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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

Guests: Adam Green, James Moore

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Congressional Republicans want to rip up
the president`s jobs bill and Republican candidates want to rip up Rick


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They believe they have the will of the American
people on their side.

is, what on earth are we waiting for?

O`DONNELL (voice-over): Excited supporters greet the president on his
"pass this bill" campaign in John Boehner`s home state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Crowd chanting "pass this bill."

CROWD: Pass this bill! Pass this bill!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Ohio also, the home state of Speaker
Boehner`s --

CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Hello, Columbus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pay attention. Ohio, obviously, a huge swing

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`ll be in North Carolina tonight.

OBAMA: If you want to create jobs right now, pass this bill. If you
want to put teachers back in the classroom, pass this bill. If you want
tax cuts for middle class families and small business owners, then what do
you do? Pass this bill.

O`DONNELL: Republicans are excited about the president`s bill, too.

president is coming to Ohio.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: I understand the political
realities of what he`s dealing with.

BOEHNER: He`ll get a very warm Midwestern welcome in my home state.

president would propose would be rejected by Mitch McConnell.

ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: It`s not a serious attempt.

MCCONNELL: The president can call this bill whatever he wants.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: The only job that he cares about is President

LEE: The obstruction of the Republican Tea Party --


OBAMA: The time for gridlock and the time for games is over.

O`DONNELL: And the Republican presidential candidates are excited
about Rick Perry.

TODD: Full court pile on.

MITCHELL: The focus of repeated attacks.

TODD: Perry seems so unprepared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not great at coming back.

TODD: Perry was losing the crowd.

pretty good until you got to talking poker.

TODD: Talking HPV.

disease that has spread through sexual intercourse.

flat-out wrong.

TODD: And then they lost them on immigration.

BACHMANN: That is not the American way.

ANN RICHARDS (R), FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR: Buenos noches mi amigos.

MITCHELL: Mitt Romney was aggressive from the start.

growth was 2.5 percent a year.

RICHARDS: I think you need to know what a real Texas accent sounds




O`DONNELL: Good evening from New York.

Closely following the advice given to him on this program, not by me,
President Obama took his American Jobs Act on the road again today, this
time to Ohio, home state of House Speaker John Boehner.

The president spoke to a crowd of more than 3,000 people at a Columbus
area school campus that recently completed a major modernization and
renovation -- the kind the president has proposed doing across the country
in his jobs bill.


OBAMA: Those of you here at Fort Hays have been making it happen.
See, a few years back you decided to renovate this school. And you didn`t
just repair what was broken, you rebuilt this school for the 21st century,
with faster Internet, and cutting-edge technology. And that hasn`t just
created a better, safer learning environment for the students. It also
created good jobs for construction workers.

You just heard Tom say it`s created over 250 jobs for masons and
concrete workers and carpenters and plumbers and electricians, and many of
those jobs are filled by the good people of Columbus, Ohio.

There are construction projects like these all across the country just
waiting to get started and there are millions of unemployed construction
workers who are looking for a job. So my question to Congress is, what on
earth are we waiting for?


O`DONNELL: Republican leaders in Congress may have sounded
conciliatory when President Obama first announced the American Jobs Act,
but they have become predictably critical of the bill since the president
announced how he wants to pay for it, by asking high income earners,
corporate jet owners, oil companies and hedge fund managers to pay more in


he`s proposing here. Temporary stimulus to be paid for later by permanent
tax hikes.


O`DONNELL: Today, at a jobs summit in Washington, House Majority
Leader Eric Cantor said he would be willing to consider tax cuts for
businesses but dismissed the other proposals in the American Jobs Act, and,
of course, the revenue proposals to pay for it. In Ohio, the president
kept the legislative strategy simple. In his 16-minute speech, he called
on Congress to pass this bill 18 times -- a call that was echoed campaign-
style by the crowd.


OBAMA: There is work to be done. There are workers ready to do it.
So let`s tell Congress, pass this bill right away.

CROWD: Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill!


O`DONNELL: Joining me now are: Jonathan Capehart, "Washington Post"
editorial writer and MSNBC contributor. And Adam Green, co-founder of
Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

Welcome to the show both of you.

Adam, let me begin with you.

Has the president called you since he`s done these speeches in Eric
Cantor`s neighborhood and now in Boehner`s? In other words, followed your
advice explicitly as given on this program that he needs to go out there on
the road, into the opposition territory and sell his program the way he`s
been selling them? Has he called you up and said, hey, Adam, great idea,
now that I`ve done it, it feels really great?

phone calls today, so he might have left me a voicemail. We`ll see when I
get back home.

But, you know, this was free advice to him. I`m really glad that
somebody inside the White House has also been echoing this and he took it.
I mean, I think you know as well as anybody, Lawrence, given your time in
the Senate, that the best negotiation strategy is to be negotiating
strongly inside the room but to have the angry hoards knocking on the
negotiation room door on your side. You can look across the table at your
opponents and say, look, the people pay attention, they`re on my side, you
need to cave.

And by going right to John Boehner`s home stay and Eric Cantor`s home
state, that`s a huge step in the right direction for jobs and for taxing
the rich.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan, does the White House acknowledge that this is a
change for them legislatively or is this just a merger of a re-election
campaign with a legislative effort?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No, I think it`s a recognition
if they want to get this done, they`re going to have to change the way
they`ve been doing things. There are some things that are, you know,
different this time from previous efforts by the president to get a do-or-
die bill passed. You know, with health care, there wasn`t -- there were
ideals that the president wanted, you know, to be put into legislation.

But, as you saw, I believe it was Speaker Boehner in the open, he was
holding it. President Obama held up the American Jobs Act in the Rose
Garden. There`s actually a piece of legislation that`s coming from the
White House going to Congress saying, this is what I want you to do, and
this is how I want you to do it -- giving the president the perfect line
for people to chant and something very easy for the American people to do
what he wants them to do which is to call up their congressmen and say,
"pass this bill."

O`DONNELL: He has in the past basically presented his positive vision
of how to do things and frequently not really acknowledged what he was up
against. That was different in the Rose Garden yesterday. I want to go to
a clip of the Rose Garden where he referred specifically to a Republican
aide on Capitol Hill saying why should we do this for Obama? And took that
on directly.

Let`s listen to this.


OBAMA: Already yesterday, there was some Republicans quoted in
Washington saying that even if they agree with the proposals in the
American Jobs Act, they shouldn`t pass it because it would give me a win.

Give me a win? This isn`t about giving me a win. This isn`t about
giving Democrats or Republicans a win. It`s about giving the American
people a win. It`s about giving Ohio a win. It`s about your jobs and your
lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win.


O`DONNELL: OK. That`s the clip of him today saying what he said
yesterday in the Rose Garden.

He loves, Adam Green, he loves that "Politico" clip, an unnamed source
so much, that he keeps using it to rile up his crowds about how political
the Republicans are in facing this jobs bill. Is that the right strategy
for him at this point given that he`s going to have to at some point come
to some kind of legislative agreement with the Republicans in the House if
he`s going to get something?

GREEN: Absolutely it`s the right strategy -- for two reasons. One,
sometimes you have to name names. You have to the name the people who are
actually standing against progress. And if he`s willing to go in that
direction, that`s great.

But I really do agree with what Jonathan said before, which is that
there is a recognition that what happened before just didn`t work. And to
point my finger on what that means exactly, you know, we`ve polled Ohio,
and 80 percent of Ohio voters want to tax the rich and strongly oppose cuts
to Social Security and programs like Medicare, particularly with benefits.

But if you`re across the table from John Boehner and John Boehner is
not acting in good faith, not negotiating in good faith -- well, that`s a
problem. So you can`t keep going down that behind closed doors roads
negotiating with bad faith actors. If they insist on doing that, you have
to take your message to the people and, again, have those angry crowds on
your side saying, we want jobs, we want investment in our future and it`s
time to tax the rich.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Jonathan, I have to say, when I saw him use that in
the Rose Garden and referred to him and Joe Biden looking at it just before
coming out, it`s one of those moments where the politician is pretending to
be outraged by this comment but he`s actually treating it like a political
gift, because look at how I can expose my opponents for what they are.
They don`t care about jobs, they just care about the politics.

But on the politics of this, Jonathan, when do we cross the line here
into defining this as re-election campaigning? It`s starting to get tricky
because the DNC is now starting to run ads that follow where the president
has gone on this trip.

CAPEHART: Well, look, the two entities, the West Wing and the DNC,
are two completely different operations that the Democratic National
Committee wants to piggyback on something, on an official presidential
event, fine. That`s what they can do.

What we have here is a president who is trying to get a piece of
legislation passed and doing it in a way that gets his supporters and gets
the American people riled up so that they`ll actually push Congress to pass
it. It looks like a campaign. And since we`re going into a presidential
election season, I can understand why you and others would look and ask the
question, you know, are we blurring the lines here?

But if the DNC wants to take what the president is doing and using it
as a rallying point for their efforts for 2012, you know, so be it. You
think the Republicans wouldn`t do the same thing?

O`DONNELL: Adam Green, where does the president go from here? How
does he actually get action moving in the Congress?

GREEN: Well, literally I hope he goes to Kentucky from here.


GREEN: That`s Mitch McConnell`s home state.

But, look, I want to be very clear: if campaign-related pressures are
getting this White House to do the right thing, so be it. You know, again,
overwhelmingly independent voters, Democratic voters, even Republican
voters, do not want to cut vital benefits and do want strong investment in

So I think that the more this president takes this debate outside of
Washington, keeps the pressure on Republicans to cave, that`s a winning
strategy for him and that both helps him policy-wise and for the election.

O`DONNELL: MSNBC contributor Jonathan Capehart and now de facto
presidential adviser Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change
Campaign Committee -- thank you both very much for joining me tonight.

GREEN: Thanks, Lawrence.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Stay with us for more on the Obama jobs bill. And in the
"Rewrite" tonight, I`ll tell you exactly how Congress will try to rewrite
the bill and how the president might have to rewrite his new campaign

And, coming up, why Rick Perry`s realistic stance on immigration and
border issues could doom his candidacy.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, Republicans confirm they`re one in the same as
the Tea Party by putting on a debate just for them.

And Governor Perry just picked up another endorsement this evening.

And what are the chances that the Republican House of Representatives
will pass the president`s jobs bill without completely rewriting it? How
the Congress will rewrite the jobs bill is coming up -- where else? -- in
the "Rewrite."



good back and forth and opportunity for us to lay out our vision for how
you make sure the people on Social Security are going to have it, that are
on it now, those that are approaching it. And those that are mid-career,
or younger people, how we`re going to transform it and make sure they had a
program in place. I thought it was a very positive conversation with the
people of the country.


O`DONNELL: That was Republican presidential front-runner Rick Perry
in Tampa this morning giving his spin on last night`s Republican
presidential debate. Perry is desperately trying to dig his way out of a
hole he dug for himself by calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, a
failure and unconstitutional.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you still believe that
Social Security should be ended as a federal program as you did six months
ago when your book came out and returned to the states, or do you want to
retreat from that?

PERRY: I think we ought to have a conversation --

ROMNEY: We`re having that right now, Governor. We`re running for

PERRY: I`ll finish this conversation. The issue is, are there ways
to move the states into Social Security for state employees or for
retirees? We did in the state of Texas back in the 1980s. I think those
types of thoughtful conversations with America rather than trying to scare
seniors like you`re doing and other people --


ROMNEY: Governor, the term Ponzi scheme is what scared seniors.

PERRY: You said if people did it in the private sector --

ROMNEY: Did what?

PERRY: -- it would be called criminal. That`s in your book.

ROMNEY: Yes. What I said was --


ROMNEY: Governor Perry, you got to quote me correctly. You said it`s
criminal. What I said was Congress taking money out of the Social Security
Trust Fund is like criminal and that is and it`s wrong.


O`DONNELL: Social Security wasn`t the only issue Rick Perry`s
opponents used against him.


WOLF BLITZER, DEBATE MODERATOR: Does Governor Perry reserve credit
for all the jobs created in Texas?

ROMNEY: Well, sure. Look -- I think Governor Perry would agree with
me that if you`re dealt four aces that doesn`t make you necessarily a great
poker player.

BLITZER: Does your governor deserve all that credit?

170,000 of the jobs were government jobs, so I would put a little damper on
this. But I don`t want to offend the governor because he might raise my
taxes or something.


O`DONNELL: Rick Perry picked up another endorsement this evening,
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. That`s after Louisiana Governor Bobby
Jindal endorsed him on Monday.

And a new Gallup poll out today shows after last week`s NBC political
debate, Rick Perry continued to generate more positive intensity than any
other Republican. He leads the pack with a score of 24 percent. But Mitt
Romney gained 5 points in intensity and is now at a score of 16 percent.

Joining me, the intense editorial director for the AOL/"Huffington
Post" Media Group and MSNBC analyst, Howard Fineman.

Howard, we are watching Rick Perry trying to dig his way out of the
Social Security hole that he dug for himself. I said after the NBC debate
last week, you cannot possibly win the presidency campaigning on the
demonization of Social Security.

How is he doing? He didn`t want to bring up Ponzi scheme. He wasn`t
going to use those words.


O`DONNELL: Romney stuffed it on to him. At a certain point, the best
he could with Ponzi scheme this time around was to say, hey, I wasn`t the
first one to call it a Ponzi scheme.


O`DONNELL: How`s he doing?

FINEMAN: Well, not that great. And you can`t -- you`re right. I
don`t think you can win the presidency that way. But that doesn`t mean you
can`t win the Republican nomination that way.

The problem that he`s got, that Rick Perry has got conceptually, is if
you call something unconstitutional and illegal, by definition you don`t
want to fix it. How do you fix something that`s unconstitutional and

So, he`s got a conceptual as well as a rhetorical problem. And Romney
really and everybody -- the other candidates let Romney handle that one.
That was an exercise in gang tackling there. All other -- all the seven
other candidates had something to go after Rick Perry on last night.

O`DONNELL: And the crown jewel of the Perry governorship is starting
to get a little tarnished with that pesky little constituent of his, Ron
Paul, who has the impertinence to mention things like, hey, all those jobs,
a lot of those jobs are government jobs that were created there.


O`DONNELL: Ron Paul talks about taxation increasing in the state of
Texas. And a guy like Ron Paul can stay in this thing well beyond what`s
reasonable because he can campaign on a shoe string, as can I assume
Michele Bachmann.


O`DONNELL: If those two stay on the stage as long as they possibly
can, won`t they be more of a problem for Perry than Romney could possibly
be on his own?

FINEMAN: Well, the dynamic of this is everybody else wants to play a
role that suits them but that also slows down Rick Perry`s momentum.

Ron Paul did it from the libertarian perspective. Michele Bachmann
did it from the sort of the moral majority perspective, if you will. Mitt
Romney did it from the managerial perspective. Rick Santorum did it from
the immigration perspective. Jon Huntsman did it from the, you know, "I`m
a better manager than you are" perspective.

Everybody had some interest in touting themselves while at the same
time trying to slow down Rick Perry -- because Rick Perry still, even with
all the trouble he generated for himself on Social Security and on some
other issues, you know, he`s the guy who still got the momentum. And the
objective of the game now is to slow him down by any way possible. Michele
Bachmann attacked his credibility and his ethics.

So, you know, it`s getting nasty really fast because they`ve got to
slow Romney -- slow Rick Perry down if they can.

O`DONNELL: We had a Romney spokesman on our broadcast coverage after
last week`s debate who basically said, Rick Perry is welcome to the front-
runner role because -- and this is what he meant.


O`DONNELL: That when you`re the front-runner, the only way the other
participants in the debate can get attention is by hitting the front-
runner. How can Perry counter this?

FINEMAN: Well, he`s got to think through his answers. He has to stay
calm. He has to have comebacks.

I mean, I think Rick Perry is pretty good at counterpunching but he
doesn`t always have the facts straight and some of the laugh lines he gets
in front of the Tea Party when he has a Tea Party crowd on his side --
after all, Rick Perry was playing a home game there. Some polls say that,
you know, close to half of the Tea Party people see him as their favorite

But he`s got to get better at it and go down the third, fourth and
fifth level to explain himself. He`s got to take advantage of the fact
that everybody`s aiming at him and he didn`t really do it very well last

O`DONNELL: MSNBC political analyst, Howard Fineman -- thanks for
joining me tonight, Howard. And it`s going to be fun, Howard, to watch
your intensity level increase as this campaign gets more intense.

FINEMAN: Lawrence, I still have my eye on Tim Pawlenty and I know you
do, too.

O`DONNELL: We`re going to get him on this show. We got him booked.
He`s coming.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry
said the makers of a controversial vaccine he made mandatory in his state
only gave him $5,000 and he couldn`t be bought for $5,000. We`ll take a
closer look at the ties between the pharmaceutical company and Rick Perry.

And we`ll look at the one policy stance that could really ruin Rick
Perry`s chances in the primary. Melissa Harris-Perry joins me, coming up.


O`DONNELL: Still to come in this hour, Texas Republican Governor Rick
Perry presents -- resents Michele Bachmann`s insinuation that he can be
bought by a Merck pharmaceutical lobbyist for $5,000. Perry seems to be
suggesting that it would take a lot more than $5,000 for Merck to buy him,
which may be why Merck has actually contributed much more than $5,000 to
Rick Perry.

And in the "Rewrite," how will House Republicans rewrite the
president`s jobs bill?



and it was a $5,000 contribution that I had received from them. I raise
about $30 million. And if you`re saying I can be bought for $5,000, I`m


O`DONNELL: In the spotlight tonight, the relationship between
pharmaceutical giant Merck and Texas Governor Rick Perry. Perry got in a
lot of trouble last night with the tea party for his executive order
mandating all sixth grade girls in Texas be given a vaccine for HPV, the
sexually transmitted disease linked to cervical cancer. This issue was a
minor milk in the Republican debate on MSNBC last week. But I tried to
explain to our audience after last week`s debate that it was going to be a
much, much bigger problem for Perry with the tea party than what he was
saying about Social Security. It got very rough for Perry last night.


that in the midst of this executive order, there is a big drug company that
made millions of dollars because of this mandate. We can`t, we can`t deny

WOLF BLITZER, DEBATE MODERATOR: What are you suggesting?

BACHMANN: What I`m saying is that it`s wrong for a drug company
because the governor`s former chief of staff was the chief lobbyist for
this drug company. The drug company gave thousands of dollars in political
donations to the governor and this is just flat-out wrong. The question
is, is it about life or was it about millions of dollars and potentially
billions for drug companies?

BLITZER: Let Senator Santorum hold off for a second. You have to
respond to that.

PERRY: Yes, sir. The company that was Merck and it was a $5,000
contribution that I had received from them. I raise about $30 million.
And if you`re saying that I can be bought for $5,000, I`m offended.

BACHMANN: I`m offended for all the little girls and the parents that
didn`t have a choice. That`s what I`m offended for.


O`DONNELL: Now, I tried to make a point last week that Perry`s
decision was all about his service to a giant pharmaceutical company, not
his concern for protecting women from health threats. But Michele Bachmann
made that point much more effectively than I ever could have. At the time
Perry signed the mandate Merck manufactured the HPV vaccine and was
conducting a multimillion dollar campaign to convince states to make the
vaccination mandatory.

One of Merck`s chief lobbyists was Mike Toomey. As Michele Bachmann
pointed out, before finding employment with Merck, Toomey served as the
chief of staff for Governor Perry. NBC news` Michael Isikoff reports that
e-mails show that Toomey`s office had repeated contacts with Perry`s aides
during the drafting of Perry`s executive order.

Today Toomey runs. Make us great again. A super PAC, a super, super
PAC that pledged to spend $55 million to support Perry`s bid for presents.
With friends, a giant worldwide companies like Merck, 55 million shouldn`t
be a problem.

Joining me now, James Moore, who is co-author of "The New York Times"
bestseller "Bush`s brain" and has been covering Texas politics since 1975.
His forthcoming book is, well, I`m just going to do the subtitle of the
book which is "why Rick Perry will make America miss George W. Bush."
because the actual title of the book is a questionable use of Spanish that
may not pass MSNBC standards. Thank you very, very much for joining us
tonight. We will get the title of your book on our Web site. I just
haven`t won it by NBC standards.

JAMES MOORE, CO-AUTHOR, BUSH`S BRAIN: Not a problem, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: I think you understand.

MOORE: It will make more people go look for it.

O`DONNELL: I think you understand. So, Rick Perry says he can`t be
bought for $5,000. He was lying about that in that we have specific
records indicating that Merck gave him directly a lot more than $5,000. In
fact, gave him $6,000, then $16,000, then $7,500. A total of $29,500. So,
the number that Perry made up as the number that you can`t buy me for that
Merck supposedly gave him is actually a much higher number. He`s leaving
the question sitting there. How much can he be bought for?

MOORE: It`s pretty funny because if you talk to lobbyists at the
Texas capitol right now, the going rate, everybody says before you even get
into a conversation with his officers and staff, is about $200,000. So,
he`s right. He`s a bit pricier than $5,000. It`s also considerably ironic
that this guy runs around saying that he wants to make government as
inconsequential in our lives as possible. But to benefit his friend, Mike
Toomey, he`s willing to insert government into the lives of young women,
age 11 and 12, and force them and their families to get a vaccine. This is
the way it`s been in Texas under Rick Perry, Lawrence. What happens is the
lobbyists write the legislation and the legislators read it and they pass
it and it`s been going on that way since he`s been governor.

O`DONNELL: And Mike Toomey, a Merck lobbyist, is running a super Pac
for the governor that`s going to raise promising to raise $55 million.
That`s why super PACs exist so you can pretend that, you can lie and say
you are only getting $5,000 from Merck when in fact you`re getting $30,00
plus another $300,000 or more that`s been detailed that`s was routed
through the Republican governor`s association. These super PACs are set up
so you can lie about how much money the lobbyist interests are giving you,
and this is a classic example of it, isn`t it?

MOORE: I think so. And Mike is going to be intimately involved. In
fact, he`s very good friends with Dave Carney who runs Perry`s campaign. I
think they even own an island together off the coast to Maine where they
have homes. I mean, these two guys are very close. And Mike has been
representing many large corporations in the Texas capitol while Rick has
been governor. And those companies have been getting what they want out of
the Texas legislature.

The examples, the examples that come up over and over are the one is
Harold Simmons who is one of Rick Perry`s biggest contributors, had been
pushing for a nuclear waste dump in west Texas which people out there
defeated several times. But ultimately it got built and it is being built.
Another one is one of his biggest donors has given Rick millions of
dollars, Bob Perry, a home builder out of Houston actually has gotten a
board set up under Rick Perry that is to bring complaints about home
builders to that board that nothing ever gets done. It`s a way to make the
issues go away. That`s the way the federal government will work if he`s

O`DONNELL: And Bob Perry and a lot of other contributors funneled
money through the governors association when Rick Perry was running that.
James Moore, we`re running out of time. Thank you very much for joining us
tonight. You`re going to be back a lot uncovering Rick Perry and we`ll
find out from MSNBC standards whether we can ever say the actual title of
your book. The subtitle, though, tells the story. Thanks very much,

MOORE: My pleasure, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: President Obama`s new slogan is "pass this bill." Congress
just might force him to rewrite that slogan. That`s ahead in, of course,
the "rewrite."

Later, why Rick Perry`s sensible stands on immigration and border
issues will definitely hurt him with tea party voters. That`s coming up
with Melissa Harris-Perry.

O`DONNELL: In nonpolitical news today, a new study shows significant
testosterone declines in men when they become fathers. Close watchers of
the weak presidential campaigns of Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman may
actually consider that to be political news. Santorum and Huntsman each
have seven children.

And coming up, in non hormonal-based news, if Congress decides to vote
on only parts of President Obama`s jobs plan, then the president is going
to have to rewrite his "pass this bill" slogan. It turns out the
president`s already working on that rewrite.

And in last night`s debate, Rick Perry was booed when defending a bill
he signed that provided more Texans with the opportunity to attend college.
That`s coming up with Melissa Harris-Perry.


O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s "rewrite." I wish I could remember who
suggested to me last week, the first person who suggested to me last week
that pass this bill would become the yes we can, of the Obama re-election
campaign. Because it has.


jobs bill. Pass this bill now. Pass this bill. Pass this bill.


O`DONNELL: But the Obama campaign is going to have to rewrite that
slogan if Congress passes only some of his bill. Like, say, the payroll
tax cut that both parties can agree on which is actually the largest piece
of the American jobs act. The Obama camp is going to have to come up with
something like pass the rest of this bill or pass whatever`s left of this
bill or pass that thing about corporate jets and never mind that it
actually refers to all general aviation aircraft including single engine
propeller planes.

For three long days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the White House
tried to sell the notion that sure, it was possible to pass the American
jobs act intact. Republicans recognizing that they are perhaps the least
popular congressional pass the American jobs act in tact. Republicans
recognizing that they are, perhaps, the least popular congressional party
in history at the moment politely refrained from saying in the clearest
possible way, immediately, obviously we will rip this bill apart and only
pass the tax cut parts that we like and we won`t pass any of the tax
revenue increases and we sure don`t feel like passing any of the new
spending pieces.

Today began with the Obama campaign thinking they might just be able
to get away with this fantasy for at least one more day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re not in negotiation to break up the package and
it`s not an al a, carte menu.


O`DONNELL: And the president did his part insisting that the
political architecture of the American jobs act included a brilliantly
constructed trap for Republicans.


OBAMA: Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we
use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire
new workers? Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires
or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate, ready for
college, good jobs?

Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies or, or should we use
that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new
workers? Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires or billionaires or
should we put teachers back to work so our kids are ready to graduate from
college and get a good job?

Do we keep tax loopholes for oil companies or do we put teachers back
to work? Do we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires or should
we invest in education and technology and infrastructure?

Do you want to keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or do you want
to renovate more schools like Fort Hays so the construction workers have
jobs again? Do you want to keep tax breaks for multimillionaires and
billionaires? Or do you want to put teachers back to work and help small
businesses and cut taxes for middle class families?


O`DONNELL: I pointed out as soon as the president announced the
general shape of his bill on Thursday night that several congressional
committees would have jurisdiction over these several different parts of
the bill and that there was no parliamentary procedure available like the
reconciliation process that could keep the bill in tact when brought to the
Senate or house floor. Of course, if the Senate including a handful of
Republicans and the Republican-controlled house wanted to suddenly become
cooperative, they could do anything. They could easily hold this kind of
bill in tact. And if they held it in tact, then, then you would have that
juxtaposition the president is talking about, the tax break for
millionaires versus the jobs provisions in the bill.

But that choice may never come because it is entirely within the
powers of the Congress to rip this bill apart. Not just, not just because
of committee jurisdiction issues but because the procedural rules of both
the house and the Senate make it virtually impossible to hold this bill

Congressional Republicans know what the White House now knows. Which
is, and the White House knew it all along, that the bill must originate in
the House of Representatives. It has to originate there. Because it is a
constitutional rule, not just a rule of the house, that all tax bills, all
revenue bills, must originate in the House of Representatives. So this
talk of, democratic talk of, well, maybe the Senate can pass the bill and
then put pressure on the house to pass the bill.

If the Senate passes the bill in tact which is virtually impossible as
it is in the current makeup of the Senate with 47 Republicans there, it
would be what they call blue slipped in the House of Representatives. It`s
an old tradition where they just put a so-called blue slip on the bill
which is a rejection bill, saying in effect you violated the constitution.
You and the Senate have passed a revenue bill first. You passed it before
the House of Representatives, therefore, we won`t even look at it, won`t
even consider it.

So, those are the kinds of things the president`s bill is up against.
The president knows his bill is up against those kinds of things which is
why he finally admitted in a discussion with reporters that, yes, if the
Congress passes some of his bill, he will, of course, sign those portions
that the Congress passes and then, as he said, tell them to pass the rest.

And so we are now in the pass the bill stage of this campaign to pass
the bill and we will soon enter the pass the rest of it or pass, whatever`s
left of it stage, of passing this bill. We`ll see how long it takes for us
to get there.


O`DONNELL: There was one candidate at last night`s Republican debate
who was willing to bravely face reality about at least one thing.


PERRY: In the state of Texas, if you`ve been in the state of Texas
for three year, if you`re working toward your college degree and if you are
working and pursuing citizenship in the state of Texas, you pay instate
tuition there. And the bottom line is it doesn`t make any difference what
the sound of your last name is. That is the American way. No matter how
you got into the state, from the standpoint if your parents brought you
there or what have you. And that`s what we`ve done in the state of Texas
and I`m proud we are having those individuals be contributing members of
our society rather than telling them you go beyond the government dole.


O`DONNELL: He didn`t stop there. There was this.


PERRY: The idea you`re going to build a wall from Brownsville to El
Paso and go left for another 800 miles to Tijuana is just not reality.


O`DONNELL: Perry has now taken his place in line to be possibly the
third Republican nominee for president in a row with a much more liberal
position on immigration and border issues than his party. The question
facing Perry and his campaign strategists now is will he stick to his guns
on immigration own border security in the face of his party`s opposition
just the way former Texas Governor George W. Bush did? Or will he try the
kind of flip-flopping that John McCain did to win the Republican nomination
last time?

Joining me now, Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC contributor. Professor of
political science at Tulane University. And columnist for "the nation."
thanks for joining me tonight, Melissa.


O`DONNELL: Melissa, what`s with these border state Republicans?
Starting with, let`s not forget, Ronald Reagan, governor of California,
border state who had a very reasonable attitude toward this subject. Then
John McCain who was kind a for it before he was against it. George W. Bush
consistently enlightened, you would say, in Republican terms, on
immigration. And now the governor of Texas. What`s going on?

HARRIS-PERRY: Sure, I mean, part of it is that`s how they become
governor in Border States or senator in Border States. The fact is that in
those states you have large, important parts of the electorate who do have
a clear understanding about just how difficult the immigration issue is.
If you`re living in Texas, you understand sort of how ridiculous the notion
of the wall is. If you`re living in Arizona, you have a lot of clarity
about sort of what immigration issues are. Now, also, of course, leads to
things like SB-1070 sudden in Arizona where you have these kind of, you
know, aggressive responses over and against it. But it`s part of how they
become statewide leaders in these Border States.

O`DONNELL: And there are some business practicalities to this. I
mean, it`s not just all from the heart. There`s a certain amount of
corporate and business interest that says to these people, these office
holders in those states, hey come on, let`s be reasonable about this, this
is the reality of our economic environment here.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, look, yes. In this case, Perry is talking about
paying instate tuition to Texas colleges. So the great freedom here is the
freedom to pay tuition. Now granted these are actually quite reasonable
tuitions given the quality of public school education in Texas at least as
of now before all of the Perry education cuts start hitting these campuses
you know in the wake of sort of what we`re expected to see in his draconian
cuts in education. Up to this point it really is about making sure those
tuition dollars come in and any university system right now will tell you
that getting tuition paying units, which is what students are these days,
TPUs is highly valuable and pushing them out because their parents came
here without documentation is just bad business.

O`DONNELL: Well, the instate cost, the instate resident cost is
$7,200 a year. If you`re considered a nonresident of Texas, it`s $10,000
more. This is a very significant savings for those students. Rick Perry
actually did, at least for one day, stand firm on his tuition policy today.
Let`s listen to what he had to say today.


PERRY: Well, this issue is about education. It`s not about
immigration. These kids showed up in our state by no fault of their own.
You know some two or three years of age. They`ve been in our schools.
They`ve done the work.


O`DONNELL: Melissa, the guy is sounding like one of us. Should we
ruin his candidacy and both endorse him as our Republican favorite on
immigration and border policy?

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, you know, when I was sitting in for you,
Lawrence, I did as you did in the candidacy of Christine O`Donnell, and
every time I talked about Governor Perry I mentioned he was no relation to
me. So I`m pretty sure that I cannot now endorse him. That said, when you
say he sounds like one of us, the fact was he was at one point a
democratic. Now, he was a Dixiecrat blue, blue, blue dog version of
democrat but he was at one point a member of the Democratic Party.
Something that I suppose he doesn`t want to trumpet much with the Tea

But look, I don`t think that as members of political media that it`s a
good idea to sort of bash him for making reasonable arguments. You know,
its how I feel about sort of the attacks on him about his HPV vaccine
decisions and also about this one. It`s not that I think we ought to
endorse him. I already have my candidate in the 2012 race. But I do think
that when the Republicans make sense, whether it`s Huntsman or Romney or
Perry, we ought to just sort of say, yes, look, here might be a place where
we can find some agreement about reasonable policymaking.

O`DONNELL: And yes, in history of this goes very far outside the
current orthodox of his party. In 2001 Perry actually wrote this in "the
Dallas morning news." "I`m intrigued and opened to the Bush
administration`s amnesty proposal." Most Texas agree it`s better to have
legal tax pays immigrants from Mexico working in the United States than
illegal immigrants living in fear of the law and afraid to access basic
services. Melissa, a Republican candidate using the amnesty word has just
become unthinkable.

HARRIS-PERRY: It has been. But you know, what you see there is
interestingly enough, something very similar to his initial HPV decision
which is a recognition about epidemiology, right? In other words, he
recognizes it`s better to have citizens covered by education, health care,
you know the goodies of our society rather than outside of them. So I
think that`s where you see him making sense.

O`DONNELL: MSNBC Contributor Melissa Harris-Perry. Thank you very
much for joining me tonight.


O`DONNELL: "The Rachel Maddow Show` is up next. Good evening Rachel.


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