'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, October 3rd, 2011
Read the transcript to the Monday show
Guests: Howard Fineman, Dr. Joseph Stiglitz, Jonathan Capehart, John Heilemann, James Moore
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Chris Christie`s big secret is out. He`s
way too liberal.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Will he or won`t he buzz is everywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s like Elvis said, it`s now or never.
JANSING: Is it too late?
O`DONNELL (voice-over): Chris Christie has Republicans waiting and
waiting and waiting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Governor Chris Christie is seriously
JANSING: Chris Christie`s rethinking a run for the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Narrowly favor his not running.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may not be too late.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His family is reportedly on board with.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie`s wife Mary Pat is apparently on
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d be surprised at this point if he got in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Promising to do one thing and then doing the
opposite, sounds pretty presidential to me.
O`DONNELL: But Christie cannot win the right wing.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I wish him luck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His competition is thin. No pun intended.
MCCAIN: The flavor of the month.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pool is bad.
MCCAIN: The swimming pool looks better until you jump right in.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Come on in, let us take a
look at you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other Republicans, that they are going to be all
ROMNEY: Put you to the microscope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Conservative alternative to Mitt Romney.
ROMNEY: That wasn`t clear what I stood for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For saying to Michele Bachmann that he`s going to
turn off a lot of conservatives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perry catching a lot of heat.
JANSING: The star has been falling.
O`DONNELL: The president issues a challenge to all the Republican
BARACK OBAMA: You want to be commander-in-chief? You can start by
standing up for the men and women who wear the uniform of the United States
even when it`s not politically convenient.
O`DONNELL: A Republican who supports the Obama position on civil
unions for same-sex couples, a Republican who may be to the left of the
president on gun control and medical marijuana, and a Republican who has
definitely been to the left of the president on the treatment of
undocumented workers, and a Republican who completely agrees with the
president that climate change is real continues to trick the political
media and, more importantly, Wall Street billionaires into thinking he can
win the Republican nomination for president -- if he simply makes
everything he has previously said about running for president a lie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone in the Republican Party but you is
talking about that you should be on the ticket in 2012 to run for the White
House. You say --
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: No way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to run?
CHRISTIE: No. Not going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re still saying categorically not running?
CHRISTIE: No, I`m not running.
I`m 100 percent certain I`m not going to run.
I don`t want to run. I don`t feel like I`m ready to run.
First, you have to have in your heart -- you have to want it more
than anything else. More than anything else. I don`t want it that badly.
You have to believe in your heart and in your soul and in your mind I
am ready. I don`t believe that about myself right now.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: Herman Cain is the one Republican presidential candidate
who is not waiting for Chris Christie to make up his mind before
campaigning against him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that a lot of
conservatives, once they know his position on those things that you
delineated, they`re not going to be able to support him. So, I think that
is absolutely a liability for him if he gets in the race.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Why do you think they won`t be able to
CAIN: Because, you know, most of the conservatives believe we should
enforce our borders. They do not believe people should be here without
documentation. They do not believe global warming is a crisis or a threat.
Yes, it might be a little bit out there, but they don`t see it as a crisis
or a threat.
And as you go right down the line, he`s going to turn off a lot of
conservatives with those positions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: NBC`s Jamie Gangel is reporting that Chris Christie is
giving a presidential run, quote, serious consideration and has asked
several Republicans who were about to endorse other candidates to hold off
As for which way Christie is leaning, "Politico" says, "three sources
who are aware of the discussions in Christieland said their perception is
it`s likelier than not that he stays out of the 2012 race." However, all
three said it`s the same thing, it`s a family decision between Christie and
wife, Mary Pat, and he could still decide to run.
Joining me now, national affairs editor for "New York" magazine, John
Heilemann. Also, AOL/"Huffington Post" editorial director and MSNBC
analyst, Howard Fineman. Thank you both for joining me.
Howard, you were chuckling as we were -- as we were ramping back into
the latest Christie fever, Christie indecision 2011 discussion. What`s so
funny about that?
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I was chuckling at
the definitive "Politico" report.
O`DONNELL: Yes, a definitive maybe.
FINEMAN: The definitive maybe. I mean, here`s what I know. I`m in
John`s town here. So I`m calling New York sources.
But what my people tell me is, that he is seriously considering.
That Chris Doheim (ph), who`s very close to him, a political consultant
close to him, also by the way close to Karl Rove, and others who have been
going around saying -- and I said this on the show last week -- they`re
saying to professionals around the region and the country, if the governor
were to decide to do this, would you be willing to go with him? Either as
fund-raisers or as professional staff people? That doesn`t mean he`s going
to do it.
The last word I had before I came on the air was one guy who worked
for him at one point saying, look, if he`s gone radio silent, that
definitely means he`s seriously considering it. That`s all we can say at
this point about his decision making process.
O`DONNELL: John, this is your jurisdiction, "New York" magazine.
New Jersey is definitely considered part of the New York magazine
JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Metro area.
O`DONNELL: It`s your big piece of the week, Christie`s moment. What
should he do with his moment?
HEILEMANN: Well, first of all, I`ll confirm what Howard`s saying and
I think, you know, it`s interesting, that throughout this year, a lot of,
as you know, a lot of big money Republicans in this area have been trying
to get him to run. He`s been definitive in private as well as in public --
no, I`m not going to run.
About two weeks ago, the nature of the conversation started to
change. And it was clear what he was saying to them was something
different, that he started to take it seriously. I think the thing I tried
to write about in the column is the thing I think has come to matter to
him, what he has realized, is that there is this moment for him now -- in
the sense that it doesn`t happen for you in your life two or three times
when everyone is begging you to run for president. That doesn`t happen
And you might look at this and say, hey, I`m a Republican in a
Democratic state, I might not be re-elected three years from now, God knows
what 2016, 2020 are going to look like. This is my shot, I might not win
but this is the clearest shot I have at the White House.
And I think at the urging of a lot of people, he started to take that
advice more seriously to the point where at least he feels like he has to
go through the process right now of seriously considering getting in.
FINEMAN: You know, Lawrence, I think politics is different than the
way it used to be. When we were kids, Richard Nixon ran for president
three times. Ronald Reagan ran for president three times.
It was a more of a generational thing where you built up your
contacts, you traveled the country. You know, you went airplane stop to
airplane stop, train stop to train stop. It`s different now.
O`DONNELL: And losing once was just considered good batting practice
for next season.
FINEMAN: Now in the digital age and I think with the speedup of
media in part and the change of the nature of politics, it`s come to be
viewed that you`ve got your moment, you`ve got your window.
That`s what happened with Barack Obama. He caught the moment.
That`s sort of the new template and that`s probably what Chris Christie is
out there in New Jersey thinking about right now.
HEILEMANN: And the opposite was what happened with Hillary Clinton.
When she gave this exact -- she went through the exact same thing in 2008,
2003. Should I get into the race? Everyone was begging her to run. She
said, no, I`ll wait until 2008.
And then, look what happened. She didn`t get the shot in 2008.
She`s not going to get the shot in 2012. Her time may be gone. Her best
I think Christie is thinking about that as the negative example, with
Obama on the opposite side.
O`DONNELL: Mario Cuomo had one of those moments in 1992. That was
his moment to run. It turns out he didn`t. I men, and I think there was a
lot of presumption at the time, I know in Democratic circles -- hey, George
H.W. Bush is going it be re-elected. This is not a one to waste it on, the
He may have calculated he could run in `96 but that was gone.
FINEMAN: By the way, I think that kind of thinking is over, too,
about the power of incumbency. In our toxic atmosphere, at the time when
the public thinks only 12 percent of the American public likes the
Congress, when President Obama`s ratings are low, the nature of incumbency
has changed. It doesn`t frighten anybody anymore.
O`DONNELL: OK. Here`s one thing I think might be going on here,
which was exhibited at the Reagan Library. He was asked twice last week at
the speech. The first time it was dismissive, classic Christie, just watch
my take. That was his answer. It was kind of that wise guy, New Jersey
And his tape, by which he meant every time I said, no, I`m not
absolutely not running.
Then he`s asked again and he`s asked by a very emotional woman who
seems to be almost on the verge of tears. He has to meet her emotionally.
He realizes, hey, wait a minute, I can`t toy with these people. I have to
make her feel as though I`m joining this thing that she`s concerned about.
I have a feeling that could be going on now. All these Wall Street
billionaires who have no idea how to pick candidates -- just ask Rudy
Giuliani and others -- he wants them to feel hurt. He wants them to feel
all of their wise advice has been considered and he`s giving them yet
another hearing. He doesn`t want to be dismissive on his way to Wednesday
or some point this week, saying what he`s always said.
FINEMAN: Well, if nothing else, he wants to show them against the
day that he might actually have to be able to try to run again that he took
them seriously. That he does take them seriously. That`s sort of your
HEILEMANN: Yes, he`s a very smart guy and he looks at Rick Perry and
thinks that Rick Perry is both the -- it`s both the temptation and it`s the
warning sign, right? The temptation is look, there`s this opening here.
The establishment doesn`t love Mitt Romney. Rick Perry is fading fast. I
could get in here and maybe sweep this thing, take it, just run right
On the other hand, look what happened to Rick Perry as unprepared as
he was. Christie looks at a situation, I have not had any chance, I don`t
really know that much about foreign policy. I don`t know that much about
national and domestic policy. What happens I get up in the hot glare of
the lights in the first debate, and what happens to me happened to Rick
So, he`s -- you know, it`s a delicate balance for him to try to
figure out which side to come down on.
O`DONNELL: Now, Christie knows he`s never once been in a public
debate about Social Security, about Medicare, national defense -- all these
big and complex issues. He probably also knows he just needs one good
index card worth of material to win a Republican debate on any one of these
subjects, right? To sound smart enough.
But does he know what obviously Perry didn`t know? Perry, obviously,
wasn`t crossing his mind what the name of his hunting camp was. In other
words, all those vulnerabilities that you pick up over the course of your
lifetime, something you said in college to someone you shouldn`t have said.
Does -- is Christie smart enough to know where every one of those things is
buried in his resume?
FINEMAN: I think the obvious answer to both of us having covered a
lot of campaigns is, no. You don`t know at all what it`s like until you
get in it. Don`t forget the time is of the essence here. There`s a debate
in New Hampshire next week. The filing deadline in New Hampshire is in mid
to late October.
And if he were to get in it, he`s a candidate tailor made for New
Hampshire because he`s a straight talking guy, took on the unions and he`s
a low tax guy. That`s his natural habitat. If he can`t gear up in New
Hampshire, he can`t afford to skip New Hampshire.
So, he`s got a lot to think about at one time.
O`DONNELL: How much of this is your fault? By you, I mean, my
friend, I mean the New York media. The guys across the river in New
Jersey. He can only over here and do "MORNING JOE" and all these shows.
If this guy was the governor of Kansas, would this be happening?
HEILEMANN: No, no. Under no circumstances would it be happening.
I mean, I think we do, the New York media, not me personally, we take
cues from the big billionaires. We hear the billionaires all day long
telling us about how Chris Christie could be the savior. And you know,
we`re like lap dogs, we`ll just follow the billionaires.
FINEMAN: I disagree with that a little bit. I think Christie would
be a phenom anywhere he was.
O`DONNELL: Well, the important thing about where he is that if you
have a Republican who is actually a threat to win places like New Jersey,
New York, you know, some of the Northeast states, then you have a whole new
table to --
FINEMAN: Well, the obvious thing is getting from here to there. And
don`t forget, there`s also vice presidential stuff going on which we
haven`t talked about
O`DONNELL: I could do this all night. But you know what? We have
other guests, other things that are going to happen in this show.
Howard Fineman of "The Huffington Post" and John Heilemann of "New
York" magazine -- thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
FINEMAN: Thanks, Lawrence.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Rick Perry`s new campaign crisis. Could the
racially charged offensive title written on a rock at the entrance of a
ranch be the end of a presidential campaign?
And later, the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters spread across the
country. In New York, demonstrators got a visit from the former chief
economist of the World Bank, the Nobel Prize-winning professor, Joseph
Stiglitz. He will join me later to explain what has those protesters out
there in the street. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, race and politics. Texas Governor Rick Perry
has knocked off whatever he thinks his message is while trying to explain
away the racist name of the ranch his family leased. Jim Moore joins me.
And later, Herman Cain gets another straw poll win over the weekend.
Where does he go to celebrate? Yes. Trump Towers. That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": You mean, I can`t use the word if I`m
SHERRI SHEPHERD, "THE VIEW": You can do anything you want, Barbara.
You`re Barbara Walters. I`m just saying --
WALTERS: I`m sorry, that has nothing to do with it.
SHEPHERD: I don`t want to stray from the subject at hand. This is
an issue that will go on until we die.
WALTERS: It is the subject at hand.
SHEPHERD: I`m saying when you say the word, I don`t like it. I
don`t like it when you -- it brings up feelings -- yes, when white people
say it, it brings up feelings in me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Barbara Walters and Sherri Shepherd on "The
View" today, discussing the name of a west Texas hunting camp once leased
by Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry and his father.
Yesterday, "The Washington Post" revealed that the hunting camp was,
quote, "a place known by the name painted in block letters across a large,
flat rock standing upright at its gated entrance."
Now, because of our standards and practices at the department here at
NBC, we are not allowed to actually speak that word. I wouldn`t want to
speak that word. We`re not even allowed to show it to you in print in its
entirety, although it does appear in print in its entirety in the
"Washington Post" on Sunday and in "The New York Times" today. It`s very
easy to find this word out there.
The revelation has rocked the presidential campaign. Here`s
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on "FOX News Sunday."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: That is a more vile, negative word than the "N" word. And for
him to leave it there for as long as he did before I hear they finally
painted over it is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Perry`s campaign immediately replied with this. "Mr.
Cain is wrong about the Perry people`s quick action to eliminate the word
on the rock, but is right the word written by others long ago is
insensitive and offensive. That is why the Perrys took quick action to
cover and obscure it." That turned out to be good enough for Herman Cain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Let`s talk about what`s important to the American people. I
would rather talk about that and take questions on that than to continue to
beat this distraction to death about a word that appeared on a rock. I
really don`t care about that word. They painted over it. End of story. I
think it happened way -- I accept Governor Perry`s response on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No other Republican candidate found anything to be
bothered by in what we found out about Rick Perry this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In this day and age,
to try to turn something around and make him say that he endorsed using
that word, ah -- I think we should worry about the wars and the
assassinations, the economy, not trying to find out some way that you`re
going to blame Perry.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t believe Rick
Perry is a racist. I think it`s a side issue that it`s unfortunate and
he`s being hit with that.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: The White House today wisely decided to let bad enough
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The name is clearly
offensive and from what I`ve read and I have no inside knowledge beyond
what I`ve read, the governor shares that opinion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If his opponents don`t want to touch this controversial
matter, it may prove to be detrimental for the Texas governor trying to
take his Texas approach to the national stage.
Joining me now is James Moore, he`s been reporting on Texas politics
and history since 1975, and is author of the forthcoming book on Rick Perry
entitled -- this is interesting because NBC standards lets me say this and
I still don`t want to. "Adios -- fill in the blank: "Why Rick Perry Will
Make America Miss George W. Bush."
Thank you very much for joining me tonight, Jim.
JAMES MOORE, COVERED TX POLITICS SINCE 1975: Sure.
O`DONNELL: I leave the title up there long enough for everyone to
read it every time.
O`DONNELL: I found this -- the Herman Cain reaction was fascinating
to me. He reacted to the story as we knew it in "The Washington Post," on
television yesterday saying this is absolutely wrong. And, by the way, all
of the information from the Perry family about when they say they painted
over that sign was in the "Washington Post" story. No new information
emerged to make Herman Cain suddenly find the whole thing to be OK.
Is that because Herman Cain is calculating that within Republican
politics, you don`t want to complain about anybody racist associations or
past in any way?
MOORE: There`s probably an argument to be made, Lawrence, that this
story for him to keep complaining about, it is an unsettling reminder to
his party and it eventually could order against Herman Cain.
I think for Perry`s part, however, this just has been completely
bungled by his staff. His media people are clearly very inept and largely
incompetent. They tended to in response try to parse how they reacted to
this. First, we knew about it on this date then he knew about it on this
date. Then he used the eastern entrance to the ranch.
It was very sort of awkward for them to take that approach when they
should have owned it. They should have said, look, the governor knew this.
When they started leasing the land, they painted it, they kept painting it
and they kept it covered up. That would have been the end of this thing.
But they bungled it pretty badly. It`s another brick in the little
red wagon Rick Perry has to turn around.
O`DONNELL: But in the reporting we have now in "The Washington Post"
and "The New York Times," there`s a real dispute as to exactly when that
thing was covered up. You have witnesses in both articles saying they saw
it relatively recently, as recently as six years ago, that it was not
immediately covered over in the 1980s when the Perrys first took over that
property at all. And those witnesses as they cite in the article are at
least as credible as the Perry allies who say, oh, I never saw it.
MOORE: Well, here`s an interesting thing. Rick has said many times
that when he was a young guy back in the `70s, he would get in his pickup
truck and go to the Clear Fork and the Brazos River and take his tent and
is rifle and he would camp.
He knew the name of the place. It was a name that`s been around
forever. It wasn`t added to that property at that particular time.
So, he`s particularly insensitive and certainly guilty of bad form
for bringing his fellow legislators out to that site in the future, when he
took them out there camping and hunting on visits. So, if it were on that
property, in fact, it was a bad mistake on his part.
As to when it was covered up, it`s going to be very difficult to get
something definitive on that. But I will say this -- when you lease
property, hunting property in Texas, and you want to make a change to that
property, the property owner is the one who`s going to have the final say
on that. Rick may have wanted to but couldn`t. Who knows?
But if he couldn`t, then he probably shouldn`t have been there. It`s
just bad judgment on his part.
O`DONNELL: Jim, quickly, before you go -- rate for me exactly how
shocked you were when you discovered this about the Perry property.
MOORE: Well, I want to say that Rick Perry`s not a racist. This guy
has appointed more African-Americans in this state of any governor in our
history, the first chief justice African-American in the state Supreme
Court of Texas. But it doesn`t surprise me because they`re clunky and they
clearly did not vet their own candidate effectively, Lawrence. They should
have done their own research and find out what stories are out there that
could have been harmful.
And then they have all this issue of history in west Texas of not
that many African-Americans that grew up around a largely white population.
He brings that with him in his candidacy.
O`DONNELL: Jim Moore, thank you very much for your Texas expertise.
We`re going to need you. Thanks for joining me tonight.
MOORE: You bet.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the "Occupy Wall Street" protests keep gaining
momentum nationwide, even after massive arrests in New York over the
weekend. Yesterday, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz spoke to
the protesters. He joins me next.
And later, why Andrew Breitbart is the very worst standup comedian
ever. That`s in the "Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: Still to come tonight, Nobel Prize-winning economist
Joseph Stiglitz gave a rousing speech yesterday at the "Occupy Wall Street"
protests. He joins me next.
And later, the Trump primary continues with Herman Cain stopping by
Trump Tower in New York earlier today. THE LAST WORD`s senior Trump
correspondent Jonathan Capehart spoke to Trump after the meeting. Jonathan
Capehart joins me later.
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, the Occupy Wall Street protests
continued into its 17th day today, after a weekend of mass arrests. On
Saturday, more than 700 people were arrested during a peaceful march on the
Brooklyn Bridge for allegedly blocking the roadway. Many witnesses insist
the protesters were lured on to the bridge by the police who then rounded
up 700 of them for disorderly conduct and blocking vehicular traffic.
The arrested protesters were put in plastic handcuffs and bused to
police precincts. Most were given a summons and released overnight. This
weekend proved that the unbridled police violence that broke out last
weekend was not a necessary component of crowd control.
On Wednesday, the protesters will march on Wall Street, joined by
members of the Service Employees International Union, the Communication
Workers Union, the New York AFL-CIO and the United Federation of Teachers.
As is customary in such large-scale protests, many well-known people have
spoken publicly in support of the protesters, including Michael Moore, who
joined us live from the protest site last week.
It is not customary for street protests of this kind to attract Nobel
Prize winning economists. The appearance of Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz
at the protests Sunday is the latest indicator that this protest is
something we have never seen before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH STIGLITZ, NOBEL PRIZE ECONOMIST: We`ve socialized losses and
privatized gains. We have to restore the economy. If we continue with
that, we won`t succeed in growing and we won`t succeed in creating a just
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Columbia University economics Professor
Joseph Stiglitz, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
under President Clinton. Thank you very much for joining me tonight,
STIGLITZ: Nice to be here.
O`DONNELL: Now, with a career in academia, in university life, you
have had many opportunities to be in protests, in loud, noisy protests
about many things. What brought you to Lower Manhattan this weekend?
STIGLITZ: The United States is in a severe economic problem. And
unfortunately, our leaders in Washington haven`t done enough about it.
I`ve been surprised that there haven`t been protests earlier. The way our
democracy obviously -- our democracy obviously needs a stimulus to make our
leaders in Washington hear the pain that so many Americans, particularly
our youth, are now feeling.
O`DONNELL: Professor, you did a "Vanity Fair" piece earlier this
year, which was titled "Of The One Percent, by the One Percent, for the One
Percent." How did our government come to this?
STIGLITZ: That`s actually one of the points I make in that article,
that this government of the one percent, for the one percent, by the one
percent perpetuates itself. It passes rules. It allows the banks to get
It restricts our democracy. In fact, I began my comments yesterday by
pointing out that we have too little regulation of banks, but too much
regulation of our democratic processes. I could not talk yesterday with a
normal blow horn. I`ve talked in discussions and other places. This is
the first time that there`s been that kind of restraint in communicating
with a large group.
And it seems to me that, you know, we were trying to discuss what was
the cause of the crisis, what could be done, how could they articulate
their concerns. And it had to be done in this very particular way, which
pedagogically may have been useful, as they repeated everything I said and
went down around the whole group. But it`s not the way other countries
have allowed their demonstrations to communicate with each other.
O`DONNELL: The protesters have not isolated any kind of legislative
package that they would like to see come out of this. They have not said
this is what we need in order to achieve our goals. If you were to suggest
to them one thing, just one thing to ask of Washington, what would be that
number one thing?
STIGLITZ: Create more jobs. Do what you have to do to get our
economy back to work. The fact is that for so many of the young people
gathered there, their prospects of getting a good job within the next year,
two years, is not very good.
And they played by the rules. They`ve done what they were supposed to
do. Many of them worked hard in college, worked their way through college.
And yet, now they see very few prospects and a knowledge that when they get
a job, it will not be what they had aspired to.
O`DONNELL: And do you have a quick response to the economically
illiterate republicans who insist that government cannot do anything to
help create jobs?
STIGLITZ: I so go back to the Great Depression. If it had not been
for government, that desert of jobs -- that absence of jobs would have
lasted far longer. The WPA has left in it a legacy of monuments, of things
that we still enjoy. And eventually it was World War II.
But that was a government job -- it created jobs. Unfortunately,
rather than that being devoted to investing to make our country stronger,
it was necessary to spend that to protect ourselves from enemies abroad.
O`DONNELL: Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winning economist and
professor at Columbia University, thank you for joining me tonight. It`s
an honor to have you here.
STIGLITZ: Nice to be here.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Andrew Breitbart as a standup comedian is a
very, very bad joke. That`s next in the Rewrite.
And Herman Cain is the latest Republican presidential candidate to
stop by Trump Tower for a meeting with the candidate who never was, Donald
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Rewrite. Andrew Breitbart`s own worst
enemy, Andrew Breitbart, worked the stage like a foul mouth stand-up
comedian at TeaCom, at a Tea Party conference in Chicago this weekend.
This obviously wasn`t the Southern Baptist branch of the Tea Party that
Breitbart was pandering to, because they took particular delight in his use
of profanity, especially sexist profanity directed at women Breitbart and
his audience hate intensely.
The nasty word he threw at Nancy Pelosi delighted his audience more
than anything else he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW BREITBART, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: It was orchestrated by a
(EXPLETIVE DELETED) by the name of Nancy Pelosi.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, comedians who use the full range of expression that
includes very colorful street language, you know, like all the words I
can`t say on this program -- those comedians are all smart and respectful
enough to not do it on a stage with seven American flags behind them. The
greatest and most verbally free spirited modern comedians, from Lenny Bruce
to Richard Pryor to Robert Klein to Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock -- I could go
on and on -- all of them have publicly exhibited more respect for the
American flag than Andrew Breitbart.
Professional comedians know better. They don`t festune their stages
with American flags, then go out there and do their thing. Andrew
Breitbart`s ugliest unfunny punches were thrown at my friend, Janeane
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BREITBART: Onslaught of propaganda led by the extricable Janeane
Garofalo. I actually had something really mean to say about her, but --
CROWD: Go ahead.
BREITBART: Really? I live in L.A. So I know about her. And she`s -
- she`s Hollywood`s sympathy (EXPLETIVE DELETED). She`s -- every single
job, it`s, I kind of feel sorry for her, why don`t we cast her as the loser
in the movie?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I know many of you now are seething with hatred of Andrew
Breitbart. I`m not. I feel sorry for him. I really do. You heard him
say, "I live in L.A. so I know about her." The only thing that`s true
about that is that he lives in L.A. Andrew Breitbart knows nothing about
Janeane. When I see him on that stage, I see little Andrew Breitbart who
grew up in Los Angeles in the shadow of show business and craved getting
through the studio gates.
He never made it through the studio gates into show business and
intensely resents every other local kid who did, like Sean Penn, for
example, who he visits hatred upon at every chance. You saw little Andrew
Breitbart up on the stage with that microphone, loving it, absolutely
You saw Andrew Breitbart trying to be an entertainer. You see in that
clip how he sees himself: funny, entertaining, deserving of a stage,
deserving of a microphone, deserving of a spotlight, a star, the star he
could have been if the local industry show business had just let him in.
You`ve heard the cliche that politics is show business for ugly
people. Now we see the Tea Party conferences are show business for Andrew
Breitbart. There you see an angry, frustrated, resentful little boy`s
dream come true. He`s on stage, getting laughs and applause.
Little Andrew Breitbart is so proud of this performance that he put it
on his website. That`s where we found it. Breitbart says he lives in L.A.
so he knows about Janeane Garofalo. That`s like saying you live in New
York so you know about David Letterman. Andrew Breitbart is one of
millions of people who live in L.A. and knows nothing about Janeane
Garofalo and other actors and celebrities they`ve never met or talked to.
He proves that, in Janeane`s case, by portraying her as someone who
gets cast in movies and TV shows only out of sympathy, because why?
Apparently because her career isn`t going so great? In fact, Janeane
Garofalo is a very, very successful actress and standup comedian, who over
the last 20 years has always had far more offers than she could accept.
She`s always been acting on more than one project at once, more than
one project every year, from the "Ben Stiller Show" to "Saturday Night
Live," to "Mr. Show With Bob and David," to the best comedy in the history
of television, "The Larry Sanders Show." Yes, she did squeeze in episodes
of "Seinfeld" in the middle of "The Larry Sanders" run.
I met Janeane Garofalo when we were lucky enough to cast her in "The
West Wing" in 2005. There was no sympathy involved. She was our first
choice for the new role we were writing in the series. The only question
was, would Janeane Garofalo accept our offer? We were lucky. She did.
She made every line we wrote for her better on the screen than it was
on the page. After her run on "The West Wing," it was certainly not out of
sympathy that Rush Limbaugh`s favorite TV creator and executive producer,
Joel Sirnow, cast Janeane Garofalo on "24" as an American protecting FBI
agent. Janeane Garofalo will always have a special place reserved for her
in Andrew Breitbart`s profanity laced standup act because Janeane Garofalo
was right, right about the most important question that has faced this
country in the 21st century, the question that gripped this country like no
other could in 2003: does Saddam Hussein have weapons of mass destruction?
Janeane Garofalo did her homework, studied everything she could. She
worked very hard studying all the information that was publicly available
to her. And she got that question right. She was smarter than I was on
that question. My answer was, I don`t know if Saddam Hussein has weapons
of mass destruction.
Janeane Garofalo was also smarter than the director of the CIA on the
most important question that he ever had to answer in his life. He got it
wrong. He said it was a slam dunk that Iraq had weapons of mass
destruction. Janeane Garofalo was smarter than the secretary of Defense on
that question. She was smarter than the secretary of state. She was
smarter than the vice president.
And yes, Janeane Garofalo was smarter than the president of the United
States. She was also smarter than Andrew Breitbart on that question. And
she was much smarter than this guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: If you are wrong, all right, and if
the United States -- and they will -- this is going to happen -- goes in,
liberates Iraq, people in the street, American flags hugging our soldiers,
all right? We find all kinds of bad, bad stuff, right, in Iraq. You going
to apologize to George W. Bush?
JANINE GARAFOLO, COMEDIAN: I would be so willing to say I`m sorry. I
hope to God that I can be made a buffoon of, that people will say you were
wrong. You were a fatalist. I will go to the White House on my knees on
cut glass and say, hey, you were right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: There`s Bill O`Reilly guaranteeing Janeane Garofalo --
guaranteeing her that they will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
And the honorable and decent Janeane Garofalo that I know has no trouble,
no reluctance promising to apologize to everyone in sight, including the
president of the United States, if O`Reilly and the president turned out to
be right and she turned out to be wrong.
And I know Janeane Garofalo would have made good on that promise.
Janeane Garofalo may not be very tall. But she`s a big enough person to
apologize when she`s wrong. I wish -- I really, really do wish that I
could say the same thing about little Andrew Breitbart.
O`DONNELL: Herman Cain is the latest Republican presidential
candidate to make his way to New York City to meet with non-candidate
Donald Trump. Unlike Mitt Romney last week, Cain did not hide from the
cameras today during his visit to Trump Tower. In fact, he stopped to take
questions, including whether he would be receiving Trump`s endorsement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Trump is the type on
person that if he wants to endorse you, you don`t have to ask him. And if
he gets to that point -- I happen believe, and I would do the same thing,
that he`s waiting for the field to narrow down a little bit more before he
decides whether or not he wants to put his endorsement on any particular
candidate. We did not even get into that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Herman Cain also racked up another victory this weekend,
one week after winning the Florida Straw Poll. He was the resounding
choice of the National Federation of Republican Women, winning its straw
poll on Saturday with more votes than the top five challengers combined.
It should be noted the winner of the group`s last straw poll in 2007 was
Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer
for the "Washington Post" and THE LAST WORD`s senior Trump correspondent.
Jonathan, thanks for joining me tonight.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Hey, Lawrence, good to be
O`DONNELL: You got the man, himself, on the phone today, by which, of
course, I do not mean Herman Cain.
CAPEHART: Right. I got the man, the Donald on the phone today after
his meeting with Herman Cain, which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes in
Trump`s 26th floor office in Trump Tower there, at 721 5th avenue. They
met at high noon, which is the same time I met with Mr. Trump a week ago
Mr. Trump said that their conversation ran the gamut. They talked
about politics. They talked about Cain`s story, which Mr. Trump said he
was very impressed by, very impressed by his roots, his family, his story,
and all the things that Herman Cain has been able to achieve in his life up
to the point of running for president.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan, where does the Herman Cain candidacy go from
here? What other -- what kind of a future does it have?
CAPEHART: Right now, the future looks bright. Think about it, would
you rather be Rick Perry right now or Herman Cain? I bet you know you`d
want to be Herman Cain.
O`DONNELL: Hadn`t thought of it that way before.
CAPEHART: Right. He`s on the ascendancy. It`s all good news, you
know, puppy dogs and dandelions for Herman Cain. We`re talking about him
meeting with Donald Trump, not some of the issues that Rick Perry has had
to deal with, basically since he has gotten into the race, from
immigration, to HPV, to the latest thing about his ranch.
But I think because Herman Cain has been -- has been so low in the
polls, up until he won that Florida Straw Poll a week ago, he`s been on the
rise. As your chyron says, can Cain sustain? That is the key question.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan, I have to ask you, what do you make of Herman
Cain`s objection yesterday on television -- obvious objection to the Perry
ranch, hunting ranch, the name of it, and then his quick retracting of that
as soon as the Perry camp put out a statement that was actually what was
already in the "Washington Post" articles? The whole dispute about exactly
when did they paint this thing over?
CAPEHART: Uh-huh. Well, look, I think, you know, Herman Cain was
reacting to a story that hit in the "Washington Post" yesterday. There
have been follow-up stories in the "Post" and "the New York Times." I
can`t get into Herman Cain`s head as to why he`s pulled back.
But let`s keep in mind, he is the only African-American in the
Republican race for the nomination. I think, again, because he`s on the
ascendancy that he has to tread maybe a little more carefully.
You know what, another Republican debate is coming up. There is going
to be plenty of opportunities for Perry to be held accountable for that
ranch sign and for Herman Cain to stick it to Rick Perry, to make sure that
he`s held accountable for that -- for what he knew and what he did and
didn`t do, knowing that that horrible offensive sign was there on the
property he was renting.
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart of the "Washington Post" and MSNBC,
thanks very much for joining us tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" is up next. Good evening.
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