THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
November 9, 2012
Guests: Sam Stein, Lili Gil Valletta, Joy Reid
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: And so, the second term cabinet changes
have begun -- the hard way.
And the president has an easy way of raising taxes on the rich if
Republicans play tough. We are only 53 days away from going off the fiscal
cliff, which is really just a fiscal curb.
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: We have breaking news regarding General
TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: General David Petraeus, the head of the
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST: CIA Director David Petraeus --
HALL: Saying that he is resigning.
BALL: -- is resigning.
HALL: The man greatly admired.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: He had been talking about leaving in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bad news doesn`t get any better with age.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is certainly a bombshell by any measure.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: The inevitable cabinet shuffle comes at a
CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: A very big, a very consequential day in
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people
voted for action, not politics as usual.
JANSING: The president will lay out his view of the economy going
TODD: President Obama seats his sights on avoiding the fiscal cliff.
OBAMA: We can`t just cut our way to prosperity.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We`re willing to
accept new revenue under the right conditions.
OBAMA: I refuse to accept any approach that isn`t balanced.
BOEHNER: Mr. President, this is your moment.
OBAMA: If Congress fails, everybody`s taxes will automatically go up
on January 1st.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the leverage is shifted to Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president does have a lot of the cards.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The elections have consequences.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Elections have consequences.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people have spoken.
WILLIAMS: Who have the returns incumbents.
OBAMA: I`m open to compromise. I`m open to new ideas.
BOEHNER: We`re willing to accept new revenue under the right
WILLIAMS: Hopefully having received the message.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pressure on the Republican caucus will be
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A post-election GOP freak-out.
TODD: We`re seeing more of the Republican blame game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The conservative followership has been fleeced,
exploited and lied to.
BOEHNER: As a political party, we`ve got some work to do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The elections very consequences.
OBAMA: The American people voted for action. Not politics as usual.
TODD: Will he find enough allies on Capitol Hill to do it?
O`DONNELL: Four-Star General David Petraeus stepped down today as
director of the Central Intelligence Agency after 14 months of service.
In his resignation letter, the retired United States Army general
wrote, "After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor
judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is
unacceptable both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as
hours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation."
According to a senior official, General Petraeus told the president of
his decision yesterday and the president accepted it by phone today.
In a statement this afternoon, President Obama said, "David Petraeus
has provided extraordinary service to the United States for decades, as
director of the Central Intelligence Agency, he has continued to serve with
characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication, and patriotism by any
measure. Through his lifetime of service, David Petraeus has made our
country safer and stronger."
President Obama also expressed confidence in acting director Mike
Morell to lead the CIA.
Joining me now: Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for
"The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst, and Sam Stein, political
editor and White House correspondent for "Huffington Post".
Gene, this will open up a hearing -- a public hearing, which will be
the confirmation hearing of the next CIA director and which presumably the
Republicans will make Libya issue one. General Petraeus was going to have
to testify at a closed door hearing about exactly that next week. But it
looks like we`ll definitely be, eventually, having a public hearing through
the confirmation process about it.
EUGENE ROBINSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. I`m sure there will be
a public hearing and I`m willing to bit bet right now that the first
question from the Republican side will contain the word Benghazi.
Look, it`s done clear to me whether there`s any big secret or scandal
to unearth, but there should be a nonpartisan investigation of what
happened and clearly, something went wrong. And so, we should find out
what went wrong. But it`s ironic that, of course, Petraeus resignation is
totally unrelated to that, as certainly as far as we know. And I think as
far as we would find out.
O`DONNELL: Sam Stein, the resignation effective immediately. And
obviously now that the media is aware of an affair, I think we can expect
more digging on that, more information to come out, piece by piece as time
What do you anticipate coming out -- it`s hard to say at this stage,
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTON POST: Yes.
O`DONNELL: But I`m sure we haven`t heard the last about that element
of the story.
STEIN: Well, you know, there`s so much intrigue obviously with the
nation`s top spy. You know in the access to the e-mails that reportedly
happen, the FBI investigation. So, clearly, there will be questions and
probably an investigation into whether our intelligence community was
compromised through this. All indications are that it wasn`t at this
But, you know, Gene is right, this also comes in a political contest
which is the growing intensity over -- in the investigations over what
happened with respect to Benghazi. And so, you know, there`s so many balls
in the air here. It`s a very awkward time for the CIA to have this happen.
There`s never a non-awkward time but this is a particularly awkward time.
And for the administration as well which that`s to shuffle the stop
staff at the CIA at the same time that they`re being forced to answer
questions from Congress. So, I expect multiple story lines to be emerging
from this development in very different directions as well.
O`DONNELL: You mentioned the FBI investigation. I just want to
summarize for the audience what NBC News has on the FBI investigation.
Law enforcement officials tell NBC News that the FBI is investigating
the general`s biographer Paula Broadwell for improperly trying to access
General Petraeus` e-mail and potentially accessing classified information.
The officials say they do not believe this will result in any criminal
charges. They also stressed that General Petraeus is not under
Paula Broadwell is, of course, the author of General Petraeus`
biography, which is entitled -- she entitled "All In."
Let`s take a look at Paula Broadwell discussing her book and how she
got access to the general on "The Daily Show".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: You`re a runner and to get to know him,
he wanted to run with you. So you ran together.
PAULA BROADWELL, PETRAEUS BIOGRAPHER: This is a typical mechanism he
uses to get to know young people. He`s done it throughout his life. So,
it was an opportunity for me to interview him on a run and I think it was -
- I was -- I thought I would test him but he was going to test me, and it
ended up being a test for both of us since we both ran pretty quickly. But
that was the foundation of our relationship.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Gene Robinson, obviously, there`s going to be an intense
focus on Paula Broadwell. She`s under investigation for trying to access
General Petraeus` e-mail.
ROBINSON: Yes. And so, look, what we have here are some dots that we
cannot and will not try to connect at this point. We really don`t know the
details of what went on or didn`t go on. What we can assume, I think, is
that because Petraeus resigned, there is some reason for the resignation.
Some reason for that.
This does not seem to have been, one can speculate it was not strictly
a private matter. There must have been something else going on that caused
him to do this so abruptly at this moment. But again, you know, the dots
are there and we`ll have to do some reporting and get some more information
before we know exactly whether or how they connect.
O`DONNELL: Well, Sam, the normal model for this kind of resignation
in politics and government is that someone was closing in on David Petraeus
in the sense that there`s some kind of threat that this could not remain a
O`DONNELL: Because obviously the affair already occurred. Obviously
he was continuing to go to work, last week and the week before, knowing
that the affair had occurred. Something probably was edging toward a
public revelation here.
STEIN: Yes. I mean, and keep in mind this isn`t a politician having
an affair. This is the head of the CIA. There are elements here more
complicated here than just public relations.
It is a frowned upon thing to have an affair when you`re in the
intelligence community because it can be used as leverage by a foreign
government or foreign entity that is an enemy of the United States.
It`s also a frowned upon thing to have an affair in the military
community because it he sets a poor example for the ranks but also it`s
just frowned upon by culture there. And so, it`s not your average
politician having an affair. That might be survivable.
There are different complications when it involves someone in the
intelligence community, let alone the head of the CIA.
O`DONNELL: But I don`t want to pass over lightly how extraordinary
and extraordinarily weird it is that a biographer, a journalist, would be
investigated for trying to compromise the CIA director`s e-mail or anyone
else`s email, but especially the CIA director`s email.
I mean, Gene, this is an unprecedented possibility as far as we know
it in American journalism.
ROBINSON: Yes. So we don`t have a precedent. I`ve never seen
anything quite like this, trying to access his e-mail. Exactly what does
that mean? You know, getting a -- who knows? I have never heard anything
like it. I mean, you know, you almost hear echoes of British phone-hacking
but it`s not that. It`s something new.
And we`ll just have to -- you know, more information will come out and
we`ll learn more about what actually happened. And in some weird way it
will make sense. It doesn`t make a lot of sense right now.
STEIN: Can I say something? We shouldn`t get lost in the fact how
sad this is for Holly Petraeus, who`s done incredibly work with returning
vets and wives of vets and it`s just an incredibly devastating moment
obviously for her and she`s an amazing person.
O`DONNELL: Paula Broadwell explained, she wrote how she had access to
General Petraeus. She said throughout, and doing her book, "Throughout, I
had numerous interviews and innumerable e-mail exchanges with Petraeus and
his inner circle."
Sam Stein, you would think that the military and others in these
positions would have learned enough as a result of granting such access to
"Rolling Stone" and other places that that kind of access can be dangerous
and possibly dangerous on many levels.
STEIN: I think was asked about that in the context of the "Rolling
Stone" article, in one of the interviews that she did that I briefly
(INAUDIBLE), they brought up the fact that General McChrystal had gone into
obviously a career altering trouble by the fact that he granted such
access. So they marveled at her ability to get that close to David
Again, we don`t know what transpired, how she got that access, and
whether or not -- or what resulted from it. But clearly, you would think
of the military as a more enclosed environment, a place where journalists
tend not to have as much free rein as, let`s say, Congress. But as a
journalist myself I don`t want to discourage that at the same time, I think
it`s important to encourage reporters to get access to top officials. Not
all such access results in controversy.
O`DONNELL: Eugene --
ROBINSON: But, Lawrence --
O`DONNELL: Go ahead.
ROBINSON: There`s a big difference between receiving a whole bunch of
e-mails from General Petraeus and sort of hacking into his e-mail. But is
it something as dumb as somebody not knowing or not understanding the reply
all button or something? I don`t know.
O`DONNELL: I don`t know. I for one find it hard to believe that it
is coincidental that we are learning both of these things on the same day
that the general resigned and there`s a woman who`s accused of trying to
hack his email.
Gene and Sam, I admire your journalistic restraint under these extreme
and difficult circumstances. I suspect that our audience is not being
quite so restrained in their willingness to speculate based on what they
have seen in this segment and they are welcome to do that.
ROBINSON: It`s a tough job.
O`DONNELL: You`ve done it admirably. Thank you both very much for
joining me tonight.
STEIN: Thanks, Lawrence.
ROBINSON: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the president is playing tough on taxes and the
fiscal cliff. And John Boehner is starting to sound like the weakened
opposition leader that he actually is.
Jonathan Capehart and Ezra Klein will join me.
And the Republicans are getting warmer on the reasons why they lost.
At least one of them realizes they had (EXPLETIVE DELETED) candidates.
That`s coming up.
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, you will be invited to gloat in the
privacy of your own home.
And, the LAST WORD tonight goes to the person who deserves the LAST
WORD on the campaign, President Barack Obama.
O`DONNELL: It`s been a fun week of watching Republicans trying to
figure out why they lost and they`re starting to get a little closer to the
truth. That`s coming up.
And in tonight`s "Rewrite", if you feel like gloating, you have plenty
to gloat about.
O`DONNELL: Now that the election is settled, let the governing begin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I`m committed to solving our fiscal challenges. But, I refuse
to accept any approach that isn`t balanced. And I just want to point out -
- this was a central question during the election. It was debated over and
over again. And on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of
Americans agree with my approach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president`s resolve on raising the top tax brackets is
clear, while Republican resistance to that is not the brick wall it once
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: So everything -- everything on the revenue side and on the
spending side, has to be looked at.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When Speaker Boehner and
others have talked about saying that revenue can be on the table, I think
that is a sign that the president appreciates, recognizes that we need to
compromise here, that we need to come together and we need to take a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now are: "Washington Post`s" Ezra Klein and
Ezra, I think we saw a confident reelected president and the
opposition leader in the House of Representatives who isn`t quite so
confident of what he`s going to be able to achieve or hold on to.
EZRA KLEIN, MSNBC POLICY ANALYST: Yes, I found both of these speeches
a little bit strange because if you read what they said, it`s pretty basic.
I mean, Boehner did give a little bit of ground on revenues, but not that
much. Obama did call for compromise.
And then if you watched them, John Boehner -- Speaker Boehner looked
like a defeated man. I mean, it was pretty clear he was saying, OK, like
we are going to come to the table with you.
And President Obama, despite speaking about compromised, it wasn`t a
very comprise-y style of speech.
KLEIN: I mean, it was pretty aggressive, it was clear he knew and he
was signaling that he had the leverage. He was going to say he was
reaching out, but he was signaling he has the leverage and he wasn`t going
to accept anything that didn`t end with taxes being part of the final
O`DONNELL: Well, Jonathan Capehart, Boehner knows that the pressure
is all on him. The Senate has already passed a bill that does what the
president wants to do in taxation. It reduces the taxation below the top
rates and the House can either pass that bill or not pass it. And if they
don`t pass it, what will happen in terms of January 1st rates going up is
on them, it will be on Speaker Boehner.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right, it`s on them. I mean,
the president said in his remarks today that, you know, his plan`s not
written in stone. The one he campaigned on. He`s willing to hear any
idea, any good idea from anyone.
But it`s unclear whether John Boehner is going to be able to come to
the table with an alternative idea that they can hammer out in time for all
these deadlines to expire.
And the other thing, the other reason why John Boehner probably looked
a little defeated -- remember after the elections in 2010, all of the
Republican leadership kept saying the American people have spoken, we need
to listen to the American people and do what they say, they don`t want
Obamacare, they don`t want this, they don`t want that.
Now we`ve come through a presidential election which is arguably much
more important than a midterm election where the president was re-elected
after campaigning for months on raising taxes on wealthier individuals and
other things he wants to do. The American people have spoken and they`ve
spoken in favor of what the president wants to do.
O`DONNELL: And the president has just won John Boehner`s state.
Let`s listen to the president outlining the way he sees this, which is
basically, hey, let`s pass what we all agree on in taxes, which is lower
rates for people below the top rates. They all agree on that. This is the
way the president put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Right now, if Congress fails to come to an agreement on an
overall deficit reduction package by the end of the year, everybody`s taxes
will automatically go up on January 1st. Everybody`s -- including the 98
percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year. Nobody, not
Republicans, not Democrats, want taxes to go up for folks making under
$250,000 a year.
So let`s not wait. Even as we`re negotiating a broader deficit
reduction package, let`s extend the middle class tax cuts right now. Let`s
do that right now.
In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill doing exactly this. So
all we need is action from the House. And I`ve got the pen ready to sign
the bill right away. I`m ready to do it. I`m ready to do it.
O`DONNELL: Ezra, John Boehner is not one of the crazy Republicans in
the House of Representatives. He knows that politically he is on the
losing side of that argument that the president just made.
KLEIN: Oh, yes. If you remember back to the time we did this in
2010, early on Boehner was confronted with the question of what do you do
if the president will simply veto any extensions of all the tax cuts. And
Boehner said, I believe it was on the Sunday shows, he said -- clearly,
that would be very, very unfortunate but, of course, we would extend the
middle class cuts. We want them for everyone.
There was a huge Republican outcry. People forced him to walk it
back. Mitch McConnell immediately came out and said he didn`t agree, and
that led to the strategy of doing it all.
But this right here is the key piece of the president and the Democrat
strategy. They know and they know Boehner knows and the Republicans know
that in the end, they can`t be seen as letting the taxes go up on everybody
to protect the very, very rich.
The problem for Democrats is they can`t be seen as thinking, you know
what? If all the taxes go up, it`s not such a bad outcome for us. It
gives us a lot of tax revenue and we can bring it down from there.
So, the key play, the key question that will decide how the entire
fiscal cliff goes is who gets out in front in this question of the middle
class tax cuts. And what you saw from the president right there was
defining the entire Democratic position on we want to protect the middle
class tax cuts and if they expire, we gave Republicans a way not to make
that happen and they did let it happen in order to protect taxes on the
Because if Republicans get to frame it as letting them expire as the
Democrat`s fault, that reverses the situation much as it was in 2010 when
the Democrats ended up making the deal to extend everything.
O`DONNELL: I decided last night on the show -- I made a decision live
on the show last night to rename the fiscal cliff on this show the fiscal
curb, because it`s really just a step off of a curb. If you don`t do
anything, it becomes a very, very large adjustment in both tax revenue and
spending over a long period of type. But over the course of the few weeks
that we will have done this before Congress fixes it, it will be a minor
step off a curb. And it`s all fixable retroactively.
And so, Jonathan Capehart, there`s a tricky thing going on here, where
fiscal cliff is being used to make legislators panic but the actual
mechanical reality is very little will happen in those first few weeks in
January. People might see some small change in their take-home pay.
That`s usually enough to get Congress really focused.
CAPEHART: Well, yes, because you need a crisis to get Congress to do
anything. Remember, these are the same folks who took the United States
right to the edge of a very real cliff when they didn`t -- went to the very
last minute to raise the debt ceiling.
The same situation is going to happen this time but the deadline for
raising the debt ceiling isn`t January 1 or December 31st. There are some
things that Secretary Geithner can do to extend the ceiling into February
from what I`m told. So, that`s why the cliff this go around isn`t so much
a cliff as it is a curb.
But you`re right. Folks keep ginning up the cliff language because as
we all know, Congress doesn`t do anything unless there`s a lion or a dragon
or a fire lit under their behind to get something done.
O`DONNELL: I`m torn about it because as a dramatist, I love fiscal
cliff. As a realist, the curb is the best that it`s really going to be.
Ezra Klein and Jonathan Capehart, thank you both for joining me
KLEIN: Thank you.
CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up: Republicans continue to struggle for
explanations for why they lost and so far only one of them has it partially
And in the "Rewrite" tonight, if you`re one of those people, and I
know you`re out there, who are disappointed in the lack of gloating by
Democrats over the election results, I think you`re really, really going to
enjoy the "Rewrite".
O`DONNELL: Coming up: The people who convinced Mitt Romney he was
going to win. They`re in tonight`s "Rewrite".
And the last word on the presidential campaign, the last word of the
week, the last word tonight goes to President Barack Obama. That`s coming
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, Republicans are still dazed and
confused and becoming profane as they search for reasons why they lost the
presidential election along with so many Senate races and House races. It
took them all week to come up with their best reason yet, (EXPLETIVE
DELETED candidates. Today, former Mississippi Republican Governor Haley
Barbour was caught, quote, in an impromptu interview at Reagan National
Airport, wiping mustard off his fingers, end quote.
That`s when he said, quote, "we had some (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
candidates. We pissed away two seats."
Conservative "New York Post" columnist John Podhoretz thinks there was
at least one truly great candidate in the race. "Barack Obama is one of
the greatest politicians in American history. You have to admire this
political master and his amazing handicraft."
He got that right. Republicans who don`t believe in evolution are
beginning to evolve on one thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Romney and Ryan were crushed in these
demographics. We`ve got to get rid of the immigration issue all together.
It`s simple for me to fix it. I think you control the border first. You
create a pathway for those people that are here. You don`t say you got to
go home. And that is a position that I`ve evolved on. Because you know
what? It just -- it`s got to be resolved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Not surprisingly, Sean Hannity finds himself sliding into
agreement with his boss, the immigrant Rupert Murdoch, who Tweeted,
"election comment, Republicans have to ignore five percent nativist,
embrace Hispanics, welcome best Asian and European graduates."
Conservative "Washington Post" columnist Charles Krauthammer said
today the solution to Republican problems with Hispanic voters requires but
a single policy change: border fence plus amnesty. "Yes, amnesty. Use the
word. Shock and awe, full legal normalization, just short of citizenship,
in return for full border enforcement. Imagine, Marco Rubio advancing such
a policy on the road to 2016. It would transform the landscape. He would
win the Hispanic vote. Yes, win it."
Rush Limbaugh, who sees no reason at all to change anything in the
Republican view of the world, is now playing defense on his own roll in the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: You believe they keep saying
this is my fault? It`s my fault. I`m driving everybody away. I`m driving
the Hispanics away. I`m driving like Christmas away. I`m driving people
that believe in Santa Claus. I`m driving away African Americans. I`m
driving away single women, the vagina crowd. I`m driving them all away.
It`s all my fault. That`s the drive by media analysis of the
election. Obama didn`t win. I lost it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, MSNBC`s Joy Reid and Lili Gil Valetta, co-
founder of the XL Alliance, and a Hispanic and diversity affairs
strategist. Joy, Charles Krauthammer must have been watching the show
Wednesday night because that`s when I said that Mitch McConnell and Boehner
have to get Marco Rubio to sit down with them and figure out the way to
lead the Congressional Republicans to some form of compromise with
President Obama on immigration, on a DREAM act, something -- most of the
Republicans can vote against it, but enough vote for it in each body so
that it can be passed into law and they can get this thing off their
And Joy, there`s Krauthammer saying -- going beyond that and saying
let`s go for amnesty. This is a desperate party. But at least they are
starting to think in one real policy terms.
JOY REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: No, absolutely, Lawrence. I think
actually the slogan for the Republican party in 2016 is going to be "hey,
Brown people." Because they`re trying anything they can to sort of warm up
to Hispanics at this point without any fundamental change in what the base
Look, I understand at the operative level, at the level of a Steve
Schmidt, they clearly understand that what they`ve got to do is they`ve got
to find a way to move at least a percentage, at least 35 percent of Latino
voters back into at least the persuadable column. But the problem is their
base. And their base is hardened in the parts of the country where nothing
Their guys that were elected in the deep south are still there. They
lost in some swing states, like Florida and like Illinois. But in the deep
south and in the parts of the country where they are really dug in, their
base listens to Rush Limbaugh. Their base isn`t going to listen to this
new Sean Hannity evolution. Their base is not evolving.
And House Republicans are still afraid of being primaried. So how
they`re going to sell that to scared House Republicans I really am
interested in seeing that.
LILI GIL VALLETTA, XL ALLIANCE: I have to add something there, if I
may. Because a Band-Aid is not going to work. And just adding Gonzalez,
Perez, Juan and Maria in the roster of people that are helping the party is
not a sustainable solution. So I just hope what we`re seeing as an olive
branch is not just a token and a tactical Band-Aid, but that we look at the
foundation and the strategic platform of what the party stands for, so that
it is truly friendly to us brown people.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what David Frum said this morning about
"MORNING JOE." I think he has a wider focus on Republican party problems.
Let`s listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID FRUM, CONSERVATIVE COLUMNIST: The conservative followership has
been fleeced, exploited and lied to by the conservative entertainment
complex. What happened to Mitt Romney was he was twisted into pretzels.
The people who put the cement shoes on his feet are now blaming him for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joy, there`s a former George W. Bush speech writer saying
that Rush Limbaugh and the conservative entertainment complex put cement
over-shoes on the Republican presidential candidate.
REID: I think David Frum, as he often is, is exactly right. But
here`s the problem, Lawrence. You can`t spend 30 years feeding your
largely white base, this constant self victimization. They`re taking your
stuff. They`re out to get you. They`re on welfare. They are dead beats.
You can`t feed them that kind of anger and that sort of dystopian view of
this country that`s turning on you and taking away your America, and then
turn on a dime because you`ve got to get some brown people.
You can`t just change course and expect the base to follow you.
You`ve now empowered them. Look, if you ask base Republicans what really
matters, what election is the most important, they say 2010. They think
they`re in power and they`re not going to cede power back to the people
they think are hacks who keep selling them moderates like Mitt Romney.
O`DONNELL: Former George W. Bush adviser Karen Hughes writes a column
in "Politico" today. She wrote one on communication lessons from the
election. She says "if another Republican man says anything about rape
other than that it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut
out his tongue. The college-age daughters of many of my friends voted for
Obama because they were completely turned off by Neanderthal comments like
the suggestion of legitimate rape."
Lili, that shows that Republican problems go beyond any single issue.
VALLETTA: Absolutely. You can stereotype or minimize the thinking of
us women or minorities, that we`re single minded people and only care about
one issue. It`s about respect and having a real strategy for outreach that
comes from a broader conversation than just accusations or disrespect all
We remember self deportation. We remember all these female comments.
And what`s unfortunate in all that maybe, there are some great fiscal ideas
that the Republican party has. But even Marco Rubio said it, it`s like
they get diluted when all you can think about is this is the party that
wants to deport my Awalita (ph), my grandma back home. That just takes
over and you stop listening to things that maybe are fantastic and are
there. And we may want to hear about them.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what John Boehner said today about the
work that his party has to do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: It`s clear that as a political
party, we`ve got some work to do. And I think the principles of our party
are sound. We believe in individual responsibility. We believe in
empowering our citizens. We believe in the American dream. And want that
dream for everyone.
But how we talk about who we are as a party is -- clearly
conversations are underway and will continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joy, I love that line. "Conversations are under way and
will continue." You know, does that mean that our platform should continue
to have no exception on abortion for rape and health of the mother and such
things? Those conversations have to be very serious conversations.
REID: Absolutely. What I`ve heard political operatives saying all
day today and Republican elected officials saying, is there`s nothing wrong
with our ideology. We`re not going to change one iota of our belief
system. We just need to put the decorations of diversity -- we need to
have Marco Rubio saying our policies. We need to have it said better. We
need better metrics, better analytics.
I don`t think that Republicans have gotten to a place where they are
willing to question and step back and look at their tone, first of all, the
way they -- just using the word illegals, which Mitt Romney did on
Univision. They don`t understand that their tone is off putting to
minorities. It makes people feel disliked, hated and disrespected. But
they think if they just make it sound nicer, the underlying policies will
be sellable. I just don`t think that`s true.
O`DONNELL: Lili, I don`t think anything David Frum said today about
the conservative entertainment complex makes the conservative entertainment
complex any bit inhibited about continuing to urge their candidates in a
right wing direction. I think that factor is going to remain as something
that agitates them that way.
VALLETTA: Absolutely. And you know what? There`s always going to be
people pulling to either extreme. And extremes are bad. We`ve heard that.
It doesn`t mean that we`re all going to be just in the middle, moderates
all around and have no stance. That`s not what we are saying. But what we
are saying is let`s face the new reality of a changing face of America,
that is becoming a majority minority, and match the policies, the platforms
and the outreach with the base, which in this case is the new face of the
And guess what? There is a bigger lesson here that we can learn,
which is it applies to everyone that is making decisions in America, not
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Lili Gil Valletta, thank you both for joining
REID: Thanks, Lawrence.
VALLETTA: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, the people who were wrong, so very wrong about
this election are in tonight`s Rewrite. And yes, gloating will be allowed.
And later, THE LAST WORD tonight is from President Barack Obama.
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Rewrite, a look back at some people who have
some serious Rewriting to do of themselves. Here it is, your moment of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: Our top political priority
over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Making Barack Obama a one-term
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The people who are projecting a
Governor Romney win are Dick Morris, Michael Barone, Newt Gingrich.
O`REILLY: I think Romney will take Florida, Virginia, North Carolina,
based on what I`ve seen.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I agree.
KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I think Romney gets 279 to 281 or
286 in the electoral college.
HANNITY: I`m sticking with you.
KRAUTHAMMER: I agree with his analysis from the micro view, state
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: My personal guess is you`ll see
a Romney landslide, 53 percent plus in the popular vote, 300 electoral
votes plus. And we may come very close to capturing control of the Senate.
LIMBAUGH: All of my thinking says Romney big. Not even close, 300-
plus electoral votes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three hundred twenty one electoral votes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what we`re talking about?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. What was it, 321.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To 217 in that scenario.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, that would be great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Which would be a mandate, which would be a giant,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s huge.
VAN SUSTEREN: Good evening, Dick. All right, Dick, what do you
DICK MORRIS, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: We`re going to win by a landslide.
HANNITY: President Obama`s most high profile supporters finally
coming to terms with the dwindling excitement surrounding the anointed one.
DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": Mitt Romney is going to do really
well. I think he`s going to hold his own and beyond. And I think he`s
going to win.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m telling you, 35 days out, this cat is in good
shape and whatever he`s doing, I think he should keep doing it.
MORRIS: Romney will win in a land slide.
GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He will be anywhere from three to
six points ahead in Iowa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s see what the humans are saying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know of a president in modern American
history that`s been able to survive his economic record. I think he`s
going to go down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`ll win the popular by I think about half a
point, electoral college probably a very narrow margin.
HANNITY: I`ll take a half a point. I`m predicting three.
GINGRICH: Democrats are 11 percent more likely to vote. That`s
higher than 2008. That`s inconceivable. You have to wonder where their
brain was at.
MORRIS: Romney will win in a land slide.
BOEHNER: I think Romney is going to win on Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you`re pretty confident that he can pull out
BOEHNER: Very confident he`s going to win on Tuesday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I honestly think that Romney is going to carry
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney consistently leads among
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is from polls, the number of independents
who appear to be breaking for Romney.
KRAUTHAMMER: The Republicans tend to be somewhat underrepresented in
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In a too close to call, I`d put my money on
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Mitt Romney is winning, Bill. I don`t
believe the polls. I don`t believe the hacks. I think he`s in great
MORRIS: Romney will win in a landslide.
GINGRICH: Nothing will turn America around more than election night,
when Barack Obama loses decisively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: THE LAST WORD tonight goes to the person who has earned it
this election week and this election year, the person who has earned it in
so many ways. The morning after the election, President Barack Obama
visited his Chicago campaign headquarters to thank his staff and
volunteers. Some of you may have heard some of what he said that morning.
But you haven`t heard it all. And you should. Here now, the
president of the United States with tonight`s LAST WORD and the
presidential campaign`s LAST WORD.
OBAMA: You guys --
OBAMA: You know, I try to picture myself when I was your age. And I
first moved to Chicago at the age of 25. And I had this vague inkling
about making a difference. I didn`t really know how to do it. I didn`t
have the structure. And there wasn`t a presidential campaign at the time
that I could attach myself to.
Ronald Reagan had just been re-elected --
OBAMA: -- and was incredibly popular. And so I came to Chicago
knowing that somehow I wanted to make sure that my life attached itself to
helping kids get a great education or helping people living in poverty to
get decent jobs to be able to work and have dignity, to make sure that
people didn`t have to go to the emergency room to get health care.
And I ended up being a community organizer out on the South Side of
Chicago. A group of churches were willing to hire me. And I didn`t know
at all what I was doing. And you know, the work that I did in those
communities changed me much more than I changed the communities, because it
taught me the hopes and aspirations and the grit and resilience of ordinary
It taught me the fact that under the surface differences, we all have
common hopes and we all have common dreams. And it taught me something
about how I handle disappointment and what it meant to work hard on a
common endeavor. And I grew up.
I become a man during that process.
And so when I come here and I look at all of you, what comes to mind
is, it`s not that you guys actually remind me of myself. It`s the fact
that you are so much better than I was in so many ways. You`re smarter and
you`re better organized and you -- you`re more effective.
And so I`m absolutely confident that all of you are going to do just
amazing things in your lives. And you know, the -- what Bobby Kennedy
called the Ripples of Hope that come out when you throw a stone in a lake,
that`s going to be you. I`m just looking around the room and I`m thinking,
wherever you guys end up, in whatever states, in whatever capacities,
whether you`re in the private sector or the non-for-profit or some of you
decide to go into public service, you`re just going to do great things.
And that`s why, even before last night`s results, I felt that the work
that I had done, in running for office had come full circle. Because what
you guys have done means the work that I`m doing is important. And I`m
really proud of that.
I`m really proud of all of you. And what you guys --
OBAMA: What you guys accomplished will go on in the annals of
history. And people will read about it and they`ll marvel about it. But
the most important thing you need to know is that your journey is just
beginning. You`re just starting.
And whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in
comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years to
come. And that`s been my source of hope. That`s why, during the last four
years, when people ask me about, you know, how do you put up with this or
that or the frustrations of Washington, I just think about you.
I think about what you guys are going to do. And that`s the source of
my hope. That`s the source of my strength and my inspiration. And I know
that -- I know that you guys won`t disappoint me, because I`ve already seen
who you guys are. And you all are just remarkable people. And you`ve
lifted me up.
Thank you, guys.
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