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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, July 29th, 2013

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THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
July 29, 2013
Guests: Simone Campbell, James Martin, Ashley McLean; Brian Perlmutter;
Barbara Arnwine; Steve McMahon


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: In the polls last week Anthony Weiner was a
top. Now, he`s a bottom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS JANSING, MSNBC ANCHOR: Well, have you heard the latest in the
Anthony Weiner sexting scandal?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anthony Weiner.

MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: Anthony Weiner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anthony Weiner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES: Weiner!

JANSING: Just keeps getting worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now minus one campaign manager.

DAVID AXELROD, FORMER OBAMA SENIOR ADVISOR: At this point, it`s
absurd.

ANTHONY WEINER (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I`m going to leave this to
the people of the city of New York to decide.

AXELROD: He is not going to be the next mayor of New York.

WEINER: It`s their decision. It`s not yours. It`s not some Sunday
talk show pundit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that he needs to drop out of this race.

WEINER: I`m going to leave this to the people of the city of New York
to decide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not afraid to do the dirty work.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time to get out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After all, danger is my middle name. It`s also my
last name.

(LAUGHTER)

BASHIR: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now to the latest on that horrific train crash
in Spain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The driver at the controls now faces multiple
counts of negligent homicide.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot going on this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A court-martial of Private Bradley Manning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The military trial of Bradley Manning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The judge has announced that she will read a
verdict tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pope Francis today offered some of the most
conciliatory comments from any pontiff.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breakthrough comments on the role of gays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the roles of gays in the Catholic Church.

ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: The pope has returned home after a
trip to Brazil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The pope spoke to reporters for an hour and 20
minutes.

MITCHELL: It shows this is a very different kind of pope.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said people should not be marginalized.

TAMRON HALL, MSNBC ANCHOR: He would not judge gay priests for their
sexual orientation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a big reversal from the pope`s
predecessor. The pontiff also said he wants to expand the role of women in
the Catholic Church.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When it comes to the issue of women priests, he
did not endorse that.

MITCHELL: The issue of women in the clergy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said the church had already spoken on that
issue.

BASHIR: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

O`DONNELL: Anthony Weiner took a little shot at the mass of reporters
that have been following him around New York City. It happened at a
mayoral forum about affordable housing and poverty tonight in the Bronx in
New York City.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINER: Thank you very much for inviting me here. And I want to
thank all of the members of the media here. We should have more
conversations with cameras around when we`re talking about people in need,
when we`re talking about poverty and inequality.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In a new Quinnipiac University poll out today, Anthony
Weiner has gone from front-runner to the back of the pack. Anthony Weiner
has dropped 10 points from 26 percent to 16 percent. City Council Speaker
Christine Quinn now back in the lead with 27 percent.

Fifty-three percent of likely New York city voters think Anthony
Weiner should pull out of the mayor`s race, that is. And 40 percent say
Weiner should stay in.

Weiner`s richest Hollywood backer is urging him to stay in. Haim
Saban, an entertainment business billionaire who donated to Anthony
Weiner`s campaign, told the Hollywood Web site the "Wrap", "What Anthony
Weiner has or hasn`t done is an issue between him and his wife. He will
make an excellent mayor. And New Yorkers will be out of their minds to
allow his indiscretions to get in the way of making the right decision for
their city. It`s none of my, yours, or anyone else`s business. Because of
that, I would encourage him to stay in the race."

Anthony Weiner`s campaign manager quit over the weekend. And the "New
York Daily News" reports that in 2011 Anthony Weiner used more than $43,000
in campaign funds to hire a private detective to identify the hacker
Anthony Weiner claimed had posted images to his Twitter account, even when
Weiner knew that he was the one who had posted the photographs.

Anthony Weiner said this about the race for mayor today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEINER: I don`t take my cues on policy from the Sunday talk shows
listening to pundits. I never have. I don`t -- I don`t take my cues from
the headline writers in newspapers. I never have.

Those are the very same people that didn`t want me to run, that didn`t
want New Yorkers to have this choice in the first place. I`m going to keep
talking about the things important to this city.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Jimmy Fallon has an idea for how Anthony Weiner can get
New York City voters to take one more look at him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIMMY FALLON, COMEDIAN: I am Carlos Danger. And today I would like t
officially announce my candidacy for mayor of the New York City. If
elected, I will turn New York City around and give it exactly what it
needs. I`m not afraid to do the dirty work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The triumphant return of Krystal Ball.

How long have you been gone? About a month or so?

KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Something like that.

O`DONNELL: And how many babies did you have in that time?

BALL: Just one. Only the one. It`s not impressive at all.

O`DONNELL: All right. So, no real miracle there.

BALL: Minor miracle.

O`DONNELL: So, Krystal, America is dying to know, they`ve been very
patient.

BALL: Yes.

O`DONNELL: Your reaction to the Anthony Weiner madness that has
erupted in this city.

BALL: Well, there`s two issues here, right? There`s the actual
sexting, what actually happened, and there`s the issue of him lying to the
public and the trust that`s broken. And I think that is really the more
important issue.

I mean, you think about this. Politics is sort of a matter of the
heart, if you will, as you know, Lawrence, and as you know, Ari.

And if you`re thinking about this in terms of relationship, he is like
the terrible boyfriend who cheated on you. He went away, you kicked him to
the curb. He went away for two years. He came back and said I`ve changed,
I promise I`ve changed, and then he does it again. You are not going to
stick with him for too long.

So, there have been comparisons made to Bill Clinton, are we being
hypocritical in the way we`re judging Anthony Weiner here? But he has no
other track record of success for us to weigh this against. There are no
other mitigating factors where we`d say, but gosh, we want to overlook this
because he`d be so great in office.

So, it`s hard for me to see what he is bringing to this race right now
other than his own ego.

O`DONNELL: Ari, there is this great possibility for Weiner here,
which is that he -- if he can feel liberated from the pressure of possibly
winning this thing and feels like I`ve got nothing left to lose here except
to present myself as the best possible candidate I can and free of certain
fears I might have of offending this group or that group because I Anthony
Weiner don`t think I can win, he could then actually become something
really interesting to watch.

ARI MELBER, CO-HOST, "THE CYCLE": Yes. He could be sort of unspooled
--

BALL: He`s been pretty interesting to watch already, I must say.

O`DONNELL: He has actually already. OK.

MELBER: But to your point, he`s out there at the affordable housing
forum or he`s out there on these stages and he`s able to maybe push more
issues and feel like he`s got the whole world against him. It`s a time for
self-reflection and selfie reflection.

But when you look at what he`s done here, there`s a desire to make it
feel like he`s doing something that`s so much worse that no one can get
their arms around. And I think that`s actually an interesting part of this
story that tells us what`s wrong with us and why we have such a problem
with these sex scandals, because it brings back this sort of schizophrenic
part of American culture where we`re very puritanical and we want to take
him down but we`re also sex crazed and we love talking about it.

And I want to make one point about the sexting here. Anthony Weiner
has brought sexting back. We`re all talking about sexting now in the
political media and the broader media.

But a lot of people sext, Lawrence. And if we`re going it talk about
this --

O`DONNELL: Really?

MELBER: Yes. Let me tell you one example. Snapchat is an
application you have on your iPhone, and it`s a way that you can trade or
send photos to someone and they disintegrate in 10 seconds or less. No
hard copy. That`s what Snapchat does.

Now, what do we know about the existence --

BALL: Are you saying this is going to help him with like the youth
vote?

MELBER: Let me tell you something. This same scandal in 30 years
will go over differently. But Snapchat you say what does that mean if
there`s that application?

BALL: Well, I --

MELBER: Let me give you a number to think about, and I want you
especially, Krystal, to think about this, as you raise your child.

BALL: OK.

MELBER: Two hundred million photos on Snapchat every day, 200 million
photos. Majority of people who use Snapchat in a poll say they have
received dirty pictures that way. OK?

We are talking about something that a lot of young --

BALL: But we`re also talking --

MELBER: Two hundred million a day.

O`DONNELL: Two hundred million.

BALL: What`s the Web site again?

MELBER: Log right on to Snapchat. Free advertising.

BALL: The other element, here, is he`s not just sexting with someone.
He is using his position of power to essentially lure in young girls --

O`DONNELL: Oh, come on. This one? She`s on every TV show she can
possibly sell herself to. She`s marching down the beach at Santa Monica
saying please take a picture of me.

BALL: She`s not the only one. He can`t even remember how many there
have been. He`s not sure what`s appropriate and what`s not.

O`DONNELL: He didn`t lure this one in.

The -- guess who has jumped on the anti-Anthony Weiner bandwagon.
I`ll just show you this little piece from "HARDBALL" today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST, "HARDBALL": Can you just say that now? You
don`t think he should be mayor of New York?

ELIOT SPITZER (D), FORMER NY GOVERNOR: Fair point. That is correct.

MATTHEWS: He should not be mayor of New York?

SPITZER: That is correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: He doesn`t take the who am I to judge position that you
will actually hear the pope taking later in this show.

BALL: Right.

O`DONNELL: There`s Eliot Spitzer, I`m willing to sit in judgment of
others.

BALL: Yes, I a tough place for him in particular to sit. And I do
think that there`s a distinction between the two of them. I don`t think
it`s fair to lump them together. Because as far as we know at least Eliot
Spitzer hasn`t gone back to his old ways.

So -- and he`s also not asking for a promotion. So I do think there`s
a difference there. And he has a record of accomplishment.

MELBER: But he had physical carnal sex --

O`DONNELL: He touched somebody.

(CROSSTALK)

O`DONNELL: He committed maybe two crimes in the process. One, a
currency control crime of withdrawals over $10,000. Issues of how much
money he withdrew in cash -- withdrew in cash.

And also he engaged in the crime involved with prostitution, which
Anthony Weiner hasn`t done. I mean, I find it very interesting that people
are weighing these things and trying to say one`s worse than the other.

BALL: Right.

O`DONNELL: Or Clinton`s worse than this or he`s not worse than
Clinton, all this stuff. And I`m wondering, have we become more prudish,
more conservative? By the way, I don`t believe there`s a more prudish
group on earth than the political press corps and pundit world. They all
live at a level far on the extreme side of prudishness compared to America
itself.

But it`s fascinating to me that -- it may be something in the graphics
of the Weiner story that makes it harder for the political media to face
than any of these previous scandals that they`ve been up against.

BALL: I think that`s right. And I also think that there`s not just a
judgment about the sex and the actual act and where does that stand on its
merits? There`s also a judgment of the entire person and what they`re
bringing in terms of their --

O`DONNELL: Why not do that with everybody else who gets --

BALL: But I think they are. I think that`s the point. Is there`s a
sense not only that Weiner is flawed in this way but also that he`s not
bringing a whole lot to the table except his own ego and narcissism in
terms of this race.

MELBER: I dissent from that.

BALL: It`s a very different situation.

MELBER: I don`t think the political media has made a fine-grain
analysis s of him as a leader. I think they have something that reporters
and lawyers have always had in common. They love evidence. This is a
story with a lot of evidence.

O`DONNELL: Exhibits.

MELBER: Exhibits. Pictures. Self-inflicted wounds.

I`m not voting for Anthony Weiner, as I told you last week. But the
idea that he should be subjected to this test just because there`s so much
more evidence of in world we`re living in and the way he did it I think
doesn`t wash --

BALL: Hold on. But it`s not just the political elite. You showed
the polling numbers that a majority of likely Democratic voters in this
city think that he should get out of the race. So, it`s not just people --

MELBER: For the moment. But those numbers work both ways --

(CROSSTALK)

MELBER: He was number one -- he was number one two weeks ago when
they also knew this about him. They were all over the place.

O`DONNELL: And remember, in this poll he`s gone from top to bottom.
But there`s only 10 points, 11 points separating him and the front-runner,
and he`s got 16 percent of New York with him tonight still.

BALL: You just want to talk about him for the rest of the race.

MELBER: Lawrence, I think those are the Snapchat voters.

O`DONNELL: There you go. Krystal Ball, this discussion was just
empty without you. We needed you here --

BALL: You know, I actually watched you guys last week, and I was like
I want to be there.

O`DONNELL: Yes, thank you very much. Krystal Ball and Ari Melber,
thank you both.

MELBER: Thanks, Lawrence.

BALL: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Mitt Romney is trying to rewrite his most
amazing moment as a presidential candidate, that 47 percent thing. Now, he
says, quote, "Actually, I didn`t say that." The delusional Mitt Romney has
worked his way back into the "Rewrite."

And today the pope had some extraordinary things to say about gay
people and women`s role in the church. Sister Simone and Jesuit priest
James Martin will answer the question, which is not only half a joke. Is
the pope a Catholic?

And North Carolina has passed an extreme voter suppression law.
Today, the president and attorney general met with civil rights leaders to
strategize the way forward under the Voting Rights Act now that the Supreme
Court has limited its use.

And later a real fight, this is real, erupted between Chris Christie
and Rand Paul. You`ve got to see it. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: If voters in Virginia are using Google to find out more
about their Republican candidate for Governor Ken Cuccinelli, they`re
coming up with an interesting set of choices. After his name, the very
first phrase that pops up, Ken Cuccinelli, sodomy.

THE LAST WORD hereby takes credit for much of the Google traffic
involving Ken Cuccinelli and sodomy since we were the first to reveal to a
national television audience exactly what Ken Cuccinelli thinks sodomy is,
and why he thinks all forms of human sex other than married heterosexual
vaginal sex should be illegal in Virginia.

Up next, an extraordinary change in tone from the pope on the matter
of homosexuality and the priesthood and sin itself and the role of women in
the church. Sister Simone will join me. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: "I feel I have many weaknesses and problems. I am a
sinner." Those are not my words. And no, they are not yet the words of
Anthony Weiner. But they were spoken today by the pope of the Roman
Catholic Church.

In an extraordinary 82-minute exchange with reporters on the plane
back from Rio to Rome, where more than 3 million people attended a papal
mass on Copacabana Beach, the pope answered a range of potentially
difficult questions with ease, including one about the existence of a so-
called "gay lobby" of cardinals operating inside the Vatican.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POPE FRANCIS, CATHOLIC CHURCH (translated): Everyone writes about the
gay lobby, I still haven`t found anyone who gives me an identity card in
the Vatican with gay written on it. They say there are these people. I
think when someone finds themselves with a person like this, they need to
make a distinction between being a gay person and that of being part of a
lobby. All lobbies are not good, that is the bad thing. If a person is
gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I judge him?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Previous popes have, of course, been judging gay people
and judging them harshly. In 2005, Pope Benedict signed a document that
said homosexual men should not be priests. When asked today about a
monsignor in the Vatican who was suspected of being involved in a gay
tryst, the pope said that case was investigated according to canon law and
no such evidence was revealed.

But the pope made a very important distinction about that case. Since
he allegations involved consenting adults, the pope said that what they
were investigating were issues of sin, not crimes like sexually abusing
children. And the pope pointed out that when someone sins and confesses
God not only forgives, he forgets, according to Catholic teaching. About
such forgiven sins the pope said today, "We don`t have a right to not
forget."

Joining me now on what those words signal for the Catholic Church,
Sister Simone Campbell, leader of Nuns on the Bus, which is a part of the
network of national Catholic social justice lobby. And Father James
Martin, editor at large for "America" magazine.

Sister Simone, the pope also touched on the role of women in the
church. He said, "We still do not have a theology of women. We need to
create one. The church has discussed the ordination of women bishops and
has decided against it. John Paul II gave a definitive answer to this. So
that door is closed.

But let us remember that Mary is more important than the bishop`s
apostles, so women in the church are more important than bishops and
priests."

Sister Simone, what`s your reaction that?

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, NUNS ON THE BUS: Well, I`m not sure that we
feel we`re more important in the church. I think the pope`s statements
evidence, one, that he knows that women are smart, are educated, have a lot
to offer, and commented on many roles that women could play in the church.

I think on the issue of ordination, however, he did say that that door
is closed. But just on Sunday, we had the reading from the gospel of the
story of the man who went and pounded on the door of his neighbor and kept
pounding until he got what he wanted, which was food for another person.

And so, I sort of feel like, well, if the door is closed then maybe
that alludes to the Scripture where we just keep pounding long enough and
Jesus said it`s like prayer if you`re annoying enough, if you`re
persistent, something good will happen.

O`DONNELL: Father Martin, in the -- just picking the words apart, as
we do with popes, I`m reading -- and this maybe translation issue. But he
said the church has discussed the ordination of women bishops and has
decided against it.

Is that word bishops the operative word there? Is he leaving open
possibly the lower ranks in the clergy?

FATHER JAMES MARTIN, CATHOLIC PRIEST: I don`t think so. I think that
was probably more of a slip of the tongue. He`s talking about ordination.
As Sister Simone was saying, that the door was closed.

But, you know, in other --

O`DONNELL: But when he says we still do not have a theology of women,
we need to create one -- a statement that broad seems to also include the
possibility that that closed door in this institution, which has had many
closed doors in the past that have opened, that that closed door may not be
permanently closed.

MARTIN: Well, I think actually what he`s looking at is more the
theology of women as leaders in the church too. He had talked about even
if we cannot ordain them, which he has said before is not going to happen,
how can we take them sort of more involved in leadership roles? Can they
be heads of Vatican congregations? Do you have to be ordained in order to
be a leader in the church? I think that`s an interesting comment.

And I think as you point out to say that we need a deeper theology of
women means that he feels like the theology of women we have is not
sufficiently deep, which is a big thing for a pope to say.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it`s a very big statement. And on the issue of
homosexuality, he said, "The catechism of the Catholic Church explains this
very well, it says they, meaning gay people, should not be marginalized
because of this orientation but that they must be integrated into society."

Sister Simone, that`s a big change in rhetoric at least for a pope.

CAMPBELL: Oh, absolutely, Lawrence. And I think what it indicates is
his pastoral approach, the fact that Pope Francis knows people and is
willing to engage as Jesus did with the struggles of our time. I mean,
Pope Francis speaks often for the poor, the marginalize, the folks who are
pushed out.

And this is another example that within the church structure
certainly, gay people have been pushed to the margins and he`s saying that
that`s the wrong way forward. It`s a consistent story for him.

O`DONNELL: And Father Martin, he talked about in that rumored story
about the monsignor that -- look, what you`re talking about here is sin,
and that`s confessable and that is forgivable if it occurs, and that itself
is a very -- a much more kind of generous and it seems to me clearly
Christian view than has previously been expressed from Rome.

MARTIN: Well, Sister Simone was saying it`s a very pastoral approach.
He`s even used the word "gay", which has not been used before.

O`DONNELL: Yes.

MARTIN: They`d always use words like homosexual, same sex,
attraction, very clinical words. He`s doing that. He`s speaking.

And when you see him speaking, it`s a very pastoral tone. He`s
saying, as, you know, you said before, "Who am I to judge?" Which we have
not heard ever.

And the other thing is he has not sort of appended that statement with
something negative. He hasn`t said, well, gays are welcome in the church
but --

O`DONNELL: Yes.

MARTIN: It was a purely positive, welcoming argument. And he quotes
the catechism by saying they shouldn`t be marginalized.

So, I was stunned. And I think most of the reporters on the plane
were stunned, too.

O`DONNELL: And, Sister Simone, he apparently deliberately chooses not
to talk about certain things because he knows that they -- it`s very hard
to make positive-sounding statements about them. Specifically, he said,
that he has avoided talking about abortion on this trip, he avoided talking
about same-sex marriage -- and although the church officially opposes those
things, the choice of a pope to avoid certain subjects is almost in a
certain kind of way a matter of -- in local law enforcement, how tightly
are we going tone force the speed limit and that sort of thing.

It does give people a sense of what this pope thinks is important.

CAMPBELL: Well, I think it shows what he thinks is important, but I
also think it shows that he`s highly attuned to what are very painful,
divisive issues within the Catholic Church, in that overemphasis on a
couple of very narrow points. And what he`s really working hard at doing
is revealing the whole gospel, working from the whole gospel, that affirms
all of life, including folks that are gay.

It was a very pro-life stance that he took to say that he`s not
judgmental, he welcomes everyone. I mean, that is where the fullness of
life is. And it`s just refreshing to hear it.

O`DONNELL: And he`s got a Catholic constituency in the United States
that is more in favor of same-sex marriage than the general population,
slightly more in favor of abortion than the general population, and he can
alienate them or not. He chose on this trip not to alienate them.

We`re out of time. I`m sorry. Sister Campbell and Father James
Martin, the official chaplain of THE LAST WORD -- thank you v both very
much for joining me tonight.

MARTIN: Pleasure.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, North Carolina`s governor is about to sign a
voter suppression law that he has already actually admitted he hasn`t even
read.

And big fight now -- serious fight. Rand Paul and Chris Christie,
2016 Republican presidential campaign is under way. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: In the spotlight, North Carolina`s voter suppression law.
The bill will suppress voting in North Carolina. Those are the words of
the conservative Winston-Salem journal, a newspaper which endorsed
Republican governor Pat McCrory, who intends to sign the bill passed by the
Republican legislature.

In today`s outraged editorial the "Winston-Salem Journal" said
"governor Pat McCrory and legislative Republicans began the 2013 session
with a -- with talk of a voter identification law that would solve a voter
fraud problem that doesn`t exist and any pretense of sincerity of the
integrity of elections died last week when lawmakers pass the a bill that
rigs the voting system in their favor.

The state board of elections found only one case of voter frayed in
2012. There has been, however, increased voter turnout recently made
possible by a number of recent voting reforms. Republicans didn`t always
like the results of the better turnout. They chose last week to turn back
the clock and try to suppress as many poor, elderly, college-aged and
minority voters as possible. This elections bill is a cynical effort to
take from certain groups of Americans their most cherished right.

When asked about the bill at a press conference, governor McCrory
revealed that he actually has no idea what is in the bill he intends to
sign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Cutting early voting by a week, even
trimming a high school civics program that helped people register in
advance of their 18th birthdays, how do those stop voter fraud?

GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, first of all, I could --
I don`t have time to cover all -- how many did you mention?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Just three. High school --

MCCRORY: I don`t know enough -- I`m sorry. I haven`t seen that part
of the bill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: At the White House, President Obama and attorney general
Eric Holder met with more than a dozen civil rights leaders and local
elected officials today to discuss how to use the voting rights act to
enforce voter fairness after the Supreme Court overturned a of the voting
rights act last month.

Joining me now, Barbara Arnwine, the president and executive director
of the lawyers committee for civil rights under law. She met with the
president today. And joining me from Raleigh, North Carolina, Brian
Perlmutter and Ashley Mclean. Brian grew up in charlotte and recently
graduated from North Carolina state university. Ashley McLean grew up in
Raleigh and will be a junior at Howard University.

Ashley, there are provisions in this bill in North Carolina targeted
at college students there making voting life a little more difficult for
them. Could you explain some of those elements of the bill?

ASHLEY MCLEAN, PROTESTING ON VOTING BILL: Yes. The bill specifically
targets college students, specifically mentioning that college IDs will not
be a proper form of identification for the 2016 elections. It directly
attacks me as a college student and a member of a minority group.

O`DONNELL: And Brian, is there also a provision in there that college
students have to vote where their cars are registered? Or just things to
make it more difficult for them to actually vote in the residential
community of the college where they might be attending.

BRIAN PERLMUTTER, PROTESTING ON VOTING BILL: Yes. The bill does a
number of things. That`s one of them. Another -- it makes big cuts to
early voting. And I know a number of college students and myself have
taken advantage of, you know, the one stop early voting, being able to
register and vote at the same time. A number of college students take
advantage of that. Especially where we are. It will have a big impact on
voter turnout.

O`DONNELL: And Barbara Arnwine, one of the other things the bill does
is it prevents people who are going to turn 18 the day before the election
or the day of the election and be legally eligible to vote, it prevents
them from pre-registering so that when their birthday arrives the day
before the day of Election Day they will be able to vote.

Now, that strikes me as something that the federal government could
take action against, using what is left of the voting rights act.

BARBARA ARNWINE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LAWYER`S COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL
RIGHTS: Yes. Well, I think that obviously, as I said earlier this week,
North Carolina has introduced the worst voter suppression bill in the
country. They are now the new ground zero of this fight against voter
suppression. What they have done in this legislation is tried to roll back
the clock on the tremendous gains that have been made by voters in North
Carolina to participate in the franchise.

It is absolutely imperative that the justice department, that groups
like the lawyers committee and other legal organizations do everything we
can to make sure the full force of the law is brought to bear on making
sure that this law does not affect any future elections.

O`DONNELL: Barbara, was this law specifically discussed in the
meeting with the president today and with attorney general Eric Holder?

ARNWINE: I would say that the meeting today, the attorney general and
the president were very focused on committing the resources of the full
administration, the full federal government to doing everything they can to
protect the right to vote. That that`s what every American should hear,
that your president, your attorney general are committed to making sure
that you have the right to vote and that they are going to do everything
that`s necessary. So, we talked about the (INAUDIBLE) movement that was
done, motion that was filed by the attorney general in Texas. And North
Carolina came up for just a quick moment where they talked about clearly
this is a bad deal and needs to be examined.

O`DONNELL: Ashley, you and Brian and others have been involved in the
moral Monday protests there in North Carolina this summer. What price have
you paid for being involve in that, and what about your family and other
friends` involvement in it?

MCLEAN: I mean, I wouldn`t say that there`s a price I have paid. I`m
a college student. I don`t have a full-time job right now. So I feel like
if anybody should come out and it`s us, it`s important for us to be
involved and for me to show that students and young people out here really
do care. I feel like the only price we paid is our time and our energy and
that`s a price worthy to pay to fight for this worthy cause.

O`DONNELL: And Brian --

PERLMUTTER: This is me going --

And this has been going on for 13 Mondays. And we`ve seen it grow and
grow every single Monday. And today was the largest moral Monday so far,
with thousands of people from across North Carolina coming together. We
have seen as this has grown that people are only getting more energized and
more excited to continue to come out and organize and stand up against
these attacks.

I mean, I really think the question, you know, is what happens if we
don`t stand up because we are paying a larger price if that happens as
they`re attacking one of, you know, the pillars of democracy in North
Carolina by attacking voting rights.

O`DONNELL: And Brian, how many of you have been arrested in the
course of these protests?

PERLMUTTER: Yes. So, on the first moral Monday 17 people got
arrested. And now 13 Mondays later there`s been over 930 arrests in North
Carolina. With thousands of more people coming out to demonstrate.

O`DONNELL: Barbara Arnwine, Brian Perlmutter, and Ashley McLean,
thank you all for joining us tonight.

ARNWINE: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Mitt Romney actually tries to rewrite what he
said about 47 percent of the American people. He thinks you don`t
remember.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOSIE ORTEGON, LAST WORD INTERN: President Obama dined with his
former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton today. The White House
said the private lunch had nothing on the and a other than friendship.
Tomorrow morning, Hillary Clinton will have breakfast with vice president
Joe Biden.

And coming up, Mitt Romney tries to rewrite his 47 percent tape.

O`DONNELL: OK. That was ridiculous. No, that was crazy. America,
it`s intern week here at "the Last Word." Josie Ortegon. Did you have
rehearsal time for this?

ORTEGON: Yes, I did.

O`DONNELL: But it is -- you`re an old pro already.

ORTEGON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: It`s your last week. You`re going back to school. Will
you ever watch this show when you`re back at --

ORTEGON: Yes, I will.

O`DONNELL: Come on.

ORTEGON: I will. I will.

O`DONNELL: The kids don`t watch TV.

ORTEGON: And I`ll tell everyone back home in New Mexico to watch it
too.

O`DONNELL: OK, good.

ORTEGON: Yes.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to be back with more of -- I don`t know.
Maybe you can do the rest of the show.

ORTEGON: OK.

O`DONNELL: Let`s see what happens.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney is trying to rewrite Mitt Romney. Romney
wants to change the wording a little about the most memorable thing he said
in his second and final presidential campaign, which of course was this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 47 percent
of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right
inhere are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government,
who believe that -- that they are victims, who believe that government has
a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they`re entitled to
health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. And they will vote for
this president no matter what. And so my job is not to worry about those
people. I will never convince them that they should take personal
responsibility and care for their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And now Romney would like to cut out the part about the 47
percent not taking personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Romney insisted to the "Washington Post`s" Dan Balz for his book "Collision
2012" that his 47 percent comment was taken out of context.

In an excerpt from the book published in the "Washington Post"
yesterday Romney repeatedly insists that he did not say what he actually
said. When Dan Balz says to him, but when you said there are 47 percent
who won`t take personal responsibility, Romney interrupts him and says,
actually, I didn`t say that. That`s how it began to be perceived and so I
had to ultimately respond to the perception because perception is reality.

Yes, and reality is reality, too. And the reality is Romney said
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`ll never convince them that they should take personal
responsibility and care for their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Dan Balz has released some of the audio of his interview
with Romney where Romney complains about how his words were twisted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: That this was perceived as he`s saying, 47 percent of the
people he doesn`t care about or he`s insensitive to or they don`t care
responsibility for their life. No, no. I`m saying 47 percent of the
people don`t pay taxes and therefore they don`t warm to our tax message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Don`t you miss hearing mitt`s voice and his mischievously
twisted thinking? There`s Mitt Romney complaining about how his words were
twisted by the Obama campaign and by the media and in order to do that he
has to twist his own words.

The truth is the 47 percent video shot by Scott Prouty, who was
working as a bartender at that event, was always played on this program and
elsewhere in full because it was so freaking amazing. It was impossible to
twist Romney`s words to make them sound worse than they were, which is why
we kept playing the actual video over and over again, night after night.
And it is the actual words Romney spoke that pushed his poll numbers down
once those words were heard.

Meanwhile, the Romney campaign specialized in twisting President
Obama`s words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Speaking about small business and businesses of all kind, he
said this. If you have got a business, you didn`t build that. Somebody
else made that happen.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: After all that
work and in a bad economy it sure doesn`t help to hear from their president
that government gets the credit. What they deserve to hear is the truth.
Yes, you did build that!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was Barack Obama who said you didn`t build it.
It doesn`t belong to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And yes, Mr. President, they did build it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Of course, what the president said was that if you created
a small business you didn`t build the roads and other infrastructure you
used to make that small business work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you were successful,
someone along the way gave you some help. There was a great teacher
somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable
American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested
in roads and bridges. If you`ve got a business, that -- you didn`t build
that. Somebody else made that happen. The internet didn`t get invented on
its own. Government research created the internet so then all the
companies could make money off the internet.

The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our
individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

O`DONNELL: A lot of words got twisted in the 2012 presidential
campaign, as they always do. But no words were more carefully or
accurately reported than Romney`s comments about 47 percent to the American
people.

Quote "I will never convince them that they should take personal
responsibility and care for their lives," end quote.

Those were his words. Those were Mitt Romney`s words. And we all
heard him say that because Scott Prouty gave that video to David Corn of
"Mother Jones," and then David brought it to the world.

And so, in honor of David Corn`s big scoop, the most important scoop
of the 2012 campaign, I`m going to give David Corn the "Last Word" on this
tonight.

Writing for "Mother Jones" today under the headline "Mitt Romney`s
incredible 47 percent denial actually I didn`t say that," David corn`s last
line was "Romney still cannot take responsibility himself."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Big fight has erupted between Rand Paul and Chris
Christie. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I didn`t start this one, and I don`t
plan on starting things by criticizing other Republicans. But if they want
to make me the target this will get it back in spades.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: The guy who did start this one was Chris Christie. Last
week Chris Christie criticized Republicans like Rand Paul who are critical
of the government`s intelligence-gathering methods.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: This strain of libertarianism
that`s going through both parties right now and making big headlines I
think is a very dangerous thought. As the governor now of a state that
lost the second most people on 9/11 behind the state of New York and still
seeing those families, Sean, I love all these esoteric debates people are
getting in --

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Senator Rand Paul, for example?

CHRISTIE: Listen, you can name any number of people who have engaged
in it and he`s one of them. I mean, these esoteric, intellectual debates,
I want them to come to New Jersey and sit across from the widows and the
orphans and have that conversation. And they won`t because that`s a much
tougher conversation to have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yesterday, Rand Paul added this twist to his fight with
Chris Christie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: The people who want to criticize me and call names, they are
precisely the same people who are unwilling to cut the spending and are
give me, give me, give me all my Sandy money now, those are the people who
are bankrupting the government and not letting enough money be left over
for national defense. So I think it`s precisely those people who are
making us weak in defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In fact, Chris Christie`s New Jersey pays much more into
the federal government through taxation than it gets back in federal
spending. For every dollar in tax revenue that New Jersey sends to
Washington it gets back only 77 cents. Where does the 23 cents go? To
Rand Paul`s Kentucky and other states. Think of them as the give me
states, if you will, who take much more from the federal government than
they ever pay for in federal tax revenue.

For every dollar Rand Paul`s Kentucky sends to Washington, Kentucky
gets back $1.57. Chris Christie might be seeking the electoral votes of
Rand Paul`s give me, give me state someday. So he will probably use a
different line of defense against Rand Paul`s give me, give me, give me
nonsense.

Joining me now, Steve McMahon, veteran Democratic strategist and co-
founder of Purple Strategies.

Steve, who are you betting on in this fight?

STEVE MCMAHON, CO-FOUNDER, PURPLE STRATEGIES: I love it. I hope they
go and they fight to a draw and they fight a very long time, 15 rounds.

O`DONNELL: Listen, I think Rand Paul has taken on something pretty
big when he tries to fight with Chris Christie on this kind of thing within
the Republican Party.

MCMAHON: Yes.

O`DONNELL: You know, his father got exactly eight percent of the
delegates --

MCMAHON: That`s right.

O`DONNELL: -- last time using the Paul family vision of foreign
policy and national security in the Republican primaries.

MCMAHON: And these attacks are most effective when they reinforce an
underlying suspicion, which is why the attack on Paul for being kind of out
of step with Republicans on national security issues is effective. But so
is the attack on Christie for being a big spender from a blue state.

It`s going to be great to watch this thing play out. It`s going to be
interesting and fun for Democrats.

O`DONNELL: Well, I don`t think Rand Paul has been up against someone
who is as good on his feet as Chris Christie can be when he`s good.

MCMAHON: No, that`s absolutely right. You can see it there when he
said have those people come sit down with the victims. That sounded more
like Joe Biden than a Republican. He`s got it in the gut. He`s a good
politician.

O`DONNELL: And as you said at the outset, this is exactly what the
Democrats were hoping for. They didn`t expect it to start so soon.

MCMAHON: Didn`t expect it to start so soon, but boy, isn`t it great.
We are going to get three years of this show. And I`m going to be right at
the front row waiting and cheering and eating popcorn.

O`DONNELL: This is -- this feels like good, you know, batting
practice for Christie and for Rand Paul. He is going to have to deal with
some of these kinds of issues if Rand Paul gets into this race.

MCMAHON: Well, for Rand Paul, it`s like going on a whale hunt. For
Chris Christie, it`s like swatting flies.

O`DONNELL: Steve McMahon gets tonight`s "Last Word." Swatting flies.

MCMAHON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Steve.

Chris Hayes is next.

END

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