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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

Guests: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Barton Gellman, Meghan McCain, Gloria Allred


RACHEL MADDOW, “THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” HOST:  And now with his guests: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Meghan McCain this time for THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O‘DONNELL.

Good evening, Lawrence.


MADDOW:  Indeed.

O‘DONNELL:  The lovely Meghan McCain is going to join me tonight to discuss “Dirty, Sexy Politics,” which of her is a book title and for me is a lifestyle.

There will be nothing else in the show that is even slightly sexy, but there will be passion, some of it physical, some of it even homicidal.  And I wish I was joking about that.



O‘DONNELL (voice-over):  These people are fighting mad over politics.

This Republican billionaire made her fortune in fighting.  She thinks it‘s the perfect training for a Republican seat in the U.S. Senate.


I‘m running for U.S. Senate and I approve this message.

O‘DONNELL:  This millionaire thinks he can fight his way to becoming governor of New York.


FRED DICKER, NEW YORK POST:  You‘re going to take me out?


DICKER:  How are you going to do that?


O‘DONNELL:  By beating up this newspaper reporter.

PALADINO:  It‘s all right to show people you‘re angry.

O‘DONNELL:  And this Republican billionaire is on her way to becoming governor of California.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I felt like she was throwing me away like a piece of garbage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Today, we have clearly proven with the release of this letter that Meg Whitman lied to the press.

O‘DONNELL:  If she can just get past this little fight with her maid.

I‘ll ask Mike Bloomberg, the only sane billionaire politician in America, how he unleashed all of these billionaires behaving badly.

DAVID LETTERMAN, TV HOST:  How did you get so damn rich?

MAYOR MIKE BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK:  That‘s not embarrassing.


BLOOMBERG:  Try it sometime.  You‘ll like it.

O‘DONNELL:  And can McCain talk some sense into the Republican Party?  No, not that McCain—I‘ll ask the one who hasn‘t flip-flopped on everything.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, SEN. JOHN MCCAIN‘S DAUGHTER:  If you make the party smaller, you have less voters.  So, where do you go from there?  We‘re so polarized and it‘s us versus them, and I think it‘s a very scary place.


O‘DONNELL:  Good evening from New York.  I‘m Lawrence O‘Donnell.

A lot of people have a lot of reasons to be angry in this economy, but that‘s no excuse for these shocking increase in secret militias documented by “Time” magazine, which we will discuss later, and there‘s never an excuse for any billionaire to be angry.

So, what explains a billionaire candidate for governor on the verge of slugging a reporter?  I don‘t know.  What do I know about billionaires?  For that, we turn to THE LAST WORD‘s favorite billionaire, the mayor of New York.

Thanks for being on tonight.


O‘DONNELL:  Mayor Mike Bloomberg, thank you very much for being here.

BLOOMBERG:  Thank you for having me.

O‘DONNELL:  Now, I got to do a first question which—this is the first question for all the billionaires on the show.


O‘DONNELL:  OK?  And the question is, I‘m going to let the audience know the answer—so the pressure is on.

BLOOMBERG:  OK.  It doesn‘t seem fair.

O‘DONNELL:  No, no, no.  Come on, this is something actually you‘re supposed to know.


O‘DONNELL:  Really, any kind of decent billionaire would know this.  But the mayor should really know this.  The audience knows the answer already—


O‘DONNELL:  -- but they don‘t know the question.  And the question is

what is the minimum wage?


BLOOMBERG:  U.S. minimum wage is about $15,000 a year, about $300 a week.  That‘s $7.25 an hour.


All right.  You got it.  See?

BLOOMBERG:  But everybody would know that.

O‘DONNELL:  No.  This is why you‘re my favorite billionaire.  I‘m telling you right now, you‘re the only billionaire in politics who knows this.

And Connecticut—

BLOOMBERG:  Well, not after this because everybody is watching.

O‘DONNELL:  -- the problem for the day for Linda McMahon in Connecticut is she doesn‘t know the minimum wage.


O‘DONNELL:  She‘s asked in some reporter asked her today about minimum wage, what does she want to do with it—and she doesn‘t even know what it is.  That would be kind of—

BLOOMBERG:  Did her opponent know it?

O‘DONNELL:  I‘m sure he did.

BLOOMBERG:  Right now, he certainly does.

O‘DONNELL:  And I‘m sure he knows it now.  I‘m sure he knows it now.

Which brings to us, what have you unleashed?  I think it‘s your fault.  And let me show you something that I think is your fault.  We‘re going to go to videotape of the Republican candidate for governor in New York State and I think everything we‘ve seen in this tape is your fault.

Let‘s take a look at Carl Paladino, Republican candidate for governor of New York.


DICKER:  You‘ve descended into the gutter by suggesting he was involved in extramarital relations when he was married with no evidence.  Do you have any evidence of that?  And if you don‘t, isn‘t that going into the gutter?

PALADINO:  Hmm.  Well, a guy that‘s been in the gutter and spent a good part of his life in the gutter with Andrew Farkas, you should think twice about trying to characterize me.

DICKER:  But you‘re a lawyer.  You‘ve heard the term.

PALADINO:  I‘m also a lawyer that—

DICKER:  Yes.  But what evidence do you have for something that most people on would consider a smear?

PALADINO:  I want to know why you sent your goons after my daughter.

DICKER:  I sent no one after her.

PALADINO:  I want to know, Fred.  I want to know about it.

DICKER:  Your charge against Cuomo, do you have any evidence or do you not?


PALADINO:  I will—at the appropriate time, you can hear it.

DICKER:  Do you have it?


DICKER:  You got three daughters.  How can you say that about him?

PALADINO:  Oh, I have a daughter too, Fred!  I have a daughter.

DICKER:  You brought it out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Fred, that‘s it.

PALADINO:  Stay away from me.


PALADINO:  What evidence do you have?



PALADINO:  No, come on.

DICKER:  Don‘t touch me.  Who are you?  Who the hell are you?  I‘m asking a question.  Do you have any evidence to the charge you made?

PALADINO:  At the appropriate time, you‘ll get it.

DICKER:  This guy is the attorney general of New York.

PALADINO:  And you‘re his talking horse, Fred Dicker.  You‘re his talking horse.  You‘re his bird dog.

DICKER:  What‘s the evidence?  You made the charge.

PALADINO:  You send another goon to my daughter‘s house and I‘ll take you out, buddy.

DICKER:  You‘re going to take me out?


DICKER:  How are you going to do that?


DICKER:  What are you doing?  Are you threatening me?


BLOOMBERG:  Now, how can I be responsible of that?

O‘DONNELL:  First of all, let me explain to you.  That‘s Carl Paladino, who has accused the Democratic candidate.

BLOOMBERG:  Carl Paladino, we‘ve never met.

O‘DONNELL:  OK.  But the Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Cuomo, has been accused by his opponent of having had paramours, whatever that intended to mean.


O‘DONNELL:  And Fred Dicker, a “New York Post” reporter, who‘s the toughest that they come, you know Fred Dicker?


O‘DONNELL:  Is asking him, “What evidence do you have for that?”  And he gets in this fight with Fred Dicker.  It‘s your fault because we now have a bunch of crazy billionaires like Paladino running for political office because of you.


O‘DONNELL:  Because you are the billionaire who got in there and won one of these things.  Ross Perot, we saw him do it crazy style and lose.  You come in and win, and you‘re encouraging these people.  Your fault? 

Your response?

BLOOMBERG:  Clearly my fault.  I beg forgiveness.

O‘DONNELL:  All right.


BLOOMBERG:  I‘m really sorry.  Does that make you happy?

O‘DONNELL:  You‘ve always got—we‘ve got Meg Whitman.

BLOOMBERG:  I don‘t know Paladino, but if you take a look, all kidding aside, wealthy candidates do not do well percentage wise.  They lost—most of them have lost.  And that doesn‘t mean they wouldn‘t have been good if they had gotten elected, I don‘t know.

I‘m supporting Meg Whitman, who I think would be a good governor of California, although her opponent, Jerry Brown, who I know very casually.  People say he did a good job when he was mayor of Oakland.  And why he would want to go back and be governor again, I don‘t know.

And there are others, some of whom have money and have done well, some of whom have not had money and done well.

O‘DONNELL:  Meg Whitman, very tough on anyone who employs undocumented worker, turns out she employed an undocumented worker, as her maid in her home for about seven, nine years.  Do you want to now officially retract your endorsement based on her employment of an illegal maid?

BLOOMBERG:  I do not.  I do not.

O‘DONNELL:  You‘re going to stake with her?

BLOOMBERG:  I‘m going to stick with her, yes.

O‘DONNELL:  All right.  And the other thing about this billionaire thing is, they make the case, and, you know, I think it was a little bit of a part of the Bloomberg—the first Bloomberg campaign, before you were a man of government, you got to run on your government record, there‘s always the case made of, “Hey, I‘m a great businessman, I know how to do this.”

The interesting thing about your particular case is, I‘m sure you‘ve noticed that the Bloomberg business exploded after you left.  It has done so much better with you in city hall, but it didn‘t with you there.

BLOOMBERG:  Lawrence, I have always—I have always said to anybody that wants to leave me, you can not leave until you find somebody better to take the job.  And I found two guys better than me to run the company and hopefully, I‘ll have some influence and whoever follows me, -- and all kidding aside, I‘m going to live in this city for the rest of my life, so I hope whoever succeeds me does a better job.

But each of us—you know, you take what somebody did before you and you build on it.  And nobody‘s going to have all of the answer or solve all the problems.  It‘s always going to be something left for the next guy or woman.

O‘DONNELL:  You were at the Republican House Theme Team today, not the full caucus, the Theme Team.

BLOOMBERG:  About 25, 30 people.

O‘DONNELL:  Who are they and what is it—what is the theme that they are trying to find and what did you tell them?  What did you help them?

BLOOMBERG:  I gather they have—you know, there are all these groups within the Democrats and Republicans, because these parties, they talk about a big tent, and, in fact, they are.  There are liberals and conservatives on both sides.

This is a group of reasonably middle-of-the-road, I think, a lot from the Midwest.  And they wanted to know my thoughts on immigration, my thoughts on how we keep crime coming down in this country, public education -- which I‘ve been talking about.  And just each of them introduced themselves and had some questions.

And it was a very friendly group.  I don‘t know whether I convinced them of anything.  I wasn‘t really trying to.  I was just trying to explain what we do in New York.

You know, in New York City, we created this year 10 percent of all of the private sector jobs created in the whole country and they want to know why, what we‘re doing right.

O‘DONNELL:  By the way, 20 of them created right here by me by this week—

BLOOMBERG:  Thank you very much.  We are very happy to have you.

O‘DONNELL:  -- by starting this show.

BLOOMBERG:  Nobody is more a fan of your show being successful than I am.  And they‘ll all be taxpayers.

O‘DONNELL:  You also testified to the immigration subcommittee in the House.


O‘DONNELL:  By the way, same committee Stephen Colbert testified to last week.  So, you must have been feeling the comedy pressure.

BLOOMBERG:  He was much more—

O‘DONNELL:  Did your comedy writers deliver?

BLOOMBERG:  There was not a lot of laughs.

O‘DONNELL:  OK.  And what was your point to the immigration subcommittee?

BLOOMBERG:  I testified, and Rupert Murdoch also testified.

O‘DONNELL:  He himself as immigrant.

BLOOMBERG:  Himself an immigrant.  And he is joined—we have a whole bunch of business guys and mayors around the country, not to lobby Congress, but try to explain to them why this country needs more immigrants coming here from all over the world, not just from one part of the world, but from all over the world.

And basically, if you listen to everybody, there‘s three parts to this puzzle.  And everybody wants to solve one of them, and you can‘t do it unless you solve all three at the same time.

One is border security.  You can put a lot of troops on the border, but until you find a way so that companies whether a prospective employee is legal, they can‘t enforce the law that says they can‘t hire an illegal alien.  If they can‘t hire an illegal alien and they don‘t hire illegal aliens, then you‘ll have fewer people trying to come over the borders and you can do that.

The second thing is: this country needs engineers and doctors and scientists, writers from around the world.  And we just passed a health care bill ensuring an awful lot, many millions more people.  We don‘t have doctors to treat them.

And the third part of the puzzle is: there are roughly 11 million people undocumented, broke the law to get here, but broke the law in all fairness with the complicity of business and federal government that deliberately passed a law without enforcement, so both sides could say to their constituents, “Look, don‘t worry about it, I didn‘t hurt you.”  And unless you, in the same piece of legislation, solve all three problems, not perfectly, but you‘ve got to come up with some solution to all three, you will, number one, never get it passed and, number two, it‘s not going to work.

O‘DONNELL:  Can you explain to me why the White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel would quit that job to seek a demotion to mayor?

BLOOMBERG:  Mayor is the best job in the country.

O‘DONNELL:  This is the mayor of Chicago.

BLOOMBERG:  Second best job in the country.  Chicago is the second biggest city.  Richie Daley has been mayor for 20-plus years.  He has improved schools in that city, has brought crime down in the city.  He‘s been a national leader in a lot of things.

Richie Daley will be missed.  I never knew his father.  His brother happens to be a close friend of mine.  But I‘ll tell you—this guy has been a great mayor.

And what I think Emanuel sees is that mayors do things.  In the legislature, they talk about things.  They can be on both sides of it.  Presidents and governors, at that level, you basically allocate resources.  Mayors make decisions day in and day out, every single day—and they have to be explicit decisions.

That‘s why mayors tend to not go on to other offices because every decision you make, you alienate some people.  But it‘s a job of decision-making.


O‘DONNELL:  The last mayor on a national ticket, the last mayor on—a person who was a mayor on a national ticket—

BLOOMBERG:  No idea.

O‘DONNELL:  Hubert Humphrey.  That‘s how deadly a mayoral job is for going forward.

Finally, the tax cut debate.  You spent a certain amount of your life in the top tax bracket.


O‘DONNELL:  The raging debate now is: do we extend the Bush brackets for the top tax bracket, keep them low at 35 percent, or let them go back up to the Clinton level of 39 percent?  Where are you?

BLOOMBERG:  Keep them for two years, at least.  Why?  Because you cannot run the risk of anything that stops job creation.  The biggest problem of this country is a lot of people don‘t have jobs.  If you don‘t have a job, you don‘t have the dignity of being self-employed.

And the other reason not to do it is, if you want to raise taxes, raise them on everybody.  If you want to cut them, cut them on everybody.  Creating a class system in our country is not a good idea.  We have a graduated income tax, so those who make more not only pay more, they pay a bigger percentage, but the step functions where all of a sudden there‘s a cutoff creates the kinds of divisions that we don‘t need and America wasn‘t built on.

America was built on, fundamentally, we‘re all equal.  Those who have more have a greater obligation to help those who have less.  But you don‘t go, all of a sudden, and say here, $1 more and you‘re less or more of a person.

O‘DONNELL:  So, I can‘t get you onboard with my idea of not only letting the top bracket go up but creating new top brackets for $10 million, for $100 million, for $500 million?

BLOOMBERG:  Lawrence, if God said to me, you could write the tax code, I would change the law—

O‘DONNELL:  H saying to you right now.

BLOOMBERG:  OK.  I would change the law so that every single American files a tax return and pays at least $1, because they should all understand this is not somebody else‘s money, this is our money, it‘s our country, it‘s our votes, we all are in this together.

And if you think about it, less than half the people in this country pay any tax at all.  As a matter of fact, a bunch of them have a negative income tax rate because of an earned income tax credit.  The tax rate are skewed.  It‘s very progressive.  As you go up the scale, you pay a lot more in a percentage.

And if we don‘t have enough money, we should, I think, raise everybody‘s taxes.  But this year and next year—too dangerous to do because of the unemployment.  After that, if you can afford it, you should pay it, but no step functions.  Just make it gradual.

O‘DONNELL:  Mike Bloomberg, I‘m going to—I‘m telling you, I‘m going to be pushing the billionaires bracket, the new billionaires brackets.

BLOOMBERG:  I hope you do.

O‘DONNELL:  It‘s going to be one-on-one.


BLOOMBERG:  We want you living here because we need more taxpayers in this city.  And congratulations on the new show.

O‘DONNELL:  Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

BLOOMBERG:  Happy to do it.


O‘DONNELL:  Militias are on the rise here in the U.S.  But they‘re also getting more and more extreme.  A “Time” magazine special investigation revealed a militia man who could have been the nuclear version of Timothy McVeigh.

And later, Meghan McCain is here to talk “Dirty, Sexy Politics.”  And we‘ll see if she agrees with Lady Gaga or her father?


O‘DONNELL:  Coming up, last night, the Senate—no, come on.  Let‘s watch that crazy billionaire again.  Come on, let‘s see that.


DICKER:  Do you have any evidence for the charge you made?

PALADINO:  At the appropriate time, you‘ll get it.

DICKER:  This guy is the attorney general of New York -- 

PALADINO:  And you‘re his talking horse right there.  You‘re his talking horse.  You‘re his bird dog.

DICKER:  What‘s the evidence?  You made the charge.

PALADINO:  You send another goon to my daughter‘s house and I‘ll take you out, buddy.

DICKER:  You‘re going to take me out?


DICKER:  How are you going to do that?


DICKER:  What are you doing?  Are you threatening me?



O‘DONNELL:  Locked and loaded.  Since Barack Obama became president, the number of heavily armed anti-government militias has tripled.  That‘s right, tripled.  The surge in recruits to what could be the training ground of our next Timothy McVeigh parallels the rise of the Tea Party and includes at least one man who had serious plans to kill the president by going nuclear.

Joining me now is the author of “Time” magazine‘s special investigation, “Locked and Loaded: The Secret World of Extreme Militias,” Barton Gellman, “Time” magazine‘s contributing editor at large.

Tell us about the guy who was building—really seriously building a nuclear device that he hoped would take the president.

BARTON GELLMAN, TIME MAGAZINE:  Well, a dirty bomb, he hoped—a radiological dispersal device.

O‘DONNELL:  This is what we fear from al Qaeda, that there will be some suitcase bomb, there will be some dirty bomb, so called, that will end up on the New York City subway.  But we had a domestic terrorist who was working on it.

GELLMAN:  Well, two things to say about this guy.  One is he probably is the most serious—came the nearest to being able to actually build a dirty bomb of any of the domestic threats we‘ve ever heard about, certainly way more than Jose Padilla, the accused al Qaeda dirty bomber.  On the other hand, he wasn‘t—he wasn‘t ready yet.  He wasn‘t there.  But it is by the happenstance that he was killed in his sleep by his wife that we found out about it at all.

O‘DONNELL:  And why was he killed in his sleep by his wife?  (INAUDIBLE) there were things wrong with him as a husband as well as a citizen—


GELLMAN:  There were issues.  The judge—the judge found that she had suffered so greatly in terms of domestic abuse that he waived any prison sentence at all, even though she killed him in his sleep.

O‘DONNELL:  Lenient judges have their place in our judicial system.  You write that the Holocaust Museum killer, James von Brunn, that he had written, was that on his Web site that he wrote this or?

GELLMAN:  No, actually, more chillingly.  He—when he went and killed the guard at the Holocaust Museum, he double-parked his car, got out, raised a rifle and shot the guy point-blank in the chest.  In his double-parked car was his planning notebook.  And in that notebook, you found evidence of the other target he had in mind.

O‘DONNELL:  Yes.  He had a note there saying “Obama was created by Jews.  Obama does what his Jew owners tell him to do.”  And he had other names on the card?

GELLMAN:  He did have other names.  One of them was David Axelrod, the president‘s closest political adviser.  And you don‘t have to think that one life is more important than another to understand that it would have been a very different kind of event had an assassin killed one of the president‘s, you know, inner circle members.

And a thing that put a jolt through the Secret Service and Homeland Security and FBI was that this is a guy who demonstrated motive, means, intent to kill—actually did kill.  And he had a plausible plan to get to David Axelrod.

O‘DONNELL:  Why didn‘t he go after the president or Axelrod?  Was the Holocaust Museum just easier?  All you had to do was walk in?

GELLMAN:  Actually, it‘s not clear to me it that the Holocaust Museum was easier because, you know, have in case the place, he knew there were armed guards all over the place.  That does not happen to have been the case at David Axelrod‘s home and the address was listed.

I think that Jews were whole central to this guy‘s whole concept of evil in the world that he couldn‘t resist.

O‘DONNELL:  Now, do you see any relationship in the parallel rise in time only—I‘m only suggesting there‘s a parallel in time, of the Tea Party and this tripling of the militias?

GELLMAN:  It‘s tricky because I—I do not want to give the impression that I‘m—that I‘m associating the Tea Party with these militias.  It almost doesn‘t matter what the anti-government extremists believe.  What matters is that they are arming and training and practicing and planning for bloodshed.

In most cases, they consider it defensive.  They‘re expecting, you know, Obama to send troops to declare martial law, to seize their guns and round them up in concentration camps and so on.  But they are training to kill opposition forces that look exactly like the ATF or the FBI or National Guard unit.

O‘DONNELL:  Now, having been with these people, is it your sense that the election of President Obama has provoked this increase in the militia, or at the same time the worst economy, you know, since the depression has provoked to this, or something else?

GELLMAN:  Well, both.  The FBI calls that a perfect storm.  You had—you had—look, anytime you have the bottom drop out of the economy, it increases discontent greatly, and it sort of increases the voices of people who think that, for example, special interests are running the world to their own detriment, who were alienated from Washington.

And many of the people in this sort of highly alienated, anti-government right have hated every recent president.  They hated the Bushes.  But Obama also sort of jolted that movement because in one guy, you united sort of—because of his race, because of what they imagined his religion was, because of what they imagined his—you know, his birthplace was, he united the bigotry of racists and religious bigots and nativists.  And so, he was a perfect symbol for all of them.

O‘DONNELL:  Barton Gellman with the cover story of “Time” magazine this week, “Locked and Loaded,” an amazing story—thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GELLMAN:  Thank you, Lawrence.

O‘DONNELL:  Coming up: Meghan McCain joins me to talk about what the Tea Party is doing to the GOP and whether she agrees with Christine O‘Donnell on—you know what.

And with the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill, you will be shocked to learn that Democrats and Republicans voted unanimously on something last night.


O‘DONNELL:  We have breaking news.  The Senate has agreed on something.  Just before members of the Senate adjourned last night, they passed a bill unanimously.

Not only did the Senate pass the bill unanimously, they passed it by what they call unanimous consent—meaning they didn‘t even have to have a roll call vote.  What could possibly move the most disagreeable bunch of people in America into union?  That television is too noisy, specifically commercials.

They passed a bill requiring TV and cable companies to keep the volume during commercials at the same level as the programs they interrupt.  Americans have been complaining about this to the FCC since the 1950s, basically since the invention of television.

So, the Senate should be getting around to doing something about iPhone signal quality around 2070.

What‘s it like to have Lady Gaga repeatedly attack your dad over his position on “don‘t ask, don‘t tell”?  Meghan McCain joins me to talk “Dirty Sexy politics.”

And we‘ll have an exclusive interview with attorney Gloria Allred.  She‘s representing the former maid of Meg Whitman, who may have just sunk the California gubernatorial candidate‘s political future.


O‘DONNELL:  As the Tea Party‘s influence on the Republican party grows, plenty of traditional Republicans are being forced out of that not-so-big anymore tent.  Forced to make way for the Mama Grizzlies, the Joe Millers, the Sharron Angles and the Christine—no relation—O‘Donnells.  Underscoring the point, the latest NBC News/”Wall Street Journal” poll showing that 71 percent of people who identify themselves as Republicans also say they‘re Tea Party supporters. 

On the right, the talk is all about the Tea Party tax cuts for the rich, resisting the repeal of Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, and taking back the country from the terrifying left.  And left out in the cold, Republican pragmatists and moderates, many who no longer recognize their party. 

Tonight, one of them steps into our Spotlight, author of the new book “Dirty Sexy Politics” Meghan McCain.  Meghan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. 

MEGHAN MCCAIN, AUTHOR, “DIRTY SEXY POLITICS”:  Thank you.  Thanks for having me. 

O‘DONNELL:  I have a few questions for you. 

MCCAIN:  Sure. 

O‘DONNELL:  In shaping your world view, I‘m just curious what newspapers and magazines—that‘s a joke.  You know—you saw—you told me you saw the questions I asked Levi the other night. 

MCCAIN:  Yes, I actually get asked that question a lot.  I think it‘s become this question that people ask people that to make sure—

O‘DONNELL:  It‘s the Katie Couric question to Sarah Palin of basically do you read the paper.  And she had no—she said she read all of them. 

MCCAIN:  Do you want to hear a piece of trivia?  I‘ve never actually saw that full interview, because I was the campaign on my own at the time and I‘ve only seen clips of it. 

O‘DONNELL:  All right.  We‘ll show it to you before you leave tonight. 

What about—you know, I‘m the parent of a daughter. 

MCCAIN:  How old is she? 

O‘DONNELL:  She is 16.  And there came a time—I didn‘t realize this immediately.  But there came a time years ago that I realized I better own up to my mistakes.  If I‘m telling her she made a mistake, because she should have done this instead of that, I better own up to mine.  So when did your father come to you after the election and say Meghan, that Palin thing was the craziest thing—

MCCAIN:  This election? 

O‘DONNELL:  The presidential election. 

MCCAIN:  He‘s ran twice. 

O‘DONNELL:  Presidential election.  When did he come to you and say the Palin choice was the biggest mistake of my life? 

MCCAIN:  He‘s never said anything like that to me. 

O‘DONNELL:  What?  He didn‘t? 


O‘DONNELL:  What does that do to father/daughter credibility.  You know it was the biggest mistake of his life. 

MCCAIN:  I don‘t think it‘s the biggest mistake of his life at all.  I think she brought a lot of momentum to my father‘s campaign.  She brought some negative thing.  History can judge it.  My family doesn‘t like to look back.  It‘s a pretty great trait.  We don‘t sit around the table talking about the election.  Thank God.  I would probably never go home.  It‘s just not something we talk about.

O‘DONNELL:  See, the Irish look back because we know there‘s nothing to look forward to.  It‘s a whole other culture.  You south-westerners live in optimist and sunshine.  It‘s a whole different thing.  So the question that the audience is waiting for is who‘s right on Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, Lady Gaga or Senator John McCain? 

MCCAIN:  Well, first of all, I don‘t believe in entertainers reaching their hat into politics.  As a general rule, I find it kind of infuriating.  I think everyone should stick to their mold and what they do. 

O‘DONNELL:  Can I stop you and ask you two words? 

MCCAIN:  Ronald Reagan? 

O‘DONNELL:  Yeah.  You are so good at this.  Did you see my cards? 

MCCAIN:  But I think when you‘re known for wearing raw meat at the MTV Awards, maybe.  I‘m against my father, obviously.  I‘m against Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell.  I took a lot of heat when my father obviously passed the bill. 

It‘s been a point of contention, not personally.  It‘s not like I go home and talk about it.  But obviously publicly, people still seem to vent anger at me about it.  Me and my mother both posed for the No Hate Campaign.  The world knows where I stand.  I‘m not a politician. 

O‘DONNELL:  But—you know, and you say entertainers shouldn‘t insert themselves here. 

MCCAIN:  I mean the sort of Ben Affleck—

O‘DONNELL:  What if they‘re right?  What if the entertainer is right? 

You think Lady Gaga is right. 

MCCAIN:  I would rather hear from politicians and professors and pundits and journalists for my information. 

O‘DONNELL:  All right.  Now, there is the Tea Party is -- 71 percent of your party supports in come sense the Tea Party.  Are you one of the 71 percent who in some way supports the Tea Party? 

MCCAIN:  I‘m really conflicted, because I understand where the anger is coming from.  I understand that it‘s about the spending.  Where it gets hazy for me, and a lot of other young people, is this weird race stuff.  I don‘t understand it.  It makes me very uncomfortable.  I think my generation is very post-racial. 

So that‘s where it gets really hazy for me.  I understand where the frustration is coming from.  And I think the Obama presidency sort of made this all possible.  So I‘m conflicted. 

O‘DONNELL:  And then there‘s that new plank in the Tea Party platform in Delaware that Christine O‘Donnell has introduced, this kind of personal behavior thing where—don‘t worry, I‘m not going to use the word.  I‘m too polite for that.  This is just a yes or no. 

MCCAIN:  Oh, is this what I think it is? 

O‘DONNELL:  Do you agree with Christine O‘Donnell on you know what? 

It‘s just yes or no. 


O‘DONNELL:  It‘s just yes or no.

MCCAIN:  If I were running for office, anti-masturbation would not be a platform I would choose. 

O‘DONNELL:  You‘re a libertarian on that one? 

MCCAIN:  Yes. 

O‘DONNELL:  Yes, OK.  Well, that‘s the rest of the O‘Donnell family‘s position.  I‘m telling you.  You find—


MCCAIN:  I feel very uncomfortable talking about this.

O‘DONNELL:  We all do.  I can‘t even use the word.

MCCAIN:  I think it‘s weird.  But whatever, do her thing.  Whatever. 

O‘DONNELL:  It is, as we say in Boston, wicked weird.  It‘s beyond weird. 

MCCAIN:  If it works for her, whatever. 

O‘DONNELL:  Now, what is it like—you‘re 25 now? 

MCCAIN:  Yeah, I‘m almost 26. 

O‘DONNELL:  What is it like at this age, which is, you know, the prime age group for Lady Gaga fans and, you know, that part of our culture, to have that kind of whole culture coming down on your dad over this particular issue, Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, and then just in general, you know, treating him as an old fogey, and that, you know, the young Democrat running for president is the cool way to go. 

How uncool do you feel when you‘re stuck in that corner? 

MCCAIN:  I don‘t fill uncool.  I never have. 

O‘DONNELL:  You don‘t look uncool.  And you don‘t sound uncool. 

There‘s a lot of coolness. 

MCCAIN:  I like Lady Gaga.  I just think it‘s—you know, again, I would like her to sing me “Paparazzi” and I‘ll go to her concerts.  I just don‘t want her to yell at my dad anymore. 

O‘DONNELL:  Well—she doesn‘t yell.  I thought she was pretty eloquent in the way she addressed him.  I was surprised.  You know, because there was no indication she could really put a sentence together outside of lyrics. 

MCCAIN:  But if you want middle America to come around to Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell, she really isn‘t the vessel I would use to talk to middle America.  Someone like me or my mother would really be the person I would send to the heartland to talk about Don‘t Ask, Don‘t Tell. 

Unfortunately, she‘s an entertainer and a very avant garde one.  I don‘t think that farmers in Midland America are necessarily going to be listening to her on this issue. 

O‘DONNELL:  How many Twitter followers do you and your mother have? 

MCCAIN:  I have like 90-something thousand.  How many do you have? 

O‘DONNELL:  Eight or nine.  But Lady Gaga has something like 18 million.  She‘s got like more than Obama, and more than the Pope, I think. 

MCCAIN:  I think she‘s the most followed person.  Yeah. 

O‘DONNELL:  That‘s what the answer to that is.  It‘s like everyone—people who want this to happen are thrilled—I think thrilled that you and your mother are where you are on this subject.  I think anyone can understand that‘s not an easy thing given your father‘s position.

But, you know, Lady Gaga gets the attention to it, more than even you can. 

MCCAIN:  But she was not effective. 

O‘DONNELL:  Well, we‘ll see, I guess.  Right?  We‘re going—I mean, next year we‘ll know who wins this thing, John McCain or Lady Gaga. 

MCCAIN:  True.  I hate that this is the beat that‘s going on. 

O‘DONNELL:  That‘s what politics has come down to.  Meghan McCain, thank you very, very much for joining me in the studio tonight.  Your book “Dirty Sexy Politics” on sale everywhere now. 

Billionaire Linda McMahon talks minimum wage today without knowing what the minimum wage actually is.  She‘s tonight‘s politician in urgent need of the Rewrite. 

And the allegations of this maid could undue all the millions and millions of dollars Meg Whitman has spent to try to be the next governor of California.  Attorney Gloria Allred unveiled the damning evidence today, and she‘ll join me here.


O‘DONNELL:  Coming up, Connecticut Senate candidate Linda—oh, no, no, no.  Show the craziest billionaire again.  Come on. 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Do you have any evidence to the charge you made? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  At the appropriate time, you‘ll get it. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This guy is the attorney general of New York—

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  And you‘re his stocking horse.  You‘re his stocking horse.  You‘re his bird dog. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You made the charge. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You send another goon to my daughter‘s house and I‘ll take you out, buddy. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Going to take me out? 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  How row going to do that? 


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  What, are you threatening me?



O‘DONNELL:  Time for tonight‘s Rewrite.  Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon, who made her fortune literally off the blood of others in the wrestling business, got the endorsement today of the National Federation of Independent Business, which like most Republicans opposes any increase to the federal minimum wage.  Now, logic would dictate if raising the minimum wage is a bad thing, then lowering it must be a good thing. 

That logic was obviously in mind when Linda McMahon today faced her first questions ever from reporters on the minimum wage.  When asked by a reporter if the federal minimum wage should be reduced, she said “we‘ve got minimum wages in the state.  We‘ve got the minimum wages in the government.  And I think we ought to look at all of those issues in terms of what mandates are being placed on businesses and can they afford them.” 

Rewrites never get any easier than this.  The answer to that question is no.  The minimum wage should not be reduced.  It doesn‘t matter if you want to reduce it, or even if you think it should be reduced; it is never going to happen because it never has happened.  It started at 25 cents an hour in 1938 and it has very, very slowly increased to—

Oh, yeah.  That‘s right, Linda.  You don‘t know what the minimum wage is.  When you were asked today if you knew the current minimum wage, you said you didn‘t know and you would have to check.  As you by now know, the federal minimum wage is 7.25 an hour.  And Connecticut, being richer than the rest of the country and more generous in spirit, has a state minimum wage a buck higher, 8.25 an hour. 

Linda, you spend more on your hair than a Connecticut minimum wage earner makes in a year.  And there‘s something else you should know about the minimum wage.  Minimum wage jobs are not easy.  You spend your whole day behind a counter in those jobs or standing in a parking lot.  And there is no one in Connecticut or anywhere else in this country living on the minimum wage who does not work much, much harder than you do. 

The minimum wage just got to 7.25 an hour last year.  Before that, it was 6.55 an hour.  Think about that, Linda.  An increase of 70 cents an hour.  And guess what?  No one—no one gets fewer wage increases than minimum wage workers.  You know how long it was 6.55 an hour?  Ten years.  Ten years, Linda, without a penny, not a penny of increase. 

And you think maybe it‘s time to push it back down?  To what?  To 6.55 an hour again?  Lower? 

Now, we could hope that the blood money you made on the backs of men filled with steroids would be enough to prevent Connecticut voters from sending you to the Senate.  But your attitude towards minimum wage workers, fueled by the ignorance that you now claim to have about your own filthy business, should be the last straw for Connecticut voters with a shred of human decency who are still undecided about you. 

Coming up, what could be the most expensive example of karma ever?  After spending more than 100 million dollars on her campaign for California governor, Meg Whitman may be destroyed by the house keeper she fired.


O‘DONNELL:  Yesterday, billionaire Republican candidate for California Governor Meg Whitman clashed with her former house keeper, Nicondra Diaz, who claims Whitman and her husband, Dr. Harsh—that‘s his real name—knew she was an undocumented worker, but ignored it so they could employ her for low pay, long hours and no benefits. 

In June 2009, Diaz asked for Whitman‘s help to become a legal U.S.  worker.  Whitman immediately fired her.  But firing wasn‘t good enough.  Diaz had to be erased, Soviet style, from Whitman family history. 


NICONDRA DIAZ, FMR. HOUSE KEEPER TO MEG WHITMAN:  She told me, I talked to my lawyer and he told me we cannot do anything for you.  And from now on, you don‘t know me and I don‘t know you. 


O‘DONNELL:  Among Diaz‘s claims, in 2003, Whitman failed to deal with a letter from the Social Security Administration pointing out a discrepancy between Nicky‘s driver‘s license and Social Security numbers.  The Whitman campaign responded. 


MEG WHITMAN, CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA:  We never received those letters.  And when we hired Nicky, we used an employment agency.  Nicky provided her Social Security card, a California driver‘s license.  She filled out a 1099, because we told the employment agency, we have to hire only people who are documented workers here. 

So we had no idea that she was here illegally. 


O‘DONNELL:  Turns out that‘s what Meg Whitman looks like when she‘s lying.  The Whitman camp bet the governorship that Diaz‘s lawyer, Gloria Allred, could not produce that letter.  Today, they lost.  Not only that, the letter included a hand written not from the perfectly named Dr. Harsh himself.


GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY:  And he wrote this little note to her on the bottom: “Nicky, please check this, thanks.”  He never asked her to return it to him or to Meg Whitman, both of whom had the duty, the responsibility to return this to the government. 


O‘DONNELL:  Dr. Harsh, a name too obvious to already have been used in a Bond film, was then forced to release this statement: “while I honestly do not recall receiving this letter, as it was sent to me seven years ago, I can say it is possible that I would have scratched a follow up note on a letter like this.” 

Here tonight, exclusively to discuss this admission from the Whitman camp, Diaz‘s attorney, Gloria Allred. 

Gloria, where do we go from here?  Whitman has volunteered to take a lie detector test on this.  Are you going to take her up on that? 

ALLRED:  I don‘t care whether she takes one or not.  I actually have heard—I don‘t know if it‘s accurate—that she later changed that to she would take a lie detector test if Jerry Brown took a lie detector test.  I think that‘s kind of ridiculous.  If she wants to take a lie detector test, let her take it.  Why is she making it a condition?  And Jerry Brown is not involved in representing my client. 

Mike, I proved it with evidence today that she lied yesterday, Lawrence.  You got it exactly right.  I mean, I even gave her a chance yesterday.  I said to the press when they asked me yesterday for the letter, that I told them existed—I said I‘m not going to provide it unless Meg Whitman denies having received it, and her husband denies having received it. 

They did deny it, unequivocally.  Here‘s a quote from “the New York Times,” “we never received that notification.”  From the Associated Press, “we never received that letter or that notification.” 

Today, I held up that letter, which you just showed, Lawrence, and showed Dr. Harsh‘s signature on it.  So obviously she lied when they said we never received.  Today they had to do a lot of back pedaling and dancing around, trying to do that old explaining thing, trying to explain away from it. 

But you can‘t get away from the fact that she lied and that she‘s been hypocrite call in employing an undocumented worker. 

O‘DONNELL:  Gloria, experienced criminal lawyers think of moments like this as the sanity test for their clients.  And by that I mean the lawyers who consulted—who Meg Whitman consulted before making that statement—because we know in the real world she wasn‘t going to go out there and make a statement without talking to campaign staff, without talking to all the handlers, and without talking to lawyers. 

And no lawyer—no lawyer, not Gloria Allred or any lawyer you know in California, was going to let her go out there and deny this, given that you had already indicated that you had this proof.  I mean, they wouldn‘t let them go out there if they just suspected you might have this proof.  I mean, so what I stare at when I see her lying straight in to the camera is what exactly is her score on a sanity test in this situation? 

ALLRED:  You know, I don‘t know.  Maybe they underestimated the house keeper, because she‘s Latina, because, you know, she doesn‘t speak perfect English.  She does her very best.  And maybe they underestimated me.  I don‘t know. 

But if they did underestimate us, then they made a big mistake.  Because I don‘t say that I will produce something unless I can produce it, unless I‘m willing to produce it, unless I‘m able to produce it.  So I also have other evidence and other information.  But I‘m not going to produce that either unless Meg Whitman wants to engage in more lies and denials.  Then I‘ll have to see what we‘re going to produce to rebut what she might say in the future. 

So I think she really needs to be much more careful now.  And, you know, I know she‘s reluctant to attack my client, because she doesn‘t want to alienate the Latino voters.  But—so she‘s trying to use me as a punching bag.  But none of that is going to deter us or deflect from the fact that she terminated my client‘s employment not because she was undocumented, Lawrence.  We believe—because we believe she knew that for years.  She did it because my client wanted to be legalized and she thought at that point, she would be exposed for having a --  

O‘DONNELL:  Gloria, I got to cut you there.  Sorry.  That‘s going to be THE LAST WORD for tonight.  Thank you, Gloria Allred.  You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog,, and you can follow my occasional Tweets @Lawrence.  That‘s tonight‘s LAST WORD.  “COUNTDOWN” is up next.


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