'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Guests: Charles Blow, Sean Boldt, Mayor George Gaulrapp, Cheryl Randecker
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: So team Obama is following a campaign
strategy devised by the same strategist who helped win the presidency four
years ago. And team Romney is now following the strategy of a drug addict
who flunked out of college. Anyone want to bet on who`s going to win this
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Obama campaign isn`t taking its foot off the
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The heat rises on Romney.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: The Obama campaign is keeping up its
CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: A nasty schoolyard brawl.
WAGNER: Jabbing Governor Romney on his tax returns -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This new Obama ad --
NARRATOR: What is Mitt Romney hiding?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- calls for Romney to release his tax returns.
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Another Republican now calling on Mitt
Romney to release more of his tax returns.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: Mitt, we need for you to release your
BILL KRISTOL, WEEKLY STANDARD: You should release the tax returns
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The governor`s
trying really hard to avoid answering anything.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`ve released all of my tax
returns and I think that`s the right way to go. And that`s what I would
tell Governor Romney to do.
HALL: This time, it`s Ron Paul, the former presidential candidate
said, quote, "In the scheme of things politically, it looks like releasing
tax returns is what the people want."
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve, of course, released
all the financial statements and released two years of tax returns.
Those are the two years that people are going to have.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Nobody gives a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) about those
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will not die, the taxes story and Mitt Romney.
The president will not let it.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: But there`s more!
HALL: New remarks from Mitt Romney surrogate John Sununu.
MATTHEWS: John Sununu --
HALL: The former New Hampshire governor --
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Talking about the president
not being America.
JOHN SUNUNU, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: I wish this president would learn how
to be an American.
MATTHEWS: Well, that`s an odd thing to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s all a bunch of crap.
SUNUNU: He has no idea how the American system functions.
SHARPTON: "Has no idea how the American system functions."
SUNUNU: No idea how the American system functions.
SHARPTON: Yes, except he`s in charge of it.
O`DONNELL: Today was the single worst day of the general election
campaign for Mitt Romney. Some more politically important friends of his
turned on him and that bastion of American conservatism, the "National
Review," gave him an order in an editorial entitled "Release the Returns."
The editorial said, "The Romney campaign says he has released as many
returns as candidate John Kerry did in 2004 and cites Teresa Heinz Kerry`s
refusal to release any of her tax returns. Neither is an apt comparison.
John Kerry actually released returns from 1999 through 2003 and also
released tax returns during his Senate runs.
As for Teresa Heinz, Romney isn`t the wealthy spouse of a candidate,
but the candidate himself. In 2008, John McCain released two years of
returns, but he had been filling out financial disclosure forms for decades
as a senator.
Romney protests that he is not legally obliged to release any tax
returns. Of course not. He is no longer in the realm of the private
sector, though, where he can comply with the letter of the law with the
Securities and Exchange Commission and leave it at that. Perceptions
matter. Romney may feel impatience with requirements that the political
culture imposes on a presidential candidate, that he feels are pointless
and inconvenient, but he`s a politician running for the highest office in
the land and his current posture is probably unsustainable."
The call to release the returns puts the conservative "National
Review" editorial board on exactly, exactly the same page as the liberal
political action group, MoveOn.org, whose now television ad makes its
national debut right now in a LAST WORD exclusive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MOVEON POLITICAL AD)
NARRATOR: We already know Mitt Romney was CEO of Bain Capital while
it was outsourcing good American jobs. And we already know he stashed as
much as $8 million in tax shelters on the Cayman Islands. So what is it
Mitt Romney doesn`t want us to know? Maybe it`s in the tax returns he
refuses to share, or the felony he might have committed by making false
statements about his role at Bain.
We understand, Mitt, sometimes the truth is tricky.
Tricky Mitt. He`s not a crook, right?
Moveon.org political action is responsible for the content of this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That ad will start running tomorrow in Ohio, where Mitt
Romney is scheduled to the campaign. Romney campaigned today in
Pittsburgh, where he tried to do a Donald Trump impression without ever
actually using the words, "birth certificate."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)(
ROMNEY: In the past, people of both parties understood that
encouraging achievement, encouraging success, encouraging people to lift
themselves as high as they can, encouraging entrepreneurs, celebrating
success instead of attacking it and denigrating makes America strong.
That`s the right course for this country. His course is extraordinarily
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: While Romney was visiting Pittsburgh, celebrating his
success, team Obama chose to introduce a new television ad on Pittsburgh
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m Barack Obama and I
approved this message.
NARRATOR: Tax havens, offshore accounts, carried interest. Mitt
Romney has used every trick in the book. Romney admits that over the last
two years, he`s paid less than 15 percent in taxes on $45 million in
income. Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all. We don`t
know, because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns and
won`t release anything before 2010.
ROMNEY: You know what, I`ve put out as much as we`re going to put
NARRATOR: What is Mitt Romney hiding?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president campaigned in Texas today, the home of two
more so-called friends of Mitt Romney, who have called on him to release
Governor Rick Perry, former Romney rival in the Republican primaries,
told the "Houston Chronicle," "I think anyone running for office, if they
get asked within reason to give people background about what they have been
doing, including tax returns, should do that."
And Ron Paul, who may be harboring the fantasy that the Republican
convention will turn to him if Mitt Romney`s tax returns prove more
poisonous politically said, "In the scheme of things politically, you know,
it looks like releasing tax returns is what the people want."
Joining me now are Krystal Ball, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE," and
Karen Finney, former DNC communications director and an MSNBC contributor.
Krystal, I just thing with the "National Review" editorial, this is
absolutely the worst day of the campaign so far for Mitt Romney. It`s
getting worse. Yesterday was bad, today was worse. There`s got to be a
way that I can`t see right now, but there`s got to be a way for it to be
KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": We`re hoping. We`re crossing our
I mean, it`s a disaster for him and it`s hitting him where it hurts,
which is in the Republican establishment. I would point out that this is a
problem on many levels. I mean, the story line, the narrative is a
disaster. And the fact that his Republican allies aren`t backing him up is
And it`s also a disaster when you think about Rich Lowry, who`s the
editor of the "National Review," someone who`s been pretty critical of
Romney, and has been throughout the primaries, Bill Kristol, George Will,
Charles Krauthammer, all these guys -- and, of course, Rick Perry and Ron
Paul, there`s no love lost there -- all these guys were never really
satisfied with Romney as candidate.
So it kind of indicates to me as the campaign goes on, they`re not
going to be willing to just back him up when they disagree with him. I was
recalling Rich Lowry back in March said that Romney was not going to win
the would you have a beer with him contest with Obama, he wouldn`t even win
the, would you have a chocolate milk with him contest.
So these are guys who have been critical of Romney. And I think
frankly some of them in their heart of hearts would be just as fine with
seeing him lose this time around and getting their dream Chris Christie
candidate or whoever it is in 2016.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what one of the questions that "The
National Review" -- before "The National Review" released their editorial,
they also posted an interview that they had done with them about this. So
one of the questions they asked him was: what`s the downside to releasing
your pre-2010 financial records?
And Romney`s answer is very interesting, he says, "My tax returns that
have already been released number into the hundreds of pages." OK, that`s
But then he says this, this is actually the answer, "I`m simply not
enthusiastic about giving the Obama campaign hundreds or thousands of more
pages to pick through, distort, and lie about."
And, Karen Finney, what he`s saying there is, in the thousands of
pages, there is stuff -- oh, you`re over here tonight. There is stuff that
the opposition can use against me. That`s why I don`t want to release
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: And that`s why nobody`s going
to give up on this story. Like, how stupid can you be?! I mean, come on!
But notice that he`s also trying to say, it`s not that maybe I did
some shady things, as was in the time of, you know, Dennis Kozlowski and
Enron and Tyco, where it was all about Cayman Islands accounts and
incorporating in Bermuda. No, it`s about evil Barack Obama`s campaign
coming after me for the things that I might have done.
I mean, it`s an interesting way to try to shift.
The other thing I would say, though, you guys, is the single most
important thing that I think happened today that tells us, this is working
and tells us how petrified team Romney is of this line of attack and line
of questioning, is that Dennis -- is that John Sununu went to DEFCON 1.
When you are throwing out the racist xenophobic crap, you know they`re
terrified. I mean, that is the best sign that we`ve got to keep the foot
on the gas on this one.
O`DONNELL: That was John Sununu following Rush Limbaugh`s orders
yesterday, pretty specifically. We`re actually going to get into that in
the next segment.
There`s another question that`s fascinating that they asked him in
this interview. He was asked why he had not gotten rid of his offshore
That seems like a pretty good idea. Just get rid of them. You know,
it`s not hard to do. His answer is very long, and I`m just going to scan
over some of it.
He said, "Well, first of all, all of my investments are managed in a
blind trust." Now, he has in the past said blind trusts are a joke, and
he`s right about that. There`s nothing blind about them.
And "by virtue of that, the decisions made by the trustee are the
decisions that determine where the investments are. Secondly, the so-
called offshore account in the Cayman Islands, for instance, is an account
established by a U.S. firm to allow foreign investors to invest in U.S.
enterprises and not be subject to taxes outside of their own jurisdiction."
And so, Krystal, what he`s saying there is, this is set up so that
foreign investors can avoid American taxation.
OK, Mitt. Why are you in the business of helping people avoid
BALL: Right, exactly. And to your point, I mean, he is running for
office for Pete`s sake. And he`s such a risk-averse person, that it is
shocking that he didn`t clean this up in advance, and that was the point,
actually, that George Will made as well. Why didn`t he think this through?
And I think there`s a little bit of a lack of realization of the way
that the American people perceive him. The fact that the tax fits, you
know. It`s part of this whole narrative of him as the 0.01 percent, the
guy who is the rich guy that fired you or your uncle or your aunt or your
mom or your dad. He`s the guy who`s playing by a different set of rules
that he himself rigged. And all of the tax returns with, the Bain capital
tax, the Cayman Islands, all of this goes into that narrative and it`s a
shoe that fits.
O`DONNELL: Karen, who`s how bad it looks in the polls for him on this
one. The Public Policy Poll, should Romney release the last 12 years of
his income tax returns, 65 percent of moderates say yes, 61 percent of
independents say yes.
FINNEY: You know, here`s the problem, every day, they just don`t have
a good answer. It continues to seem like they`re hiding something. And
clearly they are hiding something.
But here`s the other thing -- I wrote about this today for the Hill.
Remember again this time period. This is -- we`re talking about `99, early
2000s. We`re talking post-Enron and Tyco and WorldCom, all of these major
scandals where we learned about these very intricate schemes whereby these
1 percenters, essentially, evaded their tax obligations to this country and
set us on a path, frankly, that has damaged our economy.
So he doesn`t want to remind people, potentially, that he was part of
that. Because, remember, as Krystal just said, there`s an element of
fairness that we`re talking about here and Americans don`t like that.
O`DONNELL: Karen Finney and Krystal Ball, thank you both for joining
BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, yesterday Rush Limbaugh told team Romney what
to say about President Obama and today, as Karen Finney pointed out, today.
The Romney campaign actually said exactly what rush wanted them to. The
lies of a drug addict today officially became Romney campaign strategy.
And Rush Limbaugh`s been telling so many lies about the president in
the last couple of days that Rush is back in the "Rewrite," where I will
explain where I think all of Rush`s hatred really comes from. And what
Rush and Mitt have in common that they really don`t want you to know about.
O`DONNELL: Hard to believe, but it`s true. The Romney campaign is
now relying on the strategy advice of a drug addict who dropped out of
college because his mother said, quote, "he flunked everything." Rush
Limbaugh`s words of wisdom for the Romney campaign are next.
O`DONNELL: Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh told Mitt Romney exactly how he
should attack President Obama, and today Mitt Romney was afraid to do that
himself, so he sent crazy old John Sununu out to do it for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNUNU: He has no idea how the American system functions, and we
shouldn`t be surprised about that. Because he spent his early years in
Hawaii, smoking something, spent the next set of years in Indonesia,
another set of years in Indonesia, and frankly, when he came to the U.S.,
he worked as a community organizer, which is a socialized structure, and
then got into politics in Chicago.
There has been no experience in his life in which he`s earned a
private sector paycheck that meant anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That is the best Sununu`s memory could come up with for a
virtually word-for-word execution of exactly what Rush Limbaugh told Romney
to say yesterday on his show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: OK, Mr. Limbaugh, since you have
the answer to everything, what would you suggest that Romney do, if he`s
doing -- OK, fine! Look, pal, when I was out creating jobs, investing in
business, and growing this economy, you were at Columbia smoking weed and
snorting coke! You write about it in your book, you talk about how you got
into Columbia and Harvard law, and you didn`t have to do anything. That`s
what was great about it. You didn`t have to do anything. You had to go to
class and smoke your weed, while I was out building the country while you
were doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Needless to say, Rush noticed that the Romney campaign
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: I think Sununu has been appointed with the task of going
out and performing the duties that I am suggesting need to happen. Because
that`s -- smoking something in Hawaii? He`s doing it. Never had a
paycheck, Chicago politics. The only thing he left out was that Obama`s
been mentored, educated, bent in shape by a bunch of communists.
OBAMA: Somebody else made that happen!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It was a bumpy ride today for Sununu, who is a
cantankerous and strange man who is absolutely terrible on television
without a script. When Sununu wandered off the Limbaugh script, he said
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SUNUNU: I wish this president would learn how to be an American.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And shortly after that, the Romney campaign ordered Sununu
to apologize for those words.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
SUNUNU: I made a mistake. I shouldn`t have used those words. And I
apologize for using those words, but I don`t apologize for the idea that
this president has demonstrated that he does not understand how jobs are
created in America.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John Sununu was put out to political pasture a long time
ago, but Mitt Romney was desperate in New Hampshire this time, and he
thought Sununu, a former New Hampshire governor, could be helpful.
Sununu left his turn on the national stage in disgrace. He was the
White House chief of staff for the first President Bush. He was caught
using military jets for personal travel, including skiing trips, and was
pushed out of the White House, having failed in every recognizable job
performance measurement of a White House chief of staff.
With friends like John Sununu, Mitt Romney is headed for a life of
leisure beginning the day after the presidential election.
Joining me now are Joy Reid, TheGrio.com managing editor and MSNBC
contributor, and Charles Blow, "New York Times" columnist.
Thank you both for joining me.
Joy, you were here last night and Rush Limbaugh today picked up what
we were talking about. And actually, let`s listen to the way he
characterized the way we talked about his hateful, racist stereotyping that
you just heard in that crazy rant of yesterday. Let`s listen to what he
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: Now, last night on MSNBC, I`m told, ah, Limbaugh`s racist.
You start talking about a black guy doing drugs, that`s racist. Oh, no,
no, he wrote about it in his book. And they said, well, but Limbaugh
should know that Obama just did this to try to deal with the pain of losing
his father, that`s the only reason. It`s just racist -- Limbaugh being
racist here by bringing this up. And by the way, that is one of the
reasons Romney won`t go -- they don`t want that charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Where do we begin? The thing is, he was telling his
listeners that all of this is in President Obama`s book. It`s not. He was
making up stuff, saying this is what`s in the book, and so we were pointing
that out, and that he was using a string of racist stereotypes that he was
trying to apply to Barack Obama.
JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Yes, I mean, did he fire Bo Snerdley, the
African-American guy who sits next to him that was paid to be humiliated by
him every day as he now need new people to pick on.
You know, actually, Lawrence, this is just sad. You know, my father
was an immigrant to this country from the Congo, loved Ronald Reagan, was a
The Republican Party has officially lost its mind. They have
outsourced their entire communications and strategic operation to that guy,
to Rush Limbaugh? That`s where they want to go?
Have all the professional campaign operatives and thinkers self-
deported? I don`t understand why they would allow this man to shape their
narrative. This is a party that is joyless, that is humorless, that is
angry, that is bitter, and it`s pathetic.
O`DONNELL: Charles, what happens to the odds of President Obama
winning re-election now that Rush is officially in charge of the messaging
for the --
CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES: Rush is always going to be foaming at
the mouth, but I think -- we have to go back to the Sununu thing.
O`DONNELL: Please do.
BLOW: I just cannot -- this needs to be break this down like it needs
to be broken.
O`DONNELL: Take your time.
BLOW: As we used to say in the South, put the hay down where the
goats can get it.
Sununu is basically just tapping into this otherness idea that
persists about Barack Obama. If you look at the people who say that they
are for Romney, they`re actually not "for Romney" at all, they`re just
against Barack Obama. And a large part of those people are, as Joy was
saying, just bitter. They hate the idea of this guy.
He was, some believe, born in Hawaii, most of us, rational people, but
only 88 percent of Republicans even believe Hawaii is part of America.
The other people believe he was born in Kenya. Some people say --
then they point to the fact that he was -- he spent part of his childhood
in Indonesia. If you put a map of the world in front of them and ask them
to point to Indonesia, they couldn`t do it to save their mother`s life.
But they know it`s not England, right?
So then you get this guy with that kind of a narrative. He writes in
his own book, "The Audacity of Hope," that he was not raised in a religious
household, so he`s not Christian. His father, is, in fact, Muslim. He
comes to Christianity on his own later in his life, but they still believe
that there`s no way that he could even be Christian, right? He has this
kind of elite --
O`DONNELL: Which means, by the way, that they somehow doubt the power
of Christ. They doubt the attracting power of Christ.
BLOW: Not to this guy, right? But this guy can -- every time they
see this guy, step up to a podium behind that presidential seal, a little
bomb goes off in their minds and they think, this cannot be true. This
can`t be happening!
They`re living some sort of nightmare in which this person, Barack
Obama, has somehow tricked us! He has done something to America. This is
not how it was supposed to happen.
The ruling classes in America were supposed to continue to rule for
infinitum. This was not how it was supposed to go down. He`s not part of
one of the American dynasties. He`s not part of a rich American family.
He`s not even part of the slave legacy of America.
Who is this guy in our White House?! And that is what makes these
little bombs go off in our heads every time they see him. So they send in
Sununu, everybody`s favorite drunk uncle, out to say the things that nobody
else will say, but everybody else is thinking, which is that there is
something different about this guy.
And no matter what else you believe, whether you disagree with him on
policy or not, whether it`s a legitimate disagreement on policy, that he
is, other than you, and we must, no matter what -- whoever we put up. We
could put up, you know, Opie from the Andy Griffith show, anybody -- vote
this the guy out and get anybody other than him.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`ve got to junk the next segment, keep going
with this. We`re going to take a break right here. We`re going to come
back. We`re going to do more with Charles and Joy. Just stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: OK, so the Democrats always have
a war room, but we are not supposed to go to war. No, we`re supposed to
stay above the fray and surrender, essentially. Stay above the fray. If
we go to war -- we can`t go to war because the press will not treat us
fairly, so it doesn`t make any sense to go to war, and that`s where we are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Back with me, Joy Reid and Charles Blow. Joy, that`s a
crazy person saying that the Republicans never play tough in campaigns.
REID: Yes, I know. And they`re always treated so unfairly.
Everyone`s so mean to them. Why do they have to pick on Mitt Romney`s tax
returns? It`s mean. It`s just this victimology. And it`s just amazing to
me that they`re still playing that game.
Look, this is politics. It`s supposed to be hardball. And I think
that what the Democrats are doing is tough hardball. They`re saying to
Romney, show us your tax returns, talk about Bain, because he`s running on
Bain. Barack Obama is not running --
O`DONNELL: One second. When did tax returns become hardball? It`s a
REID: They`ve done it to themselves.
O`DONNELL: It`s just a standard thing in politics. I`m going to run,
here`s my tax returns, better get them cleaned up. You know, nothing
hardball about it.
REID: They`ve done it to themselves. That`s what I mean. It`s the
sort of de-professionalization of the Republican party. I think that
William F. Buckley Jr. would be spinning in his grave. This is not the
Republican party that used to be, you know, sort of disciplined and sort of
organized and restrained.
I think something -- the pin has come out. They`ve come a little bit
O`DONNELL: Rush has a Bain connection. Premiere Radio Networks,
which broadcasts Rush`s shows, is a subsidiary of Clear Channel, which is
owned in part by Bain Capital, which apparently owns everything in the
world that could in any way be helpful to Mitt Romney.
But Charles, Rush himself has made your point many, many times. It`s
not about Romney; Romney`s a flawed candidate. He`s said it time and
again. I think we actually have some sound bites of him doing it, but we
don`t need them. And it`s all about defeating Barack Obama, getting him
out of the White House. Rush has never made it about anything other than
BLOW: Right, right, right. And no -- Romney`s just a tool, right?
O`DONNELL: Yes! Rush is plain about that.
BLOW: He`s just thirsty. He just wants to get in so bad, he can
taste it. He just wants to get in the White House, he`ll ride any boat
that`s going in that direction. Right? So if Rush wants to throw his
weight behind Romney, Romney`s like, cool with me. If Sununu wants to come
out babbling at the mouth about nonsense, cool with me.
Anybody who will get me closer to the White House, Romney will go that
way. If I have to turn my back on policies and positions that I have taken
my entire life, I will do that. Because I want to make it to the White
House. Everything that Mitt Romney does is in opposition to everything
that Mitt Romney has ever believed. And he will do that.
O`DONNELL: A guy who`s prepared to renounce his position on pro-
choice, that he learned from his mother, that`s who we`re talking about.
BLOW: Listen, he would renounce being a sentient being on the planet
if it would get him into the White House. This is the kind of man that
Mitt Romney is. This does not have a soul. If you opened up his chest,
there`s probably a gold ticking watch in there and not even a heart. This
is not a person.
This is just a robot who will do whatever it takes, whatever he`s told
to do, to make it to the White House. And he will take whatever push in
the back from whatever nasty person is pushing him, and move him further in
that direction. That is the person who we are putting up against Barack
Obama and who has a good chance of making it, if the wealthy old man with
all the big checks will write enough big checks, if the voter suppression
efforts work, if enough people do not tune into what he`s saying and the
fact that he keeps flipping positions, the fact that he will not tell the
truth, the fact that he will not come clean about whether or not he left
Bain or was still involved with Bain, the fact that he will not tell the
truth or release the truth on tax forms, to let us know, did you even pay
O`DONNELL: Which is now a very fair question.
BLOW: It`s a legitimate question.
O`DONNELL: But you know, this is important, but I think just one
quick point that I think is important to make too, because Republican --
you know, the most insidious thing John Sununu thing said was, can Barack
Obama learn to be an American? John Sununu was born in Havana, Cuba.
Clearly he considers himself an American and we consider him an American.
He`s a naturalized American.
Somebody like Piyush Jindal, who calls himself Bobby, but whose
parents came to America six months before he was born, is not an American?
Absolutely, he`s an American, 100 percent.
Marco Rubio, whose parents were born in Cuba, is he not an America?
Yes, absolutely. Myself, first generation American. Am I not an American?
The Republican party has made being a conservative the litmus test for
whether or not you are an American. That, in and of itself, is un-
O`DONNELL: I the did not know that Sununu was born in Cuba, and you
point out that --
BLOW: I was going to --
O`DONNELL: He refers to Hawaii as if it`s a foreign country.
BLOW: As if it`s a foreign country. He came to this country from a
foreign country, but he is questioning the Americanism of Barack Obama.
O`DONNELL: I would love to be at that Romney meeting yesterday when
they got the orders from Limbaugh and they said, OK, we might as well try
REID: Let`s go for it.
O`DONNELL: Who should we send out there to do this mad thing? It`s
got to be someone we don`t need. It`s got to be someone we can cut loose
and say good-bye to forever. How about John Sununu.
REID: And that`s what`s so shameful too, because he did have a
political career that was a failure, and that`s why they`re using him.
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Charles Blow, thank you very much for joining
me tonight, and illuminating these issues.
Coming up, with all of Mitt Romney`s talk of cracking down on China
stealing our jobs, an Illinois town is giving him the chance to save their
jobs, the jobs that Bain Capital is trying to move to China. That`s coming
O`DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh is back in the Rewrite tonight for something
he said yesterday that cries out for just a little more attention. And
Rush has obviously been saying so many insane things lately, that as you`ve
seen, it`s been hard for us to keep up. You`ll remember this bit of
coaching he gave Mitt Romney yesterday about what to say to President
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIMBAUGH: You loved getting into Columbia because all you had to do
was go to class, get your grades and smoke a little weed, while I was out
building the country when you were doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Rush Rewrites the personal histories of both Barack Obama
and Mitt Romney in that little exultation to Mitt Romney. He says Romney
was out building the country when Barack Obama was in college. Not one day
of Mitt`s life has been spent building the country. Mitt has built nothing
other than his personal wealth.
And why didn`t Rush talk about what Mitt did during his college years?
It turns out Mitt spent his college years the same way Rush did, doing
everything he possibly could to avoid military service in the Vietnam War.
Rush got a student deferment from the draft for a couple of semesters he
did in college before flunking out.
Then Rush says that when the draft was moved to a lottery system, he
got a high number and was never called for service. Rush said, quote, "I
made no effort to evade or avoid it." Rush, who has never met an American
war he did not support, also made no effort to join the military without
being drafted. And like Rush, Mitt never tried to join the military
without being drafted during the Vietnam War, even though Mitt participated
in a demonstration in favor of the draft and in favor of the Vietnam War,
when he was in his first year of college.
Like Rush, Mitt left college after his first year, but unlike Rush, he
returned to college a few years later, after completing three years of
Mormon missionary service in France. Mitt was in favor of young American
men his age being drafted and sent to their deaths, as long as he wasn`t
one of them, and as long as his religion was the only -- the only religion
in America that had a special draft deferment for young Mormon men who went
out into the world, ringing doorbells, trying to get converts to Mormonism.
Now, if young Catholic men or men of any other religion wanted to ring
doorbells looking for converts to their religion, they certainly could do
that. But their local draft boards would still call them in and ship them
off to Vietnam to die. So Rush is outraged that during Barack Obama`s
college years, he may have smoked a little weed, as Rush puts it, something
that most college students do.
But Rush was never outraged, nor should he have been, that George W.
Bush smoked a little weed when he was a young man, and wouldn`t ever, ever
answer questions about whether he used cocaine, but did admit to being an
alcoholic. So smoking a little weed, maybe doing cocaine, and actually
being an alcoholic are completely cool with Rush, as long as it`s a
Republican we`re talking about.
But Barack Obama smoking a little weed should be something that is
used against him, should disqualify him from the presidency. Rush is, of
course, lying about this. Rush doesn`t think there`s anything wrong with
smoking a little weed in college. Rush completely understands that choice,
just as he understands much more intense relationships with illicit drugs,
like his own relationship with drugs.
Rush Limbaugh is a drug addict, a drug addict whose habit got him in
trouble with the law, a drug addict whose high-priced lawyers made a deal
to get him into rehab, to avoid prosecution on a drug felony that he was
Rush Limbaugh hates Barack Obama. He hates him. His hatred infuses
every syllable he seethes about the president. But the only person who
Rush could possibly hate more than Barack Obama is Rush Limbaugh.
Rush is a daily public display of self-loathing like nothing we have
ever seen. Rush called Bill Clinton a draft dodger more times than we can
count. Rush hated Bill Clinton too. He hated him. And knew every second
that he was calling Clinton a draft dodger that he himself was a draft
dodger. Rush hates Barack Obama and hates that Barack Obama smoked a
little weed. And Rush knows that he himself is a drug addict, that drugs
had complete control over Rush`s life.
Rush Limbaugh hates draft dodgers. He hates drug addict. And Rush
Limbaugh is both a draft dodger and a drug addict. Anyone with that much
self-loathing coursing through him every minute of his life is a worthy
subject of our pity. Imagine -- imagine the constant agony of being Rush
Limbaugh. You see him sometimes shaking in his chair with hatred, as if
he`s doing everything he possibly can to get out all the hatred in him.
But there`s more hatred in there than Rush can ever get out, and
that`s the hatred that has him shaking in that chair. He is an enraged
prisoner of that hatred. And that hatred, the hatred that he can never,
ever get out, is his tragic hatred of himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, Governor
Romney, his main calling card for running for office is his business
experience. And so, understandably, the American people have been asking,
well, let`s find out what you`ve been doing.
And you know, if your main experience is in investing in companies
that are called pioneers of outsourcing, then that indicates that we`ve got
a different vision. Because I don`t want to be a pioneer of outsourcing.
I want to be a pioneer of insourcing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney may not be running Bain anymore, but he still
makes millions of dollars every year in his investments -- from his
investments in Bain Capital. In his 2011 disclosure, Mitt Romney reported
Bain assets between 12 and 60 million dollars, which gives him as much as
nine million dollars in income, possibly more. In 2011, the blind trust --
so-called blind trust for his wife, Ann, held at least another 10 million
in Bain assets, and possibly much more, which generates an income of at
least another four million dollars.
Mitt Romney`s continued investment in Bain is why 170 people who work
for a company called Sensada in Freeport, Illinois, are asking Mitt Romney
to step in and stop Bain from shipping their jobs to China. This is at
least the second time Bain has shipped jobs from that company abroad, since
buying it in 2006.
Joining me now from Freeport, Illinois, Cheryl Randecker, who has
worked at Sensada for 33 years, Shawn Boldt, a member of the Freeport City
Council, and George Gaulrapp, the mayor of Freeport.
Cheryl, when did you find out that your job that you`ve had for 33
years might be moved by Bain to China?
CHERYL RANDECKER, LOSING JOB TO OUTSOURCING: We found out two days
after they signed the papers, when they bought it from Honeywell. And they
told us within three minutes of the first initial meeting that we were
being outsourced to China, Mexico, and Malaysia.
O`DONNELL: And in the city council, you passed a resolution saying
the city of Freeport supports the Sensada workers and calls on Mitt Romney
to come to Freeport to meet the people directly affected by Bain Capital`s
outsourcing, to step in and stop the outsourcing of these jobs from
Freeport to China. Councilman Boldt, why did you target and mention Mitt
Romney in that resolution?
SHAWN BOLDT, FREEPORT, ILLINOIS, COUNCIL MEMBER: Well, with the ties
to Bain, we would like to think that he may be in a unique opportunity to
actually be able to make a difference at this point. And I think the
opportunity for him to be able to step in and demonstrate how he`s going to
lead is a perfect opportunity for him to step up and make a difference
right now, and let us know, or let us see the vision for his presidency.
O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, not all owners or investors in Bain are equal.
Mitt Romney is the first among them that Bain would listen to. He used to
run the place. If Mitt Romney went to Bain and said, look, in order to
continue to make the hundreds of millions and billions of dollars that Bain
has made over the years, do we really have to send these jobs off, can`t
you hold off on this, wouldn`t you expect Bain to listen to Mitt Romney
saying that to them?
GEORGE GAULRAPP, MAYOR, FREEPORT, ILLINOIS: Oh, absolutely. He`s the
one that created the model that sent jobs overseas. And we`d love to see
Mitt Romney and President Obama come to Freeport and actually go to the
Lincoln Douglas debate site and have a debate on outsourcing, on how
terrible it is for the country, and what they`re going to do, not do from
the podium, but come and meet the people and see the lives they affect and
how they`re going to positively make changes to keep jobs here in Freeport,
Illinois, and in our country.
O`DONNELL: Cheryl, if you and the mayor and the city council can`t
stop Bain from doing this, what`s going to happen to you when your job goes
RANDECKER: Well, I will be forced to go back to school, along with a
lot of my other coworkers. I`m trying to find a job in the area. When
everything seems to be going the direction of the east coast, overseas. So
it`s a hard time, just like it is all over the country. But I think Mitt
Romney can probably stop it all and change the practice, because after all,
he did create Bain Capital.
O`DONNELL: And what about your family, Cheryl. How would it affect
them to lose your income that you`re bringing in now from that company?
RANDECKER: OK, I am a single parent. So my daughter to school,
college, she`s -- she had to come back to go to the community college here
in Freeport and she`s working as well, part-time, so she`s going to prolong
her education, to finish it, so she can get a better job. But it`s
basically -- it`s just going to be hard making the month-to-month bills, to
O`DONNELL: Cheryl, how many days left do you have at the company if
Bain goes through with its plan?
RANDECKER: They`re saying that we will be out by the 1st of November.
Things may be moving quicker, but that`s the date that they`ve gave us so
O`DONNELL: Mr. Mayor, I think you can explain to Mitt Romney what it
will look like to see these workers thrown out of there a couple of days
before the election?
GAULRAPP: Well, it`s a terrible thing, it really is. We see the
faces each and every day. As the mayor, I`m on the street. I see people
at the restaurants, the church, school activities. I know them by name.
Most mayors across the nation know a lot of their citizens by name and how
a job loss like this would really affect them. It`s a terrible thing. The
worst thing here is they`re quality workers. They`re productive workers.
They`re educated and they`re smart and they have great work ethic.
O`DONNELL: Mayor Gaulrapp, Sean Boldt and Cheryl Randecker of
Freeport, Illinois, thank you all for joining me tonight. And good luck.
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