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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

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Guests: Callum Borchers, Ezra Klein, Karen Finney, Jim Graves

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The new NBC News/"Wall Street Journal" poll
shows that Mitt Romney`s lies about President Obama are not working.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Politics is back in the mud pit.

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Back to the campaign trail, and back on
the attack.

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: This is a big election.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Earlier today, Governor
Romney was at it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a choice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney will speak to the veterans of foreign
wars.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: General Mitt Romney.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The 21st century can and
must be an American century.

MATTHEWS: General in this case is an armchair general.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: He has not been specific.

ROMNEY: It`s our duty to steer it under the path of freedom and peace
and prosperity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama`s foreign policy has been much stronger than
anticipated by conservatives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats are supposedly weak.

OBAMA: The United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama
bin Laden.

ROMNEY: I am not ashamed of American power.

OBAMA: Earlier today, Governor Romney was at it again.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There you go again.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Reagan.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Good morning! This is what
victory looks like!

MATTHEWS: Michele Bachmann finally has company.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Newt Gingrich is defending Michele Bachmann.

MATTHEWS: Newt Gingrich rushes to defend her in her charge --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Against Secretary of State Clinton`s top aide,
Huma Abedin.

MATTHEWS: That radical Muslims may have infiltrated the United States
government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "There weren`t allegations, there was a question."

RON REAGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What is that about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he`s off-base.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Bachmann`s inquiry is justified.

RON REAGAN: If they were not making an accusation about her, what was
her name doing in that letter?

WAGNER: How long can they sustain this?

BACHMANN: This is what victory looks like!

MATTHEWS: See the world that we`re living in here!

BACHMANN: Oh, my goodness! Yes!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, a just-released NBC News/"Wall Street Journal"
poll shows President Obama widening his lead over Mitt Romney, among
registered voters nationally. President Obama leads Mitt Romney by six
points, 49 to 43 percent. Last month, President Obama led Mitt Romney by
three points among registered voters.

In the 12 swing states most likely to determine the outcome of the
election, President Obama now leads Mitt Romney by eight points, 49 percent
to 41 percent. That lead is unchanged from last month when the president
led Romney by eight points in the swing states.

Today, Mitt Romney made presidential campaign history. He is the very
first Vietnam War draft dodger who urged other men his age to go to Vietnam
instead of him. He is the first one of that particular rare species of
Vietnam draft dodger to speak to the Veterans of Foreign Wars as a
presidential candidate.

Romney did not begin his speech with an apology or explanation for his
draft dodging, nor did he include an apology to the Veterans of Foreign
Wars for saying that his sons didn`t need to consider joining the military
during wartime because they were serving their country by hanging around
with dad while he campaigned for president in 2008.

Instead, Mitt Romney simply lied about the commander-in-chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: In dealings with other nations, he has given trust where it
is not earned, insult where it was not deserved, and apology where it is
not due. I am an unapologetic believer in the greatness of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Foreign policy happens to be one of the six issues that
President Obama leads Mitt Romney on, according to the new NBC News poll.
The president also leads Romney on which candidate would better handle
Afghanistan, as well as health care, Medicare, taxes, and immigration.
Mitt Romney does have a lead over the president on one of the seven issues
polled, dealing with the economy.

Today, the Republican Party continued its campaign of lies against the
president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you`ve got a business, that -- you didn`t build that.
Somebody else made that happen.

ANNOUNCER: The Republican National Committee is responsible for the
content of this advertising.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Here, once again, and possible not for the last time, is
what the president actually said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system
that we have, that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and
bridges. If you`ve got a business, that -- you didn`t build that.
Somebody else made that happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, team Obama released this ad in six swing states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Those ads, taking my words about small business out of
context, they`re flat-out wrong. Of course Americans build their own
businesses. Every day, hardworking people sacrifice to meet a payroll,
create jobs, and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to
stand behind them, as America always has, by investing in education and
training, roads and bridges, research and technology.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC`s Krystal Ball and Chris Cillizza.
He is the author of "The Gospel According to The Fix: An Insider`s Guide to
a Less Than Holy World of Politics". That`s in stores now.

Let`s listen to Rush Limbaugh`s take on taking President Obama out of
context.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: There`s no taking Obama out of context. In context,
Obama`s mad. In context, he`s mad -- you didn`t do anything on your own!
Who do you think you are! You`re no smarter than anybody else!

There`s a resentment for achievement. There is a resentment for
success. It is a resentment for success and achievement that all
intellectuals feel toward capitalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Krystal, there`s a very mad Rush Limbaugh accusing the
never-mad Barack Obama of being mad about, I don`t know what, exactly. But
that the Republican Party has aligned itself with the Rush interpretation
of, hey, you never need context, just use any words you want at any time.

BALL KRYSTAL, MSNBC HOST: Grab anything you can possibly use in a
political context, no matter if it`s what he actually said, no matter if he
was quoting John McCain, it really doesn`t matter if it benefits us
politically. I mean, that`s the mentality.

And the thing that I think is strange here is the concept that we
benefit as a nation from our institutions, from our infrastructure, from
having an education system. That`s not a particularly controversial
concept. But I feel like Republicans have taken a sort of basic
understanding that we used to have in this country about the fact that
those things are good, about the fact that when we pledge -- when we decide
to spend money and we have to increase the debt ceiling, that`s what we`re
going to do. About the fact that, yes, we should have a Department of
Education.

They`ve taken all those things that we used to kind of have a common
understanding about, and said, you know, we don`t agree with that, and just
sort of thrown out that old understanding. And that`s what`s so strange to
me about this, is, we`re all scratching our heads going, yes, tax cuts
decrease revenue.

This basic understanding seems to be lost among them.

O`DONNELL: OK, let`s dig deeper into the NBC News poll that`s just
been released, especially the positive negatives. We have President Obama
with a 49 positive rating and a 43 negative. That`s his highest negative
so far. Mitt Romney a 35 positive and a 40 negative.

BALL: Ouch.

O`DONNELL: That is a net negative.

Chris Cillizza, the Republicans have never had a nominee that has had
a net negative rating like this. That means Bob Dole`s rating was better
than this, John McCain`s rating was better than this.

Here`s Mitt Romney with a rating that we`ve literally -- we`ve never
seen this in our politics before.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Lawrence, and I would also
add, it`s not new. Romney, since becoming the nominee, even before
becoming the nominee, has struggled with the fact that his unfavorable
ratings were higher than his favorable ratings. I would point at that
poll, though, both of them with unfavorable ratings in the 40s.

Look, people always say, ah, this campaign, these negative ads, they
don`t work. They do, in fact work. You can see it by those numbers.
Forty-three percent of the public views the president of the United States
unfavorably, 40 percent views Mitt Romney unfavorably.

Negative ads do work. What we have seen over the last 2 1/2 months is
basically a political slap fight, for lack of a better word. I would like
to think that after Aurora, Colorado, we might see something different, but
I don`t want to sound the cynical note, but we will not. This will be
business as usual, again. I will sound cynical.

BALL: It doesn`t work!

CILLIZZA: It, in fact, does work. You know, I think what we`re
headed toward here, looking at those numbers and looking at the tenor of
the campaign over the last 2 1/2, three months, I think we`re looking
toward a kind of lowest common denominator, you know, race to the bottom
campaign, where it`s similar to `04, where you`re going to see a very
narrow margin no matter who wins, and both sides are going to come out of
this with voters really having a bad taste in their mouth about them, which
is again about the worst thing possible for democracy, but I think where we
are looking at that poll and looking at where I think it tells you where
we`re going to had, that`s where we`re headed.

BALL: And it`s also a campaign about energizing the base, which I
think is another parallel there, where these sorts of nasty campaigns tend
to turn off more independent voters, and they`re really about energizing
your side.

And going back to that Rush Limbaugh clip that you played earlier,
Lawrence, I mean, that`s feeding into that same get people riled up, so
that they`ll turn out.

CILLIZZA: And just very quickly, Lawrence and Krystal. One other
thing to note is just the tiny sliver of people, an NBC/"Wall Street
Journal" poll, a tiny sliver of people are actually undecided.

BALL: Undecided, yes.

CILLIZZA: I mean, it`s literally you`re going to see $2 billion,
probably more, spent at the end of the day on 5 percent to 6 percent,
maybe, of the population. It`s not even that much, because we`re talking
about eight to 10 swing states where all that money`s going to be spent. I
would like to see how much money is ultimately spent per-undecided voter.

O`DONNELL: Chris, I always watch the negatives in polls. I feel that
they usually tell you more than what the positives do about the polls, and
that`s why I`ve been so fixated on Mitt Romney`s negatives and the fact
that he`s in a net negative position, which is something we`ve never seen
before. I mean, it`s a worse condition than anything we`ve seen.

It`s pretty normal in our past elections for the candidates to the
each have a negative about 40 by the time you get down to that general
election voting, but we`ve run them up this time around sooner than we have
in the past. They haven`t reached these levels quite this early in the
campaign before.

And I guess that`s because we haven`t seen all of this kind of
negative campaigning this early in the campaign. But is it possible, I
mean, just as a math exercise, would you ever bet on a candidate who had a
net negative, where his positive was 35 and his negative was 40? There`s
nothing that could get me to bet on one of those candidates.

CILLIZZA: I understand that calculation. I think it`s worth noting.
But let me just postulate this, Lawrence -- I would not, in any campaign,
if you gave me two candidates and you said one is under water, in the
parlance of kind of politics, that their unfavorable is higher than their
favorable, I would say that person normally loses, except when there is a
single dominant issue on which the other candidate is struggling.

At some point, Mitt Romney has to make an affirmative case for
himself. There is no question about that. The likes of Eric Cantor, John
Boehner, they have all said, he can`t just win by saying he`s not Barack
Obama.

But I would say that he can get darned close to winning in an economy
like this, where you have a majority of people who don`t believe President
Obama has handled the economy well. He can get darned close to winning
with a pure negative message, because it`s about Barack Obama, not about
Lawrence -- not about Lawrence O`Donnell?

BALL: It`s really about Lawrence O`Donnell, is the bottom line.

CILLIZZA: -- not about President Obama.

(LAUGHTER)

O`DONNELL: Krystal, do you think it`s possible for someone with a net
negative like that to win the presidency in November?

BALL: I don`t. And the other thing here is, yes, it`s about the
economy, no question about it, but there`s also another piece here, which
is concern about the middle class. And one thing that also came out in
this poll is a lot of deep concern about the middle class and the future of
the middle class and on that issue, President Obama is very strong.

And just quickly, one other thing that sort of grabbed me is they
asked the question, do you -- is there anyone out there who doesn`t like
the president, but likes his policies? There was nobody who fell into that
camp, essentially, for the president. But there were quite a few people,
12 percent, who said they don`t like Mitt Romney, but they like his
policies.

And it`s just hard for -- it seems like a very strange place for a
human to be, to be pulling the lever on Election Day with a guy that they
really actually don`t like.

O`DONNELL: Chris Cillizza, author of "The Gospel According to the
Fix", and Krystal Ball -- thank you both for joining me tonight.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, it`s the bat crap crazy wing of the Republican
Party against what`s left of the establishment wing of the Republican Party
-- Michele Bachmann versus John McCain. And Newt Gingrich has picked his
side.

And later, you`ll meet the man trying to bring sanity to the sixth
congressional district in Minnesota by running against Michele Bachmann.

And in the "Rewrite," the biggest lie the NRA tells is about freedom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The campaign of secrets and lies has a lot more secrets
than we thought. It turns out the records of Mitt Romney`s period running
the Olympic Games have been destroyed. Big, big surprise, huh?

Well, now we might never know exactly how much work he was doing for
Bain while he was running the Olympics. The reporter who broke that story
joins me next.

And a LAST WORD exclusive: The anti-Bachmann. The candidate who`s
trying to end the reign of crazy in the sixth congressional district in
Minnesota. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In addition to his secret tax returns, foreign bank
accounts, and his questionable retirement for Bain Capital, Mitt Romney is
now hiding the facts about something else. He used to claim to be proud of
that something else.

"The Boston Globe" headlined today, Romney`s `02 Olympics short on
transparency, despite pledge, records destroyed. The article says Mitt
Romney promised complete transparency when he took charge of the scandal-
plagued Salt Lake City Olympics, a pledge that included access to his own
correspondence and plans for an extensive public archive of documents
related to the Games, but now archivists say now most key records about the
Games` internal workings were destroyed under the supervision of a staffer
shortly after the flame was extinguished at Olympic Cauldron Park, after
Romney had returned to Massachusetts.

Of course, when the Romney campaign was asked to explain, once again,
it all came down to when did Mitt resign?

"Mitt Romney resigned from SLOC in early 2002 to run for governor of
Massachusetts and was not involved in the decision making regarding the
final can disposition of records."

Joining me now, Cal Borchers is one of the writers of "The Boston
Globe" article and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones"
magazine and an MSNBC contributor.

Cal, what could we have expected to learn from the records of the
Olympics that would be somehow helpful to the presidential campaign,
helpful to our understanding of Mitt Romney`s resume, helpful to our
understanding of his interaction with Bain, when he was at the Olympics?

CALLUM BORCHERS, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Well, the biggest thing was one
that you mentioned, Lawrence, which would give us maybe some idea of
whether he retained some more involvement with Bain Capital than what we
know right now. Something like his personal calendar, or some of his
personal correspondence, e-mails, those sorts of things. It might have
given us some idea of whether he was sort of juggling two positions or
whether he was really focused entirely on the Olympics, as he has claimed.

O`DONNELL: David Corn, a big surprise, another Mitt Romney
enterprise, and all the records that we`d like to look at tonight are
missing.

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: It`s shocking, isn`t it? Who would have
thought? Who could have guessed? Who would have speculated? In your
wildest imagination, you could not conceive of this, right, Lawrence?
Well, it happens that just a few days ago, we at "Mother Jones" put
together a list of things that Mitt Romney is hiding.

And that includes not just the Olympic records, but also his bundlers.
He doesn`t tell us who his bundlers are, his e-mails and correspondence
when he was governor. They were destroyed. In fact, he had his own people
buy their own hard drives and put them God knows where so there was though
way you could access them afterwards.

Even letters between him and his dad seem to be missing from the
George Romney archives.

And of course, don`t forget those tax returns, his offshore tax
havens, and his IRA. So there`s a lot that he`s hid hiding. So the
Olympic flame doesn`t cast much light anywhere on Mitt Romney`s past.

O`DONNELL: And then there`s the question of, who profited from the
Olympics? There`s a lot of contractors, there was a lot of money made in
the Olympics. There`s a lot of money raised for it.

And they attack -- you know, they like to attack President Obama for
what they call crony capitalism, but the state of Utah spent $59 million,
the federal government spent $342 million in direct aid, another $1 billion
in indirect aid, infrastructure, city improvements, road building, road
improvements.

And we now, cal, those e-mails, those, you know, thank you, Mitt, for
the contract e-mails, would be awfully interesting to look at today.

BORCHERS: Yes, potentially. I mean, obviously, Mitt Romney`s
connections that he had at Bain Capital was one of the reasons why he was
such a good CEO for the Olympics, right?

I mean, remember, they were really embroiled in this huge bidding
scandal, in which members of the Salt Lake City Bid Committee had given
cash bribes among other things to IOC members, to try to lure the Games to
Salt Lake in the first place. That was a big clout and a lot of sponsors
were either backing out or unwilling to chip in some money in the first
place.

And so, Mitt Romney was able to use some of his business connections
to make that happen.

The question that some folks have, though, is whether some of the
companies that signed on as sponsors then got business after the fact, and
if Mitt Romney was on the board, did he benefit personally from that? Does
that constitute a conflict of interest? Some of those relationships may
have gained a little bit extra light if these documents had not been
destroyed.

O`DONNELL: And David Corn, Mitt Romney has said that as he was gazing
out at the mountains in Utah, he was thinking about, where should I run for
office? Should I run in Utah? Should I run in Massachusetts? And here he
is, dealing with these contractors doling out millions of dollars to them.

Surely, he might be thinking about, oh, what about fund-raising for
these campaigns? Who among these contractors might want to contribute to
me?

CORN: There could be lots of -- I`m not saying anything illegal, but
shady connections. There are stories that have come out about no-bid
agreements that he pushed through, you know, there`s the question whether
some of that infrastructure money was taken advantage of for people, for
not -- for purposes that went beyond the Olympics.

And, of course, he has said in the past that he didn`t take any
advantage, he only took -- he only sought federal funds for terrorism and
anti-terrorism and security measures, after 9/11. But it really seems like
he was going, you know, the whole hog in trying to get the federal
government to come in and pay for a lot of this stuff, some of which might
not have been used entirely properly.

O`DONNELL: Before we go, we have to listen to this promise Mitt
Romney made in 2000. He said this at the National Press Club, talking
about exactly these records.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Our board meetings and committee meetings are open. The
press attends all of them. And for that matter, all the documents inside
our organization are available to the public. Simply submit a form saying
which documents you want. For instance, I want to see all the letters
written by Mr. Romney to Mr. Samarage (ph). You`ll get them all.

It takes us about 20 days to have the people go through and get those
things, but we collect them and provide them to any citizen who wants to
have them. Ethical conduct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Cal, you tried to get them and they weren`t there. How
surprised were you when you started digging on this one?

BORCHERS: Well, what we found, Lawrence, were some correspondence
between the salt lake organizing committee and some reporters at the time,
who were trying to get their hands on some documents. Many of their
requests were accommodated just fine, but in other cases they were denied
access to documents that they believe should have been covered by the open
records policy.

Now, remember, this was not a public body, so they`re not actually
subject to public records laws. The organizing committee could withhold
legally anything they chose, but Mitt Romney had promised to operate wide
out in the open.

And another thing too that a lot of reporters seem to have had some
trouble with was the cost associated. So when you wanted to look up some
documents, it cost $25 per hour for a researcher, so that became quite an
expense in some cases.

O`DONNELL: Cal Borchers and David Corn, thanks for joining me
tonight.

CORN: Sure thing.

BORCHERS: A pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Michele Bachmann has gone too far for the
Republican establishment and now, it`s Bachmann versus John McCain. And
guess whose side Newt Gingrich is on?

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, the NRA continues to fight for freedom.
The freedom for American mass murderers to not have to reload before firing
a hundred bullets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s episode of "Off the Cliff!" stars Jackie in
Santa Clarita, California, calling into C-Span to talk to Congressman Chris
Van Hollen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CALLER: My biggest question is, with the Grover Norquist`s taxing and
going over the cliff, if you`ve ever watched Lawrence O`Donnell on MSNBC,
he`s encouraging everyone to go over the cliff, because that will do away
with the Bush tax cuts and then everybody will be able to vote to lower the
tax rates like Grover Norquist likes? Could you talk about the idea of
going over the cliff, as being a good idea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With respect to the fiscal cliff, what we`ve said
is that we prefer to act now, but Republicans hold the keys to this lock in
their hands. As soon as they decide not to hold the 98 percent hostage to
the two percent, we can move forward.

It`s true that at the end of this year, by law, all those tax cuts
expire. And so you`d be sort of starting from a new base line. You`d be
starting from scratch. But I should just emphasize, again, we hope we
don`t get to that point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Great work by Jackie in Santa Clara, calling C-Span this
morning. And we have some new designs for our Off The Cliff campaign
buttons. Nicholas Smith (ph) from Glendale, California sent us two
versions of his button. Benjamin Pendleton (ph) from Spotswood, New
Jersey, sent us these. And John Catelfamo (ph) of Albany, New York, sent
us this one with the Thelma and Louise touch.

For an explanation of what happens if our government goes Off the
Cliff on New Year`s Eve, you can go to our website, TheLastWord.MSNBc.com.

Coming up, team Bachmann calls John McCain numb-nuts. The Republican
party`s having some big problems uniting before their convention.

Whose side is Mitt Romney on? Numb-nuts or the bat crap crazy side?

And in the Rewrite, how Wayne LaPierre and the National Rifle
Association support the freedom of American mass murderers to use the
weapons of their choice over your freedom to pursue life, liberty, and
happiness.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look at the
skirmishes with these five members of Congress, who ask a very practical
question. What is the impact of the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S.
government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you share that concern?

GINGRICH: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And so Newt Gingrich has once again decided to align
himself with the bat crap crazy wing of the Republican party and its out-
of-control leader, Michele Bachmann. So far, it`s Newt, Michele and four
Republican House members, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney and
Lynn Westmoreland, against the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
John Boehner, the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, and
Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and a number of other
Republican lawmakers.

Here`s Senator McCain speaking for the establishment Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: To say that the accusations made in
both documents are not substantiated by the evidence they offer is to be
overly polite and diplomatic about it. It is far better and more accurate
to talk straight. These allegations about Huma Abedin and the report from
which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded
attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American, and a loyal public
servant.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Karen Finney, former DNC communications
director and MSNBC political analyst, and Sam Stein, political editor and
White House correspondent for the "Huffington Post."

Karen, this is the time when the Republican party comes together,
where they hold hands and sound united and sing the same tunes on the way
to their convention, except, of course, for former presidential candidate,
who actually thought she was going to be the nominee of that convention,
Michele Bachmann. And then crazy former candidate Newt Gingrich sides with
the crazies, and things are looking messy for that convention.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, indeed, they are. And I
have to tell you, Lawrence, it`s good to see some of these Republicans come
out and be very forceful against what Michele Bachmann has had to say, but
I am going to enjoy watching other Republicans have to distance themselves
from those remarks, or associate themselves with those remarks.

Because, I mean, as you said, I mean, it is really out of line, what
she said. And particularly, to make that kind of comment about someone who
is in a position where she can`t really fight back for herself, not to
mention, as I mentioned in a column that I wrote this week, it actually has
now spread to -- I mean, this is part of the reason that the secretary of
state`s motorcade was pelted with shoes and tomatoes.

So it`s not just playing nasty otherness, you know, xenophobic
politics here in the United States. But there`s now also an implication
abroad. And it`s a danger to the United States.

O`DONNELL: Well, crazy Louis Gohmert was on a radio show today and
decided he -- it was time to tell John McCain what he really thinks of him.
So let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: Well, it`s obviously that John McCain
didn`t even read the letter because of what he said in accusing Michele and
us of making these horrible allegations. Well, no, there were five
letters, and there were many things that are stated that are facts in each
letter. And I wish that some of these numb-nuts would go out there and
read the letter before they make these horrible allegations about the
horrible accusations we`re making.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, whose side is Mitt Romney going to pick? Numb-
nuts` side or those -- Louie Gohmert`s side.

EZRA KLEIN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think Romney will side with
numb-nuts on this one. Clearly this is a -- you know, one of these types
of distractions that the Mitt Romney campaign would love nothing more than
just to go away. The problem is that there is a faction within the
Republican party, including some respected names within Republican circles
-- I mean, Newt Gingrich, I know he`s a little bit dated, but he still was
a possible presidential candidate.

I mean, these people are latching on to the theory. I read John
Bolton, an informal adviser to the Romney campaign, gave it a little bit of
credence today. So it`s not like these are just strictly, you know, fringe
conservatives latching on here. We`re having some legitimate names.

And I think if you`re Mitt Romney, it`s like you have to go out and
tell these people, let this recede into the sunset. Let`s not talk about
this. This is bizarre. It`s McCarthyism. And it doesn`t help my campaign
at all.

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, who among the Republican candidates for
president who lost to Mitt Romney can be allowed near a microphone at the
Republican convention?

FINNEY: Not a single one. Because as we know, Donald Trump is in the
bat crap crazy camp, because he, as you know, Mr. Birther, which is the
same kind of otherness, silliness that we see here. I can`t think of
anyone that`s not going to have something crazy to say, or something that,
as Sam points out, is going to be a real distraction from what Mitt Romney
wants to say.

But on a serious note on some of thesis comments, I mean, remember
that Newt Gingrich was also talking about the fear of the spread of Sharia
Law, Islamic fundamentalism and Sharia Law, in this country. And we`ve
seen a number of states that have actually, thanks to Frank Gaffney`s
madness, introduced laws banning Sharia Laws in their state.

So there is a part of the Republican party and conservative who are
akin to believe some of these things. So you know, we all think it`s
crazy, but there is a real dog whistle element to this that I think we
should not let these guys off the hook on. Because it`s just completely
inappropriate.

O`DONNELL: I think of the former candidates, Tim Pawlenty can still
stand up there without embarrassing them. And if they`d keep Rick Perry on
the prompter, come on, that can work.

Karen Finney and Sam Stein, thank you both very much for joining me
tonight.

STEIN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, in a LAST WORD exclusive, the man who`s running
against one of the craziest members of Congress in history. Can he beat
Michele Bachmann?

And the head of the NRA supports a mass murderer`s freedom to shoot
over your right to life. That`s in the Rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Rewrite, freedom. The defenders of movie
theater mass murderers` right to use 100-round ammunition clips on their
assault rifles insist that the 100-round clip is the very definition of
American freedom. Wayne LaPierre, the blood-drenched lobbyist who diverts
one million dollars of National Rifle Association dues to his own income
every year, never mentions 100-round ammo clips in his stirring speeches,
but does mention freedom a lot.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WAYNE LAPIERRE, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION: We, the majority, see the
soul of the nation, of our individual freedom. And we see it on the brink
of being destroyed. And gun owners are answering the call all across this
country, to fight back, to save America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The NRA`s mouthpieces in Congress insist that it`s all
about freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s really an issue of freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And you know that whenever someone brings up the 100-round
ammo clip that was used in our most recent mass murder, the defenders of
mass murderers` right to use 100-round ammo clips will talk about freedom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask you, I mean, we`re not talking about
handguns. Does something that would limit magazines that can carry 100
rounds, would that infringe on the Constitutional right?

SEN. RON JOHNSON (R), WISCONSIN: I believe so. People will talk
about unusually lethal weapons. That could be potentially a discussion you
could have. But the fact of the matter is there are magazines -- 30-round
magazines that are just common all over the place. You simply can`t keep
these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individual that want to do
harm.

And when you try and do it, you restrict our freedoms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: You restrict our freedoms. This from a guy who obediently
removes his shoes at airports to prove he`s not going to blow up an
airplane, even though he can also prove to all those anti freedom TSA
agents that he is a United States senator. The 100-round clip is not about
freedom. That senator doesn`t care about freedom.

Wayne LaPierre and every NRA member have their freedoms restricted by
government every day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: When you try and do it, you restrict our freedoms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Wayne LaPierre and Senator Johnson and every NRA member
are told by government where they can and cannot park their cars. They are
told by government how fast they can drive their cars. They are told by
government where they can and cannot smoke cigarettes. And they are told
by government that they cannot smoke marijuana.

We take off our shoes at airports for the flimsiest of reasons. A
crazy, incompetent al Qaeda loser wanted to blow up an airplane with
something in his shoe that could not have actually blown up the airplane,
even if worked. The crazy, incompetent al Qaeda loser got caught and every
day since then, all of us, every American boarding an airplane has to take
off our shoes, in deference, in honor of that crazy, incompetent al Qaeda
loser. And Senator Johnson has never complained about restricting our
freedom to keep our shoes on.

The freedom lovers at the NRA don`t complain that the Take Off Your
Shoes Rule restricts our freedom, even though it does restrict our freedom.
Our government has enacted and this country has accepted the Take Off Your
Shoes Rule as a reasonable reaction to exactly one -- one incident in our
history, one incident of a crazy, incompetent person thinking, imagining
that he could blow up an airplane with something in his shoe.

Exactly one incident that hurt no one. Exactly one incident that
killed no one. That one incident has changed all of our lives, has
restricted all of our freedom. That crazy, incompetent person who has us
now in our 10th year of taking off our shoes at the airport did not kill 12
people. He did not injure and wound 59 people.

He didn`t shoot a baby. He did next to nothing. And still our
government, with the general agreement of its traveling public, believes
that it is perfectly reasonable, every day at American airports, to take
off our shoes, because of that one incident that did no damage and could
have done no real damage.

In the same country, when a mass murder uses 100-round ammunition clip
to kill and wound as many people as he possibly can, our government
believes that we should do nothing. Wayne LaPierre and Senator Johnson
believe we should do nothing but wait for the next mass murderer to enter
the next public place and see if the score is higher or lower than 12
killed and 59 wounded.

Because to do anything else would restrict our freedoms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: When you try and do it, you restrict our freedoms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: California has made the sale of 100-round clips illegal.
California restricts those magazines to 10 bullets. And so if you`re an
aspiring mass murderer here in California and you decide tonight to obtain
your killing tools legally, as our most recent mass murderers have done,
you will be forced to reload after your first 10 bullets. And if you try
doing that in a packed movie theater, I promise you, you will not finish
reloading.

You will be taken down by the freedom of the people in that theater to
attack you the second you have to stop firing and reload. The 10-bullet
clip is about the freedom to stop mass murderers after they`ve fired 10
shots, instead of 100.

Wayne LaPierre doesn`t want you to have that freedom. Wayne LaPierre
wants you to be stuck in your theater seats, while the mass murderer fires
another 90 bullets at you. Wayne LaPierre thinks people like me who don`t
think anyone should be able to buy 100-round magazines are more dangerous
than people who empty 100-round magazines in crowded movie theaters.

Wayne LaPierre scares people. I know he scares some of you with his
relentless determination to make sure American mass murderers are the very
best equipped mass murders in the world. But he scares the simple-minded
members of the NRA even more. He scares them into actually thinking and
believing that someone is coming to take their freedom away.

He needs them to believe that, so he can continue to siphon a million
dollars of their dues money every year to stuff into his blood-drenched
pockets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: God then called me to run for
the United States Congress.

I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the
people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America.

The lord says, be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your
husband.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As president, would you be submissive to your
husband.

(BOOING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Understand, barbarians need to be educated. They
need to be disciplined.

BACHMANN: It`s a very sad life. It`s part of Satan, I think, to say
that this is gay. It`s anything but gay. It is personal bondage.

I think my views are clear.

I will not vote to increase the debt ceiling.

There isn`t even one study that can be produced that shows that carbon
dioxide is a harmful gas.

ROMNEY: Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, what a powerful leader in our
party she is.

BACHMANN: Mitt Romney is a big government candidate. That`s not what
we want in our nominee.

Oh, my goodness! Yes!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Michele Bachmann described herself as an average
Minnesotan when she first ran for Congress in 2006, after what she says was
a calling by God to the campaign. She has won re-election in Minnesota`s
Sixth District, in the suburbs of Minneapolis, twice.

Joining me now is the candidate running against Michele Bachmann, Jim
Graves. Jim, tell me what the campaign looks like, what your -- what the
polls might indicate, and what the issues are you think you can win on.

JIM GRAVES (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: Lawrence, it looks really
positive. Our polling is extremely favorable. We`re neck and neck as we
speak right now. And this is before these last outrageous comments she`s
made about the Muslim Brotherhood.

Michele Bachmann has lost traction in the district. There`s people,
the Democrats, the independents, even the Republicans are coming over to
our side. She`s just lost track of what`s going on in reality, basically.

She`s just out there. And Lawrence, it`s ridiculous what she`s saying
now. It`s just -- I mean, she`s -- her modus operandi has always been
talking ridiculous, but this is just outrageous.

O`DONNELL: She ran for president. Sometimes that hurts candidates
when they try to go back and run for their old jobs. There`s this sense
that they`ve neglected the job while running for president. Is that a
factor in her district?

GRAVES: No question about it. She`s forgotten where she came from. ,
When she`s representing the district, she doesn`t represent the district.
She`s not there. The people are sick and tired of it. They want a change.
They really want a change. And we`re seeing it in the polling. Things are
just going really, really favorably in our direction.

O`DONNELL: One of the famous sons of Minnesota, Garrison Keillor, has
weighed in. Let`s listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That is quite a campaign supporter to have, I would think,
in Minnesota, Garrison Keillor?

GRAVES: He`s a good guy. He`s a good guy. He knows what`s going on
in the district. He knows what`s going on in Minnesota. And everybody`s
ready for a change. And they`re looking for somebody like me.

O`DONNELL: Jim Graves, the Democrat running against Michele Bachmann
to save America from more Bachmann mania. Thank you very much for joining
us tonight.

GRAVES: Lawrence, thank you very much for having me on.

O`DONNELL: "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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