'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Read the transcript to the Tuesday show
Guests: Steve Kornacki, Ryan Grim, Nick Broomfield
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The only good judgment Republicans have
shown this year is how much they don`t like their presidential candidates.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the
year where we don`t have to settle.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Just pining for somebody else.
JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: You want to add another candidate?
O`DONNELL (voice-over): Republican voters want a new candidate to
MITCHELL: You`re looking at Chris Christie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Andrea, who isn`t?
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I appreciate all the wonderful
things you`re says about me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might jump in
STEWART: First, you wanted Bachmann; then, Perry; now, Christie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Christie`s shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He ought to go now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A big speech tonight at the Reagan Library.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Calling that speech real American
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His chance is not going to come again.
O`DONNELL: But is Chris Christie smarter than his party?
TODD: Christie continues to say a 2012 run, though, is not in his
CHRISTIE: I simply do not have the desire to do it, nor do I think
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: I don`t see him running.
CHRISTIE: What do I have to do short of suicide to convince people
I`m not running?
TRUMP: I don`t think he`s going to run. He`s a great guy.
MITCHELL: What does all of the focus on Chris Christie mean for the
STEWART: Every week, we just add some other idiot.
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The heartlessness of
DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN: Rick Perry is in trouble.
TODD: No question, Rick Perry had a rough week.
LETTERMAN: Number 10, lost support from both the whack jobs and nut
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a Ponzi scheme.
LETTERMAN: The number one sign: Rick Perry campaign is in trouble,
even Michele O`Bachmann thinks he`s nuts. There you go.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With all due respect, he`s
not up to primetime.
STEWART: It`s like the Republican primary is a season of "American
Idol" in reverse.
JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in science,
evolution and climate change.
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The world is changing.
STEWART: Republican base, meet me at camera three. Have you ever
considered the possibility that maybe your candidates aren`t the problem?
Maybe it`s you.
O`DONNELL: While President Obama continued his jobs bill campaign in
Denver today, Republicans were still looking for a 2012 presidential
candidate. Their hope for an alternative to front-runners Rick Perry and
Mitt Romney and apparently now possible front-runner Herman Cain will be
dashed tonight when New Jersey Governor Christie fails to announce a bid
for president in a speech at the Reagan library in California. Christie`s
brother, a Republican fund-raiser, told a New Jersey paper today, "I`m sure
that he`s not going to run. If he`s lying to me, I`ll be as stunned as
I`ve ever been in my life."
But "The New York Times" reports tonight, "People close to the
governor say Mr. Christie was not totally immune to the flattery and that
his brother`s statement was more definitive than it should have been. A
Republican close to Mr. Christie said Tuesday that the governor had not
changed his mind, but had begun to reconsider his absolute refusal."
Christie`s address tonight is entitled "Real American Exceptionalism."
Deliberately leaked prepared remarks indicate Christie will criticize
domestic political conduct of late and encourage leaders to confront
"Today, the biggest challenge we must meet is the one we present to
ourselves, to not become a nation that places entitlement ahead of
accomplishment, to not become a country that places comfortable lies ahead
of difficult truths. To not become a people that thinks so little of
ourselves that we demand no sacrifice from each other. We are a better
people than that, and we must demand a better nation than that."
The speech comes one day after former New Jersey governor and Christie
confidant, Tom Kean, reignited Christie campaign chatter by telling "The
National Review" that Christie is very seriously considering a bid for
president. "It`s real," Kean says. "He`s giving it a lot of thought. I
think the odds are a lot better now than they were a couple weeks ago."
Christie knows running for president provokes a very different level
of media scrutiny than he has experienced as a mere governor, including
moments like this on "The View" today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you see him as president?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You say no? OK. Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, wow, did they say fat?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard that and you`re right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you said, it`s because he`s hefty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hefty, hefty, hefty.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Christie offers something Rick Perry and
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Krispy Kremes. I have to say, it might be fun
to have a fat president, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who said he`s fat?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, his motto could be, no more vetoes, only
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s not healthy. I don`t want to worry about
my president dying from a heart attack because he`s overweight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, "Salon" columnist Steve Kornacki, who
follows New Jersey politics very closely.
Steve, thanks for joining us tonight.
That is a preview of the Christie for president campaign when he
becomes a daily feature of "The View," if he were to become a Republican
nominee. He`s got to be thinking about things like that. He also has to
be thinking about: hey, wait a minute, I`ve only been doing this politics
thing for, what, two years now?
STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Well, he`s been doing politics a lot
longer. It`s kind of interesting. There`s a lesson buried early in this
career that I think most people don`t know about that I think is really
relevant to what`s going on right now. He`s one of those guys who, I
think, when he was in middle school, when he was in high school, he was
rehearsing the inaugural address in the bathroom mirror. He`s always the
one who run for office. He was the student president at the University of
He`s a New Jersey guy and he`s always dreamed of the New Jersey
governorship. And early in his career, he got elected to a county board
out of New Jersey and it was supposed to be sort of the first step in the
rise of Chris Christie. And he did a whole act he`s doing right now, the
kind of bull in the china shop. But there wasn`t YouTube, there weren`t TV
cameras, there were just a bunch of angry county officials who really
resented this guy.
And they basically drove him out of county politics. He was defeated
in the race for state legislature. He was defeated in a Republican primary
in his reelection bid to the county freeholder board in New Jersey and at
34, it looked like Chris Christie`s career was absolutely over.
And I think the lesson he draws from that is there`s a risk in doing
too much too soon, in reaching too far too soon. He just got elected
governor less than two years ago. Now, everybody`s talking about going
And I think he thinks back to that moment early in his career and
says, you know what? If I run for president now, that`s an all or nothing
proposition. If I lose, I can`t go back to New Jersey and be governor
anymore. I`m going to lose in 2013, I`m going to be a lame duck. Do I
want to give it all up for something as iffy as this?
And that`s why I think in the end, he probably won`t.
O`DONNELL: Now, I love Tom Kean`s little rumor starting thing when he
says he thinks the odds are now better that Christie will run for
president. The odds being better than zero.
I mean, here`s a guy who`s threatening to kill himself if necessary to
prove to you he`s not going to run for president. So, it`s pretty easy for
the odds to get better than zero, isn`t it?
KORNACKI: Now, he`ll just seriously wound himself. I think that`s
what we`ve upgraded it with.
It`s funny, having followed New Jersey, Tom Kean is such a shameless
flirt. The guy left the governorship in 1990 and he himself flirted with
running for office six times since then launching trial balloons like this.
Now, he`s 76 years old. So, I guess he`s doing it for other people.
O`DONNELL: So, what do national Republicans not realize about
Christie? I mean, we`ve seen these candidates emerge who are supposed to
be the savior then you discover, oh, wait, those jobs in Texas, there`s
this other thing you don`t know about. What would they suddenly discover
that they wouldn`t be crazy about?
KORNACKI: When you look at Perry, I think the one that`s really
killed him on the Republican side is immigration.
O`DONNELL: Yes, sure.
KORNACKI: In immigration, that that`s right there with Christie, too,
because Christie --
O`DONNELL: What has the man done on immigration or said?
KORNACKI: He committed the crime of being in law enforcement, in
realizing that if you`re in law enforcement as a federal prosecutor in New
Jersey, you have to have a sort of realistic, pragmatic view, you know, of
O`DONNELL: Or maybe you can`t round up every one of them.
KORNACKI: Or really none of them. That`s what he went out there and
said. You know, two years ago, he was t a town hall event in New Jersey
and he was confronted by somebody who would probably be part of the
Republican Party base at the national level who told him, why aren`t you
doing more about this, you know, as U.S. attorney? He said, that`s not my
job. You know, I`m in law enforcement, I have to be realistic about this
and we can`t be demagoguing this as leaders and politicians.
Now, that played well in New Jersey. It helped him get elected
governor in 2009. But look at what happened to Rick Perry. Imagine what
happens to Chris Christie. And there`s a lot of examples like that.
O`DONNELL: You got a third of Republican voters in places like South
Carolina who believe that the president of the United States is a Muslim,
no matter what he says about it. Chris Christie appointed a Muslim judge
which I praised him for on this show. Jon Stewart actually used by tape of
that on his show last night talking about Christie. That`s one of things
that Republicans nationwide don`t know about.
KORNACKI: And one of the things Christie said in defending that judge
was basically I`m tired of all the nuts.
KORNACKI: You know, the only thing I would say about Christie is, I
look at Rick Perry, I look at Mitt Romney and I look at Chris Christie, and
I do think that Chris Christie is a better salesman. If all these guys are
flawed at a certain level and Christie gets in, you know, the Republicans
are going to have to compromise in some way. I do wonder if the
salesmanship that Christie has might actually give him an advantage there.
O`DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, senior New Jersey correspondent for THE
LAST WORD and from Salon.com -- thanks for joining me tonight, Steve.
Last night, Jon Stewart gave his take on why Republicans can`t find a
presidential candidate to fall in love with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
STEWART: Have you ever considered the possibility maybe your
candidates aren`t the problem? Maybe it`s you. You seem hard to please
and figure out.
I mean, you`re pro life, yet --
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Your state has executed 234 death row
inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. Have you --
STEWART: What was that?
You`re afraid of death panels, yet for uninsured coma patients --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Are you saying that society should just let him
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes.
REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!
STEWART: That`s the crowd. Yes!
You`ve got to support the troops, well, except for this captain over
It`s like the Republican base is at war with its own talking points.
I want someone who`s going to cut taxes and balance the budget, someone
who`s skilled order and doesn`t talk all fancy. The child of poor
immigrants who will build a fence to keep them out of this country.
Someone who`s strong enough for a man but ph balanced for a woman.
And now, you want Chris Christie. Sure you do.
CHRISTIE: The people who criticize my appointment of Sohail Mohammed
are ignorant, absolutely ignorant of that and they criticize him because
he`s a Muslim American. This Sharia law business is crap. It`s just
crazy. And I`m tired of dealing with the crazies.
STEWART: He`s talking about you.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, editorial director for AOL/"Huffington
Post" and MSNBC analyst, Howard Fineman.
Howard, thanks for joining me tonight.
HOWARD FINEMAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Howard, you at "The Huffington Post" have done this
fascinating poll of what you call the 160 Republican power outsiders.
You`ve gotten their attitudes about these potential nominees. Tell us
FINEMAN: Well, in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the big
three, first three primary caucus states, we are having our patch.com local
editors and reporters go out and talk to dozens and dozens and dozens of
local influential Republicans in those states -- elected officials, party
leaders, businesspeople and so on. So, we have close to 200 of them we
talk to every week. And to try to get a real ground-level feel, nobody
else is trying to do something this extensive because we have 26 of these
local patch sites in these three states.
And this week, we asked them about Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. And
what we found was Rick Perry plummeting like a stone among the grassroots
people, the sort of local influentials in those three states. They ended
up having a much less favorable view of Rick Perry than they did.
Look at this. We just did the poll from last Friday to today. Fifty-
seven percent of our local influentials, the people we call the power
outsiders, in those three states said they had a less favorable view of
Rick Perry after that debate.
Now, this isn`t the pundits talking. This isn`t the, you know, the
national press talking. These are local main street influential
Republicans in these three states. That`s terrible news for Rick Perry.
You know, they had a more favorable view of Mitt Romney. But, again,
it`s jut compared with Rick Perry.
What these numbers show to me, Lawrence, is that the Republicans are
still out there yearning for somebody who`s really going to satisfy them on
all fronts. Mitt Romney now does well by comparison to Rick Perry, but
only because Rick Perry screwed up so royally over the last couple weeks.
O`DONNELL: And you asked them the electability question, Howard -- 63
percent saying Romney has the best chance to defeat Obama, 24 percent
saying Perry has the best chance to defeat the president.
O`DONNELL: That could turn out to be the decisive issue as this
FINEMAN: Right. Now, again, keep in mind, that`s given the choice
between Perry and Romney.
So, what Romney has done as sort of unpopular as he is natively, if
you will, is he keeps beating people back who try to challenge him on that
front. It looks like to me for the time being, according to the grassroots
leaders in the Republican Party we talked to, Romney`s successfully done
that with Rick Perry.
But Steve was talking about Chris Christie`s a heck of a salesman. If
he gets in the race, that`s going to be an entirely different equation for
Now, my reporting tells me that people around Chris Christie, people
close to him, who are his political and personal advisers are out around
the New York area and, indeed, around the country asking people if Chris
Christie were to decide to run, would you be with him? These are both
professional people and financial people.
I talked to somebody who worked in Chris Christie`s gubernatorial
campaign. That person tells me that while nobody thinks that Chris
Christie`s made up his mind, some of Christie`s closest people are asking
around on the manner of, well, you know, if the governor were to decide to
do this, might you possibly be available to help?
O`DONNELL: Howard, quickly, before you go, I need you to place your
bet. Will he or won`t he, will Christie run?
FINEMAN: No, I think, in the end, he won`t for the reason Steve
Kornacki said. I think he`s a master of timing and I think he realizes
that this probably isn`t quite his time.
O`DONNELL: Howard Fineman of "The Huffington Post" and MSNBC --
thanks for joining me tonight, Howard.
FINEMAN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, how the constitutionality of the health care
reform bill will dominate the presidential campaign next year.
And later, what "The Huffington Post" reports as the super lie behind
the supercommittee. Ryan Grim joins me with the details.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the constitutionality of the president`s health
care reform bill will be decided by the Supreme Court right in the middle
of the presidential campaign next year.
And we tried to tell you last night that the president is not, repeat,
not the antichrist. We also tried to tell you the whole idea of the
antichrist is kind of crazy, but not everybody is listening, including the
guy who called the president the antichrist in Los Angeles last night.
He`s in the "Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: There`s going to be a Supreme Court showdown over the
president`s health care bill in the middle of the presidential campaign
next year. That is the likely result of today`s decision by the Justice
Department to skip a step in the federal fight over the president`s
Affordable Care Act. The Obama Justice Department has asked the Supreme
Court to bypass a possible delaying stage of the appeals process and hear
the cases challenging the health care reform law as soon as possible.
In August, a federal court of appeals in Georgia ruled that the
individual mandate in the law is unconstitutional. There are several other
cases working their way through the federal courts, but this is the one,
the Obama Justice Department has decided to push to a Supreme Court
argument likely with a decision to be written in the spring of 2012,
probably around June. Just when the Republican attacks on what they call
Obamacare will be reaching a fever pitch.
Joining me now is "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC contributor
Thanks for joining me tonight, E.J.
E.J. DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: E.J., do we have a campaign precedent like this where
basically in the middle of a presidential campaign, here comes the United
States Supreme Court to decide what may be the constitutionality of the
central issue of that campaign.
DIONNE: I can`t think of one. There may be somebody out there who
can. I mean, the closest thing I can think of was the Dred Scott decision
which laid the predicate for the 1860 election. But that was three years
But I really liked the fact that they did it this way. They could
have gone through the 11th Circuit. There was no guarantee, by the way,
that they would have done the full review.
They would have subjected themselves to criticism that they were
playing games, trying to delay it. I think this shows real confidence that
they can win, and while I am always skeptical that this Supreme Court is
going to engage in judicial activism, there may be reason to think they
won`t this time.
One is, this would be a way to start a huge fight over the nature of
the court. And I`m not sure the conservatives on the court want to do
Secondly, we talk about the 11th Circuit decision, there was a sixth
circuit decision in favor of the health care bill. It was written by a
very conservative judge called Jeffrey Sutton, who is very respected by
people like Justice Scalia. And he had an interesting line in that
decision. He said, not every intrusive law is an unconstitutionally
And it was basically telling conservatives: don`t have the courts do
your political work for you. That`s what conservatives are supposed to
O`DONNELL: How do you suppose the Mitt Romney camp feels about this
right now? Here is the individual mandate going to the Supreme Court
during the presidential campaign. The individual mandate that is virtually
identical to the one Romney supported in Massachusetts and made law in
DIONNE: I think anything that puts health care at the center of the
discussion in the Republican primary is bad for Mitt Romney. I think it`s
notable, for example, that when he went after Rick Perry for being out of
the mainstream, he didn`t say anything about Medicare because he didn`t
want to talk about health care at all. He went after him on Social
Security. I think it was smart. It`s clearly been effective.
But I think he would like health care to go away as an issue until the
O`DONNELL: And, E.J., the Supreme Court, understandably, has a way of
settling things. They reach a decision then that`s it. At least that`s it
legislatively. No one tries to make any real moves after that.
But this decision is going to be made right in the middle of a
presidential campaign where one campaign, the Republican campaign, is going
to say, if the court doesn`t rule it unconstitutional, the Republican
candidate is going to say, repeal it. I mean, even Romney`s position is
repeal it, get rid of it, throw it out.
And so, the decision which is likely to be 5-4, one way or the other,
you can see where it`s going to be in a certain way the beginning of the
campaign argument in what is the final stretch of the campaign.
DIONNE: And this -- yes. And this decision could be as much sausage-
making as the making of this bill, itself, because they wouldn`t
necessarily have to throw out the entire law if they were against it. They
might just throw out the individual mandate. Keep the rest of the law in
And there are ways potentially to make it work without the mandate.
Paul Starr, health care expert at Princeton, has an interesting idea about
how you could make it work without a mandate. So they could go in a lot of
directions. They could throw it all out or just throw out the mandate --
in which case you then have a very complicated discussion going all the way
through the election.
KING: And the mandate, I`ve pointed out before is something of a
mirage since it doesn`t really have a penalty attached to it. There`s this
very low dollar penalty written into the tax code which the IRS is
specifically forbidden from trying to collect either through civil or
criminal process, if you refuse to pay it. So, there`s this really funny
mirage quality to this mandate to begin with. The thing they`re fighting
over so intently.
And I think the Obama team knows that if they lose the mandate, they
still have the essence of their bill and they will be ready to go forward
with it without the mandate.
DIONNE: Right. It`s hard to make it work without something to
replace the mandate, but I think it`s going to be -- it ought to be really
hard to throw this out on constitutional grounds. I mean, this is done on
the basis of the Commerce Clause regulating interstate commerce. I mean,
are there any mom and pop insurance companies out there? I mean, we`re
talking about a truly national industry.
What`s this about -- it`s actually a conservative idea, the mandate.
We are all going to go into hospitals in an emergency to be cared for. The
hospitals have to take care of us by law. Somebody is going to pay.
This is an effort to rationalize it and to prevent free riding which
is, again, something Republicans ought to be for.
O`DONNELL: And, E.J., you and I have been around this argument long
enough to know the individual mandate began as a Republican idea.
DIONNE: Exactly right.
O`DONNELL: E.J. Dionne, thank you --
DIONNE: You should get into the Republican race for president. Why
not? Anybody can enter.
O`DONNELL: That`s right. E.J. Dionne, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.
DIONNE: Good to be with you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up: the congressional supercommittee has a super
secret. Its automatic trigger may not be automatic at all.
And, filmmaker Nick Broomfield joins us to talk about his new
documentary about Sarah Palin. The reviews are in and "The Guardian" says
its closest cinematic relative may well be "The Omen."
Stay with us to find out why.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the trigger. Remember the
trigger? It`s attached to the gun that Congress has aimed at its own head.
But Congress being Congress, they may have forgotten to actually load that
gun. In the tortured debt ceiling deal passed in August, Congress created
a super committee that is empowered to write legislation that has a
guaranteed route to a vote.
In other words, it just cannot be filibustered. Can`t be stopped.
And the super committee`s legislation must cut the deficit by 1.2 trillion
dollars using any mix of tax revenue increases or spending cuts that the
majority of the super committee can agree to.
If the super committee fails to produce such a bill or if Congress
fails to pass it, that will automatically trigger 1.2 trillion dollars in
budget cuts that neither party will like, including massive cuts in defense
spending that Republicans will hate and massive across the board
discretionary spending cuts the Democrats will hate.
Those dreaded triggered cuts, the ones that each party will hate, are
supposed to provide the incentive for the super committee to come up with
something smarter, something more acceptable to both parties. But what if
the automatically triggered cuts are not so automatic after all?
Joining me now is Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for "Huffington
Post," who wrote about this today. Ryan, thanks for joining me.
RYAN GRIM, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: Ryan, the title of your piece today, "Super Committees`s
Cuts, Anything But Automatic." What did we miss here? What did they sneak
by us? How are they going to get around the automatic trigger that they`re
all so afraid of?
GRIM: If you listen to the coverage of this, and especially if you
listen to the members of the super committee, themselves, you would think
that the moment they deadlocked almost, that, you know, the federal
government would cease to operate as we know it and these painful across
the board cuts would happen immediately. Or they might even happen in the
next month or so.
No. What Congress did when they wrote the law is they said these cuts
will begin to take effect January 1st, 2013, and then they will go out
through the next ten years. So they could even all be back loaded toward,
like, 2020, 2021 and they would still be in compliance with the law. But
2013 is what`s key.
Because, you know, as your show talks about every night, there`s
something pretty important that`s going to happen between now and January
1st, 2013. A few important things.
O`DONNELL: Yeah, let me think. Let`s see. Oh, yeah, there`s going
to be a presidential election and a congressional election. Yes.
GRIM: And then what you have after a presidential election and a
congressional election is you have a lame duck Congress. And this is
something that I didn`t mention in my piece, but the debt ceiling is going
to be touched right around that time as well.
January 1st, 2013, Bush`s tax cuts expire. So you`re going to have
this need to do all sorts of structural policy work in this very short
amount of time. And so everything`s just going to come together. And I
talked to a bunch of senators and laid this scenario out to them. And
overwhelmingly, they said, yes, that`s right. That`s when it`s going to
So what we`re going to have, we`re going to have deadlock now. And
that`s probably a good thing for all sides. The Republicans don`t want
taxes, so they won`t get tax increases. Democrats don`t want cuts. They
won`t get cuts.
God knows the Pentagon doesn`t want to get cut, so they won`t get
touched. Then you`ll have the next year-plus to start talking about how
you`re going to do -- how you`re going to do all of this together, the debt
ceiling, the Bush tax cuts that Obama extended and also these supposed
So all of that`s going to get put together and it will get worked out
probably sometime in the lame duck.
O`DONNELL: Well, Ryan, isn`t it even specifically designed to be done
in the lame duck session? The super committee isn`t even expected to
report until after the election, aren`t they?
GRIM: Well, the super committee is supposed to report, I believe,
this November. So it should -- you know, it should have collapsed pretty
quickly. But they did give themselves through 2012 to work on the super
committee`s recommendations. So you`re right.
So they can be working on these recommendations. The other thing is
that if the super committee cuts, say, 200 billion dollars, you know, they
find 200 billion dollars over 10 years, which is not that difficult to do -
- you know, you can monkey around with all kinds of baselines, different
rates to come up with 200 billion dollars easily.
So that would mean that then these automatic cuts, supposedly, would
only be there to make up the difference. A lot -- all of that difference
could be made by simply allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, because, you
know, that in itself would raise the amount of revenue that the super --
supreme committee I was going to call them. Super committee, Congress,
whatever you want to call them, what they were supposed to cut.
So, you know, basically we have a lot of theater right now.
O`DONNELL: Yeah, on January one, at that point, the Bush rates expire
and you would raise four trillion over 10 years without anybody legislating
anything. We`re going to do a lot more on this. Ryan Grim of "the
Huffington Post." thank you very much for joining me tonight.
GRIM: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, you heard it here last night and the president
heard it less than an hour later. The people who believe the president
actually is the Antichrist get the Rewrite again tonight.
And later, the director of the new documentary about Sarah Palin joins
me to talk about why people in Wasilla couldn`t wait -- couldn`t wait to
dish about their ex-mayor. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Rewrite. Well, you heard it here
first. And then the president heard it last night in Los Angeles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Christian God is the one and only true living God,
the creator of heaven and the universe. Jesus Christ is God! Jesus Christ
is God! Jesus Christ is God! Jesus Christ is the son of God. Jesus
Christ is the son of God. You are the Antichrist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was the president smiling at a deranged heckler at an
Obama campaign fund raiser in Los Angeles last night. The heckler calling
the president the Antichrist.
That happened less than an hour after we had a discussion on this
program about people who believe that President Obama is the Antichrist. I
was guided through the subject by Matt Sutton, a history professor at
Washington State University, who has studied the history of Christianity in
the United States.
Professor Sutton`s op-ed piece in yesterday`s "New York Times"
entitled "Why The Antichrist Matters in Politics" tells you everything you
need to know about this, everything that will make you understand what that
crazy heckler yelled at the president last night.
First, what or who is the Antichrist?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT SUTTON, WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY: And for conservative
Christians, they`ve developed this notion of the Antichrist out of the
reading of the Bible in a couple different places, mostly the Old Testament
but also the Book of Revelation.
But essentially what they believe is that the world is getting worse
and worse and worse, and it`s going to end in this great cataclysm. And
what`s going to happen is, first, all true Christians are going to be
raptured. They`re going to disappear. And then a new world leader is
going to come forward promising peace and security.
And then it`s going to turn out that he`s the Antichrist. And
ultimately, seven years later, Jesus is going to return, the second coming.
And he`s going to battle the Antichrist actually in a literal place in the
Middle East, the battle of Armageddon.
Then Jesus will then restore a new heaven and a new Earth. And then
things will be much better at that point.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK. That was not a pitch for a movie. You got that? Did
you follow that?
So the guy who heckled the president last night believes -- believes
that Barack Obama is not only going to continue to be the leader of the
United States of America, but he`s going to become the leader of the entire
Now, I know what you rationalists there are thinking. You`re
thinking, the president is going to need much better poll numbers in
Florida before all of South America is willing to make him their leader,
too. But that kind of thinking does not get in the way of believers in the
Now, of course, most Christians do not believe in any of this
Antichrist nonsense. But the ones who do certainly can`t be talked out of
it with poll numbers. According to believers in the Antichrist, before
President Obama becomes the leader of the entire world, all true Christians
on Earth are going to disappear. They are simply going to be lifted into
heaven in what they call the Rapture.
So the heckler in L.A. last night is actually kind of happy to know
that he will soon enough be going to heaven, because he can see that the
Antichrist has now taken his place among us as president of the United
States and is obviously on his way to taking over the entire world.
The guy wasn`t really angry at the president. He was just yelling to
make sure that the president heard him. He had to yell over all that crowd
noise. He really just wanted the personal satisfaction of the president
knowing that he knows that the president really is the Antichrist.
And yes, his tone does kind of indicate that he doesn`t exactly like
the Antichrist. And even though he knows that the emergence of the
Antichrist is a necessary step in the fulfillment of his loony version of
Biblical prophecy, he sure as hell is in no mood to vote for the Antichrist
to be re-elected president of the United States.
I think we can count on the heckler to vote for Rick Perry or Michele
Bachmann in the California primary, and then for whoever the Republican
nominee is for president. After our segment last night on the Antichrist,
I got this Tweet from Tonny Rae (ph), "completely baffled as to why you
just had your last guest."
Well, you know, as I had hoped was obvious last night, the point of
talking about the Antichrist on this program is to point out just how crazy
the crazy section of our electorate is. No matter how many times the
president says things like this --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I agree Jesus Christ is the Lord. I believe in that. I --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Twelve percent of Americans still think he is a Muslim.
And despite the worldwide release of this document proving Barack Obama was
born in Hawaii, 25 percent of Americans still believe he was born in
The resistance to fact is not evenly distributed in this country or
among political persuasions. The more southern and the more Republican you
are, the more likely you are to be wrong about the president`s birthplace
and his religious beliefs. Thirty percent of South Carolina Republicans
think the president is a Muslim. And more than a third think the president
was born in another country.
We don`t know what percent of South Carolina Republicans believe the
president is the Antichrist. But you can be sure it is not zero.
Those South Carolina Republicans vote for Republicans senators and
members of Congress who stand in the president`s way every day in every
way. It is as if they`ve taken an oath to oppose the president no matter
who he says or does, even when the president proposes something some South
Carolina members have supported in the past. They oppose him as soon as
they hear the president is in favor of them.
Such is the mindlessness of the relentless opposition to the policies
of President Obama. Because after all, too much of the Republican
opposition is not really opposition to President Obama`s policies, but
opposition to the man, himself.
O`DONNELL: Sarah Palin is threatening to sue author Joe McGinniss and
his publisher for the new controversial book "The Rogue." In a letter
obtained by ABC News, Palin`s lawyer says "the book contains a series of
lies and rumors presented as fact and combined with anonymous sources."
This Friday, a new film, "Sarah Palin, You Betcha," opens in New York,
Los Angeles and San Francisco. The 90 minute film is director Nick
Broomfield`s quest to find the real Sarah Palin. It starts with a hopeful
first encounter with the former governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: Hi there, what`s your name?
NICK BROOMFIELD, DIRECTOR, "SARAH PALIN - YOU BETCHA": Nick.
PALIN: Nick, so nice to meet you. Appreciate you being here. Nice
Heck yeah. Were you up there?
BROOMFIELD: I was. I might go back and do a documentary. I was
wondering if you could answer a few questions next time you`re there.
PALINE: Well, I`ll betcha I can do that.
BROOMFIELD: Could you do that? That would be fantastic.
PALIN: Do you have a card?
BROOMFIELD: I`ll leave one here. I`ll contact you when I`m in
Wasilla. Thank you.
PALIN: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Palin watchers will not be surprised that she never did
grant that interview. But others did.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On September 13th, the church where Sarah Palin
has worshipped for six years is sponsoring a pray away the gay retreat for
those who regrettably suffer from same sex attraction.
BROOMFIELD: Did Sarah and her church make people in the gay community
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes. When the mayor of your town is saying
that they don`t like you, then, you know, it`s not a good thing, because
obviously people had to vote her in. So she`s probably got a good backing
of people that feel the same way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now for an exclusive interview, award winning
director Nick Broomfield. Nick, thank you very much for joining us
Us Broomfield fans know that in your documentaries, you tend to become
a character in the story about how do we find this person? Is that what we
see in this movie?
BROOMFIELD: Well, I think it`s one of the -- a way, really, of
telling the story. And Sarah Palin, as you pointed out, was very reluctant
really to be interviewed. So it was really the quest mainly talking to
other fellow Republicans and people who had worked with her to find the
real Sarah Palin. And I`m the sort of McGuffin that strings it along, the
Clouseau character probably.
O`DONNELL: Yes, yes. You did find some people who wanted to talk.
One was the ex-brother-in-law, the semi-famous, briefly famous ex-brother-
in-law, who she had kind of a vendetta with. Let`s look at that clip about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Behind closed doors, she`s not raising her kids.
Somebody else is raising her kids. I raised her kids for four years. You
know, 4.5 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Molly and I were together. When Todd was on
the slope, those kids were always at somebody else`s house. And if they
weren`t, and we were over at their house, she`s yelling at them all the
time. You know, go outside and play. Get away from me, you know, having
arguments with them, calling them names.
I mean, it was just completely different from what she portrays
herself to be in the public eye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: How do you judge the credibility of those kinds of
BROOMFIELD: Because many other people, some of whom did not want to
appear on camera, said exactly the same thing, people who had looked after
Sarah`s kids. When she was mayor, she used to drop them off at a friend`s
house. Time and time again, you would hear the same stories. And it was
because of that that I included it and I gave it the weight that I felt it
O`DONNELL: Did you find anybody who -- what`s the positive story of
Sarah Palin in this film? Is there a positive picture of Sarah Palin?
BROOMFIELD: I think the positive Sarah Palin story is she`s someone
with incredible will and discipline and charisma. And she has the ability
to lead people and for them to believe in her. They don`t necessarily
believe in her for very long.
There are an awful lot of people who gave their hearts and souls to
Sarah, who talked in the film, who I think would have done anything for
her. But then she turned. And I think that`s why a lot of people came
forward, because they were frightened about her having some real power.
O`DONNELL: And the -- she clamped down on friends of hers, told them,
don`t cooperate with this guy. You encountered that, right?
BROOMFIELD: I think also there was just a genuine fear. Also, it`s a
small Evangelical community. And the church is incredibly powerful.
O`DONNELL: Did they think you are the Antichrist? Did they ever --
anyone ever accuse you of that?
BROOMFIELD: No, they didn`t. I was on best behavior. I was on non-
Antichrist behavior there.
No, I got along very well with the people. They were very hospitable.
There was a fear in Wasilla, you do not want to cross the Palins. You lose
your job and you have a hard time.
O`DONNELL: Now, if you had gotten the friends and the family and
those people, it must have been her belief that you just wouldn`t have
presented them fairly.
BROOMFIELD: Well, we did actually talk to the family and we talked to
various friends. I think Sarah has fallen out with almost everybody in
O`DONNELL: Did you talk to my pal, Levi Johnston? He`s been on this
show a couple times.
BROOMFIELD: He was too expensive.
O`DONNELL: Really? He had his hand out? He was asking for cash?
BROOMFIELD: He certainly did.
O`DONNELL: He comes here for free. The magic of television.
BROOMFIELD: I should have talked to you first. We talked to his
BROOMFIELD: She was pretty good.
O`DONNELL: You have to watch the clip of him last week on this show
reading from his own book. There are many people who suspect he was
reading those words for the very first time. Nick Broomfield, director of
"Sarah Palin - You Betcha," thank you very much for joining us.
Coming up on tomorrow night`s show, another documentary filmmaker you
might have heard of, Mr. Michael Moore. You can have THE LAST WORD online
at our blog, TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. You can follow my Tweets @Lawrence.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" is up next. Good evening, Rachel.
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