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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, July 26th, 2012

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Guests: Howard Dean, Robert Reich, Kelly Wilkinson, Mara Schiavocampo,
Charles M. Blow, Caitlin Moran

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Well, he did it. After a day in London,
the British press is actually saying Mitt Romney is worse than Sarah Palin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON MAYOR: There`s a guy called Mitt Romney.

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Romney has practically started an
international incident.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The unique relationship that
exists between our nations.

JIMMY KIMMEL, COMEDIAN: Mitt Romney is traveling abroad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is in London.

KIMMEL: I`m not exactly sure why Romney is doing this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the first leg of a week-long foreign tour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sure you share our excitement about the Games.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Let`s talk more about Romney`s interview with
Brian Williams.

SHARPTON: This is the biggest story in England right now.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Do they look ready to your experienced
eyes?

ROMNEY: There are a few things that were disconcerting. It`s hard to
know just well it turn out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just stepped in it.

JOHNSON: He wants to know whether we are ready. Are we ready? Are
we ready?

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Of course it`s easier if you
hold the Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.

SHARPTON: The middle of nowhere, ouch.

JOHNSON: He wants to know whether we`re ready.

ROMNEY: I don`t know if any Olympics that`s ever been able to be run
without any mistakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Listen, if my wife were in the Olympics, the
Olympics, I think I would show a little more enthusiasm.

ROMNEY: I will not be watching the event.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney`s got different ideas.

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: What Mitt Romney stands for is this
-- in America, you are not promised equal outcome.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: In politics, you define your
narrative or it gets defined for you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More Americans trust President Obama than Mitt
Romney to handle foreign policy issues.

DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: While he`s in these foreign countries, he
plans to visit his money.

KIMMEL: To visit his money. He misses it.

LETTERMAN: So that will be good. Say hello.

KIMMEL: Is it possible that he`s looking for a country he can buy.

ANN COULTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you don`t run Chris Christie,
Romney will be the nominee and we`ll lose.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Team Obama must be high fiving each other as Mitt Romney`s
trip to London descends into a full blown Romney shambles. That`s not me
talking, that`s the editor of "The Sun" one of Rupert Murdoch`s British
tabloids.

The editor of "The Daily Mail" tweets, "Serious dismay in Whitehall at
Romney debut. Worse than Sarah Palin, total car crash. Two of the kinder
verdicts, #Romneyshambles."

That same editor later tweeted, "Another verdict from one Romney
meeting: apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humor or sincerity,
#Romneyshambles #mitthitsthefan."

A columnist for "The Times of London" tweets, "We`re the special
relationship, the easy peasy bit of U.S. foreign relations. How will he
deal with China?"

A correspondent for "The Telegraph" writes, "Mitt Romney is perhaps
the only politician who could start a trip that was supposed to be a charm
offensive by being utterly devoid of charm and mildly offensive."

And Lucy Jones of "The Telegraph" writes, "Mitt Romney is wazzock.
There`s one thing Romney could learn while he`s in Britain this week: some
manners."

So what did Mitt Romney do to be called worse than Sarah Palin?

First, he said the London Olympics might have some serious problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: You know, it`s hard to know just how well it will turn out.
There were a few things that were disconcerting. Stories about the private
security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the
immigration and customs officials. That obviously is not something which
is encouraging.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Here is what one FOX News Romney supporter thought of that
answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: What Romney answered in
that question is unbelievable. It`s beyond human understanding. It`s
incomprehensible. I`m out of adjectives.

All Romney has to do is say nothing. It`s like a guy in a 100-meter
dash. All he has to do is finish. He doesn`t have to win.

And instead he tackles the guy in the lane next to him and ends up
disqualified. I don`t get it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Here`s how David Cameron responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We are holding an Olympic
Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities in the world. Of
course it`s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: You see, in the United Kingdom, Utah where Romney ran the
Olympic Games is considered the middle of nowhere.

And here`s the response from the always entertaining mayor of London,
and 60,000 people he happened to be chatting with in Hyde Park.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: I hear there`s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know
whether we`re ready. He wants to know whether we`re ready. Are we ready?
Are we ready? Yes, we are!

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And then there was the small problem of Mitt Romney not
having every name ready when he needed them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Mr. Leader, I look forward to our conversations this morning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: "The Daily Mail`s" James Chapman again tweeted, "Another
Romney triumph as he forgets Ed Miliband`s name."

Mitt Romney then showed he has much to learn about the very basics of
conducting foreign policy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of
the government here and opposition here as well as the head of MI6.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: MI6 is the British government`s secret intelligence
agency. Mitt Romney was not supposed to tell anyone he met with the head
of MI6.

"The Guardian" writes, "For our American readership, this isn`t like
just bragging that you just met David Petraeus. The British take on the
national secret intelligence service comes with a extra heavy dollop of the
whole secret thing. The very existence of MI6 was not officially
acknowledged until 1994."

James Chapman`s take on that one? "Romney blunders again. Do we have
a new Dubya on our hands?"

Joining me now, Krystal Ball, co-host of MSNBC`s "THE CYCLE", and
Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and former DNC chairman.

Howard Dean, Charles Krauthammer is out of adjectives. Do any come to
mind for you as to how this tour is going for Mitt Romney?

HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Yes, this is bad. It is pretty
unusual. I am a little surprised they didn`t take a trip to the Cayman
Islands and Switzerland while they`re at it. I mean, this is really --
this is pretty bad. I mean, first of all, insulting the British prime
minister is really bad.

It`s one thing for Boris Johnson, who everybody knows is a cutup and
an interesting guy. When the prime minister thinks it`s necessary to call
out the candidate who`s running for president of the United States, this is
-- this is not a good thing. I wish I could be more charitable, sort of.

But this is pretty bad. I haven`t seen a bad trip like this for a
long time. And I have to say, George W. Bush never did anything like this.

KRYSTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: Worse than dubya you`re saying?

DEAN: Yes. I can`t imagine George W. Bush doing this. I can`t
imagine that. He had some sophistication about foreign affairs. This is
shocking to me.

O`DONNELL: Krystal, this is one of those days where I have to say I
appreciate the spirit of the British press. They are willing to step right
up there and say what they mean.

BALL: Yes. And you grabbed some amazing material. When I was
prepping for this segment, I could have gone on for hours because there
were so many fantastic tweets and quotes and headlines and so much material
to work with.

But honestly for Mitt Romney, there were essentially two goals for
this trip, right? To sort of run around looking vaguely presidential and
to sort of sly remind people of his own Olympic success. And in one day,
he`s managed to kill both of those things, by insulting everyone and
looking the opposite of presidential. Looking like he can`t even handle,
you know, the relationship that should have been the easiest, going to the
Olympics, going to our friends.

It really is an incredible thing. It also reminded me oddly of that
moment when he was in Pennsylvania and he was offered the cookies from the
local bakery and he didn`t know in that moment that it would be
inappropriate to suggest that they came from the local 7-Eleven.

It`s that same kind of a deal. You don`t go into someone else`s house
and insult them and criticize them. I feel like he was trying to get an
"A" and show he had done his homework with what`s going on with the
Olympics because that`s something he knows about, and really just didn`t
have any sense that this would be a bad place to go with this answer.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, I find the Sarah Palin comparison that the
British media is making appropriate. And it started to occur to me when I
was listening to his answers to Brian Williams` interview, I began to
think, that sounds a lot like Sarah Palin, we made some fun. He would
string together words that technically are sentences but have absolutely no
meaning. And if Sarah Palin -- when Sarah Palin was doing that, pretty
much everyone called her on that.

Mitt Romney seems to be getting away with exactly the same thing. It
seems to me there`s some kind of double standard going on here because he`s
a well-dressed man.

DEAN: Well, I`m going to defend Romney slightly on that one. I don`t
think you can compare -- I mean, Romney is fairly sophisticated guy who has
significant amount of accomplishment in his life. I don`t think he can be
compared with Sarah Palin.

But his performance is pretty appalling. I mean, when you -- I don`t
know anybody who goes to meet the leader of the opposition and can`t
remember his name. I have no yet seen a candidate for the United States
and goes in and insults probably our closest ally in the world.

This is just -- it`s not a big deal because this is about Olympics and
it`s not about, you know, plotting to invade Iraq, but it`s not very
reassuring. I think Romney`s problem is not that he`s not well informed.
I think -- and he`s certainly not -- doesn`t lack substance.

His problem is he wants to be president so badly that all he does is
get briefed and he doesn`t appear to have an original thought. I think he
does. But he doesn`t appear to have one. And this is a very bad start.

BALL: And, Lawrence, I think to your point --

O`DONNELL: Krystal, go ahead.

BALL: To your point about the Sarah Palin comparison, there`s so many
times where he`s asked a direct question and he doesn`t even come close to
answering it. He`s, you know, he`s not addressing the substance of the
question at all. I think that`s when he gets into his word salad territory
where you go, where is he going with this?

I think it`s an intentional attempt to be vague and not put forward
anything of substance. And that way I think there is an appropriate Sarah
Palin comparison.

O`DONNELL: Howard Dean and Krystal Ball, thank you for joining me
tonight.

DEAN: Thanks, Lawrence.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a million voters in Pennsylvania think they`ll
be able to vote on November 6th. They`re wrong. The new voter ID law will
not accept their IDs as valid IDs and they don`t know it. Charles Blow
joins me to discuss voter suppression.

And in "The Rewrite" tonight, Rush Limbaugh talks about drumsticks in
a way that makes you wonder with Rush, when is a drumstick just a
drumstick? If your worst nightmare is hearing Rush Limbaugh use the word
penis repeatedly, you`re going to need the mute button for tonight`s
"Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Is Chris Christie not so secretly preparing to become the
front runner the next Republican nomination when Mitt Romney loses to
President Obama? The answer is, of course, yes. That`s coming up.

And in "The Rewrite" tonight, you will have to cover the children`s
ears because you will hear Rush Limbaugh talk about masturbation and
socialism. And it`s going to be much more masturbation than socialism. A
lot more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. PAT MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: There`s one man standing at the
wheel as we careen towards the fiscal cliff and that is John Boehner. He
can either pass this bill which delivers certainty to middle class
taxpayers and, by the way, is a tremendous step towards addressing
sequestration, or he can step on the gas, head towards that fiscal cliff
and strap the American people, just like a dog we know, to the top of his
car.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And today, John Boehner responded to Senator Thelma with
this lie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It was the president
who came up with the sequester because he didn`t want the debt limit to get
in the way of his campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The so-called sequester, a package of automatic spending
cuts, half of them in defense spending was something the president was
forced to get to get the bat crap crazy congressional Republicans to force
an increase in the debt ceiling and save this country and the world from
economic disaster.

Here`s what the president wanted a year ago. Listen carefully. See
if you hear him asking for a sequester.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only bottom line
that I have is we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next
election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And here is what John Boehner was saying a year ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: The House can only pass a debt limit bill that includes
spending cuts larger than the hike in the debt limit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In the end, to raise the debt ceiling, John Boehner had
attached to it automatic spending cuts that he stupidly believed Congress
would be able to avoid by somehow miraculously coming together on an
agreement about how to finance government in America.

Here is what John Boehner`s Democratic counterpart in the House of
Representatives said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: We can avoid the sequester if we
just come together at the table in a balanced and fair way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And here`s what the White House had to say about avoiding
the Boehner spending cuts that Boehner now fears.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president himself has
said there`s no reason why these cuts should happen and Congress ought to
be able to come together and agree on a balanced approach that reduces the
deficit and keeps our military strong.

Right now, as I noted earlier in answer to Ed, congressional
Republicans are trying to get out of what they agreed to because they would
rather protect tax cuts for some of the wealthiest Americans than make
tough choices needed to reduce the deficit, even if it risks big cuts in
our military.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Robert Reich, former labor secretary
under President Clinton, now professor of economics at the University of
California, Berkeley.

Bob, I didn`t foresee this coming. I have to say, when this sequester
deal was being written into the debt ceiling, I did not expect us to be
here today watching it play out this way.

Democrats hanging tough, willing to live with go off the cliff with
that deal made on the debt ceiling believing, correctly, I think, if they
do that, they will have much more power to be negotiating a package after
that than before that.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: Well, Lawrence, I think the
Democrats are getting tough. Democrats are learning some of the power
plays the Republicans have been using all along and Democrats also are
getting a whiff of the fact that Republicans really don`t want that fiscal
cliff. They don`t want cuts in military spending and they certainly don`t
want an end to those Bush tax cuts for the very rich.

So knowing that, I think we`re going to finally get a deal. But we`re
probably not going to get a deal until after the first of the year.

O`DONNELL: Yes. I mean, what I`m hearing from Democratic senators is
it`s going to be impossible. They have to go off the cliff so that then
every single tax proposal they will be talking about, Democrat or
Republican, will be a tax cut. And without that leverage, they don`t see
now how they can get anything.

REICH: Exactly. There`s not going to be anything -- well, obviously,
everybody knew there was not going to be any progress on any of this, this
summer. There was some people who thought maybe the Congress that got back
together after the election might do something, but now it looks like
nothing is going to happen even then.

The Democrats are going to hold out and they`re going to use a lot of
bargaining leverage that they now have.

O`DONNELL: And the Democrats gave the Republicans the opportunity
yesterday in the Senate to vote for basically a continuation of the current
tax rates for all, except the top tax brackets. That amounts to a cut in
tax law except for the top brackets. The Republicans did not vote for
that.

And Dick Durbin made this comment about that vote. Let`s listen to
that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: How many times have we heard the
Republican`s speech about uncertainty? Uncertainty? Well, there will be
some certainty if Speaker Boehner will call this bill on the floor of the
House because it will pass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And now that bill is being stuck in the House. John
Boehner not taking it up, as Dick Durbin said.

If you want tax certainty, you can pass that bill tomorrow and we will
have it.

REICH: Again, Lawrence, the interesting thing here is that Democrats
are now beginning to understand that framing this issue so the public
understand it is 90 percent of winning the game. And the issue is not, do
you extend the tax cuts for everybody or for some people. That`s the way
the Republicans like to frame it.

The real issue is: do you extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone up
until the first $250,000 of their incomes? Or do you extend the tax cuts
for earnings above $250,000? In other words, what the Democrats are
proposing and the president is proposing is everybody, rich, middle class,
everybody gets a tax cut, an extension of the Bush tax cut, up until
$250,000.

And then $250,001, that $1 will be subjected to the Clinton tax rates.
Seeing that light, it`s not such a big deal. Why aren`t Republicans
putting up a fuss?

O`DONNELL: Robert Reich, we`re one day closer to going off the cliff.
Thank you very much for joining me tonight.

REICH: Thanks, Lawrence. With friends like Chris Christie, Mitt
Romney does not need Republican enemies. Is Chris Christie really hoping
Mitt Romney loses? Of course he is.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, Rush Limbaugh talks about sex, socialism
and drumsticks. And both asks and answers the question, when is a
drumstick just a drumstick?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s episode of "With Friends Like Chris", once
again Chris Christie gives a politically incorrect answer. This time to
the question, are you interested in running for president in 2016?

Christie answered that question yesterday with the standard party
line: "I hope there`s no reason for me to have to run in 2016 because I
hope Governor Romney will be running for a second term."

Now it would have been better if Christie said he wasn`t just hoping
not to have to run in 2016, but that he knew he wouldn`t be running because
President Romney would definitely be safely on his way to re-election.

But then Christie went a step too far. "If there`s an opening for a
Republican in Washington, we`ll certainly think about it. I don`t think
I`d back away from it."

"With Friends Like Chris".

And it`s our intern Jessica Ferrer`s (ph) last day. And following
well-established LAST WORD tradition, as a last day intern, Jessica now
gets to tell you what`s coming up in the show.

Go, Jessica.

JESSICA FERRER, INTERN: Thank you, Lawrence.

Coming up, what voters in Pennsylvania don`t know about the new voter
ID laws. A million people may not be able to vote.

And if you`ve been looking for the instruction book on how to be a
woman? You`re in luck. It`s been written and the author is here. Catlin
Moran joins Lawrence. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VIVIETTE APPLEWHITE, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: I`m going to miss this one.
I don`t have any idea. Somebody stole my pocketbook and I have never been
able to get them back. Every time I sent, they never told me why or
nothing. I think it stinks. That`s what I do. I think it`s really
absolutely -- I think it`s the most ridiculous thing I`ve ever heard of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s Viviette Applewhite. She is 93 years old. If
Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania have their way, Ms. Applewhite, who
marched with Dr. King and who voted for the first time in 1960, won`t be
able to vote in November.

In the Spotlight tonight, Pennsylvania`s voter I.D. show down. Ms.
Applewhite is the lead plaintiff in the American Civil Liberty Union`s
lawsuit against the commonwealth`s new law barring anyone without a valid
photo I.D. from voting in elections.

The state trial started this week, but a new ACLU study finds that one
million Pennsylvania voters may be ineligible to vote in November. And
unlike Ms. Applewhite, some of these voters don`t even know they`re
ineligible.

The report finds that 34 percent of Pennsylvania registered voters
don`t know the new law even exists. While 98 percent of registered voters
think they have a valid I.D., 12 percent of them do not do not have I.D.s
that are considered valid under the law.

That 12 percent is almost a million Pennsylvania voters who will be
denied the right to vote when they show saw up to vote on November 6th.
But how can we expect voters to know what counts as proper I.D. when the
man who signed this into law does not know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: There are other forms of I.D. So
I don`t know where people are getting the data as to how many people don`t
have, because the other forms of I.D. could be student I.D., We`ve been
working with the nursing homes to get people new I.D. It could be military
I.D.

Two or three other forms. Right now, off the top of my head, I don`t
have it here in front of me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Mara Schiavocampo, an NBC News
correspondent, Charles M. Blow, opinion writer for the "New York Times" and
Kelly Wilkinson, an intern here for THE LAST WORD, who attends Bryn Mawr
College in Pennsylvania.

Let`s look at the list of photo I.D.s that that are acceptable and
valid under this law: federal, state issued photo I.D., Pennsylvania
driver`s license, Pennsylvania non-driver`s license, valid U.S. passport,
U.S. Military I.D., government employee photo I.D., college photo I.D.,
photo I.D. issued by a Pennsylvania care facility.

And Kelly, you have a college photo I.D. in Pennsylvania, but you
recently discovered it wasn`t going to be good enough. Tell us about that.

KELLY WILKINSON, THE LAST WORD INTERN: When I first heard about the
voter suppression laws, I looked on the VotesPA website, and I realized
that even though I do have a college I.D., I don`t have an expiration date
on my I.D., as you can see on the screen.

Therefore, I`m not able to vote. However, the law does allow for
colleges to issue stickers that have the expiration date on the sticker, in
order to put that on to the I.D. So I will be eligible to vote in
November.

O`DONNELL: Mara, you`ve been to Pennsylvania. You`ve reported on
this extensive. There`s just so many ways people are going to be turned
away from the polls. We -- it seems like we may discover new ones on
election day that we haven`t even found out.

MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, NBC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. What`s
interesting about the report that you cited in your intro is that what
we`ve been hearing a lot about are the numbers of people who don`t have a
valid I.D. and who know that. And those people presumably take steps to
address that before the election.

But what this report tells us about really for the first time are the
people who think they`re in compliance with the law when, in fact, they`re
not. So for whatever reason, whether their name doesn`t match the name on
voter rolls, where their I.D. is actually expired or expiring, they won`t
realize until they get to the polls that they are, in fact, not eligible to
vote.

At that point, there`s very little time to actually do something about
it. They can cast a provisional ballot, but it won`t be counted unless
they show up with proof of I.D. within six days. Two of those days happen
to fall on a weekend. And so the concern is that a lot of people won`t
realize there`s a problem until election day.

O`DONNELL: Charles Blow, we just saw the governor of Pennsylvania
unable to say what a valid I.D. actually is, what would be acceptable. But
that seems to me is not an accident. This is -- it seems to be an
intentional move towards voter suppression and designed to suppress the
vote that they want to suppress there.

CHARLES M. BLOW, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think not just there,
Lawrence. I think you have to broaden this out and look at it as a
national picture. You have at least 19 laws, 14, 15 states these cover
most of the electoral votes that will be counted in this presidential
election. When we look at the people who are least likely to have these
sorts of valid voter state-issued I.D.s across the country, they`re more
likely to be young people, minorities, poor people.

These are all constituencies that Democrats generally win and Barack
Obama won substantially. And what you have to look back at the history of
this country. For almost 200 year, we have been making steps towards
increasing the voter pool in America. And for about a century, we have had
driver`s licenses. For half a century, we`ve had people -- states putting
photos on driver`s licenses.

Not until 2006 did any state anywhere require that a driver`s license
or a state issued photo I.D. be present to vote. We`re not saying -- we`re
not looking back at all those other presidents, all those other elections
saying these were fraudulent.

What is the difference? What has changed? In the last two years, we
had this raft of voter suppression laws meant to suppress the votes of
these very same constituencies, minorities, young people, poor people,
people who vote Democratic. And the only thing that has changed is that we
see that Barack Obama is in the White House and he won those votes.

We see this raft of demographic change that`s happening in America.
We see that young people are getting more and more socially liberal as --
you know, every decade and the people are scared about that. And now
they`re putting in place restrictions that have never existed in the entire
history of our democracy.

O`DONNELL: Mara, what is the timetable for the lawsuit?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: So we`re looking at about probably seven to 10 days.
But this will likely not be the final word. Whatever the outcome of this
case is in Pennsylvania, it will most likely be appealed. And what we`re
seeing is that`s really part of a pattern when it comes to other states
that have done this already.

So when you`re talking about South Carolina and Texas, the Department
of Justice denied them pre clearance. They are now appealing to a federal
district court about that. In Indiana, that case went all the way to the
Supreme Court in 2008. And the Supreme Court ruled that law was
constitutional and that the state did have a legitimate reason to want to
improve the electoral process.

So ultimately this will be decided by the courts.

O`DONNELL: Mara Schiavocampo, Charles Blow and Kelly Wilkinson`s
debut on the panel. Thank you all for joining me tonight.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Thanks.

WILKINSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Rush Limbaugh is back in the Rewrite tonight.
He talked about socialism today on his show in as strange a way as he has
ever talked about anything, publicly anyway. Rush Limbaugh told us more
about himself than he intended to. And you`ll hear it all in the Rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Rush Limbaugh at the Limbaugh
Institute For Advanced Conservative Studies. Telephone number, 800-282-
2882, and the e-mail address ElRushbo@EIBnet.com.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So began the third hour of today`s radio seminar at the
Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies, which I happened upon
by merry chance simply because my local Ford dealership quickly performed a
minor repair on my Fusion Hybrid just in time for me to get back behind the
wheel and hear this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: This is from the "Orlando Sentinel," 36-year-old
Jacksonville, Florida, man is accused of performing a sex act on himself
while driving south on I-95 near Ormond (ph) Beach. Dawn, you may not want
to hear this. I don`t know how you can avoid it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Of course, the only way for Dawn to avoid it is for Rush
to stop talking about it. But as the dean of the Limbaugh Institute for
Advanced Conservative Studies, Rush decided it was time for some advanced
conservative study of sex while driving.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: He denied performing the sex act. He said another driver
who reported him to authorities misunderstood what he was doing while
driving. He said he was using drumsticks to hit his steering wheel. He`s
a drummer.

He told deputies he`s a drummer who commutes from Jacksonville to
Daytona Beach. He frequently simulates playing the drums while driving by
hitting the steering wheel with the drumsticks.

So what happened was a woman from Flagler (ph) Beach called
authorities at 8:00 Wednesday morning and said that a driver later
identified as this guy was performing a sex act on himself while driving a
Chevrolet Astrovan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I know what you`re thinking. Why has Professor Limbaugh
decided to include solo sex while driving in an advanced conservative
studies seminar? There is a clue in what he just said, a one-word clue
about where he`s going with this. And I`m sure some of his more advanced
students caught it.

But as usual, Rush is way ahead of most of his students. Notice the
advanced pedagogical technique he uses to bring the slower students like me
along with him. He slows it down and asks questions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Dawn, a question. If you were driving I-95 and you saw a
guy you thought was performing a sex act, would you call 911? Would you
call the authorities? You don`t think you would notice? Now stop and
think --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Rush, who a moment ago acknowledged that Dawn may not want
to hear this, is now forcing Dawn to stop and think about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Now stop and think, this woman -- this guy claims he`s
playing the drums. He has his drumsticks on the steering wheel. She
thinks she`s watching a sex act. You`re driving along I-95, next door a
guy or a woman, whatever, you think performing a sex act. Would you call
911?

Brian, would you call 911? I wouldn`t call 911. It would never occur
to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: You know how in some college courses, the lecture becomes
more about the teacher than about the subject. That happens with Rush a
lot. OK, Rush, you got me. You`re driving along I-95. You see a guy, as
you put it, performing a sex act. We now know you wouldn`t call 911.

We now know that would never occur to you. And now what we want to
know more than anything else, because this is where you`ve led us, is what
would occur to you? That`s what you owe us as a storyteller and a life
teacher at the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies.

What would occur to you? Would you try to get a better look at what
the guy was doing with his drumstick? Would you signal him to pull over at
the next roadside rest area? Would you follow him home? Well, I could go
on and on. That`s where Rush led us.

That`s what we wanted to know, but that`s not what we got. Instead we
got another lesson in advanced conservative studies about the auto bailout.
That`s right. This is a Chevrolet Astrovan we`re talking about. And you
know who makes Chevrolets, General Motors. And you know who saved General
Motors from going out of business, President Barack Obama did.

And you know how bad it is for America that President Obama saved
General Motors from going out of business.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: And Chevrolet Astrovan. Oh, by the way, have you seen the
General Motors news? General Motors is now -- it`s a mess. It`s lost more
money than what we paid to bail them out now. Classic, classic. And you
hate it. Nobody wants to see General Motors decay like this.

They did not save them. Obama did not save anything. He doesn`t save
-- eh will not save anything. Anyway, back to the drumstick guy here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: See? Yet another example of context is everything. Rush
wasn`t just talking about a guy accused of masturbating while driving.
Rush was using that colorful story to draw his students into a lesson about
socialism, a lesson about the auto bailout. He was rewriting a
masturbation story into a socialism story.

I would like to see some lefty college professor try that. That`s why
Rush gets the big bucks. Now, it`s true Rush sounds eager to get back to
the drumsticks guy. But that`s just because he knows the attention span of
the students at the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies.

Rush figures they can take approximately one sentence about General
Motors and the auto bailout for every ten sentences about masturbating in
Chevrolet Astrovans while driving. And so he went back to the drumstick
guy and smoothly shifted his lecture from the economics of the auto bailout
to psychology and the profound psychological question that Rush has
obviously spent mush of his life contemplating: when is a drumstick just a
drumstick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: Anyway, back to the drumstick guy here? Just sit tight
here. I`m going to explain how you drive a car by playing drumsticks on
the steering wheel. The woman said she was driving alongside the Chevrolet
Astrovan in which the guy was playing the drumsticks. She called the
authorities. She gave the authorities the guy`s tag number. And she
followed him until the authorities pulled him over.

When a Volusia County deputy approached the Astrovan, he spontaneously
explained he was hitting drumsticks against his steering wheel as he drove.
He invited the deputy to search the Astrovan. The deputy did and found two
sets of wooden drumsticks between the two front seats.

The drum sticks were a natural wood color and they closely resembled
his own skin color, says the report. The deputy re interviewed the woman
and asked if it was possible that she confused his drumming for a sex act.
She was adamant she had a clear view of his penis. She stated it was not
possible she mistook the drumstick for his penis.

She said she wanted to pursue criminal charges. She completed a sworn
written statement detailing what she said she saw.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now Rush`s last few sentences in which he got to say the
word penis repeatedly on the radio, they were actually taken word for word
from the newspaper account, right through the last sentence he just spoke.
That was the last sentence of the article. But Rush wasn`t finished. He
was all caught up in his excitement about drumsticks and wrapped up this
particular lesson in advances conservative studies, as he so often does, by
telling us much more about himself than he realizes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: I`ve seen drumsticks and I`ve seen the penis. And believe
me, I know the difference, particularly when I`m looking at them in an
Astrovan driving on I-95.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, all right then. I guess the next time you see Rush
patrolling I-95, trying to look into the cockpits of Astrovans, now you`ll
know what he`s looking for.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: On a day that exposed Mitt Romney`s disconnect with the
United Kingdom, President Obama`s reelection team looks to expose Romney`s
disconnect with another group, women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Never felt this way before, but it`s a scary
time to be a woman. Mitt Romney is just so out of touch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney`s opposes requiring insurance
coverage for contraception, and Romney supports overturning Roe versus
Wade. Romney backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in cases of
rape and incest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s so much to do. We need to attack our
problems, not a woman`s choice.

OBAMA: I`m Barack Obama, and I approve this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama currently leads Mitt Romney, 51 percent to
39 percent among women voters. Joining me now is Caitlin Moran, columnist
for the "Times of London," and author of "How To Be a Woman." Caitlin,
with Mitt Romney in London today, I`ve got to ask you about the London
reaction to his comments there.

The British press is, I think, rougher generally on politicians than
our press. But it`s standard. He got a kind of standard treatment, didn`t
he?

CAITLIN MORAN, AUTHOR, "HOW TO BE A WOMAN": I just read about what he
did. And I`m already ready to kick Mitt Romney, physically if he were
here, I`m willing to do that. But I read about what he`d done. And first
of all, he moaned about the Olympics and thought that it might not be ready
on time. Then he forgot the name of the leader of the opposition, Ed
Miliband.

Then he gave away that he`d been talking to M16. He just seems to
have gone native in British really, really early. All we`ve done is bitch
about the Olympics for the last two years. No one in Britain ever
remembers what Ed Miliband`s name is. He is the world`s most anonymous
man.

And my brother, who is at Cambridge University, which is a hotbed of
recruitment for spies, when he was approached by M16 as a potential group,
just contacted me on Twitter in front of all of our friends, just went,
guess what, they just asked me to a be a spy. So Mitt has just gone Brit.
That`s what I say.

O`DONNELL: I get it. Caitlin, what about gender politics in the U.K.
Do politicians try to appeal specifically to the female vote?

MORAN: They tried it by kind of being handsome, which they do kind of
need to do more in the kind of thinky-thinky area, I think. What`s
noticeable in British politics is that what`s normal when they`re
formulating policy is that whatever is a big interest in the concerns of
men. Then once they formulated some policy, they`ll then take it to a
women`s group and say, have you got any kind of add-on details that you
would like to add for the ladies, like an extra, like when you get a round
at the bar and you get in a load of beers for the men, and then go, and
would any of the ladies like a single white wine.

So you know, it needs to be programmed from the bottom up, really.

O`DONNELL: But they don`t have big issue differences on so-called
women`s issues, do they, between the parties?

MORAN: No, not really. There`s been a couple of attempts to curtail
access to abortion, which I think is kind of -- there couldn`t really be a
more fundamental policy of interest to women than reproductive rights.
It`s been amazing and terrifying as a British woman to see what`s been
happening for American women at the moment, with the -- you know, with it
looking like sort of access to abortion will be denied.

When that happened, when people were proposing, I just thought that
every woman in the country who has an abortion should just down tools and
strike on that day, and -- so they wouldn`t change legislation, because
that would be incredibly symbolic, because America would grind to a halt,
because abortion is so widespread. And it would be very symbolic. Because
if you remove women`s rights to determine when they want to be parents,
their lives will grind to a halt.

O`DONNELL: Caitlin Moran, author of "How To Be a Woman," gets
tonight`s LAST WORD. Thanks, Caitlin.

MORAN: Thank you.

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

END

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