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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday December 6, 2012

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
December 6, 2012

Guests: Ana Marie Cox, Jonathan Capehart, George Takei


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: As fateful viewers of this show know, Ann
Coulter was right about the presidential election in 2011 when she said if
the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney, they would lose and now, Ann Coulter
is right again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: The question is, are they
going to raise taxes on everyone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On this ongoing political game of chicken.

COULTER: They`ll be pushing all that and we`ll go to the Senate and
we`ll lose.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Going over the fiscal cliff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The House has adjourned for the week.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: Why are we not here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it is only Thursday.

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s the critical political question.

PELOSI: The existential question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress has to be here.

PELOSI: Why are we not here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The nation`s finances are hardly in order.

WAGNER: The fiscal cliff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The cliff, the curb, the bump. Whatever it is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hostages have become the hostage takers.

COULTER: Republicans are totally over the barrel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obama is not letting up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s not playing a game.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a solvable
problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more hostage-taking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republicans are waving a white flag.

UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: They`re going to own this mess.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And pick up the bed sheet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the 20-second sound byte world in which we live
--

COULTER: Republicans are totally over the barrel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- that`s the take away.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Raising tax rates
will hurt the economy.

COULTER: They`ll be pushing all that, and we`ll go to the Senate and
we`ll lose.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: We don`t have a revenue problem, Ann.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re $16 trillion in debt.

COULTER: We lost the election, Sean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Americans want to see taxes raised.

OBAMA: This is a solvable problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is not budging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operation humiliation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No more hostage-taking.

JANSING: Obama is not letting up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no hard deal on the table yet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democrats are digging in their heels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very dangerous game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s not playing a game.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: They also don`t believe Republicans are going
over the cliff.

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIR: We`re not going to go over the
cliff.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: Let`s just go over the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)
cliff.

COULTER: Are they going to raise taxes on everyone?

STEELE: We`re not going to go over the cliff.

COULTER: They`ll be pushing all that and we`ll go to the Senate and
we`ll lose.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: There are 25 shopping days for a deal between
congressional Republicans and President Obama before we go flying off the
fiscal curb on January 1st.

President Obama delivered his optimistic public comments on the
situation today, from a kitchen table in northern Virginia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This is a solvable problem. The Senate already passed a bill
that would make sure that middle class taxes do not go up next year by a
single dime. Just to be clear, I`m not going to sign any package that
somehow prevents the top rate from going up for folks at the top 2 percent.
But I do remain optimistic that we can get something done that is good for
families like this one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That`s the home of the Santana family who President Obama
visited to have a very public conversation about how the outcome of the
budget negotiations will affect the middle class families.

John Boehner apparently could not find a kitchen table where he was
welcome anywhere in America today. So he made no comment to the media, but
at the Republican family tables, especially the Hannity family table, the
discussion of the standoff in the negotiations has become wicked tense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: Are you saying that for P.R. purposes that they should give
in to Obama on the tax rate?

COULTER: Not exactly. Well, yes, I guess I am. But I think you
should have --

HANNITY: You are saying that capitulate to Obama who`s -- we don`t
have a revenue problem, Ann.

COULTER: We lost the election, Sean.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yes, America, it has come to this. Ann is trying to get
Sean to face reality.

Let`s watch a bit more of the intervention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: If they are going to raise taxes and buy the argument and
co-opt his language, then basically, that`s the Democratic-lite.

COULTER: No, they are not going to allow taxes to be raised on 98
percent of America because they need to keep their eye --

HANNITY: You sound like Obama.

COULTER: No, I don`t.

HANNITY: There comes a point in time when you got to ask yourself
when are you going to fight? And you`re telling me that they should be put
their media concerns and the P.R. ramifications of this above their
principles? We didn`t elect them to raise rates --

COULTER: Not exactly.

HANNITY: Hang on a second. We didn`t raise -- elect to raise rates
on anybody.

COULTER: They are going to lose.

HANNITY: Well --

COULTER: You are going to lose.

HANNITY: Sometimes on principle, you got to stand and educate the
country --

COULTER: What is the principle?

HANNITY: The principle is --

COULTER: The principle is we want to raise taxes on everyone?

If they block tax hikes on as they call it on the top 2 income
earners, not the rich, then taxes go up for everyone. How is that winning?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Oh, Joy, oh, Joy, oh, Joy Reid. In my wildest dreams
which never include Ann Coulter, but I have wild dreams, in my wildest
dreams, never, never did that happen.

JOY REID, THEGRIO.COM: No.

O`DONNELL: In my wildest dreams, it never happened.

REID: As I`m watching them, I`m thinking, you know, there are two
kinds of retreat, right? There`s the orderly retreat, and there`s the
sloppy, everyone bumping into each other and falling down on the field
retreat. That is the bumping into each other, cartoon falling down over
each other retreat. It`s hilarious.

Ann Coulter trying to talk sense into Sean Hannity, who let`s just
face it, he doesn`t want his own taxes to go up. This is private jet, you
know, Sean. He doesn`t want his own taxes to go up. He`s in desperation,
because they`ve already lost.

O`DONNELL: Ann says if they block tax hikes on the top 2 percent of
income earners, then taxes go up on everyone, and she says to Sean -- how
is that winning?

I got to say, I don`t think it has been articulated better by anyone.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Yes, how is that winning? And it`s hard to
know who the good cop and the bad cop is in that sort of standoff. It is
amazing that Ann Coulter is the voice of reason --

O`DONNELL: Ann Coulter is the reality cop in that scene.

MELBER: Exactly. And this has been happening.

O`DONNELL: I mean, did you hear anything you disagreed with her in
there?

MELBER: Is this a trick question, Lawrence?

O`DONNELL: No, no, she said -- basically she said, Republicans are
going to lose and how is it winning if tax rates go up on everyone?

MELBER: Exactly. And I thought she hit the two points, which was
this was bad for them politically. That`s what they care about. But also,
there was the moment where she said, what principle?

(LAUGHTER)

MELBER: What principle? Just for millionaires?

And, you know, the funniest thing why it is so bad for them, on both
politics and policy is, under Obama`s plan, if you make $50,000, if you`re
a middle class family, you get that $2,000 cut which you showed with the
family today. If you make a quarter million or $500,000 under Obama`s
plan, you get about $10,000 cut. Up to $12,000 if you are at the high end
of the half million mark because the way marginal rates work.

So, again, it`s very hard for them to go out and say that that`s not
enough. Even though you get the biggest rate if you`re rich, they need
even more what principle I quote Ann Coulter with you tonight, Lawrence,
what principle?

O`DONNELL: Ann Coulter is not alone in her side of the thinking about
this. She is the one who has to go and try to convince Sean, which isn`t
easy.

But Bill Kristol, one of the thought leaders of the Republican wrote
in "The Weekly Standard" today, "Might it be prudent for Republicans to
acquiesce for now to a modified version of Obama`s proposal. Nope, it
can`t be done. There`s a pledge, you see, enforced by a stern and precise
pledge-master.

Surely Republican members of Congress understand there is something
crazy about appearing to fight to the death for a tax code in which Mitt
Romney and others pay a 14 percent tax on millions of capital income --
while silently allowing the payroll tax on labor to go up from 13.3 percent
to 15.3 percent for all the working stiffs."

Joy, I am reading conservatives giving Democratic talking points here.

REID: Yes, and they are answering the question what principle,
because if you strip that away, what you just mentioned, and then you add
what we talk about the other day, the AMT, which will hit the sort of
mildly rich, right, people up to $500,000, Republicans are only willing to
sock it to people who are in the top 2 percent. They made that
breathtakingly clear.

The principle that they are fighting for is that the very rich should
not pay a penny more, even though they, too, will get a tax cut up to the
first $250,000 of their income. That`s not enough. The only thing they
care about is the top 2 percent.

MELBER: And just to add to that reason of the policy, I mean, this is
the quiet fight against inequality in the Obama era. This is what he has
been so good at. And the one new tax that he did propose on the Obamacare
is on the super rich with regard to dividends on stocks.

What you are talking about and what Kristol is buckling on is another
way that our tax code, because it`s written by so many rich people favors
capital gains revenues over labor, when labor is harder, and you care about
that money more. So, it`s another place for -- look, the Obama proposal
beyond what we are talking with the marginal rates also goes after those
dividends and that is a way to fight economic equality right now.

O`DONNELL: We tax labor higher than we tax capital. The power to tax
is the power to destroy, as has been famously said. It is the power to
discourage certainly, luckily it doesn`t do that with labor.
But if -- the Republicans believe it does, they believe the higher you
tax something, the more you are discouraging it. So, there is Bill Kristol
saying, asking this question to Republicans, why do we want to tax labor
more than capital? That is the fundamental question, and liberals have
always tended to answer it, we don`t.

REID: We don`t. And it`s interesting because you are seeing rank-
and-file members of the Republican Party on the Hill start to shrink away
from having to defend that idea themselves. So, you are starting to see
the troops fall away. And so, you know what, maybe we should give in on
this.

But what would happen if for instance the Senate bill were to be voted
on in the House and let`s say it would pass? If you took that marginal --
the top rate --

O`DONNELL: And, by the way, there are Republicans saying --

REID: They want to do it. Absolutely, it would pass. And if that
happened, then they`d have to argue about the real stuff. We have to then
get into the tax code and all the ways that it does promote inequality.

We have to get into these other questions, because they also want to
go after Medicare premiums. They also want to do all of these things that
hit the old, that hit the poor. That`s what they want to do. They love to
bury it all in a grand bargain, it obscures. They won`t be able to do if
they made that deal.

O`DONNELL: Polls overwhelmingly favoring the president in his
approach and the outcome that he wants. The polls are with him. And the
Republicans are reading those polls. I don`t think that Rush Limbaugh is
reading those polls.

Let`s listen to what Rush has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: There is no way to come to an
agreement. The only thing that can happen is for one side to cave in. I`m
not trying to be defeatist. This is being realistic. There is no common
ground here.

There is no bipartisanship to be had. It ain`t going to happen.
There is no compromise. None.

There is only concession. That`s all -- and that`s what will happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: When Rush doesn`t want to sound defeatist, Ari, he has a
way of sounding defeatist.

MELBER: I mean, it`s kind of a bummer. No, it feels like a very last
ending of the war.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead.

MELBER: Look, the deficit mafia has controlled the political
discourse for so long that we forgot what it`s like to just talk about the
policies. What was so amazing about Bill Kristol and Ann Coulter and
everything you`ve shown us tonight is when you talk about the policies,
it`s pretty obvious what you have to do here.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Ari Melber, thank you both for joining me.

MELBER: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up. Mitch McConnell did the most idiotic thing
ever done by a Senate leader today. And tonight, in the "Rewrite," we`ll
all watch him do it. We`ll also have an exclusive interview with "Star
Trek`s" George Takei who will tell us why he wants to pay more taxes.

Also, crazy Republican Senator Jim DeMint is quitting the Senate. Who
is happier to see him go? Democrats or Republicans? Tweet your answer and
we`ll tell you if you`re right later.

And the people of Illinois have spoken, in a poll anyway, they want
Michelle Obama to be their next senator.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR: The United States Senate will be getting a new
junior senator from the state of South Carolina. Jim DeMint is quitting
the Senate. The governor will now appoint a new United States senator, and
Stephen Colbert wants the job. That`s coming up.

And later, even more evidence of just how deeply dysfunctional the
Senate has become. That`s in tonight`s "Rewrite".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The United States Senate became a much saner place today
and the Heritage Foundation became a slightly more disreputable place when
the junior senator from South Carolina, Republican Jim DeMint, after
serving only 1 1/3 terms as a United States senator announced that he was
quitting the Senate to run the Heritage Foundation.

(BEGIN VIODEO CLIP)

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: The idea of going to the
Heritage Foundation which is the premier conservative think tank in the
country, and leveraging their assets to communicate to all Americans that
we can make their lives better, this is a dream job for me.

And it`s critically important. I don`t think Republicans will win
another national election unless conservatives first convince Americans
that our principles work.

I think I`m in a more powerful position than a single United States
senator.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Oh, yes, he`s going to be in that incredibly powerful
position currently held by -- let me, no, I got it. No, OK. Well, the
current head of the Heritage Foundation, I`m sure, no, it is a powerful
position so I must, OK, no.

Like everyone in America that doesn`t work at the Heritage Foundation,
I have no idea who the current head of the Heritage Foundation is, but I
know there has never been a member of the United States Senate who is less
powerful than the head of the Heritage Foundation.

So, Washington spent the day trying to find out what`s behind the lie
Jim DeMint just told about leaving the Senate for the more powerful job of
running the foundation?

"The Washington Post" reports that according to Senate financial
disclosure forms, Jim DeMint`s estimated wealth in 2010 was $40,501.
Senator DeMint`s salary is $174,000. The compensation package for the head
of the Heritage Foundation in 2010 was more than $1 million, according to
"The Washington Post".

There are eight Democrats in the Senate, including Harry Reid, who owe
their seats largely to the political madness of Jim DeMint, whose super PAC
supported bat crap crazy Republican Tea Party candidates for the Republican
nomination in Senate campaigns that they could not possibly have won.

The case can be made that no senator did more to keep the Democrats in
the majority in the Senate than Republican Jim DeMint. The Koch brothers
who financed the Heritage Foundation and Republican campaigns may have
decided that they needed DeMint safely tucked away out of politics if they
are going to have any chance of getting a good return on the money that
they continue to invest in Republican campaigns.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will now appoint DeMint`s
successor who will serve until 2014 when the state will hold an election
for that seat.

Joining me now, MSNBC`s Karen Finney and John Heilemann.

Karen, are the Democrats going to miss Jim DeMint?

(LAUGHTER)

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I don`t think so. Somehow
I think Jim DeMint will find a way to still be a thorn in everybody`s side.

O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, who are the front-runners now for Nikki
Haley to appoint to that seat?

JOHN HEILEMANN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Lawrence, I don`t
think you are going to be one of the front-runners, especially displaying
that cynicism that you`ve had on display tonight.

O`DONNELL: I don`t really have a strong connection to the state. So,
unlikely to become on the list. I`m no Stephen Colbert who does have a
strong connection to that state.

HEILEMANN: Yes, so I`m going to put my vote for Stephen right now.

But, look, the two top front-runners who are not Nikki Haley will come
back to her in a minute. But the two front-runners are Tim Scott and Mark
Mulvaney, who are both freshmen Republicans, close to the Tea Party, and I
think Tim Scott would be by most political calculations the real front
runner there. He would be -- he`s African-American and he would become the
only African-American senator if he were appointed to that job.

Fr a party that has problems with the coalition, and a lot of people
think that they need to look more like the rest of America or the minority,
that would be a smart move.

And it`s also possible that if Nikki Haley doesn`t do either one of
those two, she can always appoint herself and I wouldn`t put it past her.
It`s been done before. And she`s much more as national Republican than she
is in her own state. So, there is some chance that she will go that
direction.

O`DONNELL: And, Karen Finney, if Nikki Haley does appoint herself,
she then has two years to run for the seat and actually get to claim it in
a real way. It seems that she would probably -- if you were having to bet
on this -- be a stronger statewide candidate than the others.

FINNEY: Yes, she probably would be. Although, I think, you know,
Congressman Scott is an intriguing one. I think, particularly, what John
was saying, given the position the Republican Party is in right now, that`s
going to be a hard one for them to pass up. Although I did read today that
the former governor of the state of South Carolina is interested in
running, perhaps he thinks that`s how he`s going to make his political come
back.

O`DONNELL: Stephen Colbert, a son of South Carolina, issued this
statement today, "Stephen is honored by the groundswell of support from the
Palmetto State and looks forward to Governor Haley`s call."

John, shouldn`t Governor Haley at least give Stephen a call? I mean,
just have a little fun with this?

HEILEMANN: I`m telling you, Lawrence, I think that only should she
give him a call, but she should give him serious consideration. God knows
the U.S. Senate could use Stephen Colbert, more even than Comedy Central
can.

You know, Karen Finney mentioned Governor Sanford, who I did not think
will be appointed to this job. But there is actually some talk in South
Carolina, I`m told that it`s possible that Jenny Sanford, his ex-wife, who
is very popular in the state and who became a bit of a figure not just in
the state but nationally after her husband`s extramarital affair and the
scandal that ensued, that she could be someone who would be considered.

I think she has a far outside chance but it would be a kind of witty
thing for Nikki Haley to pick Jenny Sanford. Again, as I say, popular, and
a woman, obviously, and someone very popular in the state of South
Carolina, probably more popular now than she was when she was married to
Mark Sanford.

O`DONNELL: And back to the strange Mr. DeMint, "The Washington Post"
conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote today, "Good riddance, Mr.
DeMint." In a column she said, "I am sure many senators on both sides are
clicking their heels. DeMint has been a destructive force, threatening to
primary colleagues, resisting all deals and offering very little in the way
of attainable legislation. He has contributed more than any current
senator to the dysfunction of that body."

Karen, it just seems to me that the Republicans have to be happier to
see him go than the Democrats are.

FINNEY: They probably are. Although, you know -- again, somehow I
don`t think that Jim DeMint is going to go off quietly in the night. I
think he`s going to try to use his position at Heritage. He can still try
to, you know, anoint candidates. That would be super fun. And, you know,
compete with Grover Norquist and Karl Rove for, you know, who`s the
unelected leader of the Republican Party, kind of give the Republicans a
little bit of trouble here and there and give Democrats kind of another fun
target to, you know, puke at.

O`DONNELL: John, somewhere in the notes here, there is the name of
the guy who runs the Heritage Foundation. Come on. This is a Glenn Beck
move giving up FOX TV for whatever he does now and no one has any idea what
he does. That`s what this is.

HEILEMANN: Well, yes. Lawrence, you put your finger on this before.
I was going to say there are three good reasons for Jim DeMint to move.
One of them you mentioned already and that`s money, $1 million a year.

There are two other reasons car and driver.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

HEILEMANN: Which is also a part of the compensation package at the
Heritage Foundation and you know, I know you know the value of car and
driver.

O`DONNELL: And senators do not get a car and driver.

Karen -- Karen Finney and John Heilemann -- thank you both for joining
me.

FINNEY: Thanks.

HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the political future for the First Lady
Michelle Obama. Majority of Illinois voters say they would vote for her
for Senate.

And in the "Rewrite", Mitch McConnell shows again today why she just
might not want to work in the United States Senate.

And later, an exclusive interview with "Star Trek`s" George Takei.
He`ll tell us why the wealthy should be eager to save us from going off the
fiscal cliff.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: President Obama was the seventh sitting president to visit
Staten Island and he promised not to forget the residents there who
suffered so severely from hurricane Sandy. I`ll actually be returning to
Staten Island myself tomorrow for another look at how the Island is
recovering from the damage.

And, tonight, at the lighting of the national Christmas tree in
Washington, President Obama remembered the people of Staten Island.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This evening, in Midland Beach, New York, on a street lined
with houses and businesses devastated by the storm, a great big Christmas
tree shines out of the darkness. Just a couple of weeks ago as impacted
families were still seeking some sense of getting back to normal, one local
nursery donated the tree and another chipped in for the lights and the star
and 70-year-old Tom Killeen and his longtime buddies in the area planted it
at the end of the street overlooking the town beach.

As Tom says, the tree has one message. It is Christmas time. Not
disaster time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Hillary Clinton ran for the Senate and Michelle
Obama can, too, if she wants to, according to a new Illinois poll.

And in the "Rewrite" tonight, Mitch McConnell tried to embarrass
Democrats in the United States Senate today but instead utterly humiliated
himself. We`ll show him making Senate history in tonight`s "Rewrite".

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Public Policy Poling, which was one of the most accurate
polling organizations in the last presidential campaign, is back in the
Spotlight tonight with a new poll showing 51 percent of Illinois voters say
they would support First Lady Michelle Obama for a run for the seat
formerly held by her husband in the United States Senate, against that
state`s current Republican senator, Mark Kirk. Sixty percent of Illinois
voters say they have a favorable view of the First Lady; just 33 percent an
unfavorable view.

Democratic Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina told "Newsweek"
he would love her to run. "It would be a breath of fresh air in D.C. She
is honest and straight forward, which is not what you see in Washington
much. She is exactly what we need around here."

The president and First Lady were asked about running for office on
"The View" before the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, "THE VIEW": She should run for office, but she says
she doesn`t want to.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: You know --

B. OBAMA: I --

(APPLAUSE)

B. OBAMA: Look, Michelle would be terrific. But temperamentally, I
just don`t think that --

M. OBAMA: No, it is absolutely true. It takes a lot of patience to
be the president of the United States. And I`m not that patient. You
know, I am not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Ana Marie Cox, political correspondent
for the "Guardian," and MSNBC`s Jonathan Capehart. Ana Marie 51 percent,
where Michelle Obama is polling now, is higher than where Hillary Clinton
was polling the first time they ran polls on her running in New York. She
was polling 48, and then she actually went down to 42.

So it is Michelle`s if she wants it. Any chance you think she might
want it?

ANA MARIE COX, "THE GUARDIAN": I guess that`s the real question,
isn`t it? You know, we all like to play this game where we think we know
people through this -- through what we see of them TV, even someone with as
controlled an image as Michelle Obama. I don`t know. That`s probably
impolitic for her say so right now.

I do want to point out, this is a very strong tradition in American
politics. The first woman ever elected to the Senate inherited the seat of
her husband. And about a third of all the women elected to Congress until
the 1970s filled the seats that were vacated by their husbands, usually
because they died. So this is something that we`re used to doing.

I can`t say this is my favorite way for women to get elected to
Congress. But right now, it is one of the -- it is one of the historically
most successful ways for them to get elected to Congress.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Capehart, the parallels are getting a little too
perfect here. Last time around with Hillary Clinton, we had Congressman
Charlie Rangel urging Hillary Clinton to run. Now you have Congressman
Clyburn urging Michelle Obama to run. It all takes the same shape.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It all takes the same
shape. But to answer your original question to Ana Marie Cox, whether I
thought Michelle Obama would want to run for Senate, let me quote the late
Whitney Houston, hell to the nah. That is no way that the First Lady would
run for Senate.

Did you see her reaction on the clip that you showed on "the View" to
whether she would run for office? She vigorously said no way, no way.

And everything that we know about her, as much as we like her, we know
she doesn`t want to run for elective office. Politics is a hard game and
she went through it in the first campaign, President Obama`s first campaign
for office, and it wasn`t terribly pleasant. So can you imagine what it
would be like to stand on your own two feet and put yourself up for public
office. She`s smarter than that.

O`DONNELL: An unnamed top White House official "Newsweek" "Michelle
Obama doesn`t have the temperament for the constant BS that goes on in D.C.
She watched her husband fight fights that he shouldn`t have to. She`s been
the -- she`s seen the ugly side of Washington up close and personal and has
no interest in dealing with that first hand. I think she knows there are
other ways to impact the system from the outside in. She will find those.
But it won`t be from public office. That`s not who she is."

That reads, Ana Marie, like a semi-official leak from the White House,
the White House official who said that.

COX: Yes, it also reads exactly what you would want to hear from
someone who you wanted to -- who is running for Congress. No, no, I
couldn`t possibly take this job. I`m too much of a truth teller, really,
to have this job. That is sort of like what is your biggest flaw? I work
too hard.

I would categorize it in the non-denial denial category, myself.

CAPEHART: OH.

O`DONNELL: And back to Hillary Clinton, who seem to have a political
future if she wants it. An ABC News/"Washington Post" poll, Hillary
Clinton running for president; 57 support it, 23 percent of Republican
actually support it. And so Jonathan, now there`s one that is absolutely
something that makes sense for her. I don`t think we have temperament -- I
don`t think we have to do any kind of guessing about is elective office for
her. It is. She has wanted it very badly in the past.

CAPEHART: Look, she ran for president in 2008. She came very, very
close to getting the nomination. She didn`t succeed. She became -- she
was appointed secretary of state by President Obama. She has just been a
star in that job as secretary of state.

She is as popular as she has ever been, even more popular than ever.
People like her within the Democratic party. People would love for her to
run for president of the United States.

So as much as it pains me to talk about 2016 now and talk about
whether she is going to run, when all I want her to do is just leave state,
take some time off, relax, and don`t think about us for a while -- it makes
sense that we would have this conversation, because it does make sense for
her to run for president of the United States.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, she is far more popular than she was when she
ran for president. Her disapproval rating was higher than her approval
rating when she began running for president. And it didn`t get better by
running for president.

COX: Yes, well, that campaign was unfortunate on many levels. I
think as secretary of state, much as when she was senator and not running
for president, if you can separate those two, she has really shown herself
to be the kind of hard worker that people expect. That`s her reputation.
That`s who she is.

She is a gold star girl, as my friends and I like to say. She is the
girl who is going to get that gold star. She`s going to get that A plus.
She`s going to do her home work. And she`s going to wok her ass off, if I
can say that. I guess it`s too late.

O`DONNELL: Apparently you can say that.

COX: I think that is what she tried to do when was running. I think
she tried to be the candidate she thought she should be. I think that
she`s now shown just who she is. And she doesn`t have to run as the
candidate. She doesn`t have to fit into a mold. She can run just as
Hillary and that will work. People know who she is and they trust her.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, I have just been told that the official MSNBC
ruling is that you can say that, but Jonathan and I cannot.

Jonathan Capehart and Ana Marie Cox, thank you both for joining me.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up in the Rewrite tonight, Mitch McConnell Rewrites
himself.

And George Takei is here for an exclusive interview. And in the last
24 hours, you have contributed another 43,308 dollars to the KIND Fund,
Kids in Need of Desks, this show`s partnership with UNICEF to build desks
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Please continue to contribute anything you can. Ten dollars will
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But if you can help, if you can help in any way, please remember Kids in
Need of Desks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Being a Republican means you can`t take yes for an answer.
Mitch McConnell has absolutely no chance of going down in Senate history as
one of the great Republican Senate leaders. He will never have a Senate
building named after him, like legendary Republican leader Everett Dirksen.

Howard Baker was a great Republican Senate leader in the Dirksen
tradition. Baker was followed by Bob Dole, who served as both majority
leader and minority leader, depending on how many Republican senators he
had.

Given the increased complexity of everything the Senate was dealing
with during the Bob Dole tenure, I think he was probably the best of all
the Republican Senate leaders.

But when Bob Dole resigned as Senate majority leader to run for
president, greatness in Republican Senate leadership ended on that day in
the summer of 1996. Minimally competent and instantly forgettable men
followed Dole. Mitch McConnell, who was well on his way to being easily
forgettable, until today he was, when he took his place in Senate history
as the man who has now done the most idiotic thing any minority leader has
ever done on the Senate floor, ever.

He introduced a bill and asked for a vote on the bill. The majority
leader then agreed to have a vote on the bill, where upon Mitch McConnell
changed his mind and opposed his own bill. McConnell went to the floor
this morning with a stunt in mind, the kind of thing Senate leaders do all
the time on both sides, embarrass the other party by bringing something to
a vote that the other party is supposed to be in favor of, and then
embarrass the other party by proving that the other party doesn`t actually
have enough votes to pass it.

In this case, McConnell asked for a vote on President Obama`s proposal
last week to change the Congressional procedure on the debt ceiling in such
a way that it would empower the president to raise the debt ceiling
whenever necessary, and it would take a two thirds vote of Congress to then
overrule the president`s decision.

Where did the president get this idea? He actually got it from Mitch
McConnell, when McConnell proposed it in 2011 as one of the ideas that he
threw around at the last minute in trying to solve the debt ceiling crisis.

So here was McConnell this morning asking for a vote on an idea that
was originally his, but was then adopted by the president. And McConnell
was asking for that vote to show that Democrats would vote against what is
now the president`s idea.

And then Harry Reid shocked McConnell by agreeing to have a vote on
McConnell`s stunt right away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE Is there an objection?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Of course there shouldn`t be an objection. The majority
leader is now agreeing to what the minority leader asked for. Who could
possibly object to that?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCCONNELL. Madam president, reserving the right to object. Matters
of the controversy -- what we are talking about here is the perpetual debt
ceiling grant, in effect, to the president. Matters of this level of
controversy always require 60 votes. So I would ask my friend, the
majority leader, if he would modify his consent agreement to set the
threshold of this vote at 60.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Majority leader?

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: Reserving the right to object,
but what we have here is a case of Republican here in the Senate once again
not taking yes for an answer. This morning, the Republican leader asked
consent to have a vote on this proposal. Just now, I told everyone that
we`re willing to have that vote, up or down vote.

And now the Republican leader objects to his own idea. I guess we
have a filibuster his own bill. So I object.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there objection to the original request?

MCCONNELL: Yes, I object.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Objection is heard. I`ve got whiplash.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Whiplash? OK, I`ve spent more time watching the Senate
floor than every one of you out there in this audience combined. And you
just saw two things that have never happened before. One, a minority
leader who has introduced a bill and asked for a vote and then opposed the
proceeding to a vote on his bill, saying his bill should subjected to the
filibuster breaking vote threshold of 60 votes.

McConnell was, as Harry Reid just said, filibustering his own bill.
So that`s miracle number that you just saw.

And miracle number two was that the presiding officer, played that
hour by Senator Claire McCaskill -- the presiding officer, who is usually
in a desperate struggle to stay awake in the most boring assignment a
senator can get, presiding over the Senate, a punishment normally reserved
only for the junior senators -- the presiding officer is not only wide
awake, she actually comments on what has just happened, instead of simply
issuing the normal two or three word traffic cop directions that the
presiding officer is limited to.

Let`s just see what she did again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL (D), MISSOURI: I got whiplash.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was a genuinely shocked United States senator. She
wasn`t trying to be a wise guy. That`s not her. She simply couldn`t
prevent the shock from forming words in her mouth. And you see her there
pushing the microphone away, pushing it away a bit too late. What you are
seeing is that in her state of shock, her instincts are out of sink. She
knew she had to push the microphone away, especially if she was going to
mutter something that shouldn`t be heard.

But the shock pushed the words out faster than her hand could move.
Instantly -- instantly the Senate knew history had just been made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), MAJORITY WHIP: So this may be a moment in
Senate history when a senator made a proposal and, when given an
opportunity for a vote on that proposal, filibustered his own proposal. I
think we have now reached a new spot in the history of the Senate we have
never seen before.

Mitch McConnell was for his bill minutes before he was against his
bill. He was forced to Rewrite this position instantly on the Senate floor
today because Mitch McConnell forgot the unwritten rule number one for the
Senate minority leader. If you pull a stunt on the Senate floor, you have
to know it is going to work.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: From "Beam Me Up, Scotty" to Tax Me Higher, Barack. "Star
Trek" star George Takei posted this on his blog this week: "Tax me higher.
As an actor today, I enjoy a lifestyle my parents probably never dreamed
up. That is why I feel it is not only fair but my patriotic duty to
support higher taxes on the top two percent of incomes. So Congress, roll
up your sleeves, compromise if you must. But don`t start from the position
that my taxes can`t go up. They must and they should."

Joining me now for an exclusive interview, author, actor and taxpayer
George Takei. George is THE LAST WORD`s -- George, this is Nick Ramsey.
He is with me, because he is THE LAST WORD`s senior Trekkie producer. Just
in case you use any words that I don`t understand, because I wasn`t a big
Trekkie fan. In fact, I only saw one of the movies which was written by a
friend of mine, Larry Connor. Which one was that?

NICK RAMSEY, MSNBC PRODUCER: That is "Star Trek Six, The Undiscovered
Country." That`s the best one.

O`DONNELL: I thought it was the best one. It had these really
interesting political aspects to it. I thought it was great.

RAMSEY: Assassination attempts. It is fantastic.

GEORGE TAKEI, ACTOR & GAY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: It began with Chernobyl.

O`DONNELL: Yeah.

TAKEI: The explosion (inaudible). And the real savior was Captain
Sulu. I have been the helmsman of the Starship Enterprise. But at long
last I had my own ship. And the real sub-title for that should have been
"Captain Sulu To The Rescue."

O`DONNELL: Larry Connor is watching right now. And he is regretting
I think that he didn`t make that the subtitle. So the -- you have been
moved to come out and say, look, this increase in taxes makes sense. You
went on to say in your post, "these marginal tax rate cuts were never meant
to be permanent. None of us who got them expected them to be. We always
knew that one day they would return to levels they were during the Clinton
era. To suggest that we now shouldn`t give them us is silly, especially in
a time where we are facing huge deficits and a looming fiscal cliff."

What made you feel, I want to come out and say this, I want to come
out and help the president get this?

TAKEI: Well, I use the word patriotism, particularly when you are
faced with a crisis. When I was a kid, I grew up in two U.S Internment
camps simply because we happened to look like --

O`DONNELL: In California?

TAKEI: No, in the swamps of Arkansas. We lived in California.

O`DONNELL: You were hauled all the way out there.

TAKEI: To Arkansas. And then we were later transferred to another
one in northern California. But we were there only because we happened to
look like the people that bombed Pearl Harbor. A year into internment, the
government realized there was a wartime manpower shortage.

And when the military was opened up for service by Japanese Americans,
thousands of young Japanese Americans went from those interment camps to
fight for this country. They were put into a segregated unit, fought on
those bloody battlefields in Europe and came back the most decorated unit
of the entire World War II. They exercised something that was very
important. They did it for their family certainly, but for the greater
good, because they loved America.

They sacrificed themselves. And many, many perished on those fields.
And that is the kind of situation we are faced with now. And those
Republicans can`t seem to get it. They are so bull headedly wedded to
their dogmatic philosophy.

We need to raise taxes in order to meet this crisis, the fiscal cliff.
And they would rather plunge down that cliff and plunge us into another
economic catastrophe. Because the sequester is going to cancel all these
military contracts that we have. And that means unemployment for many,
many years ahead.

And all it takes is everybody rallying together and sacrificing just a
tiny bit. Going back to what we enjoyed during the Clinton years, higher
taxes but great prosperity, lots of jobs being created. The Republican
position of cutting taxes, trickle down philosophy creating jobs has never
been proved to be true.

With the middle class maintaining the tax cuts, they are going to be
spending money, creating jobs. Retail sales are going to go up. So it`s
to me absolutely baffling that the Republican don`t get it.

O`DONNELL: We are out of time now. But will you stick around and we
will talk for something that we will post on our website? And you will
explain to me your attempts to talk sense to Donald Trump. Can you hang
around and do that? And we`ll do that online.

George Takei gets tonight`s LAST WORD. "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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