updated 3/6/2013 11:32:56 AM ET 2013-03-06T16:32:56

THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
March 5, 2013

Guests: Nia-Malika Henderson, Barbara Buono; Mark Potok


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: A couple of hours ago, Bill O`Reilly really
lost it on his show. And tonight, fair and balanced Bill is one very angry
Republican.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: Give me one damned program he said he`d cut.
One!

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Smart spending cuts,
entitlement reform, tax reform.

ALAN COLMES, FOX NEWS: Why are you yelling?

O`REILLY: Because you`re lying!

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC HOST: The sequel to the sequester.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody has agreed that the sequester is
idiotic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why can`t you fix this?

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Real leadership would get this
fixed. Get everybody in the room and you fix it.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN: OK!

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Is it just that easy?

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Lindsey Graham says that the president
has called him --

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president had
conversations with Republicans and Democrats.

MITCHELL: -- and wants to do a big budget deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new hope for a bigger bargain.

CARNEY: There`s a caucus of common sense out there.

O`REILLY: You are lying here!

COLMES: Don`t just sit is there and call me a liar.

O`REILLY: No!

CARNEY: There is a caucus of common sense here.

COLMES: Why are you yelling?

STEWART: OK!

(LAUGHTER)

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: I`m not saying yes. I`m just
not saying no.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC`S "THE CYCLE": I think I know how to recycle
those old Bush 2000 yard signs.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC ANCHOR: Bush may actually be running.

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: He is very serious about the idea of
running for president.

BUSH: We can`t continue to make illegal immigration --

TODD: His evolution on immigration reform.

BUSH: -- an easier path than legal immigration.

TODD: Or is it a flip-flop?

WAGNER: He`s backing down on moderation.

BUSH: A path to citizenship, which I would support --

WAGNER: And trying to prove his conservative bona fides.

BUSH: I don`t see how you do it. We wrote this book last year. So,
I have supported both.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Left to right, left to right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think the timing is just unfortunate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He starts to look like Mitt Romney. It`s not a
good place to be.

BUSH: So I have supported both.

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I said is not
what I believe.

BUSH: I have supported both.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Anger comes all to easily to Bill O`Reilly, and tonight,
Bill`s ignorance took his anger to new television heights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`REILLY: He just says, we want to raise taxes, here, let`s raise
them again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right --

O`REILLY: Even though I just got one. There`s nothing put forth.
Nothing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he`s not a problem solver, he is a
fundamental transformer. You have to understand that. He is not a normal
president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: He was just getting warmed up there. That wasn`t even
batting practice.

But before I show you how crazy Bill got tonight, to be fair and
balanced about this whole thing, let`s just keep this in mind -- this is
very important. Bill O`Reilly is a very, very busy man. When he`s not
rubbing elbows with Hollywood liberals at Oscar parties, the same Hollywood
liberals he claims to oppose in his so-called culture war, Bill is busy
watching his co-author write his huge best-selling books, or he is busy
being the richest man in the short history of cable news.

And so, he doesn`t have time to actually consume news himself. He`s
not the only guy too busy to consume news.

Ezra Klein found for us last week a respected Republican legislator
who thought it would be a game changer for President Obama to say he`d be
open to chained CPI. Another reporter jumped in, "But it is on the table.
They tell us three times a day that they want to do chained CPI."

"Who wants to do it?" said the legislator. "The president," replied
the reporter. "I`d love to see it," laughed the legislator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: David, as you know, one of the proposals we made was something
called chained CPI.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, if a Republican congressman, who is being paid
taxpayer dollars to know these things does not know these things, why would
anyone expect Bill O`Reilly to know these things? Bill O`Reilly`s not
being paid taxpayer dollars to know these things. Bill O`Reilly is being
paid $15 million FOX News dollars to beat up liberals on TV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLMES: I disagree with what`s being said here. He`s offered $2.50
in tax cuts for every $1 in tax increases.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you talking about?

O`REILLY: No, that`s not specific.

COLMES: But it`s history. Yes, he has.

O`REILLY: No! That`s not --

COLMES: He`s offered cuts on Medicare. He`s offered cuts on
entitlements.

O`REILLY: No, that`s not specific. He has to say, here are the
programs that are going to go down, here`s how we`re going to reform
Medicare and Social Security, and the man refuses to do it.

COLMES: That`s not true.

O`REILLY: Yes, it is!

COLMES: He`s said he`s willing to cut these programs.

O`REILLY: Hold it! Because now I`m getting t`d off at you.

Give me one damn program he said he`d cut. One!

COLMES: He said he`d cut entitlements.

O`REILLY: No, not entitlements! One program!

COLMES: Why are you yelling?

O`REILLY: Because you are lying!

COLMES: I`m not lying here! Don`t call me a liar.

O`REILLY: You are lying here.

COLMES: Don`t sit there and call me a liar.

O`REILLY: No, you are lying! Hey, here`s the truth --

COLMES: You don`t like the president, you don`t like what he`s doing,
but don`t sit there and call me a liar.

O`REILLY: I am.

This is why I`m calling you a liar. Give me one program he said he`d
cut.

COLMES: He would cut Medicare and Medicaid.

O`REILLY: That`s not a specific program.

COLMES: You asked me a program.

O`REILLY: All right.

COLMES: Those are programs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining me now are MSNBC`s Joy Reid, managing editor for
"The Grio", and Jared Bernstein, former chief economist to Vice President
Biden.

I want to go to former vice president`s chief economist, just to
clarify one thing. Let`s just get this one thing clarified.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure.

O`DONNELL: Just give me a yes or no, Jared. Is Medicare a program?

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

O`DONNELL: OK. Joy Reid, moving on here, I just want to get the
table set here.

JOY REID, THE GRIO: What?! It`s a program? Are you kidding?

BERNSTEIN: You`re not going to start yelling at me and calling me a
liar, are you? Right?

O`DONNELL: I am.

BERNSTEIN: Thanks.

O`DONNELL: Now, look, as we know, as I think we all know, the Irish
are very good at anger and no one better at it than Bill O`Reilly. But,
Joy, this is -- this is exactly what Ezra Klein found last week in that
very important interview with the unnamed congressman who had no idea that
President Obama had said, repeatedly, he was for a very substantial,
significant change in Medicare -- in Social Security, and Medicare, chained
CPI, for example, on Social Security, all sorts of adjustments to the cost
of Medicare, and they just don`t know this.

I mean, O`Reilly, it`s very clear, I don`t think Bill O`Reilly knows
who Ezra Klein is. I don`t think he consumes any of the news that comes
out of here, obviously. And just doesn`t consume anything outside of that
bubble.

REID: Yes, and I think what`s interesting in watching it, first of
all, it never gets less awkward watching Bill O`Reilly just literally
losing his mind and screaming at Alan Colmes. It was really uncomfortable
to watch.

But I think what you`re seeing there is the frustration of Republicans
who kind of don`t understand the terms of the debate. To your point term,
they don`t really understand the budget. I think Jared Bernstein will back
me up on this. If you look at the budget of the United States, something
like 71 percent of it is split between defense, which is about 24, 25
percent, I think, as of this fiscal year, Social Security, pension
programs, those kinds of things, and health care -- meaning incorporating
Medicaid, Tricare, Medicare, that kind of thing.

So two-thirds of the budget is very difficult to cut, because there`s
such a political constituency for it, you saw the pain that Republicans
like Lindsey Graham went through with a slight cut in defense. If you get
to the stuff they want to cut, that they want the president to put his
political capital on the line and say, I`ll cut that, that`s a very tiny
sliver of the actual budget. All of the welfare program are like 10, 11
percent of the budget.

So, you, really, if you want to name stuff you want to cut, they`re
very small and wouldn`t save a lot of money, and they`re also things that
would make you look terrible, make you look like Simon Legree.

But they want the president to use his political capital to say, yes,
I`ll cut home heating, yes, I`ll cut meals on wheels. But they are the
ones who want to do that. They should say it.

O`DONNELL: And, Jared, the president in the State of the Union
address went through a litany of things he was prepared to cut and things
that he was suggesting they might be able to reach compromises on, that he
didn`t get very specific about, but said, I`m willing to get into
discussions about that.

How is the president supposed to be able to get into discussions with
the other side of the aisle, when people like this congressman and O`Reilly
have no idea, absolutely no idea what he has already proposed by way of
real cuts?

BERNSTEIN: Yes, I`ll speak to that in a second. But I just want to
be clear that it`s not just proposed, it`s actually enacted.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

BERNSTEIN: Remember, you have to be pretty checked out not to know
this. Remember, during the campaign, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan attacked
President Obama, relentlessly, for cutting $700 billion from the growth of
the Medicare in the Affordable Care Act.

By the way, it was kind of interesting, because they used to say, he
refuses to tackle entitlements, and then they`d accuse him of cutting
Medicare. So there`s all kinds of crazy out there.

And interestingly, Colmes was right when he said something -- you just
played the tape, he said something about $2.50 of spending cuts to every $1
of tax increases. It`s actually $2.30 to $1 -- $2.30 of spending cuts have
been legislated, they`re on the books, relative to $1 of tax increases.

Finally, how can you not know there`s a sequester going on? And those
are, in fact, of course, budget cuts.

Now, look, I think the reason you can get away with this is because if
you actually look at polling data, people don`t know this stuff. Six
percent of the public thinks the deficit has gone up over the past few
years. It`s actually been cut by half.

So there`s just a tremendous amount of misinformation out there. I
appreciate the chance to clear it up, occasionally, on our airwaves, but,
frankly, we need to do better.

O`DONNELL: And, Joy, this goes to something that Newt Gingrich said
in his interview with Steve Kornacki about how Republicans have just been
talking to each other and they`ve been in their own bubble of information,
and they`re -- they don`t really -- they weren`t really connecting to
reality in the last campaign. And, you know, there`s O`Reilly, just in a
perfect, perfect demonstration of exactly what we`re talking about.

But, you know, look, I do want to be fair. He`s a very busy guy. He
was out here in L.A. for the Oscar parties. So, he had to decide. It
takes time, you know, Joy, those Oscar parties. You`ve got to decide what
you`re going to wear.

REID: True.

O`DONNELL: You know, how you`re going to get there, and the idea that
you`d be sitting around, say, I don`t know, watching Ezra Klein on THE LAST
WORD explain these things to you is very unlikely, I think, in O`Reilly`s
circumstance.

REID: No, I agree. He`s a very busy man, you`re absolutely right.

But I wonder what he was doing in the summer of 2011 when the
president first put out his plan to avert these ideas of automatic budget
cuts through the sequester. The president and the White House has been
sort of trying to pitch this plan and let people know what they wanted to
do, and it`s been out there, but you keep having Republicans repeatedly
say, they won`t tell us what they want to do and they won`t give us a plan.

And in the same day, by the way, it`s not just the president, you had
John Boehner insisting the Senate won`t act when, in fact, Harry Reid keeps
trying to bring sequester replacement bills to the floor, and Mitch
McConnell keeps filibustering them, even Republican ones.

So, you know, we have this situation where you can say whatever you
want, I suppose, to your own base, and they can convince Republicans that
nothing`s being done by Democrats, but reality just keeps intruding and it
makes them mad.

O`DONNELL: And, Jared, Lindsey Graham is saying that the president is
working hard on this, and making phone calls directly to senators who they
might be able to negotiate, including Lindsey Graham. Let`s listen to what
Senator Graham had to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He`s calling people, this is
how you solve hard problems. He`s working the phones, talking about, you
know, following up on that, and how can we get more people in the mix. So,
what I see from the president is incredibly encouraging, maybe because of
sequestration and frustration with the public. The time is right to act
and what I see from the president is probably the most encouraging
engagement on a big issue I`ve seen since the early years of his
presidency.

REPORTER: How long was your conversation?

GRAHAM: He wants to do the big deal.

I think to get our Democratic friends to move on entitlements, we`re
going to have to move on revenue by flattening the tax code, eliminating
deductions, and preserving some of that money for the debt. I just think
we know what to do, we know how to end this, what the big deal should be
made of.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jared, does that sound like a big opening to you, with
Lindsey Graham, something of a breakthrough, when he says, we`re going to
have to move on revenue?

BERNSTEIN: It sounds like a small opening to me. Lindsey Graham has,
on occasion, talked about these kinds of bipartisan compromises, and that`s
to his credit.

I was testifying this morning in the Senate, and Jeff Sessions, the
ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, Republican, said, absolutely
not, on revenue. We were talking about how closing tax expenditures, tax
loopholes, the kind of things that Mitt Romney ran on and Republicans were
often talking about closing these inefficient, wasteful loopholes in the
tax code. That was the point of this hearing this morning.

And as far as Jeff Sessions was concerned, that`s a tax hike -- he
sounded like Grover Norquist -- it wasn`t going to happen.

So unless you`ve got enough Republicans in the House and the Senate
who sound like Lindsey Graham, who really did sound like there he was
trying to find that kind of, that compromise. I think it`s just a small
opening.

O`DONNELL: Joy Reid and Jared Bernstein, I am very glad that neither
one of you ticked me off, because I can go O`Reilly --

BERNSTEIN: So am I, man.

REID: Me too.

O`DONNELL: I can go O`Reilly just as bad as he can.

BERNSTEIN: I don`t believe that. I would have to see that.

O`DONNELL: Believe me, there are some people who could tell you about
it.

Thank you very much for joining me tonight.

REID: Thank you.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, looks like Jeb Bush wants to win the next
presidential nomination Romney-style, which is very good news for
Democrats.

And in the rewrite, we are still patiently awaiting the apologies from
all the Wall Street experts who said the stock market would crash if
President Obama was re-elected. None of them, none of them found room in
their hearts for an apology when the stock market today reached an all-time
high.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: OK. So Chris Christie is polling at an all-time high in
New Jersey. His re-election as governor seems virtually assured. Newark
Mayor Cory Booker, who had been thinking of running for governor, has
chosen the safer course of running for Senate.

And so who, who does that leave to run against Chris Christie in New
Jersey? In a LAST WORD exclusive, the very brave woman who has stepped
forward to be the Democratic candidate for governor in New Jersey will join
me. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: So you`re Jeb Bush. And of course, it`s time for you to
run for president. And you have a few recent models to look at like, for
example, the last two Republicans to actually win presidential elections,
who happen to be your father and your brother.

And instead, the model you choose is the Romney flip-flopping model.
Jeb Bush is now on the virtual campaign trail, which at this stage, always
begins with a book tour that gives the candidate an excuse to travel around
the country, talking politics on TV. Usually these books are general and
very vague. Jeb Bush foolishly chose to go in a very different direction.
His book is targeted and specific, entitled, "Immigration Wars: Forging an
American Solution."

The trouble for Jeb Bush, who like all politicians, didn`t actually
write the book himself, is that he and the writing team that produced the
book had to forge an American solution to immigration before the election
in which the Republican position on immigration got wiped out at the polls,
71 percent of the Latino vote voted against the Republican candidate for
president.

And starting the day after the election in a political phenomenon that
has apparently escaped Jeb Bush`s attention, the Republican Party started
flipping fast on immigration. Sean Hannity and many others were suddenly
open to creating a path to citizenship for undocumented residents.

And then, then Jeb Bush`s book comes out this week, saying, "It is
absolutely vital to the integrity of our immigration system that actions
have consequences, in this case, that those who violated the laws can
remain, but cannot obtain the cherished fruits of citizenship."

Here is Jeb Bush, on the first stop on his book tour yesterday, on the
"Today" show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: When it comes to a path to citizenship, all
right, you fall short of that. That not -- you want legal residency.

BUSH: Yes.

LAUER: But you want people to admit they`ve committed a crime by
coming here illegally to pay back taxes, pay some fines, but not offer them
a path to citizenship. If they do all the things you`ve asked of them, why
not grant that right to become an American?

BUSH: Because this proposal is a proposal that looks forward. And if
we want to create an immigration policy that`s going to work, we can`t
continue to make illegal immigration an easier path than legal immigration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: That was a pretty big flip-flop from what Jeb Bush had to
say just nine months ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Either a path to citizenship, which I would support, and that
does put me, probably out of the mainstream of most conservatives, or a
path to legalization, a path to residency, of some kind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jeb Bush quickly got tangled up by the media in
yesterday`s flip-flop, and began to flip back toward his original position.
This morning, on this network, on "MORNING JOE," he was saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: So, going forward, we broke this last year, going forward, if
there is a difference, if you can craft that in law, where you can have a
path to citizenship, where there isn`t an incentive for people to come
illegally, I`m for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: So, Jeb Bush was for it before he was against it, and now
he is kind of, sort of, for it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: So, I have is supported both, both a path to legalization or a
path to citizenship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And tonight, the one person in America for whom all of
that makes perfect sense is, of course, Mitt Romney.

Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst, Steve Schmidt, who served as
senior adviser to John McCain`s 2008 presidential campaign, and Nia-Malika
Henderson of "The Washington Post."

Steve, this is a rough way to start the book tour, with the flip-
flopping. You`d think that Jeb Bush was up to speed on this issue.

STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, even the best
quarterbacks throw an occasional interception, no doubt of that.

O`DONNELL: On the first play of the game.

SCHMIDT: Even the first play of the game.

Look, Jeb Bush has been a longtime proponent of immigration reform.
He`s been a voice of reason on this issue in the Republican Party. He`s an
important voice in the Republican Party on this issue.

And I think he took a momentary detour, but is back to the right
place, which is that once people who are here illegally become regularized,
get their green cards, if they choose, after they wait the period of time
that you need to wait, the number of years once you have a green card and
they go through the citizenship process, that they have an ability to
become citizens like anyone else who has a green card.

O`DONNELL: Nia, he explained the flip-flop, basically, by saying,
well, you know, we wrote this last year. And as we all know in book
publishing, the book gets locked in print a few months before it comes out.
And so, there he was, stuck with, you know, October`s Republican thinking
on immigration.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, THE WASHINGTON POST: That`s right. And it was
a vastly different position that he outlined there. It wasn`t just a
momentary detour, it`s a book-long detour and very different from the path
that his brother staked out and the position that he staked out as well.

This is surprising. I really don`t get it. Maybe he`s running for
president. I don`t think there`s a huge outcry in the Republican Party,
certainly, among the grassroots for him to get in a race. He obviously sat
on the sidelines in 2008, and 2012.

And the party has moved beyond where he was. He once, I think, was
the face of the moderate Republican Party. He speaks Spanish and had great
relations, I think, with Latinos in Florida and certainly was a good
governor down there.

But he just looks like an outsider now. He`s been out of office for
six years. I don`t know how he`s going to stay relevant over these next
four years and mount a credible campaign for the White House, when he is
very much an outsider in terms of this conversation that`s going on.

Rubio, of course, was his protege, but it now looks like the student
has surpassed the teacher.

O`DONNELL: Harry Reid had something, I think, that`s politically
fascinating to say about this. Let`s listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Let`s wait for a few minutes
and see how Jeb Bush changes his mind, again. His opinion on immigration
is not evolving, it`s devolving. He keeps going backwards. I think he`s,
frankly, made a fool of himself the last 24 hours

Frankly, on this issue, I don`t think Jeb Bush is a Florida leader.
I think Marco Rubio is. Bush has been elected to nothing, lately. Rubio
is the leader on immigration and he wants to have an immigration bill. I
appreciate that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Steve, that is a wonderful Senate moment. There is
Senator Reid, saying, ignore that other guy from Florida, who, by the way,
is Marco Rubio`s big problem in running for president, if Jeb Bush runs.
Ignore that other guy from Florida. Pay attention my fellow senator, Marco
Rubio.

It also gives Reid the opportunity to help coax along, actually
getting something done on the issue in the Senate.

SCHMIDT: Yes. He gave him some tough medicine. And look, I think
that when you examine this issue, that for the Republicans, unless we are
able to secure the border, unless we`re able to deal with that, finally,
once and for all, it`s not possible to get a bill done, certainly on the
Democratic side. If you don`t have a pathway to citizenship, it`s not
possible to get a compromise done.

So, it`s just a nonstarter, as a policy proposal and so, I think that
when you look at sequestration and all the dysfunction that`s going on in
government right now, this is one issue where there`s a legitimate chance
to get a deal done. The president`s engaged on it, Republicans are engaged
on it, Senate Democrats are engaged on it, and there`s a great chance that
we can finally make really big progress in getting this important issue
dealt with in this country.

O`DONNELL: Nia, Senator Lindsey Graham said that what Jeb Bush did,
quote, "undercuts what we`re trying to do."

And I find something fascinating about the -- and it happens in both
parties, where there`s this great candidate who has not chosen to run and
then suddenly makes the move, and turns out to just stumble right out of
the gate. We saw it with Rick Perry, who was supposed to come in and take
over that presidential campaign.

And here is Jeb Bush`s first steps on the pre-presidential campaign,
the book tour thing, and he stumbles on day one, on an issue that he was
supposed to be an expert on.

HENDERSON: That`s right. I mean, he is rusty. I think that much is
clear. And I think one of the problems that he would have going into 2016
is he wouldn`t have a platform. It wouldn`t be like Chris Christie, where
he`s governing a state. It wouldn`t be like Marco Rubio, where he`s going
to be involved in all of the tough issues of the day, be it immigration,
sequestration, the budget, gun control.

He`s got to figure out to make himself relevant going forward. And I
think we`ve already seen, it`s going to be tough for him to do that.

And I`ve talked to Republicans. And some Republicans think that he
has sort of, you know, let the moment go by and that he doesn`t have a very
long shelf life in terms of his viability in running for the nomination in
2016.

People compare him to Clinton. But I don`t want see anyone in the
Republican Party who`s really clamoring for the return of a Bush, quite
frankly. And so, I think he`s going to have a tough time, as we`ve already
seen that he`s had one.

O`DONNELL: Steve Schmidt and Nia-Malika Henderson, thank both for
joining me tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, you will meet the one brave Democrat who is
ready to run against Chris Christie in New Jersey. The woman who would be
governor is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: So, a lot of rich Republicans lost a lot of money in the
stock market on President George W. Bush`s watch. And those same very rich
Republicans made an awful lot of money in the stock market on President
Obama`s watch. But they won`t be thanking President Obama anytime soon.
That`s coming up in tonight`s "rewrite."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, guns, paranoia, and hatred.
According to a new report by the southern poverty law center, the crazies
are on the rise. We now have more groups who believe that the federal
government is conspiring to take American`s guns and destroy their
liberties as it paves the world for a global one world government.

Last year, the southern poverty law center counted 1,360 of these
groups, an all-time high. Only 149 existed when Barack Obama won the
presidency in 2008. Today, the southern poverty law center sent a letter
to homeland security secretary Janet Napolitano and attorney general Eric
Holder, warning that the gun control debate itself may lead to even more
such groups.

The furious reaction to the Obama administration`s gun control
proposals is reminiscent of the anger that greeted the passage of the 1993
Brady Bill and the 1994 ban on assault weapons. Now, in the wake of the
mass murder of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school and the
Obama-led gun control efforts that followed, it seems likely that that
growth will pick up speed once again.

Joining me now, the author of that new report, southern poverty law
center`s Mark Potok and MSNBC`s Ari Melber.

Mark, it`s quite striking how the number explosion occurred, starting
in 2008, before we got into Newtown, Connecticut, or any talk of gun
control at all.

MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: It sure is. I mean, the
growth has just been astounding over the last four years. You know, 813
percent growth. We`ve really never seen anything like this in any of the
groups that we count. And as you suggested in your intro, what happened
after that count was completed, as gun control talk began in the wake of
the slaughter in Newtown, is that the whole movement, these groups out
there have gone from sort of red heat to white heat. So, we are in a very
scary moment. It is very much reminiscent, at least to me, of the months
leading up to the Oklahoma City bombing.

O`DONNELL: And Ari, the only thing that occurred in 2008 that you can
link in our politics to this growth is the election of President Barack
Obama.

ARI MELBER, THE NATION: Right, I think the problem for a lot of the
people who talk about common sense or reasonable gun control, when you look
at this context of these patriot and hate groups and the election of Obama,
is that -- and this is difficult, I think, to say, but it has to be said
that a lot of these groups aren`t interested in self-defense weaponry.
They actually see themselves, and if you look at some of the literature and
the text, they see their communities as actually having a buildup of the
kind of weapons that would help them deal with any kind of uprising or
clash with the government itself.

And so, they do want assault weaponry. They do want anything really
big. They sometimes talk about the ar-15 as a quality weapon, because you
can put a grenade launcher appendage on to it. That`s the people, that`s
the face of the NRA today.

O`DONNELL: Mark, this one world government thing, do these people
actually say this with a straight face? Does anyone ever ask them if they
really expect Israel and Saudi Arabia and China to all agree to be part of
the same one world government?

POTOK: Well, no. I don`t think any of them have tried to answer a
question that specific and direct. I mean, look. It`s probably worth
saying that this idea of evil globalists goes way, way, way back to the
League of Nations and even before. So, this is an idea that`s been next to
the radical right in the United States, at least, for a century or more.

But, as you say, it`s really very undefined. You know, somehow these
people are going to come, they are going to force us to be socialist. You
know, those of us who resist will be thrown into FEMA-constructed
concentration camps, you know, and this is all some sort of plot to destroy
the constitution.

So, no, I don`t think it`s terribly well thought out. At the same
time, I think the fears are very real. I think one other thing played into
the enormous expansion of these groups in the last four years, aside from
Obama`s appearance on the political scene, and that, of course, is the
economy, which began to collapse at the very same time as Obama appeared
running for president. So I think that added an element of real fear and
anger and insecurity that made for a kind of perfect storm in terms of
fostering the growth of these groups. Now with the gun control talk, it`s
gotten even worse.

O`DONNELL: OK.

Ari, the only way you can think these things is that you have to be
profoundly ignorant of what`s happening in the world and the way the world
works and the way the United Nations doesn`t work. And, so -- and we
started the show tonight with a demonstration of bill O`Reilly`s abject
ignorance about what President Obama has actually proposed by way of
spending cuts. And there seems to be a straight line you can draw, from
that O`Reilly ignorance, which is on the innocence side of these things,
all the way over to this stuff, which leads to utter dangerous madness.

MELBER: It is dangerous. And while ignorance is a very old problem,
I think the decline of certain institutions, including, quite frankly, the
Republican Party itself, play a role, because there just isn`t as much
sanction for that kind of ignorance.

And it`s not just, of course, on these issues. Many people have
pointed out, including Steve Bennett of MSNBC, that only six percent of the
country is aware that under Barack Obama, the deficit ratio is actually
going down. So, if you don`t know that, then you`re going to have this
whole debate in a vacuum.

And when you talk about guns, the fact that this president, I think by
any standard, has generally been very, very protective of broad second
amendment rights. The things he`s talking about have nothing to do
whatsoever with taking people`s guns away from them in their homes. I like
to mention, I grew up in a home with a gun. I`m not worried about that. I
think background checks and these other proposals are common sense and
work, if you`re open to understanding how they work. When you have that
blockage and you have a lot of institutional support for ignorance, because
it`s politically useful, then you get into these really bad feedback loops.

O`DONNELL: Yes, this phenomenon of believing that a one world
government is going to take over depends on sealing yourself off from
information. And that`s the only point I was making about Bill O`Reilly.
He thinks these people are crazy too. I don`t mean to in any way associate
him with that.

But he also has sealed himself off from information, as Ezra Klein
showed, Republican congressman have, about what President Obama has
proposed. And it seems to be this contagious phenomenon of sealing people
-- people sealing themselves off from real, easily available information.

Mark Potok of the southern poverty law center, thank you very much for
the information you`ve delivered to us in this study. And Ari Melber,
thank you for joining us tonight also.

MELBER: Thanks, Lawrence.

POTOK: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, you will meet the one brave woman who is
willing to run against Chris Christie in New Jersey. The only Democrat,
the only one, who has stepped forward to challenge the governor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Chris Christie finally has an opponent in his re-election
campaign for governor of New Jersey, the woman who wants to be the
Democratic nominee for governor will join me later.

And next in the "rewrite," what Wall Street types refuse to admit
about President Obama. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dow industrial is down 177. That is a sell-off.
Is it an Obama sell-off? We`ll discuss. With Obama`s victory, the takers
have taken over. The makers are clearly in the minority. Am I right?

It`s a sell-off the day after the election, with an Obama second term,
we`re down 183 points, right at 13,062.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: It`s hard, it`s wicked hard, to pick the stupidest player
in the world of Wall Street TV. But that guy, that guy at FOX Business
Network is certainly in the running. The funny thing is, there are more
real facts reported on Wall Street TV shows than any other kind of news
shows. But those real facts are all numbers and there`s a lot of them and
they are all temporary. Some of them not even lasting a full second.

They are the numbers you see at the bottom of the screens and the side
of the screens, stock prices flashing by, where the Dow is, at that second.
Where the S&P is, at that second. Most of everything else that gets said
on those shows is pure junk. And whenever the people on those shows are
talking about anything that occurs outside of lower Manhattan, especially
anything that happens inside of Washington, they are completely lost. They
are virtually all Republicans, and they are virtually all wrong, all the
time, about politics and how politics intersects with Wall Street.

They have always believed electing a Democratic president would be bad
for the stock market and electing a Republican president would be good for
the stock market, and good for them, even though there is absolutely no
evidence of that and plenty of evidence to the contrary. They believe this
even after living through the Clinton presidency, where the stock market
and the economy soared. These are people who claim to be cold-blooded
processors of business information, cold-blooded analysts of where the
money is and where the money`s going. But, in fact, their collective,
relentless, Republican bias gets in the way of their analysis all the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Talking about the debate and the
results, I think we`re seeing a reaction to treasuries. I mean, they`re
selling off today. People, perhaps, more comfortable with Romney`s
proposed execution of managing this economy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the beginning of what will be an even
bigger Romney rally as the days unfold.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: From your mouth to the Bull`s ears.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Now, I know I`m not smart enough to tell you why the
market goes up and why the mark goes down. I have never once said that the
market went up today because of "x" or the market went down today because
of "y." But those guys on TV who tell you why the markets went up and down
also don`t know why the markets went up and down. And if they did, they
wouldn`t be living on those crumby little paychecks from Wall Street TV.
They would be much, much richer people.

Today, just a few months after President Obama`s re-election, Wall
Street found themselves reporting this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, we are now, let`s see, four points away from
the Dow, never, ever being higher, OK? We`re very, very close to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: This is a great economy, this is a
great sign. Smaller investors, get involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: All right, you`re looking live right now
at the corner of wall and broad. This is where the New York stock exchange
is housed. And this is where the investors do the buying thing, maybe
because Washington is finally cutting, whatever? Look at what happened to
the Dow today. It`s at an all-new record.

SANDRA SMITH, FOX BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It was a record-breaking
day on Wall Street with the blue chips hitting an all-time high. At the
closing bell, the Dow finished 126 points higher, at 14,254.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And so, Mitt Romney is richer tonight, thanks to the
soaring stock market. Some would say that Mitt Romney is richer tonight
thanks to President Obama. But I`m not one of those people. I`m not going
to give President Obama credit for the stock market going up on his watch
and I`m not going to blame him on days when the stock market goes down. I
have never given the president credit for that or given the president blame
for the stock market going down, because as I`ve said, I don`t know what
makes the markets go up and what makes the markets go down. And this guy
doesn`t either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dow industrials down 177. That is a sell-off. Is
it an Obama sell-off? We`ll discuss. With Obama`s victory, the takers
have taken over. The makers are clearly in the minority. Am I right?

It`s a sell-off the day after the election with an Obama second term,
we`re down 183 points, right at 13,062.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Now the results are clear. New
Jersey has turned around and is growing again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Seventy one percent of New Jersey voters say Chris
Christie deserves re-election. That may have influenced Newark mayor Cory
Booker not running for governor and choosing to run for what will be an
open Senate seat instead.

So, what Democrat will run against Chris Christie?

Joining me now in a "last word" exclusive interview, the only New
Jersey Democrat with the courage to step forward and run against Chris
Christie so far, New Jersey state senator, Barbara Buono. It`s her first
national interview.

Thanks very much for joining me, senator.

BARBARA BUONO (D), NEW JERSEY STATE SENATOR: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: So, you look at the polls, Chris Christie with this big
approval rating now, and you think, OK, this is my moment. This is when I
need to run for governor against Chris Christie?

BUONO: Actually, that`s not why I`m running. Why I`m running, people
ask me all the time, they say, Barbara, it takes courage to run and I
really don`t feel that way. You see, I don`t see how I couldn`t run. New
Jersey, the state that we`re in is just unacceptable. We have the highest
unemployment in over three decades, it`s stuck at 10 percent. You know, we
have, you know, our property taxes are still the highest in the nation.
They have -- the burden has increased 20 percent under this governor. You
know, we have foreclosures that are the second highest in the nation. The
middle class and the working poor are suffering. And this governor has
turned his back on them. They are voiceless, and they need someone there
to stand up for them. And you know, I feel their struggle, because I`ve
lived it.

My father was an immigrant from Italy, came here when he was 3-years-
old. Settled in Newark, dropped out of high school, became a union
butcher. My mom was an office worker and then a substitute teacher and we
lived in a walkup, in a rented apartment, where my parents slept in the
living room in a foldout bed so my sisters and I could use the bedroom. We
didn`t have a lot of money, but we had opportunity back then.

When my father died, I was 19 and I was able to stay in Montclair
state because college was affordable then. And I was able to get loans and
pay them off because there were jobs back then to pay them off.

You know, my father died, as I said, when I was 19, so when I
graduated college, it was 1975 and it was another recession. And I just
couldn`t find a job, didn`t have a place to live, I had a fire in the
basement of my apartment building, so I lost everything. I didn`t have a
job, I didn`t have a place to live, I actually was on food stamps for a
short while. Actually made the call to the welfare office in Essex County
and you know, I was scared, but I got lucky. I was able to go and live
with my relatives in Newark for a while. And I was able to go to Rutgers
law school the next year because of a national defense student loan.

And so, I`m running, because you know, of the opportunities that I had
-- I`m under no illusion, if I grew up now into the circumstances that I
was born into, I wouldn`t be here as a state senator running for the
governor of New Jersey.

O`DONNELL: Senator Buono, one of the local papers said you should not
be written off, and having just heard your introductory remarks of this
campaign, I don`t think you can be written off in New Jersey. And they
said, the local papers said that you are the anti-Christie. How do you see
yourself as the anti-Christie?

BUONO: Well, you know, I see myself as, there`s certainly a stark
contrast between myself and Governor Christie. Governor Christie supports
his idea of jump-starting the economy is to propose a trickle-down income
tax cut last area. And me and his budget addressed this year, he stated
his support for it again. I support property tax cuts for everyone else.

You know, he coddles millionaires while the rest of New Jerseyans are
struggling under the highest property taxes in the nation. And our state
is unfortunately, and I hate to say this, but we are at the bottom of the
barrel in economic growth. We`re number 47.

So, I would have is an economic plan to pull New Jersey out of the
dire straits we`re in. This governor`s economic message was a campaign
speech. He is not only - he is in denial about our economy. Either he
doesn`t realize or he doesn`t care about the middle class and the working
poor in New Jersey, who are struggling to make ends meet. I mean, he`s out
of touch. He actually vetoed a minimum wage increase. He sent it back to
the legislature. We actually had an increase - cost of living increase and
this, so people don`t have to work a few jobs to make ends meet. He sent
it back to the legislature. He just - will not dignify work with the
living wage and so you know, what I would say to the people of New Jersey
is that with Barbara Buono as your governor, you will have someone who
stands up for you and fights for you and goes to bat for you.

O`DONNELL: Senator Buono, I think you`ve just made it very clear to
me and anyone watching this show that Chris Christie now has a real
campaign on his hands and a real challenger. Thank you very much for
joining us tonight, Senator, and please come back.

BUONO: My pleasure.

O`DONNELL: Thank you. "THE ED SHOW" is up next.

END

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