Skip navigation

'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, May 10, 2012

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: Alex Wagner, Chris Hayes, Jonathan Capehart, Joe Klein, Ted Strickland, Krystal Ball

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Today, after "The Washington Post" broke a story
about Mitt Romney bullying a gay student in high school, Mitt Romney
announces he is now in favor of something gay.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president clarified his position on same
sex marriage.

couples should get married.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly an emotional debate.


of the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The vice president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the vice president really set this policy?

BIDEN: The president sets the policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Biden helped him here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Support for legalization of gay marriage is
rising rapidly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone is trying to figure out what the
political consequences will be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reaction has been coming in fast and furious.

union of one man and one woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anyone that`s against marriage equality at this
point is fighting a losing battle.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t favor civil union
or gay marriage.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: This is the boy that I knew.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney is treading lightly.

A. ROMNEY: In high school, when he was playing al the jokes.

M. ROMNEY: Back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A student, who later came out as gay, says Romney
would taunt him --

M. ROMNEY: I did some dumb things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- with "Atta girl" when he spoke out in class.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a closet prankster.

OBAMA: We`ve got to dispel this myth.


OBAMA: That bullying is just a normal rite of passage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prep school bully.

OBAMA: It`s not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Foes of gay marriage are 32-0.

CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN: People in North Carolina voted to ban gay

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mentioned North Carolina.

O`BRIEN: If you`re gay you want to get married in North Carolina,
you`ll just have to pretend your cousins.

BIDEN: This is all about who do you like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the vast majority of the American
public really questioned his character.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A politically gutsy move.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he responded very strongly.

OBAMA: Same sex couples should be able to get married.



O`DONNELL: Joining me now, if it`s Thursday, it must be Alex Wagner,
the host of MSNBC`s "NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER," and Chris Hayes, the host of

It was a difficult news day for Mitt Romney with that report about
high school bullying, in particular, bullying of a gay student. Let`s
listen what Mitt Romney said later in the day today on FOX News about
something gay that he actually approves of.


ROMNEY: My preference would be to have a national standard that
defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. That would
then allow states to determine what rights would be provided for people of
the same gender that wanted to have a relationship. If two people the same
gender wants to live together, want to have a loving relationship and even
want to adopt a child, in my state, individuals of the same sex with able
to adopt children. In my view, that`s something which people have the
right to do.


O`DONNELL: Alex Wagner, gay adoption OK with Mitt Romney.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: You know, look, Lawrence, let the threading
of the needle begin. Mitt Romney -- first of all, Mitt Romney in 1994 said
he was going to be better on civil unions and gay marriage than Ted
Kennedy. He has come a long way since then.

But he fundamentally knows the same thing that we all do, which is
this is about being on the right side of history. There`s also poll
numbers that show among independent voters, the support for gay marriage,
the spread is like 16 percent in terms of folks who are for gay marriage.
This is going to be something the White House brings up again and again and
again and again.

And you hear the White House talking about Mitt Romney being a severe
conservative. Well, here`s your evidence.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: I`m so struck by the fact. You know, it
was just eight years ago -- just eight years ago, that the entire campaign
was run with this key wedge issue, with conservatives prosecuting the
cultural war both because it amped up their base, because they thought it`d
put Democrats in a bad position because they had to essentially choose
between their own base, their own constituencies and the preferences of
independent voters.

And what I have been struck by all this is the tentativeness and the
defensiveness of Mitt Romney. I mean, this is something the other side,
the Republican Party and conservatives saw as something to lead with just
eight years ago.

WAGNER: Well --

HAYES: And they are on the defensive now. It is really remarkable
to me just in terms of the body language, the facial expression, the way
Mitt Romney looked answering these questions. He`s manifested discomfort
in something that is really remarkable in terms of what it represents.

WAGNER: (INAUDIBLE) discomfort is remarkable generally speaking, but
I would say, Chris, you know, the Republican establishment in large
portions of the GOP now kind of understand that gay marriage is going to be
a reality in the United States of America. But you still have folks like
Franklin Graham out there who say this is a sad day in America. This is a
fire and brimstone prescription that we`ve offered to the country by
recognizing that two people of the same sex who are in love should be able
to get married.

HAYES: But he`s not -- what Romney isn`t doing which I think is
interesting and there`s that clip of him talking to the Colorado reporter
asked about gay marriage, undocumented immigrant students getting college
tuition and medical marijuana. There was a time if you were a Republican
candidate, you would love -- you would love those three softballs being
lobbed to you so you could crush them out of park with cultural war

Instead he got ticked at the reporter because the worm has turned.
They want this election to be everyday about what the unemployment rate is
and about the economy and Barack Obama. And any time they are not talking
about that, they think they are losing. You can see it in the reaction

O`DONNELL: Well, Chris, let`s listen to one of the Romney tacticians
today, because to your point about how hot a campaign issue this used to be
for Republicans, Chuck Todd asked Ed Gillespie is this a campaign issue for
you guys. Let`s listen to this.


CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: You guys campaign on this, campaign on this
issue of marriage?

ED GILLESPIE, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Sure, I think it is an important
issue for people. You know, in gender, strong feelings on both sides.

TODD: So, he will actively push for a constitutional amendment?

GILLESPIE: His view is given the nature of the states sanctioning
gay marriage and the full faith and credit clause in the Constitution, that
a federal marriage amendment should be enacted.


O`DONNELL: Alex, they don`t sound too eager about it.

WAGNER: No, you know, they shouldn`t. Again, the polling -- the
climate in America is one of acceptance of gay marriage. The problem for
the Republicans, as it always -- as it is on a host of different issues, is
that at the state level, people don`t want to let this guy. If North
Carolina hasn`t proposed Amendment One, there would be a lot less I think
magnetism to the issue of gay marriage.

This is something that at the state level Republicans cannot -- it`s
a dog with a bone. It is like that on women`s issues, it`s with that on
immigration, and again on gay rights.

HAYES: And let me also say, I mean, I don`t think we should get too
far ahead of the polling here. I mean, there is the threshold being
crossed. We`re getting polling, it`s been out in the field in the last few
days, and we`re going to see where it goes. And if there might be a
backlash effect.

The other thing is, you know, I saw Ohio polling today that was
pretty bad. That was 35 percent in favor, 50 percent opposed, something
around there.

So, in key states, this still might bring with it political risk. I
don`t think we should understate that in this election cycle there are
foreseeable political downsizing consequences.

O`DONNELL: Well, let`s listen to what President Obama said this
morning on "Good Morning America" about the point Chris was just making,
how this cuts for him politically.


OBAMA: I think it would be hard to argue that somehow this is
something that I would be doing for political advantage because frankly,
you know, the politics, it`s not clear how they are cut.


O`DONNELL: Alex, I agree, it is not clear how they cut.

WAGNER: It isn`t clear how they are cut. I think to say there was a
political calculus here is perhaps not being totally genuine. Certainly,
the president sent out a fund raising message last night with subject line
marriage. They are going to make a lot of money in this.

One in six of Obama`s top donors are gay. The gay community is
energized. I think the youth, 18 to 24-year-olds wanted to see this.
Energy reform and immigration reform, this is a civil rights issue for
them. I think this could potentially increase voter turn out at the polls.

But look, at the end of the day, nothing changes gay rights as of
this moment. It is effectively kicked back to the states. And the tide
that if we`re looking at North Carolina, is not to ratify gay marriage.

HAYES: The one thing I would add to that is what this does I think
puts light on is if you look at it on gay rights, it`s undeniably the most
pro-gay administration in American history by quite a bit.

A lot of concrete accomplishments, ending DADT specifically, but --

WAGNER: Don`t ask, don`t tell.

HAYES: Don`t ask, don`t tell. But it also I think puts highlight on
one of the most significant they have done which is to choose not to defend
the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. And the filings of those court cases,
as Chris Gayner (ph) was a great reporter of "Metro Weekly" in D.C., has
been covering this issue, you know, they actually enunciate a substantive
view of what the limitations are constitutionally on what is acceptable.
That`s a pretty intense view they have, a pretty pro-gay view they have.
That dovetails with the statement today, puts together a total vision of
the president`s perspective on this. This is pretty robust.

WAGNER: And it is an insight what he might do given a second term.


O`DONNELL: And, Chris, to Alex`s point that the president is out
there politically on this and this whole question of which way it goes,
there is something -- and the point about nothing really happens in law.
This is a very odd thing because here is a president, not just a candidate,
but a president who makes a statement, and as Alex said it doesn`t legally
change anything, he doesn`t say here`s the bill I`m going to push here.

But it does say something larger about each one of these candidates.
What I am seeing is the Obama campaign seems happy with what it is saying
about them because they keep pushing it publicly. And the Romney campaign
is surprisingly quiet and muted about this. They seem a little bit more
uncomfortable, a little bit more unsure about how this plays for them.

HAYES: Yes, that`s exactly right. In some sense that is the most
striking political fallout of this. And that might give you a sure sense
of which way, quote, "the politics cut" than the polling. I mean, there is
a bunch of very savvy and smart political professionals around both of
these individuals who are running for president.

Their instincts about who this benefits, if you just look at this
would seem to indicate it is the president. I think that to me, I thought,
I was more unsure about the way the politics of this would cut even though
it was obviously 1,000 percent substantively the right thing to do.

I was more unsure about the way of the politics of this was cut
before I saw Romney`s reaction. And Romney`s reaction has convinced me
that actually this benefits for the president.

WAGNER: What will be interesting to see is if we are looking at the
broader case for gay marriage, which is more effective in terms of national
policy on gay marriage, a state by state measures or Supreme Court decision
in terms of getting the American public to really wrap its arms around gay

HAYES: I think ultimately, I think marriage equality advocates think
this is ultimately going to be decided by the court because there are
certain states which it is extremely difficult to envision in any --

WAGNER: What that court decision comes down is key, because if it`s
something like Roe v. Wade, I don`t think it ends the debate, depending on
what happens.

O`DONNELL: That ends our debate for this segment of the show, Chris
Hayes of "UP" and Alex Wagner of "NOW" -- thank you both very much for
joining me. It really wasn`t a debate. It was more of a discussion.
Thank you very much.

HAYES: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the president actually said it. He said the
magic words, etch-a-sketch. Former Ohio Governor Rod Strickland will join
me on Mitt Romney`s claim of credit on saving the auto industry.

And, conservatives are claiming the institution of marriage has
always been between a man and a woman. That is, of course, contradicted by
the Bible that they don`t seem to read and by 250,000 years of marital
history. That`s in tonight`s rewrite.

And Rush Limbaugh is campaigning for women`s support for his attacks
on women. Krystal Ball versus Rush Limbaugh is coming up.


O`DONNELL: "The Washington Post" broke the disturbing story about
Mitt Romney being not just the wild and crazy guy that Ann Romney has
described in high school but also being a bully and attacking a gay
student. Jonathan Capehart joins me with the latest on what we have
learned about Mitt Romney`s high school days today.

And, conservatives are trying to rewrite the history of the
institution of marriage. They say it has always been the union of one man
and one woman. That lie will be destroyed in tonight`s rewrite.

And Rush Limbaugh continues to attack woman and now, he is asking
women to help him do it. Krystal Ball joins me on Rush Limbaugh later.



A. ROMNEY: I still look at him as the boy that I met in high school
when he was playing all the jokes and really just being crazy, pretty
crazy. So, there is a wild and crazy man inside of him.



O`DONNELL: We now know that that comment about Romney in high school
which seemed to come out of no where was actually Ann Romney very, very
deliberately pre-spinning the "Washington Post" story that came out today
about Mitt Romney`s high school days. It was nine days ago that Ann Romney
said that.

"The Washington Post" has been working on this story for weeks and
the Romney campaign has known that. Ann Romney`s wild and crazy line was
meant to excuse Mitt Romney`s reported today in the "Washington Post".
Five former classmates told "The Post" that Romney taunted a male classmate
with the phrase "atta girl" and harassed a soft spoken boy with bleached
blond hair named John Lauber seen here at the very back of the class photo.

"The Post" reports that Romney led his friends on a march through the
dormitory, shouting about their plan to cut Lauber`s hair, tackled him and
pinned him to the ground as Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed
for help. Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

Thirty years later, one witness saw Lauber at an airport and
apologized for not doing anything to stop it. Lauber said the experience
was horrible. One of the participants, a wrestler, who helped hold Lauber
down while Mitt Romney cut his hair told "The Post" it was, quote,
"senseless, stupid, idiotic."

Another participant said it was, quote, "vicious".

According to "The Post" report, the participants` memory of this
bullying that the victim remembered as horrible is still vivid.

The Romney campaign responds to the story today a rather obvious lie
that Mitt Romney alone, the only one among the participants doesn`t
remember it.

As the story gained more heat this morning, the Romney campaign went
into damage control delivering Romney to a friendly radio talk show
interview and, where else, to FOX News, to deliver an apology on something
he still claims he doesn`t remember.


ROMNEY: I had no idea what that individual`s sexual orientation
might be. Going back to the 1960s, that one something we all discussed or
considered. So that simply is not accurate. I don`t recall the incident
myself but I have seen the reports. Not going to argue with that. There
is no question but that I did some stupid things when I was in high school.

And obviously if I hurt anyone by virtue of that, I would be very
sorry for it and apologize for it.


O`DONNELL: John Lauber, Mitt Romney`s victim, will never hear his
apology. He died in 2004.

Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart, "Washington Post" opinion and
MSNBC political analyst.

Jonathan, let`s adjudicate as fair-minded observers having read this
story, watched Mitt Romney`s response. Do you think he is lying about
remembering all of this?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, WASHINGTON POST: I think he`s guilty of faulty
memory. He can say whatever he wants to say. But when you have five
people who go -- I think four went on the record and one of the people went
on background. When you have those five people willing to talk about what
happened and they individually talked about this story.

It`s not like they all got together in a room with Jason Horowitz in
"The Post` and told him this story. They individually have memories of
what happened. And, what happened as you described at the opening of the
segment was an emotionally and physically violent act that was led by Mitt
Romney on this poor kid at the time whose only sin, if you will, was to
look different than everyone else at Cranbrook.

And for Mitt Romney to lead a gang, if you will, of five guys with
himself, scissors in hand to go after this kid like that is reprehensible.
And, let`s keep something else in mind, Lawrence. This is bullying and
we`re talking about bullying that happened 50 years ago, but this is the
kind of bullying that is still happening today. This is the kind of thing
that millions of kids, boys and girls, straight, gay, or perceived to be
gay go through everyday in schools, in their neighborhoods who some of
whom, the bullying has been so horrendous that they have unfortunately
taken their own lives.

You have had adults and schools in other places who don`t take these
things seriously, who believe this is a phase, that this is a boys will be
boys situation. When what you`re talking about is something that`s
emotionally and physically violent and damaging to people.

And for Mitt Romney to say, well, I don`t recall, but if I offended
anyone or hurt anyone, well then maybe I`ll apologize. That`s not

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, George W. Bush said memorably when I was young
and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible. And I got to say, I want
to be able to accept answers like that from candidates.

I don`t want people to have to answer to what they were doing in high


O`DONNELL: In a normal situation.

But I have a real problem with this on many levels. One is two whom
much is given much is expected. Here is Mitt Romney -- every single thing
in life was given to him, but before he got to high school, everything.
Wealth was given to him. Everything was given to him.

And he didn`t grow up in some rough and tumble neighborhood where
there was a lot of thuggery going around like a lot of us did or maybe fell
into that kind of spirit. That`s not what this is about. This is a whole
different thing. This is someone whose father was governor. This is
someone who should have been presenting himself from the world very
differently from this story`s account.

CAPEHART: Well, sure. And again, that, we`re talking 50 years ago.
He was a kid who did dumb and stupid things, as he said, as he admitted to,
as Ann Romney said there at CBS this morning.

But now the onus is on him today, as the 65-year-old presumptive
Republican nominee for president in 2012, where bullying is still a topic
of conversation today, something that has the attention of the Obama
administration and the White House in terms of something that needs to be
addressed. This was an opportunity for Mitt Romney to rise above it if he
could, acknowledge the pain that he caused and to acknowledge the fact that
that sort of pain that he perpetuated 50 years ago is something that`s
happening today and something that as president he would continue to
address, something that the Obama administration -- something that he
agrees the Obama administration.

But he didn`t do that. Instead he tried to duck and weave, bob his
way out of it and was unsuccessful.

O`DONNELL: And why didn`t he get in trouble for this at his fancy
private school that has things about all these things? Maybe because his
old man was governor. Maybe because it was favoritism shown to him
everyday of his life as he was proceeding through high school. Oh, it`s an
ugly one.

Jonathan Capehart, thank you very much for joining me tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, President Obama uses a new politically
powerful phrase, etch-a-sketch, in response to Mitt Romney`s unbelievable
claim of credit for saving the auto industry.

And, conservatives are lying about the history of marriage, that it
has always been for thousands of years a union between one man and one
woman. The only way they can say that is they have never read their
Bibles. That is in tonight`s rewrite.


O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney was opposed to saving the auto industry and
now Mitt Romney wants credit from President Obama for saving the auto
industry. That is provoking Obama`s first use of the magic words: etch-a-
sketch. That`s coming up next.

And conservatives say marriage has always been defined as a union of
one man and one woman, even though their own Bibles tell them that is not
true. That is in tonight`s rewrite.

And, Rush Limbaugh`s attacks on women has costs millions of dollars.
Now he is trying to fight back on what he is calling the national
organization for Rush babes. Krystal Ball, who helped create,
will join me


O`DONNELL: Well, he said it. The president finally said the magic
words that everyone was waiting for, Etch-a-Sketch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney just recently said that he deserves
the credit for the revival of the U.S. auto industry. How do you respond
to that?

this is one of his Etch-a-Sketch moments. I don`t think anybody takes that
seriously. People remember his position, which was let`s let Detroit go


O`DONNELL: And the Obama reelection campaign is helping people
remember how the American auto industry was saved.


OBAMA: The decision to intervene with the auto industry was not
popular, but I was convinced it was the right thing to do, because it
wasn`t just the million jobs that were at stake. It was also part of what
built our middle class, creating products, stamped with those words "made
in America."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The auto industry was crashing down. I was scared
to death. I had a newborn baby, a wife, house, and I got laid off. I
wasn`t sure what I was going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama stuck his neck out for us, the auto
industry. He wasn`t gone that let it just die. I`m driving in this
morning because of that, because of him.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Joe Klein, a columnist for "Time
Magazine," and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. Gentlemen, I want to
set the table now with the complete Romney on the auto bailout. In 2008,
in the "New York Times" op-ed, Romney wrote, "if General Motors, Ford and
Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday,
you can kiss the American automotive industry good-bye. It won`t go
overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed. Without that
bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself."

Then, this week, Romney gave the infamous statement where he tried to
claim credit for saving the auto industry. Let`s listen to that.


ROMNEY: My own view, by the way, was that the auto companies needed
to go through bankrupt before government helped. Frankly, that`s finally
what the president did. He finally took them through bankruptcy. That was
the right course I argued for from the very beginning.

I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy. Finally, when that was
done and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So I`ll
take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.


O`DONNELL: He wants a lot of credit. And finally, let`s catch up
with ha he said today.


NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The president termed it an Etch-a-
Sketch. What were you really saying there? Because if my memory serves me
right, you were dead set against that rescue.

ROMNEY: No, here is what I said, and it is written down in an op-ed
where you can take a good look at it. I said don`t write them a check.
They need to go through a managed bankruptcy. They have to get rid of the
excess cost of the UAW and other excess costs. And then the government can
help support.

The president finally came around and they went through a managed
bankruptcy. Now they are back on their feet.


O`DONNELL: Governor Strickland, how much credit is Ohio giving to
Mitt Romney for saving their auto industry?

deserves none. And he should be embarrassed to say what he`s saying. I
mean, does this man have no shame? It`s just laughable, almost
unbelievable. But it`s consistent, I think, with his approach to nearly
every serious issue.

You know, he`s -- I don`t know. I don`t know what to say about this
other than he ought to be ashamed.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. I agree with you. It is really astounding. Joe
Klein, 20 years ago in American politics, this would be inconceivable. I
can`t think of a politician who would be able to do this without crushing

JOE KLEIN, "TIME MAGAZINE: He probably would have been better off
going with the issue -- with the answer he went with on bullying. I just
don`t remember --


KLEIN: -- on the auto bailout. But what he is saying is this -- and
we really should parse this. He is saying that because he was in favor of
a structured bailout, and that there eventually was a structured bailout,
that he proposed the structured bailout. There is one small problem with
this, which is there could not have been a structured bailout if the
government hadn`t written the check in advance.

That was the only way they could go through this process, as Mitt
Romney full knows -- full well knows.

O`DONNELL: And Governor Strickland, every alternative was explored at
the time. Every private sector financing alternative and possibility of
keeping General Motors alive was explored.

STRICKLAND: Well, absolutely. And what this says above and beyond
the auto industry itself, it says something about Mitt Romney`s character.
He knows what he is saying is not accurate. Yet, he continues to say it.

And that is consistent with how he has dealt with multiple other
issues. So, I think that`s the issue here. It is a character problem.
This man simply is incapable of being straight up and factual and telling
the truth, expressing an honest opinion.

He lacks authenticity. It is evident day after day, comment after

O`DONNELL: Joe Klein, today marks the first time the president is
seen publicly using the magic words Etch-a-Sketch. This certainly is the

KLEIN: It will not be the last.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. Tell us, Joe, where do you think Etch-a-Sketch is
going in the Obama campaign?

KLEIN: I think that what the governor said is -- you know, is right.
This is a fundamental problem for Romney in this campaign. Because you
take any issue -- you take the gay rights issue. He was going to run to
the left of Ted Kennedy on gay marriage. And new he is opposed to it.

You take any issue out there except for firing people and he`s had
multiple positions on it.

O`DONNELL: And governor and Joe, we have a new AP poll out today
showing -- national poll showing President Obama with an eight point lead,
50 to 42 among registered voters. Let`s listen to what the president said
this morning on ABC about what would have happened if we had followed Mitt
Romney`s advice on the auto industry.


OBAMA: Had we followed his advice at that time, GM and Chrysler would
have gone under and we would have lost probably a million jobs throughout
the Midwest.


O`DONNELL: Governor, how does that sound to you?

STRICKLAND: Well, you know, in Ohio we think about one out of every
eight jobs is at least tangentially related to the auto industry. And
today GM is building the Chevy Cruise in Youngstown, Ohio. Ford is
bringing light truck production back from Mexico to Cleveland. Chrysler is
investing multiple millions in the Toledo area.

This is a big deal for Ohio. Ohio doesn`t produce as many finished
cars and trucks as does Michigan, but we produce more auto parts. So the
entire supply chain, which is so critical to so many communities throughout
Ohio, could and I believe would have collapsed. Even Honda, which is a
non-union company located in Marriesville (ph), Ohio, came to me when I was
in the governor`s office, and said, governor, please do whatever you can to
get help for the big three, because 80 percent of our suppliers supply the
big three.

And they were afraid this supply chain would collapse. It has been
saved. And the president deserves the credit for it.

KLEIN: Darn it. I was going to tell -- remind you that you told me
that story the last time we were together, which was on my first road trip.
I mean, you go to places like Lordstown (ph), and they are running multiple
shifts now. They have added thousands and thousands of jobs. The parts
manufacturers are really important.

Ohio is traditionally a pretty conservative state. The president`s
polling has been very buoyant there for this one reason, I think, because
this is one Obama policy that really is tangible. They don`t know what is
in the health care bill. They don`t know what`s in Dodd/Frank. They have
mixed feelings about the stimulus. But the auto bailout really paid off
for them.

O`DONNELL: Joe Klein, thank you for being here on this historic
campaign day, the first presidential use of Etch-a-Sketch. And former Ohio
Governor Ted Strickland, thank you very much for joining me tonight.

STRICKLAND: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the lies conservatives are telling about
marriage. The biggest one being that it has always been the union of one
man and one woman. Conservative lies about marriage are in tonight`s

And Rush Limbaugh tries to fix his problems with women by recruiting
women on Facebook to help him attack women. Krystal Ball versus Rush
Limbaugh is coming up.


O`DONNELL: Opponents of marriage equality are trying to Rewrite the
history of marriage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Interracial marriage is now legal. That
happened as recently as 1967. It was illegal when my parents got married.
My dad is white. My mom is black. So marriage has always been redefined,
what is legal and under the law in marriage.

TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: No, marriage has always been
the union of a man and woman. That definition has never changed for over
5,000 years of human history. What we are talking about here is changing
the very core definition of marriage.


O`DONNELL: That definition has never changed for over 5,000 years of
human history. OK. Let`s start with the 5,000 years. That is not a
randomly picked number. That is what Tony Perkins believes is the entirety
of human history. There is no human history beyond 5,000 years, because
Tony Perkins believes there was no planet Earth more than 5,000 years ago.
There was no universe 5,000 years ago.

Tony Perkins believes that 5,000 years ago, Adam and Eve began
wandering through the Garden of Eden, 5,000 years ago. That is what
Christian fundamentalists believe. It is what Mitt Romney appears to
believe when he says that marriage is 3,000 years old.

But human history is much more than 5,000 years. Human history, that
is to say the history of people who look like us, who walk like us, who
talk like us, run like us, throw things like us, get angry like us, smile
like us, and love like us -- that history is at least, at a minimum,
250,000 years old.

Stephanie Koontz (ph), an historian of marriage and author of
"Marriage, A History," told us today what Mitt Romney and Tony Perkins say
about the history of marriage is, quote, "particularly amusing to an

She has found that marriage has existed since man`s earliest days, at
least 250,000 years ago. And she says in those good old days, quote, "very
frequently, these marriages were arranged."

The modern idea of marriage for love and the possible defiance of
parental arranged marriages is only about 200 years old. As far as the
definition of marriage as a union of one man and one woman throughout human
history, before the 1700s, the most popular and most proven marriage type
was one man and many women, many women.

In human history, one man and one woman is a very recent behavioral
evolution. Tony Perkins would know this if he would just read his beloved
Bible more closely. Exodus Chapter 21, "if a man marries another woman, he
must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.
If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free
without any payment of money."

See, the Bible thought of everything. First Kings Chapter 11, "King
Solomon had" -- I will say this slowly -- "700 wives of royal birth and 300

Again, this is something Tony Perkins does not know because it is
hidden in the top secret volume, in some places available only in hotels,
called "The Old Testament."

The Profit Mohammed had several wives. And polygamy is still
practiced today and legal in some Islamic countries. And in possibly the
hippest place on Earth, Tibet, there were even some instances of women
marrying many men, from Medieval times right up to the 20th century. And
if, as Tony Perkins and Mitt Romney insist, marriage has always meant one
man and one woman, why did the federal government find it necessary to
outlaw polygamy twice, once in 1862 with the Moral Anti-Bigamy Act and then
again in 1882 with the Edmonds Anti-Polygamy Act.

And if, as Tony Perkins and Mitt Romney insist, marriage has always
been one man and one woman, why was Utah required to outlaw polygamy in
order to become a state? And if marriage has always been the union of one
man and one woman, why was Mitt Romney ever forced to answer a question
about polygamy?


ROMNEY: I can`t imagine anything more awful than polygamy.


O`DONNELL: And that`s from a man whose great grandfather had five
wives. Now it seems Mitt Romney can imagine something more awful than
polygamy. And that something is opening up what we have just shown to be
the highly changeable institution of marriage to my two guests from last
night, Lenny Gerber and Pearl Berlin, who have enjoyed 45 years of a loving
life together.


45 year bond that we have.


GERBER: We have had -- we have the most remarkable bond. We think in
part it`s because we -- as Pearl was saying to me in the last day or two,
she says, our core values are so much the same. We have never done a
ceremony. And we`re not going to until we can do one legally and hopefully
here with our family and community.

PEARL: OK. I`ll buy that.



O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh has launched a new Facebook campaign.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Of course, they say that I am
reprobate and filled with hate. I must be taken off the air. So we have -
- we`ve assembled a Facebook page that has many more women who don`t
anything that the nags want.

Rush Babe is not demeaning or insulting of women in any way. It is an
acknowledgement, ladies and gentlemen, that a proud conservative woman is
innately attractive for independence or intellect or commitment to real
values, and doesn`t mind being called a babe.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Krystal Ball. Krystal, he is coming after
you. You started And so he has now started -- let`s see, he
calls it Rush Babes for America.

KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, one clarification. I was
one of the original founders and had part of the idea for
But Stop Rush has been a tremendous success because of hundreds of
volunteers nationwide who have been logging reports and tracking sponsors.

So he is coming after a nationwide movement against him that has been
very, very damaging to his business and to the business of Clear Channel

O`DONNELL: Yeah. We have got the CEO of his company saying that they
have lost millions of dollars -- just said that recently, millions of
dollars because of what you and what the national reaction has been to his
attacks on Sandra Fluke and other things.

BALL: That`s exactly right. And it was actually Cumulus who came
out, because they`re a public company, to say that they had lost millions.
Well, they only carry Rush on 38 channels. So you can imagine if you
multiply that by a factor -- by several factors, what Clear Channel is

Now, Rush will have you believe that all of these efforts have had no
effect, that things are just like they always have been, his ratings are
up, et cetera, et cetera. But his actions tell us something different.

I mean, he hired a professional crisis communications manager to deal
with this. He has obviously launched this Babes for Rush or whatever it is
to push back against the efforts against him. And in order to stoke up
some flames on Twitter, he was actually offering free iPads to people who
would re-Tweet him.

So he`s definitely concerned, I think, by his actions, that this has
been very effective.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I have the quote here from Lou Dicky (ph), the CEO of
Cumulus, as you mentioned. He said that this has hit us pretty hard.
Couple million bucks in the first quarter, couple million bucks in quarter.
"Hit us pretty hard," his words.

Krystal, I have been listening to Rush and, in effect, watching Rush
for many, many years.

BALL: Poor thing.

O`DONNELL: And I think I know when he is running scared. He`s
running scared now. You have gotten to him. He has never tried to defend
himself in any way beyond his ability to do that just with his radio
audience and his radio listeners.

BALL: That`s exactly right. If you will remember shortly before
Glenn Beck went off the air, he made the same sort of protestations. So
everything is fine. We have plenty of revenue. It is not having any
impact. He made fun of those who were leading the efforts against him.

It`s a very similar model. I mean, if Rush was really not feeling the
pinch, then he wouldn`t be talking about this at all, let alone watching
Babes for Rush in an attempt to show that he does have supportive women.

I just have to go to this. Of course a guy who would call women sluts
and prostitutes and lard asses and dogs, et cetera, et cetera, would launch
an organization for women calling it babes and put some like mud flap
imagery as the icon for it.

It is a very, very strange set of circumstances.

O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball, I know you`re ready for what Rush is going
to be saying about you tomorrow when he plays the tape of what you said
about him tonight. We will pick it up next week.

Krystal Ball gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thanks for joining me,

BALL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: "THE ED SHOW" is up next.


<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