'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Read the transcript to the Wednesday show
Guests: Howard Fineman, Mark McKinnon, Rick Tyler, Michael Moore, Sandra Fluke
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Republicans candidates are still fighting
for the honor of losing to President Obama in the general election. And
now, they are all wondering how much longer Newt Gingrich will dream the
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The time is now for
conservatives to pull together.
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: Rick Santorum does it again.
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Rick Santorum sweep of Alabama and
SANTORUM: The best chance to win this election is to nominate a
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: Rick Santorum has all of the momentum
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Santorum is at the
desperate end of his campaign.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Romney finished third in both Southern
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Mitt Romney forced to spend $2 million in
Alabama and Mississippi.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: He actually said in Alabama, I`m going to
HALL: Tell me what Mitt Romney needs to say.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: He`s got a message problem and narrative
JANSING: The messaging question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s busy talking about cheesy grits and y`all
and going around trying to be a regular guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vast number of the base does not want him.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you are the front
runner and you come in third you are not much of a front runner.
ROMNEY: If I`m a weak front runner, what does that make Newt
BASHIR: Now to the most destructive march through the South since
HALL: What happened to Newt Gingrich last night?
BASHIR: Newt Gingrich vowing to roll on to Tampa.
GINGRICH: I emphasize going to Tampa.
MATTHEWS: Newt vowed to take his fight to Tampa. What else is new?
MITCHELL: He made it very clear he is not getting out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gingrich is in this thing until the end.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: What state do you think you can win?
GINGRICH: I don`t know yet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Newt Gingrich is still swimming in a sea of
BASHIR: It`s hard for us to get inside of the great man`s mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newt craves attention as many of us politics do.
MATTHEWS: Why is this guy in the race?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s going to have to say more and more outrageous
things to draw attention to himself.
BASHIR: Newt wants to go to the convention come hell or high water.
O`DONNELL: Republican voters can`t seem to decide who the Republican
nominee for president should be. So, that, of course, leaves Republicans
wondering, who does God want?
After watching Romney finish in third in Alabama and Mississippi,
"RedState" editor, Erick Erickson writes today, "It`s almost like God
himself is toying with Romney. Maybe it is because the Romney camp said it
would take an act of God for Santorum or Gingrich to win. God seems like
he wants to make it happen."
All right. Let`s look at the big board. According to NBC News, here
is where the race to the 1,144 delegates stands. Mitt Romney leads with
419. Rick Santorum second with 184. Newt Gingrich third, 136. Ron Paul
is way behind with 34.
The Romney campaign political director Rich Beeson distributed a memo
to press today saying, "Santorum and Gingrich now trail Governor Romney by
margins they cannot mathematically make up.
Rick Santorum did not try to fight math with math today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTORUM: It`s pretty sad when all you have is to do math instead of
trying to go out there and win it on substance and on what Americans want
to hear about. We`re a long, long way from over, and, you know what I
suspect if we keep winning state after state after state, we`ll be the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: According to NBC -- Mitt Romney needs to win 48 percent of
the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination, while Rick Santorum needs
to win 63 percent.
The only thing standing in Rick Santorum`s way seems to be Newt
Gingrich. The "New York Times`" Nate Silver analyzed Public Policy Polling
that asked Republicans in five states who they would vote for if Newt
Gingrich dropped out of the race. Slightly more than half, 57 percent of
Mr. Gingrich`s supporters would two to Rick Santorum and about a quarter,
27 percent, would go to Mr. Romney. The remainder 16 percent would
actually go to Ron Paul.
Now, if we applied those percentages to last night`s races, instead of
winning Alabama by 6 percent, without Newt Gingrich in the race, Rick
Santorum would have won with 52 percent to Mitt Romney`s 37 percent. And
in Mississippi, instead of narrowly winning by 2 percent, Rick Santorum
would have won with 51 percent to Mitt Romney`s 39 percent.
Joining me now editorial director of AOL/"Huffington Post" and MSNBC
political analyst, Howard Fineman, and former chief media adviser to
President George W. Bush and cofounder of No Labels, Mark McKinnon.
Mark, when you look at these math exercises we are doing right now,
not quite college-board level math problems. But if you took Gingrich out,
look at that -- Santorum would be in the 50s. He`d be getting divisive
majority victories in these things.
MARK MCKINNON, NO LABELS: He would, but you have to say, what is the
incentive for Gingrich to get out? And if you want to talk math -- the
math is if Gingrich stays in, Romney probably doesn`t get to the requisite
number of delegates he needs to win on the first ballot of the convention.
So, why wouldn`t Gingrich stay in the convention and go to the second
ballot and then he is the king maker one way or the other, either to
Santorum or -- because I don`t think that Ron Paul`s delegates are going to
enough for Romney to get over the top.
O`DONNELL: Howard Fineman, I`ve been wondering today if we might be
missing something here -- there`s been a big presumption that, hey, if
Gingrich gets out -- all of those voters go to Santorum.
They don`t all go, but we`re seeing that probably, let`s call it 60
percent of them would go. A lot of them would go to Mitt Romney.
But it seems to me you are saying to voters I want you to make a
different decision, because right now, there`s actually four names out
there, including Ron Paul. But you`ve got three major candidates.
And when you say to them, no, no, not anymore. Now, you have two.
You are actually them to make a somewhat more mature decision. And it
seems to me that you could actually not just change the names of who they
are allowed to think about, but it may change the way they think of this.
And some of these people who are thinking Gingrich and Santorum in
order to express themselves. When you say, no, no, it is just out of these
two, they might actually feel like they are really choosing a nominee and
that may -- I`m trying to make sure we don`t miss anything here.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I get you. I get you.
O`DONNELL: That may actually work to Romney`s favor.
O`DONNELL: That you then just have one guy against Romney. Is there
any way that could work to Romney`s favor?
FINEMAN: Well, Lawrence. You can take the boy out of Boston but you
can`t take Boston out of the boy. I think you`ve got to figure it out.
I think a lot of people are voting for Rick Santorum out of protest.
As a matter of fact, in places like Ohio where I interviewed a lot of
voters who were strong Santorum voters, they said we know he is not going
to win, but we want to express ourselves with this vote and we`ll support
Romney if and when we have to.
If people actually thinking they might actually get Rick Santorum
elected president -- you`re right, it is a different calculation.
And by the way, the 57 percent number that Nate Silver came up with is
not as impressive as the Santorum people would like to have you think about
what percentage of the Gingrich vote would break their way. I was talking
to one of them earlier today. They said, oh, we will get three-quarters,
almost all of them. What do you think? We`ll get almost all of them.
I said, OK, show me some none numbers. They never showed me numbers
but Nate Silver did.
And I think Rick Santorum`s biggest hope is to keep the thing as
chaotic and confused as possible, to get to the end of the nominating
season without Mitt Romney reaching the majority and to see what develops
He -- I`m not sure he can win a straight up fight with Mitt Romney. I
agree with you.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Newt Gingrich had to say on the "Rick
& Bubba Radio Show". It was actually yesterday.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GINGRICH: There`s a certain advantage I think right now in having
both of us tag team Romney.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, Mark, he didn`t elaborate on that. We are trying to
help him develop theories about how the tag team might help. Does he have
MCKINNON: Well, you know, we keep drawing the parallel of Obama and
Clinton. It is much different really because that was a two-person race.
At some point, somebody had to realize that somebody was going to get a
majority of the delegates. In a four-person or three-person race, that`s
not the case.
So, Gingrich is right. I mean, they can keep tag-teaming and keep
extending this thing. Again, I think it`s all about leverage. Where is
the maximum leverage for one of these candidates to either stay in or out
and to me, all the leverage is for staying in.
O`DONNELL: Howard, some Republicans, Bill Kristol is trying to insist
this is all good for the party. He said today, if Romney were to earn the
nomination in these circumstances, he`d be far better off than if he had
clinched the nomination early by outspending and outmuscling a divided
If Santorum were to win an upset victory, he`d have a real wind at his
back going to the election.
Now, I can certainly buy the Santorum piece of it, Howard. It doesn`t
feel so real about Romney. Romney`s been hurt badly it seems in this.
FINEMAN: No, I think you are right, Lawrence. And I think that Mitt
Romney hasn`t become a better candidate. He hasn`t improved as a candidate
in terms of how he carries himself, in terms of his confidence in public,
certainly in terms of his message.
We`re talking numbers here, but Mark is a message expert. I think he
would agree with me that Mitt Romney doesn`t have a message. He doesn`t --
he doesn`t have a narrative or a convincing or appealing message for how
he`s going to change the country.
It`s way too theoretical and gets off of his game too quickly to
attack the others through super PACs and so forth. So, I don`t think, I
don`t think this season has helped him at all. As a matter of fact, it`s
exposed his weaknesses on the right wing of the party. He hasn`t made that
sale to them. He`s hurt his credible and his standing without getting the
votes of the people he`s been appealing to.
O`DONNELL: And, Mark, how can Bill Kristol think that every day a
Republican is campaigning against Mitt Romney on health care, is somehow in
the end a good day for Mitt Romney?
MCKINNON: Well, I heard an interesting theory from someone who worked
for Bob Dole. The argument goes like this -- Bob Dole wrapped things up
fairly early. At a time when he didn`t have great candidate skills and
ended up going to the general election, frame before he was ready. And so,
the argument goes, it`s better for Romney, while he`s developing his
candidate skills to do it against Republican primary opponents rather than
Now, I don`t know if I buy that theory or not, but it`s an interesting
O`DONNELL: You know, Howard, to Mark`s point, I remember when Bob
Dole wrapped that up, I also sensed very quickly, almost an almost
immediate buyers` remorse in the Republican Party. I did feel that if
Romney came out of New Hampshire, for example, looking like oh, he`s got
this locked. He killed them in Iowa. He ran away. They got 70 percent of
the vote in New Hampshire and here he goes -- I felt like Republicans would
wake up two days later and be sick about it if Romney had wrapped this up
FINEMAN: Well, that gets back to what mark was talking about earlier
-- what kind of leverage Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have.
The flip side is it`s going to be their responsibility and it`s going to be
Mitt Romney`s biggest diplomatic mission to get Rick Santorum and to get
Newt Gingrich to work hard for him if he`s the nominee, to bring the
convention together, make the convention a great reconciliation of all of
the various factions and parts of the party that Mitt Romney didn`t win on
his own originally.
If he can engineer that, then this will be useful to the extent that
people like Santorum and Gingrich will have credibility with the
conservative base that Romney will have to hope they can help to transfer
to the nominee.
O`DONNELL: Mark, it seems to me that things have been said in this
campaign that cannot be taken back. I do not see how Newt Gingrich can go
out there and campaign for nominee Mitt Romney.
MCKINNON: You know, you are right, Lawrence. That`s kind of contrary
to what we have seen over time. We have seen so many campaigns that have
been so tough and so brutal and think of how can they get together? And
they always do.
O`DONNELL: And they end up on the ticket together sometimes.
MCKINNON: But this does feel different. It really does. And it`s
hard to imagine there could be a reconciliation between Gingrich and
O`DONNELL: Howard Fineman and Mark McKinnon -- thank you both very
much for joining me tonight.
FINEMAN: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, something we didn`t get to last night. We got
interrupted by a victory speech by Rick Santorum. It`s going to be in
tonight`s "Rewrite,:" the Romney family problem of saying things they
shouldn`t. This one is from Mitt Romney`s son, Matt Romney.
And Michael Moore will be here tonight. He`ll be in the spotlight.
And THE LAST WORD tonight goes to Sandra Fluke, the woman who Rush
Limbaugh attacked so viciously that his biggest advertisers have given up
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN, THE LATE SHOW: Newt Gingrich is searching now, he is
so confident that he`ll be the presidential candidate -- he is looking for
a vice presidential running mate. Being Newt Gingrich`s vice presidential
running mate is like being a Kim Kardashian`s husband. It`s going to be
over before --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRICH: It`s a very important part of the whole process to try to
get enough delegates to make an impact to the convention and frankly,
trying to make sure that we have an open convention. I`m here all the way
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Newt Gingrich today saying he is no longer
running for president. He is simply, quote, "trying to gather enough
delegates to make an impact at the convention".
Joining me now is Rick Tyler, a senior adviser for the pro-Gingrich
super PAC, Winning Our Future.
Rick, the guy threw in the towel. You can go home. He is not trying
to win the presidency anymore. He just wants -- he`s the same thing as Ron
Paul. He just wants to have delegates to have an impact at the convention.
RICK TYLER, WINNING OUR FUTURE: Well, I disagree. I think all of the
candidates will arrive at the convention on relatively the same turf. That
is none of them will have required the requisite number of delegates. So,
therefore Mitt Romney is liable to fail in the first ballot, they`re not
liable to vote for him in the second ballot.
And so, you know, you don`t know what`s going to happen. The
delegates become free and unbound then. And so, I think if that
circumstance, Newt Gingrich has a chance of being the Republican nominee.
O`DONNELL: But, Rick, they are going to arrive with a ranking of
delegates. It`s very likely that Romney is going to arrive with the most.
It`s very likely Rick Santorum is going to arrive with the second largest
number, and that Newt Gingrich is going to arrive with the third largest
number and possibly a distant third.
And so, there`s no way on earth that convention is going to give their
nomination to the guy who shows up in third place with the voters and who
has the highest unpopularity rating with voters that anyone who`s run for
president has ever had.
TYLER: Well, we don`t know that because we haven`t had what brokered
convention since the `50s. Remember, Abraham Lincoln --
O`DONNELL: The only way we don`t know that, Rick, is if you let
certifiably insane people in to the convention.
TYLER: No, no, no.
O`DONNELL: Maybe that`s what you are saying.
TYLER: Abraham Lincoln showed up at 1860`s convention in third place.
He emerged the candidate. Here`s the thing --
O`DONNELL: OK. Whenever -- Rick, whenever you go to the 1860
convention for your model of what is going to happen in Tampa --
TYLER: Well, I just think history is an important thing to look to
understand. But let me jump ahead. The delegates are not casual
observers. The delegates -- remember the case for each of these
candidates, Mitt Romney comes off as inauthentic because he is inauthentic.
He was never Republican. He was never part of the conservative
movement. Did nothing to build the Republican Party. He ran as to the
left of Ted Kennedy and lost. He governed as a liberal. He called himself
a progressive and there`s no wonder he doesn`t relate to the grassroots of
the party and can`t seal the deal.
He currently spends four to 12 times as much as every other candidate
and still can`t win the nomination. Rick Santorum never led anything.
So, they also know that Newt Gingrich was the guy who had 10 million
vote swing. Remember, 9 million more voters showed up to vote Republican
in `94 than did in 1990, 1 million less Democrats showed up. So, that`s a
10 million vote swing.
No other candidates can claim that. None of them can claim they had
led to the fight to balance the budget. Bill Clinton signed it. But we
got four years of balance budget, welfare reform, $405 billion debt paid
These delegates know this. They know that Rick Santorum did not do
this, and certainly know that Mitt Romney is not only didn`t do this, he`s
not even one of us.
O`DONNELL: Erick Erickson, "RedState`s" Erick Erickson has written
something that you`re not going to like. I want you to listen to this,
Rick, word for word.
PERRY: Par for the course.
O`DONNELL: Newt Gingrich last night proved he is neither a regional
candidate nor a spoiler. His influence is heading in to Ron Paul territory
-- doesn`t get more insulting than that. Gingrich`s final act could be
king maker by getting out and endorsing but pride cometh before the fall.
Gingrich is in mid fall. What a sad end to a brilliant legacy but his
campaign is over.
Rick, is in the sad end to the brilliant legacy that you want to see
for Newt Gingrich?
TYLER: Look, everybody has counted out. Newt Gingrich has been wrong
in the past.
King maker of what? I mean, what`s the leverage? What does he get --
I have never known Newt to be a king maker. It`s not in his interest to be
a king maker.
But it`s more not in his interest to let the Republican Party be
turned over to moderate Mitt Romney and squander three decades of work on
making the Republican part party a governing majority --
O`DONNELL: How about it getting turned over to Rick Santorum?
TYLER: Well, you know, Rick has to win enough delegates. He`s got to
get 1,144. But until then that is who chooses the nominee at the
convention, is 1,144 delegates. That`s the number. If he gets it, he`ll
be the nominee. If he doesn`t, then we`ll have it out at the convention.
I think it`s actually good for the Republican Party.
O`DONNELL: Rick Tyler, there are few campaigns you could say this to
at this point in the campaign. You guys have actually had worse days than
Rick Tyler, senior adviser for the pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning Our
Future -- thank you very much for joining me tonight.
TYLER: Thank you, my friend. Take care.
O`DONNELL: Thank you.
Coming up, another Romney goes off message. This time it is one of
the Romney sons. This is something we tried to get to last night but we
have it for you tonight. He said something about President Obama and it is
something he will absolutely never be allowed to say again. That`s why
it`s in tonight`s "Rewrite."
But, first, Michael Moore joins me to talk about why the political
press is unwilling to call Mitt Romney`s lies lies. And he might just have
something to say about the latest from Goldman Sachs.
And THE LAST WORD tonight goes to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law
student who was attacked by Rush Limbaugh.
O`DONNELL: In the "Rewrite" tonight, which got preempted last night
because of our election coverage, if you are born Romney, you are born rich
and you are born with a tendency for saying things that you shouldn`t say.
What Mitt Romney`s son said in Hawaii about President Obama. That`s coming
And up next is Michael Moore, the director of "Capitalism: A Love
Story," and I have a feeling he`s got something to say about the latest
expose out of Goldman Sachs.
And THE LAST WORD tonight will go to the famous law student in
America, Georgetown`s Sandra Fluke is here.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Looking forward to going
down and hunting with you some time. You need to actually show me which
end of the rifle to point. And I -- it`s been fun. Last night, I was in
Mississippi, by the way. And I had catfish for the second time. It was
delicious, just like the first time. It is great to be back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was the comedy team of Romney and Foxworthy. Joining
me now, film maker and activist Michael Moore. Do you think he really
needs to be told which end of the rifle to point which way?
MICHAEL MOORE, DOCUMENTARY FILM MAKER: I don`t think so. He is from
Michigan. And even though he lived in the other part of Michigan, I think
that he might have learned that. Actually, it was a brave thing for him to
say, considering that he wants -- needs the NRA out this working for him
this year. So --
O`DONNELL: You got to help me with this problem with the media. Mitt
Romney goes out there, puts out a memo the other day, campaign memo saying
Barack Obama wants to end Medicare as we know it. Now, of course the
president and all Democrats want to preserve Medicare and preserve its
fiscal integrity for as long as possible.
That always means making adjustments to it every few years. You have
to, you know, twist the dials here and there. Mitt Romney has embraced the
Paul Ryan plan, which ends Medicare. It turns into a voucher. We hand you
this voucher. We say, good luck in the health care market at age 72, with
all those things you have got to deal with.
We never sent people out there in that market for the last 50 years.
But good luck with it. And there`s some limits there that we didn`t used
to have. That is ending Medicare as we know it.
He knows he loses Florida over this. He knows he loses the
presidential election if he is the nominee. So his ploy now is to say
President Obama wants to end Medicare as we know it. This Orwellian is
treated by the media as this is what Mitt Romney said today, not he lied to
you in the biggest way possible and he is staking his whole campaign on it.
We can`t get that word "lie" in the coverage of this, where it
MOORE: That`s right. And you know, thanks, Lawrence, for coming on
the show tonight. And we will be right back after this. -- by the way,
thank you for this voucher that you gave me.
O`DONNELL: You will see what it is worth.
MOORE: -- for dog food. No, it`s -- look, the whole thing is crazy.
But I take it seriously, because whoever the Republican nominee is, 45
percent of the country, you know, confirmed Obama haters --
O`DONNELL: Right off the bat.
MOORE: He`s got that. So it is really just getting the next five
percent. Obama won with 52 percent. Do you think that there is three
percent of that 52 percent that no longer supports Obama? I think so.
So that would put him at 49. So this is -- nobody should -- it is
good to have jokes about it, but it will be serious at some point.
O`DONNELL: No one has studied Wall Street more closely than you have.
Goldman Sachs, in fact, specifically in "Capitalism, A Love Story.". An
amazing op-ed piece in the "New York Times" written by Gregory Smith, who
said today is his last day. He is leaving the London office. He`s been
there for 12 years.
It strikes me as something very similar to what we have seen in this
movie "Game Change."
We watched the Republican campaign last time . We kind of projected
in to what we think the backstage scene was, like Sarah Palin doesn`t know
what time it is. She doesn`t know what is going on.
"Game Change" comes on and it shows you, yeah, she thought the queen
of England was who you deal with as -- that`s the head of state over this.
She didn`t know there was a North and South Korea. She didn`t know these
We are getting that same feeling. You knew about Goldman Sachs. And
here`s someone from Goldman Sachs telling us in the "New York Times" "it
makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off,
Goldman Sachs partners. Over the last 12 months, I have seen five
different managing directors refer to their own clients as Muppets,
sometimes over internal e-mail."
He goes on to say "integrity, it`s eroding. I don`t know of any
illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and
complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest
investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client`s goals?
Absolutely. Every day in fact."
His big, big complaint in here is these people don`t care about their
clients. They are just trying to make the highest fees for Goldman Sachs.
Now the clients are not the most sympathetic characters in the world.
There`s not a single non-mega rich client of Goldman Sachs. But these guys
are trying to screw those guys.
MOORE: Yeah, yes. First of all, let me say this, nowhere in America,
other than Goldman Sachs, is it considered an insult to call somebody a
Muppet. These are the most beloved. They are loveable. They sing about
rainbows. They give you cookies. Nobody hates the Muppets.
But they think that`s a dirty word, or an insult to call somebody a
Muppet. As you said, they were really -- they are going after their own.
They were really ripping off rich people. And my guess is that tonight
there are millions or thousands of rich people asking themselves the
question, am I a man or a Muppet? So I -- you have to see the movie.
O`DONNELL: No, I know.
MOORE: Won the Oscar for best song. Yeah.
MOORE: OK, yeah. OK. All right. You get out.
O`DONNELL: I saw "Saturday Night Live."
But seriously, though, I think that`s the big revelation of this op-
ed, is that -- is that they weren`t just ripping off the average Joe with
his mortgage or the teachers union pension fund. They are ripping off the
And it is sort of opening up a whole new front in the class war. You
have now the 0.1 percent, Goldman Sachs, stealing from the one percent.
It is -- I would like to welcome any one percenters out there who are
feeling bad tonight to join Occupy Wall Street. Our arms will be open to
you. And you can come and fight these evil doers.
O`DONNELL: I imagine when you read this today, there wasn`t -- there
wasn`t a second of surprise. But there must be been a sense of, yeah, this
is one of the things that I was trying to tell people.
MOORE: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that`s OK. I have been making movies
about corporate America and Wall Street for 22 years. So I can wait. I`m
But, you know, here`s my question, though, about Greg Smith, is what
happened? He`s been there for 12 years. So what happened in the last week
where -- you know, it had to have gotten really bad. Something really bad
must have happened there.
Why would he quit now? Why didn`t he quit when all of this other
stuff was going on. Something awful must have happened. He -- it is like
the scene in the "Godfather" with Marlon Brando, you know, and he says, you
know, "I`m fine with the prostitution, the gambling, the killing people.
But drugs, no. That`s where I draw the line."
It`s like, OK. Greg Smith drew the line. Something happened. That`s
what I would really love to know. What made him bail?
I hope somebody asks that question.
O`DONNELL: In the piece, he refers to years of feeling that it was
for him an honorable place to work. So out of his 12 years, let`s call it
four, five, six maybe. And then you are maybe tracking a disillusionment
period that takes a while. He moved to different offices.
He was in New York and then he was London. He was in some other
office at a certain point. So --
MOORE: So these are the different stages of grief when you are a
O`DONNELL: I guess. I guess what you could say is this was not a
rush to judgment for him. He kind of -- he took it in over a careful
enough period of time.
O`DONNELL: If we were sitting here and saying, he only worked there
four years, they would be telling us oh, come on, he didn`t experience it.
MOORE: Right. But he sat through the whole mortgage rip off. He sat
through all of the derivative credit default swap, all the crazy stuff.
And then --
O`DONNELL: And possibly importantly, watched their reaction, both
institutional and personal, to getting caught at certain things.
MOORE: Right. Well, caught but nothing happening to them. I mean,
really, I think Goldman Sachs probably believes they have played President
Obama, that he is one of their Muppets, that they were his largest private
contributor in the last election, and now they are not giving him hardly
They are giving all of their money to Romney. And this is after he
has not prosecuted any of them. Carl Levin, when he did the investigative
committee on Goldman Sachs and all these guys, he wanted to -- he wanted to
go after Lloyd Blankfein for perjury. He turned it over to the Justice
He said, he perjured himself in front of Congress. Nothing. Nothing
from the Department of Justice. No real regulations put -- no
Glass/Steagall, not of that, put back in to place.
O`DONNELL: But Dodd/Frank, they -- Goldman Sachs regards it as the
worst thing that ever happened.
MOORE: Well, yes, because -- just like the health insurance --
O`DONNELL: I guess because it actually is the worst thing that`s ever
happened. There are worse things that could have happened.
MOORE: Yes, like we could go back to the old way of doing it. They
don`t want any regulation. And they`re probably -- the fact that Obama
allowed that through, they are probably very worried about a second term,
because a Barack Obama that won`t be on their leash, where he is -- I think
we are all looking forward to that second term, where he`s -- we know what
he is going to do.
People like criminals on Wall Street are probably worried tonight and
tomorrow night as to how this election is going to go.
O`DONNELL: It doesn`t seem like the best time to be an investment
banker running for president, as Mitt Romney seems to be discovering. Even
on Fox News, they are asking about you are having trouble running as the
rich guy. Today, he said I don`t have to apologize for being rich.
But that`s kind of where he ended it. He didn`t say, I don`t have to
apologize for being rich and none of the policies that I`m advocating are
to my benefit. He couldn`t say that.
MOORE: Right, right, right. Because Ted Kennedy would be an
excellent example of somebody who was wealthy. But everything he did,
everything tried to do was to help the people who are less fortunate. Not
just -- not to line his pockets.
So it is possible for Romney, as a wealthy person, to do good if he
chose to do that or say that.
O`DONNELL: Yeah. We see the attitude expressed by Warren Buffett and
others. And when you start polling the super rich, actually, there isn`t
this massive resistance to paying a couple points more at the top end of
the tax structure.
MOORE: Right. Yes, I think Goldman Sachs is not afraid of the
government because they know they are the government. They have had the
top positions in the last three or four administrations. Either the
secretary of Treasury goes to them or they send their guy over.
The guy that Goldman Sachs announced yesterday as their new head of PR
was Clinton`s last press secretary. And he was the press secretary
actually who was there --
O`DONNELL: In the Treasury.
No, he worked in the Treasury, but he was actually -- over the last
few months, he was the White House press secretary. And he stood there
when Clinton pushed through the changes to get rid of the final bits of
Glass/Steagall. Was there, this Jake -- Siewert, Jake Siewert.
MOORE: Absolutely. But then again, I saw on the Internet today
"Business Insider" magazine, two weeks ago they published a photo of Bill
Clinton having lunch at the Boca Raton resort with Lloyd Blankfein. So
this is distressing.
O`DONNELL: And this guy in the op-ed piece mentions Blankfein as this
is one of the culprits. He is the problem, the actual current --
MOORE: He`s the guy, again, that Senator Levin said possibly perjured
himself and wanted action taken against him. Of course nothing happened.
O`DONNELL: Yes. Do you think Romney is going to find a way, at some
point, to deal with both his previous occupation and his wealth as a
candidate? Doesn`t sound like he has figured out any way of talking about
MOORE: Yes. I don`t know, because -- because we will go back to
talking about how he really made his money. And that is by eliminating
jobs and screwing Americans right and left. That`s how he became as
wealthy as he became.
And we don`t talk about that too much anymore. But then again, I`m
one of these people who believes that Rick Santorum has every bit the same
chance as Romney of making it here. And I think if he is the nominee, he
will lead a religious crusade. I mean, people will come out of the
woodwork for him.
People will be excited about him in a way that they wouldn`t be
excited about Romney. I wouldn`t take any of this for granted.
O`DONNELL: That`s right. They poll about the same right now against
President Obama. But Santorum would have the advantage of actual
enthusiasm, which Romney doesn`t have.
Michael Moore, thank you very much for coming in tonight. Really
appreciate it. We are going to be back coming up with the woman who was
attacked by Rush Limbaugh. Sandra Fluke will have THE LAST WORD tonight.
In the Rewrite, we are going to have another chapter of Weird Stuff
Romney says. This time it is Matt, Matt Romney who tried to say good
things about his father in Hawaii. But he ended saying something about
President Obama that the campaign will never, ever let him say again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I got started right this morning with a biscuit and some
cheesy grits. I will tell you, delicious.
JON STEWART, "THE DAILY SHOW": Your guy that looks like you just
stepped off the Monopoly board, do you really think you are going to appeal
to southerners by finding reference with them on the issues that matter
most to them? Their accent and choosing the right breakfast starch?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Rewrite, the hereditary trait of misspeaking
continues to move through the Romney generations. Saying weird stuff
destroyed the first Romney campaign for the presidency in 1968. George
Romney, Willard M. Romney`s father, said this in a Detroit television
interview after being asked about his inconsistent positions on the Vietnam
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE M. ROMNEY, FATHER OF MITT ROMNEY: When I came back from
Vietnam, I just had the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get. When
you go over to Vietnam -- not only by the generals, by also by the
diplomatic corps over there. And they do a very thorough job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We simply don`t have time in tonight`s program to list all
of the weird stuff that Willard M. Romney has said in this presidential
campaign, and in his last presidential campaign. We don`t have time to
catalog everything from the 10,000 dollar bet to the cheesy grits. But
there is something he said in his last presidential campaign that is worth
When asked why his sons never for a second considered serving in the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that Mitt Romney liked so much, he actually
said this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is
helping to get me elected, because they think I would be a great president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: One of those sons who served his country by hanging around
his father`s losing presidential campaign in 2008 got the coveted task of
surrogate campaigning this week in Hawaii, where Mitt Romney won the
Republican caucuses. Matt Romney said this Monday in Hawaii.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT ROMNEY, SON OF MITT ROMNEY: I`m not here to talk about President
Obama. I think he`s great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Matt Romney didn`t do so badly in his speech for his
father after that little moment. But you know that they are going to be
dragging Matt Romney back into the surrogate speaking school to make sure
he never uses the word "great" to refer to anyone not named Romney.
Now there are two possibilities to explain what you just heard Matt
Romney say. One, he was just speaking the truth; he actually thinks that
President Obama is great. Maybe he was actually just saying what he
thinks. That happens every once in a while in front of an open mic at
But the other possibility is that he was, in the great Romney
tradition, pandering to the locals. They don`t serve a lot of cheesy grits
in Hawaii, but it is Obama country. And knowing that Hawaiians really,
really like President Obama, Matt Romney might have chosen to begin with a
little pander to the locals and then swerve in to why his father should be
So he found himself saying this line that is worth hearing again,
because I don`t think we`re ever, ever gone that hear Matt Romney say this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MA. ROMNEY: I`m not here to talk about President Obama. I think he`s
I`m not here to talk about President Obama. I think he`s great.
I`m not here to talk about President Obama. I think he`s great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "If we are going to pay for your contraceptive
and thus for you to have sex, we want you to post the videos online so we
can all watch."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "A woman impregnate through rape should accept
that horribly created gift, the gift of human life. Accept what God has
given you and make the best of a bad situation."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These aren`t our words.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are all real things said by prominent members
of the Republican Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s from a video released by MoveOn.org yesterday.
Joining me now is the woman Rush Limbaugh`s words were aimed at, Sandra
Thank you very much for joining me tonight, Sandra.
SANDRA FLUKE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL STUDENT: Thanks
for having me.
O`DONNELL: You know, I have to tell you, Michael Moore and I were
talking about you in the break. And we have both have marveled at the way,
just generally, you have handled yourself since this controversy
surrounding you was forced on you by Rush Limbaugh. And in that marveling,
I just have to ask you, what -- what in your life has prepared you for
Obviously nothing prepared you for specifically these kinds of
attacks. But you have held your ground and held your dignity so
marvelously throughout, it has really been extraordinary to watch.
FLUKE: Thank you very much. I don`t know that there`s anything in
particular that has prepared me for this. But I will say that I was always
taught to stand up for others and for what I believed in, regardless of
whether or not it was popular.
O`DONNELL: Now we`re a couple of weeks in to this controversy now
that`s been going on around all of this. What do you think the points are
that are getting lost in too much of the noise that`s been made around
FLUKE: I would say the entire point, the policy point, which is what
I have always been trying to talk about. And there`s certainly a lot of
misinformation that`s been circulating about this being a taxpayer program,
where taxpayers were going to be paying for contraception, or the
government was going to be paying for contraception.
And that`s just completely untrue. This is a program about private
insurance. It has nothing to do with government funding. The government
does and should pay for contraception access for the very poorest women,
through programs like Medicaid.
But it is important to be clear that this policy is not about that.
This is about an insurance that women pay for through their own premiums,
through their employers and their universities.
O`DONNELL: Sandra, I`d love to get you a chance to respond to the
latest thing said about this on Fox News, on O`Reilly just tonight. Let`s
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIET HUDDY, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Here`s the bottom line. You go
to Wal-Mart, Sams Club or Neighborhood Market, for instance, any of these
pharmacies. You don`t even have to be a member of these places, because
you have to membership cards at some of them. You go in and you pay nine
dollars a month.
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Is that true? Is it nine dollars?
HUDDY: That is true, nine dollars a month. Is that pricey? That`s
100 bucks a year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Sandra, go ahead.
FLUKE: I`d actually like to share the response of a woman who saw
some of that type of coverage and e-mailed me because it upset her very
much. She actually has a genetic condition, and she`s unable to use cheap
forms of contraception, less expensive forms, because of her genetic
So for her, her contraception costs 1,200 dollars.
And I think the point really is that different women have different
kinds of medical needs. And that requires them to use different forms of
contraception. Some of those are much more expensive than others. What
this policy does is make sure that all of those women have access to the
health care that they need.
O`DONNELL: This is about a decision that needs to be made with an
individual doctor concerning the needs of an individual patient. So it`s
not something for Sam`s Club to decide who can use the cheapest possible
product out there.
O`DONNELL: Sandra, where do you think this goes from here? And where
do you go from here in the center of this storm?
FLUKE: Well, for me, I`m just continuing to try to talk about the
policy aspects of this and how this regulation will give American women
affordable access to a basic health care need that they have. "The New
York Observer" recently called me relentlessly wonky. So I guess I am.
That`s what I`m continuing to try to focus on. And I hope that that`s
what the debate turns to, rather than these rather irrelevant personal
topics about my history.
O`DONNELL: Sandra, a Bloomberg poll shows that a majority of this
country is with you, 53 percent saying Rush Limbaugh should be fired for
the words he used about you. And I think importantly in that poll, 30
percent of Republicans -- 30 percent of Republicans think that Rush
Limbaugh should be fired for that. Does that surprise you?
FLUKE: No, I guess it doesn`t really surprise me. I -- as I have
said in the past, I completely understand why people are upset about that
type of rhetoric and that type of attempt to silence women. It seems that
they are making their voices heard regarding that.
O`DONNELL: Does it feel like you took some heat, and because you have
taken it and survived it with Rush Limbaugh, that this probably will not
happen to someone else coming along in your situation in the future?
FLUKE: I sincerely hope that that is the case, that no women -- no
other woman has to go through this. I really do hope that.
O`DONNELL: Sandra Fluke, you have been a model of dignity throughout
this entire controversy. And I just want to thank you very much for
joining us tonight. I`m glad you got THE LAST WORD.
FLUKE: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: 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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