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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, January 6, 2012

Read the transcript to the Monday show

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Guests: Jonathan Capehart, Karen Finney, Jon Ralston, Steve Clemons; Cecile Richards; Michelle Goldberg

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Well, it`s halftime in America, and the
score is Obama, 51, and Romney, 45.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: It is halftime in America.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: It`s halftime in America.

CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR: It`s halftime, America.

(INAUDIBLE)

BASHIR: As we watched Clint Eastwood`s halftime sport for Chrysler
last night --

EASTWOOD: Detroit is showing us it can be done, and what`s true about
them is true about all of us.

BASHIR: We couldn`t help but picture the Obama and Romney teams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president`s team is probably as happy as they
have been.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: You could say that it could be the Obama
re-election campaign.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: It was this president who said let`s save
the auto industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney ran the op-ed piece saying don`t bail them
out.

TAMRON: Mitt Romney was against bailing out the auto industry.

BASHIR: None other than Karl Rove has gone on FOX today.

KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I was frankly offended.

BASHIR: He was frankly offended by the Clint Eastwood ad.

ROVE: I was frankly offended.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: These guys are essentially
attacking the American auto workers.

ROVE: It is a sign of what happens when you have Chicago-style
politics.

FINNEY: The communities and people that brought that industry back.

EASTWOOD: And our second half is about to begin.

BASHIR: The bright new start for our current president.

MITCHELL: In a new "Washington Post" poll, Romney now trails the
president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Washington Post"/ABC News poll shows the
president beating Romney 51-45.

BASHIR: The most troubling for Mitt Romney may be the likability
question.

TAMRON: The GOP has a problem with enthusiasm.

WAGNER: Romney doesn`t have any big ideas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, on Earth, they thought the idea of
student janitors was crazy.

WAGNER: And there`s no big piece of policy that he`s putting forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is more energy in the Republican Party for
not Mitt Romney than for Mitt Romney. He is not a good candidate.

TAMRON: We often see that quote from Ann Coulter played over and
over.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: So how good do things have to be going for President
Obama? For Bill O`Reilly to say this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: All right. So at this point President
Obama, I think we can say, is more confident. His game is up. The polls
are up for him, and the Republicans are still kind of flushing it out,
what`s going to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Bill O`Reilly earlier tonight on his show, a
night when you`d think that FOX News would be trumpeting the Mitt Romney
triumph in Nevada this weekend. Nevada held its Republican caucuses in
Saturday, and after a break to beat on and watch the Super Bowl, they
actually finished counting the votes this morning.

You kind of have to wonder what took Nevada so long, since only 2.5
percent of Nevada registered voters showed up to vote. The 32,000 votes
were split this way. Romney won with 50 percent of that vote, that little
vote. Gingrich was second with 21 percent, Ron Paul was third with 19
percent, and Rick Santorum finished fourth with only 10 percent of a very
small vote.

Republican turnout was dramatically lower than it was four years ago,
and this in the state of Tea Party rage that produced the hopeless Tea
Party candidacy of Sharron Angle for Senate in 2010, thereby guaranteeing
Senator Harry Reid`s re-election.

There is a demented egomaniac who believes he can explain everything
that happened in Nevada this weekend and, no, his name is not Newt
Gingrich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: Well, I thought it was important to
come out sometime when, you know, when there was a lot of depth. There was
a lot riding on that particular race in Nevada, and it was interesting
because the numbers were much, much greater than he thought and a lot of
people are giving me credit for that. And I will accept that credit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Donald doesn`t do much homework, you see, so he doesn`t
seem to know that Mitt Romney actually got fewer votes this weekend in
Nevada compared to four years ago. When without the burden of a Trump
endorsement, Mitt Romney actually got 37 percent more votes. Polls now
show he Rick Santorum springing into a lead in tomorrow`s Minnesota caucus
and Missouri`s primary. That explains why the Romney campaign for the
first time ever picked a fight with little Rick Santorum today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Rick Santorum, I think,
will do well in Minnesota, but as will Mitt. I think they`ll have strong
showings. None of the records of these candidates are perfect, but Mitt
Romney`s record is a conservative record. Again, not perfect but
conservative. Rick has been holding himself out as the, you know, the
perfect conservative, or the only real conservative in the race. When you
look at his record, it`s not a perfect conservative by a long shot.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anytime someone challenges
Governor Romney, Governor Romney goes out instead of talking about what
he`s for, which is what I did today, in contrast to what Governor Romney is
for -- he just simply goes out and attacks and tries to destroy. I don`t
think it`s going to work this time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But in the most important poll out today, the one with
some predictive value about who is going to be the next president,
President Obama leads Mitt Romney by his widest margin yet, President Obama
stands at 51 percent in the poll to Romney`s 45 percent.

And the most important internal in that poll is that 52 percent of
Americans say the more they hear about Romney, the less they like him.
Twenty-four percent of Americans say the more they hear about Romney, the
more they like him.

Joining me now: from Las Vegas, "Las Vegas Sun" columnist and host of
"Face to Face," Jon Ralston. And from Washington, "Washington Post"
columnist and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart.

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

Jon Ralston, in the center of it all in Las Vegas, here you are in the
state that produced Sharron Angle, just the angriest manifestation of the
Tea Party possibly tied with Christine O`Donnell last time around to
actually reach a ballot position in a general election against a Democrat.
What has happened in Nevada since then, especially the in the Republican
Party, where they`re so kind of relaxed about you how things are going in
Washington that they don`t show up to vote?

JON RALSTON, LAS VEGAS SUN: Well, I think there`s a lot of buyer`s
remorse and bitterness about what happened with Sharron Angle, as you point
out, Lawrence. And the Tea Party which was never really cohesive, is even
more fragmented, maybe dissolved in some ways since they`re a highlight of
2010 in nominating Sharron Angle not realizing what a disaster that was
going to be. But they cannot spin this turnout number, 33,000, 11,000 less
than in 2008.

Remember in 2008, there was absolutely no race here whatsoever.
Romney was the only one who campaigned here. Here you have the last week.
All the candidates were here. They were doing a lot of events, and this is
the kind of turnout they get?

They can`t spin their way out of this. There was a real enthusiasm
problem I think, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, you can look into the mind of Donald
Trump and tell us what he`s thinking when he tried to take credit for
everything that happened in Nevada this weekend, which he doesn`t seem to
understand arithmetically is actually less than what happened in Nevada
last time for Mitt Romney.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But that doesn`t matter.
He -- for Mr. Trump, he went out there, and he was in Nevada. He endorsed
Mitt Romney -- Mitt Romney, who everyone knew would win the Nevada
caucuses, one. Mr. Trump has decided that he`s going to jump onto Mitt
Romney`s coattails and ride it for as long as he can.

I mean, I don`t know the context of even why he decided to thump his
chest over this, but this is Donald Trump. This is Donald Trump being
Donald Trump. I`m not surprised.

Actually, I was a little tickled to hear him -- hear him take credit
for Mitt Romney`s win when you may recall Lawrence (AUDIO GAP)

O`DONNELL: It really was. Clearly the Romneys do not want to be on
the stage with that guy.

And, Jon Ralston, as I think you and I would expect, Donald Trump did
not put his money where his mouth is. There`s Newt Gingrich getting $5
million from Adelson, the casino operator in Las Vegas, and another $5
million from Mrs. Adelson.

So far, the Romney campaign has cashed exactly zero from Donald Trump.
I`ve challenged Trump today on Twitter. If he`s so rich, if he can
actually afford it, and I know he can`t, let me see him match Adelson in a
contribution to the Romney super PAC. Let`s see the $5 million go from
Trump to the Romney super PAC, if he actually really is backing Romney.
And more importantly if he actually has, I don`t know, one-tenth of the
money that he claims he has.

RALSTON: Yes, of course, that`s not going to happen, although I was a
little worried in the intro there when you said demented egomaniac was
going to tell you what happened in Nevada. I thought that was an intro to
me, Lawrence. I`m glad to see it wasn`t.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Jon, Jon, as long as there is a Donald Trump, you`re going
to look very good in Nevada standing next to him.

RALSTON: That`s not much of a compliment, either. But I was
astounded to see those comments from Trump. As Jonathan points out and you
pointed out, what reality is he living in? He certainly is not living in a
reality where he can give the kind of money that Sheldon Adelson has given
and probably will give more to the Republicans, not necessarily to the Newt
Gingrich super PAC.

But to say that a lot of people are giving me credit, a lot of people
that are giving credit are one place, and that`s inside his head, as you
know, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Jon Capehart, the poll on Romney is saying the more we get
to know him, the more we it dislike him, a majority.

CAPEHART: Right.

O`DONNELL: That is the most overwhelmingly negative polling fact I
have ever seen about a running candidate for president.

CAPEHART: It really is incredible, and it`s not like, you know, Mitt
Romney has not done anything to help feed the impression that he`s someone
who is unlikable. What, last week was I`m not concerned about very poor
people. The week before that, it was, why am I not thinking of it?

But we all know all of his sort of silver foot in mouth comments where
he sort of displays this really -- this tone-deafness that, you know, for
all -- everything that he says, if you listen to it in context, it makes
sense. There`s a reasonable way to argue the point of view he`s getting
across.

But it just comes out in a way that you just sit -- you think a lot of
American people sit back and look and think this is a guy who`s from the 1
percent. He is the 1 percent. He has no idea what my life is like. He
can`t even figure out a way to talk to me that isn`t condescending or
submissive.

And so, he keeps giving me an example pretty much every other day, so
why should I like the guy?

O`DONNELL: And, Jon Ralston, what are the Vegas beating odds that
Romney will continue to save those things, since they seem to simply come
from the reality of his life, which is that economically and socially, he
has been cut off, at an extreme cut off from that vast range of American
people and the American voters that he`s hoping to appeal to?

RALSTON: You know, everyone refers to Lawrence as a robotic
candidate, but it seems to me that once in a while, there`s this glitch in
his programming. And as Jonathan points out, even if what he`s saying
might actually be reasonable, the way that he`s saying it and what the
Democrats are most gleeful about is that Romney is going to be defending
these and saying what I meant to say.

And when you`re running a campaign as "what I meant to say" candidate,
that`s why his numbers negative are going up and that`s why the Democrats
are thrilled.

O`DONNELL: And quickly, Jonathan, with the polling coming out on the
president and even Bill O`Reilly having to say, yes, things are looking in
a place where the president can be confident, the Obama campaign has to be
feeling more confident these days than they were maybe several months ago.

CAPEHART: Sure, absolutely. They were more confident than they were,
say, during the debt ceiling fight in August.

But I will say this. I do that within the Obama campaign in Obama
world, they`re not letting these good poll numbers or even the good jobs
numbers from Friday cloud the fact that they`re in for a very tough re-
election fight, and that they just hope that the momentum and the direction
that things are going continue to go that way, because if they do, the
president more than likely will win re-election.

O`DONNELL: All right. Well, as long as we`re still in a Vegas mood,
I`m keeping my bet on President Obama to win at least 51 percent of that
vote.

Jon Ralston, columnist for "The Las Vegas Sun" and MSNBC contributor
Jonathan Capehart, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the amazing reversal fortune for Planned
Parenthood as the Susan G. Komen Foundation reverses the decision. Cecile
Richards of Planned Parenthood made her very first appearance here last
week to discuss that crisis with the Komen Foundation and she returns
tonight.

And the most controversial Super Bowl ad did not have a scantily clad
supermodel, instead an 81-year-old actor is being attacked for veiled
support for President Obama, even though that actor, Clint Eastwood, was a
Republican. That`s going to be next.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, the ugliest and stupidest political ad
(INAUDIBLE) made without an actress who was willing to demean her own
culture.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: After winning the Super Bowl, the Giants will
get to meet President Obama at the White House. Meanwhile, the Patriots
will get to meet Newt Gingrich at the Waffle House, which is just as
(INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Last night`s Super Bowl was watched by a record 111.3
million viewers in the United States, which means there were another 200
million people in this country with something better to do. Those 200
million people missed the most expensive permanent filmmaking ever done,
the Super Bowl ads.

(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)

EASTWOOD: All that matter now is what`s ahead. How do we come from
behind, how do we come together, and how do we win? Detroit`s showing us
it can be done, and what`s true about them is true about all of us.

This country can`t be knocked out in one punch. We get right back up
again, and when we do, the world`s going to hear the roar of our engines.

Yes. It`s halftime in America. And our second half`s about to begin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That ad starring Clint Eastwood generated the third most
Twitter traffic on Sunday`s Super Bowl ads, and it provoked this it
reaction from Karl Rove on FOX News today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROVE: I was frankly offended by it. I`m a huge fan of Clint
Eastwood, I thought it was extremely well-done. But it is a sign of what
happens when you have Chicago-style politics and the president of United
States and his political minions are in essence using our tax dollars to
buy corporate advertising and the best wishes of the management, which is
benefited by getting a bunch of money they`ll never pay back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Rove then carried his hurt feelings to Sean Hannity`s
radio show this afternoon.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ROVE: Look, I agree with the concept in the ad. It would have been
all well and good if the president`s people has not gone out there and
said, well, this is all about politics, and this is a statement of how our
decision -- policy decision to bail out the auto up companies were great.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Clint Eastwood gave this statement to Bill O`Reilly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: I just want to say that the spin stops with you guys.
There`s no spin in that ad. On that I`m certain. I am certainly not
politically affiliated with Mr. Obama. It was meant to be a message just
about job growth in the spirit of America. I think all politicians will
agree with it. I thought the spirit was OK.

I`m not supporting any politician. Chrysler didn`t even have cars in
the ad. Anything they gave me went to charity. And if Obama or any other
politician wants to run with spirit of the ad, I say go for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The ad provoked at least one member of the White House
press corps to waste a question to Jay Carney today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Did the White House or the campaign have any role in the
creation of that ad or advising of that ad or consulting on the ad?

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst and former DNC
communications director Karen Finney.

Karen, Bill O`Reilly defended his pal, Clint Eastwood, on the show
tonight all the way, and actually kind of took the position that he really
didn`t see the political argument against the ad.

I have to tell you, I was halfway through watching that ad thinking,
wait a minute, the DNC cannot afford this. This is a Super Bowl ad. How
can they pay for this?

I actually, I think, you know, O`Reilly and I are in a reversed role
tonight. I do see a political -- an interpretation available in this ad
absolutely of a political message and a political message about the auto
bailout.

FINNEY: You know, I don`t. I mean, when I saw that ad, I felt it was
very pro-American. It kind of gave me chills because who doesn`t love
Clint Eastwood, this great American icon? I thought the ad was a lot more
about the strength of our country and our workers and our will,
essentially, that you may knock us down, but we will get right back up.

And what I thought was interesting about the way the Republicans chose
to play this, although this is how they`ve been playing this game from the
beginning, was, you know, by denigrating the ad, they`re essentially
suggesting that the victory that we`ve seen in the auto industry does not
belong to those workers, those people who did the work of bringing the auto
industry back.

And this is a problem that the Republicans have, right? They`re so
blinded by how much they just hate Barack Obama and want to defeat him,
they -- A, I think missed an opportunity where they could have co-opted had
this ad and talked about the workers and sort of ignored the auto bailout
piece if they wanted to; but B, they`re now in this position of essentially
rooting against America`s recovery, and I don`t think that`s going to play
well in the election.

O`DONNELL: Yes. Everyone once in a while something can happen that
you think is political that you actually are better off not complaining
about. I mean, even if they think what they think, they should have stayed
quiet.

Karen, I want to read you something that Clint Eastwood said on
November 7th, 2011 in the "Los Angeles Times." "I`m a big hawk on cutting
the deficit. I was against the stimulus thing, too. We shouldn`t bail out
the banks and car companies. If a CEO can`t make his company profitable,
he shouldn`t be the CEO."

So, there`s Clint Eastwood on the auto bailout thinking it was a bad
idea as recently as November 2011. By that time, it was clear that it had
worked.

FINNEY: Well, that`s exactly right. And by the way, this is, as you
know, the former Republican mayor of Carmel, California. And in 1988,
George Bush actually considered adding Clint Eastwood to the ticket.

So, you know, they`re essentially attacking their own, which they`ve
been perfectly happy to do this whole primary season. But again, I think
it shows a level of desperation that I think can turn back on them in a way
that I think they are just have a tin ear to. And that is, again, that
essentially, their attack sounds like they`re attacking American workers,
and that sounds very anti-American to me.

You know, you and I were talking about this the night of the State of
the Union where we both thought the president`s speech was a good speech,
positive speech. Yet, they attack him consistently for being anti-
American. Yet, there`s the president that`s the guy cheering for American,
rooting for America saying "yes, we can". And they`re the ones attacking
pro-America ads and attacking an American Republican icon essentially
because they`re so hate red-filled for Obama.

O`DONNELL: Karen, I know you don`t want to give (INAUDIBLE) to the
Republican Party, but I`m going to do it. I just have to tell you do not -
- do not pick a fight with Clint Eastwood. Don`t do that.

MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney -- thank you very much for
joining us tonight.

FINNEY: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the stunning reversal by the Susan G. Komen
Foundation on Planned Parenthood, funding Planned Parenthood. Cecile
Richards will join me. There were resignations last week at the Komen
Foundation. Will anyone now be fired?

And coming up in the "Rewrite" tonight, the worst ad that we have seen
in this political season. And I have a message for actors and their
participation, the responsibility that they have to bring to their
participation in political advertising. That`s in the "Rewrite" tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We`ve now seen the worst campaign ad of this season, using
a Chinese actress to demean her culture. In the "Rewrite" tonight, I`ll
tell you how this kind of advertising can be stopped and how Hollywood can
stop it.

Next, people inside the Susan G. Komen Foundation are starting to
whisper about how the decision was made to defund Planned Parenthood, a
decision that they have now dramatically reversed. Cecile Richards of
Planned Parenthood joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: After the Susan G. Komen foundation on Friday backed down
on the decision not to fund breast cancer screening at Planned Parenthood
clinics; the spotlight is now on the person some say created that
controversy.

According to e-mails obtained by "the Huffington Post," Karen Handel,
Komen`s senior vice president of public policy, developed the new grant
guidelines with the sole purpose of getting rid of Planned Parenthood. And
the first pledge to de-fund Planned Parenthood during failed Republican run
for Georgia governor.

Now, Komen insider says the pressure is mounting for Handel to resign.
Planned Parenthood on the other hand raised more than $3 million last week
for breast cancer screenings as a direct result of the shutdown in funding
from the Komen foundation.

Joining me now is Planned Parenthood federation of America president
Cecile Richards.

Cecile, I was tempted to call this your triumphant return to the place
where you began talking about this on television last week. But, there`s
nothing triumphant about this. This is a horrible mess. How comfortable
are you now with where Planned Parenthood stands with the Komen foundation
going forward, not just on meeting the commitments that had already been
pledged but going forward into the future years?

CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: I feel very good,
Lawrence, and you`re right. This is a real long week, but we feel very
good about the relationship with the Komen foundation. Obviously, it`s
very grateful that they changed their minds about working with Planned
Parenthood. And already at the local level across the country, Komen
foundation folks and Planned Parenthood doctors and clinicians are working
together to find ways in which we can increase and expand breast cancer
screenings for women. So, it`s a good day.

O`DONNELL: It won`t surprise you, I mean, this obviously began very
politicized. It won`t surprised you that Mitt Romney found something of
interest in this controversy. Here he is tonight on the Minnesota radio
show the "Scott Henin show" responding to the Komen`s decision of last week
and now the reversed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Should Susan G. Komen`s planned for the
cure and your view continue to funded anyway Planned Parenthood?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think so. I also
feel that the government should cut off funding to Planned Parenthood. The
idea that we`re subsidizing an institution which providing abortion in my
view is wrong. Planned Parenthood can should stand on its own feet and
should not get government subsidy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Cecile, what`s your response to Mitt Romney?

RICHARDS: Well, Mitt Romney has abandoned women completely in the
campaign. It`s an extraordinary to me, not only he says now he doesn`t
want any preventive care provided at Planned Parenthood. We see more than
three million patients every year, and the majority of them for
preventative care. He also said he wants to end the entire national family
planning program that provides not only birth control to five million women
every year but cancer screenings, pap smears, and the like.

It`s really depressing, frankly, to see this race to the bottom by the
Republican presidential candidates, and I think it`s going to be an issue
in the campaign. I think what we saw last week and the really -- really
the explosion on facebook and twitter and women concerned about the cancer
screenings at Planned Parenthood and the ability to continue. I think we
are going to see going into this election. There`s literally been a just
race to the bottom again on attacks on women`s health care access, and I
think folks are saying enough is enough.

O`DONNELL: Cecile, when this broke out last week, I was in New York
and everybody I was talking to outside of the show, friends of Planned
Parenthood and the Komen foundation were outraged by this. I`ve been in
Los Angeles throughout this weekend and today, and I can tell you in Los
Angeles your friends of Planned Parenthood and friends of Komen still
outraged. And there have been predictions that I`ve been hearing from
people who are heavily involved in the funding of both of these
organizations saying that they don`t believe that Komen has long-term
survivability now as a foundation.

RICHARDS: Well, I certainly hope that`s not true, Lawrence. Look, I
think what this was all about is that I think it was folks finally standing
up and saying we can`t let bullies bully the Komen foundation and make
force them to, you know, quit working with Planned Parenthood just like we
can`t let bullies now trying to fight against the president`s coverage of
birth control in the new insurance plans.

These are folks who have been -- you know, they went after Planned
Parenthood in Congress. They went after the Komen foundation. And now
they are trying to say that women shouldn`t be able to get birth control
coverage in insurance plans.

I literary think this is a time where women and men and young people
are standing up and saying this is a war on women`s health care and it has
to end. And so I, again, I look forward to working with the Komen
foundation. We both have the same mission that`s to make sure women get
preventive health care in America. We need to be doing more to solve
problems and less of this sort of putting politics in front of -- in lieu
of giving women access to health care.

O`DONNELL: Cecile Richards, you have my nomination for American
ambassador to the United Nations. Your artful diplomacy and how you
handled yourself in this relationship with your former partner who is again
your partner, the Komen foundation, has been something to behold.

Thank you very much for joining me tonight.

RICHARDS: Good to see you gain, Lawrence. Thanks a lot.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And joining me now is the senior writer for "Newsweek" and the daily
beast, Michelle Goldberg.

Michelle, we saw resignations last week at the Komen foundation. Now
the question is are there going to be firings? What happens next, and can
Handel survive?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE DAILY BEAST: I think there should be firings,
although when you look at a lot of reporting out of the Komen foundation,
they still don`t seem get it. I mean, they still seem to have thought that
they can do this in a nonpolitical way. That nobody would notice they were
going to cut off Planned Parenthood under the guise of this new rule about
investigations. And they still seem to feel somewhat victimized.

I mean, I think if Handel resigned, that would do a lot to mend the
fences of the many, many women and men who have been big supporters of
Komen and who just felt so incredibly betrayed by the way this organization
ostensibly devoted to women`s health has seem to steps forward to justify
some of the most radical attacks on women`s health.

O`DONNELL: I want to read you one board member, John Rafaelli (ph)
who is a democratic lobbyist, which is not uncommon for board members of
these kinds of organizations. He said this to "the Huffington Post."

"We screwed up. I`m saying it. We failed to keep abortion out of
this. And we owe people in the middle who only care about breast cancer
and who have raised money for us an apology".

How should that apology be delivered? I mean, does this call for a
direct mail piece to go out to Komen contributors saying basically that, we
made a mistake?

GOLDBERG: I don`t know exactly how you need to communicate that you
made a mistake, but the best way to communicate that you made a mistake is
not just to say it but to make sure that these partnerships continue. And
you know, these partnerships are not just something that is done out of
political correctness. If you look at Nancy Brinker`s memoirs she wrote in
2010, she talked about what a crucial role Planned Parenthood played in
getting screenings to women in poor neighborhoods and rural neighborhoods
and neighborhoods not served by any other infrastructure. So, it seems to
me the best way to make it clear that they made a mistake and they support
these services is to keep supporting these services.

O`DONNELL: I`ve been told by some heavy hitters in the funding and
the fund-raising for cancer foundations including the Komen foundation that
they don`t believe that the Komen foundation will exist five years from now
because of this. If simply will not carry on.

GOLDBERG: You know, like Cecile said, I actually hope that`s not
true, because I think that Komen does important work. As long as this is
kind of a single aberration. I mean, it`s clear they have hurt themselves.
I don`t think anybody has ever done so much damage to a brand in so short
of time. They`ll probably study this in marketing courses 20 years from
now. But I don`t think that it`s the kind of thing they can`t recovery
from if they make it clear this was a mistake and they`re serious about
recommitting to the mission of supporting women`s health.

O`DONNELL: Michelle Goldberg of the "Daily Beast," thank you very
much for joining us tonight.

GOLDBERG: Thanks so much.

O`DONNELL: Coming up the Republican Senate candidate hired a Chinese
actress to mock her own culture and to produce what is now the worst
campaign ad of this season. And there is a simple way to end exactly that
kind of ugly advertising. Hollywood has a responsibility here. That`s
next in the rewrite.

And later, why President Obama is polling way ahead just impossibly
ahead of Republicans on foreign policy. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have some of the people -- some of the
publications that endorsed Newt Gingrich. It`s not quite as impressive to
show them now. He has the endorsement of the tiffany catalog. He`s gotten
the endorsement of popular Megalomaniacs and he got the endorsement of
working child, baby shipment money loves Newt Gingrich and of course bigger
heads and gardens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: It tonight`s rewrite, we put out an APB on twitter today
on this actress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Michigan Senator, Debbie Stabenow.
Debbie spent so much American money. You buy more and more from us. Your
economy get very weak, ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you,
Debbie spent it now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now, usually political ads that are this ugly and stupid
are not technically traceable to a candidate. That`s what super-PACs are
for, but this ad ends with this.

PETE HOEKSTRA, SENATE CANDIDATE: I`m Pete spend it not Hoekstra, and
I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Hoekstra has deservedly been getting a lot of heat for
this ad, which ran yesterday during the super bowl in Michigan where
Hoekstra`s running for Senate. Even Bill O`Reilly didn`t like it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL O`REILLY, HOST, THE O`REILLY FACTOR: She`s speaking broken
English, which is, of course, a cliche. Yes, I don`t think if that`s a
smart thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Some of in his own party think he crossed a line with
racial stereotype and xenophobia and nativism. Nativism is an odd bent for
someone who is not himself a native-born American. Hoekstra was born in
the Netherlands and came to this country with his family when he was a
child.

We don`t know where the actress was born who seems to be happily
personifying the racial stereotype that Hoekstra wants to deliver in the
ad. But Hoekstra has said that her parents are in his words 100 percent
Chinese.

But Hoekstra will not reveal the name of the actress or how much she
was paid to mock the people of China. I`d like to interview the actress
who appeared in this commercial. I`d like to know exactly what she was
thinking when she did it and why she did it. The ad was shot in a sunny
California valley by Fred Davis, the same man who brought us this political
ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not a witch. I`m nothing you`ve heard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: It`s one thing for Pete Hoekstra to buy 30 seconds of
television time to tell us if he can in clear English, if he can master
that clear English, what troubles him about this country`s relationship
with China, but it is quite another for him to hire an actor to do his
dirty work for him.

And that is what can be up stopped, and it can be stopped right now
tonight by a pledge of simple decency that all of us members of the screen
actors guild and Aftra can make. Raise your right hand, actors and repeat
after me.

I will not play dirty politics. That means that you will not play a
character in political ads that tell lies. You will not appear in
political ads that cast you to play a racial stereotype.

Now, I know the pressure`s on out of work actors. I`ve been in many
conversations with many actors here in Los Angeles and in New York who
worry that the terrible part that they`re being offered to play just might
be the last part that they`re ever offered to play.

And so, they have to take that part to pay the rent or to keep
qualifying for sag health insurance. I once talked someone out of playing
Hitler`s daughter. No, Hitler never had a daughter, but in this crazy
movie script he did. And of course, Hitler`s daughter eventually became
president of the United States.

I helped the actress considering that part of Hitler`s daughter by
asking, if this is the last part you ever play, do you really want it to be
the last part you ever play? If you`re not a star, show business is a
really tough way to make a living. You literally never know where your
next paycheck is coming from and you don`t know what you have to do to get
that paycheck.

The actress who played this part was probably paid no more than $800,
maybe $1,000 for her half day`s work. She`s going to get very little or
possibly no residuals at all for that ad being played locally in Michigan.
And it`s not the kind of work that can help her career. There is no way
the criticism that she is enduring tonight is worth it to her financially.
No way.

To the actress who made this mistake, I`d like to share the rule that
I and all of my friends in show business have lived by. I`ve done things
in show business, in my case writing jobs here and there, that I am not
proud of. But I`ve never done anything that I`m ashamed of.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s 3:00 a.m. and your children are safe and
asleep, but there`s a phone in the White House and it`s ringing.
Something`s happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that
call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was the famous 2008 democratic primary ad challenging
Barack Obama`s ability to handle the 3:00 a.m. phone call. That ability is
no longer in doubt.

The new "Washington Post" ABC news poll shows that President Obama has
solid support as the guy America wants on our end of the 3:00 a.m. phone
call. When asked, do you -- who do you trust to handle international
affairs, President Obama has a 17 point advantage over Mitt Romney, 55-38.
And when asked, who do you trust to handle terrorism the democratic
president has virtually the same advantage over Mitt Romney, 54-38.

Joining me now is Steve Clemons, the Washington editor at large for
the Atlantic. He`s a senior fellow at the new America foundation.

Steve, it sounds like this weekend may have had one or two 3:00 a.m.
phone calls. In Syria today the U.S. embassy was closed. President Obama
ordered it closed in Damascus. If that situation gets any harder, it`s not
just bad news for the world. It`s not just the difficult day in the White
House, but it`s actually in campaign terms and political terms very bad
news for those Republican presidential candidates who don`t seem to know
how to talk about this sort of thing.

STEVE CLEMONS, WASHINGTON EDITOR AT LARGE, THE ALTANTIC: Well, not
many of them are challenging the president on his record of going after in
succeeding in killing Osama bin Laden or Awlaki in Yemen or dealing with
many of the very tough issues out there. And, you know, what they do hit
on him are things that sometimes you don`t leave Americans really dumb
downer. When you hear Mitt Romney`s, you know, opposing the downsizing of
forces in Afghanistan or the steps the president has taken in Iraq.

What you see Obama doing is what he said he would do which is
basically moving into these places and stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan,
downsizing the place where I`ve been critical and saying we have been
hemorrhaging money and military men and women and you need to downsize that
and basically remind the world we will actually achieve what we say we can
do. And this is what we`ve been trying to find a handle to get Barack
Obama at. But he`s too good attracting down terrorists and rebalancing the
American strategic forces.

O`DONNELL: Steve, after a season of having to listen to Republican
presidential campaigners on debate stages saying how eager they are to bomb
Iran, I`d like our audience to get a chance to listen to their president
discussing with Matt Lauer what he`s thinking about in relation to Iran
these days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have done extensive
planning over the last several years about all our various options in the
gulf. And you know, we are prepared to exercise these options should the
need arise. But my goal is to try to resolve this diplomatically mainly
because the only way over the long turn we can ensure Iran doesn`t get a
nuclear weapon is by getting them to understand it`s not in their interest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Steve, my goal is to resolve this diplomatically. That`s
the sentence that does not appear in Republican candidate debate prep
apparently.

CLEMONS: Well, I think what Republicans are doing is they think it
plays well to do what Dick Cheney did is to fear monger to scare Americans
enough to think if you bomb the other guy, if you bomb, bomb Iran as John
McCain said, that somehow this will play well. That`s what Curtis Lee May
did. I mean, that`s what this kind of knucklehead kind of approach to
foreign policy is.

What Barack Obama has shown is that he can simultaneously deal with
countries like Russia and China and pushing reset with key strategic
relations while at the same time going after bin Laden, Awlaki, other
terrorists and trying to figure this out.

With Iran what he`s doing is saying, as he did today, he just
tightened the sanctions in Iran. He`s -- but he`s kept open the door and
said if Iran shifts its behavior, drops its nuclear program and potentially
its weapons intentions, that it will be welcomed into the international
community.

And so he`s using the clock to demonstrate very much like a football
game we just watched, the super bowl. He`s using the clock to figure out
what plays to move the world and the United States and its allies into a
better play and to give Iran some choices other than being locked in a
corner.

And I think that if we saw Mitt Romney given what we know from him
right now, there wouldn`t be any nuance. We would see something much more
direct, and I think you would see an utter collapse in the confidence of
the rest of the world in the United States in dealing with these problems.

O`DONNELL: Can`t wait for a general election debate devoted
exclusively to foreign policy. Steve Clemons of the "Atlantic", thank you
very much for joining me tonight.

CLEMONS: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: You can have the "Last Word" online at our blog,
thelastword.msnbc.com. You can follow my tweets at large. "The Ed Show"
is up next.

END

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