Guests: Stephanie Cutter, David Boies, Rosa DeLauro, Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, John Heilemann
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: How can Mitt Romney be the Republican who
can beat President Obama if he couldn`t beat Rick Santorum, who could not
be happier that we`re finally talking about contraception -- something that
he knows in his heart is really, really bad even though he claims he`s
never tried it?
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Once again, conservatives have rejected Mitt
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: It`s a horrible, terrible, really bad
morning for Mitt Romney.
TODD: Santorum beat Romney in Missouri by 30 points.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You could not have scripted better lead lines for
the Santorum electorate.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The decision by the White House --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The decision to mandate religiously affiliated
MATTHEWS: -- mandating religiously-affiliated employers to provide
health insurance coverage for birth control.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is not about mandating something. This is
about providing access to something.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The battle lines have really been drawn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think for Obama, the challenge here is the
JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: Most Americans have no problems with
contraceptives, but the Catholic Church does.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The government shouldn`t
force you to do things that you find deeply, morally wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Catholic Church is not backing down.
SANTORUM: These are the outrageous overreaches.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t underestimate what a golden issue this
is for Rick Santorum.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really pushing this as a religious freedom
DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS: I just don`t think this is a fight they want
to have at an election year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really, this liberty issue actually cuts both
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This attack by the
federal government on religion freedom in our country must not stand and
will not stand.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: House Speaker John Boehner entered the
debate over birth control.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One group of voters is happy with the decision,
women`s rights groups including Catholic women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems like Catholic women are really on the
same page as most of the women in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And I just want to point out that the
Catholic Church hierarchy is male.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think that this is a position that
actually makes the president pretty strong with women voters.
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: As an American citizen who
appreciates the fact that under this president my uterus is not a
preexisting condition, I want him re-elected.
O`DONNELL: The political debate over the government requiring
Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive coverage in the health care
plans of their employees is not only continuing, it is getting much hotter.
And it`s a debate that should have never happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETER WELCH (D), VERMONT: Bottom line here is that, in a lot of
ways, we`d be better off if we had a single-payer health care system where
you didn`t have employers involved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Vermont`s Democratic Congressman Peter Welch,
making the single most important point of the day about how we got to here.
The health care bill that President Obama signed in to law is a virtually
indescribable mess of compromises that included massive government
giveaways to the pharmaceutical industry and most importantly to the health
The heartless conniving health insurance industries` reward for
decades of driving the cost of health care beyond the reach of 50 million
people in this country was not government control of the industry`s
pricing, but rather a government-delivered subsidy to help people buy
wildly, over-priced health insurance with no real controls imposed on the
price of that health insurance.
You watched the saga of the health care bill becoming a law for over a
year, right here on this network. And night after night, you saw a
relentless stream of complaints about the compromises the Democrats were
making in response to the lobbying demands of the pharmaceutical industry
and the health insurance industry.
You watched as it became perfectly reasonable and acceptable and
routine to describe the bill here on this network as a windfall for the
But the worst compromise of all was made before the Democrats wrote
the first word of the legislation -- they compromised on their ideal
solution: single-payer health care for all, in effect, opening Medicare for
everyone. Medicare for all Teddy Kennedy used to call it. That was his
ideal and it was President Obama`s ideal long before he was candidate for
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I happen to be a
proponent point of a single-payer universal health care plan. Everybody
in, nobody out, single-payer health care plan, universal health care plan.
That`s what I`d like to see.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Five years later, as a candidate for president, then-
Senator Obama said this about single-payer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single-
payer. What I said was if I was starting from scratch, if we didn`t have a
system in which employers typically provided health care I would probably
go with a single-payer system.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When President Obama and the Democrats went to work on
health care reform, they never once even considered a single-payer
solution. And the word "solution" only applies to the single-payer model.
Anything other than single-payer, anything that continues to maintain the
oligopoly of the health insurance companies and the horribly dysfunctional
market they have created and manipulate every day is not worthy of the word
With a single-payer solution abandoned at the start, the Democrats
embarked on writing a by the way bill that would continue to sustain and
promote the dominance of health insurance companies and continue to rely on
employers to provide health insurance for their workers.
Employers should not be in the health insurance business. Carmakers
should be making cars, not trying to figure out the rigged health insurance
And so, the new health care law did not solve our problems. It simply
traded some problems for new problems.
And the newest problem involves the Catholic Church. The Catholic
Church, as an institution, running hospitals and schools all around the
world, is not confronted by a theological challenge of the kind we`re
seeing today in any of the other countries where it employs people because
those countries do not make the irresponsible mistake of relying on
employers to help to pay for their workers` health insurance. This is a
uniquely American problem because the American health care system is and
remains a unique mess.
Where we now, after three years of the most successful health care
reform president we`ve ever had, now have more people without health
insurance in this country than when George W. Bush was president. And that
is no fault of President Obama`s. That is the fault of our employer-based
private health insurance system.
When unemployment goes up in our system, people lose not just their
jobs, they lose their health care. In other countries, they just lose
their jobs. Those countries think that`s bad enough.
Losing your job and your health care with it is an unrelenting piece
of American inhumanity that will be with us forever under the new health
care law. The law is frequently and always falsely described as one that
will achieve universal coverage in this country.
Everyone will be covered. That is not true. That was never true.
In the first draft of the legislation, it very deliberately and
consciously left out 30 million people. Only in America can you write
legislation that leaves out 30 million people or 25 million people as the
law now does and claim you have covered everyone.
You`ve heard in the last couple of days people arguing that it is very
important that we make sure all women have contraceptive care -- and they
are absolutely right. But all women in this country do not now have
contraceptive care, and under this bill, they never ever will. Not all of
The new health care law makes no attempt to cover all women or all
men. More than half of the 25 million people who will be left without any
health insurance forever are women. They will forever not have any access
to contraception other than paying for it at top dollar cost, over the
counter, which none of them will be able to afford. They are and will
remain throughout this debate the forgotten women of health care reform.
Joining me now from Chicago is President Obama`s deputy campaign
manager, Stephanie Cutter.
Stephanie, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
STEPHANIE CUTTER, DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER, OBAMA 2012: Hey, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Stephanie, this bill, as we talked about, trades, as we
see it now going into effect, in certain ways, trades old problems for now
problems. I don`t think that anyone anticipated this. I certainly didn`t
see it coming.
I just want to stipulate at the top here, this country is completely
in favor of birth control. Members of the Catholic Church are. I don`t
know a single Catholic, not one who has ever observed Catholic teachings on
this matter. Not one.
Rick Santorum claims he`s the one. If he is, he`s the one.
And so, how did it come to be, that in the discussions in the White
House that we ended up at this particular highly politicized intersection
that we see now? Was the president, in effect, warned this kind of
argument would be coming?
CUTTER: Well, Lawrence, I`m not going to get in to discussions with
the president and what he was or wasn`t told. But, you know, how this
protection for women came in to being is because the health care law
required for the first time ever preventative services for women to be
covered by insurance companies. And according to, you know, medical
experts and scientists, contraception was a critical piece of those
So, by law, we had to require insurance companies to cover
contraception with no cost-sharing for women, no out of pocket costs. Now,
in crafting this proposal, you know, special attention was paid to a church
exclusion. And many of these states have the same exclusion.
You know, you mentioned at the top that contraception is widely
supported by the American people, including Catholics. And 50 percent of
all Americans live in states where this is already required, many of them
with the same requirement as the federal government`s new requirement.
So, you know, we did talk about it. We thought it was a critical
piece of protecting women`s health care and, you know, we`re moving forward
as there`s been a lot of discussion over the next year and a half by August
of 2013 to work with the -- not the Catholic Church, because they are
exempted, but with Catholic hospitals, other religiously-affiliated
institutions where women of all faiths work and who deserve the same
protection to see if we can find a way to continue implementing the law in
a way that respects their beliefs and addresses their concerns.
But at the end of the day, the goal here is for women to get
contraception with no out of pocket costs, because nobody should be locked
out of this important care because of costs.
O`DONNELL: Well, people are locked out of it. What about the 25
million people that are permanently left out of any kind of the benefits of
the health care reform bill?
CUTTER: Well, I`m not sure which 25 million you are talking about
O`DONNELL: Well, take a look at the CBO report, you know this,
Stephanie. You know that the bill does not come close to universal
coverage. And we don`t have to get to a debate, do we?
CUTTER: Well, you know, most of the people we are talking about -- we
don`t have to get in to a debate on health care reform. It`s the law now.
But most of the people that you are talking about are going to have
the option to buy affordable health care for the first time ever through
these exchanges. You know, the biggest problem with health care is that if
you`re an individual, it`s very difficult to buy on the open market,
insurance policy on the open market that you can afford, because there`s no
risk pool. That`s changing. These state-based places, similar to
Massachusetts, the Massachusetts law, where it`s already working, people
can go in, pull their coverage and buy affordable health care.
So, you know, we are moving towards coverage. We are making progress.
People are already benefiting from this law.
And the contraception debate, you know, it is remarkable that we are
debating birth control all these years later. But at the end of the day,
we`re going to make sure women have access to this important coverage with
no out of pocket costs. We`ll do it in a way where we will try to be
O`DONNELL: Just to be clear, Stephanie, before you go, we`re not
debating birth control. There`s no debate left in this country about birth
control. This debate is very, very narrow.
In fact, I have been trying to find out for two days how many people
are affected by this debate. They are the employees of Catholic
institutions, universities, hospital, that sort of thing and no one has yet
come up with a number. I don`t know if you have a number.
O`DONNELL: Do you know how many people we are talking about, because
we`re not talking about everyone? Let`s just leave that --
CUTTER: We`re not. And many of these employees that work at Catholic
institutions are already covered. Many Catholic universities already cover
it for their employees, many hospitals cover it for employees.
O`DONNELL: Right. And the question before us -- the question that
sparked the debate is should there not be birth control, it`s just should a
Catholic institution, some of them -- that you point out some already
choose to do it. That`s their choice.
But should the government be, in effect, saying that they must do it
by law. That`s all this debate is.
O`DONNELL: These Catholic institutions only -- and as you`ve said,
you`ve exempted the churches. So, the concept of exempting exists in the
CUTTER: Right. And just to add to that, that there are many laws
already on the books in states that already require non-church
institutions, religiously affiliated institutions to cover this important
O`DONNELL: Stephanie, if you used any state versions as models for
how this one came out?
CUTTER: Well, many of them are identical to what we`re doing.
Massachusetts is virtually identical to the exclusion that exists on the
federal requirement. New York, California, North Carolina -- and, you
know, I`m trying to remember them off the top of my head. Arizona has a
very similar exclusion.
All of those states are very similar to what the new federal
requirement is. Many states don`t have any exclusion at all.
So, yes, we absolutely looked at what is going on in the states and
we`ll continue to look at what`s going on in the states. It`s part of what
the next year and a half will be about -- how are these institutions
dealing with this in these states.
O`DONNELL: Stephanie Cutter of the Obama reelection campaign -- thank
you very much for joining us.
CUTTER: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, David Boies, chairman of Boies, Schiller &
Flexner. He representative of Vice President Al Gore in Bush v. Gore and
he is the constitutional authority that I turn to whenever available.
So, what is the constitutional issue involved here?
DAVID BOIES, CHAIRMAN, BOIES, SCHILLER & FLEXNER: There isn`t a
constitutional issue involved in this issue. First Amendment of the
Constitution prohibits establishment of religion. That is you can`t have
the government saying you are going to have to follow certain religious
beliefs, and it guarantees free exercise. That means everybody is free to
exercise the religion that they choose.
There isn`t anything in the Constitution that says an employer,
regardless of whether you are a church employer or not, isn`t subject to
the same rules as any other employer.
O`DONNELL: Minimum wage.
BOIES: Minimum wage, safe working conditions, workman`s compensation,
age restrictions. You could have a religion that says we believe that
everybody when they are 60 years old ought to go off and contemplate their
next life. And so, people shouldn`t work after 60. That doesn`t give that
religion an exemption from --
O`DONNELL: So, this is just simple labor law.
BOIES: This is --
O`DONNELL: Labor requires certain conditions in the work place and so
forth. This is one of those.
BOIES: And tax law and workman`s comp law. I mean, there are all
sorts of laws that apply to every employer in this country, and you don`t
exempt religious employers just because their religion.
You are not asking anybody in the Catholic Church or any other church
to do anything other than simply comply with a normal laws that every
employer has to comply with.
O`DONNELL: And so, the -- when you say the exercise of the religion.
If the Catholic Church`s position, which 100 percent of American Catholics
BOIES: Yes, right.
O`DONNELL: -- and think is ridiculous and they have never respected
it and it is manmade invention because contraception is a manmade invention
of the 20th century. This pill we`re talking about didn`t exist, you know?
And so, if the Catholic Church says we teach that you should not use
this and only Rick Santorum doesn`t, the court would not see it as
conflicting with the church`s exercises by saying to that same church, as
an employer, you have to buy this health insurance policy that includes
this clause here?
BOIES: No. Because, for example, the law wouldn`t say to a Catholic
hospital, for example, that you have got to do these acts that are contrary
to religion, perhaps an abortion or something like that. They would,
however, say to that hospital, you`ve got to treat your employees
consistent with the law. You`ve got to give them workman`s compensation.
You`ve got to --
O`DONNELL: I mean, an example could be --
O`DONNELL: You could have a devout Catholic that would say that`s OK.
I`m a devout Catholic. I`m a janitor here, you don`t have to pay me when I
come in 10 extra hours and labor law comes in and says, wait a minute.
BOIES: You got to pay him.
BOIES: And you`ve got to give him health insurance and you`ve got to
give him workman`s compensation.
O`DONNELL: How do you think this Supreme Court would react to this
set of facts as we correctly them? And would the case -- it sounds like
the case would have trouble getting up there.
BOIES: I think this case would have trouble getting to the court.
This isn`t an election year, right, and people are looking to the election
issues. If this weren`t an election year, we wouldn`t have (INAUDIBLE)
New York, we are sitting in New York right now. New York has had this
law. Religion isn`t threatened. The Catholic Church is doing very well in
O`DONNELL: With exemptions. Does it have the same exemptions?
BOIES: It has the same exemptions as the federal law, that is the
exemption for church employees, not hospital employees. If a Catholic
Church owns a restaurant, those employees aren`t exempt. If they own a
hospital, those employees aren`t exempt. If they own a university, those
employees aren`t exempt.
But if it`s a true religious institution, those employees are exempt.
O`DONNELL: We had a religious practice, a religious-based practice
outlawed in this country. Polygamy was outlawed in the 1870s. How did
that happen? Because that was a religious -- an exercise of religious
BOIES: Because the Constitution has never prohibited Congress or the
state legislatures from imposing limits that applied to everybody. In
other words, you may have religion that believes in sacrificing animals.
BOIES: That doesn`t mean you are going to get an exemption from the
anti-cruelty to animals laws.
O`DONNELL: Right. OK.
BOIES: As long as you have laws that apply across the board, and they
are reasonable related laws the state has the right to impose those and you
don`t get a pass just because you form or have a religion that has a
sincere belief to the contrary.
Now, this is not a question of freedom of religion. Nobody is forcing
Catholics to use contraception.
O`DONNELL: Right. If it`s in your policy, you don`t have to use it.
You can go full Santorum.
BOIES: And the Catholic Church is perfectly able to go out there and
appeal to the 2 percent of Catholics and say we don`t do it.
O`DONNELL: Right. David Boies, thank you very much for joining me
tonight. You`ve cleared up a lot.
Coming up, John Boehner`s response to the contraception controversy.
He is ready to introduce a bill to the House of Representatives to overrule
the president. Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro will join me.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, Donald Trump tried to say what cabinet
position he would like in the Romney administration, but since he doesn`t
know much about government, he didn`t know the name of the job that he
wants -- you know, it`s the one where you get in fights with China. I`m
going to help him with that in the "Rewrite." I`ll explain it all to him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love the hymns of America.
Of course, our favorite is the national anthem. You know, we`re the only
people on earth that put our hand over our heart during the playing of the
JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Is that right? We`re the only people on
earth who do that? I didn`t know that.
And neither did the people in, well, Italy or Guatemala or Croatia or
Mali or Japan or the Ukraine or Venezuela. I guess we learn something
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: In imposing this requirement, the federal government has
drifted dangerously beyond its constitutional boundaries, encroaching on
religious freedom in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms
some of our nation`s most vital institutions. If the president does not
reverse the department`s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress,
acting on behalf of the American people, and the Constitution, that we`re
sworn to uphold and defend, must. The House will approach this matter
fairly and deliberately through regular order and appropriate legislative
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was House Speaker John Boehner today. The
Republican-led House is already taking action. The House Energy and
Commerce Committee chairman, Fred Upton of Michigan, announced today that
the committee will hold a hearing on March 1st on the Obama administration
contraception ruling and he expects Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius to testify on exactly how that decision was made.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, Democrat from
Thank you very much for joining me tonight, Congresswoman DeLauro.
REP. ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: Thank you. It`s a delight to be
O`DONNELL: I want to talk to a good Catholic girl about this.
O`DONNELL: You went to Catholic college. You have Catholic
education, as I do.
DELAURO: I went to Catholic grade school, and high school and
O`DONNELL: Yes, I went elementary and high school.
And -- so, I think you and I both understand exactly where the energy
is on both sides of this. I can completely understand what the official
Catholic objection is.
But having just heard David Boies educate all of us, because I haven`t
heard anybody explain the constitutional issue here -- there doesn`t seem
to be one. This seems to be very labor law. Employers in this country are
required to observe the laws relating to employment.
DELAURO: Well, I think David Boies was right. And he was, you know,
actually crystal clear. This is not a constitutional issue. He was clear
and the Catholic Church is exempt from this effort and its employees.
And most recently there was a Supreme Court that said they could hire
anyone they wanted to. And their employees would not get the benefit of
kind of coverage. It is the institutions that are affiliation that employ
hundreds of thousands of people who are from varied faiths and they are not
hired on a religious basis.
And if you take a Catholic hospital, you are looking at a Catholic
hospital is both a provider and an employer. And on the provision side of
this effort, nothing changes.
The Conscience Clause is intact. They don`t have to require. They
don`t have to prescribe. They don`t have to use, they don`t have to
dispense any contraceptives.
But as an employer, they are obligated to offer insurance, an
insurance coverage to their employees to give them the opportunity to be
able to access these critical health care services for women.
O`DONNELL: This is going political very quickly both in the
presidential campaign and now obviously in the House of Representatives, be
a hearing on March 1st.
Are the Democrat, would you say, united on this? Because this is an
interesting thing, this is not something that you actually voted on. This
is not language you voted on in the health care reform bill. It is one of
little kind of blanks that was left to be filled in by the secretary as
legislation frequently does, can sometimes have hundreds of those.
And so, now, it`s coming back in real language that all of the
Democrats can see.
Is the Democratic Party in the House comfortable with this?
DELAURO: Well, look, I think these are the kinds of issues that
people reflect inwardly on and think of their own conscience and where they
want to be.
But you made an interesting point. The health care bill was
transformational in terms of women`s health. And you might recall that
some of the same people today are the same people back then who were
willing to jettison health care over the issue of abortion.
But let`s focus on this effort. Health care bill transformational and
the services provided for women. No more discrimination based on pre-
existing conditions, whether it`d be a C-section or domestic violence. No
more paying 48 percent more for health care insurance just because you are
Giving that we pass that and it`s in law, what Health and Human
Services did, they said we`re not going to make a decision about that
essential benefit package. The Institute of Medicine, a research effort,
laid the things out, including counseling, screening for cancer, cervical
cancer and also contraceptive services.
This is about women`s health care services and that`s the issue on
which we will vote on and that`s as it should be.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman DeLauro, before we go, I just want to
reiterate, I`m hoping that this Congress, at some point, probably not under
Republican rule -- it will never happen, but in the future gets back to all
those women who were left out of this bill.
And I just want to cite the CBO report. In year one of
implementation, 31 million people are left out. It goes down to 21 million
people four years in. And then it starts to curve back up. Under the
bill, the uninsured actually start to increase in the later years, back up
to 23 million. Those people I don`t think Congress wants to forget.
DELAURO: Well, I think that when Stephanie Cutter answered your
question, when you talked about that, it was about people are going to be
able as individuals to go out and purchase insurance on the exchange.
O`DONNELL: But this is -- the CBO is saying these are the people who
won`t be able to afford to do that. That`s how many are going to be left
DELAURO: Well, you know, the fact is that we now have the opportunity
to make sure that most -- most everyone in this nation will be covered by
health insurance. That was not true a year ago or two years or five year
ago. It is 100 years in coming. It was a good step forward. And it had
very good services, preventive care for women, as does the new guideline
from the administration.
It is a balanced approach. It makes sense. And it preserves your
religious options as well.
O`DONNELL: Most people have always been covered. But now most of the
uninsured, the previous uninsured will be covered. That`s true.
DELAURO: That`s right.
O`DONNELL: Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, thank you very
much for joining me tonight.
DELAURO: Thank you. It`s a pleasure.
O`DONNELL: Last night, Rick Santorum just ruined the end of this
program. We had to go to live to his victory speech and bump my final two
guests of the night, the two women who are one of the loving couples who
brought the great legal case that yesterday reversed Proposition 8 in
California. They will join us tonight.
And Donald Trump wants a job in the Romney cabinet. But he doesn`t
know the name of the job. It`s not that he is undecided. He actually
doesn`t know the name of the job. I am going to have to explain that to
him in tonight`s Rewrite.
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, Republican front runner Mitt
Romney has now won three and lost five. How`s that for a front runner?
Last night, he lost every county in Missouri and every county in Minnesota,
every darn county. And Rick Santorum came from out of nowhere and won all
three states last night.
So today, of course, Rick Santorum thanked God and then went right to
church in McKinney (ph), Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know life begins at
conception. It is a fact that life begins at conception. It is not a
matter of belief. It`s a biological fact. That is a human being at the
moment of conception. That child is alive.
I can`t and I won`t check my faith at the door, because it motivates
me to do things that I believe are best for our country. It motivates me
to stand up for those who are the most vulnerable. It motivates me to
stand up, not just for the unborn child, but for the -- for that working
guy that doesn`t have the kind of job that can support his family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst John Heilemann
of "New Yorker Magazine," who checks his faith and his dignity at the door
every time he comes in to do a segment on this show. Thanks for joining
Have they run out of champagne at Obama campaign headquarters in
Chicago after these Republican election nights.
JOHN HEILEMANN, "NEW YORK MAGAZINE": They have certainly had to call
in for reinforcements on many occasions, Lawrence. I think that is right.
Look, anything that prolongs this Republican race, that further divides the
party rather than unifies it, the Republican party that is -- and I
actually think that anything that brings some of these social issues to the
fore, which is part of what Rick Santorum is capitalizing on, it makes the
Republican party look like it is outside the mainstream on some of those
I think they are celebrating that at Obama headquarters too.
O`DONNELL: Now, Romney -- Mitt Romney is now in a struggle about what
did he do or not do in Massachusetts in the same territory involving
contraception provided by Catholic institutions. How`s he doing with that?
HEILEMANN: I`m not sure exactly what he is doing with that. I think
he`s done pretty well throughout this campaign in managing to sidestep his
record in Massachusetts. I think what he is planning to do and is focused
most intently on right now is just how many millions of dollars he is going
to spend in Arizona and Michigan over the course of the next couple of
weeks, trying to reduce Rick Santorum to rubble in the same way that he has
on two occasions reduced Newt Gingrich to rubble, and earlier reduced Rick
Perry to rubble, in order to pay his way to the nomination.
O`DONNELL: And now Santorum has done some more math since this
morning. This morning, he said he raised about a quarter of a million
dollars last night. Now turns out they have finished the counting. They
raised a million bucks, they say, on the Internet donations in the last 24
hours. How much more does he need to stay in this thing in a serious way?
HEILEMANN: Well, a lot more than that. Look, he`s celebrating
rightly. He had a really good night last night. I think there is a sense
among some Republicans that he has emerged as the conservative alternative
to Romney. He`s supplanted Newt Gingrich in that position. So it is not
surprising that some money is flowing in to his coffers.
But look after the next couple of primaries and the Maine caucuses
that finish up this weekend and the Washington State caucuses, early in
March, we then head into Super Tuesday and a series of multi-primary
events. I think, first, Santorum is going to need to do something in some
of these caucuses and primaries before Super Tuesday to capitalize on his
victories last night.
But then, by the time he gets to Super Tuesday, in the run up to Super
Tuesday, he not going to need a million dollars. He is going to need many,
many millions of dollars to be able to counteract Mitt Romney`s
organizational and financial advantages.
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann of "New York Magazine," thank you very much
for joining me tonight.
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Donald Trump seems to think his endorsement of
Mitt Romney somehow makes him eligible for a position in the Romney
cabinet. He told CNN he knows the job he wants. He just doesn`t know the
name of that job. And that, of course, is where I come in. Someone has
got to explain it all to Donald. And that`s what I`m going to do next in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": I don`t get Rick Santorum. I don`t
get that whole thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Surely by now someone has explained to Trump that Rick
Santorum is the guy who last night beat the candidate who Trump endorsed
six days ago. In that same CNN interview, which was broadcast this
morning, Trump was asked a question he did not realize was a joke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there a place for you in a Romney cabinet?
TRUMP: Well, it`s certainly not something I`m looking for. If I can
do anything to help this country, we have to do something to help the
country. We can`t keep losing our jobs to other countries.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you talked about it with Governor Romney?
TRUMP: No, I haven`t. I haven`t discussed that, no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he reached out to you, what would your
TRUMP: I think it is very early to worry about it. I think, number
one, he has to get the nomination. Number two, he has to get elected. And
after that, I would certainly be open if I can do anything to help him or
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what cabinet position would it be that you
TRUMP: I don`t know. Maybe a position where I negotiate against some
of these countries, because they are really taking our lunch.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK, Donald, I know you don`t know much about this
government stuff, so I am going to help you out. The job you want is U.S.
Trade Representative. Now I know you have never heard of that, so let me
explain. It is a cabinet level position confirmed by the Senate. Your
confirmation hearing would go through the Senate Finance Committee, where
the chief of staff of the committee, my old job -- really -- would learn
everything there is to know about you.
Your tax returns would be plopped down on my old desk, studied by the
committee chairman and any member of the committee who asks to look at
them. And you have to believe all of the senators would want to look at
your tax returns. And a variety of staff members who would be asked
technical questions about your tax returns by the senators would have to
look at them, too.
You would be asked in writing about your history of drug use, illegal
drug use. And when is the last time you used an illegal drug, if ever.
And I know you are feeling a little uncomfortable by now, but the
confirmation process is uncomfortable for everyone.
Not everyone in your -- not everyone in -- not everything -- not every
little thing in your tax returns becomes public, just the really bad
things. The committee can take a very long time to get to your
confirmation hearing. And if the committee approves your nomination, it
goes out to the Senate floor, where it can linger for months, sometimes
over a year.
But that`s no problem for you because you have got a TV show to keep
you busy in the meantime, where you pretend to fire people who don`t
actually work for you. But here`s the big problem, Donald, for you. The
job pays, like all cabinet positions, 199,700 dollars. And you can`t live
on that. And we all know you are not rich enough to stop working.
You`re no Mitt Romney, who lives entirely off of his investment income
and doesn`t have to work a day. You need the couple million that you make
on TV to stay afloat. But you don`t really have to worry about any of
this, Donald. You don`t have to worry about the confirmation process and
risking perjury if you tried to lie to the committee about being a
Because Mitt Romney would never pick you to negotiate trade deals with
the Chinese or do anything else for the government or do anything else for
the Romneys, not even wash their cars, because Romney knows you are a
buffoon, an unconfirmable joke, America`s biggest loser. He knows that.
If Gene Burdick and William Lederer had not come up with the phrase
"Ugly American" for the title of their 1958 novel, then someone would have
had to invent that label for you.
So relax, Donald. And tomorrow morning, bright and early, you can get
back to saying all of those tough-sounding things you love to say about the
Chinese on Twitter. And that`s as close as you will ever get to
negotiating with the Chinese.
Good night, Donald.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We couldn`t let this show end tonight with Rick Santorum
stepping on the time of the couple in California whose case overturned
Proposition 8. That just would be no justice. I couldn`t sleep with that
happening. So I`m glad we are able to do the interview immediately after
the show. We will post it online.
We may use it in tomorrow night`s show or we may do both. We`ll
probably do both. But it just -- it just wouldn`t be right for it to be
Rick Santorum getting in the way of the winners of the Proposition 8 case
in California. Can`t be allowed to happen. Not here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was from last night`s VERY LAST WORD, a feature on
our blog on TheLastWord.MSNBC.com, where I frequently talk about what I
wish I had done differently in that night`s show. As very, very bad luck
would have it last night, Rick Santorum`s victory speech intruded on the
last segment of our show, where I planned to interview Kris Perry and Sandy
Stier, one of the two couples who filed the historic case that overturned
California`s Proposition 8 yesterday, the law that bans same-sex marriage
Tonight, we have more good news on the marriage equality front. Just
three hours ago, the Washington State legislature approved a marriage
equality bill, making it the seventh state to move in to the 21st century.
Washington Governor Chris Gregoire -- Gregoire plans to sign the bill in to
law next week.
Here`s last night`s interview with the triumphant California couple,
Kris Perry and Sandy Stier.
O`DONNELL: Congratulations. How does this feel? This is an amazing,
I think, victory in a federal court over a state issue like this.
KRIS PERRY, PLAINTIFF CHALLENGING PROP 8: Well, absolutely a
momentous day for us. This challenge to the Proposition 8 has taken almost
three years now, three years that we haven`t been able to get married. But
the really sweet part about today is seeing discrimination fall in
California in such a divisive way and setting really a path to the Supreme
Court and for the rest of the nation to follow.
O`DONNELL: Kris and Sandy, I want you to listen to one of the voices
who wants to push this country backwards on this issue. Here`s what Mitt
Romney had to say today in response to the ruling. He said "today,
unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted
to protect traditional marriage. This decision does not end this fight.
And I expect it to go to the Supreme Court."
How would you respond to Mitt Romney?
SANDY STIER, PLAINTIFF CHALLENGING PROP 8: Well, if our case does go
to the Supreme Court, we certainly feel like what will happen is that the
truth will be told at that level. Kris and I were at the trial every day.
And we heard the expert testimony and we heard the witnesses. It is a very
compelling story. And the facts and the evidence are on our side.
And the ruling, which was an amazing ruling, really showed that
discrimination is wrong and that same-sex marriage is a constitutional
right. We fully expect that to be upheld.
PERRY: What I thought was remarkable about today`s ruling is that it
says that federal courts are saying to California you can`t take away a
right from a group of people based on who they are. And I don`t think that
is inconsistent with what this president has said, what the Supreme Court
has said, what people running for president are saying.
When you read the facts, when you look at the reasoning behind this
ruling, it is very clear. Proposition 8 is harmful. It is taking away our
Constitutional right to equal protection. And I don`t know anyone in
elected office who could support that.
O`DONNELL: Kris and Sandy, this is what I think the huge contribution
your case has made to the debate. It`s no longer a question of how do you
feel about this? Are you uncomfortable by this? How would you feel if
your child -- or any of those old-fashioned notions of approaching those
kinds of questions.
It is really tell me your constitutional argument against marriage
equality. It seems to me you have now pushed this to the point where to be
in this dialogue, you have to have a Constitutional argument, one way or
PERRY: The only argument that has come from the other side so far is
that they feel that in some way the voters, the 52, 53 percent of voters in
California who voted in Proposition 8, have been mistreated in some way by
this ruling. But it`s important to note, the Constitution supersedes
elections, and it can supersede a majority if the majority is
discriminating against a minority, which we are.
That`s why we are really excited about today`s ruling, why it is
historic and momentous.
O`DONNELL: If we had put slavery to a vote in the southern states,
that wouldn`t have been the way to overturn it. Congratulations on this
victory, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier. Thank you very much for joining me.
PERRY: Thank you
STIER: Thank you so much.
O`DONNELL: Kris Perry and Sandy Stier get the very, very LAST WORD.
You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog, TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. And
you can follow my Tweets @Lawrence. "THE ED SHOW" is up next.
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