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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, October 31, 2011

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Guests: Jonathan Capehart, Chris Matthews, Melissa Harris-Perry, John Harris, Joe Klein, Toure

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Got to hand it to Herman Cain, he has
brilliantly diverted attention away from his huge campaign finance scandal.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I told you this bull`s eye
on my back has gotten bigger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you now confirm that these allegations were
with made?

CAIN: I would be delighted to clear the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?

CAIN: I was accused of sexual harassment -- falsely accused I might

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They complained both verbal and physical activity
toward them.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, "HARDBALL" HOST: Cain today said the accusation was

CAIN: I have never sexually harassed anyone.

MARK BLOCK, CAIN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Herman Cain has never sexual
harassed anybody.

CAIN: Anonymous sources claim it is sexual harassment.

JONATHAN MARTIN, POLITICO: They have 10 days to respond to the story.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Waiting 10, 11 days.

CAIN: We are not going to chase anonymous sources.

MARTIN: Not until today did he finally admit that yes, he was

CAIN: I am unaware of any sort of settlement.

BLOCK: I`m not personally aware of any cash settlement.

CAIN: I`m not aware of a settlement.

MATTHEWS: NBC has confirmed one woman received a settlement.

CAIN: I hope it wasn`t for much because I didn`t do anything.

MARTIN: Mr. Cain himself has just contradicted his own statement.


CAIN: There`s nothing else there to dig up. No, there`s not nothing
to shoot down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there any behavior on your part that you
think might have been inappropriate?

CAIN: In my opinion, no. The only one that I could recall --

MARTIN: He`s got to try to get his story straight.

CAIN: Once I referenced this lady`s height. Obviously, she thought
that was too close for comfort.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: This guy is not equipped, let alone to
be president of the United States, to run for president.


O`DONNELL: It turns out there`s only one thing Herman Cain has been
trying to hide more than the fact that he used to be a Washington lobbyist
and that is the fact that he was accused of sexual harassment while he was
a Washington lobbyist. And at least one of the complaints against him had
to be confidently settled for money.

When the story was breaking all around him today, Cain`s first impulse
was, of course -- like so many other politicians before him -- to simply


CAIN: As far as a settlement, I am unaware of any sort of settlement.
I hope it wasn`t for much because I didn`t do anything.


O`DONNELL: We all knew that was a lie as soon as we heard it. Soon
after that, Mr. Cain changed his settlement story to this: "My general
counsel said this started out where she and her lawyer were with demanding
a huge financial settlement. I don`t remember a number, but then he said
because there was no basis for this, we ended up settling for what would
have been a termination settlement, maybe three month`s salary. I don`t
remember, it might have been two months."

According to "Politico," which broke the story of two complaints of
sexual harassment against Herman Cain while he was the head of the National
Restaurant Association, the lobbying representatives of the restaurant
industry -- "These incidents include conversations allegedly filled with
innuendo or personal questions of a sexually suggestive nature. A second
source said the woman revealed at the time that she had suffered what the
source described as an unwanted sexual advance from Cain at a hotel where
an event involving the group was taking place."

Cain addressed the alleged hotel incident in an interview with PBS
today without specifically denying it.


CAIN: That I absolutely do not recall. I have no recollection of


O`DONNELL: "I don`t recall" is, of course, the favorite answer of
everyone in trouble who might have to change their answers as the facts

Cain`s memory seems to sharpen as the day goes on. He began the day
saying he did not remember any specifics of the charges leveled against
him. By the end of the day, he told Judy Woodruff this.


CAIN: One incident with the one who made the formal charge, the only
one that I could recall after a day of trying to remember specifics, was
with once I referenced this lady`s height, and I was standing near her and
I did this, saying you are the same height as my wife. Because my wife is
five feet tall and she came up to my chin. This lady is five feet tall and
she came up to my chin. So, obviously, she felt that it was too close for


O`DONNELL: According to "Politico," the two accusers signed
agreements with the National Restaurant Association that provided them each
five figure payouts to leave the association and barred them from
discussing their departures.

As of this hour, NBC News has independently confirmed that two female
employees complained about Cain and at least one received a cash

Cain has not completely shut the door on the possibility of more
allegations emerging.


JUDY WOODRUFF, PBS: So, have there ever been any other charges
leveled against you that you are aware of?

CAIN: No, no, no. None, ever that I am aware with of.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now John Harris, the editor in chief of
"Politico" which broke the Cain story.

Thanks for joining me tonight, John.

JOHN HARRIS, POLITICO: Sure thing, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: John, how long has "Politico" been working on the story?

HARRIS: About three weeks. It seems to me this first came to our
attention. We did some reporting. Then we brought what we with had
learned, our early findings to the Cain campaign. Didn`t get a response
for several days and then we did get a response. We did more reporting, a
lot more reporting after that and then this went through a careful editing

So, all told, we have been at this two, almost three weeks.

O`DONNELL: John did this come to you, did this story come to
"Politico" from anyone associated with another Republican presidential

HARRIS: Lawrence, as you can appreciate on a story this sensitive,
one this carefully reported and this carefully edited, I`m going to stick
at what was in the story -- and we do not say where this story came from in
our original "Politico" story.

I will say what came to us was a tip. It is not what I would call
concrete evidence. The concrete evidence was amassed through reporting a
lot of hard reporting by the key people on our team, Jonathan Martin, Ken
Vogel, Anna Palmer and Maggie Haberman, worked very, very hard to take this
tip and see if we could turn it in to something more concrete.

O`DONNELL: Has anyone at "Politico" heard anything from the Cain
campaign or from Mr. Cain himself today that makes you want to amend
anything in your original story?

HARRIS: No, sir, Lawrence. Not to my knowledge.

O`DONNELL: And where does the story go from here?

HARRIS: You know, I don`t know that. I don`t have a crystal ball. I
know that I`ve got questions in my mind. There`s questions about more
detail about precisely what was alleged and precisely what happened, what
the series of events was with. What the chronology was that led to these
settlements -- settlements that you note in our intro Mr. Cain has now

So there`s always more questions. As an editor, I`m always pushing
reporters to get more answers and that usually means hard work -- going
back to sources, finding new sources and reporting and putting the
reporting through an editing process.

O`DONNELL: John, I want you to listen to what Herman Cain said to
Judy Woodruff on her program tonight about the possibility that he
conducted himself inappropriately. I want you to listen to his denial
about that.


WOODRUFF: Was there any behavior on your part that you think might
have been inappropriate?

CAIN: In my opinion, no. But as you would imagine, it`s in the eye
of the person who thinks that maybe I crossed the line. I worked for the
Department of the Navy, the Coca-Cola Company, Pillsbury, Burger King,
Godfather`s Pizza.

Years and years of working in a business environment, working around
men, women, all types of people, never, never accused of any sort of sexual
harassment. I`ve never sexually harassed anyone. And so, this false
allegation to now come up, this is kind of baffling.


O`DONNELL: John, as an editor, how much of your decision to go
forward with this story was based on your evaluation of the credibility of
the accusations themselves?

HARRIS: Lawrence, I would say that our decision to go ahead and --
this involved a lot of serious deliberations among a group of editors at
"Politico" was based on the totality of the evidence. Not from any
particular source but from a multitude of sources that made us confident of
the key facts that were in that story.

One, that there were allegation of sexual harassment. There were two
of them that we know of. And those have now been acknowledged. And there
were in fact settlements.

Settlements are different than something that is rumored. It`s
different than something that is in the he said/she said category. It`s
something concrete. It`s something that happened.

O`DONNELL: John Harris, editor in chief of "Politico" -- thank you
very much for joining us tonight.

HARRIS: Sure thing, Lawrence. Appreciate it.

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, editorial writer for "The Washington Post"
and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart.

Thanks for joining me tonight, Jon.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Lawrence. Good to see you.

O`DONNELL: Jon, the story was with breaking all day, the Cain
campaign answers were with changing all day. How has the candidate and the
campaign staff handled this so far?

CAPEHART: Poorly. There`s no other way to describe it, Lawrence.
Last night, when the story broke via "Politico" -- you know, I read it
before going to bed and first thing I noticed about the story was that --
well, a couple of things. One, it was long. Two, it was well sourced and
a lot of sources, lots of detail. And the initial response from the Cain
campaign was this is a smear. This is what happens when you take on the

And notice what happened today. You can tell the news cycle by how
many times Herman Cain`s story changed as the day went on.

He spoke at the American Enterprise Institute. He went on FOX News at
11:20. He then spoke at the National Press Club. He spoke to Judy
Woodruff of PBS. He is speaking with Greta Van Susteren.

And more information is coming out as the day has gone on.

This does not bode well for Herman Cain. It doesn`t bode well for his
campaign because, as we have seen on really substantive issues, abortion,
immigration, gay rights, there`s one other that I can`t think of right now
at the moment, but he says one thing and has to backtrack or change what he
said. And when it comes to allegations of sexual harassment, either you
remember or you don`t.

And we are seeing, with our own eyes as the day has gone on that he
didn`t remember and then he keeps remembering one nugget of information
after another as the day goes on.

O`DONNELL: Well, it certainly was a brilliant strategy for diverting
all media attention from the campaign scandal of your campaign finances,
which has been uncovered in Wisconsin by the paper there, finding that all
sorts of illicit funding, contributions, financial support has gone to the
Cain campaign. What reads to be in clear violation of federal election law
-- and this campaign would have spent the day dealing with that scandal. I
think actually probably had more trouble managing the details of response
to that scandal, than this sex story, if they had just had only that to
deal with today.

CAPEHART: Yes, this story, the campaign finance story you are talking
about out of Wisconsin is really interesting. What it boils down to is a
group called Prosperity USA, which was founded by Mark Block, the famous
smoker from the ad, it`s a nonprofit organization.

And under federal law and election law, nonprofits are not allowed,
they are forbidden from giving money to political campaigns. And what
ended up happening is that Prosperity USA spent almost $40,000 on charter,
or airplane charters, iPads and other expenses for the Friends of Herman
Cain. And that money was disclosed by Prosperity USA by not by Cain or by
his campaign.

O`DONNELL: And there could be some Koch brothers funding in that
Prosperity operation. There`s just a lot of dirt in there.

CAPEHART: There`s a lot there.

O`DONNELL: And I just really don`t see on the face of it what the
real answers could be. There`s no legitimate answers on the face of those
accusations to how that money was flowing in to the campaign. We will
follow up with more on that later.

Jonathan Capehart of "The Washington Post" and MSNBC -- thank you very
much for joining us tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, surviving a sex scandal on the campaign trail.
The only model to follow is Bill Clinton in 1992. "Time`s" Joe Klein and
our own Chris Matthews were there. They`ll join me to map the way forward
for the Herman Cain campaign if there is one.

And Melissa Harris-Perry will give us her unique and invaluable
perspective on the charges against Herman Cain. That`s ahead.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Herman Cain campaign team is put to the
first test of crisis management, and they fail completely. But how will
Republican voters react? I`ll ask Joe Klein, Melissa Harris-Perry and
Chris Matthews.

And later, the racial politics of the Republican presidential
campaign. Toure will join me.


ANN COULTER, AUTHOR: Our blacks are so much better than their blacks.




CAIN: These accusations and others that may come up, they will
continue to find out that they are baseless. We are going to leverage this
momentum by continuing to stay with the message.


O`DONNELL: Herman Cain will never be president, but it won`t be
because of the sexual harassment allegations made against him.

One successful presidential candidate faced much worse. Less than
three weeks before the New Hampshire primary in 1992, Gennifer Flowers held
a press conference in New York City where she told the world about her 12-
year affair with Democratic president front runner, Arkansas Governor Bill


GENNIFER FLOWERS: I was Bill Clinton`s lover for 12 years. And for
the past two years I have lied to the press about our relationship to
protect him.

The truth is I loved him. Now he tells me to deny it.


O`DONNELL: And she had the telephone tapes to prove it.



BILL CLINTON: Gennifer? Bill Clinton.

FLOWERS: Hi, Bill.

CLINTON: Hey, I tried to call you. I can`t believe I got you.

FLOWERS: Well, when did you try to call me?

CLINTON: Last night. Late.

FLOWERS: Well, I was here.

CLINTON: Did you take your phone off the hook?

FLOWERS: Well, I did. Well, I`ve been getting some hang up calls and
at one point I took my phone well, I didn`t take it off the hook, I just --

CLINTON: Turned it off.


CLINTON: That`s what it was. I started calling as son as I got home
last night and I called for a couple of hours.

FLOWERS: The reason I was calling was to tell you that -- a couple of
things. This last Wednesday, someone got in to the apartment.

CLINTON: You think they were trying to look for something on us?

FLOWERS: I think so. Why else?


O`DONNELL: But Bill and Hillary Clinton fought back with a joint
interview on CBS "60 Minutes." In that interview which followed the Super
Bowl and was watched by 25 million people, Bill Clinton floated lies like


CLINTON: She was an acquaintance -- I would say a friendly
acquaintance. It is only when money came out, when the tabloid went out
they were offering people money to say that they had been involved with me
that she changed the story. There`s a recession and times are tough and I
think you can expect more and more of these stories as long as they are
down there handing out money.


O`DONNELL: But it didn`t matter to voters what Bill Clinton had to
say. He was obviously guilty as charged. The evening belonged to Hillary
Clinton. Voters wanted to know how she felt about the violation of their
marital vows.

She was in voters` eyes of the victim of the story. Only she could
dispense forgiveness and if she did why shouldn`t everyone else.


HILLARY CLINTON: I`m not sitting here some little woman standing by
my man like Tammy Wynette. I`m sitting here because I love him, and I
respect him and I honor what he`s been through and what we`ve been through
together. And you know? If that`s not enough for people, then heck, don`t
vote for him.


O`DONNELL: Less than three weeks later, Bill Clinton came in second
in the New Hampshire, which under the circumstances was considered a huge
victory by Clinton and the media. He then went on to make history by
becoming the first presidential candidate to lose the New Hampshire primary
and win the presidency.

He also went on to prove he learned nothing from the Gennifer Flowers
experience by managing to get himself impeached and waste years of his
presidency trying to survive a sex scandal with a White House intern. Bill
Clinton proved that surviving a campaign sex scandal is possible. But
Herman Cain is no Bill Clinton.

Joining me now are "Time" magazine columnist Joe Klein who has a piece
on the Republican primary race in the latest issue on the stands now, and
Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor at Tulane university and an MSNBC

Thank you both for joining me tonight.


O`DONNELL: Joe Klein, how much deja vu are you feeling here between
the Clinton and Cain situation?

JOE KLEIN, TIME: Absolutely none, although I`m feeling a bit
nostalgic. As Herman Cain may say it is apples and freight trains. You
know, it`s -- you know, in the Clinton case, it was an act, several many,
multiple acts of consensual sex. It was always consensual.

In Herman Cain`s case they had to pay two women to shut up. You know,
it was a form of sexual harassment.

Now, I think all of these things are overblown. I think this, given
all of Herman Cain`s other sins and almost near total ignorance is a drop
in the bucket. But I think that in the end -- by the way, the real story
of the Gennifer Flowers thing was that it with wasn`t hurting Clinton in
the polls at all. What happened within I think eight days to two weeks,
his letter to the Arkansas National Guard commander came out where he
clearly got himself back out of National Guard service when the coast was
clear. And that was something that voters in New Hampshire really found

And at that point, and only at that point did Clinton`s numbers start
to fall. In fact it was always my theory that Gennifer Flowers scandal
helped him with white, working-class men. That, you know, between dating
lounge singer and hanging out in McDonald`s the guy was living the dream.

O`DONNELL: Melissa, can you imagine something like this helping
Herman Cain with white middle-class men?

HARRIS-PERRY: Potentially. Actually, yes. So, look, I think the
Flowers one is an interesting moment, but part of what`s going on here is
we have to remember, as you pointed out in the introduction to that, the
issue of whether or not a sex scandal or so-called sex scandal ends up
hurting a candidate depends on a couple of things. One, whether or not it
is a scandal that goes to the core of who they are in a demonstration of
hypocrisy, right?

The second is whether or not the wife or partner, the victim, right,
also takes a stance against the candidate.

And then the third is whether or not we think that those people who
are making the allegations are profoundly credible.

Now, the issue with Cain is he`s got a bunch of interesting things
that might actually make this helpful rather than harmful for his campaign.
It`s broken by "Politico." And so, because of our kind of space where we
are in media, some may see it as a liberal attack on the candidate. In
fact, high-tech lynching has once again risen to the top of the search
engines because some are comparing it not to the Bill Clinton moment but
rather to the Clarence Thomas moment.

And the other thing to remember is we, as a public, tend to be very
suspicious of women who make sex scandal allegations and then take any kind
of financial payoff, even if it is completely appropriate, for example and
this may be a completely appropriate response in the context of an
employee-employer relationship, but sort of American public opinion
generally goes against women who make claims whether they be claims of rape
or sexual assault or harassment and then become payees financially.

So, this may not hurt Cain as much as we think that it might.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Cain said on FOX News about the
possibility of more accusations coming out.


CAIN: If more allegations come, I assure you people will simply make
them up. I was aware of the false accusation that took place at the
restaurant association. And then when we were asked for me to comment they
wanted if for it to be from two anonymous sources. We weren`t going to
chase anonymous sources.


O`DONNELL: Joe, you certainly get the feeling more is going to come
out here?

KLEIN: Yes. This is a guy who has -- part of his personality is
saying outrageous things. He said it about immigration. As Jonathan
Capehart pointed out, he said it about black people, he said it about the
president. He does it as a matter of course.

And so, I wouldn`t be surprised if he said outrageous things to women
in his employ. It wouldn`t be a big surprise. I don`t think it is that

But I agree with the other panelist who said that it might help him.
I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today and Rush was in his very high tenor
whiny mode and he was just excoriating the liberal press for taking this
good man down, the racist liberal press -- another strong conservative man
like Clarence Thomas being taken down by the liberal press.


O`DONNELL: Yes, Ann Coulter has been striking some of the same notes.

Melissa, one of the things that did come out later in Bill Clinton`s
files on these matters were nonconsensual accusations by Paula Jones and
others that ended up on this route that got him in to eventually the
impeachment proceedings. So, the nonconsensual nature of these
accusations, do you find that`s a factor one way or the other in how they
are perceived?

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, it certainly could be. Here`s the deal:
Democrats have a harder time surviving that, I think than Republicans for
this reason -- gender politics right now in the Republican Party could
hardly be described as progressive. So, you know, at the moment there are
basically Republican statehouses that are suggesting that women should not
even have the right to choose to terminate pregnancies in the context of
rape and incest, which are clearly nonconsensual acts. On the one hand, we
should think that consent should be the core but in this context it in fact
may not be.

O`DONNELL: Joe Klein of "Time" and Melissa Harris-Perry of MSNBC and
Tulane -- thank you very much for joining me tonight.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the guy who`s seen it all. Chris Matthews will
help us put the Herman Cain scandal in perspective, and don`t be surprised
if he uses an example from his great new back, "Jack Kennedy: Elusive

And in the "Rewrite,": who`s more ridiculous, the Kardashians or the
royal family? Hint, the Kardashians do not actually discriminate against


O`DONNELL: OK, heads up, Herman Cain, campaign staffers, both of you.
Now pay attention. Chris Matthews is going to join me to give you free
advice on how to handle the sex scandal and the campaign finance scandal.

And later, the racial politics of the Republican presidential primary
just keep getting stranger. From the name of Rick Perry`s ranch to what he
calls the fun of doubting the president`s birth certificate, to today`s
revelations about Herman Cain. Toure will put it all together for us.


ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Our blacks are so much better
than their blacks.



O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, the dean of the MSNBC delegation
and the author of the fascinating and deeply personal new book "Jack
Kennedy, Elusive Hero," my friend and colleague, Chris Matthews.

Chris, thank you for staying up late and joining me tonight.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR: You are on the West Coast and here I am
in New York.

O`DONNELL: Exactly. Sorry I am going to miss your book party
tomorrow in New York. Chris, this Herman Cain situation -- we just did a
little retrospect on how Bill Clinton handled it. Is the wife the key? Do
we have to see Mrs. Cain in the management of this thing going forward?

MATTHEWS: I don`t know. That often can be a sign of trouble in
itself. I do think that the -- that this story is not quite at the word
scandal yet. I think he -- my old rule -- and I`m sure you know it -- is -
- it is a familiar one -- if it is better than it looks, they will tell

So at some point, if it looks better -- if it is better than it looks
to us right now just watching it as observers, picking up this rolling
disclosure that comes out, he will let us know, I`d say as early as
tomorrow, if the stories start to go beyond what they are so far.

There`s not a big world of difference between what is being reported
and what he has acknowledged, if you think about it, and you go through
what he has acknowledged. There were complaints made. He said he didn`t
know anything about the settlements, if you will. Well, maybe they weren`t
called settlements to him.

I mean, it is really a matter of nomenclature to a point. But there`s
also this buzz we`re hearing that it`s going to be far worse -- and we`ll
see -- as the major papers report it tomorrow. Everybody is going to keep
their story to themselves until after midnight tonight. Then they`re going
to blow something tonight, I assume.

O`DONNELL: Chris, he`s been getting away with a lot of rookie
mistakes because his electorate is very forgiving of that. They know he`s
a rookie. And they`re letting him do that. Is this how they are going to
play this one? I mean, obviously today was filled with rookie mistakes.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think he benefits from the fact, as you know, he is
running in sort of the western division of the Republican party. He`s
really competing with real arch conservatives. He`s not competing with
Mitt Romney. He is trying to be the one who gets to challenge Mitt Romney
in the showdown coming next January.

I think look at the Chris Christie remark saying it is none of your
business to the young woman who asked about the schooling of his kids.
Look at the smoking in the ad that Cain had on a couple of days ago. There
is a lot of this rubbing it in the face of the establishment.

If he is able to portray this talk about him and his possible
misbehavior at work as part of the effort to sort of dump on him as an
outsider, he might be able to get a bit of freedom on it. But eventually,
he is going to have to respond to the hard charges.

In the short run, I think you`re on -- I think he will benefit from a
reasonable doubt for a couple of days. And then at some point, he will
have to address this.

O`DONNELL: Chris, give us the historical perspective on this, and
mindful of your book, Jack Kennedy, a guy who we now know had more to his
life than his picture of the happy married couple indicated. To go from
that period of time, where politicians could get away with virtually
anything in this category, to where we are today.

MATTHEWS: It is a hell of a spectrum you are talking about, I mean
harassment and love affairs. I think Jack Kennedy probably benefited from
his era, the James Bond era. One of his heroes, James Bond. The "Madmen"
era that we are watching on television these days, a lot of us are, Pan Am.

The early `60s were bracing in many ways. They were also, to a large
extent, as you are implying, sexist. And men were with running the show.
And obviously some men misbehaved.

Jack Kennedy`s behavior was very much romantic rather than harassing,
I think that`s fair to say. But I can get in to it if you want to. What
do you want me to do here? I have spent years trying to figure out who
this guy was, what was he like. His favorite question about biography was
what`s the guy like? What was he like in person? What was he like in high

What was he like in the Navy, in Congress? And I went back and talked
to everybody I could and looked at ever oral history I could, and got
tremendous archival access, beyond anything that has been written about how
this young rich kid developed into the guy who got us through the Cuban
Missile Crisis.

O`DONNELL: Chris, it is a deeply personal book. I want to go to a
passage that includes two friend of mine, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who is
no longer with us, and you. And you are discussing the assassination and
the effects -- the after effects of the assassination of President Kennedy,
the 1963 assassination.

I`m going to read this passage. "Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served
Kennedy as assistant secretary of labor, was the one who said `there is no
point in being Irish if you don`t know the world is going to someday break
your heart.` He carried on Jack`s plan to make Pennsylvania Avenue, the
presidential Inaugural route, a corridor of grandeur. `Make it like
Paris,` he said.

"Pat once remarked to me, in a very personal way, his feeling about
the events of November 1963. `We`ve never gotten over it.` Then looking
at me with generous appreciation, he added, `you`ve never gotten over it.`
I saw it as a kind of benediction and acceptance into something warm and
Irish and splendid, a knighthood of the soul."

MATTHEWS: You work for Pat all of those years. I worked for Tip. I
have to tell you, I was overwhelmed by that, as I am still overwhelmed by
the memory, as if it were this morning, when Jack was killed. And I was at
Holy Cross. You went to Harvard. I went to Holy Cross at the time.

We got the word at 1:00 in the afternoon. I was a freshman checking
my mail. And I was going to history class. They let us out if we didn`t
want to go that day. No cut would be counted against us.

I got to tell you, it was an overwhelming experience. I wanted to go
back and find out if our feelings were accurate. And I did. This guy was
a hero. He was a hero in the war. And he was a hero in the `60s. And
he`s every bit as good as we thought he was.

And that`s the profound discovery of "Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero."

O`DONNELL: Chris, we all remember where we were on that day in 1963.
I was an elementary school student at St. Brendans (ph) in Dorchester, in
Boston. And it is a moment none of us are ever going to forget. And it`s
a moment we are never going to get over.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

O`DONNELL: The book is called "Jack Kennedy, Elusive Hero." Chris
Matthews, thank you very much for joining me tonight.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Lawrence O`Donnell.

O`DONNELL: Still ahead, the Kardashians and the British royal family
love extravagant weddings. And now the British royal family is changing
the rules about who they can marry. The Kardashians, of course, have no
rules. That`s in Rewrite.


O`DONNELL: The Rewrite is coming up next. But first, Virginia
Democrats are condemning a Republican party e-mail depicting a dead
President Obama with a bullet hole in his forehead. In the message, the
Louden County Republicans wrote, "we are going to vanquish the zombies with
clear thinking, conservative principles and a truck load of Republican
candy. It is fun and a great way to represent our candidates to a ton of
voters and their kids just before the election."

After pressure from their own party, the Loudon County Republican
chairman, Mark Sell (ph), released a statement saying it "represented a
lighthearted attempt to inject satire and humor in to the Halloween
holiday. Apparently some individuals have apparently interpreted an image
of Barack Obama as intending to portray the president as a victim of a
violent crime."

Toure joins me later with a look at race in Republican politics.


COULTER: Our blacks are so much better than their blacks.



O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Rewrite, what is left of the terrible idea
that was the British empire, the 16 countries that continue to suffer the
embarrassment of having the queen of England as their head of state, have
decided to Rewrite the rules of succession to the British throne.

What kind of monarchy allows its subjects to Rewrite the rules of the
monarchy through its democratically elected representatives? The joke that
is now something less than one step away from becoming a Kardashian like
reality show, the powerless and pointless British monarchy. The big new
rule is that the first born son or daughter of the British monarch will
succeed to the throne.

What`s the big change in that? The rule has simply been the first
born son of the monarch will succeed to the thrown, and a daughter could
succeed to the throne only if there were no sons at all. The other royalty
rule change is that the king or queen can now marry a Catholic.

No rule change was necessary to allow the king or queen to marry a Jew
or a Muslim. Catholic was the only religion that the monarch was forbidden
from walking down the aisle with. Catholic hatred has been a royal
tradition for centuries. At various time, British law did not allow
Catholics to vote, to own or inherit land, to serve in the Army, to hold
public office, or join a profession like doctor or lawyer.

So Catholics will now have the same opportunities everyone else does
to disappoint their parents and marry a king or queen of England. But it
is still, of course, against the rules for a Catholic to actually become
king or queen.

The "New York Times" greeted the rules change on succession for first
born daughters to be, quote, "a historic blow for women`s rights."

Speaking for the sane subjects of the British crown, Graham Smith, the
head of a group called Republic, that wants an elected head of state, said
nothing of substance had changed. "The monarchy discriminates against
every man, woman and child who isn`t born in to the Windsor family. To
suggest that this has anything to do with equality is utterly absurd. It
fails the equality test both in practice and in principal.

"In principal, all children in Britain should have an equal
opportunity to stand for the position of head of state. Anything short of
that is an affront to the principals of equality. It is extraordinary that
we hear serious politicians proclaiming this change as a blow for equal
rights. Do they ever stop and ask why the eldest should be favored over
the youngest? Or why the Windsor family should be favored over all others?

"It is crass to suggest that any tinkering with the monarchy is an
issue of equality. It makes a laughing stock of Britain and the other
countries seeking to make these changes.

"The monarchy is founded on discrimination and elitism. It has no
place in a debate over equality of opportunity."

Graham Smith for king. I mean, Graham Smith for prime minister. I
mean, prime minister who really is the head of state.


O`DONNELL: Racial politics, Republican style. What have we learned
about the Republican party`s take on race relation in America in this
year`s presidential campaign? From Herman Cain`s denunciation of
brainwashed African-American voters who vote for Democrats, to the name of
Rick Perry`s ranch, to Rick Perry`s confession that it is just fun to
question the president`s birth certificate, and today`s sexual harassment
allegations against Herman Cain.

Some ring wingers saw today`s revelations about Herman Cain as some
kind of left-wing conspiracy.



COULTER: Yep. It absolutely is. It absolutely is. And it is coming
from the exact same people who used to do the lynching with ropes. Now
they do it with a word processor.

HANNITY: You mean the Democratic party?

COULTER: Yes. We had to have national federal civil rights laws to
protect blacks from Democrats.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What`s next, folks? A cartoon
on MSNBC showing Herman Cain with huge lips eating a watermelon? What are
they going to do next? The racial stereotypes that these people are using
to go after Herman Cain -- what`s the one thing it tells us? It -- well,
it tells us who the real racists are.

Yes. But it tells us that Herman Cain is somebody. Don`t you see?
We cannot have a black Republican running for the office of president. We
can`t have one elected. We can`t have an Hispanic. The left owns those
two groups. Anything good that happens to any black or Hispanic in
American politics can only happen via the Democratic party.

If it happens elsewhere, we are going to destroy those people, a la
Clarence Thomas.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Toure, contributor and author
of "Who`s Afraid of Post-Blackness, What It Means To Be Black Now," a work
of "unsparing honestly," according to Harvard Professor Orlando Paterson`s
"New York Times" review of the book.

Toure` thank you very much for joining me tonight.


O`DONNELL: I want to refresh the memory of some of our younger
viewers, or actually introduce it to them for the first time, where this
phrase high-tech lynching entered Republican politics. Let`s listen to
Clarence Thomas at his Senate confirmation hearing.


I can not shot shake off these accusations because they play to the worst
stereotypes we have about black men in this country.


O`DONNELL: Toure, what did -- there`s just this blender of Republican
racial politics that`s gotten mixed up together. I can`t make any sense of
it. Guide us through this.

TOURE: Well, one thing I see -- saw Rush Limbaugh talking about, we
see who the real racist are. And Clarence Thomas is using that same sort
of bazooka to fire back -- is that when we point out moments of racism or
moments of minstrelsy in Herman Cain`s example, they just fire back and
they just use the words racism; that is racist; you are racist.

So it becomes this sort of negating tool, that we will just say racism
wherever we see any racial politics taking place. We will say the race
card is being played anytime anybody points out a moment of racism. And
that just sort of muddles the conversation to where a lot of people are
like, I don`t want to be part of this at all. It seems that two people are
fighting, and I don`t understand what is going on.

But I think that Cain, interestingly, does not exist without Obama
preceding him. He sort of rights the ship in a lot of people`s minds, or
rights the scales. Because Obama is alpha. He is brilliant. He`s a man
that you had to take seriously.

He`s a constitutional law professor that you had to take seriously
when he spoke. Cain sort of reasserts the scales the way people want it to
be, in a lot of ways. He`s charismatic, but he`s a lightweight. His ideas
are not serious. They`re not well thought out.

There is this constant minstrelsy aspect that he keeps bringing up.
This is not something that we`re just making up out of whole cloth. He is
the one who says he wants the Secret Service to call him Corn Bread. He is
the one who says things like "oh, shucky ducky" when he starts.

This is deep black slang that he is using, that we have not seen on a
national public stage before. And even in the yellow flower ad that you
brought out on your show a few days ago, isn`t he the one who gets punched
in his own ad? Do I remember that correctly?

What sort of man, who presents himself as alpha and wanting to be the
leader of the free world, would get punched in his own campaign ad? It
doesn`t make any sense.

And yet Cain allows the GOP to have this sort of force where it`s
like, well, we`re not racist; we are supporting this black man. Even at
the same time that he sort of admits this myth of black facility (ph) and
just sort of self abnegation, and like you don`t have to take us seriously
sort of thing that Obama threw completely out of whack, because you had to
take him dead seriously.

O`DONNELL: Yes, he -- he seems to present himself more as an
entertainer. Today he actually at the end of his speech to the National
Press Club, he sang. He turned to song. He is more of an entertainer, in
many ways, than he is a candidate, isn`t he?

TOURE: Yes. I mean, this way that Colin Powell, Jesse Jackson,
Barack Obama, the blacks who are running for president have presented
themselves as serious intellectuals. We are not entertainers. We may have
a little fun now and then. But we are not here to entertain you. We are
here to lead you.

And here comes Herman Cain, reasserting the scales. Yes, I am an
entertainer. I`m here to entertain you.

O`DONNELL: Toure, the author of "Who`s Afraid of Post-Blackness."
Toure, thank you very, very much for joining me tonight.

TOURE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: You can have THE LAST WORD on-line at our blog, You can follow my Tweets @Lawrence.

"THE ED SHOW" is up next.


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