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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

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Guests: David Cay Johnston, Ana Marie Cox, Jamal Simmons, Sandra Fluke


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: And so tonight, it turns out the only
thing the incurable romantics on team Romney want from the press is a kiss.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a great day, again, for the governor
overseas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney is in Poland today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney now in Poland.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I began this trip in Great
Britain and ended it here in Poland.

REPORTER: Governor Romney, do you think your gaffes have
overshadowed your foreign trip?

RICK GORKA, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: Kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED). This is a
holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: It`s ridiculous Romney road show.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His magical mystery overseas.

MATTHEWS: You got a better name for it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should call this the moon walking tour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney has found himself on the defensive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still feeling the heat from his trip to Israel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He terribly insulted the Palestinians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Angering Palestinians.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did not speak about the
Palestinian culture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After accidentally offending the Brits.

ROMNEY: There were a few things that were disconcerting.

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

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: How do you screw up a trip to England?

DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Anytime Mitt Romney speaks, he has to then
walk backwards while seeming to go forward.

MATTHEWS: I don`t know what he`s doing on this road trip.

ROMNEY: There were a few things that were disconcerting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paint-my-numbers politics, a fairly different
trip than the one President Obama, then candidate Obama, made.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That created a certain impression of Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four years ago, President Obama went to Iraq. He
went to Jordan, Germany, France, England.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor is the gift that keeps on giving.

CONAN O`BRIEN, COMEDIAN: Probably Romney`s worst gaffe is when he
visited Buckingham Palace and said to Queen Elizabeth, you call this a
house?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: In July of 2008, after then-presidential candidate Barack
Obama returned from his week-long trip overseas, the conservative
"Washington Times" newspaper wrote this headline. "Obama trip gaffeless,
picture-perfect." The article said, "David Axelrod could not have scripted
a better week for his candidate."

Four years and four days later, the conservative "Washington Times"
headline reads, "Romney endures tough road trip." The article says, "On a
trip, Mitt Romney hoped would impress America`s allies, the presumptive
Republican presidential nominee managed to anger the nation`s potential
adversaries, particularly Palestinian leaders, who felt Mr. Romney`s
comments during his trip to Israel smacked of racism."

Today, Mitt Romney tried to lie his way out of the Palestinian
controversy on the network most receptive to his lies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not speaking about it, did not speak about the
Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy. That`s an
interesting topic that perhaps could deserve analysis, but I actually
didn`t address that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: This is what Romney is now denying he said about the
economic achievements of Israeli`s and Palestinians. "You notice such a
dramatically stark difference in economic vitality. As I consider the
accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at
least culture and a few other things."

Before getting Mitt Romney on the plane home today, team Romney
managed one more ridiculous mistake, this time by the traveling press
secretary, who apparently believed that it is acceptable in Poland to
angrily demand that the press kiss him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Governor Romney, do you feel your gaffes have overshadowed
your foreign trip?

RICK GORKA, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: This is a holy site for the Polish
people. Show some respect. Show some respect, Jim

REPORTER: Governor Romney, just a few questions, sir --

REPORTER: We haven`t had another chance to ask him questions.

GORKA: Kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) this a holy site for the Polish
people. Show some respect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Romney press secretary Rick Gorka also thought it was
perfectly reasonable to tell a political reporter to, quote, "shove it"
before calling reporters to then apologize.

Today, the Romney campaign and Republican National Committee released
this ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: My own experience was I get the chance to start my own
business. I know what it`s like to hire people and to wonder whether
you`re going to be able to make ends meet down the road.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Romney has absolutely no idea what it feels like to
wonder if you`ll be able to make ends meet. He was born rich, inherited $1
million from his father, which he really didn`t need by then, because
Romney had devoted his life to moving from rich to super rich. And he made
it to super rich without ever taking a chance of any kind, without ever
risking anything.

And now another reading from "The Real Romney". "Romney explained to
Bain that he didn`t want to risk his position, earnings, and reputation on
an experiment, so Bain sweetened the pot, he guaranteed that if the
experiment failed, Romney would get his old job and salary back, plus any
pay raises he would have earned during his absence. Bain promised that, if
necessary, he would craft a cover story, saying that Romney`s return to
Bain and company was needed because of his value as a consultant. So, Bain
explained, there was no professional or financial risk."

Tonight, with 98 days until the election, President Obama`s re-
election campaign released this television ad that will air in six swing
states.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: You watched and worried. Two wars, tax cuts for
millionaires, debt piled up, and now we face a choice.

Mitt Romney`s plan? A new $250,000 tax cut for millionaires,
increase military spending, adding trillions to the deficit.

Or President Obama`s plan -- a balanced approach, $4 trillion in
deficit reduction, millionaires pay a little more.

OBAMA: I`m Barack Obama and I approve this message because to cut
the deficit, we need everyone to pay their fair share.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC`s Joy Reid and Ari Melber.

Joy, just to set the table for the audience about what the kissing`s
all about.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Yes.

O`DONNELL: It`s that the press has felt shut out. In fact, Greta
Van Susteren, no enemy of Romney`s, wrote on her blog yesterday, "There has
been no press access to Governor Romney since we landed in Poland. We are
in a holding pattern. I can`t help but feel a bit like the press is a
modified petting zoo since we are trapped in a bus while polish citizens
take pictures of us."

And so the press, as it will, in these situations, starts to yell the
questions when the guy`s walking by. And the traveling press secretary
thought he`d turn that into a romantic opportunity of sorts.

REID: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: And demand a kiss.

REID: How dare the press demand to ask questions of the presidential
candidate? How dare they?

You know, I think, Lawrence, we are starting to see what a sense of
entitlement looks like in real time. What I`m starting to get from Mitt
Romney, because he`s not dumb, OK?

O`DONNELL: Well, I`m reserving judgment.

REID: We`ll reserve judgment.

O`DONNELL: That`s one of those things everybody says, he`s not dumb,
he`s not dumb, he`s not dumb. A bunch of dumb things have happened, you`ve
got to, you know?

REID: It`s true, but you`ve got to presume that he`s not trying.
It`s starting to look like he`s really not trying to run for president. He
simply feels entitled to the office, and so he isn`t bothering to prepare,
he isn`t bothering to think through what he`s going to say, he doesn`t care
who he offends. That`s the only conclusion I can come to, unless he`s
dumb.

O`DONNELL: And, Ari, he`s gone back to the culture of economic
achievement, he`s written this piece for the "National Review," and come
outs and stresses, yes, culture does play a role. He never mentions
Palestinian culture, and why the Palestinian culture has left them so far
behind the Israeli culture in economic achievement. But he is trying now
to please conservatives with yet another expression about culture
determining economic achievement.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Yes, diplomacy`s harder than it looks. He
made these comments, he brought up the notion of comparing the cultures of
two peoples, a nation state and the Palestinian quasi-state, that wants
more rights. And he decided that while there, in Jerusalem there, he would
bring up this cultural comparison.

But now he`s backing off and saying, well, maybe it deserves more
scholarly research.

When you`re president, you don`t get to do that. You don`t get to
punt back to the academy or anywhere else. You have to decide what is
worth saying, and words matter an incredible amount when you`re abroad.

The other thing I`ll say about this is, I do feel for him that he`s
learning how hard it is. I don`t believe he really knew this. Maybe it`s
entitlement, maybe it`s the fact that he hasn`t done it before, but it`s a
relatively new thing to have candidates go abroad.

McCain and Obama did do it, but in the cycle before, candidates did
not travel abroad, and you have to go back to sort of the Thomas Dewey
election to find other examples. McGovern and Stassen, Dewey`s rivals, the
only other people who did it.

So, it`s not easy to do. It`s not very common. And when you do it,
you find out that actually you are under a microscope.

The last thing I`ll say is the Israel paper, "Haaretz" had a piece
out basically reviewing what he said in Israel and said he may be violated
the first rule of traveling abroad, and they know something there about how
combustible it is. They said, first do no harm, and he`s done some harm.

O`DONNELL: And, Joy, he`s a pander, a relentless pander. So of
course he gets off the plane in Israel and he`s going to pander and say
praiseful things about the Israelis, who are an easy population to praise
I`ve been to Israel. There`s a lot to praise there.

What he didn`t know -- because I`m not so sure he`s so smart -- it`s
not hard to know this, what he didn`t know is, how do I praise the Israelis
without insulting the Palestinians? He didn`t know how to do that?

REID: Right. Well, I mean, and you also have to consider the
possibility, right, that everything that Romney has done hasn`t been about
the country he`s in or the audience that was directly in front of him. You
know, there is a way in which saying the things that he said pleases, once
again, the base that he`s truly beholden to back here in the United States.

Conservative Christians, who do have this view of anything related to
Muslims, right? That they are inherently inferior, inherently bad, and
anything you say slights them helps him with that base. I mean, you could
read into it, sort of a Machiavellian read of what he did, at least in
Israel, as saying, you know what, this is another dog whistle back to the
base, culture matters.

There`s a lot in this op-ed that he has in the "National Review" that
goes back to a lot of these same tropes that are trying to constantly
stroke this base to say, you are superior. You are inherently superior
because of something he`s vaguely calling culture.

O`DONNELL: There was one diplomatic expert who was highly impressed
by the Romney trip.

Let`s listen to ambassador Rush Limbaugh.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Now, the reporters are
harassing Romney, they`re trying to create gaffes. They are trying --
they`re working on behalf of Barack Obama. They are attempting to carry
forth the mime that Romney`s foreign trip is a disaster, that it`s one
gaffe after another. They are trying to do this, in the mainstream media.

And the fact of the matter is, Romney is having a home run of a trip.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Exactly one rave review, Ari. There it is.

MELBER: I love it, Lawrence. I love it. And I love having the
ambassador here, a little sampling of what you can get for three hours a
day if you want it.

The problem is that Rush Limbaugh doesn`t know what he`s talking
about. You know, you`ve worked in the upper echelon of politics. There is
swearing, there is stuff that goes on, where people use, you know, bad
words. I`ve been chewed out by Democrats as well as Republicans when
reporting.

That`s not the problem. The problem is, they`re shutting down access
to, as you mentioned, FOX News` Greta Van Susteren and to "The New York
Times," even these news companies are spending literally tens of thousands
of dollars to go and report on the trip.

"Politico`s" Dylan Myers did account today. He looked at then-
Senator Obama`s trip, he took 25 questions during his trip from the
traveling press corps on a battery of issue.

I`ve traveled with Jeff Zeleny of "The New York Times" and seen him
scream over at the tarmac at president or Senator Obama, because he did in
`08 as well, trying to get a question in, the same thing that Rush Limbaugh
says is bad. I`ve seen it happen to both candidates. The difference is
that then-Senator Obama took those questions.

The count in comparison was three. Three questions Mitt Romney took
over this whole trip. And again, just like taxes, just like so many other
issues, it really raises a fundamental question, even if you want to be
sympathetic to Mitt Romney, which is why is he so afraid to have an open
dialogue about any aspect of his campaign?

O`DONNELL: And just for the audience to understand, the reason why
the press yells these question, is because every once in a while -- not
often -- but every once in a while, a president will turn around and answer
them. We saw Bush do it on a golf course, if you yell questions, it will
happen. So it makes it worth it.

And then they yell more, the more you shun them, as Romney`s doing.

Joy Reid and Ari Melber, thank you both for joining me tonight.

REID: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, did Mitt Romney pay zero in taxes for ten
years? David Cay Johnston will join me.

And Sandra Fluke is going to be here with Congress` latest moves to
block health services for women.

And in the "Rewrite," Mitt Romney gets attacked for his involvement
in the Olympic sport of dressage.

And FOX News does the not mount an all-out attack on the Romney
attacker because this time the Romney attacker works for FOX News.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Why does Mitt Romney think that his tax returns could
destroy his chance to be president? Could it possibly be that he paid no
taxes for 10 years? That`s coming up next.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, FOX News attacks Mitt Romney for
sending his very expensive horse to the Olympics. A man, a horse, and FOX
News are in the "Rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS: Can we clear this up by asking you a simple
yes-or-no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the
13.9 percent?

ROMNEY: Well, I haven`t calculated that. I`m happy to go back and
look. But my view is, I have paid all the taxes required by law. From
time to time, I`ve been audited, as happens, I think, to other citizens as
well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s Mitt Romney`s answer to a simple yes-or-no
question.

Senator Harry Reid thinks that he now knows why Mitt Romney refuses
to answer that simple yes-or-no question. Senator Reid tells Sam Stein at
"The Huffington Post" that he spoke with a Bain insider who told him,
quote, "Harry, he didn`t pay any taxes for 10 years," Reid recounted the
person saying. "He didn`t pay taxes for 10 years. Now, do I know that
that`s true? Well, I`m not certain," said Reid. "But obviously he can`t
release those tax returns. How would it look?"

Bloomberg`s "BusinessWeek`s" Josh Green speculates that Mitt Romney
likely did not pay any taxes in 2009 after suffering investment losses in
the financial meltdown.

"Politico" asked the Romney campaign on July 18th if there was any
year in which Romney paid zero dollars in taxes. Romney press secretary
Andrea Saul then replied, not true.

Team Obama released this ad today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MUIR: Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9
percent?

ROMNEY: Well, I haven`t calculated that. I`m happy to go back and
look.

MUIR: ABC News reached out to the campaign today after Romney`s
answer. A spokesperson would only reiterate, Mitt Romney has paid his
taxes in full compliance with U.S. law.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is David Cay Johnston, Pulitzer Prize-
winning columnist for "Reuters".

David, it is not inconceivable to me that he would not know the yes-
or-no answer to, was there ever a year you paid no taxes? The returns get
presented to him and a couple things get pointed out. If he`s really in a
big hurry, they point out, here`s where you sign and here`s how much you
owe. Here`s how much you`re paying this year.

And when it`s zero, the accountants probably point to the zero.

DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, REUTERS: It is beyond belief, Lawrence, that
this man who has worked so hard, as you`ve pointed out, to go from being
rich to super rich, to replace the silver spoon with a thick platinum
spoon, doesn`t know if he paid less than 13.9 percent. Maybe he doesn`t
know the exact percentage, but he knows the answer to that question.

And it`s just another example of his forgetting things. Whether it`s
bullying people or other important events, you know, he`s gone to the "I
don`t recall" defense.

O`DONNELL: Now there`s a party line developing in the Republican
Party about why he shouldn`t show anymore returns, kind of supporting the
Romney position, enunciated now by Dick Cheney.

Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: You asked every vice presidential, potential vice
presidential pick, to give 10 years` of tax returns. You released 10
years` of tax returns. President Bush, Governor Bush at that time,
released 10 years` of tax returns.

What do you think? As a practical matter, should Romney just bite
the bullet?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: You can argue, should it be
one, should it five, should it be 10? If he had two years out, they`d want
four. If he had four years out, they`d want six out. If he had six years
out, they`d want 10.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: There`s a guy whose tax returns were pretty complex.
This is, you know, involved with a very big international company.

JOHNSTON: And he paid very heavy taxes.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

JOHNSTON: Cheney paid almost the maximum, every year.

O`DONNELL: Really?

JOHNSTON: Yes.

O`DONNELL: He was up close to 30 or above?

JOHNSTON: He was 35 percent or so, right at the top. Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: Because he was taking basic salary income from a
corporation and not trying to do any magic tricks.

JOHNSTON: That`s right. Cheney`s not about making money. Cheney`s
a man who`s all about the power that he has.

Romney`s a guy who`s about making money.

O`DONNELL: And he also knew, there may be a day where I may have to
submit these returns for a Senate confirmation to another cabinet post, or
as it turned out, a vice president. He was living a live of those returns
in anticipation of the need to reveal them publicly.

JOHNSTON: That`s absolutely correct. He might become defense
secretary instead of vice president. And he would have to go through
confirmation process and I think you`ll ever see Mitt --

O`DONNELL: When you look at the beauty of David Muir`s question, yes
or no, did you ever pay less than that rate? I mean, it`s such a simple,
easy question. That`s what everybody should be coming up with. When they
get their chance with Romney, it should be modeled after that yes-or-no
style.

JOHNSTON: You have to parse questions very carefully. Andrea Saul`s
response is, yes, he paid taxes. Well, sales taxes? The poorest person in
America pays taxes.

O`DONNELL: Right.

JOHNSTON: Did he pay federal income taxes and Massachusetts state
income taxes every year? That`s the question.

O`DONNELL: Not property taxes, which he can get out of and all sort
of other things.

The issue here, it seems to me from the Romney side has always been,
it will go away. The Olympics will come along and it will go away. We`ll
go to Israel, it will go away. He goes to Israel and he gets hit with it
again.

JOHNSTON: It is not going to go away. And I don`t think you`re
going to see them release anything.

One of the lessons that will come out of this, people will begin to
realize, the superficial understanding most of us have about taxes is
wrong. If you`re in Romney`s league, you can legally pay no taxes. There
are deferral rules and you can borrow against your assets.

By the way, I`ve been consistent. I`ve been asking for Romney`s
returns since `84, from back last year, and haven`t changed one bit. He
needs to release all the returns, 1984 to now and come square about the
American people about whatever happened. Then we can talk about whether he
complied with the law or not, is there something seriously wrong with the
law that lets people with huge fortunes live tax-free by borrowing against
their assets or by deferring their income if they`re managers of private
equities and hedge funds.

O`DONNELL: Meanwhile, he and his wife go around bragging about
things in their tax returns, that can only be documented in their tax
returns like, oh, we give 10 percent of our income to the church.

We don`t know that. You`re just saying you do that. And the church
can`t know it, because they haven`t seen --

JOHNSTON: Well, we know it for the one year. For the one year we
have a return, we know about his gift to the church. But we don`t know
about every year.

And people of Romney`s level are typically expected by the church to
give much above --

O`DONNELL: But the church doesn`t ask to see your return, to prove
this is your 10 percent.

JOHNSTON: No, it`s is a matter of honor.

O`DONNELL: David Cay Johnston, thank you very much for joining me
tonight.

Coming up, the war within the Republican Party: a Republican quits
the House of Representatives today because of his party`s refusal to
compromise.

And Mitt Romney`s horse has danced back into the "Rewrite" tonight,
after getting attacked on FOX News. Even FOX News has had enough of the
Romney`s dancing horse.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: There`s trouble in the Republican House of
Representatives tonight after a member announced his retirement today,
because his party fears the word "compromise." John Boehner suffered a
major defection in the House of Representatives today, and we`ll bring you
that story next.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, FOX News can considers that perennial
political question, which is more elitist -- wind surfing or dancing
horses? FOX News brainiest player Charles Krauthammer actually asked and
answered that question. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: When you say the word
"compromise," a lot of Americans look up and go, oh, oh, they`re going to
sell me out. So finding common ground, I think, makes more sense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why won`t you say -- you`re afraid of the word.

BOEHNER: I reject the word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, the Republican war within.
House Speaker John Boehner, who famously hates the word "compromise," today
lost the service of his long time friend and fellow Republican, Ohio
Congressman Steve LaTourette. Congressman LaTourette announced he`s
retiring and that he`s doing it over the fear of compromise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: For a long time now, words like ;
"compromise" have been considered to be dirty words. And there are people
on the right and the left who think that if you compromise, you`re a
coward, you`re a facilitator, you`re an appeaser.

I have always believed, and Ralph taught me, that the art of being a
legislator is to find common ground and get the things that you can get to
pass legislation, to solve the country`s problems.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: LaTourette, in his 18th year of Congressional service, was
in line for a committee chairmanship, but he decided he didn`t want to play
the Republican game you have to play these days to get it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LATOURETTE: I had one fellow who is interested in running for the TNI
chair, says that the expectation is if you want to go up in the ranks of
either party, you`ve got to give them your wallet and your voting card.
And the overwhelming criticism with me over the years is that sometimes I
vote funny, according to my party. And I`m not interested in giving them
my wallet or my voting card.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Ana Marie Cox, special correspondent for
"The Guardian U.S., and Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist. Ana Marie,
when you`re retiring from a House seat, you don`t do it with 98 days to go
before the election. You do it as far in advance, at least a year. You
give the party a chance to find the right person to go in your place. This
was something that had to ruin John Boehner`s day.

ANA MARIE COX, "THE GUARDIAN U.S.": There`s been a lot of things
ruining his day lately, probably the guy at the top of the ticket in the
fall. But, yeah, it does suggest that perhaps LaTourette is not really
interested in the good of the party, which really is the problem here.
Compromise, in and of itself, isn`t something that I think people
inherently shirk from.

I think it`s once you get involved in extremely polarized, partisan
environment, compromise is just giving something to the other side. I
mean, real compromise is about two people coming to an agreement that they
can both feel good about, right, or two sides coming to an agreement. But
if you look at things as just Democrat or Republican, black or white, red
or blue, you`re not going to actually see anything as moving forward.
You`re just going to see it as making sacrifices for the other side.

That`s something that obviously LaTourette is uncomfortable. So he`s
leaving.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to a New York State congressman, Upstate
congressman, Republican Richard Hanna, who had this to say to the "Syracuse
Post Standard." He said, "I have to say that I`m frustrated by how much we
-- I mean the Republican party -- are willing to give deferential treatment
to our extremes in this moment in history. We render ourselves incapable
of governing when all we do is take severe sides."

He was talking about Michele Bachmann there. He also said -- on a
personal note, he said, "I would say that the friends I have in the
Democratic party I find much more congenial, a little less anger."

Jamal Simmons, that would seem perfectly obvious, wouldn`t it?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, yes. What`s happening in
the House is this Tea Party Caucus, which has come in, really has been
driving them so far and far to the right. And when you think about what`s
happening with redistricting and all the other ways that it`s really
pulling the House apart, it makes it very hard for somebody who just wants
to get things done to get things done.

Lawrence, I spent today on your old stomping grounds up in the Senate
with my old box, Max Cleland, who had his 70th birthday. John Kerry had a
party for him. People like Chuck Robb were there, a lot of these kind of
older, moderate members of the Senate.

In the Senate, you still have a little bit of that collegiality. I
remember when Max was getting attacked by Saxby Chambliss and people like
John McCain and Chuck Hagel were willing to come to his defense. You don`t
see anything like that in the House of Representatives. And it`s really
tearing the country apart.

O`DONNELL: You know, there`s another issue that LaTourette brought up
today, which is this system now of how you move up to chairmanships in the
House, which to me just is completely corrupt. What he said was, you have
to give them your wallet, meaning you have to raise enormous amounts of
money, not for yourself, but for the party, and for re-electing other House
members. And then you have to give them your voting card, which is to say,
you have to vote with the party on absolutely everything.

And Ana Marie, to my eye, that makes the old seniority system look
good, where if you just sat there, they couldn`t take it away from you, you
didn`t have to give them anything back. If you sat there and waited long
enough, you would get your chairmanship and they wouldn`t make you pay for
it.

COX: It`s true. It does make seniority and tenure seem like a good
idea, because also this idea of this fund-raising and you give them your
wallet, you give them your voting card -- that again sort of ties into this
idea of the party as the ruling apparatus, that there is -- it is -- the
only way to move forward is to sort of give money to get money, give votes
to get ahead. And it really creates a position for people if they want to
vote by their own conscience or if they want to raise money in certain ways
and not other ways, to take money from some people and not other people.

Well, they`re put in a position where they really can`t even play.
They can`t even sort of get to the level where their vote is going to make
a difference, where they`ll continue to make policy for their constituents.
It must be incredibly frustrating, I have to say. I kind of understand why
someone would want to leave.

O`DONNELL: Jamal --

COX: I wouldn`t want to do it.

O`DONNELL: Yeah. Jamal, we saw how difficult it is for an Upstate
New York Republican House member to be in the same party as Michele
Bachmann, with those statements to the Syracuse newspaper. What pressures
could possibly be brought to bear on John Boehner, who can then somehow
reason, if possible, with the Michele Bachmanns of his party, to make them
understand, we would like to be able to continue to elect Republicans in
Upstate New York?

SIMMONS: Well, you know, I`m going to challenge you a little bit in
this proposition that John Boehner is in control of the House.

O`DONNELL: I`m not saying he is. I`m asking -- I`m really asking --
that`s the old system. The old system is, if you had a problem, you let
the Speaker know about it, you let the leadership know about it, that
someone else from another place was causing you a problem, and there would
be a conversation, and that problem would usually go away. The Michele
Bachmann would stop talking that way.

I don`t know. I mean --

SIMMONS: Yeah --

O`DONNELL: What does Boehner do? What can he do?

SIMMONS: Well, exactly. But what I`m saying is, I think that John
Boehner can`t do anything. John Boehner looks very often like he`s in a
hostage video, because these folks are holding him in a way that he doesn`t
even feel like he really looks like he believes some of the things that
he`s saying. I think Eric Cantor and some of these rebel upstarts are the
ones who are really in control of this force. And John Boehner is just
being drug along.

O`DONNELL: And Ana, you see the absurdity of, you know, him trying to
say to Leslie Stahl, you know, anything but the word "compromise." He
tried to get through the sentence without using the word "compromise," to
the point where it`s just obviously funny to Leslie, that he is actually
trying to do this, that there would be some price to pay within his caucus
if he simply says the word "compromise" to her.

COX: I think Jamal is totally right about the hostage video analogy.
Maybe he`s trying to send us messages through different shades of tan. I
don`t know. It would explain something about that varying color of orange
he has. But it is getting kind of ridiculous. You can sense the
frustration in Boehner. You can sense the frustration in a lot of sort of
moderate Republicans.

And not just moderate Republicans, Republicans who want to get things
done. I don`t think Boehner can be called a moderate, really. But their
hands are tied. Their hands are tied by their parties and by the money
they have to raise. And it`s a system that the American people obviously
don`t like.

O`DONNELL: And there`s THE LAST WORD. Ana Marie Cox and Jamal
Simmons, thank you both very much for joining me tonight.

Thank you.

Coming up in the Rewrite, Fox News actually attacks Mitt Romney for
participating in what it calls the upper class Olympic event of dressage.
And while they`re at it, of course, they find a way to attack a Democrat
for a sport they wrongly think is even more upper class. And all of that
is in the Rewrite.

And later, another day, another attack on women`s health services in
the Congress. Sandra Fluke will join me with the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the Rewrite tonight, sport, as Mitt Romney would call
it. Specifically, the Romney family`s favorite sport, dressage, which on
the only Romney tax return we`ve ever seen, produced a 77,000 dollar tax
deduction. A tax deduction for a horse greater than most Americans` annual
income.

Fitzgerald was right about the very rich, in more ways than he knew.
They are different from you and me. For them, family fun is deductible.
Fox News resident thinker Charles Krauthammer has been critical of Mitt
Romney in more ways than one. And now he`s fed up with Ann and Mitt`s
dancing horse.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I understand that the
horse has been important in her treatment of MS. I have total respect for
that. And I`m not sure why the horse has to be in the most upper class
hoity-toity Olympic event ever invented? It`s unnecessary. They`re
running for the presidency.

You know, after he wins, if he wins, he can take the horse on Air
Force One if he wants. Feed him, you know, from the White House mess. But
can`t you just sit it out, so that your horse isn`t in this equestrian
event? I mean, it`s not exactly the equivalent, but it approaches, you
know, John Kerry wind surfing in that incredible outfit.

There`s no need for that. I don`t get it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: What would republicans do without John Kerry? So Charles
Krauthammer thinks that John Kerry`s wind surfing is more hoity-toity than
the Romney`s dressage. All right, let`s look at the facts. The Romney`s
dancing horse is worth 500,000 dollars. John Kerry`s wind surfer?
Eighteen hundred dollars out the door, brand new and loaded, but you can
pick up a used one for a fraction of that.

Dressage is a French word. Wind surfing is English. And the French
language is the most hoity-toity language on Earth. It is now. It always
will be. And dressage is a French word, because dressage was invented in
Europe centuries ago.

The great pioneers of dressage include the likes of Antwan Deplouffeno
(ph), Michael Cavendish (ph), first Duke of Newcastle, and of course,
Francois Robichon de la Guerineiere (ph). The inventor of wind surfing was
Jim Drake. He created the wind surfer in his spare time in his garage in
Santa Monica, California. He patented his invention in 1970, and created
the company, Wind Surfing International, based a couple miles down the road
in Marina Del Rey, California.

Now you would think this would be a no-brainer for Republicans. An
American invention versus a European invention, an American sport versus a
European sport. Jim Drake`s sport versus Francois Robichon de la
Guerineiere`s sport, the first Duke of Newcastle`s sport.

Jim drake, who passed away a few weeks ago at the age of 83, is the
stuff of Republican folklore. Jim Drake created a business in his garage
that then created jobs and an industry, not just here, but around the
world. Imagine -- imagine if a Democratic presidential candidate had ever
even attended a dressage exhibition. Fox News would be all over that.
Rush Limbaugh, who lives the most elitist of lives, flying around in his
private jet while he rakes in his 50 million dollars a year, would be
screaming about elitism, just like he did when John Kerry was photographed
wind surfing.

Everyone at Fox News would be screaming about the elitism of a
Democratic presidential candidate involved with dressage in any way. What
do you think Sarah Palin Thinks of dressage? We know what she thinks of
dressage, but she`s not going to say it, not as long as the Republican
presidential nominee is a dressage horse owner.

So Charles Krauthammer whacks Mitt Romney for participating in what
Krauthammer calls the most upper class hoity-toity Olympic event ever
invented. And then to keep his Fox News paycheck coming, he has to add
this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRAUTHAMMER: I mean, it`s not exactly the equivalent, but it
approaches, you know, John Kerry wind surfing in that incredible outfit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Krauthammer has to say that wind surfing is more upper
class, more hoity-toity than dressage. But Krauthammer is right the first
time, when he said that dressage is the most upper class, hoity-toity
Olympic event ever invented. Wind surfing is also an Olympic event, though
Krauthammer does not seem to know that.

Oh, and you know what Jim Drake was doing full-time when he was
inventing the wind surfer in his garage in his spare time in Santa Monica?
Jim Drake was an aeronautical engineer who helped design the X-15 rocket
plane and the Tomahawk Cruise Missile.

What more could Jim Drake have done to get Republican respect? But
the only thing -- the only thing that Charles Krauthammer hates more than
dressage is Jim Drake`s sport.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), WASHINGTON, D.C.: Mr. Speaker, this
is the first time in our history that a stand-alone bill has come to the
floor to deny the residents of the nation`s capital the same Constitutional
rights as other Americans. We won`t stand for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton on the House
floor tonight, speaking against a bill that would have banned abortions in
the District of Columbia after 20 weeks. The Republican-led bill failed
tonight by a majority vote of 220 to 154. But it needed a two-thirds vote
to pass, roughly 280 votes.

Women`s reproductive rights were also debated on the Senate side
today, on the eve of the next phase of the Affordable Care Act. Tomorrow,
August 1st, under the Affordable Care Act, preventative services like
contraception, HIV testing, and diabetes screening, among many other
benefits, will be available without paying a co-pay.

But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems worried that as the
benefits of the Affordable Care Act become a reality, the popularity of the
law just might increase.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: I think it would be
appropriate to have a vote on the repeal of Obamacare. I would and hope to
be able to offer that amendment during the pendency (ph) of the bill on
cyber security, which we believe will be open to amendments.

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: No discrimination where they`re
charged more and get less. That`s what Obamacare is. If you want to
repeal that, then bring it on! We`re ready to fight.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Yes, it is a war on women. Because
if they really cared about women and they didn`t like Obamacare, they would
still have a proposal on the floor to keep these fine pieces of the
legislation going forward.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: So I`m wondering, what is with
this idea of repeal? Do you really want to take away these benefits from
women? From children? From men? From families? Yeah, I guess you do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, women`s health advocate Sandra Fluke.
Sandra, it seems to me that the best-selling tool for the Affordable Care
Act is to actually have it go into effect and have people see what their
benefits actually are. There are some rebates going out there now from
insurance companies to different people around the country, because the
insurance company was using too much of the money for non-health care
purposes, within that plan.

And now we`re seeing these other benefits come online tomorrow,
particularly in the area of women`s health. And that, it seems to me, is
what has Mitch McConnell so excited today.

SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN`S HEALTH CARE ADVOCATE: Yeah, I think you`re
absolutely right. And I think that when Americans start to go to the
doctor and see that they can get access to these preventative services that
they haven`t had before, things like screening for gestational diabetes,
well-woman visits, access to contraception, domestic violence screenings,
those types of benefits, they will realize that the Affordable Care Act
delivers real health benefits to all of us, and that it`s not the
terrifying piece of legislation that some Republicans have made it out to
be in their attempts to frighten people of it.

O`DONNELL: And there`s Mitch McConnell, trying to get yet another
vote on repeal, this time on a piece of legislation that has absolutely
nothing to do with health care. And it`s no coincidence that tomorrow`s
August 1st, and new benefits take effect.

FLUKE: Absolutely. And even if I were not in favor of the Affordable
Care Act and of these life-saving preventative services for women, I would
question Senator McConnell`s leadership in choosing to attach a repeal vote
to something as important as the cyber security bill. This is about
national security of our cyber grid, something that the Republican
leadership supposedly takes very seriously.

And yet they`re holding that up with an amendment that we all know is
not going to pass.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Secretary Sebelius on some of the other
benefits that are coming.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES:
Starting in 2014, it will be illegal for companies to deny someone coverage
because they`re a breast cancer survivor or pregnant or a victim of
domestic violence. And it will also be illegal, finally in America, to
charge women more than men just because they`re women.

In other words, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing
condition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: It seems that`s what Mitch McConnell doesn`t want voters
to find out.

FLUKE: Yeah, I think you`re absolutely right.

O`DONNELL: And going forward, do you anticipate that there will be
more discoveries about what these benefits are around the country? I mean,
one of the struggles I think you had when you were in this initial argument
about what`s going on with the contraception coverage in this bill, is that
people didn`t understand the bill at all.

FLUKE: Right.

O`DONNELL: And so they were actually discovering this contraception
provision for the first time, because they really didn`t have much of
knowledge about what else was in it.

FLUKE: I think that`s right. And I think this is going to be a
gradual process, because these women`s preventative service at no cost
share go into in effect tomorrow. But for each individual woman, it will
start as soon as her insurance is renewed and a new plan year starts,
assuming that it`s not a grand fathered plan.

So we`ll each discover this on our own sort of insurance timeline.
And I would actually really recommend folks check out the National Women`s
Law Center website for a Q&A on how to talk to your insurance provider
about when you`ll get those benefits.

O`DONNELL: Sandra Fluke, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

FLUKE: Thank you.

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

END

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