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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
September 26, 2012

Guests: Charles Blow, Robert Reich, Patrick Murphy

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Tonight, the Romney campaign which should
be sinking under the weight of its own lies is actually sinking, because
Mitt Romney got caught telling the truth about how he really feels about 47
percent of the American people.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama and I both
care about the poor and middle class families.

I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have brand new polling out this morning.

CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Three new polls out today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three separate swing states.

JANSING: Show voters trend ago way from him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This race is slipping away.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Barack Obama is surging in the polls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama is a little bit ahead at this time.

STEWART: Because the closer we get to the election, the dumber Mitt
Romney appears to be getting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s no question we`ve made a couple of
mistakes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the clock running down, Mitt Romney is trying
to stop the bleeding.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Time that cruel, cruel mistress is slipping
away.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You may have noticed
there`s an election going on here in Ohio.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Dueling messages today in Ohio.

OBAMA: I don`t see a lot of victims. I see hard working Ohioans.

MITCHELL: Both candidates are going to be delivering speeches.

ROMNEY: We can`t afford four more years like the last four years.

(CHANTING)

WAGNER: How many times can you visit the state of Ohio before they
get tired of seeing you?

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: The president makes his 29th trip.

OBAMA: If we win Ohio, we`ll win this election.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If we win Ohio, we
win the election.

WAGNER: Governor Romney has logged 17 trips.

JANSING: No Republican has won the presidency --

WAGNER: No Republican in history --

JANSING: -- has won the presidency without Ohio.

ROMNEY: Romney, Ryan. Romney, Ryan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, sweet Jesus.

TODD: Make no mistake, Ohio, big problem.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: So you`re a big Romney supporter.

ANN COULTER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Huge Romney supporter.

Well, if we don`t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the nominee and
will lose.

I get the last word. I get the last word.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: With just 41 days until the presidential election, new
swing state polls show that the secretly recorded tape revealing Mitt
Romney`s intention to abandon 47 percent of the American people if elected
president is actually having the effect you`d expect. Romney`s secretly
recorded words are crushing his campaign.

A new poll shows President Obama running 10 points ahead of Mitt
Romney in Ohio, which is where ABC News found Mitt Romney tonight and
confronted him about the heavy words he dropped on 47 percent of the
American people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: About the people you said you couldn`t convince to take
greater responsibility. Those are heavy words.

ROMNEY: What I`m talking about is a political process. I don`t
expect to get 100 percent of the vote. I know I`m not going to get 100
percent. I hope to get 50-plus percent and make sure I`m going to become
the next president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s it. That was his answer to the worst possible
thing he could have said in his campaign, that was the best he could
respond with.

Notice that no where in that answer does Mitt Romney attempt to
actually repair the damage of his secretly recorded words. He simply says
I`m just trying to get more than 50 percent of the vote. That`s it. No
word of explanation. No attempt of an apology or anything like that to any
of the American voters who have now heard him say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the
president no matter what. All right? There are 47 percent who are with
him, who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who
believe that the government has a responsible to care for them, who believe
that they are entitle to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.
These are people who pay no income tax.

And so, my job is not to worry about those people. I never convince
them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama has no intention of allowing Mitt Romney
to run away from those heavy words, especially in Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I don`t believe we are going to get very far. If we`ve got
leaders who write-off half the nation as a bunch of victims who don`t take
responsibility for their own lives. Let me tell you -- I have spent a lot
of time in Ohio, and I don`t meet a lot of victims. I see a lot of hard-
working Ohioans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A new "Washington Post" poll shows that 54 percent of
Americans view Mitt Romney`s heavy words unfavorably and 32 percent are
favorable to what Mitt Romney had to say.

That same poll shows that 61 percent of Americans have an unfavorable
opinion of the way Mitt Romney is running his campaign. That`s up 12
points from July.

Fifty-four percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the way
Mitt Romney is running his campaign. That`s up eight points from July.

The Romney campaign tried to bail out their sinking ship today by
handing Mitt Romney this script.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Too many Americans are struggling to find work in today`s
economy. Too many of those who are working are living paycheck to
paycheck, trying to make falling incomes meet rising prices for food and
gas. More Americans are living in poverty than when President Obama took
office and 15 million more are on food stamps.

President Obama and I both care about poor and middle class families.
The difference is, my policies will make things better for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Unfortunately, Romney could not remember any of those
lines of that script when he was trying to answer the ABC news question
about those heavy words.

Here is how the Democratic National Committee responded to that Romney
ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Too many Americans are struggling to find work in today`s
economy.

I like being able to fire people.

Too many of those who are working are living paycheck to paycheck.

I`ll tell you what -- 10,000 bucks?

President Obama and I both care about poor and middle class families.

I`m not concerned about the very poor.

The difference is my policies will make things better for them.

And so my job is not to worry about those people. I`ll never convince
them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

I`m Mitt Romney and I approved this message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: According to a "New York Times" poll conducted after the
Romney tape leaked among likely voters in Ohio, President Obama leads Mitt
Romney now about 10 points. Among likely voters in Florida, President
Obama leads by 9 points. Among likely voters in Pennsylvania, the
president leads by 12 points.

And according to a new "Bloomberg" poll among likely voters
nationally, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by six points.

Tonight, Nate Silver of "The New York Times`" "FiveThirtyEight" blog
forecasts that on November 6th, President Obama will opinion 316 electoral
college votes and Mitt Romney will within 222 Electoral College votes. And
President Obama`s chance of winning the election is at 81.9 percent, the
highest of this campaign cycle.

Joy Reid, I will bet you $10,000 that we are going to see a piece of
that secret tape, about the 47 percent in most of the Obama and team Obama
campaign ads for the rest of the way.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: It is going to be on an endless loop from now
until Election Day. That is for sure because it`s so effective.

I mean, I guess in a way, Democrats should thank Mitt Romney. He sort
of ripped the veil off of something like 30 years Republican sort of
fooling working class people into thinking you know what? We may be the
party of management and the Democrats are the party of labor but we really
get you.

He`s sort of showing that, you know what, that plutocrat part of the
party, not only do they not get working class people, they don`t seem to
like them very much. I mean, I`m thinking because Charles Blow I think
would agree with it, that I think Mitt Romney is like the guy who has to
show up at a dinner party after being overheard insulting half the guests.
Every time he has to go in front of the crowd, a lot of people in the crowd
are 47ers, he just looks awkward and out of place.

CHARLES BLOW, NEW YORK TIMES: Joy speaks for me.

O`DONNELL: There we go.

But, Charles, you know, the great thing about where we are is that the
statement that is controlling this campaign at this point is, as far as we
know, the one true thing that Mitt Romney has said in the course of the
entire campaign. I mean, my assessment of that tape is, the feel that I
have for that guy is, that was the real Romney. If I`ve seen any real
Romney, that was it.

BLOW: It maybe the real Romney -- I don`t know what the real Romney
is.

O`DONNELL: I`m guessing.

BLOW: I have no clue. I don`t know -- that`s him at that moment that
day, I don`t know who the guy is. I have never known who he is. I think
he`s the worst candidate that I have ever seen running on either ticket.
But what the tape illustrates --

O`DONNELL: You do not -- how old were you when Spiro Agnew was
running for vice president?

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: The problem that Romney has now is the kind of worry about the
calcification of I incompetence, that his incompetence is beginning to
calcify in the minds of voters. That people get to a point where there is
no recovery. It has become so solid in their thinking that this is just a
guy who`s not up to the task.

And part of that is policy, and part of that is just impressionistic.
The policy piece, he won`t divulge what he`s actually going to do. So,
it`s hard to go anywhere in America and say tell me what Mitt Romney stands
for policy-wise.

And it`s very hard for people to answer that, because all they can say
is -- well, he`s for lower taxes and he wants to give everybody a job. But
where are the jobs coming from? And if he lowers taxes, for whom is he
lowering taxes and do lower class people or middle income pay for that or
not.

And there`s the impressionistic part which is completely complicated
by all these gaffes. He cannot keep the foot out of his mouth to save his
life. And then the real problem for him, because you actually do need --
you look to leaders to be leaders both in policy and impression, that they
can sit at a table and negotiate with somebody, world leaders or whomever,
with other with members of the Congress or whomever.

You don`t get that sense from Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, the
impression you get from him is that this is a loser and nobody wants a
loser.

O`DONNELL: You`re putting the finger on incompetence is a crucial
observation, which I have not made. I`ve been looking at each one of these
items and not linking them together. The totality of them, as you point
out, this person isn`t really competent at what he`s trying to do. What
he`s trying to do right now is run for president.

When you run for president, you don`t say that, you don`t say that,
and that may be what you`re seeing in that poll number that says these
people don`t approve of the way he`s running his campaign. There`s a
competence issue in that question.

BLOW: Absolutely. Because you take the partisans, a separate issue,
partisans are partisan because of policy.

You believe that, you know, life begins at inception, it`s hard to
move from that position. If you believe in the sovereignty of your body,
that whoever you sleep with or how you choose to exercise your health, it`s
hard to move from that policy position. If you`re hawk, in terms of war,
if you`re a pacifist, it`s very hard to move from those positions.

If you are kind of one of those muddling people in the middle, the
people who kind of I kind of take or leave certain pieces of this and I`m
kind of going with the guy, the person who appeals to me on a visceral
based level, this person does not connect in that way. He is not a
competent figure when all things are taken together.

O`DONNELL: Now, Bill O`Reilly thinks he`s got Romney`s problem
figured out. Let`s listen to Bill O`Reilly`s notion here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: The problem Mitt Romney has right now is a perception that
he`s out of touch with the folks. The president has spent hundreds of
millions of dollars on ads stating that and the governor does come across
as a classic rich guy. It`s tough to picture him super sizing his meal at
McDonald`s.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joy, this is the old fashioned analysis that his problem
is just that he`s an out of touch folks kind of thing. And that`s what
everybody has been saying all year.

I think Charles` point trumps all of this, that really what is coming
across to people, he`s not competent. That is possibly the worst thing
that could come across.

REID: It`s the worst thing that happened in a campaign. I was
waiting for Charles to say the word loser.

The thing is for Romney not only does it calcify among the electorate
--

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: The word for me to say. I would not. Loser. I would
never go that far.

REID: Loser is deadly in a campaign because it starts to affect
donors. Nobody wants to put money behind a loser. It starts to affect the
media`s impression of you because they start to cover you like a loser.

It becomes a metastasizing cancer in any campaign. The only thing I
would take issue with is that I think people do know what they think he
would do. That`s the other problem.

When you look at that Ohio poll, there was a story in the "Washington
Post" where they talked to some of the people who voted in that poll, where
by the way, Romney and Obama are splitting seniors. Terrible for Romney if
they`re splitting seniors.

But one of the people who spoke in that article said --

O`DONNELL: Romney should be ahead with that group.

REID: He should be way ahead. He should be like 20 points up with
them to make up for the gender gap. One of them said, you know what, he
just wants to help out his fellow rich guys, I think he said rich brothers.
He just want to help out his rich brothers and not me. That`s dangerous.

O`DONNELL: I think Joe Scarborough this morning has summarized in a
very, very honest way how hard it is for Republicans. Let`s listen to Joe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD: Ryan!

ROMNEY: Wait a second. Romney, Ryan! Romney, Ryan! There we go.
All right. That`s great. Thank you.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC ANCHOR: Oh, sweet Jesus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you fix that?

SCARBOROUGH: You don`t fix it. He is a great businessman, great
turnaround guy, if I had a business anywhere in the world, I`d have him run
it. He`s a horrible politician. He`s one of the worst.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

REID: That had loser written all over it.

O`DONNELL: We are in unanimous agreement in Joe Scarborough.

BLOW: What about me?

REID: That made me sad.

(CROSSTALK)

BLOW: I`ll give you some of his policy positions today and you will
sad.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Charles Blow -- thank you very much for
joining me tonight.

Coming up, Mitt Romney is now contradicting himself. Within minutes
he said one thing to NBC News backstage tonight before going on stage at a
rally in Ohio and saying the exact opposite. Karen Finney and Robert Reich
will join me on that one.

And the man who said Mitt Romney would be a disastrous debater against
President Obama is now giving Mitt Romney advice on how to debate President
Obama. That`s coming up with Jonathan Capehart and Ari Melber.

And in the rewrite tonight, these three -- Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney and,
yes, Honey Boo-Boo.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Bat crazy Republican Congressman Allen West, the constant
spewer of hatred and lies has got to be stopped and Democratic candidate
for Congress, Patrick Murphy, is trying to stop me. Patrick Murphy will
join me later.

And Honey Boo Boo will help me teach Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney a
lesson about family values and marriage equality. Honey Boo Boo, Mitt
Romney and Paul Ryan all together where they belong in toot`s rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: OK. I know you`ve heard this before but I want you to
listen to it one more time, just a short piece of it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The 47 percent who are with him, who believe that they are
victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them,
who believe they are entitled to health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Who believe they are entitled to health care. The same
guy who said that, the same guy who just condemned people who believe they
are entitled to health care, that same guy said this tonight to Ron Allen
of NBC News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I care very deeply about the American people and people of
different socioeconomic circumstances. We`ve talked about my record in
Massachusetts. Don`t forget -- I got everybody in my state insured. A
hundred percent of the kids in our state have health insurance. I don`t
think there`s anything that shows more empathy about the care of the people
in this country than that kind of record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So 100 percent of the kids in Massachusetts are now
entitled to health care thanks to Mitt Romney. But that also means those
kids are among the people Romney condemns out of the other side of his
mouth for believing they are entitled to health care.

And right after Romney beamed with pride to Ron Allen for making
health care an entitlement for virtually everyone in his state, the same
Mitt Romney got up on stage minutes later and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Obamacare is really exhibit number one of the president`s
political philosophy. And that is that government knows better than people
how to run their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are Karen Finney, former DNC communications
director and MSNBC contributor, and Robert Reich, former labor secretary
under President Clinton and a professor of public policy at the University
of California-Berkeley.

Professor Reich, the Romney flip flopping now, it`s virtually
instantaneous, now separated by minutes. He`s getting caught up
desperately on the issue of health care as we just saw. Romney care versus
Obamacare. It seems like just -- and you`ve been around enough campaigns,
that behaviorally, what we`re seeing here in this candidate is a form of
public panic. The flip-flopping is related to him being absolutely lost at
this point as a candidate.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER LABOR SECRETARY: I think that`s right, Lawrence.
It`s a form of desperation.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

REICH: What this candidate is displaying is a lot of different voices
yelling into his ear from different aides, different political advisers who
are saying, you`ve got to be this kind of candidate. No, no, you`ve got to
be this kind of candidate.

Some of them are saying in response to that 47 percent video, you`ve
got to show compassion. So all day today, Romney in Ohio was going around
saying his heart aches for people who are unemployed. He is proud of what
he did in health care in Massachusetts.

He`s proud of the entitlements he created. But the same Romney
hearing from another political adviser probably shouting in the other ear
is back to his same right wing kind of bloodlust, I mean, the kind of
rightwing craziness that has characterize the Republican Party for years
now. And he wants to appeal to get out the vote among the base.

Now, we know he`s been criticized and he`s been criticized from this
disc and you too, Bob Reich, about not including the specifics in his tax
proposals. He says he`s going to cut every income tax rate by 20 percent,
but that`s going to be balanced somehow by changes in deductions.

Let`s listen to how he talked about that today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Small businesses typically pay tax at the individual tax
rate. So our individual income taxes are once I want to reform. Make them
simpler. I want to bring the rates down. By the way, don`t be expecting a
huge cut in taxes, because I`m also going to lower deductions and
exemptions. But by ringing rates down, we`ll be able to let small
businesses keep more of their money.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, Karen Finney, there is with the standard message up to
today, which is I want to bring the rates down. And then the next sentence
is, but don`t be expecting a huge tax cut because I`m also going to lower
deductions.

I mean, his problem is we`ve asked him for specifics. He didn`t give
us any, but he sure left his audience confused with the way he said that.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I almost expected him to
say you free loaders, don`t expect a big tax cut. Just yesterday he
admitted that President Obama did not cut taxes on the middle class.

So this guy doesn`t know if he`s coming or going. I think what you`re
showing is quintessentially that exemplifies his problems. And that is
this candidacy isn`t based on trying to be all things to all people,
without having a core and a center narrative about who he is and what he
stands for and what he`s trying to accomplish.

So much of what we`re seeing at this point is, it`s not just
desperation, but it`s trying to please or appease all these different
audiences. And the lack of consistency once again, like every other gaffe
he`s made along the way plays into his fundamental flaw as a candidate,
which is he`s not trustworthy. People can`t trust him.

So if you`re an undecided voter sitting at home and you see yesterday,
he said the thing about Obama, today, he says don`t expect a big tax cut,
you`re thinking -- I don`t know what this guy is going to do. The
incompetence in that, the uncertainty of that is not something you can
afford when you`re a challenger going up against an incumbent president.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Bob.

REICH: Some Republicans are saying let Romney be Romney. I`ve been
hearing that a lot over the past week.

FINNEY: Let Ryan be Ryan.

REICH: The problem with Romney be Romney, is that there is no Romney
to be.

O`DONNELL: Right, that`s a big problem.

He`s been flailing around trying to prove that he cares about 100
percent of the population for a week now. Let`s listen to one of his least
eloquent defenders makes the case that Mitt Romney really does care about
everyone. Let`s listen to Rush Limbaugh trying to make that case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I know some of you people are
not excited about Romney. But the bottom line is folks -- I don`t care who
you are, if you are a gay, one-armed amputee on the Upper West Side having
coffee at Zabar`s right now, there`s not one thing Mitt Romney has done to
you yet. And there`s not one thing Mitt Romney plans on doing to you. But
whatever your economic circumstance is, Mitt Romney has had nothing to do
with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So Bob Reich, I guess he`s right there for every gay one-
armed amputee on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

REICH: I can make almost less sense of that than I can make of Mitt
Romney.

Look, there is a choice that has to be made. Republicans are going to
be making that choice. And the question, the narrative that is going to be
coming out over the next few weeks is the problem here with the candidate
or is it problem with a right-wing GOP that is out of step with the rest of
America.

And a lot of Republicans are getting the long knives out and they want
to attack Romney as the worst candidate they could have possibly put up.
That`s what we`re going to be hearing from Republicans.

But actually Romney is doing exactly what the GOP has wanted. He is
the GOP`s candidate because he has been saying what the GOP has been
saying. A right wing GOP that has all of the intolerance, all of the
narrow mindedness, doesn`t really care about the 47 percent. That`s what
the policy is.

O`DONNELL: I have to mark down Robert Reich as being unable to make
sense of Rush Limbaugh. Your name, Bob, is being added to the list of
everyone else who has ever been on this show. None of us have been able to
do it.

Karen Finney and Robert Reich -- thank you both for joining me
tonight.

FINNEY: Thanks.

REICH: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Paul Ryan`s values line. Whenever you hear a
Republican talking about values, that`s when you know they`re lying.
That`s in tonight`s rewrite.

And we`ll talk to the man standing between another term in the House
of Representatives for bat crap crazy Congressman Allen West. The man
who`s trying to bring sanity back to that Florida district will join me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I think as people look at his
record and they imagine him debating Obama, Obama is going to laugh at him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Newt Gingrich in January talking about the
possibility of President Obama finding himself in a debate with Mitt
Romney. That, of course, was back when Newt Gingrich thought President
Obama would find himself in debates with Newt Gingrich.

Jonathan Capehart, Newt Gingrich thinks this is going to be easy, or
used to think it was going to be easy for President Obama. One week from
tonight, we will have just watched the completion -- six minutes ago one
week from tonight -- of the very first debate.

How -- each side is trying to spin it like oh, you know, the other guy
is a great debater. What are you anticipating?

CAPEHART: Well, I`m in that camp that says Mitt Romney is going to do
a whole lot better than his campaign would suggest, that this is a guy who
thrives in narrow environments. When he knows that the clock is ticking
down and he`s got two minutes, he`s got the perfect answer. He`ll sound
reasonable. He`ll sound terrific. All those things that Newt Gingrich
said in this piece that he wrote, giving advice, unsolicited advice to Mitt
Romney about what the optics will mean, as opposed to what he said. I
think it`s 85 percent visual and five percent substance.

So Mitt Romney thrives in those environments. As we saw in the
debates, especially once Rick Perry got into the race, the somnambulant
(ph) Mitt Romney suddenly woke up become this fiery, very aggressive
debater. I think that`s what we`re going to see a week from tonight.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Newt`s advice that he gave in "Human
Events" how to debate President Obama.

First, relax and be prepared. OK, you can do that. Be honest. Sorry
that`s out of the question. Use humor. I don`t know. Ten thousand dollar
bets, that sort of thing. Enjoy the evening. Oh, thanks Newt. That`s
really helpful, enjoy the evening.

And of course, be assertive and be on offense against both Obama and
the media. That always worked for Newt, right?

MELBER: Can we have some real talk about Newt Gingrich here?

O`DONNELL: Please, yes, sir.

MELBER: The guy who lost to the guy who`s losing to the president is
giving out advice on how to win.

O`DONNELL: Good point.

MELBER: So I just want to appreciate that context. As for attacking
the media --

O`DONNELL: And by the way, Newt lost in the debates. He would have a
good debate, with some dramatic flourishes basically in attacking the
media. And then Mitt watched that, came back in subsequent debates and
beat him in debates.

MELBER: That`s what I thought was the most revealing line in his
article, Lawrence, was he said attacking the media really worked for him,
the guy who lost, because he got big applause lines.

O`DONNELL: Among fanatical Republicans.

MELBER: Among the core base of the right wing that has taken the
party to the right and away from the median American voter. So I thought
that was so revealing, that even now with some distance from his failure,
that sums up the mistake that Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney share, which is
mistaking the most radical elements of their base for political victory.

O`DONNELL: And here`s Newt saying his advice on the 47 percent. Newt
says "it is inevitable the media will ask Romney about the 47 percent.
Instead of answering it" -- there you go. There`s Newt. "Instead of
answering it," like that`s going to be an easy option. "Instead of
answering it, Romney should pivot and say let me tell you about the 100
percent. Obama has failed the 100 percent who have to buy gasoline, failed
the 100 percent who will be paying interest on Obama national debt," blah,
blah, blah.

So in other words when they bring up the 47 percent, do not answer
that.

CAPEHART: The only problem is the president can come back and say but
he said I don`t have to worry about those people.

(CROSS TALK)

CAPEHART: There`s no way to pivot away from trashing 47 percent of
the country. And it`s not just 47 percent of those folks who don`t pay
taxes. He said those are the people who voted for president Obama, those
are the people who are dependent on government. Those are the people who
have no personal responsibility. He wrote off half of the country. You
can`t pivot away from that.

O`DONNELL: How should the president handle the 47 percent in this
debate.

MELBER: I think he waits about 20 to 30 minutes to see if Jim Leher
brings it up, because it would be more strategic to have it come from an
independent source. But I don`t think you let it go.

We have to remember as much as we follow this and the polling suggests
it has broken through, it has not broken through to everyone. The debates
are when you have the highest unfiltered impact to reach the public. And
everyone should know about this. I have no doubt that the president will
look for an opening, if appropriate, to bring it up before the end of the
night.

O`DONNELL: What are the things the president has to be careful of and
be ready for?

CAPEHART: I thought you were about to say one of those things. He`s
got to be prepared to make the case to the American people. Remember, the
economy, there are signs of life that it still is recovering in ways that
the American people don`t feel in a majority yet. But the economy is not
doing so well. Unemployment is still above eight percent. There`s a case
to be made. He has to be prepared to say the American people, things are
bad but they are getting better, and be able to do it in not five minute
answers, but in nice, pithy 30-second responses.

O`DONNELL: And not in a defensive way.

CAPEHART: And not in a defensive way and not a professorial way.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart and Ari Melber, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

Coming up, the man who can save us from another two years of Allen
West in the House of Representatives will join me. Democratic
Congressional candidate Patrick Murphy will be here.

And in the Rewrite tonight, Honey Boo-Boo will help me expose the big
lie that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have to tell to justify their opposition
to marriage equality. That is next in the Rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The things you talk
about, like traditional marriage and family and entrepreneurship, these
aren`t values that are indicative to any one person or race or creed or
color. These are American values. These are universal human values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Paul Ryan lying to his audience yesterday in
Ohio. You can always tell a Republican is lying when he uses the word
values. Let`s listen to Paul Ryan lie once again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: The things you talk about, like traditional marriage and family
and entrepreneurship, these aren`t values that are indicative to any one
person or race or creed or color. These are American values. These are
universal human values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: First of all, entrepreneurship is not a value. It`s an
activity. Family is not a value. Family is a society unit. Some families
have values. Some don`t. Some families have good values.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: And we were taught to value everyone`s
contribution and treat everyone with respect. Those are the values that
Barack and I and so many of you are trying to pass on to our own children.
That`s who we are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: But not all families value the same things. For example,
while some families, like the Obama family, value education highly, others
value extracurricular activities far more than they value economic
achievement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You better --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is fun!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is what we do all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at my face. It looks like it`s -- already
got my powder on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like to get down and dirty redneck style.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: She values down and dirty. You know, people have
different values. And then there`s that other value Paul Ryan lied about,
the thing he and other Republicans love to call traditional marriage,
which, of course, is not a value at all. Marriage is a living arrangement.
Marriage is a legal agreement. Marriage can be a religion-based definition
of a relationship.

Please note that I did not say a religion-based definition of a
relationship between two people, because religion has always allowed, and
still allows, for marriages between one man and more than one woman at the
same time. In fact, throughout most of human history, the most
traditional, which is to say the most popular form of marriage has been
between one man and many women at the same time.

And throughout human history, the other most traditional component of
marriage is that it was arranged, not by the two people who marry, but by
the parents of the two people who marry. This thing that Mitt Romney and
Paul Ryan call traditional marriage, the marriage that is a union between
only one man and only one woman, and not arranged by their parents, is a
tradition that is not as old as the federal government.

The Bible doesn`t just sanction polygamy, it advises men on how to do
it right. The Bible also notes that King Solomon had, quote, 700 wives of
royal birth and 300 concubines.

If Paul Ryan were to actually become Vice President Ryan, he would
find himself in countries shaking hands with and smiling at government
officials who are polygamists, legal polygamists. And Vice President Ryan
would be doing that on behalf of a president whose great grandfather had
five wives at the same time.

The thing that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney now call traditional marriage
has existed in the Romney family as a tradition for exactly two generations
before Mitt Romney got married. The Harvard football team has traditions
much older than that.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan Rewrite all of human history when they use
the phrase traditional marriage to mean a marriage between one man and one
woman. Now Paul Ryan, he may be such a callow fellow and so uneducated in
the history of marriage that is he not fully aware of how big a lie he is
telling when he describes traditional marriage. But Mitt Romney, he knows
better, as does every Mormon.

Mitt Romney obviously believes he has to Rewrite the history of
marriage, including the history of marriage in his own family, to give
moral weight to the Republican argument against marriage equality for
everyone. Mitt Romney believes lying is the way to achieve moral
superiority for his argument against marriage equality. And there you see
Romney-Ryan values at work.

According to Romney-Ryan values, it`s OK to try to lie your way to
moral superiority.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: I`m here as the modern day Harriet
Tubman to kind of lead people on the Underground Railroad away from that
plantation into a sense of sensibility.

I believe there`s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that
are members of the Communist Party.

Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of
economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneur will
and spirit of the American people somewhere else. You can take it to
Europe. You can take it to the bottom of the sea. You can take it to the
North Pole. But get the hell out of the United States of America.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was bat crap crazy Tea Party Republican Congressman
Allen West. Yesterday, West took to Facebook to complain about President
Obama`s United Nations speech and to show us how lucky we and the world are
that Allen West will never address the United Nations. Allen West wrote
"my statement to the United Nations would have been the future does not
belong to those who attack our embassies and consulates and kill our
ambassadors. The angel of death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will
visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence."

Joining me now, the man running to unseat Allen West and restore
sanity to Florida`s newly drawn 18th Congressional district, Patrick
Murphy. Patrick Murphy, can you explain to America how Allen West got
elected to that seat and how he currently in the polls is ahead of you by a
few points?

PATRICK MURPHY (D), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: Well, first of all, no
one really knows how he got elected. 2010 was an interesting year.
Unfortunately Democrats did not show up to vote. Thankfully, we are
getting a lot of strong polling results back. We are actually tied or up
in basically all of the polls that we`ve seen. We`re in a great position
to win this November.

O`DONNELL: Now you`ve raised two million dollars for your campaign,
which normally, until very recently, was an awful lot of money for a
congressional race. We used to have Senate races in this country that cost
two million dollars. But Allen West has raised five times as much money.
He`s got 10 million dollars he`s trying to bury you with. Who wants Allen
West to stay in that seat so badly that he`s been able to collect that 10
million dollars?

MURPHY: Well, about 99 percent of Allen West`s fund raising comes
from outside of the district. He appeals to a very small percentage of
America, to the Tea Party vein. So the vast majority of his fund raising
comes after these ridiculous comments that you just played, calling people
communists, calling Debbie Wasserman-Schultz vile, despicable and not a
lady. He then sends out a piece of mail to people all over the country,
the Tea Party folks, and raises money off of it.

So it`s not necessarily support in the district. It`s that Tea Party
vein across the country that he raises money from.

O`DONNELL: I want to look at one of your ads, that basically, as one
would expect, where you use Allen West`s words against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MURPHY: I`m Patrick Murphy and I approved this message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Behind the ads, who`s the real Allen West? His
bill would make all abortions illegal, even in cases of rape and incest.
West voted against access to birth control and life saving mammograms. How
does he really feel about women?

WEST: And all these women that have been neutering American men and
bring us to the point of this incredible weakness, let them know that we`re
not going to have our men become subservient.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman Allen West, radical views, wrong for
women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Patrick Murphy, there`s one poll that I`ve seen that shows
you basically tied with him. Another one shows you about seven points
behind. But he`s not over 50 percent. Here`s an incumbent who`s been
polling around 49, 48 percent. That`s normally a bad sign for an
incumbent, if they can`t poll above 50.

MURPHY: Yes, it is. We had an internal poll several months ago that
had us tied. The DCCC recently released a poll that had us up one point.
So despite being out-spent three to one or four to one, we`ve upheld and
now in a strong position going forward to defeat him. And you`re right.
It`s not a good sign that he can`t break 50.

People know who he is. They know how extreme he is. And it`s our job
to continue to introduce ourselves to the voters. We`re getting support
from Republicans, independents, Democrats that are tired of the extremism
and want someone that has a business background, someone that has a CPA,
that`s actually created jobs and not just talked about it.

O`DONNELL: Do you have debates scheduled with him?

MURPHY: We do. We have one debate scheduled, October 19th, I
believe. We`ve been to four debates already, which he refused to appear
at. And we`ve sent him several dates for other appearances which he
declined. So we have one definitely on October 19th. I look forward to
that discussion with him.

O`DONNELL: So he`s really going to show up on October 19th?

MURPHY: We`ll see.

O`DONNELL: Oh great. All right, I can`t wait for October 19th`s
show. Patrick Murphy gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thanks very much for
joining us, Patrick.

MURPHY: Thanks, Lawrence. Appreciate it.

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

END

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