updated 2/21/2012 12:12:00 PM ET 2012-02-21T17:12:00

Guests: Steve Schmidt, Mike DeWine, Steve Kornacki, Gail Collins, Robert Reich

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Well, Rachel, I heard this in my ear as I
was running to the studio, and I just went, wait a minute, wait a minute,
Rachel has to toss. I have to thank you that I couldn`t possibly be better
defended than that, but I just lost a segment of my show, because I was
going to do something like that in the "Rewrite," which I can`t possibly
do, because you did it so masterfully. We got about a half an hour to come
up with something.

RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: I can rant about that whole, like,
ultrasound thing for half an hour on cue. I will be here.

O`DONNELL: Don`t you think that maybe there`s someone at PolitiFact
now who`s trying to serve up easy ones for you?

MADDOW: I actually feel like there is a silver lining here. That
this is so bad, that it`s got to be bait or some sort of signal or a cry
for help. I don`t know.

O`DONNELL: Absolutely brilliant, Rachel. Thank you very, very much.

MADDOW: I appreciate it. Thanks, my friend.

O`DONNELL: And our big get for tonight is the Ohio Republican
attorney general who endorsed Mitt Romney, and then dropped him for Rick
Santorum. He`s going to be my first guest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The age of Santorum.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Rick Santorum is campaigning in Ohio and
Michigan today, and not backing away from a series of controversial
comments he made over the weekend.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s not about you. It`s
not about your quality of life. It`s not about your job.

CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Rick Santorum is under fire this morning.

SANTORUM: It`s about some phony ideal, phony theology.

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: What in the world were you talking about?

SANTORUM: Some phony theology.

JANSING: The president`s agenda is based on a, quote, "phony
theology."

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: You can`t play with the term "theology."
Theology is what it is.

SANTORUM: Some phony theology.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Social issues, they are front and center.

SANTORUM: Prenatal testing does, in fact, result in abortion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This kind of talk is dangerous.

SANTORUM: I know what I`m talking about here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a human being that is running for
president of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick Santorum with 36 percent nationally, Mitt
Romney with 28 percent nationally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Soaring to a 10-point lead over Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, I don`t get that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rick Santorum is beating now Mitt Romney in
almost every category, but women.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Just 29 percent of women in a national GOP
race.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women`s votes will be critical in this election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Romney people did not attack him for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re afraid of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somewhere, someplace, Mitt Romney is sitting
there, wondering, how did it come to this?

JANSING: If he loses Michigan, what happens?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, that won`t happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A loss in Michigan would really wound his
candidacy.

ROMNEY: Well, that won`t happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What kind of concessions does Romney have to make?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was not how it was supposed to go down for
Mitt Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new poll shows that President Obama`s approval
rating has risen in recent weeks. Says the president, keep talking,
fellas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: The new national frontrunner in the Republican
presidential primary campaign is widening his lead. Rick Santorum now has
a 10-point lead over Mitt Romney in the national Gallup poll, 36 to 26.
Newt Gingrich is a distant third at 13, with Ron Paul performing
consistently at 11 percent.

And the nation`s new Republican frontrunner spent the weekend trying
to get into a theological argument with the president, then comparing the
president to Hitler, and then, of course, denying that he was comparing the
president to Hitler.

Here`s Rick Santorum on Saturday, talking about the president`s
positions on the environment, although you`d never know it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: This is what the president`s agenda -- it`s not about you!
It`s not about you. It`s not about your quality of life. It`s not about
your jobs.

It`s about some phony ideal, some phony theology. Oh, not a theology
based on the Bible, a different theology. But none -- no less a theology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Sunday morning, Bob Schieffer asked the logical follow-up
to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIEFFER: So, Senator, I`ve got to ask you -- what in the world were
you talking about, sir?

SANTORUM: Well, I was talking about the radical environmentalists,
that`s why I was talking about energy. This idea that man is not -- is
here to serve the earth as opposed to husband its resources and be good
stewards of the earth.

SCHIEFFER: I don`t want to just spend the whole program on this, but
was your use --

SANTORUM: Good.

SCHIEFFER: -- of the word "theology", perhaps you could have had a
better word than that? I mean, don`t you know that -- or do you wonder
that that might lead some people to suggest that you were questioning the
president`s faith?

SANTORUM: Well, no, because I`ve repeatedly said I don`t question the
president`s faith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Then, Sunday afternoon, Rick Santorum tried to tone down
his rhetoric by dragging Hitler into the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: The greatest generation for a year and a half sat on the
sidelines while Europe was under darkness. Why? Because we`re a hopeful
people.

We think, well, you know, lit get better. Yes, he`s not -- I mean,
he`s a nice guy. I mean, it won`t be near as bad as what we think. I
mean, you know, this will be OK. I mean, oh, yes, maybe he`s not the best
guy.

After a while, you found out some things about this guy over in Europe
and he`s not so good of a guy after all. It`s going to be harder for this
generation to figure this out. There`s no cataclysmic event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Then this afternoon, Rick Santorum pretended to try to put
the Hitler toothpaste back in the tube.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: It`s a World War II metaphor. It`s one I`ve used a hundred
times.

REPORTER: I know, were you comparing the president to Hitler?

SANTORUM: No, of course not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now in a LAST WORD exclusive, Ohio Republican
attorney general, Mike DeWine, a Rick Santorum supporter, a former Mitt
Romney supporter, and also a former United States senator from Ohio.

Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Attorney General DeWine.

MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: So you made --

DEWINE: Great to be with you.

O`DONNELL: You did something I`ve never seen before, that jumping
from an endorsement to Mitt Romney, before the candidate has dropped out.
I mean, certainly people change endorsements after a candidate drops out.
But there`s Mitt Romney, right up there, running strong, if in second
place. You dropped him on Friday to go to Rick Santorum.

And then, in your first weekend in the Santorum campaign, you watch
all this happen. You find your candidate getting into a theological fight
with the president, you find him dragging in a reference to Hitler into the
campaign.

Did you -- don`t you miss those Romney days, with a nice, controlled
candidate?

DEWINE: Well, I guess you and I look at it a little differently. I
was listening to what you said before you put me on, but maybe just tell
you why I changed.

I was a Romney delegate and I guess I bought into the conventional
wisdom and felt it back in October when I endorsed Romney and actually
became a Romney delegate, that he was the best candidate to beat Barack
Obama, to beat the president.

We run campaigns for a reason. And we learn a lot of things. And I
guess there`s a reason that even though we kind of laugh about it and say,
you know, how many more debates can anyone tolerate or how many more
caucuses or, you know, more town hall meetings -- there`s a reason we do
it. And that is, campaigns have a way of sorting things out.

And what I`m seeing in Ohio and what I was seeing is that the Romney
campaign was going nowhere. It didn`t get any better from day one until
last weekend. It`s still not getting any better. There`s no excitement.

And the excitement that we`re seeing in Ohio, at least, is in regard
to Rick Santorum. It was fairly easy after that, for me. I`ve known Rick
for a long time. I`ve worked with him in the United States Senate. I have
a great deal of respect for him.

I think he is resonating in Ohio because people look at him and say
he`s real, he`s telling them what he thinks, whether you agree or disagree.
He`s saying what he thinks. And that`s going very, very well.

Look, bottom line, I think he has -- I think he`ll be a good
president. And I think he`ll have the best chance, by far, of beating
Barack Obama in the fall. And that`s my objective.

O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to what he thinks about what is
apparently the newest issue in the presidential campaign: pre-natal
testing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: One of the things that you don`t know about Obamacare, and
one of the mandates is they require free prenatal testing in every
insurance policy in America. Why? Because it saves money in health care.
Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and therefore
less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in
our society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Attorney General DeWine, would you advise where are
candidate to stop talking about amniocentesis, which has become a standard
and important prenatal procedure?

DEWINE: Well, he`s talking about a lot of different things. He`s
talking about jobs. I was in Steubenville today --

O`DONNELL: Well, yes --

DEWINE: -- he was talking about jobs -- let me finish.

(CROSSTALK)

DEWINE: I`ll get to that.

O`DONNELL: OK, do jobs and then, please, prenatal testing.

DEWINE: Look, he was talking about jobs. He was in Steubenville, as
you well know, a very Democratic area of the state, he had a phenomenal
crowd, a very enthusiastic crowd.

I will tell you, because he`s talking about jobs, he`s talking about
energy, he`s comparing himself to the Obama administration, which is -- I
don`t believe is concerned about jobs. The decision was made with the
pipeline to scuttle it. It makes absolutely no sense.

What he was saying today resonates very well with Democratic Jefferson
County.

And I will tell you that when Rick Santorum is the nominee in the
fall, he is going to do exceedingly well in the Appalachian part of the
state of Ohio as well as the rest of the part. He`s going to do well in
the Democrat part.

Let me get to your -- to your question. Look, what he was saying, I
think, is a fact. And the fact is, 90 percent of Down syndrome children
are aborted in this country.

You know, maybe some people don`t think that`s a problem. I`m shocked
by it. I think it`s a sad, sad commentary.

And what he was simply saying is, the government should not compel
every insurance policy that is written to cover that.

I`ll tell you a personal -- a personal story. You know, my wife was
44 years old. We have eight children -- 44 years old when we had our last
child. The doctor asked her if she wanted to have this done.

And she looked at him and she said, well, OK, why would you do that?
To find out if there`s a problem. Well, what if you find out if there`s a
problem? What`s the solution? Well, the solution is to have an abortion.
So, Fran said, no, I`m not going to do that.

So, you know, that`s where Rick`s coming from. That`s what he`s
talking about. And for those of us who think there are too many abortions
that occur in this country and that what we`re dealing with is a human life
is, it`s a very legitimate issue.

But that`s not all he`s talking about at all. What happens is, you
have a speech where he`s talking about energy, he`s talking about the
deficit, he`s talking about getting entitlements under control, and, of
course, we pick out one thing. I happen to agree with him on it, and I
think his audience agreed with him as well.

O`DONNELL: Attorney General Mike DeWine, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.

DEWINE: I`ve enjoyed it. Good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are MSNBC political analysts Steve Schmidt,
former senior adviser to John McCain`s 2008 presidential campaign and a
senior strategy in the Bush/Cheney 2004 presidential campaign; and our
other Steve, Steve Kornacki, political columnist for Salon.com.

Steve Schmidt, you`ve got a Republican front-runner now who`s talking
about amniocentesis. This is not something anybody would advise any
candidate to get into.

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it`s crazy talk,
Lawrence. And I tell you, if he is the nominee, given what he said over
the last week on the contraception issues, amniocentesis, prenatal testing,
one of the big medical advances in the last 15 years, there`ll be a blowout
the likes that no one has ever even imagined before.

O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, you wrote a fascinating piece today,
talking about what Santorum`s move into theology and this religious
conversation means for Romney. It puts Romney in a difficult place,
doesn`t it?

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: No, really, I think it really does,
because you talk about the role that evangelical voters play in Republican
politics today, and it`s really more pronounced than it`s ever been before.
That`s true in states like Michigan and Ohio, but it`s really true in the
South. And there`s going to be, you know, five or six contests coming up
in the next few weeks down South, and where Rick Santorum has really faced
sort of a challenge, which is there`s a lot of, sort of, you know, inborn
resistance in the South to a candidate like Romney because of his Mormon
background.

But Rick Santorum is not necessarily the best candidate to take
advantage of that, because Rick Santorum is, you know, a Pennsylvania
northern-born Roman Catholic. He`s not necessarily a natural fit for
evangelical voters either.

But when you listen to the way he`s been talking for the last few
days, it really seems to me that he`s really trying to drive home and to
create and form a bond with evangelical voters, particularly in the South,
which would be the important part of any coalition that he`s trying to
build, to stop Mitt Romney on Super Tuesday.

And, you know, Newt Gingrich did very well with those voters in South
Carolina and then in the panhandle of Florida. So I think there might be a
sense on Santorum`s part that, hey, got to make sure Newt doesn`t get those
guys in the South, and this is how to do it, but yes, there`s lots of
blowback potential here.

O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, as soon as I heard Rick Santorum start
using the word "theology," I started to wonder -- is this a direct attempt
to, in effect, try to tease Mitt Romney into that discussion? Because he
comes from a theological tradition that would make absolutely no sense to
most Republican primary voters if they had to listen to any of the details
of that.

SCHMIDT: I think his faith is an important part of Rick Santorum`s
life. He talks about it a great deal. I think that that is something that
you see candidates do pretty routinely in races. Bill Clinton did it,
George W. Bush did it.

What he`s talking about when he attacks the theology of the president,
I think it`s something that`s fairly unprecedented. It`s a direct appeal
to a voter that the president is different. He`s part of the other.

It`s -- I think it`s terrible and it will have a horrible consequence
in a general election. There`s just no market for it.

When you look at the prenatal testing quotes, you look at the
contraception quotes over the last week, and you look at the states where
Republicans have to win, northern Virginia, a moderate area, this is a
state that Republicans have to get back. The southwestern states, New
Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, all important swing states. You look at suburban
Columbus, you look out across Ohio, suburban Philadelphia. I mean, he has
disqualified himself fundamentally from being able to win a general
election in this country.

And what`s amazing about the debate we`re having in the Republican
Party is that there`s a significant percentage of the Republican voter out
there that actually thinks these are winning issues to carry into a general
election, and there`s no amount of evidence, no amount of empirical data
that will convince them otherwise.

So I think you`re going to see a very, very interesting fight start to
play out here over the next week, next couple of weeks in the Republican
Party on these issues.

O`DONNELL: Well, as we all know, when a candidate steps into a new
territory, let`s call it theology, on a Saturday, and they`re asked about
it on Sunday, and they`re still talking about it on Monday afternoon, then
something deliberate is going on.

Let`s listen to Rick Santorum talking about religion today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: I don`t know if you`ve been listening to the president and
the secretary of state and other members of the cabinet, when they talk
about freedom of religion. They don`t say that anymore. They don`t say --
they don`t talk about freedom of religion. They talk about freedom of
worship -- freedom of worship.

Well, you folks all know, there`s a big difference between freedom of
worship and freedom of religion.

Think about what I just said. We have leaders of this country who are
now narrowing the view of what religious liberty is in the First Amendment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Religious liberty, the president doesn`t talk about
religious liberty. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, as we move to
implement in rule, however, we`ve been mindful that there`s another
principle at stake here. And that`s the principle of religious liberty --
an unalienable right that is enshrined in our Constitution. As a citizen
and as a Christian, I cherish this right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, if you`re Santorum and you`re going to
make these statements, you have to make sure that that tape doesn`t exist
with the president saying exactly the words you say he doesn`t say.

KORNACKI: In a way you do, but I think what Santorum is doing here is
channeling a very narrow, very specific, very hard-core element, you know,
within the Republican Party. And like I said, I think it has particular
resonance in the South.

But the interesting thing here is, remember, when this campaign kind
of moved to Michigan and kind of moved to the Midwest, you know, a week or
two ago, Santorum went to Michigan saying, I`m going to be talking about
economic issues and I`m going to be talking about jobs for the next two
weeks. And we have not heard almost anything from him on those subjects.
Instead, we have heard one cultural hot button after another.

And I think the risk for him was, you know, he sort of had Romney in a
difficult spot there, where he was surging and it was tough for Romney to
come after him and say, you know, hey, Rick Santorum, by the way, believes
some kind of far-out things on social issues, because Romney can`t really
run to his left.

But the way Santorum is now talking about this, I think it opens the
door for Republican leaders to say, you know what, we all agree on these
issues, but he doesn`t know how to talk about them.

O`DONNELL: MSNBC political analyst, Steve Schmidt, and Steve Kornacki
of "Salon", the two Steves -- thank you very much for joining me tonight.

KORNACKI: Sure.

SCHMIDT: Great to be here.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, more on the Santorum surge and why Mitt
Romney`s dog may have something to do with it. Gayle Collins of "The New
York Times" joins me.

And the presidential campaign is creating of a lot of myths about
manufacturing. Robert Reich will guide us to the truth.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, I was going to respond to what
PolitiFact said about me, but Rachel just did a much better job than I
could ever do. We`ve got a few minutes, so let`s see if I can come up with
something else.

And later, why Bill O`Reilly is wrong about the media coverage of the
death of Whitney Houston. O`Reilly really hated my coverage of Whitney
Houston last week. And he`s going to hate what I have to say tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: You know, in politics, approval ratings --
that`s all anybody cares about. Approval ratings and poll numbers.

Listen to this, President Obama, the incumbent, the sitting president,
Barack Obama, has an approval rating up to 50 percent -- 50 percent. You
know why? I`ll tell you why. One simple reason: he does not tie his dog
to the roof of his car!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This week, Foster Friess, the billionaire backer
of Rick Santorum, joked that when he was young, women held an aspirin
between their knees for birth control -- good one! But do you really want
to start a discussion of health care with "when I was young"? When you
were young, people died of polio. I mean, really!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really!

Now later in the week, Friess apologized for his comments. Well, we`d
love to accept your apology, Foster, but you made a mistake, and now,
you`ll have to live with that mistake for the rest of your life. Really!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was "Saturday Night Live`s" take on the new
Republican obsession with contraception.

Joining me now is Gail Collins, "New York Times" columnist, and the
author of the new book "William Henry Harrison," the latest in the American
presidents series.

Gail, I want to listen to what Rick Santorum said yesterday, defending
his comments on prenatal testing. This is what he said on "Face the
Nation." Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIEFFER: But, Senator, do you not want any kind of prenatal
testing?

SANTORUM: Sure.

SCHIEFFER: I mean, would we just turn our back on science, that this
is something that expectant mothers should not go through? That it`s best
not to know about these things ahead of time? I mean, is that what you`re
saying here?

SANTORUM: No, I`m not saying -- look, people have the right to do it,
but to have the government force people to provide it, free, just has -- to
me, has -- is a bit loaded. I -- there are all sorts of prenatal testing
which should be provided free. I have no problem with that, if the
insurance companies want to.

I`m not for any of these things to be forced. Let me just step back
and say, I don`t believe any of these procedures, anything in insurance
should be forced.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Gail, Bob Schieffer is the master of subtext. He was
doing everything but saying, are you kidding me?

Here he is with all this experience in Washington, he can`t believe a
presidential campaign has come to this, that we`re talking about amnio and
prenatal care.

GAIL COLLINS, NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, it`s a surprise to me, too,
actually.

O`DONNELL: And, Santorum and Mike DeWine, my previous guest, are
pretending that prenatal care and procedures like amniocentesis are for no
other reason than making a decision of whether you want to abort a
pregnancy or not when, in fact, there`s all kinds of information that is
gathered that can be very helpful to expectant parents, without any
thoughts of even considering an abortion.

COLLINS: Yes, I think we`re beginning to see with this campaign now
that abortion, the people -- the strong right-to-life movement is about a
whole lot more than most people had come to understand, as they`ve been
following it over the years.

I mean, it`s not just about not having abortions when you`re six
months pregnant, which is kind of the way it`s presented often. It`s about
things like not having fertility treatments of certain kind, because the
fertilized eggs that are excess are done away with at the end. It`s about
not using certain kinds -- not using any kinds of contraceptive. It`s
about not using IUDs. It just goes way, way, way beyond where most
Americans I think are prepared to go.

O`DONNELL: Now, Mitch Daniels and other cooler-headed conservatives
are trying to get this, this thing back to the idea of, this subject is
really about the Obama health care law and it`s really about -- it`s not
about contraception. It`s not about abortion.

But they have failed. The people who are trying to frame it that way
have completely failed. It`s out there, as a general conversation about
prenatal care and women`s health practices.

COLLINS: It`s true, although ironically, I don`t know if the bishops,
when we started on all this thing last week, down this road, actually
understood how much they were doing the work of the "let`s kill any kind of
national health care" plan. They must by now have figured it out.

I mean, this whole thing has become both sides using one another in a
very peculiar way here.

O`DONNELL: Now, Gail, I want to talk about what`s happened in the
polls and basically we see a Romney collapse. Rachel, in the previous
hour, tracked it to, literally to the day Donald Trump endorsed Mitt
Romney, numbers have gone down for him since then.

OK. So there`s Trump, but there`s also the Romney dog. How much of
this collapse can we assign to Mitt Romney as the worst dog manager in
history?

COLLINS: Well, as we all know, Mitt Romney did, years ago, drive his
family to Canada with the family dog strapped in a crate on the top of the
car, and it was actually wet for most of the trip, because he got diarrhea
at the beginning and was hosed down. So you`ve got a very wet Irish setter
on the top of the car, on the highway, going down the highway. I can`t
imagine he would have been real happy about it.

But it`s amazing to me that people glom on to this as meaning
something about Mitt Romney. And it seems to. It really does. I mean,
it`s really caught hold in a very strange and interesting way.

And you know, he`s going to be forever kind of the guy with the dog on
the top of the car.

O`DONNELL: Well, candidacies find different attachments to the
people, and I think one of the things about Mitt Romney is, he`s not found
any personal attachment. No connective spot, except here, with dog owners,
and it`s an extremely negative can connective spot with dog owners.

COLLINS: Well, he keeps trying. As we all know, he talked this week
about how he likes the size of the trees in Michigan, and he loves cars.
He really loves cars, so on and so forth.

But every time he tries for that really personal attachment, something
goes terribly wrong and he winds up saying that he really enjoys firing
people or that he got pink slips or something else horrible happens. And
it never goes well for him when he tries to make a personal connection.
It`s very strange.

O`DONNELL: Gail, quickly, before we go, let`s get in a book-selling
word about "William Henry Harrison."

COLLINS: Presidents Day, yes!

O`DONNELL: Does he have anything to teach us on Presidents Day about
this the presidential campaign?

COLLINS: I think so. You know, he like Mitt Romney was the son of a
very -- he was the son of a Founding Father, signer of the Declaration of
Independence, a very wealthy family in Virginia on a plantation. But he
ran as president in an age when you could just make stuff up and go with
it.

O`DONNELL: Those were the days.

COLLINS: As a very poor soldier living in a log cabin. And that was
the center of his campaign. People danced the log cabin two-step. If only
Mitt Romney could do that now, he`d be so happy if he could recreate
himself as, you know, this guy from Brooklyn.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Right, exactly.

COLLINS: Grew up by the candy store.

O`DONNELL: Exactly. Gail Collins, thank you very much for joining us
tonight.

COLLINS: A pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, as you -- lying going on on the campaign trail,
Robert Reich is next to tell us some of the important truths and some of
them are inconvenient truths that we need to know as this campaign
proceeds.

And later in "The Rewrite," I`m kind of the stuck because Rachel
already did a much better job of what I had in mind, so let`s see if me and
the staff can figure something out about PolitiFact`s strange take on one
of my TV ads.

And later, Bill O`Reilly thinks there`s only one way to talk about
Whitney Houston now, and he is very, very angry at the media, especially
me, for not talking about drug use enough. Little Billy must not have been
paying attention in his Catholic school when they talked about respect for
the dead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Bill O`Reilly is wicked mad at the media again. He thinks
there wasn`t enough coverage of Whitney Houston`s drug use last week. Tell
that to Dr. Drew who is on CNN every night and then did Bill Maher Friday
night, talking about addiction. Drug use was in all of the coverage last
week, except mine.

I`ll explain why to Bill O`Reilly, later.

And next, Robert Reich joins me with some inconvenient truths that you
will not be hearing on the presidential campaign trail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ladies and gentlemen, this
president is doing everything he can to shut down the manufacturing sector
of this economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Rick Santorum today, finding his way back to a
subject he used to talk about before he got obsessed with theology and
women`s reproductive health and the grab-bag of issues that will sink his
campaign if he becomes the Republican nominee.

In the country where Santorum imagines the president doing everything
he can to shut down the manufacturing sector, just last week, General
Motors announced record profits and is once again the number one carmaker
in the world.

On Friday, Robert Reich wrote, "Suddenly, manufacturing is back, at
least on the election trail. But don`t be fooled. The real issue isn`t
how to get manufacturing back. It`s how to get good jobs and good wages
back. They aren`t at all the same."

Joining me now from Burton, California, is former secretary of labor
under President Clinton and UC Berkeley professor, Robert Reich.

Professor Reich, thank you very much for joining me tonight. I was
thrilled to read your article this week, and I said, we got to get Bob
right away to talk about this. And the title of your piece is
"Manufacturing Illusion." Are the presidential candidates trying to
manufacture illusions about manufacturing?

ROBERT REICH, FORMER CLINTON LABOR SECRETARY: I think they are,
Lawrence. Look, I`m all in favor of trying to get manufacturing back, and
certainly, Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have been talking a lot about
manufacturing. Even the president unveiled last month a six-point plan for
getting manufacturing back. And I think the president`s plan is much
better than the Republican`s.

But the fact of the matter is, we`re not going to get manufacturing
back. For one thing, a lot of those jobs have disappeared forever, not
only to foreign countries, but even more importantly, to computerized
machine tools, to robotics. I mean, look at a modern factory today in the
United States, and you don`t see many jobs. The old assembly line is gone.
You see a few technicians sitting behind computer consoles that are
connected up with all the robotics and all of the numerically computerized
machine tools, but you just don`t have that many jobs.

O`DONNELL: Why do our politics, on both sides, Democrats and
Republicans, seem to have a prejudice in favor of manufacturing jobs over,
for example, nursing?

REICH: Well, I think the entire country does. I remember Clint
Eastwood`s -- I mean, that incredible halftime Super Bowl, you know, that
sense of patriotism and nostalgia we have about manufacturing. It is also
true that over the last two years, as Chinese wages have gone up and as a
lot of American consumers have wanted to replace, finally, there`s a lot of
pent-up demand for cars and trucks and appliances, and even companies have
got to get new machinery.

There has been a little bit of a boomlet in manufacturing back in the
United States. But we`re still way down. I mean, we`re five million jobs
short, manufacturing jobs short of where we were in -- 10 years ago, in the
year 2000.

And the nostalgia, I think, Lawrence, comes from the fact that these -
- many manufacturing used to be the place where we had really good, high-
wage jobs for Americans who did not have a four-year college degree. And
that`s still the case, to the extent that there are manufacturing jobs out
there. The problem is that there`s a misconception. And the reason that
those good manufacturing jobs existed was not because of manufacturing per
se, it was because we had strong unions in manufacturing and in the
manufacturing sector.

And those strong unions were able to negotiate from a position of
power and get very good wages for workers in manufacturing. Those days,
unfortunately, have waned. I mean look at GM. And GM has huge profits,
but the UAW, the United Auto Workers, you know, managed to negotiate a new
agreement that provides new workers with only $14 an hour, starting salary.
That`s half of what all new workers were getting.

O`DONNELL: Robert Reich, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
Everybody should read your piece, "Manufacturing Illusions." Thank you
very much.

REICH: Thanks very much, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Next in the "Rewrite," now that PolitiFact is checking the
accuracy of MSNBC TV ads. I actually saw one today, on MSNBC, that just
cries out for the PolitiFact treatment.

And later, Bill O`Reilly is very angry at the media for the way we
covered Whitney Houston`s death last week. He says no one was talking
about drug addiction in the coverage, which is, of course, a lie. Everyone
was talking about it except me, and I will explain to little Billy
something the nuns tried to teach him about respect for the dead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: So now, as Rachel told you, PolitiFact is branching out to
evaluating the truth in MSNBC ads. And they`ve given me a "mostly false"
for an ad that you`ve probably seen, and which I say, that the critics of
the GI Bill of Rights called it welfare.

I am, tonight, the luckiest man at MSNBC for two reasons. First, I
have the highest-rated show on the network as my lead-in, anchored by the
incomparable Rachel Maddow. And second, Rachel has defended me tonight
against PolitiFact`s false finding of fact better than I ever could myself.

This is not the first time Rachel has brilliantly deconstructed a
PolitiFact finding. Our blog now has links to all of Rachel`s takedowns of
PolitiFact, which everyone in journalism should see.

I was going to fill this space tonight with a detailed defense of my
use of the word "welfare" in our ad, which is the only word that PolitiFact
objects to. I was going to explain that other words were used at that
time, such as "the dole," and "relief," and those words morph over the
decades into what we now call welfare. And that if I used one of those
words in the ad, no one under 70 would know what I was talking about.

But, as you saw earlier tonight, Rachel already did that better than I
ever could. Now if I could just get Rachel to do my MSNBC ads for me and
maybe co-host this show -- well, I know I`m not going to get that lucky.

Tommy Christopher at Mediaite, who has found fault with both my style
and content in the past and surely will again, today posted a review of
PolitiFact`s evidence and found that it, quote, "not only supports the
spirit of O`Donnell`s claim, it renders it an understatement."

Now that PolitiFact is fact checking ads that appear on MSNBC, what`s
next? I saw an ad on MSNBC this afternoon which the network assures me was
an ad slot sold by DirecTV, not MSNBC, and it looks like a rich target for
PolitiFact.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CYVITA is so powerful that in a second study, men
taking the key ingredients in CYVITA experienced longer, stronger, more
frequent erections. Longer, stronger more frequent erections. And
stronger than testosterone? You decide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Big surprise. Bill O`Reilly is mad at the media again.
The first sentence of his last newspaper column was, "The media has no
bleeping clue how to cover the death of Whitney Houston."

Every sentence after that refers to drugs and alcohol. And the
O`Reilly essay ends with this instruction to the media. "Once a person
enters the hell of addiction, there is no easy way out. And that`s how the
Whitney Houston story should be covered, as a cautionary tale. Another
life vanquished by substance abuse."

That`s not the way I`ve been covering it, but it is, in fact, the way
the rest of the media has covered it. Dr. Drew was on CNN every night last
week talking about addiction in the Whitney coverage and I`m glad he did
that. But I was in no mood for it. And I know I`m not the only one.

I was in the mood for a wake, not for lecturing. I knew, contrary to
O`Reilly`s imagined media coverage of Whitney`s tragic end that everyone
else would be with talking about addiction. I knew I didn`t have to and I
didn`t feel like it.

When one of my best friends from St. Brennan`s Elementary School drank
himself to death while still in his 30s, we had a huge wake for him. Some
people talked about his addiction, his bad attitude towards AA, the details
of his horrible end, and how he was found in his apartment in the same
Boston neighborhood where we all grew up.

But I stayed in the corner of the funeral home where all we talked
about was what we loved about him, how smart and funny he was. We didn`t
talk about the other stuff, the stuff that killed him. Just didn`t feel
like it.

We talked about why we were all drawn to him and the way we wanted to
remember him. The way we remember him to this day.

So on this show last week, I wanted to provide a corner in the funeral
home where the last word you would hear about Whitney Houston each night
would be about why we were drawn to her. And all the ways we wanted to
remember her. And if I had it to do all over again with Bill O`Reilly`s
attack ringing in my ears, I`d do it again.

Here is how Whitney Houston was remembered on Saturday at the church
she grew up in. In Newark.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TYLER PERRY, ACTOR, PRODUCER, DIRECTOR: She would talk about some
things that she had went through, some things that had made her sad, some
things that were tough. And as I would see her talk about this, I would
see this heaviness come upon her. And I`m the type of person that when I
would see this with anyone, I would just want to say something encouraging.
But before I could get words out to encourage her, she would say, but the
Lord.

BEBE WINANS, GRAMMY-WINNING GOSPEL AND R&B SINGER: She said, OK, OK,
OK, well, look. Let me just say this, she said, you my brother and sister,
right? We said, yes, we`re your -- and I`m your sister, right? And we
say, yes, you`re our sister. And she said, OK. And we love each other,
right? Said, yes, we love each other. And she said, and -- and this is
what I`m going to miss. And she said, and you`re all broke, right?

(LAUGHTER)

WINANS: And then she said, I`m rich, right? So I can buy what I want
to for y`all, right? But that is the Whitney, that is the Whitney.

T.D. JAKES, PRODUCED HOUSTON`S NEW MOVIE, "SPARKLE": In moments like
this, it feels -- it feels like death has won. But the bible says that
love is stronger than death. You`ll be driving down the street one day and
you`ll hear Whitney`s voice talking in your head, something she said or
something she did will pop up in your spirit, and you`ll giggle inside of
yourself, as if she were sitting in the car with you.

And you will find that people that you really love, they may leave you
outwardly, but they never leave you inwardly.

RAY WATSON, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S BODYGUARD: But we have to give a little
back, to all our entertainers. We`ve got to treat them with dignity and
treat them with love and stop ridiculing them. They`re giving us
entertainment, to make our lives just a little brighter and the nights a
little smoother. So let`s give -- let`s give back to them.

DIONNE WARWICK, WHITNEY HOUSTON`S COUSIN: And you just reminded me of
something. I remember sitting in a room with friends of mine, and they all
said, girl, did you hear your cousin sing "The Star-Spangled Banner"? And
I said not only did I hear her do it, I was there. And when she sold a
million copies out of the box of the "Star-Spangled Banner," I looked at
her, and I said, well, I guess the telephone book is next, huh?

KEVIN COSTNER, HOUSTON`S "THE BODYGUARD" CO-STAR: Whitney returns
home today to the place where it all began, and I urge us all inside and
outside, across the nation and around the world, to dry our tears, suspend
our sorrow, and perhaps our anger, just long enough, just long enough to
remember the sweet miracle of Whitney.

As sure as I am about Whitney`s place in musical history, I`m just as
sure she came home from the first time she took center stage here as a
teenager, flush with the excitement of knowing that she`d exceeded
everyone`s expectations, an awesome promise of what was to come. But still
needing to hear from her mother about how she was received.

Was she good enough? Could I have done better? Did they really like
me? Or were they just being polite because they were scared of you, Cissy?
These are the private questions that Whitney would always have, that would
always follow her. At the height of her fame as a singer, I asked her to
be my co-star in a movie called "The Bodyguard." I thought she was the
perfect choice, but the red flags came out immediately.

Maybe I should think this over a bit. I was reminded that this would
be her first acting role. We could also think about another singer, was a
suggestion. Maybe somebody white. Nobody ever said it out loud, but it
was a fair question, it was. There would be a lot riding on this. Maybe a
more experienced actress was the way to go. It was clear I really had to
think about this.

I told everyone that I had taken notice that Whitney was black. The
only problem was, I thought she was perfect for what we were trying to do.

So off you go, Whitney, off you go. Escorted by an army of angels to
your heavenly father. And when you sing before him don`t you worry, you`ll
be good enough.

END

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