updated 9/26/2012 11:36:03 AM ET 2012-09-26T15:36:03

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
September 25, 2012

Guest: Nina Turner, Sen. Claire McCaskill, Rosario Dawson


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Tonight, Paul Ryan finally realizes that
Mitt Romney is the worst thing that ever happened to him.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: We`re exactly six weeks from Election Day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly six weeks away.

BASHIR: And this afternoon, Mitt Romney touched down in the
battleground state of Ohio.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Ohio. Ohio.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Ohio.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Romney, Ryan, Romney, Ryan!

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: How can people so helpless?

ROMNEY: There we go, all right. That`s right.

MATTHEWS: Does he have any spontaneity?

ROMNEY: The five things we`re going to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to be specific.

ROMNEY: To take advantage of energy. And number two, fix our
schools. Number three, I`ll come back to number three. I forgot it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The third one I can`t.

ROMNEY: Coming back to number three.

MATTHEWS: Romney is a strikeout.

ROMNEY: That`s three.

MATTHEWS: Three strikes, you`re out.

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

WAGNER: It is a big day in the Big Apple.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both candidates crisscrossing Manhattan.

CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: President Obama is in New York right now.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America wants to
resolve this issue through diplomacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Major speeches and interviews all over the
airwaves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was President Obama giving a speech.

OBAMA: I accept people are going to call me awful things every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then there was Mitt Romney.

WAGNER: Governor Romney`s speech at the Clinton Global Initiative.

ROMNEY: A few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: If he`s going to double down on
that 47, that will cause difficulties.

ROMNEY: A few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good.

CLINTON: That ought to be a little bit of a red flag.

ROMNEY: Wait a couple of days for that bounce.

MATTHEWS: He has no past that I can ever spot.

ROMNEY: I can appreciate your kind words.

MATTHEWS: Who is this guy?

ROMNEY: When I was a boy I used to think that becoming rich and
becoming famous would make me happy. Boy, was I right.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Yes, he said that.

With just 42 days until the presidential election and with a new poll
showing Mitt Romney`s path to the presidency rapidly narrowing, Paul Ryan
is rapidly realizing that he is well on his way to becoming the next losing
vice president candidate.

And so, Paul Ryan is desperately trying to avoid the stench of Romney.
Yes, the stench. That is what Paul Ryan is actually calling Mitt Romney,
according to "Politico". Reportedly, Paul Ryan has been marching around
his campaign bus, I like that image, marching around the bus, marching
around the campaign bus, saying things like, "if Stench calls, take a
message." And "Tell Stench I`m having finer sandwiches with Peggy Noonan
and will text him later."

Today Paul Ryan campaigned with the Stench in Ohio, where the Stench
is trailing President Obama by eight points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: He`s got one new idea. He has one thing he did not do in his
first four years he said he`s going to do in the next four years, which is
to raise taxes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Look at that worship in Paul Ryan`s eyes in that shot.

A new "Washington Post" poll shows that among likely Ohio voters,
President Obama leads Mitt Romney by eight points, 52 percent to 44
percent. No Republican, you`ve heard this now for the 10,000 times, no
Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio.

This map shows the results of recent battleground state polls. The
"Washington Post" notes quote, "With Ohio leaning his way, Obama needs to
win only 15 more electoral votes to claim a second term, win Nevada and
Colorado, and Obama wins. Win Wisconsin and Iowa, and Obama wins. Carry
Florida, and Obama wins."

While Mitt Romney campaigns against President Obama, his staff is busy
campaigning against the polls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICH BEESON, ROMNEY POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Look, Ohio, there`s still 42
days to go. We are in there by any stretch inside the margin of error in
Ohio. We trust our internal polls. I don`t make any campaign decisions
based on what I read in the "Washington Post". So, I`m not going to get
into the specific of what our polls say or don`t say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Needless to say, Romney`s staff would be happy to get into
the specification of what their polls say or don`t say if they had a poll
showing Mitt Romney winning something, but they obviously don`t have any
such polls.

Rush Limbaugh`s audience is of course distraught about what the polls
are telling them. But Rush is ready with an explanation for all of the
polls. Not including of course the FOX News poll showing President Obama
with a significant lead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: The purpose of the people right now, most
of them doing these polls, they`re trying to make news, not reflect it.
They`re advancing an agenda. They`re all Democrats. They`re all liberals.

They want you thinking your side has lost. They want you thinking
it`s over for what you believe. And that makes you stay home and not vote.

That`s what they`re hoping. That`s why you have to fight it every
day, Stephanie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The 47 percent of the American people who Mitt Romney
decided to insult and lie about in a campaign fund riser where he thought
only his super rich friends were listening have now taken over the
presidential campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What he said is not
my job to worry about these people. Well, whose job is it?

Ladies and gentlemen, we are our brother`s keeper. We are one nation
under God. We are all in this together. And if the 47 percent doesn`t
make it, the country doesn`t make it.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Nate Silver update, Nate Silver of "The New
York Times" "FiveThirtyEight" blog forecasts that on November 6th,
President Obama will win 312 Electoral College votes and Mitt Romney will
within 226 Electoral College votes and President Obama`s chance of winning
the election has ticked back up to 80 percent.

Joining me now MSNBC`s Krystal Ball and Joy Reid. And from Cleveland,
Democratic Ohio Senator Nina Turner.

Senator Turner, it`s all about Ohio. We keep saying no Republican
return has every won the presidency without Ohio. What is your sense of
the president`s lead in Ohio right now? It seems to be just outside the
margin of error.

STATE SEN. NINA TURNER (D), OHIO: Well, Lawrence, Ohio is certainly
the heart of it all and we can tell that by the frequent visits by the
president here and by Governor Romney. His team is trying to make up for
their 40 percent.

You know, Republicans have a problem with the 40 percent. Here in the
state of Ohio, our governor once said I don`t need your people. We got
Governor Romney talking about he don`t need those people, and the last time
I checked we were "we the people". And that`s who the president is
fighting for. We the people in Ohio, we the people in Iowa, we the people
in Wisconsin, we the people all across this country.

And, Lawrence, when Governor Romney has revealed exactly who he is and
we`ve got to believe him that he doesn`t care about the 47 percent in this
nation.

O`DONNELL: Krystal and Joy, watching the Romney-Ryan romance come
apart in such an ugly way, the stench. I mean, here`s another quote from
"Politico", OK?

According to "Politico," after Paul Ryan showed a PowerPoint
presentation to a crowd in Orlando on Saturday. The Romney campaign was
furious but Ryan reportedly said let the Ryan be Ryan and let the stench be
the stench.

KRYSTAL BALL, "THE CYCLE" CO-HOST: He didn`t really say that, did he?

O`DONNELL: The "Politico", they have people in the field.

BALL: First of all, I will have you know there`s nothing that fires
up a crowd like a good PowerPoint presentation. So kudos to Paul Ryan.
It`s kind of funny that Mitt Romney wouldn`t embrace the PowerPoint more.
Since he was in Massachusetts, he was the PowerPoint guy and brought out
the white board to do the Medicare solvent under me which I guess made it
so.

Paul Ryan realized this was not a good move for his career. He had
such a halo before being on this ticket. He was the serious guy, you know,
all the people who do the false equivalency wanted to look at him as
someone who`s at least putting forth smart solutions.

And now we see the emperor had no clothes.

O`DONNELL: And, Joy, the commentators who are criticizing the
campaign, like Peggy Noonan, which is why Ryan included Peggy Noonan in
that statement, they are criticizing Mitt Romney for not being specific on
part of his tax plan, on the deduction side of his tax plan.

This is exactly what Paul Ryan is guilty of. Paul Ryan knows that
hang out with Mitt Romney has exposed him too. Now, they`re not aiming
this at Paul Ryan, because Romney is the big name at the head of the
ticket. But Ryan knows this is hurting his game in a big way.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: Yes, I mean absolutely. You know that thing
where a CEO appoints the young gun, the rising star, the head of division
he knows they`re going to close. That`s what this kind of feels like,
right?

It`s sort of a corporate nightmare for Ryan, because at the end of the
day Paul Ryan was supposedly this numbers guy. And Paul Krugman really was
seeing through this thing, look, his numbers don`t add up anyway, but he
had this idea that look, I`m the guy who`s going to make conservative
specific policies palatable because of my style, because of my youth. And
I`m the guy who can serve the specifics of the conservatism to the
electorate.

Well, you know, the specifics would make it even worse. Paul Ryan and
Mitt Romney would be even further behind if anyone would have discussed the
specifics of what Paul Ryan wants to do on Medicare, what Paul Ryan wants
to do on cutting programs for the poor, for poor children.

If you were to get specific, this race would be even more of a gap
between Romney and Barack Obama.

O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at this new ad that the Obama reelection
campaign released in the eight swing states. And you`ve probably seen it
Senator Turner because it`s Iowa. So, you`re going to have to watch it
again. Here we go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: When Mitt Romney dismissed 47 percent of Americans for not
pulling their weight, he attacked millions of hard working people making
$25,000, $35,000, $45,000 a year. They pay Social Security taxes, state
taxes, local taxes, gas, sales, and property taxes.

Romney paid just 14 percent in taxes last year on over $13 million in
income, almost all from investments.

Instead of attacking folks who work for a living, shouldn`t we stand
up for them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Senator Turner, it looks like the Obama campaign just had
to combine the story of Monday of last week with the story of Friday last
week to get what may be the most devastating ad to run in Ohio yet.

TURNER: It is, Lawrence. And I want to shout amen.

Again, Governor Romney has revealed exactly who he is. And I`ve got
to figure that Congressman Ryan probably feels like he`s in a shot gun
wedding right about now. It`s hard to be a partner of the default
candidate.

And make know mistake about it, Governor Romney is the default
candidate of the Republican Party. And I don`t care how they dress it up.
It`s not going to change the fact -- and Ohio is not only leaning towards
President Obama, we are right there with President Obama.

We`re going to make sure that we deliver the state of Ohio just as we
did in 2008 and help our president make history again. The president is
standing up for all folks and he doesn`t have to say one thing before
wealthy donors and another thing before poor and working and middle class
folks. He is about building from the middle out and making sure that
everybody has the opportunity to live their measure of the American dream.

We will know the tree by the fruit that it bears and the president has
been bearing righteous fruit to make sure that America is for everybody.

O`DONNELL: That is a good point about him being the default
candidate, because the truth is the Republicans, it`s not like they had
someone who was better to choose from. What are you going to do with
Gingrich and Santorum?

BALL: Herman Cain.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Herman Cain. Some of these people would be, you
know, behind by 30 points at this stage of the game.

Ann Romney, we`re going to do a little time travel now. We`re going
to show you what Ann Romney is going to say an hour and a half from now on
"The Tonight" show.

It`s a little magic we can do here. Let`s watch what she`s going to
say on "The Tonight" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, TV HOST: And what was it that made you so angry?

ANN ROMNEY, MITT`S WIFE: I will tell you, Jay, that four years ago
it`s a hard thing to do this, especially being the wife and having to
listen to this stuff all the time. Four years ago I made a videotape. And
on the videotape I looked in the camera and I said, Mitt, this is for you,
sweetheart. I`m never doing this again.

LENO: Oh, really?

ROMNEY: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: There`s the perfect political wife. She knows how to lie
with the best of them.

If there was ever a candidate who was absolutely going to run for
president again after losing in the Republican primaries last time, yes,
Giuliani wasn`t going to run again. Yes, Fred Thompson wasn`t going to run
again, yes, believe that. This guy was running from the minute he dropped
out last time.

And she wants to pretend they had to draft us into doing this again.

BALL: They had to really twist our arm. It strains -- it`s
absolutely not credible at all. And that`s one of the things, too.

Mitt Romney has been running for president for so many years. And yet
still it seems like he keeps having to say, oh, now is the time when the
American people are really going to get to know the real Mitt Romney.
We`ve had years to get to know this man.

And I think to Senator Turner`s point, you know, Ohioans see that ad
from the Obama campaign about Romney`s 47 percent comments, the reason it`s
so damages is because they already know that`s who he is. The "Washington
Post" had an article about how many few undecided voters there were in Ohio
and have to quote from a voter there who said, he`s for the rich guy.

And I think that`s the impression that people have.

O`DONNELL: Joy, quickly before we go. Even if there was no
reinforcing imagery to Romney. When you listen to what he said at that
fundraiser, if he had gotten everything else right in his campaign, I just
think when you really listen to those words, they are absolutely
devastating no matter what he had said before or after.

REID: Yes, and where he said it. I mean, in Ohio with the jobs being
in the auto industry. When he said let Detroit go bankrupt.

But I think the biggest irony in what he did is that he exposed the
real entitled class here are people like him. And he and his wife they
wreak of entitlement to the presidency. That`s the problem with sending
Ann out here, and her saying you should be lucky to have Mitt Romney as the
candidate.

They exude a sense of entitlement that the order working man never
does. I think that`s the biggest problem.

O`DONNELL: We`ll have to wrap it there.

Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, Krystal Ball and Joy Reid -- thank you
all for joining me tonight.

BALL: Thank you, Lawrence.

TURNER: thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Mitt Romney and President Obama went to the
Clinton Global Initiative today. Karen Finney and E.J. Dionne will join me
on who won the day there.

And control of the United States Senate could come down to Missouri.
The only person standing between crazy Republican Congressman Todd Akin and
the United States Senate is Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill. She will
join me for an explosive LAST WORD interview.

And who could get Rupert Murdoch to pay for an attack on Mitt Romney
and Republican voter suppression laws? There`s only one person who could
do that and that person has made more money for Rupert Murdoch than anyone
else working for Rupert Murdoch. Yes, including Bill O`Reilly. You can
tweet your guesses and we will show you that person in tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney tried to get a Clinton bounce today by
attending Bill Clinton`s global initiative, but Mitt Romney was followed at
that event by President Barack Obama. We`ll show you Bill Clinton and
President Obama again on the stage next.

And tweet your guesses about who could get Rupert Murdoch to pay for
an attack on Mitt Romney and voter suppression laws. The answer will be in
tonight`s rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Whatever you think about his tax
return, he`s given substantial money to charity. He might want to talk
about that today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Bill Clinton sly reminding the country about Mitt
Romney`s tax returns. About 30 minutes before Romney took the stage at the
Clinton Global Initiative in New York City. Mitt Romney did not talk about
his tax returns at the Clinton event today, but Hillary Clinton did when
she spoke there yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF THE STATE: One of the issues that
I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an
equitable manner, especially from the elites in every country. You know,
I`m out of American politics, but it is a fact that around the world, the
elites of every country are making money. There are rich people
everywhere. And yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own
countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: She is so good, at being out of politics. She`s so out of
politics.

Bill Clinton double underlined that point today on "MORNING JOE."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. CLINTON: I think it`s worth pointing out that of the 33 countries
in the OECD, the group of wealthier nations, only Chile and Mexico take a
smaller percentage of their income in taxes that we do.

It`s worth pointing out that if you have a lot of money and you earn
only capital gains, you pay 15 percent, which is radically lower than the
rates that any other advanced society --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: When Bill Clinton introduced Mitt Romney at the global
initiative today, Mitt Romney shocked the audience, absolutely floored
them, by revealing that somewhere, deep down, the man actually has a bit of
a sense of humor.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: If there`s one thing we`ve learned in this election season by
the way, it is that a few words from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of
good.

(LAUGHTER & APPLAUSE)

All I`ve got to do now is wait a couple of days for that bounce to
happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Unfortunately, for Romney`s bounce, this afternoon,
President Obama attended the same event and was introduced this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

B. CLINTON: I am violating all protocol today. Because if you`re an
American citizen and you introduce the president you`re supposed to say the
president of the United States and shut up. That`s it.

I just want to make one comment about this. I want to finish that
speech I started in Charlotte.

(APPLAUSE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Clinton,
thank you for your very kind introduction, although I have to admit, I
really did like the speech a few weeks ago a little bit better.

Afterwards, somebody tweeted that somebody needs to make him secretary
of explaining things. President Clinton, you are a tireless, passionate
advocate on behalf of what`s best in our country. I am grateful for your
friendship and your extraordinary leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are Karen Finney, former DNC communications
director and an MSNBC contributor, and E.J. Dionne, a columnist for "The
Washington Post" and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He`s
also an MSNBC political analyst.

E.J., so come on, you`ve been around a while, you can figure these
bounces. What kind of a Clinton bounce is Mitt Romney going to get? He
told a good joke. That`s a big surprise that he could do that. There
should be some bounce, right?

E.J. DIONNE, WASHINGTON POST: First of all, I think Hillary Clinton
got a great bounce for 2016 out of that early speech, and also about the
way Clinton keeps rising in the polls.

Look, Mitt Romney has not given me many chances to say this, he
actually gave a pretty good speech at the Clinton Global Initiative. Yes,
he had a sense of humor. He talked about helping the poor, which struck me
at least as a lot better than that 47 percent speech. He was actually
quite specific, which he hasn`t been about things like what he`d with our
tax deductions.

And you know, I think in the end, Obama gets the bounce whenever
Clinton appears on the screen. But Clinton is so popular right now,
particularly among swing voters, that even a few pictures with Clinton
might take a little bit of the edge off Obama`s advantage. Not much, but a
little bit. So it was a smart thing for him to do.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Bill Clinton on CNN a short time ago
talking about Mitt Romney and his 47 percent comment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. CLINTON: I think if he`s going to double down on that 47 percent
remark, that will cause difficulties because we now know that the
overwhelming number of those people work and have children. Until the
current election season, Republicans and Democrats supported both the child
tax credit and the earned income tax credit.

This is a rejection of basically more than three decades of bipartisan
policy to support work and family. It`s not a bunch of free loaders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, the 47 percent are still controlling every
hour of this presidential campaign now.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Indeed. But I`ve got to say
one thing about the idea of the bounce. Because a couple of days from now
with the Romney team yet again has not calculated, we`ll all be talking
about how not even Bill Clinton could save Mitt Romney. I have no doubt in
my mind.

But yes, I mean, look. Remember President Clinton, like President
Obama, comes from somewhat humble beginnings. He fought very hard on the
earned income tax credit. He understands the 47 percent. He understands
that sort of lack of respect that you heard in Romney`s voice and how
people hear that.

And guess what? He`s the guy that the Obama campaign is going to send
out to talk to that 47 percent and remind them why they should be voting
for President Obama rather than Governor Romney.

I agree with E.J., it was a decent speech from Governor Romney, kind
of more of a general election tone speech. But I don`t think he`s got
enough days left to turn things around.

O`DONNELL: It`s interesting that on the day Mitt Romney was appearing
at Bill Clinton`s Global Initiative, Bill Clinton did more anti-Romney
media in one day than he has done since the convention. Here is he on CBS
this morning. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

B. CLINTON: We know what Governor Romney says, which is that his
proposal for dealing with the debt is first to make it bigger by adopting
another round of tax cuts. But he wants to defer until after the election
saying what the specifics are. I think that ought to be a little bit of a
red flag.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: E.J., if you`re the Obama campaign you just want Clinton
Global Initiative to go on and on for another few weeks.

DIONNE: Yes, maybe November 6th, November 7th, would be a good time
to shut it down.

You know, he`s continuing his role as a math teacher, which he is
pretty good at. You know what really struck me though? When Clinton was
speaking earlier, the earned income tax credit which has sort of has kind
of ugly name, was one of the really good deeds of the Clinton
administration. He really boosted that up.

And if you remember classic Clinton rhetoric, it was always about
people who work hard and play by the rules, in other words, the 47 percent
in many cases.

And so again, I think that Clinton`s gift for Obama is he has a way of
explaining what for most people are complicated and distant issues and
bring them back down to earth, which is why you`re right. They should keep
the global initiative going.

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney and E.J. Dionne, thanks for joining me.

DIONNE: Good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Rupert Murdoch has funded an anti-Mitt Romney
video. Who could get him to do that? The answer is in the rewrite.

And later, Rosario Dawson will be here. And we`ll talk about the
voter registration drive today and the other issues facing the campaign.
That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TODD AKIN (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE IN MISSOURI: Now over the
period of the last number of weeks, a number of people have asked me, are
you quitting or are you dropping out? There`s other people that want to
replace you with someone else.

I don`t believe that that is really my decision. The decision was
made by the voters of the state of Missouri. And I have one purpose going
into November, and that`s replacing Claire McCaskill.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Soon after, the legitimate rape candidate Todd Akin
announced he was not dropping out of the race in Missouri, Democratic
Senator Claire McCaskill showed just how much Todd Akin has to answer for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Todd Akin in his own words. On March 18, 2011,
Todd Akin said he didn`t like Social Security. On September 3rd, 2011,
Todd Akin said Medicare was unconstitutional. On March 16th, Akin said he
wants to abolish the minimum wage.

On April 21st, said he would eliminate student loans. And on August
19th, Todd Akin said only some rapes are legitimate.

What will he say next?

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I`m Claire McCaskill and I
approved this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now for an exclusive interview, Senator Claire
McCaskill. Senator, well, now you know who you`re running against.

MCCASKILL: I do. Finally, we know for sure that it will be Todd Akin
on the ballot in November.

O`DONNELL: And were you surprised that he resisted all that
Republican party pressure, all the national Republican party pressure,
Romney pressure, to get out of this race?

MCCASKILL: I really wasn`t. Todd, I think, sees this race as a test
of, in some ways, his faith. And I think he believes that this is a race
that he was chosen to run by the people of the state. And I think he began
this whole process very committed.

And you have to remember, this is someone who has always operated on
the fringe of his party. It`s not that Todd and I are that far apart on
opposite ends. It`s I`m in the middle and he`s on the very edge. So he`s
never really had a warm and close relationship with a lot of the Republican
party leaders because of his extreme views.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Mitt Romney had to say about Todd
Akin in this race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People like myself who have
asked Todd Akin to get out of the race are doing so because we vehemently
disagree with what he said and believe it hurts our party. And I think
it`s damaging to women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Senator McCaskill, it leaves me wondering what a
Republican like Mitt Romney would do in the ballot box on the Senate race
in Missouri, if he was a Missouri voter.

MCCASKILL: Well, we`re going to have a lot of Republicans helping us
in this race. We will be rolling out an organization, Republicans for
Claire, in the coming days. We have already had -- I`ve got Kit Bond`s
former chief of staff. I`ve got somebody who worked on Sara Steelman`s
campaign, that have come to us and said, you know, we want someone who is
capable of moderation, someone who is not way out there, wanting to abolish
the minimum wage and privatize Social Security and Medicare.

And I think that this long list of things that that ad referenced is
really just a partial list. This is somebody who is one of just a handful
of members of Congress to vote against a registry for sex offenders, to
vote against the Child Nutrition Program, to vote against the Center for
Missing and Exploited Children.

So he really is somebody who I think the more Missourians learn about
his record -- and they really didn`t know it, Lawrence, before this
incident. I think they will realize that this is not who they want
speaking for them in the United States Senate.

O`DONNELL: Senator, I want you to listen to one Republican who is
still in Todd Akin`s corner, Newt Gingrich, who was in Missouri yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: Let me say something. I have
occasionally said pretty dumb things in my career. My wife still
occasionally looks at me and says lunar colony? And I get it. But if
saying something dumb disqualified you, Joe Biden couldn`t be vice
president.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Senator McCaskill, are Missouri voters willing to forgive
Todd Akin for saying something dumb about rape? Are there different
degrees of saying something dumb?

MCCASKILL: Well, let me just say this. I don`t think the problem is
what Todd said. The problem is what Todd believes. That is really the
essence of this race. What are his beliefs? And his beliefs, I believe,
are such that Missourians -- honestly, Lawrence, his beliefs would be
painful for Missouri families.

That`s really what this is supposed to be about, the families in
Missouri that want to think that things are going to be better next year
than they were last year, families that are working hard and playing by the
rules and want to be treated fairly in every way in their lives. And this
is -- Todd Akin is somebody who, you know, gave a speech that the hate
crime legislation was going to create hatred.

And that -- those kinds of views are what I think is really the
problem here, not what he said, but what he believes.

O`DONNELL: Senator, I`ve addressed this on this show before. I think
a lot of voters who vote in solid blue states like the one I`m in right
now, New York, when they see Democratic senators gathering in Washington,
they wonder why they don`t all sound exactly alike on every issue. And the
truth of it is obviously you come from very different places.

When I see what I`ve learned tonight by your ad, about these other
things that Todd Akin has said, these other kind of dangerous and crazy
things -- and I had no idea he had said those things. It`s another way of
saying, I had no idea about just what you`re up against running in that
state against a Republican like Todd Akin, who right now is polling at
somewhere around 45 percent of the vote.

MCCASKILL: He has a lot of dedicated volunteers, Lawrence. And he
has a very broad base of support in the home schooling community, in the
far right Evangelical base of the Republican party. Mike Huckabee, of
course, is also on his team. And so I -- believe me, I am not
underestimating. And no one should underestimate what this race will be
about.

Missouri is always a close state. We have about a third, a third and
a third, of Republicans, Democrats and independents. And so I`m going to
run this race just as I would no matter who was on the other side: lots of
energy, long days, very little sleep, and with a real plea for people to
come to ClaireMcCaskill.com and volunteer.

You can do virtual phone banks. We would take a few dollars if you`ve
got them. We are going to run this race as hard as we know how, because
there is so much at stake.

O`DONNELL: Senator Claire McCaskill, thank you very much for joining
us tonight.

MCCASKILL: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Rosario Dawson will join me with her reaction
to Mitt Romney saying -- he did say this -- that he wished he was Latino.

And you should have by now figured out that the man in tonight`s
Rewrite is, yes, Homer Simpson. That`s right, Homer Simpson in the Rewrite
for the very first time. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Some of the Republican officials who have been Rewriting
voter eligibility laws to include I.D. requirements that are designed to
exclude legally eligible voters have been very plain in what they are
trying to do.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE TURZAI (R), PENNSYLVANIA STATE HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Voter
I.D., which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of
Pennsylvania, done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In both Florida and Colorado, searches by state
Republicans have found the number of illegal voters to be less than one
tenth of one percent. And that`s what Republican say it is, so it`s
actually probably much lower than that. But the best case Republicans can
make is less than one tenth of one percent. That`s the best they have come
up with.

Faced with that evidence, Colorado`s secretary of state still says,
quote, "we have real vulnerabilities in the system." By vulnerabilities
what they obviously mean are voters inclined to vote for President Obama.
Republicans think that one easy way of targeting those voters is by aiming
their voter suppression laws at black and Latino voters, who poll
overwhelmingly in support of President Obama.

The most reliable Republican voter is, of course, the white male
voter. Mitt Romney leads President Obama with white males 58 to 34 in the
latest numbers from Gallup. Indeed, if you listen to the Romney campaign
long enough, it sounds like it is targeted exclusively to white males, who
not so long ago were the only people allowed to vote in this country.

Raising his voice against the Republican voter suppression movement
is, of all people, Rupert Murdoch. That`s right. Staunch Republican
Rupert Murdoch, who wants every Republican to win every election, is paying
for the latest attack on Mitt Romney and Republican voter suppression laws.
That`s right, the same Rupert Murdoch who pays Bill O`Reilly`s salary and
keeps Sean Hannity spewing hatred of the president every night is now
paying for an attack on Mitt Romney.

Rupert Murdoch is being forced to pay for the latest attack on Mitt
Romney and Republican voter suppression laws by someone who has made much
more money for Rupert Murdoch than Bill O`Reilly and Sean Hannity ever
could. In fact, this person has made more money for Rupert Murdoch than
anyone else.

So Rupert Murdoch let`s this guy do and say whatever he want to do or
say. Rupert`s biggest money maker is, of course, homer Simpson. And even
Homer Simpson can figure out that Republican voter suppression laws are not
meant to stop white guys like Homer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOMER SIMPSON, "THE SIMPSONS": Oh, man. Not another election. Why
do we have to choose our leaders? Isn`t that what we have the Supreme
Court for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you`re going to vote, we`ll need some photo
I.D.

SIMPSON: But I`ve lived here all my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stopping all Americans from voting is for the
protection of all Americans.

SIMPSON: But I`m a 40-year-old white guy who didn`t go to college and
gets all his news from monitors at gas stations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In you go.

SIMPSON: Barack Obama, I don`t know. I already got one wife telling
me to eat healthy. Plus, he promised me death panels and grandpa`s still
alive. Mitt Romney? I hear he wears magic underpants. I expect the
leader of the free world to go commando. Plus his horse totally choked at
the Olympics.

On the other hand, he did invent Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for voting for Mitt Romney. You may
now see his tax returns.

SIMPSON: Wow, medical deduction for personality implant. He`s got
six wives all named Ann. The government paid him taxes for five years.
I`ve got to tell the press.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are now being outsourced.

SIMPSON: I hate being sucked into tubes.

Well, at least I got a steady job. Doh.

Doh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This is the march of our time, marching
door to door registering people to vote, marching everyone you know to the
polls every single election. See, this is the sit-in of our day, sitting
in a phone bank, sitting in your living room calling everyone you know,
your friends, your neighbors, that nephew you haven`t seen in a while, that
class mate you haven`t spoken to in years, making sure they all know how to
register, where to vote, every year, in every election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was First Lady Michelle Obama at the Congressional
Black Caucus Banquet Saturday night, calling on the audience to get out the
vote. Today, celebrities took to social media and activists hit the
streets with that same message for National Voter Registration Day, a day
to educate and register eligible voters.

In 2008, about six million Americans didn`t vote because they missed
the registration deadline or didn`t know how or where to register. Voters
in the crucial battleground states of Colorado, Ohio and Florida have just
two more weeks left to register to vote.

Joining me now, one of the organizers of the National Voter
Registration Day, the chairwoman of Voto Latino, actress and activist
Rosario Dawson.

Rosario, how do you get the message out to unregistered voters,
because I would assume that they are -- they`re kind of hard to reach by
definition.

ROSARIO DAWSON, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: Yes. And that`s why it was really
necessary for -- you know, when we started this idea over a year ago, that
we needed as many partnerships as possible to reach out. So people
locally, grassroots wise, were going to be able to reach out to people and
show up where they were going to be.

So we have 1,200 partners across the nation. We had 900 events. It
was incredibly powerful. And we weren`t on the ground everywhere, but it
was an opportunity for people to use their social media, because that`s one
of our greatest assets right now. Imagine Martin Luther King on Twitter.
You know?

And it`s a real thing. You know, people -- we`re seeing a lot of
people who if they get registered, and they mark that on Facebook, their
friends register and then their friends register. And it becomes this
domino effect like we`ve never seen before, because people are aware and
they share that information. It`s really powerful. So that`s what we were
really kind of utilizing today, is people power.

O`DONNELL: I want to get into your expertise with the Latino vote.
There`s this huge gap, Obama/Romney gap in the Latino, huge advantage to
President Obama. What do you think that`s about. We talk about it here
all the time. But it`s so big that it can`t be something that`s just
happening in this campaign.

DAWSON: Well, Latinos are not a monolithic -- Latino Americans are
not a monolithic voting block. So they`re very issue oriented. And I
think there`s a lot of conversation around immigration, the economy, jobs,
health care that`s really disturbing a lot of people, voters across the
board, and making them choose very distinct sides.

And when you`re talking about cutting a lot of social services and
people who are drowning in underwater loans, Latinos tend to be
disproportionately affected by the foreclosure crisis, by these -- a lot of
different issues, from the economy, jobs. So -- and then especially
they`re getting really heated up around immigration.

And I think, you know, Obama did something with deferred action that
really brought a lot of people especially in the Latino community on. But
also there was a reason why I ended up joining the Undocu-Bus, people who
joined from Arizona and went all the way to the DNC in Charlotte, to make
their voices heard, because deferred action doesn`t help everybody. And
they`re really hoping for a real promise of the DREAM Act passing and real
comprehensive immigration reform.

So even with Latinos who are going over to Obama`s side, they`re still
doing it with a bit of chagrin. They really want some things. Though
people are making a lot of talk at these places, they want to see some real
action.

O`DONNELL: I want to take you to another area of your activism, which
is V-Day. You`re on the Global Movement to End Violence Against Women.
You`re on the board of V-Day, right?

DAWSON: Yes.

O`DONNELL: We just had Claire McCaskill on. She`s running for Senate
in Missouri against a guy who said that there`s a thing called legitimate
rape, and in legitimate rape, the female body has the ability to somehow
prevent pregnancy. Now you are dealing with the issue of violence against
women around the world. You might expect to hear that kind of thing in
some other country.

This is Missouri. This is in the middle of the United States Senate
campaign. Can you believe that that`s where we are in this country in
2012?

DAWSON: I mean, it`s outrageous. I think there`s a reason why Eve
Ensler -- you know, after Lisa Brown -- Representative Lisa Brown was
banned from speaking on the floor after she talked about her -- said the
word vagina --

O`DONNELL: What did you just say?

DAWSON: Said the word vagina. I love saying that word. It`s a great
word. It`s a great a lot of things. We ended having -- within days, Eve
ended up going down there. She wrote "The Vagina Monologues" and is the
head of V-Day. And was able to do and show up on Michigan steps and
perform "The Vagina Monologues" with Representative Lisa Brown, and people
came in from all over who were just going, you know, this has been such an
issue, and we feel so marginalized and it`s so powerful that you`re here.
So in small communities everywhere, people are really hurting. Those types
of comments are one of many that have been going on a lot, and I think
that`s what`s going to be really interesting about this election, is that,
you know, in the last election, Obama put out one Twitter hit. This
election, people are going to be turned away from the polls, who are going
to be told that they are going to have to put a provisional ballot, that
they`re not going to - that their vote is not going to be able to matter.
They`re going to be sending in video. They`re going to be sending in
pictures, like blogging. This I think is - this election is going to be
really representative of the people and the issues that they care about.

O`DONNELL: We are way into overtime. Rosario Dawson gets the last
word. "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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