updated 10/10/2012 10:22:43 AM ET 2012-10-10T14:22:43

October 9, 2012

Guests: Ted Strickland, Linda Ellerbee


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Tonight, Mitt Romney is trying to teach
Republicans who don`t believe in Evolution to believe in the evolution of
Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: President Obama and Mitt Romney are
heading back to Ohio.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: Their paths will cross again in Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ohio.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ohio.

MITCHELL: Ohio.

BASHIR: The state that may yet decide this election.

MITCHELL: No Republican has won the presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Republican has not won the presidency without
Ohio.

MITCHELL: Without winning Ohio.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I need your help to do that.

CHRIS JANSING, NBC NEWS: Do you think the Republicans smell blood in
Ohio?

ROMNEY: There`s a lot of attention being paid to the campaign these
days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney`s campaign clearly wants to try to build on
their momentum.

ROMNEY: There`s a good reason for that.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: He`s willing to say anything, Romney.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He`ll say anything.

MATTHEWS: Anything.

ROMNEY: I`m going to cut back on regulation. I`m going to put a cap
on regulation.

We`re not going to get rid of all regulation. You have to have
regulation.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That is not leadership,
that`s salesmanship.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: When the storms clouds clear, which Romney
will voters remember?

ROMNEY: There`s a lot of attention being paid for the campaign these
days. There`s a good reason for that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a close race.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A definite tightening of this race.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This journey is going to be hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody is ready to throw up their hands in
fear.

WAGNER: Meltdown, resurgence, inflection point.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Overwhelming anxiety.

JANSING: The race for president getting turned upside down.

HALL: Over a windfall of new polling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re seeing polls all over the place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People have to settle down.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Mitt Romney got a debate bounce.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fundamentals of the race still favor Obama.

MICHELLE OBAMA: We cannot turn back now.

HALL: The narrative about who`s up, who`s down in this race for the
White House.

BASHIR: It`s a race that is anything but settled.

MICHELLE OBAMA: There will be plenty of ups and downs over the next
28 days.

TODD: Just 28 days until election.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Are you in? Are you ready for this? Twenty-eight
days. Are you with me?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Tonight, with 28 days until the presidential election, the
head of the Evolution-denying party got this question about evolution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That 47 percent comment that you made
that`s caused you a lot of grief, as you know. There`s been a change in
your position over these past few weeks. It went from you were initially
saying once that tape came out that you -- that you weren`t exactly
elegantly stating your position. Later and more recently, you said you
were completely wrong.

I`m curious, Governor, how did that evolution in your thinking go on,
from the initial reaction once that tape came out to what you said the
other day that you were completely wrong?

ROMNEY: Well, what I`m saying is that -- the words that came out were
not what I meant. What was stated in the tape was not referring to what
kind of president I`d be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So there`s a presidential candidate claiming that what he
says about 47 percent of the American people and what he thinks about them
have nothing to do with what kind of president he will be. Well, maybe we
should check exactly what he said about those people on that secretly
recorded tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent
of people pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn`t connect.
And he`ll be out there talking about tax cuts of the rich. I mean t, that`
what they sell every four years.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So my job is not to worry about those people. I`ll never
convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for
their lives.

Krystal Ball, I don`t know. That sounds to me like it`s a description
of how he would be as president. So my job is not to worry about those
people.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST: Well, he may have contempt for you, but
that doesn`t mean he`s going to act like he has contempt for you when he`s
president. I mean, look, obviously, when he was in that particular room,
he was telling the people in that room that that`s exactly who he would be
as president. And I think what we see from Mitt Romney is who he is and
what he says is all dependent on the expediencies of the moment.

So, if we had a President Romney, he would mostly be held hostage by a
Republican Congress who was pushing him to the right. That is the sort of
president he would be.

And as that sort of president, this 47 percent line has been the
mantra of the Tea Party. He could not walk it back at first because it
would have led to an outcry from the base. That is exactly the policies
that he`s put forward, and that is exactly the kind of president he`d be.

O`DONNELL: Ari, the way Romney can manage that kind of answer on
television is long as Wolf Blitzer doesn`t run the tape of what he actually
said.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Right. I mean, if you just heard the
response from Mitt Romney there that you just played and you didn`t know
the history --

O`DONNELL: Perfectly reasonable response, as long as you don`t know
what he actually said.

MELBER: Right. And it really goes back to something you`ve said
before in this coverage, which is he looked more at ease, more natural, and
more himself bantering about those sort of received wisdoms that are --
that have so much currency among the right wing and among the 1 percent.

He looked really comfortable and he was giving an elaborate and
detailed view of what`s wrong with people who are in the lower brackets.
That was his view.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Michelle Obama today talking about
undecided voters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA: When you`re running into folks who are deciding who
will keep America moving forward for four more years, here`s what I want
you to tell them -- just a few things. I want you to tell them about the
millions of jobs Barack has created. Tell them about the millions of lives
that will be changed because of health reform. Tell them about how Barack
ended the war in Iraq. Tell them --

(APPLAUSE)

Tell them how together we took out Osama bin Laden.

(APPLAUSE)

Tell them about the brave service members who will never again have to
lie about who they are to serve the country they love.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, I could go on and on and on. But here`s what I really want you
to tell them. Tell them that Barack Obama knows the American dream because
he`s lived it.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Krystal, she could go on and on, and I think she is going
to go on and on, on this campaign trail.

BALL: She is fantastic. And I think that last line about the
American dream is so salient. And it`s the thing that the president has
really done most effectively in this campaign. It is of course a campaign
about the economy. Everyone says it`s about the economy.

But even more than that, it is about the future of the American dream.
It`s about the future of the middle class. And that`s very strong ground
for this president.

People believe that he is fighting for the middle class in a way that
they do not trust Mitt Romney to do.

MELBER: Can I put forward a theory? There`s been so much panic --

O`DONNELL: That is why you`re here.

MELBER: There has been so much panic since the last debate and I
think Michelle Obama actually has a better view of this race than some of
the pundits.

I mean, Andrew Sullivan all by declared this thing over and he`s a big
Obama supporter. And I think Andrew needs to fall back.

O`DONNELL: I believe it says here the election is November 6th.

MELBER: I`ve heard that, too.

And there`s a theory there that Michelle is operating on. And the
theory is that people are still listening and organizing on the ground
involves telling people about the president`s record to win.

And if you look at the debate numbers, the most important one I think
has been glossed over. And that is when you -- when you ask independents
about the debate, 70 percent said Romney did better. That`s a huge margin.

When you ask independents who do they like better? No change since
the debate. So, independents who we all understand are the ones who are
most fluid did think Romney did better. A lot of people think Romney did
better. But they are still listening and Michelle Obama is saying to
everyone essentially, get out there and talk to these people and don`t
worry about all this anger and excitement and panic instead.

O`DONNELL: In Virginia today, Michelle Obama did a reach back into
the debate, into Mitt Romney`s PBS moment in the debate. Let`s listen to
that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA: We believe in keeping our priorities straight. That
we all know good and well that cutting Sesame Street is no way to balance a
budget.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Krystal, that`s the first mother talking.

BALL: Yes, yes. You know, the conservatives are poking fun at the
Obama campaign. Really they`re whining about the use of this talking point
because I think what people took away from the debate were two things, as
Ari just said, that the president didn`t do very well and Big Bird. Those
were the two big takeaways.

It was a long, technical, boring debate. It was the only line that
really stood out and frankly it makes sense to use as an emblem of how Mitt
Romney will not give any reasonable specifics about his plan.

If you are giving a $5 trillion tax cut, how are you going to pay for
it? And the only two things he could name in that debate were repealing
Obamacare and cutting funding for PBS and Big Bird.

O`DONNELL: He was on CNN tonight and he was asked about the specifics
of the tax cuts, so I`m sure he must have -- let`s just see, let`s just
see.

BALL: Let`s take a look.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Well, I`m not going to layout a piece of legislation here
because I intend to work together with Republicans and Democrats in
Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Oh, OK. So, he`s prepared to layout half a piece of
legislation which is I will cut all tax rates by 20 percent. There`s
another half of the legislation which I must not speak of.

MELBER: Right.

O`DONNELL: Then why mention that other half? Why mention the 20
percent half if you can`t mention the deductions half? We have never seen
this in a campaign proposal before.

MELBER: I think he thinks that this will still be a referendum
election. And that as long he gives all the tough talk on the deficit and
that`s what the Ryan pick was all about, no one is going to call him on it.

Unfortunately, one can argue that the first debate sort of proved part
of his point. We do have Big Bird and Big Bird speaks to sort of the total
vapidity of their budget talk because they can`t point to anything
significant as you say that they would cut.

But on the other hand, I think it will be up to a lot of the debates
in the future, especially Joe Biden to get out there and say this is what
Paul Ryan stands for. You know, you cut a third out of Medicaid, you`re
putting a lot of families and elderly people essentially out on the street.

That`s not rhetoric. That is how bad it would be. And you have to
kind of demonstrate that. That it goes, you know, you might say it`s
bigger than Big Bird.

O`DONNELL: And let`s remember that after this debate, Mitt Romney is
still on the losing side politically of the Medicare issue which the Obama
campaign knows and they`ve got a new ad about that now. Let`s watch that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)

AD NARRATOR: Victims, dependent -- that`s what Mitt Romney called 47
percent of Americans, including people on Medicare.

And what about his plan for you?

Romney would replace guaranteed benefits with a voucher system.
Seniors could pay $6,000 more a year. A plan AARP says would undermine
Medicare.

You`re no victim. You earned your benefits. Don`t let Mitt Romney
take them away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, Krystal, that`s what happens with someone who says
my job is not to care about those people.

BALL: It`s devastating. And as we`ve seen from Romney`s many
responses, there really is no response to that video. Because it`s such a
clear window into the way that he actually views the world, and into the
way that he actually intends to govern.

So, you can say, "I`m sorry." You can say, "I was completely wrong."
You can reiterate what he said in the video which is the strategy to start
with.

But there`s no taking them back because people feel they`ve got a
window into your soul.

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

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

MELBER: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up -- Ohio, Ohio, Ohio. It is all about Ohio.

Richard Wolffe and former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland will join me
next.

And in the rewrite tonight, if Mitt Romney denounces Todd Akin for
talking about legitimate rape, why doesn`t he denounce the Republican who
uses the Bible to justify slavery? That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney is trying to close the gender gap before the
election, but Meryl Streep is trying to stop him. And Mitt Romney is now
afraid of answering questions from kids -- the kids on Nickelodeon.
Something that John McCain and Barack Obama did in the last presidential
election.

Why is Mitt so afraid of the kids? That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Ohio, I`m asking you for your vote. And if you`re willing to
stand with me and work with me, knock on some doors and make some phone
calls for me, we`ll win Franklin County again. We`ll win Ohio again.
We`ll win this election again. We`ll finish what we started.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was President Obama`s argument to voters at Ohio
State University on the last day of voter registration in Ohio.

Ohio is a must-win state for Mitt Romney as you have heard countless
times. No Republican has won the presidency without winning Ohio.

And for Mitt Romney today -- it`s all about 47 percent. A new CNN
poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney among likely voters in Ohio,
51 percent to 47 percent.

President Obama invoked a different 47 percent campaigning in Ohio
tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You know, it`s interesting. In 2008, 47 percent of the
country didn`t vote for me. But on the night of the election I said to
those Americans, I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices. I
need your help. I`ll be your president, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The president also offered this reminder to Ohio voters
about jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Ohio, when Governor Romney that said we should let the auto
industry go bankrupt, we said no. We`re not going to take your advice.

Don`t boo, vote.

And we reinvented a dying auto industry. That supports one in eight
Ohio jobs and has come roaring back to the top of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are: Richard Wolffe, vice president and
executive editor of MSNBC.com and an MSNBC political analyst. And former
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. He`s also the Obama campaign national co-
chair.

Governor Strickland, what do Ohio voters want to hear from Vice
President Biden in this debate this week?

TED STRICKLAND (D), FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: I think we want Vice
President Biden to hang Paul Ryan budget around his and Governor Romney`s
neck.

That budget is terrible for the working middle class in this country.
It voucherizes Medicare. It begins the privatization of Social Security.
It slashes Medicaid. It cuts Pell Grants. It gives tax cuts to really,
really rich people.

Mitt Romney called it a marvelous budget, indicated he would sign it
if he were president.

So, I want -- I want the vice president to take that budget and
literally drape it around Paul Ryan`s neck.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, there has been information in the polls
this week that Obama campaign wishes it was going the other way.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure.

O`DONNELL: But when you look at the battleground states, and you look
at the way the Electoral College votes are lining up, there`s been very
little movement in what looks like the Electoral College balance here.

WOLFFE: If history is any precedent, this is the high water mark for
Mitt Romney at this point. He`s got his poll bounce, his full -- several
days of polling after the debate. And now, the debate is turning not
towards the performance of the theatrics, with the TV is like, but to the
actual policies, what these presidents would look like, what their visions
are.

You know, when you look at Ohio, you`re not just talking about any
battleground state. You`re talking about a strongly manufacturing based
economy that has done well, where the unemployment rate is below the
national average, has been for a long time, and the economic trend through
this whole country is perceptively moving towards a stronger and stronger
recovery.

That`s what we`ve seen in the unemployment rate. It`s what we`ve seen
in consumer confidence.

And no matter what the ups and downs of polls are. The economic trend
line is working against Mitt Romney as a very powerful force he`s trying to
swim against in a state like Ohio.

O`DONNELL: Governor, I want to concentrate on Ohio tonight, because
until someone can show a credible path to the White House for Mitt Romney
that does not include Ohio, which will be a brand new path for Republican
candidate, I think Ohio was where we have to concentrate.

Unemployment there is at 7.2 percent. That is significantly lower
than the national unemployment rate. How does that number, the Ohio
unemployment rate, play in this election?

STRICKLAND: Well, I think it`s very helpful to the president, quite
frankly. And, Lawrence, Ohio`s economy --

O`DONNELL: But, Governor, let me stop you there. It`s still a high
number. It`s still 7.2. It`s not what anyone thinks of as low
unemployment in Ohio.

STRICKLAND: Well, of course. But we`re moving in the right
direction. And you know, it`s unusual for Ohio to have an unemployment
rate lower than the national average.

O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s right.

STRICKLAND: But let me tell you why that`s happening. It`s because
the president rescued the American auto industry. And today, multimillion
dollar investments are being made in Lordstown, Ohio, in the Cleveland
area, in the Toledo area. Jobs are being created.

We think about 850,000 Ohio jobs were saved as a result of the
president`s action. And Mitt Romney was on the other side.

And Ohioans -- Lawrence, Ohioans really understand what`s going on
here. And that`s one of the major reasons.

The other major reason, quite frankly, was the Recovery Act, which
enabled me and other governors in other states, to keep our states from
falling ever deeper into this deep recession that we confronted. And now
we`re coming back.

And all Mitt Romney wants to do is to take us back to the same failed
Bush policies that led to this recession.

Ohioans are common sense people. We understand who`s on our side and
who`s on the other side. And the president has been on the side of working
Ohioans and working Americans.

That`s why this new poll that came out today I think is great news.
It`s a post-debate poll, the president is at 51 percent. That`s very
significant.

O`DONNELL: There`s more great news for the president in this poll,
Richard. The president among independents has a lead similar to his
overall lead in Ohio, 50 to 46.

But then there`s this number, among Ohio moderates, 68 percent for
Obama, 31 percent for Mitt Romney.

Are Ohio moderates somehow wildly different from moderates in general
in battleground states?

WOLFFE: Let`s just be clear, by the way. Democrats need a super
majority of moderates. There are a lot of Democrats in there but there
aren`t as many self-identified Democrats as there are conservatives and
Republicans out there. They need to hit the moderate -- the vote -- every
successful Democratic president has done that.

What Ohio shows, though, is the reasons moderates like the approach is
that the auto industry was -- saving the auto industry was unpopular. It
was right up there with parts of Wall Street that no one wanted to talk
about. The president took a position that moderates in retrospect can
approve of.

And that`s what I think people look at. It`s not just the debate of
the moment. It`s the trajectory of the last several years. That`s what
people are responding to.

O`DONNELL: Governor Strickland, I know you`re comfort for tonight for
the president based on your understanding of the Ohio situation. If the
Ohio polling starts to turn in a negative direction for President Obama,
would you then start to worry?

STRICKLAND: Well, of course. But the president over a period of
months now has maintained a very small but a very consistent lead. And I
think that`s going to hold for the next 28 days. And, Lawrence, one of the
reasons is the 47 percent statement. You know, the Republicans like to
use, you know, the Holy Scriptures to support their positions.

O`DONNELL: Yes, they do.

STRICKLAND: Well, I want to use the Scripture. In the Book of
Proverbs, it says, in the 23rd chapter, it says, "as a man thinketh in his
heart, so is he."

And we saw something about Mitt Romney`s heart when he stood in front
of those fat cats down in Boca Raton, Florida, and talked in the most
disrespectful way about working Americans, veterans, students, retired
folks. It was bad. It was bad.

O`DONNELL: I will start to worry about the Obama chances once Ohio
starts to look bad. It looks good tonight.

Governor Ted Strickland and Richard Wolffe, thank you both for joining
me tonight.

STRICKLAND: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Mitt Romney`s etch a sketch on abortion.

And in the "Rewrite", a politician actually does this. He uses the
Bible to justify slavery. And we are still patiently waiting for Mitt
Romney to denounce that Republican politician the way he denounced Todd
"legitimate rape" Akin. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney is trying to close the gender gap in the polls
and so he is now trying to mislead women about his position to reproduction
rights. Joy Reid and Karen Finney will get to the truth on that one.
They`ll join me next.

And Mitt Romney is now refusing to do something that John McCain and
Barack Obama did last time around. And something that Barack Obama has
already done this year. The president of the United States has taken the
time to take questions from the Nickelodeon kids but Mitt Romney doesn`t
want to do it.

Why is Mitt afraid of the Nickelodeon kids? That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Planned Parenthood, we`re going to get rid of that.

OBAMA: Governor Romney said he would get rid of Planned Parenthood
funding. Apparently this along with Big Bird is driving the deficits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the women`s vote. Mitt Romney
has made it clear that as president he would cut funding for Planned
Parenthood. Here`s what else he said he would do as president on
reproductive rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will
follow the law in the Constitution. And it would be my preference that
they reverse Roe v. Wade and, therefore, they return to the people and
their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important
issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, Mitt Romney`s Etch a Sketch told him to say this:
"there`s no legislation with regards to abortion that I`m familiar with
that would become part of my agenda."

This as new polling finds that Mitt Romney`s making up some ground
with women voters. Last month, President Obama held an 18-point lead among
women in a Pew Research Center Poll. And now the candidates appear tied at
47-47.

Joy Reid, he said there that there`s no legislation that he`s
contemplating. Well, you don`t have to contemplate legislation when you
put in those Supreme Court justices who are going to over turn Roe versus
Wade. Of course you don`t need federal legislation after that.

REID: Absolutely. And it`s the one promise that the right wing
expects Republicans presidents to keep, which is that they will put in
place Supreme Court justices, if at all possible --.

O`DONNELL: George W. Bush has done that. The previous Republican
presidents weren`t so good at that, like Bush`s father. But that`s what
they do now.

REID: No, absolutely. And look, all Republican presidents lie. They
lie to the right wing Evangelical base. They promise them that they`re
going to do legislatively what they know that they`re never going to do,
which is overturn abortion, make abortion illegal across the country. They
all lie.

Mitt Romney is sort of telling the truth before the election, which is
unusual, that he`s letting them know right now that hey, I`m willing to
throw you under the bus. But the one thing that Republican presidents are
expected to follow through on are those court nominations. And the ones
potentially coming up, Lawrence, as you know, we`re not talking about the
conservatives.

O`DONNELL: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

REID: You`re talking about Ginsburg. You`re talking about maybe
Kennedy, who tends to be a swing justice but he`s more of a libertarian.
But you`re talking about potentially a six-three court in favor of over
turning Roe. That`s serious.

O`DONNELL: Let`s look at the leader now -- currently the leader of
the evolution-denying party, the Republican party. Let`s look at his
evolution on abortion starting in 1994.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this
country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran
in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate.

Snuck a little extra point in there that I want to address, and that
is with regards to my views with regards to protecting a woman`s right to
choose. I have been very clear on that. I will preserve and protect a
woman`s right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word
in that record. I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts` pro-
choice laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, there`s Mitt Romney talking about a 32-year
conviction that he held since his mother I guess brought him into it in
1970, where he`s saying I will preserve and protect a woman`s right to
choice, holding his mother`s philosophy on this for 32 years. And now here
we are in 2012 and it`s whatever the right wing wants.

FINNEY: Well, I think Ted Kennedy said it best, right? He is
multiple choice when it comes to this issue. And I think the thing we have
to make sure women understand is, you know, he has also said in 2007 he
would be delighted to sign legislation, if it came to his desk, that would
actually repeal all kinds of funding for abortions -- or rather repeal
access to abortions.

And he still says that he would do away with funding for Planned
Parenthood. And he still doesn`t seem to understand that these are
economic issues for women. So what women need to do is listen carefully to
that parsing of the language. "No legislation that I`m familiar with."
That`s trying to fool women on the one hand and placate the right wing on
the other.

And I think you have to pay very close attention to what he has said
and the multiple choices he has taken on this issue, and not trust him. He
knows that there are women for whom this is the issue they will vote on.

O`DONNELL: Let`s look at what Planned Parenthood has put out. They
put out this ad in Colorado.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mitt Romney would turn back the clock for women.

ROMNEY: Do I believe Supreme Courts should over turn Roe v. Wade?
Yes.

Planned Parenthood, we`re going to get rid of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, millions of woman rely on Planned
Parenthood health centers for basic health care, including life saving
cancer screenings, and millions more know we should be making our personal
medical decisions, not Mitt Romney.

Planned Parenthood Votes is responsible for the content of this
advertising, because Mitt Romney is wrong for women`s health.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: I also want to quickly show what Meryl Streep has done in
an ad for the Center for Reproductive Rights. Let`s take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERYL STREEP, ACTRESS: We`ve got to do something right now, you and
me, all of us. Every day, the opponents of our fundamental reproductive
rights are passing laws designed to take those rights away. They`re
shutting down doctors and clinics across the nation. They`re making it
nearly impossible for millions of women to get the essential health care
they need.

It`s time to draw the line. It`s time to put the president, the
Congress, law makers across the United States on notice. We`re not going
to stand for this anymore. Sign the Bill of Reproductive Rights and pass
it on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, it`s going to be tough for Mitt Romney going
against this kind of advertising.

REID: First of all, Meryl Streep is amazing. But that aside, I think
the other thing -- and people have to get this, Lawrence. If Mitt Romney
were to win the White House, that would probably mean that Republicans also
took the Senate, because it would probably mean that he won Ohio and maybe
swept in Republicans in key states. It would mean that probably
Republicans held the House.

But one other thing that a Republican president can do is sign one of
those eight pieces of anti-abortion legislation and Planned Parenthood
cutting legislation served up by this current Congress, including Paul
Ryan.

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, we just have a couple of seconds, but no
doubt Mitt Romney would sign anything a Republican Congress sent him on
abortion.

FINNEY: He has already said he would. And remember, he also will
repeal the Affordable Care Act. And what does that do for women? That
means your uterus is a preexisting condition. Don`t forge that. He will
do a number of things, in addition to taking away our rights on choice,
that will actually make it a preexisting a condition as a woman, meaning we
will go back to paying more for our health care if Mitt Romney becomes
president.

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney gets THE LAST WORD in this segment. Joy Reid
and Karen Finney, thank you both for joining me tonight.

Coming up, Mitt Romney is avoiding MSNBC, David Letterman and now
Nickelodeon. Yes, the kids at the Nickelodeon Channel. Nickelodeon`s
Linda Ellerbee will join me in a LAST WORD exclusive.

And in the Rewrite, another episode of the politics of religion, and
why a Republican thinks Abraham Lincoln is a Marxist and should be equated
with Josef Stalin. That guy also believes that the Bible completely
justifies slavery.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the Rewrite tonight, another episode of the politics of
religion, Republican style. Republicans are busy pretending that bat crap
Crazy Republican Congressman Todd "legitimate rape" Akin is not
representative of the Republican brand. But Republican politicians keep
popping up all over to prove that bat crap crazy is the Republican brand.

We showed you this crazy Republican congressman from Georgia last
night who said this about the Bible.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL BROUN (R), GEORGIA: It teaches us how to run our lives
individually, how to run our families, how to run our churches. But it
teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Big time national Republicans did not feel they had to
distance themselves from those crazy words about the Bible teaching us how
to run all of public policy and everything in society. No statements from
Karl Rove about how he won`t help that crazy guy, nothing from Mitt Romney
about it, even though it is a statement at least as crazy as Todd Akin`s
"legitimate rape" belief.

And the proof of how crazy that statement is comes from another crazy
Republican who actually believes it: Loy Mock. It`s Loy, like Lloyd with
no D. Loy Mock, this crazy Republican, according to the "Arkansas Times,"
is a member of the League of the South, a group which works toward the
formation of an independent southern nation.

That`s right, another Republican secessionist. He believes that God
and the Bible are on his side and that God was on the confederacy`s side in
the Civil War. But for some reason, God decided to let the north win. You
know, God works in mysterious ways.

Representative Mock calls the confederate flag, quote, "a symbol of
Jesus Christ." To this Republican crazy person, the most admired
Republican in history, Abraham Lincoln, should be equated with -- should be
equated with -- and those were his words, equated with -- equated with
Josef Stalin, Karl Marx and, of course, Nazi genocidal murderers.

We know this because he has written these things. These are not
extemporaneous spoken gaffs. These are his considered opinions, carefully
written not in his diary, but for the world, as he knows it, to see. All
of these things are in past letters to the "Arkansas Democrat Gazette."

Ten years ago, he wrote a letter to the editor, to the paper, saying
that one of their guest columnists was, quote, "predictably goose stepping
with the cult of Lincoln." On February 27th, 2007, he wrote a letter to
the paper saying Lincoln`s Second Inaugural Address shows what a fake this
neurotic northern war criminal truly was.

Now, I have searched Lincoln`s second inaugural address today, which
is short and filled with references to God and the Bible, and have
struggled to find what a present-day bat crap crazy person could hate about
it. The only possibility is in the last sentence. "Let us strive on to
finish the work we are in to bind up the nation`s wounds, to care for him
who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all
which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves with
all nations."

That`s Abraham Lincoln basically making a case for a Veterans
Administration sort of program to care for combat veterans and their widows
and their fatherless children. That is pure Karl Marx to Loy Mock. On
July 11, 2010, he called the 14th Amendment, quote, "a Karl Marx concept."

The 14th amendment was, of course, enacted after the Civil War in
1868. And I have searched it today for any Karl Marx concepts. And of
course, there are none. But if you`re insane, you might find one in the
last line of Section 4 of the amendment, which says that neither the United
States nor any state shall pay, quote, "any claim for the loss or
emancipation of any slave."

For a pro-slavery guy like Representative Mock, the government`s
refusal to pay slave owners for the emancipation of slaves was pure
Marxism. And yeah, he is pro-slavery. On January 8, 2009, in his letter
to the editor, he said, "if slavery were so God-awful, why didn`t Jesus or
Paul condemn it?"

And on February 15th, 2003, the day after Valentine`s Day, this
Valentine arrived at the "Arkansas Democrat Gazette" from Loy Mock:
"Nowhere in the Holy Bible have I found a word of condemnation for the
operation of slavery, Old or New Testament. If slavery was so bad, why
didn`t Jesus, Paul or the prophets say something?"

And there -- there is the most perfect illustration of the problems of
governing by Bible, because that is the one thing in all of this crazy
man`s letters to the newspaper that is actually true. Nowhere in this
book, nowhere in the Holy Bible is there a word of condemnation for
slavery. Nowhere.

And that is yet another reason why this statement about the Bible is
so very, very wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROUN: It teaches us how to run our lives individually, how to run
our families, how to run our churches. But it teaches us how to run all
public policy and everything in society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: If we allowed the Bible to teach us how to run all of
public policy and everything in society, we would still have slavery.
People who didn`t observe the Sabbath would get the death penalty. And all
adulterers would be stoned to death, which means we would then have to find
places to bury half the married people in America.

So in this episode of the politics of religion, we have learned that
the National Republican Party, the Mitt Romneys and the Karl Roves will
publicly condemn a Republican who says there is such a thing as legitimate
rape, even though the Bible, as demonstrated here last night, does agree
with Todd Akin that there is such a thing as legitimate rape, but that the
Karl Roves and the Mitt Romneys will not condemn a Republican who says that
the most believed Republican of all time, Abraham Lincoln was a Marxist and
a Nazi and the equivalent of Josef Stalin.

They will not condemn a Republican who is pro-slavery, because the
Republican party is now the home of the very, very craziest people in the
history of American politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: "Sesame Street" isn`t the only children`s television
program Mitt Romney has a problem with these days. Mitt Romney has refused
to participate in this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. When
you were a kid, what was your favorite costume?

OBAMA: These days, when I go take my girls trick or treating, they
always want to be a fairy princess or, you know, a witch, but not really a
scary witch, sort of a cute witch. My whole thing is you should be scary
during Halloween.

The costume I had when I was three, as a pirate, was one of the best
costumes of all time. I had a sword. I had a little moustache. It was
outstanding.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Mine was a pirate. And sometimes when
I see the way they behave in the United States Senate, sometimes I wish I
put my costume on and take my sword out or my dagger and get them back in
line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s right. Mitt Romney will not be participating in
this year`s Nick News Special "Kids Pick the President." The half hour
special gives both candidates` biographies, then shows their responses to
questions solicited from kids all over the country. After the special,
kids can vote for the candidate they think should be president.

Nick Voters have correctly picked the same winner as the general
election since 1992, with one exception. Nick Kids incorrectly but sort of
correctly picked Al Gore instead of George W. Bush. Al Gore did, of
course, win more votes in that election than George W. Bush.

Joining me now for a LAST WORD exclusive is the host of that special,
Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee. Linda, how disappointed are you? This
has become kind of a presidential campaign tradition. Why is Mitt Romney
afraid of your kids?

LINDA ELLERBEE, NICK NEWS ANCHOR: Oh, gosh. Lawrence, I don`t think
he`s afraid of kids. I would hate to think -- the man has 18
grandchildren, for goodness sake.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, he does.

ELLERBEE: Actually, on the other hand, I have four grandchildren and
they can be pretty scary. Maybe he is afraid of kids. I think is -- we
never really know why, because we don`t talk to the candidate. We talk to
the candidates` staff. And we began talking to the Romney staff six months
ago in April. And they were very encouraging, why, yes, we would want to
take part in this. It`s a tradition and it has become one.

And then something happened. We don`t know what. But all of a
sudden, it was he can`t fit it into his schedule. And that`s all they
would ever say. He cannot fit it into his schedule. It takes 30 minutes.

O`DONNELL: Does the Romney campaign know the precedent here of how
it`s a tradition that candidates have been doing for a long time?

ELLERBEE: Well, yes. We`ve spoken to them many times and exchanged a
number of e-mails. I have to correct you. Sorry. One factual error. And
I`m afraid that it got printed yesterday and it got spread around and it is
wrong. Kids did not pick Al Gore in 2000. Kids voted for George Bush in
2000. The one where they missed in the last -- this started in 1988,
actually. And they picked George Bush, senior.

The one they got wrong was 2004. Kids picked Kerry, which is
interesting, because that`s the only other time we had a candidate just
outright say no, I won`t do it.

(CROSS TALK)

O`DONNELL: So it`s too late. And we`re going to --

ELLERBEE: Not for me. We have worked very hard to put together a
show in which Governor Romney`s views are fairly and equally represented
along with President Obama`s. But we have also held the door open, I`ve
said, any time between now and October 14th at midnight. Any place you
say, Governor Romney, we`ll be there.

O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to be holding our breath until
October 14th at midnight. Linda Ellerbee gets tonight`s last word.
Thanks, Linda.

"THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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