Guests: John Harwood, John Heilemann, Bruce Bartlett, Jonathan Capehart,
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: The only person who can make Herman Cain
look like a real candidate is Rick Perry, and they are both making Ann
Coulter look like a prophet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a case of desperate man.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, "HARDBALL" HOST: Birtherism.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s also a great
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s an idiot.
O`DONNELL: And if the birth certificate thing doesn`t work, how about
a tax cut for the rich? I mean, like a wicked huge tax cut.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNBC: Maybe even millions of dollars.
PERRY: Tax cut across the board.
HARWOOD: Enormous tax cut I for people at the top.
PERRY: If we are going to show stuff, let`s show stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perry`s plan proposal is a new 20 percent flat
MATTHEWS: Cutting taxes for the wealthy.
PERRY: But I don`t care about that.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Rick Perry has gone all the way down.
HARWOOD: Mitt Romney said it was a tax cut for fat cats.
PERRY: I consider him to be a fat cat.
HARWOOD: He says I`m bald. Romney is nibbling.
PERRY: Kind of nibbling around the edges.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s pathetic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perry just can`t stop it.
HARWOOD: What do you think when Mitt Romney put his hand on you?
PERRY: I wasn`t giving a lot of thought it to.
O`DONNELL (voice-over): And even Herman Cain`s ads cannot convince
you he`s really running for president.
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m going to convince people
my campaign is credible.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Hold on to the table and check this out.
SHARPTON: I`m going to smoke a cigarette and say, watch "POLITICS
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The candidate who`s smoking up the charts.
SHARPTON: So, I`m an American.
CAIN: If I make a statement, I`m willing to retract it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can take this country back.
CAIN: Next question.
REPORTER: Is that presidential, sir?
CAIN: I have no idea.
If I make a mistake, I`m willing to admit that I made a mistake.
ANN COULTER: If you don`t run, Chris Christie, Romney will be the
nominee and we`ll lose.
O`DONNELL: You`ve got to beat someone with someone, and the
Republicans don`t have someone who can beat Barack Obama, and they know it.
That`s why polls show Republican voters support bouncing around from one
impossible dream to another -- Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann,
Rick Perry and now, Herman Cain.
We have seen this play before -- every once in a while, one team
doesn`t have anyone who can beat the other team. Ronald Reagan was
actually beatable in his re-election campaign but not by Walter Mondale.
George H.W. Bush was beatable but not by Michael Dukakis. Bill Clinton was
very beatable in his reelection campaign, but not by Bob Dole.
President Obama is definitely beatable with 9 percent unemployment,
but Republicans are on their way to being stuck with a nominee they just
It is simply the dislike and distrust of Willard M. Romney that is
keeping the other Republican candidacies alive. And every day those
candidacies survive, they make Republicans and Republicanism sound crazier
John Harwood last night, he will join us in a moment, he sat down with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARWOOD: Mitt Romney, after the president released his birth
certificate earlier this year, said that issue is done and settled. I
You chose to the keep it alive in your interview with "Parade"
magazine over the weekend. Why did you do that?
PERRY: It`s a good issue to the keep alive. You know, Donald is
going to have some fun and the issue is --
HARWOOD: It sounds like you have some doubt about it.
PERRY: I haven`t seen his -- I haven`t seen his grades. My grades
ended up on the front page of the newspaper, so let`s -- you know, if we
are going to show stuff, let`s show stuff. But that`s all a distraction.
I mean, I get it.
I`m really not worried about the president`s birth certificate. It`s
fun to poke at him a bit and say, how about -- let`s see your grades and
your birth certificate.
HARWOOD: Are you saying that your comments about that are kind of a
joke, or do you seriously have an unresolved question, like Donald Trump
has about this?
PERRY: I don`t have a clue where the president and what this birth
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK. Here`s a clue: a clue that everyone in America has
seen, including Rick Perry.
See what it says at the top. Certificate of live birth, state of
Hawaii. This clue says that Barack Obama was born at 7:24 p.m. on August
4th, 1961 in Honolulu.
Rick Perry`s inability to comprehend this clue, which is really
actually a proof provoked the Bush family to try to talk some sense in to
George W. Bush`s former lieutenant governor.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush e-mailed "The Washington Post" a two-
sentence statement reading, "Republican candidates should categorically
reject the notion that President Obama was not born in the United States.
It is a complete distraction from the failed economic policies of the
Note, that Jeb Bush does not simply say they should reject the notion.
He says you should reject the notion that the president of the United
States wasn`t born in the United States because it is a distraction.
Today, the Republican candidates got some more coaching from TV
televangelist Pat Robertson, formerly the craziest person in Republican
presidential politics when he ran in 1988. Robertson did an absolutely
wonderful version of the pot getting all high and mighty with the kettle.
Pat Robertson, the Republican who was crazy long before it was cool in
Republican politics actually thinks these Republican candidates are too
extreme and are going to end up the way Ann Coulter predicted they would.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT ROBERTSON, TELEVANGELIST: I believe it was Lyndon Johnson that
said, "Don`t these people realize if they push me over to an extreme
position I`ll lose the election? And I`m the one who will be supporting
what they want but they`re going to make it so I can`t win." Those people
in the Republican primary have got to lay off of this stuff. They`re
forcing their leaders, the frontrunners, into positions that will mean they
lose the general election.
Now whether this did it to Cain I don`t know, but nevertheless, you
appeal to the narrow base and they`ll applaud the daylights out of what
you`re saying and then you hit the general election and they say `no way`
and then the Democrat, whoever it is, is going to just play these
statements to the hilt. They`ve got to stop this! It`s just so
Well, if they want to lose, this is the game for losers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining me now, "New York Times" writer and CNBC`s chief
Washington correspondent John Harwood, who interviewed Rick Perry. And
also, national affairs editor for "New York" magazine and co-author of
"Game Change," John Heilemann.
Thank you both for joining me tonight.
John Harwood, you got the big interview, the big get of the week with
Rick Perry. As you were sitting there, and he was turning over his cards
in effect and telling you what he wasn`t supposed to tell you, which is
this whole birth certificate thing is just a good thing to keep alive, did
you get the feeling that no one told Rick Perry here are the things we say
behind closed doors and here`s the stuff you say to John Harwood?
HARWOOD: I think people got that message to him today because he had
a press conference, he cut off the reporter. I think this was deliberate
on Rick Perry`s part though. I don`t know what his handlers told him ahead
of time, but I gave him several opportunities, as you saw in the clip that
you played to say I`m kidding, I don`t mean it. It is not really serious
and he kept going in a way that was sort of half serious, half winking at
It certainly was not what they wanted to be the message of the
campaign today. I have to say, Lawrence, when you say I got the big get, I
think that Pat Robertson interview was a pretty good get because I have
been covering this stuff long enough to think that is an astounding
statement from Pat Robertson when that guy who ran in 1988 is saying this
Republican field is extreme. It shows you about what`s happened with the
intensity of the conservatism within the Republican Party right now and the
effect it`s having on this field.
O`DONNELL: Yes, John Heilemann, Pat Robertson as a reasonable man in
Republican presidential politics -- only these characters could have driven
him to that position where he gets to be more reasonable than they are.
JOHN HEILEMANN, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Never thought you would see that.
O`DONNELL: No, no, no.
HEILEMANN: Never did. No.
And, you know, look -- I mean, the center of gravity in American
politics has moved to the right. And that`s, you know, a truism. But,
occasionally, we get an abject lesson and just how far it`s moved to the
right when Pat Robertson is coaching candidates from what sounds like the
sane center on how to get to the place where you need to be to win a
O`DONNELL: John Harwood, we know that Rick Perry is in an awful lot
of trouble with Republican voters on immigration and calling them
heartless, the voters that is, and that sort of thing. Can this tax plan
that he introduced today do anything to move his numbers as he`s been just
sinking? The trend line on him is just disastrously straight down.
HARWOOD: I think so. I think the tax plan can do him good and set
the table for the expenditure of the $15 million he`s got in his campaign
bank account. Remember that nobody started heaving advertising yet.
That`s when we`re really going to find out, first of all, if Rick Perry can
do something to help his own image. His numbers, the way people measure
how voters perceive candidates. If it`s positive or negative is underwater
right now, sort of like an underwater mortgage. He`s got to lift up the
positive assessments of him and then he`s going to go after Mitt Romney.
Those -- the expenditure of that money, with the kind of resources
he`s got and likely can still raise, at least for a while, is formidable.
And so, I think we will find out, certainly in Iowa. He`s a base of social
conservatives. That is what he started with.
His numbers have been plummeting. But he`s going to try to combine
some economic conservatives with that. And this birther stuff speaks to a
level of unhappiness within the Republican Party with President Obama that
he might able to tap in a little bit off in way more effectively than he
has the last few weeks.
O`DONNELL: All right. Let`s go back to John Harwood`s big get
because I want to look at the piece of your interview John where you talked
about the flat tax that he introduced today. Let`s listen to this piece.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARWOOD: In 1996, when your adviser Steve Forbes was running on a
flat tax, Mitt Romney said it was a tax cut for fat cats. If he says that
about your plan, what are you going to say to him?
PERRY: Well, I would say that he ought to look in the mirror, I
guess. I consider him to be a fat cat. But here`s -- it doesn`t matter to
me what anyone says about this. I know what will work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: John Heilemann, again, I go back to the Perry staff the.
That no one told him, hey, fat cat, that`s a liberal Democrat term. We
Republicans do not call rich people, investment bankers like Mitt Romney,
HEILEMANN: Especially, the candidate skills on display of this guy
have been extraordinarily bad. I mean, you think of, John Harwood
interviews this guy on the eve of his big roll out of this tax plan which
is supposed to be his re-launch. And what`s the first thing he does as he
steps over his own message, muddies the waters for the tax plan so that
half of the day, all we`ve talked about on cable television, on the
Internet, ahs been the birther issue.
Now, it maybe, as John says, there`s good evidence to suggest that he
wants to keep that alive. That he was given the opportunity to walk away
from it -- didn`t do that. But it still is kind of a nuts way to conduct
yourself as a candidate -- and it goes to the thing that makes Mitt Romney
the class of this field.
Whatever you want to say about Mitt Romney, he has run an
extraordinarily disciplined campaign over the course of these 10 months
that he`s been in the race. He got in June officially, but it`s really
been going on all year.
He has stuck to his message. He`s not chased the shiny objects. He`s
not run after the rabbits that are going down the rabbit holes and that`s
what all these other guys are doing. And this is like a classic example.
How can you be using that language? That is the language of as you
say, the liberal Democrat, to attack Mitt Romney. There are a lot of ways
you can attack Mitt Romney but you shouldn`t be calling him a fat cat.
O`DONNELL: John Harwood, Mitt Romney did something similar in the
debate when he said, you know, I`m running for office for Pete`s sake,
that`s why I can`t have illegal people working.
But this is one of those for Pete`s sake moments where he used the fat
cat language with you. How surprised were you?
HARWOOD: Well, I wasn`t too surprised because we saw Herman Cain do a
little Main Street versus Wall Street thing with Romney the other day and
Perry has been emphasizing the son of a tenant farmer, the modest
upbringing kind of thing. So, he`s trying to play to a little populist
thing about Romney being rich.
And I got to say -- yes, fat cat is a bad term to use within the
Republican Party because of the class warfare connotations but he`s going
to cover himself with the policy here. When you look at what he proposed,
20 percent flat rate down for individuals, down from 35 percent -- 20
percent rate for corporations down from 35. No dividend taxes, no capital
gains taxes, no estate taxes.
People who think of themselves as fat cats, whether they like the term
or not, realize they would do exceedingly well under this plan. And
interestingly Rick Perry said he doesn`t believe in a progressive tax
O`DONNELL: Rick Perry could not be nicer to the fat cats. We`re
going to come back and talk about that after a break.
John Harwood and John Heilemann, thank you both for joining me
HEILEMANN: Thanks, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up: How Herman Cain sends a message to voters with
And I had a little twitter conversation with Donald Trump today. I
asked him to tell me anything I have ever said about him that is not true.
His very, very surprising answer is in the "Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: Coming up:
How Republicans loch to campaign on tax reform that they will never
actually do. Bruce Bartlett joins me.
And we`ll look at what is, by far, the weirdest campaign ad of the
year -- thank you to Herman Cain. But, first, Jon Huntsman shows off the
skills that no Republican voters seem to care about on the "Colbert
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(JON HUNTSMAN SPEAKING CHINESE)
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Terrifying. What did you just say? What
did you just say?
JON HUNTSMAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just said I think that
you ought to consider being my running mate for vice president.
COLBERT: I`m so ready for the Colbert -- we are going to get you,
Governor. You may be at 2 percent. We`re going to get you up to whole
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: Twenty percent flat tax, simple enough that you can file your
taxes on a postcard. That size right there.
PERRY: Now, I told somebody, I said that`s so simple Tim Geithner can
even get it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Rick Perry announced his abolish Medicare and Social
Security proposal today, but knowing how popular it would be with voters he
decided to mask it as a tax reform proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PERRY: The best representation in my plan is this postcard. This is
the size of what we are talking about, right here. Taxpayers will be able
to fill this out and file their taxes on that.
PERRY: Each individual taxpayer will have a choice. You can continue
to pay your taxes, as well as accountants and lawyers under the current tax
system that we got, or you can file your taxes on this postcard, with the
deductions on there for interest on your mortgage, your charitable giving,
your state and local taxes, and then deduct those and send it in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: I don`t know about the postcard thing. This is the actual
form that the Perry campaign put out, which is a full page. Not
dissimilar, by the way, from the very first tax returns, when income tax
The signature feature of Perry`s plan is an alternative 20 percent
individual tax rate which federal taxpayers could opt to pay or they could
stick with the current tax code and current tax form and the current IRS.
Perry`s plan allows for a $12,500 deduction for each dependent and Perry
would allow deduction for mortgage interest, state and local taxes and
charitable gifts for families making less than a half million dollars a
The cover of Rick Perry`s plan includes and endorsement from Steve
Forbes who claims it is the most exciting plan since Reagan`s.
Joining me is Bruce Bartlett, a former senior policy analyst in the
Reagan White House and deputy assistant secretary of treasury. He is the
author of the new book "The Benefit and the Burden: American Tax Reform,
Why We Need It and What It Will Take."
Thanks for joining me tonight, Bruce.
BRUCE BARTLETT, AUTHOR, "THE BENEFIT AND THE BURDEN": Happy to be
O`DONNELL: Bruce, what would Ronald Reagan think of this flat tax
BARTLETT: Well, Ronald was very sympathetic to the idea of a flat tax
and he said so publicly on a number of occasions, but when it came time to
put a proposal on the table, he did not propose a flat tax, and we ended up
with the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
O`DONNELL: Which basically limited deductions in certain ways and
spread out rates in what is the traditional progressive form. This is a
massive, massive tax cut for the very rich. It`s presented as you have
your choice which way you want to go. But it`s clear at the top end of the
income structure in this country, there`s only one way to go and that would
be with his flat tax.
BARTLETT: Well, it`s worse than that because it`s a massive tax
increase for a very large portion of the American population. I don`t know
the exact figures, but I would guess probably any family making less than
$50,000 a year or so is probably going to pay more under Perry`s plan than
they do now.
O`DONNELL: And he`s very open in the language surrounding this plan -
- as Herman Cain is, if people go and read enough of it -- that this plan
anticipates that we really will not have to fund Social Security or
Medicare for much longer. He wants people to be able to opt out of Social
Security, younger workers, which means they would make no contributions to
it and that flow of contributions is what enables us to pay out Social
So, this is as much a removal of those social programs as it is a
giant tax break.
BARTLETT: Well, that`s right. But it`s all a package deal as far as
Republicans are concerned. And it`s really rather astonishing, given the -
- what has happened in the stock market over the last few years. I`m
certainly grateful that I didn`t have all of my Social Security
contributions in the stock market. And it really surprises me that this
idea still has as much political traction as it does.
O`DONNELL: It seems they learned their lesson with the polling
unpopularity of the Paul Ryan plan to let`s not talk about Medicare or
Social Security directly. Let`s talk about tax reform and cutting taxes
and within that we can get to our goal on Medicare and Social Security.
BARTLETT: Perhaps. I think really it`s just that the tax issue
really animates Republicans. It`s just their bread and butter issue. It`s
how they judge each other.
I`m more -- I have a bigger tax cut than you. And show me yours.
O`DONNELL: Yes, it does seem to be a boldest contest on tax cutting.
BARTLETT: Absolutely. It`s, you know. I guess these guys -- I don`t
know about Michele Bachmann -- but, you know, they are hanging around the
locker room too much, you know, comparing each other. I don`t know.
O`DONNELL: Bruce Bartlett, we`re going to have to end it right there.
I think it`s the proper place to do it. We can`t go further with that
Bruce, thank you very much for joining me tonight.
BARTLETT: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, everyone`s been talking about Herman Cain
smoking ad, but wait until you see his even crazier one.
And my relationship with Donald Trump just went to the next level --
on Twitter, of course. And he got himself back in tonight`s "Rewrite."
O`DONNELL: On this day, 39 of the "Occupy Wall Street" protests, the
Congressional Budget Office released a report on household income
distribution from 1979 to 2007.
The changes can be seen in this chart. The CBO found that between
1979 and 2007, the after-tax income for the bottom 20 percent grew by just
18 percent. The after-tax income for the middle 60 percent grew by 37
percent. The after-tax income of the next 19 percent grew by 65 percent.
And the after-tax income for the top 1 percent of households in the United
States grew by a disproportionate 275 percent.
The CBO reports, as a result of that uneven income growth, the
distribution of after tax household income in the United States was
substantially more unequal in 2007 than in 1979.
In tonight`s profile in greed: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Dimon
is a perennial Wall Street CEO who ran Bank One, Citigroup and Smith Barney
before become CEO of JPMorgan at the end of 2005. He also sits on the
board of directors for the New York Federal Reserve.
According to "Forbes," at his most recent job, Dimon has earned $12.5
million in compensation. Now, you have to remember, these publicly-
released figures, you should always consider minimums. His stock in
JPMorgan alone is reportedly worth $232 million.
Dimon made headlines when he expressed outrage -- outrage -- when
President Obama had called Wall Street bankers fat cats for continuing to
doll out big bonuses during the economic crisis.
Speaking about calling bankers names, Dimon said, quote, "I think it
is a terrible thing to do. There`s good and there`s bad. Not all bankers
are the same and I just think this constant refrain, bankers, bankers,
bankers, it`s just really unproductive, and unfair way of treating people."
Bankers, bankers, bankers.
Dimon cannot publicly endorse a presidential candidate, because he sit
on the New York Federal Reserve. However, he does not seem bothered by the
fact that former investment banker Willard M. Romney has referred to the
highest income earners, as we heard previously, as fat cats.
Last month, Dimon met with Romney before a Romney fund-raiser hosted
by a hedge fund owned by JPMorgan.
Still ahead, everyone was weirded out by Herman Cain`s newest campaign
ad. But the one he did this summer, that -- the one that no one saw is
wicked weird. That`s next.
And Donald Trump started a little chat with me today on Twitter, which
gave me everything I needed for tonight`s Rewrite. Thank you, Donald.
But first, here`s a preview of President Obama`s appearance later on
tonight on "The Tonight Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Now have you been watching the GOP
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m going to wait until
everybody`s voted off the island.
LENO: Yeah really?
OBAMA: Once they narrow it down to one or two, I`ll start paying
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARK BLOCK, HERMAN CAIN`S CHIEF OF STAFF: America`s never seen a
candidate like Herman Cain. We need you to get involved, because together
we can do this. We can take this country back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: In the Spotlight tonight, why even Herman Cain`s campaign
ads cannot convince us that he is really running for president. As has
been reported here and elsewhere, Herman Cain continues to earn an income
as a motivational speaker while he`s supposed to be running for president.
He continues to run his so-called campaign on a skeleton crew, headed by
this man who stars in Cain`s newest campaign ad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLOCK: Tomorrow, it`s one day closer to the White House. I really
believe that Herman Cain will put united back in the United States of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: OK. As peculiar as that ad may seem, Herman Cain created
a much-ignored ad in August that is beyond bizarre.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty flowers you got there, mister.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-huh. Pretty yellow flowers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I`m glad you like them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I`ll bet you are as yellow as those
flowers right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why`s it always got to be about color? What are
you guys, liberal?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Card carrying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So that`s how it is going to be, huh?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, I`m international film and television star
Nick Serci (ph). Looking cool and reading lines off of a teleprompter that
somebody else wrote makes a community organizer a real leader. But Herman
Cain is a real leader.
This upcoming election is too crucial for us to get distracted by
silly things like line readings and empty phrases like hope and change.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, punk. Get real.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I stand with Herman Cain because Herman Cain
stands with us.
Nice chicken, honey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Speechless. And even without real TV advertising, Herman
Cain is actually still in the thick of his honeymoon with Republican
voters. Got the "New York Times"/CBS News poll released today. It shows
him at the top of the field, with 25 percent, Mitt Romney at 21 percent,
Newt Gingrich at 10 percent.
Joining me now, Jonathan Capehart, MSNBC analyst and opinion writer
for the "Washington Post." Thanks for joining me tonight, Jon.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Oh, my God, Lawrence. How
O`DONNELL: Jonathan, when it gets wicked weird, I call you in from
the bullpen because I`m speechless. Please. Three minutes, go, what did
we just see?
CAPEHART: OK, so, Lawrence, last night when I was here to talk about
-- I think we were talking about Rick Perry -- I had already seen the
smoking ad with Mark Block, the first commercial that you saw. And I
couldn`t believe that it was real and was communicating with other people
trying to figure out if it was real.
Now this afternoon, I see this new ad that you showed. I didn`t think
that was real. Couldn`t possibly be real. It`s so bad that no one who we
would even imagine running for president would even associate themselves
with something so horrendous.
And yet we find out that not only is Herman Cain attached to this
monstrosity of a campaign ad, but it has been out since August and we are
just seeing it now. Say what you will about Sarah Palin and whether she
was running or not running, but if you go to her site and you see any of
the ads that she did, that`s probably the only presidential thing she`s
actually ever done are those ads, highly produced, very credible.
These are not credible. These are incredible ads. And the idea that
Herman Cain thinks he can take this, the buzz that comes from these ads,
and march his way to the Republican nomination and then to the White House
O`DONNELL: Yes. We here at THE LAST WORD offer our sincere apologies
to America tonight for not having found that first ad that he did in August
before tonight. It is a horrible embarrassment for us. The campaign
manager, this guy Block who was in the ad smoking, actually went on Fox
News today and said you walk, I`ll tell you, you walk in to a veteran`s bar
in Iowa and they are sitting around smoking.
So that`s his justification and explanation for the smoking in the ad.
I actually think it is one of these things, Jonathan. They are aware of
Mike Bloomberg and these moves to ban smoking all over the country in
different some places, some of them in some public park areas.
They just think that`s that horrible, oppressive government. And this
is their little signal, look, we will even smoke on our ads.
CAPEHART: Look, that`s maybe a worthwhile theory, sort of literally
thumbing your nose -- blowing smoke right at the nanny state. But I just
think that they thought they were doing something that was very helpful to
their effort, their campaign and for Herman Cain.
And you know what, Lawrence, if they put as much thought in to their
ground operation in Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina as they put
in these wacky ads, Herman Cain actually would have a foundation upon which
he could rest these high-flying poll numbers that he has.
O`DONNELL: Jonathon Capehart, MSNBC contributor and opinion writer
for the "Washington Post." Thanks for joining me tonight, Jonathan. And
stick around. The next segment is a Trump segment. I`m going to try to do
one without you. But I might need you back tomorrow night to follow up on
this. So watch what I do next.
O`DONNELL: All right. That`s coming up. We`re going to do Donald
Trump and I had a fun exchange on Twitter today. It was fun for me anyway.
And that`s going to be next in the Rewrite.
And earlier today, legendary boxing promoter Don King -- yes, the Don
King -- went down to Occupy Wall Street and spoke with the protesters. He
is going to be joining me here later.
O`DONNELL: In tonight`s Rewrite, Donald Trump is back. He has
stirred things up in the Republican presidential campaign again, by
convincing the most gullible governor in America, Rick Perry, that the
president`s birth certificate is fake. And this morning, he went all
gangster on me, using the hard-core gangster`s favorite fearsome weapon,
"Last year, Lawrence strongly predicted that Tim Pawlenty would be the
Republican nominee. Lawrence is a total loser who is killing the MSNBC
brand. He`s begging me to be on his show. I am his only hope. "O`Reilly
Factor" killed him."
I then discovered that our bookers have reached out to Trump lately to
come on the show to talk about what other lies he talked Rick Perry in to
believing. In our Twitter exchange, which will be available in full on our
blog, I acknowledge that Bill O`Reilly has always been the highest-rated
show in cable news.
And I asked Donald this -- "what else did I predict? Something about
you, like the exact day you would reveal that you were not running? That
was so easy."
And I asked, "have I ever been wrong about you? Please tell me one
thing I got wrong about you."
Before I tell you Donald`s response to what I got wrong about him,
let`s review some of the many things that I have said about him this year,
including the many things that he has said that I have told you are lies.
Now, you can keep your own count of how many things you are about to hear
me say that Donald Trump will insist are not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: He`s not going to run. May 16th is when NBC announces its
new schedule for shows next year. Donald cannot afford to pass up his
paycheck from NBC. There`s nothing else that gets him through the day.
He`s going to be an NBC star on television next season. He`s never going
to be a presidential candidate.
Remember the investigators he said he sent to Hawaii to investigate
the president`s birth. I told you from the moment he said it that he was
lying about that, that he has not sent any investigators anywhere to
investigate the president`s birth.
The liar will never produce any report by any investigators. He will
never name those investigators. His fake campaign will be over by May
16th, when NBC announces its upcoming season.
Mike Isikoff asked the question that Donald cares about more than
anything else. And of course, Donald lied his way through every word of
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, "NEWSWEEK": How much are you worth?
DONALD TRUMP, "THE APPRENTICE": A lot of money. And you may very
well see that number in about 70 or 80 days. "Forbes" said 2.7 billion.
And 2.7 is very low. It`s much lower than the actual number that I may be
showing to people and to the rest of the world in a couple of months.
O`DONNELL: Real billionaires, none of whom have the time to hang with
Donald Trump, do not work as cast members in NBC prime time entertainment
shows, which, of course, is how Donald actually makes his living. I also
said many times that Donald Trump is simply not rich enough to run for
He has, throughout his life, lied about how rich he is. Donald posted
a video this week on his Youtube channel in which he answered the question
he says many people are asking him: why didn`t you run for president. His
rambling incoherent answer came down to this --
TRUMP: So I look at the kinds of things that are happening and on top
of that, NBC is calling me on an hourly basis, offering me all sorts of
money to continue with "The Apprentice," which has been a tremendous hit
show for NBC and frankly for me. And at one point I just said, you know
what, I think it is time to take the money.
O`DONNELL: So I don`t run for president because NBC is calling me and
it`s just time to take the money. Donald Trump just told you that the
reason he didn`t run for president was the money NBC was offering him to
continue his job as an NBC performer .
This from a guy who pretends to be a billionaire. There is no
billionaire who looks at a TV job and thinks it`s time to take the TV
money. Donald is worth no more than a couple million dollars in salary, if
that, to NBC. And he`s lucky to be worth that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: So after all of that, which is really just the tip of the
iceberg of what I have said about Donald Trump on this program this year,
and after asking him today, have I ever been wrong about you? His Tweeted
reply was "Lawrence, yes, great hair, and it`s actually mine."
My Tweeted reply to that was, "never said that`s not your hair. I
take this Tweet as confirmation from you that I have never been wrong about
you. Thanks." And Donald, I really mean it. Thank you very much.
So Donald Trump thereby Tweeted his confirmation that the following
things are true. He lied about hiring investigators to go to Hawaii.
Throughout his life he has lied about how rich he is. He cannot afford to
pass up his paycheck from NBC, which is worth no more than a couple million
dollars a year, a fraction of Bill O`Reilly`s TV paycheck.
He was never going to be a presidential candidate because, among many
other prohibitive reasons, he`s simply not rich enough to pay for a
presidential campaign. And no, he is not a billionaire. On the matter of
his so-called hair, Donald and I have no quarrel. I see no reason to doubt
the man. A wig would never behave like this.
O`DONNELL: Mayor Michael Bloomberg has so far avoided a showdown with
Occupy Wall Street protesters here in New York City, but city officials
across the country are starting to lose their patience. Oakland police are
still trying to disperse hundreds protesters who marched toward city hall
tonight. Arrests have been made, but police cannot confirm how many at
Just before dawn in Oakland this morning, police in riot gear cleared
out more than 350 protesters using tear gas and bean bags. Police made 85
arrests. Mayor Jean Quan released this statement today: "many Oaklanders
support the goals of the National Occupy Wall Street Movement. However,
over the last week, it was apparent that neither the demonstrators nor the
city could maintain safe or sanitary conditions or control the ongoing
The city said protesters can now occupy the plaza between the hours of
6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., but not overnight. A new poll out today shows 43
percent of Americans say yes, they agree with the views of Occupy Wall
Street Movement; 27 percent said no, they disagree with those views.
The poll found that two in three say that wealth is not distributed
fairly in America, while just one in four says wealth is distributed
fairly. Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren has embraced the
Occupy Wall Street Movement. She told "The Daily Beast," I created much of
the intellectual foundation for what they do. I support what they do."
Joining me now, a man who was just at the Occupy Wall Street protests
tonight, legendary boxing promoter, Don King. Don, thank you very much for
DON KING, PROMOTER: Lawrence, thank you for having me. It is a
delight. First let me say, I`m welcoming home our troops. Because without
them, the people that put themselves in harm`s way with their courage and
valor, we couldn`t sit here on THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell.
It makes me feel good to see these American troops come home safe and
sound for the holiday. God bless our troops. God bless America. And God
bless our President Obama.
O`DONNELL: Don, you are an 80-year-old working man with a lot of
stuff to do. What the heck are you doing at Occupy Wall Street? Why did
you go down there?
KING: I love America. And I think that what many people may miss the
boat on is the First Amendment gave the right to protest and demonstrate
and to go for your grievances and the freedom of speech. You know, the
press could not exist. You couldn`t sit here without the First Amendment,
because every time you say something about somebody, somebody would come at
you, and then the money and influence would stop you from being able to
retaliate or to find a way or means to carry your message.
That that`s the journalistic creed, the who, the why, the where, the
when and the what. You know what I mean. So you have to be able to
understand what they are doing is pure Americana. So our nation`s greatest
resource is its people. Our people`s greatest resource is children.
Yesterday, today and tomorrow -- yesterday was our day. Today is the
present. But tomorrow is our future. And we`ve got our kids with student
loans, with no escape clauses, due in perpetuity. They are underwater.
And if we don`t stop drowning our future, we are going to find ourselves in
a pretty sick position.
That`s what I`m fighting for. I`m fighting for America. They are
doing what Americans should do, without being slaughtered indiscriminately
without compunction or remorse from some of the regimes around the world
where they just put force on to them.
We have to be very careful how we use this force mechanism, because
remember in 1931 in the bonus -- the bonus babies, where the nation`s
soldiers would go out in World War I, come home to get their bonus, and
couldn`t get their bonus and they MacCarthur and different leaders in the
Army fighting their former colleagues and soldiers.
When these soldiers come home, they are going to want jobs. Now we
can`t keep up with that hypocrisy that we practice, where we say how great
they are, how courageous they are, what valor, what patriotism. And when
they come home, you can`t give them a job or won`t give them no way to make
That ain`t going to last. You can`t keep doing that. I am hoping
that we be prepared in someway to help those beautiful veterans that
protect and safeguard our liberties, something that we can do for them,
Lawrence. And that should be THE LAST WORD, without a question of a doubt,
We should be prepared to accept them and to help them and to make them
feel what America feels for them, being proud, but not with words but
actions and deeds. So I`m looking forward to the outcome of the Christmas
holiday with my soldiers and sailors, the women and the men whose valor and
courage put themselves in harm`s way for our freedom and our liberty.
And then we are going to kick them the to the curb with some type of
pontification and political speeches. We can`t accept that.
O`DONNELL: OK. This is perfect because I didn`t have a second
O`DONNELL: I got Don King.
KING: I love you.
O`DONNELL: I need one question with Don King to get through the rest
of the show.
KING: I tell you, I feel so good about being on your show. I always
admire you and what you are doing with THE LAST WORD. You`re brilliant and
O`DONNELL: Do you have any extra ties? Because I feel I have to
express my patriotism more in -- in my clothing more than I do.
KING: Yes, I do. I happen to have one. I can give you this one
because I have several of them. I went to the store today and I bought so
many of them. Anything with America and the stars and stripes, it just
endears itself to me and my heart. White and black alike, America is the
greatest nation in the world. Let us work toward it.
O`DONNELL: Don King takes us all the way to THE LAST WORD tonight.
Don King, thank you very, very much.
KING: Don`t forget my fight, November 5th in Florida.
O`DONNELL: Believe it or not, he`s got a fight to promote.
KING: Jones and thing --
O`DONNELL: We`ll put the info up on the website.
KING: Yes, put the info on the thing, because it`s a coalition for
jobs. That`s really what you`re used for.
O`DONNELL: Don, thank you very much. Remember, tomorrow night --
I`ll try to get this out. Tomorrow night on the program, we`re going to
have Walter Isaacson with his Steve Jobs biography.
You can have THE LAST WORD online at our blog. You can also my Tweets
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