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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, July 5, 2012

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

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Guests: Ana Marie Cox, Ezra Klein, Karen Finney, Jessica Sanders, Haroon Saleem

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: And once again, Mitt Romney disagrees with
Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: From penalty to tax, Mitt Romney`s
evolving take on the health care ruling.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Supreme Court was the
final word, right? They said it was a tax, didn`t they?

This mandate as described by the Supreme Court is a tax.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney did an interview with CBS.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Mitt Romney`s campaign reversal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said health care is a tax.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he goes again. It`s Mitt flip flopping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another flip flop.

ROMNEY: I said I agreed with the dissent, but the dissent lost.
It`s in the minority.

E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: The Romney campaign said, no, this is
not a tax.

ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: It was a penalty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s both a tax and a penalty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney can`t get a story straight on health
care.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is good to be back
in Ohio.

ROBERTS: President Obama takes the beast on the road.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For a day-two bus tour.

ROBERTS: His first bus tour of the 2012 campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trying to sway blue collar workers in two states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going through Ohio and Pennsylvania.

ROBERTS: The focus is jobs, jobs, jobs.

OBAMA: The country is betting on you, Ohio.

DIONNE: We`re going to be talking a lot about Ohio.

ROBERTS: Ohio just one of the battleground states the president
needs to win re-election.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: We heard what the strategy was, it
was kill Romney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do you have a cloud of secrecy hanging over
his financials?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney doesn`t stick to his guns. He`s a
flip-flopper. He`s changing for political expediency.

ANN ROMNEY: He`s always served others. When he went to the
Olympics, he left hi company and went out and rescued the Olympics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m talking about what he`s done and turning
around the Olympics.

ANN ROMENY: Rescued the Olympics. Is that someone who doesn`t have
compassion?

MITT ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people who provide services
to me.

Corporations are people, my friend.

I pay taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more.

ANN ROMNEY: Is that someone that doesn`t have compassion?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney did his very best to correct the record on
whether he believes the health care mandate is a tax or a penalty. But
this is Mitt Romney we`re talking about, so it came out like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The Supreme Court has the final word and their final word
that Obamacare is a tax. So it`s a tax. It`s -- they decided it was
constitutional. So, it is a tax and it`s constitutional. That`s the final
word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: OK. So that`s not exactly the final word. On Monday,
your campaign spokesman said that you, Mitt Romney, believe that it`s not a
tax, it`s a penalty. And now you`re saying that the final word is that
it`s a tax. The mandate is a tax.

So that must mean when you Mitt Romney imposed an individual mandate
in Massachusetts, you created a tax. Why would you want to say that?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Does that mean the mandate in the state of Massachusetts
under your health care law is also a tax and that you raised taxes as
governor?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, if you`re asking me, yes, that`s what Romney`s
answer would mean. But you`re asking Mitt Romney and he knows -- he knows
-- a difficult political question deserves an unfollowable answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Actually, the chief justice in his opinion made it very
clear that at the state level, states have the power to put in mandates.
They don`t need to require them to be called taxes in order for them to be
constitutional. And as a result, Massachusetts`s mandate was a mandate,
was a penalty, was described that way by the legislature and by me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: OK. Never mind what you think of that answer. Here`s
what Romney`s political pals at "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board
thought. They said, it makes his campaign looked confused and politically
dumb.

While he was at it, Mitt Romney added this little lie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I made it clear throughout my campaign and actually while I
was governor of Massachusetts, that the issue of the uninsured should be
dealt with at the state level and each state can create their own solutions
to meet the needs of their people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But in 2009, Romney programmers had him saying this about
how his Massachusetts mandate was just a great idea for the whole country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The right way to proceed is to reform health care. That we
can do as we did it in Massachusetts, as Wyden-Bennett is proposing doing
it at the national level. We can do it for the nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And, of course, Wyden-Bennett was proposing doing it at
the national level with an individual mandate. The Romney campaign`s
response to the healthcare ruling left the Rupert Murdoch-owned "Wall
Street Journal" editorial board to conclude today, Mr. Romney promised
Republicans he was the best man to make the case against President Obama,
whom they desperately want to defeat. So far, Mr. Romney is letting them
down."

And "The New York Times" reports today, "Mr. Murdoch has never been
particularly impressed with Mr. Romney, friends and associates of both men
say. He really wanted Christie, said one of Mr. Murdoch`s friends."

Joining me now is Krystal Ball, the co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE "
and Chris Hayes, the host of "UP WITH CHRIS HAYES" and the author of the
new book "Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy." It`s in
stores now and it`s in my hands right now.

And if you guys don`t mind -- Chris, do you mind if I just sit here
and read the book?

Talk amongst yourself. I mean, what did you think of the tax/penalty
thing? There`s nothing in here about the tax.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: I thought the tax/penalty thing was
fascinating for this reason.

O`DONNELL: Talk to her, I`m reading the book.

HAYES: Here`s Krystal --

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST: Tell me, Chris--

HAYES: Here`s what I thought was interesting.

O`DONNELL: The concept of meritocracy is so essential --

BALL: The entire book is a dissertation on the difference between a
tax and a penalty.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: I`ll be the background music.

HAYES: You`re the bed, that`s we say in the industry.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, go ahead.

HAYES: As I was saying, no -- here`s why the tax thing is hilarious.
Conservatives have worked so hard to stigmatize those three letters, I mean
so hard to stigmatize those three letters. And yet they haven`t done
anything to make it possible to run a government without revenue. And so,
we have seen throughout our political system from the federal level, all
the way down to the state and municipal system is redefining what taxes are
and calling them fees, right?

BALL: Right.

HAYES: So, you see cities all over the place doing things where they
jack up the fees on parking or you`re getting speeding tickets in the state
of Virginia for $900. And this cost shifting because the word itself T-A-X
has become so toxic.

BALL: And actually those user fees --

O`DONNELL: As you know , taxes and tax policy, page 145, page 200,
223, 227. Go ahead.

BALL: There`s plenty there.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead. I`m on page 145. Go ahead.

BALL: Well, in fact, what you`re describing was a strategy that
Governor Romney himself deployed to great effect when he was governor in
Massachusetts. In a single year, he raised over $500 million in quote,
unquote, user fees, right? Which actually not only could they very easily
be called a tax but they tend to be quite regressive of a tax as well,
because you`re charging people who, you know, are equally regardless of
where they are, on the income scale.

And he ran in the primary very much on the fact that he closed a
budget deficit without raising taxes. So, not only does the whole
penalty/tax issue call into question his health care program but also calls
into question his whole user fee budget deficit strategy.

HAYES: The other thing is, look, this is the kind of state that the
Republicans and conservatives wanted. What they wanted was they wanted a
state in which we didn`t actually provide public goods through universal
provision, right? What they wanted was a state in which we use incentives
here and there, right? Where we used the tax code and we penalized and we
incentivized.

And that`s essentially has become the mainstream of Democratic policy
as well. Using the tax code, using incentives and penalties and now
they`re turning around as if this is some ridiculous notion. This is
precisely the model of the social contract that they created.

O`DONNELL: OK. You`re distracting me.

I`m just reading about the tax reform act. It`s one of my favorites.
It`s on page 67.

This thing, by the way, if you can work your way through what Romney
actually said, it`s kind of sort of true in a constitutional way. We have
51 constitutions in this country, 50 state constitutions, one, you know,
federal. And some of these state tunes like Massachusetts provide very --
in New York, in the Constitution very broad powers for the state
legislatures to enact things that they think are for the general welfare.
And they don`t need the Massachusetts constitutional power to tax to ground
it, or they don`t even have a Commerce Clause, obviously.

And so, I mean, there`s a law school class in which there`s a point
to be made. He`s trying to make. But it`s -- I mean, you can`t possibly
sell that.

HAYES: This is the thing that`s always so bizarre about the argument
both --

O`DONNELL: You`re just looking at your book --

HAYES: It`s distracting.

BALL: It`s a beautiful thing.

O`DONNELL: It`s like a picture of your baby, right? I could be
holding up a picture of your kid or the book cover.

You know, I`d like to do, hold a picture of your kid and you book
covering, see which one you look at the most.

BALL: I would definitely look at my beautiful daughter.

No, but there`s the thing -- this is always what`s so bizarre about
the argument about it, just as it worked through the courts. And the
reason we`ve hit this point, right, where we`re having this bizarre
philosophy of language debate about what is or is not a tax is that the
structure of the thing was always clear. It was a penalty that was
collected through the IRS.

BALL: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: And in Massachusetts, the way you comply with the mandate
is you attach to your Massachusetts income tax return --

HAYES: Of course.

O`DONNELL: -- a copy that certifies that you have your health
insurance and then they figure out how much tax you owe or don`t owe.

BALL: Are the American people and owners generally going to grasp
the intricacies of the constitutional tax/penalty difference? No. Are
they going to listen to what Romney is saying and say that guy is full of
it? Absolutely.

It`s a pattern of him basically trying to be wherever he can in a
squishy way that will be most politically advantageous. That voters get.

HAYES: Or are they going to waste any more news cycles --

BALL: I hope so.

(CROSSTALK)

BALL: I really liked the outsourcing versus offshoring distinction,
too. That was a good thing for them to argue about.

O`DONNELL: What`s going on with Mr. Murdoch? This has become very -
-

HAYES: He`s a man with strong opinions. I just wish there was some
place he could share them.

(LAUGHTER)

HAYES: The guy is on Twitter like every other frustrated news junkie
who --

BALL: And he`s Australian.

O`DONNELL: No, he`s actually got his citizenship here now.

BALL: I just think it`s funny that people forget he`s not actually
from this country but obviously has such a dramatic influence and clearly
strong views.

HAYES: And in England as well.

BALL: And it turns out "The Wall Street Journal" doesn`t like all
this jet ski stuff that Romney is doing. They`re saying look, you`re
looking exactly like John Kerry out there, doing the rich guy water sports,
just when they`re painting you as the out of touch rich guy.

HAYES: A, they`re right about that. And B, they --

O`DONNELL: Jet skis are so uncool, first of all. They`re out of
touch.

HAYES: They`re not dressage horses.

BALL: I like jet skis. I have to disagree with you there. Jet skis
are fun.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to have a nautical design disagreement here.

HAYES: Here`s the thing about this op-ed, I guess this editorial.
You know, the cheapest, like -- the cheapest words in the language are
backseat campaign advice. The easiest thing in the universe to do is to
write 800 words about what a campaign should be doing. You see it on the
left, you see it on the right.

James Carville writes an op-ed saying, I don`t know, the Obama
campaign is a disaster and everyone freaks out. You know, campaigns are
hard to run and also they take place over a long period of time. There`s a
certain degree where people who are watching campaigns unfold have a much
itchier trigger finger, and this goes to both sides of the aisle, a much
itchier trigger people than the people actually running those campaigns.

HAYES: Krystal if the Hells Angels had boats, they would be jet
skis.

BALL: Thank you. I appreciate that. Is that a point in my favor or
a point against?

O`DONNELL: I think I just won the whole jet ski argument.

HAYES: Wait, so you`re saying that makes him lame?

O`DONNELL: Yes.

BALL: I think that makes him cool.

HAYES: Now we`re having another debate. Now we` deferred to the
Hells Angels debate as we deferred the mandate debate to a tax debate.

O`DONNELL: Were you going to say something about Romney?

BALL: I don`t remember.

No, I was going to say something about the Obama campaign. About a
month ago, we were having all these machinations about the Obama campaign,
they weren`t doing a good job, they didn`t have a big economic plan, what
that`s their vision? And now suddenly we`ve shifted to the other side and
there`s a lot of hand wringing going on in the Republican side. Job
numbers come out tomorrow, could change the narrative yet again.

HAYES: And the only thing to keep in mind here is the only thing
that`s changed, fundamentals remain the same. Some of the swing state
polling around the Bain attacks look like they`re working but that`s about
it. Everything else, the landscape of everything else is more or less the
same.

BALL: Although, given how close the race is, that`s significant.

HAYES: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Jet ski enthusiast Krystal Ball, that`s it -- that`s your
introduction for the rest of the time.

BALL: Perfect, I love pit.

O`DONNELL: And author Chris Hayes, thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up: Mitt Romney and his money. We have new
information on where he`s hiding it and indications that he has much more
of it than we may have thought. Ezra Klein and Karen Finney and I will all
try to count Mitt Romney`s money.

And crazy Joe Walsh is back in the "Rewrite" tonight. Since crazy
Joe never found the time or courage to serve in the military, he now
considers it unfair that his opponent actually did. And he is attacking
Iraq war vet and double amputee Tammy Duckworth for not trying to hide the
fact from voters that she served in the military.

I know this sounds crazy. But this is crazy Joe Walsh we`re talking
about here. Crazy Joe is back in the "Rewrite" tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The Obama battleground bus rolled into Ohio today where
unemployment is going down and the Obama poll numbers are going up. That`s
coming up.

And crazy Joe Walsh is back in the "Rewrite" tonight. We`ll find out
in November just how much the Illinois eighth district likes crazy. That`s
in the "Rewrite".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m betting on you and the country is betting on you, Ohio,
because you understand that even though politics may seem real small right
now, the choice in this election could not be clearer. And it could not be
bigger. The stakes could no be the bigger.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You can do it!

OBAMA: I hope.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s President Obama today on his two-day bus tour of
Ohio and Pennsylvania. The president arrived in Ohio today with a nine-
point lead in the latest Quinnipiac poll. The Obama campaign obviously
believes talking about Mitt Romney`s job record has helped them build that
lead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Governor Romney`s experience has been in owning companies
that were called pioneers of outsourcing -- that`s not my phrase --
pioneers of outsourcing. My experience has been in saving the American
auto industry. And as long as I`m president, that`s what I`m going to be
doing, waking up every single day thinking how we can create more jobs for
your families and more security for your communities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney sent two of his vice presidential auditioners
to shadow the Obama bus tour and take their best shots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: He`s dubbing his tour
the betting on America tour. Of course, we should all bet on America, but
we shouldn`t double down on Barack Obama.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: You want good paying jobs in Ohio
and a growing economy in America? We need to elect Mitt Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney for his part spent the day enjoying one of
the toys that outsourcing has earned him, a horrendously ugly speedboat,
that is a floating speedboat offense to the otherwise honorable history of
American nautical design.

Joining me now: Ari Melber, correspondent for "The Nation" and MSNBC
contributor, and Ana Marie Cox, political correspondent for "Guardian U.S."

Ana Marie, "The Wall Street Journal" is upset with how much time on
the water Mitt is spending, comparing him today to John Kerry out there
wind surfing. There`s Mitt out on the lake with his rich guy toys. Even
"The Wall Street Journal" thinks big mistake.

ANA MARIE COX, GUARDIAN US: It`s strange. Mitt Romney has not shied
away from endorsing and making even more clear the distance between him
and, like, a normal American. I mean, he makes these mistakes all the
time.

And, in fact, I guess it`s sort of part of his argument, you know,
that he is a wealthy businessman and he got to be wealthy because he was a
successful businessman and it`s a successful businessman that can save us.

But the Obama campaign that`s pointing out it`s actually business
people that put us into this position that we`re in now. And the same
skills you use to become a successful man out in the lake are not the ones
that are going to get Americans working again.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the way the president is actually
campaigning in Ohio and what he had to say today about the Affordable Care
Act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Let me tell you, it is going to make the vast majority of
Americans more secure. We will not go back to the days when insurance
companies could discriminate against people just because they were sick.
We`re not going to tell 6 million young people who are on their health
insurance plans that suddenly they don`t have health insurance. We`re not
going to allow Medicare to be turned into a voucher system.

Now is not the time to spend four more years refighting battles we
fought two years ago. Now is the time to move forward and make sure that
every American has affordable health insurance and that insurance companies
are treating them fairly. That`s what we fought for. That`s what we`re
going to keep. We are moving forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Ari, it seems like the Republican insistence on repealing
the whole thing has allowed at president a position on this that is really
convenient for the campaign. He just is rattles off a few things that are
in the bill and says you don`t want them to take that away. That seems to
be the most effective way he`s found to campaign with this as a tool.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: That`s right. He didn`t use the terminology
that the politicos use about the affordable care act or tax or mandate. He
talked about what`s in the bill. He talked about people being on their
parents` plans. He talked about the by that you are protected against
companies that might want to discriminate against you for their own health
situation.

So, I think that was very effective. It also shows something that`s
gone on with the right, which is they don`t know how to win anymore,
Lawrence. They got a Commerce Clause rule that they`ve been seeking for 25
years. But they can`t celebrate it because they got a nominee who`s for
the Obama plan that`s for more or less throughout history.

And they don`t know how to take a partial victory, because they
didn`t get everything little that they wanted, and the chief justice said
he did something constitutional here. Now, they`re sort of cracking and
the president gets to spotlight what people like about this.

O`DONNELL: Most of us don`t live in the battleground states so we`re
going to have to show you the campaign commercials here. Let`s take a look
at what the Obama campaign is running in the battleground states on
outsourcing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: What a president believes matters. Mitt Romney`s
companies were pioneers in outsourcing U.S. jobs to low wage countries. He
supports tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. President Obama
believes in in-sourcing. He fought to save the auto industry and favors
tax companies for companies that bring jobs home.

Outsourcing versus in-sourcing. It matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, it`s such a peculiar problem for Romney
because in the past, you`ve had these kinds of issues for tax breaks for
sending jobs overseas. But this candidate is a personal profiteer from
this kind of thing in his past, which makes it just so much more strange
for Romney to have to deal with.

COX: It is. And this is, you know, the trap of running on your
resume, which actually I believe "The Wall Street Journal" pointed out.
That`s what John Kerry did. He ran on his biography. Mitt Romney runs on
his biography.

What if your biography tracks the very sort of disasters that
occurred in the American economy and that people feel personally. I mean,
I think this outsourcing or in-sources or offshoring or whatever that was.
I mean, the thing about is like who doesn`t know someone or some family or
some community that hasn`t been affected by this.

And look, we have someone to blame. It`s not a faceless corporation.
It`s Mitt Romney.

O`DONNELL: And according to page 1 of "The Wall Street Journal," the
most unoutsourceable job in America is hairdresser, because you can`t go
overseas.

MELBER: Where are you going to go?

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s one thing I learned today.

Look at the Pennsylvania poll, President Obama is at 45, Mitt Romney
is at 39 in Pennsylvania. Ari, it looks like the president does need to go
to Pennsylvania to try to push up that lead.

MELBER: Yes, Pennsylvania is closer than the Obama folks expected.
When you talk to them about the bus tour, I spoke to some people in Chicago
this week and they said we`re just out here. They don`t want to let on,
but everyone understands it shouldn`t be that close there.

Ohio is very strong, not only in the polling but it`s a state where
the president has spent significantly more than Romney, although he`s got a
lot in the war chest.

And thirdly, as you know, you go out to these states. You try to get
local press. It`s not about the national media or just "The Wall Street
Journal" carping. And if you look in Ohio over the past month, according
to Google news, Barack Obama has had more press pensions than Mitt Romney
every single day. Tomorrow will be another day like that with him across
the state.

MELBER: Ari Melber and Ana Marie Cox -- thank you both for joining
me tonight.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, where is Mitt Romney`s money? Finally
reporters are doing some real digging. We`ll tell you what they have found
next. Ezra Klein and Karen Finney join me.

And the lies of crazy Joe Walsh are back in the "Rewrite" tonight.
This time he`s lying about his campaign opponent Tammy Duckworth. And
while he`s at it, he`s lying about one of his heroes, John McCain. That`s
in the "Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was Malia`s birthday
yesterday. She`s 14 years old. And I know, it happens too fast. Don`t
even remind me. She`s going into high school next year, which means that
she`s -- see, when she was small, I could say all these fireworks I had
arranged for her birthday. But she doesn`t believe me anymore.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: It turns out yesterday`s fireworks were for Lucia Mercedes
Kumar (ph), who came into the world at 1:27 pm, weighing seven pounds, two
ounces. And tonight, Lucia Mercedes is watching her very first edition of
THE LAST WORD with her mother, Maria Teresa Kumar, a cherished friend of
the show and an MSNBC contributor. She`s also the founding executive
director of Voto Latino. Look at that cute one.

OK, Lucia Mercedes, you can go back to sleep now. Let mom get some
rest. Go ahead.

Coming up, Tea Party Republican Congressman Joe Walsh is desperate.
"Real Clear Politics" ranks Joe Walsh as the third most likely member of
the House of Representatives to lose his seat. That has made crazy Joe
crazier than ever. And it`s landed him back in tonight`s Rewrite.

And next, Newt Gingrich warned Republicans that Mitt Romney`s offshore
money and offshore business dealings would be trouble, which proves that
you didn`t have to be a political genius to see this coming. Chasing Mitt
Romney`s money is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, where is Mitt Romney`s money?
It`s a question we`ve been asking on this program for months.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, where is your money? Is it parked offshore?
And how much of it have you not yet paid taxes on? And I really think the
most important question is, how much of that money went offshore without
ever being taxed. Did you make use of offshore vehicles in order to defer
or not pay taxes?

O`DONNELL: These are very important questions. And I think there is
now a challenge to the media in the questions you just outlined.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: This week, that challenge is being answered by "Vanity
Fair" and the Associated Press, both of which published investigative
reports about Romney`s assets, particularly a Bermuda corporation wholly
owned by W. Mitt Romney. The Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Limited
was transferred to a blind trust owned by Ann Romney the day before her
husband was sworn in as Massachusetts governor in 2003.

It was not listed on his federal financial disclosure forms. We only
know about it because of the one tax return Mitt Romney has released from
2010. And even "Vanity Fair" concedes "after examining this return, we
have no idea what is in this company."

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is taking the week after from stumping about
economic woes to vacation at his 10 million dollar estate on Lake
Winnepawsaki in New Hampshire, much to the horror of the "Wall Street
Journal" editorial board, which today says, "the Obama campaign is
assailing Mr. Romney as an out of touch rich man, and the rich man obliged
by vacationing this week at his lake side home, with a jet ski cameo."

Joining me now are Ezra Klein, "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC
contributor, and Karen Finney, former DNC communications director and an
MSNBC political analyst.

This is the key line from the "Vanity Fair" piece. It says "Romney
failed to list this Bermuda entity on several financial disclosures, even
though such a closely held entity would not qualify as an accepted
investment fund that would not need to be on his disclosure forms."

So Karen Finney, there`s Mitt Romney hiding his money offshore and
then hiding on disclosure forms that he`s hiding his money offshore.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That`s exactly right. Here`s
the problem, if you put these stories together with what David Corn
reported last week, the picture that continues to emerge here is clearly he
has got something to hide. And it becomes easier on the outside to say
well, what are you hiding? The evidence seems to mount.

And the campaign has no answers. In fact, as we`ve seen, they`re kind
of cutting and pasting the same answer to everything. And at some point,
that`s just not going to cut the mustard. At some point, they`re going to
have to come clean and be more forthcoming with all those questions that
you`ve been pointing out for several weeks now.

O`DONNELL: Ezra, we have a big board graphic up here, a map of the
world, with some locations we know Romney`s money is, Australia,
Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg, Cayman Islands, Bermuda. All but
Germany have question marks on them, because we actually have no idea how
much money is in those places.

We`ve never seen a candidacy like this. Is there some mature,
reasonable way that a good candidate could explain this?

EZRA KLEIN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, it`s interesting to be
banking with Carmen San Diego. It doesn`t happen much. I agree on that.
But the thing that I think is going to be difficult for Romney here,
they`ve explained it I think in this way: it is legal. There might be gray
areas, but it`s legal.

O`DONNELL: A lot of things are legal.

EZRA: You can`t actually prosecute me for doing this. This I think
is getting to a broad problem for the Romney campaign, which is that it`s
legal what he did with his tax money. And it`s legal to make a lot of
money going into companies, loading them up with debt, taking a dividend
out and then closing them down. And it`s legal to invest in outsourcing
companies that make money. It`s all legal.

It`s just nobody has to like you for it. Nobody has to want you to be
their president for it. Nobody has to think you`re a good guy. You`re
allowed to make a bunch of money without getting a big moral sort of trophy
at the end of it. The problem they`re having is that success isn`t enough
for people. People want to see values identified there, too.

And when you`ve taken advantage of every single loophole in the tax
code, people begin to think, you know, that`s not what I would do.

O`DONNELL: And "the Washington Post" quoted a tax expert, and an
offshore tax expert, classifying -- describing Romney`s stuff as just
weird, and that`s from a guy who understands it all. Karen, this guy has
been running for president his entire life. His father said to him, gave
the advice, get rich before you run for president, so you`ll be able to
afford it. You won`t have to worry about money in any way.

He got very, very, very rich. But there`s ways to get rich in this
country where you don`t have this problem. You can get very rich without
parking it all offshore.

FINNEY: Well, that`s exactly right. But here`s what I think is the
challenge for Democrats. And there`s two things. Number one, to continue
to press these questions. Number two, we`ve got to connect this for voter
back to why it matters to them. So tomorrow when those job numbers come
out, when Mitt Romney`s campaign is attacking President Obama and attacking
this economy, we need to be able to, you know, finish that circle and say
well, look, when you`ve got people, those one percenters like Mitt Romney,
extracting resources from this country, hiding it offshore, those are
resources that are not being reinvested into companies. They`re not being
used to increase wages.

And those are also tax resources that are not going back into
firefighters, police, teachers. I mean, I think we`ve got to really give
people -- connect those dots for people, because I think too many accept
that one percenters, there`s going to be a bit of corruption, even if it`s
legal, you know, sort of different set of rules. But how does it affect
you is what people want to know.

O`DONNELL: I want to get my quote right about this Washington lawyer.
It was actually in the "Vanity Fair" piece, where it says "a full 55 pages
of his 2010 tax return are devoted to reporting his transactions with
foreign entities. What Romney does not get, says Jack Blum, a veteran
Washington lawyer and offshore expert, is that this stuff is weird."

And Ezra, that is the sensation that I`m getting from Romney in Romney
world, is they don`t think there`s anything strange about this.

KLEIN: Here`s what I can`t figure out about it, for the life of me,
is Mitt Romney`s father, George Romney, who began the tradition of
releasing tax returns -- he released 12 a year, saying one could be a
fluke. Mitt Romney did not release 12 years of tax returns. So far, he`s
released, to my knowledge, one. So what I don`t get is four years ago,
three years ago, five years ago, when Mitt Romney knew he would be running
for president again -- so it would be four years ago -- why did he not
clean all this up?

Why did he not take all this money, wipe out these accounts, just
bring it all on shore and release two years of tax returns in which where
everything is clear and simple. There`s a surprising kind of level of
arrogance for that. And I just can`t figure out why some political
consultant or just he himself didn`t thinks, let`s just make this not a
problem for me going forward.

O`DONNELL: That`s part of the out of touch thing. He`s out of touch
with real politics. In 1994, when he started his run for the presidency by
running the Senate in Massachusetts, from that year forward, everyone
around Romney should have said hey, let`s get the tax return squeaky clean,
because everybody`s going to want to take a look at those.

KLEIN: I completely agree with you.

(CROSS TALK)

FINNEY: I was going to say, it`s also a very corporate CEO mentality
that doesn`t acknowledge that there`s an accountability to the rest of us,
right? A CEO says, I don`t have to show you that. I will show you to the
letter of the law, but doesn`t understand that, you know what, people who
are going to vote for you, you`re a little bit accountable to them, too.

O`DONNELL: And those CEOs are only trying to make themselves
understood to other CEOs. And they all get it. They all have no problems
about Cayman Islands money. Ezra Klein and Karen Finney, thank you very
much for joining me tonight.

Some conservatives, like Jonah Goldberg and Anne Coulter, actually
keep insulting young voters, saying that they shouldn`t be allowed to vote
and that the voting age should be raised, which the Obama campaign hopes
just might help drive some young voters to the polls to vote Democratic.
That`s coming up.

And next, Tea Party Republican Congressman Joe Walsh`s attacks on his
opponent for being an Iraq war veteran land him in tonight`s Rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Crazy Joe Walsh, who managed to sneak into Congress in the
8th district of Illinois with 48.5 percent of the vote, continues to do
everything he possibly can to make everyone who voted for him deeply
embarrassed for having done so. Crazy Joe cannot speak without A, sounding
crazy, and B, lying.

Here he is doing both while attacking his Democratic challenger, Tammy
Duckworth, a gravely wounded Iraq War veteran who`s now a double amputee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: I want you to understand something
about John McCain. His political advisers, day after day, had to take him
and almost throw him against a wall and hit him against the head and say,
senator, you have to let people know you served. You have to talk about
what you did. He didn`t want to do it, wouldn`t do it.

Day after day, they had to convince him. And finally he talked a
little bit about it, but it was very uncomfortable for him. That`s what`s
so noble about our heroes.

Now I`m running against a woman who -- I mean, my God, that`s all she
talks about. Our true heroes, the men and women who served us, it`s the
last thing in the world they talk about. That`s why we are so indebted and
in awe of what they have done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now, I know a lot of you are probably surprised to learn
that John McCain served in the military. Maybe, you know, a couple of you
saw this McCain for president TV ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a time for uncertainty, hope and change,
the summer of love. Half a world away, another kind of love, of country.
John McCain, shot down, bayoneted, tortured offered early release, he said
no. He had sworn an oath.

Beautiful words cannot make our lives better. But a man who has
always put his country and her people before self, before politics can.
Don`t hope for a better life. Vote for one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So yeah, Crazy Joe was lying about John McCain never
talking about ever being in Vietnam. John McCain has talked about it
publicly many times. He`s written about it in books. And he has used his
military service very prominently in every campaign he`s ever run for
decades.

No campaign adviser has ever had to talk John McCain into using his
military service as a campaign advantage.

And Crazy Joe was also lying about Tammy Duckworth when he says that
her military service is, quote, all she talks about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When her father lost his job, Tammy Duckworth`s
family lost everything and had to rely on Food Stamps to get by. But she
waitressed her way through college with the same perseverance that fueled
her recovery after he Blackhawk was shot down in Iraq.

Tammy went to work for President Obama, finding jobs for veterans in a
tough economy. She`ll fight extremism to protect Medicare and end tax
breaks for shipping jobs overseas.

TAMMY DUCKWORTH (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: I`m Tammy Duckworth and
I approve this message, because a little perseverance goes a long way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In those two campaign ads, the Duckworth ad talks about
military service much less than the McCain ad. Crazy Joe has had time to
reconsider his crazy lies about Tammy Duckworth and do one of those phony,
well, what I meant to say kind of correctives. But remember, Crazy Joe
really is crazy. So here he is today on CNN.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WALSH: This wasn`t a slip-up. I don`t regret anything I said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Of course. It doesn`t feel like a slip-up to Crazy Joe.
Crazy Joe`s whole life is a slip-up. Now, pardon me while I have a word
with the voters of Illinois`s eighth congressional district. You have a
choice coming up in November. And there`s a lot we can say between now and
then about the difference between Crazy Joe and Tammy Duckworth on the
issues, the difference between House Republicans and House Democrats on the
issues.

There`s a lot we could say about qualifications for office of the
candidates, including military service and bravery in combat. But before
you evaluate any of those things, the threshold question you face in the
Illinois eighth is, do you really want to vote for a crazy person? Again?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: On this January night, at this defining moment in history, you
have done what the cynics said we couldn`t do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Senator Barack Obama in January of 2008 thanking
his young supporters after winning the Iowa caucus. By November of that
year, young people overwhelmingly helped the Obama campaign beat the McCain
campaign, and win the presidency; 66 percent voted for President Obama,
versus just 32 percent for Senator McCain, a 34-point spread.

But four years later, while the majority of young people say they
would still choose the president over Mitt Romney, only 60 percent of young
people are actually registered to vote, and of those registered, only 56
percent say they will definitely vote in November.

A new nonprofit campaign called I Vote hopes to re-energize the youth
vote and get them back to the polls in November with videos like this one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: A woman comes forth with this
hilarious claim that she`s having so much sex, what does that make her?

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: If it`s an honest rape, I would give them a
shot of estrogen.

ROMNEY: Do I believe Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes,
I do.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would advocate
that any doctor that performs an abortion should be criminally charged for
doing so.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It simply says ultrasounds will be given to the
woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ultrasounds uses high frequency sound waves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- to decide what she should do. I believe this
is something that helps respect the dignity of woman.

LIMBAUGH: What does that make her? It makes her a slut.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, one of the co-founders of the I Vote
Campaign, Haroon Saleem, and Oscar nominated film maker Jessica Sanders,
who directed the video. Haroon, is there a single issue, a number one
issue that you think appeals to the youth vote? And is it reproductive
rights, as we just saw highlighted in the video?

HAROON SALEEM, CO FOUNDER, IVOTENATION.COM: I think it`s a number of
issues. But if you have to pick one, economy is probably up at the top.
But equality, as represented in this spot, is certainly high on that list
as well. I honestly don`t think with today`s youth, you can look at just
one issue. I think the reality is it`s a number of things.

O`DONNELL: Jessica, it`s a very powerful video. And you`re up
against some powerful stuff. Just yesterday I saw a rerun of I think it
was a 2004 "South Park" episode ridiculing voting and saying, you know,
there`s no good reason to vote, you just have two bad choices to make, why
make those choices.

So it`s not just a kind inertia. You`re up against "South Park." How
do you fight "South Park"?

JESSICA SANDERS, DIRECTOR, IVOTENATION.COM: We just wanted to
basically make a spot that was really empowering young people to vote. We
believe that there`s a current attack against women`s rights and women`s
reproductive health. And through this video really inspiring people to,
you know, vote. I think we do have a choice. And if you don`t, then other
people are actually going to make those choices on your behalf.

And we really want people to know what their choices are and to
inspire them to get out there and vote.

O`DONNELL: Haroon, what about the new voter registration laws and the
attempt around the country to limit who`s going to have access to the
polls? A lot of these voters live in one state. They go to college in
another state. They sometimes have confusion about where should they be
voting.

SALEEM: It`s certainly an issue. And I think it points to the
broader problems that we have right now. Politics is -- it`s -- when you
look at the current culture with young people, we -- we`re not moving at
their speed. We need to be moving at the speed social media travels. I
think one of the issue is, with all the various laws, that there`s so much
confusion among young people as to what they can and can`t do, that it
results in this apathy.

There was that great piece in "the New York Times" earlier this week
that highlighted a lot of the issues that young people are dealing with
right now, a -- the fact that 18 and 19-year-olds aren`t -- they don`t have
this opportunity to find jobs right now is of issue.

Things like that are what makes it tough to engage.

O`DONNELL: Co-founder of the I Vote movement, Haroon Saleem, and
Jessica Sanders get tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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