Guests: Ed Rollins, Barbara Boxer, Buddy Roemer, Adam Green, Ken Vogel
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Chris Christie jumps into the presidential
race and gives NBC an exclusive interview to explain why.
DYLAN RATIGAN, MSNBC ANCHOR: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
picked his horse.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s an honor to be joined
today by Governor Chris Christie.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a nice man in a clean suit that wants to be
O`DONNELL (voice-over): Chris Christie endorses Mitt Romney because
he`s a career politician.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Planned for a good long period
of time about what he would do if he was given the honor of being president
of the United States.
ROMNEY: Spent our life entirely in politics.
CHRISTIE: His experience as an elected official, experience as
governor of Massachusetts. He`s used executive power.
ROMNEY: He`s a real hero in Republican circles.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not Chris Christie, you never will be.
O`DONNELL: It`s not like Chris Christie had better options.
RATIGAN: Classic case of lesser of two evils.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The kind of hold you nose type nomination
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have to start showing Governor Romney some
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Poll shows Romney leading.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s not just going to be the guy that they love.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you think he feels watching you like
everybody more than him?
EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: They`re looking for the anti-
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Romney is so boring.
MARTIN BASHIR, MSNBC ANCHOR: What do you thing this does to Rick
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think Rick Perry is dead wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The governor has only 6 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He can talk about shooting coyotes in the face all
HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIRMAN: Rick Perry, an accomplished
politician that he is, had no clue.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are your manners?
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mitt Romney and I disagree
on his government run Romney-care.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; With little assist from
the former governor of Massachusetts, we said that health care should no
longer be a privilege in this country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was Michele Bachmann, then it was Rick Perry,
now it`s Herman Cain.
MITCHELL: Herman Cain is now second.
ROMNEY: Herman Cain is a terrific guy.
SANTORUM: Herman Cain strongly supports the bailouts.
ROMNEY: I vote for either one of us and you`ll be happy.
ANN COULTER: If you don`t run Chris Christie, Romney will be the
nominee, and we`ll lose.
O`DONNELL: One week after announcing he was definitely not running
for president, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie reveals his pick for the
Republican nomination. Christie placed a safe bet on front-runner Mitt
After a joint press conference with Mitt Romney, here`s Christie
explaining his decision in an exclusive interview with NBC`s Jamie Gangel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE GANGEL, NBC NEWS: Why are you endorsing him?
CHRISTIE: He`s the best person for the job. It`s simply on the
merits. And the fact is that we need to make sure that Barack Obama is a
one-term president for America`s future and I`ve looked at all the
Republican candidates. I`ve met with many of them. And there`s no
question in my mind Governor Romney is the person who gives us the best
chance of winning back the White House in November of 2012, and I want to
do everything I can to help him.
GANGEL: Did he promise you anything?
CHRISTIE: Absolutely nothing.
GANGEL: Vice President Christie?
CHRISTIE: No, he didn`t promise me anything.
GANGEL: Would he be on your short list?
ROMNEY: Of course, he`d be on anyone`s short list. He may take
himself off the list and say no way he has no interest. But the truth is
Governor Christie is one of the leading figures in the Republican Party and
someone who has taken on extreme interests inside his state, has battled
them down and is balancing the budget in New Jersey without raising taxes
and creating the kind of environment that will ultimately create more and
more jobs. It`s what America needs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: You can watch more of that interview tomorrow on the
Rick Perry`s spokesman, Ray Sullivan, had a simple explanation for why
Perry lost the most important endorsement of the year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAY SULLIVAN, PERRY SPOKESMAN: Well, that`s the way it works in this
business sometimes. Northeast Republicans are sticking together on this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Speaking of Northeast Republicans, the funniest I`m not
running announcement of the year came this afternoon on Long Island. Rudy
Giuliani finally made it official what we`ve known for four years, he is
not running for president. Giuliani said, "If it`s too late for Chris
Christie, it`s too late for me."
Joining me now, Eugene Robinson, associate editor and columnist for
"The Washington Post" and MSNBC political analyst. And Ed Rollins,
Republican campaign consultant and former Michele Bachmann campaign
Thank you both for joining me tonight.
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Ed, you`re a master of Republican political analysis. Did
we just see the first picture of the ticket? The Romney/Christie --
ROLLINS: Certainly a possibility. This is an important endorsement.
It`s the first big endorsement any of these candidates have gotten. There
may be a whole group of them that basically fall into line now.
I still think it`s very much a two-person race and certainly some of
the candidates that are debating tonight still have one ticket out. That`s
Iowa. But at the end of the day, these two, meaning, Perry and the
governor are the ones who have the resources and can beyond no matter what
happens to them in the early primaries.
O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, what about Sullivan`s point about, hey, a
Northeast Republican endorses the Northeast Republican. How does that play
outside of the Northeast?
ROBINSON: Well, first, Lawrence, let me take the opportunity to
announce that I also have decided not to run for the Republican nomination.
O`DONNELL: Gene, I was going to tell you, if it`s too late for Chris
Christie, I think it`s too late for Gene Robinson.
ROBINSON: And it is. You know, that was an interesting comment.
What it highlights to me is that, you know, Christie has a national
reputation. He doesn`t have a national constituency or national
organization. And he -- the question of whether he can appeal to both
wings of the party, can he bring along both wings of the party,
establishment wing and the Tea Party wing, I`ve had my doubts as to how
influential he is in the Tea Party wing. I guess we`ll see.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the press conference that they did
immediately after the announcements. Mark Halperin asked them the question
about Perry`s pastor and that controversial introduction last weekend and
then the slam on Mormonism as a cult.
Let`s listen to what Christie and Romney had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: Any campaign that associates itself with that type of
conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States in my view.
ROMNEY: I just don`t believe that that kind of divisiveness based
upon religion has a place in this country. I call upon Governor Perry to
repudiate the sentiment and remarks made by that pastor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Ed Rollins, now it`s moved over into the repudiate game
that happens under these kinds of situations. But the language from
Christie, he is saying that if -- in effect, if Perry does not disassociate
himself from it, he shouldn`t be president. He said, "Any campaign that
associates itself with this type of conduct beneath the office of the
president of the United States" -- and here`s Christie`s first campaign
appearance in effect for his guy. He`s saying the other guy should not be
ROLLINS: We know that the governor has an ability to sometimes
overstate and sometimes say great sound bites. At the end of the day, I
think that the minister`s comments were inappropriate and I said on other
shows that I think it`s a form of bigotry.
But I can say this. Governor Christie gets to endorse for himself.
He may bring some money people. He may bring some others. He`s not
bringing the conservative wing of this party.
Perry is still the conservative candidate until he falters and that`s
probably a year from now before this thing is over. So, at the end of the
day here, this is -- this is an important endorsement. There may be
others, but it`s not something that`s a game ender.
O`DONNELL: Ed, you`ve studied Republican polling on this. Do you
guys have information from the 2008 polling, you were on the Huckabee
campaign then, that indicates what the level of resistance to Mormonism is
among Republican evangelical primary voters, Iowa and elsewhere?
ROLLINS: It`s somewhere below 25 percent. It`s among Democrats
equally as important.
O`DONNELL: Does that mean it`s around 20 percent?
O`DONNELL: Because that`s a very big drag.
ROLLINS: It`s a big number. Pew has done a lot of those studies on
this. But I think it`s also something everybody tells pollsters what they
think. I can tell you -- this had nothing to do with Governor Huckabee who
obviously was evangelical leader, what have you. But I was in a lot of
these churches with his candidacy. There are a lot of people who came up
to me and said, you can`t let the Mormon win.
As an Irish Catholic who`s seen prejudice in my lifetime in politics,
it kind of bothered me a little bit. I couldn`t quite understand it. But
I know it`s real.
O`DONNELL: Gene Robinson, it was a very real moment in the press
conference, the most vivid moment of the press conference. It showed you
why you like having a guy like Chris Christie in your corner. He was very
ROBINSON: Yes, he was forceful. As Ed said, he does tend to
overstate sometime, but he will be an effective campaigner for Romney if he
really goes out on the stump for him and tries to bring him across the line
in some important primary states, especially down the road. I agree with
Ed that what is being set up is a Romney/Perry race that could go on for a
long, long time. Perry has tons of money. He`s poised for a comeback. He
can`t go down much further.
But after the sort of Herman Cain boomlet runs its course, you`re
going to have Romney versus Perry, two wings of the party fighting it out.
And I just don`t know if they can agree and be happy with one or the other.
O`DONNELL: All right. Let`s listen to the thing that Christie is
going to have to be repeating time and again, his defense of Mitt Romney on
the Massachusetts health care plan. Let`s hear how Christie handled that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: Any attempt to try to compare what happened to
Massachusetts and what the president has done to the United States of
America with his plan is completely intellectually dishonest. Governor
Romney did not raise one tax in doing what he did to improve the health
care system of Massachusetts. And I will tell you that I`m proud of him
for standing up and doing what he believes was right.
That may not be right for New Jersey. It may not be right for
Montana. It may not be right for California. Those governors will make
But do not try to equate what`s happened in Obamacare with what
Governor Romney did in Massachusetts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Gene, do you think that settles it for Republican voters?
ROBINSON: No, I don`t think it settles it at all, Lawrence. You
know, he had an insurance mandate and that`s that. I mean, president and
his surrogates are going to be out all year long saying, gee, we based
Obamacare on Romneycare and it`s not going to go away.
Now, I don`t know a polling that shows that that has, you know, is
destroying the Romney candidacy at this point, but it`s a drag on him and
it`s going to continue to be a drag.
ROLLINS: He has already been attacked on. The first two people
they`re going to quote, is one, is the president who`s often said I based
Obamacare on Romneycare. And secondly, our good friend Howard Dean who
repeatedly says that it`s very, very similar.
I don`t think Romney has gotten through that yet. I mean, I think
he`s got a long, hard battle here on that issue.
But I think he`s a good candidate. He has to defend himself. If he
can`t, it`s not just going to be Christie`s endorsement that`s going to
make any difference.
O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at what the polls are in the first two
states they have to go to. Iowa, Romney is at 23 percent. Herman Cain at
20 percent. Ron Paul at 11 percent. Rick Perry, way, way, way down at 10
percent. Michele Bachmann 10 percent.
Ed Rollins, when you look at that, Romney is in the lead without
having made any effort in Iowa. Rick Perry has to win Iowa, doesn`t he?
He`s down at half, less than half of Romney`s support.
ROLLINS: All but Romney have to win Iowa, all those candidates on
that list if they want to continue on. It`s sort of like NCAA, you know,
final 66 or 64, whatever it is. You can`t lose.
And that`s the first -- but I`ll say this about Romney. Romney, and
obviously I did Huckabee last time, it was a very competitive race and very
close. Romney has a lot of, as you see that thing all split up there,
Romney, as I was doing Bachmann this year, Romney actually had more support
in the state than she had. He just chose not to participate in the straw
If he wanted to go in there and compete, he couldn`t get a majority
but he could get a plurality that may give him the victory. If I was his
strategist, I would run that risk simply because that ends the game from my
O`DONNELL: Gene, let`s take a quick look at New Hampshire where
Romney has a new lead on the new NBC poll. Mitt Romney, 44 percent.
Herman Cain, 13 percent. Ron Paul tied for second at 13 percent.
Rick Perry, less than half of what Herman Cain and Ron Paul have in
New Hampshire. He`s at 6 percent. He`s down there in Jon Huntsman
territory who`s at 5 percent.
If Romney -- if these numbers hold, something like it holds, and we`re
shockingly close now to these votes, if he pulls those two off in a row,
that would just about do it, wouldn`t it?
ROBINSON: Well, that would be crushing. Then, we`d of course all be
looking at South Carolina which has a tradition of picking the eventual
nominee and that could be a kind of battle royale.
But I think we`re poised right now for a Perry comeback, though.
Things seem to be in line for that. If he can`t get all those points back
in one week or even two weeks, but I think he can climb slowly back into
the race and has got the money to last. So, he can stick around until it`s
just the two of them.
ROLLINS: Here`s what I hear. I hear great disappointment in Perry`s
performances and I hope he will do better. And I hear from Republicans,
and I don`t have a horse in this race other than Mrs. Bachmann, that
basically how do we stop Romney?
So, I think there`s a long, hard battle and Perry is the conservative.
Romney is the establishment candidate. Historically, the establishment
candidate has won this process. This could be a year in which it could be
O`DONNELL: The way you stop Romney is nominate him and as Ann Coulter
said in our open, President Obama beats him.
Eugene Robinson and Ed Rollins, thank you both very much.
ROLLINS: Now that gene is not running, what do I do with all that
opposition research I have to do? Gathering it for years.
ROBINSON: File it away for four more years.
O`DONNELL: Thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
Coming up, the Koch brothers and Karl Rove work together in 2010 to
spend big money to elect Republicans. But now, Rove and the Koch brothers
are feuding. That`s coming up.
And the president`s jobs bill gets its first turn on the Senate floor
tonight. Senator Barbara Boxer joins me.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, "Occupy Wall Street" marches uptown to where
the billionaires live.
And the difference between Republicans and Democrats on full display
tonight in the United States Senate as the president`s jobs bill comes to
the floor. Senator Barbara Boxer of California is my guest, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We have Republicans in Congress who keep on talking about
we`ve got to help job creators. Don`t just talk about it. Actually do
something. Pass this jobs bill.
We`re just going to stay on it and if they don`t vote for it today,
we`re going to stay on it until they vote for something. We`re going to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The president`s American Jobs Act got a majority vote in
the United States Senate tonight. But a majority isn`t enough.
Republicans have succeeded in stopping the bill in its tracks on a
procedural vote that required 60 votes to advance the bill. The bill
includes a large cut in payroll taxes that would leave more take home pay
in workers` pockets, spendable income and make it cheaper for employers to
hire new workers.
The bill also extends unemployment benefits and provides funding for
job training. The bill provides $50 billion for job creating, shovel-ready
building projects, $30 billion for school renovations, and $35 billion for
the states rehire police, firefighters and teachers.
The $447 billion package would all be paid for, all of it paid for, by
a 5.6 percent surtax only on personal incomes over $1 million -- a tax that
would apply to 0.1 percent of the population.
Joining me now is Senator Barbara Boxer of California, chairwoman of
the Environment and Public Works Committee.
Thank you very much for joining me tonight, Senator.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you for inviting me,
O`DONNELL: Senator, this is one of those nights in the Senate where a
majority is not enough and a majority voted for 99 percent of the people
out there, but there was enough of a protection vote from Republicans on
that top 0.1 percent of the people not allowing any taxation, anymore
taxation on incomes over $1 million.
Where does the bill go from here?
BOXER: Let me first just say I have to say this, that it is really a
sad situation. When everyone in America, almost everyone says the biggest
issue was jobs and all we were asking for is the ability for a majority of
the United States Senate to vote to simply take up the Obama jobs bill.
Then we could amend it, we could change it.
But all of America, at least they saw what a filibuster is. A
filibuster is simply saying we are not going to allow a majority to rule.
We`re going to force you to get 60 votes. Not one Republican broke with
They all voted against the ability to take up this bill.
So where do we go from here? The president has said and I think
rather graciously, OK, we`ll take pieces of this bill and we`ll push -- try
to push those pieces through, whether it`s unemployment compensation,
hiring teachers, rebuilding our roads and bridges. And we`ll pay for it
with a millionaire`s surtax, which about almost -- I would say, 75 percent
of the people in this country support it. It`s just -- it`s just such a
fair thing to do.
So I am, you know, very discouraged that we couldn`t even pick up one
or two Republicans, but I hope America is watching, Lawrence, because they
hear the word filibuster, they don`t really know what it means. And I
think you were right when you said if anyone wants s to know the difference
between the parties, it was on display tonight.
O`DONNELL: And, Senator, I just want to point out what this vote
means to you, because it turns out many the 50 states, incomes over $1
million are not equally distributed among the states. There are more
personal tax returns filed in the state of California with incomes over $1
million than in any other of the 50 states.
So, you were voting for more of that money to come out of your state
than any other state. This is not the simple, easy vote that people think
it is for California senators. And there were plenty of senators voting
against this on Republican side who have very, very few tax filers in their
state that would ever be subject to this kind of tax.
And I just really want to stress for the audience -- it`s a tax that
only hits the second million dollars you make. It doesn`t touch the first
million dollars you make.
BOXER: That`s right.
O`DONNELL: It`s the most progressive tax proposal I`ve seen the
Senate vote on.
BOXER: Well, let me say this about the people of my state and, of
course, there are exceptions to everything that a person strives to
generalize. But I`ve traveled up and down that state, every nook and
cranny, from the poorest to the wealthiest -- and everyone seems to agree
that people have to pay their fair share and the wealthiest understand
They understand what Elizabeth Warren essentially said when she was
all over YouTube. What a great candidate, I put a plug in for her.
That everybody who`s made it in America has made it because this great
country stands by you when you`re in the working poor, when you`re in the
middle class. At least that`s what we`ve done in the past. And we provide
the police and we provide the national defense and we provide clean air so
you can breathe and get to work.
We do a lot of these important things, and most of the people in my
state, as wealthy as they are -- and I don`t speak for everyone, I know
that -- believe that it is time for everyone to pay their fair share
because, frankly, if we have this huge separation between the very wealthy
and everybody else, it doesn`t make for a very strong nation. The reason
we`re so strong is our vibrant middle class. And I think when you look at
the faces out on Wall Street, that`s what you see -- the vibrant middle
class out there.
O`DONNELL: Senator, our NBC polling indicates that 81 percent of
Americans support this tax proposal, a surtax on incomes, only incomes over
$1 million. So, it absolutely is there -- 81 percent of the country
supports it and just something around 51 percent of the United States
Senate supports it.
Is there a possibility of separating out some of the components of
this bill and moving them one at a time or trying to move them one at a
time through the Congress, like the payroll tax cut? What do the
Republicans have against a payroll tax cut? Have they finally met a tax
cut they don`t like?
BOXER: Well, they seemed to have changed on it simply because the
president`s for it, because they were in the past for it. Now, they say
this isn`t the time to do this.
Listen, I can`t explain them to you. If I could, I would be talking
to Harry Reid, give him advice. But all I can say is they are out of step
with 80 percent of the people on this point.
And at some point in time, they`re going to have to understand that we
are supposed to represent the people and we don`t represent the people when
their number one issue is jobs, when 80 percent of them say it`s fair to go
after millionaires and ask them to pay their fair share. They`re just
simply out of step when bridges are falling down and infrastructure is not
keeping pace. Everyone knows we`ve got a million unemployed construction
What a moment in time to do the right thing and I would just say that
independent economists say it`s 1.9 million jobs the Republicans walked
away from tonight. I hope they -- maybe they won`t sleep well tonight. I
O`DONNELL: Senator Barbara Boxer of California, thank you for even
thinking about trying to explain the Republicans to me tonight.
O`DONNELL: Thanks, Senator.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, it took the president only three weeks to get
Americans on his side for his jobs plan. Why that`s bad news for any
Republican in 2012. That`s in the "Rewrite."
And Eric Cantor and Mitt Romney try to walk back their anti-occupy
Wall Street comments.
And more than 100 protesters are arrested on the streets of Boston.
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, the national Occupy Wall Street
Movement continues to grow. Today in Manhattan, hundreds of protesters and
their union supporters participated in what they called a Millionaire`s
March, from their financial district base to the Upper East Side homes of
some of the city`s billionaires, including News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch
and conservative oil mogul David Koch.
In Boston, 129 protesters were arrested overnight and charged with
unlawful assembly and trespassing at a newly renovated public park near
where protesters have been camped out for nearly two weeks. In Washington,
Capital Police arrested six of the over 100 protesters demonstrating in the
Hart Senate Office Building.
A new viral video promoting the Occupy Wall Street Movement features
Massachusetts Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren in a 2009 interview with
Dan Rather recounting the economic history Washington ignored that led to
the protests we see today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH WARREN (D), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE: About every 15 to 20
years, we have another crisis. We call them panics. We have different
names for them. For 140 years, the pattern is just unmistakable.
Then we hit the Great Depression. And coming out of the Great
Depression, we put three new regulations in place, Glass-Steagall, which
divides our community banks from the Wall Street investment banks, FDIC
insurance, and some SEC regulations so you can invest on Wall Street and
they can`t cheat you too directly.
For 50 years, we have no bank failures, no major crises. It works.
It gets to be the early 1980s. We go with this idea of let`s get rid of
regulation. What happens? Late 1980s, Savings and Loan Crisis. Should
have been a warning.
Late 1990s. You remember Long Term Capital Management, hedge fund,
should have been a warning. Early 2000s. Enron should have been a
warning. But we let it go. Where do we end up? In the biggest crisis
since the Great Depression.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re here to inspire a nationwide movement.
CROWD: We`re here to inspire a nationwide movement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Adam Green, whose organization, the
Progressive Change Campaign Committee, was at the protests today in New
York. Also former Louisiana Governor and current Republican presidential
candidate Buddy Roemer who met with the protesters today in New York.
Thank you both for joining me tonight. Buddy, this is your second
night in a row on the show. Can I call you Buddy?
BUDDY ROEMER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m going to make a
conservative out of you yet.
O`DONNELL: I`m from the north. So I have no friends named Buddy.
This is my --
ROEMER: If your real name is Charles Ellison Roemer III, you`re
Buddy. You call me Buddy.
O`DONNELL: So you`re down there talking to the protesters today.
What did you learn actually going down to the site?
ROEMER: Well, I didn`t do much talking. I did a lot of listening.
Now maybe I`m not a good politician. But I wanted to see what their
I found them to be American. I know they`ve been called un-American.
I found them to be very American. I found them to be concerned about their
country. I didn`t agree with all of their particulars, but they ask
You know what America needs to do? It needs to ask questions of a
system that`s broken. And that`s what they`re doing.
I love them there. I remember -- I`m an old man. I`m 68. I remember
the Vietnam protests when I was in college. I remember the civil rights
protests on my city streets when I was a young man in the Deep South. They
The politicians need to listen to these young people. It could change
O`DONNELL: The politicians who aren`t listening to them apparently
are your fellow presidential candidates on the Republican side. The
presidential candidates all seem to have very strong opinions about this,
without having listened to a word they say.
ROEMER: You know, I don`t like that, because there are some decent
people running, but I didn`t see the president there either. I don`t see
many Democrats running down to listen. I think it`s a political problem,
not a party problem.
I do think that my party, of which I`m proud, could expand its
membership and its importance if it listened more, particularly to those
who feel left out.
America`s in trouble, Lawrence. And it`s not about a party. It`s not
even about a president. It`s about 99 percent of the people who think they
have no say-so in who we are.
O`DONNELL: Adam, you`re down there today. What did you come out of
ADAM GREEN, PROGRESSIVE CHANGE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: It`s really
inspirational. This is my first time at New York. I`ve been in D.C. since
day one. Seeing it grow from 20 people to 50 people, to now hundreds of
people sleeping out just to me is indicative of the simmering anger that`s
out there at corporate money polluting our politics, polluting our
democracy and a couple bad corporate actors really tanking our economy.
People out there today have signs saying stuff like "It`s Not Class
Warfare Until We Fight Back." It seems like it`s that kind of desperation,
people being kicked out of their homes, people who have lots of college
degrees who don`t have jobs, who feel like it`s now time to focus on the
O`DONNELL: You have put some money into the Elizabeth Warren campaign
in Massachusetts, money that you raised online, Progressive Change Campaign
Committee, small donations mostly. And you see Elizabeth Warren, if anyone
is a hero of those people down there -- and as this video shows, she seems
to be the politician who`s out there in a prominent way that has some kind
of connective feel for this.
GREEN: That`s absolutely right. It`s not an accident that thousands
of people went to our website BoldProgressives.org and chipped in over
400,000 dollars to Elizabeth Warren`s campaign. It`s a new record for us.
It`s not really to our credit. It`s to hers.
She`s one of few people that has an actual record, when, the going
gets tough, of keeping Wall Street`s feet to the fire, really holding them
accountable. Again, I think the same forces that are at play with Occupy
Wall Street, Occupy Boston, Occupy D.C., are at play with the Elizabeth
Her boomlet of now over three million dollars raised in just a couple
weeks is credited to the fact that people are thirsty for someone who will
finally speak truth to power and be willing to take on Wall Street and
O`DONNELL: Buddy, you know politicians make superficial judgments
when they look at crowds. They look at that group, that`s not our group.
Or they look at that one, we like them; they`re us. Did you get a lot of
messages down there today that were anti-Republican, that a agile
Republican politician would not be able to live with or figure out how to
ROEMER: I like the way you phrased the question. Let me answer it in
I got a lot of negative comment by the fact that I was a Republican.
But they listened as they listened why I changed party 20 years ago, why
I`m a jobs guy, why I`m not a lawyer, I`m not a professional politician. I
think America can do better.
I got a chance to have that interaction. But I listened. And without
exception, every person there, some with scruffy hair, some not dressed as
neat as you are, some that look different from maybe my children, who are
25 and 45 years old -- every person there listened after they expressed an
They gave me a chance to answer. And as to the comments here about
moving this across America, I think it would be very positive. And I think
Republicans need to listen to what`s happening there.
They didn`t say bring America down. They didn`t say I want something
from the federal government. They said fair play, Buddy, fair play. And
Buddy, we like the fact that you`re not taking PAC money. We like that.
We like the fact that you`re a banker and yet you come down to listen to
We like the fact that your bank is two-thirds of a billion dollars.
They didn`t take any bailout money. We like the fact that you`re standing
balanced, not foreclosing on homes, not doing the things that a good banker
Look, I`m not a Wall Street banker. And -- but for years they have
raised capital as we grew jobs. I don`t think they do that anymore,
Lawrence. I think they have rewritten the tax code. I think they`re
sending our jobs overseas.
You want to change something in America? You limit the gifts or give
full disclosure with no PACs or super PACs. And number two, you stop
unfair trade with China, and we`ll turn this country around. And it won`t
O`DONNELL: Adam, I`m a little surprised at the surprise at this
movement. A 9.1 percent unemployment rate, what did people think the
country was going to look like? Was everyone just going to stay home and
be quiet about that and hold their breath and wait for something to happen?
GREEN: I`m with you. People shouldn`t be surprised. Again, there`s
a certain desperate nature to this. If our political system is broken, if
corporate money is polluting it, and if our economy is working against
these people, often very educated people without jobs, people have to show,
you know, their opinions through being more visible and being more vocal.
Now, I would just point out that, you know, inspired by his Occupy
Wall Street movement, our organization just a couple days ago launched a
campaign aimed at Bank of America, one of the worst corporate actors. Not
bad because they`re a corporation, but bad because they essentially
committed fraud to kick people out of their houses. At this point, over
11,000 people have signed up at our website for Bank of America customers
who in the coming weeks will be moving their money away from Bank of
This is people operating as customers in the free market, voting with
their dollars. There`s a lot more of that kind of corporate accountability
ROEMER: I think it`s the system, Adam. I think it`s the system.
We`ve let the big checks run the government, Lawrence. We need to stop it.
We need to listen to the American people and stop it. And we don`t have to
attack big companies. What we need to attack is greed and self-interest
and a code that`s not fair, where you pay more taxes than the biggest
companies in America. It`s not right.
O`DONNELL: That`s what that protest is about. Adam Green and my
buddy, Buddy Roemer, thank you both for joining me tonight.
GREEN: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Today the Obama campaign released a memo about the
president`s American Jobs Act. There is no good news in it for
Republicans, especially the Republican who runs against President Obama.
That`s in tonight`s Rewrite.
Later, the Koch Brothers versus Karl Rove. Why the two biggest fund-
raisers for Republicans are feuding. That`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: Time for tonight`s Rewrite. In a memo released by the
Obama campaign today, David Axelrod points out that the more President
Obama talks about the American Jobs Act, the more voters like it. Axelrod
points out that in early September, a CNN poll showed that 43 percent
supported the American Jobs Act and 35 percent were opposed to the bill.
Axelrod wrote "after three weeks of advocacy by the president, support
has grown by nearly 10 percent, so that 52 percent support the plan, with
36 percent opposed."
Axelrod points out that the president was particularly persuasive with
independents, independents that the president has to win in his re-election
campaign. In an early September ABC/"Washington Post" poll, independents
trusted the Republicans more than the president on jobs, 42 to 37.
But by early October, the president had turned those numbers around.
Independents now trust the president more than Republicans on jobs by a
wide margin, 44 to 31.
So after three weeks of campaigning for his jobs bill, the president
has earned the support of a majority of voters and won the trust of
independents on the jobs issue. That`s after just three weeks of
Why? Because Barack Obama, after three hard years in the White House,
is still the best campaigner in American politics today. A Pew poll last
week shows President Obama beating Rick Perry if the election were held
today, and tied with Mitt Romney if the election were held today.
The president is tied with the Republican front-runner. That`s after
Mitt Romney has been campaigning all year, has been winning every
Republican presidential debate, while the president`s job approval is at an
all-time low. Mitt Romney has been attacking the president every day. And
all he has to show for it is a tie in the polls.
And the president hasn`t even started campaigning against Romney or
whoever the Republican presidential nominee is going to be. Imagine --
imagine what`s going to happen when the president does start campaigning.
In three weeks of campaigning for his jobs bill, the president just pushed
support up by 10 percent, up by 10 percent in three weeks of campaigning.
David Axelrod`s four-page memo is simply his way of telling the
Republican presidential candidates, you ain`t see nothing yet.
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s billionaires behaving badly segment, the Koch
Brothers are acting up again. This time, they are making trouble for Karl
Rove. The Koch Brothers` political operatives coordinated smoothly with
Karl Rove`s team, funneling millions of dollars in political spending in
the 2010 congressional campaign that won back the House of Representatives
But "Politico" now reports that Rove and the Koch Brothers can no
longer agree on how to spend their hundreds of millions of dollars in the
2012 election, and now find themselves competing where they used to be
cooperating. Cracks in the relationship began to appear last summer over
the debt ceiling debate, when the Rove team supported Speaking John
Boehner`s bill to increase the debt ceiling and the Koch Brothers`
organization pressured conservatives to oppose it.
"Politico`s" Ken Vogel write, "some Koch allies blame what they
contend is the Rove team`s win at all cost mentality for the decay of
fiscal conservatism. Some in the Bush/Rove axis accuse the Kochs of
clinging to free market zealotry even if it backfires on Republicans."
A recent expose in "Bloomberg Markets" magazine revealed that Koch
Industries made improper payments to secure contracts in six countries
dating back to 2002, including Iran. This has redoubled Democrats` public
efforts to try to turn the Koch Brothers` influence against Republicans.
Joining me now is "Politico`s" Ken Vogel. Thanks for joining me
KEN VOGEL, "POLITICO": Great to be with you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Ken, what about the taint now on the Koch Brothers from
the "Bloomberg" expose about them being involved in illicit transactions
with Iran? Is there the potential for them becoming people that
Republicans simply can`t be associated with?
VOGEL: There`s definitely that potential, Lawrence. What`s
interesting is the trajectory to this point, in recent months, even as the
left has really trained their sights on the Koch Brothers and suggested
they were in some ways emblematic of the corrupting influence of corporate
money and politics after the 2010 Citizens United decision -- even with
that, they continue to become more powerful, more influential in
conservative politics, attracting more big donors to these donor summits,
where they collected tens of millions of dollars to distribute to favorite
However, you have to think that these revelations about dealings with
Iran might force some of those donors who had started to see them as
perhaps the pull in -- the sort of right pull in conservative politics, as
opposed to Karl Rove`s more centrist pull, that they might start
questioning whether these are the right guys to be associating with.
O`DONNELL: Do super PACs allow the Koch Brothers to hide in such a
way that it would be difficult for a Democratic opponent of a Republican to
actually associate that candidate with the Koch Brothers?
VOGEL: It`s not so much Super PACs as 501C-4s, which is another
vehicle that was empowered by the 2010 Citizens United decision, and one
that the Kochs and their operatives and their donors had been taking
advantage of for years, but that they used in the wake of President Obama`s
election and in the wake of the Citizen United decision, in a much more
overtly political way.
Again, in 2010, they were able to sit down with Karl Rove and his
allies, who were also using this combination of super PACs and C-4s to
coordinate on behalf of Republicans. Now there`s an open question as to
whether they`re going to sit down again or whether they`re going to take it
in their own direction and back more Tea Party oriented candidates that
could cause trouble for Republicans.
O`DONNELL: Well, they`re going to be swimming in money either way.
You indicate that Rove`s operation will probably have a couple hundred
million dollars. The Koch Brothers you think are going to have more than a
couple hundred million dollars to throw into this.
What is the problem for Republicans if there`s just this giant swirl
of money going around? Why would they care about this tension between Rove
and the Koch Brothers?
VOGEL: The potential problem, Lawrence, is that the Koch Brothers,
instead of backing candidates who are considered the most viable
candidates, the most electable candidates, like those who Rove and his
allies have thrown their support and money behind, will instead back
candidates who are more aligned with them ideologically on small government
and free enterprise conservatism, those who affiliate more with the Tea
Party, but who may not be the most viable or electable candidates.
In 2010, we saw this play out in a number of races where less --
candidates deemed less electable ending up winning primaries over more
mainstream candidates in Republican primaries, like Christine O`Donnell in
Delaware beating Mike Castle, Joe Miller in Alaska beating Lisa Murkowski,
and in Nevada with Sharron Angle winning.
So that was without the Koch Brothers throwing in behind these Tea
Party candidates. Imagine if the Koch Brothers spend their 200 million
dollars on these types of Tea Party candidates. It would cause problems
for Rove, the RNC and Republicans writ large.
O`DONNELL: Ken, I think you`re trying to leave Democrats cheering for
the Koch Brothers here to get in there and mess things up for everybody.
I`m not sure, though. "Politico`s" Ken Vogel, thank you very much for
joining me tonight.
VOGEL: It was a pleasure, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog,
TheLastWord.MSNBC.com. You can follow my Tweets @Lawrence.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" is up next. Good evening, Rachel.
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Guests: Ed Rollins, Barbara Boxer, Buddy Roemer, Adam Green, Ken Vogel