'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Guests: Alicia Menendez, Ed Markey; Anan Marie Cox
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Mitt Romney has gone as far as he can as a
Republican, so today he decided to run as a new Democrat, a Clinton
Democrat, which means he now has to lie about Bill Clinton.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No matter who you are,
no matter that you look like, no matter where you come from, America is a
place where you can make it if you try.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This old-style liberalism
has got to end and we will end it in November.
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: A blockbuster summer on the presidential
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama and Mitt Romney hit two
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama is in Iowa right now.
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Fourth visit to Iowa just this year.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Where he is expected to hammer home the
issue of tax fairness.
OBAMA: Our goal is to put people back to work, but it`s also to build
an economy where that work pays off.
WAGNER: Governor Romney is suggesting this amounts to class warfare.
ROMNEY: The sort of thing only an extreme liberal could come up.
DAVID PLOUFFE, OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR: Mitt Romney wants to continue
tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
OBAMA: Pioneers in the business of outsourcing.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: Pioneer in outsourcing.
ROMNEY: If there`s an outsourcing in chief, it`s the president of the
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Not the commander in chief, but the
outsourcer in chief.
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: Barack Obama being the outsourcing in
BASHIR: Saying it doesn`t make it true.
JANSING: They`re taking the Democrats` outsourcing argument against
Mitt Romney and essentially turning it around.
JOHN SUNUNU, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Mitt Romney outsourced zero, Obama
MITCHELL: That is not what Glenn Gensler, what "The Washington Post"
or the joint committee on taxation said.
WAGNER: Where is the response from the left?
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a bad habit of
saying exactly what I believe and I`m going to say it today.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: Vice President Biden --
BIDEN: It`s their economic philosophy, a policy that would be
SMERCONISH: Romney is for the rich, Obama defends the middle class.
BIDEN: If you all sit on your hands this race, the consequences will
not just be immediate, they will be long-term.
O`DONNELL: With vivid images of what it`s like to grow up Romney
fresh in the American mind, President Obama today in Iowa reminisced about
what it was like growing up Obama style.
There were no gaudy, overpowered speed boats for the family to buzz
around in, there were no jet skis, no mansions on a lake, no deciding how
big the new car elevator had to be in the new beach house. The water
sports were limited to what you could get away with in a Howard Johnson
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Once in a while, we`d rent a car, but a bunch of times we`d
just take Greyhound buses. And sometimes we`d take the train, and stay at
And, you know, as long as there was a little puddle of a pool, I`d be
happy. And you`d go to the ice machine and the vending machine and buy a
soda and get the ice, and you were really excited about it. And what was
important was just the time that you had to spend with your family. It
wasn`t anything fancy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: While the president was fondly reminiscing about his
nothing-fancy summer vacations, Mitt Romney found himself forced to talk
about something no other presidential candidate has ever had to talk about
-- where his money lives.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
ROMNEY: With regards to any foreign investments, I understand, and
you understand, of course, that my investments have been held by a blind
trust, have been managed by a trustee. I don`t manage them. I don`t even
know where they are.
That trustee follows all U.S. laws. All the taxes are paid, as
appropriate. All of them have been reported to the government.
There`s nothing hidden there. There`s nothing -- if, for instance,
you owned shares in let`s say Renault or in Fiat, you still had to pay
taxes, you still have to disclose that in the United States.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president campaigned in Iowa today, which he won in
2008 by 10 points, but is now running tied with Mitt Romney in the polls.
Mitt Romney campaigned in Colorado, which President Obama won in 2008 by
eight points and where President Obama now has a lead over Mitt Romney in
the polls, 49 to 42 percent.
And with just 119 days until the election, a new "Washington Post"
national poll finds the two candidates tied at 47. And a new "Reuters"
poll has the president leading Mitt Romney by six points, 49 to 43.
It seems the Romney campaign has decided he cannot win, running as a
Republican, so he is now trying to appeal to independent voters by running
as a new Democrat, a Bill Clinton Democrat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Bill Clinton called himself a new Democrat. He put that
behind him. He believed in smaller government, reformed welfare as we knew
it, and tried to get the economy going with trade and other provisions,
lowered taxes. Look, new Democrats have done some good things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And with that statement, Mitt Romney has left us with a
choice. He is either a liar or what George Will would call a bloviating
ignoramus. He actually said that Bill Clinton lowered taxes. That`s it.
That`s his statement about Bill Clinton and taxes.
Bill Clinton not only raised taxes, he signed the biggest tax increase
in history. He didn`t just raise taxes on the rich, he signed the biggest
tax increase -- he raised gasoline taxes, he raised taxes on Social
It`s not what Clinton wanted to do, raising taxes. In fact, he had
campaigned for president on a middle class tax cut, a proposal he abandoned
when he was faced with the awesome responsibility of governing.
Bill Clinton did the right thing. He abandoned his campaign pandering
on tax cuts, reversed his position, and raised taxes and cut spending,
including Medicare spending, in order to get control of the deficit. And
he did it without a single Republican vote.
And he was attacked as a tax raiser by Republicans -- a tax raiser,
who was going to ruin the economy.
In fact, the economy during Bill Clinton`s presidency soared and Mitt
Romney`s right about one thing. New Democrats, as he put it, have done
some good things. Bill Clinton did some good things. And raising taxes
was one of them.
Joining me now, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE," Krystal Ball, and
Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC contributor.
Krystal, the Clinton thing for me is fascinating with Romney. He`s --
it seems to me that he thinks he`s taken the Republican thing as far as he
can go. In order to get these swing voters, in order to appeal to people
in Colorado, independents, he wants to now run as Bill Clinton.
KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": It`s an awkward fit, especially -
O`DONNELL: It`s an awkward fit.
BALL: The best comparison to him with recent Democratic candidates is
probably John Kerry, just in terms of being the sort of out of touch
wealthy guy, who`s running against an incumbent president, rather than
actually portraying himself, and putting himself --
O`DONNELL: John Kerry, let`s get one fact straight. John Kerry did
not grow up anything like Mitt Romney.
O`DONNELL: He came in a family that had some wealth in the past, but
no big -- he wasn`t a rich guy by inheritance.
BALL: But in terms of the public caricaturing.
But I think for Romney, he has this problem where he`s gone so far to
the right, in the Republican primary, and he`s still having his feet held
to the fire by his base, he can`t actually change where his policy
So instead, he just has to invoke Bill Clinton, so that hopefully
people will get some sort of warm, fuzzy, centrist feeling from him, even
though his policies are very far away.
O`DONNELL: Richard, I want you to use your X-ray vision. You`ve been
out there on the campaign trail many times, and you`ve studied candidates.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: And when you`re studying candidates, there comes a
momentum when you stare at them and say, is he lying or does he not know
what he`s talking about?
WOLFFE: Or both!
O`DONNELL: You`re a professional. You`ve stared at this.
O`DONNELL: Was that man lying about Bill Clinton raising taxes? I
think it`s conceivable he actually has no idea, since his taxes has never
gone up, he`s all been paying, you know, 12 percent, 13 percent, so his
taxes didn`t go up.
WOLFFE: In a good year, or a bad year.
WOLFFE: You know, I almost thought he was going to bust out the
phrase, "I`m severely progressive."
I`ll tell you what I heard when I heard him say that. He`s a "me,
too" candidate. There was a time in 2008 in his first struggling
presidential campaign where he got signs printed up that said the slogan of
the other guy who was campaign was going better on the other side, which
was a guy called Barack Obama, he had signs printed up saying "change,"
because change was working President Obama, so he just lifted it.
And I think this is a pattern with him. If it`s working for the other
side, I`ve got to do it too. You know, if Ted Kennedy, if it weren`t for
him being a progressive in Massachusetts, I`ve got to do that too! He is a
"me, too" candidate.
Bill Clinton was a success, I`ve got to be like Bill Clinton. And
this is a man without a rudder. He`s got no compass.
So whether or not he knows the fact, whether or not he has an
ideological side to him is irrelevant, because he can be pushed any which
way you like, and that`s what conservatives, if you read between the lines,
and sometimes they`re saying it explicitly, that`s what they like about
him. They can push him any which way, if he thinks it`s successful.
So, all you`ve got to do is tell him it`s the winning way and, you
know, he`ll print up your slogan.
O`DONNELL: OK. Just for a comparison, I want to look at some video
where we know he`s actually telling the truth. And this is in 1994 --
BALL: We had to go back to `94 to get a piece --
O`DONELL: Well, I wanted to find a piece -- OK, here`s an example
where we know he`s telling the truth. And we can compare the way that guy
talks about and the one pretending to be for Bill Clinton.
In 1994, he`s talking about blind trusts. He`s telling the truth.
Let`s look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: A blind trust is an age-old ruse, which is to say, you can
always tell the blind trust what it can and cannot do. You give a blind
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Spoken like an honest businessman. That is absolutely
true. Every one of these blind trusts in politics is completely bogus.
O`DONNELL: He knows what his money is up to.
BALL: And his blind trust --
O`DONNELL: Now he`s a pretending, it`s a blind trust, I don`t know
what`s going on.
BALL: Right. Exactly, and his blind trust happened to invest in his
son`s company. It happened to be a really great investment for them, so
they went for it. I`m sure he had no idea that was happening.
WOLFFE: He`s also super careful about the language he uses around the
taxes. He says, and I`m sure as a tax expert, you pick this up. I have
paid all the taxes that I owe --
BALL: Legally required.
It`s all present tense, and there`s a future tax liability these
things are supposed to shelter. He doesn`t talk about that. There are tax
benefits that accrue to him that are not yet owed, but that`s outside of
his language. He can be very precise with language when he knows what he`s
talking about, and sure enough, tax havens, blind trusts, he knows what
he`s talking about.
BALL: And I don`t think anyone`s questioning whether he`s technically
by the letter of the law paying what he`s required to --
O`DONNELL: I am! I am. I`m questioning that.
And we have no idea, because this guy has tax returns that are
hundreds and hundreds of pages long and we`ve never seen them. And the IRS
does not have the resources to comb through every tax return that involves
hundreds of millions of dollars, nor does it have the creative analysis to
figure out exactly whether this guy is complying. This kind of tax return
can get away with very high crimes.
BALL: That`s true. That`s true.
But even putting that aside, there`s a moral issue of a man who`s
running for president having Swiss bank accounts, having money that`s
offshore, that even if you believe that he complied with the letter of the
law, that moral issue is still outstanding.
O`DONNELL: And it`s a breathtakingly stupid thing for someone --
BALL: He`s running for office for Pete`s sake.
O`DONNELL: -- who`s been in politics since 1994, not to have
realized, I wonder how the Swiss bank account`s going to sound --
WOLFFE: Remember, this is after we watched Tim Geithner almost get
completely destroyed as treasury secretary for, what, now, compared to
this, looks like a tiny tax issue. You know, if Tim Geithner had come up
with Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island investments, do you think he
would have even got into the Senate hearing in the first place? The answer
is clearly no.
If you cannot get nominated and confirmed as treasury secretary with
this kind of tax return, should you get elected president with those kind
of tax returns?
O`DONNELL: That is the funny thing. The standards for getting
elected president are much lower than for being a member of the cabinet.
There is no senate confirmation for president or vice president. That`s
one of the perks of those particular jobs.
Krystal Ball and Richard Wolffe, thank you both very much for joining
BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.
Today on FOX News, Ronald Reagan`s campaign manager actually said that
the Republicans -- the Republican Party`s problem today is that the party
is, these are his three words -- old, white, and fat.
We`ll talk about how old and white Republicans are in the next
segment. And we`ll talk about Chris Christie later in the show.
Also coming up, a day of rage tomorrow in the House of
Representatives, rage at the Supreme Court`s ruling that most of Obamacare
is constitutional. That rage will be expressed the only way House
Republicans know how, yet another meaningless vote on repealing the
Affordable Care Act.
And later, the most important surveillance tool ever invented, the
stories our cell phones are telling about us and why you have no idea who`s
been checking on what you`ve been doing with your phone and where you`ve
been doing it. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Joe Biden delivered the political line of the day today in
Nevada. That`s coming up next.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, Chris Christie shows why he can`t
possibly be selected as Mitt Romney`s running mate because he has something
in common with Bill Maher, and it`s not just that they`re both from New
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people, when they critique the Republican
Party, they say it`s just a bunch of old white guys.
ED ROLLINS: It is a bunch of old white guys, and unfortunately a lot
of them are fat like me, like Haley Barbour, like my former deputy and
others. We need to basically broaden the base. We need to have more
women. We need to have more Latinos. We need to have more African-
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Ed Rollins, Ronald Reagan`s national campaign
director in the 1984, when Reagan won 49 of 50 states.
Ed Rollins` boss at FOX News, Roger Ailes, who personifies Ronald`s
description of the party, also worked on Reagan`s 1984 re-election
campaign. Democrats have tripled their margin of victory among nonwhite
votes from 1992 to 2008.
In 1992, Democrats beat Republicans by more than 7 million votes and
by more than 21 million in 2008. That has given Democrats a popular vote
victory in all but one presidential election since 1992.
The Center for American Progress estimates that the percentage of
minority voters in 2012 will increase by 3 percent and the share of white
working class voters will decrease by 3 percent, compared to 2008.
Today, in Nevada, Joe Biden spoke to a Hispanic audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: You, the Hispanic community, Latino community, is the fastest-
growing population in America. You now make up 16 percent of the
population of the United States of America.
But, give yourself an applause, because your time is about to come.
There are voices among us who fear your inclusion, but that`s not new in
American history. There`s always been a fight between the voices of
inclusion and the voices of exclusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Joy Reid, managing editor of TheGrio.com
and Alicia Menendez of "HuffPost Live".
So, Joe Biden in that speech had the political line of the day in
Nevada. Let`s listen to that first.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: When his father was a candidate for president in 1968, his
father released 12 years of tax returns because he said, and I quote, "One
year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show," end of quote. That was his
His son has released only one year of his tax returns. Making a lie
of the old adage: like father, like son.
He wants you to show your papers, but he won`t show us his. It`s kind
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I did not see that coming, Alicia.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, HUFFPOST LIVE: Oh, you can tell how excited vice
president was --
O`DONNELL: He knew it was coming.
MENENDEZ: He knew that line -- that`s the type of line you walk
around the office trying out on everybody, because it`s that good. But I
don`t want it to overshadow some other really good points from that speech
-- the language of inclusion, which really is what immigration is about, a
proxy conversation for who belongs in this country and who doesn`t.
Democrats want to own that inclusion piece.
Also the piece that came right after it about the Supreme Court --
Biden reminding Hispanic voters very subtly that President Obama spent a
lot of his political capital appointing Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme
Court first Latina in a Supreme Court history, and he said to them, imagine
what a Romney court would look like. And I think that was a great way of
working that in.
O`DONNELL: In fact, let`s take a look at that piece where he says,
imagine what a Romney court would look like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Imagine what the Supreme Court will look like after four years
of a Romney presidency. Literally, just imagine. Imagine the court with
two more Scalias or two more Roberts on the court. Imagine, imagine what
it will be like. Imagine what it will mean for civil rights, voting
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He never has to say it, explicitly, joy, but we know
exactly what kind of picture of that court he`s asking us to imagine.
JOY REID, THE GRIO: Yes, absolutely. And I think what`s really smart
about what Vice President Biden was doing is that a lot of people like to
think of Latino voters and African-American voters as just voting for
identity politics. But it`s really about policy.
If you go back and look at the Democratic Party in the 1930s, when FDR
first ran for president, he got a third of the black vote, right? By the
time we get past the 1960s and the Civil Rights Act `64, Republicans
couldn`t get more than 15 percent of the vote after that.
But if the Republican Party really wants to stare into the abyss, they
should realize that as late as 1960, right, when Nixon was attempting to
beat John F. Kennedy, he got a third of the black vote.
The Republican Party is now, with Hispanics, on the cusp of where the
Democratic Party used to be with blacks. The black split,
Democrat/Republican, was exactly what the Hispanic split is now. You could
go 20, 30 years from now and see the Hispanic vote just like the African-
American vote, absolutely ungettable for Republicans, if they continue on
O`DONNELL: Richard Nixon got a third --
REID: A third.
O`DONNELL: A third of the African American vote.
REID: A third of the African-American vote.
Alicia, Ed Rollins on FOX News, I don`t know, maybe he`s trying to get
some days off from FOX News, but saying the kinds of things that they don`t
want to hear, but that was kind of an amazing statement that it`s not clear
to me what the Republicans might try to do about that -- about this aging
demographic that they have, this narrow ethnic demographic that they have.
MENENDEZ: There are whistle-blowers in the party who are trying to
make it clear to everyone that the shift is in progress, that they are
largely out of step with this demo.
But it seems to be a problem in leadership, that the leadership
doesn`t truly get it.
O`DONNELL: I notice that it`s the campaign types like Rollins, like
MENENDEZ: You mean the people who want to win?
O`DONNELL: The people who run presidential campaigns to try to win
them are the ones who have been saying, you`ve got to worry about this.
MENENDEZ: Right, because they are the ones who are looking at those
margins. There`s a disconnect when you look at the legislative agenda in
the House and in the Senate, where those people are not thinking about
winning nationwide, they`re thinking about winning in their districts. And
districts have a much greater differential, where you either largely have a
district where you know that these demos are playing a major role or you
have a district where you can largely dismiss them.
And so by everyone doing it piece by piece, district by district,
they`re missing the national picture.
O`DONNELL: And, Joy, the latest phenomenon in the party, the Tea
Party movement, makes this problem all the worse for the Republicans. They
would have to buck the Tea Party to go in a direction that could possibly
appeal to more people.
REID: Right, and the thing is, in the short-term, it makes sense for
Romney and the Republicans to just maximize the white vote the most they
can for this upcoming election. The problem for them is long-term. I
mean, in the next couple of months, they`re not going to be able to shift
enough policies to attract more black and brown votes, they understand
But your point is exactly right. In the long-term, this is Armageddon
for the Republican Party, as the country, the younger cohort is much more
diverse. By the time my 12-year-old is able to vote in a presidential
election, we`re looking at very close to almost half of that electorate
being minority. What are Republicans going to do long-term, if this young
generation of people grow up thinking that they are extremists?
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Alicia Menendez, thank you both for joining
Coming up in tonight`s "Rewrite," we have a new recruit in the war
against the war on drugs. And he`s a Republican and Ann Coulter has a big
crush on him. OK, you can send me your guesses now on Twitter.
And later, the most powerful surveillance tool in history is probably
somewhere within your reach, right at this moment. Police are getting huge
amounts of information about us from cell phone companies and we have no
idea what they`re doing with it. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Republicans are going to try again, once again, to repeal
the affordable care act tomorrow.
Now, I thought this was maybe the third or fourth time they`ve tried
it, but the crack research staff here at "the Last Word" tells me, it is
actually, tomorrow will be, the 31st time they will vote to repeal it in
the House of Representatives. That`s going to be coming up.
And you`re paying someone right now to spy on you, every minute of
every day, and police are taking advantage of that in every way they can.
What you don`t know about the spy in your hand.
A "Last Word" exclusive is coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I promised the
American people on opening day of this Congress that this would never be
about us. Our Congress would be about listening to the American people and
following their will. The American people do not want to go down the path
of Obama care. That`s why we`ve voted over 30 times to repeal it, to
defund it, replace it, and we are resolved to have this law go away and
we`re going to do everything we can to stop it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, with house Republicans tomorrow
scheduled to vote to repeal the affordable care act for the 31st time, the
Democrats are trying to help clarify exactly what this vote is about.
REP. RICHARD NEAL (D), MASSACHUSETTS: To hope this debate ensues,
what we can perhaps call this for the next hour, instead of Obama care, why
don`t we call it Romney care. This is based upon the Massachusetts model
that governor Romney signed, with Ted Kennedy standing next to him.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: Obama care is modeled on Romney
care. If you can afford health care coverage, but you decide to free ride
on other people, then there`s a little penalty under this bill, just as
there is around governor Romney`s proposal.
REP. DANNY DAVIS (D), ILLINOIS: For serious discussion of the impact
of mandated care on doctors and patients, we need to look no further than
Massachusetts. Since 2006, Massachusetts under governor Romney mandated
near universal coverage for its population. Curiously, the majority did
not invite a single doctor or patient from Massachusetts.
REP. LACY CLAY (D), MISSOURI: I think it would have been relevant if
we could have had a doctor from Massachusetts, since for the past five
years, they have been living with comprehensive health care reform, signed
into law by governor Mitt Romney.
O`DONNELL: Republicans could have dodged this line of argument, if
they had just listened to Rick Santorum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is so
important, yet, Mitt Romney agreed with Barack Obama on every single thing
that he did. Why would we put someone up who is uniquely -- pick any other
Republican in the country! He is the worst Republican, in the country, to
put up against Barack Obama.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, David Corn, the Washington bureau chief
for "Mother Jones" and an MSNBC political analyst and Ana Marie Cox, a
political correspondent for "Guardian U.S."
Ana Marie, you may and some in the audience, you may have figured out
that that is my favorite, my favorite Rick Santorum clip ever.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s a good one!
O`DONNELL: I can`t remember a candidate, a major party candidate
within a major party primary actually saying that the front-runner in his
field, in his part, was the single worst, in the country, of any
And today, at least the Democrats tried to use Mitt Romney in every
way they could to help frame that so-called health care debate in the House
of Representatives. But this is -- this is one of the strains now between
the House of Representatives and Mitt Romney. It seems Mitt Romney would
love the House of Representatives to just drop this kind of voting so the
discussion of Romney care could stop right now.
ANA MARIE COX, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, GUARDIAN U.S.: Well, he`s not
the only one who would like them to drop it. The American people would
like them to drop it. You know, polls are showing that everyone who is not
a committed Republican or leaning Republican would really like Congress to
just move on from this issue.
You know, the law is still not that popular. It`s about, you know,
45, 47, 48, 46 on either side, it`s kind of changing actually getting
slightly more popular. But the idea of moving forward is incredibly
And as for the Republicans, I don`t know if they`re looking at the
polls literally upside down or not, but they are much more popular than the
law. If the Congress had a point for every time they voted to repeal Obama
care, they would be 50 percent more popular than they are today.
O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh today said something about Mitt Romney and
how the party is just kind of stuck with him. And he was never a big
Romney supporter during the primaries. But let`s listen to this, because
what he`s really saying is Mitt Romney doesn`t really matter at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Romney better learn the election
isn`t about him. All I mean is, let`s -- can I just be honest? Among our
side, the conservatives, the independents, everybody who wants drastic,
significant change in this country, very few are running around saying, we
want Mitt, we want Mitt, we want Mitt.
They`re running around saying, get rid of Obama and the Democrats.
Get rid of Obama and the Democrats. That is the animating thing of this
election. That is the motivating thing of this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: David Corn, I think rush actually was being honest there.
CORN: Yes, once in a while, a broken clock is right, sometimes twice
a day. First, I`ve got to say that I feel like Ana Marie and I should be
singing, "I Got You, Babe," because we are going to sing "Ground Hogs Day,"
we won`t do that, don`t worry viewers out there.
COX: I can`t carry a tune.
CORN: With the Republicans going after this, again and again and
again, beating a dead horse, and then you have the dead horse of the
candidate, Mitt Romney, and Rush Limbaugh is getting it right.
Just sit back for a second. Here we are, one thing that Rush Limbaugh
and I, you, Lawrence, and Ana Marie would agree on, that the United States
is one hell of a country. And so, the leader of this great land of ours
should be a pretty damned good person, male or female.
But yet he`s willing to settle for someone no one really likes, just
so they can get rid of Barack Obama. So we`ll go with grade "b," we`ll go
with plan "b," "c," "d," or "e," just so we can get rid of Barack Obama and
have a not very impressive fellow lead this great land of ours. That`s
just shows you how deep Rush Limbaugh and his side is into the -- we hate
Barack Obama gig.
O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, this is -- if I have to bet, I`m going to bet
this is the last time the Republicans will vote to repeal, because John
Boehner knows --
COX: I don`t know, 32nd time`s the charm.
O`DONNELL: I know. I`m betting a dollar, OK? I`m betting exactly
one dollar on this.
But John Boehner has to know, this is not good for the image of the
Republicans in the house who should be about the business of trying to
create jobs, and he knows that this doesn`t look like they are about the
business of trying to create jobs. And he has to do this, because they had
to have this big, you know, outraged statement after the Supreme Court.
But after this outraged statement, it seems that they should be able to
COX: One would hope. I mean, it`s definitely something that the
Obama campaign is already kind of pouncing on, to draw attention to the
fact that, yes, they`re doing this sort of meaningless stunt vote, that
will amount to nothing, instead of creating jobs. And of course, they`ve
been doing a lot that amounts to nothing.
And I just want toed add really quickly that all of us saying that,
you know, Rick Santorum is right and Rush Limbaugh was right. I think
every time someone says something like that, a gay angel gets its wings.
O`DONNELL: OK. Well, I`m going to have to be much more careful about
David Corn and Ana Marie Cox, thank you very much for joining me
CORN: Sure thing.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Chris Christie criticizes Mitt Romney and
opposes the war on drugs. OK, at least one of those things is true and
it`s in tonight`s "rewrite."
And right now, police can find out where you are at any given moment
thanks to the spy you are paying every month. A "Last Word" exclusive,
O`DONNELL: Chris Christie went to Washington yesterday to deliver a
speech to a distinguished audience and to show just how classy he can be,
he didn`t call anyone in the room an idiot. But he did say something very
surprising about the war on drugs, and that`s next in the "rewrite."
O`DONNELL: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is back in the
Mr. Christie went to Washington yesterday to give a speech about
leadership, New Jersey style. In his remarks to the Brookings Institution,
the governor who just ten days ago called a reporter at a news conference
an idiot, said leadership is about nuance. That was his word. Nuance.
And to prove what a master of nuance he can be, Chris Christie didn`t
call anyone at the Brookings Institution an idiot. And then he said this
amazingly wonderful honest thing about Mitt Romney. He talked openly about
what drives him crazy about Romney and the horrible frustration he has
experienced in making appearances with Romney on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: We shouldn`t be listening to
political consultants whispering in our ear to tell us, say as little as
possible. We shouldn`t be listening to those voices who say, just use the
party doctrine and don`t stray.
We should be telling people how we think and how we feel and let them
judge us up or down. You can`t lead by being a mystery. You can`t lead by
being an enigma. You can`t lead by being aloof. You can`t lead by being
programmed. I think you have to lead by being yourself and being who you
are. And then people will trust you. And when they trust you, they will
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Yes, amazing. A perfectly honest description of Romney
delivered by a prominent Republican in the middle of the presidential
Now, strictly speaking, in his text, he did not specifically say he
was talking about Romney, but, come on, who does that sound like?
Christie`s been on stages with Romney in New Hampshire, Iowa, and now he
just can`t hold himself back from saying what is so easy to see about
Romney. He`s a mystery, an enigma, aloof, programmed. You can just feel
Christie dying to call Romney an idiot, right there. But he was trying to
impress the Brookings crowd about just how nuanced he is.
Now, I officially took Chris Christie off Mitt Romney`s potential VP
list weeks ago. I`m sure that came as a big blow to him at the time, but
now he seems to know that he really doesn`t have a chance at the vice
presidential nomination, and he made that as clear as he possibly could to
the Brookings crowd by taking a position on the war on drugs that puts him
in complete agreement with another famous son of New Jersey, Bill Maher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: The war on drugs, while well intentioned, has been a
failure. And that we`re warehousing addicted people every day in state
prisons in New Jersey, giving them no treatment, sending them back out on
to the street after their term of incarceration, and wondering why
recidivism rates go up, and why they don`t get better, why they commit
Well, they commit crimes to support their addiction. For some people,
they can try it and walk away from it. But for others, the first time they
try it, they become an addict. And they`re sick. And they need treatment.
So I said what we need to do is for all first-time, nonviolent drug
offenders, we have to make drug treatment mandatory. Because if you`re
pro-life, as I am, you can`t be pro-life just in the womb.
Every life is precious. And every one of God`s creatures can be
redeemed. But they won`t be if we ignore them. And by the way, for those
of you who are concerned about economics, it cost us $49,000 a year to
warehouse a prisoner in New Jersey state prisons last year. A full year of
in-patient drug treatment costs $24,000 a year. So it makes economic sense
But to me, that`s just a collateral advantage. The real reason to do
it is that we have an obligation to understand that addiction is a disease
and that we need to give people a chance to overcome that disease and to
restore dignity and meaning to their lives. That`s not a Republican or
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No, drug treatment, instead of incarceration for first-
time nonviolent drug offenders, is not a Republican or Democratic issue.
It is a liberal issue. And so tonight, it is a pleasure to welcome Chris
Christie into the war against the war on drugs, and to welcome him into, on
this issue, liberalism.
And, I just can`t wait until Christie calls Mitt Romney an idiot for
disagreeing with him on this.
O`DONNELL: Now, according to "The New York Times," you don`t have to
be famous to have a biographer. You don`t have to be present to have a
biographer. According to the times, we all have, now, their phrase, a
virtual biographer of our daily activities. And that biographer knows more
about us than our best friends do. That biographer knows where we are
every minute of the day. That biographer is the most effective spy, the
most effective surveillance tool ever invented and we pay it to spy on us.
Our cell phones can tell a story about us that no one else can.
That`s why police are demanding and getting cell phone records from
wireless service providers in dramatically increasing numbers every year.
Police requests to Verizon have increased 15 percent, each year, for the
last five years, and we don`t know what`s happening to the information that
police are collecting.
Last year, wireless service providers handles 1.3 million law
enforcement requests for cell phone information, including text messages,
call logs, location data, and cell tower dumps, where they provide police
with all phone numbers that connected to a particular cell tower during a
certain period of time.
The ACLU said in a statement, "the cell phone data of innocent
Americans is almost certainly swept up in these requests. Without clear
safeguards and standards for how law enforcement gathers and stores
location information, there is a massive privacy gap that leaves all of us
Joining me now, in a "Last Word" exclusive is Congressman Ed Markey of
Congressman, thanks for joining me.
You conducted your own investigation of what`s going on out there with
the wireless companies. What have you found out?
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I found that the law
enforcement officials of the United States, in 2011, made 1.3 million
requests of cell phone companies for information about Americans, as they
use their cell phones.
And as this digital dragnet is put out across the country, there are
real questions as to whether or not the fourth amendment protections
against illegal search and seizures are sufficient here in the 21st
And so, this kind of the Keynesian world that we live in, it`s the
best of technologies, it`s the worst of technologies. At the same time, it
does help law enforcement officials, but as the police look for the illegal
criminal needle, there`s also an innocent haystack of Americans whose
information is gathered up, and we really don`t know right now how that
information is, in fact, handled by law enforcement across our country.
O`DONNELL: And it seems at first that the cell phone companies were
unsure about how to proceed, unsure as to whether there have to be warrants
for this, so some of them have handed information over without warrants,
some of them have required warrants in certain situations.
But then there`s this other interesting development that "The New York
Times" reported on, which is the possibility that the companies are making
money on this. "The Times" said cell carriers staffed with special law
enforcement liaison teams charge police departments from a few hundred
dollars for locating a phone to more than $2,200 for a full-scale wiretap
of a suspect. Is this becoming a profit center for wireless phone
MARKEY: Well, for some of them, they do get paid, but there are other
cell phone companies that told us that they weren`t fully compensated for
what they did.
But it`s clear there is some compensation that goes to some of these
phone companies, for some of the activities that they engage in to provide
information to the law enforcement officials.
But what we found in our investigation is that there are cell phone
companies that are concerned about what the standards are. That is, if an
emergency is declared by a law enforcement agency, how long does that
gathering of information go on before a warrant is obtained from a court,
to continue the gathering of cell phone information? Because these devices
that every American is now carrying around, they`re just GPS devices.
They`re loaded with all of the personal secrets of every American, and
right now we really don`t know what the standards are that are being used
by law enforcement or by the phone companies in our country to protect the
privacy of innocent Americans.
O`DONNELL: And then what happens to this massive amount of
information that they collect from a cell tower dump, when they get all the
data out of one cell tower. Presumably they`re going to use, if any, some
very small amount of that in some criminal procedure. What do they do with
everything else they harvested in that kind of dump?
MARKEY: You put your finger right on it, Lawrence. What they might
say is, ah, that criminal, he was on the corner of first and main street.
So they go to the cell tower that was nearby that location. And in the
cell tower dump, it`s every bit of information of every person who was
making a cell phone call off of that cell phone tower over a period of
time. That could be dozens, hundreds or thousands of people as they are
searching for an individual. We need to ensure that there are real
safeguards that are put in place that does not lead to the compromise of
the privacy of innocent Americans in the search for that one criminal or
suspect that the police may be searching for.
O`DONNELL: Congressman Ed Markey gets tonight`s last word. Thanks
for joining us, Congressman.
MARKEY: Glad to be with you.
O`DONNELL: "THE ED SHOW" is up next.
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