it, I thought holy cow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A big, fat zero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ouch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Woody Allen captured the situation best in
"Annie Hall."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what we got on our hands is a dead shark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do we have a dead shark?

HUNTSMAN: Sucking wind, big time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Economic CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not going to be a good day for the president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely not a good day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we have tropical storm Lee threatening the
Gulf Coast.

UNIDENTIFEID MALE: State of emergency in New Orleans today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s been a bad month.

HUNTSMAN: Sucking wind, big time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crazy and busy, significant September.

O`DONNELL: The president wants to provide more work for the
underemployed, especially the underemployed in the House of
Representatives.

NARRATOR: Republicans like Eric Cantor are threatening to hold
victims of hurricane Irene hostage.

HUNTSMAN: Sucking wind, big time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The White House may have to think bold now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A congressman who says he won`t even bother to
listen to the president`s jobs plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no reason for him to call a joint session
of Congress. Delivering a speech in front of a joint session of Congress,
I would respectfully say isn`t work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By 8:35, every single Republican presidential
candidate had sounded off.

HUNTSMAN: Sucking wind, big time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney led the charge.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s been three years, and
he`s out.

O`DONNELL: And will Rick Perry blow Mitt Romney away by the end of
the hurricane season?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rick Perry makes his debut on the national debate
stage. And looks like Rick Perry is running to be the president of Texas.

NARRATOR: She`s not Rick Perry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Palin plans a Labor Day weekend blitz.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s been an unpredictable character.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stepping on Mitt Romney Sunday pitch as the best
dressed man in Washington.

HUNTSMAN: Sucking wind, big time.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC ANALYST: We are talking about Sarah Palin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jonathan Capehart.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Zero. That`s how much job growth we had in the month of
August. The new Bureau of Labor Statistics of unemployment report show
that the economy added a net of zero jobs in August. That`s the worst jobs
report in 11 months. There were other ominous numbers inside the monthly
update, including a drop in hourly earnings.

Next week, Congress will return to Washington and on Thursday morning,
the new congressional supercommittee will meet for the first time to work
on job creation. Well, no, that would make way too much sense for
Congress. The new congressional super committee will, instead, be working
on killing jobs, which in Washington speech is now called deficit
reduction.

The last significant deficit reduction effort was led by President
Clinton, after the economy had emerged from a recession and was growing
steadily. Deficit reduction in an almost-flat economy with zero job growth
could lead to net job losses, especially the losses of government jobs,
which will have to be cut if government budget cuts are enacted.

At the end of the supercommittee`s first day of work on deficit
reduction, the president will address them and the rest of Congress on job
creation and deficit reduction. Advance word from the White House seems to
indicate that the president seems to believe he can come up with a plan to
do both at the same time.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world is re-thinking the austerity craze
that has swept western governments recently. "The Washington Post"
reported today that the swift implementation of pay cuts and layoffs in
Europe may put countries like Spain and Italy at risk for missing the very
deficit reduction targets that budget cuts and other austerity measures
were meant to achieve. Choking economic growth results in less tax revenue
and more demand for government services -- so less money coming in, more
money coming out.

Thursday night, Congress will be nothing more than the in-studio
audience for a television performance the president is delivering directly
to American voters. Earlier this week, he sounded like he had no elusions
about his ability to get a Republican House of Representatives to take
action.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress needs to act.
If Congress does not act, then I`m going to be going on the road and
talking to folks, and this next election, you know, very well may end up
being a referendum on, you know, whose vision of America is better.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And speaking of going on the road, the White House
announced today that next Friday, the after the speech to the nation, the
president will go on the road to make his case again in Richmond, Virginia,
a city represented in Congress by House Republican leader Eric Cantor.

Joining me now are: Robert Reich, former labor secretary in the
Clinton administration. He`s now a professor of public policy at
University of California at Berkeley and the author of "Aftershock." And
Ezra Klein, "Washington Post" columnist, and MSNBC contributor.

You were labor secretary, Bob Reich. I have to ask you, on a day like
today, when those numbers come in -- I assume the labor secretary sees the
job numbers just before the president. Does the labor secretary actually
call up the White House and report them, deliver the bad news personally?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: No, it`s not just bad news.
Sometimes it`s good news. In the 1990s, you may remember, Lawrence, very,
very good news under the Clinton administration. I didn`t have that
privilege, however. It was the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The goal is to
keep the bureau separate from politics.

But, look, there`s no question, today`s news was unremittingly bad --
zero new jobs. I mean, the trend is all in the wrong direction.

O`DONNELL: And do you have a sense of why we would have seen that
flat job situation in the month of August, what`s happened lately?

REICH: Well, there were a couple of special things, Verizon workers
were on strike, that`s about 45,000, 46,000 jobs that were not counted,
that were lost. You also, on the other hand, Minnesota, those workers went
back to work. So, it`s about 23,000.

But even if you control for all of that, this is still a terrible job
report. It`s maybe a net of 23,000 new jobs, but you need 125,000 just to
keep up with the growth of population of working age people who are looking
for work.

So, however you slice it, however you want to look at this, this is
awful.

O`DONNELL: Ezra, this is not the number the White House was looking
for before the president gives his speech next week. So, he`s going to be,
as we say, starting from zero, on Thursday. What does this do to the
president`s approach to next week`s speech?

EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: Probably won`t change the approach.
There was no number they could have gotten. We could have lost 500,000 and
it doesn`t seem to me the Congress wouldn`t have moved far and House
Republicans would say this shows we need to deal with job-killing
regulations now.

But what the White House needs to do and what this does give them the
opportunity to do, this is the number they need for their speech because it
is a great pivot moment to say the supercommittee cannot bring out a report
that does not include jobs. We will not sign a report. We will not pass
anything that comes out and cuts the deficit, and does not deal with the
number one problem in America right now which is job creation.

If they do that, they`ll combine the pivot moment with actual leverage
they have over the process. That will effectively make the trigger apply
to Congress that does not act on job creation, too. And at this point, I
think the situation is more than dire enough to merit that.

O`DONNELL: All right, Professor Reich, teach me -- teach me how we do
deficit reduction and job creation at the same time. I`m going to take
notes now. Go ahead.

REICH: OK, Lawrence, you take notes. You can`t do it at the same
time.

What you can do and what the president hopefully is going to say is
that -- I`m going to present, and I want to sign a credible, long-term, 10-
year plan for bringing the budget deficit down and debt down certainly as a
proportion of the entire economy. But in the short-term, this year, next
year, maybe the following year, until we get unemployment down to a
reasonable level, 5 percent, 6 percent, I want more spending, I want more
investment. We`ve got to have a big program of infrastructure. We`ve got
to have a WPA, a Civilian Conservation Corps, we`ve got all kinds of stuff,
and I`m going to fight for this big program of job creation in the short-
term.

Now, here`s the problem. You know, Americans, it`s a little
complicated to talk at the same time about long-term deficit reduction and
short-term measures that will actually create more deficits. It`s hard to
explain that to people. And therefore, it`s going to be quite a -- well,
let`s just hope that Thursday night, the president pulls it off. It`s the
most important speech of his presidency so far.

O`DONNELL: Well, including the tricky component that some deficit
spending now can actually help you close the deficit in the long run.

REICH: Absolutely. Lawrence, that`s absolutely right. I mean, the
reality here is that if you don`t get growth back, if you don`t get jobs
back, the ratio of the debt to the total economy gets worse and worse and
worse. I mean, if you get jobs back, people become tax-paying citizens
again. If you get growth back, the entire economy starts moving forward
like it did in the 1950s.

Remember after the Second World War, the ratio was 130 percent debt to
GDP. And then we brought that down because of the rapid growth of the
1950s.

O`DONNELL: Ezra, is there a single elected Republican in Washington
that would agree to what Bob Reich just said?

KLEIN: No. I don`t think there`s one. We have not heard of one.

O`DONNELL: OK.

KLEIN: And what`s remarkable about this, I think, is that Republicans
who say they believe in deficit reduction, even just say they believe in
spending cuts, could actually get more if they agree to stimulus now -- and
not just for the reason Bob Reich mentioned. It`s also because for
liberals, stimulus is a deliverable, something they desperately want,
desperately need, and is something Republicans could put on the table, and
if they put it on the table, liberals and Democrats could agree to quite a
bit more on spending cuts and long-term deficit reduction.

Any economist in the country will tell you that is an awesome deal.
It`s just a great deal, particularly right now when we can borrow at what`s
called a negative interest rate, when the market will pay as money to take
their money and keep it safe for them.

So there`s every reason, even if you take the Republican`s own agenda
seriously, but they should want to make the deal. The problem is that the
other part of that is you both give the president an accomplishment, a
bipartisan accomplishment and a better economy. And whether or not they
think about it in exactly those terms, they have been very reluctant to do
that thus far.

O`DONNELL: Bob Reich, the president elicited a threat earlier this
week when he said look, if they don`t want to do business with me on this,
I`m prepared, in effect, to take it to election, not try to legislate
anything now, take it to the voter.

At what point do you advise the president -- here`s where you forget
about the Congress and take it to the voter? Where do you find -- as labor
secretary, you`ve been in the moments with the president where you`ve had
to decide, should we keep trying to push this thing or should we just go to
the voters with it?

REICH: I would go to the voters right away. I mean, why not,
Lawrence?

You know, if the president comes up with a bold plan that is
proportional to the size of the job`s crisis we have -- obviously,
Republicans are going to say no and the president ought to be prepared
right away to go to the nation and start selling him. Tell them he`s going
to mobilize, he`s going to fight, he`s fighting for working people and he`s
not going to allow Republicans to be part of another do-nothing Congress.
He ought to be -- you know, give them hell like Harry Truman did.

But this president has not shown himself to be -- at least until now -
- that kind of a fighter. Maybe he will become one, maybe when his back is
to the wall, maybe when the American public`s back is to the wall. But at
least now, I don`t believe it.

O`DONNELL: I kind of -- feeling our backs to the wall right about
now.

Robert Reich, former labor secretary, and, Ezra Klein of "The
Washington Post" and MSNBC -- thank you both for your time tonight.

REICH: Thanks, Lawrence.

KLEIN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: the Republican presidential candidates pounced
on today`s jobs report. But what did they say they would actually do to
create jobs? Richard Wolffe joins me.

And later, frontrunner pressures on Rick Perry. Will he still be
leading the Republican pack after his first presidential debate next
Wednesday on MSNBC?

And is Perry on the verge of getting an endorsement from Sarah Palin?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Michele Bachmann says she can turn the economy around in
only 90 days. Richard Wolffe talks to me about job creation rhetoric from
the Republican presidential candidates next.

And later, will Sarah Palin endorse Rick Perry tomorrow?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The reaction to today`s job report from Republicans
running for president was quick and predictable.

New Republican frontrunner Rick Perry issued this statement:
"President Obama`s job-killing policies continue to wreak havoc on the
American economy. The poor jobs picture stands in stark contrast to Texas`
pro-jobs, limited government policies, which helped make us the top job-
producing state in the nation."

Former frontrunner Willard M. Romney released a statement calling this
further proof that President Obama has failed. Romney`s language got a bit
stronger during a speech to the Republican National Hispanic Assembly this
morning in Tampa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I don`t know if you saw the news this morning. There were no
new jobs created in the last month -- no new jobs. We stand near a
threshold of profound economic misery as a nation. Four more years of the
same extremely misguided policies could be disastrous.

Career politicians got us into this mess, and career politicians won`t
get us out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The fast-fading Michele Bachmann tweeted: "Americans don`t
need speeches, they need jobs." Which doesn`t exactly sound like the kind
of tweet that`s going to reverse her slip in the polls.

Talking to reporters this morning from the bottom of the polls, former
Utah Governor Jon Huntsman tried to use colorful language to energize his
colorless campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNTSMAN: Our nation`s economy is sucking wind, big time. We need a
plan, a bold proposal. The president has had two and a half years to get
something out there, he hasn`t. We`ve been in two and a half months, we
got I think the boldest of proposals, something that this country
desperately needs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Huntsman`s economic plan received a rave review from "The
Wall Street Journal" editorial board today. "The Journal" said Huntsman`s
plan is "better than anything so far from the GOP presidential field." The
plan is called "Time to Compete: An American jobs plan" -- which is really
just a tax cutting and deregulation plan.

Joining me now is the author of "Revival: The Struggle for Survival
Inside the Obama White House," MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe.

Thanks for joining me tonight, Richard.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: My pleasure, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Richard, the Huntsman plan, huge hit with "The Wall Street
Journal" editorial board.

Is this a little bit like John Edwards health care plan being a big
hit in the last presidential campaign?

WOLFFE: Either that or the Bill Bradley campaign. He also had a
great health care plan.

O`DONNELL: Bradley had a great health care plan.

WOLFFE: Yes. A great plan and he went downhill from there.

Here`s the thing. It says something about the Republican Party when
"The Wall Street Journal" editorial board is actually somewhere in the
middle of Republican politics. That actually, Huntsman`s plan is moderate
when you compare it to where the Tea Party extremists want to take this.

And you know, there`s a lot to be said for Huntsman plan. It`s
actually is very similar in some degree to the Bowles-Simpson, which was
actually set up by the president, "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board
hate so much.

You know, simplifying the tax code is great. You just cannot get
anyone in Congress to vote for ending the mortgage interest tax relief.

O`DONNELL: Right. His plan in some specifics calls for lower tax
rates across the board, income tax rates, just leaving us with only three:
8 percent for the lowest, 14 percent, and 23 percent. But to get there, he
eliminates every single deduction and credit in the personal income tax
code. So, he eliminates the biggest one, the mortgage deduction -- as
you`ve said.

WOLFFE: Right.

O`DONNELL: It means it would also eliminate the deduction for health
care, that if you receive health care through your employer, that would be
treated as taxable income. And so, it`s a fairly easy thing to rip apart.
If a plan like that made its way into the general election, running against
someone who wants to take away your mortgage deduction is running against
someone who wants to, in effect, destroy the current dollar value of your
home, because the real estate market would sink --

WOLFFE: Right, hits the middle class and hits the housing market,
which has been one of the biggest drags on this economy.

And this is the kind of bigger irony here -- these Republican
candidates, and Huntsman is the most reasonable of them. But in general,
they are saying we get the economy more than this crazy Democrat who loves
big government. We know what business wants, and yet -- and yet their
economic plans would either hurt the housing market or it would cut the
government jobs that have done so much good for Rick Perry`s job record in
Texas, or it would just kill jobs in general because there is no growth in
anything other than the public sector right now, because the private sector
has been spooked by the Republican tactics over things like the debt limit.

O`DONNELL: And, of course, there`s the mandatory, you know, defang
that horrible EPA, that Environmental Protection Agency that`s ruining the
country and killing jobs. Never mind that job growth and wealth in the
country has exploded since the creation of the EPA to levels un-
contemplated before, especially top-end wealth.

But now to Rick Perry -- is today, like most campaign days so far
today for Perry and the Republican campaign, the really good day for Rick
Perry since he`s the job king at this stage of the Republican campaign?
Zero job growth number lets him trumpet everything he`s done, or claimed to
have done in Texas on job creation?

WOLFFE: Look, this should be the best day of any of the Republican
candidate`s news agendas and news moments, because the terrible numbers for
this White House, and the president has a bad record on jobs that he`s got
to go out and defend. When you look at Rick Perry, though, there`s the
Texas echo that`s the problem. Never mind if you strip aside the headline
numbers and get into that, most voters understand this economy, that this
bad economy, is the result of Republican policies and the Bush
administration. Poll after poll after poll has said that.

And if you want to go into the details, over eight years of President
Bush`s policies of deregulation and tax cuts, all the things Rick Perry
said created jobs, actually George Bush created a net 3 million jobs in
eight years. Even Jimmy Carter created more jobs in one term than Bush did
in two terms.

So, once we get into the debate, once we get beyond the superficial
headlines of Perry`s positioning, we`re going to have this played out and
people will recall, as they are already in polls, that the Bush policies
weren`t too good.

O`DONNELL: We now have projections that the jobs picture a year from
now in the presidential campaign is going to look pretty much like the jobs
picture does today. If that holds and if that is true and if Perry is the
emerging nominee for the Republicans, it seems like it will clearly be a
jobs campaign at that point.

What is the Obama campaign think it`s going to be able to do against
Perry on jobs?

WOLFFE: Well, I think what they are expecting is this is not going to
be just about jobs, it`s going to be about the role of government when
times are tough. And if you assume the economy is the same -- and by the
way, that`s a big assumption. You know, in 2007, Barack Obama thought the
whole campaign would be about Iraq, and by the 2008, it wasn`t about war at
all, it was about the economy.

So, a year is an extremely long time in politics. But the debate here
is what can government do when times are difficult? Should government be
cut or will that create jobs, or is government the last best hope? That`s
how this is going to play out -- at least that`s how the White House hopes
it`s going to play out.

And judging by what the Republicans say, they think small government
means more jobs. Well, let`s take it to the people and see what they
think, too.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe of MSNBC -- thanks for joining me tonight,
Richard.

WOLFFE: You bet, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: This programming reminder for next week: MSNBC will have
the next Republican presidential debate next Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern
from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Coming up, the best way to predict potential lines of attack on Rick
Perry at the debate might be to read a book written by Rick Perry.

And later, even in a week like this, the late night comedy writers
found something funny to write about.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The governor of North Carolina now says damage from
hurricane Irene will go beyond $400 million in that state. A week after
that storm made landfall, there is trouble looming on the Gulf Coast.
Tropical storm Lee is expected to make landfall this weekend, and the mayor
of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, is not taking any chances.

The Weather Channel`s Mike Seidel is in Louisiana.

MIKE SEIDEL, WEATHER CHANNEL: Good evening, Lawrence.

Here in New Orleans and along parts of the Gulf Coast, they are
bracing for the arrival of tropical storm Lee. But it`s going to take
sometime. It`s only moving north at two miles an hour, so landfall isn`t
expected until some time on Sunday morning.

In the meantime, plenty of heavy rain and once it makes landfall, it`s
going to limp through Louisiana and into Mississippi. We`ll get into
Mississippi until early next week. That mans rainfall totals generally of
six to 10 inches, some local totals are 10 to 20 inches. That`s going to
mean flooding, but nothing like what we saw up across the Northeast and New
England with Irene, because, here it`s flat and the soil is sandy.

The Corps of Engineers is keeping an eye on the flood protection
system. Everything should be in fine shape there. And the mayor of New
Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, told residents to clean out the storm drains and
the catch basins ahead of this very heavy rain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MITCH LANDRIEU, NEW ORLEANS: The city of New Orleans has taken
all necessary precautions, as I said earlier today, issued a declaration of
emergency so that we can have enough flexibility and authority to act as
quickly as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SEIDEL: It`s going to be a washout here for the entire labor day
weekend. We`ll keep an eye on this on the weather channel and on MSNBC
through the weekend. Back to you.

O`DONNELL: The weather Channel, Mike Seidel in Louisiana.

Coming up, the world trade center`s twin towers, their movie career.
That`s in the rewrite.

And next, the book that Rick Perry wrote when he said he wouldn`t run
for president is a must-read for anyone currently campaigning against him
for president. Maggie Haberman joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If there is a better signal of my
plans for the future of not running for the presidency of the United
States, it`s this book. Anyone running for the presidency is not going to
go take on these issues with the power that I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And now you know what Rick Perry looks like when he`s
lying. It turns out that he was planning to run for the presidency of the
United States, and his book, "fed up, our fight to save America from
Washington," is following him everywhere he goes in this campaign.

The book is full of statements he`s now desperately afraid of
repeating on the campaign trail, things like "Massachusetts is free to
experiment with state-run health care." turns out Republican primary voters
don`t think states are free to experiment with state-run health care,
that`s why Rick Perry is now the frontrunner instead of Mitt Romney who
brought what Republicans call state-run health care to Massachusetts.

In the book, Perry also says "by any measure, Social Security is a
failure." Perry will never repeat those words on the campaign trail,
especially to people living on Social Security. He won`t say it in
Florida, not anywhere, because Social Security recipients are the
determined voting block. They always vote in large numbers. They don`t
need inspirational speeches to get them to the polls. They are voters who
like to vote. They are voters who are eager to vote, and they are voters
who don`t like to hear Social Security threatened by politicians like
Perry, who know nothing about it.

If no Republican candidate can stop Rick Perry, might the author, Rick
Perry, stop Rick Perry? Joining me now, co-author of politico`s article
today about this book, senior writer Maggie Haberman, thanks for joining me
tonight, Maggie.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR WRITER, POLITICO: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Maggie, Perry keeps getting caught in the pages of his own
book. And I got to tell you, today, I did, just when I sat down at this
table five minutes before the show, I did what I do in books like this. I
flipped it open randomly to any page, because I believe I can find
something nutty on any page in these kinds of books.

I landed on page 41. I promise you, I swear, and it says "this leads
me to the great milestone on the road to Serfdom the passage of the 16th
amendment."

HABERMAN: That`s right. That`s right.

O`DONNELL: What`s he talking about there, and when is serfdom coming?

(LAUGHTER)

HABERMAN: Serfdom is going to come if we don`t take all of these
things back and you know revert to federalism, according to this book. I
think this book is a tremendous potential problem for him in the general
election, as you said. It`s also a potential problem for him in certain
primary areas.

In Florida, as you noted, this is not a good thing. Seniors get
alarmed about a change to Social Security. They do not want to hear it
compared to a Bernie Madoff-like scheme as he does in his book. In the
16th amendment, he is talking about to re-peeling it to revamp the nation`s
tax cut. And he is not back off of that. He is also not re-embrace it.

And that`s the problem for Rick Perry with this book. He`s going to
have to decide at some point whether he is going to say this is what I
think, this is what I say. These are my words, this is my name on this
book and I`m a fighter and I say what I stand for. Or he could be a flip-
flopper and then he`s a Mitt Romney, and what`s the difference?

O`DONNELL: Now, we saw Michele Bachmann`s you know super fact that
she doesn`t have any affiliation with but is friendly with, they came out
with an attack ad against Perry. It seems Bachmann world is the place to
look for what you would expect to be some kind of attack coming out of this
book. The trouble is Bachmann world is at least as crazy as this book.

(LAUGHTER)

HABERMAN: I think that there is no question that people have grown to
expect sort of out-there statements from Michele Bachmann, and this
certainly runs to the right of anything Michele Bachmann has said. I think
where you will start seeing a lot of these criticisms are from the
Democrats, and I do think that you will see at some point, probably pretty
soon if Perry survives our debate next week, the politico, MSNBC debate,
and the upcoming debates after that, you`ll see a Mitt Romney friendly
"super fact" airing ads about this book.

O`DONNELL: He`s kind of scatter shot here. On my random flipping of
pages, I noticed him taking a shot at Woodrow Wilson that I thought was
unfair.

HABERMAN: One of many.

O`DONNELL: Does he take down any Republicans in his kind of wild
shots in this book?

HABERMAN: He does. He gauges senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and
Lindsay Gram of South Carolina that one would consider someone important to
him in his primary math as not conservative enough. This is not a good
thing to have codified on paper, Murkowski is one thing. Gram is entirely
another. You know, you buy yourself problems when you create your own
paper trail this way of the.

O`DONNELL: When you wrote about the book today and did you`re
reporting on it, did you find out if Perry has fired whoever wrote the book
for him?

HABERMAN: No, in fact, it was a team of people and one of the people
he acknowledges warmly in it is his top strategist, Dave Carney, who is
very well known veteran, respected, political advisor of his. He will be
running the campaign, he is based in New Hampshire, but it`s pretty hard to
divorce yourself from that.

I mean, this is a book that has Rick Perry all over it. Even if it`s
not his writing "on every page".

O`DONNELL: The idea of books like this is to give the author this big
national a surge in attention but then poises them to run for president. I
don`t even remember this book being published. I mean, I`m a good NBC you
know employee, but I don`t see every minute of the today show where he
appeared and talked about the book. I discovered it only now that it`s
haunting him.

HABERMAN: We helped underline it for you. You know look, it did get
some attention on the national stage. He was making clear he had a
national profile, but he was also clear as we saw, you know I wouldn`t be
saying these things if I was running for president. He, himself,
acknowledged how dangerous it is to say some of what he says. So the basic
question for Rick Perry now is, why did you say that and what did you mean
when you said that? Either you didn`t mean then or you did mean it and why
are you now running for president and these things are OK? It is very
complicated.

O`DONNELL: Maggie, quickly before we go, can you help us with the big
rumor of the day, which is Sarah Palin might endorse Rick Perry tomorrow in
Iowa. You`re on the Perry beat, what`s going on?

HABERMAN: I don`t think anybody has any idea what Sarah Palin is
going to do, except Sarah Palin and maybe not even her until tomorrow. I
think that John Fund who originally suggested that was on to something.
That she basically will generally do the opposite of what everyone does,
but it makes no logical sense for her to run, she`s played the media like a
fiddle and she does have affinity for Perry. Perry with among other things
stops Mitt Romney. But he would also stop Michele Bachmann, who is someone
with whom she has clearly, despite her denials, had some issues with.

O`DONNELL: The suspense is killing me. I`m not going to sleep
tonight. I can`t wait.

HABERMAN: Wait until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.

O`DONNELL: That`s right. Maggie Haberman of Politico, Thank you for
joining us tonight.

Still ahead, a video that captures the magic of what the twin towers
once meant to New York and Hollywood. That`s in tonight`s rewrite.

And up next, the late night comedy writers give Dick Cheney`s memoir,
their own book reviews.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Federal regulators announced today they are suing 17 of
the nation`s biggest financial institutions over losses suffered by
(inaudible) and Freddie Mac after the real estate bubble burst. Bank of
America, Citi group, Goldman Sachs, and General Electric, which is part
owner of our parent company, NBC Universal, are all part of the suit. They
sold mortgage-backed securities which the government says were not
financially sound and were based on false or misleading statements.

And later in tonight`s rewrite a poignant video that has now gone
viral. A way you might not have thought of to remember the twin towers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: All right, here`s a shock to the system for you devoted
viewers. We`re not going to do the rewrite here where we usually do.
We`re going to run the Friday funnies here and the rewrite after this. Can
you take that, it`s Friday? And it`s a big shake-up, and I know you`ve
probably left the room because you`re going to come back in later for the
Friday funnies, I`m going to say Friday funnies a couple more times so you
can run back in and see this, because the rewrite is coming after the
Friday funnies, which I`ve now said for the last time. Here`s the best of
the week.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: Dick Cheney,
you all remember Vice President Dick "ka-boom" Cheney. He`s written a book
and said he`d do it all over again the same way. He said, he really, he
would still honestly. He still feels strongly about this, he would still
invade the wrong country. He`s so confident.

(APPLAUSE)

LETTERMAN: And Dick says that the reason he wrote the memoir is
because friends encouraged him to do it. What? This guy has friends?
What?

JAY LENO, HOST, TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO: Contains some startling
surprises. Did you know this? He is still alive. Believe me this book is
not for the faint hearted. It was written by the faint hearted.
Interesting, Cheney`s book was released today, but people are already
criticizing it. In fact today, President Bush said "not enough pictures".
And former senator (inaudible) said and his Chinese lawyer, (inaudible)
hey, you`re lucky, he actually shot me.

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON: In a recent
interview, Dick Cheney said his new memoir would have "heads exploding in
D.C." especially if you read it while on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney.

LETTERMAN: It`s entitled "eat, pray, water board." I want a copy of
that. Lot of revelations. Lot of insight, a lot of people in Washington
surprised about everything that Dick Cheney reveals. For example, Dick
Cheney was actually born in a hut in Kenya.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not aware of that.

LETTERMAN: Yes, he had his first heart attack, and he`s had a history
of heart problems, first problem occurred when he saw Bush naked.

Yes, that`s right. He also admits to fathering Beyonce`s baby.

LENO: Well, I finished reading Dick Cheney`s new book last night, I
don`t want to ruin it for anybody, but in the final chapter, he kills Harry
Potter. I was stunned. Now, in the book, Cheney defends his controversial
national security and domestic policies. If you want to find the book in
the local bookstore, go pass the self-help section in the self-serving
section.

FALLON: After pressure from Republicans, President Obama moved his
big jobs speech from Wednesday to Thursday night. Obama gave in when he
realized something important, he could just TiVo "Jersey Shore."

LENO: Vice president Joe Biden has been in China meeting with the
Chinese vice president. One embarrassing moment during the trip when he
met the Chinese vice president surely he said "Hey, what factory do you
work in?" "Those are nice sneakers, did you make those?"

President Obama`s uncle Omar was arrested in Massachusetts on
suspicion of drunk driving. Every president we elect, there`s always one
embarrassing member of the family. Like the Jimmy Carter, was his brother
Billy. The Bill Clinton has a brother, Roger. For George W. Bush, it was
George W. Bush. The rhetoric is heating up between Republican Rick Perry
and Mitt Romney. These two don`t like each other. Perry has opposed many
of Romney`s positions, but to be fair, so has Romney.

LETTERMAN: How about the Republican candidate, Michelle O`Bachmann.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michele Bachmann.

LETTERMAN: Yes. She says that the hurricane was God`s message to
Washington, D.C. suppose God`s saying to himself why do I attract all the
crack pots, why? Interesting, Michele Bachmann said that the hurricane
Irene was god`s way of getting back at Washington, D.C., and she said that
was just a joke. She said oh, that was just a joke. OK, it`s not as funny
as her husband saying you can pray away the gay, but it`s good.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Pray away the gay.

Up next, the twin towers of the world trade center as Hollywood saw
them. Back in the rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s rewrite. The New York city skyline was
tragically rewritten ten years ago on 9/11. On that day we lost the
boldest architectural flourish in the skyline, the World Trade Center`s
twin tower. 110 stories high.

When they were finished, they took their place in the Skyline in 1973
The New York Times architecture critic (inaudible) wrote "the port
authority wrote the ultimate Disney land fairy tale blockbuster, it is
general motor gothic". The towers may not have awed the architecture
critics, but they were a hit in Hollywood.

When you read about the escalating costs of movie making, you may not
realize that almost everyone in the movie business spends a great deal of
time trying to keep production costs low. One way of doing that is to
avoid shooting movies in expensive places like New York, a lot of movies
you`ve seen pretends to be shot in New York and were actually shot in
Toronto.

In the business it`s called shooting Toronto for New York. They also
shoot Toronto for Washington, D.C. They shoot Toronto from Boston, because
Toronto is just cheaper. Shooting Toronto for New York became a lot easier
when the twin towers disappeared. The twin towers shot, was the unfakable
(ph) shot. You couldn`t get it in Toronto or anywhere else.

During their lifetime, the twin towers became the badge of movies that
were shot in New York. They found their way into the frames of the
greatest New York directors, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen, sometimes very,
very subtly, and they always made their statement, they always said New
York ever bit as strongly as the accents in the movies.

Dan Meth, a New York director has cut footage from the towers taken
from their 30-year movie career and posted it online. You can find it on
our Web site thelastword.msnbc.com because you will want to see this more
than once.

Dan posted this note along with the video. From 1969 to 2001, the
twin towers made countless cameos in Hollywood films, sometimes featured
prominently in the foreground, sometimes lurking in the distance. This
montage celebrates the towers all too short film career with songs that
capture the passing decades. Man, I miss them.

Keep an eye on the lower left of your screen for the titles of the
movie clips that you`re watching. When you see the towers as our great
directors saw them, it will once again be hard to believe that they are
gone.

(VIDEOTAPE PLAYING)

O`DONNELL: Up next are Rachel Maddow and Richard Engel with their
documentary, "day of destruction, decade of war."

END

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