'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: Jonathan Capehart, Richard Wolffe, Toure, Lisa Bloom, Anima Waheed
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Herman Cain reveals the source of the
sexual harassment story -- you`ll never guess -- it`s Herman Cain.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Remember, this happened 12
MARK BLOCK, CAIN CAMPAIGN CHIEF OF STAFF: Rick Perry and his
campaign owe an apology.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bring it.
O`DONNELL (voice-over): Herman Cain suddenly remembers that he used
to remember the sexual harassment charges and he used to tell people about
CAIN: Excuse me. Excuse me!
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: The candidate is saying I told that kind of
BLOCK: Mr. Cain divulged the NRA claims at that time to his general
SHARPTON: He`s the anonymous source if he told Anderson himself.
DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: Now, he`s recalling that he had a
conversation specifically telling some guy about it several years ago.
SHARPTON: You, yourself briefed your campaign aide.
CAIN: I didn`t intent to contradict myself.
MILBANK: If that`s the case, he just unmasked the anonymous source
SHARPTON: By his own statement before, this information that he gave
CAIN: Don`t even bother asking all of these other questions.
O`DONNELL: Herman Cain also remembers this --
CAIN: I do recall that her performance was not up to par.
I am not even -- I wasn`t even aware of it.
I am unaware.
I was aware that an agreement was reached.
Yes, that was some sort of settlement.
What I do and what I didn`t know. There are legal implications. I
just found out about this today.
What I can now remember and what I couldn`t remember.
MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHIARMAN: That`s what people like about
him. Because he --
O`DONNELL: Republicans are worried about Herman Cain but Democrats
are worried about Mitt Romney.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can`t have
any surprises with our candidate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s more than disgusting.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are a lot of reasons
to elect me. This is not a pretty picture, is it?
O`DONNELL: Mystery solved. Herman Cain-style.
Herman "Sherlock" Cain has figured out who leaked the Cain sexual
harassment story that "Politico" broke on Sunday. Cain laid it out to a
friendly reporter at "Forbes" magazine. How friendly? The reporter was
the author of this article last week entitled, "Why Herman Cain has the
potential to win."
The story of intrigue and betrayal that Cain told "Forbes" began in
2003, when our hero, Herman Cain, is running for the United States Senate
in Georgia. "In the summer of 2003, Cain recalls briefing Curt Anderson --
his general campaign consultant at the time -- that sexual harassment
claims were brought against him while he was chairman of the National
Restaurant Association from 1996 to 1999. `I told my wife about this in
1999 and I`ve got nothing to hide,` Cain told me Wednesday.
`When I sat down with my general campaign consultant Curt Anderson in
a private room in our campaign offices in 2003, we discussed opposition
research on me. I told him that there was only one case, one set of
charges, one woman, while I was at the National Restaurant Association. I
don`t recall anyone else being in the room when I told him.`"
Only one woman. Talk about making a campaign consultant`s day --
only one woman. When`s the last time Curt Anderson had a candidate with
only one woman that he had to keep in the closet? Surely, it couldn`t be
that one woman that motivated Curt Anderson to work for the Perry
presidential campaign this season instead of the Cain campaign.
Herman "Sherlock" Cain is convinced that Curt Anderson and the Perry
campaign team leaked the sexual harassment story to "Politico." The
trouble with that is this statement released today by the Curt "the
"I`ve known Herman Cain for about seven years. I was one of several
consultants on his senate race in 2004 and was proud to help him. I`d
never heard any of these allegations until I read them in `Politico` nor
does anything I read in the press change my opinion that Herman Cain is an
upstanding man and a gentleman. I have great respect for Herman and his
character and I would never speak ill of him on the record or off the
record. That`s true today and it`s not going to change."
How classy is that?
Herman Cain accuses Curt Anderson of being a snake in the grass, a
back stabber, a leaker, about that one woman, and Curt Anderson responds
with such an elegant declaration that Herman Cain is a liar, that people
like Herman Cain and his followers won`t even notice that Curt Anderson
just called Cain a liar. Cain says he told Curt Anderson about the
accusations, Curt Anderson says, no, he didn`t.
And then after calling Cain a liar, Curt Anderson throws in my
favorite sentence of this presidential campaign. "I have great respect for
Herman and his character and I would never speak ill of him." I would
never speak ill of him right now except right now when I`m calling him a
Herman Cain has never had to spin a scandal to the Washington press
corps before. So don`t be surprised if he forgets a lot of what he said
from one interview to the next. And don`t start feeling like super sleuth
just because you can remember way back to, you know, yesterday when Herman
Cain was saying he hadn`t thought about this in 12 years. All he`s saying
now is he hadn`t thought about it in eight years. Big deal -- 12 years,
eight years, what`s the difference?
But we know for sure Herman Cain and his mastermind campaign
strategist, you know this guy --
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s the guy, Mark Block. You know, that every
day of the last 12 days of Herman Cain and Mark`s excellent adventure is
spent thinking about those sexual harassment charges every waking minute
because "Politico" first asked them about it 12 days ago. And what you`ve
seen from Monday morning until now is the Cain story changing by the hour.
Ten days of scheming with his campaign mastermind is not enough to
prepare Herman Cain for what was to come when "Politico" published that
Cain and his camera hungry campaign genius are tired of talking about
charges and confidential agreements. They want to talk about who`s really
to blame for all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLOCK: The actions of the Perry campaign are despicable. Rick Perry
and his campaign owe Herman Cain and his family an apology. Both Rick
Perry campaign and "Politico" did the wrong thing by reporting something
that wasn`t true from anonymous sources.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Herman and Mark don`t just have a Curt Anderson problem.
Now, they also have a Chris Wilson problem. Chris Wilson is a Republican
consultant who is also linked to Rick Perry and has conducted for a super
PAC that supports Perry. Chris Wilson does remember something about Herman
Cain and sexual harassment -- the sexual harassment that he witnessed with
his own eyes.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHRIS WILSON, REPUBLICAN CONSULTANT: I was the pollster for the
National Restaurant Association when Herman Cain was the head of it. And
I`ll tell you, I was actually around a couple times whether this happened
and anyone who was involved with the restaurant association at the time
knew that this was going to come up at the time.
She was a very lower level staffer. I think she was maybe two years
out of college and this all occurred at a restaurant in Crystal City. And
everybody was very aware of it.
And so, it is -- it was only a matter of time because so many people
were aware of what took place. So many people were aware of her situation
and the fact that she left after this. If she does go on the air and talk
about it, I think it will be the end of his campaign.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Chris Wilson later told "Politico" that Cain`s actions at
the restaurant made others present uneasy.
"It was very uncomfortable," said the pollster, recalling that other
individuals present asked Cain to stop.
Conservative radio talk show host Steve Deace who hosts a nationally
syndicated show in Des Moines told "Politico" that Cain said inappropriate
things to staff at his radio station. "Like awkward inappropriate things
he said to two females on my staff, that the fact that the guys wife is
"The Associated Press" reports that a third unidentified female
employee for the National Restaurant Association considered filing though
never filed a complaint against Herman Cain for what she considered
aggressive and unwanted behavior including a private invitation to his
corporate apartment. NBC News has not confirmed that "A.P." story.
Cain has been making the rounds of friendly FOX News interviews, but
has much less to say when confronted by real reporters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Let me say one thing, I`m here with these doctors and that`s
what I`m going to talk about. So don`t even bother asking me all of these
other questions that you all are curious about. OK? Don`t even bother.
REPORTER: I`m concerned about the fact that these women do --
CAIN: What did I say?
REPORTER: Are you concerned about --
CAIN: Excuse me. Excuse me! What part of no don`t some people
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: What part of no don`t some people understand? Maybe the
part that means "no, I don`t want you to sexually harass me in the office
Herman Cain met Georgia House Republicans today at the capital.
According to "Politico," Cain said he and his campaign had found out who
was purportedly leaking word of his behavior toward female employees at the
National Restaurant Association, and that a report was coming out that
would disprove the charges, according to the chief of staff, to one of the
Joining me now MSNBC political analyst and author of "Revival: The
Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House," Richard Wolffe. Also,
MSNBC and Time.com contributor, author of "Who`s Afraid of Post-Blackness,"
Toure. Thank you both for joining me tonight.
TOURE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: So, Toure, there is a report coming out. The Cain
campaign -- I have this funny feeling that this report is going to come out
at exactly the same time that Donald Trump`s important report from his
investigators in Hawaii comes out. Should we be holding our breath for the
report from the Cain campaign?
TOURE: I would not be holding our breath. We don`t see them dealing
with this in a forthright way as all. It`s certainly not a presidential
way. It`s not even really a professional way to deal with it as a
But this is a major moment for the GOP because Cain is a really
important candidate, perhaps more important than any of the other
candidates because he serves a massive psychological purpose. Because
there`s a lot of people in the GOP who have been critical of Obama and made
to feel that they are racists because of their criticism. Some of it has
been racist, some of it has been reasonable, some is business as usual
Republican/Democrat stuff, OK?
Cain comes along offering salvation, liberation. They`re not racist
if you support Herman Cain. So, now, they have this Herman Cain card that
they can throw at us any time they are made to feel racist. So, this is
like a beautiful thing for them.
So, they need him to succeed as long as they can deal with him so
that they can get their Cain card and make it as valuable as possible.
But, of course this whole transaction is a canard.
O`DONNELL: In what way?
TOURE: Cain is giving comfort to racism the way he purports himself
as we discussed before on this show. This is not the person can you hold
up as well -- see, I`m not a racist, I love Herman Cain.
Richard, how long can Cain keep this going?
WOLFFE: Oh, he can sustain his misery for very long time if he
carries on like this.
You know, the interesting thing here is that people talk about
vetting, you know, the idea that candidates need to be vetted. The vetting
in this question in this whole process is not actually whether you got the
skeletons in the closet or that unfortunate employee that you harassed out
of a job.
The vetting is how do you deal with the pressure? You know, are you
up to it? Are you -- can you deal with a fluid situation where your
advisors are over here and the press is over there? Because that in some
way simulates the ridiculousness of being in the Oval Office.
And clearly this man has failed. He`s failed badly. As you pointed
out, he had 12 days to prepare it. He hasn`t got his story straight.
He`s failed vetting not only because he has this dirty secret he`s
trying to hide, but actually because he`s not up to doing anything but the
marketing slogan of 9-9-9. You strip that away, there`s no there there.
O`DONNELL: Now, he said that there`s going to be a report coming out
that will prove all this stuff is fake. He`s also said that we`re going to
be meeting his wife soon, presumably through some friendly interview venue
at FOX News.
Let`s listen to what Herman Cain said on "Meet the Press" about his
wife on October 16th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: Let me tell you why you haven`t seen my wife. I`m running a
different campaign. My wife and I, we have a family life. And she is
maintaining the calmness and tranquility of that family life so when I do
get a day off at the campaign trail, I can go home and enjoy my family.
Secondly, I don`t want to subject my wife and my family to the rigors
and attacks and criticism of this campaign at this point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Toure, how much should Cain really fight this? He`s not
going to be president. He`s not going to get the nomination. He`s not
going to be on anyone`s vice-presidential slot in the ticket.
There is nothing at stake here other than preserving his
marketability as a motivational speaker and whatever deal he can get from
FOX News at the end of the trail.
I mean, how long should he drag this out? Should he pull his wife up
in front of the cameras to defend him? Should he go through all the
motions that a regular politician goes through?
TOURE: I think you do. I think that you try to stretch it out as
lock as you can. As you said, it`s not a real campaign. It`s about
selling books, raising the prices of motivational speaker, seeing what can
you get out of media like FOX News.
So, you`re allowed to be a free swinger. It doesn`t really matter
what is coming at you. It just can I -- how long can I stay on this stage
as a potentially or ostensibly viable candidate? So, as long as you can
stay on there, then you know, keep going.
O`DONNELL: Richard, as Sarah Palin can tell him, losing candidates
have to prepare themselves for whatever industry they`re going to find
themselves in after the campaign.
O`DONNELL: Isn`t he on the verge of doing enough damage to himself
that he really won`t have much marketability after this?
WOLFFE: No, because there`s more of a freak show out there that he
can make money from. And, look, Sarah Palin monetized her brief moment in
the spotlight pretty well.
You know, you`re right. It`s not a real campaign. So maybe none of
this stuff matters especially when unemployment is where it is. And the
world is facing so many serious challenges.
But he says something real about the Republican Party right now. And
that to me is the most interesting. I don`t care if he flails around for a
week or month or whatever it is. Inadvertently, Herman Cain has stumbled
on two real truths about the Republican Party.
Number one that, comment he made about abortion. Live and let live.
Really that`s where the libertarian side of the Tea Party is. If he wants
to go out and play around in his private life, that`s up to him.
Of course, for social conservatives, he is also appealing to, that
doesn`t work. So, he is right there at that split between libertarians and
The other thing is he proved that with a flat tax idea that no matter
how cookie the idea is when Steve Forbes came up with it, the Republican
Party is very different today. What was a losing strategy could take you
at least half way to the nomination.
So, Herman Cain himself may not be credible. What he says about the
Republican Party is incredible.
O`DONNELL: Toure, "The New York Times" is reporting that the lawyer
for one of the women involved in the story, in the accusations, said she
doesn`t want to make public appearances but what they are now negotiating
is the possibility of her releasing a statement. They want to negotiate
that with the National Restaurant Association to either see if it fits
within the confidentiality agreement or get a waiver from the agreement.
It all now is up to the confidentiality agreements which Herman Cain seems
to be relying on to get it through this.
Every reporter is asking him when they get close to him, will you
waive the agreement? He won`t say that he will.
TOURE: He`s not willing to put all his cards on the table. The
other thing I notice here is that if this comes actually as it seems to
from the Rick Perry campaign, then it`s not the high-tech lynching that
Republicans were screaming that it was. It`s not the Democrats attacking
him. It`s coming from his own party.
O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, and, Toure, thank you for joining me for
this update on the Herman Cain troubles. Thank you very much.
WOLFFE: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, I have a message for the women who might want
to tell their side of the story about Herman Cain. It`s OK. You can do
that. I`ll explain exactly how can you do that, next. Don`t worry about
the confidentiality agreements.
And the Democrats believe the fight for the Republican presidential
nomination is over and they have started campaigning against the winner of
that nomination. We`ll show you the first ad of the Democratic
presidential campaign and it is not starring Barack Obama.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Everybody knows who`s really to blame for
CAIN: Some anonymous ladies have stirred up the controversy, with
respect to these false claims of sexual harassment.
COLBERT: Yes, these ladies are the real harassers hiding behind
their anonymity just because they were paid a settlement to leave their job
in exchange for their silence. And if you don`t talk, clearly, you`re
lying. But Cain is allowed to speak, therefore, he is telling the truth.
It`s a classic case of he said she`s legally prohibited from saying.
(END VIDOE CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. HALEY BARBOUR (R), MISSISSIPPI: I think the best interest of
Herman Cain`s campaign of everybody is let`s get all the facts out. I can
tell you this, if you have a confidentiality agreement that keeps the
public from finding out something that public is interested in knowing the
facts, you ought to go on and get the facts out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And so it all comes down to Herman Cain`s confidentiality
agreements. His public image is built on confidentiality agreements. He
has forced members of his staff to sign confidentiality agreements --
something unheard of in political campaign. Why does he make them do that?
And his confidentiality agreements are saving Herman Cain tonight
from a public confrontation with the women who have accused him of sexual
harassment. As a lawyer for one of the women told "The Washington Post"
yesterday, "If we didn`t have a written settlement agreement that says
confidential and no disparagement, I think she`d be very comfortable coming
Feeling completely protected by the confidentiality agreements, the
Cain campaign mastermind, the smoking guy, taunted the women tonight on FOX
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLOCK: Mr. Cain has never committed any sexual harassment, period,
end of story. I would challenge anybody that has these statements to be
made to come forward with the person making the statements. Face Mr. Cain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And so you have been challenged, you women who have
accused Herman Cain of sexual harassment. I know you and your lawyers fear
what would happen to you if you did come forward, if you violated your
I am here to tell you that absolutely nothing would happen. The
advice your lawyers are giving you is legal advice offered within the
confines of a legal matter. Now, you need political advise because this is
in fact not a legal matter anymore. This is a political matter.
Your lawyers have told you that if you violate your confidentiality
agreements, the National Restaurant Association, a Washington lobbying
group, can sue you for doing that. They can drag you into court. They can
get their settlement money back from you and possibly get more money from
you in damages and legal fees.
I am here to tell you that that can never and will never happen. And
I am telling you that as a political fact. That is the political reality
you and the restaurant association are facing.
The National Restaurant Association spends its day lobbying Congress
against increasing in the minimum wage among many other legislative
interests that restaurant and hotel business has.
The National Restaurant Association knows that they would pay an
extreme and immediate political price for suing you for telling the truth
about what happens in the Washington headquarters of the National
They know that if they sue you, they will not be allowed to set foot
in at least half of the offices in the United States Senate and a couple of
hundred offices in the House of Representatives. They know practical
politics and representing the interests of their members means they
absolutely cannot afford to sue you.
They also know their legal prospect of success with a Washington,
D.C. jury are close to zero. You women have nothing to fear anymore in
Herman Cain -- nothing. You women have nothing to fear anymore in the
National Restaurant Association.
You women have nothing to fear in those confidentiality agreements.
They are just pieces of paper.
I know stepping in front of a microphone in a situation like this is
something that some women, maybe most women, for very good reason, simply
cannot bring themselves to do. Indeed that, would probably be my personal
advice to any friend of mine in this situation.
The lawyer for one of the women tonight said, quote, "She doesn`t
want to become another Anita Hill."
But if any of the others of you want to speak, if you simply cannot
bear Herman Cain and his spokesman calling you women "liars," then I
personally promise you that if you do come forward be it on this program or
any other program or in a general news conference and tell the truth, I
will provide you all of the funding you might need for a legal defense fund
to fight and beat the National Restaurant Association and Herman Cain at
their confidentiality game.
Here`s what Herman Cain said yesterday about waiving the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: If the restaurant association waives that, we -- I just found
out about this today, there are legal implications associated with that
that I`m not totally familiar with yet. So, I can`t give you a definitive
answer on that until we consult with our legal attorneys and also talk to,
you know, some others. We can`t answer that right now. It`s too soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It`s not too soon, Mr. Cain. The time is up on your
Joining me now is Lisa Bloom, attorney and founder of the Bloom Firm
and author of the book, "Think Straight: Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a
Thanks very much for joining me tonight, Lisa.
LISA BLOOM, BLOOM FIRM: Thanks, Lawrence. I love your analysis.
O`DONNELL: Look, Lisa, this is political reality. This is a
As you know, people think that -- you know if, there was a
government entity involved, if this was, you know, you`re going to go
against a district attorney or an attorney general or something, that`s a
whole different situation.
O`DONNELL: This is a private legal matter. It is entirely up to the
restaurant association to decide what to do if one of these women violates
the confidentiality agreement, and I see absolutely no possibility of the
restaurant association taking action.
BLOOM: Well, let me just say in my 25 years as an attorney, I
represented many, many sexual harassment victims. And I still continue to
These confidentiality agreements are different never case. I`ve
negotiated many of them. Sometimes, there`s a liquidated damages clause
which means not only would the women give back, say, the $35,000 that we
heard reported, the one-year salary that she got. But in addition, maybe
another $50,000 penalty, maybe $100,000, maybe a larger amount that
probably would not get enforced.
She might also have to pay attorneys fees for the National Restaurant
Association and she might have to go to arbitration which would also be
So, there are a host of expenses that she could be looking at. I
take what you say as a political matter, maybe they would never do it. But
as a legal matter, she would be in some jeopardy if she`s considering
violating the confidentiality clause.
O`DONNELL: But it`s -- you know, it`s a legal matter only on paper.
This is pure politics. I`m hereby guaranteeing any and every one of them
that I will personally guarantee any legal fee, any penalty fee that they
might in any way be liable to in this process.
O`DONNELL: I do that both with the full knowledge that I am
absolutely willing to pay it. I consider this an oral contract as of this
moment. But also I have the knowledge that it will actually never ever,
ever come to that.
BLOOM: Well, I love that. And if I, were representing one of these women,
I would draw up an agreement and you would identify her, you not only pay
anything expenses she would have to pay but her future legal expenses,
provide for her security because you know. As tough as it is I want more
Anita Hills to come out, as much as I want these women to speak the brutal
reality having represented a lot of people on high profile case is this.
It`s almost unimaginable for the rest of us what they go through, not only
the crush of the media.
You know the very aggressive producers banging on their doors day and
night, going to their mother, their cousin, their first grade teacher
trying to dig up dirt on them. I mean it is a very difficult and painful
process. You have to be a very strong person to do it.
I think we all as citizens have an obligation to be strong, to be the Rosa
Parks, to be at Anita Hill to come forward and talk about things that are
difficult. But it`s a lot to ask of ordinary people.
O`DONNELL: It really is. And I appreciate cost aside, I appreciate the
choice that some will make. One has already declared she made to stay
private about this. I can completely understand and respect. That I just
want to say to them that if these are the issues that they`re worried
about, I will absolutely guarantee their safety from those issues.
Lisa bloom, thank you very, very much for joining us tonight.
BLOOM: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Still ahead tonight, first they wanted to see the president`s
birth certificate. Now they want to see the president`s grades. Why don`t
they want to see anyone else`s grades? That`s in the rewrite.
And at this hour, Occupy Oakland protesters have shut down operations at
the port of Oakland wood. We`ll go to Oakland coming up.
O`DONNELL: The Democratic presidential campaign is underway. The
Democrats have released their first TV ad and it doesn`t mention President
Jonathan Capehart will explain why.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the campaign against Mitt Romney is
getting hotter. The democratic campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama will likely not be re-elected in 2012.
That is the headline in "The Wall Street Journal" piece today from Karl
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not going to be ail to win re-election.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has real problems.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: GOP front-runner Mitt Romney has the best chance if the
election were held right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney, are you a member of the tea party?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m for the tea party. I believe
in a lot of what the tea party believes in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney, you`re campaigning as the man that can
fix the economy. Let`s look at your record, sir. You bout two
international plants were closed, 2,000 workers were laid off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Corporations are people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they`re not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course they are. Everything corporations earn
ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it go?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up there on Wall Street is Romney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it hit
the bottom. Let Detroit go bankrupt. Bankrupt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether you were governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would have favored justices like Scalia and Thomas.
Invest in things like our stock market, the world stock market.
ROMNEY: A lot of reasons not to elect me. It`s not a very pretty picture,
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC contributor and
opinion writer for "the Washington Post."
Jonathan, what the --
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Hi Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: What the --
O`DONNELL: This is obviously an attempt to soften up Mitt Romney in a
potential general election because the polls show him running stronger
against President Obama than any other Republican. But aren`t -- the
Democrats here on this super pact that trying to actually defeat Romney in
the Republican primary so that they can get a weaker opponent than the
CAPEHART: I mean that could be part of it. Look, I think that the folks
that the pact priorities USA. I think they look - they view Mitt Romney as
the eventual nominee of the Republican Party. As you said, they are
looking to soften him up. If it turns out that Herman Cain actually
becomes the nominee, or Governor Rick Perry or anyone else, they are
priorities USA is very willing and able to pivot on a dime and basically
use that same template that they used to clobber Mitt Romney to clobber
anyone else who could possibly become the Republican nominee.
And it`s also because, look, when you have an incumbent president with
unemployment at, above nine percent, with an economy still in the toilet
with uncertainty about what`s going to happen in Europe and its economic
future, with the uncertainty in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are so many
problems facing this incumbent. If you want that incumbent to win, you
work as early and as fast as possible to soften up that eventual opponent.
And that`s exactly what they`re doing here with that ads.
O`DONNELL: But when I watch that ads, someone has to tell me that
Democrats made that ads. Because it just looks like the latest entry in
the Republican primary. I mean if you`re Rick Perry, the great news of the
week is what`s happening to Herman Cain and that ad.
CAPEHART: Well, yes. I mean look, I think this is unusual. I mean ,
correct me if I`m wrong, I don`t recall a Republican pack interjecting
itself into the Democratic Party`s nomination process in 2008. Clearly,
there is a lot of concern and recognition, quite frankly that, the
president is vulnerable for all the reasons I just mentioned.
And if -- what they can do is put out an ad that clobbers Mitt Romney and
softens him up for the general and maybe not hurt him in the primary but
hurt him enough that he comes hobbling over to President Obama in the first
debate, so be it. I think that`s their point of view.
O`DONNELL: The new Quinnipiac poll shows numbers moving in good direction
for President Obama. Approval rating has gone from 41 percent to the
beginning of October to 47 percent now. Disapproval has dropped from 55 to
The matchup of President Obama versus Mitt Romney basically the same was
46/42 in the president`s favor. Now it`s 47-42 in the president`s favor.
He has bigger leads over the other potential Republican candidates. So the
numbers right now are stabilizing or inching in directions that are good
for the president.
CAPEHART: The president`s numbers -- again, for all the reasons that I
just enumerated before, high unemployment, economic uncertainty, that the
president is sitting at 46 percent approval is astounding. It`s
remarkable. In a good way.
It shows that, you know, this new tact that the president has taken since
September 8th in the joint session of Congress going right after congress,
the do-nothing Congress is working. Because finally, he looks like he is
fighting for the American people. That`s what they`ve been demanding from
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart of "the Washington Post," thank you very much
for joining me tonight.
CAPEHART: Thanked, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Occupy Oakland protesters stopped the flow of goods
at the nation`s fifth busiest port. That`s coming up.
And next, crazy Republicans have gone from demanding to see the president`s
birth certificate to demanding to see his college grades. Why have they
never demanded that of any other president? What is it about President
Obama that provokes them, that just makes them suddenly want to demand
academic credentials? What is so different about President Obama? Just
what could that be? Just look at that picture. I don`t know. That`s next
in the rewrite.
O`DONNELL: The mother of secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton is
being remembered today as a strong and generous woman. Dorothy Rodham
passed away yesterday at George Washington University Hospital surrounded
by her family.
She lived to enjoy a series of moments with her daughter that no other
mother in history has, seeing her daughter at two presidential
inaugurations while her husband was taking the oath of office, then seeing
her daughter take that same oath to support and defend the constitution of
the United States as a United States senator. And seeing that same
daughter sworn in yet again as the secretary of state of the United States
Dorothy Rodham was 92.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Look, I haven`t seen his grades. My grades ended up on the front
page of the newspaper. So if we`re going to show stuff, let`s show stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s "rewrite."
Today on Capitol Hill, Herman Cain made his way to various meetings with
members of Congress dodging reporters` questions about sexual harassment
every step of the way.
Texas Republican congressman Michael Burgess put out the welcome mat for
Herman Cain and said this to reporters about the sexual harassment story --
"you guys are going to vet this and I have every belief you`re going to
look into this as carefully as you looked into President Obama`s college
Burgess then proceeded with his meeting with Herman Cain wherein he
promptly forgot to demand Herman Cain`s college grades. Looney Right-Wing
Republicans have we written their demand to get their hands on the
president`s report cards. No Republican has ever asked to see a
president`s report card before, not once. They`ve never asked it of
Republican presidents. They`ve never asked it of democratic presidents.
What is it about this president that provokes this first time in history
demand? Let me see your college grades. What is it? What is it about
this guy? They didn`t ask it of have guy. Or this guy. Or this guy. No.
And they didn`t ask it of this guy. Or this guy.
What, just what so different about this guy? What is so different about
him? I just don`t get it. I can look at these pictures of all of the
president`s all day and I just can`t figure out what is so different about
President Barack Obama? I just look at that picture. What is it?
You know this is actually a game that Democrats just might want to play. I
mean I, for one, would have no problem choosing our president based on
their own academic credentials. If we did, this guy, an undistinguished
graduate of eureka college could never take the presidency away from this
guy who graduated with distinction from the United States naval academy in
the top 10 percent of his class. He was then commissioned in the U.S.
Navy. He went on to work in the Navy`s newly formed nuclear submarine
program as a lieutenant.
And this guy, a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard law school and
president of the distinguished Harvard law review would have never even
needed to campaign against this guy who like his father and grandfather
before him got a political appointment to the United States` naval academy
in Annapolis and graduated at the very bottom of his class, 894 out of 899
graduating mid shipmen.
O`DONNELL: All day today, thousands of Occupy Wall Street protesters are
on the country from New York City to Philadelphia to Oakland marched in
solidarity all leading up to this moment tonight.
You are looking at pictures from Oakland tonight. An estimated 10,000
protesters have forced management to shut down operations for the night
shift. The gathering at the port is the culmination of a day of protests
labeled general strike.
Protesters say the port is a major point of entry for Chinese exports and
employers at the ports` main office were sent home early today and city
officials also forced downtown businesses to close early in anticipation of
the protesters. So far, there is no word on arrests in Oakland.
There was little police presence earlier in the day as 4500 occupy Oakland
demonstrators marched on big corporations and banks in the area like this
Joining me now from the occupy Oakland headquarters, Amina Waheed, a
journalism graduate student at UC Berkeley and reporter for the Oakland
north news site. Thank you very much for joining me tonight.
Hi. Good to be here Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: There is going to be a satellite delay. And it`s going to feel
like very, very long distance phone call here. We`ll put up with it. What
is the feeling in Oakland tonight? Is there -- is it a peaceful
atmosphere? Is there a sense of more possible clashes with police?
AMINA WAHEED, GRADUATE STUDENT, UC BERKELEY: It doesn`t seem that way. I
mean the most of the day was pretty peaceful. You know, there is very
minimal police presence. I mean we barely saw any police out on the
streets today. Maybe on the perimeter about six cops on motorcycles kind
of just guarding and patrolling here and there. But really no police on
the streets. Until now. There are paramedics going this way. I`m sorry.
O`DONNELL: Don`t worry about it. We can hear you.
WAHEED: So it`s very minimal police presence out here. Looks very
peaceful. I know we have -- there were 5,000 people they saying that we
were at the port earlier and they`re joined by even more thousands that
left from the plaza just at 7:30, a little about a half hour ago. So the
numbers are large at the port right now.
O`DONNELL: There seems to be growing stress between the mayor and the
police in Oakland. The police officers association released an open letter
saying "we, too, are the 99 percent. As your police officers, we are
confused. Aren`t the mayor and her administration part of the
establishment they are paying city employees to protest? Is it the city`s
intention to have employees on both sides of the skirmish line?" What is
that all about?
WAHEED: You know we`re still looking into that. That`s definitely the
tensions between the city council and the police, seeming to something on
our radar as press based here in Oakland. You know one of our chief of
police Anthony Bats resigned a few weeks ago and so there is lot of
questions that are circulating what`s going on really behind closed doors
between city council and the police establishment going on right now. So
that is something we`re still looking into.
O`DONNELL: Amina Waheed, live from Oakland. Thank you very much for
joining us tonight.
WAHEED: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: You can have the last word online at our blog,
thelastword.msnbc.com. And you can follow my tweets at large. "THE ED
SHOW" is up next.
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