updated 11/5/2012 11:27:31 AM ET 2012-11-05T16:27:31

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
November 2, 2012

Guests: Michael Cusick, Eugene Robinson, Ezra Klein, Ana Marie Cox

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Today, New York decided it was not ready
for a marathon on Sunday, and some places might not be ready for voting on
Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: Millions are Americans are still reeling.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: New York and New Jersey are still reeling.

WAGNER: From the devastating impact of hurricane Sandy.

JANET NAPOLITANO, DHS SECRETARY: This was a large storm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The secretary of homeland security, Janet
Napolitano.

NAPOLITANO: Roughly the size of Europe.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The federal government
will not quit until this is done.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, FEMA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: FEMA is about to run out with money and how do you
deal with something like that?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Send it back to the states.

OBAMA: We will not quit until this is done.

TODD: Eighty-eight hours in Ohio.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama on the ground in Ohio.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: The center of the political universe
right now.

OBAMA: Right here in Ohio.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: He`s out there in Ohio fighting the good
fight.

OBAMA: You know that I`ll fight for you and your families.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: It is all about Ohio.

ROMNEY: Do you want more of the same or do you want real change?

MITCHELL: And Governor Romney will be in Aetna, Ohio.

ROMNEY: This is about America.

WAGNER: The salesman versus the storm.

ROMNEY: We`re going to win on Tuesday night.

MATTHEWS: All the battlegrounds look winnable for the president.

HALL: The president hitting seven battleground states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re really down to the last seven states.

JANSING: It is still all about the economy.

OBAMA: We`ve made real progress.

HALL: You`ve got this jobs report.

WAGNER: The unemployment report.

HALL: The final jobs report.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely a strong jobs report.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A hundred seventy thousand jobs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stronger than expected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s good.

ROMNEY: Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took
office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is about as hollow as the tin man.

ROMNEY: We`re going to win on Tuesday night.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: We begin tonight with the latest on the recovery from the
devastation of hurricane Sandy.

NBC News has now confirmed 94 deaths from the storm. More than half
of those killed, 48 died in the state of New York. Of that 48 in the
state, 40 deaths occurred here in New York City. And of those 40 New York
City deaths, more than half, 22, occurred in the borough that was the
hardest hit, Staten Island.

Staten Island`s death toll is greater than every other state hit by
the storm. In New Jersey, 13 died, 11 people died in Maryland. There were
seven deaths in Pennsylvania. West Virginia lost six people. Four people
died in Connecticut. In North Carolina, two died and one person died in
Puerto Rico.

Speaking to reporters today on Staten Island, Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano promised more helped is on the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NAPOLITANO: It`s been mentioned this was a large storm. The area
that Sandy covered was roughly the size of Europe. We know that Staten
Island took a particularly hard hit from Sandy, so we want to make sure
that the right resources are brought here as quickly as possible to help
this community which is so very strong, recover even more quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Secretary Napolitano also told reporters today the Obama
administration has 3,200 FEMA personnel and 11,800 members of the National
Guard on the ground in the Northeast with more to come. Over 75,000
survivors have applied for federal disaster assistance already and the
government has already given out $15 million in aid.

More than 8.7 million liters of water are in place for victims along
with over 2.6 million meals. The Red Cross now has 258 shelters open
across the region. Federal officials are moving generators to hospitals
and nursing homes still without electricity and the Department of Defense
is helping to air lift utility crews into affected areas to get the lights
back on.

In New York, officials have restored power to more than 375,000 homes
and businesses.

People cheered on Manhattan`s lower east side when the lights came
back on just a few hours ago. Gasoline is still tough to come by with
lines stretching several miles in some locations across New York and New
Jersey today. Some gas stations are still without electricity. So the gas
there cannot be pumped.

Officials have reopened the port of New York, allowing more supplies
in, including fuel tankers bringing more than 200 million barrels of fuel
to expedite that process. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an
executive order today temporarily waiving registration requirements for
fuel distributors and transporters.

After a day of increasing controversy over the New York City marathon
that was scheduled for Sunday, at the end of the day today, New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced it has been canceled. Quote, "We would
not want a cloud to hang over the race or its participants, and so we have
decided to cancel it. We cannot allow a controversy over an athletic
event, even one as meaningful as this, to distract attention away from all
the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm
and get our city back on track."

With the Red Cross, FEMA and the National Guard on the ground to help
in Staten Island, people there have some hope. We get the latest from NBC
news correspondent Andrea Canning -- Andrea.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA CANNING, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Lawrence.

And what a difference a day makes. Just 24 hours ago, people here
were pleading for help on live TV, feeling all but ignored from local and
federal government. This morning, all of that changed.

(voice-over): Today, a welcome flood of relief as National Guard,
FEMA, Red Cross and other agencies set up camp, bringing much needed
supplies to this hard-hit working class community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, FEMA.

CANNING: Twenty-four hours after this desperate plea on live
television.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you need to come here and help us. We need
assistance. Please.

CANNING: There is now hope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s a renewed hope. There`s a renewed
spirit and that`s what they needed.

CANNING: Families crowded around tables to pick up canned food and
ready to eat meals. More than 150 people lined up for dry ice.

Down the street, residents were streaming in with whatever bags of
warm clothing they could spare for their neighbors. Temperatures are
dropping tonight and parents here are worried about their children.

The homeland security chief and FEMA officials today oversaw the
relief efforts.

NAPOLITANO: Folks are going to be going door to door in these
communities, making sure that nobody is left out.

CANNING: As one person put it, it`s not charity, it`s humanity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m from Brooklyn. I`ve been (INAUDIBLE) Saturday
already. Today is my day off. I`m here now trying to help more, because
it`s just like a bomb hit.

ESTHER LARUBIO, STATEN ISLAND RESIDENT: I don`t believe this.

CANNING: Esther Larubio doesn`t even know where to start.

LARUBIO: We need help here. We truly do. We need someone to come
and tell us which way to go and how to go. Everybody`s becoming so
frantic.

CANNING: She feels lost in her own neighborhood. There`s the boat
lodged in her house, the water damage and the tangled web of wires hanging
over her yard.

About 500 residents are living at the local shelters. Officials say
housing is now the biggest need.

REP. MICHAEL GRIMM (R), NEW YORK: They`re scared, they`ve been
through so much and they want to know they`re going to have a place to go,
at least for the next 30 days or so. And as for right now, we don`t have
those answers.

CANNING: While they wait for answers, today, a small Republican to
normalcy.

(CHEERS)

CANNING: For the first time since the storm, the Staten Island ferry
reopened, carrying passengers over quiet waters.

(on camera): And the cleanup has begun in this neighborhood, but it
is going to be a long, hard road. If you take a look behind me, you can
see these boats literally on someone`s doorstep. Well, these boats are
strewn up and down this street. A crane rolled in today taking one at a
time taking them from the road back to the marina. So, this is a very
laborious process here in the city getting back to normal.

Back to you, Lawrence.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Andrea Canning on Staten Island -- thank you.

Joining me once again by phone is New York Assemblyman Michael Cusick,
a Democrat who represents Staten Island.

Michael, I want to go straightaway to the marathon, the issue of the
New York City marathon which begins in Staten Island, at the base of the
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, 47,000 runners were registered for it this year.
Supplies were being brought out to Staten Island today for the marathon
before the decision was made to cancel it.

Are you supportive of the mayor`s decision to cancel the New York City
marathon?

STATE ASM. MICHAEL CUSICK (D), NEW YORK (via telephone): Yes. Hi,
Lawrence. I`m supportive of the mayor`s decision. I think the mayor made
the right decision today.

This was always about resources for us here on Staten Island. Many of
the neighborhoods that had been hit very hard by the hurricane, very close
to the starting line and very close to the Verrazano Bridge where many of
the runners would start the marathon.

So this was always about the resources. We`re still rescuing people.
We`re still going door to door. We`re still trying to help our neighbors.
And it was hard to figure out having a marathon going on, if there were
resources used for the race, like police or generators or that type, could
they have been used to help with the rescue.

So I think the mayor made the right decision today, because this will
at least put the ease some of the folks who still don`t have electric and
they`re still without heat and are very close to where the start of that
marathon would have been.

O`DONNELL: You know, I have to confess that when the mayor first said
that it was going to continue, he said that a few days ago before we
realized how extensive the damage was, particularly on Staten Island. And
there was a case to be made for it, that the city needs to be seen to be
back on its feet, literally in terms of the marathon.

But as time wore on, it became less explicable why we were doing this.
And this morning`s "New York Post" cover story "Abuse of Power" showing two
generators that were being used in Central Park for the marathon to heat
their tent, explaining that those two generators could be used on Staten
Island to provide power to 400 homes, at that moment this morning when I
saw that cover, I just couldn`t conceive of how this marathon could go on.

CUSICK: Right, right. Well, like I said, I think the mayor made the
right decision when he had decided early on to go forward. That was for
the good of the city and for morale and for small businesses. But I think,
as you pointed out, Lawrence, in the last day, it`s amazing what a
difference 24 hours is.

People didn`t really know how bad it was out here on Staten Island.
And I think that when the news cameras came out here yesterday, with
Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, they realized it was bad out here. And I
don`t think people realized that and I think that changed people`s minds
that there was still more work to be done on this hurricane issue.

O`DONNELL: Michael, I know not every New York City politician
frequents Staten Island, I know those two senators do. But cabinet
secretary is a rare visitor to Staten Island.

How did Secretary Napolitano`s trip today help on Staten Island?

CUSICK: Well, the secretary`s trip was great for morale. I think the
people out here were encouraged to know that the federal government is here
now in full force to have a member of the cabinet here to kick it off and
to show that FEMA is here and they`ll be here as long as it takes to get
Staten Islanders back on their feet.

It was very encouraging to the neighbors and to the residents, but
very encouraging to the elected officials out here. We`ve been working as
a team out here, led by our borough president and many of the state elected
officials and to have the secretary sit down with us and give us a briefing
on what the federal government is going to do really, really helped us move
forward today because when I spoke to you last night, Lawrence, it was a
different story. We, the day before, we hadn`t heard from anyone.

And to get this treatment today, and to see the number of FEMA
employees here and the Red Cross and the National Guard has done wonders
for people`s morale, and to see that people really do care how the people
are here on Staten Island.

O`DONNELL: Michael, quickly before you go, a word on the Red Cross.
The Red Cross was getting some heavy criticism on Staten Island 24 hours
ago. We just on this network did an hour long telethon to raise money for
the Red Cross to be applied to Staten Island and elsewhere in the wake of
the storm. Some people on Staten Island yesterday were saying, no, don`t
send money to the Red Cross.

What`s your view of how the Red Cross is on helping on Staten Island
now?

CUSICK: Well, the Red Cross is here in full force and I think it`s
time to move forward. I think that people`s opinions have changed. The
president of the Red Cross was out here today. The Red Cross has met with
all the elected officials on Staten Island and they have said to us they
are going to be here 100 percent. They have had numerous trucks here from
the Red Cross. I was in a neighborhood today where the trucks were giving
out food and blankets to folks who don`t have heat or electric.

And it`s safe to say that the Red Cross has been a supporter here on
Staten Island and we see them being a supporter in the future.

O`DONNELL: New York assemblyman Michael Cusick of Staten Island --
thank you very much for joining me tonight.

CUSICK: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, four days to go, the campaign`s sprint to the
finish. Karen Finney and Ari Melber are here for that.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, what was the biggest lie Republicans
told this year about something President Obama said. Tweet me your guesses
on that one. The answer will be in tonight`s "Rewrite".

And, some of the craziest Republicans in Congress are in trouble in
their reelection campaigns, Michele Bachmann and Allen West. That`s coming
up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The recovery from hurricane Sandy is just beginning and it
will take a lot of government spending to get it done and a lot of
earmarks. And suddenly, at least one big Republican is in favor of federal
government spending. And, yes, in favor of earmarks. That`s in the
"Rewrite".

And, the back and forth on the campaign trail is getting even more
intense. Team Romney attacks, team Obama responds. We`ll have the latest
from the campaign with Karen Finney and Ari Melber, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: With just four days until the election -- four days? Did
I say four days? Four days until the election, presidential candidates
campaigned in Ohio where moments ago, Mitt Romney said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Your state is the won I`m counting on, by the way. This is
the one we have to win.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: A new CNN poll of likely voters in Ohio shows President
Obama polling at 50 percent and Mitt Romney at 47 percent.

The president made three stops in Ohio today where he talked about
Mitt Romney`s lie that Chrysler is moving American jobs to China.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You`ve got to own what you say. This isn`t a game. These are
people`s jobs at stake. These are people`s lives. You know, companies
like G.M. and Chrysler, they put a lot of time and effort and money into
building up their brand and letting Americans know that the American auto
industry is back.

And we don`t want suddenly a bunch of ads saying stuff that`s not
true. You don`t scare hard working Americans just to scare up some votes.

You know I tell the truth. And you know I fight for working families
every single day as hard as I know how.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama concluded his speech this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And that`s why I need you, Ohio. To make sure that no matter
who you are or what you look like or where you come from, what your last
name is, where you started, no matter what, you can make it in America if
you try.

Ohio, that`s why I`m asking for your vote and if you`re willing to
work with me and knock on some doors with me and make some phone calls with
me and turn out to the polls with me, we`ll win this election. We`ll win
Ohio.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: New polls show President Obama polling ahead of Mitt
Romney among likely voters in the battleground states of Virginia. In
Virginia, a "Reuters" poll has President Obama at 49 percent and Mitt
Romney at 45 percent.

In Florida, "Reuters" has President Obama at 48 percent and Mitt
Romney at 46 percent. In Michigan, a PPP poll has President Obama at 52
percent and Mitt Romney at 46 percent. And in Colorado, a PPP poll has
President Obama at 50 percent and Mitt Romney at 46 percent.

In New Hampshire, a New England College poll has President Obama at 50
percent and Mitt Romney at 44 percent.

Tonight, Nate Silver of "The New York Times" "FiveThirtyEight" blog
forecasts that on November 6th, President Obama has an 81 percent chance of
winning re-election and that President Obama will win 304 Electoral College
votes and Mitt Romney will within 234.

And, Karen Finney, the great thing about Wednesday of next week is I
will no longer have to say PPP poll.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: You might have to say the PPP
post-election poll, my friend.

O`DONNELL: I`m so -- I`m done with that poll.

These polls are tight. These polls -- you know, I refuse to use the
language the poll shows President Obama winning 50, because every one of
these polls is within the margin of error, every one of them. So they are
really showing something that could be a tie, could be tight. For
incumbents, this is not considered particularly strong polling.

When the incumbent is at, say, 48 and the other guy is at 45, that`s
considered a risky spot for incumbents.

FINNEY: You know, but here`s the thing. The map is getting tougher
for Mitt Romney. No question, right?

O`DONNELL: That`s always true.

FINNEY: And particularly if you take --

O`DONNELL: And my bet is still on President Obama. I just feel this
thing is tighter even than those polls show.

FINNEY: You know, I`m not sure if I agree with that. Because if you
look at --

O`DONNELL: You don`t have to. You`re not here to agree. You`re here
to elucidate, to educate, I`ll be taking notes.

FINNEY: If you consider that how much money Romney has tried to spend
in the last couple of weeks trying to move the numbers in Ohio and he
hasn`t. So, at this point, they`re trying to buy some cheap TV advertising
some time in Pennsylvania, see if they can make something happen in
Pennsylvania, that`s not going to happen.

He may stand there and tell Ohio, hey, I need you. It`s not going to
happen. He`s already behind. And if you look at the battleground early
vote states, he has to win 54 percent of the remaining votes in Ohio to win
the state.

So those numbers, if you consider how many of the early vote people
have already voted, in Colorado, where you cited the PPP poll, he`s got to
win 55 percent of the remaining votes in Colorado to win.

I mean, that`s where you start to see the wisdom of the Obama team
strategy, of a strong ground game and focusing on early votes and those
sporadic voters and that the map for Romney is getting tighter.

O`DONNELL: Ari, there is that decision of is there another route? Is
there -- sometimes the other party is doing it. Sometimes the Democrats
are doing it. But here it is for Romney. Is there a route around Ohio?

But there`s Romney tonight saying I think the one true thing. I have
to win Ohio.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Right. And when he says that, he is actually
revealing more than he means to, because what it shows you also is that the
Pennsylvania stuff is garbage. If you could win, Pennsylvania, Florida and
the southwest, you actually could do without Ohio.

O`DONNELL: Why are they doing that? Because that he`s a play we`ve
seen them try before, McCain tried before, and we`ve seen it fail before.
Is there some attempt to manipulate media coverage?

MELBER: Yes. To quote Bill Clinton, they think you`re stupid.
Instead of it being the voters, it is more, as you said, a play for the
media being stupid, and saying, look, here`s a chance to even it up, the
press loves to even it up and Pennsylvania is a way to get --

O`DONNELL: Are they trying to get Obama to put resources into
Pennsylvania? That`s part of those plays, isn`t it?

FINNEY: It is part of it. There is an element of a head fake in
terms of trying to see, can we shake something lose here? Can we see
movement in numbers? Can we make them spend a little money? Can we make
them spend a little time there?

Maybe because it means that`s time he`s not going to spend somewhere
else where we think we can shake it loss. But, yes, I mean, once you`re
playing those kinds of games, you know that your path to 270 is very
limited. And as you said, you better get Ohio because Pennsylvania is
garbage.

MELBER: A brief point on Ohio, you know, when people tune in on
Tuesday night and they see you Lawrence O`Donnell reading these election
results, right? They`re going to --

O`DONNELL: No, no, they`re going to see Rachel Maddow reading the
election results.

MELBER: Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O`Donnell, Ed Schultz --

O`DONNELL: I will be sitting somewhere nearby being very quiet.

MELBER: You`re going to be quite.

But there`s a funny thing where they`re going to look at the bottom of
the screen and we`re going to see these votes coming in, it`s going to
start at zero and go up. But that`s sort of an artificiality because in
truth, what we know is 1.7 million ballots have already been cast in Ohio.

To echo Karen Finney, about 800,000 are from counties that went for
Obama last time. He has what looks to be a big lead there and that is
concrete. That`s not polling. That`s ballots.

FINNEY: Now, part of this is about, I believe, trying to delegitimize
President Obama in a second term. They`re trying to say, it`s going to be
so close, it`s going to be so tight. A, so that if they can create a
little ruckus and a little recount ruckus, they`re going to try to that,
and, you know, they`re going to try and to blame Chris Christie.

O`DONNELL: OK. We`re out of time for this one. Karen Finney and Ari
Melber, thank you both for joining me tonight.

MELBER: Thanks.

FINNEY: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, how hurricane Sandy has exposed one of Mitt
Romney`s biggest lies about President Obama. That`s in the "Rewrite".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I don`t know what tomorrow`s job
numbers are going to be. I have no doubt they`ll cook the books.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Hurricane Sandy did not prevent the release of the October
jobs data as planned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: In 2008, we were in the middle of two wars and the worst
economic crisis since the Great Depression. Today, our businesses have
created nearly 5.5 million new jobs. And this morning, we learned that
companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight
months.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private
sector businesses added 184,000 jobs last month, the biggest monthly gain
in eight months, and 84,000 more jobs were actually created in August and
September than previously estimated. The unemployment rate ticked up a
tenth of a point to 7.9 percent due to more workers restarting their job
hunts, reentering the work force, attempting to.

Mitt Romney reacted to the jobs report in Wisconsin today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: He said he was going to cut the federal deficit in half. And
then he doubled it. He said he was going to lower the unemployment rate
down to 5.2 percent right now. Today we learn that it`s actually 7.9
percent. And that`s nine million jobs short of what he promised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joe Biden responded to Romney this way today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s called it
territorial tax. It`s the Bain way. It means if you`re going to build a
factory, you go find -- this is the fact. You go find a country with the
lowest tax rate and the cheapest wages. Build it there, pay those taxes,
and you never have to pay a penny in tax on the profit you make when you
bring them back home.

Why would anybody build -- why would anybody build a factory here?
Ladies and gentlemen, the experts point out that new territorial tax will
create 800,000 jobs, all of them abroad. I`m not making up, all of them
abroad. 800,000.

I found it fascinating at their convention, when Governor Romney stood
there and said, the first thing I will do when I`m elected president, I
will take a jobs tour. It`s going to have to be a foreign trip.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, the "Washington Post`s" Ezra Klein and
Eugene Robinson. Both are also MSNBC analysts. Eugene, it was a strange
week for the conspiracy theorists about the unemployment numbers. First,
their theory was that the president would use Hurricane Sandy and its
effects possibly on Washington, D.C. as an excuse for delaying the jobs
report until after the election.

And then of course, as of yesterday, when they knew it was coming out,
they were absolutely convinced that they would cook the books. And so we
saw an uptick of one tenth of one percent in the unemployment rate. That`s
the fancy way those Obama guys cooked the books.

EUGENE ROBINSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, it`s a diabolical sort
of reverse psychology ploy that the Obama folks are trying. But it won`t
work. None of what the conspiracy theorists thought would happen in fact
happened. And there was an uptick in the percentage and a decent number of
new jobs.

And so it really allows both campaigns to continue with their main
economic narratives. The Obama narrative that things are getting better,
let`s stay the course, and the Romney narrative that things aren`t getting
better fast enough.

O`DONNELL: Ezra, the -- Mitt Romney brought up the looming debt
ceiling situation. There`s going to have to be another increase in it
relatively soon. Let`s listen to what he said about it today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: You know that if the president is re-elected, he will still
be unable to work with the people in Congress. I mean, he`s ignored them.
He`s attacked them. He`s blamed them. The debt ceiling will come up
again. And shutdown and default will be threatened, chilling the economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reacted to Mitt
Romney claiming that he would be the one who could work with Congress
better than President Obama, saying "Romney`s fantasy that Senate Democrats
will work with him to pass is severely conservative agenda is laughable."

Ezra, this argument that Mitt Romney will be better at working with
Congress has absolutely no basis in fact or experience. But what do you
see happening after this election on these issues?

EZRA KLEIN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, there was a funny word that
wasn`t in anything Romney said. And that was Republicans, right, that
Romney`s party in Congress triggered a near-debt ceiling default a year
ago, because they wanted to extract sufficient concessions out of Barack
Obama. And in an effort to work with them, President Obama did give larger
concessions on the debt ceiling than any president ever before in history.

So from that perspective, he actually kind of bent over backwards.

In terms of what I see happening going forward, look, if Mitt Romney
is elected with an all-Republican Congress, if Republicans do manage to
take over the Senate, if they do manage to hold the House -- at least the
latter one is likely -- he would be able to work with them. If he had to
work with a Democratic Senate, his relationship with Harry Reid, I think it
is fair to say, is not great.

Conversely, if Barack Obama wins the election, if he`s re-elected, he
will have to work probably with Speaker John Boehner and very likely have a
Democratic Senate, probably, very likely a status quo election. And what`s
fascinating about that -- and you`ve talked about it a lot on your show --
is that we do have a reverse situation in the last couple of years on our
hands.

Because he`s got the leverage in the fiscal cliff. He can just let
this happen and then Republicans can decide if they want taxes to be much,
much higher. Republicans see their leverage coming two months after the
fiscal cliff. We have another debt ceiling coming up. But I`m skeptical.
And frankly, I think a lot of folks in politics are skeptical that if the
Republicans lose an election, the American people are going to be open to
them triggering another near debt ceiling default.

O`DONNELL: Eugene, I don`t think there`s going to be a Romney
presidency. But if we had one, I would love to see that first meeting
between Mitt Romney and Harry Reid, where Mitt Romneys says, here are my
legislative priorities, and Harry Reid says OK, let me see your tax
returns.

(LAUGHTER)

ROBINSON: Exactly. Exactly. I would love to see that meeting, too.
And you know, I would also like to see some subsequent meetings between
Mitt Romney and even the Republican controlled House, which, as you know,
has its factions that John Boehner tries to keep together. But essentially
is he going to be able to deal effectively with the Tea Party types? And
are they going to try to push the agenda even further to the right?

O`DONNELL: Eugene Robinson and Ezra Klein, thank you both for joining
me tonight.

KLEIN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Ana Marie Cox has been keeping her eye on some
of the bat crap crazy House Republicans in their reelection campaigns.
Some of them are in trouble.

And the biggest lie Mitt Romney has told about President Obama has now
been exposed by Mitt Romney`s former best friend, Chris Christie. And that
is in the Rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: What was the most lied about statement President Obama
made this year? What did the president say that Republicans then lied
about, day in and day out, and even devoted one night of their convention
to lying about?

This. This was the most lied about thing President Obama said this
year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some
help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.

Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we
have that allowed you to thrive.

Somebody invested in roads and bridges.

If you got a business, that -- you didn`t build that. Somebody else
made that happen. The Internet didn`t get invented on its own. Government
research created the Internet, so that all the companies could make money
off the Internet.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of
our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There
are some things just like fighting fires we don`t do on our own.

So we say to ourselves, every since the founding of this country, you
know what? There`s some things we do better together.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That is the full version of the statement, the version you
never hear from Republicans. What Republicans reduced that to was, "if you
have a business, you didn`t build that." What the president actually said
was "somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you`ve got a business, you
didn`t build that."

What he was very clearly saying was if you have a business, you did
not build the road that your business is on. You did not build the roads
that lead to and from your business, the roads and bridges that allow you
to do business.

In the closing week of the campaign, you haven`t heard a word from
Republicans about you didn`t build that, which was once their favorite
attack line on the president. And one Republican is very busy these days
thanking the federal government for what it has built.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I saw in places like in Avalon where
there were significant dunes that were built by the Army Corps of
Engineers. They did much, much better than some of the things that were
done in the northern part of the shore.

So one of the things I`m going to be talking to the president about
tomorrow is bringing the Army Corps in immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Countless businesses have been destroyed by Hurricane
Sandy in New Jersey and New York and other states. Those businesses will
not reopen -- none of them will reopen without help from the government.
Federal and state government took coordinated action today to make sure
those businesses and individuals will be able to get fuel, fuel that was
rapidly running out.

Cars in New Jersey were going to run out of gas. Gas stations were
going to run out of gas and not be able to get anymore, if the government
didn`t take action today. The government.

Yes, the gas stations and the drivers are going to pay for that
gasoline out of their own pockets when they buy it, but they weren`t going
to be able to get it without government help. The government will clear
the streets of wreckage and debris in front of the businesses that are now
closed.

The government will do the repair work that allows those businesses to
have electrical power, to have passable streets, and ultimately allows
those businesses to reopen and thrive once again.

The government will reopen the transportation systems that allow those
businesses` employees to come to work, transportation systems that allow
those businesses` customers to come to their stores and restaurants.

The owners and workers of those businesses will work harder than they
have ever had to work before to get their businesses up and running again.
And they deserve to take pride in whatever rebuilding they do. But what
they know is that they cannot do it alone. Not now.

Many of them will get checks directly from the federal government for
rebuilding. And one Republican now believes they should get those checks
from the federal government, believes that they deserve those checks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: When people who don`t have interest
on the Jersey Shore, have never visited, have no interest in seeing it make
it, see this in a world of shrinking resources, is it fair to ask why you?
Why the money? Why the effort if this is the new normal?

CHRISTIE: Well, listen, it`s fair to ask it. But I have the answer.
The answer is that for New Jersey, which gives so much to this country --
by the way, 50th in return of our federal tax dollar dollars. So New
Jerseyians send more than any other state in America in federal taxes,
getting back less.

When that is done and you see that our state is a state that needs
this to contribute to our economy, and also to the soul and vibrancy of our
state, I think we have very good answers and arguments to make. And you
count on one thing, you`re looking at the guy who`s going to make those
arguments.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So now Chris Christie is the guy, the Republican guy who
is going to say to Washington, give us money; give us money for spending on
infrastructure, the kind of spending that Republicans mocked in the you
didn`t build that lie that they told about President Obama all year.

Chris Christie is the Republican guy who`s going to say to Washington,
give us earmarks. Yes, earmarks for the Army Corps of Engineers to build
sand dunes on our beaches, exactly the kind of spending that Republicans
have ridiculed for years. Sand dunes that just saved lives in New Jersey.

And Chris Christie will have a little extra punch to his argument,
because as he rightly points out, what he`s asking for is for New Jersey to
get its own money back. New Jersey sends in more money to the federal
government than it ever gets back in federal spending.

Per person, New Jersey sends in more money than any other state
compared to what it gets back in federal spending. The wealthier states
have always done this. The phenomenon was first tracked by then-Senator
from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who based all of his arguments for
New York`s fair share of federal funding on that crucial fact, that New
York sends into the federal government far more money than it gets back,
while at the same time states like Alabama, Alaska, Louisiana, Kentucky,
Mississippi, West Virginia, Wyoming, they all operate as clients of the
federal government, collecting from the Federal Treasury far, far more than
they ever send in tax payments.

These states have always lived off New York`s money and New Jersey`s
money and Connecticut`s money and California`s money. And they`ve always
been represented by conservative politicians happy to make speeches about
wasteful federal spending, while they were very busy directing that
wasteful federal spending, as they would call it, to their own states.

When Staten Island and the rest of New York State and New Jersey and
the other storm-damaged states are rebuilt, there is now at least one
Republican in New Jersey who will understand the profound truth President
Obama spoke when he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you`ve got a
business, you didn`t build that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: It`s been 10 days since Richard Mourdock solidified his
standing amongst this election cycle`s most bat crap crazy politicians when
he said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: I think even when life
begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God
intended to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: An October Rasmussen poll, before he said those remarks,
had Mourdock. Today, Mourdock is trailing his opponent, Joe Donnelley, by
11 points. This despite millions of dollars spent on advertising by his
Republican supporters and a TV ad featuring Mitt Romney.

Joining me now, Ana Marie Cox, political correspondent for "The
Guardian." Ana Marie, there is trouble in crazy land for the Republicans.
Claire McCaskill is ahead of Todd Akin in Missouri in the polls. Allen
West is in a tie at basically 47 to 48 with his challenger. And his
challenger has the 48. And in Minnesota, where you are, Michele Bachmann`s
in a tight race.

How is Michele doing in Minnesota?

ANA MARIE COX, "THE GUARDIAN": Well, Michele`s actually doing really
badly when you consider she`s outspent her opponent by about 12 to one.
And yet she`s really running closely with him, in part because she showed
her inner crazy during her presidential campaign. She showed her inner
crazy and then didn`t do the -- do her district sort of the courtesy of
coming back to explain herself later. She just kept being crazy.

I think there`s a lesson for the GOP to learn from all of this. This
is what happens when you try to ride the wave of something like the Tea
Party without pushing back on the ideological stuff that`s objectionable to
moderates. This is what happens when you grab on to that momentum just
because you need the momentum, because you`ll do anything to win, you`ll do
anything to grab on to something that makes you seem more popular.

You wind up with people like this, not in your primaries, but in your
general election.

O`DONNELL: Crazy Joe Walsh is now 10 points behind Tammy Duckworth.
He, of course, was the genius who said that there`s no such thing as an
exception -- you don`t need an exception for life of the mother in abortion
because the life of the mother is never, ever, ever in danger in pregnancy.

COX: Yes, you know, I don`t mean -- I don`t think all men are stupid
about women`s bodies. But certainly GOP congressmen are. And women
aren`t. This is something we`re seeing kind of across the line in swing
states. Women are paying attention to these races. Women think
reproductive rights are important in these races.

And these guys apparently just don`t understand that that`s something
that women think about, not just as a social issue, but as Obama said in
one of those debates, that`s an economic issue, that`s a personal freedom
issue. And they`re sort of reaping what they have sown, let`s say.

O`DONNELL: And Allen West, who`s just crazy across the board, just --
he doesn`t limit himself to reproductive issues. He`s the one who said
that the House of Representatives has like about 100 communists in it, that
sort of thing. He`s in a statistical tie. And his opponent`s ads have
just used quotations from Allen West, actually word for word, this is what
your congressman has said. And that`s the basis of his challenger`s
campaign. And that has worked for him so far.

COX: Yeah. It seems like, to me, that actually should also work in
the presidential campaign, some of the stuff Mitt Romney said, especially
now about getting rid of FEMA. But yes, Allen West has been allowed to go
off the reservation. When you`re off the reservation for that long, I
think you lose sight of where your boundaries are in any kind of -- you go
off into crazy land. And you forget that there is such a thing as sane
land.

But voters -- I`ve said this before, but voters have a way of shutting
that down. Voters know crazy when they see it. And when a congressman or
when someone who is running for office kind of shows who they are, they
will get feedback from voters. And it`s not going to be positive

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox gets tonight`s LAST WORD. Thanks, Ana
Marie.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Watch a special pre-election edition of THE LAST WORD this
Sunday at 10:00 p.m. "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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