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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, Feburary 11th, 2013

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
February 11, 2013

Guests: Karen Finney, Ana Marie Cox, David O. Russell

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: And the Republicans voted for the
sequester. Now, they hate the sequester. So who do the Republicans blame
for the sequester? Take a wild guess.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our future is hopeful,
our journey goes forward. And the State of our Union is strong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the State of the Union eve.

TAMRON HILL, MSNBC ANCHOR: President Obama`s State of the Union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State of the Union address.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of the Union address.

UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: The State of the Union.

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: President Obama will pivot back to the economy.

JAY WHITE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: His plan to create jobs.
That work isn`t done.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: That is not a prescription for getting
a budget deal with the House Republicans.

TODD: The sequester has turned into a ridiculous blame game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a presidential suggestion.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: He is the one who proposed
it in the first place.

TODD: Trying desperately to disown the budget cut.

BOB SHRUM, THE DAILY BEAST: That`s completely wrong and to make that
argument requires a sequestration of memory.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I`ve got 98 percent
of what I wanted. I`m pretty happy.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), DEMOCRATIC LEADER: We have had plenty of
spending cuts. What we need is growth.

MITCHELL: It`s deja vu all over again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican problem these days is a brand
problem.

BILL MAHER, TV HOST: There is a bit of a civil war brewing between
the Tea Party and the regulars.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: There is a lot of energy that still
comes from the Tea Party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The GOP will not present a unified front --

PAUL: They want an independent voice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- in their response to the State of the Union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul is playing a tough game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marco Rubio, Rand Paul --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Marco Rubio --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- will both be giving responses to the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the Republican Party chose Paul Ryan to
give the official response.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We want to work with the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Tea Party issued its own rebuttal.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The Tea Party is a dynamic
force for good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republicans` problem these days is a brand
problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tomorrow night is make or break.

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There is no shortage of things
to say about the State of the Union.

HALL: President Obama`s State of the Union address tomorrow night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State of the Union address.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: State of the Union address.

UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: The State of the Union.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The State of the Union is fill in the blank.

OBAMA: Our future is hopeful. Our journey goes forward and the State
of our Union is strong.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: The so-called sequester, a large package of spending cuts
set to go into effect March 1st, which was voted into law by a Republican
House of Representatives and with majority Republican support in the Senate
is now, according to the Republicans who voted for it and hate it, the
Obama sequester.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Over the past few
weeks, I have come to the floor to urge the president, and Senate Democrats
to act on the huge fiscal challenges facing our nation. Starting with the
Obama sequester.

Unless the Senate Democrats allow a reasonable spending cut
alternative to pass the chamber before March 1st, the president`s plan will
go into effect.

CANTOR: You know, the president, he is the one who proposed the
sequester in the first place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Even some Republicans don`t like the Republican repeated
lying about the sequester. It actually led the communications director for
the conservative Club for Growth to tweet on his personal account, every
time I hear the Republicans call this the president`s sequester, my head
explodes, because they all voted for the legislation that created it.

That puts the communications director for an ultra-conservative, anti-
tax organization with a very sensitive head and the press secretary for the
White House on exactly the same page when it comes to the Republican lie
about the sequester.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARNEY: When the Budget Control Act passed on august 11th, 2011,
through the House of Representatives, it passed by a vote of 269 to 161.
Based on statements by Republicans today, you would have thought that the
vast majority of that vote was from Democrats. Well, in fact, 174 of the
269 were Republicans. House Republicans, only 95 Democrats voted for that
bill. Moreover -- and that included every Republican leader, Speaker
Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, Congressman McCarthy, Congressman Ryan.
Speaker of the House John Boehner that day told CBS, quote, "I got 98
percent of what I wanted. I`m pretty happy."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jay Carney also said that President Obama will address the
sequester in his State of the Union address tomorrow night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARNEY: You will hear from the president a very clear call for the
need to take action to help our economy grow and help to create jobs. You
will hear from him a call, as you heard in the past, recently from him on
Congress, not to shoot the economy in the foot unnecessarily, to allow the
sequester to kick in when it is wholly unnecessary to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: President Obama offered a hint as to what he might say
tomorrow night in his weekly address.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Most members of Congress, including many Republicans don`t
think it is a good idea to put thousands of jobs at risk and do unnecessary
damage to our economy. And yet the current Republican plan puts the burden
of avoiding those cuts mainly on seniors and middle class families. They`d
rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put recovery at
risk than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, Krystal, it turns out, John Boehner getting 98 percent
of what he wanted was not enough, was just not enough.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": And it`s Barack Obama`s fault.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

BALL: The Republican position here is interesting in a couple of
ways. I mean, on the one hand, they want to say the president is not
serious about deficit reduction, that he doesn`t care about the deficit.
He wants to blow up the deficit.

On the other hand, he wants these draconian sequester cuts and
suddenly, he is the king of austerity. So, that`s one thing that`s
interesting.

And the other thing is, they are the party that has been pushing,
cutting the budget since the debt ceiling crisis. I mean, that`s what this
came out of. And now, they want to turn around and place it on Obama. But
on the other hand, they want to kind of convince us that they would
ultimately go through the sequester if push came to shove.
O`DONNELL: Steve, that was very rude of Jay Carney to remind us of
what, to use numbers like the factual record.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": The funny is we can see this
week (AUDIO GAP) in 2011, it happened twice, actually. First, there was
this continuing resolution fight early in 2011. I can remember any of this
now, but Republicans were ready to shut down the government over spending
cut demands.

And the White House, what we now see there is a report out this week
that basically the White House Jack Lew found ways to make phantom cuts,
basically. So, the number would go high, but it would protect all these
sort of important programs, programs for the poor, and Republicans didn`t
really look into it and so they accepted it and they went along, and they
said, we got our spending cuts.

And now, basically two years later, they`re looking back and saying,
wait a minute, we didn`t get any spending cuts. And then you think ahead,
you think back to August 2011, in the debt ceiling showdown, you had a lot
of Republicans, leadership particularly who walked into this mess, where
they actually had their rank and file to do a debt default. And they
needed some way, any way out of it.

So what the White House, the Democrats put in front of them was the
idea of the super committee followed by the sequester. They were so happy
to have any kind of lifeline, and John Boehner comes out, pretends it is a
victory, so he says 98 percent, to try to keep his members in line. Now
here it is, a ticking time bomb for Republicans, for a year, for a year and
a half.

And now, here it is. And they`re realizing, wait a minute, we don`t
have much leverage with the sequester after all.

O`DONNELL: But the thing is, Boehner did get 98 percent of what he
wanted if you believe that he really wants spending cuts.

BALL: Right, exactly, but he doesn`t want any spending cuts. He
wants spending cuts in very specific programs.

O`DONNELL: None in defense.

BALL: None in defense.

O`DONNELL: Not a penny.

BALL: Exactly. I mean, that`s the main area that they want to avoid,
which is exactly why the president pushed to put these defense cuts into
the sequester so that it would be real leverage for the Republicans. They,
as you point out, made a huge strategic error. They had much more power,
much more momentum back when the new Tea Party Congress had just been sworn
in.

They should have done what they could to lock in their gains then,
when more was being put on the table by the president, they could have
realistically gotten more cuts, gotten some of the entitlement reforms that
they wanted to. But because it was an all-or-nothing situation here for
them, now they`re here down the road with very little leverage and very
little to show for it.

O`DONNELL: And now we have Bill Kristol -- it reads kind of like a
new song, called "It`s Understandable". In the "Weekly Standard", Bill
Kristol says, "It`s understandable because Republicans are in favor of
cutting domestic spending, it`s understandable because the Republicans are
desperate to secure what they think could be a political victory over
Barack Obama and Harry Reid."

And what, of course, he means as understandable is the idea that some
Republicans say, let the sequester just happen, let those cuts happen. He
says, "It`s understandable because going to the trouble of fixing the
sequester would be difficult, and the effort to do so will create strains
within the Republican Congress. But what is understandable is not always
responsible, allowing the sequester to go into effect would be deeply
irresponsible."

Steve, deeply irresponsible has never been a winning argument with the
House Republicans. It has never scared them.

KORNACKI: But I guess, this is an interesting division in the
Republican Party with the rise of the Tea Party, because the Republican
Party has traditionally been sort of the protector of the defense industry,
of defense contracts. But there is a strain of a sort of Tea Party
conservativism that says the heck with defense cuts. We`re OK with big
sweeping cuts to social safety net, but we`re also OK with big sweeping
cuts to the Defense Department.

But then you got Bill Kristol, John McCain -- John McCain on the
Sunday shows even floating the idea maybe he would be OK with more revenue
as long as it meant getting the revenue off the sequester.

The interesting lifeline that might be available that I see is this,
March 1st is the deadline in the sequester. You also have then, three or
four weeks later, have this continuing resolution coming up. So it`s not
out of the question to me that Republicans may be forced to kind of go over
the cliff with the sequester and then basically restore the funding levels
later in the continuing resolution. And maybe that`s where they can pull
the victory out.

O`DONNELL: We`ve got a clarification about something that could be
discussed in any kind of big grand bargain, and that`s the White House
position on the Medicare eligibility age. Let`s listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REPORTER: Is the president open to raising the eligibility age for
Medicare?

CARNEY: No, absolutely not. The president has made clear that we
don`t believe that is the right policy to take.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Well, Krystal, I`ll check that off. That settles that.
That ain`t going to be in any package.

BALL: Yes, that had kind of been floated and progressives were very
upset about it. And again, I think the president has navigated the waters
so well that the only thing that he has left on the table is the idea of
chained CPI, which would be a cut to benefits in Social Security. It`s the
one really concrete benefit cut that he`s put out there on entitlements and
he is willing to leave it out there as the sort of one thing that maybe
Republicans could get if they`re willing to play ball with tax revenues.

O`DONNELL: All right. That`s going to have to leave it there.
Krystal Ball and Steve Kornacki, thank you both for joining me tonight.

Coming up, now it takes two -- two to respond to President Obama`s
State of the Union address. But really, what can Rand Paul say that will
be so different from what Marco Rubio would say? Richard Wolffe will join
me on that.

And Karen Finney and Ana Marie Cox are here on the latest Republican
roadblocks to the Violence Against Women Act.

And later, the Oscar-nominated actor of "Silver Linings Playbook", a
great movie, David O. Russell, went to Washington last week to push for
improvements in our mental health care system. He will join me later.

And in the rewrite, what does George Clooney have in common with Sarah
Silverman and Maya Angelou? The answer is in tonight`s rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: What does Drew Barrymore have in common with Matt Damon
and Art Garfunkel and Jerry Seinfeld? Tweet me your guesses or tell us on
Facebook. The one hint I can give you is that the answer has absolutely
nothing to do with show business. And the thing that they all have in
common is something that they all also have in common with Episcopal Bishop
Edmond Browning. I hope that doesn`t confuse things.

The answer will be in tonight`s rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Tomorrow night, a star might be born. Two Republicans
will deliver responses to President Obama`s State of the Union address.
Florida`s junior senator, the very junior-looking Marco Rubio, will deliver
the response on behalf of the Republican Party.

The Rubio rumor machine is putting out the word that Rubio is going to
talk tough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Came out and really -- in a spirited way, I
wouldn`t call them fighting words, but a very spirited defense of an
aggressive progressive agenda. I am told by staffers for Senator Marco
Rubio`s office that he would have a certain kind of response to the State
of the Union in mind. He tore it up and started again. Republicans now
are ready to, I think, go toe to toe with a very spirited president who I
think is ready to advance a progressive agenda.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The bad news for Marco Rubio, not since 1996 has a
Republican deliver the party`s State of the Union address response and gone
on to win the party`s presidential nomination.

And today, one Republican is still trying to recover from the response
he delivered to President Obama`s first address to Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Good evening, and happy Mardi Gras.
I`m Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana. Tonight, we witnessed a great
moment in the history of our republic, in a very chamber where Congress
once voted to abolish slavery, our first African-American president stepped
forward to address the State of our Union.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The second Republican response tomorrow night will
actually be the Tea Party response. Tea Party Express has selected the
junior senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul.

Senator Paul previewed his remarks on Sunday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: While they consider themselves to be Republican, they
occasionally will chastise even the Republican establishment. So they want
an independent voice.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN: Well, is that what you intend to do, to chastise
the Republican establishment?

PAUL: No, but I think really there are some things that I will
emphasize that maybe Marco doesn`t. I see it as an extra response. I
don`t see it as necessarily divisive. You know, I wouldn`t say necessarily
is like, oh, Marco Rubio is wrong. He and I don`t always agree. The thing
is, this is not about he and I. This is about the Tea Party, which is a
grassroots movement, a real movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And today, a Tea Party revolt is still trying to recover
from the Tea Party response delivered in 2011.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Good evening. My name is
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota sixth district. I want to
thank the Tea Party Express and the Tea Party HD for inviting me to speak
this evening.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, in the famous almost last words of Bobby
Jindal, good evening, and happy Mardi Gras. Oh, boy.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Happy Mardi Gras.

I love the way you look when you talk, you talk to another camera.
But, you know, there is the curse of Bobby Jindal, and Marco Rubio does
need to think about that. Not just Mardi gras.

O`DONNELL: So listen to what Karl Rove says about this star-turned
opportunity. Let`s listen to what he said about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: This is a terrible assignment for
anybody to get, Democrat or Republican. You don`t look generally good in
comparison to the president of the United States. He has to critique in a
thoughtful, straightforward manner what is that the president of the United
States, the incumbent, has done wrong or right. And second of all, he
needs to articulate a vision for the future that`s optimistic and hopeful
on behalf of his party and cause. Now, it`s a difficult assignment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Rove is right. It`s a terrible assignment. The only
thing that`s acceptable is a grand slam home run. Like no one cares if you
have a single or double.

So Rubio, if he does well, is absolutely going to be the runaway star
of the party. There just won`t be anybody else.

WOLFFE: If he does well.

O`DONNELL: Right, the problem is not likely.

WOLFFE: You`re not in a presidential setting and you are following
the president who is not in the Oval Office. It is not a quiet
presidential setting, you are commanding the center. I mean, everyone, the
pomp and the circumstances, and everyone wants to shake your hand, get
their autograph, it`s an impossible act to follow.

And here is the bigger problem. Even if he doesn`t do the goofy, you
know, let`s all go to Louisiana and have a party, even if he doesn`t do
that, he somehow has to survive three or four years of everyone throwing
rocks at him.

The one thing -- there are many things Marco Rubio has done to copy
Barack Obama, he gives a speech about immigration and it sounds like Obama
could have given it. One thing he has not learned is that in the first
couple of years of being in the Senate, Barack Obama kept his head down.
He did not do national interviews. He did not do this kind of stunt,
precisely because every time, he opened his mouth, that meant there were 20
people behind him, mostly fellow senators, who were out to get him.

O`DONNELL: This time tomorrow night, Rubio is either going to be a
way bigger star than he is now, or there`s going to be all of this who do
we go to? It wouldn`t be Rubio, he can`t do it.

WOLFFE: And he was just on the cover of "Time Magazine".

O`DONNELL: Yes, yes.

WOLFFE: So, there is this thing called peaking too early. And he is
in danger of doing that.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Rubio said on CBS News tonight.

I guess we`re not going to listen to it. I can read it, though. I
have it right here.

He said, "We will lay out the Republican agenda and argue that it is
focused on pro-growth policies that will create new middle class jobs,
including immigration reform, regulatory reform, ending Obamacare. He will
also take on the president`s inaugural address, which he described as a
call for big government."

WOLFFE: You know, there is a problem here. Mitt Romney talked about
middle class, and focus groups. Well, everyone knows that is where the
votes are. Remember, you`re following a president who just won re-election
because he appealed to the middle class much better than the Republicans
did.

How do you square pro-growth with cutting deficits now? That is the
problem that Republicans couldn`t get their arms around in the last
election. Let`s see if Marco Rubio can do it now.

O`DONNELL: And is he come up with something we haven`t heard before?
Very unlikely.

WOLFFE: Big government, yes, I think we`ve heard it.

O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, thank you very much for joining me
tonight.

WOLFFE: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the latest on the roadblocks against the
Violence Against Women Act. Karen Finney and Ana Marie Cox will join me.

And what does Conan O`Brien have in common with Michael Moore and
Meryl Streep? The answer is tonight`s rewrite. Keep telling us your
answers on Facebook and keep tweeting those answers. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: For the first time in 600 years, a pope has realized that
he is incapable of doing the job and is quitting at age 85, instead of
following papal tradition of serving out the rest of his life in office.
This will give the American media yet another chance to do saturation
coverage of the selection of the next man and we know it will be a man,
since only men are eligible. The next man to lead the Holy Roman Catholic
Church.

Non-Catholics will surely marvel about the coverage this event will
get, even though we know that a majority of American Catholics will
disagree with the next pope, just as they do with the current pope on such
crucial issues as birth control, abortion, women`s rights and gay rights.

Catholics disagree with the pope, even though they`ve been told that
the pope is infallible and they are not. But that won`t stop the American
media from overdoing their covering of who will be the next leader of
Catholics who most Catholics refuse to follow.

And in deadbeat dad news tonight, "The Chicago Sun Times" reports that
former Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh has filed a request in Cook County
Circuit Court to cease paying child support payments whatsoever because he
is no longer employed as a congressman.

Coming up, the Academy Award nominated director of "Silver Linings
Playbook", David O. Russell, joins me to discuss the need to improve our
mental health system.

And in the rewrite, the answer to the question, what does Ellen
DeGeneres have in common with John McEnroe and the Temptations?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, the Republican struggle against
the Violence Against Women Act. Last week, southern gentleman Eric Cantor
claimed to care deeply about, quote, "women in the abuse" situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: You know, I, as a gentleman, care
very deeply about women in the abuse situation that we need to get them the
relief that this bill offers. That is what we want to do. That is our
priority. We -- we must move and act on this bill. We want to protect the
women who are subject to abuse on tribal lands.

And unfortunately, there are issues that don`t directly bear on that
that have come up that have complicated it, as the gentleman knows. But in
working with his office and the vice president`s, I hope to be able to deal
with this, bring it up in an expeditious manner.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Two conservative groups have been lobbying House
Republicans to vote against the Senate`s version of the bill, which
increases funding for local law enforcement to prosecute domestic abusers,
and expands coverage to same sex couples, illegal immigrants and Native
Americans. Freedomworks said, in a blog post, "the newest version of the
Violence Against Women Act, S-47, contains very vague and broad definitions
of domestic violence. A man that raises his voice at his partner, calls
her an offensive name, stalks her, causes her any emotional distress or
simply just annoys her can potentially be prosecuted under the Violence
Against Women Act. Calling your spouse a mean name is not advised or
polite, but it isn`t the same thing as violence toward her. Supporters of
the Violence Against Women Act portray women as helpless victims. This is
the kind of attitude that is setting women back."

And Heritage Action for America claims "this expansive and vague
language will increase fraud and false allegations for which there is no
legal recourse. Under the Violence Against Women Act, men effectively lose
their constitutional rights to due process, presumption of innocence, equal
treatment under the law, the right to a fair trial and to confront one`s
accusers, the right to bear arms, all custody -- custody visitation rights
is in unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous."

House Republican leadership told aides -- aides told NBC News tonight
they now plan to introduce their own separate version of the Violence
Against Women Act and move on that version, instead of the Senate version,
which is expected to pass tomorrow.

Joining me now, MSNBC`s Karen Finney and Ana Marie Cox, columnist for
"The Guardian." Karen Finney, the whole -- it is the only difference, is
the only problem that the Republicans have in the House, this issue of how
this bill is affected -- how it affects process on tribal lands?

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That is the major sticking
point. And it is the issue of non-native men who we know prey on native
women. And that is part of the whole point, is that because they know that
they can sort of skirt the law, it is easier to essentially assault Native
American women on tribal lands.

I think Native American women are assaulted at rates startlingly
higher than other women in this country, about three out of five. And so
this is a very serious problem that these guys are essentially, by this
tactic, by saying they`re going to, you know, introduce their own
legislation -- it is a very cowardly tactic that will delay actually any
kind of movement on this legislation.

Because they have to find a new sponsor and start from scratch. So it
is a very convenient, cowardly way to get out of having to take a stand.

O`DONNELL: And just to clarify what the bill does, it applies to only
assaults that have occurred on tribal lands. And it can -- the tribal
process can only be used with a man who actually has a very strong
connection to the tribal land, either lives there or works there. It is
not just someone passing through who can randomly get caught in some sort
of violence against women speed trap.

FINNEY: Right.

O`DONNELL: And Ana Marie Cox, this notion that the laws of where you
commit a crime apply has been present throughout our legal history.

ANA MARIE COX, "THE GUARDIAN": That is sort of how the law works,
yes. It is where you commit the crime that matters. You know, I think
that this issue of the crimes on tribal land is obviously the thing that
they`re talking about and the sticking point. But I`m really alarmed by
the language of both the Heritage Organization and the other conservative
group you mentioned -- now it`s slipping my mind -- that they would talk
about this as something that somehow the very idea of the Violence Against
Women Act is somehow treating women as helpless victims.

The Violence Against Women Act actually has given women help. It
makes them not victims. It makes them the opposite of helpless victims.
You know, over half of the funding in the Violence Against Women Act goes
to prevention of domestic violence, goes to getting women out of
situations. And law makers -- I mean, law enforcement officers love this
act, not just because it gives them more funding but it actually decreases
arrests.

Fewer men are arrested if you intervene on the process. Families stay
together if you intervene on the process. This is actually a family values
bill. I am shocked and to the point of incoherent that this is something
that Republicans would dare to oppose.

O`DONNELL: Well, you`re not the only one. Let`s listen to what Lisa
Murkowski, Republican senator, said about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: I have urged on multiple occasions
that we move forward with the re-authorization of this very significant
legislation. Have urged the House to do the same last year. They failed
to do that. You don`t give up when the cause is right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Karen Finney, there is someone who knows something about
how this law would operate on tribal lands.

FINNEY: That is right, because Native Alaskan women are also
included. And one thing that is important to note, it is my understanding
that there could be a provisions such that even a non-native man, in this
situation on tribal lands, who was being prosecuted by the tribal courts,
could still maintain their constitutional rights. That is something that -
- obviously that is one of the major sticking points.

I want to say I agree with Ana Marie. But let`s talk about how this
disgusting this reframe is from the Heritage Foundation and Freedomworks.
Essentially what they`re -- at a time when the Republican party is trying
to say that they`re pro-women, they`re basically saying it is OK to abuse
certain kinds of women. And they`re trying to reframe this issue to
actually pit men and women against each other, rather than -- in some kind
of ridiculous assertion that somehow rights and freedoms -- there is like a
limited amount, and if we give more to women, that is going to take away
from men, rather than saying, you know what, let`s just make sure everybody
is protected.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to something that Tom Cole, Republican
congressman who is increasingly the voice of reason in the House for
Republicans, said to the "New York Times." He said, "let`s just talk
politics here. This will have passed the Senate. The president is for it.
And we`re holding up a domestic violence bill that should be routine
because you don`t want to help native women who are the most vulnerable
over a philosophical point."

Ana Marie, it seems to me that these are the situations where House
Republicans are desperately trying to find something to stop this bill.

COX: Yes, it is not even a philosophical point. It is sort of a
legalistic point. It`s the kind of nit-picking for the sake of nit-picking
that makes them look like the sort of obstructionist Congress that they
are. I mean, this ties into their whole theory of government. They just
want to stop stuff from happening that they don`t like. They`re not
actually interested in compromise. They`re interested in spoilers.

And the fact that this has to do with the domestic violence and the
Violence Against Women Act just makes it more obviously disgusting than
some of the other things that they have been against. This is something --
this is a bill that people -- that has decreased domestic violence when it
was authorized, up until 2010. This is something that has actually saved
the country about 15 billion in costs that were averted because of the
intervention and because of the help that local governments got.

O`DONNELL: Ana Marie Cox and Karen Finney, thank you both for joining
me tonight.

FINNEY: Thanks, Lawrence.

COX: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, what does Paul Rudd have in common with Bryant
Gumbel and former President Jimmy Carter? We will find out in tonight`s
Rewrite.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: What does Jessica Alba, stunningly beautiful actress, wife
and mom, have in common with Maya Angelou, renowned poet and winner of the
presidential medal of freedom? What does Alec Baldwin have in common with
Bob Barker and Beyonce. It is actually something that they have in common
with George Clooney and Ellen Degeneres. And no, it is not what you`re
thinking. And oh, by the way, it has nothing to do with show business.

All of those people I have mentioned so far have the same thing in
common, which happens to be the same thing that Kevin Costner and Danny
Devito have in common. You starting to see a pattern here? OK, what does
Sally Field have in common with Doug Flutie, the greatest quarterback of
all time, the author of the best Hail Mary pass I have ever seen, thrown in
the course of a Boston College game in 1984, which was so perfect, so
dramatic that I have never had to watch another football game in my life?
And what does Bryant Gumbel have in common with Dustin Hoffman?

Yeah, we`re kind of going in alphabetical order here, if you figured
that out. And yes, everyone I have mentioned here so far has the same
thing in common. It is the same thing that Diane Keaton, and Lenny
Kravitz, and the author Jonathan Kozal (ph) winner of the National Book
Award in 1968, have in common.

And it what unites, possibly without them knowing, Penny Marshal, John
McEnroe and Michael Moore. And what does the most accomplished multi-
platform director of our time, Mike Nichols, have in common with Britney
Spears? Yes, that`s multiple Tony Award winning director, Golden Globe and
Emmy winning director and Oscar winning director Mike Nichols. What does
he have in common with Britney Spears?

Well, he is about to find out. And does Colin Quinn have in common
with Rob Reiner, Robert Redford and Martin Sheen? Remember, it has
absolutely nothing to do with show business. It is what Meryl Streep and
Sharon Stone have in common with the Temptations.

It is what the most successful movie producer of our time, Harvey
Weinstein, has in common with the incomparable Oprah Winfrey. It is what
Jennifer Aniston has in common with Conan O`Brien. It`s what Chris Rock
has in common with Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York who died last
week. It`s what Paul Rudd has in common with C. Everett Coop, the surgeon
general under President Reagan.

Obviously, I could go on and on with this. But I am going to give you
the final clue of what unlocks this mystery of what all of these people
have in common. Every name I have mentioned so far has this same thing in
common. And here is that final clue that should allow you to figure it all
out.

What does Sarah Silverman have in common with Marion Wright Edelman,
the president and founder of the Children`s Defense Fund? Come on, it is
not obvious yet.

OK, one more. One more hint. What does former President Jimmy Carter
have in common with Rabbi David Saberstein, and Gary Trudeau, the creator
of Dunesbury? And yes, obviously, Gary Trudeau`s wife, Jane Pauly (ph) is
also on this list.

That is your biggest hint so far. It is a list. They`re all on the
same list. Every one of these people that I have mentioned are on an honor
roll. But the people who made the list that they`re all on, the people who
made that list, they don`t think it is an honor roll, because it is their
enemy`s list.

That is right, every name I just mentioned, from Jessica Alba to Jane
Pauly, is on the National Rifle Association`s enemy`s list. And that is
just a small sample of who is on that list. The only O`Donnell on the list
is Rosy. Chris O`Donnell didn`t make it. And unfortunately, nothing I
have said here about blood-drenched lobbyist Wayne LaPierre has been enough
to get my name on the NRA`s enemies list.

In fact, no one from MSNBC has made the NRA`s enemies list, which I`m
sure is disappointing to more than just me. But NBC is on the enemies
list. And by inference, maybe we can presume that everyone picking up a
paycheck in every division of NBC is on the list. So that would put me and
this guy on the list. But I don`t want to be on any list with that guy.
So I will just have to wait patiently for the NRA to put my name their
enemies list.

And when and if they do, I hope they don`t put me on the anti-gun
journalist section of the list, and they probably won`t, because it doesn`t
include a single television journalist, just columnists and cartoonists.
That is where you find Frank Rich, E.J. Dionne, and the legendary "New York
Newspaper" columnist Jimmy Breslin, from whom every newspaper columnist has
learned a thing or two.

I want to be on the fun section of the list, where Albert Brooks is.
It is by far the longest section of the list and includes more friends of
mine than any other part of the list. Richard Balzer, Stockard Channing,
Norman Lear, Spike Lee, Rob Lowe, Madonna. OK, I don`t really know
Madonna. I just met her once a long time ago. But you get the idea. This
is the fun group. This is where you want to be on that list.

So here is hoping the next time the NRA Rewrites their enemies list,
they find a way to squeeze me in with the fun crowd. It really would be an
honor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GABRIELLE GIFFORDS, FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN: We have a problem where we
shop, where we pray, where our children go to school. But there are
solutions we can agree on, even gun owners like us. Take it from me,
Congress must act. Let`s get this done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was Gabby Giffords in the first ad sponsored by her
political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions. One
solution in the gun control debate that both sides of the aisle seem to
agree on is strengthening the nation`s mental health care system. Last
week, actor Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell of the Oscar
nominated film "Silver Linings Playbook, which shows the struggles of
people with mental illness, met with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss
access to mental health treatment.

The Oscar nominated director David O. Russell also joined a bipartisan
group of senators as they introduced the Excellence in Mental Health Act,
which would expand options for mental health treatment at the local level.
For Russell, access to mental health care is personal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID O. RUSSELL, DIRECTOR, "SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK": Our film, I
made it for personal reasons. It`s because I am the father of a son who
struggled with mood disorder. I have lived through many of the things that
are in the film, as has his mother. When your son is 11 and they have a
mood disorder and they turn to you and say they`re not so happy about the
business called living, you would do just about anything for that child,
wouldn`t you, to turn that around?

So he loved stories. He loved movies. So I said let`s make a movie
that is about you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now, David O. Russell. I just saw the movie
last night. I think I am the last person in the country to see it. You
know what, there`s a marketing problem for me in the movie. The football
stuff imagery in the commercials made me -- I don`t care about football.

You could have had a commercial that says, this is a wonderful love
story that is fun and -- and includes dancing. I would have, you know,
been first in line. I was slow because of those promos.

RUSSELL: I don`t know what to tell you. I get it. The movie has all
of those things in it. Robert Deniro`s character is a book maker, and that
is part of the neighborhood obsession, is the Eagles. But I get it. But
there`s a heart story in there that is about someone who struggles with
bipolar.

O`DONNELL: I want to talk about some of the politics you`ve been
drawn into. It turns out that after the Newtown shooting, one of the
things that`s coming up in Washington is the mental health issue. Your
movie comes out at a time where that dialogue is going on in an intense
way.

You were in it, there. And I want to listen to something that Senator
Debbie Stabenow said about it after seeing your movie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D), MICHIGAN: I have to tell you, it touched my
life and my family`s life in a way that few other movies have. When I was
growing up, my dad had a mental illness. We didn`t know what it was. In
the `60s, everybody was called schizophrenic. We discovered at the time
what was a disease called the manic-depressive. We now say bipolar.

And there are scenes -- I told David there are scenes in the movie
that I can personally identify with. I had the opportunity to see the
movie with my mom, and she did, as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: You must be getting that kind of comment from people
everywhere, and not just senators, that they see things in the movie that
they have experienced with relatives of theirs.

RUSSELL: That is one of the most satisfying things about the film.
I, as many families, have been dealing with this for a long time. My son
is going to be 19. I`ll deal with it for the rest of my life. And many
families will.

But during the course of the movie, I now meet many people everywhere
I go -- I met your makeup person. Everywhere I go -- Jay Leno tells me
that he has someone in his family. Everyone tells me a story, that they
have someone in their family who has faced these struggles. And the whole
family must rally around it and deal with it. Sometimes they have the
right resources, and sometimes they don`t.

And sometimes the state of New York tells you here is where your kid
should go. And you say, well, that is the program for violent offenders;
why is that my only option? And the state says because we`re broke and
this is what we got.

I am on the board of my son`s school, the Glenhome School, which is a
fantastic school in Connecticut. But there are parents who have to fight
to get some state funding to send their kids to that school because the
other option is to go where there is violent offenders, because the state
is like, well, we got everybody together here; that`s all we got. That is
not a good solution.

O`DONNELL: Senator Franken raised a point in the hearing they had on
gun control in the Senate about let`s not go too far here. Let`s not find
-- let`s not find ourselves stigmatizing people with mental issues and
suggesting that this means that they are dangerous and likely to use
firearms, that that is not borne out by what we know.

RUSSELL: No, I don`t think you want -- the stigma -- I think the
beauty of the movie is that it has helped open up the dialogue and remove
the stigma. I don`t think that it should be a stereotype. There`s as
different as fingerprints.

They`re -- everybody who suffers from this is very different and the
treatments are all different. But no, I think you do want to have a
community that has resources to address it before it becomes a crisis. And
in this country, because of the stigma, sometimes it isn`t addressed until
it`s a crisis. And everybody wakes up and someone is doing something.
Well, where were you with this person ten years ago or five years ago?

It takes an enormous amount of awareness. And if there is a stigma,
there is not a conversation. People don`t want to talk about it. They
don`t want to lose their job. They`re afraid of what other people are
going to think about them or their family if they say, my -- someone in my
family has this issue, or I have this issue.

I mean, former Representative Kennedy, from Rhode Island, told me --
said that he didn`t want to be public about it, because how can you be in
politics and openly say you struggle with depression or something; you will
lose your job. But then the dialogue gets shut down. So we have to remove
the stigma.

And I think that is a nice thing that came from the film, is that
people are talking about it. So many people have written me. Professional
athletes have written me. So there are a lot of people saying, thank you
for making this OK. It is a movie that is warm and has humor in it, and I
can talk about it now, and I don`t feel like I have to hide the stuff.

O`DONNELL: It is a great book that you found, that you adapted into
this movie. But -- and it seems to me it is something you could have been
drawn to even without having this issue in your family, because the
material is just so perfect for a movie.

RUSSELL: Yeah, it is charming. It`s enchanting. It`s emotional.
It`s intense. It`s all the things I look for in a movie. I came off "The
Fighter," which is an intense story. I think that is when I first met you.

And this is also an intense story. It`s also a family story, but it
also has enchantment in it. Because I can`t make it through the tough
parts. I`ve got that Frank Cappa in me. I can`t make it through the tough
parts unless I have something enchanting. And I think all communities need
that. All communities need something good to get them through what is bad.

O`DONNELL: Can you hang around and continue this discussion? We`ll
post the rest of it online. Because we are out of time in the TV show
called THE LAST WORD. THE LAST WORD goes to David O. Russell tonight.
Thank you very much, David.

And check out the rest of what we have to say on our website at THE
VERY LAST WORD. "THE ED SHOW" is next.

END

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