'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, May 31, 2012
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
Guests: Alex Wagner, Ari Melber, Krystal Ball, Michelle Goldberg, David Boies, Zach Wahls, Richard Wolffe
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Tonight, the newest battleground state is
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: The Democrats are moving on to attack
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dueling campaign events.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: They attack like this.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: The Obama campaign goes to Massachusetts.
DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA 2012 CAMPAIGN: The state lagged far beyond the
rest of the country.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: The state economy argument.
AXELROD: He created huge new debt here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s an apples-to-apples comparison.
MITCHELL: And Mitt Romney shows up in a surprise visit at a boarded
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obama was here to tout the
success of his stimulus.
MITCHELL: Both stunts trying to make their points.
E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: Romney is going to be on very thin ice
MITCHELL: Mitt Romney showed up just as we were going on the air with
the White House.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Enjoying this encounter.
TODD: Portrait unveiling.
MITCHELL: So that didn`t get on any of the network cable live.
ROMNEY: We wanted to make sure we would have this event without it
being shut down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little things can matter when it`s close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Big things have small beginnings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama I think recognizes he`s in the White House
because of President Bush.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`ll always be grateful
AXELROD: Romney economics didn`t work then and it won`t work now.
OBAMA: It did not work.
TODD: Obama`s still kind of running against George W. Bush.
OBAMA: It did not work.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: How divisive of a figure is George W. Bush.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Behave yourself.
OBAMA: The months before I took the oval office were a chaotic time.
BUSH: What would George do?
OBAMA: It did not work.
BUSH: It now starts and ends with George W.
AXELROD: Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you.
BUSH: Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can`t
get fooled again.
O`DONNELL: I can never get enough of can`t get fooled again.
The Obama re-election campaign made today Massachusetts day on the
campaign trail. It began this morning when the Obama campaign released
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: We`re going to have a stronger economy because I`m going to
I have experience in the private sector.
I know how jobs are created and how jobs are lost.
I`m going to work tirelessly as governor to bring more good jobs to
I know how to solve a budget problem.
I stand very clearly for lowering the taxes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are times when I watch Mitt Romney saying
the sack same things now that he said here in Massachusetts in 2002 in a
robotic way that is completely hollow. It didn`t work here. So, I`m not
quite sure why he thinks it might work nationally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Obama campaign senior strategist David Axelrod then
set up a microphone in front of the Massachusetts statehouse at the top of
Beacon Hill, Massachusetts lawmakers told stories about serving there under
Governor Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
PAT HADDAD (D-MA) SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: He never wanted to look for
new jobs. He was always only looking for his next job.
JOE CURTATONE (D-MA), MAYOR OF SOMERVILLE: Massachusetts under Obama
and Patrick has had the kind of economic performance that Bush and Romney
tried to promise but never delivered.
AXELROD: He tried to bring those same principles to Massachusetts and
the middle class suffered. That`s what happens when you try to translate
those values and those principles into the governance of a state or a
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: Yes, that was booing you heard in the background, some
booing that came from Romney supporters. Hours later Mitt Romney explained
that those hecklers were actually there because Mitt Romney sent them
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: This building and most of the events I go to or many of the
events I go to there are large groups of if you will Obama supporters there
heckling me and at some point you say, you know what, what`s sauce for the
goose is sauce for the gander. If they`re going to be heckling us, we`re
not going to sit back and play by very different rules. If the president`s
going to have his people come into my rallies and heckling, why, we`ll show
them that we conservatives have the same kind of capacity he does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: New NBC News/Marist poll shows the race titling in three
battleground states. Iowa, President Obama and Mitt Romney are even at 44
each. In Colorado, President Obama and Mitt Romney are statistically tied
at 46 percent and 45 percent. In Nevada, President Obama and Mitt Romney
are also statistically tied, 48-46.
Joining me now MSNBC`s Alex Wagner and Ari Melber.
Alex, fool me once, don`t -- don`t get fooled again, whatever that
was. We`re trying to get that Bush thing on a loop so we can just keep
WAGNER: A ringtone, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Yes, a ringtone.
WAGNER: That`s what we all need.
O`DONNELL: So, Alex, Mitt Romney`s darkest secret is now out. It
turns out for some period of time he was governor of Massachusetts.
WAGNER: Everyone knows now.
WAGNER: You know, it is amazing and we talked about this up until
this week that the one thing that would seem to actually qualify Mitt
Romney for the presidency namely his executive experience as the governor
of Massachusetts was something that nobody talked about.
Now, inevitably we knew team Obama would bring it up. I do think the
time line has shifted a little bit given the fact that the Bain stuff
becoming more controversial than they thought, but this is a period where I
do think they`re throwing everything out there, the summer`s going to be
slow, they`ll see what sticks and prepare for an all-out assault come
O`DONNELL: Ari, those Massachusetts legislators have never actually
participated in a presidential campaign before. No one has ever thought to
go to get Massachusetts legislators to do that. But we`re going to be
hearing a lot more from the Obama campaign about this governorship of Mitt
Romney`s that he just absolutely -- I mean, I don`t know what you have to
do to get Romney to talk about being governor.
ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Yes, it`s something he seems to think will
not be an issue on this campaign. It`s weird. I think the ad is actually
very devastating because it is so specific and it is so accurate.
For example, there`s a section on taxes and Mitt Romney talked a lot
about how he would not raise taxes in Massachusetts. And it`s true, he
didn`t raise the standard taxes, sales or income but what he did do was add
$750 million in fees, which is just another way that the government
collects money like taxes but fees are a lot more regressive. So the less
you make, the more they hurt and that is now a fact about his tenure that
And so, while you may look at some of his promises today about taxes
you should look real close because last time, he balanced some of those
budgets to the extent that he got closer to them on the backs of the poor
and then ended with 2.6 billion in debt. So a balance is charitable.
O`DONNELL: Yes. And Massachusetts voters are very alert to that.
They don`t see any difference between the word fee and the word tax, and
they`ve been considering those things that way for a very long time there.
I want to play a piece of Rush Limbaugh today because rush, you know, who
knows that Romney is not a real conservatives that a struggle and he had
this same struggle with John McCain is how do I Rush crazy right wing
conservative get behind someone who`s not a crazy right wing conservative
by Rush`s definition?
Let`s listen to how Rush got there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Romney has responded, oh, yes,
well, you know, I`ve got an 80 percent success rate, Mr. President, the
companies that Boehner capital using its own money, by the way, went in and
rescued, 80 percent success rate.
What`s your success rate, Mr. President? Zero. Every company you`ve
attempted to save or industry you tried to give a boost to with taxpayer
dollars not even your own are bankrupt.
I like this. I don`t care if Romney is not conservative enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t care if Romney is not conservative enough.
Alex Wagner, there you have the elasticity of Rush Limbaugh`s
WAGNER: With supporters like that who needs enemies? You know, it is
-- makes me feel bad sometimes to listen to these -- Romney surrogates go
out and make the case for Mitt Romney. I think, you know, Lawrence, when
you`re talking about Massachusetts, of course, the elephant in the room is
the conservative base.
I mean, Mitt Romney does not want to remind anybody that he was
governor of Massachusetts because no Republicans think of Massachusetts as
a state that even you want to visit at this point. And the other thing, of
course, is that all roads lead to Romneycare and it`s a reminder of what
Mitt Romney did while he was in office.
Conservatives don`t like that and I am of the mind-set that there is
no time if Mitt Romney is even elected president that he will ever have the
belief of the conservative base. They know, I think they will always think
he is a wolf in sheep`s clothing and he is going to have to go throughout
this entire campaign cycle proving his conservative bona fides.
And I think if he is president, he will have to spend a fair amount,
if not his entire presidency, trying to prove that he is, in fact, as he
has said, a severe conservative.
O`DONNELL: Ari, the Romney campaign got tricked into campaigning
today in a state they are going to lose. California is not a swing state.
President Obama is going to win it and Romney went out there to stand at
Solyndra and say, look, the government put some money into a company that
then failed, Romney failed to mention all the Bain companies that used
government money to survive not to mention the subsidies that they got in
Massachusetts while he was governor. But he`s got this one little company.
And how does that stack up about -- against President Obama`s ability
to go to Michigan, to go to Ohio and talk about saving the entire auto
MELBER: Well, I think you nailed it on the political map. Maybe it`s
really sad for those who are doing an early wake for Mitt Romney. But,
yes, he doesn`t have a backyard, you know, Middle America, Detroit story
He has this sort of bank shot about Solyndra saying it didn`t work and
they took some reporters out there and didn`t tell him where they were
going but showed up and ended up competing with a portrait of George W.
Bush which in Republican politics is tough competition bus "W" remains more
popular among the base at least.
And the other point that ties back to what you were flagging with Mr.
Limbaugh is, this government, this administration has put down much bigger
bets and they have paid off. They loaned $8.6 billion to Chrysler, got it
back, sold a stake of that to Fiat and the employment in the top three auto
companies in Detroit is up 8 percent from 2011.
Still huge job problems, no one is saying you fix it all with one
government loan. But Mr. Limbaugh has his facts wrong if he`s suggesting
that some of those big, bold and at times politically risky bets haven`t
paid off. The numbers show they have.
O`DONNELL: Alex, Byron York made an interesting point. He says that
the Romney campaign is afraid of doing any kind of disavowing of the
bloviating ignoramus Donald Trump or anyone else because figures who --
Byron says figures who are demanding a Trump disavowal would lead to more
calls for more disavowals of other figures in the future. Like, for
example, Rush Limbaugh who is bound to say something within the next
fortnight that should be condemned.
WAGNER: You know, I think this is a gross -- it`s an unsurprising and
gross miscalculation on the part of team Romney. Again, this is a fear-
driven decision-making process which is we can`t alienate anybody on the
right, in the base or we`ll have problems at the polls. We are terrified
of having Mitt Romney plant a flag in the ground and say this is wrong.
He`s been offered this opportunity time and time again, whether it`s Sandra
Fluke, or Rush Limbaugh, or Donald Trump, and he`s proven to be -- I hate
to say it -- but a coward in terms of really going out there and showing he
has some core and some integrity.
You know, whether he`s offered choice opportunities like there before
November -- we shall see. Hopefully, he will take the baton and run with
O`DONNELL: He`s following that George W. Bush commandment of don`t
get fooled again into renouncing anybody.
Alex Wagner and Ari Melber, thank you both very much for joining me
WAGNER: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up: now, the Republicans say there is -- there is a
war on women. Unborn women. And they went to war with the Democrats about
it in the House of Representatives today. Krystal Ball and Michelle
Goldberg will join me on that.
And a landmark ruling today by the federal court of appeals in Boston,
saying the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. This country`s
leading constitutional lawyer David Boies will join me, along with Zach
And in the "Rewrite," remember that crazy billionaire Joe Ricketts who
got caught hatching the super PAC plan to attack President Obama using
Reverend Jeremy Wright? That crazy billionaire is not giving up. He is
He`s joining forces with the craziest college president in America,
planning to attack President Obama through the president`s father. This is
truly poisonous stuff, much worse than that crazy billionaire plan that he
had to abandon already and that`s coming up in the "Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: John Edwards was acquitted of one count of campaign
finance fraud and a mistrial was declared for the others and in the process
he proved there is much more money flowing around politics than is publicly
reported. Richard Wolffe will join me and talk about the billions flowing
into the campaigns this year. That`s coming up.
And Republicans now agree there is a war on women. Krystal Ball and
Michelle Goldberg will join me on that next.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, crazy billionaire Joe Ricketts is
participating in a movie that is much crazier an the attack campaign add
against President Obama that he was planning a couple weeks ago. That`s in
And I will confess that there`s something Newt Gingrich has said that
I might, kind of, sort of, maybe partially agree with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANN MARIE BUERKLE (R), NEW YORK: This is the ultimate war on
women, Mr. Speaker. If we don`t allow women to be born, we cannot talk
about any other right.
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: Let`s not forget that Planned
Parenthood aborts approximately 330,000 children every year. This, Mr.
Speaker, is the real war on women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was the tenor of the debate on the floor of the House
of Representatives over a bill that would ban abortion based on the gender
of the fetus. The bill got 246 votes for it and 168 votes against it
today, but the bill did not pass because Republicans had to use a
procedural rule for that bill which required a 2/3 majority for it to pass.
Joining me now Krystal Ball, a Democratic strategist and MSNBC
political analyst, and Michelle Goldberg, senior writer for "Newsweek" and
"The Daily Beast."
Krystal, this was one of those stunt votes that they throw up there on
the floor of the House -- both parties do it from time to time, trying to
put the other party in the position of casting a difficult vote.
How do you think this one is going to play and how is it going to work
in the congressional elections coming up? Is this something they`ll be
able to use against Democrats when they`re running?
KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, that was certainly the
intent as you accurately point out. I mean, they`re desperate to do
anything that says, look, we are on the side of women. We`re fighting for
women and as you put it, I mean this was a stunt and a stunt they didn`t
even really intend to pass -- which is why it was brought up in this way
where it would require 2/3 vote.
In a way, I see a parallel to the voter ID laws that have been passed
across the country. It`s the sort of thing that at first blush you go, OK,
voter ID, that makes sense and voters say, OK, that makes sense.
But you don`t realize that, number one, they`re solving a problem that
doesn`t exist. There isn`t voter fraud just as there is no proof that
there`s any problem with people aborting fetuses because of their gender.
And you also have a situation where you`re trying to make something
seem like it`s a mainstream idea and it`s very popular, but under the
surface of this law what you`re really doing is criminalizing abortions and
potentially throwing women in jail for exercising their constitutional
right. And the same thing with doctors, potentially throwing doctors in
And there`s also an issue where some of the evidence that they relied
on was saying that Asian-American women may be more likely to abort fetuses
based on gender.
So you`re also throwing a racial element into this that`s scary as
O`DONNELL: Michelle, you know, on these stunt votes as often as they
can the party that`s supposed to suffer for voting looks for a way to vote
for it. And I remember several of these things going through when I was
working in the Congress, so I began the day wondering why do the Democrats
just vote for it? Everybody is opposed to gender based abortion.
And then I read an article by Michelle Goldberg which made me
understand exactly why you should vote against this. I just want to point
out that you write that the essential provision of the bill is it would
imprison doctors who perform sex selective abortions and force them to
report women when they suspect they are seeking such abortions. And so
that`s the spot. It invades the doctor`s communication with the patient
and then subjects every doctor who`s -- any doctor who performs any
abortion could then be dragged in for questioning of did she say anything
to you about the gender?
What did she say to you about the gender? There would be grounds to
question every single abortion provider under criminal suspicion on every
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE DAILY BEAST: Right and that`s one of the ideas
behind these laws. We already have these laws in four states. One thing
they do is they open up doctors to fishing expedition.
I mean, particularly because it`s not the doctor necessarily
especially in a clinic like Planned Parenthood doing the ultrasound to
determine gender -- certainly not doing the CVS or the amniocentesis which
also can determine gender.
So, so how does the doctor know why the woman is coming in?
Particularly with this suspicion -- I mean, this bill would have a year`s
imprisonment for doctors who didn`t report women that they suspected of
aborting because of gender. So what exactly does suspicion constitute?
One reason why so many Asian-American organizations oppose this is
because it would put Asian-American patients under heightened suspicion.
The other problem with this bill, I mean nobody supports sex selective
abortion and, you know, feminists have fought hard against sex selective
abortion in Asia where it`s a genuine crisis.
But the problem with this bill, in American law, right now we don`t --
you don`t need to tell your doctor why you`re having an abortion. We don`t
have reason-based restrictions. We don`t have kind of provisions where the
government gets to decide whether or not your reason for seeking to end a
pregnancy is valid.
And once you start putting those things into law, there`s kind of no
telling where it ends.
O`DONNELL: Yes, this is a classic case of you think you have an idea
that makes sense and now you want to write a law about it. It turns out
it`s next to impossible to do it in a way where the law doesn`t end up
being just crazy. I mean this thing is, Michelle, the more you in effect
made me read this thing today the crazier it read.
Krystal, this is the best the Republicans can do this joining battle,
in what they have denied is a war on women.
BALL: Right. Lord knows they`re not about to go out and fight for
paycheck equity or anything crazy like that. So, this was the best they
There`s another element to it, as well, harken back to when this new
Congress was first sworn in. One of their first actions was to threaten to
shut down the federal government over funding for Planned Parenthood.
Remember that they wanted to defund it and almost went to the mat over
When that didn`t work out, then they launched this bogus congressional
investigation into Planned Parenthood which was the basis that Komen for
the Cure used to end their partnership with Planned Parenthood. Behind all
of those actions was an assault on Planned Parenthood orchestrated by a
group called Americans United for Life who have stated that their purpose
this year and one of their main priorities is to attack Planned Parenthood.
They`ve been very successful. They`re like ALEC in a way behind the
war on women. They draft model legislation and they`ve been very
successful at getting Planned Parenthood partially and completely defunded
in state as cross the country. Just in 2011 alone, they had nine states
that passed legislation defunding Planned Parenthood.
So with this law, as well, there is an attack on Planned Parenthood
coming along with it where they`re trying to taint Planned Parenthood as
performing gender-specific abortions.
SCHULTZ: Michelle Goldberg, thank you very much for educating me very
quickly this morning on this bill. As soon as I read your piece, I knew
what I thought.
Krystal Ball, thank you also for joining me tonight.
BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the crazy Obama-hating billionaire Joe Ricketts
is back. And this time, instead of pouring money into TV ads about
Jeremiah Wright, he is funding a hate movie about President Obama called
"The Roots of Obama`s Rage." That`s in the "Rewrite."
And later, the John Edwards campaign fraud case, campaign financing
fraud case ends with an acquittal on one count and a mistrial on the rest,
and it reveals there is much, much, much more money flowing in and around
campaigns than we thought. Richard Wolffe is going to join us to track the
billions going into this election already. That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NOEL (ph): Please donate to KIND because we want kids in Africa to
have desks so they are able to have a proper education. Today, in Malawi
students face many problems to attend school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s Noelle (ph), a fourth grader, at Ashaway Elementary
School in Ashaway, Rhode Island, where the student council held fund-
raising drives to help kids their own age in Malawi.
And here`s her fellow fourth grader, Sam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM: We`ve already reached $389.30. This allows us to buy about 16
desks. We`d like to buy 30 desks and that`s enough for a full classroom.
We still need to raise $330.70 to meet our goal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was back in February. As of last Friday, they raised
$811.18. The kids counted every last penny themselves. Principal Steve
Marone (ph) tells us that as of tonight, the students have now raised
exactly 815 dollars and no cents, enough to supply an entire classroom of
Thanks to the kindness of the kids at Ashaway Elementary School and to
you, our viewers, since we started the KIND Fund with UNICEF a year and a
half ago, we have now raised 4,480,328 dollars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Another big legal win for marriage equality today, perhaps
its biggest legal win. It`s the biggest legal win ever in a federal
appeals court. The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled today
that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The court opinion said, "many Americans believe that marriage is the
union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is
the law today. One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity
of governance based on local choice. But this applies as well to the
states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage. Under current
Supreme Court authority, Congress denial of federal benefits to same-sex
couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported
by any permissible federal interest."
The First Circuit put its ruling on hold, in effect, until the United
States Supreme Court decides the case. The three-judge panel was made up
of two Republican appointees and only one Democrat. The decision was
Joining me now, attorney David Boies who was co-lead counsel for the
plaintiffs in California`s Prop 8 trial. And he was also Al Gore`s lead
council in Bush v. Gore. We`re also joined by Zach Wahls, the author of
"My Two Moms."
David Boies, what is the meaning of this decision today and what
DAVID BOIES, ATTORNEY: Well, there are two meanings. The first
meaning is that this establishes that in those states that allow their
citizens to marry whomever they want, that establish marriage equality, the
federal government cannot discriminate against marriages in those states
compared to marriages in any other state.
So what it says is that where you have marriage equality, the federal
government must recognize those marriages. The second significance of it
is that the reasoning of the court is reasoning that would support
requiring states everywhere to recognize marriage equality, because what it
says is that you have to give special scrutiny to laws that discriminate
against people who have been discriminated against in the past, and that
people who are engaged in same-sex relationships fall into that category.
And the second thing that it says is that it is not permissible to
base laws on moral disapproval. If you disapprove of a same-sex lifestyle,
that`s your personal opinion, but you cannot enforce that through the laws
of the United States.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Jay Carney said today in addressing
the court`s ruling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There`s no question that
this is in concert with the president. The Department of Justice
participated in this very legislation with the First Circuit consistent
with the position that the president, the attorney general have
articulated, which is that they do no believe that Section Three of DOMA is
constitutional. I can`t predict what the next steps will be in handling
cases of this nature.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The politics of this become interesting here, because the
-- as we know, the Obama administration decided to not try to defend the
constitutionality of DOMA in cases like this. And this decision now comes
on the heels of the president`s announcement about his own personal
preference about same-sex marriage.
It seems like there is now a -- an aura of constitutional support
building for what was just a few weeks ago the president`s personal
ZACH WAHLS, AUTHOR, "MY TWO MOMS": Uh-huh. Yeah, you know, what`s
interesting about this case in particular is that the defense of DOMA was
carried out by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. It`s important to note
that even though the name bipartisan is in the title, it`s not bipartisan.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group was created by the Republican House
leadership, and exists solely for them to continue to fight DOMA through
It`s important to note, as you mention, that this is exclusively about
Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is about federal
employee benefits for same sex couples. It does not strike down at all the
clause of the Defense of Marriage Act that permits states to reject
marriages of same-sex couples that take place in other states.
So, for example, when my moms go down to visit family in Florida,
regardless of the ruling on this particular issue by the Supreme Court, my
moms aren`t married when they step off that plane in Florida. So as David
mentioned, there is still a long ways to go when it comes to this law.
O`DONNELL: David Boies, let`s talk about that long way to go. The
issue that Zach is talking about involving his mothers, how will -- when
this case goes to the Supreme Court, presumably all aspects of the law will
BOIES: You can`t be sure of that. Most likely only the part of the
law that was decided in this case will go to the Supreme Court in this
case. Now the Supreme Court might reach out and deal with both sections of
the law. But I think that it`s more likely than not that only the law that
was before the First Circuit would go out.
Now I think there are grave constitutional problems with the section
of the law that tries to repeal the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the
United States Constitution. And I think that part will be held
unconstitutional as well. But it may have to wait a different case.
O`DONNELL: Yes, David, does it have to wait for another litigant to
make it up through the appeals court level, specifically on that issue, in
order to get to the Supreme Court?
BOIES: It generally -- it generally would have to. Now, the
reasoning of the court`s opinion would support holding that -- the other
section unconstitutional, as well. So sometimes a broad ruling can strike
down the underlying principle for sections that aren`t before the court.
But in terms of getting an actual litigated result, you would probably
need, unless the court reached out to take it -- you would probably need to
have an actual litigant that was affected by the particular section
O`DONNELL: Yeah, Zach, as you read that language in the decision, as
David says, it does -- if you were just trying to apply that thinking, that
court`s thinking to the other provision, it would be very hard, it seems to
me, for that same court --
WAHLS: No, definitely.
O`DONNELL: -- to come out the other way.
O`DONNELL: On your mother`s case, let`s say.
WAHLS: Yeah, you know, there is another case against DOMA that is
currently pending in the 9th Circuit which David knows well. And actually
to get back to a point that you made in the intro to this segment, I want
to talk very briefly about Justice Boudine (ph), who was the author of this
opinion. He was an H.W. Bush appointee. He was the former deputy
assistant attorney general for President Reagan.
So this isn`t some radical left wing judicial activism that we`re
seeing here. What this is is the proper way that the United States
government is supposed to function with the challenging of laws, a good
independent judiciary. And what we`re seeing, Lawrence, finally, is
justice and progress when it comes to LGBT rights.
O`DONNELL: David, what would you anticipate in the Supreme Court the
other side of this case clinging to in a Supreme Court argument?
BOIES: Well, you know, one of the problems I`ve always had about this
issue is unlike the usual case, I just can`t figure out what the argument
is on the other side.
O`DONNELL: You`re pretty good at that. It is your job.
BOIES: It is my job to do that. And I generally do a pretty good job
of that. I can generally tell you what my opponents are going to hard.
But I have a hard time figuring out what is that -- an argument on the
other side. I mean, they can`t article federalism, for heavens sakes. But
what they`re trying to do is override a state`s decision to allow marriage
They can`t argue that they don`t like the lifestyle because the
Supreme Court has already held that that`s off-limits. They can`t argue
that they ought to be able to discriminate against citizens. Equal
Protection Clause says you can`t do that.
It is very, very hard to think of what arguments they have left, legal
WAHLS: You`re not the only one who is struggling, David. During the
Prop 8 trial, when Ted Olsen asked the defendant counsel to explain what
damage same-sex marriage has on straight couples, all he could say was, I
don`t know. I don`t know.
WAHLS: We don`t either.
O`DONNELL: That`s a rough moment for a lawyer. David Boies and Zach
Wahls, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
BOIES: Thank you.
WAHLS: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Joe Ricketts, the Obama hating billionaire, has
found a new way to spread his poison. He is now funding a movie based on
the Obama hate book entitled "The Roots of Obama`s Rage." That`s in the
And John Edwards` trial showed us that there`s even more money flowing
into and around politics than is publicly reported. Richard Wolffe will
join me to track the billions that are pouring into our politics right now.
That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama has a dream, a dream from his father, that
the sins of colonialism be set right and America be downsized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is crazy hateful billionaire Joe Ricketts` latest
dream, making a movie about President Obama`s dreams. You remember Joe
Ricketts. He is the founder of TD Ameritrade, a company that is now
fearing you will withdraw your money from any accounts there because of the
Obama hatred spewed and paid for by the money Joe Ricketts made from TD
Joe Ricketts is also the patriarch of the family that owns the Chicago
Cubs. No member of the Ricketts family would be involved with the Chicago
Cubs were it not for the crazy billionaire`s money. To protect the Chicago
Cubs` baseball business from the madness of the patriarch, Joe Ricketts`
son has tried to distance the Cubs from his father`s public hatred of
It was just two weeks ago that "the New York Times" exposed Joe
Ricketts` plan to use his super PAC for a TV ad campaign starring the
Reverend Jeremiah Wright as the man who controls the mind of President
Obama. Having been forced to publicly give up on that project, Ricketts is
now funding a movie that will insist, on the basis of absolutely no
evidence or -- and, in fact, with actual proof to the contrary, that
President Obama`s mind is completely controlled from the grave by his
father, Barack Obama Sr., who President Obama met once when he was 10 years
The public outrage that met Joe Ricketts` plan to use Jeremiah Wright
against President Obama seems to have exhausted those who were outraged,
because Ricketts` new plan to use Barack Obama Sr. against President Obama
has been met with something close to silence. The movie Ricketts is
financing is based on a rage-filled book entitled "The Roots of Obama`s
All of the rage in the book belongs to its author, Dinesh D`Souza.
"The Economist" called the book "incomprehensible." Even the conservative
"Weekly Standard" said correctly that the book is full of, quote,
"misstatements of fact, leaps in logic and pointlessly elaborate
And that`s from D`Souza`s friend at "the Weekly Standard." This is
the book in a nutshell. D`Souza writes "if Obama shares his father`s anti-
colonial crusade, that would explain why he wants people who are already
paying close to 50 percent of their income in overall taxes to pay even
That`s it. That`s the book.
But it does not explain why President Obama wants them to pay lower
tax rates than they did under Presidents Reagan, Nixon and Eisenhower, all
Republicans. We don`t know the exact day on which Dinesh D`Souza lost his
mind. Nor do we know if he`s just pretending to be stark raving mad to
collect the money of his clearly crazy patron, TD Ameritrade billionaire
Joe Ricketts loves Dinesh D`Souza. Ricketts says he is, quote, "a
proud supporter of his scholarship," end quote. Ricketts is so batty that
he believes what D`Souza does is scholarship. D`Souza`s money hustle with
Ricketts is helped by D`Souza`s role as president of a college in Manhattan
on Fifth Avenue, between 33rd and 34th street. I know you`ve never seen
it. I`ve walked by there and I`ve never seen it.
And that`s because it`s somewhere inside the Empire State Building.
The college calls itself the King`s College, and describes itself as a
Christian liberal arts college. That is where D`Souza is, in effect,
stealing the tuition money of 360 students on whom he is foisting his
utterly fraudulent scholarship.
Dinesh D`Souza is now the Donald Trump of college presidents. But
crazy TD Ameritrade billionaire Joe Ricketts doesn`t know that. The only
thing crazy TD Ameritrade billionaire Joe Ricketts cares about is making
sure we don`t have an anti-colonial president.
And the only thing the bloviating ignoramus of the King`s College
Dinesh D`Souza has to do to keep the crazy billionaire`s money flowing is
to make sure that the crazy TD Ameritrade billionaire never finds out about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`d be so much
better off with a very simple system that said any American can donate any
amount of personal income, after taxes, as long as they report it online
that night. And they would give it to the candidate. And then the
candidates would have to be responsible for the advertising.
You`d have a cleaner, more positive, healthier system. I think you
watch this fall. Between the Obama super PACs, the Romney super PACs, the
conservative super PACs, the liberal super PACs, it`s going to be a mess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I hate to say it. I mean, I hate to say it. I don`t even
think I can say it. Richard Wolffe, you got to help me with this.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Lawrence, I`m here to help
you. You know that.
O`DONNELL: I am thinking about saying something that I just hate to
say and I`m just going to try it with you and --
O`DONNELL: Tell me if you think I should actually say this, you know,
in the segment we`re going to do in a second.
WOLFFE: Be careful.
O`DONNELL: I think what Newt just said -- I think Newt has a point.
WOLFFE: You know, Lawrence, are you feeling OK? I mean, are you
feeling all right tonight?
O`DONNELL: It`s a first time event for me, Newt having a point.
WOLFFE: Do you know, Lawrence, you`re only a couple of steps away
from agreeing with Donald Trump about something.
O`DONNELL: No, that`s a whole different thing. This thing about
accountability of the money, he`s got a point there, because now we`ve got
all this money flowing with super PACs. And they can do whatever they want
and the candidate can claim I didn`t know anything about it. Newt is
saying, if all the money is going to be there, why not make it accountable?
WOLFFE: Well, OK, let`s say that this was spoken by someone called
Bob Gingrich and we can put that to one side. Disclosure is a good thing.
We knight people to say what they`re doing and know where the money is
going to. I like the idea that campaigns should be spending their own
money and that campaigns should be controlled by candidates.
All of that is good. The undisclosed bit, though, don`t you think
that`s kind of corrupting for democracy?
O`DONNELL: Well, listen, I mean corrupting for democracy, we just had
a trial in, you know, North Carolina about exactly that with John Edwards,
where we saw, OK, you don`t have to worry about just the money that`s
actually being reported and going into the campaign. Now there`s this
whole other million or so, you know, that can flow in. And is that really
personal use or could the candidacy have ever survived without that hush
O`DONNELL: I mean, that`s really what that jury had to wrestle with.
WOLFFE: Look, I understand. But the unlimited part of it, I get the
feeling if the prosecutors wanted to go after John Edwards for bilking this
woman out of her money, you know, there`s fraud out there that is being
perpetrated by Karl Rove on people like your friend Ricketts and Sheldon
Adelson and all the others. They are being bilked like Bernie Madoff
bilked these people, thinking that they are going to give something
meaningful to the country, when, in fact, they`re just wasting their money.
You could build a hospital with this kind of money.
O`DONNELL: So, Richard, so far team Romney has spent 47 million.
That includes super PACs and everybody in favor of Romney. Team Obama have
spent 41 million so far, including super PACs, which on the Obama side
isn`t such a big super PAC. But team Obama`s trailing.
Of course, team Romney had to win some primaries. So I can see where
there would be a spending difference.
WOLFFE: Yeah, but you look at the proportions here. This is
obviously abstract at this point, because who cares about campaign finance
apart from people like us? But in the end, you`re going to face a
situation, easily before the fall, where Romney is being outspent by his
own super PAC. Who is taking the lead of who here?
Yes, he had expensive primaries to deal with. But there`s no
equivalency. There`s no Democratic super PAC. It`s a teeny PAC. It`s
barely a PAC at all.
O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, that`s going to have to be tonight`s LAST
WORD. Thanks very much for joining me tonight, Richard.
WOLFFE: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog,
TheLastWord.MSNBC. You can follow my Tweets @Lawrence. "THE ED SHOW" is
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