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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, November 28th, 2011

Read the transcript to the Monday show

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Guests: Goldie Taylor, Michelle Goldberg, Tim Pawlenty, Dave Zirin


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Good evening, Rachel. I couldn`t have been
more delighted watching you address Tim Pawlenty kind of directly as he was
sitting in our green room there. I`m glad you guys connected. It looks
like you are going to get him.

RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: It looks like I am going to get him with a
healthy assist from you, my friend. Thank you very much.

O`DONNELL: I get him to sign something when he comes on the show
saying he`ll do it.

MADDOW: We also have leg irons if that would help.

O`DONNELL: We will get him for you. It will definitely happen.

MADDOW: Awesome, Lawrence. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.

Well, Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain are battling for headlines and
thanks to another woman, Herman Cain wins.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did not have an affair,
OK?

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Another explosive allegation against Herman
Cain.

CAIN: Another accusation that I had an affair with someone. But I
acknowledged that I knew the women.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Herman Cain denied the new allegation.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: That statement that Lin Wood put out is as
close to a confirmation of the allegations as you can come to.

MATTHEWS: According to her, it lasted 13 years.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Did you know her for 13 years?

CAIN: Yes, but I did not have an affair, OK?

SHARPTON: A fish wouldn`t get caught if he kept his mouth shut.

SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Poor Herman Cain, he wants to sell books.
He doesn`t want to be president.

SHARPTON: Let`s cut to the chase.

MATTHEWS: Does this guy already toast?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exit left, please Herman Cain.

CAIN: I`m not driving out of this race, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, wait a minute. What about Newt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keep that sort of sweeping gigantic ego.

UNIDENTIFIED FAMALE: Newt Gingrich has picked up a key endorsement in
New Hampshire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has the potential to shake up the race there.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Once the "Union Leader" makes you their guy,
you are their guy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gingrich has affairs in his past. But we knew
about them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newt Gingrich can`t win the general election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gingrich is going to have a better time in the
general election than Mitt Romney. We don`t think he`s got it.

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR: Anybody but Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s the managerial type.

STEELE: Mitt still has a problem connecting with the base.

HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST: Romney is, as Andrew Sullivan said,
makes plastic look genuine.

STEIN: I got to think that like Jon Huntsman is sitting there just
sort of holding his head in his hands.

JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A month ago, for Newt
Gingrich to have been on the running to capture the "Manchester Union
Leader" endorsement would be been incredible.

ANN COULTER: If you don`t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the
nominee and we`ll lose.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Newt Gingrich was able to surge to the top of the
Republican primary presidential polls only after the Herman Cain bubble
burst. Sexual harassment allegations started Cain`s slippage in the polls,
followed by repeated demonstrations of a lack of authority on the issues of
the day confronting all of the candidates and then, of course, there was
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: OK, Libya. President Obama supported the uprising, correct? I
do not agree with the way he handled it for the following reason -- no,
that`s a different one. I got to go back. Let`s see. I got all awe of
this stuff twirling around on my head.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: It turns out that one of the things twirling around in his
head today was the certain knowledge that his campaign was going to be
crushed today by Ginger White, who tonight revealed details of what she
said was her over 13-year off and on affair with Herman Cain.

Ginger White told a FOX News Atlanta affiliate that the affair began
in the late 1990s in Louisville, Kentucky, where she saw the then president
of the National Restaurant Association give a presentation. Afterwards she
and Cain shared drinks and Cain invited her back to his hotel room.

Sound familiar?

Over the next 13 years, he flew her to cities where he was speaking
and gave her gifts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGER WHITE: It was pretty simple. It wasn`t complicated. I was
aware that he was married and I was also aware that I was involved in a
very inappropriate situation, relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: As evidence of their relationship, Ginger White produced
two books allegedly signed by Cain. She has cell phone bills showing 61
phone calls or text messages to or from Cain`s private cell phone. The
latest from September of this year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: We texted the number in Herman Cain called us back. He
told us he knew Ginger White but said these are more false allegations. He
said she had his number because he was trying to help her financially.
That was the end of the call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Herman Cain`s criminal lawyer, Lin Wood issued a statement
tonight. You remember Lin Wood; he`s the tough guy that went all gangsta
against the woman charging Herman Cain with sexual harassment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIN WOOD, ATTORNEY: And now, Herman Cain in the court of public
opinion has to respond, not to admissible evidence. He has to respond to
hearsay. He`s not afforded the opportunity for me to cross-examine his
accusers. He`s not afforded the safeguards that are part of our system of
justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The statement Lin Wood issued tonight is the political
equivalent of an admission of what Ginger White is saying, an admission
that it`s absolutely true. Here`s Lin Wood`s statement:

"This appears to be an accusation of private alleged consensual
conduct between adult -- a subject matter which is not a proper subject of
inquiry by the media or the public. Mr. Cain has alerted his wife to this
new accusation and discussed it with her. He has no obligation to discuss
these types of accusations publicly with the media and he will not do so
going forward."

Now, when a politician`s criminal defense lawyer says the politician
will not discuss an allegation that the politician had an affair with that
allegation being made on television by the woman who claims the affair,
that politician is essentially telling you that everything that woman is
saying is true. It is so true that the politician can`t even talk about
it.

When Herman Cain`s campaign peters out, most Republican voters will
remember the charges of sexual harassment or perhaps this 13-year affair --
as Herman Cain`s worst sin as a candidate. But, in fact, his worst sin as
a candidate was this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAIN: Many African-Americans have been brainwashed in to not being
open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have
received some of that vitriol simply because I`m running for the Republican
nomination as a conservative. So, it`s just brainwashing and people not
being open minded -- pure and simple.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: African-Americans vote Democratic because they have been
brainwashed.

The sad truth about our politics is that most Republican Cain
supporters were probably more delighted by that statement than anything
Cain had to say about his ridiculous 999 tax plan. Herman Cain ran for
president as a stunt, a book-selling, income-enhancing stunt. And in the
process, he has now visited stress and anguish and possibly tonight again
embarrassment on his wife of 43 years, Gloria Cain.

According to the "Atlanta Journal Constitution," public voting records
show that Gloria Cain has voted in numerous Democratic primaries and
runoffs since 2000, including the 2008 Democratic presidential primary in
Georgia. That was the first time Gloria Cain had a chance in her lifetime
to vote for a black candidate for president who she could reasonably
believe was actually on his way to becoming president. Gloria Cain was
very probably an Obama voter in 2008.

Herman Cain`s criminal lawyer says that Mr. Cain has alerted his wife
to this new accusation and discussed it with her.

Every husband has something to apologize for to his wife and every
wife has something to apologize for to her husband. We may never know what
Herman Cain has had to apologize to Gloria Cain for this year, but saying
that she was brainwashed in to voting Democratic would be a good place for
Herman Cain to begin his apologies to Gloria Cain.

Joining me now: editorial writer for the "Washington Post" and MSNBC
contributor Jonathan Capehart. Also, Goldie Taylor, contributor to
TheGrio.com, which is part of NBC News.

Thank you both for joining me.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Goldie, we were all glued to the local Atlanta television
news broadcast this evening where these accusations unfolded. What it is
like there in Atlanta tonight with the local media since this is where it
all broke.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, THEGRIO.COM: Well, I`ll tell you first that it is --
it is incredibly quiet. I actually ironically started my career at that
station almost 25 years ago. And Dale Russell, the report who are broke
the story, he`s the kind of guy I would rather have the CIA walking up my
driveway than to see Dale Russell come see me, because when Dale Russell
comes, he has his facts and that`s the truth of the matter.

And so, it is out is quiet here in Atlanta. You know, at some point,
and we have been saying this for a very long time, Herman Cain was never
going to be the Republican nominee. He was never going to be the president
of the United States. And the question was, when was he going to take the
midnight train home to Georgia and I`ve got to imagine he is probably
checking ticket prices tonight.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, he -- knowing that this was coming
because as we saw in the Atlanta TV report, the reporter actually called
and got on the phone with Herman Cain. So, when Herman Cain hung up that
phone, there must have been a very dramatic conversation with the smoking
guy at the campaign headquarters where Herman Cain has to say, look, here`s
what they have got. Here`s what they are going to come at me with.

And so, he was advised to go on CNN and talk to Wolf Blitzer about
this and do a preemptory strike before the report came out.

Let`s listen to what he said on CNN today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Tell us about the nature of your relationship with this
woman.

CAIN: Friend and trying to help a friend because not having a job, et
cetera, and this sort of thing. That`s all there is to the relationship.
And here again, I don`t know what`s going to be claimed in the story.

It was someone who was supposed to be a friend but obviously they
didn`t see it as a friendship.

BLITZER: And when you say "friend," was it an -- I mean, I`m asking
awkward questions but I`ll ask you the questions you`re going to be asked.
Was this an affair?

CAIN: No, it was not.

BLITZER: There was no sex?

CAIN: No.

BLITZER: None?

CAIN: No.

BLITZER: And if this woman says there is, she is lying? Is that what
you`re --

CAIN: Well, Wolf, let`s see what the story is going to be. I don`t
want to get in to being pinned down on things until we see what the story
is going to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, I think we`ve now seen what the story
is going to be. Herman Cain`s criminal lawyer says he`s not going to
answer anymore questions about it. Where does the Cain campaign go from
here?

CAPEHART: You know, I`m not sure, Lawrence. At the time that Herman
Cain was on with Wolf Blitzer was at the same time that FOX 5 in Atlanta
put up its story. Not the video but just the written story and then that
statement from Lin Wood.

So, while Herman Cain is telling Wolf Blitzer, I her, 13 years, just a
friendship. I helped her out financially. That statement, which you
showed at the top of the show says that what happens -- you know, it wasn`t
sexual harassment, this wasn`t sexual assault. That that what happens
between private conduct between consenting adults is, you know, no one`s
business. As you said, it`s as close as to you`re going to get to an
admission as there ever going to get.

The lawyer and clients are not on the same page. And quite frankly,
to all of the married people out there, if you found out your spouse was
contacting someone else at 4:26 a.m. via text or cell phone, and that your
spouse was giving money to that person over the course of a 13-year
friendship or however long, wouldn`t you be a little suspicious and maybe
even downright upset?

O`DONNELL: Goldie, I have a feeling we are not going to see Gloria
Cain out on some FOX News show doing some form of defense on this one.

TAYLOR: I`m going to imagine she wouldn`t be. And I think, right
now, you know, my heart really goes out to Gloria Cain and the entire Cain
family because this is something that, you know, they did not ask for. But
to hear from Herman Cain, this is nothing short of a crisis of arrogance.
That he would believe that he could run for the president of this United
States and have had a 13-year long relationship with a woman his wife did
not know, who reportedly paid her rent, reportedly take her on trips,
reportedly text and call her at 4:00 a.m. in the morning, that he would
believe he could get away with something like that I think it is a crisis
of arrogance.

And so, you got to wonder if he does pull the train home to Georgia,
or if he keeps moving until the last book tour is scheduled.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, we have a call into the National
Restaurant Association, trying to find out if the national restaurant
association actually paid for her tickets to these places that she says she
traveled to with Herman Cain on business for National Restaurant
Association. It will be interesting to see how complicit their own system
was in allowing this to happen and how open they will be about answering
questions about that.

But it seems to me that the Cain thing was always supposed to be a
stunt to sell books, to increase his speaking fees and he was at best
hoping to get to, I don`t know, 7 percent or 8 percent in the polls just to
be ahead of a few people in the polls. If he could do that, it would
enhance his value and that`s what this is all about. He was never supposed
to be a front runner and get to this level of scrutiny. And his family was
never supposed to suffer this stuff.

CAPEHART: Right. A couple of sources I talked to said, you know,
around the time that Herman Cain rocketed to the top of the polls, I asked,
is he as surprised as all of us are that he is on the top of the polls and
he said yes, he is. Remember when he gave that interview, the famous, OK,
Libya, answer? He was in Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin primary is nowhere near Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, or
South Carolina. Why was he in Wisconsin?

He`s been going all over the place, all over the country, not running
for president but on a very big book tour trying to get his name out there,
and quite frankly, if things had gone better, if things had gone
differently without these now five women coming forward, he could have been
the black male Republican version of Sarah Palin, media star.

O`DONNELL: Goldie, I have to agree with you, tonight is the night
your heart goes out to Mrs. Cain, if it hasn`t already.

Goldie Taylor of thegrio.com and Jonathan Capehart of the "Washington
Post" -- thank you both very much for joining us tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

TAYLOR: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: can the twice divorced and three times married
Newt Gingrich get the support of right wing Christian self-proclaimed
family values voters?

And I`ll talk to Romney supporter Tim Pawlenty about the Romney
campaign`s lying television ad and the troubles of Herman Cain.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, this just came in from @HermanCain, he said,
Soul Train. Uh -- wait a minute, let me see if we are talking about the
same one "Soul Train" -- I got a lot of stuff twirling in my head, you
know?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: And the winner of the first big newspaper endorsement in
the Republican presidential campaign is Newton Leroy Gingrich. New
Hampshire`s largest and most conservative newspaper, "The Union Leader,"
gave its coveted endorsement to Gingrich yesterday, in a state where
Willard M. Romney has a huge lead in the polls.

"We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than
one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear. Newt Gingrich is by no
means the perfect candidate, but Republican primary voters too often make
the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who`s
actually running. In this incredibly important election, that candidate is
Newt Gingrich."

That endorsement should help Gingrich narrow Romney`s lead in New
Hampshire but today. Gingrich was doing his endorsement victory lap in
South Carolina where he now has a strong chance of actually beating Romney.

In an interview with a South Carolina radio station, Gingrich was
asked about the "Union Leader`s" statement that he is by no means the
perfect candidate.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anybody who is honest
about it knows that no person except Christ has ever been perfect. And so,
I don`t claim to be the perfect candidate. I just claim to be a lot more
conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anybody else.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Newt Gingrich is now actually being considered for a
possible endorsement from the Iowa-based conservative group Family Leader -
- a group that ruled out the possibility of endorsing former liberal Mitt
Romney.

Asked about Gingrich`s serial marriages and the affairs he`s conducted
during those marriages, the Family Leader`s director of development said,
quote, "I have heard him speak candidly about those thing and I`ve been
convinced he is remorseful. I`m willing to forgive and move on."

This is what Gingrich said at the Family Leader forum earlier this
month about his first marriage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: After I got married and things became more complicated --
we had two wonderful daughters -- although I was remarkably successful in
ways. I was a PhD, I was a congressman, and had a lot of very exciting
things going on, there was a part of me that was truly hollow. I wasn`t
drinking but I had precisely the symptoms of someone who was collapsing
under this weight.

And I found myself, you know, as an emerging national figure reading
the big book and trying to understand where I had failed and why I was
empty and why I had to turn to God. And I think had I not had that
experience, had I not had that intervention, I might literally have
collapsed totally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The problem there for Gingrich in that part of his story
is that after all of that, his first marriage did collapse and he went on
to a second marriage during which he started an affair with the woman who
was to become his third and current wife Callista.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I have been very, very fortunate, very blessed. Calista
and I have a wonderful marriage. But all of that has required a great deal
of pain. Some of which I have caused, others which I regret deeply.
Others have required going to God to seek both reconciliation, but also to
seek God`s acceptance that I had to recognize how limited I was and how
much I had to depend on him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Michelle Goldberg, a senior writer for
"Newsweek" and "The Daily Beast." Her latest piece is about evangelical
Christians and the possible embrace of Gingrich`s candidacy.

Thanks for joining me tonight, Michelle.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEWSWEEK: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: While it turns out Christianity is, of course, a forgiving
religion. That was its contribution to theology actually when it came
along. That was a new idea in religion and that`s what he is counting on,
is that this -- and especially Catholicism which he joined. That`s the
religion where you get to go to confession, confess it all and everything
can be made OK.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think he`s counting on that. He`s also counting on
a base that really, really, really doesn`t want to nominate Mitt Romney.

O`DONNELL: Cannot nominate Romney.

GOLDBERG: Yes. But, certainly, this narrative of sin and redemption,
he is able to plug in to.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

GOLDBERG: It allows his supporters, people who kind of want to
support him because they are desperate not to vote for Mitt Romney, to
convince themselves that something more than political expediency is at
stake. That they are not just like the feminist who supported Bill Clinton
that said, you know, whatever is going on in his personal life, he`s going
to support our policy objectives. This allows them to actually see their
willingness to overlook his serial philandering as something a lot more
kind of noble and even spiritual.

O`DONNELL: I love this line in your piece today. You say -- you
quote this the guy in Iowa who says, maybe the guy in the race that would
make the best president is on his third marriage. How do we reconcile
that? I mean, that is it.

GOLDBERG: And he goes on. Right. And he goes on to compare Newt
Gingrich to King David, you know, who also -- whose misdeeds were even
worse and had more wives than Newt Gingrich but nevertheless was a great
leader.

And so, if you look in the Bible you can find examples of men who were
incredibly morally compromised but also had kind of Godly missions. And
those kind of reaches again that they are being driven to make by the
incredible thinness of the Republican bench and their just kind of total
possibility of options.

O`DONNELL: But they -- I mean, the Christian conservative vote faces
a process of elimination, like every other voter does. And frequently, the
American voter is choosing the lesser of two or three or four evils -- as
is possible in a primary. And it makes sense to me that especially with
Romney as the alternative, a Mormon, which these voters don`t like the idea
of, and a former liberal, it makes sense to me that Romney has actually
more sins in being a formal liberal than Gingrich does in his marital
history.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think that makes sense. What a little bit strange
is that they have -- they do have a couple other options, and especially a
group like the Family Leader. The Family Leader which narrowed the choices
down to four, you know, is asking the candidates to sign something called a
marriage vow.

And not just -- it goes beyond just promising to ban gay marriage. It
talks about, you know, condemning the hypocrisy of those who pretend to
defend traditional marriage, while ignoring adultery and marital weaknesses
in their own community. You know, and the fact that Newt Gingrich can sign
this with a straight face is sort of astonishing. And the fact that
despite this, they are considering him as a valid candidate, you know,
above Rick Perry, above Michele Bachmann, above Rick Santorum, kind of
shows that they are a little bit more politically expedient than they like
to present themselves.

O`DONNELL: If they are going on their values, it would be Santorum or
Bachmann, right?

GOLDBERG: Or Romney. Well, yes, Santorum or Bachmann, possibly
Perry. It certainly would not be Gingrich. And I think even they thought
-- you know, when I talked to them, even they thought it would disqualify
him.

O`DONNELL: Right. I certainly did.

GOLDBERG: Yes, I think everybody did.

And hat they saw in focus groups, especially after his performance at
the Iowa Family Leader debate is their supporters, even their kind of
soccer mom, female supporters that they thought would be hardest on him
bought in to his apocalyptic rhetoric about the great show down talking
place in this country, enough to over look his complete hypocrisy on, you
know, his personal family values.

O`DONNELL: Michelle Goldberg, thanks for your reporting and thanks
for joining us tonight.

GOLDBERG: Thanks so much.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Tim Pawlenty is here and I`ll ask him about
Mitt Romney`s first TV ad, you know, the one in which the Romney campaign
lies about President Obama. And in the "Rewrite" tonight, how the United
States Marines are adapting to the repeal of "don`t ask, don`t tell" and
one of the many, many reasons why we will miss Barney Frank`s voice in the
House of Representatives.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Tim Pawlenty is here. The man who would be at
the top of the polls tonight if he hadn`t dropped out in Iowa. The man who
could be in the Gingrich position. He is out but he is here. And he is
coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Newt Gingrich may be leading in the Republican primary
polls, but it turns out Mitt Romney`s biggest opponent is Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE NARRATOR: From the creator of "I`m running for
office for Pete`s sake" comes the story of two men, trapped in one body,
Mitt versus Mitt.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will preserve and protect
a woman`s right to choose.

ROMNEY: The right next step is to oversee roe v. Wade overturned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE NARRATOR: Two Mitts willing to say anything.

ROMNEY: We put together and exchange in that president`s gasping that
idea. I am glad to hear that.

ROMNEY: Obama care is bad news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE NARRATOR: See it all at mittvmitt.com. The
Democratic National Committee is responsible for the content of this ad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: As of today, that new ad by the DNC is running in six
swing state television markets. Front runner Mitt Romney still riding high
on his endorsement from the New Hampshire Union leader.

Also, took to the air waves today in Charleston, South Carolina to
attack Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We think there has to be a
solid conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. And I think I`m the one
candidate who can bring together a national security conservatives and
economic and social conservatives in order to make sure we have a
conservative nominee.

I wouldn`t lie to the American people. I wouldn`t switch my positions
for political reasons. It is perfectly reasonable to change your position
if facts change if you see new things you didn`t see. Everybody has done
that. Ronald Reagan did it. It is wrong to go around and adopt radically
different positions, based on your need of any one election because then
people have to ask themselves what will you tell me next time?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me is the former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty
and former presidential candidate. Thank you for joining me tonight,
governor.

TIM PAWLENTY, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Glad to be with you.

O`DONNELL: You know, as you know, I famously picked you to be by now
the Republican front runner by the process of elimination that I saw
coming. But I just thought if you hung in there, it would - you know, the
support would fall away for everyone else and then you float to the top and
instead it is Gingrich who has got that what should be the Pawlenty
position, floating to the top.

PAWLENTY: You have to let go of this, Lawrence. You are obsessed.
Now, it is time to move on. I had my shot. I had my shot. We didn`t get
it done and now we are talking about my candidate, Mitt Romney and he is
the best candidate in the field by far.

O`DONNELL: But, how do you answer Newt Gingrich on all of this flip
flopping she talking about on Romney which is in the video, I mean, you
can`t deny it happened.

PAWLENTY: Well, first of all, the DNC ad that came out today has been
discredited already and substantial part by credible third party fact
checkers. Politifact for example, came out and said you know what, the
claim about the stimulus part of that ad, the claim about the health care
part of that isn`t right, is not accurate.

Your own network, the parent network NBC released the "meet the press"
full transcript that supported the interview that Mitt did regarding the
health care issue. And if you read the whole transcript, as I did this
afternoon, you will see that DNC did not play fair. And so, Mitt Romney`s
record isn`t perfect, but it`s the best record of any candidate in the
race. He`s a conservative business person. No campaign is perfect. So,
everybody is going to have, as I said before, a few clunkers in their
record but Mitt is the most capable, most electable, most knowledgeable,
most effective leader and candidate in the race.

O`DONNELL: Newt Gingrich says about Mitt Romney, what will you tell
me next time? That is the fundamental problem Romney has with the
Republican electorate, isn`t it?

PAWLENTY: Mitt Romney is running against six or seven other people
for the nomination. He`s been the front runner or near the front of the
pack in the national polls, all the swing state polls. So he doesn`t have
a problem. He is the leading or a leading candidate in the race. As the
race consolidates I think you will see him become the nominee and for good
reason.

Look at his record, Lawrence. Cut taxes in Massachusetts. Cut the
budget in Massachusetts, got the budget balanced after inheriting a
deficit, standing and striking contrast to what president Obama has done
running up deficits and not fixing the problem jobs or employment issues.

Mitt Romney stands for traditional marriage. He stands for pro life.
He is -- if you go down the major issues of concern to Republican voters,
economic in particular, social, as well, Mitt Romney lines up on almost all
of those issues.

O`DONNELL: Now, but in the past he`s been on the other side of a lot
of those issues. Let`s look at what one really bright candidate had to say
in one of the Republican debates about "Obamneycare."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAWLENTY: Obama care was patterned after Mitt`s plan in Massachusetts
and for Mitt or anyone else to say there aren`t substantial similarities or
essentially the same plan it just isn`t credible. So, that`s why I called
it "Obamneycare" and I think it is a fair label and I`m happy to call it
that again tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now you are a Romney supporter, has he taught you how to
completely reverse your position and now spin that somehow in Romney`s
favor?

PAWLENTY: Well, you are missing an important point. As again, your
parent network, this shows parent network, NBC, the transcript of the
interview with Tim Russert`s show then and Mitt consistently has shown
while he defends what he did in Massachusetts as one state`s initiative, he
does not support it as a federal initiative and does not believe it should
be rolled out nationally or believe it should be a national mandate and
said repeatedly, passionately and persuasively that he will repeal Obama
care`s presence. He told me that. He told the country that.

O`DONNELL: Do you agree with the candidate that said it is the same
thing? That what Romney did in Massachusetts is the same thing is what the
Obama plan turned out to be?

O`DONNELL: Well, there are some differences. There are some
similarities as well. But you are missing the most important two points.
One is he doesn`t want it for the nation. He thinks each state should
decide for themselves. Number two, he said he would repeal it and believes
Obama scare is a mistake for the nation. That`s a good position as far as
I`m concerned.

O`DONNELL: The two campaigns came out that, the Perry TV Ad came out
to Romney TV ad came out. Which tells the worst lie?

The Perry lie about President Obama saying that Americans are lazy,
which is you know a lie. What he said is the American government and state
governments and city governments have been lazy any trying to attract
foreign investment, a very Republican point that government of this country
become lazy.

Or the Romney lie in the Romney ad where he puts the words of John
McCain in President Obama`s mouth and then cuts the tape so he doesn`t show
you that President Obama was quoting John McCain. That is about as ugly a
lie as you can possibly do with videotape, isn`t it?

PAWLENTY: Romney campaign at the front when they released that ad
said they were using with President Obama`s mocking of the McCain campaign
as a way to justify that ad. They disclosed up front, in the press release
and materials that accompany the ad.

O`DONNELL: Wait. You know that is disclosing it to reporters that
were using his words. That ad is intended to go out to voters who don`t
know anything, who don`t get to talk to Stewart Stevens and the handlers of
Romney. It is to go out to voters to say that President Obama says that if
we talk about the economy we lose. And you know that is a lie. And that
the Romney campaign --

PAWLENTY: The point of the ad is this, Lawrence. That you have a
president who has taken the economy in to the ditch. I called him today,
when it comes to the economy, the Barney five of presidents. It`s not
working. He`s had his chance.

But the fact of the matter is he mocked, President Obama then
candidate Obama mocked John McCain`s campaign. It wasn`t even John McCain.

O`DONNELL: For saying that?

PAWLENTY: For saying that. So now, when it comes to holding this
president`s accountable, this was an attempt and I think a legitimate
attempt by the Romney campaign to say, let`s have the debate about the
economy Mister President. Let`s not dock it or hide from it. Let`s have
it. And President Obama is not wanting to run against Mitt Romney on this
issue or any other because Mitt Romney has got this deep successful record
of growing jobs, building businesses and getting the economy ignited this
the private sector not the government sector.

O`DONNELL: Do you count on the main stream media refusing. They
simply, as you know in politics, they refuse to use the word "lie" to
describe what candidates do. And so, the campaigns like the Romney
campaign rely on the media`s timidity about using the word "lie" when they
put out an ad like that. They know the "New York times" won`t it is a say
lie.

PAWLENTY: Lawrence, if I came to you and said, I have an ad, by the
way, we are putting it out in a news release into the media that this is
not Barack Obama`s words. Its John McCain`s words. We are disclosing it
upfront telling you that now, would that be a lie?

O`DONNELL: Yes. It is a lie because that`s not what you are putting
out on the consumer. You are putting out to the consumer, the voter that
Barack Obama says if I talk about the economy I will lose.

PAWLENTY: The point is most people are concerned about the economy.
Barack Obama mocked John McCain`s campaign about they are dealing with the
economy or lack of dealing in their view.

Now it is time to have President Obama held accountable for his record
of performance on the economy. That`s the point of the ad. That is going
to be one of the major issues in the campaign and when that is framed up
between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, I can tell you who`s going to win and
who`s better prepared to lead the country to grow jobs and it is Mitt
Romney. It is not President Obama.

O`DONNELL: Alright, you have successfully run out the clock and I got
to say, your audition for the vice presidential slot on the Romney ticket
is going beautifully.

PAWLENTY: I have to consider that.

O`DONNELL: That was beautiful.

PAWLENTY: Yes, right.

O`DONNELL: And by the way on the endorsement thing with Romney, since
you endorsed him hasn`t he gone just down like Herman Cain surge after you
endorsed him and now Gingrich surges. Is there a Pawlenty curse?

PAWLENTY: No. I think actually Lawrence, when I endorsed him, Rick
Perry was just getting in the race and Rick had surpassed Mitt at that
moment in time by a substantial margin so it is the exact opposite.

O`DONNELL: That`s right. So the way we will tell the story is the
Pawlenty endorsement killed the Perry campaign. That`s the way history
will be written.

PAWLENTY: I think you have to let go. You have to let go and move to
the future.

O`DONNELL: Governor Tim Pawlenty, thank you very much for joining me
tonight.

PAWLENTY: Thank you for having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up the marine commandant changes his position on
the repeal, of don`t ask don`t tell. That`s next in the rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The Marine commandant General James Amos has rewritten
himself on "don`t ask don`t tell." Genera Amos opposed the repeal of
"don`t ask, don`t tell. A military survey found that only 40 percent of
marine oppose the repeal. But the majority of marines assigned to combat
duties, 56 percent oppose the repeal before it was repealed.

Genera general Amos chose to speak for the 56 percent of marines who
opposed repeal when he testified to the Senate armed services committee
last December.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENERAL JAMES AMOS, MARINE COMMANDANT: On what I know about the very
tough fight in Afghanistan, the almost singular focus of our combat forces
as they train up and deploy in to theater, the necessary tightly woven
culture of those combat forces that we are asking so much of at this time
and finally the direct feedback from the survey, my recommendation is that
we should not implement repeal at this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now in an interview with the associated press just 69 days
after don`t ask don`t tell officially ended, General Amos says "I`m very
pleased with how it has gone." He told the AP at the annual ball in
Washington earlier this month, celebrating the birth of the Marine Corps a
female marine approached his wife Bonnie and introduced herself and her
lesbian partner.

Bonnie just looked at them and said "happy birthday ball. This is
great. Nice to meet you." General Amos stand added "that is happening
throughout the marine corps."

General Amos never tried to lead the marines in the right direction on
don`t ask, don`t tell. He never tried to change the minds of the 56
percent of his combat marines who are uncomfortable with the possible
repeal of don`t ask, don`t tell but other people did and they are the
heroes of this story. The people who helped to teach America and helped to
teach our military don`t to fear gay people.

One such hero was a young Harvard college and law school graduate who
became the policy one in Boston Mayor Kevin White`s city hall in 1967. He
ran and won a seat in the state college legislature in 1972. He then ran
and won a seat in Congress in 1980. All as a closeted gay man. In 1987,
after six years in congress, he came out publicly announcing that he is
gay.

Today, the gentleman from Massachusetts Barney Frank announced that he
will not run for re-election to congress. His voice will be missed on the
floor of the house and in congressional hearing rooms where no one made the
case for gay members of the military more effectively than the Honorable
Barney Frank.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: I have a question for you about the
working group that Secretary Gates put in to effect, he appointed, the
defense department working group. They recommended that a straight
military personnel will have to shower with homosexuals.

REP. BARNEY FRANK, (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Showering with a homosexual.
What do you think happens in gyms all over America? What do you think
happens in the House of Representatives? Of course people shower with
homosexuals. What a silly issue. What do you think is wrong with people
showering with homosexual do you think the spray makes it catching? People
shower with homosexuals in college, dormitories, in gyms where people play
sports, in gyms elsewhere. It is a complete nonissue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So that recommendation you think is a
nonissue?

BARNEY: I think -- to accept the principle that homosexuals can`t
shower with other people is a degree of discrimination that goes beyond
this. We don`t get ourselves dry-cleaned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The man at the center of the child abuse scandal involving
another university sports program was fired last night. Long time Syracuse
assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine was terminated after a third alleged
victim came forward and an audio recording surfaced in which Fine`s wife,
Laurie, made statements appearing to implicate her husband.

The audio was obtained by ESPN in 2003. But the network only made it
public yesterday. It came from a phone call between Laurie Fine and the
first accuser to come forward Bobby Davis, who told ESPN he was molested
starting around the age of 12 while serving as a ball boy for Syracuse and
staying at the Fine`s home.

Davis says the abuse went on for more than a decade. Davis called
Laurie Fine to try to get her to confirm his story after he says police in
Syracuse ignored his claims because the statute of limitations had expired.
The language in this phone call is graphic.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAURIE FINE, BERNIE FINE`S WIFE: What do you want me to do? You
could be honest with me.

BOBBY DAVIS, ACCUSER OF BERNIE FINE OF SEX ABUSE: So, what did you
think what he always does. First he grabbed me and touching me.

FINE: But you never had oral sex with him?

DAVIS: No.

FINE: No.

DAVIS: I think he would let it.

FINE: Of course he would. Why wouldn`t he. I know everything that
went on with him. I know everything that went on with him. Bernie has
issues. Maybe he is not aware of but he has issues. You trusted somebody
you shouldn`t have trusted. Bernie is also in denial. I think he regrets
the things he did but has a mental telepathy and erase them from his mind.
There was something about you.

DAVIS: Do you think I`m the only one he has ever done that to?

FINE: No. I think there are some others but there was something
about you --

DAVIS: That`s what I wonder. I wonder why.

FINE: I don`t know.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Joining me, Dave Zirin, sports editor for "the Nation" and
author of the new book "the John Carlos story, the sports moment that
changed the world." Thank you for joining me tonight, Dave.

DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Dave, ESPN`s role here. They say that they didn`t do
anything with this tape when they got it in 2003 because they didn`t have
any kind of corroboration. They didn`t have other victims and they
couldn`t on the firm that is Laurie Fine`s voice.

But as I read their account of how they handled this, they never
confronted or attempted to confront in 2003 the Fines, either Laurie Fine
or her husband about what was on this tape.

ZIRIN: That`s very true. And ESPN is the big Kahuna of sports
journalism. And that means there are real questions that need to be asked
of them. They have a journalism wing and they have a broadcast wing. And
their connection with the big east and the NCAA is one that is very
lucrative and worth millions upon millions of dollars.

They will say that`s the broadcast wing. The journalism wing says we
didn`t have a story here and we are not going to process of accusing
somebody of such a heinous crime if we can`t get somebody to corroborate
this. And yet now, they are in the position of having to answer these
questions.

I will say that the show that received the tape which is called
"Outside the Lines" is a show that broke stories over the years. The
people involved in that show are journalists of the highest order but when
you are ESPN, these are questions that absolutely need to be asked
especially in a post Penn State world where these allegations are seen as
frankly more than allegations but as proof in advance of trial.

O`DONNELL: Because they did once they started moving with this tape
in the last couple of weeks, they did try to go to the Fines and to the
Fine`s lawyer and they got no response from the Fine`s lawyer eventually.
And at that point, they then went forward. They could have done that,
years ago.

ZIRIN: Right. Once again, we are dealing with the whole post
Sandusky world idea of this. I mean, the people who have been under some
of the harshest scrutiny since what happened at Penn State happened, have
been not just Sandusky, not just Joe Paterno, but the entire chain of
people who may have known something, who suspected something but stayed
silent. And there are very real accusations that are wroth making about
cultures of complicity and about the role of big-time highly lucrative
college sports in small towns.

O`DONNELL: Dave Zirin, sports editor of "The Nation," thank you very
much for joining me tonight.

ZIRIN: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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