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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

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Guests: Joy-Ann Reid, Jonathan Capehart, Alice Stewart, Ed Rendell, Karen Finney, Charles M. Blow, Natalie
Jackson, Kendall Coffey


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Today, Rick Santorum quit the race and
George Zimmerman`s lawyers quit the case. The killer of Trayvon Martin
seems to think that the only friend he has to turn to now is Sean Hannity.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Breaking news tonight. George Zimmerman`s
defense team quits.

CRAIG SONNER, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Step back, use your cool head, and
lesson to the facts.

HAL UHRIG, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You`re entitled to use force, including
deadly force to protect yourself.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: This was confirmed. He broke -- his nose
was broken.

SONNER: The media has just absolutely destroyed him, unfairly.

I have only spoken to him by phone.

UHRIG: We are confident that we will prevail in court.

SONNER: We`re going to try this case in court.

We`ll defend it either way.

As of now, we`re withdrawing his counsel for Mr. Zimmerman.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Late this afternoon, the attorneys for
George Zimmerman quit the case.

SONNER: We`ve lost contact with him. I`m not sure what he`s doing
or who he`s talking to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The lawyers have lost contact with their client.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY LAWYER: The killer of Trayvon Martin
is unaccounted for.

SHARPTON: This is a huge development, folks.

MATTHEWS: Quit the case?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quits.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: While this presidential
race for us is over, we will suspend our campaign effective today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Quits.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Rick Santorum is suspending his campaign.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: It appears all but certain that Mitt
Romney is the de facto Republican nominee.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: He got out at about as good of a time as he
could have done.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: The name you did not hear in those
remarks was Mitt Romney.

ROMNEY: You just don`t have credibility, Mitt.

He`s been on both sides of almost every single issue.

He is the worst Republican.

HALL: How much damage did he cause to Mitt Romney?

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: We have a series of breaking news developments tonight in
the killing of Trayvon Martin.

The office of the special prosecutor in the case released a notice to
the media at 8:15 tonight that some time when the next 72 hours that the
prosecutor will, quote, "hold a news conference regarding the case," end
quote. That news conference could be special prosecutor Angela Corey`s
moment to announce that she has concluded her investigation and reached a
decision on filing charges in the case.

That means the subject of the investigation, George Zimmerman, now
has less than 70 hours to find a new defense lawyer after his team of
lawyers abruptly quit the case this afternoon because they have completely
lost contact with their client.

(BEGIN VDIEO CLIP)

SONNER: We`re withdrawing as counsel for Mr. Zimmerman. We`ve lost
contact with him. Up to this point, we`ve had contact every day. He has
gone on his own. I`m not sure what he`s doing or who he`s talking to.

But at this point, we`re withdrawing as counsel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family,
responded with alarm earlier tonight on MSNBC`s "POLITICS NATION."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUMP: We are really worried about him being a flight risk. Again,
the killer of Trayvon Martin is unaccountable for. Nobody knows where the
killer of Trayvon Martin is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Zimmerman`s lawyers said that Sunday was the last time
either of them had any form of contact with Zimmerman, but after Zimmerman
stopped communicating with his attorneys, he did reach out on his own to at
least two other people, special prosecutor Angela Corey, who refused to
speak with him, and Zimmerman`s TV best friend, Sean Hannity.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UHRIG: Eventually, the two newest developments are that we learned
that he had called Sean Hannity of FOX News, directly, not through us, and
we believe, I can`t confirm this, we believe that he spoke directly with
Sean, off the record. And he`s not even willing to tell us what our client
told him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Within the hour, Sean Hannity said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: I want to set the record straight about a
couple of things. Now, for a few weeks, we have been pursuing an interview
with Mr. Zimmerman to give him a chance to tell his side of the story.
Now, yesterday I was contacted by an individual that we, in fact, believe
was George Zimmerman. He reached out to me.

We spoke on the phone about his case, and I agreed not to report on
the contents of that conversation. That`s it. I know nothing about his
relationship with his now former attorneys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In the Zimmerman defense team`s unprecedentedly strange
45-minute press conference today, they said not one word to reassure
authorities that George Zimmerman has not fled the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UHRIG: In this case, I will not tell you where George Zimmerman is,
because I don`t know. But for those who are engaged in the late Easter egg
hunt looking for him, you can stop looking in Florida. Look much further
away than that, which is also a reason why we didn`t meet with him, because
it was simply not reasonable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Charles M. Blow, "New York Times"
opinion writer, Natalie Jackson, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family, and
Joy-Ann Reid, MSNBC contributor and managing editor of "The Grio".

Natalie Jackson, I want to go to your legal experience on this. I
have never seen a press conference by defense attorneys like this ever.
They have no idea where their client is. It seems to me that the reason
they had to do this press conference is that they are now worried about
protecting their own licenses to practice law in your state. That they
need to make sure that if this client has fled the jurisdiction and fled
the country, that they are making it very clear to the special prosecutor
that they have had nothing to do with that and have not been a party to
that.

NATALIE JACKSON, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: It does seem as though they
are distancing themselves. This was a very strange press conference. When
we heard about it, we speculated about all the things this press conference
could be, and it turned out far different than we thought it would be.

You know, this is a -- this press conference, basically, confirmed
what we thought about George Zimmerman. That he`s a nonconformist and that
he has a defiant attitude about this, and about this case.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen -- let`s listen to what one of the lawyers,
Craig Sonner, said just last week about what would happen if an arrest
warrant was issued in this case. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SONNER: We`re keeping track of him. Law enforcement is keeping
track of him. He`s not hiding out, he`s hiding out from law enforcement,
he`s hiding out from the people who are trying to kill him, actually.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Charles Blow, it turns out absolutely no truth to that
when it really had any meaning, which is this week.

CHARLES M. BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES: I`m so happy that you started with
Natalie to get the formal legal opinion, because I think this whole thing
is nuts. That`s just my opinion. It is so ridiculous at this point.

No one at this -- when you get down to brass tacks, the big question
is, where is George Zimmerman? If his attorneys or his ex-attorneys, who
never seem to have had a retainer with him never actually met him face to
face, do not know, because they have seen him in whatever place he is,
where he is, don`t know where he is, and if the special prosecutor has not
met with him face to face, and it would be hard to imagine that the special
prosecutor would meet with George Zimmerman without his attorneys present.
And if they haven`t seen him, that means that the special prosecutor is
very likely to have not have seen George Zimmerman face to face.

That means that we are -- we do not know, we have no assurances that
anyone knows where George Zimmerman is. I am hoping that the state`s
attorney will step to a mic within this 72 hours and say how it is that we
as the public can be assured that somebody is keeping track of George
Zimmerman, because the man is not charged with a crime at this point. So
he`s free to move as he pleases.

They haven`t heard from him in two days, and they want to break up
the relationship that they never really had, because they never really
seemed to have known this man in the first place.

His father should be giving him some advice. He`s supposed to be a
retired judge, and he`s giving all kinds of interviews and behind a screen,
like he`s a character from "The Golden Child". Well, why don`t you talk to
your son and tell him how to behave when you are being investigated for
homicide.

Something is really off the rails here. And it does not make sense.
And it`s just crazy.

O`DONNELL: Roland Martin reported today that he contacted Joe
Oliver, who had been working as a spokesman for George Zimmerman, kind of
up until Charles and I interviewed him, and he didn`t perform too well on
it.

But he told Roland Martin that he texted George Zimmerman today, did
not get a reply, but texted him saying, I think you`re making bad
decisions.

We also have, I think, some tape ready to go on the lawyers today,
talking about what they think George Zimmerman`s current state of mind is.
They think he may be in some way mentally incapacitated at this point.
Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UHRIG: Shaken babies. When you -- you can`t shake me, I`m too fat.
But if you get me on the ground, you can accomplish the same thing, which
is to smack my brain around inside my skull. That would put any reasonable
person in reasonable fear of serious physical injury. And under Florida
law, that entitles you to use any force including deadly force to defend
yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: OK. That was not the clip I was looking for. We have so
many clips from this news conference, but there is one I`m going to try to
find here, where he talks about -- the lawyer talks about his state of
mind, Zimmerman`s state of mind, and they think he`s got posttraumatic
stress syndrome and he`s in a condition where they do not trust his
judgment in any way.

But, Natalie Jackson, I want to get back to you on one legal point.
What do you make of what is being reported now, that Zimmerman tried to
contact the special prosecutor directly, tried to get her on the phone, and
she refused to speak with him.

Legally, why would she do that?

JACKSON: Because he`s represented by counsel. As far as she
understand, he was represented by counsel. And you cannot speak to a
defendant who`s represented by counsel. She did the ethical and proper
thing by not speaking to him.

O`DONNELL: Joy-Ann Reid joining us from Sanford, Florida, tonight.

You`ve done a lot of great on the ground reporting there. Are there
any developments -- is there any kind of notion about where George
Zimmerman is? Is there any word coming that there might be other lawyers
lining up to represent him at this point?

JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Lawrence, we certainly
haven`t heard that. I mean -- and I did ask Craig Sonner during that press
conference, you know, if he, in fact, has lost track of George Zimmerman,
how he can then assure the public, the press, you know, and the prosecutors
that if he were to be asked to turn himself in that he would even do it.
He didn`t really have an answer for that, other than to say, well, he knows
his phone number.

As was previously stated, they`ve never even met George Zimmerman
face to face, the two attorneys. I did tell you, Lawrence, that I did
check George Zimmerman`s Web site. The Web site he put up on his own
without the lawyers getting involved. They were working on getting a Web
site for him. That Web site was updated today at 1:30 this afternoon.

So a few hours before that press conference, we did have someone
update that Web site. So if George Zimmerman is doing his own Web site,
then he has Internet access, and that`s about all we know.

They did indicate he`s not in Florida.

O`DONNELL: And Joy-Ann Reid, that update on the Web site was just a
very simple thank you to supporters, and as I understand it, the website
also took down a photograph that was of some graffiti that was on a black
student center, at a college, a graffiti --

REID: At Ohio State University, correct.

O`DONNELL: Yes. That`s been the only activity on this Web site.

REID: That is all that has changed. But other than that --

O`DONNELL: And the lawyers acknowledged to us that that Web site is
actually maintained by George Zimmerman.

Charles Blow, we heard these lawyers spend over a week, very
bombastically, very confidently asserting to this country exactly what the
facts are in this case, asserting without any actual evidentiary support
for it, beyond their word, that George Zimmerman`s nose was broken, his
head was wounded, making all sorts of bold assertions about the fact base
of this case.

And they were doing that, we now know, without ever having met their
client, without ever having had an opportunity to evaluate from him the
credibility of any of this information that they were selling to any TV
interviewer who they could get to accept it. And here we are today,
discovering they really had no idea what they were doing all along. And
ultimately, tonight, have no idea where their client is.

BLOW: It is the most outrageous thing that I have seen in recent
memory, as it relates to a kind of criminal trial.

So you -- for a whole week, you told us that your client was
completely credible. And then today you stand up in front of a microphone
and say he might be crazy. What are we to believe? And do you have any
basis for either one of those judgments?

I think not. I have never fully believed anything that was coming
from these attorneys. And in fact, what it seems to me is that they are a
little bit kind of hungry for the limelight. Because at the end of the
press conference, they said, if George were to reach out and contact us,
we`ve come back.

Fame is a monster. And they have been bitten by that. They want to
be part of this big case. And they are kind of throwing George under the
bus in order to get him to come back to them.

It`s a very odd situation, but I don`t believe that with we can
really take what they say, which is what some people were doing, taking
what they said pretty much as the voice of George Zimmerman and them having
some credibility in being able to make the assertions that they were
making, and I do not believe that they were valid, because they have never
laid eyes on this man, and now with your telling us -- you just told us,
you think he`s suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder? You`re
basically saying that he`s losing his mind, but up until that moment, you
believed everything that he said?

Something does not add up. Both of those things cannot be true.

O`DONNELL: Well, I`ve got to say, if George Zimmerman has been
watching his lawyers` appearances on television, I think from a rational
perspective, he had ever good, solid reason to fire them.

Natalie Jackson, Charles M. Blow, and Joy-Ann Reid -- thank you all
very much for joining me tonight.

JACKSON: Thank you.

BLOW: Thank you.

REID: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, we`re going to have more on the breaking news
on the killing of Trayvon Martin with Jonathan Capehart and former federal
prosecutor from Florida, Kendall Coffey.

And later, Rick Santorum is dropping out of the presidential campaign
before a possible humiliation in his home state of Pennsylvania. That
means the Obama re-election campaign can no longer count on Republicans to
attack the now-inevitable nominee, Mitt Romney. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: With the special prosecutor saying she will make an
announcement in the case of the killing of Trayvon Martin soon, the lawyers
representing the target of that investigation, George Zimmerman, have
dropped out of the case today and they told the world they have no idea
where their former client is.

Jonathan Capehart will join me in our breaking news coverage of the
case along with former Florida prosecutor, Kendall Coffey.

And later, Rick Santorum surrendered to Mitt Romney today, but if
he`s going to endorse Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum will have to Etch a Sketch
everything he has said about Romney being the worst possible candidate to
face President Obama in the general election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DARYL PARKS, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: I think you can`t have it both
ways. I think in a matter as serious as this, where there`s a shooter on
the loose, right, and no one can be specific as to where he is, the general
public should be concerned about this shooter. A person who still has and
can still get a weapons permit and for all we know may still have a weapon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s Daryl parks, one of the attorneys for Trayvon
Martin`s family upon learning today that George Zimmerman`s lawyers quit
the case and they don`t know what state or what country George Zimmerman is
in.

But we know George Zimmerman`s Web site had a new posting at 1:30
Eastern Time this afternoon, saying, "I am attempting to respond to each
and every one of my supporters personally. The support has been
overwhelming in volume and strength. I thank you all and ask you that you
permit me the time to respond to each one of you personally. Once again,
with thank. Sincerely, George Zimmerman."

This is the same Web site that George Zimmerman posted this picture
of the words "Long live Zimmerman" was spray painted on to a black cultural
center on the Ohio State Campus University in Columbus. That photograph
was removed from Zimmerman`s Web site, as we just mentioned, within the
last 24 hours.

Joining me now, Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney for the southern
district of Florida, and Jonathan Capehart, "Washington Post" opinion
writer and MSNBC analyst.

Kendall Coffey, I give up. These are the craziest, strangest lawyers
I`ve ever seen handling any case, putting themselves out there publicly,
asserting facts about the case without ever having met their client, and
then having to tell the world today, we have no idea where he is, just at
the moment, where the special prosecutor has said, within about 70 hours
from now, I will be making what is probably a conclusive announcement in
this case.

I`ve never seen anything like this with lawyers.

KENDALL COFFEY, FMR. U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, it`s certainly one of the
most remarkable press conferences we`ve ever seen any defense lawyers
provide.

I can`t help but be a little sympathetic, because this is such an
overwhelming case from a media standpoint. These kind of cases take on a
life of their own. The press conference took on a life of its own.

But at the end of the day, they didn`t need to say anything about the
reasons why they were withdrawing and they certainly didn`t need to
announce to the world that they didn`t have any idea where their client
was, because what`s coming across is a picture of somebody who`s in hiding,
a picture of somebody who`s asking desperately, certainly erratically, and
that kind of behavior, frankly, is more consistent with a person who`s
guilty rather than a person who`s innocent -- all bad news for George
Zimmerman today.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, one of these incompetent lawyers said
that if you`re looking for him, look far beyond Florida. And look, his
mother is from Peru.

I think, Kendall, you`ll confirm that when you`re looking for people
who are flight risks, you look to places where they have potential
connective tissue of some sort, especially foreign countries that might be
able to take care of them.

Jonathan, this just can`t get crazier. And for it to be coming, as
we seem to be now, about 70 hours or less away from the special prosecutor
making her announcement on her findings, it just seems -- it just seems
like it just couldn`t be crazier tonight.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, from the
very beginning, I`ve been writing in my pieces, you know, nothing makes
sense about this case. Nothing.

And today, those two lawyers stepped out to the microphone to prove
me right once again, that nothing about this case makes sense. Nothing.

You have two lawyers. One, Craig Sonner, who volunteered himself to
be George Zimmerman`s legal adviser. And then this other guy comes in, and
you know, comes in on the case, and the two of them out doing media
interviews, speaking on George Zimmerman`s behalf, to find out today that
they haven`t spoken to him since Sunday. They have not seen him face to
face.

I think it was Charles Blow in the previous segment talking about the
fact that they`ve never sat down face to face with George Zimmerman to make
a face-to-face judgment as to whether this is someone they should --
someone they should counsel and someone they ought to counsel.

So I think in the next 72 hours, what we`re -- well, what is my hope
is that we will get, if not answers to most of our questions, at least
answers to some of the really important questions. One, does the Sanford
Police Department have George Zimmerman`s gun from that night? Where is
George Zimmerman?

And, more importantly -- and most importantly, I think for a lot of
people -- is there enough evidence for probable cause or whatever is needed
to arrest George Zimmerman so that he and this case can be brought to a
court of law and out of the court of public opinion, so that he can be held
accountable for killing an unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin?

O`DONNELL: Kendall Coffey, one of the lawyers said today that he was
so far away, wherever Zimmerman is, it`s so far away that it would be
impractical for them to have attempted to meet with him, given even the air
travel that`s available out of the Orlando airport. What does that mean to
you when you hear a statement like that?

COFFEY: Well, again, a remarkable statement -- a completely
unnecessary statement, something that suggests that George Zimmerman is
panicking. And what does that add up to, other than somebody who thinks
they`re in a lot of trouble, which, of course, is going to be equated to
guilt.

It suggests that unless they have absolutely no idea and that they`re
guessing, just as you say, he`s far away, is he in Peru? We don`t know
that? And we`re speculating just as much as I suppose his lawyers were
speculating about his location.

But the thing that`s clear is that Angela Corey is now hearing that
the person she`s been studying, the person she`s been trying to make a very
difficult decision on, is taken off and is hiding. And if this case had
been infinitesimally close, we know which way that would be titling the
decision-making process.

O`DONNELL: Kendall, this call to the prosecutor, which is very
strange. I mean, just put yourself in that seat, where you get the word
that George Zimmerman`s on the phone and would like to speak to you, as the
special prosecutor. How would you handle that?

COFFEY: Well, of course she did the right thing, which was not to
speak to him. Because at the time she got the call, she had every reason
to believe that he was represented by lawyers. So neither she nor any of
the police agents were in a position to speak to Zimmerman. But I sure as
heck would want to do everything I could having received that call, if she
doesn`t know where his whereabouts are, that`s something that they`ve got
to try to track back on, because it`s going to be a colossal question of
the hour, wherever she makes her announcement of her decision, if she
doesn`t know where he is as well. I suspect she does, even if his lawyers
don`t.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Trayvon Martin`s mother had to say
about how she and the family are getting through this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: We appreciate the support of
everybody. Everybody that`s showing us so much love and support, we
appreciate the support. As we`re trying to be an example to remain calm
and to let this case play out, let the evidence be gathered, and let them
do a thorough investigation. And it`s hard and it`s difficult for us to
remain calm. And we just ask the supporters to remain calm with us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, you`ve met her, you`ve met Trayvon`s
father, you`ve met this family at "The Washington Post" when they came to
visit. They have maintained dignity throughout this.

And as these kinds of developments occur, where we can just sit here
and throw up our hands and go, wow, this is really crazy, it is quite
striking to see the dignity that she`s able to maintain.

CAPEHART: Right, and from the very beginning -- from the very
beginning they`ve talked about how they want George Zimmerman arrested and
held accountable. That`s all they`ve asked for. That`s all they`ve
wanted.

And they see, you know, through the rallies that they`ve attended and
participated in that this has galvanized a lot of people in this country to
what`s going on, both with them and getting justice for Trayvon Martin.
But in the larger issues of racial profiling and what African-Americans and
African-American men in particular have to deal with, just to live their
lives.

And so for her to call for calm and let`s see what`s happening and go
through the process, it`s in keeping with this sort of dignified stance
that they`ve taken from the very beginning.

O`DONNELL: That will have to be THE LAST WORD in tonight`s coverage
of these shocking new developments in the case. Kendall Coffey, former
Florida federal prosecutor, and Jonathan Capehart, "Washington Post"
opinion writer and MSNBC analyst, thank you both for joining me tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

COFFEY: Thanks for having us. >

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the good news for Mitt Romney: Rick Santorum is
out of the race. The bad news for Mitt Romney: George W. Bush is back.
And that turned out to be really, really good news for President Obama
today. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Rick Santorum said today that he`s not done fighting, but
he is done campaigning. The man who drove Santorum out of the race before
a possible humiliating defeat in Santorum`s home state of Pennsylvania
tried not to gloat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This has been a good day for
me. Senator Santorum has decided not to proceed with his campaign. And I
had the chance to speak with him this morning. We exchanged our thoughts
about going forward.

He will continue to have a major role in the Republican party. And I
look forward to his work in helping assure victories for Republicans across
the country in November.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Santorum`s spokesman, Hogan Gidly (ph), told Tamron Hall
today here on MSNBC that Mitt Romney requested a meeting with Rick Santorum
to discuss an endorsement, and that Santorum is open to having that
meeting. During the campaign, Santorum did all he could to devalue an
eventual Santorum endorsement of Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: This is someone who is -- who doesn`t have a core. He`s
been on both sides of almost every single issue in the past ten years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And tonight in America, right wing extremists are not
happy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They had their candidate, which
was Romney, and then all the others, which were conservatives. We ended up
splitting the conservative primary vote. The Republican establishment made
no effort to secure the support of the Tea Party, and instead stayed within
itself and opted to secure the nomination with a strategy that emphasized
moderate candidates over conservative candidates.

And that was frustrating. I can`t tell you how that frustrated a lot
of people, who had such high hopes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is national press secretary for Santorum
for President, Alice Stewart, and former Pennsylvania Governor and current
NBC News political analyst, Ed Rendell. Alice, the -- Rick Santorum said
so many things about Mitt Romney being the worst possible outcome for the
Republicans here.

How long do you think he`s going to have to wait before he can do his
mandatory endorsement of the nominee, presuming Romney is the nominee?

ALICE STEWART, PRESS SECRETARY, SANTORUM FOR PRESIDENT: Well,
Lawrence, as you know, part of the primary process is to show the contrast
between the different candidate. And that`s what Rick was doing the past
several months, was showing the contrast between he and Mitt Romney and all
the other GOP candidates.

But now the time has come for conservatives to rally behind the
presumptive nominee. And clearly it looks as though it will be Mitt
Romney. And what Rick has vowed to do, what he said today, is while he`s
suspending the campaign and while this journey is over, the long-term goal
is not over.

He will continue to fight for conservatives. He will continue to
fight in order to beat Barack Obama. And what that means and what that
entails is doing what he can to coalesce conservatives behind the nominee
and helping Mitt Romney, as it appears he will be, to beat Barack Obama.
And that`s job number one.

O`DONNELL: Ed Rendell, give us the shape of things in Pennsylvania.
Was Rick Santorum on his way to a humiliating defeat in his home state, if
he stayed in there to face Mitt Romney in the Pennsylvania primary?

ED RENDELL, FORMER GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I`m not sure a
humiliating defeat, but I think he was going to the lose. And I think
look, Rick Santorum did incredibly well this year. If you had said last
December that Rick Santorum was going to be one of the last two candidates
standing, that he was going to win ten primaries, Lawrence, not you or I or
anybody would have given a snowball`s chance for that scenario.

He did very well. He was a happy warrior, until he got tired and
angry at the end. But he knew he risked an awful lot to wipe away all that
good if he lost in his home state.

Romney was coming on. Santorum had the advantage of -- there had been
about 100,000 Republicans during the last decade that had become Democrats.
And those were mostly moderate Republicans. So the demographic was a
better one than let`s say Illinois was for Santorum.

But he was likely to lose. Romney was greeted this week in Delaware
County, in the Philadelphia suburbs, with tremendous enthusiasm among
Republican voters. So I think Santorum was going to lose. I think it`s a
wise decision.

And what he has to do now, Lawrence, is be honest. When the time
comes for him to endorse Mitt Romney, he`s got to look in the camera and
say, look, I expressed my doubts about Mitt Romney during the campaign.
And to be honest, I still have some doubts. But one thing I`m clear about,
for those of us who don`t want taxes increased, for those of us who want
federal spending slashed dramatically, Mitt Romney sure is a better choice
than Barack Obama.

I don`t agree with that and neither do you. But that`s the way you`re
going to do this if you`re to have any credibility at all.

O`DONNELL: Alice, if he does endorse Mitt Romney or when he does
endorse Mitt Romney, would you advise him to not look in the camera at all
and just put out a one-sentence written statement, since he lives in a
world of regret about having endorsed Mitt Romney four years ago. Romney
made him regret that.

He regrets having found himself bound to endorse Arlen Specter in
Pennsylvania. He`s got a history of endorsements that he wishes he could
take back. Does he worry that in 2016, endorsing Romney, if Romney goes on
to lose to President Obama, will be something else that he might regret?

STEWART: Well, the most important thing from here on out is to do
what must be done to defeat Barack Obama. And he had a nice conversation
with Governor Romney today. They`re friendly toward each other. They
disagree on some political matters, but he vowed to do whatever he could to
help secure this nomination.

And that`s what he intends to do. The key here is to coalesce
conservatives, both social and fiscal conservatives, and rally behind who
the nominee is. Because more importantly, over anything else, the reason
Rick got into this race, he and his family sat around the kitchen table and
decided now is the time, in order to help his children and his
grandchildren`s future. We need to defeat Barack Obama.

We need someone who will get in there and repeal and replace
Obamacare. We certainly don`t need what is coming down the pipeline now in
D.C., the Buffett Rule, which is more class warfare. That`s not the way to
go about reducing the debt.

We need to go about cutting spending. These are the issues that
people want to see someone go toe to toe with Barack Obama on. That`s what
Rick`s going to do. He`s going to coalesce conservatives to stand behind
Mitt Romney. He`s going to convince him that what we need to do is stand
up to Barack Obama, repeal and replace Obamacare, but certainly show the
Democrats and the huge organization that we`re going to go against in
November, the huge money machine, that it`s not about money.

It`s about doing what people in this country want. And what Rick has
seen and what Governor Romney has seen and Gingrich and all the
conservatives have seen, people do not want Obamacare. People do not want
big government. They do not want the government taking over every aspect
of their life.

We need to coalesce behind the conservative or the Republican
candidate who`s going to restore power to the people. And that`s certainly
what they want.

O`DONNELL: Ed Rendell, it looks like the Obama re-election campaign
will be getting no more help from Rick Santorum in attacking Mitt Romney.
So it`s all up to them in handling Romney from this point forward. Are
they ready to go, as of tonight, on that mission?

RENDELL: Yes, I think they`ve been ready to go for some while. But
by the way, don`t misunderstand for a minute, David Axelrod has all the
previous Rick Santorum sound bites about Mitt Romney. And they`re in the
can ready to go if need be.

But, look, I think the president can not only attack Governor Romney`s
position successfully. I mean, Governor Romney put out a budget that would
add dramatically to the federal deficit, because he cuts taxes. He doesn`t
raise revenue. He does the exact opposite. He cuts taxes.

That is a solution that would just balloon the deficit dramatically.
And there`s plenty to attack Mitt Romney on. But I think the president`s
got to make the case that what he did was inherit a slew of problems, and
no one in our lifetime, no president has had those problems. And he`s made
significant progress on all of them, not to where we`d like to be, but a
whole lot better than where we were.

He`s got a good case to make in his own right. He`ll do it. He`ll be
ready to criticize Governor Romney`s positions when necessary. But he`s
ready to go. And so is the Obama campaign team. And having fought against
him in the `08 primaries, Lawrence, I can tell you, they`re awfully good.

O`DONNELL: Alice, as you know, I was always cheering for your guy to
hang there, because I love seeing the Republicans fight with each other.
But I have to tell you, I was always troubled by -- in many ways, by the
situation with his daughter, Bella, and to see her be in the hospital
recently and come out. I have to tell you, I`m very, very happy that
Bella`s father is going home tonight and that he`s not going to be out
there on that presidential campaign trail anymore.

And please convey my best wishes and hopes to the Santorum family for
Bella`s health. And I just want them to know, and you to know, you may be
out of a job right now, but Bella has her daddy back. And I think that`s
more important.

STEWART: That`s most important. Thank you, Lawrence. I certainly
will. And we just want to say that we appreciate all the prayers and
thoughts that went out to Bella and her family, and prayers were answered
and we`re grateful for that.

RENDELL: Me too, Alice.

O`DONNELL: National press secretary for -- thanks, Ed. The national
press secretary for Santorum for President, Alice Stewart, in her final
appearance with that title on this show, and former Pennsylvania Governor
and current NBC News political analyst, Ed Rendell. Thank you both very
much for joining me tonight.

STEWART: Thanks, Lawrence.

RENDELL: Have a great night.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, former President George W. Bush decides to come
out of Texas and talk taxes on the very same day that President Obama wants
to talk taxes and does talk taxes in Florida. President Bush has one
really big regret about the Bush tax can cuts. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I publish a
book and now the Bush Institute`s publishing a book. They didn`t think I
could read, much less write a book.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yes, he`s back. The man who Mitt Romney tries to pretend
doesn`t exist appeared in New York, of all places, today, and helped remind
the country how he piled budget deficit on top of budget deficit and
dramatically increased the national debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: If you raise taxes -- in other words, if you let the -- I wish
they weren`t called the Bush Tax Cuts. If they were called some other
body`s tax cuts, they would probably be less likely to be raised. But if
you raise -- if you raise taxes, you`re taking money out of the pockets of
consumers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But they are not called the some other body`s tax cuts.
And as it happened, former President Bush perfectly teed up the tax issue
for President Obama today in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`ve got to choose
which direction we want this country to go in. Do we want to keep giving
those tax breaks to folks like me who don`t need them, or to give them to
Warren Buffett? He definitely doesn`t need them. Or Bill Gates. He`s
already said, I don`t need them.

Or do we want to keep investing in those things that keep our economy
growing and keep us secure? That`s the choice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Karen Finney, former DNC communications
director and an MSNBC political analyst. Karen, you got yourself one lucky
president there today.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s luck of the Irish,
Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Trying to get attention to taxes, which is not America`s
favorite subject to hear politicians talk about. And there`s President
Bush reminding everybody where we got in this fiscal trouble, because I
started it, with these gigantic tax cuts, especially the tax cuts at the
top end, for the very richest taxpayers. Helps really underline the point
President Obama`s trying to make today.

FINNEY: Absolutely. Anytime President Bush is out there, it helps
underscore that point. But today, he really did tee it up on a silver
platter by even admitting, like, I wish it weren`t even named after me. My
goodness.

You know, the other thing, when you talk about trickle-down economics,
who does that make you think of? The other Bush. It sort of makes this
point that President Obama has made, that time and again, when we`ve tried
it their way, it didn`t work. Now we`ve got to try something different.

When we tried it Bill Clinton`s way, things worked out a little bit
better. So why don`t we try it this way and things should work out a
little bit better.

O`DONNELL: Karen, I want to play for you something that candidate
Romney said tonight about the war on women. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There`s been some talk about a war on women. The real war on
women has been waged by the Obama administration`s failure on the economy.
If we`re going to get women back to work and help women with the really
issues that women care about, good jobs, good wages, a bright future for
themselves, for their families and for their kids, we`re going to have to
elect a president who understands how the economy works. And I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FINNEY: Oh, Mitt.

O`DONNELL: Karen, I know we`ve all heard this before. But I`ve got
to play what Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski says in response to that
kind of talk. Let`s listen to her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: If you don`t view this as an attack
on women, then you need to go home and you need to talk to your wives. You
need to go talk to your daughters. Ask them if they feel that this is an
attack.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Karen, I don`t see how Mitt Romney -- who`s advising him
to go out there and take on this phrase, war on women, and think he can
somehow win some points with it.

FINNEY: Well, look, as we know, the Crossroads GPS folks yesterday,
when that poll about independents came out, admitted, frankly, that
President Obama, Team Obama is making some traction on their economic
arguments. Obviously, the polls show they`re making -- getting some
traction on the arguments about the war on women.

Again, this feels, though, like another one of these strategies that
says, just tell women it`s not true. Just tell those little ladies they`re
just crazy and making it up in their heads. Now, the other piece of this,
though, shows -- I mean, if you listen to what he was talking about, I
mean, a couple things.

Number one, clearly this is the message frame we`re going to hear from
him, this President Obama doesn`t understand the economy and I do. Right?
That plays into the, he`s a nice guy but he`s in over his head. We know
that`s their theme.

But also this idea that he really doesn`t understand how women think
about the economy. If you threaten my basic health care, you`re
threatening my family`s economy and my economy. So clearly he still
doesn`t get it

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst, sorry, we`re
running out of time tonight, because we had to devote more time to the
breaking news on the Trayvon Martin case. Karen, thanks for joining us
tonight.

FINNEY: No problem. Got my taxes done.

O`DONNELL: Oh, good. That`s why you could come back tonight. We`re
going to be right back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The special prosecutor in the case of the killing of
Trayvon Martin may announce her findings as early as tomorrow. We will
certainly have more on the case here tomorrow night. And we will have more
on the presidential campaign tomorrow night.

You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog, TheLastWord.MSNBC.com.
You can follow my Tweets @Lawrence. "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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