'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Monday, October 3rd, 2014
Read the transcript to the Monday show
THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
November 3, 2014
Guest: Carol Robidoux, Jennifer Jacobs, Sam Youngman, Peggy Lowe, Sam
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, I know you`re too excited to sleep
tonight, but you have to sleep tonight because you have to work late
RACHEL MADDOW, TRMS HOST: I`ll sleep on Thursday.
O`DONNELL: OK. Do that.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel.
Well, we have new polls tonight, and they don`t make it any easier to
predict which party will win the fight to control the United States Senate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Midterm madness goes up against the clock.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With less than 24 hours to go to the midterms it`s
off to the races.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With nothing less than control of the United States
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Louisiana, North Carolina, South Dakota, Montana, West
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the size of Ted Cruz`s ego --
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Who cares?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- hanging in the balance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The midterm elections.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Kansas, long-time Senator Pat Roberts --
SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: We have to be bold. We have to be loud.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- has seen his lead in the polls all but disappear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Pat Roberts is locked in a tight race with
independent candidate Greg Orman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t see the typical matchup.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Kentucky, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Surge ahead of his Democratic challenger Alison
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And in Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This thing`s basically a dead heat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Charlie Crist basically leading by a point in the
average of all polls in Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And still hitting the campaign trail today, Bill
Clinton campaigns in Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With less than 24 hours to go in the midterms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just one day left until election day.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s off to the races.
MICHELLE NUNN (D), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: It`s all about who comes out
CHARLIE CRIST (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: The message is pretty
clear. Get out and vote.
JONI ERNST (R), IOWA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Joni Ernst.
SCOTT BROWN (R), NEW HAMSPHIRE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Scott Brown.
ALISON LUNDERGAN GRIMES (D), KENTUCKY SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not Barack
TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I`m Tom Cotton.
SEAN HAUGH, NORTH CAROLINA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: My name is Sean Haugh.
NUNN: I`m determined to bring decency to Washington.
CRIST: I want to serve as the people`s governor again.
HAUGH: I really didn`t want to do this.
BROWN: And I approve this message.
REP. BRUCE BRALEY (D), IOWA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I approve this message.
GRIMES: I approve this message.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s all tied up. And the results will come down to
one thing -- turnout.
O`DONNELL: They call it Election Day tomorrow, but it is really vote
counting day. In an election where some, in some states early voting
started six weeks ago. We have a final round of polls out today.
In Colorado, a new Quinnipiac poll shows the race there in a virtual tie
with the Republican Cory Gardner at 45 percent and incumbent Democratic
Senator Mark Udall. Udall at 43 percent.
In Kentucky, a new NBC/Marist poll shows Senator Mitch McConnell polling
ahead of Alison Grimes by nine points, despite multiple campaign visits
from Bill and Hillary Clinton.
In Kansas, independent candidate Greg Orman is locked in a tight race with
three-term incumbent Senator Pat Roberts. Greg Orman was asked once again
which party he was caucus with if he was elected to the Senate, and once
again, he refused to answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG ORMAN (I-KS), SENATE CANDIDATE: I think I`ve been clear about what I
plan to do when I go to Washington. And I`ve said from the beginning, I`m
not going there to represent the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.
I`m going there to represent Kansans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In Iowa, a Quinnipiac poll shows the race tied between Bruce
Braley and Joni Ernst, both are at 47 percent. That is good news for Bruce
Over the weekend, "The Des Moines Register" released a poll that shows
Braley seven points behind Republican Joni Ernst.
Iowa`s retiring senator, Democrat Tom Harkin, is now at the center of a
controversy on commenting on Joni Ernst`s appearance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: In the Senate race, I`ve been watching some of
these ads. And there`s sort of this sense that, well, you know, I hear so
much about Joni Ernst. She`s really attractive. And she sounds nice.
I got to thinking about that, I don`t care if she`s as good-looking as
Taylor Swift, or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele
Bachmann, she`s wrong for the state of Iowa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Senator Harkin has apologized for dragging Taylor Swift into
In Georgia, the latest poll from NBC News shows David Perdue at 48 percent
and Michelle Nunn at 44 percent.
In North Carolina, President Obama did a last-minute radio ad for incumbent
Democratic Senator Kay Hagan.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: North Carolina, we need to
send a message this election. If you want to make a difference, here is
your chance. Vote for Democrats and Senator Kay Hagan on November 4th.
Republicans are cutting investments in education while protecting tax
breaks for the wealthy.
So, let`s send them a message by voting for someone who shares our
priorities. Voting is easy. So, stand with me, President Obama, and take
responsibility in moving North Carolina forward by voting for Kay Hagan on
November 4, a senator you can count on.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In New Hampshire, two new polls show a tie in the race between
incumbent Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen and former Massachusetts
Republican Senator Scott Brown. A poll from WMUR and the University of New
Hampshire shows Senator Shaheen ahead by one. Another poll from New
England College shows Shaheen behind by one.
But it`s a campaign event over the weekend that has created the final
controversy of that campaign. This is what Jennifer Horn, the head of the
New Hampshire Republican Party, had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNIFER HORN, NEW HAMPSHIRE GOP CHAIR: You are the wave. I need you out
there for the next two days. It will not happen without you. This is our
time. We need to crush it. We need to grab it, run with it, push their
heads under, over and over again until they cannot breathe any more, until
the elections are over on Tuesday night and we`ve won it all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: We have reporters joining us from Des Moines, Lexington,
Kentucky, Denver, Colorado, Kansas City.
But first, joining us from Manchester, New Hampshire, is Carol Robidoux, a
correspondent for the "Boston Globe."
Carol, there`s the head of the Republican Party sounding like she wants to
waterboard Democrats. How`s that going over in New Hampshire?
CAROL ROBIDOUX, BOSTON GLOBE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you might expect, not
so great with the Democrats, even some Republicans bristled a little.
But I think really, what it underscores is the passion, the fever pitch and
the passion of all this. That was an off the cuff speech she was talking
about, you know, riding the wave, a Republican wave, and the wave metaphor
just sort of took her over a little bit.
That said, I think this whole weekend really kind of encapsulated what this
race has come down to. Both sides have been energized since last
Thursday`s televised debate. Since then, Scott Brown`s been rolling on the
tour bus throughout the state. He`s put hundreds of miles on the bus,
shaking hands and meeting people in diners.
On Sunday, we had Hillary Clinton here for Jeanne Shaheen, and that was a
big event for the Democrats, and certainly, a great turnout there. That
night, following Hillary`s appearance during the day is when the bus rolled
into an air hangar, an actual bus roll-in, and the top ticket candidates
got off the bus and rallied the troops.
Today, we had Governor Chris Christie, who made a quick appearance on the
bus tour. And I think it`s really, as you said in the polls, it`s
reflective of how tight this race is and how determined both sides are.
They`ve put so much effort into this energizing the base and getting people
out to vote.
I heard from the Republican side that Scott Brown made the 1 millionth
phone call today on voters to get out and vote. And on Jeanne Shaheen`s
side, they have opened seven figures in their field operations, opening 20
O`DONNELL: And, Carol, clearly, when you get these polls that basically
show a tie, and a tie that`s very close to a winning margin for either one
of them, it really does come down at this point to turnout, and they know
that, don`t they?
ROBIDOUX: Yes, we hear from secretary of state, he`s expecting a 53
percent turnout, which is high. And so, and a majority of registered
voters here in New Hampshire voters are undeclared. So it`s hard to say
what`s going to happen at that point. I think we`re just going to watch
O`DONNELL: Yes, that`s what it`s come down to. Carol, thank you very much
for joining us again tonight.
ROBIDOUX: Thank you, Larry.
O`DONNELL: And joining us now is Jennifer Jacobs. She`s the chief
politics reporter for "The Des Moines Register".
Jennifer, it`s -- what is the feeling of the state of the race in Iowa the
night before we start counting the votes?
JENNIFER JACOBS, THE DES MOINES REGISTER: The feeling is that Joni Ernst
is poised to win. She`s the Republican in this case. If the Democrat in
this race, Bruce Braley, were to win at this point, it would almost be an
upset for him.
There`s just an undertow for Democrats in Iowa, and it`s not just because
of the president`s low job approval ratings here, it`s also because of a
lack of competitiveness in the governor`s race for the Democratic
candidate. The Republican candidate, Governor Terry Branstad is set to win
in a crush.
And also there`s just the polling. If you look at the polls between late
September and today, Joni Ernst is ahead in 15 of those polls. Bruce
Braley was ahead in three. And then, they were tied in three. So, she`s
got the momentum there.
And then, of course, there`s "The Des Moines Register`s" Iowa poll which
showed her up by seven. So, we`ll wait to see tomorrow if the Democrats
can pull off some sort of a magic trick to get out an amazing turnout. But
they don`t have the cushion of early votes that they`ve had in the past.
So, that`s a little bit of a trouble sign. There was also the kerfuffle
with Senator Tom Harkin, the one who is leaving the seat open. And
Democrats said, you know what, he was just kind of voicing a thought which
we`ve been having, which is that it`s really frustrating that independents
seem to be tilting toward Joni Ernst because of superficial reasons. He
was trying to say, listen, don`t vote for Joni Ernst just because she looks
attractive or she seems nice. Make sure you guys vote on the issues
Tomorrow, Bruce Braley is going to stop by an Oscar Meyer plant to visit
with sheet workers and then he goes to his hometown of Brooklyn, to
accompany his mom to go vote, and Joni Ernst is wrapping a 24-hour tour
where she will she started today and then she`ll have a graveyard shift
overnight where she goes to a pizza place 1:00 a.m. and Perkins Restaurant
at 3:45 a.m. and then she finishes by voting herself tomorrow morning.
O`DONNELL: All right. Now, we know everything that`s happening in Iowa.
Thank you very much, Jennifer Jacobs. Thanks for joining us.
Now, joining me is Sam Youngman. He`s a political reporter for "The
Lexington Herald-Leader." He was at Alison Grimes campaign rally last
Sam, what`s the state of the race in Kentucky? It seems like Senator
McConnell has opened up a lead beyond the margin of error now.
SAM YOUNGMAN, THE LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER: Well, it`s Kentucky, and it`s
politics. So we`re all making sure we don`t leave any horse racing
O`DONNELL: There you go.
YOUNGMAN: Today, we are from Alison Grimes saying she expects a photo
finish tomorrow night. Obviously, that would be different than what we`re
seeing in the polls. It does seem like Senator McConnell has broken clear
and taken a significant lead down the stretch. He`s looking at about
anywhere eight to nine points in the last polls we`ve seen.
But, look, Democrats are very enthused, they`re very excited, and they`re
hopeful that, as Jennifer Jacobs said, that this vaunted turnout operation
is going to be sort of a magic bullet.
O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us from Kentucky tonight. Sam
Youngman, really appreciate it.
YOUNGMAN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: OK, now, joining me is MSNBC reporter Benjy Sarlin. He was
with Democratic Senator Mark Udall today in Denver, joining me from Denver
Benjy, what are we looking for in Denver tomorrow night in Colorado
BENJY SARLIN, MSNBC REPORTER: Well, as you mentioned earlier, Cory Gardner
is the favorite going to this race. He has a narrow but persistent lead in
most public polling.
But the Udall campaign thinks they have a decent shot at this. They are
expecting it to be a late night tomorrow no doubt, but I think that in the
end, their turnout operation is going to put them over the edge. And one
area where they`re really looking to have a strong performance is with
This morning, Udall had a rally focused on turning out Hispanic voters,
with a number of prominent Hispanic leaders, including former Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar.
But some Latino activists told me they`re a bit skeptical and a bit
concerned that Udall hasn`t put ads out on this issue. Latino voters were
extremely important to the upset victory of Senator Michael Bennet in 2010
over Republican Ken Buck. But they are a little concerned that they might
not be as fired up this time because Udall hasn`t run ads focused on
And his opponent, Republican Cory Gardner, while not a supporter of the
bipartisan immigration bill in the Senate, has said in general terms he
supports some kind of immigration reform, and has generally tried to
present himself as a moderate on the issue.
So they`re worried that Udall hasn`t done enough to break that image. But
no doubt Gardner is the favorite, but not by so much that we can guarantee
we know what`s going to happen tomorrow.
O`DONNELL: Benjy Sarlin, thank you very much for joining us again tonight.
And now, joining me from Kansas is Peggy Lowe, reporter for Harvest Public
Radio. She`s been covering the Greg Orman/Pat Roberts Kansas race.
And, Peggy, my bet is it all comes down to Kansas tomorrow night, which is
why I`m going to Kansas tomorrow, because that`s where I want to be when
the votes are counted tomorrow night. What is the state of the race right
now? And are there any final controversies as they cross the finish line
that might affect the outcome or turnout tomorrow?
PEGGY LOWE, HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA: That`s a really good choice, Lawrence.
So, welcome to Kansas tomorrow. Come over, we`ll buy you some barbecue.
O`DONNELL: That`s why I`m coming.
LOWE: Good, we`re glad to have you.
This race is a tossup going right down to the wire. The candidates right
now are really urging everyone to get out to vote, both were out shaking a
lot of hands, going door to door today. They`re trading some potshots.
You know, for instance, they`re arguing over who respects former Kansas
Senator Bob Dole the most. But really, it is just a tossup.
The one thing that came up this weekend was Pat Roberts used Kansas State
University football coach Bill Snyder in an ad and Coach Snyder said you
didn`t have my permission and the university was upset, and they asked
Roberts to take down the ad, and Roberts didn`t take down the ad. So,
that`s been sort of the biggest controversy because football`s big out
O`DONNELL: And what about the new voter ID law there? How that might
LOWE: This is another reason I`m glad you`re coming out here, Lawrence,
but I think this really could affect the race. We have a strict new sort
of anti-illegal immigration law that`s on the books just passed a couple
years ago. And right now, there are 23,000 registered voters who are in
limbo, because they haven`t shown proof of citizenship. About 20 percent
of those are in Johnson County alone, which is the suburb of Kansas City.
Orman has to take Johnson County if he`s going to win this. So, you know,
we may or may not have a result on election night here in Kansas.
O`DONNELL: Peggy Lowe, thanks for joining us. I want to be there, I want
to see if anyone tomorrow night when the dust clears can get Greg Orman to
say who he will vote for, for majority leader of the Senate. That`s what
it`s all about.
Thanks, Peggy. Thank you.
LOWE: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, America`s leading analyst, Charlie Cook will join
me. No one knows more about the House and Senate races than Charlie, and I
don`t mean just this year. I mean, every election year. When Charlie Cook
speaks, I take notes.
Also joining us tonight, David Axelrod and Steve Schmidt to discuss what`s
at stake in controlling the Senate.
And then the re-write tonight, when was the last time you cried? No,
really, when was the last time you cried. That was one of the questions in
-- one of the most important campaign debates last week. And the answer,
like most politicians answers in most debates, wasn`t true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you wonder why things
don`t happen, if you wonder why sometimes elected officials don`t seem
responsive, it`s because so many of us stayed home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was President Obama trying to get out the vote for
Democrats. Coming up next, the man who should know everything that`s going
to happen tomorrow night. Let`s see if he does.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: If you believe that our kids should have the best schools, then
you`ve got to vote for it. If you think that we should make it easier for
young people to go to college without ending up with tens of thousands of
dollars worth of debt, you`ve got to vote for it. If you believe that an
honest day`s work deserves an honest day`s pay, you`ve got to vote for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now is NBC News political analyst Charlie Cook,
editor of the "Cook Political Report", and the political analyst for "The
Charlie, earlier tonight, I said when Charlie speaks I take notes. Those
are the notes, OK -- two months ago, two months ago, we talked, you told me
the following things that I did not know. And this talks about -- the way
the table is set for President Obama who`s out there trying to get
Democrats to turn out, which is what he desperately needs. Here are some
of the things he`s up against. Because of gerrymander, everyone says,
Republicans, they wrote the congressional districts to their advantage,
which they did, Democrats have done the same thing.
Because of the Republican gerrymander, Democrats have to get 6.8 percent
more vote than Republicans just to win 51 percent of the House.
CHARLIE COOK, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: That`s right. And it`s a
combination of redistricting and just population trends. I mean,
Democrats, you know, live in highly concentrated areas, and they win a
bunch of districts by huge margins, and when Republicans win, (INAUDIBLE),
so Democrats waste a lot of votes in large urban areas, and it`s, a
combination of two --
O`DONNELL: And there`s no chicanery there. It`s just that, you know, if
you look at districts like Harlem, where Democrats make 51 percent of the
vote, well, that didn`t --
COOK: Every vote over one is wasted.
O`DONNELL: Yes, every vote over 51.
Another thing I did not know about midterm elections, that I wrote down
when you said, voters over 45 years old, that category goes up 8 percent to
10 percent in midterms, and that`s not good for Democrats.
COOK: Right. Right. What happened was when you and I were growing up,
voters 65 and older were Democrats, and they grew up during the Great
Depression and Franklin Roosevelt, the New Deal. That was their -- the 65
and old earn now, they`re a lot more likely to remember Ford, not that
great many years under Carter, and eight better years in President Reagan
and the 12 years, and 12 years of Franklin Roosevelt, it`s a different
group and they`re the most Republican-voting age group, and they vote more
often than anybody else. So, in midterm elections --
O`DONNELL: I mean, in simple terms, you used to just have to say to that
group preserve Social Security which the Democrats were better at saying.
Another thing I learned two months ago from you, the midterm electorate is
2 percent to 3 percent more Republican than in presidential elections.
COOK: Yes, it`s just -- it`s like in midterm elections, there`s a thumb on
the scale for Republicans that`s just not there in a presidential year.
And, now, of course, can Republicans have a bad midterm election? Sure.
You know, you throw Katrina and Iraq together. OK. Sure. But that`s what
it takes, that we`re just seeing a bigger disparity than before in
presidential and midterm electorates.
O`DONNELL: What can the president do for turnout? We saw him pushing
turnout, turnout, turnout. He`s not trying to convert anybody.
COOK: Yes, well, it`s hard. I mean, the thing is, that this is -- for the
most part, Republicans can win the Senate just by comparison to those
states that Romney won by huge margins, by 14 points or more.
And so, these are -- so, the first, you know, Republicans can win just
winning home games. You know, those six and hold onto your own. Excellent
chance that Pat Roberts loses in Kansas. So, Republicans probably have to
grow seven to net six. And you know, obviously there are runoffs
potentially in Louisiana and Georgia.
But this is, it`s a map that`s stacked against Democrats, a political
environment that`s lousy, and turnout dynamics that are lousy. And so, you
know, it`s not a matter of whether Democrats win or lose, it`s going to be,
is it bad, real bad, really, really bad or extra crispy? I mean --
O`DONNELL: Charlie Cook, thank you very much for putting it in
perspective. Those structural advantages are amazing.
COOK: I hate it that people are taking notes like that.
O`DONNELL: Writing down every word that you said.
Charlie, thank you very much for being here --
COOK: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: -- on the eve of the big day. Thank you.
Coming up, David Axelrod and Steve Schmidt will also join me. We`ll get
their predictions about tomorrow night.
And in the re-write tonight, as the campaign season goes on, debate
questions get stranger and stranger, question like -- this is word for word
-- when was the last time you cried? And questions like, why did you name
your yacht after a sex slave? Those are real questions in real debates.
And we have the video -- you will see how the Republicans candidates for
governor in two states who were asked those questions figured out a way to
answer those questions.
O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the balance of power in the United
States Senate. The Republicans need to win six seats to gain control of
the Senate. Tomorrow night, republicans need to gain six seats to win
control of the Senate. So, what does control of the Senate mean for
governing and what will it mean to the American people?
Joining me now is Republican strategist and MSNBC political analyst Steve
Schmidt and former President Obama senior adviser and NBC News senior
political analyst, David Axelrod.
Steve, if the Republicans get control of the Senate, what will it mean for
them and for the way governing goes forward for the next two years?
STEVE SCHMIDT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: We`re going to see -- and I don`t
think that we don`t the answer but --
O`DONNELL: We haven`t heard any legislative provisions, have we.
SCHMIDT: No. We`ve seen a strategy that stands in opposition to President
Obama but hasn`t articulated a vision for governing the country, hasn`t
articulated a vision for what legislation is going to be introduced, hasn`t
articulated a vision for how are you going to compromise with the incumbent
Democratic president to do business with the American people.
So, I think that we could go down one of two paths. I think you saw Ted
Cruz talking about our first order of business is to launch investigations,
SCHMIDT: -- people speculating about impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
You have other members of the Republican Party and Governor Romney talking
about Republicans will --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
-- propose immigration reform, tax code reform, some fundamental reforms
that Could come to the President, including trade promotion authority that
the President could sign.
So, we`ll see. And I think that if the Republicans choose to go down the
path of investigations and impeachment and use the majority status which, I
believe, they`ll have tomorrow night to play politics with it. It will be
a real consequence in the 2016 campaign.
O`DONNELL: David, you worked in the White House when the Democrats had
closed to 60, in that magic moment when they had 60 votes --
DAVID AXELROD, NBC NEWS SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
O`DONNELL: -- in the Senate. And governing looked really hard math.
AXELROD: Yes. Well, you know, the irony of that period was the President
campaigned on the theme that we needed more bipartisanship, more
And it was a popular scene that he swept in big Democratic majorities. And
that was reason he was able to get things done.
When those majorities dissipated, he couldn`t -- but I think the
Republicans have a real problem if they win tomorrow night. And I think
they probably will win tomorrow night.
They`ve campaigned, as Steve said, on this platform of opposition to the
President. That`s been their entire theme.
And, now, they have to turn around and decide whether to cooperate. And I
think that they need to cooperate in order to rehabilitate their brand.
I mean, the Republican brand is not doing well. They`ve got advantages
this election. But if they`re going to be a national party, they have to
prove that they can govern, they have to prove that they can cooperate.
And that`s an anathema to a lot of their base. So, they won the election
in one way and, now, they`re going to have to turn around and say, "You
know what, actually compromise isn`t that bad a thing."
O`DONNELL: Steve, it seems to me that if the Republicans get control of
the Senate, no presidential nomination gets confirmed in the Senate for the
rest of the run.
SCHMIDT: Well, I don`t -- I think that, you know, ministerially, you have
to do the business of the American people. That includes confirming people
to vital posts in the administration.
AXELROD: From your mouth to God`s ears.
SCHMIDT: But I`m not sure if they`re going to agree with that in the
Department of States. I don`t think the process will shut down completely.
Look, I`m optimistic about this. I think that the President needs to build
a record in his final two years. The Republicans need to build a governing
They have mutual interests here. And so, I think, on trade promotion
authority, I think on reforms to the tax code making our uncompetitive tax
code more competitive. I think, on a range of issues, there`s
opportunities for the two parties to work together.
President Reagan was able to do it with the Democrats. President Clinton
was able to do it with the Republicans. Can this Republican Congress do it
with this President?
And, I think, the American people will take a harsh view of both sides if
they`re unable to cooperate and get some business done.
AXELROD: I mean, you know, you also have the tension between the House and
SCHMIDT: No doubt, no doubt.
AXELROD: As you saw in immigration reform. Overwhelmingly, immigration
reform, with a lot of Republicans in support, dead in the House.
And, now, you`re going to have potentially more Republicans in the House --
and how those two bodies relate.
Because there are a lot of -- you know, the map is against us in this
elections as Democrats but as -- in 2016, you got a lot of Republicans in
blue states who were up, who are not going to want to follow Ted Cruz over
SCHMIDT: And here`s the thing -- all of the advantages that Charlie Cook
spoke to in the midterm election dissipate --
SCHMIDT: -- as we move into a general election. And the fact of the
matter is is the Republican Party has lost the popular vote in five out of
the last six presidential elections.
And the electorate in 2016 is going to be two percent less white than it
was in 2012. And it still remains the case -- that every demographic group
in this country that is growing, Democrats are gaining market share.
Every demographic group in this country that is shrinking, Republicans are
gaining market share. So, we shouldn`t be fooled by the results tomorrow.
It`s going to be a great victory Republicans. But those Republican
victories are occurring in red states, in purple states, in a midterm
election with significant structural advantages against an incumbent
president whose numbers in the sixth year of his term are in the low 40s.
So, we should not look at this as some type of overwhelming mandate to keep
obstructing the President at the expense of doing the business of the
American people and building the Republican Party`s brand back up.
O`DONNELL: David, quickly, before we go, if the Republicans were to take
control of the Senate tomorrow night and end up with control of both
parties in the Congress, what does that do to the dynamics of running for
president for a Democrat in 2016.
AXELROD: Well, part of it depends on how the Republicans behave. If they
take an obstructionist path, that`s one path. If they cooperate and
compromise on some issues, it could be that the Democratic base will get a
little restive on trade and some of these other issues. And that creates
some challenges for the Democratic candidate.
So, it depends -- I think the Republicans are going to determine a lot how
things move forward in the next two years, politically, in this country.
O`DONNELL: Looks like you guys agree on what the outcome is going to be
tomorrow night. Steve Schmidt and David Axelrod, thank you, both for
joining me tonight.
Coming up in the "Rewrite" -- what happens if you name your boat after a
sex slave and then decide to run for governor. That is next in the
And, later, the analyst who got it right in 2012 makes his final prediction
O`DONNELL: For tonight`s "Rewrite." As the campaign season drags on,
debate questions are getting more and more interesting and weird.
And in the Connecticut and Massachusetts Gubernatorial debates, it`s all
coming down to men and boats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK DAVIS, DEBATE MODERATOR: This is from Charles in Ethics. Charles
says, "Sapphire is a type of gemstone and the name of Dannel Malloy`s boat.
Odalisque is a type of female slave or concubine and the name of Tom
Foley`s boat. What made you choose these names for your vessels. And if
you didn`t choose the name, why have you not changed it."
GOV. DANNEL MALOY (D), CONNECTICUT: I don`t have a boat anymore. I did
have a boat that had the name, "Sapphire" and it was born with that name.
And it costs money to change the name. You have to scrape the stuff off.
And I wasn`t about to do that. So, I was more than happy to have
Sapphire for a period of time.
MCENROE: So, it was an inherited name.
MALLOY: It was an inherited name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy wasn`t just being cheap when he
decided not to change the name of that used boat that he bought. What he
didn`t mention was that he was also following nautical folklore which says
it`s bad luck to change the name of a boat.
But the governor wasn`t finished. He then went after his Republican
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MALLOY: If I had a boat named after a sex slave, I would have changed the
name. The idea that one would run for governor of the state of Connecticut
with a $5-million yacht registered in another country as opposed to our own
state, and continue to carry on a name that represents a sex slave is
really quite horrendous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: How does the governor know that it`s a $5-million yacht?
Because his Republican opponent, Tom Foley, had the yacht listed for sale
online for $5.9 million. Note to out-of-touch Republican rich guy
candidates -- do not, do not publicly list your yacht for sale during the
campaign. So, how did the out-of-touch Republican rich guy defend naming
his yacht after a sex slave.
Well, first of all, the out-of-touch Republican rich guy decided to
alienate himself from anyone in Connecticut who has ever struggled to pay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOLEY, REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR OF CONNECTICUT: By the way, the
governor -- the governor was in arrears on his boat. It may have even been
But it sat in the yard in Stanford because he hadn`t paid the yard bills
for years, which he managed to pay shortly before the election in 2010. At
least I pay my bills.
Listen, "Odalisque" is a -- I`m a great enjoyer of the arts and culture.
And "Odalisque" are the names of many great paintings, including the
masterwork by Ingres and a lot of -- they were used as models by Matisse.
And so, it was made for that.
DAVID: So, it`s a high-brow name.
FOLEY: No, I think it`s a very nice name. But boats are usually -- have a
female name associated with them because the gender of boats, historically,
was a she.
And so many people name their boats after women or something feminine.
And "Odalisque" really means a beautiful woman, a beautiful thing in the
art world. It doesn`t mean a sex slave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: It doesn`t mean sex slave, OK. Well, looks like I`m going to
have to referee this but why trust me when we can turn to the Oxford
English Dictionary which tells us that "Odalisque" means a female slave or
concubine in a harem.
Case closed. In neighboring Massachusetts, the strangest question asked in
the gubernatorial debates got the strangest answer from out-of-touch
Republican rich guy, Charlie Baker.
The questions was -- "When is the last time you cried," to which Charlie
Baker told a story about meeting a commercial fisherman on the docks in New
Bedford during the campaign and asking that fisherman about his business.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLIE BAKER, REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: He was a
big, huge man, completely soaked in sweat and saltwater. And I said I
wanted to talk to him about the business and the industry.
And he kind of looked at me, and he started to cry. And so, I gave him a
hug. He was a big, huge guy. I was like hugging a mountain.
And he shook for a while. And then we started talking about the business
and the industry and the federal government. And then he said, "See those
two kids up there?"
And he pointed to these two boys on the boat. And he said, "Those are my
sons." And he said, "They were both spectacular football players in New
Bedford High School who were given college scholarships to go play
football. And I told them no."
"And I said, you`re going to be fishermen. I was a fisherman. My brothers
were fishermen. My father was a fisherman. You`re going to be fishermen.
And I ruined their lives."
And you hear those kinds of stories everyday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: No, you don`t, Charlie. You never hear that kind of story. No
one has ever heard that story, including Charlie Baker, it turns out.
Reporters all over Massachusetts have been working hard, since Charlie
Baker said that last week, to find the mythical fisherman in New Bedford
that Charlie says he was quoting.
As reporters kept coming up with no corroborating evidence whatsoever for
that big fish story, Charlie Baker kept changing his story.
"OK," he admitted, "I didn`t hear the story on the campaign trail this
year. I heard it several years ago," which means, by the way, that he was
off by several years on the question of -- "When was the last time you
And then he admitted, "OK, maybe it wasn`t New Bedford," which is not just
the largest commercial fishing port in Massachusetts, it is the largest
commercial fishing port in America. The second biggest commercial fishing
port in Massachusetts is Gloucester where the George Clooney movie, "The
Perfect Storm" is set.
Ann-Margaret Ferrante, the State Representative from Gloucester said, "I
don`t believe Charlie Baker`s fisherman exists because I don`t believe a
fisherman would deny their child a free college education."
Now, I happened to be in New Bedford this weekend and I couldn`t find
anyone who believed Charlie`s story, nor could I find anyone who`d ever
heard of two sons of a fisherman out of New Bedford High School, getting
football scholarships to go to college and turning down those scholarships.
Like all other working people in America, in the history of America,
fishermen want their children to do better than they do. Fishermen want
their children to have more opportunities than they had.
Anyone who actually knows people who work with their hands for a living,
like fishermen in New Bedford, knows that those people are not hoping that
their sons or daughters refuse a free ride to college so that they can
spend their lives, risking their lives in the North Atlantic hoping they
never encounter "The Perfect Storm."
This campaign season has provided a new page in the playbook of how to
campaign against out-of-touch rich guys. Just get them talking about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. DEVAL PATRICK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you for being my friend, for
making time for the meek as well as the mighty, for coaching this newcomer
as you have so many others, and for the exceptional example of honorable
public service, not just as the job you did but the man you were.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Gov. Deval Patrick, remembering Boston`s longest
serving mayor and first Italian-American mayor, Thomas Menino, who died
Thursday at the age of 71.
Tom Menino was not Boston`s most eloquent mayor but he knew why he kept
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FORMER MAYOR THOMAS MENINO (D), BOSTON: You`re going to elect me mayor
because I`m a fancy talker.
You elected me mayor because you know I care about Boston. I want to make
it work for you.
If I were a fancy talker, may I express how moved I am and honored for the
trust you have put in me. For sure, I can say this -- I will do my best to
be a good mayor for all of you, wherever you live, wherever you come from,
and whoever you hope to be.
Our job is to get ready for a new century. A new century begins today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: When Harry Reid won his last reelection, he beat the polls by
eight points after polls had predicted that he would lose to Tea Party
candidate, Sharron Angle, by an average of three points. The day after
Harry Reid won, he said this --
HARRY REID, : I`ve been wanting to say this for some time -- we`ve got to
do something about these misleading polls all over the country. They are
And you just gobble them up. No matter where they come from, you just run
with them as if it`s the finest piece of pastry in the world. They`re just
-- they`re false and they`re misleading.
Joining me now is Sam Wang, Founder of the Princeton Election Consortium.
He`s the only person who accurately predicted the outcome of all 33 Senate
races in 2012.
Sam, there has been some discussion lately that a lot of polling techniques
undercount Democrats. What`s behind that.
SAM WANG, FOUNDER, PRINCETON ELECTION CONSORTIUM: Well, I think --
Lawrence, I think it`s not quite so nefarious as that might sound.
Pollsters have a tough job, which is figuring out who a likely voter is.
And they basically have to make judgment calls. They`re pretty good at
that in presidential years, and overall pollsters are only biased by less
than one percentage point.
But in midterm years, pollsters can often do worse. And if you look at the
last two elections -- the presidential election and then the midterm
election that Harry Reid was talking about there, pollsters underestimated
Democratic votes by about three or four percentage points.
So, in the last few elections, Democrats outdid the polls. And Harry
Reid`s case was actually fairly typical of races that year.
So, I think, what he`s talking about there is something that wasn`t across-
the-board polling bias, unintentional, having to do with the difficulty of
figuring out who`s going to vote.
O`DONNELL: What would you look for tomorrow night as early indicators of
what the rest of the night will hold.
WANG: Well, early in the evening, I`m going to be looking at races --
states whose polls close fairly early. Kentucky closes at 6:30, New
Hampshire closes at 7:00, and some places 8:00 o`clock. And so, I`ll be
watching the Kentucky and New Hampshire Senate races.
In the case of Kentucky, Sen. McConnell, looks like he`s going to win by
about seven points. That would be the best estimate from polls.
If he underperforms that, then that might be a sign that, in fact, polls
will be better for -- actual votes will be better for Democrats across-the-
board later that evening.
In the case of Jeanne Shaheen, if she overperforms -- she`s currently at
about two and a half or three points ahead of Scott Brown. And if she
under -- if she overperforms that, let`s say, if she wins by five points,
then that, again, would be a good sign for Democrats across-the-board.
And, of course, the opposite can happen. That has happened in the past.
And we should emphasize that that errors can go in either direction. And
so, if either case shows mistakes happening in the other direction, then
that suggests that, in fact, it will be a bad night for Democrats.
O`DONNELL: To the Scott Brown, Jeanne Shaheen race which will be one of
the earlier ones -- if we have the count in a clear enough way that can
tell us the winner -- if Scott Brown wins that after having campaigned
against the President much more than he campaigned against Jeanne Shaheen
in New Hampshire, is that going to be an indicator that there will probably
be more bad news for Democrats as the poll closes across the country.
WANG: I think if Scott Brown wins that race which I am, frankly, not
expecting to happen, but let`s say he did, then that would be bad
indication for Democrats. I am looking at these numbers. There`s
something like six or seven races that are within three points or less.
New Hampshire is one of them. And I would say, by the end of the evening,
Republicans could end up with anywhere between 48 and 54 seats. If Scott
Brown were to win that race, then that certainly puts them towards the
upper end of that.
And that would be a pretty tough night for Democrats. I`d be surprised
O`DONNELL: And, Sam, quickly, before you go what are you seeing in Kansas,
which is where I`m going tomorrow night, hoping for big drama.
WANG: Oh, you will certainly see plenty of drama in Kansas. Independent
candidate, Greg Orman, is currently ahead in the median of polls by one
percentage point over Sen. Roberts. And Brownback is probably going to
lose. so, there`ll be plenty of action.
O`DONNELL: I think that`s where the center of it all is tomorrow night,
that`s why I`m going there. Sam Wang, thank you very much for joining us
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