Guests: Margie Omero, Alicia Menendez, Phil Stutz, Barry Michels
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: What are they going to call the new Romney
campaign bus? It can`t be the straight talk express, because Romney tells
a few too many, you know, lies for that. And the straight talk express
turned out to be an express to nowhere. I`ve got no suggestions for the
Romney campaign, but tweet your suggestions to me and we`ll read some of
the good ones on the show.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, and
New Hampshire --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seven percent or 8 percent of the electorate
that`s going to matter in six or seven or eight states.
WAGNER: Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Running for president is like running with 13
different states in mind.
WAGNER: And if you don`t live there, you don`t matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Obama campaign has big advantage in some swing
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: Obama fights for the middle class.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tailoring its message to particular swing state
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Obama announced a
new commitment to invest in rural businesses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things are improving slightly in Ohio.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida`s coming roaring back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, both sides think that they have found a
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: Maybe Sarah Palin will show up. Going
flub for flub.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this is silly.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is absolutely clear
that the economy is not doing fine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uncharacteristic of Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Private sector companies are actually doing pretty
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Mitt Romney says we don`t need more firemen,
policemen, or teachers.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants to hire more
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting rid of more teachers and firemen.
BASHIR: Larger class sizes and fewer teachers.
JOHN SUNUNU, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: There`s wisdom in the comment.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Playing it ridiculous.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: That`s not what I think of when I
think of big government.
ROMNEY: Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?
GOV. MITCH DANIELS (R), INDIANA: It would be I think a huge mistake
for Republicans to misread Wisconsin.
JANSING: Mitch Daniels says, you know, don`t get too comfortable yet.
DANIELS: Not even clear that Governor Romney will be that strong in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb Bush is someone who you kind of have to take
at your word.
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I`m not sure I would have been
successful as a candidate either.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the gaffe derby here, Mitt Romney is way ahead.
DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: He`s living on a different planet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My theory`s always been he`s an android and not
ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.
But I stand by what I said, whatever it was.
O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney is launching a bus tour of six states in five
days. Romney will start this Friday in New Hampshire, one of Romney`s many
home states, where President Obama currently has a sizable lead on Mitt
Romney, 51 percent to 42 percent, according to the latest WMUR Granite
On Saturday, the Romney bus will head southwest to Pennsylvania, where
a recent Franklin and Marshall poll shows President Obama with an even
bigger lead over Mitt Romney, 48 percent to 42 percent.
On Sunday, the bus will travel to Ohio, where our own NBC News/Marist
poll shows President Obama with a six-point lead over Governor Romney, 48
On Monday, the Romney bus tour will stop in Iowa, where the latest NBC
News/Marist poll shows the president and Romney in a tie, 44 to 44.
Also on Monday, the bus will also go through Wisconsin, where the
recent Marquette poll shows President Obama with 51 percent to Mitt
Romney`s 43 percent.
And the bus tour will end next Tuesday in Michigan, where the most
recent poll by EPIC-MRA shows them in a statistical tie with Romney at 46
percent and President Obama at 45 percent.
Today, the Obama campaign kicked off its Road to Recovery tour, what
it`s calling the Road to Recovery tour, highlighting the impact of the auto
rescue on businesses and communities across Michigan. It comes as the
Obama campaign and the Romney campaign are each trying to capitalize on
comments their opponents made last week about the economy.
President Obama said this Friday while taking questions in the White
House briefing room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We`ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over
800,000 just this year alone. The private sector`s doing fine. Where
we`re seeing weakness is in our economy, have to do with state and local
And so, you know, if Republicans want to be helpful, if they really
want to move forward and put people back to work, what they should be
thinking about is how do we help state and local got governments and how do
we help the construction industry, because the recipes they`re promoting
are basically the kinds of policies that would add weakness to the economy,
would result in further layoffs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Perfectly reasonable. And shortly afterward, Mitt Romney
said this while campaigning in Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He wants another stimulus. He wants to hire more government
workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers.
Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did.
It`s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now are Krystal Ball, a Democratic strategist,
and MSNBC political analyst, and Steve Kornacki, a political columnist for
"Salon" and an MSNBC contributor.
Krystal, the Romney bus tour is going to states in where almost all of
them, President Obama has an significant lead, and it must be the Romney
calculation that they better get to those states now before they lose any
possibility of getting them.
KRYSTAL BALL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I think that`s right. And
I have to say, Lawrence, I`m pretty excited about the Romney bus tour. I`m
excited about him the --
O`DONNELL: Oh, yes, I can understand that, who isn`t? Come on. The
bus tour doesn`t even need a name, it`s so exciting, it doesn`t even need a
BALL: Yes, I`m hoping he can take his message of laying off teachers
and firefighters to these small towns, and maybe have even an opportunity
to insult some more small business owners on the quality of their cookies.
It should be a good time for everyone.
But I think you`re absolutely right. I mean, when you look at the
national polls, things are a bit tighter, but when you look at these swing
states, the president clearly has an electoral map advantage. And that has
to be making Romney very nervous. He also has to be thinking that his best
opportunity to pull these states into his column is in the industrial -- in
the industrial Midwest, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, the states that he`s
going to, where, frankly, white, blue-collar voters have always been
lukewarm at best on the president.
So I think that`s where he sees his opportunity. The flip side of
that, in the purple poll we talked about some last week, that highlights
the fact that Mitt Romney`s time at Bain is a significant vulnerability,
particularly in Ohio and Pennsylvania. People are very mistrustful of his
time there and see him as having hurt the economy and hurt workers through
his work at Bain.
So that is a vulnerability that he`s going to have to deal with as
O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, the one state there where Mitt Romney
seems to be running best is Michigan, where he`s in a tie with President
Obama. That`s also the only state that has an unemployment rate higher
than the national average, at just 1/10 of a percentage point higher than
the national average, and the Obama campaign seems to recognize the
possibility of problems in Michigan. That`s why they`re going there too.
STEVE KORNACKI, SALON: Yes. And they`re going to be very careful.
But Michigan`s one of those states, if you look at that list, you know,
Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, those really are sort of reach
states for Mitt Romney. I think when you get to the end of the day,
whatever these polls say right now, when you get to November, if we`re
looking at Mitt Romney winning or being very close to winning any of those
three states, I think it also indicates the national race is going to be
probably pretty clearly going in his favor.
I mean, I`m a little skeptical when we start talking about the
individual swing states at this point in the campaign, because there`s some
political science research on this that actually found, well, we can talk
about the unemployment rate`s a lot lower in this state, a lot higher in
this state, so the incumbent should have the advantage in the state where
Actually, the effect on presidential approval ratings of state level
unemployment data is about one fifth of the effect that national data has.
So, basically, even if these states where the unemployment is very low,
like Iowa, where you showed that poll that has the race dead even right
now, you know, Iowa has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the
country, and yet Mitt Romney`s doing very well there. John McCain lost it
by 10 points to Obama in 2008. Romney erased that lead, even though it has
one of the healthiest economies in the country.
So, again, I think there`s no escaping at the end of the day the
national economy`s going to be what drives all of these states.
O`DONNELL: Krystal, when Romney turns on the TV in the bus in
Pennsylvania and Ohio, he`s going to be greeted by an ad that the super PAC
supporting President Obama is running there. Let`s take a look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONNIE BEX: Romney and Bain Capital shut this place down. They shut
down entire livelihoods. They promised us a health care package. They
promised us to maintain our retirement program. And those were the first
two things to disappear.
This was a booming place. And Mitt Romney and Bain Capital have
turned it into a junkyard. Just making money and leaving.
They don`t live in this neighborhood. They don`t live in this part of
NARRATOR: Priorities USA Action is responsible for the content of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Krystal, is there anything Mitt Romney can say when he
gets out of the bus in Pennsylvania, where he`s already trailing badly, to
try to counteract that ad running in Pennsylvania?
BALL: Well, there is something that he could say, but I don`t think
he`s going to say it. If he had a policy that would actually help the
middle class rather than supporting the Ryan budget, rather than supporting
undercutting Social Security and Medicare, financing more tax cuts for the
wealthy, if he was willing move away from that message, it might have an
appeal. Something tells me that he`s not going to be able to do that.
But I also look at that ad and I think it highlights the Obama
campaign`s state-by-state regional approach. That`s a message that`s going
to work very well in Ohio and Pennsylvania. And I actually lived on the
border for a while of Ohio and Pennsylvania, in a town that looked very
much like the town that they highlighted in that ad.
People there know this story already. And this serves as a reminder
to them of the career path that Mitt Romney chose and the fact that he did
cause a lot of devastation to companies and to employment in certain places
across the country.
O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, if a pundit could live in one place in
America, it would be on the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Krystal`s
cheating, having done that. You`re supposed to stay in New York in the
studio and --
BALL: Well, I`m a native Virginian, too, so I`ve got it all covered.
KORNACKI: As a Massachusetts native who now lives in New York City,
let me give you my perspective on what --
O`DONNELL: That`s what I want to hear from, someone who knows what
the people are thinking. Go ahead, Steve.
KORNACKI: No, I actually -- you know, I think what`s interesting here
is the basic message that Romney is bringing to these states really, as
Krystal says, it really isn`t a message in sort of the traditional sense of
the campaign, where he`s not looking at them and saying, hey, you`re
suffering right now, and here`s the 20-point plan that I`ve laid out that`s
going to fix this. It`s really not the calculation this campaign has made
in this election.
The calculation is basically here`s your pain, here`s your suffering.
I am now going to try to give you, throw a bunch of rationalizations out
there to get you to blame this on Obama and vote against him. So, look
only at how the economy`s doing right now, not look at what he inherited,
not to look at Republican obstruction, not look at anything I`m saying or
my party`s doing in Congress, just look at where the economy is, to feel
all the anxiety that that`s going to build with and to just take it out on
And if the message is incoherent or self-contradictory, they`re
willing to take that chance, because they feel at the end of the day, you
know, no matter what else they say, their calculation is, this will be a
referendum on Obama.
O`DONNELL: I have been registered to vote in exactly three states,
Massachusetts, New York, and California, in that order. Not one of them
has ever been a swing state. I don`t think I`ve ever met a swing voter.
So, Krystal Ball, you`re our authority from now on on this one.
O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball and Steve Kornacki -- thank you both very
much for joining me.
BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, it`s Bush versus Grover Norquist. Norquist
attacked Jeb Bush for suggesting that Ronald Reagan wouldn`t be welcome in
today`s Republican Party.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, the crazy pastor in Florida who wanted
to burn the Koran has now hung President Obama in effigy. But another
southern pastor defends President Obama`s position on marriage equality.
And later, you already know how to get to Carnegie Hall, right?
Practice, practice, practice. Tonight, right here in our Los Angeles
studio, we have the man who can tell you how to win an Oscar. And we`ll
learn why the people who could never have won their Oscars without their
help have never, ever thanked them in their acceptance speeches. That`s
O`DONNELL: One of the Bush boys is now in a fight with the owner of
the Republican Party, Grover Norquist. We`ll find out whose side Ronald
Reagan would be on. That`s coming up.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, good pastor, bad pastor. The good
pastor tries to make his congregation see the light about the president`s
position on marriage equality. The bad pastor hangs President Obama in
effigy. Lynches him up and claims there was absolutely nothing racist
about it. That`s in tonight`s "Rewrite."
And tonight, we have two men who have helped more people win Oscars
than anyone else, but they have never been thanked in Oscar acceptance
speech. They`ll be in the studio. Coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE ROSE: You, in testimony before Congress, said that you are
OK, as you well know, with $10 of spending cuts for $1 of tax revenue.
ROSE: But that`s a different position than every Republican candidate
in the primary.
BUSH: I know. I know. Because we have unsustainable deficits --
ROSE: But I haven`t heard Governor Romney say, I take that position
back, that I`d be prepared to raise taxes --
BUSH: No, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Jeb Bush, trying to talk a tiny bit of sanity
into Mitt Romney and the Republican Party on Thursday.
The former Florida governor continued his efforts today in an
interview with reporters in Manhattan. "Back to my dad`s time, and Ronald
Reagan`s time -- they got a lot of stuff done with a lot of bipartisan
support," he said. Reagan would be, quote, "criticized for doing the
things that he did."
That earned Jeb Bush this response today from anti-tax enforcer and
Reagan worshipper, Grover Norquist. "There`s a guy who watched his father
throw away his presidency on a two to one ratio of spending cuts and tax
increase promise, and he thinks he`s sophisticated by saying that he`d take
a 10 to one promise. He doesn`t understand, he`s just agreed to walk down
the same alley his dad did with the same gang and he thinks he`s smart.
You walk down that alley, you don`t come out."
Joining me now, MSNBC`s John Heilemann and Jonathan Capehart.
John Heilemann, you wonder if the younger generation of Republicans
like some of these current governors understand what Ronald Reagan actually
did as president, and the kind of compromises that he actually made with
JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Lawrence, some of them
clearly do. Governor Bush understands exactly --
O`DONNELL: Yes, he does.
HEILEMANN: He does. And I think there are a lot of Republican
governors around who think the same thing that Governor Bush just said,
they are just in some cases more politic about saying those things publicly
than he is.
But this is -- there`s a lot of amnesia about Ronald Reagan and the
kinds of deals that he made with Tip O`Neill. It`s true what Grover
Norquist said about George Herbert Walker Bush making a deal on the deficit
as you remember well with Democrats in 1990-1991.
But there is some question about whether or not that deal was the
thing that led to George Herbert Walker Bush`s undoing in 1992 or whether
it was the macro economy that hurt him. But this is apparently going to be
bad surrogate week for Mitt Romney, just as bad surrogate week for Barack
Obama were the last couple of weeks when he had to deal with Bill Clinton
and Cory Booker and Ed Rendell were heading off in different directions
with the surrogates gone wild.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Governor Walker said this weekend
invoking Ronald Reagan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: I just hope he takes a page out of President Reagan`s
playbook, where it was not only a referendum on the failed policies of
President Carter at the time. It was also something where President Reagan
laid out to clear plan. I don`t think we win if it`s just about a
referendum on Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Now, Jonathan Capehart, I don`t know Scott Walker, but I
look into his eyes on TV and I believe I`m seeing a Hannity Republican who
simply has no idea, no information whatsoever, has no idea that Ronald
Reagan raised taxes 11 times as president.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Probably not. Look,
Scott Walker is a governor whose time is now. And what I mean by that is
he`s a Republican governor in a party that as Jeb Bush -- they don`t like
compromise. Look at how Governor Walker started his governorship, just
plowing right ahead, just stripping collective bargaining rights. Today,
you hear him expressing some contrition, but he`s still plowing ahead.
But the one thing Scott Walker does say in that clip, the second half
of that clip, of his statement, of Governor Romney, where he said Governor
Romney can`t just talk about how bad President Obama is, he has to talk
about where he, Mitt Romney, wants to take the country. And on that, I
completely agree with Scott Walker.
O`DONNELL: Jeb Bush also said another reasonable thing. He watched
his father in the presidency struggle with a difficult economy and a
recession. And he has acknowledged that President Obama has a difficult
economy to struggle with.
He said, Jeb Bush said, "I don`t see how with we get out,
notwithstanding who`s president. We`ve got major head winds with Europe
and a slowdown for Asia as well."
John Heilemann, what does that kind of reasonable talk and
understanding of the real world do to Jeb Bush`s standing in the current
Republican Party? I mean, it sounds like he`s not the kind of guy they`re
going to want on the convention stage.
HEILEMANN: Yes, I think there`s a lot of things that he`s doing that
that kind of statement, Lawrence, and the other things that he said, in the
course of the interview today, the interview that he`s done over the last
couple of weeks, the thing about the deal he`d take a lot of spending cuts,
and he`d be willing to raise taxes to get that kind of a deal, to get the
deficit under control, he was critical of the party, and to some extent of
Mitt Romney on immigration this morning with his interview with the
reporters at "Bloomberg" -- he is not a guy who sounds to me, like a guy
who is trying to get a big place on the convention floor in August or in
September with the Republicans, certainly not someone who`s angling for a
I think if you`re thinking about the Floridian who`s going to get the
higher profile spot, that`s going to be someone who`s a much more
doctrinaire Republican as Jonathan Capehart said at the moment, someone
like Marco Rubio who toes the Tea Party line a lot more aggressively than
Jeb Bush ever would or could.
O`DONNELL: To my wonder, the Republican Party, who used to be the law
and order party, starting with Richard Nixon and forward, is now the fire
the police, lay off the police party.
Let`s listen to John Sununu defending the idea that, you know what, we
have too many cops in America. We have too many public schoolteachers in
America. Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: Let me respond as a
taxpayer, not as a representative of the Romney campaign. There are
municipalities, there are states where there is flight of population. And
as the population goes down, you need fewer teachers. There are places
where just pumping money in to add to the public payroll is not what the
taxpayers of this country want.
I think this is a real issue and people ought to stop jumping on it as
a gaffe, and understand there`s wisdom in the comment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, he didn`t have a prescription for the
places where the population is increasing and how many teachers or cops
that they need.
CAPEHART: Yes. This is one more statement from the land of Mitt-
believe, where suddenly we don`t need cops, we don`t need firefighters, we
don`t need teachers.
Can you imagine if a Democrat had said this or if President Obama had
said this today or even five years ago or 10 years ago, a Democrat making
that kind of statement? Why this particular gaffe hasn`t gotten more
attention is beyond me. It`s still, you know, suffering in the shadow of
what President Obama said on Friday. But the idea that we don`t need more
-- we don`t need cops, teachers, and firefighters is just astounding to me
to me come from a Republican.
O`DONNELL: The law and order party becomes the fire the cops party in
the 21st century. I didn`t see that one coming.
John Heilemann and Jonathan Capehart -- thank you both for joining me
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Wal-Mart, yes, Wal-Mart has commissioned a poll
of women in swing states that has produced surprisingly positive results
for President Obama. That`s next.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, a southern pastor lynches President
Obama in effigy. You have to see this. And he claims the presidential
race has nothing to do with the image he selected of lynching the
president. He has a lot to explain now to the Secret Service who have been
And later, the two most sought-after people in Hollywood are the two
people you have never heard of. They`re going to join me here in our Los
Angeles studio. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: You remember the crazy Southern pastor who wanted to burn
the Koran? Well, he`s back. And now, he has decided to lynch President
Obama in effigy and the Secret Service wants to talk to him about that.
That`s in tonight`s "Rewrite."
And later, two of the most important people in Hollywood who you have
never heard of will join me here in our Los Angeles studio, the biggest
movie stars in the world beg to see them every day, some of them get in,
some of them don`t, and these guys are talked about in hushed tones on film
sets around the world. They`re both here tonight. They`re going to join
me in the studio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heat turned off and they were threatening to
take my car. I was scared. I mean, it affects every aspect of your life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ads like that one attacking Mitt Romney`s Bain Capital
record seem to be working on a group of swing voters in a poll commissioned
by Wal-Mart. It`s a poll only of women who voted for President Obama in
2008, but then switched and voted Republican in 2010. A team of bipartisan
pollsters conducted focus groups with these swing voters in two key swing
states, Virginia and Nevada.
While most of the women said they are not better off today than they
were four years ago, the good news for Team Obama is that the women said
they don`t want a change in leadership. One Las Vegas mother told the
pollsters, "it`s only been three years and you can`t grow a flower in one
week. It takes time."
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is still largely unknown to these
undecided voters. But some are concerned about his record at Bain. One
Virginia woman said, "the whole Romney thing where all these people, the
factories that have been shut down, where they`ve worked for over 30 years,
and then they are left with nothing, that concerns me."
Joining me now, one of the pollsters who conducted the focus groups,
Margie Omero, president of Momentum Analysis, and Alicia Menendez, a host
of "Huff Post Live."
Margie Omero, why did Wal-Mart conduct focus groups with these women?
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: This has been an ongoing
bipartisan project that my firm, Momentum Analysis, along with Alex Braddie
(ph) from the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, we`ve been talking
to these moms over the course of a couple of years, through surveys and
focus groups. And really, as far as Wal-Mart`s involvement, it`s really to
see what these moms think.
And we`ve, I think, really injected the views and positions and needs
of these moms into the political dialogue. The focus groups that we did
last weekend in a couple different states we did -- were swing moms. Some
of them were leaning Obama, some of them were leaning Romney. Some of them
voted for McCain last time, some of them are pure undecided this time.
They really were all over the swing voter map. And then we did a
group of Latino moms in Las Vegas, who were also a mix as well. And it was
a fascinating look at how they really grapple with the decision that
they`re going to have in November.
O`DONNELL: But Margie, just so I understand Wal-Mart`s position on
this, is most of your research about trying -- about Wal-Mart trying to
serve these people better as customers, and the political stuff is just a
sidebar, in effect, in the focus groups?
OMERO: No, this isn`t about custom -- you know, their shopping
behavior or anything related to them as customers. This is really just
about their views as moms, and how they view the political dialogue, how
they`re viewing the election. We talked to them in 2010. They said that
they had voted for Obama in 2008. Then they leaned a little bit
Republican. They voted decidedly Republican in November of 2010.
They seemed more up for grabs. We did focus groups last year in a
survey then, and focus groups last week. So they are really -- it`s really
all about looking at their views politically. And their views as moms and
how being a mom affects how they view the political debate.
O`DONNELL: Alicia Menendez, there`s one woman I want to read to you
what she had to say about, she`s tired of the social issues. She said, "I
don`t want to hear about same-sex marriage and reproductive rights, only
because nothing`s going to get done. They`ve talked about it way too long.
They bring it in every presidential election to sway people and nothing
ever gets done. That`s how they try to get the women`s vote, one way or
This woman sounds like she wants to hear about the real issues that
will really affect her life.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, "HUFF POST LIVE": And I think that bore out in
Margie`s focus groups. Overall you saw the economy was a very important
issue for these voters. We also know from other polling that a lot of the
conversations that we have here that get us fired up, like these
conversations about access to contraceptives, they do fire up a small part
of the Democratic base: white college-educated women. That is a small part
of a larger group that Democrats will need to turn out in November.
This conversation about the economy expands to a much larger, much
O`DONNELL: And Alicia, these focus groups are great for showing you,
I think most interestingly, what voters don`t care about. You can pick
several of the topics that we talk about here in the course of the week,
and they won`t care about them at all. They`re focused on these other
OMERO: I think that`s absolutely right, though I do think there are
some points that do stand out additionally. You know, these focus groups
are one thing. You look at the additional polling about Latinas, for
example, Latina moms, education, a huge issue. And something that`s
interesting to me is that when Latina moms talk about the Dream Act, they
don`t think of that as an immigration issue; they think of that as an
education issue. They lump that into their conversations about who in
their community is going to be able to go to college, who`s going to be
able to graduate and contribute. And that`s different than the way in
which we talk about it.
O`DONNELL: Margie Omero and Alicia Menendez, thank you both very much
for joining me tonight.
MENENDEZ: Thank you.
OMERO: Thank you. >
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the men to see in Hollywood if you want to win
an Oscar. The trouble is, it is very, very hard to get in to see them.
They are turning down appointments with movie stars every day. But
tonight, you will meet them both right here with me in our Los Angeles
And in the Rewrite tonight, the crazy southern pastor who wanted to
burn the Koran has now lynched President Obama in effigy, and that has got
him an appointment with the Secret Service. That`s coming up in tonight`s
O`DONNELL: "The Secret Service is aware of this incident and will
conduct appropriate follow up." So said Secret Service Spokesman Brian
Leary about this incident. There you see President Obama hanging in
effigy, while Uncle Sam, who has presumably lynched the president, is
proudly standing nearby. And in the background, you, of course, see a sign
saying, "Obama is Killing America."
And the white cross that adorns the madhouse that Florida Pastor Terry
Jones runs, which he calls the Dove World Outreach Center. Terry Jones,
you`ll remember, is the attention-craving lunatic who was threatening to
burn the Koran publicly and then, at the last minute, decided not to after
a phone call from then Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
And then six months later, when no one cared, he actually did burn the
Koran to very little to almost no attention. As soon as the Secret Service
began investigating this potential threat to the president`s life, suddenly
this happened: Uncle Sam suddenly traded places with President Obama. And
Terry Jones explained that Secret Service pressure made him Rewrite his
symbolic message to coincide with the words -- the worded message on his
sign, "Obama is Killing America."
Jones said, "President Obama is killing our nation. We have hung
Uncle Sam to represent that."
While they were at it, they apparently hung a baby, to which I think
we can interpret that as to have something to do with abortion. And you`ll
notice a gay pride flag in President Obama`s hand.
This is all, of course, in protest of the president`s announcement
that he personally supports marriage equality. And after choosing to use
the imagery of lynching in the south to express his feelings about the
first African-American president of the United States, the very sick man
who did that, of course, denied that race ever crossed his mind.
Pastor Jones said, "we are not looking at him as a black man. He is
not black. He is not white. He is the president of the United States.
And the noose, of course, was to represent the death of his presidency and
political career, not at all to represent his race. His race has
absolutely nothing to do with it."
Pastor Frederick Haynes III of the Friendship West Baptist Church in
Dallas, Texas, did not use symbols to explain his reaction to what
President Obama said about marriage equality. Instead, he looked to
scripture for the answer and then led his congregation to a better
understanding of what the president actually did say about marriage
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SR. PASTOR FREDERICK HAYNES III, FRIENSHIP-WEST BAPTIST CHURCH: The
president remembered that when -- on January the 20th, he lifted this
nation by raising his hand, 2009, and took the oath of office. Don`t
forget that he was sworn to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution of
the United States, which was born out of a Declaration of Independence.
Do you know the words of the Declaration of Independence? "We hold
these truths to be self-evident, that all men, all people are created
I got to hang out there. Notice, it does not say that all straight
men are created equal. It does not say that all men, unless you are gay
and lesbian, are created equal. He swore upon oath to uphold, protect and
defend the Constitution, not the Bible, but the Constitution of the United
He is not the pastor of the United States. He`s the president of the
United States. And for the first time in the history of this nation, we
have a president who has dared to use his position to make the democratic
promise available, not just for a select few who are up and in, but for
everybody, regardless of their race, their creed, their color, or their
And my brothers and sisters, I salute the president for that now. I
recognize there are those who are upset about this. Have you ever read the
gospel and heard Jesus say anything about homosexuality? Why are you so
angry? Jesus never said a word about it.
You all are not feeling this, but I`m going to preach the gospel
anyhow, because you do understand, my brothers and sisters, that the sad
reality is we love to judge other folk`s sins, because it keeps it off of
us, as opposed to looking at us. Oh, yeah.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you something. Nowadays, everybody`s
got to go to shrinks and counselors, and go on Sally Jesse Rafael and talk
about their problems. What ever happened to Gary Cooper, the strong,
silent type? That was an American.
He wasn`t in touch with his feelings. He just did what he had to do.
See, what they didn`t know is once the got Gary Cooper in touch with his
feelings, that they wouldn`t be able to shut him up. And then it`s
dysfunction this and dysfunction that and dysfunction mafangol (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have strong feelings about this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me tell you something, I have a semester and a
half of college. So I understand Freud. I understand therapy as a
concept. But in my world, it does not go down.
Could I be happier? Yes, yes. Who couldn`t?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now here in our Los Angeles studio, two guys
who have more than a semester and a half of college and could not be
happier, Phil Stutz and Barry Michels. They are the go-to guys in
Hollywood if you want to win an Oscar or maybe a Golden Globe or an Emmy,
or even just get a party in a movie. They are not agents. They are not
producers. They are not studio heads.
But all of those people look to them for guidance every day, because
they are the most sought-after shrinks in Hollywood. And they have a new
book out explaining how they do what they do, "The Tools: Transform Your
Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity."
This is a coup in Hollywood, to have the two of you guys in one place.
You know, I see people gush over celebrities. But it`s hard for me to
convey to the audience, in Hollywood, you guys are the mythical celebrities
of this world. I`ve heard you both discussed in great detail on film sets.
And Phil, the thing you hear the most, the first five, 10 minutes of any
actor saying here`s what it`s like with Phil Stutz, is they`re constantly
explaining how you`re so different from any other shrink.
PHIL STUTZ, CO-AUTHOR, "THE TOOLS": Mm-hmm. Well, I think one
difference that strikes them right away is, we don`t go into the past as
our go-to default position. We deal with the past, but the focus is on
O`DONNELL: You don`t spend all day on the mother.
O`DONNELL: See, Tony would like that. Tony Soprano would like that.
STUTZ: Would like not spending --
O`DONNELL: Yes, he said enough talking about the mother. He wants to
know what to do next, right?
STUTZ: Yes. I`ll tell you, in that particular clip, what got me was
her reaction to him. Because what that reaction said was, just be patient.
Don`t bother me.
STUTZ: Be calm. And at some later date, you`ll be healed.
O`DONNELL: And a neutral response, with no prescriptive information
at all. And Tony was always going in there with problems and what do I do
next, and I`ve got these heavy decisions. You have guys, moguls, actors,
other people coming in every day with big, tough decisions to make, right?
BARRY MICHELS, CO-AUTHOR, "THE TOOLS": This was one of the most
exciting things when I met Phil as a beginning therapist --
O`DONNELL: Phil`s your guru, right?
O`DONNELL: He`s the guy who led the way on "The Tools," the things
that you`ve now --
MICHELS: He really taught me how to do therapy. I came out of school
very frustrated with my education. I loved being a therapist, but I came
to the conclusion that we had been taught to analyze problem, but not to
solve them. So therapy went on interminably, without any change.
O`DONNELL: Someone comes in with a broken leg and you talk about it.
O`DONNELL: "The New Yorker" did a profile of you guys recently. The
first paragraph begins with a writer who has writer`s block for a year and
a half. By the end of the first paragraph, the line is, "and then he won
an Oscar," after talking to you and getting him the tools to get him
moving. That story happens a lot in Hollywood.
But I watch the Oscars. I have never heard -- have I missed this? I
have never heard one of your many clients, who`s walked away with one of
those statues, say thank you to Phil Stutz. They mention the agent. They
mention the producer, director, everybody. I have not heard Barry Michels.
Did that writer thank you for that Oscar in that speech?
O`DONNELL: Has it ever happened to either one of you, ever been in a
thank you speech?
O`DONNELL: You might want to complain about that the next time.
MICHELS: No, not at all. We understand people don`t want to reveal
that they`re in therapy.
O`DONNELL: But some people do. I saw John Cusack is a patient of
yours. He appeared on a TV spot with you, actually did a little bit of a
session on the phone. So a lot of people in show business, privately, off
mic, they`ll talk about it very openly with someone they just met at a
cocktail party. You guys are big subjects at cocktail parties among people
who have just met.
STUTZ: Well, we should be looking for some residuals.
O`DONNELL: Exactly. Phil, I went to a seminar that you did many
years ago for actors. And it was focused on the audition process and the
horrors and the frustrations and the agonies of the audition process. I`m
sitting there as a writer, learning more about actors. And I`m also
realizing, when you`re doing this, that life is full of auditions, that
we`re going through auditions all the time, with the same kind of agonies.
Even little moments, sometimes with our children are, in effect, an
audition. I want to sell myself to her as her adviser or something. What
about political candidates? It seems to me that presidential candidates
are auditioning -- they spend two years auditioning for this thing. And it
seems to me that a lot of them are getting wrong -- they`re getting things
wrong in the audition process.
STUTZ: Yeah, I think they try to be a little bit too calculating.
The problem, you know, we`ve learned is from actors, but it`s very similar
with politicians, which is you have to make a connection to a person or to
a group of people. You`ve got to make it fast. You`ve got to make it
And they have to feel there`s something human in that connection, that
it`s not completely fully contrived. And that`s independent of the
O`DONNELL: And the trouble with the calculating thing is the camera
will always find you calculating. You cannot hide calculating from the
camera, actor, politician, anybody. I want to look at one more Tony
Soprano scene, because I want to get your view of this particular shrink
session with Tony. Let`s look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Believe me, in your childhood, she`s inflicted
serious psychic injuries that are still there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Poor me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And your father, the gangster, tough guy. But
did he protect your kids from this borderline mother? What the hell was
going on there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is this? Hmm? Little snacks of thought for
me to take home?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Is that what most shrinks are delivering, little snacks
for thought for you to take home?
MICHELS: She actually talks more than the average --
O`DONNELL: She does. Well, she has to. They have to have the
dialogue there. But Phil, I once heard a big, big movie star on a set say
that you had, in effect, said one day, in a session, I don`t care that much
about feelings, or I don`t concentrate that much on feelings, something
like that. It shocked everyone there who had been to regular shrinks, who
spend their time on nothing else.
STUTZ: Well, it may have been lost in the translation a little bit,
hopefully. But what I don`t -- if somebody comes in with a problem, and
most of these problems are emergent -- it could be a problem on set,
somebody he can`t get along, he can`t stand the director. Director`s
giving him line readings, he`s about to blow up the whole process and get
himself in a lot of trouble. What we need is a view of how best to conduct
himself and the tools to allow him to do that. And sometimes it takes a
tremendous amount of self-restraint.
Sometimes it`s a matter of not acting on certain feelings. And every
situation is different. But when I say -- when I say I`m indifferent to
feelings, what I mean is I`m indifferent to feelings that have been
repeated over and over and over again, sometimes in therapy for six or
eight years, and is an indulgence to the feelings.
So we need something -- in a way, we need something stronger than
MICHELS: It`s really the repetition, the pattern of feeling certain
things over and over again that`s more important than the quality of the
O`DONNELL: Are actors your best patients, because you ask your
patients to go into their own heads in ways that other shrinks never do.
And actors are doing that all day, with their parts.
STUTZ: I would say they`re the best patients.
MICHELS: Actors are great patients.
O`DONNELL: Everyone in show business thinks they`re just outright
crazy 24 hours a day, and they kind of don`t want to deal with them in any
way except hiring them and making them say the words. But you guys
actually find them to be much more than that.
STUTZ: You have to like them I think to work with them. But they
have a lot of courage. And once they understand something, sometimes even
if they don`t understand it, they will do it. They`ll put their ass out
there and risk it, and do it over and over and over again.
O`DONNELL: Can you guys stay and we can add more to this online. And
online, I`m going to ask you for the names of all your most famous
Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, the authors of "The Tools," thank you
both very much for joining me tonight.
You guys Tweeted a lot of great names for the new Romney campaign bus.
We`ll read some of those suggestions tomorrow night. "THE ED SHOW" is up
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