Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: Steve Schmidt, Ezra Klein, Maria Teresa Kumar, David Corn, Goldie Taylor, Colin Goddard


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Big surprise. A new poll shows that voters
don`t think that Mitt Romney is honest or trustworthy or likeable or
admirable -- I could go on and on. I think I will.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Morning, y`all. Good to be
with you.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: How excited are they about Willard
Mitt Romney?

REP. STEVE KING (R), NEW YORK: So far they`re not.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: We know that Romney has his own problems.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Mitt --

BASHIR: Chiefly likability.

MATTHEWS: -- they`re just not that into you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Romney`s favorable rating is 35 percent. His
unfavorable rating is 47 percent.

LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS: For all intents and purposes, everyone sees
Mitt Romney as the nominee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For all intents and purposes.

RUSSERT: Are you ready to endorse him?

(LAUGHTER)

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC HOST: Why hasn`t Rick Santorum endorsed Mitt
Romney yet?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not making official endorsements.

SCARBOROUGH: I can`t find anybody that`s excited about Romney.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Could it be he`s out
of touch?

DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS: Are you too rich to relate?

ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend.

MATTHEWS: He`s a 1 percent if there ever was one.

KING: Right now, people would vote for Romney if they think he`s
competent.

TED NUGENT: Vote for Mitt Romney in November.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney is sewing up the Detroit rock `n` roll
vote.

BASHIR: Mitt Romney called him for his endorsement.

NUGENT: If Barack Obama becomes president in November, I will either
be dead or in jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got kid rock. Now, he got Ted Nugent. All
he needs is Insane Clown Posse.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: I believe it`s Mitt`s time.

MITCHELL: Ann Romney again being asked about her husband`s campaign.

ANN ROMNEY: I believe it`s Mitt`s time.

MATTHEWS: Seamus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seamus the dog.

ANN ROMNEY: The dog loved it.

MATTHEWS: Just loved being up there on the roof of that car.

SAWYER: The dog got sick?

ANN ROMNEY: He had the runs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The one story that does not seem to go away --

MITT ROMNEY: Start packing.

(LAUGHTER)

MITT ROMNEY: That`s what I`d like to say.

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

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Good news and some great news for the Obama re-election
campaign and a round of new poll numbers.

A new "Washington Post"/ABC news poll has 56 percent of voters say
they have a favorable view of President Obama while only 35 percent have a
favorable view of Mitt Romney.

A new CNN poll asked voters to measure President Obama and Mitt Romney
on 15 different characteristics and qualities and how many of those did
Mitt Romney have an advantage? Zero. Zero out of 15.

On questions related to character and likability, Mitt Romney is
trailing hopelessly behind President Obama.

The president has a 29-point lead on likability, 56-27. The president
has a 21-point lead on stands for his beliefs, 50-29. The president has a
20-point lead on inspires confidence, 50-30. The president has a 19-point
lead on person you admire, 44-25. And on honest and trustworthy, the
president has an 11-point lead, 44-33.

It seems that lies like this are being seen for exactly what they are.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Well, I think -- I think there is in this country a war on
religion. I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America
known as secularism. And I know that based upon reports, the Obama
administration gave this a lot of thought, a lot of discussion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s the kind of outright lie, effortless lie, that`s
getting Romney a very low score on honesty and trustworthiness. And it`s
the kind of lie that Romney`s trying to tell specifically in order to win
in the category of shares your values.

But President Obama has a 12-point lead over Mitt Romney on shares
your values, 49-37. The president also has a 12-point lead on agrees with
you on the issues, 49-37.

And the president has a huge lead with the three most important
classes of voters for actually winning the Electoral College. The
president has a 15-point lead on in touch with moderates, 48-33. The
president has an 18-point lead on in touch with the middle class. 51-33.
And the president has a stunning 28-point lead over Mitt Romney on in touch
with women`s issues, 55 percent to 27 percent.

Here is Mitt Romney`s basic case for why he should be elected to
replace President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We`re all working together because of our passion for this
country and our concern that it`s being led by a president who may be a
nice guy but just is over his head. Having lived my life in the private
sector, having worked in business, small business and then bigger business,
having seen jobs come and go, having competed with businesses around the
world, I understand which things will encourage job growth and ignite
growth in our economy. I want to get our economy going again. And I know
how to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The poll shows, as we`ve seen, that voters really agree
with Romney that Obama is a nice guy. But they do not think the president
is in over his head or that they need a former investment banker to fix
this economy.

Even with the economic recovery, as weak as it has been and as weak as
it remains in the president`s fourth year in office, the president still
has a two-point advantage over Mitt Romney on "can get the economy moving,"
44 percent to 42 percent.

The president has a five-point lead over Mitt Romney on the issues as
encapsulated by the poll item, has a clear plan for solving America`s
problems, 38 percent to 33 percent.

And voters think the president is a better manager than Romney who
claims to be a manager, the president has an eight-point lead over Romney
on, manage the government effectively, 46 percent to 38 percent.

And as for being in over his head, as Romney likes to paint the
president, President Obama has a 16-point lead on handling the
responsibilities of being commander in chief, 52 percent to 36 percent.
And the president has a 16-point lead on being a strong and decisive
leader, 50 percent to 34 percent.

Joining me now are: Ezra Klein, a "Washington Post" columnist and
MSNBC contributor, and MSNBC political analyst Steve Schmidt, former senior
adviser to John McCain`s 2008 presidential campaign and a senior strategist
in the Bush-Cheney 2004 presidential campaign.

Steve, these numbers are really stunning to me. If you`re in the
Romney campaign and poll numbers like this come in, you have a crisis
meeting, don`t you?

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you have to be very
concerned about them. I think first, it answers for all time the question
about whether this primary process made him a stronger nominee or a weaker
nominee. Clearly made him a weaker nominee.

And when you look inside those numbers, if they`re static, if they
don`t move, if you can`t rebound from them, it means you`re going to have a
very tough time winning the general election against the president.

The reality, though, and there is a sliver of good news in all of this
for Governor Romney, is that his ballot strength is outperforming all these
character attributes. And if you look at the Real Clear Politics average
of all the polls put together, he`s trailing the president when they`re all
averaged together by about three points.

I think the floor for both candidates is about 47 percent. It`s a
closely divided country. But you have to be very concerned when you look
internally in those numbers. And it shows that Governor Romney has a lot
of work to do in the months ahead to rebuild his image after this
devastating Republican primary process.

O`DONNELL: Ezra Klein, it is unclear what that work should involve in
terms of what they can actually achieve in the Romney campaign. Likability
is a very hard thing to change with campaign strategies.

But when you look at "agrees with you on issues," the issues are the
stuff of the campaign. Those are the things they can write speeches about.
President Obama is at 49. Mitt Romney is at 37.

What do you see in the Republican menu of issues that could possibly
help Mitt Romney close that gap?

EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: Well, I think this is Romney`s real
on problem. When I look with polls, I agree completely with Steve, I look
at the average. Obama`s up two to three percentage appointments in the
past week, 3.2 percentage points today. That isn`t that much. It`s a
swing of 1.5 to 2 percentage points of the electorate and that moves the
election over to Romney.

So I don`t think Romney`s actually be getting that far behind. The
problem is, what Romney has is this argument for competence is an argument
that I know what the economy needs. The issue for him is that he`s not
been able, either because of internal party politics or a look of
creativity or a lack of political courage, to come out with an agenda that
seems in any way resonant or relevant or in proportion to the severity of
the economic condition right now.

I mean, he comes forward and he says, look, I`ve got a very, very big
tax cut. I`ve got some very, very big vague cuts to spending. I have some
regular -- deregulation I want to do

I`d like to repeal Obamacare. I`d like to repeal most of Dodd/Frank.
I`d like to repeal most of Sarbanes-Oxley. That is more or less the Bush
agenda. That is really what he has.

And people talk about him choosing Rob Portman or maybe Mitch Daniels,
both George W. Bush budget directors as vice president. He needs to
actually come out with something it seems new to people. It seems like a
fresh start for the economy.

And as of yet, he has a very, very conventional take on the issues
which has not been sufficiently popular, at least as of now, to vault him
in front of President Obama.

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney picked up some important endorsements today.
House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Let`s
listen to those.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I will be proud to
support Mitt Romney and do everything I can to help him win.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Yes, I support Governor
Romney for president of the United States, and he is going to be the
nominee. And as you notice, the party is in the process of unifying behind
him. And I think it`s going to be an incredibly close, hard-fought race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Steve, Mitch McConnell forgot to say that Mitt Romney`s
going to win.

SCHMIDT: Well, look -- I think if you`re the Romney campaign, you`re
just thrilled to death to be outside of this primary window now. And when
you have the speaker, you have the minority leader, what they essentially
did today is ended the race inside the Republican Party.

Mitt Romney`s going to be the nominee. He has to go through
ministerially now the rest of this process, but we`re in the general
election now.

And of course, as you pointed out earlier, Mitt Romney`s going to have
a lot of work to do. And to Ezra`s point, Mitt Romney`s going to have to
define what American conservativism is in the second decade of the 21st
century.

He`s going to have to have an optimistic forward plan for economic
growth that middle-class voters, ticket-splitter voters are able to look at
it and say that that plan is going to do right by me. It`s going to do
right by my family, that I can see how this makes life better for me, for
my family, how we create prosperity in America.

The campaign hasn`t done that yet, but there`s a lot of time to do it.
And they`re going to have to do it to get those numbers up.

O`DONNELL: I think we all agree that the election`s going to be close
in the end and that all you have to do is have the word "Republican" or
"Democrat" beside your name and you`re going to get 48 percent of the vote
no matter what kind of internal difficulties your candidacy has.

But, Ezra, there`s another piece in the CNN poll that says, regardless
of who you support, who do you think will actually win in November? And 61
percent say President Obama will win. 35 percent say Mitt Romney will win.
And that poll question always tends to have a self-fulfilling prophecy in
it.

KLEIN: Absolutely. You know, I should say, I`m somewhat skeptical of
the CNN poll. It had Obama ahead by nine points, that is a larger lead
than other polls have shown. It could be a leading indicator. We could
see other polls come to back it up.

But I think for now, it might be a bit optimistic for him. But I`ve
seen other polls, and certainly, Intrade, the political betting market and
others, show that Obama is a perception advantage. People think he`s going
to win, that matters for one, that matters for other things.

But, so far, as Romney goes here, that can shift very, very quickly.
I mean, Obama only needs a couple bad polls. He needs one big slip-up, and
then the conventional wisdom begins to change. But unless that happens for
Romney, it`s going to be an uphill climb.

O`DONNELL: Steve, quickly before we go, what do you make of that 61-
35 saying President Obama`s going to win?

SCHMIDT: Well, look, I think that`s actually an important number.
It`s always a number that I looked at closely when I was running campaigns.
And it`s a number that has the effect of really putting a drag on the
campaign.

It`s very demoralizing because it puts the campaign under pressure
when your fund-raising base, when the donors, when the supporters are all
surrounded in the culture by the notion that their candidate, that your
candidate, isn`t going to be able to win the election. So, they`re going
to want that number to come up. Certainly for the campaign, they`re going
to need to put together a number of good weeks in a row.

O`DONNELL: Ezra Klein of "The Washington Post" -- thank you very much
for joining me tonight.

Steve, please stay with us. We`ll do some electoral math -- Electoral
College math in the next block.

Coming up, does President Obama have a lock on the Electoral College,
and can Marco Rubio pull Latino voters away from President Obama?

And in "The Rewrite," it`s war. Why does FOX News deny there`s a
political war on women but insists there`s a war on Christmas?

And later, why were Republicans outraged over this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILARY ROSEN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: His wife has actually never
worked a day in her life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And why aren`t Republicans outraged over this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama, he`s a piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: President Obama has many more paths to an Electoral
College victory than Mitt Romney does. And the Latino vote just might lock
in an Obama Electoral College victory. That`s coming up.

And in "The Rewrite," FOX News insists there is no war on women, but
there is a war on conservative women and, of course, a war on Christmas.

And later, which prominent endorser of which presidential candidate is
now being investigated by the Secret Service for possible assassination
threats? Is it this guy? Or is it this guy?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: As reported here last night, thanks to NBC News embed in
the Romney campaign, Garrett Haake, we now know what the secret Mitt Romney
says at his $50,000-per-person fund-raisers that the public Mitt Romney
would never say.

At that fund-raiser where Garrett Haake was able to overhear him,
Romney demonstrated some competence in campaign math. He told his audience
that President Obama`s huge lead among Hispanic voters, quote, "spells doom
for us," end quote. That`s when Romney told his audience that he`s going
to have to come up with some kind of, quote, "Republican DREAM Act." And
then he added, "We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party."

And Romney has two big problems with Latino voters. His first big
problem is Barack Obama, and his second big problem is Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The question is, if I were elected and Congress were to pass
the DREAM Act, would I veto it? And the answer is yes.

The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide that they could
do better by going home because they can`t find work here because they
don`t have legal documentation to allow them to work here.

I think you see a model here in Arizona.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, Romney strategists are staring at what may be a
Latino lock on the Electoral College.

A Democratic source outlined this scenario to Politico. "Assuming
that Obama wins all the states that have been won by every Democrat for the
last 20 years, including both Gore and Kerry, and Romney wins all the
states that McCain won in 2008, that leaves 10 states. With those 10
states, there are 1,024 possible combinations. Out of those scenarios,
1,024 scenarios, Obama wins 939 of them, and Romney wins 85 of them. All
85 scenarios require Mitt Romney to win Florida."

A new robo-poll of Florida registered voters shows President Obama
leading Mitt Romney in Florida by five points, 50-45 percent. And among
Florida Hispanic registered voters, the president`s lead is much, much
wider. President Obama leads Mitt Romney 52 percent to 37 percent.

And if you think that Mitt Romney can close that gap by choosing Marco
Rubio as his running mate, with the magic of Marco Rubio on the ticket,
absolutely nothing changes in Florida. Obama/Biden leads Romney/Rubio
among Hispanic voters 52 percent to 37 percent.

Joining me now, Voto Latino executive director and MSNBC contributor
Maria Teresa Kumar, and former senior advisor to Senator John McCain`s 2008
presidential campaign, MSNBC political analyst, Steve Schmidt, is back.

Steve, again, I start with you when I outline these grim looking
numbers for Republican strategists, because I just imagine Republican
strategists like you in the Romney campaign office tonight, looking at
those numbers saying how do we do this? Look at what we`ve done to the
Latino vote with our positions have been.

How can we possibly get them back?

SCHMIDT: If you look at the Republican Party as a whole, there are
big sections of it that if we had a deliberate strategy to antagonize every
Latino voter in this country, it`s not possible that we could have done a
better job.

If you look at the fact that George Bush got 40 percent of the Latino
vote, it fell off to 32 percent for John McCain, and you look at a further
drop-off for Mitt Romney, this is the fastest growing demographic in the
country. Republicans are going to have to compete in the Hispanic
community. Republicans are going to have to be present in that community.
They`re going to have to campaign there.

They`re going to have to not just pay lip service to it. They`re
going to have to advertise there. And there`s going to have to be a long-
term concerted effort, and the Romney campaign`s going to have to invest
tremendous resources into the Hispanic community to offer a value
proposition because the fact of the matter is this -- is the Republican
Party cannot be a national party if it doesn`t compete in the Hispanic
community.

And you look at those numbers, we have big, big problems.

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, the polls look very good for the president,
but is -- are the Democrats and the president running a real get-out-the-
vote game with the Latino vote, and is the Republican Party capable of
running something similar in that community?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: Right now, the Obama campaign is
starting to deploy their forces.

So, Arizona, for the very first time, looks like it`s in play. They
definitely need Colorado. You need North Carolina. Ohio might be in play
because of the Latino vote. And what`s nuts is even Virginia because of
the Latino vote.

And what Romney needs to do is basically start shaking his strange
bedfellows off such as Kris Kobach, which is what he`s trying to do now,
distance himself from the person who was the architect behind SB-1070 in
Arizona.

But then, he`s still --

O`DONNELL: That`s one of the people who`s endorsed Romney and Romney
--

KUMAR: Endorsed him. And Romney said --

O`DONNELL: Wanted that endorsement.

KUMAR: Yes, wanted that endorsement, but at the same time, just two
weeks ago, he also mentioned that Pete Wilson from California was also
going to be his co-chair in California. That`s a dirty word among Latinos
in California. Not that he needs it. It demonstrates that --

O`DONNELL: A former governor of California who has not such a great
reputation.

KUMAR: Well, you could say he was actually the original Kris Kobach
back in `93. He`s been the one that also advised Meg Whitman. Up to that
point, Meg Whitman in California when she was running for Senate was
leading among Latinos, among the ones that actually go to the polls, women.

So when you start looking at how the Republican Party is actually in
trouble, Mitt Romney specifically, not only is there a perceived war on
Latinos, but there`s also perceived on women.

And then you have two groups. You do your Venn diagram, and they
happen to be Latino women, and you`re, like, oh, God, you`re in trouble.

O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt, John McCain had a very strong immigration
position that could have been very appealing to Latino voters before his
presidential campaign got under way. He kind of left that behind as the
campaign progressed, as did President Bush before him.

But did you notice that Latino voters track these issues carefully
enough that they are noticing exactly what kind of moves the Republican
candidates make on these?

SCHMIDT: Yes, no doubt. These issues are covered extensively in the
Spanish language media. Spanish language-speaking voters hear about it.
They understand it. They follow it closely.

And what I would say, as you look at President Bush, you look at John
McCain, I really think that they were victims in the sense that the
Hispanic voter in the country was so turned off by what was coming out of
the congressional wing of the Republican Party, that it really fell hard on
both President Bush ultimately and senator McCain in 2008.

So Republican Party has a lot of work to do. And if you look at the
state of California where the Republican Party has effectively collapsed,
one of the chief contributors to its collapse is its collapse and its
ability to compete at any level with Hispanic voters in the state.

O`DONNELL: And President Obama is trying to keep it that way.

Let`s listen to what he said on Univision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I can promise that I will try to do it in the first year of my
second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we`ve got on
immigration reform is very simple. I`ve got a majority of Democrats who
are prepared to vote for it. And I`ve got no Republicans who are prepared
to vote for it.

It`s worse than that. We now have a Republican nominee who said that
the Arizona laws are a model for the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa, he`s making it clear. Don`t just vote for
me. You`ve got to vote for Democrats in the House and in the Senate.

KUMAR: Well, he understands that he needs Congress on his side. And
that`s where Obama`s thinking very strategically. That a lot of these
characters -- he may not actually -- there might be an enthusiasm gap among
Latinos for the president, but if you actually start painting the picture
of what the congressional members look like, they`re basically the ones
that galvanize the Latino vote.

That`s why Sharron Angle gave the vote over to Harry Reid. And that`s
why Russell Pearce also recently lost his election. They`re the best
galvanizers, the folks that attack the Latino voter.

O`DONNELL: Maria Teresa Kumar and Steve Schmidt, thank you both very
much for joining me tonight.

KUMAR: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, in "The Rewrite" tonight, the war on women.
FOX News says there`s no such thing, but FOX News insists there is a war on
conservative women and that old war on Christmas and a war on Hanukkah and
other lot of other fake wars.

And the Republican fake outrage machine has gone quite tonight after
one of their favorite crazy people calls the president a criminal and talks
about maybe assassinating him. Not a single Republican demand that Ted
Nugent apologize for what he said, but you can be sure, they`ll be ready
with more fake outrage the next time Bill Maher tells a joke about a
Republican. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Deranged Romney endorser Ted Nugent can expect a call from
the Secret Service after his threatening remarks about President Obama.
But crazy Ted says he isn`t scared. He stands by his homicidal comments,
and not a single Republican has called on crazy Ted to apologize. Not even
Mitt Romney who begged for and got Ted Nugent`s endorsement.

And later, guest rewriter Jon Stewart examines the FOX News case
against the war on women. That`s in "The Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: I`ll tell you this right now. If Mitt Romney becomes the
president in November, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next
year. You can`t galvanize and promote, if you can`t galvanize and promote,
and recruit people to vote for Barack Obama, we`re done.

We will be a suburb of Indonesia next year. Mitt Romney, John
Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, they`re all criminals. We are
patriots. We are Braveheart. We need to ride into that battlefield and
chop their heads off in November.

OK. Cue the Republican outrage. But first, let`s cue Mitt Romney
endorser Ted Nugent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED NUGENT, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: And I`ll tell you this right
now. If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will
either be dead or in jail by this time next year. If you can`t galvanize
and promote and recruit people to vote for Mitt Romney, we`re done. We`ll
be a suburb of Indonesia next year.

Our president and attorney general, our vice president, Hillary
Clinton, they`re criminals. We are patriots. We are Braveheart. We need
to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And so we have tonight`s thought experiment. Imagine if I
or, say, Hilary Rosen had said that about Mitt Romney, how loud would the
Republican outrage tonight be? Here`s how loud Mitt Romney`s outrage was
at his supporters` not-so-veiled suggestion, that he just might end up in
jail for trying to kill President Obama if the president is re-elected. Or
he might end up dead, shot presumably by the Secret Service in his attempt
to assassinate President Obama.

It turns out Mitt Romney himself couldn`t summon any outrage over that
at all. When asked about the comments, a campaign spokesperson issued a
written statement about Romney`s deranged endorser. "Divisive language is
offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt
Romney believes everyone need to be civil."

The day Ted Nugent endorsed Mitt Romney, there was much excitement in
Romney world. One of Romney`s sons tweeted, "Ted Nugent endorsed my dad
today. Ted Nugent? How cool is that." The Romney family obviously has no
idea how cool anything is. Mitt Romney actually had to work hard to get
Ted Nugent`s endorsement. It was important to Romney to have a prominent
gun nut from the craziest segment of the right wing endorsing him since
Romney used to be a supporter of certain forms of gun control.

Ted Nugent said he was only able to endorse Romney, quote, "after a
long heart & soul conversation with Mitt Romney."

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney took the time to have that long
heart and soul conversation with Ted Nugent to beg for his endorsement
after Ted Nugent said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NUGENT: Obama, he`s a piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Now don`t be
suckers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney`s definition of divisive language is different
from yours and mine. Mitt Romney knew exactly what kind of diseased mind
he was begging to endorse him when he went after the prized Ted Nugent
endorsement.

Mitt Romney is now the only presidential candidate who has a prominent
endorser who is being investigated by the Secret Service, the very same
Secret Service that now protects Mitt Romney`s life. "New York" magazine
reports this reaction from the Secret Service tonight after Ted Nugent`s
most recent outburst of homicidal language about the president.

"We are aware of it, and we`ll conduct an appropriate follow-up."
That`s quoting the Secret Service.

Surely in the Secret Service follow-up, they will discover that Ted
Nugent and Mitt Romney have a lot in common. They don`t mean a word they
say. Ted Nugent`s homicidal rantings are obviously just figuratively --
figurative. He clearly does not have what it takes to aim a firearm at a
human being and pull the trigger.

He was offered a big opportunity to do that during the Vietnam War,
and like his candidate, Mitt Romney, he managed to completely evade the
draft, completely avoid military service, and then, of course, grew up to
be a Republican warmonger in favor of all wars that don`t demand their
services on the battlefield.

Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother
Jones," author of the new book "Showdown." And an MSNBC political analyst.
Also joining me is Goldie Taylor of the NBC News Web site, thegrio.com.

David Corn, this -- look, I am not going to be the outraged one here
tonight. I know that Ted Nugent didn`t mean it. I know he was just
talking crazy talk. But there is a machine out there to manufacture
outrage over these events. And strangely, the Republican outrage machine
is quiet tonight.

DAVID CORN, MOTHERS JONE`S: I`m still trying to wrap my mind around a
soulful conversation between Mitt Romney and Ted Nugent. I mean, wouldn`t
you like to be the fly on the wall for that one? I mean, I`m not going to
be outraged here, too, because we`re talking about Ted Nugent. But there
is a pattern here on the Republican side in which again and again people
are calling Barack Obama and Democrats anti-American. That was one of the
comments that Ted Nugent threw out, that the Obama administration hates
America.

You have Allen West the other day saying that liberal Democrats are
communists. You have Michele Bachmann a few years ago saying Barack Obama
was anti-American, calling for investigations. And Mitt Romney, again and
again, has said in a slight variant of this, Obama doesn`t understand
America. He doesn`t get America. As if he`s not truly an American. So
there`s a little bit of a spectrum here from Ted Nugent to Mitt Romney.
And unfortunately, it`s not that far a distance.

O`DONNELL: Goldie Taylor, we saw the fake outrage on the Republican
side last week over the historically accurate reference to Mitt Romney`s
wife`s employment history outside of the home. They went into overdrive of
outrage on that. Mrs. Romney confessed it was all a joke at that
fundraiser the other night, and it was a gift to her, and they loved it.
And now you have this guy come out saying these things that involve
allusions to assassinating the president, and not a world from Romney
world.

GOLDIE TAYLOR, THEGRIO.COM: You know, Lawrence, I don`t know. You
and Dave, I -- did you not like Wang Tang sweet puntang? I mean this guy
is obviously quite upset that he`s never going to get into the rock and
roll hall of fame. In fact, you know, the guy from the Muppets Band, from
the Electric Mayhem Orchestra might well get in before he does.

I don`t think you can take anything that Ted Nugent says seriously.
But what you can take seriously is his ability to inspire those, you know,
very strong patriots in the audience to do something crazy. You know, to
get a pair of night-vision goggles in an attempt to crawl over the White
House fence.

And so I don`t think you can discount what he says, you know, when you
look at the impact that he may have, you know, on people who happen to be
listening to him. And so I think a Secret Service investigation, you know,
is wholly appropriate in this instance.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s a good point. But David Corn, one of the
things that interests me is I feel like we now have a sequential set of
proofs that all of the outrage over Hilary Rosen last week was completely
fake. You have the confession of Mrs. Romney having fun at the fund-
raisers saying that her reaction to it was fake.

You now have their silence in the face of these crazy comments by Ted
Nugent which are far worse on any outrage scale than anything that was said
about Mrs. Romney. And you have absolute Republican silence about Ted
Nugent. It feels to me like they are proving that their outrage machine is
completely fake.

CORN: Lawrence, I think I might be outraged that you`re outraged that
they`re not outraged. I mean, we know this -- the whole Hilary Rosen thing
was phony and cooked up. And that when it comes to their own people, you
know, Ted Nugent being one of their own people, they don`t have the guts to
say anything. You know, they`ll trump anything up. And let`s also
remember, I mean, I think Goldie`s points are good, that Ted Nugent said
this at an NRA event.

It wasn`t just him mouthing off at a stupid rock show. He said this
within the context of a very powerful political body that`s going to go all
out for Mitt Romney because they say Obama is going to take away your guns
and they give -- you know, they create a Petrie dish for this excessive
Obama hatred that could lead to even something worse than just defeat at an
election.

O`DONNELL: Now, Goldie, they will, of course, the next time Bill
Maher tells a joke about a Republican be demanding that, you know, the Bill
Maher contribution to the super PAC be returned to him immediately, they`ll
be pretending all sorts of fake outrage of whatever Bill Maher says next
about any Republican.

But with Ted Nugent, these Republicans will just -- not a -- there`s
not a word from any of them saying, hey, I think we should just, you know,
send back his endorsement and say no, thanks, Ted Nugent, we don`t want you
on the team.

TAYLOR: You know, I think that`s a fair point. I think the bigger
point is why beg for, why take your pander bucket and beg for his
endorsement in the first place when he was already on the record saying
extraordinarily egregious things. And then to come back now with a tepid
statement at best for a cull for civility? When someone is threatening to
shoot the president of the United States?

I think that that is, you know, downright farcical. But you know I
think -- I think that Romney is suffering from something else. You know
one of Twitter followers called it liaritis. This guy just can`t get it
straight.

O`DONNELL: Yes, the absurd fake civility of Mitt Romney.

David Corn and Goldie Taylor, thank you very much for joining me
tonight.

CORN: Thank you, Lawrence.

TAYLOR: Thanks for having us.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Jon Stewart takes us on a tour of the wars
waged by FOX News. He shows us that FOX News believes there is a war on
Christmas and a war on conservative women, but not a war on women. That`s
next in the "Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: "The Daily Show" declares a war on declaring war on stuff,
especially all those crazy FOX News wars. That`s in "The Rewrite."

And later, remember the outpouring of sympathy for all those victims
of the Virginia Tech massacre? It turns out a lot of the Republican
sympathy was fake. And John Boehner just proved that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s "Rewrite," the war on women. Last night Jon
Stewart considered the FOX News argument that there is no war on women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, HOST, "DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": War on women?
There`s a problem with that one.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: There`s not really a war on women.

MARK DAVIS, DALLAS MORNING NEWS COLUMNIST: The ridiculousness of this
war on women.

JANINE TURNER, WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMNIST: They created this phony
war on women.

DAVIS: It is only the bitterest cynicism that portrays that as a war
on women.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: This is a made-up, phony war on
women.

STEWART: Respect. I think what FOX is trying to say is that
elevating this political fight to the level of war diminishes the
seriousness with which real conflicts are engaged. War is real. War is
hell. It`s not some casual metaphor.

ERIC BOLLING, ANCHOR, FBN`S "FOLLOW THE MONEY": In case you didn`t
know, there`s a war on Christmas in America.

STEVE DOOCY, HOST, "FOX & FRIENDS": A lot of companies haven`t been
saying merry Christmas. They`ve been going, happy holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Calling the statehouse Christmas free a holiday
tree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A possible tax on your tree?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Tulsa holiday parade of lights formerly the
Christmas parade of lights.

BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The homeowners association, Doyles Town
banning colored and blinking Christmas lights.

DOOCY: There apparently is an elementary school out in Stockton,
California. They can`t have things that remind people of the Christmas
season like poinsettias or Santa in their classes because it might offend
people who are not Christians.

STEWART: All right, Christmas is a special case. That is an
incredibly important holiday. And again, I`m sure that nothing else rises
to that level of outrage.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, ANCHOR, "FOX AND FRIENDS: War on Hanukkah now, too?

BOLLING: This is the war on Easter. It`s war on -- wait for it --
fall holidays.

Let`s talk war on Halloween, war on fossil fuels, war on the
constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the war on lady`s night.

BOLLING: War on fisherman. War on -- wait for it -- full holidays.

BRIAN KILMEADE, ANCHOR, "FOX AND FRIENDS: Let`s talk war on
Halloween.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: War on fossil fuels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: War on the constitution.

CARLSON: The war on ladies` night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: War on fishermen.

KILMEADE: Can you accept the war on salt?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the war on chocolate milk.

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: War on sugary drinks.

DOOCY: War on food.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the nanny state`s war on Spuds?

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: But the liberal media wags a war on
conservative women.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The media is waging a war against conservative
women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Of all the wars Jon Stewart considered last night, the
only one for which he could find any shred of evidence is the war on women,
with the final piece of horrific evidence coming from FOX News itself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Arizona`s legislature would force women to
prove to employers they are using birth control for medical reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: In Mississippi today. Criminalize abortion as
murder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Arizona now, doctors will not face a lawsuit if
they fail to tell parents about any risks the unborn child could face.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Pennsylvania would require sonograms before
abortions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A transvaginal ultrasound when seeking an abortion
in Virginia.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Violence against Women Act. But now for the
first time there`s opposition to this.

O`DONNELL: In Texas a bill, that would block Planned Parenthood from
receiving state-planning money.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bill making single parenting child abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if you`re one who likes to beat your wife, you
should probably move to Topeka, Kansas, because it`s legal there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: "The Daily Show" reports. You decide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, we need a
president who will enforce current laws, not create new ones that only
serve to burden lawful gun owners. President Obama has not. I will. We
need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters and sportsmen
and those who seek to protect their homes and their families. President
Obama has not. I will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Sadly, that was Mitt Romney lying about President Obama
last week in his typically pandering speech to the National Rifle
Association. What`s so sad about it is that there is no real difference
between the president and Mitt Romney on gun control. The president has
done absolutely nothing to restrict access to guns since taking office.

Washington remains paralyzed on any form of gun or ammunition control
in the legislative area that remains under the complete control of the
blood-drenched National Rifle Association.

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the massacre at Virginia Tech.
One of the victims of that shooting, Colin Goddard, led a group of 31 other
gun violence victims to Capitol Hill today. They asked members of Congress
to sign a statement of principle against arming dangerous people.

The statement simply reads, "I believe that these people should not be
able to buy, own or carry a gun anywhere in our nation -- convicted felons,
convicted domestic abusers, terrorists, and people found to be dangerously
mentally ill."

Joining me now is Colin Goddard who was shot four times during the
Virginia Tech shooting. He now works for the Brady Campaign to prevent gun
violence.

Colin, how did you do on Capitol Hill?

COLIN GODDARD, VICTIM OF VA TECH SHOOTING: It`s been a pretty
unbelievable two days. Every single senator and congressman we met agreed
with us in person to that statement of principle. And when we asked them
to put their name to it, not a single one, Democrat or Republican, could do
it. They couldn`t do it because of the politics. It was the answer we
always got. And speaks to the sad state of affairs here in Washington,
D.C.

O`DONNELL: And the outpouring of sympathy for you and all the victims
of the Virginia Tech massacre was bipartisan. It was unanimous nationally.
But I`m starting to wonder how serious and heartfelt it was in some
Republican circles. For example, John Boehner. How did things go with you
trying to get in to see the speaker of the House?

GODDARD: We`ve heard Speaker Boehner repeat after continuous mass
shootings in our country, that talking about changes to our laws would be
inappropriate at this time. So during the week that begins with the fifth
anniversary of Virginia Tech and ends with the 13th anniversary of
Columbine, the two probably most infamous shootings in our country`s
history, John Boehner was unable to meet with us this week because he was
too busy.

So my question then remains, when would be an appropriate time for
you, Speaker Boehner, to meet with us and talk about this? Because 32
Americans are killed every single day. So following your logic, there will
never be a time when you`re appropriate to talk to us, and that`s just
unacceptable.

O`DONNELL: When the Virginia Tech massacre happened and you felt that
outpouring of sympathy nationally, did you expect we`re going to be able to
do something about this?

GODDARD: When I learned what laws we needed to change, how simple a
common sense it was, like, giving a background check to keep dangerous
people from getting guns in the first place, I thought this was a no
brainer, I thought we`d have done this by now and I would be on to
something else. But I can`t believe that still five years later we still
can`t even get people to put their name to a statement that people who have
felony records can`t own guns. It`s pathetic.

O`DONNELL: Convicted felons, convicted domestic abusers, terrorists,
people found to be dangerously mentally ill. For some reason, these
politicians want to allow some of those people to have guns. Colin Goddard
of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gets tonight`s last word.
Thank you very much for joining us, Colin.

GODDARD: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: THE ED SHOW is up next.

END

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2012 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright 2012 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>




Watch The Last Word With Lawrence O'Donnell each weeknight at 10 p.m. ET


Sponsored links

Resource guide